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destruction to all on board, it does inspire confidence to see that there is even in the minutest things a strong and steady system, that goes on without saying “ by your leave.” Even the rigidness with which lights are all extinguished at twelve o'clock, though it is very hard in some cases, still gives you confidence in the watchfulness and care with which all on board is conducted.
On Sunday there was a service. We went into the cabin, and saw prayer books arranged at regular intervals, and soon a procession of the sailors neatly dressed filed in and took their places, together with such passengers as felt disposed, and the order of morning prayer was read. The sailors all looked serious and attentive. I could not but think that this feature of the management of her majesty's ships was a good one, and worthy of imitation. To be sure, one can say it is only a form. Granted; but is not a serious, respectful form of religion better than nothing ? Besides, I am not willing to think that these intelligent-looking sailors could listen to all those devout sentiments expressed in the prayers, and the holy truths embodied in the passages of Scripture, and not gain something from it. It is bad to have only the form of religion, but not so bad as to have neither the form nor the fact.
When the ship has been out about eight days, an evident bettering of spirits and condition obtains among the passengers. Many of the sick ones take heart, and appear again among the walks and ways of men; the ladies assemble in little knots, and talk of getting on shore. The more knowing ones, who have travelled before, embrace this opportunity to show their knowledge of life by telling the new hands all sorts of hobgoblin stories about the custom house officers and the difficulties of getting landed in England. It is a curious fact, that old travellers generally seem to take this particular delight in striking consternation into younger ones.
“You'll have all your daguerreotypes taken away," says one lady, who, in right of having crossed the ocean nine times, is entitled to speak ex cathedra on the subject.
“All our daguerreotypes !” shriek four or five at once. “Pray tell, what for?”
“ They will do it,” says the knowing lady, with an awful nod; “unless you hide them and all your books, they'll burn up
“ Burn our books !” exclaim the circle. “O, dreadful! What do they do that for?”
“They're very particular always to burn up all your books. . I knew a lady who had a dozen burned,” says the wise one.
“ Dear me! will they take our dresses ? ” says a young lady, with increasing alarm. “No, but they'll pull every thing out, ard tumble them
I can tell you." “How horrid !”
An old lady, who has been very sick all the way, is revived by this appalling intelligence.
“I hope they won't tumble over my caps !” she exclaims.
“ Yes, they will have every thing out on deck,” says the lady, delighted with the increasing sensation. “I tell you you don't know these custom house officers."
66 It's too bad!” " It's dreadful!” “How horrid !” exclaim all.
“I shall put my best things in my pocket,” exclaims one. “ They don't search our pockets, do they?”
“Well, no, not here; but I tell you they'll search your pockets at Antwerp and Brussels," says the lady.
Somebody catches the sound, and flies off into the state rooms with the intelligence that “the custom house officers are so dreadful
they rip open your trunks, pull out all your things, burn your books, take away your daguerreotypes, and even search your pockets ;” and a row of groans is heard ascending from the row of state rooms, as all begin to revolve what they have in their trunks, and what they are to do in this emergency.
“ Pray tell me,” said I to a gentlemanly man, who had crossed four or five times, “is there really so much annoyance at the custom house?”
" Annoyance, ma'am ? No, not the slightest.”
“But do they really turn out the contents of the trunks, and take away people's daguerreotypes, and burn their books?”
“Nothing of the kind, ma'am. I apprehend no difficulty. I never had any. There are a few articles on which duty is charged. I have a case of cigars, for instance; I shall show them to the custom house officer, and pay the duty. If a person seems disposed to be fair, there is no difficulty. The examination of ladies' trunks is merely nominal ; nothing is deranged.”
So it proved. We arrived on Sunday morning; the custom house officers, very gentlemanly men, came on board; our luggage was all set out, and passed through a rapid examination, which in many cases amounted only to opening the trunk and shutting it, and all was over. The whole ceremony did not occupy two hours.
So ends this letter. You shall hear further how we landed at some future time.
It was on Sunday morning that we first came in sight of land. The day was one of a thousand - clear, calm, and bright. It is one of those strange, throbbing feelings, that come only once in a while in life; this waking up to find an ocean crossed and long-lost land restored again in another hemisphere; something like what we should suppose might be the thrill of awakening from life to immortality, and all the wonders of the world unknown. That low, green line of land in the horizon is Ireland ; and we, with water smooth as a lake and sails furled, are running within a mile of the shore. Every body on deck, full of spirits and expectation, busy as can be looking through spyglasses, and exclaiming at every object on shore,
“Look! there's Skibareen, where the worst of the famine was,” says one.
“Look! that's a ruined Martello tower,” says another. We
e new voyagers, who had never seen any ruin more imposing than that of a cow house, and, of course, were ravenous for old towers, were now quite wide awake, but were disappointed to learn that these were only custom house rendezvous. Here is the county of Cork. Some one calls out,
“ There is O'Connell's house ;” and a warm dispute ensues whether a large mansion, with a stone chapel by it, answers to that name. At all events the region looks desolate enough, and they say the natires of it are almost savages. A passen
ger remarks, that “ O'Connell never really did any thing for the Irish, but lived on his capacity for exciting their enthusiasm." Thereupon another expresses great contempt for the Irish who could be so taken in. Nevertheless, the capability of a disinterested enthusiasm is, on the whole, a nobler property of a human being than a shrewd self-interest. I like the Irish all the better for it.
Now we pass Kinsale lighthouse ; there is the spot where the Albion was wrecked. It is a bare, frowning cliff, with walls of rock rising perpendicularly out of the sea. Now, to be sure, the sea smiles and sparkles around the base of it, as gently as if it never could storm; yet under other skies, and with a fierce south-east wind, how the waves would pour in here! Woe then to the distressed and rudderless vessel that drifts towards those fatal rocks! This gives the outmost and boldest view of the point.
The Albion struck just round the left of the point, where the rock rises perpendicularly out of the sea. I well remember, when a child, of the newspapers being filled with the dreadful story of the wreck of the ship Albion - how for hours, rudderless and helpless, they saw themselves driving with inevitable certainty against these pitiless rocks; and how, in the last struggle, one human being after another was dashed against them in helpless agony.