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he appeared to have qualified himself with laudable industry : for he was perfect in Walker's Pronouncing Dictionary, and with an accent, which forcibly reminded me of the Scotchman in Roderic Random, who professed to teach the English pronunciation, he was constantly deferring to my superior judgment, whether or no I had pronounced this or that word with propriety, or “the true delicacy.” When he spoke, though it were only half a dozen sentences, he always rose; for which I could detect no other motive, than his partiality, to that elegant phrase so liberally introduced in the orations of our British legislators, “ While I am on my legs.” The Swede, whom for reasons that will soon appear, I shall distinguish by the name of “ Nobility,” was a strong-featured, scurvy-faced man, his complexion resembling, in colour, a red hot poker beginning to cool. He appeared miserably dependent on the Dane; but was however incomparably the best informed and most rational of the party. Indeed his manners and conversation discovered him to be both a man of the world and a gentleman. The Jew was in the hold: the French gentleman was lying on the deck so ill, that I could observe nothing concerning him, except the affectionate attentions of his servant to him. The poor fellow was very sick himself, and every now and then ran to the side of the vessel, still keeping his eye on his
master, but returned in a moment and seated himself again by him, now supporting his head, now wiping his forehead and talking to him all the while in the most soothing tones. There had been a matrimonial squabble of a very ludicrous kind in the cabin, between the little German tailor and his little wife. He had secured two beds, one for himself, and one for her. This had struck the little woman as a very cruel action; she insisted
their having but one, and assured the mate in the most piteous tones, that she was his lawful wife. The mate and the cabin boy decided in her favour, abused the little man for his want of tenderness with much humour, and hoisted him into the same compartment with his sea-sick wife. This quarrel was interesting to me, as it procured me a bed, which I otherwise should not have had.
In the evening, at 7 o'clock, the sea rolled higher, and the Dane, by means of the greater agitation, eliminated enough of what he had been swallowing to make room for a great deal more. His favourite potation was sugar and brandy, i. e. a very little warm water with a large quantity of brandy, sugar, and nutmeg. His servant boy, a black-eyed Mulatto, had a goodnatured round face, exactly the colour of the skin of the walnut-kernel. The Dane and I were again seated, tete a tete, in the ship's boat. The conversation, which was now indeed
rather an oration than a dialogue, became extravagant beyond all that I ever heard. He told me that he had made a large fortune in the island of Santa Cruz, and was now returning to Denmark to enjoy it. He expatiated on the style in which he meant to live, and the great undertakings which he proposed to himself to commence, till the brandy aiding his vanity, and his vanity and garrulity aiding the brandy, he talked like a madman-entreated me to accompany him to Denmark--there I should see his influence with the government, and he would introduce me to the king, &c. &c. Thus he went on dreaming aloud, and then passing with a very lyrical transition to the subject of general polítics, he declaimed, like a member of the Corresponding Society, about (not concerning) the Rights of Man, and assured me that notwithstanding his fortune, he thought the poorest man alive his equal. equal, my dear friend! all are equal ! Ve are all Got's children. The poorest man haf the same rights with me. Jack! Jack! some more sugar and brandy. Dhere is dhat fellow now! He is a Mulatto-but he is my equal.—That's right, Jack! (taking the sugar and brandy) Here you Sir! shake hands with dhis gentleman! Shake hands with me, you dog! Dhere, dhere! We are all equal my dear friend! Do I not speak like Socrates, and Plato, and
66 All are
Cato--they were all philosophers, my dear philosophe! all very great men !-and so was Homer and Virgil--but they were poets, yes, yes! I know all about it!--But what can any body say more than this ? we are all equal, all Got's children. I haf ten thousand a year,
but I am no more than the meanest man alive. I haf no pride; and yet, my dear friend! I can say, do! and it is done. Ha! ha! ha! my dear friend! Now dhere is dhat gentleman (pointing to“ Nobility') he is a Swedish baron-you shall
Ho! (calling to the Swede) get me, will you, a bottle of wine from the cabin. Swede. -Here, Jack !
go and get your master a bottle of wine from the cabin. Dane. No, no, no! do you go now-you go yourself--you go now! Swede. Pah!-Dane. Now go! Go, I pray you. AND THE SWEDE WENT!!
After this the Dane commenced an harangue on religion, and mistaking me for “un philosophe" in the continental sense of the word, he talked of Deity in a declamatory style, very much resembling the devotional rants of that rude blunderer, Mr. Thomas Paine, in his Age of Reason, and whispered in my ear, what damned hypocrism all Jesus Christ's business was. I dare aver, that few men have less reason to charge themselves with indulging in persiflage than myself. I should hate it if it were only that it is a Frenchman's vice, and feel a pride in
avoiding it because our own language is too honest to have a word to express it by. But in this instance the temptation had been too powerful, and I have placed it on the list of my offences. Pericles answered one of his dearest friends who had solicited him on a case of life and death, to take an equivocal oath for his preservation: Debeo amicis opitulari, sed usque ad Deos.* Friendship herself must place her last and boldest step on this side the altar. What Pericles would not do to save a friend's life, you may be assured I would not hazard merely to mill the chocolate-pot of a drunken fool's vanity till it frothed over. Assuming a serious look, I professed myself a believer, and sunk at once an hundred fathoms in his good graces. He retired to his cabin, and I wrapped myself up in my great coat, and looked at the water. A beautiful white cloud of foam at momently intervals coursed by the side of the vessel with a roar, and little stars of flame danced and sparkled and went out in it: and every now and then light detachments of this white cloud-like foam darted off from the vessel's side, each with its' own small constellation, over the sea, and scoured out of sight like a Tartar troop over a wilderness.
* Translation. It behoves me to side with my friends but only as far as the gods.