« AnteriorContinuar »
manded officially to resign my sovereign authority to Mr. Dye, who was in every respect better qualified to discharge its sacred functions. He understood Tare and Tret, wrote a copper-plate hand, and, balancing himself upon one leg, could flourish angels and corkscrews. I, therefore, gave up the “ Academy School” to Mr. Dye, to the joy of the boys, but the sorrow of Virginia.
Virginia bewailed my impending departure with tears in her eyes.
“ Alas !” said she, “I “must now quit my French, my poetry and
English grammar! I shall be taught no more “ geography! I shall no more read in Paul and Virginia, but be put back into Noah Webster's “ horn-book! I shall (sobbing) do nothing but “ write and cypher! I wish Mr. Dye would “ mind his own business. I wish, instead of
coming to teach school, he would go and work
" at the crop.”
I now once more seized my staff, and walked towards Baltimore. It was a killing circumstance to separate from Virginia ; but who shall presume to contend against fate?
I still, and shall ever, behold Virginia in my fancy's eye. I behold her fair form among the trees. I contemplate her holding her handkerchief to her eyes. I still hear a tender adieu ! faultering on her lips; and the sob that choaked her utterance still knocks against my heart. . Phyllida amo ante alias; nam me discedere flevil!
VOYAGE from BALTIMORE in MARYLAND,
to COWES in the Isle of Wight.
Think you now behold
I embarked August 3, 1802, in the good ship Olive, Captain Norman, lying at Baltimore, for Cowes in the Isle of Wight. I had left England like a son of indigence in a miserable steerage ; but I now returned like a gentleman, enjoying the accommodations of an elegant cabin. It was by the merest fortune that I now returned to Englund; and that I did not travel four years and a half more in the United States of America. But Captain Norman politely accepted a draft for my passage across the Atlantic; or more properly speaking, took my word for the payment of twenty guineas.
Baltimore is built upon a river called Patapsco, about fifteen miles, I believe, from the Bay of Chesapeak. To get to sea we had to sail down the waters of this mighty Bay, and pass through
It was at Fell's Point that I went on board; a place remarkable for its Commerce of various kinds ; for here ships land their cargoes, and here their crews wait not even for the twilight to fly to the polluted arms of the white, the black and yellow harlot. In conformity with the prevailing fashion of novel-wrights I might here fill a dozen pages with anecdotes of a tender nature. It is the custom of the day. Every writer on life does it. And, indeed, so indifferent is the age become to all other beauties in a narrative, that many a male, and many a female reader, unless they find a tale of bawdry, fall asleep over their book. But I shall not descend to gratify a prurient imagination, and cursed be my page whenever it causes the virgin to hide her face.
While the breeze continued fair, the water smooth, and the good ship Olive without any perceptible motion, our passengers were merry as crickets. They consisted of a Bristol Physician, and his wife, and his three sons, and one daughter. But when the wind began to blow, the sea to rise, and the good ship Olive to roll; alas ! what a change! There was nothing but puking (I ought to gut this loathsome word of its vowels) from the rising of the sun till the going down thereof; every bucket in the ship was filled ; aye, even that in which the cook washed his dishes.
Amidst this scene of nausea the steward was
the only one who exhibited no emotion. Captain Norman and I scrambled upon deck; the steward, the steward alone, was undismayed! He sat very composedly on a chest eating fat pork !
D-n that fellow, cried the second mate. Stuffing his gizzard when all hands are sick! I do believe the villain would eat a dead jack-ass smothered in onions, that had laid in a ditch a fortnight. You steward !-Sir !--Come upon deck and take this bucket into the cabin !-I am eating my dinner, Sir !
Blessed stomach! that could swallow and digest fat pork amidst a family of puking passengers !
The name of this steward of pork-eating memory, is too precious to be omitted. It was Potpan. Mr. Potpan was a native of London. He was born in Thread-needle-street. His father was a bookseller of illustrious kindred. He was first cousin to the great Osborne, whom Doctor Jobnson knocked down with a folio.*--Mr. Potpan informed me that he had subscribed to a Circulating Library in London; and asked me very gravely if I had ever read the history of Tom Jones, a Foundling, by the author of Roderic Random.-Go wash your dishes, you dirty rascal, said the second mate.
1 * It is lamentable to what pigmies the present race of authors is reduced. In these degenerate days it would take at least a dozen Poets to lift the Folio which the athletic Johnson threw at the head of his bookseller. I never read this heroic achievement in the animated page of Boswell, but
It is a fact, that for the first week of our passage the steward did not once condescend to take the trouble to pull off his boots. They were Suwarrow boots; adorned with two tassels.
Mr. Adams, the second mate, made the discovery. The steward slept on the deck in the cabin; the mate hung above him in a hammock. It was ten at night. The steward was snoring ; the mate was making his hammock.
I'll be d-d, cried the mate, if our steward does not turn in with his boots on. He is like a trooper's horse. You steward! The steward kept snoring. There was a pair of my spurs lying on the locker. Mr. Adams strapped them to the steward's boots. The next morning when Mr. Potpan went upon deck, he was the jest of all hands. “ Hoist the boat out," cried one, “ the steward is going ashore !”—“Man the side
there,” exclaimed another, “ for the steward! “The steward is going ashore upon the shect" anchor !"
I have often had occasion to remark, that
I involuntarily start from my seat, and bawl out half a dozen lines from Virgil :
Nec plura effatus, saxum circumspicit ingens :
agro positus, litem ut discerneret arvis.