The M―sky family were still on the downward path at the

Nature Difficult to Move Networkyear2023-11-30 19:38:51 39216 5

As my readers are now acquainted with the varied bill of fare in such a ship, I will say a few words of the table-linen. This consisted only of an old sailcloth, which was spread over the table, and looked so dirty and greasy that I thought it would be much better and more agreeable to leave the table uncovered. But I soon repented the unwise thought, and discovered how important this cloth was. One morning I saw our valet treating a piece of sailcloth quite outrageously: he had spread it upon the deck, stood upon it, and brushed it clean with the ship's broom. I recognised our tablecloth by the many spots of dirt and grease, and in the evening found the table bare. But what was the consequence? Scarcely had the tea-pot been placed on the table than it began to slip off; had not the watchful captain quickly caught it, it would have fallen to the ground and bathed our feet with its contents. Nothing could stand on the polished table, and I sincerely pitied the captain that he had not another tablecloth.

The M―sky family were still on the downward path at the

My readers will imagine that what I have described would have been quite sufficient to make my stay in the vessel any thing but agreeable; but I discovered another circumstance, which even made it alarming. This was nothing less than that our little vessel was constantly letting in a considerable quantity of water, which had to be pumped out every few hours. The captain tried to allay my uneasiness by asserting that every ship admitted water, and ours only leaked a little more because it was so old. I was obliged to be content with his explanation, as it was now too late to think of a change. Fortunately we did not meet with any storms, and therefore incurred less danger.

The M―sky family were still on the downward path at the

Our journey lasted twenty days, during twelve of which we saw no land; the wind drove us too far east to see the Feroe or the Shetland Isles. I should have cared less for this, had I seen some of the monsters of the deep instead, but we met with scarcely any of these amiable animals. I saw the ray of water which a whale emitted from his nostrils, and which exactly resembled a fountain; the animal itself was unfortunately too far from our ship for us to see its body. A shark came a little nearer; it swam round our vessel for a few moments, so that I could easily look at him: it must have been from sixteen to eighteen feet long.

The M―sky family were still on the downward path at the

The so-called flying-fish afforded a pretty sight. The sea was as calm as a mirror, the evening mild and moonlight; and so we remained on deck till late, watching the gambols of these animals. As far as we could see, the water was covered with them. We could recognise the younger fishes by their higher springs; they seemed to be three to four feet long, and rose five to six feet above the surface of the sea. Their leaping looked like an attempt at flying, but their gills did not do them good service in the trial, and they fell back immediately. The old fish did not seem to have the same elasticity; they only described a small arch like the dolphins, and only rose so far above the water that we could see the middle part of their body.

These fish are not caught; they have little oil, and an unpleasant taste.

On the thirteenth day we again saw land. We had entered the Skagerrak, and saw the peninsula of Jutland, with the town of Skaggen. The peninsula looks very dreary from this side; it is flat and covered with sand.

On the sixteenth day we entered the Cattegat. For some time past we had always either been becalmed or had had contrary winds, and had been tossed about in the Skagerrak, the Cattegat, and the Sound for nearly a week. On some days we scarcely made fifteen to twenty leagues a day. On such calm days I passed the time with fishing; but the fish were wise enough not to bite my hook. I was daily anticipating a dinner of mackerel, but caught only one.

The multitude of vessels sailing into the Cattegat afforded me more amusement; I counted above seventy. The nearer we approached the entrance of the Sound, the more imposing was the sight, and the more closely were the vessels crowded together. Fortunately we were favoured by a bright moonlight; in a dark or stormy night we should not with the greatest precaution and skill have been able to avoid a collision.



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