Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

Page

ERRATA.

4, for "genus" read " genius."
15, for "cook" read “ cock.”

45, for "monstrous" read "monotonous.'
149, for “marquetiere” read “ marqueterie."
152, for "crawling" read " crowding."
173, for "schute" read "chute."

179, for "cadenas" read " cadences."

261, for "pottawattomers" read " pottawattomies."

295, for "death's door" read "Death's Door."

350, for "provider" read " providor.”

LIFE IN
IN THE WEST,

ETC.

[ocr errors]

CHAPTER I.

Passengers

Embarkation British Queen
Foreign habits-
Sympathizer and Sufferer-Quaker and West Indian-The boon
companions-Tea-Ship books-Scot's advice.

Off Portsmouth, March 12, 1841.

MY DEAR

2

Here I am at last, safe and sound on the promenade deck of the longest steamer in the worldThe British Queen. Forward they are getting up the anchor with a dolorous song-the steam is up already -the dwarfish crank and comfortless little steamer, in which we sought refuge at Southampton from the harpies hovering about the pier, frets and vapours alongside, impatient to be off; aft and amidships a general shaking of hands, earnest conversations, brief snatches of sentiment, abruptly broken off by the shrill tinkling of a bell. Passengers for Southampton all aboard," is the cry. "Stand by the handropes there."-" Ay, ay, sir"-"Take care of the lady's muff"--" Ay, ay, sir"-" My bonnet! oh, my bonnet!"-"Be steady, my dear,"-" Crush'd out of shape"" Put your foot down here, ma'am." "Ay de mi,” murmurs a Spanish youth, looking over the

།.

B

66

"

side" Todos las damas"-" all the ladies are going away"-" Gott befohlen"-" Gehabt euch wohl❞— "Bon viaggio, piensa de me me cara"-" Adieu, adieu, ma chere"-" Vaya con Dios"-"Take care of yourself, old boy"-" Write soon"-" You have an onion in your handkerchief”—“ Send me up a bottle for my tears, luv"-" Ah, you're a sad fellow !" Put your letter in a bottle, do"-" I'll send it by the first sucking whale we meet." Thus, amidst a Babel of strange tongues and sounds we separate the hom rd and the outward bound, waving hats, caps, and andkerchiefs, as we glide over the Solent sea. I thank my stars I have a berth, a state room, all to myself-an unexpected piece of good fortune-a luxury, which can only be appreciated by those who have been doomed to share that cage-full of lockers and baggage, pompously called a state room, with a strange invalid, or a stout gentleman of very irregular habits. Buttoned up to the eyes in my old pea-jacket, in the armour of resignation I post myself near the chimney, and eye askant the rest of my fellow passengers. They have finally fixed upon and settled down bag and baggage in their berths, and now come tumbling up the hatchways to look at the Needles and Hulse Castle. Sixty passengers, male and female, strut about the decks in their fancy costume; here we have a group of officers bound for Canada; one sports a long white nightcap, long bodied drab jacket, and ferocious mustachios; another shews his shapes in tight tartans; a third envelopes his head and shoulders in a brown Bernoose, his nether man being encased in long Indian leggins and moccassons-there goes a Greek cap and long tassel to feed the fishes; but we have still a high Turkish cap amongst us,

three Welsh wigs, one quaker broadbrim, and a variety of sow-westers. Yon tall Frenchman in the sweeping white Bernoose would insinuate that he has been fighting with the Arabs, while the band of Germans on the paddle-box exhibit their bizarre chacos and gnarled pipes to the evening sun, as they "roar a atch" from Robert le Diable. "It is a party of pleasure," cries a Baltimore lawyer, with a face like an overgrown capsicum, naval cap and button, worn knowingly over his worst eye. "A party of pleasure," echoes a bench of ladies in black, most mysteriously veiled. The Captain makes his best bow to his passengers, flatters himself we shall have a most delightful passage, and one of the steward's men, bleating forth Rory O'More on a Kent bugle, calls us possè comitatus down to dinner.

There is a general rush for seats-the Captain's table is soon beset by French, Germans, Italians, and Americans, while the rest are fain to set themselves down at the mate's table, at which all the odd fellows and disjointed members of society cut their mutton. The French and Germans know how to enjoy themselves the champagne begins to circulate, and men who were total strangers to each other half-an-hour ago, push the bottle back and forwards, laugh, jest, jeer, and quaff together like sworn brothers. suis Francois moi," is deemed a sufficient introduction among the French; but "Je suis Parisien," pronounced with a sonorous voice, the right hand laid upon the embroidered vest with empressement, penetrates the heart of every Frenchman, and illuminates his face with the sunshine of gladness. Not so the English; it is not enough to hear that your neighbour is a cockney, and that this indeed is his

"Je

first voyage-the very first-that you, born within the sweet sound of the Bow bells yourself, should take such a sudden interest in your compatriot as to ask him to drink wine, and enter into familiar conversation with him. Stand off and steer clear is our motto, entre nous; though among foreigners we relinquish our conventional ice, and while we barely exchange monosyllables with friends, lovers, and countrymen, launch forth into the wild extravaganzas of our neighbours. But from the sublime to the ridiculous. Soup, fish, flesh, and fowl, and the long bill of fare, having flown through the salon and disappeared in a tremendous clatter of plates, knives, and forks, the foreigners swallow a chasse café, and rush on deck to smoke, leaving the natives to sip their wine, and munch their nuts and almonds in sober sadness.

"It is our duty to finish it,” said a very stout gentleman near me to his son, as he pushed a decanter of port to that meagre youth, who, by his Frenchified airs and impatience, seemed bent upon following the smokers la haut. "Broke a tooth, sir?" inquired a florid-faced, bald-pated, black-whiskered genus with a sanguine eye, which he bent commiseratingly upon a hungry-looking pilgarlic in a buffalo-skin coat, who, with as many grimaces as a poisoned baboon, relieved his jaws of fragments of nut-shells, &c., and declared he was subject to shooting pains from his gums to the back of his head, and so forth. "I'm not surprised to hear it, sir,” replied the sanguine inquirer, who, for brevity, I may call the sympathizer; "when men will sport with their teeth, break nuts and stones;" and the twain draw nearer and enter into a learned disquisition on teeth, to which myself and others,

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »