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SINGULAR PASSAGE OF MR. TYERMAN'S EARLY LIFE.
again I resisted it, and resolved to meet my companions in the afternoon. I was about to rise, but while I mused I fell asleep again, and dreamed. I thought myself in a certain place, whither divine Providence often led me at that season of my life. Here a gentleman called me to him, saying, that he had a letter for me, which I went to receive from his hand. When I reached him, he had opened the enclosure and appeared to be reading the contents. I imagined then that I looked over his shoulder, and perceived that the letter was closely written, but a pen had been drawn through every line, and had obliterated all the words. Wondering what this could mean, I was going to take hold of the letter, when a large black seal presented itself to my sight, and so startled me that forthwith I awoke, with this sentence upon my mind, • You shall not go ! Though I had never been in any way superstitious regarding dreams, this affected me, and the words • You shall not go,' seemed so perpetually sounding in my ears, and haunting my imagination, that I determined to be obedient and not go; persuaded that some evil would befal me if I did. I spent that day and the two following in great anguish and anxiety, expecting hourly to hear something that would explain this singular presentiment.
No tidings, however, arrived till Tuesday morning, when I read in a newspaper the following paragraph. •Last Sunday, in the afternoon, as a boat, with four young gentlemen, a waterman, and a boy, belonging to Mr. — of Wapping, was coming up the river, in Bugsby's hole, a little below Blackwall, a gust of wind upset the boat, and all on board perished. That was the identical boat on which I
which I was to have embarked. I could
LONG-FOOTED SWELLS OF THE OCEAN.
scarcely believe my eyes; I read the paragraph again and again.
There it was, and there it remained, speaking the same words. I cannot express the horror and consternation of my mind. I was constrained to exclaim, “This is the finger of God! Who am I, that God should in so wonderful a manner interpose for my deliverance ? What a warning against Sabbath-breaking! What a call to devote myself to the Lord and his service !' - A warning which I took, and a call which I humbly hope I was thenceforward enabled to obey: •For God speaketh once, yea twice; yet man perceiveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon man, in slumberings upon the bed; then He openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction, that He may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man. He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing.'” Job xxxiii. 14, 18.
July 31. Our course has been W. S. W. with little interruption. At noon we were about 105 miles short of the meridian of Cape Horn. The captain prognosticated that we should soon have some genuine Cape Horn weather. This he inferred from the aspect of the sky, and the heaving of the ocean, continually on the increase, though the breeze was inconsiderable.
Every swell of the waves seemed a mile in extent, having what the sailors call a long foot; that is, the sea rose and fell gradually and majestically, not shortly and abruptly, as we have generally observed to be the case, especially in the Bay of Biscay. These long-footed swells are almost peculiar here, and would seem to have been appointed by Providence, (in that merciful economy which forgets not to care for man,
DOUBLING CAPE HORN.
where he most seldom ventures,) to render these seas navigable, which, according to our captain, they would not be in fresh weather, were the waves as precipitous, and liable to break suddenly, as they are in most parts. To-day we have had the first heavy fall of snow.
Aug. 1. Having reached a southern latitude, 69°, 30', sufficiently high for doubling Cape Horn, and being in the longitude of the latter, we wore ship, and took a northern course to avoid meeting icebergs in the night, which are not unfrequent here. We escaped'; indeed, we
saw none, though the snow-birds, which roost upon them, were our visitors. By doubling Cape Horn is meant, not merely passing that point of land, but sailing quite round the other side of the extreme peninsular projection of South America, into the Pacific Ocean.
Aug. 4. At noon we reached W. long. 75°, five degrees further on our way since this time yesterday.
Aug. 5. We began to shape our course in a W. N. W. direction, to obtain the advantage of the trade winds, when we reach their region. The captain and crew daily express their surprise at the unwonted continuance of that propitious weather which has hitherto brought us safely through the very realm of tempests, where Anson, Byron, and other navigators, suffered so much. We had public worship in the cabin today, when Mr. Tyerman preached from the peculiarly appropriate text, Isa. xxxii. 2: “A man shall be as an hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest." The sacrament of the Lord's supper was afterwards administered to our little church, and we can say, of a truth, God was with us.
Aug. 7. A sailor being aloft, eight or nine feet above
the leeward shrouds, his foot slipped, and he fell over the rail into the clue, or lower corner of the mainsail, which was stretched a little above the leeward bulwark. The captain, having seen his first slip, ran to help him, and providentially caught the poor fellow, just as he was sliding off from the sail into the water. Had he not been rescued that moment, he must have been drowned, for the ship was going at great speed, and the boats were lashed upon the deck. Happily he received no serious harm. The same man had fallen from the deck into the hold of the vessel, in the London Dock, before she sailed; and then had as narrow an escape from death, though with a severe contusion on the head.
Sailors are proverbially superstitious. This escape of their comrade occasioned much conversation among the crew, and sundry stories were told, which, though awful enough at sea, may appear puerile on land. Two of these (for the sake of exemplifying the only fears that seamen feel, and the groundlessness of them,) we shall
Our chief mate said, that on board of a ship where he had served, the mate. on duty ordered some of the youths to reef the main-top-sail. When the first got up, he heard a strange voice saying, “It blows hard.” The lad waited for no more; he was down in a trice, and telling his adventure. A second immediately ascended, laughing at the folly of his companion, but returned even more quickly, declaring that he was quite sure that a voice, not of this world, had cried in his ear, “It blows hard." Another went, and another, but each came back with the same tale. At length the mate, having sent up the whole watch, ran up the shrouds himself, and, when he reached the haunted spot, heard the dreadful words distinctly uttered
SUPERSTITION OF SAILORS.
in his ears,
one; but, blow it ever so hard, we must ease the earings for all that,” replied the mate undauntedly; and looking round, he spied a fine parrot perched on one of the clues, the thoughtless author of all the false alarms, which had probably escaped from some other vessel, but had not previously been discovered to have taken refuge on this. Another of our officers mentioned, that, on one of his voyages, he remembered a boy having been sent up to clear a rope which had got foul above the mizen-top. Presently, however, he came back, trembling, and almost tumbling to the bottom, declaring that he had seen “Old Davy,” aft the cross-trees; moreover, that the Evil One had a huge head and face, with prick-ears, and eyes as bright as fire. Two or three others were sent up
in succession; to all of whom the apparition glared forth, and was identified by each to be “ Old Davy, sure enough.” The mate, in a rage, at length mounted himself; when resolutely, as in the former case, searching for the bugbear, he soon ascertained the innocent cause of so much terror to be a large horned owl, so lodged as to be out of sight to those who ascended on the other side of the vessel, but which, when any one approached the crosstrees, popped up his portentous visage to see what was coming. The mate brought him down in triumph, and “ Old Davy," the owl, became a very peaceable ship-mate among
who were no longer scared by his horns and eyes; for sailors turn their backs on nothing when they know what it is. Had the birds, in these two instances, departed as secretly as they came, of course they would have been deemed supernatural visitants to the respective ships, by all who had heard the one or seen the other.