|Chapter Title||THE PASSAGE OUT|
|Newspaper Title||Southern Australian (Adelaide, SA : 1838 - 1844)|
|Trove Title||American Notes for General Circulation|
FOR GENERAL CIRCULATION.
B Y BO S. j
CHAPTER II.-THE PASSAGE OUT. 1
WE ali dined together that day, and a rather formidable party we were ; no fewer than eighty six strong. The vessel being pretty deep in the water, with all her coals on board, and so many passengers, and the weather being calm and quiet, there was but little motion ; so that be- fore the dinner was half over, even those pas- sengers who were most distrustful of themselves plucked up amazingly ; and those who in the morning had returned to the universal question " Are you a good sailor ?" a very decided ne' ga ti ve, now either parried the inquiry with the evasive reply, " Oh ! I suppose I am no wors
than anybody else ;" or, reckless of all mora® obligations, answered boldly, " Yes ;" and with some irritation, too, as though they would add, " I should like to know what you see in me, Sir, particularly to justify suspicion !"
Notwithstanding this high tone of courage and confidence, I could not but observe that very few remained long over their wine, and that every body had an unusual love of the open air, and that the favorite and most coveted seats were invariably those nearest to the door. The tea-table, too, was by no means so well attended as the dinner-table; and lhere was less whist
playing than might have been expected. Still, tvith the exception of ooe lady, who had re- tired precipitately at dinner time, immediately after being assisted to the finest cut of a yellow boiled leg of mutton with green capers, there were no invalids as yet; and walking, and smoking, and drinking of brandy and water (but alway* in the open air), went ou with unabated spirit, until eleven o'clock or thereabouts, when " turning in"-no sailor of seven hours' expe rien e talks of going to bed-became the order of the night. The perpetual tramp of boot heels t.n the decks gave place to a heavy si- lence, and the whole human freight was stowed away below, excepting a very few stragglers like myself, who were probably, like me, afraid
to co there.
To one unaccustomed to such scenes, this is
ti wry striking time on ship board. Afterwards, 1 and when its novelty had long been worn off, it never ceased to have a peculiar interest and charm for me. The gloom through the great black mass holds its direct and certain course ; the rushing water plainly heard, but dimly seen ; the bioad, white, glistening track that follov.s the vessel's track ; the men on the look-out forward, who would be scarcely visible against the dark sky but for their blotting out some
«core of glistening stars ; the helmsman at the 1 wheel, with the illuminated card before him, shining,a speck of light amidst the darkness, like
something sentient and of Divine intelligence ; 1 the melancholy sighing of the wind through block, and rope, and chain ; the gleaming forth of litcht tioin every crevice, nook, and tiny piece
itt glass about the decks, as though the ship ' vere tilled with fire in hiding, ready to burst
through any outlet, wild with its resistless 1 p<>«vor of death and ruin. At first, too, and
even when the hour, and all the objects it ex- 1 alie, have come to be familiar, it is difficult, | alone and thoughtful, to hold them to their pro- j per shapes and forms. They change with the
wandering fancy ; assume the semblance of 1 things lett far away; put on the well remem- 1 brr*'d aspect of favorite places dearly loved ; 1 and evett people them with shadows. Streets,
houses, rooms ; figures so (ike their usual occu- ' punt*, that they have startled me by their reality, which far exceeded, as it seemed to me, all power of mine to conjure up the absent, have many and many a time, at such an hour, grown suddenly out of objects with whose real look, aud use, and purpose, 1 was as well ac- quitted as with my own two hands.
illy own two hands, and feet likewise, being ve:y cold, however, ou this particular occasion, 1 crept below at midnight. It was not exactly comfortable below, lt was decidedly close, and it was impossible to be unconscious of the pn^ence ot' that extraordinary compound of Binitige smells, which is to be found nowhere but «xi board ship, and which is such a subtle per- fume that it seems to enter at every pore of the *kin, »nd whisper of th« hold. Two passengers' wives (one ot' them my own) lay already in si Ivüt ebonies on the sofa ; one lady's maid (my Indy'*) was a mere bundle on the floor, execra- ting her destiny, and pounding her curl papers among tho stray boxes. Everything sloped the wrung way, which in itself was an aggravation Bcatct-ly to he borne. T had left the door open, a motu« ut before, in the tace of a gentle decli- vity, and when I turned to shut it, it was on the summit of a lofty eminence. Now every plank and timber creaked, as if the ship were mude of wicker work, and now crackled like «n enoimou&fire of the driest possible twigs. There was aothin? for it but bed : so to bed I
W í > 111.
If was pretty much the same for the next two tlny», vuth a tolerably fair wind, and dry wea «hei. I read in bed (but to this hour I don't know what) a great deal, and reeled on deck a lillie ; drank cold brandy and water, with an unspeakable disgust, and ate hard biscuit perse- veringly - not ill, but going lo be.
lt is the third morning, i am awakened out of my ¡sleep bv a dismal shriek from my wife,
who demands to know whether there's any dan-j ger. I rouse myself, and look out of bed. The! water jug is plunging and leaping like a dol- phin; all the smaller articles are afloat, ex-
cept my shoes, which are stranded oo a car- ! pet bag, binn and dry, like a couple of barges, j Suddenly I see them spring into the air, and behold the looking glass, which is nailed to the wall, »licking fast upon the ceiling. At the same time the door entirely disappears, and a new one in opened in the floor. Then I begin to comprehend that tile state-room is staudiug upon its head. !
Be (ore it is possible to niak Î any arrangement at alt compatible with this state of things, the ship rights. Before one can say thank H.>aveb !" she wrong« again. Before one can cry she t's wrong, she seems to have started for- ward, and to be a creature actively running of its own accord, with broken knees aud failing legs, through every variety of hole and pitfall, and
stumbling constantly. Before one can say so j much as wonder, she takes a high leap into the j air. Before she bas weil doue that, she takes a ; deep dive into the water. Before she has gamed i the surface, she throws a summerset. The in- stant she is ou ber legs, she rushes backward ;
and so she goes on staggering, heaving, wrest- ling, leaping, diving, jumping, pitching, throb- bing, rolling, and rocking, and going through all these movements, sometimes by turns, and sometimes altogether, until one feels disposed to roar for mercy.
A steward passes. "Steward!" "Sir?" " What ts the matter? what do you call this V " Rather a heavy sea on, and a head wind."
A head wind ! Imagine a human face upon the vessel's prow, with fifteen thousand Samp- sons in one, bent upon driving her back, and hitting her exactly between the eyes, whenever she attempts to advance an inch. Imagine the ship herself with every pulse and artery of her huge body, swollen and bursting under this mal- treatment, sworn to go on or die. Imagine the
wind howling, the sea roaring, the rain beating, all in furious array againt her. Picture the sky both dark and wild, and the clouds, in fearful sympathy with the waves, making another ocean in the air. Add to all this, the clattering on Jeck and down below ; the tread of hurried Feet ; the loud hoarse shouts of seamen ; the gurgling in and out of water through the scup- pers ; with, every now and then, the striking of i heavy sei upon the planks above, with the ieep, dead, heavy sound of thunder heard within a vault ;-and there is the head wind of that January morning.
I say nothing of what may be called the do- mestic noises of the ship ; such as the breaking af glass and crockery, the tumbling down of itewardf, the gambols, over head, of loose casks and truent dozens of bottled porter, and the very remarkable and far from exhilarating sounds raised in their various state rooms by the seventy passengers who were too ill to get up to breakfast. I say nothing of them ; for al- though I lay listening to this concert for three or four days, I don't think I heard it for more than a quarter of a minute, at the expiration of which term, I lay down again, excessively sea-
Not sea-sick, be it understood, in the or- dinary acceptation of the term-£ wish I had -but in a form which I have never seen or heard described ; though I have no doubt it is very common, I lay there, ali the daylong, quite coolly and contentedly ; with no sense of weariness, with no desire to get up, or get bet- ter, or take the air; with no curiosity, or care, or regret, of any sort or degree, saving that I thiuk I can remember, in this universal indiffer- ence, having a kind of lazy joy-of fiendish delight, if anything so lethargic can be dignified
with the title-in the fact of my wife being too iii to talk to me. If I may be allowed to illus- trate my state of mind by such an example, I should say that I was exactly in the condition of the elder Air Willett, after the incursion of the rioters into his bar at Chigwell. Nothing could have surprised me. If in the momentary illumination ot any ray of intelligence that may have come upon me in the way of thoughts of home, a goblin postman, with a scarlet coat and bell, had come into that little kennel before me, broad awake in broad day, and, apologising for being damp through walking in the sea, had handed me a letter, directed to myself in fami- liar characters, I am certain I should not have felt one atom of astonishment : I should have been perfectly satisfied. If Neptune himself bad walked in, with a toasted shark on his tri- dent, I should have looked upon the event as one of the very commonest every day occur-
Once-once-T found myself on deck. 1 don't know how I got there, or what possessed me to go there, but there I was; and completely dressed, too, with a huge pea-coat on, a pair of boots' such as no weak man in his senses could
ever have got into. I found myself standing, when a gleam of consciousness came upon me. holding on to something, I don't know what. I think it was the boatswain-or it may have been the pump-or possibly the cow. I can't say how long I had been there, whether a day or a minute. I recollect trying to think about some- thing (about anything in the whole wide world, I was not particular), without the smallest ef- fect ; I could not even make out which was the sea, and which the sky ; for the horizon seemed drunk, and was flying wildly about, in all di- rections. Even in that incapable state, however, 1 recognised the lazy gentleman standing before me, nautically clad iu a suit of shabby blue, with an oilskin hat. But 1 was too imbecile,
although T knew it to be he, to separate him from his dress, and tried to call, him, I remem- ber, Pilot. After another interval of total un-
consciousness, I found he had gone, and recog- nised another figure in his place. It seemed to wave and fluctuate before me as though 1 saw it reflected in an unsteady looking glass ; but I knew it for the captain, and such was the cheer- ful influence of bis face, that I tried to smile yes, even then 1 tried to smile. I saw by his gestures that he addressed me, but it was a long time before I could make out that he remon- strated against my standing up to my knees in water-as I was ; of course, I don't know why. I tried to thank him, but couldn't. I could only point to my boots-or wherever I supposed my boots to be- and said in a plaintive voice, " Cork soles," at the same time endeavoring, I am told, to sit down in the pool. Finding that I was quite insensible, and for the time a maniac, he humanely conducted me below.
'lhere I remained until I got better; su fieri ng, whenever I was recommended *o eat anything, an amount of anguish only second to that which is said to be endured by the apparently drowned, in the process of restoration to life. One gen-
tleman on board had a letter of introduction to me from a mutual frieud in London. He sent it below with his card, on the morning of the head wind, and I was long troubled with the idea that he might be up, and well, and a hun- dred times a dav expecting me to call upon bim
in the saloon. I imagined him one of those
cast-iron images-I will jot call them men who a-k, with red face« and lusty voices, what sea-sickness means, and whether it really is as bad as it is represented to be. This was very torturing indeed : and I don't think I ever felt such perfect gratification and gratitude of heart, as I did when I heard from the ship's doctor that he had been obliged to put a very large mustard poultice on this very gentleman's sto mach. I date my recovery from the receipt of that intelligence.
it was materially assisted though, I have no doubt, by a heavy gale of wind, which came slowly up at sunset, when we were about ten days out, and raged with gradually increasing fury until morning, saving that it lulled for an
hour a little before miduight. There was some- thing in the unnatural re pos 3 of that hour, and in the after gathering of the storm, so incon- ceivably awful and tremendous, thu its bursting j into full violence was almost a relief.
The labouring of the ship in the troubled sea on this night I shall never forget. " Will it ever be worse than this ?" was a question I had often heard asked, when everything was sliding and bumping about, and when it certainly did seem difficult to comprehend the possibility of any- thing afloat being more disturbed, without top- ping over and going down. But what the agitation of a steam-vessel is, on a bad winter's night in the wild Atlantic, it is impossible for the vivid imagination to conceive. To say that she is flung down on her 6ide in the waves, with her masts dipping into them, and that springing up again, she rolls over on the other side, until a heavy sea strikes her with the noise of a hun- dred great guns, and hurls her back-that she stops, and staggers, and shivers, as though
stunned, and then with a violent throbbing at her heart, darts onward like a monster goaded into madness, to be beaten down, and battered, and crushed, and leaped on by the angry sea that thunder, lightning, hail, and rain, and wind, are all in fierce contention for the mastery-that every plank has its groan, every nail its shriek, and every drop of water in the great ocean its howling voice-is nothing. To say that all is grand, and all appalling and horrible in the last degree, is nothing. Words cannot express it. Thoughts cannot convey it. Only a dream can call it up again, in all its fury, rage, and passion.
And yet, in the very midst of these terrors, I was placed in a situation so exquisitely ridicu- lous, that even then I had as strong a sense of its absurdity as I have now; and could no more help laughing than I can at any other comical incident, happening under circumstances the most favourable to its enjoyment. About mid . night, we shipped a sea, which forced its way through the skylights, burst open the doors above, and came raging and roaring down into the ladies'cabin, to the unspeakable consterna- tion of my wife and a little Scotch lady-who, by the way, had previously sent a message to the captain by the stewardess, requesting him, with her compliments, to have a steel conductor
immed'ately attached to the top of every mast, and to the chimney, in order that the ship might not be struck by lightning. They, and the handmaid before mentioned, being ia such ec stacies of fear that I scarcely knew what to do with them, I naturally bethought myself of some restorative or comfortable cordial ; and nothing better occurring to me, at the moment, than hot I brandy-aud-water, I procured a tumblerfull ! without delay. It being impossible to stand or
sit without holding on, they were all heaped together in one corner of a long sofa-a fixture extending entirely across the cabin - where they clung to each other in momentary expecta- tion of being drowned. When I approached this place with my specific, and was about to
j administer it, with many consolatory expressions, ¡ to the nearest sufferer, what was my dismay to I see them ali roll slowly down to the other end ! And when I staggered to that end, and held out the glass once more, how immensely baffled were my good intentions by the ship giving another lurch, and their all rolling back again! I suppose £ dodged them up and down this sofa.
for at least a quarter of an hour, without reach- ing them <vnce ; and by the time I did catch them, the brandy-and-water was diminished by constant spilling to a tea spoonful« To complete the group, it is necessary to recognise in this disconcerted dodger, a very pale individual, who had shaved his beard and brushed his bair, last, at Liverpool ; and whose only articles of dress (linen uot included) were a pair of dreadnought trousers; a bluejacket, formerly admired upon the Thames at Richmond ; uo stockings ; and one slipper.
Of the outrageous antics performed by that ship next morning ; which made bed a practical joke, and getting up by any process short of failing out, an impossibility; £ say nothing. But anything like the utter dreariness and de- solation that met my eyes when I, literally, "tumbled up "on deck at noon, 1 never saw. Ocean and sky were all of one dull, heavy, uniform, lead colour. There was no extent of prospect even over the dreary waste that lay around us, for the sea ran high around us, and the horizon encompassed us like a large black hoop. Viewed from the air, or some tall bluff on shore, it would have been imposing and j stupendous no doubt; but seen from the wet and
roiling decks, it only impressed one giddily and painfully. In the gale of last night, the life boat had been crushed by one blow of the sea, like a walnut-shell ; and there it hung dangling in the air ; a mere faggot of crazy boards. The planking of the paddle boxes had been lorn sheer away. The wheels were exposed and bare; and they whirled and splashed their spray about the decks at random. Chimney, white with crusted salt; topmasts struck; stormsails set; rigging all knotted, tangled, wet, aud drooping : a gloomier picture it would be hard to look upon.
1 was now comfortably established by cour- tesy, in the ladies* cabin, where, besides our- selves, there were only four other passengers. First, the little Scotch lady before mentioned, on her way to join her husband at New York, who had settled there three years before. Secondly and thirdly, an honest young York- shireman, connected with some Americau house; domiciled in that same city, and carrying thither his beautiful young wife to whom he had beeu married but a fortnight, and who was the fairest specimen of a comely English country girl I have ever seen. Fourthly, fifthly, and lastly, another couple; newly-married too, if one might judge from the endearments they frequently interchanged ; of whom I know no more than that they were rather a mysterious, run-away kind of couple; that the lady had great personal
attractions aiso ; and that the gentleman carried more guns with him than Robinson Crusoe, wore a shooting coat, and had two great dogs on board. Ou further consideration, I remember that he tried roast pig and bottled ale as a cure
for sea sickness; and that he took these remedies,, (usually in bed) day after day, with astonishing perseverance. I may add, for the information of the curious, that they decidedly failed.
The weather continuing obstinately, and al- most unprecedentiy bad, we usually straggled into this cabin, more or less faint and miserable, about an hour before noon, and lay down on the sofas to recover ; during which interval, the captain would look iu to communicate th« state
I of the wind, the moral certainty of its changing to-morrow (the weather is always going to I improve to-morrow, at sea) the vessel's rate of
sailing, and so forth. Observations there were none to tell us of, for there was no sun to take : them by. But a description of one day will j serve for all the rest. Here it is.
The captain being gone, we compose our- selves to read, if the place be light enough ; and if not, we doze and talk alternately. At one, a bell rings, and the stewardess comes down with a steaming dish of baked potatoes, and another of roasted apples ; and plates of pig's face, cold ham. salt beef ; or perhaps a smoking mess of rare hot collops. We fall to upon these dainties ; eat as much as we can (we have great appetites now), and are as long as possible about it. If the lire will burn (it will sometimes) we are pretty cheerful. If it won't we all remark to each other that it's very cold, rub our hands, cover ourselves with coats and
cloaks, and lie down again to doze, talk, and
read (provided as aforesaid), until dinner time. < At five, another bell rings, and the stewardess reappears with another dish of potatoes-boiled,
this time-and store of hot meat of various kinds:
not forgetting the roast pig to be taken medici- < nally. We sit down at table again (rather more
cheerfully than before) ; prolong the meal with ¡ a rather mouldy dessert of apples, grapes, and i oranges; and drink our wine and brandy and i water. The bottles and glasses are still upon < the table, and the oranges and so forth are rolling about according to their fancy and the ship's way, when the doctor comes down, by special nightly invitation, to join our evening rubber; 'immediately on whose arrival we make a party at whist, and as it is a rough night and the cards will not lie on the cloth, we put the tricks in our pockets as we. take them. At whist we remain with exemplary gravity (deducting a short time for tea and toast) until eleven o'clock or thereabouts ; when the captain comes down again, in a sou'wester hat tied under his chin, I and a pilot coat, making the ground wet where I he stands. By this time the card playing is
over, and the bottles and glasses are again upon the table ; and after an hour's pleasant conversa- tion about the ship, the passengers, and things in general, the captain (who never goes to bed, and is never out of humour) turns up his coat collar for the deck again ; shakes hands all round ; and goes laughing out into the weather as merrily as to a birthday party.
As to daily news, there is no dearth of that commodity. This passenger is reported to have lost fourteen pounds at Vingt-et-un iii the saloon yesterday; and that passenger drinks his bottle of champagne every day, and how he does it, (being only a clerk), nobody knows. The head en- gineer has distinctly said that there never was such times-meaning weather-and four good hands are ill, and have given in dead beat. Several berths are full of water, and all the
cabins are leaky. The ships's cook, secretly swigging damaged whisky, has been found drunk; and has been played upon by the fire-engine until quite sober. AW the stewards have fallen down stairs at various dinner times, and go about
with plasters ia various places. The baker is ill, and so is the pastry cook. A new man, horribly indisposed, has been required to fill the place of the latter officer ; and bas been propped and jammed up with empty casks in a little house upon deck. And commanded to roll out pie crusts, which he protests (being highly bilious) it is death to him to look at. News !
a dozen murders on shore would lack the in-
terest of these slight incidents at sea.
Divided between our rubber and such topics as these, we were running (as we thought) in Halifax Harbour, on the fifteenth night, with little wind and a bright moon-indeed, we had made the light at its outer entrance, and put the pilot in charge-when suddenly the ship struck upon a bank of mud. An immediate rush on deck took place of course ; the sides were crowded in au instant ; and for a few minutes we were in as lively a state of confuson as the greatest lover of disorder could desire to see.
The passengers, and guns, and water casks, and other heavy matters, being all huddled together aft, however, to lighten her in the head, she was got off; amd after driving on towards an un- comfortable line of objects (whose vicinity had been announced very early in the disaster by a loud cry of *' breakers-a-kead \") and much backing of paddles, and heaving of the lead into a constantly decreasing depth of water, we dropped anchor in a strange outlandish looking nook which nobody on board could recognise, although there was land all about us, and so close that we could plainly see the waving
branches of the trees.
It was strange enough, in the silence of mid- night, and the dead stillness that seemed to be created by the sudden and unexpected stoppage of the engine, which had been clanking and blasting in our ears incessautly, for so many days, to watch the look of blank astonishment expressed in every face : beginniug with the officers, tracing it through ail the passengers, and descending to the very stokers and furnace
men, who emerged from below, one by one, and . clustered together in a smoky group about the hatchway of the engine room, comparing notes in whispers. After throwing up a few rockets, aud firing signal guns in the hope of being hailed from the land, or at least of seeing a light-but without any other sight or sound presenting it
Self-it was determined to send a boat on shore.
It was amusing to observe how very kind some of the passengers were, in volunteering to go
ashore in this same boat : for the general good of course : not by any means because they thought the ship in an unsafe position, or con- templated the possibility of her heeling over in case the tide were running out. Nor was it less amusing to remark how desperately unpopular the poor pilot became in one short minute. He had had his passage out from Liverpool, and during the whole voyage had been quite a noto- rious character, as a teller of jokes. Yet here were the very men who had laughed the loudest at his jests, now flourishing their fists in his face, loading him with imprecations, and defying him to hts teeth as a villian.
t The boat soon shoved off, with a lantern and sundry blue lights on board ; and in less than an hour returned ; the officer io command bringing with him a tolerably tall young tree, which he had plucked up by the roots, to satisfy certain distrustful passengers whose minds misgave them that they were to be imposed upon and ship-
wrecked, and who would on no other terms be- lieve that he had been ashore, or bad done anything but fraudulently row a little way in the
mist, specially tu deceive them and compass their deaths. Our Captain had foreseen from the first, that we must be in a place called the
Eastern Passage; and so we were. It waa « about the last place in the world in which we had any business or reason to be, but a sudden fog, and some error on the pilot's part, were the cause. We were surrounded by banks, and rocks, and shoals of all kinds, but had happily drifted, it seemed, upon the only safe speck that was to be found thereabouts. Eased by thia
report, and by the assurance that the tide was * past the ebb, we turned in at three o'clock in the morning.
I was dressing about half-past nine next day»
when the noise above hurried me on deck.
When I had left it over night, it was dark, foggy, aud damp, and there were bleak bills all round us. Now, we were gliding down a smooth broad stream, at the rate of eleven miles an hour : our colours flying gaily : our crew rigged
out in their smartest clothes; our officers iu * uniform again ; the sun shiuing as on a brilliant April day in England ; the land stretched out on either side, streaked with light patches of snow ; white wooden houses ; people at their
doors ; telegraphs working ; flags hoisted ; , wharfs appearing ; ships ; quays crowded with people ; distant noises ; shouts ; men and boya running down steep places towards the pier : all
more bright and gay and fresh to our unused > eyes than words can paint them. We came ta a wharf, paved with uplifted faces ; got along- side, and were made fast, after some shouting and straining of cables ; darted a score of us along the gangway, almost as soon as it was thrust out to meet us, and before it had reached the ship-and leaped upon the firm glad eartb again !
I suppose this Halifax would have appeared an Elysium, though it had been a curiosity of
ugly dulness. But I carried away with me a * most pleasant impression of the town and its inhabitants, and have preserved it to this present hour. Nor was it without regret that I came home, without having found an opportunity of returning thither, and once more shaking hands with the friends f made that day.
It happened to be the opening of the Legis lutive Council and General Assembly, at which
ceremonial the forms observed on the com
mencement ot a new ¡Session ot far liam en t in
England were'so closely copied, and so gravely presented on a 6tnall scale, that it was like looking at Westminster through the wrong end of a telescope. The Governor, as her Majesty's represantative, delivered what may be called the speech from the throne. He said what he had to say manfully and well. The military band outside the building struck up " God save the Queen" with great vigour before hts Excel- lency had quite finished; the people shouted; the in's rubbed their hands ; the out's shook their heads ; the government party said there never was such a good speech ; the opposition declared there never was such a bad one; the speaker and members of the house of assembly withdrew from the bar to say a great deal among themselves and do little : and, in short, every- thing went on, and promised to go on, just as
it does at home upon the like occasions. «
The town is built on the side of a hill, the highest point being commanded by a strong for- tress, not yet quite finished. Several streets of good breadth and appearance extend from its summit to the water side, and are intersected by cross streets running parallel with the river. The hottses are chiefly of wood. The market is abundantly supplied ; and provisions are ex
ceedingiy cheap. The weather being unusually mild at that time for the season of the year, there was no sleighing ; but there was plenty of those vehicles in yards and bye-places, and some of them from the gorgeous quality of their decorations, might have " gone on" without alteration as triumphal cars in a melo-drama at
Astley's. The day was uncommonly fine ; the " air bracing and healthful ; the whole aspect of the town cheerful, thriving and industrious.
We lay there seven hours, to deliver and ex- change the mails. At length, having collected all our bags and all our passengers (including two or three choice spirits, who, having indulged too freely in oysters and champagne, were found lying insensible on their backs in unfrequented streets), the engines were again put in motion,
and we stood off for Boston.
COMPARATIVE NATIONAL STATURE.-In consequence of arguments respecting the height for our soldiers, we bare taken seme pains at varions times to ascertain the relative height of English, Irish, and Scotch, recruits. As far as the line regiment* are concerned, the Irish have a decided advantage in height. It must be, however, taken into account that the Guards, the Marines, and the rnsjory of the Cavalry and Artillery are Eng- lish, and the recruits for these are all of superior standard. It may then be doubted, if an equal number of tall men were deducted out of the total recruits
raised in Ireland, whether any difference would exist. . In weight the English recruit has the advantage, the heights being equal. A regiment of the line that con- sists wholly of Englishmen will generally be found to average shorter than either the Irish, Scotch, or Mixed, corps.-Naval and Military Gazette.
IMPORTANT INVENTION IN PROPELLING STEAM-BOATS.-A trial was lately mada on the river Mer- sey, of Mr. Edward Finch's patent propeller, which was
eminently successful. A small steamer, called the Lapwing, < of 45 tons burthen, and eighteen horse-power, has been constructed as the well known engineering establishment of Mr Rigby, at Hawarden, for the purpose of trying the merits of Mr Finch's invention. We are informed,that in coming roo nd from Liverpool, although so small a vessel, she per- formed «orne part of the trip at the rate of twelve miles per
boar. The invention seems to be a very simple contrivance. * The paddle-boxes are still preserved ; ont, instead of paddle wheels, two plates are applied, the broadest parts of which
are, at their extreme ends, fixed obliquely at angle of forty - degrees; one on each side of the vessel, at the ends of tba paddle shaft. These plates, or propellers, are made of wrought iron, and appear very strong and compact, and about eleven feet long, and three fret six inches in the widest parts. They are entirely out of the water twice in the révo- lution of the paddle shaft, when ;be engine is on ber centre», and have the deepest hold of the water when the engine is at half stroke, or at its greatest power. They thus act like oars or sculls ; no back-water is created, and the disagreeable beating of the paddle-boards on tbe water, and consequen vibration of the vessel, is avoided.-Liverpool Albion.
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