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Title: Redburn. His First Voyage - Being the Sailor Boy Confessions and Reminiscences of the Son-Of-A-Gentleman in the Merchant Navy
Author: Melville, Herman, 1819-1891
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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         BRED IN HIM
         DREAM BOOK
         THE TOWN

Being the Sailor Boy
Confessions and Reminiscences
Of the Son-Of-A-Gentleman
In the Merchant Navy


"Wellingborough, as you are going to sea, suppose you take this
shooting-jacket of mine along; it's just the thing--take it, it will
save the expense of another. You see, it's quite warm; fine long skirts,
stout horn buttons, and plenty of pockets."

Out of the goodness and simplicity of his heart, thus spoke my elder
brother to me, upon the eve of my departure for the seaport.

"And, Wellingborough," he added, "since we are both short of money, and
you want an outfit, and I Have none to give, you may as well take my
fowling-piece along, and sell it in New York for what you can get.--Nay,
take it; it's of no use to me now; I can't find it in powder any more."

I was then but a boy. Some time previous my mother had removed from New
York to a pleasant village on the Hudson River, where we lived in a
small house, in a quiet way. Sad disappointments in several plans which
I had sketched for my future life; the necessity of doing something for
myself, united to a naturally roving disposition, had now conspired
within me, to send me to sea as a sailor.

For months previous I had been poring over old New York papers,
delightedly perusing the long columns of ship advertisements, all of
which possessed a strange, romantic charm to me. Over and over again I
devoured such announcements as the following:


"The coppered and copper-fastened brig Leda, having nearly completed her
cargo, will sail for the above port on Tuesday the twentieth of May.
For freight or passage apply on board at Coenties Slip."

To my young inland imagination every word in an advertisement like this,
suggested volumes of thought.

A brig! The very word summoned up the idea of a black, sea-worn craft,
with high, cozy bulwarks, and rakish masts and yards.

Coppered and copper-fastened! That fairly smelt of the salt water! How
different such vessels must be from the wooden, one-masted,
green-and-white-painted sloops, that glided up and down the river before
our house on the bank.

Nearly completed her cargo! How momentous the announcement; suggesting
ideas, too, of musty bales, and cases of silks and satins, and filling
me with contempt for the vile deck-loads of hay and lumber, with which
my river experience was familiar.

"Will sail on Tuesday the 20th of May"--and the newspaper bore date the
fifth of the month! Fifteen whole days beforehand; think of that; what
an important voyage it must be, that the time of sailing was fixed upon
so long beforehand; the river sloops were not used to make such
prospective announcements.

"For freight or passage apply on board!"

Think of going on board a coppered and copper-fastened brig, and taking
passage for Bremen! And who could be going to Bremen? No one but
foreigners, doubtless; men of dark complexions and jet-black whiskers,
who talked French.

"Coenties Slip."

Plenty more brigs and any quantity of ships must be lying there.
Coenties Slip must be somewhere near ranges of grim-looking warehouses,
with rusty iron doors and shutters, and tiled roofs; and old anchors and
chain-cable piled on the walk. Old-fashioned coffeehouses, also, much
abound in that neighborhood, with sunburnt sea-captains going in and
out, smoking cigars, and talking about Havanna, London, and Calcutta.

All these my imaginations were wonderfully assisted by certain shadowy
reminiscences of wharves, and warehouses, and shipping, with which a
residence in a seaport during early childhood had supplied me.

Particularly, I remembered standing with my father on the wharf when a
large ship was getting under way, and rounding the head of the pier. I
remembered the yo heave ho! of the sailors, as they just showed their
woolen caps above the high bulwarks. I remembered how I thought of their
crossing the great ocean; and that that very ship, and those very
sailors, so near to me then, would after a time be actually in Europe.

Added to these reminiscences my father, now dead, had several times
crossed the Atlantic on business affairs, for he had been an importer in
Broad-street. And of winter evenings in New York, by the well-remembered
sea-coal fire in old Greenwich-street, he used to tell my brother and me
of the monstrous waves at sea, mountain high; of the masts bending like
twigs; and all about Havre, and Liverpool, and about going up into the
ball of St. Paul's in London. Indeed, during my early life, most of my
thoughts of the sea were connected with the land; but with fine old
lands, full of mossy cathedrals and churches, and long, narrow, crooked
streets without sidewalks, and lined with strange houses. And especially
I tried hard to think how such places must look of rainy days and
Saturday afternoons; and whether indeed they did have rainy days and
Saturdays there, just as we did here; and whether the boys went to
school there, and studied geography, and wore their shirt collars turned
over, and tied with a black ribbon; and whether their papas allowed them
to wear boots, instead of shoes, which I so much disliked, for boots
looked so manly.

As I grew older my thoughts took a larger flight, and I frequently fell
into long reveries about distant voyages and travels, and thought how
fine it would be, to be able to talk about remote and barbarous
countries; with what reverence and wonder people would regard me, if I
had just returned from the coast of Africa or New Zealand; how dark and
romantic my sunburnt cheeks would look; how I would bring home with me
foreign clothes of a rich fabric and princely make, and wear them up and
down the streets, and how grocers' boys would turn back their heads to
look at me, as I went by. For I very well remembered staring at a man
myself, who was pointed out to me by my aunt one Sunday in Church, as
the person who had been in Stony Arabia, and passed through strange
adventures there, all of which with my own eyes I had read in the book
which he wrote, an arid-looking book in a pale yellow cover.

"See what big eyes he has," whispered my aunt, "they got so big, because
when he was almost dead with famishing in the desert, he all at once
caught sight of a date tree, with the ripe fruit hanging on it."

Upon this, I stared at him till I thought his eyes were really of an
uncommon size, and stuck out from his head like those of a lobster. I am
sure my own eyes must have magnified as I stared. When church was out, I
wanted my aunt to take me along and follow the traveler home. But she
said the constables would take us up, if we did; and so I never saw this
wonderful Arabian traveler again. But he long haunted me; and several
times I dreamt of him, and thought his great eyes were grown still
larger and rounder; and once I had a vision of the date tree.

In course of time, my thoughts became more and more prone to dwell upon
foreign things; and in a thousand ways I sought to gratify my tastes. We
had several pieces of furniture in the house, which had been brought
from Europe. These I examined again and again, wondering where the wood
grew; whether the workmen who made them still survived, and what they
could be doing with themselves now.

Then we had several oil-paintings and rare old engravings of my
father's, which he himself had bought in Paris, hanging up in the

Two of these were sea-pieces. One represented a fat-looking, smoky
fishing-boat, with three whiskerandoes in red caps, and their browsers
legs rolled up, hauling in a seine. There was high French-like land in
one corner, and a tumble-down gray lighthouse surmounting it. The waves
were toasted brown, and the whole picture looked mellow and old. I used
to think a piece of it might taste good.

The other represented three old-fashioned French men-of-war with high
castles, like pagodas, on the bow and stern, such as you see in
Froissart; and snug little turrets on top of the mast, full of little
men, with something undefinable in their hands. All three were sailing
through a bright-blue sea, blue as Sicily skies; and they were leaning
over on their sides at a fearful angle; and they must have been going
very fast, for the white spray was about the bows like a snow-storm.

Then, we had two large green French portfolios of colored prints, more
than I could lift at that age. Every Saturday my brothers and sisters
used to get them out of the corner where they were kept, and spreading
them on the floor, gaze at them with never-failing delight.

They were of all sorts. Some were pictures of Versailles, its
masquerades, its drawing-rooms, its fountains, and courts, and gardens,
with long lines of thick foliage cut into fantastic doors and windows,
and towers and pinnacles. Others were rural scenes, full of fine skies,
pensive cows standing up to the knees in water, and shepherd-boys and
cottages in the distance, half concealed in vineyards and vines.

And others were pictures of natural history, representing rhinoceroses
and elephants and spotted tigers; and above all there was a picture of a
great whale, as big as a ship, stuck full of harpoons, and three boats
sailing after it as fast as they could fly.

Then, too, we had a large library-case, that stood in the hall; an old
brown library-case, tall as a small house; it had a sort of basement,
with large doors, and a lock and key; and higher up, there were glass
doors, through which might be seen long rows of old books, that had been
printed in Paris, and London, and Leipsic. There was a fine library
edition of the Spectator, in six large volumes with gilded backs; and
many a time I gazed at the word "London" on the title-page. And there
was a copy of D'Alembert in French, and I wondered what a great man I
would be, if by foreign travel I should ever be able to read straight
along without stopping, out of that book, which now was a riddle to
every one in the house but my father, whom I so much liked to hear talk
French, as he sometimes did to a servant we had.

That servant, too, I used to gaze at with wonder; for in answer to my
incredulous cross-questions, he had over and over again assured me, that
he had really been born in Paris. But this I never entirely believed;
for it seemed so hard to comprehend, how a man who had been born in a
foreign country, could be dwelling with me in our house in America.

As years passed on, this continual dwelling upon foreign associations,
bred in me a vague prophetic thought, that I was fated, one day or
other, to be a great voyager; and that just as my father used to
entertain strange gentlemen over their wine after dinner, I would
hereafter be telling my own adventures to an eager auditory. And I have
no doubt that this presentiment had something to do with bringing about
my subsequent rovings.

But that which perhaps more than any thing else, converted my vague
dreamings and longings into a definite purpose of seeking my fortune on
the sea, was an old-fashioned glass ship, about eighteen inches long,
and of French manufacture, which my father, some thirty years before,
had brought home from Hamburg as a present to a great-uncle of mine:
Senator Wellingborough, who had died a member of Congress in the days of
the old Constitution, and after whom I had the honor of being named.
Upon the decease of the Senator, the ship was returned to the donor.

It was kept in a square glass case, which was regularly dusted by one of
my sisters every morning, and stood on a little claw-footed Dutch
tea-table in one corner of the sitting-room. This ship, after being the
admiration of my father's visitors in the capital, became the wonder and
delight of all the people of the village where we now resided, many of
whom used to call upon my mother, for no other purpose than to see the
ship. And well did it repay the long and curious examinations which they
were accustomed to give it.

In the first place, every bit of it was glass, and that was a great
wonder of itself; because the masts, yards, and ropes were made to
resemble exactly the corresponding parts of a real vessel that could go
to sea. She carried two tiers of black guns all along her two decks; and
often I used to try to peep in at the portholes, to see what else was
inside; but the holes were so small, and it looked so very dark indoors,
that I could discover little or nothing; though, when I was very little,
I made no doubt, that if I could but once pry open the hull, and break
the glass all to pieces, I would infallibly light upon something
wonderful, perhaps some gold guineas, of which I have always been in
want, ever since I could remember. And often I used to feel a sort of
insane desire to be the death of the glass ship, case, and all, in order
to come at the plunder; and one day, throwing out some hint of the kind
to my sisters, they ran to my mother in a great clamor; and after that,
the ship was placed on the mantel-piece for a time, beyond my reach, and
until I should recover my reason.

I do not know how to account for this temporary madness of mine, unless
it was, that I had been reading in a story-book about Captain Kidd's
ship, that lay somewhere at the bottom of the Hudson near the Highlands,
full of gold as it could be; and that a company of men were trying to
dive down and get the treasure out of the hold, which no one had ever
thought of doing before, though there she had lain for almost a hundred

Not to speak of the tall masts, and yards, and rigging of this famous
ship, among whose mazes of spun-glass I used to rove in imagination,
till I grew dizzy at the main-truck, I will only make mention of the
people on board of her. They, too, were all of glass, as beautiful
little glass sailors as any body ever saw, with hats and shoes on, just
like living men, and curious blue jackets with a sort of ruffle round
the bottom. Four or five of these sailors were very nimble little chaps,
and were mounting up the rigging with very long strides; but for all
that, they never gained a single inch in the year, as I can take my

Another sailor was sitting astride of the spanker-boom, with his arms
over his head, but I never could find out what that was for; a second
was in the fore-top, with a coil of glass rigging over his shoulder; the
cook, with a glass ax, was splitting wood near the fore-hatch; the
steward, in a glass apron, was hurrying toward the cabin with a plate of
glass pudding; and a glass dog, with a red mouth, was barking at him;
while the captain in a glass cap was smoking a glass cigar on the
quarterdeck. He was leaning against the bulwark, with one hand to his
head; perhaps he was unwell, for he looked very glassy out of the eyes.

The name of this curious ship was La Reine, or The Queen, which was
painted on her stern where any one might read it, among a crowd of glass
dolphins and sea-horses carved there in a sort of semicircle.

And this Queen rode undisputed mistress of a green glassy sea, some of
whose waves were breaking over her bow in a wild way, I can tell you,
and I used to be giving her up for lost and foundered every moment, till
I grew older, and perceived that she was not in the slightest danger in
the world.

A good deal of dust, and fuzzy stuff like down, had in the course of
many years worked through the joints of the case, in which the ship was
kept, so as to cover all the sea with a light dash of white, which if
any thing improved the general effect, for it looked like the foam and
froth raised by the terrible gale the good Queen was battling against.

So much for La Reine. We have her yet in the house, but many of her
glass spars and ropes are now sadly shattered and broken,--but I will not
have her mended; and her figurehead, a gallant warrior in a cocked-hat,
lies pitching headforemost down into the trough of a calamitous sea
under the bows--but I will not have him put on his legs again, till I get
on my own; for between him and me there is a secret sympathy; and my
sisters tell me, even yet, that he fell from his perch the very day I
left home to go to sea on this my first voyage.


It was with a heavy heart and full eyes, that my poor mother parted with
me; perhaps she thought me an erring and a willful boy, and perhaps I
was; but if I was, it had been a hardhearted world, and hard times that
had made me so. I had learned to think much and bitterly before my time;
all my young mounting dreams of glory had left me; and at that early
age, I was as unambitious as a man of sixty.

Yes, I will go to sea; cut my kind uncles and aunts, and sympathizing
patrons, and leave no heavy hearts but those in my own home, and take
none along but the one which aches in my bosom. Cold, bitter cold as
December, and bleak as its blasts, seemed the world then to me; there is
no misanthrope like a boy disappointed; and such was I, with the warmth
of me flogged out by adversity. But these thoughts are bitter enough
even now, for they have not yet gone quite away; and they must be
uncongenial enough to the reader; so no more of that, and let me go on
with my story.

"Yes, I will write you, dear mother, as soon as I can," murmured I, as
she charged me for the hundredth time, not fail to inform her of my safe
arrival in New York.

"And now Mary, Martha, and Jane, kiss me all round, dear sisters, and
then I am off. I'll be back in four months--it will be autumn then, and
we'll go into the woods after nuts, an I'll tell you all about Europe.
Good-by! good-by!"

So I broke loose from their arms, and not daring to look behind, ran
away as fast as I could, till I got to the corner where my brother was
waiting. He accompanied me part of the way to the place, where the
steamboat was to leave for New York; instilling into me much sage advice
above his age, for he was but eight years my senior, and warning me
again and again to take care of myself; and I solemnly promised I would;
for what cast-away will not promise to take of care himself, when he
sees that unless he himself does, no one else will.

We walked on in silence till I saw that his strength was giving out,--he
was in ill health then,--and with a mute grasp of the hand, and a loud
thump at the heart, we parted.

It was early on a raw, cold, damp morning toward the end of spring, and
the world was before me; stretching away a long muddy road, lined with
comfortable houses, whose inmates were taking their sunrise naps,
heedless of the wayfarer passing. The cold drops of drizzle trickled
down my leather cap, and mingled with a few hot tears on my cheeks.

I had the whole road to myself, for no one was yet stirring, and I
walked on, with a slouching, dogged gait. The gray shooting-jacket was
on my back, and from the end of my brother's rifle hung a small bundle
of my clothes. My fingers worked moodily at the stock and trigger, and I
thought that this indeed was the way to begin life, with a gun in your

Talk not of the bitterness of middle-age and after life; a boy can feel
all that, and much more, when upon his young soul the mildew has fallen;
and the fruit, which with others is only blasted after ripeness, with
him is nipped in the first blossom and bud. And never again can such
blights be made good; they strike in too deep, and leave such a scar
that the air of Paradise might not erase it. And it is a hard and cruel
thing thus in early youth to taste beforehand the pangs which should be
reserved for the stout time of manhood, when the gristle has become
bone, and we stand up and fight out our lives, as a thing tried before
and foreseen; for then we are veterans used to sieges and battles, and
not green recruits, recoiling at the first shock of the encounter.

At last gaining the boat we pushed off, and away we steamed down the
Hudson. There were few passengers on board, the day was so unpleasant;
and they were mostly congregated in the after cabin round the stoves.
After breakfast, some of them went to reading: others took a nap on the
settees; and others sat in silent circles, speculating, no doubt, as to
who each other might be.

They were certainly a cheerless set, and to me they all looked
stony-eyed and heartless. I could not help it, I almost hated them; and
to avoid them, went on deck, but a storm of sleet drove me below. At
last I bethought me, that I had not procured a ticket, and going to the
captain's office to pay my passage and get one, was horror-struck to
find, that the price of passage had been suddenly raised that day, owing
to the other boats not running; so that I had not enough money to pay
for my fare. I had supposed it would be but a dollar, and only a dollar
did I have, whereas it was two. What was to be done? The boat was off,
and there was no backing out; so I determined to say nothing to any
body, and grimly wait until called upon for my fare.

The long weary day wore on till afternoon; one incessant storm raged
on deck; but after dinner the few passengers, waked up with their
roast-beef and mutton, became a little more sociable. Not with me, for
the scent and savor of poverty was upon me, and they all cast toward me
their evil eyes and cold suspicious glances, as I sat apart, though
among them. I felt that desperation and recklessness of poverty which
only a pauper knows. There was a mighty patch upon one leg of my
trowsers, neatly sewed on, for it had been executed by my mother, but
still very obvious and incontrovertible to the eye. This patch I had
hitherto studiously endeavored to hide with the ample skirts of my
shooting-jacket; but now I stretched out my leg boldly, and thrust the
patch under their noses, and looked at them so, that they soon looked
away, boy though I was. Perhaps the gun that I clenched frightened them
into respect; or there might have been something ugly in my eye; or my
teeth were white, and my jaws were set. For several hours, I sat gazing
at a jovial party seated round a mahogany table, with some crackers and
cheese, and wine and cigars. Their faces were flushed with the good
dinner they had eaten; and mine felt pale and wan with a long fast. If I
had presumed to offer to make one of their party; if I had told them of
my circumstances, and solicited something to refresh me, I very well
knew from the peculiar hollow ring of their laughter, they would have
had the waiters put me out of the cabin, for a beggar, who had no
business to be warming himself at their stove. And for that insult,
though only a conceit, I sat and gazed at them, putting up no petitions
for their prosperity. My whole soul was soured within me, and when at
last the captain's clerk, a slender young man, dressed in the height of
fashion, with a gold watch chain and broach, came round collecting the
tickets, I buttoned up my coat to the throat, clutched my gun, put on my
leather cap, and pulling it well down, stood up like a sentry before
him. He held out his hand, deeming any remark superfluous, as his object
in pausing before me must be obvious. But I stood motionless and silent,
and in a moment he saw how it was with me. I ought to have spoken and
told him the case, in plain, civil terms, and offered my dollar, and
then waited the event. But I felt too wicked for that. He did not wait a
great while, but spoke first himself; and in a gruff voice, very unlike
his urbane accents when accosting the wine and cigar party, demanded my
ticket. I replied that I had none. He then demanded the money; and upon
my answering that I had not enough, in a loud angry voice that attracted
all eyes, he ordered me out of the cabin into the storm. The devil in me
then mounted up from my soul, and spread over my frame, till it tingled
at my finger ends; and I muttered out my resolution to stay where I was,
in such a manner, that the ticket man faltered back. "There's a dollar
for you," I added, offering it.

"I want two," said he.

"Take that or nothing," I answered; "it is all I have."

I thought he would strike me. But, accepting the money, he contented
himself with saying something about sportsmen going on shooting
expeditions, without having money to pay their expenses; and hinted that
such chaps might better lay aside their fowling-pieces, and assume the
buck and saw. He then passed on, and left every eye fastened upon me.

I stood their gazing some time, but at last could stand it no more. I
pushed my seat right up before the most insolent gazer, a short fat man,
with a plethora of cravat round his neck, and fixing my gaze on his,
gave him more gazes than he sent. This somewhat embarrassed him, and he
looked round for some one to take hold of me; but no one coming, he
pretended to be very busy counting the gilded wooden beams overhead. I
then turned to the next gazer, and clicking my gun-lock, deliberately
presented the piece at him.

Upon this, he overset his seat in his eagerness to get beyond my range,
for I had him point blank, full in the left eye; and several persons
starting to their feet, exclaimed that I must be crazy. So I was at that
time; for otherwise I know not how to account for my demoniac feelings,
of which I was afterward heartily ashamed, as I ought to have been,
indeed; and much more than that.

I then turned on my heel, and shouldering my fowling-piece and bundle,
marched on deck, and walked there through the dreary storm, till I was
wet through, and the boat touched the wharf at New York.

Such is boyhood.


From the boat's bow, I jumped ashore, before she was secured, and
following my brother's directions, proceeded across the town toward St.
John's Park, to the house of a college friend of his, for whom I had a

It was a long walk; and I stepped in at a sort of grocery to get a drink
of water, where some six or eight rough looking fellows were playing
dominoes upon the counter, seated upon cheese boxes. They winked, and
asked what sort of sport I had had gunning on such a rainy day, but I
only gulped down my water and stalked off.

Dripping like a seal, I at last grounded arms at the doorway of my
brother's friend, rang the bell and inquired for him.

"What do you want?" said the servant, eying me as if I were a

"I want to see your lord and master; show me into the parlor."

Upon this my host himself happened to make his appearance, and seeing
who I was, opened his hand and heart to me at once, and drew me to his
fireside; he had received a letter from my brother, and had expected me
that day.

The family were at tea; the fragrant herb filled the room with its
aroma; the brown toast was odoriferous; and everything pleasant and
charming. After a temporary warming, I was shown to a room, where I
changed my wet dress, an returning to the table, found that the interval
had been we improved by my hostess; a meal for a traveler was spread and
I laid into it sturdily. Every mouthful pushed the devil that had been
tormenting me all day farther and farther out of me, till at last I
entirely ejected him with three successive bowls of Bohea.

Magic of kind words, and kind deeds, and good tea! That night I went to
bed thinking the world pretty tolerable, after all; and I could hardly
believe that I had really acted that morning as I had, for I was
naturally of an easy and forbearing disposition; though when such a
disposition is temporarily roused, it is perhaps worse than a

Next day, my brother's friend, whom I choose to call Mr. Jones,
accompanied me down to the docks among the shipping, in order to get
me a place. After a good deal of searching we lighted upon a ship for
Liverpool, and found the captain in the cabin; which was a very handsome
one, lined with mahogany and maple; and the steward, an elegant looking
mulatto in a gorgeous turban, was setting out on a sort of sideboard
some dinner service which looked like silver, but it was only Britannia
ware highly polished.

As soon as I clapped my eye on the captain, I thought myself he was
just the captain to suit me. He was a fine looking man, about forty,
splendidly dressed, with very black whiskers, and very white teeth, and
what I took to be a free, frank look out of a large hazel eye. I liked
him amazingly. He was promenading up and down the cabin, humming some
brisk air to himself when we entered.

"Good morning, sir," said my friend.

"Good morning, good morning, sir," said the captain. "Steward, chairs
for the gentlemen."

"Oh! never mind, sir," said Mr. Jones, rather taken aback by his extreme
civility. "I merely called to see whether you want a fine young lad to
go to sea with you. Here he is; he has long wanted to be a sailor; and
his friends have at last concluded to let him go for one voyage, and see
how he likes it."

"Ah! indeed!" said the captain, blandly, and looking where I stood.
"He's a fine fellow; I like him. So you want to be a sailor, my boy, do
you?" added he, affectionately patting my head. "It's a hard We, though;
a hard life."

But when I looked round at his comfortable, and almost luxurious cabin,
and then at his handsome care-free face, I thought he was only trying to
frighten me, and I answered, "Well, sir, I am ready to try it."

"I hope he's a country lad, sir," said the captain to my friend, "these
city boys are sometimes hard cases."

"Oh! yes, he's from the country," was the reply, "and of a highly
respectable family; his great-uncle died a Senator."

"But his great-uncle don't want to go to sea too?" said the captain,
looking funny.

"Oh! no, oh, no!--Ha! ha!"

"Ha! ha!" echoed the captain.

A fine funny gentleman, thought I, not much fancying, however, his
levity concerning my great-uncle, he'll be cracking his jokes the whole
voyage; and so I afterward said to one of the riggers on board; but he
bade me look out, that he did not crack my head.

"Well, my lad," said the captain, "I suppose you know we haven't any
pastures and cows on board; you can't get any milk at sea, you know."

"Oh! I know all about that, sir; my father has crossed the ocean, if I

"Yes," cried my friend, "his father, a gentleman of one of the first
families in America, crossed the Atlantic several times on important

"Embassador extraordinary?" said the captain, looking funny again.

"Oh! no, he was a wealthy merchant."

"Ah! indeed;" said the captain, looking grave and bland again, "then
this fine lad is the son of a gentleman?"

"Certainly," said my friend, "and he's only going to sea for the humor
of it; they want to send him on his travels with a tutor, but he will go
to sea as a sailor."

The fact was, that my young friend (for he was only about twenty-five)
was not a very wise man; and this was a huge fib, which out of the
kindness of his heart, he told in my behalf, for the purpose of creating
a profound respect for me in the eyes of my future lord.

Upon being apprized, that I had willfully forborne taking the grand tour
with a tutor, in order to put my hand in a tar-bucket, the handsome
captain looked ten times more funny than ever; and said that he himself
would be my tutor, and take me on my travels, and pay for the privilege.

"Ah!" said my friend, "that reminds me of business. Pray, captain, how
much do you generally pay a handsome young fellow like this?"

"Well," said the captain, looking grave and profound, "we are not so
particular about beauty, and we never give more than three dollars to a
green lad like Wellingborough here, that's your name, my boy?
Wellingborough Redburn!--Upon my soul, a fine sounding name."

"Why, captain," said Mr. Jones, quickly interrupting him, "that won't
pay for his clothing."

"But you know his highly respectable and wealthy relations will
doubtless see to all that," replied the captain, with his funny look

"Oh! yes, I forgot that," said Mr. Jones, looking rather foolish. "His
friends will of course see to that."

"Of course," said the captain smiling.

"Of course," repeated Mr. Jones, looking ruefully at the patch on my
pantaloons, which just then I endeavored to hide with the skirt of my

"You are quite a sportsman I see," said the captain, eying the great
buttons on my coat, upon each of which was a carved fox.

Upon this my benevolent friend thought that here was a grand opportunity
to befriend me.

"Yes, he's quite a sportsman," said he, "he's got a very valuable
fowling-piece at home, perhaps you would like to purchase it, captain,
to shoot gulls with at sea? It's cheap."

"Oh! no, he had better leave it with his relations," said the captain,
"so that he can go hunting again when he returns from England."

"Yes, perhaps that would be better, after all," said my friend,
pretending to fall into a profound musing, involving all sides of the
matter in hand. "Well, then, captain, you can only give the boy three
dollars a month, you say?"

"Only three dollars a month," said the captain.

"And I believe," said my friend, "that you generally give something in
advance, do you not?"

"Yes, that is sometimes the custom at the shipping offices," said the
captain, with a bow, "but in this case, as the boy has rich relations,
there will be no need of that, you know."

And thus, by his ill-advised, but well-meaning hints concerning the
respectability of my paternity, and the immense wealth of my relations,
did this really honest-hearted but foolish friend of mine, prevent me
from getting three dollars in advance, which I greatly needed. However,
I said nothing, though I thought the more; and particularly, how that it
would have been much better for me, to have gone on board alone,
accosted the captain on my own account, and told him the plain truth.
Poor people make a very poor business of it when they try to seem rich.

The arrangement being concluded, we bade the captain good morning; and
as we were about leaving the cabin, he smiled again, and said, "Well,
Redburn, my boy, you won't get home-sick before you sail, because that
will make you very sea-sick when you get to sea."

And with that he smiled very pleasantly, and bowed two or three times,
and told the steward to open the cabin-door, which the steward did with
a peculiar sort of grin on his face, and a slanting glance at my
shooting-jacket. And so we left.


Next day I went alone to the shipping office to sign the articles, and
there I met a great crowd of sailors, who as soon as they found what I
was after, began to tip the wink all round, and I overheard a fellow in
a great flapping sou'wester cap say to another old tar in a shaggy
monkey-jacket, "Twig his coat, d'ye see the buttons, that chap ain't
going to sea in a merchantman, he's going to shoot whales. I say,
maty--look here--how d'ye sell them big buttons by the pound?"

"Give us one for a saucer, will ye?" said another.

"Let the youngster alone," said a third. "Come here, my little boy, has
your ma put up some sweetmeats for ye to take to sea?"

They are all witty dogs, thought I to myself, trying to make the best of
the matter, for I saw it would not do to resent what they said; they
can't mean any harm, though they are certainly very impudent; so I tried
to laugh off their banter, but as soon as ever I could, I put down my
name and beat a retreat.

On the morrow, the ship was advertised to sail. So the rest of that day
I spent in preparations. After in vain trying to sell my fowling-piece
for a fair price to chance customers, I was walking up Chatham-street
with it, when a curly-headed little man with a dark oily face, and a
hooked nose, like the pictures of Judas Iscariot, called to me from a
strange-looking shop, with three gilded balk hanging over it.

With a peculiar accent, as if he had been over-eating himself with
Indian-pudding or some other plushy compound, this curly-headed little
man very civilly invited me into his shop; and making a polite bow, and
bidding me many unnecessary good mornings, and remarking upon the fine
weather, begged t me to let him look at my fowling-piece. I handed it to
him in an instant, glad of the chance of disposing of it, and told him
that was just what I wanted.

"Ah!" said he, with his Indian-pudding accent again, which I will not
try to mimic, and abating his look of eagerness, "I thought it was a
better article, it's very old."

"Not," said I, starting in surprise, "it's not been used more than three
times; what will you give for it?"

"We don't buy any thing here," said he, suddenly looking very
indifferent, "this is a place where people pawn things." Pawn being a
word I had never heard before, I asked him what it meant; when he
replied, that when people wanted any money, they came to him with their
fowling-pieces, and got one third its value, and then left the
fowling-piece there, until they were able to pay back the money.

What a benevolent little old man, this must be, thought I, and how very

"And pray," said I, "how much will you let me have for my gun, by way of
a pawn?"

"Well, I suppose it's worth six dollars, and seeing you're a boy, I'll
let you have three dollars upon it."

"No," exclaimed I, seizing the fowling-piece, "it's worth five times
that, I'll go somewhere else."

"Good morning, then," said he, "I hope you'll do better," and he bowed
me out as if he expected to see me again pretty soon.

I had not gone very far when I came across three more balls hanging over
a shop. In I went, and saw a long counter, with a sort of picket-fence,
running all along from end to end, and three little holes, with three
little old men standing inside of them, like prisoners looking out of a
jail. Back of the counter were all sorts of things, piled up and
labeled. Hats, and caps, and coats, and guns, and swords, and canes, and
chests, and planes, and books, and writing-desks, and every thing else.
And in a glass case were lots of watches, and seals, chains, and rings,
and breastpins, and all kinds of trinkets. At one of the little holes,
earnestly talking with one of the hook-nosed men, was a thin woman in a
faded silk gown and shawl, holding a pale little girl by the hand. As I
drew near, she spoke lower in a whisper; and the man shook his head, and
looked cross and rude; and then some more words were exchanged over a
miniature, and some money was passed through the hole, and the woman and
child shrank out of the door.

I won't sell my gun to that man, thought I; and I passed on to the next
hole; and while waiting there to be served, an elderly man in a
high-waisted surtout, thrust a silver snuff-box through; and a young man
in a calico shirt and a shiny coat with a velvet collar presented a
silver watch; and a sheepish boy in a cloak took out a frying-pan; and
another little boy had a Bible; and all these things were thrust through
to the hook-nosed man, who seemed ready to hook any thing that came
along; so I had no doubt he would gladly hook my gun, for the long
picketed counter seemed like a great seine, that caught every variety of

At last I saw a chance, and crowded in for the hole; and in order to be
beforehand with a big man who just then came in, I pushed my gun
violently through the hole; upon which the hook-nosed man cried out,
thinking I was going to shoot him. But at last he took the gun, turned
it end for end, clicked the trigger three times, and then said, "one

"What about one dollar?" said I.

"That's all I'll give," he replied.

"Well, what do you want?" and he turned to the next person. This was a
young man in a seedy red cravat and a pimply face, that looked as if it
was going to seed likewise, who, with a mysterious tapping of his
vest-pocket and other hints, made a great show of having something
confidential to communicate.

But the hook-nosed man spoke out very loud, and said, "None of that;
take it out. Got a stolen watch? We don't deal in them things here."

Upon this the young man flushed all over, and looked round to see who
had heard the pawnbroker; then he took something very small out of his
pocket, and keeping it hidden under his palm, pushed it into the hole.

"Where did you get this ring?" said the pawnbroker.

"I want to pawn it," whispered the other, blushing all over again.

"What's your name?" said the pawnbroker, speaking very loud.

"How much will you give?" whispered the other in reply, leaning over,
and looking as if he wanted to hush up the pawnbroker.

At last the sum was agreed upon, when the man behind the counter took a
little ticket, and tying the ring to it began to write on the ticket;
all at once he asked the young man where he lived, a question which
embarrassed him very much; but at last he stammered out a certain number
in Broadway.

"That's the City Hotel: you don't live there," said the man, cruelly
glancing at the shabby coat before him.

"Oh! well," stammered the other blushing scarlet, "I thought this was
only a sort of form to go through; I don't like to tell where I do live,
for I ain't in the habit of going to pawnbrokers."

"You stole that ring, you know you did," roared out the hook-nosed man,
incensed at this slur upon his calling, and now seemingly bent on
damaging the young man's character for life. "I'm a good mind to call a.
constable; we don't take stolen goods here, I tell you."

All eyes were now fixed suspiciously upon this martyrized young man; who
looked ready to drop into the earth; and a poor woman in a night-cap,
with some baby-clothes in her hand, looked fearfully at the
pawnbroker, as if dreading to encounter such a terrible pattern of
integrity. At last the young man sunk off with his money, and looking
out of the window, I saw him go round the corner so sharply that he
knocked his elbow against the wall.

I waited a little longer, and saw several more served; and having
remarked that the hook-nosed men invariably fixed their own price upon
every thing, and if that was refused told the person to be off with
himself; I concluded that it would be of no use to try and get more from
them than they had offered; especially when I saw that they had a great
many fowling-pieces hanging up, and did not have particular occasion for
mine; and more than that, they must be very well off and rich, to treat
people so cavalierly.

My best plan then seemed to be to go right back to the curly-headed
pawnbroker, and take up with my first offer. But when I went back, the
curly-headed man was very busy about something else, and kept me
waiting a long time; at last I got a chance and told him I would take
the three dollars he had offered.

"Ought to have taken it when you could get it," he replied. "I won't
give but two dollars and a half for it now."

In vain I expostulated; he was not to be moved, so I pocketed the money
and departed.


The first thing I now did was to buy a little stationery, and keep my
promise to my mother, by writing her; and I also wrote to my brother
informing him of the voyage I purposed making, and indulging in some
romantic and misanthropic views of life, such as many boys in my
circumstances, are accustomed to do.

The rest of the two dollars and a half I laid out that very morning in
buying a red woolen shirt near Catharine Market, a tarpaulin hat, which
I got at an out-door stand near Peck Slip, a belt and jackknife, and two
or three trifles. After these purchases, I had only one penny left, so I
walked out to the end of the pier, and threw the penny into the water.
The reason why I did this, was because I somehow felt almost desperate
again, and didn't care what became of me. But if the penny had been a
dollar, I would have kept it.

I went home to dinner at Mr. Jones', and they welcomed me very kindly,
and Mrs. Jones kept my plate full all the time during dinner, so that I
had no chance to empty it. She seemed to see that I felt bad, and
thought plenty of pudding might help me. At any rate, I never felt so
bad yet but I could eat a good dinner. And once, years afterward, when I
expected to be killed every day, I remember my appetite was very keen,
and I said to myself, "Eat away, Wellingborough, while you can, for this
may be the last supper you will have."

After dinner I went into my room, locked the door carefully, and hung a
towel over the knob, so that no one could peep through the keyhole, and
then went to trying on my red woolen shirt before the glass, to see what
sort of a looking sailor I was going to make. As soon as I got into the
shirt I began to feel sort of warm and red about the face, which I found
was owing to the reflection of the dyed wool upon my skin. After that, I
took a pair of scissors and went to cutting my hair, which was very
long. I thought every little would help, in making me a light hand to
run aloft.

Next morning I bade my kind host and hostess good-by, and left the house
with my bundle, feeling somewhat misanthropical and desperate again.

Before I reached the ship, it began to rain hard; and as soon as I
arrived at the wharf, it was plain that there would be no getting to sea
that day.

This was a great disappointment to me, for I did not want to return to
Mr. Jones' again after bidding them good-by; it would be so awkward. So
I concluded to go on board ship for the present.

When I reached the deck, I saw no one but a large man in a large
dripping pea-jacket, who was calking down the main-hatches.

"What do you want, Pillgarlic?" said he.

"I've shipped to sail in this ship," I replied, assuming a little
dignity, to chastise his familiarity.

"What for? a tailor?" said he, looking at my shooting jacket.

I answered that I was going as a "boy;" for so I was technically put
down on the articles.

"Well," said he, "have you got your traps aboard?"

I told him I didn't know there were any rats in the ship, and hadn't
brought any "trap."

At this he laughed out with a great guffaw, and said there must be
hay-seed in my hair.

This made me mad; but thinking he must be one of the sailors who was
going in the ship, I thought it wouldn't be wise to make an enemy of
him, so only asked him where the men slept in the vessel, for I wanted
to put my clothes away.

"Where's your clothes?" said he.

"Here in my bundle," said I, holding it up.

"Well if that's all you've got," he cried, "you'd better chuck it
overboard. But go forward, go forward to the forecastle; that's the
place you'll live in aboard here."

And with that he directed me to a sort of hole in the deck in the bow of
the ship; but looking down, and seeing how dark it was, I asked him for
a light.

"Strike your eyes together and make one," said he, "we don't have any
lights here." So I groped my way down into the forecastle, which smelt
so bad of old ropes and tar, that it almost made me sick. After waiting
patiently, I began to see a little; and looking round, at last perceived
I was in a smoky looking place, with twelve wooden boxes stuck round the
sides. In some of these boxes were large chests, which I at once
supposed to belong to the sailors, who must have taken that method of
appropriating their "Trunks," as I afterward found these boxes were
called. And so it turned out.

After examining them for a while, I selected an empty one, and put my
bundle right in the middle of it, so that there might be no mistake
about my claim to the place, particularly as the bundle was so small.

This done, I was glad to get on deck; and learning to a certainty that
the ship would not sail till the next day, I resolved to go ashore, and
walk about till dark, and then return and sleep out the night in the
forecastle. So I walked about all over, till I was weary, and went into
a mean liquor shop to rest; for having my tarpaulin on, and not looking
very gentlemanly, I was afraid to go into any better place, for fear of
being driven out. Here I sat till I began to feel very hungry; and
seeing some doughnuts on the counter, I began to think what a fool I had
been, to throw away my last penny; for the doughnuts were but a penny
apiece, and they looked very plump, and fat, and round. I never saw
doughnuts look so enticing before; especially when a negro came in, and
ate one before my eyes. At last I thought I would fill up a little by
drinking a glass of water; having read somewhere that this was a good
plan to follow in a case like the present. I did not feel thirsty, but
only hungry; so had much ado to get down the water; for it tasted warm;
and the tumbler had an ugly flavor; the negro had been drinking some
spirits out of it just before.

I marched off again, every once in a while stopping to take in some more
water, and being very careful not to step into the same shop twice, till
night came on, and I found myself soaked through, for it had been
raining more or less all day. As I went to the ship, I could not help
thinking how lonesome it would be, to spend the whole night in that damp
and dark forecastle, without light or fire, and nothing to lie on but
the bare boards of my bunk. However, to drown all such thoughts, I
gulped down another glass of water, though I was wet enough outside and
in by this time; and trying to put on a bold look, as if I had just been
eating a hearty meal, I stepped aboard the ship.

The man in the big pea-jacket was not to be seen; but on going forward I
unexpectedly found a young lad there, about my own age; and as soon as
he opened his mouth I knew he was not an American. He talked such a
curious language though, half English and half gibberish, that I knew
not what to make of him; and was a little astonished, when he told me he
was an English boy, from Lancashire.

It seemed, he had come over from Liverpool in this very ship on her last
voyage, as a steerage passenger; but finding that he would have to work
very hard to get along in America, and getting home-sick into the
bargain, he had arranged with the captain to' work his passage back.

I was glad to have some company, and tried to get him conversing; but
found he was the most stupid and ignorant boy I had ever met with. I
asked him something about the river Thames; when he said that he hadn't
traveled any in America and didn't know any thing about the rivers here.
And when I told him the river Thames was in England, he showed no
surprise or shame at his ignorance, but only looked ten times more
stupid than before.

At last we went below into the forecastle, and both getting into the
same bunk, stretched ourselves out on the planks, and I tried my best to
get asleep. But though my companion soon began to snore very loud, for
me, I could not forget myself, owing to the horrid smell of the place,
my being so wet, cold, and hungry, and besides all that, I felt damp and
clammy about the heart. I lay turning over and over, listening to the
Lancashire boy's snoring, till at last I felt so, that I had to go on
deck; and there I walked till morning, which I thought would never come.

As soon as I thought the groceries on the wharf would be open I left the
ship and went to make my breakfast of another glass of water. But this
made me very qualmish; and soon I felt sick as death; my head was dizzy;
and I went staggering along the walk, almost blind. At last I dropt on a
heap of chain-cable, and shutting my eyes hard, did my best to rally
myself, in which I succeeded, at last, enough to get up and walk off.
Then I thought that I had done wrong in not returning to my friend's
house the day before; and would have walked there now, as it was, only
it was at least three miles up town; too far for me to walk in such a
state, and I had no sixpence to ride in an omnibus.


By the time I got back to the ship, every thing was in an uproar. The
pea-jacket man was there, ordering about a good many men in the rigging,
and people were bringing off chickens, and pigs, and beef, and
vegetables from the shore. Soon after, another man, in a striped calico
shirt, a short blue jacket and beaver hat, made his appearance, and went
to ordering about the man in the big pea-jacket; and at last the captain
came up the side, and began to order about both of them.

These two men turned out to be the first and second mates of the ship.

Thinking to make friends with the second mate, I took out an old
tortoise-shell snuff-box of my father's, in which I had put a piece of
Cavendish tobacco, to look sailor-like, and offered the box to him very
politely. He stared at me a moment, and then exclaimed, "Do you think we
take snuff aboard here, youngster? no, no, no time for snuff-taking at
sea; don't let the 'old man' see that snuff-box; take my advice and
pitch it overboard as quick as you can."

I told him it was not snuff, but tobacco; when he said, he had plenty of
tobacco of his own, and never carried any such nonsense about him as a
tobacco-box. With that, he went off about his business, and left me
feeling foolish enough. But I had reason to be glad he had acted thus,
for if he had not, I think I should have offered my box to the chief
mate, who in that case, from what I afterward learned of him, would have
knocked me down, or done something else equally uncivil.

As I was standing looking round me, the chief mate approached in a great
hurry about something, and seeing me in his way, cried out, "Ashore with
you, you young loafer! There's no stealings here; sail away, I tell you,
with that shooting-jacket!"

Upon this I retreated, saying that I was going out in the ship as a

"A sailor!" he cried, "a barber's clerk, you mean; you going out in the
ship? what, in that jacket? Hang me, I hope the old man hasn't been
shipping any more greenhorns like you--he'll make a shipwreck of it if he
has. But this is the way nowadays; to save a few dollars in seamen's
wages, they think nothing of shipping a parcel of farmers and
clodhoppers and baby-boys. What's your name, Pillgarlic?"

"Redburn," said I.

"A pretty handle to a man, that; scorch you to take hold of it; haven't
you got any other?"

"Wellingborough," said I.

"Worse yet. Who had the baptizing of ye? Why didn't they call you Jack,
or Jill, or something short and handy. But I'll baptize you over again.
D'ye hear, sir, henceforth your name is Buttons. And now do you go,
Buttons, and clean out that pig-pen in the long-boat; it has not been
cleaned out since last voyage. And bear a hand about it, d'ye hear;
there's them pigs there waiting to be put in; come, be off about it,

Was this then the beginning of my sea-career? set to cleaning out a
pig-pen, the very first thing?

But I thought it best to say nothing; I had bound myself to obey orders,
and it was too late to retreat. So I only asked for a shovel, or spade,
or something else to work with.

"We don't dig gardens here," was the reply; "dig it out with your

After looking round, I found a stick and went to scraping out the pen,
which was awkward work enough, for another boat called the "jolly-boat,"
was capsized right over the longboat, which brought them almost close
together. These two boats were in the middle of the deck. I managed to
crawl inside of the long-boat; and after barking my shins against the
seats, and bumping my head a good many times, I got along to the stern,
where the pig-pen was.

While I was hard at work a drunken sailor peeped in, and cried out to
his comrades, "Look here, my lads, what sort of a pig do you call this?
Hallo! inside there! what are you 'bout there? trying to stow yourself
away to steal a passage to Liverpool? Out of that! out of that, I say."
But just then the mate came along and ordered this drunken rascal

The pig-pen being cleaned out, I was set to work picking up some
shavings, which lay about the deck; for there had been carpenters at
work on board. The mate ordered me to throw these shavings into the
long-boat at a particular place between two of the seats. But as I found
it hard work to push the shavings through in that place, and as it
looked wet there, I thought it would be better for the shavings as well
as myself, to thrust them where there was a larger opening and a dry
spot. While I was thus employed, the mate observing me, exclaimed with
an oath, "Didn't I tell you to put those shavings somewhere else? Do
what I tell you, now, Buttons, or mind your eye!"

Stifling my indignation at his rudeness, which by this time I found was
my only plan, I replied that that was not so good a place for the
shavings as that which I myself had selected, and asked him to tell me
why he wanted me to put them in the place he designated. Upon this, he
flew into a terrible rage, and without explanation reiterated his order
like a clap of thunder.

This was my first lesson in the discipline of the sea, and I never
forgot it. From that time I learned that sea-officers never gave reasons
for any thing they order to be done. It is enough that they command it,
so that the motto is, "Obey orders, though you break owners."

I now began to feel very faint and sick again, and longed for the ship
to be leaving the dock; for then I made no doubt we would soon be having
something to eat. But as yet, I saw none of the sailors on board, and as
for the men at work in the rigging, I found out that they were
"riggers," that is, men living ashore, who worked by the day in getting
ships ready for sea; and this I found out to my cost, for yielding to
the kind blandishment of one of these riggers, I had swapped away my
jackknife with him for a much poorer one of his own, thinking to secure
a sailor friend for the voyage. At last I watched my chance, and while
people's backs were turned, I seized a carrot from several bunches lying
on deck, and clapping it under the skirts of my shooting-jacket, went
forward to eat it; for I had often eaten raw carrots, which taste
something like chestnuts. This carrot refreshed me a good deal, though
at the expense of a little pain in my stomach. Hardly had I disposed of
it, when I heard the chief mate's voice crying out for "Buttons." I ran
after him, and received an order to go aloft and "slush down the
main-top mast."

This was all Greek to me, and after receiving the order, I stood staring
about me, wondering what it was that was to be done. But the mate had
turned on his heel, and made no explanations. At length I followed after
him, and asked what I must do.

"Didn't I tell you to slush down the main-top mast?" he shouted.

"You did," said I, "but I don't know what that means."

"Green as grass! a regular cabbage-head!" he exclaimed to himself. "A
fine time I'll have with such a greenhorn aboard. Look you, youngster.
Look up to that long pole there--d'ye see it? that piece of a tree there,
you timber-head--well--take this bucket here, and go up the rigging--that
rope-ladder there--do you understand?--and dab this slush all over the
mast, and look out for your head if one drop falls on deck. Be off now,

The eventful hour had arrived; for the first time in my life I was to
ascend a ship's mast. Had I been well and hearty, perhaps I should have
felt a little shaky at the thought; but as I was then, weak and faint,
the bare thought appalled me.

But there was no hanging back; it would look like cowardice, and I could
not bring myself to confess that I was suffering for want of food; so
rallying again, I took up the bucket.

It was a heavy bucket, with strong iron hoops, and might have held
perhaps two gallons. But it was only half full now of a sort of thick
lobbered gravy, which I afterward learned was boiled out of the salt
beef used by the sailors. Upon getting into the rigging, I found it was
no easy job to carry this heavy bucket up with me. The rope handle of it
was so slippery with grease, that although I twisted it several times
about my wrist, it would be still twirling round and round, and slipping
off. Spite of this, however, I managed to mount as far as the "top," the
clumsy bucket half the time straddling and swinging about between my
legs, and in momentary danger of capsizing. Arrived at the "top," I came
to a dead halt, and looked up. How to surmount that overhanging
impediment completely posed me for the time. But at last, with much
straining, I contrived to place my bucket in the "top;" and then,
trusting to Providence, swung myself up after it. The rest of the road
was comparatively easy; though whenever I incautiously looked down
toward the deck, my head spun round so from weakness, that I was obliged
to shut my eyes to recover myself. I do not remember much more. I only
recollect my safe return to the deck.

In a short time the bustle of the ship increased; the trunks of cabin
passengers arrived, and the chests and boxes of the steerage passengers,
besides baskets of wine and fruit for the captain.

At last we cast loose, and swinging out into the stream, came to anchor,
and hoisted the signal for sailing. Every thing, it seemed, was on board
but the crew; who in a few hours after, came off, one by one, in
Whitehall boats, their chests in the bow, and themselves lying back in
the stem like lords; and showing very plainly the complacency they felt
in keeping the whole ship waiting for their lordships.

"Ay, ay," muttered the chief mate, as they rolled out of then-boats and
swaggered on deck, "it's your turn now, but it will be mine before long.
Yaw about while you may, my hearties, I'll do the yawing after the
anchor's up."

Several of the sailors were very drunk, and one of them was lifted on
board insensible by his landlord, who carried him down below and dumped
him into a bunk. And two other sailors, as soon as they made their
appearance, immediately went below to sleep off the fumes of their

At last, all the crew being on board, word was passed to go to dinner
fore and aft, an order that made my heart jump with delight, for now my
long fast would be broken. But though the sailors, surfeited with eating
and drinking ashore, did not then touch the salt beef and potatoes which
the black cook handed down into the forecastle; and though this left the
whole allowance to me; to my surprise, I found that I could eat little
or nothing; for now I only felt deadly faint, but not hungry.


Every thing at last being in readiness, the pilot came on board, and all
hands were called to up anchor. While I worked at my bar, I could not
help observing how haggard the men looked, and how much they suffered
from this violent exercise, after the terrific dissipation in which they
had been indulging ashore. But I soon learnt that sailors breathe
nothing about such things, but strive their best to appear all alive and
hearty, though it comes very hard for many of them.

The anchor being secured, a steam tug-boat with a strong name, the
Hercules, took hold of us; and away we went past the long line of
shipping, and wharves, and warehouses; and rounded the green south point
of the island where the Battery is, and passed Governor's Island, and
pointed right out for the Narrows.

My heart was like lead, and I felt bad enough, Heaven knows; but then,
there was plenty of work to be done, which kept my thoughts from
becoming too much for me.

And I tried to think all the time, that I was going to England, and
that, before many months, I should have actually been there and home
again, telling my adventures to my brothers and sisters; and with what
delight they would listen, and how they would look up to me then, and
reverence my sayings; and how that even my elder brother would be forced
to treat me with great consideration, as having crossed the Atlantic
Ocean, which he had never done, and there was no probability he ever

With such thoughts as these I endeavored to shake off my
heavy-heartedness; but it would not do at all; for this was only the
first day of the voyage, and many weeks, nay, several whole months must
elapse before the voyage was ended; and who could tell what might happen
to me; for when I looked up at the high, giddy masts, and thought how
often I must be going up and down them, I thought sure enough that some
luckless day or other, I would certainly fall overboard and be drowned.
And then, I thought of lying down at the bottom of the sea, stark alone,
with the great waves rolling over me, and no one in the wide world
knowing that I was there. And I thought how much better and sweeter it
must be, to be buried under the pleasant hedge that bounded the sunny
south side of our village grave-yard, where every Sunday I had used to
walk after church in the afternoon; and I almost wished I was there now;
yes, dead and buried in that churchyard. All the time my eyes were
filled with tears, and I kept holding my breath, to choke down the sobs,
for indeed I could not help feeling as I did, and no doubt any boy in
the world would have felt just as I did then.

As the steamer carried us further and further down the bay, and we
passed ships lying at anchor, with men gazing at us and waving their
hats; and small boats with ladies in them waving their handkerchiefs;
and passed the green shore of Staten Island, and caught sight of so many
beautiful cottages all overrun with vines, and planted on the beautiful
fresh mossy hill-sides; oh! then I would have given any thing if instead
of sailing out of the bay, we were only coming into it; if we had
crossed the ocean and returned, gone over and come back; and my heart
leaped up in me like something alive when I thought of really entering
that bay at the end of the voyage. But that was so far distant, that it
seemed it could never be. No, never, never more would I see New York

And what shocked me more than any thing else, was to hear some of the
sailors, while they were at work coiling away the hawsers, talking about
the boarding-houses they were going to, when they came back; and how
that some friends of theirs had promised to be on the wharf when the
ship returned, to take them and their chests right up to Franklin-square
where they lived; and how that they would have a good dinner ready, and
plenty of cigars and spirits out on the balcony. I say this land of
talking shocked me, for they did not seem to consider, as I did, that
before any thing like that could happen, we must cross the great
Atlantic Ocean, cross over from America to Europe and back again, many
thousand miles of foaming ocean.

At that time I did not know what to make of these sailors; but this much
I thought, that when they were boys, they could never have gone to the
Sunday School; for they swore so, it made my ears tingle, and used words
that I never could hear without a dreadful loathing.

And are these the men, I thought to myself, that I must live with so
long? these the men I am to eat with, and sleep with all the time? And
besides, I now began to see, that they were not going to be very kind to
me; but I will tell all about that when the proper time comes.

Now you must not think, that because all these things were passing
through my mind, that I had nothing to do but sit still and think; no,
no, I was hard at work: for as long as the steamer had hold of us, we
were very busy coiling away ropes and cables, and putting the decks in
order; which were littered all over with odds and ends of things that
had to be put away.

At last we got as far as the Narrows, which every body knows is the
entrance to New York Harbor from sea; and it may well be called the
Narrows, for when you go in or out, it seems like going in or out of a
doorway; and when you go out of these Narrows on a long voyage like this
of mine, it seems like going out into the broad highway, where not a
soul is to be seen. For far away and away, stretches the great Atlantic
Ocean; and all you can see beyond it where the sky comes down to the
water. It looks lonely and desolate enough, and I could hardly believe,
as I gazed around me, that there could be any land beyond, or any place
like Europe or England or Liverpool in the great wide world. It seemed
too strange, and wonderful, and altogether incredible, that there could
really be cities and towns and villages and green fields and hedges and
farm-yards and orchards, away over that wide blank of sea, and away
beyond the place where the sky came down to the water. And to think of
steering right out among those waves, and leaving the bright land
behind, and the dark night coming on, too, seemed wild and foolhardy;
and I looked with a sort of fear at the sailors standing by me, who
could be so thoughtless at such a time. But then I remembered, how many
times my own father had said he had crossed the ocean; and I had never
dreamed of such a thing as doubting him; for I always thought him a
marvelous being, infinitely purer and greater than I was, who could not
by any possibility do wrong, or say an untruth. Yet now, how could I
credit it, that he, my own father, whom I so well remembered; had ever
sailed out of these Narrows, and sailed right through the sky and water
line, and gone to England, and France, Liverpool, and Marseilles. It was
too wonderful to believe.

Now, on the right hand side of the Narrows as you go out, the land is
quite high; and on the top of a fine cliff is a great castle or fort,
all in ruins, and with the trees growing round it. It was built by
Governor Tompkins in the time of the last war with England, but was
never used, I believe, and so they left it to decay. I had visited the
place once when we lived in New York, as long ago almost as I could
remember, with my father, and an uncle of mine, an old sea-captain, with
white hair, who used to sail to a place called Archangel in Russia, and
who used to tell me that he was with Captain Langsdorff, when Captain
Langsdorff crossed over by land from the sea of Okotsk in Asia to St.
Petersburgh, drawn by large dogs in a sled. I mention this of my uncle,
because he was the very first sea-captain I had ever seen, and his white
hair and fine handsome florid face made so strong an impression upon me,
that I have never forgotten him, though I only saw him during this one
visit of his to New York, for he was lost in the White Sea some years

But I meant to speak about the fort. It was a beautiful place, as I
remembered it, and very wonderful and romantic, too, as it appeared to
me, when I went there with my uncle. On the side away from the water was
a green grove of trees, very thick and shady; and through this grove, in
a sort of twilight you came to an arch in the wall of the fort, dark as
night; and going in, you groped about in long vaults, twisting and
turning on every side, till at last you caught a peep of green grass and
sunlight, and all at once came out in an open space in the middle of the
castle. And there you would see cows quietly grazing, or ruminating
under the shade of young trees, and perhaps a calf frisking about, and
trying to catch its own tail; and sheep clambering among the mossy
ruins, and cropping the little tufts of grass sprouting out of the sides
of the embrasures for cannon. And once I saw a black goat with a long
beard, and crumpled horns, standing with his forefeet lifted high up on
the topmost parapet, and looking to sea, as if he were watching for a
ship that was bringing over his cousin. I can see him even now, and
though I have changed since then, the black goat looks just the same as
ever; and so I suppose he would, if I live to be as old as Methusaleh,
and have as great a memory as he must have had. Yes, the fort was a
beautiful, quiet, charming spot. I should like to build a little cottage
in the middle of it, and live there all my life. It was noon-day when I
was there, in the month of June, and there was little wind to stir the
trees, and every thing looked as if it was waiting for something, and
the sky overhead was blue as my mother's eye, and I was so glad and
happy then. But I must not think of those delightful days, before my
father became a bankrupt, and died, and we removed from the city; for
when I think of those days, something rises up in my throat and almost
strangles me.

Now, as we sailed through the Narrows, I caught sight of that beautiful
fort on the cliff, and could not help contrasting my situation now, with
what it was when with my father and uncle I went there so long ago. Then
I never thought of working for my living, and never knew that there were
hard hearts in the world; and knew so little of money, that when I
bought a stick of candy, and laid down a sixpence, I thought the
confectioner returned five cents, only that I might have money to buy
something else, and not because the pennies were my change, and
therefore mine by good rights. How different my idea of money now!

Then I was a schoolboy, and thought of going to college in time; and had
vague thoughts of becoming a great orator like Patrick Henry, whose
speeches I used to speak on the stage; but now, I was a poor friendless
boy, far away from my home, and voluntarily in the way of becoming a
miserable sailor for life. And what made it more bitter to me, was to
think of how well off were my cousins, who were happy and rich, and
lived at home with my uncles and aunts, with no thought of going to sea
for a living. I tried to think that it was all a dream, that I was not
where I was, not on board of a ship, but that I was at home again in the
city, with my father alive, and my mother bright and happy as she used
to be. But it would not do. I was indeed where I was, and here was the
ship, and there was the fort. So, after casting a last look at some boys
who were standing on the parapet, gazing off to sea, I turned away
heavily, and resolved not to look at the land any more.

About sunset we got fairly "outside," and well may it so be called; for
I felt thrust out of the world. Then the breeze began to blow, and the
sails were loosed, and hoisted; and after a while, the steamboat left
us, and for the first time I felt the ship roll, a strange feeling
enough, as if it were a great barrel in the water. Shortly after, I
observed a swift little schooner running across our bows, and
re-crossing again and again; and while I was wondering what she could
be, she suddenly lowered her sails, and two men took hold of a little
boat on her deck, and launched it overboard as if it had been a chip.
Then I noticed that our pilot, a red-faced man in a rough blue coat, who
to my astonishment had all this time been giving orders instead of the
captain, began to button up his coat to the throat, like a prudent
person about leaving a house at night in a lonely square, to go home;
and he left the giving orders to the chief mate, and stood apart talking
with the captain, and put his hand into his pocket, and gave him some

And in a few minutes, when we had stopped our headway, and allowed the
little boat to come alongside, he shook hands with the captain and
officers and bade them good-by, without saying a syllable of farewell to
me and the sailors; and so he went laughing over the side, and got into
the boat, and they pulled him off to the schooner, and then the schooner
made sail and glided under our stern, her men standing up and waving
their hats, and cheering; and that was the last we saw of America.


It was now getting dark, when all at once the sailors were ordered on
the quarter-deck, and of course I went along with them.

What is to come now, thought I; but I soon found out. It seemed we were
going to be divided into watches. The chief mate began by selecting a
stout good-looking sailor for his watch; and then the second mate's turn
came to choose, and he also chose a stout good-looking sailor. But it
was not me;--no; and I noticed, as they went on choosing, one after the
other in regular rotation, that both of the mates never so much as
looked at me, but kept going round among the rest, peering into their
faces, for it was dusk, and telling them not to hide themselves away so
in their jackets. But the sailors, especially the stout good-looking
ones, seemed to make a point of lounging as much out of the way as
possible, and slouching their hats over their eyes; and although it may
only be a fancy of mine, I certainly thought that they affected a sort
of lordly indifference as to whose watch they were going to be in; and
did not think it worth while to look any way anxious about the matter.
And the very men who, a few minutes before, had showed the most alacrity
and promptitude in jumping into the rigging and running aloft at the
word of command, now lounged against the bulwarks and most lazily; as if
they were quite sure, that by this time the officers must know who the
best men were, and they valued themselves well enough to be willing to
put the officers to the trouble of searching them out; for if they were
worth having, they were worth seeking.

At last they were all chosen but me; and it was the chief mate's next
turn to choose; though there could be little choosing in my case, since
I was a thirteener, and must, whether or no, go over to the next column,
like the odd figure you carry along when you do a sum in addition.

"Well, Buttons," said the chief mate, "I thought I'd got rid of you. And
as it is, Mr. Rigs," he added, speaking to the second mate, "I guess you
had better take him into your watch;--there, I'll let you have him, and
then you'll be one stronger than me."

"No, I thank you," said Mr. Rigs.

"You had better," said the chief mate--"see, he's not a bad looking
chap--he's a little green, to be sure, but you were so once yourself, you
know, Rigs."

"No, I thank you," said the second mate again. "Take him yourself--he's
yours by good rights--I don't want him." And so they put me in the chief
mate's division, that is the larboard watch.

While this scene was going on, I felt shabby enough; there I stood, just
like a silly sheep, over whom two butchers are bargaining. Nothing that
had yet happened so forcibly reminded me of where I was, and what I had
come to. I was very glad when they sent us forward again.

As we were going forward, the second mate called one of the sailors by
name:-"You, Bill?" and Bill answered, "Sir?" just as if the second mate
was a born gentleman. It surprised me not a little, to see a man in such
a shabby, shaggy old jacket addressed so respectfully; but I had been
quite as much surprised when I heard the chief mate call him Mr. Rigs
during the scene on the quarter-deck; as if this Mr. Rigs was a great
merchant living in a marble house in Lafayette Place. But I was not very
long in finding out, that at sea all officers are Misters, and would
take it for an insult if any seaman presumed to omit calling them so.
And it is also one of their rights and privileges to be called sir when
addressed--Yes, sir; No, sir; Ay, ay, sir; and they are as particular
about being sirred as so many knights and baronets; though their titles
are not hereditary, as is the case with the Sir Johns and Sir Joshuas in
England. But so far as the second mate is concerned, his tides are the
only dignities he enjoys; for, upon the whole, he leads a puppyish We
indeed. He is not deemed company at any time for the captain, though the
chief mate occasionally is, at least deck-company, though not in the
cabin; and besides this, the second mate has to breakfast, lunch, dine,
and sup off the leavings of the cabin table, and even the steward, who
is accountable to nobody but the captain, sometimes treats him
cavalierly; and he has to run aloft when topsails are reefed; and put
his hand a good way down into the tar-bucket; and keep the key of the
boatswain's locker, and fetch and carry balls of marline and
seizing-stuff for the sailors when at work in the rigging; besides doing
many other things, which a true-born baronet of any spirit would rather
die and give up his title than stand.

Having been divided into watches we were sent to supper; but I could not
eat any thing except a little biscuit, though I should have liked to
have some good tea; but as I had no pot to get it in, and was rather
nervous about asking the rough sailors to let me drink out of theirs; I
was obliged to go without a sip. I thought of going to the black cook
and begging a tin cup; but he looked so cross and ugly then, that the
sight of him almost frightened the idea out of me.

When supper was over, for they never talk about going to tea aboard of a
ship, the watch to which I belonged was called on deck; and we were told
it was for us to stand the first night watch, that is, from eight
o'clock till midnight.

I now began to feel unsettled and ill at ease about the stomach, as if
matters were all topsy-turvy there; and felt strange and giddy about the
head; and so I made no doubt that this was the beginning of that
dreadful thing, the sea-sickness. Feeling worse and worse, I told one of
the sailors how it was with me, and begged him to make my excuses very
civilly to the chief mate, for I thought I would go below and spend the
night in my bunk. But he only laughed at me, and said something about my
mother not being aware of my being out; which enraged me not a little,
that a man whom I had heard swear so terribly, should dare to take such
a holy name into his mouth. It seemed a sort of blasphemy, and it seemed
like dragging out the best and most cherished secrets of my soul, for at
that time the name of mother was the center of all my heart's finest
feelings, which ere that, I had learned to keep secret, deep down in my

But I did not outwardly resent the sailor's words, for that would have
only made the matter worse.

Now this man was a Greenlander by birth, with a very white skin where
the sun had not burnt it, and handsome blue eyes placed wide apart in
his head, and a broad good-humored face, and plenty of curly flaxen
hair. He was not very tall, but exceedingly stout-built, though active;
and his back was as broad as a shield, and it was a great way between
his shoulders. He seemed to be a sort of lady's sailor, for in his
broken English he was always talking about the nice ladies of his
acquaintance in Stockholm and Copenhagen and a place he called the Hook,
which at first I fancied must be the place where lived the hook-nosed
men that caught fowling-pieces and every other article that came along.
He was dressed very tastefully, too, as if he knew he was a good-looking
fellow. He had on a new blue woolen Havre frock, with a new silk
handkerchief round his neck, passed through one of the vertebral bones
of a shark, highly polished and carved. His trowsers were of clear white
duck, and he sported a handsome pair of pumps, and a tarpaulin hat
bright as a looking-glass, with a long black ribbon streaming behind,
and getting entangled every now and then in the rigging; and he had gold
anchors in his ears, and a silver ring on one of his fingers, which was
very much worn and bent from pulling ropes and other work on board ship.
I thought he might better have left his jewelry at home.

It was a long time before I could believe that this man was really from
Greenland, though he looked strange enough to me, then, to have come
from the moon; and he was full of stories about that distant country;
how they passed the winters there; and how bitter cold it was; and how
he used to go to bed and sleep twelve hours, and get up again and run
about, and go to bed again, and get up again--there was no telling how
many times, and all in one night; for in the winter time in his country,
he said, the nights were so many weeks long, that a Greenland baby was
sometimes three months old, before it could properly be said to be a day

I had seen mention made of such things before, in books of voyages; but
that was only reading about them, just as you read the Arabian Nights,
which no one ever believes; for somehow, when I read about these
wonderful countries, I never used really to believe what I read, but
only thought it very strange, and a good deal too strange to be
altogether true; though I never thought the men who wrote the book meant
to tell lies. But I don't know exactly how to explain what I mean; but
this much I will say, that I never believed in Greenland till I saw this
Greenlander. And at first, hearing him talk about Greenland, only made
me still more incredulous. For what business had a man from Greenland to
be in my company? Why was he not at home among the icebergs, and how
could he stand a warm summer's sun, and not be melted away? Besides,
instead of icicles, there were ear-rings hanging from his ears; and he
did not wear bear-skins, and keep his hands in a huge muff; things,
which I could not help connecting with Greenland and all Greenlanders.

But I was telling about my being sea-sick and wanting to retire for the
night. This Greenlander seeing I was ill, volunteered to turn doctor and
cure me; so going down into the forecastle, he came back with a brown
jug, like a molasses jug, and a little tin cannikin, and as soon as the
brown jug got near my nose, I needed no telling what was in it, for it
smelt like a still-house, and sure enough proved to be full of Jamaica

"Now, Buttons," said he, "one little dose of this will be better for you
than a whole night's sleep; there, take that now, and then eat seven or
eight biscuits, and you'll feel as strong as the mainmast."

But I felt very little like doing as I was bid, for I had some scruples
about drinking spirits; and to tell the plain truth, for I am not
ashamed of it, I was a member of a society in the village where my
mother lived, called the Juvenile Total Abstinence Association, of which
my friend, Tom Legare, was president, secretary, and treasurer, and kept
the funds in a little purse that his cousin knit for him. There was
three and sixpence on hand, I believe, the last time he brought in his
accounts, on a May day, when we had a meeting in a grove on the
river-bank. Tom was a very honest treasurer, and never spent the
Society's money for peanuts; and besides all, was a fine, generous boy,
whom I much loved. But I must not talk about Tom now.

When the Greenlander came to me with his jug of medicine, I thanked him
as well as I could; for just then I was leaning with my mouth over the
side, feeling ready to die; but I managed to tell him I was under a
solemn obligation never to drink spirits upon any consideration
whatever; though, as I had a sort of presentiment that the spirits would
now, for once in my life, do me good, I began to feel sorry, that when I
signed the pledge of abstinence, I had not taken care to insert a little
clause, allowing me to drink spirits in case of sea-sickness. And I
would advise temperance people to attend to this matter in future; and
then if they come to go to sea, there will be no need of breaking their
pledges, which I am truly sorry to say was the case with me. And a hard
thing it was, too, thus to break a vow before unbroken; especially as
the Jamaica tasted any thing but agreeable, and indeed burnt my mouth
so, that I did not relish my meals for some time after. Even when I had
become quite well and strong again, I wondered how the sailors could
really like such stuff; but many of them had a jug of it, besides the
Greenlander, which they brought along to sea with them, to taper off
with, as they called it. But this tapering off did not last very long,
for the Jamaica was all gone on the second day, and the jugs were tossed
overboard. I wonder where they are now?

But to tell the truth, I found, in spite of its sharp taste, the spirits
I drank was just the thing I needed; but I suppose, if I could have had
a cup of nice hot coffee, it would have done quite as well, and perhaps
much better. But that was not to be had at that time of night, or,
indeed, at any other time; for the thing they called coffee, which was
given to us every morning at breakfast, was the most curious tasting
drink I ever drank, and tasted as little like coffee, as it did like
lemonade; though, to be sure, it was generally as cold as lemonade, and
I used to think the cook had an icehouse, and dropt ice into his coffee.
But what was more curious still, was the different quality and taste of
it on different mornings. Sometimes it tasted fishy, as if it was a
decoction of Dutch herrings; and then it would taste very salty, as if
some old horse, or sea-beef, had been boiled in it; and then again it
would taste a sort of cheesy, as if the captain had sent his
cheese-parings forward to make our coffee of; and yet another time it
would have such a very bad flavor, that I was almost ready to think some
old stocking-heels had been boiled in it. What under heaven it was made
of, that it had so many different bad flavors, always remained a
mystery; for when at work at his vocation, our old cook used to keep
himself close shut-up in his caboose, a little cook-house, and never
told any of his secrets.

Though a very serious character, as I shall hereafter show, he was for
all that, and perhaps for that identical reason, a very suspicious
looking sort of a cook, that I don't believe would ever succeed in
getting the cooking at Delmonico's in New York. It was well for him that
he was a black cook, for I have no doubt his color kept us from seeing
his dirty face! I never saw him wash but once, and that was at one of
his own soup pots one dark night when he thought no one saw him. What
induced him to be washing his face then, I never could find out; but I
suppose he must have suddenly waked up, after dreaming about some real
estate on his cheeks. As for his coffee, notwithstanding the
disagreeableness of its flavor, I always used to have a strange
curiosity every morning, to see what new taste it was going to have; and
though, sure enough, I never missed making a new discovery, and adding
another taste to my palate, I never found that there was any change in
the badness of the beverage, which always seemed the same in that
respect as before.

It may well be believed, then, that now when I was seasick, a cup of
such coffee as our old cook made would have done me no good, if indeed
it would not have come near making an end of me. And bad as it was, and
since it was not to be had at that time of night, as I said before, I
think I was excusable in taking something else in place of it, as I did;
and under the circumstances, it would be unhandsome of them, if my
fellow-members of the Temperance Society should reproach me for breaking
my bond, which I would not have done except in case of necessity. But
the evil effect of breaking one's bond upon any occasion whatever, was
witnessed in the present case; for it insidiously opened the way to
subsequent breaches of it, which though very slight, yet carried no
apology with them.


The latter part of this first long watch that we stood was very
pleasant, so far as the weather was concerned. From being rather cloudy,
it became a soft moonlight; and the stars peeped out, plain enough to
count one by one; and there was a fine steady breeze; and it was not
very cold; and we were going through the water almost as smooth as a
sled sliding down hill. And what was still better, the wind held so
steady, that there was little running aloft, little pulling ropes, and
scarcely any thing disagreeable of that kind.

The chief mate kept walking up and down the quarter-deck, with a lighted
long-nine cigar in his mouth by way of a torch; and spoke but few words
to us the whole watch. He must have had a good deal of thinking to
attend to, which hi truth is the case with most seamen the first night
out of port, especially when they have thrown away their money in
foolish dissipation, and got very sick into the bargain. For when
ashore, many of these sea-officers are as wild and reckless in their
way, as the sailors they command.

While I stood watching the red cigar-end promenading up and down, the
mate suddenly stopped and gave an order, and the men sprang to obey it.
It was not much, only something about hoisting one of the sails a little
higher up on the mast. The men took hold of the rope, and began pulling
upon it; the foremost man of all setting up a song with no words to it,
only a strange musical rise and fall of notes. In the dark night, and
far out upon the lonely sea, it sounded wild enough, and made me feel as
I had sometimes felt, when in a twilight room a cousin of mine, with
black eyes, used to play some old German airs on the piano. I almost
looked round for goblins, and felt just a little bit afraid. But I soon
got used to this singing; for the sailors never touched a rope without
it. Sometimes, when no one happened to strike up, and the pulling,
whatever it might be, did not seem to be getting forward very well, the
mate would always say, "Come, men, can't any of you sing? Sing now, and
raise the dead." And then some one of them would begin, and if every
man's arms were as much relieved as mine by the song, and he could pull
as much better as I did, with such a cheering accompaniment, I am sure
the song was well worth the breath expended on it. It is a great thing
in a sailor to know how to sing well, for he gets a great name by it
from the officers, and a good deal of popularity among his shipmates.
Some sea-captains, before shipping a man, always ask him whether he can
sing out at a rope.

During the greater part of the watch, the sailors sat on the windlass
and told long stories of their adventures by sea and land, and talked
about Gibraltar, and Canton, and Valparaiso, and Bombay, just as you and
I would about Peck Slip and the Bowery. Every man of them almost was a
volume of Voyages and Travels round the World. And what most struck me
was that like books of voyages they often contradicted each other, and
would fall into long and violent disputes about who was keeping the Foul
Anchor tavern in Portsmouth at such a time; or whether the King of
Canton lived or did not live in Persia; or whether the bar-maid of a
particular house in Hamburg had black eyes or blue eyes; with many other
mooted points of that sort.

At last one of them went below and brought up a box of cigars from his
chest, for some sailors always provide little delicacies of that kind,
to break off the first shock of the salt water after laying idle ashore;
and also by way of tapering off, as I mentioned a little while ago. But
I wondered that they never carried any pies and tarts to sea with them,
instead of spirits and cigars.

Ned, for that was the man's name, split open the box with a blow of his
fist, and then handed it round along the windlass, just like a waiter at
a party, every one helping himself. But I was a member of an
Anti-Smoking Society that had been organized in our village by the
Principal of the Sunday School there, in conjunction with the Temperance
Association. So I did not smoke any then, though I did afterward upon
the voyage, I am sorry to say. Notwithstanding I declined; with a good
deal of unnecessary swearing, Ned assured me that the cigars were real
genuine Havannas; for he had been in Havanna, he said, and had them made
there under his own eye. According to his account, he was very
particular about his cigars and other things, and never made any
importations, for they were unsafe; but always made a voyage himself
direct to the place where any foreign thing was to be had that he
wanted. He went to Havre for his woolen shirts, to Panama for his hats,
to China for his silk handkerchiefs, and direct to Calcutta for his
cheroots; and as a great joker in the watch used to say, no doubt he
would at last have occasion to go to Russia for his halter; the wit of
which saying was presumed to be in the fact, that the Russian hemp is
the best; though that is not wit which needs explaining.

By dint of the spirits which, besides stimulating my fainting strength,
united with the cool air of the sea to give me an appetite for our hard
biscuit; and also by dint of walking briskly up and down the deck before
the windlass, I had now recovered in good part from my sickness, and
finding the sailors all very pleasant and sociable, at least among
themselves, and seated smoking together like old cronies, and nothing on
earth to do but sit the watch out, I began to think that they were a
pretty good set of fellows after all, barring their swearing and another
ugly way of talking they had; and I thought I had misconceived their
true characters; for at the outset I had deemed them such a parcel of
wicked hard-hearted rascals that it would be a severe affliction to
associate with them.

Yes, I now began to look on them with a sort of incipient love; but more
with an eye of pity and compassion, as men of naturally gentle and kind
dispositions, whom only hardships, and neglect, and ill-usage had made
outcasts from good society; and not as villains who loved wickedness for
the sake of it, and would persist in wickedness, even in Paradise, if
they ever got there. And I called to mind a sermon I had once heard in a
church in behalf of sailors, when the preacher called them strayed lambs
from the fold, and compared them to poor lost children, babes in the
wood, orphans without fathers or mothers.

And I remembered reading in a magazine, called the Sailors' Magazine,
with a sea-blue cover, and a ship painted on the back, about pious
seamen who never swore, and paid over all their wages to the poor
heathen in India; and how that when they were too old to go to sea,
these pious old sailors found a delightful home for life in the
Hospital, where they had nothing to do, but prepare themselves for their
latter end. And I wondered whether there were any such good sailors
among my ship-mates; and observing that one of them laid on deck apart
from the rest, I thought to be sure he must be one of them: so I did not
disturb his devotions: but I was afterward shocked at discovering that
he was only fast asleep, with one of the brown jugs by his side.

I forgot to mention by the way, that every once in a while, the men went
into one corner, where the chief mate could not see them, to take a
"swig at the halyards," as they called it; and this swigging at the
halyards it was, that enabled them "to taper off" handsomely, and no
doubt it was this, too, that had something to do with making them so
pleasant and sociable that night, for they were seldom so pleasant and
sociable afterward, and never treated me so kindly as they did then. Yet
this might have been owing to my being something of a stranger to them,
then; and our being just out of port. But that very night they turned
about, and taught me a bitter lesson; but all in good time.

I have said, that seeing how agreeable they were getting, and how
friendly their manner was, I began to feel a sort of compassion for
them, grounded on their sad conditions as amiable outcasts; and feeling
so warm an interest in them, and being full of pity, and being truly
desirous of benefiting them to the best of my poor powers, for I knew
they were but poor indeed, I made bold to ask one of them, whether he
was ever in the habit of going to church, when he was ashore, or
dropping in at the Floating Chapel I had seen lying off the dock in the
East River at New York; and whether he would think it too much of a
liberty, if I asked him, if he had any good books in his chest. He
stared a little at first, but marking what good language I used, seeing
my civil bearing toward him, he seemed for a moment to be filled with a
certain involuntary respect for me, and answered, that he had been to
church once, some ten or twelve years before, in London, and on a
week-day had helped to move the Floating Chapel round the Battery, from
the North River; and that was the only time he had seen it. For his
books, he said he did not know what I meant by good books; but if I
wanted the Newgate Calendar, and Pirate's Own, he could lend them to me.

When I heard this poor sailor talk in this manner, showing so plainly
his ignorance and absence of proper views of religion, I pitied him more
and more, and contrasting my own situation with his, I was grateful that
I was different from him; and I thought how pleasant it was, to feel
wiser and better than he could feel; though I was willing to confess to
myself, that it was not altogether my own good endeavors, so much as my
education, which I had received from others, that had made me the
upright and sensible boy I at that time thought myself to be. And it was
now, that I began to feel a good degree of complacency and satisfaction
in surveying my own character; for, before this, I had previously
associated with persons of a very discreet life, so that there was
little opportunity to magnify myself, by comparing myself with my

Thinking that my superiority to him in a moral way might sit uneasily
upon this sailor, I thought it would soften the matter down by giving
him a chance to show his own superiority to me, in a minor thing; for I
was far from being vain and conceited.

Having observed that at certain intervals a little bell was rung on the
quarter-deck by the man at the wheel; and that as soon as it was heard,
some one of the sailors forward struck a large bell which hung on the
forecastle; and having observed that how many times soever the man
astern rang his bell, the man forward struck his--tit for tat,--I inquired
of this Floating Chapel sailor, what all this ringing meant; and
whether, as the big bell hung right over the scuttle that went down to
the place where the watch below were sleeping, such a ringing every
little while would not tend to disturb them and beget unpleasant dreams;
and in asking these questions I was particular to address him in a civil
and condescending way, so as to show him very plainly that I did not
deem myself one whit better than he was, that is, taking all things
together, and not going into particulars. But to my great surprise and
mortification, he in the rudest land of manner laughed aloud in my face,
and called me a "Jimmy Dux," though that was not my real name, and he
must have known it; and also the "son of a farmer," though as I have
previously related, my father was a great merchant and French importer
in Broad-street in New York. And then he began to laugh and joke about
me, with the other sailors, till they all got round me, and if I had not
felt so terribly angry, I should certainly have felt very much Eke a
fool. But my being so angry prevented me from feeling foolish, which is
very lucky for people in a passion.


While the scene last described was going on, we were all startled by a
horrid groaning noise down in the forecastle; and all at once some one
came rushing up the scuttle in his shirt, clutching something in his
hand, and trembling and shrieking in the most frightful manner, so that
I thought one of the sailors must be murdered below.

But it all passed in a moment; and while we stood aghast at the sight,
and almost before we knew what it was, the shrieking man jumped over
the bows into the sea, and we saw him no more. Then there was a great
uproar; the sailors came running up on deck; and the chief mate ran
forward, and learning what had happened, began to yell out his orders
about the sails and yards; and we all went to pulling and hauling the
ropes, till at last the ship lay almost still on the water. Then they
loosed a boat, which kept pulling round the ship for more than an hour,
but they never caught sight of the man. It seemed that he was one of the
sailors who had been brought aboard dead drunk, and tumbled into his
bunk by his landlord; and there he had lain till now. He must have
suddenly waked up, I suppose, raging mad with the delirium tremens, as
the chief mate called it, and finding himself in a strange silent place,
and knowing not how he had got there, he rushed on deck, and so, in a
fit of frenzy, put an end to himself.

This event, happening at the dead of night, had a wonderfully solemn and
almost awful effect upon me. I would have given the whole world, and the
sun and moon, and all the stars in heaven, if they had been mine, had I
been safe back at Mr. Jones', or still better, in my home on the Hudson
River. I thought it an ill-omened voyage, and railed at the folly which
had sent me to sea, sore against the advice of my best friends, that is
to say, my mother and sisters.

Alas! poor Wellingborough, thought I, you will never see your home any
more. And in this melancholy mood I went below, when the watch had
expired, which happened soon after. But to my terror, I found that the
suicide had been occupying the very bunk which I had appropriated to
myself, and there was no other place for me to sleep in. The thought of
lying down there now, seemed too horrible to me, and what made it worse,
was the way in which the sailors spoke of my being frightened. And they
took this opportunity to tell me what a hard and wicked Me I had entered
upon, and how that such things happened frequently at sea, and they were
used to it. But I did not believe this; for when the suicide came
rushing and shrieking up the scuttle, they looked as frightened as I
did; and besides that, and what makes their being frightened still
plainer, is the fact, that if they had had any presence of mind, they
could have prevented his plunging overboard, since he brushed right by
them. However, they lay in then-bunks smoking, and kept talking on some
time in this strain, and advising me as soon as ever I got home to pin
my ears back, so as not to hold the wind, and sail straight away into
the interior of the country, and never stop until deep in the bush, far
off from the least running brook, never mind how shallow, and out of
sight of even the smallest puddle of rainwater.

This kind of talking brought the tears into my eyes, for it was so true
and real, and the sailors who spoke it seemed so false-hearted and
insincere; but for all that, in spite of the sickness at my heart, it
made me mad, and stung me to the quick, that they should speak of me as
a poor trembling coward, who could never be brought to endure the
hardships of a sailor's life; for I felt myself trembling, and knew that
I was but a coward then, well enough, without their telling me of it.
And they did not say I was cowardly, because they perceived it in me,
but because they merely supposed I must be, judging, no doubt, from
their own secret thoughts about themselves; for I felt sure that the
suicide frightened them very badly. And at last, being provoked to
desperation by their taunts, I told them so to their faces; but I might
better have kept silent; for they now all united to abuse me. They asked
me what business I, a boy like me, had to go to sea, and take the bread
out of the mouth of honest sailors, and fill a good seaman's place; and
asked me whether I ever dreamed of becoming a captain, since I was a
gentleman with white hands; and if I ever should be, they would like
nothing better than to ship aboard my vessel and stir up a mutiny. And
one of them, whose name was Jackson, of whom I shall have a good deal
more to say by-and-by, said, I had better steer clear of him ever after,
for if ever I crossed his path, or got into his way, he would be the
death of me, and if ever I stumbled about in the rigging near him, he
would make nothing of pitching me overboard; and that he swore too, with
an oath. At first, all this nearly stunned me, it was so unforeseen; and
then I could not believe that they meant what they said, or that they
could be so cruel and black-hearted. But how could I help seeing, that
the men who could thus talk to a poor, friendless boy, on the very first
night of his voyage to sea, must be capable of almost any enormity. I
loathed, detested, and hated them with all that was left of my bursting
heart and soul, and I thought myself the most forlorn and miserable
wretch that ever breathed. May I never be a man, thought I, if to be a
boy is to be such a wretch. And I wailed and wept, and my heart cracked
within me, but all the time I defied them through my teeth, and dared
them to do their worst.

At last they ceased talking and fell fast asleep, leaving me awake,
seated on a chest with my face bent over my knees between my hands. And
there I sat, till at length the dull beating against the ship's bows,
and the silence around soothed me down, and I fell asleep as I sat.


The next thing I knew, was the loud thumping of a handspike on deck as
the watch was called again. It was now four o'clock in the morning, and
when we got on deck the first signs of day were shining in the east. The
men were very sleepy, and sat down on the windlass without speaking, and
some of them nodded and nodded, till at last they fell off like little
boys in church during a drowsy sermon. At last it was broad day, and an
order was given to wash down the decks. A great tub was dragged into the
waist, and then one of the men went over into the chains, and slipped in
behind a band fastened to the shrouds, and leaning over, began to swing
a bucket into the sea by a long rope; and in that way with much
expertness and sleight of hand, he managed to fill the tub in a very
short time. Then the water began to splash about all over the decks, and
I began to think I should surely get my feet wet, and catch my death of
cold. So I went to the chief mate, and told him I thought I would just
step below, till this miserable wetting was over; for I did not have any
water-proof boots, and an aunt of mine had died of consumption. But he
only roared out for me to get a broom and go to scrubbing, or he would
prove a worse consumption to me than ever got hold of my poor aunt. So I
scrubbed away fore and aft, till my back was almost broke, for the
brooms had uncommon short handles, and we were told to scrub hard.

At length the scrubbing being over, the mate began heaving buckets of
water about, to wash every thing clean, by way of finishing off. He must
have thought this fine sport, just as captains of fire engines love to
point the tube of their hose; for he kept me running after him with full
buckets of water, and sometimes chased a little chip all over the deck,
with a continued flood, till at last he sent it flying out of a
scupper-hole into the sea; when if he had only given me permission, I
could have picked it up in a trice, and dropped it overboard without
saying one word, and without wasting so much water. But he said there
was plenty of water in the ocean, and to spare; which was true enough,
but then I who had to trot after him with the buckets, had no more legs
and arms than I wanted for my own use.

I thought this washing down the decks was the most foolish thing in the
world, and besides that it was the most uncomfortable. It was worse than
my mother's house-cleanings at home, which I used to abominate so.

At eight o'clock the bell was struck, and we went to breakfast. And now
some of the worst of my troubles began. For not having had any friend to
tell me what I would want at sea, I had not provided myself, as I should
have done, with a good many things that a sailor needs; and for my own
part, it had never entered my mind, that sailors had no table to sit
down to, no cloth, or napkins, or tumblers, and had to provide every
thing themselves. But so it was.

The first thing they did was this. Every sailor went to the cook-house
with his tin pot, and got it filled with coffee; but of course, having
no pot, there was no coffee for me. And after that, a sort of little tub
called a "kid," was passed down into the forecastle, filled with
something they called "burgoo." This was like mush, made of Indian corn,
meal, and water. With the "kid," a. little tin cannikin was passed down
with molasses. Then the Jackson that I spoke of before, put the kid
between his knees, and began to pour in the molasses, just like an old
landlord mixing punch for a party. He scooped out a little hole in the
middle of the mush, to hold the molasses; so it looked for all the world
like a little black pool in the Dismal Swamp of Virginia.

Then they all formed a circle round the kid; and one after the other,
with great regularity, dipped their spoons into the mush, and after
stirring them round a little in the molasses-pool, they swallowed down
their mouthfuls, and smacked their lips over it, as if it tasted very
good; which I have no doubt it did; but not having any spoon, I wasn't

I sat some time watching these proceedings, and wondering how polite
they were to each other; for, though there were a great many spoons to
only one dish, they never got entangled. At last, seeing that the mush
was getting thinner and thinner, and that it was getting low water, or
rather low molasses in the little pool, I ran on deck, and after
searching about, returned with a bit of stick; and thinking I had as
good a right as any one else to the mush and molasses, I worked my way
into the circle, intending to make one of the party. So I shoved in my
stick, and after twirling it about, was just managing to carry a little
burgoo toward my mouth, which had been for some time standing ready open
to receive it, when one of the sailors perceiving what I was about,
knocked the stick out of my hands, and asked me where I learned my
manners; Was that the way gentlemen eat in my country? Did they eat
their victuals with splinters of wood, and couldn't that wealthy
gentleman my father afford to buy his gentlemanly son a spoon?

All the rest joined in, and pronounced me an ill-bred, coarse, and
unmannerly youngster, who, if permitted to go on with such behavior as
that, would corrupt the whole crew, and make them no better than swine.

As I felt conscious that a stick was indeed a thing very unsuitable to
eat with, I did not say much to this, though it vexed me enough; but
remembering that I had seen one of the steerage passengers with a pan
and spoon in his hand eating his breakfast on the fore hatch, I now ran
on deck again, and to my great joy succeeded in borrowing his spoon, for
he had got through his meal, and down I came again, though at the
eleventh hour, and offered myself once more as a candidate.

But alas! there was little more of the Dismal Swamp left, and when I
reached over to the opposite end of the kid, I received a rap on the
knuckles from a spoon, and was told that I must help myself from my own
side, for that was the rule. But my side was scraped clean, so I got no
burgoo that morning.

But I made it up by eating some salt beef and biscuit, which I found to
be the invariable accompaniment of every meal; the sailors sitting
cross-legged on their chests in a circle, and breaking the hard biscuit,
very sociably, over each other's heads, which was very convenient
indeed, but gave me the headache, at least for the first four or five
days till I got used to it; and then I did not care much about it, only
it kept my hair full of crumbs; and I had forgot to bring a fine comb
and brush, so I used to shake my hair out to windward over the bulwarks
every evening.


While we sat eating our beef and biscuit, two of the men got into a
dispute, about who had been sea-faring the longest; when Jackson, who
had mixed the burgoo, called upon them in a loud voice to cease their
clamor, for he would decide the matter for them. Of this sailor, I shall
have something more to say, as I get on with my narrative; so, I will
here try to describe him a little.

Did you ever see a man, with his hair shaved off, and just recovered
from the yellow fever? Well, just such a looking man was this sailor. He
was as yellow as gamboge, had no more whisker on his cheek, than I have
on my elbows. His hair had fallen out, and left him very bald, except in
the nape of his neck, and just behind the ears, where it was stuck over
with short little tufts, and looked like a worn-out shoe-brush. His nose
had broken down in the middle, and he squinted with one eye, and did not
look very straight out of the other. He dressed a good deal like a
Bowery boy; for he despised the ordinary sailor-rig; wearing a pair of
great over-all blue trowsers, fastened with suspenders, and three red
woolen shirts, one over the other; for he was subject to the rheumatism,
and was not in good health, he said; and he had a large white wool hat,
with a broad rolling brim. He was a native of New York city, and had a
good deal to say about highlanders, and rowdies, whom he denounced as
only good for the gallows; but I thought he looked a good deal like a
highlander himself.

His name, as I have said, was Jackson; and he told us, he was a near
relation of General Jackson of New Orleans, and swore terribly, if any
one ventured to question what he asserted on that head. In fact he was a
great bully, and being the best seaman on board, and very overbearing
every way, all the men were afraid of him, and durst not contradict him,
or cross his path in any thing. And what made this more wonderful was,
that he was the weakest man, bodily, of the whole crew; and I have no
doubt that young and small as I was then, compared to what I am now, I
could have thrown him down. But he had such an overawing way with him;
such a deal of brass and impudence, such an unflinching face, and withal
was such a hideous looking mortal, that Satan himself would have run
from him. And besides all this, it was quite plain, that he was by
nature a marvelously clever, cunning man, though without education; and
understood human nature to a kink, and well knew whom he had to deal
with; and then, one glance of his squinting eye, was as good as a
knock-down, for it was the most deep, subtle, infernal looking eye, that
I ever saw lodged in a human head. I believe, that by good rights it
must have belonged to a wolf, or starved tiger; at any rate, I would
defy any oculist, to turn out a glass eye, half so cold, and snaky, and
deadly. It was a horrible thing; and I would give much to forget that I
have ever seen it; for it haunts me to this day.

It was impossible to tell how old this Jackson was; for he had no beard,
and no wrinkles, except small crowsfeet about the eyes. He might have
seen thirty, or perhaps fifty years. But according to his own account,
he had been to sea ever since he was eight years old, when he first went
as a cabin-boy in an Indiaman, and ran away at Calcutta. And according
to his own account, too, he had passed through every kind of dissipation
and abandonment in the worst parts of the world. He had served in
Portuguese slavers on the coast of Africa; and with a diabolical relish
used to tell of the middle-passage, where the slaves were stowed, heel
and point, like logs, and the suffocated and dead were unmanacled, and
weeded out from the living every morning, before washing down the decks;
how he had been in a slaving schooner, which being chased by an English
cruiser off Cape Verde, received three shots in her hull, which raked
through and through a whole file of slaves, that were chained.

He would tell of lying in Batavia during a fever, when his ship lost a
man every few days, and how they went reeling ashore with the body, and
got still more intoxicated by way of precaution against the plague. He
would talk of finding a cobra-di-capello, or hooded snake, under his
pillow in India, when he slept ashore there. He would talk of sailors
being poisoned at Canton with drugged "shampoo," for the sake of their
money; and of the Malay ruffians, who stopped ships in the straits of
Caspar, and always saved the captain for the last, so as to make him
point out where the most valuable goods were stored.

His whole talk was of this land; full of piracies, plagues and
poisonings. And often he narrated many passages in his own individual
career, which were almost incredible, from the consideration that few
men could have plunged into such infamous vices, and clung to them so
long, without paying the death-penalty.

But in truth, he carried about with him the traces of these things, and
the mark of a fearful end nigh at hand; like that of King Antiochus of
Syria, who died a worse death, history says, than if he had been stung
out of the world by wasps and hornets.

Nothing was left of this Jackson but the foul lees and dregs of a man;
he was thin as a shadow; nothing but skin and bones; and sometimes used
to complain, that it hurt him to sit on the hard chests. And I sometimes
fancied, it was the consciousness of his miserable, broken-down
condition, and the prospect of soon dying like a dog, in consequence of
his sins, that made this poor wretch always eye me with such malevolence
as he did. For I was young and handsome, at least my mother so thought
me, and as soon as I became a little used to the sea, and shook off my
low spirits somewhat, I began to have my old color in my cheeks, and,
spite of misfortune, to appear well and hearty; whereas he was being
consumed by an incurable malady, that was eating up his vitals, and was
more fit for a hospital than a ship.

As I am sometimes by nature inclined to indulge in unauthorized
surmisings about the thoughts going on with regard to me, in the people
I meet; especially if I have reason to think they dislike me; I will not
put it down for a certainty that what I suspected concerning this
Jackson relative to his thoughts of me, was really the truth. But only
state my honest opinion, and how it struck me at the time; and even now,
I think I was not wrong. And indeed, unless it was so, how could I
account to myself, for the shudder that would run through me, when I
caught this man gazing at me, as I often did; for he was apt to be dumb
at times, and would sit with his eyes fixed, and his teeth set, like a
man in the moody madness.

I well remember the first time I saw him, and how I was startled at his
eye, which was even then fixed upon me. He was standing at the ship's
helm, being the first man that got there, when a steersman was called
for by the pilot; for this Jackson was always on the alert for easy
duties, and used to plead his delicate health as the reason for assuming
them, as he did; though I used to think, that for a man in poor health,
he was very swift on the legs; at least when a good place was to be
jumped to; though that might only have been a sort of spasmodic exertion
under strong inducements, which every one knows the greatest invalids
will sometimes show.

And though the sailors were always very bitter against any thing like
sogering, as they called it; that is, any thing that savored of a desire
to get rid of downright hard work; yet, I observed that, though this
Jackson was a notorious old soger the whole voyage (I mean, in all
things not perilous to do, from which he was far from hanging back), and
in truth was a great veteran that way, and one who must have passed
unhurt through many campaigns; yet, they never presumed to call him to
account in any way; or to let him so much as think, what they thought of
his conduct. But I often heard them call him many hard names behind his
back; and sometimes, too, when, perhaps, they had just been tenderly
inquiring after his health before his face. They all stood in mortal
fear of him; and cringed and fawned about him like so many spaniels; and
used to rub his back, after he was undressed and lying in his bunk; and
used to run up on deck to the cook-house, to warm some cold coffee for
him; and used to fill his pipe, and give him chews of tobacco, and mend
his jackets and trowsers; and used to watch, and tend, and nurse him
every way. And all the time, he would sit scowling on them, and found
fault with what they did; and I noticed, that those who did the most for
him, and cringed the most before him, were the very ones he most abused;
while two or three who held more aloof, he treated with a little

It is not for me to say, what it was that made a whole ship's company
submit so to the whims of one poor miserable man like Jackson. I only
know that so it was; but I have no doubt, that if he had had a blue eye
in his head, or had had a different face from what he did have, they
would not have stood in such awe of him. And it astonished me, to see
that one of the seamen, a remarkably robust and good-humored young man
from Belfast in Ireland, was a person of no mark or influence among the
crew; but on the contrary was hooted at, and trampled upon, and made a
butt and laughing-stock; and more than all, was continually being abused
and snubbed by Jackson, who seemed to hate him cordially, because of his
great strength and fine person, and particularly because of his red

But then, this Belfast man, although he had shipped for an able-seaman,
was not much of a sailor; and that always lowers a man in the eyes of a
ship's company; I mean, when he ships for an able-seaman, but is not
able to do the duty of one. For sailors are of three
classes--able-seaman, ordinary-seaman, and boys; and they receive
different wages according to their rank. Generally, a ship's company of
twelve men will only have five or six able seamen, who if they prove to
understand their duty every way (and that is no small matter either, as
I shall hereafter show, perhaps), are looked up to, and thought much of
by the ordinary-seamen and boys, who reverence their very pea-jackets,
and lay up their sayings in their hearts.

But you must not think from this, that persons called boys aboard
merchant-ships are all youngsters, though to be sure, I myself was
called a boy, and a boy I was. No. In merchant-ships, a boy means a
green-hand, a landsman on his first voyage. And never mind if he is old
enough to be a grandfather, he is still called a boy; and boys' work is
put upon him.

But I am straying off from what I was going to say about Jackson's
putting an end to the dispute between the two sailors in the forecastle
after breakfast. After they had been disputing some time about who had
been to sea the longest, Jackson told them to stop talking; and then
bade one of them open his mouth; for, said he, I can tell a sailor's age
just like a horse's--by his teeth. So the man laughed, and opened his
mouth; and Jackson made him step out under the scuttle, where the light
came down from deck; and then made him throw his head back, while he
looked into it, and probed a little with his jackknife, like a baboon
peering into a junk-bottle. I trembled for the poor fellow, just as if I
had seen him under the hands of a crazy barber, making signs to cut his
throat, and he all the while sitting stock still, with the lather on, to
be shaved. For I watched Jackson's eye and saw it snapping, and a sort
of going in and out, very quick, as if it were something like a forked
tongue; and somehow, I felt as if he were longing to kill the man; but
at last he grew more composed, and after concluding his examination,
said, that the first man was the oldest sailor, for the ends of his
teeth were the evenest and most worn down; which, he said, arose from
eating so much hard sea-biscuit; and this was the reason he could tell a
sailor's age like a horse's.

At this, every body made merry, and looked at each other, as much as to
say--come, boys, let's laugh; and they did laugh; and declared it was a
rare joke.

This was always the way with them. They made a point of shouting out,
whenever Jackson said any thing with a grin; that being the sign to them
that he himself thought it funny; though I heard many good jokes from
others pass off without a smile; and once Jackson himself (for, to tell
the truth, he sometimes had a comical way with him, that is, when his
back did not ache) told a truly funny story, but with a grave face;
when, not knowing how he meant it, whether for a laugh or otherwise,
they all sat still, waiting what to do, and looking perplexed enough;
till at last Jackson roared out upon them for a parcel of fools and
idiots; and told them to their beards, how it was; that he had purposely
put on his grave face, to see whether they would not look grave, too;
even when he was telling something that ought to split their sides. And
with that, he flouted, and jeered at them, and laughed them all to
scorn; and broke out in such a rage, that his lips began to glue
together at the corners with a fine white foam.

He seemed to be full of hatred and gall against every thing and every
body in the world; as if all the world was one person, and had done him
some dreadful harm, that was rankling and festering in his heart.
Sometimes I thought he was really crazy; and often felt so frightened at
him, that I thought of going to the captain about it, and telling him
Jackson ought to be confined, lest he should do some terrible thing at
last. But upon second thoughts, I always gave it up; for the captain
would only have called me a fool, and sent me forward again.

But you must not think that all the sailors were alike in abasing
themselves before this man. No: there were three or four who used to
stand up sometimes against him; and when he was absent at the wheel,
would plot against him among the other sailors, and tell them what a
shame and ignominy it was, that such a poor miserable wretch should be
such a tyrant over much better men than himself. And they begged and
conjured them as men, to put up with it no longer, but the very next
time, that Jackson presumed to play the dictator, that they should all
withstand him, and let him know his place. Two or three times nearly all
hands agreed to it, with the exception of those who used to slink off
during such discussions; and swore that they would not any more submit
to being ruled by Jackson. But when the time came to make good their
oaths, they were mum again, and let every thing go on the old way; so
that those who had put them up to it, had to bear all the brunt of
Jackson's wrath by themselves. And though these last would stick up a
little at first, and even mutter something about a fight to Jackson; yet
in the end, finding themselves unbefriended by the rest, they would
gradually become silent, and leave the field to the tyrant, who would
then fly out worse than ever, and dare them to do their worst, and jeer
at them for white-livered poltroons, who did not have a mouthful of
heart in them. At such times, there were no bounds to his contempt; and
indeed, all the time he seemed to have even more contempt than hatred,
for every body and every thing.

As for me, I was but a boy; and at any time aboard ship, a boy is
expected to keep quiet, do what he is bid, never presume to interfere,
and seldom to talk, unless spoken to. For merchant sailors have a great
idea of their dignity, and superiority to greenhorns and landsmen, who
know nothing about a ship; and they seem to think, that an able seaman
is a great man; at least a much greater man than a little boy. And the
able seamen in the Highlander had such grand notions about their
seamanship, that I almost thought that able seamen received diplomas,
like those given at colleges; and were made a sort A.M.S, or Masters of

But though I kept thus quiet, and had very little to say, and well knew
that my best plan was to get along peaceably with every body, and indeed
endure a good deal before showing fight, yet I could not avoid Jackson's
evil eye, nor escape his bitter enmity. And his being my foe, set many
of the rest against me; or at least they were afraid to speak out for me
before Jackson; so that at last I found myself a sort of Ishmael in the
ship, without a single friend or companion; and I began to feel a hatred
growing up in me against the whole crew--so much so, that I prayed
against it, that it might not master my heart completely, and so make a
fiend of me, something like Jackson.


The second day out of port, the decks being washed down and breakfast
over, the watch was called, and the mate set us to work.

It was a very bright day. The sky and water were both of the same deep
hue; and the air felt warm and sunny; so that we threw off our jackets.
I could hardly believe that I was sailing in the same ship I had been in
during the night, when every thing had been so lonely and dim; and I
could hardly imagine that this was the same ocean, now so beautiful and
blue, that during part of the night-watch had rolled along so black and

There were little traces of sunny clouds all over the heavens; and
little fleeces of foam all over the sea; and the ship made a strange,
musical noise under her bows, as she glided along, with her sails all
still. It seemed a pity to go to work at such a time; and if we could
only have sat in the windlass again; or if they would have let me go out
on the bowsprit, and lay down between the manropes there, and look over
at the fish in the water, and think of home, I should have been almost
happy for a time.

I had now completely got over my sea-sickness, and felt very well; at
least in my body, though my heart was far from feeling right; so that I
could now look around me, and make observations.

And truly, though we were at sea, there was much to behold and wonder
at; to me, who was on my first voyage. What most amazed me was the sight
of the great ocean itself, for we were out of sight of land. All round
us, on both sides of the ship, ahead and astern, nothing was to be seen
but water-water--water; not a single glimpse of green shore, not the
smallest island, or speck of moss any where. Never did I realize till
now what the ocean was: how grand and majestic, how solitary, and
boundless, and beautiful and blue; for that day it gave no tokens of
squalls or hurricanes, such as I had heard my father tell of; nor could
I imagine, how any thing that seemed so playful and placid, could be
lashed into rage, and troubled into rolling avalanches of foam, and
great cascades of waves, such as I saw in the end.

As I looked at it so mild and sunny, I could not help calling to mind my
little brother's face, when he was sleeping an infant in the cradle. It
had just such a happy, careless, innocent look; and every happy little
wave seemed gamboling about like a thoughtless Little kid in a pasture;
and seemed to look up in your face as it passed, as if it wanted to be
patted and caressed. They seemed all live things with hearts in them,
that could feel; and I almost felt grieved, as we sailed in among them,
scattering them under our broad bows in sun-flakes, and riding over them
like a great elephant among lambs. But what seemed perhaps the most
strange to me of all, was a certain wonderful rising and falling of the
sea; I do not mean the waves themselves, but a sort of wide heaving and
swelling and sinking all over the ocean. It was something I can not very
well describe; but I know very well what it was, and how it affected me.
It made me almost dizzy to look at it; and yet I could not keep my eyes
off it, it seemed so passing strange and wonderful.

I felt as if in a dream all the time; and when I could shut the ship
out, almost thought I was in some new, fairy world, and expected to hear
myself called to, out of the clear blue air, or from the depths of the
deep blue sea. But I did not have much leisure to indulge in such
thoughts; for the men were now getting some stun'-sails ready to hoist
aloft, as the wind was getting fairer and fairer for us; and these
stun'-sails are light canvas which are spread at such times, away out
beyond the ends of the yards, where they overhang the wide water, like
the wings of a great bird.

For my own part, I could do but little to help the rest, not knowing the
name of any thing, or the proper way to go about aught. Besides, I felt
very dreamy, as I said before; and did not exactly know where, or what I
was; every thing was so strange and new.

While the stun'-sails were lying all tumbled upon the deck, and the
sailors were fastening them to the booms, getting them ready to hoist,
the mate ordered me to do a great many simple things, none of which
could I comprehend, owing to the queer words he used; and then, seeing
me stand quite perplexed and confounded, he would roar out at me, and
call me all manner of names, and the sailors would laugh and wink to
each other, but durst not go farther than that, for fear of the mate,
who in his own presence would not let any body laugh at me but himself.

However, I tried to wake up as much as I could, and keep from dreaming
with my eyes open; and being, at bottom, a smart, apt lad, at last I
managed to learn a thing or two, so that I did not appear so much like a
fool as at first.

People who have never gone to sea for the first time as sailors, can not
imagine how puzzling and confounding it is. It must be like going into a
barbarous country, where they speak a strange dialect, arid dress in
strange clothes, and live in strange houses. For sailors have their own
names, even for things that are familiar ashore; and if you call a thing
by its shore name, you are laughed at for an ignoramus and a landlubber.
This first day I speak of, the mate having ordered me to draw some
water, I asked him where I was to get the pail; when I thought I had
committed some dreadful crime; for he flew into a great passion, and
said they never had any pails at sea, and then I learned that they were
always called buckets. And once I was talking about sticking a little
wooden peg into a bucket to stop a leak, when he flew out again, and
said there were no pegs at sea, only plugs. And just so it was with
every thing else.

But besides all this, there is such an infinite number of totally new
names of new things to learn, that at first it seemed impossible for me
to master them all. If you have ever seen a ship, you must have remarked
what a thicket of ropes there are; and how they all seemed mixed and
entangled together like a great skein of yarn. Now the very smallest of
these ropes has its own proper name, and many of them are very lengthy,
like the names of young royal princes, such as the
starboard-main-top-gallant-bow-line, or the

I think it would not be a bad plan to have a grand new naming of a
ship's ropes, as I have read, they once had a simplifying of the classes
of plants in Botany. It is really wonderful how many names there are in
the world. There is no counting the names, that surgeons and anatomists
give to the various parts of the human body; which, indeed, is something
like a ship; its bones being the stiff standing-rigging, and the sinews
the small running ropes, that manage all the motions.

I wonder whether mankind could not get along without all these names,
which keep increasing every day, and hour, and moment; till at last the
very air will be full of them; and even in a great plain, men will be
breathing each other's breath, owing to the vast multitude of words they
use, that consume all the air, just as lamp-burners do gas. But people
seem to have a great love for names; for to know a great many names,
seems to look like knowing a good many things; though I should not be
surprised, if there were a great many more names than things in the
world. But I must quit this rambling, and return to my story.

At last we hoisted the stun'-sails up to the top-sail yards, and as soon
as the vessel felt them, she gave a sort of bound like a horse, and the
breeze blowing more and more, she went plunging along, shaking off the
foam from her bows, like foam from a bridle-bit. Every mast and timber
seemed to have a pulse in it that was beating with Me and joy; and I
felt a wild exulting in my own heart, and felt as if I would be glad to
bound along so round the world.

Then was I first conscious of a wonderful thing in me, that responded to
all the wild commotion of the outer world; and went reeling on and on
with the planets in their orbits, and was lost in one delirious throb at
the center of the All. A wild bubbling and bursting was at my heart, as
if a hidden spring had just gushed out there; and my blood ran tingling
along my frame, like mountain brooks in spring freshets.

Yes I yes! give me this glorious ocean life, this salt-sea life, this
briny, foamy life, when the sea neighs and snorts, and you breathe the
very breath that the great whales respire! Let me roll around the globe,
let me rock upon the sea; let me race and pant out my life, with an
eternal breeze astern, and an endless sea before!

But how soon these raptures abated, when after a brief idle interval, we
were again set to work, and I had a vile commission to clean out the
chicken coops, and make up the beds of the pigs in the long-boat.

Miserable dog's life is this of the sea! commanded like a slave, and set
to work like an ass! vulgar and brutal men lording it over me, as if I
were an African in Alabama. Yes, yes, blow on, ye breezes, and make a
speedy end to this abominable voyage!


What reminded me most forcibly of my ignominious condition, was the
widely altered manner of the captain toward me.

I had thought him a fine, funny gentleman, full of mirth and good humor,
and good will to seamen, and one who could not fail to appreciate the
difference between me and the rude sailors among whom I was thrown.
Indeed, I had made no doubt that he would in some special manner take me
under his protection, and prove a kind friend and benefactor to me; as I
had heard that some sea-captains are fathers to their crew; and so they
are; but such fathers as Solomon's precepts tend to make--severe and
chastising fathers, fathers whose sense of duty overcomes the sense of
love, and who every day, in some sort, play the part of Brutus, who
ordered his son away to execution, as I have read in our old family

Yes, I thought that Captain Riga, for Riga was his name, would be
attentive and considerate to me, and strive to cheer me up, and comfort
me in my lonesomeness. I did not even deem it at all impossible that he
would invite me down into the cabin of a pleasant night, to ask me
questions concerning my parents, and prospects in life; besides
obtaining from me some anecdotes touching my great-uncle, the
illustrious senator; or give me a slate and pencil, and teach me
problems in navigation; or perhaps engage me at a game of chess. I even
thought he might invite me to dinner on a sunny Sunday, and help me
plentifully to the nice cabin fare, as knowing how distasteful the salt
beef and pork, and hard biscuit of the forecastle must at first be to a
boy like me, who had always lived ashore, and at home.

And I could not help regarding him with peculiar emotions, almost of
tenderness and love, as the last visible link in the chain of
associations which bound me to my home. For, while yet in port, I had
seen him and Mr. Jones, my brother's friend, standing together and
conversing; so that from the captain to my brother there was but one
intermediate step; and my brother and mother and sisters were one.

And this reminds me how often I used to pass by the places on deck,
where I remembered Mr. Jones had stood when we first visited the ship
lying at the wharf; and how I tried to convince myself that it was
indeed true, that he had stood there, though now the ship was so far
away on the wide Atlantic Ocean, and he perhaps was walking down
Wall-street, or sitting reading the newspaper in his counting room,
while poor I was so differently employed.

When two or three days had passed without the captain's speaking to me
in any way, or sending word into the forecastle that he wished me to
drop into the cabin to pay my respects. I began to think whether I
should not make the first advances, and whether indeed he did not expect
it of me, since I was but a boy, and he a man; and perhaps that might
have been the reason why he had not spoken to me yet, deeming it more
proper and respectful for me to address him first. I thought he might be
offended, too, especially if he were a proud man, with tender feelings.
So one evening, a little before sundown, in the second dog-watch, when
there was no more work to be done, I concluded to call and see him.

After drawing a bucket of water, and having a good washing, to get off
some of the chicken-coop stains, I went down into the forecastle to
dress myself as neatly as I could. I put on a white shirt in place of my
red one, and got into a pair of cloth trowsers instead of my duck ones,
and put on my new pumps, and then carefully brushing my shooting-jacket,
I put that on over all, so that upon the whole, I made quite a genteel
figure, at least for a forecastle, though I would not have looked so
well in a drawing-room.

When the sailors saw me thus employed, they did not know what to make of
it, and wanted to know whether I was dressing to go ashore; I told them
no, for we were then out of sight of mind; but that I was going to pay
my respects to the captain. Upon which they all laughed and shouted, as
if I were a simpleton; though there seemed nothing so very simple in
going to make an evening call upon a friend. When some of them tried to
dissuade me, saying I was green and raw; but Jackson, who sat looking
on, cried out, with a hideous grin, "Let him go, let him go, men--he's a
nice boy. Let him go; the captain has some nuts and raisins for him."
And so he was going on, when one of his violent fits of coughing seized
him, and he almost choked.

As I was about leaving the forecastle, I happened to look at my hands,
and seeing them stained all over of a deep yellow, for that morning the
mate had set me to tarring some strips of canvas for the rigging I
thought it would never do to present myself before a gentleman that way;
so for want of lads, I slipped on a pair of woolen mittens, which my
mother had knit for me to carry to sea. As I was putting them on,
Jackson asked me whether he shouldn't call a carriage; and another bade
me not forget to present his best respects to the skipper. I left them
all tittering, and coming on deck was passing the cook-house, when the
old cook called after me, saying I had forgot my cane.

But I did not heed their impudence, and was walking straight toward the
cabin-door on the quarter-deck, when the chief mate met me. I touched my
hat, and was passing him, when, after staring at me till I thought his
eyes would burst out, he all at once caught me by the collar, and with a
voice of thunder, wanted to know what I meant by playing such tricks
aboard a ship that he was mate of? I told him to let go of me, or I
would complain to my friend the captain, whom I intended to visit that
evening. Upon this he gave me such a whirl round, that I thought the
Gulf Stream was in my head; and then shoved me forward, roaring out I
know not what. Meanwhile the sailors were all standing round the
windlass looking aft, mightily tickled.

Seeing I could not effect my object that night, I thought it best to
defer it for the present; and returning among the sailors, Jackson asked
me how I had found the captain, and whether the next time I went, I
would not take a friend along and introduce him.

The upshot of this business was, that before I went to sleep that night,
I felt well satisfied that it was not customary for sailors to call on
the captain in the cabin; and I began to have an inkling of the fact,
that I had acted like a fool; but it all arose from my ignorance of sea

And here I may as well state, that I never saw the inside of the cabin
during the whole interval that elapsed from our sailing till our return
to New York; though I often used to get a peep at it through a little
pane of glass, set in the house on deck, just before the helm, where a
watch was kept hanging for the helmsman to strike the half hours by,
with his little bell in the binnacle, where the compass was. And it used
to be the great amusement of the sailors to look in through the pane of
glass, when they stood at the wheel, and watch the proceedings in the
cabin; especially when the steward was setting the table for dinner, or
the captain was lounging over a decanter of wine on a little mahogany
stand, or playing the game called solitaire, at cards, of an evening;
for at times he was all alone with his dignity; though, as will ere long
be shown, he generally had one pleasant companion, whose society he did
not dislike.

The day following my attempt to drop in at the cabin, I happened to be
making fast a rope on the quarter-deck, when the captain suddenly made
his appearance, promenading up and down, and smoking a cigar. He looked
very good-humored and amiable, and it being just after his dinner, I
thought that this, to be sure, was just the chance I wanted.

I waited a little while, thinking he would speak to me himself; but as
he did not, I went up to him, and began by saying it was a very pleasant
day, and hoped he was very well. I never saw a man fly into such a rage;
I thought he was going to knock me down; but after standing speechless
awhile, he all at once plucked his cap from his head and threw it at me.
I don't know what impelled me, but I ran to the lee-scuppers where it
fell, picked it up, and gave it to him with a bow; when the mate came
running up, and thrust me forward again; and after he had got me as far
as the windlass, he wanted to know whether I was crazy or not; for if I
was, he would put me in irons right off, and have done with it.

But I assured him I was in my right mind, and knew perfectly well that I
had been treated in the most rude and un-gentlemanly manner both by him
and Captain Riga. Upon this, he rapped out a great oath, and told me if
I ever repeated what I had done that evening, or ever again presumed so
much as to lift my hat to the captain, he would tie me into the rigging,
and keep me there until I learned better manners. "You are very green,"
said he, "but I'll ripen you." Indeed this chief mate seemed to have the
keeping of the dignity of the captain; who, in some sort, seemed too
dignified personally to protect his own dignity.

I thought this strange enough, to be reprimanded, and charged with
rudeness for an act of common civility. However, seeing how matters
stood, I resolved to let the captain alone for the future, particularly
as he had shown himself so deficient in the ordinary breeding of a
gentleman. And I could hardly credit it, that this was the same man who
had been so very civil, and polite, and witty, when Mr. Jones and I
called upon him in port.

But this astonishment of mine was much increased, when some days after,
a storm came upon us, and the captain rushed out of the cabin in his
nightcap, and nothing else but his shirt on; and leaping up on the poop,
began to jump up and down, and curse and swear, and call the men aloft
all manner of hard names, just like a common loafer in the street.

Besides all this, too, I noticed that while we were at sea, he wore
nothing but old shabby clothes, very different from the glossy suit I
had seen him in at our first interview, and after that on the steps of
the City Hotel, where he always boarded when in New York. Now, he wore
nothing but old-fashioned snuff-colored coats, with high collars and
short waists; and faded, short-legged pantaloons, very tight about the
knees; and vests, that did not conceal his waistbands, owing to their
being so short, just like a little boy's. And his hats were all caved
in, and battered, as if they had been knocked about in a cellar; and his
boots were sadly patched. Indeed, I began to think that he was but a
shabby fellow after all; particularly as his whiskers lost their gloss,
and he went days together without shaving; and his hair, by a sort of
miracle, began to grow of a pepper and salt color, which might have been
owing, though, to his discontinuing the use of some kind of dye while at
sea. I put him down as a sort of impostor; and while ashore, a gentleman
on false pretenses; for no gentleman would have treated another
gentleman as he did me.

Yes, Captain Riga, thought I, you are no gentleman, and you know it!


And now that I have been speaking of the captain's old clothes, I may as
well speak of mine.

It was very early in the month of June that we sailed; and I had greatly
rejoiced that it was that time of the year; for it would be warm and
pleasant upon the ocean, I thought; and my voyage would be like a summer
excursion to the sea shore, for the benefit of the salt water, and a
change of scene and society.

So I had not given myself much concern about what I should wear; and
deemed it wholly unnecessary to provide myself with a great outfit of
pilot-cloth jackets, and browsers, and Guernsey frocks, and oil-skin
suits, and sea-boots, and many other things, which old seamen carry in
their chests. But one reason was, that I did not have the money to buy
them with, even if I had wanted to. So in addition to the clothes I had
brought from home, I had only bought a red shirt, a tarpaulin hat, and a
belt and knife, as I have previously related, which gave me a sea
outfit, something like the Texan rangers', whose uniform, they say,
consists of a shirt collar and a pair of spurs.

But I was not many days at sea, when I found that my shore clothing, or
"long togs," as the sailors call them, were but ill adapted to the life
I now led. When I went aloft, at my yard-arm gymnastics, my pantaloons
were all the time ripping and splitting in every direction, particularly
about the seat, owing to their not being cut sailor-fashion, with low
waistbands, and to wear without suspenders. So that I was often placed
in most unpleasant predicaments, straddling the rigging, sometimes in
plain sight of the cabin, with my table linen exposed in the most
inelegant and ungentlemanly manner possible.

And worse than all, my best pair of pantaloons, and the pair I most
prided myself upon, was a very conspicuous and remarkable looking pair.

I had had them made to order by our village tailor, a little fat man,
very thin in the legs, and who used to say he imported the latest
fashions direct from Paris; though all the fashion plates in his shop
were very dirty with fly-marks.

Well, this tailor made the pantaloons I speak of, and while he had them
in hand, I used to call and see him two or three times a day to try them
on, and hurry him forward; for he was an old man with large round
spectacles, and could not see very well, and had no one to help him but
a sick wife, with five grandchildren to take care of; and besides that,
he was such a great snuff-taker, that it interfered with his business;
for he took several pinches for every stitch, and would sit snuffing and
blowing his nose over my pantaloons, till I used to get disgusted with
him. Now, this old tailor had shown me the pattern, after which he
intended to make my pantaloons; but I improved upon it, and bade him
have a slit on the outside of each leg, at the foot, to button up with a
row of six brass bell buttons; for a grown-up cousin of mine, who was a
great sportsman, used to wear a beautiful pair of pantaloons, made
precisely in that way.

And these were the very pair I now had at sea; the sailors made a great
deal of fun of them, and were all the time calling on each other to
"ftoig" them; and they would ask me to lend them a button or two, by way
of a joke; and then they would ask me if I was not a soldier. Showing
very plainly that they had no idea that my pantaloons were a very
genteel pair, made in the height of the sporting fashion, and copied
from my cousin's, who was a young man of fortune and drove a tilbury.

When my pantaloons ripped and tore, as I have said, I did my best to
mend and patch them; but not being much of a sempstress, the more I
patched the more they parted; because I put my patches on, without
heeding the joints of the legs, which only irritated my poor pants the
more, and put them out of temper.

Nor must I forget my boots, which were almost new when I left home. They
had been my Sunday boots, and fitted me to a charm. I never had had a
pair of boots that I liked better; I used to turn my toes out when I
walked in them, unless it was night time, when no one could see me, and
I had something else to think of; and I used to keep looking at them
during church; so that I lost a good deal of the sermon. In a word, they
were a beautiful pair of boots. But all this only unfitted them the more
for sea-service; as I soon discovered. They had very high heels, which
were all the time tripping me in the rigging, and several times came
near pitching me overboard; and the salt water made them shrink in such
a manner, that they pinched me terribly about the instep; and I was
obliged to gash them cruelly, which went to my very heart. The legs were
quite long, coming a good way up toward my knees, and the edges were
mounted with red morocco. The sailors used to call them my
"gaff-topsail-boots." And sometimes they used to call me "Boots," and
sometimes "Buttons," on account of the ornaments on my pantaloons and

At last, I took their advice, and "razeed" them, as they phrased it.
That is, I amputated the legs, and shaved off the heels to the bare
soles; which, however, did not much improve them, for it made my feet
feel flat as flounders, and besides, brought me down in the world, and
made me slip and slide about the decks, as I used to at home, when I
wore straps on the ice.

As for my tarpaulin hat, it was a very cheap one; and therefore proved a
real sham and shave; it leaked like an old shingle roof; and in a rain
storm, kept my hair wet and disagreeable. Besides, from lying down on
deck in it, during the night watches, it got bruised and battered, and
lost all its beauty; so that it was unprofitable every way.

But I had almost forgotten my shooting-jacket, which was made of
moleskin. Every day, it grew smaller and smaller, particularly after a
rain, until at last I thought it would completely exhale, and leave
nothing but the bare seams, by way of a skeleton, on my back. It became
unspeakably unpleasant, when we got into rather cold weather, crossing
the Banks of Newfoundland, when the only way I had to keep warm during
the night, was to pull on my waistcoat and my roundabout, and then clap
the shooting-jacket over all. This made it pinch me under the arms, and
it vexed, irritated, and tormented me every way; and used to incommode
my arms seriously when I was pulling the ropes; so much so, that the
mate asked me once if I had the cramp.

I may as well here glance at some trials and tribulations of a similar
kind. I had no mattress, or bed-clothes, of any sort; for the thought of
them had never entered my mind before going to sea; so that I was
obliged to sleep on the bare boards of my bunk; and when the ship
pitched violently, and almost stood upon end, I must have looked like an
Indian baby tied to a plank, and hung up against a tree like a crucifix.

I have already mentioned my total want of table-tools; never dreaming,
that, in this respect, going to sea as a sailor was something like going
to a boarding-school, where you must furnish your own spoon and knife,
fork, and napkin. But at length, I was so happy as to barter with a
steerage passenger a silk handkerchief of mine for a half-gallon iron
pot, with hooks to it, to hang on a grate; and this pot I used to
present at the cook-house for my allowance of coffee and tea. It gave me
a good deal of trouble, though, to keep it clean, being much disposed to
rust; and the hooks sometimes scratched my face when I was drinking; and
it was unusually large and heavy; so that my breakfasts were deprived of
all ease and satisfaction, and became a toil and a labor to me. And I
was forced to use the same pot for my bean-soup, three times a week,
which imparted to it a bad flavor for coffee.

I can not tell how I really suffered in many ways for my improvidence
and heedlessness, in going to sea so ill provided with every thing
calculated to make my situation at all comfortable, or even tolerable.
In time, my wretched "long togs" began to drop off my back, and I looked
like a Sam Patch, shambling round the deck in my rags and the wreck of
my gaff-topsail-boots. I often thought what my friends at home would
have said, if they could but get one peep at me. But I hugged myself in
my miserable shooting-jacket, when I considered that that degradation
and shame never could overtake me; yet, I thought it a galling mockery,
when I remembered that my sisters had promised to tell all inquiring
friends, that Wellingborough had gone "abroad" just as if I was visiting
Europe on a tour with my tutor, as poor simple Mr. Jones had hinted to
the captain.

Still, in spite of the melancholy which sometimes overtook me, there
were several little incidents that made me forget myself in the
contemplation of the strange and to me most wonderful sights of the sea.

And perhaps nothing struck into me such a feeling of wild romance, as a
view of the first vessel we spoke. It was of a clear sunny afternoon,
and she came bearing down upon us, a most beautiful sight, with all her
sails spread wide. She came very near, and passed under our stern; and
as she leaned over to the breeze, showed her decks fore and aft; and I
saw the strange sailors grouped upon the forecastle, and the cook
look-cook-house with a ladle in his hand, and the captain in a green
jacket sitting on the taffrail with a speaking-trumpet.

And here, had this vessel come out of the infinite blue ocean, with all
these human beings on board, and the smoke tranquilly mounting up into
the sea-air from the cook's funnel as if it were a chimney in a city;
and every thing looking so cool, and calm, and of-course, in the midst
of what to me, at least, seemed a superlative marvel.

Hoisted at her mizzen-peak was a red flag, with a turreted white castle
in the middle, which looked foreign enough, and made me stare all the

Our captain, who had put on another hat and coat, and was lounging in an
elegant attitude on the poop, now put his high polished brass trumpet to
his mouth, and said in a very rude voice for conversation, "Where from?"

To which the other captain rejoined with some outlandish Dutch
gibberish, of which we could only make out, that the ship belonged to
Hamburg, as her flag denoted.


Bless my soul! and here I am on the great Atlantic Ocean, actually
beholding a ship from Holland! It was passing strange. In my intervals
of leisure from other duties, I followed the strange ship till she was
quite a little speck in the distance.

I could not but be struck with the manner of the two sea-captains during
their brief interview. Seated at their ease on their respective "poops"
toward the stern of their ships, while the sailors were obeying their
behests; they touched hats to each other, exchanged compliments, and
drove on, with all the indifference of two Arab horsemen accosting each
other on an airing in the Desert. To them, I suppose, the great Atlantic
Ocean was a puddle.


I must now run back a little, and tell of my first going aloft at middle
watch, when the sea was quite calm, and the breeze was mild.

The order was given to loose the main-skysail, which is the fifth and
highest sail from deck. It was a very small sail, and from the
forecastle looked no bigger than a cambric pocket-handkerchief. But I
have heard that some ships carry still smaller sails, above the skysail;
called moon-sails, and skyscrapers, and cloud-rakers. But I shall not
believe in them till I see them; a skysail seems high enough in all
conscience; and the idea of any thing higher than that, seems
preposterous. Besides, it looks almost like tempting heaven, to brush
the very firmament so, and almost put the eyes of the stars out; when a
flaw of wind, too, might very soon take the conceit out of these
cloud-defying cloud-rakers.

Now, when the order was passed to loose the skysail, an old Dutch sailor
came up to me, and said, "Buttons, my boy, it's high time you be doing
something; and it's boy's business, Buttons, to loose de royals, and not
old men's business, like me. Now, d'ye see dat leelle fellow way up
dare? dare, just behind dem stars dare: well, tumble up, now, Buttons, I
zay, and looze him; way you go, Buttons."

All the rest joining in, and seeming unanimous in the opinion, that it
was high time for me to be stirring myself, and doing boy's business, as
they called it, I made no more ado, but jumped into the rigging. Up I
went, not dating to look down, but keeping my eyes glued, as it were, to
the shrouds, as I ascended.

It was a long road up those stairs, and I began to pant and breathe
hard, before I was half way. But I kept at it till I got to the Jacob's
Ladder; and they may well call it so, for it took me almost into the
clouds; and at last, to my own amazement, I found myself hanging on the
skysail-yard, holding on might and main to the mast; and curling my feet
round the rigging, as if they were another pair of hands.

For a few moments I stood awe-stricken and mute. I could not see far out
upon the ocean, owing to the darkness of the night; and from my lofty
perch, the sea looked like a great, black gulf, hemmed in, all round, by
beetling black cliffs. I seemed all alone; treading the midnight clouds;
and every second, expected to find myself falling--falling--falling, as I
have felt when the nightmare has been on me.

I could but just perceive the ship below me, like a long narrow plank in
the water; and it did not seem to belong at all to the yard, over which
I was hanging. A gull, or some sort of sea-fowl, was flying round the
truck over my head, within a few yards of my face; and it almost
frightened me to hear it; it seemed so much like a spirit, at such a
lofty and solitary height.

Though there was a pretty smooth sea, and little wind; yet, at this
extreme elevation, the ship's motion was very great; so that when the
ship rolled one way, I felt something as a fly must feel, walking the
ceiling; and when it rolled the other way, I felt as if I was hanging
along a slanting pine-tree.

But presently I heard a distant, hoarse noise from below; and though I
could not make out any thing intelligible, I knew it was the mate
hurrying me. So in a nervous, trembling desperation, I went to casting
off the gaskets, or lines tying up the sail; and when all was ready,
sung out as I had been told, to "hoist away!" And hoist they did, and me
too along with the yard and sail; for I had no time to get off, they
were so unexpectedly quick about it. It seemed like magic; there I was,
going up higher and higher; the yard rising under me, as if it were
alive, and no soul in sight. Without knowing it at the time, I was in a
good deal of danger, but it was so dark that I could not see well enough
to feel afraid--at least on that account; though I felt frightened enough
in a promiscuous way. I only held on hard, and made good the saying of
old sailors, that the last person to fall overboard from the rigging is
a landsman, because he grips the ropes so fiercely; whereas old tars are
less careful, and sometimes pay the penalty.

After this feat, I got down rapidly on deck, and received something like
a compliment from Max the Dutchman.

This man was perhaps the best natured man among the crew; at any rate,
he treated me better than the rest did; and for that reason he deserves
some mention.

Max was an old bachelor of a sailor, very precise about his wardrobe,
and prided himself greatly upon his seamanship, and entertained some
straight-laced, old-fashioned notions about the duties of boys at sea.
His hair, whiskers, and cheeks were of a fiery red; and as he wore a red
shirt, he was altogether the most combustible looking man I ever saw.

Nor did his appearance belie him; for his temper was very inflammable;
and at a word, he would explode in a shower of hard words and
imprecations. It was Max that several times set on foot those
conspiracies against Jackson, which I have spoken of before; but he
ended by paying him a grumbling homage, full of resentful reservations.

Max sometimes manifested some little interest in my welfare; and often
discoursed concerning the sorry figure I would cut in my tatters when we
got to Liverpool, and the discredit it would bring on the American
Merchant Service; for like all European seamen in American ships, Max
prided himself not a little upon his naturalization as a Yankee, and if
he could, would have been very glad to have passed himself off for a
born native.

But notwithstanding his grief at the prospect of my reflecting discredit
upon his adopted country, he never offered to better my wardrobe, by
loaning me any thing from his own well-stored chest. Like many other
well-wishers, he contented him with sympathy. Max also betrayed some
anxiety to know whether I knew how to dance; lest, when the ship's
company went ashore, I should disgrace them by exposing my awkwardness
in some of the sailor saloons. But I relieved his anxiety on that head.

He was a great scold, and fault-finder, and often took me to task about
my short-comings; but herein, he was not alone; for every one had a
finger, or a thumb, and sometimes both hands, in my unfortunate pie.


It was on a Sunday we made the Banks of Newfoundland; a drizzling,
foggy, clammy Sunday. You could hardly see the water, owing to the mist
and vapor upon it; and every thing was so flat and calm, I almost
thought we must have somehow got back to New York, and were lying at the
foot of Wall-street again in a rainy twilight. The decks were dripping
with wet, so that in the dense fog, it seemed as if we were standing on
the roof of a house in a shower.

It was a most miserable Sunday; and several of the sailors had twinges
of the rheumatism, and pulled on their monkey-jackets. As for Jackson,
he was all the time rubbing his back and snarling like a dog.

I tried to recall all my pleasant, sunny Sundays ashore; and tried to
imagine what they were doing at home; and whether our old family friend,
Mr. Bridenstoke, would drop in, with his silver-mounted tasseled cane,
between churches, as he used to; and whether he would inquire about

But it would not do. I could hardly realize that it was Sunday at all.
Every thing went on pretty much the same as before. There was no church
to go to; no place to take a walk in; no friend to call upon. I began to
think it must be a sort of second Saturday; a foggy Saturday, when
school-boys stay at home reading Robinson Crusoe.

The only man who seemed to be taking his ease that day, was our black
cook; who according to the invariable custom at sea, always went by the
name of the doctor.

And doctors, cooks certainly are, the very best medicos in the world;
for what pestilent pills and potions of the Faculty are half so
serviceable to man, and health-and-strength-giving, as roasted lamb and
green peas, say, in spring; and roast beef and cranberry sauce in
winter? Will a dose of calomel and jakp do you as much good? Will a
bolus build up a fainting man? Is there any satisfaction in dining off a
powder? But these doctors of the frying-pan sometimes loll men off by a
surfeit; or give them the headache, at least. Well, what then? No
matter. For if with their most goodly and ten times jolly I medicines,
they now and then fill our nights with tribulations, and abridge our
days, what of the social homicides perpetrated by the Faculty? And
when you die by a pill-doctor's hands, it is never with a sweet relish
in your mouth, as though you died by a frying-pan-doctor; but your last
breath villainously savors of ipecac and rhubarb. Then, what charges
they make for the abominable lunches they serve out so stingily! One of
their bills for boluses would keep you in good dinners a twelve-month.

Now, our doctor was a serious old fellow, much given to metaphysics, and
used to talk about original sin. All that Sunday morning, he sat over
his boiling pots, reading out of a book which was very much soiled and
covered with grease spots: for he kept it stuck into a little leather
strap, nailed to the keg where he kept the fat skimmed off the water in
which the salt beef was cooked. I could hardly believe my eyes when I
found this book was the Bible.

I loved to peep in upon him, when he was thus absorbed; for his smoky
studio or study was a strange-looking place enough; not more than five
feet square, and about as many high; a mere box to hold the stove, the
pipe of which stuck out of the roof.

Within, it was hung round with pots and pans; and on one side was a
little looking-glass, where he used to shave; and on a small shelf were
his shaving tools, and a comb and brush. Fronting the stove, and very
close to it, was a sort of narrow shelf, where he used to sit with his
legs spread out very wide, to keep them from scorching; and there, with
his book in one hand, and a pewter spoon in the other, he sat all that
Sunday morning, stirring up his pots, and studying away at the same
time; seldom taking his eye off the page. Reading must have been very
hard work for him; for he muttered to himself quite loud as he read; and
big drops of sweat would stand upon his brow, and roll off, till they
hissed on the hot stove before him. But on the day I speak of, it was no
wonder that he got perplexed, for he was reading a mysterious passage in
the Book of Chronicles. Being aware that I knew how to read, he called
me as I was passing his premises, and read the passage over, demanding
an explanation. I told him it was a mystery that no one could explain;
not even a parson. But this did not satisfy him, and I left him poring
over it still.

He must have been a member of one of those negro churches, which are to
be found in New York. For when we lay at the wharf, I remembered that a
committee of three reverend looking old darkies, who, besides their
natural canonicals, wore quaker-cut black coats, and broad-brimmed black
hats, and white neck-cloths; these colored gentlemen called upon him,
and remained conversing with him at his cookhouse door for more than an
hour; and before they went away they stepped inside, and the sliding
doors were closed; and then we heard some one reading aloud and
preaching; and after that a psalm was sting and a benediction given;
when the door opened again, and the congregation came out in a great
perspiration; owing, I suppose, to the chapel being so small, and there
being only one seat besides the stove.

But notwithstanding his religious studies and meditations, this old
fellow used to use some bad language occasionally; particularly of cold,
wet stormy mornings, when he had to get up before daylight and make his
fire; with the sea breaking over the bows, and now and then dashing into
his stove.

So, under the circumstances, you could not blame him much, if he did rip
a little, for it would have tried old Job's temper, to be set to work
making a fire in the water.

Without being at all neat about his premises, this old cook was very
particular about them; he had a warm love and affection for his
cook-house. In fair weather, he spread the skirt of an old jacket before
the door, by way of a mat; and screwed a small ring-bolt into the door
for a knocker; and wrote his name, "Mr. Thompson," over it, with a bit
of red chalk.

The men said he lived round the corner of Forecastle-square, opposite
the Liberty Pole; because his cook-house was right behind the foremast,
and very near the quarters occupied by themselves.

Sailors have a great fancy for naming things that way on shipboard. When
a man is hung at sea, which is always done from one of the lower
yard-arms, they say he "takes a walk up Ladder-lane, and down

Mr. Thompson was a great crony of the steward's, who, being a handsome,
dandy mulatto, that had once been a barber in West-Broadway, went by the
name of Lavender. I have mentioned the gorgeous turban he wore when Mr.
Jones and I visited the captain in the cabin. He never wore that turban
at sea, though; but sported an uncommon head of frizzled hair, just like
the large, round brush, used for washing windows, called a Pope's Head.

He kept it well perfumed with Cologne water, of which he had a large
supply, the relics of his West-Broadway stock in trade. His clothes,
being mostly cast-off suits of the captain of a London liner, whom he
had sailed with upon many previous voyages, were all in the height of
the exploded fashions, and of every kind of color and cut. He had
claret-colored suits, and snuff-colored suits, and red velvet vests, and
buff and brimstone pantaloons, and several full suits of black, which,
with his dark-colored face, made him look quite clerical; like a serious
young colored gentleman of Barbados, about to take orders.

He wore an uncommon large pursy ring on his forefinger, with something
he called a real diamond in it; though it was very dim, and looked more
like a glass eye than any thing else. He was very proud of his ring, and
was always calling your attention to something, and pointing at it with
his ornamented finger.

He was a sentimental sort of a darky, and read the "Three Spaniards,"
and "Charlotte Temple," and carried a lock of frizzled hair in his vest
pocket, which he frequently volunteered to show to people, with his
handkerchief to his eyes. Every fine evening, about sunset, these two,
the cook and steward, used to sit on the little shelf in the cook-house,
leaning up against each other like the Siamese twins, to keep from
falling off, for the shelf was very short; and there they would stay
till after dark, smoking their pipes, and gossiping about the events
that had happened during the day in the cabin. And sometimes Mr.
Thompson would take down his Bible, and read a chapter for the
edification of Lavender, whom he knew to be a sad profligate and gay
deceiver ashore; addicted to every youthful indiscretion. He would read
over to him the story of Joseph and Potiphar's wife; and hold Joseph up
to him as a young man of excellent principles, whom he ought to imitate,
and not be guilty of his indiscretion any more. And Lavender would look
serious, and say that he knew it was all true-he was a wicked youth, he
knew it--he had broken a good many hearts, and many eyes were weeping for
him even then, both in New York, and Liverpool, and London, and Havre.
But how could he help it? He hadn't made his handsome face, and fine
head of hair, and graceful figure. It was not he, but the others, that
were to blame; for his bewitching person turned all heads and subdued
all hearts, wherever he went. And then he would look very serious and
penitent, and go up to the little glass, and pass his hands through his
hair, and see how his whiskers were coming on.


On the Sunday afternoon I spoke of, it was my watch below, and I thought
I would spend it profitably, in improving my mind.

My bunk was an upper one; and right over the head of it was a bull's-eye,
or circular piece of thick ground glass, inserted into the deck
to give light. It was a dull, dubious light, though; and I often found
myself looking up anxiously to see whether the bull's-eye had not
suddenly been put out; for whenever any one trod on it, in walking the
deck, it was momentarily quenched; and what was still worse, sometimes a
coil of rope would be thrown down on it, and stay there till I dressed
myself and went up to remove it--a kind of interruption to my studies
which annoyed me very much, when diligently occupied in reading.

However, I was glad of any light at all, down in that gloomy hole, where
we burrowed like rabbits in a warren; and it was the happiest time I
had, when all my messmates were asleep, and I could lie on my back,
during a forenoon watch below, and read in comparative quiet and

I had already read two books loaned to me by Max, to whose share they
had fallen, in dividing the effects of the sailor who had jumped
overboard. One was an account of Shipwrecks and Disasters at Sea, and
the other was a large black volume, with Delirium Tremens in great gilt
letters on the back. This proved to be a popular treatise on the subject
of that disease; and I remembered seeing several copies in the sailor
book-stalls about Fulton Market, and along South-street, in New York.

But this Sunday I got out a book, from which I expected to reap great
profit and sound instruction. It had been presented to me by Mr. Jones,
who had quite a library, and took down this book from a top shelf, where
it lay very dusty. When he gave it to me, he said, that although I was
going to sea, I must not forget the importance of a good education; and
that there was hardly any situation in life, however humble and
depressed, or dark and gloomy, but one might find leisure in it to store
his mind, and build himself up in the exact sciences. And he added, that
though it did look rather unfavorable for my future prospects, to be
going to sea as a common sailor so early in life; yet, it would no doubt
turn out for my benefit in the end; and, at any rate, if I would only
take good care of myself, would give me a sound constitution, if nothing
more; and that was not to be undervalued, for how many very rich men
would give all their bonds and mortgages for my boyish robustness.

He added, that I need not expect any light, trivial work, that was
merely entertaining, and nothing more; but here I would find
entertainment and edification beautifully and harmoniously combined; and
though, at first, I might possibly find it dull, yet, if I perused the
book thoroughly, it would soon discover hidden charms and unforeseen
attractions; besides teaching me, perhaps, the true way to retrieve the
poverty of my family, and again make them all well-to-do in the world.

Saying this, he handed it to me, and I blew the dust off, and looked at
the back: "Smith's Wealth of Nations." This not satisfying me, I glanced
at the title page, and found it was an "Enquiry into the Nature and
Causes" of the alleged wealth of nations. But happening to look further
down, I caught sight of "Aberdeen," where the book was printed; and
thinking that any thing from Scotland, a foreign country, must prove
some way or other pleasing to me, I thanked Mr. Jones very kindly, and
promised to peruse the volume carefully.

So, now, lying in my bunk, I began the book methodically, at page number
one, resolved not to permit a few flying glimpses into it, taken
previously, to prevent me from making regular approaches to the gist and
body of the book, where I fancied lay something like the philosopher's
stone, a secret talisman, which would transmute even pitch and tar to
silver and gold.

Pleasant, though vague visions of future opulence floated before me, as
I commenced the first chapter, entitled "Of the causes of improvement in
the productive power of labor." Dry as crackers and cheese, to be sure;
and the chapter itself was not much better. But this was only getting
initiated; and if I read on, the grand secret would be opened to me. So
I read on and on, about "wages and profits of labor," without getting
any profits myself for my pains in perusing it.

Dryer and dryer; the very leaves smelt of saw-dust; till at last I drank
some water, and went at it again. But soon I had to give it up for lost
work; and thought that the old backgammon board, we had at home,
lettered on the back, "The History of Rome" was quite as full of matter,
and a great deal more entertaining. I wondered whether Mr. Jones had
ever read the volume himself; and could not help remembering, that he
had to get on a chair when he reached it down from its dusty shelf; that
certainly looked suspicious.

The best reading was on the fly leaves; and, on turning them over, I
lighted upon some half effaced pencil-marks to the following effect:
"Jonathan Jones, from his particular friend Daniel Dods, 1798." So it
must have originally belonged to Mr. Jones' father; and I wondered
whether he had ever read it; or, indeed, whether any body had ever read
it, even the author himself; but then authors, they say, never read
their own books; writing them, being enough in all conscience.

At length I fell asleep, with the volume in my hand; and never slept so
sound before; after that, I used to wrap my jacket round it, and use it
for a pillow; for which purpose it answered very well; only I sometimes
waked up feeling dull and stupid; but of course the book could not have
been the cause of that.

And now I am talking of books, I must tell of Jack Blunt the sailor, and
his Dream Book.

Jackson, who seemed to know every thing about all parts of the world,
used to tell Jack in reproach, that he was an Irish Cockney. By which I
understood, that he was an Irishman born, but had graduated in London,
somewhere about Radcliffe Highway; but he had no sort of brogue that I
could hear.

He was a curious looking fellow, about twenty-five years old, as I
should judge; but to look at his back, you would have taken him for a
little old man. His arms and legs were very large, round, short, and
stumpy; so that when he had on his great monkey-jacket, and sou'west cap
flapping in his face, and his sea boots drawn up to his knees, he looked
like a fat porpoise, standing on end. He had a round face, too, like a
walrus; and with about the same expression, half human and half
indescribable. He was, upon the whole, a good-natured fellow, and a
little given to looking at sea-life romantically; singing songs about
susceptible mermaids who fell in love with handsome young oyster boys
and gallant fishermen. And he had a sad story about a man-of-war's-man
who broke his heart at Portsmouth during the late war, and threw away
his life recklessly at one of the quarter-deck cannonades, in the battle
between the Guerriere and Constitution; and another incomprehensible
story about a sort of fairy sea-queen, who used to be dunning a
sea-captain all the time for his autograph to boil in some eel soup, for
a spell against the scurvy.

He believed in all kinds of witch-work and magic; and had some wild
Irish words he used to mutter over during a calm for a fair wind.

And he frequently related his interviews in Liverpool with a
fortune-teller, an old negro woman by the name of De Squak, whose house
was much frequented by sailors; and how she had two black cats, with
remarkably green eyes, and nightcaps on their heads, solemnly seated on
a claw-footed table near the old goblin; when she felt his pulse, to
tell what was going to befall him.

This Blunt had a large head of hair, very thick and bushy; but from some
cause or other, it was rapidly turning gray; and in its transition state
made him look as if he wore a shako of badger skin.

The phenomenon of gray hairs on a young head, had perplexed and
confounded this Blunt to such a degree that he at last came to the
conclusion it must be the result of the black art, wrought upon him by
an enemy; and that enemy, he opined, was an old sailor landlord in
Marseilles, whom he had once seriously offended, by knocking him down in
a fray.

So while in New York, finding his hair growing grayer and grayer, and
all his friends, the ladies and others, laughing at him, and calling him
an old man with one foot in the grave, he slipt out one night to an
apothecary's, stated his case, and wanted to know what could be done for

The apothecary immediately gave him a pint bottle of something he called
"Trafalgar Oil for restoring the hair," price one dollar; and told him
that after he had used that bottle, and it did not have the desired
effect, he must try bottle No. 2, called "Balm of Paradise, or the
Elixir of the Battle of Copenhagen." These high-sounding naval names
delighted Blunt, and he had no doubt there must be virtue in them.

I saw both bottles; and on one of them was an engraving, representing a
young man, presumed to be gray-headed, standing in his night-dress in
the middle of his chamber, and with closed eyes applying the Elixir to
his head, with both hands; while on the bed adjacent stood a large
bottle, conspicuously labeled, "Balm of Paradise." It seemed from the
text, that this gray-headed young man was so smitten with his hair-oil,
and was so thoroughly persuaded of its virtues, that he had got out of
bed, even in his sleep; groped into his closet, seized the precious
bottle, applied its contents, and then to bed again, getting up in the
morning without knowing any thing about it. Which, indeed, was a most
mysterious occurrence; and it was still more mysterious, how the
engraver came to know an event, of which the actor himself was ignorant,
and where there were no bystanders.

Three times in the twenty-four hours, Blunt, while at sea, regularly
rubbed in his liniments; but though the first bottle was soon exhausted
by his copious applications, and the second half gone, he still stuck to
it, that by the time we got to Liverpool, his exertions would be crowned
with success. And he was not a little delighted, that this gradual
change would be operating while we were at sea; so as not to expose him
to the invidious observations of people ashore; on the same principle
that dandies go into the country when they purpose raising whiskers. He
would often ask his shipmates, whether they noticed any change yet; and
if so, how much of a change? And to tell the truth, there was a very
great change indeed; for the constant soaking of his hair with oil,
operating in conjunction with the neglect of his toilet, and want of a
brush and comb, had matted his locks together like a wild horse's mane,
and imparted to it a blackish and extremely glossy hue. Besides his
collection of hair-oils, Blunt had also provided himself with several
boxes of pills, which he had purchased from a sailor doctor in New York,
who by placards stuck on the posts along the wharves, advertised to
remain standing at the northeast corner of Catharine Market, every
Monday and Friday, between the hours of ten and twelve in the morning,
to receive calls from patients, distribute medicines, and give advice

Whether Blunt thought he had the dyspepsia or not, I can not say; but at
breakfast, he always took three pills with his coffee; something as they
do in Iowa, when the bilious fever prevails; where, at the
boarding-houses, they put a vial of blue pills into the castor, along
with the pepper and mustard, and next door to another vial of toothpicks.
But they are very ill-bred and unpolished in the western country.

Several times, too, Blunt treated himself to a flowing bumper of horse
salts (Glauber salts); for like many other seamen, he never went to sea
without a good supply of that luxury. He would frequently, also, take
this medicine in a wet jacket, and then go on deck into a rain storm.
But this is nothing to other sailors, who at sea will doctor themselves
with calomel off Cape Horn, and still remain on duty. And in this
connection, some really frightful stories might be told; but I forbear.

For a landsman to take salts as this Blunt did, it would perhaps be the
death of him; but at sea the salt air and the salt water prevent you
from catching cold so readily as on land; and for my own part, on board
this very ship, being so illy-provided with clothes, I frequently turned
into my bunk soaking wet, and turned out again piping hot, and smoking
like a roasted sirloin; and yet was never the worse for it; for then, I
bore a charmed life of youth and health, and was dagger-proof to bodily

But it is time to tell of the Dream Book. Snugly hidden in one corner of
his chest, Blunt had an extraordinary looking pamphlet, with a red
cover, marked all over with astrological signs and ciphers, and
purporting to be a full and complete treatise on the art of Divination;
so that the most simple sailor could teach it to himself.

It also purported to be the selfsame system, by aid of which Napoleon
Bonaparte had risen in the world from being a corporal to an emperor.
Hence it was entitled the Bonaparte Dream Book; for the magic of it lay
in the interpretation of dreams, and their application to the foreseeing
of future events; so that all preparatory measures might be taken
beforehand; which would be exceedingly convenient, and satisfactory
every way, if true. The problems were to be cast by means of figures, in
some perplexed and difficult way, which, however, was facilitated by a
set of tables in the end of the pamphlet, something like the Logarithm
Tables at the end of Bowditch's Navigator.

Now, Blunt revered, adored, and worshiped this Bonaparte Dream Book of
his; and was fully persuaded that between those red covers, and in his
own dreams, lay all the secrets of futurity. Every morning before taking
his pills, and applying his hair-oils, he would steal out of his bunk
before the rest of the watch were awake; take out his pamphlet, and a
bit of chalk; and then straddling his chest, begin scratching his oily
head to remember his fugitive dreams; marking down strokes on his
chest-lid, as if he were casting up his daily accounts.

Though often perplexed and lost in mazes concerning the cabalistic
figures in the book, and the chapter of directions to beginners; for he
could with difficulty read at all; yet, in the end, if not interrupted,
he somehow managed to arrive at a conclusion satisfactory to him. So
that, as he generally wore a good-humored expression, no doubt he must
have thought, that all his future affairs were working together for the

But one night he started us all up in a fright, by springing from his
bunk, his eyes ready to start out of his head, and crying, in a husky
voice--"Boys! boys! get the benches ready! Quick, quick!"

"What benches?" growled Max-"What's the matter?"

"Benches! benches!" screamed Blunt, without heeding him, "cut down the
forests, bear a hand, boys; the Day of Judgment's coming!"

But the next moment, he got quietly into his bunk, and laid still,
muttering to himself, he had only been rambling in his sleep.

I did not know exactly what he had meant by his benches; till, shortly
after, I overheard two of the sailors debating, whether mankind would
stand or sit at the Last Day.


This Dream Book of Blunt's reminds me of a narrow escape we had, early
one morning.

It was the larboard watch's turn to remain below from midnight till four
o'clock; and having turned in and slept, Blunt suddenly turned out again
about three o'clock, with a wonderful dream in his head; which he was
desirous of at once having interpreted.

So he goes to his chest, gets out his tools, and falls to ciphering on
the lid. When, all at once, a terrible cry was heard, that routed him
and all the rest of us up, and sent the whole ship's company flying on
deck in the dark. We did not know what it was; but somehow, among
sailors at sea, they seem to know when real danger of any land is at
hand, even in their sleep.

When we got on deck, we saw the mate standing on the bowsprit, and
crying out Luff! Luff! to some one in the dark water before the ship. In
that direction, we could just see a light, and then, the great black
hull of a strange vessel, that was coming down on us obliquely; and so
near, that we heard the flap of her topsails as they shook in the wind,
the trampling of feet on the deck, and the same cry of Luff! Luff! that
our own mate, was raising.

In a minute more, I caught my breath, as I heard a snap and a crash,
like the fall of a tree, and suddenly, one of our flying-jib guys jerked
out the bolt near the cat-head; and presently, we heard our jib-boom
thumping against our bows.

Meantime, the strange ship, scraping by us thus, shot off into the
darkness, and we saw her no more. But she, also, must have been injured;
for when it grew light, we found pieces of strange rigging mixed with
ours. We repaired the damage, and replaced the broken spar with another
jib-boom we had; for all ships carry spare spars against emergencies.

The cause of this accident, which came near being the death of all on
board, was nothing but the drowsiness of the look-out men on the
forecastles of both ships. The sailor who had the look-out on our vessel
was terribly reprimanded by the mate.

No doubt, many ships that are never heard of after leaving port, meet
their fate in this way; and it may be, that sometimes two vessels coming
together, jib-boom-and-jib-boom, with a sudden shock in the middle watch
of the night, mutually destroy each other; and like fighting elks, sink
down into the ocean, with their antlers locked in death.

While I was at Liverpool, a fine ship that lay near us in the docks,
having got her cargo on board, went to sea, bound for India, with a good
breeze; and all her crew felt sure of a prosperous voyage. But in about
seven days after, she came back, a most distressing object to behold.
All her starboard side was torn and splintered; her starboard anchor was
gone; and a great part of the starboard bulwarks; while every one of the
lower yard-arms had been broken, in the same direction; so that she now
carried small and unsightly jury-yards.

When I looked at this vessel, with the whole of one side thus shattered,
but the other still in fine trim; and when I remembered her gay and
gallant appearance, when she left the same harbor into which she now
entered so forlorn; I could not help thinking of a young man I had known
at home, who had left his cottage one morning in high spirits, and was
brought back at noon with his right side paralyzed from head to foot.

It seems that this vessel had been run against by a strange ship,
crowding all sail before a fresh breeze; and the stranger had rushed
past her starboard side, reducing her to the sad state in which she now

Sailors can not be too wakeful and cautious, when keeping their night
look-outs; though, as I well know, they too often suffer themselves to
become negligent, and nod. And this is not so wonderful, after all; for
though every seaman has heard of those accidents at sea; and many of
them, perhaps, have been in ships that have suffered from them; yet,
when you find yourself sailing along on the ocean at night, without
having seen a sail for weeks and weeks, it is hard for you to realize
that any are near. Then, if they are near, it seems almost incredible
that on the broad, boundless sea, which washes Greenland at one end of
the world, and the Falkland Islands at the other, that any one vessel
upon such a vast highway, should come into close contact with another.
But the likelihood of great calamities occurring, seldom obtrudes upon
the minds of ignorant men, such as sailors generally are; for the things
which wise people know, anticipate, and guard against, the ignorant can
only become acquainted with, by meeting them face to face. And even when
experience has taught them, the lesson only serves for that day;
inasmuch as the foolish in prosperity are infidels to the possibility of
adversity; they see the sun in heaven, and believe it to be far too
bright ever to set. And even, as suddenly as the bravest and fleetest
ships, while careering in pride of canvas over the sea, have been
struck, as by lightning, and quenched out of sight; even so, do some
lordly men, with all their plans and prospects gallantly trimmed to the
fair, rushing breeze of life, and with no thought of death and disaster,
suddenly encounter a shock unforeseen, and go down, foundering, into


What is this that we sail through? What palpable obscure? What smoke and
reek, as if the whole steaming world were revolving on its axis, as a

It is a Newfoundland Fog; and we are yet crossing the Grand Banks, wrapt
in a mist, that no London in the Novem-berest November ever equaled. The
chronometer pronounced it noon; but do you call this midnight or midday?
So dense is the fog, that though we have a fair wind, we shorten sail
for fear of accidents; and not only that, but here am I, poor
Wellingborough, mounted aloft on a sort of belfry, the top of the
"Sampson-Post," a lofty tower of timber, so called; and tolling the
ship's bell, as if for a funeral.

This is intended to proclaim our approach, and warn all strangers from
our track.

Dreary sound! toll, toll, toll, through the dismal mist and fog.

The bell is green with verdigris, and damp with dew; and the little cord
attached to the clapper, by which I toll it, now and then slides through
my fingers, slippery with wet. Here I am, in my slouched black hat, like
the "bull that could pull," announcing the decease of the lamented

A better device than the bell, however, was once pitched upon by an
ingenious sea-captain, of whom I have heard. He had a litter of young
porkers on board; and while sailing through the fog, he stationed men at
both ends of the pen with long poles, wherewith they incessantly stirred
up and irritated the porkers, who split the air with their squeals; and
no doubt saved the ship, as the geese saved the Capitol.

The most strange and unheard-of noises came out of the fog at times: a
vast sound of sighing and sobbing. What could it be? This would be
followed by a spout, and a gush, and a cascading commotion, as if some
fountain had suddenly jetted out of the ocean.

Seated on my Sampson-Post, I stared more and more, and suspended my duty
as a sexton. But presently some one cried out--"There she blows! whales!
whales close alongside!"

A whale! Think of it! whales close to me, Wellingborough;--would my own
brother believe it? I dropt the clapper as if it were red-hot, and
rushed to the side; and there, dimly floating, lay four or five long,
black snaky-looking shapes, only a few inches out of the water.

Can these be whales? Monstrous whales, such as I had heard of? I thought
they would look like mountains on the sea; hills and valleys of flesh!
regular krakens, that made it high tide, and inundated continents, when
they descended to feed!

It was a bitter disappointment, from which I was long in recovering. I
lost all respect for whales; and began to be a little dubious about the
story of Jonah; for how could Jonah reside in such an insignificant
tenement; how could he have had elbow-room there? But perhaps, thought
I, the whale which according to Rabbinical traditions was a female one,
might have expanded to receive him like an anaconda, when it swallows an
elk and leaves the antlers sticking out of its mouth.

Nevertheless, from that day, whales greatly fell in my estimation.

But it is always thus. If you read of St. Peter's, they say, and then go
and visit it, ten to one, you account it a dwarf compared to your
high-raised ideal. And, doubtless, Jonah himself must have been
disappointed when he looked up to the domed midriff surmounting the
whale's belly, and surveyed the ribbed pillars around him. A pretty
large belly, to be sure, thought he, but not so big as it might have

On the next day, the fog lifted; and by noon, we found ourselves sailing
through fleets of fishermen at anchor. They were very small craft; and
when I beheld them, I perceived the force of that sailor saying,
intended to illustrate restricted quarters, or being on the limits. It
is like a fisherman's walk, say they, three steps and overboard.

Lying right in the track of the multitudinous ships crossing the ocean
between England and America, these little vessels are sometimes run
down, and obliterated from the face of the waters; the cry of the
sailors ceasing with the last whirl of the whirlpool that closes over
their craft. Their sad fate is frequently the result of their own
remissness in keeping a good look-out by day, and not having their lamps
trimmed, like the wise virgins, by night.

As I shall not make mention of the Grand Banks on our homeward-bound
passage, I may as well here relate, that on our return, we approached
them in the night; and by way of making sure of our whereabouts, the
deep-sea-lead was heaved. The line attached is generally upward of three
hundred fathoms in length; and the lead itself, weighing some forty or
fifty pounds, has a hole in the lower end, in which, previous to
sounding, some tallow is thrust, that it may bring up the soil at the
bottom, for the captain to inspect. This is called "arming" the lead.

We "hove" our deep-sea-line by night, and the operation was very
interesting, at least to me. In the first place, the vessel's heading
was stopt; then, coiled away in a tub, like a whale-rope, the line was
placed toward the after part of the quarter-deck; and one of the sailors
carried the lead outside of the ship, away along to the end of the
jib-boom, and at the word of command, far ahead and overboard it went,
with a plunge; scraping by the side, till it came to the stern, when the
line ran out of the tub like light.

When we came to haul it up, I was astonished at the force necessary to
perform the work. The whole watch pulled at the line, which was rove
through a block in the mizzen-rigging, as if we were hauling up a fat
porpoise. When the lead came in sight, I was all eagerness to examine
the tallow, and get a peep at a specimen of the bottom of the sea; but
the sailors did not seem to be much interested by it, calling me a fool
for wanting to preserve a few grains of the sand.

I had almost forgotten to make mention of the Gulf Stream, in which we
found ourselves previous to crossing the Banks. The fact, of our being
in it was proved by the captain in person, who superintended the drawing
of a bucket of salt water, in which he dipped his thermometer. In the
absence of the Gulf-weed, this is the general test; for the temperature
of this current is eight degrees higher than that of the ocean, and the
temperature of the ocean is twenty degrees higher than that of the Grand
Banks. And it is to this remarkable difference of temperature, for which
there can be no equilibrium, that many seamen impute the fogs on the
coast of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland; but why there should always be
such ugly weather in the Gulf, is something that I do not know has ever
been accounted for.

It is curious to dip one's finger in a bucket full of the Gulf Stream,
and find it so warm; as if the Gulf of Mexico, from whence this current
comes, were a great caldron or boiler, on purpose to keep warm the North
Atlantic, which is traversed by it for a distance of two thousand miles,
as some large halls in winter are by hot air tubes. Its mean breadth
being about two hundred leagues, it comprises an area larger than that
of the whole Mediterranean, and may be deemed a sort of Mississippi of
hot water flowing through the ocean; off the coast of Florida, running
at the rate of one mile and a half an hour.


The sight of the whales mentioned in the preceding chapter was the
bringing out of Larry, one of our crew, who hitherto had been quite
silent and reserved, as if from some conscious inferiority, though he
had shipped as an ordinary seaman, and, for aught I could see, performed
his duty very well.

When the men fell into a dispute concerning what kind of whales they
were which we saw, Larry stood by attentively, and after garnering in
their ignorance, all at once broke out, and astonished every body by his
intimate acquaintance with the monsters.

"They ar'n't sperm whales," said Larry, "their spouts ar'n't bushy
enough; they ar'n't Sulphur-bottoms, or they wouldn't stay up so long;
they ar'n't Hump-backs, for they ar'n't got any humps; they ar'n't
Fin-backs, for you won't catch a Finback so near a ship; they ar'n't
Greenland whales, for we ar'n't off the coast of Greenland; and they
ar'n't right whales, for it wouldn't be right to say so. I tell ye, men,
them's Crinkum-crankum whales."

"And what are them?" said a sailor.

"Why, them is whales that can't be cotched."

Now, as it turned out that this Larry had been bred to the sea in a
whaler, and had sailed out of Nantucket many times; no one but Jackson
ventured to dispute his opinion; and even Jackson did not press him very
hard. And ever after, Larry's judgment was relied upon concerning all
strange fish that happened to float by us during the voyage; for
whalemen are far more familiar with the wonders of the deep than any
other class of seaman.

This was Larry's first voyage in the merchant service, and that was the
reason why, hitherto, he had been so reserved; since he well knew that
merchant seamen generally affect a certain superiority to
"blubber-boilers," as they contemptuously style those who hunt the
leviathan. But Larry turned out to be such an inoffensive fellow, and so
well understood his business aboard ship, and was so ready to jump to an
order, that he was exempted from the taunts which he might otherwise
have encountered.

He was a somewhat singular man, who wore his hat slanting forward over
the bridge of his nose, with his eyes cast down, and seemed always
examining your boots, when speaking to you. I loved to hear him talk
about the wild places in the Indian Ocean, and on the coast of
Madagascar, where he had frequently touched during his whaling voyages.
And this familiarity with the life of nature led by the people in that
remote part of the world, had furnished Larry with a sentimental
distaste for civilized society. When opportunity offered, he never
omitted extolling the delights of the free and easy Indian Ocean.

"Why," said Larry, talking through his nose, as usual, "in Madagasky
there, they don't wear any togs at all, nothing but a bowline round the
midships; they don't have no dinners, but keeps a dinin' all day off fat
pigs and dogs; they don't go to bed any where, but keeps a noddin' all
the time; and they gets drunk, too, from some first rate arrack they
make from cocoa-nuts; and smokes plenty of 'baccy, too, I tell ye. Fine
country, that! Blast Ameriky, I say!"

To tell the truth, this Larry dealt in some illiberal insinuations
against civilization.

"And what's the use of bein' snivelized!" said he to me one night during
our watch on deck; "snivelized chaps only learns the way to take on
'bout life, and snivel. You don't see any Methodist chaps feelin'
dreadful about their souls; you don't see any darned beggars and pesky
constables in Madagasky, I tell ye; and none o' them kings there gets
their big toes pinched by the gout. Blast Ameriky, I say."

Indeed, this Larry was rather cutting in his innuendoes.

"Are you now, Buttons, any better off for bein' snivelized?" coming
close up to me and eying the wreck of my gaff-topsail-boots very
steadfastly. "No; you ar'n't a bit--but you're a good deal worse for it,
Buttons. I tell ye, ye wouldn't have been to sea here, leadin' this
dog's life, if you hadn't been snivelized--that's the cause why, now.
Snivelization has been the ruin on ye; and it's spiled me complete; I
might have been a great man in Madagasky; it's too darned bad! Blast
Ameriky, I say." And in bitter grief at the social blight upon his whole
past, present, and future, Larry turned away, pulling his hat still
lower down over the bridge of his nose.

In strong contrast to Larry, was a young man-of-war's man we had, who
went by the name of "Gun-Deck," from his always talking of sailor life
in the navy. He was a little fellow with a small face and a prodigious
mop of brown hair; who always dressed in man-of-war style, with a wide,
braided collar to his frock, and Turkish trowsers. But he particularly
prided himself upon his feet, which were quite small; and when we washed
down decks of a morning, never mind how chilly it might be, he always
took off his boots, and went paddling about like a duck, turning out his
pretty toes to show his charming feet.

He had served in the armed steamers during the Seminole War in Florida,
and had a good deal to say about sailing up the rivers there, through
the everglades, and popping off Indians on the banks. I remember his
telling a story about a party being discovered at quite a distance from
them; but one of the savages was made very conspicuous by a pewter
plate, which he wore round his neck, and which glittered in the sun.
This plate proved his death; for, according to Gun-Deck, he himself shot
it through the middle, and the ball entered the wearer's heart. It was a
rat-killing war, he said.

Gun-Deck had touched at Cadiz: had been to Gibraltar; and ashore at
Marseilles. He had sunned himself in the Bay of Naples: eaten figs and
oranges in Messina; and cheerfully lost one of his hearts at Malta,
among the ladies there. And about all these things, he talked like a
romantic man-of-war's man, who had seen the civilized world, and loved
it; found it good, and a comfortable place to live in. So he and Larry
never could agree in their respective views of civilization, and of
savagery, of the Mediterranean and Madagasky.


We were still on the Banks, when a terrific storm came down upon us, the
like of which I had never before beheld, or imagined. The rain poured
down in sheets and cascades; the scupper holes could hardly carry it off
the decks; and in bracing the yards we waded about almost up to our
knees; every thing floating about, like chips in a dock.

This violent rain was the precursor of a hard squall, for which we duly
prepared, taking in our canvas to double-reefed-top-sails.

The tornado came rushing along at last, like a troop of wild horses
before the flaming rush of a burning prairie. But after bowing and
cringing to it awhile, the good Highlander was put off before it; and
with her nose in the water, went wallowing on, ploughing milk-white
waves, and leaving a streak of illuminated foam in her wake.

It was an awful scene. It made me catch my breath as I gazed. I could
hardly stand on my feet, so violent was the motion of the ship. But
while I reeled to and fro, the sailors only laughed at me; and bade me
look out that the ship did not fall overboard; and advised me to get a
handspike, and hold it down hard in the weather-scuppers, to steady her
wild motions. But I was now getting a little too wise for this foolish
kind of talk; though all through the voyage, they never gave it over.

This storm past, we had fair weather until we got into the Irish Sea.

The morning following the storm, when the sea and sky had become blue
again, the man aloft sung out that there was a wreck on the lee-beam. We
bore away for it, all hands looking eagerly toward it, and the captain
in the mizzen-top with his spy-glass. Presently, we slowly passed
alongside of it.

It was a dismantled, water-logged schooner, a most dismal sight, that
must have been drifting about for several long weeks. The bulwarks were
pretty much gone; and here and there the bare stanchions, or posts, were
left standing, splitting in two the waves which broke clear over the
deck, lying almost even with the sea. The foremast was snapt off less
than four feet from its base; and the shattered and splintered remnant
looked like the stump of a pine tree thrown over in the woods. Every
time she rolled in the trough of the sea, her open main-hatchway yawned
into view; but was as quickly filled, and submerged again, with a
rushing, gurgling sound, as the water ran into it with the lee-roll.

At the head of the stump of the mainmast, about ten feet above the deck,
something like a sleeve seemed nailed; it was supposed to be the relic
of a jacket, which must have been fastened there by the crew for a
signal, and been frayed out and blown away by the wind.

Lashed, and leaning over sideways against the taffrail, were three dark,
green, grassy objects, that slowly swayed with every roll, but otherwise
were motionless. I saw the captain's, glass directed toward them, and
heard him say at last, "They must have been dead a long time." These
were sailors, who long ago had lashed themselves to the taffrail for
safety; but must have famished.

Full of the awful interest of the scene, I surely thought the captain
would lower a boat to bury the bodies, and find out something about the
schooner. But we did not stop at all; passing on our course, without so
much as learning the schooner's name, though every one supposed her to
be a New Brunswick lumberman.

On the part of the sailors, no surprise was shown that our captain did
not send off a boat to the wreck; but the steerage passengers were
indignant at what they called his barbarity. For me, I could not but
feel amazed and shocked at his indifference; but my subsequent sea
experiences have shown me, that such conduct as this is very common,
though not, of course, when human life can be saved.

So away we sailed, and left her; drifting, drifting on; a garden spot
for barnacles, and a playhouse for the sharks.

"Look there," said Jackson, hanging over the rail and coughing-"look
there; that's a sailor's coffin. Ha! ha! Buttons," turning round to
me--"how do you like that, Buttons? Wouldn't you like to take a sail with
them 'ere dead men? Wouldn't it be nice?" And then he tried to laugh,
but only coughed again. "Don't laugh at dem poor fellows," said Max,
looking grave; "do' you see dar bodies, dar souls are farder off dan de
Cape of Dood Hope."

"Dood Hope, Dood Hope," shrieked Jackson, with a horrid grin, mimicking
the Dutchman, "dare is no dood hope for dem, old boy; dey are drowned
and d .... d, as you and I will be, Red Max, one of dese dark nights."

"No, no," said Blunt, "all sailors are saved; they have plenty of
squalls here below, but fair weather aloft."

"And did you get that out of your silly Dream Book, you Greek?" howled
Jackson through a cough. "Don't talk of heaven to me--it's a lie--I know
it--and they are all fools that believe in it. Do you think, you Greek,
that there's any heaven for you? Will they let you in there, with that
tarry hand, and that oily head of hair? Avast! when some shark gulps you
down his hatchway one of these days, you'll find, that by dying, you'll
only go from one gale of wind to another; mind that, you Irish cockney!
Yes, you'll be bolted down like one of your own pills: and I should like
to see the whole ship swallowed down in the Norway maelstrom, like a box
on 'em. That would be a dose of salts for ye!" And so saying, he went
off, holding his hands to his chest, and coughing, as if his last hour
was come.

Every day this Jackson seemed to grow worse and worse, both in body and
mind. He seldom spoke, but to contradict, deride, or curse; and all the
time, though his face grew thinner and thinner, his eyes seemed to
kindle more and more, as if he were going to die out at last, and leave
them burning like tapers before a corpse.

Though he had never attended churches, and knew nothing about
Christianity; no more than a Malay pirate; and though he could not read
a word, yet he was spontaneously an atheist and an infidel; and during
the long night watches, would enter into arguments, to prove that there
was nothing to be believed; nothing to be loved, and nothing worth
living for; but every thing to be hated, in the wide world. He was a
horrid desperado; and like a wild Indian, whom he resembled in his tawny
skin and high cheek bones, he seemed to run amuck at heaven and earth.
He was a Cain afloat; branded on his yellow brow with some inscrutable
curse; and going about corrupting and searing every heart that beat near

But there seemed even more woe than wickedness about the man; and his
wickedness seemed to spring from his woe; and for all his hideousness,
there was that in his eye at times, that was ineffably pitiable and
touching; and though there were moments when I almost hated this
Jackson, yet I have pitied no man as I have pitied him.


As yet, I have said nothing special about the passengers we carried out.
But before making what little mention I shall of them, you must know
that the Highlander was not a Liverpool liner, or packet-ship, plying in
connection with a sisterhood of packets, at stated intervals, between
the two ports. No: she was only what is called a regular trader to
Liverpool; sailing upon no fixed days, and acting very much as she
pleased, being bound by no obligations of any kind: though in all her
voyages, ever having New York or Liverpool for her destination. Merchant
vessels which are neither liners nor regular traders, among sailors come
under the general head of transient ships; which implies that they are
here to-day, and somewhere else to-morrow, like Mullins's dog.

But I had no reason to regret that the Highlander was not a liner; for
aboard of those liners, from all I could gather from those who had
sailed in them, the crew have terrible hard work, owing to their
carrying such a press of sail, in order to make as rapid passages as
possible, and sustain the ship's reputation for speed. Hence it is, that
although they are the very best of sea-going craft, and built in the
best possible manner, and with the very best materials, yet, a few years
of scudding before the wind, as they do, seriously impairs their
constitutions--like robust young men, who live too fast in their teens
--and they are soon sold out for a song; generally to the people of
Nantucket, New Bedford, and Sag Harbor, who repair and fit them out for
the whaling business.

Thus, the ship that once carried over gay parties of ladies and
gentlemen, as tourists, to Liverpool or London, now carries a crew of
harpooners round Cape Horn into the Pacific. And the mahogany and
bird's-eye maple cabin, which once held rosewood card-tables and
brilliant coffee-urns, and in which many a bottle of champagne, and many
a bright eye sparkled, now accommodates a bluff Quaker captain from
Martha's Vineyard; who, perhaps, while lying with his ship in the Bay of
Islands, in New Zealand, entertains a party of naked chiefs and savages
at dinner, in place of the packet-captain doing the honors to the
literati, theatrical stars, foreign princes, and gentlemen of leisure
and fortune, who generally talked gossip, politics, and nonsense across
the table, in transatlantic trips. The broad quarter-deck, too, where
these gentry promenaded, is now often choked up by the enormous head of
the sperm-whale, and vast masses of unctuous blubber; and every where
reeks with oil during the prosecution of the fishery. Sic transit gloria
mundi! Thus departs the pride and glory of packet-ships! It is like a
broken down importer of French silks embarking in the soap-boning

So, not being a liner, the Highlander of course did not have very ample
accommodations for cabin passengers. I believe there were not more than
five or six state-rooms, with two or three berths in each. At any rate,
on this particular voyage she only carried out one regular
cabin-passenger; that is, a person previously unacquainted with the
captain, who paid his fare down, and came on board soberly, and in a
business-like manner with his baggage.

He was an extremely little man, that solitary cabin-passenger--the
passenger who came on board in a business-like manner with his baggage;
never spoke to any one, and the captain seldom spoke to him.

Perhaps he was a deputy from the Deaf and Dumb Institution in New York,
going over to London to address the public in pantomime at Exeter Hall
concerning the signs of the times.

He was always in a brown study; sometimes sitting on the quarter-deck
with arms folded, and head hanging upon his chest. Then he would rise,
and gaze out to windward, as if he had suddenly discovered a friend. But
looking disappointed, would retire slowly into his state-room, where you
could see him through the little window, in an irregular sitting
position, with the back part of him inserted into his berth, and his
head, arms, and legs hanging out, buried in profound meditation, with
his fore-finger aside of his nose. He never was seen reading; never took
a hand at cards; never smoked; never drank wine; never conversed; and
never staid to the dessert at dinner-time.

He seemed the true microcosm, or little world to himself: standing in no
need of levying contributions upon the surrounding universe. Conjecture
was lost in speculating as to who he was, and what was his business. The
sailors, who are always curious with regard to such matters, and
criticise cabin-passengers more than cabin-passengers are perhaps aware
at the time, completely exhausted themselves in suppositions, some of
which are characteristically curious.

One of the crew said he was a mysterious bearer of secret dispatches to
the English court; others opined that he was a traveling surgeon and
bonesetter, but for what reason they thought so, I never could learn;
and others declared that he must either be an unprincipled bigamist,
flying from his last wife and several small children; or a scoundrelly
forger, bank-robber, or general burglar, who was returning to his
beloved country with his ill-gotten booty. One observing sailor was of
opinion that he was an English murderer, overwhelmed with speechless
remorse, and returning home to make a full confession and be hanged.

But it was a little singular, that among all their sage and sometimes
confident opinings, not one charitable one was made; no! they were all
sadly to the prejudice of his moral and religious character. But this is
the way all the world over. Miserable man! could you have had an inkling
of what they thought of you, I know not what you would have done.

However, not knowing any thing about these surmisings and suspicions,
this mysterious cabin-passenger went on his way, calm, cool, and
collected; never troubled any body, and nobody troubled him. Sometimes,
of a moonlight night he glided about the deck, like the ghost of a
hospital attendant; flitting from mast to mast; now hovering round the
skylight, now vibrating in the vicinity of the binnacle. Blunt, the
Dream Book tar, swore he was a magician; and took an extra dose of
salts, by way of precaution against his spells.

When we were but a few days from port, a comical adventure befell this
cabin-passenger. There is an old custom, still in vogue among some
merchant sailors, of tying fast in the rigging any lubberly landsman of
a passenger who may be detected taking excursions aloft, however
moderate the flight of the awkward fowl. This is called "making a spread
eagle" of the man; and before he is liberated, a promise is exacted,
that before arriving in port, he shall furnish the ship's company with
money enough for a treat all round.

Now this being one of the perquisites of sailors, they are always on the
keen look-out for an opportunity of levying such contributions upon
incautious strangers; though they never attempt it in presence of the
captain; as for the mates, they purposely avert their eyes, and are
earnestly engaged about something else, whenever they get an inkling of
this proceeding going on. But, with only one poor fellow of a
cabin-passenger on board of the Highlander, and he such a quiet,
unobtrusive, unadventurous wight, there seemed little chance for levying

One remarkably pleasant morning, however, what should be seen, half way
up the mizzen rigging, but the figure of our cabin-passenger, holding on
with might and main by all four limbs, and with his head fearfully
turned round, gazing off to the horizon. He looked as if he had the
nightmare; and in some sudden and unaccountable fit of insanity, he must
have been impelled to the taking up of that perilous position.

"Good heavens!" said the mate, who was a bit of a wag, "you will surely
fall, sir! Steward, spread a mattress on deck, under the gentleman!"

But no sooner was our Greenland sailor's attention called to the sight,
than snatching up some rope-yarn, he ran softly up behind the passenger,
and without speaking a word, began binding him hand and foot. The
stranger was more dumb than ever with amazement; at last violently
remonstrated; but in vain; for as his tearfulness of falling made him
keep his hands glued to the ropes, and so prevented him from any
effectual resistance, he was soon made a handsome spread-eagle of, to
the great satisfaction of the crew.

It was now discovered for the first, that this singular passenger
stammered and stuttered very badly, which, perhaps, was the cause of his

"Wha-wha-what i-i-is this f-f-for?"

"Spread-eagle, sir," said the Greenlander, thinking that those few words
would at once make the matter plain.

"Wha-wha-what that me-me-mean?"

"Treats all round, sir," said the Greenlander, wondering at the other's
obtusity, who, however, had never so much as heard of the thing before.

At last, upon his reluctant acquiescence in the demands of the sailor,
and handing him two half-crown pieces, the unfortunate passenger was
suffered to descend.

The last I ever saw of this man was his getting into a cab at Prince's
Dock Gates in Liverpool, and driving off alone to parts unknown. He had
nothing but a valise with him, and an umbrella; but his pockets looked
stuffed out; perhaps he used them for carpet-bags.

I must now give some account of another and still more mysterious,
though very different, sort of an occupant of the cabin, of whom I have
previously hinted. What say you to a charming young girl?--just the girl
to sing the Dashing White Sergeant; a martial, military-looking girl;
her father must have been a general. Her hair was auburn; her eyes were
blue; her cheeks were white and red; and Captain Riga was her most

To the curious questions of the sailors concerning who she was, the
steward used to answer, that she was the daughter of one of the
Liverpool dock-masters, who, for the benefit of her health and the
improvement of her mind, had sent her out to America in the Highlander,
under the captain's charge, who was his particular friend; and that now
the young lady was returning home from her tour.

And truly the captain proved an attentive father to her, and often
promenaded with her hanging on his arm, past the forlorn bearer of
secret dispatches, who would look up now and then out of his reveries,
and cast a furtive glance of wonder, as if he thought the captain was

Considering his beautiful ward, I thought the captain behaved
ungallantly, to say the least, in availing himself of the opportunity of
her charming society, to wear out his remaining old clothes; for no
gentleman ever pretends to save his best coat when a lady is in the
case; indeed, he generally thirsts for a chance to abase it, by
converting it into a pontoon over a puddle, like Sir Walter Raleigh,
that the ladies may not soil the soles of their dainty slippers. But
this Captain Riga was no Raleigh, and hardly any sort of a true
gentleman whatever, as I have formerly declared. Yet, perhaps, he might
have worn his old clothes in this instance, for the express purpose of
proving, by his disdain for the toilet, that he was nothing but the
young lady's guardian; for many guardians do not care one fig how shabby
they look.

But for all this, the passage out was one long paternal sort of a shabby
flirtation between this hoydenish nymph and the ill-dressed captain. And
surely, if her good mother, were she living, could have seen this young
lady, she would have given her an endless lecture for her conduct, and a
copy of Mrs. Ellis's Daughters of England to read and digest. I shall
say no more of this anonymous nymph; only, that when we arrived at
Liverpool, she issued from her cabin in a richly embroidered silk dress,
and lace hat and veil, and a sort of Chinese umbrella or parasol, which
one of the sailors declared "spandangalous;" and the captain followed
after in his best broadcloth and beaver, with a gold-headed cane; and
away they went in a carriage, and that was the last of her; I hope she
is well and happy now; but I have some misgivings.

It now remains to speak of the steerage passengers. There were not more
than twenty or thirty of them, mostly mechanics, returning home, after a
prosperous stay in America, to escort their wives and families back.
These were the only occupants of the steerage that I ever knew of; till
early one morning, in the gray dawn, when we made Cape Clear, the south
point of Ireland, the apparition of a tall Irishman, in a shabby shirt
of bed-ticking, emerged from the fore hatchway, and stood leaning on the
rail, looking landward with a fixed, reminiscent expression, and
diligently scratching its back with both hands. We all started at the
sight, for no one had ever seen the apparition before; and when we
remembered that it must have been burrowing all the passage down in its
bunk, the only probable reason of its so manipulating its back became
shockingly obvious.

I had almost forgotten another passenger of ours, a little boy not four
feet high, an English lad, who, when we were about forty-eight hours
from New York, suddenly appeared on deck, asking for something to eat.

It seems he was the son of a carpenter, a widower, with this only child,
who had gone out to America in the Highlander some six months previous,
where he fell to drinking, and soon died, leaving the boy a friendless
orphan in a foreign land.

For several weeks the boy wandered about the wharves, picking up a
precarious livelihood by sucking molasses out of the casks discharged
from West India ships, and occasionally regaling himself upon stray
oranges and lemons found floating in the docks. He passed his nights
sometimes in a stall in the markets, sometimes in an empty hogshead on
the piers, sometimes in a doorway, and once in the watchhouse, from
which he escaped the next morning, running as he told me, right between
the doorkeeper's legs, when he was taking another vagrant to task for
repeatedly throwing himself upon the public charities.

At last, while straying along the docks, he chanced to catch sight of
the Highlander, and immediately recognized her as the very ship which
brought him and his father out from England. He at once resolved to
return in her; and, accosting the captain, stated his case, and begged a
passage. The captain refused to give it; but, nothing daunted, the
heroic little fellow resolved to conceal himself on board previous to
the ship's sailing; which he did, stowing himself away in the
between-decks; and moreover, as he told us, in a narrow space between
two large casks of water, from which he now and then thrust out his head
for air. And once a steerage passenger rose in the night and poked in
and rattled about a stick where he was, thinking him an uncommon large
rat, who was after stealing a passage across the Atlantic. There are
plenty of passengers of that kind continually plying between Liverpool
and New York.

As soon as he divulged the fact of his being on board, which he took
care should not happen till he thought the ship must be out of sight of
land; the captain had him called aft, and after giving him a thorough
shaking, and threatening to toss her overboard as a tit-bit for John
Shark, he told the mate to send him forward among the sailors, and let
him live there. The sailors received him with open arms; but before
caressing him much, they gave him a thorough washing in the
lee-scuppers, when he turned out to be quite a handsome lad, though thin
and pale with the hardships he had suffered. However, by good nursing
and plenty to eat, he soon improved and grew fat; and before many days
was as fine a looking little fellow, as you might pick out of Queen
Victoria's nursery. The sailors took the warmest interest in him. One
made him a little hat with a long ribbon; another a little jacket; a
third a comical little pair of man-of-war's-man's trowsers; so that in
the end, he looked like a juvenile boatswain's mate. Then the cook
furnished him with a little tin pot and pan; and the steward made him a
present of a pewter tea-spoon; and a steerage passenger gave him a jack
knife. And thus provided, he used to sit at meal times half way up on
the forecastle ladder, making a great racket with his pot and pan, and
merry as a cricket. He was an uncommonly fine, cheerful, clever, arch
little fellow, only six years old, and it was a thousand pities that he
should be abandoned, as he was. Who can say, whether he is fated to be a
convict in New South Wales, or a member of Parliament for Liverpool?
When we got to that port, by the way, a purse was made up for him; the
captain, officers, and the mysterious cabin passenger contributing their
best wishes, and the sailors and poor steerage passengers something like
fifteen dollars in cash and tobacco. But I had almost forgot to add that
the daughter of the dock-master gave him a fine lace pocket-handkerchief
and a card-case to remember her by; very valuable, but somewhat
inappropriate presents. Thus supplied, the little hero went ashore by
himself; and I lost sight of him in the vast crowds thronging the docks
of Liverpool.

I must here mention, as some relief to the impression which Jackson's
character must have made upon the reader, that in several ways he at
first befriended this boy; but the boy always shrunk from him; till, at
last, stung by his conduct, Jackson spoke to him no more; and seemed to
hate him, harmless as he was, along with all the rest of the world.

As for the Lancashire lad, he was a stupid sort of fellow, as I have
before hinted. So, little interest was taken in him, that he was
permitted to go ashore at last, without a good-by from any person but


But we have not got to Liverpool yet; though, as there is little more to
be said concerning the passage out, the Highlander may as well make sail
and get there as soon as possible. The brief interval will perhaps be
profitably employed in relating what progress I made in learning the
duties of a sailor.

After my heroic feat in loosing the main-skysail, the mate entertained
good hopes of my becoming a rare mariner. In the fullness of his heart,
he ordered me to turn over the superintendence of the chicken-coop to
the Lancashire boy; which I did, very willingly. After that, I took care
to show the utmost alacrity in running aloft, which by this time became
mere fun for me; and nothing delighted me more than to sit on one of the
topsail-yards, for hours together, helping Max or the Green-lander as
they worked at the rigging.

At sea, the sailors are continually engaged in "parcelling," "serving,"
and in a thousand ways ornamenting and repairing the numberless shrouds
and stays; mending sails, or turning one side of the deck into a
rope-walk, where they manufacture a clumsy sort of twine, called
spun-yarn. This is spun with a winch; and many an hour the Lancashire
boy had to play the part of an engine, and contribute the motive power.
For material, they use odds and ends of old rigging called "junk," the
yarns of which are picked to pieces, and then twisted into new
combinations, something as most books are manufactured. This "junk" is
bought at the junk shops along the wharves; outlandish looking dens,
generally subterranean, full of old iron, old shrouds, spars, rusty
blocks, and superannuated tackles; and kept by villainous looking old
men, in tarred trowsers, and with yellow beards like oakum. They look
like wreckers; and the scattered goods they expose for sale,
involuntarily remind one of the sea-beach, covered with keels and
cordage, swept ashore in a gale.

Yes, I was now as nimble as a monkey in the rigging, and at the cry of
"tumble up there, my hearties, and take in sail," I was among the first
ground-and-lofty tumblers, that sprang aloft at the word.

But the first time we reefed top-sails of a dark night, and I found
myself hanging over the yard with eleven others, the ship plunging and
rearing like a mad horse, till I felt like being jerked off the spar;
then, indeed, I thought of a feather-bed at home, and hung on with tooth
and nail; with no chance for snoring. But a few repetitions, soon made
me used to it; and before long, I tied my reef-point as quickly and
expertly as the best of them; never making what they call a
"granny-knot," and slipt down on deck by the bare stays, instead of the
shrouds. It is surprising, how soon a boy overcomes his timidity about
going aloft. For my own part, my nerves became as steady as the earth's
diameter, and I felt as fearless on the royal yard, as Sam Patch on the
cliff of Niagara. To my amazement, also, I found, that running up the
rigging at sea, especially during a squall, was much easier than while
lying in port. For as you always go up on the windward side, and the
ship leans over, it makes more of a stairs of the rigging; whereas, in
harbor, it is almost straight up and down.

Besides, the pitching and rolling only imparts a pleasant sort of
vitality to the vessel; so that the difference in being aloft in a ship
at sea, and a ship in harbor, is pretty much the same, as riding a real
live horse and a wooden one. And even if the live charger should pitch
you over his head, that would be much more satisfactory, than an
inglorious fall from the other.

I took great delight in furling the top-gallant sails and royals in a
hard blow; which duty required two hands on the yard.

There was a wild delirium about it; a fine rushing of the blood about
the heart; and a glad, thrilling, and throbbing of the whole system, to
find yourself tossed up at every pitch into the clouds of a stormy sky,
and hovering like a judgment angel between heaven and earth; both hands
free, with one foot in the rigging, and one somewhere behind you in the
air. The sail would fill out Eke a balloon, with a report like a small
cannon, and then collapse and sink away into a handful. And the feeling
of mastering the rebellious canvas, and tying it down like a slave to
the spar, and binding it over and over with the gasket, had a touch of
pride and power in it, such as young King Richard must have felt, when
he trampled down the insurgents of Wat Tyler.

As for steering, they never would let me go to the helm, except during a
calm, when I and the figure-head on the bow were about equally employed.

By the way, that figure-head was a passenger I forgot to make mention of

He was a gallant six-footer of a Highlander "in full fig," with bright
tartans, bare knees, barred leggings, and blue bonnet and the most
vermilion of cheeks. He was game to his wooden marrow, and stood up to
it through thick and thin; one foot a little advanced, and his right arm
stretched forward, daring on the waves. In a gale of wind it was
glorious to watch him standing at his post like a hero, and plunging up
and down the watery Highlands and Lowlands, as the ship went roaming on
her way. He was a veteran with many wounds of many sea-fights; and when
he got to Liverpool a figure-head-builder there, amputated his left leg,
and gave him another wooden one, which I am sorry to say, did not fit
him very well, for ever after he looked as if he limped. Then this
figure-head-surgeon gave him another nose, and touched up one eye, and
repaired a rent in his tartans. After that the painter came and made his
toilet all over again; giving him a new suit throughout, with a plaid of
a beautiful pattern.

I do not know what has become of Donald now, but I hope he is safe and
snug with a handsome pension in the "Sailors'-Snug-Harbor" on Staten

The reason why they gave me such a slender chance of learning to steer
was this. I was quite young and raw, and steering a ship is a great art,
upon which much depends; especially the making a short passage; for if
the helmsman be a clumsy, careless fellow, or ignorant of his duty, he
keeps the ship going about in a melancholy state of indecision as to its
precise destination; so that on a voyage to Liverpool, it may be
pointing one while for Gibraltar, then for Rotterdam, and now for John
o' Groat's; all of which is worse than wasted time. Whereas, a true
steersman keeps her to her work night and day; and tries to make a
bee-line from port to port.

Then, in a sudden squall, inattention, or want of quickness at the helm,
might make the ship "lurch to"--or "bring her by the lee." And what those
things are, the cabin passengers would never find out, when they found
themselves going down, down, down, and bidding good-by forever to the
moon and stars.

And they little think, many of them, fine gentlemen and ladies that they
are, what an important personage, and how much to be had in reverence,
is the rough fellow in the pea-jacket, whom they see standing at the
wheel, now cocking his eye aloft, and then peeping at the compass, or
looking out to windward.

Why, that fellow has all your lives and eternities in his hand; and with
one small and almost imperceptible motion of a spoke, in a gale of wind,
might give a vast deal of work to surrogates and lawyers, in proving
last wills and testaments.

Ay, you may well stare at him now. He does not look much like a man who
might play into the hands of an heir-at-law, does he? Yet such is the
case. Watch him close, therefore; take him down into your state-room
occasionally after a stormy watch, and make a friend of him. A glass of
cordial will do it. And if you or your heirs are interested with the
underwriters, then also have an eye on him. And if you remark, that of
the crew, all the men who come to the helm are careless, or inefficient;
and if you observe the captain scolding them often, and crying out:
"Luff, you rascal; she's falling off!" or, "Keep her steady, you
scoundrel, you're boxing the compass!" then hurry down to your
state-room, and if you have not yet made a will, get out your stationery
and go at it; and when it is done, seal it up in a bottle, like Columbus'
log, and it may possibly drift ashore, when you are drowned in the next
gale of wind.


Though, for reasons hinted at above, they would not let me steer, I
contented myself with learning the compass, a graphic facsimile of which
I drew on a blank leaf of the "Wealth of Nations," and studied it every
morning, like the multiplication table.

I liked to peep in at the binnacle, and watch the needle; arid I
wondered how it was that it pointed north, rather than south or west;
for I do not know that any reason can be given why it points in the
precise direction it does. One would think, too, that, as since the
beginning of the world almost, the tide of emigration has been setting
west, the needle would point that way; whereas, it is forever pointing
its fixed fore-finger toward the Pole, where there are few inducements
to attract a sailor, unless it be plenty of ice for mint-juleps.

Our binnacle, by the way, the place that holds a ship's compasses,
deserves a word of mention. It was a little house, about the bigness of
a common bird-cage, with sliding panel doors, and two drawing-rooms
within, and constantly perched upon a stand, right in front of the helm.
It had two chimney stacks to carry off the smoke of the lamp that burned
in it by night.

It was painted green, and on two sides had Venetian blinds; and on one
side two glazed sashes; so that it looked like a cool little summer
retreat, a snug bit of an arbor at the end of a shady garden lane. Had I
been the captain, I would have planted vines in boxes, and placed them
so as to overrun this binnacle; or I would have put canary-birds within;
and so made an aviary of it. It is surprising what a different air may
be imparted to the meanest thing by the dainty hand of taste. Nor must I
omit the helm itself, which was one of a new construction, and a
particular favorite of the captain. It was a complex system of cogs and
wheels and spindles, all of polished brass, and looked something like a
printing-press, or power-loom. The sailors, however, did not like it
much, owing to the casualties that happened to their imprudent fingers,
by catching in among the cogs and other intricate contrivances. Then,
sometimes in a calm, when the sudden swells would lift the ship, the
helm would fetch a lurch, and send the helmsman revolving round like
Ixion, often seriously hurting him; a sort of breaking on the wheel.

The harness-cask, also, a sort of sea side-board, or rather meat-safe,
in which a week's allowance of salt pork and beef is kept, deserves
being chronicled. It formed part of the standing furniture of the
quarter-deck. Of an oval shape, it was banded round with hoops all
silver-gilt, with gilded bands secured with gilded screws, and a gilded
padlock, richly chased. This formed the captain's smoking-seat, where he
would perch himself of an afternoon, a tasseled Chinese cap upon his
head, and a fragrant Havanna between his white and canine-looking teeth.
He took much solid comfort, Captain Riga.

Then the magnificent capstan! The pride and glory of the whole ship's
company, the constant care and dandled darling of the cook, whose duty
it was to keep it polished like a teapot; and it was an object of
distant admiration to the steerage passengers. Like a parlor
center-table, it stood full in the middle of the quarter-deck, radiant
with brazen stars, and variegated with diamond-shaped veneerings of
mahogany and satin wood. This was the captain's lounge, and the chief
mate's secretary, in the bar-holes keeping paper and pencil for

I might proceed and speak of the booby-hatch, used as a sort of settee
by the officers, and the fife-rail round the mainmast, inclosing a
little ark of canvas, painted green, where a small white dog with a blue
ribbon round his neck, belonging to the dock-master's daughter, used to
take his morning walks, and air himself in this small edition of the New
York Bowling-Green.


As I began to learn my sailor duties, and show activity in running
aloft, the men, I observed, treated me with a little more consideration,
though not at all relaxing in a certain air of professional superiority.
For the mere knowing of the names of the ropes, and familiarizing
yourself with their places, so that you can lay hold of them in the
darkest night; and the loosing and furling of the canvas, and reefing
topsails, and hauling braces; all this, though of course forming an
indispensable part of a seaman's vocation, and the business in which he
is principally engaged; yet these are things which a beginner of
ordinary capacity soon masters, and which are far inferior to many other
matters familiar to an "able seaman."

What did I know, for instance, about striking a top-gallant-mast, and
sending it down on deck in a gale of wind? Could I have turned in a
dead-eye, or in the approved nautical style have clapt a seizing on the
main-stay? What did I know of "passing a gammoning," "reiving a Burton,"
"strapping a shoe-block," "clearing a foul hawse," and innumerable other

The business of a thorough-bred sailor is a special calling, as much of
a regular trade as a carpenter's or locksmith's. Indeed, it requires
considerably more adroitness, and far more versatility of talent.

In the English merchant service boys serve a long apprenticeship to the
sea, of seven years. Most of them first enter the Newcastle colliers,
where they see a great deal of severe coasting service. In an old copy
of the Letters of Junius, belonging to my father, I remember reading,
that coal to supply the city of London could be dug at Blackheath, and
sold for one half the price that the people of London then paid for it;
but the Government would not suffer the mines to be opened, as it would
destroy the great nursery for British seamen.

A thorough sailor must understand much of other avocations. He must be a
bit of an embroiderer, to work fanciful collars of hempen lace about the
shrouds; he must be something of a weaver, to weave mats of rope-yarns
for lashings to the boats; he must have a touch of millinery, so as to
tie graceful bows and knots, such as Matthew Walker's roses, and Turk's
heads; he must be a bit of a musician, in order to sing out at the
halyards; he must be a sort of jeweler, to set dead-eyes in the standing
rigging; he must be a carpenter, to enable him to make a jurymast out of
a yard in case of emergency; he must be a sempstress, to darn and mend
the sails; a ropemaker, to twist marline and Spanish foxes; a
blacksmith, to make hooks and thimbles for the blocks: in short, he must
be a sort of Jack of all trades, in order to master his own. And this,
perhaps, in a greater or less degree, is pretty much the case with all
things else; for you know nothing till you know all; which is the reason
we never know anything.

A sailor, also, in working at the rigging, uses special tools peculiar
to his calling--fids, serving-mallets, toggles, prickers, marlingspikes,
palms, heavers, and many more. The smaller sort he generally carries
with him from ship to ship in a sort of canvas reticule.

The estimation in which a ship's crew hold the knowledge of such
accomplishments as these, is expressed in the phrase they apply to one
who is a clever practitioner. To distinguish such a mariner from those
who merely "hand, reef, and steer," that is, run aloft, furl sails, haul
ropes, and stand at the wheel, they say he is "a sailor-man" which means
that he not only knows how to reef a topsail, but is an artist in the

Now, alas! I had no chance given me to become initiated in this art and
mystery; no further, at least, than by looking on, and watching how that
these things might be done as well as others, the reason was, that I had
only shipped for this one voyage in the Highlander, a short voyage too;
and it was not worth while to teach me any thing, the fruit of which
instructions could be only reaped by the next ship I might belong to.
All they wanted of me was the good-will of my muscles, and the use of my
backbone--comparatively small though it was at that time--by way of a
lever, for the above-mentioned artists to employ when wanted.
Accordingly, when any embroidery was going on in the rigging, I was set
to the most inglorious avocations; as in the merchant service it is a
religious maxim to keep the hands always employed at something or other,
never mind what, during their watch on deck.

Often furnished with a club-hammer, they swung me over the bows in a
bowline, to pound the rust off the anchor: a most monotonous, and to me
a most uncongenial and irksome business. There was a remarkable fatality
attending the various hammers I carried over with me. Somehow they would
drop out of my hands into the sea. But the supply of reserved hammers
seemed unlimited: also the blessings and benedictions I received from
the chief mate for my clumsiness.

At other times, they set me to picking oakum, like a convict, which
hempen business disagreeably obtruded thoughts of halters and the
gallows; or whittling belaying-pins, like a Down-Easter.

However, I endeavored to bear it all like a young philosopher, and
whiled away the tedious hours by gazing through a port-hole while my
hands were plying, and repeating Lord Byron's Address to the Ocean,
which I had often spouted on the stage at the High School at home.

Yes, I got used to all these matters, and took most things coolly, in
the spirit of Seneca and the stoics.

All but the "turning out" or rising from your berth when the watch was
called at night--that I never fancied. It was a sort of acquaintance,
which the more I cultivated, the more I shrunk from; a thankless,
miserable business, truly.

Consider that after walking the deck for four full hours, you go below
to sleep: and while thus innocently employed in reposing your wearied
limbs, you are started up--it seems but the next instant after closing
your lids--and hurried on deck again, into the same disagreeably dark
and, perhaps, stormy night, from which you descended into the

The previous interval of slumber was almost wholly lost to me; at least
the golden opportunity could not be appreciated: for though it is
usually deemed a comfortable thing to be asleep, yet at the time no one
is conscious that he is so enjoying himself. Therefore I made a little
private arrangement with the Lancashire lad, who was in the other watch,
just to step below occasionally, and shake me, and whisper in my
ear--"Watch below, Buttons; watch below"--which pleasantly reminded me of
the delightful fact. Then I would turn over on my side, and take another
nap; and in this manner I enjoyed several complete watches in my bunk to
the other sailor's one. I recommend the plan to all landsmen
contemplating a voyage to sea.

But notwithstanding all these contrivances, the dreadful sequel could
not be avoided. Eight bells would at last be struck, and the men on
deck, exhilarated by the prospect of changing places with us, would call
the watch in a most provoking but mirthful and facetious style.

As thus:--

"Starboard watch, ahoy! eight bells there, below! Tumble up, my lively
hearties; steamboat alongside waiting for your trunks: bear a hand, bear
a hand with your knee-buckles, my sweet and pleasant fellows! fine
shower-bath here on deck. Hurrah, hurrah! your ice-cream is getting

Whereupon some of the old croakers who were getting into their trowsers
would reply with--"Oh, stop your gabble, will you? don't be in such a
hurry, now. You feel sweet, don't you?" with other exclamations, some of
which were full of fury.

And it was not a little curious to remark, that at the expiration of the
ensuing watch, the tables would be turned; and we on deck became the
wits and jokers, and those below the grizzly bears and growlers.


The Highlander was not a grayhound, not a very fast sailer; and so, the
passage, which some of the packet ships make in fifteen or sixteen days,
employed us about thirty.

At last, one morning I came on deck, and they told me that Ireland was
in sight.

Ireland in sight! A foreign country actually visible! I peered hard, but
could see nothing but a bluish, cloud-like spot to the northeast. Was
that Ireland? Why, there was nothing remarkable about that; nothing
startling. If that's the way a foreign country looks, I might as well
have staid at home.

Now what, exactly, I had fancied the shore would look like, I can not
say; but I had a vague idea that it would be something strange and
wonderful. However, there it was; and as the light increased and the
ship sailed nearer and nearer, the land began to magnify, and I gazed at
it with increasing interest.

Ireland! I thought of Robert Emmet, and that last speech of his before
Lord Norbury; I thought of Tommy Moore, and his amatory verses: I
thought of Curran, Grattan, Plunket, and O'Connell; I thought of my
uncle's ostler, Patrick Flinnigan; and I thought of the shipwreck of the
gallant Albion, tost to pieces on the very shore now in sight; and I
thought I should very much like to leave the ship and visit Dublin and
the Giant's Causeway.

Presently a fishing-boat drew near, and I rushed to get a view of it;
but it was a very ordinary looking boat, bobbing up and down, as any
other boat would have done; yet, when I considered that the solitary man
in it was actually a born native of the land in sight; that in all
probability he had never been in America, and knew nothing about my
friends at home, I began to think that he looked somewhat strange.

He was a very fluent fellow, and as soon as we were within hailing
distance, cried out--"Ah, my fine sailors, from Ameriky, ain't ye, my
beautiful sailors?" And concluded by calling upon; us to stop and heave
a rope. Thinking he might have something important to communicate, the
mate accordingly backed I the main yard, and a rope being thrown, the
stranger kept hauling in upon it, and coiling it down, crying, "pay out!
pay out, my honeys; ah! but you're noble fellows!" Till at last the mate
asked him why he did not come alongside, adding, "Haven't you enough
rope yet?"

"Sure and I have," replied the fisherman, "and it's time for Pat to cut
and run!" and so saying, his knife severed the rope, and with a Kilkenny
grin, he sprang to his tiller, put his little craft before the wind, and
bowled away from us, with some fifteen fathoms of our tow-line.

"And may the Old Boy hurry after you, and hang you in your stolen hemp,
you Irish blackguard!" cried the mate, shaking his fist at the receding
boat, after recovering from his first fit of amazement.

Here, then, was a beautiful introduction to the eastern hemisphere;
fairly robbed before striking soundings. This trick upon experienced
travelers certainly beat all I had ever heard about the wooden nutmegs
and bass-wood pumpkin seeds of Connecticut. And I thought if there were
any more Hibernians like our friend Pat, the Yankee peddlers might as
well give it up.

The next land we saw was Wales. It was high noon, and a long line of
purple mountains lay like banks of clouds against the east.

Could this be really Wales?-Wales?--and I thought of the Prince of Wales.

And did a real queen with a diadem reign over that very land I was
looking at, with the identical eyes in my own head?--And then I thought
of a grandfather of mine, who had fought against the ancestor of this
queen at Bunker's Hill.

But, after all, the general effect of these mountains was mortifyingly
like the general effect of the Kaatskill Mountains on the Hudson River.

With a light breeze, we sailed on till next day, when we made Holyhead
and Anglesea. Then it fell almost calm, and what little wind we had, was
ahead; so we kept tacking to and fro, just gliding through the water,
and always hovering in sight of a snow-white tower in the distance,
which might have been a fort, or a light-house. I lost myself in
conjectures as to what sort of people might be tenanting that lonely
edifice, and whether they knew any thing about us.

The third day, with a good wind over the taffrail, we arrived so near
our destination, that we took a pilot at dusk.

He, and every thing connected with him were very different from our New
York pilot. In the first place, the pilot boat that brought him was a
plethoric looking sloop-rigged boat, with flat bows, that went wheezing
through the water; quite in contrast to the little gull of a schooner,
that bade us adieu off Sandy Hook. Aboard of her were ten or twelve
other pilots, fellows with shaggy brows, and muffled in shaggy coats,
who sat grouped together on deck like a fire-side of bears, wintering in
Aroostook. They must have had fine sociable times, though, together;
cruising about the Irish Sea in quest of Liverpool-bound vessels;
smoking cigars, drinking brandy-and-water, and spinning yarns; till at
last, one by one, they are all scattered on board of different ships,
and meet again by the side of a blazing sea-coal fire in some Liverpool
taproom, and prepare for another yachting.

Now, when this English pilot boarded us, I stared at him as if he had
been some wild animal just escaped from the Zoological Gardens; for here
was a real live Englishman, just from England. Nevertheless, as he soon
fell to ordering us here and there, and swearing vociferously in a
language quite familiar to me; I began to think him very common-place,
and considerable of a bore after all.

After running till about midnight, we "hove-to" near the mouth of the
Mersey; and next morning, before day-break, took the first of the flood;
and with a fair wind, stood into the river; which, at its mouth, is
quite an arm of the sea. Presently, in the misty twilight, we passed
immense buoys, and caught sight of distant objects on shore, vague and
shadowy shapes, like Ossian's ghosts.

As I stood leaning over the side, and trying to summon up some image of
Liverpool, to see how the reality would answer to my conceit; and while
the fog, and mist, and gray dawn were investing every thing with a
mysterious interest, I was startled by the doleful, dismal sound of a
great bell, whose slow intermitting tolling seemed in unison with the
solemn roll of the billows. I thought I had never heard so boding a
sound; a sound that seemed to speak of judgment and the resurrection,
like belfry-mouthed Paul of Tarsus.

It was not in the direction of the shore; but seemed to come out of the
vaults of the sea, and out of the mist and fog.

Who was dead, and what could it be?

I soon learned from my shipmates, that this was the famous Bett-Buoy,
which is precisely what its name implies; and tolls fast or slow,
according to the agitation of the waves. In a calm, it is dumb; in a
moderate breeze, it tolls gently; but in a gale, it is an alarum like
the tocsin, warning all mariners to flee. But it seemed fuller of dirges
for the past, than of monitions for the future; and no one can give ear
to it, without thinking of the sailors who sleep far beneath it at the
bottom of the deep.

As we sailed ahead the river contracted. The day came, and soon, passing
two lofty land-marks on the Lancashire shore, we rapidly drew near the
town, and at last, came to anchor in the stream.

Looking shoreward, I beheld lofty ranges of dingy warehouses, which
seemed very deficient in the elements of the marvelous; and bore a most
unexpected resemblance to the ware-houses along South-street in New
York. There was nothing strange; nothing extraordinary about them. There
they stood; a row of calm and collected ware-houses; very good and
substantial edifices, doubtless, and admirably adapted to the ends had
in view by the builders; but plain, matter-of-fact ware-houses,
nevertheless, and that was all that could be said of them.

To be sure, I did not expect that every house in Liverpool must be a
Leaning Tower of Pisa, or a Strasbourg Cathedral; but yet, these
edifices I must confess, were a sad and bitter disappointment to me.

But it was different with Larry the whaleman; who to my surprise,
looking about him delighted, exclaimed, "Why, this 'ere is a
considerable place--I'm dummed if it ain't quite a place.--Why, them 'ere
houses is considerable houses. It beats the coast of Afrilcy, all
hollow; nothing like this in Madagasky, I tell you;--I'm dummed, boys if
Liverpool ain't a city!"

Upon this occasion, indeed, Larry altogether forgot his hostility to
civilization. Having been so long accustomed to associate foreign lands
with the savage places of the Indian Ocean, he had been under the
impression, that Liverpool must be a town of bamboos, situated in some
swamp, and whose inhabitants turned their attention principally to the
cultivation of log-wood and curing of flying-fish. For that any great
commercial city existed three thousand miles from home, was a thing, of
which Larry had never before had a "realizing sense." He was accordingly
astonished and delighted; and began to feel a sort of consideration for
the country which could boast so extensive a town. Instead of holding
Queen Victoria on a par with the Queen of Madagascar, as he had been
accustomed to do; he ever after alluded to that lady with feeling and

As for the other seamen, the sight of a foreign country seemed to kindle
no enthusiasm in them at all: no emotion in the least. They looked
around them with great presence of mind, and acted precisely as you or I
would, if, after a morning's absence round the corner, we found
ourselves returning home. Nearly all of them had made frequent voyages
to Liverpool.

Not long after anchoring, several boats came off; and from one of them
stept a neatly-dressed and very respectable-looking woman, some thirty
years of age, I should think, carrying a bundle. Coming forward among
the sailors, she inquired for Max the Dutchman, who immediately was
forthcoming, and saluted her by the mellifluous appellation of Sally.

Now during the passage, Max in discoursing to me of Liverpool, had often
assured me, that that city had the honor of containing a spouse of his;
and that in all probability, I would have the pleasure of seeing her.
But having heard a good many stories about the bigamies of seamen, and
their having wives and sweethearts in every port, the round world over;
and having been an eye-witness to a nuptial parting between this very
Max and a lady in New York; I put down this relation of his, for what I
thought it might reasonably be worth. What was my astonishment,
therefore, to see this really decent, civil woman coming with a neat
parcel of Max's shore clothes, all washed, plaited, and ironed, and
ready to put on at a moment's warning.

They stood apart a few moments giving loose to those transports of
pleasure, which always take place, I suppose, between man and wife after
long separations.

At last, after many earnest inquiries as to how he had behaved himself
in New York; and concerning the state of his wardrobe; and going down
into the forecastle, and inspecting it in person, Sally departed; having
exchanged her bundle of clean clothes for a bundle of soiled ones, and
this was precisely what the New York wife had done for Max, not thirty I
days previous.

So long as we laid in port, Sally visited the Highlander daily; and
approved herself a neat and expeditious getter-up of duck frocks and
trowsers, a capital tailoress, and as far as I could see, a very
well-behaved, discreet, and reputable woman.

But from all I had seen of her, I should suppose Meg, the New York wife,
to have been equally well-behaved, discreet, and reputable; and equally
devoted to the keeping in good order Max's wardrobe.

And when we left England at last, Sally bade Max good-by, just as Meg
had done; and when we arrived at New York, Meg greeted Max precisely as
Sally had greeted him in Liverpool. Indeed, a pair of more amiable wives
never belonged to one man; they never quarreled, or had so much as a
difference of any kind; the whole broad Atlantic being between them; and
Max was equally polite and civil to both. For many years, he had been
going Liverpool and New York voyages, plying between wife and wife with
great regularity, and sure of receiving a hearty domestic welcome on
either side of the ocean.

Thinking this conduct of his, however, altogether wrong and every way
immoral, I once ventured to express to him my opinion on the subject.
But I never did so again. He turned round on me, very savagely; and
after rating me soundly for meddling in concerns not my own, concluded
by asking me triumphantly, whether old King Sol, as he called the son of
David, did not have a whole frigate-full of wives; and that being the
case, whether he, a poor sailor, did not have just as good a right to
have two? "What was not wrong then, is right now," said Max; "so, mind
your eye, Buttons, or I'll crack your pepper-box for you!"


In the afternoon our pilot was all alive with his orders; we hove up the
anchor, and after a deal of pulling, and hauling, and jamming against
other ships, we wedged our way through a lock at high tide; and about
dark, succeeded in working up to a berth in Prince's Dock. The hawsers
and tow-lines being then coiled away, the crew were told to go ashore,
select their boarding-house, and sit down to supper.

Here it must be mentioned, that owing to the strict but necessary
regulations of the Liverpool docks, no fires of any kind are allowed on
board the vessels within them; and hence, though the sailors are
supposed to sleep in the forecastle, yet they must get their meals
ashore, or live upon cold potatoes. To a ship, the American merchantmen
adopt the former plan; the owners, of course, paying the landlord's
bill; which, in a large crew remaining at Liverpool more than six weeks,
as we of the Highlander did, forms no inconsiderable item in the
expenses of the voyage. Other ships, however--the economical Dutch and
Danish, for instance, and sometimes the prudent Scotch--feed their
luckless tars in dock, with precisely the same fare which they give them
at sea; taking their salt junk ashore to be cooked, which, indeed, is
but scurvy sort of treatment, since it is very apt to induce the scurvy.
A parsimonious proceeding like this is regarded with immeasurable
disdain by the crews of the New York vessels, who, if their captains
treated them after that fashion, would soon bolt and run.

It was quite dark, when we all sprang ashore; and, for the first time, I
felt dusty particles of the renowned British soil penetrating into my
eyes and lungs. As for stepping on it, that was out of the question, in
the well-paved and flagged condition of the streets; and I did not have
an opportunity to do so till some time afterward, when I got out into
the country; and then, indeed, I saw England, and snuffed its immortal
loam-but not till then.

Jackson led the van; and after stopping at a tavern, took us up this
street, and down that, till at last he brought us to a narrow lane,
filled with boarding-houses, spirit-vaults, and sailors. Here we stopped
before the sign of a Baltimore Clipper, flanked on one side by a gilded
bunch of grapes and a bottle, and on the other by the British Unicorn
and American Eagle, lying down by each other, like the lion and lamb in
the millennium.--A very judicious and tasty device, showing a delicate
apprehension of the propriety of conciliating American sailors in an
English boarding-house; and yet in no way derogating from the honor and
dignity of England, but placing the two nations, indeed, upon a footing
of perfect equality.

Near the unicorn was a very small animal, which at first I took for a
young unicorn; but it looked more like a yearling lion. It was holding
up one paw, as if it had a splinter in it; and on its head was a sort of
basket-hilted, low-crowned hat, without a rim. I asked a sailor standing
by, what this animal meant, when, looking at me with a grin, he
answered, "Why, youngster, don't you know what that means? It's a young
jackass, limping off with a kedgeree pot of rice out of the cuddy."

Though it was an English boarding-house, it was kept by a broken-down
American mariner, one Danby, a dissolute, idle fellow, who had married a
buxom English wife, and now lived upon her industry; for the lady, and
not the sailor, proved to be the head of the establishment.

She was a hale, good-looking woman, about forty years old, and among the
seamen went by the name of "Handsome Mary." But though, from the
dissipated character of her spouse, Mary had become the business
personage of the house, bought the marketing, overlooked the tables, and
conducted all the more important arrangements, yet she was by no means
an Amazon to her husband, if she did play a masculine part in other
matters. No; and the more is the pity, poor Mary seemed too much
attached to Danby, to seek to rule him as a termagant. Often she went
about her household concerns with the tears in her eyes, when, after a
fit of intoxication, this brutal husband of hers had been beating her.
The sailors took her part, and many a time volunteered to give him a
thorough thrashing before her eyes; but Mary would beg them not to do
so, as Danby would, no doubt, be a better boy next time.

But there seemed no likelihood of this, so long as that abominable bar
of his stood upon the premises. As you entered the passage, it stared
upon you on one side, ready to entrap all guests.

It was a grotesque, old-fashioned, castellated sort of a sentry-box,
made of a smoky-colored wood, and with a grating in front, that lifted
up like a portcullis. And here would this Danby sit all the day long;
and when customers grew thin, would patronize his own ale himself,
pouring down mug after mug, as if he took himself for one of his own

Sometimes an old crony of his, one Bob Still, would come in; and then
they would occupy the sentry-box together, and swill their beer in
concert. This pot-friend of Danby was portly as a dray-horse, and had a
round, sleek, oily head, twinkling eyes, and moist red cheeks. He was a
lusty troller of ale-songs; and, with his mug in his hand, would lean
his waddling bulk partly out of the sentry-box, singing:

   "No frost, no snow, no wind, I trow,
    Can hurt me if I wold, I am so wrapt, and thoroughly lapt
    In jolly good ale and old,--
    I stuff my skin so full within,
    Of jolly good ale and old."

Or this,

   "Four wines and brandies I detest,
    Here's richer juice from barley press'd.
    It is the quintessence of malt,
    And they that drink it want no salt.
    Come, then, quick come, and take this beer,
    And water henceforth you'll forswear."

Alas! Handsome Mary. What avail all thy private tears and remonstrances
with the incorrigible Danby, so long as that brewery of a toper, Bob
Still, daily eclipses thy threshold with the vast diameter of his
paunch, and enthrones himself in the sentry-box, holding divided rule
with thy spouse?

The more he drinks, the fatter and rounder waxes Bob; and the songs pour
out as the ale pours in, on the well-known principle, that the air in a
vessel is displaced and expelled, as the liquid rises higher and higher
in it.

But as for Danby, the miserable Yankee grows sour on good cheer, and
dries up the thinner for every drop of fat ale he imbibes. It is plain
and demonstrable, that much ale is not good for Yankees, and operates
differently upon them from what it does upon a Briton: ale must be drank
in a fog and a drizzle.

Entering the sign of the Clipper, Jackson ushered us into a small room
on one side, and shortly after, Handsome Mary waited upon us with a
courtesy, and received the compliments of several old guests among our
crew. She then disappeared to provide our supper. While my shipmates
were now engaged in tippling, and talking with numerous old
acquaintances of theirs in the neighborhood, who thronged about the
door, I remained alone in the little room, meditating profoundly upon
the fact, that I was now seated upon an English bench, under an English
roof, in an English tavern, forming an integral part of the English
empire. It was a staggering fact, but none the less true.

I examined the place attentively; it was a long, narrow, little room,
with one small arched window with red curtains, looking out upon a
smoky, untidy yard, bounded by a dingy brick-wall, the top of which was
horrible with pieces of broken old bottles, stuck into mortar.

A dull lamp swung overhead, placed in a wooden ship suspended from the
ceiling. The walls were covered with a paper, representing an endless
succession of vessels of all nations continually circumnavigating the
apartment. By way of a pictorial mainsail to one of these ships, a map
was hung against it, representing in faded colors the flags of all
nations. From the street came a confused uproar of ballad-singers,
bawling women, babies, and drunken sailors.

And this is England?

But where are the old abbeys, and the York Minsters, and the lord
mayors, and coronations, and the May-poles, and fox-hunters, and Derby
races, and the dukes and duchesses, and the Count d'Orsays, which, from
all my reading, I had been in the habit of associating with England? Not
the most distant glimpse of them was to be seen.

Alas! Wellingborough, thought I, I fear you stand but a poor chance to
see the sights. You are nothing but a poor sailor boy; and the Queen is
not going to send a deputation of noblemen to invite you to St. James's.

It was then, I began to see, that my prospects of seeing the world as a
sailor were, after all, but very doubtful; for sailors only go round the
world, without going into it; and their reminiscences of travel are only
a dim recollection of a chain of tap-rooms surrounding the globe,
parallel with the Equator. They but touch the perimeter of the circle;
hover about the edges of terra-firma; and only land upon wharves and
pier-heads. They would dream as little of traveling inland to see
Kenilworth, or Blenheim Castle, as they would of sending a car overland
to the Pope, when they touched at Naples.

From these reveries I was soon roused, by a servant girl hurrying from
room to room, in shrill tones exclaiming, "Supper, supper ready."

Mounting a rickety staircase, we entered a room on the second floor.
Three tall brass candlesticks shed a smoky light upon smoky walls, of
what had once been sea-blue, covered with sailor-scrawls of foul
anchors, lovers' sonnets, and ocean ditties. On one side, nailed against
the wainscot in a row, were the four knaves of cards, each Jack putting
his best foot foremost as usual. What these signified I never heard.

But such ample cheer! Such a groaning table! Such a superabundance of
solids and substantial! Was it possible that sailors fared thus?--the
sailors, who at sea live upon salt beef and biscuit?

First and foremost, was a mighty pewter dish, big as Achilles' shield,
sustaining a pyramid of smoking sausages. This stood at one end; midway
was a similar dish, heavily laden with farmers' slices of head-cheese;
and at the opposite end, a congregation of beef-steaks, piled tier over
tier. Scattered at intervals between, were side dishes of boiled
potatoes, eggs by the score, bread, and pickles; and on a stand
adjoining, was an ample reserve of every thing on the supper table.

We fell to with all our hearts; wrapt ourselves in hot jackets of
beef-steaks; curtailed the sausages with great celerity; and sitting
down before the head-cheese, soon razed it to its foundations.

Toward the close of the entertainment, I suggested to Peggy, one of the
girls who had waited upon us, that a cup of tea would be a nice thing to
take; and I would thank her for one. She replied that it was too late
for tea; but she would get me a cup of "swipes" if I wanted it.

Not knowing what "swipes" might be, I thought I would run the risk and
try it; but it proved a miserable beverage, with a musty, sour flavor,
as if it had been a decoction of spoiled pickles. I never patronized
swipes again; but gave it a wide berth; though, at dinner afterward, it
was furnished to an unlimited extent, and drunk by most of my shipmates,
who pronounced it good.

But Bob Still would not have pronounced it so; for this stripes, as I
learned, was a sort of cheap substitute for beer; or a bastard kind of
beer; or the washings and rinsings of old beer-barrels. But I do not
remember now what they said it was, precisely. I only know, that swipes
was my abomination. As for the taste of it, I can only describe it as
answering to the name itself; which is certainly significant of
something vile. But it is drunk in large quantities by the poor people
about Liverpool, which, perhaps, in some degree, accounts for their


The ship remained in Prince's Dock over six weeks; but as I do not mean
to present a diary of my stay there, I shall here simply record the
general tenor of the life led by our crew during that interval; and will
then proceed to note down, at random, my own wanderings about town, and
impressions of things as they are recalled to me now, after the lapse of
so many years.

But first, I must mention that we saw little of the captain during our
stay in the dock. Sometimes, cane in hand, he sauntered down of a
pleasant morning from the Arms Hotel, I believe it was, where he
boarded; and after lounging about the ship, giving orders to his Prime
Minister and Grand Vizier, the chief mate, he would saunter back to his

From the glimpse of a play-bill, which I detected peeping out of his
pocket, I inferred that he patronized the theaters; and from the flush
of his cheeks, that he patronized the fine old Port wine, for which
Liverpool is famous.

Occasionally, however, he spent his nights on board; and mad, roystering
nights they were, such as rare Ben Jonson would have delighted in. For
company over the cabin-table, he would have four or five whiskered
sea-captains, who kept the steward drawing corks and filling glasses all
the time. And once, the whole company were found under the table at four
o'clock in the morning, and were put to bed and tucked in by the two
mates. Upon this occasion, I agreed with our woolly Doctor of Divinity,
the black cook, that they should have been ashamed of themselves; but
there is no shame in some sea-captains, who only blush after the third

During the many visits of Captain Riga to the ship, he always said
something courteous to a gentlemanly, friendless custom-house officer,
who staid on board of us nearly all the time we lay in the dock.

And weary days they must have been to this friendless custom-house
officer; trying to kill time in the cabin with a newspaper; and rapping
on the transom with his knuckles. He was kept on board to prevent
smuggling; but he used to smuggle himself ashore very often, when,
according to law, he should have been at his post on board ship. But no
wonder; he seemed to be a man of fine feelings, altogether above his
situation; a most inglorious one, indeed; worse than driving geese to

And now, to proceed with the crew.

At daylight, all hands were called, and the decks were washed down; then
we had an hour to go ashore to breakfast; after which we worked at the
rigging, or picked oakum, or were set to some employment or other, never
mind how trivial, till twelve o'clock, when we went to dinner. At
half-past nine we resumed work; and finally knocked of at four o'clock
in the afternoon, unless something particular was in hand. And after
four o'clock, we could go where we pleased, and were not required to be
on board again till next morning at daylight.

As we had nothing to do with the cargo, of course, our duties were light
enough; and the chief mate was often put to it to devise some employment
for us.

We had no watches to stand, a ship-keeper, hired from shore, relieving
us from that; and all the while the men's wages ran on, as at sea.
Sundays we had to ourselves.

Thus, it will be seen, that the life led by sailors of American ships in
Liverpool, is an exceedingly easy one, and abounding in leisure. They
live ashore on the fat of the land; and after a little wholesome
exercise in the morning, have the rest of the day to themselves.

Nevertheless, these Liverpool voyages, likewise those to London and
Havre, are the least profitable that an improvident seaman can take.
Because, in New York he receives his month's advance; in Liverpool,
another; both of which, in most cases, quickly disappear; so that by the
time his voyage terminates, he generally has but little coming to him;
sometimes not a cent. Whereas, upon a long voyage, say to India or
China, his wages accumulate; he has more inducements to economize, and
far fewer motives to extravagance; and when he is paid off at last, he
goes away jingling a quart measure of dollars.

Besides, of all sea-ports in the world, Liverpool, perhaps, most abounds
in all the variety of land-sharks, land-rats, and other vermin, which
make the hapless mariner their prey. In the shape of landlords,
bar-keepers, clothiers, crimps, and boarding-house loungers, the
land-sharks devour him, limb by limb; while the land-rats and mice
constantly nibble at his purse.

Other perils he runs, also, far worse; from the denizens of notorious
Corinthian haunts in the vicinity of the docks, which in depravity are
not to be matched by any thing this side of the pit that is bottomless.

And yet, sailors love this Liverpool; and upon long voyages to distant
parts of the globe, will be continually dilating upon its charms and
attractions, and extolling it above all other seaports in the world. For
in Liverpool they find their Paradise--not the well known street of that
name--and one of them told me he would be content to lie in Prince's Dock
till he hove up anchor for the world to come.

Much is said of ameliorating the condition of sailors; but it must ever
prove a most difficult endeavor, so long as the antidote is given before
the bane is removed.

Consider, that, with the majority of them, the very fact of their being
sailors, argues a certain recklessness and sensualism of character,
ignorance, and depravity; consider that they are generally friendless
and alone in the world; or if they have friends and relatives, they are
almost constantly beyond the reach of their good influences; consider
that after the rigorous discipline, hardships, dangers, and privations
of a voyage, they are set adrift in a foreign port, and exposed to a
thousand enticements, which, under the circumstances, would be hard even
for virtue itself to withstand, unless virtue went about on crutches;
consider that by their very vocation they are shunned by the better
classes of people, and cut off from all access to respectable and
improving society; consider all this, and the reflecting mind must very
soon perceive that the case of sailors, as a class, is not a very
promising one.

Indeed, the bad things of their condition come under the head of those
chronic evils which can only be ameliorated, it would seem, by
ameliorating the moral organization of all civilization.

Though old seventy-fours and old frigates are converted into chapels,
and launched into the docks; though the "Boatswain's Mate" and other
clever religious tracts in the nautical dialect are distributed among
them; though clergymen harangue them from the pier-heads: and chaplains
in the navy read sermons to them on the gun-deck; though evangelical
boarding-houses are provided for them; though the parsimony of
ship-owners has seconded the really sincere and pious efforts of
Temperance Societies, to take away from seamen their old rations of grog
while at sea:--notwithstanding all these things, and many more, the
relative condition of the great bulk of sailors to the rest of mankind,
seems to remain pretty much where it was, a century ago.

It is too much the custom, perhaps, to regard as a special advance, that
unavoidable, and merely participative progress, which any one class
makes in sharing the general movement of the race. Thus, because the
sailor, who to-day steers the Hibernia or Unicorn steam-ship across the
Atlantic, is a somewhat different man from the exaggerated sailors of
Smollett, and the men who fought with Nelson at Copenhagen, and survived
to riot themselves away at North Corner in Plymouth;--because the modern
tar is not quite so gross as heretofore, and has shaken off some of his
shaggy jackets, and docked his Lord Rodney queue:--therefore, in the
estimation of some observers, he has begun to see the evils of his
condition, and has voluntarily improved. But upon a closer scrutiny, it
will be seen that he has but drifted along with that great tide, which,
perhaps, has two flows for one ebb; he has made no individual advance of
his own.

There are classes of men in the world, who bear the same relation to
society at large, that the wheels do to a coach: and are just as
indispensable. But however easy and delectable the springs upon which
the insiders pleasantly vibrate: however sumptuous the hammer-cloth, and
glossy the door-panels; yet, for all this, the wheels must still revolve
in dusty, or muddy revolutions. No contrivance, no sagacity can lift
them out of the mire; for upon something the coach must be bottomed; on
something the insiders must roll.

Now, sailors form one of these wheels: they go and come round the globe;
they are the true importers, and exporters of spices and silks; of
fruits and wines and marbles; they carry missionaries, embassadors,
opera-singers, armies, merchants, tourists, and scholars to their
destination: they are a bridge of boats across the Atlantic; they are
the primum mobile of all commerce; and, in short, were they to emigrate
in a body to man the navies of the moon, almost every thing would stop
here on earth except its revolution on its axis, and the orators in the
American Congress.

And yet, what are sailors? What in your heart do you think of that
fellow staggering along the dock? Do you not give him a wide berth, shun
him, and account him but little above the brutes that perish? Will you
throw open your parlors to him; invite him to dinner? or give him a
season ticket to your pew in church?--No. You will do no such thing; but
at a distance, you will perhaps subscribe a dollar or two for the
building of a hospital, to accommodate sailors already broken down; or
for the distribution of excellent books among tars who can not read. And
the very mode and manner in which such charities are made, bespeak, more
than words, the low estimation in which sailors are held. It is useless
to gainsay it; they are deemed almost the refuse and offscourings of the
earth; and the romantic view of them is principally had through

But can sailors, one of the wheels of this world, be wholly lifted up
from the mire? There seems not much chance for it, in the old systems
and programmes of the future, however well-intentioned and sincere; for
with such systems, the thought of lifting them up seems almost as
hopeless as that of growing the grape in Nova Zembla.

But we must not altogether despair for the sailor; nor need those who
toil for his good be at bottom disheartened, or Time must prove his
friend in the end; and though sometimes he would almost seem as a
neglected step-son of heaven, permitted to run on and riot out his days
with no hand to restrain him, while others are watched over and tenderly
cared for; yet we feel and we know that God is the true Father of all,
and that none of his children are without the pale of his care.


Among the odd volumes in my father's library, was a collection of old
European and English guide-books, which he had bought on his travels, a
great many years ago. In my childhood, I went through many courses of
studying them, and never tired of gazing at the numerous quaint
embellishments and plates, and staring at the strange title-pages, some
of which I thought resembled the mustached faces of foreigners. Among
others was a Parisian-looking, faded, pink-covered pamphlet, the rouge
here and there effaced upon its now thin and attenuated cheeks,
entitled, "Voyage Descriptif et Philosophique de L'Ancien et du Nouveau
Paris: Miroir Fidele" also a time-darkened, mossy old book, in
marbleized binding, much resembling verd-antique, entitled, "Itineraire
Instructif de Rome, ou Description Generale des Monumens Antiques et
Modernes et des Ouvrages les plus Remarquables de Peinteur, de
Sculpture, et de Architecture de cette Celebre Ville;" on the russet
title-page is a vignette representing a barren rock, partly shaded by a
scrub-oak (a forlorn bit of landscape), and under the lee of the rock
and the shade of the tree, maternally reclines the houseless
foster-mother of Romulus and Remus, giving suck to the illustrious
twins; a pair of naked little cherubs sprawling on the ground, with
locked arms, eagerly engaged at their absorbing occupation; a large
cactus-leaf or diaper hangs from a bough, and the wolf looks a good deal
like one of the no-horn breed of barn-yard cows; the work is published
"Avec privilege du Souverain Pontife." There was also a velvet-bound old
volume, in brass clasps, entitled, "The Conductor through Holland" with
a plate of the Stadt House; also a venerable "Picture of London"
abounding in representations of St. Paul's, the Monument, Temple-Bar,
Hyde-Park-Corner, the Horse Guards, the Admiralty, Charing-Cross, and
Vauxhall Bridge. Also, a bulky book, in a dusty-looking yellow cover,
reminding one of the paneled doors of a mail-coach, and bearing an
elaborate title-page, full of printer's flourishes, in emulation of the
cracks of a four-in-hand whip, entitled, in part, "The Great Roads, both
direct and cross, throughout England and Wales, from an actual
Admeasurement by order of His Majesty's Postmaster-General: This work
describes the Cities, Market and Borough and Corporate Towns, and those
at which the Assizes are held, and gives the time of the Mails' arrival
and departure from each: Describes the Inns in the Metropolis from which
the stages go, and the Inns in the country which supply post-horses and
carriages: Describes the Noblemen and Gentlemen's Seats situated near
the Road, with Maps of the Environs of London, Bath, Brighton, and
Margate." It is dedicated "To the Right Honorable the Earls of
Chesterfield and Leicester, by their Lordships' Most Obliged, Obedient,
and Obsequious Servant, John Gary, 1798." Also a green pamphlet, with a
motto from Virgil, and an intricate coat of arms on the cover, looking
like a diagram of the Labyrinth of Crete, entitled, "A Description of
York, its Antiquities and Public Buildings, particularly the Cathedral;
compiled with great pains from the most authentic records." Also a small
scholastic-looking volume, in a classic vellum binding, and with a
frontispiece bringing together at one view the towers and turrets of
King's College and the magnificent Cathedral of Ely, though
geographically sixteen miles apart, entitled, "The Cambridge Guide: its
Colleges, Halls, Libraries, and Museums, with the Ceremonies of the Town
and University, and some account of Ely Cathedral." Also a pamphlet,
with a japanned sort of cover, stamped with a disorderly
higgledy-piggledy group of pagoda-looking structures, claiming to be an
accurate representation of the "North or Grand Front of Blenheim," and
entitled, "A Description of Blenheim, the Seat of His Grace the Duke of
Marlborough; containing a full account of the Paintings, Tapestry, and
Furniture: a Picturesque Tour of the Gardens and Parks, and a General
Description of the famous China Gallery, 6-c.; with an Essay on
Landscape Gardening: and embellished with a View of the Palace, and a
New and Elegant Plan of the Great Park." And lastly, and to the purpose,
there was a volume called "THE PICTURE OF LIVERPOOL."

It was a curious and remarkable book; and from the many fond
associations connected with it, I should like to immortalize it, if I

But let me get it down from its shrine, and paint it, if I may, from the

As I now linger over the volume, to and fro turning the pages so dear to
my boyhood,--the very pages which, years and years ago, my father turned
over amid the very scenes that are here described; what a soft, pleasing
sadness steals over me, and how I melt into the past and forgotten!

Dear book! I will sell my Shakespeare, and even sacrifice my old quarto
Hogarth, before I will part with you. Yes, I will go to the hammer
myself, ere I send you to be knocked down in the auctioneer's shambles.
I will, my beloved,--old family relic that you are;--till you drop leaf
from leaf, and letter from letter, you shall have a snug shelf
somewhere, though I have no bench for myself.

In size, it is what the booksellers call an 18mo; it is bound in green
morocco, which from my earliest recollection has been spotted and
tarnished with time; the corners are marked with triangular patches of
red, like little cocked hats; and some unknown Goth has inflicted an
incurable wound upon the back. There is no lettering outside; so that he
who lounges past my humble shelves, seldom dreams of opening the
anonymous little book in green. There it stands; day after day, week
after week, year after year; and no one but myself regards it. But I
make up for all neglects, with my own abounding love for it.

But let us open the volume.

What are these scrawls in the fly-leaves? what incorrigible pupil of a
writing-master has been here? what crayon sketcher of wild animals and
falling air-castles? Ah, no!--these are all part and parcel of the
precious book, which go to make up the sum of its treasure to me.

Some of the scrawls are my own; and as poets do with their juvenile
sonnets, I might write under this horse, "Drawn at the age of three
years," and under this autograph, "Executed at the age of eight."

Others are the handiwork of my brothers, and sisters, and cousins; and
the hands that sketched some of them are now moldered away.

But what does this anchor here? this ship? and this sea-ditty of
Dibdin's? The book must have fallen into the hands of some tarry captain
of a forecastle. No: that anchor, ship, and Dibdin's ditty are mine;
this hand drew them; and on this very voyage to Liverpool. But not so
fast; I did not mean to tell that yet.

Full in the midst of these pencil scrawlings, completely surrounded
indeed, stands in indelible, though faded ink, and in my father's
hand-writing, the following:--


"Riddough's Royal Hotel, Liverpool, March 20th, 1808."

Turning over that leaf, I come upon some half-effaced miscellaneous
memoranda in pencil, characteristic of a methodical mind, and therefore
indubitably my father's, which he must have made at various times during
his stay in Liverpool. These are full of a strange, subdued, old,
midsummer interest to me: and though, from the numerous effacements, it
is much like cross-reading to make them out; yet, I must here copy a few
at random:--

                                      £  s. d

    Guide-Book                           3  6
    Dinner at the Star and Garter          10
    Trip to Preston (distance 31 m.)  2  6  3
    Gratuities                              4
    Hack                                 4  6
    Thompson's Seasons                      5
    Library                                 1
    Boat on the river                       6
    Port wine and cigar                     4

And on the opposite page, I can just decipher the following:

    Dine with Mr. Roscoe on Monday.
    Call upon Mr. Morille same day.
    Leave card at Colonel Digby's on Tuesday.
    Theatre Friday night--Richard III. and new farce.
    Present letter at Miss L----'s on Tuesday.
    Call on Sampson & Wilt, Friday.
    Get my draft on London cashed.
    Write home by the Princess.
    Letter bag at Sampson and Wilt's.

Turning over the next leaf, I unfold a map, which in the midst of the
British Arms, in one corner displays in sturdy text, that this is "A
Plan of the Town of Liverpool." But there seems little plan in the
confined and crooked looking marks for the streets, and the docks
irregularly scattered along the bank of the Mersey, which flows along, a
peaceful stream of shaded line engraving.

On the northeast corner of the map, lies a level Sahara of yellowish
white: a desert, which still bears marks of my zeal in endeavoring to
populate it with all manner of uncouth monsters in crayons. The space
designated by that spot is now, doubtless, completely built up in

Traced with a pen, I discover a number of dotted lines, radiating in all
directions from the foot of Lord-street, where stands marked "Riddough's
Hotel," the house my father stopped at.

These marks delineate his various excursions in the town; and I follow
the lines on, through street and lane; and across broad squares; and
penetrate with them into the narrowest courts.

By these marks, I perceive that my father forgot not his religion in a
foreign land; but attended St. John's Church near the Hay-market, and
other places of public worship: I see that he visited the News Room in
Duke-street, the Lyceum in Bold-street, and the Theater Royal; and that
he called to pay his respects to the eminent Mr. Roscoe, the historian,
poet, and banker.

Reverentially folding this map, I pass a plate of the Town Hall, and
come upon the Title Page, which, in the middle, is ornamented with a
piece of landscape, representing a loosely clad lady in sandals,
pensively seated upon a bleak rock on the sea shore, supporting her head
with one hand, and with the other, exhibiting to the stranger an oval
sort of salver, bearing the figure of a strange bird, with this motto
elastically stretched for a border--"Deus nobis haec otia fecit."

The bird forms part of the city arms, and is an imaginary representation
of a now extinct fowl, called the "Liver," said to have inhabited a
"pool," which antiquarians assert once covered a good part of the ground
where Liverpool now stands; and from that bird, and this pool, Liverpool
derives its name.

At a distance from the pensive lady in sandals, is a ship under full
sail; and on the beach is the figure of a small man, vainly essaying to
roll over a huge bale of goods.

Equally divided at the top and bottom of this design, is the following
title complete; but I fear the printer will not be able to give a

                         The Picture
                         of Liverpool:
                     or, Stranger's Guide
               and Gentleman's Pocket Companion
                         FOR THE TOWN.
                        With Engravings
          By the Most Accomplished and Eminent Artists.
                   Printed in Swift's Court,
      And sold by Woodward and Alderson, 56 Castle St. 1803.

A brief and reverential preface, as if the writer were all the time
bowing, informs the reader of the flattering reception accorded to
previous editions of the work; and quotes "testimonies of respect which
had lately appeared in various quarters--the British Critic, Review, and
the seventh volume of the Beauties of England and Wales"--and concludes
by expressing the hope, that this new, revised, and illustrated edition
might "render it less unworthy of the public notice, and less unworthy
also of the subject it is intended to illustrate."

A very nice, dapper, and respectful little preface, the time and place
of writing which is solemnly recorded at the end-Hope Place, 1st Sept.

But how much fuller my satisfaction, as I fondly linger over this
circumstantial paragraph, if the writer had recorded the precise hour of
the day, and by what timepiece; and if he had but mentioned his age,
occupation, and name.

But all is now lost; I know not who he was; and this estimable author
must needs share the oblivious fate of all literary incognitos.

He must have possessed the grandest and most elevated ideas of true
fame, since he scorned to be perpetuated by a solitary initial. Could I
find him out now, sleeping neglected in some churchyard, I would buy him
a headstone, and record upon it naught but his title-page, deeming that
his noblest epitaph.

After the preface, the book opens with an extract from a prologue
written by the excellent Dr. Aiken, the brother of Mrs. Barbauld, upon
the opening of the Theater Royal, Liverpool, in 1772:--

"Where Mersey's stream, long winding o'er the plain, Pours his full
tribute to the circling main, A band of fishers chose their humble seat;
Contented labor blessed the fair retreat, Inured to hardship, patient,
bold, and rude, They braved the billows for precarious food: Their
straggling huts were ranged along the shore, Their nets and little boats
their only store."

Indeed, throughout, the work abounds with quaint poetical quotations,
and old-fashioned classical allusions to the Aeneid and Falconer's

And the anonymous author must have been not only a scholar and a
gentleman, but a man of gentle disinterestedness, combined with true
city patriotism; for in his "Survey of the Town" are nine thickly
printed pages of a neglected poem by a neglected Liverpool poet.

By way of apologizing for what might seem an obtrusion upon the public
of so long an episode, he courteously and feelingly introduces it by
saying, that "the poem has now for several years been scarce, and is at
present but little known; and hence a very small portion of it will no
doubt be highly acceptable to the cultivated reader; especially as this
noble epic is written with great felicity of expression and the sweetest
delicacy of feeling."

Once, but once only, an uncharitable thought crossed my mind, that the
author of the Guide-Book might have been the author of the epic. But
that was years ago; and I have never since permitted so uncharitable a
reflection to insinuate itself into my mind.

This epic, from the specimen before me, is composed in the old stately
style, and rolls along commanding as a coach and four. It sings of
Liverpool and the Mersey; its docks, and ships, and warehouses, and
bales, and anchors; and after descanting upon the abject times, when
"his noble waves, inglorious, Mersey rolled," the poet breaks forth like
all Parnassus with:--

"Now o'er the wondering world her name resounds, From northern climes to
India's distant bounds--Where'er his shores the broad Atlantic waves;
Where'er the Baltic rolls his wintry waves; Where'er the honored flood
extends his tide, That clasps Sicilia like a favored bride. Greenland
for her its bulky whale resigns, And temperate Gallia rears her generous
vines: 'Midst warm Iberia citron orchards blow, And the ripe fruitage
bends the laboring bough; In every clime her prosperous fleets are
known, She makes the wealth of every clime her own."

It also contains a delicately-curtained allusion to Mr. Roscoe:--

   "And here R*s*o*, with genius all his own, New tracks explores,
    and all before unknown?"

Indeed, both the anonymous author of the Guide-Book, and the gifted
bard of the Mersey, seem to have nourished the wannest appreciation
of the fact, that to their beloved town Roscoe imparted a reputation
which gracefully embellished its notoriety as a mere place of commerce.
He is called the modern Guicciardini of the modern Florence, and his
histories, translations, and Italian Lives, are spoken of with classical

The first chapter begins in a methodical, business-like way, by
informing the impatient reader of the precise latitude and longitude of
Liverpool; so that, at the outset, there may be no misunderstanding on
that head. It then goes on to give an account of the history and
antiquities of the town, beginning with a record in the Doomsday-Book of
William the Conqueror.

Here, it must be sincerely confessed, however, that notwithstanding his
numerous other merits, my favorite author betrays a want of the
uttermost antiquarian and penetrating spirit, which would have scorned
to stop in its researches at the reign of the Norman monarch, but would
have pushed on resolutely through the dark ages, up to Moses, the man of
Uz, and Adam; and finally established the fact beyond a doubt, that the
soil of Liverpool was created with the creation.

But, perhaps, one of the most curious passages in the chapter of
antiquarian research, is the pious author's moralizing reflections upon
an interesting fact he records: to wit, that in a.d. 1571, the
inhabitants sent a memorial to Queen Elizabeth, praying relief under a
subsidy, wherein they style themselves "her majesty's poor decayed town
of Liverpool."

As I now fix my gaze upon this faded and dilapidated old guide-book,
bearing every token of the ravages of near half a century, and read how
this piece of antiquity enlarges like a modern upon previous
antiquities, I am forcibly reminded that the world is indeed growing
old. And when I turn to the second chapter, "On the increase of the
town, and number of inhabitants," and then skim over page after page
throughout the volume, all filled with allusions to the immense grandeur
of a place, which, since then, has more than quadrupled in population,
opulence, and splendor, and whose present inhabitants must look back
upon the period here spoken of with a swelling feeling of immeasurable
superiority and pride, I am filled with a comical sadness at the vanity
of all human exaltation. For the cope-stone of to-day is the corner-stone
of tomorrow; and as St. Peter's church was built in great part
of the ruins of old Rome, so in all our erections, however imposing,
we but form quarries and supply ignoble materials for the grander domes
of posterity.

And even as this old guide-book boasts of the, to us, insignificant
Liverpool of fifty years ago, the New York guidebooks are now vaunting
of the magnitude of a town, whose future inhabitants, multitudinous as
the pebbles on the beach, and girdled in with high walls and towers,
flanking endless avenues of opulence and taste, will regard all our
Broadways and Bowerys as but the paltry nucleus to their Nineveh. From
far up the Hudson, beyond Harlem River, where the young saplings are now
growing, that will overarch their lordly mansions with broad boughs,
centuries old; they may send forth explorers to penetrate into the then
obscure and smoky alleys of the Fifth Avenue and Fourteenth-street; and
going still farther south, may exhume the present Doric Custom-house,
and quote it as a proof that their high and mighty metropolis enjoyed a
Hellenic antiquity.

As I am extremely loth to omit giving a specimen of the dignified style
of this "Picture of Liverpool," so different from the brief, pert, and
unclerkly hand-books to Niagara and Buffalo of the present day, I shall
now insert the chapter of antiquarian researches; especially as it is
entertaining in itself, and affords much valuable, and perhaps rare
information, which the reader may need, concerning the famous town, to
which I made my first voyage. And I think that with regard to a matter,
concerning which I myself am wholly ignorant, it is far better to quote
my old friend verbatim, than to mince his substantial baron-of-beef of
information into a flimsy ragout of my own; and so, pass it off as
original. Yes, I will render unto my honored guide-book its due.

But how can the printer's art so dim and mellow down the pages into a
soft sunset yellow; and to the reader's eye, shed over the type all the
pleasant associations which the original carries to me!

No! by my father's sacred memory, and all sacred privacies of fond
family reminiscences, I will not! I will not quote thee, old Morocco,
before the cold face of the marble-hearted world; for your antiquities
would only be skipped and dishonored by shallow-minded readers; and for
me, I should be charged with swelling out my volume by plagiarizing from
a guide-book-the most vulgar and ignominious of thefts!


When I left home, I took the green morocco guide-book along, supposing
that from the great number of ships going to Liverpool, I would most
probably ship on board of one of them, as the event itself proved.

Great was my boyish delight at the prospect of visiting a place, the
infallible clew to all whose intricacies I held in my hand.

On the passage out I studied its pages a good deal. In the first place,
I grounded myself thoroughly in the history and antiquities of the town,
as set forth in the chapter I intended to quote. Then I mastered the
columns of statistics, touching the advance of population; and pored
over them, as I used to do over my multiplication-table. For I was
determined to make the whole subject my own; and not be content with a
mere smattering of the thing, as is too much the custom with most
students of guide-books. Then I perused one by one the elaborate
descriptions of public edifices, and scrupulously compared the text with
the corresponding engraving, to see whether they corroborated each
other. For be it known that, including the map, there were no less than
seventeen plates in the work. And by often examining them, I had so
impressed every column and cornice in my mind, that I had no doubt of
recognizing the originals in a moment.

In short, when I considered that my own father had used this very
guide-book, and that thereby it had been thoroughly tested, and its
fidelity proved beyond a peradventure; I could not but think that I was
building myself up in an unerring knowledge of Liverpool; especially as
I had familiarized myself with the map, and could turn sharp corners on
it, with marvelous confidence and celerity.

In imagination, as I lay in my berth on ship-board, I used to take
pleasant afternoon rambles through the town; down St. James-street and
up Great George's, stopping at various places of interest and
attraction. I began to think I had been born in Liverpool, so familiar
seemed all the features of the map. And though some of the streets there
depicted were thickly involved, endlessly angular and crooked, like the
map of Boston, in Massachusetts, yet, I made no doubt, that I could
march through them in the darkest night, and even run for the most
distant dock upon a pressing emergency.

Dear delusion!

It never occurred to my boyish thoughts, that though a guide-book, fifty
years old, might have done good service in its day, yet it would prove
but a miserable cicerone to a modern. I little imagined that the
Liverpool my father saw, was another Liverpool from that to which I, his
son Wellingborough was sailing. No; these things never obtruded; so
accustomed had I been to associate my old morocco guide-book with the
town it described, that the bare thought of there being any discrepancy,
never entered my mind.

While we lay in the Mersey, before entering the dock, I got out my
guide-book to see how the map would compare with the identical place
itself. But they bore not the slightest resemblance. However, thinks I,
this is owing to my taking a horizontal view, instead of a bird's-eye
survey. So, never mind old guide-book, you, at least, are all right.

But my faith received a severe shock that same evening, when the crew
went ashore to supper, as I have previously related.

The men stopped at a curious old tavern, near the Prince's Dock's walls;
and having my guide-book in my pocket, I drew it forth to compare notes,
when I found, that precisely upon the spot where I and my shipmates were
standing, and a cherry-cheeked bar-maid was filling their glasses, my
infallible old Morocco, in that very place, located a fort; adding, that
it was well worth the intelligent stranger's while to visit it for the
purpose of beholding the guard relieved in the evening.

This was a staggerer; for how could a tavern be mistaken for a castle?
and this was about the hour mentioned for the guard to turn out; yet not
a red coat was to be seen. But for all this, I could not, for one small
discrepancy, condemn the old family servant who had so faithfully served
my own father before me; and when I learned that this tavern went by the
name of "The Old Fort Tavern;" and when I was told that many of the old
stones were yet in the walls, I almost completely exonerated my
guide-book from the half-insinuated charge of misleading me.

The next day was Sunday, and I had it all to myself; and now, thought I,
my guide-book and I shall have a famous ramble up street and down lane,
even unto the furthest limits of this Liverpool.

I rose bright and early; from head to foot performed my ablutions "with
Eastern scrupulosity," and I arrayed myself in my red shirt and
shooting-jacket, and the sportsman's pantaloons; and crowned my entire
man with the tarpaulin; so that from this curious combination of
clothing, and particularly from my red shirt, I must have looked like a
very strange compound indeed: three parts sportsman, and two soldier, to
one of the sailor.

My shipmates, of course, made merry at my appearance; but I heeded them
not; and after breakfast, jumped ashore, full of brilliant

My gait was erect, and I was rather tall for my age; and that may have
been the reason why, as I was rapidly walking along the dock, a drunken
sailor passing, exclaimed, "Eyes right! quick step there!"

Another fellow stopped me to know whether I was going fox-hunting; and
one of the dock-police, stationed at the gates, after peeping out upon
me from his sentry box, a snug little den, furnished with benches and
newspapers, and hung round with storm jackets and oiled capes, issued
forth in a great hurry, crossed my path as I was emerging into the
street, and commanded me to halt! I obeyed; when scanning my appearance
pertinaciously, he desired to know where I got that tarpaulin hat, not
being able to account for the phenomenon of its roofing the head of a
broken-down fox-hunter. But I pointed to my ship, which lay at no great
distance; when remarking from my voice that I was a Yankee, this
faithful functionary permitted me to pass.

It must be known that the police stationed at the gates of the docks are
extremely observant of strangers going out; as many thefts are
perpetrated on board the ships; and if they chance to see any thing
suspicious, they probe into it without mercy. Thus, the old men who buy
"shakings," and rubbish from vessels, must turn their bags wrong side
out before the police, ere they are allowed to go outside the walls. And
often they will search a suspicious looking fellow's clothes, even if he
be a very thin man, with attenuated and almost imperceptible pockets.

But where was I going?

I will tell. My intention was in the first place, to visit Riddough's
Hotel, where my father had stopped, more than thirty years before: and
then, with the map in my hand, follow him through all the town,
according to the dotted lines in the diagram. For thus would I be
performing a filial pilgrimage to spots which would be hallowed in my

At last, when I found myself going down Old Hall-street toward
Lord-street, where the hotel was situated, according to my authority;
and when, taking out my map, I found that Old Hall-street was marked
there, through its whole extent with my father's pen; a thousand fond,
affectionate emotions rushed around my heart.

Yes, in this very street, thought I, nay, on this very flagging my
father walked. Then I almost wept, when I looked down on my sorry
apparel, and marked how the people regarded me; the men staring at so
grotesque a young stranger, and the old ladies, in beaver hats and
ruffles, crossing the walk a little to shun me.

How differently my father must have appeared; perhaps in a blue coat,
buff vest, and Hessian boots. And little did he think, that a son of his
would ever visit Liverpool as a poor friendless sailor-boy. But I was
not born then: no, when he walked this flagging, I was not so much as
thought of; I was not included in the census of the universe. My own
father did not know me then; and had never seen, or heard, or so much as
dreamed of me. And that thought had a touch of sadness to me; for if it
had certainly been, that my own parent, at one time, never cast a
thought upon me, how might it be with me hereafter? Poor, poor
Wellingborough! thought I, miserable boy! you are indeed friendless and
forlorn. Here you wander a stranger in a strange town, and the very
thought of your father's having been here before you, but carries with
it the reflection that, he then knew you not, nor cared for you one

But dispelling these dismal reflections as well as I could, I pushed on
my way, till I got to Chapel-street, which I crossed; and then, going
under a cloister-like arch of stone, whose gloom and narrowness
delighted me, and filled my Yankee soul with romantic thoughts of old
Abbeys and Minsters, I emerged into the fine quadrangle of the
Merchants' Exchange.

There, leaning against the colonnade, I took out my map, and traced my
father right across Chapel-street, and actually through the very arch at
my back, into the paved square where I stood.

So vivid was now the impression of his having been here, and so narrow
the passage from which he had emerged, that I felt like running on, and
overtaking him around the Town Hall adjoining, at the head of
Castle-street. But I soon checked myself, when remembering that he had
gone whither no son's search could find him in this world. And then I
thought of all that must have happened to him since he paced through
that arch. What trials and troubles he had encountered; how he had been
shaken by many storms of adversity, and at last died a bankrupt. I
looked at my own sorry garb, and had much ado to keep from tears.

But I rallied, and gazed round at the sculptured stonework, and turned
to my guide-book, and looked at the print of the spot. It was correct to
a pillar; but wanted the central ornament of the quadrangle. This,
however, was but a slight subsequent erection, which ought not to
militate against the general character of my friend for

The ornament in question is a group of statuary in bronze, elevated upon
a marble pedestal and basement, representing Lord Nelson expiring in the
arms of Victory. One foot rests on a rolling foe, and the other on a
cannon. Victory is dropping a wreath on the dying admiral's brow; while
Death, under the similitude of a hideous skeleton, is insinuating his
bony hand under the hero's robe, and groping after his heart. A very
striking design, and true to the imagination; I never could look at
Death without a shudder.

At uniform intervals round the base of the pedestal, four naked figures
in chains, somewhat larger than life, are seated in various attitudes of
humiliation and despair. One has his leg recklessly thrown over his
knee, and his head bowed over, as if he had given up all hope of ever
feeling better. Another has his head buried in despondency, and no doubt
looks mournfully out of his eyes, but as his face was averted at the
time, I could not catch the expression. These woe-begone figures of
captives are emblematic of Nelson's principal victories; but I never
could look at their swarthy limbs and manacles, without being
involuntarily reminded of four African slaves in the market-place.

And my thoughts would revert to Virginia and Carolina; and also to the
historical fact, that the African slave-trade once constituted the
principal commerce of Liverpool; and that the prosperity of the town was
once supposed to have been indissolubly linked to its prosecution. And I
remembered that my father had often spoken to gentlemen visiting our
house in New York, of the unhappiness that the discussion of the
abolition of this trade had occasioned in Liverpool; that the struggle
between sordid interest and humanity had made sad havoc at the
fire-sides of the merchants; estranged sons from sires; and even
separated husband from wife. And my thoughts reverted to my father's
friend, the good and great Roscoe, the intrepid enemy of the trade; who
in every way exerted his fine talents toward its suppression; writing a
poem ("the Wrongs of Africa"), several pamphlets; and in his place in
Parliament, he delivered a speech against it, which, as coming from a
member for Liverpool, was supposed to have turned many votes, and had no
small share in the triumph of sound policy and humanity that ensued.

How this group of statuary affected me, may be inferred from the fact,
that I never went through Chapel-street without going through the little
arch to look at it again. And there, night or day, I was sure to find
Lord Nelson still falling back; Victory's wreath still hovering over his
swordpoint; and Death grim and grasping as ever; while the four bronze
captives still lamented their captivity.

Now, as I lingered about the railing of the statuary, on the Sunday I
have mentioned, I noticed several persons going in and out of an
apartment, opening from the basement under the colonnade; and,
advancing, I perceived that this was a news-room, full of files of
papers. My love of literature prompted me to open the door and step in;
but a glance at my soiled shooting-jacket prompted a dignified looking
personage to step up and shut the door in my face. I deliberated a
minute what I should do to him; and at last resolutely determined to let
him alone, and pass on; which I did; going down Castle-street (so called
from a castle which once stood there, said my guide-book), and turning
down into Lord.

Arrived at the foot of the latter street, I in vain looked round for the
hotel. How serious a disappointment was this may well be imagined, when
it is considered that I was all eagerness to behold the very house at
which my father stopped; where he slept and dined, smoked his cigar,
opened his letters, and read the papers. I inquired of some gentlemen
and ladies where the missing hotel was; but they only stared and passed
on; until I met a mechanic, apparently, who very civilly stopped to hear
my questions and give me an answer.

"Riddough's Hotel?" said he, "upon my word, I think I have heard of such
a place; let me see--yes, yes--that was the hotel where my father broke
his arm, helping to pull down the walls. My lad, you surely can't be
inquiring for Riddough's Hotel! What do you want to find there?"

"Oh! nothing," I replied, "I am much obliged for your information"--and
away I walked.

Then, indeed, a new light broke in upon me concerning my guide-book; and
all my previous dim suspicions were almost confirmed. It was nearly half
a century behind the age! and no more fit to guide me about the town,
than the map of Pompeii.

It was a sad, a solemn, and a most melancholy thought. The book on which
I had so much relied; the book in the old morocco cover; the book with
the cocked-hat corners; the book full of fine old family associations;
the book with seventeen plates, executed in the highest style of art;
this precious book was next to useless. Yes, the thing that had guided
the father, could not guide the son. And I sat down on a shop step, and
gave loose to meditation.

Here, now, oh, Wellingborough, thought I, learn a lesson, and never
forget it. This world, my boy, is a moving world; its Riddough's Hotels
are forever being pulled down; it never stands still; and its sands are
forever shifting. This very harbor of Liverpool is gradually filling up,
they say; and who knows what your son (if you ever have one) may behold,
when he comes to visit Liverpool, as long after you as you come after
his grandfather. And, Wellingborough, as your father's guidebook is no
guide for you, neither would yours (could you afford to buy a modern one
to-day) be a true guide to those who come after you. Guide-books,
Wellingborough, are the least reliable books in all literature; and
nearly all literature, in one sense, is made up of guide-books. Old ones
tell us the ways our fathers went, through the thoroughfares and courts
of old; but how few of those former places can their posterity trace,
amid avenues of modern erections; to how few is the old guide-book now a
clew! Every age makes its own guidebooks, and the old ones are used for
waste paper. But there is one Holy Guide-Book, Wellingborough, that will
never lead you astray, if you but follow it aright; and some noble
monuments that remain, though the pyramids crumble.

But though I rose from the door-step a sadder and a wiser boy, and
though my guide-book had been stripped of its reputation for
infallibility, I did not treat with contumely or disdain, those sacred
pages which had once been a beacon to my sire.

No.--Poor old guide-book, thought I, tenderly stroking its back, and
smoothing the dog-ears with reverence; I will not use you with despite,
old Morocco! and you will yet prove a trusty conductor through many old
streets in the old parts of this town; even if you are at fault, now and
then, concerning a Riddough's Hotel, or some other forgotten thing of
the past. As I fondly glanced over the leaves, like one who loves more
than he chides, my eye lighted upon a passage concerning "The Old Dock,"
which much aroused my curiosity. I determined to see the place without
delay: and walking on, in what I presumed to be the right direction, at
last found myself before a spacious and splendid pile of sculptured
brown stone; and entering the porch, perceived from incontrovertible
tokens that it must be the Custom-house. After admiring it awhile, I
took out my guide-book again; and what was my amazement at discovering
that, according to its authority, I was entirely mistaken with regard to
this Custom-house; for precisely where I stood, "The Old Dock" must be
standing, and reading on concerning it, I met with this very apposite
passage:--"The first idea that strikes the stranger in coming to this
dock, is the singularity of so great a number of ships afloat in the
very heart of the town, without discovering any connection with the

Here, now, was a poser! Old Morocco confessed that there was a good deal
of "singularity" about the thing; nor did he pretend to deny that it
was, without question, amazing, that this fabulous dock should seem to
have no connection with the sea! However, the same author went on to
say, that the "astonished stranger must suspend his wonder for awhile,
and turn to the left." But, right or left, no place answering to the
description was to be seen.

This was too confounding altogether, and not to be easily accounted for,
even by making ordinary allowances for the growth and general
improvement of the town in the course of years. So, guide-book in hand,
I accosted a policeman standing by, and begged him to tell me whether he
was acquainted with any place in that neighborhood called the "Old
Dock." The man looked at me wonderingly at first, and then seeing I was
apparently sane, and quite civil into the bargain, he whipped his
well-polished boot with his rattan, pulled up his silver-laced
coat-collar, and initiated me into a knowledge of the following facts.

It seems that in this place originally stood the "pool," from which the
town borrows a part of its name, and which originally wound round the
greater part of the old settlements; that this pool was made into the
"Old Dock," for the benefit of the shipping; but that, years ago, it had
been filled up, and furnished the site for the Custom-house before me.

I now eyed the spot with a feeling somewhat akin to the Eastern traveler
standing on the brink of the Dead Sea. For here the doom of Gomorrah
seemed reversed, and a lake had been converted into substantial stone
and mortar.

Well, well, Wellingborough, thought I, you had better put the book into
your pocket, and carry it home to the Society of Antiquaries; it is
several thousand leagues and odd furlongs behind the march of
improvement. Smell its old morocco binding, Wellingborough; does it not
smell somewhat mummy-ish? Does it not remind you of Cheops and the
Catacombs? I tell you it was written before the lost books of Livy, and
is cousin-german to that irrecoverably departed volume, entitled, "The
Wars of the Lord" quoted by Moses in the Pentateuch. Put it up,
Wellingborough, put it up, my dear friend; and hereafter follow your
nose throughout Liverpool; it will stick to you through thick and thin:
and be your ship's mainmast and St. George's spire your landmarks.

No!--And again I rubbed its back softly, and gently adjusted a loose
leaf: No, no, I'll not give you up yet. Forth, old Morocco! and lead me
in sight of tie venerable Abbey of Birkenhead; and let these eager eyes
behold the mansion once occupied by the old earls of Derby!

For the book discoursed of both places, and told how the Abbey was on
the Cheshire shore, full in view from a point on the Lancashire side,
covered over with ivy, and brilliant with moss! And how the house of the
noble Derby's was now a common jail of the town; and how that
circumstance was full of suggestions, and pregnant with wisdom!

But, alas! I never saw the Abbey; at least none was in sight from the
water: and as for the house of the earls, I never saw that.

Ah me, and ten times alas! am I to visit old England in vain? in the
land of Thomas-a-Becket and stout John of Gaunt, not to catch the least
glimpse of priory or castle? Is there nothing in all the British empire
but these smoky ranges of old shops and warehouses? is Liverpool but a
brick-kiln? Why, no buildings here look so ancient as the old
gable-pointed mansion of my maternal grandfather at home, whose bricks
were brought from Holland long before the revolutionary war! Tis a
deceit--a gull--a sham--a hoax! This boasted England is no older than the
State of New York: if it is, show me the proofs--point out the vouchers.
Where's the tower of Julius Caesar? Where's the Roman wall? Show me

But, Wellingborough, I remonstrated with myself, you are only in
Liverpool; the old monuments lie to the north, south, east, and west of
you; you are but a sailor-boy, and you can not expect to be a great
tourist, and visit the antiquities, in that preposterous shooting-jacket
of yours. Indeed, you can not, my boy.

True, true--that's it. I am not the traveler my father was. I am only a
common-carrier across the Atlantic.

After a weary day's walk, I at last arrived at the sign of the Baltimore
Clipper to supper; and Handsome Mary poured me out a brimmer of tea, in
which, for the time, I drowned all my melancholy.


For more than six weeks, the ship Highlander lay in Prince's Dock; and
during that time, besides making observations upon things immediately
around me, I made sundry excursions to the neighboring docks, for I
never tired of admiring them.

Previous to this, having only seen the miserable wooden wharves, and
slip-shod, shambling piers of New York, the sight of these mighty docks
filled my young mind with wonder and delight. In New York, to be sure, I
could not but be struck with the long line of shipping, and tangled
thicket of masts along the East River; yet, my admiration had been much
abated by those irregular, unsightly wharves, which, I am sure, are a
reproach and disgrace to the city that tolerates them.

Whereas, in Liverpool, I beheld long China walls of masonry; vast piers
of stone; and a succession of granite-rimmed docks, completely inclosed,
and many of them communicating, which almost recalled to mind the great
American chain of lakes: Ontario, Erie, St. Clair, Huron, Michigan, and
Superior. The extent and solidity of these structures, seemed equal to
what I had read of the old Pyramids of Egypt.

Liverpool may justly claim to have originated the model of the "Wet
Dock," so called, of the present day; and every thing that is connected
with its design, construction, regulation, and improvement. Even London
was induced to copy after Liverpool, and Havre followed her example. In
magnitude, cost, and durability, the docks of Liverpool, even at the
present day surpass all others in the world.

The first dock built by the town was the "Old Dock," alluded to in my
Sunday stroll with my guide-book. This was erected in 1710, since which
period has gradually arisen that long line of dock-masonry, now flanking
the Liverpool side of the Mersey.

For miles you may walk along that river-side, passing dock after dock,
like a chain of immense fortresses:--Prince's, George's, Salt-House,
Clarence, Brunswick, Trafalgar, King's, Queen's, and many more.

In a spirit of patriotic gratitude to those naval heroes, who by their
valor did so much to protect the commerce of Britain, in which Liverpool
held so large a stake; the town, long since, bestowed upon its more
modern streets, certain illustrious names, that Broadway might be proud
of:--Duncan, Nelson, Rodney, St. Vincent, Nile.

But it is a pity, I think, that they had not bestowed these noble names
upon their noble docks; so that they might have been as a rank and file
of most fit monuments to perpetuate the names of the heroes, in
connection with the commerce they defended.

And how much better would such stirring monuments be; full of life and
commotion; than hermit obelisks of Luxor, and idle towers of stone;
which, useless to the world in themselves, vainly hope to eternize a
name, by having it carved, solitary and alone, in their granite. Such
monuments are cenotaphs indeed; founded far away from the true body of
the fame of the hero; who, if he be truly a hero, must still be linked
with the living interests of his race; for the true fame is something
free, easy, social, and companionable. They are but tomb-stones, that
commemorate his death, but celebrate not his Me. It is well enough that
over the inglorious and thrice miserable grave of a Dives, some vast
marble column should be reared, recording the fact of his having lived
and died; for such records are indispensable to preserve his shrunken
memory among men; though that memory must soon crumble away with the
marble, and mix with the stagnant oblivion of the mob. But to build such
a pompous vanity over the remains of a hero, is a slur upon his fame,
and an insult to his ghost. And more enduring monuments are built in the
closet with the letters of the alphabet, than even Cheops himself could
have founded, with all Egypt and Nubia for his quarry.

Among the few docks mentioned above, occur the names of the King's and
Queens. At the time, they often reminded me of the two principal streets
in the village I came from in America, which streets once rejoiced in
the same royal appellations. But they had been christened previous to
the Declaration of Independence; and some years after, in a fever of
freedom, they were abolished, at an enthusiastic town-meeting, where
King George and his lady were solemnly declared unworthy of being
immortalized by the village of L--. A country antiquary once told me,
that a committee of two barbers were deputed to write and inform the
distracted old gentleman of the fact.

As the description of any one of these Liverpool docks will pretty much
answer for all, I will here endeavor to give some account of Prince's
Dock, where the Highlander rested after her passage across the Atlantic.

This dock, of comparatively recent construction, is perhaps the largest
of all, and is well known to American sailors, from the fact, that it is
mostly frequented by the American ship-, ping. Here lie the noble New
York packets, which at home are found at the foot of Wall-street; and
here lie the Mobile and Savannah cotton ships and traders.

This dock was built like the others, mostly upon the bed of the river,
the earth and rock having been laboriously scooped out, and solidified
again as materials for the quays and piers. From the river, Prince's
Dock is protected by a long pier of masonry, surmounted by a massive
wall; and on the side next the town, it is bounded by similar walls, one
of which runs along a thoroughfare. The whole space thus inclosed forms
an oblong, and may, at a guess, be presumed to comprise about fifteen or
twenty acres; but as I had not the rod of a surveyor when I took it in,
I will not be certain.

The area of the dock itself, exclusive of the inclosed quays surrounding
it, may be estimated at, say, ten acres. Access to the interior from the
streets is had through several gateways; so that, upon their being
closed, the whole dock is shut up like a house. From the river, the
entrance is through a water-gate, and ingress to ships is only to be
had, when the level of the dock coincides with that of the river; that
is, about the time of high tide, as the level of the dock is always at
that mark. So that when it is low tide in the river, the keels of the
ships inclosed by the quays are elevated more than twenty feet above
those of the vessels in the stream. This, of course, produces a striking
effect to a stranger, to see hundreds of immense ships floating high
aloft in the heart of a mass of masonry.

Prince's Dock is generally so filled with shipping, that the entrance of
a new-comer is apt to occasion a universal stir among all the older
occupants. The dock-masters, whose authority is declared by tin signs
worn conspicuously over their hats, mount the poops and forecastles of
the various vessels, and hail the surrounding strangers in all
directions:--"Highlander ahoy! Cast off your bowline, and sheer
alongside the Neptune!"--"Neptune ahoy! get out a stern-line, and sheer
alongside the Trident!"--"Trident ahoy! get out a bowline, and drop
astern of the Undaunted!" And so it runs round like a shock of
electricity; touch one, and you touch all. This kind of work irritates
and exasperates the sailors to the last degree; but it is only one of
the unavoidable inconveniences of inclosed docks, which are outweighed
by innumerable advantages.

Just without the water-gate, is a basin, always connecting with the open
river, through a narrow entrance between pierheads. This basin forms a
sort of ante-chamber to the dock itself, where vessels lie waiting their
turn to enter. During a storm, the necessity of this basin is obvious;
for it would be impossible to "dock" a ship under full headway from a
voyage across the ocean. From the turbulent waves, she first glides into
the ante-chamber between the pier-heads and from thence into the docks.

Concerning the cost of the docks, I can only state, that the King's
Dock, comprehending but a comparatively small area, was completed at an
expense of some £20,000.

Our old ship-keeper, a Liverpool man by birth, who had long followed the
seas, related a curious story concerning this dock. One of the ships
which carried over troops from England to Ireland in King William's war,
in 1688, entered the King's Dock on the first day of its being opened in
1788, after an interval of just one century. She was a dark little brig,
called the Port-a-Ferry. And probably, as her timbers must have been
frequently renewed in the course of a hundred years, the name alone
could have been all that was left of her at the time. A paved area, very
wide, is included within the walls; and along the edge of the quays are
ranges of iron sheds, intended as a temporary shelter for the goods
unladed from the shipping. Nothing can exceed the bustle and activity
displayed along these quays during the day; bales, crates, boxes, and
cases are being tumbled about by thousands of laborers; trucks are
corning and going; dock-masters are shouting; sailors of all nations are
singing out at their ropes; and all this commotion is greatly increased
by the resoundings from the lofty walls that hem in the din.


Surrounded by its broad belt of masonry, each Liverpool dock is a walled
town, full of life and commotion; or rather, it is a small archipelago,
an epitome of the world, where all the nations of Christendom, and even
those of Heathendom, are represented. For, in itself, each ship is an
island, a floating colony of the tribe to which it belongs.

Here are brought together the remotest limits of the earth; and in the
collective spars and timbers of these ships, all the forests of the
globe are represented, as in a grand parliament of masts. Canada and New
Zealand send their pines; America her live oak; India her teak; Norway
her spruce; and the Right Honorable Mahogany, member for Honduras and
Cam-peachy, is seen at his post by the wheel. Here, under the beneficent
sway of the Genius of Commerce, all climes and countries embrace; and
yard-arm touches yard-arm in brotherly love.

A Liverpool dock is a grand caravansary inn, and hotel, on the spacious
and liberal plan of the Astor House. Here ships are lodged at a moderate
charge, and payment is not demanded till the time of departure. Here
they are comfortably housed and provided for; sheltered from all
weathers and secured from all calamities. For I can hardly credit a
story I have heard, that sometimes, in heavy gales, ships lying in the
very middle of the docks have lost their top-gallant-masts. Whatever the
toils and hardships encountered on the voyage, whether they come from
Iceland or the coast of New Guinea, here their sufferings are ended, and
they take their ease in their watery inn.

I know not how many hours I spent in gazing at the shipping in Prince's
Dock, and speculating concerning their past voyages and future prospects
in life. Some had just arrived from the most distant ports, worn,
battered, and disabled; others were all a-taunt-o--spruce, gay, and
brilliant, in readiness for sea.

Every day the Highlander had some new neighbor. A black brig from
Glasgow, with its crew of sober Scotch caps, and its staid,
thrifty-looking skipper, would be replaced by a jovial French
hermaphrodite, its forecastle echoing with songs, and its quarter-deck
elastic from much dancing.

On the other side, perhaps, a magnificent New York Liner, huge as a
seventy-four, and suggesting the idea of a Mivart's or Delmonico's
afloat, would give way to a Sidney emigrant ship, receiving on board its
live freight of shepherds from the Grampians, ere long to be tending
their flocks on the hills and downs of New Holland.

I was particularly pleased and tickled, with a multitude of little
salt-droghers, rigged like sloops, and not much bigger than a pilot-boat,
but with broad bows painted black, and carrying red sails, which
looked as if they had been pickled and stained in a tan-yard. These
little fellows were continually coming in with their cargoes for ships
bound to America; and lying, five or six together, alongside of those
lofty Yankee hulls, resembled a parcel of red ants about the carcass
of a black buffalo.

When loaded, these comical little craft are about level with the water;
and frequently, when blowing fresh in the river, I have seen them flying
through the foam with nothing visible but the mast and sail, and a man
at the tiller; their entire cargo being snugly secured under hatches.

It was diverting to observe the self-importance of the skipper of any of
these diminutive vessels. He would give himself all the airs of an
admiral on a three-decker's poop; and no doubt, thought quite as much of
himself. And why not? What could Caesar want more? Though his craft was
none of the largest, it was subject to him; and though his crew might
only consist of himself; yet if he governed it well, he achieved a
triumph, which the moralists of all ages have set above the victories of

These craft have each a little cabin, the prettiest, charming-est, most
delightful little dog-hole in the world; not much bigger than an
old-fashioned alcove for a bed. It is lighted by little round glasses
placed in the deck; so that to the insider, the ceiling is like a small
firmament twinkling with astral radiations. For tall men, nevertheless,
the place is but ill-adapted; a sitting, or recumbent position being
indispensable to an occupancy of the premises. Yet small, low, and
narrow as the cabin is, somehow, it affords accommodations to the
skipper and his family. Often, I used to watch the tidy good-wife,
seated at the open little scuttle, like a woman at a cottage door,
engaged in knitting socks for her husband; or perhaps, cutting his hair,
as he kneeled before her. And once, while marveling how a couple like
this found room to turn in, below, I was amazed by a noisy irruption of
cherry-cheeked young tars from the scuttle, whence they came rolling
forth, like so many curly spaniels from a kennel.

Upon one occasion, I had the curiosity to go on board a salt-drogher,
and fall into conversation with its skipper, a bachelor, who kept house
all alone. I found him a very sociable, comfortable old fellow, who had
an eye to having things cozy around him. It was in the evening; and he
invited me down into his sanctum to supper; and there we sat together
like a couple in a box at an oyster-cellar.

"He, he," he chuckled, kneeling down before a fat, moist, little cask of
beer, and holding a cocked-hat pitcher to the faucet--"You see, Jack, I
keep every thing down here; and nice times I have by myself. Just before
going to bed, it ain't bad to take a nightcap, you know; eh! Jack?--here
now, smack your lips over that, my boy--have a pipe?--but stop, let's to
supper first."

So he went to a little locker, a fixture against the side, and groping
in it awhile, and addressing it with--"What cheer here, what cheer?" at
last produced a loaf, a small cheese, a bit of ham, and a jar of butter.
And then placing a board on his lap, spread the table, the pitcher of
beer in the center. "Why that's but a two legged table," said I, "let's
make it four."

So we divided the burthen, and supped merrily together on our knees.

He was an old ruby of a fellow, his cheeks toasted brown; and it did my
soul good, to see the froth of the beer bubbling at his mouth, and
sparkling on his nut-brown beard. He looked so like a great mug of ale,
that I almost felt like taking him by the neck and pouring him out.

"Now Jack," said he, when supper was over, "now Jack, my boy, do you
smoke?--Well then, load away." And he handed me a seal-skin pouch of
tobacco and a pipe. We sat smoking together in this little sea-cabinet
of his, till it began to look much like a state-room in Tophet; and
notwithstanding my host's rubicund nose, I could hardly see him for the

"He, he, my boy," then said he--"I don't never have any bugs here, I tell
ye: I smokes 'em all out every night before going to bed."

"And where may you sleep?" said I, looking round, and seeing no sign of
a bed.

"Sleep?" says he, "why I sleep in my jacket, that's the best
counterpane; and I use my head for a pillow. He-he, funny, ain't it?"

"Very funny," says I.

"Have some more ale?" says he; "plenty more." "No more, thank you," says
I; "I guess I'll go;" for what with the tobacco-smoke and the ale, I
began to feel like breathing fresh air. Besides, my conscience smote me
for thus freely indulging in the pleasures of the table.

"Now, don't go," said he; "don't go, my boy; don't go out into the damp;
take an old Christian's advice," laying his hand on my shoulder; "it
won't do. You see, by going out now, you'll shake off the ale, and get
broad awake again; but if you stay here, you'll soon be dropping off for
a nice little nap."

But notwithstanding these inducements, I shook my host's hand and
departed. There was hardly any thing I witnessed in the docks that
interested me more than the German emigrants who come on board the large
New York ships several days before their sailing, to make every thing
comfortable ere starting. Old men, tottering with age, and little
infants in arms; laughing girls in bright-buttoned bodices, and astute,
middle-aged men with pictured pipes in their mouths, would be seen
mingling together in crowds of five, six, and seven or eight hundred in
one ship.

Every evening these countrymen of Luther and Melancthon gathered on the
forecastle to sing and pray. And it was exalting to listen to their fine
ringing anthems, reverberating among the crowded shipping, and
rebounding from the lofty walls of the docks. Shut your eyes, and you
would think you were in a cathedral.

They keep up this custom at sea; and every night, in the dog-watch, sing
the songs of Zion to the roll of the great ocean-organ: a pious custom
of a devout race, who thus send over their hallelujahs before them, as
they hie to the land of the stranger.

And among these sober Germans, my country counts the most orderly and
valuable of her foreign population. It is they who have swelled the
census of her Northwestern States; and transferring their ploughs from
the hills of Transylvania to the prairies of Wisconsin; and sowing the
wheat of the Rhine on the banks of the Ohio, raise the grain, that, a
hundred fold increased, may return to their kinsmen in Europe.

There is something in the contemplation of the mode in which America has
been settled, that, in a noble breast, should forever extinguish the
prejudices of national dislikes. Settled by the people of all nations,
all nations may claim her for their own. You can not spill a drop of
American blood without spilling the blood of the whole world. Be he
Englishman, Frenchman, German, Dane, or Scot; the European who scoffs at
an American, calls his own brother Raca, and stands in danger of the
judgment. We are not a narrow tribe of men, with a bigoted Hebrew
nationality--whose blood has been debased in the attempt to ennoble it,
by maintaining an exclusive succession among ourselves. No: our blood is
as the flood of the Amazon, made up of a thousand noble currents all
pouring into one. We are not a nation, so much as a world; for unless we
may claim all the world for our sire, like Melchisedec, we are without
father or mother.

For who was our father and our mother? Or can we point to any Romulus
and Remus for our founders? Our ancestry is lost in the universal
paternity; and Caesar and Alfred, St. Paul and Luther, and Homer and
Shakespeare are as much ours as Washington, who is as much the world's
as our own. We are the heirs of all time, and with all nations we divide
our inheritance. On this Western Hemisphere all tribes and people are
forming into one federated whole; and there is a future which shall see
the estranged children of Adam restored as to the old hearthstone in

The other world beyond this, which was longed for by the devout before
Columbus' time, was found in the New; and the deep-sea-lead, that first
struck these soundings, brought up the soil of Earth's Paradise. Not a
Paradise then, or now; but to be made so, at God's good pleasure, and in
the fullness and mellowness of time. The seed is sown, and the harvest
must come; and our children's children, on the world's jubilee morning,
shall all go with their sickles to the reaping. Then shall the curse of
Babel be revoked, a new Pentecost come, and the language they shall
speak shall be the language of Britain. Frenchmen, and Danes, and Scots;
and the dwellers on the shores of the Mediterranean, and in the regions
round about; Italians, and Indians, and Moors; there shall appear unto
them cloven tongues as of fire.


Among the various ships lying in Prince's Dock, none interested me more
than the Irrawaddy, of Bombay, a "country ship," which is the name
bestowed by Europeans upon the large native vessels of India. Forty
years ago, these merchantmen were nearly the largest in the world; and
they still exceed the generality. They are built of the celebrated teak
wood, the oak of the East, or in Eastern phrase, "the King of the Oaks."
The Irrawaddy had just arrived from Hindostan, with a cargo of cotton.
She was manned by forty or fifty Lascars, the native seamen of India,
who seemed to be immediately governed by a countryman of theirs of a
higher caste. While his inferiors went about in strips of white linen,
this dignitary was arrayed in a red army-coat, brilliant with gold lace,
a cocked hat, and drawn sword. But the general effect was quite spoiled
by his bare feet.

In discharging the cargo, his business seemed to consist in flagellating
the crew with the flat of his saber, an exercise in which long practice
had made him exceedingly expert. The poor fellows jumped away with the
tackle-rope, elastic as cats.

One Sunday, I went aboard of the Irrawaddy, when this oriental usher
accosted me at the gangway, with his sword at my throat. I gently pushed
it aside, making a sign expressive of the pacific character of my
motives in paying a visit to the ship. Whereupon he very considerately
let me pass.

I thought I was in Pegu, so strangely woody was the smell of the
dark-colored timbers, whose odor was heightened by the rigging of kayar,
or cocoa-nut fiber.

The Lascars were on the forecastle-deck. Among them were Malays,
Mahrattas, Burmese, Siamese, and Cingalese. They were seated round
"kids" full of rice, from which, according to their invariable custom,
they helped themselves with one hand, the other being reserved for quite
another purpose. They were chattering like magpies in Hindostanee, but I
found that several of them could also speak very good English. They were
a small-limbed, wiry, tawny set; and I was informed made excellent
seamen, though ill adapted to stand the hardships of northern voyaging.

They told me that seven of their number had died on the passage from
Bombay; two or three after crossing the Tropic of Cancer, and the rest
met their fate in the Channel, where the ship had been tost about in
violent seas, attended with cold rains, peculiar to that vicinity. Two
more had been lost overboard from the flying-jib-boom.

I was condoling with a young English cabin-boy on board, upon the loss
of these poor fellows, when he said it was their own fault; they would
never wear monkey-jackets, but clung to their thin India robes, even in
the bitterest weather. He talked about them much as a farmer would about
the loss of so many sheep by the murrain.

The captain of the vessel was an Englishman, as were also the three
mates, master and boatswain. These officers lived astern in the cabin,
where every Sunday they read the Church of England's prayers, while the
heathen at the other end of the ship were left to their false gods and
idols. And thus, with Christianity on the quarter-deck, and paganism on
the forecastle, the Irrawaddy ploughed the sea.

As if to symbolize this state of things, the "fancy piece" astern
comprised, among numerous other carved decorations, a cross and a miter;
while forward, on the bows, was a sort of devil for a figure-head--a
dragon-shaped creature, with a fiery red mouth, and a switchy-looking

After her cargo was discharged, which was done "to the sound of flutes
and soft recorders"--something as work is done in the navy to the music
of the boatswain's pipe--the Lascars were set to "stripping the ship"
that is, to sending down all her spars and ropes.

At this time, she lay alongside of us, and the Babel on board almost
drowned our own voices. In nothing but their girdles, the Lascars hopped
about aloft, chattering like so many monkeys; but, nevertheless, showing
much dexterity and seamanship in their manner of doing their work.

Every Sunday, crowds of well-dressed people came down to the dock to see
this singular ship; many of them perched themselves in the shrouds of
the neighboring craft, much to the wrath of Captain Riga, who left
strict orders with our old ship-keeper, to drive all strangers out of
the Highlander's rigging. It was amusing at these times, to watch the
old women with umbrellas, who stood on the quay staring at the Lascars,
even when they desired to be private. These inquisitive old ladies
seemed to regard the strange sailors as a species of wild animal, whom
they might gaze at with as much impunity, as at leopards in the
Zoological Gardens.

One night I was returning to the ship, when just as I was passing
through the Dock Gate, I noticed a white figure squatting against the
wall outside. It proved to be one of the Lascars who was smoking, as the
regulations of the docks prohibit his indulging this luxury on board his
vessel. Struck with the curious fashion of his pipe, and the odor from
it, I inquired what he was smoking; he replied "Joggerry," which is a
species of weed, used in place of tobacco.

Finding that he spoke good English, and was quite communicative, like
most smokers, I sat down by Dattabdool-mans, as he called himself, and
we fell into conversation. So instructive was his discourse, that when
we parted, I had considerably added to my stock of knowledge. Indeed, it
is a Godsend to fall in with a fellow like this. He knows things you
never dreamed of; his experiences are like a man from the moon--wholly
strange, a new revelation. If you want to learn romance, or gain an
insight into things quaint, curious, and marvelous, drop your books of
travel, and take a stroll along the docks of a great commercial port.
Ten to one, you will encounter Crusoe himself among the crowds of
mariners from all parts of the globe.

But this is no place for making mention of all the subjects upon which I
and my Lascar friend mostly discoursed; I will only try to give his
account of the teakwood and kayar rope, concerning which things I was
curious, and sought information.

The "sagoon" as he called the tree which produces the teak, grows in its
greatest excellence among the mountains of Malabar, whence large
quantities are sent to Bombay for shipbuilding. He also spoke of another
kind of wood, the "sissor," which supplies most of the "shin-logs," or
"knees," and crooked timbers in the country ships. The sagoon grows to
an immense size; sometimes there is fifty feet of trunk, three feet
through, before a single bough is put forth. Its leaves are very large;
and to convey some idea of them, my Lascar likened them to elephants'
ears. He said a purple dye was extracted from them, for the purpose of
staining cottons and silks. The wood is specifically heavier than water;
it is easily worked, and extremely strong and durable. But its chief
merit lies in resisting the action of the salt water, and the attacks of
insects; which resistance is caused by its containing a resinous oil
called "poonja."

To my surprise, he informed me that the Irrawaddy was wholly built by
the native shipwrights of India, who, he modestly asserted, surpassed
the European artisans.

The rigging, also, was of native manufacture. As the kayar, of which it
is composed, is now getting into use both in England and America, as
well for ropes and rigging as for mats and rugs, my Lascar friend's
account of it, joined to my own observations, may not be uninteresting.

In India, it is prepared very much in the same way as in Polynesia. The
cocoa-nut is gathered while the husk is still green, and but partially
ripe; and this husk is removed by striking the nut forcibly, with both
hands, upon a sharp-pointed stake, planted uprightly in the ground. In
this way a boy will strip nearly fifteen hundred in a day. But the kayar
is not made from the husk, as might be supposed, but from the rind of
the nut; which, after being long soaked in water, is beaten with
mallets, and rubbed together into fibers. After this being dried in the
sun, you may spin it, just like hemp, or any similar substance. The
fiber thus produced makes very strong and durable ropes, extremely well
adapted, from their lightness and durability, for the running rigging of
a ship; while the same causes, united with its great strength and
buoyancy, render it very suitable for large cables and hawsers.

But the elasticity of the kayar ill fits it for the shrouds and
standing-rigging of a ship, which require to be comparatively firm.
Hence, as the Irrawaddy's shrouds were all of this substance, the Lascar
told me, they were continually setting up or slacking off her
standing-rigging, according as the weather was cold or warm. And the
loss of a foretopmast, between the tropics, in a squall, he attributed
to this circumstance.

After a stay of about two weeks, the Irrawaddy had her heavy Indian
spars replaced with Canadian pine, and her kayar shrouds with hempen
ones. She then mustered her pagans, and hoisted sail for London.


Another very curious craft often seen in the Liverpool docks, is the
Dutch galliot, an old-fashioned looking gentleman, with hollow waist,
high prow and stern, and which, seen lying among crowds of tight Yankee
traders, and pert French brigantines, always reminded me of a cocked hat
among modish beavers.

The construction of the galliot has not altered for centuries; and the
northern European nations, Danes and Dutch, still sail the salt seas in
this flat-bottomed salt-cellar of a ship; although, in addition to
these, they have vessels of a more modern kind.

They seldom paint the galliot; but scrape and varnish all its planks and
spars, so that all over it resembles the "bright side" or polished
streak, usually banding round an American ship.

Some of them are kept scrupulously neat and clean, and remind one of a
well-scrubbed wooden platter, or an old oak table, upon which much wax
and elbow vigor has been expended. Before the wind, they sail well; but
on a bowline, owing to their broad hulls and flat bottoms, they make
leeway at a sad rate.

Every day, some strange vessel entered Prince's Dock; and hardly would I
gaze my fill at some outlandish craft from Surat or the Levant, ere a
still more outlandish one would absorb my attention.

Among others, I remember, was a little brig from the Coast of Guinea. In
appearance, she was the ideal of a slaver; low, black, clipper-built
about the bows, and her decks in a state of most piratical disorder.

She carried a long, rusty gun, on a swivel, amid-ships; and that gun
was a curiosity in itself. It must have been some old veteran, condemned
by the government, and sold for any thing it would fetch. It was an
antique, covered with half-effaced inscriptions, crowns, anchors,
eagles; and it had two handles near the trunnions, like those of a
tureen. The knob on the breach was fashioned into a dolphin's head; and
by a comical conceit, the touch-hole formed the orifice of a human ear;
and a stout tympanum it must have had, to have withstood the concussions
it had heard.

The brig, heavily loaded, lay between two large ships in ballast; so
that its deck was at least twenty feet below those of its neighbors.
Thus shut in, its hatchways looked like the entrance to deep vaults or
mines; especially as her men were wheeling out of her hold some kind of
ore, which might have been gold ore, so scrupulous were they in evening
the bushel measures, in which they transferred it to the quay; and so
particular was the captain, a dark-skinned whiskerando, in a Maltese cap
and tassel, in standing over the sailors, with his pencil and
memorandum-book in hand.

The crew were a buccaneering looking set; with hairy chests, purple
shirts, and arms wildly tattooed. The mate had a wooden leg, and hobbled
about with a crooked cane like a spiral staircase. There was a deal of
swearing on board of this craft, which was rendered the more
reprehensible when she came to moor alongside the Floating Chapel.

This was the hull of an old sloop-of-war, which had been converted into
a mariner's church. A house had been built upon it, and a steeple took
the place of a mast. There was a little balcony near the base of the
steeple, some twenty feet from the water; where, on week-days, I used to
see an old pensioner of a tar, sitting on a camp-stool, reading his
Bible. On Sundays he hoisted the Bethel flag, and like the muezzin or
cryer of prayers on the top of a Turkish mosque, would call the
strolling sailors to their devotions; not officially, but on his own
account; conjuring them not to make fools of themselves, but muster
round the pulpit, as they did about the capstan on a man-of-war. This
old worthy was the sexton. I attended the chapel several times, and
found there a very orderly but small congregation. The first time I
went, the chaplain was discoursing on future punishments, and making
allusions to the Tartarean Lake; which, coupled with the pitchy smell of
the old hull, summoned up the most forcible image of the thing which I
ever experienced.

The floating chapels which are to be found in some of the docks, form
one of the means which have been tried to induce the seamen visiting
Liverpool to turn their thoughts toward serious things. But as very few
of them ever think of entering these chapels, though they might pass
them twenty times in the day, some of the clergy, of a Sunday, address
them in the open air, from the corners of the quays, or wherever they
can procure an audience.

Whenever, in my Sunday strolls, I caught sight of one of these
congregations, I always made a point of joining it; and would find
myself surrounded by a motley crowd of seamen from all quarters of the
globe, and women, and lumpers, and dock laborers of all sorts.
Frequently the clergyman would be standing upon an old cask, arrayed in
full canonicals, as a divine of the Church of England. Never have I
heard religious discourses better adapted to an audience of men, who,
like sailors, are chiefly, if not only, to be moved by the plainest of
precepts, and demonstrations of the misery of sin, as conclusive and
undeniable as those of Euclid. No mere rhetoric avails with such men;
fine periods are vanity. You can not touch them with tropes. They need
to be pressed home by plain facts.

And such was generally the mode in which they were addressed by the
clergy in question: who, taking familiar themes for their discourses,
which were leveled right at the wants of their auditors, always
succeeded in fastening their attention. In particular, the two great
vices to which sailors are most addicted, and which they practice to the
ruin of both body and soul; these things, were the most enlarged upon.
And several times on the docks, I have seen a robed clergyman addressing
a large audience of women collected from the notorious lanes and alleys
in the neighborhood.

Is not this as it ought to be? since the true calling of the reverend
clergy is like their divine Master's;--not to bring the righteous, but
sinners to repentance. Did some of them leave the converted and
comfortable congregations, before whom they have ministered year after
year; and plunge at once, like St. Paul, into the infected centers and
hearts of vice: then indeed, would they find a strong enemy to cope
with; and a victory gained over him, would entitle them to a conqueror's
wreath. Better to save one sinner from an obvious vice that is
destroying him, than to indoctrinate ten thousand saints. And as from
every corner, in Catholic towns, the shrines of Holy Mary and the Child
Jesus perpetually remind the commonest wayfarer of his heaven; even so
should Protestant pulpits be founded in the market-places, and at street
corners, where the men of God might be heard by all of His children.


The floating chapel recalls to mind the "Old Church," well known to the
seamen of many generations, who have visited Liverpool. It stands very
near the docks, a venerable mass of brown stone, and by the town's
people is called the Church of St. Nicholas. I believe it is the best
preserved piece of antiquity in all Liverpool.

Before the town rose to any importance, it was the only place of worship
on that side of the Mersey; and under the adjoining Parish of Walton was
a chapel-of-ease; though from the straight backed pews, there could have
been but little comfort taken in it.

In old times, there stood in front of the church a statue of St.
Nicholas, the patron of mariners; to which all pious sailors made
offerings, to induce his saintship to grant them short and prosperous
voyages. In the tower is a fine chime of bells; and I well remember my
delight at first hearing them on the first Sunday morning after our
arrival in the dock. It seemed to carry an admonition with it; something
like the premonition conveyed to young Whittington by Bow Bells.
"Wettingborough! Wettingborough! you must not forget to go to church,
Wettingborough! Don't forget, Wettingborough! Wettingborough! don't

Thirty or forty years ago, these bells were rung upon the arrival of
every Liverpool ship from a foreign voyage. How forcibly does this
illustrate the increase of the commerce of the town! Were the same
custom now observed, the bells would seldom have a chance to cease.

What seemed the most remarkable about this venerable old church, and
what seemed the most barbarous, and grated upon the veneration with
which I regarded this time-hallowed structure, was the condition of the
grave-yard surrounding it. From its close vicinity to the haunts of the
swarms of laborers about the docks, it is crossed and re-crossed by
thoroughfares in all directions; and the tomb-stones, not being erect,
but horizontal (indeed, they form a complete flagging to the spot),
multitudes are constantly walking over the dead; their heels erasing the
death's-heads and crossbones, the last mementos of the departed. At
noon, when the lumpers employed in loading and unloading the shipping,
retire for an hour to snatch a dinner, many of them resort to the
grave-yard; and seating themselves upon a tomb-stone use the adjoining
one for a table. Often, I saw men stretched out in a drunken sleep upon
these slabs; and once, removing a fellow's arm, read the following
inscription, which, in a manner, was true to the life, if not to the


For two memorable circumstances connected with this church, I am
indebted to my excellent friend, Morocco, who tells me that in 1588 the
Earl of Derby, coming to his residence, and waiting for a passage to the
Isle of Man, the corporation erected and adorned a sumptuous stall in
the church for his reception. And moreover, that in the time of
Cromwell's wars, when the place was taken by that mad nephew of King
Charles, Prince Rupert, he converted the old church into a military
prison and stable; when, no doubt, another "sumptuous stall" was erected
for the benefit of the steed of some noble cavalry officer.

In the basement of the church is a Dead House, like the Morgue in Paris,
where the bodies of the drowned are exposed until claimed by their
friends, or till buried at the public charge.

From the multitudes employed about the shipping, this dead-house has
always more or less occupants. Whenever I passed up Chapel-street, I
used to see a crowd gazing through the grim iron grating of the door,
upon the faces of the drowned within. And once, when the door was
opened, I saw a sailor stretched out, stark and stiff, with the sleeve
of his frock rolled up, and showing his name and date of birth tattooed
upon his arm. It was a sight full of suggestions; he seemed his own

I was told that standing rewards are offered for the recovery of persons
falling into the docks; so much, if restored to life, and a less amount
if irrecoverably drowned. Lured by this, several horrid old men and
women are constantly prying about the docks, searching after bodies. I
observed them principally early in the morning, when they issued from
their dens, on the same principle that the rag-rakers, and
rubbish-pickers in the streets, sally out bright and early; for then,
the night-harvest has ripened.

There seems to be no calamity overtaking man, that can not be rendered
merchantable. Undertakers, sextons, tomb-makers, and hearse-drivers, get
their living from the dead; and in times of plague most thrive. And
these miserable old men and women hunted after corpses to keep from
going to the church-yard themselves; for they were the most wretched of


The dead-house reminds me of other sad things; for in the vicinity of
the docks are many very painful sights.

In going to our boarding-house, the sign of the Baltimore Clipper, I
generally passed through a narrow street called "Launcelott's-Hey,"
lined with dingy, prison-like cotton warehouses. In this street, or
rather alley, you seldom see any one but a truck-man, or some solitary
old warehouse-keeper, haunting his smoky den like a ghost.

Once, passing through this place, I heard a feeble wail, which seemed to
come out of the earth. It was but a strip of crooked side-walk where I
stood; the dingy wall was on every side, converting the mid-day into
twilight; and not a soul was in sight. I started, and could almost have
run, when I heard that dismal sound. It seemed the low, hopeless,
endless wail of some one forever lost. At last I advanced to an opening
which communicated downward with deep tiers of cellars beneath a
crumbling old warehouse; and there, some fifteen feet below the walk,
crouching in nameless squalor, with her head bowed over, was the figure
of what had been a woman. Her blue arms folded to her livid bosom two
shrunken things like children, that leaned toward her, one on each side.
At first, I knew not whether they were alive or dead. They made no sign;
they did not move or stir; but from the vault came that soul-sickening

I made a noise with my foot, which, in the silence, echoed far and near;
but there was no response. Louder still; when one of the children lifted
its head, and cast upward a faint glance; then closed its eyes, and lay
motionless. The woman also, now gazed up, and perceived me; but let fall
her eye again. They were dumb and next to dead with want. How they had
crawled into that den, I could not tell; but there they had crawled to
die. At that moment I never thought of relieving them; for death was so
stamped in their glazed and unimploring eyes, that I almost regarded
them as already no more. I stood looking down on them, while my whole
soul swelled within me; and I asked myself, What right had any body in
the wide world to smile and be glad, when sights like this were to be
seen? It was enough to turn the heart to gall; and make a man-hater of a
Howard. For who were these ghosts that I saw? Were they not human
beings? A woman and two girls? With eyes, and lips, and ears like any
queen? with hearts which, though they did not bound with blood, yet beat
with a dull, dead ache that was their life.

At last, I walked on toward an open lot in the alley, hoping to meet
there some ragged old women, whom I had daily noticed groping amid foul
rubbish for little particles of dirty cotton, which they washed out and
sold for a trifle.

I found them; and accosting one, I asked if she knew of the persons I
had just left. She replied, that she did not; nor did she want to. I
then asked another, a miserable, toothless old woman, with a tattered
strip of coarse baling stuff round her body. Looking at me for an
instant, she resumed her raking in the rubbish, and said that she knew
who it was that I spoke of; but that she had no time to attend to
beggars and their brats. Accosting still another, who seemed to know my
errand, I asked if there was no place to which the woman could be taken.
"Yes," she replied, "to the church-yard." I said she was alive, and not

"Then she'll never die," was the rejoinder. "She's been down there these
three days, with nothing to eat;--that I know myself."

"She desarves it," said an old hag, who was just placing on her crooked
shoulders her bag of pickings, and who was turning to totter off, "that
Betsy Jennings desarves it--was she ever married? tell me that."

Leaving Launcelott's-Hey, I turned into a more frequented street; and
soon meeting a policeman, told him of the condition of the woman and the

"It's none of my business, Jack," said he. "I don't belong to that

"Who does then?"

"I don't know. But what business is it of yours? Are you not a Yankee?"

"Yes," said I, "but come, I will help you remove that woman, if you say

"There, now, Jack, go on board your ship and stick to it; and leave
these matters to the town."

I accosted two more policemen, but with no better success; they would
not even go with me to the place. The truth was, it was out of the way,
in a silent, secluded spot; and the misery of the three outcasts, hiding
away in the ground, did not obtrude upon any one.

Returning to them, I again stamped to attract their attention; but this
time, none of the three looked up, or even stirred. While I yet stood
irresolute, a voice called to me from a high, iron-shuttered window in a
loft over the way; and asked what I was about. I beckoned to the man, a
sort of porter, to come down, which he did; when I pointed down into the

"Well," said he, "what of it?"

"Can't we get them out?" said I, "haven't you some place in your
warehouse where you can put them? have you nothing for them to eat?"

"You're crazy, boy," said he; "do you suppose, that Parkins and Wood
want their warehouse turned into a hospital?"

I then went to my boarding-house, and told Handsome Mary of what I had
seen; asking her if she could not do something to get the woman and
girls removed; or if she could not do that, let me have some food for
them. But though a kind person in the main, Mary replied that she gave
away enough to beggars in her own street (which was true enough) without
looking after the whole neighborhood.

Going into the kitchen, I accosted the cook, a little shriveled-up old
Welshwoman, with a saucy tongue, whom the sailors called Brandy-Nan; and
begged her to give me some cold victuals, if she had nothing better, to
take to the vault. But she broke out in a storm of swearing at the
miserable occupants of the vault, and refused. I then stepped into the
room where our dinner was being spread; and waiting till the girl had
gone out, I snatched some bread and cheese from a stand, and thrusting
it into the bosom of my frock, left the house. Hurrying to the lane, I
dropped the food down into the vault. One of the girls caught at it
convulsively, but fell back, apparently fainting; the sister pushed the
other's arm aside, and took the bread in her hand; but with a weak
uncertain grasp like an infant's. She placed it to her mouth; but
letting it fall again, murmuring faintly something like "water." The
woman did not stir; her head was bowed over, just as I had first seen

Seeing how it was, I ran down toward the docks to a mean little sailor
tavern, and begged for a pitcher; but the cross old man who kept it
refused, unless I would pay for it. But I had no money. So as my
boarding-house was some way off, and it would be lost time to run to the
ship for my big iron pot; under the impulse of the moment, I hurried to
one of the Boodle Hydrants, which I remembered having seen running near
the scene of a still smoldering fire in an old rag house; and taking off
a new tarpaulin hat, which had been loaned me that day, filled it with

With this, I returned to Launcelott's-Hey; and with considerable
difficulty, like getting down into a well, I contrived to descend with
it into the vault; where there was hardly space enough left to let me
stand. The two girls drank out of the hat together; looking up at me
with an unalterable, idiotic expression, that almost made me faint. The
woman spoke not a word, and did not stir. While the girls were breaking
and eating the bread, I tried to lift the woman's head; but, feeble as
she was, she seemed bent upon holding it down. Observing her arms still
clasped upon her bosom, and that something seemed hidden under the rags
there, a thought crossed my mind, which impelled me forcibly to withdraw
her hands for a moment; when I caught a glimpse of a meager little
babe--the lower part of its body thrust into an old bonnet. Its face was
dazzlingly white, even in its squalor; but the closed eyes looked like
balls of indigo. It must have been dead some hours.

The woman refusing to speak, eat, or drink, I asked one of the girls who
they were, and where they lived; but she only stared vacantly, muttering
something that could not be understood.

The air of the place was now getting too much for me; but I stood
deliberating a moment, whether it was possible for me to drag them out
of the vault. But if I did, what then? They would only perish in the
street, and here they were at least protected from the rain; and more
than that, might die in seclusion.

I crawled up into the street, and looking down upon them again, almost
repented that I had brought them any food; for it would only tend to
prolong their misery, without hope of any permanent relief: for die they
must very soon; they were too far gone for any medicine to help them. I
hardly know whether I ought to confess another thing that occurred to me
as I stood there; but it was this-I felt an almost irresistible impulse
to do them the last mercy, of in some way putting an end to their
horrible lives; and I should almost have done so, I think, had I not
been deterred by thoughts of the law. For I well knew that the law,
which would let them perish of themselves without giving them one cup of
water, would spend a thousand pounds, if necessary, in convicting him
who should so much as offer to relieve them from their miserable

The next day, and the next, I passed the vault three times, and still
met the same sight. The girls leaning up against the woman on each side,
and the woman with her arms still folding the babe, and her head bowed.
The first evening I did not see the bread that I had dropped down in the
morning; but the second evening, the bread I had dropped that morning
remained untouched. On the third morning the smell that came from the
vault was such, that I accosted the same policeman I had accosted
before, who was patrolling the same street, and told him that the
persons I had spoken to him about were dead, and he had better have them
removed. He looked as if he did not believe me, and added, that it was
not his street.

When I arrived at the docks on my way to the ship, I entered the
guard-house within the walls, and asked for one of the captains, to whom
I told the story; but, from what he said, was led to infer that the Dock
Police was distinct from that of the town, and this was not the right
place to lodge my information.

I could do no more that morning, being obliged to repair to the ship;
but at twelve o'clock, when I went to dinner, I hurried into
Launcelott's-Hey, when I found that the vault was empty. In place of the
women and children, a heap of quick-lime was glistening.

I could not learn who had taken them away, or whither they had gone; but
my prayer was answered--they were dead, departed, and at peace.

But again I looked down into the vault, and in fancy beheld the pale,
shrunken forms still crouching there. Ah! what are our creeds, and how
do we hope to be saved? Tell me, oh Bible, that story of Lazarus again,
that I may find comfort in my heart for the poor and forlorn. Surrounded
as we are by the wants and woes of our fellowmen, and yet given to
follow our own pleasures, regardless of their pains, are we not like
people sitting up with a corpse, and making merry in the house of the


I might relate other things which befell me during the six weeks and
more that I remained in Liverpool, often visiting the cellars, sinks,
and hovels of the wretched lanes and courts near the river. But to tell
of them, would only be to tell over again the story just told; so I
return to the docks.

The old women described as picking dirty fragments of cotton in tie
empty lot, belong to the same class of beings who at all hours of the
day are to be seen within the dock walls, raking over and over the heaps
of rubbish carried ashore from the holds of the shipping.

As it is against the law to throw the least thing overboard, even a rope
yarn; and as this law is very different from similar laws in New York,
inasmuch as it is rigidly enforced by the dock-masters; and, moreover,
as after discharging a ship's cargo, a great deal of dirt and worthless
dunnage remains in the hold, the amount of rubbish accumulated in the
appointed receptacles for depositing it within the walls is extremely
large, and is constantly receiving new accessions from every vessel that
unlades at the quays.

Standing over these noisome heaps, you will see scores of tattered
wretches, armed with old rakes and picking-irons, turning over the dirt,
and making as much of a rope-yarn as if it were a skein of silk. Their
findings, nevertheless, are but small; for as it is one of the
immemorial perquisites of the second mate of a merchant ship to collect,
and sell on his own account, all the condemned "old junk" of the vessel
to which he belongs, he generally takes good heed that in the buckets of
rubbish carried ashore, there shall be as few rope-yarns as possible.

In the same way, the cook preserves all the odds and ends of pork-rinds
and beef-fat, which he sells at considerable profit; upon a six months'
voyage frequently realizing thirty or forty dollars from the sale, and
in large ships, even more than that. It may easily be imagined, then,
how desperately driven to it must these rubbish-pickers be, to ransack
heaps of refuse which have been previously gleaned.

Nor must I omit to make mention of the singular beggary practiced in the
streets frequented by sailors; and particularly to record the remarkable
army of paupers that beset the docks at particular hours of the day.

At twelve o'clock the crews of hundreds and hundreds of ships issue in
crowds from the dock gates to go to their dinner in the town. This hour
is seized upon by multitudes of beggars to plant themselves against the
outside of the walls, while others stand upon the curbstone to excite
the charity of the seamen. The first time that I passed through this
long lane of pauperism, it seemed hard to believe that such an array of
misery could be furnished by any town in the world.

Every variety of want and suffering here met the eye, and every vice
showed here its victims. Nor were the marvelous and almost incredible
shifts and stratagems of the professional beggars, wanting to finish
this picture of all that is dishonorable to civilization and humanity.

Old women, rather mummies, drying up with slow starving and age; young
girls, incurably sick, who ought to have been in the hospital; sturdy
men, with the gallows in their eyes, and a whining lie in their mouths;
young boys, hollow-eyed and decrepit; and puny mothers, holding up puny
babes in the glare of the sun, formed the main features of the scene.

But these were diversified by instances of peculiar suffering, vice, or
art in attracting charity, which, to me at least, who had never seen
such things before, seemed to the last degree uncommon and monstrous.

I remember one cripple, a young man rather decently clad, who sat
huddled up against the wall, holding a painted board on his knees. It
was a picture intending to represent the man himself caught in the
machinery of some factory, and whirled about among spindles and cogs,
with his limbs mangled and bloody. This person said nothing, but sat
silently exhibiting his board. Next him, leaning upright against the
wall, was a tall, pallid man, with a white bandage round his brow, and
his face cadaverous as a corpse. He, too, said nothing; but with one
finger silently pointed down to the square of flagging at his feet,
which was nicely swept, and stained blue, and bore this inscription in

   "I have had no food for three days;
    My wife and children are dying."

Further on lay a man with one sleeve of his ragged coat removed, showing
an unsightly sore; and above it a label with some writing.

In some places, for the distance of many rods, the whole line of
flagging immediately at the base of the wall, would be completely
covered with inscriptions, the beggars standing over them in silence.

But as you passed along these horrible records, in an hour's time
destined to be obliterated by the feet of thousands and thousands of
wayfarers, you were not left unassailed by the clamorous petitions of
the more urgent applicants for charity. They beset you on every hand;
catching you by the coat; hanging on, and following you along; and, for
Heaven's sake, and for God's sake, and for Christ's sake, beseeching of
you but one ha'penny. If you so much as glanced your eye on one of them,
even for an instant, it was perceived like lightning, and the person
never left your side until you turned into another street, or satisfied
his demands. Thus, at least, it was with the sailors; though I observed
that the beggars treated the town's people differently.

I can not say that the seamen did much to relieve the destitution which
three times every day was presented to their view. Perhaps habit had
made them callous; but the truth might have been that very few of them
had much money to give. Yet the beggars must have had some inducement to
infest the dock walls as they did.

As an example of the caprice of sailors, and their sympathy with
suffering among members of their own calling, I must mention the case of
an old man, who every day, and all day long, through sunshine and rain,
occupied a particular corner, where crowds of tars were always passing.
He was an uncommonly large, plethoric man, with a wooden leg, and
dressed in the nautical garb; his face was red and round; he was
continually merry; and with his wooden stump thrust forth, so as almost
to trip up the careless wayfarer, he sat upon a great pile of monkey
jackets, with a little depression in them between his knees, to receive
the coppers thrown him. And plenty of pennies were tost into his
poor-box by the sailors, who always exchanged a pleasant word with the
old man, and passed on, generally regardless of the neighboring beggars.

The first morning I went ashore with my shipmates, some of them greeted
him as an old acquaintance; for that corner he had occupied for many
long years. He was an old man-of-war's man, who had lost his leg at the
battle of Trafalgar; and singular to tell, he now exhibited his wooden
one as a genuine specimen of the oak timbers of Nelson's ship, the

Among the paupers were several who wore old sailor hats and jackets, and
claimed to be destitute tars; and on the strength of these pretensions
demanded help from their brethren; but Jack would see through their
disguise in a moment, and turn away, with no benediction.

As I daily passed through this lane of beggars, who thronged the docks
as the Hebrew cripples did the Pool of Bethesda, and as I thought of my
utter inability in any way to help them, I could not but offer up a
prayer, that some angel might descend, and turn the waters of the docks
into an elixir, that would heal all their woes, and make them, man and
woman, healthy and whole as their ancestors, Adam and Eve, in the

Adam and Eve! If indeed ye are yet alive and in heaven, may it be no
part of your immortality to look down upon the world ye have left. For
as all these sufferers and cripples are as much your family as young
Abel, so, to you, the sight of the world's woes would be a parental
torment indeed.


The same sights that are to be met with along the dock walls at noon, in
a less degree, though diversified with other scenes, are continually
encountered in the narrow streets where the sailor boarding-houses are

In the evening, especially when the sailors are gathered in great
numbers, these streets present a most singular spectacle, the entire
population of the vicinity being seemingly turned into them.
Hand-organs, fiddles, and cymbals, plied by strolling musicians, mix
with the songs of the seamen, the babble of women and children, and the
groaning and whining of beggars. From the various boarding-houses, each
distinguished by gilded emblems outside--an anchor, a crown, a ship, a
windlass, or a dolphin--proceeds the noise of revelry and dancing; and
from the open casements lean young girls and old women, chattering and
laughing with the crowds in the middle of the street. Every moment
strange greetings are exchanged between old sailors who chance to
stumble upon a shipmate, last seen in Calcutta or Savannah; and the
invariable courtesy that takes place upon these occasions, is to go to
the next spirit-vault, and drink each other's health.

There are particular paupers who frequent particular sections of these
streets, and who, I was told, resented the intrusion of mendicants from
other parts of the town.

Chief among them was a white-haired old man, stone-blind; who was led up
and down through the long tumult by a woman holding a little saucer to
receive contributions. This old man sang, or rather chanted, certain
words in a peculiarly long-drawn, guttural manner, throwing back his
head, and turning up his sightless eyeballs to the sky. His chant was a
lamentation upon his infirmity; and at the time it produced the same
effect upon me, that my first reading of Milton's Invocation to the Sun
did, years afterward. I can not recall it all; but it was something like
this, drawn out in an endless groan--

"Here goes the blind old man; blind, blind, blind; no more will he see
sun nor moon--no more see sun nor moon!" And thus would he pass through
the middle of the street; the woman going on in advance, holding his
hand, and dragging him through all obstructions; now and then leaving
him standing, while she went among the crowd soliciting coppers.

But one of the most curious features of the scene is the number of
sailor ballad-singers, who, after singing their verses, hand you a
printed copy, and beg you to buy. One of these persons, dressed like a
man-of-war's-man, I observed every day standing at a corner in the
middle of the street. He had a full, noble voice, like a church-organ;
and his notes rose high above the surrounding din. But the remarkable
thing about this ballad-singer was one of his arms, which, while
singing, he somehow swung vertically round and round in the air, as if
it revolved on a pivot. The feat was unnaturally unaccountable; and he
performed it with the view of attracting sympathy; since he said that in
falling from a frigate's mast-head to the deck, he had met with an
injury, which had resulted in making his wonderful arm what it was.

I made the acquaintance of this man, and found him no common character.
He was full of marvelous adventures, and abounded in terrific stories of
pirates and sea murders, and all sorts of nautical enormities. He was a
monomaniac upon these subjects; he was a Newgate Calendar of the
robberies and assassinations of the day, happening in the sailor
quarters of the town; and most of his ballads were upon kindred
subjects. He composed many of his own verses, and had them printed for
sale on his own account. To show how expeditious he was at this
business, it may be mentioned, that one evening on leaving the dock to
go to supper, I perceived a crowd gathered about the Old Fort Tavern;
and mingling with the rest, I learned that a woman of the town had just
been killed at the bar by a drunken Spanish sailor from Cadiz. The
murderer was carried off by the police before my eyes, and the very next
morning the ballad-singer with the miraculous arm, was singing the
tragedy in front of the boarding-houses, and handing round printed
copies of the song, which, of course, were eagerly bought up by the

This passing allusion to the murder will convey some idea of the events
which take place in the lowest and most abandoned neighborhoods
frequented by sailors in Liverpool. The pestilent lanes and alleys
which, in their vocabulary, go by the names of Rotten-row,
Gibraltar-place, and Booble-alley, are putrid with vice and crime; to
which, perhaps, the round globe does not furnish a parallel. The sooty
and begrimed bricks of the very houses have a reeking, Sodomlike, and
murderous look; and well may the shroud of coal-smoke, which hangs over
this part of the town, more than any other, attempt to hide the
enormities here practiced. These are the haunts from which sailors
sometimes disappear forever; or issue in the morning, robbed naked, from
the broken doorways. These are the haunts in which cursing, gambling,
pickpocketing, and common iniquities, are virtues too lofty for the
infected gorgons and hydras to practice. Propriety forbids that I should
enter into details; but kidnappers, burkers, and resurrectionists are
almost saints and angels to them. They seem leagued together, a company
of miscreant misanthropes, bent upon doing all the malice to mankind in
their power. With sulphur and brimstone they ought to be burned out of
their arches like vermin.


As I wish to group together what fell under my observation concerning
the Liverpool docks, and the scenes roundabout, I will try to throw into
this chapter various minor things that I recall.

The advertisements of pauperism chalked upon the flagging round the dock
walls, are singularly accompanied by a multitude of quite different
announcements, placarded upon the walls themselves. They are principally
notices of the approaching departure of "superior, fast-sailing,
coppered and copper-fastened ships," for the United States, Canada, New
South Wales, and other places. Interspersed with these, are the
advertisements of Jewish clothesmen, informing the judicious seamen
where he can procure of the best and the cheapest; together with
ambiguous medical announcements of the tribe of quacks and empirics who
prey upon all seafaring men. Not content with thus publicly giving
notice of their whereabouts, these indefatigable Sangrados and pretended
Samaritans hire a parcel of shabby workhouse-looking knaves, whose
business consists in haunting the dock walls about meal times, and
silently thrusting mysterious little billets--duodecimo editions of the
larger advertisements--into the astonished hands of the tars.

They do this, with such a mysterious hang-dog wink; such a sidelong air;
such a villainous assumption of your necessities; that, at first, you
are almost tempted to knock them down for their pains.

Conspicuous among the notices on the walls, are huge Italic inducements
to all seamen disgusted with the merchant service, to accept a round
bounty, and embark in her Majesty's navy.

In the British armed marine, in time of peace, they do not ship men for
the general service, as in the American navy; but for particular ships,
going upon particular cruises. Thus, the frigate Thetis may be announced
as about to sail under the command of that fine old sailor, and noble
father to his crew, Lord George Flagstaff.

Similar announcements may be seen upon the walls concerning enlistments
in the army. And never did auctioneer dilate with more rapture upon the
charms of some country-seat put up for sale, than the authors of these
placards do, upon the beauty and salubrity of the distant climes, for
which the regiments wanting recruits are about to sail. Bright lawns,
vine-clad hills, endless meadows of verdure, here make up the landscape;
and adventurous young gentlemen, fond of travel, are informed, that here
is a chance for them to see the world at their leisure, and be paid for
enjoying themselves into the bargain. The regiments for India are
promised plantations among valleys of palms; while to those destined for
New Holland, a novel sphere of life and activity is opened; and the
companies bound to Canada and Nova Scotia are lured by tales of summer
suns, that ripen grapes in December. No word of war is breathed; hushed
is the clang of arms in these announcements; and the sanguine recruit is
almost tempted to expect that pruning-hooks, instead of swords, will be
the weapons he will wield.

Alas! is not this the cruel stratagem of Brace at Bannockburn, who
decoyed to his war-pits by covering them over with green boughs? For
instead of a farm at the blue base of the Himalayas, the Indian recruit
encounters the keen saber of the Sikh; and instead of basking in sunny
bowers, the Canadian soldier stands a shivering sentry upon the bleak
ramparts of Quebec, a lofty mark for the bitter blasts from Baffin's Bay
and Labrador. There, as his eye sweeps down the St. Lawrence, whose
every billow is bound for the main that laves the shore of Old England;
as he thinks of his long term of enlistment, which sells him to the army
as Doctor Faust sold himself to the devil; how the poor fellow must
groan in his grief, and call to mind the church-yard stile, and his

These army announcements are well fitted to draw recruits in Liverpool.
Among the vast number of emigrants, who daily arrive from all parts of
Britain to embark for the United States or the colonies, there are many
young men, who, upon arriving at Liverpool, find themselves next to
penniless; or, at least, with only enough money to carry them over the
sea, without providing for future contingencies. How easily and
naturally, then, may such youths be induced to enter upon the military
life, which promises them a free passage to the most distant and
flourishing colonies, and certain pay for doing nothing; besides holding
out hopes of vineyards and farms, to be verified in the fullness of
time. For in a moneyless youth, the decision to leave home at all, and
embark upon a long voyage to reside in a remote clime, is a piece of
adventurousness only one removed from the spirit that prompts the army
recruit to enlist.

I never passed these advertisements, surrounded by crowds of gaping
emigrants, without thinking of rattraps.

Besides the mysterious agents of the quacks, who privily thrust their
little notes into your hands, folded up like a powder; there are another
set of rascals prowling about the docks, chiefly at dusk; 'who make
strange motions to you, and beckon you to one side, as if they had some
state secret to disclose, intimately connected with the weal of the
commonwealth. They nudge you with an elbow full of indefinite hints
and intimations; they glitter upon you an eye like a Jew's or a
pawnbroker's; they dog you like Italian assassins. But if the blue coat
of a policeman chances to approach, how quickly they strive to look
completely indifferent, as to the surrounding universe; how they saunter
off, as if lazily wending their way to an affectionate wife and family.

The first time one of these mysterious personages accosted me, I fancied
him crazy, and hurried forward to avoid him. But arm in arm with my
shadow, he followed after; till amazed at his conduct, I turned round
and paused.

He was a little, shabby, old man, with a forlorn looking coat and hat;
and his hand was fumbling in his vest pocket, as if to take out a card
with his address. Seeing me stand still he made a sign toward a dark
angle of the wall, near which we were; when taking him for a cunning
foot-pad, I again wheeled about, and swiftly passed on. But though I did
not look round, I felt him following me still; so once more I stopped.
The fellow now assumed so mystic and admonitory an air, that I began to
fancy he came to me on some warning errand; that perhaps a plot had been
laid to blow up the Liverpool docks, and he was some Monteagle bent upon
accomplishing my flight. I was determined to see what he was. With all
my eyes about me, I followed him into the arch of a warehouse; when he
gazed round furtively, and silently showing me a ring, whispered, "You
may have it for a shilling; it's pure gold-I found it in the
gutter-hush! don't speak! give me the money, and it's yours."

"My friend," said I, "I don't trade in these articles; I don't want your

"Don't you? Then take, that," he whispered, in an intense hushed
passion; and I fell flat from a blow on the chest, while this infamous
jeweler made away with himself out of sight. This business transaction
was conducted with a counting-house promptitude that astonished me.

After that, I shunned these scoundrels like the leprosy: and the next
time I was pertinaciously followed, I stopped, and in a loud voice,
pointed out the man to the passers-by; upon which he absconded; rapidly
turning up into sight a pair of obliquely worn and battered boot-heels.
I could not help thinking that these sort of fellows, so given to
running away upon emergencies, must furnish a good deal of work to the
shoemakers; as they might, also, to the growers of hemp and

Belonging to a somewhat similar fraternity with these irritable
merchants of brass jewelry just mentioned, are the peddlers of Sheffield
razors, mostly boys, who are hourly driven out of the dock gates by the
police; nevertheless, they contrive to saunter back, and board the
vessels, going among the sailors and privately exhibiting their wares.
Incited by the extreme cheapness of one of the razors, and the gilding
on the case containing it, a shipmate of mine purchased it on the spot
for a commercial equivalent of the price, in tobacco. On the following
Sunday, he used that razor; and the result was a pair of tormented and
tomahawked cheeks, that almost required a surgeon to dress them. In old
times, by the way, it was not a bad thought, that suggested the
propriety of a barber's practicing surgery in connection with the
chin-harrowing vocation. Another class of knaves, who practice upon the
sailors in Liverpool, are the pawnbrokers, inhabiting little rookeries
among the narrow lanes adjoining the dock. I was astonished at die
multitude of gilded balls in these streets, emblematic of their calling.
They were generally next neighbors to the gilded grapes over the
spirit-vaults; and no doubt, mutually to facilitate business operations,
some of these establishments have connecting doors inside, so as to play
their customers into each other's hands. I often saw sailors in a state
of intoxication rushing from a spirit-vault into a pawnbroker's;
stripping off their boots, hats, jackets, and neckerchiefs, and
sometimes even their pantaloons on the spot, and offering to pawn them
for a song. Of course such applications were never refused. But though
on shore, at Liverpool, poor Jack finds more sharks than at sea, he
himself is by no means exempt from practices, that do not savor of a
rigid morality; at least according to law. In tobacco smuggling he is an
adept: and when cool and collected, often manages to evade the Customs
completely, and land goodly packages of the weed, which owing to the
immense duties upon it in England, commands a very high price.

As soon as we came to anchor in the river, before reaching the dock,
three Custom-house underlings boarded us, and coming down into the
forecastle, ordered the men to produce all the tobacco they had.
Accordingly several pounds were brought forth.

"Is that all?" asked the officers.

"All," said the men.

"We will see," returned the others.

And without more ado, they emptied the chests right and left; tossed
over the bunks and made a thorough search of the premises; but
discovered nothing. The sailors were then given to understand, that
while the ship lay in dock, the tobacco must remain in the cabin, under
custody of the chief mate, who every morning would dole out to them one
plug per head, as a security against their carrying it ashore.

"Very good," said the men.

But several of them had secret places in the ship, from whence they
daily drew pound after pound of tobacco, which they smuggled ashore in
the manner following.

When the crew went to meals, each man carried at least one plug in his
pocket; that he had a right to; and as many more were hidden about his
person as he dared. Among the great crowds pouring out of the dock-gates
at such hours, of course these smugglers stood little chance of
detection; although vigilant looking policemen were always standing by.
And though these "Charlies" might suppose there were tobacco smugglers
passing; yet to hit the right man among such a throng, would be as hard,
as to harpoon a speckled porpoise, one of ten thousand darting under a
ship's bows.

Our forecastle was often visited by foreign sailors, who knowing we came
from America, were anxious to purchase tobacco at a cheap rate; for in
Liverpool it is about an American penny per pipe-full. Along the docks
they sell an English pennyworth, put up in a little roll like
confectioners' mottoes, with poetical lines, or instructive little moral
precepts printed in red on the back.

Among all the sights of the docks, the noble truck-horses are not the
least striking to a stranger. They are large and powerful brutes, with
such sleek and glossy coats, that they look as if brushed and put on by
a valet every morning. They march with a slow and stately step, lifting
their ponderous hoofs like royal Siam elephants. Thou shalt not lay
stripes upon these Roman citizens; for their docility is such, they are
guided without rein or lash; they go or come, halt or march on, at a
whisper. So grave, dignified, gentlemanly, and courteous did these fine
truck-horses look--so full of calm intelligence and sagacity, that often
I endeavored to get into conversation with them, as they stood in
contemplative attitudes while their loads were preparing. But all I
could get from them was the mere recognition of a friendly neigh; though
I would stake much upon it that, could I have spoken in their language,
I would have derived from them a good deal of valuable information
touching the docks, where they passed the whole of their dignified

There are unknown worlds of knowledge in brutes; and whenever you mark a
horse, or a dog, with a peculiarly mild, calm, deep-seated eye, be sure
he is an Aristotle or a Kant, tranquilly speculating upon the mysteries
in man. No philosophers so thoroughly comprehend us as dogs and horses.
They see through us at a glance. And after all, what is a horse but a
species of four-footed dumb man, in a leathern overall, who happens to
live upon oats, and toils for his masters, half-requited or abused, like
the biped hewers of wood and drawers of water? But there is a touch of
divinity even in brutes, and a special halo about a horse, that should
forever exempt him from indignities. As for those majestic, magisterial
truck-horses of the docks, I would as soon think of striking a judge on
the bench, as to lay violent hand upon their holy hides.

It is wonderful what loads their majesties will condescend to draw. The
truck is a large square platform, on four low wheels; and upon this the
lumpers pile bale after bale of cotton, as if they were filling a large
warehouse, and yet a procession of three of these horses will tranquilly
walk away with the whole.

The truckmen themselves are almost as singular a race as their animals.
Like the Judiciary in England, they wear gowns,--not of the same cut and
color though,--which reach below their knees; and from the racket they
make on the pavements with their hob-nailed brogans, you would think
they patronized the same shoemaker with their horses. I never could get
any thing out of these truckmen. They are a reserved, sober-sided set,
who, with all possible solemnity, march at the head of their animals;
now and then gently advising them to sheer to the right or the left, in
order to avoid some passing vehicle. Then spending so much of their
lives in the high-bred company of their horses, seems to have mended
their manners and improved their taste, besides imparting to them
something of the dignity of their animals; but it has also given to them
a sort of refined and uncomplaining aversion to human society.

There are many strange stories told of the truck-horse. Among others is
the following: There was a parrot, that from having long been suspended
in its cage from a low window fronting a dock, had learned to converse
pretty fluently in the language of the stevedores and truckmen. One day
a truckman left his vehicle standing on the quay, with its back to the
water. It was noon, when an interval of silence falls upon the docks;
and Poll, seeing herself face to face with the horse, and having a mind
for a chat, cried out to him, "Back! back! back!"

Backward went the horse, precipitating himself and truck into the water.

Brunswick Dock, to the west of Prince's, is one of the most interesting
to be seen. Here lie the various black steamers (so unlike the American
boats, since they have to navigate the boisterous Narrow Seas) plying to
all parts of the three kingdoms. Here you see vast quantities of
produce, imported from starving Ireland; here you see the decks turned
into pens for oxen and sheep; and often, side by side with these
inclosures, Irish deck-passengers, thick as they can stand, seemingly
penned in just like the cattle. It was the beginning of July when the
Highlander arrived in port; and the Irish laborers were daily coming
over by thousands, to help harvest the English crops.

One morning, going into the town, I heard a tramp, as of a drove of
buffaloes, behind me; and turning round, beheld the entire middle of the
street filled by a great crowd of these men, who had just emerged from
Brunswick Dock gates, arrayed in long-tailed coats of hoddin-gray,
corduroy knee-breeches, and shod with shoes that raised a mighty dust.
Flourishing their Donnybrook shillelahs, they looked like an irruption
of barbarians. They were marching straight out of town into the country;
and perhaps out of consideration for the finances of the corporation,
took the middle of the street, to save the side-walks.

"Sing Langolee, and the Lakes of Killarney," cried one fellow, tossing
his stick into the air, as he danced in his brogans at the head of the
rabble. And so they went! capering on, merry as pipers.

When I thought of the multitudes of Irish that annually land on the
shores of the United States and Canada, and, to my surprise, witnessed
the additional multitudes embarking from Liverpool to New Holland; and
when, added to all this, I daily saw these hordes of laborers,
descending, thick as locusts, upon the English corn-fields; I could not
help marveling at the fertility of an island, which, though her crop of
potatoes may fail, never yet failed in bringing her annual crop of men
into the world.


I do not know that any other traveler would think it worth while to
mention such a thing; but the fact is, that during the summer months in
Liverpool, the days are exceedingly lengthy; and the first evening I
found myself walking in the twilight after nine o'clock, I tried to
recall my astronomical knowledge, in order to account satisfactorily for
so curious a phenomenon. But the days in summer, and the nights in
winter, are just as long in Liverpool as at Cape Horn; for the latitude
of the two places very nearly corresponds.

These Liverpool days, however, were a famous thing for me; who, thereby,
was enabled after my day's work aboard the Highlander, to ramble about
the town for several hours. After I had visited all the noted places I
could discover, of those marked down upon my father's map, I began to
extend my rovings indefinitely; forming myself into a committee of one,
to investigate all accessible parts of the town; though so many years
have elapsed, ere I have thought of bringing in my report.

This was a great delight to me: for wherever I have been in the world, I
have always taken a vast deal of lonely satisfaction in wandering about,
up and down, among out-of-the-way streets and alleys, and speculating
upon the strangers I have met. Thus, in Liverpool I used to pace along
endless streets of dwelling-houses, looking at the names on the doors,
admiring the pretty faces in the windows, and invoking a passing
blessing upon the chubby children on the door-steps. I was stared at
myself, to be sure: but what of that? We must give and take on such
occasions. In truth, I and my shooting-jacket produced quite a sensation
in Liverpool: and I have no doubt, that many a father of a family went
home to his children with a curious story, about a wandering phenomenon
they had encountered, traversing the side-walks that day. In the words
of the old song, "I cared for nobody, no not I, and nobody cared for
me." I stared my fill with impunity, and took all stares myself in good

Once I was standing in a large square, gaping at a splendid chariot
drawn up at a portico. The glossy horses quivered with good-living, and
so did the sumptuous calves of the gold-laced coachman and footmen in
attendance. I was particularly struck with the red cheeks of these men:
and the many evidences they furnished of their enjoying this meal with a
wonderful relish.

While thus standing, I all at once perceived, that the objects of my
curiosity, were making me an object of their own; and that they were
gazing at me, as if I were some unauthorized intruder upon the British
soil. Truly, they had reason: for when I now think of the figure I must
have cut in those days, I only marvel that, in my many strolls, my
passport was not a thousand times demanded.

Nevertheless, I was only a forlorn looking mortal among tens of
thousands of rags and tatters. For in some parts of the town, inhabited
by laborers, and poor people generally; I used to crowd my way through
masses of squalid men, women, and children, who at this evening hour, in
those quarters of Liverpool, seem to empty themselves into the street,
and live there for the time. I had never seen any thing like it in New
York. Often, I witnessed some curious, and many very sad scenes; and
especially I remembered encountering a pale, ragged man, rushing along
frantically, and striving to throw off his wife and children, who clung
to his arms and legs; and, in God's name, conjured him not to desert
them. He seemed bent upon rushing down to the water, and drowning
himself, in some despair, and craziness of wretchedness. In these
haunts, beggary went on before me wherever I walked, and dogged me
unceasingly at the heels. Poverty, poverty, poverty, in almost endless
vistas: and want and woe staggered arm in arm along these miserable

And here, I must not omit one thing, that struck me at the time. It was
the absence of negroes; who in the large towns in the "free states" of
America, almost always form a considerable portion of the destitute. But
in these streets, not a negro was to be seen. All were whites; and with
the exception of the Irish, were natives of the soil: even Englishmen;
as much Englishmen, as the dukes in the House of Lords. This conveyed a
strange feeling: and more than any thing else, reminded me that I was
not in my own land. For there, such a being as a native beggar is almost
unknown; and to be a born American citizen seems a guarantee against
pauperism; and this, perhaps, springs from the virtue of a vote.

Speaking of negroes, recalls the looks of interest with which
negro-sailors are regarded when they walk the Liverpool streets. In
Liverpool indeed the negro steps with a prouder pace, and lifts his head
like a man; for here, no such exaggerated feeling exists in respect to
him, as in America. Three or four times, I encountered our black
steward, dressed very handsomely, and walking arm in arm with a
good-looking English woman. In New York, such a couple would have been
mobbed in three minutes; and the steward would have been lucky to escape
with whole limbs. Owing to the friendly reception extended to them, and
the unwonted immunities they enjoy in Liverpool, the black cooks and
stewards of American ships are very much attached to the place and like
to make voyages to it.

Being so young and inexperienced then, and unconsciously swayed in some
degree by those local and social prejudices, that are the marring of
most men, and from which, for the mass, there seems no possible escape;
at first I was surprised that a colored man should be treated as he is
in this town; but a little reflection showed that, after all, it was but
recognizing his claims to humanity and normal equality; so that, in some
things, we Americans leave to other countries the carrying out of the
principle that stands at the head of our Declaration of Independence.

During my evening strolls in the wealthier quarters, I was subject to a
continual mortification. It was the humiliating fact, wholly unforeseen
by me, that upon the whole, and barring the poverty and beggary,
Liverpool, away from the docks, was very much such a place as New York.
There were the same sort of streets pretty much; the same rows of houses
with stone steps; the same kind of side-walks and curbs; and the same
elbowing, heartless-looking crowd as ever.

I came across the Leeds Canal, one afternoon; but, upon my word, no one
could have told it from the Erie Canal at Albany. I went into St. John's
Market on a Saturday night; and though it was strange enough to see that
great roof supported by so many pillars, yet the most discriminating
observer would not have been able to detect any difference between the
articles exposed for sale, and the articles exhibited in Fulton Market,
New York.

I walked down Lord-street, peering into the jewelers' shops; but I
thought I was walking down a block in Broadway. I began to think that
all this talk about travel was a humbug; and that he who lives in a
nut-shell, lives in an epitome of the universe, and has but little to
see beyond him.

It is true, that I often thought of London's being only seven or eight
hours' travel by railroad from where I was; and that there, surely, must
be a world of wonders waiting my eyes: but more of London anon.

Sundays were the days upon which I made my longest explorations. I rose
bright and early, with my whole plan of operations in my head. First
walking into some dock hitherto unexamined, and then to breakfast. Then
a walk through the more fashionable streets, to see the people going to
church; and then I myself went to church, selecting the goodliest
edifice, and the tallest Kentuckian of a spire I could find.

For I am an admirer of church architecture; and though, perhaps, the
sums spent in erecting magnificent cathedrals might better go to the
founding of charities, yet since these structures are built, those who
disapprove of them in one sense, may as well have the benefit of them in

It is a most Christian thing, and a matter most sweet to dwell upon and
simmer over in solitude, that any poor sinner may go to church wherever
he pleases; and that even St. Peter's in Rome is open to him, as to a
cardinal; that St. Paul's in London is not shut against him; and that
the Broadway Tabernacle, in New York, opens all her broad aisles to him,
and will not even have doors and thresholds to her pews, the better to
allure him by an unbounded invitation. I say, this consideration of the
hospitality and democracy in churches, is a most Christian and charming
thought. It speaks whole volumes of folios, and Vatican libraries, for
Christianity; it is more eloquent, and goes farther home than all the
sermons of Massillon, Jeremy Taylor, Wesley, and Archbishop Tillotson.

Nothing daunted, therefore, by thinking of my being a stranger in the
land; nothing daunted by the architectural superiority and costliness of
any Liverpool church; or by the streams of silk dresses and fine
broadcloth coats flowing into the aisles, I used humbly to present
myself before the sexton, as a candidate for admission. He would stare a
little, perhaps (one of them once hesitated), but in the end, what could
he do but show me into a pew; not the most commodious of pews, to be
sure; nor commandingly located; nor within very plain sight or hearing
of the pulpit. No; it was remarkable, that there was always some
confounded pillar or obstinate angle of the wall in the way; and I used
to think, that the sextons of Liverpool must have held a secret meeting
on my account, and resolved to apportion me the most inconvenient pew in
the churches under their charge. However, they always gave me a seat of
some sort or other; sometimes even on an oaken bench in the open air of
the aisle, where I would sit, dividing the attention of the congregation
between myself and the clergyman. The whole congregation seemed to know
that I was a foreigner of distinction.

It was sweet to hear the service read, the organ roll, the sermon
preached--just as the same things were going on three thousand five
hundred miles off, at home! But then, the prayer in behalf of her
majesty the Queen, somewhat threw me back. Nevertheless, I joined in
that prayer, and invoked for the lady the best wishes of a poor Yankee.

How I loved to sit in the holy hush of those brown old monastic aisles,
thinking of Harry the Eighth, and the Reformation! How I loved to go a
roving with my eye, all along the sculptured walls and buttresses;
winding in among the intricacies of the pendent ceiling, and wriggling
my fancied way like a wood-worm. I could have sat there all the morning
long, through noon, unto night. But at last the benediction would come;
and appropriating my share of it, I would slowly move away, thinking how
I should like to go home with some of the portly old gentlemen, with
high-polished boots and Malacca canes, and take a seat at their cosy and
comfortable dinner-tables. But, alas! there was no dinner for me except
at the sign of the Baltimore Clipper.

Yet the Sunday dinners that Handsome Mary served up were not to be
scorned. The roast beef of Old England abounded; and so did the immortal
plum-puddings, and the unspeakably capital gooseberry pies. But to
finish off with that abominable "swipes" almost spoiled all the rest:
not that I myself patronized "swipes" but my shipmates did; and every
cup I saw them drink, I could not choose but taste in imagination, and
even then the flavor was bad.

On Sundays, at dinner-time, as, indeed, on every other day, it was
curious to watch the proceedings at the sign of the Clipper. The servant
girls were running about, mustering the various crews, whose dinners
were spread, each in a separate apartment; and who were collectively
known by the names of their ships.

"Where are the Arethusas?--Here's their beef been smoking this
half-hour."--"Fly, Betty, my dear, here come the Splendids."--"Run,
Molly, my love; get the salt-cellars for the Highlanders."--"You Peggy,
where's the Siddons' pickle-pat?"--"I say, Judy, are you never coming
with that pudding for the Lord Nelsons?"

On week days, we did not fare quite so well as on Sundays; and once we
came to dinner, and found two enormous bullock hearts smoking at each
end of the Highlanders' table. Jackson was indignant at the outrage.

He always sat at the head of the table; and this time he squared himself
on his bench, and erecting his knife and fork like flag-staffs, so as to
include the two hearts between them, he called out for Danby, the
boarding-house keeper; for although his wife Mary was in fact at the
head of the establishment, yet Danby himself always came in for the

Danby obsequiously appeared, and stood in the doorway, well knowing the
philippics that were coming. But he was not prepared for the peroration
of Jackson's address to him; which consisted of the two bullock hearts,
snatched bodily off the dish, and flung at his head, by way of a
recapitulation of the preceding arguments. The company then broke up in
disgust, and dined elsewhere.

Though I almost invariably attended church on Sunday mornings, yet the
rest of the day I spent on my travels; and it was on one of these
afternoon strolls, that on passing through St. George's-square, I found
myself among a large crowd, gathered near the base of George the
Fourth's equestrian statue.

The people were mostly mechanics and artisans in their holiday clothes;
but mixed with them were a good many soldiers, in lean, lank, and
dinnerless undresses, and sporting attenuated rattans. These troops
belonged to the various regiments then in town. Police officers, also,
were conspicuous in their uniforms. At first perfect silence and decorum

Addressing this orderly throng was a pale, hollow-eyed young man, in a
snuff-colored surtout, who looked worn with much watching, or much toil,
or too little food. His features were good, his whole air was
respectable, and there was no mistaking the fact, that he was strongly
in earnest in what he was saying.

In his hand was a soiled, inflammatory-looking pamphlet, from which he
frequently read; following up the quotations with nervous appeals to his
hearers, a rolling of his eyes, and sometimes the most frantic gestures.
I was not long within hearing of him, before I became aware that this
youth was a Chartist.

Presently the crowd increased, and some commotion was raised, when I
noticed the police officers augmenting in number; and by and by, they
began to glide through the crowd, politely hinting at the propriety of
dispersing. The first persons thus accosted were the soldiers, who
accordingly sauntered off, switching their rattans, and admiring their
high-polished shoes. It was plain that the Charter did not hang very
heavy round their hearts. For the rest, they also gradually broke up;
and at last I saw the speaker himself depart.

I do not know why, but I thought he must be some despairing elder son,
supporting by hard toil his mother and sisters; for of such many
political desperadoes are made.

That same Sunday afternoon, I strolled toward the outskirts of the town,
and attracted by the sight of two great Pompey's pillars, in the shape
of black steeples, apparently rising directly from the soil, I
approached them with much curiosity. But looking over a low parapet
connecting them, what was my surprise to behold at my feet a smoky
hollow in the ground, with rocky walls, and dark holes at one end,
carrying out of view several lines of iron railways; while far beyond,
straight out toward the open country, ran an endless railroad. Over the
place, a handsome Moorish arch of stone was flung; and gradually, as I
gazed upon it, and at the little side arches at the bottom of the
hollow, there came over me an undefinable feeling, that I had previously
seen the whole thing before. Yet how could that be? Certainly, I had
never been in Liverpool before: but then, that Moorish arch! surely I
remembered that very well. It was not till several months after reaching
home in America, that my perplexity upon this matter was cleared away.
In glancing over an old number of the Penny Magazine, there I saw a
picture of the place to the life; and remembered having seen the same
print years previous. It was a representation of the spot where the
Manchester railroad enters the outskirts of the town.


My adventure in the News-Room in the Exchange, which I have related in a
previous chapter, reminds me of another, at the Lyceum, some days after,
which may as well be put down here, before I forget it.

I was strolling down Bold-street, I think it was, when I was struck by
the sight of a brown stone building, very large and handsome. The
windows were open, and there, nicely seated, with their comfortable legs
crossed over their comfortable knees, I beheld several sedate,
happy-looking old gentlemen reading the magazines and papers, and one
had a fine gilded volume in his hand.

Yes, this must be the Lyceum, thought I; let me see. So I whipped out my
guide-book, and opened it at the proper place; and sure enough, the
building before me corresponded stone for stone. I stood awhile on the
opposite side of the street, gazing at my picture, and then at its
original; and often dwelling upon the pleasant gentlemen sitting at the
open windows; till at last I felt an uncontrollable impulse to step in
for a moment, and run over the news.

I'm a poor, friendless sailor-boy, thought I, and they can not object;
especially as I am from a foreign land, and strangers ought to be
treated with courtesy. I turned the matter over again, as I walked
across the way; and with just a small tapping of a misgiving at my
heart, I at last scraped my feet clean against the curb-stone, and
taking off my hat while I was yet in the open air, slowly sauntered in.

But I had not got far into that large and lofty room, filled with many
agreeable sights, when a crabbed old gentleman lifted up his eye from
the London Times, which words I saw boldly printed on the back of the
large sheet in his hand, and looking at me as if I were a strange dog
with a muddy hide, that had stolen out of the gutter into this fine
apartment, he shook his silver-headed cane at me fiercely, till the
spectacles fell off his nose. Almost at the same moment, up stepped a
terribly cross man, who looked as if he had a mustard plaster on his
back, that was continually exasperating him; who throwing down some
papers which he had been filing, took me by my innocent shoulders, and
then, putting his foot against the broad part of my pantaloons, wheeled
me right out into the street, and dropped me on the walk, without so
much as offering an apology for the affront. I sprang after him, but in
vain; the door was closed upon me.

These Englishmen have no manners, that's plain, thought I; and I trudged
on down the street in a reverie.


Who that dwells in America has not heard of the bright fields and green
hedges of England, and longed to behold them? Even so had it been with
me; and now that I was actually in England, I resolved not to go away
without having a good, long look at the open fields.

On a Sunday morning I started, with a lunch in my pocket. It was a
beautiful day in July; the air was sweet with the breath of buds and
flowers, and there was a green splendor in the landscape that ravished
me. Soon I gained an elevation commanding a wide sweep of view; and
meadow and mead, and woodland and hedge, were all around me.

Ay, ay! this was old England, indeed! I had found it at last--there it
was in the country! Hovering over the scene was a soft, dewy air, that
seemed faintly tinged with the green of the grass; and I thought, as I
breathed my breath, that perhaps I might be inhaling the very particles
once respired by Rosamond the Fair.

On I trudged along the London road--smooth as an entry floor--and every
white cottage I passed, embosomed in honeysuckles, seemed alive in the

But the day wore on; and at length the sun grew hot; and the long road
became dusty. I thought that some shady place, in some shady field,
would be very pleasant to repose in. So, coming to a charming little
dale, undulating down to a hollow, arched over with foliage, I crossed
over toward it; but paused by the road-side at a frightful announcement,
nailed against an old tree, used as a gate-post--

    "man-traps and spring-guns!"

In America I had never heard of the like. What could it mean? They were
not surely cannibals, that dwelt down in that beautiful little dale, and
lived by catching men, like weasels and beavers in Canada!

"A man-trap!" It must be so. The announcement could bear but one
meaning--that there was something near by, intended to catch human
beings; some species of mechanism, that would suddenly fasten upon the
unwary rover, and hold him by the leg like a dog; or, perhaps, devour
him on the spot.

Incredible! In a Christian land, too! Did that sweet lady, Queen
Victoria, permit such diabolical practices? Had her gracious majesty
ever passed by this way, and seen the announcement?

And who put it there?

The proprietor, probably.

And what right had he to do so?

Why, he owned the soil.

And where are his title-deeds?

In his strong-box, I suppose.

Thus I stood wrapt in cogitations.

You are a pretty fellow, Wellingborough, thought I to myself; you are a
mighty traveler, indeed:--stopped on your travels by a man-trap! Do you
think Mungo Park was so served in Africa? Do you think Ledyard was so
entreated in Siberia? Upon my word, you will go home not very much wiser
than when you set out; and the only excuse you can give, for not having
seen more sights, will be man-traps--mantraps, my masters! that
frightened you!

And then, in my indignation, I fell back upon first principles. What
right has this man to the soil he thus guards with dragons? What
excessive effrontery, to lay sole claim to a solid piece of this planet,
right down to the earth's axis, and, perhaps, straight through to the
antipodes! For a moment I thought I would test his traps, and enter the
forbidden Eden.

But the grass grew so thickly, and seemed so full of sly things, that at
last I thought best to pace off.

Next, I came to a hawthorn lane, leading down very prettily to a nice
little church; a mossy little church; a beautiful little church; just
such a church as I had always dreamed to be in England. The porch was
viny as an arbor; the ivy was climbing about the tower; and the bees
were humming about the hoary old head-stones along the walls.

Any man-traps here? thought I--any spring-guns?


So I walked on, and entered the church, where I soon found a seat. No
Indian, red as a deer, could have startled the simple people more. They
gazed and they gazed; but as I was all attention to the sermon, and
conducted myself with perfect propriety, they did not expel me, as at
first I almost imagined they might.

Service over, I made my way through crowds of children, who stood
staring at the marvelous stranger, and resumed my stroll along the
London Road.

My next stop was at an inn, where under a tree sat a party of rustics,
drinking ale at a table.

"Good day," said I.

"Good day; from Liverpool?"

"I guess so."

"For London?"

"No; not this time. I merely come to see the country."

At this, they gazed at each other; and I, at myself; having doubts
whether I might not look something like a horse-thief.

"Take a seat," said the landlord, a fat fellow, with his wife's apron
on, I thought.

"Thank you."

And then, little by little, we got into a long talk: in the course of
which, I told who I was, and where I was from. I found these rustics a
good-natured, jolly set; and I have no doubt they found me quite a
sociable youth. They treated me to ale; and I treated them to stories
about America, concerning which, they manifested the utmost curiosity.
One of them, however, was somewhat astonished that I had not made the
acquaintance of a brother of his, who had resided somewhere on the banks
of the Mississippi for several years past; but among twenty millions of
people, I had never happened to meet him, at least to my knowledge.

At last, leaving this party, I pursued my way, exhilarated by the lively
conversation in which I had shared, and the pleasant sympathies
exchanged: and perhaps, also, by the ale I had drunk:--fine old ale; yes,
English ale, ale brewed in England! And I trod English soil; and
breathed English air; and every blade of grass was an Englishman born.
Smoky old Liverpool, with all its pitch and tar was now far behind;
nothing in sight but open meadows and fields.

Come, Wellingborough, why not push on for London?--Hurra! what say you?
let's have a peep at St. Paul's I Don't you want to see the queen? Have
you no longing to behold the duke? Think of Westminster Abbey, and the
Tunnel under the Thames! Think of Hyde Park, and the ladies!

But then, thought I again, with my hands wildly groping in my two
vacuums of pockets--who's to pay the bill?--You can't beg your way,
Wellingborough; that would never do; for you are your father's son,
Wellingborough; and you must not disgrace your family in a foreign land;
you must not turn pauper.

Ah! Ah! it was indeed too true; there was no St. Paul's or Westminster
Abbey for me; that was flat.

Well, well, up heart, you'll see it one of these days.

But think of it! here I am on the very road that leads to the
Thames--think of that!--here I am--ay, treading in the wheel-tracks of
coaches that are bound for the metropolis!--It was too bad; too bitterly
bad. But I shoved my old hat over my brows, and walked on; till at last
I came to a green bank, deliriously shaded by a fine old tree with broad
branching arms, that stretched themselves over the road, like a hen
gathering her brood under her wings. Down on the green grass I threw
myself and there lay my head, like a last year's nut. People passed by,
on foot and in carriages, and little thought that the sad youth under
the tree was the great-nephew of a late senator in the American

Presently, I started to my feet, as I heard a gruff voice behind me from
the field, crying out--"What are you doing there, you young rascal?--run
away from the work'us, have ye? Tramp, or I'll set Blucher on ye!"

And who was Blucher? A cut-throat looking dog, with his black
bull-muzzle thrust through a gap in the hedge. And his master? A sturdy
farmer, with an alarming cudgel in his hand.

"Come, are you going to start?" he cried.

"Presently," said I, making off with great dispatch. When I had got a
few yards into the middle of the highroad (which belonged as much to me
as it did to the queen herself), I turned round, like a man on his own
premises, and said--"Stranger! if you ever Visit America, just call at
our house, and you'll always find there a dinner and a bed. Don't fail."

I then walked on toward Liverpool, full of sad thoughts concerning the
cold charities of the world, and the infamous reception given to hapless
young travelers, in broken-down shooting-jackets.

On, on I went, along the skirts of forbidden green fields; until
reaching a cottage, before which I stood rooted.

So sweet a place I had never seen: no palace in Persia could be
pleasanter; there were flowers in the garden; and six red cheeks, like
six moss-roses, hanging from the casement. At the embowered doorway, sat
an old man, confidentially communing with his pipe: while a little
child, sprawling on the ground, was playing with his shoestrings. A hale
matron, but with rather a prim expression, was reading a journal by his
side: and three charmers, three Peris, three Houris! were leaning out of
the window close by.

Ah! Wellingborough, don't you wish you could step in?

With a heavy heart at his cheerful sigh, I was turning to go, when--is it
possible? the old man called me back, and invited me in.

"Come, come," said he, "you look as if you had walked far; come, take a
bowl of milk. Matilda, my dear" (how my heart jumped), "go fetch some
from the dairy." And the white-handed angel did meekly obey, and handed
me--me, the vagabond, a bowl of bubbling milk, which I could hardly drink
down, for gazing at the dew on her lips.

As I live, I could have married that charmer on the spot!

She was by far the most beautiful rosebud I had yet seen in England. But
I endeavored to dissemble my ardent admiration; and in order to do away
at once with any unfavorable impressions arising from the close scrutiny
of my miserable shooting-jacket, which was now taking place, I declared
myself a Yankee sailor from Liverpool, who was spending a Sunday in the

"And have you been to church to-day, young man?" said the old lady,
looking daggers.

"Good madam, I have; the little church down yonder, you know--a most
excellent sermon--I am much the better for it."

I wanted to mollify this severe looking old lady; for even my short
experience of old ladies had convinced me that they are the hereditary
enemies of all strange young men.

I soon turned the conversation toward America, a theme which I knew
would be interesting, and upon which I could be fluent and agreeable. I
strove to talk in Addisonian English, and ere long could see very
plainly that my polished phrases were making a surprising impression,
though that miserable shooting-jacket of mine was a perpetual drawback
to my claims to gentility.

Spite of all my blandishments, however, the old lady stood her post like
a sentry; and to my inexpressible chagrin, kept the three charmers in
the background, though the old man frequently called upon them to
advance. This fine specimen of an old Englishman seemed to be quite as
free from ungenerous suspicions as his vinegary spouse was full of them.
But I still lingered, snatching furtive glances at the young ladies, and
vehemently talking to the old man about Illinois, and the river Ohio,
and the fine farms in the Genesee country, where, in harvest time, the
laborers went into the wheat fields a thousand strong.

Stick to it, Wellingborough, thought I; don't give the old lady time to
think; stick to it, my boy, and an invitation to tea will reward you. At
last it came, and the old lady abated her frowns.

It was the most delightful of meals; the three charmers sat all on one
side, and I opposite, between the old man and his wife. The middle
charmer poured out the souchong, and handed me the buttered muffins; and
such buttered muffins never were spread on the other side of the
Atlantic. The butter had an aromatic flavor; by Jove, it was perfectly

And there they sat--the charmers, I mean--eating these buttered muffins in
plain sight. I wished I was a buttered muffin myself. Every minute they
grew handsomer and handsomer; and I could not help thinking what a fine
thing it would be to carry home a beautiful English wife! how my friends
would stare! a lady from England!

I might have been mistaken; but certainly I thought that Matilda, the
one who had handed me the milk, sometimes looked rather benevolently in
the direction where I sat. She certainly did look at my jacket; and I am
constrained to think at my face. Could it be possible she had fallen in
love at first sight? Oh, rapture! But oh, misery! that was out of the
question; for what a looking suitor was Wellingborough?

At length, the old lady glanced toward the door, and made some
observations about its being yet a long walk to town. She handed me the
buttered muffins, too, as if performing a final act of hospitality; and
in other fidgety ways vaguely hinted her desire that I should decamp.

Slowly I rose, and murmured my thanks, and bowed, and tried to be off;
but as quickly I turned, and bowed, and thanked, and lingered again and
again. Oh, charmers! oh, Peris! thought I, must I go? Yes,
Wellingborough, you must; so I made one desperate congee, and darted
through the door.

I have never seen them since: no, nor heard of them; but to this day I
live a bachelor on account of those ravishing charmers.

As the long twilight was waning deeper and deeper into the night, I
entered the town; and, plodding my solitary way to the same old docks, I
passed through the gates, and scrambled my way among tarry smells,
across the tiers of ships between the quay and the Highlander. My only
resource was my bunk; in I turned, and, wearied with my long stroll, was
soon fast asleep, dreaming of red cheeks and roses.


It was the day following my Sunday stroll into the country, and when I
had been in England four weeks or more, that I made the acquaintance of
a handsome, accomplished, but unfortunate youth, young Harry Bolton. He
was one of those small, but perfectly formed beings, with curling hair,
and silken muscles, who seem to have been born in cocoons. His
complexion was a mantling brunette, feminine as a girl's; his feet were
small; his hands were white; and his eyes were large, black, and
womanly; and, poetry aside, his voice was as the sound of a harp.

But where, among the tarry docks, and smoky sailor-lanes and by-ways of
a seaport, did I, a battered Yankee boy, encounter this courtly youth?

Several evenings I had noticed him in our street of boarding-houses,
standing in the doorways, and silently regarding the animated scenes
without. His beauty, dress, and manner struck me as so out of place in
such a street, that I could not possibly divine what had transplanted
this delicate exotic from the conservatories of some Regent-street to
the untidy potato-patches of Liverpool.

At last I suddenly encountered him at the sign of the Baltimore Clipper.
He was speaking to one of my shipmates concerning America; and from
something that dropped, I was led to imagine that he contemplated a
voyage to my country. Charmed with his appearance, and all eagerness to
enjoy the society of this incontrovertible son of a gentleman--a kind of
pleasure so long debarred me--I smoothed down the skirts of my jacket,
and at once accosted him; declaring who I was, and that nothing would
afford me greater delight than to be of the least service, in imparting
any information concerning America that he needed.

He glanced from my face to my jacket, and from my jacket to my face, and
at length, with a pleased but somewhat puzzled expression, begged me to
accompany him on a walk.

We rambled about St. George's Pier until nearly midnight; but before we
parted, with uncommon frankness, he told me many strange things
respecting his history.

According to his own account, Harry Bolton was a native of Bury St.
Edmunds, a borough of Suffolk, not very far from London, where he was
early left an orphan, under the charge of an only aunt. Between his aunt
and himself, his mother had divided her fortune; and young Harry thus
fell heir to a portion of about five thousand pounds.

Being of a roving mind, as he approached his majority he grew restless
of the retirement of a country place; especially as he had no profession
or business of any kind to engage his attention.

In vain did Bury, with all its fine old monastic attractions, lure him
to abide on the beautiful banks of her Larke, and under the shadow of
her stately and storied old Saxon tower.

By all my rare old historic associations, breathed Bury; by my
Abbey-gate, that bears to this day the arms of Edward the Confessor; by
my carved roof of the old church of St. Mary's, which escaped the low
rage of the bigoted Puritans; by the royal ashes of Mary Tudor, that
sleep in my midst; by my Norman ruins, and by all the old abbots of
Bury, do not, oh Harry! abandon me. Where will you find shadier walks
than under my lime-trees? where lovelier gardens than those within the
old walls of my monastery, approached through my lordly Gate? Or if, oh
Harry! indifferent to my historic mosses, and caring not for my annual
verdure, thou must needs be lured by other tassels, and wouldst fain,
like the Prodigal, squander thy patrimony, then, go not away from old
Bury to do it. For here, on Angel-Hill, are my coffee and card-rooms,
and billiard saloons, where you may lounge away your mornings, and empty
your glass and your purse as you list.

In vain. Bury was no place for the adventurous Harry, who must needs hie
to London, where in one winter, in the company of gambling sportsmen and
dandies, he lost his last sovereign.

What now was to be done? His friends made interest for him in the
requisite quarters, and Harry was soon embarked for Bombay, as a
midshipman in the East India service; in which office he was known as a
"guinea-pig," a humorous appellation then bestowed upon the middies of
the Company. And considering the perversity of his behavior, his
delicate form, and soft complexion, and that gold guineas had been his
bane, this appellation was not altogether, in poor Harry's case,

He made one voyage, and returned; another, and returned; and then threw
up his warrant in disgust. A few weeks' dissipation in London, and again
his purse was almost drained; when, like many prodigals, scorning to
return home to his aunt, and amend--though she had often written him the
kindest of letters to that effect--Harry resolved to precipitate himself
upon the New World, and there carve out a fresh fortune. With this
object in view, he packed his trunks, and took the first train for
Liverpool. Arrived in that town, he at once betook himself to the docks,
to examine the American shipping, when a new crotchet entered his brain,
born of his old sea reminiscences. It was to assume duck browsers and
tarpaulin, and gallantly cross the Atlantic as a sailor. There was a
dash of romance in it; a taking abandonment; and scorn of fine coats,
which exactly harmonized with his reckless contempt, at the time, for
all past conventionalities.

Thus determined, he exchanged his trunk for a mahogany chest; sold some
of his superfluities; and moved his quarters to the sign of the Gold
Anchor in Union-street.

After making his acquaintance, and learning his intentions, I was all
anxiety that Harry should accompany me home in the Highlander, a desire
to which he warmly responded.

Nor was I without strong hopes that he would succeed in an application
to the captain; inasmuch as during our stay in the docks, three of our
crew had left us, and their places would remain unsupplied till just
upon the eve of our departure.

And here, it may as well be related, that owing to the heavy charges to
which the American ships long staying in Liverpool are subjected, from
the obligation to continue the wages of their seamen, when they have
little or no work to employ them, and from the necessity of boarding
them ashore, like lords, at their leisure, captains interested in the
ownership of their vessels, are not at all indisposed to let their
sailors abscond, if they please, and thus forfeit their money; for they
well know that, when wanted, a new crew is easily to be procured,
through the crimps of the port.

Though he spake English with fluency, and from his long service in the
vessels of New York, was almost an American to behold, yet Captain Riga
was in fact a Russian by birth, though this was a fact that he strove to
conceal. And though extravagant in his personal expenses, and even
indulging in luxurious habits, costly as Oriental dissipation, yet
Captain Riga was a niggard to others; as, indeed, was evinced in the
magnificent stipend of three dollars, with which he requited my own
valuable services. Therefore, as it was agreed between Harry and me,
that he should offer to ship as a "boy," at the same rate of
compensation with myself, I made no doubt that, incited by the cheapness
of the bargain, Captain Riga would gladly close with him; and thus,
instead of paying sixteen dollars a month to a thorough-going tar, who
would consume all his rations, buy up my young blade of Bury, at the
rate of half a dollar a week; with the cheering prospect, that by the
end of the voyage, his fastidious palate would be the means of leaving
a. handsome balance of salt beef and pork in the harness-cask.

With part of the money obtained by the sale of a few of his velvet
vests, Harry, by my advice, now rigged himself in a Guernsey frock and
man-of-war browsers; and thus equipped, he made his appearance, one fine
morning, on the quarterdeck of the Highlander, gallantly doffing his
virgin tarpaulin before the redoubtable Riga.

No sooner were his wishes made known, than I perceived in the captain's
face that same bland, benevolent, and bewitchingly merry expression,
that had so charmed, but deceived me, when, with Mr. Jones, I had first
accosted him in the cabin.

Alas, Harry! thought I,--as I stood upon the forecastle looking astern
where they stood,--that "gallant, gay deceiver" shall not altogether
cajole you, if Wellingborough can help it. Rather than that should be
the case, indeed, I would forfeit the pleasure of your society across
the Atlantic.

At this interesting interview the captain expressed a sympathetic
concern touching the sad necessities, which he took upon himself to
presume must have driven Harry to sea; he confessed to a warm interest
in his future welfare; and did not hesitate to declare that, in going to
America, under such circumstances, to seek his fortune, he was acting a
manly and spirited part; and that the voyage thither, as a sailor, would
be an invigorating preparative to the landing upon a shore, where he
must battle out his fortune with Fate.

He engaged him at once; but was sorry to say, that he could not provide
him a home on board till the day previous to the sailing of the ship;
and during the interval, he could not honor any drafts upon the strength
of his wages.

However, glad enough to conclude the agreement upon any terms at all, my
young blade of Bury expressed his satisfaction; and full of admiration
at so urbane and gentlemanly a sea-captain, he came forward to receive
my congratulations.

"Harry," said I, "be not deceived by the fascinating Riga--that gay
Lothario of all inexperienced, sea-going youths, from the capital or the
country; he has a Janus-face, Harry; and you will not know him when he
gets you out of sight of land, and mouths his cast-off coats and
browsers. For then he is another personage altogether, and adjusts his
character to the shabbiness of his integuments. No more condolings and
sympathy then; no more blarney; he will hold you a little better than
his boots, and would no more think of addressing you than of invoking
wooden Donald, the figure-head on our bows."

And I further admonished my friend concerning our crew, particularly of
the diabolical Jackson, and warned him to be cautious and wary. I told
him, that unless he was somewhat accustomed to the rigging, and could
furl a royal in a squall, he would be sure to subject himself to a sort
of treatment from the sailors, in the last degree ignominious to any
mortal who had ever crossed his legs under mahogany.

And I played the inquisitor, in cross-questioning Harry respecting the
precise degree in which he was a practical sailor;--whether he had a
giddy head; whether his arms could bear the weight of his body; whether,
with but one hand on a shroud, a hundred feet aloft in a tempest, he
felt he could look right to windward and beard it.

To all this, and much more, Harry rejoined with the most off-hand and
confident air; saying that in his "guinea-pig" days, he had often climbed
the masts and handled the sails in a gentlemanly and amateur way; so he
made no doubt that he would very soon prove an expert tumbler in the
Highlander's rigging.

His levity of manner, and sanguine assurance, coupled with the constant
sight of his most unseamanlike person--more suited to the Queen's
drawing-room than a ship's forecastle-bred many misgivings in my mind.
But after all, every one in this world has his own fate intrusted to
himself; and though we may warn, and forewarn, and give sage advice, and
indulge in many apprehensions touching our friends; yet our friends, for
the most part, will "gang their ain gate;" and the most we can do is, to
hope for the best. Still, I suggested to Harry, whether he had not best
cross the sea as a steerage passenger, since he could procure enough
money for that; but no, he was bent upon going as a sailor.

I now had a comrade in my afternoon strolls, and Sunday excursions; and
as Harry was a generous fellow, he shared with me his purse and his
heart. He sold off several more of his fine vests and browsers, his
silver-keyed flute and enameled guitar; and a portion of the money thus
furnished was pleasantly spent in refreshing ourselves at the road-side
inns in the vicinity of the town.

Reclining side by side in some agreeable nook, we exchanged our
experiences of the past. Harry enlarged upon the fascinations of a
London Me; described the curricle he used to drive in Hyde Park; gave me
the measurement of Madame Vestris' ankle; alluded to his first
introduction at a club to the madcap Marquis of Waterford; told over the
sums he had lost upon the turf on a Derby day; and made various but
enigmatical allusions to a certain Lady Georgiana Theresa, the noble
daughter of an anonymous earl.

Even in conversation, Harry was a prodigal; squandering his aristocratic
narrations with a careless hand; and, perhaps, sometimes spending funds
of reminiscences not his own.

As for me, I had only my poor old uncle the senator to fall back upon;
and I used him upon all emergencies, like the knight in the game of
chess; making him hop about, and stand stiffly up to the encounter,
against all my fine comrade's array of dukes, lords, curricles, and

In these long talks of ours, I frequently expressed the earnest desire I
cherished, to make a visit to London; and related how strongly tempted I
had been one Sunday, to walk the whole way, without a penny in my
pocket. To this, Harry rejoined, that nothing would delight him more,
than to show me the capital; and he even meaningly but mysteriously
hinted at the possibility of his doing so, before many days had passed.
But this seemed so idle a thought, that I only imputed it to my friend's
good-natured, rattling disposition, which sometimes prompted him to out
with any thing, that he thought would be agreeable. Besides, would this
fine blade of Bury be seen, by his aristocratic acquaintances, walking
down Oxford-street, say, arm in arm with the sleeve of my
shooting-jacket? The thing was preposterous; and I began to think, that
Harry, after all, was a little bit disposed to impose upon my Yankee

Luckily, my Bury blade had no acquaintance in Liverpool, where, indeed,
he was as much in a foreign land, as if he were already on the shores of
Lake Erie; so that he strolled about with me in perfect abandonment;
reckless of the cut of my shooting-jacket; and not caring one whit who
might stare at so singular a couple.

But once, crossing a square, faced on one side by a fashionable hotel,
he made a rapid turn with me round a corner; and never stopped, till the
square was a good block in our rear. The cause of this sudden retreat,
was a remarkably elegant coat and pantaloons, standing upright on the
hotel steps, and containing a young buck, tapping his teeth with an
ivory-headed riding-whip.

"Who was he, Harry?" said I.

"My old chum, Lord Lovely," said Harry, with a careless air, "and Heaven
only knows what brings Lovely from London."

"A lord?" said I starting; "then I must look at him again;" for lords
are very scarce in Liverpool.

Unmindful of my companion's remonstrances, I ran back to the corner; and
slowly promenaded past the upright coat and pantaloons on the steps.

It was not much of a lord to behold; very thin and limber about the
legs, with small feet like a doll's, and a small, glossy head like a
seal's. I had seen just such looking lords standing in sentimental
attitudes in front of Palmo's in Broadway.

However, he and I being mutual friends of Harry's, I thought something
of accosting him, and taking counsel concerning what was best to be done
for the young prodigal's welfare; but upon second thoughts I thought
best not to intrude; especially, as just then my lord Lovely stepped to
the open window of a flashing carriage which drew up; and throwing
himself into an interesting posture, with the sole of one boot
vertically exposed, so as to show the stamp on it--a coronet--fell into a
sparkling conversation with a magnificent white satin hat, surmounted by
a regal marabou feather, inside.

I doubted not, this lady was nothing short of a peeress; and thought it
would be one of the pleasantest and most charming things in the world,
just to seat myself beside her, and order the coachman to take us a
drive into the country.

But, as upon further consideration, I imagined that the peeress might
decline the honor of my company, since I had no formal card of
introduction; I marched on, and rejoined my companion, whom I at once
endeavored to draw out, touching Lord Lovely; but he only made
mysterious answers; and turned off the conversation, by allusions to his
visits to Ickworth in Suffolk, the magnificent seat of the Most Noble
Marquis of Bristol, who had repeatedly assured Harry that he might
consider Ickworth his home.

Now, all these accounts of marquises and Ickworths, and Harry's having
been hand in glove with so many lords and ladies, began to breed some
suspicions concerning the rigid morality of my friend, as a teller of
the truth. But, after all, thought I to myself, who can prove that Harry
has fibbed? Certainly, his manners are polished, he has a mighty easy
address; and there is nothing altogether impossible about his having
consorted with the master of Ickworth, and the daughter of the anonymous
earl. And what right has a poor Yankee, like me, to insinuate the
slightest suspicion against what he says? What little money he has, he
spends freely; he can not be a polite blackleg, for I am no pigeon to
pluck; so that is out of the question;--perish such a thought, concerning
my own bosom friend!

But though I drowned all my suspicions as well as I could, and ever
cherished toward Harry a heart, loving and true; yet, spite of all this,
I never could entirely digest some of his imperial reminiscences of high
life. I was very sorry for this; as at times it made me feel ill at ease
in his company; and made me hold back my whole soul from him; when, in
its loneliness, it was yearning to throw itself into the unbounded bosom
of some immaculate friend.


It might have been a week after our glimpse of Lord Lovely, that Harry,
who had been expecting a letter, which, he told me, might possibly alter
his plans, one afternoon came bounding on board the ship, and sprang
down the hatchway into the between-decks, where, in perfect solitude, I
was engaged picking oakum; at which business the mate had set me, for
want of any thing better.

"Hey for London, Wellingborough!" he cried. "Off tomorrow! first
train--be there the same night--come! I have money to rig you all out--drop
that hangman's stuff there, and away! Pah! how it smells here! Come; up
you jump!"

I trembled with amazement and delight.

London? it could not be!--and Harry--how kind of him! he was then indeed
what he seemed. But instantly I thought of all the circumstances of the
case, and was eager to know what it was that had induced this sudden

In reply my friend told me, that he had received a remittance, and had
hopes of recovering a considerable sum, lost in some way that he chose
to conceal.

"But how am I to leave the ship, Harry?" said I; "they will not let me
go, will they? You had better leave me behind, after all; I don't care
very much about going; and besides, I have no money to share the

This I said, only pretending indifference, for my heart was jumping all
the time.

"Tut! my Yankee bantam," said Harry; "look here!" and he showed me a
handful of gold.

"But they are yours, and not mine, Harry," said I.

"Yours and mine, my sweet fellow," exclaimed Harry. "Come, sink the
ship, and let's go!"

"But you don't consider, if I quit the ship, they'll be sending a
constable after me, won't they?"

"What! and do you think, then, they value your services so highly? Ha!
ha!-Up, up, Wellingborough: I can't wait."

True enough. I well knew that Captain Riga would not trouble himself
much, if I did take French leave of him. So, without further thought of
the matter, I told Harry to wait a few moments, till the ship's bell
struck four; at which time I used to go to supper, and be free for the
rest of the day.

The bell struck; and off we went. As we hurried across the quay, and
along the dock walls, I asked Harry all about his intentions. He said,
that go to London he must, and to Bury St. Edmunds; but that whether he
should for any time remain at either place, he could not now tell; and
it was by no means impossible, that in less than a week's time we would
be back again in Liverpool, and ready for sea. But all he said was
enveloped in a mystery that I did not much like; and I hardly know
whether I have repeated correctly what he said at the time.

Arrived at the Golden Anchor, where Harry put up, he at once led me to
his room, and began turning over the contents of his chest, to see what
clothing he might have, that would fit me.

Though he was some years my senior, we were about the same size--if any
thing, I was larger than he; so, with a little stretching, a shirt,
vest, and pantaloons were soon found to suit. As for a coat and hat,
those Harry ran out and bought without delay; returning with a loose,
stylish sack-coat, and a sort of foraging cap, very neat, genteel, and

My friend himself soon doffed his Guernsey frock, and stood before me,
arrayed in a perfectly plain suit, which he had bought on purpose that
very morning. I asked him why he had gone to that unnecessary expense,
when he had plenty of other clothes in his chest. But he only winked,
and looked knowing. This, again, I did not like. But I strove to drown
ugly thoughts.

Till quite dark, we sat talking together; when, locking his chest, and
charging his landlady to look after it well, till he called, or sent for
it; Harry seized my arm, and we sallied into the street.

Pursuing our way through crowds of frolicking sailors and fiddlers, we
turned into a street leading to the Exchange. There, under the shadow of
the colonnade, Harry told me to stop, while he left me, and went to
finish his toilet. Wondering what he meant, I stood to one side; and
presently was joined by a stranger in whiskers and mustache.

"It's me" said the stranger; and who was me but Harry, who had thus
metamorphosed himself? I asked him the reason; and in a faltering voice,
which I tried to make humorous, expressed a hope that he was not going
to turn gentleman forger.

He laughed, and assured me that it was only a precaution against being
recognized by his own particular friends in London, that he had adopted
this mode of disguising himself.

"And why afraid of your friends?" asked I, in astonishment, "and we are
not in London yet."

"Pshaw! what a Yankee you are, Wellingborough. Can't you see very
plainly that I have a plan in my head? And this disguise is only for a
short time, you know. But I'll tell you all by and by."

I acquiesced, though not feeling at ease; and we walked on, till we came
to a public house, in the vicinity of the place at which the cars are

We stopped there that night, and next day were off, whirled along
through boundless landscapes of villages, and meadows, and parks: and
over arching viaducts, and through wonderful tunnels; till, half
delirious with excitement, I found myself dropped down in the evening
among gas-lights, under a great roof in Euston Square.

London at last, and in the West-End!


"No time to lose," said Harry, "come along."

He called a cab: in an undertone mentioned the number of a house in some
street to the driver; we jumped in, and were off.

As we rattled over the boisterous pavements, past splendid squares,
churches, and shops, our cabman turning corners like a skater on the
ice, and all the roar of London in my ears, and no end to the walls of
brick and mortar; I thought New York a hamlet, and Liverpool a
coal-hole, and myself somebody else: so unreal seemed every thing about
me. My head was spinning round like a top, and my eyes ached with much
gazing; particularly about the comers, owing to my darting them so
rapidly, first this side, and then that, so as not to miss any thing;
though, in truth, I missed much.

"Stop," cried Harry, after a long while, putting his head out of the
window, all at once--"stop! do you hear, you deaf man? you have passed
the house--No. 40 I told you--that's it--the high steps there, with the
purple light!"

The cabman being paid, Harry adjusting his whiskers and mustache, and
bidding me assume a lounging look, pushed his hat a little to one side,
and then locking arms, we sauntered into the house; myself feeling not a
little abashed; it was so long since I had been in any courtly society.

It was some semi-public place of opulent entertainment; and far
surpassed any thing of the kind I had ever seen before.

The floor was tesselated with snow-white, and russet-hued marbles; and
echoed to the tread, as if all the Paris catacombs were underneath. I
started with misgivings at that hollow, boding sound, which seemed
sighing with a subterraneous despair, through all the magnificent
spectacle around me; mocking it, where most it glared.

The walk were painted so as to deceive the eye with interminable
colonnades; and groups of columns of the finest Scagliola work of
variegated marbles--emerald-green and gold, St. Pons veined with silver,
Sienna with porphyry--supported a resplendent fresco ceiling, arched like
a bower, and thickly clustering with mimic grapes. Through all the East
of this foliage, you spied in a crimson dawn, Guide's ever youthful
Apollo, driving forth the horses of the sun. From sculptured stalactites
of vine-boughs, here and there pendent hung galaxies of gas lights,
whose vivid glare was softened by pale, cream-colored, porcelain
spheres, shedding over the place a serene, silver flood; as if every
porcelain sphere were a moon; and this superb apartment was the moon-lit
garden of Portia at Belmont; and the gentle lovers, Lorenzo and Jessica,
lurked somewhere among the vines.

At numerous Moorish looking tables, supported by Caryatides of turbaned
slaves, sat knots of gentlemanly men, with cut decanters and
taper-waisted glasses, journals and cigars, before them.

To and fro ran obsequious waiters, with spotless napkins thrown over
their arms, and making a profound salaam, and hemming deferentially,
whenever they uttered a word.

At the further end of this brilliant apartment, was a rich mahogany
turret-like structure, partly built into the wall, and communicating
with rooms in the rear. Behind, was a very handsome florid old man, with
snow-white hair and whiskers, and in a snow-white jacket--he looked like
an almond tree in blossom--who seemed to be standing, a polite sentry
over the scene before him; and it was he, who mostly ordered about the
waiters; and with a silent salute, received the silver of the guests.

Our entrance excited little or no notice; for every body present seemed
exceedingly animated about concerns of their own; and a large group was
gathered around one tall, military looking gentleman, who was reading
some India war-news from the Times, and commenting on it, in a very loud
voice, condemning, in toto, the entire campaign.

We seated ourselves apart from this group, and Harry, rapping on the
table, called for wine; mentioning some curious foreign name.

The decanter, filled with a pale yellow wine, being placed before us,
and my comrade having drunk a few glasses; he whispered me to remain
where I was, while he withdrew for a moment.

I saw him advance to the turret-like place, and exchange a confidential
word with the almond tree there, who immediately looked very much
surprised,--I thought, a Little disconcerted,--and then disappeared with

While my friend was gone, I occupied myself with looking around me, and
striving to appear as indifferent as possible, and as much used to all
this splendor as if I had been born in it. But, to tell the truth, my
head was almost dizzy with the strangeness of the sight, and the thought
that I was really in London. What would my brother have said? What would
Tom Legare, the treasurer of the Juvenile Temperance Society, have

But I almost began to fancy I had no friends and relatives living in a
little village three thousand five hundred miles off, in America; for it
was hard to unite such a humble reminiscence with the splendid animation
of the London-like scene around me.

And in the delirium of the moment, I began to indulge in foolish golden
visions of the counts and countesses to whom Harry might introduce me;
and every instant I expected to hear the waiters addressing some
gentleman as "My Lord," or "four Grace." But if there were really any
lords present, the waiters omitted their titles, at least in my hearing.

Mixed with these thoughts were confused visions of St. Paul's and the
Strand, which I determined to visit the very next morning, before
breakfast, or perish in the attempt. And I even longed for Harry's
return, that we might immediately sally out into the street, and see
some of the sights, before the shops were all closed for the night.

While I thus sat alone, I observed one of the waiters eying me a little
impertinently, as I thought, and as if he saw something queer about me.
So I tried to assume a careless and lordly air, and by way of helping
the thing, threw one leg over the other, like a young Prince Esterhazy;
but all the time I felt my face burning with embarrassment, and for the
time, I must have looked very guilty of something. But spite of this, I
kept looking boldly out of my eyes, and straight through my blushes, and
observed that every now and then little parties were made up among the
gentlemen, and they retired into the rear of the house, as if going to a
private apartment. And I overheard one of them drop the word Rouge; but
he could not have used rouge, for his face was exceedingly pale. Another
said something about Loo.

At last Harry came back, his face rather flushed.

"Come along, Redburn," said he.

So making no doubt we were off for a ramble, perhaps to Apsley House, in
the Park, to get a sly peep at the old Duke before he retired for the
night, for Harry had told me the Duke always went to bed early, I sprang
up to follow him; but what was my disappointment and surprise, when he
only led me into the passage, toward a staircase lighted by three marble
Graces, unitedly holding a broad candelabra, like an elk's antlers, over
the landing.

We rambled up the long, winding slope of those aristocratic stairs,
every step of which, covered with Turkey rugs, looked gorgeous as the
hammer-cloth of the Lord Mayor's coach; and Harry hied straight to a
rosewood door, which, on magical hinges, sprang softly open to his

As we entered the room, methought I was slowly sinking in some
reluctant, sedgy sea; so thick and elastic the Persian carpeting,
mimicking parterres of tulips, and roses, and jonquils, like a bower in

Long lounges lay carelessly disposed, whose fine damask was interwoven,
like the Gobelin tapestry, with pictorial tales of tilt and tourney. And
oriental ottomans, whose cunning warp and woof were wrought into plaited
serpents, undulating beneath beds of leaves, from which, here and there,
they flashed out sudden splendors of green scales and gold.

In the broad bay windows, as the hollows of King Charles' oaks, were
Laocoon-like chairs, in the antique taste, draped with heavy fringers of
bullion and silk.

The walls, covered with a sort of tartan-French paper, variegated with
bars of velvet, were hung round with mythological oil-paintings,
suspended by tasseled cords of twisted silver and blue.

They were such pictures as the high-priests, for a bribe, showed to
Alexander in the innermost shrine of the white temple in the Libyan
oasis: such pictures as the pontiff of the sun strove to hide from
Cortez, when, sword in hand, he burst open the sanctorum of the
pyramid-fane at Cholula: such pictures as you may still see, perhaps, in
the central alcove of the excavated mansion of Pansa, in Pompeii--in that
part of it called by Varro the hollow of the house: such pictures as
Martial and Seutonius mention as being found in the private cabinet of
the Emperor Tiberius: such pictures as are delineated on the bronze
medals, to this day dug up on the ancient island of Capreas: such
pictures as you might have beheld in an arched recess, leading from the
left hand of the secret side-gallery of the temple of Aphrodite in

In the principal pier was a marble bracket, sculptured in the semblance
of a dragon's crest, and supporting a bust, most wonderful to behold. It
was that of a bald-headed old man, with a mysteriously-wicked
expression, and imposing silence by one thin finger over his lips. His
'marble mouth seemed tremulous with secrets.

"Sit down, Wellingborough," said Harry; "don't be frightened, we are at
home.--Ring the bell, will you? But stop;"--and advancing to the
mysterious bust, he whispered something in its ear.

"He's a knowing mute, Wellingborough," said he; "who stays in this one
place all the time, while he is yet running of errands. But mind you
don't breathe any secrets in his ear."

In obedience to a summons so singularly conveyed, to my amazement a
servant almost instantly appeared, standing transfixed in the attitude
of a bow.

"Cigars," said Harry. When they came, he drew up a small table into the
middle of the room, and lighting his cigar, bade me follow his example,
and make myself happy.

Almost transported with such princely quarters, so undreamed of before,
while leading my dog's life in the filthy forecastle of the Highlander,
I twirled round a chair, and seated myself opposite my friend.

But all the time, I felt ill at heart; and was filled with an
undercurrent of dismal forebodings. But I strove to dispel them; and
turning to my companion, exclaimed, "And pray, do you live here, Harry,
in this Palace of Aladdin?"

"Upon my soul," he cried, "you have hit it:--you must have been here
before! Aladdin's Palace! Why, Wellingborough, it goes by that very

Then he laughed strangely: and for the first time, I thought he had been
quaffing too freely: yet, though he looked wildly from his eyes, his
general carriage was firm.

"Who are you looking at so hard, Wellingborough?" said he.

"I am afraid, Harry," said I, "that when you left me just now, you must
have been drinking something stronger than wine."

"Hear him now," said Harry, turning round, as if addressing the
bald-headed bust on the bracket,--"a parson 'pon honor!--But remark you,
Wellingborough, my boy, I must leave you again, and for a considerably
longer time than before:--I may not be back again to-night."

"What?" said I.

"Be still," he cried, "hear me, I know the old duke here, and-"

"Who? not the Duke of Wellington," said I, wondering whether Harry was
really going to include him too, in his long list of confidential
friends and acquaintances.

"Pooh!" cried Harry, "I mean the white-whiskered old man you saw below;
they call him the Duke:--he keeps the house. I say, I know him well, and
he knows me; and he knows what brings me here, also. Well; we have
arranged every thing about you; you are to stay in this room, and sleep
here tonight, and--and--" continued he, speaking low--"you must guard this
letter--" slipping a sealed one into my hand-"and, if I am not back by
morning, you must post right on to Bury, and leave the letter
there;--here, take this paper--it's all set down here in black and
white--where you are to go, and what you are to do. And after that's
done--mind, this is all in case I don't return--then you may do what you
please: stay here in London awhile, or go back to Liverpool. And here's
enough to pay all your expenses."

All this was a thunder stroke. I thought Harry was crazy. I held the
purse in my motionless hand, and stared at him, till the tears almost
started from my eyes.

"What's the matter, Redburn?" he cried, with a wild sort of laugh--"you
are not afraid of me, are you?--No, no! I believe in you, my boy, or you
would not hold that purse in your hand; no, nor that letter."

"What in heaven's name do you mean?" at last I exclaimed, "you don't
really intend to desert me in this strange place, do you, Harry?" and I
snatched him by the hand.

"Pooh, pooh," he cried, "let me go. I tell you, it's all right: do as I
say: that's all. Promise me now, will you? Swear it!-no, no," he added,
vehemently, as I conjured him to tell me more--"no, I won't: I have
nothing more to tell you--not a word. Will you swear?"

"But one sentence more for your own sake, Harry: hear me!"

"Not a syllable! Will you swear?--you will not? then here, give me that
purse:--there--there--take that--and that--and that;--that will pay your
fare back to Liverpool; good-by to you: you are not my friend," and he
wheeled round his back.

I know not what flashed through my mind, but something suddenly impelled
me; and grasping his hand, I swore to him what he demanded.

Immediately he ran to the bust, whispered a word, and the white-whiskered
old man appeared: whom he clapped on the shoulder, and then introduced me
as his friend--young Lord Stormont; and bade the almond tree look well to
the comforts of his lordship, while he--Harry--was gone.

The almond tree blandly bowed, and grimaced, with a peculiar expression,
that I hated on the spot. After a few words more, he withdrew. Harry
then shook my hand heartily, and without giving me a chance to say one
word, seized his cap, and darted out of the room, saying, "Leave not
this room tonight; and remember the letter, and Bury!"

I fell into a chair, and gazed round at the strange-looking walls and
mysterious pictures, and up to the chandelier at the ceiling; then rose,
and opened the door, and looked down the lighted passage; but only heard
the hum from the roomful below, scattered voices, and a hushed ivory
rattling from the closed apartments adjoining. I stepped back into the
room, and a terrible revulsion came over me: I would have given the
world had I been safe back in Liverpool, fast asleep in my old bunk in
Prince's Dock.

I shuddered at every footfall, and almost thought it must be some
assassin pursuing me. The whole place seemed infected; and a strange
thought came over me, that in the very damasks around, some eastern
plague had been imported. And was that pale yellow wine, that I drank
below, drugged? thought I. This must be some house whose foundations
take hold on the pit. But these fearful reveries only enchanted me fast
to my chair; so that, though I then wished to rush forth from the house,
my limbs seemed manacled.

While thus chained to my seat, something seemed suddenly flung open; a
confused sound of imprecations, mixed with the ivory rattling, louder
than before, burst upon my ear, and through the partly open door of the
room where I was, I caught sight of a tall, frantic man, with clenched
hands, wildly darting through the passage, toward the stairs.

And all the while, Harry ran through my soul--in and out, at every door,
that burst open to his vehement rush.

At that moment my whole acquaintance with him passed like lightning
through my mind, till I asked myself why he had come here, to London, to
do this thing?--why would not Liverpool have answered? and what did he
want of me? But, every way, his conduct was unaccountable. From the hour
he had accosted me on board the ship, his manner seemed gradually
changed; and from the moment we had sprung into the cab, he had seemed
almost another person from what he had seemed before.

But what could I do? He was gone, that was certain;-would he ever come
back? But he might still be somewhere in the house; and with a shudder,
I thought of that ivory rattling, and was almost ready to dart forth,
search every room, and save him. But that would be madness, and I had
sworn not to do so. There seemed nothing left, but to await his return.
Yet, if he did not return, what then? I took out the purse, and counted
over the money, and looked at the letter and paper of memoranda.

Though I vividly remember it all, I will not give the superscription of
the letter, nor the contents of the paper. But after I had looked at
them attentively, and considered that Harry could have no conceivable
object in deceiving me, I thought to myself, Yes, he's in earnest; and
here I am--yes, even in London! And here in this room will I stay, come
what will. I will implicitly follow his directions, and so see out the
last of this thing.

But spite of these thoughts, and spite of the metropolitan magnificence
around me, I was mysteriously alive to a dreadful feeling, which I had
never before felt, except when penetrating into the lowest and most
squalid haunts of sailor iniquity in Liverpool. All the mirrors and
marbles around me seemed crawling over with lizards; and I thought to
myself, that though gilded and golden, the serpent of vice is a serpent

It was now grown very late; and faint with excitement, I threw myself
upon a lounge; but for some time tossed about restless, in a sort of
night-mare. Every few moments, spite of my oath, I was upon the point of
starting up, and rushing into the street, to inquire where I was; but
remembering Harry's injunctions, and my own ignorance of the town, and
that it was now so late, I again tried to be composed.

At last, I fell asleep, dreaming about Harry fighting a duel of
dice-boxes with the military-looking man below; and the next thing I
knew, was the glare of a light before my eyes, and Harry himself, very
pale, stood before me.

"The letter and paper," he cried.

I fumbled in my pockets, and handed them to him.

"There! there! there! thus I tear you," he cried, wrenching the letter
to pieces with both hands like a madman, and stamping upon the
fragments. "I am off for America; the game is up."

"For God's sake explain," said I, now utterly bewildered, and
frightened. "Tell me, Harry, what is it? You have not been gambling?"

"Ha, ha," he deliriously laughed. "Gambling? red and white, you
mean?--cards?--dice?--the bones?--Ha, ha!--Gambling? gambling?" he ground
out between his teeth--"what two devilish, stiletto-sounding syllables
they are!"

"Wellingborough," he added, marching up to me slowly, but with his eyes
blazing into mine--"Wellingborough"--and fumbling in his breast-pocket, he
drew forth a dirk--"Here, Wellingborough, take it--take it, I say--are you
stupid?-there, there"--and he pushed it into my hands. "Keep it away from
me--keep it out of my sight--I don't want it near me, while I feel as I
do. They serve suicides scurvily here, Wellingborough; they don't bury
them decently. See that bell-rope! By Heaven, it's an invitation to hang
myself'--and seizing it by the gilded handle at the end, he twitched it
down from the wall.

"In God's name, what ails you?" I cried.

"Nothing, oh nothing," said Harry, now assuming a treacherous, tropical
calmness--"nothing, Redburn; nothing in the world. I'm the serenest of

"But give me that dirk," he suddenly cried--"let me have it, I say. Oh! I
don't mean to murder myself--I'm past that now--give it me"--and snatching
it from my hand, he flung down an empty purse, and with a terrific stab,
nailed it fast with the dirk to the table.

"There now," he cried, "there's something for the old duke to see
to-morrow morning; that's about all that's left of me--that's my
skeleton, Wellingborough. But come, don't be downhearted; there's a
little more gold yet in Golconda; I have a guinea or two left. Don't
stare so, my boy; we shall be in Liverpool to-morrow night; we start in
the morning"--and turning his back, he began to whistle very fiercely.

"And this, then," said I, "is your showing me London, is it, Harry? I
did not think this; but tell me your secret, whatever it is, and I will
not regret not seeing the town."

He turned round upon me like lightning, and cried, "Red-burn! you must
swear another oath, and instantly."

"And why?" said I, in alarm, "what more would you have me swear?"

"Never to question me again about this infernal trip to London!" he
shouted, with the foam at his lips--"never to breathe it! swear!"

"I certainly shall not trouble you, Harry, with questions, if you do not
desire it," said I, "but there's no need of swearing."

"Swear it, I say, as you love me, Redburn," he added, imploringly.

"Well, then, I solemnly do. Now lie down, and let us forget ourselves as
soon as we can; for me, you have made me the most miserable dog alive."

"And what am I?" cried Harry; "but pardon me, Redburn, I did not mean to
offend; if you knew all--but no, no!--never mind, never mind!" And he ran
to the bust, and whispered in its ear. A waiter came.

"Brandy," whispered Harry, with clenched teeth.

"Are you not going to sleep, then?" said I, more and more alarmed at his
wildness, and fearful of the effects of his drinking still more, in such
a mood.

"No sleep for me! sleep if you can--I mean to sit up with a decanter!--let
me see"--looking at the ormolu clock on the mantel--"it's only two hours
to morning."

The waiter, looking very sleepy, and with a green shade on his brow,
appeared with the decanter and glasses on a salver, and was told to
leave it and depart.

Seeing that Harry was not to be moved, I once more threw myself on the
lounge. I did not sleep; but, like a somnambulist, only dozed now and
then; starting from my dreams; while Harry sat, with his hat on, at the
table; the brandy before him; from which he occasionally poured into his
glass. Instead of exciting him, however, to my amazement, the spirits
seemed to soothe him down; and, ere long, he was comparatively calm.

At last, just as I had fallen into a deep sleep, I was wakened by his
shaking me, and saying our cab was at the door.

"Look! it is broad day," said he, brushing aside the heavy hangings of
the window.

We left the room; and passing through the now silent and deserted hall
of pillars, which, at this hour, reeked as with blended roses and
cigar-stumps decayed; a dumb waiter; rubbing his eyes, flung open the
street door; we sprang into the cab; and soon found ourselves whirled
along northward by railroad, toward Prince's Dock and the Highlander.


Once more in Liverpool; and wending my way through the same old streets
to the sign of the Golden Anchor; I could scarcely credit the events of
the last thirty-six hours.

So unforeseen had been our departure in the first place; so rapid our
journey; so unaccountable the conduct of Harry; and so sudden our
return; that all united to overwhelm me. That I had been at all in
London seemed impossible; and that I had been there, and come away
little the wiser, was almost distracting to one who, like me, had so
longed to behold that metropolis of marvels.

I looked hard at Harry as he walked in silence at my side; I stared at
the houses we passed; I thought of the cab, the gas lighted hall in the
Palace of Aladdin, the pictures, the letter, the oath, the dirk; the
mysterious place where all these mysteries had occurred; and then, was
almost ready to conclude, that the pale yellow wine had been drugged.

As for Harry, stuffing his false whiskers and mustache into his pocket,
he now led the way to the boarding-house; and saluting the landlady, was
shown to his room; where we immediately shifted our clothes, appearing
once more in our sailor habiliments.

"Well, what do you propose to do now, Harry?" said I, with a heavy

"Why, visit your Yankee land in the Highlander, of course--what else?'
he replied.

"And is it to be a visit, or a long stay?" asked I.

"That's as it may turn out," said Harry; "but I have now more than ever
resolved upon the sea. There is nothing like the sea for a fellow like
me, Redburn; a desperate man can not get any further than the wharf, you
know; and the next step must be a long jump. But come, let's see what
they have to eat here, and then for a cigar and a stroll. I feel better
already. Never say die, is my motto."

We went to supper; after that, sallied out; and walking along the quay
of Prince's Dock, heard that the ship Highlander had that morning been
advertised to sail in two days' time.

"Good!" exclaimed Harry; and I was glad enough myself.

Although I had now been absent from the ship a full forty-eight hours,
and intended to return to her, yet I did not anticipate being called to
any severe account for it from the officers; for several of our men had
absented themselves longer than I had, and upon their return, little or
nothing was said to them. Indeed, in some cases, the mate seemed to know
nothing about it. During the whole time we lay in Liverpool, the
discipline of the ship was altogether relaxed; and I could hardly
believe they were the same officers who were so dictatorial at sea. The
reason of this was, that we had nothing important to do; and although
the captain might now legally refuse to receive me on board, yet I was
not afraid of that, as I was as stout a lad for my years, and worked as
cheap, as any one he could engage to take my place on the homeward

Next morning we made our appearance on board before the rest of the
crew; and the mate perceiving me, said with an oath, "Well, sir, you
have thought best to return then, have you? Captain Riga and I were
flattering ourselves that you had made a run of it for good."

Then, thought I, the captain, who seems to affect to know nothing of the
proceedings of the sailors, has been aware of my absence.

"But turn to, sir, turn to," added the mate; "here! aloft there, and
free that pennant; it's foul of the backstay--jump!"

The captain coming on board soon after, looked very benevolently at
Harry; but, as usual, pretended not to take the slightest notice of

We were all now very busy in getting things ready for sea. The cargo had
been already stowed in the hold by the stevedores and lumpers from
shore; but it became the crew's business to clear away the
between-decks, extending from the cabin bulkhead to the forecastle, for
the reception of about five hundred emigrants, some of whose boxes were
already littering the decks.

To provide for their wants, a far larger supply of water was needed than
upon the outward-bound passage. Accordingly, besides the usual number of
casks on deck, rows of immense tierces were lashed amid-ships, all along
the between-decks, forming a sort of aisle on each side, furnishing
access to four rows of bunks,--three tiers, one above another,--against
the ship's sides; two tiers being placed over the tierces of water in
the middle. These bunks were rapidly knocked together with coarse
planks. They looked more like dog-kennels than any thing else;
especially as the place was so gloomy and dark; no light coming down
except through the fore and after hatchways, both of which were covered
with little houses called "booby-hatches." Upon the main-hatches, which
were well calked and covered over with heavy tarpaulins, the
"passengers-gattey" was solidly lashed down.

This galley was a large open stove, or iron range--made expressly for
emigrant ships, wholly unprotected from the weather, and where alone the
emigrants are permitted to cook their food while at sea.

After two days' work, every thing was in readiness; most of the
emigrants on board; and in the evening we worked the ship close into the
outlet of Prince's Dock, with the bow against the water-gate, to go out
with the tide in the morning.

In the morning, the bustle and confusion about us was indescribable.
Added to the ordinary clamor of the docks, was the hurrying to and fro
of our five hundred emigrants, the last of whom, with their baggage,
were now coming on board; the appearance of the cabin passengers,
following porters with their trunks; the loud orders of the
dock-masters, ordering the various ships behind us to preserve their
order of going out; the leave-takings, and good-by's, and
God-bless-you's, between the emigrants and their friends; and the cheers
of the surrounding ships.

At this time we lay in such a way, that no one could board us except by
the bowsprit, which overhung the quay. Staggering along that bowsprit,
now came a one-eyed crimp leading a drunken tar by the collar, who had
been shipped to sail with us the day previous. It has been stated
before, that two or three of our men had left us for good, while in
port. When the crimp had got this man and another safely lodged in a
bunk below, he returned on shore; and going to a miserable cab, pulled
out still another apparently drunken fellow, who proved completely
helpless. However, the ship now swinging her broadside more toward the
quay, this stupefied sailor, with a Scotch cap pulled down over his
closed eyes, only revealing a sallow Portuguese complexion, was lowered
on board by a rope under his arms, and passed forward by the crew, who
put him likewise into a bunk in the forecastle, the crimp himself
carefully tucking him in, and bidding the bystanders not to disturb him
till the ship was away from the land.

This done, the confusion increased, as we now glided out of the dock.
Hats and handkerchiefs were waved; hurrahs were exchanged; and tears
were shed; and the last thing I saw, as we shot into the stream, was a
policeman collaring a boy, and walking him off to the guard-house.

A steam-tug, the Goliath, now took us by the arm, and gallanted us down
the river past the fort.

The scene was most striking.

Owing to a strong breeze, which had been blowing up the river for four
days past, holding wind-bound in the various docks a multitude of ships
for all parts of the world; there was now under weigh, a vast fleet of
merchantmen, all steering broad out to sea. The white sails glistened in
the clear morning air like a great Eastern encampment of sultans; and
from many a forecastle, came the deep mellow old song Ho-o-he-yo,
cheerily men! as the crews called their anchors.

The wind was fair; the weather mild; the sea most smooth; and the poor
emigrants were in high spirits at so auspicious a beginning of their
voyage. They were reclining all over the decks, talking of soon seeing
America, and relating how the agent had told them, that twenty days
would be an uncommonly long voyage.

Here it must be mentioned, that owing to the great number of ships
sailing to the Yankee ports from Liverpool, the competition among them
in obtaining emigrant passengers, who as a cargo are much more
remunerative than crates and bales, is exceedingly great; so much so,
that some of the agents they employ, do not scruple to deceive the poor
applicants for passage, with all manner of fables concerning the short
space of time, in which their ships make the run across the ocean.

This often induces the emigrants to provide a much smaller stock of
provisions than they otherwise would; the effect of which sometimes
proves to be in the last degree lamentable; as will be seen further on.
And though benevolent societies have been long organized in Liverpool,
for the purpose of keeping offices, where the emigrants can obtain
reliable information and advice, concerning their best mode of
embarkation, and other matters interesting to them; and though the
English authorities have imposed a law, providing that every captain of
an emigrant ship bound for any port of America shall see to it, that
each passenger is provided with rations of food for sixty days; yet, all
this has not deterred mercenary ship-masters and unprincipled agents
from practicing the grossest deception; nor exempted the emigrants
themselves, from the very sufferings intended to be averted.

No sooner had we fairly gained the expanse of the Irish Sea, and, one by
one, lost sight of our thousand consorts, than the weather changed into
the most miserable cold, wet, and cheerless days and nights imaginable.
The wind was tempestuous, and dead in our teeth; and the hearts of the
emigrants fell. Nearly all of them had now hied below, to escape the
uncomfortable and perilous decks: and from the two "booby-hatches" came
the steady hum of a subterranean wailing and weeping. That irresistible
wrestler, sea-sickness, had overthrown the stoutest of their number, and
the women and children were embracing and sobbing in all the agonies of
the poor emigrant's first storm at sea.

Bad enough is it at such times with ladies and gentlemen in the cabin,
who have nice little state-rooms; and plenty of privacy; and stewards to
run for them at a word, and put pillows under their heads, and tenderly
inquire how they are getting along, and mix them a posset: and even
then, in the abandonment of this soul and body subduing malady, such
ladies and gentlemen will often give up life itself as unendurable, and
put up the most pressing petitions for a speedy annihilation; all of
which, however, only arises from their intense anxiety to preserve their
valuable lives.

How, then, with the friendless emigrants, stowed away like bales of
cotton, and packed like slaves in a slave-ship; confined in a place
that, during storm time, must be closed against both light and air; who
can do no cooking, nor warm so much as a cup of water; for the drenching
seas would instantly flood their fire in their exposed galley on deck?
How, then, with these men, and women, and children, to whom a first
voyage, under the most advantageous circumstances, must come just as
hard as to the Honorable De Lancey Fitz Clarence, lady, daughter, and
seventeen servants.

Nor is this all: for in some of these ships, as in the case of the
Highlander, the emigrant passengers are cut off from the most
indispensable conveniences of a civilized dwelling. This forces them in
storm time to such extremities, that no wonder fevers and plagues are
the result. We had not been at sea one week, when to hold your head down
the fore hatchway was like holding it down a suddenly opened cesspool.

But still more than this. Such is the aristocracy maintained on board
some of these ships, that the most arbitrary measures are enforced, to
prevent the emigrants from intruding upon the most holy precincts of the
quarter-deck, the only completely open space on ship-board.
Consequently--even in fine weather--when they come up from below, they are
crowded in the waist of the ship, and jammed among the boats, casks, and
spars; abused by the seamen, and sometimes cuffed by the officers, for
unavoidably standing in the way of working the vessel.

The cabin-passengers of the Highlander numbered some fifteen in all; and
to protect this detachment of gentility from the barbarian incursions of
the "wild Irish" emigrants, ropes were passed athwart-ships, by the
main-mast, from side to side: which defined the boundary line between
those who had paid three pounds passage-money, from those who had paid
twenty guineas. And the cabin-passengers themselves were the most urgent
in having this regulation maintained.

Lucky would it be for the pretensions of some parvenus, whose souls are
deposited at their banker's, and whose bodies but serve to carry about
purses, knit of poor men's heartstrings, if thus easily they could
precisely define, ashore, the difference between them and the rest of

But, I, Redburn, am a poor fellow, who have hardly ever known what it is
to have five silver dollars in my pocket at one time; so, no doubt, this
circumstance has something to do with my slight and harmless indignation
at these things.


It was destined that our departure from the English strand, should be
marked by a tragical event, akin to the sudden end of the suicide, which
had so strongly impressed me on quitting the American shore.

Of the three newly shipped men, who in a state of intoxication had been
brought on board at the dock gates, two were able to be engaged at their
duties, in four or five hours after quitting the pier. But the third man
yet lay in his bunk, in the self-same posture in which his limbs had
been adjusted by the crimp, who had deposited him there.

His name was down on the ship's papers as Miguel Saveda, and for Miguel
Saveda the chief mate at last came forward, shouting down the
forecastle-scuttle, and commanding his instant presence on deck. But the
sailors answered for their new comrade; giving the mate to understand
that Miguel was still fast locked in his trance, and could not obey him;
when, muttering his usual imprecation, the mate retired to the

This was in the first dog-watch, from four to six in the evening. At
about three bells, in the next watch, Max the Dutchman, who, like most
old seamen, was something of a physician in cases of drunkenness,
recommended that Miguel's clothing should be removed, in order that he
should lie more comfortably. But Jackson, who would seldom let any thing
be done in the forecastle that was not proposed by himself, capriciously
forbade this proceeding.

So the sailor still lay out of sight in his bunk, which was in the
extreme angle of the forecastle, behind the bowsprit-bitts--two stout
timbers rooted in the ship's keel. An hour or two afterward, some of the
men observed a strange odor in the forecastle, which was attributed to
the presence of some dead rat among the hollow spaces in the side
planks; for some days before, the forecastle had been smoked out, to
extirpate the vermin overrunning her. At midnight, the larboard watch,
to which I belonged, turned out; and instantly as every man waked, he
exclaimed at the now intolerable smell, supposed to be heightened by the
shaking up the bilge-water, from the ship's rolling.

"Blast that rat!" cried the Greenlander.

"He's blasted already," said Jackson, who in his drawers had crossed
over to the bunk of Miguel. "It's a water-rat, shipmates, that's dead;
and here he is"--and with that, he dragged forth the sailor's arm,
exclaiming, "Dead as a timber-head!"

Upon this the men rushed toward the bunk, Max with the light, which he
held to the man's face.

"No, he's not dead," he cried, as the yellow flame wavered for a moment
at the seaman's motionless mouth. But hardly had the words escaped,
when, to the silent horror of all, two threads of greenish fire, like a
forked tongue, darted out between the lips; and in a moment, the
cadaverous face was crawled over by a swarm of wormlike flames.

The lamp dropped from the hand of Max, and went out; while covered all
over with spires and sparkles of flame, that faintly crackled in the
silence, the uncovered parts of the body burned before us, precisely
like phosphorescent shark in a midnight sea.

The eyes were open and fixed; the mouth was curled like a scroll, and
every lean feature firm as in life; while the whole face, now wound in
curls of soft blue flame, wore an aspect of grim defiance, and eternal
death. Prometheus, blasted by fire on the rock.

One arm, its red shirt-sleeve rolled up, exposed the man's name,
tattooed in vermilion, near the hollow of the middle joint; and as if
there was something peculiar in the painted flesh, every vibrating
letter burned so white, that you might read the flaming name in the
flickering ground of blue.

"Where's that d--d Miguel?" was now shouted down among us from the
scuttle by the mate, who had just come on deck, and was determined to
have every man up that belonged to his watch.

"He's gone to the harbor where they never weigh anchor," coughed
Jackson. "Come you down, sir, and look."

Thinking that Jackson intended to beard him, the mate sprang down in a
rage; but recoiled at the burning body as if he had been shot by a
bullet. "My God!" he cried, and stood holding fast to the ladder.

"Take hold of it," said Jackson, at last, to the Greenlander; "it must
go overboard. Don't stand shaking there, like a dog; take hold of it, I
say! But stop"--and smothering it all in the blankets, he pulled it
partly out of the bunk.

A few minutes more, and it fell with a bubble among the phosphorescent
sparkles of the damp night sea, leaving a coruscating wake as it sank.

This event thrilled me through and through with unspeakable horror; nor
did the conversation of the watch during the next four hours on deck at
all serve to soothe me.

But what most astonished me, and seemed most incredible, was the
infernal opinion of Jackson, that the man had been actually dead when
brought on board the ship; and that knowingly, and merely for the sake
of the month's advance, paid into his hand upon the strength of the bill
he presented, the body-snatching crimp had knowingly shipped a corpse on
board of the Highlander, under the pretense of its being a live body in
a drunken trance. And I heard Jackson say, that he had known of such
things having been done before. But that a really dead body ever burned
in that manner, I can not even yet believe. But the sailors seemed
familiar with such things; or at least with the stories of such things
having happened to others.

For me, who at that age had never so much as happened to hear of a case
like this, of animal combustion, in the horrid mood that came over me, I
almost thought the burning body was a premonition of the hell of the
Calvinists, and that Miguel's earthly end was a foretaste of his eternal

Immediately after the burial, an iron pot of red coals was placed in the
bunk, and in it two handfuls of coffee were roasted. This done, the bunk
was nailed up, and was never opened again during the voyage; and strict
orders were given to the crew not to divulge what had taken place to the
emigrants; but to this, they needed no commands.

After the event, no one sailor but Jackson would stay alone in the
forecastle, by night or by noon; and no more would they laugh or sing,
or in any way make merry there, but kept all their pleasantries for the
watches on deck. All but Jackson: who, while the rest would be sitting
silently smoking on their chests, or in their bunks, would look toward
the fatal spot, and cough, and laugh, and invoke the dead man with
incredible scoffs and jeers. He froze my blood, and made my soul stand


There was on board our ship, among the emigrant passengers, a
rich-cheeked, chestnut-haired Italian boy, arrayed in a faded, olive-hued
velvet jacket, and tattered trowsers rolled up to his knee. He was not
above fifteen years of age; but in the twilight pensiveness of his full
morning eyes, there seemed to sleep experiences so sad and various, that
his days must have seemed to him years. It was not an eye like Harry's
tho' Harry's was large and womanly. It shone with a soft and spiritual
radiance, like a moist star in a tropic sky; and spoke of humility,
deep-seated thoughtfulness, yet a careless endurance of all the ills of

The head was if any thing small; and heaped with thick clusters of
tendril curls, half overhanging the brows and delicate ears, it somehow
reminded you of a classic vase, piled up with Falernian foliage.

From the knee downward, the naked leg was beautiful to behold as any
lady's arm; so soft and rounded, with infantile ease and grace. His
whole figure was free, fine, and indolent; he was such a boy as might
have ripened into life in a Neapolitan vineyard; such a boy as gipsies
steal in infancy; such a boy as Murillo often painted, when he went
among the poor and outcast, for subjects wherewith to captivate the eyes
of rank and wealth; such a boy, as only Andalusian beggars are, full of
poetry, gushing from every rent.

Carlo was his name; a poor and friendless son of earth, who had no sire;
and on life's ocean was swept along, as spoon-drift in a gale.

Some months previous, he had landed in Prince's Dock, with his
hand-organ, from a Messina vessel; and had walked the streets of
Liverpool, playing the sunny airs of southern chines, among the northern
fog and drizzle. And now, having laid by enough to pay his passage over
the Atlantic, he had again embarked, to seek his fortunes in America.

From the first, Harry took to the boy.

"Carlo," said Harry, "how did you succeed in England?"

He was reclining upon an old sail spread on the long-boat; and throwing
back his soiled but tasseled cap, and caressing one leg like a child, he
looked up, and said in his broken English--that seemed like mixing the
potent wine of Oporto with some delicious syrup:--said he, "Ah! I succeed
very well!--for I have tunes for the young and the old, the gay and the
sad. I have marches for military young men, and love-airs for the
ladies, and solemn sounds for the aged. I never draw a crowd, but I know
from their faces what airs will best please them; I never stop before a
house, but I judge from its portico for what tune they will soonest toss
me some silver. And I ever play sad airs to the merry, and merry airs to
the sad; and most always the rich best fancy the sad, and the poor the

"But do you not sometimes meet with cross and crabbed old men," said
Harry, "who would much rather have your room than your music?"

"Yes, sometimes," said Carlo, playing with his foot, "sometimes I do."

"And then, knowing the value of quiet to unquiet men, I suppose you
never leave them under a shilling?"

"No," continued the boy, "I love my organ as I do myself, for it is my
only friend, poor organ! it sings to me when I am sad, and cheers me;
and I never play before a house, on purpose to be paid for leaving off,
not I; would I, poor organ?"--looking down the hatchway where it was.
"No, that I never have done, and never will do, though I starve; for
when people drive me away, I do not think my organ is to blame, but they
themselves are to blame; for such people's musical pipes are cracked,
and grown rusted, that no more music can be breathed into their souls."

"No, Carlo; no music like yours, perhaps," said Harry, with a laugh.

"Ah! there's the mistake. Though my organ is as full of melody, as a
hive is of bees; yet no organ can make music in unmusical breasts; no
more than my native winds can, when they breathe upon a harp without

Next day was a serene and delightful one; and in the evening when the
vessel was just rippling along impelled by a gentle yet steady breeze,
and the poor emigrants, relieved from their late sufferings, were
gathered on deck; Carlo suddenly started up from his lazy reclinings;
went below, and, assisted by the emigrants, returned with his organ.

Now, music is a holy thing, and its instruments, however humble, are to
be loved and revered. Whatever has made, or does make, or may make
music, should be held sacred as the golden bridle-bit of the Shah of
Persia's horse, and the golden hammer, with which his hoofs are shod.
Musical instruments should be like the silver tongs, with which the
high-priests tended the Jewish altars--never to be touched by a hand
profane. Who would bruise the poorest reed of Pan, though plucked from a
beggar's hedge, would insult the melodious god himself.

And there is no humble thing with music in it, not a fife, not a
negro-fiddle, that is not to be reverenced as much as the grandest
architectural organ that ever rolled its flood-tide of harmony down a
cathedral nave. For even a Jew's-harp may be so played, as to awaken all
the fairies that are in us, and make them dance in our souls, as on a
moon-lit sward of violets.

But what subtle power is this, residing in but a bit of steel, which
might have made a tenpenny nail, that so enters, without knocking, into
our inmost beings, and shows us all hidden things?

Not in a spirit of foolish speculation altogether, in no merely
transcendental mood, did the glorious Greek of old fancy the human soul
to be essentially a harmony. And if we grant that theory of Paracelsus
and Campanella, that every man has four souls within him; then can we
account for those banded sounds with silver links, those quartettes of
melody, that sometimes sit and sing within us, as if our souls were
baronial halls, and our music were made by the hoarest old harpers of

But look! here is poor Carlo's organ; and while the silent crowd
surrounds him, there he stands, looking mildly but inquiringly about
him; his right hand pulling and twitching the ivory knobs at one end of
his instrument.

Behold the organ!

Surely, if much virtue lurk in the old fiddles of Cremona, and if their
melody be in proportion to their antiquity, what divine ravishments may
we not anticipate from this venerable, embrowned old organ, which might
almost have played the Dead March in Saul, when King Saul himself was

A fine old organ! carved into fantastic old towers, and turrets, and
belfries; its architecture seems somewhat of the Gothic, monastic order;
in front, it looks like the West-Front of York Minster.

What sculptured arches, leading into mysterious intricacies!--what
mullioned windows, that seem as if they must look into chapels flooded
with devotional sunsets!--what flying buttresses, and gable-ends, and
niches with saints!--But stop! 'tis a Moorish iniquity; for here, as I
live, is a Saracenic arch; which, for aught I know, may lead into some
interior Alhambra.

Ay, it does; for as Carlo now turns his hand, I hear the gush of the
Fountain of Lions, as he plays some thronged Italian air--a mixed and
liquid sea of sound, that dashes its spray in my face.

Play on, play on, Italian boy! what though the notes be broken, here's
that within that mends them. Turn hither your pensive, morning eyes; and
while I list to the organs twain--one yours, one mine--let me gaze
fathoms down into thy fathomless eye;--'tis good as gazing down into the
great South Sea, and seeing the dazzling rays of the dolphins there.

Play on, play on! for to every note come trooping, now, triumphant
standards, armies marching--all the pomp of sound. Methinks I am Xerxes,
the nucleus of the martial neigh of all the Persian studs. Like gilded
damask-flies, thick clustering on some lofty bough, my satraps swarm
around me.

But now the pageant passes, and I droop; while Carlo taps his ivory
knobs; and plays some flute-like saraband--soft, dulcet, dropping sounds,
like silver cans in bubbling brooks. And now a clanging, martial air, as
if ten thousand brazen trumpets, forged from spurs and swordhilts,
called North, and South, and East, to rush to West!

Again-what blasted heath is this?--what goblin sounds of Macbeth's
witches?--Beethoven's Spirit Waltz! the muster-call of sprites and
specters. Now come, hands joined, Medusa, Hecate, she of Endor, and all
the Blocksberg's, demons dire.

Once more the ivory knobs are tapped; and long-drawn, golden sounds are
heard-some ode to Cleopatra; slowly loom, and solemnly expand, vast,
rounding orbs of beauty; and before me float innumerable queens, deep
dipped in silver gauzes.

All this could Carlo do--make, unmake me; build me up; to pieces take me;
and join me limb to limb. He is the architect of domes of sound, and
bowers of song.

And all is done with that old organ! Reverenced, then, be all street
organs; more melody is at the beck of my Italian boy, than lurks in
squadrons of Parisian orchestras.

But look! Carlo has that to feast the eye as well as ear; and the same
wondrous magic in me, magnifies them into grandeur; though every figure
greatly needs the artist's repairing hand, and sadly needs a dusting.

His York Minster's West-Front opens; and like the gates of Milton's
heaven, it turns on golden binges.

What have we here? The inner palace of the Great Mogul? Group and gilded
columns, in confidential clusters; fixed fountains; canopies and
lounges; and lords and dames in silk and spangles.

The organ plays a stately march; and presto! wide open arches; and out
come, two and two, with nodding plumes, in crimson turbans, a troop of
martial men; with jingling scimiters, they pace the hall; salute, pass
on, and disappear.

Now, ground and lofty tumblers; jet black Nubian slaves. They fling
themselves on poles; stand on their heads; and downward vanish.

And now a dance and masquerade of figures, reeling from the side-doors,
among the knights and dames. Some sultan leads a sultaness; some
emperor, a queen; and jeweled sword-hilts of carpet knights fling back
the glances tossed by coquettes of countesses.

On this, the curtain drops; and there the poor old organ stands,
begrimed, and black, and rickety.

Now, tell me, Carlo, if at street corners, for a single penny, I may
thus transport myself in dreams Elysian, who so rich as I? Not he who
owns a million.

And Carlo! ill betide the voice that ever greets thee, my Italian boy,
with aught but kindness; cursed the slave who ever drives thy wondrous
box of sights and sounds forth from a lordling's door!


As yet I have said nothing about how my friend, Harry, got along as a

Poor Harry! a feeling of sadness, never to be comforted, comes over me,
even now when I think of you. For this voyage that you went, but carried
you part of the way to that ocean grave, which has buried you up with
your secrets, and whither no mourning pilgrimage can be made.

But why this gloom at the thought of the dead? And why should we not be
glad? Is it, that we ever think of them as departed from all joy? Is it,
that we believe that indeed they are dead? They revisit us not, the
departed; their voices no more ring in the air; summer may come, but it
is winter with them; and even in our own limbs we feel not the sap that
every spring renews the green life of the trees.

But Harry! you live over again, as I recall your image before me. I see
you, plain and palpable as in life; and can make your existence obvious
to others. Is he, then, dead, of whom this may be said?

But Harry! you are mixed with a thousand strange forms, the centaurs of
fancy; half real and human, half wild and grotesque. Divine imaginings,
like gods, come down to the groves of our Thessalies, and there, in the
embrace of wild, dryad reminiscences, beget the beings that astonish the

But Harry! though your image now roams in my Thessaly groves, it is the
same as of old; and among the droves of mixed beings and centaurs, you
show like a zebra, banding with elks.

And indeed, in his striped Guernsey frock, dark glossy skin and hair,
Harry Bolton, mingling with the Highlander's crew, looked not unlike the
soft, silken quadruped-creole, that, pursued by wild Bushmen, bounds
through Caffrarian woods.

How they hunted you, Harry, my zebra! those ocean barbarians, those
unimpressible, uncivilized sailors of ours! How they pursued you from
bowsprit to mainmast, and started you out of your every retreat!

Before the day of our sailing, it was known to the seamen that the
girlish youth, whom they daily saw near the sign of the Clipper in
Union-street, would form one of their homeward-bound crew. Accordingly,
they cast upon him many a critical glance; but were not long in
concluding that Harry would prove no very great accession to their
strength; that the hoist of so tender an arm would not tell many
hundred-weight on the maintop-sail halyards. Therefore they disliked him
before they became acquainted with him; and such dislikes, as every one
knows, are the most inveterate, and liable to increase. But even sailors
are not blind to the sacredness that hallows a stranger; and for a time,
abstaining from rudeness, they only maintained toward my friend a cold
and unsympathizing civility.

As for Harry, at first the novelty of the scene filled up his mind; and
the thought of being bound for a distant land, carried with it, as with
every one, a buoyant feeling of undefinable expectation. And though his
money was now gone again, all but a sovereign or two, yet that troubled
him but little, in the first flush of being at sea.

But I was surprised, that one who had certainly seen much of life,
should evince such an incredible ignorance of what was wholly
inadmissible in a person situated as he was. But perhaps his familiarity
with lofty life, only the less qualified him for understanding the other
extreme. Will you believe me, this Bury blade once came on deck in a
brocaded dressing-gown, embroidered slippers, and tasseled smoking-cap,
to stand his morning watch.

As soon as I beheld him thus arrayed, a suspicion, which had previously
crossed my mind, again recurred, and I almost vowed to myself that,
spite his protestations, Harry Bolton never could have been at sea
before, even as a Guinea-pig in an Indiaman; for the slightest
acquaintance with the sea-life and sailors, should have prevented him,
it would seem, from enacting this folly.

"Who's that Chinese mandarin?" cried the mate, who had made voyages to
Canton. "Look you, my fine fellow, douse that mainsail now, and furl it
in a trice."

"Sir?" said Harry, starting back. "Is not this the morning watch, and is
not mine a morning gown?"

But though, in my refined friend's estimation, nothing could be more
appropriate; in the mate's, it was the most monstrous of incongruities;
and the offensive gown and cap were removed.

"It is too bad!" exclaimed Harry to me; "I meant to lounge away the
watch in that gown until coffee time;--and I suppose your Hottentot of a
mate won't permit a gentleman to smoke his Turkish pipe of a morning;
but by gad, I'll wear straps to my pantaloons to spite him!"

Oh! that was the rock on which you split, poor Harry! Incensed at the
want of polite refinement in the mates and crew, Harry, in a pet and
pique, only determined to provoke them the more; and the storm of
indignation he raised very soon overwhelmed him.

The sailors took a special spite to his chest, a large mahogany one,
which he had had made to order at a furniture warehouse. It was
ornamented with brass screw-heads, and other devices; and was well
filled with those articles of the wardrobe in which Harry had sported
through a London season; for the various vests and pantaloons he had
sold in Liverpool, when in want of money, had not materially lessened
his extensive stock.

It was curious to listen to the various hints and opinings thrown out by
the sailors at the occasional glimpses they had of this collection of
silks, velvets, broadcloths, and satins. I do not know exactly what they
thought Harry had been; but they seemed unanimous in believing that, by
abandoning his country, Harry had left more room for the gamblers.
Jackson even asked him to lift up the lower hem of his browsers, to test
the color of his calves.

It is a noteworthy circumstance, that whenever a slender made youth, of
easy manners and polite address happens to form one of a ship's company,
the sailors almost invariably impute his sea-going to an irresistible
necessity of decamping from terra-firma in order to evade the

These white-fingered gentry must be light-fingered too, they say to
themselves, or they would not be after putting their hands into our tar.
What else can bring them to sea?

Cogent and conclusive this; and thus Harry, from the very beginning, was
put down for a very equivocal character.

Sometimes, however, they only made sport of his appearance; especially
one evening, when his monkey jacket being wet through, he was obliged to
mount one of his swallow-tailed coats. They said he carried two
mizzen-peaks at his stern; declared he was a broken-down quill-driver,
or a footman to a Portuguese running barber, or some old maid's
tobacco-boy. As for the captain, it had become all the same to Harry as
if there were no gentlemanly and complaisant Captain Riga on board. For
to his no small astonishment,--but just as I had predicted,--Captain Riga
never noticed him now, but left the business of indoctrinating him into
the little experiences of a greenhorn's career solely in the hands of
his officers and crew.

But the worst was to come. For the first few days, whenever there was
any running aloft to be done, I noticed that Harry was indefatigable in
coiling away the slack of the rigging about decks; ignoring the fact
that his shipmates were springing into the shrouds. And when all hands
of the watch would be engaged clewing up a t'-gallant-sail, that is,
pulling the proper ropes on deck that wrapped the sail up on the yard
aloft, Harry would always manage to get near the belaying-pin, so that
when the time came for two of us to spring into the rigging, he would be
inordinately fidgety in making fast the clew-lines, and would be so
absorbed in that occupation, and would so elaborate the hitchings round
the pin, that it was quite impossible for him, after doing so much, to
mount over the bulwarks before his comrades had got there. However,
after securing the clew-lines beyond a possibility of their getting
loose, Harry would always make a feint of starting in a prodigious hurry
for the shrouds; but suddenly looking up, and seeing others in advance,
would retreat, apparently quite chagrined that he had been cut off from
the opportunity of signalizing his activity.

At this I was surprised, and spoke to my friend; when the alarming fact
was confessed, that he had made a private trial of it, and it never
would do: he could not go aloft; his nerves would not hear of it.

"Then, Harry," said I, "better you had never been born. Do you know what
it is that you are coming to? Did you not tell me that you made no doubt
you would acquit yourself well in the rigging? Did you not say that you
had been two voyages to Bombay? Harry, you were mad to ship. But you
only imagine it: try again; and my word for it, you will very soon find
yourself as much at home among the spars as a bird in a tree."

But he could not be induced to try it over again; the fact was, his
nerves could not stand it; in the course of his courtly career, he had
drunk too much strong Mocha coffee and gunpowder tea, and had smoked
altogether too many Havannas.

At last, as I had repeatedly warned him, the mate singled him out one
morning, and commanded him to mount to the main-truck, and unreeve the
short signal halyards.

"Sir?" said Harry, aghast.

"Away you go!" said the mate, snatching a whip's end.

"Don't strike me!" screamed Harry, drawing himself up.

"Take that, and along with you," cried the mate, laying the rope once
across his back, but lightly.

"By heaven!" cried Harry, wincing--not with the blow, but the insult: and
then making a dash at the mate, who, holding out his long arm, kept him
lazily at bay, and laughed at him, till, had I not feared a broken head,
I should infallibly have pitched my boy's bulk into the officer.

"Captain Riga!" cried Harry.

"Don't call upon him" said the mate; "he's asleep, and won't wake up
till we strike Yankee soundings again. Up you go!" he added, flourishing
the rope's end.

Harry looked round among the grinning tars with a glance of terrible
indignation and agony; and then settling his eye on me, and seeing there
no hope, but even an admonition of obedience, as his only resource, he
made one bound into the rigging, and was up at the main-top in a trice.
I thought a few more springs would take him to the truck, and was a
little fearful that in his desperation he might then jump overboard; for
I had heard of delirious greenhorns doing such things at sea, and being
lost forever. But no; he stopped short, and looked down from the top.
Fatal glance! it unstrung his every fiber; and I saw him reel, and
clutch the shrouds, till the mate shouted out for him not to squeeze the
tar out of the ropes. "Up you go, sir." But Harry said nothing.

"You Max," cried the mate to the Dutch sailor, "spring after him, and
help him; you understand?"

Max went up the rigging hand over hand, and brought his red head with a
bump against the base of Harry's back. Needs must when the devil drives;
and higher and higher, with Max bumping him at every step, went my
unfortunate friend. At last he gained the royal yard, and the thin
signal halyards--, hardly bigger than common twine--were flying in the
wind. "Unreeve!" cried the mate.

I saw Harry's arm stretched out--his legs seemed shaking in the rigging,
even to us, down on deck; and at last, thank heaven! the deed was done.

He came down pale as death, with bloodshot eyes, and every limb
quivering. From that moment he never put foot in rattlin; never mounted
above the bulwarks; and for the residue of the voyage, at least, became
an altered person.

At the time, he went to the mate--since he could not get speech of the
captain--and conjured him to intercede with Riga, that his name might be
stricken off from the list of the ship's company, so that he might make
the voyage as a steerage passenger; for which privilege, he bound
himself to pay, as soon as he could dispose of some things of his in New
York, over and above the ordinary passage-money. But the mate gave him a
blunt denial; and a look of wonder at his effrontery. Once a sailor on
board a ship, and always a sailor for that voyage, at least; for within
so brief a period, no officer can bear to associate on terms of any
thing like equality with a person whom he has ordered about at his

Harry then told the mate solemnly, that he might do what he pleased, but
go aloft again he could not, and would not. He would do any thing else
but that.

This affair sealed Harry's fate on board of the Highlander; the crew now
reckoned him fair play for their worst jibes and jeers, and he led a
miserable life indeed.

Few landsmen can imagine the depressing and self-humiliating effects of
finding one's self, for the first time, at the beck of illiterate
sea-tyrants, with no opportunity of exhibiting any trait about you, but
your ignorance of every thing connected with the sea-life that you lead,
and the duties you are constantly called upon to perform. In such a
sphere, and under such circumstances, Isaac Newton and Lord Bacon would
be sea-clowns and bumpkins; and Napoleon Bonaparte be cuffed and kicked
without remorse. In more than one instance I have seen the truth of
this; and Harry, poor Harry, proved no exception. And from the
circumstances which exempted me from experiencing the bitterest of these
evils, I only the more felt for one who, from a strange constitutional
nervousness, before unknown even to himself, was become as a hunted hare
to the merciless crew.

But how was it that Harry Bolton, who spite of his effeminacy of
appearance, had evinced, in our London trip, such unmistakable flashes
of a spirit not easily tamed--how was it, that he could now yield himself
up to the almost passive reception of contumely and contempt? Perhaps
his spirit, for the time, had been broken. But I will not undertake to
explain; we are curious creatures, as every one knows; and there are
passages in the lives of all men, so out of keeping with the common
tenor of their ways, and so seemingly contradictory of themselves, that
only He who made us can expound them.


After the first miserable weather we experienced at sea, we had
intervals of foul and fair, mostly the former, however, attended with
head winds', till at last, after a three days' fog and rain, the sun
rose cheerily one morning, and showed us Cape Clear. Thank heaven, we
were out of the weather emphatically called "Channel weather," and the
last we should see of the eastern hemisphere was now in plain sight, and
all the rest was broad ocean.

Land ho! was cried, as the dark purple headland grew out of the north.
At the cry, the Irish emigrants came rushing up the hatchway, thinking
America itself was at hand.

"Where is it?" cried one of them, running out a little way on the
bowsprit. "Is that it?"

"Aye, it doesn't look much like ould Ireland, does it?" said Jackson.

"Not a bit, honey:--and how long before we get there? to-night?"

Nothing could exceed the disappointment and grief of the emigrants, when
they were at last informed, that the land to the north was their own
native island, which, after leaving three or four weeks previous in a
steamboat for Liverpool, was now close to them again; and that, after
newly voyaging so many days from the Mersey, the Highlander was only
bringing them in view of the original home whence they started.

They were the most simple people I had ever seen. They seemed to have no
adequate idea of distances; and to them, America must have seemed as a
place just over a river. Every morning some of them came on deck, to see
how much nearer we were: and one old man would stand for hours together,
looking straight off from the bows, as if he expected to see New York
city every minute, when, perhaps, we were yet two thousand miles
distant, and steering, moreover, against a head wind.

The only thing that ever diverted this poor old man from his earnest
search for land, was the occasional appearance of porpoises under the
bows; when he would cry out at the top of his voice--"Look, look, ye
divils! look at the great pigs of the sea!"

At last, the emigrants began to think, that the ship had played them
false; and that she was bound for the East Indies, or some other remote
place; and one night, Jackson set a report going among them, that Riga
purposed taking them to Barbary, and selling them all for slaves; but
though some of the old women almost believed it, and a great weeping
ensued among the children, yet the men knew better than to believe such
a ridiculous tale.

Of all the emigrants, my Italian boy Carlo, seemed most at his ease. He
would lie all day in a dreamy mood, sunning himself in the long boat,
and gazing out on the sea. At night, he would bring up his organ, and
play for several hours; much to the delight of his fellow voyagers, who
blessed him and his organ again and again; and paid him for his music by
furnishing him his meals. Sometimes, the steward would come forward,
when it happened to be very much of a moonlight, with a message from the
cabin, for Carlo to repair to the quarterdeck, and entertain the
gentlemen and ladies.

There was a fiddler on board, as will presently be seen; and sometimes,
by urgent entreaties, he was induced to unite his music with Carlo's,
for the benefit of the cabin occupants; but this was only twice or
thrice: for this fiddler deemed himself considerably elevated above the
other steerage-passengers; and did not much fancy the idea of fiddling
to strangers; and thus wear out his elbow, while persons, entirely
unknown to him, and in whose welfare he felt not the slightest interest,
were curveting about in famous high spirits. So for the most part, the
gentlemen and ladies were fain to dance as well as they could to my
little Italian's organ.

It was the most accommodating organ in the world; for it could play any
tune that was called for; Carlo pulling in and out the ivory knobs at
one side, and so manufacturing melody at pleasure.

True, some censorious gentlemen cabin-passengers protested, that such or
such an air, was not precisely according to Handel or Mozart; and some
ladles, whom I overheard talking about throwing their nosegays to
Malibran at Covent Garden, assured the attentive Captain Riga, that
Carlo's organ was a most wretched affair, and made a horrible din.

"Yes, ladies," said the captain, bowing, "by your leave, I think Carlo's
organ must have lost its mother, for it squeals like a pig running after
its dam."

Harry was incensed at these criticisms; and yet these cabin-people were
all ready enough to dance to poor Carlo's music.

"Carlo"--said I, one night, as he was marching forward from the
quarter-deck, after one of these sea-quadrilles, which took place
during my watch on deck:--"Carlo"--said I, "what do the gentlemen and
ladies give you for playing?"

"Look!"--and he showed me three copper medals of Britannia and her
shield--three English pennies.

Now, whenever we discover a dislike in us, toward any one, we should
ever be a little suspicious of ourselves. It may be, therefore, that the
natural antipathy with which almost all seamen and steerage-passengers,
regard the inmates of the cabin, was one cause at least, of my not
feeling very charitably disposed toward them, myself.

Yes: that might have been; but nevertheless, I will let nature have her
own way for once; and here declare roundly, that, however it was, I
cherished a feeling toward these cabin-passengers, akin to contempt. Not
because they happened to be cabin-passengers: not at all: but only
because they seemed the most finical, miserly, mean men and women, that
ever stepped over the Atlantic.

One of them was an old fellow in a robust looking coat, with broad
skirts; he had a nose like a bottle of port-wine; and would stand for a
whole hour, with his legs straddling apart, and his hands deep down in
his breeches pockets, as if he had two mints at work there, coining
guineas. He was an abominable looking old fellow, with cold, fat,
jelly-like eyes; and avarice, heartlessness, and sensuality stamped all
over him. He seemed all the time going through some process of mental
arithmetic; doing sums with dollars and cents: his very mouth, wrinkled
and drawn up at the corners, looked like a purse. When he dies, his
skull ought to be turned into a savings box, with the till-hole between
his teeth.

Another of the cabin inmates, was a middle-aged Londoner, in a comical
Cockney-cut coat, with a pair of semicircular tails: so that he looked
as if he were sitting in a swing. He wore a spotted neckerchief; a
short, little, fiery-red vest; and striped pants, very thin in the calf,
but very full about the waist. There was nothing describable about him
but his dress; for he had such a meaningless face, I can not remember
it; though I have a vague impression, that it looked at the time, as if
its owner was laboring under the mumps.

Then there were two or three buckish looking young fellows, among the
rest; who were all the time playing at cards on the poop, under the lee
of the spanker; or smoking cigars on the taffrail; or sat quizzing the
emigrant women with opera-glasses, leveled through the windows of the
upper cabin. These sparks frequently called for the steward to help them
to brandy and water, and talked about going on to Washington, to see
Niagara Falls.

There was also an old gentleman, who had brought with him three or four
heavy files of the London Times, and other papers; and he spent all his
hours in reading them, on the shady side of the deck, with one leg
crossed over the other; and without crossed legs, he never read at all.
That was indispensable to the proper understanding of what he studied.
He growled terribly, when disturbed by the sailors, who now and then
were obliged to move him to get at the ropes.

As for the ladies, I have nothing to say concerning them; for ladies are
like creeds; if you can not speak well of them, say nothing.


I have made some mention of the "galley," or great stove for the
steerage passengers, which was planted over the main hatches.

During the outward-bound passage, there were so few occupants of the
steerage, that they had abundant room to do their cooking at this
galley. But it was otherwise now; for we had four or five hundred in the
steerage; and all their cooking was to be done by one fire; a pretty
large one, to be sure, but, nevertheless, small enough, considering the
number to be accommodated, and the fact that the fire was only to be
kindled at certain hours.

For the emigrants in these ships are under a sort of martial-law; and in
all their affairs are regulated by the despotic ordinances of the
captain. And though it is evident, that to a certain extent this is
necessary, and even indispensable; yet, as at sea no appeal lies beyond
the captain, he too often makes unscrupulous use of his power. And as
for going to law with him at the end of the voyage, you might as well go
to law with the Czar of Russia.

At making the fire, the emigrants take turns; as it is often very
disagreeable work, owing to the pitching of the ship, and the heaving of
the spray over the uncovered "galley." Whenever I had the morning watch,
from four to eight, I was sure to see some poor fellow crawling up from
below about daybreak, and go to groping over the deck after bits of
rope-yarn, or tarred canvas, for kindling-stuff. And no sooner would the
fire be fairly made, than up came the old women, and men, and children;
each armed with an iron pot or saucepan; and invariably a great tumult
ensued, as to whose turn to cook came next; sometimes the more
quarrelsome would fight, and upset each other's pots and pans.

Once, an English lad came up with a little coffee-pot, which he managed
to crowd in between two pans. This done, he went below. Soon after a
great strapping Irishman, in knee-breeches and bare calves, made his
appearance; and eying the row of things on the fire, asked whose
coffee-pot that was; upon being told, he removed it, and put his own in
its place; saying something about that individual place belonging to
him; and with that, he turned aside.

Not long after, the boy came along again; and seeing his pot removed,
made a violent exclamation, and replaced it; which the Irishman no
sooner perceived, than he rushed at him, with his fists doubled. The boy
snatched up the boiling coffee, and spirted its contents all about the
fellow's bare legs; which incontinently began to dance involuntary
hornpipes and fandangoes, as a preliminary to giving chase to the boy,
who by this time, however, had decamped.

Many similar scenes occurred every day; nor did a single day pass, but
scores of the poor people got no chance whatever to do their cooking.

This was bad enough; but it was a still more miserable thing, to see
these poor emigrants wrangling and fighting together for the want of the
most ordinary accommodations. But thus it is, that the very hardships to
which such beings are subjected, instead of uniting them, only tends, by
imbittering their tempers, to set them against each other; and thus they
themselves drive the strongest rivet into the chain, by which their
social superiors hold them subject.

It was with a most reluctant hand, that every evening in the second
dog-watch, at the mate's command, I would march up to the fire, and
giving notice to the assembled crowd, that the time was come to
extinguish it, would dash it out with my bucket of salt water; though
many, who had long waited for a chance to cook, had now to go away

The staple food of the Irish emigrants was oatmeal and water, boiled
into what is sometimes called mush; by the Dutch is known as supaan; by
sailors burgoo; by the New Englanders hasty-pudding; in which
hasty-pudding, by the way, the poet Barlow found the materials for a
sort of epic.

Some of the steerage passengers, however, were provided with
sea-biscuit, and other perennial food, that was eatable all the year
round, fire or no fire.

There were several, moreover, who seemed better to do in the world than
the rest; who were well furnished with hams, cheese, Bologna sausages,
Dutch herrings, alewives, and other delicacies adapted to the
contingencies of a voyager in the steerage.

There was a little old Englishman on board, who had been a grocer
ashore, whose greasy trunks seemed all pantries; and he was constantly
using himself for a cupboard, by transferring their contents into his
own interior. He was a little light of head, I always thought. He
particularly doated on his long strings of sausages; and would sometimes
take them out, and play with them, wreathing them round him, like an
Indian juggler with charmed snakes. What with this diversion, and eating
his cheese, and helping himself from an inexhaustible junk bottle, and
smoking his pipe, and meditating, this crack-pated grocer made time jog
along with him at a tolerably easy pace.

But by far the most considerable man in the steerage, in point of
pecuniary circumstances at least, was a slender little pale-faced
English tailor, who it seemed had engaged a passage for himself and wife
in some imaginary section of the ship, called the second cabin, which
was feigned to combine the comforts of the first cabin with the
cheapness of the steerage. But it turned out that this second cabin was
comprised in the after part of the steerage itself, with nothing
intervening but a name. So to his no small disgust, he found himself
herding with the rabble; and his complaints to the captain were

This luckless tailor was tormented the whole voyage by his wife, who was
young and handsome; just such a beauty as farmers'-boys fall in love
with; she had bright eyes, and red cheeks, and looked plump and happy.

She was a sad coquette; and did not turn away, as she was bound to do,
from the dandy glances of the cabin bucks, who ogled her through their
double-barreled opera glasses. This enraged the tailor past telling; he
would remonstrate with his wife, and scold her; and lay his matrimonial
commands upon her, to go below instantly, out of sight. But the lady was
not to be tyrannized over; and so she told him. Meantime, the bucks
would be still framing her in their lenses, mightily enjoying the fun.
The last resources of the poor tailor would be, to start up, and make a
dash at the rogues, with clenched fists; but upon getting as far as the
mainmast, the mate would accost him from over the rope that divided
them, and beg leave to communicate the fact, that he could come no
further. This unfortunate tailor was also a fiddler; and when fairly
baited into desperation, would rush for his instrument, and try to get
rid of his wrath by playing the most savage, remorseless airs he could
think of.

While thus employed, perhaps his wife would accost him--

"Billy, my dear;" and lay her soft hand on his shoulder.

But Billy, he only fiddled harder.

"Billy, my love!"

The bow went faster and faster.

"Come, now, Billy, my dear little fellow, let's make it all up;" and she
bent over his knees, looking bewitchingly up at him, with her
irresistible eyes.

Down went fiddle and bow; and the couple would sit together for an hour
or two, as pleasant and affectionate as possible.

But the next day, the chances were, that the old feud would be renewed,
which was certain to be the case at the first glimpse of an opera-glass
from the cabin.


With a slight alteration, I might begin this chapter after the manner of
Livy, in the 24th section of his first book:--"It happened, that in each
family were three twin brothers, between whom there was little disparity
in point of age or of strength."

Among the steerage passengers of the Highlander, were two women from
Armagh, in Ireland, widows and sisters, who had each three twin sons,
born, as they said, on the same day.

They were ten years old. Each three of these six cousins were as like
as the mutually reflected figures in a kaleidoscope; and like the forms
seen in a kaleidoscope, together, as well as separately, they seemed to
form a complete figure. But, though besides this fraternal likeness, all
six boys bore a strong cousin-german resemblance to each other; yet, the
O'Briens were in disposition quite the reverse of the O'Regans. The
former were a timid, silent trio, who used to revolve around their
mother's waist, and seldom quit the maternal orbit; whereas, the
O'Regans were "broths of boys," full of mischief and fun, and given to
all manner of devilment, like the tails of the comets.

Early every morning, Mrs. O'Regan emerged from the steerage, driving her
spirited twins before her, like a riotous herd of young steers; and made
her way to the capacious deck-tub, full of salt water, pumped up from
the sea, for the purpose of washing down the ship. Three splashes, and
the three boys were ducking and diving together in the brine; their
mother engaged in shampooing them, though it was haphazard sort of work
enough; a rub here, and a scrub there, as she could manage to fasten on
a stray limb.

"Pat, ye divil, hould still while I wash ye. Ah! but it's you, Teddy,
you rogue. Arrah, now, Mike, ye spalpeen, don't be mixing your legs up
with Pat's."

The little rascals, leaping and scrambling with delight, enjoyed the
sport mightily; while this indefatigable, but merry matron, manipulated
them all over, as if it were a matter of conscience.

Meanwhile, Mrs. O'Brien would be standing on the boatswain's locker--or
rope and tar-pot pantry in the vessel's bows--with a large old quarto
Bible, black with age, laid before her between the knight-heads, and
reading aloud to her three meek little lambs.

The sailors took much pleasure in the deck-tub performances of the
O'Regans, and greatly admired them always for their archness and
activity; but the tranquil O'Briens they did not fancy so much. More
especially they disliked the grave matron herself; hooded in rusty
black; and they had a bitter grudge against her book. To that, and the
incantations muttered over it, they ascribed the head winds that haunted
us; and Blunt, our Irish cockney, really believed that Mrs. O'Brien
purposely came on deck every morning, in order to secure a foul wind for
the next ensuing twenty-four hours.

At last, upon her coming forward one morning, Max the Dutchman accosted
her, saying he was sorry for it, but if she went between the
knight-heads again with her book, the crew would throw it overboard for

Now, although contrasted in character, there existed a great warmth of
affection between the two families of twins, which upon this occasion
was curiously manifested.

Notwithstanding the rebuke and threat of the sailor, the widow silently
occupied her old place; and with her children clustering round her,
began her low, muttered reading, standing right in the extreme bows of
the ship, and slightly leaning over them, as if addressing the
multitudinous waves from a floating pulpit. Presently Max came behind
her, snatched the book from her hands, and threw it overboard. The widow
gave a wail, and her boys set up a cry. Their cousins, then ducking in
the water close by, at once saw the cause of the cry; and springing from
the tub, like so many dogs, seized Max by the legs, biting and striking
at him: which, the before timid little O'Briens no sooner perceived,
than they, too, threw themselves on the enemy, and the amazed seaman
found himself baited like a bull by all six boys.

And here it gives me joy to record one good thing on the part of the
mate. He saw the fray, and its beginning; and rushing forward, told Max
that he would harm the boys at his peril; while he cheered them on, as
if rejoiced at their giving the fellow such a tussle. At last Max,
sorely scratched, bit, pinched, and every way aggravated, though of
course without a serious bruise, cried out "enough!" and the assailants
were ordered to quit him; but though the three O'Briens obeyed, the
three O'Regans hung on to him like leeches, and had to be dragged off.

"There now, you rascal," cried the mate, "throw overboard another Bible,
and I'll send you after it without a bowline."

This event gave additional celebrity to the twins throughout the vessel.
That morning all six were invited to the quarter-deck, and reviewed by
the cabin-passengers, the ladies manifesting particular interest in
them, as they always do concerning twins, which some of them show in
public parks and gardens, by stopping to look at them, and questioning
their nurses.

"And were you all born at one time?" asked an old lady, letting her eye
run in wonder along the even file of white heads.

"Indeed, an' we were," said Teddy; "wasn't we, mother?"

Many more questions were asked and answered, when a collection was taken
up for their benefit among these magnanimous cabin-passengers, which
resulted in starting all six boys in the world with a penny apiece.

I never could look at these little fellows without an inexplicable
feeling coming over me; and though there was nothing so very remarkable
or unprecedented about them, except the singular coincidence of two
sisters simultaneously making the world such a generous present; yet,
the mere fact of there being twins always seemed curious; in fact, to me
at least, all twins are prodigies; and still I hardly know why this
should be; for all of us in our own persons furnish numerous examples of
the same phenomenon. Are not our thumbs twins? A regular Castor and
Pollux? And all of our fingers? Are not our arms, hands, legs, feet,
eyes, ears, all twins; born at one birth, and as much alike as they
possibly can be?

Can it be, that the Greek grammarians invented their dual number for the
particular benefit of twins?


It has been mentioned how advantageously my shipmates disposed of their
tobacco in Liverpool; but it is to be related how those nefarious
commercial speculations of theirs reduced them to sad extremities in the

True to their improvident character, and seduced by the high prices paid
for the weed in England, they had there sold off by far the greater
portion of what tobacco they had; even inducing the mate to surrender
the portion he had secured under lock and key by command of the
Custom-house officers. So that when the crew were about two weeks out,
on the homeward-bound passage, it became sorrowfully evident that
tobacco was at a premium.

Now, one of the favorite pursuits of sailors during a dogwatch below at
sea is cards; and though they do not understand whist, cribbage, and
games of that kidney, yet they are adepts at what is called
"High-low-Jack-and-the-game," which name, indeed, has a Jackish and
nautical flavor. Their stakes are generally so many plugs of tobacco,
which, like rouleaux of guineas, are piled on their chests when they
play. Judge, then, the wicked zest with which the Highlander's crew now
shuffled and dealt the pack; and how the interest curiously and
invertedly increased, as the stakes necessarily became less and less;
and finally resolved themselves into "chaws."

So absorbed, at last, did they become at this business, that some of
them, after being hard at work during a nightwatch on deck, would rob
themselves of rest below, in order to have a brush at the cards. And as
it is very difficult sleeping in the presence of gamblers; especially if
they chance to be sailors, whose conversation at all times is apt to be
boisterous; these fellows would often be driven out of the forecastle by
those who desired to rest. They were obliged to repair on deck, and make
a card-table of it; and invariably, in such cases, there was a great
deal of contention, a great many ungentlemanly charges of nigging and
cheating; and, now and then, a few parenthetical blows were exchanged.

But this was not so much to be wondered at, seeing they could see but
very little, being provided with no light but that of a midnight sky;
and the cards, from long wear and rough usage, having become exceedingly
torn and tarry, so much so, that several members of the four suits might
have seceded from their respective clans, and formed into a fifth tribe,
under the name of "Tar-spots."

Every day the tobacco grew scarcer and scarcer; till at last it became
necessary to adopt the greatest possible economy in its use. The modicum
constituting an ordinary "chaw," was made to last a whole day; and at
night, permission being had from the cook, this self-same "chaw" was
placed in the oven of the stove, and there dried; so as to do duty in a

In the end not a plug was to be had; and deprived of a solace and a
stimulus, on which sailors so much rely while at sea, the crew became
absent, moody, and sadly tormented with the hypos. They were something
like opium-smokers, suddenly cut off from their drug. They would sit on
their chests, forlorn and moping; with a steadfast sadness, eying the
forecastle lamp, at which they had lighted so many a pleasant pipe. With
touching eloquence they recalled those happier evenings--the time of
smoke and vapor; when, after a whole day's delectable "chawing," they
beguiled themselves with their genial, and most companionable puffs.

One night, when they seemed more than usually cast down and
disconsolate, Blunt, the Irish cockney, started up suddenly with an idea
in his head--"Boys, let's search under the bunks!" Bless you, Blunt! what
a happy conceit! Forthwith, the chests were dragged out; the dark places
explored; and two sticks of nail-rod tobacco, and several old "chaws,"
thrown aside by sailors on some previous voyage, were their cheering
reward. They were impartially divided by Jackson, who, upon this
occasion, acquitted himself to the satisfaction of all.

Their mode of dividing this tobacco was the rather curious one generally
adopted by sailors, when the highest possible degree of impartiality is
desirable. I will describe it, recommending its earnest consideration to
all heirs, who may hereafter divide an inheritance; for if they adopted
this nautical method, that universally slanderous aphorism of Lavater
would be forever rendered nugatory--"Expert not to understand any man
till you have divided with him an inheritance."

The nail-rods they cut as evenly as possible into as many parts as there
were men to be supplied; and this operation having been performed in the
presence of all, Jackson, placing the tobacco before him, his face to
the wall, and back to the company, struck one of the bits of weed with
his knife, crying out, "Whose is this?" Whereupon a respondent,
previously pitched upon, replied, at a venture, from the opposite corner
of the forecastle, "Blunt's;" and to Blunt it went; and so on, in like
manner, till all were served.

I put it to you, lawyers--shade of Blackstone, I invoke you--if a more
impartial procedure could be imagined than this?

But the nail-rods and last-voyage "chaws" were soon gone, and then,
after a short interval of comparative gayety, the men again drooped, and
relapsed into gloom.

They soon hit upon an ingenious device, however--but not altogether new
among seamen--to allay the severity of the depression under which they
languished. Ropes were unstranded, and the yarns picked apart; and, cut
up into small bits, were used as a substitute for the weed. Old ropes
were preferred; especially those which had long lain in the hold, and
had contracted an epicurean dampness, making still richer their ancient,
cheese-like flavor.

In the middle of most large ropes, there is a straight, central part,
round which the exterior strands are twisted. When in picking oakum,
upon various occasions, I have chanced, among the old junk used at such
times, to light upon a fragment of this species of rope, I have ever
taken, I know not what kind of strange, nutty delight in untwisting it
slowly, and gradually coming upon its deftly hidden and aromatic
"heart;" for so this central piece is denominated.

It is generally of a rich, tawny, Indian hue, somewhat inclined to
luster; is exceedingly agreeable to the touch; diffuses a pungent odor,
as of an old dusty bottle of Port, newly opened above ground; and,
altogether, is an object which no man, who enjoys his dinners, could
refrain from hanging over, and caressing.

Nor is this delectable morsel of old junk wanting in many interesting,
mournful, and tragic suggestions. Who can say in what gales it may have
been; in what remote seas it may have sailed? How many stout masts of
seventy-fours and frigates it may have staid in the tempest? How deep it
may have lain, as a hawser, at the bottom of strange harbors? What
outlandish fish may have nibbled at it in the water, and what
un-catalogued sea-fowl may have pecked at it, when forming part of a
lofty stay or a shroud?

Now, this particular part of the rope, this nice little "cut" it was,
that among the sailors was the most eagerly sought after. And getting
hold of a foot or two of old cable, they would cut into it lovingly, to
see whether it had any "tenderloin."

For my own part, nevertheless, I can not say that this tit-bit was at
all an agreeable one in the mouth; however pleasant to the sight of an
antiquary, or to the nose of an epicure in nautical fragrancies. Indeed,
though possibly I might have been mistaken, I thought it had rather an
astringent, acrid taste; probably induced by the tar, with which the
flavor of all ropes is more or less vitiated. But the sailors seemed to
like it, and at any rate nibbled at it with great gusto. They converted
one pocket of their trowsers into a junk-shop, and when solicited by a
shipmate for a "chaw," would produce a small coil of rope.

Another device adopted to alleviate their hardships, was the
substitution of dried tea-leaves, in place of tobacco, for their pipes.
No one has ever supped in a forecastle at sea, without having been
struck by the prodigious residuum of tea-leaves, or cabbage stalks, in
his tin-pot of bohea. There was no lack of material to supply every
pipe-bowl among us.

I had almost forgotten to relate the most noteworthy thing in this
matter; namely, that notwithstanding the general scarcity of the genuine
weed, Jackson was provided with a supply; nor did it give out, until
very shortly previous to our arrival in port.

In the lowest depths of despair at the loss of their precious solace,
when the sailors would be seated inconsolable as the Babylonish
captives, Jackson would sit cross-legged in his bunk, which was an upper
one, and enveloped in a cloud of tobacco smoke, would look down upon the
mourners below, with a sardonic grin at their forlornness.

He recalled to mind their folly in selling for filthy lucre, their
supplies of the weed; he painted their stupidity; he enlarged upon the
sufferings they had brought upon themselves; he exaggerated those
sufferings, and every way derided, reproached, twitted, and hooted at
them. No one dared to return his scurrilous animadversions, nor did any
presume to ask him to relieve their necessities out of his fullness. On
the contrary, as has been just related, they divided with him the
nail-rods they found.

The extraordinary dominion of this one miserable Jackson, over twelve or
fourteen strong, healthy tars, is a riddle, whose solution must be left
to the philosophers.


The closing allusion to Jackson in the chapter preceding, reminds me of
a circumstance--which, perhaps, should have been mentioned before--that
after we had been at sea about ten days, he pronounced himself too
unwell to do duty, and accordingly went below to his bunk. And here,
with the exception of a few brief intervals of sunning himself in fine
weather, he remained on his back, or seated cross-legged, during the
remainder of the homeward-bound passage.

Brooding there, in his infernal gloom, though nothing but a castaway
sailor in canvas trowsers, this man was still a picture, worthy to be
painted by the dark, moody hand of Salvator. In any of that master's
lowering sea-pieces, representing the desolate crags of Calabria, with a
midnight shipwreck in the distance, this Jackson's would have been the
face to paint for the doomed vessel's figurehead, seamed and blasted by

Though the more sneaking and cowardly of my shipmates whispered among
themselves, that Jackson, sure of his wages, whether on duty or off, was
only feigning indisposition, nevertheless it was plain that, from his
excesses in Liverpool, the malady which had long fastened its fangs in
his flesh, was now gnawing into his vitals.

His cheek became thinner and yellower, and the bones projected like
those of a skull. His snaky eyes rolled in red sockets; nor could he
lift his hand without a violent tremor; while his racking cough many a
time startled us from sleep. Yet still in his tremulous grasp he swayed
his scepter, and ruled us all like a tyrant to the last.

The weaker and weaker he grew, the more outrageous became his treatment
of the crew. The prospect of the speedy and unshunable death now before
him, seemed to exasperate his misanthropic soul into madness; and as if
he had indeed sold it to Satan, he seemed determined to die with a curse
between his teeth.

I can never think of him, even now, reclining in his bunk, and with
short breaths panting out his maledictions, but I am reminded of that
misanthrope upon the throne of the world--the diabolical Tiberius at
Caprese; who even in his self-exile, imbittered by bodily pangs, and
unspeakable mental terrors only known to the damned on earth, yet did
not give over his blasphemies but endeavored to drag down with him to
his own perdition, all who came within the evil spell of his power. And
though Tiberius came in the succession of the Caesars, and though
unmatchable Tacitus has embalmed his carrion, yet do I account this
Yankee Jackson full as dignified a personage as he, and as well meriting
his lofty gallows in history; even though he was a nameless vagabond
without an epitaph, and none, but I, narrate what he was. For there is
no dignity in wickedness, whether in purple or rags; and hell is a
democracy of devils, where all are equals. There, Nero howls side by
side with his own malefactors. If Napoleon were truly but a martial
murderer, I pay him no more homage than I would a felon. Though Milton's
Satan dilutes our abhorrence with admiration, it is only because he is
not a genuine being, but something altered from a genuine original. We
gather not from the four gospels alone, any high-raised fancies
concerning this Satan; we only know him from thence as the
personification of the essence of evil, which, who but pickpockets and
burglars will admire? But this takes not from the merit of our
high-priest of poetry; it only enhances it, that with such unmitigated
evil for his material, he should build up his most goodly structure. But
in historically canonizing on earth the condemned below, and lifting up
and lauding the illustrious damned, we do but make examples of
wickedness; and call upon ambition to do some great iniquity, and be
sure of fame.


A sweet thing is a song; and though the Hebrew captives hung their harps
on the willows, that they could not sing the melodies of Palestine
before the haughty beards of the Babylonians; yet, to themselves, those
melodies of other times and a distant land were as sweet as the June dew
on Hermon.

And poor Harry was as the Hebrews. He, too, had been carried away
captive, though his chief captor and foe was himself; and he, too, many
a night, was called upon to sing for those who through the day had
insulted and derided him.

His voice was just the voice to proceed from a small, silken person like
his; it was gentle and liquid, and meandered and tinkled through the
words of a song, like a musical brook that winds and wantons by pied and
pansied margins.

"I can't sing to-night"--sadly said Harry to the Dutchman, who with his
watchmates requested him to while away the middle watch with his
melody--"I can't sing to-night. But, Wellingborough," he whispered,--and I
stooped my ear,--"come you with me under the lee of the long-boat, and
there I'll hum you an air."

It was "The Banks of the Blue Moselle."

Poor, poor Harry! and a thousand times friendless and forlorn! To be
singing that thing, which was only meant to be warbled by falling
fountains in gardens, or in elegant alcoves in drawing-rooms,--to be
singing it here--here, as I live, under the tarry lee of our long-boat.

But he sang, and sang, as I watched the waves, and peopled them all with
sprites, and cried "chassez!" "hands across!" to the multitudinous
quadrilles, all danced on the moonlit, musical floor.

But though it went so hard with my friend to sing his songs to this
ruffian crew, whom he hated, even in his dreams, till the foam flew from
his mouth while he slept; yet at last I prevailed upon him to master his
feelings, and make them subservient to his interests. For so delighted,
even with the rudest minstrelsy, are sailors, that I well knew Harry
possessed a spell over them, which, for the time at least, they could
not resist; and it might induce them to treat with more deference the
being who was capable of yielding them such delight. Carlo's organ they
did not so much care for; but the voice of my Bury blade was an
accordion in their ears.

So one night, on the windlass, he sat and sang; and from the ribald
jests so common to sailors, the men slid into silence at every verse.
Hushed, and more hushed they grew, till at last Harry sat among them
like Orpheus among the charmed leopards and tigers. Harmless now the
fangs with which they were wont to tear my zebra, and backward curled in
velvet paws; and fixed their once glaring eyes in fascinated and
fascinating brilliancy. Ay, still and hissingly all, for a time, they
relinquished their prey.

Now, during the voyage, the treatment of the crew threw Harry more and
more upon myself for companionship; and few can keep constant company
with another, without revealing some, at least, of their secrets; for
all of us yearn for sympathy, even if we do not for love; and to be
intellectually alone is a thing only tolerable to genius, whose
cherisher and inspirer is solitude.

But though my friend became more communicative concerning his past
career than ever he had been before, yet he did not make plain many
things in his hitherto but partly divulged history, which I was very
curious to know; and especially he never made the remotest allusion to
aught connected with our trip to London; while the oath of secrecy by
which he had bound me held my curiosity on that point a captive.
However, as it was, Harry made many very interesting disclosures; and if
he did not gratify me more in that respect, he atoned for it in a
measure, by dwelling upon the future, and the prospects, such as they
were, which the future held out to him.

He confessed that he had no money but a few shillings left from the
expenses of our return from London; that only by selling some more of
his clothing, could he pay for his first week's board in New York; and
that he was altogether without any regular profession or business, upon
which, by his own exertions, he could securely rely for support. And
yet, he told me that he was determined never again to return to England;
and that somewhere in America he must work out his temporal felicity.

"I have forgotten England," he said, "and never more mean to think of
it; so tell me, Wellingborough, what am I to do in America?"

It was a puzzling question, and full of grief to me, who, young though I
was, had been well rubbed, curried, and ground down to fine powder in
the hopper of an evil fortune, and who therefore could sympathize with
one in similar circumstances. For though we may look grave and behave
kindly and considerately to a friend in calamity; yet, if we have never
actually experienced something like the woe that weighs him down, we can
not with the best grace proffer our sympathy. And perhaps there is no
true sympathy but between equals; and it may be, that we should distrust
that man's sincerity, who stoops to condole with us.

So Harry and I, two friendless wanderers, beguiled many a long watch by
talking over our common affairs. But inefficient, as a benefactor, as I
certainly was; still, being an American, and returning to my home; even
as he was a stranger, and hurrying from his; therefore, I stood toward
him in the attitude of the prospective doer of the honors of my country;
I accounted him the nation's guest. Hence, I esteemed it more befitting,
that I should rather talk with him, than he with me: that his prospects
and plans should engage our attention, in preference to my own.

Now, seeing that Harry was so brave a songster, and could sing such
bewitching airs: I suggested whether his musical talents could not be
turned to account. The thought struck him most favorably--"Gad, my boy,
you have hit it, you have," and then he went on to mention, that in some
places in England, it was customary for two or three young men of highly
respectable families, of undoubted antiquity, but unfortunately in
lamentably decayed circumstances, and thread-bare coats--it was
customary for two or three young gentlemen, so situated, to obtain their
livelihood by their voices: coining their silvery songs into silvery

They wandered from door to door, and rang the bell--Are the ladies and
gentlemen in? Seeing them at least gentlemanly looking, if not
sumptuously appareled, the servant generally admitted them at once; and
when the people entered to greet them, their spokesman would rise with a
gentle bow, and a smile, and say, We come, ladies and gentlemen, to sing
you a song: we are singers, at your service. And so, without waiting
reply, forth they burst into song; and having most mellifluous voices,
enchanted and transported all auditors; so much so, that at the
conclusion of the entertainment, they very seldom failed to be well
recompensed, and departed with an invitation to return again, and make
the occupants of that dwelling once more delighted and happy.

"Could not something of this kind now, be done in New York?" said Harry,
"or are there no parlors with ladies in them, there?" he anxiously

Again I assured him, as I had often done before, that New York was a
civilized and enlightened town; with a large population, fine streets,
fine houses, nay, plenty of omnibuses; and that for the most part, he
would almost think himself in England; so similar to England, in
essentials, was this outlandish America that haunted him.

I could not but be struck--and had I not been, from my birth, as it were,
a cosmopolite--I had been amazed at his skepticism with regard to the
civilization of my native land. A greater patriot than myself might have
resented his insinuations. He seemed to think that we Yankees lived in
wigwams, and wore bear-skins. After all, Harry was a spice of a Cockney,
and had shut up his Christendom in London.

Having then assured him, that I could see no reason, why he should not
play the troubadour in New York, as well as elsewhere; he suddenly
popped upon me the question, whether I would not join him in the
enterprise; as it would be quite out of the question to go alone on such
a business.

Said I, "My dear Bury, I have no more voice for a ditty, than a dumb man
has for an oration. Sing? Such Macadamized lungs have I, that I think
myself well off, that I can talk; let alone nightingaling."

So that plan was quashed; and by-and-by Harry began to give up the idea
of singing himself into a livelihood.

"No, I won't sing for my mutton," said he--"what would Lady Georgiana

"If I could see her ladyship once, I might tell you, Harry," returned I,
who did not exactly doubt him, but felt ill at ease for my bosom
friend's conscience, when he alluded to his various noble and right
honorable friends and relations.

"But surely, Bury, my friend, you must write a clerkly hand, among your
other accomplishments; and that at least, will be sure to help you."

"I do write a hand," he gladly rejoined--"there, look at the
implement!--do you not think, that such a hand as that might dot an i, or
cross a t, with a touching grace and tenderness?"

Indeed, but it did betoken a most excellent penmanship. It was small;
and the fingers were long and thin; the knuckles softly rounded; the
nails hemispherical at the base; and the smooth palm furnishing few
characters for an Egyptian fortune-teller to read. It was not as the
sturdy farmer's hand of Cincinnatus, who followed the plough and guided
the state; but it was as the perfumed hand of Petronius Arbiter, that
elegant young buck of a Roman, who once cut great Seneca dead in the

His hand alone, would have entitled my Bury blade to the suffrages of
that Eastern potentate, who complimented Lord Byron upon his feline
fingers, declaring that they furnished indubitable evidence of his noble
birth. And so it did: for Lord Byron was as all the rest of us--the son
of a man. And so are the dainty-handed, and wee-footed half-cast paupers
in Lima; who, if their hands and feet were entitled to consideration,
would constitute the oligarchy of all Peru.

Folly and foolishness! to think that a gentleman is known by his
finger-nails, like Nebuchadnezzar, when his grew long in the pasture: or
that the badge of nobility is to be found in the smallness of the foot,
when even a fish has no foot at all!

Dandies! amputate yourselves, if you will; but know, and be assured, oh,
democrats, that, like a pyramid, a great man stands on a broad base. It
is only the brittle porcelain pagoda, that tottles on a toe.

But though Harry's hand was lady-like looking, and had once been white
as the queen's cambric handkerchief, and free from a stain as the
reputation of Diana; yet, his late pulling and hauling of halyards and
clew-lines, and his occasional dabbling in tar-pots and slush-shoes, had
somewhat subtracted from its original daintiness.

Often he ruefully eyed it.

Oh! hand! thought Harry, ah, hand! what have you come to? Is it seemly,
that you should be polluted with pitch, when you once handed countesses
to their coaches? Is this the hand I kissed to the divine Georgiana?
with which I pledged Lady Blessington, and ratified my bond to Lord
Lovely? This the hand that Georgiana clasped to her bosom, when she
vowed she was mine?--Out of sight, recreant and apostate!--deep
down--disappear in this foul monkey-jacket pocket where I thrust you!

After many long conversations, it was at last pretty well decided, that
upon our arrival at New York, some means should be taken among my few
friends there, to get Harry a place in a mercantile house, where he
might flourish his pen, and gently exercise his delicate digits, by
traversing some soft foolscap; in the same way that slim, pallid ladies
are gently drawn through a park for an airing.


"Mammy! mammy! come and see the sailors eating out of little troughs,
just like our pigs at home." Thus exclaimed one of the steerage
children, who at dinner-time was peeping down into the forecastle, where
the crew were assembled, helping themselves from the "kids," which,
indeed, resemble hog-troughs not a little.

"Pigs, is it?" coughed Jackson, from his bunk, where he sat presiding
over the banquet, but not partaking, like a devil who had lost his
appetite by chewing sulphur.--"Pigs, is it?--and the day is close by, ye
spalpeens, when you'll want to be after taking a sup at our troughs!"

This malicious prophecy proved true.

As day followed day without glimpse of shore or reef, and head winds
drove the ship back, as hounds a deer; the improvidence and
shortsightedness of the passengers in the steerage, with regard to their
outfits for the voyage, began to be followed by the inevitable results.

Many of them at last went aft to the mate, saying that they had nothing
to eat, their provisions were expended, and they must be supplied from
the ship's stores, or starve.

This was told to the captain, who was obliged to issue a ukase from the
cabin, that every steerage passenger, whose destitution was
demonstrable, should be given one sea-biscuit and two potatoes a day; a
sort of substitute for a muffin and a brace of poached eggs.

But this scanty ration was quite insufficient to satisfy their hunger:
hardly enough to satisfy the necessities of a healthy adult. The
consequence was, that all day long, and all through the night, scores of
the emigrants went about the decks, seeking what they might devour. They
plundered the chicken-coop; and disguising the fowls, cooked them at the
public galley. They made inroads upon the pig-pen in the boat, and
carried off a promising young shoat: him they devoured raw, not
venturing to make an incognito of his carcass; they prowled about the
cook's caboose, till he threatened them with a ladle of scalding water;
they waylaid the steward on his regular excursions from the cook to the
cabin; they hung round the forecastle, to rob the bread-barge; they
beset the sailors, like beggars in the streets, craving a mouthful in
the name of the Church.

At length, to such excesses were they driven, that the Grand Russian,
Captain Riga, issued another ukase, and to this effect: Whatsoever
emigrant is found guilty of stealing, the same shall be tied into the
rigging and flogged.

Upon this, there were secret movements in the steerage, which almost
alarmed me for the safety of the ship; but nothing serious took place,
after all; and they even acquiesced in, or did not resent, a singular
punishment which the captain caused to be inflicted upon a culprit of
their clan, as a substitute for a flogging. For no doubt he thought that
such rigorous discipline as that might exasperate five hundred emigrants
into an insurrection.

A head was fitted to one of the large deck-tubs--the half of a cask; and
into this head a hole was cut; also, two smaller holes in the bottom of
the tub. The head--divided in the middle, across the diameter of the
orifice--was now fitted round the culprit's neck; and he was forthwith
coopered up into the tub, which rested on his shoulders, while his legs
protruded through the holes in the bottom.

It was a burden to carry; but the man could walk with it; and so
ridiculous was his appearance, that spite of the indignity, he himself
laughed with the rest at the figure he cut.

"Now, Pat, my boy," said the mate, "fill that big wooden belly of yours,
if you can."

Compassionating his situation, our old "doctor" used to give him alms of
food, placing it upon the cask-head before him; till at last, when the
time for deliverance came, Pat protested against mercy, and would fain
have continued playing Diogenes in the tub for the rest of this starving


Although fast-sailing ships, blest with prosperous breezes, have
frequently made the run across the Atlantic in eighteen days; yet, it is
not uncommon for other vessels to be forty, or fifty, and even sixty,
seventy, eighty, and ninety days, in making the same passage. Though in
the latter cases, some signal calamity or incapacity must occasion so
great a detention. It is also true, that generally the passage out from
America is shorter than the return; which is to be ascribed to the
prevalence of westerly winds.

We had been outside of Cape Clear upward of twenty days, still harassed
by head-winds, though with pleasant weather upon the whole, when we were
visited by a succession of rain storms, which lasted the greater part of
a week.

During the interval, the emigrants were obliged to remain below; but
this was nothing strange to some of them; who, not recovering, while at
sea, from their first attack of seasickness, seldom or never made their
appearance on deck, during the entire passage.

During the week, now in question, fire was only once made in the public
galley. This occasioned a good deal of domestic work to be done in the
steerage, which otherwise would have been done in the open air. When the
lulls of the rain-storms would intervene, some unusually cleanly
emigrant would climb to the deck, with a bucket of slops, to toss into
the sea. No experience seemed sufficient to instruct some of these
ignorant people in the simplest, and most elemental principles of
ocean-life. Spite of all lectures on the subject, several would continue
to shun the leeward side of the vessel, with their slops. One morning,
when it was blowing very fresh, a simple fellow pitched over a gallon or
two of something to windward. Instantly it flew back in his face; and
also, in the face of the chief mate, who happened to be standing by at
the time. The offender was collared, and shaken on the spot; and
ironically commanded, never, for the future, to throw any thing to
windward at sea, but fine ashes and scalding hot water.

During the frequent hard blows we experienced, the hatchways on the
steerage were, at intervals, hermetically closed; sealing down in their
noisome den, those scores of human beings. It was something to be
marveled at, that the shocking fate, which, but a short time ago,
overtook the poor passengers in a Liverpool steamer in the Channel,
during similar stormy weather, and under similar treatment, did not
overtake some of the emigrants of the Highlander.

Nevertheless, it was, beyond question, this noisome confinement in so
close, unventilated, and crowded a den: joined to the deprivation of
sufficient food, from which many were suffering; which, helped by their
personal uncleanliness, brought on a malignant fever.

The first report was, that two persons were affected. No sooner was it
known, than the mate promptly repaired to the medicine-chest in the
cabin: and with the remedies deemed suitable, descended into the
steerage. But the medicines proved of no avail; the invalids rapidly
grew worse; and two more of the emigrants became infected.

Upon this, the captain himself went to see them; and returning, sought
out a certain alleged physician among the cabin-passengers; begging him
to wait upon the sufferers; hinting that, thereby, he might prevent the
disease from extending into the cabin itself. But this person denied
being a physician; and from fear of contagion--though he did not confess
that to be the motive--refused even to enter the steerage. The cases
increased: the utmost alarm spread through the ship: and scenes ensued,
over which, for the most part, a veil must be drawn; for such is the
fastidiousness of some readers, that, many times, they must lose the
most striking incidents in a narrative like mine.

Many of the panic-stricken emigrants would fain now have domiciled on
deck; but being so scantily clothed, the wretched weather--wet, cold, and
tempestuous--drove the best part of them again below. Yet any other human
beings, perhaps, would rather have faced the most outrageous storm, than
continued to breathe the pestilent air of the steerage. But some of
these poor people must have been so used to the most abasing calamities,
that the atmosphere of a lazar-house almost seemed their natural air.

The first four cases happened to be in adjoining bunks; and the
emigrants who slept in the farther part of the steerage, threw up a
barricade in front of those bunks; so as to cut off communication. But
this was no sooner reported to the captain, than he ordered it to be
thrown down; since it could be of no possible benefit; but would only
make still worse, what was already direful enough.

It was not till after a good deal of mingled threatening and coaxing,
that the mate succeeded in getting the sailors below, to accomplish the
captain's order.

The sight that greeted us, upon entering, was wretched indeed. It was
like entering a crowded jail. From the rows of rude bunks, hundreds of
meager, begrimed faces were turned upon us; while seated upon the
chests, were scores of unshaven men, smoking tea-leaves, and creating a
suffocating vapor. But this vapor was better than the native air of the
place, which from almost unbelievable causes, was fetid in the extreme.
In every corner, the females were huddled together, weeping and
lamenting; children were asking bread from their mothers, who had none
to give; and old men, seated upon the floor, were leaning back against
the heads of the water-casks, with closed eyes and fetching their breath
with a gasp.

At one end of the place was seen the barricade, hiding the invalids;
while--notwithstanding the crowd--in front of it was a clear area, which
the fear of contagion had left open.

"That bulkhead must come down," cried the mate, in a voice that rose
above the din. "Take hold of it, boys."

But hardly had we touched the chests composing it, when a crowd of
pale-faced, infuriated men rushed up; and with terrific howls, swore
they would slay us, if we did not desist.

"Haul it down!" roared the mate.

But the sailors fell back, murmuring something about merchant seamen
having no pensions in case of being maimed, and they had not shipped to
fight fifty to one. Further efforts were made by the mate, who at last
had recourse to entreaty; but it would not do; and we were obliged to
depart, without achieving our object.

About four o'clock that morning, the first four died. They were all men;
and the scenes which ensued were frantic in the extreme. Certainly, the
bottomless profound of the sea, over which we were sailing, concealed
nothing more frightful.

Orders were at once passed to bury the dead. But this was unnecessary.
By their own countrymen, they were torn from the clasp of their wives,
rolled in their own bedding, with ballast-stones, and with hurried
rites, were dropped into the ocean.

At this time, ten more men had caught the disease; and with a degree of
devotion worthy all praise, the mate attended them with his medicines;
but the captain did not again go down to them.

It was all-important now that the steerage should be purified; and had
it not been for the rains and squalls, which would have made it madness
to turn such a number of women and children upon the wet and unsheltered
decks, the steerage passengers would have been ordered above, and their
den have been given a thorough cleansing. But, for the present, this was
out of the question. The sailors peremptorily refused to go among the
defilements to remove them; and so besotted were the greater part of the
emigrants themselves, that though the necessity of the case was forcibly
painted to them, they would not lift a hand to assist in what seemed
their own salvation.

The panic in the cabin was now very great; and for fear of contagion to
themselves, the cabin passengers would fain have made a prisoner of the
captain, to prevent him from going forward beyond the mainmast. Their
clamors at last induced him to tell the two mates, that for the present
they must sleep and take their meals elsewhere than in their old
quarters, which communicated with the cabin.

On land, a pestilence is fearful enough; but there, many can flee from
an infected city; whereas, in a ship, you are locked and bolted in the
very hospital itself. Nor is there any possibility of escape from it;
and in so small and crowded a place, no precaution can effectually guard
against contagion.

Horrible as the sights of the steerage now were, the cabin, perhaps,
presented a scene equally despairing. Many, who had seldom prayed
before, now implored the merciful heavens, night and day, for fair winds
and fine weather. Trunks were opened for Bibles; and at last, even
prayer-meetings were held over the very table across which the loud jest
had been so often heard.

Strange, though almost universal, that the seemingly nearer prospect of
that death which any body at any time may die, should produce these
spasmodic devotions, when an everlasting Asiatic Cholera is forever
thinning our ranks; and die by death we all must at last.

On the second day, seven died, one of whom was the little tailor; on the
third, four; on the fourth, six, of whom one was the Greenland sailor,
and another, a woman in the cabin, whose death, however, was afterward
supposed to have been purely induced by her fears. These last deaths
brought the panic to its height; and sailors, officers,
cabin-passengers, and emigrants--all looked upon each other like lepers.
All but the only true leper among us--the mariner Jackson, who seemed
elated with the thought, that for him--already in the deadly clutches of
another disease--no danger was to be apprehended from a fever which only
swept off the comparatively healthy. Thus, in the midst of the despair
of the healthful, this incurable invalid was not cast down; not, at
least, by the same considerations that appalled the rest.

And still, beneath a gray, gloomy sky, the doomed craft beat on; now on
this tack, now on that; battling against hostile blasts, and drenched in
rain and spray; scarcely making an inch of progress toward her port.

On the sixth morning, the weather merged into a gale, to which we
stripped our ship to a storm-stay-sail. In ten hours' time, the waves
ran in mountains; and the Highlander rose and fell like some vast buoy
on the water. Shrieks and lamentations were driven to leeward, and
drowned in the roar of the wind among the cordage; while we gave to the
gale the blackened bodies of five more of the dead.

But as the dying departed, the places of two of them were filled in the
rolls of humanity, by the birth of two infants, whom the plague, panic,
and gale had hurried into the world before their time. The first cry of
one of these infants, was almost simultaneous with the splash of its
father's body in the sea. Thus we come and we go. But, surrounded by
death, both mothers and babes survived.

At midnight, the wind went down; leaving a long, rolling sea; and, for
the first time in a week, a clear, starry sky.

In the first morning-watch, I sat with Harry on the windlass, watching
the billows; which, seen in the night, seemed real hills, upon which
fortresses might have been built; and real valleys, in which villages,
and groves, and gardens, might have nestled. It was like a landscape in
Switzerland; for down into those dark, purple glens, often tumbled the
white foam of the wave-crests, like avalanches; while the seething and
boiling that ensued, seemed the swallowing up of human beings.

By the afternoon of the next day this heavy sea subsided; and we bore
down on the waves, with all our canvas set; stun'-sails alow and aloft;
and our best steersman at the helm; the captain himself at his
elbow;--bowling along, with a fair, cheering breeze over the taffrail.

The decks were cleared, and swabbed bone-dry; and then, all the
emigrants who were not invalids, poured themselves out on deck, snuffing
the delightful air, spreading their damp bedding in the sun, and
regaling themselves with the generous charity of the captain, who of
late had seen fit to increase their allowance of food. A detachment of
them now joined a band of the crew, who proceeding into the steerage,
with buckets and brooms, gave it a thorough cleansing, sending on deck,
I know not how many bucketsful of defilements. It was more like cleaning
out a stable, than a retreat for men and women. This day we buried
three; the next day one, and then the pestilence left us, with seven
convalescent; who, placed near the opening of the hatchway, soon rallied
under the skillful treatment, and even tender care of the mate.

But even under this favorable turn of affairs, much apprehension was
still entertained, lest in crossing the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, the
fogs, so generally encountered there, might bring on a return of the
fever. But, to the joy of all hands, our fair wind still held on; and we
made a rapid run across these dreaded shoals, and southward steered for
New York.

Our days were now fair and mild, and though the wind abated, yet we
still ran our course over a pleasant sea. The steerage-passengers--at
least by far the greater number--wore a still, subdued aspect, though a
little cheered by the genial air, and the hopeful thought of soon
reaching their port. But those who had lost fathers, husbands, wives, or
children, needed no crape, to reveal to others, who they were. Hard and
bitter indeed was their lot; for with the poor and desolate, grief is no
indulgence of mere sentiment, however sincere, but a gnawing reality,
that eats into their vital beings; they have no kind condolers, and
bland physicians, and troops of sympathizing friends; and they must
toil, though to-morrow be the burial, and their pallbearers throw down
the hammer to lift up the coffin.

How, then, with these emigrants, who, three thousand miles from home,
suddenly found themselves deprived of brothers and husbands, with but a
few pounds, or perhaps but a few shillings, to buy food in a strange

As for the passengers in the cabin, who now so jocund as they? drawing
nigh, with their long purses and goodly portmanteaus to the promised
land, without fear of fate. One and all were generous and gay, the
jelly-eyed old gentleman, before spoken of, gave a shilling to the

The lady who had died, was an elderly person, an American, returning
from a visit to an only brother in London. She had no friend or relative
on board, hence, as there is little mourning for a stranger dying among
strangers, her memory had been buried with her body.

But the thing most worthy of note among these now light-hearted people
in feathers, was the gay way in which some of them bantered others, upon
the panic into which nearly all had been thrown.

And since, if the extremest fear of a crowd in a panic of peril, proves
grounded on causes sufficient, they must then indeed come to
perish;--therefore it is, that at such times they must make up their
minds either to die, or else survive to be taunted by their fellow-men
with their fear. For except in extraordinary instances of exposure,
there are few living men, who, at bottom, are not very slow to admit
that any other living men have ever been very much nearer death than
themselves. Accordingly, craven is the phrase too often applied to any
one who, with however good reason, has been appalled at the prospect of
sudden death, and yet lived to escape it. Though, should he have
perished in conformity with his fears, not a syllable of craven would
you hear. This is the language of one, who more than once has beheld the
scenes, whence these principles have been deduced. The subject invites
much subtle speculation; for in every being's ideas of death, and his
behavior when it suddenly menaces him, lies the best index to his life
and his faith. Though the Christian era had not then begun, Socrates
died the death of the Christian; and though Hume was not a Christian in
theory, yet he, too, died the death of the Christian,--humble, composed,
without bravado; and though the most skeptical of philosophical
skeptics, yet full of that firm, creedless faith, that embraces the
spheres. Seneca died dictating to posterity; Petronius lightly
discoursing of essences and love-songs; and Addison, calling upon
Christendom to behold how calmly a Christian could die; but not even the
last of these three, perhaps, died the best death of the Christian.

The cabin passenger who had used to read prayers while the rest kneeled
against the transoms and settees, was one of the merry young sparks, who
had occasioned such agonies of jealousy to the poor tailor, now no more.
In his rakish vest, and dangling watch-chain, this same youth, with all
the awfulness of fear, had led the earnest petitions of his companions;
supplicating mercy, where before he had never solicited the slightest
favor. More than once had he been seen thus engaged by the observant
steersman at the helm: who looked through the little glass in the cabin

But this youth was an April man; the storm had departed; and now he
shone in the sun, none braver than he.

One of his jovial companions ironically advised him to enter into holy
orders upon his arrival in New York.

"Why so?" said the other, "have I such an orotund voice?"

"No;" profanely returned his friend--"but you are a coward--just the man
to be a parson, and pray."

However this narrative of the circumstances attending the fever among
the emigrants on the Highland may appear; and though these things
happened so long ago; yet just such events, nevertheless, are perhaps
taking place to-day. But the only account you obtain of such events, is
generally contained in a newspaper paragraph, under the shipping-head.
There is the obituary of the destitute dead, who die on the sea. They
die, like the billows that break on the shore, and no more are heard or
seen. But in the events, thus merely initialized in the catalogue of
passing occurrences, and but glanced at by the readers of news, who are
more taken up with paragraphs of fuller flavor; what a world of Me and
death, what a world of humanity and its woes, lies shrunk into a
three-worded sentence!

You see no plague-ship driving through a stormy sea; you hear no groans
of despair; you see no corpses thrown over the bulwarks; you mark not
the wringing hands and torn hair of widows and orphans:--all is a blank.
And one of these blanks I have but filled up, in recounting the details
of the Highlander's calamity.

Besides that natural tendency, which hurries into oblivion the last woes
of the poor; other causes combine to suppress the detailed circumstances
of disasters like these. Such things, if widely known, operate
unfavorably to the ship, and make her a bad name; and to avoid detention
at quarantine, a captain will state the case in the most palliating
light, and strive to hush it up, as much as he can.

In no better place than this, perhaps, can a few words be said,
concerning emigrant ships in general.

Let us waive that agitated national topic, as to whether such multitudes
of foreign poor should be landed on our American shores; let us waive
it, with the one only thought, that if they can get here, they have
God's right to come; though they bring all Ireland and her miseries with
them. For the whole world is the patrimony of the whole world; there is
no telling who does not own a stone in the Great Wall of China. But we
waive all this; and will only consider, how best the emigrants can come
hither, since come they do, and come they must and will.

Of late, a law has been passed in Congress, restricting ships to a
certain number of emigrants, according to a certain rate. If this law
were enforced, much good might be done; and so also might much good be
done, were the English law likewise enforced, concerning the fixed
supply of food for every emigrant embarking from Liverpool. But it is
hardly to be believed, that either of these laws is observed.

But in all respects, no legislation, even nominally, reaches the hard
lot of the emigrant. What ordinance makes it obligatory upon the captain
of a ship, to supply the steerage-passengers with decent lodgings, and
give them light and air in that foul den, where they are immured, during
a long voyage across the Atlantic? What ordinance necessitates him to
place the galley, or steerage-passengers' stove, in a dry place of
shelter, where the emigrants can do their cooking during a storm, or wet
weather? What ordinance obliges him to give them more room on deck, and
let them have an occasional run fore and aft?--There is no law concerning
these things. And if there was, who but some Howard in office would see
it enforced? and how seldom is there a Howard in office!

We talk of the Turks, and abhor the cannibals; but may not some of them,
go to heaven, before some of us? We may have civilized bodies and yet
barbarous souls. We are blind to the real sights of this world; deaf to
its voice; and dead to its death. And not till we know, that one grief
outweighs ten thousand joys, will we become what Christianity is
striving to make us.


"Off Cape Cod!" said the steward, coming forward from the quarter-deck,
where the captain had just been taking his noon observation; sweeping
the vast horizon with his quadrant, like a dandy circumnavigating the
dress-circle of an amphitheater with his glass.

"Off Cape Cod!"

and in the shore-bloom that came to us--even from that desert of
sand-hillocks--methought I could almost distinguish the fragrance of the
rose-bush my sisters and I had planted, in our far inland garden at
home. Delicious odors are those of our mother Earth; which like a
flower-pot set with a thousand shrubs, greets the eager voyager from

The breeze was stiff, and so drove us along that we turned over two
broad, blue furrows from our bows, as we plowed the watery prairie. By
night it was a reef-topsail-breeze; but so impatient was the captain to
make his port before a shift of wind overtook us, that even yet we
carried a main-topgallant-sail, though the light mast sprung like a

In the second dog-watch, however, the breeze became such, that at last
the order was given to douse the top-gallant-sail, and clap a reef into
all three top-sails.

While the men were settling away the halyards on deck, and before they
had begun to haul out the reef-tackles, to the surprise of several,
Jackson came up from the forecastle, and, for the first time in four
weeks or more, took hold of a rope.

Like most seamen, who during the greater part of a voyage, have been off
duty from sickness, he was, perhaps, desirous, just previous to entering
port, of reminding the captain of his existence, and also that he
expected his wages; but, alas! his wages proved the wages of sin.

At no time could he better signalize his disposition to work, than upon
an occasion like the present; which generally attracts every soul on
deck, from the captain to the child in the steerage.

His aspect was damp and death-like; the blue hollows of his eyes were
like vaults full of snakes; and issuing so unexpectedly from his dark
tomb in the forecastle, he looked like a man raised from the dead.

Before the sailors had made fast the reef-tackle, Jackson was tottering
up the rigging; thus getting the start of them, and securing his place
at the extreme weather-end of the topsail-yard--which in reefing is
accounted the post of honor. For it was one of the characteristics of
this man, that though when on duty he would shy away from mere dull work
in a calm, yet in tempest-time he always claimed the van, and would
yield it to none; and this, perhaps, was one cause of his unbounded
dominion over the men.

Soon, we were all strung along the main-topsail-yard; the ship rearing
and plunging under us, like a runaway steed; each man gripping his
reef-point, and sideways leaning, dragging the sail over toward Jackson,
whose business it was to confine the reef corner to the yard.

His hat and shoes were off; and he rode the yard-arm end, leaning
backward to the gale, and pulling at the earing-rope, like a bridle. At
all times, this is a moment of frantic exertion with sailors, whose
spirits seem then to partake of the commotion of the elements, as they
hang in the gale, between heaven and earth; and then it is, too, that
they are the most profane.

"Haul out to windward!" coughed Jackson, with a blasphemous cry, and he
threw himself back with a violent strain upon the bridle in his hand.
But the wild words were hardly out of his mouth, when his hands dropped
to his side, and the bellying sail was spattered with a torrent of blood
from his lungs.

As the man next him stretched out his arm to save, Jackson fell headlong
from the yard, and with a long seethe, plunged like a diver into the

It was when the ship had rolled to windward, which, with the long
projection of the yard-arm over the side, made him strike far out upon
the water. His fall was seen by the whole upward-gazing crowd on deck,
some of whom were spotted with the blood that trickled from the sail,
while they raised a spontaneous cry, so shrill and wild, that a blind
man might have known something deadly had happened.

Clutching our reef-points, we hung over the stick, and gazed down to the
one white, bubbling spot, which had closed over the head of our
shipmate; but the next minute it was brewed into the common yeast of the
waves, and Jackson never arose. We waited a few minutes, expecting an
order to descend, haul back the fore-yard, and man the boat; but instead
of that, the next sound that greeted us was, "Bear a hand, and reef
away, men!" from the mate.

Indeed, upon reflection, it would have been idle to attempt to save
Jackson; for besides that he must have been dead, ere he struck the
sea--and if he had not been dead then, the first immersion must have
driven his soul from his lacerated lungs--our jolly-boat would have
taken full fifteen minutes to launch into the waves.

And here it should be said, that the thoughtless security in which too
many sea-captains indulge, would, in case of some sudden disaster
befalling the Highlander, have let us all drop into our graves.

Like most merchant ships, we had but two boats: the longboat and the
jolly-boat. The long boat, by far the largest and stoutest of the two,
was permanently bolted down to the deck, by iron bars attached to its
sides. It was almost as much of a fixture as the vessel's keel. It was
filled with pigs, fowls, firewood, and coals. Over this the jolly-boat
was capsized without a thole-pin in the gunwales; its bottom bleaching
and cracking in the sun.

Judge, then, what promise of salvation for us, had we shipwrecked; yet
in this state, one merchant ship out of three, keeps its boats. To be
sure, no vessel full of emigrants, by any possible precautions, could in
case of a fatal disaster at sea, hope to save the tenth part of the
souls on board; yet provision should certainly be made for a handful of
survivors, to carry home the tidings of her loss; for even in the worst
of the calamities that befell patient Job, some one at least of his
servants escaped to report it.

In a way that I never could fully account for, the sailors, in my
hearing at least, and Harry's, never made the slightest allusion to the
departed Jackson. One and all they seemed tacitly to unite in hushing up
his memory among them. Whether it was, that the severity of the bondage
under which this man held every one of them, did really corrode in their
secret hearts, that they thought to repress the recollection of a thing
so degrading, I can not determine; but certain it was, that his death
was their deliverance; which they celebrated by an elevation of spirits,
unknown before. Doubtless, this was to be in part imputed, however, to
their now drawing near to their port.


Next day was Sunday; and the mid-day sun shone upon a glassy sea.

After the uproar of the breeze and the gale, this profound, pervading
calm seemed suited to the tranquil spirit of a day, which, in godly
towns, makes quiet vistas of the most tumultuous thoroughfares.

The ship lay gently rolling in the soft, subdued ocean swell; while all
around were faint white spots; and nearer to, broad, milky patches,
betokening the vicinity of scores of ships, all bound to one common
port, and tranced in one common calm. Here the long, devious wakes from
Europe, Africa, India, and Peru converged to a line, which braided them
all in one.

Full before us quivered and danced, in the noon-day heat and mid-air,
the green heights of New Jersey; and by an optical delusion, the blue
sea seemed to flow under them.

The sailors whistled and whistled for a wind; the impatient
cabin-passengers were arrayed in their best; and the emigrants clustered
around the bows, with eyes intent upon the long-sought land.

But leaning over, in a reverie, against the side, my Carlo gazed down
into the calm, violet sea, as if it were an eye that answered his own;
and turning to Harry, said, "This America's skies must be down in the
sea; for, looking down in this water, I behold what, in Italy, we also
behold overhead. Ah! after all, I find my Italy somewhere, wherever I
go. I even found it in rainy Liverpool."

Presently, up came a dainty breeze, wafting to us a white wing from the
shore--the pilot-boat! Soon a monkey-jacket mounted the side, and was
beset by the captain and cabin people for news. And out of bottomless
pockets came bundles of newspapers, which were eagerly caught by the

The captain now abdicated in the pilot's favor, who proved to be a tiger
of a fellow, keeping us hard at work, pulling and hauling the braces,
and trimming the ship, to catch the least cat's-paw of wind.

When, among sea-worn people, a strange man from shore suddenly stands
among them, with the smell of the land in his beard, it conveys a
realization of the vicinity of the green grass, that not even the
distant sight of the shore itself can transcend.

The steerage was now as a bedlam; trunks and chests were locked and tied
round with ropes; and a general washing and rinsing of faces and hands
was beheld. While this was going on, forth came an order from the
quarter-deck, for every bed, blanket, bolster, and bundle of straw in
the steerage to be committed to the deep.--A command that was received by
the emigrants with dismay, and then with wrath. But they were assured,
that this was indispensable to the getting rid of an otherwise long
detention of some weeks at the quarantine. They therefore reluctantly
complied; and overboard went pallet and pillow. Following them, went old
pots and pans, bottles and baskets. So, all around, the sea was strewn
with stuffed bed-ticks, that limberly floated on the waves--couches for
all mermaids who were not fastidious. Numberless things of this sort,
tossed overboard from emigrant ships nearing the harbor of New York,
drift in through the Narrows, and are deposited on the shores of Staten
Island; along whose eastern beach I have often walked, and speculated
upon the broken jugs, torn pillows, and dilapidated baskets at my feet.

A second order was now passed for the emigrants to muster their forces,
and give the steerage a final, thorough cleaning with sand and water.
And to this they were incited by the same warning which had induced them
to make an offering to Neptune of their bedding. The place was then
fumigated, and dried with pans of coals from the galley; so that by
evening, no stranger would have imagined, from her appearance, that the
Highlander had made otherwise than a tidy and prosperous voyage. Thus,
some sea-captains take good heed that benevolent citizens shall not get
a glimpse of the true condition of the steerage while at sea.

That night it again fell calm; but next morning, though the wind was
somewhat against us, we set sail for the Narrows; and making short
tacks, at last ran through, almost bringing our jib-boom over one of the

An early shower had refreshed the woods and fields, that glowed with a
glorious green; and to our salted lungs, the land breeze was spiced with
aromas. The steerage passengers almost neighed with delight, like horses
brought back to spring pastures; and every eye and ear in the Highlander
was full of the glad sights and sounds of the shore.

No more did we think of the gale and the plague; nor turn our eyes
upward to the stains of blood, still visible on the topsail, whence
Jackson had fallen; but we fixed our gaze on the orchards and meads, and
like thirsty men, drank in all their dew.

On the Staten Island side, a white staff displayed a pale yellow flag,
denoting the habitation of the quarantine officer; for as if to
symbolize the yellow fever itself, and strike a panic and premonition of
the black vomit into every beholder, all quarantines all over the world,
taint the air with the streamings of their f ever-flag.

But though the long rows of white-washed hospitals on the hill side were
now in plain sight, and though scores of ships were here lying at
anchor, yet no boat came off to us; and to our surprise and delight, on
we sailed, past a spot which every one had dreaded. How it was that they
thus let us pass without boarding us, we never could learn.

Now rose the city from out the bay, and one by one, her spires pierced
the blue; while thick and more thick, ships, brigs, schooners, and sail
boats, thronged around. We saw the Hartz Forest of masts and black
rigging stretching along the East River; and northward, up the stately
old Hudson, covered with white sloop-sails like fleets of swans, we
caught a far glimpse of the purple Palisades.

Oh! he who has never been afar, let him once go from home, to know what
home is. For as you draw nigh again to your old native river, he seems
to pour through you with all his tides, and in your enthusiasm, you
swear to build altars like mile-stones, along both his sacred banks.

Like the Czar of all the Russias, and Siberia to boot, Captain Riga,
telescope in hand, stood on the poop, pointing out to the passengers,
Governor's Island, Castle Garden, and the Battery.

"And that" said he, pointing out a vast black hull which, like a shark,
showed tiers of teeth, "that, ladies, is a line-of-battle-ship, the
North Carolina."

"Oh, dear!"--and "Oh my!"--ejaculated the ladies, and--"Lord, save us,"
responded an old gentleman, who was a member of the Peace Society.

Hurra! hurra! and ten thousand times hurra! down goes our old anchor,
fathoms down into the free and independent Yankee mud, one handful of
which was now worth a broad manor in England.

The Whitehall boats were around us, and soon, our cabin passengers were
all off, gay as crickets, and bound for a late dinner at the Astor
House; where, no doubt, they fired off a salute of champagne corks in
honor of their own arrival. Only a very few of the steerage passengers,
however, could afford to pay the high price the watermen demanded for
carrying them ashore; so most of them remained with us till morning. But
nothing could restrain our Italian boy, Carlo, who, promising the
watermen to pay them with his music, was triumphantly rowed ashore,
seated in the stern of the boat, his organ before him, and something
like "Hail Columbia!" his tune. We gave him three rapturous cheers, and
we never saw Carlo again.

Harry and I passed the greater part of the night walking the deck, and
gazing at the thousand lights of the city.

At sunrise, we warped into a berth at the foot of Wall-street, and
knotted our old ship, stem and stern, to the pier. But that knotting of
her, was the unknotting of the bonds of the sailors, among whom, it is a
maxim, that the ship once fast to the wharf, they are free. So with a
rush and a shout, they bounded ashore, followed by the tumultuous crowd
of emigrants, whose friends, day-laborers and housemaids, stood ready to
embrace them.

But in silent gratitude at the end of a voyage, almost equally
uncongenial to both of us, and so bitter to one, Harry and I sat on a
chest in the forecastle. And now, the ship that we had loathed, grew
lovely in our eyes, which lingered over every familiar old timber; for
the scene of suffering is a scene of joy when the suffering is past; and
the silent reminiscence of hardships departed, is sweeter than the
presence of delight.


There we sat in that tarry old den, the only inhabitants of the deserted
old ship, but the mate and the rats.

At last, Harry went to his chest, and drawing out a few shillings,
proposed that we should go ashore, and return with a supper, to eat in
the forecastle. Little else that was eatable being for sale in the
paltry shops along the wharves, we bought several pies, some doughnuts,
and a bottle of ginger-pop, and thus supplied we made merry. For to us,
whose very mouths were become pickled and puckered, with the continual
flavor of briny beef, those pies and doughnuts were most delicious. And
as for the ginger-pop, why, that ginger-pop was divine! I have
reverenced ginger-pop ever since.

We kept late hours that night; for, delightful certainty! placed beyond
all doubt--like royal landsmen, we were masters of the watches of the
night, and no starb-o-leens ahoy! would annoy us again.

"All night in! think of that, Harry, my friend!"

"Ay, Wellingborough, it's enough to keep me awake forever, to think I
may now sleep as long as I please."

We turned out bright and early, and then prepared for the shore, first
stripping to the waist, for a toilet.

"I shall never get these confounded tar-stains out of my fingers," cried
Harry, rubbing them hard with a bit of oakum, steeped in strong suds.
"No! they will not come out, and I'm ruined for life. Look at my hand
once, Wellingborough!"

It was indeed a sad sight. Every finger nail, like mine, was dyed of a
rich, russet hue; looking something like bits of fine tortoise shell.

"Never mind, Harry," said I--"You know the ladies of the east steep the
tips of their fingers in some golden dye."

"And by Plutus," cried Harry--"I'd steep mine up to the armpits in gold;
since you talk about that. But never mind, I'll swear I'm just from
Persia, my boy."

We now arrayed ourselves in our best, and sallied ashore; and, at once,
I piloted Harry to the sign of a Turkey Cock in Fulton-street, kept by
one Sweeny, a place famous for cheap Souchong, and capital buckwheat

"Well, gentlemen, what will you have?"--said a waiter, as we seated
ourselves at a table.

"Gentlemen!" whispered Harry to me--"gentlemen!--hear him!--I say now,
Redburn, they didn't talk to us that way on board the old Highlander. By
heaven, I begin to feel my straps again:--Coffee and hot rolls," he added
aloud, crossing his legs like a lord, "and fellow--come back--bring us a

"Haven't got it, gentlemen."

"Ham and eggs," suggested I, whose mouth was watering at the
recollection of that particular dish, which I had tasted at the sign of
the Turkey Cock before. So ham and eggs it was; and royal coffee, and
imperial toast.

But the butter!

"Harry, did you ever taste such butter as this before?"

"Don't say a word,"--said Harry, spreading his tenth slice of toast "I'm
going to turn dairyman, and keep within the blessed savor of butter, so
long as I live."

We made a breakfast, never to be forgotten; paid our bill with a
flourish, and sallied into the street, like two goodly galleons of gold,
bound from Acapulco to Old Spain.

"Now," said Harry, "lead on; and let's see something of these United
States of yours. I'm ready to pace from Maine to Florida; ford the Great
Lakes; and jump the River Ohio, if it comes in the way. Here, take my
arm;--lead on."

Such was the miraculous change, that had now come over him. It reminded
me of his manner, when we had started for London, from the sign of the
Golden Anchor, in Liverpool.

He was, indeed, in most wonderful spirits; at which I could not help
marveling; considering the cavity in his pockets; and that he was a
stranger in the land.

By noon he had selected his boarding-house, a private establishment,
where they did not charge much for their board, and where the landlady's
butcher's bill was not very large.

Here, at last, I left him to get his chest from the ship; while I turned
up town to see my old friend Mr. Jones, and learn what had happened
during my absence.

With one hand, Mr. Jones shook mine most cordially; and with the other,
gave me some letters, which I eagerly devoured. Their purport compelled
my departure homeward; and I at once sought out Harry to inform him.

Strange, but even the few hours' absence which had intervened; during
which, Harry had been left to himself, to stare at strange streets, and
strange faces, had wrought a marked change in his countenance. He was a
creature of the suddenest impulses. Left to himself, the strange streets
seemed now to have reminded him of his friendless condition; and I found
him with a very sad eye; and his right hand groping in his pocket.

"Where am I going to dine, this day week?"--he slowly said. "What's to be
done, Wellingborough?"

And when I told him that the next afternoon I must leave him; he looked
downhearted enough. But I cheered him as well as I could; though needing
a little cheering myself; even though I had got home again. But no more
about that.

Now, there was a young man of my acquaintance in the city, much my
senior, by the name of Goodwell; and a good natured fellow he was; who
had of late been engaged as a clerk in a large forwarding house in
South-street; and it occurred to me, that he was just the man to
befriend Harry, and procure him a place. So I mentioned the thing to my
comrade; and we called upon Goodwell.

I saw that he was impressed by the handsome exterior of my friend; and
in private, making known the case, he faithfully promised to do his best
for him; though the times, he said, were quite dull.

That evening, Goodwell, Harry, and I, perambulated the streets, three
abreast:--Goodwell spending his money freely at the oyster-saloons; Harry
full of allusions to the London Clubhouses: and myself contributing a
small quota to the general entertainment.

Next morning, we proceeded to business.

Now, I did not expect to draw much of a salary from the ship; so as to
retire for life on the profits of my first voyage; but nevertheless, I
thought that a dollar or two might be coming. For dollars are valuable
things; and should not be overlooked, when they are owing. Therefore, as
the second morning after our arrival, had been set apart for paying off
the crew, Harry and I made our appearance on ship-board, with the rest.
We were told to enter the cabin; and once again I found myself, after an
interval of four months, and more, surrounded by its mahogany and maple.

Seated in a sumptuous arm-chair, behind a lustrous, inlaid desk, sat
Captain Riga, arrayed in his City Hotel suit, looking magisterial as the
Lord High Admiral of England. Hat in hand, the sailors stood
deferentially in a semicircle before him, while the captain held the
ship-papers in his hand, and one by one called their names; and in
mellow bank notes--beautiful sight!--paid them their wages.

Most of them had less than ten, a few twenty, and two, thirty dollars
coming to them; while the old cook, whose piety proved profitable in
restraining him from the expensive excesses of most seafaring men, and
who had taken no pay in advance, had the goodly round sum of seventy
dollars as his due.

Seven ten dollar bills! each of which, as I calculated at the time, was
worth precisely one hundred dimes, which were equal to one thousand
cents, which were again subdivisible into fractions. So that he now
stepped into a fortune of seventy thousand American "mitts." Only
seventy dollars, after all; but then, it has always seemed to me, that
stating amounts in sounding fractional sums, conveys a much fuller
notion of their magnitude, than by disguising their immensity in such
aggregations of value, as doubloons, sovereigns, and dollars. Who would
not rather be worth 125,000 francs in Paris, than only £5000 in London,
though the intrinsic value of the two sums, in round numbers, is pretty
much the same.

With a scrape of the foot, and such a bow as only a negro can make, the
old cook marched off with his fortune; and I have no doubt at once
invested it in a grand, underground oyster-cellar.

The other sailors, after counting their cash very carefully, and seeing
all was right, and not a bank-note was dog-eared, in which case they
would have demanded another: for they are not to be taken in and
cheated, your sailors, and they know their rights, too; at least, when
they are at liberty, after the voyage is concluded:--the sailors also
salaamed, and withdrew, leaving Harry and me face to face with the
Paymaster-general of the Forces.

We stood awhile, looking as polite as possible, and expecting every
moment to hear our names called, but not a word did we hear; while the
captain, throwing aside his accounts, lighted a very fragrant cigar,
took up the morning paper--I think it was the Herald--threw his leg over
one arm of the chair, and plunged into the latest intelligence from all
parts of the world.

I looked at Harry, and he looked at me; and then we both looked at this
incomprehensible captain.

At last Harry hemmed, and I scraped my foot to increase the disturbance.

The Paymaster-general looked up.

"Well, where do you come from? Who are you, pray? and what do you want?
Steward, show these young gentlemen out."

"I want my money," said Harry.

"My wages are due," said I.

The captain laughed. Oh! he was exceedingly merry; and taking a long
inspiration of smoke, removed his cigar, and sat sideways looking at us,
letting the vapor slowly wriggle and spiralize out of his mouth.

"Upon my soul, young gentlemen, you astonish me. Are your names down in
the City Directory? have you any letters of introduction, young

"Captain Riga!" cried Harry, enraged at his impudence--"I tell you what
it is, Captain Riga; this won't do--where's the rhino?"

"Captain Riga," added I, "do you not remember, that about four months
ago, my friend Mr. Jones and myself had an interview with you in this
very cabin; when it was agreed that I was to go out in your ship, and
receive three dollars per month for my services? Well, Captain Riga, I
have gone out with you, and returned; and now, sir, I'll thank you for
my pay."

"Ah, yes, I remember," said the captain. "Mr. Jones! Ha! ha! I remember
Mr. Jones: a very gentlemanly gentleman; and stop--you, too, are the son
of a wealthy French importer; and--let me think--was not your great-uncle
a barber?"

"No!" thundered I.

"Well, well, young gentleman, really I beg your pardon. Steward, chairs
for the young gentlemen--be seated, young gentlemen. And now, let me
see," turning over his accounts--"Hum, hum!--yes, here it is:
Wellingborough Redburn, at three dollars a month. Say four months,
that's twelve dollars; less three dollars advanced in Liverpool--that
makes it nine dollars; less three hammers and two scrapers lost
overboard--that brings it to four dollars and a quarter. I owe you four
dollars and a quarter, I believe, young gentleman?"

"So it seems, sir," said I, with staring eyes.

"And now let me see what you owe me, and then well be able to square the
yards, Monsieur Redburn."

Owe him! thought I--what do I owe him but a grudge, but I concealed my
resentment; and presently he said, "By running away from the ship in
Liverpool, you forfeited your wages, which amount to twelve dollars; and
as there has been advanced to you, in money, hammers, and scrapers,
seven dollars and seventy-five cents, you are therefore indebted to me
in precisely that sum. Now, young gentleman, I'll thank you for the
money;" and he extended his open palm across the desk.

"Shall I pitch into him?" whispered Harry.

I was thunderstruck at this most unforeseen announcement of the state of
my account with Captain Riga; and I began to understand why it was that
he had till now ignored my absence from the ship, when Harry and I were
in London. But a single minute's consideration showed that I could not
help myself; so, telling him that he was at liberty to begin his suit,
for I was a bankrupt, and could not pay him, I turned to go.

Now, here was this man actually turning a poor lad adrift without a
copper, after he had been slaving aboard his ship for more than four
mortal months. But Captain Riga was a bachelor of expensive habits, and
had run up large wine bills at the City Hotel. He could not afford to be
munificent. Peace to his dinners.

"Mr. Bolton, I believe," said the captain, now blandly bowing toward
Harry. "Mr. Bolton, you also shipped for three dollars per month: and
you had one month's advance in Liverpool; and from dock to dock we have
been about a month and a half; so I owe you just one dollar and a half,
Mr. Bolton; and here it is;" handing him six two-shilling pieces.

"And this," said Harry, throwing himself into a tragical attitude, "this
is the reward of my long and faithful services!"

Then, disdainfully flinging the silver on the desk, he exclaimed,
"There, Captain Riga, you may keep your tin! It has been in your purse,
and it would give me the itch to retain it. Good morning, sir."

"Good morning, young gentlemen; pray, call again," said the captain,
coolly bagging the coins. His politeness, while in port, was invincible.

Quitting the cabin, I remonstrated with Harry upon his recklessness in
disdaining his wages, small though they were; I begged to remind him of
his situation; and hinted that every penny he could get might prove
precious to him. But he only cried Pshaw! and that was the last of it.

Going forward, we found the sailors congregated on the forecastle-deck,
engaged in some earnest discussion; while several carts on the wharf,
loaded with their chests, were just in the act of driving off, destined
for the boarding-houses uptown. By the looks of our shipmates, I saw
very plainly that they must have some mischief under weigh; and so it
turned out.

Now, though Captain Riga had not been guilty of any particular outrage
against the sailors; yet, by a thousand small meannesses--such as
indirectly causing their allowance of bread and beef to be diminished,
without betraying any appearance of having any inclination that way, and
without speaking to the sailors on the subject--by this, and kindred
actions, I say, he had contracted the cordial dislike of the whole
ship's company; and long since they had bestowed upon him a name
unmentionably expressive of their contempt.

The voyage was now concluded; and it appeared that the subject being
debated by the assembly on the forecastle was, how best they might give
a united and valedictory expression of the sentiments they entertained
toward their late lord and master. Some emphatic symbol of those
sentiments was desired; some unmistakable token, which should forcibly
impress Captain Riga with the justest possible notion of their feelings.

It was like a meeting of the members of some mercantile company, upon
the eve of a prosperous dissolution of the concern; when the
subordinates, actuated by the purest gratitude toward their president,
or chief, proceed to vote him a silver pitcher, in token of their
respect. It was something like this, I repeat--but with a material
difference, as will be seen.

At last, the precise manner in which the thing should be done being
agreed upon, Blunt, the "Irish cockney," was deputed to summon the
captain. He knocked at the cabin-door, and politely requested the
steward to inform Captain Riga, that some gentlemen were on the
pier-head, earnestly seeking him; whereupon he joined his comrades.

In a few moments the captain sallied from the cabin, and found the
gentlemen alluded to, strung along the top of the bulwarks, on the side
next to the wharf. Upon his appearance, the row suddenly wheeled about,
presenting their backs; and making a motion, which was a polite salute
to every thing before them, but an abominable insult to all who happened
to be in their rear, they gave three cheers, and at one bound, cleared
the ship.

True to his imperturbable politeness while in port, Captain Riga only
lifted his hat, smiled very blandly, and slowly returned into his cabin.

Wishing to see the last movements of this remarkable crew, who were so
clever ashore and so craven afloat, Harry and I followed them along the
wharf, till they stopped at a sailor retreat, poetically denominated
"The Flashes." And here they all came to anchor before the bar; and the
landlord, a lantern-jawed landlord, bestirred himself behind it, among
his villainous old bottles and decanters. He well knew, from their
looks, that his customers were "flush," and would spend their money
freely, as, indeed, is the case with most seamen, recently paid off.

It was a touching scene.

"Well, maties," said one of them, at last--"I spose we shan't see each
other again:--come, let's splice the main-brace all round, and drink to
the last voyage!"

Upon this, the landlord danced down his glasses, on the bar, uncorked
his decanters, and deferentially pushed them over toward the sailors, as
much as to say--"Honorable gentlemen, it is not for me to allowance your
liquor;--help yourselves, your honors."

And so they did; each glass a bumper; and standing in a row, tossed them
all off; shook hands all round, three times three; and then disappeared
in couples, through the several doorways; for "The Flashes" was on a

If to every one, life be made up of farewells and greetings, and a
"Good-by, God bless you," is heard for every "How d'ye do, welcome, my
boy"--then, of all men, sailors shake the most hands, and wave the most
hats. They are here and then they are there; ever shifting themselves,
they shift among the shifting: and like rootless sea-weed, are tossed to
and fro.

As, after shaking our hands, our shipmates departed, Harry and I stood
on the corner awhile, till we saw the last man disappear.

"They are gone," said I.

"Thank heaven!" said Harry.


That same afternoon, I took my comrade down to the Battery; and we sat
on one of the benches, under the summer shade of the trees.

It was a quiet, beautiful scene; full of promenading ladies and
gentlemen; and through the foliage, so fresh and bright, we looked out
over the bay, varied with glancing ships; and then, we looked down to
our boots; and thought what a fine world it would be, if we only had a
little money to enjoy it. But that's the everlasting rub--oh, who can
cure an empty pocket?

"I have no doubt, Goodwell will take care of you, Harry," said I, "he's
a fine, good-hearted fellow; and will do his best for you, I know."

"No doubt of it," said Harry, looking hopeless.

"And I need not tell you, Harry, how sorry I am to leave you so soon."

"And I am sorry enough myself," said Harry, looking very sincere.

"But I will be soon back again, I doubt not," said I.

"Perhaps so," said Harry, shaking his head. "How far is it off?"

"Only a hundred and eighty miles," said I.

"A hundred and eighty miles!" said Harry, drawing the words out like an
endless ribbon. "Why, I couldn't walk that in a month."

"Now, my dear friend," said I, "take my advice, and while I am gone,
keep up a stout heart; never despair, and all will be well."

But notwithstanding all I could say to encourage him, Harry felt so bad,
that nothing would do, but a rush to a neighboring bar, where we both
gulped down a glass of ginger-pop; after which we felt better.

He accompanied me to the steamboat, that was to carry me homeward; he
stuck close to my side, till she was about to put off; then, standing on
the wharf, he shook me by the hand, till we almost counteracted the play
of the paddles; and at last, with a mutual jerk at the arm-pits, we
parted. I never saw Harry again.

I pass over the reception I met with at home; how I plunged into
embraces, long and loving:--I pass over this; and will conclude my first
voyage by relating all I know of what overtook Harry Bolton.

Circumstances beyond my control, detained me at home for several weeks;
during which, I wrote to my friend, without receiving an answer.

I then wrote to young Goodwell, who returned me the following letter,
now spread before me.

"Dear Redburn--Your poor friend, Harry, I can not find any where. After
you left, he called upon me several times, and we walked out together;
and my interest in him increased every day. But you don't know how dull
are the times here, and what multitudes of young men, well qualified,
are seeking employment in counting-houses. I did my best; but could not
get Harry a place. However, I cheered him. But he grew more and more
melancholy, and at last told me, that he had sold all his clothes but
those on his back to pay his board. I offered to loan him a few dollars,
but he would not receive them. I called upon him two or three times
after this, but he was not in; at last, his landlady told me that he had
permanently left her house the very day before. Upon my questioning her
closely, as to where he had gone, she answered, that she did not know,
but from certain hints that had dropped from our poor friend, she feared
he had gone on a whaling voyage. I at once went to the offices in
South-street, where men are shipped for the Nantucket whalers, and made
inquiries among them; but without success. And this, I am heartily
grieved to say, is all I know of our friend. I can not believe that his
melancholy could bring him to the insanity of throwing himself away in a
whaler; and I still think, that he must be somewhere in the city. You
must come down yourself, and help me seek him out."

This! letter gave me a dreadful shock. Remembering our adventure in
London, and his conduct there; remembering how liable he was to yield to
the most sudden, crazy, and contrary impulses; and that, as a
friendless, penniless foreigner in New York, he must have had the most
terrible incitements to committing violence upon himself; I shuddered to
think, that even now, while I thought of him, he might no more be
living. So strong was this impression at the time, that I quickly
glanced over the papers to see if there were any accounts of suicides,
or drowned persons floating in the harbor of New York.

I now made all the haste I could to the seaport, but though I sought him
all over, no tidings whatever could be heard.

To relieve my anxiety, Goodwell endeavored to assure me, that Harry must
indeed have departed on a whaling voyage. But remembering his bitter
experience on board of the Highlander, and more than all, his
nervousness about going aloft, it seemed next to impossible.

At last I was forced to give him up.

                 *     *     *     *     *

Years after this, I found myself a sailor in the Pacific, on board of a
whaler. One day at sea, we spoke another whaler, and the boat's crew
that boarded our vessel, came forward among us to have a little
sea-chat, as is always customary upon such occasions.

Among the strangers was an Englishman, who had shipped in his vessel at
Callao, for the cruise. In the course of conversation, he made allusion
to the fact, that he had now been in the Pacific several years, and that
the good craft Huntress of Nantucket had had the honor of originally
bringing him round upon that side of the globe. I asked him why he had
abandoned her; he answered that she was the most unlucky of ships.

"We had hardly been out three months," said he, "when on the Brazil
banks we lost a boat's crew, chasing a whale after sundown; and next day
lost a poor little fellow, a countryman of mine, who had never entered
the boats; he fell over the side, and was jammed between the ship, and a
whale, while we were cutting the fish in. Poor fellow, he had a hard
time of it, from the beginning; he was a gentleman's son, and when you
could coax him to it, he sang like a bird."

"What was his name?" said I, trembling with expectation; "what kind of
eyes did he have? what was the color of his hair?"

"Harry Bolton was not your brother?" cried the stranger, starting.

Harry Bolton!

It was even he!

But yet, I, Wellingborough Redburn, chance to survive, after having
passed through far more perilous scenes than any narrated in this, My
First Voyage--which here I end.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Redburn. His First Voyage - Being the Sailor Boy Confessions and Reminiscences of the Son-Of-A-Gentleman in the Merchant Navy" ***

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