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THE BELEAGUERED SHIP.
BY C. D. STUART.
“IN 1774, an apparently deserted ship was met in the Polar Sea, encumbered with snow and ice. On boarding her, solitary man was found in the cabin, his fingers holding a pen, while before him laid the record which he had traced twelve years before. No appearance of decay was visible, except a little green mould upon his forehead."
But wo betide-the gallantest steed
That ever answered rein,
His foes in a heap of slain,
Riding so gay and fast, Were driven so swift on the Nor’land seas,
Spurred by the piping blastThat sudden they came to an icy land, It seemed an icy, mountainous clime, Mountains—but never a strand.
The sun rose up, and cheerily
Before the piping blast,
So gaily, and so fast,
Many from off the strand,
Waving the tell-tale hand ;
Dots the horizon's rim,
And many an eye grows dim ;
Never a dream have they
But merrily up alway,
Tried on the Nor'land wave-
Whether the storm might ravem
And the stout ship rode on,
And the warm winds were gone ;
Behind her lay untrod
And the sky seemed, and God
Anicy land—'twas a marvellous land,
Seen at the ruddy dawn-
Woke, and their dreams were gone!
As frost when the sun comes down-
Grew to a terrible frown;
Fairer in size and sight-
Mocking the helmsman's fright;
The mariners on her deck :
E’er met so terrible wreck; Gladly each soul would have yielded its breath On the open sea—but 'twas awful to think Of dying a piecemeal death. For never, they felt, could the icy chain
Which girt them round and round, Be cleft again, but for life and death
They were fast and firmly bound; They saw the white inoon when midnight care, And the pointed stars, -and the sun at noon, Glared down with an eye of fame!
Three thousand leagues a way there was glee, * By the hearths where dear ones clustered round,
For them, but the frozen sea!
C, beantiful, then, did the blue sky seem,
As never from land it seemed;
Of the sky in the night they dreamed ;
And their madness grew to a frenzy wild,
Aud the weakest, stricken first,
A draught for terrible thirst;
'Twas calmest of weather! the stout hip lay
Motionless-never a breeze
Fresh from the Norland seas ;
That glows on the icy sea,
Lost in immcosity;
Ere many months had gone,
How skeleton-like, and wan
No fragment was wasted-each drop of blood
Was dearer than wcalth untold,
Costing a realm of gold;
And he, when he saw that his sand was up,
With pen in skeleton hand-
And her hapless mariner band;
They had thought of home-bad wept and prayed,
Despair was come at last,
And they stared at their doom aghast;
And there he sat, until years had passed,
When the ice-girt ship was found,
Buried in thought profound;
To be roused out of a middle nap when Our party consisted of about three hundred, there's no occasion for it, is at any time a men, women and children, bound southward in ceremony to growl at, if one happens to be a a train of railroad-cars. Our next stopping growler; bat to be so disturbed at midnight place was to have been the town of Welden, in the middle of a wood swamp, in North Caro- N. C., where we were assured that we should lina, as I was in August last, with the mus- arrive at about midnight, and find ample and quitoes as thick as snow-flakes during a Ver- comfortable lodgings; but as I stated before, mont nor'-easter, and the fever-and-ague so we were roused from our middle naps by the dense in the atmosphere that you could cut it stoppage of the train in a wood swamp. Avoid with a knife, is enough to tap the gall of a ing the sleepy inquiries of the ladies, as they saint, if saints have any gall, and let out his lifted their disjointed curls and ringlets from bitterness. But as I am neither a growler nor the laps of their husbands, where they had a saint, it seemed most wise for me to tumble coiled them down for a doze, and had been into the other tack and take a pull at the sweet comfortably (?) snoozing away the hours of end of our stick of ill-luck, if so be, I could night-travel, I caught the arm of a companion, find it.
and having shaken him up like a bottle of 3
physic, to make him lively, dragged him forth Massa?" upon the platform for an observation. The
" How do you manage to get so many blood boiler of the locomotive was pouring out its sucking musquitoes here ?" remnant of steam with a lazy sort of expres- "Oh we raises 'em, massa, we do,-yah, yah," sion, that wont half groaning, half hissing -and the old darkey uttered a chuckling laugh, through the wood, and seemed to say "I'm" which denoted an under current of fun. There laid up for the night.” Here and there pine- was evidently something just below the skin of knot flambeaux gleamed cloudily among the his teeth that was itching to get out so we trees and about the cars, borne by negroes, and gave it a chance. as they sent their smoky glare through the * What do you raise them for, Ebony ?" dense atmosphere and darkness, gave one an The old fellow's shoulders fairly shook with idea of the place that Don Juan is supposed to glee, -yah, yah, yah, resounded through the have inliabited, after his life of stolen sweets still gloom, as he answered in broken passageson earth.
· Yes, massa, we raises 'em, yah, yah; we “ Conductor, what's the matter ?' This was raises 'em for—keep away de bobalishionersthe fiftieth time the poor devil had been bored yah, yah, yah!" with the same question, varied and diversified "For what! Bobalishioners! What do you with an interjection, an expletive, or an oath, mean ?" according to humor of the inquisitor, and as My friend, more quick of apprehension than many times had he given in his peculiarly phi- I, suggested that he meant the abolitionists. losophical way, the same answer, thus--- The · Yes, massa, dats it, de bobalishionists don't storm has carried away the bridge between like skeeters, no how—dare skins aint tick here and Welden, and undermined a quarter nuff, yah, yah, yah!" of a mile of the track, so that it is impossible " And you don't seem to like the abolitionto proceed. In the morning we will have ists any better than they like the musquitoes.” stages to carry you to town.” At the least Here our guide put on a sober face, and calculation, a ton weight of curiosity was re- looking over his shoulder, in a tone that moved from the breast of each individual who showed that he was afraid he might have gone listened to this calm reply ; but if one might too far, enquired—“Massa bobalishioner ?" judge from the guttural rumbling that fol- “Oh no, Ebony, never fear, we are no abolilowed, an equal amount of very unsaintly gall tionists." took the place of fugitive curiosity. One of two "Taut so-Cuffe 'taut so--massa look like things remained to be done ; either to stay in gemman all de time." the cars and be sucked to death by musquitoes, By this time the light of a blazing fire was or take shelter under the cloud of a flambeau, visible through the trees, at a distance of a few and look out for an adventure-small chance hundred yards, towards which our guide led for the latter as it seemed--but there's no harm in trying. My companion is something “What light is that, Ebony ?" of a rover like myself, when he's awake, and Public house dare, massa." it was agreed that we should employ one of "Good, we shall be there directly." the sable cicerones and see where he would lead And we were there directly-emerging from us. Accordingly, a six foot, woolly-header was the wood upon an open place, we found ourhailed
selves upon a road near the river's bank, and, “Ebony!"
as we afterwards learned, at the spot where “ Here, massa," answered the gigantic stick one end of the railroad bridge ought to have of sealing wax, as he sprang towards the plat- rested, and did rest before the recent flood carform.
ried it away. In the middle of the road a pile "* Is there a public house near here, Ebony?" of pine logs were blazing away, sending a bright
“Yes, massa, two, close down here, cross de glow along the surface of the ground and a swamp. Go dere, massa ?!
dense column of black smoke upward into the “Can you show us the way ?
welkin darkness. Wrapped in a coarse blan"Oh yes, massa, I knows him like a book.” ket, the person of one of our fellow passengers,
" Lead on then.” We set out in an atmos- who had got the start of us in search of the phere of pitch and ague, and dove into the “public house," was lying quietly by the side forest.
of the burning logs, having taken shelter there "Ebony !"
from the swarms of tormenting insects--on
one side of the road was a shanty, eridently landlord stood ready, with an open counte just put together with rough boards nailed nance, to receive us. My friend halted before against the trees, and a hole cut through to entering, and began spelling out the words on serve the purpose of a door. Upon the ground, the sign-board—“J-e-n Jen, n-y, ny, Jenny. leaning against the hut, was a board on which What the deuce does all this mean?" by the aid of the fire light we read in rude let- • Dat, inassa ? Dat means Jen-Lindebery ters, the words
body knows Jen-Lind--dats all de popilarty Eagle Hotel."
“Well, but what is Jenny Lind ?'' On the opposite side of the road was a can
"I dun no, massa, ony it's all de fashionvas enclosure-also intended for human shelter. Like the other, this had its sign-board,
ebery body talks 'bout it. Walk in gemmen.” bearing in bold characters, significant of com- "Well, what great man have we here? What
Accepting the invitation, my friend began : petition, the words
is your name ?! "JENNY LIND HOTEL.”
Name, massa ?" said the negro, scratching In what was meant for the doorway of each, his top. My massa aint hardly gim'e no name stood a negro, calling lustily, “Dis way mas- yet, sar; sometimes dey call me Pussy, 'cause sa, dis way--dis is de best house.”
I to de high church." After a moment's contemplation of the scene “Oh you 're a Puseyite, are you, and you go we turned to our cicerone
to the high church ?" ** Are these the “public houses” that you Yes, massa ; I'se de saston dare, ring de spoke of, Ebony ?"
bell, make fire in de winter, and sweep out de " Ye-yi-yes, massa— bofe good, --- best we got dust and dead sketers, in summer time.” here, massa."
“You are a useful pillar, no doubt; but have The hearty roar of laughter that burst from you got any medicine here—any hardware ??? us told the old rascal that his wool was safe, A look of grave astonishment overspread the and he was not slow in joining the guffa. features of our sable host. He shook his head.
"Well, Ebony, which is the best hotel ?” Come, no flummery; show us your bar.”'
" De Eagle, massa—de Eagle's de most asto- "Can't, massa ; it's agin de rule.” cratic.??
Well,” continued my friend, at the same "Good, let's try the Eagle.”
time jingling the small change in his pocket; Approaching the “ Hotel,” we were received "I have got a hammer that will break the rule, by the landlord with a grin that extended from we are in danger of getting the ague. Have ear to ear.
"What is your name ?" inquired my com- A grim smile passed over the features of the panion, as we entered.
negro, as he whispered—“Massa won't tell ?! "Martin, sar--Martin Ban Buren."
“Never fear; out with it. I must have “Oh, indeed! I hope your excellency is something, or this confounded fog will kill me well. What have you got that's good here, before morning." Mr. President."
“Come dis way, gemmen, please;" said the "Got some hoe-cake, massa, and sound roun- host, leading us to a remote corner, out of hearts, and some rut beer.”'
the light—"here's de bar,” and suiting, the “Nothing else ?"
action to the word he drew from his trowsers' "No, massa."
pocket a canteen of Monongahela cordial. "Got no medicine ?"
Well, it wasn't very bad to take, situated as we " Medicine, massa ? no; potecary shop over were, and our friend Pussey pocketed his two in Welden."
quarters with the dexterity of an old and practi" Stupid booby! Have you got any 'hard-ced hand. vare,' anything to warm a fellow's stomach of In the morning no stages arrived, of course, a damp night?
and after waiting, damp and breakfastless, till "Oh, no sar. Massa no let nigger sell licker nine o'clock, our discontented, hungry and frethere, no how."
ful regiment of humans weré quietly informed “Humph! Come, Charley, let's go to the that no stages would arrive, and that the whole Jenny Lind."
party, infantry and all, must foot it to WelWending our way across the road, we pro- den by crossing another bridge, which the ceeded to patronize the opposition.” The tempest had spared; our baggage, they said
you got a bar ?
would be sent after us during the day. In the Preparation was now made for a march, and course of the morning our friend of the pine- as every body must have a change of clothes log-fire field-bedstead, made his appearance at when they arrived on christian ground, the the cars, dressed like an opera-monkey, ele- baggage cars were overhauled, trunks opened, gantly begrimed with pitch-pine smoke, and and small packages made up, or the necessary swearing French oaths by the yard. He proved linen for a change taken from the trunks and to be a fashionably mustachioed son of Gaul, put into carpet bags or valises, to be carried by taking notes of American travel, for publication hand, and thus one by one the party gradually in the metropolis of the French Republic, and lessened, each carrying in his hand a temporary I promise you the chapter of that night's ad- parcel. The last preparatory operation of this ventures was set in italics.
kind that I witnessed, was that of
"Be my executor, and a guardian to my There are some minds so gross in their conchildren,” said a dying man to his friend. struction, that to them civility and generosity
“ Poor man!—What in the world have you are only inflictions. to leave for them ?" "A good name."
The honor of a poor man, like his purse,
is "And you confide that to me, in trust for
often an object of suspicion and distrust. your children ?
The imagination often frames or conjures "I do."
up objects seemingly too pure for human "I will do my best,” answered his friend. touch.