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THE CRUISE OF THE MIDGE.
“ The tempest gathered o'er her."
Lord Ullin's Daughter.
I was dreaming of the party I had It was some time before Joey heard so recently left, and again I was him, from the noise of the rain ; at confabulating with the mild placid length he knelt down and inclined women, and the fair child was also his ear on the head of the small ladthere. Oh, who can appreciate the der, swathed in a large boat-cloak, delights of female society like the with the water running off the snout poor sailor, who has been condemn- of his cap in a small spout. ed, month after month, to the gruff “ Any one speaking below in the society of great he men, and whose cabin there?" quoth Joey. horizon has during all that time been “ Yes," said I ; “ what does the the distant meeting of sea and sky. weather look like?” Hillo, Brail, my boy-Brail.” “ Very black, sir, all round, but
“ What is that who the deuce no wind as yet-it rains a little now hails so uproariously?” quoth I, and then, sir." more than half asleep, “why, what “ Rains a little now and then-Oh is the matter?"
Lord!" ejaculated Donovan; "where “ Oh not a great deal,” rejoined is the Commodore ?" Donovan, from his berth at the op “ About a mile on the starboard posite side of the small cabin ; bow.” ly you snore so confoundedly loud “ And the ship ?” that I could get no sleep. for your
• Close to, astern of us, sir.” trumpetings, Benjie; and as you “ The swell seems heavy," contispoiled my rest very sufficiently last nued I. night, I thought I would take the “Very, sir-it has been increasing liberty of paying you off in the morn- during the whole of the watch; the ing. But, Benjie, heard you ever ship you boarded yesterday evening any thing like that ?"
is rolling awfully heavy." 6. Like what?" said I.
Here some one from aft called to " Why, like the noise of the rain little Peak, but I could not make out on deck just now.”
what the voice said" How do you I listened, and perceived a low think so?"answered the midshipman, rushing noise, that gradually in- The man said something in reply, creased, until the sound appeared to but still I could not distinguish the be produced by a cataract of peas words. pouring down on the deck above. “ I fear,” said Joey now,
“ There's a shower for you, Master merchantman has sprung something Brail—when heard you such an- aloft, sir-there is a great bustle on other ?"
board of her—there, there, her fore“ Seldom, I confess—seldom—but topgallant-mast is gone." why have you roused me out in this Anxious to see what had befallen way, Donovan ?-if it should rain the ark of my interesting friends, I pike staves and old women-I cannot rose and dressed as fast as I could, help it.”—Snore.
and was in the act of going on deck Presently I was awakened by my when another tremendous thunder troublesome chum again, whose plump came down with even greater voice could scarcely be heard fury than before. I waited until it through the rushing of another heavy was over, and by this time the day shower on the hollow deck over- began to break. When I got on deck head. But this time he was address the sky was very lowering, and the ing some one on deck, and from sea as black as pitch; and although where I lay I could see up the com the increasing light proved that the panion ladder.
sun was not far below the horizon, “ I say, Mr Peak,” (the little mid. yet there was not the smallest clear shipman,) “ Mr Peak, how does the streak in the east to be seen. The weather look ?"
whole vault of heaven was ink-black,
and I was startled by the clearness this effect, when to the southward of with which the undulations of the us, a heavy shower appeared to be rapidly increasing swell, and the falling perpendicularly from the surhulls and rigging of the two ships, charged clouds, in a grey columncould be seen. The frigate had her “I am mistaken, there will be nowind, three topsails, foresail, and jib set, for you see how even-down the rain and rolled so heavily that she appear- falls yonder," said I to Donovan again ed to be dipping her yardarms alter “Well, well, man, go—if you will go nately in the water. She had struck -bless me how I have cut my chin!" her royal masts, and I could see as putting his head down the comthrough the glass the people busy in panion he roared out, “Steward, getting the studding-sails out of the why don't you bring the felt ?" tops, so for her I had no fear ; but “I can't scrape a pile off it," answer. the merchantman astern had either ed the Scotchman, appearing half been caught by the suddenness with way up the ladder, with the castor which the sea had risen, or the scan. in one hand, and a knife in the other. tiness of her crew had prevented “Bring the felt, you spalpeen, and her taking the precautions rendered no jaw." necessary by the threatening ap Lennox, poor fellow, brought the pearance of the weather, in proper hat, an old silk one, worn white at time, for her main and mizen royal the edges, with the pasteboard framemasts were still up, her topgallant work appearing in numberless sails still set, and altogether from the places-a most shocking bad hat cerevident confusion on board, now in- tainly. He held it up to the lieutencreased from the accident already ant. The Irishman looked at it alluded to, it was clear to me, that “ Hat-that's not mine, steward, if any sudden squall were to over- that's Mr Brail's.—Mercy on me, take her before she had time to Benjamin, a'n't you ashamed to wear shorten sail, she would be caught all a thing like this ?”—it was the vagaof a heap.
bond's own all the while"but don't As the morning lightened, the Ga- mind, don't mind--80 good-by, Brail zelle, the instant that flags could be --good-by," as I stepped into the seen, telegraphed to send a boat on boat, that was surging about on the board the damaged vessel, and the fast-rising sea alongside. word was accordingly passed, for I Stop, you inay as well leave me was not sorry of another opportuni. the kay of the locker, for your visit ty of paying a visit to my amiable will be longer in that same ship, friends of last evening:
or I greatly mistake, than you bar" I say, Dennis, I think I will go gain for.”' He here coolly resumed on board myself, instead of sending his shaving, and I shoved off. We any of the boys."
had not pulled above half a dozen “As you please, Brail," quoth the strokes, when poor Lennox ran to limutenant, who was by this time up the side we were on Beg pardon, and shaving on deck, in a very pic- sir, but a squall is coming, sir--there, tyresque costume certainly—“ As sir, in the south-east, where we saw yu--oh, confound you, you have the rain just now." nade me cut myself-bless me, what I had not time to look round, when a gash! Give me some felt off the top Donovan having put up his razor of my hat, steward.”—He might as again sung out—" By the powers, well havegleanedafter an Irish tinker. Ben, my lad, but the Scotchman is
“ But were I you,” continued he, right; it requires no second sight to “I would trust some one else-con- prophesy, a squall anon.
:-There, found this bleeding. Look at the there it is coming; about ship and weather, man-look at the weather, come back, man, or it is as clear as and the air.”
mud that we shall be minus your The air indeed was hot and sultry own beautiful self and the boat's beyond all my former experience at crew, and what's worse, our only the same hour of the four-and-twen. boat that will swim." ty, and I began to have great doubts I never despise a hint where I as to the propriety of sending a boat know it is well meant, and in an inat all. I was about telegraphing to stant I was on board again, and we
had just got the boat run up, when indicating that it had again fallen the Commodore telegraphed, “ Keep calm. all fast with the boat."
Come, I don't think it will end Once more it cleared, and there in wind of any consequence to speak was no rain in the quarter where we of, after all,” said I. had recently seen it falling with such “Don't you be too sure, my lovely violence, but the threatening clouds little man," quoth the imperturbable had lowered right over the spot, and Dennis. Pray have the kindness began to boil and whirl in sooty con to furl every inch of canvass, or volutions, like the blackest and thick- fetch me a prayerbook-look there." est of the smoke, as it leaves the fun I followed the direction in which nel of a steam-boat immediately af- he pointed, the column of rain was ter the fire is mended.
still falling straight down, and as Under this gloomy canopy, as far well defined as if it had been a wain the southeast as we could see, the terspout in reality, when all at once black waves began now to be crest- the lower part of it was once more ed with white foam, and a low unde- bent to an angle of thirty degrees finable hoarse murmur, more like with the horizon, but continuing the hollow subterranean sound that very dense and opaque. In a few precedes the shock of an earthquake, moments the whole pillar of water than the roar of the ocean, gradually took the same oblique direction, unstole down on us with increasing til it slanted straight as a sunbeam distinctness.
shooting forth from heaven. It con“ Is that thunder ?" passed among tinued as thick and impenetrable to the men.
the sight as ever for the space of “ Thunder!” quoth old Dogvane, half a minute, when, as if scattered “ I wish it were, my lads.”
by a tornado, it suddenly vanished “ It is Davy putting on the coppers in smoke, and the weather cleared; for the parsons, and nothing else," and right to windward, a white line said Drainings.
crept down towards us, like dust fly. « What is that?"
ing along the road in a stormy day, The frigate had fired a gun to at- after a long drought. The roar of tract our attention, for the darkness the approaching squall increased, as had settled down so thick around us, did the swell, which now rolled on that we could not have seen flags. in mountainous undulations; and alShe had furled every thing but the though it was calm as death where close-reefed main-topsail, and reefed we lay tumbling about, the little vesforesail. “A nod is as good as a sel groaned and lurched like an evil wink,” said I, as I called all hands spirit on his bed of liquid fire, while to shorten sail; and when we had the tops of the seas began to break every thing snug, I looked out in the and growl as if the very waves had direction from whence we expect become conscious of the approached the wind to come. The white ing tormenta. crests bad increased, and again in It was now eight o'clock in the the distance the grey skreen de- morning, but in place of getting scended from the clouds perpendicu- lighter, the clouds had settled down larly, like a watery avalanche, and hid so darkly that the frigate had to everything beyond it from our view. make the night signals with lanterns,
Presently this column at the lower to heave-to with our head to the extremity bent, and drove away to southward, until we saw what might the northward and westward, as if turn up. Sharp was the word-we a shallow vein of wind had skimmed prepared to do so—but before a furiously along the surface of the single rope could be let go, the sea, while all above was as yet dead squall struck us, and for a minute, calm. But the upper part of the notwithstanding all our precautions, shower gradually assumed the same the. Midge was fairly laid down slanting direction, indicating that the on her beam ends, and I thought agitation of the air was extending up- she would have turned keel up rewards, when suddenly the rain once gularly; however, the moment we more fell right down from the hea were enabled to lay her to with her vens, and concealed the agitated head to the southward and westbillows beyond like a black curtain, ward, she breasted it like a sea-gull,
and, confident in her weatherly qua- loss of her boats and foretopgallantlities, I had time amidst the row to mast—she laboured so dreadfully cast a glance at the Commodore, before they could get her before the and the merchantman. The former wind-what a state the poor wowas lying-to under storm-staysails, men on board must have been in!” rolling and plunging most delightful “ Terrible,” said Donovan. ly, now rising on a heavy sea and enough for the men, but how I do making a bow to us, and then de- pity poor women in such a predicascending entirely out of sight—but ment! You must have lost your the poor ship! All seemed confu- heart, Brail, aboard there, you are sion on board of her. Whether it was grown so awfully sentimental since that they had been deceived by the you returned. Come, now, describe long time the wind hung in the dis the beauties of the fair creaturestance, and had persuaded them- give me as good a notion of them as selves that there would be no squall you can-that's a good boy.” worth dreading after all, or the acci “Why, Donovan, they were both, dent of losing the fore-topgallant I mean the ladies, as unlike Miss mast had confused them, I cannot Cathleen, the affianced wife of a certell, but they had not been able to tain lieutenant of the navy, the son get in their canvass in time, so that of widow Donovan, who lives at every thing had to be let go by the 1060, Sackville Street, as you can run when the squall came down, and well imagine.”—Dennis laughed.the consequence was, that the fore Why, you have me there, Benjie, and maintopsails had been fairly sure enough, so " blown out of the bolt ropes, and Here Lennox interrupted him, as were now streaming straight out in he hastily entered the small cabin. ribbons, while the foresail, which “ The ship has made a signal of dishad stood, laid her over on her beam tress, sir.” ends. The crew were, while I look “ The devil she has." We both ed, endeavouring to set the jib, in jumped up the ladder as quick as order to get her away before the we could. The frigate was steering wind, but a sea at the very moment large, about a mile on our lee-bow. struck her, washing the boats off the All was right and snug with her, but booms, and every thing else that the ship, that lay about half a mile would part company, and for a mo abeam of us to windward, had her ment I thought she would never ensign flying at the mizen-peak, with have risen again. But there was the union down, and the signal for a another lull, and after having got boat flying at the head of the foresome way on the vessel, she was topmast. enabled to heave-to also.
To send her assistance before the began to breeze up again, but stea sea went down was utterly impossidily; and I thought, that the puff be- ble; no boat could have lived for a ing over, we should have no more minute; so all that I could do was bother, although the heavens con to haul by the wind, and close untinued as black and threatening as der her lee quarter.
It was still The Commodore appeared blowing so fresh, that when the to be of the same opinion, and now master bailed I could not hear him; made the signal to bear up, a ma but as she lay over, we could see neuvre that was promptly followed that both pumps were manned, and both by the Midge and the ship, and the gush of clear water from the old Donovan and I went below to scuppers was a sad indication of breakfast.
what had befallen. I could distin" That chap, was nearly caught, guish the two young missionaries, Benjie,” said the lieutenant.
in their trowsers and shirts, labourVery. Shall I help you to cof- ing most vigorously amongst the fee pos
crew; while the patriarchal old “ If you please.”
man was holding on by the mizer“ A slice of beef ?”
rigging, close to the master of the
vessel, evidently keeping his footing “ Very nearly caught indeed. I on the deck of the tumbling vessel hope nothing has happened to her with great difficulty. Seeing me on beyond what we saw - beyond the deck, he took off his hat, which was
“ Thank you."
instantly blown overboard, and his the crew were more exhausted than long grey bairs streamed straight out I had allowed for. in the wind. This to me was a mo The master now came suddenly ving incident, simple as it may ap on deck, and we noticed a man come pear to others, and it seemed to up the fore-hatchway, and run aft affect Donovan also.
to him, shewing by the energy of “ What a very fine-looking old his action that the matter he was man he is indeed!” said Dennis. communicating was alarming, what
The lady passengers were both ever its nature might be. The below, at least I could see nothing pumps were instantly
manned again, of them. When we closed, the cap- and after a long spell, I noticed the tain hauled down the ensign, and as carpenter sound the well, and imthe flow of water from the pumps mediately he shook his head. At seemed to decrease, I began to hope this several of the men threw off that they were gaining on the leak. their shirts, as if preparing for a I now steered as close to as I could tough bout, and set to, working without danger, and hailed that the harder than ever, the water once moment it was possible I would more gushing out over the ship's send assistance to them. The cap- side in strong clear jets. tain heard me, and made his ac. The young missionaries, who had knowledgment with his trumpet. for a minute disappeared, were
We kept as near her as was safe again on deck, and they and the the whole forenoon, and although master himself now took their turns we saw that the crew were every like so many of the crew; but still now and then taking a spell at the there was no rushing nor alarm appumps, yet they seemed quite able parently amongst them. By and to keep the leak under, and every by, I noticed the master go aft, and thing once more appeared to be take up on his knee one of the black going on orderly on board.
boards used to shut up the front of “ Come," said I, to old Shavings the hencoops in bad weather, on the carpenter, who was looking out which he appeared to write someat her alongside of me, “if the wea. thing, in order to communicate with ther would only moderate a bit, a us, as, from the increase of the gale small touch of your quality, Master and the sea, there was no use in atShavings, and a forenoon's spell of tempting to be heard through the your crew, would set him all to trumpet. Evidently with an intenrights again-eh?”
tion of not alarming the crew, ho The warrant officer turned his now slipt this over the side. On it • quid, and thereby poisoned a dol- was written in chalk,
phin or two, I make no doubt, by “ THE LEAK IS GAINING ON us." the jet of tobacco juice that he The gale now came thundering squirted overboard. He then took down with such violence, that I a long squint before be spoke. found it necessary to clew up
“I ben't sartain of that, sir. The every thing but the close-reefed water flowing there from the scup- foresail, and the tremendous seas pers is cruel clear, sir. I fear she that roared astern of us made it has started something serious; I doubtful how long we should be don't think she would make so much able to scud. The distress of the by mere straining.” I began to fear ship was evidently increasing; and he was right. * And I sees some I noticed that the poor helpless wosigns of a bustle on board again, sir; men were on deck clinging to the there, if the bloody fool of a cook old man, whose age rendered it out has not set fire to the boarding of of the question his attempting to be the email galley—the caboose they of any use at the pump. calls it in marchantmen."
I shall never forget the group. However, this accident seemed He was holding on by the mizenvery trivial, for the man immediate- backstay, in a half kneeling position; ly to all appearance extinguished it the youngest woman was beside again; but the alarming part of it him in her night-dress, with her long, was, that it seemed to have taken hair hanging lapk down and drenchplace while he was taking his spelled with rain over her deadly pale at the pumps, a sure indication that features, while her fair and taper
VOL. XXXYI. NO. CCXXIV.