Obrazy na stronie

“It was a fine, bright night; all moon, and stars, and white crests of waves. The breeze was light, but fresheping; and close-hauled, poor little Jule, as if nothing had happened, was heading in for the land, which rose high and hazy in the distance.

“After the day's uproar, the tranquillity of the scene was soothing, and I leaned over the side to enjoy it.

“More than ever did I now lament my situation—but it was useless to repine, and I could not upbraid myself. So at last, becoming drowsy, I made a bed with my jacket under the windlass, and tried to forget myself.

“How long I laid there, I cannot tell; but as I rose, the first object that met my eye, was Bembo at the helm, his dark figure slowly rising and falling with the ship’s motion against the spangled heavens behind. He seemed all impatience and expectation; standing at arm's length from the spokes, with one foot advanced, and his bare head thrust forward. Where I was, the watch were out of sight; and no one else was stirring; the deserted decks and broad white Kails were gleaming in the moonlight.

“Presently, a swelling, dashing sound came upon my ear, and I had a sort of vague consciousness that I had been hearing it before. The next instant I was broad awake and ou my feet. Right ahead, and so near that my heart stood still, was a long line of breakers, heaving and frothing. It was the coral reef, girdling the island. Behind it, and almost casting their shadows upon the deck, were the sleeping mountains, about whose hazy peaks the gray dawn was just breaking. The breeze had freshened, and with a steady, gliding motion, we were running straight for the reef.

"All was taken in at a glance; the fell purpose of Bembo was obvious, and with a trenzied shout to wake the watch, I rushed aft. They sprang to the feet bewildered ; and after a short, but desperate scuffle, we tore him from the helm. În wrestling with him, the wheel-left for a moment unguarded -flew to leeward, thus, fortunately, bringing the ship's head to the wind, and so retarding her progress. Previous to this, she had been kept three or four points free, so as to close with the breakers. Her headway now shortened, I steadied the helm, keeping the sails just lifting, while we glided obliquely toward the land. To have run off before the wind -an easy thing-would have been almost certain destruction, owing to a curve of the reef in that direction. At this time, the Dane and the steward were still struggling with the furious Mowree, and the others were running about irresolute and shouting.

“But darting forward the instant I had the helm, the old cook thundered on the forecastle with a handspike, ‘Breakers ! breakers close aboard !--'bout ship! 'bout

Up came the sailors, staring about them in stupid horror. Haul back the headyards !'Let go the lee fore-brace ?’ ‘Ready

about about!' were now shouted on all sides; while distracted by a thousand orders, they ran hither and thither, fairly panic-stricken.

“ It seemed all over with us; and I was just upon the point of throwing the ship full into the wind (a step, which saving us for the instant, would have sealed our fate in the end), when a sharp cry shot by my ear like the flight of an arrow.

" It was Salem : 'All ready for'ard; hard down!'

Round and round went the spokes—the Julia, with her short keel, spinning to windward like a top. Soon the jib-sheets lashed the stays, and the men, more self-possessed, flew to the braces.

“Main-sail haul!' was now heard, as the fresh breeze streamed fore and aft the deck ; and directly the after-yards were wbirled round.

“In half a minute more, we were sailing away from the land on the other tack, with every sail distended.

“Turning on our heel within little more than a biscuit's toss of the reef, no earthly power could have saved us, were it not that, up to the very brink of the coral rampart, there are no soundings.

“The purpose of Bembo bad been made known to the men generally by the watch ; and now that our salvation was certain, by an instinctive impulse they raised a cry, and rushed toward him.

"Just before liberated by Dunk and the steward, he was standing doggedly by the mizen-mast; and, as the infuriated sailors came on, his bloodshot eye rolled and his sheath-knife glittered over his head. •Down with him!' Strike him down! Hang him at the mainyard! such were the shouts now raised. But he stood upmoved, and, for a single instant, they absolutely faltered.

“C ards!' cried Salem, and he flung himself upon him. The steel descended like a ray of light; but did no harm; for the sailor's heart was beating against the Mowree's before he was aware.

"They both fell to the deck, when the knife was instantly seized, and Bembo secured. For'ard! for'ard with him!' was again the cry; 'give him a sea-toss!' 'overboard with him l' and he was dragged along the deck, struggling and fighting with tooth and nail,

“All this uproar immediately over the mate's head at last roused him from his drunken nap, and he came staggering on deck.

««• Whats this l' he shouted, running right in among them.

“ "It's the Mowree, zur; they are going to murder him, zur;' here sobbed poor Rope Yarn, crawling close up to bim.

“. Avast! avast!' roared Jermin, making a spring toward Bembo, and dashing two or three of the sailors aside. At this moment the wretch was partly flung over the bulwarks, which shook with his frantic strug


gles. In vain the doctor and others tried to with his ship, while among the Marquesas save him; the men listened to nothing. islands, and comes to the determination of

“Murder and mutiny, by the salt sea! effecting his escape. This he does in comshouted the mate; and dashing his arms

pany with Toby, a fellow-sailor, a rough, right and left, he planted his iron hand upon jollý mortal, who grumbles and enjoys the Mowree's shoulder.

himself all the time, as most grumblers " There are two of us now; and as you

do. The island on which they eflect their serve him, you serve me,' he cried, turning fiercely round.

escape is divided into two great clans, "Over with them together, then,” ex.

who each occupy a valley, and between claimed the carpenter, springing forward;

whoin a deadly eninity exists. These are but the rest fell back before the courageous

the Typees and the Happars. Like our front of Jermin, and, with the speed of own Christian sects they are not given to thought, Bembo, upharmed, stood upon deck. speaking well of each other. The Hap• Aft with ye!' cried his deliverer; and he pars call the Typees cannibals, and the pushed him right among the men, taking care Typees vow that the amount of babies to follow him up close. Giving the sailors consumed annually in Happar is quite inno time to recover, he pushed the Mowree

credible. Tom and Toby fall into the before him, they came to the cabin scuttle,

hands of the Typees, where their position when he drew the slide over him and stood still. Throughout, Bembo never spoke one

is very precarious, until Tom discovers word.

that the way to their affections is to abuse “Now for’ard where ye belong! cried

the Happars. He accordingly launches out the mate, addressing the seamen, who by against this unfortunate race, of whom he this time rallying again, had no idea of losing

knows nothing, and is in consequence their victim.

treated with the utmost courtesy and af“ • The Mowree! the Mowree!' they fection by their foes. In this valley of shouted. Here the doctor, in answer to the savages, where the flowers and the women mate's repeated questions, stepped forward, are beautiful beyond conception, Tom and and related what Bembo had been doing; a Toby pass their days pleasantly. Swimmatter which the mate but dimly understood ming in the clear lakes with Typec girls, from the violent threatenings he had been who cleave the water like dolphins ; feasthearing.

ing in sacred temples off of sucking pig, “For a moment he seemed to waver; but,

lolling beneath the bread-fruit trees with at last

, turning the key in the padlock of the slide, he breathed through his set teeth— Ye

Fayaway, or making "Tappa” with the can't have him; I'll band him over to the

housekeepers and matrons, they spend as consul; so for’ard with ye, I say; when

agreeable a life as ever town-imprisoned there's any drowning to be done, I'll pass

merchant's clerk sighed for. In Typee there the word; so away with ye, ye bloodthirsty were no debts, consequently no duns. pirates !

The charming inhabitants dispensed with “It was to no purpose that they begged all clothing, and tailors were unknown. or threatened; Jermin, although by no No detestable bills to mar one's new means sober, stood his ground manfully, and year's pleasures with items of " seren before long they dispersed, soon to forget fancy vests, $85; three coats. $120; gloves, every thing that had happened.

ties, &c., &c., &c., &c., &c., $200.” Tom "Though we had no opportunity to hear had no hotel bill to pay. A piece of him confess it, Bembo's intention to destroy us was beyond all question. His only mo

Tappa, or a quid of tobacco was current tive could have been a desire to revenge the

coin, and if the girls of the valley got up contumely heaped upon him the night pre

a ball, there was no subscription list, no vious, operating upon a heart irreclaimably lady patronesses, and no enmities gathersavage, and at no time fraternally disposed ing out of rejected applications for tickets. toward the crew,

It does not appear either that there were “During the whole of this scene the any “sets,” or cliques in Typee. Mr. doctor did his best to save him. But well Melville does not mention that they had knowing that all I could do, would have their Fifth Avenue, or their Bleecker Rubeen equally useless, I maintained my place bicon. Society was not divided into petty at the wheel. Indeed, no one but Jermin

circles, each revolving round some insignifieould have prevented this murder."

cant centre, and fancying themselves the

central sun of the universe of fashion. Typce, the first and most successful of Typee ladies did not receive their visitors Mr. Melville's books, commands atten in drawing-rooms resplendent with gilt tion for the clearness of its narrative. the vulgarity, and if they had ever been so novelty of its scenery, and the simplicity fortunate as to travel, we doubt if they of its style, in which latter feature it is a would have talked one down with the wondrous contrast to Mardi, Moby Dick, Grand Duke of Fiddeldedeestein“ whom and Pierre. The story of Typee is plain they met at Baden-Baden," and wholet enough. The hero becomes discontented it be whispered sub-rosa-cheated the

pater-familias at écarte. Would that "Of a pleasant midnight, our good frigate, the world could be Typee-ized. Would now somewhere off the Capes of Virginia, that we could strip every vain pretender of was running on bravely, when the breeze, the plumage that chance has given him, and

gradually dying, left us slowly gliding toturn him out upon the world with nothing

wards our still invisible port. to clothe him save his own merits. How

“Headed by Jack Chase, the quarter

watch was reclining in the tops, talking your vulgar Argus, with a million of dol

about the shore delights into which they in. lars on his tail, would find his level in

tended to plunge, while our captain often Typee. The friends of the Grand Duke broke in with allusions to similar conversaof Fiddeldedeestein, would not rise an tions when he was on board the English inch higher in Mehevi's estimation for hav line-of-battle-ship, the Asia,' drawing nigh ing known the ducal swindler, and then to Portsmouth, in England, after the battle then what do you say to the inexpressible, of Navarino. almost unimaginable, never-to-be-realized "Suddenly an order was given to set the delight of paying off your tailor's bill main-topgallant-stun'-sail

, and the halyards for the last time, in cowrie-shells and

not being rove, Jack Chase assigned to me Tappa!

that duty. Now this reeving of the halyards In this primitive valley of Typee we

of a main-topgallant-stun'-sail is a business meet with Fayaway. Charming, smooth

that eminently demands sharp-sightedness,

skill and celerity. skinned siren, around whose sun-browned

“ Consider that the end of a line, some form the waves lap and dimple, like the

two hundred feet long, is to be carried aloft, longing touches of a lover's fingers. What

in your teeth if you please, and dropped far luxury untold it must have been to live

out on the giddiest of yards, and after being with thee beneath the shady places of Ty wormed and twisted about through all sorts pee. To dance with thee in the moon of intricacies-turning abrupt corners at the light in front of the deep-eaved hut; to abruptest of angles—is to be dropped, clear hunt with thee for strange flowers in the of all obstructions, in a straight plumb line, deep, silent woods, or sail with thee on right down to the deck. In the course of the lake when the sunset painted our tap

this business, there is a multitude of sheevepa sail with finer hues than the work of

holes and kocks through which you must Gobelins. How Tom could ever have

pass it; often the rope is a very tight fit, so

is to make it like threading a fine cambric left thee, surpasseth human understanding.

needle with rather coarse thread. Indeed, Left thee, graceful, artless child of the

it is a thing only to be deftly done even by forest and the stream, to dwell among day. Judge then what it must be to be civilized women-dancing machines; flirt threading cambric needles upward of a huning machines, built of whalebone and dred feet aloft in air. painted red.

“ With the end of the line in one hand, I And sadly we leave Fayaway lamenting was mounting the top-mast shrouds, when her white lover.

our Captain of the Top told me that I had White Jacket is a pure sea-book, but

better off jacket; but though it was not a very clever. It is a clear, quiet picture

very cold night, I had been reclining so long of life on board of a man-of-war. It has

in the tops that I had become somewhat less of Mr. Melville's faults than almost

chilly, so I thought it best not to comply

with the hint any of his works, and is distinguished for

“ Having reeved the line through all the clear, wholesome satire, and a manly style.

inferior blocks, I went out with it to the There is a scene describing the amputa

end of the weather-topgallant-yard-arm, and tion of a sailor's leg by a brutal, cold was in the act of leaning over and passing it blooded surgeon, Patella, that Smollett

through the suspended jewel-block there, might have painted. We would gladly when the ship gave a plunge in the sudden quote it, but that it rather exceeds the swells of the calm sea, and, pitching me still limits usually afforded in an article so further over the yard, threw the heavy skirts short as ours.

of my jacket right over my head, completely There is one chapter in which the hero

muffling me. Somehow I thought it was details the loss of the White Jacket, from

the sail that had flapped, and, under that wearing which, he and the book take their impression, threw up my hands to drag it name, that strikes us as a very fine piece

from my head, relying upon the sail itself

to support me meanwhile. Just then the of descriptive writing. We give it entire.

ship gave another sudden jerk, and, head

foremost, I pitched from the yard. I knew "Already has White Jacket chronicled where I was from the rush of the air by my the mishaps and inconveniences, troubles ears, but all else was a nightmare. and tribulations of all sorts brought upon “ A bloody filin was before my eye, through him by that unfortunate but indispensable which, ghost-like, passed and repassed my garment of his. But now it befalls him to father, mother, sisters. An unutterable nau record how his jacket, for the second and sea oppressed me; I was conscious of gasplast time, came near proving his shroud. ing; there seemed no breath in my body.

It was over one hundred feet that I fell, heartlessly jubilant, as of a sea in the height down, down,—with lungs collapsed as in of a tempest. Oh, soull thou then heardest death. Ten thousand pounds of shot seemed life and death; as he who stands upon the tied to my head, as the irresistible law of Corinthian shore hear both the Ionian and gravitation dragged me head -foremost and the Ægean waves, the life and death poise soon straight as a die toward the infallible centre passed, and then I found myself slowly asof this terraqueous globe. All I had seen, cending, and caught a dim glimmering of and read, and heard, and all I had thought light. or felt in my life, seemed intensified in one Quicker and quicker I mounted: till at fixed idea in my soul. But dense as this last I bounded up like a buoy, and my whole idea was, it was made up of atoms. Having head was bathed in the blessed air. fallen from the projecting yard-arm end, I "I had fallen in a line with the mainmast; was conscious of a collected satisfaction in I now found myself nearly abreast of the feeling that I should not be dashed on the mizzen-nast, the frigate slowly gliding by deck, but would sink into the speechless like a black world in the water. Her vast profound of the sea.

hull loomed out of the night, showing hun “With the bloody, blind film before my dreds of seamen in the hammock nettings; eyes, there was still a strange hum in my some tossing over ropes, others madly fling head, as if a hornet were there; and I thought ing overboard the hammocks; but I was too to myself, Great God! this is Death! yet far out from them immediately to reach what these thoughts were unmixed with alarm. they threw. I essayed to swim toward the Like frost-work, that flashes and shifts its ship, but I was instantly conscious of a feelscared hues in the sun, all my braided, ing like being pinioned in a feather-bed, blended emotions were in themselves icy, and, moving my hands, felt my jacket puffed cold and calm.

out above my tight girdle with water. I “So protracted did my fall seem, that I strove to tear it off

, but it was looped toge can even now recall the feeling of wonder ther here and there, and the strings were ing how much longer it would be ere all not to be sundered by hand. I whipped out was over and it struck. Time seemed to my knife, that was tucked at my belt, and stand still, and all the world seemed poised ripped my jacket straight up and down, as on their poles, as I fell, soul-becalmed, through if I were ripping open myself. With a viothe eddying whirl and swirl of the Maelstrom lent struggle I then burst out of it and was air.

free. Heavily soaked, it slowly sank before “At first, as I have said, I must have

my eyes. been precipitated head-foremost; but I was "“Sink! sink! thought I; sink for ever! conscious at length, of a swift, flinging mo accursed jacket that thou art! tion of my limbs, which involuntarily threw “«See that white sharkl' cried a horrified themselves out, so that at least I must have voice from the taffrail, 'he'll have that man fallen in a heap.

down his hatch way! quick! the grains ! the “ This is more likely, from the circum- grains !' stance that when I struck the sea, I felt as “The next instant that barbed bunch of if some one had smote me slantingly across harpoons pierced through and through the the shoulder, and along part of my right unfortunate jacket, and swiftly sped down side.

with it out of sight. “As I gushed into the sea, a thunder “Being now astern of the frigate, I struck boom sounded in my ear; my soul seemed out boldìy toward the elevated pole of one flying from my mouth. The feeling of death of the life-buoys which had been cut away. flooded over me with the billows. The blow Soon after one of the cutters picked me up. from the sea must have turned me, so that I As they dragged me out of the water into sank almost feet foremost through a soft, the air, the sudden transition of elements seething, foamy lull. Some current seemed made my every limb feel like lead, and I hurrying me away; in a trance I yielded, helplessly sunk into the bottom of the boat. and sank deeper down with a glide. Purple "Ten minutes after I was safe on board, and pathless was the deep calm now around and springing aloft, was ordered to reeve me, flecked by summer lightnings in an azure anew the stun'-sail-halyards, which, slipping afar. The horrible nausea was gone; the through the blocks when I had let go the bloody, blind film turned a pale green; I end, had unrove and fallen to the deck. wondered whether I was dead, or still dying. “The sail was soon set; and, as if purBut of a sudden some fashionless form brushed

posely to salute it, a gentle breeze soon came, my side-some inert, coiled fish of the sea; and the “Never Sink' once more glided over the thrill of being alive again tingled in my the water, a soft ripple at her bows, and nerves, and the strong stunning of death leaving a tranquil wake behind." shocked me through.

This is fine. We have often met with “For one instant an agonizing revulsion came over me as I found myself utterly sink

descriptions, some well painted enough, ing. Next moment the force of my fall was

of dizzy aerial adventures, but never one expended; and there I hung, vibrating in

like this. Our ears tingle as we read it. the mid deep. What wild sounds then rang

The air surges around us as we fall from in my ear! one was a soft moaning, as of that fearful height. The sea divides, the low waves on the beach; the other wild and green mist flashes into a thousand hues,

and we sit for an instant a stride of Death's tion to believe the whole thing to be a balance. Weight, unut terable weight well-got-up hoax. We remembered havpresses upon our shoulders, and we seem ing read a novel in six volumes once of as if about to be crushed into nothing the same order, called “The Abbess," in ness. Then a sudden change. A revul which the stilted style of writing is exsion which is accompanied with soft, low posed very funnily; and, as a specimen music; and we float upwards. We seem of unparalleled bombast, we believed it gliding through an oiled ocean, so smoothly to be unequalled until we met with do we pass. It breaks, it parts above Pierre. In Mardi there is a strong vein our head. The next moment we shoot out of vague, morphinized poetry, running from a cloud of feathers, and are battling through the whole book. We do not with the waves.

know what it means from the beginning In Redburn, we find an account of to the end, but we do not want to know, the death of a sailor, by spontaneous and accept it as a rhapsody. Babbalanja combustion. Well described, poetical- philosophizing drowsily, or the luxurious ly described, fraught with none of the sybaritical King Media, lazily listening to revolting scenery which it is so easy to the hum of waters, are all shrouded dimgather round such an end. In the last ly in opiate-fumes, and dream-clouds, and number of Bleak House, Mr. Dickens has we love them only as sensual shadows. attempted the same thing. He has also Whatever they say or do; whether they sail performed what he attempted. But, if in a golden boat, or eat silver fruits, or make ever man deserved public prosecution for pies of emeralds and rubies, or any thing his writing, he does, for this single pas else equally ridiculous, we feel perfectly sage. A hospital student could not read satisfied that it is all right, because there it withont sickening. A ghoul, who had is no claim

made upon our practical belief. lived all his days upon the festering cor But if Mr. Melville had placed Babbalanja ruption of the grave-yard, could have and Media and Yoomy in the Fifth Avenue, written nothing more hideously revolting instead of a longitude and latitude less than the death of Krook. It is as loath inland ; if we met them in theatres insome to read it as to enter one of the stead of palm groves, and heard Babbacharnels in London city. We do not be lanja lecturing before the Historical Solieve that a woman of sensitive nerves ciety instead of his dreamy islanders, we could take it up without fainting over the should feel naturally rather indignant at details. For ourselves, we fling the book such a tax upon our credulity. We would away, with an anathema on the author feel inclined to say with the Orientals, that that we should be sorry for him to hear. Mr. Melville had been laughing at our

Mr. Melville does not improve with time. beards, and Pacha-like condemn on the His later books are a decided falling off, instant to a literary bastinado. Now and his last scarcely deserves naming ; this Pierre has all the madness of Mardi, however we scarce believe to be an indi without its vague, dreamy, poetic charm. cation of exhaustion. Keats says beauti All Mr. Melville's many affectations of style fully in his preface to Endymion, that and thought are here crowded together “The imagination of a boy is healthy, in a mad mosaic. Talk of Rabelais's and the mature imagination of a man is word-nonsense! there was always somehealthy, but there is a space of life be thing queer, and odd, and funny, gleaming tween, in which the soul is in a ferment, through his unintelligibility. But Pierre the character undecided, the way of life transcends all the nonsense-writing that uncertain, the ambition thick-sighted.” the world ever beheld.

Just at present we believe the author of Thought staggers through each page Pierre to be in this state of ferment. Typee, like one poisoned. Language is drunken his first book, was healthy; Omoo nearly and reeling. Style is antipodical, and 50; after that came Mardi, with its ex marches on its head. Then the moral cusable wildness; then came Moby Dick, is bad. Conceal it how you will, a reand Pierre with its inexcusable insanity. volting picture presents itself. A wretchWe trust that these rhapsodies will end the ed, cowardly boy for a hero, who, from interregnum of nonsense to which Keats some feeling of mad romance, together refers, as forming a portion of every man's with a mass of inexplicable reasons which, life ; and that Mr. Melville will write less probably, the author alone fathoms, at random and more at leisure, than of chooses to live in poverty with his illegitlate. Of his last book we would fain imate sister, whom he passes off to the not speak. did we not feel that he is world as his wife, instead of being rejust now at that stage of author-life spectably married to a legitimate cousin. when a little wholesome advice may save Everbody is vicious in some way or other. him a hundred future follies. When first The mother is vicious with pride. Isabel we read Pierre, we felt a strong inclina has a cancer of morbid, vicious, minerva

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