« 上一页继续 »
and alternately crossing each other, presented the most graceful figures: it was such a scene as the chaste spirit of Vernet might have hovered over with delight. The next day, we saw the topmasts of our brave blockaders off the Texel; it was painful to contemplate the effects of a dire necessity which forces us to harass a people, who in their hearts cherish no animosity, but against the tyranny which separates them from us.
A noble frigate from the squadron passed us under a cloud of sail, “ breasting the lofty surge;" she proudly dashed through the foam of the ocean, and to the eye of Fancy looked like the palace of Neptune. Her appearance reminded me of the nervous, spirited, and Chatham-like exclamation of a celebrated wit, upon the same subject: “an
English man-of-war is the thing after all: she speaks all languages; is the best negotiator, and the most profound
politician, in this island; she was Oliver Cromwell's embas“ sador; she is one of the honestest ministers of state that ever “ existed, and never tells a lie; nor will she suffer the proudest
Frenchman, Dutchman, or Spaniard, to bamboozle or give her a saucy answer.”
On the third day, a very singular object presented itself; it was Helogoland, a vast lofty perpendicular rock rising out of the ocean, and distant about forty-five miles from the nearest shore: it is only one mile in circumference, yet upon its bleak and bladeless top, no less than three thousand people live in
health, prosperity, and happiness. The hardy inhabitants subsist principally by fishing and piloting, and are occasionally enriched by the destroying angel of the tempest, when the terrified observer, looking down upon
angry storm, might, in the moving language of the clown in the Winter's Tale, exclaim,
“ Oh! the most piteous cry of the poor souls, some“times to see 'em and not to see 'em: now the ship boring the “ moon with her mainmast, and anon swallow'd with yest “ and froth.” But to the honour of the brave Helogolanders, they never augment the horrors of the enraged element. Humanity and honourable interest impel them gallantly to face the storm, and snatch the sinking mariner, and the sad remains of his floating fortune, from the deep: they never suffer the love of gain to excite any other exclamation than that of thanks to God; not that the storm has happened, but that the ocean has not swallowed up all the wreck from them. How unlike a body of barbarians who infest the west of England, and prefer plunder to the preservation of life, and who have been even known to destroy it, whilst struggling with the waves, for the sake of a ring or a bauble, and who are accustomed in the spring of every year, to speak of the last wreck season as a good or a bad one, according to the violence or moderation of the preceding winter !*
* I allude to the wreckers of Hope Cove, near Kingsbridge.
The Helogolanders are a fine healthy race of people, remarkably fair, live in small huts, and sleep on shelves ranged one above another, and are governed by a chief who is deputed froin the government of Denmark. They are obliged to victual their island from the shore! What a spot for contemplation, to view
“ Th'ambitious ocean swell, and rage, and foam,
We entered the river of Husum about four o'clock in the morning, in a stiff gale attended with rain. The clouds in the west were dark and squally, with here and there a streak of copper colour; in the east the sun was gently breaking. Whilst I was contemplating this picturesque appearance, and occasionally regarding the anxious eye and gesture of our Danish pilot, who by the aid of buoys and floating poles conducted us with admirable skill through a narrow, and the only navigable, part of the river, which lies between two long lofty sand-banks; the effect of the scene was encreased by an owl of yellow plumage, endeavouring to reach our ship: the poor bird we supposed had been blown off the coast; his wing touched the extremity of the boom, but, exhausted with fatigue, he dropped breathless in the water. A sailor, who was looking over the sides, with a quaint imprecation of mercy, pitied the dying bird.
The shore as we advanced looked low, flat, and muddy, sur
mounted here and there with a solitary farm-house and windmill; but the river presented a scene of considerable gaiety. Boats put off from the little islands which appear on either side of the river, filled with hardy men, women, and boys; the ladies wore large black glazed pasteboard bonnets, glittering in the sun: they were all going to the great fair at Husum. We cast anchor about four miles from that town, whose tall spire appeared full in our view: a large boat filled with these good holiday folks came alongside, and received us, baggage and all. As we proceeded
As we proceeded up the river, which became narrower as we advanced, and which seemed more like thin mud than water, through which we heavily moved by the assistance of punting poles, I waded through the tedium of the time by contemplating my companions, most of whom, with myself, were covered over below with the hatches to avoid a heavy shower of rain. They were all in their holiday dresses; the men in blue or brown druggets, and large round hats, and the women in coarse striped camlet gowns, in which red was the prevailing colour, with those vast shining bonnets before described, and slippers with high heels without any quarters: we were crowded together almost to suffocation. Our company was more augmented than improved by pigs and poultry, and the various produce of the farm, amongst which I noticed some delicious butter. In the party was a fine blooming young Scotswoman, who had married a Helogolander; her expressive dark eyes flashed
with delight, to find herself seated near an Englishman: in her look was legibly written the inextinguishable love of our country.
Upon our landing, we were immediately addressed by a Danish centinel who was upon duty at the quay, and whose dress and appearance were very shabby; he dispatched one of his brother soldiers with us to the burgomaster, to notify our arrival and produce passports, thence to the secretary to procure others to proceed.
A little money here had the same virtue which it possesses in almost every other part of the globe, by producing unusual energy in these subordinate ministers of government, and enabled us to sit down to an early dinner at an English hotel, during which, I was a little surprised at hearing one of our fellow-passengers, who was immediately proceeding to Hamburgh, frequently vociferate, “ Is my waggon ready?” What a country, thought I, must this be, where a waggon is required to convey a man, and one too who was little bigger than his portmanteau! Observing my surprise, he informed me, that the carriage of the country was called a Stuhlwaggon; upon its driving up, I found that its body was very long and light, being formed of wicker work, and fixed to thin ribs of wood; the bottom was half-filled with hay, a cross seat or stool was fastened by straps to the sides, and the whole mounted upon