« EdellinenJatka »
The morning after I last laid down my pen, we arrived at a small island, which the benignant hand of nature seems to have (erected) in the midst of the mighty ocean, as a convenient* Choultrie, for the floating caravanseras that traverse its watery bosom. Here we spent nearly twenty days, and were entertained by the inhabitants, who appear a gay and lively people, with much kindness and hospitality. '.?. .
The change of the scene was relished by all the party, but by none so much as -the niece of the Dew an; to whom the uniform life Tve led on board ship, was become altogether insupportable. She had indeed for a long time, been at a most pitiable loss for employment. The contents of her library, which I imagined, would have afforded her a fund of amusement and edification, during the course of her voyage, were soon exhausted. Having once found out how all the wished-for marriages, of all the heroes and heroines, were brought about; and been let into the secret of the surprising discoveries, lucky accidents, and miraculous combination of circumstances, which uniformly led to that happy event, she had no further interest nor curiosity concerning them. These books had, nevertheless, by giving constant fuel to the vivid flame of. youthful imagination, created such an insatiable craving for novelty, as rendered every other fort of reading tasteless and insipid. Even the ever entertaining conversation of our intelligent companions, had no charms for her. I have frequently known the chain of an interesting argument, to which I have been listening with avidity and delight, all at once interrupted. by her abruptly asking, when we should see land? whatever gave the promise of variety, seemed to re-animate-her flagging spirits. Whether it was the appearance of a flyingfish—*or the rumoured approach of an enemy; the drowning of a kitten, or the indications of -a coming storm, all were equally acceptable; so that they relieved her, from the tedious task of thought. The approach to St. Helena, made her almost wild wish joy. No sooner was it announced, than she flew to her cabin, to take from her trunk, some particular dresses, which she had reserved for the occasion, and hastily displaying them before the amiable Widow, asked her fifty questions in a breath concerning the impoitant point, of which was most becoming.
* Choultries, are houses built in India, for the accommodation of travellers.
Resides the novelty of the .scenes, and amusements at St. Helena, she there made another acquisition, which, I hope, will afford her sufficient variety of entertainment for mauy weeks- to come. This is no other than a fresh supply of novels. This she happily accomplished, by exchanging the contents of her library, with another reading jair one, whom she accidentally met at a ball, and with whom, on an acquaintance of three days, she commenced an extreme and ardent friendship.' The great loquacity with which her present flow of spirits has inspired this- votary of fancy, is- fonjet&nes no* lessteazing than the effects of her former ennui: to the elegant, but somewhat too fastidious Pelomond, it is peeuliatry irksome.
In truth, it Ts not a little to be re-j gretted, that this amiable mar^ frequently indulges a certain soreness of mind, which may not improperly be teemed the illegitimate offspring of sensibility. What proves its spurious birth, is, that while genuine sensibility is ever alive to the feelings of others, this bastard branch of the family, is only mindful of its own. By being ever ready to take offence, without considering whether offence was intended to be given, it frequently inflicts a wound in the bosom of friendship j but is unfeelingly insensible to the pain which it has produced. What a pity it is, that this impostor, should ever fmd a place in the breast of a worthy man! I cannot without pain, behold it cherished by the dignified mind of Delomond, and would not fail to remonstrate with him concerning it, was- he not fa easily Jwrtr that I fear an estrangement of his friendship might be the consequence. Fatal propensity! which presents a barrier to the wholesome succour os advice, and cuts ofi retreat from error. In the various sketches which this amiable and accomplished Saib, has given me of his life, aud his misfortunes, I ean plainly discern, that the disposition I have just now alluded to, has been no left detrimental to his fortune, than injurious to. his felicity.
I suspect, that you are now almost as much tired of the voyage, as the niece of the Dewan, and begin to re-echo hen interrogatory, of when shall we fee laud? But courage, keep, up your spirits, your patience will not be put to a much longer trial.—Land has been just discovered from the topmast-head.—I cannot avoid envying the happy sailor, who from the giddy height catches thefirst view of his dear native country. Ah! what pleasing images play about his heart! in that little speck appearing in the distant horizon, he beholds his little home; his tender wife; his endearing infants; and already, in imagination, feels, and retnrns their soft careifes. I go to participate in the joy of these honest people, it is a bad heart to which the happiness of a fellow mortal can be indifferent.
Ah! Maandaara, how astonishingly great has been my disappointment I InRead of the expected appearance of felicity, I beheld in the countenances of the hitherto hearty, and contented sailors, she strongest indications of consternation, terror, and dismay! On enquiring into the cause of this alarm, I was told, that it arose from the rumoured approach of. a press-gang', a press-gang 1 never before heard of, but from the degree of terror it inspires, I can easily conceive it be some infernal species of monster; some cruel servant to the genii of the deep, to whom the long-absent sailor is an acceptable sacrifice. Accursed spirits! the tenor of whose name, can put to flight the tender images of hope, and can induce despair at a moment when the sweetest impulses of nature have kindled the torch of joy!
At the moment I laid down my pen, a fine boy of about sixteen years of age, who had frequently iu the course of the