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OD bless the man who first invented sleep!"
His great discovery to himself; or try
Yes-bless the man who first invented sleep
Whate'er the rascal's name, or age, or station,
"Rise with the lark, and with the lark to bed," Observes some solemn sentimental owlMaxims like these are very cheaply said;
But, ere you make yourself a fool or fowl, Pray just inquire about their rise-and fall, And whether larks have any beds at all!
time for honest folks to be abed,"
Thomson, who sung about the "Seasons," said,
At ten o'clock A. M.-the very reason
"Tis, doubtless, well to be sometimes awake-
Of our best deeds and days, we find, in sooth, The hours, that leave the slightest cause to weep, Are those we passed in childhood, or-asleep!
'Tis beautiful to leave the world a while
For the soft visions of the gentle night;
So, let us sleep, and give the maker praise ;
I like the lad who, when his father thought To clip his morning nap by hackneyed phrase Of vagrant worm by early songster caught, Cried, "Served him right!-it's not at all surprisingThe worm was punished, sir, for early rising !"
THE HE staunch old ship "Good Cheer" lies at her wharf. She has come in from a long and tedious voyage, during which she has met with unusual buffetings, and she now seems resting from toil and danger, and recruiting her energies for another adventurous tour of the world. As some old gentleman, when wearied with his long tramp through crooked, crowded, and dusty streets, rejoices to reach his home, and there, in order to enjoy his leisure to the utmost, unbuttons his coat and vest, stretches out his legs, and rests his aching head against the wall, so does it seem to me that the ship "Good Cheer" has determined to make the most of a few short weeks of inactivity, and has thereto placed herself in negligent attitude and attire: stripping off her sails, folding up her bowsprit and studdingsail booms, loosening her rigging, opening her hatches, as though for breath, and throwing out upon the wharf the heavy cargo which for months has held her head pressed down into the waves.
It is a pleasant sight to see the old ship again, even under the negligent air of easy contentment. She is far from being in trim order, to be sure; nor does she appear to the same advantage as when, once upon a time, I was wont to watch the spray fly to either side, as she dipped into the brine, or, leaning against the bulwarks, gazed upon the graceful swell of the distended sails, enjoying, all the while, the pleasant rolling motion. She lies now almost as lifeless as the dingy warehouses which line the shore. She floats in a pool of unhealthy-colored water, in which the sport of dolphins and albicores is usurped by the rotation of a wretched circle of cocoanut-husks, chips, and half-decayed lemon-rinds. Men, in miserable little punts, bump up against her sides, and she has no power to resent the familiarity. Hideous steam-tugs fly past, and snort defiance; but she is helpless as to reply. And, if the truth must be told, her deck is very dirty. But, even in the midst of such discouraging influences, I can recognize here and there a trait to awaken my old fondness, and fill me with pleasant associations of the past. Here, lashed behind the wheel, is the old double-cask life-preserver, upon which I have so
often sat, and, leaning over, watched the play of the phosphorescent water of the tropics. There is the quarter-deck hand-rail, scratched from one end to the other with tallies of unnumbered games of cribbage. And there, up aloft, is the mizzen-top, where I so often sat, and read, or played, or mused, or watched the horizon, in the vain hope of being the first to signalize myself by discovering a strange sail. And now, moved by a passing whim, I leap over the quarter-rail, cling to the shrouds, and begin to ascend. It is harder work than it used to be. Either I have grown more portly and less elastic in my limbs, or else it is the fault of my long-skirted coat and high-heeled boots, which, indeed, are not well adapted for climbing. But I resolutely persevere, rise from ratlin to ratlin, swing myself clumsily over, and at length seat myself once more upon the mizzen-top as of old, with my right hand grasping the shrouds, and my feet hanging over the edge.
Would you like to know, Tom, what I thought of when seated up there? I thought, at first, of you, and how that it might have been a good thing for you if you could have been there with me. I fancied that, as we recalled the past, some bright spot might have glowed in your encrusted heart, and made you, at least for a little while, something like the man you were when we two sailed together; for I do not believe that you are yet entirely lost, Tom. It is true that you have changed-that you have become that idol of the world, a practical, unimaginative, business man-that your delight is now in dingy countinghouses and mouldy ledgers, and that your conversation is always upon the price of stocks and corner-lots. But I believe that there may yet be a tender spot in your soul-a relic of your other life; and that there are glimpses of the outer world which may yet have power to recall you to yourself, if properly presented to you. Hard and unromantic as your heart has been growing for the last ten years, I do not believe, Tom, that you could have stood upon the mizzen-top with me, and have heard me talk to you of past adventures, and have
looked with me down upon the deck which once so pleasantly rolled beneath us, and not have thought of something besides the number of chests of tea and barrels of flour our good ship could
Well, you were not there, Tom, and so I will tell you what I recalled. You may not read this-you probably will not. I believe that of late your only reading has been the price-currents, and interest-tables, and that you affect to despise all lighter influences. But it may happen, by some strange chance, that you are at some time placed where you must necessarily see these pages -in a car or stage, for instance--where you can get no stock-lists, can find no commercial friends to talk with, and so must either listen to me, or be idle. And if that time does come, Tom, remember that I write this for you, with pity for your present fallen state, and a feeble hope that the only remaining tender spot in your heart may glow once more with something of its old native fire, and burn off the hard crust with which the world will soon smother every spark of pleasant reminiscence forever.
And I thought, first, of the time when the brave little ship "Good Cheer" cast off from the shore and carried us out upon the ocean, which, until that day, we had never seen. Shall I recall that picture, Tom? We stood together at the stern. Around us, and, like ourselves, gazing towards our rapidly-disappearing home, were a number who were to be our companions for many a month-some friends from our native place-a German, with long, red beard, flat cap, and hooded travelingcloak-a Frenchman, short and withered a Scotchman, from the very bosom of the Tweed-and many others. The ship, with her broad sails set square, gayly broke her way through the whitecrested waves, which hissed madly against her sides, and then fell behind, baffled and frowning. At our right, far off, was a speck-our pilot-boat, already in search of another prize. At our left, a long, low steamer trailed her wreath of smoke through the air. In advance, and rapidly drawing near, was an inward-bound bark, toilsomely beating towards the land, and rolling up and down in the yeasty sea-trough, until we could even see the yellow planking of her deck. Behind, and slowly sinking below the horizon, were the heights of
Nevesink, with a few white dots at their feet, where cottages stood, and two white lines above, for light-house landmarks. And, as we gazed, the sun touched the mountain brows, a flood of brightness streamed up from the west for a few brief moments, and then sank into dim twilight; the swift-faced night came on and shut out the sight of our native shores, save where the glimmer of light-houses began to mark their position, and the blue of the sea changed to blackness, while the waves seemed to leap and hiss more madly, and with a more sullen moan than before. There we stood-sad but excited-with a timorous instant of dread throbbing in our hearts, and an exulting gleam of courage leaping to our eyes-with eyelids moistened with regret at the fading away of that land which we might never see again, and a secret joy swelling the soul at the thought of the wild and daring life of excitement which our hopes had so lavishly spread out before us. And so the night closed in above us.
Tom, I am afraid that if we once again stood thus together, and saw spread out before us the same rich glories of wave, and .shore, and sky, you would only complain of the cold, draw your cloak more tightly about you, and go below.
And now recall a certain tropical night, that even you long remembered. The air was warm, the waves light, and the wind feeble; and our good ship was slowly forging ahead, with a gentle, rocking, lullaby motion. From deck to truck she was one pile of canvas, narrowing gradually to the light sky-sail, which, with every swell, described its little arch upon the heavens; while, at the sides, the studding-sails projected far out, until, as a heavier roll than usual now and then swept along, they dipped their corners carefully in the water. Behind us, the vessel left a trail of fire, as she ploughed up the phosphorescent sea; and, in the distance, the rugged crags of the little isle Fernando de Noronha darkly broke the line of the horizon, and added to the enchantment of the scene. And, above all, the full moon rode the heavens, silvering the waves, gleaming upon the light sails, brightening up the freshlyscraped deck, and even, here and there, tinging with a mellow glow some jutting peak of the old distant isle. Clad in light garments, we sat upon the
spanker-boom, and bracing our backs against its tightly-stretched sail, yielded ourselves fully up to the romance of the hour. A group of passengers sat near us-among them the German and the Frenchman. Three or four had musical instruments-a flute, a guitar, and that favorite of the seas, an accordion; while there were others who rejoiced in well-tuned voices. The group essayed a lively negro melody; but the strain, though sweet, did not, somehow, succeed, for the quickness of the air was hardly in symphony with the more leisurely dreaming of our souls. But suddenly from the accordion came the first few plaintive notes of the German Hymn. The player merely rattled a few of the keys, as a forlorn experiment; but the effect was electric: at once it was felt that a chord was touched in every heart-at once all voices and instruments joined in, and the grand old tune swelled grander and louder, stretching over the unmeasured waters in holy concord, and rising in reverential harmony to the heavens, while the old ship herself seemed to catch the spirit of the thing, and to time her gentle rocking in unison. That old tune, written to be sung through the echoing arches of some time-honored cathedral, never yet was pealed forth with more heart-felt fervor than there, in that waste of waters-God's own cathedral; and, as the last strains died softly away over the deep, there was moisture in every eye, for, somehow, it led our thoughts to the home we had left behind us.
Tom, I am afraid that now the chink of gold and the rattle of crisp banknotes would bring more music to your ears than a seraph's song.
And recall that day before we entered Rio, and how we stood upon the quarter-deck and gazed upon the beetling crags of Cape Frio, worn and rugged, and scarcely less distorted than the surf which splashed thirty feet high at the base! And how we sat upon the mizzen-top in the evening, as, in sight of the hospitable port, we forged slowly up and down the coast, guided by the light-house and the Southern Cross, and awaiting the hour when, with the break of morn, would come the breeze which would waft us safely in. And how, when the morning-breeze had come, we pressed the quarter-rail and joyfully watched the line of shore, as, while we
drew nearer, it changed from blue to brown, until palm-trees could be distinguished girting the rounded mountains, and villas nestling at their feet, and forts and shipping appeared, and, at last, as we passed the wondrous Sugar Loaf, we saw the city itself, crouching down amid the hills. And then think of that loveliest, most enrapturing scene of all—a picture which I have often in my dreams seen sincewhen at night our anchor was dropped in the bay, and we lay before the town. There was no moon, and by the feeble glimmer of the stars we could but faintly see the line of mountain-tops against the sky. Two miles off was the city, lit up as if for a festival. Each side, along the shore, were batteries, marked by three rows of eighteen, twenty, and twenty-two lights, set regularly within their port-holes. In advance of us lay a frigate; upon each side of us were barks, adventurously bound, like ourselves. The soft dip of oars was here and there heard, and the phosphorescent sea was bright with the trails of unnumbered fish, sporting under our stern. We were all on deck-for who could stay below? An awning had been stretched across to shield us from the dew; lanterns had been hung about the rigging, and we broke forth into song after song, the chorus of each of which was gayly taken up by ship after ship, until the whole harbor rang_with the melancholy complainings of "Lucy Neal" and 66 Mary Blane," while the German attempted to roll forth a native ode, but was silenced by the obstreperous laughter of us others, who could not understand the language. And suddenly our noise was hushed; for, from our frigate, the band burst forth with our national anthem. We had all heard and liked it at home, but it never sounded half as grandly as then, when listened to in a foreign country. And as the last strains died away over the water, there came a gentle tink-tinkle here and there, echoed from one ship's bell to another, in every variety of tone, but all invested with the same musical charm. It was the striking of eight bells; and as I recalled this picture, Tom, upon the mizzen-top, I sat for many minutes with closed eyes, and mused upon it.
Do you remember, Tom, how, that night, we conjured up a scheme to leave our good old ship, and, in reckless ad
venturing, strike across that unexplored country, to meet her again at her Pacific port? We did not attempt it, to be sure; for our hastily-formed resolution soon died away, under the pleasant and luxuriant attractions of the city life; and it is as well that we forbore, since we would probably have never reached the other coast alive. But does it anger you, Tom, to think that there was a time when you did not count the cost of everything?
That was a wilder but not unpleasant scene, when we passed through the Straits of le Maire. We were muffled to the ears in shaggy coats, with buttons like plates; for it was very cold. The sun described a very low arch in the heavens, far to the north, and gilded the waves, without deigning to shed any genial warmth upon them. The sea was rough, and the vessel drove so uneasily before the wind, that we were obliged to grasp the quarter-rail to maintain our footing. Upon one side rose the coast of Terra del Fuego, a rounded mass of mountain-land, while, upon the other side, was Staten Land, a pile of giant snow-capped pinnacles and crags, like a crystallized, many-steepled city. The German stood, with one hand upon the rail, trying to copy the outlines of the scenery; but, as the ship progressed, new crags came into view, and old ones assumed other positions, and continually defeated his efforts, until a gust of wind carried off his paper, and, as he loosened his hand from the rail to tear his beard, he lost his balance, and rolled upon the deck, uttering some wonderful, jaw-breaking Dutch oaths. So with the musical passenger, who had come, upon deck to breathe defiance through his cornopean, and who was dashed from one side to the other, to the imminent danger of his instrument. And while we shouted applause, the gathering mists rolled down the broken sides of Staten Land-an arch of clouds gathered towards the south, forming a vast semicircle of brightness, streaked with unearthly radiations-the sea and the wind rose higher together in a devil's chorus-the good ship labored more uneasily the clouds spread out apace, and descended, filling the air with drifting snow-the sun was blotted out-the land extinguished; and so we drove on into the jaws of the great Southern ocean, with no other company than the white albatrosses and cape-pigeons.
which wheeled, screaming, to and fro in our track.
That gale passed over before long, Tom, and the sunshine again appeared. When will your corroding heart feel a little of its former sunshine?
Do you remember one day that we passed in Valparaiso? Not in the city itself, however. We had wandered a mile or two off, on the northern side of the bay, and the little white town had become indistinguishably confused in the distance. We could only detect, at the foot of the mountain, the long custom-house, the plaza, the cathedral, a church or two, and, further up the hill, the round-topped cemetery chapel. The rest had become blended into a straggling, undefined line, trailing, like a serpent, along the water's edge. In front of us was the bay, with a few hundred vessels at anchor, at suitable distances, with their sails hanging loose, and their national bunting now and then lazily puffing out from the gaffs, and then, as the passing breeze died away, slowly sinking back into a loose roll. There was an English frigate at one side, and she, alone, manifested life; for it was Coronation Day, and her lines were hung with flags, from truck to bowsprit, while her ports were pealing forth a broadside for a national salute. All other vessels were lifelessly basking in the hot sun, which poured down its hot rays until the air was scarcely a degree less than oppressive. We were not warm, however; for, in our walk, we had chanced upon a little cottage by the bay-not comfortably built, perhaps, for it was of sun-dried brick, which gaped open in various places, but, upon the whole, rendered wonderfully picturesque, by thick vines, which trailed over the roof, and formed an arbor in front, and were loaded down with rich, purple clusters. We sat in the shade of this arbor and ate our grapes, while, now and then, down a sloping road between us and the bay, came trains of mules with tinkling bells upon their necks. And while we sat and eat, the daughter of the establishment appeared before us. She was a native Spanish beauty—brown as a nut-well formed— with beautifully-shaped bare feet, which her short dress could not hide-and rejoicing in a bright black eye, and pearly teeth, and long, curling hair, which reached beyond her waist. She bore a guitar, and, taking her place opposite