The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Knickerbocker, or New-York Monthly Magazine, January 1844

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Title: The Knickerbocker, or New-York Monthly Magazine, January 1844

Author: Various

Release date: September 26, 2006 [eBook #19383]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Barbara Tozier, Bill Tozier and the Online
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Transcriber’s Note: The page numbers in the index convert to issues in the following way:

Month Pages
January, 1844 1-102
February 103-204
March 205-306
April 307-408
May 409-510
June 511-608



Vol. XXIII. January, 1844. No. 1.



Whatever the poets may say, it is incontrovertible that the great majority of men look upon the beauties and glories of Nature that surround them with almost entire indifference. We shall not inquire whether this is the result of a natural incapacity to perceive and admire the beautiful and sublime, or whether it is that their impressions are so deadened by familiarity as to be passed by unnoticed. Probably the former is the case with the greater number; although we cannot believe with some writers, that all our ideas of beauty are but the results of association, or of our perceptions of the proportion, or fitness, or utility of things. When we say that some things are naturally agreeable, and others naturally disagreeable, we have said all that we know about the matter; and this amounts to nothing more than a confession of our ignorance. Yet, if we admit in all men the existence of a natural sense of beauty, daily observation shows us that the pleasure arising from it is in most cases very feeble and evanescent. How many live in the midst of the most magnificent natural scenery, and never perceive its beauties until they are pointed out to them by some intelligent traveller! And often if admiration be professed, it is of that vague, undistinguishing kind, which indicates little knowledge of the causes why they admire. Even among men of cultivated tastes, there is much more of affected than real enthusiasm.

If what we have said be true, it is a curious subject of inquiry why descriptive poetry has been so popular. How happens it that so many who have looked upon Nature herself with great indifference, have been so much delighted with the reflection of her image in the pages of the poets? We suspect, indeed, that a part of the popularity of this class of writers is factitious. Thomson, the most popular, is we suspect oftener purchased than read; and his ‘Seasons’ are not unfrequently spoken of with admiration by those who know little of them but the episodes. The chief interest of the ‘Task’ is to be sought for in other 2sources than its descriptions, notwithstanding the curiosa felicitas of Cowper’s diction.

The pleasure which we feel in reading descriptive poetry may perhaps in all cases be traced to one of the three following sources: the conception in our own minds of objects corresponding in a greater or less degree to those which exist in the mind of the poet; the train of associations which his language awakens; or the moral interest with which he invests what he describes. In the case first mentioned, the emotions we feel are similar to those which the sight of the objects themselves would produce; if beautiful, of pleasure; if terrible, of awe. A painting, which is an accurate representation of nature, regarded irrespective of the skill of the artist, would affect us in the same way. But the effects resulting from this cause are too inconsiderable to require particular mention. The picture which words are able to present is so indistinct and vague as rarely to produce any strong emotion. If the objects themselves are generally looked upon with indifference, much less can a verbal description of them afford us any great degree of pleasure.

The language which the poet uses often suggests to the mind of the reader trains of thought and imagery which were never present to his own mind. Hence many expressions which are in themselves eminently poetic, will arouse associations, oftentimes, that entirely spoil the passage. On the other hand, an expression low and vulgar may be ennobled by its associations, and give dignity and force to the composition. We not unfrequently meet phrases which have great beauty in the eyes of one man, which seem flat and insipid in the eyes of another. Every writer who has attempted dignified or pathetic composition, has felt how difficult it is to avoid those words which will suggest ideas that are unworthy of the subject. If, however, the poet is sometimes a loser, he is also sometimes a gainer from this cause. The reader often finds in his own associations, sources of pleasure independent of the poet. The light that illumines the page is but the reflected radiance of his own thoughts, and is unseen by all save himself.

But it is in the moral interest with which the poet invests the objects he describes, that the chief source of our pleasure is to be found. The poet paints Nature, not as she is, but as she seems. He adorns her with beauty not her own, and presents her thus adorned to men, to admire and to love. It is by interweaving human sympathies and feelings with the objects of the material world, that they lose their character of ‘mute insensate things,’ and acquire the power to charm and to soothe us, amidst all the cares and anxieties of our life. The intellectual process which here takes place is so interesting and important that we shall make no apology for treating the subject at some length.

It is sufficiently obvious that an accurate description of nature, or a beautiful work of art, is not poetical. On the other hand, in proportion as the minuteness of the description is increased, the poetry vanishes. The traveller who should give us the exact dimensions of the pyramids, the precise height of the terraces, the width and height of the inner passages, would give us much more definite ideas of those structures than he who should paint to us the effects produced on his own mind by 3their vastness, their antiquity, and the solitude that surrounds them. So in descriptions of natural scenery, the geographer who gives us the measurement of mountains, and rivers, and plains, is much more accurate than he who describes them solely from the picture that exists in his fancy. We wish to be rightly understood. We do not mean that vagueness and generality are essential to poetical description. As on the one hand, mathematical accuracy, by allowing no play to the imagination, produces a feeble impression, so on the other the indistinctness arising from indefinite expressions is equally unfavorable. But in neither is the poetry of the description dependent on the greater or less degree of minuteness with which particular objects are spoken of. When Whitbread described the Phenix, according to Sheridan’s version, ‘like a poulterer; it was green, and red, and yellow, and blue; he did not let us off for a single feather,’ he did not fail more egregiously than Thomson in the following lines, in which, by the force of language, a flock of geese are made highly poetical objects:

‘Hushed in short suspense

The plumy people streak their wings with oil,

To throw the lucid moisture trickling off,

And wait the approaching sign to strike at once

Into the general choir.’

The poet indeed must give us a lively and definite image of the scene or object which he undertakes to describe. But how shall this be done? Simply by telling us how it appeared to him; introducing those circumstances which had the greatest effect on his own imagination. He looks on nature neither as a gardener, a geographer, an astronomer, nor a geologist, but as a man, susceptible of strong impressions, and able to describe clearly to others the objects which affected himself. This he will do in the style which the emotion raised within him naturally dictates. His imagery, his illustrations, his whole language, will take the hue of his own feelings. It is in describing accurately the effect, not the cause, the emotion, not the object which produced it, that the poet’s fidelity to nature consists. Let us illustrate our meaning by two or three examples. In Thomson we find the following description of a thunder-storm:

‘A boding silence reigns

Dread through the dun expanse; save the dull sound

That from the mountain, previous to the storm,

Rolls o’er the muttering earth, disturbs the flood,

And shakes the forest leaf without a breath.

Prone to the lowest vale, the aërial tribes

Descend: the tempest-loving raven scarce

Dares wing the dubious dusk. In rueful gaze

The cattle stand, and on the scowling heavens

Cast a deploring eye, by man forsook,

Who to the crowded cottage hies him fast,

Or seeks the shelter of the downward cave.

’Tis listening fear, and dumb amazement all,

When to the startled eye the sudden glance

Appears far south, eruptive through the cloud

And following slower in explosion vast,

The thunder raises his tremendous voice.

At first heard solemn o’er the verge of heaven

The tempest growls; but as it nearer comes

And rolls its awful burthen on the wind,

The lightnings flash a larger curve, and more

The noise astounds; till over head a sheet

4Of livid flame discloses wide; then shuts

And opens wider; shuts, and opens still

Expansive, wrapping ether in a blaze.

Follows the loosened, aggravated roar,

Enlarging, deepening, mingling; peal on peal

Crushed horrible, convulsing heaven and earth.’

Mr. Irving describes a similar scene in the following terms: ‘It was the latter part of a calm sultry day, that they floated quietly with the tide between these stern mountains. There was that perfect quiet which prevails over nature in the languor of summer heat; the turning of a plank, or the accidental falling of an oar on deck, was echoed from the mountain side, and reverberated along the shores. To the left the Dunderberg reared its woody precipices, height over height, forest over forest, away into the deep summer sky. To the right strutted forth the bold promontory of Antony’s nose, with a solitary eagle wheeling about it; while beyond, mountain succeeded to mountain, until they seemed to lock their arms together, and confine this mighty river in their embraces. In the midst of his admiration, Dolph remarked a pile of bright snowy clouds peering above the western heights. It was succeeded by another and another, each seemingly pushing onward its predecessor, and towering with dazzling brilliancy in the deep blue atmosphere; and now muttering peals of thunder were faintly heard rolling behind the mountains. The river, hitherto still and glassy, reflecting pictures of the sky and land, now showed a dark ripple at a distance, as the breeze came creeping up it. The fish-hawks wheeled and screamed, and sought their nests on the high dry trees; the crows flew clamorously to the crevices of the rocks, and all nature seemed conscious of the approaching thunder gust. The clouds now rolled in volumes over the mountain tops; their summits still bright and snowy, but the lower parts of an inky blackness. The rain began to patter down in broad and scattered drops; the winds freshened, and curled up the waves; at length it seemed as if the bellying clouds were torn open by the mountain tops, and complete torrents of rain came rattling down. The lightning leaped from cloud to cloud, and streamed quivering against the rocks, splitting and rending the stoutest forest trees; the thunder burst in tremendous explosions; the peals were echoed from mountain to mountain; they clashed upon Dunderberg, and then rolled up the long defile of the Highlands, each headland waking a new echo, until old Bull Hill seemed to bellow back the storm.’

We think that no one who attentively reads the foregoing extracts can fail to see the infinite superiority of the latter over the former, in every thing that pertains to a faithful representation of nature. Irving has given us the scene just as he saw it, unmixed with any hue or coloring with which the mood of his own mind might have invested it. We see the objects themselves, disconnected from the associations of the spectator. Had there been a thousand persons looking on, each would have heard the same sounds, and seen the same sights. There is nothing that is extraneous. He has given us an exact copy of his original, and nothing more. Thomson, on the contrary, has not described a thunderstorm as he saw it, but according to the effect that it produced on his own mind. His epithets are rarely descriptive of the qualities that exist in 5the objects to which they are applied. They have reference rather to the emotions which their presence produces in himself. Thus, in the first line, ‘boding’ is not a quality that can be predicated of silence. To the feeling that the silence preceding a storm is wont to excite, the epithet is properly enough applied. So with the expression ‘dubious dusk.’

In connection with these extracts, we will look at one taken from Scott’s description of the scenery around Loch Katrine:

‘Boon nature scattered free and wild,

Each plant, or flower, the mountain’s child;

Here eglantine embalmed the air,

Hawthorn and hazel mingled there;

The primrose pale, and violet flower,

Found in each cleft a narrow bower;

Foxglove and night-shade, side by side

Emblems of punishment and pride,

Grouped their dark hues with every stain

The weather-beaten crags retain;

With boughs that quaked at every breath,

Gray-birch and aspen wept beneath;

Aloft the ash and warrior oak

Cast anchor in the rifted rock;

And higher yet the pine tree hung

His scattered trunk, and frequent flung

Where seemed the cliffs to meet on high

His boughs athwart the narrowed sky.

Highest of all, where white peaks glanced,

Where glistening streamers waved and danced,

The wanderer’s eye could barely view

The summer heaven’s delicious blue.’

The same remarks which we applied to Irving are applicable with some little restriction here. With one or two exceptions, the epithets mark attributes that exist in the subjects. Every one can see at a glance the appropriateness of such terms as pale primrose, gray birch, and narrow bower. They are not dependent for their effect upon any fanciful train of associations which their names may excite.

If we compare the above extracts together, we arrive at certain results which we shall briefly state. We will throw out of view for a moment any pleasure which the rhythm may give us, as foreign to our present purpose. Each of these writers is describing a scene from nature. Each of them has the same object, to interest others by a representation of those sights and sounds that interested themselves. Scott accomplishes his purpose by presenting as exact a picture of nature as it is possible perhaps for words to give. He does not tell us how he is affected by what he sees, and looks upon neither directly nor indirectly. He does not search for any resemblances that are not palpable, and founded in the nature of things. All similes and metaphors which serve to express his own emotions are carefully avoided. The whole is picturesque and life-like in the highest degree, yet every circumstance is mentioned in the cool, unimpassioned way in which we mention any common occurrence.

Thomson accomplishes his purpose by portraying his own feelings; not indeed in so many words, but by the use of those expressions, and by those transitions of thought, which mark a state of emotion. The epithet ‘boding,’ to which we have referred, is an example. It is an indirect disclosure of the mood of his own mind. At another time it is not improbable 6that an epithet of a directly opposite meaning would have been selected. The reader is affected by it, because by a law of sympathy, we are affected by whatever reveals the presence of passion in another. It influences us precisely as the tones of the voice of a person in distress influence us. Both are expressive of emotion, and we cannot remain unaffected by them.

This is the main source of the pleasure we feel in reading Thomson's description. It conveys to us but a very indistinct idea of the subject matter. Different readers, according to their mental peculiarities, will be differently affected by it. He does not paint to the bodily eye, but to the eye of the mind; and he will feel most pleasure who puts himself in the same position as the poet, and sees with his eyes and hears with his ears. Unless he can do this, he will derive but little gratification from the perusal.

Less minute than Irving, and more picturesque than Thomson, Scott will probably to most readers give more pleasure than either of them. In conveying lively impressions of natural objects he is unsurpassed, but he is scarcely less successful in inspiring the mind of the reader with the same emotions that fill his own breast. There is ever between the thought and its expression a perfect harmony. It is only when agitated by passion that he uses the language of passion. Hence we never find that timid phraseology which so often disgusts us in Thomson; vox et præterea nihil. No one delights more in the use of figurative language, nor employs metaphors that more appropriately convey the sentiment that pervades his mind. In the passage we have quoted are the following lines:

‘Aloft the ash and warrior oak

Cast anchor in the rifted rock.’

The poet looking up at the trees firmly rooted in the rifts of the rock, defying the tempest and storm, felt an emotion of pleasure which the sight of their lofty position, and the apparent danger of their being hurled headlong at the first blast of wind, contrasted with the sense of their real security, produced. To express this pleasurable emotion, he fastens upon the resemblance between a root of the tree and an anchor; a resemblance not between the things themselves, but between their uses. Neglecting all the points of difference, and confining his attention to this single point of similarity, he presents an image which all admit to be highly forcible and poetical.

The great merit of all descriptive poetry consists in the unity of feeling which pervades it. Unlike the epic, or the drama, it has none of the interest which arises from a connected narrative, or the development of individual character in reference to a certain end. The poet confines himself to the expression of those feelings which are awakened by the sight of the beauty and sublimity of nature. Passing, as he necessarily must, from one object to another, each fitted to excite in his bosom conflicting emotions, his attention is so much diverted, that none of them produces upon him its legitimate effect. There is wanting some central object of interest to which all others are subordinate. Hence is explained the listlessness of which every one is conscious in 7the continuous perusal of the Seasons. We find the greatest pleasure by reading a page here and a page there, according to the state of our feelings.

It is never in short poems that the descriptive poets succeed best. L’Allegro and Le Penseroso are gems; but all Milton’s genius could not have made the Paradise Lost readable, were it deprived of its unity as an epic, and broken up into a series of detached pictures. The Deserted Village of Goldsmith is the longest poem of this class that we now remember, having all its parts so pervaded by a common spirit that a succession of new objects does not impair the designed effect. Sweet Auburn as it was in its palmy days, and as it is in its desolation, presents two distinct pictures, yet so closely connected that each heightens the effect of the other by the contrast. Nothing can exceed the exquisite art with which Goldsmith has seized upon those circumstances that tend to make the desired impression, and rejected all others. How perfect are each of the following descriptions, and how much would their beauty be marred by the transfer of a single circumstance from one to the other:

‘How often have I paused on every charm,

The sheltered cot, the cultivated farm;

The never-failing brook, the busy mill,

The decent church that topped the neighb’ring hill;

The hawthorn-bush with seats beneath the shade,

For talking age and whispering lovers made.


‘The dancing pair that simply sought renown,

By holding out to tire each other down;

The swain mistrustless of his smutted face,

While secret laughter tittered round the place;

The bashful virgin’s sidelong looks of love,

The matron’s glance, that would those looks reprove.


‘No more thy glassy brook reflects the day,

But choked with sedges works its weedy way;

Along thy glade, a solitary guest,

The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest;

Amidst thy desert walks the lapwing flies,

And tires the echoes with unvaried cries;

Sunk are thy bowers, in shapeless ruin all,

And the long grass o’ertops the mouldering wall.’

It is by the selection of such objects as have in themselves no common bond of union, but which combine to raise a certain emotion, that the essential distinction is to be found between the descriptions of the poet and the prose-writer. The latter joins objects together as they are joined in nature, following a principle of association which is simple and obvious. His resemblances are usually such as are cognizable by the senses; a likeness in the sensible qualities of things. The poet’s principle of association is in the effect produced on his imagination. Things which have not in themselves a single point of similarity, are connected together, because they produce the same emotions of pleasure, or pain, or hope, or melancholy. A beautiful illustration of this is found in the opening stanzas of Gray’s Elegy:

‘The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,

The lowing herd winds slowly o’er the lea,

The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,

And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,

And all the air a solemn stillness holds,

Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,

And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds.’

8A summer evening in the country is associated in most minds with images of mirth and joy. Thus Goldsmith has described it:

‘Sweet was the sound, when oft at evening’s close,

Up yonder hill the village murmur rose;

There as I passed with careless steps, and slow,

The mingling notes came softened from below;

The swain responsive as the milk-maid sung,

The sober herd that lowed to meet their young;

The noisy geese that gabbled o’er the pool,

The playful children just let loose from school,

The watch-dog’s voice, that bayed the whisp’ring wind,

And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind.’

With what consummate skill, if indeed it be not rather the instinct of the poet, has Gray avoided all mention of those objects which might awaken associations discordant with the mood of his own mind! Each epithet is full of a plaintive melancholy. There is not one that does not contribute something to the effect; not one that can be omitted; not one that can be altered for the better. Yet there is scarcely one that is descriptive of any quality actually existing in its subject. The fitness of each is to be felt rather than seen.

In the selection of those circumstances and objects which Gray has enumerated, he was governed by the effect which each had upon his own feelings. He looked upon nature in the reflected light of his own heart. He was mournful in view of the destiny of man; and wandering amidst the graves of the lowly and obscure, he saw all the external world colored with the hue of his own sad thoughts. The melancholy spirit within him transformed all things without into its own likeness. His imagination, darting hither and thither, and governed in its flight by laws too subtle and delicate to be analyzed, reposed itself for a moment amidst the gloom of the historical associations that cluster around the curfew, hovered over the lowing herd, and followed the ploughman as he homeward plods his weary way. Goldsmith, recalling the scenes where he had spent many happy hours, looks upon nature under a far different aspect. Every thing to him is gay and joyous. He hears not the hollow tones of the curfew, nor the drowsy tinklings that lull the distant folds. He sees not the wearied ploughman, caring for nought but to forget his toils in the sweet oblivion of sleep. He hears but the song of the milk-maid, and the soft response of her rustic lover; the watchdog’s voice, and the loud laugh of the happy idlers. He sees but the children just escaped from school, running and leaping, and romping in their innocent glee. Happy himself, he fastens upon whatever in nature around him seems to sympathise with him, and dwelling fondly upon it, casts away from his thoughts every thing that can obstruct the full, free flow of his joyous emotions.

We may remark in passing, what has probably been before remarked by the attentive reader, that both Gray and Goldsmith, excited as they are by different passions, refer to the ‘lowing herd’ as raising on the one hand a cheerful, and on the other a melancholy feeling. To our thought, the associations connected with the return of the herds from the fields at sunset are best fitted to awaken that quiet, reflective state of mind which is most congenial to the mood of the elegiac poet. To another, these associations may be of such a character as to produce a directly opposite effect.

9The writer of prose who should describe scenes like these, would aim to give us a distinct and accurate picture by presenting all their prominent features, omitting nothing, and grouping them as Nature herself had grouped them. Such descriptions we daily see in all books of voyages and travels. Or if the descriptions be of scenes wholly imaginary, their essential character is not changed. Although they cease to be real, they do not become poetical. The extract which we have made from Irving is not poetical. Accurate, vivid, life-like, it is. We cannot read it without a feeling of pleasure. We admire the genius of the writer; we wonder at the magnificence of the spectacle which, by a few masterly touches, he has raised up before us. But there is no more poetry in it than in his description of Herr Van Tassel’s supper table, covered with all the luxuries of Dutch housewifery. It is true, there may be more of beauty and sublimity in the scenery of the Hudson, in the gathering clouds and muttering thunder, than in the sight of dough-nuts and crullers, sweet-cakes and short-cakes, peach pies and pumpkin pies, slices of ham and slices of smoked beef; yet the spirit of poetry exists no more in the one than in the other. Poetry has its abode in the heart of man; not in the winds, in the clouds, in the mountains, or in the vales. It does not derive its power from the outward world, but breathes into it its own breath of life, investing the earth with a beauty which has no existence but in the human soul, and filling the air with sweet harmonies, which are unheard save by the inspired ear of the poet.

We have now, we think, sufficiently answered the question, why so many who read descriptive poetry with pleasure, look with indifference upon what is beautiful or sublime in nature. The poet is to them like one who gives sight to the blind. The landscape which formerly lay before their eyes unregarded, almost unseen, is now ‘beautiful exceedingly.’ Nature has not changed; they themselves have not changed; yet there is a change. There is a glory unseen before, cast over the earth. It is, as it were, transfigured before them, and made radiant with celestial light. This is the poet’s work. With a keener perception of the beautiful and sublime than other men; with a greater facility of association, and with the power to give to language the hue and intensity of his own feelings, he clothes lifeless nature with the attributes of humanity, making it instinct with human sentiment and passion. Like Burns, he pours forth his lament over the mountain-daisy cut down in its bloom, in a few simple words that find a response in the hearts of all men; and henceforth it is embalmed in our memories, and shall be as immortal as the star that shines in the far depths of the heavens. Like Wordsworth, he wanders upon the banks of his native lakes, and mingles his song with the noise of their waters, until the faintest whisper of the rippling waves seems but the echo of his voice. Wherever he goes fruits, flowers, and herbage spring up in his footsteps. A divine Presence goes with him; Nature speaks to him with her thousand voices, and he hears, and answers, making sweet music in the joy of his heart. Nothing is so inconsiderable as to be without the pale of his sympathy; nothing too humble to stir the fountains of love in his breast. The solitary flower that blossoms by the way-side, the rivulet far away amid the 10hills, is but the starting point of that wondrous chain of thick-coming fancies, that fill his eyes with light, and his ear with harmony; as if multitudes of angels were hovering around, and he heard on every side the rustling of their wings.

Such are the gifts of the poet. They are God’s gifts, and are indeed ‘wonderful in our eyes.’


Hast thou not been where wild winds, freshly blowing,

Brought odorous gladness on each passing gale;

Hast thou not been where the pure streamlet flowing,

In each soft murmur told a gentle tale:

As the bright flashing of its gushing water,

Glad as the tones of merriment and glee

That joyous burst from children in their laughter,

Swift dashes onward to the boundless sea?

Hast thou not been where the enamelled mead

Its beauty gave to the enraptured sense,

And the crushed lily, from the elastic tread,

Yielded its life in breath of sweets intense?

Hast thou not been in spring-time’s early hours,

Where the lone bird its short sweet carol gave

To the young bursting leaves and budding flowers,

Beside some wildly-rushing mountain wave?

Not such the lay it sings in summer hours,

When love beats high within its little breast,

And its exulting song it joyous pours,

Where thick embowering leaves conceal its nest.

Hast thou not marked, when autumn’s gorgeous glory

Fled in the rushing of the hurrying blast,

The deep’ning pathos of the moral story

Sighed in each cadence, as it onward passed.

Hast thou not heard the ancient forests, bending

To the far sweeping of the mighty wind,

Send forth a solemn sound, as though responding

To voices deep that secret powers unbind?

Hast thou not stood where ocean madly raging,

Rolled onward as with overmastering shock:

‘Till hushed the storm, the chaféd surge assuaging,

It gently laved the firm-opposing rock?

Hast thou not gleaned a lesson to thy reason

From winter’s fostering power and spring’s awakening reign;

Summer’s brief heat, autumn’s maturing season,

And learned vicissitudes are not in vain?

But from the varied page outspread before thee,

Garner’d of wisdom for thy fleeting days,

Whether the sunshine or the storm be o’er thee,

Forward to look with hope, and trust, and praise?

Newport, Rhode-Island, Dec., 1843. E. R. G. H.




At Christmas every body is or should be happy. The genial influence of the season lightens alike the lofty hall and the lowly cottage. It is the same at home or abroad, on the land or the billow, in royal purple or in ragged poverty; here and every where, to one and to all, it is always ‘merrie Christmas.’ At such a time there is an obligation due from every man to society, to be happy, and the more cheerfully it is paid, the better. The man who would be found scowling and glowering like a thunder-cloud, cherishing his private griefs or animosities at a time when every other countenance is glowing with light, and hope, and sunshine, should be denied all the charities of humanity, and exiled to Kamschatka, or some other inhospitable clime, to growl and fret with the wild beasts, or the wilder elements.

How dear is the light of home when glowing with the fires of Christmas! What though the elements be wild without, or Jack Frost blow his whistling pipe at the door, or fierce winds rumble down the chimney, and tell of sweeping gusts and howling storms abroad, if within and around that charmed circle is breathed the spirit of kindness and affection! Should the titled stranger or the ragged beggar knock, throw wide open the doors of thy hospitality; and while prattling infants recount the joys of the season, and school-boy striplings pursue their holiday sports, and gray-haired men who have traversed the wide world over, tell how in all their wanderings they have never passed a Christmas from home; he will turn his thoughts with a melancholy pleasure to the distant fireside beyond the sea, and to the friends who are gathered there, and wonder where the wanderer is spending his Christmas.

With all respect for the ancient and honorable class of ‘old bachelors,’ whose sympathy and good fellowship we most earnestly desire, be it said, that if to any it is allowed to be miserable at Christmas, it surely is to them. We would not for the world say aught to heighten the sad picture of their social desolation, by dwelling on the thousand tender endearments of home, the ten thousand cords of love, of which they know nothing. Certain it is, that to many of them ‘merrie Christmas’ brings only pangs of remorse; and we have known more than one crusty member of the fraternity, who on such occasions would rush incontinently from the scene and the sound of merriment, and shut themselves under lock and key, until the storm was passed, and people have recovered their lost senses.

Such an one, however, we are proud to say, was not Tom Hardesty, though bachelor he was, in the superlative degree. Every body wondered how he managed to preserve his good-humor and vivacity under the frosts of three-score winters. At the period of this authentic history, Tom was the village grocer; a station he had filled to his own profit and the town’s convenience until he had become a piece of village furniture, 12necessary to its existence as a corporation. His little store, with its great variety of commodities, adapted to every human want, was in itself a perfect ‘curiosity-shop.’ Odd-looking boxes, kegs, chests, casks, barrels and hogsheads, contained his groceries, drugs and dye-stuffs. A few remnants of domestic prints and muslins, together with stray fragments of broadcloth, constituted his stock of dry-goods. Then there was a modicum of hardware and cutlery; a few spelling-books and new testaments for a book store; and sundry jars and bottles filled with fancy-colored powders and liquids, for an apothecary shop. His remaining list of commodities was made up of hats, caps and bonnets, boots and shoes, tin-pans and looking-glasses, slate-pencils and sifters; and as his standing advertisement in the village newspaper duly notified the public, ‘other articles too numerous to mention—call and see for yourselves.’ If any body desired an article nobody ever heard of before, he could find a large lot thereof at Tom Hardesty’s; and if any lucky or ingenious wight had found or made any thing that nobody else would have as a gracious gift, let him call on Mr. Hardesty, and it was the very thing he wanted. In a word, his shop was a grand dépôt for every article the ingenuity of man could devise, or his necessities require.

What a blessed convenience was Tom Hardesty! How could we have gotten along without him? How honest and affable! What long ells and heavy pounds he gave! And then his tea! how it inspired the village gossip on long winter nights in a chimney corner! All the matrons of the village were quite in love with Tom, or his tea; and many an old crone, as she sat inhaling cup after cup of the divine beverage, has been known to pause in the midst of her inspirations, and exclaim with uplifted hands, ‘God bless Tom Hardesty!’

And yet Tom Hardesty was a bachelor, and kept ‘bachelor’s hall.’ The only members of his mess were an orphan boy of his adoption, who waited in the store, and a brindle cat which the master had honored with his own name. This point, however, is still wrapt in obscurity, for Tom and ‘Tom’ were both so venerable that nobody could swear whether the cat had been named after the master, or the master after the cat. It had been rumored by those who should know, that Mr. Hardesty should not be held strictly accountable for this sin of celibacy, since he had offered his hand, his heart, and a partnership in his worldly goods, to more than one village beauty, each of whom had found it impossible to ‘love for antiquity’s sake,’ and rejected his matrimonial offers accordingly. Still Tom never repined. His daily experience behind the counter had taught him the useful lesson, that each applicant does not necessarily always drive a trade, and the commodity which one rejects may be eagerly sought by another; and acting on the faith of this philosophy, he lived cheerfully on, cherishing the hope that even yet some fond heart would beat responsive to his own, and promise before the competent authority, to ‘love, honor and obey’ him, Tom Hardesty.

On a memorable Christmas-eve we enter his little counting-room. A cheerful fire blazes on the hearth; and at the moment grimalkin is purring on the rug. Master John, the adopted, is poring over a picture-book, 13probably an early edition of Peter Parley’s Travels, and Mr. Hardesty is standing before a broken fragment of looking-glass, diligently brushing his scanty locks.

‘John!’ said Mr. Hardesty, turning from the mirror, and looking full at the boy, ‘do I look very old to-night?’

The boy turned up his innocent face, gazed steadily on his master from top to toe, and answered, ‘Sir!’

‘Do I look very old to-night, John?’

John scratched his head. ‘Not much older than you did this time last night, Sir.’

‘Humph!’ said Mr. Hardesty, appealing to the glass, and renewing his efforts with the brush, while John resumed his reading.

‘But, John,’ resumed Mr. Hardesty, seating himself beside the boy, ‘do you really think that a middle-aged lady, of right comfortable property, would have, could have, any rational objection to be called Mrs. Hardesty?’

‘I think not, Sir,’ replied John, taking up the cat; ‘I’m sure you have been very kind to me and old Tom here, and I know you would be so to her.’

‘Very true, John,’ said Mr. Hardesty, whose feelings were touched by this expression of the boy’s gratitude; ‘but I wish to extend the sphere of my usefulness; and I may venture to hope—but don’t mention it—that in the course of three or four years, or may-be a little longer, there’ll be a little boy at our house for you to play with; and if it’s a girl, John, you shall marry her when you get old enough. Eh, John! how would you like that?’ And the old gentleman chuckled himself into a fit of coughing that seemed to threaten his longevity, and prevented John’s reply to a suggestion that had never occurred to him as being within the bounds of the most remote possibility.

Having amused himself sufficiently with these flights of his fancy, Mr. Hardesty rose from his seat, gave John eighteen-pence for Christmas-money, stroked his namesake’s back, put on his cloak and cap, and after bidding John be a good boy, and not to mention it, and to take care of the fire till he came back, left the house on his errand of love.

Christmas eve! Surely the village streets were never so gay before! You may know there is a moon, for though the sky is darkened with clouds, and the snow is falling as it never fell before, there is a glow of light above and around, that would burst on the eye like dim revealings of fairy-land, but for the mist that floats through the dim upper air, and seems striving to bind the earth as with a mantle.

What a merry, merry Christmas! Gust after gust comes whirling on, full-freighted with the virgin snow. There are shouts of revelry that rise and fall with the sound of the blast. There are hurried footsteps that glide over the crackling snow. There are merry hearts within those bounding sleighs, and hands that clasp the hands they love, though wrapped in countless furs and muffs. Gay steeds dash on with steaming nostrils, as if their toil were sport; and their bells, as they ring cheerily out in the sombre night, give promise of marriage-bells to come.

Through all this busy scene Tom Hardesty pressed on, turning neither 14to the right nor left, except when he turned a corner. As the wind dashed the driving snow in his face, he drew his cloak more closely around him, and, shivering, passed on with cheerful thoughts of love and matrimony. Sometimes the boys pelted him with their snowy artillery, or old acquaintances inquired after his health, but he glided on like a dim shadow, heedless alike of all. By degrees the holiday din of the village waxed faint in his ears, and as he approached the suburbs, his heart beat fast while his steps were slow with indecision, for he was approaching the end of his pilgrimage—the dwelling of Miss Peggy Sidebottom.

While Mr. Hardesty is pausing at the door, stamping the snow from his feet, and making the accustomed use of his pocket-handkerchief, we will take advantage of his delay to state, briefly, that Miss Sidebottom, beside being sole proprietress of the cottage-like mansion aforesaid, claimed also among her chattels sundry shares in bank, and certain notes of hand, yielding her sufficient income, without calculating the value of her personal charms, to make her hand and heart two very desirable items of furniture in a bachelor’s apartments. Her household consisted of herself, and a nephew and niece, christened Dick and Belinda, orphan children of a deceased brother. Dick was a wild, rattling scape-grace, as ever robbed hen-roost or melon-patch; Belinda was nothing, particularly, except a little, quiet, blue-eyed girl, the pride of her aunt, and a pattern of propriety to all little girls. That Miss Sidebottom was kind and motherly to the two orphans, there is no question; but it was rumored that in consideration thereof she enjoyed a comfortable legacy. It is only necessary to premise, farther, that Miss Sidebottom had been younger by some two-score years than she was that night; that she was one of Mr. Hardesty’s best customers; and that after long worshipping her across the counter, he had suddenly determined to declare his passion with all the eloquence he possessed; which was not inconsiderable, as many can bear witness.

Mr. Hardesty knocks and is admitted to the hall. Another door is opened, and there, in the snuggest corner, and by the snuggest fire conceivable, sits Miss Sidebottom. The opposite end of the hearth is decorated by Belinda, while a cat is sleeping on the rug between them. It was a picture of quiet happiness that touched Mr. Hardesty’s heart; and advancing into the room, he bows with all the elegance of a Beau Brummel.

Miss Sidebottom turned her eyes upon the new-comer, and as they fell on the familiar and smiling countenance of the grocer, she sprang to her feet, and exclaimed: ‘Why, Mr. Hardesty! I am so glad to see you! Let me have your cloak and cap, Sir. Come, be seated; draw near the fire.’

Mr. Hardesty kept bowing all this time with as much nobility as was displayed by the famous stick that was too crooked to lie still; and after grasping Belinda’s hand very affectionately, he seated himself, and drew near the fire.

‘Dear me! what a night!’ said Miss Sidebottom; ‘ain’t it cold out, Mr. Hardesty?’

Mr. Hardesty replied by shivering palpably, and said he had seen 15colder, and he had seen warmer, but it would do. Having said thus much, he produced his snuff-box, which he extended to the ladies, and then helped himself.

‘I am truly glad, Miss Peggy,’ continued Tom. ‘to see you situated so comfortably—I am.’ And he smiled tenderly and shifted his chair; but in doing so, he infringed on the cat’s tail, and the animal, as cats are wont to do, squalled vehemently. Mr. Hardesty bounded from his seat.

‘Dear me!’ exclaimed Miss Sidebotton, ‘don’t do that!’

‘Positively, Madam,’ said Tom, ‘I am very sorry, indeed—I am!’

‘Poor thing!’ said Belinda, taking the injured quadruped in her arms; ‘poor thing!—did he hurt its tail?’

‘’Deed, Madam,’ said Mr. Hardesty, stroking the animal’s back, ‘I wouldn’t have done that for forty ordinary cats. I may say, Madam, speaking metaphorically, that your cat is of the short-horn Durham stock, and wasn’t made to be trod on.’

‘Lor’, Sir,’ replied Miss Sidebottom, adjusting her cap, ‘cats is cats, and cattle is cattle—that’s my sentiments; but as I was going to say, Mr. Hardesty, I was telling Mrs. Jenkins to-night, not an hour ago, that I felt a kind of nervous kind of feeling that somebody was coming; and sure enough, here comes you. You see, Mrs. Jenkins was here to take tea with me to-night, and beside the baby, why her little Jack and Sally and Bill and Susan would come, because, they said, pap wasn’t at home, and they would starve if they staid there. And here, sure enough, come they did, before Mrs. Jenkins had fairly pulled off her bonnet; and stay they would, though she boxed ’em well; but they didn’t mind that, and I told her Christmas come but once a year, and as it turned out, the poor things were hungry, in yearnest. And you never see children eat so; I do believe they hadn’t had a good meal for a fortnight. Well, we hadn’t got fairly seated after supper, when rap! rap! at the door, and there was Jake Crow had come for Mrs. Jenkins; for Jenkins had got into a drunken row, and had his head cut with a stick. And you never hearn sich a fuss; and Mrs. Jenkins and the little brats went home crying all the way; and here me and Belinda have been by ourselves ever since. But poor Mrs. Jenkins! I wonder men will get drunk and leave their wives and children to starve. You never get drunk, Mr. Hardesty, do you?’

‘Drunk! Madam, drunk!’ said Mr. Hardesty, placing his hand over his heart, and shaking his head emphatically. ‘No, Madam; I only get what you may call intoxicated, and not with liquor neither; and I feel it coming on me now—I do indeed!’

‘Well, well!’ replies Mrs. Sidebottom, holding up her hands in utter astonishment, ‘I never heard tell of the like of that before. P’raps its the cold, Mr. Hardesty.’

‘No, Madam,’ persisted the old gentleman; ‘it’s the heat.’

‘Dear me! Mr. Hardesty; then I’ll open the door.’ And Miss Peggy started to her feet.

‘No, my dear Madam, don’t, if you please. It ain’t this here fire in the hearth, but,’ striking his breast passionately, ‘it’s here, Madam.’

‘That’s just where Mrs. Jenkins is affected sometimes, and she says 16Madeira’s the best thing for it; and she has drank nearly all that last quart I got of you, Mr. Hardesty, and I don’t see as she gets any better.’

‘Madeira, indeed!’ said old Tom, scornfully. ‘Madeira, madam, instead of squenching, would only add fuel to the flame that is consuming me. There are men as takes to the bottle for it when they despair; but bless your soul!’ he continued, dropping his voice to a whisper, ‘I haven’t despaired.’

At this eloquent appeal, Mrs. Sidebottom looked at the fire and said nothing, until an audible snore from Belinda, who had fallen asleep in her chair, aroused her.

‘Bless me!’ exclaimed Miss Peggy, bouncing to her feet; ‘look at the child there! Belinda dear, wake up. Poor dear thing! you had better go up stairs to bed.’ And rubbing her eyes, the child took up a lighted candle, bowed politely to Mr. Hardesty, and disappeared behind the stair-door.

Miss Sidebottom resumed her seat and looked again at the fire, and Mr. Hardesty looked at Miss Sidebottom. Presently, that amiable lady turned her gaze, lighted as it was by an equivocal smile, full upon Tom. In the space of about fifteen seconds, after trying in vain to interpret that smile to his own satisfaction, Mr. Hardesty quailed, while his heart commenced vibrating against his ribs, as though it would burst their feeble barrier, and take refuge in his waistcoat-pocket. Miss Sidebottom, however, showed no such symptoms of alarm, and her courage rose as Tom’s fell. By the way, composure in such delicate epochs is like see-sawing; one ascends as the other descends, until perchance the weaker party fails to recover his equilibrium, and tumbles off the fence. Diffident young courtiers should remember this.

Mr. Hardesty was bewildered beyond endurance. How could a man speak more plainly? And yet he would try once more.

‘Let me tell you, my dear Miss Sidebottom, once for all, I’m——’

There was a noise of some one opening the front door, and as Mr. Hardesty turned his head, Dick entered the room.

‘Why, Dicky, where have you been this cold night?’ asked his aunt.

Dicky replied that he had been snow-balling, of which there were sufficient marks on his person. His countenance was flushed and heated, and he proceeded to say that he was tired, and wanted to go to bed.

At this Mr. Hardesty rose deliberately from his seat, saying it was time to go.

‘But, Mr. Hardesty,’ urged Miss Peggy, ‘it’s cold and snowing; stay all night there with Dicky,’ pointing to a comfortable bed in one corner. ‘I know you are delicate, and it’s snowing hard. I’ll go and see. Here Dicky,’ and she left the room followed by Dick. Mr. Hardesty looked around at the comfortable quarters offered him, and determined to remain. Scarcely had he come to this decision, when the affectionate aunt and nephew returned, the former telling him not to think of going out on such a night, and the latter assuring him it was snowing ‘like sixty.’

‘I’ll stay, Madam, and thank’ee too,’ said Mr. Hardesty, re-seating himself. Miss Peggy bade her guest a very good night, and, threatening to catch him for a Christmas gift next morning, disappeared up the stairs 17and locked the door after her. Tom watched her retreating figure until she disappeared, and then addressed himself to the boy.

‘Been snow-balling to-night, eh, Dicky? Fine sport, Dicky; fine sport.’

‘I should say it was, Sir, when your side toes the mark and don’t run,’ said Dick, placing his damp shoes on the hearth. ‘Them shoes’ll never run away with my feet in ’em, certain.’

‘Well, Dicky,’ continued Mr. Hardesty, stirring the fire, ‘you’re a brave boy.’

‘Yes, Sir,’ said Dick, ‘braver than you think for. Catch me napping when there’s work to do, and I am to get a pie for it in the bargain, will you?’ The bare suggestion amused Dick, and as he divested himself of his damp clothes, he laughed heartily.

‘That’s just what I was saying, Dicky, and was going on to add, that snow-balling and such like ain’t for me now, but the time was when none was better at them than I.’

‘P’raps not,’ said Dick, ‘but as I’m rather tired, and don’t mind the cold, I’ll get in and warm the bed, and you can come along when you like;’ and the light-hearted boy sprang into his nest, and in less than five minutes was snoring audibly.

Mr. Hardesty stirred the fire, and as the myriad sparks flew up the chimney, he wished he had just so many dollars; he would give them all if she would but love him. Growing weary of this delusive sport, he looked at his watch, compared it with Miss Sidebottom’s yankee clock, and finding his own time-piece was just five minutes the faster, concluded that both were wrong just two minutes and a half, and he would split the difference. He might be mistaken, but if he was he would consult the town clock to-morrow.

Mr. Hardesty resumed the poker and stirred the fire until its bright blaze threw a broad glare over the chamber; and out of the glowing coals he built strange towers and castles, and saw them change by turns into ashes, and grow dim like his own recent dreams of love. This being a melancholy contemplation, he lent his ear to a solitary cricket that was cheerily singing its household song, though the winds were wild without. Presently the cricket ceased its chirrup, and Mr. Hardesty growing tired of sitting, yawned, stretched himself, and walked to the window.

Outside, the ground was covered with a wild waste of snow, and the heavy flakes were still falling. Suddenly it occurred to him that somebody might accidentally pass that way and recognize him; so he let fall the curtain and walked across the room. Here, lifting his eyes from the floor, a looking-glass stared him in the face, and he started back. He turned again and walked to the bed-side where Dick was sleeping. The boy, he thought, might one day be his nephew, and he revolved in his mind a thousand schemes for advancing him in the world and making him a clever fellow.

Mr. Hardesty left the bed-side and looked up at the ceiling. Beyond that, he thought, was the adored Miss Sidebottom. What a narrow space sundered them! He walked to the fire-place and looked on the mantel for a book. He selected an old copy of Burns, and opened at 18the pathetic ballad of ‘John Anderson.’ Mr. Hardesty sat down and read it once aloud. Then he read it to himself over and over again, until he had gotten it by heart. And then by degrees the room swam dizzily before him, the fire glowed like a pale meteor, his eyes closed heavily, the open book fell from his hand, and Mr. Hardesty was asleep.

He slept and dreamed. Smiles like those of sleeping infancy stole over his venerable features. In one short moment he was the happiest man alive; his love had been crowned with success; and putting forth his hand to grasp the dear shadow, he lost his balance and fell from his chair.

Mr. Hardesty looked around him, wondering. He resumed his seat and rubbed his eyes. The fire had almost gone out. The wick was long and dim. He looked at the clock; it wanted just twenty minutes of midnight.

Mr. Hardesty snuffed the candle and commenced divesting himself of his apparel; placed his boots beside Dicky’s shoes on the hearth; threw his upper garments on the back of a chair, and his nether ditto on the seat thereof. But his extremities were cold, he thought, and placing a chair bottom upward on the floor, he put his feet to the fire.

For some minutes Mr. Hardesty stared steadily at the ceiling, beyond which Miss Sidebottom was sleeping in virgin security; and whether from the magnetic effect of his constant gaze, or the slumbrous air that pervaded the room, his eyelids soon closed, and he was again soundly asleep. The candle burned dimly on; coal after coal was turned to ashes; at last both went out, and still Mr. Hardesty slept.

Presently there was a stir in the bed occupied by Dick. The boy rose on his pillow and looked cautiously around him. He called Mr. Hardesty, but there was no answer. At this Dick put one leg out of bed, and then the other, and stood firmly on the floor. Gliding cautiously over the carpet, he stooped over the sleeper, whose deep breathing assured him that all was safe. Then stepping softly to the chair on which Mr. Hardesty’s clothes were lying, he selected that gentleman’s nether garment, then went to the hearth and lifted the boots, and slipping on his own shoes, glided cautiously out of the room with his booty. Returning in a few minutes he again stooped over the sleeper, and then stole to bed, where, after laughing immoderately yet quietly, he was soon as fast asleep as Mr. Hardesty himself.

When Mr. Hardesty awoke he found himself still reclining on the back of the chair. Not a little vexed with himself for lying there all night, he rose to his feet, and looking around, found that Dick had risen before him, and the bed was empty. ‘Why didn’t he wake me, I wonder?’ said Mr. Hardesty.

Mr. Hardesty walked to the window, lifted the curtain, and looked out. The mists and clouds had cleared away, and left the sky all bright and blue. The sun had just risen, and was shedding his early splendor on the myriad snow-drops as brightly as if to atone for the darkness and gloom of yesterday. It was a cheerful and beautiful view; but Mr. Hardesty heard the sound of shuffling footsteps overhead; so he turned shivering from the window to dress himself for the day. ‘It’ll never do to be caught in this fix,’ said Mr. Hardesty.

19His first search was for his boots, but these had been taken out, as he supposed, to be polished. He would put on his breeches and wait for his boots. He cast his eye on the pile of clothes, but the breeches were not there. Then he looked on the floor, and in all the corners of the room, and then on the bed and under the bed—but in vain. ‘What the d——l has become of my breeches!’ said Mr. Hardesty.

It occurred to him at length that by some mysterious power of locomotion the garment had gotten into the drawer of a bureau that stood in one corner. He pulled at this drawer most lustily, but it was locked, and Miss Sidebottom had the key. To add to his discomfiture, he again heard the sound of footsteps overhead. He had but a moment to spare, and looking around for a place of retreat, his eye fell on a closet-door that opened beneath the stairs. Putting on hastily the remnant of his apparel, he presented altogether an appearance the like of which the writer has never seen, and will not attempt to describe, and managed to effect his retreat into the closet just as Miss Sidebottom and Belinda entered the room from above.

Mr. Hardesty applied his eye to the key-hole, but saw nothing save the form of either lady as it flitted from time to time across the limited range of his vision. Presently a conversation began between the two, of which, however, he could hear nothing except a confused murmur, and occasionally a most uproarious fit of laughter. Before long the merry tones of the elder lady were changed to those of anger. Miss Sidebottom was evidently scolding one of the servants, and then came reiterated sounds of castigation, interspersed with tongue-lashings, by far the most terrible of the two. Mr. Hardesty resigned himself to his fate, and was willing to endure a confinement that revealed to him the evil spirit that reigned within a form of so much loveliness.

After a while came the indescribable sounds of breakfast; the rattling of knives and forks, and cups and saucers, suggestive to Mr. Hardesty’s mind of coffee, hot biscuits, and butter. Presently the table was cleared away, and he caught a glimpse through his key-hole of the two ladies, dressed in their cloaks and bonnets. In a moment they departed, leaving Mr. Hardesty sole proprietor.

Each moment of this time was one of intense agony to Mr. Hardesty. Exposed to hunger and thirst, and cold and insult, what had he done to deserve such misfortunes? And that was Christmas, too; what a merry day to all the world without; and in what a contemptible plight was he! What would little Master John think of his absence; and how much would be sold at his little store before night? These reflections only enhanced the agony of his imprisonment; so wrapping himself tightly in the folds of his cloak, he crouched down in a corner of the closet, and soon fell fast asleep.

Mr. Hardesty slept on until night-fall. So soon as he realized his situation, he determined to be a prisoner no longer, but to emerge from his confinement, whatever might be the danger of an exposure. Fortunately for him, the room was deserted. The ladies had not yet returned from their visit. Mr. Hardesty approached the window and found it quite dark without. He had little time left for deliberation, for he heard the sound of a key turning in the street-door lock, and recognized 20the well-known voice of Miss Sidebottom; so hoisting the window, he crawled rapidly through it, and leaped on the ground.

Mr. Hardesty breathed once more like a freeman; and muttering deep anathemas against the inhospitable house and all its inmates, he stole quietly along, with his bootless feet buried at each step in the snow. Leaving the more frequented streets, and worming his way through bypaths and dark alleys; now turning a corner, under the direful apprehension of meeting some acquaintance, and now darting this way or that to avoid a random snow-ball, he pursued his painful way until he reached home, where he knocked and was admitted by Master John.

The grocer bolted in, rushed into his counting-room, and throwing off his cloak, stared wildly at the bewildered boy. ‘What do you think of that, John?’ pointing to his denuded extremities. ‘How does that become your old master, Sir?’

Master John, frightened partly at the anomalous appearance of the grocer, and partly at the sternness of his voice and manner, started back to the remotest corner of the room, but said nothing.

‘What’s the matter now, you little fool?’ said his master. ‘Are you afraid of old Tom Hardesty? If you are, you needn’t be; nobody need be afraid of such an old coward as I am—darned if they need!’ And feeling that he was growing melancholy, he determined to subdue the propensity, and to that end commenced cutting the complicated figure entitled a pigeon-wing. This exhilarating sport soon restored the grocer’s good humor, and he laughed heartily and made such a racket altogether, that the boy gradually approached him to inquire what it all meant, how he had spent his Christmas, what had become of his breeches, and all about it.

‘Here, John,’ said Mr. Hardesty, seating himself by the fire, ‘sit here and I’ll tell you all about it. But what an old fool I am! Here’s twenty-four blessed hours gone, and the d——l a bit or a drop have I had since last night at supper. Is this my house or not, John? for I’ve forgot every thing except one, and wouldn’t swear I ain’t dreaming, and haven’t been all day.’

The boy gave him every assurance that he was at home.

‘Well, John,’ pursued the master, ‘I think the last time I was here—it may be a year, or it may be more—I’ll be hanged if I know—but I rather think there was a lot of prime cheese, and a few barrels of crackers. You haven’t sold ’em all, John?’

John smiled, and answered negatively.

‘I rather think, too, there were several casks of best three-year-old whiskey, prime lot; any of that left, John?’

John pointed, in reply, to a row of casks in one corner that answered the description.

‘No! stop, Sir!’ said Mr. Hardesty, soliloquizing; ‘I think she said Madeira was good for it. Yes, John, I’ll take a little of the Madeira, if you’ve any on hand.’

John opened a cupboard door, and producing a black quart-bottle, assured Mr. Hardesty it was nearly full.

‘That’ll do, Sir,’ said the grocer. ‘Set the table; never mind the 21cloth. Crackers and cheese and old Madeira, and ‘away with melancholy.’’

In a few minutes the table was spread according to directions, after which Mr. Hardesty seated himself near it and did ample justice to the simple fare.

‘You see, John,’ said the old gentleman, when his appetite was somewhat assuaged, ‘it’s all on account of that old, ugly, and infernal Peggy Sidebottom. Here’s hoping she may—may never drown her sorrows in the flowing bowl!’

The grocer drank this toast with infinite gusto and replenished his glass.

‘Well, Sir, as I was about saying, I went there last night to spend an hour in a little sociable chat, and was about taking leave——’ At this point the speaker was interrupted by several violent raps at the door.

‘Who’s that?’ inquired Mr. Hardesty, draining his glass.

‘It’s me,’ said a voice from without.

‘What do you want?’ said Mr. Hardesty.

‘Nothin’; what do you want?’

‘Who the d——l are you?’ said the grocer, in a voice of thunder.

‘Dick!’ replied the voice.

‘Dick what?’

‘Dick Sidebottom!’

‘What do you want here?’ said the grocer, rising and pacing the floor. ‘John, where’s my cow-hide? Clear yourself, you little rascal, or I’ll——’

‘But I’ve got your breeches and your boots, Sir,’ said Dick.

‘Oh! you have, have you?’—and Mr. Hardesty threw aside the cow-hide, and opened the door. Dick marched boldly in, deposited his plunder on a chair, and then looked Mr. Hardesty full in the face with a glance of perfect innocence. The owner of the recovered booty picked them up, examined them closely to satisfy himself of their identity, and without saying a word, put them on in their appropriate places. This done, he surveyed himself with a smile of approbation, and felt that he was indeed Mr. Hardesty once more. After helping Dick to a highly sweetened draught from the contents of the black bottle, he begged of him a detailed account of the affair of the lost boots and breeches. This Dick proceeded to give; by telling, in his peculiar and highly figurative manner, how his aunt had first suggested the feat to him; how he had risen while Mr. Hardesty was asleep, secured the booty, and hid it in an adjoining hay-loft; how his aunt had promised him a Christmas pie, and though often requested thereto, had failed to comply; how she had inflicted personal chastisement on him for some trivial offence; and how, on reflecting what a kind-hearted old gentleman Mr. Hardesty was, and what a crabbed old thing Aunt Peggy was, he had repented of his theft, and determined to make restitution at the earliest opportunity; ‘and there they are on you,’ said Dick, in conclusion, ‘and that’s all about it.’

Mr. Hardesty listened with due attention to this detail, and then sat for some time in silence.

‘And you can swear to all this in a court of justice, can you?’

‘Certainly, Sir.’

22‘And you’ll do it when called on?’

Dick bowed his head in assent.

‘Good!’ said Mr. Hardesty, grasping the boy’s hand. ‘Take a little more of this,’ he continued, filling Dick’s glass. ‘Your aunt shall suffer for this yet, if there’s any law or justice in the land.’

‘Ain’t there no law,’ inquired Dick, pausing in his draught, ‘for suing an old lady for ’sault and batterhim?’

‘No, Dicky, I fear not in your case; but if I get any damages, I’ll give you half.’

Dick drained the contents of his glass, and shaking hands most cordially with Mr. Hardesty and Master John, bade them good night. It is scarcely necessary to add, that the last surviving male heir of the Sidebottoms was gloriously drunk in less than an hour, and made such a demonstration of that fact to his sober and discreet aunt, that she caused his head to be soused repeatedly in cold water, and then flogged him into sobriety.

It is not to be supposed that the disappearance of the village grocer from his usual post for a whole day together, and particularly on Christmas, that busiest of all days, failed to excite a degree of general curiosity and inquisitiveness as to the cause of his absence; but to the many inquiries of his friends touching that subject, he only replied by shaking his head and saying that time would show. Enough had leaked out, however, to satisfy the public that the affair was shrouded in a mystery that was worth the trouble of penetrating; so that when on the morning of the first of January immediately succeeding the year that had just closed, Mr. Thomas Hardesty and Miss Margaret Sidebottom were summoned each by three lusty cheers from the town-crier to appear before his worship the police judge of Idleberg, the populace rushed to the scene of judicial conflict, until the humble and contracted audience-chamber was crowded to overflowing.

The witnesses summoned in the case were Mrs. Jenkins, Jake Crow, and Master Dick Sidebottom. In due time the defendant came into court, leaning on the arm of her next friend and privy counsellor, Mrs. Jenkins, who as usual was attended by a bevy of young Jenkinses. Before embarking in this trying embassy, the ladies, by the way, had gone to the Madeira bottle; the one complaining of a pain in the breast, and the other of general nervousness. Mr. Hardesty was unattended, and so were his remaining witnesses.

The warrant gravely charged the defendant with stealing or causing to be stolen from the plaintiff, on the night of the twenty-fourth of December last past, a pair of boots and a pair of breeches, whose respective values were duly set forth. The reading of this document created quite a sensation throughout the court-room. Mrs. Jenkins was called and sworn. She deposed that on the night specified in the warrant, she had taken tea at the defendant’s house; that she was suddenly called home, missing thereby a great deal of anticipated pleasure; that the defendant passed the next day, being Christmas-day, at her (witness’s) house; and witness did not at any time see defendant steal or cause to be stolen from plaintiff the said boots and breeches, nor did she believe Miss Sidebottom to be capable of such an act; ‘and particular,’ she 23said in conclusion, ‘from such a pitiful old scamp as Tom Hardesty;’ and glancing around triumphantly at the audience, and scornfully at the plaintiff, she waited for the court’s cross-questions.

‘Is that all you know about the case, Madam?’ inquired his worship, smiling.

That was all.

‘You can retire. Call Jake Crow.’

Mr. Crow stood in no need of being called, as he marched up to the judge immediately, and deposed that on the last Christmas-eve night, he had called at defendant’s house for Mrs. Jenkins, as old Jenkins had been knocked on the head and carried home drunk. (At this Mrs. Jenkins looked like a carnation pink, and commenced fanning herself violently with her pocket-handkerchief.) Witness, however, did not enter the house, and knew nothing whatever of the matter in dispute.’

‘You can retire, Mr. Crow. Call Richard Sidebottom.’

Dick had managed, with his usual restlessness, to retire some time before this from the crowded room, and was breathing the pure air and playing his boyish pranks in a distant part of the town. The officer who was despatched for the young gentlemen returned presently, lugging him by the coat-collar. After being introduced to the court by the usual solemnities, Dick proceeded to give in detail the events of the memorable night, as already known to the reader. He also gave an interesting account of the defendant’s oft-repeated cruelties to himself personally; how on Christmas night he had restored the stolen articles to plaintiff, and how the rightful proprietor was wearing the same in court.

A general hurrah and stamping of feet succeeded the delivery of this testimony; at which the judge frowned, and the constable cried ‘Order!’ with all his lungs.

‘Mr. Hardesty,’ said the judge, when order was restored, ‘do you feel disposed to prosecute this suit? I fear I must dismiss the warrant, on the ground that the court can furnish no relief in the case. What say you?’

Mr. Hardesty arose. ‘May it please your worship, the time was, and I care not who knows it, when I entertained for the defendant in this cause feelings of the most profound respect and admiration. And I had been led to hope that my passion was not altogether disregarded; that Miss Sidebottom would one day become Mrs. Hardesty. And this, Sir, as detailed to you by the last witness, her own nephew, is the treatment I have received!’ The speaker paused and applied his pocket handkerchief to his eyes. The audience was touched. ‘It ain’t the temporary loss of my breeches; it ain’t the long weary hours I spent shivering in that closet; it ain’t the wading home bare-footed in the snow; it ain’t the finger of scorn some gentlemen may p’int at me now, that wounds my heart; but it’s feeling and knowing that the woman I loved better than my own life; the woman I would have lived for, or died for, to make her happy; that that very woman——’ He could say no more; his feelings overpowered him, and he sat down.

Miss Sidebottom’s sympathies were evidently touched throughout this harangue. Until now, she had been rocking to and fro in her seat, and 24when Mr. Hardesty concluded, she rushed through the crowd, threw herself on his neck, and kissed him passionately.

‘Clear the room!’ bawled his worship, starting to his feet. ‘Clerk,’ he continued, addressing that official personage, who was standing near, ‘write me a license to unite Thomas Hardesty and Margaret Sidebottom in the holy bands of matrimony. I know they are of age, and don’t need any guardeens.’

The judge sat down, convulsed by his own wit, while the clerk proceeded to his task. The loving pair looked up and smiled through their tears. ‘I loved you, Tom, all the time; I did indeed. It was all in fun, dear man—indeed it was!’ Tom Hardesty threw his arms around her neck, and pressed her head to his bosom.

‘Come!’ said his worship, after reading the license, ‘none of your hysterics here, but stand up and be married.’ And married they were; and the bride, in consideration of her cruelty, paid the costs of the suit and the marriage fees; and off they marched homeward, amid the deafening huzzas of the multitude that was gathered in the street.

Happy New-Year! that sealed Tom Hardesty’s happiness! Many a changing season has come and gone since then, and nobody knows but they are the happiest couple in Idleberg. Mr. Hardesty’s first domestic advice to his bride was to decline Mrs. Jenkins’s farther acquaintance, which she did most readily. The old gentleman has long since despaired of having an heir direct, but has promised John, who is prospering behind his old master’s counter, that he and Belinda shall marry before long. Mr. Richard Sidebottom is one of the ‘reformed drunkards,’ and eschews Madeira especially. He is now an attorney, in embryo, and gives ample promise of carrying into his profession all the acuteness and cunning which distinguished his exploits on the memorable night that opened this chapter in the biography of Mr. Tom Hardesty.


The fire is burning cheerly bright, the room is snug and warm,

We keep afar the wintry night, and drive away the storm;

And when without the wanderer pines, and all is dark and chill,

We sit securely by the fire, and sparkling glasses fill.

And ever as the hollow wind howls through the moaning trees,

Strange feelings on the boding heart with sudden chillness seize:

But brightly blazes then the hearth, and freely flows the wine;

And laugh of glee, and song of mirth, then wreathe their merry twine.

We think not how the dashing sleet beats on the crusted pane,

We care not though the drifting snow whirls o’er the heath amain;

But haply, while our hearts are bright, far struggling through the waste,

Some traveller seeks our window’s light, with long and fruitless haste.

Hark his halloo! we leave the fire, and hurry forth to save:

A short half hour, and he had found beneath the snow a grave.

Pile on the wood!—feed high the flame!—bring out our choicest store!

The traveller’s heart grows warm again; his spirit droops no more.

J. G. P.




I have come, I have come from a shadowy clime,

An heir of the monarch Earth’s children call Time;

With years yet unborn, I have stood in the hall

That was reared by our sire, awaiting his call:

Last eve, as I lay on his bosom at rest,

I saw slowly rise a white cloud in the west;

Now through the blue ether, through regions of space,

It floated up softly, with fairy-like grace,

And paused ’neath the light of the white-shining stars,

Whose rays pierced its centre, like clear silver bars;

The winds revelled round it, unchecked in their mirth,

As it hung, like a banner, ’mid heaven and earth.

The soft fleecy folds of the clouds swept aside,

The winds ceased their revels, and mournfully sighed;

A car slowly rolled down the pathway of Time,

A bell slowly tolled a funereal chime:

A sound in the air, and a wail on the breeze,

Swift as wave follows wave on tempest-tossed seas;

Thin shadows swept by in that funeral train,

As glide o’er old battle-grounds ghosts of the slain.

I saw the dim spectres of long-buried years—

The Seasons close followed, in mourning and tears.

Arrayed in his armor, death-darts in his hand,

The grim King of Terrors strode on with the band,

While cold, stark and ghastly, there lay on his bier

The death-stricken form of the hoary Old Year!

How bent was his figure, how furrowed his brow,

How weary he looked from his pilgrimage now!

The phantoms of Passion, of Hope and Despair,

With dark, waving plumage, encircled him there;

The Months stood around, and the bright dancing Hours

On spirit-wings floated, like birds among flowers.

A voice sweet as music now smote on my ear:

‘Go forth in thy beauty, thou unspotted Year!

The old Year hath died ‘mid rejoicings and mirth,

That rocked the stern heart of the rugged old Earth!

The midnight is passing; away to thy car!

Thou’lt sail by the lustre of morning’s bright star;

Away!’ And I rose from the bosom of Time,

And fled through the gates of that shadowy clime;

My car sped along on the wings of the wind,

While Winter, old man! tottered slowly behind.

The sky’s eastern portals impeded my flight,

When Morning rose up from the arms of the Night;

The dawn faintly glowed, and I saw the old Earth,

And sailed in my kingdom, a monarch at birth!

‘Then give me wild music, the dance and the song,

For ever!’ I shouted, while whirling along:

‘I have come, I have come from a shadowy clime,

A breath of the monarch Earth’s children call Time!’

Cincinnati, December, 1843.



Full angel-like the birdis sang their hours1

Within their curtains green, within their bowers

Apparelled with white and red, with bloomys sweet.

Enamell’d was the field with all coloùrs:

The pearlit drops shook as in silver showers,

While all in balm did branche and leavis fleit.2

Depart fra’ Phœbus did Aurora greit;

Her chrystal tears I saw hing on the flowers

Which he, for love, all drank up with his heat.


  1. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
  2. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters; He restoreth my soul.

A Psalm of David.

As I walk over the surface of this fair Earth, an erring and a wayward being, at times dejected by the trials of a solitary and an almost abortive life, or sustained or elevated by its prosperous incidents; I sometimes think that no one other blessing of existence hath ever comforted my heart and restored my soul so much, as the pleasures and delights of Colour. It is my wealth, my joy, my faculty, my fountain!

The recreative pleasure that others find in Music, although this is not denied is less to me than to them, a restorative and a balm. Music excites, arouses me; melts me into weakness, or animates me into passionate exertion; but it is in the green pasture and beside the still waters, in bowers apparelled with white and red; it is in the tints with which autumn is bedecked, and Day expires; that I feel I shall not want, and that God restoreth my soul! And it is among huge and solitary mountain masses of grey castellated rock, in the crevices of which the stinted pine, and the cedar with its brown and tattered trunk, struggle out a hard and scanty existence and are yet covered with never-fading verdure—mountains to which the Saviour of mankind might have retired to meditate and pray—that I feel that the Lord is my Shepherd, and shall bring me to the green pastures, and lead me beside the still waters; my Rock! my fortress! and my high tower!

Sometimes my heart takes a fancy altogether for brown hues; and as you cannot at all times command these in the country, I seat myself down quietly in front of a precious Cuyp with which God hath endowed me, and that (except the sky and water) is composed entirely of them in every gradation and shade; and when I rise up from the contemplation of it, I feel that it is in brown hues that God restoreth my soul.

Sometimes I dwell upon the silvery trunk of the birch-tree, or upon the darker hue of the beech. Sometimes my soul drinks the full beauties of the umbrageous chestnut; or revels in the golden berries, and the graceful branches that seem overladen with them, of the mountain-ash. As I grow old I wave often in the grey pendulous mosses of the South, or stand in thought under the gigantick branches of the live oak, with all its leaves of laurel, and its heroick gesture. Good God! I say, 27when I think that we might all have been born, ate, drank, smoked, grown up, built, propagated, and died, as thoroughly and effectually as we now do, and all these precious objects of our sight and joy been made for us—out of the one desolate colour of an old pipe!

And Water—that element of Life, that upon the plaintain-leaf looks so like a molten mass of diamond that you can hardly persuade yourself it is aught else, might as well have been created of a mere drab quaker-colour; or not even as bright as a bit of Quartz Rock! and yet have satisfied our thirst as well as if it had gushed forth from the limpid sources of the Croton; or been drawn from the transparent body of Lake George; or from those mountain streams of sparkling chrystal that, in alternate shade and gleams of light of tropical brilliancy, bound and gush and dance their way downward from rock to rock to the sound of their own musick, and make themselves into rivers of joy as they descend along the Grand Etang of the Island of Grenada!

And Wine, that God hath sent to make glad the heart of man, and hath blessed it in the cup; and which might perhaps have had the same hilarious effect, though it were of the dingy colour of the ashes of the grate by which I sit; but which, for our more perfect happiness, He hath made to outvie the Topaz and the Ruby, in its lustre and its varied hue!

There are many of us who have this one quality, the love of colour, in common with the magnificent David, whose precious inspiration I have quoted at the head of my Essay, and who in a thousand passages interweaves it like a golden thread amid his works; but as in the minds of many others, it may be a blessing only half appreciated, I have thought that a few words upon this subject might fall not unfruitfully upon the heart, perchance of some one young Reader of this article, just opening to the knowledge of this peculiar work of the great Master of mankind, Colour.

Even Music, although itself an occupation revealed to us as of the Angels of Light, is, except perhaps as they enjoy it—with whom poetry and modulated sound adapted to the thought are inseparably one—even music is less refined, less gentle, perfect, unobtrusive. For the enjoyment of Colour involves no possible interruption of another’s tastes; no outbreak upon the quiet stillness of the day; no intrusion on ‘the ear of night;’ nor yet any expression, that by pouring abroad the sensations, might diminish the deep earnestness of the soul; which, all sight, all ear, becomes the Recipient. The enjoyment of colour is the Spirit within us listening to the language of God! to the mute expression of His unspeakable Love! Colour—the conception He hath chosen for His bow of promise in the Heavens! by which He decorates the Earth, and tells of Himself in the ocean, and in the sky, and by which He restoreth the Soul of man!

And in that state of celestial existence which attends the redeemed Soul disenthralled from ‘the body of this death,’ is it to be doubted, that among the joys that ‘the eye hath never seen, nor the heart conceived,’ there exist colours beautiful beyond all earthly wealth of imagination; beyond the poet’s fancy and the painter’s dream? There where the pure gold of which the city is constructed, is transparent as glass, and each gate is one pearl, and the very foundations of the walls are of 28jasper, and chalcedony, sapphire, emerald, ruby, amethyst and topaz; and the glory of God is the light that lightens it!

But it is not to another world that the joys of colour are postponed, nor even to another climate that we need look for the precious satisfaction that they impart. We have not the carpets of flowers of rainbow tints, that spread themselves over whole prairies of Texas and Mexico, but what a gem upon the bosom of Earth when it is unexpectedly found among us is the blue campanula! And the small white lily of the valley, sheltered and concealed in its green leaves like a hidden tear of Joy, and almost as rare! And the bright and graceful lobelia cardinalis that loves the neighbourhood of the still waters. And the fringed gentian of a tint so cerulean that our true poet derives it from the firmament; as his own spirit, if left to approach its kindred element, might claim affinity with the overshadowing expanse of celestial life!3

I speak not to thee of the gorgeous sunsets and of those piles of massy clouds of living and ever-varying colours on which the Day pillows himself to rest in a luxurious repose; but open thine heart upon the Eastern bank of the Hudson at the grey of morning, and look with the Sun upon the opposite shore; and as the mists arise and are dispelled from before thee, there shall come change after change of colour neutral and calm and slowly warming into beauty, until a violet haze shall rest upon the hill-tops and the cliffs that might outvie the golden haze of Italy, and that shall raise thy thoughts in silent thankfulness, and educate thee to enjoy the untold treasuries of colour that glow in upper Heaven; and hope shall spring forth renewed within thee; and sorrow shall fade from thy widowed, or thy childless heart; the peace which passeth understanding shall come over thee; and God even thine own God shall bless thee; and to thine eyes, now opened to the wonders of His goodness, all the ends of the Earth shall shew forth His praise!

John Waters.





Sublime hath been thy conquest o’er the past,

Stemming Oblivion’s torrent by thy might,

Reading symbolic records long o’ercast

By the deep shadows of unbroken night;

Tracing with reverent finger names of kings

That long had slumbered with forgotten things.

The mists that deeply veiled historic rays,

Thou art dispelling with resistless hand;

And dynasties that flourished ere the days

When Abraham forsook the promised land,

No longer noteless, nameless, boldly claim

Their lofty tablet in the arch of fame.

Thy curious finger with a magic key

Unlocked the store of ages, and the light,

Flooding the pass of time, sublime and free,

Decks ruined temples in its vesture bright:

These are the relics of thy grandeur flown,

Land of the Pharaohs and their prostrate throne.

Ere the white stranger’s land had trodden been

By foot of pilgrim, Egypt sat supreme,

Queen of the nations, and her realm within

Wealth, learning, power convened—a full, deep stream!

The bulwarks of her throne were safely reared

In hearts by which her greatness was revered.

And now, with Science for his trusty guide,

The stranger comes to read her mystic lore,

Tread her deserted cities, stand beside

Her sculptured temples, eloquent once more;

Not with man’s voice, but with the nobler speech

Of days beyond our spirit’s utmost reach.

And those proud monuments of youthful time,

The pyramids, whose lofty sides have borne

The storms of centuries in that fierce clime,

And seeming still to smile in speechless scorn,

When bow the everlasting hills with age,

Then shall they vanish from the world’s bright page.

A mournful ruin to thy utmost bound,

A type of glory long since passed away,

The statue voiceless whence the thrilling sound

Of gushing music hailed the rising day;

Thus art thou now, oh Egypt! but the flame

Of new-born Science gilds thine ancient name.

And from the dust shalt thou arise once more,

Not by thine own degenerate sons upreared,

But strangers who have sought thy verdant shore

Shall hail thy fallen greatness, still revered;

Until among the kingdoms of the earth

Thou shalt appear renewed—a second birth!



Harry Harson.


Notwithstanding his having made what most persons would have considered a hearty meal at Harry Harson’s, Mr. Kornicker had nevertheless such perfect reliance on his own peculiar gastronomic abilities, that he did not in the least shrink from again testing them. Leaving Michael Rust’s presence with an alacrity which bordered upon haste, he descended into the refectory with somewhat of a jaunty air, humming a tune, and keeping time to it by an occasional flourish of the fingers. Having seated himself, his first act was to shut his eyes, thrust his feet at full length under the table; plunge both hands to the very bottom of his breeches-pockets, where they grasped spasmodically two cents and a small key, and laugh silently for more than a minute, occasionally breaking in upon his merriment to gossip to himself in the most profound and mysterious manner.

‘A queer dog! a very queer dog! d——d queer, old Michael is! Well, that’s his business, not mine.’

As soon as this idea had fully impressed itself upon him, he sat up, became grave, and looked about in search of the waiter. In doing so, he encountered the eyes of a short fat man at a table near him, who at the first glance seemed to be reading a newspaper, but at the second, seemed to be reconnoitering him over it. Mr. Kornicker observing this, not only returned his glance, but added a wink to it by way of interest. The man thereupon laid down his paper, and nodded.

Mr. Kornicker nodded in reply; and said he hoped he was well, and that his wife and small children were equally fortunate.

The face of the stranger was a round, jolly face, with two little eyes that twinkled and glistened between their fat lids, as if they were very devils for fun; and his whole appearance was cozy and comfortable. His chin was double; his stomach round and plump, with an air of respectability; and he occasionally passed his hand over it, as if to say: ‘Ah ha! beat that who can!’ But notwithstanding his merry look, at this last remark his face grew long; and with a melancholy shake of his head, he pointed to his hat which hung on a peg above him, and was swathed in a broad band of crape, terminating in two stiff skirts projecting from it like a rudder, and giving it the appearance of a corpulent butterfly in mourning, at roost on the wall.

‘Ah!’ said Mr. Kornicker, looking at the hat, ‘that’s it?’

‘Yes,’ replied the stranger, with a deep sigh, ‘that’s it.’

‘Father?’ inquired Mr. Kornicker, nodding significantly toward the hat.

31‘No—wife,’ replied the other.

‘Dead?’ inquired Mr. Kornicker.

‘Dead as a hammer.’

‘Was it long or short? consumption or fits?’ asked Mr. Kornicker, drawing up his feet and turning so as to face the stranger, by way of evincing the interest which he felt in his melancholy situation.

The man shook his head, and was so affected that he was troubled with a temporary cold in his head; which, having alleviated by the aid of his handkerchief, he said: ‘Poor woman! She undertook to present me with a fine boy, last week, and it proved too much for her. It exhausted her animal natur’, and she decamped on a sudden. She was a very fine woman—a very fine woman. I always said she was.’

‘And the child?’ inquired Kornicker; ‘I hope it’s well.’

‘Quite well, I thank you. It went along with her. They are both better off; saints in heaven, both of ’em; out of this wale of tears.’

Mr. Kornicker told him to cheer up. He said that every man had a crook in his lot. Some men had big crooks, and some men had little crooks; and although this crook made rather a bad elbow in his lot, that perhaps all the rest was square and straight, and he could build on it to advantage, especially if it was twenty-five feet by a hundred, which was the ordinary width and length of ‘lots in general.’

Having delivered himself of this rather confused allegory, Mr. Kornicker, by way of farther consolation, drew out his snuff-box, and stretching out as far as was possible without falling from his chair, tendered it to the stranger, who in return leaning so far forward as slightly to raise his person from the chair, gently inserted his fingers in the box, and helped himself to a pinch, at the same time remarking, that it ‘was a great comfort, in his trying situation, to find friends who sympathized with his misfortunes. That he had found it so; and that Mr. Kornicker was a man whose feelings did credit to human natur’.’

Kornicker disclaimed being any thing above the ordinary run of men, or that his feelings were more than every other man possessed, or ought to possess. But the stranger was vehement in his assertions to the contrary; so much so, that he rose from his seat, and drawing a chair to the opposite side of Kornicker’s table, proposed that they should breakfast together.

Kornicker shook his head:

‘It’s against the agreement,’ said he; ‘it can’t be done.’

‘But it can, Sir—it shall, Sir! A man of your sympathies is not to be met with every day, and must be breakfasted with, whether he will or not—agreement or no agreement. Don’t agreement me!’ said the stranger, lifting up his chair and setting it down opposite Kornicker, with great emphasis. ‘What’s the natur’ of this agreement?’

Mr. Kornicker assumed a very grave and legal expression of countenance, and without replying, asked:

‘What’s your name?’

‘Ezra Scrake.’

‘I, Edward Kornicker, forbid you, Ezra Scrake, from breakfasting with me, telling you that it is contrary to a certain agreement, referred to but not set forth; and I now repeat the request, that you forthwith 32retire to another table, and that I be permitted to take my meal by myself.’ He threw himself back in his chair, and looked Mr. Scrake full in the face.

‘And I, Ezra Scrake, say that I won’t leave this table, and that I will breakfast with a fellow whose benevolence might warm the witals of a tiger.’

‘Very well, Sir,’ said Kornicker, relaxing from his former severe expression; ‘I’ve done my duty. Old Rust can’t blame me. The breach of contract is not on my part. I’m acting under compulsion. Just recollect that I desired you to leave me, in case it gets me into hot water, and that you refused; that’s all. Now old fellow, what’ll you take? Only recollect, that each man rides his own pony.’

The stranger nodded, and said that of course he would ‘foot his own bill.’

These preliminaries being settled, the boy, who had been standing at their elbow in a state of ecstatic delight at the proceedings of Mr. Kornicker, with whom he had become familiar, and whom he regarded as a gentleman of great legal acumen, and in all other respects as rather a ‘tall boy,’ was desired by the stranger to hand him the bill of fare, and not to keep him waiting all day. Having been gratified in this respect, Mr. Scrake commenced at the top and deliberately whispered his way to the bottom of the list.

‘Beef-steak; shall I say for two?’ asked he, looking up at Kornicker.

‘Yes, but always under protest, as to our breakfasting together,’ said Mr. Kornicker, winking at him. ‘Don’t forget that.’

‘Of course. Now, my son, what trimmings have you got?’ said he to the boy.


‘Are they kidneys, blue-noses, or fox?—and will they bu’st open white and mealy?’

‘They’m prime,’ replied the boy.

‘Bring one for me; or, stop—are they extra?’

‘We throws them in with the steak, gratis.’

‘Then bring a dishful, with coffee, bread, and whatever else adds to the breakfast, without adding to the bill.’

The boy, having no other interest in the establishment than that of securing his own wages and meals, was highly delighted at this considerate order of Mr. Scrake, and forthwith disappeared to obey it.

In the meanwhile Mr. Scrake, after having deliberately re-perused the bill of fare, and not observing any thing else which could be got for nothing, laid it down, and looking at Mr. Kornicker, who was gazing abstractedly at the table-cloth, said that he hoped he (Mr. Scrake) was not going to be impertinent; and as Mr. Kornicker made no other reply than that of looking at him, as if he considered it a matter of some doubt whether he was or was not, he elucidated the meaning of his remark, by inquiring who Michael Rust was.

‘The old gentlemen that caters for me,’ replied Kornicker, carelessly.

‘And does he make you eat alone?’

‘If I dine double, he’ll stop the prog, that’s all.’

33‘A sing’lar bargain—quite sing’lar; very sing’lar, in fact. Does he keep a tight eye over you?’

Mr. Kornicker did not exactly know what kind of an eye a tight eye was, but he replied: ‘Sometimes he does, sometimes he don’t. He’s nigh enough to do it. His office is overhead.’

‘Lawyer, I suppose?—must be,’ said Mr. Scrake, drumming carelessly on the table.

‘You’re out, old fellow. I’m with him, and should know something of him; and he isn’t.’

‘Ah!’ said the stranger, leaning back and yawning, and then sharpening his knife on the fork. ‘What is he then?’

Mr. Kornicker raised his finger gently to his nose, winked so violently at Mr. Scrake that he caused that gentleman to stop short in his performance to look at him; after which he shut both eyes, and gave vent to a violent inward convulsion of laughter.

‘What is he?’ repeated Kornicker, in a tone of high surprise; then sinking his voice, and leaning over the table, he whispered confidentially in Mr. Scrake’s ear: ‘He’s hell.’

‘No! he isn’t though, is he?’ said Mr. Scrake, dropping his knife and fork, and sinking back in his chair.

‘Yes he is,’ repeated Mr. Kornicker; ‘and if you was a certain gentleman that I know, you’d find it out. He will some day, I rather think.’

‘Are you that individual?’ inquired Mr. Scrake, with an air of deep interest.

‘No, I ain’t, but I suspect some one else is. But come,’ said he, ‘there’s the breakfast, so let’s be at it, and drop all other discussion.’

This remark found an answering echo in the stomach of Mr. Scrake, who resumed the sharpening of his knife, as the breakfast entered the room, and did not desist until the steak was on the table, when he immediately assaulted it.

‘Shall I help you? What part will you take?’

‘Any part,’ replied Kornicker, carelessly.

‘Well, it’s sing’lar; I never could carve. I’ll help you as I would help myself,’ said Mr. Scrake, in his ignorance depositing on Mr. Kornicker’s plate an exceedingly tough piece of dry meat, and upon his own a cut which was remarkably tender and juicy.

‘Do you always help yourself as you have helped me?’ said Mr. Kornicker, snuffing with great deliberation, and eyeing his portion with no very contented eye.

‘Always, always.’

‘Then you do yourself d——d great injustice.’

‘Ha! ha! good—very good; sheer ignorance on my part, upon my soul. But you were telling me about this man, this Rust,’ said Mr. Scrake, mashing his potatoes, and entombing a lump of butter in the heart of a small pyramid of them. ‘You said he was hell, or the devil, or something of that sort. What then? Eh?’

Kornicker, though not at all pleased with the ignorance of his companion, in the particular branch in which it had just displayed itself, was not of a sulky disposition, and was easily won into a communicative 34mood, particularly as Mr. Scrake begged him, with tears in his eyes, to tell him which was the best part of a beef-steak, so that he might avoid in future the mortification of being guilty of a similar error.

As the coffee went down, and the beef-steak followed, Mr. Scrake seemed to relax, and to forget that his hat hung over his head, commemorative of the recent retirement of Mrs. Scrake from this ‘wale of tears,’ and became quite jocular on the subject of the fair sex, congratulating Kornicker upon his looks; calling him a lucky dog, and telling him that if he were him, he’d ‘make up to some charming young woman with a fortune, and be off with her.’ He then went into a detail of his own juvenile indiscretions, relating many incidents of his life; some of which were amusing, some ridiculous, some tragic, some pathetic, and not a few quite indecent. It was wonderful what a devil that fat-cheeked, little-eyed, round-stomached fellow had been. Who could resist the influence of such a man? Not poor Kornicker; it gradually had its effect upon him, for he in turn grew communicative; talked freely of Rust, and of every man, woman and child of his acquaintance. He grew merry over the rare doings which had taken place in Rust’s den. He then descanted upon the peculiarities of the old man; his fierce fits of passion, his cold, shrewd, caustic manners, his coming in, and his going out; how long he was absent; how profoundly secret he kept himself, his doings, his whereabouts, and his mode of life. ‘And,’ said he, in conclusion, ‘I know nothing of him. He’s a queer dog, a wonderfully queer one. It would take a long time to fathom him, I can tell you. I’ve been with him for a long time; and am his confidential adviser, his lawyer, and all that sort of thing; and yet I’ve never done but two things for him.’

‘You don’t say so!’ exclaimed Mr. Scrake, laying down his knife and fork; and looking at him with his mouth open; ‘and pray what were those things?’

‘I sued one man,’ (being a lawyer you know,) said he, nodding in an explanatory way at Mr. Scrake, ‘and carried a letter to another.’

‘Ah! and who were those fortunate individuals?’

‘Poh! I suppose there’s no secret about it. The man sued, was one Enoch Grosket. The other was one Henry Harson; a jolly old boy he was too. I breakfasted with him; a prime fellow; keeps a d——d ugly cur, though.’

‘Enoch Grosket, Henry Harson!’ said the stranger, musing; ‘I’ve heard of them, I think. Who are they?’

‘It is more than I can tell,’ replied Kornicker. ‘That’s the mystery of my situation. I know nothing about any thing I’m doing, or of him, or his acquaintances.’

‘Why, you must know what you sued the man for,’ said Mr. Scrake, earnestly; ‘you must know that, surely.’

‘Yes, but it’s a height of knowledge which don’t carry much information with it,’ replied Mr. Kornicker. ‘I sued him on a promissory note. What he made it for, or how Rust got it, or any thing more about him, or it, or Harson, or Rust, I know as little as you.’

The stranger drew himself up, and looking at him gravely, said in a 35serious and even stern tone: ‘Do you mean to say that you are entirely ignorant of every thing respecting this Rust; his family, his business, his acquaintances, his associates, his habits, his plans and operations?’—in short, that you know nothing more than you have mentioned to me?’

The other nodded.

‘Waiter, my bill,’ said he in a peremptory tone.

The boy brought him a slip of paper, on which was written the amount.

He paid it without a word; walked across the room, took down his hat, put it on his head, and turning to Kornicker, said in a tone of solemn earnestness: ‘Young man, you’re in a bad way, a very bad way. Had I known with what people you were in the habit of associating before I sat down at that table, Ezra Scrake’s legs and yours would never have been under the same mahogany. A man in the employ of another and know nothing of him! It’s enormous! He might be a murderer, a thief; a man-slaughterer; a Burker, an arsoner, or any thing that is bad. Young man, in spite of the injury you’ve done me, I pity you; nay, I forgive you.’

Mr. Kornicker, was merely waiting for an opportunity to suggest to him that his company had not only been unsought, but actually forced upon him, and even under his solemn protest. But before he could do so, Mr. Scrake was in the street; whereupon, on ascertaining that he was out of the hearing of Mr. Kornicker, he muttered to himself: ‘It was no go. Waited for him two hours; then spent an hour in pumping a dry well. Enoch Grosket, has sent me on a fool’s errand. Michael Rust knows too much to trust that addle-headed fool.’

Having given vent to these observations, he deliberately buttoned up his coat, and walked off.


In a dark room into which even in the day-time the light struggled in such scanty streams that a kind of twilight was the nearest approach that it ever made to broad day, but which was now only lighted by a single candle, that flared and dripped in the currents of air, as they eddied and whirled about, seeking an escape, sat Tim Craig, and his comrade Bill Jones, the men with Rust’s interview with whom the reader is already acquainted. They were sitting cheek by jowl on two wooden benches in front of a fire, which they from time to time nourished with sticks from a heap of wood on the hearth. The fire however would not burn, but kept smouldering and smoking, now and then springing up into a fitful blaze, which threw a spectral air over the room, peopling its dim recesses with all sorts of fantastic forms, and then expired, leaving it more gloomy than ever. The appearance of the men, their subdued, whispering voices and startled looks, showed that at that particular time they were not altogether in a frame of mind to resist the gloomy influence of the place. The dark, lonely room, with its large shadowy corners and gaping seams, through which the wind 36sighed and wailed, and the pattering of the rain as it swept heavily against the side of the house and on the roof, all tended to add to the melancholy and sombre tone of their feelings. Bill drew his bench to the fire, looked suspiciously about him, and then, as if half ashamed of having done so, said:

‘It’s a h-ll of a night! I don’t know how it is, but I’m not in trim to-night. Blow me, if the sight of that old fellow don’t make one’s blood cold. I can’t get warm; and this bloody fire keeps sputtering and smoking, as if to spite one.’

Tim Craig, to whom this remark was addressed, turned and looked him steadily in the face, without speaking; and then his eyes wandered about the room, as if he were fearful of being watched or overheard, in what he was going to say.

‘Bill,’ said he in a low voice, his thin lips quivering; but whether from anger or any other emotion, was a matter of much doubt; ‘d——d if I know which way to leap! Enoch pulls one way and Rust another. Either of them could send us to kingdom come. Ugh! how cold it is! Something comes over me to-night—I can’t tell what. I don’t half like the job. Bill,’ continued he after a pause, drawing nearer his comrade and lowering his voice, ‘I’m haunted to-night. You know that fellow, the man up town, the cartman——’ He hesitated, and leaned his mouth close to the ear of the other, while in the dim light his face seemed ghastly; ‘the—the man, last year——’

Jones looked at him significantly; and then drew his finger across his throat. ‘Do you mean that fellow?’

‘Yes,’ replied Craig in a husky tone, and scarcely able to articulate, for the choking in his throat. ‘He’s been here to-night. Three times I’ve caught him looking over my shoulder! God! There he is again! Light! light! light!’ shouted he, springing up; ‘make the fire burn, I say—make it burn! Heap on wood! heap it on! Do anything—but keep him off!’

‘Why, Tim, you seem to be took bad,’ exclaimed his companion, at the same time getting on his knees, and setting assiduously to work to blow the fire. ‘Come, this is worse than ever. We’ve got to work to-night; and it wont do to go into your fantastics.’

He paused in his remarks to apply his breath to the fire, and with such success, that in a few minutes a bright blaze was dancing up the chimney, lighting the whole room, and dispelling at once that shadowy appearance which its great size and dilapidated state had tended to give it.

‘There now, that’s as comfortable a fire as you can want; and arter all, what you was just talking of was all fancy,’ said he, resuming his seat. ‘Dead men stay where you put ’em.’

Craig had been pacing furiously up and down the room, as if to out-walk some demon that would keep at his side; but he stopped short, and going up to his comrade, placed his hand on his shoulder and said: ‘Bill Jones, that’s a lie! Whoever says so, lies! Dead men don’t stay where you put ’em. I’ve had that man walking with me for hours together. I’ve had him at the same table with me, when I ate; I’ve had him in bed with me—ay, all night long; and to-night he’s been 37here with his face almost touching mine. Blast him! if I could but get him by the throat, I’d throttle him!’

‘Come, come, Tom, none of this,’ said Jones, with more gentleness than his appearance indicated. ‘I’m sorry for you; you must feel bad enough, or you wouldn’t go on so. I’ve know’d you since we were boys together; and I know it’s not a little matter that works you up, like you are now. Come, sit down.’ He led him to a seat, and kneeling at his feet, took his hand in both of his. ‘Don’t give in so, my old feller. Don’t you know, when we were boys, how we all looked up to you; and although I could have doubled you up, with my big limbs, yet you always had the mastery over me. Ha! ha! Tim, don’t you remember the old schoolmaster, too? Hallo! what now?’

Craig leaned his head upon Jones’ shoulder and sobbed aloud. Don’t talk of those days, Bill; it’ll drive me mad. Oh! if I was a boy again! But no, no; I’m a fool,’ exclaimed he, springing up, apparently swallowing his emotion at one fierce gulp, and in an instant becoming as hardened as ever. ‘Am I crazy, to-night, or what ails me, that I’ve become as white-livered as a girl? Where’s the grog? Give us a sup; and we’ll see what’s to be done.’

‘There, now you talk right,’ said Jones, putting his hand in his coat-pocket and drawing out a small bottle, cased in leather; ‘that’ll wake you up; and now to business. You hav’n’t told me what’s to be did, and who you’ll go with, Grosket, or Rust.’

‘Rust,’ said Craig, abruptly; ‘he’s our man. He can bleed; Enoch can’t. He never fails in what he wants to do; Enoch does; but they are both devils incarnate. I’d rather fight against ten other men than either of them; but rather against Enoch than Mike Rust.’

‘Well, what is it? He told you all about it. I couldn’t hear what he said.’

‘He’s been on the prowl for two days: God knows what he’s arter; but he wants us to break in a house and steal a girl.’

‘The profligate willain!’ exclaimed Mr. Jones, with an air of great horror; ‘I’ll tell his father of him!’

‘It’s only a child.’

‘Oh! that alters the case,’ said Mr. Jones, ‘Then I’ll tell his wife. Well?’

‘We are to go to the house, get the girl at all hazards, rob the house if we choose, and bring her here. What he wants of her, who she is, is more than I know. ‘You are to get her, and ask no questions,’ that’s what he said.’

‘Who’s in the house?’

‘Only an old man and a woman.’

‘The man?—is he used up, or what?’

‘He’s a bull-dog,’ was the laconic reply.

‘We’ll want them then,’ said Jones, pointing to a closet which was partly open, showing several pairs of pistols on a shelf.

‘I suppose so. Bring ’em out, and look at the locks; not the flintlocks—it’s a wet night; get the others. We must have no trifling.’

Jones made no other reply than to take out a pair of pistols, which he carried to the light, and examined their locks.

38‘Are they loaded?’ inquired Craig.

Jones nodded: ‘Two bullets in each! Suppose they twig us?—are we to fight or run?’

‘‘You had better die than fail.’ He said that,’ replied Craig, in a low tone; ‘and when I saw his look I thought so too. D—n him! I’m afraid of him. It’ll be no baby-work if they discover us.’

The other robber made no reply, but continued to examine the pistols, carefully rubbing the barrels, to remove any trace of rust, and working the hammers backward and forward; after which he put two fresh caps on the cones. ‘All right! I’m ready as soon as it’s time. When do you go?’

‘Not till an hour after midnight. That’s the time when folks sleep soundest. You could cut a man’s throat then without waking him. Don’t let the fire get down,’ said he, turning an apprehensive eye toward the fire-place. ‘It’s cold, and we’ve three hours to be here yet.’

Jones, with the same good-natured alacrity which he had before displayed, threw several sticks on the fire, and then turning to his comrade, said:

‘Suppose we rattle the dice till midnight?’

Craig shook his head.

‘What say you to the paste-board?’

‘No cards for me,’ replied the other, seating himself and leaning his cheeks between his hands, with his elbows on his knees, and his eyes fastened on the fire. ‘I want to be on the move. God! How I wish it was time! This cursed room is enough to suffocate one. Curse me, but it smells of coffins and dead men, and is as cold as a church-vault. It goes to a fellow’s very bones.’

There was something so unusual in the mood of his comrade, that Jones at last started up and said:

‘Blast me, Tim, but you must stop this. You’re making me as wild and frightened as yourself. Talk of your beaks, and courts, and prisons, and bullets, and pistols, as much as you like; but d—n it, leave your dead men, and coffins, and vaults, and all them ‘ere to themselves, will you! Curse me, if you ain’t enough to make a sneak of any man. So just stop, will you? If you can’t talk of something better, don’t talk at all.’

Craig took him at his word; and drawing his bench closer to the fire, maintained his position, without moving or speaking for more than an hour.

Jones, in the mean while, for want of employment, again examined the pistols; drew out the loads, and reloaded them; then going to the closet, he brought out two very dangerous-looking knives, and after trying the points on his finger, proceeded to oil them. This over, he betook himself to whistling, at the same time, keeping time to his music by drumming his heel heavily on the floor. This, however, could not last forever; and finally, wrapping a heavy coat around his shoulders, he stretched himself at full length in front of the fire, and was soon sound asleep.

Not so his companion. In silence, without stirring, and scarcely 39breathing, yet wide awake, with ears alive to every sound, and distorting every sigh of the wind into the voice of a human being, he sat with white lips and a shaking hand until the faint chime of a clock, which reached him even above the noise of the storm, told him that the hour was come.

‘Wake up!’ said he, touching Jones with his foot. ‘It’s time to be off.’

Jones, with instinctive quickness, obeyed the call by springing to his feet, apparently as wide awake as if he had not closed his eyes during the night.

‘All right!’ said he, looking hastily about the room. ‘Hey! but what’s all this noise?’

‘It’s a horrible night; all hell seems abroad,’ said Craig. ‘But come; get ready, and let’s be off.’

‘Will we want any of them?’ asked Jones, pointing to an upper shelf in the closet, on which was lying a number of uncouth-looking instruments, the nature of which was best known to themselves.

‘Take the small crow; we may want that, but nothing more.’

‘The bag, too?’ inquired Bill.

‘No; it’s a girl we’ve to steal; d—n it, I wish it wasn’t!’

While he was speaking, he had thrust his arms into a shaggy great-coat, and was tying a thick woollen wrapper over his mouth, so that the last remark was nearly lost in it. He then put on an oil-skin cap, not unlike what is called by sailors a ‘sou’-wester,’ and stood watching the proceedings of his comrade, which were by no means as expeditious as his own; for that gentleman proceeded very leisurely to encase his feet in a pair of thick woollen stockings, and a pair of shoes more capable of resisting the wet than those which he then wore. After this, he put an oil-cloth jacket over his other one, and surmounted the whole by a coat similar to that worn by Craig.

‘One would suppose you was a baby, from your tenderness to yourself,’ said Craig, impatiently. ‘You ain’t sugar, are you? Do you expect the rain to melt you?’

‘I’m a sweet fellow, I know that,’ replied the other, carefully buttoning his coat to the chin. ‘I may be sugar for all I know, shouldn’t be surprised if I was. I’ve been told so afore this; let me tell you that, my old feller. You ain’t in kidney to-night. Take another pull at little Job,’ said he, handing him the bottle, ‘and we’ll be off.’

Whatever Craig’s contempt of the rain might be, it did not seem to extend to other liquids; for he took the bottle, and applying it to his lips, did not remove it until the bottom of it was not a little inclined toward the ceiling; perhaps its elevation might even have increased, had not Jones reminded him that it being late at night, the vessel could not be replenished, and that there was a ‘small child’ to be helped after him, who hated above all things sucking at the neck of a dry bottle.

Craig permitted the bottle to be taken from his hand, and stood with his eyes fixed on the floor in deep thought; nor did he arouse himself until Jones took him by the arm, and said:

‘Come on; all’s ready.’

Craig started at the words. ‘The pistols and the glim?’

40‘I’ve got ’em.’

‘And the crow-bar?’

‘All snug here,’ said Jones, touching the pocket of his great-coat.

‘Good! Follow me.’ Craig strode across the room, and went out.

It was a dreadful night. The rain spouted furiously from the water-conductors, and sped boiling and foaming through the streets. The wind too caught it up as it fell, and swept it in long sheets through the streets; and as the two men battled their way along, it seemed actually to hiss around them, like the long lash of a whip. The tempest had a rare frolic that night, and right merrily did it howl over the house-tops, and through the narrow streets; and fast and furiously did the water bubble and boil, as it dashed on like mad to the deep river, to take refuge in her bosom from its tormentor the hurricane.

Not a thing was stirring; not a beast. Not a man, except the two felons. A right glorious night it was for rapine and midnight murder. The house-dog had slunk in his straw, and the watchman was dozing away, under some shed, or stoop, or in some dark door-way. There was nothing to stand in the way of these enterprising men, save the fierce storm, and what cared they for that? It was the very night for them. If it came to blows, or if a life was to be taken, the death-cry would be lost in the howling of the wind; it was the night of all nights for them; and so thought Craig and his comrade, as they toiled along, with their heads bent down to keep the rain out of their faces.

‘Is it far?’ at last inquired Jones; ‘we’ve come a mile.’

‘Half a mile more,’ replied Craig; and that was all that passed between them, until they stood in front of Harson’s house.

‘This is it,’ said Craig.

He lifted the latch of the gate opening into the door-yard, and approached the house.

‘Where are we to begin?’ inquired Jones.

Craig pointed to a small window on a level with, or rather sunk somewhat below, the surface of the ground, with a kind of area around it. ‘There; there are iron gratings, but they are set in the wood, which is all rotten. Quick! try them with the crow-bar; they’ll give.’

Jones, with an alacrity and adroitness which showed a long experience in such matters, after feeling his way to the place, and passing his hand over the bars to discover their exact situation, inserted his crow-bar between the stone-work and the wood, and at the very first application forced the whole out. A wooden shutter which opened from within, being merely secured by a wooden button, gave way before a strong pressure of his hand, and left the entrance open.

‘Go in quick!—don’t keep a fellow in the rain all night,’ said Craig, in a sharp whisper. ‘It’s only three feet to the floor. Get in, will you?’

‘Shut up! Cuss ye!’ exclaimed Jones, savagely; ‘let me take my own way.’

As he spoke, he inserted his feet, and gradually let himself down until he touched the floor. In a moment Craig was at his side, and closed the shutter.

‘Now, quick! a light!’ whispered he. In another minute, the dark 41lantern was lighted, and Craig, taking it up and throwing back the slide, turned it carefully around the place. It was a cellar, filled with empty barrels and boxes; and seemed to be a sort of receptacle for rubbish of all descriptions. At one end was a door leading to the upper part of the house. It was partly open. Without a word, Craig went to it and ascended the stairs, which were shut off from the kitchen by another door.

Craig opened this, and crossed the room with a quick yet stealthy step, but with the air of one perfectly familiar with the precincts. Passing through the entry, he went into Harson’s sitting-room; from there into the outer room, communicating with the street.

‘We’ll open the street door, Bill,’ said he, ‘in case we have to bolt quick. There,’ said he, as he drew back two bolts, and turned the key, don’t forget the road. Leave all the doors open. That’ll do. We’ll get the girl first, and then we’ll see what’s to be done. First door at the head of the stairs. Quiet, quiet; there’s a dog in the next room.’

Stealing up the stairs, they opened the door, and the full light of the lamp fell in the child’s room. They could hear her low, regular breathing as she slept. Craig handed the light to his companion.

‘I’ll take her,’ whispered he. ‘Bring the light so that I can see. There, that will do.’ He bent over her. As he did so, he accidentally stirred the bed-clothes, and the child opened her eyes; and before he could prevent it, a single wild cry escaped her as she caught sight of the wild faces which were bending over her.

‘Christ! how she yelps!’ exclaimed Craig, in a fierce whisper. He clapped his hand over her mouth. ‘By G-d! there goes the dog too! we must be off. My chicken,’ said he, in a low tone, ‘if you understand plain English, you know what I mean when I say if you whisper loud enough to wake a cat, you’ll get a bullet through your head. Hist! Bill, was that a door creaking? I can’t hear for the d——d dog!’ Both stopped and listened.

‘It was only the door below,’ said Jones. ‘Quick! quick!’

Craig caught the child out of bed, wrapped a blanket about her to stifle her cries, in case she should make any, and moved to the door.

‘Turn the light on the door; I can’t see. There, that will do. Now then, it’s open, and the game’s ours.’

Not quite!’ said a stern voice; and the next instant Craig received a blow from a fist which sent him reeling back into the room.

‘Watch! watch! murder! thieves!’ bellowed Harson from without, while from the din, at least forty pug-dogs seemed to be barking in all parts of the entry.

‘Shoot him! shoot him down!’ shouted Craig, springing to the door. ‘By G-d! the door’s shut, and he’s holding it from the outside!’ exclaimed he, pulling it with all his force. ‘He’s as strong as a bull. Quick! shoot through the panel! He must stand behind the knob. Fire!’

Instead of obeying him, Bill Jones seized the child. ‘Hark ye, old fellow,’ said he; ‘shut up, or I’ll dash this girl’s brains out. If I don’t, d—n me!’

42This appeal was heard, and operated upon Harson; but in a different manner from what they expected, for he relaxed his hold of the door so suddenly, that Craig fell backward, and bursting into the room, with a single blow prostrated the burglar, who was bending over the child, and dashed the light to the ground. His advantage was only momentary; for in a minute Craig flung himself upon him. But the old man’s blood was up. In his young days he had been a powerful wrestler; and even now the robber found him no easy conquest, for he said, in a husky tone: ‘This won’t do, Bill. Drop the girl and come here. This blasted old fool will keep us all night.’

Instead of obeying him, Jones stole to the head of the stairs and listened. In an instant he sprang back.

‘We must be off, Tim! Some one is coming. Quick! Let loose the man.’

But there were two to that bargain; for Harson had heard the words as well as the robber, and he held him with a grip like a vice.

‘Let go your hold and we’ll be off,’ said Craig, in a husky voice.

‘Never! You shall taste what you are so ready to give!’ said Harson, fiercely.

‘Bill, there’s no time to lose!’ exclaimed Craig, in a stern tone. ‘Shoot him, and have done with it! There, now; I’ll hold him.’

The report of a pistol followed; but as it did so, a deep groan came from Craig. ‘You’ve done for me, Bill. The old fellow dodged. Run! run!—my rope’s out.’

‘Can’t I help you, Tim?’ exclaimed Jones.

‘No, no; go! Get off; I’ll not blow on you.’

Thus adjured, the robber paused no longer. But escape was now no easy matter; for at the door he was saluted by a loud voice:

‘Hallo! Harry; is this you?’

‘No, no, a thief! Grab him, Frank!’

The next instant Jones was in the grip of a powerful man, but he was a giant himself, and desperate. He flung himself with all his force upon his adversary, and both went to the floor together; Jones’ hand on the other’s throat.

There is something fearful in the grapple of a desperate man, even when feeble in frame; and in the case of Jones, who knew that every thing depended on his efforts, and whose fierce spirit was backed by muscles of iron, the conflict was one of such fury that the very walls of the old house shook. From step to step, from the landing to the hall, they fought; tugging and tearing at each other like two dogs, while Harry Harson in vain hung about them; the darkness and the rapidity of their motions preventing him from distinguishing friend from foe.

‘By G-d! he’s an ox for strength,’ at last said Frank; ‘if you’d do any thing, Harry, go to the door and sing out for the watch. I’ll hold him.’

It might be that in order to utter these words the Doctor relaxed his grip, or it might be that the knowledge of the increased risk that he would run gave additional strength to the robber, for he made a single desperate effort, tore himself from the iron grasp that held him down, rose to his knee, and striking the Doctor a blow in the face that for a moment 43bewildered him, sprang to his feet, dashed Harson from the door, bounded across the room between the hall and the street-door, and darted into the street at full speed.

‘D—n me, Harry, he’s off!’ said the Doctor, assuming a sitting posture on the floor. ‘He deserves to escape, for he fought like a devil for it. D—n him, he’s a brave fellow! There’s no use in chasing him, I suppose; you and I ain’t cut out for running. If that last crack had hit me on the nose, it would have smashed it. Come, let’s see after the other fellow; perhaps he’s playing possum, and may be off. If you don’t stop the barking of that d——d dog of yours, I’ll kill him.’ Groping their way back to the upper floor, from which they caught sight of Spite, rapidly retreating as they advanced, they found the house-keeper standing in the room which they had just left, arrayed in a particularly large white night-gown and wearing a particularly high cap, with a particularly fierce white ribbon on the top of it, and bearing in her hand a dim rush-light.

‘Quick! Martha; more lights, and some brandy!’ said Harson, pushing past her. ‘Thank God! you’re not hurt, Annie! Come, Doctor, this poor devil is human,’ said he, pointing to Craig, who lay on the floor apparently dead. ‘Look to him; he breathes. I hear him.’

It needed no second appeal; for before he had finished, the Doctor had turned the robber over, opened his vest, and displayed a wound in his breast. He thrust his finger in it, and then looking up at Harry, shook his head.

‘He’s a case; must go!’

‘Poor fellow! God only knows what may have driven him to this. Help me to put him on the bed.’

Taking him in their arms, they placed him on the bed; and there they sat and watched him until the dawn of day. The bright sunshine came cheerily in at the window; the storm had passed, and the sky looked clear and blue, as if it had never been unruffled. And at that hour, and in that room, with the golden sunbeams streaming in, lay Tim Craig, his head pressed heavily back upon the pillow, bound round with a cloth dabbled in blood. His face was blackened and bruised, and his shirt and the bed-clothes stained with blood. His breath was short and heavy, and at times, gasping; his mouth half open, and his dull eye fixed with a heavy leaden stare at the ceiling. His race was nearly run. He seemed utterly unconscious of the presence of any one, until the door opened, and Harson, who had gone out, came in.

He went to the bed, and leaned over the burglar. As he did so, his shadow falling across the man’s face, attracted his attention, and he turned his heavy eye, and asked, in a husky voice:

‘Will I go? What does he say?’

Harson shook his head. ‘It’s almost over with you, my poor fellow; God help you!’

The man turned his head away and looked at the wall.

‘Do you understand me?’ said Harson, anxiously bending over him.

‘Yes, yes,’ replied the man in the same mumbling tone; ‘yes, I’m come for; my time’s up. I was a strong man yesterday; and now! now——! It’s very strange! very strange!’ He muttered a few inarticulate 44words, and then resumed his old position, looking at the wall, with no sound escaping him except the low panting of his breath. Suddenly he said, in a louder tone:

‘It’s all very strange here.’ He pointed to his head. ‘Were you ever at sea? Yes; well, well—did you ever see a ship toss and swing to and fro—to and fro—to and fro, and yet keep straight on? Well, my brain reels and swims in that way. There are dim strange things; men, beasts, birds, and ghosts hovering about it; but I see straight on, and they are on all sides of the path; yes, I see it straight, straight, straight and plain. I’m going on it. They can’t make me swerve; but it’s awful to have such company about me on such a journey. Come close to me!’

Harson drew his chair close to the bed and sat down. ‘I’ve sent for a clergyman,’ said he, in a low tone; ‘He’ll be here presently. You must endeavor to chase away these thoughts; they are only dreams.’

Craig’s thin lips contracted into a smile which was horrible, as without moving his eyes from their fixed position, he whispered: ‘No, no; he won’t do it—he’ll not do it. No; I won’t blow on you, Bill. Ha! how hot that bullet was! Lift me up! He’s there! Yes, lift me up, so that I may be above him; up! up! Ha! ha! that’ll do. Bill, do you recollect the old school-master? There! Up! up!’

Harson put his arm under him, and raised him. As he did so, Craig’s head fell against his shoulder, dabbling it with blood. The next instant he stretched himself out at full length, gave a shudder; a long rattling breath followed; and he fell back on the pillow—dead.


How vain is human strength to flee,

Thou mighty One! from thee!

Thou hid’st the scenes that lie the grave beyond—

Thou hast the secrets of the world unseen;

Where the loved ones, the beautiful, the fond,

And all who tossed on life’s wild sea have been,

Have gone in silence at thy dreadful call,

Great conqueror of all!

Empires are crumbled at thy dread command,

And nations rise and nourish but to fall;

Even earth is thine; and thou e’er long shalt stand,

And mark its wealth, and power, and beauty, all

Fade and depart as sunbeams in the heaven

Vanish and die at even!

The midnight storm, the tempest raging high,

The sweeping pestilence, and fell disease,

Rude winter’s blast, and balmy summer’s sigh,

Earth, and the sea whose murmurs never cease,

All are but agents of thy sovereign will,

Thy bidding to fulfil.

45Couldst thou to man’s earth-fettered soul reveal

The bliss thou bringest to the pure in heart,

Would sudden horror o’er his spirit steal,

When called at last with low-born joys to part?

Would he not rather sigh for that bless’d shore,

Where death is known no more?

Stern Power! though others shudder at thy tread,

And vainly seek thy arrow to evade,

Before thy stroke I fain would bow my head,

Nor grieve to see my transient pleasures fade:

In thy embrace my sorrows all shall cease,

For in the grave is peace!

H. C.




Our schooner was ‘up’ for Charleston by the first fair wind; but the captain was fastidious, and the only fair wind was directly aft. A point or two off would not do, unless it had been blowing for a day or two and was likely to continue till the captain could land his passengers in Charleston. Running in on the Georgia coast was always very delightful to the passengers, but not at all so to Captain S——. We had taken berths in the schooner about the middle of April, and when the first week in May had passed by, we began to think it would be difficult to find the precise article of air which the captain desired. During this time it seemed to have become coquettish, giving us all kinds of northerly, all varieties of east, and a preponderance of westerly wind, finishing off with a sirocco from the south-west, (‘a Boston east wind boiled,’ and the only unpleasant summer wind on the coast,) after which it stopped short; the sand and the orange blossoms settled again, and every thing hung perpendicular. The next morning a puff came up from the south in a very blustering manner, as though it had an immense capital to back it, but proved very short-winded. Our little craft thinking to beat us, shook its sails out right and left, and dashed out of the harbor, rounding the point in a handsome manner; but before reaching the bar it slacked away, till ‘small by degrees and beautifully less,’ it came to a dead stand; and the same evening we dashed back again with a no’th-east-by-east behind us, to the great delight of promenaders on the sea-wall and the public in general. Ladies rode through the streets at a hard-gallop; little niggers crept under balconies; and an individual who shall be nameless performed a feat with a certain Di. Vernon of that ilk, which resulted in a bill the next morning of some odd dollars for extra motion, and a severe lesson upon the moralities of fast-riding. The mid-day weather at this time was decidedly summerish, the temperature having the feel of about seventy in our latitude, but ranging there from eighty to ninety degrees.

46We were beginning the summer custom of gathering every morning to meet the ‘doctor’ (sea-breeze) on the square, only a short walk below, which I prolonged on the sea-wall to the little schooner, examined the labels on the berths, crushed an orange at the corner shop, and lounged up to the nine-pin alley to close up the ‘unfinished business.’ After bowling, if it was too warm to invent any thing that would not be forgotten before dinner, the old routine was the order of the day; and back-gammon or flirtation had it, according as we were nearer the Florida House or the one ‘round the corner.’ The thirty or forty others who had helped make the winter pleasant, had been gone for weeks, and our little parties for bathing or riding, or any other trifling matter which might be better than a cigar on the piazza, had that snug kind of personality which is so much more pleasant than safe, that I half-wished the thirty or forty had gone much sooner than they did.

I was sitting on the piazza one morning with a number of un-appropriated blank hours before me, a little embarrassed whether to tease the big bear in the yard or lean over and give up to it, with the old dog who was snapping at flies on the floor, when it struck me as something very fresh, that as the wind was still two points off, I could make one more sally into the country. Before the thought had time to cool, my horse was brought to the door, and looking about for a companion, I asked Miss H——, who hesitated and declined; but I found one in Lieut. T——, who was that morning going over to Picolata. The distance is eighteen miles, through an unbroken pine-barren, (one opening only, at Fort Searle, twelve miles out,) and an under-growth of palmettos of just sufficient height for Indians to hide in. For a long time the travel over all that portion of the territory lying south of a line fifty miles north of us, was with an escort of fifteen or twenty men, who moved at a slow rate, a hundred yards apart, so as not to present to the Indians more than one or two shots at a time from any one point.

Notwithstanding the precaution of a strong escort every day, out or in, on the Picolata road, there had been more downright murdering there than in any other part of the territory, some having been shot down almost in sight of Augustine. This was not escort-day, but if it had been, our horses were not disposed to be six hours in the sun, in going so short a distance. The little grey steed that I had been using for some weeks was not by any means a lady’s article, but he had been alongside of them in many a ride on the beach, and so learned the trick of combining the playful and gallant in a very pretty manner. His ambition was to be always up to the mark, and a head more if his companion would allow it; but at the least indication of rivalry his head went down, and nothing less than iron muscles could keep him from his twelve-mile gait. If not well-matched it was his delight to dash ahead for a hundred yards, and then stop and look back, or perhaps return, make a short sweep around his companion, jog on sociably for a little, and then repeat the manœuvre; and in doing this my arms were only sufficient to guide him a little in case he attempted the barren, and keep him clear of the saw-palmetto. T——‘s animal belonged at Picolata. The quarter-master at the barracks had sent him up to be taken over, and as we mounted at the Florida House, I could not help smiling as I 47recognized the same fellow that the quarter-master had politely sent me for a similar purpose some time previous. He was long-bodied and very long-limbed, and having been brought up in camp, his motion had all the stiffness of the marching step. His point, any two points being given, was to make the straight line between them in the shortest possible time, in an unbroken trot; but there was no danger of his breaking it; he was not capable of a gallop; his limbs couldn’t be brought to it.

We passed out of town at an easy pace, talking over the last night’s ball; and while crossing the bridge the lieutenant called my attention to his saddle, a cast-iron frame thinly covered with leather, leaving large rib-spaces on the back, which he commended as being delightfully cool. ‘But, my dear fellow,’ said I, ‘why didn’t you get a blanket?’ He replied that after getting accustomed to it, it was much easier than the padded saddle. ‘Do you know,’ said I, ‘that that horse is a trotter?’ ‘I’m used to trotters,’ said he. ‘You ease up a little in the stirrups?’ ‘No; contrary to rules.’

We now entered the barren, and the moment the horses dipped their hoofs in the sand, the old ‘forker,’ seeing the problem to be solved, took the bit in his teeth and started for Picolata. At the first dash the forker went ahead. He had laid his course, as they say at sea, and no up-helm or down-helm had the slightest effect upon him. His mind was made up; no wavering, no playfulness, no scarishness, no looking to the right or left. Picolata was the point; ‘no two ways’ to Picolata; he was on the right way, and he was the horse to do it in double-quick time. The little grey had evidently thought it was too hot for any thing in his line; but as soon as he noticed any thing like game in his companion, his head went down as usual; and after a little hard running, we brushed by the old fellow, made the requisite heading, wheeled, passing the forker on the larboard quarter, and made the circuit, to his great satisfaction. ‘Here we go!’ said I, as we passed him again; and this time the grey kept ‘head on’ for some miles, till at length I succeeded in stopping him, and looked back. The forker was coming in a bee-line, T—— bobbing up and down ‘with a short uneasy motion,’ endeavoring to make a seat of his jacket which he had stripped off; and as he came nearer I noticed that he was trying to look very cool and comfortable. We waited till they came up, but there was no stopping; the forker went by without winking or noticing the grey in the slightest manner.

Easing up on the reins till we came abreast, ‘How are you now?’ said I. ‘Oh, this is nothing’ said T——, turning round a very little with a highly-charged expression of face; ‘a little rough; yes, a little—little rough; but you observe my seat, Sir—West Point?’ ‘O yes,’ said I; ‘very fine—and cool, I suspect.’ But there was not much chance of intelligible conversation. T—— kept on talking, but his remarks, meant for the quarter-master, were so barbarously broken, that I could only guess occasionally at some exclamations, which for point and emphasis were highly military. Our rate of travel was not, you observe, from five to ten, or from eight to twelve miles an hour, but exactly ten. That was the forker’s motion, from which there was no deviation. If he was struck, his heels went up suddenly and very high, but it was no impediment. 48He evidently took the blow as a military order for a rear motion; nothing more, and no occasion for malice. Now, if any body wishes to know about the face of the country; how bounded, what products, etc., between Augustine and Picolata, I am unable to give the slightest information from any notes taken that morning. My perceptions were all in medias res; and I only remember seeing a wild turkey that we scared up, and an alligator that made for the water while we were a quarter of a mile distant, and splashed in in a great fright some time after we had passed him.

In little more than an hour we entered the opening at Fort Searle so suddenly, that I heard the orderly report, as he marched up to the commanding officer: ‘Two gentlemen from Augustine, Sir.’ ‘Very well,’ said the officer; and he turned to receive the lieutenant, but T—— was past all dignities. Stretching himself on a bench he ordered brandy-and-water, and as that was not quite the thing, added a little cherry bounce, and finished with old Jamaica, and presently went round a corner with a tumbler of the latter; but whether for external or internal application, I am unable to say. Without stopping long enough to get stiff, we mounted again, and after a few closing flourishes from the little grey entered the city of Picolata, consisting of one house, and were greeted with the chattering of ten thousand black-birds all in full chorus. A boat coming up very opportunely, we took passage in her that night, and next morning were at Pilatka.

A few miles south of that place, there is a small plantation on the river that had been deserted and the house burned down by the Indians during the first winter of the war. Some weeks previous, while at Pilatka, Colonel —— had politely offered me a sergeant and nine men to visit the place, but shortly after reaching it they complained of the musquitoes and rode back to the camp, leaving me with the guide and Gen. W—— to finish the survey. I now found a young physician who was waiting an escort for Tampa Bay, and we went out alone; and after studying trails for a long time, and taking directions by the compass, we came in sight of the hammock when some miles distant, and entering by a winding road that was arched over so as to be almost dark as night, we emerged, after a quarter of a mile, in a little round spot in the wilderness, which for quiet beauty was beyond any thing I had ever before seen. There were some forty acres in the circle, and yet it looked not unlike a dollar in a tumbler, so high and dense was the forest. The magnolias, a hundred feet in air, were in full blossom, their white tops making an unbroken wreath over the area, while the lower branches of the live-oaks were loaded with the long moss, hanging like curtains, motionless in the bright light, and not a single bird on the tree-tops to break the perfect charm of the place. Beautiful, very beautiful! but how strangely still! A squirrel chattering, or the rat-tat of a woodpecker, would have been something; but there was not a single voice out; not so much as the hum of a musquito, though it was the hottest of summer days.

Why didn’t the oaks speak, or the magnolias? If they had, shaken their white heads, and raising their trailing garments, had all burst out in some grand anthem, I should only have thought it quite in 49character; and if personally addressed, it would have seemed entirely a matter of course. I should have replied civilly, begged pardon for intruding in so informal a manner, and backed out as soon as possible; and perhaps the click of a rifle would have produced the same effect. We rode around the little gem, and found the charred timbers where the house stood, and a few orange trees that the Indians had left; but the cool spring was so hid in the high grass, that we were forced back with parched lips to the flat water at Pilatka, which place we reached in time for a late dinner; and just as the evening set in I took passage again for Picolata.

All the boats running on the river were in the government service, and ours at this time was loaded fore and aft with a company of dragoons, bound to Black Creek. As we left the dock, another large boat came out in a pompous manner, and gave us chase; and as the day had been intensely hot, a large line of clouds rolled over the bluff at the same time, probably from the gulf en route to the Atlantic, and moving slowly across the river, gathered their black folds around the pine-tops, shutting all up, river and forest, every thing but our chimneys, in utter darkness. And now began a scene which combined little and great in a manner quite fantastic. Boatmen swearing and yelling to each other as the boats came near collision, and that infernal scream sounding off through the pine barrens like some spirit newly damned; horses prancing and threshing on the bows; men growling at cards, and over head thunder and lightning leading off the storm in a very brilliant and point-blank manner; all which was quite rousing and melo-dramatic. While I was noticing the pilot’s manner of steering by flashes, a gentleman came up, whom I recognised as a resident of St. Augustine; and as he had a horse at Picolata, we agreed to go over together that night, as the darkness was rather favorable, and the road being sandy, we could ride rapidly without being heard.

It was late in the evening when we reached Picolata; and with a good deal of uproar, men shouting, steam puffing, and half a dozen blacks gesticulating on shore, we each made a fortunate leap to the dock; and walking up to the camp in a blaze of pitch-pine, we ordered our horses, and at eleven o’clock entered the pine woods for St. Augustine. ‘I wouldn’t go over to-night,’ said the man as he brought up my horse; ‘the rascals have been seen about here within a day or two; for God’s sake, Sir, don’t go over to-night!’ But this only gave a keener zest to the ride. I had carried with me every where a double-barrelled gun, but I had found it an awkward companion, and having been all day in the saddle I concluded to leave it to be sent over, and mean time trust to my friend’s pistols.

The rain had ceased, and the wind had gone down, but the night was still so dark that we could only guess at the road by the strip of light over head, and now and then a flash, which would light up the avenue for a long distance ahead, and then leave it still darker than before. As we entered the barren at an easy trot, I was pleased to notice that the darkness or the storm had tamed my little grey into a very sober humor, and his companion also was in a very moralizing way. There was no starting at the lightning, no attempt at running, but with a noiseless 50tread they stepped daintily in the sand, pointing their ears hither and yon, and as it seemed to me, affecting a little scarishness, though what they could hear when the forest was so breathless, it was difficult to imagine; but every little while they would both leap some fifteen feet across the road, (which couldn’t be affectation) shiver a little, and then pick their way carefully as before. We could see nothing, hear nothing; but horses are keen snuffers, and they might smell when we couldn’t; but what was singular, the vaulting was done from the same side of the road.

We were still keeping up a little small-talk, when some miles in the forest, both horses, without any jump or start of any kind, stopped suddenly; and looking ahead, we saw something moving stealthily toward us. My companion cocked a pistol and challenged; but we only heard a little grumbling, and I counted him a dead man; but before we had time to guess about it, something brushed by, and by a flash of light we saw a glitter of buttons, and a man on horseback. Whoever or whatever he was, we saw him but a moment, and he was soon out of hearing. With a remark or two upon the fool-hardiness of the man, we quickened our pace, and went on at a dashing rate, abreast and Indian fashion, just as it happened; now one leading and now the other, according to the wind of our horses; and in this manner we were passing the most dangerous part of the road, when there was a sudden whizzing about our ears, and the report of half a dozen rifles. The little grey reared and plunged and I landed—where, I don’t know; but the next that I remember, I was standing alone in the pine barren. I had been running for a long time; how far I couldn’t tell, being conscious only of dodging often from one tree to another. On looking about I remarked that the clouds had opened a little, and that there was nothing to be seen or heard in any direction. Presently I heard a yell, and looking around, a strapping Indian, with his rifle drawn to his eye, fired as I faced him, and the ball parted a lock of my hair in a manner very embarrassing. I levelled upon the rascal, but missed fire; the rain had wet the powder in the tube. The fellow took no pains to hide himself, but was very coolly loading again, and had got his ball ready, when I once more started off at full speed.

It was a sharp race, and a warm one. After running a mile or more, there was a small stream to be crossed; and with a few well-balanced steps on a half-decayed log that lay at the edge of the water, I reached the opposite bank just as my pursuer stepped on at the other end. Hearing a strange kind of shock, I turned and saw the big six-footed animal astride the log, twisting and writhing about in great agony. He had slipped and fallen in such a manner as to pain him almost beyond endurance. I stood on the bank and laughed at him; and—shall I confess it?—I tried half a dozen more caps at the fellow, with a most savage deliberateness; to all which he paid not the slightest attention; but as his strength came gradually back, I took to my heels again, and fortunately reached the highway….

The last ten miles of our ride that night were passed over in a very headlong manner: we stopped only once, as we heard the cry of some hounds on the south side, and then on again, keeping our horses just 51within their speed, till at the worst place on the road, we gave up the reins and let them go. In less than two hours from Picolata, we snuffed the salt air again; and reaching the open country, walked our horses leisurely into St. Augustine.

As we entered the city my companion left me; and as I drew rein on the square, I noticed that the schooner was still at the dock, and all about the city was quiet and undisturbed. The storm had gone by, its skirts hanging on the eastern horizon, and forming a back-ground to the light of the light-house, while the city and bay were bright in the starlight; and if stars shine any brighter in the small hours, they were doing their best then. All looked pleasant and quite at home, even to the sentry at the corner; and there was nothing, you would say, to make one sad; but as I turned the corner I drew a breath of such yawning profundity that the old dog at the Florida House started up and growled impromptu. That dog had held a stout nigger all night in the yard, not long before; but fortunately he knew me, and after smelling, to make sure that all was right, he followed me into an out-house, when I rolled Bob out of a cradle, and giving a general order in a low voice for a warm bath in the morning, found my quarters and went to bed.

At sunrise the next morning I was half awake, grasping at the skirts of a pleasant dream, when Bob came in, blew about the room for awhile, and cried out ‘Massa, did you order um wom bath?’ ‘No; clear out! Eh? warm bath? Yes; warm bath, to be sure.’ And Bob went out, and came in directly with two wenches and a warm bath. ‘How’s the wind Bob?’ ‘De wind?’ ‘Yes; where’s the wind’ ‘Dun know, Sah.’ ‘Well, go out in the balcony and see where it comes from.’ Bob shouted through the open window, ‘De wind come from de Souf.’

I made but one spring, and the blacks vanished. Going below, I found the house in commotion. The schooner was to sail at nine o’clock, and the signal would be the report of a two-pounder which the captain carried on his quarter-deck. At eight o’clock I had been all over town from the fort to the powder house; looked in at the church, where were some fifteen or twenty kneeling, silent and devotional; and was seated at breakfast, when we heard the captain’s gun, an hour before the time. ‘My God!’ said I, ‘I can’t go without seeing Mrs. J—— and kind Mrs. G——; and then there’s the pretty Di. Vernon!’ (I had bade them good-by a dozen times.) I rushed into the street, and seeing half-a-dozen ladies not far off, gave them a touch-and-go shake; rushed up a wrong street, then back again, and finally came out on the square and saw the little schooner’s sails bellied out full; passengers waving their handkerchiefs, and the people all around crying out to me to hurry, or I should lose my chance. But I didn’t hurry. The idea of hurry, after we had waited six weeks! That captain too, had he been asleep all this time, and just awaked? No; I did not hurry, but walked leisurely across the square, looking over my shoulder occasionally to see if —— was any where in sight, for she had promised to be at the dock; and passing over the long wharf in the same stubborn way, I stepped on board the schooner with a stiffer upper lip than I ever remember to have had in that climate. The moment that my feet touched the deck, 52the ropes slipped and away flew the schooner; but in all this ‘heat, haste and hunger,’ from a half-swallowed breakfast, and consignments of pacquets and kind wishes that were left behind, the sentiment of my last look was burnt to a cinder.




It cannot be that earth was given for our abiding place,

Or that for nought we’re darkly doomed the storms of life to face;

It cannot be our being’s cast from ’neath the ocean wave

Of vast Eternity, to sink again within its grave.

Else tell me why the aspiring thoughts, the glorious hopes of man,

Which spring up from his ‘heart of hearts,’ brook not earth’s narrow span;

Oh! tell me why unsatisfied forever here they roam,

And seem to claim in higher spheres a refuge and a home.


Why is it that the rainbow and the tints of evening clouds

Dispel the mists in which the world our spirits still enshrouds?

The chord they strike!—oh, tell me not that it can be of earth—

The golden heart-string that they touch is not of mortal birth:

The very buds and blossoms, and the balmy summer air,

Awake within us shadows vague of things more bright and fair;

’Tis almost like remembrance—oh! would that I could tell

The meaning of that hidden charm my spirit knows so well!


A simple tone can rouse it; a smile, or even a sigh

Can make the ghost-like shadows flit before my dreaming eye;

’Tis one of life’s deep mysteries; in vain we seek to trace

The hidden spell’s dark origin that chains our feeble race:

But, oh! may we not fancy, may we not sweetly think,

’Tis between us and another world a dim mysterious link?

May we not hope that secret chord from God to man was given,

To shadow forth within his soul pure images of heaven?


The very stars which pierce the veil far o’er this world of sin,

And seem to give faint visions of a paradise within,

In all their hallowed loveliness, their vague and mystic lore,

Oh! do they not seem beckoning to a purer, holier shore?

And tell me why the well-loved eyes which here upon us beam

Gleam radiantly o’er our path, then vanish like a dream;

My Mother! oh! my Mother! shall they find belief in me,

Who tell me there’s no happy land where I shall meet with thee?


I know there is a heaven which is peopled not with shades,

Where the buds and flowers ne’er wither, and the rainbow never fades:

Where the mourners cease from mourning, and in smiles of joy are drest,

Where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest:

Oh! there is gladness in the thought; ’tis deep, deep joy to me

To feel that those I love so well I there again shall see;

To know that though around them now my very heart-strings twine,

They’ll be forever with me there—forever more be mine!



Good-by, Old Year! we wait to greet the New,

And hope within its circling hours to see

More of content and less of misery.

Yet, haply, all life’s toilsome journey through,

No happier scenes than thine will meet our view;

If so, we humbly bow to Heaven’s decree,

With hearts, though wounded, still as firm and true

As when we first knelt to the Deity.

Many will weep, Old Year! while thou dost lay

Thine aged head within the voiceless tomb.

We weep, yet on the clouds of grief doth play

The bow of promise, lighting up their gloom.

Not so with many hearts that crushed and bleeding lie,

Whose only thought of gladness is like thee to die!

Brooklyn, Dec., 1843. Hans Von Spiegel.




Sir: My friends abroad complain that my last letter reached them in small type, most pernicious to English eyes, and half hidden among the rubbish of your editorial remarks, literary notices, and chit-chat with your million butterfly correspondents. Unless I am better served in future, I shall be compelled to transfer my patronage to the post-office, dangerous as it is, and liable to the occasional interference of American citizens. I have conferred with an attorney, who tells me that there is just ground for an action for breach of trust, in the unfaithful performance of the duty you have undertaken. It remains with yourself to avert any such consequence, by attending more strictly in future to the proper conveyance of my correspondence.

During the last week I have received a note from the gentleman who stole the letters. This I enclose to you; and as I do not know where to address him, I will simply reply to him, through the Magazine, that although I have the highest respect for his talents, I would see him several miles on his way to the devil, before I would comply with his polite request.

Truly yours, etc.,

—— ——.


My Dear Friend: You will be surprised that I have found out your address, and indeed it required some sagacity. But now that I have, you will pardon me for broaching a matter in which we are mutually 54concerned. You must be aware how horribly I have been used by the Editor of the Knickerbocker, and all through the share I have unfortunately had in your troublesome correspondence. He still persists in refusing to pay me a proper remuneration for my services, for which hitherto, I am sorry to say, I have received only insult and vexation. I have been advised by my lawyer to institute a suit at law against the miscreant, and matters are now in progress toward that desirable result.

In the mean time I have thought proper to apply to your sense of justice for a partial compensation of the trouble you have caused me. My character has been assailed, my tranquillity disturbed, and my valuable time taken up, without a penny of remuneration. Now, Sir, if you think fit to transmit to the address of ‘M. R.,’ through the post-office, a hundred dollars ($100), I will overlook what is past, and resign solely to yourself what interest I possess in your epistolary intercourse through the pages of that infamous Magazine. With sentiments of esteem,

Yours, as before,

M. R.

So shaken as we are, so wan with care,’ we begin to wish that we had never undertaken the publication of these letters. Between two impending law-suits how shall we muster courage to keep on the even tenor of our way? Even our staunch friend, the anonymous Public, torments us with frequent accusatory epistles, charging us with dulness, impiety, and irreverence for American institutions. All these we must lay on the back of our Englishman, whose compatriots we confess are apt to assume a latitude of style hardly tolerated among us. In the mean time, gentle Public, respected Cockney, and worthy Mail-Robber, we cry you mercy all round!

Ed. Knickerbocker.



Good Cassio, Charles, Mercutio, Benedick,

(Of all your names I scarce know which to pick,)

Colossal relic of the nobler time

When great John Philip trod the scene sublime;

Ay, true Colossus, for like that which strode

From shore to shore, while seas beneath him flowed,

You seem to stand between two generations,

High o’er the tide of Time and its mutations;

Be not alarmed; this comes not from a dun,

Nor any scheming, transatlantic Bunn,

Tempting with golden hopes your waning years,

Like ‘certain stars shot madly from their spheres,’

Like Mathews or old Dowton, to expose

The shank all shrunken from its youthful hose;

So boldly read, howe’er it make you sigh,

Nor manager nor creditor am I;

Yet in some sort you are indeed my debtor,

And owe me for my pains at least a letter.

Not long ago, conversing at the Club

Which Londoners with ‘Garrick’s’ title dub,

55We both confessed, and each with equal grief,

That poor Melpomene was past relief;

So many symptoms of her dotage shows

This nineteenth century of steam and prose.

Nor in herself, said you, entirely lies

Th’ incurable complaint whereof she dies;

’Tis not alone that play-wrights are too poor

For gods or men or columns to endure;4

Nor that all players in a mould are cast,

Every new Roscius aping still the last;

Nor yet that Taste’s too delicate excess

Demands perfection and despises less;

But mere indifference, that worst disease,

From bard and actor take all power to please.

How strive to please? when all their friends that were,

To empty benches empty sounds prefer;

And seek, like bees attracted by a gong,

The fairy-land of tip-toe and of song;

Whether a voice of more than earthly strain

Be newly sent by Danube or the Seine,

Or some aërial, thistle-downy thing

Float from La Scala on a zephyr’s wing.

Say, might a Siddons, conjured from the tomb,

Again the scene of her renown illume?

Could her high art, (ay, even at half price,)

The crowd from ‘La Sonnambula’ entice?

No; dance and song, the Drama’s deadly plagues,

Rubini’s notes, and Ellsler’s heav’nly legs,

Would nightly still bring amateurs in flocks,

To watch the bravos of the royal box.

While thus, between our filberts and our wine,

We mourned with sighs your mistress’s decline,

You half indulged the fond imagination,

That what seemed death was but her emigration.

Perhaps, quoth you, and ’twas a bold ‘perhaps,’

Ere many years of exile shall elapse,

The wand’ring maid may find in foreign lands

More loving hearts and hospitable hands.

Perchance her feet, with furry buskins graced,

May shuddering walk the cold Canadian waste,

And rest contented with a bleak repose

In shrubless climes of never-thawing snows.

Yes, in those woods that gird the northern lakes,

Pathless as yet, and wild with shaggy brakes,

Or in the rank savannahs of the south,

Or sea-like prairies near Missouri’s mouth,

Fate may conduct her to some sacred spot,

Where to resume her sceptre and to—squat.

Some happier settlement and simpler race,

Where, though her worship lack its ancient grace,

New days may dawn, like those of royal Bess,

And every stream a Stratford shall possess;

Where, though in marshes resonant with frogs,

And rudely housed in temples built of logs,

The nymph, regenerate in her classic robe,

May see revived the ‘Fortune’ and the ‘Globe.’

Such was the dream your fancy dared to mould

Of what yourself had witnessed here of old;

When with your twins—your Fanny and your fame—

Among our cousins of the west you came;

But you mistook a momentary fashion

For a deep-seated and enduring passion:

Now to your own a friend’s experience add,

And judge what grounds your glorious vision had.

56Beyond that Cape which mortals christen Cod,

Where drifted sand-heaps choke the scanty sod,

Round the rough shore a crooked city clings,

Sworn foe to queens, it seems, as well as kings.

On three steep hills it soars, as Rome on seven,

To claim a near relationship with heaven.

Fit home for saints! the very name it bears

A kind of sacred origin declares;

Ta’en, as I find by hunting records o’er,

From one Botolfo, canonized of yore,5

Whom bards have left nor epitaph nor verse on,

Though in his day, sans doubt, a decent person:

This town, in olden times of stake and flame,

A famous nest of Puritans became;

Sad, rigid souls, who hated as they ought

The carnal arms wherewith the Devil fought;

Dancing and dicing, music, and whate’er

Spreads for humanity the hell-born snare.

Stage-plays especially their hearts abhorred,

Holding the Muses hateful to the Lord,

Save when old Sternhold and his brother bard

Oped their hoarse throats and strained an anthem hard.

From that angelic race of perfect men,

(Sure seraphs never trod the world ’till then,)

Descends the race to whom the sway is given

Of the world’s morals by confiding Heaven.

These of each virtue know the market price,

And shrewdly count the cost of every vice;

So, to their prudent adage faithful still,

Are honest more from policy than will.

As if with heaven a bargain they had made

To practise goodness and to be well paid.

They too, devoutly as their fathers did,

Sin, sack, and sugar equally forbid;

Holding each hour unpardonably spent

Which on the ledger leaves no monument;

While oft they read, with small but pious wit,

Th’ inscription o’er the play-house portals writ,

In a bad sense—‘The entrance to the Pit.

Among this godly tribe it was my fate

To view a triumph they enjoyed of late,

Which, lest the chroniclers who come hereafter

Omit, and cheat our children of their laughter,

I, a Daguerre-like sketcher of the time,

Will faintly shadow as I can in rhyme.

Once these Botolphians, when their boards you trod,

Received you almost as a demi-god;

Rushed to the teeming rows in frantic swarms,

And rained applauses not in showers but storms.

But should you now their fickle welcome ask,

Faint shouts would greet the veteran of the mask;

And ah! what anguish would it be to search

For your old play-house in a bastard church!

To find the dome wherein your hour you strutted,

Altered and maimed and circumcised and gutted;

Become in truth, all metaphor to drop,

A mongrel thing—half chapel and half shop.

Long had the augur and the priest foretold

The sad reverse they doomed it to behold;

Long had the school-boy, as he passed it by,

And maiden viewed it with presaging eye;

57Oft had the wealthy deacon with a frown

Glared on the pile he longed to batter down,

And reckoned oft, with sanctimonious air,

What rents ’twould fetch if purified with prayer;6

While through the green-room whispered rumors went,

That heaven and earth were on its ruin bent.

Too just a fear! The vision long foreseen

Has come at last; behold the fallen queen!

The queen of passion, stripped of all her pride,

Discrowned, indignant from her temple glide.

With draggling robe, slip-shod, her buskin loose,

She flies a barren people’s cold abuse;

Summons her sister, who forbears to smile,

And leaves to rats the desecrated pile,

Which dogs and nags already had begun,

Unless by blows and hunger driv’n, to shun:

For well-bred curs and steeds genteel contemn

A stage which Taste had sunk too low for them;

Whereon the town had seen, without remorse,

A herd of bisons and a hairless horse!

Behind the two chief mourners of the band

A sad procession followed, hand in hand;

Heroes un-heroed, most unknightly knights,

Wand-broken fairies, disenchanted sprites;

Dukes no more ducal, even on the bill,

Milk-livered murd’rers too ill-fed to kill;

Mild-looking demons that a babe might daunt,

Witches and ghosts most naturally gaunt;

Lovers made pale by keener pangs than love’s,

Unspangled princesses with greasy gloves;

Wits very witless—grave comedians mute,

And silent sons of violin and flute.

After these down-look’d leaders of the show,

Who creep like Trajan’s Dacians, wan and slow,

Comes a long train of underlings that bear

Imperial robes that kings no more may wear;

With truncheons, helmets, thunder-bolts and casks

Of snow and lightning—bucklers, foils and masks.

As tow’rd the steep of Capitolian Jove

When chiefs victorious through the rabble strove,

With all their conquests in their trophies told,

And every battle mark’d with plundered gold;

When the whole glory of the war rolled by,

And gaping Rome seemed all one mighty eye,

Behind the living captives came the dead,

Poor noseless gods, and some without a head,

With pictures, ivory images and plumes,

And priceless tapestry from palace-looms;

Ev’n such, although Night’s alchymy no more

The crinkling tinsel turns to precious ore,

Appears the pomp of this discarded race,

As heaped with spoil they quit their ancient place,

Bearing their Lares with them as they go—

Two dusty statues and a bust or so;

With mail which once a Harry Fifth had on,

Triumphal cars with all the triumph gone;

Goblets of tin mixed up with Yorick’s bones,

Bags made of togas—barrows formed of thrones,

Whereon the majesty of Denmark sat;

Fie! Juliet’s petticoats in Wolsey’s hat!

58Swords hacked at Bosworth, fasces, guns and spears

Rusted with blood before, and now with tears.

Enough of this: kind prompter, touch the bell!

Children of mirth and midnight, fare ye well!

The vision melts away, the motley crowd

Is veiled by Prospero in a passing cloud;

Like his dissolving pageantry they fade,

The vap’ry stuff whereof our dreams are made;

No more malignant winter to beguile,

Nor start the virgin’s tear, the judge’s smile;

Save when some annalist, like me, recalls

The ancient fame of those degraded walls;

Or till an age less hateful to the Muse

To their old shape restore the anxious pews.

T. W. P.



Sir: It has not been until after much reflection on my own part, and I must say, very civil encouragement on that of my friend Mr. John Waters, whose acquaintance I have chanced upon some months back, that I have determined to venture, either in the form of an advértisement extra, or possibly by your very polite admission of this self-introductory letter into your fashionable pages, to submit to the view of the more refined and intellectual part of the society of the Atlantic cities and particularly to that of New York, the peculiar claim that I conceive myself to possess upon their consideration and regard.

I have been hitherto deterred from taking this decisive step, as well by the very disturbed and almost turbulent state, which, since my arrival in this country, appears to have characterized its monetary concerns—alas! my dear Sir, those horrid yet necessary evils and grievances of life!—as by some expectations I had cause to entertain soon after I set foot upon your hospitable shores, of the immediate death of a maiden aunt in Cornwall, upon which incident, and her continued celibacy, depend very much all my present reversionary hopes.

The health of the old lady being however at my latest intelligence unexpectedly reinstated; the cotton crops coming forward as I understand to good markets, and the wonderful discovery having been made of converting western pork into sallad oil; the Tories being put down, and the banks having entered into what some time ago seemed the paulo post futurum of specie payments; I desire to share in the general tide of prosperity; I launch myself upon it at its flood, discard all reserve, and shall descend at once without farther preface into the midst of what I have to say.

I came out then some time ago ostensibly to kill a trout or two in some of your delicious streams; and indeed I may without presumption say en passant that few professors of the Rod excel me either in the niceties of my throw, the cool self-possession with which I take my fish, or the indomitable perseverance and perfect tact with which I drown 59and then land him with a single hair. I say ostensibly, for I have now no desire to conceal from you the ulterior objects that I had in view of either making a book to replenish my purse, or of establishing myself for life in this your rising land of freedom and big crops.

I have had ‘good luck to your fishing’ sung to me more than once by most sweet voices, and have realized it to my heart’s content in the way of trout; but this is all. Since I arrived in America there have been no less than three travelling historians upon the ground, with whose energy of conception, art of fabrication, facility of combination, capacity of bitterness and established name, I could not enter the lists. And as for matrimonial projects, foreigners seem to me to have no longer any hope of success in consequence of the entire pre-occupation of this walk of life by a regularly drilled and educated corps of young Americans, bred up avowedly with no other pursuit; who talk, think, dream of nothing else than fortune by marriage; and with a shrewdness and intelligence of calculation that entirely distance the foreigner, (but which seem wonderfully after the nuptials to forsake them in stocks of another description,) know at a glance the value, expectations, hopes, and dependencies of each young marriageable lady even before she comes out; so that instead of being able to accomplish a purpose of this kind, I find it quite as much as I can do to avoid falling in love beyond repeal with the refinement, gentleness, grace, and untold sweetness that distinguish the portionless beauties of New-York.

Indeed this class to which I have adverted of licensed fortune-hunters is so numerous; the fortunes themselves except to the initiated are so uncertain; and the entire want of that most useful profession, les courtiers de mariage, is so grievous to all incidental visitors, that I have often thought how admirable the arrangement would be, if the young ladies were at once to adopt as a fashionable decoration some tasteful head ornament, on which should be inscribed, in distinct but graceful characters, some one of such legends as the following, which should indicate the incontestible possessions of the wearer:

The young gentlemen might wear appended to the third button-hole 60of the left breast, epigrammatical notices of ‘THE EXPECTATIONS’ in which they so generally abound, as follows:

A young lady, whose nice tact and discriminating judgment are only rivalled by her sweetness of disposition and exquisite personal attractions, has divided the world of beaux into three generick classes:

  1. The Rich who are afraid of us;
  2. The Poor whom we are afraid of;
  3. The Detrimentalists.

The plan I propose would aid manifestly in the due classification of all assistants at a ball. It is not to be thought that the sex is governed by any mercenary motive; but in the present organization of society a certain degree of attention to the mode in which matrimonial establishments are to be sustained is absolutely imperative.

Conceive then Mr. Editor how this explicit course would remove the ordinary impediments on both sides. One single tour de Valse and the whole affair might be adjusted! The gentleman forsakes the lady’s eyes and fixes his own upon her tiara; she hers upon his eloquent button-hole. During the slow movement they have deciphered the mottoes, have ascertained, (no small desideratum in a crowded ball-room!) each the exact value of his or her partner; they have arrived in thought, as far as mere expediency goes, each at a decision; and are ready for question and answer at the close of the accelerated step.

By the way, as the waltz is now conducted, the employment of the eyes during the slow sentimental movement seems frequently to the lady a matter of some degree of embarrassment; and the method I propose would effectually remove any thing of the sort. There could be no want of an object on which to rest them; no looking with a fixed gaze over the partner’s shoulder; no consulting of the cornice; no care-fraught expression; no reluctant or displeased look, as if the lady would have fain declined; no indeterminate thoughts, no indefinite sensations; no languishment; and above all never more the portentous, the ominous look which often in that entrancing dance exhibits to us the mysticism of the Sybil, without one ray of her inspiration.

No; then would the lady look, read, decide, and dance the while. ‘This might do!’—then would she sparkle. ‘Ah this would never do!’—then would she become placid, tranquil, and complete her tour with contentment; for as I think some one else has before me wisely observed, the end of doubt is the beginning of repose. Then would the faces of the ladies generally become vastly more attractive than at present during the enjoyment of the waltz; for singular as may seem the remark, although I have assisted at several New-York balls, I have 61met two countenances only throughout the whole galaxy of beauty that, in dancing the Waltz, have indicated either joy or undisturbed gratification: the one, is that of a little sylph-like beam of pleasure, who might well carry upon her beautiful hair, ‘unincumbered lots,’ as her wedding-portion; who gains our hearts while she laughs at us; and who, because I chance to be within half a score of her father’s years, threatens to call me her vieux chéri—while the name of the other, if I dared write it, would recall the most tasteful and fashionable costumes of France, with the sweetest poetry of Scotland.

But alas my master! I have gone prattling on without saying a word of my own pretensions until my letter has gained such a length that I am forced to defer them to another number, while I subscribe myself, dear Mr. Editor of the Knickerbocker,

Your most faithful servant,

James Jessamine.



Grove! embathed in peace celestial,

As in dew the rose’s bowers,

Where Hesperia’s golden fruitage

Ripens amid silver flowers;

Where a rosy-colored ether

Ever cloudless bends above,

Through whose calm abysses never

Breathed the sigh of slighted love.

Psyche, with a strange emotion,

Half enraptured, half dismayed,

Just escaped her earthly vesture,

Trembling greets thy glimmering shade:

Where, O joy! no misty mantle

Veils her primal purity;

And her immaterial pinions,

Like an angel’s, wander free.

Ha! e’en now o’er paths of roses,

Glorious shape of light, she sweeps,

Tow’rd the shadow-peopled valley

Where the sacred Lethe sleeps;

Thither drawn by magic suasion,

As by gentle spirits led,

Fain she sees the silver billows,

And their flowery shores outspread.

Kneeling low with sweet foreboding

Griefs oblivious draught to taste,

Softly shines her trembling image

In that faithful mirror traced;

As from ocean’s tranquil waters

Fair the cloudless moon outbeams,

Or from crystal stream reflected

Hesper’s golden cresset gleams.

Not in vain she quaffs of Lethe;

For, anon, within the stream

Sinks the night-part of her being,

Like the phantom of a dream;

And from out the vale of shadows

Bright she soars on fearless wing,

To the hills whose golden blossoms

Smile in everlasting spring.

What an awe-inspiring silence!

Softer calm than zephyr breathes

Murmurs in the laurel foliage

And the amaranthine wreaths:

Thus in sacred stillness rested

Air and wave—in such repose

Slumbered nature, when from ocean

Anadyomene rose.

What an unaccustomed glory!

Earth! though fair Aurora be,

Never from her vernal features

Shone such magic light for thee:

Lo! the ivy’s glossy tendrils

Bathed in purple lustre gleam,

And the flowers that crown each fountain

With a starry splendor beam!

Thus in silvan wilds the dawning,

When the modest Cynthia spied

From the skies her sleeping lover,

And descended to his side;

While the fields were bathed in brightness,

And in magic tones expressed,

Heavenly greetings murmured sweetly—

Hail, Endymion the blest!




Mine is called Ganguernet: I say mine, for you have all had yours; every one, at least once in his life-time, has met with one of those little fat, ruddy, burly men, with straight close-cropped hair, low forehead, grey eyes, broad nose, puffed-up cheeks, the neck between the shoulders, the shoulders in the stomach, the stomach upon the legs; a sort of a Punch figure, rolling, bawling, laughing, hallooing; one of those fellows who come stealthily behind you, clap their hands on your head, and cry out suddenly: ‘Who’s this?’ Who pull away your chair at the moment you are going to sit down; who snatch from you your handkerchief just when you wish to use it; and who, on these occasions, when you look at them with an angry air, answer you with a broad grin, and a stare of imperturbable assurance: ‘A capital joke!

You have had yours; and mine is named Ganguernet. My first acquaintance with him was at Rheims. He was a complete adept in his profession, and as a regular joke-player, master of all the tricks of his trade. Well skilled was he in the art of attaching a piece of meat to the bell-rope of a porter’s lodge, so that all the wandering dogs about town would snap at the tempting bait, and awaken the mystified domestics ten times a night. Very expert was he also at cutting tradesmen’s signs in two pieces, and substituting one for another. On one occasion he took the sign of a hair-dresser, cut it in two, and added the latter part to that of one of my neighbours; so that it read as follows: Monsieur Roblot lets out carriages and false toupées, after the Paris fashion.

But if M. Ganguernet was not the most agreeable companion in the city, still less so was he in the country, where indeed his presence, to me at least, was always a perfect nuisance. He knew how to scatter the hair, adroitly clipped from a brush, between the sheets of a friend, so that the victim, before he had been a quarter of an hour in bed, would become furious with the itching. He would pierce the partition between two sleeping apartments, so as to pass through it a piece of twine which he had cunningly fastened to your bed-clothes, and then, when he found that you were asleep, he would gently pull the string, until the covering was all drawn down to your feet. You awake half-frozen, for Ganguernet always chooses a cold damp night for this trick, draw up the covering, wrap yourself carefully up, and very innocently resume your slumbers; then Ganguernet, gently pulling his cord, again strips you naked; again you are benumbed with cold; and when you begin to utter imprecations in the dark, his detestable voice is heard bawling through the hole: ‘What a capital joke!’

Did Ganguernet chance to fall in with one of those simple-minded individuals, whose countenances invite mystification, he would steal from him during his sleep his coat and pantaloons, whose dimensions with 63needle and thread he would contrive greatly to diminish. He would then awaken his victim, begging him to dress himself as soon as possible, and join a hunting-party. The unsuspecting subject of the joke, thus suddenly roused, would try to put on his pantaloons, but could not get into them. ‘Good Heavens!’ exclaims Ganguernet, with affected astonishment; ‘why, what is the matter, my dear Sir?—you are terribly swollen!’ ‘Am I?’ ‘You are indeed, prodigiously!’ ‘Do you really mean it?’ ‘I may be mistaken, but come dress yourself, and let us go down, and see what the others say.’

‘But I cannot get on my clothes.’

‘Ah! that’s it, you are so puffed up. It must be a thundering attack of the dropsy!’

And this would continue, the poor fellow, pale and trembling, in vain endeavoring to get on his clothes, until the tormentor, with a hideous chuckle, would come out with his famous sentence: ‘Ha! ha! a capital joke!’

There was one of his tricks which appeared to me to be truly abominable. He played it upon a person reputed to be a brave man, but who was nevertheless horribly frightened. One night, after getting snugly into bed, this gentleman felt something cold and slimy along side of him, he touched it with his foot; it seemed a round elongated body; he placed his hand upon it; it was a serpent coiled upon itself! In an ecstacy of terror, he leaped from the bed with a cry of disgust and horror, when Ganguernet made his appearance, shaking his fat sides and roaring out: ‘What a capital joke!’ It was an eel-skin filled with water, that had caused the panic. The enraged gentleman would have broken the head of the joker, but Ganguernet throwing a pitcher of water over the sans-culotte sufferer, made his escape, yelling out at the top of his voice: ‘A capital joke!—a capital joke!’ The master of the house and his guests came running in at the outcry, and with much difficulty succeeded in pacifying the mystified individual; assuring him that Ganguernet, though fond of fun, was in the main a charming good fellow, a pleasant boon companion, and one without whom, especially in the country, it was impossible to drive away ennui.

Our readers may perhaps think with us, that, on the contrary, this man was one of those insufferable beings who are constantly intruding upon the pleasures and comforts of others; like a dog in a game of nine-pins, overturning with his paws all the arrangements of your joys and sorrows; more insupportable, and more difficult to get rid of than the dog, they lie in ambush to pounce upon you, and disconcert by a word or a trick the feelings you may enjoy, or the projects you intend.

Among characters of this description, there are some whom their common-place attempts at wit consign to contempt. These performers confine themselves to vulgar and stale jokes. To thrust the head through the paper window-pane of a cobbler, and ask him the address of a minister of finances, or an archbishop; to stretch a cord across a staircase, so as to cause those who descend to take, in the words of a punster, a voyage sur la rein, or ‘a voyage upon the Rhine;’ to wake up a notary in the middle of the night, and send him in great haste to draw up a will for a client, whom he finds in good health; these and a thousand 64other silly pranks of the same nature, are the stock in trade of a jester; and no one knew them better than did Ganguernet.

He had, moreover, invented some original tricks, which had given him a colossal reputation among the admirers of this branch of the fine arts. The only truly witty one I ever knew him to perpetrate, took place at a country-house where a large party of us were assembled. Among the guests, Ganguernet had singled out a lady of some thirty years, rather fantastic in her manners and appearance, who was doatingly fond of Parisian elegance, and who preferred the pale face of a well-looking youth of rather shallow intellect, to the coarse, purple visage of Ganguernet. Our humourist endeavored in vain to render this youth ridiculous in the eyes of the lady, who regarded his simplicity as a poetical absence of mind, and his credulity as an indication of sincerity and honest good faith. One evening, after a brisk defence of the pale-faced youth on the part of the lady, which was listened to by Ganguernet with a patience and a peculiar expression of the eye which boded no good, we had all retired to our apartments. In about half an hour, the house resounded with loud outcries of ‘fire! fire!’ which seemed to proceed from the hall upon the ground-floor. Every one hastened thither, men and women half-dressed, or half-undressed, which ever you please. They entered pell-mell, candlestick in hand, and there found Ganguernet stretched upon a sofa. To the reiterated questions that were put him as to the cause of the clamor, he answered not a word; but taking the pale-faced young man by the hand in a very solemn manner, and leading him up to the fine lady, gravely said to her: ‘I have the honor, Madam, of presenting to you the most poetic genius of the company in a cotton night-cap.’ We all burst into a shout of laughter, but the lady never forgave Ganguernet, nor the cotton night-cap.

All the jokes which Ganguernet played, however, were not prompted by vengeance; a spirit of fun merely being the grand principle of most of his tricks. Before we come to the occurrence which showed this man to me in his true colors, I must relate a few more of the humorous pranks in which he took the greatest pride. Opposite his residence at Rennes there dwelt a worthy pair of venerable citizens, who were the sole occupants of a small house, which was their only possession. Once a week this honest couple were in the habit of dining, and having a little game of piquet with a relation, who resided at some distance from their abode. On these occasions they were usually regaled with curds and whey, which they moistened with sparkling cider; and not unfrequently a bowl of punch concluded the repast; so that the worthy pair commonly returned home about eleven o’clock, singing and staggering along in a state of happy elevation.

On a certain fatal Sunday evening, these good folks returned to their abode, both of them pretty much, ‘how came you so.’ They arrived at the door of their next neighbour, which they recognized, and then proceeded on ten paces farther, which was just the distance to their own door. The husband, after fumbling in his pocket for the key of the street-door, pulled it out, and sought the key-hole; but no key-hole was to be found. ‘What has become of the key-hole?’ cried he. ‘You 65have drank too much cider, Monsieur Larquet,’ said his wife; ‘you are looking for the key-hole, and we are still before the wall of neighbour Bompart.’

‘That is true,’ replied Monsieur Larquet; ‘we must go a few paces farther.’ They walked on; but this time they went too far, for as they had before recognized the door of their right-hand neighbor, they now found themselves in front of that of their neighbor on the left hand. Their own door ought to be between these two doors. They return, groping along the wall until they come to a door, which to their consternation they again find to be that of their right-hand neighbor! The honest couple become alarmed about the soundness of their wits, and begin to suspect that they must certainly both be tipsy. They recommence their inspections from the door of their neighbor on the right, and again come to the door of their neighbor on the left. They constantly find these two doors, but not a vestige of their own: their door has disappeared—vanished! Who could have taken away their door? Terror seizes them; they ask each other if they have become demented; and dreading the ridicule which would be cast upon honest citizens who could not find their own street-door, they grope about for more than an hour, feeling, poking, inspecting, measuring; but alas! there is no door; there is nothing but a wall, an unknown wall, an implacable wall, a desperate wall! At length, terror completely overpowers them; they utter loud cries, and call lustily for assistance. The neighbors are attracted by the noise, and after some time, it is ascertained that the door of the distracted couple has been carefully bricked up, and plastered over; and when all are trying to discover who could have played such a pitiful trick upon these honest people, Ganguernet, who from an opposite window, in company with some kindred spirits, had been enjoying the tribulation and despair of Monsieur and Madame Larquet, Ganguernet shouts out his everlasting refrain: ‘A capital joke!’ But, answered the neighbors, these poor folks will take their death of cold.

‘Bah!’ replies he; ‘a capital joke!’

The incensed neighbors petitioned the king’s attorney to moderate Monsieur Ganguernet’s strong inclination to play his mischievous pranks; and the magistrate sent our hero to prison for some days, in spite of his skilful defence, which consisted in incessantly repeating: ‘A capital joke!—what a capital joke, Mr. Magistrate!’

Notwithstanding his excessive vanity, Ganguernet did not, however, make boast of all his exploits; and there was one, the authorship of which he constantly denied, possibly in consequence of a threat that was held out of cutting off the author’s ears, should he be detected. The trick in question was prompted by the contempt in which he was held in a certain aristocratic circle; and the subject was no less a personage than an ancient dame of high birth, and great pretensions, who mingled in the most fashionable society of Rennes.

Among other customs of the old school, which this lady retained, were the following: First, that of never mixing in the society of those of plebeian descent, such as Ganguernet: and secondly; that of always 66being carried in a sedan-chair by porters, when she went abroad. One evening she went to a ball, given by the first president of the court of assizes, a ball at which Ganguernet was also present. She left about midnight, carried as usual in her sedan-chair through a pelting shower of rain. At the moment she got under one of those loop-holes in the eaves-gutters, through which the rain pours down into the street in long dashing cascades, two or three shrill whistles were heard on the right and left hand. Immediately four men in masks made their appearance, at sight of whom the porters, abandoning their charge, took to their heels; but at the moment when the noble dame believed herself on the point of being assassinated, a terrible dash of cold water upon her head took away her breath, and almost deprived her of consciousness. The top of the chair had disappeared as if by magic, and the gutter poured its contents directly into the vehicle, the occupant of which in vain attempted to force open the door. She beat and thumped against it with fury, mounted the seat, and like an incarnate fiend, invoked the divine wrath upon the vile miscreants, who were giving her such a cruel shower-bath; and who only replied to her invectives by profound bows, and the most humble salutations. The worst part of this wicked trick was, that the lady wore hair-powder, and the mystifiers carried umbrellas.

My acquaintance with Ganguernet continued about ten years. In the low and vulgar circles of society which he was fond of frequenting, he was held up as the most jovial, the best-natured, and the most amusing fellow in the world; although there were some, whose sense of propriety and moral feelings were not entirely destroyed, who held him in merited contempt. For my own part, I always had a dread of the man. That odious smile, forever hanging on those large red lips, singularly annoyed me; that imperturbable gayety, exhibited on all occasions of life, troubled me like the constant presence of a hideous phantom; that phrase, which he appended like a moral to every thing he did, that detested phrase, ‘A capital joke,’ sounded in my ears as doleful and sombre as the Trappists’ motto, ‘Brother, we must die!’

There was a fatality about the man; and it was destined that a life should be sacrificed to his mad propensity for mischief. A day came, on which his famous words, ‘A capital joke!’ was to be pronounced over a tomb.

On the eve of my departure from Rennes, some friends invited me to join a hunting-party, of which I learned that Ganguernet was to make one. This name took from me in advance half the pleasure I had anticipated. I however repaired early in the morning to the house of one of our friends, Ernest de B——. On my arrival I found Ganguernet there with some others of the party. Ernest had just finished a letter, which he sealed, directed, and placed upon the chimney-piece. Ganguernet, in his usual inquisitive and impertinent manner, took it up, and read the direction. ‘Ah ha!’ said he; ‘so you correspond with your pretty cousin, do you?’

‘Yes,’ said Ernest, with an air of indifference; ‘I have informed her that we intend visiting her chateau this evening, at about seven 67o’clock, to take dinner there. There are fifteen of us I think, and we shall run some risk of having but poor fare, if she does not get timely notice.’

Ernest rang for a servant, and gave him the letter, without any of us noticing that Ganguernet disappeared for a moment with him. We set off on our expedition. While engaged in the chase, it so happened that Ganguernet and myself took one side of the plain on which we were hunting, while the rest of the party pursued their sport on the other.

‘We shall have some fun this evening,’ said he to me.

‘How so?’ replied I.

‘Would you believe it? I have given a louis to the servant that he should not carry the letter to its address.’

‘And have you taken it?’

‘No, pardieu! I told him we were going to have a little joke this evening, and that he must carry the letter to the lady’s husband. He is sitting this moment as president of the court of assizes, and when he finds that he is going to have fifteen stout fellows, with keen appetites, at his house this evening, he will be in a devil of a rage. He is as miserly as Harpagon; and the idea of our laying his kitchen and wine-cellar under contribution will put him in such a humor, that he will have no scruple in condemning a dozen innocent men, so that he may reach his country-house in time to prevent the pillage.’

‘If this is the case,’ said I to Ganguernet, ‘it seems to me to be a very malicious jest.’

‘Bah! a capital joke! And the best of it will be when we all arrive at the chateau. The others, ravenous with hunger and thirst, will expect to find there an excellent supper. But there will be nothing—absolutely nothing!’

‘And do you think, Sir,’ replied I, ‘that this will be any pleasanter to me than to the rest of the party? And you yourself, will you not be one of the principal dupes of your frolic?’

‘Let me alone for that! Look you here; I’ve got a cold fowl and a bottle of Bordeaux in my game-bag, and you shall have half.’

‘I thank you,’ said I, ‘but I had rather find Ernest, and notify him of your trick.’

‘Ah! good heavens! my dear Sir,’ said Ganguernet, ‘you cannot take a joke.’

I left him, and apprising our friends of the affair, inquired where I could find Ernest. I was told that he had gone in the direction of the chateau of his cousin, toward which I proceeded, intending to give Madame de L—— notice of the trick of Ganguernet. At a turn of the road I perceived Ernest at a distance, going toward the chateau. I increased my speed in order to overtake him, and made so much haste that I arrived almost at the same moment with him, so that he had just passed the gate as I reached it. As I was about entering, the gate was violently pulled to, and immediately I heard the report of a pistol, and then a voice cried out: ‘Villain! since I have missed you, defend yourself!’

I hastily sprang to a grating in the wall, about the height of my head, which opened into the court-yard, and there witnessed a frightful spectacle. 68The husband, sword in hand, was attacking Ernest with desperate fury. ‘Ah! you love her and she loves you!’ cried he, in a voice hoarse with passion; ‘you love her, do you? and she loves you! Your turn first, and then hers!’

The letter from Ernest to his cousin, conveyed by the malicious interference of Ganguernet to her husband, had apprised him of a secret which had remained hidden for more than four years; and before redressing the wrongs of society as a magistrate, the president of the court had hastened to avenge his own as a husband.

In vain I cried, in vain I called by name the two cousins. Monsieur de L—— with blind fury drove Ernest from one corner of the court to another. Suddenly a window opened, and Madame de L——, pale, with dishevelled hair, and terror painted on her countenance, appeared.

‘Leonie!’ cried Ernest, ‘withdraw!’

‘No! let her remain!’ exclaimed Monsieur de L——, ‘she is a prisoner; you need not fear that she will come to separate us.’ And he again rushed upon his cousin with such fury that the fire flew from their swords.

‘It is I—it is I who deserve death!’ cried Madame de L——; ‘kill me!’

I added my cries to theirs. I shouted, I shook the grating. I tried to scale the wall, when suddenly, urged on by despair, bewildered, distracted, Madame de L—— threw herself from the window and fell between her lover and her husband. The latter, completely beside himself with passion, directed his sword toward her. But Ernest turned it aside, and in his turn casting off all restraint, exclaimed with vehemence: ‘Madman! would you kill her? Well, then—defend yourself!’ And immediately he commenced a violent assault upon his antagonist.

I could do nothing to separate them; neither could Madame de L——. The unfortunate woman had broken a limb in the fall, and lay groaning upon the pavement. It was a dreadful combat. Nothing can express the violent terror which seized me. Already the blood of the two cousins began to flow, which only served to increase their rage. I had succeeded with some difficulty in climbing to the top of the wall, and was about to leap into the court, when I perceived some of our friends approaching. Ganguernet was at their head; he drew near, calling to me:

‘Halloo! what’s this? Why, you bawl like a man getting flayed; we heard you a quarter of a league off. What the devil is the matter?’

At the sight of this detested wretch, I rushed upon him, seized him by the throat, and forcing him violently against the grating, I cried to him in my turn: ‘Look there, miserable jester!—‘a capital joke!’ is it not?—a ‘capital joke!”

Monsieur de L——, pierced through the heart by a plunge of his antagonist’s sword, was lying by the side of his wife.

Ernest has left France to die in a foreign land. Madame de L—— committed suicide the day after this horrible duel.





Come forth, Old Hat! I’ll pluck thee from the ditch,

Where thou hadst well nigh found a grave, ‘unwept,

Unhonor’d and unsung.’ I’ll rescue thee

A moment longer from oblivion,

Albeit thou art old, bereaved of rim,

And like a prince dethroned, no more canst boast

A crown!

Would thou couldst talk! I’d e’en consent

That thou shouldst steal my prating grandame’s tongue,

And so procure her silence and thy history.

Time-worn, adust, degraded as thou art,

Thine ancient quality doth still appear;

And this fine web, malgré thy present mien,

(A batter’d cylinder of dingy brown,)

Proclaims that once, some dozen years ago,

Thou wert a good and fashionable hat.

Perchance thou first wert perch’d right jauntily

A-top some dandy’s poll; a most convenient block

To keep thee in good shape, and serve beside

One purpose more—to advertise thy brethren.

Mayhap a lawyer, in thy pristine years

And his, with thy possession much enhanced

His meagre sum of personal estate;

And, in phrase professional, call’d thee ‘chattel’—

A vile distinction for a beaver hat!

A lawyer’s hat!—alack! what teeming store-house oft

Of mischiefs dire; ill-boding parchment; ‘writs,’

With hieroglyphics mystical inscribed;

Invention curious of graceless men,

And in sad mock’ry named ‘the grace of God!’

What mighty ‘suits at law,’ begot and born

Within thy strait enclosure, yet survive

Thy tenth successor! And what mighty ‘suits

In chancery,’ (so named from Chance, who sits

Alternate there and in the legal courts,)

Still flourish, endless as the heap of words

Which mark the spot where Justice lies entomb’d!

Perhaps at first thou wert allow’d to crown

The ‘honorable’ head of some grave senator;

Or judge astute; or member of ‘the other

House;’ pregnant perforce with weighty matters;

‘Petitions’ humbly praying to abolish

Slavery and ‘hard times.’ ‘Bills’ to promote

The better culture of morality

And morus multicaulis! Mayhap a brief

And formal letter to a brother member,

In courteous phrase requesting leave to shoot him.

‘Notes,’ ‘Resolutions,’ ‘Speeches’ of vast length,

And just adapted to produce what thou

Hast wanted many a year—a decent nap.

Perchance an editor, by some mysterious accident

Made passing rich with five-and-forty shillings,

70First bore thee off in triumph; ’tis pity then

Thou canst not speak; else should we hear

Of much before unpublished; of countless ‘bills’

Unpaid; of libels prudently suppress’d;

Of ‘Stanzas’ much, of ‘Lines’ innumerable;

And love-sick ‘Songs’ to goddesses mundane,

All wickedly committed to the Persian’s god!

Thou mayst have crown’d a parson, and couldst tell,

If thou hadst power of verbal utterance,

Of ‘the divinity that stirred within thee’

In shape of sermons; faithful or smooth-tongued,

As he who wrote them chanced to covet most

The smile of God or man. A lover’s hat

Thou surely wert, (since all men love,

Who have a head,) and oft no doubt hast given

To scented billet-doux and amorous rhymes

Thy friendly guardianship; secure from aught

Save lifting winds and porter’s curious eye.

At second-hand ’tis ten to one thou wert

A Jew’s possession, got in honest barter;

Next, John the ostler’s; last of all, past doubt

A vagrant’s hat; the equitable purchase

Of an ill-sung song. Till quite worn out

With rain, and wind, and sleet, and other ‘ills

Thy race is heir to,’ the beggar cast thee

From his plebeian pate—and here thou liest.

St. Alban’s, Vermont.


There is something very pleasant in the country, particularly about Thanksgiving-time, when families gather together from north, south, east and west, around the huge roast turkey, and many pairs of jaws masticate vigorously in gratitude for blessings received. At this season of the year the bird which was fortunate enough to excite the enthusiasm of Brillat-Savarin, and to be the theme of many chapters in his immortal ‘Physiologie,’ is the emblem of our republic. A bald eagle indeed! Who ever heard of a roast eagle? But a turkey:

‘The state of a fat turkey, the decorum

He marches in with, all the train and circumstance!

’Tis such a matter, such a glorious matter!

And then his sauce with oranges and onions;

And he displayed in all parts! for such a dish now,

And at my need, I would betray my father.’

What native American does not respond Amen! from the depths of his stomach to these appetizing verses of Beamount and Fletcher? But higher far rises the gastronomic phrenzy of the Travelled, who have known the bird, grand in his stuffing of chestnuts, sublime when swelling with the bliss-bringing truffle!

And the country is at all seasons a pleasant idea, if properly considered; but beware of the man of one idea, if that one be Country, as you would of the homo unius libri. If you cannot distinguish timothy from clover, and beets from carrots; if, agriculturally speaking, you don’t 71‘know beans;’ he will annihilate you with his rural wisdom. For his whole existence is in the soil. He worships things under the earth. Dust he is, and to dust he shall return; (the sooner the better!) He prattles of potatoes, talks of turnips, harangues about horse-radish, knows no composition except compost. Speak to him of manners, and he will answer of manures. Like the Egyptians, he worships a bull; and has all the fondness of Pythagoras for beans. His only literature is Liebig’s Animal Chemistry; his lighter reading, the Cultivator and the New-England Farmer.

Such an one was whilom a citizen with protruding abdomen and white cravat, who having realized a something in business, exchanges the counter for the country; buys his acre or two, erects his manor-house, with a grass-plat in front and a tree or two behind; and with a little straw hat on his head, a linen coat on his back, and a hoe in his hand, saunters around his limited possessions, as leisurely and as frequently as an old horse in a mill, perfectly content with his place, his plans, and himself.

Call not upon him unless with double-soled boots and strapless trowsers; and choose a cool day for the visit, if it must be made; for not over ‘hill and dale,’ but over rock and gully you must march; through ploughed land and through weeds, through bowers of grape-vines and bosquets of Lima beans; scratched by the thorns of the gooseberry and brushed by the long dew-covered leaves of the Indian corn. Numberless shrubs from a foot to eighteen inches in height he will point out to you, and name them with long names: ‘This is the Prota Goras,’ ‘and that the Demo Creitus;’ shrubs which, if you had encountered them when alone, you might have eradicated as weeds, in a moment of generous activity. And when muddy, breathless and dripping, you reach the highest point of his possessions, he will wave his hand majestically over some twenty feet of grass, and pointing to three trees and a white fence in the distance, talk of scenery!

Nevertheless, convinced as we are that the taste for country-places is on the increase, we think it advisable to suggest a few hints for the instruction of the aspirants after rural felicity. Saratoga and the like are no longer indispensable places of resort, but it is indispensable to be out of town for three months of the year, if you would not be out of fashion during the remaining nine. Select then a bare and stony spot, for as your object is employment, the more improvements you can make the better you will be pleased, as you take it for granted of course that improvements cost almost nothing. On the highest part of this ground you will build your house: an airy situation is invaluable in warm weather; and then a view is so desirable. In the choice of a style of architecture some difficulty arises. You may either have a clap-board Parthenon, with Corinthian columns in front and Doric columns in the rear, painted white, to flash back the rays of the sun, or which is perhaps more fashionable, a Gothic cottage, with steep roof, rustic pillars, fantastic barge-boards, and numerous pinnacles painted brown, with oak-stained doors. This style looks well in the situation we have described; the absence of trees bringing out more fully the beauties of the architecture. It is attended with one or two inconveniences; scarcely however, 72worth mentioning: Gothic windows always leak, and the sloping roof makes the second story a little ovenish in temperature, and garrety in smell. Whichever of the two styles you adopt, you must not fail to refer your plans to some bustling little architect, who will be sure to write articles about himself in one of the weeklies, and will probably give a drawing of your house, and call you the ‘intelligent, gentlemanly, and high-minded proprietor.’ After you have removed the stones, manured the ground, and planted grass, you will have a lawn; and after you have dug deep holes and set out tall thin consumptive trees, you have a wood. Secure the whole with white fences; throw rustic bridges over the impassable streams; sprinkle red dahlias and tiger-lilies here and there; buy a bull-dog to set on any small child who may be reckless enough to trespass; and lo! you have a country-seat as well as a town-house, and can invite your city friends to fill your one spare room in regular rotation.

In the important matter of a name, you must decide for yourself; but surely with Walter Scott and Lord Byron and the innumerable What-d’ye-call-’em dales, Thingumbob brooks, and So-and-so woods, to choose from, you can have no difficulty in fixing upon a suitable one.

But, says an amateur rustic, I have no fondness for floriculture, horticulture, or agriculture; what am I to do? Buy a horse, and take a gallop of some twenty miles or so, and if the horse does not shy you off, or bolt you off, or kick you off, and you do not fall off, or he does not fall under you, you will probably arrive at home safe; but as you walk from the stable to the house, you will quote from George Colman’s parody of the Lady of the Lake:

‘Hunter rest, for thou must own

Leather lost and empty belly,’ etc.

Have you a fondness for fire-arms? Then procure a gun and dog, and sally forth before day-light. Walk five miles through swamp and thicket without starting a bird. Sky cloudless; heat intense. Suddenly dog’s tail begins to beat half-seconds; up whirrs a bird, who is out of sight in a moment; so is the dog, who indulges in an animated chase. You shout yourself hoarse; at length succeed in catching dog, and try to thresh him with decayed sticks. A little while after, dog comes to a point again. This time he stands beautifully. You walk slowly up, trembling with excitement, both barrels cocked. Why don’t the bird get up? You glance inquiringly around, and at length discern a wood-turtle fast asleep near the stump of a tree. Then, if an irascible man, you curse. So passes the day. Now and then a bird springs; off fly both of your barrels, aimed at vacancy, and hurling showers of No. 8 into space; and you arrive at home late in the afternoon, sore-footed from much travel and stiffness of boots, and alas! without a feather except a small quail which your dog caught in his mouth.

No more shooting? Try fishing then. Sit all day on a rock watching your float, or cork, or dobber, as the Dutch boys call it, dance merrily over the waves, occasionally disappearing under the surface, when the hook catches a weed. Does not even this suit you? Then, dear friend, buy a boat of from four to six tons burthen, properly rigged and ballasted; also buy a red shirt, a small low-crowned straw hat, some 73tar to smear over your hands, and learn the first stanza of ‘The sea! the sea!’ to make every thing seem more nautical and ship-shape. Hoist jib and mainsail, and venture out. After you have drifted a mile or two, it will fall a dead calm, and the boat (Gazelle? Wave? Gull?) will float two or three hours, the sun flashing back from the glassy surface of the water, burning your face to the color of bricks, and almost frying the eyes out of your head. Then is the time to sing ‘The sea! the sea!’ and to take some Monongahela to still the qualmishness you begin to experience. At length the wind rises, and your boat, after many yawings, dashes away before it. Suddenly, without any voluntary or visible agency on your part, the main-boom sweeps from one side to the other, carrying your hat overboard in its passage, and dipping the gunwale deep under water. Agitated by this significant gesture, you steer straight for the wharf. In attempting to round-to, the bowsprit comes in contact with the piles and renounces its allegiance to the bow. The boat drifts away from the landing, and finally deposits you high and dry on the beach.

What! Disgusted with this, too? Then take our advice, and like a reasonable man, stay in town.



Thou beautiful cloud, a glorious hue is thine!

I cannot think, as thy bright dyes appear

To my enraptured gaze, that thou wert born

Of Evening’s exhalations: more sublime,

Light-giver! is thy birth-place, than of earth.

Wert thou not formed to herald in the day,

And clothe a world in thy unborrowed light?

Or art thou but a harbinger of rains

To budding May?—or in thy subtle screen

Nursest the lightnings that affright the world?

Or wert thou born of th’ thin aërial mist

That shades the sea, or shrouds the mountain’s brow?

Whate’er thou art, I gaze on thee with joy.

Spread thy wings o’er the empyrean, and away

Fleetly athwart the untravelled wilds of space,

To where the Sun-light sheds his earliest beams,

And blaze the stars, that vision vainly scans

In distant regions of the universe!

Tell me, Air-wanderer! in what burning zone

Thou wilt appear, when from the azure vault

Of our high heaven thy majesty shall fade;

Tell me, winged Vapor! where hath been thy home

Through the unchangeable serene of noon?

Whate’er thy garniture, where’er thy course,

Would I could follow thee in thy far flight,

When the south wind of eve is low and soft,

And my thought rises to the mighty source

Of all sublimity! O fleeting cloud,

Would I were with thee in the solemn night!




History of the Conquest of Mexico, with a Preliminary View of the Ancient Mexican Civilization, and the Life of the Conqueror, Hernando Cortes. By William H. Prescott. In three volumes. New-York: Harper and Brothers.

We have awaited the appearance of these very elegant volumes with deep and anxious interest. The ability, industry and taste which the author displayed in his ‘History of Ferdinand and Isabella,’ which won for him a noble reputation in the most cultivated states of Europe, still more endeared his name to his own countrymen, and led them to look, with the highest hope and the most pleasant anticipations, to the future efforts of his elegant and fascinating pen. We have for some time known that he was assiduously engaged in collecting materials, and preparing from them a history of the famous Conquest of Mexico; an event which, although of a very splendid and romantic character, was still but vaguely known, even in accomplished and well-informed literary circles. The facts relating to it were nowhere recorded in an authentic and connected form; for it has not been until within the last fifty years that the attention of historians and general scholars has been turned in this direction. The labors of Spanish antiquarians since that time, conducted as they have been with great skill and industry, and under the supervision and encouragement of the government itself, have been abundantly rewarded; and a vast number of original documents have been accumulated in the public and private libraries, which shed floods of light upon all historical events connected with the conquests of Spanish armies, or the discoveries of Spanish fleets, and have thus placed within the reach of writers at the present day materials for lack of which even the able histories of Robertson and his contemporaries became meagre and unattractive. The historians of our era are making the best possible use of these copious and invaluable collections. The first result of their efforts was Washington Irving’s magnificent ‘Life of Columbus,’ one of the most polished and perfect works of its class in the English language, and which has done as much for American literature abroad as it has for its eminent author at home. Then followed Prescott’s ‘Ferdinand and Isabella,’ pronounced by the best critics on both sides the Atlantic to be one of the most interesting and valuable histories ever published: and here we have, in his ‘History of the Conquest of Mexico,’ drawn from the same rich source, a work eminently worthy to succeed its brilliant and most ‘illustrious predecessors.’

Within the limits which restrain us, we can of course do nothing more than intimate very vaguely the general character and scope of this great work; nor are we sure that even this is not quite a useless labor, as it must find its way at once into the library of every literary gentleman throughout the country, and be read with the greatest avidity by men of every class. One of the most valuable portions of the history is the extended view which Mr. Prescott has presented, at the opening of the work, of the character and civilization of the ancient inhabitants of Mexico. The Spaniards conquered no tribe of untutored savages, roaming, in the wild lawlessness of the aborigines of our section of the western continent, 75over the sunny plains and smiling fields of Anahuac: they found a people there who, centuries before the discovery of the western world by Columbus, possessed the arts of civilization, and had reached a point of intellectual and moral culture in many respects surpassing that of the most renowned nations of the other world. We are surprised to find the high degree of refinement which they had reached. The sciences, especially of mathematics and astronomy, were understood to a degree of nicety scarcely attained by the Romans in their palmiest days. Their political organization was of a wonderfully perfect character; and their laws, and especially the organization of the judiciary, the department by which they were to be interpreted and administered, were stamped by a clear insight into the nature of moral obligation, and the mutual duties and rights of the members of society, which strike us with the utmost astonishment. Their mythology, with the single exception of the sanction it gives to human sacrifices, indicates a much nearer approach to a knowledge of the true God than the popular faith of the Greeks or Romans; and sentiments are recorded as having been uttered by a prince of the Tezcucan tribe, guided solely by the light of his own indwelling reason, which were worthy of Plato or of any sage that has ever lived, unenlightened by the hopes of revelation on which Christians build their faith. The history of such a people, dwelling centuries ago upon our own continent, shrouded as it has heretofore been in darkness and vague uncertainty, under the lucid and brilliant pen of Mr. Prescott becomes more attractive than any offspring of the fancy or imaginative fiction could possibly be. This preliminary sketch occupies nearly half of the first volume; and we have never read any similar effort of the same extent with equal gratification.

We can of course give no outline of the main portion of the work, the history of the train of events by which the whole Mexican empire fell into the hands of the conquering Spaniard. It is one of the most romantic narratives which ever bore the seal of truth. Its prominent actors are men of eminent genius, who performed exploits worthy the greatest captains of Europe or Asia; and the history of their lives abounds with interest and instruction. Mr. Prescott has a most happy historical style, glowing with all the warmth and shining with a far more substantial brilliancy than that of Bancroft; and blending the strict truth of accurate narrative with the free flow of a fine imagination, all under the control of an exquisite taste, with more success than that of any other American writer, Irving perhaps alone excepted. The authorities upon which he relies for his facts are uniformly given in notes, and the fullest information is presented in the same form, on all points which concern the accuracy and completeness of the work. We read the following passage in our author’s preface with profound regret: ‘For one thing, I may reasonably ask the reader’s indulgence. Owing to the state of my eyes, I have been obliged to use a writing-case made for the blind, which does not permit the writer to see his own manuscript; nor have I ever corrected, or even read, my own original draft.’ Mr. Prescott may well consider this as an ample excuse for any errors of typography; of which, by the way, we have not discovered even one. We were already aware, on the best authority, that Washington Irving had prepared to take up the ground so ably occupied by our author; a fact to which Mr. Prescott alludes in the following graceful terms:

‘It was not till I had become master of my rich collection of materials, that I was acquainted with this circumstance; and had he persevered in his design, I should unhesitatingly have abandoned my own, if not from courtesy, at least from policy; for though armed with the weapons of Achilles, this could give me no hope of success in a competition with Achilles himself. But no sooner was that distinguished writer informed of the preparations I had made, than with the gentlemanly spirit which will surprise no one who has the pleasure of his acquaintance, he instantly announced to me his intention of leaving the subject open to me. While I do but justice to Mr. Irving by this statement, I feel the prejudice it does to myself in the unavailing regret I am exciting in the bosom of the reader.’

We cannot take leave of this splendid book without making mention of the truly elegant style in which it has been issued by its liberal publishers. It yields in no respect to the finest issue of the Boston, and we had almost added, of the London press. The three volumes are large octavo, of about five hundred pages each, containing elegant portraits and illustrative maps; and yet the whole is sold for six dollars!


The Æneid of Virgil, with English Notes, Critical and Explanatory; a Metrical Clavis and an Historical, Geographical and Mythological Index. By Charles Anthon, LL. D. New-York: Harper and Brothers.

The cause of sound classical education in America is more deeply indebted to Professor Anthon than to any other scholar in the country; and the debt of gratitude already incurred is almost daily increased by the unwearied efforts of this distinguished linguist. Beside the voluminous and unequalled Dictionaries which he has compiled and published, he has in course of preparation a series of the most popular Latin authors, in which his principal aim is to adapt them to the use of scholars in our academies and higher schools. Another volume of this series, containing the Æneid, has just been issued. It is usually among the earliest Latin works placed in the pupil’s hands, and yet there are few which require a more intimate and extended acquaintance with Roman history, domestic habits, mythology, geography, and indeed with every thing relating to the Romans as a nation and society, in order to a perfect understanding of its character, and a genuine relish of its beauties, than this. We doubt the policy, or propriety indeed, of placing in the hands of those who are learning the elements of a foreign language, poems of an elaborate and elevated character for text-books. No one, for the purpose of learning English, would take up Milton’s Paradise Lost before the Vicar of Wakefield or Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress; for aside from the fact that he would not thus be introduced to the simple dialect of ordinary life, its classical and doctrinal allusions, its technical terms, and the profound knowledge of men, of books, and of nature which it embraces, would render it almost a sealed volume to any but those who have already become cultivated and accomplished scholars. And although the case is materially different in learning the ancient languages, since the object is not to speak or write them, but to become familiar with the great works which are written in them, it would be unwise if not useless to teach a pupil to read Virgil without at the same time providing him with the means of thoroughly understanding and appreciating his poetry. For these he is usually dependent upon the verbal expositions of his teacher, who, even if he chance to be well qualified for the task, seldom has sufficient time for its proper discharge.

Many attempts have been made to supply this want, and some of them have been attended with very fair, though not full, success. Cooper’s edition has had the most copious notes, but they are not always accurate, and are often upon passages of comparatively little difficulty. Gould’s notes are better, but they are much more sparingly introduced, and do not indeed elucidate the really intricate points. The historical and mythological references in both these editions are quite scanty; and they must both in our judgment speedily give place to this of Dr. Anthon. The critical and explanatory notes to this are all that could be desired. They occupy more than six hundred pages, or quite two-thirds of the book, and relate to every point of interest or of doubt in the whole Æneid. They are full, accurate, and perfectly satisfactory. The author tells us in the preface that they comprise the results of all the study and research of modern European scholars, and embrace every thing which has been brought to light up to the present time. They are very copiously and clearly illustrated by neat and perspicuous engravings, which frequently do more than pages of description to give a distinct impression to the scholar’s mind. The construction of Roman ships, the mode of a naval battle, the style of conducting a siege, the form of chaplets, of temples, of household utensils, of coins, ornaments, and in fine, the exact structure and appearance of every thing pertaining to Roman history or Roman life, are thus rendered more familiar to the eye than they ever could be to the ear of the student. The metrical clavis scans all the difficult lines contained in the book, and the general index clearly and briefly elucidates all the references which the poem contains to men, incidents, and localities. With these recommendations, aided by the typographical clearness and beauty which the publishers have given to it, this edition of the Æneid must be heartily welcomed by scholars and students (all rivalry to the contrary) throughout the United States.


Mexico: as it Was and as it Is. By Brantz Mayer, Late Secretary of Legation to Mexico. In one volume, octavo, pp. 426. ‘New World’ press: J. Winchester.

We looked through a large portion of this work while all its sheets were not yet through the press, and were enabled with some confidence to predict that it would create no small sensation in the literary world. Mr. Mayer has a free, unpretending style, which renders all that he writes eminently readable; a merit in which many far more practised writers are as signally deficient. The programme furnished in the announcement of the work has been well filled up. Many of the ruins and antiquities here described have never before been visited or mentioned by any traveller. A detailed account is furnished of the present social and political condition of Mexico; an elaborate description is given of the antiquities to be found in the museum of the capital, and of the ancient remains strewn from California to Odjaca. A record is presented of the author’s journeys to Tezcoco, and through the tierra-caliente; and a full account of the agriculture, manufactures, commerce, resources, mines, coinage, and general statistics of Mexico is given. There is beside a complete view of the past and present history of the country, with vivid pictures of the domestic manners and customs of the people. The whole is illustrated by numerous drawings from the pencil of Mr. Mayer, which have been engraved on wood by Butler, in that excellent artist’s best style. We scarcely remember to have met with a work so profusely embellished; and the literary and pictorial artist being one and the same person, the reader is helped to a far more life-like view of the scenes and things described and depicted than he could have obtained under circumstances less favorable to the strict fidelity of pen and pencil. The publisher has evinced great liberality in the pictorial department of the volume, having expended upward of twelve hundred dollars on the illustrations alone. The volume is printed upon a fine and white (though somewhat too thin) paper, with a large clear type. The work can scarcely fail to attain, what indeed it well deserves, a wide diffusion.

Scenes and Scenery in the Sandwich Islands, and a Trip through Central America: being Observations from my Note-book, during the years 1837, to 1842. By James J. Jarves, Member of the Oriental Society, etc. In one vol. pp. 341. Boston: Jas. Munroe and Company.

Those of our readers who may have seen a previous work of Mr. Jarves, on the history of the Sandwich Islands, which was noticed in this Magazine, will perhaps remember the following passage in the preface: ‘It was designed to interweave with the civil and political account of the nation, a series of sketches, illustrative of their present life and condition, and other interesting points, which would have enlivened a bare narrative of facts; also to have pictured the wondrous natural phenomena of that prolific portion of the Pacific, the great volcanic eruption of 1840; and a full account of the mightiest of craters, the gigantic Lua Pele, of Kilanea, in Hawaii. But it would have swelled the volume to an unwieldy size. At an early period will be presented an additional volume, which, without being connected with the present, will give in detail all that is necessary to form a correct view of the Hawaiian Islands, their condition, prospects, the every-day concerns of the people, and missionary life as it now exists; the two to form a succinct whole, illustrating each other.’ The volume before us has been written in fulfilment of the foregoing pledge. In it the writer has attempted to delineate that which came within his immediate observation, during a residence of four years on the Group. As a description of the familiar life of a people, in a novel and interesting position, one which may with propriety be termed a state of transition from barbarism to civilization, it will attract the attention, and interest the sympathies of readers of all classes. A portion of the sketches have been previously published in journals, and had some circulation both at home and abroad. The volume is executed by the eminent Boston printer, Dickinson, and is illustrated with fine maps and plates.



The New Year.—We are standing once more together, reader, at that fairy vestibule which opens rich with hope and bright to expectation upon another twelve-month; a coming lapse of time that like a swell of the ocean tossing with its fellows, heaves onward to the land of Death and Silence. At such a time, although it seem not meet, it may be, to indulge in sad thoughts and pensive recollections, who can refrain from giving a backward glance to years that have passed like a weaver’s shuttle, and woven our ‘checkered web of life?’ Shall we not for one moment remember too, even at this joyous season, the loved and lost who have gone before us, to solve the great mystery of life, and the momentous secrets of death and the grave? Shall we not remember that we too are passing away; and in thoughtful mood, pause to ask with the poet:

Another year! another year!

Oh! who shall see another year?

Shalt thou, old man, of hoary head,

Of eye-sight dim, and feeble tread?

Expect it not! Time, pain, and grief

Have made thee like an autumn leaf;

Ready, by blast or self-decay,

From its slight hold to drop away;

And some sad morn may gild thy bier,

Long, long before another year!

‘Another year! another year!

Oh! who shall see another year?

Shall you, ye young? or you, ye fair?

Ah! the presumptuous thought forbear!

Beside this church-yard’s peaceful bounds,

Pause ye, and ponder o’er the mounds:

Here beauty sleeps; that verdant length

Of grave contains what once was strength;

The child, the boy, the man are here—

Ye may not see another year!’

While however we give to emotions like these their appropriate vent, we are not called upon to forget that there is much that is inspiring and delightful in the commencement of the year. The time-honored custom of our metropolis has made it a point of peculiar radiance; a halcyon period, when heart’s-ease would seem to be the general feeling, and smiles the social insignia. Then the visit is exchanged between friends whom perhaps the departed year had somewhat alienated; old associations are revived, and cordialities that had well nigh been forgotten are strengthened and renewed. As the lip is wetted with friendly wine, the bosom expands in the generous warmth of honest enjoyment; the cold formalities of factitious station give place to undisguised welcome and open-handed cheer. The rich and the poor meet together, and the spirit of pleasure is with all. As the parties go their rounds, and familiar forms and faces appear to greeting eyes, the necessity of friendship and the desolation of its absence come home to the mind. It is felt that comfort is lost when allied to selfishness, and that it is good to be respected or beloved. And as those meet between whom the year has passed in sullen estrangement; upon whose anger many an evening sun has descended; a relenting spirit obeys the mingled voices of Memory and Friendship: the kind resolve is made and followed; so that instead of the thorn to goad and wound, there springs up in the pathway of the Reconciled the olive or the myrtle. How sweet is the sight of human goodness, struggling to surmount the petty passions which discolor its beauty, and bending to the benign suggestions of that pure and gentle principle, 79peace with man! Doubtless there are many severe strivings with natural pride, before these ends can be reached; but the new year awakens such throngs of conciliatory sentiments, that it is impossible to resist them. The call is made; the oversight or neglect explained; the breach is closed; and friendship is paramount! Months of reverses and cares and disappointments are lost in that initial day, whose span is golden from sun to sun; a lapse to be remembered with quiet satisfaction in trials to come. Indeed, a moment’s reflection will assure any contemplative mind that resentment is the most pitiful passion that can agitate the human breast. True, there is such a thing as ‘spirit,’ but how often is it ill-directed! How often magnified by little causes into an importance wholly incommensurate with the object desired! It is the province of new-year visits to crush these poisonous weeds of our path, to quench their noxious tendrils, and to substitute in their stead the balm of friendship and good-will. For such an object the morning of the year is most auspicious. The grand festival of our Saviour’s nativity has but lately ended, and a preservation of the era of good feeling is enjoined both by Precept and Hope. Who can resist such appeals to that kindness which increases the happiness of its possessor? With these reiterated words of counsel and of affection, let us take present leave of our readers, by wishing them in hackneyed phrase, but with unhackneyed spirit, a Happy New-Year!

The Rights of Women.—We wish it were possible to transfer to this printed page the beautiful chirography of the annexed communication, which proceeds from the pen of a lady who, with a few others of her gentle sex, sat out the reading of the lecture upon the ‘Rights of Women,’ by Mr. John Neal, at the Broadway Tabernacle last winter, and which was so heartily laughed at by the press and the town for a day or two after. It is gratifying to remark that women themselves have been the prominent satirists of the characteristic absurdities put forth on the occasion alluded to. But to our fair correspondent: ‘Appear, bright Spirits of the ancient Nine! (for you were women, and can well appreciate my appeal) arrayed in all the panoply of your charms! Thou, Minerva! aid me with thy wisdom! Ye, most lovely Graces! attend me with the power of honey-like persuasiveness! And thou, John Neal! arrayed in the drapery of the softer sex, gracefully to maintain the lofty eminence whereon thou standest, assist me with the glorious power of thy overwhelming eloquence, while I assert the high prerogative of Woman! Yet when I dwell on the brilliant efforts accomplished by thy mighty genius in our behalf, the pen falls powerless from my despairing hand, and I can merely point to thee as the potent champion of our down-trodden rights! Instead of dwelling in dull obscurity, victims to the caprice of men; mending their thread-bare clothing and scolding servants—base, unwomanly pursuits!—instead of listening in silence to the storms of political debate; instead of remaining within the shadow of our own roofs, and gathering around the domestic hearth the thornless roses of existence; rendering home a haven of rest to the weary and care-worn; instead of slumbering idly, in the security of our mansions, when the torrent of war rolls over the land; instead of girding then our brothers for the stormy fight, bidding them God-speed; instead of ignobly bending before the tyrannical power of Man, thou, O! astute Neal! wouldst have us pluck the laurel-wreath from our kinsman’s brow, and bind it on our own. Thou wouldst have us rise in all the dignity of offended ‘equality,’ and boldly assert the holy right of ‘free suffrage to all!’ Why, forsooth, should we rather be confined to the narrow circle of home than our friends of the other sex? Are we not as capable of sounding the loud alarm of war, of mingling in the strife and tumult of the battle-hour, as the ladies of antique Amazonia, or the warrior-men of our own day? Have we not intellect enough to cope with the Websters, the Clays, and the Wrights, in the halls of Congress? Is not our dignity sufficient to maintain, with honor to our country and ourselves, the various offices of the government? Why may not our superior talents elevate us to the lofty station of the presidential chair?—to become Ambassadresses, Generalesses, 80Stateswomen? Surely our intellect is as lofty, as noble, and as clear as that in which proud man exults. Arise then, Women of America! Study immediately the tactics of military discipline; proceed to the green savannahs of Florida; wrest their authority from those who now possess it, and deck your own brows of loveliness with the wreaths of conquest and of glory. March to the halls of legislation; demand from statesmen there assembled the concession of ‘woman’s rights,’ and desert them not till that ‘vantage ground’ is well secured. Then, ladies, will you be enabled to cast aside with disdain the bonds of domestic confinement, which insure merely your peace and happiness; to mingle your shrill cries with the tumult of contending armies, confounding confusion itself with your loud clamors! You may then unite your voices with the shouts of opposing factions at the momentous periods of election, huzzaing for your candidates, and gathering all your influence to win success for them. So shall you nobly fulfil the high destiny allotted you, instead of longer enduring the degrading cares attendant on the happiness of your fathers’ and your husbands’ homes. So shall you take by storm the hearts of men as well as the citadels of your enemies; forcing them to admire those female ‘braves’ who so kindly relieve them of the weighty burden of their cares.’ Capital! This mock-heroic is just the vein for a theme so ridiculous as the insane crudities here touched upon. By the by; a private note advises us that ‘there have been recent symptoms of chuckling exhibited by the ‘champion of women,’ on the supposition, real or assumed, that the attention of the legislatures of several States had been diverted toward ‘woman’s rights’ in the matter of personal property between man and wife, by reason of the lecture aforesaid!’ It is unnecessary perhaps to add, in justice to the public sense, that the action of three or four States upon this subject had a far different origin, as their legislative records will abundantly show.

Ole Bull.—We confess ourselves among the uninitiated in the mysteries of music. We are quite aware that it is not a little dangerous for one who would not lose caste in society to assert that he does not greatly admire that ill-assorted compound of ‘strains’ which is usually designated by the hackneyed phrases of ‘brilliant execution’ and ‘difficult passages;’ passages which Dr. Johnson wished were ‘not only difficult but impossible:’ we cannot force an admiration nor affect an enthusiasm which we do not feel. Indeed, we have always had great sympathy for the amateur of fashion who aspired to great refinement of taste, to exhibit which, in one branch of art, he gave on one occasion an entertainment of instrumental music. While the musicians were all at work, he seemed delighted with the performance; but when one instrument chanced to be engaged upon a solo, he inquired, in a towering passion, why the others were remaining idle? ‘It is a pizzicato for one instrument,’ replied the operator. ‘I can’t help that,’ replied the virtuoso; ‘let the trumpets pizzicato along with you; they’re paid to do it!’ Now in regard to musical knowledge and taste, this hopeful amateur has many a counterpart in this day and generation, and in this same city of Gotham. In the case of Ole Bull, however, there has been no call for affected admiration. He has compelled not only admiration but enthusiasm; not indeed by mere artistical ‘execution,’ although in this he is acknowledged to be preëminent, but by the creations of genius, which ‘take the full heart captive.’ Let the distant reader imagine an audience of three thousand persons awaiting in breathless expectance the entrance upon the Park-stage of this great Master. The curtain rises, and after the lapse of a moment, a tall manly person, with a frank, ingenuous expression of countenance, emerges with an embarrassed salutation from the wing, and with another somewhat less constrained, stands in front of the orchestra, the focus of every eye and glass in that brilliant assemblage. Pausing for a brief space, as if to collect himself, he raises his bow, and with a slight motion, beckons to each member of the orchestra in turn, who ‘start into sound’ at his bidding as if touched by the wand of Ithuriel. When the tide of harmony has reached its flood, and is gradually ebbing back to fainter sounds, the Master raises his instrument to 81his shoulder and lays his ear upon it, as if listening for his key-note amidst the tones that are serpentining through his brain. When to the audience ‘nothing lives ’twixt these and silence,’ a strain which has at first a dying fall imperceptibly swells on the ear. It is the instrument, beyond all peradventure; and from that moment you are ‘all ear.’ While you are wondering why you never knew before that there was such a volume of sound in a violin, a passage of infinite pathos arrests your heart, and you find your eyes moistening under its influence. It subsides into tremulous tones that retreat farther and farther from the ear, until they seem to come from a mile’s distance; anon, they begin to approach again, and swelling gradually upon the ‘aching sense,’ almost overpower you with their fulness of melody. This transcendent effort of genius reminded us of the phantasmagora, or ‘magic lantern;’ for what the lessening and enlarging figures of that instrument are to the eye, Ole Bull’s magic sounds are to the ear. We had intended to allude in detail to several of the performances of this great Master; but we lack the requisite space. We can only instance the ‘Norwegian Rondo,’ the ‘Themes from Bellini,’ and the ‘Carnival at Venice,’ as eminently justifying the fervent enthusiasm which they excited. It was no unnatural combination of splendid sinuosities, of small notes split into hexagonals, and attenuated into tremors that were ‘no great shakes’ after all, which entranced the audience; it was full, rich tones; it was melody, harmony, that won their loud and almost irrepressible applause. We have not yet had the pleasure to hear Vieux-Temps, the distinguished violinist recently arrived among us. His numerous friends and countrymen in the metropolis rank him even above Ole Bull. We are inclined, however, to trust the comparison made by an eminent brother-artist, who assisted at his first concert: ‘Vieux-Temps,’ said he, ‘is a very accomplished artist; but Ole Bull is a magnificent genius.’ We shall have something to say of Vieux-Temps, Artot, and Sig. Cassela, in a subsequent number of the Knickerbocker, should time and occasion serve.

A Second ‘Ralph Ringwood.’—We have a western correspondent, a ‘man of mark’ in his region, and far from unknown elsewhere, who has seen a good deal of the world, and whose entertaining epistles always remind us of the graphic ‘Experiences of Ralph Ringwood,’ as recorded in these pages by Washington Irving. Here is a fragment of youthful reminiscence, fresh from his mint, ‘which it is hoped may please;’ and if it does, we will use our ‘selectest influence’ to induce him to write out for us a series of papers containing his complete autobiography, which we have good reason to believe would overflow with romance and strange vicissitude: ‘I was raised,’ he writes, ‘as we western folks term it, in a small village some fifteen miles from Boston, and when about sixteen years of age I paid a visit to the metropolis for the first time in my life. When I first arrived there I spent some hours in trying to hunt up an old play-mate who had been bound apprentice to a Boston mechanic some two years previous. I could hear nothing of him, however, and so gave up the search. But one day, while sauntering down the main-street, and wondering at all I saw, I suddenly encountered a strange sight. It was a sheep, dead and dressed, but moving along the side-walk in an upright position, and apparently without help! Puzzled at this phenomenon, I turned round as it passed me, in order to observe it more closely; when to my astonishment I discovered a boy behind it, who with the sheep on his back was shuffling along the walk, stern-foremost. I was still more astonished when I recognized in this lad my old and long-sought playmate. ‘Dick, my boy!’ said I, grasping his hand warmly. Dick seemed a little embarrassed at first; but after a moment’s hesitation, he threw down his load spitefully, and seizing my hand returned my grasp as cordially as it had been given. ‘For God’s sake, Dick,’ inquired I, ‘how long is it since you commenced walking backward?’ ‘Not a great while,’ replied he, with a grin. ‘To tell you the truth, Frank, I saw you looking in the jeweller’s window there, and knew you at once; and as I didn’t care to 82be seen by an old comrade with a sheep on my back, I was in hopes to escape your observation by walking in the manner in which you saw me.’ ‘And that was the very thing which led me to discover you,’ I replied; ‘you might have passed me in the ordinary way, nineteen times in every twenty, without being recognized.’ ‘Well, it’s all one now, since you have found me out,’ said Dick. ‘But what, after all, are you going to do with that measly-looking animal?’ I inquired. ‘Eat it,’ replied he, with a comical twist of the nose; ‘I have to lug one home every day; we apprentices live on them altogether. I’m a sheep myself, almost; b-a-a-h!’ and here he imitated the cry of that animal so naturally, that I had no doubt of the truth of his statement. After a few moments’ conversation, chiefly about home, the clock struck ten, when Dick suddenly resumed his load, and after giving me the directions to the ‘old man’s’ house, and exacting a promise to call and see him in the evening, he started for home. At the appointed hour in the evening, I called to see him, as agreed upon, and found him waiting for me. But what a different-looking personage from the one I met in the morning! He was now very smartly dressed in a small black frock-coat, and drab gaiter-trowsers strapped tightly over a pair of nicely-polished boots. On his head a black velvet cap, from which two enormous tassels were swinging, was setting jauntily on one side, while in his hand he carried a little silver-headed cane, with which he occasionally rapped his legs. In my unsophisticated eyes he was a very paragon of gentility, and I couldn’t help contrasting him with my own countrified appearance. However, I had but a moment for reflection; for sallying into the street, with me at his heels, Dick at once proposed going to the theatre. I agreed without hesitation, for the big play-bills had been staring me in the face all day, and on them were emblazoned in large capitals the names of Cooper and Finn, who were to play together that evening in one of Shakspeare’s comedies. When we arrived at the play-house, Dick took me aside, and pointing to the little window in the office, proposed that I should go and purchase the tickets; ‘because,’ said he, ‘the box-keeper knows me.’ I couldn’t exactly comprehend why the fact of his being known to the box-keeper should prevent his purchasing the tickets himself. However, I supposed it was all right, and so I crowded up to the little window, and after awaiting my turn, obtained two pit-tickets, for which I had to pay out of my own pocket, of course. Dick took them from me when I returned, and then again resuming the lead, he conducted me into the lobby of the play-house. Here he handed the tickets to the door-keeper, at the same time nodding his head toward me, in order to intimate to that gentleman that I was under his special patronage, and that the other admission was intended for me. Once seated in the centre of the pit, Dick seemed to be in his glory. He ogled the ladies in the boxes, and whistled and shouted and stamped, and cried ‘Physic!’ until I thought he would split his throat. But when at last the gloomy curtain rose and the stars of the evening stood glittering before us, he clapped and shouted so much louder and longer than all the rest, that the whole audience gazed at him with admiration. He would have gone on applauding, I verily believe, until the end of the play, had not a tall gentleman, with a red handkerchief round his throat, and carrying a long pole, rapped him over the head, and peremptorily shouted ‘Silence!’ From that moment Dick was as mute as a Quaker, until the end of the play; when rushing out and dragging me after him, he proposed that we should go and finish the evening at a celebrated coffee-house, kept by ‘a particular friend of his,’ and where he had agreed to meet some half-dozen fellow-apprentices. Here we stayed until a very late hour, drinking and smoking, telling stories and singing songs. As it grew later, our companions one by one walked or reeled out of the bar-room, until we two were left the only tenants, save the landlord. The latter then commenced closing the house, and hinted pretty strongly that it was high time we were going. I turned to Dick, who had been remarkably silent for some time, when to my utter dismay I discovered that he was perfectly insensible from drink. I looked up to the landlord for counsel. He was a short, squab man, with a bulbous excresence growing out from between his shoulders, that I suppose passed for a head, though it looked like a wen; a kind of expletive, to wear a hat on, or to fill up the hollow of a shabby wig. ‘What shall we do with him?’ said I. 83‘Hustle him out!’ cried he; ‘hustle him out! he didn’t get his liquor here: I’ve no room for such company!’ I then endeavored to put my companion upon his feet, but his legs bent under him, and his whole body seemed as limber and lifeless as a wet rag. ‘You can’t do any thing with him in that way,’ continued the landlord; ‘if you want to get him home to-night, you must take him on your back and carry him there yourself. He’ll be bright enough in the morning.’ I saw no other way of proceeding; and so, being strong and athletic myself, while Dick was of slight proportions, I managed, with the assistance of the landlord, to get him upon my back, and then started for his master’s house. As my burthen was perfectly speechless, I had plenty of time for uninterrupted thought as I trudged along; and I couldn’t help contrasting the apprentice of the morning with the apprentice of the present moment. Then, though rather coarsely dressed, and smooched with the marks of labor, he blushed at being caught with a sheep on his back, though he had come honestly by it; but now, though bedecked in the habiliments of a gentleman, he was being carried home himself like a beast on the back of a companion. On reaching his master’s house I laid him down upon the door-sill, where he commenced breathing intensely through his nose, while I fumbled round for the handle of the bell, which I rang. The ‘old man’ himself came to the door, and looking down at his apprentice, shook his head sorrowfully. Then turning to a black domestic, who with a candle in her hand stood grinning behind him, he said, ‘Here’s Dick come home drunk again, Dinah; you must take him up stairs and get him to bed in the best way you can.’ The old gentleman turned away with a tear in his eye, and I also departed, leaving Dick, who had come to his senses a little, struggling in the arms of the brawny black, and vainly trying to kiss her polished cheek. Thus ended my first youthful adventure in a city.’

Gossip with Readers and Correspondents.—We encounter in our personal correspondence not a few comments, pro and con, upon the papers on ‘Mind and Instinct,’ which appeared in the last two numbers of the Knickerbocker. Our friend and correspondent, ‘Harry Franco,’ among others, in a gossiping epistle to the Editor, writes as follows:

I have been considerably interested in your correspondent’s paper on mind and instinct; only I rather wonder at his laboring to prove a theory which few are inclined to question. But he does not after all, it appears to me, draw the right conclusions from his argument. All living beings have a mind, or reason, or what you will, which prompts them to do all that their animal functions are capable of performing. In this respect man is as much governed by instinct as a brute. My neighbor’s dog every night when I come home walks up to me, wags his tail, and looks in my face, and says in his way, ‘How are you?’ His master gives me a nod, takes his pipe from his mouth, and says the same. But when a stranger comes to my door, neither the dog nor his master salutes him; but were he to fall into the brook, they would both run to pull him out. Are they not both influenced by exactly the same feelings? If I should ask my neighbor to endorse my note, he would look sulky, hem! and haw! and refuse; if I should attempt to take a bone from his dog, the brute would snarl and growl, and perhaps bite me. Do you see any marvellous difference between the two animals? A near neighbor of mine, about six months since, had a little boy of four years old, who had a spaniel of which he was very fond. One day during the absence of the father, the child was taken ill with the croup; the mother was alarmed, and it so happened that her servants were away, and she had no one to send for a physician. The poor woman was in great tribulation, for in spite of all her efforts the child grew worse. In about an hour after the child was taken ill, her father’s carriage stopped at the door, and her mother made her appearance. Her father’s house was about two miles distant. The grandmother said that Carlo, the sick child’s dog, ‘came running into the house, all bespattered with mud, and flew about and acted so strangely that she knew something must be the matter with little Billy, her grandson, and she came to see what it was.’ Until then, the mother of the child had not noticed the absence of the dog from the room, for the boy was playing with him when he was taken sick. The child remained ill three or four days, and then died; and during the whole time the dog never left his bed-side; he watched by the corpse until it was buried, and then took possession of the little boy’s chair, which he would 84allow no one to touch, not even the child’s mother. Every day he absented himself for three or four hours; and the father one day going to look at his child’s grave, found that the dog had almost scratched his way down to the coffin. He was after this kept within doors; but he refused to eat, and in a short time died in the chair of his little master. If I had time, I could tell you a story almost as touching, in relation to a pig, an animal that phrenologically speaking has generally been looked upon as somewhat deficient in the region of the sentiments.’

Now that our attention has been awakened to the subject, we find in our casual reading the testimony in favor of ‘mind in animals’ greatly to increase and multiply. Oleus Magnus, Bishop of Norway, in a work written in Latin some two centuries ago, tells us of a fox that, in order to get rid of the fleas which infested his skin, was accustomed to swim out into a lake with a straw band held high and dry in his mouth. When the water-hating vermin had all escaped from his submerged body to the dry straw, down dived Reynard, leaving his tormentors ‘at sea,’ and rising again beyond the scope of safe jumping. ‘Curious, isn’t it?’ A correspondent at Rochester, ‘who experienced much satisfaction in the perusal of the article’ above alluded to, was yet ‘a little dissatisfied with the closing portion of it.’ The proposition of the writer to ‘abstain entirely from animal food,’ on the score of humanity, he considers ‘especially ridiculous.’ He has ‘the gravest authority for stating, that every drop of water that quenches our thirst or laves our bodies, contains innumerable insects, which are sacrificed to our necessities or comforts; each ingredient in the simplest vegetable fare conveys to inevitable destruction thousands of the most beautiful and harmless of created beings. From the first to the last gasp of our lives, we never inhale the air of heaven without butchering myriads of sentient and innocent creatures. Can we upbraid ourselves then for supporting our lives by the death of a few animals, many of whom are themselves carnivorous, when the infant who has lived for a single day has killed an infinitely greater number of human beings than the longest life would suffice to murder by design? Or, if we sacrifice either our lives or our comforts by scrupulously denying ourselves the use of animal food, can we derive much consolation from considering that we spare a few scores of beings, when we involuntarily, but knowingly, are every moment massacreing more than the longest life-time would suffice to enumerate?’ ••• A reference to the case of ‘Rachael Baker, the American Somnambulist,’ in a late London Magazine, has recalled that remarkable phenomenon very forcibly to our mind. Rachael Baker resided within four miles of ‘the house where we were born;’ and the first exhibitions of her religious exercises during sleep took place alternately at the homestead and the residence of a relation in its near vicinity. We remember as it were but yesterday the solemnity which sat upon the faces of the assembled neighbors, as they awaited the signal-groan from an adjoining apartment, to which, at about seven P. M., the Somnambulist usually retired for the night. When the door was opened the crowd pressed in. The sleeper, dressed in white muslin, lay straight and motionless in bed; her eyes closed, her face white and inflexible as marble; and her fingers with livid marks beneath the nails, clasped meekly upon her bosom. Flecks of foam were visible at the corners of her mouth, and her lips moved ‘as if they would address themselves to speech,’ for some seconds before any audible sound came from them. At length, however, in a clear silvery voice she opened with prayer; a prayer fervent, devotional, and evidently direct from the heart. When this was concluded, and after the lapse of a brief space, she began an exhortation, in language pure, beautiful, often eloquent, and occasionally rising to a noble sublimity; and then closed with prayer. If interrupted with a question, as she frequently was, by clergymen, medical gentlemen, and others, she answered it with readiness, and with a felicity of language surpassing belief. ‘Rachael,’ said a clergyman to her in our hearing one evening, while in the midst of her discourse, ‘why do you engage in these exercises? and why——’ She interrupted the speaker with words to this effect: ‘I, even I, a worm of the dust, am but a feeble instrument in the hands of Him who hath declared, ‘I will pour out of my spirit upon you; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy; your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. And 85on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my spirit, and they shall prophesy.’ Even so Father, for so it seemeth good in thy sight!’ The girl was of bashful demeanor; altogether uneducated; could scarcely read; knew little of the Bible; and indeed in her waking hours conversed in a language that was far from being respectable English; but neither in her prayers nor in her exhortations was she ever at fault; nor did she at any time exhibit the slightest hesitation or confusion. Her answers to questions were brief, pointed, and invariably correct. Crowds flocked to see her, until the public curiosity overran all bounds. She was visited by many persons from New-York; and finally, under the direction of a committee of medical gentlemen from the city, was brought to the metropolis, where she created a great sensation. A pamphlet was written upon her case by Dr. Mitchell; and we should feel greatly obliged to any reader who would place it for a short time in our hands. ••• A valued friend and correspondent, to whose kindness we have frequently been indebted, has sent us a ‘Massachusetts Centinel,’ printed in Boston sixty years ago; in which, among many other curious and amusing matters, there is a copy of an original letter written by the celebrated George Alexander Stevens, author of ‘Lecture on Heads,’ etc., dated at ‘Yarmouth Jail, County of Norfolk,’ which runs thus:

Sir: When I parted from you at Doncaster, I imagined, long before this, to have met with some oddities worth acquainting you with. It is grown a fashion of late to write lives; I have now, and for a long time have had, leisure enough to undertake mine, but want materials for the latter part of it; for my existence now cannot properly be called living, but what the painters term still life; having ever since February 13, been confined in this town-goal for a London debt.

‘As a hunted deer is always shunned by the happier herd, so am I deserted by the company,7 my share taken off, and no support left me, save what my wife can spare me out of hers:

‘Deserted in my utmost need

By those my former bounty fed.’

‘With an economy, which until now I was a stranger to, I have made shift to victual hitherto my little garrison, but then it has been with the aid of my good friends and allies—my clothes. This week’s eating finishes my last waistcoat; and next, I must atone for my errors upon bread and water.

Themistocles had so many towns to furnish his table, and a whole city bore the charge of his meals. In some respects I am like him, for I am furnished by the labors of a multitude. A wig has fed me two days; the trimming of a waistcoat as long; a pair of velvet breeches paid my washerwoman, and a ruffled shirt has found me in shaving. My coats I swallowed by degrees. The sleeves I breakfasted upon for weeks; the body, skirts, etc., served me for dinner two months. My silk stocking have paid my lodgings, and two pair of new pumps enabled me to smoke several pipes. It is incredible how my appetite, (barometer like) rises in proportion as my necessities make their terrible advances. I here could say something droll about a good stomach, but it is ill jesting with edge tools, and I am sure that is the sharpest thing about me. You may think I can have no sense of my condition, that while I am thus wretched, I should offer at ridicule: but, Sir, people constituted like me, with a disproportioned levity of spirits, are always most merry when they are most miserable; and quicken like the eyes of the consumptive, which are always brightest the nearer the patient approaches his dissolution. However, Sir, to show you I am not lost to all reflection, I think myself poor enough to want a favor, and humble enough to ask it here. Sir, I might make an encomium on your good nature, humanity, etc.; but I shall not pay so bad a compliment to your understanding, as to endeavor, by a parade of phrases, to win it over to my interest. If you could, any night at a concert, make a small collection for me, it might be a means of my obtaining my liberty; and you well know, Sir, the first people of rank abroad will perform the most friendly offices for the sick; be not, therefore, offended at the request of a poor (though a deservedly punished) debtor.

‘Geo. A. Stevens.’

Among the facetiæ of the ‘Centinel’ we find a clever hit at two prominent official characters of the name of Day: ‘Titus, a Roman emperor, we are told, once lamented that ‘he had lost a Day.’ If the commonwealth of Massachusetts were to lose two Days, it would not be the cause of much lamentation!’ A correspondent elsewhere observes, that in a procession on a certain solemn occasion in this city, the place of the physician was immediately before the corpse; which, he adds, was ‘exactly consonant with the etiquette observed at capital executions in ancient times; the executioner always going before!’ By the way, ‘speaking of Stevens;’ perhaps the reader of good things at second-hand may not be aware how much he is indebted to this author’s ‘Lectures on Heads’ for amusement and instruction. They were very popular throughout Great Britain; and as illustrated by the author, after the manner of ‘Old Matthews,’ they are said to have been irresistible. It 86was in this collection that the law-cases of ‘Bullum vs. Boatum’ and ‘Daniel vs. Dishclout’ had their origin. They are familiar to every school-boy, not less for their wit than the canine Latinity in which they abound; ‘Primus strokus est provokus; now who gave the primus strokus? Who gave the first offence?’ Or, ‘a drunken man is ‘homo duplicans,’ or a double man, seeing things double,’ etc., etc. We annex an example or two of the writer’s individuality. The first is a sketch of a nil admirari critic and amateur, who has travelled long enough abroad to fall in love with every thing foreign, and despise every thing belonging to his own country except himself: ‘He pretended to be a great judge of paintings, but only admired those done a great way off, and a great while ago; he could not bear any thing painted by any of his own countrymen. One day being in an auction-room where there was a number of capital pictures, and among the rest an inimitable painting of fruits and flowers, the connoisseur would not give his opinion of the picture until he had examined his catalogue; when, finding it was done by one of his own countrymen, he pulled out his eye-glass, exclaiming: ‘This fellow has spoiled a fine piece of canvass; he’s worse than a sign-post dauber; there’s no keeping, no perspective, no fore-ground, no chiar’oscuro. Look you, he has attempted to paint a fly upon that rose-bud! Why, it is no more like a fly than I am like an ——’ But as the connoisseur approached his finger to the picture, the fly flew away. It happened to be the real insect!’ Is not the following a forcible picture of a mercurial, hero-loving Frenchman? ‘Has he property? An edict from the Grand Monarque can take it, and he is satisfied. Pursue him to the Bastile, or the dismal dungeon in the country to which a lettre-de-cachet conveys him, and buries him for life: there see him in all his misery; ask him ‘What is the cause?’ ‘Je ne sai pas; it is the will of the Grand Monarque.’ Give him a soup-maigre, a little sallad, and a hind-quarter of a frog, and he’s in spirits. ‘Fal, lal, lal! Vive le Roi? Vive la bagatelle!’’ Here we have a Materialist proving the affinity of matter: ‘All round things are globular, all square things flat-sided. Now, if the bottom is equal to the top, and the top equal to the bottom, and the bottom and top are equal to the four sides, then all matter is as broad as it is long.’ But the materialist ‘had not in his head matter sufficient to prove matter efficient; and being thus deficient, he knew nothing of the matter.’ One of Stevens’s ‘heads’ was that of a heartless, devil-may-care sort of person, in some respects like the hero of ‘A Capital Joke’ in preceding pages, who is always ‘keeping it up.’ He illustrates his own character very forcibly: ‘I’ll tell you how it was; you see, I was in high spirits, so I stole a dog from a blind man, for I do so love fun! So then the blind man cried for his dog, and that made me laugh; so says I to the blind man. ‘Halloo, master! do you want your dog?’ ‘Yes, Sir, indeed, indeed I do,’ says he. Then says I to the blind man, says I, ‘Go look for him! Keep it up!’ I always turn sick when I think of a parson; and my brother, he’s a parson too, and he hates to hear any body swear; so I always swear when I am along with him, just to roast him. I went to dine with him one day last week; and as soon as I arrived, I began to swear. I never swore so well in all my life; I swore all my new oaths. At last my brother laid down his knife and fork, and lifting up his hands and eyes, he calls out: ‘O Tempora! O Mores.’ ‘Oh, ho! brother,’ says I, ‘don’t think to frighten me by calling all your family about you. I don’t mind you nor your family neither. Only bring Tempora and Moses here—that’s all! I’ll box ’em for five pounds. Keep it up!’ ••• There is many a bereaved heart that will be touched by the following sad, sad lines, from the pen of John Rudolph Sutermeister, a young and gifted poet, whose mortal part has ‘been ashes these many a year,’ and whom the reader may remember as the author of a little poem widely quoted and admired many years ago, commencing:

‘O! for my bright and faded hours!

When life was like a summer stream,

On whose gay banks the virgin flowers

Blushed in the morning’s rosy beam,

Or danced upon the breeze that bare

Its store of rich perfume along,

While the wood-robin poured on air

The ravishing delights of song!’

87To us, who are familiar with the painful circumstances under which they were written, and the deep affliction which they deplore, they seem almost to sob with irrepressible grief:



Give not to me the wreath of green,

The blooming vase of flowers;

They breathe of joy which once hath been,

Of gone and faded hours!

I cannot love the rose; though rich,

Its beauty will not last:

Give me—give me the bloom o’er which

The early blight hath passed!

The yellow buds—give them to rest

On my cold brow and joyless breast,

When life is failing fast!


Take far from me the wine-cup bright,

In hours of revelry;

It suits glad brows, and bosoms light,

It is not meet for me:

Oh! I can pledge the heart no more

I pledged in days gone by;

Sorrow hath touched my bosom’s core,

And I am left—to die!

Give me to drink of Lethe’s wave,

Give me the cold and cheerless grave,

O’er which the night-winds sigh!


Wake not upon my tuneless ear

Soft music’s stealing strain;

It cannot soothe, it cannot cheer

This anguished heart again!

But place the Æolian harp upon

The tomb of her I love;

There, when Heaven shrouds the dying sun,

My weary steps will rove,

While o’er its chords Night pours its breath,

To list the serenade of death

Her silent bourne above!


Give me to seek the lonely tomb

Where sleeps the sainted dead,

When the pale night-fall throws its gloom

Above her narrow bed!

There, while the winds which sweep along,

O’er the harp-strings are driven,

And the funereal soul of song

Upon the air is given,

Oh! let my faint and parting breath

Be mingled with that song of death,

And flee with it to heaven!

Who hath redness of eyes?’ This interrogative ‘portion of divine scripture’ is forcibly illustrated by an anecdote, related with most effective dryness by a friend of ours. An elderly gentleman, accustomed to ‘indulge,’ entered the bar-room of an inn in the pleasant city of H——, on the Hudson, where sat a grave Friend toasting his toes by the fire. Lifting a pair of green spectacles upon his forehead, rubbing his inflamed eyes, and calling for a hot brandy-toddy, he seated himself by the grate; and as he did so, he remarked to Uncle Broadbrim that ‘his eyes were getting weaker and weaker, and that even spectacles didn’t seem to do ‘em any good.’ ‘I’ll tell thee friend,’ rejoined the Quaker, ‘what I think. I think if thee was to wear thy spectacles over thy mouth for a few months, thy eyes would get sound again!’ The ‘complainant’ did not even return thanks for this medical counsel, but sipped his toddy in silence, and soon after left the room, ‘uttering never a word.’ ••• There have been various surmises, and sundry contradictory statements, in relation to the work superscribed ‘Count D’Orsay on Etiquette,’ which we noticed at some length in our December issue. Mr. Willis, of the ‘New Mirror’ weekly journal, seems to question its having been written by the Count, but expresses his belief that he may have loaned his name to the publishers ‘for a consideration;’ and this may possibly have been the fact with the latest London edition. The author of the work in question, however, is Mr. Charles William Day, an English gentleman, whose acquaintance with the usages of the best European society is personal and authentic; who has observed and travelled much; and who is moreover an artist of a high order; painting in miniature, and sketching with admirable skill. An esteemed friend and correspondent of this Magazine writes us from Boston, that the manner of the fraud is somewhat as follows: ‘Mr. Day is the author of a Journal of Travels, which Messrs. Longman and Company of London proposed to publish. As they treated him, however, in a dishonorable manner, he withdrew his MSS. from them and came to America. In retaliation, they sent orders to this country to have a spurious edition published of his work on ‘Etiquette,’ which they had formerly brought out, and which they truly supposed he designed to reprint in New-York or Boston. It has passed through more than twenty editions in London; a fact which I know, from having seen the Messrs. Longmans’ letters and accounts with the author. His own edition is now in press in Boston; and I learn that 88he has added some ‘Hints’ with an especial eye to Yankee manners.’ We have also received a letter from Mr. Day himself, in which, while he ‘forbears at present to make any comments on the conduct of the Messrs. Longman,’ he proves beyond a doubt that ‘the Count D’Orsay is not the writer of the ‘Hints on Etiquette,’ but that he himself is ‘the real, true author,’ past all peradventure. ••• A friend lately returned from the west, relates among other matters the following anecdote: ‘On board of one of the steam-boats on the Mississippi, I encountered a deck-hand, who went by the name of Barney. Like many of his class, he was a drinking, reckless fellow, but warm-hearted, good-natured, and generous to a fault. In early life he was in easy circumstances; was a husband, and the father of several children. But one night during a violent storm the house in which he resided was struck by lightning, and the whole family, save himself, were instantly killed. His own escape was considered a miracle at the time, not even a hair of his head having been singed. From that time, however, he took to drinking, and so sank lower and lower until he became what I found him. When I had heard his story, I felt somewhat interested in the man, and one day managed to draw him into conversation. He told me his early history with much natural pathos; and finding him in the ‘melting mood’ I endeavored to lead him to some serious thoughts upon the subject of his misfortunes, and especially of that one which had bereft him in so awful a manner of his wife and children. ‘Barney,’ said I, ‘don’t you think it was a signal mercy that you alone should have escaped unharmed from the bolt which destroyed all else you loved upon earth? Was there not at least something singular in the fact?’ ‘That’s what I said myself,’ replied Barney, in a tremulous voice; ‘I always thought it was very sing’lar. But the fact I suppose was this, Mr. Whitehat. The lightning, you see, was afraid of a man, and so like a d——d sneak, it went twisting about to scorch women and little children!’ ••• Blackwood has proclaimed in a late number, the ‘Characteristics of English Society,’ in language of truth and soberness, which goes explicitly to confirm the reports of nearly all American and other ‘foreigners’ who have visited England. We subjoin an extract contrasting English with French society:

We should indeed be sorry if our demeanor in those vast crowds, where English people flock together, rather, as it would seem, to assert a right, than to gratify an inclination, were to be taken as an index of our national character: the want of all ease and simplicity, those essential ingredients of agreeable society, which distinguish these dreary meetings have long been unfortunately notorious. Too busy to watch the feelings of others, and too earnest to moderate our own, that true politeness which pays respect to age; which tries to put the most insignificant person in company on a level with the most considerable—virtues which our neighbors possess in an eminent degree—are, except in a few favored instances, unknown among us; while affectation, in other countries the badge of ignorance and vulgarity, is ours, even in its worst shape, when it borrows the mien of rudeness, impertinence, and effrontery, the appendage of those whose station is most conspicuous, and whose dignity is best ascertained. There is more good breeding in the cottage of a French peasant than in all the boudoirs of Grosvenor square. ••• ‘Frivolity and insipidity are the prevailing characteristics of conversation; and nowhere in Europe, perhaps, does difference of fortune or of station produce more unsocial or illiberal separation. Very few of those whom fortune has released from the necessity of following some laborious profession are capable of passing their time agreeably without the assistance of company; not from the spirit of gaity which calls upon society for indulgence; not from any pleasure they take in conversation, where they are frequently languid and taciturn; but to rival each other in the luxury of the table, or by a great variety of indescribable airs, to make others feel the pain of mortification. They meet as if to fight the boundaries of their rank and fashion, and the less definite and perceptible is the line which divides them, the more punctilious is their pride. It is a great mistake to suppose that this low-minded folly is peculiar to people of rank; it is an English disease.’

No doubt of it; and the question naturally arises, ‘Are not these the proper people to talk about men and manners and society in America?’ •••Never mind, my dear,’ says Baron Pompolino, while endeavoring to fit the fairy slipper of the lovely Cinderella upon the long splay foot of one of his ungainly daughters, ‘never mind, my dear, she is not at all like you!’ The doting father, it will be remembered, gives this verdict as a flattering compliment. We have sometimes been amused, where the quo animo was apparent, with similar compliments at the hands of reciprocal critics of literature. Pleasant examples in this kind have been furnished lately. A very voluminous critic, very far ‘down east,’ spoke recently in a metropolitan journal of Goldsmith’s ‘Deserted Village’ as ‘a very common-place 89poem, at the best, and only saved from utter and most contemptuous forgetfulness by two or three pleasantries about ‘broken tea-cups,’ etc., and by one single passage that smacks of sublimity!’ Of the poetry however of the author of ‘Man in his Various Aspects under the American Republic,’ he expresses in the same columns quite a different opinion. ‘There has been,’ he writes, ‘no English poetry better than his, within the memory of man!’ A writer in the last number of the ‘Southern Literary Messenger,’ likewise voluminous in prose and verse, if we rightly surmise, exhibits contrasts of judgment somewhat kindred with the foregoing, although certainly less violent. The author of ‘Man in his various Aspects,’ he tells us, ‘has a boldness that attracts;’ his are the ‘strong and struggling conceptions which seek utterance in new and original forms.’ He dares ‘to shun the beaten paths,’ and is not afraid to be obscure. His is not the poetry ‘which takes the popular ear without tasking the popular thought,’ like ‘the simple common-places of Longfellow.’ Such ‘criticism’ as this we have cited must needs ‘make the judicious’ laugh merely, being too impotent to make them ‘grieve.’ It is not perhaps assuming too much to suppose, that Goldsmith’s ‘Deserted Village’ and Longfellow’s ‘Psalms of Life,’ simple though they be, will live and be cherished in generations of human hearts, when the volumes of our critics and their client that yet survive the recollection of any save their publishers, shall be ‘forgotten and clean out of mind.’ •••It is related of the celebrated clergyman, John Mason, that sitting at a steam-boat table on one occasion, just as the passengers were ‘falling to’ in the customary manner, he suddenly rapped vehemently upon the board with the end of his knife, and exclaimed: ‘Captain! is this boat out of the jurisdiction of God Almighty? If not, let us at least thank Him for his continued goodness;’ and he proceeded to pronounce ‘grace’ amidst the most reverent stillness. It is to be hoped, however, that his ‘grace’ was not like the few set words handed down from father to son, mumbled without emotion, and despatched with indecent haste, which one sometimes hears repeated over country repasts. ‘Bless this portion of food now in readiness for us; give it to us in thy love; let us eat and drink in thy fear—for Christ’s sake——Lorenzo, take your fingers out of that plate!’ was a grace once said in our hearing, but evidently not in that of the spoilt boy, ‘growing and always hungry,’ who could not wait to be served. We should prefer to such insensible flippancy the practice of an old divine in New-England, who in asking a blessing upon his meals, was wont to name each separate dish. Sitting down one day to a dinner, which consisted partly of clams, bear-steak, etc., he was forced in a measure to forego his usual custom of furnishing a ‘bill of particulars.’ ‘Bless to our use,’ said he, ‘these treasures hid in the sand; bless this——’ But the bear’s-meat puzzled him, and he concluded with: ‘Oh! Lord, thou only knowest what it is!’ ••• A favorite correspondent of this Magazine, who appears in the pages of the present number for the first time in several months, accompanies his excellent paper with a letter, from which we take these sentences: ‘Since you last heard from me, I have experienced a severe domestic affliction in the loss of my father, who died during the last summer. Day after day and night after night for two months I sat by his bed-side, hoping in vain for his recovery, until life’s star was extinguished in the darkness of the grave.’ Our cordial sympathies are with our correspondent; but sympathy for affliction such as his can carry with it little of consolation to the bereaved:

——‘A friend is gone!

A father, whose authority, in show

When most severe, and must’ring all its force,

Was but the graver countenance of love;

Whose favor, like the clouds of spring, might lower,

And utter now and then an awful voice,

But had a blessing in his darkest frown,

Threat’ning at once, and nourishing the plant.’

Perchance our friend may now think with Cowper, that ‘although he loved, yet not enough, the gentle hand that reared him.’ ‘The chief thing that I have to reproach myself with,’ writes one who laments a kindred dispensation of the Supreme, ‘is a sort of inattention 90to my father’s feelings, occasionally, arising merely from the disparity of years between us, which I am sensible must at times have interfered with his enjoyments. I would gladly recall now, if I could, many opportunities I suffered to pass, of being more in his company, and more in the way of his advice and instruction.’ But he adds: ‘When I reflect on these things, it appears to me one of the strongest natural arguments for the immortality of the soul, and the renewal of our earthly relations in a world to come, that even where the greatest possible attachment subsists between parents and their children, the mere disparity of years inevitably prevents that complete association of feelings, and intimate fellowship of heart and soul, which is the cement and prerogative of all other friendships: in a world to come, but no where else, such attachments must receive their full completion.’ ••• Professor Gouraud, well known among us for his devotion to the interests of art and science, has perfected a System of Remembrance, which he designates by the term ‘Mnemotechny,’ and which we venture to predict will prove of the greatest service to nearly every class of society. No system of modern mnemonics bears any resemblance to, or comparison with it. Such is the astonishing effect of the plan, that young masters and misses, after a brief study of it, can with ease answer any question from score after score of close-printed pages, involving every variety of events, and all kinds of information. We ‘speak but the things which we do know,’ in this matter, for seeing is believing. As the scene of Prof. Gouraud’s operations is for the present the city, and as the daily journals have made his merits widely known to the community, we forbear farther comment at this time upon the useful art which he has brought to such wonderful perfection. New classes organize, we understand, at the Professor’s residence, No. 46, Second-street, on the fourth instant. They will be filled at once, and speedily followed by others. ••• There is an article in the last number of the Edinburgh Review upon ‘Theatres and the Drama,’ which is replete with wisdom, and evinces a thorough mastery of the theme. In alluding to the appeals which are now made to the eye by elaborate scenery, machinery, etc., less than to the mind and imagination by superior intellectual personation, the reviewer in effect remarks, that the first attempt at positive reality is fatal to pleasurable illusion. Every person in the pit is aware that the stage is a stage, ‘and all the men and women merely players.’ In ‘As you Like It,’ at Drury-Lane, an attempt was made to imitate the notes of birds. ‘Suppose the imitation had been so close as to deceive the audience into the belief that there were birds there singing; would not the contrast with trees of painted canvass have been revolting? These were not the conceptions of Shakspeare, when he made his chorus say:

Can this cockpit hold

The vasty fields of France? or may we cram

Within this wooden O the very casques

That did affright the air at Agincourt?

O pardon! since a crooked figure may

Attest, in little place, a million;

And let us, ciphers to this great accompt,

On your imaginary forces work:

Suppose within the girdle of these walls

Are now confined two mighty monarchies:

Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts;

Into a thousand parts divide one man,

And make imaginary puisance.

Think, when we talk of horses, that you see them

Printing their proud hoofs in the receiving earth;

For ’tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings—

Carry them here and there.’

Advice as necessary at the present day as then; for we may enlarge our stages, increase our supernumeraries, and engage ‘real horses;’ but we can never make any one believe the stage is other than the stage. The audience can realize for themselves. This trust in the all-sufficiency of imagination is precisely that acted on by children in their daily sports, where from the boundless wealth of the imagination, the rudest materials supply the place of the costliest. Whoever watches boys ‘playing horse,’ making a pocket-handkerchief dangling behind to represent the tail, and sees them stamping, snorting, prancing, and 91champing the imaginary bit, witnesses the alchymy of the imagination, an alchymy out-stripping all the wonders and out-weighing all the treasures of the prosaic positive chemistry, so longed for by the present generation. The child ‘supposes’ the handkerchief a tail, and it becomes a tail. He has but to say to his companion: ‘This shall be a whip and this shall be the harness,’ and the things are there; not as matters of literal fact, but of imaginative truth. He plays for the enjoyment of the game and the exercise of his imagination; and therefore the handkerchief serves every purpose. This is the procedure of nature. But the modern parent, anxious to realize for the child, and to instil a love of accuracy into his mind, gives him a superb horse-hair tail, bidding him at the same time be careful not to spoil it. What is the result? The child’s attention is called from the game, to the consideration of or delight in the tail, which, originally meant as a collateral aid, now takes the first place. The boy no doubt is delighted with his horse-hair tail; but (if it be not altogether superfluous,) it will soon destroy his game, so that the exercise, both of frame and imagination, is lost; the end becomes subordinate to the means. This is precisely what takes place with the drama. Observe also one important point: The tail is real; accuracy is attempted: but though the tail be real, the horse is not; the horse is played by a boy, and only by a boy; it is in this mimicry that the enjoyment consists. But how absurd to put a real tail on an unreal horse! How revolting this mixture of imagination and fact! It is equalled only by that ludicrous practice of placing the face of a real watch in the place of a church-clock in a landscape; where one may not only see the time of day, but may also hear it struck, and that amidst painted trees and houses! This effect, except to the most literal and prosaic minds, is revolting and discordant. But this the modern drama is strenuously endeavoring to produce. ‘In opera, ballet, and spectacle, scenery and illustrations must be effective, because they form elements of the piece. In the drama, where the source of entertainment is intellectual, they are merely accessories, and should be used in such wise as to keep up the harmony of effect, but never so as to distract attention from the drama to themselves.’ Here is a passage which is not less applicable in America than in England: ‘A few years ago it was not uncommon to see several performers of rival excellence supported by others of ability, all playing in the same piece. It is now a rare thing for rivals to play together. A single good actor, among a dozen bad, is deemed sufficient. Are we then to wonder that the regular drama does not pay?’ ••• Our readers will remember the order given by the Chinese Emperor to a corps of Mandarins, who were to exterminate the ‘barbarian Englishers’ in the harbor of Canton, by going down to the bank of the river in the night, and then and there ‘dive straight on board those foreign ships, and put every soul of them to death!’ Subsequently however the red-bristling foreigners managed to land, when, as it since turns out, it became necessary to adopt more sanguinary measures. The Emperor called up one of his ‘great generals,’ and gave him his dreadful orders: ‘You must dress your soldiers,’ said he, ‘in a very frightful manner, painting their faces with the most horrid figures, and depicting dragons and monsters on your banners: you must then rush upon the barbarians with fearful outcries, and terrify them so that they will fall down flat on their faces; and when they are once down,’ said the Imperial potentate, ‘their breeches are so tight that they can never get up again!’ •••I give you five minutes every day to look at the stars, but don’t particularize; for some in those far-off places send down their light long after they have been knocked out of existence, and you may be looking at a blank.’ So wrote ‘Julian’ in this department of our last number. Prof. Olmstead, of Yale-College, in a recent lecture before the ‘Mercantile Library Association,’ described the difficulty of ascertaining the distance of the stars from each other and from our earth; yet, he remarked, it had been done. The nearest star’s distance from us had been measured, and by the aid of light, by which it could alone be accomplished. That distance, he said, was immense, requiring ten years for light to traverse it! The planets, he had no doubt, were inhabited. Of what use was the reflection of the sun’s rays upon them, if there were no eyes there to behold it? What was the use of moons, which the planets certainly have? He spoke also of the fixed stars, which seem by the aid of a telescope to be innumerable. What was their purpose?—for a 92guide to mariners? No; for a very small portion of them could be seen by the unassisted eye. They were suns like our suns, to worlds like our worlds! To the inhabitants of those fixed stars our sun appears as a star, and the planetary system revolving around it, of which the earth is one, are unseen by them, as are those of theirs by us! Great God! ‘When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man, that thou visitest him!’ ••• Our correspondent who writes of ‘The Country,’ in preceding pages wields a facile pen. His allusion to the choice of names for a country-seat reminds us of the pleasant satire of ‘Thinks-I-to-myself’ upon this theme: ‘We lived, you must know,’ he writes, ‘in a Hall; not when I was born, however, nor till long afterward. My sister happened to have a correspondent at school near London, who finding it essentially necessary to the support of her dignity among her school-fellows, always directed her letters so; for the parents of one she found, lived at something House; and of another at What’s-its-name Place; and of another at Thingummy Lodge; of another at the Grange; of another at the Castle; of another at the Park; Miss Blaze, the daughter of a retired tallow-chandler, whose father lived at Candlewick-Castle, was continually throwing out hints that not to live at a ‘Castle,’ or a ‘Park,’ or a ‘Place,’ or a ‘House,’ or a ‘Lodge,’ unequivocally bespoke a low origin!’ Is this folly altogether indigenous to England? Let the high-sounding names of scores of painted pine palaces not a thousand miles from this metropolis make answer. •••It don’t weigh as much as I expected, and I always thought it wouldn’t!’ We were reminded of this remark of a person who desired a certain result, but was at the same time unwilling to relinquish his pride of opinion, by the note of our Mississippi correspondent, to whose long communication we alluded in our last number. We have ‘taken its measure,’ as we promised, and find it quite beyond our compass. ••• Our friend the Poetical Englishman is somewhat severe upon the godly inhabitants of ‘Botolph’s Town;’ yet we see nothing in his epistle that is not justified by recent occurrences in the ‘Literary Emporium.’ It is lamentable that Boston should be robbed of a decent theatre by an epidemic of pseudo-sanctity. Macready was compelled to play a recent engagement at a second-rate house, down in the ‘Wapping’ end of the town, whither all the beauty and fashion crowded nightly through the mud to see him. It strikes us that the ‘Purification Hymn,’ alluded to by our correspondent, must have been a choice production of some Mawworm of the day. Its reasoning is highly pellucid, and its dignity is past all question. ‘Mimic scenes, and mirth and joy,’ it would seem, ‘allure souls’ to endless perdition! Now against the licentiousness and drunkenness of the theatre too much cannot be said; but for ‘mimic scenes’ dragging men to ——. But cui bono? ‘Your dull ass will never mend his pace with beating.’ By the by, we are well pleased to see our English friend’s preference for mind over matter, in the way of dramatic personations. Yet England has little reason to boast. What says ‘the Viscount’ to the Chevalier (d’industrie) Pip? ‘What’s the good of Shakspeare, Pip? I never read him. What the devil is it all about? There’s a lot of feet in Shakspeare’s verse, but there ain’t any legs worth mentioning in Shakspeare’s plays, are there, Pip? Juliet, Desdemona, Lady Macbeth, and all the rest of ’em, whatever their names are, might as well have no legs at all, for any thing the audience know about it. I’ll tell you what it is; what the people call dramatic poetry is a collection of sermons. Do I go to the theatre to be lectured? No; if I wanted that, I’d go to church. What’s the legitimate drama, Pip? Human nature. What are legs? Human nature. Then let us have plenty of leg-pieces, Pip, and I’ll stand by you, my buck!’ This is ‘the ticket’ in London, as well as in ‘Botolph his town.’ The ‘legs have it’ there as well as here. Meanwhile the sometime gallant Thespian is in a sad plight, from having little to do and little pay for it. Admirers fall off, one after another, under such circumstances; and even the gentle sex forget their old enthusiasm:

‘Oh! once again we met, but no bandit-chief was there;

His rouge was off, and gone that head of once luxuriant hair:

He lodges in a two-pair back, and at the tavern near

He cannot liquidate his ‘chalk’ nor wipe away his beer.

93I saw him sad and seedy, yet methinks I see him now,

In the tableau of the last act, with the blood upon his brow.’

And thus he goes on, following his ‘occupation’ in one sense, and gradually sinking lower and lower; until at length:

Alas! poor rat!

He has no cravat;

A seedy coat, and a hole in that!

No sole to his shoe, no brim to his hat;

Not a change of linen, except his skin:

No gloves, no vest,

Either second or best;

And what is worse than all the rest,

No light heart, though his breeches are thin!

Is not the following illustration of ‘The Affections,’ by Rev. Geo. B. Cheever, ‘beautiful exceedingly?’ ‘On a bright day in summer, while the west wind breathes gently, you stand before a forest of maples, or you are attracted by a beautiful tree in the open field, that seems a dense clump of foliage. You cannot but notice how easily the wind moves it, how quietly, how gracefully, how lovingly, the whole body of it. It is simply because it is covered with foliage. The same wind rustling through its dry branches in winter, would scarce bend a bough, or only to break it. But now, softly whispering through ten thousand leaves, how gently the whole tree yields to the impression! So it is with the affections, the feelings. They are the foliage of our being, moved by the spirit of God.’ ••• The annual Festival of Saint Nicholas, beloved of all good Knickerbockers, was celebrated on the sixth ultimo at the City Hotel, by a crowded assemblage of the members of the Society, and their invited guests. The new President was invested with the orange-badge and venerable cocked-hat of his ‘illustrious predecessor,’ and new subordinate officers were installed into their several stations; after which ceremony a sumptuous repast, served in the well-known style of Messrs. Jennings and Willard, was discussed with universal goût. For the toasts regular and volunteer, and speeches voluntary and involuntary, we must refer the reader to the daily journals ‘of that period;’ while we simply add, that from soup to Paäs eggs, schnaaps, and pipes, every thing passed off with unwonted hilarity and spirit. May we live to see fifty kindred gatherings of the votaries of our patron saint! •••You don’t like smokin’, ’taint likely?’ asked a lank free-and-easy Yankee, as he entered a room where four or five young ladies were sewing, puffing a dank ‘long-nine.’ ‘Well, we do not,’ was the immediate reply. ‘Umph!’ replied the smoker, removing his cigar long enough to spit, ‘a good many people don’t!’—and he kept on smoking. We know of one reader of the Knickerbocker, a thousand miles from the hand that jots down this anecdote, who will enjoy it hugely; and indeed it is mainly for him that we record it. ••• This is Thanksgiving Evening in the Empire State; and as there is a fair-haired, hazle-eyed little boy pulling at our ‘sword-arm,’ (too fatigued with writing to offer any resistance) suppose we read to you, while he sits ‘throned on his father’s knee,’ this timely and admirable passage from the pen of Charles Hoover, Esq., of New-Jersey, a fine scholar, and a writer of as pure Saxon English as the best among us:

There is much in the aspect of Divine Providence at the present time, both toward our own country and the world, to awaken gratitude and thoughtful joy. An unexampled spectacle is presented in the current history of the world. It is moving on almost without a ripple. The changes of time are taking place as noiselessly as the ordinary changes of nature. The decay of old and injurious social and political systems is going on like the crumbling of ruins in a desert, by the force of inherent tendency rather than by external violence; and milder and more benignant systems are appearing, not like those islands sprung by volcanic shocks above the bosom of the deep, but like the beauty of spring, or the glory of summer, by a natural and imperceptible growth. Within the memory of many yet living there was a very different state of things. Scarcely a month then passed without a shock, a press and medley in human affairs that amazed and bewildered men, and kept anxiety on the stretch. Such was the history of Europe. Every change was a concussion; every fear a storm; every revolution a convulsion. Not less in motion is society now, but it is like the motion of the spheres, grand and silent; and that silence is the emblem and the evidence of greatness and power in the present movement of Providence in human affairs. The once apparently random and divergent lines of that 94Providence now seem to be flowing to a common point, and terminating in one great result—the improvement and happiness of our race. Abating much of what has been extravagantly vaunted about the march of mind and the perfectibility of human society, it is still visibly true that the general condition of the world is improved and improving. Vast accessions have been made to science; knowledge has been diffused over a wider surface, than was ever before known; ignorance is felt to be a calamity if not a crime; truths that were formerly contemplated only in the closet of the sage, have become familiarized in the cottage and the common mind; the rights of men are better defined and understood; the power of rulers is swayed within juster limits, and is every where abandoning its old apparatus of racks and halters and dungeons as the means of governing immortal mind, and is silently conceding to it its alienable prerogative of free thought.’

We have little to chronicle of The Drama proper this month. Music, vocal and instrumental, has kept this branch of the fine arts somewhat in the back-ground. We have had the pleasure to see Mr. Macready once only at the Park, on which occasion he personated the character of Melantius in ‘The Bridal’ with transcendent power. We have seen this fine actor in no part, if we except perhaps that of Werner, in which his genius shone so conspicuous. He was admirably supported by the scarcely subordinate characters represented by Wheatly, Rider, Miss Cushman, and Mrs. H. Hunt. Mr. Wheatly has evidently much of ‘the heavy business’ at the Park upon his broad shoulders, for he appears in two or three pieces almost every night. On the occasion alluded to, no sooner had the curtain risen after ‘The Bridal,’ than we found him making Stentorian love (‘in a horn’) to the ‘Dumb Belle’ of the evening, in which he excited shouts of uproarious laughter. At the Bowery Theatre, as well as at the Chatham, ‘The Mysteries of Paris’ has run a most successful career. The Olympic has been crowded nightly by the mingled attractions of opera and travestie; while the Bowery Amphitheatre and Rockwell’s Circus at Niblo’s, have shared abundantly in the favor bestowed now-a-days upon popular entertainments. •••Dress always and act to please your partner for life, as you were fain to do before the nuptial-knot was tied.’ This is an old maxim, and here is ‘a commentator upon it.’ A newly-married lady is suddenly surprised by a visit from a newly-married man, when she straightway begins to apologize: ‘She is horribly chagrined, and out of countenance, to be caught in such a dishabille; she did not mind how her clothes were huddled on, not expecting any company, there being nobody at home but her husband!’ The husband meanwhile shakes the visitor’s hand, and says: ‘I am heartily glad to see you, Jack: I don’t know how it was, I was almost asleep; for as there was nobody at home but my wife, I did not know what to do with myself!’ ••• The beautiful lines by Mrs. M. T. W. Chandler, elsewhere in the present number, illustrate, or are illustrated by the following passage from Warren Hasting’s eloquent reflections upon the changes to which the SOUL is destined hereafter: ‘When the hour is at hand which is to dissolve the mortal tie, the soul parts without regret with those delights which it received from its sensual gratifications, and dwells only, dwells with a fond affection, on the partner or pledges of its love; or on friends from whom it seems to be cut off for ever; and if it looks, as it must look, to futurity, these are the first objects of its wishes connected with it, and the first ingredients in its conceptions of celestial felicity. For my own part (and on a subject like this, where can we so properly appeal as to ourselves?) although my reason dictates to me the hope of a future happiness, whatever may be the mode of it, yet my heart feels no interest in the prospect when viewed as a scene of solitary, selfish enjoyment. It recoils with horror at the thought of losing the remembrance of every past connexion, and even of those whom it loved most dearly, and of being forgotten by them utterly and for ever. Is this too, it asks, one of the delusions of life? No; for all its other passions expire before it; but this remains, like hope, ‘nor leaves us when we die.’’ ••• TheAnglo-American’ literary journal has just issued to its subscribers one of the finest counterfeit presentments of Washington that we have ever seen. It is a print almost the size of a full-length cabinet portrait in oil, engraved in a masterly manner by Halpin after Gilbert Stuart’s celebrated picture. If this superior engraving is a sample of what the patrons of the ‘Anglo-American’ are hereafter to expect from its publishers, it is easy to foresee that that spirited journal has entered upon a long career of popularity. •••T.’sStanzas’ await his order at the 95publication-office. They are far from lacking merit, but are in parts artificial and labored. Lines eked out with accented letters, in which

——‘all the syllables that end in éd,

Like old dragoons, have cuts across the head,’

always seem to us to come rather from the head than the heart. We shall expect, nevertheless, to hear from our friend again, according to promise. ••• We ‘stop the press’ to announce that Mr. Punch has just dropped in from England, bringing the latest intelligence from ‘the other side.’ He has lately visited several places on the continent, not so much to see them as to be enabled to say, like other English travellers, that he had been there. ‘Mr. Punch, having arrived at Rouen late at night, left it very early the next morning, much impressed with the institutions of the city, both civil and architectural, as well as its manners, customs, and social life, which he is about to embody in a work called ‘Six hours and a half at Rouen,’ to be brought out by a fashionable publisher.’ From the reports of one of the learned societies, we derive the following important scientific information: ‘Mr. Sappy read a paper, proving the impossibility of being able to see into the middle of next week, from known facts with regard to the equation of time. He stated that, supposing it possible for a person to ascend in a balloon sufficiently high for his vision to embrace a distance of seven hundred miles from east to west, he would then only see forty minutes ahead of him; that is, he would see places where the day was forty minutes in advance of the day in which he lived. Thus he might be said to see forty minutes into futurity. It has also been proved that, in sailing round the world in one direction, a day’s reckoning is gained; so that the sailor on his return finds himself to be ‘a man in advance of his age’ by one day. This one day, however, is the farthest attainable limit; and it is therefore impossible to see into the middle of next Week!’ ‘Mr. Tite, proprietor of the ‘Metropolitan Bakedtatery’ brought forward his new ‘Low Pressure Potatoe-Can,’ upon an improved principle. It was constructed of tin, and warranted to sustain a pressure of twenty potatoes upon the square bottom. Mr. Tite explained that the steam had nothing to do with the warmth of the fruit, but was quite independent of it.’ ‘Mr. Flit brought forward his new and improved Street Telescope for looking at the moon. It was most ingeniously constructed, being to the eye a fine instrument of six feet long. Mr. Flit explained, however, that the telescope itself was only an eighteen-inch one, the case being manufactured to increase its importance, in which the real glass was enclosed. The chief merit of this invention was, that the moon could be seen equally well on cloudy nights, or when there was none at all, the case enclosing an ingenious transparency of that body, behind which a small lamp was hung. Mr. Flit could always command a view of any of the celestial bodies by the same means.’ Here are a few items of law from ‘The Comic Blackstone:’ ‘The statute of Edward the Fourth, prohibiting any but lords from wearing pikes on their shoes of more than two inches long, was considered to savor of oppression; but those who were in the habit of receiving from a lord more kicks than coppers, would consider that the law savored of benevolence.’ ‘Unlawfully detaining a man in any way is imprisonment; so that if you take your neighbor by the button, and cause him to listen to a long story, you are guilty of imprisonment.’ Punch’s idea of ‘Woman’s Mission’ differs somewhat from other reformers of the times: ‘To replace the shirt-button of the father, the brother, the husband, which has come off in putting on the vestment; to bid the variegated texture of the morning slipper or the waistcoat grow upon the Berlin wool; to repair the breach that incautious haste in dressing has created in the coat or the trowsers, which there is no time to send out to be mended; are the special offices of woman; offices for which her digital mechanism has singularly fitted her.’ Apropos of ‘Missions:’ we perceive that Dickens understands this vague verbal apology for eccentricity or humbugeousness, if we interpret aright his frail and tearful Moddle; ‘who talked much about people’s ‘missions,’ upon which he seemed to have some private information not generally attainable,’ and who, ‘being aware that a shepherd’s mission was to pipe to his flock, and that a boatswain’s mission was to pipe all hands, and that 96one man’s mission was to be a paid piper, and another man’s mission was to pay the piper, had got it into his head that his own peculiar mission was to pipe his eye, which he did perpetually.’ ••• A curious volume has recently appeared in Paris, entitled ‘Poésies Populaires Latines antérieures au Douzième Siècle;’ and as sequels to the work, are certain satires upon the avarice and corruption of the papal government in the twelfth century, among which is the following curious parody:

Here beginneth the Gospel according to Marks of silver.—In that time the pope said to the Romans: When the son of man cometh to the seat of our majesty, say ye first, Friend, what seekest thou? But if he continue knocking, and give you nothing, cast him out into utter darkness. And it came to pass that a certain poor clerk came to the court of our lord the pope, and cried out, saying, Have pity on me at least you, O gate-keepers of the pope, for the hand of poverty hath touched me. Verily I am needy and poor; therefore, I pray ye, relieve my calamity and my wretchedness. But they, when they heard him, were very wroth, and said, Friend, thy poverty be with thee to perdition! get behind me, Sathanas, for thou art not wise in the wisdom of money. Verily, verily I say unto thee, thou shalt not enter into the joy of thy lord until thou hast given thy last farthing. And the poor man departed, and sold his cloak and his coat and all that he had, and gave it to the cardinals and to the gate-keepers; and they said, What is this among so many? And they cast him out before the doors; and he went out, and wept bitterly, and might not be comforted. Then there came to the court a certain rich clerk, great and fat and swollen, who in a riot had slain a man. He gave first to the gate-keeper, secondly to the chamberlain, thirdly to the cardinals; but they thought among themselves that they should have received more. And when our lord the pope heard that the cardinals and ministers had received many gifts of the clerk, he became sick unto death. But the rich man sent him a medicine of gold and silver, and immediately he was cured. Then our lord the pope called to him the cardinals and ministers, and said to them, Brethren, see that no one seduce you with empty words; for I give you an example, that as I myself receive, so receive ye.’

The corruptions of this era are equally well illustrated by a very amusing anecdote of ‘a handsome Italian friar, teres atque rotundus, about thirty, and extremely bold and eloquent;’ doubtless one of that class so felicitously limned by Thomson:

‘A little round, fat, oily man of God

Was one I chiefly marked among the fry;

He had a roguish twinkle in his eye

And shone all glittering with ungodly dew,

If a tight damsel chanced to trippen by;

Which when observed he shrunk into his mew,

And straight would recollect his piety anew.’

One day at a remote confessional of the church he declared an unholy and forbidden passion to a young and beautiful married lady, whom he had long ‘followed with his eyes,’ and begged permission to visit her at her residence. Struck with surprise at this new revelation of his character, she evaded reply, being secretly minded to inform her husband, when she returned home, which she did, word for word. He told his wife to contrive to let the friar come, alone and in secret, the next evening, which chanced to be that of Saturday, and the night before the Sunday of Saint Lazarus, on which occasion the friar was to preach. The appointment was made; the friar came, true to the late hour which had been designated; was received at the door, and shown into the lady’s bed-room by a servant, who informed him that she had desired him to request the good man to retire to rest, and to say that ‘she would be with him straight.’ The friar prepared to comply with the direction, and was about stepping into bed, when the door opened suddenly, and the lady entered in great apparent trepidation, exclaiming: ‘My husband is knocking at the door! For heaven’s sake slip into that chest,’ showing him a double one in the apartment, ‘and lie there until I see what may be done! Meanwhile I will hide your clothes somewhere or other, as well as I am able. Heaven knows I fear more for your holy person than I do for my own life!’ The unfortunate wretch, seeing himself reduced to such a pass, did as the worthy lady desired; while the husband, presently coming in, retired to rest with his wife, who had first locked the friar safe in the chest. The poor prisoner uttered sundry involuntary noises in the course of the night, and was in the direst terror at the inquiries which they awakened on the part of the husband. Daylight at length came, and the church-bells began to ring for prayers, which greatly annoyed the captive, who was to preach at the cathedral. The husband having risen, ordered two servants to carry the chest to the church 97and place it in the middle, saying they were ordered to do so by the preacher; and that unlocking the chest without raising the lid, they should leave it there; all which the fellows did very neatly. Every body stared, and wondered what all this could mean; some said one thing and some another. At last the bell having ceased to ring, and no one appearing in the pulpit, or any other part of the church, a young man rose and said: ‘Really, the good friar makes us wait quite too long; pray let us see what he has ordered to be brought in this chest.’ Having said this much, he before all the congregation lifted up the lid, and looking in, beheld the friar in his shirt, pale, almost frightened to death, and certainly appearing more dead than alive, and as if buried in the chest. Finding himself discovered, however, he collected his mind as well as he could, and stood upright, to the great astonishment of all present; and having taken his text from the Sunday of Lazarus, he thus addressed his congregation: ‘My dear brethren: I am not at all astonished at your surprise in seeing me brought before you in this chest, or rather at my ordering myself to be brought thus: ye know that this is the way in which our holy church commemorates the wonderful miracle our Lord performed on the person of Lazarus, in raising him from the dead who had been buried four days. I was desirous in your favor to present myself to you as it were in the form of Lazarus, in order that seeing me in this chest, which is no other than an emblem of the sepulchre wherein he had been buried, you might be moved more effectually to the consideration of what perishable things we are; and that seeing me stripped of all worldly decorations, thus in my shirt, you may be convinced of the vanity of the things of this world, the which, if only duly considered, may tend greatly to the amending of our lives. Will you believe that since yesterday night I have been a thousand times dead, and revived as Lazarus was; and considering my dreadful situation, remember (as it were with the memory of a similar penance in your hearts) that we must all die, and trust to Him who can bestow upon us life eternal: but first ye must die to sin, to avarice, to rapine, to lust, and all those sinful deeds to which our nature prompts us.’ In such language, and in such manner, did the friar continue his sermon. The husband, astonished at the extraordinary presence of mind which he displayed, laughed heartily at his success; and in consideration of the adroitness of the culprit, did not attempt any farther revenge; ‘but,’ it is added, ‘he took very good care to shut his door in future against all such double-faced hypocrites.’ ••• Reader, what are you thinking of at this moment? ‘Nothing.’ Indeed! and so were we, and of how much a clever man once said upon the subject; observe: ‘Philosophers have declared they knew nothing, and it is common for us to talk about doing nothing; for from ten to twenty we go to school to be taught what from twenty to thirty we are very apt to forget; from thirty to forty we begin to settle; from forty to fifty, we think away as fast as we can; from fifty to sixty, we are very careful in our accounts; and from sixty to seventy, we cast up what all our thinking comes to; and then, what between our losses and our gains, our enjoyments and our inquietudes, even with the addition of old age, we can but strike a balance of ciphers.’ Happy are they who amidst the variations of nothing have nothing to fear; if they have nothing to lose, they have nothing to lament; and if they have done nothing to be ashamed of, they have every thing to hope for. ••• Sententiousness, let us inform ‘S.’ of Cambridge, and antitheses, do not consist of short sentences and inversion of words merely; and even the most felicitous examples in each case often sacrifice the sound to the sense. Here is an instance which is unobjectionable: ‘I knew the old miser well. He amassed a fortune by raising hemp; and if he had had his deserts, would have died as he lived by it.’ ••• Just as the sheets of this department were passing to the press, we received the announcement of a public exhibition of two collections of pictures, which we have seen, and to which we cannot resist the impulse of directing the public attention. At the rooms of the National Academy, corner of Broadway and Leonard-street, may be seen Mr. Cole’s allegorical pictures of ‘The Voyage of Life,’ heretofore noticed at length in these pages; ‘Mount Ætna, from Taormina, Sicily,’ one of the most noble paintings that ever came from this eminent artist’s pencil; ‘Angels ministering to Christ in the Wilderness;’ ‘The Past and the Present;’ ‘A View of Ruined 98Aqueducts in the Campagna di Roma,’ and other pictures; altogether, an exceedingly fine collection. Indeed, the superb view of Ætna alone, with its vast and sublime accessories, is of itself an exhibition worth twice the price of admission. At the rooms of the Apollo Association, nearly opposite the Hospital, in Broadway, Mr. Harvey’s series of Forty Historic or Atmospheric American Landscape Scenes are to be seen for a short time. It needed not the high patronage of Queen Victoria, the praises of English royalty and nobility, nor the warm encomiums of Allston, Sully, Moore, and others, to secure attention to these graphic sketches from nature. They are their own best recommendation. Trust our verdict, reader, and go and see if they are not. •••Terpsichore’ is the title of a very spirited satirical poem read at the annual dinner of the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Cambridge University in August last, by Oliver Wendell Holmes, and copied in ‘Graham’s Magazine’ for January. We subjoin a passage which although abundantly poetical contains yet more truth than poetry. It ‘bases’ upon the Dickens dinner:

He for whose sake the glittering show appears

Has sown the world with laughter and with tears,

And they whose welcome wets the bumper’s brim

Have wit and wisdom—for they all quote him.

So, many a tongue the evening hour prolongs

With spangled speeches, let alone the songs;

Statesmen grow merry, young attorneys laugh,

And weak teetotals warm to half-and-half,

And beardless Tullys, new to festive scenes,

Cut their first crop of youth’s precocious greens;

And wits stand ready for impromptu claps,

With loaded barrels and percussion-caps;

And Pathos, cantering through the minor keys,

Waves all her onions to the trembling breeze;

While the great Feasted views with silent glee

His scattered limbs in Yankee fricassee.

Sweet is the scene where genial friendship plays

The pleasing game of interchanging praise;

Self-love, grimalkin of the human heart,

Is ever pliant to the master’s art;

Soothed with a word, she peacefully withdraws

And sheaths in velvet her obnoxious claws,

And thrills the hand that smooths her glossy fur

With the light tremor of her gentle pur.

But what sad music fills the quiet hall

If on her back a feline rival fall!

And oh! what noises shake the tranquil house,

If old Self-interest cheats her of a mouse!

Thou, O my country! hast thy foolish ways,

Too apt to pur at every stranger’s praise:

But if the stranger touch thy modes or laws,

Off goes the velvet and out come the claws!

And thou, Illustrious! but too poorly paid

In toasts from Pickwick for thy great crusade,

Though while the echoes labored with thy name

The public trap denied thy little game,

Let other lips our jealous laws revile—

The marble Talfourd or the rude Carlyle;

But on thy lids, that Heaven forbids to close

Where’er the light of kindly nature glows,

Let not the dollars that a churl denies

Weigh like the shillings on a dead man’s eyes!

Or, if thou wilt, be more discreetly blind,

Nor ask to see all wide extremes combined;

Not in our wastes the dainty blossoms smile

That crowd the gardens of thy scanty isle;

There white-cheek’d Luxury weaves a thousand charms,

Here sun-browned Labor swings his Cyclop arms;

Long are the furrows he must trace between

The ocean’s azure and the prairies’ green;

Full many a blank his destined realm displays,

Yet see the promise of his riper days:

Far through yon depths the panting engine moves,

His chariots ringing in their steel-shod groves,

And Erie’s naiad flings her diamond wave

O’er the wild sea-nymph in her distant cave:

While tasks like these employ his anxious hours,

What if his corn-fields are not edged with flowers?

Though bright as silver the meridian beams

Shine through the crystal of thine English streams,

Turbid and dark the mighty wave is whirled

That drains our Andes and divides a world.

Under the similitude of a German-silver-spoon, ‘used by dabblers in æsthetic tea,’ we have the annexed palpable hit at the small-beer imitators of Carlyle, and copyists after the external garb of the German school, who have occasionally shown themselves up in the pages of ‘The Dial,’ a work which formerly ‘indicated rather the place of the moon than the sun:’

Small as it is, its powers are passing strange;

For all who use it show a wondrous change,

And first, a fact to make the barbers stare,

It beats Macassar for the growth of hair:

See those small youngsters whose expansive ears

Maternal kindness grazed with frequent shears;

Each bristling crop a dangling mass becomes,

And all the spoonies turn to Absaloms!

Nor this alone its magic power displays—

It alters strangely all their works and ways;

With uncouth words they tire their tender lungs,

The same bald phrases on their hundred tongues;

‘Ever’ ‘The Ages’ in their page appear,

‘Alway’ the bedlamite is called a ‘Seer;’

On every leaf the ‘earnest’ sage may scan,

Portentious bore! their ‘many-sided’ man;

A weak eclectic, groping, vague and dim,

Whose every angle is a half-starved whim,

Blind as a mole and curious as a lynx,

Who rides a beetle which he calls a ‘Sphinx.’

And O what questions asked in club-foot rhyme

Of Earth the tongueless and the deaf-mute Time!

Here babbling ‘Insight’ shouts in Nature’s ears

His last conundrum on the orbs and spheres;

There Self-inspection sucks its little thumb,

With ‘Whence am I?’ and ‘Wherefore did I come?’

Deluded infants! will they ever know

Some doubts must darken o’er the world below,

Though all the Platos of the nursery trail

Their ‘clouds of glory’ at the go-cart’s tail?

99We should exceedingly like to hear Mr. A. Bronson Alcott’s opinion as touching the faithfulness of the foregoing. ••• There is a fearful lesson conveyed in the annexed communication from a metropolitan physician, who assures us that it is in all respects an accurate statement of an occurrence to which he was an eye-witness: ‘Duty impels me, Mr. Editor, to lay before you one of the little incidents which my situation as a medical man has brought to my notice. There is no class of men who are led with keener perceptions to investigate human nature than enlightened practising physicians. They have a hold upon the affections and confidence of every class of society; and for this reason they should feel it incumbent upon themselves to act the part of moral as well as physical agents. For myself, I think it would be well if medical men were so far constituted missionaries, as to make it a duty to point a moral whenever it would be likely to be well received. I am aware that attempts of this sort with many persons would be vain or injudicious, and sometimes nauseate perhaps, like the accompanying drugs; but eventually it might prove salutary to the soul; and although cursed for good advice, is it not in the end a blessing? But to my story: I was called a short time since to a youth about twenty years of age: he had been only a few months in the city, and I had occasionally seen him, but had little acquaintance with him, being much his senior. When I entered, one of his fits of raving, occasioned by fever, was just coming on. I approached and took his hand: ‘What do you want?’ said he; ‘you look so mild and yet so penetrating. I have not got any.’ ‘Any what?’ said I. ‘Any money,’ he replied; ‘the drawer was locked, and I could not get any without being seen; so go away!’ ‘I came to cure you, not to take your money,’ I replied. ‘Ah!’ said he, ‘did I not take some from you? Look! look! There they come! sixpences, shillings! See! see! how they tumble from the wall! Look! there is a piece of gold! See! look! there they keep coming! I never took all this!—at first I only took enough to get a cigar with, now and then. See! the room is filling! I shall suffocate!’ ‘What does this mean, young man?’ said I; ‘be calm.’ ‘Did they not tell you to come and feel my pulse and see if there was not a sixpence in it?’ ‘No, no; I came to make you better.’ ‘Better? better? BETTER? Here, hide these; don’t let my friends know of them; they were stolen! I cannot look at them now. Ha! ha! ha!—I cannot!’ I was induced to remain until the frenzy of the fever had passed off, and found the young man had intervals of reason. He was now in deep despondency. I inquired his name. He had dropped it, he said; he could not debase it. ‘Debase it?’ said I. ‘Yes!’ he answered, with a groan like a howl. The next day the young man sent for me again. He appeared much altered; said that he did not wish to live; that he had ‘a gnawing at his soul.’ I remarked that he was very young to be tired of life; that if he had been guilty of any crime he should desire to live to expiate it. ‘No,’ he replied, ‘the stain will always last!’ I told him, not so; that if he heartily repented and turned to the right source for consolation, it would be vouchsafed him. ‘I feel that I cannot live,’ he replied, ‘and my friends will be better satisfied to know that I am repentant in my last moments, and that I am gone, than they would be to think of me as a vagabond, let loose upon society: they will at least feel that I shall ‘cease from troubling.’ I have not the excuse that many delinquents have pleaded, early initiation into vice. My childhood was passed with pious relatives, who labored to instil religious principles into my mind; but I ‘would none of their reproof.’ My friends not being wealthy, I was left at a proper age to my own resources. I found a situation where my talents were appreciated by my employer, and perhaps too highly estimated by myself. I had a brother who was ten years my senior, whom I loved and esteemed—may Heaven keep him in blessed ignorance of my fate!—but I thought less highly of his intellect when I saw him excited by some sublime hymn, which angels might listen to, than I did of my own, when I turned from the devotions of the Sabbath to join my idle companions. In the situation I held, I might have gained respectability; but my besetting sin betrayed me so often, that the kind indulgence of a good master could no longer conceal my crimes. I now see that the sting inflicted by vice must and will remain! We may repent, we may be forgiven; but the mind will not part with its bitter recollections!’ I was 100here called away for a few moments, and when I returned, the unhappy young man was in the land of spirits! I learned that he was engaged to a highly amiable young lady, who relinquished him, and shortly afterward died of a broken heart. Her sad fate threw him into a brain-fever, and as you perceive, decided his likewise. Incidents like these I am aware have often been narrated; yet if the tragedy which I have depicted should be blessed to the use of any young man abandoned to temptation and addicted to small crimes, and lead him to reflection, it will be a gratification to feel that my feeble effort, with Heaven’s help, has proved ‘a word in season.’’ ••• There are inequalities of merit in the ‘Dirge’ of ‘D. D.’ of Hartford, though the spirit of the verse is tender and touching. We annex a few stanzas, in illustration of our encomium:

Thrust him in his narrow bed,

Heap the cold earth on his head,

But be sure no tear ye shed—

Not a tear for him!

Bitter toil was his from birth,

Dearly bought his homely mirth,

While his master was of earth—

Now he’s of the sky.

Death knocked at his door at night,

With his crushing hand of might,

Woke him to that morning light

Which can know no noon!

When that sacred morning beam

Wakes his spirit, life shall seem

But a dreary changeful dream—

Soon o’er, and not too soon!

Patiently for few long years,

Struggling with earth’s giant fears,

With hands too busy to wipe tears,

Met he life’s long shock.

Yet not all blank and desolate

Was this poor man’s earthly state;

Hope, toil, content, can soften fate,

As the moss the rock.

O! lost Brother! still and cold,

Sunk like rain into the mould,

Silently, unseen, untold—

Thou ’rt a God-sown seed!

It is a sad sight to look upon the corpse of a laborer, cut down in the midst of a toilsome life; his hard, knotty hands clasped upon the still breast, and the strong limbs laid in serene repose. And yet how happy the change! No longer does he ask leave to toil; no longer is he at war with poverty, for death has made it a drawn battle. He ‘rests from his labors’ where the rich and the poor meet together, and he hears no more the voice of the oppressor. ••• Perhaps our readers will have observed that the Sketches of East Florida are from no common pen. The description which has been given by the writer, of the delicious climate in that sunny region, may to many ‘Northeners’ seem exaggerated; but such is not the fact. A friend writing recently from St. Augustine, thus playfully alludes to the effect which the climate produces upon a New-Yorker: ‘If a business-man could be caught up from the whirl of Broadway, and dropped in a warm climate, say that of St. Augustine, and left under a fig-tree to his own reflections, his first thought doubtless would be for an omnibus ‘right up.’ ‘Rather queer!’ he would say; ‘a hot sun, sandy street, and not a carriage to be seen! There’s a man out in his slippers, and a woman with her head tied up in a handkerchief—may-be a night-cap; probably some old Dutch settlers that went to-sleep with Rip Van Winkle. Wild turkeys, as I live, all about the market!—and oh, Lord! there’s a little nigger with only a shirt on! Halloo there! you little nigger! tell me the way to the Broadway coaches! No coaches? no omnibii? Well, where’s your five-o’clock boats?—where’s your Harlaem rail-road? I want to go back 101to town!’ Such would probably be his first go-off; and the next impulse would be to run, shout, cry fire! or murder!—any thing to produce a sensation; but unless very soon about it, he would find himself yielding to some strange influence hitherto unfelt; and it would be amusing to notice how soon the fretting restless man of the forty-second latitude would be tamed down in the thirteenth to the equanimity of a child asleep. The climate enters within the man, and brings out one by one some hidden and better impulse, at the same time laying a gentle hand upon his rougher humors; so that when he would shout, he hums, and when he would laugh, he smiles only; and in undertaking to run, he is caught about the waist; and goes floating smoothly around in the ground-swell motion of the Spanish-dance.’ ••• We perceive that the Copy-right Question has been thus early brought before the National Legislature. From the present aspect of things we may indulge a well-grounded hope that authors who have worn themselves out in making other people happy, will not hereafter be left to perish amidst age and infirmity, unrelieved by the fruit of their labors. There is one argument exceedingly well illustrated in the recent address of the ‘Copy-right Club.’ In allusion to the floods of trash which have for months inundated the Atlantic cities and towns, the writer, addressing himself to American citizens, observes: ‘In all other circumstances and questions save that of a literature, you have taken the high ground of freedom and self-reliance. You have neither asked, nor loaned, nor besought, but with your own hands have framed, what the occasion required. Whatever stature you have grown to as a nation, it is due to that sole virtue; and by its exercise may you only hope to hold your place. In almost any other shape than that of silent books you would have spurned the foreign and held fast to the home-born; but stealing in quietly at every opening, making themselves the seemingly inoffensive and unobtrusive lodgers in every house, they have full possession of the country in all its parts; and another people may promise themselves in the next generation of Americans, (as the question now goes,) a restored dominion which their arms were not able to keep. The pamphlet will carry the day where the soldier fell back.’ ••• We derive the annexed stanzas through a Boston correspondent. He assures us that the work of art which they commemorate is most honorable to the genius of the sculptor, who has been winning laurels ever since his removal to the tasteful city:



Upward unto the living light

Intensely thou dost gaze,

As if thy very soul wouldst seek

In that far distant maze

Communion with those heavenly forms

That lifting to the sight

Their golden wings and snowy robes,

Float on a sea of light.

Anon far, far away they glide,

Shooting through realms of bliss,

Till from the spirit’s eye they fade

In heaven’s own bright abyss.

Such are the visions thou dost wake,

Such are the thoughts that rise

In him who ’neath thy upturned brow

Beholds thy spirit-eyes.

There is no stain upon that brow;

Pure as thy holy life

Serene and calm, thy heavenly face—

Within, no wasting strife.

How strangely have the swift hours flown

As o’er the shapeless pile

I poured the full strength of my soul,

Lost to all else the while!

When fell the last faint stroke which told

That thou and I must part,

That all of life that I could give

Was thine, how throbbed my heart!

Yet to this form that I have reared

Should aught of praise belong,

Not unto me the merit due,

But Him who made me strong:

Who with his ever fostering care

My wayward steps did guide,

Through paths of flowers, in beauty cloth’d,

Along life’s sunny tide.

Semblance of him, the great, the good,

Whose task on earth is done;

Of those that walked in beauty’s light

Thou wert the chosen one!

102We should like to see in some appropriate journal a sketch of the Progress of Mechanics in the United States. Without any question, the Americans are, in respect of that branch of science, behind no nation or people on earth. And yet no longer ago than 1791, a clock-maker from London, after public advertisement of his arrival from England for that purpose, visited our scattered cities and towns to repair clocks! ‘Yankee ingenuity’ was not then as now synonymous with the accomplishment of any thing that can either be fabricated or ‘fixed’. ••• We have no remembrance of the communication referred to in a note from a correspondent at Albany, in which we find the following sentences: ‘If received, I hope it was not amenable to the censure in a late number of the Knickerbocker, of certain correspondence, for having been written ‘too carefully.’ Now I do flatter myself upon so writing, that compositors can have no excuse for blunders, though I am well aware that to be esteemed a Genious, one’s chirography should very nearly approach unintelligibility. If this be true, the patience and good nature of an Editor must be severely tried; but I incline to the opinion that a man of Genious need not model after Byron’s facsimile,’ and so forth. Our correspondent does write a good hand; so good indeed, that we lament, as we gaze at it, that he does not know how to spell. A man may certainly be a ‘Genious’ without being able to write a clerkly hand; but a man who is not a ‘Genious,’ ought at least to be able to spell the word. As to writing ‘too carefully,’ our censor has mistaken the letter for the spirit of our remarks. ••• The lines ‘To my Mother’ are replete with the poetry of feeling. Their literary execution however is marred by deficiencies, which although slight, require amending. Our correspondent we are sure has the true poetical vein; and we shall not despair of hearing from her again. ••• A very ‘inquiring’ correspondent desires to know ‘whether there is any thing below a quartette, in music?—a pintette or a gillette?’ He is also anxious, he says, to ‘ascertain whether Puffer Hopkins is any relation to the pious poet who was in partnership in the psalm and hymn way with old Uncle Sternhold, a great many years ago.’ Moreover, he considers it ‘a little curious’ that a black hen should lay a white egg; and states that he ‘would give something handsome to be certain whether or no Nebuchadnezzar’s hands, when he was out on grass, grew six-penny or ten-penny nails!’ His remaining queries are profane; indeed, the last one goes somewhat too near the edge. •••Ever anxious to please,’ as the advertisements have it, we have placed the original department of the Knickerbocker in a larger type; and it seems to us that we may ask with some confidence whether our readers ever saw a Magazine in a neater garniture than ‘this same?’ Only have the consideration to reciprocate our endeavors to please you, good Public, and you ‘shall see what you shall see.’ There are certain delinquents upon our books, to whom we would venture to insinuate, in the most delicate manner conceivable, that ‘it is high time somebody had a sight of somebody’s money.’ ••• A new style of frames for drawings, engravings, paintings, looking-glasses, etc., has recently been brought to great perfection, and into very general favor, by Mr. Weiser, at No. 43 Centre-street, near Pearl. They are composed externally of glass-veneerings, beautifully painted and shaded, so as to resemble different-tinted woods, tortoise-shell, or indeed any other colors that may be desired. These are painted on the inner side of the glass, which is so firmly cemented to the wood-frames as to be little liable to injury from jarring or even falling. With a gilt beading, they have a very beautiful appearance, by reason of the admirable lustre of the glass, which gives to them a polish finer than that of the most susceptible woods. They are, in short, exceedingly handsome, easily kept clean, always new and fresh, and what is worthy of mention, much cheaper than wood or gilt.

Will our readers have the kindness to exhibit the Advertisement of our Twenty-third Volume to their friends? It will be found on the second and third pages of the cover of the present number; and they can testify to the accuracy of its unexaggerated statements. Many articles in prose and verse await examination or insertion, and a more particular reference hereafter. Notices are in type of new publications from the presses of Messrs. Burgess and Stringer, M. W. Dodd, J. Winchester, the Langley’s, D. Appleton and Company, M. H. Newman, Wiley and Putnam, and of the ‘Columbian Magazine,’ which we are reluctantly compelled to defer to our February issue.


  1. Return to textHeures, prayers.

  2. Return to textFloat.

  3. Return to textThis allusion is to Byrant’s lines ‘To the Fringed Gentian,’ a poem so replete with truth and beauty, that we cannot resist the inclination to quote it here.

    Ed. Knickerbocker.

    Thou blossom bright with autumn dew,

    And coloured with the heaven’s own blue.

    That openest, when the quiet light

    Succeeds the keen and frosty night.

    Thou comest not when violets lean

    O’er wandering brooks and springs unseen,

    Or columbines, in purple dressed,

    Nod o’er the ground-bird’s hidden nest.

    Thou waitest late, and com’st alone,

    When woods are bare and birds are flown,

    And frosts and shortening days portend

    The aged year is near his end.

    Then doth thy sweet and quiet eye

    Look through its fringes to the sky,

    Blue—blue—as if that sky let fall

    A flower from its cerulean wall.

    I would that thus, when I shall see

    The hour of death draw near to me,

    Hope, blossoming within my heart,

    May look to heaven as I depart.

  4. Return to textBy the word ‘columnæ,’ Horace (though Bentley knew it not) evidently meant the columns of the Roman newspapers.

  5. Return to textThe name of Boston, in Lincolnshire, is said to be derived from St. Botolph—quasi Botolph’s town.

  6. Return to textAt the late opening of the ‘Tremont Temple’ in Boston, the new proprietors chanted what they called a ‘Purification Hymn,’ of which we give one stanza:

    ‘Satan has here held empire long—

    A blighting curse, a cruel reign;

    By mimic scenes, and mirth and song

    Alluring souls to endless pain!’

  7. Return to textThe Norwich company of players, to which he belonged.