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When the wind is blowing and the sleet
or rain is driving against the dark windows,
I love to sit by the fire, thinking of what I
have read in books of voyage and travel.
Such books have had a strong fascination
for my mind from my earliest childhood; and
I wonder it should have come to pass that I
never have been round the world, never have
been shipwrecked, ice-environed, tomahawked
or eaten.

This time of year is crowded with thick-
coming fancies. Sitting on my ruddy hearth
in the twilight of New Year's Eve, I find
incidents of travel rise around me from all the
latitudes and longitudes of the globe. They
observe no order or sequence, but appear and
vanish as they will—"come like shadows, so
depart." Columbus, alone upon the sea with
his disaffected crew, looks over the waste of
waters from his high station on the poop of
his ship, and sees the first uncertain glimmer
of the light, "rising and falling with the
waves, like a torch in the bark of some
fisherman," which is the shining star of a new
world. Bruce is caged in Abyssinia,
surrounded by the gory horrors which shall
often startle him out of his sleep at home when
years have passed away. Franklin, come to
the end of his unhappy overland journey--
would that it had been his last!—lies perishing
of hunger with his brave companions:
each emaciated figure stretched upon its
miserable bed without the power to rise: all,
dividing the weary days between their prayers,
their remembrances of the dear ones at
home, and conversation on the pleasures of
eating; the last-named topic being ever
present to them, likewise, in their dreams.
All the African travellers, wayworn, solitary
and sad, submit themselves again to drunken,
murderous, man-selling despots, of the lowest
order of humanity; and Mungo Park, fainting
under a tree and succoured by a woman,
gratefully remembers how his Good Samaritan
has always come to him in woman's
shape, the wide world over.

A shadow on the wall in which my mind's
eye can discern some traces of a rocky sea-
coast, recals to me a fearful story of travel
derived from that unpromising narrator of
such stories, a parliamentary blue-book. A
convict is its chief figure, and this man
escapes with other prisoners from a penal
settlement. It is an island, and they seize a
boat, and get to the main land. Their way
is by a rugged and precipitous sea-shore, and
they have no earthly hope of ultimate escape,
for, the party of soldiers despatched by an
easier course to cut them off, must inevitably
arrive at their distant bourne long before
them, and retake them if by any hazard they
survive the horrors of the way. Famine, as
they all must have foreseen, besets them
early in their course. Some of the party die
and are eaten; some are murdered by the rest
and eaten. This one awful creature eats his
fill, and sustains his strength, and lives on to
be recaptured and taken back. The
unrelateable experiences through which he has
passed have been so tremendous, that he is
not hanged as he might be, but goes back to
his old chained gang-work. A little time,
and he tempts one other prisoner away,
seizes another boat, and flies once more
necessarily in the old hopeless direction, for he
can take no other. He is soon cut off, and
met by the pursuing party, face to face, upon
the beach. He is alone. In his former journey
he acquired an inappeasable relish for
his dreadful food. He urged the new man
away, expressly to kill him and eat him. In
the pockets on one side of his coarse convict-
dress, are portions of the man's body, on
which he is regaling; in the pockets on the
other side, is an untouched store of salted
pork (stolen before he left the island) for
which he has no appetite. He is taken back,
and he is hanged. But I shall never see that
sea-beach on the wall or in the fire, without
him, solitary monster, eating as he prowls
along, while the sea rages and rises at him.

Captain Bligh (a worse man to be entrusted
with arbitrary power there could scarcely
be) is handed over the side of the Bounty,
and turned adrift on the wide ocean in an
open boat, by order of Fletcher Christian, one
of his officers, at this very minute. Another
flash of my fire, and "Thursday October
Christian", five-and-twenty years of age, son
of the dead and gone Fletcher by a savage
mother, leaps aboard His Majesty's ship
Briton, hove to off Pitcairn's Island: says his
simple grace before eating, in good English;
and knows that a pretty little animal on

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