ePub 版

Gun Deck, at the after part of which is the Gun Room, where the " youngsters," and master's assistants, &c., iness. On this deck the seamen are berthed. The tiller works on it aft; and the cables pass through the hawsholes forward on it. Of course it sustains much the heaviest battery in the ship, and is therefore the strongest of all decks. Beneath this is the Ortop Deck, where the cables, spare rigging, sails, &c., are stowed, and which contains the purser's rooms, and other store-rooms, offices, &c. The fore and the after Cockpit are situated at either end of the orlop. The "oldsters" (passed midshipmen) mess in the after cockpit, which in time of battle is occupied by the surgeons and the wounded undergoing operations. Finally, there is the Hold, which comprises all that portion of the ship beneath the or lops and cockpits, and is subdivided into a variety of rooms, &c. In such colossal ships as the Royal Albert, the hold is of course equal in size to an immense warehouse, and yet so valuable is every inch of available space, that great ingenuity and prac tical experience are requisite to compress into these submarine bowels of the ship the prodigious mass of stores of every description which must be therein stowed away in such a manner as to be accessible at the shortest notice. Forward is the main Magazine, where the cartridges and pow der are stored; abaft of it is the Fore Hold, which contains tanks of water, provisions, shot-lockers, spirits, slops, &c. Next, there is the stoke-hole, the engine-room, &c. ; abaft of which is the bread-room, and small or after-magazine, &c.

The above is a very brief description of the interior arrangements of a screw first-rater. To describe them fully a volume would hardly suffice.

Many of our readers probably have no definite idea of the immense cost of every broadside fired by a modern line-of-battle ship. We will give an extract from some statistics on the subject. Our authority says "Shells are now generally used instead of shot, and the destructive effects, therefore, of cannon indefinitely in creased. Formerly shot only was used, and the charge of a 32-pounder cost about 5s. It is, however, now found VOL. XLVIII.-NO. CCLXXXIV.

that shells are incomparably more efficient; and what is called a 32 lb. shell, fitted with fusee, and all complete, costs 20s. ; and the charge of powder, with wads, 12s. more, or 32s. for every 32 lb. shell fired. For an 8-inch, or 68 lb. shell, the cost is 24s.; and with powder and wads, 38s. The guns for the 32 lb. shell weigh about two tons, and cost about £40. The guns for the 68 lb. shell weigh from 3 to 4 tons, and cost from £65 to £95 each." We need hardly remark that improvements in the manufacture of cannon, and in practical gunnery, keep steady pace with the progression manifested in the art of building and equipping Britain's floating bulwarks. Perhaps it would not be too much to predict that ere long the number of guns carried by first-rate men-of-war-or, indeed, by all classes-will be considerably reduced; but their calibre and length of range immensely enlarged. Lancaster's oval cannon is a step in this direction. It has a range of three or four miles. A small steamer armed with a couple of such guns could absolutely batter to pieces a sailing three-decker, without receiving a shot in return, provided her huge antagonist was unprovided with the new long-range 68 or 84pounders !

It is not only our first-rate ships of-war that evidence the amazing progression of the last few years, for all rates in the navy have been cor respondingly enlarged and improved. Look at the magnificent 90-gun screws, for instance! They are a third larger than a first-rater of Nelson's time, and incomparably more powerful. The Agamemnon, of 91 guns, is 3,074 tons; the Algiers, 90 guns, 3,165 tons; the James Watt, 91 guns, 3,083 tons; the Princess Royal, 91 guns, 3,129 tons; and many more are of similar force. Even the first-class "frigates" built nowadays are larger and throw much heavier broadsides than many of the old liners. For example, the Imperieuse, of 51 guns, is 2,371 tons; the Arrogant, 47 guns, 1,872 tons; the Terrible, 21 guns, 1,847 tons. The hundreds of gan and mortar boats, which made such a prominent feature in the late review, are a new and very important arm of the service,


Our ships, of all rates, at the present day carry metal immensely heavier than they did during the last war; and the science of naval gunnery and the training of the crew generally, have been so improved, that there can be little doubt that a regular open sea-fight now would be quickly decided, but would be murderous whilst the engagement lasted. As to our sailors, they would fight just with the same spirit they have always evinced; in that respect, at least, there would be as little difference between the seamen of this generation and those of Nelson's time, as between the tars who fought under Blake and sturdy old Benbow, and those with whom Earl St. Vincent and Lord Howe won their glorious victories. In other words, there would be no difference at all in hearty spirit and bravery, whatever there might be in skill. The seamen of all nations have their own peculiar and characteristic mode of doing battlebusiness. The Turks are inspired by Mahommedan fanaticism, and will calmly and unmurmuringly permit themselves to be killed almost to the last man, but rarely think of surrendering. The Spaniards fight (or did fight) with considerable gallantry, but with little skill. The French are chivalrously brave and enthusiastic, but lack skill, stamina, and steady endurance. The Danes, Swedes, Norwegians, and Dutch, all fight with the most dogged obstinacy, and with great nautical ability. The Russians (judging by the few actions in which their ships have been engaged) are wretched seamen, and have no heart nor real liking for the work, but being trained to render implicit obedience even unto death, will fight as well as they are able until resistance is hopeless; and, finally, there is the British tar-our own dear matchless JACK!--who fights pretty much in the fashion of one of the bull-dogs of his native land, going to work with consummate skill, as though fighting were the regular every-day occupation of his life, cheering and pouring in his broadsides with the most hearty good will, and continuing them with invincible resolution until the foe cries out Avast!

Hearts of oak are our ships,
Hearts of oak are our men;
We always are ready,
Steady, boys, steady,

To fight and to conquer again and again!

Every man-o'-war's-man knows the above chorus quite as well as he knows his own name; and it is literally true, that the British seaman considers the word "conquer" as the necessary and inevitable sequence of "to fight." With him to fight and to conquer are synonymous; but Defeat is a word unknown in his vocabulary.

In conclusion, it appears to us that the terrible Business of War, both by sea and land, is rapidly becoming a perfect science in itself, and that every great movement in ships and troops resembles the moves on a chess-board-skill and profound calculation regulating each and all. But superiority in ships, and in the seamanship and physical power and pluck of the crews, will invariably decide the day; and, in these essentials, no nation whatever can rival


The creation of a steam Navywhich has been the work of the last half-dozen years will, however, change the aspect of naval warfare. Our fleets will no longer be so dependent on the winds and tides, but will be able at all times to rapidly move direct to wherever their services are required; and in battle on the open sea, the weather-gage, or getting to windward of the enemy will no longer be so important an advantage, as the ships will be enabled, by their screw-propellers, to take up almost any position they desiderate. These advantages, however, it must be borne in mind, the foe will equally possess. It remains to be proved, also, to what extent and degree steam ships-of-war are superior to sailing vessels during a regular line engagement; for at present the best judges have no practical results to guide them to any positive decision. Peaceful reviews, and holiday manoeuvrings, and firing of blank cartridges, afford no criteria. All we are certain of is, that, with steam line-of-battle ships, as well as with any other, Britain is sure, humanly speaking, to retain her wonted naval supremacy.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]




It was early in the autumn of 1853. The rumours of war were as yet but vague and uncertain. Europe was 'drifting" into the contest that was to fertilize the barren hills of the south-western Crimea with the best blood of England, France, and Russia; but as yet the talk was chiefly of holy-places;" of "keys" and "crosses;" of Latin innovations and Greek rights. A party of eight of us were quietly sailing down the Nile from Upper Egypt, anxiously looking out for Cairo, and tired of the monotony of the muddiest of sacred rivers. Abdoolah, our manji, or skipper, had been quietly watching us as he smoked his chibouque, contemplatively, in "the bows." He was the picture of oriental impassiveness. The spirit of the East was upon him, and he drowsily smoked, and mused, and regarded_us. At length he rose with true Levantine gravity, and, diving into a recess beneath the deck, produced a bottle, with which he advanced to us. He handed it to me, and I held it to the light. The bottle was of thin transparent glass; the liquid it contained, a rich amber.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Signor Baltisiniko, the Greek merchant who was thus chanting the praises of the golden colored camandria-the vino d'oro of Abdoolah--was a resident in the neighborhood of Salina, and had received us with the warmest hospitality. We had steamed into the harbour only two hours before, through the few French, Greek, and Italian vessels which it contained. The sun was shining with sweltering brilliancy upon the scene, and those two hours were hours of labour and endurance.

We had resisted the efforts of the quarantine guardians to deposit us in their foul tumble-down lazaretto, for our vessel had a clean bill of health. We had resisted, as well as we could, their cries of buxsheesh, when their efforts to incarcerate us had failed. We had passed unscathed through the ordeal of the customhouse officers, who first inspected our teskeras, or Turkish passports, and then proceeded to pull about our boxes and luggage, displaying all the mysteries of the toilette to the wondering gaze of open-mouthed idlers. We had even stood by in silence,

filled with stoic resolution, whilst one savage held up a pair of braces to the gaze and laughter of his companions-held them up by one corner, gingerly, as a man might hold up an irritated cat by the extremity of its tail. We had quietly replaced our goods, one by one, when the "authorities" had finished their inspection, resisting with passive firmness their renewed demands for buxsheesh. All this and more we had endured, and now, in Signor Baltisiniko's comfortable house, we listened to the praises of the camandria, in execrable Italian.

We were in Salina, or Salines, or the Mina, as it is variously called, taking its name from a salt-marsh in the vicinity, the source of much of its trade. Salina bears the same relation to Larnacca, the chief commercial town of Cyprus, that Leith does to Edinburgh.

The scene before us was charmingand we lay, four of us, including our host, on four couches, (for the ladies had retired) enjoying it. The verandah in which we lay opened out towards the sea, and a gentle breeze came rippling along towards us from the opposite coasts of Syria. The port, with its single row of houses, was somewhat below us the old ruined citadel to our right, its buttresses overgrown with flowers and parasitic plants. Everything bore the aspect of decay and dilapidation, yet everything was picturesque a sad sight to commercial eyes, a pleasant one to the lover of natural beauty.

The narrowing promontory of northeastern Cyprus stretched away upon our left, until lost in the hazy hori


The white sails of the fishing boats occasionally caught the sun's rays as they moved silently over the water, and then, falling into shade again, became black dots upon the


It was a day of intense heat, and we enjoyed the pleasant freshness of the sea breeze, and the glorious scene, and the golden-colored camandria.

Two things struck us as strange on landing, and we asked our host about them. In the first place, not a word of Arabic was spoken. To travellers fresh from Syria this sounds strangely. A kind of patois Greek and a very little Turkish are the languages of the Cypriots; but it was in Italian


that the upper classes welcomed strangers-in Cypriot Italian. condly, civilized vehicles were common--we had reached a country of chariots and horses, of real fourwheeled carriages and leathern harness! In Syria, one sees none such.

The conversation, however, soon turned upon the great curiosities of Salina, its wine cellars-caves of considerable dimensions, partly artificial, partly natural, in which the inhabitants of old saved their most precious treasures from the grasp of the Levantine pirates, the entrances being curiously concealed.

In the evening, Signor Baltisiniko conducted us into a court-yard inclosed with high walls, at the rear of his residence, to inspect his wine


"These houses," he explained, "have all been built recently. The caves have existed for ever. This quarter of the town is only a mile from Larnacca proper, which lies inland. Originally, you might have travelled over this place a hundred times, and not know there was a cave within miles of you. But that was in the good old times."

The court-yard led us into a vaulted chamber, opening at once from the further wall of the enclosure. Here all was perfect darkness. Two servants preceded us with flambeaus, and we advanced into the arched passage. The floor was almost level, slightly descending. A heavy door was soon reached. This let us into a narrower passage, affording but space for one to proceed at a time.

The ground on either side was quite sandy-wooden planks alone prevented the sand from closing the aperture.

"See," said Baltisiniko, pointing to the sand as he held a torch close to it, "when the fugitives were pursued, they had only to remove a few planks, and the passage was closed up.'


Preventing them from getting out as well as their enemies from getting in," I observed.

"True, very true, Signor," was the reply, "but they had stores enough within, and they knew where to dig themselves out. They had always passages half excavated for that purpose, by which they could escape in another quarter, if the enemy labored hard to get in after them."

"These boards seem rather rotten,"

[ocr errors]

I remarked, as I examined them further on.

"True, eccellenza, and my good friend Carpatry nearly lost his life by not changing his in time-they must be replaced soon."

“And what of Carpatry, Signor ?” I asked.

"He was removing a cask-the slaves let it slip in the passage-down came the boards, down came the sand with the boards, smothering them. Carpatry himself was some way behind, and escaped into the cave again. It was some days before he was dug out, and he lived on the camandria."

At length we emerged into a wide and spacious vault, which was blocked up here and there with the falling sand that had crumbled down from the roof or sides. It had evidently been originally considerably more extensive than when we visited it. But the wants of its present proprietor were more than satisfied by the ample space remaining. The roof was probably 30 feet high in the highest part, and was bell-shaped. In fact, it was as if we had found our way into a huge bell of sand. Twenty or thirty goodly-sized jars and casks were stored at the further end of it the former more than half buried in the ground and it was with pride that the good Signor Baltisiniko pointed out to us which contained the camandria of twenty years old, which of ten, and which of more recent vintages.

The coolness of the apartment was its most surprising characteristic. The passage through the vaulted entrance had been stifling, whilst the erumbling sand was mixed freely with the air, rendering it thick and offensive; but here all was changed. By a thousand minute channels through the sand above, our host assured us, the air freely circulated, making its way into and out of the cave, and thus preventing its becoming heated and oppressive. The flambeaus of the servants illuminated the whole chamber, particularly when they were sent up upon the casks by their master.

with a diabolical vehemence and energy that startled us. Their shouts appeared to roll round the casks, and about the cavern in an unearthly way, and brought down from the roof a shower of very fine particles of sand, that set us all coughing.


After we had sufficiently enjoyed the refreshing atmosphere, and tasted a glass of wine drawn by the Signor himself fresh from a jar, as cold as if it had been iced, he ordered the servants to shout, which they did

Enough, enough," said their master, "we must have a glass of wine after that. Do not fear, gentlemen; the roof has stood hundreds of such shouts, and will stand hundreds more."

It was with a sensation of relief that we found ourselves emerging from the lower regions of the Cypriot's wine cellars into the light of day.

The most remarkable object in the neighbourhood of Salina, besides the wine caves, are the ruins of the ancient city of Citium. It was with no small difficulty that we discovered these ruins, for antiquaries are scarce in Cyprus; the people are too much taken up with the present, and how best to enjoy it, to think at all of the past. By dint, however, of a little perseverance and much questioning, we succeeded in convincing our host that such ruins did really exist, and were visible in some of the fields around. Hardly half a mile from his own house they were to be seen, consisting, simply, of the remains of a wall, appearing here and there at intervals; an occasional mound with masonry peeping forth in angular corners or whitened crests; and lastly, a few massive blocks of stone, too large to be carried off entire, and too hard to be broken up for building purposes by the apathetic Cypriots. But what of this town of Citium? Is there nothing more to be said of it than that it flourished before our era, was in existence two hundred years after Christ, and is now faintly indicated by these remains? It is remarkable further, good reader, as the birthplace of Zeno, the founder of the Stoics. And a strange thing truly it is, that the man who preached indifference alike to pain or pleasure, should have come from the island in which pleasure was deified-in which wine, love, and idleness should have been regarded as the only things worth living for. The island of Venus was the last place whence one would have expected that the stern

« 上一頁繼續 »