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and boats and barges laden with passengers were moving in every direction. It was amusing to watch the numerous parties on board the steamers at their meals; those forward indulging in bread and cheese and sausages, and vin ordinaire or beer; the more aristocratic aft in chickenpies, hams, champagne, and claret, in which beverages they drank prosperity to the republic and long life to the President, though they would as readily have toasted a king or an emperor. It was a day of excitement. The first thing in the morning there was a pulling-match, but who was the winner I am unable to say. Then the President paid a visit to the dockyard, and from that time every one was on the tip-toe of expectation to catch a glimpse of him as he pulled off to the ships-of-war he purposed visiting.
Āt length he appeared in a state barge of blue and white and gold, and prow and stern raised and carved richly, which floated as proudly as that of any Lord Mayor of London, from Whittington downward ; for not altogether dissimilar was she in appearance. She pulled twenty-four oars, and a captain stood by the coxswain to con her. Under a canopy of purple cloth, the colour reminding one of imperial dignity, sat the President of the republic, a tricolor flag waving in the bow from a lofty flagstaff, speaking, however, loudly of republicanism. As his galley shot out of the dockyard, there burst forth from the mouth of every cannon on board the ships and in every fort on shore, roars most tremendous, flashes of flame, and clouds of smoke. Never had I before heard such a wild, terrific uproar; crash followed crash, till it appeared that every soul afloat or on shore must be annihilated.
Thundering away went the guns, every ship firing every gun she had as fast as she could, and every fort doing the same. Bang-crash, crash, crash. The ladies stopped their ears, and looked as if they wished themselves well out of it. It appeared as if a fierce battle were raging, while the ships, and the batteries, and the shore, were shrouded by a dense mass of smoke. On a sudden the firing ceased, the smoke blew away, revealing once more the masts and rigging of the ships of war, now crowded with men in the act of laying out on the yards. The crews cheered, and the bands of all the ships struck up martial music, which floated joyfully over the water, and one could not help fancying that something very important was taking place. In reality, it was only a coup d'étatPrince Napoleon was trying to supplant Prince de Joinville in the affections of the seamen of France. It is said that he made himself very popular, and gained golden opinions from all classes of men.
His first visit was to the Friedland, the flag-ship of Admiral Deschenes, then to the Valmy, and next to Minerve, the gunnery-ship, on the same plan as our Excellent. Here some practice took place, but I cannot say that the firing was anything out of the way good. Having inspected his own ships, he paid a visit to Lord Wilton's beautiful schooner, the Xarifa, and afterwards to the Enchantress, Lord Cardigan's yacht, both perfect vessels of their kind. We yachtsmen had, indeed, reason to feel not a little proud of the display made by our peaceable crafts on the occasion.
Perhaps it may have occurred to any Frenchmen, who might have looked with boastful eyes on their proud war-ships, if these sons of perfidious Albion can make such a display with their pleasure-boats, what will they do if they get into earnest, and fit out a national fleet of big ships and steamers ? Unfortunately, however, there is that indomitable self-sufficiency and pride in the composition of Frenchmen that they cannot be convinced of our superiority at sea, and will, to a certainty, on the first favourable opportunity, try to pay off old scores.
I do not say this from any dislike to the French, but being in an economical, or rather an utilitarian, mood, I wish they would sensibly reduce their squadron to dimensions suited to the wants of peaceable people, and allow us to employ our ships in carrying emigrants, putting down the slave-trade, and taking care of our interests in various parts of the world. I only do hope, if they ever do go to war with us again, that we shall not let them rest till we have sunk every one of their ships, and burnt and destroyed every dockyard and arsenal on their coasts, so as to put it for the future out of their power to threaten us. That dockyard at Cherbourg is a sore subject with me. It puts me too much in mind of a man's fist held up to my nose to be pleasant. It is a doubled fist near John Bull's nose, let him depend on that, and one that will strike very hard, if he ever shuts his eyes and has not his own knuckles ready
We went on board several of the French ships, and were much struck with their beauty, cleanliness, and order, while every improvement which science has suggested has been introduced on board them. We were not particularly prepossessed in favour of the French seamen, either on shore or on board. There was a roughness in their manner which savoured somewhat of national dislike, fostered for sinister purposes, to be pleasant; or, if it was put on in imitation of the manners of our own honest Jack Tars, all I can say is, that it was a very bad imitation indeed, and about as unlike the truth as when they attempt to represent the national character on the stage.
From the French officers all who visited their ships received the very greatest attention and courtesy. We sailed that afternoon, as soon as the spectacle was over, in company with the Fun. I cannot, therefore, describe the ball, with its overpowering heat and crush, which took place that evening, nor the sham-fight, when the boats of the squadron attacked the steamer Descartes, nor the evolutions of the feet, nor the awful expenditure of gunpowder from the ships, sufficient to make the economical hearts of Joe Hume and Cobden sink dismayed within their bosoms. Oh, Cobden--oh, man of Manchester! think you this expenditure of gunpowder and noise breathes the spirit of peace ? Oh, Joe, surnamed Hume, excellent calculator, well versed in addition and subtraction, is it not worth while to employ some portion of our own income, even a large portion maybe, to insure old England against any freak our volatile neighbours may take into their heads? We have heard lately of the descendants of the Crusaders talking largely of winning infidel Britain to become the humble servant of a certain personage who manages, by aid of our volatile friends' bayonets, to sit, somewhat uneasily perhaps, in a chair in which St. Peter it is said once sat. We live in the nineteenth century, and therefore neither the nonsense spoken by the Crusaders' descendants, nor by the developers of religion, nor by any Father Ignatius alive, nor by Brumigem patriot Cobden, affect us much, nor destroy our night's repose; but they serve, nevertheless, to show the animus of the speakers, and therefore would we wisely guard against them, for fools, if allowed to go on in their foolery, or knaves in their knavery, are apt to prove dangerous in the end. But I have done with public affairs. The Ripple and the Fun danced gaily together over the starlit ocean towards Plymouth, wind and tide favouring us. The voices of our fair friends, as they sung in concert some delicious airs, sounded across the water most sweetly to our ears. What a contrast to the loud roar of the cannon in the morning, and the glare and bustle of Cherbourg harbour, did that quiet evening present!
“ Well, what do you think of it?" I asked of Ashmore, as we stood late at night watching the Fun gliding on noiselessly close on our weather-beam.
“ That she is one of the sweetest girls I have ever met, and so fond of yachting. She'll suit me," he answered.
“I was speaking of the Cherbourg affair," I observed, laughing.
“And I, my dear fellow, was thinking of Laura Mizzen,” he replied, frankly. “But my doubts are whether she will have me. A woman may like a man, and yet not be in love with him, or ready to marry him.”
“Take my advice, and ask her,” said I; - you have no great reason to dread her reply.”
We arrived safe in Plymouth in time for the afternoon service. Ashmore took my advice, and I am happy to say that in the autumn I received cards with silver ties from my friends Mr. and Mrs. Ashmore and Mr. and Mrs. Tom Mizzen. I think it right to announce to the spinster world that Groggs, Porpoise, and I, are still bachelors.
I'M THINKING OF THE PAST.
BY J. E. CARPENTER.
I'm thinking of the time
As to some far sunny clime ;
Though our lives are waning fast,
Yes, I'm thinking of the past.
I'm thinking of the hours
With its garden and its flowers ;
Like us, life's wintry blast;
But I'm thinking of the past.
I'm thinking of our talk
In many a moonlit walk ;
Of love, that still shall last,
As I'm thinking of the past.
THE ANCESTRESS; OR, FAMILY PRIDE.
BY MRS. BUSHBY.
I. ADELGUNDA was one of the most beautiful creatures ever moulded by the great Master's hand, and one on whom He might deign to look with the same paternal complacency as Pygmalion looked on his Galathea.
Adelgunda was also as the apple of their eye to her father and mother ; but not the less did they bring her up with the utmost strictness and severity, in the awful loftiness of their aristocratic principles, which made no allowance for a single error, a single imperfection, a single weakness even, among any who belonged to them. Every one was to be superexcellent, and supremely high-bred like their ancestors; for their ancestors had only virtues, their failings being entombed with their bodies. The slightest infringement of the stately decorum, the formal proprietyand, to the honour of their ancestors we must add—the rectitude, the loyal and chivalric conduct of these worthies, called forth as unmerciful punishment as a heinous fault. And Adelgunda, from her earliest infancy, learned to form grand ideas about her noble, ancient, and opulent family ; it was impressed on her mind that she would be very degenerate indeed if she did not resemble all those long departed and now mouldering dames and damsels, whose portraits hung in long rows in the great picture-gallery, as a large old-fashioned apartment was called, which, in spite of accidental fires, of repairs and renovations in the old baronial castle, had preserved unaltered its antique appearance since the middle of the sixteenth century.
In her infancy, Adelgunda had often been taken into this venerable saloon, and, counting with her five small fingers, she could repeat the names of all these haughty-looking, long-bearded cavaliers, equipped in heavy armour, or these stiff, richly-dressed nobles, most of them decorated with jewelled orders, or other tokens of a high worldly position ; and these grand-looking ladies, encased in whalebone and stiff corsets, with towering powdered heads, and magnificent jewellery, evincing the wealth of the family. These ladies and gentlemen hung, as has been said, in straight rows on each side of the long, narrow, dark, oak-panelled hall ; and they were all half-length portraits in oval or almost square frames, the gilding of which had long since faded into a sort of a brownish-yellow cinnamon tint. But at the end of the hall, between two deep Gothic windows, with small old-fashioned panes of glass, there hung alone in state the great ancestress, or founder of the family—a tall, dark, sternlooking woman, whose countenance was grave, austere, and almost menacing, though the features, when narrowly examined, were regular and beautiful.
In contrast to the half-length portraits around, this picture was almost colossal in size ; and the noble lady it represented, who in Roman Catholic times had ended her days as the abbess of a convent, stood there so stately and so stiff in the close black garb, with the unbecoming white linen band across her forehead, and with one hand, in which she held a crucifix, resting on a dark-looking stand, on which a missal, a skull, and a rosary, lay near each other, the other hand hung carelessly down by her side, and almost reached the lower portion of the picture-frame, which seemed considerably darker and more time-worn than all the rest. This picture was painted on thick wood, or on canvas stretched on wood, it was not certain which, but every one knew that it was as heavy as lead—and so it proved to be.
The likeness of the patriarch of the family—of the father of the racepainted to correspond in size and everything else to that of the high-born lady above mentioned, had in former days hung also in this saloon, but had been destroyed in a fire which had taken place between the years 1740 and 1750, so that the stern, imperious-looking dame now occupied the place of honour alone.
Her parents had never omitted, when they accompanied Adelgunda into the picture-gallery, to take her up first to one, then to another of the noble ladies whose lineaments adorned the walls, saying, “How fortunate for you if you could be as good as this ancestress of yours was—as clever as that one—as beautiful as she was—as dutiful and affectionate as yon lady!” Adelgunda would fix her eyes on each by turns, and every time she looked at them her desire to resemble them increased. But the great gloomy portrait of the tall dark lady always awakened a thrill of terror in the little girl's mind. This was partly owing to the tales with which the servants frightened her about this harsh, awful-looking abbess, partly to her being obliged, whenever she was naughty, to go into the sombre apartment where the picture was, and, curtsying before it, to beg pardon of the stern, threatening figure.
With her tearful looks fixed upon it, she had often fancied that the eyes of the portrait moved; but it was a still greater trial to poor Adelgunda, when she had been guilty of some great offence, to be condemned, as a punishment, to stand for a quarter of an hour, or half an hour, under the dreaded portrait with her back to it.
There was a tradition in the family that many, many years back, during the lifetime of one of the more ancient lords of the castle, a little girl, a member of the race, who was undergoing a similar punishment, distinctly felt the terrible lady's hand, which hung unemployed by her side, stretch over the picture-frame and seize roughly hold of her hair. The recollection of that tradition was martyrdom to Adelgunda when this most dreaded penance was inflicted on her; and on one occasion, when her conscience was not of the clearest, and she had cried herself almost into a fever from fright, she fancied that she actually felt a grasp at her little golden tresses.
It is easy to imagine how anxious, in consequence of all this, Adelgunda was to avoid committing any faults, and with what terror the picture inspired her. And even in riper years, when she began to lay aside her childish dress and childish ideas, and when reason told her that a painted figure could have no more power or influence than any other inanimate object, she still looked with a certain degree of awe upon the portrait of her frowning ancestress, especially when her conscience told her that she had been guilty of any slight indiscretion; while, on the contrary, she felt some pleasure at gazing on the other family pictures, which all seemed to smile upon her.
But years and time wore on, and the aristocratic bones of Adelgunda's