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brought himself to bear upon the portrait of another young lady in crayons, with the name Matilda, below.
That's a sweet pretty face, Mr. All, isn't it?” asked the lady, advancing towards it; "that's a very charmin' person-Lady Matilda Overton, wife of the sixth Lord Overton, of Overton Castle-only a baron, but a very good sort of man-wish I could say as much for the ’usband of this one”—(pointing to a companion picture)—"this is Lady Overton's sister-Lady Jane Baconface ; married Sir John Baconface never had a 'appy day since ; poor thing-uses her shamefully. I'm sure I often and often shed tears for her, poor thing,” said Mrs. Hermitage, emitting a deep sigh as she spoke. · The further discussion of the aristocracy was here interrupted, by the bouncing in of a great buxom-looking dairy-maid, in a wide-sleeved silk gown (one of Mrs. Hermitage's cast-offs, given in part wages), with a trayful of the good things that Mrs. Hermitage and she had been preparing; and after kicking the door to behind her, she proceeded to clatter them about on the table, just as she would clatter the plates of cabbage and bacon at the chaws' dinner-a noise that enabled Mrs. Hermitage to apologise to Tom, in an under tone, for the absence of their man, who was busy in the stable—the depressed state of the agricultural interest not allowing of their keeping a reg'lar Aunkey.”
And Guineafowle, seeing how nobly they had responded to his notice, began cackling and complimenting his host and hostess on the display, observing, “that they must be expecting the Duke and Duchess of Gormanstone, or some great guns of that sort; they surely would never think of making such a spread for a mere master of hounds, like himself;" and receiving the assurance that it was all in honour of him, he sat his flexible back a-going so briskly, that it looked as if it would never settle again ; but when it did subside, and he got himself into a chair on the right of his elegant hostess, he set to upon the provender in a way that looked very like having saved his own breakfast at home. Tom, too, did pretty well, considering he had taken as much as he meant for that meal at Carol Hill Green, and that he was desperately in love also. Those little episodes of life, however, never interfered with our Tom's appetite, who could always eat at any hour of the day, and, fortunate youth ! make as good a dinner at last as if he had not had anything before.
The munching, and sipping, and slopping, and supping of our friends was now interrupted by the clatter of a horse, and the passing of a man in a macintosh and ante-gropolos boots, on a badly shaped, badly clipped, mouse-coloured hack. . “Oh, here's old Bolus !” exclaimed Hermitage, beckoning him in through the window; “good man-very respectable man,” added he, propitiating his guests in his favour.
“ Quite agree with you—quite agree with you,” bowed old flexibleback nearly into his cup—“ very respectable man-very useful man in a country ; people can get on much better without lawyers than they can without doctors.”
“And here's another man we can do badly without - Ribs, the butcher,” exclaimed Hermitage, as that fat, round-faced, rosy-gilled functionary came shuffling past on a flea-bitten grey.
Having hanked their horses on at the door, in the independent way
these worthies dispose of their quadrupeds, they now came rolling into the house, as if it was an inn or their own.
“ What'll you drink?" asked Ribs, as they stamped along the passage.
“ Thank you, I'm not dry,” replied the doctor, mildly.
“ Hoot, ye brute beast! d'ye nabbut drink when yeer dry ?” growled the butcher.
They then entered the presence together.
The doctor, like most country doctors, was humble and meek, for he had a terrible rival in Mr. Digitalis, the union one, who charged less than himself; but Ribs, who was well to do in the world, and, moreover, had Hermitage deep in his books, was quite the hail-fellow-well-met, nodded to Guineafowle, and joked Hermitage about his farming, observing that he must grow his turnips for pickling, instead of for feeding cattle upon—they were so small. Guineafowle, on his part, not owing Ribs anything, and caring very little whether he came out with his hounds or not, took him very coolly, expending any little condescension he had to spare from Mrs. Hermitage upon the doctor. To the lady he was most complimentary and attentive; so much so, indeed, that it was well Mrs. Guineafowle was not coming her quondam maid Emma Springfield over him through the keyhole.
He praised Mrs. Hermitage's looks, and praised her dress, and praised her figure, and admired her multitudinous armlets, and spoke well of everything on the table, from the muddy coffee to the folding of the coroneted napkins, which, he said, were got up in a style infinitely superior to the work of the generality of servants of the present day. Mrs. Hermitage, not liking this near approach to the "shop,” especially before Ribs, who served the castle, and might tell of the coronets, turned the conversation, by asking our Tom if he had been at any of her Majesty's balls the last season, which very much flattered our friend that he should be even thought of for anything of the sort. Finding he had not, of course she expatiated on their surpassing splendour, strongly recommending him not to miss an opportunity, and even hinting that she could get him to the palace.
Hermitage, too, availed himself of the change of partners for drawing Guinea into a discussion on the corn-laws, and the impossibility of farmers going on without a very great reduction of rent-a proposition that did not altogether suit our distinguished friend; for though he was quite ready to admit that he had been robbed and plundered by the million, and that things had gone quite contrary to what he anticipated when he ratted from the Tories, yet, as a now liberal landlord, he was not for taking more on himself than he could help.
Hermitage, however, was urgent and importunate, hoping, perhaps, to enlist Ribs, who was now at the blue-bottled spirit-stand on the sidetable, in his favour; but Guinea, not relishing the discussion, took advantage of the movement in the room for looking out of the end window on his hounds, and observing that punctuality was the politeness of princes, he made a series of most condescending salaams to Mrs. Hermitage as he shook her by the hand, and sallied forth on the hunt, that we hope to have the pleasure of recording in our opening chapter next month.
QUEEN VICTORIA'S CHANNEL.* The name of the gallant Penny will be enrolled among those of the distinguished navigators of Great Britain. In a country where navigation and discovery are so inseparably interwoven in the banner of national success and national
power, this is no trivial honour. At least, his children's children will view it in that light, and as far more creditable than a disputed “captainship” or a barren knighthood. The chivalry of modern times, which impelled the hardy Scot to buffet waves and storms, to force his way over icy wildernesses, and navigate an unknown Polar sea in an open boat in the cause of suffering humanity, is surely quite as meritorious as the knight-errantry that could break a lance on a point of honour, or roam the land to succour dissatisfied maidens.
Engaged in navigating the Arctic seas ever since he was a boy of twelve years
the refinements of education and the nice conventionalisms of society are surplanted in Penny by a rare experience, sound and extensive practical knowledge, an enlarged spirit of enterprise, great perseverance, and a more than ordinary portion of that tact and judgment which belong to most of his hard-faring countrymen. Penny's ship-and he has been in command of a whaling ship for sixteen yearswas invariably the leading ship in the whaling squadron ; his ship entered into the most minute detail of ice-navigation ; his ship was ever the last to leave Davis' Straits, or whaling ground, when any hope whatever remained that such a course would advance the objects of the voyage;
in no other man's opinion had his brother-commanders so much confidence; and “What does Penny think of it?" was a by-word in the whaling fleet. No ship under his command ever made a claim upon an insurance company; no commander thought it in the least degree derogatory to come in after the “St. Andrew” of Aberdeen. Nor did the gallant navigator neglect objects of more general and more enlightened purport than whale-catching He took the first step to establish the interests of Great Britain on the west coast of Davis' Straits, when, by extreme kindness, he induced an Esquimaux to visit this country—the first that trod on British soil.
No wonder that, with such qualities, when only in his forty-first year, still full of vigour and energy, and most zealous in the cause of his missing countrymen, Penny should have been the successful competitor for the command of an Arctic Expedition; no wonder that he should have left all his rivals, American and British, of the service and without the service, far in the rear in the amount of discovery effected, and in the important bearing of his researches. But a man cannot be an Arctic navigator, a thing of icebergs and stormy seas, of long nights and incessant toil, and, at the same time, a prim scholar or a drawing-room model. A complicated net-work of valuable facts, fearlessly expressed opinions, most sanguine expectations, faithful inductions, but with much that was mere hypothesis, terrified the officials, and did not serve the sturdy navigator's cause either with the authorities or with the public. Without rhetoric, and unsophisticated, his arguments in favour of the new-discovered inlet to an open Polar Sea, and his attempt to form a company for establishing settlements in the Arctic region, fell alike to the ground, and the wondrous voyage of discovery, which we are now called to remark upon, has remained without issue or consequence, an inlet left to its own gloomy ice, an open sea to its own furry and feathery denizens. Is it possible that behind those ices, and far away in that gloomy Erebus of waters, a ship named after the son of Darkness, and like him wedded to Night, lies disconsolate by the side of a sister in affliction ? Have they or their ghosts appeared on wandering icebergs to timid navigators of less boisterous seas? Providence alone may one day enable us to answer these sad and perplexing questions.
* Journal of a Voyage in Baffin's Bay and Barrow Straits, in the Years 1850– 1851, performed by H. M. Ships Ludy Franklin and Sophia, under the Command of Mr. William Penny, in search of the Missing Crews of Her Majesty's Ships Erebus and Terror: with a Narrative of Sledge Excursions on the Ice of Wellington Channel; and Observations on the Natural History and Physical Features of the Countries and Frozen Seas visited. By Peter C. Sutherland, M.D., M.R.C.S.E., Surgeon to the Expedition. 2 vols. Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans.
It will be needless to trouble ourselves, at the eleventh hour, with the details as to how the good ships Lady Franklin and Sophia sailed out of Aberdeen Harbour, April 13th, 1850; how they lost sight of land beyond the Pentland Frith; how they mistook the islet of Rockall for a ship-a mistake not without significance; and how they were followed by icy petrels till they came within sight of Cape Farewell, where the first icebergs are almost invariably met with. The narrow escapes, the encounters and serious disasters of ships with icebergs, in navigating to the westward of West Greenland, are so well known, and have been so fully described, that we will not follow the two ships through this portion of their perilous journey ; they were dangers and difficulties which they shared in common with others. On crossing the Arctic Circle, hundreds of icebergs, with pinnacled tops and overhanging cliffs, streams of ice much broken up, and the impenetrable pack in the middle of the strait, could be seen all moving imperceptibly into a warmer climate ; while large flocks of loons and eider-ducks were led by instinct to set their faces
upon high northern latitudes, into which they were attracted by the “swelling curve” of the returning sun.
" It would be impossible," says Dr. Sutherland, “ to estimate the number of these birds that were seen and passed, as they crossed the bank of Reef koll, or Riscoll.” So abundant are cod on this bank, that 600 fish have been hauled with four lines, double-hooked, in the course of four hours. Halibut is also very abundant. This is a matter of great importance, at a moment when Americans and French are encroaching on our Newfoundland fisheries, and, as in the case of the Oregon, we have had to give way
before our resolute and bellicose antagonists. If curing and drying stations were established along the coast of West Greenland, the excellent fish with which those seas abound could be brought into our markets at a higher remuneration than fish similarly cured on the coast of Newfoundland. Some of the numerous islands, Dr. Sutherland tells us, are particularly well adapted for this purpose ; and the sanction of the Danish government could be easily obtained, as it would not at all interfere with the settlements along the west coast of Greenland.
It was very pleasant (Dr. Sutherland relates) to see “schools” of white whales passing close to the ships, and appearing not to feel the least alarm
from a very close approach. Their pastime seemed to engage all their attention. I often thought they would strike the ship's side or stern ; but the slightest deflection of the head and body carried them underneath the bottom, and, in a few minutes, they again appeared at the surface several hundred yards before us, where the old and young-the latter distinguished by their darker colour—moved on as if their rapid progress in the water, and their sudden evolutions, increased their enjoyment. There can be no doubt they were then in quest of food, as they always are ; but if the habits of any creature yield a life of constant enjoyment, surely it is so with the frolicsome groups of these animals, with which the eye and ear of the Arctic voyager become as familiar almost as with the sea around him.
In another place he observes :
I recollect, one beautiful morning in October, when hundreds of huge whales, both young and old, were enjoying themselves in their native element, and were often seen leaping out of it like salmon, and falling with a thundering noise as if they had nothing to fear, a “school” of sword-fish was observed in the offing, and in less than half an hour the whales were on their flight, and far out of our sight.
Walruses were also very abundant.
A “school” of walruses was seen 'twixt the two islands about the time we met the Felix. They seemed to be a little curious to know what the ships were, and what such unusual objects could be seeking, for they followed us a little way; however, as we were going rather fast for their curiosity, we soon lost sight of them. There must have been at least a dozen of them together. It was amusing to see them raise their huge heads and fierce-looking tusks partially out of the water; and when they went out of sight, with a splash of their hind Alippers, it seemed to be more from their sportive manner than from fear. When walruses are met in a drove like this, they do not take fright; and certainly they are formidable assailants, if their curiosity should lead them after some unfortunate Esquimaux in his kyak.
The expedition was well entertained at the Danish settlement of Leively, where they partook of venison equalling the best that ever came from Braemar, and where, in the deep fiords of Disco Island, the natives shoot hundreds of reindeer for the sake of their tongues alone! Dr. Sutherland was constantly engaged, during the tedious and difficult navigation of Davis' Strait and Baffin's Bay, in making researches in natural history. He describes both the sea, land, and ice, as abounding in “ animal life," although some of it is of a very microscopic description. Still the additions made to our knowledge of the “fauna” of those desolate regions by the industrious doctor are very considerable, and reflect the highest credit upon him.
On the 25th of June the expedition fell in with the Arctic searching expedition under Captain Austin off the island of Kingatorsoak. It was a great novelty to see clouds of black smoke marking their line of progress in these icy regions. The same day 5000 eggs were removed from an islet where they were so abundant that it was impossible to walk without trampling on them. On the 19th of August they sighted the American expedition in Jones' Sound, and on the 21st they came up with the North Star, which had been drifted about in the ice nearly the whole of the past winter. « The crew of the North Star," the doctor says, “looked rather pale, and some of them appeared to be emaciated. The Arctic winter had taken effect upon them, and had told its tale upon