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,


on a

[ocr errors][ocr errors]


Our ships, of all rates, at the pre

Hearts of oak are our ships,

Hearts of oak are our wen; sent day carry metal immensely hea

We always are really, vier than they did during the last war; and the science of naval gun

Steady, boys, steady,

To fight and to conquer again and again! nery and the training of the crew generally, have been so improved, that Every man-o'-war's-man knows the there can be little doubt that a re- above chorus quite as well as he gular open sea-fight now would be

knows his own name ; and it is litequickly decided, but would be mur- rally true, that the British seaman derous whilst the engagement lasted. considers the word “

conquer” as As to our sailors, they would fight the necessary and inevitable sequence just with the same spirit they have of “ to fight.” With him to fight always evinced ; in that respect, at and to conquer are synonymous ; but least, there would be as little diffe- Defeat is a word unknown in his vorence between the seamen of this ge- cabulary. neration and those of Nelson's time, In conclusion, it appears to us that as between the tars who fought un- the terrible Business of War, both der Blake and sturdy old Benbow, by sea and land, is rapidly becoming and those with whom Earl St. Vin

a perfect science in itself, and that cent and Lord Howe won their glo

every great movement in ships and rious victories. In other words, there troops resembles the moves would be no difference at all in hearty chess-board-skill and profound calspirit and bravery, whatever there culation regulating each and all. But might be in skill. The seamen of all superiority in ships, and in the seanations have their own peculiar and manship and physical power and characteristic mode of doing battle- pluck of the crews, will invariably business. The Turks are inspired by decide the day; and, in these essenMahommedan fanaticism, and will tials, no nation whatever can rival calmly and ununurmuringly permit The creation of a steam Navythemselves to be killed almost to the which has been the work of the last Jast man, but rarely think of sur

half-dozen years

will, however, rendering. The Spaniards fight (or change the aspect of naval warfare. did fight) with considerable gallantry, Our Heets will no longer be so debut with little skill. The French

pendent on the winds and tides, but are chivalrously brave and enthusi- will be able at all times to rapidly astic, but lack skill, stamina, and move direct to wherever their services steady endurance. The Danes, Swedes, are required ; and in battle on the Norwegians, and Dutch, all fight with

open sea, the weather-gage, or getthe most dogged obstinacy, and with ting to windward of the enemy will great nautical ability. The Russians no longer be so important an advan(judging by the few actions in which tage, as the ships will be enabled, by their ships have been engaged) are their screw-propellers, to take up alwretched seamen, and have no heart

most any position they desiderate. por real liking for the work, but be- These advantages, however, it must ing trained to render implicit obe- be borne in mind, the foe will equally dience even unto death, will fight as possess. It remains to be proved, well as they are able until resistance also, to what extent and degree steam is hopeless; and, finally, there is the ships-of-war are superior to sailing British tar-our own dear matchless vessels during a regular line engageJACK !--who fights pretty much in ment ; for at present the best judges the fashion of one of the bull-dogs of have no practical results to guide his native land, going to work with them to any positive decision. Peaceconsummate skill, as though fighting ful reviews, and holiday maneuvrings, were the regular every-day occupa- and firing of blank cartridges, afford tion of his life, cheering and pouring no criteria. All we are certain of is, in his broadsides with the most hearty that, with steam line-of-battle ships, good will, and continuing them with as well as with any other, Britain is invincible resolution until the foe sure, humanly speaking, to retain her cries out Avast !

wonted naval supremacy.




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,

[ocr errors]


filled with stoic resolution, whilst one that the upper classes welcomed savage held up a pair of braces to strangers---in Cypriot Italian.

Sethe gaze and laughter of his com- condly, civilized vehicles were companions—held them up by one cor- mon--we had reached a country of ner, gingerly, as a man might hold chariots and horses, of real fourup an irritated cat by the extremity wheeled carriages and leathern harof its tail. We had quietly replaced ness! In Syria, one sees none such. our goods, one by one, when the The conversation, however, soon "authorities” had finished their in- turned upon the great curiosities of spection, resisting with passive firm- Salina, its wine cellars-caves of conness their renewed demands for bu.x- siderable dimensions, partly artificial, sheesh. All this and more we had partly natural, in which the inhabiendured, and now, in Signor Baltisi- tants of old saved their most precious niko's comfortable house, we listened treasures from the grasp of the Leto the praises of the camandria, in vantine pirates, the entrances being execrable Italian.

curiously concealed. We were in Salina, or Salines, or In the evening, Signor Baltisiniko the Mina, as it is variously called, conducted us into a court-yard intaking its name from a salt-marsh in closed with high walls, at the rear of the vicinity, the source of much of his residence, to inspect his wine its trade. Salina bears the same relation to Larnacca, the chief com- These houses," he explained, mercial town of Cyprus, that Leith “have all been built recently. The does to Edinburgh.

caves have existed for ever.

This The scene before us was charming- quarter of the town is only a mile and we lay, four of us, including our from Larnacca proper, which lies inhost, on four couches, (for the ladies land. Originally, you might have had retired) enjoying it. The veran- travelled over this place a hundred dah in which we lay opened out to- times, and not know there was a wards the sea, and a gentle breeze cave within miles of you. But that came rippling along towards us from was in the good old times." the opposite coasts of Syria. The The court-yard led us into à vaulted port, with its single row of houses, chamber, opening at once from the furwas somewhat below us—the old ther wall of the enclosure. Here all ruined citadel to our right, its but- was perfect darkness. Two servants tresses overgrown with lowers and preceded us with flambeaus, and we parasitic plants. Everything bore the advanced into the arched passage. aspect of decay and dilapidation, yet The floor was almost level, slightly everything was picturesque—a sad descending. A heavy door was soon sight to commercial eyes, a pleasant reached. This let us into a narrower one to the lover of natural beauty. passage, affording but space for one

The narrowing promontory of north- to proceed at a time. eastern Cyprus stretched away upon The ground on either side was quito our left, until lost in the hazy hori- sandy-wooden planks alone prevent

The white sails of the fishing ed the sand from closing the aperture. boats occasionally caught the sun's “See,” said Baltisiniko, pointing to rays as they moved silently over the the sand as he held a torch close to it, water, and then, falling into shade “when the fugitives were pursued, again, became black dots upon the they had only to remove a few planks,

and the passage was closed up." It was a day of intense heat, and Preventing them from getting out we enjoyed the pleasant freshness of as well as their enemies from getting the sea breeze, and the glorious scene, in,” I observed. and the golden-colored camandria. “True, very true, Signor," was the

Two things struck us as strange on reply, “but they had stores enough landing, and we asked our host about within, and they knew where to dig them. In the first place, not a word themselves out. They had always of Arabic was spoken. To travellers passages half excavated for that purfresh from Syria this sounds strange- pose, by which they could escape

in ly. A kind of patois Greek and a another quarter, if the enemy labored very little Turkish are the languages hard to get in after them.”. of the Cypriots'; but it was in Italian “These boards seem rather rotten,"

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors][merged small]

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 »