Imatges de pàgina

horrors, in short, that flesh is heir to; they turn more hopefully to that scale in which things of joy and beauty are striving to make their weight be felt, while they yet puzzle the beholder in the attempt to appreciate and to measure them. We look and ponder, and cannot tell how the matter stands, for it is of the very essence of the difficulty that in either scale the controlling power lies in the least distinguishable and most impenetrable elements. In the scale of misery who can calculate the power of the bitter word, of the sweep of disillusion, of the untrustworthiness of affection, of the distrust of self, and, worse than all, of the loss of love? Who, again, can put a just value on the beauty of a rose-leaf, on the smile of a child, on the joy of the poet, of the artist, of the lover, on the passionate tears of admiration wrung from the most hardened by nobleness of conduct, by the small unconscious acts of self-devotion, by the unworldliness of the worldly, by the unselfishness of the selfish, by the tolerance of the intolerant? It is in the appreciation of these almost intangible instances of beauty and ugliness, of good and evil, on either side that we are met by almost insuperable difficulties in making a true estimate. Each scale rises or falls according to the vision of the beholder. All is ephemeral, all is relative—who can tell ?

So let us leave the religious man to his mystic dreams, built it may be on the sternest dogmatism, and on a rigidly enforced rule of conduct, yet penetrating far beyond these into the sublime height and depth of the love which passeth all understanding. In considering the unknown and the inexplicable, the cup of cold water, the silent look which lived in St. Peter, will assume proportions they never had before when works were weighed and accounted great or small. Let us likewise leave the man of science to soar into the great beyond, leaving for a time his accurate but relative knowledge, and by means of his 'scientific imagination' to construct theories, build

up distinctions which he may never (turn to account or ever translate into positive knowledge; for is he not now dealing with poetry and mystery, not with the known but with the unknowable ?

Above all, let the puzzled, the ignorant, those who fail in conduct and those who cannot follow or grasp the apparent conviction of the great ones in the intellectual world, deal tenderly with themselves. Let these limited ones, owning humbly their limitations, have their moments of joy in dreams. When they have done their small day's work, let them look into the far blue and rejoice that all is not known even to the wise and prudent.'

A poor conclusion some will say; but 'Le Rêve est bon et utile pourvu qu'on le tienne pour ce qu'il est. Souvenez-vous du grand principe de Hegel, “ Il faut comprendre l'inintelligible comme tel.”'





SAILING in fresh or salt water loch which is surrounded on all sides by mountains is a somewhat risky amusement. Yet there is many a summer's day in which the most inexperienced person might learn to sail without any danger by attending to a few simple hints. Unfortunately, when women take up outdoor amusements they seldom pursue them in moderation. If they hunt, they must be in the saddle eight hours a day for six days a week; if they row, they row till they faint ; and if they bicycle, they ride till they go off in hysterics. It is not surprising, therefore, that sailing in Highland lochs should be discouraged by fathers and husbands; for the careless management of a sailing-boat, or the attempt to sail at all in squally weather, may mean, not loss of health, but loss of life itself. Still, when the sportsmen are away on the hills, taking with them all the available men to carry their lunch or bring back the game,

it seems rather hard that the ladies of the party should have to pass their days in knitting stockings, or walking up and down the one and only road, when they might be spending a most enjoyable afternoon in sailing about the loch.

There is just as great a difference in the pleasure of sailing a boat oneself and being in a boat sailed by some one else as there is between driving a pair of spirited thoroughbreds and sitting in the carriage while the coachman holds the ribands. The one is tame and dull, while the other is exciting and pleasantly dangerous. But I should advise no woman to learn to sail without a practised boatman at her side, unless she has had previously some considerable experience in boating. I do not mean the experience she would acquire by punting or sculling on the Thames in smart clothes, but the rough work she would have to do when boating alone in the Highlands. For instance, she should be nimble and active—able to push a boat off the shore and scramble after it, on to the bows, on one knee; or, when a boat has struck the shallows some feet from dry land, she must slip round the mast without losing her balance, and jump on shore from the bows, rope in hand, so as to pull the boat up after her.

No woman who is naturally awkward ought to be allowed to sail a boat herself, neither should one who has not a strong sense of danger; but she must be strong of arm and cool of head, and she must not mind a knock on the temples from the yard or an occasional blow on the shins from the boom. In short, she must be hardy without being foolhardy, and brave without being daring.

It is of the utmost importance to have a boat which will not sink under any circumstances, and this is a matter which should not be left to chance; therefore it is better to test it yourself. First put whatever ballast you are going to carry for sailing purposes into your boat, then fill it with water, then stand on the seat. Naturally, you cannot expect a boat full of water to remain right way uppermost, because the very first wave would turn it over; but it is something to feel that it will not sink, though the chances of being able to cling to the bottom of a boat in ice-cold water until assistance should arrive are in the highest degree remote.

The boat in which I learnt to sail was built for me in London. It is about ten feet long; light enough for one person to row when sailing is impossible; shallow enough to take within a jump of the shore, and small enough for me to manage entirely alone. So far it has proved perfectly seaworthy, as I have been caught in some terrible storms without being capsized; but I do not consider that it sails as well as it might if it had been made on different lines; however, a first experiment is never quite successful, and I hope that my next boat will be as perfect for sailing as my present one is in all other respects. This boat has a centreboard, copper air-tight compartments round the inside to keep it from sinking, and it is partially decked over. The space between the air-tight compartments and the deck forms a shelf on which cloaks, lunch, and life-jackets can be stowed away, and anything else which is to be kept dry. In ordinary little boats there is no such place, and everything has to be thrown to the bottom, where, besides being in the way, things generally get very wet. The stern seat is double the usual width, and has a raised back, so that with two cushions you can recline luxuriously while sailing. Instead of the ordinary tiller, I had a piece of a young tree bent into a half circle and fixed with wire to the back of the rudder, so as to be able to steer with either hand, or, in a steady high wind, with one elbow leaning on the deck, thus leaving both hands free for managing the sail. The rowlocks have to be extra high in order to free the oars from touching the coamings.

In some respects my boat is like a rather tubby dinghy, but it is infinitely less rickety, as you can step on one side of it without fear of its slipping away from under you and leaving you in the sea.

In hoisting a simple lugsail no knots are required and none should be used. The gear consists of a fixed mast, and the sail, the top of which is laced to a yard, and the bottom corner tied to a boom (these fastenings are permanent and need never be altered). Only four ropes are necessary: (1) called a painter, to tie the boat to her moorings; (2) called a halyard, to haul up the sail; (3) called a sheet, which is fixed near the end of the boom. This rope must never under any circumstances be tied to the boat; it is either held in the hand or allowed to fall loose. The danger of making fast this rope cannot be too strongly enforced, as half of the accidents to small sailing boats are caused by carelessness on this point. The fourth rope, called the tack, fastens the sail to the bottom of the mast. With sculls, rowlocks, baler, rudder, and the centreboard (the latter a fixture), you have everything complete for sailing, with the exception of ballast, and the amount of ballast required to sail a boat to the best advantage, as well as the position in which it should be placed, can only be learnt after long and careful study of the matter.

The ballast used for my boat consists of three or four sacks of small shingle, which I can scarcely lift, and three smaller bags, which can easily be moved from side to side of the boat to keep her from heeling over too much when tacking. Some people might prefer to use heavy stones for ballast instead of sacks of shingle, as these can be pitched overboard to lighten the boat when the wind drops and you have to row.

It is best to learn to sail in a light breeze; and, before attempting to put up your sail, let the boat be well away from the shore, either tied to a buoy, or rope, or floating about loose. If the boat be near the shore, the rudder and centreboard, which should both be in their places ready for a start, may be scraping along the bottom, and possibly damaged, before your sail is set.

The hauling up of the sail is a difficult matter and requires great strength of arm; for, unless it is pulled right up to its proper place, it cannot set without creasing. On a calm day, when you can stand on the seat in the bows and lift up the sail by the yard, it is easy enough; but when a high wind is blowing this is impossible, as the sail envelops you entirely, and the yard bangs you on the head and face till you are stunned and stupefied. I have sometimes felt quite sick after tussling with the sail in a high wind, only to find that, after all, my exertions were in vain, as there was a large crease right across its middle. Before hauling up the sail, it must be hooked on to the halyard (there being a thimble, or eye, on the yard for that purpose), and the short end of the yard should be on the left of the mast. When the sail is up, give the halyard one twist round a cleat you will find at the bottom of the mast on the right side, and then, instead of tying it, pass a loop of the rope between the mast and the halyard just above the cleat, and bring the long end over the seats to the stern. By pulling at this end from your place in the stern, the loop will come out and the sail be let down without your being obliged to leave go of the tiller in the event of a sudden squall coming on. Having hauled

It is a common mistake among those who have had no practical knowledge of sailing to suppose that a sheet is another name for a sail, and that the mainsheet is the same as the mainsail. I fancy that Allan Cunningham must have been under the same misapprehension when he wrote the well-known line,

A wet sheet and a flowing sail,' as, in former days, buckets of water used to be thrown over certain parts of the sail to make it stand better ; but there could be no particular reason for laying stress on

a wet rope.


the sail as far as it will go, you must next hook the end of the boom into a metal loop fixed for that purpose in the centre of the bottom of the mast, and finally lace the tack, which is hanging from an eye or loop in the corner of the sail, into the loop on the left side of the bottom of the mast, passing it four or five times backwards and forwards through each loop and pulling it as tight as it will go. Every time you haul up your sail (after letting it down), you will have to loosen this cord several inches, or you will find that you have not the strength to pull the sail up to the proper place again. The set of the sail depends entirely on the tightness of the halyard and the tightness of the tack.

The boat is now ready to start; you loose her from her moorings, and seat yourself rather to the windward side of the stern, then take hold of the sheet and draw in the sail towards you, and thus your first lesson in the art of sailing will commence.

As you draw the sail towards you the boat will begin to move. If she sails along at an even pace, when you have pulled in the sheet till the sail and centre of the boom are above the edge of the lee side of the boat, you may be sure that your ballast is in the right place for sailing up to the wind. If, on the contrary, the head of the boat turns right up to the wind and the sail begins to flap, you must use the rudder to put it off again; but remember, the more you use the rudder the more drag there will be on the boat to keep her back; you must therefore try, by altering the position of the ballast-putting it more to the stern, for instance—to get the boat to sail with the smallest possible strain on the rudder.

Now watch the way the wind strikes the sail. The wind should strike the centre of the sail, and if there is the slightest possible shiver or bulge behind the sail near the mast, you must use the rudder to put the boat off the wind; that is, if the wind is blowing from the east, you must turn the boat away until the wind strikes the east side of the sail again. If you have a flag at your masthead, it should always blow behind the sail. If the flag is blown between you and the sail, there must be wind at the back of the sail, and if the wind blows from the back of the sail, the boat will fail to get the full advantage out of it; you must therefore draw in the sail nearer to the boat, or else turn the boat away from the wind by the rudder—the pace at which the boat sails will tell you which it is best to do.

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