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PASSAGE OF THE STRAITS OF GIBRALTAR.
A FEW LEAVES FROM THE LOG BOOK OF A VOYAGEUR.
BY C. EDWARDS LESTER.
Captain died in the midst of his triumph putting the finishing stroke to the power of England, who was already " mistress of the seas." It was yet early morning, but on our bow we could distinctly see the rugged mountains of two continents rising, black, jagged from the sea, almost locking their giaut arms, as though they had been burst asunder by some terrible convulsion, leaving a narrow space of less than twelve miles for the world's commerce in all ages to pass.
Long before the sun rose, we could see his herald light kindled on those bald mountains,
as though their tops had been lit up with bea
AND con fires.
ing about five weary | off, we saw the entire outline of the European
"land ahead!" which feeling never before awakened, upon this grand rang merrily from the mast-head to the cabin scene so new to us, and so rich in our recollecbelow. We dressed ourselves wi' right gude tions of the Ancient World, midway between will," and hastened on deck, to unite in the “the Pillars of Hercules,” the glorious sun, general jubilee held on board every vessel, when, after a long voyage, she makes the main
“Like God's own head,” land.
rose up from the calm waters of the MediterOur noble ship, which had outrode the storms, ranean, casting a flood of light upon an ocean, and borne us safely over that vast ocean which a sea, and the mountains of two continents. now rolls between us and our sweet homes, As we sailed on, we saw more and more seemed herself to partake of the general glad- clearly the little villages along the margin of ness; and under a fresh breeze from the bold the sea on the Spanish coast, and in the backSpanish coast, which lifted its rugged bluffs ground green vineyards, with tiny peasant cotover the sea, with all her canvas swelling to tages scattered among them, rising in sweet the wind, she dashed the bright waters from terraces far up the hills; while on the African her bow as she ploughed her path up to the side the bald mountains frowned down on us Straits.
without a tree or shrub or green thing, from On our left lay the scene of Nelson's great the dark-fronted cliffs that beetled over the victory of Trafalgar, where that illustrious sea, to the sharp peaks in the distance covered
with snow, but still all in a sublimity of group- and time-worn walls disclose the history of the ing I never saw equalled. We all felt it an | past, what tales of reckless daring, of wild amera worth remembering.
| bition and of deadly strife, might they not unBut we waited with deeper interest to catch fold! The walls along the water-side and the the first sight of the Rock of Gibraltar, and whole surface of the mountain around, are when we saw this impregnable fortress, which bristling with cannon, while others in long has played so grand and gloomy a part in the dark rows are looking out from galleries which world's history, we felt compensated for our | have been blasted from the solid rock one thoulong voyage. There it stood, a huge rock, rear- sand feet above the level of the sea. The exing itself fifteen hundred feet above the sea, cavations made by the British in the northas it stood ages ago, when washed by the waves ern end of the Rock are equalled by few labors of the deluge. It has looked down on empires of ancient or modern times. A passage of half lost and won, and felt the shock of navies in a mile in length and eight or ten feet square is battle—it has been scathed by the lightnings | blasted through the solid rock. It is about thirty of heaven, but it has itself remained unchanged. feet from the outer surface, and at a short dis
But a word of description : “ The Rock of tance from each other are side-cuts, with chamGibraltar is fourteen hundred and seventy feet bers, where are from one to six guns with large high, and is composed of grey limestone, divi- piles of cannon balls near them. The main ded by perpendicular fissures, filled with calca- passage communicates, by means of spiral reous concretions, containing an immense staircases through the large halls, with other quantity of bones and shells. Many of the galleries above and below. There are also vast former belong to different sorts of deer, none of magazines, filled with the munitions of war. which are at present found in Europe. The It is computed that these excavations, will contown of Gibraltar lies near the northern extrem- | tain fifteen thousand men !" ity of the Rock. Next, south of this, are the I never conceived an idea of such impregnaparade ground and public garden, and still ble strength from any other fortification. You farther south is Point Europa, where many of know we are apt to be disappointed when we the officers of the garrison reside, and having see objects and places which have been often more the appearance of an English than a described by the enthusiasm of travellers, but Spanish town. The western declivity of the it was not so in this case. For I think had I Rock is mostly covered with loose broken frag- never seen or heard of Gibraltar before, my ments of limestone, among which herds of goats impressions of it would have been the same. clamber about, feeding on the numerous wild | This vast Rock is almost a complete island, shrubs and plants which grow there. The since it is united with the main land only by eastern side, which descends to the Mediterra- a narrow strip of low sandy beach, which is nean, and the southern end, are mostly precip- undermined the whole distance, and can at a itous cliffs. The northern extremity is a lofty moment's notice be blown into the air, thus perpendicular wall, while the summit of the cutting off all communication with the contiRock, along its whole extent, is a sharp waving nent. So completely guarded is every pointridge, higher at each end than in the middle. so impossible to conquer is Gibraltar. And This outline of the summit has been compared here in form to a bull--the northern bluff being
That power whose flag is never furled, taken for the towering neck and head, with
Whose morning drum beats round the world," which, as if in fighting attitude, this giant monster bids defiance to the world. On the has planted her Lion and flung out her Unicorn side of the Rock, just above the town, is an old in defiance to the world. Moorish castle, which for a thousand years hasWe sailed by the Rock under a gentle breeze withstood the warring of the elements and the from the west, and by three o'clock we had shock of arms, and may yet for centuries to left the Straits behind us. We hoped to have come, look down upon the changing and event | heard the morning or evening gun from Gibralful scenes in the drama of empires lost and tar, but we knew we should be too far from won which shall be enacted there. What a the Rock at sundown. But while we were strange and varied succession of kings and mourning over our disappointment, and gazing heroes had in ages past contended unto death on the Rock in the distance, we saw the white to gain possession of that ancient tower, or to smoke slowly curling up its sides, and in a few repel invading foes! And could these battered moments the thunder of cannon came booming up the Mediterranean. We all listened to over us, with all its stars—the silver sheen of hear if from any quarter the salute would be the moon was spread along the sleeping wareturned, and in a few minutes we heard, like ters-all around on the still air I heard voices distant but heavy thunder, the sound of cannon from the olden time. We were sailing on the from the western entrance of the Straits. A same sea where had sailed the Rubicon Cæsar, black column of smoke rising up into the clear with his mailed cohorts-Hannibal, with his insky in the same direction, led us to suppose vincible legions-Paul, with his new Faiththat this salute had been given to an English Peter the Hermit, with his wild crusaders—the naval steamer coming into Gibraltar.
young Corsican soldier, on his way to his Imperial Throne, and Columbus, on his bold path
to a New World. When the sun went down over Gibraltar, the summit of the Rock glistened like burnished |
"! This morning we all rose early, to catch the
T gold. Save a canopy of gorgeous clouds hung first view of Italy. out over the sunset, the whole sky was a deep blue, with moon and stars which seemed liter
There lay Genoa, “la Superba," white and
quiet in the bosom of the mountains. At the ally to blaze on high, so pure was the atmos
distance of fifteen or twenty miles, and in the phere. We were now in the Mediterranean,
indistinct light of the early morning, only " That tideless sea
its main outlines could be distinguished. But Which changeless rolls eternally.”
as we slowly rode up the gulf, and the sun
came over the Appenines, the scene began to On our left rose the lofty snow-capped moun- brighten. On our left lay the snowy-topped, tains of Granada, bringing back memories of distant Alps, glittering like silver in the growthe old tales we had read in childhood of Moor- ing light of morning, and the gray mountains ish and Christian valor; on our right the low around us freshened into verdure. sandy coast of Africa stretched away, telling Either shore as it curled up to the city was its mournful story, seeming to send its deep lined with quiet villages, clustering as they wail of lamentation over the sea, like Rachel advanced, till, like two streams, they seemed mourning for her lost children, and would not to pour themselves into the bosom of the city be comforted because they were not. Our ship of palaces." The town follows the outline of was cleaving the same waters which had long the shore, which is semi-circular, and rises in ago washed the thrones of Egypt, with her the form of an ampitheatre on the hills behind. Pyramids-Carthage with her Hannibal-Gra- As we drew nearer, the scene changed every nada with her chieftains—Rome with her moment. Palaces started up before us—termailed heroes-Greece with her poets, and raced gardens rose above terraced gardensJudah with her Holy City-while all around mountain enfolded mountain, crowned with us on the soft air the spirit of the classic world fortresses and convents in almost endless perbreathed.
spective, till the whole waving outline grew How often on my youthful fancy, like a indistinct on the northern sky. lovely vision in dreams, had this night come!! Under a light breeze, so soft and gentle that How many times, long ago, when on some quiet it broke the calm of the silver waters only at autumn day, I have laid me down on the sunny intervals, we floated slowly up the bay, and a slope of a hill, under the falling yellow maple little after noon dropped our anchor inside the leaves, and read the story of Æneas and Dido, | mole of the harbor of Genoa. While we were or the wondrous tales of the bold knights of sitting on deck waiting for the health officers Spain, and dreamed I should one day sail to come on board, and making up our minds over these tideless waters, and then wept to how well we should like our new home, the think it would be but a dream! But this glo- breeze came down from the gardens and vinerious night, which had so often seemed worth yards of the city, LITERALLY LOADED WITH FRAa whole life besides, had at last come. The GRANCE. This seemed like "the dream-land.* mellow sky of the Mediterranean was bending
* * * *
OR, THE MYSTERIOUS WILL.
A TALE OY NEW YORK FASHIONABLE LIFE, TEN YEARS AGO.
BY FAIRY FAY.
with an offended air; changed the position of SARATOGA.
his graceful limbs, and looking daggers at his
presumptuous friend, demanded whether he "A chiel's amang us, taking notes, And faith he'll prent'em."
meant anything personal by that remark.
"Oh, most assuredly," replied Howard, "that "Well, of all dull places, commend me to is if you choose to take it so. Do you rememSaratoga !” exclaimed Mr. Augustus Beau- ber the answer of the Irishman who deeming mont--stretching out one leg, then the other, himself insulted by some inadvertent remark, and yawning in the most fashionable manner. demanded if the speaker was serious ? 'I am,' “ Nothing but eating, drinking and swallow he replied. Then I am glad to hear it,' said ing mineral poisons in large doses all day long! | the Irishman, 'for I will not take a joke from Bah! we have not even a flirtation to drive any body."" away ennui. Fred!" turning to a gentleman Mr. Augustus Beaumont recrossed his legs, at the opposite end of the room, who was busily hummed an opera tune, and moved his chair engaged in reading—"Fred, why on earth do toward the window. A moment after, he startyou keep all the newspaper to yourself. Pray, ed up with an exclamation of surprise and deis there not a “horrible accident,' or a 'terri- | lightble murder to amuse one with ? Do let's have "Colonel Stanbrook and his two neices, as something. Oh, don't hand me the paper; I'm a sinner! and there is the beautiful Laura it's too great a bore to read one's self. Any | lifting her blue eyes to our window, while the news !!
heiress bends her queenly head in answer to The Great Britain has arrived."
the salutation of some of her adorers, as the “Pshaw! I've no interest in that."
carriage dashes through the avenue. Why, 4 A great fire in New-York."
what lucky fellows we are, Fred; all alone “Still less interest in that-never having had here, and the field to ourselves. They must be property there, save three vacant lots, which here for the season, and away from New-York my good creditors took a fancy to long time fortune hunters, we have the game in our own ago."
hands. Fred! I say; one would think your “Fanny Ellsler has taken a farewell benefit whole existence depended upon that telegraph at the Park.”
of news and scandal." The noise of approach"And it will be a greater benefit to the ing wheels—the loud shouts of postilions the country when she takes her farewell of that. clamor in the hall, and the mingling of several What right have the fascinating foreigners to voices, compelled Howard to lay aside his newscome here and gull us out of our money, as paper, and rise for the purpose of ascertaining well as run away with our hearts ?"
the cause for this sudden tumult. A splendid “Hearts !” exclaimed Frederick Howard, private carriage stood before the door, in which glancing over the paper at the lounging exqui- was seated an elderly gentleman and three lasite. "Pray, Gus, can you tell me the com- dies. The door was soon opened by the obsepound ingredients of a dandy's heart? It quious footman, and the gentleman held out never entered my imagination that one of that his hand to assist his fair companions. First species presumed to boast of such a commo- appeared a young lady dressed in the extreme dity.”
of fashion. An elegant riding-dress of black Mr. Augustus Beaumont pulled up his collar / velvet, relieved at the throat by a French
collar, displayed her tall form to advantage, and dollars and cents, to balance the numerous a rich white silk hat with a demi veil of Dres- attractions of yonder petite- well, I never !» den lace and ornamented with a superb bunch “But who and what is she? you have roused of French flowers, sat lightly upon her com- | my curiosity.” manding brow. She had bold features, dark, “Who she is, except a dependant orphan, I flashing eyes, and an air which bespoke her at cannot tell, and what she is you must ascertain once as a favorite of fortune. A smile, half of for yourself. She is called a muse--a grace condescension, and half of scorn played around a vision-a creature of enthusiasm one moher haughty lip, as she returned the low bow ment, and the next quiet, sedate, thoughtful of Beaumont, and then stood twirling a sun-| as a hermit. A being shade in her hand while awaiting the descent
u of passionate visions-quick, light and shade.” of her companions.
"Is she not a superb creature ? exclaimed “ If she rouses even you into quoting poetry, the beau, as Howard joined him at the window. she must be a character worth studying. How
"Quite a noble air, and withal graceful and provoking that she will not allow us to catch dignified ; pray who is she ?
a glimpse of her face. How I hate those thick “Cornelia Stanbrook, the reputed heiress of green veils—they are very annoying !" three estates, and the leader of ton among the “You will find the wearer still more annoyNew-York aristocracy."
ing," observed Beaumont, biting his cane with " New-York aristcoracy! Pray, define that vexation, and speaking as if he had received term," said Howard.
some provocation from the subject of his cri“Why, you do not presume to intimate that ticism. “But look there, Fred, and talk of we have no established aristocracy in New- angels! There comes the last, but by no means York !” exclaimed Mr. Augustus Beaumont, in least, of the new visitors. Look there, and barprofound astonishment. Howard smiled at the ricade your sensitive heart; only let me whisper earnestness with which this remark was made; one caution-she is a portionless beauty." but possessing too much good sense to attempt Howard did look—and he thought that porarguing the point at that moment with his vo- | tionless or not, she was the most celestial crealatile companion, changed the subject by in ture he had ever gazed upon. Her eyes of deep, quiring why he used the term reputed heiress, dark blue, shaded by long drooping lashes, in reference to Miss Stanbrook.
were raised one moment to the window, and "Because the different suitors to the fair then fell instantly, as she observed the admirsisters—for there are two of them have not ing looks of the gentlemen ; while a blush, yet determined which is the heiress. I have like the delicate tint of an ocean shell, suffused been informed that the young ladies are them a cheek fairer than the lily. Her half parted selves ignorant which deserves the title. Ilips displayed a row of pearly teeth, and her have settled the matter in my own mind, for voice, as she addressed her companions, was no one could view them together without re- melody itself. Her age appeared hardly sevenmarking the decided superiority of Cornelia ; teen, and there was a modesty, an ethereal though Laura is pretty, vastly pretty-yet purity and innocence floating like a veil around without possessing the Je ne sais quoi, which is her, denoting a heart uncontaminated by the essential to the first position in fashionable so follies and absurdities of what Beaumont called ciety."
fashionable society. Howard gazed, with his Howard again smiled at the term fashion- whole soul in his eyes, until her light form disable society—but without any comment upon appeared from the door. the words, inquired the name of a sylph-like “I see I need not eulogize Laura,” remarked fairy creature who was just stepping from the Beaumont, as he saw the rapt attention of his carriage at the door.
friend. “What would you give now for an "Angels and ministers of the Muses, de- introduction ?" fend us !” exclaimed Beaumont, levelling his “An introduction! Do you know them ?" eye-glass. "If there is not the
"To be sure-every one." “The what?!
" Then you will present me !" Mr. Beaumont answered only by a succes- “ To which-the Muse the beauty—or the sion of exclamations : “ To think of the belle | heiress ?" bringing such a rival as that! She will have "To all,” said Howard, eagerly. to make out a schedule of her possessions in “Humph! variety is charming; and you will