Imágenes de páginas

the deck of my newly-purchased yacht, thinking that, of two evils, the big ship would be better than the diminutive punt.

We now got into fearfully rough water; a strong current of the tide, which, I believe, met the wind, caused commotion ; I am not sure about this, but I think I heard somebody say so; but whatever might be the causes,

I am sure that I can answer for the effects. My wife screamed, and leant upon me; and Lorimer Lomax pinched my left arm black and blue. Luff, luff!" said the man who steered the boat, and thinking that he looked at me, and that very probably our safety depended on my instantly doing something that he desired, I almost shouted in reply—"In the name of heaven, what do you mean by luff? Mary, my dear, luff, if you please; Lomax, pray luff

, if you happen to know how." The steersman (I think you call him) gave a grim smile, and addressing my wife, said,

Trim the boat, if you please, Ma'am." Mary," said I, “ the man speaks to you."

What, Sir?” cried Mrs. Cockle. “ Trim the boat," said the man.

Mercy on us," I cried, “ he talks as if he were desiring her to trim a bonnet!

“ Sit there," said the sailor.

And thankful that at last he spoke intelligibly, without saying a word, I took my wife by the shoulders, and placed her in the identical spot to which he had pointed. We were now nearing the “ Waterwagtail,” and the sailor said, "There's your yacht, your Honour, they'll soon bear down upon us.

Down upon us!cried I, looking at the great black body that came nearer and nearer every moment; “Oh, how shocking! to be run over by one's own Waterwagtail !" We were now tossed about worse than ever. A

rope was thrown to us, which hit me in the right eye, the boat bumped against the side of the yacht, and Lomax lay prostrate on the flat of his back. My wife fainted, and was borne up in a state of insensibility, and I followed, holding two slippery ropes, and with difficulty keeping my feet upon what, I believe, they called the accommodation-ladder. accommodation, indeed !

I stood upon my own deck, I leant against my own mast, and my own sailors pushed me about, and seemed to consider me in the way. I felt as if an illness was coming over me- :—my legs lost all strength cold drops stood upon my forehead—I sank upon a seat-my head dangled over the side of the vessel- I was sea-sick !

All fears left me, and with them all natural affections. I cared not three straws about my inestimable wife,-I heeded not her cousin, who was my guest and fellow-sufferer,-I gave no orders,— I knew nothing that was going on. I was conscious the weather was getting worse and worse ; but I was getting worse and worse myself, and what is the weather to a dying man?

I knew nothing about the commodore, -I knew nothing about the squadron. All night I lay on my berth in the cabin, opposite to my wife, who also lay upon hers; and our beds being on something like shelves let into the wall

, and we being pale and motionless, I thought we resembled bodies in a mausoleum.

A pretty

One lamp, suspended from the ceiling, cast on us a melancholy light. Oh, how it swang to and fro ! and the chairs, how they tumbled about ! and the horrid clamour that I heard of shouting men, and flapping sails, and creaking masts, and howling winds, and rushing waters. I speak nothing but the truth, when I declare that I expected every minute that we should go to the bottom.

One of my men came down to us occasionally, and gave me brandy, which I passively swallowed, and then gave brandy to Mrs. Cockle. I had just sense enough left to observe that she drank it passively too.

Once I ventured to whisper, “ Is there any hope? I trust we're near land.”

“ Near land !” he replied. “No, no; we must keep clear of land. Land is the worst place we could see, such a night as this."

How people may be mistaken! Land was what I had been longing for.

“ Could we not go ashore ?" said I.

“ Aye ; if we don't keep a good look-out, we shall go ashore,” he answered.

" Well ?” said I.

" And in ten minutes the vessel would go to pieces, and every soul on board would perish."

My wife groaned, and so did I, and I heard an echoing groan from Lorimer Lomax, whose body had been laid out in a sort of closet which served many purposes, and, being lined with plate glass, among others, as a place to dress in.

Little need had we now of dress. Day dawned, but still the storm roared on; and the vessel pitched so much, that, had my sickness permitted me to rise from my bed, I should have found it impossible to stand or walk.

Of Lorimer Lomax I heard nothing but the oft-repeated groan. He was a bachelor of sixty, and ever anxious to appear to the best advantage. He always " made himself up,” as the phrase goes, and was the very worst subject in the world for a sea voyage like the present. The chances were, that his outward man would be entirely washed away, and that, when we did meet, I should not recognise him.

But I thought not of this; I thought of nothing but impending destruction. Again came the horrid night, with the swinging lamp, and the din of many noises; and another day passed, and another; and at length, feeling the improbability of her having survived so long, I sometimes spoke faintly to my wife, that I might, from her answering or remaining silent, judge whether she was alive or dead.

One morning I heard guns firing, and people huzzaing, and was informed that, the weather having abated, we had ventured nearer the French coast, and that we were now off Cherbourg. My mate was a communicative person, and he told me all that was going on. We had arrived too late for great part of the festivities, a sort of awkward squad to the squadron. But the sailor told me, with great glee, that we were at that inoment going through evolutions for the amusement of the great people on shore, where I was invited, with the other members of the R. Y. C., to dine with French royalty.

“ Dine!” said I, shaking my head convulsively, as a sick person always does when you talk to him of dainties. However, I rose, for the first time, from my bed, and reeled across the cabin to kiss the extended hand of my still surviving Mary.

Dining on shore was entirely out of the question ; but as we shortly got into smooth water, we both refreshed ourselves with a change of dress, and sent to beg Lomax would join us at dinner.

After a long pause he tottered forth from his plate-glass dormitory; and it was evident, from his appearance, that he had been for some time employed repairing “ the ravages of time” misspent on board a vessel in a storm.

No painter can command a steady hand in a rough sea, and poor Lorimer's had evidently shaken sadly. His wig was awry, one whisker was darker than its fellow, and his artificial eyebrows were carefully pencilled a quarter of an inch above his real ones. His dress, too, lacked its usual taste and finish; and the Lorimer Lomax on whom I now gazed, might have passed for the grandfather of the beau who embarked with us at Cowes.

Our dinner was a brief repast. We were soon obliged to betake ourselves again to our beds; and there we lay, kept wide awake by the guns fired in honour of the gay party enjoying themselves on shore.

The next morning we were all considerably better, and ordered the sailors to row us to the shore. The king and royal family had just left Cherbourg; the members of the Yacht Club had all gone on board their vessels, and were preparing to set sail for the Isle of Wight.

We saw, in fact, nothing but a French town, involved in that extreme state of dulness which invariably follows a period of unusual gaiety and excitement.

I told my captain and crew to make the best of their way to the Isle of Wight in the “Waterwagtail," on board which never will I again set foot; and Monsieur and Madame Cockle, with Monsieur Lorimer Lomax, were soon reckoned among the “ departures” from Cherbourg, having hired a carriage to take them to Calais, from which place they sleamed safely to Dover in three hours and a half.

A party of pleasure is proverbially a painful undertaking; but its annoyances are generally petty ones,—an al fresco déjeûne under an umbrella, or a July day passed with five or six people in a closed landau, with the windows up.

Such dilemmas are farcical ; but my party of pleasure was very nearly ending in a tragedy; for I have been given to understand by real sailors, that a storm so sudden and so severe has been of rare occurrence at such a season.

I now print my miseries as a warning to all uninitiated fresh-men, whose minds are bent on salt-water excursions. Let them dabble about within the Isle of Wight as long as they please; but if they pass the Needles—my mind (ay, and my body) sickens at the dangers that await them. 'Tis rash for children to play with edge-tools; but it is ten times more rash for a landsman, like myself, to try to make a plaything of a vessel in a gale of wind,

T. H. B.




In our Journal, Part II. 1832, p. 298, passim, we gave our readers notice of the improvements projected in the Ephemeris, by which twothirds of the world navigate their ships. We have now to announce their full accomplishment, in a manner every way equal to what we there anticipated; and, as we asserted, notwithstanding the voluminous additions, without any increase of price. Here, then, besides what he formerly gained, the purchaser will find ample means for reducing the sun's right ascension and declination to his meridian ; distances of Jupiter and Venus, which, we can assure him, may often be measured in full day; the moon's place for every hour; a capital gang of moon-culminating stars ; the true apparent place of Polaris for every day in the year; the positions of the asteroids; and the Greenwich stars purified, and increased to a hundred; besides which, that fluctuating and inconstant quantity_apparent time-is, to the infinite joy of every well-disposed observer, for ever discarded. _It now really merits its double title of Nautical and Astronomical Ephemeris; and we hope and trust it will materially tend to approximate, as nearly as possible, the computations of floating and fixed observatories. Indeed, ihe publication of this truly national work, which from several unavoidable causes hung fire” for a time, has been received with unanimous satisfaction by the scientific circle; and its cost, matter, arrangement, and type, are such as to reflect the highest credit on the government which ordered, the committee who advised, the superintendent who directed, and the gentlemen who computed the details of the laborious undertaking. As a kind of “bird's-eye” view of the contents of the volume, we would wish to insert Lieutenant Stratford's able and unassuming preface, -were we not aware that it will be circulated through the various regions which lie in our Journal's orbit ; and all that we have to do is, to recommend the navigator to peruse it with attention—to read, mark, and learn.

In announcing the launch of an Ephemeris so well worthy of the first maritime power in the universe, we will shortly mention that a new set of tables, requisite to be used therewith, has also been resolved upon. Those published by Dr. Maskelyne contained mach which, from recent improvements in nautical astronomy, is no longer required, while several tables, which have become essentially necessary, were not inserted ; and the same remarks apply to other works of similar import and title. Such being the fact, the lords commissioners of the Admiralty ordered the formation of a new set of requisite tables to meet the extended nautical wants; and the selecting of those which were to form the collection was confided to a committee consisting of the following gentlemen, of whom those marked with an asterisk were, moreover, “ reformers” of the Nautical Almanac:*Professor Airy.

*F. Baily, Esq. *Professor Babbage.

*Capt. F. Beaufort, R.N.

*Capt. F. W. Beechey, R.N.

Lieut. P. Lecount, R.N. *Lieut.-Gen. Sir T. M. Brisbane. *J. W. Lubbock, Esq. *Right Rev. Bishop of Cloyne. *T. Maclear, Esq. *Davies Gilbert, Esq.

Capt. W. F. W. Owen, R.N. *Dr. Olinthus Gregory.

Lieut. H. Raper, R.N. *Capt. Basil Hall, R.N.

*E. Riddle, Esq. * Professor Hamilton.

Professor Schumacher. George Harvey, Esq.

*Rev. R. Sheepshanks. *T. Henderson, Esq.

*Capt. W.H. Smyth, R.N. *Sir J. F. W. Herschel.

*Lieut. W. S. Stratford, R.N. *Capt. James Horsburgh.

*Dr. Tiarks. *Rev. Dr. Inman.

*J. Wrottesley, Esq. Capt. P. King, R.N.

The deliberations of this Committee were conducted with that diligence and zeal which has hitherto marked the progress of the Astronomical Society, from which it was selected. But a condition, which was deemed absolute, circumscribed the range that would otherwise have been taken. It seems that an opportunity was offered of obtaining a full set of mathematical tables, had it been deemed eligible to extend the work to two volumes,-the first to have been confined to an ela borate series of fundamental logarithms, and the second to auxiliaries. This view was, however, yielded up to the apparent necessity of accommodating a seaman with as much matter only as would meet his wants in a single volume, scarcely more bulky or expensive than its predecessor, and while compendious, to be also complete. To gain the desired end, a weeding took place, and in order to remove all unnecessary distinctions of cases, several old friends to the youthful navigator were discarded. The required reductions, to be sure, are easily obtained from the fundainental tables, but as we always enjoyed the aid of the lighter corrections in a tabular form, we were rather sorry to lose them. After a patient consideration of the various candidates for admission into a volume worthy of the present advanced state of nautical astronomy, the following were declared duly elected, viz. :

1. A table of refraction, to the nearest second, founded on M. Bessel's computations, adapted to a mean height of the barometer in English inches (=30), and a mean height of Fahrenheit's thermometer (=50): the altitudes to be the same as in the table of refraction inserted in the more recent volumes of the Nautical Almanac. And that subsidiary tables or columns be annexed, for the corrections to be applied for alterations in the barometer and thermometer.

2. The true dip of the sea horizon, to the nearest second, for every foot of altitude from 1 to 100, and for every ten feet from 100 to 300 : with a collateral column showing the effect of terrestrial refraction, as usually taken, whereby the apparent dip may be obtained.

3. The moon's parallax in altitude, to the nearest second, for every 10' of altitude, and for every minute of horizontal parallax : together with the proportional parts, at the side, for every minute of altitude, and every second of horizontal parallax.

4. The augmentation of the moon's horizontal semidiameter, to the tenth of a second, for every 10" of her semidiameter, and for every requisite degree of altitude.

U. S. Journ. No. 59, Oct. 1833.


« AnteriorContinuar »