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“No, Harry,” replied the old man; “ I'm only just come up.”
“ Take my glass. Just here away, Thompson-here in a line with that rock. Now you've got her. Well, d'ye know her?”
The old man took his eye from the glass, looked at the other for a moment, and then, without a word, resumed his eager gaze. In a minute he again withdrew his eye, returned the glass to his friend, with a trembling hand, and merely said :
“ The Dolly Pentreath!”
“ You're right, Thompson!” said the other; "it's she, sure enough! That streak of white paint around her deceived me first. She must have had the paint since she's been gove; but it's she, as sure as we are here.”
56 Yes, by Heaven !” cried another man; “it's the old Dolly!"
“ Never mind, Thompson! cheer up, mate!” said a weather-beaten old fellow, who was standing by. “It don't blow so hard now, I think; she'll weather it yet, never fear.”
“What are ye all talking about weathering it?" exclaimed a young preventive man. “She's well enough to windward to weather the Gull Rock, if she likes. Why, she's eating into the wind like a mouse into a cheese."
“ Mouse be hanged!" growled a surly old fisherman. “She's bagging down to leeward like a haystack !"
“ Leave me, if you like, Thompson," said Nelly, who had been dreadfully shocked at hearing that the vessel was the one which the old man's grandson was in—" leave me, if you like I shall do very well ; and I know you must be very, very anxious.”
“No, no, miss," said the old man; “ I'll stay with you, if you please. If she gets round the head, I shall not be wanted; and if it pleases God that my poor boy shall die, it will be a consolation to be with you. I shall be able to think more real-like of the good angels that will be waiting for him. When all is over, it will be time enough to tell poor Nanny. Besides, miss, I have great hopes that she'll do it, and I don't think it blows now near so hard as it did.”
Eleanor long tried in vain to get something more than an occasional glimpse of the small white patch of sail and the dusky hull, as they rose on the summit of a wave; but, as the schooner drew nearer to the headland, she began, although the evening was coming on apace, to see and understand something more of the danger of her situation, and to perceive that the crisis was fast approaching.
“ 'Twill be a close shave, mates," said one of the men; “but she'll do it.”
“Ay, that she will !” said another; “ Johns will have his glass of grog at the Red Lion to-night, yet.”
“D'ye think so ?" put in the old fisherman, who had before spoken. “Ay, that I do, brother. Don't you ?” “ Why, that depends upon carcumstances.”
“ Carcumstances? ye ould Jonah! And ain't the carcumstances just as they should be? Does it blow anything like so hard as it did ?”
"No, sartinly not."
“Well, and — Ay, mates, just look! The wind is making more westing. Only look !"
“ Ay, by the Lord, Jack! and so it is.”
“No more westing, old surly chops? Why, there's a point more in it than it was, and it's getting around farther every moment.”
“ Last! If it only lasts a quarter of an hour, she's safe; I don't ask more than a quarter of an hour."
“ You're right, Jack," said another; “now hold on, good gear, and in a quarter of an hour she's safe !"
* Hurrah, my hearties !” shouted a man, coming up from another group—“hurrah, my hearties! she's all our own! why she's laying up north and by east now, every bit of it."
“ All right, Thompson!” cried one, rubbing his hands ; "she's safe as a church !"
“ All right now, Thompson !" said another, slapping the old man on the back. "All right! the old Doll isn't done for yet, eh, old boy ? Why, she'll have stunsails set in a minute."
“Don't talk so fast, youngsters," said the old fisherman. “ Look there
"Ay, by the powers, old Will! here it comes again, and no mistake! Hold on your hair, now, mates—you that wear wigs !"
And as he spoke, a fierce, furious squall swept over the seething waves, shutting in the vessel and the point in impenetrable obscurity. On it came, presenting, even in the deepening twilight, a well-defined line, almost like a solid wall. On it came, with rushing speed, yet seeming to the eager watchers to be creeping over the waters. On it came, with a strange hissing noise, curling the black hills of sea into white-capped ridges, and then sweeping off the tops, and carrying them on in great flakes of foam upon the blast. On, on it came—it was nearer, it was close; the rocks, the fierce waves, the other groups of people were hidden in its dark embrace; there was an instant of unnatural calm, there was a sudden, momentary gust, and it was upon them. There was a howling blast of wind, there was a blinding dash of rain, and they were in the midst of it! The hardy mariners stripped off their rough coats to wrap Nelly in them, and, heedless of themselves, gathered around to shelter, as much as might be, her delicate form from the rude gale: for, since she had been at Port Allan, her beauty and sweetness had won the respect and admiration—nay, the love of all, and the hoarse voices, even of the roughest, would sound almost gentle when they addressed her.
The squall was past. It was over Port Allan-it was miles inland; it was driving over the moors; it was tearing off the thatches from cornstacks in the farm-yards ; it was snapping the boughs, and sweeping off the dead leaves in the woods ; it was annihilating umbrellas in the streets; it was bringing the mail coach to a dead stand on the high road; and the people on Port Allan head were once more looking for the schooner.
" Where is she? Where is she? Where's the schooner ?"
“ No, it isn't.”
“ No, no-she's not. There she is—I see her, I see her. Here, here—where I'm pointing. Bring the Gull Rock and this bunch of rushes in a line, and then look a little to the right, and well to windward. All right, my lads-all right! She's weathered the squall, and will be round the head in five minutes."
“I can't find her!"
“You're looking too far to windward, you lubbers !" said the old fisherman. “Look here—what d'ye call this?”
All gazed in the direction in which the old man's finger pointed, and there-yes, there was the doomed vessel coming directly on for the fearful rocks which lay at their feet. Even Eleanor saw her plainly. The other groups observed her at the same time, and one of the men turned around, and pointed towards her. For an instant none spoke, but all gazed at each other in silence, and with horror on their countenances. At length a deep-drawn sigh escaped them.
" It's all over with her !" cried one.
“ Silence, men-silence !" cried Harry Penhale, the tall man, who had been first addressed by Thompson. “Never mind how she got there : there she is, and we must do the best we can for her. Run, a dozen of you, down to the seine-house here, and get out all the rope you can find ; and be smart now, lads, be smart! you've no time to lose ; she'll be ashore in ten minutes. And-yes, it's getting dark ; run, some of you, get torches, and stand along here on the rocks; it will give them heart, and we shall want the light, too. You'll find plenty of straw and tar in the house. With a will, now, boys! with a will !"
The men ran off to execute their commission, and Eleanor turned to the old man at her side. “ Thompson," she said, “is there any, any hope ?”
“ None, miss,” he replied; “in a quarter of an hour they will be in eternity.”
“Leave me then, Thompson,” said Eleanor. “Your daughter-she will need some comfort.”
“You're right, miss-you're right and kind, as you always are. Poor Nanny! I can't abear to go away, and the breath still in the dear boy's body; but I can do nothing here, for my poor old arm has lost its strength, and I must see that Nanny doesn't hear the news too suddent like-'twould kill her, miss! Poor Nanny! Poor Nanny !”
Old Thompson trembled, and his voice was choked. Eleanor, with streaming eyes, looked up into his face, and pressed his rough horny hand between her delicate palms.
“This is no place for you either, miss," the old man said. “Poor child! I was wrong to bring you here; but I did think they'd have weathered it. The Lord has ordered it otherwise-His will be done! Here, Davis ! Joe Davis !” he shouted, “come here! He'll take as much care of 'ee, miss, as I should myself; and, like me, he's gone past much work. He's lost, Davis !” he continued, as the other approached. “ He's lost, poor fellow! As kind a boy, too, and as good a boy as ever lived, though I say it myself! We little thought, when he left us so happy and light-hearted—we little thought then that we should never meet in this world again. But what a fool I am to stand snivelling here! And Nanny home. Poor Nanny !" And so saying, the old man handed Nelly over to the care of his friend, and, with one last look seaward, hurried away, to be with his widowed daughter in the hour of her desolation.
Eleanor took the arm of her new protector, and, together, they moved somewhat nearer to the place where the vessel might be expected to strike. Around them, all was haste and bustle. Men were running to and fro, carrying great coils of rope ; others were stripping off their upper garments, and making the ropes fast around their bodies, to be ready for a plunge into the raging wave; whilst others, again, were lighting torches of straw, dipped in tar, and stationing themselves along the rocks.
Eleanor looked out seaward. It was nearly dark; but there was visible the dusky mass, driving steadily down towards them, yawing widely, as she came on, and wallowing in the troughs of the sea, as if conscious that all hope was past, and exertion in vain. Eleanor was startled at seeing how near she had approached. On, on came the doomed ship, not appearing to be impelled through the water by the force of the wind, but rather as if she were driven on merely by the send of the sea. There was a rock, which at low tide rose rough and jagged above the wave. The vessel was close upon it. All were silent -all held their breath. A huge sea rolled on-it lifted her, as though she had been a paper boat; she was borne on for an instant, with lightning speed, on its broad shoulder, and over the rock she wentquite over it, and not an inch of her keel was touched. “Good God !" cried the old man with Eleanor, “ she's gone clean over the Mussel Rock! I wouldn't have believed it.” For a moment she seemed almost stationary in the trough of the sea, and then came another wave: it bore her past the place where Eleanor and her companion were standing. She rushed on-she swept by, like the spirit of the storm itself. Again was she left behind-again came a huge rolling wave-again was she lifted, and borne on with frightful speed—again it began to leave her ;
—there was a crash, a shout of horror from strong men-a shriek of agony from weak women--above, and distinct from all, the fearful, never-to-be-forgotten, cry of drowning men; the dark hull melted away in the raging waters—and she was gone !
M-CARTHY'S CALDERON.* OF Spanish literature in general, Mr. Bruce contends (“Classic and Historic Portraits,” vol. ii.), that for purity and chastity it is honourably distinguished above that of any other country ;-and of the Spanish drama in particular he goes on to assert, that while it is more copious than the dramatic productions of all other lettered nations, ancient and modern, put together, as their dramas now exist, it is wholly free from the charge of indelicacy, and has no Congreve, nor Vanbrugh, nor Cibber, no single drama indeed in which there is anything to call up a blush on the cheek of modesty. Let us hope this grand and singular characteristic, this anomaly in Christendom's and in Heathendom's legitimate drama, is not the let and hindrance to the naturalisation, or popularisation, so to speak, of the Spanish theatre amongst us.
For, some let and hindrance there is. Somehow or other we don't take kindly to Lope de Vega and Calderon. The Knight of La Mancha we accept from Cervantes with full and grateful welcome; but the plays of Cervantes-c'est une autre chose. Indeed, until the present publication respectively of the versions of Mr. M'Carthy and of Mr. Fitzgerald,f it seems that no attempt at anything like a complete or adequate reproduction into imitative English verse of even one of Calderon's plays has been made.
Mr. M‘Carthy's aim is, to combine fidelity to the spirit of his original, with a scrupulous adherence to its form. He has thought it his duty, he tells us, to attempt the imitation of every metrical variety used by Calderon, which at least he judged capable of being reproduced in English with a sensible harmonious effect. He was attracted to this difficult emprise by “the wonderful fascination and pleasure of the employment.” Mr. M‘Carthy has many high qualifications for such a task. His own ballads and lyrics stamp him a minstrel of taste and feeling. He has a musical ear, and the pen of a ready writer; and a fine enthusiasm inspires his harmonious numbers. The florid diction of his preface to Calderon, and of some of his clever contributions to the Dublin University Magazine, is that of a scribe in some jeopardy from a “fatal facility" of ornate composition. And thus, while heartily recognising no small degree of painstaking, merit, and occasional brilliancy, in the translation now before us, we seem to trace in too many parts the style of one accustomed to “dash off at a heat," and not quite so patient as either Calderon or the critics could desire, of the labor lime. At intervals there occur passages of real grace and finish, of tasteful expression and much rhythmical beauty; and then again we meet with whole pages of a very prosy sort, and very indifferent prose too. Partly, be it admitted, Calderon is himself answerable for these inequalities—for the great playwright was not above a wholesale manufacture of platitudes in soliloquy, and bald disjointed chat in colloquy; but his translator has not always
* Dramas of Calderon, Tragic, Comic, and Legendary. Translated from the Spanish, principally in the Metre of the Original, by D. F. M'Carthy, Esq. Dolman. 1853.
† Six Dramas of Calderon, freely translated by Edward Fitzgerald. Pickering. 1853.