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A VOYAGE TO INDIA,
The pilgrim on his journey bent,-
On Friday, the 9th of March, 1821, the preparations for sea being finished, and crew and passengers on board, the Lonach sailed from Gravesend for Madras and Bengal; and on Sunday, the 11th, anchored in the Downs.
When we enter upon a new scene, and get introduced amongst a people altogether strange to us, we naturally feel a little gloomy, even though it be a scene of our own choosing, and the people we get amongst, in every respect,
as suitable as strangers can be. It takes a time ere the mind can accommodate itself to any change it may experience; even allowing the change to be from worse to better. It takes a time after our introduction to strangers, however affable they may be-although, indeed, they may have dispositions exactly suited to our own-before we can find out what the disposition really is, or feel ourselves altogether at home in their presence. And thus it is, that for the few first days, on board ship, the young adventurer is by no means so happy as he could wish to be. He stalks about in the midst of confusion; unable, though he may be willing, to apply himself in earnest to any thing. There are many others around him, but he scarcely knows them yet; the formality and distance of a first introduction have not yet given place to the cheering familiarity of ripened friendship; and, even in the midst of them, he feels lonely. And thus left, as it were, to himself, his thoughts naturally turn to that which interests them most. He looks back on happier days; he ponders on the friends he is leaving; he glances forward to the future—but he sees not there, to cheer and comfort, what he finds in the past; doubts and fears fill his bosom; and if in his disposition there exist much sensibility and tenderness, he is indeed apt to become melancholy.
But with every evil there is an accompanying good; there is no situation of distress without its accompanying circumstances of alleviation. The great object to be attained, when the mind is tending to a desponding subject, is properly to occupy and divide the thoughts: and, fortunately, the very confusion we get amongst when we go first on board ship, though it interests us but little—though, indeed, we may think it rather tending to our annoyance--serves as a kind of stimulus to the drooping mind; it arrests and feeds, though we may not be aware of it, the then depraved thoughts, as we may well term them—thus preventing them from settling too steadily on any one subject, and drawing us insensibly away from the desponding revery. Very soon, too, we meet with some one, who, feeling as we do ourselves, is inclined to shake off melancholy, by a participation of thoughts and cheerful conversation; and this, at any rate for a time, enlivens not a little the feelings. And, as we every day get rather more acquainted with the people, we every day get a little more reconciled to the place; the spirits gradually rise, and we soon begin to think our situation may not be so intolerable as we at first imagined
But it is not at the very first that the tender feelings are most powerfully aroused. Although he who embarks for a far country, may
be melancholy enough at the very time of embarkation, yet, if he supposes that at this time his feelings are at the worst, he mistakes; he has still severer pangs to experience. The tie which binds him to his home, though it may be stretched, is not yet broken. A little time must elapse ere this takes place; and it is just at the breaking of it, that his feelings of sorrow are wound up to the highest.