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without the least power to withdraw my hand. The glance of the Gentleman in Black recalled me to my senses and to the consciousness of my burning cheeks; and repressing her enthusiasm, quietly inquired, "If I had heard any thing of Peter's whereabout?—that he was his particular friend, and had very important information to impart to him.
I told him I really knew nothing about Peter Schlemihl, and had not heard of his being in this country; the last I heard of him he was in Germany.
The Gentleman in Black, seeing I had nothing farther to communicate on a subject about which I knew nothing, recurring to the subject of the oratorio, said: 'I agree with you, Sir, in many of the opinions you have expressed. The works of Mendelssohn were written for Paris and not for New-York; for the Conservatoire, and not your Academy; for the science, skill, opulence and talent of Europe, and not for the amateurs of this city. Elijah'
as written for La Blache, and not for Leach,' So saying, he bowed and rose with his lovely lady, who looked very sweet upon me as she kissed her hand to me, and said, 'Adieu !' I was quite fascinated, and should have lost my heart, bad I heart to lose. To my surprise and regret, the next day their seats were vacant; and on inquiry, I found that the Gentleman in Black had left, bag and baggage, for the South. I felt as if I could adopt the phrase of Daniel Webster, “I breathed deeper and freër,' now they were gone, and the spell of this Circe was no longer weighing upon me.
Should my machine not 'take,'I may hereafter astonish the world by changing my vocation from that of an inventor of useful implements for what an ungrateful public may style' worthless music.'
Now, my dear Tom, should you read this letter to your sweet cousin, tell her that one song of hers is worth all the recitatives,' • duetts,' 'terzettos' and 'choruses’ I have heard in this city; that she loses nothing by being compelled to listen to the songs of birds and her own silver tones ; and that I live with the ardent desire to be seated once more at her side, and to listen to music I love and do appreciate ; the performance of which I know realizes all the conceptions of the composer. Always truly yours,
FRANK WILLIAMSON. Eastport, Maine.
} P. S.—You will of course use a wise discretion in reading this letter to your dear cousin.
MR. THOMAS THOMPSON,
EZEKIEL, in the valley when the bones
Ye who heed
From sandy wastes, dark woods and Polar fields,
Wearing the signet faith alone can give,
The poor man, who with God and virtue walked
Rejoice, dear father! we shall feel the pangs
On this thirteenth day of August, 1842, called all hands, hove up the anchor, and made sail out of the harbor of Rio de Janeiro. The South-east Trade-wind, which prevails within the Tropic of Capricorn, being ahead for us, we stuck the ship off to the south’ard, and soon ran down into the · Variables,' south of that parallel, and as we expected, encountered in a few days a westerly wind, before which we ran merrily along to the tune of ten and eleven knots the hour, and that too wi' hout pressing the ship. On the fourth day out, numbers of Cape pigeons were observed, and were a source of much amusement, particularly to the midshipmen, who occupied themselves for some hours in catching them with hooks and lines. A few days more, and these gave place to nobler game; when larg'ir hooks and stouter lines were called into play for taking the gigantic petrel, gonies, .mollymawks,' and the magnificent albatross. Several of these last which were caught were much larger in the body than a goose, and spread by measurement across the wings, thirteen feet! It was no slight matter to haul them on board, and their capture afforded much and exciting sport. One of the officers was something of a naturalist, and infused in a short time a general mania for birds' skulls and skins ; so that, like the Ashantee warriors, we soon began to pride ourselves not a little on the variety of skulls we possessed; not of course including our
On the thirtieth, there were four sail in sight. Spoke two of them, the American whale-ships • Thomas Williams, of Stonington, seventy days out, having filled forty barrels with oil, and John and Elizabeth,' of New-London, also lately from home, and now bound to New Zealand. Our captain having offered to render them assistance, if they stood in need of any, one of these ships hove-to
under our lee and sent a boat to us, although the wind was very fresh, and there was a rough sea running. Surely,' thought we,
there is some news of war or piracy; the crew must be mutinous; or at least there is a man on board with his leg broken, and they are sending for our surgeon to set it: they are not out of provisions, for they offered to let us have some vegetables; she cannot be in danger from a leak, for she walks off too lightly for that. What can it be that could induce them to lower a boat at such a time?'
The boat came alongside, and it was discovered that they only wanted a couple of 'sheaves ;' but to these hardy fellows, with their buoyant and well-managed boats, this tempting of the elements is a mere matter of moonshine. It was beautiful to watch them as they passed to and fro; their shell of a boat disappearing, and apparently swallowed up by the angry sea; but presently rising again, and cleaving her way through the very white-caps that crested the waves. They are a very peculiar race of people, those whalers, though none are better seamen, so far as the management and taking care of a vessel is concerned; they bear but little resemblance to the general run of sailors.
I have been much amused with some of their tales of hair-breadth escapes and wondrous fights with big fish;' and none have a greater fondness for, and surely none a better right to tell, • fish-stories.' They are most of them, as they term themselves, * Down-Easters,' and retain unchanged and unchangeable their native shrewdness. • John Bull’ is often made to gape in utter bewilderment at some of their • Yankee tricks,' and 'd s his eyes' with great fervor at seeing himself .weathered' out of a fish by the quick wit of his transatlantic relatives. I was told of divers instances. The following had occurred but a month or so before I heard it. Once an American and an English ship sent their boats after the same whale ; there was but little difference in the start, and that difference in favor of the latter. It was a tough race; the boats were fast converging on the whale ; they were nearly matched in speed, but the Englishman had the start. Both crews stretched every muscle ; the one to keep, the other to gain the advantage. They were on the fish; “John Bull' was just about to strike, when the loud cry
of • Help! help! murder! murder !' saluted his ears. Every oar was at a stand, or 'catching crabs;' every eye on a wide stare — just in time to see their competitor fly past them and plunge his harpoon into the coveted blubber!
On the next day the wind increased to a heavy gale; and being on our cruising-ground, the ship was hove-to, making beautiful weathering, when we again got sail on, and stood for the Island of Tristran da Cunha, to the eastward of which we had drifted during the gale. Showed colors to an American barque, supposed to be the Cadmus' whaler, commanded by our enterprising acquaintance, Captain Smith, who sailed about a week before us from Rio. Captain Smith is a good specimen of our adventurous and daring countrymen engaged in the whale trade. He had been on ten different voyages in whaling vessels, as 'man before the mast,' mate, and captain. The average of a voyage being about two years,
would give him twenty years' experience in that particular business; of the excitement and interest of which he speaks in the most enthusiastic terms. In this his present voyage he had filled up with oil, and coming into Rio at a favorable moment, disposed of his cargo to great advantage. As the time for which his ship was fitted out had not expired by nine months, he is off again to the neighborhood of the Croisette Islands, (a little group of bare rocks in the midst of the Southern Indian Ocean,) hoping to fill up a second time before his supplies are exbausted. Made the high peak of Tristran da Cunha. It resembles much that of Teneriffe, as well as we could determine from the partial glimpses we were allowed to take of it through the cloud-banks that enveloped it during the whole time we were in its vicinity.
Tristran is one of a group of three islands, called on the charts • The Nightingale Isles;' Inaccessible' and Nightingale' being the names of the other two. The first mentioned is the largest and most northerly, and is the only one of the group that is inhabited. It is nearly half-way between South America and Africa, being somewhat nearest the latter, and is in size about six miles square. It rises at the northern part to an elevation of a thousand feet perpendicular; then commences a table-land, from the midst of which rises a conical mountain, said to be nine thousand feet above the level of the sea. These islands were discovered by the Portuguese, some time previous to 1643, but remained for a long time uninhabited by man, and their situation in a stormy latitude, exposed to the gales which are continually brewing in the vast waste of surrounding water, offered but small inducement to settlers. In 1811 three Americans did indeed go ashore on Tristran, with the intention of remaining there some years, for the purpose of collecting the skins and oil of the seal and sea-lion, which abound on all the islands. One of them, Jonathan Lambert, is said to have proclaimed himself sovereign proprietor of the Nightingale group; but for some cause, of which I am not informed, Jonathan in a short time abdicated, and together with his two subjects left the place. Tristran at length was clutched by a tentacula of the great European polypus; a detachment of British troops from the Cape of Good Hope taking formal possession of it in the name of their sovereign. It was however soon evacuated by these, when one W. M. Glass, formerly a corporal in the Royal Artillery, landed there, accompanied by twenty-two men and three women, and made a permanent settlement. At this day the population has increased to five hundred souls. The ci-devant corporal is complimented with the title of governor, and his little colony is said to be in the most promising condition. At first, nineteen out of the twenty-two original men-settlers were of necessity doomed to a life of single blessedness; but in the course of time there grew up around the hearths of the governor and his two married subjects a race of fine hardy South-Sea nymphs, who as soon as marriageable were bestowed by his excellency to cheer the solitude of the others of his faithful and patient followers. The governor himself officiates in all ceremonies, religious, military and civil ; although he is