This etext differs from the original in the following ways. Some missing periods have been inserted. The original used "some how" and "somehow" about equally; all have been changed to "somehow." The OE ligature, used several times, is shown as [oe]. In the advertisements at the end of the book, uses of the pointing-hand symbols (Unicode #9758, White Right Pointing Index, and Unicode #9756, White Left Pointing Index) have been replaced with the right (") and left (") double-angle symbols from the ISO 8859-1 character set. Finally, evident typographical errors have been corrected as follows:
someting > something, p. 63 catankerous > cantankerous, p. 71 veloscipeding > velocipeding, p. 99 who'se > who's, p. 99 turkies > turkeys, p. 110 potatoe > potato, p. 121 knowlege > knowledge, p. 155 lagest > largest, p. 177 pass > past, p. 190 develope > develop, p. 249 ot > not, p. 257 governer > governor, p. 257 handerchief > handkerchief, p. 261 poverity > poverty, p. 279 reconnoissances > reconnaissances, p. 281 himsesf > himself, p. 288 peaking > peeking, p. 311 sponser > sponsor, p. 313 aspsrations > aspirations, p. 336 mortaged > mortgaged, p. 376 woful > woeful, p. 400 domicils > domiciles, p. 400 Amercian > American, p. 409 lubago > lumbago, p. 412 somethiug > something, p. 420
* * * * *
* * * * *
HUMORS OF FALCONBRIDGE
* * * * *
* * * * *
HUMORS OF FALCONBRIDGE:
A COLLECTION OF HUMOROUS AND EVERY DAY SCENES.
JONATHAN F. KELLEY.
Philadelphia: T. B. PETERSON, No. 102 CHESTNUT STREET.
[Library stamp: Univ. of California]
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856, by
T. B. PETERSON,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, in and for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
* * * * *
TO ISAAC S. CLOUGH, ESQ., OF MASSACHUSETTS,
AS A SLIGHT TOKEN OF MY REGARDS FOR YOUR JUST APPRECIATION OF A GOOD THING,
AS WELL AS FOR
YOUR RARE GOOD SOCIAL WIT AND AGREEABLE QUALITIES;
AND MORE THAN ALL,
FOR YOUR GENEROUS SPIRIT AND WELL-TESTED FRIENDSHIP,
I DO WITH SINCERE PLEASURE,
Dedicate unto you this Volume of my Sketches.
* * * * *
A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF THE LATE JONATHAN F. KELLY.
The life of a literary man offers but few points upon which even the pens of his professional brethren can dwell, with the hope of exciting interest among that large and constantly increasing class who have a taste for books. The career of the soldier may be colored by the hues of romantic adventure; the politician may leave a legacy to history, which it would be ingratitude not to notice; but what triumphs or matters of exciting moment can reasonably be hoped for in the short existence of one who has merely been a writer for the press? After death has stilled the pulses of a generous man such as Mr. Kelly was, it is with small anticipation of rendering a satisfactory return, that any one can undertake to sketch the principal events of his life.
It is, perhaps, a matter for felicitation that Mr. Kelly has been his own autobiographer. His narratives and recitals are nearly all personal. They are mostly the results of his own observation and experience; and those who, in accordance with a practice we fear now too little attended to, read the Preface before the body of the work, will, we trust, understand that the stories in which "Falconbridge" claims to have been an actor, are to be received with as much confidence as truthful accounts, as if some Boswell treasured them up with care, and minutely detailed them for the admiration of those who should follow after him.
Jonathan F. Kelly was born in Philadelphia, on the 14th day of August, A. D. 1817. Young Jonathan was, at the proper age, placed at school, where he acquired the rudiments of a plain English education, sufficient to enable him, with the practice and experience to be gained in the world, to improve the advantages derived from his tuition. He was, while yet a boy, placed for a time in a grocery store, and subsequently was employed by Lewis W. Glenn, a perfumer, whose place of business was then in Third street above Walnut.
In 1837, Jonathan, being of the age of nineteen years, determined to go out into the world to seek adventure and fortune. He accordingly set out for that great region to which attention was then turned—the Western country. Having but slight means to pay the expenses of traveling, he walked nearly the whole of the journey. At Chillicothe, in Ohio, his wanderings were for a time ended. The exposure to which he had been subjected, caused a very severe attack of pleurisy. It happened most fortunately for him that a kind farmer, Mr. John A. Harris, pitied the boy; whose sprightliness, social accomplishments, and good conduct, had made a favorable impression. He was taken into Mr. Harris' family, and assiduously nursed during an indisposition which lasted more than two months. This circumstance appeased his roving disposition for a time, and he remained upon the farm of his good friend, Mr. Harris, for two years, making himself practically acquainted with the life and toils of an agriculturist. In 1839, he concluded to return to Philadelphia, where he remained for a time with his family. But the spirit of adventure returned. He connected himself with a theatrical company, and traveling through Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, was finally checked in his career at Pittsburg, where he undertook the management of a hotel. This business not being congenial, he soon sold out the establishment, and returned to Philadelphia. He shortly afterwards started away on a theatrical tour, which extended through most of the Southern States, and into Texas. In this tour, Mr. Kelly went through a great variety of adventures, saw many strange scenes, and obtained a fund of amusing experience, which afterward served him to great advantage in his literary sketches. After having thoroughly exhausted his roving desires, he returned to Philadelphia, where, indeed, upon his previous visit, he had become subject to a new attraction, the most powerful which could be found to restrain his wandering impulses. He had become acquainted with a worthy young lady, to whom, upon his return, and in the year 1842, he was married.
This union changed the thoughts and objects of Mr. Kelly. His wild, bachelor life was over; and he seriously considered how it was possible for him who had been educated to no regular business, to find the means of support for himself and family. Believing himself to have some literary capacity, he was induced to go to Pittsburg, in order to commence a newspaper in partnership with U. J. Jones. This enterprise was not a successful one, and with his companion he went to Cincinnati, where he enlisted in another newspaper speculation. The result of that attempt was equally unpropitious. Dissolving their interests, Mr. Kelly then removed with his family to New York. Here he commenced a journal devoted to theatrical and musical criticism, and intelligence, entitled "The Archer." Mr. J. W. Taylor was a partner with him in the publication. The twain also engaged in the fancy business, having a store in Broadway, above Grand street. The adventure there not being very successful, the partnership in that branch of their concern was dissolved, and Mr. Kelly commenced a book and periodical store nearly opposite. This was about the year 1844. "The Archer" was soon after discontinued, and Mr. K. returned to Philadelphia. About this time he commenced writing contributions for various newspapers, under the signature of "Falconbridge." His essays in this line, which were published in the "New York Spirit of the Times," were received with much favor, and widely copied by the press throughout the country. The reputation thus attained, was such that he found himself in a fair way to make a lucrative and pleasant livelihood. His sketches were in demand, and were readily sold, whilst the prices were remunerative, and enabled him to attain a degree of domestic comfort which he had before that time not known. From Philadelphia he removed to Boston, where he hoped to find permanent employment as an editor. During six months he relied upon the sale of his sketches, and again returned to New York, from which he was recalled by an advantageous offer from Paige & Davis, if he would undertake the control of "The Bostonian." He filled the editorial chair of that paper for two years, when it was discontinued. He had now plenty to do, and was constantly engaged upon sketches for the "Yankee Blade," "The N. Y. Spirit of the Times," and many other journals and magazines, adopting the signatures, "Falconbridge," "Jack Humphries," "O. K.," "Cerro Gordo," "J. F. K.," etc. During this time he projected "The Aurora Borealis," which was published in Boston. It was really one of the most handsome and humorous journals ever commenced in the United States, but it was very expensive. After some months' trial, "The Aurora Borealis" was abandoned. Mr. Kelly remained in Boston as a general literary contributor to various journals until, in 1851, he was induced to undertake the management of a paper at Waltham, Mass., entitled "The Waltham Advocate." This enterprise, after six months trial, did not offer sufficient inducements to continue it, and Mr. Kelly returned with his family to Boston. Whilst in that city, he had the misfortune to lose his eldest son, a fine promising boy about five years and four months old; he died after a sickness of between two and three days. Mr. Kelly was a kind and excellent husband, and affectionate father. He doted on his child; and the loss so preyed upon his spirits, that it produced a brooding melancholy, which he predicted would eventually cause his death. After this time, General Samuel Houston, of Texas, made him very advantageous and liberal offers if he would establish himself in that State. He left Boston for the purpose, but was detained in Philadelphia by the sickness of another favorite child. Whilst thus delayed, a proposal was made him to undertake the editorship of "The New York Dutchman." He remained in that position about four months, when still more advantageous offers were tendered him to conduct "The Great West," published at Cincinnati. In September, 1854, he reached that city, and entered upon his duties. He continued in the discharge of them about four months. In the meanwhile, he had become associated with the American party; and induced by those promises which politicians make freely, and perform rarely, he left the journal to which he was attached, to establish a paper entitled "The American Platform." But two numbers of this effort were published. Whilst his writings were lively and flowing, he was sick at heart. The loss of his son still weighed on his mind, and he was an easy prey to pestilence. He was attacked by Asiatic cholera; and died on the 21st of July, 1855, after twenty-four hours' illness, leaving a widow and three children to mourn his early death. His remains were deposited in Spring Grove Cemetery. There rests beneath the soil of that beautiful garden of the dead, no form whose impulses in life were more honest, generous, and noble, than those which guided the actions of Jonathan F. Kelly.
The writer of this short biography, who only knew Mr. Kelly by his literary works, and whose narrative has been made up from the information of friends, feels that he would scarcely discharge the duty he has assumed, without a few words of reflection upon the fitful career so slightly traced. For the useful purpose of life, it may well be doubted whether a dull, plodding disposition is not more certain of success, than lively, impulsive genius. Perseverance in any one calling, with a steady determination to turn aside for no collateral inducements, and a patience which does not become discouraged at the first disappointment, is necessary to the ultimate prosperity of every man. The newspaper business is one which particularly requires constant application, a determination to do the best in the present, and a firm reliance upon success in the future. There is scarcely a journal or newspaper in the United States, which has succeeded without passing through severe ordeals, whilst the slow public were determining whether it should be patronized, or waiting to discover whether it is likely to become permanently established. Mr. Kelly's wanderings in early life seem to have tinctured his later career with the hue of instability. Ever, it would seem, ready to enlist in any new enterprise, he was led to abandon those occupations, which, if persevered in, would probably have been triumphant. His life was a constant series of changes, in which ill-luck seems to have continually triumphed, because ill-luck was not sufficiently striven with. In all these mutations, it will be the solace of those who knew and loved him, that however his judgment may have led him astray from worldly advantage, his heart was always constant to his family. Affectionate and generous in disposition, he was true to them; and he persevered in laboring for them under every disadvantage. Altering his position—at times an editor—at times an assistant-editor—anon changing his business as new hopes were roused in his bosom—and then being a mere writer, depending upon the sale of his fugitive sketches for the means of support—in all these experiments with Fortune, he was ever true to the fond spirit which gently ruled at home. For the great purposes, and high moral lessons of existence, a faithful, constant heart has a wealth richer and more bountiful than can be bought with gold.
If it ain't Right, I'll make it all Right in the Morning, 33 Don't you believe in 'em, 37 The old Black Bull, 38 Dobbs makes "a Pint," 42 Used up, 43 The greatest Moral Engine, 50 The Story of Capt. Paul, 51 Hereditary Complaints, 58 Nights with the Caucusers, 59 Affecting Cruelty, 64 The Wolf Slayer, 65 The Man that knew 'em All, 74 A severe Spell of Sickness, 79 The Race of the Aldermen, 80 Getting Square, 85 People do differ, 89 Bill Whiffletree's Dental Experience, 90 A-a-a-in't they Thick? 96 A desperate Race, 101 Dodging the Responsibility, 107 A Night Adventure in Prairie Land, 108 Roosting Out, 114 Rather Twangy, 119 Passing around the Fodder, 120 A Hint to Soyer, 123 The Leg of Mutton, 124 A Chapter on Misers, 129 Dog Day, 133 Amateur Gardening, 138 The two Johns at the Tremont, 139 The Yankee in a Boarding School, 144 A dreadful State of Excitement, 149 Ralph Waldo Emerson, 154 Humbug, 158 Hotel keeping, 159 "According to Gunter," 164 Quartering upon Friends, 165 Jake Hinkle's Failings, 174 What's going to Happen, 176 The Washerwoman's Windfall, 177 We don't Wonder at it, 181 Old Maguire and his Horse Bonny Doon, 182 Getting into the "Right Pew," 187 A circuitous Route, 192 Major Blink's first Season at Saratoga, 193 Old Jack Ringbolt, 198 Who killed Capt. Walker? 199 Practical Philosophy, 203 Borrowed Finery; or, killed off by a Ballet Girl, 204 Legal Advice, 209 Wonders of the Day, 213 "Don't know you, Sir!" 214 A circumlocutory Egg Pedler, 219 Jolly old Times, 223 The Pigeon Express Man, 224 Jipson's great Dinner Party, 229 Look out for them Lobsters, 236 The Fitzfaddles at Hull, 241 Putting me on a Platform! 247 The exorbitancy of Meanness, 251 "Taking down" a Sheriff, 252 Governor Mifflin's First Coal Fire, 257 Sure Cure, 261 Chasing a fugitive Subscriber, 262 Ambition, 266 Way the Women fixed the Tale-bearer, 267 Penalty of kissing your own Wife, 272 Mysteries and Miseries of Housekeeping, 274 Miseries of a Dandy, 279 A juvenile Joe Miller, 284 "Selling" a Landlord, 285 Scientific Labor, 288 Who was that poor Woman? 289 Infirmities of Nature, 293 Andrew Jackson and his Mother, 294 Snaking out Sturgeons, 299 Mixing Meanings—Mangling English, 301 Waking up the wrong Passenger, 302 Genius for Business, 306 Have you got any old Boots? 307 The Vagaries of Nature, 312 A general disquisition on "Hinges," 317 Miseries of Bachelorhood, 321 The Science of Diddling, 322 The re-union; Thanksgiving Story, 324 Cabbage vs. Men, 330 Wanted—A young Man from the Country, 331 Presence of Mind, 336 The Skipper's Schooner, 337 Philosophy of the Times, 340 The Emperor and the Poor Author, 341 The bigger fool, the better Luck, 352 An active Settlement, 356 A Yankee in a Pork-house, 357 German Caution, 361 Ben. McConachy's great Dog Sell, 362 The Perils of Wealth, 367 Nursing a Legacy, 372 The Troubles of a Mover, 377 The Question Settled, 382 How it's done at the Astor House, 383 The Advertisement, 387 Incidents in a Fortune-hunter's Life, 400 A Distinction with a Difference, 408 Pills and Persimmons, 409 Mysteries and Miseries of the Life of a City Editor, 414 The Tribulations of Incivility, 415 The Broomstick Marriage, 420 Appearances are Deceitful, 427 Cigar Smoke, 431 An everlasting tall Duel, 432
* * * * *
THE HUMORS OF FALCONBRIDGE.
* * * * *
If it ain't right, I'll make it all right in the Morning!
A keen, genteely dressed, gentlemanly man "put up" at Beltzhoover's Hotel, in Baltimore, one day some years ago, and after dining very sumptuously every day, drinking his Otard, Margieux and Heidsic, and smoking his "Tras," "Byrons," and "Cassadoras," until the landlord began to surmise the "bill" getting voluminous, he made the clerk foot it up and present it to our modern Don Caesar De Bazan, who, casting his eye over the long lines of perpendicularly arranged figures, discovered that—which in no wise alarmed him, however—he was in for a matter of a cool C!
"Ah! yes, I see; well, I presume it's all right, all correct, sir, no doubt about it," says Don Caesar.
"No doubt at all, sir," says the polite clerk,—"we seldom present a bill, sir, until the gentlemen are about to leave, sir; but when the bills are unusually large, sir—"
"Large, sir? Large, my dear fellow"—says the Don—"bless your soul, you don't call that large? Why, sir, a—a—that is, when I was in Washington, at Gadsby's, sir, bless you, I frequently had my friends of the Senate and the Ministers to dine at my rooms, and what do you suppose my bills averaged a week, there, sir?"
"I can't possibly say, sir—must have counted up very heavy, sir, I think," responds the clerk.
"Heavy! ha! ha! you may well say they were heavy, my dear fellow—five and eight hundred dollars a week!" says the Don, with a nonchalance that would win the admiration of a flash prince of the realm.
"O, no doubt of it, sir; it is very expensive to keep company, and entertain the government officers, at Washington, sir," the clerk replies.
"You're right, my dear fellow; you're right. But let me see," and here the Don stuck a little glass in the corner of his eye, and glanced at the bill; "ah, yes, I see, $102.51—a—a—something—all right, I presume; if it ain't right, we'll make it all right in the morning."
"Very good, sir; that will answer, sir," says the clerk, about to bow himself out of the room.
"One moment, if you please, my dear fellow; that Marteux of yours is really superb. A friend dined here yesterday with me—he is a—a gentleman who imports a—a great deal of wine; he a—a—pronounces your Schreider an elegant article. I shall entertain some friends to-night, here, and do you see that we have sufficient of that 'Marteux' and 'Schreider' cooling for us; my friends are judges of a pure article, and a—a I wish them to have a—a good opinion of your house. Understand?"
"Ah, yes, sir; that'll be all right," says the clerk.
"Of course; if it ain't, I'll make it all right in the morning!" says the Don Caesar, as the official vanished.
"Well, Charles, did you present that gentleman's bill?" asks the host of the clerk, as they met at "the office."
"Yes, sir; he says it's all right, or he'll make it all right in the morning, sir," replies the clerk.
"Very well," says the anxious host; "see that he does it."
That evening a Captain Jones called on Don Caesar—a servant carried up the card—Captain Jones was requested to walk up. Lieutenant Smith, U. S. N., next called—"walk up." Dr. Brown called—"walk up." Col. Green, his card—"walk up;" and so on, until some six or eight distinguished persons were walked up to Don Caesar's private parlor; and pretty soon the silver necks were brought up, corks were popping, glasses were clinking, jests and laughter rose above the wine and cigars, and Don Caesar was putting his friends through in the most approved style!
Time flew, as it always does. Capt. Jones gave the party a bit of a salt-water song, Dr. Brown pitched in a sentiment, while Colonel Green and Lieutenant Smith talked largely of the "last session," what their friend Benton said to Webster, and Webster to Benton, and what Bill Allen said to 'em both. And Miss Corsica, the French Minister's daughter, what she had privately intimated to Lieutenant Smith in regard to American ladies, and what the Hon. so and so offered to do and say for Colonel Green, and so and so and so and so. Still the corks "popped," and the glasses jingled, and the merry jest, and the laugh jocund, and the rich sentiment, and richer fumes of the cigars filled the room.
Don Caesar kept on hurrying up the wine, and as each bottle was uncorked, he assured the servants—"All right; if it ain't all right, we'll make it all right in the morning!"
And so Don Caesar and his bon vivant friends went it, until some two dozen bottles of Schreider, Hock, and Sherry had decanted, and the whole entire party were getting as merry as grigs, and so noisy and rip-roarious, that the clerk of the institution came up, and standing outside of the door, sent a servant to Don Caesar, to politely request that gentleman to step out into the hall one moment.
"What's that?" says the Don; "speak loud, I've got a buzzing in my ears, and can't hear whispers."
"Mr. Tompkins, sir, the clerk of the house, sir," replies the servant, in a sharp key.
"Well, what the deuce of Tompkins—hic—what does he—hic—does he want? Tell—hic—tell him it's—hic—all right, or we'll make it all right—hic—in the morning."
Mr. Tompkins then took the liberty of stepping inside, and slipping up to Don Caesar, assured him that himself and friends were a little too merry, but Don Caesar assured Tompkins—
"It's all—hic—right, mi boy, all—hic—right; these gentlemen—hic—are all gentlemen, my—hic—personal friends—hic—and it's all right—hic—all perfectly—hic—right, or we'll make it all right in the morning."
"That we do not question, sir," says the clerk, "but there are many persons in the adjoining rooms whom you'll disturb, sir; I speak for the credit of the house."
"O—hic—certainly, certainly, mi boy; I'll—hic—I'll speak to the gentlemen," says the Don, rising in his chair, and assuming a very solemn graveness, peculiar to men in the fifth stage of libation deep; "Gentlemen—hic—gentlemen, I'm requested to state—hic—that—hic—a very serious piece of intelligence—hic—has met my ear. This gentleman—hic—says somebody's dead in the next—hic—room."
"Not at all, sir; I did not say that, sir," says the clerk.
"Beg—hic—your pardon, sir—hic—it's all right; if it ain't all right, I'll make it—hic—all right in the morning! Gentlemen, let's—hic—us all adjourn; let's change the see—hic—scene, call a coach—hic—somebody, let's take a ride—hic—and return and go to—hic—our pious—hic—rest."
Having delivered this order and exhortation, Don Caesar arose on his pins, and marshalling his party, after a general swap of hats all around, in which trade big heads got smallest hats, and small heads got largest hats, by aid of the staircase and the servants, they all got to the street, and lumbering into a large hack, they started off on a midnight airing, noisy and rip-roarious as so many sailors on a land cruise. The last words uttered by Don Caesar, there, as the coach drove off, were:
"All right—hic—mi boy, if it ain't, we'll make it all right in the morning!"
"Yes, that we will," says the landlord, "and if I don't stick you into a bill of costs 'in the morning,' rot me. You'll have a nice time," he continued, "out carousing till daylight; lucky I've got his wallet in the fire-proof, the jackass would be robbed before he got back, and I'd lose my bill!"
Don Caesar did not return to make good his promise in the morning, and so the landlord took the liberty of investigating the wallet, deposited for safe keeping in the fire-proof of the office, by the Don; and lo! and behold! it contained old checks, unreceipted bills, and a few samples of Brandon bank notes, with this emphatic remark:—"All right, if it ain't all right, WE'LL MAKE IT ALL RIGHT IN THE MORNING!"
Don't you believe in 'em?
We are astounded at the incredulity of some people. Every now and then you run afoul of somebody who does not believe in spiritual knockers. Enter any of our drinking saloons, take a seat, or stand up, and look on for an hour or two, especially about the time "churchyards yawn!" and if you are any longer skeptical upon the spirit-ual manifestations as exhibited in the knee pans, shoulder joints, and thickness of the tongue of the mediums,—education would be thrown away on you.
The Old Black Bull
It's poor human natur', all out, to wrangle and quarrel now and then, from the kitchen to the parlor, in church and state. Even the fathers of the holy tabernacle are not proof against this little weakness; for people will have passions, people will belong to meetin', and people will let their passions rise, even under the pulpit. But we have no distinct recollection of ever having known a misdirected, but properly interpreted letter, to settle a chuckly "plug muss," so efficiently and happily as the case we have in point.
Old John Bulkley (grandson of the once famous President Chauncey) was a minister of the gospel, and one of the best edicated men of his day in the wooden nutmeg State, when the immortal (or ought to be) Jonathan Trumbull was "around," and in his youth. Mr. Bulkley was the first settled minister in the town of his adoption, Colchester, Connecticut. It was with him, as afterwards with good old brother Jonathan (Governor Trumbull, the bosom friend of General Washington), good to confer on almost any matter, scientific, political, or religious—any subject, in short, wherein common sense and general good to all concerned was the issue. As a philosophical reasoner, casuist, and good counselor, he was "looked up to," and abided by.
It so fell out that a congregation in Mr. Bulkley's vicinity got to loggerheads, and were upon the apex of raising "the evil one" instead of a spire to their church, as they proposed and split upon. The very nearest they could come to a mutual cessation of the hostilities, was to appoint a committee of three, to wait on Mr. Bulkley, state their case, and get him to adjudicate. They waited on the old gentleman, and he listened with grave attention to their conflicting grievances.
"It appears to me," said the old gentleman, "that this is a very simple case—a very trifling thing to cause you so much vexation."
"So I say," says one of the committee.
"I don't call it a trifling case, Mr. Bulkley," said another.
"No case at all," responded the third.
"It ain't, eh?" fiercely answered the first speaker.
"No, it ain't, sir!" quite as savagely replied the third.
"It's anything but a trifling case, anyhow," echoed number two, "to expect to raise the minister's salary and that new steeple, too, out of our small congregation."
"There is no danger of raising much out of you, anyhow, Mr. Johnson," spitefully returned number one.
"Gentlemen, if you please—" beseechingly interposed the sage.
"I haven't come here, Mr. Bulkley, to quarrel," said one.
"Who started this?" sarcastically answered Mr. Johnson.
"Not me, anyway," number three replies.
"You don't say I did, do you?" says number one.
"Mr. Bulkley, you see how it is; there's Johnson—"
"Yes, Mr. Bulkley," says Johnson, "and there's old Winkles, too, and here's Deacon Potter, also."
"I am here," stiffly replied the deacon, "and I am sorry the Reverend Mr. Bulkley finds me in such company, sir!"
"Now, gentlemen, brothers, if you please," said Mr. Bulkley, "this is ridiculous,—"
"So I say," murmured Mr. Winkles.
"As far as you are concerned, it is ridiculous," said the deacon.
This brought Mr. Winkles up, standing.
"Sir!" he shouted, "sir!"
"But my dear sirs—" beseechingly said the philosopher.
"Sir!" continued Winkles, "sir! I am too old a man—too good a Christian, Mr. Bulkley, to allow a man, a mean, despicable toad, like Deacon Potter—"
"Do you call me—me a despicable toad?" menacingly cried the deacon.
"Brethren," said Mr. Bulkley, "if I am to counsel you in your difference, I must have no more of this unchristian-like bickering."
"I do not wish to bicker, sir," said Johnson.
"Nor I don't want to, sir," said the deacon, "but when a man calls me a toad, a mean, despicable toad—"
"Well, well, never mind," said Mr. Bulkley; "you are all too excited now; go home again, and wait patiently; on Saturday evening next, I will have prepared and sent to you a written opinion of your case, with a full and free avowal of most wholesome advice for preserving your church from desolation and yourselves from despair." And the committee left, to await his issue.
Now it chanced that Mr. Bulkley had a small farm, some distance from the town of Colchester, and found it necessary, the same day he wrote his opinion and advice to the brethren of the disaffected church, to drop a line to his farmer regarding the fixtures of said estate. Having written a long, and of course, elaborate "essay" to his brethren, he wound up the day's literary exertions with a despatch to the farmer, and after a reverie to himself, he directs the two documents, and next morning despatches them to their several destinations.
On Saturday evening a full and anxious synod of the belligerent churchmen took place in their tabernacle, and punctually, as promised, came the despatch from the Plato of the time and place,—Rev. John Bulkley. All was quiet and respectful attention. The moderator took up the document, broke the seal, opened and—a pause ensued, while dubious amazement seemed to spread over the features of the worthy president of the meeting.
"Well, brother Temple, how is it—what does Mr. Bulkley say?" and another pause followed.
"Will the moderator please proceed?" said another voice.
The moderator placed the paper upon the table, took off his spectacles, wiped the glasses, then his lips—replaced his specs upon his nose, and with a very broad grin, said:
"Brethren, this appears to me to be a very singular letter, to say the least of it!"
"Well, read it—read it," responded the wondering hearers.
"I will," and the moderator began:
"You will see to the repair of the fences, that they be built high and strong, and you will take special care of the old Black Bull."
There was a general pause; a silent mystery overspread the community; the moderator dropped the paper to a "rest," and gazing over the top of his glasses for several minutes, nobody saying a word.
"Repair the fences!" muttered the moderator at length.
"Build them strong and high!" echoed Deacon Potter.
"Take special care of the old Black Bull!" growled half the meeting.
Then another pause ensued, and each man eyed his neighbor in mute mystery.
A tall and venerable man now arose from his seat; clearing his voice with a hem, he spoke:
"Brethren, you seem lost in the brief and eloquent words of our learned adviser. To me nothing could be more appropriate to our case. It is just such a profound and applicable reply to us as we should have hoped and looked for, from the learned and good man, John Bulkley. The direction to repair the fences, is to take heed in the admission and government of our members; we must guard the church by our Master's laws, and keep out stray and vicious cattle from the fold! And, above all things, set a trustworthy and vigilant watch over that old black bull, who is the devil, and who has already broken into our enclosures and sought to desolate and lay waste the fair grounds of our church!"
The effect of this interpretation was electrical. All saw and took the force of Mr. Bulkley's cogent advice, and unanimously resolved to be governed by it; hence the old black bull was put hors du combat, and the church preserved its union!
Dobbs makes "a Pint."
Dobbs walked into a Dry Goodery, on Court street, and began to look around. A double jinted clerk immediately appeared to Dobbs.
"What can I do for you, sir?" says he.
"A good deal," says Dobbs, "but I bet you won't."
"I'll bet I will," says the knight of the yard-stick, "if I can."
"What'll you bet of that?" says the imperturbable Dobbs.
"I'll bet a fourpence!" says the clerk, with a cute nod.
"I'll go it," says Dobbs. "Now, trust me for a couple of dollars' wuth of yur stuffs!"
"Lost, by Ned!" says yard-stick. "Well, there's the fourpence."
"Thank you; call again when I want to trade!" says Dobbs.
"Do, if you please; wouldn't like to lose your custom," says the clerk, "no how."
Polite young man that—as soon as his chin vegetates, provided his dickey don't cut his throat, he'll be arter the gals, Dobbs thinks!
I am tempted to believe, that few—very few men can start in the world—say at twenty, with a replete invoice of honesty, free and easy—kind, generous—good-natured disposition, and keep it up, until they greet their fortieth year. There are, doubtless, plenty of men—I hope there are, who would be entirely and perfectly generous-hearted, if they could, with any degree of consistency; and I know there are multitudes who wouldn't exhibit an honorable or manly trait, of any human description, if they could. That class thrive best, it appears to me—if the accumulation of dollars and dimes be Webster, Walker, or Scriptural interpretation of that sense—in this sublunary world. Meanness and dishonesty win what good nature and honesty lose, hence the more thrift to the former, and the less gain, pecuniarily considered, to the latter. The subject is very prolific, and as my present purpose is as much to point a humorous sketch as to adorn a moral, I needs must cut speculative philosophistics for facts, in the case of my friend John Jenks, an emphatic—"used up" good fellow.
Jenks started in this world with a first-rate opinion of himself and the rest of mankind. No man ever started with a larger capital of good nature, human benevolence, and common honesty, than honest John. Few men ever started with better general prospects, for "a good time," and plenty of it, than Jenks. He graduated with honor to himself and the Institute of his native State, and with but little knowledge beyond the college library and the social circles of his immediate friends. At twenty-three, John Jenks went into business on his own hook.
Of course John soon formed various and many business acquaintances; he learned that men were brothers—should love, honor, and respect one another, from precepts set him at his father's fireside. He formed the opinion, that this brotherhood was not to be alienated in matters of business, for he never refused to act kindly to all; he freely loaned his autograph and purse to his business acquaintances; but, being backed up by a snug business capital, he seldom felt the necessity of claiming like accommodation, or he would have gotten his eye teeth cut cheaper and sooner.
"Jenks," said a business man, stopping in at Jenks' counting room one September morning, "Perkins & Ball, I see, have stopped—gone to smash!"
"Have they?" quickly responded Jenks.
"They have, and a good many fingers will be burnt by them," replied the informant. "By the way, Barclay says you have some of their paper on hand; is it true?" continued the man.
"I have some, not much," answered Jenks—"not enough at all events to create any alarm as to their willingness or ability to take it up."
But in looking over his "accounts," Jenks found a considerably larger amount of Perkins & Ball's paper on hand, than an experienced business man might have contemplated with entire Christian resignation. The gazette, in the course of a few days, gave publicity to the smash of the house of Perkins, Ball & Co. There was a buzz "on 'change;" those losers by the smash were bitter in their denunciatory remarks, while those gaining by the transaction snickered in their sleeves and kept mum. Jenks heard all, and said nothing. He reasoned, that if the firm were smashed by imprudences, or through dishonest motives, they were getting "an elegant sufficiency" of public and private vituperation, without his aid. Though far from his thoughts of entering into such "lists," and inclined to hold on and see how things come out—Jenks, for the credit of common humanity, seldom recapitulated the amount, by discounting, &c.—he was likely to be in for, if P. & B. were really "done gone." This resolve, like some rules, worked both ways.
As "honest John" was drawing on his gloves to leave his commercial institution, after the above occurrences had had some ten days' grace; one evening, the senior partner of the house of Perkins & Ball came in. Greetings were cordial, and in the private office of Jenks, an hour's discourse took place between the merchants; which, in brief transcription, may be summed up in the fact, that Jenks received a two-third indemnification on all his liabilities for the smashed house of P. & B., which the senior partner assured him, arose from the fact of his, Jenks', gentlemanly forbearance in not joining the clamor against them, in the adverse hour, nor pushing his claims, when he had reason to believe that they were down; quite down at the heel. Jenks "hoped" he should never be found on the wrong or even doubtful side of humanity, gentlemanly courtesy, or Christian kindness; they shook hands and parted; the senior partner of the exploded firm requesting, and Jenks agreeing, to say every thing he could towards sustaining the honor of the house of P. & B., and recreating its now almost extinguished credit. Those who fought the bankrupt merchants most got the least, and because Jenks preserved an undisturbed serenity, when it was known that he was as deeply a loser, they supposed, as any one, they were staggered at his philosophy, or amused at his extreme good nature. This latter result seemed the most popular and accepted notion of Jenks' character, and proved the ground-work of his pecuniary destruction.
The firm of Perkins & Ball crept up again; Jenks had, on all occasions, spoken in the most favorable terms of the firm; he not only freely endorsed again for them, but stood their referee generally. In the meantime, Jenks' celebrity for good nature and open-heartedness had drawn around him a host of patrons and admirers. Jenks' name became a circulating medium for half his business acquaintances. If Brown was short in his cash account, five hundred or a thousand dollars——
"Just run over to Jenks'," he'd say to his clerk; "ask him to favor me with a check until the middle of the week." It was done.
"Terms—thirty days with good endorsed paper," was sufficient for the adventurous Smith to buy and depend on Jenks' autograph to secure the goods. When in funds, Bingle went where he chose; when a little short, Jenks had his patronage. Jenks kept but few memorandums of acts of kindness he daily committed; hence when the evil effects of them began to revolve upon him—if not mortified or ashamed of his "bargains," he at least was astounded at the results. Brown, whose due bills or memorandums Jenks held, to the amount of seven thousand dollars, accommodation loans, took an apoplectic, one warm summer's day, after taking a luxurious dinner. Jenks had hardly learned that Brown's affairs were pronounced in a state of deferred bankruptcy, when the first rumor reached him that Smith had bolted, after a heavy transaction in "woolens"—Jenks his principal endorser—Smith not leaving assets or assigns to the amount of one red farthing.
"By Jove!" poor Jenks muttered, as he tremulously seated himself in his back counting room—"that's shabby in Smith—very shabby."
The next morning's Gazette informed the community that Bingle had failed—liabilities over $200,000—prospects barely giving hopes of ten per cent, all around; and even this hope, upon Jenks' investigation, proved a forlorn one; by a modus operandi peculiar to the heartless, self-devoted, they got all, Jenks and the few of his ilk, got nothing!
For the first time in his life, Jenks became pecuniarily moody. For the first time, in the course of his mercantile career, of some six years, the force of reflection convinced him, that he had not acted his part judiciously, however "well done" it might be, in point of honor and manliness.
The next day Jenks devoted to a scrutiny of his accounts in general with the business world. He found things a great deal "mixed up;" his balance-sheet exhibited large surplusages accumulated on the score of his leniency and good nature; by the credit of those with whom he held business relations. A council of war, or expediency, rather,—solus, convinced Jenks, he had either mistaken his business qualifications, or formed a very vague idea of the soul—manners and customs of the business world; and he broke up his council, a sadder if not a wiser man.
"By Jove, this is discouraging; I'll have to do a very disagreeable thing, very disagreeable thing: make an assignment!"
"Who'd thought John Jenks would ever come to that?" that individual muttered to himself, as he proceeded to his hotel. And ere he reached his plate, at the tea-table, a servant whispered that a gentleman with a message was out in the "office" of the hotel, anxious to see Mr. Jenks.
"Mr. Jenks—John Jenks, I believe, sir?" began the person, as poor Jenks, now on the tapis for more ill news, approached the person in waiting.
"Precisely, that's my name, sir," Jenks responded.
"Then," continued the stranger, "I've disagreeable business with you, Mr. Jenks; I hold your arrest!"
"Good God!" exclaimed Jenks; "my arrest? What for?"
"There's the writ, sir; you can read it."
"A writ? Why, God bless you, man, I don't owe a dollar in the world, but what I can liquidate in ten minutes!"
"Oh, it's not debt, sir; you may see by the writ it's felony!"
If the man had drawn and cocked a revolver at Jenks, the effect upon his nervous system could not have been more startling or powerful. But he recovered his self-possession, and learned with dismay, that he was arrested—yes, arrested as an accessory to a grand scheme of fraud and general villany, on the part of Smith, a conclusion arrived at, by those most interested, upon discovery that Jenks had pronounced Smith "good," and endorsed for him in sums total, enormously, far beyond Jenks' actual ability to make good!
It was in vain Jenks declared, and no man before ever dreamed of doubting his word, his entire ability to meet all liabilities of his own and others, for whom he kindly become responsible; for when the bulk of Smith's paper with Jenks' endorsement was thrust at him, he gave in; saw clearly that he was the victim of a heartless forger.
But his calmness, in the midst of his affliction, triumphed, and he rested comparatively easy in jail that night, awaiting the bright future of to-morrow, when his established character, and "troops of friends" should set all right. But, poor Jenks, he reckoned indeed without his host; to-morrow came, but not "a friend in need;" they saw, in their far-reaching wisdom, a sinking ship, and like sagacious rats, they deserted it!
"I always thought Jenks a very good-natured, or a very deep man," said one.
"I knew he was too generous to last long!" said another.
"I told him he was green to endorse as freely as he did," echoed a third.
"Good fellow," chimed a fourth—"but devilish imprudent."
"He knows what he's at!" cunningly retorted a fifth, and so the good but misguided Jenks was disposed of by his "troops of friends!"
But Perkins & Ball—they had got up again, were flourishing; they, Jenks felt satisfied, would not show the "white feather," and the thought came to him, in his prison, as merrily as the reverse of that fond hope made him sad and sorrowful, when at the close of day, his attorney informed him, that Perkins & Ball regretted his perplexing situation, but proffered him no aid or comfort. They said, sad experience had shown them, that there were no "bowels of compassion" in the world for the fallen; men must trust to fortune, God, and their own exertions, to defeat ill luck and rise from difficulties; they had done so; Mr. Jenks must not despair, but surmount his misfortunes with a stout heart and a clear conscience, and profit, as they had, by reverses!
"Profit!" said Jenks, in a bitter tone, "profit by reverses as they have!"
"Why, Powers," he continued to his counsel, "do you know that if I had been a tithe part as base and conscienceless as they are now, Perkins & Ball would be beggars, if not inmates of this prison! Yes, sir, my casting vote, of all the rest, would have done it. But no matter; I had hoped to find, in a community where I had been useful, generous and just, friends enough for all practical purposes, without carrying my business difficulties to the fireside of my parents and other relations. But that I must do now; if, if they fail me, then—— I cave!"
Two days after that conference of the lawyer and the merchant, "honest John" learned, with sorrow, that his father was dead; estate involved, and his friends at home in no favorable mood in reference to what they heard of John Jenks and his "bad management" in the city.
John Jenks—heard no more—he "caved!" as he agreed to.
We pass over Jenks' Smithsonian difficulty, which a prudent lawyer and discerning jury brought out all right.
We come to 1850—some fifteen or eighteen years after John Jenks "caved." The John Jenks of 183- had been ruined by his good nature, set adrift moneyless, in a manner, with even a spotted reputation to begin with; he "profited by his reverses," he was now a man of family—fifty, fat, and wealthy, and altogether the meanest and most selfish man you ever saw!
Jenks freely admits his originality is entirely—"used up!" The reader may affix the moral of my sketch—at leisure.
The Greatest Moral Engine.
Say what you will, it's no use talking, poverty is more potent and powerful, as a moral engine, than all the "sermons and soda water," law, logic, and prison discipline, ever started. All a man wants, while he has a chance to be honest, and to get along smoothly, is a good situation and two dollars a day; give him five dollars a day, and he gets lazy and careless; while at ten, or a hundred a day, he is sure to cultivate beastly feeling, eat and sleep to stupefaction, become a roue, or a rotten politician. A poor man, in misery, applies to God for consolation, while a rich man applies to his banker, and tries on a "bender," or goes on a tour to Europe, and studies foreign folly and French license. Poverty is great; in a Christian community, or a thriving village, it is equal to "martial law," in suppressing moral rebellion and keeping down the "dander!" And how faithful, too, is poverty, says Dr. Litterage, for it sticks to a man after all his friends and the rest of mankind have deserted him!
The Story of Capt. Paul.
I love to speak, I love to write of the mighty West. I have passed ten happy and partly pleasant years travelling over the immense tracts of land of the West and South. I have, during that time, garnered up endless themes for my pen. It was my custom, during my travels, to keep a "log," as the mariners have it, and at the close of the day I always noted the occurrences that transpired with me or others, when of interest, and opportunities were favorable to do so.
Several years ago I was stopping at Vevay, Indiana, a small village on the Ohio river, waiting for a steamboat to touch there and take me up to Louisville, Ky. It was in the fall of the year, water was very low, and but few boats running. Shortly after breakfast, I took my rifle and ammunition and started down along the river to amuse myself, and kill time by hunting. Game was scarce, and after strolling along until noon, I got tired and came out to the river to see if any boats were in sight, as well as take shelter from a heavy shower of rain that had come on. I sought an immense old tree, whose broad crown and thick foliage made my shelter as dry as though under a roof, and here I sat down, bending my eyes along the placid, quiet and noble river, until I was quite lost in silent reverie. The rain poured down, and presently I heard a footstep approaching from the woods behind, and at the same moment a rough, curly dog came smelling along towards me. The dog came up to within a few rods of me and stopped, took a grin at me and then disappeared again. But my further anxiety was soon relieved by the appearance of a tall, gaunt man, dressed in the usual costume of a western woodsman, jean trowsers, hunting shirt, old slouched felt hat, rifle, powder horn, bullet pouch, and sheath knife. He was an old man, face sallow and wrinkled, and hair quite a steelish hue.
"Mornin', stranger," said he; "rayther a wet day for game?"
I replied in the affirmative, and welcomed him to my shelter. Having taken a seat near me, on the fallen trunk of a small tree, the old man, half to himself and partly to me, sighed—
"Ah! yes, yes, our day is fast gwoin over; an entire new set of folks will soon people this country, and the old settler will be all gone, and no more thought of."
"I imagine," said I, interrupting his soliloquy, "that you are an old settler, and have noted vast, wonderful changes here in the Ohio Valley?"
"Wonderful; yes, yes, stranger, thar you're right; I have seen wonderful changes since I first squatted 'yer, thirty-five years ago. Every thing changes about one so, that I skearse know the old river any more. 'Yer they've brought their steamboats puffin', and blowin', and skeerin' off the game, fish, and alligators. 'Yer they've built thar towns and thar store houses, and thar nice farm houses, and keep up sich a clatter and noise among 'em all, that one fond of our old quiet times in the woods, goes nigh bein' distracted with these new matters and folks."
"Well," said I, "neighbor, you old woodsmen will have to do as the Indians have done, and as Daniel Boone did, when the advancing axe of civilization, and the mighty steam and steel arms of enterprise and improvement make the varmints leave their lairs, and the air heavy and clamorous with the gigantic efforts of industry, genius, and wealth, you must fall back. Our territories are boundless, and there are yet dense forests, woods, and wilds, where the Indian, lone hunter, and solitary beast, shall rove amid the wild grandeur of God's infinite space for a century yet to come."
"Ah, yes, yes, young man; I should have long since up stakes and rolled before this sweeping tide of new settlers, only I can't bar to leave this tract 'yer; no, stranger, I can't bar to do it."
"Doubtless," I replied; "one feels a strong love for old homes, a lingering desire to lay one's bones to their final resting place, near a spot and objects that life and familiarity made dear."
"Yes, yes, stranger, that's it, that's it. But look down thar—thar's what makes this spot dear to me—thar, do you see yon little hillock—yon little mound? Thar's what keeps old Tom Ward 'yer for life."
The old man seemed deeply affected, and sighed heavily, as he wiped the moisture from his eyes with the back of his hand. I gazed down towards the spot he had called my attention to, and there I beheld, indeed, something resembling a solitary and lonely grave; wild flowers bloomed around it, and a flat stone stood at the head, and a small stake at the foot.
"'Tisn't often one comes this way to ask the question, and the Lord knows, stranger, I'm always willing to tell the sad story of that lonely grave. Well, well, it's no use to grieve always, the red whelps have paid well for thar doins, and now, but few of 'em are spared to repent—the Lord forgive 'em all," to which I involuntarily echoed—"Amen!"
"Well, stranger, you see, about five-and-thirty years ago, I left Western Virginia to come down 'yer in the Ohio valley. I well remember the first glimpse I got of this stream; it war a big stream to me, and I gloried in the sight of it. Thar war but few settlements then upon its banks, and thar war none of your roarin', splashin' steamboats about; but I like the steamboats—thar grand creatures, and go it like high-mettled horses. Well, I war a young man then; me and my brother and our old mother joined in with a neighbor, built a family boat, put in our goods, and started off down the stream, towards the lower part thar of Kentucky.
"Captain Paul, our neighbor, war an old woodsman, though he war a young man; he had a wife and several fine, growin' children along with us, and our journey for many days war prosperous and pleasant. Capt. Paul's wife's sister war along with us, a fine young creature she war too. My brother and her I always carc'lated would make a match of it when we reached our journey's end; but poor Ben, God bless the boy, he little dreampt he'd be cut off so soon in the prime of life, and leave his bones 'yer to rot. I war young too, then, and little thought I should ever come to be this old, withered-up creature you see me now, stranger."
"Why, you appear to be a hearty, hale man yet," said I, encouraging the old man to proceed in his narrative, "and no doubt shoot as well and see as keenly and far as ever?"
"Ay, ay, I can drive a centre purty well yet; but my hand begins to tremble sometimes, and I'm failing—yes, yes, I know I'm failing. But, to go on with my story: I acted as sort of pilot. Then the country were yet pretty full of Ingins, and mighty few cabins war made along the river in them times. The whites and red-skins war eternally fighting. I won't say which war to blame; the whites killed the creatures off fast enough, and the Ingins took plenty of scalps and war cruel to the white man whenever they fastened on him.
"Our old ark or boat war well loaded down; a few loose boards served as a shelter from the sun and rain, and a few planks spiked to the sides 'bove water, kept the swells from rollin' in on us. Two black boys helped the captain and I to manage the boat, and an old black woman waited on the wimin folks and did the cooking.
"You see yon pint thar, up the river?" continued the narrator, pointing his long, bony finger towards a great bend, and a point on the Kentucky side of the stream.
"Yes," I replied, "I see it distinctly."
"Well, it war thar, or jest above thar, about sunset of a pleasant day, that we came drifting along with our flat-boat, or broad horn, as they were called in them days, when Captain Paul said he thought it would be a snug place just behind the pint, to tie up to them same big trees yet standin' thar as they did then. Ben, poor Ben and I concluded too, it would be a clever place to camp for the night; so we headed the boat in—for, you see, we always kept in the middle of the stream, as near as possible, to keep clear of the red skins who committed a mighty heap of depredations upon the movers and river traders, by decoyin' the boat on shore, or layin' in ambush and firin' their rifles at the incautious folks in the boats that got too nigh 'em. Guina and Joe, the two black boys, rowed enough to get around the pint. We had no fear of the Ingins, as we expected we war beyond thar haunts just thar; mother war gettin' out the supper things, and Captain Paul's wife and sister were nestling away the children. Just then, as we got cleverly under the lee of the shore thar, I heard a crack like a dry stick snappin' under foot—
"'Thar's a deer or bar,' said the captain.
"'Hold on your oars,' says I—'boys, I don't like that—it 'tain't a deer's tread, nor a bar's nether,' says I.
"By this time we had got within thirty yards of the bank—another slight noise—the bushes moved, and I sung out—'Ingins, by the Lord! back the boat, back, boys, back!'
"Poor Ben snatched up his rifle, so did the captain; but before we could get way on the boat, a band of the bloody devils rushed out and gave us a volley of shouts and shower of balls, that made these hills and river banks echo again. Poor Ben fell mortally wounded and bleeding, into the bottom of the boat; two of the captain's children were killed, his wife wounded, and a bullet dashed the cap off my head.
"I shouted to the boys to pull, and soon got out of reach of the Ingins. They had no canoes, bein' only a scoutin' war party; they could not reach us. The wounded horses and cows kicked and plunged among the goods, the wimin and children screamed.
"Oh! stranger, it war a frightful hour; one I shall remember to my dyin' day, as it war only yesterday I saw and heard it. It war now dark, the boat half filled with water, my brother dyin', Captain Paul nerveless hangin' over his wife and children, cryin' like a whipped child. I still clung on to my oar, and made the poor blacks pull for this side of the river, as fast and well as thar bewildered and frightened senses allowed 'em.
"My poor mother leaned over poor Ben. She held his head in her lap; she opened his bosom and the blood flowed out. He still breathed faintly—
"'Benjamin, my son,' said she, 'do you know me?'
"'Mother,' he breathed lowly. Mother tried to have him drink a cup of water from the river, but he war past nourishment—and she asked him if he knew he war dyin'?
"He gasped, 'Yes, mother, and may the Lord our God in heaven be merciful to me, thus cut from you and life, mother—'
"'God's will be done,' cried my mother, as the pale face of her darlin' boy fell upon her hand—he was gone.
"We reached shore, but dar not kindle a light, for fear the Ingins might be prowlin' about on this side; yes, under this very tree, did we 'camp that gloomy night. The whole of us, livin', dead, and wounded, lay 'yer, fearin' even to weep aloud. About midnight, I took the two blacks, and we dug yon grave and laid poor Ben in it, and the two children by his side. It war an awful thing—awful to us all; and our sighs and sobs, mingled with the prayers of the old mother, went to God's footstool, I'm sure. We made such restin' places as circumstances permitted. I lay down, but the cries of poor Captain Paul's wife and sister, cries of the two survivin' children, and moans of us all, made sleep a difficult affair. By peep of day I went down to the grave, and thar sat the old mother. She had sat thar the live-long night; the sudden shock had been too much for her.
"Two days afterwards the grave was opened and enlarged, and received two more bodies, the wife of Captain Paul, and our kind, good old mother. Thirty-five years have now passed. Could I leave this place? No; not a day at a time have I missed seeing the grave, when within miles of it. No, here must I rest too."
The old man seemed deeply affected. I could not refrain from taking up the thread of his narrative to inquire what had become of Captain Paul and his wife's sister.
"Well, poor thing, you see it war natural enough for her to love her sister's children, and the captain, he couldn't help lovin' her too, for that. The captain settled down here, about two miles back, and in a few years the sister-in-law and he war man and wife, and a kind, good old wife she is too. I've 'camped with 'em ever since, and with 'em I'll die, and be put thar—thar, to rest in that little mound with the rest. But I must bide my time, stranger—we must all bide our time. Now, stranger, I've told you my sad story, I must ax a favor. Seeing as you are a town-bred person, perhaps a preacher, I want you to kneel down by that grave and make a prayer. I feel that it is a good thing to pray, though we woods people know but little about it."
I told him I was not a minister in the common acceptation of the term, but considering we all are God's ministers that study God's will and our own duty to man, I could pray, did pray, and left the poor woodsman with an exalted feeling, I hope, of divine and infinite grace to all who seek it.
A boat touched Vevay that evening, and I left, deeply impressed with this little story.
Meanness is as natural to some people, as gutta percha beefsteaks in a cheap boarding-house. Schoodlefaker says he saw a striking instance in Quincy market last Saturday. An Irish woman came up to a turkey merchant, and says she—
"What wud yees be after axin' for nor a chicken like that?"
"That's a turkey, not a chicken," says the merchant.
"Turkey? Be dad an' it's a mighty small turkey—it's stale enough, too, I'd be sworn; poor it is, too! What'd yees ax for 'un?"
"Well, seein' it's pooty nigh night, and the last I've got, I'll let you have it for two and six."
"Two and six? Hoot! I'd give yees half a dollar fur it, and be dad not another cint."
"Well," says the satisfied poultry merchant, "take it along; I won't dicker for a cent or two."
Mrs. Doolygan paid over the half, boned the turkey, and went on her way quite elated with the brilliancy of her talents in financiering! There's one merit in meanness, if it disgusts the looker-on, it never fails to carry a pleasing sensation to the bosom of the gamester.
Nights with the Caucusers.
Office-Seeking has become a legitimatized branch of our every-day business, as much so as in former times "reduced gentlemen" took to keeping school or posting books. In former times, men took to politics to give zest to a life already replete with pecuniary indulgences, as those in the "sere and yellow leaf" are wont to take to religion as a solacing comfort against things that are past, and pave the way to a very desirable futurity. But now, politicians are of no peculiar class or condition of citizens; the success of a champion depends not so much upon the matter, as upon the manner, not upon the capital he may have in real estate, bank funds or public stocks, but upon the fundamental principle of "confidence," gutta percha lungs and unmistakable amplitude of—brass and bravado! If any man doubts the fact, let him look around him, and calculate the matter. Why is it that lawyers are so particularly felicitous in running for, securing, and usurping most of all the important or profitable offices under government? Lungs—gutta percha lungs and everlasting impudence, does it. A man might as well try to bail out the Mississippi with a tea-spoon, or shoot shad with a fence-rail, as to hope for a seat in Congress, merely upon the possession of patriotic principles, or double-concentrated and refined integrity. Why, if George Washington was a Virginia farmer to-day, his chance for the Presidency wouldn't be a circumstance to that of Rufus Choate's, while there is hardly a lawyer attached to the Philadelphia bar that would not beat the old gentleman out of his top boots in running for the Senate! But we'll cut "wise saws" for a modern instance; let us attend a small "caucus" where incipient Demostheneses, Ciceros, and Mark Antonies most do congregate, and see things "workin'." It is night, a ward meeting of the unterrified, meat-axe, non-intervention—hats off—hit him again—butt-enders, have called a meeting to caucus for the coming fall contest. "Owing to the inclemency of the weather," and other causes too tedious to mention, of some eight hundred of the unterrified, non-intervention—Cuban annexation—Wilmot proviso, compromise, meat-axe, hats off—hit him again—butt-enders—only eighty attend the call. Of these eighty faithful, some forty odd are on the wing for office; one at least wants to work his way up to the gubernatorial chair, five to the Senate, ten to the "Assembly," fifteen to the mayoralty, and the balance to the custom house.
Now, before the "curtain rises," little knots of the anxious multitude are seen here and there about the corners of the adjacent neighborhood and in the recesses of the caucus chamber, their heads together—caucusing on a small scale.
"Flambang, who'd you think of puttin' up to-night for the Senate, in our ward?" asks a cadaverous, but earnest unterrified, of a brother in the same cause.
"Well, I swan, I don't know; what do you think of Jenkins?"
"Jenkins?" leisurely responded the first speaker; "Jenkins is a pooty good sort of a man, but he ain't known; made himself rather unpop'ler by votin' agin that grand junction railroad to the north pole bill, afore the Legislature, three years ago; besides he's served two years in the Legislature, and been in the custom house two years; talks of going to California or somewhere else, next spring—so I-a, I-a—don't think much of Jenkins, anyhow!"
"Well, then," says Flambang, "there's Dr. Rhubarb; what do you think of him? He's a sound unterrified, good man."
"A—ye-e-e-s, the doctor's pooty good sort of a man, but I don't think its good policy to run doctors for office. If they are defeated it sours their minds equal to cream of tartar; it spiles their practice, and 'tween you and I, Flambang, if they takes a spite at a man that didn't vote for 'em, and he gets sick, they're called in; how easy it is for 'em to poison us!"
"Good gracious!—you don't say so?"
"I don't say, of course I don't say so of Dr. Rhubarb. I only supposed a case," replied the wily caucuser.
"A case? Yes-s-s; a feller would be a case, under them circumstances. I'm down on doctors, then, Twist; but what do you say to Blowpipes? He's one of our best speakers—"
"Gas!" pointedly responded Twist.
"Gas? Well, you voted for him last year, when he run for Congress; you were the first man to nominate him, too!"
"So I was, and I voted for him, drummed for him, fifed and blowed; that was no reason for my thinking him the best man we had for the office. He's a demagogue, an ambitious, sly, selfish feller, as we could skeer up; but, he was in our way, we couldn't get shut of him; I proposed the nomination, and tried to elect him, so that we should get him out of the way of our local affairs, and more deserving and less pretendin' men could get a chance, don't you see? Now, Flambang, you're the man I'm goin' in for to-night!"
"Me! Mr. Twist? Why, bless your soul, I don't want office!"
"Come, now, don't be modest. I'll lay the ground-work, you'll be nominated—I'll not be known in it—you'll get the nomination—called out for a speech—so be on the trigger—give 'em a rouser, and you're in!"
Poor Flambang, a modest, retiring man, peaceable proprietor of a small shop, in which, by the force of prudence and economy, he has laid up something, has a voice among his fellow-citizens and some influence, but would as soon attempt to carry a blazing pine knot into a powder magazine, or "ship" for a missionary to the Tongo Islands, as to run for the Legislature and make a speech in public! Twist knows it; he guesses shrewdly at the effect.
"Why don't you run?" says Flambang, after many efforts to get his breath.
"Me? Well, if you don't want to run."
"Run? I would as soon think of jumping over the moon, as running for office!" answers Flambang. "But I thank you, thank you kindly, for your good intentions, for your confidence(!), Twist, and whatever good I can do for you, I'll do, and—"
Twist having secured the first step to his plot, enters the caucus chamber in deep and earnest consultation with Flambang, and while preparations are being made to "histe the rag," he is seen making converts to his sly purposes, upon the same principle by which he converted his modest friend, Flambang.
"Who are you going in for to-night?" asks another "ambitious for distinction" unterrified of "a brother."
"Well, I don't know; it's hard to tell; good many wants to be nominated, and good many more than will be," was the cogent reply.
"That's a fact!" was the equally clear response. "But 'tween you and I, Pepper—I'd like to get the nomination for the Senate myself!"
"Yes, sir; why shouldn't I? Hain't I stood by the party?"
"Well, and hain't I stood by it, hung by it, fastened to it?"
"Pepper, you have; so have I; now, I'll tell you what I'll do. You hang by me, for the Senate, and I'll go in for you for the House."
"Agreed; hang by 'em, give 'em a blast, first opening, and while you are fifing away for me, I'll go around for you, Captain Johns."
"Flammer, you going to go in for Smithers, to-night?" asks another of "the party," of a confederate.
"Smithers? I don't know about that; I don't think he's the right kind of a man for mayor, any how; do you?"
"Well, you know he's an almighty peart chap in talkin', and I guess he'll be elected, if he's nominated and goes around speaking; but here he is; let's feel his pulse." After a confab of some minutes between Flammer, Smithers, and Skyblue, things seem to be fixed to mutual satisfaction, and something is "dropped" about "go in for me for the Mayoralty, I'll go in for you for the Senate," etc.
"Don't let on, that I'm anxious, at all, you know," says Smithers, to which the two allies Skyblue and Flammer respond—"O, of course not!"
Now the curtain rises, the meeting's organized, with as much formality, fuss and fungus as the opening of the House of Parliament; soon is heard the work of balloting for nominations, and soon it is known that Twist is the man for the Senate—this calls Twist out; he spreads—feels overpowered—this unexpected (!) event—attending as a spectator, not anticipating any thing for himself—proud of the unexpected honor—had long served as a private in the ranks of the unterrified—die in the front of battle, if his friends thought proper, etc., etc. And Twist falls back, mid great applause of the multitude, to give way to Capt. Johns, who also felt overpowered by the unexpected rush of honor put upon him, in connecting his name with the senatorial ticket. He was proud of being thought capable of serving his country, etc., etc.; gave his friend Pepper "a first-rate notice." Pepper was nominated, made a speech, and so highly piled up the agony in favor of Smithers, that Smithers was nominated—made a speech in favor of Skyblue and Flammer, upon the force of which both were nominated—the wheel within a wheel worked elegant; and the organs next day were sublimely eloquent upon the result of the grand caucus—candidates—unanimity—etc., etc., of these subterranean politicians. So are our great men manufactured for the public.
A hard-fisted "old hunker," who has made $30,000 in fifty-one years, by saving up rags, old iron, bones, soap-grease, snipping off the edges of halves, quarters, and nine-pences, raised the whole neighborhood t'other evening. He came across a full-faced Spanish ninepence, and in an attempt to extract the jaw-teeth of the head, the poor thing squealed so, that the bells rang, and the South End watchmen hollered fire for about an hour! This "old gentleman" has a way of sweating the crosses from a smooth fourpence, and makes them look so bran new, that he passes them for ten cent pieces! One case of his benevolence is "worthy of all praise;" he recently gave away to a poor Irishman's family, a bunch of cobwebs, and an old hat he had worn since the battle of Bunker Hill; upon these bounties the Irishman started into business; he boiled the hunker's hat, and it yielded a bar of soap and a dozen tallow candles! If old Smearcase continues to fool away his hard-earned wealth in that manner, his friends ought to buy an injunction on his will!
The Wolf Slayer.
In 1800 the most of the State of Ohio, and nearly all of Indiana, was a dense wilderness, where the gaunt wolf and naked savage were masters of the wild woods and fertile plains, which now, before the sturdy blows of the pioneer's axe, and the farmer's plough, has been with almost magical effect converted into rich farms and thriving, beautiful villages.
In the early settlement of the west, the pioneers suffered not only from the ruthless savage, but fearfully from the wolf. Many are the tales of terror told of these ferocious enemies of the white man, and his civilization. Many was the hunter, Indian as well as the Angle-Saxon, whose bones, made marrowless by the prowling hordes of the dark forest, have been scattered and bleached upon the war-path or Indian trail of the back-woods. In 1812-13, my father was contractor for the north-western army, under command of Gen. Wm. Henry Harrison. He supplied the army with beef; he bought up cattle along the Sciota valley and Ohio river, and drove them out to the army, then located at Sandusky. Chillicothe, then, was a small settlement on the Sciota river, and protected by a block house or rude fort, in which the inhabitants could scramble if the Indians made their appearance. My father resided here, and having collected a large drove of cattle, he set out up the valley with a few mounted men as a kind of guard to protect the drove against the prowling minions of Tecumseh.
The third day out, late in the afternoon, being very warm weather, there arose a most terrific thunder-storm; the huge trees, by the violence of the wind and sharp lightning, were uprooted and rent into thousands of particles, and the panic-stricken herd scattered in every direction. I have seen the havoc made in forests through which one of these tornadoes has taken its way, or I should be incredulous to suppose whole acres of trees, hundreds of years old, could be torn up, or snapped off like reeds upon the river side.
The fury of the whirlwind seemed to increase as the night grew darker, until cattle, men and horses, were killed, crippled and dispersed. My father crawled under the lee of a large sycamore that had fell, and here, partly protected from the rain and falling timber, he lay down. I have camped out some, and can readily anticipate the comfort of the old gentleman's situation, and not at all disposed was he to go to sleep mounted upon such guard.
At length the work of destruction and ruin being done, the storm abated, the rain ceased to pour and the winds to wag their noisy tongues so furiously. A wolf howl, and of all fearful howls, or yelps uttered by beasts of prey, none can, I think, be more alarming and terrific to the ear than the wolf howl as he scents carnage. A wolf howl broke fearfully upon the drover's ear as he lay crouched beneath the sycamore. It was a familiar sound, and therefore, and then the more dreadful. The drover carried a good Yeager rifle, knife, and pistols, but a man laden with arms in the midst of a troop of famished wolves, was as helpless as the tempest-tossed mariner in the midst of the ocean's storm. The howl had scarcely echoed over the dark wood, before it was answered by dozens on every side! And as the drover's keen eye pierced the gloom around him, the dancing, fiery glare of the wolf's eyes met his wistful gaze.
The forest now resounded with the maddened banqueting beast, and as the glaring eyes came nearer and nearer, the drover hugged his Yeager tightly, and prepared to defend life while yet it lasted. Suddenly the sharp crack of a rifle was heard, and then a loud scream or cry of terror burst upon the air, a rushing sound, a man pursued by a troop of wolves fled by the drover and his cover; scream after scream rent the air, and the drover knew that a companion had fell a victim to the wolf in his attempt at self-defence. The night was a long one, and thus, among the savage beasts, a fearful one. The report of another rifle again broke upon the ear, and again, and again did the hunting iron speak, and the wolf howl salute it. A pair of eyes glared hurriedly upon the drover, and he could not resist the desire to use his Yeager, and the wolf taking the contents of the rifle in his mouth, rolled over, while a score rushed up to fill his place. Oh! how dreadful must have been the suspense and feelings of the drover as he lay crouched under the old tree, surrounded by this horde of glaring eyes, his ears split with their awful howl, and their hot and venomous breath fairly in his face! But the wolf is a base coward, and will not meet a man eye to eye, and so protected lay the drover, with his clenched teeth and unquivering eye, that the wolf had no chance to attack, but by rushing up to his very front. The red tongue lapped, the fierce teeth were arrayed and the demon eyes glaring, but the drover quailed not, and the cowardly wolf stood at bay. The sharp crack of the distant rifle still smote upon the air and the loud howl still went up over the forest around. The first faint streaks that deck the sky at morn, the fresh breath of coming day caught the keen scent of the bloody prowlers, and they began to skulk off. The drover gave the retreating cowards a farewell shot from his pistols, tumbled a lank, grey demon over, and the wolf howl soon died off in the distance.
Daylight now appeared, and the drover crawled from his lair. His loud whoop! to the disbanded men and drove was answered by the neigh of a horse, who came galloping up, and proved to be his own good hunter, who seemed happy indeed to meet his master. Another whoop-e brought a responsive shout, and finally four men out of the twelve, with seven horses and a few straggling cattle, were mustered. The forest was strewn with torn carcasses of cattle and horses, mostly killed by the falling timber, and partly devoured by the ravenous wolves. A few hundred yards from the tree where the drover lay, was found a few fragments of clothes, the knife and rifle, and a half-eaten body of one of the soldiers. He had fought with the desperation of a mad man, and the dead and crippled wolves lay as trophies around the bold soldier. In a hollow near the river they found a horse and man partly eaten up, and several cattle that had apparently been hotly pursued and torn to death by the rapacious beasts. They started out in search of the spot from whence the drover had heard the firing in the night. They soon discovered the place; at the foot of a large dead sycamore stump, some twelve feet high lay the carcasses of a dozen or twenty wolves. Each wolf had his scalp neatly taken off, and his head elaborately bored by the rifle ball. An Indian ladder, that is, a scrubby saplin', trimmed with footholds left on it, was laying against the old tree, at the top of which was a sort of a rude scaffold, contrived, evidently, by a hunter. At a distance, in a hollow, was seen a great profusion of wolf skulls and bones, but no sign of a human being could there be traced. The party made a fire, and as beef lay plenty around, they regaled themselves heartily, after their night of horror and disaster. Having finished their repast, they separated, each taking different courses to hunt and drive up such of the stray cattle as could be found. My father, whom I have designated as the drover, pursued his way over the vast piles of fallen, tangled timber, leaping from one tree to the other. As he was about to throw himself over the trunk of a mighty prostrate oak, he found himself within two feet of one of the largest and most ferocious wolves that ever expanded its broad jaws and displayed its fierce tushes to the eye of man. Both parties were taken so suddenly by surprise, by this collision, that they seemed to be rooted to the spot without power to move. I have heard of serpents charming birds, said the drover, but I never believed in the theory until I found myself fairly magnetized by this great she-wolf. The wolf stood and snarled with its golden fiery eye bent upon the drover, who never moved his steady gaze from the wolf's face.
There is not a beast in existence that will attack a man if he keeps his eyes steady upon the animal, but will cower and sneak off, and so did the wolf. But no sooner had she turned her head and with a howl started off, than a blue pill from the drover's Yeager split her skull, and brought her career to a speedy termination.
A shout so peculiar to the lusty lungs of the western hunter made the welkin ring again, and as the astonished drover turned towards the shouter, he beheld a sight that proved quite as formidable as the wolf he had just slain.
"Well done, stranger; you're the man for me; I like you. That shot done my heart good, though I was about to do the old she devil's business for ye, seeing as you war sort o' close quartered with the varmint."
"Thank you," responded the drover, addressing the speaker, a tall, gaunt, iron-featured, weather-beaten figure, with long grey hair, and a rude suit of wolf-skin clothing, cap and moccasins. He held in his long arms a large rifle, a knife in his belt, and a powder horn slung over his side. He seemed the very patriarch of the woods, but good humored, and with his rough hilarity soon explained his presence there.
"Well, stranger," said he, "you have had a mighty chance of bad luck yer last night, and I never saw them cursed varmints so crazy afore."
"Do you live in these parts?" inquired the drover.
"Ha! ha! yes, yes," replied the hunter. "I live yer, I live anywhar's whar wolf can be found. But you don't know me, I reckon, stranger?"
"I do not," said the drover.
"Ha! ha! well, that's quare, mighty quare. I thought thar warn't a man this side the blue ridge but what knows me and old kit here, (his rifle.) Well, seeing you are a stranger, I'll just take that old sarpent's top-knot off, and have a talk with ye."
With this introductory of matters, the hunter in the wolf-skins scalped the wolf, and tucking the scalp in his belt, motioned the drover to follow. He led the way in deep silence some half a mile to a small stream, down which they proceeded for some distance, until they came to a low and rudely-constructed cabin. Here the hunter requested the drover to take a seat on a log, in front of the cabin, while he entered through a small aperture in his hut, and brought forth a pipe, tobacco, and some dried meat. These dainties being discussed, old Nimrod the mean time kept chuckling to himself, and mumbling over the idea that there should be a white man or Ingin this side the blue ridge that didn't know him.
"Ha! ha! well, well, I swar, it is curious, stranger, that you don't know me, me that kin show more Ingin skelps than any white man that ever trod these war paths; me, who kin shoot more wolves and fetch in more of the varmints' skelps in one night than any white man or Ingin that ever trod this wilderness. But I'm gittin' old, very old, forgotten, and here comes a white man clean and straight from the settlements and he don't know me; I swar I've lived to be clean ashamed o' myself." And with this soliloquy, half to himself and partly addressed to the drover, the old hunter seemed almost fit to cry, at his imaginary insignificance and dotage.
"But, friend," said the drover, "as you have not yet informed me by what name I may call you—"
"Call me, stranger? why I am"—and here his eyes glared as he threw himself into a heroic attitude—"Chris Green, old Chris Green, the wolf slayer! But, God bless ye, stranger, p'r'aps you're from t'other side the ridge, and don't know old Chris's history."
"That I frankly admit," replied the drover.
"Well, God bless ye, I love my fellow white men, yes, I do, though I live yer by myself, and clothe myself with the varmints' skins, go but seldom to the settlements, and live on what old kit thar provides me.
"Well, stranger, my history's a mighty mournful one, but as yer unlucky like myself and plenty of business to 'tend to 'fore night, I'll make my troubles short to ye.
"Well, you see about thirty years ago, I left the blue ridge with a party of my neighbors to come down yer in the Sciota country, to see it, and lay plans to drive the cussed red skins clean out of it. Well, the red skins appeared rather quiet, what few we fell in with, and monstrous civil. But cuss the sarpints, there's no more dependence to be put in 'em than the cantankerous wolves, and roast 'em, I always sets old kit talkin' Dutch to them varmints, the moment I claps eyes on 'em. The wolf's my nat'ral inimy—I'd walk forty miles to git old kit a wolf skelp. Well, we travelled all over the valley, and we gin it as our opinion that the Sciota country was the garden spot o' the world, and if we could only defend ourselves 'gainst the inimy we should move right down yer at once. We went back home, and the next spring a hull settlement on us came down yer. My neighbors thought it best for us all to settle down together at Chillicothe, whar a few Ingin huts and cabins war. I had a wife, and son and da'ter; now, stranger, I loved 'em as dearer to me 'nor life or heart's blood itself. Well, the red skins soon began to show their pranks—they stole our cre'ters (horses), shot down our cattle, and made all manner o' trouble for the little settlement. At last I proposed we should build a clever-sized block house, strong and stanch, in which our wimen folks and children, with a few men to guard 'em, could hold out a few days, while a handful o' us scoured Paint hills and the country about, and peppered a few of the cussed red devils. We had been out some four or five days when we fell in with the inimy; it war just about sunset, and the red skins war camped in a hollow close by this spot. We intended to let 'em get through their smoking and stretch themselves for the night, and then squar our accounts with 'em. Stranger, I've lived in these woods thirty years, I never saw such a hurricane as we had yer last night, 'cept once. The night we lay in ambush for the Ingins, six-and-twenty years ago, thar came up a hurricane, the next mornin' eleven of the bodies of my neighbors lay crushed along the bottom yer, and for a hundred miles along the Sciota, whar the hurricane passed, the great walnuts and sycamore lay blasted, root and branch, just as straight as ye'd run a bee line; no timber grow'd upon these bottoms since. Five on us escaped the hurricane, but before day we fell in with a large party of red skins, and we fought 'em like devils; three on us fell; myself and the only neighbor left war obliged to fly to the hills. I made my way to the settlement.