when I found we were to run for a harbour before the wind. But my relief was but of short duration, for I soon heard that our sails were very bad, and were in danger of being torn in pieces, in which case we should be drawn upon the rocky shore of Col. It was very dark, and there was a heavy and incessant rain. The sparks of the burning peat flew so much about that I dreaded the vessel might take fire. Then, as Col was a sportsman, and had powder on board, I figured that we might be blown up. Simpson and he appeared a little frightened, which made me more so, and the perpetual talking, or rather shouting, which was carried on in Erse, alarmed me still more. A man is always suspicious of what is saying in an unknown tongue, and, if fear be his passion at the time, he grows more afraid. Our vessel often lay so much on one side that I trembled lest she should be overset, and indeed they told me afterwards that they had to run her sometimes to within an inch of the water, so anxious were they to make what haste they could before the night should be worse. I now saw what I never saw before, a

* Erse, the language spoken in the highlands of Scotland.


prodigious sea, with immense billows coming upon a vessel, so as that it seemed hardly possible to escape. There was something grandly horrible in the sight. I am glad I have seen it once. Amidst all these terrifying circumstances, I endeavoured to compose my mind. It was not easy to do it, for all the stories that I had heard of the dangerous sailing among the Hebrides, which is proverbial, came full upon my recollection.

It was half an hour after eleven before we set ourselves in the course for Col. As I saw them all busy doing something, I asked Col with much earnestness what I could do. He with a happy readiness put into my hand a rope, which was fixed to the top of one of the masts, and told me to hold it till he bade me pull. If I had considered the matter, I might have seen that this could not be of the least service; but his object was to keep me out of the way of those who were busy working the vessel, and at the same time to divert my fear by employing me, and making me think that I was of use. Thus did I stand firm to my post, while the wind and rain beat upon me, always expecting a call to pull my rope.

The man with one eye steered; old M'Donald and Col and his servant lay upon the fore


castle looking sharp out for the harbour. was necessary to carry much cloth, as they termed it, that is to say, much sail, in order to keep the vessel off the shore of Col. This made violent plunging in a rough sea. At last they spied the harbour of Lochiern, and Col cried Thank God we are safe!' We ran up till we were opposite to it, and soon afterwards we got into it, and cast anchor.

[ocr errors]

Dr. Johnson had all this time been quiet and unconcerned. He had lain down on one of the beds, and having got free from sickness was satisfied. The truth is, he knew nothing of the danger we were in.



IN a town in Persia, there lived two brother called Cassim and Ali Baba, who, though they were left equally alike by their father, whose substance was but small, yet they were not alike favourites of fortune.

Cassim married a wife who, soon after their

marriage, was left heir to a plentiful estate and rich merchandises; so that he became a rich and considerable merchant, and lived at his ease.

Ali Baba, on the other hand, who married a woman as poor as himself, lived very meanly, and was forced to maintain his wife and children by his daily labour, by cutting of wood in a forest hard by, and bringing it on three asses (which were his whole substance) to town to sell.

One day when Ali Baba was in the forest, and had just cut wood enough to load his asses, he saw at a distance a great cloud of dust, which seemed to approach towards him he observed it very attentively, and distinguished a large body of horse; and though they did not talk much of thieves in that country, Ali Baba began to think that they might prove so, and without thinking what might become of his asses, he was resolved to save himself, and to that end, climbed up a large, thick, and close-leaved tree, from whence he could see all that passed without being seen, and this tree stood at the bottom of a rock, which was very high, and was so steep and craggy that nobody could climb up it.

This troop, who were all well mounted and well armed, came to the foot of this rock and there dismounted. Ali Baba counted forty of them, never doubting that they were thieves, and he was not mistaken: what confirmed him in this opinion was, every man unbridled his horse and tied him to some shrub or other, and hung a bag of corn they brought behind them about his neck. Then each of them took his portmanteau, which seemed to Ali Baba to be gold and silver by the weight, and followed one whom he took to be their captain: who, with his portmanteau too in his hand, came under the tree where Ali Baba was hid, and going among some shrubs, pronounced these words distinctly:-Open, Sesame (which is a sort of corn). As soon as the captain of the robbers had said these words, a door opened, and after he had made all his troop go in, he followed them himself, and the door shut again.

The thieves staid some time within the rock, and Ali Baba, who feared that some one, or all of them together, should come and catch him if he should endeavour to make his escape, sat very patiently on the tree, but was nevertheless tempted once or twice to get down and mount one of their horses, and lead

« 上一页继续 »