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little barkey moves once more, gracefully heeling over under the pressure of her ample and light canvass. We have a strong tide with us, smooth water, and the breeze “ as fair as fair can be," so “who so happy, so happy as we.”
There's the last of the Sound :-the “shag stone" and the “mew-stone” are passed, and the mouth of the little Yealme River hardly attracts our attention before it is shut in by Stoke Point, and we are in Bigbury Bay, where many a good ship has gone to pieces against the iron-hearted and faced rocks. Some interesting anecdotes connected with these said subjects our old shipmates had to tell, and others connected with the smuggling, which was formerly carried on extensively along this coast, and most especially where the rocks and the boiling waters were most forbidding. In this, at least, the age has considerably improved, for what with the bright look-out of the young officers who now have command of the preventive stations and cutters, not being wanted elsewhere, and partly the liberalism of our modern custom regulations, the smuggler's occupation's gone : at least it is hardly worth pursuing, and certainly not by itself, though it may still offer temptation to fishermen and pilots to “do a little" in the running line occasionally. Every now and then, indeed, the mischief gets head in a neighbourhood, owing to some run of luck on the part of the smugglers, and at last leads to a serious affray with the smugglers; but I suppose such scenes as that so gra
phically described in “
Snarley Yow," by Captain Marryat, are not now to be met with.
By the way, we are somewhat in the predicament of the smugglers; we have had our "run,” and are come pretty much to a stand-still. The sun, which has been becoming hotter and hotter every hour, has gradually “ eaten up our wind,” to use a sea phrase, and we are again in a horrid calm, the greatest nuisance connected with the sea, short of a downright hurricane. Talk of the tropics ! I wonder where on earth one could get more comfortably broiled than just at the very spot and moment of which I am writing. Well might we have said with Thomson,
“ All-conquering heat, oh intermit thy wrath,
And on my throbbing temples potent thus
Here we are gently undulating upon the surface, principally owing to the rebound of the water carried by the tide against the rocky shore, and partly by the agitation occasioned by the stream below as it hurries over the rough bottom. The face of the water is indeed a perfect mirror, painfully reflecting the scorching sun on all sides : the vessels seen in the distance loom three times their proper size in the light haze, and lie listlessly and inanimate on the bosom of the deep. Our own sails, light as they are, flap sluggishly against the mast: the mast creaks and cries as if in impatience, and it is all in vain that the whole crew bas been whistling for the last hour in hopes of
calling up a breeze. We did, indeed,
We did, indeed, “call the (breezy) spirits from the vasty deep,” but they would not come. But, as Horace says, “ Meluis fit patientia quicquid corrigere est nefas,” so to it we went spinning yarns and blowing clouds—we could do that, though we could not create winds. By these means, and by sundry little divertisements, we got on pretty well; that is, in one sense, for in another our progress was indifferent enough. The tide, indeed, swept us on rapidly past the “ Bolt-tail,” and carried
almost abreast of the “ Bolt-head,” but there it left us, or rather invited us to retire in its conipany the very way we had come. For a short time we were stationary, but ere long it was but too perceptible that we were retrograding, and the very most we could do was to tow and sweep our little craft close in-shore to the westward of the Bolt-tail, and so lie snug out of the tide way till the ebb should cease. This gave us a good opportunity of cooking and enjoying a nice little dinner, and also of philosophising upon the folly of fretting and repining at every obstruction met with in the path of life. We might have been much worse off. Indeed, we saw more than one large vessel which had been ahead of us, but further out in the channel, swept back by the tide, probably abreast of Plymouth : they could not get under the shore as we had done, and so paid the penalty of their greatness. The more one sees of the world the more clear is it that there is a compensating power at work in all things. The great enjoy
rank, fortune, ease and dignity, with all their concomitants : they suffer from offended pride, the demand of a still increasing expenditure, importunity, and a thousand annoyances which come not near the poor man's dwelling, who, earning his daily livelihood by the labour of his hands and the sweat of his brow, has few wants and fewer cares : whilst not unfrequently it may be said of those who has long been objects of envy to the world,
“tolluntur in altum Ut lapsu graviore recant
The huge whale disports itself in the mighty waters, and creating a whirlpool by its own force gorges a whole shoal of small fry thus drawn together; but the said monster of the deep is tormented almost, or quite, to death by the small insect which fastens itself within its jaws, and sucks, and sucks the life-blood of the leviathan secure from all evil, whilst such countless thousands hurry past it to afford subsistence to the living mass,-ay, and through its arteries, to the little insect firmly attached to the jaw. The giant vak long resists the storm, and is an object of admiration to man and beast, but at last it attracts the scathing lightning and the thunderbolt, and is left a seared and shapeless mass; or withstanding the winds of heaven, yields at last and falls prostrate, whilst the tender sapling by its side bends to the gale, offers no attraction to the electric fluid, and escapes. So we from the smallness of our craft were
enabled to get in out of the tide-way and hold our own, which larger vessels could not,—“Sic parvis componere magna solebam."
As we passed slowly along the rugged coast, one of our old tars pointed out a little cove, hardly distinguishable from the line of rocks on each side, and informed us, that it is commonly known by the name of “ Margaret's Cove," and proceeded to tell us that
thereby hangs a tale :” this I shall endeavour to give you in a few words, though I shall hardly succeed, I fear, in transferring the interest into other language than his own.
I need not tell you, that for a long series of years, smuggling was very extensively carried on over the whole southern coast of England, nor that the go. vernment put forth its best energies to extinguish a trade which so materially injured its revenues, whilst it effectually vitiated the morals of the people within its sphere. In this continual contest between the breakers and the conservators of the laws, the greatest ingenuity was displayed on both sides, and the prize was generally gained by skill rather than by absolute force, though, occasionally, encounters of the most deadly description occurred between the smugglers and the coast-guardsmen.
Of course, the first object with a crew, or rather colony of smugglers, was to fix upon a spot on the coast where they had the best chance of landing their illicit cargoes, without the detection of their lynxeyed adversaries : such spots were chosen rather for the difficulty, than the easiness of access; the greater