Page images
PDF
EPUB

6

undiminished affection for me, and to inform me that, broken in spirit by the opposition of her parents to a union with me, and their endeavors to effect a 'match of interest with her cousin, her health had gradually declined, until a change of air and scene was deemed essential by her physician. To this her affrighted father - having lost his wife a short time before by consumption - readily consented, and with his daughter, took passage for New Orleans, a few days afterward, in the vessel which met the disastrous fate I have already described.

• While the dying girl was yet speaking, in broken sentences, the masts, which were no longer supported by the rigging, at a deeper roll of the vessel suddenly went by the board, with a tremendous crash. Startled by the noise, she sprang violently up in the cot, while streams of blood gushed from her moạth at the exertion. I used all the remedies that were at hand to stop it, but without effect. She grew weaker every minute, and though at length the discharges became less frequent, her last moment was evidently approaching. 'I am dying !' said she, in a languid voice : my eyes are becoming darkened. I shall see you no more! Press my hand — there, there may heaven bless and preserve you, dear Charles. Oh, my Saviour ! receive my spirit !' And having uttered these words, she sunk back a corpse.

• I cannot describe my feelings at this dreadful bereavement. I tore my hair in agony, and, I believe, raved and blasphemed like a madman. I know little of what passed, from that time until you discovered me; for a settled feeling of despair was brooding over my soul; and I neither sought to preserve my life, nor regarded any thing around me.

'I was about to offer him some words of sympathy,' continued the clerk, ‘when our attention was arrested by the cry of Sail ho!' •Where away?' cried the captain. • Broad off the lee-beam,' was the reply ; and all eyes were turned in that direction. The wind being light, she rapidly neared us ; and when her hull became distinctly visible, my friend, who was gazing intently at her through the spy-glass, suddenly exclaimed, as he dropped it from his eye:

"It's the villanous pirate ; I know her by the new cloths in her fore-sail.'

"She looks suspicious enough,' said the captain ; and if she attacks us, we must only defend ourselves to the last gasp; for, by every thing holy! I shall never yield myself up alive to the murderous wretches. Muster the crew aft, Mr. Tompkins,' he continued, addressing the mate.

* The crew were soon assembled on the quarter-deck, when the captain, pointing to the schooner, said :

"Do you see that craft to leeward, my boys ? She 's a pirate. If we are captured, we shall assuredly be murdered, and if we fight, it 's true, we may be killed ; but then there exists a strong hope of our being successful in beating her off. Which do you choose ? To fight or strike ?'

“To fight !' they cried out, with one accord.

"I thought so, my boys,' said he, rubbing his hands with pleasure ; ‘and depend upon it, I'll stand by you to the last. Give them all &

all of you

glass of grog, steward ; and then to your guns, my hearties. It's my intention to run the villain down, if possible; and there 's a squall rising to windward that may second the attempt. So keep your ears open, and listen attentively for my orders.'

• Our crew went briskly to the guns, and all was ready for action in a short time. Not many minutes had elapsed, when the schooner ranged up under our lee, at some little distance off, and brailed up her fore-sail, as she was forging ahead too rapidly. •Lay your maintopsail to the mast, and send a boat with your skipper aboard of us !' hailed a tall figure, from her quarter deck.

"See you d - d first !' was the polite retort. • Blaze away, men!' and at the word, an iron shower burst forth from our lee guns, and swept, hurtling and hissing, over the deck of the pirate, dealing death and destruction in every direction ; for the men had loaded the guns nearly to their inuzzles with every missile they could lay their hands upon. It was manifest that the reception they had received was wholly unexpected on the part of the pirates; and that our volley had thrown them into complete confusion, as the discharge from their long gun did us no injury, and their fire of musketry was irregularly maintained, and badly aimed. “Now is your time, my boys !' exclaimed the captain ; ‘our smoke has blinded their eyes; and here comes the squall. Jump over to windward, some of you, and round in the weather-braces. Hurry, men - hurry! Hard a-weather the helm — for life, hard a-weather! Belay the braces ! Forward, men —

and cut down every soul who attempts to board! Show the dogs no mercy!'

• My friend had been leaning, cutlass in hand, against the main rigging, while these scenes were transpiring, eyeing the schooner with a frowning brow, and apparently husbanding his forces for a more favorable opportunity. The squall came rattling down upon us, and the brig, falling off from the wind, in obedience to the helm, and impelled by the increasing blast, darted forward with redoubled speed, like a courser from the spur. The pirate, perceiving our intention, endeavored to haul his fore-sheet ast, but it was too late. Onward we came, with the speed of light — the waters flashing and foaming under our bows, and the masts bending like reeds. With a startling shock, the brig struck the schooner just abaft the foreshrouds, and cut her down instantly to the waters' edge, while she heeled so far over at the blow, that the sea rushed in torrents down her hatches. Sinking rapidly, and still pressed forward by the brig, her fore mast gave way, and her stern swinging round, she lay for a moment side and side with us. Her horror-stricken crew now endeavored to board, but were all cut down in the attempt, in spite of their craven cries for quarter.

' At this moment, my eyes were turned in search of my friend. He had mounted tlfe rail, and was in the act of springing on board the schooner. I rushed forward to prevent the deed, but arrived, only in time to see him alight full on the shoulders of the pirate-captain, whom he bore down before him to the deck. With looks of the most deadly hate and revenge, they grappled each other. Just then the schooner swung clear of us, and with a heavy plunge went down head foremost, carrying with her both the avenger and his victim, who, till the waters closed over them, continued their fierce struggles, and sunk at length, locked in each other's arms.'

• Mr. Tackle!' said the officer of the deck, popping his head above the break of the forecastle, what! sitting down in your watch? I am ashamed of you, Sir. I have hailed the forecastle three several times, and yet could get no answer. I really thought all bands forward had tumbled overboard. If this should occur again, I will send you below.'

• Smith,' said Tackle to the look-out, when the officer had gone, I thought I told you to keep an eye aft?

* That's true, Sir,' replied he, touching his hat, respectfully ; but I got so taken up by the story of the poor young lady, that I forgot all about it, Sir.'

W. J. P.

[blocks in formation]

PEDEOLOGY.

FIAT JUSTITIA RUAT COLUM.'

To the Editors of the Knickerbocker :

GENTLEMEN : Feeling himself seriously aggrieved, the undersigned takes the liberty of addressing you, and asking justice at your hands.

The important, interesting, and novel science of Pedeology was first introduced to the attention of the public about eighteen months ago, by the undersigned, who has since been explaining its principles in different parts of the country, with great success, and to its doctrines he has made innumerable converts

. Knowing himself to be the discoverer of this new science, it was with no little surprise that he read in your magazine for February, an article over the signature of. M. H.,' in which the writer claims to be the original discoverer, and is thus endeavoring to rob the true author of the fame he has been at so much pains to establish.

With much self-satisfaction your correspondent exclaims, 'I too am a discoverer!' But what has he discovered? I answer, that which had been discovered before ; a science which had been familiarly explained to wondering thousands, and which had been publicly announced, not only in the newspapers of the west, but in your own city. He must have been aware of these facts, and yet he has the effrontery to announce himself as the discoverer and founder of the science of pedeology, in the face of the rightful claims of another. But it has been the fate of genius to be trampled upon by impudence, and impudence has often accomplished what has been denied to modest merit

. The undersigned trusts, however, that his countrymen will do him justice, and not permit an empiric to filch from him his laurels, and usurp a title to which he has not the shadow of legitimate claim.

Expanded as is the intellect of man, and powerful as are his reasoning faculties, still he cannot instinctively know all that appertains to the works of nature, or the operations of the mind; he cannot know the mode of action, or the final destination of the immortal part of

His unassisted reason can comprehend but few things in nature. Hence the Supreme Being has kindly raised up philosophers, in different ages of the world, whose superior genius has enabled them to draw aside the veil which conceals the mysteries of nature, make important discoveries in science, and proclaim principles for the more complete and profound elucidation of the wonderful works of creation, continually presented to their view, and which, without their aid, would be forever concealed from the knowledge of mankind. For such purposes, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Pythagoras, and a host of others, appeared in the old world, and Bacon, Newton, Locke, Descartes, La Place, and, though last not least, myself, in modern times. This

may
sound like egotism to some ears;

but

egotism is pardonable, when a man is about to be robbed of the honor of a discovery, the result of a long and profound study, and which is destined to affect all future ages. Even to the charge of egotism I may plead justification, on another score — that of following the example of men better known to fame.

man.

Your correspondent, although he claims to be the discoverer of the science of pedeology, is manifestly ignorant of its fundamental principles, or he would never have placed the most important organs on the heel. He has shown conclusively, that instead of being at the head of his profession, he is himself at the heel. He has probably read some of my former publications, in which I threw out some hints, and he has thus obtained a smattering of the science; but he has been unable to comprehend its extent, or its value in ameliorating the moral condition, and exalting the intellectual character of man. Pedeology, gentlemen, is a most noble science, unfolding in its progress most astonishing discoveries, which it would take a volume to display. It is not, like some sciences, limited in its sphere of action, but is capable of embracing every people and every nation; and every rank and profession, grade and order of society, would derive important benefits from its study. It concerns the most important functions of man's nature, and involves considerations connected with his present and future welfare. It concerns the manifestations of his physical powers, as exhibited in the connection of one of the most useful members of the human body with the seat of thought; the development of his intellectual faculties, and his animal propensities and passions — subjects of deep interest to man during his brief sojourn in this.vale of tears' — all which are explained, according to the sound principles of inductive philosophy. An accurate acquaintance with the principles of this science better fits man for the discharge of his duties to his Creator and to his fellow men, than any other system of philosophy that has been proposed for his consideration, either in ancient or modern times.

The term pedeology, as applied to the new science, is compounded of the Latin word pede, signifying, in the vulgar tongue, the feet, and the Greek word logos, a discourse, meaning a discourse on the feet. I am thus particular in explaining the derivation of the word, for the benefit of your unlearned readers, and defy any of the disciples of Horne Tooke, Noah Webster, or the most skilful philologist of the age, to compound a word more expressive. The term phrenology, applied to a boasted science of itinerant lecturers and scientific quacks, is not so skilfully compounded, because it is not so expressive. Phrenology indicates a discourse on the mind, whereas, according to the aforesaid itinerants, one of the leading objects of the science is to infer the intellectual powers, feelings, and propensities of man, from the bumps on the cranium, which bumps, as can be readily proved, have no connexion whatever with the operations of the mind. Hence, phrenology is a misnomer. Bumpology would be a term much more applicable. I admit, as has been observed, that there is a remarkable coincidence between my own name and that of the science. It was, in fact, the peculiarity of my name, (for which I am indebted to my ancestors,) that first led me to reflect upon

the connection between the feet and the brain, and in my own person I first made the discovery.

It is an ancient doctrine, that the mind and body exert a mutual influence, each upon the other ; that they are so closely united, that nothing but death can separate them. Upon this foundation rested the most celebrated systems of ancient philosophy; upon this founda

48

VOL. IX.

« PreviousContinue »