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SKETCHES OF TRAVEL,

OR

TITELLE MOVTHS IV EUROPE.

CHAPTER I.

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N undertaking to give some sketches of travel in

Europe, it may be as well to start from New York, although there is hardly anything more monotonous than an ocean trip on a smooth sea; and as we (myself and wife,) had fine weather the most of the way, our passage over was without any remarkable incident. We sailed the 12th of May, 1875, a good time to start, on the Cunard steamship “Scotia," commanded by Captain LEITCH, a first-rate officer. We chose this ship because she has side wheels. The number of passengers did not exceed eighty all strangers to us except Horatio Stone, the sculptor, who was on his way to Rome never to return. He had formerly resided there a considerable length of time, and in reference to our apprehensions of danger in visiting that city, he ridiculed the idea of its being any more sickly there than in any other city. Whether or no he contracted there the disease which carried him off, we are not advised; but, on reaching Geneva. in September, we heard with sorrow that he had died sometime in July or August, at Carrara, the place of fine Italian marble quarries.

Our departure from New York was marked by the

usual crowd and excitement-friends come to bid farewell — the hurrying to and fro between ship and shore- and finally, as our great vessel moved slowly from her moorings, the casting of pennies into the water as a means of appeasing the evil spirits of the deep — the waving of handkerchiefs and other demonstrations of affection—the earnest looking to catch the last view of friends any one who has ever started on such a voyage knows all about this. Byron has truly said:

“ It is an awkward sight
To see one's native land receding through
The growing waters; it unmans one quite,

Especially when lise is rather new.” He means, we imagine, when “life is rather new” in such experiences. A first ocean trip, surely, gives rise to sensations never before felt; but the effect on all persons is not always the same. For ourselves, we are free to admit that we were keenly sensible to the truth of the remarks of Madame de Staël, that “it becomes a much more serious matter to quit one's country, when in going away it is necessary to cross the sea. Everything,” she says, “is solemn in a voyage of which the ocean marks the first steps: it seems that an abyss opens behind you, and that the return may be forever impossible. Moreover, the sight of the sea always makes a profound impression; it is the image of the Infinite which attracts the soul incessantly, and in which, without cessation, the soul appears to lose itself."

If not deadened by nausea, on finding one's self on the broad bosom of the ocean in a fair day, one experiences a feeling of exhilaration not easy to describe; but nausea “unmans one quite,” and any intellectual effort while in that state should be regarded with

lenity, as it no doubt generally is, at least on shipboard. Hence, any little scuib or original poetical esfusion, after the duil monotony of a few days at sea, is quite likely to be received and passed around kindly; and it often serves, too, to open the way to acquaintanceship among the passengers.

We secured some of these trifles which were perpetrated on our ship, and we will venture to reproduce them. In the afternoon of the day of embarkation the sea became rather rough, and it was less agreeable on the following day, which was raw, drizzly, and cold. We were now far out of sight of land, and the only cheerful sight during the day was a little land bird which alighted on one of the yard-arms of the vessel. With somewhat of homesickness and disagreeable premonitions of another kind of malady not more pleasant, it was not surprising that the passengers were touched by the following impromptu lines to our sweet visitor:

Welcome, dear birdie! welcome, I say!
Tell me, dear birdie, com’st thou to stay?
Tidings, what tidings bring’st thou to me,
Of friends, our dear friends, far over the sea?
Backward, fly quickly to where they all dwell,

And tell them you saw us all sailing on well. The next was the following hymn, composed near the end of the week-our sailing day was Wednesday - and it was sung to the tune of “God save the Queen,” as a part of the religious services on Sunday:

Father of Light and Love,
High on Thy throne above,

Give us Thine ear.
All weak and powerless, we,
Thy children on the sea,
Would turn our thoughts to Thee,

And nothing fear.

0, God, in Thee we trust,
In Jesus' bosom must

Our safety be;
Then would we ever rest
Our heads upon His breast
The haven e'er the best,

On land or sea.

O, take us safe to shore,
Thy guidance we implore

From day to day;
To Thee our thanks we bring,
Give us all hearts to sing
The praises of our King,

His will obey. One day, when the ocean was perfectly smooth, we were gratified with the sight of an iceberg of respectable dimensions, covering, say, four or five acres in extent, not over a mile off; and we could just discern several others, not probably as large, in the distance. Whereupon was produced this impromptu

ODE TO AN ICEBERG.
Cold, silent sentinel of the vasty deep,
Self-anchored on the great highway of life-
“ Life on the ocean wave what mean'st thou
By thy stern, stolid look? and in thy rear
let other glaciers, as if in reserve
To serve the purpose of thine own intent.
Cam’st thou in threat’ning guise and day serene
To warn of dangers still ahead at night,
O’ercast by cloud and storm? or standest thou
As mark expressive of all danger past?
Silent and cold thou art, and yet methinks
I do discern in thy more sostened air,
As in review we take our leave of thee,

That thou art really a sentinel of love. There was something in this which seemed to interest the first officer of the ship, for we observed that he procured a copy of it. Such "silent sentinels"

may well be the terror of “all that go down to the sea in ships;" and the wonder is that more vessels are not lost by coming in contact with them in the darkness of night and dense fogs such as one seldom fails to encounter in crossing the Atlantic. There is no doubt that many a ship with all on board is thus suddenly sent to the bottom of the ocean, while the cause of its loss remains forever unknown. It is during such nights when one feels that at any moment he may be engulfed, that he hears at short intervals, in almost breathless silence, the fearful screeching of the steam-whistle and the sound of the bells which are kept ringing as an additional warning to other vessels to keep out of the way. On the other hand, there is a sensation of relief when, late in the night, the sound of the hour-bell strikes the ear, with the cheerful cry of the watchmen, “All's well.” It was in response to this feeling, doubtless, that the following lines were penned, likewise by one of our passengers:

“ALL ’S WELL.”

List to the sound of bells,
As on the air it swells,
And in the darkness tells

The hour of night;
Then hear the watchmen's cry
On lookout to espy
All dangers far and nigh –

That all is right.

The cheering words, “ All's well,”
All nervous fears dispel,
And to our senses tell

That safety reigns.
Then sink we into rest,
Lulled by the foamy crest
Upon the ocean's breast,

In somnous strains.

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