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Etna, or the ruined temples of Girgenti, so picturesquely situated amidst the Italian scenery of the vineyard and the orange grove. Farther on, upon the Spanish shore, we encountered a storm of considerable duration and magnitude, which at length drove us into the bay of Almeria, the wind remaining nearly due west. Those romantic writers in the silken annuals of the day, who describe in such glowing terms the calm blue waters and Claude Lorraine skies of the Mediterranean, must have taken their descriptions from the terraces of Naples, the lovely groves of Messina, or the piazzas of the island city of the Adriatic ; but could never have experienced a gale of wind beneath the Sierra Nevada of Granada.
On the 23rd we cleared out of the harbour of Gibraltar, rounded the Tarifa point, and once more bent our course to the happy shores of Britain. Our pilgrimage in other lands is now completed—our voyage nearly at an end. Scenes of the East farewell! Shall I ever again enjoy the exciting solitude of those resplendent monuments of past times and people, that have yielded to me so many hours of pure and unmixed enjoyment; and, while they ministered to the pleasures of the present, through the associations connected with the past, raised my thoughts to objects of higher and more enduring happiness in the future! Ye wide-spreading palms and glittering minarets, the evening note of whose Mooslim chant is still ringing in my ears—shall I ever again hear those thrilling strains of the Imam's call to worship! And ye, ye tombs! amidst whose dark recesses I have so long wandered, once more, adieu ! On this latter theme I may have been fatiguing to some of my readers; but unpleasant as that topic may be, to it we must all, one day or other, come ; for tombs, whether they be the simple mother-earth that enwraps the body of the rustic, or the martial-cloak that shrouds the stiffening form of the warriorwhether the gigantic pyramid, or the lowly greensward—the mound that covers the kistvaen, or the urn that holds the asheswhether the costly sarcophagus that surrounds the embalmed
ing far a-head, as if to defy our speed. After several fruitless attempts, it was at last struck with a grains, or forked harpoon, by one of the men. Considering the size of the animal, and the velocity of its movements, this was certainly a feat.
body of the Egyptian, or the shell-adorned cave, where lie the bones of the mariner beneath the ocean's unfathomed depths-the sculptured cathedral monument, or the modest tomb-stone in the grave-yard—they are all so many chambers in the great treasure-house of time, in which are stored the coinage of successive ages, to be opened when the trumpet of the angelic herald summons the gates of death to surrender, and the bright morning of eternity dawns on the night of the grave.
Many topics that I have touched upon, and many scenes that I have described, may to some appear little worthy of notice ; but to me they have been interesting and instructive, and as su I give them to my readers—for
“In a strange land
And now, before taking my leave, I would say a word at parting on the subject of yacht-clubs and yachting.
“Of all the amusements,” says Captain Marryatt, “entered into by the nobility and gentry of our island, there is not one so manly, so exciting, so patriotic, or so national, as yacht-sailing." It is, indeed, one that Englishmen alone can afford, not only from our maritime position, but from the wealth required for its maintenance. It has materially conduced to the improvement of ship-building in this country; for some of the very fastest sailing vessels, for their size, ever launched, were yachts. It is one of the best means of educating a superior class of British sailors, who often see more real service and seamanship, than many who are for years on board a vessel of the line.”* How valuable would be the two thousand men who are now engaged in the different yacht-clubs of this country, when distributed among our navy, in case of war or invasion. In stating that the sailors in the yacht service were the best educated and the best conducted
* The English fleet has been now so long in the Tagus, that one of the officers told me, he really feared to go to sea with hands so long unused to work a ship.
men in the whole British navy, I should, I feel, be but giving them that character which they deserve. They are, in general, a set of picked men. Their pay is better than those in menof-war, and they are much better instructed in practical navigation than in the merchant service. It is, indeed, a lamentable fact, that the masters of our traders, so far from giving instruction to those who may wish for it, absolutely prevent men from “taking the sun," or in any way improving themselves in the theory of their profession. On board the Crusader, and several other vessels of the Royal Yacht squadron that I have known, some of the men were regularly instructed in those different branches that qualify them for rising to be mates or masters.*
Besides all these considerations, the money expended in yachting finds its way into the pockets of our own countrymen. The vessel, and every thing belonging to her, is purchased at home; the wages of the men are, in a great part, paid to their wives or relations at home; and the provisions that are required, especially on a Mediterranean cruise, are procured at English ports.
We are now upon the little Sole-bank, and fast approaching home.
• Below, there, forrard.” “ Holloa !” “Hand up the deep-sea lead.” “Ay, ay, sir.”
“Now, then, my man, mind your helm. Come, my lads; one of you get out with it on the martingal. Luff, there, luff, and shake the wind out of her sails."
“Luff, 'tis, sir.”
Splash goes the lead, and the coils are thrown off by the different hands.
Soundings; haul on the line, now; ninety-five fathoms.
* I should be wanting in duty did I not take this occasion to remember the care and attention exhibited on this subject by our sailing-master, Mr. W. Howard, as well as his skill and dexterity in the management of our vessel.
Come, keep her, her course, north-east half east; crack on her; the breeze freshens; stunsails, alow and aloft. There she goes, nine knots; and to-morrow we shall be within sight of old Ireland.”
On the morning of the 3rd of June, 1838, we entered Kingstown harbour. The hour was early ; the inhabitants had not yet stirred. There was scarcely a vessel in port. A thick mist hung over Killiney hill, and every thing looked lonely and deserted; but still it was with a longing eye and a beating heart I hailed that shore, to me
“ More dear in its storms, its clouds, and its showers,
Than the rest of this world in its sunniest hours."