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twelve, and the young guests tore me! You are saved at least from themselves away.
those horrid painted creatures !" “Merle, Merle !” cried the Come- “Ah, ah,” growled Merle from bedian, when they were gone.
low," he has got the money! Glad Merle appeared.
to hear it. But,” he added, as he "We don't go to-morrow. When glanced at sundry weird and astroRugge sends for us (as he will do at logical symbols with which he had daybreak), say so. You shall lodge been diverting himself, “that's not us a few days longer, and then—and it. The true horary question is, then-my little Sophy, kiss me, kiss WHAT WILL HE DO WITH IT ?"
NEW SEA-SIDE STUDIES.
NO. 1. —THE SCILLY ISLES.
BETWEEN the lion that has once flashes the tawny eye with sombre eaten a man-once tasted the glory fire, the terrible talons tear up the and ambrosial delight of man-beef- earth, he dresses his mighty mane, and the lion remotely ignorant of the and prepares for the fight in slow, flavour, there lies a chasm. Only in solemn, concentrated wrath, clearly zoological text-books can the two foreseeing that two issues, and only animals be considered as of the same two, remain open for him—man-beef, species. In profounder characteris- or a tomb. tics, in the complexion of their souls, Not less profound, although not they differ as the Caucasian differs quite so terrible to his enemies, is from the IIottentot. The lion who the difference between the man who has once fed on man, carries with him has once tasted of a noble sea-side an unforgetable experience; he has passion, once lived with his microsupped with the gods, and Homeric scope for a few months on the rhythins murmur in his ears. Visions wealthy shores of some secluded of that ecstatic hour hover before spot, indulging in a new pursuithim in his lair, accompany his moon- and the common man, utterly remote light marches through the mountain- from all such experience, walled out gorge, thrill him with retrospective from it by blank negation, incapable flavours as he laps the moonlit lake, of even conceiving the heights and and fill with a certain blissful torment depths of such a passion. Visions of all his leisure moments. These vi- those ecstatic hours for ever accomsions, like the after-glow of sunset on pany the happy man.
He may rethe Alps, tinge his mental horizon, turn to his home, and resume the and create a gustatory after-glow labours of his profession, which sewhich warms his whole frame. cures him pudding, and, it may be, Haunted by such recollections, tor- praise: he continues the daily round, mented by the appetites they deve- but not as before. He is a changed lope, his nature undergoes mysterious man. The direction of his thoughts modifying influences; new and grand- is constantly seawards. Murmurs of er ferocities are awakened, which, in old ocean linger in his soul, as they turn, develope fiercer daring, and ren- murmur in a shell long since taken der him ten times more formidable from the deep, and condemned to to man. Hitherto he has wanted ornament the mantelpiece of some something of the daring commensur- lodging-house, the daily witness of ate with his strength. He has always prosaisms and peculations. To the avoided personal combat with an casual eye he may not seem cha
ged; European, when honourably the chal- but read his soul, and you will find lenge could be ignored. But now he is another man. At least it was the case is very different; now, the thus with me. I had supped with scent of human blood thrills along the gods, and grew fastidious over every fibre; and when sight reveals my shilling ordinary. If work imthe proximity of his noble foe, then periously claimed my attention, if I was forced to trouble myself with really time. For seven long months "proofs,” commentators, old writers, I had been separated from the coast; dreary philosophies, and multiform and like the Cyclops of Euripides, I affairs, the glass vases, perpetually had grown weary of feedling on daily reminding me of Ilfracombe and butcher's meat and game, just as stray Tenby, aggravated the oppression. mortals in the Strand; and smacked The iodine of the sea-breezes had my lips at the prospect of man-beef. entered me. I felt that I had "suffered a sea-change" into something “I am quite sick of the wild mountainzoological and strange. Men came game; to look like molluscs ; and their ways Of stags and lions I have gorged enough, the ways of creatures in a larger rock- And Igrow hungry for the flesh of men.” pool. When forced to endure the conversation of some friend of the
March was already come, the equi. family, with well-waxed whiskers and noctial gales were near, and the imperturbable shirt-front, I caught Isles of Scilly beckoned like syrens myself speculating as to what sort of from their dangerous shores. The figure he would make in the vivarium weather was intensely unlike summer, --not always to his glorification. In the snow and hail freely falling; s6 a word, it was painfully evident that that, on a first blush, there did seein London wearied me, and that I was
a shadow of reason for the astonishtroubled in my mind. I had tasted ment of friends, who looked upon deof a new delight; and the hungry parture at such a time, and for such soul of man leaps on a new passion
a place, as indicating something like to master, or be mastered by it.
insanity. But great wits to madness
nearly are allied, and this alliance “Chacun veut en sagesse ériger sa folie;" with great wits will perhaps be
granted to me. At any rate, there so says Boileau, and indeed I was was method in the madness, for unless willing enough to demonstrate to I reached the coast before the equiall recusants that my passion had nox, the passage would be more than a most rational basis. Meanwhile usually perilous; and just after the it was the torment of intellectual equinox, as everybody knows, the hunger; and I make it a rule always spring-tides recede to greater depths, to satisfy hunger-on philosophical and offer the finest opportunities for principles. If you don't content it, rock-hunting: moreover, the gales at it will torment you ; it obtrudes on this period throw welcome treasures work and duty, perplexing the one,
on the beach. The 15th of March, and obstructing the other: it can't be therefore, was the very latest date I starved into silence. Therefore give could afford for departure; and on it “ ample room and verge enough.” that day the journey began. When pastry-cooks hire new boys, Why the Isles of Scilly were obthey wisely permit an unrestricted stinately selected, may not be so easiglut of tarts. The young gluttons fall ly explained. I had a fixed idea on, tooth and nail
, and in a week on this point; no argument could are surfeited; whereas a stealthy make me swerve from it. The main and restricted appetite wonld have attraction was doubtless lurking in lasted them for years, much to the my profound geographical ignorance, damage of the pastry-cook. In this which invested these Isles with a philosophic forethought I resolved mysterious halo.
In days when to give myself a glut of zoology, ladies take pleasure-trips to Algiers, to let loose the reins of desire, and and reach it in four days, or run up afterwards, if the fates so willed it, the Nile, as formerly they scampered settle once more into a student of through France, any real bit of unbooks, and writer thereof. It was travelled country necessarily creates
* This is Shelley's translation. The reader who has not quite forgotten bis Greek may like to have the original:
«Ως έκπλεώς γε δαιτός είμ' ορεσκόου"
an interest; and for travellers, in resplendent shirt-front with a head the adventurous or pleasure-hunting attached sternly inexpressive, on a sense, Scilly is as virgin ground as mahogany background. The defunct Timbuctoo. Vessels in abundance mariner seemed blank with astonishtouch there; but who goes there ? ment at my courage in coming to Indeed, on entering a shop to make such a house—a ruin, not a lodging. a small purchase, the bland woman Everything in it was afflicted with compassionately inquired whether I the rickets. The chair-backs creaked had been “driven by contrary winds" inharmonious threats, if you into this unfrequented spot; evidently cautiously leaned against them. The never conceiving the possibility of a fire-irons fell continually from their sane Englishman coming here. They unstable rests. The bed-pole tumbled are also difficult of access: å very at my feet when I attempted to draw dangerous flat, and fatal, where the the curtain. The doors wouldn't shut. carcasses of many a tall ship lie Even the tea-pot had a wobbly top, buried.” Ten days, owing to con- which resisted all closing. Nay--and trary winds, were consumed in get- this will surprise you—in the moral ting here; and under the most favour- world I noticed a similar dilapidaable conjuncture of trains, coaches, tion. The discrepancies were painand winds, three days would be the ful. In the “bill," arrangements very shortest time required. This were made which showed great fiscal difficulty secured the place from the genius ; and when a suggestion was nuisance of “visitors.” Moreover, I offered that the remains of yesterhad an idea of its being a good spot day's fowl might serve for to-day's for zoological research; and with luncheon, a look of pained reproach these two advantages, I could afford passed over the widow's face, followto listen unmoved to the sarcastic ed by a gulp, and a silence which was questions pelted at me, such as: broken only by diversion of the diaCan you get anything to eat there? logue into quite other directions—the Are the Islands inhabited? Do the look, the gulp, the silence expressed, as people speak English? Are they plainly as words, the mean opinion civilised?
which the widow entertained of her Contrary winds, and what sailors victim. Low as her opinion had call “dirty weather," detained me a placed him before, it had not reached week at Penzance, where I was such depths as that; the request for stranded in a lodging-house, kept by a a paltry remnant of fowl, indeed, was middle-aged Harpy, rearing a brood answerable only by profound silence. of young Harpies, and rendered all Thus it was answered. I never gazed the more fierce in lodging-house in- upon that bird again. stincts by her condition of widow- Weather-bound in such a placehood, which, you may have observed, the equinoctial gales hurrying ongenerally throws a woman on the boxes corded, soul unquiet-you may naked ferocities of her nature. Were imagine the alacrity with which I you ever in nautical lodgings? Do sprang out of bed the morning when you remember their ornaments, a sailor came up from the packet to * above all reach of art”—the cases say that anchor was weigbed, and of stuffed birds and fish, the shells on we should start as soon as I could the mantelpiece, and the engravings slip on my things. This was at six irradiating the walls—a “Sailor's in the morning, and, by half-past, the Departure,” with whimpering wife Ariadne, formerly Lord Godolphin's and sentimental offspring; a “Sailor's yacht, but now the property of CapReturn,” with joyous wife and caper- tain Tregarthen, who runs it between ing juveniles? All these adorned my Scilly and Penzance, as the mail and rooms, which were further adorned sole communication, left the harbour, by a correct misrepresentation of the and reached Scilly by one o'clock. brig Triton, as she appeared entering This was on Thursday, 26th March an impossible harbour of Marseilles, 1857. A century ago, on the 25th flanked by a portrait of the defunct May 1752, Borlase, the admirable husband, master of the aforesaid brig, antiquarian, whose 'Observations on painted in the well-known style : & the Ancient and Present State of the Scilly Islands was among my books,* blustering March, to have got over set sail in the sloop Godolphin at all our troubles in six hours. Shorter, seven in the morning, and about nine our passage undeniably was; whether in the evening drew near the islands it was also sweeter, remains a pro-drew near, but dared not venture blem, towards the solution of which nearer; because, a “very thick fog en- I will say thus much,—that under suing, the sailors began to be appre- no extension of euphuism could it hensive whether they should fall in be called sweet. In the first place, with the proper passage into St. there had been no breakfast to begin Mary's Island or not: sometimes the day, and the Ariadne offered nothey thought they could see the thing in the culinary way. Cheering land, but were always uncertain Souchong, or aromatic Mocha, to what part of the islands it was. This warm the matutinal ventrals, were determined us to continue turning not to be thought of; we were even off and on (in sea-affairs give me lucky to have a dry biscuit to manch leave to use sea expressions), and in philosophic resignation. Deprived wait for the morning. During this thus of our natural fortifications interval we had a very uneasy time against the advancing enemy, we of it, and nothing to do but to ex- were further disabled by the rain, pect the daylight, which, you may which forced us to descend into the be assured, was with great impa- cabin, and get into our berths. In tience. The day came, but the fog these exiguous spaces we remained continued so thick that we had no until the joyful tidings of arrival benefit from it." In this fog they flooded us with sudden energy, and continued beating about, in terror of flung the past hours from us like a getting entangled among the narrow hideous dream. Except during the guts; but about six the fog cleared, brief intervals of sleep and semiand revealed to them St. Mary's delirium, the hours were not plesIsland close at hand.
sant. The cold, not to be kept out such true sailors,” he says, " that we by any amount of rugs, cloaks, and immediately lost sight of the danger tarpaulin, seemed stealthily creepwe had escaped, delighted as we were ing into the very centres of life. The with the thoughts of being soon in sensations which fly around sea-sickport, and the uncommon appearance ness need scarcely be alluded to. of the land (if what is mostly rocks Constantly, when my intellect was can be called so) on each side of us sufficiently disentangled from these as we passed. It was Crow's Sound; sensations to exercise itself, would and I must own the sight of it gave the thought arise that pleasanter far me much pleasure, which you will, was the pursuit of zoology in comfortand justly may in some measure, at- able homes (where Mr. Lloyd of Porttribute to our sudden transition from land Road, Mr. Bohn of Essex Street, a state of uncertainty to that of safety, or Mr. Damon of Weymouth, would but not wholly; for these islets and supply tanks and vases with the derocks edge this Sound in an extreme- sired animals in exchange for vulgar ly pretty and very different manner dross, thus bringing the forces of from anything I had seen before. The commerce and civilisation to ininister sides of these little islands continue to our pursuits), compared with this their greenness to the brim of the harum-scarum method of trusting water, where they are either sur- oneself to “sea-traversing ships," in rounded by rocks of different shapes, order to become one's own purveyor. which start up here and there as you This thought would occur. And advance, like so many enchanted then the fluctuating intellect passed castles, or by a verge of sand of the into self-condemnation at thoughts brightest colour.” If this was the so base, remorse so ill-timed, cowardpassage made during gentle May, ice so unzoological. These passing surely we were very fortunate, in pangs, however unattractive, would
4 We were
* Thanks to that most convenient, and, to all students, most valuable of institutions, The London Library, which manifold experience causes me to urge every man of letters to join.
they not inevitably pass? And how Not that any shadow of a drawback the released spirit, in its reinstated darkened the horizon; for what could vigour, would rejoice at having un- the heart desire more? Here was a dergone such torments for such weeks little archipelago, such as Greek of enjoyment!
heroes might have lived in-bold, As I said, the joyful tidings came rugged, picturesque, --secure from all at last.
With alacrity I urged my the assaults of idle watering-place staggering steps up the ladder, and frequenters,-lovely to the eye, full emerged upon the deck, where the of promise to the mind, and health bright sunlight revealed a scene, in every breeze. Ithaca was visibly which of itself was repayment and opposite.
Horner's cadences were full discharge for any arrears of sweetly audible. Here one might misery. We were in St. Mary's write epics finer than the Odyssey, Sound. The islands lay around us, had one but genius packed up in ten times bigger than imagination one's carpet-bag; and if the genius had prefigured, and incomparably had been forgotten, left behind (by more beautiful. On their pictur- some strange oversight), at any rate esque varieties I might turn a green there was the microscope and scalpel, countenance and glazed eye, but the with which one might follow in the heart within me bounded like a leo- tracks of the stout Stagyrite," whom pard on his prey. This was worth the world is now beginning to recogcoming to! Those poor devils who nise among the greatest of its natusit at home at ease, and supply their ralists. Homer, or Aristotle? The tanks from commercial sources, were modest choice lay there ; and as now the objects of pitiless sarcasias Montaigne says—« nous allons par for their want of enterprise. In such là quester une friande gloire à piper A mood I hastily secured comfortable le sot monde.” (The sot monde being lodgings, clean as a Dutchman's, at you, beloved reader.) the Post-office; swallowed some tea It is puzzling to determine the and toast, to appease the baser ap- number of the Scilly Isles, because, petites, and hurried forth to satisfy where the largest, St. Mary's, is on a the hunger of the soul, by a survey scale of no greater magnitude than of the Bay, and its promises. The nine miles in circumference, it bepromontory on which stands Star comes a nice point to settle how small Castle, offered a fine breezy walk a patch of rock is to be reckoned as over downs resplendent with golden an island. There are some hundred, furze,* and suffered the eye to take or hundred and twenty distinct islets; the widest sweep. How thoroughly but of inhabited islands only six. I enjoyed that walk! The downs The area in statute acres is 3560, were so brilliant that one could sym- and the population in 1851 was, acpathise with the enthusiasm of Lin- cording to the census, 2600 in 511 næus on his arrival in England, and houses—the females predominating his first sight of furze, as he flung in the ratio of 1439 to 1162. The himself on his knees, and thanked God average of deaths is 16 in 1000; in for having made anything so beau- other parts of England it is 23 in tiful. The downs were all atlame 1000, showing a decided hygienic with their golden light. Ever and superiority in favour of Scilly. Much
a rabbit started across the arable land there is not, but an occapath, or the timid deer were seen sional upland smiles prosperity at emerging from the clumps of golden you; and in the sheltered nooks of bush. A glance at the many reefs and Holy Vale you are startled with the creeks along the wavy shores raised ex- appearance of what almost looks like pectation tiptoe, forcing hope into cer- a tree. In the other parts of the tuinty of treasures abounding. What- island no tree is discoverable—without ever drawbacks Scilly might possibly a lens. The lanes are formed of stone have in store, this at least was indu- hedges, as in Devonshire and Cornbitable—the hunting would be good. wall; but these hedges are not, at
* The reader who has not seen the furze in Devonshire and Cornwall can form but a faint idea of its rich colour and profusion.