BLTC Press Titles

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Mortal Coils

Aldous Huxley

Leaves of Grass

Walt Whitman

Novalis Including Hymns to the Night

Novalis, George MacDonald, Thomas Carlyle

The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas

Journal of a soldier of the 71st, or Glasgow regiment, Highland Light Infantry, from 1806 to 1815

by Thomas] [Pococke


Funchal is the largest town on the island. It is situated on the north side of a hill, towards the ocean, covering the hill from the summit to the base. The houses reach to the water's edge, and they all look as if they were newly built, they are so white and clean. Another range of hills is seen rising above the one on which the town is built; these are also covered with houses, vineyards, and plantations of fruit trees. Nothing could be more charming to our eyes, which had ached so long, in looking over a boundless expanse of sea.

Having completed our supply of water, we set sail for the Cape of Good Hope. As we sailed onwards, I was often surprised at the immense numbers of fishes of all descriptions that played round our vessel. When the weather was calm, fish of every kind, the dolphin, flying-fish, &c. were mixed harmlessly together. The shark was seen playing amongst them, and they not in the least alarmed. Small and large, all seemed collected before us to display the beauties and riches of Divine Providence in the great deep. In a dark night, the sea seemed sparkling with fire.

I inquired the cause of this assemblage of fishes, and their tameness, at an old sailor. He informed me, that the cause was the reflection of the copper on the ship's bottom, and that they were never seen unless the vessel was coppered.

It was early in the morning, when we first beheld the land about the Cape of Good Hope. We soon after could distinguish a hill, called the Sugar Loaf; and next reached a low island, called Robben Island. We anchored in Table Bay, and were disembarked next day.

Cape Town lies in a valley, the sides of which rise gently to the foot of the mountains that encompass it on all sides. Those near the town are of a great height. The houses of the town are all coloured white or yellow* They are mostly built of stone, and appear as if they were not a month old, they are so clean. The streets are paved with flagstones, which, I am told, are brought from India. They are very agreeable in so hot a climate, being very cool.

I expected to see few people here, but Dutch; but I found a collection of all the nations in the world. No doubt, the Dutch are the most numerous; but there are a great many Germans, Swiss, French, British, Irish, &c. all very much assimilated to each other. The Dutch have made the French more grave; the French, the Dutch less sedate. Eveiy class of foreigners seems the better for being thus mixed with others. All are equally industrious; all seem happy and content.

I remained only three weeks at the Cape. I was again embarked in an expedition against South America, under Sir Samuel Achmuty and BrigadierGeneral Lumley.

We arrived in the River La Plata, in October 181)6, when we were informed that the Spaniards had retaken Buenos Ayres, and that our troops only possessed Maldonado, a small space on the side of the river, about five or six miles farther up than Monte Video.' On our disembarkation, we found the remains of the army in the greatest want of every necessary belonging to an army, and quite disheartened. On the land side, they were surrounded by about 400 horsemen, who cut off all their foraging parties, and intercepted all supplies. These horsemen were not regular soldiers, but the inhabitants of the country,

cheers were the signal of our onset. The Spaniards fled; and the right column, seing the fate of their left, set spurs to their horses, and fled, without having shared in the action. There remained in our possession one general, and a great number of prisoners, besides one of their great guns. They left about 300 dead on the field. We had very few wounded prisoners, and these were taken in the pursuit. 1 saw them carry their people back to the town, as soon as they were hurt. Our loss was much less than theirs.

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