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SKETCHES OF DR.
a strong, rapid river. There is no straining after great things, but his genius is an Aladdin's lamp, summoning at a touch thoughts and images more wonderful than magic creations. Sometimes his mind will become kindled in prayer, and perhaps sublimer petitions were never uttered. I look back with intense delight to the chapel devotions, in which he took a conspicuous part, as among the most precious privileges of my life.
Dr. Beecher had a most singular faculty of attaching young men to himself by a friendship more personal than that of instructor and pupil. He was regarded as a father, and yet sometimes he could scourge as with a rod of iron. I shall never forget one young man, no doubt now in heaven, who had a singular mania for denunciation. The whole church was corrupt. The clergy were dumb dogs. The laity worshipped Mammon and not God. On one occasion this young apostle delivered a speech, at the regular time of seminary declamation, in which he arraigned the whole church, and condemned it most magisterially. When the Doctor made his criticisms, he did it mildly, reminding the speaker that he was young yet, and that such words would hardly become the aged apostle to the Gentiles. He admonished him to cherish a more kindly spirit, assuring him that as the spirit of true love should reign in his heart, would this spirit of denunciation be banished. All felt the justice of the remarks, and adınired the spirit which dictated them.
But the culprit could not give it up so, and after the exercise was finished, confronted the Doctor with the demand to soften what he had said as unchristian and unjust. This touched the old man to the quick, and he forthwith put off“ bowels of mercy.” He scourged the poor fellow till he wept like a child, and begged forgiveness. Poor W
-! his mind was peculiar, and needed greatly a balance wheel. He worked with untiring devotion for Jesus, and yet once in a while would fly off in a tangent into some wild aberration. He did much in spite of this, and has left on earth the record that he had not lived in vain. He died at his post, a much wiser man, I am told, than when his gray-haired instructor bastinadoed him so justly and so mercilessly.
In his family, Dr. Beecher is a must amiable man, and his friends always meet a welcome. The happiest New Year's evening I ever spent was at his house. Myself and a friend found the Doctor unwell, and rather taciturn, com
forting himself with scraping a violin. Not much was elicited from him above a bare civility for some time. We were drawn up around a bright fire, and a variety of pleasant remarks was made by the different persons present. Among them was his eldest daughter. The conversation of Miss Beecher was filled with striking thoughts, and at the same time was unusually sparkling. All at once the Doctor was observed to lay aside the old violin and straighten up in his chair, as he always does when interested. We could see the fun laughing in the corners of his eyes, and the whole movement was accompanied with a peculiar blowing through the nose. This last is always the precursor of something droll. I will not attempt the description of an incident which had occurred only a few nights before. Gough himself might have envied the pantomimic power displayed, as this cheerful veteran stood in the centre of the circle and acted out the scene.
The horses in the night had been kicking up a great racket, and the Dutchman had gone out to quiet matters. Just as the Dutchman went into the stable, one of the boarders happened to see him, and she screamed out, “ Horse thieves !” That roused the Doctor in another part of the house, and out he sallied to the rescue. But the brave man had a hindrance from behind, because his wife held fast to his morning-gown with the beseeching expression, “ Now don't go, Doctor ! oh don't go! you will be killed ! you will be shot!” But he shook her off, and by this time all the ladies were screaming with fright; and lo, just then poor John, the Dutchman, having regulated things at the barn, came in just in time to save from fits those especially concerned, and to relieve the courageous Doctor farther demonstration of his valor!
Indeed he is as kind and noble a man as one can meet, and I trust I have violated no propriety in entertaining numerous readers with some facts, which will make them better acquainted with one of the giants of our age now fast passing away. Perhaps some of these facts may stimulate others to recall scenes of personal intercourse, and of public life, which otherwise will be lost. These will be needed by the man whose lot it may be to sketch the life of this veteran when he is gone. May this event be long deferred, is the prayer of one who loves him as a father, and who loves to recount the past, as bright spots in his own history!
Who does not love flowers ? The utterly orb it is likened to. All features as well as all sordid may pass them with a careless eye, the forms seem copied in flowers. Almost human unconcerned may trample them rudely under eyes glance from some, and pearly teeth glitter their feet; but where the heart is alive to the in many. Here you have a finger, and there pious or higher emotions, where the love of
you see a glove; here is a goblet, and there a beauty is cherished, or the charm of refinement hatchet; here an arrow, and there a slipper ; felt, flowers are prized and sought. The love fairy bells are ringing, perhaps, merry chimes of flowers is one of the earliest tastes of child- as they hang on their hairy petals; and here hood, and after a life of worldliness, if not of the face of a wild animal peeps out, and there crime, a fresh flower has spoken to the heart you note the tongue of the serpent; while each seared and blighted, and opening the fountains flower has its own appropriate foliage, from the of tears, brought back the days of peace and rich, dark, polished leaf of the japonica, carepurity.
fully guarding and well befitting its queenly Flowers have been called the smiles of blossom, to the fantastic, grotesque foliage of Heaven. Nothing in the world of nature so the cactus, contrasting with the rich and speaks to our hearts of the love of God- of his gorgeous blossoms, reminding of dragons and delight in the happiness of his creatures ; while gorgons guarding fair nymphs. they seem, too, to display his delight in the All climates, all lands boast their own flowwork of creation: there is such an infinity ers; and while among the choicest treasures of of beauty, and such an infinite variety of beauty pride and wealth, as gathered from many climes, displayed in the floral world. Think of the they bloom in conservatory and hot bed, save beauty of the colors—from the most gorgeous
some brilliant strangers, the poor man's garden hue to the most delicate tint, with every possi- boasts those as sweet, and almost as fair; and ble combination of color and shade, laid on with they spring up too in the waste place and solithe boldest brush or the lightest pencil. The tary, in the deep chasms and dark woods, by coloring of flowers alone furnishes a study for lone streams and dark ravines, where the earth the life of an artist, while no touch of his imita- seems cursed for the sin of man--as if still to tive pencil can rival the work of the Great De- proclaim the mercy and love that faileth not. signer.
There seems a striking similitude between The forms of flowers, too, are wonderfully the birds and flowers of a land. In tropical varied. They have supplied designs for the lands, birds seem almost winged flowers--the sculptor and architect; patterns for the loom same deep and varied dyes, the same rich and and the embroidery. It is the great delight of glowing hues; while in our colder lands, birds the artist to imitate them; to reproduce and and flowers are both more modest, more sober combine them in every form, with every mate- in their tints, while the one sheds a richer frarial, from the simple chintz, through worsted and grance, and the other pours a sweeter melody. silk, to golden-threaded tapestry; from the clay And we may more fully learn the influence of of the potter to the marble of the sculptor, or the natural objects upon the eye, thus forming the embossed wreath of the golden goblet. They taste, if we note how the favorite colors of napresent, in their natural state, an infinite variety tions assimilate to the floral world around them. of form, from every line of chaste beauty and Natives of tropical climates, with their birds of pure elegance, to forms fantastic and grotesque. splendid plumage, and flowers of gaudiest dye, It seems as if they mimicked all in the realms choose for their apparel likewise, the richest, of nature and art; from the white spring flowers gayest colors. They wear robes and turbans which reflect while they shadow forth the of crimson, and blue, and yellow, while we are stars above them, to the tall, heavy sun-flow- pleased with colors grave and modest. er, imitating while it bows to and follows the
LETTERS FROM A WHALE-SHIP.
For the first time on the passage from the Sandwich Islands, ten weeks to-day, we heard day before yesterday from the mast-head,
There she blows." The usual question and orders from the deck quickly followed : “How far off ?” “ Keep your eye on her”-“Sing out when we head right.” Three whales were descried from alost in different parts, and in a short time the ('aptain gave orders to “stand by and lower” for one a little more than half a mile to windward. Three boats' crews pulled merrily away, glad of something to stir their blood, and with eager hope to obtain the oily material wherewith to fill their ship. The whale was going leisurely to windward, blowing every now and then two or three times, then “turning tail,” “ up flukes,” and sinking. The boats “headed" after him, keeping a distance of nearly one quarter of a mile from each other, to scatter (as it is called) their chances.
Fortunately, as the oarsmen were “ hove up,” that is, had their oars a-peak about the place where they expected the whale would next appear, the huge creature rose just by the Captain's boat, and all the boat-steerer, in the bow, had to do, was to plunge his two cold irons, which are always secured to one towline, into the blubber sides. He did it so well as to hit the "fish's life," and make him spout blood. It was the first notice the poor fellow had of the proximity of his powerful captors, and the sudden entrance of the barbed harpoons made him caper and run most furiously. The boat spun after him with almost the swiftness of a top, diving through the seas, and tossing the
spray, and then lying still while the whale sounded, for the space of an hour; in which time another boat" got fast” to him, and the Captain's cruel Jance had several times pierced bis vitals. He was killed, as whalemen call it, that is mortally wounded, an hour before he went into “ his flurry," and was really dead or “ turned up” on his back.
The loose boat then came to the ship for a hawser to fasten round his flukes, which being done, the Captain left his irons in the carcass and pulled for the ship in order to beat to windward, and getting alongside to “cut him in.” This done and the carcass secured by a chain, they proceeded to rieve the huge blocks that are always made fast for the purpose to the fore and mainmast head, and fasten the tackle. The Captain and two mates then went over the sides on steps well secured, and having each a breast-rope to steady and lean upon. The cooper passed them the longhandled spades which he was all the time grinding and whetting, and they fell lustily to work cutting off the blubber.
First came one of the huge lips, which, after they had nearly severed close to the creature's eye, was booked into by what they call a blubber-hook, stripped off and raised on board by the windlass. It was covered with barnacles, exceedingly compact and dense. Next came one of the fore fins; after that the other lip, and then the upper jaw, with all that peculiar substance called whalebone, through which the animal strains his food. It is all fringed with course hair that detains the little shrimps and small fry on which the creature feeds. The bones radiate in leaves that lay edgewise to the mouth, from each side of what may be called the ridge-pole of the mouth's roof, forming a house almost big enough for a man to stand up in.
Next came the lower jaw and throat with the tongue, which latter alone must have weighed fifteen hundred or two thousand pounds, an enormous mass of fat, not however so firm and tough as the blubber. Whalers often have to lose it, especially from the north-west whale, it being impossible to get it up on deck alone, because it would not hold, and is too large and heavy to raise with the throat.
After this was hoisted in, the rest of the way
LETTERS FROM A WHALE-SHIP.
was plain sailing, the blubber being cut and peeled off in huge unbroken strips, as the carcass rolled over and over, hooked into by the great blubber-hooks, and hoisted in by the men heaving at the windlass. As often as a piece, nearly reaching to the top of the mainmast, was got over the deck, they would attack it with great boarding-knives, and cutting a hole in it nearly even with the deck, thrust in the strap and toggel of the “cutting blocks,” that they might still have the purchase on the carcass below; then sever the huge piece from the rest and lower it down into “ the blubber-room ” between decks, where two men had as much as they could do to cut it into six or eight pound pieces and stow it away. It was from nine to eleven inches thick, and looked like very large fat pork slightly colored with salt petre.
The magnificent swan-like albatrosses were round by hundreds, eagerly seizing and fighting for every piece that got chopped off, swallowing it with the most carnivorous avidity, and detracting considerably from one's admiration of that most superb of birds, just as your veneration for one whom the coloring of a youthful imagination has made a little more than human, is not a little abated by finding him subject to the necessities and passions of poor human nature. Gonies, stinkards, horsebirds, haglets, gulls and petrels, had many a good morsel of blubber.
A shark, too, appeared to claim his share ; but it was not until after a man had been twice on the wave-washed carcass to get a rope fast to a hole in the head, or I should have trembled for his legs.
Before the blubber was all off, the huge entrails of the whale burst out at the wounds made by the spades and lances. I hoped the peeled carcass would float for the benefit of the gonies and other birds. But no sooner was the last fold of blubber off, and the flukes hoisted in, than it sank. About the same time two ships came down to speak us, the Henry, of Sag Harbor, and Lowell, of New London. 'Their captains came on board to congratulate us on our success, and learn the news.” They had just arrived on the ground, and had not yet taken any whales.
Soon after we had finished cutting in, about 8 o'clock, the wind increased almost to a gale, making it impossible to try out that night. But to-day, while the ship is laying-to, the business has begun in good earnest; the blubber-men cutting up in the blubber-room; others pitching it on deck; and others forking it over to the side
of the "try-works ;" two men standing by a horse with a mincing knife to cleave the pieces into many parts for the more easy trying out, as the rind of a piece of pork is cut for roasting; the boat-steerers and one of the mates pitching it into the kettles, feeding the fires with the scraps—bailing the boiling fluid into copper tanks, from which it is the duty of another to dip into casks.
The decks present that lively though dirty spectacle which whalemen love, their faces all begrimed, and sooty, and smeared with oil. A farmer's golden harvest in autumn, is not a pleasanter sight to him than it is to a whaler to have his decks and blubber-room “ blubber log," the try-works a-going, cooper a-pounding, oil flowing, everybody busy and dirty, night and day. Donkey-loads of Chilian or Peruvian gold, filing into the custom-house at Valparaiso and Lima, or a stream of Benton's yellow-boys flowing up the Mississippi, have no such charms for him, as cutting in a hundred barrel whale, and turning out oil by the hogshead.
The whale now taken proves to be a cowwhale, about forty-five feet long, and twentyfive round; and it will yield between seventy and eighty barrels of excellent right-whale oil. This is about the ordinary size of the New Zealand whale, a dwarf in comparison with that of the north-west, which sometimes yields, it is said, three hundred barrels, ordinarily one hundred and fifty or one hundred and eighty. Though so huge a creature, a very small part of its bulk appears out of water, nor do you have so fair a view of this immense mass of organized matter, as of a ship afloat in comparison to one on the stocks. As is usually the case, the observed reality of this immense animal hardly comes up to the pre-conceived vague idea of it, still less to the poetic imagination of
" That sea-beast Leviathan, which God of all his works Created bugest that swim the ocean stream Him haply slumbering on the Norway foam, The pilot of some small night-founder'd skiff, Deeming some island, ost, as seamen tell, With fixed anchor in his scaly rind Moors by liis side under the lee, while night Invests the sea, and wished morn delays.”
They used to tell some big “ fish stories" in Milton's day, and I have no doubt they had
of Paradise, and that is unrivalled. It is an inhabitant of the Molucca Islands, and it seems fitting that such a bird should reside in a country where the air is filled with the odor of spices.
There is nothing which makes one who is cooped up in a large city, feel the rigor of his imprisonment so much as the absence of birds. Many a time, when we have escaped from our confinement for a day or two, have we been affected almost to tears by the sweet voice of the Robin and Blue-bird. Oh, this world would not be so bright and gorgeous as it is, were it not for these warblers, which seem to have been sent down from heaven to gladden us with their unearthly music.
It is a part of the plan of the Parlor Magazine to give the portraits of the fairest native and exotic flowers; and we think that this feature has always been acceptable to our patrons. But there is such a relation between flowers and birds, that we can hardly help giving an occasional sketch of the latter. Birds and flowers! the two ideas are necessarily and inseparably blended. So in the last number of our Magazine, we introduced one to our Parlor, and in this number we have another. We do not mean to apologize for the introductionnothing of that kind. That were as if we should, in so many words, impeach the good taste of our fair friends; for we hold this truth to be self-evident, that the lady who loves not birds and flowers is not a lady of taste. We do not mean to make an apology, therefore, for introducing these friends of ours, but rather that we have not invited them to the Parlor before.
The Bird of Paradise, represented in our engraving, has been the subject of a great deal of poetry, as well as of some rather absurd and extravagant eulogies in prose. It was believed, by naturalists too, in former days, that the Bird of Paradise had no legs; that it consequently was an ethereal bird, never alighting on this globe, and subsisting upon the dew of heaven. However, it is generally conceded, now, we believe, that the bird has feet, and rather ugly ones at that. The beauty of its plumage is the principal attraction of the bird
“ The birds, the birds, of summer hours !
They bring a gush of glee To the child among the fragrant bowers,
To the sailor on the sea. We hear their thrilling voices,
In their swift and airy flight, And the inmost heart rejoices
With a calm and pure delight.
Amid the mists of even,
Their music down from heaven.
Come pealing through the air, Our hearts leap forth to meet them,
With a blessing and a prayer.”