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schooner: under their escort we, weighed our anchor and put to sea, intending to shape a course for Sierra Leone. A detail of the sufferings of the crew of the launch, which had been sent for the squadroo, would make a man's hair stand on end for a fortnight; they returned to us walking spectres, mere ghosts of living men, a resurrection of bones.
We found, on getting to sea, that the sail had so far sucked into the leak as to render it trifling: the hand-pumps kept her pretty free, and, with the assistance of the chain-pumps twice a day, we managed to defeat our watery enemy :: the ship of course did not sail quite so well as formerly, and the wake clearly demonstrated by its ragged appearance, that considerable injury had been sustained. We arrived safely at Sierra Leone, and came to an anchor off that sink of human wretchedness, misnamed a town. The beautiful fragrance of the limes on entering the river, with the verdure of the shore, cruelly deceived us as to the painful reality we had such ample time to experience. The wooden huts were distributed in careless irregularity, and the church was not discernible by any outside show. Guayas and yams, plantains and limes could be procured in abundance; and with the exception, perhaps, of some miserable sprucebeer, or pine-apple, not another article could be obtained. On the right of the town was a swamp-on the left a swamp-and behind a swamp :-day and night, musquitoes buzzed with their ceaseless buzz, excepting when they rested to bite us ; the alligators appeared the lords of the deep and floated carelessly, sometimes within boathook's length of the ship, showing their flat heads and scaly backs, which defied the musket-ball ; or, when alarmed by the noise, merely sunk tail foremost, to rise at a more respectful distance: the sharks disputed the right to swallow the unfortunate fellow who trusted himself within their element, and added to the comfortable reflection that starvation awaited us on shore, and death was concealed in the water, if the heated wretch dared to cool himself. Of all places under the sun, there is no hole so desperately bad as Sierra Leone, and the only harm I wish those who have induced government to father the colony, is, that they may be condemned to reside there for six months, with all the comforts the splendid town now possesses.
We had quite enough to do aboard the ship to employ our legs and arms, and minds, or I am convinced one half of the crew would have died from sheer torment and disappointment. Our Sunday walks certainly occasionally blessed us by a moment's laugh, as a tall black, with nothing in the world on but a cocked hat, would strut by us, and now and then a sable dandy with a lovg-tail coat, but deficient in every other part of dress, would stand in naked pride for our admiration. The women were scarcely more decently garbed, and, not unfrequently, were left in nudity to meet the gaze of the spectator. The rains fell in torrents, succeeded by a sun burning one's very kin : in short, if ever the devil should walk upon earth, his palace ought to be erected at Sierra Leone.
We had now to repair the ship-no trifling undertaking in such a climate, for to put to sea in our present condition with any hopes of reaching England would have been the very height of madness; had the sail failed us, the men would have died at the pumps before
another could have been prepared. On the right of that ever menorable town there is a bay called St. George's Bay, and here the rise and fall of water in spring-tides amounts to thirteen or fourteen feet: it was resolved to run the ship on shore at the highest of the tides, shore her
and when the water ebbed to repair the damages. Every thing of course was landed, and that same business of landing the main-deck guns was not the most slothful of employments. We ran the ship on shore accordingly, having two anchors laid out astern in the deepest water, in order to get her off again at the return of the spring-tides: a hawser or two were run out to some cocoa-nut trees in the bay, and the reflux of the tide saw the Arethusa high and dry forward, as respectable a hulk as any sailor could wish to look at. The forefoot was entirely gone, and a new one was instantly prepared; there was a very respectable hole in the starboard-bow; and a black diver who appeared as much at home as an alligator in the water, and who declared he would face one, scales and all, for two gilt buttons, or a cocked hat, made honourable mention of a very large aperture under the mainmast. The two first we repaired in the most satisfactory manner, the forefoot being made on shore by our carpenter, and duly watched at night by one man. It was found a certain fever came, if a man worked in the cold dew of the evenings : when the morning dawned, the watchman was found dead, without the slightest appearance of bodily injury : the next night the same calamity happened ; and then it occurred to our rulers, that the blacks would not run away with the forefoot, seeing they could make no possible use of it. Our men, notwithstanding the situation of the ship, were kept on board of her: any movement on shore in the quiet of the night could be heard, if not seen; and as the fever had begun to manifest its influence on board, we became more careful of the health of our men. One day, when the crew were at dinner, a sudden crash was heard, and the ship, then nearly high and dry, gave a sudden heel to port: it required no boatswain's whistle to turn the hands up, for in a moment every man in the ship was on deck, anticipating, from the sudden heel, that the ship would have fallen on her bilge. It appeared that one of the shores had more weight than it could bear, and snapped under its load : another one was in its place in less time, than a man unaccustomed to see what human labour can do, assisted by fright, could imagine; and when the tide flowed, we rectified the difference of weight. Our next calamity, for it happened alongside, fell on a poor black boy, who lost his leg from a ground-shark in the act of carrying some food to his father. I (thank God!) did not see the accident, although I heard the shriek. The Arethusa was repaired, as far as white and black carpenters could repair her. The spring-tides again coming on, we made preparations to heave her off; and, in order, to assist the purchase, we lashed at low water a block to the cable, through which we rove a hawser: this was brought to the capstan, and about nine o'clock at night we began endeavouring to launch our frigate. The hawser gave way without starting the ship, and fearful lest it should unreave, we dispatched a black diver to find the end : he was down some time, when one of our men who swore he would rather, be swallowed by the sharks, than remain another
month in such a hole, jumped overboard on the same errand as the black. It so happened, that the last man grazed against the first, who, seeing hepeath him something white, (it was a fine moonshining night,) concluded it was a shark's white belly, for, owing to the situation of a shark's mouth, the voracious devil is obliged to turn nearly on his back to take his prey. Up came blackee, trembling like an aspen leaf, and, spluttering out water and a cry for help together,' was lugged into the boat; our man was not a moment behind him, having, as he swore, run against an alligator ; and being perfectly convinced that he had escaped death by a miracle, nothing in the world could persuade him to put his legs overboard again. Persuasion was lost upon the black man, who declared he felt the shark's jaw rub against his legs; and there he sat in the boat, the water running off his oily skin, leaving him as dry as a duck, In vain all hands en deavoured to make him believe the truth-the time was lost-- the tide ebbed, and we were left high and dry at the fall: at low water we spliced the hawser again, and the next night saw us afloat. Every preparation was made as promptly as possible for preparing for sea; and having buried the second lieutenant, and some few of the sailors, and persuaded some blacks to volunteer for free labour, we left that confounded sink of human life, and once more found ourselves at
So well had the carpenters repaired the ship, that one handpump constantly going kept us free the whole way home; and, notwithstanding the violence of the gales, we never experienced much of increase. Every morning at nine o'clock we had the pleasure of meeting another disaster in the shape of a tornado. As the hour advanced, the sky began to lower, then came one darker cloud than the rest on the horizon, and five minutes after that came the wind. We were always prepared, and regularly furled sails at the first appear. ance, making the ship snug aloft. On came the squall whistling and howling, being heard before it reached the ship. The sea was white with foam, and the spray blew over the vessel in all directions; to see was impossible, it was like looking through a thick fog. The usual plan to which we had recourse was merely to keep the forestay-sail up, and always to keep before the wind. The terrific violence of these sudden gusts is beyond all description; in an hour the sea would be running high, and at noon the gale would have passed, and the water become quiet with the calm that followed.
I had been relieved from my dignified situation of midshipmen's boy, and was every inch an officer again-well did that convince me that no man knows the value of happiness who has not been in adversity, any more than a man can know the blessings of riches, who has not felt the rude gripe of poverty and distress. At Sierra Leone, you might have been as rich as the Duke of Devonshire, and yet as poor as a man in this country on 50l. per annum : you could buy only the fruit which grew in the vicinity, and that a button would purchase as well as a dollar. The trade with this country was then dull to the greatest extent of dulness, and life was a mere vegetation without pleasure, and almost without bope. The constant traffic has now improved the town—but the climate !!-only look at the number of governors who go out to be buried.
That cruise was the worst venture I ever made. Being nearly tarved one day, two other midshipmen and myself attacked the cap
tain's steward, and plundered a piece of salt-beef, for his wretched table hardly ever saw the blessing of fresh provisions. The steward knew right well what would happen to him, should the captain call for his salt junk to relish the soup-plate of burgoo ; and as we could not refund, seeing that we made a hasty bolt of the prize, he very wisely, for his own skin, made a formal complaint. Instead of doing what other men would have done, compassionating the hunger which led gentlemen's sons (at any rate) to bažard such an attack, and desiring us to be fed, we were called on the quarter-deck after quarters. I was given over to the captain of the main-top, to do my duty before the mast as a common seaman ; one of the others had the fore-top for the field of his ambition ; and, as I was in the larboard watch, the third was made one of the starboard watch : the uniform gave way to a round jacket and tarry trowsers. I was at once dispatched to my station ; and from that hour to our arrival at the Western Islands, I answered my call with the men, did my duty aloft, learned to knot and splice, hand, reef, and steer, sing a jolly song, and sleep in the royal or top-gallant studding-sail, as quietly and as composedly as the most delicate lady in the softest of beds.
THE ART OF CUTTING,
BY LADY CLARKE.
friend that you have,-
pops in with—“ Lady G--, Sir, 's below ;”
No matter the why, or the wherefore, I'm here
every word, intercepts every glance, “Oh! it's not on the cards, now, to show my devotion,” And as I debated. I felt a slight motion, A twitch on the arm, and a word in the ear, Made me turn to my friend, who said,-“ Now then, mon cher,