Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

THE

IDLER IN ITALY.

August 25th, 1822.-And so, I am leaving my home my happy home - There is something sad in the thought. I looked often at the pictures, and the various objects of use, and decoration, in the apartments, with a sort of melancholy feeling, that I anticipated not I should experience, on undertaking a pleasurable tour—a tour I have so long desired to make. Yet now, that the moment of departure is nearly arrived, I almost wish I was not going. Yes, the quitting home for an indefinite period, makes one thoughtful. What changes, what dangers may come before I sleep again beneath its roof! Perhaps, I may never---but I must not give way to such sad forebodings. The taking leave of friends is painful, even those whose society afforded little pleasure, assume a new interest in the moment of parting. We remember only their good qualities ; but, per

VOL. I.

B

haps, this oblivion of their defects, proceeds from the anticipated release from their consequences. This it is that makes us often part from our friends with more kindness, than we feel in meeting them.

DOVER-Would be more agreeable, were it not associated in my mind with lurching steam packets, and qualmy passengers; to-morrow I shall be ex. posed to a contact with both, which, though of short duration, is, nevertheless, anything but pleasurable. Misery, it is said, makes us acquainted with strange companions. A steam-packet I am sure does; for I have never entered one, without beholding a most heterogeneous medley of people, the greater part with countenances indicative of sufferings actual, or prospective.

Heaven defend me from inn beds! where, stretched on a mattrass harder than board, or sunk in a featherbed breathing not of Araby the blest, one is condemned to count the weary hours of night, praying for day to release one from such discomfort. I see the packet, that is to convey us to Calais, tossing and heaving near the pier—would that the voyage were over!

Calais, 27th.-- What a passage! Old Neptune seemed in a passion at our leaving his favourite isle ; and assailed us with sundry waves, so judiciously applied, as to drench several of the pale voyagers, who in revenge, returned the visits, far more offensively. The sky was gloomy, and portentous, and the sea of a dingy leaden green, except when broken by the waves, which came like warriors on white coursers, speeding over its dark surface.

The packet was full, to overflowing; the cabins crowded, and the deck thronged. As I marked the rosy cheeks, and crisp curls, of

my

fair countrywomen, and the closely buttoned coats, and bluff countenances of the men, I was disposed to pity the misery that awaited them. Many of the ladies, and nearly all the males, declared that they never suffered from sea-sickness; but, before we had more than half crossed the channel, they had either disappeared, or were seen leaning over the ship’s side, intently gazing on the sea.

Various sounds of wo, reached my ears, mingled with the hoarse voices of the sailors, and the loud wind that whistled through the sails—and the steward was continually demanded, in tones that

many of

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

betrayed the utter helplessness of those who uttered them. A new-married pair, proceeding to the Continent to spend the honey moon, and who entered the packet all smiles, and love, were amongst the first, to yield to the fearful influence of the briny element. The bridegroom had been encouraging the bride, by asserting that he was so used to the sea that he heeded it not; an assurance, that seemed very consolatory to her. He sat by her, and supported her waist with his encircling arm, until an ejaculation of “ Take me to the cabin, Henry, Oh! Oh!” broke from the lady. He attempted to assist her to descend to the cabin; but, alas! before he had moved three paces, he reeled, and crying “Steward, Steward,” consigned his bride to the tenderer mercies of that useful person, who, basin in hand, escorted her below; while her liege lord eased his full breast over the vessel's side. Husbands left their wives, and lovers their mistresses, when assailed by this disgusting malady. Self-selfalone seemed remembered; but, in all this exhibition of our natural egotism, mothers, and mothers alone resisted—they, though half dead with sickness, could still think of their children, and

[ocr errors]

forget their own sufferings, to alleviate those of their offspring

What a pitiable sight, did the passengers present, when they rushed on deck to leave the ship! Pale faces, languid eyes, parched lips, uncurled locks, bulged bonnets, and rumpled caps, frills, and draperies, were to be seen at every side. The poor bride's smart pink bonnet was shorn of its brightness, and looked nearly as altered, and faded as her cheeks; which, half shaded by her straight dark locks, betrayed the sufferings she had endured. The bridegroom met her, with a rueful countenance, declaring that, “ It was very odd, quite unaccountable, that he, who had crossed the sea so often, without being ill, should now have suffered so much."

I thought she louked reproachfully at him, for having deserted her, in this her first trial in wedded life. Ah! fair lady, it will be well if you have not, hereafter, greater proofs of man's selfishness !

A sea voyage, however short its duration, is a most unfavorable medium for judging mankind; and they who wish to preserve the illusions of love, would do well to eschew this ordeal ; which, like the grave, separates those whom the wily archer

« ForrigeFortsett »