[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


" one might cut with a silver knife. Hecides (they had one for each of their demands my tongue, and when, with first five voyages) and burials, not at an immense effort I show it to him, all uncommon. He winds up with an "Oi wish oi'd got wan so clane," says account of a commercial gentleman in he regretfully. He orders me milk and the next cabin who had delirium trelime water and a visit on deck, neither mens all last voyage, and required a of which prescriptions I have the faint- strait waistcoat, Sam, and three superest idea of obeying. He tumbles out numeraries to keep him quiet. of my cabin like au amateur actor pre- I wake at six in the morning to find tending to be extremely drunk, and I a strange man on his kvees moviug his fall again to intermittent dozing. hands mysteriously over the floor. He

In the afternoon I am scized with a says he is searching for my boots to passionate desire to see the face of this clean them. He describes it as a nasty restless, storm-lashed Atlantic. I be- morning again and bitterly cold. gin by sitting up in my berth for the Monday afternoon. However Sam first time for three days. My head managed to get me up on deck, I don't feels full of molten, swimming, clang- know. To me it was like stumbling ing lead; my legs, on the other hand, about inside a kaleidoscope, every obas I dangle them impotently over the ject going through a constant shifting side of my berth, as pieces of and wondrous sea-change. I have a string. I fall on my knees, grown recollection of his holding me by the leaden now instead of my head (which arn and sliding me into a deck-chair. feels light and bobbing as a cork), and Now, he says, the deck-steward will with the help of the basket-work chair see after me. When he leaves me I which slides to my aid, drag myself like feel as though I have lost my only a shot rabbit to the opposite berth friend on board, and that I am about to below the portholes. How high above shed the bitterest tears of my life. I me it seems, and now how low! Up I open my eyes and see a sailor in a sou’clamber and look out through the gush-wester dropping a thermometer overing, boiling porthole. Waves, green board and pulling it up again to and curling! hollows, slabs, terraces, examine the temperature of the water. troughs of water, broken and tumbling. That is, I believe, to discover whether White ridges and manes, and vast, there be icebergs in the neighborhood. deep pits where the sea appears clean Then comes to me the deck-steward. sliced into polished sides of the richest He produces the menu from his inside verd-antique. Not a ship, nor a bird ; jacket-pocket and holds it under my only the low grey sky, with its masses nose. I look at it blankly and drearily. of slowly shifting cloud ; only the I see beef and mutton and things grandiose, breaking seas. Tempestu- fricasséed. Then I look at him and his ous as the seascape is, its very silence dumb, entreating eye. My white lips strikes me

as ominous. It is like murinur something inarticulate ; neither watching a man in a fit of dumb, in- of us speaks, but, thank heaven, he articulate rage. It reminds me of see- understands me and goes. ing people dance, through a window, Healthy, hearty people walk sturdily when you don't hear the music. up and down the deck, talking and

In the evening Sam persuades me to laughing. I get hideous whiffs of their sit in the basket-work chair while he tobacco, and the end of my deck-chair makes my bed. I sit in a limp heap, is occasionally knocked in a way that like Irving in the last act of Louis XI. moves me to blind fury. If I had a Sam entertains me, meanwhile, with gun handy, there are two young men stories of vessels which break their I should certainly shoot. They wear machinery when (just as we are) three Norfolk jackets and flannel trousers, days out; the rest of the voyage is they appear to enjoy the cold and the made laboriously under sail, and lasts motion, the wind envelops me with three weeks. Also he tells me of sui- l occasional clouds of the horrible nixture they are puffing at. I try to attract sitting opposite in the luncheon car, the attention of the captain, who is the woman with her vivacious monwalking up and down with a pretty key face, cunning and shrewd, but girl, assuring her that he will get her not unpleasant ; the man, handsome to New York on Thursday afternoon ; aud sulky, with his common hands and I have an idea that he will put those thick legs. I set her down as a trapétwo young men in irons if I ask him zienne, and he as the strong man who to, properly.


stands below steadying the rope, The deck is so bitterly cold that, to watching her gyrations with affected avoid being frozen and affecting the palpitations of terror. She read thermometer which the man in the “Belle-maman" when she was not sou’-westèr pulls up and down and ex- quarrelling with him, and he had a amiues carefully every half hour, Icrumpled copy of “ Gil Blas.” And the drag myself miserably into the library. American ladies, in diamond earrings The library (owing perhaps to the and tight sealskin jackets, chattering quantity of light literature it contains) of the London shops and hotels while is even more unsteady than the deck. the pleasant English landscape slid I close my eyes and listen to two past, with the ploughing teams on the American girls chaff a fat young Dutch- brown uplands, the solitary figures man in a yachting cap and a reach- trudging along the roads, the broad me-down mackintosh with capes. He fields greenly shimmering with the amuses them so much that they carry winter wheat. And the wind in Livhim off down to the saloon for after- erpool, yelling through the docks, and noon tea.

the first sight of the Gigantic ; and the I feel that if I don't speedily get sheaf of kindly telegrams waiting in below again I shall disgrace myself and the box in the saloon ; and the steward, my good friend Sam. I have a vision looking in his Eton jacket like a huge as I lurch along cabin-wards of leaping schoolboy, marking off our places for brass handrails and a long twining fire- dinner and landing us each a number. hose, twisting like an empty snake. How far off they all seem to me now Fortunately, Sam is sitting in the pas- tumbling in mid-Atlantic, how far off sage amusing himself with a highly and yet how clear. colored American comic paper. I fall Wednesday. As I stand looking at shuddering into his arms; he undresses the sea, with a faint, wavering smile, me like a child and puts me back into a gentleman in a heavy ulster and a the familiar berth. He looks at me cap says cheerfully, You've had a mournfully, and says he will see me very bad time, haven't you ?” He inagain presently.

troduces himself as the man who suf. Tuesday. Nothing but shipwreck fered so much in the next cabin. His will induce me to rise, and even then face is plaster-white and tightly drawn; I shall insist on being the last person his eyebrows have gone up into his to leave the vessel. The doctor looks hair ; his eyes are criss-crossed with a at me and says to Sam, “Fwhat shall tangle of premature wrinkles. Really, we do to get um on deck ? Shall we if I looked like that, I should conceive put powder under um ?"

it my duty to remain in my berth till I All day long I lie and read, not un- improved. pleasantly. I have “ Half Hours of the As I haven't been shaved since last best American Authors,” which I took Thursday, I tumble below (I am rapout of the library before we started, idly getting my sea-legs now) with a and Hardy's “ Return of the Native," sort of sham hearty • Come aboard, bought at Crewe. What years ago it sir !” air, down into the barber's shop. seems since we left London in the spe- There I find our member of Parliacial, since I jumped out at Crewe and ment, who addresses me remarks of bought the book. How like a dream it the courteous-foolish order. He

apseems to recall the two French people pears to be one of those gentlemeu (not

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

altogether uncommon in the House of and when one knows that in other Commons) who mistake dulness for parts of the ship the old, the sickly, the weight, and slowness of speech for badly clothed and badly fed are sufferevidence of sagacity. Like Mr. Chick, ing a thousand times more, without a he believes in making an effort when single comfort or atteution to alleviate on board ship; he never gives way, he their misery. I stood upon the narrow says; he forces himself to get up on bridge that runs above the part of the deck; he forces himself down into the ship given over to the steerage passen. saloon to eat. Which, being inter- gers, and looked down upon them, preted, simply means he isn't seasick; grouped about in the chilly dusk and in for if any man tells me the trouble can the light that fell from their saloon be overcome by mere strength of will, door. Bare-headed women, wrapped I have no hesitation in proclaiming in shawls like factory girls, came aud him liar, of the second or self-deceived went busily with tin pannikins ; gaunt. order.

men like drovcrs stood about talking When I am in the barber's chair, and quarrelling ; children tied up in facing me in the glass I find a thin, shawls ran backwards and forwards, white old man, with a short, dar screamed at by their mothers as they beard, a stubby moustache, a blank, stand screaming at their frowsy, Whitehollow

eye, wrinkled forehead. chapel doors. A cook came out in his When I turn my head I see who it is ; white jacket and threw a paper of sawthe object does the same ; he mimics dust over the side. The wind carried all my gestures; he gets shaved just as the sawdust back like a cloud among I do. When I look up at the barber the women and children, and I saw a for an explanation of the phenomenon, mother cover her child's eyes quickly he says in a guttural German-American with her hands, caring nothing for tone, “Well, I never tink I see you herself, anxious only to protect her again. You look pretty sick, mein child. In front of the door an old goodness!”

was sitting on a tin box, unIn the afternoon, as the day grows cared for and unnoticed. The light finer, I venture down into the saloon fell on her face, ravaged by care, and for a cup of tea. The sun blazes in age, and sickness. It was, perhaps, upon the gilding, lavish as a lord the first time she had ventured out to mayor's barge. There is a group round take the air since leaving Liverpool, the piano, practising for the concert. and she sat there, like a weather-beaten A young man in a light. suit and a dull statue, out of which time and trouble penny-reading baritone moans through had gradually worn all semblance to “In Days of Old when Kuights were joy, to life, and even lope. Age, and Bold." He goes through the song exile, and sickness, every human misthree times, and each time misses the ery seemed to beat its bat-wings round high note by half a tone. He doesn't that impassive, suffering face. Later seem to have a notion he's flat, though in the evening when again I looked the lady accompanying him hits the down from the bridge, she was still sitright note significantly. There are ting there, alone. good people, I believe, who will sing Thursday. Land-ho! It's half past flat in heaven without any idea that eleven, and Fire Island is in sight. I they are spoiling the general harmony. look out of the library window and see

But, after all, how absurd it seems to a long, low sandy shore, just like the complain of three or four days' sea- last I saw of Lancashire, only that it is sickness when one remembers what patched and painted with snow. people must have suffered in the old a lighthouse, from whence they will days of sailing vessels and paddle telegraph our arrival to New York, steamers ; how unmanly, when on the and a wreck, heaped broken among Gigantic one is surrounded with every the sand-dunes. We don't go very attention and comfort, even luxury,' fast because of the fog ; we keep blow.


I see


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

ing our great horn like a Triton, butteer officers of 1860, and he writes rapwe expect to be at the quay-side at five idly, holding the pen between the first o'clock. Lunch is really rather a pleas- and second fingers. ant meal on board these huge Atlantic There's Bartholdi's gigantic statue at liners. The member of Parliament last, and there are the piers and swing hopes with a conciliatory smile I am of Brooklyn Bridge. Sam has fastened

none the worse for my resurrection.” up all my luggage, and we shake hands He regards me as he regards every one heartily. I shall never forget him and else on board - as a constituent, a pos- the oranges he brought me, stuck on a sible voter, some one to be won over fork. by the irresistible charm of his manner. As I go down the gangway a crowd The pretty American girl opposite re- of faces look up at me from the dock. marks pointedly, It's vurry strange A twinkling Irishman darts at me with how folk turn up on board at the last a telegraph form and a pencil ; he moment whom one hasn't noticed be- leaves them with me with a sweet, fore.” That's said partly for fear that wistful smile, and rushes away after I should flatter myself I had been no- others. My luggage is all waiting for ticed, and partly in revenge for a smile me under my initial in the huge shed ; I couldn't help our first evening at I have to open every trunk and bag, some rather startling Americanism of and watch large, dirty hands play over hers. The table steward talks to me my clean linen. Sam comes to shake in the low, cooing voice one uses to an hands with me again, and gets me an invalid ; he calls me by my name (110 Irishman and a truck to take my lugone says

"sir » on the Gigantic), and gage to a lly. An Irishman opens the brings me the menu every two minutes. door, an Irishman drives me ; the first My handsome neighbor gives me an shop I see is Michael Feeney's saloon account of her sufferings (nothing to bar. mine), and presses on me a lemon I drive jolting over tramway lines, soufflé she and her companion have had under elevated railways, between piles specially made. They seem to travel of snow as high as the early walls of in considerable luxury, for their last Rome. I sce an unmistakable Irish act before leaving Liverpool was the policeman, in a helmet with a turnedpurchase of a number of chickens for down brim, regarding with admiration their private cousumption en route. a colored lady sauntering through the

How fast the last hours on board fly slush of the sidewalk in goloshes. We in compensation for others so tortur- are nearly smashed by a cable-car ingly slow. Here's Staten Island and slinking along, ringing a funereal, New York harbor ; here's the George clanging bell. see a disused lampP. Flick, a ferry boat ornamented with post; with a dark-red letter-box fasa large gilt eagle, lumbering alongside, tened to it; next, a tall, black, electric and bringing a Customs House officer light pole. On the lamp-post I read, in a peaked cap.

He reminds me I on one side, Fifth Avenue ; on the have a fan and a silver box to smuggle. other, East 26th Street. On the top of I dispose them about my person with a huge building there's a huge skyconsiderable trepidation, and go down sign, “ Admiral Cigarettes, Opera into the saloon to sign a paper declar- Lights." On the face of it three large ing I have nothing dutiable in my lug. clocks tell the time in London, New gage. No more I have; they are both York, and Denver. As we jolt past, in my pockets. I regard with interest up Fifth Avenue, I read on a board, the Customs House officer, the first “Oh, mamie, won't you take your American I have seen on native soil, honey boy to see Peter F. Dailey in and can scarcely answer his questions 'A Country Sport""? This is New for staring. He is a handsome, weary York. man, exactly like one of Leech's volun.

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

From The Nineteenth Century. upon which the article in question is THE PROPOSED NILE RESERVOIR.

silent. What about Debot, Dakkel,

Kalabshel, Gartass, Tehfa, Dendur, at THE DEVASTATION OF NUBIA. all of which are picturesque, historic IN an article which appeared in ruins, not thoroughly explored, and inthe last number of this review, Sir scriptions not yet adequately copied ? Benjamin Baker, a distinguished engi- In the same country there are, doubtneer, bas done his best to vindicate less, many inscribed stones, and in the the proposed scheme of turning Lower tombs of Coptic Christians many papyNubia into a reservoir for the benefit rus rolls of the greatest value, yet to be of Middle and Lower Egypt. He dis- discovered. All this area, so precious creetly confines his estimate of the to archæology, is to be suuk under the damage which the execution of this water. The material mischief, howplan will cause to the loss of the tem- ever, both actual and prospective, will ples and inscriptions at Philæ, and be enormous quite apart from questions most of his adversaries have been con- of sentimeut. A considerable number tent to confine their opposition to the of harmless people are to be turned out same ground.

of their homes, without any provision But, as Sir Benjamin Baker and his being proposed for their support, not to friends say, they court “the fullest and say any consideratiou taken of their most unbiassed discussion,” it is well feelings. to insist that the loss to archeology and

And for what? Our author tells us the violation to sentiment caused by that the submerging of Philæ are not the

As to the absolute necessity for the only elements in the question, as was construction of a reservoir with the least stated last month in the adjoining arti- possible delay no shadow of doubt was cle the whole of Lower Nubia will be expressed by any member of the Commisput under water. The flourishing little sion. town of Shelal, containing perhaps one thousand people, with their houses, absolute necessity. Will the reader be

Fortunately, he

goes on to explain this stores, farms, palm-trees, etc., must be

lieve that it amounts simply to this : an sacrificed ; so must all the dwellings and little farms on both sides of the estimated gain to the State of 750,0001. Nile for fifty miles at least, and per- yearly, and of ten times that amount to haps as far as the turn of the river the cultivators of Lower Egypt ? It is

not pretended that this population is in at Korosko.

There is not one word in Sir Benja- want; it is not true that there is any min Baker's about the ruth

want in Egypt; the people never were expatriation of the inhabitants of all so prosperous since Ptolemaic times ; this district. And for what purpose ?

the absolute necessity of the engineers For the enriching of the population of is simply the standpoint of greed on another province i What is to be done the part of the State, perhaps of certain with all these poor Nubians ? They

bondholders, doubtless of the farmers

in Lower Egypt, of whom Sir Benjacannot be driven up into the desert, nor is it shown where any new land can be min Baker naïvely tells us that after the found for them ; if they are to be quar. and the consequent enormous increase n

perfecting of the barrage near Cairo, tered on the inhabitants of Middle or Lower Egypt, the discontent of both

of water supply during the last few exiles and hosts will go far to counter

“Notwithstanding this, the deyears :

mand for water by the cultivators is as balance the advantages of a larger water supply Moreover, with sub- great as ever, and no means exist for merging of houses and farms will fol- satisfying their wants?' by storing up

more water, etc.

If the State did not low the ruin of many other temples,

sell water, and so increase its revenues, 1 LIVING AGE, No. 2607, p. 748.

such a statement might pass for mere

« ElőzőTovább »