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from end to end, only a few men and a tame sheep being on one sido round the grog-tub, the allowance of rum-and-water being served out, the sheep butting one and the other for his share of the last, or clearing out of the tub, which I saw the quadruped drink with as much apparent gusto as a biped would have done under similar circumstances. Apropos to tame sheep in men-of-war, some of our regiments are distinguished by animals—goats, deer, dogs, nay, even elephants—who are always great pets, and on marches generally taken the lead. I found that on board ship Jack usually managed to make a friend of one or other of the captain's sheep, ordinarily a horned one, who was allowed to do what he liked, his food being mostly biscuit at sea, but in the harbour anything that the sailors had to give him. The woolly favourite was frequently learned-could do tricks, had peculiar habits, always resenting even a look from those who offended him, and almost fondling those who were kind to him. Some were not averse to getting drunk, if Jack would give them enough, and not unfrequently some would “chaw," not swallow, tobacco, the remains of a quid-an accomplishment which I was told belonged to the one in question. The rule in most ships was, if the poor sheep escaped being killed in action, after it was over, he was sacrificed for the benefit of the wounded when able to take nourishment; and I am afraid to repeat the length of years some of them, always fat pets, attained in some of our men-of-war, whose ill or good luck had not brought them to loggerheads with an enemy afloat, or his batteries on shore.
From the main we descended to between decks, where the men, in messes of about a dozen, from the after-hatchway forward, were talking over their grog, which they were drinking in tins from a "kid” on each table, made with oak, with copper hoops remarkably bright. The men rose as we came near them, but Mr. Train told them to be seated, and, apparently not to disturb then, did not go further forward. I noticed that the after-tables were filled with marines, and two men, with each one foot shackled to a bar, and a sentry over them. I did not inquire the cause, but as we dived below to where the “ middies” messed, Mr. Train told me that, the night before, they had attempted to swim to a merchant-ship at anchor, in the act of getting under weigh ; which she did before they reached her, and that but for the Edgar buoy, they must have both been drowned, as at daylight they were seen clinging to it, and from which they were taken in a most exhausted state. Like the gun room, only much worse, it was some time before, as I thought, I could see ; and although closely following my guide, I managed to “bark” both my shins against some sea-chests. Through a misty haze—for a ray of daylight never entered this dark abode I perceived about a dozen mates, middies, and youngsters, sitting round a table in a way that those inside could not escape without leave of their neighbours, and neighbour's neighbour twice or three times removed. The avocations of this conclave were various, as almost all (after a peculiar manner of their own) were devoting themselves to the arts and sciences. One stripling, an embryo Cruikshank or Phiz, with a stumpy pen and the contents of a blacking-bottle, was delineating the features of a weather-beaten mate, who sat with a glass of “ double-shotted” grog before him, and who went by the sobriquet of the Admiral, the Bardolphian colour on the most prominent part of his visage having
suggested the idea that he carried the red at the fore. Another-a grateful follower of Euterpe-was attempting the Bay of Biscay on a cracked flute, thoroughly regardless of sound, time, or tune ; while a more talented messmate was accompanying the air with wonderful adroitness on the rim of a glass half filled with water : the hand that produced this “concord of sweet sounds” would unquestionably on immersion have rendered the liquid fluid of a darker hue than it originally was. A fourth was attempting a not very difficult mathematical problem respecting a five-pound note, which a kind parent had given him to spend on his arrival at Quebec. Suppers at the Blue Posts had made the subtrahend equal to the minuend, and the sign (minus) would at once have solved the question. A votary of the “ light fantastic toe” was practising the double-shuffle of the naval hornpipe from his seat on a locker, beating a tattoo with his fists. An aspiring shipbuilder was carving a small cutter from a piece of wood, as a present to his younger brother on his return home ; while an humble votary of the muses was penning a poetical effusion to his lady-love, the very essence of mediocrity--we allude to the verses, not the fair object of them. The last I shall refer to was employed in what is commonly called “ taking an observation,” not (be it understood) according to the mariner's plan of “working” one, by taking the meridian altitude to find the latitude, but by a more modern invention--that of applying the right thumb to the tip of the organ of smelling.
Upon my name being mentioned, a youngster, with great glee, claimed relationship with me.
" What, Frank Cornwallis !" I exclaimed. “ I thought you were in the Mediterranean.'
“ So I was, cousin ; I only joined the Rokeby yesterday, having come round with a draft of men from Sheerness, where my old ship was paid off.”
After a few friendly interchanges, I proceeded to survey the cabin. Two miserable dwarf tallow dips, guttering over, lit the place, which looked wretched enough, but was the very focus of fun and merriment. It was, however, stilled alone for the moment or two Mr. Train and myself stood outside, looking over a row of small lattice-work, which, to borrow some of the borrowed air of the outside, was open. I bebelieve these places would be quite insupportable, and next to impossible to live in, were it not for the constant use of the windsail infusing fresh air into the denser atmosphere ; and yet “ honest lads and sometimes bonnie lasses are bred (and fed) in ‘sic a place as that is,'
as Burns has it, and noble and gallant fellows also have commenced their professional career in this small, opaque, oppressive den. While here, we were startled with the boatswain's pipe—“ All hands up! anchor ahoy!”
Away flew mates, mids, and youngsters, unceremoniously pushing me on one side, where I was brought up by squatting on a pewter basin of soap-suds, left out from the ablutions of one or other of the lot on a chest. Train laughed heartily. The youngster who helped most to do it was my own cousin, and, as I afterwards learnt, his basin it was, and he knew that it was exactly behind me. * Avast pumping !" I heard him say, as he scampered up the hatchway ; “water enough below." The basin, luckily for me, was not over large--the supply of water, as it always is, scanty ; nevertheless I got enough moisture to make myself uncomfortable. As I walked up the ladder with Train, the general servant intimated, that his master wished to speak to me in the captain's cabin, an order I instantly obeyed. I found him lounging on a rather elegant-looking sofa, made on a locker, opposite to which two chairs were placed, covered, like the sofas, with light-blue satin ; all appeared new and elegant, showing Captain Warwick to be a man of taste. On one chair was seated my brother staff-officer : a point of the finger told I was to occupy the other.
“I have sent for you both," said the general, “ to say a few words about your position here with the officers with whom you are to mess.'
We were then informed our table was settled for ; cautioned against smoking, or doing anything to offend naval discipline; advised to give the “skipper" a wide berth, unless he encouraged intimacy ; and told to send for any books we might require from his (the general's) own bookcases, which were apparently chests, but when opened had front folding-doors, and were lined with every
modern publication. “ The captain's coming on board, sir," was heard from the deck, the skylight being open.
“Well,” said the general, “ I think I shall remain here to be visited by him, as he did not think fit to be here to receive me. By the bye, you two may as well stay with me”-rising up, as we did, of course. "Why, Atherley, what, in the name of all that's wonderful, have you been doing? There was no wet on that chair when Wilson placed it for you."
I looked down, and saw, to my horror, the blue satin was no longer light, but in the middle as dark as Erebus, and as neat a rim ot soap-suds in a circle as the basin itself could have made. I explained what had happened, and had to go through another edition of quizzing. The chair was put in the fore-cabin, and Wilson told to wipe and make the best of it ; but from that moment to the end of the voyage the general was always asking where I had recently been sitting; and when chairs were handed, remarked, quaintly cnough-“Mind it's dry, now."
The captain came on board after a short time. He entered his cabin, and in a most gentleman-like way apologised for his absence. As Captain Warwick took his side-arms off, he ejaculated, in a most melancholy strain, one that made an impression on all of us—“Better, far better, had it been that I had been here at eleven !" He paused a minute, and appeared lost in a reverie.
The general hoped nothing unpleasant had happened, and then, introduced by name, we were received politely enough. Captain Warwick trusted we should make ourselves comfortable; assured us we should find ourselves among gentlemen, told us not to stand upon ceremony, as far as he was concerned, as to his cabins and resources ; so out we went salaming and bowing our thanks. For an hour no one saw Capt. Warwick except the general, and from him, when what had happened was bruited about, we afterwards learnt he had been made the confidant of a most piteous tale indeed, of which whether more anon or not, time will develop. I am tempted here to decide at once-No. But it is in the journal, and if I pass it, so sick am I become of poring by myself over the old sheets, I do not think I shall “hark back ;' and yet it is enough to make a volume of itself.
The captain, it appeared, met the cutter in the narrows, sent her off, and went himself to the admiral. Being desirous of once again seeing the Needles passage (old to me), Cowes, Yarmouth, and Hurst Castle, I changed my nether garments, and hastened on deck just in time to hear “Sheet home,” and to see the topsail sheets spreading out to the lower yardarms—to hear “belays " by half dozens—"Man the topsail halyards,” “Hoist away the topsails,” “ Stamp, and go.” The first lieutenant carrying on the duty, not a whisper being even audible in any other part of the ship. Up flew the topsail yards all nearly together in about one-quarter of the time that in the old Albion transport, with the “ Yo, yo, yo, oh yo,” one could have been got up; the larboard headyards were hauled round for canting to starboard, afteryards were braced for the larboard tack on the opposite way. Everything that used to be larboard is port now, and wisely; for the sounds of starboard and larboard are so nearly alike as from distances to have often led to mistakes—to wrong ropes being let go, and minable errors. That evil is remedied now by borrowing a word from the helm, and lending it--without a prospect of paying back-to all other parts of the ship, and their belongings. What is port now was larboard then, and, as I write of those times, must be larboard here. “ Belay, and belay again,” as the marks were in ; Ship the capstan bars," were the next orders they having been temporarily unshipped to make room for setting the topsails. "Stand by your nippers below; heave round,” which to the tune of a well-played fife, away walked the men at the capstan. “Short-stay a pique," piped and said the boatswain. “Go on," ordered the first, but it was no go; from quadrically less and less speed, still beautifully less, the fife easing off to no note at all, the capstan came to a stand still. " Walk back a bit-stand to your bars—lay out to the end--inside men to the swifters--stand bynow heave,” putting his own hand to a bar. The heaves were sturdy enough ; many the walking backs, many the springs forward, the bars bending to the strain, still it was
" This can't be the ground holding this way, master.' “No, never ; we must have caught hold of something.' “New nippers on below; more of them ; and keep clear of the messenger. Try again, this time a good one. Hurrah, men ! don't mind. Heave now—now together-rally, heave, hurrah!” and away they shoved, enough to twist the capstanhead, with a shout that might have been heard at Southampton or the Land's End, and out it came ; but instead of coming up easily, cheerily as men-of-wars' anchors ought to do when once out of the holding ground, the heave was slow and heavy. • Heave, and in sight!" shouted the boatswain ; “ then heave and a wash,” which means the stock washing just out of the water, all necessary points for the quarter-deck officer carrying on the duty to know. A few feet further, then “ High enough," “ Pall the capstan,
“ Avast heaving," “ Out bars,” “ Hook the cat,' “ Man the cat fall," “ Haul taut,” “Run away the cable.” The lieutenant of the forecastle (my new ally, Train), the first lieutenant, and the boatswain, each speaking in his proper place, the latter blowing away at his whistle ; his cheeks like parclıment, the longest part of his face athwart ships. “ Cable enough.” “Walk away with the cat.” Here again, with a couple of hundred men at the same rope, the anchor ought to come to the cat-head without a check ; but this time it was sulky, and
refused to be lifted more than by a rate of inches whereby feet or yards was the usual order of route. Upon this I went forward to have a look over the bows ; Jack stared to see a sodjer officer on the bowsprit, and positively opened his mouth when I said, “ The palm of another anchor is across the outer arm of yours ; if you surge at all, I think it will slip off, for yours is canting now.” The fact was the shadow prevented those looking immediately over from seeing down, but from the bowsprit, where I alone stood, all was visible, Train jumped out, saw what I did, patted me on the back, saying, “Well done, soldier sailor,” good-humouredly adding, “what would you do now?' Why, avast heaving the cat; try to hook the found anchor with the fish, haul him clear of the other." “Not bad for a landsman,” replied he ; “but I will show you a way by which less time will be lost, as we want cat and fish for our own.” To accomplish this a nine-inch hawser was pointed out, the bight was dropped abaft our anchor, the main topsail was thrown aback, and a stern-board made ; the bight dropped of its own accord under the outer fuke, the end which was brought in through the after part of the forecastle, the standing part hauled taut. Tackles were clapped on both, and hove upon until the new found one was separated and slung alongside under the forechannels. Away again went the cat, and the ship's anchor was walked up
“ Hook the fish-walk away-bеlay-on with the shank painter, and he was secured in place. Then, again, was the cat overhauled, and the found anchor-a first-rate, remarkably old, without a stock--hooked flukes uppermost as it was slung, hove up, and for the moment, with a spare stopper passed round all, left at the cat-head. The larboard anchor was then got ready for use. By this time the ship had paid off, the head-yards braced round to the larboard tack. “Up, and loose top-gallant sails,'
“ Man fore and main tacks, and jib haulyards," " Hoist away the jib,” “Haul aboard,” “ Let fall," " Sheet home, “lloist away," " Out-spanker sheet.” and his majesty's ship Rokeby was going along nine or ten knots, with her head for the west channel ; the wind rather abaft the beam, for it had sothered. It was quite refreshing to pass once more old Cowes, Yarmouth, Hurst Castle, Alum Bay, and then, the passage
passages, the Needles. I had always admired them, and was never more pleased than when the yatchs ran or beat to the westward ; but the sight then was far different from the sight from the deck of the Rokeby. In the low yacht one looked up to the rocks, in the frigate one appeared to look down on them. From the yacht the passage looked ample for a fleet, the rocks themselves imposing ; from the frigate one doubted, as we neared them, if there were room enough, and the rocks looked, comparatively speaking, diminutive. Still the sight was, is, and, until they crumble away altogether (and they are getting smaller every year), ever will be, most magnificent. The tide was ebb-a spring, and through the passage running at least five knots, while we, with a spanking breeze and a beam wind, were not going less than ten. We literally shot through the water in an almost incredible space of time, having been occupied from old Hurst until we were fairly in the channel, steering away for a fair berth past Portland Bill, which we passed before sundown. From thence, under every stitch of canvass the frigate would bear, royals, topmast, topgallant and fore lower studding sails, we kept our speed at about ten knots, sometimes