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Debules-Politeness of the Vice-President-A Journey on Foot into Virginia by the Great Falls of the Potomac—Get benighted-A hospitable Reception at a Log-house in the Woods-A cast a-way Sailor restored to the bosom of his Family, The Story of Jack Strangeways,
MEMOIR OF MY LIFE IN THE WOODS OF
Reception at Poboke-An old Field-School-A fair
Disciple-Evening Scene on a Plantation—Story
of Dick the Negro, &c. &c. &C.... ..357 Voyage from Baltimore in Maryland, to Cowes in the Isle of Wight,
ERRATA. Page 29 & 30, dele the Elegy, because neither gods, nor men, nor the stall of the bookseller, can tolerate mediocrity in poetry. P. 63, for irrevalent r. irrelative. P. 68, for stagnant , turbid. P. 105, for banks r. bank. P. 107, dele who. P. 186, for Centryphon r. Trypho. P. 190, for libere r. bibere. P. 235, for midnight r. balmy. P. 283, for Ominia 7. Omnia.
AVING formed the resolution of visiting the United States, I repaired, December 15, 1797, from Salisbury to Bristol, with a view of embarking on board a Snow of two hundred tons, which lay at the Quay, and was bound to New-York. The Captain had purposed to sail the 20th of the same month, but it was not before January 7th of the new year, that the vessel moved from the wharf, when the spring-tide enabled her to proceed down the river.
For my passage, which was in the steerage, I had paid seven guineas to the merchants who chartered the vessel, and my mess, which was with two young gentlemen of my acquaintance, cost me only three pounds more. But, with this money, besides provisions, we purchased a stove, which, during the voyage, was a treasure to us. It not only fortified us against the cold, but we cooked our victuals upon it; and the drawer
which was designed to hold the ashes, made an admirable oven. Hence there was never any occasion for us to have recourse to the caboose ; but, on the contrary, when the frequent gales of wind which we experienced caused the sea to break over the vessel, the cabin-boy solicited leave to dress his dinner on our fire. In relating these circumstances, I must claim the indulgence of the reader not to rank me among the courtiers of Alcinous ; men, fruges consumere nati. My only motive is, to suggest to the enterprising traveller at how small an expence he may be enabled to cross the Atlantic.
The cabin was by no means an enviable place. It offered neither accommodation nor society. Its passengers consisted of an Unitarian priest and family, and two itinerant merchants. The steerage groupe was composed of a good, jolly, Somersetshire farmer and his housekeeper, who were going to settle in Pennsylvania, of the two young gentlemen I have already mentioned, and myself. Having repeatedly crossed the Equator, and doubled the Cape of Good Hope, there is no occasion for me to say that the ocean was familiar to me; and that, while the other passengers were sick and dejected, I was in health and good spirits. To the roll of the vessel I was fully accustomed; but my companions not having gotten their sea legs on board, tumbled grievously about the decks. The library which I had brought with me, consisted of nearly three hundred vo
lumes, and would have endeared me to any place. The Muses, whom I never ceased to woo, blessed
I thought, not infrequently, with their nightly visitations; and I soothed my mind to tranquillity with the fancied harmony of my verse.
Ridentur mala qui componunt carmina : verum
Being an old sailor, I had provided myself with a cot, which, by making me insensible to the roll of the vessel, would, I thought, render my sleep more tranquil and undisturbed than a cabin. But I cannot say my slumbers the first night were very soft; for, hanging in the wake of the hatchway, the breeze from the deck made my situation very unpleasant. Foreseeing also that I was exposed to the deluge of every sea the brig should ship on the passage, I unhung my cot, and put it into a spare fore and aft cabin, which, to my satisfaction, I found, afterwards, was the only dry one in the steerage. The wind being favourable on getting under weigh, we profited from the occasion by shaking out the reefs, and shewing all our canvass to the breeze.
The old housekeeper, the very type of Dame Leonarda in Gil Blas, was the first among the passengers that began to hold up her head; and
the fourth day of our voyage she murdered an old hen to regale a poor sick gentleman, who thought he could relish some chicken broth. We had scarcely been out a week, when we experienced a gale of wind that was not less disastrous than tremendous. A sea which broke over the quarter washed a hencoop from its lashing, and drowned nearly three dozen of fowls. But it is an ill wind that blows nobody any good. The sailors made the fowls into an huge sea-pye of three decks, which they called the United States Man of War, and fed on it eagerly.
There was a carter in the vessel, who came on board to work his passage ; but he did very little work. Whenever a porpoise or even a gull was visible, he considered it the presage of a storm, and became himself invisible till it was over. A report being circulated that the rats had left the vessel when in harbour, Coster Pearman concluded that they had done it by instinct; and, as an opinion prevails among sailors that a ship, on such an event, never gets safe to her port of destination, the booby gave himself up for lost. But hearing one night a rat scratch against the vessel's side, he ran upon deck in his shirt to proclaim it to the sailors, calling out with a joyful tone of voice, “ Whoa! hoa ! hoa ! a rat! a rat!”
The two Brothers was a miserably sailing tub, and her passage a most tedious one. Head winds constantly prevailed, and scarcely a week elapsed