Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

25 to attempt a description of the horror which was depict

ed in every countenance when the awful shock, occasioned by the striking of the vessel's bottom, was first experienced The terrors of such a situation can be

known only to those who have themselves been ship30 wrecked. None others can have a tolerable idea of

what passed in the minds of the wretched crew, as they gazed with vacant horror on the threatening elements, and felt that their frail bark must soon, perhaps the

next thump, be dashed to pieces, and they left at the 35 mercy of the billows, with not even a plank between

themselves and eternity! First comes the thumping of the vessel-next the breaking of the raging surge over her sides—then the receding for an instant of the

waves, causing the vessel to careen on her beam ends 40 and lastly, the crashing of the spars and timbers by the

returning rollers—the whole exhibiting a scene of confusion and horror, of which the most vivid language could afford but a cold and faint picture.

But awful as this is, cheerless as are the shipwrecked sailor's pros45 pects, what are his feelings compared to the agony of a:

fond husband and father, who clasps in a last embrace his little world, his beloved wife and child!

Although conscious of the hopelessness of his situation—that to remain by the vessel was death! and to 50 seek the shore, which, now that the day began to dawn,

had become visible, was scarcely less perilous; still every feeling of his noble nature prompted him to action. My friend was a seaman, and a brave one: accustomed

to danger, and quick in seizing upon every means of 55 rescuing the unfortunate. But now, who were the un

fortunate that called upon him for rescue? who were they whose screams were heard louder than the roaring elements, imploring that aid which no human power

could afford them? His wife and child! O! heart60 rending agony! But why attempt to describe what few

can imagine? The subject is too appalling to admit of amplification. In a word, then, the only boat which could be got at was manned by two gallant tars. Mrs.

G - and child, and its nurse, were lifted into it65 it was the thought of desperation! The freight was

already too much. Mr. G saw this, and knew that the addition of himself would diminish the chances

of the boat reaching the shore in safety; and much as

he deplored the necessity-horrible as was the alterna70 tivehe himself gave the order;—“ Push off, and make

for the land, my brave lads!”—the last words which ever passed his lips ! The order was obeyed; but ere the little boat had proceeded fifty yards, (about half the

distance to the beach) it was struck on the quarter by a 75 roller, capsized, and boat, passengers, and all, enveloped,

for a time, in the angry surge! The wretched husband saw but too distinctly what seemed to be the destruction of all that he held dear! But here, alas, and for

ever, were shut out from him all sublunary prospects! 80 He fell upon the deck powerless-senseless-A CORPSE!

the victim of a sublime sensibility! But what became of the unhappy wife and child? The answer shall be brief; Mrs. G

was borne through the breakers to the shore, by one of the brave-sailors; the nurse was 85 thrown upon the beach, with the drowned infant grasp

ed in her arms. The nurse survived. Mrs. G
was taken to a hut senseless—continued delirious many
days, but finally recovered her senses, and with them a

consciousness of the awful catastrophe which in a mo90 ment made her A CHILDLESS WIDOW.

EXERCISE 54.

The Bucket.-A Cold Water Song.--WoodWORTH. 1 How dear to my heart are the scenes of my childhood!

When fond recollection presents them to view;
The orchard, the meadow, the deep tangled wild-wood,

And every loved spot which my infancy knew;
The wide-spreading pond, and the mill that stood by it,

The bridge, and the rock where the cataract fell;
The cot of my father, the dairy-house nigh it,
And e'en the rude bucket which hung in the well;

The old oaken bucket--the iron-bound bucket

The moss covered bucket, which hung in the well. 2 That moss-covered vessel I hail as a treasure

For often at noon, when returned from the field, I found it the source of an exquisite pleasure,

The purest and sweetest that nature can yield.

How ardent I seized it with hands that were glowing,

And quick to the white pebbled bottom it fell;
Then soon, with the emblem of truth overflowing,
And dripping with coolness, it rose from the well;

The old oaken bucket-the iron-bound bucket-
The moss covered bucket arose from the well.

3 How sweet from the green mossy brim to receive it,

As poised on the curb, it inclined to my lips! Not a full

, blushing goblet could tempt me to leave it,
Though filled with the nectar that Jupiter sips.
And now, far removed from that loved situation,

The tear of regret will intrusively swell,
As fancy reverts to my father's plantation,
And sighs for the bucket which hangs in the well,

The old oaken bucket--the iron-bound bucket-
The moss covered bucket, which hangs in the well.

Exercise 55.

Anecdote of Judge Marshall.-Winchester REPUBLICAN.

It is not long since a gentleman was travelling in one of the counties of Virginia, and about the close of the day stopped at a public house, to obtain refreshment and

spend the night. He had been there but a short time, be5 fore an old man alighted from his

with the apparent intention of becoming his fellow guest, at the same house. As the old man drove up, he observedthat both the shafts of his gig were broken, and that they were held together

by withes formed from the bark of a hickory sapling.10 Our traveller observed further, that he was plainly clad,

that his kneebuckles were loosened and that something like negligence pervaded his dress. Conceiving him to be one of the honest yeomanry of our land, the courte

sies of strangers passed between them, and they entered 15 the tavern. It was about the same time that an addition

of three or four young gentlemen was made to their number-most, if not all of them of the legal profession. As soon as they became conveniently accommodated,

the conversation was turned by one of the latter upon 20 an eloquent harangue which had that day been displayed at the bar.

It was replied by the other, that he had witnessed the same day, a degree of eloquence, no doubt

equal, but that it was from the pulpit. Something like

a sarcastic rejoinder was made to the eloquence of the 25 pulpit; and a warm and able altercation ensued, in

which the merits of the Christian religion became the subject of discussion.—From six o'clock, until eleven, the young champions wielded the sword of argument,

adducing with ingenuity and ability every thing that 30 could be said pro and con. During this protracted pe

riod, the old gentleman listened with all the meekness and modesty of a child; as if he was adding new information to the stores of his own mind; or perhaps he

was observing with philosophic eye the faculties of the 35 youthful mind, and how new energies are evolved by

repeated action; or, perhaps, with patriotic emotion, he was reflecting upon the future destinies of his country, and on the rising generation upon whom these future

destinies must devolve; or, most probably, with a sen40 timent of moral and religious, feeling, he was collect

ing an argument which, (characteristic of himself) no art would be “able to elude, and no force to resist. Our traveller remained a spectator, and took no part in

what was said. 45 At last, one of the young men, remarking that it was

impossible to combat with long and established prejudices, wheeled around, and with some familiarity, exclaimed, “Well, my old gentleman, what think you of

these things?” If, said the traveller, a streak of vivid 50 lightning had at that moment crossed the room, their

amazement could not have been greater than it was with what followed. The most eloquent and unanswerable appeal was made for nearly an hour, by the old

gentleman, that he ever heard or read. So perfect was 55 his recollection, that every argument urged against the

Christian religion was met in the order in which it was advanced. Hume's sophistry on the subject of miracles, was, if possible, more perfectly answered, than it had

already been done by Campbell. And in the whole 60 lecture there was so much simplicity and energy, pathos

and sublimity, that not another word was uttered. An attempt to describe it, said the traveller, would be an attempt to paint the sunbeams. It was now a matter of

curiosity and inquiry, who the old gentleman was. The 65 traveller concluded that it was the preacher from whom

the pulpit eloquence was heard—but no_it was the Chief JusticE OF THE UNITED STATES.

EXERCISE 56. The First and Last Ticket.-MANUSCRIPT OF A CRIMINAL.

Part I. My first ticket was a blank. I was persuaded by a friend to buy it, who tempted me by holding up to view the glittering prize, and exciting my hopes of obtaining

it. I was not disappointed at the result of my purchase, 5 although a curse involuntarily burst from my lips when

I first learned it. I hardly thought of drawing a high prize; yet the possibility of being so fortunate kept my mind in a constant, burning excitement. I was a young

man then, and could ill afford to lose the cost of the 10 ticket. However, I comforted myself with the reflec

tion, that experience must be paid for. I also made a determination that I would not be so foolish again. I kept it unbroken for six months: yet all that time there

was a whispering in my ear-" try again, you may be 15 more fortunate." It was the whispering of my evil gen

ius—and I obeyed it. I bought part of a ticket and drew five hundred. I had previously to this, being in a good situation, and with every prospect of doing well in the

world, engaged myself to Eliza Berton, a young lady 20 who had long possessed my affections. She was one

no, I will not, I cannot speak of her as she Well, shortly after my good fortune-I should say misfortune-I married her. I was considerably ela

ted with my luck, and treated my friends freely. I did 25 not however buy any tickets at that time, though strong

ly urged. One evening, after I had been married some months, I went out to visit a friend, intending to return in the course of an hour. On the way to my friend's

house, I passed a lottery office. It was brilliantly light30 ed up, and in the windows were temptingly displayed

schemes of chance, and invitations to purchase. I had not tried my luck since my marriage, and had given up buying tickets. As I passed by the window of the of

fice my eye caught the following, in illuminated letters 85 and figures—"$10,000 prize will be heard from this

was.

« PoprzedniaDalej »