PASSAGES FROM THE AMERICAN NOTE-BOOKS
Salem, June 15, 1835.—A walk down to the Juniper. The shore of the coves strewn with bunches of sea-weed, driven in by recent winds. Eel-grass, rolled and bundled up, and entangled with it,—large marine vegetables, of an olive-color, with round, slender, snake-like stalks, four or five feet long, and nearly two feet broad: these are the herbage of the deep sea. Shoals of fishes, at a little distance from the shore, discernible by their fins out of water. Among the heaps of sea-weed there were sometimes small pieces of painted wood, bark, and other driftage. On the shore, with pebbles of granite, there were round or oval pieces of brick, which the waves had rolled about till they resembled a natural mineral. Huge stones tossed about, in every variety of confusion, some shagged all over with sea-weed, others only partly covered, others bare. The old ten-gun battery, at the outer angle of the Juniper, very verdant, and besprinkled with white-weed, clover, and buttercups. The juniper-trees are very aged and decayed and moss-grown. The grass about the hospital is rank, being trodden, probably, by nobody but myself. There is a representation of a vessel under sail, cut with a penknife, on the corner of the house.
Returning by the almshouse, I stopped a good while to look at the pigs,—a great herd,—who seemed to be just finishing their suppers. They certainly are types of unmitigated sensuality,—some standing in the trough, in the midst of their own and others' victuals,—some thrusting their noses deep into the food,—some rubbing their backs against a post,—some huddled together between sleeping and waking, breathing hard,—all wallowing about; a great boar swaggering round, and a big sow waddling along with her huge paunch. Notwithstanding the unspeakable defilement with which these strange sensualists spice all their food, they seem to have a quick and delicate sense of smell. What ridiculous-looking animals! Swift himself could not have imagined anything nastier than what they practise by the mere impulse of natural genius. Yet the Shakers keep their pigs very clean, and with great advantage. The legion of devils in the herd of swine,—what a scene it must have been!
Sunday evening, going by the jail, the setting sun kindled up the windows most cheerfully; as if there were a bright, comfortable light within its darksome stone wall.
June 18th.—A walk in North Salem in the decline of yesterday afternoon, —beautiful weather, bright, sunny, with a western or northwestern wind just cool enough, and a slight superfluity of heat. The verdure, both of trees and grass, is now in its prime, the leaves elastic, all life. The grass-fields are plenteously bestrewn with white-weed, large spaces looking as white as a sheet of snow, at a distance, yet with an indescribably warmer tinge than snow,—living white, intermixed with living green. The hills and hollows beyond the Cold Spring copiously shaded, principally with oaks of good growth, and some walnut-trees, with the rich sun brightening in the midst of the open spaces, and mellowing and fading into the shade,—and single trees, with their cool spot of shade, in the waste of sun: quite a picture of beauty, gently picturesque. The surface of the land is so varied, with woodland mingled, that the eye cannot reach far away, except now and then in vistas perhaps across the river, showing houses, or a church and surrounding village, in Upper Beverly. In one of the sunny bits of pasture, walled irregularly in with oak-shade, I saw a gray mare feeding, and, as I drew near, a colt sprang up from amid the grass,—a very small colt. He looked me in the face, and I tried to startle him, so as to make him gallop; but he stretched his long legs, one after another, walked quietly to his mother, and began to suck,—just wetting his lips, not being very hungry. Then he rubbed his head, alternately, with each hind leg. He was a graceful little beast.
I bathed in the cove, overhung with maples and walnuts, the water cool and thrilling. At a distance it sparkled bright and blue in the breeze and sun. There were jelly-fish swimming about, and several left to melt away on the shore. On the shore, sprouting amongst the sand and gravel, I found samphire, growing somewhat like asparagus. It is an excellent salad at this season, salt, yet with an herb-like vivacity, and very tender. I strolled slowly through the pastures, watching my long shadow making grave, fantastic gestures in the sun. It is a pretty sight to see the sunshine brightening the entrance of a road which shortly becomes deeply overshadowed by trees on both sides. At the Cold Spring, three little girls, from six to nine, were seated on the stones in which the fountain is set, and paddling in the water. It was a pretty picture, and would have been prettier, if they had shown bare little legs, instead of pantalets. Very large trees overhung them, and the sun was so nearly gone down that a pleasant gloom made the spot sombre, in contrast with these light and laughing little figures. On perceiving me, they rose up, tittering among themselves. It seemed that, there was a sort of playful malice in those who first saw me; for they allowed the other to keep on paddling, without warning her of my approach. I passed along, and heard them come chattering behind.
June 22d.—I rode to Boston in the afternoon with Mr. Proctor. It was a coolish day, with clouds and intermitting sunshine, and a pretty fresh breeze. We stopped about an hour at the Maverick House, in the sprouting branch of the city, at East Boston,—a stylish house, with doors painted in imitation of oak; a large bar; bells ringing; the bar-keeper calls out, when a bell rings, "Number—"; then a waiter replies, "Number— answered"; and scampers up stairs. A ticket is given by the hostler, on taking the horse and chaise, which is returned to the bar-keeper when the chaise is wanted. The landlord was fashionably dressed, with the whitest of linen, neatly plaited, and as courteous as a Lord Chamberlain. Visitors from Boston thronging the house,—some, standing at the bar, watching the process of preparing tumblers of punch,—others sitting at the windows of different parlors,—some with faces flushed, puffing cigars. The bill of fare for the day was stuck up beside the bar. Opposite this principal hotel there was another, called "The Mechanics," which seemed to be equally thronged. I suspect that the company were about on a par in each; for at the Maverick House, though well dressed, they seemed to be merely Sunday gentlemen,—mostly young fellows,—clerks in dry-goods stores being the aristocracy of them. One, very fashionable in appearance, with a handsome cane, happened to stop by me and lift up his foot, and I noticed that the sole of his boot (which was exquisitely polished) was all worn out. I apprehend that some such minor deficiencies might have been detected in the general showiness of most of them. There were girls, too, but not pretty ones, nor, on the whole, such good imitations of gentility as the young men. There were as many people as are usually collected at a muster, or on similar occasions, lounging about, without any apparent enjoyment; but the observation of this may serve me to make a sketch of the mode of spending the Sabbath by the majority of unmarried, young, middling-class people, near a great town. Most of the people had smart canes and bosom-pins.
Crossing the ferry into Boston, we went to the City Tavern, where the bar-room presented a Sabbath scene of repose,—stage-folk lounging in chairs half asleep, smoking cigars, generally with clean linen and other niceties of apparel, to mark the day. The doors and blinds of an oyster and refreshment shop across the street were closed, but I saw people enter it. There were two owls in a back court, visible through a window of the bar-room,—speckled gray, with dark-blue eyes,—the queerest-looking birds that exist,—so solemn and wise,—dozing away the day, much like the rest of the people, only that they looked wiser than any others. Their hooked beaks looked like hooked noses. A dull scene this. A stranger, here and there, poring over a newspaper. Many of the stage-folk sitting in chairs on the pavement, in front of the door.
We went to the top of the hill which formed part of Gardiner Greene's estate, and which is now in the process of levelling, and pretty much taken away, except the highest point, and a narrow path to ascend to it. It gives an admirable view of the city, being almost as high as the steeples and the dome of the State House, and overlooking the whole mass of brick buildings and slated roofs, with glimpses of streets far below. It was really a pity to take it down. I noticed the stump of a very large elm, recently felled. No house in the city could have reared its roof so high as the roots of that tree, if indeed the church-spires did so.
On our drive home we passed through Charlestown. Stages in abundance were passing the road, burdened with passengers inside and out; also chaises and barouches, horsemen and footmen. We are a community of Sabbath-breakers.
August 31st.—A drive to Nahant yesterday afternoon. Stopped at Rice's, and afterwards walked down to the steamboat wharf to see the passengers land. It is strange how few good faces there are in the world, comparatively to the ugly ones. Scarcely a single comely one in all this collection. Then to the hotel. Barouches at the doors, and gentlemen and ladies going to drive, and gentlemen smoking round the piazza. The bar-keeper had one of Benton's mint-drops for a bosom-brooch! It made a very handsome one. I crossed the beach for home about sunset. The tide was so far down as just to give me a passage on the hard sand, between the sea and the loose gravel. The sea was calm and smooth, with only the surf-waves whitening along the beach. Several ladies and gentlemen on horseback were cantering and galloping before and behind me.
A hint of a story,—some incident which should bring on a general war; and the chief actor in the incident to have something corresponding to the mischief he had caused.
September 7th—A drive to Ipswich with B———. At the tavern was an old, fat, country major, and another old fellow, laughing and playing off jokes on each other,—one tying a ribbon upon the other's hat. One had been a trumpeter to the major's troop. Walking about town, we knocked, for a whim, at the door of a dark old house, and inquired if Miss Hannah Lord lived there. A woman of about thirty came to the door, with rather a confused smile, and a disorder about the bosom of her dress, as if she had been disturbed while nursing her child. She answered us with great kindness.
Entering the burial-ground, where some masons were building a tomb, we found a good many old monuments, and several covered with slabs of red freestone or slate, and with arms sculptured on the slab, or an inlaid circle of slate. On one slate gravestone, of the Rev. Nathl. Rogers, there was a portrait of that worthy, about a third of the size of life, carved in relief, with his cloak, band, and wig, in excellent preservation, all the buttons of his waistcoat being cut with great minuteness,—the minister's nose being on a level with his cheeks. It was an upright gravestone. Returning home, I held a colloquy with a young girl about the right road. She had come out to feed a pig, and was a little suspicious that we were making fun of her, yet answered us with a shy laugh and good-nature,—the pig all the time squealing for his dinner.
Displayed along the walls, and suspended from the pillars of the original King's Chapel, were coats-of-arms of the king, the successive governors, and other distinguished men. In the pulpit there was an hour-glass on a large and elaborate brass stand. The organ was surmounted by a gilt crown in the centre, supported by a gilt mitre on each side. The governor's pew had Corinthian pillars, and crimson damask tapestry. In 1727 it was lined with china, probably tiles.
Saint Augustin, at mass, charged all that were accursed to go out of the church. "Then a dead body arose, and went out of the church into the churchyard, with a white cloth on its head, and stood there till mass was over. It was a former lord of the manor, whom a curate had cursed because he refused to pay his tithes. A justice also commanded the dead curate to arise, and gave him a rod; and the dead lord, kneeling, received penance thereby." He then ordered the lord to go again to his grave, which he did, and fell immediately to ashes. Saint Augustin offered to pray for the curate, that he might remain on earth to confirm men in their belief; but the curate refused, because he was in the place of rest.
A sketch to be given of a modern reformer,—a type of the extreme doctrines on the subject of slaves, cold water, and other such topics. He goes about the streets haranguing most eloquently, and is on the point of making many converts, when his labors are suddenly interrupted by the appearance of the keeper of a mad-house, whence he has escaped. Much may be made of this idea.
A change from a gay young girl to an old woman; the melancholy events, the effects of which have clustered around her character, and gradually imbued it with their influence, till she becomes a lover of sick-chambers, taking pleasure in receiving dying breaths and in laying out the dead; also having her mind full of funeral reminiscences, and possessing more acquaintances beneath the burial turf than above it.
A well-concerted train of events to be thrown into confusion by some misplaced circumstance, unsuspected till the catastrophe, yet exerting its influence from beginning to end.
On the common, at dusk, after a salute from two field-pieces, the smoke lay long and heavily on the ground, without much spreading beyond the original space over which it had gushed from the guns. It was about the height of a man. The evening clear, but with an autumnal chill.
The world is so sad and solemn, that things meant in jest are liable, by an overpowering influence, to become dreadful earnest,—gayly dressed fantasies turning to ghostly and black-clad images of themselves.
A story, the hero of which is to be represented as naturally capable of deep and strong passion, and looking forward to the time when he shall feel passionate love, which is to be the great event of his existence. But it so chances that he never falls in love, and although he gives up the expectation of so doing, and marries calmly, yet it is somewhat sadly, with sentiments merely of esteem for his bride. The lady might be one who had loved him early in life, but whom then, in his expectation of passionate love, he had scorned.
The scene of a story or sketch to be laid within the light of a street-lantern; the time, when the lamp is near going out; and the catastrophe to be simultaneous with the last flickering gleam.
The peculiar weariness and depression of spirits which is felt after a day wasted in turning over a magazine or other light miscellany, different from the state of the mind after severe study; because there has been no excitement, no difficulties to be overcome, but the spirits have evaporated insensibly.
To represent the process by which sober truth gradually strips off all the beautiful draperies with which imagination has enveloped a beloved object, till from an angel she turns out to be a merely ordinary woman. This to be done without caricature, perhaps with a quiet humor interfused, but the prevailing impression to be a sad one. The story might consist of the various alterations in the feelings of the absent lover, caused by successive events that display the true character of his mistress; and the catastrophe should take place at their meeting, when he finds himself equally disappointed in her person; or the whole spirit of the thing may here be reproduced.
Last evening, from the opposite shore of the North River, a view of the town mirrored in the water, which was as smooth as glass, with no perceptible tide or agitation, except a trifling swell and reflux on the sand, although the shadow of the moon danced in it. The picture of the town perfect in the water,—towers of churches, houses, with here and there a light gleaming near the shore above, and more faintly glimmering under water,—all perfect, but somewhat more hazy and indistinct than the reality. There were many clouds flitting about the sky; and the picture of each could be traced in the water,—the ghost of what was itself unsubstantial. The rattling of wheels heard long and far through the town. Voices of people talking on the other side of the river, the tones being so distinguishable in all their variations that it seemed as if what was there said might be understood; but it was not so.
Two persons might be bitter enemies through life, and mutually cause the ruin of one another, and of all that were dear to them. Finally, meeting at the funeral of a grandchild, the offspring of a son and daughter married without their consent,—and who, as well as the child, had been the victims of their hatred,—they might discover that the supposed ground of the quarrel was altogether a mistake, and then be wofully reconciled.
Two persons, by mutual agreement, to make their wills in each other's favor, then to wait impatiently for one another's death, and both to be informed of the desired event at the same time. Both, in most joyous sorrow, hasten to be present at the funeral, meet, and find themselves both hoaxed.
The story of a man, cold and hard-hearted, and acknowledging no brotherhood with mankind. At his death they might try to dig him a grave, but, at a little space beneath the ground, strike upon a rock, as if the earth refused to receive the unnatural son into her bosom. Then they would put him into an old sepulchre, where the coffins and corpses were all turned to dust, and so he would be alone. Then the body would petrify; and he having died in some characteristic act and expression, he would seem, through endless ages of death, to repel society as in life, and no one would be buried in that tomb forever.
Cannon transformed to church-bells.
A person, even before middle age, may become musty and faded among the people with whom he has grown up from childhood; but, by migrating to a new place, he appears fresh with the effect of youth, which may be communicated from the impressions of others to his own feelings.
In an old house, a mysterious knocking might be beard on the wall, where had formerly been a doorway, now bricked up.
It might be stated, as the closing circumstance of a tale, that the body of one of the characters had been petrified, and still existed in that state.
A young man to win the love of a girl, without any serious intentions, and to find that in that love, which might have been the greatest blessing of his life, he had conjured up a spirit of mischief which pursued him throughout his whole career,—and this without any revengeful purposes on the part of the deserted girl.
Two lovers, or other persons, on the most private business, to appoint a meeting in what they supposed to be a place of the utmost solitude, and to find it thronged with people.
October 17th.—Some of the oaks are now a deep brown red; others are changed to a light green, which, at a little distance, especially in the sunshine, looks like the green of early spring. In some trees, different masses of the foliage show each of these hues. Some of the walnut-trees have a yet more delicate green. Others are of a bright sunny yellow.
Mr. ——— was married to Miss ——— last Wednesday. Yesterday Mr. Brazer, preaching on the comet, observed that not one, probably, of all who heard him, would witness its reappearance. Mrs. ——— shed tears. Poor soul! she would be contented to dwell in earthly love to all eternity!
Some treasure or other thing to be buried, and a tree planted directly over the spot, so as to embrace it with its roots.
A tree, tall and venerable, to be said by tradition to have been the staff of some famous man, who happened to thrust it into the ground, where it took root.
A fellow without money, having a hundred and seventy miles to go, fastened a chain and padlock to his legs, and lay down to sleep in a field. He was apprehended, and carried gratis to a jail in the town whither he desired to go.
An old volume in a large library,—every one to be afraid to unclasp and open it, because it was said to be a book of magic.
A ghost seen by moonlight; when the moon was out, it would shine and melt through the airy substance of the ghost, as through a cloud.
Prideaux, Bishop of Worcester, during the sway of the Parliament, was forced to support himself and his family by selling his household goods. A friend asked him, "How doth your lordship?" "Never better in my life," said the Bishop, "only I have too great a stomach; for I have eaten that little plate which the sequestrators left me. I have eaten a great library of excellent books. I have eaten a great deal of linen, much of my brass, some of my pewter, and now I am come to eat iron; and what will come next I know not."
A scold and a blockhead,—brimstone and wood,—a good match.
To make one's own reflection in a mirror the subject of a story.
In a dream to wander to some place where may be heard the complaints of all the miserable on earth.
Some common quality or circumstance that should bring together people the most unlike in all other respects, and make a brotherhood and sisterhood of them,—the rich and the proud finding themselves in the same category with the mean and the despised.
A person to consider himself as the prime mover of certain remarkable events, but to discover that his actions have not contributed in the least thereto. Another person to be the cause, without suspecting it.
October 25th.—A person or family long desires some particular good. At last it comes in such profusion as to be the great pest of their lives.
A man, perhaps with a persuasion that he shall make his fortune by some singular means, and with an eager longing so to do, while digging or boring for water, to strike upon a salt-spring.
To have one event operate in several places,—as, for example, if a man's head were to be cut off in one town, men's heads to drop off in several towns.
Follow out the fantasy of a man taking his life by instalments, instead of at one payment,—say ten years of life alternately with ten years of suspended animation.
Sentiments in a foreign language, which merely convey the sentiment without retaining to the reader any graces of style or harmony of sound, have somewhat of the charm of thoughts in one's own mind that have not yet been put into words. No possible words that we might adapt to them could realize the unshaped beauty that they appear to possess. This is the reason that translations are never satisfactory,—and less so, I should think, to one who cannot than to one who can pronounce the language.
A person to be writing a tale, and to find that it shapes itself against his intentions; that the characters act otherwise than he thought; that unforeseen events occur; and a catastrophe comes which he strives in vain to avert. It might shadow forth his own fate,—he having made himself one of the personages.
It is a singular thing, that, at the distance, say, of five feet, the work of the greatest dunce looks just as well as that of the greatest genius,—that little space being all the distance between genius and stupidity.
Mrs. Sigourney says, after Coleridge, that "poetry has been its own exceeding great reward." For the writing, perhaps; but would it be so for the reading?
Four precepts: To break off customs; to shake off spirits ill-disposed; to meditate on youth; to do nothing against one's genius.
Salem, August 31st, 1836.—A walk, yesterday, down to the shore, near the hospital. Standing on the old grassy battery, that forms a semicircle, and looking seaward. The sun not a great way above the horizon, yet so far as to give a very golden brightness, when it shone out. Clouds in the vicinity of the sun, and nearly all the rest of the sky covered with clouds in masses, not a gray uniformity of cloud. A fresh breeze blowing from land seaward. If it had been blowing from the sea, it would have raised it in heavy billows, and caused it to dash high against the rocks. But now its surface was not at all commoved with billows; there was only roughness enough to take off the gleam, and give it the aspect of iron after cooling. The clouds above added to the black appearance. A few sea-birds were flitting over the water, only visible at moments, when they turned their white bosoms towards me,—as if they were then first created. The sunshine had a singular effect. The clouds would interpose in such a manner that some objects were shaded from it, while others were strongly illuminated. Some of the islands lay in the shade, dark and gloomy, while others were bright and favored spots. The white lighthouse was sometimes very cheerfully marked. There was a schooner about a mile from the shore, at anchor, laden apparently with lumber. The sea all about her had the black, iron aspect which I have described; but the vessel herself was alight. Hull, masts, and spars were all gilded, and the rigging was made of golden threads. A small white streak of foam breaking around the bows, which were towards the wind. The shadowiness of the clouds overhead made the effect of the sunlight strange, where it fell.
September.—The elm-trees have golden branches intermingled with their green already, and so they had on the first of the month.
To picture the predicament of worldly people, if admitted to paradise.
As the architecture of a country always follows the earliest structures, American architecture should be a refinement of the log-house. The Egyptian is so of the cavern and mound; the Chinese, of the tent; the Gothic, of overarching trees; the Greek, of a cabin.
"Though we speak nonsense, God will pick out the meaning of it,"—an extempore prayer by a New England divine.
In old times it must have been much less customary than now to drink pure water. Walker emphatically mentions, among the sufferings of a clergyman's wife and family in the Great Rebellion, that they were forced to drink water, with crab-apples stamped in it to relish it.
Mr. Kirby, author of a work on the History, Habits, and Instincts of Animals, questions whether there may not be an abyss of waters within the globe, communicating with the ocean, and whether the huge animals of the Saurian tribe—great reptiles, supposed to be exclusively antediluvian, and now extinct—may not be inhabitants of it. He quotes a passage from Revelation, where the creatures under the earth are spoken of as distinct from those of the sea, and speaks of a Saurian fossil that has been found deep in the subterranean regions. He thinks, or suggests, that these may be the dragons of Scripture.
The elephant is not particularly sagacious in the wild state, but becomes so when tamed. The fox directly the contrary, and likewise the wolf.
A modern Jewish adage,—"Let a man clothe himself beneath his ability, his children according to his ability, and his wife above his ability."
It is said of the eagle, that, in however long a flight, he is never seen to clap his wings to his sides. He seems to govern his movements by the inclination of his wings and tail to the wind, as a ship is propelled by the action of the wind on her sails.
In old country-houses in England, instead of glass for windows, they used wicker, or fine strips of oak disposed checkerwise. Horn was also used. The windows of princes and great noblemen were of crystal; those of Studley Castle, Holinshed says, of beryl. There were seldom chimneys; and they cooked their meats by a fire made against an iron back in the great hall. Houses, often of gentry, were built of a heavy timber frame, filled up with lath and plaster. People slept on rough mats or straw pallets, with a round log for a pillow; seldom better beds than a mattress, with a sack of chaff for a pillow.
October 25th.—A walk yesterday through Dark Lane, and home through the village of Danvers. Landscape now wholly autumnal. Saw an elderly man laden with two dry, yellow, rustling bundles of Indian corn-stalks,—a good personification of Autumn. Another man hoeing up potatoes. Rows of white cabbages lay ripening. Fields of dry Indian corn. The grass has still considerable greenness. Wild rose-bushes devoid of leaves, with their deep, bright red seed-vessels. Meeting-house in Danvers seen at a distance, with the sun shining through the windows of its belfry. Barberry-bushes,—the leaves now of a brown red, still juicy and healthy; very few berries remaining, mostly frost-bitten and wilted. All among the yet green grass, dry stalks of weeds. The down of thistles occasionally seen flying through the sunny air.
In this dismal chamber FAME was won. (Salem, Union Street.)
Those who are very difficult in choosing wives seem as if they would take none of Nature's ready-made works, but want a woman manufactured particularly to their order.
A council of the passengers in a street: called by somebody to decide upon some points important to him.
Every individual has a place to fill in the world, and is important in some respects, whether he chooses to be so or not.
A Thanksgiving dinner. All the miserable on earth are to be invited, —as the drunkard, the bereaved parent, the ruined merchant, the broken-hearted lover, the poor widow, the old man and woman who have outlived their generation, the disappointed author, the wounded, sick, and broken soldier, the diseased person, the infidel, the man with an evil conscience, little orphan children or children of neglectful parents, shall be admitted to the table, and many others. The giver of the feast goes out to deliver his invitations. Some of the guests he meets in the streets, some he knocks for at the doors of their houses. The description must be rapid. But who must be the giver of the feast, and what his claims to preside? A man who has never found out what he is fit for, who has unsettled aims or objects in life, and whose mind gnaws him, making him the sufferer of many kinds of misery. He should meet some pious, old, sorrowful person, with more outward calamities than any other, and invite him, with a reflection that piety would make all that miserable company truly thankful.
Merry, in "merry England," does not mean mirthful; but is corrupted from an old Teutonic word signifying famous or renowned.
In an old London newspaper, 1678, there is an advertisement, among other goods at auction, of a black girl, about fifteen years old, to be sold.
We sometimes congratulate ourselves at the moment of waking from a troubled dream: it may be so the moment after death.
The race of mankind to be swept away, leaving all their cities and works. Then another human pair to be placed in the world, with native intelligence like Adam and Eve, but knowing nothing of their predecessors or of their own nature and destiny. They, perhaps, to be described as working out this knowledge by their sympathy with what they saw, and by their own feelings.
Memorials of the family of Hawthorne in the church of the village of Dundry, Somersetshire, England. The church is ancient and small, and has a prodigiously high tower of more modern date, being erected in the time of Edward IV. It serves as a landmark for an amazing extent of country.
A singular fact, that, when man is a brute, he is the most sensual and loathsome of all brutes.
A snake, taken into a man's stomach and nourished there from fifteen years to thirty-five, tormenting him most horribly. A type of envy or some other evil passion.
A sketch illustrating the imperfect compensations which time makes for its devastations on the person,—giving a wreath of laurel while it causes baldness, honors for infirmities, wealth for a broken constitution,—and at last, when a man has everything that seems desirable, death seizes him. To contrast the man who has thus reached the summit of ambition with the ambitious youth.
Walking along the track of the railroad, I observed a place where the workmen had bored a hole through the solid rock, in order to blast it; but, striking a spring of water beneath the rock, it gushed up through the hole. It looked as if the water were contained within the rock.
A Fancy Ball, in which the prominent American writers should appear, dressed in character.
A lament for life's wasted sunshine.
A new classification of society to be instituted. Instead of rich and poor, high and low, they are to be classed,—First, by their sorrows: for instance, whenever there are any, whether in fair mansion or hovel, who are mourning the loss of relations and friends, and who wear black, whether the cloth be coarse or superfine, they are to make one class. Secondly, all who have the same maladies, whether they lie under damask canopies or on straw pallets or in the wards of hospitals, they are to form one class. Thirdly, all who are guilty of the same sins, whether the world knows them or not; whether they languish in prison, looking forward to the gallows, or walk honored among men, they also form a class. Then proceed to generalize and classify the whole world together, as none can claim utter exemption from either sorrow, sin, or disease; and if they could, yet Death, like a great parent, comes and sweeps them all through one darksome portal,—all his children.
Fortune to come like a pedler with his goods,—as wreaths of laurel, diamonds, crowns; selling them, but asking for them the sacrifice of health, of integrity, perhaps of life in the battle-field, and of the real pleasures of existence. Who would buy, if the price were to be paid down?
The dying exclamation of the Emperor Augustus, "Has it not been well acted?" An essay on the misery of being always under a mask. A veil may be needful, but never a mask. Instances of people who wear masks in all classes of society, and never take them off even in the most familiar moments, though sometimes they may chance to slip aside.
The various guises under which Ruin makes his approaches to his victims: to the merchant, in the guise of a merchant offering speculations; to the young heir, a jolly companion; to the maiden, a sighing, sentimentalist lover.
What were the contents of the burden of Christian in the Pilgrim's Progress? He must have been taken for a pedler travelling with his pack.
To think, as the sun goes down, what events have happened in the course of the day,—events of ordinary occurrence: as, the clocks have struck, the dead have been buried.
Curious to imagine what murmurings and discontent would be excited, if any of the great so-called calamities of human beings were to be abolished,—as, for instance, death.
Trifles to one are matters of life and death to another. As, for instance, a farmer desires a brisk breeze to winnow his grain; and mariners, to blow them out of the reach of pirates.
A recluse, like myself, or a prisoner, to measure time by the progress of sunshine through his chamber.
Would it not be wiser for people to rejoice at all that they now sorrow for, and vice versa? To put on bridal garments at funerals, and mourning at weddings? For their friends to condole with them when they attained riches and honor, as only so much care added?
If in a village it were a custom to hang a funeral garland or other token of death on a house where some one had died, and there to let it remain till a death occurred elsewhere, and then to hang that same garland over the other house, it would have, methinks, a strong effect.
No fountain so small but that Heaven may be imaged in its bosom.
Fame! Some very humble persons in a town may be said to possess it,—as, the penny-post, the town-crier, the constable,—and they are known to everybody; while many richer, more intellectual, worthier persons are unknown by the majority of their fellow-citizens. Something analogous in the world at large.
The ideas of people in general are not raised higher than the roofs of the houses. All their interests extend over the earth's surface in a layer of that thickness. The meeting-house steeple reaches out of their sphere.
Nobody will use other people's experience, nor has any of his own till it is too late to use it.
Two lovers to plan the building of a pleasure-house on a certain spot of ground, but various seeming accidents prevent it. Once they find a group of miserable children there; once it is the scene where crime is plotted; at last the dead body of one of the lovers or of a dear friend is found there; and, instead of a pleasure-house, they build a marble tomb. The moral,—that there is no place on earth fit for the site of a pleasure-house, because there is no spot that may not have been saddened by human grief, stained by crime, or hallowed by death. It might be three friends who plan it, instead of two lovers; and the dearest one dies.
Comfort for childless people. A married couple with ten children have been the means of bringing about ten funerals.
A blind man on a dark night carried a torch, in order that people might see him, and not run against him, and direct him how to avoid dangers.
To picture a child's (one of four or five years old) reminiscences at sunset of a long summer's day,—his first awakening, his studies, his sports, his little fits of passion, perhaps a whipping, etc.
The blind man's walk.
To picture a virtuous family, the different members examples of virtuous dispositions in their way; then introduce a vicious person, and trace out the relations that arise between him and them, and the manner in which all are affected.
A man to flatter himself with the idea that he would not be guilty of some certain wickedness,—-as, for instance, to yield to the personal temptations of the Devil,—yet to find, ultimately, that he was at that very time committing that same wickedness.
What would a man do, if he were compelled to live always in the sultry heat of society, and could never bathe himself in cool solitude?
A girl's lover to be slain and buried in her flower-garden, and the earth levelled over him. That particular spot, which she happens to plant with some peculiar variety of flowers, produces them of admirable splendor, beauty, and perfume; and she delights, with an indescribable impulse, to wear them in her bosom, and scent her chamber with them. Thus the classic fantasy would be realized, of dead people transformed to flowers.
Objects seen by a magic-lantern reversed. A street, or other location, might be presented, where there would be opportunity to bring forward all objects of worldly interest, and thus much pleasant satire might be the result.
The Abyssinians, after dressing their hair, sleep with their heads in a forked stick, in order not to discompose it.
At the battle of Edge Hill, October 23, 1642, Captain John Smith, a soldier of note, Captain Lieutenant to Lord James Stuart's horse, with only a groom, attacked a Parliament officer, three cuirassiers, and three arquebusiers, and rescued the royal standard, which they had taken and were guarding. Was this the Virginian Smith?
Stephen Gowans supposed that the bodies of Adam and Eve were clothed in robes of light, which vanished after their sin.
Lord Chancellor Clare, towards the close of his life, went to a village church, where he might not be known, to partake of the Sacrament.
A missionary to the heathen in a great city, to describe his labors in the manner of a foreign mission.
In the tenth century, mechanism of organs so clumsy, that one in Westminster Abbey, with four hundred pipes, required twenty-six bellows and seventy stout men. First organ ever known in Europe received by King Pepin, from the Emperor Constantine, in 757. Water boiling was kept in a reservoir under the pipes; and, the keys being struck, the valves opened, and steam rushed through with noise. The secret of working them thus is now lost. Then came bellows organs, first used by Louis le Debonnaire.
After the siege of Antwerp, the children played marbles in the streets with grape and cannon shot.
A shell, in falling, buries itself in the earth, and, when it explodes, a large pit is made by the earth being blown about in all directions,— large enough, sometimes, to hold three or four cart-loads of earth. The holes are circular.
A French artillery-man being buried in his military cloak on the ramparts, a shell exploded, and unburied him.
In the Netherlands, to form hedges, young trees are interwoven into a sort of lattice-work; and, in time, they grow together at the point of junction, so that the fence is all of one piece.
To show the effect of gratified revenge. As an instance, merely, suppose a woman sues her lover for breach of promise, and gets the money by instalments, through a long series of years. At last, when the miserable victim were utterly trodden down, the triumpher would have become a very devil of evil passions,—they having overgrown his whole nature; so that a far greater evil would have come upon himself than on his victim.
Anciently, when long-buried bodies were found undecayed in the grave, a species of sanctity was attributed to them.
Some chimneys of ancient halls used to be swept by having a culverin fired up them.
At Leith, in 1711, a glass bottle was blown of the capacity of two English bushels.
The buff and blue of the Union were adopted by Fox and the Whig party in England. The Prince of Wales wore them.
In 1621, a Mr. Copinger left a certain charity, an almshouse, of which four poor persons were to partake, after the death of his eldest son and his wife. It was a tenement and yard. The parson, head-boroughs, and his five other sons were to appoint the persons. At the time specified, however, all but one of his sons were dead; and he was in such poor circumstances that he obtained the benefit of the charity for himself, as one of the four.
A town clerk arranges the publishments that are given in, according to his own judgment.
To make a story from Robert Raikes seeing dirty children at play, in the streets of London, and inquiring of a woman about them. She tells him that on Sundays, when they were not employed, they were a great deal worse, making the streets like hell; playing at church, etc. He was therefore induced to employ women at a shilling to teach them on Sundays, and thus Sunday schools were established.
To represent the different departments of the United States government by village functionaries. The War Department by watchmen, the law by constables, the merchants by a variety store, etc.
At the accession of Bloody Mary, a man, coming into a house, sounded three times with his mouth, as with a trumpet, and then made proclamation to the family. A bonfire was built, and little children were made to carry wood to it, that they might remember the circumstance in old age. Meat and drink were provided at the bonfires.
To describe a boyish combat with snowballs, and the victorious leader to have a statue of snow erected to him. A satire on ambition and fame to be made out of this idea. It might be a child's story.
Our body to be possessed by two different spirits; so that half of the visage shall express one mood, and the other half another.
An old English sea-captain desires to have a fast-sailing ship, to keep a good table, and to sail between the tropics without making land.
A rich man left by will his mansion and estate to a poor couple. They remove into it, and find there a darksome servant, whom they are forbidden by will to turn away. He becomes a torment to them; and, in the finale, he turns out to be the former master of the estate.
Two persons to be expecting some occurrence, and watching for the two principal actors in it, and to find that the occurrence is even then passing, and that they themselves are the two actors.
There is evil in every human heart, which may remain latent, perhaps, through the whole of life; but circumstances may rouse it to activity. To imagine such circumstances. A woman, tempted to be false to her husband, apparently through mere whim,—or a young man to feel an instinctive thirst for blood, and to commit murder. This appetite may be traced in the popularity of criminal trials. The appetite might be observed first in a child, and then traced upwards, manifesting itself in crimes suited to every stage of life.
The good deeds in an evil life,—the generous, noble, and excellent actions done by people habitually wicked,—to ask what is to become of them.
A satirical article might be made out of the idea of an imaginary museum, containing such articles as Aaron's rod, the petticoat of General Harrison, the pistol with which Benton shot Jackson,—and then a diorama, consisting of political or other scenes, or done in wax-work. The idea to be wrought out and extended. Perhaps it might be the museum of a deceased old man.
An article might be made respecting various kinds of ruin,—ruin as regards property,—ruin of health,—ruin of habits, as drunkenness and all kinds of debauchery,—ruin of character, while prosperous in other respects,—ruin of the soul. Ruin, perhaps, might be personified as a demon, seizing its victims by various holds.
An article on fire, on smoke. Diseases of the mind and soul,—even more common than bodily diseases.
Tarleton, of the Revolution, is said to have been one of the two handsomest men in Europe,—the Prince of Wales, afterwards George IV., being the other. Some authorities, however, have represented him as ungainly in person and rough in manners. Tarleton was originally bred to the law, but quitted law for the army early in life. He was son to a mayor of Liverpool, born in 1754, of ancient family. He wrote his own memoirs after returning from America. Afterwards in Parliament. Never afterwards distinguished in arms. Created baronet in 1818, and died childless in 1833. Thought he was not sufficiently honored among more modern heroes. Lost part of his right hand in battle of Guilford Court House. A man of pleasure in England.
It would be a good idea for a painter to paint a picture of a great actor, representing him in several different characters of one scene,— Iago and Othello, for instance.
Maine, July 5th, 1837.—Here I am, settled since night before last with B———, and living very singularly. He leads a bachelor's life in his paternal mansion, only a small part of which is occupied by a family who serve him. He provides his own breakfast and supper, and occasionally his dinner; though this is oftener, I believe, taken at the hotel, or an eating-house, or with some of his relatives. I am his guest, and my presence makes no alteration in his way of life. Our fare, thus far, has consisted of bread, butter, and cheese, crackers, herrings, boiled eggs, coffee, milk, and claret wine. He has another inmate, in the person of a queer little Frenchman, who has his breakfast, tea, and lodging here, and finds his dinner elsewhere. Monsieur S——— does not appear to be more than twenty-one years old,—a diminutive figure, with eyes askew, and otherwise of an ungainly physiognomy; he is ill-dressed also, in a coarse blue coat, thin cotton pantaloons, and unbrushed boots; altogether with as little of French coxcombry as can well be imagined, though with something of the monkey aspect inseparable from a little Frenchman. He is, nevertheless, an intelligent and well-informed man, apparently of extensive reading in his own language,—a philosopher, B——— tells me, and an infidel. His insignificant personal appearance stands in the way of his success, and prevents him from receiving the respect which is really due to his talents and acquirements; wherefore he is bitterly dissatisfied with the country and its inhabitants, and often expresses his feelings to B——— (who has gained his confidence to a certain degree) in very strong terms.
Thus here are three characters, each with something out of the common way, living together somewhat like monks. B———, our host, combines more high and admirable qualities, of that sort which make up a gentleman, than any other that I have met with. Polished, yet natural, frank, open, and straightforward, yet with a delicate feeling for the sensitiveness of his companions; of excellent temper and warm heart; well acquainted with the world, with a keen faculty of observation, which he has had many opportunities of exercising, and never varying from a code of honor and principle which is really nice and rigid in its way. There is a sort of philosophy developing itself in him which will not impossibly cause him to settle down in this or some other equally singular course of life. He seems almost to have made up his mind never to be married, which I wonder at; for he has strong affections, and is fond both of women and children.
The little Frenchman impresses me very strongly, too,—so lonely as he is here, struggling against the world, with bitter feelings in his breast, and yet talking with the vivacity and gayety of his nation; making this his home from darkness to daylight, and enjoying here what little domestic comfort and confidence there is for him; and then going about all the livelong day, teaching French to blockheads who sneer at him, and returning at about ten o'clock in the evening (for I was wrong in saying he supped here,—he eats no supper) to his solitary room and bed. Before retiring, he goes to B———'s bedside, and, if he finds him awake, stands talking French, expressing his dislike of the Americans, "Je hais, je hais les Yankees!"—thus giving vent to the stifled bitterness of the whole day. In the morning I hear him getting up early, at sunrise or before, humming to himself, scuffling about his chamber with his thick boots, and at last taking his departure for a solitary ramble till breakfast. Then he comes in, cheerful and vivacious enough, eats pretty heartily, and is off again, singing French chansons as he goes down the gravel-walk. The poor fellow has nobody to sympathize with him but B———, and thus a singular connection is established between two utterly different characters.
Then here is myself, who am likewise a queer character in my way, and have come to spend a week or two with my friend of half a lifetime,—the longest space, probably, that we are ever destined to spend together; for Fate seems preparing changes for both of us. My circumstances, at least, cannot long continue as they are and have been; and B———, too, stands between high prosperity and utter ruin.
I think I should soon become strongly attached to our way of life, so independent and untroubled by the forms and restrictions of society. The house is very pleasantly situated,—half a mile distant from where the town begins to be thickly settled, and on a swell of land, with the road running at a distance of fifty yards, and a grassy tract and a gravel-walk between. Beyond the road rolls the Kennebec, here two or three hundred yards wide. Putting my head out of the window, I can see it flowing steadily along straightway between wooded banks; but arriving nearly opposite the house, there is a large and level sand island in the middle of the stream; and just below the island the current is further interrupted by the works of the mill-dam, which is perhaps half finished, yet still in so rude a state that it looks as much like the ruins of a dam destroyed by the spring freshets as like the foundations of a dam yet to be. Irishmen and Canadians toil at work on it, and the echoes of their hammering and of the voices come across the river and up to this window. Then there is a sound of the wind among the trees round the house; and, when that is silent, the calm, full, distant voice of the river becomes audible. Looking downward thither, I see the rush of the current, and mark the different eddies, with here and there white specks or streaks of foam; and often a log comes floating on, glistening in the sun, as it rolls over among the eddies, having voyaged, for aught I know, hundreds of miles from the wild upper sources of the river, passing down, down, between lines of forest, and sometimes a rough clearing, till here it floats by cultivated banks, and will soon pass by the village. Sometimes a long raft of boards comes along, requiring the nicest skill in navigating it through the narrow passage left by the mill-dam. Chaises and wagons occasionally go over the road, the riders all giving a passing glance at the dam, or perhaps alighting to examine it more fully, and at last departing with ominous shakes of the head as to the result of the enterprise. My position is so far retired from the river and mill-dam, that, though the latter is really rather a scene, yet a sort of quiet seems to be diffused over the whole. Two or three times a day this quiet is broken by the sudden thunder from a quarry, where the workmen are blasting rocks; and a peal of thunder sounds strangely in such a green, sunny, and quiet landscape, with the blue sky brightening the river.
I have not seen much of the people. There have been, however, several incidents which amused me, though scarcely worth telling. A passionate tavern-keeper, quick as a flash of gunpowder, a nervous man, and showing in his demeanor, it seems, a consciousness of his infirmity of temper. I was a witness of a scuffle of his with a drunken guest. The tavern-keeper, after they were separated, raved like a madman, and in a tone of voice having a drolly pathetic or lamentable sound mingled with its rage, as if he were lifting up his voice to weep. Then he jumped into a chaise which was standing by, whipped up the horse, and drove off rapidly, as if to give his fury vent in that way.
On the morning of the Fourth of July, two printer's apprentice-lads, nearly grown, dressed in jackets and very tight pantaloons of check, tight as their skins, so that they looked like harlequins or circus-clowns, yet appeared to think themselves in perfect propriety, with a very calm and quiet assurance of the admiration of the town. A common fellow, a carpenter, who, on the strength of political partisanship, asked B———'s assistance in cutting out great letters from play-bills in order to print "Martin Van Buren Forever" on a flag; but B——— refused. B——— seems to be considerably of a favorite with the lower orders, especially with the Irishmen and French Canadians,—the latter accosting him in the street, and asking his assistance as an interpreter in making their bargains for work.
I meant to dine at the hotel with B——— to-day; but having returned to the house, leaving him to do some business in the village, I found myself unwilling to move when the dinner-hour approached, and therefore dined very well on bread, cheese, and eggs. Nothing of much interest takes place. We live very comfortably in our bachelor establishment on a cold shoulder of mutton, with ham and smoked beef and boiled eggs; and as to drinkables, we had both claret and brown sherry on the dinner-table to-day. Last evening we had along literary and philosophical conversation with Monsieur S———. He is rather remarkably well-informed for a man of his age, and seems to have very just notions on ethics, etc., though damnably perverted as to religion. It is strange to hear philosophy of any sort from such a boyish figure. "We philosophers," he is fond of saying, to distinguish himself and his brethren from the Christians. One of his oddities is, that, while steadfastly maintaining an opinion that he is a very small and slow eater, and that we, in common with other Yankees, eat immensely and fast, he actually eats both faster and longer than we do, and devours, as B———avers, more victuals than both of us together.
Saturday, July 8th.—Yesterday afternoon, a stroll with B——— up a large brook, he fishing for trout, and I looking on. The brook runs through a valley, on one side bordered by a high and precipitous bank; on the other there is an interval, and then the bank rises upward and upward into a high hill with gorges and ravines separating one summit from another, and here and there are bare places, where the rain-streams have washed away the grass. The brook is bestrewn with stones, some bare, some partially moss-grown, and sometimes so huge as—once at least—to occupy almost the whole breadth of the current. Amongst these the stream brawls, only that this word does not express its good-natured voice, and "murmur" is too quiet. It sings along, sometimes smooth, with the pebbles visible beneath, sometimes rushing dark and swift, eddying and whitening past some rock, or underneath the hither or the farther bank; and at these places B——— cast his line, and sometimes drew out a trout, small, not more than five or six inches long. The farther we went up the brook, the wilder it grew. The opposite bank was covered with pines and hemlocks, ascending high upwards, black and solemn. One knew that there must be almost a precipice behind, yet we could not see it. At the foot you could spy, a little way within the darksome shade, the roots and branches of the trees; but soon all sight was obstructed amidst the trunks. On the hither side, at first the bank was bare, then fringed with alder-bushes, bending and dipping into the stream, which, farther on, flowed through the midst of a forest of maple, beech, and other trees, its course growing wilder and wilder as we proceeded. For a considerable distance there was a causeway, built long ago of logs, to drag lumber upon; it was now decayed and rotten, a red decay, sometimes sunken down in the midst, here and there a knotty trunk stretching across, apparently sound. The sun being now low towards the west, a pleasant gloom and brightness were diffused through the forest, spots of brightness scattered upon the branches, or thrown down in gold upon the last year's leaves among the trees. At last we came to where a dam had been built across the brook many years ago, and was now gone to ruin, so as to make the spot look more solitary and wilder than if man had never left vestiges of his toil there. It was a framework of logs with a covering of plank sufficient to obstruct the onward flow of the brook; but it found its way past the side, and came foaming and struggling along among scattered rocks. Above the dam there was a broad and deep pool, one side of which was bordered by a precipitous wall of rocks, as smooth as if hewn out and squared, and piled one upon another, above which rose the forest. On the other side there was still a gently shelving bank, and the shore was covered with tall trees, among which I particularly remarked a stately pine, wholly devoid of bark, rising white in aged and majestic ruin, thrusting out its barkless arms. It must have stood there in death many years, its own ghost. Above the dam the brook flowed through the forest, a glistening and babbling water-path, illuminated by the sun, which sent its rays almost straight along its course. It was as lovely and wild and peaceful as it could possibly have been a hundred years ago; and the traces of labors of men long departed added a deeper peace to it. I bathed in the pool, and then pursued my way down beside the brook, growing dark with a pleasant gloom, as the sun sank and the water became more shadowy. B——— says that there was formerly a tradition that the Indians used to go up this brook, and return, after a brief absence, with large masses of lead, which they sold at the trading-stations in Augusta; whence there has always been an idea that there is a lead-mine hereabouts. Great toadstools were under the trees, and some small ones as yellow and almost the size of a half-broiled yolk of an egg. Strawberries were scattered along the brookside.
Dined at the hotel or Mansion House to-day. Men were playing checkers in the parlor. The Marshal of Maine, a corpulent, jolly fellow, famed for humor. A passenger left by the stage, hiring an express onward. A bottle of champagne was quaffed at the bar.
July 9th.—Went with B——— to pay a visit to the shanties of the Irish and Canadians. He says that they sell and exchange these small houses among themselves continually. They may be built in three or four days, and are valued at four or five dollars. When the turf that is piled against the walls of some of them becomes covered with grass, it makes quite a picturesque object. It was almost dusk—just candle-lighting time—when we visited them. A young Frenchwoman, with a baby in her arms, came to the door of one of them, smiling, and looking pretty and happy. Her husband, a dark, black-haired, lively little fellow, caressed the child, laughing and singing to it; and there was a red-bearded Irishman, who likewise fondled the little brat. Then we could hear them within the hut, gabbling merrily, and could see them moving about briskly in the candlelight, through the window and open door. An old Irishwoman sat in the door of another hut, under the influence of an extra dose of rum,—she being an old lady of somewhat dissipated habits. She called to B———, and began to talk to him about her resolution not to give up her house: for it is his design to get her out of it. She is a true virago, and, though somewhat restrained by respect for him, she evinced a sturdy design to remain here through the winter, or at least for a considerable time longer. He persisting, she took her stand in the doorway of the hut, and stretched out her fist in a very Amazonian attitude. "Nobody," quoth she, "shall drive me out of this house, till my praties are out of the ground." Then would she wheedle and laugh and blarney, beginning in a rage, and ending as if she had been in jest. Meanwhile her husband stood by very quiet, occasionally trying to still her; but it is to be presumed, that, after our departure, they came to blows, it being a custom with the Irish husbands and wives to settle their disputes with blows; and it is said the woman often proves the better man. The different families also have battles, and occasionally the Irish fight with the Canadians. The latter, however, are much the more peaceable, never quarrelling among themselves, and seldom with their neighbors. They are frugal, and often go back to Canada with considerable sums of money. B——— has gained much influence both with the Irish and the French,—with the latter, by dint of speaking to them in their own language. He is the umpire in their disputes, and their adviser, and they look up to him as a protector and patron-friend. I have been struck to see with what careful integrity and wisdom he manages matters among them, hitherto having known him only as a free and gay young man. He appears perfectly to understand their general character, of which he gives no very flattering description. In these huts, less than twenty feet square, he tells me that upwards of twenty people have sometimes been lodged.
A description of a young lady who had formerly been insane, and now felt the approach of a new fit of madness. She had been out to ride, had exerted herself much, and had been very vivacious. On her return, she sat down in a thoughtful and despondent attitude, looking very sad, but one of the loveliest objects that ever were seen. The family spoke to her, but she made no answer, nor took the least notice; but still sat like a statue in her chair,—a statue of melancholy and beauty. At last they led her away to her chamber.
We went to meeting this forenoon. I saw nothing remarkable, unless a little girl in the next pew to us, three or four years old, who fell asleep, with her bead in the lap of her maid, and looked very pretty: a picture of sleeping innocence.
July 11th, Tuesday.—A drive with B——— to Hallowell, yesterday, where we dined, and afterwards to Gardiner. The most curious object in this latter place was the elegant new mansion of ———. It stands on the site of his former dwelling, which was destroyed by fire.
The new building was estimated to cost about thirty thousand dollars; but twice as much has already been expended, and a great deal more will be required to complete it. It is certainly a splendid structure; the material, granite from the vicinity. At the angles it has small, circular towers; the portal is lofty and imposing. Relatively to the general style of domestic architecture in our country, it well deserves the name of castle or palace. Its situation, too, is fine, far retired from the public road, and attainable by a winding carriage-drive; standing amid fertile fields, and with large trees in the vicinity. There is also a beautiful view from the mansion, adown the Kennebec.
Beneath some of the large trees we saw the remains of circular seats, whereupon the family used to sit before the former house was burned down. There was no one now in the vicinity of the place, save a man and a yoke of oxen; and what he was about, I did not ascertain. Mr. ——— at present resides in a small dwelling, little more than a cottage, beside the main road, not far from the gateway which gives access to his palace.
At Gardiner, on the wharf, I witnessed the starting of the steamboat New England for Boston. There was quite a collection of people, looking on or taking leave of passengers,—the steam puffing,—stages arriving, full-freighted with ladies and gentlemen. A man was one moment too late; but running along the gunwale of a mud-scow, and jumping into a skiff, he was put on board by a black fellow. The dark cabin, wherein, descending from the sunshiny deck, it was difficult to discern the furniture, looking-glasses, and mahogany wainscoting. I met two old college acquaintances, O———, who was going to Boston, and B——— with whom we afterwards drank a glass of wine at the hotel.
B———, Mons. S———, and myself continue to live in the same style as heretofore. We appear mutually to be very well pleased with each other. Mons. S——— displays many comical qualities, and manages to insure us several hearty laughs every morning and evening,—those being the seasons when we meet. I am going to take lessons from him in the pronunciation of French. Of female society I see nothing. The only petticoat that comes within our premises appertains to Nancy, the pretty, dark-eyed maid-servant of the man who lives in the other part of the house.
On the road from Hallowell to Augusta we saw little booths, in two places, erected on the roadside, where boys offered beer, apples, etc., for sale. We passed an Irishwoman with a child in her arms, and a heavy bundle, and afterwards an Irishman with a light bundle, sitting by the highway. They were husband and wife; and B——— says that an Irishman and his wife, on their journeys, do not usually walk side by side, but that the man gives the woman the heaviest burden to carry, and walks on lightly ahead!
A thought comes into my mind: Which sort of house excites the most contemptuous feelings in the beholder,—such a house as Mr.———'s, all circumstances considered, or the board-built and turf-buttressed hovels of these wild Irish, scattered about as if they had sprung up like mushrooms, in the dells and gorges, and along the banks of the river? Mushrooms, by the way, spring up where the roots of an old tree are hidden under the ground.
Thursday, July 13th.—Two small Canadian boys came to our house yesterday, with strawberries to sell. It sounds strangely to hear children bargaining in French on the borders of Yankee-land. Among other languages spoken hereabouts must be reckoned the wild Irish. Some of the laborers on the mill-dam can speak nothing else. The intermixture of foreigners sometimes gives rise to quarrels between them and the natives. As we were going to the village yesterday afternoon, we witnessed the beginning of a quarrel between a Canadian and a Yankee,—the latter accusing the former of striking his oxen. B——— thrust himself between and parted them; but they afterwards renewed their fray, and the Canadian, I believe, thrashed the Yankee soundly,—for which he had to pay twelve dollars. Yet he was but a little fellow.
Coming to the Mansion House about supper-time, we found somewhat of a concourse of people, the Governor and Council being in session on the subject of the disputed territory. The British have lately imprisoned a man who was sent to take the census; and the Mainiacs are much excited on the subject. They wish the Governor to order out the militia at once, and take possession of the territory with the strong hand. There was a British army-captain at the Mansion House; and an idea was thrown out that it would be as well to seize upon him as a hostage. I would, for the joke's sake, that it had been done. Personages at the tavern: the Governor, somewhat stared after as he walked through the bar-room; Councillors seated about, sitting on benches near the bar, or on the stoop along the front of the house; the Adjutant-General of the State; two young Blue-Noses, from Canada or the Provinces; a gentleman "thumbing his hat" for liquor, or perhaps playing off the trick of the "honest landlord" on some stranger. The decanters and wine-bottles on the move, and the beer and soda founts pouring out continual streams, with a whiz. Stage-drivers, etc., asked to drink with the aristocracy, and mine host treating and being treated. Rubicund faces; breaths odorous of brandy-and-water. Occasionally the pop of a champagne cork.
Returned home, and took a lesson in French of Mons. S———. I like him very much, and have seldom met with a more honest, simple, and apparently so well-principled a man; which good qualities I impute to his being, by the father's side, of German blood. He looks more like a German—or, as he says, like a Swiss—than a Frenchman, having very light hair and a light complexion, and not a French expression. He is a vivacious little fellow, and wonderfully excitable to mirth; and it is truly a sight to see him laugh;—every feature partakes of his movement, and even his whole body shares in it, as he rises and dances about the room. He has great variety of conversation, commensurate with his experiences in life, and sometimes will talk Spanish, ore rotundo,—sometimes imitate the Catholic priests, chanting Latin songs for the dead, in deep, gruff, awful tones, producing really a very strong impression,—then he will break out into a light, French song, perhaps of love, perhaps of war, acting it out, as if on the stage of a theatre: all this intermingled with continual fun, excited by the incidents of the passing moment. He has Frenchified all our names, calling B——— Monsieur Du Pont, myself M. de L'Aubepine, and himself M. le Berger, and all, Knights of the Round-Table. And we live in great harmony and brotherhood, as queer a life as anybody leads, and as queer a set as may be found anywhere. In his more serious intervals, he talks philosophy and deism, and preaches obedience to the law of reason and morality; which law he says (and I believe him) he has so well observed, that, notwithstanding his residence in dissolute countries, he has never yet been sinful. He wishes me, eight or nine weeks hence, to accompany him on foot to Quebec, and then to Niagara and New York. I should like it well, if my circumstances and other considerations would permit. What pleases much in Mons. S——— is the simple and childlike enjoyment he finds in trifles, and the joy with which he speaks of going back to his own country, away from the dull Yankees, who here misunderstand and despise him. Yet I have never heard him speak harshly of them. I rather think that B——— and I will be remembered by him with more pleasure than anybody else in the country; for we have sympathized with him, and treated him kindly, and like a gentleman and an equal; and he comes to us at night as to home and friends.
I went down to the river to-day to see B——— fish for salmon with a fly,—a hopeless business; for he says that only one instance has been known in the United States of salmon being taken otherwise than with a net. A few chubs were all the fruit of his piscatory efforts. But while looking at the rushing and rippling stream, I saw a great fish, some six feet long and thick in proportion, suddenly emerge at whole length, turn a somerset, and then vanish again beneath the water. It was of a glistening, yellowish brown, with its fins all spread, and looking very strange and startling, darting out so lifelike from the black water, throwing itself fully into the bright sunshine, and then lost to sight and to pursuit. I saw also a long, flat-bottomed boat go up the river, with a brisk wind, and against a strong stream. Its sails were of curious construction: a long mast, with two sails below, one on each side of the boat, and a broader one surmounting them. The sails were colored brown, and appeared like leather or skins, but were really cloth. At a distance, the vessel looked like, or at least I compared it to, a monstrous water-insect skimming along the river. If the sails had been crimson or yellow, the resemblance would have been much closer. There was a pretty spacious raised cabin in the after part of the boat. It moved along lightly, and disappeared between the woody banks. These boats have the two parallel sails attached to the same yard, and some have two sails, one surmounting the other. They trade to Waterville and thereabouts,—names, as "Paul Pry," on their sails.
Saturday, July 15th.—Went with B——— yesterday to visit several Irish shanties, endeavoring to find out who had stolen some rails of a fence. At the first door at which we knocked (a shanty with an earthen mound heaped against the wall, two or three feet thick), the inmates were not up, though it was past eight o'clock. At last a middle-aged woman showed herself, half dressed, and completing her toilet. Threats were made of tearing down her house; for she is a lady of very indifferent morals, and sells rum. Few of these people are connected with the mill-dam,—or, at least, many are not so, but have intruded themselves into the vacant huts which were occupied by the mill-dam people last year. In two or three places hereabouts there is quite a village of these dwellings, with a clay and board chimney, or oftener an old barrel, smoked and charred with the fire. Some of their roofs are covered with sods, and appear almost subterranean. One of the little hamlets stands on both sides of a deep dell, wooded and bush-grown, with a vista, as it were, into the heart of a wood in one direction, and to the broad, sunny river in the other: there was a little rivulet, crossed by a plank, at the bottom of the dell. At two doors we saw very pretty and modest-looking young women,— one with a child in her arms. Indeed, they all have innumerable little children; and they are invariably in good health, though always dirty of face. They come to the door while their mothers are talking with the visitors, standing straight up on their bare legs, with their little plump bodies protruding, in one hand a small tin saucepan, and in the other an iron spoon, with unwashed mouths, looking as independent as any child or grown person in the land. They stare unabashed, but make no answer when spoken to. "I've no call to your fence, Misser B———." It seems strange that a man should have the right, unarmed with any legal instrument, of tearing down the dwelling-houses of a score of families, and driving the inmates forth without a shelter. Yet B——— undoubtedly has this right; and it is not a little striking to see how quietly these people contemplate the probability of his exercising it,—resolving, indeed, to burrow in their holes as long as may be, yet caring about as little for an ejectment as those who could find a tenement anywhere, and less. Yet the women, amid all the trials of their situation, appear to have kept up the distinction between virtue and vice; those who can claim the former will not associate with the latter. When the women travel with young children, they carry the baby slung at their backs, and sleeping quietly. The dresses of the new-comers are old-fashioned, making them look aged before their time.
Monsieur S——— shaving himself yesterday morning. He was in excellent spirits, and could not keep his tongue or body still, more than long enough to make two or three consecutive strokes at his beard. Then he would turn, flourishing his razor and grimacing joyously, enacting droll antics, breaking out into scraps and verses of drinking-songs, "A boire! a boire!"—then laughing heartily, and crying, "Vive la gaite!" then resuming his task, looking into the glass with grave face, on which, however, a grin would soon break out anew, and all his pranks would be repeated with variations. He turned this foolery to philosophy, by observing that mirth contributed to goodness of heart, and to make us love our fellow-creatures. Conversing with him in the evening, he affirmed, with evident belief in the truth of what he said, that he would have no objection, except that it would be a very foolish thing, to expose his whole heart, his whole inner man, to the view of the world. Not that there would not be much evil discovered there; but, as he was conscious of being in a state of mental and moral improvement, working out his progress onward, he would not shrink from such a scrutiny. This talk was introduced by his mentioning the "Minister's Black Veil," which he said he had seen translated into French, as an exercise, by a Miss Appleton of Bangor.
Saw by the river-side, late in the afternoon, one of the above-described boats going into the stream with the water rippling at the prow, from the strength of the current and of the boat's motion. By and by comes down a raft, perhaps twenty yards long, guided by two men, one at each end,—the raft itself of boards sawed at Waterville, and laden with square bundles of shingles and round bundles of clapboards. "Friend," says one man, "how is the tide now?"—this being important to the onward progress. They make fast to a tree, in order to wait for the tide to rise a little higher. It would be pleasant enough to float down the Kennebec on one of these rafts, letting the river conduct you onward at its own pace, leisurely displaying to you all the wild or ordered beauties along its banks, and perhaps running you aground in some peculiarly picturesque spot, for your longer enjoyment of it. Another object, perhaps, is a solitary man paddling himself down the river in a small canoe, the light, lonely touch of his paddle in the water making the silence seem deeper. Every few minutes a sturgeon leaps forth, sometimes behind you, so that you merely hear the splash, and, turning hastily around, see nothing but the disturbed water. Sometimes he darts straight on end out of a quiet black spot on which your eyes happen to be fixed, and, when even his tail is clear of the surface, he falls down on his side and disappears.
On the river-bank, an Irishwoman washing some clothes, surrounded by her children, whose babbling sounds pleasantly along the edge of the shore; and she also answers in a sweet, kindly, and cheerful voice, though an immoral woman, and without the certainty of bread or shelter from day to day. An Irishman sitting angling on the brink with an alder pole and a clothes-line. At frequent intervals, the scene is suddenly broken by a loud report like thunder, rolling along the banks, echoing and reverberating afar. It is a blast of rocks. Along the margin, sometimes sticks of timber made fast, either separately or several together; stones of some size, varying the pebbles and sand; a clayey spot, where a shallow brook runs into the river, not with a deep outlet, but finding its way across the bank in two or three single runlets. Looking upward into the deep glen whence it issues, you see its shady current. Elsewhere, a high acclivity, with the beach between it and the river, the ridge broken and caved away, so that the earth looks fresh and yellow, and is penetrated by the nests of birds. An old, shining tree-trunk, half in and half out of the water. An island of gravel, long and narrow, in the centre of the river. Chips, blocks of wood, slabs, and other scraps of lumber, strewed along the beach; logs drifting down. The high bank covered with various trees and shrubbery, and, in one place, two or three Irish shanties.
Thursday, July 20th.—A drive yesterday afternoon to a pond in the vicinity of Augusta, about nine miles off, to fish for white perch. Remarkables: the steering of the boat through the crooked, labyrinthine brook, into the open pond,—the man who acted as pilot,—his talking with B——— about politics, the bank, the iron money of "a king who came to reign, in Greece, over a city called Sparta,"—his advice to B——— to come amongst the laborers on the mill-dam, because it stimulated them "to see a man grinning amongst them." The man took hearty tugs at a bottle of good Scotch whiskey, and became pretty merry. The fish caught were the yellow perch, which are not esteemed for eating; the white perch, a beautiful, silvery, round-backed fish, which bites eagerly, runs about with the line while being pulled up, makes good sport for the angler, and an admirable dish; a great chub; and three horned pouts, which swallow the hook into their lowest entrails. Several dozen fish were taken in an hour or two, and then we returned to the shop where we had left our horse and wagon, the pilot very eccentric behind us. It was a small, dingy shop, dimly lighted by a single inch of candle, faintly disclosing various boxes, barrels standing on end, articles hanging from the ceiling; the proprietor at the counter, whereon appear gin and brandy, respectively contained in a tin pint-measure and an earthenware jug, with two or three tumblers beside them, out of which nearly all the party drank; some coming up to the counter frankly, others lingering in the background, waiting to be pressed, two paying for their own liquor and withdrawing. B——— treated them twice round. The pilot, after drinking his brandy, gave a history of our fishing expedition, and how many and how large fish we caught. B——— making acquaintances and renewing them, and gaining great credit for liberality and free-heartedness,—two or three boys looking on and listening to the talk,—the shopkeeper smiling behind his counter, with the tarnished tin scales beside him,—the inch of candle burning down almost to extinction. So we got into our wagon, with the fish, and drove to Robinson's tavern, almost five miles off, where we supped and passed the night. In the bar-room was a fat old countryman on a journey, and a quack doctor of the vicinity, and an Englishman with a peculiar accent. Seeing B———'s jointed and brass-mounted fishing-pole, he took it for a theodolite, and supposed that we had been on a surveying expedition. At supper, which consisted of bread, butter, cheese, cake, doughnuts, and gooseberry-pie, we were waited upon by a tall, very tall woman, young and maiden-looking, yet with a strongly outlined and determined face. Afterwards we found her to be the wife of mine host. She poured out our tea, came in when we rang the table-bell to refill our cups, and again retired. While at supper, the fat old traveller was ushered through the room into a contiguous bedroom. My own chamber, apparently the best in the house, had its walls ornamented with a small, gilt-framed, foot-square looking-glass, with a hairbrush hanging beneath it; a record of the deaths of the family written on a black tomb, in an engraving, where a father, mother, and child were represented in a graveyard, weeping over said tomb; the mourners dressed in black, country-cut clothes; the engraving executed in Vermont. There was also a wood engraving of the Declaration of Independence, with fac-similes of the autographs; a portrait of the Empress Josephine, and another of Spring. In the two closets of this chamber were mine hostess's cloak, best bonnet, and go-to-meeting apparel. There was a good bed, in which I slept tolerably well, and, rising betimes, ate breakfast, consisting of some of our own fish, and then started for Augusta. The fat old traveller had gone off with the harness of our wagon, which the hostler had put on to his horse by mistake. The tavern-keeper gave us his own harness, and started in pursuit of the old man, who was probably aware of the exchange, and well satisfied with it.
Our drive to Augusta, six or seven miles, was very pleasant, a heavy rain having fallen during the night, and laid the oppressive dust of the day before. The road lay parallel with the Kennebec, of which we occasionally had near glimpses. The country swells back from the river in hills and ridges, without any interval of level ground; and there were frequent woods, filling up the valleys or crowning the summits. The land is good, the farms look neat, and the houses comfortable. The latter are generally but of one story, but with large barns; and it was a good sign, that, while we saw no houses unfinished nor out of repair, one man at least had found it expedient to make an addition to his dwelling. At the distance of more than two miles, we had a view of white Augusta, with its steeples, and the State-House, at the farther end of the town. Observable matters along the road were the stage,—all the dust of yesterday brushed off, and no new dust contracted,—full of passengers, inside and out; among them some gentlemanly people and pretty girls, all looking fresh and unsullied, rosy, cheerful, and curious as to the face of the country, the faces of passing travellers, and the incidents of their journey; not yet damped, in the morning sunshine, by long miles of jolting over rough and hilly roads,—to compare this with their appearance at midday, and as they drive into Bangor at dusk;—two women dashing along in a wagon, and with a child, rattling pretty speedily down hill;—people looking at us from the open doors and windows;—the children staring from the wayside;—the mowers stopping, for a moment, the sway of their scythes;—the matron of a family, indistinctly seen at some distance within the house, her head and shoulders appearing through the window, drawing her handkerchief over her bosom, which had been uncovered to give the baby its breakfast,—the said baby, or its immediate predecessor, sitting at the door, turning round to creep away on all fours;—a man building a flat-bottomed boat by the roadside: he talked with B——— about the Boundary question, and swore fervently in favor of driving the British "into hell's kitchen" by main force.
Colonel B———, the engineer of the mill-dam, is now here, after about a fortnight's absence. He is a plain country squire, with a good figure, but with rather a heavy brow; a rough complexion; a gait stiff, and a general rigidity of manner, something like that of a schoolmaster. He originated in a country town, and is a self-educated man. As he walked down the gravel-path to-day, after dinner, he took up a scythe, which one of the mowers had left on the sward, and began to mow, with quite a scientific swing. On the coming of the mower, he laid it down, perhaps a little ashamed of his amusement. I was interested in this; to see a man, after twenty-five years of scientific occupation, thus trying whether his arms retained their strength and skill for the labors of his youth,— mindful of the day when he wore striped trousers, and toiled in his shirt-sleeves,—and now tasting again, for pastime, this drudgery beneath a fervid sun. He stood awhile, looking at the workmen, and then went to oversee the laborers at the mill-dam.
Monday, July, 24th.—I bathed in the river on Thursday evening, and in the brook at the old dam on Saturday and Sunday,—the former time at noon. The aspect of the solitude at noon was peculiarly impressive, there being a cloudless sunshine, no wind, no rustling of the forest-leaves, no waving of the boughs, no noise but the brawling and babbling of the stream, making its way among the stones, and pouring in a little cataract round one side of the mouldering dam. Looking up the brook, there was a long vista,—now ripples, now smooth and glassy spaces, now large rocks, almost blocking up the channel; while the trees stood upon either side, mostly straight, but here and there a branch thrusting itself out irregularly, and one tree, a pine, leaning over,— not bending,—but leaning at an angle over the brook, rough and ragged; birches, alders; the tallest of all the trees an old, dead, leafless pine, rising white and lonely, though closely surrounded by others. Along the brook, now the grass and herbage extended close to the water; now a small, sandy beach. The wall of rock before described, looking as if it had been hewn, but with irregular strokes of the workman, doing his job by rough and ponderous strength,—now chancing to hew it away smoothly and cleanly, now carelessly smiting, and making gaps, or piling on the slabs of rock, so as to leave vacant spaces. In the interstices grow brake and broad-leaved forest-grass. The trees that spring from the top of this wall have their roots pressing close to the rock, so that there is no soil between; they cling powerfully, and grasp the crag tightly with their knotty fingers. The trees on both sides are so thick, that the sight and the thoughts are almost immediately lost among confused stems, branches, and clustering green leaves,—a narrow strip of bright blue sky above, the sunshine falling lustrously down, and making the pathway of the brook luminous below. Entering among the thickets, I find the soil strewn with old leaves of preceding seasons, through which may be seen a black or dark mould; the roots of trees stretch frequently across the path; often a moss-grown brown log lies athwart, and when you set your foot down, it sinks into the decaying substance,—into the heart of oak or pine. The leafy boughs and twigs of the underbrush enlace themselves before you, so that you must stoop your head to pass under, or thrust yourself through amain, while they sweep against your face, and perhaps knock off your hat. There are rocks mossy and slippery; sometimes you stagger, with a great rustling of branches, against a clump of bushes, and into the midst of it. From end to end of all this tangled shade goes a pathway scarcely worn, for the leaves are not trodden through, yet plain enough to the eye, winding gently to avoid tree-trunks and rocks and little hillocks. In the more open ground, the aspect of a tall, fire-blackened stump, standing alone, high up on a swell of land, that rises gradually from one side of the brook, like a monument. Yesterday, I passed a group of children in this solitary valley,—two boys, I think, and two girls. One of the little girls seemed to have suffered some wrong from her companions, for she was weeping and complaining violently. Another time, I came suddenly on a small Canadian boy, who was in a hollow place, among the ruined logs of an old causeway, picking raspberries,—lonely among bushes and gorges, far up the wild valley,—and the lonelier seemed the little boy for the bright sunshine, that showed no one else in a wide space of view except him and me.
Remarkable items: the observation of Mons. S——— when B——— was saying something against the character of the French people,—"You ought not to form an unfavorable judgment of a great nation from mean fellows like me, strolling about in a foreign country." I thought it very noble thus to protest against anything discreditable in himself personally being used against the honor of his country. He is a very singular person, with an originality in all his notions;—not that nobody has ever had such before, but that he has thought them out for himself. He told me yesterday that one of his sisters was a waiting-maid in the Rocher de Cancale. He is about the sincerest man I ever knew, never pretending to feelings that are not in him,—never flattering. His feelings do not seem to be warm, though they are kindly. He is so single-minded that he cannot understand badinage, but takes it all as if meant in earnest,—a German trait. He values himself greatly on being a Frenchman, though all his most valuable qualities come from Germany. His temperament is cool and pure, and he is greatly delighted with any attentions from the ladies. A short time since, a lady gave him a bouquet of roses and pinks; he capered and danced and sang, put it in water, and carried it to his own chamber; but he brought it out for us to see and admire two or three times a day, bestowing on it all the epithets of admiration in the French language,—"Superbe! magnifique!" When some of the flowers began to fade, he made the rest, with others, into a new nosegay, and consulted us whether it would be fit to give to another lady. Contrast this French foppery with his solemn moods, when we sit in the twilight, or after B——— is abed, talking of Christianity and Deism, of ways of life, of marriage, of benevolence,—in short, of all deep matters of this world and the next. An evening or two since, he began singing all manner of English songs,—such as Mrs. Hemans's "Landing of the Pilgrims," "Auld Lang Syne," and some of Moore's,—the singing pretty fair, but in the oddest tone and accent. Occasionally he breaks out with scraps from French tragedies, which he spouts with corresponding action. He generally gets close to me in these displays of musical and histrionic talent. Once he offered to magnetize me in the manner of Monsieur P———.
Wednesday, July 26th.—Dined at Barker's yesterday. Before dinner, sat with several other persons in the stoop of the tavern. There were B———, J. A. Chandler, Clerk of the Court, a man of middle age or beyond, two or three stage people, and, near by, a negro, whom they call "the Doctor," a crafty-looking fellow, one of whose occupations is nameless. In presence of this goodly company, a man of a depressed, neglected air, a soft, simple-looking fellow, with an anxious expression, in a laborer's dress, approached and inquired for Mr. Barker. Mine host being gone to Portland, the stranger was directed to the bar-keeper, who stood at the door. The man asked where he should find one Mary Ann Russell,—a question which excited general and hardly suppressed mirth; for the said Mary Ann is one of a knot of women who were routed on Sunday evening by Barker and a constable. The man was told that the black fellow would give him all the information he wanted. The black fellow asked,—