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VOYAGE TO INDIA.
On Monday, June 16th, 1823, we went down by the Ramsgate steamboat, to join the Thomas Grenville at the Lower Hope, accompanied by a party of kind relations and friends who were willing to let us see as much of them as we could before our necessary separation. Captain Manning had the yards of the ship manned, and fired a salute in compliment to us. The Grenville weighed anchor soon after we were on board, but met with an adverse wind, and advanced a very little way down the river.
On the 17th we had again baffling winds, and could not get round the North Foreland. About two o'clock, on the morning of the 18th, a fine north breeze sprung up, which carried us very. soon into the Downs. We lay off Deal about six hours, waiting for passengers and a fresh supply of water, much to the vexation of the old pilot, who bitterly regretted that so fine a breeze was allowed to remain useless. It continued, however, and we set off auspiciously at six the same evening, sailing with the wind so well on our quarter, and through so smooth a sea, that though the breeze grew strong in the night, the motion of the ship was hardly perceptible.
In the course of the day I had proposed to read evening prayers regularly, which was received with readiness on the part of Captain Manning. Accordingly, after tea, I repeated, with the party assembled in the cuddy, the general confession, Lord's prayer, petition for all conditions of men, general thanksgiving, &c.
On the 20th, the ship's company were busied, during the early part of the day, in lowering the quarter-deck guns into the hold, and getting up the baggage for the passengers; an operation which,
JOURNAL OF A VOYAGE TO INDIA.
we are told, is to take place once a fortnight. The effect was singular; the whole deck being strewed, during the greater part of the morning, with trunks and packages either shut or open, looked as if we had been boarded and rifled by pirates. To-day I finished
Quentin Durward,” which I had kept as a resource of amusement for the voyage. I began it yesterday, and could not stop till I had quite eaten up my cake. It will, however, bear reading over more than once. I am, certainly, much pleased with it. It has more talent and interest as a story than most which have lately proceeded from the same quarter. Lewis the XIth is powerfully drawn, though, notwithstanding the superiority of his talents, he does not, as a rich and vivid portrait, so completely please and amuse me as James I. in “ Nigel.” Yet between the two mo. narchs, there are many points of resemblance. Ludovic Leslie is but a very ordinary daubing of the Scots mercenary soldier, and only serves to remind us, unpleasantly, of Dugald Dalgetty, and most absurdly, and to the ruin of the conclusion of the story, to blunder at its end into the triumph which the wishes of the readers had reserved for his nephew. Quentin himself is precisely “the Page" of the Abbot: a raw lively lad, thrown by accident into situations of great interest and intricacy, and, in no very probable manner, and by no great merit of his own, rising from poverty and obscurity to fame and great wealth, and the enjoyment of the object of his aflections. The other characters, male and female, are mere sketches, but sketches of great talent and vivacity. I like them all, from the grave, courtly, sententious, and tipsy old soldier Lord Crawford, down to the good-natured, stupid burghers of Liege, and the weeping and the laughing executioner. I would except, however, Hayraddin the Bohemian, whose sketch I think a complete failure; however ambitiously intended, (and he seems to have been a favourite with the author,) he is a very tame compound of Meg Merrilies, of Ronald Mac Eagh in “ the Legend of Montrose,” of Pacolet in “ the Buccaneer,” and of the dumb lady in the service of the Countess of Derby, as if a man, in his ambition after a new beverage, should pour wine, whiskey, beer, and raspberry-vinegar into the same cup. And after all, Hayraddin, with all his talk about planets, palmistry, and atheism, does nothing but what a mere ordinary spy would have done as well, and what, if he had been employed to do, he never would have attempted under the disadvantage of any peculiarities of dress and manner. But though it is very easy to find fault with Quentin Durward, it is decidedly better than many of Scott's later works, nor is there any man now living but Walter Scott who could have written it. So ends the last critique that I shall, in all probability, compose for a long time to come!
On the 21st we had the same gentle breeze, which, though now