ページの画像
PDF
ePub

which those cities were included ; and as the greater part of the volume relates to Scotland, and the writer is a Scotchman, he thought it no wrong to take a Scotch title.

Crumbs are but trifles, though a morsel of Manchaneel may poison a man and the same quantity of gingerbread may tickle his palate ; but the crumbs here presented do not belong to either class. All Scotchmen know that the cakes for which their native land is celebrated, are made of oatmeal (baked hard); which, though substantial, are very dry: this consideration will show the propriety of the title. It is also appropriate in another respect, for the writer is conscious that these fragmentary notes of travel in his native country are, in comparison

to the richness of the materials and the subject, but as :-«crumbs to the loaf.

The sea.

“ The sea ! the sea ! the open sea !

The blue, the fresh, the ever free!
Without a mark, without a bound
It runneth earth's wide region round."

en

In common with all Scotchmen who have been long absent from their native country, I had fondly desired to see once more her rugged hills ; an unexpected opportunity of gratifying this desire occurring, I at once embraced it, and on Wednesday, the 17th of April, 1850, left the Cunard Dock, Jersey City, in the royal mail steamer Europa, bound for Liverpool. As we moved from the pier, the welkin rang with the shouts of the assembled spectators, for it doubtless seemed a very pleasant affair to be borne off in such dashing style. My first emotion was strange and indescribable. It seemed difficult to realize that I had commenced an ocean voyage. Why am I here? was the first inquiry I made of myself.; and to tell the truth, it was hard to find an answer, so very recently had the thought of the trip suggested itself, and so hastily had it been acted on.

It was curious, on looking around me, to observe that the countenances of many of those on board seemed to say, as they paced the deck, “Well, what shall we do now ?!! Those who had been to sea before took it very coolly; but the most of them were making their “experimental trip,” and were, therefore, quite unprepared for the new position of things. Is there to be no change for ten days ? Is this ship to be a rolling prison for that length of time? Thus was I musing, when the motion of the wheels was arrested, and we paused to discharge our pilot. Those who had been thoughtful, sent back their parting letters, and we then stood out to sea. The waters of the bay, at this point, were pressing against those of the ocean, as if to keep them out, and refusing to mingle. The Atlantic appeared of a bright blue, bordering upon green; but as we swept onward it grew darker, till beneath us it seemed a sea of ink. As level as a prairie, without a ripple on its surface, it spread out equally on every side, with the great concave sky bending down, like Providence, all around us. We seemed the centre of a vast circle,

“ With the blue above, and the blue below,

And silence wheresoe'er we go.”

In a storm the ocean may be sublime ; but in this deep calm it is beauty itself. It is vast, indeed ; but so still, so glassy, that I loved to look out upon it as a sleeping world, which might be roused ; and then how terrible, thought I, must be its rage! I began to feel the excitement of the sea, as we were borne onward further and still further from the shore; and I enjoyed it the more as the swell of the ocean began to heave the ship, and remind me that a trip to Europe, like life, is not smooth sailing all the way over.

There is something very grand in the boundlessness of an ocean view, circumscribed only by the blue horizon. Expanse unlimited around, and depths unfathomable beneath.

Mrs. Sigourney, in her address to the ocean, thus eloquently exclaims :

Of whose strong culture speak thy sunless plants
And groves of coral, which no mortal guest
Hath visited, and lived ?

What Sculpture wrought
These monuments of amber, and of pearl,
Where sleeps the sea-boy, in a pomp that earth
Denies her buried kings?

Who strangely stretch'd
A line of sand to curb thy monstrous tide,
And writing “Hitherto !”—bade the mad surge
Respect the solemn mandate?

Who hath thy keys, oh Deep? Who taketh note
Of all thy wealth? Who numbereth the host
That spread their tents amid thy cells and sleep
Unwakened, unreturning!

Still one reply-
Each breaking billow speaks that one dread Name.

I slept soundly the first night, and rose before six, congratulating myself that a day and a night had passed, and I had escaped the sickness of the sea. But how often are we doomed to dissappointment; and on how slender a basis do we build our hopes! I had awakened to a new and widely different scene from that which had been yesterday spread before me. The mildness of spring was succeeded by the blasts of winter; and as I went on deck the snow was driving furiously. - The sea raged, and was tempestuous.” The vessel pitched violently, shipping heavy seas, and giving us, at the very outset of our voyage, a foretaste of what was to follow. And then came that sickness, without sympathy, and without cure-often described, but never adequately; a visitation that we must experience in order to appreciate, and which is most dreaded by those who have most frequently been its victims—a sickness that brings with it a desire to die, so that one almost feels

« 前へ次へ »