Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

November 1831

November 1.--The night was less dismal than yesterday, and we hold our course, though with an unfavourable wind, and make, it is said, about forty miles progress. After all, this sort of navigation recommends the steamer, which forces its way whether the breeze will or no.

November 2.--Wind as cross as two sticks, with nasty squalls of wind and rain. We keep dodging about the Lizard and Land's End without ever getting out of sight of these interesting terminations of Old England. Keep the deck the whole day though bitter cold. Betake myself to my berth at nine, though it is liker to my coffin.

November 3.--Sea-sickness has pretty much left us, but the nights are far from voluptuous, as Lord Stowell says. After breakfast I established myself in the after-cabin to read and write as well as I can, whereof this is a bad specimen.

November 4.--The current unfavourable, and the ship pitching a great deal; yet the vessel on the whole keeps her course, and we get on our way with hope of reaching Cape Finisterre when it shall please God.

November 5.--We still creep on this petty pace from day to day without being able to make way, but also without losing any. Meanwhile, _Fröhlich!_ we become freed from the nausea and disgust of the sea-sickness and are chirruping merrily. Spend the daylight chiefly on deck, where the sailors are trained in exercising the great guns on a new sort of carriage called, from the inventor, Marshall's, which seems ingenious.

November 6.--No progress to-day; the ship begins to lay her course but makes no great way. Appetite of the passengers excellent, which we amuse at the expense of the sea stock. Cold beef and biscuit. I feel myself very helpless on board, but everybody is ready to assist me.

November 7.--The wind still holds fair, though far from blowing steadily, but by fits and variably. No object to look at--

    "One wide water all around us,
    All above us one 'grey' sky."[483]
There are neither birds in the air, fish in the sea, nor objects on face of the waters. It is odd that though once so great a smoker I now never think on a cigar; so much the better.

November 8.--As we begin to get southward we feel a milder and more pleasing temperature, and the wind becomes decidedly favourable when we have nearly traversed the famous Bay of Biscay. We now get into a sort of trade wind blowing from the East.

November 9.--This morning run seventy miles from twelve at night. This is something like going. Till now, bating the rolling and pitching, we lay

    "... as idle as a painted ship
    Upon a painted ocean."
November 10.--Wind changes and is both mild and favourable. We pass Cape Ortegal, see a wild cluster of skerries or naked rocks called Berlingas rising out of the sea like M'Leod's Maidens off the Isle of Skye.

November 11.--Wind still more moderate and fair, yet it is about eleven knots an hour. We pass Oporto and Lisbon in the night. See the coast of Portugal: a bare wild country, with here and there a church or convent. If it keeps fair this evening we [make] Gibraltar, which would be very desirable. Our sailors have been exercised at a species of sword exercise, which recalls many recollections.

November 12.--The favourable wind gets back to its quarters in the south-west, and becomes what the Italians call the Sirocco, abominated for its debilitating qualities. I cannot say I feel them, but I dreamt dreary dreams all night, which are probably to be imputed to the Sirocco. After all, it is not an uncomfortable wind to a Caledonian wild and stern. Ink won't serve.

November 13.--The wind continues unaccommodating all night, and we see nothing, although we promised ourselves to have seen Gibraltar, or at least Tangiers, this morning, but we are disappointed of both. Tangiers reminded me of my old Antiquarian friend Auriol Hay Drummond, who is Consul there.[484] Certainly if a human voice could have made its hail heard through a league or two of contending wind and wave, it must have been Auriol Drummond's. I remember him at a dinner given by some of his friends when he left Edinburgh, where he discharged a noble part "self pulling like Captain Crowe 'for dear life, for dear life' against the whole boat's crew," speaking, that is, against 30 members of a drunken company and maintaining the predominance. Mons Meg was at that time his idol. He had a sort of avarice of proper names, and, besides half a dozen which were his legitimately, he had a claim to be called _Garvadh_, which uncouth appellation he claimed on no very good authority to be the ancient name of the Hays--a tale. I loved him dearly; he had high spirits, a zealous faith, good-humour, and enthusiasm, and it grieves me that I must pass within ten miles of him and leave him unsaluted; for mercy-a-ged what a yell of gratitude would there be! I would put up with a good rough gale which would force us into Tangiers and keep us there for a week, but the wind is only in gentle opposition, like a well-drilled spouse. Gibraltar we shall see this evening, Tangiers becomes out of the question. Captain says we will lie by during the night, sooner than darkness shall devour such an object of curiosity, so we must look sharp for the old rock.

November 14.--The horizon is this morning full of remembrances. Cape St. Vincent, Cape Spartel, Tarifa, Trafalgar--all spirit-stirring sounds, are within our ken, and recognised with enthusiasm both by the old sailors whose memory can reinvest them with their terrors, and by the naval neophytes who hope to emulate the deeds of their fathers. Even a non-combatant like myself feels his heart beat faster and fuller, though it is only with the feeling of the unworthy boast of the substance in the fable, _nos poma natamus_.

I begin to ask myself, Do I feel any symptoms of getting better from the climate?--which is delicious,--and I cannot reply with the least consciousness of certainty; I cannot in reason expect it should be otherwise: the failure of my limbs has been gradual, and it cannot be expected that an infirmity which at least a year's bad weather gradually brought on should diminish before a few mild and serene days, but I think there is some change to the better; I certainly write easier and my spirits are better. The officers compliment me on this, and I think justly. The difficulty will be to abstain from working hard, but we will try. I wrote to Mr. Cadell to-day, and will send my letter ashore to be put into Gibraltar with the officer who leaves us at that garrison. In the evening we saw the celebrated fortress, which we had heard of all our lives, and which there is no possibility of describing well in words, though the idea I had formed of it from prints, panoramas, and so forth, proved not very inaccurate. Gibraltar, then, is a peninsula having a tremendous precipice on the Spanish side--that is, upon the north, where it is united to the mainland by a low slip of land called the neutral ground. The fortifications which rise on the rock are innumerable, and support each other in a manner accounted a model of modern art; the northern face of the rock itself is hewn into tremendous subterranean batteries called the hall of Saint George, and so forth, mounted with guns of a large calibre. But I have heard it would be difficult to use them, from the effect of the report on the artillerymen. The west side of the fortress is not so precipitous as the north, and it is on this it has been usually assailed. It bristles with guns and batteries, and has at its northern extremity the town of Gibraltar, which seems from the sea a thriving place, and from thence declines gradually to Cape Europa, where there is a great number of remains of old caverns and towers, formerly the habitation or refuge of the Moors. At a distance, and curving into a bay, lie Algeciras, and the little Spanish town of Saint Roque, where the Spanish lines were planted during the siege.[485] From Europa Point the eastern frontier of Gibraltar runs pretty close to the sea, and arises in a perpendicular face, and it is called the back of the rock. No thought could be entertained of attacking it, although every means were used to make the assault as general as possible. The efforts sustained by such extraordinary means as the floating batteries were entirely directed against the defences on the west side, which, if they could have been continued for a few days with the same fury with which they commenced, must have worn out the force of the garrison. The assault had continued for several hours without success on either side, when a private man of the artillery, his eye on the floating batteries, suddenly called with ecstasy, "She burns, by G----!";[486] and first that vessel and then others were visibly discovered to be on fire, and the besiegers' game was decidedly up.

We stood into the Bay of Gibraltar and approached the harbour firing a gun and hoisting a signal for a boat: one accordingly came off--a man-of-war's boat--but refused to have any communication with us on account of the quarantine, so we can send no letters ashore, and after some pourparlers, Mr. L----, instead of joining his regiment, must remain on board. We learned an unpleasant piece of news. There has been a tumult at Bristol and some rioters shot, it is said fifty or sixty. I would flatter myself that this is rather good news, since it seems to be no part of a formed insurrection, but an accidental scuffle in which the mob have had the worst, and which, like Tranent, Manchester, and Bonnymoor, have always had the effect of quieting the people and alarming men of property.[487] The Whigs will find it impossible to permit men to be plundered by a few blackguards called by them the people, and education and property probably will recover an ascendency which they have only lost by faintheartedness.

We backed out of the Bay by means of a current to the eastward, which always runs thence, admiring in our retreat the lighting up the windows in the town and the various barracks or country seats visible on the rock. Far as we are from home, the general lighting up of the windows in the evening reminds us we are still in merry old England, where in reverse of its ancient law of the curfew, almost every individual, however humble his station, takes as of right a part of the evening for enlarging the scope of his industry or of his little pleasures. He trims his lamp to finish at leisure some part of his task, which seems in such circumstances almost voluntary, while his wife prepares the little meal which is to be its legitimate reward. But this happy privilege of English freemen has ceased. One happiness it is, they will soon learn their error.

November 15.--I had so much to say about Gibraltar that I omitted all mention of the Strait, and more distant shores of Spain and Barbary, which form the extreme of our present horizon; they are highly interesting. A chain of distant mountains sweep round Gibraltar, bold peaked, well defined, and deeply indented; the most distinguishable points occasionally garnished with an old watch-tower to afford protection against a corsair. The mountains seemed like those of the first formation, liker, in other words, to the Highlands than those of the South of Scotland. The chains of hills in Barbary are of the same character, but more lofty and much more distant, being, I conceive, a part of the celebrated ridge of Atlas.

Gibraltar is one of the pillars of Hercules, Ceuta on the Moorish side is well known to be the other; to the westward of a small fortress garrisoned by the Spaniards is the Hill of Apes, the corresponding pillar to Gibraltar. There is an extravagant tradition that there was once a passage under the sea from the one fortress to the other, and that an adventurous governor, who puzzled his way to Ceuta and back again, left his gold watch as a prize to him who had the courage to go to seek it.

We are soon carried by the joint influence of breeze and current to the African side of the straits, and coast nearly along a wild shore formed of mountains, like those of Spain, of varied form and outline. No churches, no villages, no marks of human hand are seen. The chain of hills show a mockery of cultivation, but it is only wild heath intermingled with patches of barren sand. I look in vain for cattle or flocks of sheep, and Anne as vainly entertains hopes of seeing lions and tigers on a walk to the sea-shore. The land of this wild country seems to have hardly a name. The Cape which we are doubling has one, however--the Cape of the Three Points. That we might not be totally disappointed we saw one or two men engaged apparently in ploughing, distinguished by their turbans and the long pikes which they carried. Dr. Liddell says that on former occasions he has seen flocks and shepherds, but the war with France has probably laid the country waste.

November 16.--When I waked about seven found that we had the town of Oran twelve or fourteen miles off astern. It is a large place on the sea-beach, near the bottom of a bay, built close and packed together as Moorish [towns], from Fez to Timbuctoo, usually are. A considerable hill runs behind the town, which seems capable of holding 10,000 inhabitants. The hill up to its eastern summit is secured by three distinct lines of fortification, made probably by the Spanish when Oran was in their possession; latterly it belonged to the State of Algiers; but whether it has yielded to the French or not we have no means of knowing. A French schooner of eighteen guns seems to blockade the harbour. We show our colours, and she displays hers, and then resumes her cruise, looking as if she resumed her blockade. This would infer that the place is not yet in French hands. However, we have in any event no business with Oran, whether African or French. Bristol is a more important subject of consideration, but I cannot learn there are papers on board. One or two other towns we saw on this dreary coast, otherwise nothing but a hilly coast covered with shingle and gum cistus.

November 17.--In the morning we are off Algiers, of which Captain Pigot's complaisance afforded a very satisfactory sight. It is built on a sloping hill, running down to the sea, and on the water side is extremely strong; a very strong mole or causeway enlarges the harbour, by enabling them to include a little rocky island, and mount immense batteries, with guns of great number and size. It is a wonder, in the opinion of all judges, that Lord Exmouth's fleet was not altogether cut to pieces. The place is of little strength to the land; a high turreted wall of the old fashion is its best defence. When Charles V. attacked Algiers, he landed in the bay to the east of the town, and marched behind it. He afterwards reached what is still called the Emperor's fort, a building more highly situated than any part of the town, and commanding the wall which surrounds it. The Moors did not destroy this. When Bourmont landed with the French, unlike Charles V., that general disembarked to the westward of Algiers, and at the mouth of a small river; he then marched into the interior, and, fetching a circuit, presented himself on the northern side of the town. Here the Moors had laid a simple stratagem for the destruction of the invading army. The natives had conceived they would rush at once to the fort of the Emperor, which they therefore mined, and expected to destroy a number of the enemy by its explosion. This obvious device of war was easily avoided, and General Bourmont, in possession of the heights, from which Algiers is commanded, had no difficulty in making himself master of the place. The French are said now to hold their conquests with difficulty, owing to a general commotion among the Moorish chiefs, of whom the Bey was the nominal sovereign. To make war on these wild tribes would be to incur the disaster of the Emperor Julian; to neglect their aggressions is scarcely possible.

Algiers has at first an air of diminutiveness inferior to its fame in ancient and modern times. It rises up from the shore like a wedge, composed of a large mass of close-packed white houses, piled as thick on each other as they can stand; white-terraced roofs, and without windows, so the number of its inhabitants must be immense, in comparison to the ground the buildings occupy--not less, perhaps, than 30,000 men. Even from the distance we view it, the place has a singular Oriental look, very dear to the imagination. The country around Algiers is [of] the same hilly description with the ground on which the town is situated--a bold hilly tract. The shores of the bay are studded with villas, and exhibit enclosures: some used for agriculture, some for gardens, one for a mosque, with a cemetery around it. It is said they are extremely fertile; the first example we have seen of the exuberance of the African soil. The villas, we are told, belong to the Consular Establishment. We saw our own, who, if at home, put no remembrance upon us. Like the Cambridge Professor and the elephant, "We were a paltry beast," and he would not see us, though we drew within cannon [shot], and our fifty 36-pounders might have attracted some attention. The Moors showed their old cruelty on a late occasion. The crews of two foreign vessels having fallen into their hands by shipwreck, they murdered two-thirds of them in cold blood. There are reports of a large body of French cavalry having shown itself without the town. It is also reported by Lieutenant Walker,[488] that the Consul hoisted, _comme de raison_, a British flag at his country house, so our vanity is safe.

We leave Algiers and run along the same kind of heathy, cliffy, barren reach of hills, terminating in high lines of serrated ridges, and scarce showing an atom of cultivation, but where the mouth of a river or a sheltering bay has encouraged the Moors to some species of fortification.

November 18.--Still we are gliding along the coast of Africa, with a steady and unruffled gale; the weather delicious. Talk of an island of wild goats, by name Golita; this species of deer-park is free to every one for shooting upon--belongs probably to the Algerines or Tunisians, whom circumstances do not permit to be very scrupulous in asserting their right of dominion; but Dr. Liddell has himself been present at a grand _chasse_ of the goats, so the thing is true.

The wild sinuosities of the land make us each moment look to see a body of Arabian cavalry wheel at full gallop out of one of these valleys, scour along the beach, and disappear up some other recess of the hills. In fact we see a few herds, but a red cow is the most formidable monster we have seen.

A general day of exercise on board, as well great guns as small arms. It was very entertaining to see the men take to their quarters with the unanimity of an individual. The marines shot a target to pieces, the boarders scoured away to take their position on the yards with cutlass and pistol. The exhibition continued two hours, and was loud enough to have alarmed the shores, where the Algerines might, if they had thought fit, have imputed the firing to an opportune quarrel between the French and British, and have shouted "Allah Kerim"--God is merciful! This was the Dey's remark when he heard that Charles X. was dethroned by the Parisians.

We are near an African Cape called Bugiaroni, where, in the last war, the Toulon fleet used to trade for cattle.

November 19.--Wind favourable during night, dies away in the morning, and blows in flurries rather contrary. The steamboat packet, which left Portsmouth at the same time with us, passes us about seven o'clock, and will reach a day or two before us. We are now off the coast of Tunis: not so high and rocky as that of Algiers, and apparently much more richly cultivated. A space of considerable length along shore, between a conical hill called Mount Baluty and Cape Bon, which we passed last night, is occupied by the French as a coral fishery. They drop heavy shot by lines on the coral rocks and break off fragments which they fish up with nets. The Algerines, seizing about 200 Neapolitans thus employed gave rise to the bombardment of their town by Lord Exmouth. All this coast is picturesquely covered with enclosures and buildings and is now clothed with squally weather. One hill has a smoky umbrella displayed over its peak, which is very like a volcano--many islets and rocks bearing the Italian names of sisters, brothers, dogs, and suchlike epithets. The view is very striking, with varying rays of light and of shade mingling and changing as the wind rises and falls. About one o'clock we pass the situation of ancient Carthage, but saw no ruins, though such are said to exist. A good deal of talk about two ancient lakes called----; I knew the name, but little more. We passed in the evening two rocky islands, or skerries, rising straight out of the water, called Gli Fratelli or The Brothers.

November 20.--A fair wind all night, running at the merry rate of nine knots an hour. In the morning we are in sight of the highest island, Pantellaria, which the Sicilians use as a state prison, a species of Botany Bay. We are about thirty miles from the burning island--I mean Graham's--but neither that nor Etna make their terrors visible. At noon Graham's Island appears, greatly diminished since last accounts. We got out the boats and surveyed this new production of the earth with great interest. Think I have got enough to make a letter to our Royal Society and friends at Edinburgh.[489] Lat. 37° 10' 31" N., long. 12° 40' 15" E., lying north and south by compass, by Mr. Bokely, the Captain's clerk['s measurements]. Returned on board at dinner-time.

November 21.--Indifferent night. In the morning we are running off Gozo, a subordinate island to Malta, intersected with innumerable enclosures of dry-stone dykes similar to those used in Selkirkshire, and this likeness is increased by the appearance of sundry square towers of ancient days. In former times this was believed to be Calypso's island, and the cave of the enchantress is still shown. We saw the entrance from the deck, as rude a cavern as ever opened out of a granite rock. The place of St. Paul's shipwreck is also shown, no doubt on similarly respectable authority.

At last we opened Malta, an island, or rather a city, like no other in the world. The seaport, formerly the famous Valetta, comes down to the sea-shore. On the one side lay the [Knights], on the other side lay the Turks, who finally got entire possession of it, while the other branch remained in the power of the Christians. Mutual cruelties were exercised; the Turks, seizing on the survivors of the knights who had so long defended St. Elmo, cut the Maltese cross on the bodies of the slain, and, tying them to planks, let them drift with the receding tide into the other branch of the harbour still defended by the Christians. The Grand-Master, in resentment of this cruelty, caused his Turkish prisoners to be decapitated and their heads thrown from mortars into the camp of the infidels.[490]

November 22.--To-day we entered Malta harbour, to quarantine, which is here very strict. We are condemned by the Board of Quarantine to ten days' imprisonment or sequestration, and go in the _Barham's_ boat to our place of confinement, built by a Grand-Master named Manuel[491] for a palace for himself and his retinue. It is spacious and splendid, but not comfortable; the rooms connected one with another by an arcade, into which they all open, and which forms a delightful walk. If I was to live here a sufficient time I think I could fit the apartments up so as to be handsome, and even imposing, but at present they are only kept as barracks for the infirmary or lazaretto. A great number of friends come to see me, who are not allowed to approach nearer than a yard. This, as the whole affair is a farce, is ridiculous enough. We are guarded by the officers of health in a peculiar sort of livery or uniform with yellow neck, who stroll up and down with every man that stirs--and so mend the matter.[492] My friends Captain and Mrs. Dawson, the daughter and son-in-law of the late Lord Kinnedder, occupying as military quarters one end of the Manuel palace, have chosen to remain, though thereby subjected to quarantine, and so become our fellows in captivity. Our good friend Captain Pigot, hearing some exaggerated report of our being uncomfortably situated, came himself in his barge with the purpose of reclaiming his passengers rather than we should be subjected to the least inconvenience. We returned our cordial thanks, but felt we had already troubled him sufficiently. We dine with Captain and Mrs. Dawson, sleep in our new quarters, and, notwithstanding mosquito curtains and iron bedsteads, are sorely annoyed by vermin, the only real hardship we have to complain of since the tossing on the Bay of Biscay, and which nothing could save us from.

Les Maltois ne se mariaient jamais dans le mois de mai. Ils espérèrent si mal des ouvrages de tout genre commencé durant son cours qu'ils ne se faisaient pas couper d'habits pendant ce mois.

The same superstition still prevails in Scotland.

November 23.--This is a splendid town. The sea penetrates it in several places with creeks formed into harbours, surrounded by buildings, and these again covered with fortifications. The streets are of very unequal height, and as there has been no attempt at lowering them, the greatest variety takes place between them; and the singularity of the various buildings, leaning on each other in such a bold, picturesque, and uncommon manner, suggests to me ideas for finishing Abbotsford by a screen on the west side of the old barn and with a fanciful wall decorated with towers, to enclose the bleaching green--watch-towers such as these, of which I can get drawings while I am here. Employed the forenoon in writing to Lockhart. I am a little at a loss what account to give of myself. Better I am decidedly in spirit, but rather hampered by my companions, who are neither desirous to follow my amusements, nor anxious that I should adopt theirs. I am getting on with this Siege of Malta very well. I think if I continue, it will be ready in a very short time, and I will get the opinion of others, and if my charm hold I will be able to get home through Italy--and take up my own trade again.

November 24.--We took the quarantine boat and visited the outer harbour or great port, in which the ships repose when free from their captivity. The British ships of war are there,--a formidable spectacle, as they all carry guns of great weight. If they go up the Levant as reported, they are a formidable weight in the bucket. I was sensible while looking at them of the truth of Cooper's description of the beauty of their build, their tapering rigging and masts, and how magnificent it looks as

    "Hulking and vast the gallant warship rides!"
We had some pride in looking at the _Barham_, once in a particular manner our own abode. Captain Pigot and some of his officers dined with us at our house of captivity. By a special grace our abode here is to be shortened one day, so we leave on Monday first, which is an indulgence. To-day we again visit Dragut's Point. The guardians who attend to take care that we quarantines do not kill the people whom we meet, tell some stories of this famous corsair, but I scarce can follow their Arabic. I must learn it, though, for the death of Dragut[493] would be a fine subject for a poem, but in the meantime I will proceed with my _Knights_.

[November 25-30.][494]--By permission of the quarantine board we were set at liberty, and lost no time in quitting the dreary fort of Don Manuel, with all its mosquitoes and its thousands of lizards which [stand] shaking their heads at you like their brother in the new Arabian tale of _Daft Jock_. My son and daughter are already much tired of the imprisonment. I myself cared less about it, but it is unpleasant to be thought so very unclean and capable of poisoning a whole city. We took our guardians' boat and again made a round of the harbour; were met by Mrs. Bathurst's[495] carriage, and carried to my very excellent apartment at Beverley's Hotel. In passing I saw something of the city, and very comical it was; but more of that hereafter. At or about four o'clock we went to our old habitation the _Barham_, having promised again to dine in the Ward room, where we had a most handsome dinner, and were dismissed at half-past six, after having the pleasure to receive and give a couple hours of satisfaction. I took the boat from the chair, and was a little afraid of the activity of my assistants, but it all went off capitally; went to Beverley's and bed in quiet.

At two o'clock Mrs. Col. Bathurst transported me to see the Metropolitan Church of St. John, by far the most magnificent place I ever saw in my life; its huge and ample vaults are of the Gothic order. The floor is of marble, each stone containing the inscription of some ancient knight adorned with a patent of mortality and an inscription recording his name and family. For instance, one knight I believe had died in the infidels' prison; to mark his fate, one stone amid the many-coloured pavement represents a door composed of grates (iron grates I mean), displaying behind them an interior which a skeleton is in vain attempting to escape from by bursting the bars. If you conceive he has pined in his fetters there for centuries till dried in the ghastly image of death himself, it is a fearful imagination. The roof which bends over this scene of death is splendidly adorned with carving and gilding, while the varied colours and tinctures both above and beneath, free from the tinselly effect which might have been apprehended, [acquire a] solemnity in the dim religious light, which they probably owe to the lapse of time. Besides the main aisle, which occupies the centre, there is added a chapter-house in which the knights were wont to hold their meetings. At the upper end of this chapter-house is the fine Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist, by Caravaggio, though this has been disputed. On the left hand of the body of the church lie a series of subordinate aisles or chapels, built by the devotion of the different languages,[496] and where some of the worthies inhabit the vaults beneath. The other side of the church is occupied in the same manner; one chapel in which the Communion was imparted is splendidly adorned by a row of silver pillars, which divided the worshippers from the priest. Immense riches had been taken from this chapel of the Holy Sacrament by the French; a golden lamp of great size, and ornaments to the value of 50,000 crowns are mentioned in particular; the rich railing had not escaped the soldiers' rapacity had it not been painted to resemble wood. I must visit this magnificent church another time. To-day I have done it at the imminent risk of a bad fall. We drove out to see a Maltese village, highly ornamented in the usual taste. Mrs. Bathurst was so good as to take me in her carriage. We dined with Colonel Bathurst.

November 26.--I visited my old and much respected friend, Mr. John Hookham Frere,[497] and was much gratified to see him the same man I had always known him,--perhaps a little indolent; but that's not much. A good Tory as ever, when the love of many is waxed cold. At night a grand ball in honour of your humble servant--about four hundred gentlemen and ladies. The former mostly British officers of army, navy, and civil service. Of the ladies, the island furnished a fair proportion--- I mean viewed in either way. I was introduced to a mad Italian improvisatore, who was with difficulty prevented from reciting a poem in praise of the King, and imposing a crown upon my head, _nolens volens_. Some of the officers, easily conceiving how disagreeable this must have been to a quiet man, got me out of the scrape, and I got home about midnight; but remain unpoetised and unspeeched.

November 28.--I have made some minutes, some observations, and could do something at my Siege; but I do not find my health gaining ground. I visited Frere at Sant' Antonio: a beautiful place with a splendid garden, which Mr. Frere will never tire of, unless some of his family come to carry him home by force.

November 29.--Lady Hotham was kind enough to take me a drive, and we dined with them--a very pleasant party. I picked up some anecdotes of the latter siege.

Make another pilgrimage, escorted by Captain Pigot and several of his officers. We took a more accurate view of this splendid structure [Church of St. John]. I went down into the vaults and made a visiting acquaintance with La Valette,[498] whom, greatly to my joy, I found most splendidly provided with a superb sepulchre of bronze, on which he reclines in the full armour of a Knight of Chivalrie.



[483] See Sailor's Song, _Cease, rude Boreas_, etc., _ante_, p. 402: "The Storm."

[484] See _ante_, vol. i. p. 253, note.

[485] Lasting from 21st June 1779 to 6th February 1783.

[486] Compare the reflection of the Chevalier d'Arcon, the contriver of the floating batteries. He remained on board the _Talla Piedra_ till past midnight, and wrote to the French Ambassador in the first hours of his anguish: "I have burnt the Temple of Ephesus; everything is gone, and through my fault! What comforts me under my calamity is that the honour of the two kings remains untarnished."--Mahon's _History of England_, vol. vii. p. 290.

[487] Nothing like these Bristol riots had occurred since those in Birmingham in 1791.--Martineau's _History of the Peace_, p. 353. The Tranent (East Lothian) and Bonnymoor (Stirlingshire) conflicts took place in 1797 and 1820; the Manchester riot in 1826.

[488] Afterwards Admiral Sir Baldwin Walker, so long in command of the Turkish Navy.

[489] See long letter to Mr. Skene in _Life_, vol. x. pp. 126-130.

[490] In the memorable siege of 1565.

[491] Manuel de Vilhena, Grand-Master 1722-1736.

[492] An example of the rigour with which the Quarantine laws were enforced is given by Sir Walter on the 24th:--"We had an instance of the strictness of these regulations from an accident which befell us as we entered the harbour. One of our seamen was brushed from the main yard, fell into the sea and began to swim for his life. The Maltese boats bore off to avoid giving him assistance, but an English boat, less knowing, picked up the poor fellow, and were immediately assigned to the comforts of the Quarantine, that being the Maltese custom of rewarding humanity."--Letter to J.G.L.

[493] High Admiral of the Turkish fleet before Malta, and slain there in 1565. See _Dragut the Corsair_, in Lockhart's _Spanish Ballads_.

[494] The dates are not to be absolutely depended upon during the Malta visit, as they appear to have been added subsequently by Sir Walter.

[495] Wife of the Lieut.-Governor, Colonel Seymour Bathurst.

[496] In 1790 the Order of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem consisted of eight "Lodges" or "Languages," viz.: France, Auvergne, Provence, Spain, Portugal, Germany, and Anglo-Bavaria.--Hoare's _Tour_, vol. i. p. 28.

[497] John Hookham Frere, the disciple of Pitt, and bosom friend of Canning, made Malta his home from 1820 till 1846; he died there on January 7th. He was in deep affliction at the time of Scott's arrival, having lost his wife a few months before, but he welcomed his old friend with a melancholy pleasure.

For Scott's high opinion of Frere, as far back as 1804, see _Life_, vol. ii. p. 207 and note.

[498] Grandmaster of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, and defender of Malta against Solyman in 1565.

Sir Walter Scott