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than with any hope that I should be heard; I shouted loudly and fiercely: my answer -the echoes of my own voice, the shriek of the osprey, and the maniac laugh of the white-headed eagle.
fore, behind, and on all sides around me. Their long gaunt jaws and channeled snouts projected forward so as almost to touch my body; and their eyes, usually leaden, seemed now to glare.
Impelled by this new danger, I sprang to my feet, when, recognizing the upright form of man, the reptiles scuttled off, and plunging hurriedly into the lake, hid their hideous bodies under the water.
The incident in some measure revived me. I saw that I was not alone: there was company even in the crocodiles. I gradually became more myself; and began to reflect with some degree of coolness on the circumstances that surrounded me. My eyes wandered over the islet; every inch of it came under my glance; every object upon it was scrutinized-the moulted feathers of wild-fowl, the pieces of mud, the fresh-water mussels (unios) strewed upon its beach-all were examined. Still the barren answer-no means of escape.
The islet was but the head of a sand-bar, formed by the eddy-perhaps gathered together within the year. It was bare of herbage, with the exception of a few tufts of grass. There was neither tree nor bush upon it-not a stick. A raft indeed! There was not wood enough to make a raft that would have floated a frog. The idea of a raft was but briefly entertained; such a thought had certainly crossed my mind, but a single glance round the islet dispelled it before it had taken shape.
I paced my prison from end to end; from side to side I walked it over. I tried the water's depth; on all sides I sounded it, wading recklessly in; everywhere it deepened rapidly as I advanced. Three lengths of myself from the islet's edge, and I was up to the neck. The huge reptiles swam around, snorting and blowing; they were bolder in this element. I could not have waded safely ashore, even had the water been shallow. To swim it-noeven though I swam like a duck, they would have closed upon and quartered me before I could have made a dozen strokes. Horrified by their demonstrations, I hurried back upon dry ground, and paced the islet with dripping garments.
I continued walking until night, which gathered around me dark and dismal. With night came new voices-the hideous voices of the nocturnal swamp; the quaqua of the night-heron, the screech of the swamp owl, the cry of the bittern, the
I ceased to shout, threw my gun to the earth, and tottered down beside it. I have been in a gloomy prison, in the hands of a vengeful guerilla banditti, with carbines cocked to blow out my brains. No one will call that a pleasant situation-nor was it so to me. I have been lost upon the wide prairie-the land-sea-without bush, break, or star to guide me-that was worse. There you look around; you see nothing; you hear nothing; you are alone with God, and you tremble in his presence; your senses swim; your brain reels; you are afraid of yourself; you are afraid of your own mind. Deserted by everything else, you dread lest it, too, may forsake you. There is horror in this-it is very horrible it is hard to bear; but I have borne it all, and would bear it again twenty times over rather than endure once more the first hour I spent on that lonely islet in that lonely lake. Your prison may be dark and silent, but you feel that you are not utterly alone; beings like yourself are near, though they be your jailers. Lost on the prairie, you are alone; but you are free. In the islet, I felt that I was alone; that I was not free; in the islet, I experienced the feelings of the prairie and the prison combined.
I lay in a state of stupor-almost unconscious; how long I know not, but many hours I am certain: I knew this by the sun -it was going down when I awoke, if I may so term the recovery of my stricken senses. I was aroused by a strange circumstance; I was surrounded by dark objects of hideous shape and hue-reptiles they were. They had been before my eyes for some time, but I had not seen them. I had only sort of dreamy consciousness of their presence; but I heard them at length: my ear was in better tune, and the strange noises they uttered reached my intellect. It sounded like the blowing of great bellows, with now and then a note harsher and louder, like the roaring of a bull. This startled me, and I looked up and bent my eyes upon the objects: they were forms of the crocodilida, the giant lizards-they were alligators.
Huge ones they were, many of them; and many were they in number-a hundred at least were crawling over the islet, be
el-l-uk of the great water-toad, the tinkling of the bell-frog, and the chirp of the savanna-cricket-all fell upon my ear. Sounds still harsher and more hideous were heard around me-the plashing of the alligator, and the roaring of his voice; these reminded me that I must not go to sleep. To sleep! I durst not have slept for a single instant. Even when I lay for a few minutes motionless, the dark reptiles came crawling round me-so close that I could have put forth my hand and touched them.
At intervals, I sprang to my feet, shouted, swept my gun around, and chased them back to the water, into which they betook themselves with a sullen plunge, but with little semblance of fear. At each fresh demonstration on my part they showed less alarm, until I could no longer drive them either with shouts or threatening gestures. They only retreated a few feet, forming an irregular circle round me. Thus hemmed in, I became frightened in turn. I loaded my gun and fired; I killed none. They are impervious to a bullet, except in the eye, or under the forearm. It was too dark to aim at these parts; and my shots glanced harmlessly from the pyramidal scales of their bodies. The loud report, however, and the blaze frightened them, and they fled, to return again after a long interval. I was asleep when they returned; I had gone to sleep in spite of my efforts to keep awake. I was startled by the touch of something cold; and half-stifled by a strong musky odor that filled the air. I threw out my arms; my fingers rested upon an object slippery and clammy: it was one of these monsters—one of gigantic size. He had crawled close alongside me, and was preparing to make his attack; as I saw that he was bent in the form of a bow, and I knew that these creatures assume that attitude when about to strike their victim. I was just in time to spring aside, and avoid the stroke of his powerful tail, that the next moment swept the ground where I had lain. Again I fired, and he with the rest once more retreated to the lake.
All thoughts of going to sleep were at an end. Not that I felt wakeful; on the contrary, wearied with my day's exertion -for I had had a long pull under a hot tropical sun-I could have lain down upon the earth, in the mud, anywhere, and slept in an instant. Nothing but the dread
certainty of my peril kept me awake. Once again before morning I was compelled to battle with the hideous reptiles. and chase them away with a shot from my gun.
Morning came at length, but with it no change in my perilous position. The light only showed me my island prison, but revealed no way of escape from it. Indeed, the change could not be called for the better, for the fervid rays of an almost vertical sun burned down upon me until my skin blistered. I was already speckled by the bites of a thousand swamp-flies and musquitoes, that all night long had preyed upon me. There was not a cloud in the heavens to shade me; and the sunbeams smote the surface of the dead bayou with a double intensity. Toward evening, I began to hunger; no wonder at that: I had not eaten since leaving the village settlement. To assuage thirst, I drank the water of the lake, turbid and slimy as it was. I drank it in large quantities, for it was hot, and only moistened my palate without quenching the craving of my appetite. Of water there was enough; I had more to fear from want of food.
What could I eat? The ibis. But how to cook it? There was nothing wherewith to make a fire-not a stick. No matter for that. Cooking is a modern invention, a luxury for pampered palates. I divested the ibis of its brilliant plumage, and ate it raw. I spoiled my specimen, but at the time there was little thought of that: there was not much of the naturalist left in me. I anathematized the hour I had ever imbibed such a taste; I wished Audubon, and Buffon, and Cuvier, up to their necks in a swamp. The ibis did not weigh above three pounds, bones and all. It served me for a second meal, a breakfast; but at this déjeuner sans fourchette I picked the bones.
What next? starve? No-not yet. In the battles I had had with the alligators during the second night, one of them had received a shot that proved mortal. The hideous carcass of the reptile lay dead upon the beach. I need not starve; I could eat that. Such were my reflections. I must hunger, though, before I could bring myself to touch the musky morsel. Two more days' fasting conquered my squeamishness. I drew out my knife, cut a stake from the alligator's tail, and ate it—not the one I had first killed, but a second; the other
was now putrid, rapidly decomposing under the hot sun: its odour filled the islet.
The stench had grown intolerable. There was not a breath of air stirring, otherwise I might have shunned it by keeping to windward. The whole atmosphere of the islet, as well as a large circle around it, was impregnated with the fearful effluvium. I could bear it no longer. With the aid of my gun, I pushed the halfdecomposed carcass into the lake; perhaps the current might carry it away. It did I had the gratification to see it float off. This circumstance led me into a train of reflections. Why did the body of the alligator float? It was swollen-inflated with gasses. Ha!
An idea shot suddenly through my mind, one of those brilliant ideas—the children of necessity. I thought of the floating alligator, of its intestines-what if I inflated them? Yes, yes! buoys and bladders, floats and life-preservers! that was the thought. I would open the alligators, make a buoy of their intestines, and that would bear me from the islet!
I did not lose a moment's time; I was full of energy hope had given me new life. My gun was loaded-a huge crocodile that swam near the shore, received the shot in his eye. I dragged him on the beach; with my knife I laid open his entrails. Few they were, but enough for my purpose. A plume-quill from the wing of the ibis served me for a blow-pipe. I saw the bladder-skin expand, until I was surrounded by objects like great sausages. These were tied together, and fastened to my body, and then, with a plunge, I entered the waters of the lake, and floated downward. I had tied on my life-preservers in such a way that I sat in the water in an upright position, holding my gun with both hands. This I intended to have used as a club in case I should be attacked by the alligators; but I had chosen the hot hour of noon, when these creatures lie in a halftorpid state, and to my joy I was not molested. Half an hour's drifting with the current carried me to the end of the lake, and I found myself at the debouchure of the bayou. Here, to my great delight, I saw my boat in the swamp, where it had been caught and held fast by the sedges. A few minutes more, and I had swung myself over the gunwale, and was sculling with eager strokes down the smooth waters of the bayou.
E were now about to see nature in a new and awful form, by witnessing the beginning of an eruption at Vesuvius. Before quitting Naples, we heard reports that an approaching tumult in the mountain was anticipated. Volleys of smoke ascended, from time to time, from the crater, or lay curled in clouds on the summit. The wells at Naples were becoming dry, while those at Resina were overflowing; loud noises, too, were heard on the mountain, and it was rumored that fire had been seen by night.
Upon reaching the house of Salvator, at Resina, the principal Vesuvius guide, he told us that the mountain was in action; that a new crater had been opened the night before, and was sending forth flames and stones. We speedily mounted our donkeys-poor miserable little creatures, which had already been up the mountain twice during the preceding twenty-fourhours-and started, full of expectation. For some time our path lay between walls built of blocks of lava, strewn with volcanic stones. In about three-quarters of an hour we reached a wide current of lava, that of 1810; it was like a frozen Styx. The scene was one of wild desolation; not a trace of vegetation was seen. Black, dark, and barren, was the surface of the earth; in some places the lava, arrested in its course, resembled petrified waves, while in others it formed a hard compact surface: our guide pointed out to us the streams of lava of 1819, 1822, and 1833.
On a hill formed of volcanic products, raised like a ridge high above the currents of lava that have swept past it on either side, stands the hermitage. One solitary friar had pitched his tent in this wilderand had lived here nearly twenty years, never quitting the spot, even during the most awful eruptions of the mountain. Here we halted for twenty minutes, to rest our poor little steeds. The lava, which we had before crossed in comparatively regular streams, was now piled about in huge blocks, among which we picked our way with difficulty. We soon arrived at the foot of the cone; and here we were obliged to leave our donkeys, and commit ourselves to the mercy of twelve portantini, or bearers. The soil is so loose, and the ascent so steep, that no animal, except man, can find a footing.
I do not remember ever in my life to have been so entirely overcome with terror, as in the scene which followed. The ladies of our party were placed in small arm-chairs, fastened upon long poles, which the men supported on their shoulders. Im-tered around. After standing on this pin
ceeded by volumes of dense black smoke. Red-hot stones and masses of rock were hurled hundreds of feet into the air; some falling back into the crater, while others, dashed into a thousand pieces, were scat
nacle for some time, the guide led the way to the very edge of the crater. I felt that I had seen enough, and begged to be left behind, being indeed too cowardly to venture on. The rest of the party, however, had sufficient courage and curiosity to explore further. I asked our guide if there was really any danger; he looked at me earnestly, and simply said, "Signorina gentilissima, ho sei piccolini in casa!”— (“Gentle lady, I have six little children at home!") Could any words have conveyed a stronger assurance than this touching appeal? It gave me courage, and I proceeded with the others.
agine what it was to be thus lifted up by twelve men, who sank knee-deep in the ashes at every step, and whose footing was so uncertain and irregular, that I was one minute thrown to one side of the chair, and the next flung violently forward, and then as suddenly jerked back again. All the time the men screamed as Neapolitans only can scream. The portantini who were carrying one of my friends fell down all at once, and this was he signal for my bearers to rush past them, yelling with delight. So wild and uncivilized a set of beings you never saw, and the noise they made was something quite unearthly. I completely lost my presence of mind, and in piteous tones besought the men to let me get down and walk; but instead of heeding my entreaties, they only raced on the more desperately. When I reached the summit, after hav-again ascended; stones were shot up into ing endured this terror for three-quarters of an hour, I sat down and buried my face in my hands, unable to speak. After a little while, when I raised my eyes and looked around, what words can picture the scene that presented itself! We were standing on the edge of the large basin, in the center of which were the craters in action. When all our party were assembled we followed our guide, and proceeded toward them, scrambling over rocks of hot lava, and stepping across deep chasms, from which rose a hot sulphureous exhalation. I can never forget the feelings of that moment. I had lately seen nature in her most grand and lovely forms, and remembered with delight the sublime beauty of Switzerland; but here I beheld her under a new aspect-awful, terrific, and overwhelming-working in the secret places of the earth with a power of destructive and mysterious energy, and revealing itself to man in fearful and desolating might. I gazed, and thought of Herculaneum and Pompeii.
We stopped on a high point of lava, and looked into the mighty caldron beneath us. Loud subterranean noises were heard from time to time-the mountain seemed shaken to its center; then columns of bright clear flame spouted forth from the crater, suc
And now we stood beside the crater; and as each volley of smoke and flame subsided, we peeped into the abyss. Then came a hollow fearful sound, the earth beneath us trembled, the smoke and flame
the air high above our heads. Suddenly the wind changed, and our position was by no means an enviable one; the smoke and sulphureous vapor were blown toward us, and red-hot stones fell in showers around. Every one was now terrified; we fled like a herd of startled deer, and scrambling up the hill as fast as the loose and slippery soil would permit, only turned to look back when we had reached the top. We were now content with a more distant view, and lingered long near the crater, reluctant to leave a spot which we were so unlikely ever to visit again.
At length we prepared to descend the mountain. I had dismissed my chair, determined to trust alone to my feet. Supported by a friend, and one of the guides, I advanced down the precipitous descent, slowly and cautiously at first; but gaining courage as we proceeded, I soon ran briskly on, and in four minutes reached the foot of the cone which it had cost us so much time, toil, and suffering to ascend. Remounting our donkeys, we soon joined those of our party who had not ventured on the ascent, and as we drove back to Naples, related to them our adventures. But how vain were all our endeavors to give utterance to the thoughts and feelings which this day's excursion had awakened!
THE CAPTURED SLAVER.
FEW weeks only have elapsed since Her Britannic Majesty's brig the "S -"captured, and carried triumphantly into port, a Spanish slaver, called the "Camoens," having on board five hundred and seventy-three poor creatures who had been torn away from home and kindred in Africa, and, after suffering untold horrors, and passing through the hands of the barbarous wretches who feed and grow rich upon the misery and murder of their fellowcreatures, had been crowded, one layer above another, into the narrow hold of the "Camoens," to endure the aggravated wretchedness of a passage to the Cuban coast, there to be consigned to wasting, interminable, and hopeless slavery. They were found in an indescribable condition of filth and suffering, when, happily, the "S" brig-of-war crossed the path of the floating slaughter-house, and she was compelled to yield up her stolen, living cargo to the protection of the British flag. The sun has not long risen from behind the eastern wave, when the officer of the watch gives notice that a strange sail to windward has just hove in sight. Little of her can be observed at first; but the glasses of numerous gazers are anxiously directed toward her as she comes dashing on before the wind in the direction of the brig-of-war, evidently not keeping so good a look-out as is maintained on board the "S." After a little while a further report is made by the officer of the watch, that the stranger has " gone about," thus indicating that she has discovered the brig, and that her crew are not anxious for a closer acquaintance. This suspicious movement on the part of the chase, now not more than five or six miles distant, is sufficient to arouse the officers and crew of the brig to the utmost vigilance and effort; and all sail is crowded in pursuit, none doubting that they will bring the schooner within range of their guns before the approach of night affords opportunity for escape. If she were honest, she would have nothing to fear from a British vessel of war: she must, therefore, be either a slaver, or one of the piratical craft by no means unknown in those seas; and in either case it is the duty of the "S" if possible, to overhaul her. The excitement rises high as the chase is prolonged; but the brig, well-equipped, well-manned,
and having all the advantage of a high state of discipline among her crew, gains upon the fugitive, though she has been constructed for fast sailing. The officers, with their long glasses bent upon the one object before them, are all anxiety to make out her true character; while the "young gentlemen" and the crew are animated by the keen desire to make another seizure; not forgetting that, while suffering humanity is relieved by their success, there is prizemoney as well as honor to be gained by the capture of a slaver. The expectations which had been raised so high are suddenly dashed; for it is observed that the schooner has suddenly desisted from the attempt to escape, and, hoisting Portuguese colors, is now waiting for the brig to come up. Had she been a slaver, it is argued, she would not, while at such a distance, have given up the effort to get away from her formidable pursuer. "She is no slaver," is the
almost unanimous conclusion on board the "S—;""for such a proceeding is ir reconcilable with the idea of her being one of that class. There is possibly a mutiny among the crew, which may account for her strange movements." The brig urges on her course, glad to be spared the long chase she must have had if the schooner had persisted in the effort to escape; but when the pursuers approach near enough to distinguish by their glasses her rusty and filthy sides, and the absence of a longboat and stern-boat, they begin to think that, after all, they have been mistaken. A little nearer, and all doubt of the real character of the schooner is dissipated: there are the indubitable indications—the slave-coppers, and the captive Africans themselves. Conjecture is at an end. She is unquestionably a slaver, with her wretched cargo on board; but the crew of the "S" scarcely believe the testimony of their own senses, even while they congratulate themselves on having made so easy a capture, the cause of which has yet to be explained.
The brig having run up sufficiently near, the mainyard of the schooner is backed; one of the boats, with an officer, is sent to board her; and, unopposed, he is shortly seen treading her quarter-deck. With an excess of humility, the ship's papers and register are produced at the demand of the British officer; and none would imagine, on witnessing the servile, cringing demeanor of the slaver's captain and crew, that