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THE SHIPWRIGHT'S YARD.
CRABBE's Borough, Letter I. THERE was always something that which it may be their hap tn tratook my fancy, even from my child. verse; the strange, and to landsmen hood, in a shipwright's yard. It is a almost unimaginable, disasters which combination of picturesque materials, they may be destined to encounter ; a and I am a dear lover of the graphic thought also is likely to arise of the art. It is a busy cheerful scene, and singular life of seamen--never a day so much of the valetudinarian has al- hardly in the same spot of the globe, ways hung about me, that objects from and yet always cooped up in the same without, capable of enlivening the spi- narrow dwelling-rovers, yet always rits, have never been unwelcome. It at home-visitors of the whole world, is generally a healthy spot; for, when and yet never out of their own microther the effluvia of boiling pitch have cosm--surely, if we chew the cud upor have not the anti-hectic properties on these topics, here is full occupation which have been attributed to it, yet, for a vacant half hour or so, and no at least, it acts as a corrective of many unpleasing vehicle for the spirit's worse sorts of aroma, which float a shorter excursions ; round the outlets of every town; and " -while fancy, like the finger of a at all events the detergent tide washes clock, the base of the yard at its regular pe- Runs the great circuit, and is still at home." riodical visit, twice every day, bring- And I, too, may as well return more ing with it that delightful feeling of immediately to the subject before me. freshness which so peculiarly belongs The yard with which I have been to every portion of the ocean. It is most familiar is a comparatively small an eligible place for resting at the one, on the southern coast of Hampend of a walk, since a seat is al- shire, and planted at the foot of a boways at hand within its circuit,-rough town, which is built beside an block of wood, an old windlass, the inlet from the sea. Its inost magnifie heel of a piece of timber, a prostrate cent effort has never aimed at more mast or spar, a boat past service, and than the construction of a brig for the now turned upside down, or any other coal trade ; and even the building of a of a long list of sea-side et cetera. It ship of this size has always been an is, too, a fit and fertile station, in uncommon occurrence in this unamwhich one may indulge one's musing bitious establishment. Sloops, cutters, mood; the things which present them- yachts, and other one-masted vessels selves are capable of supplying matter are the more usual occupants of the for thinking down hours to moments, stocks, where they “rise like exhalaa if be who sits there have but “the tions from the formal heaps of planks vision and the faculty divine,” and be and beams which are piled around the also in the cue for bringing them into premises ; while an undergrowth of play. What more pregnant hint for re- boats is continually going forward in Aection, than those inhabitants of the the less ostentatious parts of the yard, sea, mamufactured from the produce of from the slim fish-like wherry down our feudal forests, and which
are herein to the shapeless punt with 'neither embryo ? The sight of them suggests head nor stern. Indeed, our estuary the far-off countries, the lone and long itself admits not of the larger kinds of stretching coasts, the wide watery wil, shippingdernesses, the uncouth nations and
-these are the craft our humble river languages, which those as
gay crea- shows, tures of the element" may visit, the Hoys, pinks, and sloops, brigs, brigantines, perilous path in the great waters" and snows.
This is the unpretending spot I speak of youthful feelings, after be mean to lead you to--not but that a ing almost in despair of reaching it, similar concern of a far loftier kind is' and quite weary of seeing oåk after oak 15 easily within reach, where many a 80- : fringing the broad green-sward, which vereign of the sea has heretofore oc- is so amply conceded on either handel het cupied its cradle. "The establishment of the public roads made in the neighat ** adverted to lies on a small river, intor: bourhood of our royal forests. A crowd ljet which the salt water flows far up to- was there before our arrival. Thebustler * wards a village called Beaulieu. If of preparation shewed that something you should be tempted to go beyond was going forward. The noise of the the station of ship-building, and visit mallet and the axe rose above the human this village, the reality will not disap- of the throng. The glorious spectacle, point the anticipation which rises at which was the cause of our visit, towersuch a name as Beaulieu, given, doubt, ed in solemn grandeur over all the less, while Norman-French was the inferior enticements for curiosity, and language of the land, for it is a place was now right before us. The soft > of antiquity. It is seated where the flowing tide was watched with mucha river curves and spreads into a bay- anxiety; and the moment duly came = 1 oaken coverts feather down to the wa, at which it rose to its appointed height= ter's edge-relics of an abbey are on Then was the instant of intensest iner? the bank--the prior's house is still terest. At the first suspicion that theit habita and still retains its monas, massive fabric was believed to move, la tic look of seclusion : for walls heavi- the hush was simultaneous. But it is ly loaded with ivy still girdle it in; as well for me not to attempt to exant and the visitor is stilladmitted through press the sensations of those few seat a cautious-looking postern in a vener- conds, while the paragraphs of Mon able outer lodge.A mile or more Campbell, in which he speaks of wits down the water is Bucklershard, and nessing “ the spectacle of the launchwhenever a launch took place there, ing of a ship-of-the-line," are within the place was a focus of attraction for my reach. "Of that spectacle, I never miles around, and the day a noticeable can forget the impression. When the one with those to whom sights were vast bulwark sprang from her cradle, w dear.
the calm water, on which she swung Four or five of our largest men-of- majestically round, gave the imagina- io war have I seen taking their first steps tion a contrast of the stormy element, upon the waters from that spot. Our on which she was soon to ride. All the journey to the scene of action was of days of battle and nights of danger she is some eight miles' length; and was, had to encounter-all the ends of the perhaps, not the least delightful part earth which she had to visit and all of the day's recreation; although it that she had to do and suffer for her may very
well have happened, that the country, rose in awful presentiment me eagerness of boyish impatience did not before my mind; and when the heart reckon it at all in the account. The gave her a benediction, it was like one way lay along the skirts of the New pronounced upon a living being." Forest; and, throughout, we were Those, however, were the sights of within view of the Solent Sea, as the a few high-days and holidays, remem channel which divides the isle of Wight berable as epochs in one's mind, likes from the main land was formerly victory, a bridal, or a birth. It is not called. Spithead, and the Mother- very likely that any of us should see bank near Portsmouth, gleamed, in the many more launches of line-of-battlepearly distance to the east, a thousand ships; and I am past the age when the times the rendezvous for our fleets sight would strike with the force it did before they have gone forth to battle. upon the youngling imagination. The After two-thirds of our drive were war is over, and the first
start of a new accomplished, we passed St Leonard's national bulwark of heart-of-oak, must
-the ruined grange of Beaulieu Ab- be, under present circumstances, a rare bey—in which just enough of the fea- incident. tares of Gothic architecture peeped out But the activity of the less pretendfrom under the net-work of ivy, to re- ing spot to which I now proceed to mind the traveller that it was not a conduct you, is not diminished by the mere secular farm in the olden time. peace. My business, lies with things To Bucklershard we came at last, (I of more common growth” than se
venty-fours and three-deckers. Let to be sure for so tiny an edifice; its us return to the shipwright's yard, at back is towards us, otherwise we should my native place, where the well-timed discern that it is merely a fire-place for strokes of the alternate hammers are heating pitch, which even now is reekhardly ever silent; and although they ing—the cloud wafts itself hither, and be not engaged in fabricating an ob- brings what Crabbe denominates “ the ject of surprise or of such stupendous pungence of o'erboiling tar." This to magnitude as shall engage our thoughts many noses is as fragrant as for a longer time than we stay there, flowers Proserpina let fall." If ever yet we shall see enough to reward at- we should possess a classified nosology, tention for the brief space'we devote my nose must be ranked in the order, to the observation of them.
genus, and species, which shall comCome sit down beside me on the in- prise the pitch-delighting olfactories. viting bend of this piece of seasoned What tumbling confusion of materials timber. I am not going to talk learn- for a rich foreground ! but above all edly of maritime architecture—do not the jumble, rises a most venerable expect that I can enter upon the mys- windlass. Look, how the veteran is teries of triangular trussing and other scarred, and seamed, and bleached, by astute inventions to ward off the dan- many a year's exposure to beam and ger of hogging; nor can I explain the blast-it would supply an excellent different parts and uses of a ship’s study for a painter ; all edginess, all skeleton, nur of its equipment when stiff perpendicularity, all rawness of its thews and sinews are complete tint is gone it looks scarcely as if it for, woe is me! never was there a na. were fixed there by the hand of man, tive of the sea-sbore who knew less of but rather as if it were the bole of naval evolutions or of the sailor's vo- some inighty tree, still anchored in its cabulary. I have been indolently original site by still-existing roots, but “ Contented to enjoy
whose body was felled at mid-height The things which others understand."
full a century ago. A figure-head or
two past service, mutilated anchors, A shipwright's yard is not a school well-japanned tar barrels, buoys, where I advance in science ;—but it is blocks, and other wrought and unto me a mere moving picture ; a scene wrought wood in all its shapes, may be of active animal life, which gives a filo combined as you please, for they meet lip to the spirits ; a net of old associa- the eye in profusion on all sides. At tions, which catches and detains my our back (but we may turn round, for thoughts till I let them fly at liberty our accommodating seat admits of any again ; a sober sort of peep-show, into posture) is the old work-shop of the which I am by sufferance allowed to place, in which the frame of some sugaze idly, while I sit and regain breath, perior kind of boat cumbers the midand rest my feet, a little wearied by foor. Its exterior is just what the their previous ramble.
Flemish school of artists would have What then have we now before us ? liked. The shape is of that unformal The centre of the piece is a half-finish- character which results from there had yacht, about which the workmen are ving been sundry additions made to a warming like bees—there is one de- main building, jutting here and there cending by that pliant board, to which, just as convenience prompted, while, with a sailor's looseness of tread, he in the question of their erection, symonforms his footsteps, by tripping with metry was allowed to have no vote ; he regular rise and fall of his vibra- the roof too has stooped a little with ng pathway. Our music is the reci- the weight of years, and no longer has rocal clink of hammers driving in the either ridge or eaves in perfect parallel cenails which fasten on the outer with the horizon. The bricks of which lanks, with a low under-song from it is built betray their long stay near onder shingle-roofed saw-pit, where the salt water, for they have imbibed te trunk of a tree is treated much as their full dose, and are crumbling unloaf is, when it is metamorphosed der its operation ; meanwhile, it has to a plate of bread and butter. To mellowed their hue into one of sober e right there squats a low building, warmth, and in perfect harmony with hich is almost all chimney-it has the accompaniments. Without quitHead a most wille-throated vomitory, ting our station, we can see the inside VOL. XI.
muster, and with not a few men and self, to the great satisfaction of the ad maidens embarked in her. She glided venturers within her, who had no fardown-the temporary cradle accom- ther inclination to make another such panying her and disparting on all sides perilous trial of her want of equipoise. after the plunge, and rising to the sur. to Who'd have thought," said an old face in many a junk-and the ship was shipmaster at my elbow, " that she'd now apparently triumphant and out of have righted? I declare my heart was peril in the midst of the river. In ore up in my mouth, all the time she der to try how she balanced herself, hung back.” I doubt whether I have the crew on board began to rock her so distinct a recollection of the other by running, all hands, from side to grander launches I have spoken of, side,
- this was persisted in too long, as the consternation of the minute stili particularly as she was found to be causes me to have of this. Had she what is called here lop-sided,--for at been swamped, and a few hundred last a rush made her heel so much on weight would have turned the scale, the faulty quarter, and carried her so many lives would probably have been far over that the keel throughout was lost. nearly seen, (some said it was quite,) Now then I have had my walk and and the masts lay nearly parallel with my breathing time I have introduced the sea-wall on the opposite shore; you to the old spot, with which I have and thus she hung unmoving I know many associations of pleasurable hours. not exactly how long—but in such a I have had all the talk to myself (percrisis moments are important portions haps this may be more literally true of time and then, as if relenting, she than I could wish) so I think we will swung slowly back and recovered her now leave the Shipwright's Yard.
CHAPTER 1.- THE LANDING. Boatswain.-Down with the topmast, yare ; lower, lower, bring her to try with main course.
In the year 1818, being ordered which gave way before a sudden gust, from Madras to Penang, we stood out not uncommon in these latitudes; the to sea with the S.W. monsoon, which main top-sail at the same instant was blows for one half of the year in those split from clue to earing, and shaken seas. For the first two days we got on to shreds before it could be unbent. smoothly enough, but towards the Whilst laying nearly on her beam morning of the third the wind began to ends, a heavy sea struck her on the incrcase, and at eight bells of the starboard quarter, broke completely morning watch, it blew half a gale. over her, and carried away one of her Top-gallant sails, royals, and sky. quarter boats. The helm was put ascrapers, had been taken in during the weather, and we bore up to repair dawatch, and a single reef in the top- mages. On sounding the well, we sails had made the ship snug for the found much more water in the hold time; but the sky looked still so threat- than had been anticipated, which ening, that the master, a cautious old induced us to suspect that we had
Scotchman, brought up in the Baltic sprung a leak. This disagreeable sur1. trade, hinted that it might be as well mise was fully confirmed by finding,
to close reef top-sails and courses, and that, by the most laborious pumping
stand by for the gale that was appa- during the half of the watch, we could 5. rently approaching. The Captain, barely keep the ship free. Under these
however, who had never learned to circumstances the Captain deemed it discriminate between caution and cowa expedient to run for the Hoogly, and ardice, swore that she shewed as lit- we shaped our course accordingly. tle muslin as the weather required, and When we arrived abreast of the what she could not carry she might Black Pagodas, we found that the pidrag. About half an hour after this lots (as usual) had run in on she apdoughty bravado had been uttered, she proach of the gale. As the leak was had to drag her mizen top-mast, hourly increasing, we were at a loss