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• No more,' I cried, overcome with horror. She saw it!' I pointed to the invalid.
· Yes! gasped the terror-stricken woman; all lost ! She hurried to the window. The invalid raised herself half out of bed. She had caught one word.
Lost! you know it now; you would not let me save him!' She fell back on her pillow, struggled for a moment, then life passed away with her prophetic spirit.
To this day the image of Anna's sister often rises to memory, as described by the poor wife. “Her long hair looking like the sea-weed.' The Oberon' picked up one body, which proved to be the Captain. He was lashed to a plank, and no doubt could have been saved had the Oberon' arrived a few hours sooner to the site of the wreck. It was a satisfaction to us all that husband and wife were buried together. She generally accompanied her husband, but was prevented this trip by the illness of her sister. This lady recovered her health, and sailed in the next vessel. She wrote a letter to us all from her home in Baltimore. I received and read it beside Anna's grave. A year afterward she revisited Havre in buxom health, accompanying her husband, also a sea-captain. For aught I know to the contrary, she is living yet.
I have related these facts leaving the reader to make his or her own comments upon
them. When I undertooksto write these recollections I did not promise to add any comments or ornaments. Should these occur, they may be regarded as the spontaneous offerings of my musing moods.
The hour was midnight; but the midnight gloom
The clouds of autumn drift along the sky,
And lights are seen at windows in the glen,
And in the populous thoroughfares of men;
Wild autumn winds! how doth your voice restore
The memory of days that come no more —
Friends of my youth, and sharers of my glee ?
Creak, ye black forests ! and ye mournful forms
That flit like hooded monks across the bare
And desolate solitude, urge through the air
Of rising winds; and in the lonely vale
The dying Autumn lifts her mournful wail ;
The pale Cordelia and the trembling LEAR;
Will he not deck with heather her sad bier,
Mourn, Voice of the solemn Wilderness !
For Him who shed his precious blood for thee:
Jesu RedemptOR ! — Lamb of Calvary!
With which Thou didst so love us, as to be
Our sacrifice upon the accursed tree,
Amid the ebon darkness, have ye known
Man's deep iniquity, that thus ye moan
It was a dark and rainy morning, when • Land on the lee-bow,' was sung out by the man at the helm, and in considerably less time than is occupied in writing it, the occupants of the close little cabin, in which they had been cooped up for twenty-six mortal days, made their way on deck to look for the first time upon the coast of Central America. The dim outlines of the land were scarcely discernible through the murky atmosphere, and many and profound were the conjectures hazarded as to what precise point was then in view. The result finally arrived at was, that we were off Monkey Point,' about thirty miles to the northward of our destined port. This conclusion was soon confirmed by observing close under the shadow of the shore an immense rock, rising with all the regularity of the Pyramids to the height of three hundred feet; a land-mark too characteristic to be mistaken. We
e were sweeping along with a stiff breeze, and were comforted with the assurance that we should be in port to breakfast, “if,' as the cautious captain observed,' the wind held.' But the perverse wind did not hold, and in half an hour thereafter we were tumbling about with a wash-tubby motion, the most disagreeable that can be imagined, and of which we had had three days' experience under the Capes of San Domingo. The haze cleared a little, and with our glasses we could make out a long, low line of shore, covered with the densest verdure, with here and there a feathery palm, which forms so picturesque a feature in all tropical scenery, lifting itself proudly above the rest of the forest, and the whole relieved against a back-ground of high hills over which the
gray mist still hung like a veil. Some of the party could even make out the huts on the shore ; but the old man at the helm smiled, and said there were no huts there, and that the unbroken and untenanted forest extended far back to the
great ridge of the Cordilleras. So it was when the adventurous Spaniards coasted here three centuries ago, and so it had remained ever since. These observations were interrupted by a heavy shower, which was acceptable for the wind it brought, which filled the idle sails, and moved us toward our haven. And though the rain fell in torrents, it did not deter us from getting soaked in vain endeavors to harpoon the porpoises that came tumbling in numbers around our bows.
But the shower passed, and with it our breeze, and again the brig rocked lazily on the water, which was now filled with branches of trees, and
among the rubbish that drifted past, a broken spear and a cocoanut attracted particular attention; the one showed the proximity of a people whose primitive weapons had not yet given place to the more effective ones of civilized ingenuity, and the other was a certain index of the tropics. The shower passed, but it had carried us within sight
of our port. Those who had before seen cabins on the shore could not now perceive any evidences of human habitations, and stoutly persisted that we had lost our reckoning, and that we were far from our point of destination. But a trim schooner which was just then seen moving rapidly along under a pouring shower in the same direction with ourselves, silenced the pretended doubters, and became immediately a subject of great speculation. It was finally agreed on all hands that it must be the B- a vessel which left New-York three days before us, the captain of which had boasted that he would beat us in by at least ten days.' So every body was anxious that the little brig should lead him into the harbor, and many were the objurgations upon the wind, and desperate the attempts of the sailors to avail themselves of every cat’s-paw' that passed.
The excitement was great, and some of the impatient passengers inquired for sweeps, and recommended putting out the yawl to tow the vessel in. They even forgot, such was the excitement, to admire the emerald shores which were now distinct, not more than half a mile distant, and prayed that a black-looking thunder-storm that loomed gloomily in the east, might make a diversion in our favor. And then a speck was seen in the direction of the port, which every moment grew larger as it approached, and by and by the movement of the oars could be seen, and bodies swaying to and fro, and in due time a pitpan, a long, sharp-pointed canoe, pulled by a motley set of mortals, stripped to the waist, and displaying a great variety of skins, from light yellow to coal black, darted under our bows, and a burly feilow in a shirt pulled off his straw-hat to the captain, and inquired in bad English, 'want-ee ah pilot ? The mate consigned him to the nether regions for a lubber, and inquired what had become of his eyes, and if he could n't tell the Francis'any where; the ‘Francis,'which had made thirty-seven voyages to this port, and knew the way better than any black son
of who ever put to sea in a bread-trough! And then the black fellow in a shirt and straw-hat was again instructed to go to below, or if he preferred, to go and “pilot in the lubberly schooner to windward.' The black fellow looked blacker than before, and said something in an unintelligible jargon to the rest, and away they darted for the schooner.
Meantime the flank of the thunder-storm swept toward us, piling up a black line of water, crested with foam, while it approached with a noise like that of distant thunder. It came upon us ; the sails fluttered a moment and filled, the yards creaked, the masts bent to the strain, and the little brig dashed rapidly through the hissing water. In the darkness we lost sight of the schooner, and the shore was no longer visible, but we kept on our way; the Francis knew the road, and seemed full of life and eager to reach her old anchorage.
· Don't she scud !' said the mate, who rubbed his hands in very glee. • If this only holds for ten minutes more, we're in, like a spike !' — and strange
it did hold; and when it was past, we found ourselves close to ‘Point Arenas,' a long narrow spit, partly covered with water, which shuts in the harbor, leaving only a narrow opening for the admission of vessels. The schooner was behind us, but here was a dif
ficulty. The bar had changed since his last trip; the captain was uncertain as to the entrance, and the surf broke heavily under our lee. Excitement of another character prevailed as we moved slowly on, where a great swell proclaimed the existence of shallows. The captain stood in the bow, and we watched the captain. Suddenly he cried Hard-a-port!' with startling emphasis, and ·Hard-a-port was echoed by the helmsman, as he swept round the tiller. But it was too late ; the little vessel struck heavily as the wave fell.
• Thirty-seventh, and last !' muttered the mate between his teeth, as he rushed to the fastenings, and the main-sail came down on the run. * Round with the boom, my men !'— and the boom swung round, just as the brig struck again, with greater force than before, unshipping the rudder, and throwing the helmsman across the deck. Round again, my men! Lively, or the · Francis' is lost !' cheered the mate, who seemed invested with superhuman strength and agility; and as the boom swung round the wave fell, but the · Francis' did not strike.
Clear she is shouted the mate, who leaped upon the companionway, and waved his hat in triumph; and turning toward the schooner, • Do that, ye divil, and call yerself a sailor !" There was no doubt about it; the · Francis' was in before the schooner, and notwithstanding the accident to her rudder, she passed readily to her old anchoring ground, in the midst of a spacious harbor, smooth as a mill-pond. There was music in the rattling cable as the anchor was run out, and the · Francis' swung slowly round, with her broadside toward the town. The well was tried, but she had made no water, which was the occasion for a new ebullition of joy on the part of the mate.
All danger past, we had an opportunity to look about us. not more than two cable-lengths from a low sandy shore, upon which was ranged in a line parallel to the water a double row of houses, or rather huts, some built of boards, but most of reeds, and all thatched with palm-leaves. Some came down to the water, like sheds, and under one end were drawn up pit-pans and canoes. Some larger contrivances for navigating the San Juan river, resembling small canalboats, were also moored close in shore, and upon each might be seen a number of very long and very black legs, every pair of which was surmounted by a very short white shirt. In the centre of the line of houses, which was no other than the town of San Juan de Nicaragua, was an open space, and in the middle of this was a building larger than the others, but of like construction, surrounded by a high fence of canes, and near one end rose a stumpy flag-staff, and from its top hung a dingy piece of bunting, closely resembling the British Union Jack; and this was the custom-house of San Juan, the residence of all the British officials; and the flag was that of the King of Moschetoes,' the 'ally' of Great Britain !
But of this mighty potentate, and how the British officials came there, 'more anon. Just opposite us, on the shore, was an object resembling some black monster which had lost its teeth and eyes, and which seemed sorry that it had left its kindred at the Novelty Works. It was the boiler of a steamer, which some adventurous Yankees had proposed putting up here, but which for some defect had proved useless. Be