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A NIGHT'S PERIL.
Two days before I sailed from mortal and infinite spirits. The Mauritius, I was sitting at breakfast World is man's habitation; and a on one of the packages containing my good Providence has so adorned its traps. The walls were stripped of every part, that no where can we be their pictures, the cherished whips and called to dwell where a wise man pipes were gone from the chimney- may not be happy and at home. The piece—the crockery which ministered sacred asylum of home, is of no geoto my occasions was borrowed. The graphical nor material limitation. Sarah transport floated in the harbour, Its building is of love, and faith, and and almost sent the tail of her pen- peace; and these foundations may be dant into my window.
laid any where, for they dwell within There was no mistake about it, – the spirit of man, and are evoked by the I was on the move; and, of course, voice of wisdom. Be wise, then, oh as I was bound to Old England, I wanderer from the land of thy sires ! ought to have been in ecstatics. But Open thine arms to thy new brethren there is no such thing as “ of course," and sisters, and live no longer as in human affairs. Of them, the tide though possessing no higher innate is subject to so many perturbations, powers than an oyster or a caulithat, like Mrs M Stinger, there is no flower. Here, where you are, you saying which way they may head at have what may serve your present any moment. For myself, I have aptitude ; for anght more you must ever been somewhat of a cosmopolite, wait till hereafter. and felt it to be bad policy for a crea- I by no means intend to infer that ture of condition so erratic as man, to it required any high strain of philocircumvent too closely with particulars sophy to accommodate one's self to of locality his idea of home. It is a the circumstances of a few years' narrowing of our capabilities to anchor sojourn at Mauritius. One might, our hopes in some village or county, perhaps, assume it to be one of the and to persuade ourselves that thence most beautiful islands in the world. they cannot be started without ship- The good merchants and planters wreck. If ever any of the sons of exhibit hospitality in its very pink, men were senseless of ambition, and and abundantly evoke for your benefit the auri sacra fames—those circulating the resources of the island. Objecforces that draw men from the native tions, on the score of climate, I look hearth, and prevent the stagnation of upon as unworthy of a prudent trasocieties—they would need a triple veller; for to one who will be at the defence against Necessity to fortify pains of a little concession to circumsuch a position. When this “ Daugh- stances, all climates soon become the ter of Jove" descends in her might, same. 'Tis but an extra cloak at St and hurls them from their strongholds Petersburg, and an hour or two's siesta --when go from home they must, even at Calcutta. The one really assailthen will men sometimes goresistingly, able point in the constitution of which is the same thing as to go pain- Mauritius, is, that it is a little out of fully. A man who should cling to some the twopenny-post line,—but as I was particular post or pillar till torn thence not in love, this mattered little to me. by mechanical force, would probably When I say that I was not in love, be wounded in the struggle. And so I must be understood as speaking is it that the mental lacerations irrespectively of Mauritius. Till I which some emigrants exhibit as set foot on those bewitching shores I the work of cruel necessity, are but had deservedly enjoyed the character the effect of their own obstinate of a hard-hearted, impregnable bacheclinging to some spot or outward object lor. It would be tedious to sum up from wbich the fiat of necessity has the names of my messmates, whom separated them. Such men are cruel one after another I had seen fall victo themselves, and must often move tims to eyes that bad vainly expended the pity of their fellow-wayfarers. fascination on me. The girls always Such men are to be seen nursing their gave me up as a bad job within three sorrows, blinding their eyes, and de- weeks of our arriving at new quarters. nying the sympathies of their im- But now my time was come—dedi
manus — I had stretched my tether to time; so in spite of appearances, I was the utmost; and soon after I had set obliged to conclude that some one foot on the island of Paul and Virginia particular young lady was the motive I had ceased to be a freeman.
power of the distraction I exhibited. Now, put all these things together, But little mattered it who, or how and you will not be surprised to hear many, the girls might be; I was going that I was not out of my wits with to leave them all. Soon Mauritius joy, at being ordered home.
and its happy company would have Mine was one of those complicated to exist me dreamily, and as an cases of love that will occur some- image of the past, the vivid lights of times; not one flame, but many con- its actuality pushed into obscurity by sumed me,—not one image of female some harsher present.
Soon the poloveliness, but many such specimens, pular -th, would be gone, and be beset my reveries. I would turn out succeeded by some other no less in the morning with the perfect con- popular regiment - and then, thought viction that Maria was the real girl 1, how long will the girls be before after all, and so rest satisfied, till some their grief finds consolation from person or thing, envious of my peace, among the new arrivals? Will any would call up to my mind's eye, Lucie, inconsolable one remember us? Will or some other of the score of pretty any remember me? A buzz of the names that rejoice Echo in that island patois broke in upon my mefavoured spot. Thus did I shift my ditations, just as I was beginning to allegiance from one to another, and make out the image of one fair friend, live in such uncertainty, that had who seemed to stand forth in favourHymen's self decked for me the altar, able relief from among the multiI should have been so long in settling tude. It was very annoying to be what name should thereon be inscribed, forced from hope just nascent in distin that ho would infallibly have put his guishable form; but the ideal must ever, torch out in disgust.
experimentally, give way to the real. So tempered I sat breakfasting I approached the window, where a With the confusion of softer feeling, Babel of tongues was raging, “ Gaitli which I have tried to describe, was donc, gaitli! li grand mossieu, su li mingled a little indignation at a letter petit cheval." * which I had just received from my The cause of the commotion was old friend Jack Hardy. He did me apparent, in the person of my friend to wit, that he had heard of my Hamilton, who, at the precise moment goings on, and congratulated me on of my reaching the window, had being ordered off, before I was managed to make his way through regularly nabbed. In case of the the crowd, and was dismounting. I worst,--and this was the part for might have guessed, before seeing which I could have thrashed him,-in bim, who was the comer, for he never case of the nabbing aforesaid having stirred out, in his then fashion, withactually taken place, he suggested, out causing a disturbance of the pothat I need be under no alarm, since pular quiet. He was a tremendous now I had an obvious opportunity of big fellow, who had a fancy for riding going home to “ consult my friends." the smallest poney, that would keep Considering how often I had myself his legs well bent up from trailing on used this weary old joke, I remember the ground. This sight, for some reason it did seem to me a little odd, that I or other, particularly tickled the fancy should so wince at it then. “Nabbed," of the local vagabonds; and they hathought I, “I only wish that Jack, bitually made a point of affording him or any body else, would tell me by a guard of honour on his excursions. whom." And then I began to On this occasion the noise waxed think, how like my state was to that louder than usual, and soon let me of a hypochondriac, who, assailed by see that something more than common fifty symptoms at once, knows not was in the wind. As soon as I could which to regard, and so misses the makeout the personal appearance of the canse of all the evil. Authorities steed, I saw that his garniture was out agree in stating, that a man can be of the ordinary equestrian fashion. in love with but one person at one About his saddle was slung a collection
* “ Look there, look at the big gentleman on the little horse.",
of parcels, and over his neck depended on thus far in silence, though I felt two uncovered, and uncommonly that he was watching me. good-looking bottles. Besides this, “I have not done my business Hamilton had in his hands a basket, and yet," said he, “nor shall I without was evidently made up in all respects a little bit of treachery. Virginie for a start or a cruise some whither. wrote that letter."
“ Whither away my man?” said I "There's no treachery in telling as he entered, mustering up the that, for I knew it at once." most facetious look I could, to hide “But there is treachery in telling the possible traces of melancholy on that she laid her commands on me to my physiognomy; for I knew him of show the document to you : more esold as a desperate roaster.
pecially, as I believe she would blush " Where you are coming with me, extravagantly, if she thought you Jack," replied Hamilton, “so get your knew it." traps together in a quarter less no Now let me say, that though I had time."
for Virginie that kind of sentiment “ But, my good fellow, I cannot; that made me feel ill at ease under you know I sail the day after to- the inquisitorial eye of my friend, I morrow, and have lots to do. Be- had never felt sure that she cared sides, to tell you the truth, I am a for me accordingly. Some girls are little, just a little out of sorts." so excessively tender, that they can
“ Melancholy, and so forth,” said spare more love to a canary bird, than my friend, " but let me tell you that's others can afford to a declared suitor. exactly the reason why I've come to Virginie was of this affectionate sort;
Here, read this billet- so, though she had been tender to me, doux, and then give me your answer.” I lacked assurance that this tender
He threw me a pretty, little, three- ness contained in it any thing of discornered, rose-coloured, scented note, tinction. whose superscription set my heart I will confess, then, that it touched palpitating. It was the calligraphy me rather, to hear that she had acof Virginie –, and addressed itselt, tually vouchsafed me a particular comprehensively, “To all whom it remembrance.
" might concern.
“Jack," said my friend, "you must In pretty mock heroics, it set forth
I'll be candid, and tell you at the commands of certain undersigned once that I've read you like a book. fair inhabitants of the colony, to all You're in love with one of those girls, and sundry the officers of Her and don't exactly know which it is. Majesty's —th regiment, to repair Well and good-that has been many to a spot, some little distance on the a good fellow's lot before you. Hlowother side of the harbour, there to ever, here's a chance for you to try hold fête champêtre, by way of parting to learn your own mind." festivity. I looked over the names “ Alas! and much good that would of the fair despots, and saw that do me !". among them were most of those who " Good-of course it will. You had especially made happy the last will have them all together, and there's few years of my experience. Virginie nothing like comparison for helping G- herself was certainly the one on a judgment. Besides, if you do on whom I thought the most frequently nothing else, you will at least have a in connexion with the two days that pleasant day, and leave a good imalone remained to me.
pression." "My dear fellow,” said I, when I I cannot say that I felt particularly had spelt over the list of names, disposed to join a mirthful party. “ here is enough to tempt one; but But at least I should see once more let us be discreet as we grow old. assembled in their glory the kind What can come of my going, but creatures on whom I depended for fresh regrets ? Can I forget that in pleasant recollections. I should be two days I am off, bag and baggage, able to see whether any of them and that some new fellow will succeed appeared sorry to leave us, who had to all my tender interests here, just borne them company in so many a deed as naturally as he will to my quarters." of mirth. And as at all events I Hamilton had lit a cigar, and smoked should escape a fair portion of the
twice twenty-four hours' moping that his pipe rationally enough when all otherwise must be endured; I deter- was smooth. But directly we felt mined to go, though at the risk of the wind, and began to lie over the sharpening the regrets of parting. least bit in the world, you might see
There was also another reason why him eyeing the dingy's skulls, or any I was the readier to go; and as there- stray bit of plank as a stand by in by hangs the adventure of this present case of capsize. Once I saw him pull inditing, I may as well explain at his jacket off for a swim ashore when once. This was the last day on which well out
soundings. Put all this I could write myself owner of my together, and you will understand my pretty little Mudian boat, the Wave. friend to have been of a temperament I had sold her off with my nag and nervous as touching the water. Howthe usual encumbrances, and the next ever, he was a very good fellow; day she was to be the property of a more particularly one to whom I least new master. Any one who knows feared to communicate any little rothe island within the last few years mantic episode that might turn up. will remember the Wave, that used A good deal in this way I had already to beat every thing in her waters. The told him ; and, far from laughing at only thing that at all came up to her me, he had seriously set himself to was the launch of the old Bucephalus. help me at my need. This was the fancy boat of the first We settled then that we should go lieutenant, who after many experi- together to take this last day's sail ments had hit upon the lug as the be- out of the Wave, and to make the coming rig. With the wind well on most of the ladies' society, before the the quarter, the old launch would beat act of severing should take place. It me, and close hauled I would beat her; would be difficult to say what were but which after all was the better boat the hopes that seemed to peep out was a question we could never settle. at me from the prospect of our arHowever, it was for no want of trying rangement; but plainly enough I did As surely as it blew at all fresh, so encourage the hope of some good that surely would the little Wave be seen was to come of it. Perhaps I was cruising about among the shipping, brightened up by the change for the and passing under the stern of the better that my lively and somewhat Bucephalus ; and so surely also would whimsical friend had introduced into the launchers be piped away on board my morning society. Certainly he the big craft. Many was the prophecy was much wittier, and more amusing uttered that the little barkey would than my own thoughts, which had been be my coffin, and so once she certainly my only companionship before. At would have been, had we not had any rate, having once agreed to the water ballast aboard, when she cap- convention, I set about the prepasized in a heavy squall, to which I ration of myself and my traps with a would not shorten sail.
good will. The day was lovely, and I liked mightily the idea of a fare- by happy accident not too hot. A well cruise in my poor little boat, in light breeze was springing up which such pleasant company. Objections would carry us nicely out of the touching her unprovisioned state were harbour. The only difficulty in the met at once by Hamilton, who had way of a start was touching the due laid in abundance, and was carrying manning of my craft, as Pierre and about him some of the odd trifles for his little son Antoine, who had comgotten in the first instance. He had posed my former crew, had been paid fully bargained to go in my boat, and off the day before, and were shipped as my companion. Boating was no aboard another craft by this time. usual fancy of his ; but somehow he Right sorry, too, they had been at the had a great idea of my nautical skill, ehange, for both skipper and craft had and a high opinion of the craft her- been exactly to their taste. I was self, that made him sometimes willing not up to navigating the boat entirely to enlist as my companion. Ile was by myself, and had no great opinion of a very good fellow, but, I am bound the value of my friend Hamilton as to say, more useful and agreeable on a watch-mate. However, he volunshore than at sea. He would sit teered with such hearty good will, down in the little hatch and smoke and the weather promised to afford so little room for seamanship, that I if this had been the first time in our thought he might do at the pinch. lives that we had exercised naval It was the first time we had ever been command. After this confession, we out alone, for, frequently as we had were no more surprised at accidents. been together, he had been constant We regarded it as rather an easy let to his character as a passenger.
off that the concern was driven hope* Now Hamilton,” said I, “you lessly hard ashore, in a stiff clayey must work your passage. You must soil, that allowed no idea of getting stand by to clap on a rope, or run to
her off that night. All this may the tiller.”
sound very little to a regular old salt, “Ay, ay,” said he, “never fear; like yourself; but add to this little I'll not shirk my work. I've had a sketch the idea of a driving sleet, and wet jacket before I saw your craft. a seven or eight miles' walk to Ely at Did I never tell you about my cruise midnight, without shoes, which the on the Cam?"
greedy loam sucked from off our feet, “ Never, Tom."
and the ensemble of hardship is enough " Then you do not know half my to satisfy a landsman like myself. nautical experiences. Let me ask you Since that time I have been little how often you have been capsized in given to boating, and, as you know, one day?"
never go out except with you." "Never but once, I am happy to “Well I'll try never to play you such say, and that was when Pierre held a trick as did your tarpaulin friend. on too long at the sheet, against that But the sea is a ticklish element, old launch of the Bucephalus.' and the sky is a treacherous monitor."
"I've been before this twice fairly “They never, either of them, profoundered, and once hard and fast mised better than they do to-day, so ashore in one day. I was on a visit let us be off, or Virginie will start in to Bob S's brother at Magdalen, search of pleasure with a cloud on her and among the amusements of the pretty face.” season was boating: most unseasonable We bundled up our traps and work it was just then, for the weather started accordingly. The distance was bitter cold. We started, a lot of between my quarter and the little us, intending to navigate the river as mole where the Wave lay rocking in far as Ely. None of us happened to the gentle undulations was know any thing about nauticals, so passed over. I felt the influence of we blindly submitted ourselves to the feelings far more serious than I guidance of a fresh -man who wore a wished to have perceived, and remarkably hard-a-weather pilot- Hamilton evidently respected them. coat, and waddled in walking like a Like a good fellow, he pulled away at man unused to terra firma. He took bis cigar and said nothing. His the command as naturally as pos- little animal, under the guardianship sible ; never dreaming of so far doubt- of one of the ragged gamins, had preing our judgments as to mistrust his ceded us to the waterside, and was own ability. We had hardly got well there waiting our arrival, in order to away, when a squall laid us right the due discharge of its burden. over, and fairly swamped the boat. Poor little Wave! she was not
This we regarded as an accident that accustomed to be lying in harbour might overtake the most skilful; and when her sister craft were under I verily believe that we even the weigh. One might have fancied that, more highly esteemed our Palinurus with a sentiment of desolation, she on account of the coolness which, we allowed her burgee to droop listlessly, must all do him the justice to say, he fapping it against her mast, as a exhibited. But when, soon after, he bird makes sorrowful action with her ranus regularly under water, we wings. It did seem too bad to sell began to be suspicious, and hints flew her ;-and again I went over in my about that he had undertaken more mind the bargain I had driven, and than he was up to. On this Mr Tar- the price I had taken for her. After panlin, with all imaginable compla- all, the conclusion was unavoidable, cency, asked us what the row was that I could not take her with me, about, and whether we thought that and, besides, I was going where I any of us would have done better, could not use her.