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10 » CONDUCT OF FRENCH EMIGRANTS. — THEIR GRATITUDE.
Chap. rippling of the light wave against the head and sides of the 11' vessel, and by the whistling of the helmsman, who, with the helm between his knees, and his arms crossed, alternately watching the compass and the sail, thus invoked the presence of the
Leaving him, and some few of our unfortunate comrades, to whom the motion of the sea was more novel than gratifying, we descended into the steerage, (for our births in the cabin were completely occupied by females). As we were going down the ladder, the appearance of so many recumbent persons, faintly distinguishable by the light of a solitary taper, reminded us of a floating catacomb; here, crawling under a cot which contained two very corpulent priests, upon a spare cable, wrapt up in our own great coats, we resigned ourselves to rest.
The next day, without having made much progress in our little voyage, we arose, and assembled round the companion, which formed our breakfast table; at dinner, we were enabled to spread a handsome table of refreshments, to which we invited all our fellow passengers who were capable of partaking of them, many of whom were preparing to take their scanty meal, removed from us at the head of the vessel. For this little act of common civility, we were afterwards abundantly repaid, by the thankfulness of all, and the serviceable attentions of some of our charming guests, when we landed; an instance of which I shall afterwards have occasion to mention. The wind slackened during the day, but in the evening it blew rather fresh, and about nine o'clock the next morning, after a night passed something in the same way as the former, we were awakened
by MAKE THE PORT OF HAVRE. PANIC OF THE EMIGRANTS. II
being informed that we were withift in a league of Havre; news Chap. by no means disagreeable, after the dead dulness of a sea calm. n'
The appearance of the coast was high, rugged, and rocky; to use a good marine expression, it looked ironbound all along shore. To the east, upon an elevated point of land, are two noble light houses, of very beautiful construction, which I shall have occasion to describe hereafter.
At some little distance, we saw considerable flights of wild ducks. The town and bason lie round the high western point from the lights, below which there is a fine pebbled beach. The quays are to the right and left within the pier, upon the latter of which there is a small round tower. It was not the intention of our packet captain to go within the pier, for the purpose of saving the port-anchorage dues, which amount to eight pounds sterling, but a government boat came off, and ordered the vessel to hawl close up to the quay, an order which was given in rather a peremptory manner. Upon our turning the pier, we saw as we warped up to the quay, an immense motley crowd, flocking down to view us. A panic ran throughout our poor fellow passengers. From the noise and confusion on shore, they expected that some recent revolution had occurred, and that they were upon the point of experiencing all the calamities, which they had before fled from; they looked pale and agitated upon each other, like a timid and terrified flock of sheep, when suddenly approached by their natural enemy the wolf. It turned out, however, that mere curiosity, excited by the display of english colours, had assembled this formidable rabble,
c 2 and
Chap, and:that the order which we received from the government u' boat, was given for the purpose of compelling the captain to incur, and consequently to pay, the anchorage due9. In a moment we were beset by a parcel of men and boys,, half naked, and in;•wooden shoes* who hallooing and " sacre ." dieuing" each other most unmercifully, began, without further ceremony, to seize upon every trunk within their reacli; which they threw into their boats lying alongside.
By a well-timed rap upon the knuckles of one of these marine functionaries, we prevented our luggage from sharing the same fate. It turned out, that there was a competition, for carrying our trunks on shore, for the sake of an immodelatse premium, which they expected to receive, and which occasioned our being assailed in this violent manner. Our fellow-passengers were obliged to go on shore with these vociferous watermen, who had the impudence and inhumanity to charge them two livres each,, for conveying them to the landing steps, a short distance of about fifty yards. Upon their landing, we were, much pleased to observe that the people offered them neither violence nor insult. They were received with a sullen silence, and a lane was made for them to pass into the town. The poor old clergyman who had survived the passage, was left on board, in the care of two benevolent persons, until be could be safely and comfortably conveyed on shore. We soon afterwards followed our fellow-passengers in the captain's boat, by which plan we afforded these extortioners a piece of salutary information, very necessary to be made known to thejm, that although we were englisb* we were not to be imposed LANDING DESCRIBED. H
posed upon. I could not help thinking it rather unworthy of Chap. our neighbours to exact from us such heavy port dues, when our english demands of a similar nature, are so very trifling. Tor such an import, a vessel of the republic, upon its arrival in any of the english ports, would only pay a few shillings. Perhaps this difference will be equalized in some shape, by the impending commercial treaty, otherwise, a considerable partial advantage will accrue to the french from their passage packets. Upon our landing, and entering the streets, I was a little struck with the appearance of the Women, who were habited in a coarse red camlet jacket, with a high apron before, long flying lappets to their caps, and were mounted upon large heavy wooden shoes, upon each of which a worsted tuft was fixed, in rude imitation of a rose. The appearance and clatter of these sabots, as they are called, leave upon the mind an impression of extreme poverty and wretchedness.
They are, however, more favoured than the lower order of females in Scotland. Upon a brisk sprightly chambermaid entering my room one day at an inn in Glasgow, I heard a sound which resembled the pattering of some web-footed bird, when in the act of climbing up the miry side of a pond. I looked down upon the feet of this bonny lassie, and found that their only covering was procured from the mud of the high street—adieu! to the tender eulogies of the pastoral reed! I have never thought of a shepherdess since with pleasure.
1 could not help observing the ease, dexterity, and swiftness, with which a single man conveyed all our luggage, which
Chap• our way through them into a very handsome antiroom, n* and thence, by a little further perseverance, into an inner room, where the mayor and his officers were seated at a large table covered with green cloth. To show what reliance is to be placed upon the communications of english newspapers, I shall mention the following circumstance: my companion had left England, without a passport, owing to the repeated assurances of both the ministerial and opposition prints, and also of a person high in administration, that none were necessary;1
The first question propounded to us by the secretary was, "citizens, where are your passports?" I had furnished myself with one; but upon hearing this question, I was determined not to produce it, from an apprehension that I should cover my friend, who had none, with suspicion, so we answered, that in. England they were not required of frenchmen, and that we had left our country with official assurances that they • would not be demanded of us here.
They replied to us, by reading'a decree, which rigorously required them of foreigners, entering upon the territories of the republic, and they assured us, that this regulation was at that moment reciprocal with every other power, and with England in particular. The decree of course closed the •argument. We next addressed ourselves to their politeness (forgetting that the revolution had made sad inroads upon it) and requested them, as we had been misled, and had no other views of visiting the country, but those of pleasure, and improvement, that they would be pleased to grant us our passports