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Adelheid. It was one that may well lessen the distances set between us by human laws and the tyranny of opinions. Had it been the will of God that the bark should perish, what a confused crowd of ill-assorted spirits would have passed together into eternity! We had them, there, of all degrees of vice, as of nearly all degrees of cultivation, from the subtle iniquity of the wily Neapolitan juggler to thine own pure soul. There would have died in the Winkelried the noble of high degree, the reverend priest, the soldier in the pride of his strength, and the mendicant! Death is an uncompromising leveller, and the depths of the lake, at least, might have washed out all our infamy, whether it came of real demerits or merely from received usage; even the luckless Balthazar, the persecuted and hated headsman, might have found those who would have mourned his loss !"
*“ If any could have died unwept in meeting such a fate, it must have been one that, in common, awakes so little of human sympathy; and one too, who, by dealing himself in the woes of others, has less claim to the compassion that we yield to most of our species."
*Spare me—in mercy, Adelheid, spare me-thou speakest of my father!" -Vol. ii. pp. 26-29.
The woeful secret was now out. Sigismund was the son of the villain Balthazar, the executioner of Berne. The horror which this news was calculated to excite, arose from the recollection of the state of the law, well known as it was to every person; for the sanguinary office was entailed by a rigid law on the successor of each existing executioner, and therefore Adelheid saw, as well as her lover, that she stood the chance of having such a functionary for her husband. Sigismund then described that, through the tenderness of his mother, he was conveyed away during infancy, and reported dead, and that, up to that moment, his real name was unknown. The communication of this fearful intelligence was made by Adelheid to her father, who heard it with as much emotion nearly as herself.
In the meantime the festivities of Vevay begin; the baron, his daughter, with Sigismund still in their suite, attend the ceremonies. Before, the sports, however, began on the day of their appearance on the ground, a young couple present themselves before the au. thorities for the purpose of being married. The bridegroom was leading up a lovely young bride before the admiring gaze of thousands, when all of a sudden a dreadful voice was heard from the crowd, “She is the Headsman's daughter!" The scene which followed may be easily conceived; the bridegroom tore off his dress, horror-struck at the intelligence; and the lady is carried off in a swoon. Adelheid, who had her reasons for sympathizing with this unhappy young woman, found her out after the above scene, and engaged her to accompany herself and her father, with Sigis
nund, on their journey to Italy. On the way a snow storm on the Alps stopped their career, and the whole party would have perished were it not for the faithful dogs of the convent of St. Bernard, which happened to be upon their instinctive mission in the mountains. The whole of the party returned under the guidance
of these wonderful creatures, and quickly recovered under the
There are many powerfully written scenes in these volumes, to
Capt. Medwyn revives his recollection of past adventures with a force and felicity highly creditable to his ingenuity and imagination, and Peter Simple is another of the very agreeable yarns with which he takes hold of the public attention. 7.se's
Peter, the historian of his own life, derives his surname from the reputation, which he earned as the junior child of the youngest of the sons of a noble family, of being a fool, a qualification which, as it is deemed particularly useful for the navy, was the cause of his being sent to sea. To Portsmouth he directed his youthful steps to enter the service, and on the evening of his arrival chanced to fall in with some of the knowing middies of the very ship which he was about to join; they soon made up their minds, when they ascertained his destination, how to treat him. They told him the strangest stories of the captain's severity, and such a character did they give the latter, that Peter made up his mind to retrace his steps, and never think of the sea again. A specimen of their humourous sallies will be acceptable to the reader. Peter Simple, having just arrived at the Blue Posts in Portsmouth, finds the room into which he was ushered full of midshipmen, as we have said; being anxious about his chest, he inquired of one of them if he knew when the waggon would come in:
"“Do you expect your mother by it?" replied he.
""O no! but I expect my uniforms—I only wear these bottle-greens
• “And pray what ship are you going to join?"
midshipmen had four dozen a-piece for not having pipe-clayed their weekly accounts on the Saturday?"
""To be sure it is,” replied the other; “why, the captain gave a youngster five dozen the other day for wearing a scarlet watch-ribbon."
* “He's the greatest Tartar in the service," continued the other; "he flogged the whole starboard watch the last time that he was on a cruise, because the ship would only sail nine knots upon a bowline."
"O dear!" said I, “then I'm very sorry that I'm going to join him.”.
*"'Pon my soul I pity you: you'll be fagged to death; for there's only three midshipmen in the ship now all the rest ran away. Didn't they, Robinson?"
""There's only two left now :—for poor Matthews died of fatigue. He was worked all day, and kept watch all night for six weeks, and one morning he was found dead upon his chest.”
*“God bless my soul!" cried I, “and yet, on shore, they say he is such a kind man to his midshipmen."
"“Yes," replied Robinson," he spreads that report every where. - Now, observe, when you first call upon him, and report your having come to join his ship, he'll tell you that he is very happy to see you, and that he hopes your family are well—then he'll recommend you to go on board and learn your duty. After that, stand clear. Now, recollect what I have said, and see if it does not prove true. Come, sit down with us and take a glass of grog, it will keep your spirits up."
The great characteristic feature of this tale is that the simpletonis his own laureate, and he tells his story with all that unaffected gravity, which shows that he is no party whatever to the merry stratagem. We are under the necessity of calling the reader's attention to this peculiarity of the work, inasmuch as it is impossible for us to convey a due notion of the full merits of the work by any description of our own, or by extracts from its pages.
Simple, after joining the ship, finds to his astonishment that the captain was by no means the man that he had been represented; and as Simple was a quiet, unassuming, easy-going member of society, the captain did not hesitate to shew him some fa.your. It happened that the ship was detained in the harbour, in consequence of not having her complement of men, so that a press-gang went ashore every night and scoured the gin-shops, seldom, however, succeeding in obtaining a man that could be found serviceable on examination. Peter, roused by the hope of enjoying some fun accompanied the gang one night; putting on his dirk, he vauntingly says that they might know that he was an officer. About dusk they rowed on shore, and landed on the Gosport side: the men were all armed with cutlasses, and wore pea jackets, which are very short great coats made of what they call Flushing. They did not stop to look at any of the grogshops in the town, as it was too early, but walked out about three miles in the suburbs, and went to a house, the door of which was locked, but they forced it open in a minute, and hastened to enter
passage, where they found the landlady standing to defend the entrance. The passage was long and narrow, and she was a very tall corpulent woman, so that her body nearly filled it up, and in her hands she held a long spit pointed at them, with which she kept them'at bay. The officers, who were the foremost, did not like to attack a woman, and she made such drives at them with her spit, that had they not retreated, some of them would soon have been ready for roasting. The sailors laughed and stood outside, leaving the officers to settle the business how they could. At last, the landlady called out to her husband, “Be they all, out, Jem ?” “Yes," replied the husband, "they be all
Well, then,” replied she, “ I'll soon have all these gone too;" and with these words she made such a rush forward upon
the gang with her spit, that had they not fallen back and tumbled one over another, she certainly would have run it through the second lieutenant, who commanded the party. The passage was cleared in an instant, and as soon as they were all in the street she bolted them out; so there they were, three officers and fifteen armed men, fairly beat off by a fat old woman; the sailors who had been drinking in the house having made their escape to some other place. The gang next proceeded to a grog-shop which was known to be much frequented by merchant sailors, the very prey which they wanted. As they approached, they were assailed by about thirty women, who clawed and thumped the gang; and one of the females had the boldness to take Simple in her arms, crying out, “Let's have this little midshipmite, I vant's a baby to dry nurse. However the crowd drove him back again, and he was ultimately pushed into the house where the gang and the merchant sailors were engaged in a desperate combat. The gang, however, conquered, and took away each his man, leaving Peter in the house, who in poking his way in the dark marched into a room where the landlady locked him up. He got clear, however, the same night by treating his gaolers with some gin, and the dexterous use of a red-hot poker. When he returned to the ship he related the whole of his adventures to the great amusement of his comrades.
This experience, however, was only a foretaste of what poor Peter had afterwards to encounter... Off the town of Cette he accompanied a friend of the name of O'Brien, belonging to the same ship, in a boat for directing an attack on a ship anchored in the harbour. They were both taken prisoners, and poor Simple had the ill-luck to have been wounded in addition. The Colonel, in whose custody they were placed, happened to be a countryman of O'Brien, and he therefore kept them both in his own house, putting his daughter Coeleste, a true French girl, to act as Simple's nurse. Celeste proved more than anurse to the wounded Englishman ; and she and Simple, having set about teaching one another the language, which each did not know, they succeeded in
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bringing about an interchange of a much more friendly nature.' The two prisoners, however, being ordered off to a place of reception for such persons at Toulon, the lovers parted with mutual pledges to write. From Toulon they escape, pass through France in disguise, ultimately arrive at Flushing, from which they are, by great good luck, enabled to return home. O'Brien and Simple soon joined the Sanglier frigate. One of her earliest voyages was to Barbadoes, and here Peter Simple found many subjects exceedingly well worthy of his pen. Simple as he was he was fully a match for the West Indians; and his remarks on their character and manners do not at all coincide with the notions which we are required to hold with respect to his powers of observation. His experience of the islanders enabled him to describe them in the most graphic manner, and he has no sort of fear in speaking of them in terms of the most unaffected con-' tempt. The coloured people he declares to be, for reasonsci which they only know themselves, immoderately proud, and look upon all the negroes who are born on other islands as niggers; they have also an extraordinary idea of their own bravery, although Peter never heard that it has ever been put to the proof. The free Barbadians are, most of them, very rich, and hold up their heads as they walk with an air quite ridiculous. They ape the manners of the Europeans, at the same time that they appear to consider them as almost their inferiors.
He had heard much of the dignity ball, as it is called, which is : given by the most consequential of the coloured people in Barbadoes--and being exceedingly curious to witness one, he heartily rejoiced when an opportunity occurred, whereby he could be present at one. These balls, it seems, are public ones, and the ticket is purchaseable. The officers belonging to the ships in the harbour usually attend them. It so chanced that the governor sent cards to the Sanglier for the officers and midshipmen to attend a ball at his residence on a particular night. The tickets had been scarcely issued when Miss Betsey Austin, a quadroon woman, sent out her cards for the same evening, well knowing that the officers and midshipmen would obtain, what they could not usually procure, permission to go to the governor's ball, and thus they would be enabled to attend her ball, for she knew they would give that the preference. Simple and his friends took advantage of this stratagem, and, having shown their faces at the governor's ball, they betook themselves, at a convenient opportunity, to that of Miss Austin's. We have said that she was a quadroon, and Simple tells us that her large party consisted of a similar class. The quadroons are the progeny of whites and mulattos, and as mulattos are the offspring of a white and negro, and therefore regarded as half and half, so the progeny of a white with a mulatto is considered to be half that again, and hence the quadroon is the fourth proportion of a