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nibble is perceptible. The mackerel, which but fish still bite, but more moderately and by a moment ago were fairly rushing on board, have" spirts," and in the half liquid state in which in that moment disappeared so completely that we all find ourselves, we mechanically hold our not a sign of one is left. The vessel next under lines over the rail and haul in fish with as little our tee holds them a little longer than we, but motion to our bodies as possible, for the skin in they finally also disappear from her side. And such weather gets marvelously tender, and is apt so on all around us.
to come off on very slight provocation. And now we have time to look around us At one o'clock “Seat ye, one half," from the -to compare notes on each other's successes stentorian lungs of the cook, proclaims dinner on to straighten our back bones, nearly broken, and the table, and one half” accordingly go down aching horribly with the constant reaching over; to “ finish their breakfast," as a facetious ship to examine our fingers, cut to pieces and grown mate remarks. The cabin of a fisherman be it sensationless with the perpetual dragging of small known is too confined to accommodate an entire lines across them-to- "There, the skipper's got fishing crew with seats around the table, and a bite!-here they are again, boys, and big fellows accordingly it is customary for the oldest hands too!” Every body rushes once more to the rail, to eat first, leaving the young men and boys to and business commences again, but not at so follow at second table. fast a rate as before. By-and-by there is another After dinner we make preparations for dressing cessation, and we hoist our jib and run off a little our fish Gib-tubs, split-knives, barrels, wash-barway into a new berth.
rels, buckets, mittens, and sea-boots, are hunted While running across, I take the first good up, and water begins to flow about decks more look at the state of affairs in general. We lie, plentifully than ever. Mackerel are “dressed" as before said, nearly in the centre of the whole by splitting them down the back, taking out their fleet, which from originally covering an area of entrails (called in fisherman's parlance " gibs”), fifteen miles each way, has “knotted up" into a letting the blood soak out of them by immersion little space not above two miles square. In in clear salt water, and then salting them down many places, although the sea is tolerably rough, in layers, in the barrels prepared for that purthe vessels lie so closely together that one could pose. Two persons compose a “gang" for almost jump from one to the other. The greatest dressing. One of them splits the fish and throws skill and care are necessary on such occasions to them to the other, who, by a dexterous twist of keep them apart, and prevent the inevitable con- bis thumbs and the fingers of his right band, exsequences of a collision, a general smash-up of tracts the entrails, and throws the cleaned fish masts, booms, bulwarks, etc. Yet a great fish | into a barrel of salt water at hand. “ Dressing" day like this rarely passes off without some ves- | fish is disagreeable work in itself, but generally sels sustaining serious damage. We thread our passes off lively enough, as it is the concluding way among the vessels with as much work and scene in what fishermen call " a day's work," and as daintily as a man would walk over ground one now learns how much he has in reality covered with eggs, and finally get into a berth caught, and miser-like plunges up to the armunder lee of a vessel which seems to hold the pits in the riches he has that day won. Then fish pretty well. And here we fish away by too, dressing is enlivened by many a jest, and spells, for they have got “ spirty," that is, they anecdote, and song, every body feeling joyful at are capricious, and appear and disappear sud- the events of the day, and hopeful for the success denly like a flash.
of the voyage. And while the operation of catchMeanwhile the rain continues pouring out of ing fish is followed with an intensity and ardor the leaden sky, which looks as though about to which does not admit of the slightest flagging of fall on us, and overwhelm us in a second deluge. attention, dressing is the very reverse, and may The wind is getting high (old-Boreas, singularly be made as lively as possible without detriment enough, always gets high on these occasions, to the work. when fresh water is plentiest), and the old hands Soon after commencing to dress, the whole are debating among themselves as to the most fleet gets under way, and steers toward the land, judicious port to be made to-night. At ten we which is faintly visible under our lee, the wind get breakfast, consisting of coffee, hot cakes, being from the northeast. Going square before bread and butter, fish, beef, sweet cakes, and it, we soon near the land, and as we do so, both apple sauce. The morning's exercise has given wind and sea increase. We have a grand chance us all a ravenous appetite, and the celerity with to try the sailing qualities of our little boat-à which the various comestibles spread out for us chance which a mackerel man never neglects; by the cook are made to disappear, would aston- for next to getting a good share of fish, a man is ish the members of “our best society."
considered most fortunate if he has a smart sailAfter breakfast we begin to clear up decks a ing vessel. We overhaul a good many, and are little, preparatory to experiencing some part of badly beaten by a few of the 'vessels, as might the rough weather which is brewing. Oil cloths be expected in so large a fleet. And as we are in great demand, but the rain somehow con- come into competition with some new vessel, trives to soak through them, and they form but our crew tell at once her name, if she is known little protection. We secure our mackerel barrels to them, or if entirely unknown, at any rate her to the bulwarks, lash up the various loose objects hailing place. about decks, and put on the hatches, etc. The After dressing, we salt our catch. This is sorry
work for sore fingers, hands, and arms, of which, into the wind. As her headway is deadened, after a day's work like the present, there is al- ' let go the anchor !" is the word, and a plash, ways a plentiful supply, mackereling being, under and the rattle of a few fathoms of cable tell us any circumstances, a business in which sores of that we are fast for the night. all kinds on hands and feet are singularly plenty “Pay out cable, boys; a good scope, and let and hard to get rid of. But salting does not last her ride easy!” and the rest of us go aft and forever, and the few preparations necessary for haul down the enormous mainsail, the wet cangoing into harbor being already completed, we vas of which feels as though made of stout wire. gather together, as dusk comes on, in little knots It is soon furled up, and a lantern fastened in the about the deck, discuss the day's work, point out rigging, and then we make a general rush for familiar vessels, and argue on their various sail- the cabin. Here wet clothes and boots are flung ing qualities, and once in a while slily peep down off and thrown pell-mell on deck, dry suits donthe “ companion-way" into the snug little cabin, ned, and then “one-half” crawl into their bunks, where the “ram-cat” (the sailors name for a while the balance eat their suppers. cabin stove) glows so brightly, and every thing Meanwhile we hear an incessant rattling of looks so comfortable, and in particular so dry, sails, and plashing of anchors on every side of that our hearts yearn for a place by the fire. us, while the wind whistles wildly through our Landsmen, poor fellows, have no idea how great rigging, and the rain dashes fiercely against the an amount of real, genuine, unmistakable com- skylight and deck overhead, increasing our comfort may be contained in a little box ten feet by fort by reminding us of the sufferings we have fifteen, with a table in the middle, seats and escaped. berths at the sides, a stove and hatchway at one . It is not until after supper that we begin to end, a row of shelves and a box-compass at the think of the damages sustained in our persons other, and a skylight over head, the whole smell- during the past day's work. And now rags, ing villainously of decayed fish and bilge-water. salve, and liniment, and all the various preparaHappily for mankind all happiness is compara- tions for ameliorating the condition of sore fintive, else would not the dirty confined cabin of a gers, sore wrists, sore arms, sore feet, sore anfisherman ever be considered a very Elysium of kles, and sore shins, are brought into requisition; comfort, and a seat by its fire be regarded as a the cook is flattered and cajoled out of modicums luxury, than which the conqueror of the world of hot fresh water, and stockings are taken off, could wish for nothing better.
sleeves rolled up, bandages unrolled, and groans We are fast nearing our haven. And glad and growls resound from every corner of the enough we all are of it, for the wind has risen, cabin. until it already blows half a gale, and the great The operation which is now commenced is waves roll after us savagely, trying to overtake considered among old fishermen as one of the us, and looking as though if they did, they would “ peculiar" comforts incident to their calling. inevitably smother our little craft. And then, “ Comfort indeed!” incredulously observes the too, as the excitement of the day dies out, and landsman reader. “Yes, sir, comfort,” say I. we stand inactively about, the rain seems colder, For, sir, allow me to say you have not yet the and our wet clothes adhere clammily to our most remote idea of the real signification of the bodies, and make moving about a misery. Yon- word comfort. Nor will you ever be fully ender is East Point Light shining brightly on our lightened on the subject until you have been beam. The headmost of our companions have fishing a season. In fact, my dear sir, until you already shot around the point, and are running domiciliate yourself on board a Cape schooner up to their anchorage.
for a couple of trips, you will not have even a “Man your sheets, now, boys, and stand by proper idea of what a real sore is; how in the to trim aft!” sings out our skipper. And as we world then do you expect to know what comfort string along the ropes the helm goes down. She (among other matter) is to be taken out of such comes into the wind, shaking like a dog just come things? out of the water, and at the same time the sails As sores are part and parcel of the business of are trim ned flat, and we gayly round the point, catching mackerel, I will here relate my slight and in less than fifteen minutes are in smooth experience of them for the benefit of the uninitiwater.
ated. When preparing to go on board the vegTwo tacks take us nearly up to Ten Pound sel at H- I was counseled to provide myself Island Light, and, as we stand over once more, with a supply of salve and bandages for the
“Haul down the foresail!" shouts the captain sore fingers, etc., with which I would be pester"Stand by your main and jib halyards! see your ed on my trip. “ For,” said my friends, “ fisheranchor all clear!”
men always have sores." But I laughed to my“There's a good berth, skipper," says one of self, and boastfully thought, “I am not a fisherthe old hands, right alongside of that Chatham man.” But the old lady at whose house I staysmack.” (It is so dark that, do my best, I can ed during the time I was on shore, knew much not make out even the rig of the vessel to which more about the matter than I, and accordingly my old friend so readily gives a " local habitation when I got on board I found, on an examination and a name."
into my effects, that she had put at least half-a“Here we are-down jib!" and down it rat- dozen yards of old muslin and linen in my clothes tles without any trouble, as her head swings | bag. And well it was that she did so. I had
not been three whole days on board before I ex- cap, I hear our gray-headed old skipper mutter perienced premonitory symptoms of what are softly to himself, “ God pity poor sailors who are commonly called “boils," coming, one on my caught in Boston Bay in this storm.” right foot, one on the ankle of the same, and one We go to sleep early-get up late next mornon my arm (the left one). I was surprised, as I ing-get breakfast—(the storm still raging) had never in my life had such things on me, and head up, and strike down the mackerel caught had always prided myself on a purity of system the preceding day; clear up decks, and then go which bore me clear of such torments. It was ashore, or visit some of the other vessels. To do quite natural that I should express my surprise, either of the latter, we do not require the assist. and quite as natural that my shipmates should ance of boats, for the fleet has so crowded the express none, they looking upon such things as harbor, that one can without difficulty walk from matters of course. I did not, therefore, obtain one side of the harbor to the other, a distance of any sympathy among them.
three-fourths of a mile, on vessels. Well, I nursed my torments, and, like every Toward evening the wind hauls to the norththing else that is nursed, they grew apace, and ward, and the weather clears up, and great snowbefore a week were called “fine large boils." I white clouds, looking like gigantic puffs of steam said I nursed them; is it necessary to add that I from some engine in the other world, roll grandly cursed them? At least, as far as my conscience across the sky, sure signs of good weather. We permitted me to do so. I was regularly lamed “turn in ” early, and are called out at three —and yet here was I on board a confounded fish o'clock A.m. to get under way. We find every ing vessel, with all available assistance required body around us in motion, some heaving up their to help in getting things in order for the fish- anchors, others hoisting their sails, some with ground. My boils are no excuse, and I am there- boats ahead, being towed out of the crowd, so as fore expected to do as others do, to pump, to run, to enable them to shape a course, and a few alto be smart, to climb, if necessary, to pull on ready steering out of the harbor. We follow suit ropes, and to-in short-do every thing that wants with all haste, and daylight finds us in Boston doing. If I groan, I am shown veteran old sores, Bay, with the fleet around us, and the hills of to which mine are, in fishing language, only Cape Ann blue in the distance. “ darling little pets." When I venture to utter Such is a fish-day, with its accompaniments. a hope of soon being better, my friend, to whose Of a series of such is composed the trip of a kind offices I am indebted for an introduction to mackerel catcher, for the fish rarely bite well exthis infernal business, smilingly assures me that cept just before a storm. When full of fish, " this is nothing-a mere trifle : when we once which is generally in from three to five weeks, get among mackerel, then will be the time for the vessel goes back home and lands her cargo. sores." As though this was not the grand jubi- There the fish are assorted, weighed, and relee of every thing of the kind !
packed by an inspector regularly appointed for But every body on board has sores—sores of that purpose. By him the barrels are finally all descriptions, and some that are indescribable branded, to show that they are “ 200 lbs. of mack
-cuts, chafes, line-sores, pickle-sores, boils, pim erel," No. 1, 2, or 3, as the case may be, and ples, felons, festers, agnails, bruises, and every then they are ready for sale or shipment: other species of torment that poor mortal can by Fishermen make from $150 to $350 and $400 any possibility have on his hands and feet, our during the eight months in which they labor, viz., little community are infested with. And it is from the last of March to the first of December. with our sores somewhat as with the Paddy's During the winter they in general remain at pig, which "enjoyed miserable bad health, and home, compensating for the toils of the working was getting no better very fast.” Thus it hap- season by a life of total inactivity and idleness, pened, that on the evening in question, after sup spending a great part of the earnings of the past per was dispatched, every one commenced patch- year in harmless dissipation, and looking to noing up his sores, laughing meanwhile at every thing higher than “ an early start in the spring for body else, making odd grimaces while attending the Banks.” Such is life in the fishing villages to their little matters.
of Cape Cod-to use a rather homely and perBefore retiring to rest I take a peep on deck. | haps coarse, but trite sailor's simile, “Like a The gale is roaring fiercely through the bare rig- Portuguese devil, when it is good it is too good, ging, and a blinding storm of hail and sleet, a and when it is bad it is worthless." blast of which salutes my face as I put it out of the companion-way, adds to the inclemency of THE ORIENTAL MERCHANT. the night. The dark storm-clouds scud wildly W HEN Haj Hamed borrowed a hundred dinars across the sky, and the wind fairly shrieks at W of the merchant Kodadad, he swore by the times, as though glorying in the strength to bear faith of the Prophet to return the sum within six down every thing coming in its path. It is truly months from that time, and fixed the hour and a wild night, and as I descend again to my com- day. He was a young man, full of hope and fortable place by the fire, I think anxiously of confidence, and Kodadad was old and wary. the poor souls who are tossed about in such “ My son,” said the latter, “this is perhaps a weather-cold, wet, and suffering at the mercy rash promise. Say one year.” But Haj Hamed of the winds and waters. I am not alone in my would not accept a further delay. He was going thoughts, for as I shake the sleet off my rough from Tarsus to Damascus on a commercial journey,
and had accurately calculated the time. One While he was meditating on these sordid matmonth to go; one month to come back; three ters, he was suddenly recalled to himself by months to sell his goods; a whole month to a surprising accident. A huge mantle was spare. But the accidents of the road-sickness, thrown over his head; and before he had time robbers, unforeseen delays?' He relied upon the to struggle, he was cast on the ground, and mercy of God; and with many asseverations said rolled up, like a bale of his own goods, in comthat at the appointed time he would present him- plete darkness. At first, he thought that instant self at the kiosque of the merchant Kodadad, on death was to be his fate; and he murmured, the banks of the river, and lay before him a hun May Heaven pay my debt to the merchant Kodred golden dinars. The money was lent without dadad!” Soon, however, it appeared that he was interest, and payment was a sacred obligation. only a prisoner; and he felt himself raised and
The caravan set out, flags flying, and drums carried along, while smothered laughter came to beating, from the rendezvous on the opposite side his ears. If this were a joke, it was a practical of the river, and soon entered the gorges of the one. He tried to speak; but no answer was remountains. After proceeding a little way, a halt turned, except renewed laughter. Presently, was agreed upon; for many of the merchants had those who carried him set him down; the bonds staid behind, saying their last adieus to their that confined him were loosened, the mantle was farpilies, or making additions to their merchand- whisked away, and, to his surprise, he found himise. Haj Hamed, who possessed several camel- self in a beautiful garden, surrounded by a bevy loads, and had been among the first to be ready of maidens, who clapped their hands, and enjoyed at the place of meeting, repined greatly at this his amazed appearance.
Haj Hamed was too thoroughly an Oriental He had earned his title of Haj, or Pilgrim, not to understand his position, after a few mowhen a boy, by going in company with his father ments' thought. He had evidently been watched to the shrine of the Prophet; but this was the during his progress through the forest by the first journey he had undertaken since. His im- inmates of some harem, unencumbered by male patience, therefore, may be excused. He had attendants, who in a spirit of fun had made him started with the idea of making a fortune ; and prisoner. The incident is not an uncommon one, was impatient to be doing. Besides, there was if we may believe narrators; but it generally his promise to Kodadad. If he forfeited that, his leads to disagreeable results. Our merchant felt credit was gone forever. Accordingly, he spent uncomfortable. These merry girls were quite the first part of the day that followed the halt, capable, he thought, after having made a butt of sitting by the roadside, counting the stragglers him, of throwing him down a well or into a pond. that came in, and jeering them for their tardiness. He looked around for the chief among them rather ** This young man," said some, “believes that anxiously, and soon recognized her in a very time was made only for him. What matters a young maiden, who, after having laughed with day more or less? At the end of life we shall the rest, had flung herself carelessly on a pile have to regret our impatience. There are evils of cushions under a tree, and was gazing at him by every wayside. Why should we be eager to with interest. come up with them?"
“Lady,” said he, assuming a humble attitude, These philosophical remarks found no favor “this is not wise nor well. I am a merchant with Haj Hamed, who, instead of imitating his traveling with my goods that require care and companions, and reclining lazily, under the shadow watchfulness, and beg to be released." of trees on the green grass, listening to the songs She seemed annoyed that her beauty, which of the birds and the gurgling of the stream, began was great, did not amaze him; and replied : at length to roam uneasily about. He saw that “ Fear nothing. There is no danger. This is another sun would set, and perhaps another, and my father's kiosque. He has given it to me; behold them still in the lap of the same valley. and I live here with my maidens unmolested. He climbed the mountains, endeavoring to distract There is a guard of slaves at the gate ; but they his thoughts, and whenever he obtained a glimpse only appear at a signal of danger-when I sound of the encampment below, he gazed at it, en- | this shell." deavoring to discern signs of a forward move- ! She raised a conch to her lips, and a shrill ment. But the tents remained unstruck; the sound filled the air. The slave-girls, scarcely people reclined in groups; the camels and horses understanding her motive, again cast the mantle were dispersed here and there; and the lazy tink-over Hamed, and bade him be silent and motionling of their bells showed that they, at any rate, less. Several men came hurriedly; but were were enjoying themselves. The young merchant dismissed with jeers and mockeries. In a few at length turned away and plunged into the deep moments the merchant, more dead than alive, recesses of the forest. Nature had no charms was uncovered again, and told to be of good. for him. As he went, he counted in his memory cheer, for he had permission to depart. the number of pieces of cloth his bales contained, By this time, however, beauty had begun to compared the cost-price with the probable mark- exert its influence; and Haj Hamed, instead of et-price, and reveled in the anticipation of gi-rising, remained gazing in admiration at the lady gantic profits to be realized in the paradise of his of the place. She met his glance, at first, with imagination-some dusty bazaar in the far-off a disdainful expression ; but according to the city of Damascus. ,
| Oriental idea, two such souls have secret sym-. Vol. IX.-No. 53.-XX
pathies, from the influence of which neither can turn. So he sat down beneath a huge sycamore escape. No sooner did their eyes meet in a full to wait patiently until the morning, gaze, than both felt faint at heart. The lady When light came, he remembered his promise turned very pale, and leaned her head upon the to Kodadad. He was to pay the hundred dinars cushion; the maidens, raising the trembling Ha- at noon. He determined to hasten to Tarsus on med, led him to her side. They talked for hours: foot over the mountains, for he knew the general not of themselves, but of love; and expatiated direction in which it lay. Many hours of travel eloquently on the happiness of meeting, while were before him; but he was light of foot, and the attendants played on their lutes, or sangat length beheld in the distance the minarets of songs illustrative of their situation. The shad- the city, and the winding course of the river. ows of night were coming on, when a peculiar Suddenly the landscape darkened. Clouds seemsound at the outer gate announced that the father ed to come out of every valley, and to inundate of the maiden, whose name was Leilah, had come the plain. The rain fell; the wind blew. He to visit her. So Haj Hamed was thrust uncere- hastened onward, clutching the leather purse in moniously forth; and was awakened from his which he carried his wealth, and invoking the asdream of happiness amidst the deepening gloom sistance of the Prophet. When he reached the of the forest. He returned bowed down and banks of the river, he heard, through the mist, a heavy-hearted to the encampment.
muezzin proclaiming the hour of noon from the Many thoughts kept him awake for many hours; distant mosque. The waters were turbulent. No it was not until the sky that stretched between ferry boat was in sight. It was impossible to the mountain tops overhead had begun to whiten, cross. Haj.Hamed prayed; and an idea came to that at length, overcome by fatigue, he fell asleep. his mind. He plucked a large reed, and hollowed Pleasant visions spake beneath his eyelids. When it, and placed therein a hundred pieces of gold, he awoke, the tents were struck, the camels were and tied other reeds to it, and floated this raft upon laden, and the people were filing off. “Why this the stream, and confided in the mercy of God. hurry?" he cried. “Was not this a pleasant Now it happened that Kodadad, remembering place to tarry in? Time is eternal. There is no Haj Hamed's promise, had gone to his kiosque need to hasten from the present, which is joyful, that day to wait for his money. The wind blew; to the future which is full of danger.” Several the rain fell. The debtor did not appear. “We merchants thought he was jeering them for their must allow him an hour's grace, for the storm philosophy of the previous day, and hastened to is violent," said Kodadad. The muezzin chanted complete their arrangements, and follow the car the hour of noon. The merchant called to his avan. Hamed's camels had been laden by his slave to bring another pipe. Presently, a bundle servants, and were ready to proceed. He hesi- of reeds came floating along the misty waters; a tated a moment; but remembering his debt to black boy stooping forward seized them as they Kodadad, cried, “March !” and went away with passed. He was about to cast them away again, his heart full of new recollections.
when the unusual weight prevented him. “MasThe journey was prosperous, but tedious. Whenter," said he, “this is a reed of lead.” The mer. the caravan reached Damascus, the market was chant, who wished to pass the time, told him to found to be encumbered with merchandise, and break the reeds. He did so, and lo! a hundred sales were with difficulty effected. Month after glittering pieces of gold fell suddenly upon the month passed away; most of Hamed's bales still pavement of the kiosque ! remained on his hands. The fifth month from This story, which is told in many different the time of his departure had arrived, and he was ways, illustrates the Oriental idea of mercantile beginning to despair of being able to perform his probity. Turkish merchants, in their dealings engagements. At length, however, a merchant among themselves, are famous for keeping their about to proceed to Bagdad, made him an ad- engagements with scrupulous exactitude; and the vantageous offer for the whole of his stock, and example of Haj Hamed is often cited as a model. he was enabled to depart, after having realized a Of course it is understood that the debt-all in good profit. Several accidents and delays oc- good golden dinarscame to its destination in curred on the journey ; but the caravans reached some miraculous way: the Prophet being always the valley, one march from Tarsus, on the eve deeply interested in the good deeds of his serv. of the day when Hamed had promised payment ants. The young merchant was not without his to Kodadad. Most of the merchants immediately reward. His credit was, in future, unlimited. rode forward to glad their families and friends; But not only so; Kodabad insisted on giving him but our young merchant, feeling his love for his daughter in marriage. And it will surprise Leilah revive with intensity, determined to spend none but very matter-of-fact people—to whom that day in endeavoring to obtain an interview we do not address this legend—that this daughwith her. He wandered into the mountains, en- ter turned out to be the same very imprudent deavoring to follow the same track as before ; Leilah, whose fascination had nearly caused Haj bui although he several times imagined he re- Hamed to dishonor his verbal promissory note. cognized the trees and the rocks, his search was We learn, moreover, that she settled down into unsuccessful. All was wild and seemingly una most prudent and exemplary wife-which reinhabited. He called aloud “ Leilah !" but the lieves our mind-for, except under extremely echoes only answered, "la! la !”-no, no; and Oriental circumstances, we should not recomwhen night came, he knew not which way to mend her conduet for imitation.