« ForrigeFortsæt »
that he is more like a papoon than one of the human race."
He was going on with an eulogium upon the captain, when I received a message to clean myself, and go up to the great cabin; and with this command I instantly complied, sweetening myself with rose water from the medicine chest. When I entered the room, I was ordered to stand by the door, until Captain Whiffle had reconnoitred me at a distance with a spy-glass. He having consulted one sense in this manner, bade me advance gradually, that his nose might have intelligence, before it could be much offended. I therefore approached with great caution and success, and he was pleased to say, “Aye, this creature is tolerable.” I found him lolling on his couch with a languishing air, his head supported by his valet de chambre, who, from time to time, applied a smelling bottle to his nose. “Vergette," said he, in a squeaking tone, “dost thou think this wretch (meaning me) will do me no injury? may I venture to submit my arm to him?"" “Pon my vord,” replied the valet, "I do tink dat dere be great occasion for your honour losing one small quantity of blodt; and the young man ave quelque chose of de bonne mien.” "Well, then," said his master, “I think I must venture.” Then, addressing himself to me, “Hast thou ever blooded any body but brutes ? But I need not ask thee, for thou wilt tell me a most damnable lie." “Brutes, Sir?” answered I, pulling down his glove, in order to feel his pulse, “I never meddle with brutes.” "What the devil art thou about?" cried he; "dost thou intend to twist off my hand? God's cursel my arm is benumbed up to the very shoulder! Heaven have mercy upon mel must I perish under the hands of savages ?
While I pre
What an unfortunate dog was I, to come on board without my own surgeon, Mr. Simper!" I craved pardon for having handled him so roughly, and, with the utmost care and tenderness, tied up his arm with a fillet of silk. While I was feeling for the vein, he desired to know how much blood I intended to take from him, and when I answered, “Not above twelve ounces," started up with a look full of horror, and bade me be gone, swearing I had a design upon his life. Vergette appeased him with difficulty, and opening a bureau, took out a pair of scales, in one of which was placed a small cup; and putting them into my hands, told me the captain never lost above an ounce and three drachms at one time. pared for this important evacuation, there came into the cabin a young man gaily dressed, of a very delicate complexion, with a kind of languid smile on his face, which seemed to have been rendered habitual by a long course of affectation. The captain no sooner perceived him, than, rising hastily, he flew into his arms, crying, "Ol my dear Simper! I am excessively disordered! I have been betrayed, frighted, murdered by the negligence of my servants, who suffered a beast, a mule, a bear, to surprise me, and stink me into convulsions with the fumes of tobacco.” Simper, who by this time I found was obliged to art for the clearness of his complexion, assumed an air of softness and sympathy, and lamented, with many tender expressions of sorrow, the sad accident that had thrown him into that condition; then feeling his patient's pulse on the outside of his glove, gave it as his opinion, that his disorder was entirely nervous, and that some drops of tincture of castor, and liquid laudanum, would be of more service to him than bleeding, by bridling the inordinate sallies of his spirits, and composing the fermentation of his bile. I was therefore sent to prepare this prescription, which was administered in a glass of sack posset; after the captain had been put to bed, and orders sent to the officers on the quarter-deck, to let nobody walk on that side under which
FISHERS OF THE DEEP
[From "An Iceland Fisherman,” by Pierre Loti]
HEIR boat was called the Marie, Captain
son of cod-fishing came round, she set sail for those dangerous icy regions whose summers know no nights.
She was very old, like her patroness, the china Virgin. Her thick sides, with their timbers of oak, were seamed, rough, and impregnated with brine and dampness, but stout and whole withal, and exhaling the refreshing odor of pitch. When lying to, she had a heavy look, with her massive build; but when the great west winds began to blow she regained her strength and lightness like a seamew, whom the wind awakes. And then she had a way of breasting the waves and bounding over them more lightly than many a younger ship designed with all modern improvements in shape and build.
As for the crew, the six men and the cabin-boy, they were “Icelanders,"—a hardy race of sailors inhabiting principally the country of Paimpol and Tréguier, and among whom the profession of cod-fishing is handed down sacredly from father to son.
They had hardly ever seen a summer in France.
with the other fisherman they receive the benediction of departure.
For this fête-day an altar, always in the same way, is built on the quay. It is made to imitate a rocky grotto, and in the midst, surrounded by trophies of anchors, nets, and oars, sits enthroned the Virgin, patroness of sailors, who has come out of her church for their sake. Sweet and impassive she sits, with the same lifeless eyes, which from generation to generation have seen departing those happy ones for whom the season would prove fortunate, and the unhappy, destined never to return.
The Holy Sacrament, followed in slow procession by wives and mothers, sisters and sweethearts, makes the tour of the harbor, where all the Iceland fishing-boats, drawn up ready to sail, dip their flags as it passes; and the priest, stopping before each one, says the prayers and makes the gestures which give the blessing.
Then they depart like a fleet, leaving the country nearly empty of husbands, lovers, and sons; and as they sail away the crews sing together in a loud and ringing chorus the hymns to "Marie, Star of the Sea."
Every year there are the same ceremonials of departure, the same farewells.
And then begins again the life on the open sea, the isolation but for three or four rough companions on the moving ship in the midst of the icy waters of the north
Just now they were returning, for the Virgin Star of the Sea had protected the ship which bore her name. The end of August was the time for their return.
But the Marie followed the custom of many of the Icelanders, which was to touch merely at Paimpol, and afterward to go down into the Gulf of Gascoigne to find a