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Title: Nature and Human Nature
Author: Haliburton, Thomas Chandler
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Nature and Human Nature" ***

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                       NATURE AND HUMAN NATURE


                                  by


                      Thomas Chandler Haliburton



                                 1855



                 Hominem, pagina nostra sapit.--MART


             Eye nature's walks, shoot folly as it flies,
           And catch the manners living as they rise.--POPE



CONTENTS


I. A SURPRISE

II. CLIPPERS AND STEAMERS

III. A WOMAN'S HEART

IV. A CRITTER WITH A THOUSAND VIRTUES AND BUT ONE VICE

V. A NEW WAY TO LEARN GAELIC

VI. THE WOUNDS OF THE HEART

VII. FIDDLING AND DANCING, AND SERVING THE DEVIL

VIII. STITCHING A BUTTON-HOLE

IX. THE PLURAL OF MOOSE

X. A DAY ON THE LAKE.--PART I

XI. A DAY ON THE LAKE.--PART II

XII. THE BETROTHAL

XIII. A FOGGY NIGHT

XIV. FEMALE COLLEGES

XV. GIPSEYING

XVI. THE WORLD BEFORE THE FLOOD

XVII. LOST AT SEA

XVIII. HOLDING UP THE MIRROR

XIX. THE BUNDLE OF STICKS

XX. TOWN AND COUNTRY

XXI. THE HONEYMOON

XXII. A DISH OF CLAMS

XXIII. THE DEVIL'S HOLE; OR, FISH AND FLESH

XXIV. THE CUCUMBER LAKE

XXV. THE RECALL



                              CHAPTER I.

                             A SURPRISE.


Thinks I to myself, as I overheard a person inquire of the servant at
the door, in an unmistakeable voice and tone, "Is the Squire to hum?"
that can be no one else than my old friend Sam Slick the Clockmaker.
But it could admit of no doubt when he proceeded, "If he is, tell him
I am here."

"Who shall I say, Sir?"

The stranger paused a moment, and then said, "It's such an everlastin'
long name, I don't think you can carry it all to wunst, and I don't
want it broke in two. Tell him it's a gentleman that calculates to
hold a protracted meeten here to-night. Come, don't stand starin'
there on the track, you might get run over. Don't you hear the engine
coming? Shunt off now."

"Ah, my old friend," said I, advancing, and shaking him by the hand,
"how are you?"

"As hearty as a buck," he replied, "though I can't jist jump quite so
high now."

"I knew you," I said, "the moment I heard your voice, and if I had not
recognised that, I should have known your talk."

"That's because I am a Yankee, Sir," he said, "no two of us look
alike, or talk alike; but being free and enlightened citizens, we jist
talk as we please."

"Ah, my good friend, you always please when you talk, and that is more
than can be said of most men."

"And so will you," he replied, "if you use soft sawder that way. Oh,
dear me! it seems but the other day that you laughed so at my theory
of soft sawder and human natur', don't it? They were pleasant days,
warn't they? I often think of them, and think of them with pleasure
too. As I was passing Halifax harbour, on my way hum in the 'Black
Hawk,' the wind fortunately came ahead, and thinks I to myself, I will
put in there, and pull foot1 for Windsor and see the Squire, give him
my Journal, and spend an hour or two with him once more. So here I am,
at least what is left of me, and dreadful glad I am to see you too;
but as it is about your dinner hour I will go and titivate up a bit,
and then we will have a dish of chat for desert, and cigars, to remind
us of by-gones, as we stroll through your shady walks here."


1 The Americans are not entitled to the credit or ridicule, whichever
people may be disposed to bestow upon them, for the extraordinary
phrases with which their conversation is occasionally embellished.
Some of them have good classical authority. That of "pull-foot" may be
traced to Euripides, [Greek text].


My old friend had worn well; he was still a wiry athletic man, and his
step as elastic and springy as ever. The constant exercise he had been
in the habit of taking had preserved his health and condition, and
these in their turn had enabled him to maintain his cheerfulness and
humour. The lines in his face were somewhat deeper, and a few
straggling grey hairs were the only traces of the hand of time. His
manner was much improved by his intercourse with the great world; but
his phraseology, in which he appeared to take both pride and pleasure,
was much the same as when I first knew him. So little indeed was he
changed, that I could scarcely believe so many years had elapsed since
we made our first tour together.

It was the most unexpected and agreeable visit. He enlivened the
conversation at dinner with anecdotes that were often too much for the
gravity of my servant, who once or twice left the room to avoid
explosive outbreaks of laughter. Among others, he told me the
following whimsical story.

"When the 'Black Hawk' was at Causeau, we happened to have a queer
original sort of man, a Nova Scotia doctor, on board, who joined our
party at Ship Harbour, for the purpose of taking a cruise with us. Not
having anything above particular to do, we left the vessel and took
passage in a coaster for Prince Edward's Island, as my commission
required me to spend a day or two there, and inquire about the
fisheries. Well, although I don't trade now, I spekelate sometimes
when I see a right smart chance, and especially if there is fun in the
transaction. So, sais I, 'Doctor, I will play possum1 with these
folks, and take a rise out of them, that will astonish their weak
narves, I know, while I put several hundred dollars in my pocket at
the same time.' So I advertised that I would give four pounds ten
shillings for the largest Hackmetack knee in the island, four pounds
for the second, three pounds ten shillings for the third, and three
pounds for the fourth biggest one. I suppose, Squire, you know what a
ship's knee is, don't you? It is a crooked piece of timber, exactly
the shape of a man's leg when kneeling. It forms two sides of a
square, and makes a grand fastening for the side and deck beams of a
vessel.


1 The opossum, when chased by dogs, will often pretend to be dead, and
thus deceives his pursuers.


"'What in the world do you want of only four of those knees?' said the
Doctor.

"'Nothing,' said I, 'but to raise a laugh on these critters, and make
them pay real handsome for the joke.'

"Well, every bushwhacker and forest ranger in the island thought he
knew where to find four enormous ones, and that he would go and get
them, and say nothing to nobody, and all that morning fixed for the
delivery they kept coming into the shipping place with them. People
couldn't think what under the light of the living sun was going on,
for it seemed as if every team in the province was at work, and all
the countrymen were running mad on junipers. Perhaps no livin' soul
ever see such a beautiful collection of ship-timber afore, and I am
sure never will again in a crow's age. The way these 'old oysters' (a
nick-name I gave the islanders, on account of their everlastin' beds
of this shell-fish) opened their mugs and gaped was a caution to dying
calves.

"At the time appointed, there were eight hundred sticks on the ground,
the very best in the colony. Well, I went very gravely round and
selected the four largest, and paid for them cash down on the nail,
according to contract. The goneys seed their fix, but didn't know how
they got into it. They didn't think hard of me, for I advertised for
four sticks only, and I gave a very high price for them; but they did
think a little mean of themselves, that's a fact, for each man had but
four pieces, and they were too ridiculous large for the thunderin'
small vessels built on the island. They scratched their heads in a way
that was harrowing, even in a stubble field.

"'My gracious,' sais I, 'hackmetacks, it seems to me, is as thick in
this country as blackberries in the Fall, after the robins have left
to go to sleep for the winter. Who on earth would have thought there
was so many here? Oh, children of Israel! What a lot there is, ain't
there? Why, the father of this island couldn't hold them all.'

"'Father of this island,' sais they, 'who is he?'

"'Why,' sais I, 'ain't this Prince Edward's?'

"'Why, yes,' sais they, looking still more puzzled.

"'Well,' sais I, 'in the middle of Halifax harbour is King George's
Island, and that must be the father of this.'

"Well if they could see any wit in that speech, it is more than I
could, to save my soul alive; but it is the easiest thing in the world
to set a crowd off a tee-heeing. They can't help it, for it is
electrical. Go to the circus now, and you will hear a stupid joke of
the clown; well, you are determined you won't laugh, but somehow you
can't help it no how you can fix it, although you are mad with
yourself for doing so, and you just roar out and are as big a fool as
all the rest.

"Well it made them laugh, and that was enough for me.

"Sais I, 'the wust of it is, gentlemen, they are all so shocking
large, and there is no small ones among them; they can't be divided
into lots, still, as you seem to be disappointed, I will make you an
offer for them, cash down, all hard gold.' So I gave them a bid at a
very low figure, say half nothing, 'and,' sais I, 'I advise you not to
take it, they are worth much more, if a man only knows what to do with
them. Some of your traders, I make no manner of doubt, will give you
twice as much if you will only take your pay in goods, at four times
their value, and perhaps they mightent like your selling them to a
stranger, for they are all responsible government-men, and act
accordin' 'to the well understood wishes of the people.' I shall sail
in two hours, and you can let me know; but mind, I can only buy all or
none, for I shall have to hire a vessel to carry them. After all,'
sais I, 'perhaps we had better not trade, for,' taking out a handful
of sovereigns from my pocket, and jingling them, 'there is no two ways
about it; these little fellows are easier to carry by a long chalk
than them great lummokin' hackmetacks. Good bye, gentlemen.'

"Well, one of the critters, who was as awkward as a wrong boot, soon
calls out, 'woh,' to me, so I turns and sais 'well, "old hoss," what
do you want?' At which they laughed louder than before.

"Sais he, 'we have concluded to take your offer.'

"'Well,' sais I, 'there is no back out in me, here is your money, the
knees is mine.' So I shipped them, and had the satisfaction to oblige
them, and put two hundred and fifty pounds in my pocket. There are
three things, Squire, I like in a spekelation:--First. A fair shake;
Second. A fair profit; and Third, a fair share of fun."

In the course of the afternoon, he said, "Squire, I have brought you
my Journal, for I thought when I was a startin' off, as there were
some things I should like to point out to my old friend, it would be
as well to deliver it myself and mention them, for what in natur' is
the good of letter writing? In business there is nothing like a good
face to face talk. Now, Squire, I am really what I assume to be--I am,
in fact, Sam Slick the Clockmaker, and nobody else. It is of no
consequence however to the world whether this is really my name or an
assumed one. If it is the first, it is a matter of some importance to
take care of it and defend it; if it is a fictitious one, it is
equally so to preserve my incognito. I may not choose to give my card,
and may not desire to be known. A satirist, like an Irishman, finds it
convenient sometimes to shoot from behind a shelter. Like him, too, he
may occasionally miss his shot, and firing with intent to do bodily
harm is almost as badly punished as if death had ensued. And besides,
an anonymous book has a mystery about it. Moreover, what more right
has a man to say to you, 'Stand and deliver your name,' than to say,
'Stand and fork out your purse'--I can't see the difference for the
life of me. Hesitation betrays guilt. If a person inquires if you are
to home, the servant is directed to say No, if you don't want to be
seen, and choose to be among the missing. Well, if a feller asks if I
am the Mr Slick, I have just as good a right to say, 'Ask about and
find out.'

"People sometimes, I actilly believe, take you for me. If they do, all
I have to say is they are fools not to know better, for we neither act
alike, talk alike, nor look alike, though perhaps we may think alike
on some subjects. You was bred and born here in Nova Scotia, and not
in Connecticut, and if they ask you where I was raised, tell them I
warn't raised at all, but was found one fine morning pinned across a
clothes line, after a heavy washing to hum. It is easy to distinguish
an editor from the author, if a reader has half an eye, and if he
hain't got that, it's no use to offer him spectacles, that's a fact.
Now, by trade I am a clockmaker, and by birth I have the honour to be
a Yankee. I use the word honour, Squire, a purpose, because I know
what I am talking about, which I am sorry to say is not quite so
common a thing in the world as people suppose. The English call all us
Americans, Yankees, because they don't know what they are talking
about, and are not aware that it is only the inhabitants of New
England who can boast of that appellation.1


1 Brother Jonathan is the general term for all. It originated thus.
When General Washington, after being appointed commander of the army
of the Revolutionary War, came to Massachusetts to organize it, and
make preparations for the defence of the country, he found a great
want of ammunition and other means necessary to meet the powerful foe
he had to contend with, and great difficulty to obtain them. If
attacked in such condition, the cause at once might be hopeless. On
one occasion at that anxious period, a consultation of the officers
and others was had, when it seemed no way could be devised to make
such preparations as was necessary. His Excellency Jonathan Trumbull,
the elder, was then Governor of the State of Connecticut, on whose
judgment and aid the General placed the greatest reliance, and
remarked, "We must consult 'Brother Jonathan' on the subject. The
General did so, and the Governor was successful in supplying many of
the wants of the army. When difficulties arose, and the army was
spread over the country, it became a by-word, "We must consult Brother
Jonathan." The term Yankee is still applied to a portion, but "Brother
Jonathan" has now become a designation of the whole country, as John
Bull is for England.--BARTLETT'S AMERICANISMS.


"The southerners, who are both as proud and as sarcy as the British,
call us Eastern folk Yankees as a term of reproach, because having no
slaves, we are obliged to be our own niggers and do our own work,
which is'nt considered very genteel, and as we are intelligent,
enterprising, and skilful, and therefore too often creditors of our
more luxurious countrymen, they do not like us the better for that,
and not being Puritans themselves, are apt to style us scornfully,
those 'd--d Yankees.'

"Now all this comes of their not knowing what they are talking about.
Even the New Englanders themselves, cute as they be, often use the
word foolishly; for, Squire, would you believe it, none of them,
though they answer to and acknowledge the appellation of Yankee with
pride, can tell you its origin. I repeat, therefore, I have the honour
to be a Yankee. I don't mean to say that word is 'all same,' as the
Indians say, as perfection; far from it, for we have some
peculiarities common to us all. Cracking and boasting is one of these.
Now braggin' comes as natural to me as scratchin' to a Scotchman. I am
as fond of rubbing myself agin the statue of George the Third, as he
is of se-sawing his shoulders on the mile-stones of the Duke of
Argyle. Each in their way were great benefactors, the one by teaching
the Yankees to respect themselves, and the other by putting his
countrymen in an upright posture of happiness. So I can join hands
with the North Briton, and bless them both.

"With this national and nateral infirmity therefore, is it to be
wondered at if, as my 'Sayings and Doings' have become more popular
than you or I ever expected, that I should crack and boast of them? I
think not. If I have a claim, my role is to go ahead with it. Now
don't leave out my braggin', Squire, because you are afraid people
will think it is you speaking, and not me, or because you think it is
bad taste as you call it. I know what I am at, and don't go it--blind.
My Journal contains much for my own countrymen as well as the English,
for we expect every American abroad to sustain the reputation in
himself of our great nation.

"Now our Minister to Victoria's Court, when he made his brag speech to
the great agricultural dinner at Gloucester last year, didn't intend
that for the British, but for us. So in Congress no man in either
house can speak or read an oration more than an hour long, but he can
send the whole lockrum, includin' what he didn't say, to the papers.
One has to brag before foreign assemblies, the other before a
Congress, but both have an eye to the feelings of the Americans at
large, and their own constituents in particular. Now that is a trick
others know as well as we do. The Irish member from Kilmany, and him
from Kilmore, when he brags there never was a murder in either, don't
expect the English to believe it, for he is availed they know better,
but the brag pleases the patriots to home, on account of its
impudence.

"So the little man, Lord Bunkum, when he opens Oxford to Jew and
Gentile, and offers to make Rothschild Chancellor instead of Lord
Derby, and tells them old dons, the heads of colleges, as polite as a
stage-driver, that he does it out of pure regard to them, and only to
improve the University, don't expect them to believe it; for he gives
them a sly wink when he says so, as much as to say, how are you off
for Hebrew, my old septuagenarians? Droll boy is Rothey, for though he
comes from the land of Ham, he don't eat pork. But it pleases the
sarcumsised Jew, and the unsarcumsised tag-rag and bobtail that are to
be admitted, and who verily do believe (for their bump of conceit is
largely developed) that they can improve the Colleges by granting
educational excursion tickets.

"So Paddy O'Shonnosey the member for Blarney, when he votes for
smashing in the porter's lodges of that Protestant institution, and
talks of Toleration and Equal Rights, and calls the Duke of Tuscany a
broth of a boy, and a light to illumine heretical darkness, don't talk
this nonsense to please the outs or ins, for he don't care a snap of
his finger for either of them, nor because he thinks it right, for
it's plain he don't, seeing that he would fight till he'd run away
before Maynooth should be sarved arter that fashion; but he does it,
because he knows it will please him, or them, that sent him there.

"There are two kinds of boastin', Squire, active and passive. The
former belongs exclusively to my countrymen, and the latter to the
British. A Yankee openly asserts and loudly proclaims his superiority.
John Bull feels and looks it. He don't give utterance to this
conviction. He takes it for granted all the world knows and admits it,
and he is so thoroughly persuaded of it himself, that, to use his own
favourite phrase, he don't care a fig if folks don't admit it. His
vanity, therefore, has a sublimity in it. He thinks, as the Italians
say, 'that when nature formed him, she broke the mould.' There never
was, never can, and never will be, another like him. His boastin',
therefore, is passive. He shows it and acts it; but he don't proclaim
it. He condescends and is gracious, patronizes and talks down to you.
Let my boastin' alone therefore, Squire, if you please. You know what
it means, what bottom it has, and whether the plaster sticks on the
right spot or not.

"So there is the first division of my subject. Now for the second. But
don't go off at half-cock, narvous like. I am not like the black
preacher that had forty-eleven divisions. I have only a few more
remarks to make. Well, I have observed that in editin' my last
Journal, you struck out some scores I made under certain passages and
maxims, because you thought they were not needed, or looked vain. I
know it looks consaited as well as you do, but I know their use also.
I have my own views of things. Let them also be as I have made them.
They warn't put there for nothin'. I have a case in pint that runs on
all fours with it, as brother Josiah the lawyer used to say, and if
there was anythin' wantin' to prove that lawyers were not strait up
and down in their dealings, that expression would show it.

"I was to court wunst to Slickville, when he was addressin' of the
jury. The main points of his argument he went over and over again,
till I got so tired I took up my hat and walked out. Sais I to him,
arter court was prorogued and members gone home,

"'Sy,' sais I, 'why on airth did you repeat them arguments so often?
It was everlastin' yarny.'

"'Sam,' sais he, and he gave his head a jupe, and pressed his lips
close, like a lemon-squeezer, the way lawyers always do when they want
to look wise, 'when I can't drive a nail with one blow, I hammer away
till I do git it in. Some folks' heads is as hard as hackmetacks--you
have to bore a hole in it first to put the nail in, to keep it from
bendin', and then it is as touch as a bargain if you can send it home
and clinch it.'

"Now maxims and saws are the sumtotalisation of a thing. Folks won't
always add up the columns to see if they are footed right, but show
'em the amount and result, and that they are able to remember and
carry away with them. No--no, put them Italics in, as I have always
done. They show there is truth at the bottom. I like it, for it's what
I call sense on the short-cards--do you take? Recollect always, you
are not Sam Slick, and I am not you. The greatest compliment a
Britisher would think he could pay you, would be to say, 'I should
have taken you for an Englishman.' Now the greatest compliment he can
pay me is to take me for a Connecticut Clockmaker, who hoed his way up
to the Embassy to London, and preserved so much of his nationality,
after being so long among foreigners. Let the Italics be--you ain't
answerable for them, nor my boastin' neither. When you write a book of
your own, leave out both if you like, but as you only edit my Journal,
if you leave them out, just go one step further, and leave out Sam
Slick also.

"There is another thing, Squire, upon which I must make a remark, if
you will bear with me. In my last work you made me speak purer English
than you found in my Journal, and altered my phraseology, or rather my
dialect. Now, my dear Nippent--"

"Nippent!" said I, "what is that?"

"The most endearing word in the Indian language for friend," he said,
"only it's more comprehensive, including ally, foster-brother,
life-preserver, shaft-horse, and everything that has a human tie in
it."

"Ah, Slick," I said, "how skilled you are in soft sawder! You laid
that trap for me on purpose, so that I might ask the question, to
enable you to throw the lavender to me."

"Dod drot that word soft sawder," said he, "I wish I had never
invented it. I can't say a civil thing to anybody now, but he looks
arch, as if he had found a mare's nest, and says, 'Ah, Slick! none of
your soft sawder now.' But, my dear nippent, by that means you destroy
my individuality. I cease to be the genuine itinerant Yankee
Clockmaker, and merge into a very bad imitation. You know I am a
natural character, and always was, and act and talk naturally, and as
far as I can judge, the little alteration my sojourn in London with
the American embassy has made in my pronunciation and provincialism,
is by no means an improvement to my Journal. The moment you take away
my native dialect, I become the representative of another class, and
cease to be your old friend 'Sam Slick, the Clockmaker.' Bear with me
this once, Squire, and don't tear your shirt, I beseech you, for in
all probability it will be the last time it will be in your power to
subject me to the ordeal of criticism, and I should like, I confess,
to remain true to myself and to Nature to the last.

"On the other hand, Squire, you will find passages in this Journal
that have neither Yankee words nor Yankee brag in them. Now pray don't
go as you did in the last, and alter them by insarten here and there
what you call 'Americanisms,' so as to make it more in character and
uniform; that is going to t'other extreme, for I can write as pure
English, if I can't speak it, as anybody can.1 My education warn't a
college one, like my brothers, Eldad's and Josiah's, the doctor and
lawyer; but it was not neglected for all that. Dear old Minister was a
scholar, every inch of him, and took great pains with me in my themes,
letters, and composition. 'Sam,' he used to say, 'there are four
things needed to write well: first, master the language grammatically;
second, master your subject; third, write naturally; fourth, let your
heart as well as your hand guide the pen.' It ain't out of keeping
therefore for me to express myself decently in composition if I
choose. It warn't out of character, with Franklin, and he was a poor
printer boy, nor Washington, and he was only a land-surveyor, and they
growed to be 'some punkins' too.


1 The reader will perceive from a perusal of this Journal, that Mr
Slick, who is always so ready to detect absurdity in others, has in
this instance exhibited a species of vanity by no means uncommon in
this world. He prides himself more on composition, to which he has but
small pretensions, than on those things for which the public is
willing enough to give him full credit. Had he however received a
classical education, it may well be doubted whether he would have been
as useful or successful a man as President of Yale College, as he has
been as an itinerant practical Clockmaker.


"An American clockmaker ain't like a European one. He may not be as
good a workman as t'other one, but he can do somethin' else besides
makin' wheels and pulleys. One always looks forward to rise in the
world, the other to attain excellence in his line. I am, as I have
expressed it in some part of this Journal, not ashamed of having been
a tradesman--I glory in it; but I should indeed have been ashamed if,
with the instruction I received from dear old Minister, I had always
remained one. No, don't alter my Journal. I am just what I am, and
nothing more or less. You can't measure me by English standards; you
must take an American one, and that will give you my length, breadth,
height, and weight to a hair. If silly people take you for me, and put
my braggin' on your shoulders, why jist say, 'You might be mistakened
for a worse fellow than he is, that's all.' Yes, yes, let my talk
remain 'down-east talk,'1 and my writin' remain clear of cant terms
when you find it so.


1 It must not be inferred from this expression that Mr Slick's talk is
all "pure down-east dialect." The intermixture of Americans is now so
great, in consequence of their steamers and railroads, that there is
but little pure provincialism left. They have borrowed from each other
in different sections most liberally, and not only has the vocabulary
of the south and west contributed its phraseology to New England, but
there is recently an affectation in consequence of the Mexican war, to
naturalise Spanish words, some of which Mr Slick, who delights in this
sort of thing, has introduced into this Journal.--ED.


"I like Yankee words--I learned them when young. Father and mother
used them, and so did all the old folks to Slickville. There is both
fun, sense, and expression in 'em too, and that is more than there is
in Taffy's, Pat's, or Sawney's brogue either. The one enriches and
enlarges the vocabulary, the other is nothing but broken English, and
so confoundedly broken too, you can't put the pieces together
sometimes. Again, my writing, when I freeze down solid to it, is just
as much in character as the other. Recollect this--Every woman in our
country who has a son knows that he may, and thinks that he will,
become President of the United States, and that thought and that
chance make that boy superior to any of his class in Europe.

"And now, Squire," said he, "I believe there has been enough said
about myself and my Journal. Sposen we drink success to the 'human
nature,' or 'men and things,' or whatever other name you select for
this Journal, and then we will talk of something else."

"I will drink that toast," I said, "with all my heart, and now let me
ask you how you have succeeded in your mission about the fisheries?"

"First rate," he replied; "we have them now, and no mistake!"

"By the treaty?" I inquired.

"No," he said, "I have discovered the dodge, and we shall avail of it
at once. By a recent local law foreigners can hold real estate in this
province now. And by a recent Act of Parliament our vessels can obtain
British registers. Between these two privileges, a man don't deserve
to be called an American who can't carry on the fisheries in spite of
all the cruisers, revenue officers, and prohibitary laws under the
sun. It is a peaceable and quiet way of getting possession, and far
better than fighting for them, while it comports more with the dignity
of our great and enlightened nation."

"What do you think," I said, "of the Elgin treaty as a bargain?"

After some hesitation, he looked up and smiled.

"We can't complain," said he. "As usual we have got hold of the right
eend of the rope, and got a vast deal more than we expected. The truth
is, the English are so fond of trade, and so afraid of war, if we will
only give them cotton, and flour at a fair price, and take their
manufactures in return, we can bully them into anythin' almost. It is
a positive fact, there were fifty deserters from the British army
taken off of the wreck of the 'San Francisco,' and carried to England.
John Bull pretended to wink at it, hired a steamer, and sent them all
out again to us. Lord! how our folks roared when they heard it; and as
for the President, he laughed like a hyena over a dead nigger. Law
sakes alive man! Make a question between our nation and England about
fifty desarters, and if the ministers of the day only dared to talk of
fighting, the members of all the manufactoren towns in England, the
cottonocracy of Great Britain, would desert too!

"It's nateral, as an American, I should be satisfied with the treaty;
but I'll tell you what I am sorry for. I am grieved we asked, or your
Governor-General granted, a right to us to land on these shores and
make our fish. Lord Elgin ought to have known that every foot of the
sea-coast of Nova Scotia has been granted, and is now private
property.

"To concede a privilege to land, with a proviso to respect the rights
of the owner, is nonsense. This comes of not sending a man to
negociate who is chosen by the people, not for his rank, but for his
ability and knowledge. The fact is, I take blame to myself about it,
for I was pumped who would do best and be most acceptable to us
Americans. I was afeared they would send a Billingsgate contractor,
who is a plaguy sight more posted up about fisheries than any member
of parliament, or a clever colonist (not a party man), and they know
more than both the others put together; and I dreaded if they sent
either, there would be a quid pro quo, as Josiah says, to be given,
afore we got the fisheries, if we ever got them, at all. 'So,' sais I,
out of a bit of fun, for I can't help taken a rise out of folks no how
I can fix it, 'send us a lord. We are mighty fond of noblemen to
Washington, and toady them first-rate. It will please such a man as
Pierce to show him so much respect as to send a peer to him. He will
get whatever he asks.'

"Well, they fell into the trap beautiful. They sent us one, and we
rowed him up to the very head waters of Salt River in no time.1 But I
am sorry we asked the privilege to land and cure fish. I didn't think
any created critter would have granted that. Yes, I foresee trouble
arising out of this. Suppose 'Cayenne Pepper,' as we call the captain
that commanded the 'Cayenne' at Grey Town, was to come to a port in
Nova Scotia, and pepper it for insultin' our flag by apprehenden
trespassers (though how a constable is to arrest a crew of twenty men
unless, Irishman like, he surrounds them, is a mystery to me). What
would be done in that case? Neither you nor I can tell, Squire. But
depend upon it, there is a tempestical time comin', and it is as well
to be on the safe side of the fence when there is a chance of kicking
going on.


1 To row up Salt River is a common phrase, used generally to denote
political defeat. The distance to which a party is rowed up Salt River
depends entirely upon the magnitude of the majority against him. If
the defeat is overwhelming, the unsuccessful party is said "to be
rowed up to the very head waters of Salt River." The phrase has its
origin in the fact that there is a small stream of that name in
Kentucky, the passage of which is made difficult and laborious, as
well by its tortuous course as by numerous shallows and bars. The real
application of the phrase is to the unhappy wight who propels the
boat, but politically, in slang usage, it means the man rowed up, the
passenger--I. INMAN.


"The bombardment of Grey Town was the greatest and bravest exploit of
modern times. We silenced their guns at the first broadside, and shut
them up so sudden that envious folks like the British now swear they
had none, while we lost only one man in the engagement, but he was
drunk and fell overboard. What is the cannonade of Sebastopool to
that? Why it sinks into insignificance."

He had hardly ceased speaking, when the wheels of a carriage were
heard rapidly approaching the door. Taking out his watch, and
observing the hour, he said: "Squire, it is now eleven o'clock. I must
be a movin'. Good bye! I am off to Halifax. I am goin' to make a night
flight of it. The wind is fair, and I must sail by daylight to-morrow
morning. Farewell!"

He then shook hands most cordially with me, and said: "Squire, unless
you feel inclined at some future day to make the tour of the States
with me, or somethin' turns up I am not availed of, I am afraid you
have seen the last Journal of your old friend 'Sam Slick.'"



                             CHAPTER II.

                        CLIPPERS AND STEAMERS.


Whoever has taken the trouble to read the "Wise Saws" of Mr Slick,
will be prepared to resume the thread of his narrative without
explanation, if indeed these unconnected selections deserve the
appellation. But as this work may fall into the hands of many people
who never saw its predecessor, it may be necessary to premise that our
old friend Sam, having received a commission from the President of the
United States, to visit the coast of Nova Scotia, and report to him
fully on the state of the fisheries, their extent and value, the
manner in which they were prosecuted, and the best mode of obtaining a
participation in them, he proceeded on his cruise in a trading vessel,
called the "Black Hawk," whereof Timothy Cutler was master, and Mr
Eldad Nickerson the pilot. The two preceding volumes contained his
adventures at sea, and in the harbours of the province, to the
westward of Halifax. The present work is devoted to his remarks on
"nature and human nature."

While amusing himself fishing within three miles of the coast, off La
Haive, in contravention of the treaty, he narrowly escaped capture by
the British cruiser "Spitfire," commanded by Captain Stoker. By a
skilful manoeuvre, he decoyed the man-of-war, in the eagerness of the
chase, on to a sand-bar, when he dexterously slipt through a narrow
passage between two islands, and keeping one of them in a line between
the "Black Hawk" and her pursuer, so as to be out of the reach of her
guns, he steered for the eastern shore of Nova Scotia, and was soon
out of sight of the islands behind which his enemy lay embedded in the
sand; from this point the narrative is resumed in Mr Slick's own
words.1


1 His remarks on the fisheries I have wholly omitted, for they have
now lost their interest. His observations on "nature and human nature"
are alone retained, as they may be said to have a universal
application.--ED.


"I guess," said I, "Captain, the 'Spitfire' will have to put into
Halifax to report herself and be surveyed, so we may pursue our course
in peace. But this 'Black Hawk' is a doll, ain't she? don't she skim
over the water like a sea gull? The truth is, Cutler, when you ain't
in a hurry, and want to enjoy yourself at sea, as I always do, for I
am a grand sailor, give me a clipper. She is so light and buoyant, and
the motion so elastic, it actilly exilerates your spirits. There is
something like life in her gait, and you have her in hand like a
horse, and you feel as if you were her master, and directed her
movements. I ain't sure you don't seem as if you were part of her
yourself. Then there is room to show skill and seamanship, and if you
don't in reality go as quick as a steamer, you seem to go faster, if
there is no visible object to measure your speed by, and that is
something, for the white foam on the leeward side rushes by you in
rips, raps, and rainbows like Canadian rapids.

"Then if she is an atrysilly1 like this, and she is doing her
prettiest, and actilly laughs again, she is so pleased, why you are
satisfied, for you don't make the breeze, you take it as you find it,
like all other good gifts of Providence, and say, 'ain't she going
like wink, how she forges ahead, don't she?' Your attention is kept
alive, too, watchin' the wind, and trimmin' sail to it accordingly,
and the jolly 'Oh, heave oh,' of the sailors is music one loves to
listen to, and if you wish to take a stretch for it in your cloak on
deck, on the sunny or shady side of the companion-way, the breeze
whistles a nice soft lullaby for you, and you are off in the land of
Nod in no time."


1 The Atricilla, or laughing sea-gull. Its note resembles a coarse
laugh. Hence its name. It is very common in the Bahamas.


"Dreaming of Sophy Collingwood," sais the Captain, "and the witch of
Eskisooney, eh?"

"Yes, dreamin' of bright eyes and smilin' faces, or anythin' else
that's near and dear, for to my idea, the heart gives the subject for
the head to think upon. In a fair wind and a charmin' day like this, I
never coiled up on the deck for a nap in my life, that I had'nt
pleasant dreams. You feel as if you were at peace with all the world
in general, and yourself in partikeler, and that it is very polite of
folks to stay to home ashore, and let you and your friends enjoy
yourselves without treadin' on your toes, and wakin' of you up if
asleep, or a jostlin' of you in your turn on the quarter-deck, or
over-hearin' of your conversation.

"And ain't you always ready for your meals, and don't you walk into
them in rael right down earnest? Oh, nothing ever tastes so good to me
as it does at sea. The appetite, like a sharp knife, makes the meat
seem tender, and the sea air is a great friend of digestion, and
always keeps company with it. Then you don't care to sit and drink
after dinner as you do at an hotel of an idle day, for you want to go
on deck, light your cigar, take a sweep round the horizon with your
glass to see if there is any sail in sight, glance at the sky to
ascertain if the breeze is likely to hold, and then bring yourself to
anchor on a seat, and have a dish of chat for a dessert with the
captain, if he is a man of books like you, Cutler, or a man of reefs,
rocks, and sandbars, fish, cordwood, and smugglin', or collisions,
wracks, and salvage, like the pilot.

"Then, if you have a decent sample or two of passengers on board, you
can discuss men and things, and women and nothings, law, physick, and
divinity, or that endless, tangled ball of yarn, politicks, or you can
swap anecdotes, and make your fortune in the trade. And by the same
trail of thought we must give one or two of these Blue-Noses now and
then a cast on board with us to draw them out. "Well, if you want to
read, you can go and turn in and take a book, and solitudinise to it,
and there is no one to disturb you. I actilly learned French in a
voyage to Calcutta, and German on my way home. I got enough for common
use. It warn't all pure gold; but it was kind of small change, and
answered every purpose of trade or travel. Oh, it's no use a talkin';
where time ain't the main object, there's nothin' like a sailin'
vessel to a man who ain't sea-sick, and such fellows ought to be
cloriformed, put to bed, and left there till the voyage is over. They
have no business to go to sea, if they are such fools as not to know
how to enjoy themselves.

"Then sailors are characters; they are men of the world, there is
great self-reliance in them. They have to fight their way in life
through many trials and difficulties, and their trust is in God and
their own strong arm. They are so much in their own element, they seem
as if they were born on the sea, cradled on its billows, and, like
Mother Carey's chickens, delighted in its storms and mountain waves.
They walk, talk, and dress differently from landsmen. They straddle as
they pace the deck, so as to brace the body and keep their trowsers up
at the same time; their gait is loose, and their dress loose, and
their limbs loose; indeed, they are rather too fond of slack. They
climb like monkeys, and depend more on their paws than their legs.
They tumble up, but never down. They count, not by fingers, it is
tedious, but by hands; they put a part for the whole, and call
themselves hands, for they are paid for the use of them, and not their
heads.

"Though they are two-handed they are not close-fisted fellows. They
despise science, but are fond of practical knowledge. When the sun is
over the foreyard, they know the time of day as well as the captain,
and call for their grog, and when they lay back their heads, and turn
up the bottom of the mug to the sky, they call it in derision taking
an observation. But though they have many characteristics in common,
there is an individuality in each that distinguishes him from the
rest. He stands out in bold relief--I by myself, I. He feels and
appreciates his importance. He knows no plural. The word 'our' belongs
to landsmen; 'my' is the sailor's phrase--my ship, my captain, my
messmate, my watch on deck, 'my eyes!' 'you lubber, don't you know
that's me?' I like to listen to their yarns and their jokes, and to
hear them sing their simple ditties. The odd mixture of manliness and
childishness--of boldness and superstitious fears; of preposterous
claims for wages and thoughtless extravagance; of obedience and
discontent--all goes to make the queer compound called 'Jack.' How
often have I laughed over the fun of the forecastle in these small
fore and aft packets of ourn! and I think I would back that place for
wit against any bar-room in New York or New Orleans, and I believe
they take the rag off of all creation.

"But the cook is my favourite. He is a scientific man, and so skilful
in compounds, he generally goes by the name of doctor. I like the
daily consultation with him about dinner: not that I am an epicure;
but at sea, as the business of life is eating, it is as well to be
master of one's calling. Indeed, it appears to be a law of nature,
that those who have mouths should understand what to put in them. It
gratifies the doctor to confer with him, and who does it not please to
be considered a man of importance? He is therefore a member of the
Privy Council, and a more useful member he is too than many Right
Honourables I know of--who have more acres than ideas. The Board
assembles after breakfast, and a new dish is a great item in the
budget. It keeps people in good humour the rest of the day, and
affords topics for the table. To eat to support existence is only fit
for criminals. Bread and water will do that; but to support and
gratify nature at the same time is a noble effort of art, and well
deserves the thanks of mankind. The cook too enlivens the consultation
by telling marvellous stories about strange dishes he has seen. He has
eaten serpents with the Siamese, monkeys in the West Indies,
crocodiles and sloths in South America, and cats, rats, and dogs with
the Chinese; and of course, as nobody can contradict him, says they
are delicious. Like a salmon, you must give him the line, even if it
wearies you, before you bag him; but when you do bring him to land his
dishes are savoury. They have a relish that is peculiar to the sea,
for where there is no garden, vegetables are always most prized. The
glorious onion is duly valued, for as there is no mistress to be
kissed, who will dare to object to its aroma?

"Then I like a Sunday at sea in a vessel like this, and a day like
this, when the men are all clean and tidy, and the bell rings for
prayers, and all hands are assembled aft to listen to the captain as
he reads the Church Service. It seems like a family scene. It reminds
me of dear old Minister and days gone by, when he used to call us
round him, and repeated to us the promise 'that when two or three were
gathered together in God's name, he would grant their request.' The
only difference is, sailors are more attentive and devout than
landsmen. They seem more conscious that they are in the Divine
presence. They have little to look upon but the heavens above and the
boundless ocean around them. Both seem made on purpose for them--the
sun to guide them by day, and the stars by night, the sea to bear them
on its bosom, and the breeze to waft them on their course. They feel
how powerless they are of themselves; how frail their bark; how
dependent they are on the goodness and mercy of their Creator, and
that it is He alone who can rule the tempest and control the stormy
deep. Their impressions are few, but they are strong. It is the world
that hardens the heart, and the ocean seems apart from it.

"They are noble fellows, sailors, and I love them; but, Cutler, how
are they used, especially where they ought to be treated best, on
board of men-of-war? The moment a ship arrives in port, the anchor
cast and the sails furled--what dees the captain do? the popular
captain too, the idol of the men; he who is so kind and so fond of
them? Why, he calls them aft, and says, 'Here, my lads, here is lots
of cash for you, now be off ashore and enjoy yourselves.' And they
give three cheers for their noble commander--their good-hearted
officer--the sailor's friend--the jolly old blue jacket,--and they
bundle into the boats, and on to the beach, like school-boys. And
where do they go? Well, we won't follow them, for I never was in them
places where they do go, and so I can't describe them, and one thing I
must say, I never yet found any place answer the picture drawn of it.
But if half only of the accounts are true that I have heerd of them,
they must be the devil's own seminaries of vice--that's a fact. Every
mite and morsel as bad as the barrack scenes that we read of lately.

"Well, at the end of a week back come the sailors. They have had a
glorious lark and enjoyed themselves beyond anything in the world, for
they are pale, sick, sleepy, tired out, cleaned out, and kicked out,
with black eyes, broken heads, swelled cheeks, minus a few teeth, half
their clothes, and all their money.

"'What,' says the captain, 'what's the matter with you, Tom Marlin,
that you limp so like a lame duck?'

"'Nothing, your honour,' says Tom, twitching his forelock, and making
a scrape with his hind leg, 'nothing, your honour, but a scratch from
a bagganet.'

"'What! a fight with the soldiers, eh? The cowardly rascals to use
their side arms!'

"'We cleared the house of them, Sir, in no time.'

"'That's right. Now go below, my lads, and turn in and get a good
sleep. I like to see my lambs enjoy themselves. It does my heart
good.'

"And yet, Cutler, that man is said to be a father to his crew."

"Slick," said Cutler, "what a pity it is you wouldn't always talk that
way!" Now if there is any created thing that makes me mad, it is to
have a feller look admiren at me, when I utter a piece of plain common
sense like that, and turn up the whites of his eyes like a duck in
thunder, as much as to say, what a pity it is you weren't broughten up
a preacher. It ryles me considerable, I tell you.

"Cutler," said I, "did you ever see a colt in a pasture, how he would
race and chase round the field, head, ears, and tail up, and stop
short, snort as if he had seen the ghost of a bridle, and off again
hot foot?"

"Yes," said he, "I have, but you are not a colt, nor a boy either."

"Well, did you ever see a horse when unharnessed from a little, light
waggon, and turned out to grass, do nearly the same identical thing,
and kick up his heels like mad, as much as to say, I am a free nigger
now?"

"Well, I have," said he.

"Stop," said I, a touchin' of him on his arm; "what in the world is
that?" and I pointed over the taffrail to the weather-bow.

"Porpoises," said he.

"What are they a doin' of?"

"Sportin' of themselves."

"Exactly," sais I, "and do you place man below the beasts of the field
and the fishes of the sea? What in natur' was humour given to us for
but for our divarsion? What sort of a world would this be if every
fellow spoke sermons and talked homilies, and what in that case would
parsons do? I leave you to cypher that out, and then prove it by
algebra; but I'll tell you what they wouldn't do, I'll be hanged if
they'd strike for higher wages, for fear they should not get any at
all."

"I knock under," said he; "you may take my hat; now go on and finish
the comparison between Clippers and Steamers."

"Well," sais I, "as I was a sayin', Captain, give me a craft like
this, that spreads its wings like a bird, and looks as if it was born,
not made, a whole-sail breeze, and a seaman every inch of him like you
on the deck, who looks you in the face, in a way as if he'd like to
say, only bragging ain't genteel, Ain't she a clipper now, and ain't I
the man to handle her? Now this ain't the case in a steamer. They
ain't vessels, they are more like floating factories; you see the
steam machines and the enormous fires, and the clouds of smoke, but
you don't visit the rooms where the looms are, that's all. They plough
through the sea dead and heavy, like a subsoiler with its eight-horse
team; there is no life in 'em; they can't dance on the waters as if
they rejoiced in their course, but divide the waves as a rock does in
a river; they seem to move more in defiance of the sea than as if they
were in an element of their own.

"They puff and blow like boasters braggin' that they extract from the
ocean the means to make it help to subdue itself. It is a war in the
elements, fire and water contendin' for victory. They are black,
dingy, forbiddin' looking sea monsters. It is no wonder the
superstitious Spaniard, when he first saw one, said: 'A vessel that
goes against the tide, and against the wind, and without sails, goes
against God,' or that the simple negro thought it was a sea-devil.
They are very well for carrying freight, because they are beasts of
burden, but not for carrying travellers, unless they are mere birds of
passage like our Yankee tourists, who want to have it to say I was
'thar.' I hate them. The decks are dirty; your skin and clothes are
dirty; and your lungs become foul; smoke pervades everythin', and now
and then the condensation gives you a shower of sooty water by way of
variety, that scalds your face and dyes your coat into a sort of
pepper-and-salt colour.

"You miss the sailors, too. There are none on board--you miss the nice
light, tight-built, lathy, wiry, active, neat, jolly crew. In their
place you have nasty, dirty, horrid stokers; some hoisting hot cinders
and throwing them overboard (not with the merry countenances of
niggers, or the cheerful sway-away-my-boys expression of the Jack Tar,
but with sour, cameronean-lookin' faces, that seem as if they were
dreadfully disappointed they were not persecuted any longer--had no
churches and altars to desecrate, and no bishops to anoint with the
oil of hill-side maledictions as of old), while others are emerging
from the fiery furnaces beneath for fresh air, and wipe a hot dirty
face with a still dirtier shirt sleeve, and in return for the nauseous
exudation, lay on a fresh coat of blacking; tall, gaunt wretches, who
pant for breath as they snuff the fresh breeze, like porpouses, and
then dive again into the lower regions. They are neither seamen nor
landsmen, good whips nor decent shots, their hair is not woolly enough
for niggers, and their faces are too black for white men. They ain't
amphibious animals, like marines and otters. They are Salamanders. But
that's a long word, and now they call them stokers for shortness.

"Then steamers carry a mob, and I detest mobs, especially such ones as
they delight in--greasy Jews, hairy Germans, Mulatto-looking Italians,
squalling children, that run between your legs and throw you down, or
wipe the butter off their bread on your clothes; Englishmen that will
grumble, and Irishmen that will fight; priests that won't talk, and
preachers that will harangue; women that will be carried about,
because they won't lie still and be quiet; silk men, cotten men,
bonnet men, iron men, trinket men, and every sort of shopmen, who
severally know nothing in the world but silk, cotten, bonnets, iron,
trinkets, and so on, and can't talk of anythin' else; fellows who walk
up and down the deck, four or five abreast when there are four or five
of the same craft on board, and prevent any one else from promenadin'
by sweepin' the whole space, while every lurch the ship gives, one of
them tumbles atop of you, or treads on your toes, and then, instead of
apoligisin', turns round and abuses you like a pick-pocket for
stickin' your feet out and trippin' people up. Thinkin' is out of the
question, and as for readin', you might as well read your fortune in
the stars.

"Just as you begin, that lovely-lookin', rosy-cheeked, wicked-eyed
gall, that came on board so full of health and spirits, but now looks
like a faded striped ribbon, white, yeller, pink, and brown--dappled
all over her face, but her nose, which has a red spot on it--lifts up
a pair of lack-lustre peepers that look glazed like the round dull
ground-glass lights let into the deck, suddenly wakes up squeamish,
and says, 'Please, Sir, help me down; I feel so ill.' Well, you take
her up in your arms, and for the first time in your life hold her head
from you, for fear she will reward you in a way that ain't no matter,
and she feels as soft as dough, and it seems as if your fingers left
dents in her putty-like arms, and you carry her to the head of the
stairs, and call out for the stewardess, and a waiter answers,
'Stewardess is tight, Sir.'

"'I am glad of it, she is just the person I want. I wish all the other
passengers were tight also.'

"'Lord, Sir, that ain't it--she is mops and brooms.'

"'Mops and brooms, I suppose she is, she must have plenty use for
them, I reckon, to keep all snug and tidy down there.'

"'Good gracious, Sir, don't you understand, she is half seas over.'

"'True, so we all are, the captain said so to-day at twelve o'clock, I
wish we were over altogether. Send her up.'

"'No, no, Sir, she is more than half shaved.'

"'The devil! does she shave? I don't believe she is a woman at all. I
see how it is, you have been putting one of the sailors into
petticoats.' And the idea makes even the invalid gall laugh.

"'No, no, Sir, she is tipsy.'

"'Then why the plague couldn't you say so at once. I guess you kinder
pride yourself in your slang. Help me to assist this lady down to her
friends.'

"Well, when you return on deck, lo and behold, your seat is occupied,
and you must go and stand by the rail till one is vacant, when another
gall that ain't ill, but inconveniently well, she is so full of chat,
says, 'Look, look, Sir, dear me, what is that, Sir? a porpoise. Why
you don't, did you ever! well, I never see a porpoise afore in all my
born days! are they good to eat, Sir?'

"'Excellent food for whales, Miss.'

"'Well I never! do they swallow them right down?'

"'I guess they do, tank, shank, and flank, at one gulp.'

"'Why how in the world do they ever get--' but she don't finish the
sentence, for the silk man, cotten man, iron man, or trinket man,
which ever is nearest, says, 'There is a ship on the lee-bow.' He says
that because it sounds sailor-like, but it happens to be the
weather-bow, and you have seen her an hour before.

"'Can you make her out?' sais he; that's another sea tarm he has
picked up; he will talk like a horse-marine at last.

"'Yes,' sais you, 'she is a Quang-Tonger.'

"'A Quang-Tonger?' sais the gall, and before the old coon has
disgested that hard word, she asks, 'what in natur is that?'

"'Why, Miss, Quang-Tong is a province of China, and Canton is the
capital; all the vessels at Canton are called Quang-Tongers, but
strangers call them Chinese Junks. Now, Miss, you have seen two new
things to-day, a bottle-nosed porpoise and--'

"'Was that a bottle-nosed porpoise, Sir? why you don't say so! why,
how you talk, why do they call them bottle-noses?'

"'Because, Miss, they make what is called velvet corks out of their
snouts. They are reckoned the best corks in the world. And then, you
have seen a Chinese Junk?'

"'A Chinese Junk,' sais the astonished trinket man. 'Well I vow! a
Chinese Junk, do tell!' and one gall calls Jeremiah Dodge, and the
other her father and her sister, Mary Anne Matilda Jane, to come and
see the Chinese Junk, and all the passengers rush to the other side,
and say, 'whare, whare,' and the two discoverers say, 'there, there;'
and you walk across the deck and take one of the evacuated seats you
have been longin' for; and as you pass you give a wink to the officer
of the watch, who puts his tongue in his cheek as a token of
approbation, and you begin to read again, as you fancy, in peace.

"But there is no peace in a steamer, it is nothin' but a large
calaboose,1 chock full of prisoners. As soon as you have found your
place in the book, and taken a fresh departure, the bonnet man sais,
'Please, Sir, a seat for a lady,' and you have to get up and give it
to his wife's lady's-maid. His wife ain't a lady, but having a
lady's-maid shows she intends to set up for one when she gets to home.
To be a lady, she must lay in a lot of airs, and to brush her own hair
and garter her own stockins is vulgar; if it was known in First
Avenue, Spruce Street, in Bonnetville, it would ruin her as a woman of
fashion for ever.


1 Calaboose is a Southern name for jail.


"Now bonnet man wouldn't ask you to get up and give your place to his
wife's hired help, only he knows you are a Yankee, and we Yankees, I
must say, are regularly fooled with women and preachers; just as much
as that walking advertisement of a milliner is with her lady's-maid.
All over America in rail carriages, stage coaches, river steamers, and
public places, of all sorts, every critter that wears a white choker,
and looks like a minister, has the best seat given him. He expects it,
as a matter of course, and as every female is a lady, every woman has
a right to ask you to quit, without notice, for her accommodation. Now
it's all very well and very proper to be respectful to preachers; and
to be polite and courteous to women, and more especially those that
are unprotected; but there is a limit, tother side of which lies
absurdity.

"Now if you had seen as much of the world as I have, and many other
travelled Yankees, when bonnet man asked you to give up your seat to
the maid, you would have pretended not to understand English, and not
to know what he wanted, but would have answered him in French and
offered him the book, and said certainly you would give it to him with
pleasure, and when he said he didn't speak French, but what he desired
was your place for the lady, you would have addressed her in German,
and offered her the book, and when they looked at each other, and
laughed at their blunder, in thus taking you for a Yankee, perhaps the
man next to you would have offered his seat, and then when old bonnet
man walked off to look at the Chinese Junk, you would have entered
into conversation with the lady's-maid, and told her it was a rise you
took out of the old fellow to get her along-side of you, and she would
enjoy the joke, and you would have found her a thousand times more
handsome and more conversational and agreeable than her mistress.

"But this wouldn't last long, for the sick gall would be carried up on
deck agin, woman like, though ill, very restless, and chock full of
curiosity to see the Chinese Junk also; so you are caught by your own
bam, and have to move again once more. The bell comes in aid, and
summons you to dinner. Ah, the scene in the Tower of Babel is
rehearsed; what a confusion of tongues! what a clatter of knives and
forks and dishes! the waiter that goes and won't come back; and he who
sees, pities but can't help you; and he who is so near sighted, he
can't hear; and he who is intercepted, and made prisoner on his way.

"What a profusion of viands--but how little to eat! this is cold; that
under-done; this is tough; that you never eat; while all smell oily;
oh, the only dish you did fancy, you can't touch, for that horrid
German has put his hand into it. But it is all told in one short
sentence; two hundred and fifty passengers supply two hundred and
fifty reasons themselves, why I should prefer a sailing vessel with a
small party to a crowded steamer. If you want to see them in
perfection go where I have been it on board the California boats, and
Mississippi river crafts. The French, Austrian, and Italian boats are
as bad. The two great Ocean lines, American and English, are as good
as anything bad can be, but the others are all abominable. They are
small worlds over-crowded, and while these small worlds exist, the
evil will remain; for alas, their passengers go backward and forward,
they don't emigrate--they migrate; they go for the winter and return
for the spring, or go in the spring and return in the fall.

"Come, Commodore, there is old Sorrow ringing his merry bell for us to
go to dinner. I have an idea we shall have ample room; a good
appetite, and time enough to eat and enjoy it: come, Sir, let us, like
true Americans, never refuse to go where duty calls us."

After dinner, Cutler reverted to the conversation we had had before we
went below, though I don't know that I should call it conversation,
either; for I believe I did, as usual, most of the talking myself.

"I agree with you," said he, "in your comparative estimate of a
sailing vessel and a steamer, I like the former the best myself. It is
more agreeable for the reasons you have stated to a passenger, but it
is still more agreeable to the officer in command of her on another
account. In a sailing vessel, all your work is on deck, everything is
before you, and everybody under your command. One glance of a seaman's
eye is sufficient to detect if anything is amiss, and no one man is
indispensable to you. In a steamer the work is all below, the
machinery is out of your sight, complicated, and one part dependent on
another. If it gets out of order you are brought up with a round turn,
all standing, and often in a critical situation too. You can't repair
damage easily; sometimes, can't repair at all.

"Whereas carrying away a sail, a spar, a topmast, or anything of that
kind, impedes but don't stop you, and if it is anything very serious
there are a thousand ways of making a temporary rig that will answer
till you make a port. But what I like best is, when my ship is in the
daldrums, I am equal to the emergency; there is no engineer to bother
you by saying this can't be done, or that won't do, and to stand
jawing and arguing instead of obeying and doing. Clippers of the right
lines, size, and build, well found, manned, and commanded, will make
nearly as good work, in ordinary times, as steamers. Perhaps it is
prejudice though, for I believe we sailors are proverbial for that.
But, Slick, recollect it ain't all fair weather sailing like this at
sea. There are times when death stares you wildly in the face."

"Exactly," sais I, "as if he would like to know you the next time he
came for you, so as not to apprehend the wrong one. He often leaves
the rascal and seizes the honest man; my opinion is, he don't see very
well."

"What a droll fellow you are," said he; "it appears to me as if you
couldn't be serious for five minutes at a time. I can tell you, if you
were on a rocky lee-shore, with the wind and waves urging you on, and
you barely holding your own, perhaps losing ground every tack, you
wouldn't talk quite so glibly of death. Was you ever in a real heavy
gale of wind?"

"Warn't I," said I; "the fust time I returned from England it blew
great guns all the voyage, one gale after another, and the last always
wuss than the one before. It carried away our sails as fast as we bent
them."

"That's nothing unusual," said Cutler; "there are worse things than
that at sea."

"Well, I'll tell you," sais I, "what it did; and if that ain't an
uncommon thing, then my name ain't Sam Slick. It blew all the hair off
my dog, except a little tuft atween his ears. It did, upon my soul. I
hope I may never leave--"

"Don't swear to it, Slick," said he, "that's a good fellow. It's
impossible."

"Attestin' to it will make your hair stand on eend too, I suppose,"
said I; "but it's as true as preachin' for all that. What will you bet
it didn't happen?"

"Tut, man, nonsense," said he, "I tell you the thing is impossible."

"Ah!" said I, "that's because you have been lucky, and never saw a
riprorious hurricane in all your life. I'll tell you how it was. I
bought a blood-hound from a man in Regent's Park, just afore I sailed,
and the brute got sea-sick, and then took the mange, and between that
and death starin' him in the face, his hair all came off, and in
course it blew away. Is that impossible?"

"Well, well," said he, "you have the most comical way with you of any
man I ever see. I am sure it ain't in your nature to speak of death in
that careless manner, you only talked that way to draw me out. I know
you did. It's not a subject however to treat lightly, and if you are
not inclined to be serious just now, tell us a story."

"Serious," sais I, "I am disposed to be; but not sanctimonious, and
you know that. But here goes for a story, which has a nice little
moral in it too.

"'Once on a time, when pigs were swine, and turkeys chewed tobacco,
and little birds built their nests in old men's beards.'

"Pooh!" said he, turning off huffy like, as if I was a goin' to bluff
him off. "I wonder whether supper is ready?"

"Cutler," sais I, "come back, that's a good fellow, and I'll tell you
the story. It's a short one, and will just fill up the space between
this and tea-time. It is in illustration of what you was a sayin',
that it ain't always fair weather sailing in this world. There was a
jack-tar once to England who had been absent on a whaling voyage for
nearly three years, and he had hardly landed when he was ordered off
to sea again, before he had time to go home and see his friends. He
was a lamentin' this to a shipmate of his, a serious-minded man, like
you.

"Sais he, 'Bill, it breaketh my heart to have to leave agin arter this
fashion. I havn't seen Polly now goin' on three years, nor the little
un either.' And he actilly piped his eye.

"'It seemeth hard, Tom,' said Bill, tryin' to comfort him; 'it seemeth
hard; but I'm an older man nor you be, Tom, the matter of several
years;' and he gave his trowsers a twitch (you know they don't wear
galluses, though a gallus holds them up sometimes), shifted his quid,
gave his nor'wester a pull over his forehead, and looked solemncholly,
'and my experience, Tom, is, that this life ain't all beer and
skittles.'

"Cutler, there is a great deal of philosophy in that maxim: a preacher
couldn't say as much in a sermon an hour long, as there is in that
little story with that little moral reflection at the eend of it.

"'This life ain't all leer and skittles.' Many a time since I heard
that anecdote--and I heard it in Kew Gardens, of all places in the
world--when I am disappointed sadly, I say that saw over, and console
myself with it. I can't expect to go thro' the world, Cutler, as I
have done: stormy days, long and dark nights, are before me. As I grow
old I shan't be so full of animal spirits as I have been. In the natur
of things I must have my share of aches, and pains, and
disappointment, as well as others; and when they come, nothing will
better help me to bear them than that little simple reflection of the
sailor, which appeals so directly to the heart. Sam, this life ain't
all beer and skittles, that's a fact."



                             CHAPTER III.

                           A WOMAN'S HEART.


As we approached the eastern coast, "Eldad," sais I, to the pilot, "is
there any harbour about here where our folks can do a little bit of
trade, and where I can see something of 'Fishermen at home?'"

"We must be careful now how we proceed, for if the 'Spitfire' floats
at the flood, Captain Stoker will try perhaps to overhaul us."

"Don't we want to wood and water, and ain't there some repairs
wanting," sais I, and I gave him a wink. "If so we can put into port;
but I don't think we will attempt to fish again within the treaty
limits, for it's dangerous work."

"Yes," sais he, touching his nose with the point of his finger, "all
these things are needed, and when they are going on, the mate and I
can attend to the business of the owners." He then looked cautiously
round to see that the captain was not within hearing.

"Warn't it the 'Black Hawk' that was chased?" said he. "I think that
was our name then."

"Why, to be sure it was," said I.

"Well," sais he, "this is the 'Sary Ann' of New Bedford now," and
proceeding aft he turned a screw, and I could hear a board shift in
the stern. "Do you mind that?" said he: "well, you can't see it where
you stand just now at present; but the 'Sary Ann' shows her name there
now, and we have a set of papers to correspond. I guess the Britisher
can't seize her, because the 'Black Hawk' broke the treaty; can he?"
And he gave a knowing jupe of his head, as much as to say, ain't that
grand?

"Now our new captain is a strait-laced sort of man, you see; but the
cantin' fellow of a master you had on board before, warn't above a
dodge of this kind. If it comes to the scratch, you must take the
command again, for Cutler won't have art nor part in this game; and we
may be reformed out afore we know where we are."

"Well," sais I, "there is no occasion, I guess; put us somewhere a
little out of sight, and we won't break the treaty no more. I reckon
the 'Spitfire,' after all, would just as soon be in port as looking
after us. It's small potatoes for a man-of-war to be hunting poor
game, like us little fore and afters."

"As you like," he said, "but we are prepared, you see, for the mate
and men understand the whole thing. It ain't the first time they have
escaped by changing their sign-board."

"Exactly," said I, "a ship ain't like a dog that can only answer to
one name; and 'Sary Ann' is as good as the 'Black Hawk,' every mite
and morsel. There is a good deal of fun in altering sign-boards. I
recollect wunst, when I was a boy, there was a firm to Slickville who
had this sign over their shop:


                          'Gallop and More,

                              Taylors.'


"Well, one Saturday-night brother Josiah and I got a paintbrush, and
altered it in this way:


                          'Gallop and 8 More

                               Taylors

                             Make a man.'


"Lord, what a commotion it made. Next day was Sunday; and as the folks
were going to church, they stood and laughed and roared like anything.
It made a terrible hulla-bulloo.

"'Sam,' said Minister to me, 'what in natur is all that ondecent noise
about so near the church-door.'

"I told him. It was most too much for him, but he bit in his breath,
and tried to look grave; but I see a twinkle in his eye, and the
corner of his mouth twitch, the way your eyelid does sometimes when a
nerve gets a dancing involuntarily.

"'A very foolish joke, Sam,' he said; 'it may get you into trouble.'

"'Why, Minister,' said I, 'I hope you don't think that--'

"'No,' said he, 'I don't think at all, I know it was you, for it's
just like you. But it's a foolish joke, for, Sam:


             "'Honour and worth from no condition rise--'


"'Exactly,' sais I.


         "'Stitch well your part, there all the honour lies.'


"'Sam, Sam,' said he, 'you are a bad boy,' and he put on a serious
face, and went in and got his gown ready for service.

"The 'Sary Ann' for the 'Black Hawk,'" sais I to myself, "well that
ain't bad either; but there are more chests of tea and kegs of brandy,
and such like, taken right by the custom-house door at Halifax in
loads of hay and straw, than comes by water, just because it is the
onlikeliest way in the world any man would do it. But it is only some
of the Bay of Fundy boys that are up to that dodge. Smugglers in
general haven't the courage to do that. Dear me!" sais I to myself,
"when was there ever a law that couldn't be evaded; a tax that
couldn't be shuffled off like an old slipper; a prohibition that a
smuggler couldn't row right straight through, or a treaty that hadn't
more holes in it than a dozen supplemental ones could patch up? It's a
high fence that can't be scaled, and a strong one that can't be broke
down. When there are accomplices in the house, it is easier to get the
door unlocked than to force it. Receivers make smugglers. Where there
are not informers, penalties are dead letters. The people here like to
see us, for it is their interest, and we are safe as long as they are
friendly. I don't want to smuggle, for I scorn such a pettifogin'
business, as Josiah would call it; but I must and will see how the
thing works, so as to report it to the President."

"Well, Eldad," sais I, "I leave all this to you. I want to avoid a
scrape if I can, so put us in a place of safety, and be careful how
you proceed."

"I understand," said he. "Now, Mr Slick, look yonder," pointing
towards the shore. "What is that?"

"A large ship under full sail," said I, "but it is curious she has got
the wind off shore, and just dead on end to us."

"Are you sure," said he, "it is a ship, for if we get foul of her, we
shall be sunk in a moment, and every soul on board perish."

"Is it a cruiser?" sais I; "because if it is, steer boldly for her,
and I will go on board of her and show my commission as an officer of
our everlastin' nation. Captain," said I, "what is that stranger?"

He paused for a moment, shaded his eyes with his hand, and examined
her. "A large square-rigged vessel," he said, "under a heavy press of
canvas," and resumed his walk on the deck.

After a while the pilot said: "Look again, Mr Slick, can you make her
out now?"

"Why," sais I, "she is only a brigantine; but ask the skipper."

He took his glass and scrutinized her closely, and as he replaced it
in the binnacle said: "We are going to have southerly weather I think;
she loomed very large when I first saw her, and I took her for a ship;
but now she seems to be an hermaphrodite. It's of no consequence to us
however what she is, and we shall soon near her."

"Beyond that vessel," said the pilot, "there is a splendid harbour,
and as there has been a head wind for some time, I have no doubt there
are many coasters in there, from the masters of whom you can obtain
much useful information on the object of your visit, while we can
drive a profitable trade among them and the folks ashore. How
beautifully these harbours are situated," he continued, "for carrying
on the fisheries, and Nova Scotian though I be, I must say, I do think
in any other part of the world there would be large towns here."

"I think so too, Eldad," sais I, "but British legislation is at the
bottom of all your misfortunes, after all, and though you are as lazy
as sloths, and as idle as that fellow old Blowhard saw, who lay down
on the grass all day to watch the vessels passing, and observe the
motion of the crows, the English, by breaking up your monopoly of
inter-colonial and West India trade and throwing it open to us, not
only without an equivalent, but in the face of our prohibitory duties,
are the cause of all your poverty and stagnation. They are rich and
able to act like fools if they like in their own affairs, but it was a
cruel thing to sacrifice you, as they have done, and deprive you of
the only natural carrying trade and markets you had. The more I think
of it the less I blame you. It is a wicked mockery to lock men up, and
then taunt them with want of enterprise, and tell them they are idle."

"Look at that vessel again, Sir," said Eldad; "she don't make much
headway, does she?"

"Well, I took the glass again and examined her minutely, and I never
was so stumpt in my life.

"Pilot," said I, "is that the same vessel?"

"The identical," said he.

"I vow to man," sais I, "as I am a livin' sinner, that is neither a
ship, nor a brigantine, nor a hermaphrodite, but a topsail schooner,
that's a fact. What in natur' is the meanin' of all this? Perhaps the
captain knows," so I called him again.

"Cutler, that vessel is transmografied again," sais I; "look at her."

"Pooh," said he, "that's not the same vessel at all. The two first we
saw are behind that island. That one is nothing but a coaster. You
can't take me in, Slick. You are always full of your fun, and taking a
rise out of some one or another, and I shall be glad when we land, you
will then have some one else to practise on."

In a short time the schooner vanished, and its place was supplied by a
remarkable white cliff, which from the extraordinary optical delusion
it occasions gives its name to the noble port which is now called Ship
Harbour. I have since mentioned this subject to a number of mariners,
and have never yet heard of a person who was not deceived in a similar
manner. As we passed through the narrows, we entered a spacious and
magnificent basin, so completely land-locked that a fleet of vessels
of the largest size may lay there unmoved by any wind. There is no
haven in America to be compared with it.

"You are now safe," said the pilot; "it is only twelve leagues from
Halifax, and nobody would think of looking for you here. The fact is,
the nearer you hide the safer you be."

"Exactly," sais I; "what you seek you can't find, but when you ain't
looking for a thing, you are sure to stumble on it."

"If you ever want to run goods, Sir," said he, "the closer you go to
the port the better. Smugglers ain't all up to this, so they seldom
approach the lion's den, but go farther and fare worse. Now we may
learn lessons from dumb animals. They know we reason on probabilities,
and therefore always do what is improbable. "We think them to be
fools, but they know that we are. The fox sees we always look for him
about his hole, and therefore he carries on his trade as far from it,
and as near the poultry yard, as possible. If a dog kills sheep, and
them Newfoundlanders are most uncommon fond of mutton, I must say, he
never attacks his neighbour's flock, for he knows he would be
suspected and had up for it, but sets off at night, and makes a foray
like the old Scotch on the distant borders.

"He washes himself, for marks of blood is a bad sign, and returns
afore day, and wags his tail, and runs round his master, and looks up
into his face as innocent as you please, as much as to say, 'Squire,
here I have been watchin' of your property all this live-long night,
it's dreadful lonely work, I do assure you, and oh, how glad I am to
see the shine of your face this morning.'

"And the old boss pats his head, fairly took in, and says, 'That's a
good dog, what a faithful honest fellow you be, you are worth your
weight in gold.'

"Well, the next time he goes off on a spree in the same quarter, what
does he see but a border dog strung up by the neck, who has been
seized and condemned as many an innocent fellow has been before him on
circumstantial evidence, and he laughs and says to himself, 'What
fools humans be, they don't know half as much as we dogs do.' So he
thinks it would be as well to shift his ground, where folks ain't on
the watch for sheep-stealers, and he makes a dash into a flock still
farther off.

"Them Newfoundlanders would puzzle the London detective police, I
believe they are the most knowin' coons in all creation, don't you?"

"Well, they are," sais I, "that's a fact, and they have all the same
passions and feelings we have, only they are more grateful than man
is, and you can by kindness lay one of them under an obligation he
will never forget as long as he lives, whereas an obligation scares a
man, for he snorts and stares at you like a horse at an engine, and is
e'en most sure to up heels and let you have it, like mad. The only
thing about dogs is, they can't bear rivals, they like to have all
attention paid to themselves exclusively. I will tell you a story I
had from a British colonel.

"He was stationed in Nova Scotia, with his regiment, when I was a
venden of clocks there. I met him to Windsor, at the Wilcox Inn. He
was mightily taken with my old horse Clay, and offered me a most an
everlastin' long price for him; he said if I would sell him, he
wouldn't stand for money, for he never see such an animal in all his
born days, and so on. But old Clay was above all price, his ditto was
never made yet, and I don't think ever will be. I had no notion to
sell him, and I told him so, but seein' he was dreadful disappointed,
for a rich Englishman actually thinks money will do anything and get
anything, I told him if ever I parted with him he should have him on
condition he would keep him as long as he lived, and so on.

"Well, it pacified him a bit, and to turn the conversation, sais I,
'Colonel,' sais I, 'what a most an almighty everlastin' super superior
Newfoundler that is,' a pointin' to his dog; 'creation,' sais I, 'if I
had a regiment of such fellows, I believe I wouldn't be afraid of the
devil. My,' sais I, 'what a dog! would you part with him? I'de give
anything for him.'

"I said that a purpose to show him I had as good a right to keep my
horse as he had his long-haired gentleman.

"'No,' sais he, with a sort of half smile at my ignorance in pokin'
such a question at him (for a Britisher abroad thinks he has
privileges no one else has), 'no, I don't want to part with him. I
want to take him to England with me. See, he has all the marks of the
true breed: look at his beautiful broad forehead, what an intellectual
one it is, ain't it? then see his delicate mouse-like ears, just large
enough to cover the orifice, and that's all.'

"'Orifice,' said I, for I hate fine words for common use, they are
like go-to-meeting' clothes on week days, onconvenient, and look too
all fired jam up. Sais I, 'what's that when it's fried. I don't know
that word?'

"'Why, ear-hole,' said he.

"'Oh,' sais I, simple like, 'I take now.'

"He smiled and went on. 'Look at the black roof of his mouth,' said
he, 'and do you see the dew claw, that is a great mark? Then feel that
tail, that is his rudder to steer by when swimming. It's different
from the tail of other dogs, the strength of that joint is surprising.
But his chest, Sir, his chest, see how that is formed on purpose for
diving. It is shaped internally like a seal's. And then, observe the
spread of that webbed foot, and the power of them paddles. There are
two kinds of them, the short and the long haired, but I think those
shaggy ones are the handsomest. They are very difficult to be got now
of the pure breed. I sent to the Bay of Bulls for this one. To have
them in health you must make them stay out of doors in all weather,
and keep them cool, and above all not feed them too high. Salt fish
seems the best food for them, they are so fond of it. Singular that,
ain't it? but a dog is natural, Sir, and a man ain't.

"'Now, you never saw a codfish at the table of a Newfoundland merchant
in your life. He thinks it smells too much of the shop. In fact, in my
opinion the dog is the only gentleman there. The only one, now that
the Indian is extinct, who has breeding and blood in that land of oil,
blubber, and icebergs.'

"Lord, I wish one of them had been there to have heard him, wouldn't
he a harpooned him? that's all. He made a considerable of a long yarn
of it, and as it was a text he had often enlarged on, I thought he
never would have ended, but like other preachers, when he got heated,
spit on the slate, rub it all out, and cypher it over again. Thinks I
to myself, I'll play you a bit, my boy.

"'Exactly,' sais I, 'there is the same difference in dogs and horses
as there is in men. Some are noble by nature, and some vulgar; each is
known by his breed.'

"'True,' said he, 'very true,' and he stood up a little straighter as
if it did him good to hear a republican say that, for his father was
an Earl. 'A very just remark,' said he, and he eyed me all over, as if
he was rather surprised at my penetration.

"'But the worst of it,' sais I, 'is that a high bred dog or horse and
a high bred man are only good for one thing. A pointer will point--a
blood horse run--a setter will set--a bull dog fight--and a
Newfoundlander will swim; but what else are they good for? Now a duke
is a duke, and the devil a thing else. All you expect of him is to act
and look like one (and I could point out some that don't even do
that). If he writes a book, and I believe a Scotch one, by the help of
his tutor, did once, or makes a speech, you say, Come now, that is
very well for a duke, and so on. Well, a marquis ain't quite so high
bred, and he is a little better, and so on, downwards; when you get to
an earl, why, he may be good for more things than one. I ain't quite
sure a cross ain't desirable, and in that way that you couldn't
improve the intelligence of both horses, noblemen, and dogs--don't you
think so, Sir?' sais I.

"'It is natural for you,' said he, not liking the smack of democracy
that I threw in for fun, and looking uneasy. 'So,' sais he (by way of
turning the conversation), 'the sagacity of dogs is very wonderful. I
will tell you an anecdote of this one that has surprised everybody to
whom I have related it.

"'Last summer my duties led me to George's Island. I take it for
granted you know it. It is a small island situated in the centre of
the harbour of Halifax, has a powerful battery on it, and barracks for
the accommodation of troops. There was a company of my regiment
stationed there at the time. I took this dog and a small terrier,
called Tilt, in the boat with me. The latter was a very active little
fellow that the General had given me a few weeks before. He was such
an amusing creature, that he soon became a universal favourite, and
was suffered to come into the house (a privilege which was never
granted to this gentleman, who paid no regard to the appearance of his
coat, which was often wet and dirty), and who was therefore excluded.

"'The consequence was, Thunder was jealous, and would not associate
with him, and if ever he took any liberty, he turned on him and
punished him severely. This however he never presumed to do in my
presence, as he knew I would not suffer it, and therefore, when they
both accompanied me in my walks, the big dog contented himself with
treating the other with perfect indifference and contempt. Upon this
occasion, Thunder lay down in the boat and composed himself to sleep,
while the little fellow, who was full of life and animation, and
appeared as if he did not know what it was to close his eyes, sat up,
looked over the gunwale, and seemed to enjoy the thing uncommonly. He
watched the motions of the men, as if he understood what was required
of them, and was anxious they should acquit themselves properly.'

"'He knew,' said I, 'it was what sailors call the dog watch.'

"'Very good,' said he, but looking all the time as if he thought the
interruption very bad.

"'After having made my inspection, I returned to the boat, for the
purpose of recrossing to the town, when I missed the terrier. Thunder
was close at my heels, and when I whistled for the other, wagged his
tail and looked up in my face, as if he would say, Never mind that
foolish dog, I am here, and that is enough, or is there anything you
want me to do?

"'After calling in vain, I went back to the barracks, and inquired of
the men for Tilt, but no one appeared to have seen him or noticed his
motions.

"'After perambulating the little island in vain, I happened to ask the
sentry if he knew where he was.

"'Yes, Sir,' said he, 'he is buried in the beach.'

"'Buried in the beach,' said I, with great anger, 'who dared to kill
him? Tell me, Sir, immediately.'

"'That large dog did it, Sir. He enticed him down to the shore by
playing with him, pretending to crouch and then run after him; and
then retreating and coaxing him to chase him; and when he got him near
the beach, he throttled him in an instant, and then scratched a hole
in the shingle and buried him, covering him up with the gravel. After
that he went into the water, and with his paws washed his head and
face, shook himself, and went up to the barracks. You will find the
terrier, just down there, Sir.'

"'And sure enough there was the poor little fellow, quite dead, and
yet warm.

"'In the mean time Thunder, who had watched our proceedings from a
distance, as soon as he saw the body exhumed, felt as if there was a
court-martial holding over himself, plunged into the harbour and swam
across to the town, and hid himself for several days, until he thought
the affair had blown over; and then approached me anxiously and
cautiously, lest he should be apprehended and condemned. As I was
unwilling to lose both my dogs, I was obliged to overlook it, and take
him back to my confidence. A strange story, ain't it, Mr Slick.'

"'Well, it is,' sais I, 'but dogs do certainly beat all natur, that's
a fact.'

"But to get back to the 'Black Hawk:' as soon as we anchored, I
proposed to Cutler that we should go ashore and visit the 'natives.'
While he was engaged giving his orders to the mate, I took the
opportunity of inquiring of the pilot about the inhabitants. This is
always a necessary precaution. If you require light-houses, buoys, and
sailing directions to enter a port, you want similar guides when you
land. The navigation there is difficult also, and it's a great thing
to know who you are going to meet, what sort of stuff they are made
of, and which way to steer, so as to avoid hidden shoals and
sand-bars, for every little community is as full of them as their
harbour. It don't do, you know, to talk tory in the house of a
radical, to name a bishop to a puritan, to let out agin smugglin' to a
man who does a little bit of business that way himself; or, as the
French say, 'to talk of a rope in a house where the squatter has been
hanged.' If you want to please a guest, you must have some of his
favourite dishes at dinner for him; and if you want to talk agreeably
to a man, you must select topics he has a relish for.

"So," sais I, "where had we better go, Pilot, when we land?"

"Do you see that are white one-story house there?" said he. "That is a
place, though not an inn, where the owner, if he is at home, will
receive the likes of you very hospitably. He is a capital fellow in
his way, but as hot as pepper. His name is Peter McDonald, and he is
considerable well to do in the world. He is a Highlander; and when
young went out to Canada in the employment of the North-west Fur
Company, where he spent many years, and married, broomstick fashion, I
suppose, a squaw. Alter her death he removed, with his two half-caste
daughters, to St John's, New Brunswick; but his girls I don't think
were very well received, on account of their colour, and he came down
here and settled at Ship Harbour, where some of his countrymen are
located. He is as proud as Lucifer, and so are his galls. Whether it
is that they have been slighted, and revenge it on all the rest of the
world, I don't know; or whether it is Highland and Indian pride mixed,
I ain't sartified; but they carry their heads high, and show a stiff
upper lip, I tell you. I don't think you will get much talk out of
them, for I never could."

"Well, it don't follow," said I, "by no manner of means, Eldad,
because they wouldn't chat to you, that they wouldn't open their
little mugs to me. First and foremost recollect, Mr Nickerson, you are
a married man, and it's no use for a gall to talk it into you; and
then, in the next place, you see you know a plaguey sight more about
the shape, make, and build of a craft like this than you do about the
figure-head, waist, and trim of a gall. You are a seaman, and I am a
landsman; you know how to bait your hooks for fish, and I know the
sort of tackle women will jump at. See if I don't set their clappers a
going, like those of a saw-mill. Do they speak English?"

"Yes," said he, "and they talk Gaelic and French also; the first two
they learned from their father, and the other in Canada."

"Are they pretty?"

"The eldest is beautiful," said he; "and there is something in her
manner you can't help thinking she is a lady. You never saw such a
beautiful figure as she is in your life."

Thinks I to myself, "that's all you know about it, old boy." But I
didn't say so, for I was thinking of Sophy at the time.

We then pushed off, and steered for Peter McDonald's, Indian Peter, as
the pilot said the fishermen called him. As we approached the house he
came out to meet us. He was a short, strong-built, athletic man, and
his step was as springy as a boy's. He had a jolly, open, manly face,
but a quick, restless eye, and the general expression of his
countenance indicated at once good nature and irascibility of temper.

"Coot tay, shentlemen," he said, "she is glad to see you; come, walk
into her own house." He recognised and received Eldad kindly, who
mentioned our names and introduced us, and he welcomed us cordially.
As soon as we were seated, according to the custom of the north-west
traders, he insisted upon our taking something to drink, and calling
to his daughter Jessie in Gaelic, he desired her to bring whiskey and
brandy. As I knew this was a request that on such an occasion could
not be declined without offence, I accepted his offer with thanks, and
no little praise of the virtues of whiskey; the principal
recommendation of which, I said, "was that there was not a headache in
a hogshead of it."

"She believes so herself," he said, "it is petter ash all de rum,
prandy, shin, and other Yanke pyson in the States; ta Yankies are
cheatin smugglin rascals."

The entrance of Jessie fortunately gave a turn to this complimentary
remark; when she set down the tray, I rose and extended my hand to
her, and said in Gaelic, "Cair mur tha thu mo gradh (how do you do, my
dear), tha mi'n dochas gam biel thu slan (I hope you are quite well)."

The girl was amazed, but no less pleased. How sweet to the ear are the
accents of the paternal language, or the mother tongue as we call it,
for it is women who teach us to talk. It is a bond of union! Whoever
speaks it, when we are in a land of strangers, is regarded as a
relative. I shall never forget when I was in the bazaar at Calcutta,
how my heart leaped at hearing the voice of a Connecticut man as he
was addressing a native trader.

"Tell you what, stranger," said he, "I feel as mad as a meat axe, and
I hope I may be darned to all darnation, if I wouldn't chaw up your
ugly mummyised corpse, hair, hide, and hoof, this blessed minute, as
quick as I would mother's dough-nuts, if I warn't afraid you'd pyson
me with your atimy, I'll be dod drotted if I wouldn't."

Oh, how them homespun words, coarse as they were, cheered my drooping
spirits, and the real Connecticut nasal twang with which they were
uttered sounded like music to my ears; how it brought up home and
far-off friends to my mind, and how it sent up a tear of mingled joy
and sadness to my eye.

Peter was delighted. He slapped me on the back with a hearty good
will, in a way nearly to deprive me of my breath, welcomed me anew,
and invited us all to stay with him while the vessel remained there.
Jessie replied in Gaelic, but so rapidly I could only follow her with
great difficulty, for I had but a smattering of it, though I
understood it better than I could speak it, having acquired it in a
very singular manner, as I will tell you by and by. Offering her a
chair, she took it and sat down after some hesitation, as if it was
not her usual habit to associate with her father's visitors, and we
were soon on very sociable terms. I asked the name of the trading post
in the north-west where they had resided, and delighted her by
informing her I had once been there myself on business of John Jacob
Astor's New York Fur Company, and staid with the Governor, who was the
friend and patron of her father's. This was sufficient to establish us
at once on something like the footing of old friends. When she
withdrew, Peter followed her out, probably to give some directions for
our evening meal.

"Well, well," said the pilot, "if you don't beat all! I never could
get a word out of that girl, and you have loosened her tongue in rale
right down earnest, that's a fact."

"Eldad," sais I, "there is two sorts of pilotage, one that enables you
to steer through life, and another that carries you safely along a
coast, and there is this difference between them: This universal globe
is all alike in a general way, and the knowledge that is sufficient
for one country will do for all the rest of it, with some slight
variations. Now you may be a very good pilot on this coast, but your
knowledge is no use to you on the shores of England. A land pilot is a
fool if he makes shipwreck wherever he is, but the best of coast
pilots when he gets on a strange shore is as helpless as a child. Now
a woman is a woman all over the world, whether she speaks Gaelic,
French, Indian, or Chinese; there are various entrances to her heart,
and if you have experience, you have got a compass which will enable
you to steer through one or the other of them, into the inner harbour
of it. Now, Minister used to say that Eve in Hebrew meant talk, for
providence gave her the power of chattyfication on purpose to take
charge of that department. Clack then you see is natural to them; talk
therefore to them as they like, and they will soon like to talk to
you. If a woman was to put a Bramah lock on her heart, a skilful man
would find his way into it if he wanted to, I know. That contrivance
is set to a particular word; find the letters that compose it, and it
opens at once. The moment I heard the Gaelic, I knew I had discovered
the cypher--I tried it and succeeded. Tell you what, Pilot, love and
skill laugh at locks, for them that can't be opened can be picked. The
mechanism of the human heart, when you thoroughly understand it, is,
like all the other works of nature, very beautiful, very wonderful,
but very simple. When it does not work well, the fault is not in the
machinery, but in the management."



                             CHAPTER IV.

         A CRITTER WITH A THOUSAND VIRTUES AND BUT ONE VICE.


Soon after McDonald had returned and resumed his seat, a tall thin
man, dressed in a coarse suit of homespun, entered the room, and
addressing our host familiarly as Squire Peter, deposited in the
corner a fishing-rod, and proceeded to disencumber himself of a large
salmon basket apparently well filled, and also two wallets, one of
which seemed to contain his clothes, and the other, from the dull
heavy sound it emitted as he threw it on the floor, some tools. He was
about forty years of age. His head, which was singularly well formed,
was covered with a luxuriant mass of bushy black curls. His eyes were
large, deep set, and intelligent, his forehead expansive and
projecting, and his eyebrows heavy and shaggy. When addressing Peter
he raised them up in a peculiar manner, nearly to the centre of his
forehead, and when he ceased they suddenly dropped and partially
concealed his eyes.

It was impossible not to be attracted by a face that had two such
remarkable expressions; one of animation, amiability, and
intelligence; and the other of total abstraction. He bent forward,
even after he relieved himself of his load, and his attitude and gait
suggested the idea of an American land-surveyor, who had been
accustomed to carry heavy weights in the forest. Without condescending
to notice the party, further than bestowing on us a cursory glance to
ascertain whether he knew any of us, he drew up to the chimney corner,
and placing the soles of his boots perpendicularly to the fire (which
soon indicated by the vapour arising from them that he had been wading
in water), he asked in a listless manner and without waiting for
replies, some unconnected questions of the landlord: as, "Any news,
Peter? how does the world use you? how are the young ladies? how is
fish this season? macarel plenty? any wrecks this year, Peter, eh? any
vessels sinking and dead men floating; silks, satins, ribbons, and
gold watches waiting to be picked up? Glorious coast this! the harvest
extends over the whole year." And then he drew his hand over his face
as if to suppress emotion, and immediately relapsed into silence and
stared moodily into the fire.

Peter seemed to understand that no answer was required, and therefore
made none, but asked him where he had come from?

"Where did he come from?" said the stranger, who evidently applied the
question to a fish in his basket, and not to himself, "originally from
the lake, Peter, where it was spawned, and whither it annually
returns. You ought to understand that, Mac, for you have a head on
your shoulders, and that is more than half the poor wretches that
float ashore here from the deep have. It's a hard life, my friend,
going to sea, and hard shores sailors knock against sometimes, and
still harder hearts they often find there. A stone in the end of a
stocking is a sling for a giant, and soon puts an end to their
sufferings; a punishment for wearing gold watches, a penalty for
pride. Jolly tars eh? oh yes, very jolly! it's a jolly sight, ain't
it, to see two hundred half-naked, mangled, and disfigured bodies on
the beach, as I did the other day?" and he gave a shudder at the
thought that seemed to shake the very chair he sat on. "It's lucky
their friends don't see them, and know their sad fate. They were lost
at sea! that is enough for mothers and wives to hear. The cry for
help, when there is none to save, the shriek of despair, when no hope
is left, the half-uttered prayer, the last groan, and the last
struggle of death, are all hushed in the storm, and weeping friends
know not what they lament."

After a short pause, he continued:

"That sight has most crazed me. What was it you asked? Oh, I have it!
you asked where he came from? From the lake, Peter, where he was
spawned, and where he returned you see, to die. You were spawned on
the shores of one of the bays of the Highlands of Scotland. Wouldn't
you like to return and lay your bones there, eh? From earth you came,
to earth you shall return. Wouldn't you like to go back and breathe
the air of childhood once more before you die? Love of home, Peter, is
strong; it is an instinct of nature; but, alas! the world is a
Scotchman's home--anywhere that he can make money. Don't the mountains
with their misty summits appear before you sometimes in your sleep?
Don't you dream of their dark shadows and sunny spots, their heathy
slopes and deep deep glens? Do you see the deer grazing there, and
hear the bees hum merrily as they return laden with honey, or the
grouse rise startled, and whirr away to hide itself in its distant
covert? Do the dead ever rise from their graves and inhabit again the
little cottage that looks out on the stormy sea? Do you become a child
once more, and hear your mother's voice, as she sings the little
simple air that lulls you to sleep, or watch with aching eyes for the
returning boat that brings your father, with the shadows of evening,
to his humble home? And what is the language of your dreams? not
English, French, or Indian, Peter, for they have been learned for
trade or for travel, but Gaelic, for that was the language of love.
Had you left home early, Mac, and forgotten its words or its sounds,
had all trace of it vanished from your memory as if it had never been,
still would you have heard it, and known it, and talked it in your
dreams. Peter, it is the voice of nature, and that is the voice of
God!"

"She'll tell her what she treams of sometimes," said McDonald, "she
treams of ta mountain dew--ta clear water of life."

"I will be bound you do," said the doctor, "and I do if you don't, so,
Peter, my boy, give me a glass; it will cheer my heart, for I have
been too much alone lately, and have seen such horrid sights, I feel
dull."

While Peter (who was a good deal affected with this reference to his
native land) was proceeding to comply with his request, he relapsed
into his former state of abstraction, and when the liquor was
presented to him, appeared altogether to have forgotten that he had
asked for it.

"Come, Toctor," said the host, touching him on the shoulder, "come,
take a drop of this, it will cheer you up; you seem a peg too low
to-day. It's the genuine thing, it is some the Governor, Sir Colin
Campbell, gave me."

"None the better for that, Peter, none the better for that, for the
rich give out of their abundance, the poor from their last cup and
their last loaf; one is the gift of station, the other the gift of the
heart."

"Indeed then, she is mistakened, man. It was the gift of as
true-hearted a Highlander as ever lived. I went to see him lately,
about a grant of land. He was engaged writing at the time, and an
officher was standing by him for orders, and sais he to me, 'My good
friend, could you call to-morrow? for I am very busy to-day, as you
see.' Well, I answered him in Gaelic that the wind was fair, and I was
anxious to go home, but if he would be at leisure next week I would
return again. Oh, I wish you had seen him, Doctor, when he heard his
native tongue. He threw down his pen, jumped up like a boy, and took
me by the hand, and shook it with all his might. 'Oh,' said he, 'I
haven't heard that for years; the sound of it does my heart good. You
must come again and see me after the steamer has left for England.
What can I do for you? So I told him in a few words I wanted a grant
of two hundred acres of land adjoining this place. And he took a
minute of my name, and of Skip Harbour, and the number of my lot, and
wrote underneath an order for the grant. 'Take that to the
Surveyor-General,' said he, 'and the next time you come to Halifax the
grant will be ready for you.' Then he rang the bell, and when the
servant came, he ordered him to fill a hamper of whiskey and take it
down to my vessel.'

"Did you get the grant?" said the stranger.

"Indeed she did," said Peter, "and when she came to read it, it was
for five instead of two hundred acres."

"Good!" said the other. "Come, I like that. Fill me another glass and
I will drink his health."

"Well done, old boy!" said I to myself, "you know how to carry your
sentimentality to market anyhow. Doctor, doctor! So you are a doctor,"
sais I to myself, "are you? Well, there is something else in you than
dough pills, and salts, and senna, at any rate, and that is more than
most of your craft have, at all events. I'll draw you out presently,
for I never saw a man with that vein of melancholy in him, that didn't
like fun, providin' his sadness warn't the effect of disease. So
here's at you; I'll make the fun start or break a trace, I know."

Cutler and I had been talking horse when he came in; a sort of talk I
rather like myself, for I consait I know a considerable some about it,
and ain't above getting a wrinkle from others when I can. "Well," sais
I, "Capting, we was a talking about horses when the doctor came in."

"Captain," said the doctor, turning round to Cutler, "Captain, excuse
me, Sir, how did you reach the shore?"

"In the boat," said Cutler.

"Ah!" said the other with animation, "was all the crew saved?"

"We were in no danger whatever, Sir; my vessel is at anchor in the
harbour."

"Ah," replied the doctor, "that's fortunate, very fortunate;" and
turned again to the fire, with an air, as I thought, of
disappointment, as if he had expected a tale of horror to excite him.

"'Well, Mr Slick," said the captain, "let us hear your story about the
horse that had a thousand virtues and only one vice."

At the sound of my name, the stranger gave a sudden start and gazed
steadily at me, his eyebrows raised in the extraordinary manner that I
have described, something like the festoon of a curtain, and a smile
playing on his face as if expecting a joke and ready to enter into it,
and enjoy it. All this I observed out of the corner of my eye, without
appearing to regard him or notice his scrutiny.

Sais I, "when I had my tea-store in Boston, I owned the fastest
trotting horse in the United States; he was a sneezer, I tell you. I
called him Mandarin--a very appropriate name, you see, for my
business. It was very important for me to attract attention. Indeed,
you must do it, you know, in our great cities, or you are run right
over, and crushed by engines of more power. Whose horse is that? Mr
Slick's the great tea-merchant. That's the great Mandarin, the fastest
beast in all creation--refused five thousand dollars for him, and so
on. Every wrapper I had for my tea had a print of him on it. It was
action and reaction, you see. Well, this horse had a very serious
fault that diminished his value in my eyes down to a hundred dollars,
as far as use and comfort went. Nothing in the world could ever induce
him to cross a bridge. He had fallen through one when he was a colt,
and got so all-fired frightened he never forgot it afterwards. He
would stop, rear, run back, plunge, and finally kick if you punished
him too hard, and smash your waggon to pieces, but cross he never
would. Nobody knew this but me, and of course I warn't such a fool as
to blow upon my own beast. At last I grew tired of him and determined
to sell him; but as I am a man that always adheres to the truth in my
horse trades, the difficulty was, how to sell him and not lose by him.
Well, I had to go to Charleston, South Carolina, on business, and I
took the chance to get rid of Mr Mandarin, and advertised him for
sale. I worded the notice this way:

"'A gentleman, being desirous of quitting Boston on urgent business
for a time, will dispose of a first-rate horse, that he is obliged to
leave behind him. None need apply but those willing to give a long
price. The animal may be seen at Deacon Seth's livery stables.'

"Well, it was soon known that Mandarin was for sale, and several
persons came to know the lowest figure. 'Four thousand dollars,' said
I, 'and if I didn't want to leave Boston in a hurry, six would be the
price.'

"At last young Mr Parker, the banker's son from Bethany, called and
said he wouldn't stand for the price, seeing that a hundred dollars
was no more than a cord of wood in his pocket (good gracious, how the
doctor laughed at that phrase!), but would like to inquire a little
about the critter, confidential like.

"'I will answer any questions you ask,' I said, candidly.

"'Is he sound?'

"'Sound as a new hackmetack trenail. Drive it all day, and you can't
broom it one mite or morsel.'

"'Good in harness?'

"'Excellent.'

"'Can he do his mile in two fifteen?'

"'He has done it.'

"'Now between man and man,' sais he, 'what is your reason for selling
the horse, Slick? for you are not so soft as to be tempted by price
out of a first chop article like that.'

"'Well, candidly,' sais I, 'for I am like a cow's tail, straight up
and down in my dealing, and ambition the clean thing.'"

"Straight up and down!" said the doctor aloud to himself; 'straight up
and down like a cow's tail.' Oh Jupiter! what a simile! and yet it
ain't bad, for one end is sure to be in the dirt. A man may be the
straight thing, that is right up and down, like a cow's tail, but hang
me if he can be the clean thing anyhow he can fix it." And he
stretched out his feet to their full length, put his hands in his
trowsers pocket, held down his head, and clucked like a hen that is
calling her chickens. I vow I could hardly help bustin' out a larfin
myself, for it warn't a slow remark of hisn, and showed fun; in fact,
I was sure at first he was a droll boy.

"Well, as I was a sayin', sais I to Mr Parker, 'Candidly, now, my only
reason for partin' with that are horse is, that I want to go away in a
hurry out of Boston clear down to Charleston, South Carolina, and as I
can't take him with me, I prefer to sell him."

"'Well,' sais he, 'the beast is mine, and here is a cheque for your
money.'

"'Well,' sais I, 'Parker, take care of him, for you have got a
fust-rate critter. He is all sorts of a horse, and one that is all I
have told you, and more too, and no mistake.'

"Every man that buys a new horse, in a general way, is in a great
hurry to try him. There is sumthin' very takin' in a new thing. A new
watch, a new coat, no, I reckon it's best to except a new spic and
span coat (for it's too glossy, and it don't set easy, till it's worn
awhile, and perhaps I might say a new saddle, for it looks as if you
warn't used to ridin', except when you went to Meetin' of a Sabbaday,
and kept it covered all the week, as a gall does her bonnet, to save
it from the flies); but a new waggon, a new sleigh, a new house, and
above all a new wife, has great attractions. Still you get tired of
them all in a short while; you soon guess the hour instead of pullin'
out the watch for everlastin'. The waggon loses its novelty, and so
does the sleigh, and the house is surpassed next month by a larger and
finer one, and as you can't carry it about to show folks, you soon
find it is too expensive to invite them to come and admire it. But the
wife; oh, Lord! In a general way, there ain't more difference between
a grub and a butterfly, than between a sweetheart and wife. Yet the
grub and the butterfly is the same thing, only, differently rigged
out, and so is the sweetheart and wife. Both critters crawl about the
house, and ain't very attractive to look at, and both turn out so fine
and so painted when they go abroad, you don't scarcely know them agin.
Both, too, when they get out of doors, seem to have no other airthly
object but to show themselves. They don't go straight there and back
again, as if there was an end in view, but they first flaunt to the
right, and then to the left, and then everywhere in general, and yet
nowhere in particular. To be seen and admired is the object of both.
They are all finery, and that is so in their way they can neither sit,
walk, nor stand conveniently in it. They are never happy, but when on
the wing."

"Oh, Lord!" said the doctor to himself, who seemed to think aloud; "I
wonder if that is a picture or a caricature?"

Thinks I, "old boy, you are sold. I said that a purpose to find you
out, for I am too fond of feminine gender to make fun of them. You are
a single man. If you was married, I guess you wouldn't ask that are
question."

But I went on. "Now a horse is different, you never get tired of a
good one. He don't fizzle out1 like the rest. You like him better and
better every day. He seems a part of yourself; he is your better half,
your 'halter hego' as I heard a cockney once call his fancy gall.


1 Fizzle out. To prove a failure.


"This bein' the case, as I was a sayin', as soon as a man gits a new
one, he wants to try him. So Parker puts Mandarin into harness, and
drives away like wink for Salem, but when he came to the bridge, the
old coon stopt, put forward his ears, snorted, champed his bit, and
stamped his fore feet. First Parker coaxed him, but that did no good,
and then he gave him the whip, and he reared straight up on eend, and
nearly fell over into his waggon. A man that was crossing over at the
time took him by the head to lead him, when he suddenly wheeled half
round, threw him in the mud, and dragged him in the gutter, as he
backed up agin the side walk all standin'. Parker then laid on the
whip, hot and heavy; he gave him a most righteous lickin'. Mandarin
returned blow for blow, until he kicked the waggon all to flinders.

"Well, I must say that for his new owner, he was a plucky fellow, as
well as Mandarin, and warn't agoin' to cave in that way. So he takes
him back to the livery stables, and puts him into another carriage,
and off he starts agin, and thinkin' that the horse had seen or smelt
sumthen at that bridge to scare him, he tries another, when the same
scene was acted over again, only he was throwed out, and had his
clothes nearly tore off. Well, that afternoon, up comes Parker to me,
choking with rage.

"'Slick,' said he, 'that is the greatest devil of a horse I ever see.
He has dashed two carriages all to shivereens, and nearly tuckard the
innerds out of me and another man. I don't think you have acted
honestly by me.'

"'Parker,' said I, 'don't you use words that you don't know the
meanin' of, and for goodness gracious sake don't come to me to teach
you manners, I beseech you, for I am a rough schoolmaster, I tell you.
I answered every question you asked me, candidly, fair and square, and
above board.'

"'Didn't you know,' said he, 'that no living man could git that horse
across a bridge, let him do his darndest?'

"'I did,' said I, 'know it to my cost, for he nearly killed me in a
fight we had at the Salem Pike.'

"'How could you then tell me, Sir, your sole reason for parting with
him was, that you wanted to leave Boston and go to Charleston?'

"'Because, Sir,' I replied, 'it was the literal truth. Boston, you
know as well as I do, is almost an island, and go which way you will,
you must cross a bridge to get out of it. I said I wanted to quit the
city, and was compelled to leave my horse behind. How could I ever
quit the place with that tormented beast? And warn't I compelled to
leave him when Old Scratch himself couldn't make him obey orders? If I
had a waited to leave town till he would cross a bridge, I should have
had to have waited till doomsday.'

"He scratched his head and looked foolish. 'What a devil of a sell,'
said he. 'That will be a standing joke agin me as long as I live.'

"'I don't see that,' said I, 'if you had been deceived, you might have
called it a sell, but you bought him with your eyes and ears open, and
a full knowledge of the truth. And, after all, where will you go to
better yourself? for the most that can be said is, you have got a
critter with a thousand virtues and but one vice.'

"'Oh, get out!' said he, 'and let me alone.' And he walked off, and
looked as sheepish as you please."

"'Oh dear!" said the doctor; "oh dear." And he placed his hands on his
ribs, and walked round the room in a bent position, like a man
affected with colic, and laughed as if he was hysterical, saying, "Oh
dear! Oh, Mr Slick, that's a capital story. Oh, you would make a new
man of me soon, I am sure you would, if I was any time with you. I
haven't laughed before that way for many a long day. Oh, it does me
good. There is nothing like fun, is there? I haven't any myself, but I
do like it in others. Oh, we need it. We need all the counterweights
we can muster to balance the sad relations of life. God has made sunny
spots in the heart; why should we exclude the light from them?"

"Stick a pin in that, Doctor," says I, "for it's worth rememberin' as
a wise saw."

He then took up his wallet, and retired to his room to change his
clothes, saying to himself, in an under-tone: "Stick a pin in it. What
a queer phrase; and yet it's expressive, too. It's the way I preserve
my insects."

The foregoing conversation had scarcely terminated, when Peter's
daughters commenced their preparations for the evening meal. And I
confess I was never more surprised than at the appearance of the older
one, Jessie. In form and beauty she far exceeded the pilot's high
encomiums. She was taller than American women generally are; but she
was so admirably proportioned and well developed, you were not aware
of her height, till you saw her standing near her sister. Her motions
were all quiet, natural, and graceful, and there was an air about her,
that nothing but the native ease of a child of the forest, or highbred
elegance of fashionable life, can ever impart. She had the delicate
hands and small feet peculiar to Indian women. Her hair was of the
darkest and deepest jet, but not so coarse as that of the aborigines;
whilst her large black eyes were oval in shape, liquid, shaded by long
lashes, and over-arched by delicately-pencilled brows. Her neck was
long, but full, and her shoulders would have been the envy of a London
ball-room. She was a perfect model of a woman.

It is true she had had the advantage, when young, of being the
companion of the children of the Governor of the Fort, and had been
petted, partially educated, and patronised by his wife. But neither he
nor his lady could have imparted what it is probable neither
possessed, much polish of manner or refinement of mind. We hear of
nature's noblemen, but that means rather manly, generous, brave
fellows, than polished men. There are however splendid specimens of
men, and beautiful looking women, among the aborigines. Extremes meet;
and it is certain that the ease and grace of highly civilised life do
not surpass those of untutored nature, that neither concedes nor
claims a superiority to others. She was altogether of a different
stamp from her sister, who was a common-looking person, and resembled
the ordinary females to be found in savage life. Stout, strong, and
rather stolid, accustomed to drudge and to obey, rather than to be
petted and rule; to receive and not to give orders, and to submit from
habit and choice. One seemed far above, and the other as much below,
the station of their father. Jessie, though reserved, would converse
if addressed; the other shunned conversation as much as possible.

Both father and daughters seemed mutually attached to each other, and
their conversation was carried on with equal facility in Indian,
French, Gaelic, and English, although Peter spoke the last somewhat
indifferently. In the evening a young man, of the name of Fraser, with
his two sisters, children of a Highland neighbour, came in to visit
the McDonalds, and Peter producing his violin, we danced jigs and
reels, in a manner and with a spirit not often seen but in Ireland or
Scotland. The doctor, unable to withstand the general excitement,
joined in the dances with as much animation as any of us, and seemed
to enjoy himself amazingly.

"Ah, Mr Slick," said he, patting me on the shoulder, "this is the true
philosophy of life. But how is it with your disposition for fun, into
which you enter with all your heart, that you have such a store of
'wise saws.' How in the world did you ever acquire them? for your time
seems to have been spent more in the active pursuits of life than in
meditation. Excuse me, I neither undervalue your talent nor power of
observation, but the union does not seem quite natural, it is so much
out of the usual course of things."

"Well," sais I, "Doctor, you have been enough in the woods to know
that a rock, accidentally falling from a bank into a brook, or a
drift-log catching cross-ways of the stream, will often change its
whole course, and give it a different direction; haven't you? Don't
you know that the smallest and most trivial event often contains
colouring matter enough in it to change the whole complexion of our
life? For instance, one Saturday, not long before I left school, and
when I was a considerable junk of a boy, father gave me leave to go
and spend the day with Eb Snell, the son of our neighbour old Colonel
Jephunny Snell. We amused ourselves catching trout in the mill-pond,
and shooting king-fishers, about the hardest bird there is to kill in
all creation, and between one and the other sport, you may depend we
enjoyed ourselves first-rate. Towards evenin' I heard a most an awful
yell, and looked round, and there was Eb shoutin' and screamin' at the
tip eend of his voice, and a jumpin' up and down, as if he had been
bit by a rattlesnake.

"'What in natur is the matter of you, Eb?' sais I. 'What are you a
makin' such an everlastin' touss about?' But the more I asked, the
more he wouldn't answer. At last, I thought I saw a splash in the
water, as if somebody was making a desperate splurging there, and I
pulled for it, and raced to where he was in no time, and sure enough
there was his little brother, Zeb, just a sinkin' out of sight. So I
makes a spring in after him in no time, caught him by the hair of his
head, just as he was vamosing, and swam ashore with him. The
bull-rushes and long water-grass was considerable thick there, and
once or twice I thought in my soul I should have to let go my hold of
the child, and leave him to save my own life, my feet got so tangled
in it; but I stuck to it like a good fellow, and worked my passage out
with the youngster.

"Just then, down came the women folk and all the family of the Snells,
and the old woman made right at me, as cross as a bear that has cubs,
she looked like a perfect fury.

"'You good-for-nothin' young scallowag,' said she, 'is that the way
you take care of that poor dear little boy, to let him fall into the
pond, and get half drowned?'

"And she up and boxed my ears right and left, till sparks came out of
my eyes like a blacksmith's chimney, and my hat, which was all soft
with water, got the crown knocked in in the scuffle, and was as flat
as a pancake.

"'What's all this,' sais Colonel Jephunny, who came runnin' out of the
mill. 'Eb,' sais he, 'what's all this?'

"Well, the critter was so frightened he couldn't do nothin', but jump
up and down, nor say a word, but 'Sam, Sam!'

"So the old man seizes a stick, and catchin' one of my hands in his,
turned to, and gave me a most an awful hidin'. He cut me into ribbons
a'most.

"'I'll teach you,' he said, 'you villain, to throw a child into the
water arter that fashin.' And he turned to, and at it agin, as hard as
he could lay on. I believe in my soul he would have nearly killed me,
if it hadn't a been for a great big nigger wench he had, called Rose.
My! what a slashin' large woman, that was; half horse, half alligator,
with a cross of the mammoth in her. She wore a man's hat and jacket,
and her petticoat had stuff enough in it to make the mainsail of a
boat. Her foot was as long and as flat as a snow shoe, and her hands
looked as shapeless and as hard as two large sponges froze solid. Her
neck was as thick as a bull's, and her scalp was large and woolly
enough for a door-mat. She was as strong as a moose, and as ugly too;
and her great-white pointed teeth was a caution to a shark.

"'Hullo,' sais she, 'here's the devil to pay, and no pitch hot. Are
you a goin' to kill that boy, massa?' and she seized hold of me and
took me away from him, and caught me up in her arms as easy as if I
was a doll.

"'Here's a pretty hurrahs nest,' sais she, 'let me see one of you dare
to lay hands on this brave pickininny. He is more of a man than the
whole bilin' of you put together. My poor child,' said she, 'they have
used you scandalous, ridiculous,' and she held down her nasty oily
shiny face and kissed me, till she nearly smothered me. Oh, Doctor, I
shall never forget that scene the longest day I ever live. She might a
been Rose by name, but she warn't one by nature, I tell you. When
niggers get their dander raised, and their ebenezer fairly up, they
ain't otter of roses, that's a fact; whatever Mrs Stowe may say. Oh, I
kicked and yelled and coughed like anything.

"'Poor dear boy,' she said, 'Rosy ain't a goin' to hurt her own brave
child,' not she, and she kissed me again and again, till I thought I
should have fainted. She actually took away my breath.

"'Come,' said she, and she set me down on my feet. 'Come to the house,
till I put some dry clothes on you, and I'll make some lasses candy
for you with my own hands!' But as soon as I touched land, I streaked
off for home, as hard as I could lay legs to the ground; but the
perfume of old Rose set me a sneezing so, I fairly blew up the dust in
the road as I went, as if a bull had been pawin of it, and left a
great wet streak behind me as if a watering-pot had passed that way.
Who should I meet when I returned, but mother a standin at the door.

"'Why, Sam,' said she, 'what under the sun is the matter? What a spot
of work? Where in the world have you been?'

"'In the mill pond,' said I.

"'In the mill pond,' said she, slowly; 'and ruinated that beautiful
new coat I made out of your father's old one, and turned so nicely for
you. You are more trouble to me than all the rest of the boys put
together. Go right off to your room this blessed instant minite, and
go to bed and say your prayers, and render thanks for savin' your
clothes, if you did lose your life.'

"'I wish I had lost my life,' said I.

"'Wish you had lost your life?' said she. 'Why you miserable,
onsarcumsised, onjustified, graceless boy. Why do you wish you had
lost your life?'

"'Phew, phew,' said I, 'was you ever kissed by a nigger? because if
you was, I guess you wouldn't have asked that are question,' and I
sneezed so hard I actually blew down the wire cage, the door of it
flew open, and the cat made a spring like wink and killed the canary
bird.

"'Sam, Sam,' said she ('skat, skat, you nasty devil, you--you have got
the knary, I do declare.) Sam! Sam! to think I should have lived to
hear you ask your mother if she had ever been kissed by a nigger!' and
she began to boohoo right out. 'I do believe in my soul you are drunk,
Sam,' said she.

"'I shouldn't wonder if I was,' said I, 'for I have drunk enough
to-day to serve a cow and a calf for a week.'

"'Go right off to bed; my poor dear bird,' said she. 'And when your
father comes in I will send him to your cage. You shall be punished
for this.'

"'I don't care,' sais I, for I was desperate and didn't mind what
happened, 'who you send, providin' you don't send black Rose, the
nigger wench, to me.'

"Well, in about an hour or so I heard father come to the foot of the
stairs and call out 'Sam.' I didn't answer at first, but went and
threw the winder open ready for a jump.

"Thinks I, 'Sam, you are in great luck to-day. 1st. You got nearly
drowned, savin' that little brat Zeb Snell. 2nd. You lost a bran new
hat, and spoilt your go-to-meetin' clothes. 3rd. Mrs Snell boxed your
ears till your eyes shot stars, like rockets. 4th. You got an
all-fired licking from old Colonel Jephunny, till he made a mulatto of
you, and you was half black and half white. 5th. You got kissed and
pysoned by that great big emancipated she-nigger wench. 6th. You have
killed your mother's canary bird, and she has jawed you till she went
into hysterics. 7th. Here's the old man a goin' to give you another
walloping and all for nothin. I'll cut and run, and dot drot me if I
don't, for it's tarnation all over.'

"'Sam,' sais father again, a raisin' of his voice.

"'Father,' sais I, 'I beg your pardon, I am very sorry for what I have
done, and I think I have been punished enough. If you will promise to
let me off this time, I will take my oath I will never save another
person from drowning again, the longest day I ever live.'

"'Come down,' said he, 'when I tell you, I am goin' to reward you.'

"'Thank you,' sais I, 'I have been rewarded already more than I
deserve.'

"Well, to make a long story short, we concluded a treaty of peace, and
down I went, and there was Colonel Snell, who said he had drove over
to beg my pardon for the wrong he had done to me, and said he, 'Sam,
come to me at ten o'clock on Monday, and I will put you in a way to
make your fortune, as a recompense for saving my child's life.'

"Well, I kept the appointment, tho' I was awful skared about old Rose
kissin of me again; and sais he, 'Sam, I want to show you my
establishment for making wooden clocks. One o' them can be
manufactured for two dollars, scale of prices then. Come to me for
three months, and I will teach you the trade, only you musn't carry it
on in Connecticut to undermine me.' I did so, and thus accidentally I
became a clockmaker.

"To sell my wares I came to Nova Scotia. By a similar accident I met
the Squire in this province, and made his acquaintance. I wrote a
journal of our tour, and for want of a title he put my name to it, and
called it 'Sam Slick, the Clockmaker.' That book introduced me to
General Jackson, and he appointed me attaché to our embassy to
England, and that again led to Mr Polk making me Commissioner of the
Fisheries, which, in its turn, was the means of my having the honour
of your acquaintance," and I made him a scrape of my hind leg.

"Now," sais I, "all this came from the accident of my havin' saved a
child's life one day. I owe my 'wise saws' to a similar accident. My
old master and friend, that you have read of in my books, Mr Hopewell,
was chock full of them. He used to call them wisdom boiled down to an
essence, concretes, and I don't know what all. He had a book full of
English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, and above all, Bible ones.
Well, he used to make me learn them by heart for lessons, till I was
fairly sick and tired to death of 'em.

"'Minister,' sais I, one day, 'what under the sun is the use of them
old, musty, fusty proverbs. A boy might as well wear his father's
boots, and ride in his long stirrups, as talk in maxims, it would only
set other boys a laughin' at him.'

"'Sam,' sais he, 'you don't understand them now, and you don't
understand your Latin grammar, tho' you can say them both off by
heart. But you will see the value of one when you come to know the
world, and the other, when you come to know the language. The latter
will make you a good scholar, and the former a wise man.'

"Minister was right, Doctor. As I came to read the book of life, I
soon began to understand, appreciate, and apply my proverbs. Maxims
are deductions ready drawn, and better expressed than I could do them,
to save my soul alive. Now I have larned to make them myself. I have
acquired the habit, as my brother the lawyer sais, 'of extracting the
principle from cases.' Do you take? I am not the accident of an
accident; for I believe the bans of marriage were always duly
published in our family; but I am the accident of an incident."

"There is a great moral in that too, Mr Slick," he said. "How
important is conduct, when the merest trifle may carry in its train
the misery or happiness of your future life."

"Stick a pin in that also. Doctor," said I.

Here Cutler and the pilot cut short our conversation by going on
board. But Peter wouldn't hear of my leaving his house, and I
accordingly spent the night there, not a little amused with my new
acquaintances.



                              CHAPTER V.

                      A NEW WAY TO LEARN GAELIC.


After the captain and the pilot had retired, sais I, "Miss Jessie,
sposin we young folks--(ah me, it is time to get a new word, I guess,
for that one has been used so long, it's e'en amost worn out
now)--sposin we young folks leave the doctor and your father to finish
their huntin' stories, and let us go to the other room, and have a
dish of chat about things in general, and sweethearts in particular."

"Oh, we live too much alone here," said she, "to know anything of such
matters, but we will go if you will promise to tell us one of your
funny stories. They say you have written a whole book full of them;
how I should like to see it."

"Would you, Miss?" said I, "well, then, you shall have one, for I have
a copy on board I believe, and I shall be only too proud if you will
read it to remember me by. But my best stories ain't in my books.
Somehow or another, when I want them they won't come, and at other
times when I get a goin talkin, I can string them together like
onions, one after the other, till the twine is out. I have a heap of
them, but they are all mixed and confused like in my mind, and it
seems as if I never could find the one I need. Do you work in worsted,
Miss?"

"Well, a little," sais she. "It is only town-bred girls, who have
nothing to attend to but their dress and to go to balls, that have
leisure to amuse themselves that way; but I can work a little, though
I could never do anything fit to be seen or examined."

"I shouldn't wonder," said I, and I paused, and she looked as if she
didn't over half like my taking her at her word that way. "I shouldn't
wonder," said I, "for I am sure your eyes would fade the colour out of
the worsted."

"Why, Mr Slick," said she, drawing herself up a bit, "what nonsense
you do talk, what a quiz you be."

"Fact," sais I, "Miss, I assure you, never try it again, you will be
sure to spoil it. But as I was a sayin, Miss, when you see a thread of
a particular colour, you know whether you have any more like it or
not, so when a man tells me a story, I know whether I have one of the
same kind to match it or not, and if so, I know where to lay my hand
on it; but I must have a clue to my yarns."

Squire, there is something very curious about memory, I don't think
there is such a thing as total forgetfulness. I used once to think
there was, but I don't now. It used to seem to me that things rusted
out, but now it appears as if they were only misplaced, or overlaid,
or stowed away like where you can't find them; but depend on it, when
once there, they remain for ever. How often you are asked, "Don't you
recollect this or that?" and you answer, "No, I never heard, or saw
it, or read it," as the case may be. And when the time, and place, and
circumstances are told you, you say, "Stop a bit, I do now mind
something about it, warn't it so and so, or this way, or that way,"
and finally up it comes, all fresh to your recollection. Well, until
you get the clue given you, or the key note is struck, you are ready
to take your oath you never heard of it afore. Memory has many cells:
Some of them ain't used much, and dust and cobwebs get about them, and
you can't tell where the hinge is, or can't easily discarn the secret
spring; but open it once, and whatever is stowed away there is as safe
and sound as ever. I have a good many capital stories poked away in
them cubby-holes, that I can't just lay my hand on when I want to; but
now and then, when looking for something else, I stumble upon them by
accident. Tell you what, as for forgettin' a thing tee-totally, I
don't believe there is sich a thing in natur. But to get back to my
story.

"Miss," sais I, "I can't just at this present moment call to mind a
story to please you. Some of them are about hosses, or clocks, or
rises taken out of folks, or dreams, or courtships, or ghosts, or what
not; but few of them will answer, for they are either too short or too
long."

"Oh," says Catherine Fraser, "tell us a courtship; I dare say you will
make great fun of it."

"No, no," says Jessie, "tell us a ghost story. Oh! I delight in them."

"Oh," said Janet, "tell us about a dream. I know one myself which came
out as correct as provin' a sum."

"That's it, Miss Janet," said I; "do you tell me that story, please,
and it's hard if I can't find one that will please you in return for
it."

"Yes, do, dear," said Jessie; "tell Mr Slick that story, for it's a
true one, and I should like to hear what he thinks of it, or how he
can account for it."

"Well," said Janet, "you must excuse me, Mr Slick, for any mistakes I
make, for I don't speak very good English, and I can hardly tell a
story all through in that language.

"I have a brother that lives up one of the branches of the Buctouche
River in New Brunswick. He bought a tract of land there four or five
years ago, on which there was a house and barn, and about a hundred
acres of cleared land. He made extensive improvements on it, and went
to a great expense in clearing up the stumps, and buying stock and
farming implements, and what not. One season, between plantin' and
harvest, he run short of money for his common daily use, and to pay
some little debts he owed, and he was very dull about it. He said he
knew he could come here and borrow it from father, but he didn't like
to be away from home so long, and hardly knew how the family was to
get on or to pay the wages till his return, so it was agreed that I
was to go the next Monday in a vessel bound for Halifax and bring him
what he wanted.

"At that time, he had a field back in the woods he was cultivating.
Between that and the front on the river, was a poor sand flat covered
with spruce, birch, and poplar, and not worth the expense of bringing
to for the plough. The road to the back field ran through this wood
land. He was very low-spirited about his situation, for he said if he
was to borrow the money of a merchant, he would require a mortgage on
his place, and perhaps sell it before he knew where he was. Well, that
night he woke up his wife, and said to her--

"'Mary,' said he, 'I have had a very curious dream just now. I dreamed
that as I was going out to the back lot with the oxcart, I found a
large sum of money all in dollars in the road there.'

"'Well,' says Mary, 'I wish it was true, John, but it is too good news
for us. The worriment we have had about money lately has set you a
dreaming. Janet sails on Monday, she will soon be back, and then it
will all be right; so go to sleep again, dear.'

"Well, in the morning, when he and his wife got up, he never spoke or
thought any more about the dream, but as soon as breakfast was over,
he and his man yoked up the oxen, put them to the cart, and lifted the
harrow into it, and started for the field. The servant drove the team,
and John walked behind with his head down, a turning over in his mind
whether he couldn't sell something off the farm to keep matters
a-goin' till I should return, when all at once, as they were passing
through the wood, he observed that there was a line of silver dollars
turned up by one of the wheels of the cart, and continued for the
space of sixty feet and then ceased.

"The moment he saw the money he thought of his dream, and he was so
overjoyed that he was on the point of calling out to the man to stop,
but he thought it was more prudent as they were alone in the woods to
say nothing about it. So he walked on, and joined the driver, and kept
him in talk for awhile. And then, as if he had suddenly thought of
something, said, 'Jube, do you proceed to the field and go to work
till I come. I shall have to go to the house for a short time.'

"Well, as soon as he got out of sight of the cart, off he ran home as
hard as he could lay legs to it, only stopping to take up a handful of
the coins to make sure they were real.

"'Mary, Mary,' sais he, 'the dream has come true; I have found the
money--see here is some of it; there is no mistake;' and he threw a
few pieces down on the hearth and rung them. 'They are genuine Spanish
crowns. Do you and Janet bring the market-basket, while I go for a
couple of hoes, and let us gather it all up.'

"Well, sure enough, when we came to the place he mentioned, there was
the wheel-track full of dollars. He and I hoed each side of the rut,
which seemed to be in a sort of yellow powder, like the dust of rotten
wood, and got out all we could find. We afterwards tried under the
opposite wheel, and behind and before the rut, but could find no more,
and when we got home we counted it, and found we had eighty-two
pounds, five shillings.

"'Well, this is a God-send, Mary, ain't it?' said brother; and she
threw her arms round his neck, and cried for joy as she kissed him."

"Which way," said I, "show me, Miss, how she did it, only you may
laugh instead of cry if you like."

"Not being a wife," said she, with great quietness, "I cannot show you
myself, but you may imagine it, it will do just as well, or dream it,
and that will do better.

"Well, John was a scrupulous man, and he was determined to restore the
money, if he could find an owner for it; but he could hear of no one
who had lost any, nor any tradition in that place that any one ever
had done so since the first settlement of the country. All that he
could discover was, that about forty years before, an old Frenchman
had lived somewhere thereabouts alone, in the midst of the woods. Who
he was, or what became of him, nobody knew; all he could hear was,
that a party of lumbermen had, some years afterwards, found his house
amidst a second growth of young wood that wholly concealed it, and
that it contained his furniture, cooking utensils, and trunks, as he
had left them. Some supposed he had been devoured by bears or wolves;
others, that he had been lost in the woods; and some, that he had died
by his own hands.

"On hearing this, John went to examine his habitation, or the remains
of it, and he found that about four acres around it were covered with
the second growth, as it is called, which was plainly to be
distinguished from the forest, as the trees were not only not so large
or so old as the neighbouring ones, but, as is always the case, were
of a different description of wood altogether. On a careful inspection
of the spot where he found the money, it appeared that the wheel had
passed lengthways along an enormous old decayed pine, in the hollow of
which he supposed the money must have been hid; and when the tree
fell, the dollars had rolled along its centre fifty feet or more, and
remained there until the wood was rotten, and had crumbled into dust.

"There, Sir, there is my story: it is a true one, I assure you, for I
was present at the time. What do you think of it?"

"Well," sais I, "if he had never heard a rumour, nor had any reason to
suppose that the money had been hid there, why it was a singular
thing, and looks very much like a--"

"Like a what?" said she.

"Like a supply that one couldn't count upon a second time, that's
all."

"It's a dream that was fulfilled though," she said; "and that don't
often happen, does it?"1


1 The names of the persons and river are alone changed in this
extraordinary story. The actors are still living, and are persons of
undoubted veracity and respectability.


"Unless," sais I, "a young lady was to dream now that she was a going
to be married to a certain person, and that does often come true. Do
you--"

"Oh, nonsense," said she. "Come, do tell us your story now, you know
you promised me you would if I related mine."

"Yes," said Miss Jessie; "come now, Mr Slick, that's a good man, do?"

Sais I, "Miss, I will give you my book instead, and that will tell you
a hundred of them."

"Yes, but when will you give it to me?" she replied.

"To-morrow," said I, "as soon as I go on board. But mind, there is one
condition." And I said in Gaelic: "Feumieth thu pog thoir dhomh eur a
shon (you must give me a kiss for it)."

"Oh," said she, lookin' not over pleased, I consaited; but perhaps it
was because the other girls laughed liked anything, as if it was a
capital joke, "that's not fair, you said you would give it, and now
you want to sell it. If that's the case I will pay the money for it."

"Oh, fie," sais I, "Miss Jessie."

"Well, I want to know!"

"No, indeed; what I meant was to give you that book to remember me by
when I am far away from here, and I wanted you to give me a little
token, O do bhilean boidheach (from your pretty lips), that I should
remember the longest day I live."

"You mean that you would go away, laugh, and forget right off. No,
that won't do, but if you must have a token I will look up some little
keepsake to exchange for it. Oh, dear, what a horrid idea," she said,
quite scorney like, "to trade for a kiss; it's the way father buys his
fish, he gives salt for them, or flour, or some such barter, oh, Mr
Slick, I don't think much of you. But for goodness gracious sake how
did you learn Gaelic?"

"From lips, dear," said I, "and that's the reason I shall never forget
it."

"No, no," said she, "but how on earth did you ever pick it up."

"I didn't pick it up, Miss," said I, "I kissed it up, and as you want
a story I might as well tell you that as any other."

"It depends upon what sort of a story it is," said she, colouring.

"Oh, yes," said the Campbell girls, who didn't appear quite so
skittish as she was, "do tell us, no doubt you will make a funny one
out of it. Come, begin."

Squire, you are older than I be, and I suppose you will think all this
sort of thing is clear sheer nonsense, but depend upon it a kiss is a
great mystery. There is many a thing we know that we can't explain,
still we are sure it is a fact for all that. Why should there be a
sort of magic in shaking hands, which seems only a mere form, and
sometimes a painful one too, for some folks wring your fingers off
amost, and make you fairly dance with pain, they hurt you so. It don't
give much pleasure at any time. What the magic of it is we can't tell,
but so it is for all that. It seems only a custom like bowing and
nothing else, still there is more in it than meets the eye. But a kiss
fairly electrifies you, it warms your blood and sets your heart a
beatin' like a brass drum, and makes your eyes twinkle like stars in a
frosty night. It tante a thing ever to be forgot. No language can
express it, no letters will give the sound. Then what in natur is
equal to the flavour of it? What an aroma it has! How spiritual it is!
It ain't gross, for you can't feed on it; it don't cloy, for the
palate ain't required to test its taste. It is neither visible, nor
tangible, nor portable, nor transferable. It is not a substance, nor a
liquid, nor a vapour. It has neither colour nor form. Imagination
can't conceive it. It can't be imitated or forged. It is confined to
no clime or country, but is ubiquitous. It is disembodied when
completed, but is instantly reproduced, and so is immortal. It is as
old as the creation, and yet is as young and fresh as ever. It
preëxisted, still exists, and always will exist. It pervades all
natur. The breeze as it passes kisses the rose, and the pendant vine
stoops down and hides with its tendrils its blushes, as it kisses the
limpid stream that waits in an eddy to meet it, and raises its tiny
waves, like anxious lips to receive it. Depend upon it Eve learned it
in Paradise, and was taught its beauties, virtues, and varieties by an
angel, there is something so transcendent in it.

How it is adapted to all circumstances! There is the kiss of welcome
and of parting, the long-lingering, loving present one, the stolen or
the mutual one, the kiss of love, of joy, and of sorrow, the seal of
promise, and the receipt of fulfilment. Is it strange therefore that a
woman is invincible whose armoury consists of kisses, smiles, sighs,
and tears? Is it any wonder that poor old Adam was first tempted, and
then ruined? It is very easy for preachers to get up with long faces
and tell us he ought to have been more of a man. My opinion is, if he
had been less of a man, it would have been better for him. But I am
not agoin' to preach; so I will get back to my story; but, Squire, I
shall always maintain to my dying day, that kissing is a sublime
mystery.

"Well," sais I, "ladies, I was broughten up to home, on my father's
farm, and my edecation, what little I had of it, I got from the
Minister of Slickville, Mr Joshua Hopewell, who was a friend of my
father's, and was one of the best men I believe that ever lived. He
was all kindness and all gentleness, and was at the same time one of
the most learned men in the United States. He took a great fancy to
me, and spared no pains with my schooling, and I owe everything I have
in the world to his instruction. I didn't mix much with other boys,
and, from living mostly with people older than myself, acquired an
old-fashioned way that I have never been able to shake off yet; all
the boys called me 'Old Slick.' In course, I didn't learn much of life
that way. All I knew about the world beyond our house and hisin, was
from books, and from hearing him talk, and he convarsed better than
any book I ever set eyes on. Well, in course I grew up unsophisticated
like, and I think I may say I was as innocent a young man as ever you
see."

Oh, how they all laughed at that! "You ever innocent!" said they.
"Come, that's good; we like that; it's capital! Sam Slick an innocent
boy! Well, that must have been before you were weaned, or talked in
joining hand, at any rate. How simple we are, ain't we?" and they
laughed themselves into a hooping-cough amost.

"Fact, Miss Janet," said I, "I assure you" (for she seemed the most
tickled at the idea of any of them) "I was, indeed. I won't go for to
pretend to say some of it didn't rub off when it became dry, when I
was fishing in the world on my own hook; but, at the time I am
speaking of, when I was twenty-one next grass, I was so guileless, I
couldn't see no harm in anything."

"So I should think," said she; "it's so like you."

"Well, at that time there was a fever, a most horrid typhus fever,
broke out in Slickville, brought there by some shipwrecked emigrants.
There was a Highland family settled in the town the year afore,
consisting of old Mr Duncan Chisholm, his wife, and daughter Flora.
The old people were carried off by the disease, and Flora was left
without friends or means, and the worst of it was, she could hardly
speak a word of intelligible English. Well, Minister took great pity
on her, and spoke to father about taking her into his house, as sister
Sally was just married, and the old lady left without any companion;
and they agreed to take her as one of them, and she was in return to
help mother all she could. So, next day, she came, and took up her
quarters with us. Oh my, Miss Janet, what a beautiful girl she was!
She was as tall as you are, Jessie, and had the same delicate little
feet and hands."

I threw that in on purpose, for women, in a general way, don't like to
hear others spoken of too extravagant, particularly if you praise them
for anything they hain't got; but if you praise them for anything they
pride themselves on, they are satisfied, because it shows you estimate
them also at the right valy, too. It took, for she pushed her foot out
a little, and rocked it up and down slowly, as if she was rather proud
of it.

"Her hair was a rich auburn, not red (I don't like that at all, for it
is like a lucifer-match, apt to go off into a flame spontinaciously
sometimes), but a golden colour, and lots of it too, just about as
much as she could cleverly manage; eyes like diamonds; complexion, red
and white roses; and teeth, not quite so regular as yours, Miss, but
as white as them; and lips--lick!--they reminded one of a curl of rich
rose-leaves, when the bud first begins to swell and spread out with a
sort of peachy bloom on them, ripe, rich, and chock full of kisses."

"Oh, the poor ignorant boy!" said Janet, "you didn't know nothing, did
you?"

"Well, I didn't," sais I, "I was as innocent as a child; but nobody is
so ignorant as not to know a splendiferous gall when he sees her," and
I made a motion of my head to her, as much, as to say, "Put that cap
on, for it just fits you."

"My sakes, what a neck she had! not too long and thin, for that looks
goosey; nor too short and thick, for that gives a clumsy appearance to
the figure; but betwixt and between, and perfection always lies there,
just midway between extremes. But her bust--oh! the like never was
seen in Slickville, for the ladies there, in a gineral way, have no--"

"Well, well," said Jessie, a little snappish, for praisin' one gall to
another ain't the shortest way to win their regard, "go on with your
story of Gaelic."

"And her waist, Jessie, was the most beautiful thing, next to your'n,
I ever see. It was as round as an apple, and anything that is round,
you know, is larger than it looks, and I wondered how much it would
measure. I never see such an innocent girl as she was. Brought up to
home, and in the country, like me, she knew no more about the ways of
the world than I did. She was a mere child, as I was; she was only
nineteen years old, and neither of us knew anything of society rules.
One day I asked her to let me measure her waist with my arm, and I
did, and then she measured mine with her'n, and we had a great dispute
which was the largest, and we tried several times before we
ascertained there was only an inch difference between us. I never was
so glad in my life as when she came to stay with us; she was so
good-natured, and so cheerful, and so innocent, it was quite charming.

"Father took a wonderful shindy to her, for even old men can't help
liking beauty. But, somehow, I don't think mother did; and it appears
to me now, in looking back upon it, that she was afraid I should like
her too much. I consaited she watched us out of the corner of her
glasses, and had her ears open to hear what we said; but p'raps it was
only my vanity, for I don't know nothin' about the working of a
woman's heart even now. I am only a bachelor yet, and how in the world
should I know anything more about any lady than what I knew about poor
Flora? In the ways of women I am still as innocent as a child; I do
believe that they could persuade me that the moon is nothin' but an
eight-day clock with an illuminated face. I ain't vain, I assure you,
and never brag of what I don't know, and I must say, I don't even
pretend to understand them."

"Well, I never!" said Jessie.

"Nor I," said Janet.

"Did you ever, now!" said Catherine. "Oh dear, how soft you are, ain't
you?"

"Always was, ladies," said I, "and am still as soft as dough. Father
was very kind to her, but he was old and impatient, and a little hard
of hearing, and he couldn't half the time understand her. One day she
came in with a message from neighbour Dearborne, and sais she,

"'Father--'

"'Colonel, if you please, dear,' said mother, 'he is not your father;'
and the old lady seemed as if she didn't half fancy any body calling
him that but her own children. Whether that is natural or not, Miss
Jessie," said I, "I don't know, for how can I tell what women thinks?"

"Oh, of course not," said Janet, "you are not waywise, and so artless;
you don't know, of course!"

"Exactly," sais I; "but I thought mother spoke kinder cross to her,
and it confused the gall.

"Says Flora, 'Colonel Slick, Mr Dearborne says--says--' Well, she
couldn't get the rest out; she couldn't find the English. 'Mr
Dearborne says--'

"'Well, what the devil does he say?' said father, stampin' his foot,
out of all patience with her.

"It frightened Flora, and off she went out of the room crying like
anything.

"'That girl talks worse and worse,' said mother.

"'Well, I won't say that,' says father, a little mollified, 'for she
can't talk at all, so there is no worse about it. I am sorry though I
scared her. I wish somebody would teach her English.'

"'I will,' sais I, 'father, and she shall teach me Gaelic in return.'

"'Indeed you shan't,' sais mother; 'you have got something better to
do than larning her; and as for Gaelic I can't bear it. It's a horrid
outlandish language, and of no earthly use whatever under the blessed
sun. It's worse than Indian.'

"'Do, Sam,' said father; 'it's an act of kindness, and she is an
orphan, and besides, Gaelic may be of great use to you in life. I like
Gaelic myself; we had some brave Jacobite Highland soldiers in our
army in the war that did great service, but unfortunately nobody could
understand them. And as for orphans, when I think how many fatherless
children we made for the British--'

"'You might have been better employed,' said mother, but he didn't
hear her, and went right on.

"'I have a kindly feelin' towards them. She is a beautiful girl that.'

"'If it warn't for her carrotty hair and freckled face,' said mother,
looking at me, 'she wouldn't be so awful ugly after all, would she?'

"'Yes, Sam,' sais father, 'teach her English for heaven's sake; but
mind, she must give you lessons in Gaelic. Languages is a great
thing.'

"'It's great nonsense,' said mother, raisin' her voice.

"'It's my orders,' said father, holding up his head and standing
erect. 'It's my orders, marm, and they must be obeyed;' and he walked
out of the room as stiff as a ramrod, and as grand as a Turk.

"'Sam,' sais mother, when we was alone, 'let the gall be; the less she
talks the more she'll work. Do you understand, my dear?'

"'That's just my idea, mother,' sais I.

"'Then you won't do no such nonsense, will you, Sammy?'

"'Oh no!' sais I, 'I'll just go through the form now and then to
please father, but that's all. Who the plague wants Gaelic? If all the
Highlands of Scotland were put into a heap, and then multiplied by
three, they wouldn't be half as big as the White Mountains, would
they, marm? They are just nothin' on the map, and high hills, like
high folks, are plaguy apt to have barren heads.'

"'Sam,' said she, a pattin' of me on the cheek, 'you have twice as
much sense as your father has after all. You take after me.'

"I was so simple, I didn't know what to do. So I said yes to mother
and yes to father; for I knew I must honour and obey my parents, so I
thought I would please both. I made up my mind I wouldn't get books to
learn Gaelic or teach English, but do it by talking, and that I
wouldn't mind father seein' me, but I'd keep a bright look out for the
old lady."

"Oh dear! how innocent that was, warn't it?" said they.

"Well, it was," said I; "I didn't know no better then, and I don't
now; and what's more, I think I would do the same agin, if it was to
do over once more."

"I have no doubt you would," said Janet.

"Well, I took every opportunity when mother was not by to learn words.
I would touch her hand and say, 'What is that?' And she would say,
'Làuch,' and her arm, her head, and her cheek, and she would tell me
the names; and her eyes, her nose, and her chin, and so on; and then I
would touch her lips, and say, 'What's them?' And she'd say.
'Bhileau?' And then I'd kiss her, and say, 'What's that?' And she'd
say. 'Pog.' But she was so artless, and so was I; we didn't know
that's not usual unless people are courtin; for we hadn't seen
anything of the world then.

"Well, I used to go over that lesson every time I got a chance, and
soon got it all by heart but that word Pog (kiss), which I never could
remember. She said I was very stupid, and I must say it over and over
again till I recollected it. Well, it was astonishing how quick she
picked up English, and what progress I made in Gaelic; and if it
hadn't been for mother, who hated the language like pyson, I do
believe I should soon have mastered it so as to speak it as well as
you do. But she took every opportunity she could to keep us apart, and
whenever I went into the room where Flora was spinning, or ironing,
she would either follow and take a chair, and sit me out, or send me
away of an errand, or tell me to go and talk to father, who was all
alone in the parlour, and seemed kinder dull. I never saw a person
take such a dislike to the language as she did; and she didn't seem to
like poor Flora either, for no other reason as I could see under the
light of the livin' sun, but because she spoke it; for it was
impossible not to love her--she was so beautiful, so artless, and so
interesting, and so innocent. But so it was.

"Poor thing! I pitied her. The old people couldn't make out half she
said, and mother wouldn't allow me, who was the only person she could
talk to, to have any conversation with her if she could help it. It is
a bad thing to distrust young people, it makes them artful at last;
and I really believe it had that effect on me to a certain extent. The
unfortunate girl often had to set up late ironing, or something or
another. And if you will believe it now, mother never would let me sit
up with her to keep her company and talk to her; but before she went
to bed herself, always saw me off to my own room. Well, it's easy to
make people go to bed, but it ain't just quite so easy to make them
stay there. So when I used to hear the old lady get fairly into hers,
for my room was next to father's, though we went by different stairs
to them, I used to go down in my stocking feet, and keep her company;
for I pitied her from my heart. And then we would sit in the corner of
the fire-place and talk Gaelic half the night. And you can't think how
pleasant it was. You laugh, Miss Janet, but it really was delightful;
they were the happiest hours I almost ever spent."

"Oh, I don't doubt it," she said, "of course they were."

"If you think so, Miss," said I, "p'raps you would finish the lessons
with me this evening, if you have nothing particular to do."

"Thank you, Sir," she said, laughing like anything. "I can speak
English sufficient for my purpose, and I agree with your mother,
Gaelic in this country is of no sort of use whatever; at least I am so
artless and unsophisticated as to think so. But go on, Sir."

"Well, mother two or three times came as near as possible catching me,
for she was awful afraid of lights and fires, she said, and couldn't
sleep sound if the coals weren't covered up with ashes, the hearth
swept, and the broom put into a tub of water, and she used to get up
and pop into the room very sudden; and though she warn't very light of
foot, we used to be too busy repeating words to keep watch as we
ought."

"What an artless couple," said Janet; "well I never! how you can have
the face to pretend so, I don't know! Well, you do beat all!'

"A suspicious parent," sais I, "Miss, as I said before, makes an
artful child. I never knew what guile was before that. Well, one
night; oh dear, it makes my heart ache to think of it, it was the last
we ever spent together. Flora was starching muslins, mother had seen
me off to my room, and then went to hers, when down I crept in my
stockin feet as usual, puts a chair into the chimney corner, and we
sat down and repeated our lessons. When we came to the word Pog
(kiss), I always used to forget it; and it's very odd, for it's the
most beautiful one in the language. We soon lost all caution, and it
sounded so loud and sharp it started mother; and before we knew where
we were, we heard her enter the parlour which was next to us. In an
instant I was off and behind the entry door, and Flora was up and at
work. Just then the old lady came in as softly as possible, and stood
and surveyed the room all round. I could see her through the crack of
the door, she actually seemed disappointed at not finding me there.

"'What noise was that I heard, Flora?' she said, speakin' as mild as
if she was actilly afraid to wake the cat up.

"Flora lifted the centre of the muslin she was starching with one
hand, and makin' a hollow under it in the palm of the other, she held
it close up to the old woman's face, and clapped it; and it made the
very identical sound of the smack she had heard, and the dear child
repeated it in quick succession several times. The old lady jumped
back the matter of a foot or more, she positively looked skared, as if
the old gentleman would think somebody was a kissin' of her.

"Oh dear, I thought I should have teeheed right out. She seemed
utterly confounded, and Flora looked, as she was, the dear critter, so
artless and innocent! It dumbfoundered her completely. Still she
warn't quite satisfied.

"'What's this chair doing so far in the chimbley corner?' said she.

"How glad I was there warn't two there. The fact is, we never used but
one, we was quite young, and it was always big enough for us both.

"Flora talked Gaelic as fast as hail, slipt off her shoes, sat down on
it, put her feet to the fire, folded her arms across her bosom, laid
her head back and looked so sweet and so winnin' into mother's face,
and said, 'cha n'eil Beurl' (I have no English), and then proceeded in
Gaelic--

"'If you hadn't sat in that place yourself, when you was young, I
guess you wouldn't be so awful scared at it, you old goose you.'

"I thought I never saw her look so lovely. Mother was not quite
persuaded she was wrong after all. She looked all round agin, as if
she was sure I was there, and then came towards the door where I was,
so I sloped up-stairs like a shadow on the wall, and into bed in no
time; but she followed up and came close to me, and holdin the candle
in my face, said:

"'Sam, are you asleep?'

"Well, I didn't answer.

"'Sam,' said she, 'why don't you speak?' and she shook me.

"'Hullo,' sais I, pretendin' to wake up, 'what's the matter! have I
overslept myself? is it time to get up?' and I put out my arm to rub
my eyes, and lo and behold I exposed my coat sleeve.

"'No, Sam,' said she, 'you couldn't oversleep yourself, for you
haven't slept at all, you ain't even ondressed.'

"'Ain't I,' said I, 'are you sure?'

"'Why look here,' said she, throwin' down the clothes and pullin' my
coat over my head till she nearly strangled me.

"'Well, I shouldn't wonder if I hadn't stripped,' sais I. 'When a
feller is so peskilly sleepy as I be, I suppose he is glad to turn in
any way.'

"She never spoke another word, but I saw a storm was brewin, and I
heard her mutter to herself, 'Creation! what a spot of work! I'll have
no teaching of 'mother tongue' here.' Next morning she sent me to
Boston of an errand, and when I returned, two days after, Flora was
gone to live with sister Sally. I have never forgiven myself for that
folly; but really it all came of our being so artless and so innocent.
There was no craft in either of us. She forgot to remove the chair
from the chimbley corner, poor simple-minded thing, and I forgot to
keep my coat sleeve covered. Yes, yes, it all came of our being too
innocent; but that's the way, ladies, I learned Gaelic."



                             CHAPTER VI.

                       THE WOUNDS OF THE HEART.


When I took leave of the family I returned to the room where I had
left Peter and the doctor, but they had both retired. And as my
chamber adjoined it, I sat by the fire, lighted a cigar, and fell into
one of my rambling meditations.

Here, said I to myself, is another phase of life. Peter is at once a
Highlander, a Canadian, a trapper, a backwoodsman, and a coaster. His
daughters are half Scotch and half Indian, and have many of the
peculiarities of both races. There is even between these sisters a
wide difference in intellect, appearance, and innate refinement. The
doctor has apparently abandoned his profession for the study of
nature, and quit the busy haunts of men for the solitude of the
forest. He seems to think and act differently from any one else in the
country. Here too we have had Cutler, who is a scholar and a skilful
navigator, filling the berth of a master of a fishing craft. He began
life with nothing but good principles and good spirits, and is now
about entering on a career, which in a few years will lead to a great
fortune. He is as much out of place where he is, as a salmon would be
in a horse pond. And here am I, Squire, your humble servant, Sam Slick
the Clockmaker, not an eccentric man, I hope, for I detest them, they
are either mad, or wish to be thought so, because madness they suppose
to be an evidence of genius; but a specimen of a class not uncommon in
the States, though no other country in the world but Yankeedoodledum
produces it.

This is a combination these colonies often exhibit, and what a fool a
man must be when character is written in such large print, if he can't
read it even as he travels on horseback.

Of all the party assembled here to-night, the Scotch lasses alone, who
came in during the evening, are what you call everyday galls. They are
strong, hearty, intelligent, and good-natured, full of fun and
industry, can milk, churn, make butter and cheese, card, spin, and
weave, and will make capital wives for farmers of their own station in
life. As such, they are favourable representatives of their class, and
to my mind, far, far above those that look down upon them, who ape,
but can't copy, and have the folly, because they sail in the wake of
larger craft, to suppose they can be mistaken for anything else than
tenders. Putting three masts into a coaster may make her an object of
ridicule, but can never give her the appearance of a ship. They know
this in England, they have got to learn it yet in the Provinces.

Well, this miscellaneous collection of people affords a wide field for
speculation. Jessie is a remarkable woman, I must ask the doctor about
her history. I see there is a depth of feeling about her, a simplicity
of character, a singular sensitiveness, and a shade of melancholy. Is
it constitutional, or does it arise from her peculiar position? I
wonder how she reasons, and what she thinks, and how she would talk,
if she would say what she thinks. Has she ability to build up a theory
of her own, or does she, like half the women in the world, only think
of a thing as it occurs? Does she live in instances or in
generalities, I'll draw her out and see. Every order, where there are
orders, and every class (and no place is without them where women
are), have a way of judging in common with their order or class. What
is her station I wonder in her own opinion? What are her expectations?
What are her notions of wedlock? All girls regard marriage as an
enviable lot, or a necessary evil. If they tell us they don't, it's
because the right man hante come. And therefore I never mind what they
say on this subject. I have no doubt they mean it; but they don't know
what they are a talking about.

You, Squire, may go into a ball-room, where there are two hundred
women. One hundred and ninety-nine of them you will pass with as much
indifference as one hundred and ninety-nine pullets; but the two
hundredth irresistibly draws you to her. There are one hundred
handsomer, and ninety-nine cleverer ones present; but she alone has
the magnet that attracts you. Now, what is that magnet? Is it her
manner that charms? is it her voice that strikes on one of those
thousand and one chords of your nervous system, and makes it vibrate,
as sound does hollow glass? Or do her eyes affect your gizzard, so
that you have no time to chew the cud of reflection, and no
opportunity for your head to judge how you can digest the notions they
have put into it? Or is it animal magnetism, or what the plague is it?

You are strangely affected; nobody else in the room is, and everybody
wonders at you. But so it is. It's an even chance if you don't
perpetrate matrimony. Well, that's a thing that sharpens the eyesight,
and will remove a cateract quicker than an oculist can, to save his
soul alive. It metamorphoses an angel into a woman, and it's plaguey
lucky if the process don't go on and change her into something else.

After I got so far in my meditations, I lit another cigar, and took
out my watch to look at the time. "My eyes," sais I, "if it tante past
one o'clock at night. Howsomever, it ain't often I get a chance to be
alone, and I will finish this here weed, at any rate." Arter which I
turned in. The following morning I did not rise as early as usual, for
it's a great secret for a man never to be in the way, especially in a
house like Peter's, where his daughters had, in course, a good deal to
see to themselves. So I thought I'd turn over and take another snoose;
and do you know, Squire, that is always a dreamy one, and if your mind
ain't worried, or your digestion askew, it's more nor probable you
will have pleasant ones.

When I went into the keeping-room, I found Jessie and her sister
there, the table set, and everything prepared for me.

"Mr Slick," said the elder one, "your breakfast is ready."

"But where is your father?" said I, "and Doctor Ovey?"

"Oh, they have gone to the next harbour, Sir, to see a man who is very
ill there. The doctor left a message for you, he said he wanted to see
you again very much, and hoped to find you here on his return, which
will be about four o'clock in the afternoon. He desired me to say, if
you sailed before he got back, he hoped you would leave word what port
he would find you in, as he would follow you."

"Oh," said I, "we shall not go before to-morrow, at the earliest, so
he will be in very good time. But who in the world is Doctor Ovey? He
is the most singular man I ever met. He is very eccentric; ain't he?"

"I don't know who he is," she replied. "Father agrees with you. He
says he talks sometimes as if he was daft, but that, I believe, is
only because he is so learned. He has a house a way back in the
forest, where he lives occasionally; but the greater part of the year
he wanders about the woods, and camps out like--"

She hesitated a moment, and then brought out the reluctant word: "an
Indian. He knows the name of every plant and flower in the country,
and their uses; and the nature of every root, or bark, or leaf that
ever was; and then he knows all the ores, and coal mines, and
everything of that kind. He is a great hand for stuffing birds and
animals, and has some of every kind there is in the province. As for
butterflies, beetles, and those sort of things, he will chase them
like a child all day. His house is a regular--. I don't recollect the
word in English; in Gaelic it is 'tigh neonachais.'"

"Museum?" said I.

"Ah, that's it," said she.

"He can't have much practice," I said, "if he goes racing and chasing
over the country that way, like a run-away engine."

"He don't want it, Sir," she replied, "he is very well off. He says he
is one of the richest men in the country, for he don't spend half his
income, and that any man who does that is wealthy. He says he ain't a
doctor. Whether he is or not, I don't know; but he makes wonderful
cures. Nothing in the world makes him so angry as when anybody sends
for him that can afford a doctor, for he don't take pay. Now, this
morning he stormed, and raved, and stamped, and foamed at the mouth,
as if he was mad; he fairly swore, a thing I never heard him do
before; and he seized the hammer that he chips off stones with, and
threatened the man so who come for him, that he stood with the door in
his hand, while he begged him to go.

"'Oh, Sir,' said he, 'the Squire will die if you don't go.'

"'Let him die, then,' he replied, 'and be hanged. What is it to me? It
serves him right. Why didn't he send for Doctor Smith, and pay him?
Does he think I am a going to rob that man of his living? Be off, Sir,
off with you. Tell him I can't come, and won't come, and do you go for
a magistrate to make his will.'

"As soon as the man quitted the house, his fit left him.

"'Well," said he, 'Peter, I suppose we musn't let the man perish after
all; but I wish he hadn't sent for me, especially just now, for I want
to have a long talk with Mr Slick.'

"And he and father set off immediately through the woods."

"Suppose we beat up his quarters," said I, "Jessie. I should like to
see his house and collection, amazingly."

"Oh," said she, "so should I, above all things; but I wouldn't ask him
for the world. He'll do it for you, I know he will; for he says you
are a man after his own heart. You study nature so; and I don't know
what all, he said of you."

"Well, well," sais I, "old trapper as he is, see if I don't catch him.
I know how to bait the trap; so he will walk right into it. And then,
if he has anything to eat there, I'll show him how to cook it woodsman
fashion. I'll teach him how to dress a salmon; roast, boil, or bake.
How to make a bee-hunter's mess; a new way to do his potatoes camp
fashion; and how to dispense with kitchen-ranges, cabouses, or
cooking-stoves. If I could only knock over some wild-ducks at the lake
here, I'd show him a simple way of preparing them, that would make his
mouth water, I know. Truth is, a man that lives in the country ought
to know a little of everything a'most, and he can't be comfortable if
he don't. But dear me, I must be a movin."

So I made her a bow, and she made me one of her best courtseys. And I
held out my hand to her, but she didn't take it, though I see a smile
playin' over her face. The fact is, it is just as well she didn't, for
I intended to draw her--. Well, it ain't no matter what I intended to
do; and therefore it ain't no use to confess what I didn't realise.

"Truth is," said I, lingering a bit, not to look disappointed, "a
farmer ought to know what to raise, how to live, and where to save. If
two things are equally good, and one costs money, and the other only a
little trouble, the choice ain't difficult, is it?"

"Mr Slick," sais she, "are you a farmer?"

"I was bred and born on a farm, dear," sais I, "and on one, too, where
nothin' was ever wasted, and no time ever lost; where there was a
place for everything, and everything was in its place. Where peace and
plenty reigned; and where there was a shot in the locker for the
minister, and another for the poor, and--"

"You don't mean to say that you considered them game, did you?" said
she, looking archly.

"Thank you," sais I. "But now you are making game of me, Miss; that's
not a bad hit of yours though; and a shot for the bank, at the eend of
the year. I know all about farm things, from raisin' Indian corn down
to managing a pea-hen; the most difficult thing to regulate next to a
wife, I ever see."

"Do you live on a farm now?"

"Yes, when I am to home," sais I, "I have returned again to the old
occupation and the old place; for, after all, what's bred in the bone,
you know, is hard to get out of the flesh, and home is home, however
homely. The stones, and the trees, and the brooks, and the hills look
like old friends--don't you think so?"

"I should think so," she said; "but I have never returned to my home
or my people, and never shall." And the tears rose in her eyes, and
she got up and walked to the window, and said, with her back towards
me, as if she was looking at the weather: "The doctor has a fine day
for his journey; I hope he will return soon. I think you will like
him."

And then she came back and took her seat, as composed as if I had
never awakened those sad thoughts. Poor thing! I knew what was passing
in her mind, as well as if those eloquent tears had not touched my
heart. Somehow or another, it appears to me, like a stumblin' horse, I
am always a-striking my foot agin some stone, or stump, or root, that
any fellow might see with half an eye. She forced a smile, and said:

"Are you married, Sir?"

"Married," sais I, "to be sure I am; I married Flora."

"You must think me as innocent as she was, to believe that," she said,
and laughed at the idea. "How many children have you?"

"Seven," sais I:

  "Richard R., and Ira C.,
  Betsey Anne, and Jessie B.,
  Sary D., Eugeen--E,
  And Iren--ee."

"I have heard a great deal of you, Mr Slick," she said, "but you are
the queerest man I ever see. You talk so serious, and yet you are so
full of fun."

"That's because I don't pretend to nothin', dear;" sais I, "I am just
a nateral man. There is a time for all things, and a way to do 'em
too. If I have to freeze down solid to a thing, why then, ice is the
word. If there is a thaw, then fun and snow-ballin' is the ticket. I
listen to a preacher, and try to be the better for his argufying, if
he has any sense, and will let me; and I listen to the violin, and
dance to it, if it's in tune, and played right. I like my pastime, and
one day in seven is all the Lord asks. Evangelical people say he wants
the other six. Let them state day and date and book and page for that,
for I won't take their word for it. So I won't dance of a Sunday; but
show me a pretty gall, and give me good music, and see if I don't
dance any other day. I am not a droll man, dear, but I say what I
think, and do what I please, as long as I know I ain't saying or doing
wrong. And if that ain't poetry, it's truth, that's all."

"I wish you knew the doctor," said she; "I don't understand these
things, but you are the only man I ever met that talked like him, only
he hante the fun you have; but he enjoys fun beyond everything. I must
say I rather like him, though he is odd, and I am sure you would, for
you could comprehend many things he sais that I don't."

"It strikes me," sais I to myself, for I thought, puttin' this and
that together; "her rather likin' him, and her desire to see his
house, and her tryin' to flatter me that I talked like him; that
perhaps, like her young Gaelic friend's brother who dreamed of the
silver dollars, she might have had a dream of him."

So, sais I, "I have an idea, Jessie, that there is a subject, if he
talked to you upon, you could understand."

"Oh, nonsense," said she, rising and laughing, "now do you go on board
and get me your book; and I will go and see about dinner for the
Doc--for my father and you."

Well, I held out my hand, and said,

"Good-morning, Miss Jessie. Recollect, when I bring you the book that
you must pay the forfeit."

She dropt my hand in a minute, stood up as straight as a tragedy
actress, and held her head as high as the Queen of Sheby. She gave me
a look I shan't very easily forget, it was so full of scorn and pride.

"And you too, Sir," said she, "I didn't expect this of you," and then
left the room.

"Hullo!" sais I, "who's half-cracked now; you or the doctor? it
appears to me it's six of one and half-a-dozen of the other;" and I
took my hat, and walked down to the beach and hailed a boat.

About four I returned to the house, and brought with me, as I
promised, the "Clockmaker." When I entered the room, I found Jessie
there, who received me with her usual ease and composure. She was
trimming a work-bag, the sides of which were made of the inner bark of
the birch-tree, and beautifully worked with porcupine quills and moose
hair.

"Well," sais I, "that is the most delicate thing I ever saw in all my
born days. Creation, how that would be prized in Boston! How on earth
did you learn to do that?" sais I.

"Why," said she, with an effort that evidently cost her a struggle,
"my people make and barter them at the Fort at the north-west for
things of more use. Indians have no money."

It was the first time I had heard so distinct an avowal of her
American origin, and as I saw it brought the colour to her face, I
thought I had discovered a clue to her natural pride, or, more
properly, her sense of the injustice of the world, which is too apt to
look down upon this mixed race with open or ill-concealed contempt.
The scurvey opens old sores, and makes them bleed afresh, and an
unfeeling fellow does the same. Whatever else I may be, I am not that
man, thank fortune. Indeed, I am rather a dab at dressin' bodily ones,
and I won't turn my back in that line, with some simples I know of, on
any doctor that ever trod in shoe-leather, with all his compounds,
phials, and stipties.

In a gineral way, they know just as much about their business as a
donkey does of music, and yet both of them practise all day. They
don't make no improvements. They are like the birds of the air, and
the beasts of the forest. Swallows build their nests year after year
and generation after generation in the identical same fashion, and
moose winter after winter, and century after century, always follow in
each other's tracks. They consider it safer, it ain't so laborious,
and the crust of the snow don't hurt their shins. If a critter is such
a fool as to strike out a new path for himself, the rest of the herd
pass, and leave him to worry on, and he soon hears the dogs in
pursuit, and is run down and done for. Medical men act in the same
manner.

Brother Eldad, the doctor, used to say to me when riggin' him on the
subject:

"Sam, you are the most conceited critter I ever knew. You have picked
up a few herbs and roots, that have some virtue in them, but not
strength enough for us to give a place to in the pharmacopia of
medicine."

"Pharmacopia?" sais I, "why, what in natur is that? What the plague
does it mean? Is it bunkum?"

"You had better not talk on the subject," said he, "if you don't know
the tarms."

"You might as well tell me," sais I, "that I had better not speak
English if I can't talk gibberish. But," sais I, "without joking, now,
when you take the husk off that, and crack the nut, what do you call
the kernel?"

"Why," sais he, "it's a dispensary; a book containin' rules for
compoundin' medicines."

"Well then, it's a receipt-book, and nothin' else, arter all. Why the
plague can't you call it so at once, instead of usin' a word that
would break the jaw of a German?"

"Sam," he replied, "the poet says with great truth,


  "'A little learning is a dangerous thing;
  Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.'"


"Dear, dear," said I, "there is another strange sail hove in sight, as
I am alive. What flag does 'Pierian' sail under?"

"The magpies," said he, with the air of a man that's a goin' to hit
you hard. "It is a spring called Pierus after a gentleman of that
name, whose daughters, that were as conceited as you be, were changed
into magpies by the Muses, for challenging them out to sing. All
pratin' fellows like you, who go about runnin' down doctors, ought to
be sarved in the same way."

"A critter will never be run down," said I, "who will just take the
trouble to get out of the way, that's a fact. Why on airth couldn't
the poet have said Magpian Spring, then all the world would understand
him. No, the lines would have had more sense if they had run this way:


  "'A little physic is a dangerous thing;
  Drink deep, or drink not of the doctor's spring.'"


Well, it made him awful mad. Sais he, "You talk of treating wounds as
all unskilful men do, who apply balsams and trash of that kind, that
half the time turns the wound into an ulcer; and then when it is too
late the doctor is sent for, and sometimes to get rid of the sore, he
has to amputate the limb. Now, what does your receipt book say?"

"It sais," sais I, "that natur alone makes the cure, and all you got
to do, is to stand by and aid her in her efforts."

"That's all very well," sais he, "if nature would only tell you what
to do, but nature leaves you, like a Yankee quack as you are, to
guess."

"Well," sais I, "I am a Yankee, and I ain't above ownin' to it, and so
are you, but you seem ashamed of your broughtens up, and I must say I
don't think you are any great credit to them. Natur, though you don't
know it, because you are all for art, does tell you what to do, in a
voice so clear you can't help hearing it, and in language so plain you
can't help understandin' it. For it don't use chain-shot words like
'pharmacopia' and 'Pierian,' and so on, that is neither Greek nor
Latin, nor good English, nor vulgar tongue. And more than that, it
shows you what to do. And the woods, and the springs, and the soil is
full of its medicines and potions. Book doctrin' is like book farmin',
a beautiful thing in theory, but ruination in practice."

"Well," said he, with a toss of his head, "this is very good stump
oratory, and if you ever run agin a doctor at an election, I shouldn't
wonder if you won it, for most people will join you in pullin' down
your superiors."

That word superiors grigged me; thinks I, "My boy, I'll just take that
expression, roll it up into a ball, and shy it back at you, in a way
that will make you sing out 'Pen and ink,' I know. Well," sais I,
quite mild (I am always mild when I am mad, a keen razor is always
smooth), "have you any other thing to say about natur?"

"Yes," sais he, "do you know what healin' by the first intention is,
for that is a nateral operation? Answer me that, will you?"

"You mean the second intention, don't you?" sais I.

"No," he replied, "I mean what I say."

"Well, Eldad," sais I, "my brother, I will answer both. First about
the election, and then about the process of healin', and after that we
won't argue no more, for you get so hot always, I am afraid you will
hurt my feelins. First," sais I, "I have no idea of runnin' agin a
doctor either at an election or elsewhere, so make yourself quite easy
on that score, for if I did, as he is my superior, I should be sure to
get the worst of it."

"How," said he, "Sam?" lookin' quite pleased, seein' me kinder knock
under that way.

"Why dod drot it," sais I, "Eldad, if I was such a born fool as to run
agin a doctor, his clothes would fill mine so chock full of asafoetida
and brimstone, I'd smell strong enough to pysen a poll-cat. Phew! the
very idea makes me sick; don't come any nearer, or I shall faint. Oh,
no, I shall give my superiors a wide berth, depend upon it. Then,"
sais I, "secondly, as to healin' by the first intention, I have heard
of it, but never saw it practised yet. A doctor's first intention is
to make money, and the second is to heal the wound. You have been kind
enough to treat me to a bit of poetry, now I won't be in your debt, so
I will just give you two lines in return. Arter you went to
Philadelphia to study, Minister used to make me learn poetry twice a
week. All his books had pencil marks in the margin agin all the tid
bits, and I had to learn more or less of these at a time according to
their length; among others I remember two verses that just suit you
and me.


  "'To tongue or pudding thou hast no pretence,
  Learning thy talent is, but mine is SENSE.'"


"Sam," said he, and he coloured up, and looked choked with rage,
"Sam."

"Dad," sais I, and it stopped him in a minute. It was the last
syllable of his name, and when we was boys, I always called him Dad,
and as he was older than me, I sometimes called him Daddy on that
account. It touched him, I see it did. Sais I, "Dad, give me your
daddle, fun is fun, and we may carry our fun too far," and we shook
hands. "Daddy," sais I, "since I became an author, and honorary
corresponding member of the Slangwhanger Society, your occupation and
mine ain't much unlike, is it?"

"How?" said he.

"Why, Dad," sais I, "you cut up the dead, and I cut up the livin."

"Well," sais he, "I give less pain, at any rate, and besides, I do
more good, for I make the patient leave a legacy to posterity, by
furnishing instruction in his own body."

"You don't need to wait for dissection for the bequest," said I, "for
many a fellow after amputation has said to you, 'a-leg-I-see.' But why
is sawing off a leg an unprofitable thing? Do you give it up? Because
it's always bootless."

"Well," said he, "why is an author the laziest man in the world? Do
you give that up? Because he is most of his time in sheets."

"Well, that is better than being two sheets in the wind," I replied.
"But why is he the greatest coward in creation in hot weather? Because
he is afraid somebody will quilt him."

"Oh, oh," said he, "that is an awful bad one. Oh, oh, that is like
lead, it sinks to the bottom, boots, spurs, and all. Oh, come, that
will do, you may take my hat. What a droll fellow you be. You are the
old sixpence, and nothin' will ever change you. I never see a feller
have such spirits in my life; do you know what pain is?"

"Oh," sais I, "Dad," and I put on a very sad look, "Daddy," sais I,
"my heart is most broke, though I don't say anythin' about it. There
is no one I can confide in, and I can't sleep at all. I was thinkin'
of consultin' you, for I know I can trust you, and I am sure your kind
and affectionate heart will feel for me, and that your sound,
excellent judgment will advise me what is best to be done under the
peculiar circumstances."

"Sam," said he, "my good fellow, you do me no more than justice," and
he took my hand very kindly, and sat down beside me. "Sam, I am very
sorry for you. Confide in me; I will be as secret as the grave. Have
you consulted dear old Minister?"

"Oh, no," said I, "Minister is a mere child."

"True, true, my brother," said he, "he is a good worthy man, but a
mere child, as you say. Is it an affair of the heart, Sam?"

"Oh, no," sais I, "I wish it was, for I don't think I shall ever die
of a broken heart for any one, it don't pay."

"Is it a pecuniary affair?"

"No, no, if it was it might be borne, an artful dodge, a good
spekelation, or a regular burst would soon cure that."

"I hope it ain't an affair of law," said he, lookin' frightened to
death, as if I had done something dreadful bad.

"No, I wish it was, for a misnomer, an alibi, a nonjoinder, a
demurrer, a nonsuit, a freemason or a know-nothin' sign to a juror, a
temperance wink, or an orange nod to a partisan judge, or some cussed
quirk or quibble or another, would carry me through it. No, it ain't
that."

"What is it then?"

"Why," sais I, a bustin' out a larfin, "I am most dead sometimes with
the jumpin' toothache."

"Well, well," said he, "I never was sold so before, I vow; I cave in,
I holler, and will stand treat."

That's the way we ended our controversy about wounds.

But he may say what he likes. I consider myself rather a dab at
healing bodily ones. As to those of the heart, I haven't had the
experience, for I am not a father confessor to galls, and of course
ain't consulted. But it appears to me clergymen don't know much about
the right way to treat them. The heart is a great word. In itself it's
nothin' but a thing that swells and contracts, and keeps the blood a
movin; a sort of central post-office that communicates with all the
great lines and has way stations to all remote parts. Like that, there
is no sleep in it day or night. Love, hope, fear, despair,
disappointment, ambition, pride, supplication, craft, cant, fraud,
piety, speculation, secrets, tenderness, bitterness, duty,
disobedience, truth, falsehood, gratitude, humbug, and all sorts of
such things, pass through it or wait till called for; they "are thar."
All these are dispersed by railways, expresses, fast and slow coaches,
and carriers. By a figure of speech all these things are sumtotalized,
and if put on paper, the depository is called the post-office, and the
place where they are conceived and hatched and matured, the heart.

Well, neither the one nor the other has any feeling. They are merely
the edifices respectively designed for these operations. The thing and
its contents are in one case called the heart; but the contents only
of the other are called the mail. Literally therefore the heart is a
muscle, or some such an affair, and nothing more; but figuratively it
is a general term that includes, expresses, and stands for all these
things together. We talk of it therefore as a living, animated,
responsible being that thinks for itself, and acts through its agents.
It is either our spiritual part, or something spiritual within us.
Subordinate or independent of us--guiding or obeying us--influencing
or influenced by us. We speak of it, and others treat it, as separate,
for they and we say our heart. We give it, a colour and a character;
it may be a black heart or a base heart; it may be a brave or a
cowardly one; it may be a sound or a weak heart also, and a true or a
false one; generous or ungrateful; kind or malignant, and so on.

It strikes me natur would have been a more suitable word; but poets
got hold of it, and they bedevil everything they touch. Instead of
speaking of a critter's heart therefore, it would to my mind have been
far better to have spoke of the natur of the animal, for I go the
whole hog for human natur. But I suppose nobody would understand me if
I did, and would say I had no heart to say so. I'll take it therefore,
as I find it--a thing having a body or substance that can be hurt, and
a spirit that can be grieved.

Well, as such, I don't somehow think ministers in a general way know
how to treat it. The heart, in its common acceptation, is very
sensitive and must be handled gently; if grief is there, it must be
soothed and consoled, and hope called in to open views of better
things. If disappointment has left a sting, the right way is to show a
sufferer it might have been wuss, or that if his wishes had been
fulfilled, they might have led to something more disastrous. If pride
has been wounded, the patient must be humoured by agreeing with him,
in the first instance, that he has been shamefully used (for that
admits his right to feel hurt, which is a great thing); and then he
may be convinced he ought to be ashamed to acknowledge it, for he is
superior to his enemy, and in reality so far above him it would only
gratify him to think he was of consequence enough to be hated. If he
has met with a severe pecuniary loss in business, he ought to be told
it's the fortune of trade; how lucky he is he ain't ruined, he can
afford and must expect losses occasionally. If he frets over it, it
will hurt his mercantile credit, and after all, he will never miss it,
except in a figure in the bottom of his balance-sheet, and besides,
riches ain't happiness, and how little a man can get out of them at
best; and a minister ought to be able to have a good story to tell
him, with some point in it, for there is a great deal of sound
philosophy in a good anecdote.

He might say, for instance: "Did you ever hear of John Jacob Astor?"

"No, never."

"What not of John Jacob Astor, the richest man in all the unevarsal
United States of America? The man that owns all the brown and white
bears, silver-gray and jet-black foxes, sables, otters, stone martins,
ground squirrels, and every created critter that has a fur jacket,
away up about the North Pole, and lets them wear them, for furs don't
keep well, moths are death on 'em, and too many at a time glut the
market; so he lets them run till he wants them, and then sends and
skins them alive in spring when it ain't too cold, and waits till it
grows again?"

"No, never," sais the man with the loss.

"Well, if you had been stript stark naked and turned loose that way,
you might have complained. Oh! you are a lucky man, I can tell you."

"Well," sais old Minus, "how in the world does he own all them
animals?"

"If he don't," sais preacher, "perhaps you can tell me who does; and
if nobody else does, I think his claim won't be disputed in no court
under heaven. Don't you know him? Go and see him. He will make your
fortune as he has done for many others. He is the richest man you ever
heard of. He owns the Astor House Hotel to New York, which is bigger
than some whole towns on the Nova Scotia coast." And he could say that
with great truth, for I know a town that's on the chart, that has only
a court-house, a groggery, a jail, a blacksmith's shop, and the wreck
of a Quebec vessel on the beach.

"Well, a man went to him lately, and sais he: 'Are you the great John
Jacob?'

"'I am John Jacob,' said he, 'but I ain't great. The sun is so
almighty hot here in New York, no man is large; he is roasted down
like a race-horse.'

"'I don't mean that,' said the poor man, bowin' and beggin' pardon.

"'Oh,' sais he, 'you mean great-grandfather,' laughing. 'No, I hante
come that yet; but Astoria Ann Oregon, my grand-daughter, says I am to
be about the fore part of next June.'

"Well, the man see he was getting rigged, so he came to the pint at
once. Sais he, 'Do you want a clerk?'

"'I guess I do,' said he. 'Are you a good accountant?'

"'Have been accountant-book-keeper and agent for twenty-five years,'
sais stranger.

"Well, John Jacob see the critter wouldn't suit him, but he thought he
would carry out the joke. Sais he, 'How would you like to take charge
of my almighty everlastin' property?'

"'Delighted!' says the goney.

"'Well,' said Mr Astor, 'I am tired to death looking after it; if you
will relieve me and do my work, I'll give you what I get out of it
myself.'

"'Done!' said the man, takin' off his hat, and bowin' down to the
ground. 'I am under a great obligation to you; depend upon it you will
get a good account of it.'

"'I have no doubt of it,' said John Jacob. 'Do your part faithfully'
('Never fear me,' said the clerk) 'and honestly, and I will fulfil
mine. All I get out of it myself is my board and clothing, and you
shall have the same."

"Ah! my friend," the preacher might say, "how much wisdom there is in
John Jacob Astor's remark. What more has the Queen of England, or the
richest peer in the land, out of all their riches than their board and
clothing. 'So don't repine, my friend. Cheer up! I will come and fast
on canvas-back duck with you to-morrow, for it's Friday; and whatever
lives on aquatic food is fishy--a duck is twice-laid fish. A few
glasses of champaine at dinner, and a cool bottle or two of claret
after, will set you all right again in a jiffy."

If a man's wife races off and leaves him, which ain't the highest
compliment he can receive, he should visit him; but it's most prudent
not to introduce the subject himself. If broken-heart talks of it,
minister shouldn't make light of it, for wounded pride is mighty
tender, but say it's a dreadful thing to leave so good, so kind, so
indulgent, so liberal, so confidin' a man as you, if the case will
bear it (in a general way it's a man's own fault); and if it won't
bear it, why then there really is a guilty man, on whom he can indulge
himself, to expend a few flowers of speech. And arter restin' here
awhile, he should hint at the consolation that is always offered, "of
the sea having better fish than ever was pulled out of it," and so on.

Well, the whole catalogue offers similar topics, and if a man will,
while kindly, conscientiously, and strictly sticking to the truth,
offer such consolation as a good man may, taking care to remember that
manner is everything, and all these arguments are not only no good,
but do harm if the misfortunate critter is rubbed agin the grain; he
will then prepare the sufferer to receive the only true consolation he
has to offer--the consolation of religion. At least, that's my idea.

Now, instead of that, if he gets hold of a sinner, he first offends
his delicacy, and then scares him to death. He tells him to confess
all the nasty particulars of the how, the where, the when, and the who
with. He can't do nothing till his curiosity is satisfied, general
terms won't do. He must have all the dirty details. And then he talks
to him of the devil, an unpronouncible place, fire and brimstone, and
endless punishment. And assures him, if ever he hopes to be happy
hereafter, he must be wretched for the rest of his life; for the
evangelical rule is, that a man is never forgiven up to the last
minute when it can't be helped. Well, every man to his own trade.
Perhaps they are right and I am wrong. But my idea is you can coax,
but can't bully folks. You can win sinners, but you can't force them.
The door of the heart must be opened softly, and to do that you must
be the hinge and the lock.

Well, to get back to my story, and I hardly know where I left off, I
think the poor gall was speakin' of Indians in a way that indicated
she felt mortified at her descent, or that somehow or somehow else,
there was a sore spot there. Well, having my own thoughts about the
wounds of the heart and so on, as I have stated, I made up my mind I
must get at the secret by degrees, and see whether my theory of
treatment was right or not.

Sais I, "Miss, you say these sort of things are bartered at the
north-west for others of more use. There is one thing though I must
remark, they never were exchanged for anything half so beautiful."

"I am glad you like it," she said, "but look here;" and she took out
of her basket a pair of mocassins, the soles of which were of moose
leather, tanned and dressed like felt, and the upper part black
velvet, on which various patterns were worked with beads. I think I
never saw anything of the kind so exquisite, for those nick-nacks the
Nova Scotia Indians make are rough in material, coarse in workmanship,
and ineligant in design.

"Which do you prefer?" said she.

"Well," sais I, "I ain't hardly able to decide. The bark work is more
delicate and more tasteful; but it's more European in appearance. The
other is more like our own country, and I ain't sure that it isn't
quite as handsome as the other. But I think I prize the mocassins
most. The name, the shape, and the ornaments all tell of the prairie."

"Well, then," she said, "it shall be the mocassins, you must have
them, as the exchange for the book."

"Oh," said I, taking out of my pocket the first and second
"Clockmakers," I had no other of my books on board, and giving them to
her, "I am afraid, Miss, that I either said or did something to offend
you this morning. I assure you I did not mean to do so, and I am very
sorry for it."

"No, no," she said, "it was me; but my temper has been greatly tried
since I came to this country. I was very wrong, for you (and she laid
a stress on that word as if I was an exception) have been very kind to
me."

"Well," sais I, "Miss, sometimes there are things that try us and our
feelings, that we don't choose to talk about to strangers, and
sometimes people annoy us on these subjects. It wouldn't be right of
me to pry into any one's secrets, but this I will say, any person that
would vex you, let him be who he will, can be no man, he'd better not
do it while I am here, at any rate, or he'll have to look for his
jacket very quick, I know."

"Mr Slick," she said, "I know I am half Indian, and some folks want to
make me feel it."

"And you took me for one o' them cattle," said I, "but if you knew
what was passin' in my mind, you wouldn't a felt angry, I know."

"What was it?" said she, "for I know you won't say anything to me you
oughtn't to. What was it?"

"Well," sais I, "there is, between you and me, a young lady here to
the southern part of this province I have set my heart on, though
whether she is agoin' to give me hern, or give me the mitten, I ain't
quite sartified, but I rather kinder sorter guess the first, than
kinder sorter not so." I just throwed that in that she mightn't
misunderstand me. "Well, she is the most splendiferous gall I ever sot
eyes on since I was created; and," sais I to myself, "now, here is one
of a different style of beauty, which on 'em is, take her all in all,
the handsomest?"

Half Indian or half Gaelic, or whatever she was, she was a woman, and
she didn't flare up this time, I tell you, but taking up the work-bag
she said:

"Give this to her, as a present from me."

Thinks I, "My pretty brunette, if I don't get the heart opened to me,
and give you a better opinion of yourself, and set you all straight
with mankind in general, and the doctor in particular, afore I leave
Ship Harbour, I'll give over for ever undervalyin' the skill of
ministers, that's a fact. That will do for trial number one; by and by
I'll make trial number two."

Taking up the "Clockmaker," and looking at it, she said: "Is this book
all true, Mr Slick? Did you say and do all that's set down here?"

"Well," sais I, "I wouldn't just like to swear to every word of it,
but most of it is true, though some things are embellished a little,
and some are fancy sketches. But they are all true to nature."

"Oh, dear," said she, "what a pity! how shall I ever be able to tell
what's true and what ain't? Do you think I shall be able to understand
it, who know so little, and have seen so little?"

"You'll comprehend every word of it," sais I, "I wrote it on purpose,
so every person should do so. I have tried to stick to life as close
as I could, and there is nothin' like natur, it goes home to the heart
of us all."

"Do tell me, Mr Slick," said she, "what natur is, for I don't know."

Well, now that's a very simple question, ain't it? and anyone that
reads this book when you publish it, will say, "Why, everybody knows
what natur is," and any schoolboy can answer that question. But I'll
take a bet of twenty dollars, not one in a hundred will define that
tarm right off the reel, without stopping. It fairly stumpt me, and I
ain't easily brought to a hack about common things. I could a told her
what natur was circumbendibusly, and no mistake, though that takes
time. But to define it briefly and quickly, as Minister used to say,
if it can be done at all, which I don't think it can, all I can say
is, as galls say to conundrums, "I can't, so I give it up. What is
it?"

Perhaps it's my own fault, for dear old Mr Hopewell used to say, "Sam,
your head ain't like any one else's. Most men's minds resembles what
appears on the water when you throw a stone in it. There is a centre,
and circles form round it, each one a little larger than the other,
until the impelling power ceases to act. Now you set off on the outer
circle, and go round and round ever so often, until you arrive to the
centre where you ought to have started from at first; I never see the
beat of you."

"It's natur," sais I, "Minister."

"Natur," sais he, "what the plague has natur to do with it?"

"Why," sais I, "can one man surround a flock of sheep?"

"Why, what nonsense," sais he; "of course he can't."

"Well, that's what this child can do," sais I. "I make a good sizeable
ring-fence, open the bars, and put them in, for if it's too small,
they turn and out agin like wink, and they will never so much as look
at it a second time. Well, when I get them there, I narrow and narrow
the circle, till it's all solid wool and mutton, and I have every
mother's son of them. It takes time, for I am all alone, and have no
one to help me; but they are thar' at last. Now, suppose I went to the
centre of the field, and started off arter them, what would it end in?
Why, I'de run one down, and have him, and that's the only one I could
catch. But while I was a chasin' of him, all the rest would disperse
like a congregation arter church, and cut off like wink, each on his
own way, as if he was afraid the minister was a-goin' to run after
'em, head 'em, and fetch 'em back and pen 'em up again."

He squirmed his face a little at that part about the congregation, I
consaited, but didn't say nothin', for he knew it was true.

"Now, my reason," sais I, "for goin' round and round is, I like to
gather up all that's in the circle, carry it with me, and stack it in
the centre."

Lord! what fun I have had pokin' that are question of Jessie's sudden
to fellows since then! Sais I to Brother Eldad once--

"Dad, we often talk about natur; what is it?"

"Tut," sais he, "don't ask me; every fool knows what natur is."

"Exactly," sais I; "that's the reason I came to you."

He just up with a book, and came plaguy near lettin' me have it right
agin my head smash.

"Don't do that," sais I, "Daddy; I was only joking; but what is it?"

Well, he paused a moment and looked puzzled, as a fellow does who is
looking for his spectacles, and can't find them because he has shoved
them up on his forehead.

"Why," sais he, spreadin' out his arm, "it's all that you see, and the
law that governs it."

Well, it warn't a bad shot that, for a first trial, that's a fact. It
hit the target, though it didn't strike the ring.

"Oh," said I, "then there is none of it at night, and things can't be
nateral in the dark."

Well, he seed he had run off the track, so he braved it out. "I didn't
say it was necessary to see them all the time," he said.

"Just so," said I, "natur is what you see and what you don't see; but
then feelin' ain't nateral at all. It strikes me that if--"

"Didn't I say," said he, "the laws that govern them?"

"Well, where are them laws writ?"

"In that are receipt-book o' yourn you're so proud of," said he. "What
do you call it, Mr Wiseacre?"

"Then, you admit," sais I, "any fool can't answer that question?"

"Perhaps you can," sais he.

"Oh Dad!" sais I, "you picked up that shot and throwed it back. When a
feller does that it shows he is short of ammunition. But I'll tell you
what my opinion is. There is no such a thing as natur."

"What!" said he.

"Why there is no such a thing as natur in reality; it is only a figure
of speech. The confounded poets got hold of the idea and parsonified
it as they have the word heart, and talk about the voice of natur and
its sensations, and its laws and its simplicities, and all that sort
of thing. The noise water makes in tumblin' over stones in a brook, a
splutterin' like a toothless old woman scoldin' with a mouthful of hot
tea in her lantern cheek, is called the voice of natur speaking in the
stream. And when the wind blows and scatters about all the blossoms
from your fruit trees, and you are a ponderin' over the mischief, a
gall comes along-side of you with a book of poetry in her hand and
sais:

"'Hark! do you hear the voice of natur amid the trees? Isn't it
sweet?'

"Well, it's so absurd you can't help laughin' and saying, 'No;' but
then I hear the voice of natur closer still, and it says, 'Ain't she a
sweet critter?'

"Well, a cultivated field, which is a work of art, dressed with
artificial manures, and tilled with artificial tools, perhaps by
steam, is called the smiling face of nature. Here nature is strong and
there exhausted, now animated and then asleep. At the poles, the
features of nature are all frozen, and as stiff as a poker, and in the
West Indies burnt up to a cinder. What a pack of stuff it is! It is
just a pretty word like pharmacopia and Pierian spring, and so forth.
I hate poets, stock, lock, and barrel; the whole seed, breed, and
generation of them. If you see a she one, look at her stockings; they
are all wrinkled about her ancles, and her shoes are down to heel, and
her hair is as tangled as the mane of a two-year old colt. And if you
see a he one, you see a mooney sort of man, either very sad, or so
wild-looking you think he is half-mad; he eats and sleeps on earth,
and that's all. The rest of the time he is sky-high, trying to find
inspiration and sublimity, like Byron, in gin and water. I like folks
that have common-sense."

Well, to get back to my story. Said Jessie to me: "Mr Slick, what is
natur?"

"Well," sais I, "Miss, it's not very easy to explain it so as to make
it intelligible; but I will try. This world, and all that is in it, is
the work of God. When he made it, he gave it laws or properties that
govern it, and so to every living or inanimate thing; and these
properties or laws are called their nature. Nature therefore is
sometimes used for God himself, and sometimes for the world and its
contents, and the secret laws of action imposed upon them when
created. There is one nature to men (for though they don't all look
alike, the laws of their being are the same), and another to horses,
dogs, fish, and so on. Each class has its own nature. For instance, it
is natural for fish to inhabit water, birds the air, and so on. In
general, it therefore means the universal law that governs everything.
Do you understand it?" says I.

"Not just now," she said, "but I will when I have time to think of it.
Do you say there is one nature to all men?"

"Yes, the same nature to Indian as to white men--all the same."

"Which is the best nature?"

"It is the same."

"Indian and white, are they both equal?"

"Quite--"

"Do you think so?"

"Every mite and morsel, every bit and grain. Everybody don't think so?
That's natural; every race thinks it is better than another, and every
man thinks he is superior to others; and so does every woman. They
think their children the best and handsomest. A bear thinks her nasty,
dirty, shapeless, tailless cubs the most beautiful things in all
creation."

She laughed at that, but as suddenly relapsed into a fixed gloom. "If
red and white men are both equal, and have the same nature," she said,
"what becomes of those who are neither red nor white, who have no
country, no nation, no tribe, scorned by each, and the tents and the
houses of both closed against them. Are they equal? what does nature
say?"

"There is no difference," I said; "in the eye of God they are all
alike."

"God may think and treat them so," she replied, rising with much
emotion, "but man does not."

I thought it was as well to change the conversation, and leave her to
ponder over the idea of the races which seemed so new to her. "So,"
sais I, "I wonder the doctor hasn't arrived; it's past four. There he
is, Jessie; see, he is on the beach; he has returned by water. Come,
put on your bonnet and let you and I go and meet him."

"Who, me!" she said, her face expressing both surprise and pleasure.

"To be sure," said I. "You are not afraid of me, Miss, I hope."

"I warn't sure I heard you right," she said, and away she went for her
bonnet.

Poor thing! it was evident her position was a very painful one to her,
and that her natural pride was deeply injured. Poor dear old Minister!
if you was now alive and could read this Journal, I know what you
would say as well as possible. "Sam," you would say, "this is a
fulfilment of Scripture. The sins of the fathers are visited on the
children, the effects of which are visible in the second and third
generation."



                             CHAPTER VII.

             FIDDLING AND DANCING, AND SERVING THE DEVIL.


By the time we had reached the house, Cutler joined us, and we dined
off of the doctor's salmon, which was prepared in a way that I had
never seen before; and as it was a touch above common, and smacked of
the wigwam, I must get the receipt. The only way for a man who travels
and wants to get something better than amusement out of it, is to
notch down anything new, for every place has something to teach you in
that line. "The silent pig is the best feeder," but it remains a pig
still, and hastens its death by growing too fat. Now the talking
traveller feeds his mind as well as his body, and soon finds the less
he pampers his appetite the clearer his head is and the better his
spirits. The great thing is to live and learn, and learn to live.

Now I hate an epicure above all created things--worse than lawyers,
doctors, politicians, and selfish fellows of all kinds. In a giniral
way he is a miserable critter, for nothin' is good enough for him or
done right, and his appetite gives itself as many airs, and requires
as much waitin' on, as a crotchetty, fanciful, peevish old lady of
fashion. If a man's sensibility is all in his palate he can't in
course have much in his heart. Makin' oneself miserable, fastin' in
sackcloth and ashes, ain't a bit more foolish than makin' oneself
wretched in the midst of plenty, because the sea, the air, and the
earth won't give him the dainties he wants, and Providence won't send
the cook to dress them. To spend one's life in eating, drinking, and
sleeping, or like a bullock, in ruminating on food, reduces a man to
the level of an ox or an ass. The stomach is the kitchen, and a very
small one too, in a general way, and broiling, simmering, stewing,
baking, and steaming, is a goin' on there night and day. The
atmosphere is none of the pleasantest neither, and if a man chooses to
withdraw into himself and live there, why I don't see what earthly
good he is to society, unless he wants to wind up life by writin' a
cookery-book. I hate them--that's just the tarm, and I like tarms that
express what I mean.

I shall never forget when I was up to Michelimackinic. A thunderin'
long word, ain't it? We call it Mackinic now for shortness. But
perhaps you wouldn't understand it spelt that way, no more than I did
when I was to England that Brighton means Brighthelmeston, or
Sissiter, Cirencester, for the English take such liberties with words,
they can't afford to let others do the same; so I give it to you both
ways. Well, when I was there last, I dined with a village doctor, the
greatest epicure I think I ever see in all my born days. He thought
and talked of nothing else from morning till night but eatin'.

"Oh, Mr Slick," said he, rubbin' his hands, "this is the tallest
country in the world to live in. What a variety of food there is
here,--fish, flesh, and fowl,--wild, tame, and mongeral,--fruits,
vegetables, and spongy plants!"

"What's that?" sais I. I always do that when a fellow uses strange
words. "We call a man who drops in accidently on purpose to dinner a
sponging fellow, which means if you give him the liquid he will soak
it up dry."

"Spongy plants," sais he, "means mushrooms and the like."

"Ah!" said I, "mushrooms are nateral to a new soil like this. Upstarts
we call them; they arise at night, and by next mornin' their house is
up and its white roof on."

"Very good," said he, but not lookin' pleased at havin' his oratory
cut short that way. "Oh, Mr Slick!" said he, "there is a poor man here
who richly deserves a pension both from your government and mine. He
has done more to advance the culinary art than either Ude or Soyer."

"Who on earth now were they?" said I. I knew well enough who they
were, for when I was to England they used to brag greatly of Soyer at
the Reform Club. For fear folks would call their association house
after their politics, "the cheap and dirty" they built a very splash
affair, and to set an example to the state in their own establishment
of economy and reform in the public departments, hired Soyer, the best
cook of the age, at a salary that would have pensioned half-a-dozen of
the poor worn-out clerks in Downing Street. Vulgarity is always showy.
It is a pretty word, "Reformers." The common herd of them I don't mind
much, for rogues and fools always find employment for each other. But
when I hear of a great reformer like some of the big bugs to England,
that have been grinning through horse-collars of late years, like
harlequins at fairs, for the amusement and instruction of the public,
I must say I do expect to see a super-superior hypocrite.

Yes, I know who those great artists Soyer and Ude were, but I thought
I'd draw him out. So I just asked who on earth they were, and he
explained at great length, and mentioned the wonderful discoveries
they had made in their divine art.

"Well," sais I, "why on earth don't your friend the Mackinic cook go
to London or Paris, where he won't want a pension, or anything else,
if he excels them great men?"

"Bless you, Sir," he replied, "he is merely a voyageur."

"Oh dear," sais I, "I dare say then he can fry ham and eggs and serve
'em up in ile, boil salt beef and pork, and twice lay cod-fish, and
perhaps boil potatoes nice and watery like cattle turnips. What
discoveries could such a rough-and-tumble fellow as that make?"

"Well," said the doctor, "I didn't want to put myself forward, for it
ain't pleasant to speak of oneself."

"Well, I don't know that," sais I, "I ain't above it, I assure you. If
you have a horse to sell, put a thunderin' long price on him, and
folks will think he must be the devil and all, and if you want people
to vally you right, appraise yourself at a high figure. Braggin' saves
advertising'. I always do it; for as the Nova Scotia magistrate said,
who sued his debtor before himself, 'What's the use of being a
justice, if you can't do yourself justice.' But what was you sayin'
about the voyageur?"

"Why, Sir," said he, "I made the discovery through his
instrumentality. He enabled me to do it by suffering the experiments
to be made on him. His name was Alexis St Martin; he was a Canadian,
and about eighteen years of age, of good constitution, robust, and
healthy. He had been engaged in the service of the American Fur
Company as a voyageur, and was accidentally wounded by the discharge
of a musket, on the 9th of June, 1822. The charge, consisting of
powder and duck-shot, was received in his left side; he being at a
distance of not more than one yard from the muzzle of the gun. The
contents entered posteriorly, and in an oblique direction, forward and
inward, literally blowing off integuments and muscles, of the size of
a man's hand, fracturing and carrying away the anterior half of the
sixth rib, fracturing the fifth, lacerating the lower portion of the
left lobe of the lungs, the diaphragm, and perforating the stomach."

"Good gracious!" sais I, "how plain that is expressed! It is as clear
as mud, that! I do like doctors, for their talking and writing is
intelligible to the meanest capacity."

He looked pleased, and went ahead agin.

"After trying all the means in my power for eight or ten months to
close the orifice, by exciting adhesive inflammation in the lips of
the wound, without the least appearance of success, I gave it up as
impracticable, in any other way than that of incising and bringing
them together by sutures; an operation to which the patient would not
submit. By using the aperture which providence had supplied us with to
communicate with the stomach, I ascertained, by attaching a small
portion of food of different kinds to a string, and inserting it
through his side, the exact time each takes for digestion, such as
beef or pork, or mutton or fowl, or fish or vegetables, cooked in
different ways.1 We all know how long it takes to dress them, but we
did not know how long a time they required for digestion. I will show
you a comparative table."


1 The village doctor appears to have appropriated to himself the
credit due to another. The particulars of this remarkable case are to
be found in a work published in New York in 1833, entitled
"Experiments and observations on the gastric juices, and the
physiology of digestion," by William Beaumont, M. D., Surgeon in the
United States' Army, and also in the "Albion" newspaper of the same
place for January 4, 1834.


"Thank you," sais I, "but I am afraid I must be a moving. "Fact is, my
stomach was movin' then, for it fairly made me sick. Yes, I'd a plaguy
sight sooner see a man embroidering, which is about as contemptible an
accomplishment as an idler can have, than to hear him everlastingly
smack his lips, and see him open his eyes and gloat like an anaconda
before he takes down a bullock, horns, hair, and hoof, tank, shank,
and flank, at one bolt, as if it was an opium pill to make him sleep.

Well, all this long lockrum arose out of my saying I should like to
have the receipt by which Jessie's sister had cooked the salmon for
dinner; and I intend to get it too, that's a fact. As we concluded our
meal, "Doctor," sais I, "we have been meditating mischief in your
absence. What do you say to our makin' a party to visit the 'Bachelor
beaver's dam,' and see your museum, fixins, betterments, and what
not?"

"Why," said he, "I should like it above all things; but--"

"But what?" said I.

"But I am afraid, as you must stay all night, if you go, my poor
wigwam won't accommodate so many with beds."

"Oh! some of us will camp out," sais I, "I am used to it, and like it
a plaguy sight better than hot rooms."

"Just the thing," said he. "Oh! Mr Slick, you are a man after my own
heart. The nature of all foresters is alike, red or white, English or
French, Yankee or Blue-nose."

Jessie looked up at the coïncidence of that expression with what I had
said yesterday.

"Blue-nose," said I, "Doctor," to familiarize the girl's mind to the
idea I had started of the mixed race being on a footing of equality
with the other two, "Blue-nose ought to be the best, for he is half
Yankee and half English; two of the greatest people on the face of the
airth!"

"True," said he, "by right he ought to be, and it's his own fault he
ain't."

I thought it would be as well to drop the allusion there, so I said,
"That's exactly what mother used to say when I did anything wrong:
'Sam, ain't you ashamed.' 'No, I ain't,' said I. 'Then you ought to
be,' she'd reply.

"It's a fixed fact, then," said I, "that we go to-morrow to the Beaver
dam?"

"Yes," said he, "I shall be delighted. Jessie, you and your sister
will accompany us, won't you?"

"I should be charmed," she replied.

"I think you will be pleased with it," he continued, "it will just
suit you; it's so quiet and retired. But you must let Etienne take the
horse, and carry a letter to my sergeant and his commanding officer,
Betty, to give them notice of our visit, or he will go through the
whole campaign in Spain before he is done, and tell you how ill the
commissariat-people were used, in not having notice given to them to
lay in stores. I never was honoured with the presence of ladies there
before, and he will tell you he is broken-hearted at the
accommodation. I don't know what there is in the house; but the rod
and the gun will supply us, I think, and the French boy, when he
returns, will bring me word if anything is wanted from the shore."

"Jessie," said I, "can't you invite the two Highland lassies and their
brother that were here last night, and let us have a reel this
evening?"

"Oh! yes," she said, and going into the kitchen, the message was
despatched immediately. As soon as the guests arrived, Peter produced
his violin, and the doctor waking out of one of his brown studies,
jumped up like a boy, and taking one of the new-comers by the hand,
commenced a most joyous and rapid jig, the triumph of which seemed to
consist in who should tire the other out. The girl had youth and
agility on her side; but the doctor was not devoid of activity, and
the great training which his constant exercise kept him in, threw the
balance in his favour; so when he ceased, and declared the other
victorious, it was evident that it was an act of grace, and not of
necessity. After that we all joined in an eight-handed reel, and eight
merrier and happier people I don't think were ever before assembled at
Ship Harbour.

In the midst of it the door opened, and a tall, thin,
cadaverous-looking man entered, and stood contemplating us in silence.
He had a bilious-looking countenance, which the strong light of the
fire and candles, when thrown upon it, rendered still more repulsive.
He had a broad-brimmed hat on his head, which he did not condescend to
remove, and carried in one hand a leather travelling-bag, as lean and
as dark-complexioned as himself, and in the other a bundle of
temperance newspapers. Peter seeing that he did not speak or advance,
called out to him, with a face beaming with good humour, as he kept
bobbing his head, and keeping time with his foot (for his whole body
was affected by his own music).

"Come in, friend, come in, she is welcome. Come in, she is playin'
herself just now, but she will talk to you presently." And then he
stamped his foot to give emphasis to the turn of the tune, as if he
wanted to astonish the stranger with his performance.

The latter however not only seemed perfectly insensible to its charms,
but immoveable. Peter at last got up from his chair, and continued
playing as he advanced towards him; but he was so excited by what was
going on among the young people, that he couldn't resist dancing
himself, as he proceeded down the room, and when he got to him,
capered and fiddled at the same time.

"Come," said he, as he jumped about in front of him, "come and join
in;" and liftin' the end of his bow suddenly, tipt off his hat for
him, and said, "Come, she will dance with you herself."

The stranger deliberately laid down his travelling-bag and paper
parcel, and lifting up both hands said, "Satan, avaunt." But Peter
misunderstood him, and thought he said, "Sartain, I can't."

"She canna do tat," he replied, "can't she, then she'll teach you the
step herself. This is the way," and his feet approached so near the
solemncolly man that he retreated a step or two as if to protect his
shins. Everybody in the room was convulsed with laughter, for all saw
what the intruder was, and the singular mistake Peter was making. It
broke up the reel. The doctor put his hands to his sides, bent
forward, and made the most comical contortions of face. In this
position he shuffled across the room, and actually roared out with
laughter.

I shall never forget the scene; I have made a sketch of it, to
illustrate this for you. There was this demure sinner, standing bolt
upright in front of the door, his hat hanging on the handle, which had
arrested it in its fall, and his long black hair, as if partaking of
his consternation, flowing wildly over his cheeks; while Peter,
utterly unconscious that no one was dancing, continued playing and
capering in front of him, as if he was ravin distracted, and the
doctor bent forward, pressing his sides with his hands, as if to
prevent their bursting, laughed as if he was in hysterics. It was the
most comical thing I ever saw. I couldn't resist it no longer, so I
joined the trio.

"Come, Doctor," sais I, "a three-handed reel," and entering into the
joke, he seized the stranger by one hand, and I by the other, and
before our silent friend knew where he was, he was in the middle of
the floor, and though he was not made to dance, he was pushed or flung
into his place, and turned and faced about as if he was taking his
first lesson. At last, as if by common consent, we all ceased
laughing, from sheer exhaustion. The stranger still kept his position
in the centre of the floor, and when silence was restored, raised his
hands again in pious horror, and said, in a deep, sepulchral voice:

"Fiddling and dancing, and serving the devil. Do you ever think of
your latter end?"

"Thee had better think of thine, friend," I whispered, assuming the
manner of a quaker for fun, "for Peter is a rough customer, and won't
stand upon ceremony."

"Amhic an aibhisteir (son of the devil)," said Peter, shaking his fist
at him, "if she don't like it, she had better go. It's her own house,
and she will do what she likes in it. Faat does she want?"

"I want the man called Samuel Slick," said he.

"Verily," sais I, "friend, I am that man, and wilt thee tell me who
thee is that wantest me, and where thee livest?"

"Men call me," he said, "Jehu Judd, and when to home, I live in Quaco
in New Brunswick."

I was glad of that, because it warn't possible the critter could know
anything of me, and I wanted to draw him out.

"And what does thee want, friend?" I said.

"I come to trade with you, to sell you fifty barrels of mackerel, and
to procure some nets for the fishery, and some manufactures, commonly
called domestics."

"Verily," sais I, "thee hast an odd way of opening a trade, methinks,
friend Judd. Shaking quakers dance piously, as thee mayest have heard,
and dost thee think thy conduct seemly? What mayest thee be, friend?"

"A trader," he replied.

"Art thee not a fisher of men, friend, as well as a fisher of fish?"

"I am a Christian man," he said, "of the sect called 'come-outers,'1
and have had experience, and when I meet the brethren, sometimes I
speak a word in season."


1 Come-outers. This name has been applied to a considerable number of
persons in various parts of the Northern States, principally in New
England, who have recently come out of the various religious
denominations with which they have been connected; hence the name.
They have not themselves assumed any distinctive organization. They
have no creed, believing that every one should be left free to hold
such opinions on religious subjects as he pleases, without being held
accountable for the same to any human authority--Bartlett's
Americanisms.


"Well, friend, thee has spoken thy words out of season tonight," I
said.

"Peradventure I was wrong," he replied, "and if so, I repent me of
it."

"Of a certainty thee was, friend. Thee sayest thy name is Jehu; now he
was a hard rider, and it may be thee drivest a hard bargain, if so, go
thy ways, for thee cannot 'make seed-corn off of me;' if not, tarry
here till this company goeth, and then I will talk to thee touching
the thing called mackarel. Wilt thee sit by the fire till the quaker
ceaseth his dancing, and perhaps thee may learn what those words mean,
'and the heart danceth for joy,' or it may be thee will return to thy
vessel, and trade in the morning."

"No man knoweth," he said, "what an hour may bring forth; I will bide
my time."

"The night is cold at this season," said Peter, who considered that
the laws of hospitality required him to offer the best he had in his
house to a stranger, so he produced some spirits, as the most
acceptable thing he possessed, and requested him to help himself.

"I care not if I do," he said, "for my pledge extendeth not so far as
this," and he poured himself out a tumbler of brandy and water, that
warn't half-and-half, but almost the whole hog. Oh, gummy, what a
horn! it was strong enough almost to throw an ox over a five-bar gate.
It made his eyes twinkle, I tell you, and he sat down and began to
look as if he thought the galls pretty.

"Come, Peter," said I, "strike up, the stranger will wait awhile."

"Will she dance," said he, "tam her."

"No," said I, but I whispered to the doctor, "he will reel soon," at
which he folded his arms across his breast and performed his gyrations
as before. Meanwhile Cutler and Frazer, and two of the girls,
commenced dancing jigs, and harmony was once more restored. While they
were thus occupied, I talked over the arrangements for our excursion
on the morrow with Jessie, and the doctor entered into a close
examination of Jehu Judd, as to the new asphalt mines in his province.
He informed him of the enormous petrified trunks of palm-trees that
have been found while exploring the coal-fields, and warmed into
eloquence as he enumerated the mineral wealth and great resources of
that most beautiful colony. The doctor expressed himself delighted
with the information he had received, whereupon Jehu rose and asked
him in token of amity to pledge him in a glass of Peter's excellent
cognac, and without waiting for a reply, filled a tumbler and
swallowed it at one gulp.

My, what a pull that was. Thinks I to myself, "Friend, if that don't
take the wrinkles out of the parchment case of your conscience, then I
don't know nothin', that's all." Oh dear, how all America is overrun
with such cattle as this; how few teach religion, or practise it
right. How hard it is to find the genuine article. Some folks keep the
people in ignorance, and make them believe the moon is made of green
cheese; others, with as much sense, fancy the world is. One has old
saints, the other invents new ones. One places miracles at a distance,
t'other makes them before their eyes, while both are up to mesmerism.
One says there is no marryin' in Paradise, the other says, if that's
true, it's hard, and it is best to be a mormon and to have polygamy
here. Then there is a third party who says, neither of you speak
sense, it is better to believe nothin' than to give yourself up to be
crammed. Religion, Squire, ain't natur, because it is intended to
improve corrupt natur, it's no use talkin' therefore, it can't be left
to itself, otherwise it degenerates into something little better than
animal instinct. It must be taught, and teaching must have authority
as well as learning. There can be no authority where there is no power
to enforce, and there can be no learning where there is no training.
If there must be normal schools to qualify schoolmasters, there must
be Oxfords and Cambridges to qualify clergymen. At least that's my
idea. Well, if there is a qualified man, he must be supported while he
is working. But if he has to please his earthly employer, instead of
obeying his heavenly Master, the better he is qualified the more
dangerous he is. If he relies on his congregation, the order of things
is turned upside down. He serves mammon, and not God. If he does his
duty he must tell unpleasant truths, and then he gets a walkin'
ticket. Who will hire a servant, pay him for his time, find a house
for him to live in, and provide him in board, if he has a will of his
own, and won't please his employer by doin' what he is ordered to do?
I don't think you would, Squire, and I know I wouldn't.

No, a fixed, settled church, like ourn, or yours, Squire, is the best.
There is safe anchorage ground in them, and you don't go draggin' your
flukes with every spurt of wind, or get wrecked if there is a gale
that rages round you. There is something strong to hold on to. There
are good buoys, known landmarks, and fixed light-houses, so that you
know how to steer, and not helter-skelter lights movin' on the shore
like will-o'-the whisps, or wreckers' false fires, that just lead you
to destruction. The medium between the two churches, for the clergy,
would be the right thing. In yours they are too independent of the
people, with us a little too dependent. But we are coming up to the
notch by making moderate endowments, which will enable the minister to
do what is right, and not too large to make him lazy or careless. Well
then, in neither of them is a minister handed over to a faction to
try. Them that make the charges ain't the judges, which is a Magna
Charta for him.

Yes, I like our episcopal churches, they teach, persuade, guide, and
paternally govern, but they have no dungeons, no tortures, no fire and
sword. They ain't afraid of the light, for, as minister used to say,
"their light shines afore men." Just see what sort of a system it must
be that produces such a man as Jehu Judd. And yet Jehu finds it answer
his purpose in his class to be what he is. His religion is a cloak,
and that is a grand thing for a pick-pocket. It hides his hands, while
they are fumblin' about your waistcoat and trousers, and then conceals
the booty. You can't make tricks if your adversary sees your hands,
you may as well give up the game.

But to return to the evangelical trader. Before we recommenced dancing
again, I begged the two Gaelic girls, who were bouncing, buxom lasses,
and as strong as Shetland ponies, to coax or drag him up for a reel.
Each took a hand of his and tried to persuade him. Oh, weren't they
full of smiles, and didn't they look rosy and temptin'? They were
sure, they said, so good-lookin' a man as he was, must have learned to
dance, or how could he have given it up?

"For a single man like you," said Catherine.

"I am not a single man," said Old Piety, "I am a widower, a lonely man
in the house of Israel."

"Oh, Catherine," sais I, a givin' her a wink, "take care of theeself,
or thy Musquodobit farm, with its hundred acres of intervale meadow,
and seventy head of horned cattle, is gone."

He took a very amatory look at her after that hint.

"Verily she would be a duck in Quaco, friend Jehu," said I.

"Indeed would she, anywhere," he said, looking sanctified Cupids at
her, as pious galls do who show you the place in your prayer-book at
church.

"Ah, there is another way methinks she would be a duck," said I, "the
maiden would soon turn up the whites of her eyes at dancin' like a
duck in thunder, as the profane men say."

"Oh, oh," said the doctor, who stood behind me, "I shall die, he'll
kill me. I can't stand this, oh, how my sides ache."

"Indeed I am afraid I shall always be a wild duck," said Catherine.

"They are safer from the fowler," said Jehu, "for they are wary and
watchful."

"If you are a widower," she said, "you ought to dance."

"Why do you think so?" said he; but his tongue was becoming thick,
though his eyes were getting brighter.

"Because," she said, "a widower is an odd critter."

"Odd?" he replied, "in what way odd, dear?"

"Why," said the girl, "an ox of ourn lately lost his mate, and my
brother called him the odd ox, and not the single ox, and he is the
most frolicksome fellow you ever see. Now, as you have lost your mate,
you are an odd one, and if you are lookin' for another to put its head
into the yoke, you ought to go frolickin' everywhere too!"

"Do single critters ever look for mates?" said he, slily.

"Well done," said I, "friend Jehu. The drake had the best of the duck
that time. Thee weren't bred in Quaco for nothin'. Come, rouse up,
wake snakes, and walk chalks, as the thoughtless children of evil say.
I see thee is warmin' to the subject."

"Men do allow," said he, lookin' at me with great self-complacency,
"that in speech I am peeowerful."

"Come, Mary," said I, addressin' the other sister, "do thee try thy
persuasive powers, but take care of thy grandmother's legacy, the two
thousand pounds thee hast in the Pictou Bank. It is easier for that to
go to Quaco than the farm."

"Oh, never fear," said she.

"Providence," he continued, "has been kind to these virgins. They are
surprising comely, and well endowed with understanding and money," and
he smirked first at one and then at the other, as if he thought either
would do--the farm or the legacy.

"Come," they both said, and as they gave a slight pull, up he sprung
to his feet. The temptation was too great for him: two pairs of bright
eyes, two pretty faces, and two hands in his filled with Highland
blood--and that ain't cold--and two glasses of grog within, and two
fortunes without, were irresistible.

So said he," If I have offended, verily I will make amends; but
dancing is a dangerous thing, and a snare to the unwary. The hand and
waist of a maiden in the dance lead not to serious thoughts."

"It's because thee so seldom feels them," I said. "Edged tools never
wound thee when thee is used to them, and the razor that cutteth the
child, passeth smoothly over the chin of a man. He who locketh up his
daughters, forgetteth there is a window and a ladder, and if gaiety is
shut out of the house, it is pitied and admitted when the master is
absent or asleep. When it is harboured by stealth and kept concealed,
it loses its beauty and innocence, and waxeth wicked. The crowd that
leaveth a night-meeting is less restrained than the throng that goeth
to a lighted ball-room. Both are to be avoided; one weareth a cloak
that conceals too much, the other a thin vestment that reveals more
than is seemly. Of the two, it is better to court observation than
shun it. Dark thoughts lead to dark deeds."

"There is much reason in what you say," he said; "I never had it put
to me in that light before. I have heard of the shakers, but never saw
one before you, nor was aware that they danced."

"Did thee never hear," said I, "when thee was a boy,


  "'Merrily dance the quaker's wife,
  And merrily dance the quaker?'


and so on?"

"No, never," said he.

"Then verily, friend, I will show thee how a quaker can dance. They
call us shakers, from shaking our feet so spry. Which will thee
choose--the farm or the legacy?"

Mary took his hand, and led him to his place, the music struck up, and
Peter gave us one of his quickest measures. Jehu now felt the combined
influence of music, women, brandy, and dancing, and snapped his
fingers over his head, and stamped his feet to mark the time, and
hummed the tune in a voice that from its power and clearness
astonished us all.

"Well done, old boy," said I, for I thought I might drop the quaker
now, "well done, old boy," and I slapped him on the back, "go it while
you are young, make up for lost time: now for the double shuffle. Dod
drot it, you are clear grit and no mistake. You are like a critter
that boggles in the collar at the first go off, and don't like the
start, but when you do lay legs to it you certainly ain't no slouch, I
know."

The way he cut carlicues ain't no matter. From humming he soon got to
a full cry, and from that to shouting. His antics overcame us all. The
doctor gave the first key-note. "Oh, oh, that man will be the death of
me," and again rubbed himself round the wall, in convulsions of
laughter. Peter saw nothing absurd in all this, on the contrary, he
was delighted with the stranger.

"Oigh," he said, "ta preacher is a goot feller after all, she will
tance with her hern ainsel;" and fiddling his way up to him again, he
danced a jig with Jehu, to the infinite amusement of us all. The
familiarity which Mr Judd exhibited with the steps and the dance,
convinced me that he must have often indulged in it before he became a
Christian. At last he sat down, not a little exhausted with the
violent exertion, but the liquor made him peeowerful thick-legged, and
his track warn't a bee line, I tell you. After a while a song was
proposed, and Mary entreated him to favour us with one.

"Dear Miss," said he, "pretty Miss," and his mouth resembled that of a
cat contemplating a pan of milk that it cannot reach, "lovely maiden,
willingly would I comply, if Sall Mody (Psalmody) will do, but I have
forgotten my songs."

"Try this," said I, and his strong, clear voice rose above us all, as
he joined us in--


  "Yes, Lucy is a pretty girl,
  Such lubly hands and feet,
  When her toe is in the Market-house,
  Her heel is in Main Street.
  "Oh take your time, Miss Lucy,
  Miss Lucy, Lucy Long,
  Rock de cradle, Lucy,
  And listen to de song."


He complained of thirst and fatigue after this, and rising, said, "I
am peeowerful dry, by jinks," and helped himself so liberally, that he
had scarcely resumed his seat before he was fast asleep, and so
incapable of sustaining himself in a sitting posture, that we removed
him to the sofa, and loosening his cravat, placed him in a situation
where he could repose comfortably. We then all stood round the
evangelical "Come-outer," and sang in chorus:


  "My old master, Twiddledum Don,
  Went to bed with his trousers on,
  One shoe off, and the other shoe on--
  That's the description of Twiddledum Don."


"Oh, my old 'Come-outer,'" said I, as I took my last look at him for
the night, "you have 'come-out' in your true colours at last, but this
comes of 'fiddling and dancing, and serving the devil.'"



                            CHAPTER VIII.

                       STITCHING A BUTTON-HOLE.


After the family had retired to rest, the doctor and I lighted our
cigars, and discoursed of the events of the evening.

"Such men as Jehu Judd," he said, "do a monstrous deal of mischief in
the country. By making the profession of piety a cloak for their
knavery, they injure the cause of morality, and predispose men to
ridicule the very appearance of that which is so justly entitled to
their respect, a sober, righteous, and godly life. Men lose their
abhorrence of fraud in their distrust of the efficacy of religion. It
is a duty we owe to society to expose and punish such fellows."

"Well then, I will do my duty," said I, laughing, "he has fired into
the wrong flock this time, I'll teach him not to do it again, or my
name is not Sam Slick. I will make that goney a caution to sinners, I
know. He has often deceived others so that they didn't know him, I
will now alter him so he shan't know himself when he wakes up."

Proceeding to my bed-room, which, as I said before, adjoined the
parlour, I brought out the box containin' my sketchin' fixins, and
opening of a secret drawer, showed him a small paper of
bronze-coloured powder.

"That," said I," is what the Indians at the Nor-west use to disguise a
white man, when he is in their train, not to deceive their enemies,
for you couldn't take in a savage for any length of time, no how you
could fix it, but that his pale face might not alarm the scouts of
their foes. I was stained that way for a month when I was among them,
for there was war going on at the time."

Mixing a little of it with brandy I went to the sofa, where Mr Jehu
Judd was laid out, and with a camel's hair brush ornamented his upper
lip with two enormous and ferocious moustachios, curling well upwards,
across his cheeks to his ears, and laid on the paint in a manner to
resist the utmost efforts of soap and water. Each eye was adorned with
an enormous circle to represent the effect of blows, and on his
forehead was written in this indelible ink in large print letters,
like those on the starn-board of a vessel, the words "Jehu of Quaco."

In the morning we made preparations for visiting the Bachelor Beaver.
The evangelical trader awoke amid the general bustle of the house, and
sought me out to talk over the sale of his mackarel.

"Fa is tat," said Peter, who first stared wildly at him, and then put
himself in a posture of defence. "Is she a deserter from the garishon
of Halifax?"

"I am a man of peace," said Jehu (who appeared to have forgotten the
aberrations of the last evening, and had resumed his usual
sanctimoniouslyfied manner). "Swear not, friend, it is an abomination,
and becometh not a Christian man."

Peter was amazed, he could not trust his eyes, his ears, or his
memory.

"Toctor," said he, "come here for heaven's sake, is she hern ainsel or
ta tevil."

The moment the doctor saw him, his hands as usual involuntarily
protected his sides, and he burst out a laughing in his face, and then
describing a circle on the grass, fell down, and rolled over, saying,
"Oh, oh, that man will be the death of me." The girls nearly went into
hysterics, and Cutler, though evidently not approving of the practical
joke, as only fit for military life, unable to contain himself, walked
away. The French boy, Etienne, frightened at his horrible expression
of face, retreated backwards, crossed himself most devoutly, and
muttered an Ave Maria.

"Friend Judd," said I, for I was the only one who retained my gravity,
"thee ought not to wear a mask, it is a bad sign."

"I wear no mask, Mr Slick," he said, "I use no disguises, and it does
not become a professing man like you to jeer and scoff because I
reprove the man Peter for his profaneness."

Peter stamped and raved like a madman, and had to resort to Gaelic to
disburden his mind of his effervescence. He threatened to shoot him;
he knew him very well, he said, for he had seen him before on the
prairies. He was a Kentucky villain, a forger, a tief, a Yankee spy
sent to excite the Indians against the English. He knew his false
moustachios, he would swear to them in any court of justice in the
world. "Deil a bit is ta loon Jehu Judd," he said, "her name is
prayin' Joe, the horse-stealer."

For the truth of this charge he appealed to his daughters, who stood
aghast at the fearful resemblance his moustachios had given him to
that noted borderer.

"That man of Satan," said Jehu, looking very uncomfortable, as he saw
Peter flourishing a short dirk, and the doctor holding him back and
remonstrating with him. "That man of Satan I never saw before
yesterday, when I entered his house, where there was fiddling and
dancing, and serving the devil. Truly my head became dizzy at the
sight, my heart sunk within me at beholding such wickedness, and I
fell into a swoon, and was troubled with dreams of the evil one all
night."

"Then he visited thee, friend," I said, "in thy sleep, and placed his
mark upon thee--the mark of the beast, come and look at it in the
glass."

When he saw himself, he started back in great terror, and gave vent to
a long, low, guttural groan, like a man who is suffering intense
agony. "What in the world is all this?" he said. He again approached
the glass and again retreated with a look of unspeakable despair,
groaning like a thousand sinners, and swelled out about the head and
throat like a startled blauzer-snake. After which he put his hand to
his lip and discovered there was no hair. He then took courage and
advanced once more, and examined it carefully, and rubbed it, but it
did not remove it.

"He has burned it into the skin," I said, "he hath made thee the image
of the horse-stealer, and who knoweth whom else thou resemblest. Thee
art a marked man verily. Thee said thee never used disguises."

"Never," he said, "never, Mr Slick."

"Hush," I said, "thee hast worn three disguises. First, thee wore the
disguise of religion; secondly, thee were disguised in liquor; and
thirdly, thee art now disguised with what fighting men call the
moustachio."

"Oh, Mr Slick," said he, leaving off his cant, and really looking like
a different man, "dod drot it, it is a just punishment. I knock under,
I holler, I give in, have mercy on me. Can you rid me of this horrid
mark, for I can't flunk out in the street in this rig."

"I can," sais I, "but I will do it on one condition only, and that is,
that you give over canting that way, and coverin' tricks with long
faces and things too serious to mention now, for that is doubly
wicked. Cheatin' ain't pretty at no time, though I wouldn't be too
hard on a man for only gettin' hold of the right eend of the rope in a
bargain. I have done it myself. Or puttin' the leak into a consaited
critter sometimes for fun. But to cheat, and cant to help you a doin'
of it, is horrid, that's a fact. It's the very devil. Will you
promise, if I take down that ornamental sign-board, that you will give
up that kind o' business and set up a new shop?"

"I will," said he, "upon my soul--I'll be d--d if I don't. That ain't
cant now, is it?"

"Well, now you never said a truer word," said I, "you will be d--d if
you don't, that's a fact. But there is no use to run to the other
extreme, neither."

"Are you a preacher?" said he, and I thought he gave me a sly look out
of the corner of his eye, as much as to say, "how good we are, ain't
we," as sin said when the devil was rebukin' of him. The fact is, the
fellow was a thunderin' knave, but he was no fool, further than being
silly enough to be a knave.

"No," sais I, "I ain't, I scorn a man dubbin' himself preacher,
without the broughtens up to it, and a lawful warrant for being one.
And I scorn cant, it ain't necessary to trade. If you want that proved
to you, wait till I return to-morrow, and if you get to winderd of me
in a bargain, I'll give you leave to put the moustachios on me, that's
a fact. My maxim is to buy as low and sell as high as I can, provided
the article will bear a large profit. If not, I take a moderate
advance, turn the penny quick, and at it again. I will compound
something that will take out your false hair, for I don't think it
will be easy to shave it off. It all came of pretence. What in the
world was the reason you couldn't walk quietly into the cantecoi,
where people were enjoying themselves, and either join them, or if you
had scruples, keep them to yourself and sit by. Nobody would have
molested you. Nothing but cant led you to join temperance societies. A
man ought to be able to use, not abuse liquor, but the moment you
obligate yourself not to touch it, it kinder sets you a hankering
after it, and if you taste it after that, it upsets you, as it did
last night. It ain't easy to wean a calf that takes to suckin' the
second time, that's a fact. Your pretence set folks agin you. They
didn't half like the interruption for one thing, and then the way you
acted made them disrespect you. So you got a most an all-fired trick
played on you. And I must say it sarves you right. Now, sais I, go on
board and--"

"Oh, Mr Slick," said he, "oh now, that's a good fellow, don't send me
on board such a figure as this, I'd rather die fust, I'd never hear
the last of it. The men would make me the laughing-stock of Quaco. Oh,
I can't go on board."

"Well," sais I, "go to bed then, and put a poultice on your face, to
soften the skin." That warn't necessary at all, but I said it to
punish him. "And when I come back, I will give you a wash, that will
make your face as white and as smooth as a baby's."

"Oh, Mr Slick," said he, "couldn't you--" but I turned away, and
didn't hear him out.

By the time I had done with him, we were all ready to start for the
Bachelor Beaver. Peter borrowed an extra horse and waggon, and drove
his youngest daughter. Cutler drove Jessie in another, and the doctor
and I walked.

"We can travel as fast as they can," he said, "for part of the road is
full of stumps, and very rough, and I like the arrangement, and want
to have a talk with you about all sorts of things."

After travelling about two miles, we struck off the main highway into
a wood-road, in which stones, hillocks, and roots of trees so impeded
the waggons, that we passed them, and took the lead.

"Are you charged?" said the Doctor, "if not, I think we may as well do
so now."

"Perhaps it would be advisable," said I. "But where is your gun?"

"I generally am so well loaded," he replied, "when I go to the woods,
I find it an encumbrance. In addition to my other traps, I find forty
weight of pemican as much as I can carry."

"Pemican,"1 sais I, "what in natur is that?" I knew as well as he did
what it was, for a man that don't understand how to make that, don't
know the very abeselfa of wood-craft. But I tell you what, Squire,
unless you want to be hated, don't let on you know all that a feller
can tell you. The more you do know, the more folks are afeared to be
able to tell you something new. It flatters their vanity, and it's a
harmless piece of politeness, as well as good policy to listen; for
who the plague will attend to you if you won't condescend to hear
them? Conversation is a barter, in which one thing is swapped for
another, and you must abide by the laws of trade. What you give costs
you nothing; and what you get may be worth nothing; so, if you don't
gain much, you don't lose, at all events. "So," sais I, "what in natur
is pemican?"


1 See Dunn's "Oregon."


"Why," sais he, "it is formed by pounding the choice parts of venison
or other meat very small, dried over a slack fire, or by the frost,
and put into bags, made of the skin of the slain animal, into which a
portion of melted fat is poured. The whole being then strongly
pressed, and sewed up in bags, constitutes the best and most portable
food known; and one which will keep a great length of time. If a
dainty man, like you, wishes to improve its flavour, you may spice
it."

"What a grand thing that would be for soldiers during forced marches,
wouldn't it. Well, Doctor," sais I, "that's a wrinkle, ain't it? But
who ever heard of a colonial minister knowing anything of colony
habits?"

"If we have a chance to kill a deer," he said, "I will show you how to
make it," and he looked as pleased to give me that information as if
he had invented it himself. "So I use this instead of a gun," he
continued, producing a long, thick-barreled pistol, of capital
workmanship, and well mounted. "I prefer this, it answers every
purpose: and is easy to carry. There are no wolves here, and bears
never attack you, unless molested, so that the gun-barrel is not
needed as a club; and if Bruin once gets a taste of this, he is in no
hurry to face it again. The great thing is to know how to shoot, and
where to hit. Now, it's no use to fire at the head of a bear, the
proper place to aim for is the side, just back of the fore leg. Are
you a good shot?"

"Well," said I, "I can't brag, for I have seen them that could beat me
at that game; but, in a general way, I don't calculate to throw away
my lead. It's scarce in the woods. Suppose though we have a trial. Do
you see that blaze in the hemlock tree, there? try it."

Well, he up, and as quick as wink fired, and hit it directly in the
centre.

"Well," sais I, "you scare me. To tell you the truth, I didn't expect
to be taken up that way. And so sure as I boast of a thing, I slip out
of the little eend of the horn." Well, I drew a bead fine on it, and
fired.

"That mark is too small," said he (thinking I had missed it), "and
hardly plain enough."

"I shouldn't wonder if I had gone a one side or the other," said I, as
we walked up to it, "I intended to send your ball further in; but I
guess I have only turned it round. See, I have cut a little grain of
the bark off the right side of the circle."

"Good," said he, "these balls are near enough to give a critter the
heart-ache, at any rate. You are a better shot than I am; and that's
what I have never seen in this province. Strange, too, for you don't
live in the woods as I do."

"That's the reason," said I, "I shoot for practice, you, when you
require it. Use keeps your hand in, but it wouldn't do it for me; so I
make up by practising whenever I can. When I go to the woods, which
ain't as often now as I could wish, for they ain't to be found
everywhere in our great country, I enjoy it with all my heart. I enter
into it as keen as a hound, and I don't care to have the Clockmaker
run rigs on. A man's life often depends on his shot, and he ought to
be afraid of nothin'. Some men, too, are as dangerous as wild beasts;
but if they know you can snuff a candle with a ball, hand runnin',
why, they are apt to try their luck with some one else, that ain't up
to snuff, that's all. It's a common feeling, that.

"The best shot I ever knew, was a tailor at Albany. He used to be very
fond of brousin' in the forest sometimes, and the young fellows was
apt to have a shy at Thimble. They talked of the skirts of the forest,
the capes of the Hudson, laughing in their sleeve, giving a fellow a
bastin, having a stitch in the side, cuffing a fellow's ears, taking a
tuck-in at lunch, or calling mint-julip an inside lining, and so on;
and every time any o' these words came out, they all laughed like
anything.

"Well, the critter, who was really a capital fellow, used to join in
the laugh himself, but still grinnin' is no proof a man enjoys it; for
a hyena will laugh, if you give him a poke. So what does he do, but
practise in secret every morning and evening at pistol-shooting for an
hour or two, until he was a shade more than perfection itself. Well,
one day he was out with a party of them same coons, and they began to
run the old rig on him as usual. And he jumps up on eend, and in a
joking kind o' way, said: 'Gentlemen, can any of you stitch a
button-hole, with the button in it?' Well, they all roared out at that
like mad.

"'No, Sirree,' sais they, 'but come, show us Thimble, will you? that's
a good fellow. Tom, fetch the goose to press it when it's done. Dick,
cabbage a bit of cloth for him to try it upon. Why, Tom, you are as
sharp as a needle.'

"'Well,' sais he, 'I'll show you.'

"So he went to a tree, and took out of his pocket a fip-penny bit,
that had a hole in the centre, and putting in it a small nail, which
he had provided, he fastened it to the tree.

"'Now,' said he, taking out a pair of pistols, and lots of ammunition,
from the bottom of his prog-basket, where he had hid them. 'Now,' said
he, 'gentlemen, the way to stitch a buttonhole, is to put balls all
round that button, in a close ring, and never disturb them; that's
what we tailors call workmanlike:' and he fired away, shot after shot,
till he had done it.

"'Now,' said he,' gentlemen, that button has to be fastened;' and he
fired, and drove the nail that it hung on into the tree. 'And now,
gentlemen,' said he, 'I have stood your shots for many a long day,
turn about is fair play. The first man that cracks a joke at me, on
account of my calling, must stand my shot, and 'if I don't stitch his
button-hole for him, I am no tailor; that's all.'

"Well, they all cheered him when he sat down, and they drank his
health; and the boss of the day said: 'Well, Street (afore that he
used to call him Thimble), well, Street,' said he, 'you are a man.'

"'There you are again,' said Street, 'that is a covered joke at a
tailor being only the ninth part of one. I pass it over this time, but
let's have no more of it.'

"'No, Sirree, no,' said boss, 'on honour now, I didn't mean it. And I
say, too, let there be no more of it.'"

"Not a bad story!" said the doctor. "A man ought to be able to take
his own part in the world; but my idea is we think too much of guns.
Do you know anything of archery?"

"A little," sais I, "at least folks say so; but then they really give
me credit for what I don't deserve; they say I draw a thunderin' long
bow sometimes."

"Oh! oh!" he said laughing, "positively, as the fellow said to the
tailor, you'll give me a stitch in my side. Well, that's better than
being 'sewed up,' as Jehu was last night. But, seriously, do you ever
use the bow?"

"Well, I have tried the South American bow, and it's a powerful weapon
that; but it takes a man to draw it, I tell you."

"Yes," said he, "it requires a strong arm; but the exercise is good
for the chest. It's the one I generally use. The bow is a great
weapon, and the oldest in the world. I believe I have a tolerable
collection of them. The Indian bow was more or less excellent,
according to the wood they had; but they never could have been worth
much here, for the country produces no suitable material. The old
English long-bow perhaps is a good one; but it is not so powerful as
the Turkish. That has immense power. They say it will carry an arrow
from four hundred and fifty to five hundred yards. Mine perhaps is not
a first-rate one, nor am I what I call a skilful archer; but I can
reach beyond three hundred yards--though that is an immense distance.
The gun has superseded them; but though superior in many respects, the
other has some qualities that are invaluable. In skirmishing, or in
surprising outposts, what an advantage it is to avoid the alarm and
noise occasioned by firearms. All troops engaged in this service in
addition to the rifle ought to have the bow and the quiver. What an
advantage it would have been in the Caffre war, and how serviceable
now in the Crimea. They are light to carry and quickly discharged.
When we get to my house I will prove it to you. We will set up two
targets, at one hundred yards, say. You shall fire from one to the
other, and then stand aside, and before you can reload I will put
three arrows into yours. I should say four to a common soldier's
practice; but I give even you three to one. If a man misses his first
shot at me with a gun, he is victimized, for I have three chances in
return before he gets his second, and if I don't pink him with one or
the other--why, I deserve to be hit. For the same reason, what a
glorious cavalry weapon it is, as the Parthians knew. What a splendid
thing for an ambush, where you are neither seen nor heard. I don't
mean to say they are better than fire-arms; but, occasionally used
with them they would be irresistible. If I were a British officer in
command I would astonish the enemy."

"You would astonish the Horse-Guards, too, I know," said I. "It would
ruin you for ever. They'd call you old 'bows and arrows,' as they did
the general that had no flints to his guns, when he attacked Buonus
Ayres; they'd have you up in 'Punch;' they'd draw you as Cupid going
to war; they'd nickname you a Bow-street officer. Oh! they'd soon
teach you what a quiver was. They'd play the devil with you. They'd
beat you at your own game; you'd be stuck full of poisoned arrows. You
could as easily introduce the queue again, as the bow."

"Well, Cressy, Poictiers, and Agincourt were won with the bow," he
said, "and, as an auxiliary weapon, it is still as effective as ever.
However that is not a mere speculation. When I go out after cariboo, I
always carry mine, and seldom use my gun. It don't alarm the herd;
they don't know where the shaft comes from, and are as likely to look
for it in the lake or in the wild grass as anywhere else. Let us try
them together. But let us load with shot now. We shall come to the
brook directly, and where it spreads out into still water, and the
flags grow, the wild fowl frequent; for they are amazin' fond of
poke-lokeins, as the Indians call those spots. We may get a brace or
two perhaps to take home with us. Come, let us push ahead, and go
warily."

After awhile a sudden turn of the road disclosed to us a flock of
blue-winged ducks, and he whispered, "Do you fire to the right, and I
will take the left." When the smoke from our simultaneous discharges
cleared away, we saw the flock rise, leaving five of their number as
victims of their careless watch.

"That is just what I said," he remarked, "the gun is superior in many
respects; but if we had our bows here, we would have had each two more
shots at them, while on the wing. As it is, we can't reload till they
are out of reach. I only spoke of the how as subordinate and
auxiliary; but never as a substitute. Although I am not certain that,
with our present manufacturing skill, metallic bows could not now be
made, equal in power, superior in lightness, and more effective than
any gun when the object to be aimed at is not too minute, for in that
particular the rifle will never be equalled--certainly not surpassed."

The retriever soon brought us our birds, and we proceeded leisurely on
our way, and in a short time were overtaken by the waggons, when we
advanced together towards the house, which we reached in about an hour
more. As soon as we came in sight of it, the dogs gave notice of our
approach, and a tall, straight, priggish-looking man marched, for he
did not hurry himself, bareheaded towards the bars in the pole fence.
He was soon afterwards followed by a little old woman at a foot amble,
or sort of broken trot, such as distinguishes a Naraganset pacer. She
had a hat in her hand, which she hastily put on the man's head. But,
as she had to jump up to do it, she effected it with a force that made
it cover his eyes, and nearly extinguish his nose. It caused the man
to stop and adjust it, when he turned round to his flapper, and, by
the motion of his hand, and her retrogade movement, it appeared he did
not receive this delicate attention very graciously. Duty however was
pressing him, and he resumed his stately step towards the bars.

She attacked him again in the rear, as a goose does an intruder, and
now and then picked something from his coat, which I supposed to be a
vagrant thread, or a piece of lint or straw, and then retreated a step
or two to avoid closer contact. He was compelled at last to turn again
on his pursuer, and expostulate with her in no gentle terms. I heard
the words "mind your own business," or something of the kind, and the
female voice more distinctly (women always have the best of it), "You
look as if you had slept in it. You ain't fit to appear before
gentlemen." Ladies she had been unaccustomed of late to see, and
therefore omitted altogether. "What would Colonel Jones say if he saw
you that way?"

To which the impatient man replied: "Colonel Jones be hanged. He is
not my commanding officer, or you either--take that will you, old
ooman." If the colonel was not there his master was, therefore
pressing forward he took down the bars, and removed them a one side,
when he drew himself bolt upright, near one of the posts, and placing
his hand across his forehead, remained in that position, without
uttering a word, till the waggons passed, and the doctor said, "Well,
Jackson, how are you?" "Hearty, Sir! I hope your Honour is well? Why,
Buscar, is that you, dog; how are you, my man?" and then he proceeded
very expeditiously to replace the poles.

"What are you stopping for?" said the doctor to me, for the whole
party was waiting for us.

"I was admirin' of them bars," said I.

"Why, they are the commonest things in the country," he replied. "Did
you never see them before?" Of course I had, a thousand times, but I
didn't choose to answer.

"What a most beautiful contrivance," said I, "they are. First, you
can't find them, if you don't know beforehand where they are, they
look so like the rest of the fence. It tante one stranger in a
thousand could take them down, for if he begins at the top they get
awfully tangled, and if he pulls the wrong way, the harder he hauls
the tighter they get. Then he has to drag them all out of the way, so
as to lead the horse through, and leave him standin' there till he
puts them up agin, and as like as not, the critter gets tired of
waitin', races off to the stable, and breaks the waggon all to
flinders. After all these advantages, they don't cost but a shilling
or so more than a gate. Oh, it's grand."

"Well, well," said the doctor, "I never thought of that afore, but you
are right after all," and he laughed as good humouredly as possible.
"Jackson," said he.

"Yes, your Honour."

"We must have a gate there."

"Certainly," said the servant, touching his hat. But he honoured me
with a look, as much as to say, "Thank you for nothing, Sir. It's a
pity you hadn't served under Colonel Jones, for he would have taught
you to mind your own business double quick."

We then proceeded to the door, and the doctor welcomed the party to
the "Bachelor Beaver's-dam," as he called it. In the mean time, the
bustling little old woman returned, and expressed great delight at
seeing us. The place was so lonesome, she said, and it was so pleasant
to see ladies there, for they were the first who had ever visited the
doctor, and it was so kind of them to come so far, and she hoped they
would often honour the place with their presence, if they could put up
with their accommodation, for she had only heard from the doctor the
night before; and she was so sorry she couldn't receive them as she
could wish, and a whole volume more, and an appendix longer than that,
and an index to it, where the paging was so jumbled you couldn't find
nothin'.

Jackson joined in, and said he regretted his commissariat was so badly
supplied. That it was a poor country to forage in, and that there was
nothing but the common rations and stores for the detachment stationed
there. But that nothing should be wanting on his part, and so on. The
housekeeper led the way to the apartments destined for the girls.
Peter assisted the boy to unharness the horses, and the doctor showed
Cutler and myself into the hall, where the breakfast table was set for
us. Seeing Jackson marching to the well, as if he was on parade, I
left the two together in conversation, and went out to talk to him.
"Sergeant," sais I.

"Yes, your Honour," said he, and he put down the pail, and raised his
hand to his forehead.

"I understand you have seen a great deal of service in your time."

"Yes, Sir," said he, looking well pleased, and as if his talking tacks
were all ready. I had hit the right subject. "I ave gone through a
deal of soldiering in my day, and been in many a ard fight, Sir."

"I see you have the marks on you," I said. "That is a bad scar on your
face."

"Well, Sir," said he, "saving your presence, I wish the devil had the
Frenchman that gave me that wound. I have some I am proud of having
received in the service of my king and country. I have three balls in
me now, which the doctors couldn't extract, and nothin' but death will
bring to the light of day again, if they can be said to be seen in the
grave. But that scar is the only disgraceful mark I ever received
since I first joined in 1808.

"When we were laying siege to Badajoz, Sir, I was in the cavalry, and
I was sent with a message to a brigade that was posted some distance
from us. Well, Sir, as I was trotting along, I saw a French dragoon,
well mounted, leading a splendid spare orse, belonging to some French
hofficer of rank, as far as I could judge from his happearance and
mountings. Instead of pursuing my course, as I ought to have done,
Sir, I thought I'de make a dash at the rascal, and make prize of that
are hanimal. So I drew my sword, raised myself in my saddle (for I was
considered a first-rate swordsman, as most Hinglishmen hare who have
been used to the single-stick), and made sure I ad him. Instead of
turning, he kept steadily on, and never as much as drew his sabre, so
in place of making a cut hat him, for I'de scorn to strike han
hunarmed man, my play was to cut is reins, and then if he wanted a
scrimmage, to give him one, and if not, to carry off that hare orse.

"Well, Sir, he came on gallantly, I must say that, and kept his eye
fixed steadily on me, when just as I was going to make a cut at his
reins, he suddenly seized his eavy-mounted elmet, and threw it slap at
my face, and I'll be anged if it didn't stun me, and knock me right
off the orse flat on the ground, and then he galloped off as ard as he
could go. When I got up, I took his elmet under my harm, and proceeded
on my route. I was ashamed to tell the story straight, and I made the
best tale I could of the scrimmage, and showed the elmet in token that
it was a pretty rough fight. But the doctor, when he dressed the
wound, swore it never was made with a sword, nor a bullet, nor any
instrument he knew hon, and that he didn't think it was occasioned by
a fall, for it was neither insised, outsised, nor contused--but a
confusion of all three. He questioned me as close as a witness.

"'But,' sais I, 'doctor, there is no telling what himplements
Frenchmen ave. They don't fight like us, they don't. It was a runnin'
scrimmage, or handicap fight.' Yes, Sir, if it was hanywhere helse,
where it wouldn't show, it wouldn't be so bad, but there it is on the
face, and there is no denyin' of it."

Here the little woman made her appearance again, with the hat in her
hand, and said imploringly:

"Tom, doee put your hat on, that's a good soul. He don't take no care
of himself, Sir," she said, addressing herself to me. "He has seen a
deal of service in his day, and has three bullets in him now, and he
is as careless of hisself as if he didn't mind whether I was left
alone in the oulin' wilderness or not. Oh, Sir, if you heard the wild
beastesis here at night, it's dreadful. It's worse than the wolves in
the Pyreen, in Spain. And then, Sir, all I can do, I can't get him to
wear is at, when he knows in is eart he had a stroke of the sun near
Badajoz, which knocked him off his orse, and see how it cut his face.
He was so andsome before, Sir."

"Betty," said the sergeant, "the doctor is calling you. Do go into the
ouse, and don't bother the gentleman. Oh, Sir," said he, "I have had
to tell a cap of lies about that are scar on my face, and that's ard,
Sir, for a man who has a medal with five clasps; ain't it?"

Here the doctor came to tell me breakfast was ready.

"I was admiring, Doctor," said I, "this simple contrivance of yours
for raising water from the well. It is very ingenious."

"Very," he said, "but I assure you it is no invention of mine. I have
no turn that way. It is very common in the country."

I must describe this extraordinary looking affair, for though not
unusual in America, I have never seen it in England, although the
happy thought doubtless owes its origin to the inventive genius of its
farmers.

The well had a curb, as it is called, a square wooden box open at the
top, to prevent accident to the person drawing the water. A few paces
from this was an upright post about twelve feet high, having a crotch
at the top. A long beam lies across this, one end of which rests on
the ground at a distance from the post, and the other projects into
the air with its point over the well. This beam is secured in the
middle of the crotch of the upright post by an iron bolt, on which it
moves, as on an axle. To the aerial end is attached a few links of a
chain, that hold a long pole to which the bucket is fastened, and
hangs over the well. The beam and its pendent apparatus resembles a
fishing-rod and its line protruding over a stream. When a person
wishes to draw water, he takes hold of the pole, and as he pulls it
down, the bucket descends into the well, and the heavy end of the beam
rises into the air, and when the pail is filled the weight of the butt
end of the beam in its descent raises the bucket.

"Now," said I, "Doctor, just observe how beautiful this thing is in
operation. A woman (for they draw more nor half the water used in this
country) has to put out all her strength, dragging down the pole, with
her hands over her head (an attitude and exercise greatly recommended
by doctors to women), in order to get the bucket down into the well.
If she is in too big a hurry, the lever brings it up with a jerk that
upsets it, and wets her all over, which is very refreshing in hot
weather, and if a child or a dog happens to be under the heavy end of
the beam, it smashes it to death, which after all ain't no great
matter, for there are plenty left to them who have too many and don't
care for 'em. And then if it ain't well looked after and the post gets
rotten at the bottom, on a stormy day it's apt to fall and smash the
roof of the house in, which is rather lucky, for most likely it wanted
shingling, and it is time it was done. Well, when the bucket swings
about in the wind, if a gall misses catching it, it is apt to hit her
in the mouth, which is a great matter, if she has the tooth-ache, for
it will extract corn-crackers a plaguey sight quicker than a dentist
could to save his soul."

"Well," said he, "I never thought of that before. I have no turn for
these things, I'll have it removed, it is a most dangerous thing, and
I wouldn't have an accident happen to the sergeant and dear old Betty
for the world."

"God bless your Honour for that," said Jackson.

"But, Doctor," said I, "joking apart, they are very picturesque, ain't
they, how well they look in a sketch, eh! nice feature in the
foreground."

"Oh," said he, patting me on the back, "there you have me again,
Slick. Oh, indeed they are, I can't part with my old well-pole, oh,
no, not for the world: Jackson, have an eye to it, see that it is all
safe and strong and that no accident happens, but I don't think we
need take it away. Come, Slick, come to breakfast."

Thinks I to myself, as I proceeded to the hall, "there are two classes
only in this world. Those who have genius, and those who have common
sense. They are like tailors, one can cut a coat and do nothin' else,
for he is an artist. The other can put the parts together, for he is a
workman only. Now the doctor is a man of talent and learning, an
uncommon man, but he don't know common things at all. He can cut out a
garment, but he can't stitch a button-hole."



                             CHAPTER IX.

                         THE PLURAL OF MOOSE.


The room in which we breakfasted was about eighteen feet square,
having a large old-fashioned fire-place opposite to the front door,
which opened directly on the lawn. The walls were fancifully
ornamented with moose and deer horns, fowling-pieces, fishing-rods,
landing nets and baskets, bows and arrows of every description, and
Indian relics, such as stone hatchets, bowls, rude mortars, images,
war clubs, wampum, and implements not unlike broad swords made of
black birch, the edges of which were inlaid with the teeth of animals,
or the shells of fish, ground sharp. Besides these, were skulls of
great size and in good preservation, stone pipes, pouches, and so on;
also some enormous teeth and bones of an antediluvian animal, found in
the Bras Dor lake in Cape Breton. It was, take it altogether, the most
complete collection of relics of this interesting race, the Micmacs,
and of natur's products to be found in this province. Some of the
larger moose horns are ingeniously managed, so as to form supports for
polished slabs of hardwood for tables. The doctor informed me that
this department of his museum was under the sole direction of the
sergeant, who called it his armoury, and to whose experience in the
arrangement of arms he was indebted for the good effect they produced.
The only objection he said he had to it was, that classification had
been sacrificed to appearance, and things were very much intermixed;
but his collection was too small to make this a matter of any
importance.

Jackson, as soon as the doctor was similarly engaged in showing them
to the captain and the Miss McDonalds, for whom they seemed to have a
peculiar interest, mounted guard over me.

"You see, Sir," said he, "the moose horns are the only thing of any
size here, and that's because the moose is half English, you know.
Everything is small in this country, and degenerates, Sir. The fox
ain't near as big as an English one. Lord, Sir, the ounds would run
down one o' these fellows in ten minutes. They haven't got no
strength. The rabbit too is a mere nothink; he is more of a cat, and
looks like one too, when he is hanged in a snare. It's so cold,
nothin' comes to a right size here. The trees is mere shrubbery
compared to our hoaxes. The pine is tall, but then it has no sap. It's
all tar and turpentine, and that keeps the frost out of its heart. The
fish that live under the ice in the winter are all iley, in a general
way, like the whales, porpoises, dog-fish, and cod. The liver of the
cod is all ile, and women take to drinkin' it now in cold weather to
keep their blood warm. Depend upon it, Sir, in two or three
generations they will shine in the sun like niggers. Porter would be
better for 'em to drink than ile, and far more pleasanter too, Sir,
wouldn't it? It would fill 'em out. Saving your presence, Sir, you
never see a girl here with--"

"Hush! the ladies will hear you," I said.

"I ax your Honour's pardon; perhaps I am making too bold, but it's
nateral for a man that has seed so much of the world as I have to talk
a bit, especially as my tongue is absent on furlough more nor half the
year, and then the old 'ooman's goes on duty, and never fear, Sir,
her'n don't sleep at its post. She has seen too much sarvice for that.
It don't indeed. It hails every one that passes the sentry-box, and
makes 'em advance and give the countersign. A man that has seed so
much, Sir, in course has a good deal to talk about. Now, Sir, I don't
want to undervaly the orns at no rate, but Lord bless you, Sir, I have
seen the orns of a wild sheep, when I was in the Medeteranion, so
large, I could hardly lift them with one hand. They say young foxes
sleep in them sometimes. Oh, Sir, if they would only get a few of them
sheep, and let them loose here, there would be some fun in unting of
them. They are covered over with air in summer, and they are so wild
you can't take them no other way than by shooting of them. Then, Sir,
there is the orns of--"

"But how is the moose half English?" sais I.

"Why, Sir, I heard our colour-sergeant M'Clure say so when we was in
Halifax. He was a great reader and a great arguer, Sir, as most
Scotchmen are. I used to say to him, 'M'Clure, it's a wonder you can
fight as well as you do, for in England fellows who dispute all the
time commonly take it all out in words.'

"One day, Sir, a man passed the north barrack gate, tumping (as he
said, which means in English, Sir, hauling) an immense bull moose on a
sled, though why he didn't say so, I don't know, unless he wanted to
show he knew what M'Clure calls the botanical word for it. It was the
largest hanimal I ever saw here."

"Says Mac to him, 'What do you call that creature?'

"'Moose,' said he.

"'Do you pretend to tell me,' said Mac, 'that that henormous hanimal,
with orns like a deer, is a moose?'

"'I don't pretend at all,' said he; 'I think I hought to know one when
I see it, for I have killed the matter of a undred of them in my day.'

"'It's a daumed lee,' said the sergeant. 'It's no such thing; I
wouldn't believe it if you was to swear to it.'

"'Tell you what,' said the man, 'don't go for to tell me that again,
or I'll lay you as flat as he is in no time,' and he cracked his whip
and moved on.

"'What's the use,' said I, 'M'Clure, to call that man a liar? How do
you know whether it is a moose or not, and he is more like to get its
name right than you, who never saw one afore.'

"'Moose,' said he, 'do you take me for a fool? do you suppose he is a
goin' to cram me with such stuff as that? The idea of his pretending
to tell me that a creature six feet high with great spreading antlers
like a deer is a moose, when in fact they are no bigger than a
cock-roach, and can run into holes the size of a sixpence! Look at
me--do you see anything very green about me?'

"'Why, Mac,' sais I, 'as sure as the world you mean a mouse.'

"'Well, I said a moose,' he replied.

"'Yes, I know you said a moose, but that's not the way to pronounce a
mouse. It may be Scotch, but it ain't English. Do you go into that
hardware shop, and ask for a moose-trap, and see how the boys will
wink to each other, and laugh at you.'

"'A man,' sais he, drawing himself up, 'who has learned humanity at
Glaskee, don't require to be taught how to pronounce moose.'

"'As for your humanity,' said I, 'I never see much of that. If you
ever had that weakness, you got bravely over it, and the glass key
must have been broke years agone in Spain.'

"'You are getting impertinent,' said he, and he walked off and left
me.

"It's very strange, your Honour, but I never saw an Irishman or
Scotchman yet that hadn't the vanity to think he spoke English better
than we do."

"But the Yankees?" said I.

"Well, Sir, they are foreigners, you know, and only speak broken
English; but they mix up a deal of words of their own with it, and
then wonder you don't understand them. They keep their mouths so busy
chawing, they have to talk through their noses.

"A few days after that, Sir, we walked down to the marketplace, and
there was another of these hanimals for sale. But perhaps I am making
too bold, Sir?"

"No, no, not at all; go on. I like to hear you."

"'Well,' said M'Clure to the countryman, 'What do you call that?'

"'A moose,' said he.

"Well, I gives him a nudge of my helbow, to remind him not to tell him
it was a 'daumed lee,' as he did the other man.

"'What does moose mean, my man?'

"Would you believe it, Sir, he didn't like that word 'my man,'
partikelarly coming from a soldier, for they are so hignorant here
they affect to look down upon soldiers, and call 'em 'thirteen
pences.'

"'Mean,' said he, 'it means that,' a-pointin' to the carcass. 'Do you
want to buy it?'

"'Hem!' said Mac. 'Well now, my good fellow--'

"Oh, Sir, if you had a seen the countryman when he heard them words,
it would a been as good as a play. He eyed him all over, very
scornful, as if he was taking his measure and weight for throwing him
over the sled by his cape and his trousers, and then he put his hand
in his waistcoat pocket, and took out a large black fig of coarse
tobacco, and bit a piece out of it, as if it was an apple, and fell
too a chewing of it, as if to vent his wrath on it, but said nothing.

"'Well, my good fellow,' said Mac, 'when there are more than one, or
they are in the plural number, what do you call them?'

"'Mice,' said the fellow.

"'Mice!' said M'Clure, 'I must look into that; it's very odd. Still,
it can't be mooses either.'

"He didn't know what to make of it; he had been puzzled with mouse
before, and found he was wrong, so he thought it was possible 'mice'
might be the right word after all.

"'Well,' said he, 'what do you call the female moose?'

"'Why,' sais the man, 'I guess,' a-talkin' through his nose instead of
his mouth--how I hate that Yankee way, don't you, Sir? 'Why,' sais he,
'I guess we call the he-moose M, and the other N, as the case may be.'

"'Who gave them that name?' said M'Clure.

"'Why, I reckon,' said the other, 'their godfathers and godmothers at
their baptism, but I can't say, for I warn't there.'

"'I say, my man,' said M'Clure, 'you had better keep a civil tongue in
your head.'

"'Ask me no questions, then,' said the countryman, 'and I'll tell you
no lies; but if you think to run a rig on me, you have made a mistake
in the child, and barked up the wrong tree, that's all. P'raps I ain't
so old as you be, but I warn't born yesterday. So slope, if you
please, for I want to sneeze, and if I do, it will blow your cap over
the market-house, and you'll be lucky if your head don't go along with
it."

"'Come away,' said I, 'Mac, that fellow has no more manners than a
heathen.'

"'He's an hignorant beast,' said he, 'he is beneath notice.'

"The man eard that, and called after him, 'Hofficer, hofficer,' said
he.

"That made M'Clure stop, for he was expectin' to be one every day, and
the word sounded good, and Scotchmen, Sir, ain't like other people,
pride is as natural as oatmeal to them. The man came up to us limpin'.

"'Hofficer,' said he, 'I ax your pardon if I offended you, I thought
you was a pokin' fun at me, for I am nothing but a poor hignorant
farmer, from the country, and these townspeople are always making game
of us. I'll tell you all about that are moose and how I killed him. He
urt my feelins, Sir, or I never would have mislested him, for Zack
Wilcox is as good-natured a chap, it's generally allowed, as ever
lived. Yes, he trod on my toes, I don't feel right yet, and when any
fellow does that to me, why there ain't no mistake about it, his time
is out and the sentence is come to pass. He begged for his life, oh,
it was piteous to see him. I don't mean to say the dumb beast spoke,
but his looks were so beseeching just the way if you was tied up to
the halbert to be whipped, you'd look at the general.'

"'Me?' said M'Clure.

"'Yes, you or anybody else,' said the man. 'Well,' said he, 'I told
him I wouldn't shoot him, I'de give him one chance for his life, but
if he escaped he'd be deaf for ever afterwards. Poor feller, I didn't
intend to come it quite so strong, but he couldn't stand the shock I
gave him, and it killed him--frightened him to death.'

"'How?' said M'Clure.

"'Why,' sais he, 'I'll tell you,' and he looked cautiously all round,
as if he didn't want any one to know the secret. 'I gave him a most an
almighty hambler that fairly keeled him over.'

"'What?' said M'Clure.

"'Why,' sais he, 'I gave him,' and he bent forward towards his hear as
if to whisper the word, 'I gave him a most thunderin' everlastin'
loud--' and he gave a yell into his hear that was eard clean across
the harbour, and at the ospital beyond the dockyard, and t'other way
as far as Fresh-water Bridge. Nothin' was hever eard like it before.

"M'Clure sprang backwards the matter of four or five feet, and placed
his hand on his side arms, while the countryman brayed out a horse
laugh that nearly took away one's earing. The truck-men gate him a
cheer, for they are all Irishmen, and they don't like soldiers
commonly on account of their making them keep the peace at ome at
their meetin' of monsters, and there was a general commotion in the
market. We beat a retreat, and when we got out of the crowd, sais I,
'M'Clure, that comes of arguing with every one you meet. It's a bad
habit.'

"'I wasn't arguing,' sais he, quite short, 'I was only asking
questions, and how can you ever learn if you don't inquire?'

"Well, when he got to the barrack, he got a book wrote by a Frenchman,
called Buffoon."

"A capital name," sais I, "for a Frenchman," but he didn't take, for
there is no more fun in an Englishman than a dough pudding, and went
on without stopping.

"Sais he, 'this author is all wrong. He calls it han 'horiginal,' but
he ain't a native animal, it's half English and half Yankee. Some
British cattle at a remote period have been wrecked here, strayed into
the woods, and erded with the Carriboo. It has the ugly carcass and
ide of the ox, and has taken the orns, short tail, and its speed from
the deer. That accounts for its being larger than the native stags.' I
think he was right, Sir, what is your opinion?"

The doctor and the rest of the party coming up just put an end to
Jackson's dissertation on the origin of the moose. The former said,

"Come, Mr Slick, suppose we try the experiment of the bow," and
Jessie, seeing us preparing for shooting, asked the doctor for smaller
ones for her sister and herself. The targets were accordingly
prepared, and placing myself near one of them, I discharged the gun
and removed a few paces on one side, and commenced as rapidly as I
could to reload, but the doctor had sent three arrows through mine
before I had finished. It required almost as little time as a
revolver. He repeated the trial again with the same result.

"What do you think of the bow now?" said he in triumph. "Come,
Captain, do you and Mr Slick try your luck, and see what sort of shots
you can make." The captain, who was an experienced hand with the gun,
after a few attempts to ascertain the power and practice necessary,
made capital play with the bow, and his muscular arm rendered easy to
him that which required of me the utmost exertion of my strength.
Jessie and her sister now stept forward, and measuring off a shorter
distance, took their stations. Their shooting, in which they were
quite at home, was truly wonderful. Instead of using the bow as we
did, so as to bring the arrow in a line with the eye, they held it
lower down, in a way to return the elbow to the right side, much in
the same manner that a skilful sportsman shoots from the hip. It
seemed to be no sort of exertion whatever to them, and every arrow was
lodged in the inner circle. It seemed to awaken them to a new
existence, and in their excitement I observed they used their mother
tongue.

"Beg your pardon, Sir," said Jackson to the doctor, putting his hand
to his forehead, "if our sharp-shooters in Spain ad ad bows like
yours, in their scrimmages with the French light troops, they would
ave done more service and made less noise about it than they did." And
saluting me in the same manner, he said in an under-tone,

"If I ad ad one of them at Badajoz, Sir, I think I'd a put a pen in
that trooper's mouth to write the account of the way he lost his
elmet. A shower of them, Sir, among a troop of cavalry would have sent
riders flying, and horses kicking, as bad as a shower of grape. There
is no danger of shooting your fingers off with them, Sir, or firing
away your ramrod. No, there ain't, is there, Sir?"

"Tom, do'ee put on your hat now, that's a good soul," said his
attentive wife, who had followed him out a third time to remind him of
his danger. "Oh, Sir," said she, again addressing me, "what signifies
a armless thing like an harrow; that's nothin but a little wooden rod
to the stroke of the sun, as they calls it. See what a dreadful cut
it's given him."

Tom looked very impatient at this, but curbed in his vexation, and
said "Thankee, Betty," though his face expressed anything but thanks.
"Thankee, Betty. There, the doctor is calling you. She is as good a
creature, Sir, as ever lived," he continued; "and has seen a deal of
service in her day. But she bothers me to death about that stroke of
the sun. Sometimes I think I'll tell her all about it; but I don't
like to demean myself to her. She wouldn't think nothin' of me, Sir,
if she thought I could have been floored that way; and women, when
they begin to cry, throw up sometime what's disagreeable. They ain't
safe. She would perhaps have heaved up in my face that that dragoon
had slapped my chops for me, with his elmet. I am blowed, Sir, if I
can take a glass of grog out of my canteen, but she says, 'Tom, mind
that stroke of the sun.' And when I ave a big D marked agin my name in
the pension book, she'll swear, to her dying day, I was killed by that
are stroke."

"Why don't you put it on then," I said, "just to please her."

"Well, Sir, if I was at head-quarters, or even at han hout-post, where
there was a detachment, I would put it hon; because it wouldn't seem
decent to go bare-headed. But Lord bless you, Sir, what's the use of a
hat in the woods, where there is no one to see you?"

Poor fellow, he didn't know what a touch of human nature there was in
that expression, "what's the use of a hat in the woods, where there is
no one to see you?"

The same idea, though differently expressed, occurs to so many. "Yes,"
said I to myself, "put on your hat for your wife's sake, and your own
too; for though you may fail to get a stroke of the sun, you may get
not an inflammation of the brain, for there ain't enough of it for
that complaint to feed on, but rheumatism in the head; and that will
cause a plaguey sight more pain than the dragoon's helmet ever did, by
a long chalk."

But, to get back to my story, for the way I travel through a tale is
like the way a child goes to school. He leaves the path to chase a
butterfly, or to pick wild strawberries, or to run after his hat that
has blown off, or to take a shy at a bird, or throw off his shoes,
roll up his trousers, and wade about the edge of a pond to catch
polly-wogs; but he gets to school in the eend, though somewhat of the
latest, so I have got back at last, you see.

Mother used to say, "Sam, your head is always a woolgathering."

"I am glad of it," says I, "marm."

"Why, Sam," she'd say, "why, what on earth do you mean?"

"Because, marm," I'd reply, "a head that's alway a gathering will get
well stored at last."

"Do get out," the dear old soul would say, "I do believe, in my heart,
you are the most nimpent (impudent), idlest, good-for-nothingest boy
in the world. Do get along."

But she was pleased, though, after all; for women do like to repeat
little things like them, that their children say, and ask other
people, who don't hear a word, or if they do, only go right off and
laugh at 'em: "Ain't that proper 'cute now? Make a considerable smart
man when he is out of his time, and finished his broughtens up, won't
he?"

Well, arter the archery meeting was over, and the congregation
disparsed, who should I find myself a walkin' down to the lake with
but Jessie? How it was, I don't know, for I warn't a lookin' for her,
nor she for me; but so it was. I suppose it is human natur, and that
is the only way I can account for it. Where there is a flower, there
is the bee; where the grass is sweet, there is the sheep; where the
cherry is ripe, there is the bird; and where there is a gall,
especially if she is pretty, there it is likely I am to be found also.
Yes, it must be natur. Well, we walked, or rather, strolled off easy.
There are different kinds of gaits, and they are curious to observe;
for I consait sometimes I can read a man's character in his walk. The
child trots; the boy scarcely touches the ground with his feet, and
how the plague he wears his shoes out so fast I don't know. Perhaps
Doctor Lardner can tell, but I'll be hanged if I can, for the little
critter is so light, he don't even squash the grass. The sailor
waddles like a duck, and gives his trousers a jerk to keep them from
going down the masts (his legs) by the run; a sort of pull at the
main-brace. The soldier steps solemn and formal, as if the dead march
in Saul was a playin'. A man and his wife walk on different sides of
the street; he sneaks along head down, and she struts head up, as if
she never heard the old proverb, "Woe to the house where the hen
crows." They leave the carriage-way between them, as if they were
afraid their thoughts could be heard. When meetin' is out, a lover
lags behind, as if he had nothin' above particular to do but to go
home; and he is in no hurry to do that, for dinner won't be ready this
hour. But, as soon as folks are dodged by a blue bonnet with pink
ribbons ahead, he pulls foot like a lamplighter, and is up with the
gall that wears it in no time, and she whips her arms in hisn, and
they saunter off, to make the way as long as possible. She don't say,
"Peeowerful sermon that, warn't it?" and he don't reply, "I heerd
nothin' but the text, 'Love one another.'" Nor does he squeeze her arm
with his elbow, nor she pinch his with her little blue-gloved fingers.
Watch them after that, for they go so slow, they almost crawl, they
have so much to say, and they want to make the best of their time; and
besides, walking fast would put them out of breath.

The articled-clerk walks the streets with an air as much like a
military man as he can; and it resembles it almost as much as
electrotype ware does silver. He tries to look at ease, though it is a
great deal of trouble; but he imitates him to a hair in some things,
for he stares impudent at the galls, has a cigar in his mouth, dresses
snobbishly, and talks of making a book at Ascot. The young lawyer
struts along in his seven-league boots, has a white-bound book in one
hand, and a parcel of papers, tied with red tape, in the other. He is
in a desperate hurry, and as sure as the world, somebody is a dying,
and has sent for him to make his will. The Irish priest walks like a
warder who has the keys. There is an air of authority about him. He
puts his cane down on the pavement hard, as much as to say, Do you
hear that, you spalpeen? He has the secrets of all the parish in his
keeping; but they are other folk's secrets, and not his own, and of
course, so much lighter to carry, it don't prevent him looking like a
jolly fellow, as he is, arter all. The high-churchman has an M. B.
waistcoat on, is particular about his dress, and walks easy, like a
gentleman, looks a little pale about the gills, like a student; but
has the air of a man that wanted you to understand--I am about my
work, and I would have you to know I am the boy to do it, and do it
too without a fuss. If he meets a bishop, he takes his hat off, for he
admits his authority. If a beggar accosts him, he slips some charity
in his hands, and looks scared lest he should be seen.

The low-churchman hates the M. B. vestment, it was him who christened
it. He is a dab at nick-names. He meant it to signify the Mark of the
Beast. He likes the broad-brimmed beaver, it's more like a quaker, and
less like a pope. It is primitive. He looks better fed than the other,
and in better care. Preachin' he finds in a general way easier than
practice. Watch his face as he goes along, slowly and solemncoly
through the street. He looks so good, all the women that see him say,
"Ain't he a dear man?" He is meekness itself. Butter wouldn't melt in
his mouth. He has no pride in him. If there is any, it ain't in his
heart at any rate. Perhaps there is a little grain in his legs, but it
never got any higher. Sometimes, I suspect they have been touched with
the frost, for the air of a dining-room is colder under the table than
above it, and his legs do march stiff and formal like a soldier's, but
then, as he says, he is of the church militant. See what a curious
expression of countenance he has when he meets his bishop. Read it, it
says: "Now, my old Don, let us understand each other; you may ordain
and confirm, but don't you go one inch beyond that. No synods, no
regeneration in baptism, no control for me; I won't stand it. My idea
is every clergyman is a bishop in his own parish, and his synod is
composed of pious galls that work, and rich spinsters that give. If
you do interfere, I will do my duty and rebuke those in high places.
Don't rile me, for I have an ugly pen, an ugly tongue, and an ugly
temper, and nothing but my sanctity enables me to keep them under." If
he is accosted by a beggar, he don't, like the other, give him money
to squander, but he gives him instruction. He presents him with a
tract. As he passes on, the poor wretch pauses and looks after him,
and mutters--"Is it a prayer? most likely, for that tract must be
worth something, for it cost something to print."

Then there is the sectarian lay-brother. He has a pious walk, looks
well to his ways lest he should stumble, and casting his eyes down,
kills two birds with one stone. He is in deep meditation about a
contract for a load of deals, and at the same time regards his steps,
for the ways of the world are slippery. His digestion is not good, and
he eats pickles, for the vinegar shows in his face. Like Jehu Judd, he
hates "fiddling and dancing, and serving the devil," and it is lucky
he has a downcast look, for here come two girls that would shock him
into an ague.

Both of them have the colonial step and air, both of them too are
beautiful, as Nova Scotia girls generally are. The first is young and
delicate, and as blooming as a little blush-rose. She holds out with
each hand a portion of her silk dress, as if she was walking a minuet,
and it discloses a snow-white petticoat, and such a dear little foot
and ankle--lick! Her step is short and mincing. She has a new bonnet
on, just imported by the last English steamer. It has a horrid name,
it is called a kiss-me-quick. It is so far back on her head, she is
afraid people will think she is bare-faced, so she casts her eyes
down, as much as to say, "Don't look at me, please, I am so pretty I
am afraid you will stare, and if you do I shall faint, as sure as the
world, and if you want to look at my bonnet, do pray go behind me, for
what there is of it is all there. It's a great trial to me to walk
alone, when I am so pretty." So she compresses her sweet lips with
such resolution, that her dear little mouth looks so small you'd think
it couldn't take in a sugar-plum. Oh, dear, here are some officers
approaching, for though she looks on the pavement she can see ahead
for all that. What is to be done. She half turns aside, half is
enough, to turn her back would be rude, and she looks up at a print or
a necklace, or something or another in a shop window, and it's a
beautiful attitude, and very becoming, and if they will stare, she is
so intent on the show glass, she can't see them, and won't faint, and
her little heart flutters as one of them says as he passes, "Devilish
pretty gall, that, Grant, who is she?" and then she resumes her walk,
and minces on.

If any man was to take his Bible oath that that little delicate girl,
when she gets home, and the hall-door is shut, will scream out at the
tip eend of her voice, like a screetching paraquet, "Eliza Euphemia,
where in creation have you stowed yourself too?" and that Eliza
Euphemia would hear her away up in the third story, and in the same
key answer: "I can't come down, I ain't fit to be seen, nary way, for
I'm all open before, and onfastened behind, and my hair is all in
paper," I wouldn't believe him; would you?

The other young lady, that follows, is a little too much of Juno, and
somewhat too little of Venus. She is a tall, splendid-looking heifer,
as fine a gall as you will see in any country, and she takes it for
granted you don't need to inquire who she is. She ain't bold, and she
ain't diffident; but she can stare as well as you can, and has as good
a right too. Her look is scorny, as the snobocracy pass and do homage,
by bestowing on her an admiring look. Her step is firm, but elastic;
it is a decided step, but the pious lay-brother regards her not, and
moves not out of his way for her. So she stops that he may see his
error, and when he does look, he perceives that it would lead him into
further error if he gazed long, so he moves to the other side of the
path, but does it so slowly, she confronts him again. After a moment's
reflection, he tries to turn her flank--a movement that is
unfortunately anticipated by her, and there is a collision on the
track. The concussion dislocates his hat, and the red silk Bandannah
handkerchief, which acted as travelling-bag, and pocket-book,
discharges its miscellaneous contents on the pavement. That's onlucky;
for he was a going to shunt off on another line and get away; but he
has to stop and pick up the fragmentary freight of his beaver.

Before he can do this, he is asked by Juno how he dares to stop a lady
in that indecent manner in the street; and while he is pleading not
guilty to the indictment, the gentlemen that stared at the simpering
beauty, come to the aid of the fair prosecutrix. She knows them, and
they say, "Capital, by Jove--what a rum one he is!" Rum one; why he is
a member of a temperance society, walks in procession when to home,
with a white apron in front, and the ends of a scarf-like sash behind,
and a rosette as large as a soup-plate on his breast--a rum one; what
an infamous accusation!

The poor man stands aghast at this; he humbly begs pardon, and Juno is
satisfied. She takes one of the beaux by the arm, and says: "Do pray
see me home--I am quite nervous;" and to prove it she laughs as loud
as any of them. The joke is now being carried too far, and the young
sword-knots pick up, amid roars of laughter, his handkerchief, the
papers, the horn-comb, the fig of tobacco, the fractured pipe, the
jack-knife, and the clean shirt-collar, that was only worn once, and
toss them into his hat, which is carefully secured on his head, so low
as to cover his eyes, and so tight as nearly to shave off both his
ears. The lay-brother thinks, with great truth, that he would sooner
take five yoke of oxen, and tail a mast for a frigate through the
solid forest to the river, than snake his way through the streets of a
garrison-town. After re-adjusting his hat, he resumes his pious gait,
and Juno also goes her way, and exhibits her decided step.

Now, the step of Jessie and myself was unlike any of these--it was a
natural and easy one; the step of people who had no reason to hurry,
and, at the same time, were not in the habit of crawling. In this
manner we proceeded to the lake, and sought a point of land which
commanded a full view of it on both sides, and embraced nearly its
whole length. Here was a clump of trees from which the underwood had
been wholly cut away, so as to form a shade for the cattle depasturing
in the meadow. As we entered the grove, Jessie exclaimed:

"Oh! Mr Slick, do look! Here is a canoe--can you use a paddle?"

"As well as an oar," said I, "and perhaps a little grain better; for I
haven't been down all the New Brunswick and Nova Scotia rivers in 'em
for nothing, let alone Lake Michigan, George, Madawaska, and
Rossignol, and I don't know how many others. Step in, and let us have
at them on the water."

In a minute the canoe was launched, and away we flew like lightning.
Oh, there is nothing like one of those light, elegant, graceful barks;
what is a wherry or a whale-boat, or a skull or a gig, to them? They
draw no more water than an egg-shell; they require no strength to
paddle; they go right up on the beach, and you can carry them about
like a basket. With a light hand, a cool head, and a quick eye, you
can make them go where a duck can. What has science, and taste, and
handicraft ever made to improve on this simple contrivance of the
savage? When I was for two years in John Jacob Astor Fur Company's
employment, I knew the play of Jessie's tribe.

"Can you catch," said I, "Miss?"

"Can you?"

"Never fear."

And we exchanged paddles, as she sat in one end of the canoe and I in
the other, by throwing them diagonally at each other as if we were
passing a shuttle-cock. She almost screamed with delight, and in her
enthusiasm addressed me in her native Indian language.

"Gaelic," said I, "give me Gaelic, dear, for I am very simple and very
innocent."

"Oh, very," she said, and as she dropped her paddle into the water,
managed to give me the benefit of a spoonful in the eyes.

After we had tried several evolutions with the canoe, and had
proceeded homeward a short distance, we opened a miniature bay into
which we leisurely paddled, until we arrived at its head, where a
small waterfall of about forty feet in height poured its tributary
stream into the lake. On the right-hand side, which was nearest to the
house, was a narrow strip of verdant intervale, dotted here and there
with vast shady beeches and elms. I never saw a more lovely spot.
Hills rose above each other beyond the waterfall, like buttresses to
support the conical one that, though not in itself a mountain (for
there is not, strictly speaking, one in this province), yet loomed as
large in the light mist that enveloped its lofty peak. As this high
cliff rose abruptly from the lake, the light of smaller cascades was
discernible through the thin shrubbery that clothed its rocky side,
although their voice was drowned in the roar of that at its base.

Nothing was said by either of us for some time, for both were occupied
by different thoughts. I was charmed with its extraordinary beauty,
and wondered how it was possible that it should be so little known as
not even to have a name. My companion, on the other hand, was engaged
in sad reflections, which the similarity of the scene with her early
recollections of her home in the far west suggested to her mind.

"Ain't this beautiful, Jessie?" I said, "don't this remind you of
Canada, or rather your own country?"

"Oh, yes," she said, "me--me," for during the whole day there had been
a sad confusion of languages and idioms, "me very happy and very sad;
I want to laugh, I want to cry; I am here and there," pointing to the
north-west. "Laughing, talking, sporting with my father, and Jane, and
you, and am also by the side of my dear mother, far--far beyond those
hills. I see your people and my people; I paddle in our canoe, shoot
with our bows, speak our language; yes, I am here, and there also. The
sun too is in both places. He sees us all. When I die, perhaps I shall
go back, but I am not of them or of you--I am nothing," and she burst
into tears and wept bitterly.

"Jessie," said I, "let us talk about something else; you have been too
much excited this morning, let us enjoy what God gives us, and not be
ungrateful; let your sister come also, and try the canoe once more.
This is better than a hot room, ain't it?"

"Oh yes," she replied, "this is life. This is freedom."

"Suppose we dine here," I said.

"Oh yes," she replied, "I should like it above all things. Let us dine
on the grass, the table the great Spirit spreads for his children;"
and the transient cloud passed away, and we sped back to the lawn as
if the bark that carried us was a bird that bore us on its wings.

Poor Jessie, how well I understood her emotions. Home is a word, if
there is one in the language, that appeals directly to the heart. Man
and wife, father and mother, brothers and sisters, master and servant,
with all their ties, associations, and duties, all, all are contained
in that one word. Is it any wonder, when her imagination raised them
up before her, that the woman became again a child, and that she
longed for the wings of the dove to fly away to the tents of her tribe
in the far west? I am myself as dry, as seasoned, and as hard as the
wood of which my clocks are made. I am a citizen of the world rather
than of Slickville. But I too felt my heart sink within me when I
reflected that mine, also, was desolate, and that I was alone in my
own house, the sole surviving tenant of all that large domestic
circle, whose merry voices once made its silent halls vocal with
responsive echoes of happiness. We know that our fixed domicile is not
here, but we feel that it is and must continue to be our home, ever
dear and ever sacred, until we depart hence for another and a better
world. They know but little of the agency of human feelings, who in
their preaching attempt to lessen our attachment for the paternal
roof, because, in common with all other earthly possessions, it is
perishable in its nature, and uncertain in it's tenure. The home of
life is not the less estimable because it is not the home of eternity;
but the more valuable perhaps as it prepares and fits us by its joys
and its sorrows, its rights and its duties, and also by what it
withholds, as well as imparts, for that inheritance which awaits us
hereafter. Yes, home is a great word, but its full meaning ain't
understood by every one.

It ain't those who have one, or those who have none, that comprehend
what it is; nor those who in the course of nature leave the old and
found a new one for themselves; nor those who, when they quit, shut
their eyes and squinch their faces when they think of it, as if it
fetched something to their mind that warn't pleasant to recollect; nor
those who suddenly rise so high in life, that their parents look too
vulgar, or the old cottage too mean for them, or their former
acquaintances too low. But I'll tell you who knows the meaning and
feels it too; a fellow like me, who had a cheerful home, a merry and a
happy home, and who when he returns from foreign lands finds it
deserted and as still as the grave, and all that he loved scattered
and gone, some to the tomb, and others to distant parts of the earth.
The solitude chills him, the silence appals him. At night shadows
follow him like ghosts of the departed, and the walls echo back the
sound of his footsteps, as if demons were laughing him to scorn. The
least noise is heard over the whole house. The clock ticks so loud he
has to remove it, for it affects his nerves. The stealthy mouse tries
to annoy him with his mimic personification of the burglar, and the
wind moans among the trees as if it lamented the general desolation.
If he strolls out in his grounds, the squirrel ascends the highest
tree and chatters and scolds at the unusual intrusion, while the birds
fly away screaming with affright, as if pursued by a vulture. They
used to be tame once, when the family inhabited the house, and listen
with wonder at notes sweeter and more musical than their own. They
would even feed from the hand that protected them. His dog alone seeks
his society, and strives to assure him by mute but expressive gestures
that he at least will never desert him. As he paces his lonely
quarter-deck (as he calls the gravel-walk in front of his house), the
silver light of the moon, gleaming here and there between the stems of
the aged trees, startles him with the delusion of unreal white-robed
forms, that flit about the shady groves as if enjoying or pitying his
condition, or perhaps warning him that in a few short years he too
must join this host of disembodied spirits.

Time hangs heavily on his hands, he is tired of reading, it is too
early for repose, so he throws himself on the sofa and muses, but even
meditation calls for a truce. His heart laments its solitude, and his
tongue its silence. Nature is weary and exhausted, and sleep at last
comes to his aid. But, alas! he awakes in the morning only to resume
his dull monotonous course, and at last he fully comprehends what it
is to be alone. Women won't come to see him, for fear they might be
talked about, and those that would come would soon make him a subject
of scandal. He and the world, like two people travelling in opposite
directions, soon increase at a rapid rate the distance between them.
He loses his interest in what is going on around him, and people lose
their interest in him. If his name happens to be mentioned, it may
occasion a listless remark, "I wonder how he spends his time?" or,
"The poor devil must be lonely there."

Yes, yes, there are many folks in the world that talk of things they
don't understand, and there are precious few who appreciate the
meaning of that endearing term "home." He only knows it as I have said
who has lived in one, amid a large family, of which he is the solitary
surviving member. The change is like going from the house to the
sepulchre, with this difference only, one holds a living and the other
a dead body. Yes, if you have had a home you know what it is, but if
you have lost it, then and not till then do you feel its value.



                              CHAPTER X.

                     A DAY ON THE LAKE.--PART I.


When we reached the grove, I left Jessie in the canoe, and went up to
the house in search of her sister. Jackson and Peter were sitting on
the wood-pile; the latter was smoking his pipe, and the other held his
in his hand, as he was relating some story of his exploits in Spain.
When I approached, he rose up and saluted me in his usual formal
manner.

"Where is the doctor," said I, "and the rest of the party?"

"Gone to see a tame moose of his, Sir," he said, "in the pasture; but
they will be back directly."

"Well," sais I, lighting a cigar by Peter's pipe, and taking a seat
alongside of him, "go on Jackson; don't let me interrupt you."

"I was just telling Mr McDonald, Sir," said he, "of a night I once
spent on the field of battle in Spain."

"Well, go on."

"As I was a saying to him, Sir," he continued, "you could ear the
wolves among the dead and the dying a owling like so many devils. I
was afraid to go to sleep, as I didn't know when my turn might come;
so I put my carbine across my knees, and sat up as well as I could,
determined to sell my life as dearly as possible, but I was so weak
from the loss of blood, that I kept dozing and starting all the time
amost. Oh, what a tedious night that was, Sir, and how I longed for
the dawn of day, when search should be made among us for the wounded!
Just as the fog began to rise, I saw a henormous wolf, about a hundred
yards or so from me, busy tearing a body to pieces; and taking a good
steady haim at him, I fired, when he called out:

"'Blood and ounds! you cowardly furrin rascal, haven't you had your
belly-full of fighting yet, that you must be after murthering a
wounded man that way? By the powers of Moll Kelly, but you won't serve
Pat Kallahan that dirty trick again anyhow.'

"As he levelled at me, I fell back, and the ball passed right over me
and struck a wounded orse that was broke down behind, and a sittin' up
on his fore-legs like a dog. Oh, the scream of that are hanimal, Sir,
was just like a Christian's. It was hawful. I have the sound of it in
my ears now halmost. It pierced through me, and you might have eard it
that still morning over the whole field. He sprung up and then fell
over, and kicked and struggled furious for a minute or two before he
died, and every time he lashed out, you could a eard a elpless wounded
wretch a groanin' bitterly, as he battered away at him. The truth is,
Sir, what I took for a wolf that hazy morning, was poor Pat, who was
sitting up, and trying to bandage his hankle, that was shattered by a
bullet, and the way he bobbed his head up and down, as he stooped
forward, looked exactly as a wolf does when he is tearing the flesh
off a dead body.

"Well, the scream of that are orse, and the two shots the dragoon and
I exchanged, saved my life, for I saw a man and a woman making right
straight for us. It was Betty, Sir, God bless her, and Sergeant
M'Clure. The owling she sot up, when she saw me, was dreadful to ear,
Sir.

"'Betty,' said I, 'dear, for eaven's sake see if you can find a drop
of brandy in any of these poor fellows' canteens, for I am perishing
of thirst, and amost chilled to death.'

"'Oh, Tom, dear,' said she, 'I have thought of that,' and unslinging
one from her shoulders put it to my lips, and I believe I would have
drained it at a draft, but she snatched it away directly, and said:

"'Oh, do 'ee think of that dreadful stroke of the sun, Tom. It will
set you crazy if you drink any more.'

"'The stroke of the sun be anged!' said I; 'it's not in my ead this
time--it's in the other end of me.'

"'Oh dear, dear!' said Betty; 'two such marks as them, and you so
handsome too! Oh dear, dear!'

"Poor old soul! it's a way she had of trying to come round me.

"'Where is it?' said M'Clure.

"'In the calf of my leg,' said I.

"Well, he was a handy man, for he had been a hospital-sargeant, on
account of being able to read doctors' pot-hooks and inscriptions. So
he cut my boot, and stript down my stocking and looked at it. Says he,
'I must make a turn-and-quit.'

"'Oh, Rory,' said I, 'don't turn and quit your old comrade that way.'

"'Oh, Rory, dear,' said Betty, 'don't 'ee leave Tom now--don't 'ee,
that's a good soul.'

"'Pooh!' said he, 'nonsense! How your early training has been
neglected, Jackson!'

"'Rory,' said I, 'if I was well you wouldn't dare to pass that slur
upon me. I am as well-trained a soldier and as brave a man as ever you
was.'

"'Tut, tut, man,' said he, 'I meant your learning.'

"'Well,' says I, 'I can't brag much of that, and I am not sorry for
it. Many a better scholar nor you, and better-looking man too, has
been anged afore now, for all his schoolin'.'

"Says he, 'I'll soon set you up, Tom. Let me see if I can find
anything here that will do for a turn-and-quit.'

"Close to where I lay there, was a furrin officer who had his head
nearly amputated with a sabre cut. Well, he took a beautiful gold
repeater out of his fob, and a great roll of dubloons out of one
pocket, and a little case of diamond rings out of the other.

"'The thieving Italian rascal?' said he, 'he has robbed a jeweller's
shop before he left the town,' and he gave the body a kick and passed
on. Well, close to him was an English officer.

"'Ah,' said he, 'here is something useful,' and he undid his sash, and
then feeling in his breast pocket, he hauled out a tin tobacco-case,
and opening of it, says he:

"'Tom, here's a real god-send for you. This and the sash I will give
you as a keepsake. They are mine by the fortune of war, but I will
bestow them on you.'"

"Oigh! oigh!" said Peter, "she was no shentleman."

"He warn't then, Sir," said Tom, not understanding him, "for he was
only a sargeant like me at that time, but he is now, for he is an
officer."

"No, no," said Peter, "the king can make an offisher, but she can't
make a shentleman. She took the oyster hern ainsel, and gave you the
shell."

"Well," continued Jackson, "he took the sash, and tied it round my
leg, and then took a bayonet off a corpse, and with that twisted it
round and round so tight it urt more nor the wound, and then he
secured the bayonet so that it wouldn't slip. There was a furrin
trooper's orse not far off that had lost his rider, and had got his
rein hunder his foreleg, so Betty caught him and brought him to where
I was a sitting. By the haid of another pull at the canteen, which put
new life into me, and by their hassistance, I was got on the saddle,
and he and Betty steadied me on the hanimal, and led me off. I no
sooner got on the orse than Betty fell to a crying and a scolding
again like anything.

"'What hails you now,' says I, 'Betty? You are like your own town of
Plymouth--it's showery weather with you all the year round amost.
What's the matter now?'

"'Oh, Tom, Tom,' said she, 'you will break my eart yet--I know you
will.'

"'Why what have I done?' says I. 'I couldn't help getting that little
scratch on the leg.'

"'Oh, it tante that,' she said; 'it's that orrid stroke of the sun.
There's your poor ead huncovered again. Where is your elmet?'

"'Oh, bother,' sais I, 'ow do I know? Somewhere on the ground, I
suppose.'

"Well, back she ran as ard as she could, but M'Clure wouldn't wait a
moment for her and went on, and as she couldn't find mine, she undid
the furriner's and brought that, and to pacify her I had to put it on
and wear it. It was a good day for M'Clure, and I was glad of it, for
he was a great scholar and the best friend I ever had. He sold the
orse for twenty pounds afterwards."

"She don't want to say nothin' disrespectable," said Peter, "against
her friend, but she was no shentleman for all tat."

"He is now," said Tom again, with an air of triumph. "He is an
hofficer, and dines at the mess. I don't suppose he'd be seen with me
now, for it's agen the rules of the service, but he is the best friend
I have in the world."

"She don't know nothin' about ta mess herself," said Peter, "but she
supposes she eats meat and drinks wine every tay, which was more tan
she did as a poy. But she'd rather live on oatmeal and drink whiskey,
and be a poor shentlemen, than be an officher like M'Clure, and tine
with the Queen, Cot bless her."

"And the old pipe, then, was all you got for your share, was it?" says
I.

"No, Sir," said Tom, "it warn't. One day, when I was nearly well,
Betty came to me--

"'Oh, Tom,' said she, 'I have such good news for you.'

"'What is it?' sais I, 'are we going to have another general
engagement?'

"'Oh, dear, I hope not,' she said. 'You have had enough of fighting
for one while, and you are always so misfortunate.'

"'Well, what is it?' sais I.

"'Will you promise me not to tell?'

"'Yes,' said I, 'I will.'

"'That's just what you said the first time I kissed you. Do get out,'
she replied, 'and you promise not to lisp a word of it to Rory
M'Clure? or he'll claim it, as he did that orse, and, Tom, I caught
that orse, and he was mine. It was a orrid, nasty, dirty, mean trick
that.'

"'Betty,' said I, 'I won't ear a word hagin him: he is the best friend
I ever had, but I won't tell him, if you wish it.'

"'Well,' said Betty, and she bust out crying for joy, for she can cry
at nothing, amost. 'Look, Tom, here's twenty Napoleons, I found them
quilted in that officer's elmet.' So after all, I got out of that
scrape pretty well, didn't I, Sir?"

"Indeed she did," said Peter, "but if she had seen as much of wolves
as Peter McDonald has she wouldn't have been much frightened by them.
This is the way to scare a whole pack of them;" and stooping down and
opening a sack, he took out the bagpipes, and struck up a favourite
Highland air. If it was calculated to alarm the animals of the forest,
it at all events served now to recall the party, who soon made their
appearance from the moose-yard. "Tat," said Peter, "will make 'em
scamper like the tevil. It has saved her life several times."

"So I should think," said I. (For of all the awful instruments that
ever was heard that is the worst. Pigs in a bag ain't the smallest
part of a circumstance to it, for the way it squeals is a caution to
cats.) When the devil was a carpenter, he cut his foot so bad with an
adze, he threw it down, and gave up the trade in disgust. And now that
Highlanders have given up the trade of barbarism, and become the
noblest fellows in Europe, they should follow the devil's example, and
throw away the bagpipes for ever.

"I have never seen M'Clure," said Jackson, addressing me, "but once
since he disputed with the countryman about the plural of moose in the
country-market. I met him in the street one day, and says I,

"'How are you, Rory? Suppose we take a bit of a walk.'

"Well, he held up his ead stiff and straight, and didn't speak for a
minute or two; at last he said:

"'How do you do, Sargeant Jackson?'

"'Why, Rory,' sais I, 'what hails you to hact that way? What's the
matter with you now, to treat an old comrade in that manner?'

"He stared ard at me in the face hagain, without giving any
explanation. At last he said, 'Sargeant Jackson,' and then he stopped
again. 'If anybody speers at you where Ensign Roderich M'Clure is to
be found, say on the second flat of the officers' quarters at the
North Barracks,' and he walked on and left me. He had got his
commission."

"She had a Highland name," said Peter, "and tat is all, but she was
only a lowland Glaskow peast. Ta teivil tack a' such friends a tat."

"Doctor," said I, "Jessie and I have discovered the canoe, and had a
glorious row of it. I see you have a new skiff there; suppose we all
finish the morning on the lake. We have been up to the waterfall, and
if it is agreeable to you, Jessie proposes to dine at the intervale
instead of the house."

"Just the thing," said the doctor, "but you understand these matters
better than I do, so just give what instructions you think proper."

Jackson and Betty were accordingly directed to pack up what was
needful, and hold themselves in readiness to be embarked on our return
from the excursion on the water. Jessie, her sister, and myself took
the canoe; the doctor and Cutler the boat, and Peter was placed at the
stern to awaken the sleeping echoes of the lake with his pipes. The
doctor seeing me provided with a short gun, ran hastily back to the
house for his bow and arrows, and thus equipped and grouped, we
proceeded up the lake, the canoe taking the lead. Peter struck up a
tune on his pipes. The great expanse of water, and the large open area
where they were played, as well as the novelty of the scene, almost
made me think that it was not such bad music after all as I had
considered it.

After we had proceeded a short distance, Jessie proposed a race
between the canoe and the boat. I tried to dissuade her from it, on
account of the fatigue she had already undergone, and the excitement
she had manifested at the waterfall, but she declared herself
perfectly well, and able for the contest. The odds were against the
girls; for the captain and the doctor were both experienced hands, and
powerful, athletic man, and their boat was a flat-bottomed skiff, and
drew but little water. Added to which, the young women had been long
out of practice, and their hands and muscles were unprepared by
exercise. I yielded at last, on condition that the race should
terminate at a large rock that rose out of the lake at about a mile
from us. I named this distance, not merely because I wished to limit
the extent of their exertion, but because I knew that if they had the
lead that far, they would be unable to sustain it beyond that, and
that they would be beaten by the main strength of the rowers. We
accordingly slackened our speed till the boat came up alongside of us.
The challenge was given and accepted, and the terminus pointed out,
and when the signal was made, away we went with great speed.

For more than two-thirds of the distance we were bow and bow,
sometimes one and sometimes the other being ahead, but on no occasion
did the distance exceed a yard or so. When we had but the remaining
third to accomplish, I cautioned the girls that the rowers would now
probably put out all their strength, and take them by surprise, and
therefore advised them to be on their guard. They said a few words to
each other in their native language, laughed, and at once prepared for
the crisis, by readjusting their seats and foothold, and then the
eldest said, with a look of animation, that made her surpassingly
beautiful, "Now," and away we went like iled lightning, leaving the
boat behind at a rate that was perfectly incredible.

They had evidently been playing with them at first, and doing no more
than to ascertain their speed and power of propulsion, and had all
along intended to reserve themselves for this triumph at the last. As
soon as we reached the winning point, I rose up to give the cheer of
victory, but just at that moment, they suddenly backed water with
their paddles, and in turning towards the boat, the toe of my boot
caught in one of the light ribs of the canoe, which had been loosened
by the heat of the sun, and I instantly saw that a fall was
unavoidable. To put a hand on the side of the little bark would
inevitably overset it, and precipitate the girls into the lake. I had
but one resource left therefore, and that was to arch over the
gunwale, and lift my feet clear of it, while I dove into the water. It
was the work of an instant, and in another I had again reached the
canoe. Begging Jessie to move forward, so as to counterbalance my
weight, I rose over the stern (if a craft can be said to have one,
where both ends are alike, and it can be propelled either way), and
then took the seat that had been occupied by her.

"Now, Jane," said I, "I must return to the house, and get a dry suit
of the doctor's clothes; let us see what we can do."

The doctor told me Betty knew more about his wardrobe than he did
himself, and would furnish me with what I required; and in the mean
time, that they would lay upon their oars till we returned.

"Are you ready, Miss," said I, "I want you to do your prettiest now,
and put your best foot out, because I wish them to see that I am not
the awkward critter in a canoe they think I am."

The fact is, Squire, that neither the doctor nor Cutler knew, that to
avoid falling under the circumstances I was placed in, and to escape
without capsizing the canoe, was a feat that no man, but one familiar
with the management of those fragile barks, and a good swimmer, too,
can perform. Peter was aware of it, and appreciated it; but the other
two seemed disposed to cut their jokes upon me; and them that do that,
generally find, in the long run, I am upsides with them, that's a
fact. A cat and a Yankee always come on their feet, pitch them up in
the air as high and as often as you please.

"Now for it," said I, and away we went at a 2.30 pace, as we say of
our trotting horses. Cutler and the doctor cheered us as we went; and
Peter, as the latter told me afterwards, said: "A man who can dwell
like an otter, on both land and sea, has two lives." I indorse that
saw, he made it himself; it's genuine, and it was like a trapper's
maxim. Warn't it?

As soon as I landed I cut off for the house, and in no time rigged up
in a dry suit of our host's, and joined the party, afore they knew
where they were. I put on a face as like the doctor's as two clocks of
mine are to each other. I didn't do it to make fun of him, but out of
him. Oh, they roared again, and the doctor joined in it as heartily as
any of them, though he didn't understand the joke. But Peter didn't
seem to like it. He had lived so much among the Indians, and was so
accustomed to their way of biling things down to an essence, that he
spoke in proverbs, or wise saws. Says he to me, with a shake of his
head, "a mocking bird has no voice of its own." It warn't a bad
sayin', was it? I wish I had noted more of them, for though I like
'em, I am so yarney, I can't make them as pithey as he did. I can't
talk short-hand, and I must say I like condensation. Now, brevity is
the only use to individuals there is in telegraphs. There is very
little good news in the world for any of us; and bad news comes fast
enough. I hate them myself. The only good there is in 'em, is to make
people write short; for if you have to pay for every word you use, you
won't be extravagant in 'em, there is no mistake.

Telegraphs ruin intellect; they reduce a wise man to the level of a
fool; and fifty years hence there won't be a sensible trader left. For
national purposes they are very well, and government ought to have
kept them to themselves, for those objects; but they play the devil
with merchants. There is no room for the exercise of judgment. It's a
dead certainty now. Flour is eight dollars in England; well, every one
knows that, and the price varies, and every one knows that also, by
telegraph. Before that, a judgmatical trader took his cigar in his
mouth, sat down, and calculated. Crops short, Russian war, blockade,
and so on. Capital will run up prices, till news of new harvest are
known; and then they will come down by the run. He deliberates,
reasons, and decides. Now, the last Liverpool paper gives the price
current. It advises all, and governs all. Any blockhead can be a
merchant now. Formerly, they poked sapey-headed goneys into
Parliament, to play dummey; or into the army and navy, the church, and
the colonial office. But they kept clever fellows for law, special
commissioners, the stage, the "Times," the "Chronicle," and such like
able papers, and commerce; and men of middlin' talents were resarved
for doctors, solicitors, Gretna Green, and so on.

But the misfortinate prince-merchants now will have to go to the
bottom of the list with tradesmen and retailers. They can't have an
opinion of their own, the telegraph will give it. The latest
quotations, as they call them, come to them, they know that iron is
firm, and timber giving way, that lead is dull and heavy, and coal
gone to blases, while the stocks are rising and vessels sinking, all
the rest they won't trouble their heads about. The man who trades with
Cuba, won't care about Sinope, and it's too much trouble to look for
it on the map. While the Black Sea man won't care about Toronto, or
whether it is in Nova Scotia or Vermont, in Canada or California.
There won't soon be a merchant that understands geography.

But what is wuss, half the time the news is false, and if it hadn't
been for that, old Hemp and Iron would have made a fortune. And if it
is true, it's worse still, for he would have acted on his own judgment
if he hadn't heard it, and circumstances would have altered as they
always are doing every day, and he would have made a rael hit. Oh, I
hate them. And besides this, they have spoiled them by swearing the
operators. An oath gives them fellows such an itch to blart, that
though they don't inform, they let the cat out of the bag, and that is
as bad. Tell you what, I wouldn't like to confess by telegraph. If I
am courting a gall and she sais all right, why then my fun is spoiled,
for when a thing is settled, all excitement is gone, and if I am
refused, the longer I am in ignorance the better. It is wiser to wait,
as the Frenchman did at Clare, who sat up three nights to see how the
letters passed over the wires. Well, if I am married, I have to report
progress, and logbooks are always made up before or afterwards. It's
apt to injure my veracity. In short, you know what I mean, and I
needn't follow it out, for a nod is as good as a wink to a blind
horse.

But the Lord have mercy on merchants, any fool will get along as well
as the best of them now. Dear me, I recollect a man they poked fun at
once at Salem. They induced him by way of a rise, to ship a cargo of
blankets and warming-pans to the West Indies. Well, he did so, and
made a good speck, for the pans were bought for dippers, and the
blankets for strainers. Yes, telegraphs will reduce merchants to the
level of that fellow Isaac Oxter.

But I must look for the trail again, or I shall forget my story.

I think I left off where I got back in the canoe, and joined the party
in the boat. Well, we then proceeded like the off and near ox, pulling
from rather than to each other, but still keeping neck and neck as it
were. In this manner we proceeded to the head of the lake, and then as
we returned steered for a small wooded island in the centre, where I
proposed to land and rest awhile, for this beautiful sheet of water
was of considerable extent. As we approached it, Peter again struck up
his pipes, and shortly afterwards a noble male moose, as much
terrified by the noise as McDonald said Canada wolves were, broke
cover, and swam for the main land. The moose frequently select such
places to secure their young from the bears, who are their greatest
enemies, and find an easy prey in their helpless calves. It is not
improbable that the female still remained, and that this act of
gallantry in the buck was intended to withdraw attention from her, and
thus save her from pursuit. I had no bullets with me, and my gun was
only loaded with duck-shot. To discharge that at him, would have been
a wanton act of cruelty, as at most it could only inflict upon him
painful wounds. In this emergency, Jessie pointed to a stout half-inch
rope that was coiled up in the bottom of the canoe, and I immediately
exchanged places with her, and commenced making a lasso, while she
plied the paddle.

We gained rapidly upon him, and I was preparing to throw the fatal
noose over his horns, when to my astonishment he raised his neck and a
portion of his fore-legs out of the water, as if he was landing. We
were then a considerable distance from the shore, but it appeared, as
I afterwards learned from the doctor, that a long low neck of land
made out there into the lake, that was only submerged in the spring
and autumn, but in summer was covered with wild grass, upon which deer
fed with avidity, as an agreeable change from browsing. The instinct
of the animal induced him to make for this shallow, from which he
could bound away at full speed (trot) into the cover.

All hope of the chase was now over, and I was about abandoning it in
despair, when an arrow whizzed by us, and in an instant he sprang to
his feet, and exposed his huge form to view. He was a remarkable fine
specimen of his kind, for they are the largest as well as the ugliest
of the deer tribe. For an instant he paused, shook himself violently,
and holding down his head, put up his fore-leg to break off that,
which evidently maddened him with pain. He then stood up erect, with
his head high in the air, and laid his horns back on his neck, and,
giving a snort of terror, prepared to save his life by flight.

It is astonishing how much animation and attitude has to do with
beauty. I had never seen one look well before, but as his form was
relieved against the sky, he looked as he is, the giant king of the
forest. He was just in the act of shifting his feet in the yielding
surface of the boggy meadow, preparatory to a start, when he was again
transfixed by an arrow, in a more vulnerable and vital part. He
sprung, or rather reared forward, and came down on his knees, and then
several times repeated the attempt to commence his flight by the same
desperate effort. At last he fell to rise no more, and soon rolled
over, and after some splashing with his head to avoid the impending
death by drowning, quietly submitted to his fate. Nothing now was
visible of him but the tips of his horns, and a small strip of the
hide that covered his ribs. A shout from the boat proclaimed the
victory.

"Ah, Mr Slick," said the doctor, "what could you have done with only a
charge of duck-shot in your gun, eh? The arrow, you see, served for
shot and bullet. I could have killed him with the first shaft, but his
head was turned, and covered the vital spot. So I had to aim a little
too far forward, but still it carried a death-warrant with it, for he
couldn't have run over a mile without falling from exhaustion, arising
from the loss of blood. It is a charming day for the bow, for there is
no wind, and I could hit a dollar at a hundred and twenty yards. There
is another on that island, but she probably has a calf, perhaps two,
and it would be a wicked waste of the food that God provides for us,
to destroy her. But we must get this gentleman into the boat, and it
will bring us down so deep in the water, we must keep near the shore,
as it may be necessary occasionally to wade."

Peter, without ceremony, began to make preparations for such an
emergency. He had been accustomed all his life, until he left the
Nor-west Company's employment, to the kilt, and he neither felt nor
looked at home in the trousers. Like most of his countrymen, he
thought there was more beauty in a hairy leg, and in a manly
shammy-leather looking skin, than in any covering. While his bald
knee, the ugliest, weakest, most complicated and important joint in
the frame, he no doubt regarded with as much veneration as the pious
do the shaven crown of a monk. He therefore very complacently and
coolly began to disencumber himself of this detestable article of the
tailor's skill. I thought it best therefore to push off in time, to
spare his daughters this spectacle, merely telling the doctor we would
wait for him where we had embarked.

We proceeded very leisurely, only once in a while dipping the paddle
gently into the water, so as to keep up the motion of the canoe. The
girls amused themselves by imitating the call and answer of the loon,
the blue-jay, the kingfisher, and the owl. With a piece of bark,
rolled up in the form of a short-ear trumpet, they mimicked the
hideous voice of the moose, and the not less disagreeable lowing of
the cariboo. The martin started in surprise at his affrighted
neighbour on the water, and the fox no doubt crept from his hole to
listen to the voice that called him to plunder, at this dangerous
hour. All these sounds are signals among the Indians, and are carried
to a perfection that deceives the ear of nature itself. I had read of
their great power in this species of ventriloquism, but never had
heard it practised before, with the exception of the imitation of the
deer tribe, which is well-known to white "still-hunters."

They are, in their own country, not very communicative to strangers;
and above all, never disclose practices so peculiarly reserved for
their own service or defence. I was amazed at their skill in this
branch of Indian accomplishment.

But the notes of the dear little chick-a-dee-dee charmed me the most.
The stillness of this wild, sequestered place was most agreeably
diversified by all these fictitious birds and beasts, that seemed
inviting, each his own kind, to come and look at this lovely scene.
From the wonderful control they appeared to have over their voices, I
knew that one or both of them must sing. I therefore asked them if
they knew the Canadian-boat song; and they answered, with great
delight, that they did. And suiting the action to the word, which, by
the by, adds marvellously to its effect, they sung it charmingly. I
couldn't resist their entreaties to join in it, although I would
infinitely have preferred listening to taking a part. When we
concluded it, Jessie said it was much prettier in her native tongue,
and sung a verse in her own language. She said the governor of the
fort, who spoke Indian as well as English, had arranged the words for
it, and when she was a child in his family, she learned it. "Listen,"
said she, "what is that?"

It was Jackson playing on the key-bugle. Oh, how gloriously it
sounded, as its notes fell on the ear, mellowed and softened by the
distance. When Englishmen talk of the hunters' horn in the morning,
they don't know what they are a saying of. It's well enough I do
suppose in the field, as it wakes the drowsy sportsman, and reminds
him that there is a hard day's ride before him. But the lake and the
forest is nature's amphitheatre, and it is at home there. It won't
speak as it can do at all times and in all places; but it gives its
whole soul out in the woods; and the echoes love it, and the mountains
wave their plumes of pines to it, as if they wanted to be wooed by its
clear, sweet, powerful notes.1 All nature listens to it, and keeps
silence, while it lifts its voice on high. The breeze wafts its music
on its wings, as if proud of its trust; and the lake lies still, and
pants like a thing of life, as if its heart beat to its tones. The
birds are all hushed, as if afraid to disturb it; and the deer pause,
and listen, and gaze on the skies, as if the music came from heaven.
Money only can move some men, and a white heat alone dissolve stones.
But he who has ever heard the bugle, and is not inspired by it, has no
divinity within him. The body is there, but the soul is wanting.


1 This inflated passage, and some other similar ones, are extremely
characteristic of Americans in the same station of life as Slick. From
the use of superlative expressions in their conversation, they
naturally adopt an exaggerative style in writing, and the minor poets
and provincial orators of the Republic are distinguished for this
hyperbolical tone. In Great Britain they would be admired by the
Irish; on the Continent, by the Gascons. If Mr Slick were not affected
by this weakness himself, he would be among the first to detect and
ridicule it in others.


"Go on, Jackson, I will forgive your twaddle about sargeant M'Clure,
the stroke of the sun, the trooper's helmet, and the night among the
wolves. I will listen to your old soldier's stories all night, only go
on and play for me. Give me that simple air again. Let me drink it in
with my ears, till my heart is full. No grace notes, no tricks of the
band-master's, no flourishes; let it be simple and natural. Let it
suit us, and the place we are in, for it is the voice of our common
parent, nature." Ah, he didn't hear me, and he ceased.

"Jessie, dear, ain't that beautiful?" said I.

"Oh," she said (and she clasped her hands hard), "it is like the sound
of a spirit speaking from above."

"Imitate it," said I.

She knew the air, it was a Scotch one; and their music is the most
touching, because the most simple, I know.

Squire, you will think I am getting spooney, but I ain't. You know how
fond I am of nature, and always was; but I suppose you will think if I
ain't talking Turkey, that I am getting crankey, when I tell you an
idea that came into my mind just then. She imitated it in the most
perfect manner possible. Her clear, sweet, mellow, but powerful notes,
never charmed me so before. I thought it sounded like a maiden,
answering her lover. One was a masculine, the other a female voice.
The only difference was in the force, but softness was common to both.
Can I ever forget the enchantment of that day?

"Dear Jessie," said I, "you and your friend are just formed for each
other. How happy you could make him."

"Who?" said she, and there was no affectation in the question. She
knew not the import of that word. "What do you mean?"

"Hush," said I, "I will tell you by and by. Old Tom is playing again."

It was "Auld lang syne." How touching it was! It brought tears to
Jessie's eyes. She had learned it, when a child, far, far away; and it
recalled her tribe, her childhood, her country, and her mother. I
could see these thoughts throw their shadows over her face, as light
clouds chase each other before the sun, and throw their veil, as they
course along the sky, over the glowing landscape. It made me feel sad,
too; for how many of them with whom my early years were spent have
passed away. Of all the fruit borne by the tree of life, how small a
portion drops from it when fully ripe, and in the due course of
nature. The worm, and premature decay, are continually thinning them;
and the tempest and the blight destroy the greater part of those that
are left. Poor dear worthy old Minister, you too are gone, but not
forgotten. How could I have had these thoughts? How could I have
enjoyed these scenes? and how described them? but for you! Innocent,
pure, and simple-minded man, how fond you were of nature, the
handy-work of God, as you used to call it. How full you were of
poetry, beauty, and sublimity! And what do I not owe to you? I am not
ashamed of having been a Clockmaker, I am proud of it.1 But I should
indeed have been ashamed, with your instruction, always to have
remained one. Yes, yes!


  "Why should auld acquaintance be forgot,
  And never brought to mind?"


Why? indeed.


1 This is the passage to which Mr Slick referred in the conversation I
had with him, related in Chapter I., entitled, "A Surprise."


"Tam it," said Peter, for we were so absorbed in listening to the
music, we did not hear the approach of the boat, "ta ting is very
coot, but it don't stir up te blood, and make you feel like a man, as
ta pipes do! Did she ever hear barris an tailler? Fan she has done
with her brass cow-horn, she will give it to you. It can wake the
tead, that air. When she was a piper poy to the fort, Captain Fraisher
was killed by the fall of a tree, knocked as stiff as a gunparrel, and
as silent too. We laid her out on the counter in one of the stores,
and pefore we put her into the coffin the governor said: 'Peter,' said
he, 'she was always fond of barris an tailler, play it before we nail
her up, come, seid suas (strike up).'

"Well, she gets the pipes and plays it hern ainsel, and the governor
forgot his tears; and seized McPhee by the hand, and they danced; they
couldn't help it when that air was played, and what do you think? It
prought Captain Fraisher to life. First she opened her eyes, and ten
her mouth again wunst more. She did, upon my shoul.

"Says she, 'Peter, play it faster, will you? More faster yet, you
blackguard.' And she tropt the pipes and ran away, and it was the
first and last time Peter McDonald ever turned his pack on a friend.
The doctor said it was a trance, but he was a sassanach and knew
nothing about music; but it was the pipes prought the tead to. This is
the air," and he played it with such vigour he nearly grew black in
the face.

"I believe it," sais I; "it has brought me to also, it has made me a
new man, and brought me back to life again. Let us land the moose."

"Ted," said Peter, "she is worth two ted men yet. There is only two
teaths. Ted as te tevil, and ted drunk, and she ain't neither; and if
she were poth she would wake her up with tat tune, barris an tailler,
as she tid Captain Fraisher, tat she will."

"Now," said I, "let us land the moose."



                             CHAPTER XI.

                     A DAY ON THE LAKE.--PART II.


Peter's horrid pipes knocked all the romance out of me. It took all
the talk of dear old Minister (whose conversation was often like
poetry without rhyme), till I was of age, to instil it into me. If it
hadn't been for him I should have been a mere practical man, exactly
like our Connecticut folks, who have as much sentiment in them in a
general way as an onion has of otter of roses. It's lucky when it
don't predominate though, for when it does, it spoils the relish for
the real business of life.

Mother, when I was a boy, used to coax me up so everlastingly with
loaf-cake, I declare I got such a sweet tooth, I could hardly eat
plain bread made of flour and corn meal, although it was the
wholesomest of the two. When I used to tell Minister this sometimes,
as he was flying off the handle, like when we travelled through New
York State to Niagara, at the scenery of the Hudson; or Lake George,
or that everlastin' water-fall, he'd say--

"Sam, you are as correct as a problem in Euclid, but as cold and dry.
Business and romance are like oil and water that I use for a
night-lamp, with a little cork dipsey. They oughtn't to be mixed, but
each to be separate, or they spoil each other. The tumbler should be
nearly full of water, then pour a little oil on the top, and put in
your tiny wick and floater, and ignite it. The water goes to the
bottom--that's business you see, solid and heavy. The oil and its
burner lies on the top--and that's romance. It's a living flame, not
enough to illuminate the room, but to cheer you through the night, and
if you want more, it will light stronger ones for you. People have a
wrong idea of romance, Sam. Properly understood, it's a right keen,
lively appreciation of the works of nature, and its beauty, wonders,
and sublimity. From thence we learn to fear, to serve, and to adore
Him that made them and us. Now, Sam, you understand all the wheels,
and pullies, and balances of your wooden clocks; but you don't think
anything more of them, than it's a grand speculation for you, because
they cost you a mere nothing, seeing they are made out of that which
is as cheap as dirt here, and because you make a great profit out of
them among the benighted colonists, who know little themselves, and
are governed by English officials who know still less. Well, that's
nateral, for it is a business view of things.1 Now sposen you lived in
the Far West woods, away from great cities, and never saw a watch or a
wooden clock before, and fust sot your eyes on one of them that was as
true as the sun, wouldn't you break out into enthusiasm about it, and
then extol to the skies the skill and knowledge of the Yankee man that
invented and made it? To be sure you would. Wouldn't it carry you off
into contemplatin' of the planet whose daily course and speed it
measures so exact? Wouldn't you go on from that point, and ask
yourself what must be the wisdom and power of Him who made innumerable
worlds, and caused them to form part of a great, grand, magnificent,
and harmonious system, and fly off the handle, as you call it, in
admiration and awe? To be sure you would. And if anybody said you was
full of romance who heard you, wouldn't you have pitied his ignorance,
and said there are other enjoyments we are capable of besides
corporeal ones? Wouldn't you be a wiser and a better man? Don't you go
now for to run down romance, Sam; if you do, I shall think you don't
know there is a divinity within you," and so he would preach on for an
hour, till I thought it was time for him to say Amen and give the
dismissal benediction.


1 It is manifest Mr Hopewell must have had Paley's illustration in his
mind.


Well, that's the way I came by it, I was inoculated for it, but I was
always a hard subject to inoculate. Vaccination was tried on me over
and over again by the doctor before I took it, but at last it came and
got into the system. So it was with him and his romance, it was only
the continual dropping that wore the stone at last, for I didn't
listen as I had ought to have done. If he had a showed me where I
could have made a dollar, he would have found me wide awake, I know,
for I set out in life with a determination to go ahead, and I have;
and now I am well to do, but still I wish I had a minded more what he
did say, for, poor old soul, he is dead now. An opportunity lost, is
like missing a passage, another chance may never offer to make the
voyage worth while. The first wind may carry you to the end. A good
start often wins the race. To miss your chance of a shot, is to lose
the bird.

How true these "saws" of his are; but I don't recollect half of them,
I am ashamed to say. Yes, it took me a long time to get romance in my
sails, and Peter shook it out of them by one shiver in the wind. So we
went to work. The moose was left on the shore, for the doctor said he
had another destination for him than the water-fall. Betty, Jackson,
and Peter, were embarked with their baskets and utensils in the boats,
and directed to prepare our dinner.

As soon as they were fairly off, we strolled leisurely back to the
house, which I had hardly time to examine before. It was an irregular
building made of hewn logs, and appeared to have been enlarged, from
time to time, as more accommodation had been required. There was
neither uniformity nor design in it, and it might rather be called a
small cluster of little tenements than a house. Two of these
structures alone seemed to correspond in appearance and size. They
protruded in front, from each end of the main building, forming with
it three sides of a square. One of these was appropriated to the
purposes of a museum, and the other used as a workshop. The former
contained an exceedingly interesting collection.

"This room," he said, "I cannot intrust to Jackson, who would soon
throw everything into confusion by grouping instead of classifying
things. This country is full of most valuable minerals, and the people
know as much about them as a pudding does of the plums contained in
it. Observe this shelf, Sir, there are specimens of seven different
kinds of copper on it; and on this one, fragments of four kinds of
lead. In the argentiferous galena is a very considerable proportion of
silver. Here is a piece of a mineral called molybdena of singular
beauty, I found it at Gaberous Bay, in Cape Breton. The iron ores you
see are of great variety. The coal-fields of this colony are immense
in extent, and incalculable in value. All this case is filled with
their several varieties. These precious stones are from the Bay of
Fundy. Among them are amethyst, and other varieties of crystal, of
quartz, henlandite, stibite, analcine, chabasie, albite, nesotype,
silicious sinter, and so on. Pray do me the favour to accept this
amethyst. I have several others of equal size and beauty, and it is of
no use to me."

He also presented Cutler with a splendid piece of nesotype or needle
stone, which he begged him to keep as a memento of the "Bachelor
Beaver's-dam."

"Three things, Mr Slick," he continued, "are necessary to the
development of the mineral wealth of this province--skill, capital,
and population; and depend upon it the day is not far distant, when
this magnificent colony will support the largest population, for its
area, in America."

I am not a mineralogist myself, Squire, and much of what he said was
heathen Greek to me, but some general things I could understand, and
remember such as that there are (to say nothing of smaller ones) four
immense independent coal-fields in the eastern section of Nova Scotia;
namely, at Picton, Pomquet, Cumberland, and Londonderry; the first of
which covers an area of one hundred square miles: and that there are
also at Cape Breton two other enormous fields of the same mineral, one
covering one hundred and twenty square miles, and presenting at Lingan
a vein eleven feet thick. Such facts I could comprehend, and I was
sorry when I heard the bugle announcing that the boat had returned for
us.

"Jessie," said the doctor, "here is a little case containing a
curiously fashioned and exquisitely worked ring, and a large gold
cross and chain, that I found while searching among the ruins of the
nunnery at Louisburg. I have no doubt they belonged to the superior of
the convent. These baubles answered her purpose by withdrawing the
eyes of the profane from her care-worn and cold features; they will
serve mine also, by showing how little you require the aid of art to
adorn a person nature has made so lovely."

"Hallo!" sais I to myself, "well done, Doctor, if that don't beat
cock-fighting, then there ain't no snakes in Varginny, I vow. Oh! you
ain't so soft as you look to be after all; you may be a child of
nature, but that has its own secrets, and if you hain't found out its
mysteries, it's a pity."

"They have neither suffered," he continued, "from the corrosion of
time nor the asceticism of a devotee, who vainly thought she was
serving God by voluntarily withdrawing from a world into which he
himself had sent her, and by foregoing duties which he had expressly
ordained she should fulfil. Don't start at the sight of the cross; it
is the emblem of Christianity, and not of a sect, who claim it
exclusively, as if He who suffered on it died for them only. This one
has hitherto been used in the negation of all human affections, may it
shed a blessing on the exercise of yours."

I could hardly believe my ears; I didn't expect this of him. I knew he
was romantic, and all that; but I did not think there was such a depth
and strength of feeling in him.

"I wish," I said, "Jehu Judd could a heard you, Doctor, he would have
seen the difference between the clear grit of the genuine thing and a
counterfeit, that might have made him open his eyes and wink."

"Oh! Slick," said he, "come now, that's a good fellow, don't make me
laugh, or I shall upset these glass cases;" and before Jessie could
either accept or decline this act of gallantry, he managed to lead the
way to the lake. The girls and I embarked in the canoe, and the rest
of the party in the boat, but before I stepped into the bark, I hid
the pipes of Peter behind the body of the moose, very much to the
amusement of Jessie and the doctor, who both seemed to agree with me
in giving a preference to the bugle.

I never saw so lovely a spot in this country as the one we had chosen
for our repast, but it was not my intention to land until the
preparations for our meal were all fully completed; so as soon as Jane
leaped ashore, I took her place and asked Jessie to take another look
at the lake with me. Desiring Jackson to recall us with his bugle when
required, we coasted up the west side of the lake for about half a
mile, to a place where I had observed two enormous birches bend over
the water, into which they were ultimately doomed to fall, as the
current had washed away the land where they stood, so as to leave them
only a temporary resting-place. Into this arched and quiet retreat we
impelled our canoe, and paused for awhile to enjoy its cool and
refreshing shade.

"Jessie," said I, "this time to-morrow I shall be on the sea again."

"So soon?" she replied.

"Yes, dear; business calls us away, and life is not all like a day on
the lake."

"No, no," she said, "not to me; it is the only really happy one I have
spent since I left my country. You have all been so kind to me; you,
the captain, and the doctor, all of you, you have made no difference,
you have treated me as if I was one of you, as if I was born a lady."

"Hasn't the doctor always been kind to you?" I said.

"Oh, yes," she replied, "always very kind, but there is nobody here
like him."

"He loves you very much."

"Yes," she said, in the most unembarrassed and natural manner
possible, "he told me so himself."

"And can't you return his love?"

"I do love him as I do my father, brother, or sister."

"Couldn't you add the word husband?"

"Never, never," she said, "Mr Slick. He thinks he loves me now, but he
may not think so always. He don't see the red blood now, he don't
think of my Indian mother; when he comes nearer perhaps he will see
plainer. No, no, half-cast and outcast, I belong to no race. Shall I
go back to my tribe and give up my father and his people? they will
not receive me, and I must fall asleep with my mother. Shall I stay
here and cling to him and his race, that race that scorns the
half-savage? never! never! when he dies I shall die too. I shall have
no home then but the home of the spirits of the dead."

"Don't talk that way, Jessie," I said, "you make yourself wretched,
because you don't see things as they are. It's your own fault if you
are not happy. You say you have enjoyed this day."

"Oh, yes," she said, "no day like this; it never came before, it don't
return again. It dies to-night, but will never be forgotten."

"Why not live where you are? Why not have your home here by this lake,
and this mountain? His tastes are like yours, and yours like his; you
can live two lives here,--the forest of the red man around you--the
roof of the white one above you. To unite both is true enjoyment;
there is no eye to stare here, no pride to exclude, no tongue to
offend. You need not seek the society of others, let them solicit
yours, and the doctor will make them respect it."

It was a subject on which her mind appeared to have been made up. She
seemed like a woman that has lost a child, who hears your advice, and
feels there is some truth in it, but the consolation reaches not her
heart.

"It can't be," she said, with a melancholy smile, as if she was
resigning something that was dear to her, "God or nature forbids it.
If there is one God for both Indian and white man, he forbids it. If
there are two great spirits, one for each, as my mother told me, then
both forbid it. The great spirit of the pale faces," she continued,
"is a wicked one, and the white man is wicked. Wherever he goes, he
brings death and destruction. The woods recede before him--the wild
fowl leave the shores--the fish desert their streams--the red man
disappears. He calls his deer and his beaver, and his game (for they
are all his, and were given to him for food and for clothing), and
travels far, far away, and leaves the graves and the bones of his
people behind him. But the white man pursues him, day and night, with
his gun, and his axe, and fire-water; and what he spares with the
rifle, rum, despair, and starvation destroy. See," she said, and she
plucked a withered red cone from a shumack that wept over the water,
"see that is dyed with the blood of the red man."

"That is prejudice," I said.

"No, it is the truth," she replied. "I know it. My people have removed
twice, if not three times, and the next move will be to the sea or the
grave."

"It is the effect of civilization, and arts, and the power of sciences
and learning, over untutored nature," I said.

"If learning makes men wicked, it is a bad thing," she observed; "for
the devil instructs men how to destroy. But rum ain't learning, it is
poison; nor is sin civilization, nor are diseases blessings, nor
madness reason."

"That don't alter things," I said, "if it is all true that you say,
and there is too much reality in it, I fear; but the pale faces are
not all bad, nor the red all good. It don't apply to your case."

"No," she said, "nature forbids the two races to mingle. That that is
wild, continues wild; and the tame remains tame. The dog watches his
sleeping master; and the wolf devours him. The wild-duck scorns
confinement; and the partridge dies if compelled to dwell with
domestic fowls. Look at those birds," she said, as she threw a chip
among a flock of geese that were floating down the lake, "if the
beautiful Indian wild bird consorts with one of them, the progeny die
out. They are mongrels, they have not the grace, the shape, or the
courage of either. Their doom is fixed. They soon disappear from the
face of the earth and the waters. They are despised by both breeds;"
and she shook her head, as if she scorned and loathed herself, and
burst into a passionate flood of tears.

"Jessie," said I, and I paused a moment, for I wanted to give her a
homoeopathic dose of common sense--and those little wee doses work
like charms, that's a fact. "Jessie," says I, and I smiled, for I
wanted her to shake off those voluntary trammels. "Jessie, the doctor
ain't quite quite tame, and you ain't quite wild. You are both six of
one, and half-a-dozen of the other, and just about as like as two
peas."

Well it's astonishing what that little sentence did. An ounce of
essence is worth a gallon of fluid. A wise saw is more valuable than a
whole book, and a plain truth is better than an argument. She had no
answer for that. She had been reasoning, without knowing it, as if in
fact she had been in reality an Indian. She had imbibed in childhood
the feelings of her mother, who had taken the first step and repented
it--of one who had deserted, but had not been adopted--who became an
exile and remained an alien--who had bartered her birthright for
degradation and death. It is natural that regret for the past and
despair for the future should have been the burden of the mournful
ditties of such a woman; that she who had mated without love, and
lived without affection, the slave, the drudge, but not the wife or
companion of her master, should die with imprecations on her lips for
a race who were the natural foes of her people, and who had reduced
her to be an object of scorn and contempt to both. It is no wonder
therefore poor Jessie had a repugnance to the union, when she
remembered her mother, and the sad lesson her unhappy life and fearful
death contained. It was a feeling difficult to overcome.

"Jessie," sais I, "nature, instead of forbiddin' it, approves of it;
for like takes to like. I don't say it to please you, but you are as
good as he is, or any white man in the world. Your forefathers on your
mother's side are a brave, manly, intelligent race; they are free men,
and have never been subdued or enslaved by any one: and if they have
degenerated at all, it is because they have contracted, as you say,
vices from the white man. You have reason to be proud of being
descended from a race of warriors. On the other hand, your father is a
Highlander, and they too have always been free, because they were
brave; they are the noblest fellows in Europe. As for the English,
there are none now, except in Wales, and they are called
Taffies--which means lunatics, for they are awful proud, and their
mountains are so high, every fellow says his ancestors were descended
from the man in the moon. But the present race are a mixture of
Taffies, French, Danes, Saxons, Scotch, and the Lord knows who all,
and to my mind are all the better of it."

"But the colour," said she.

"As to colour!" said I, "nations differ in every shade, from black up
to chalk white. The Portuguese, Italians, and Turks are darker than
the Indian if anything; Spaniards and Greeks about the same."

"And do they intermarry?"

"I guess they do," said I; "the difference of language only stops
them,--for it's hard to make love when you can't understand each
other,--but colour never."

"Is that now really true?" she said; "for I am ignorant of the world."

"True as preachin'," said I, "and as plain as poverty."

She paused awhile, and said slowly:

"Well, I suppose if all the world says and does differently, I must be
wrong, for I am unacquainted with everything but my own feelings; and
my mother taught me this, and bade me never to trust a white man. I am
glad I was wrong, for if I feel I am right, I am sure I shall be
happy."

"Well," sais I, "I am sure you will be so, and this is just the place,
above all others in the world, that will suit you, and make you so.
Now," sais I, "Jessie, I will tell you a story;" and I told her the
whole tale of Pocahontas; how she saved Captain Smith's life in the
early settlement of Virginia, and afterwards married Mr Rolfe, and
visited the court of England, where all the nobles sought her society.
And then I gave her all the particulars of her life, illness, and
death, and informed her that her son, who stood in the same
relationship to the whites as she did, became a wealthy planter in
Virginia, and that one of his descendants, lately deceased, was one of
the most eloquent as well as one of the most distinguished men in the
United States. It interested her uncommonly, and I have no doubt
greatly contributed to confirm her in the decision she had come to. I
will not trouble you, Squire, with the story, for it is so romantic, I
believe everybody has heard of it. I promised to give her a book
containing all the details.

The bugle now sounded our recall, and in a few minutes we were seated
on the grass, and enjoying our meal with an appetite that exercise,
excitement, and forest air never fail to give. Songs, trout-fishing,
and stories agreeably occupied the afternoon; and when the sun began
to cast long shadows from the mountain, we reëmbarked with our traps,
and landed at the cove near the clump of trees where we started in the
morning. While preparations were making for tea in the house, I lit my
cigar to take a stroll with Cutler, and talk over our arrangements for
an early start in the morrow, and proceeding immediately to sea. In
the mean time, I briefly stated to the doctor that he would now find
no further obstacle to his wishes, and counselled him to lose no time,
while the impression was favourable, to bring his long-pending
negotiation to a conclusion.

"Slick," said he, laughing, "your government ought to have prevailed
upon you to remain in the diplomatic service. You are such a capital
negotiator."

"Well," said I, "I believe I would have succeeded in that line; but do
you know how?"

"By a plentiful use of soft sawder," said he.

"No, Doctor, I knew you would say that; and it ain't to be despised
neither, I can tell you. No, it's because you go coolly to work, for
you are negotiatin' for another. If you don't succeed, it's the fault
of the mission, of course, and defeat won't break your heart; if you
do carry your point, why, in the natur of things, it is all your own
skill. I have done famously for you; but I made a bungling piece of
business for myself, I assure you. What my brother, the lawyer, used
to say is very true: 'A man who pleads his own cause has a fool for
his client.' You can't praise yourself unless it's a bit of brag, and
that I can do as well as any one, I do suppose; but you can't lay the
whitewash on handily no more than you can brush the back of your own
coat when it is on. Cutler and I will take a stroll, and do you invite
Jessie out, to see the moon on the lake."

In about an hour, Peter, who had found his pipes to his infinite
delight, intimated supper was ready; and the dispersed groups
returned, and sat down to a meal which, in addition to the tea and
coffee and its usual accompaniments at country-houses, had some
substantial viands for those, like myself, who had done more talking
than eating at dinner. In a short time, the girls retired for the
night, and we arranged for a peep of day return.

"Mr Slick," said the doctor, "I have ordered the boy to take the moose
down to the village as my share of the sea-stores. Will you give me
leave to go a part of the cruise with you?"

"With great pleasure," said I; "it's just what I was going to ask the
favour of you to do. It's the very identical thing."

"Come, Peter," said he, "I will show you where to turn in;" and
returning, in a few minutes, with Jackson, desired him to attend the
captain.

When we were alone, he said:

"Come this way, Mr Slick. Put your hat on--I want you to take a turn
with me."

And leading me down to the verge of the woods, where I saw a light, we
entered a large bark wigwam, where he said he often slept during the
hot weather.

It was not made in the usual conical form, but resembled a square
tent, which among Indians generally indicates there is a large family,
and that they propose to occupy the same spot for some time. In fact,
it was half wigwam, half summer-house, resembling the former in
appearance, construction, and material; but was floored on account of
the damp ground, and contained a small table, two chairs, and a couple
of rustic seats large enough to sleep upon, which, on the present
occasion, had hunters' beds on them. The tent, or more properly camp,
as it is generally called here, was so contrived as to admit of the
door being shifted according to the wind. On the present occasion, the
opening was towards the lake, on which the moon was casting its silver
light.

Here we sat till a late hour, discoursing, over our cigars, on a
variety of subjects, the first and last of which topic was Jessie, who
had, it appeared, at last accepted the Bachelor Beaver. Altogether, it
was a charming visit; and left a most agreeable recollection of the
enjoyment that is to be found in "a day and a night in the woods."



                             CHAPTER XII.

                            THE BETROTHAL.


Early the following morning, just as the first dawn of day was
streaking the eastern sky, Jackson's bugle sounded the reveillé, and
we were all soon on foot and in motion. The moose was lifted into the
cart, and the boy despatched with it to the harbour, so as to have it
in readiness for putting on board as soon as we should arrive, and a
cup of coffee was prepared for us by Betty, as she said, to keep the
cold out of our stomach while travelling. The doctor had some few
arrangements to make for his voyage, and Cutler and I set out in
advance, on foot. It was agreed that Ovey, Peter, and his daughters,
should follow, as soon as possible, in the waggons, and breakfast with
us on board of the Black Hawk.

"Mr Jackson," said I, as I saw him standing at the door.

"Yes, Sir," and he was at my side in a minute, and honoured me with
one of his most gracious smiles, and respectful military salutes.

There is great magic in that word "Mr," when used to men of low
degree, and in "Squire" for those just a notch higher. Servitude, at
best, is but a hard lot. To surrender your will to another, to come
and go at his bidding, and to answer a bell as a dog does a whistle,
ain't just the lot one would choose, if a better one offered. A master
may forget this, a servant never does. The great art, as well as one
of the great Christian duties, therefore, is not to make him feel it.
Bidding is one thing, and commanding is another. If you put him on
good terms with himself, he is on good terms with you, and affection
is a stronger tie than duty. The vanity of mankind is such, that you
always have the ingratitude of helps dinned into your ears, from one
year's end to another, and yet these folk never heard of the
ingratitude of employers, and wouldn't believe there was such a thing
in the world, if you were to tell them. Ungrateful, eh! Why, didn't I
pay him his wages? wasn't he well boarded? and didn't I now and then
let him go to a frolic? Yes, he wouldn't have worked without pay. He
couldn't have lived if he hadn't been fed, and he wouldn't have stayed
if you hadn't given him recreation now and then. It's a poor heart
that don't rejoice sometimes. So much thanks he owes you. Do you pray
that it may always rain at night or on Sundays? Do you think the Lord
is the Lord of masters only? But he has been faithful as well as
diligent, and careful as well as laborious, he has saved you more than
his wages came to--are there no thanks for this? Pooh! you remind me
of my poor old mother. Father used to say she was the most
unreasonable woman in the world--for when she hired a gall she
expected perfection, for two dollars and a half a month.

Mr Jackson! didn't that make him feel good all over? Why shouldn't he
be called Mr, as well as that selfish conceited M'Clure, Captain? Yes,
there is a great charm in that are word, "Mr." It was a wrinkle I
picked up by accident, very early in life. We had to our farm to
Slickville, an Irish servant, called Paddy Monaghan--as hard-working a
critter as ever I see, but none of the boys could get him to do a
blessed thing for them. He'd do his plowin' or reapin', or whatever it
was, but the deuce a bit would he leave it to oblige Sally or the
boys, or any one else, but father; he had to mind him, in course, or
put his three great coats on, the way he came, one atop of the other,
to cover the holes of the inner ones, and walk. But, as for me, he'd
do anythin' I wanted. He'd drop his spade, and help me catch a horse,
or he'd do my chores for me, and let me go and attend my mink and
musquash traps, or he'd throw down his hoe and go and fetch the cows
from pasture, that I might slick up for a party--in short, he'd do
anything in the world for me.

"Well, they all wondered how under the sun Paddy had taken such a
shindy to me, when nobody else could get him to budge an inch for
them. At last, one day, mother asked me how on airth it was--for
nothin' strange goes on long, but a woman likes to get at the bottom
of it.

"Well," sais I, "mother, if you won't whisper a syllable to anybody
about it, I'll tell you."

"Who, me," sais she, "Sammy?" She always called me Sammy when she
wanted to come over me. "Me tell? A person who can keep her own
secrets can keep yours, Sammy. There are some things I never told your
father."

"Such as what?" sais I.

"A-hem," said she. "A-hem--such as he oughtn't to know, dear. Why,
Sam, I am as secret as the grave! How is it, dear?"

"Well," sais I, "I will tell you. This is the way: I drop Pat and
Paddy altogether, and I call him Mr Monaghan, and never say a word
about the priest."

"Why, Sammy," said she, "where in the world did you pick up all your
cuteness? I do declare you are as sharp as a needle. Well, I never.
How you do take after me! boys are mothers' sons. It's only galls who
take after their father."

It's cheap coin, is civility, and kindness is a nice bank to fund it
in, Squire: for it comes back with compound interest. He used to call
Josiah, Jo, and brother Eldad, Dad, and then yoke 'em both together,
as "spalpeens," or "rapscallions," and he'd vex them by calling
mother, when he spoke to them of her, the "ould woman," and Sally,
"that young cratur, Sal." But he'd show the difference when he
mentioned me; it was always "the young master," and when I was with
him, it was "your Honour." Lord, I shall never forget wunst, when I
was a practisin' of ball-shooting at a target, Pat brought out one of
my muskits, and sais he: "Would your Honour just let me take a crack
at it. You only make a little round hole in it, about the size of a
fly's eye; but, by the piper that played before Moses, I'll knock it
all to smithereens."

"Yes," sais I, "Mr Monaghan; fire and welcome."

Well, up he comes to the toe-line, and puts himself into attitude,
scientific like. First he throws his left leg out, and then braces
back the right one well behind him, and then he shuts his left eye to,
and makes an awful wry face, as if he was determined to keep every bit
of light out of it, and then he brought his gun up to the shoulder
with a duce of a flourish, and took a long, steady aim. All at once he
lowered the piece.

"I think I'll do it better knalin', your Honour," said he, "the way I
did when I fired at Lord Blarney's land-agent, from behind the hedge,
for lettin' a farm to a Belfast heretic. Oh! didn't I riddle him, your
Honour." He paused a moment, his tongue had run away with him. "His
coat, I main," said he. "I cut the skirts off as nait as a tailor
could. It scared him entirely, so, when he see the feathers flyin'
that way, he took to flight, and I never sot eyes on him no more. I
shouldn't wonder if he is runnin' yet."

So he put down one knee on the ground, and adjusting himself said, "I
won't leave so much as a hair of that target, to tell where it stood."
He took a fresh aim, and fired, and away he went, heels over head, the
matter of three or four times, and the gun flew away behind him, ever
so far.

"Oh!" sais he, "I am kilt entirely. I am a dead man, Master Sam. By
the holy poker, but my arm is broke."

"I am afraid my gun is broke," said I, and off I set in search of it.

"Stop, yer Honour," said he, "for the love of Heaven, stop, or she'll
be the death of you."

"What?" sais I.

"There are five more shots in her yet, Sir. I put in six cartridges,
so as to make sure of that paper kite, and only one of them is gone
off yet. Oh! my shoulder is out, Master Sam. Don't say a word of it,
Sir, to the ould cratur, and--"

"To who?" said I.

"To her ladyship, the mistress," said he, "and I'll sarve you by day
and by night."

Poor Pat! you were a good-hearted creature naturally, as most of your
countrymen are, if repealers, patriots, and demagogues of all sorts
and sizes, would only let you alone. Yes, there is a great charm in
that word "Mr."

So, sais I, "Mr Jackson!"

"Yes, Sir," said he.

"Let me look at your bugle."

"Here it is, your Honour."

"What a curious lookin' thing it is," sais I, "and what's all them
little button-like things on it with long shanks?"

"Keys, Sir," said he.

"Exactly," sais I, "they unlock the music, I suppose, don't they, and
let it out? Let me see if I could blow it."

"Try the pipes, Mr Slick," said Peter. "Tat is nothin' but a prass
cow-horn as compared to the pagpipes."

"No, thank you," sais I, "it's only a Highlander can make music out of
that."

"She never said a wiser word tan tat," he replied, much gratified.

"Now," sais I, "let me blow this, does it take much wind?"

"No," said Jackson, "not much, try it, Sir."

"Well, I put it to my lips, and played a well-known air on it. "It's
not hard to play, after all, is it, Jackson?"

"No, Sir," said he, looking delighted, "nothing is ard to a man as
knows how, as you do."

"Tom," sais Betty, "don't that do'ee good? Oh, Sir, I ain't eard that
since I left the hold country, it's what the guards has used to be
played in the mail-coaches has was. Oh, Sir, when they comed to the
town, it used to sound pretty; many's the time I have run to the
window to listen to it. Oh, the coaches was a pretty sight, Sir. But
them times is all gone," and she wiped a tear from her eye with the
corner of her apron, a tear that the recollection of early days had
called up from the fountain of her heart.

Oh, what a volume does one stray thought of the past contain within
itself. It is like a rocket thrown up in the night. It suddenly
expands into a brilliant light, and sheds a thousand sparkling
meteors, that scatter in all directions, as if inviting attention each
to its own train. Yes, that one thought is the centre of many, and
awakens them all to painful sensibility. Perhaps it is more like a
vivid flash of lightning, it discloses with intense brightness the
whole landscape, and exhibits, in their minutest form and outline, the
very leaves and flowers that lie hid in the darkness of night.

"Jessie," said I, "will you imitate it?"

I stopt to gaze on her for a moment--she stood in the doorway--a
perfect model for a sculptor. But oh, what chisel could do justice to
that face--it was a study for a painter. Her whole soul was filled
with those clear beautiful notes, that vibrated through the frame, and
attuned every nerve, till it was in harmony with it. She was so wrapt
in admiration, she didn't notice what I observed, for I try in a
general way that nothing shall escape me; but as they were behind us
all, I just caught a glimpse of the doctor (as I turned my head
suddenly) withdrawing his arm from her waist. She didn't know it, of
course, she was so absorbed in the music. It ain't likely she felt
him, and if she had, it ain't probable she would have objected to it.
It was natural he should like to press the heart she had given him;
wasn't it now his? and wasn't it reasonable he should like to know how
it beat? He was a doctor, and doctors like to feel pulses, it comes
sorter habitual to them, they can't help it. They touch your wrist
without knowing it, and if it is a woman's, why their hand, like
brother Josiah's cases that went on all fours, crawls up on its
fingers, till it gets to where the best pulse of all is. Ah, Doctor,
there is Highland blood in that heart, and it will beat warmly towards
you, I know. I wonder what Peter would have said, if he had seen what
I did. But then he didn't know nothin' about pulses.

"Jessie," said I, "imitate that for me, dear. It is the last exercise
of that extraordinary power I shall ever hear."

"Play it again," she said, "that I may catch the air."

"Is it possible," said I to myself, "you didn't hear it after all? It
is the first time your little heart was ever pressed before, perhaps
it beat so loud you couldn't distinguish the bugle notes. Was it the
new emotion or the new music that absorbed you so? Oh, Jessie, don't
ask me again what natur is."

Well, I played it again for her, and instantly she gave the repetition
with a clearness, sweetness, and accuracy, that was perfectly amazing.
Cutler and I then took leave for the present, and proceeded on our way
to the shore.

"Ah, Sir!" said Jackson, who accompanied us to the bars, "it's a long
while ago since I eard that hair. Warn't them mail-coaches pretty
things, Sir? Hon the hold King's birthday, Sir, when they all turned
out with new arness and coaches fresh painted, and coachman and guard
in new toggery, and four as beautiful bits of blood to each on 'em as
was to be found in England, warn't it a sight to behold, Sir? The
world could show nothin' like it, Sir. And to think they are past and
gone, it makes one's eart hache. They tells me the coachman now, Sir,
has a dirty black face, and rides on a fender before a large grate,
and flourishes a red ot poker instead of a whip. The guard, Sir, they
tells me, is no--"

"Good bye, Mr Jackson;" and I shook hands with him.

"Isn't that too bad, Sir, now?" he said. "Why, here is Betty again,
Sir, with that d--d hat, and a lecture about the stroke. Good bye,
your Honour," said he.

When we came to the bridge where the road curved into the woods, I
turned and took a last look at the place where I had spent such an
agreeable day.

I don't envy you it, Doctor, but I wish I had such a lovely place at
Slickville as that. What do you think, Sophy, eh? I have an idea you
and I could be very happy there, don't you?

"Oh! Mr Slick," said Jehu Judd, who was the first person I saw at the
door of Peter's house, "what an everlastin' long day was yesterday! I
did nothing but renew the poultice, look in the glass, and turn into
bed again. It's off now, ain't it?"

"Yes," sais I, "and we are off, too, in no time."

"But the trade," said he; "let's talk that over."

"Haven't time," sais I; "it must be short meter, as you say when you
are to home to Quaco, practising Sall Mody (as you call it). Mackarel
is five dollars a barrel, sains thirty--say yes or no, that's the
word."

"How can you have the conscience?" said he.

"I never talk of conscience in trade," sais I; "only of prices.
Bargain or no bargain, that's the ticket."

"I can't," he said.

"Well, then, there is an end of it," says I. "Good bye, friend Judd."

Sais he: "You have a mighty short way with you, my friend."

"A short way is better than a long face," said I.

"Well," said he, "I can't do without the sains (nets) no how I can fix
it, so I suppose I must give the price. But I hope I may be skinned
alive if you ain't too keen."

"Whoever takes a fancy to skin you, whether dead or alive, will have a
tough job of it, I reckon," sais I, "it's as tight as the bark of a
tree."

"For two pins," said he, "I'd tan your hide for you now."

"Ah," said I, "you are usin' your sain before you pay for it. That's
not fair."

"Why?" said he.

"Because," sais I, "you are insaine to talk that way."

"Well, well," said he, "you do beat the devil."

"You can't say that," sais I, "for I hain't laid a hand on you. Come,"
sais I, "wake snakes, and push off with the Captain, and get the fish
on board. Cutler, tell the mate, mackarel is five dollars the barrel,
and nets thirty each. We shall join you presently, and so, friend
Judd, you had better put the licks in and make haste, or there will be
'more fiddling and dancing and serving the devil this morning.'"

He turned round, and gave me a look of intense hatred, and shook his
fist at me. I took off my hat and made him a low bow, and said "That's
right, save your breath to cool your broth, or to groan with when you
get home, and have a refreshing time with the Come-outers.


  'My father was a preacher,
  A mighty holy man;
  My mother was a Methodist,
  But I'm a Tunyan.'"


He became as pale as a mad nigger at this. He was quite speechless
with rage, and turning from me, said nothing, and proceeded with the
captain to the boat. It was some time before the party returned from
the lake, but the two waggons were far apart, and Jessie and the
doctor came last--was it that the road was bad, and he was a poor
driver? perhaps so. A man who loves the woods don't know or care much
about roads. It don't follow because a feller is a good shot, he is a
good whip; or was it they had so much to say, the short distance
didn't afford time? Well, I ain't experienced in these matters, though
perhaps you are, Squire. Still, though Cupid is represented with bows
and arrows (and how many I have painted on my clocks, for they always
sold the best), I don't think he was ever sketched in an old one-hoss
waggon. A canoe would have suited you both better, you would have been
more at home there. If I was a gall I would always be courted in one,
for you can't romp there, or you would be capsized. It's the safest
place I know of. It's very well to be over head and ears in love, but
my eyes, to be over head and ears in the water, is no place for
lovemaking, unless it is for young whales, and even they spout and
blow like all wrath when they come up, as if you might have too much
of a good thing, don't they?

They both looked happy--Jessie was unsophisticated, and her
countenance, when it turned on me, seemed to say, "Mr Slick, I have
taken your advice, and I am delighted I did." And the doctor looked
happy, but his face seemed to say, "Come now, Slick, no nonsense,
please, let me alone, that's a good fellow."

Peter perceived something he didn't understand. He had seen a great
deal he didn't comprehend since he left the Highlands, and heard a
great many things he didn't know the meaning of. It was enough for him
if he could guess it.

"Toctor," said he, "how many kind o' partridges are there in this
country?"

"Two," said the simple-minded naturalist, "spruce and birch."

"Which is the prettiest?"

"The birch."

"And the smartest?"

"The birch."

"Poth love to live in the woods, don't they?"

"Yes."

"Well there is a difference in colour. Ta spruce is red flesh, and ta
birch white, did you ever know them mix?"

"Often," said the doctor, who began to understand this allegorical
talk of the North-West trader, and feel uncomfortable, and therefore
didn't like to say no. "Well, then, the spruce must stay with the
pirch, or the pirch live with the spruce," continued Peter. "The peech
wood between the two are dangerous to both, for it's only fit for
cuckoos."

Peter looked chuffy and sulky. There was no minister at the remote
post he had belonged to in the nor-west. The governor there read a
sermon of a Sunday sometimes, but he oftener wrote letters. The
marriages, when contracted, were generally limited to the period of
service of the employés, and sometimes a wife was bought, or at
others, entrapped like a beaver. It was a civil or uncivil contract,
as the case might be. Wooing was a thing he didn't understand; for
what right had a woman to an opinion of her own? Jessie felt for her
father, the doctor, and herself, and retired crying. The doctor said:

"Peter, you know me, I am an honest man; give me your confidence, and
then I will ask the Chief for the hand of his daughter."

"Tat is like herself," said Peter. "And she never doubted her; and
there is her hand, which is her word. Tam the coffee! let us have a
glass of whiskey."

And he poured out three, and we severally drank to each other's
health, and peace was once more restored.

Thinks I to myself, now is the time to settle this affair; for the
doctor, Peter, and Jessie are all like children; it's right to show
'em how to act.

"Doctor," sais I, "just see if the cart with the moose has arrived; we
must be a moving soon, for the wind is fair."

As soon as he went on this errand, "Peter," sais I, "the doctor wants
to marry your daughter, and she, I think, is not unwilling, though,
between you and me, you know better than she does what is good for
her. Now the doctor don't know as much of the world as you do. He has
never seen Scotland, nor the north-west, nor travelled as you have,
and observed so much."

"She never said a truer word in her life," said Peter. "She has seen
the Shetlands and the Rocky Mountains--the two finest places in the
world, and crossed the sea and the Red River; pesides Canada and Nova
Scotia, and seen French, and pairs, and Indians, and wolves, and plue
noses, and puffaloes, and Yankees, and prairie dogs, and Highland
chiefs, and Indian chiefs, and other great shentlemen, pesides peavers
with their tails on. She has seen the pest part of the world, Mr
Slick." And he lighted his pipe in his enthusiasm, when enumerating
what he had seen, and looked as if he felt good all over.

"Well," sais I, "the doctor, like an honourable man, has asked Squire
Peter McDonald for his daughter; now, when he comes in, call Jessie
and place her hand in his, and say you consent, and let the spruce and
birch partridge go and live near the lake together."

"Tat she will," said he, "for ta toctor is a shentleman pred and porn,
though she hasn't the honour to be a Highlander."

As soon as the Bachelor Beaver returned, Peter went on this paternal
mission, for which I prepared my friend; and the betrothal was duly
performed, when he said in Gaelic:

"Dhia Beammich sibh le choile mo chlam! God bless you both, my
children!"

As soon as the ceremony was over, "Now," sais I, "we must be a movin'.
Come, Peter, let us go on board. Where are the pipes? Strike up your
merriest tune."

And he preceded us, playing, "Nach dambsadh am minster," in his best
manner--if anything can be said to be good, where bad is the best.
When we arrived at the beach, Cutler and my old friend, the black
steward, were ready to receive us. It would have been a bad omen to
have had Sorrow meet the betrothed pair so soon, but that was only a
jocular name given to a very merry negro.

"Well, Sorrow," sais I, as we pushed off in the boat, "how are you?"

"Very bad, Massa," he said, "I ab been used most rediculous shamful
since you left. Time was berry dull on board since you been withdrawn
from de light ob your countenance, and de crew sent on shore, and got
a consignment ob rum, for benefit ob underwriters, and all consarned
as dey said, and dey sung hymns, as dey call nigga songs, like Lucy
Neal and Lucy Long, and den dey said we must hab ablution sarmon; so
dey fust corned me, Massa."

"In the beef or pork-barrel, Sorrow?" said I.

"Oh, Lord bless you, Massa, in needer; you knows de meaning ob dat are
word--I is sure you does--dey made me most tosicated, Massa, and dey
said, 'Sorrow, come preach ablution sarmon.' Oh, Massa, I was berry
sorry, it made me feel all ober like ague; but how could I insist so
many; what was I to do, dey fust made me der slave, and den said, 'Now
tell us bout mancipation.' Well, dey gub me glass ob rum, and I
swallowed it--berry bad rum--well, dat wouldn't do. Well, den dey gub
me anoder glass, and dat wouldn't do; dis here child hab trong head,
Massa, werry trong, but he hoped de rum was all out, it was so bad;
den dey rejectioned anoder in my face, and I paused and crastimated;
sais I, 'Masters, is you done?' for dis child was afeard, Massa, if he
drank all de bottle empty, dey would tro dat in his face too, so sais
I:

"'Masters, I preaches under protest, against owners and ship for
bandonment; but if I must put to sea, and dis niggar don't know how to
steer by lunar compass, here goes.' Sais I, 'My dear bredren,' and dey
all called out:

"'You farnal niggar you! do you call us bredren, when you is as black
as de debbil's hind leg?'

"'I beg your most massiful pardon,' sais I, 'but as you is
ablutionists, and when you preach, calls us regraded niggars your
coloured bredren, I tought I might venture to foller in de same suit,
if I had a card ob same colour.'

"'Well done, Uncle Tom,' sais they. 'Well done, Zip Coon,' and dey
made me swallow anoder glass ob naked truth. Dis here child has a
trong head, Massa, dat are a fac. He stand so much sun, he ain't easy
combustioned in his entails.

"'Go on,' sais they.

"Well, my bredren," sais I, "I will dilate to you the valy of a
niggar, as put in one scale and white man in de oder. Now, bredren,
you know a sparrer can't fall to de ground no how he can fix it, but
de Lord knows it--in course ob argument you do. Well, you knows twelve
sparrers sell in de market for one penny. In course ob respondence you
do. How much more den does de Lord care for a niggar like me, who is
worth six hundred dollars and fifty cents, at de least? So, gentlemen,
I is done, and now please, my bredren, I will pass round de hat wid
your recurrence.'

"Well, dey was pretty high, and dey behaved like gentlemen, I must
submit dat; dey gub me four dollars, dey did--dey is great friends to
niggar, and great mancipationists, all ob dem; and I would hab got two
dollars more, I do raily conclude, if I hadn't a called 'em my
bredren. Dat was a slip ob de lockjaw."

"I must inquire into this," said Cutler, "it's the most indecent thing
I ever beard of. It is downright profanity; it is shocking."

"Very," said I, "but the sermon warn't a bad one; I never heerd a
niggar reason before; I knew they could talk, and so can Lord
Tandemberry; but as for reasoning, I never heerd either one or the
other attempt it before. There is an approach to logic in that."

"There is a very good hit at the hypocrisy of abolitionists in it,"
said the doctor; "that appeal about my bredren is capital, and the
passing round of the hat is quite evangelical."

"Oigh," said Peter, "she have crossed the great sea and the great
prairies, and she haven't heerd many sarmons, for Sunday don't come
but once a month there, but dat is the pest she ever heerd, it is so
short."

"Slick," said Cutler, "I am astonished at you. Give way there, my men;
ease the bow oar."

"Exactly," sais I, "Cutler--give way there, my man; ease the bow
oar--that's my maxim too--how the devil can you learn if you don't
hear?" sais I.

"How can you learn good," said he, "if you listen to evil?"

"Let's split the difference," said I, laughing, "as I say in swapping;
let's split the difference. If you don't study mankind how can you
know the world at all? But if you want to preach--"

"Come, behave yourself," said he, laughing; "lower down the man ropes
there."

"To help up the women," said I.

"Slick," said he, "it's no use talking; you are incorrigible."

The breakfast was like other breakfasts of the same kind; and, as the
wind was fair, we could not venture to offer any amusements to our
guests. So in due time we parted, the doctor alone, of the whole
party, remaining on board. Cutler made the first move by ascending the
companion-ladder, and I shook hands with Peter as a hint for him to
follow. Jessie, her sister, Ovey, and I, remained a few minutes longer
in the cabin. The former was much agitated.

"Good bye," said she, "Mr Slick! Next to him," pointing to the
Bachelor Beaver, "you have been the kindest and best friend I ever
had. You have made me feel what it is to be happy;" and woman-like, to
prove her happiness, burst out a crying, and threw her arms round my
neck and kissed me. "Oh! Mr Slick! do we part for ever?"

"For ever!" sais I, trying to cheer her up; "for ever is a most
thundering long word. No, not for ever, nor for long either. I expect
you and the doctor will come and visit us to Slickville this fall;"
and I laid an emphasis on that word "us," because it referred to what
I had told her of Sophy.

"Oh!" said she, "how kind that is!"

"Well," sais I, "now I will do a kinder thing. Jane and I will go on
deck, and leave you and the doctor to bid each other good-bye." As I
reached the door, I turned and said: "Jessie, teach him Gaelic the way
Flora taught me--do bhileau boidheach (with your pretty lips)."

As the boat drew alongside, Peter bid me again a most affectionate, if
not a most complimentary farewell.

"She has never seen many Yankees herself," said Peter, "but prayin'
Joe, the horse-stealer--tarn him--and a few New England pedlars, who
asked three hundred per shent for their coots, but Mr Slick is a
shentleman, every inch of him, and the pest of them she ever saw, and
she will pe glad to see her again whenever she comes this way."

When they were all seated in the boat, Peter played a doleful ditty,
which I have no doubt expressed the grief of his heart. But I am sorry
to say it was not much appreciated on board of the "Black Hawk." By
the time they reached the shore, the anchor was up, the sails trimmed,
and we were fairly out of Ship Harbour.



                            CHAPTER XIII.

                            A FOGGY NIGHT.


The wind, what there was of it, was off shore; it was a light
north-wester, but after we made an offing of about ten miles, it
failed us, being evidently nothing but a land breeze, and we were soon
becalmed. After tossing about for an hour or two, a light cat's-paw
gave notice that a fresh one was springing up, but it was from the
east, and directly ahead.

"We shall make poor work of this," said the pilot, "and I am afraid it
will bring up a fog with it, which is a dangerous thing on this coast,
I would advise therefore returning to Ship Harbour," but the captain
said, "Business must be attended to, and as there was nothing more of
the kind to be done there, we must only have patience and beat up for
Port Liscomb, which is a great resort for fishermen." I proposed we
should take the wind as we found it, and run for Chesencook, a French
settlement, a short distance to the westward of us, and effect our
object there, which I thought very probable, as no American vessels
put in there if they can avoid it. This proposition met the approval
of all parties, so we put the "Black Hawk" before the wind, and by
sunset were safely and securely anchored. The sails were scarcely
furled before the fog set in, or rather rose up, for it seemed not so
much to come from the sea as to ascend from it, as steam rises from
heated water.

It seemed the work of magic, its appearance was so sudden. A moment
before there was a glorious sunset, now we had impenetrable darkness.
We were enveloped as it were in a cloud, the more dense perhaps
because its progress was arrested by the spruce hills, back of the
village, and it had receded upon itself. The little French settlement
(for the inhabitants were all descended from the ancient Acadians) was
no longer discernible, and heavy drops of water fell from the rigging
on the deck. The men put on their "sow-wester" hats and yellow oiled
cotton jackets. Their hair looked grey, as if there had been sleet
falling. There was a great change in the temperature--the weather
appeared to have suddenly retrograded to April, not that it was so
cold, but that it was raw and uncomfortable. We shut the
companion-door to keep it from descending there, and paced the deck
and discoursed upon this disagreeable vapour bath, its cause, its
effects on the constitution, and so on.

"It does not penetrate far into the country," said the doctor, "and is
by no means unhealthy--as it is of a different character altogether
from the land fog. As an illustration however of its density, and of
the short distance it rises from the water, I will tell you a
circumstance to which I was an eyewitness. I was on the citadel hill
at Halifax once, and saw the points of the masts of a mail-steamer
above the fog, as she was proceeding up the harbour, and I waited
there to ascertain if she could possibly escape George's Island, which
lay directly in her track, but which it was manifest her pilot could
not discern from the deck. In a few moments she was stationary. All
this I could plainly perceive, although the hull of the vessel was
invisible. Some idea may be formed of the obscurity occasioned by the
fog, from the absurd stories that were waggishly put abroad at the
time of the accident. It was gravely asserted that the first notice
the sentinel had of her approach, was a poke in the side from her
jibboom, which knocked him over into the moat and broke two of his
ribs, and it was also maintained with equal truth that when she came
to the wharf it was found she had brought away a small brass gun on
her bowsprit, into which she had thrust it like the long trunk of an
elephant."

"Well," sais I, "let Halifax alone for hoaxes. There are some droll
coves in that place, that's a fact. Many a laugh have I had there, I
tell you. But, Doctor," sais I, "just listen to the noises on shore
here at Chesencook. It's a curious thing to hear the shout of the
anxious mother to her vagrant boy to return, before night makes it too
dark to find his way home, ain't it? and to listen to the noisy
gambols of invisible children, the man in the cloud bawling to his ox,
as if the fog had affected their hearing instead of their sight, the
sharp ring of the axe at the wood pile, and the barking of the dogs as
they defy or salute each other. One I fancy is a grumbling bark, as
much as to say, 'No sleep for us, old boy, to-night, some of these
coasters will be making love to our sheep as they did last week, if we
don't keep a bright look out. If you hear a fellow speak English,
pitch right into the heretic, and bite like a snapping turtle. I
always do so in the dark, for they can't swear to you when they don't
see you. If they don't give me my soup soon (how like a French dog
that, ain't it?) I'll have a cod-fish for my supper to-night, off of
old Jodry's flakes at the other end of the harbour, for our masters
bark so loud they never bite, so let them accuse little Paul Longille
of theft.' I wonder if dogs do talk, Doctor?" said I.

"There is no doubt of it," he replied. "I believe both animals and
birds have some means of communicating to each other all that is
necessary for them--I don't go further."

"Well, that's reasonable," sais I; "I go that figure, too, but not a
cent higher. Now there is a nigger," sais I; and I would have given
him a wink if I could, and made a jupe of my head towards Cutler, to
show him I was a goin' to get the captain's dander up for fun; but
what's the use of a wink in a fog? In the first place, it ain't easy
to make one; your lids are so everlastin' heavy; and who the plague
can see you if you do? and if he did notice it, he would only think
you were tryin' to protect your peepers, that's all. Well, a wink is
no better nor a nod to a blind horse; so I gave him a nudge instead.
"Now, there is the nigger, Doctor," sais I, "do you think he has a
soul?1 It's a question I always wanted to ask Brother Eldad, for I
never see him a dissectin' of a darky. If I had, I should have known;
for nature has a place for everything, and everything in it's place."


1 This very singular and inconsequential rhodomontade of Mr Slick is
one of those startling pieces of levity that a stranger often hears
from a person of his class in his travels on this side of the water.
The odd mixture of strong religious feeling and repulsive looseness of
conversation on serious subjects, which may here and there be found in
his Diary, naturally results from a free association with persons of
all or no creeds. It is the most objectionable trait in his
character--to reject it altogether would be to vary the portrait he
has given us of himself--to admit it, lowers the estimate we might
otherwise be disposed to form of him; but, as he has often observed,
what is the use of a sketch if it be not faithful?


"Mr Slick," said Cutler.--he never called me Mr before, and it showed
he was mad.--"do you doubt it?"

"No," sais I, "I don't; my only doubt is whether they have three?"

"What in the world do you mean?" said he.

"Well," sais I, "two souls we know they have--their great fat splaw
feet show that, and as hard as jackasses' they are too; out the third
is my difficulty; if they have a spiritual soul, where is it? We ain't
jest satisfied about its locality in ourselves. Is it in the heart, or
the brain, or where does it hang out? We know geese have souls, and we
know where to find them."

"Oh, oh!" said Cutler.

"Cut off the legs and wings and breast of the goose," sais I, "and
split him down lengthways, and right agin the back-bone is small
cells, and there is the goose's soul, it's black meat, pretty much
nigger colour. Oh, it's grand! It's the most delicate part of the
bird. It's what I always ask for myself, when folks say, 'Mr Slick,
what part shall I help you to--a slice of the breast, a wing, a
side-bone, or the deacon's nose, or what?' Everybody laughs at that
last word, especially if there is a deacon at table, for it sounds
unctious, as he calls it, and he can excuse a joke on it. So he laughs
himself, in token of approbation of the tid-bits being reserved for
him. 'Give me the soul,' sais I; and this I will say, a most delicious
thing it is, too. Now, don't groan, Cutler--keep that for the
tooth-ache, or a campmeetin'; it's a waste of breath; for as we don't
exactly know where our own souls reside, what harm is there to pursue
such an interesting investigation as to our black brethren. My private
opinion is, if a nigger has one, it is located in his heel."

"Oh, Mr Slick!" said he, "oh!" and he held up both hands.

"Well," sais I, "Cutler, just listen to reason now, just hear me; you
have been all round the world, but never in it; now, I have been a
great deal in it, but don't care for goin' round it. It don't pay. Did
you ever see a nigger who had the gout? for they feed on the best, and
drink of the best, when they are household servants down south, and
often have the gout. If you have, did you ever hear one say, 'Get off
my toes?' No, never, nor any other created critter. They always say,
'Get off my heel.' They are all like Lucy Long, 'when her foot was in
the market-house, her heel was in Main-street.' It is the pride and
boast of a darky. His head is as thick as a ram's, but his heel is
very sensitive. Now, does the soul reside there? Did you ever study a
dead nigger's heel, as we do a horse's frog. All the feeling of a
horse is there. Wound that, and he never recovers; he is
foundered--his heart is broke. Now, if a nigger has a soul, and it
ain't in his gizzard, and can't in natur be in his skull, why, it
stands to reason it must be in his heel."

"Oh, Mr Slick," said Cutler, "I never thought I should have heard this
from you. It's downright profanity."

"It's no such thing," sais I, "it's merely a philosophical
investigation. Mr Cutler," sais I, "let us understand each other. I
have been brought up by a minister as well as you, and I believe your
father, the clergyman at Barnstaple, was as good a man as ever lived;
but Barnstaple is a small place. My dear old master, Mr Hopewell, was
an old man who had seen a great deal in his time, and knew a great
deal, for he had 'gone through the mill.'"

"What is that?" said he.

"Why," sais I, "when he was a boy, he was intended, like Washington,
for a land-surveyor, and studied that branch of business, and was to
go to the woods to lay out lots. Well, a day or two arter he was
diplomatised as a surveyor, he went to bathe in a mill-pond, and the
mill was a goin' like all statiee, and sucked him into the flume, and
he went through into the race below, and came out t'other side with
both his legs broke. It was a dreadful accident, and gave him serious
reflections, for as he lay in bed, he thought he might just as easily
have broke his neck. Well, in our country about Slickville, any man
arter that who was wise and had experience of life, was said to have
'gone through the mill.' Do you take?"

But he didn't answer.

"Well, your father and my good old friend brought us both up
religiously, and I hope taught us what was right. But, Mr Cutler--"

"Don't call me Mr," said he.

"Well, Cutler, then, I have been 'through the mill,' in that sense. I
have acquired a knowledge of the world; if I havn't, the kicks I have
taken must have fallen on barren ground. I know the chalk line in life
won't do always to travel by. If you go straight a-head, a bottomless
quag or a precipice will bring you up all standing as sure as fate.
Well, they don't stop me, for I give them the go-by, and make a level
line without a tunnel, or tubular bridge, or any other scientific
folly; I get to the end my own way--and it ain't a slow one neither.
Let me be, and put this in your pipe. I have set many a man straight
before now, but I never put one on the wrong road since I was raised.
I dare say you have heard I cheated in clocks--I never did. I have
sold a fellow one for five pounds that cost me one; skill did that.
Let him send to London, and get one of Barraud's, as father did, for
twenty-five pounds sterling. Will it keep better time? I guess not. Is
that a case of sell? Well, my knowledge of horse-flesh ain't to be
sneezed at. I buy one for fifty dollars and sell him for two hundred;
that's skill again--it ain't a cheat. A merchant, thinking a Russian
war inevitable, buys flour at four dollars a barrel, and sells it in a
month at sixteen. Is that a fraud? There is roguery in all trades but
our own. Let me alone therefore. There is wisdom sometimes in a fool's
answer; the learned are simple, the ignorant wise; hear them both;
above all, hear them out; and if they don't talk with a looseness,
draw them out. If Newman had talked as well as studied, he never would
have quitted his church. He didn't convince himself he was wrong; he
bothered himself, so he didn't at last know right from wrong. If other
folks had talked freely, they would have met him on the road, and told
him, 'You have lost your way, old boy; there is a river a-head of you,
and a very civil ferryman there; he will take you over free gratis for
nothing; but the deuce a bit will he bring you back, there is an
embargo that side of the water.' Now let me alone; I don't talk
nonsense for nothing, and when you tack this way and that way, and
beat the 'Black Hawk' up agen the wind, I won't tell you you don't
steer right on end on a bee line, and go as straight as a loon's leg.
Do you take?"

"I understand you," he said, "but still I don't see the use of saying
what you don't mean. Perhaps it's my ignorance or prejudice, or
whatever you choose to call it; but I dare say you know what you are
about."

"Cutler," sais I, "I warn't born yesterday. The truth is, so much
nonsense is talked about niggers, I feel riled when I think of it. It
actilly makes me feel spotty on the back.1 When I was to London last,
I was asked to attend a meetin' for foundin' a college for our
coloured brethren. Uncle Tom had set some folks half crazy, and others
half mad, and what he couldn't do Aunt Harriet did. 'Well,' sais I to
myself, 'is this bunkum, or what in natur is it? If I go, I shall be
set down as a spooney abolitionist; if I don't go, I shall be set down
as an overseer or nigger driver, and not a clockmaker. I can't please
nobody any way, and, what is wus, I don't believe I shall please Mr
Slick, no how I can fix it. Howsoever, I will go and see which way the
mule kicks.'


1 This extraordinary effect of anger and fear on animals was observed
centuries before America was discovered. Statius, a writer who fully
equals Mr Slick both in his affectation and bombast, thus alludes to
it:--

  "Qualis ubi audito venantum murmure tigris,
  Horruit in maculas."

  "As when the tigress hears the hunter's din,
  Dark angry spots distain her glossy skin."


"Well, Lord Blotherumskite jumps up, and makes a speech; and what do
you think he set about proving? Why, that darkies had immortal
souls--as if any created critter ever doubted it! and he pitched into
us Yankees and the poor colonists like a thousand of bricks. The fact
is, the way he painted us both out, one would think he doubted whether
we had any souls. The pious galls turned up the whites of their eyes
like ducks in thunder, as if they expected drakes to fall from the
skies, and the low church folks called out, 'Hear, hear,' as if he had
discovered the passage at the North Pole, which I do think might be
made of some use if it warn't blocked up with ice for everlastingly.
And he talked of that great big he-nigger, Uncle Tom Lavender, who was
as large as a bull buffalo. He said he only wished he was in the House
of Peers, for he would have astonished their lordships. Well, so far
he was correct, for if he had been in their hot room, I think Master
Lavender would have astonished their weak nerves so, not many would
have waited to be counted. There would soon have been a dispersion,
but there never would have been a division."

"Well, what did you do?" said Cutler.

"Kept my word," sais I, "as I always do. I seconded the motion, but I
gave them a dose of common sense, as a foundation to build upon. I
told them niggers must be prepared for liberty, and when they were
sufficiently instructed to receive and appreciate the blessing, they
must have elementary knowledge, furst in religion, and then in the
useful arts, before a college should be attempted, and so on, and then
took up my hat and walked out. Well, they almost hissed me, and the
sour virgins who bottled up all their humanity to pour out on the
niggers, actilly pointed at me, and called me a Yankee Pussyite. I had
some capital stories to excite 'em with, but I didn't think they were
worth the powder and shot. It takes a great many strange people,
Cutler," sais I, "to make a world. I used to like to put the leak into
folks wunst, but I have given it up in disgust now."

"Why?" sais he.

"Because," sais I, "if you put a leak into a cask that hain't got much
in it, the grounds and settlin's won't pay for the trouble. Our people
talk a great deal of nonsense about emancipation, but they know it's
all bunkum, and it serves to palmeteer on, and makes a pretty party
catch-word. But in England, it appears to me, they always like what
they don't understand, as niggers do Latin and Greek quotations in
sermons. But here is Sorrow. I suppose tea is ready, as the old ladies
say. Come, old boy," sais I to Cutler, "shake hands; we have the same
object in view, but sometimes we travel by different trains, that's
all. Come, let us go below. Ah, Sorrow," sais I, "something smells
good here; is it a moose steak? Take off that dish-cover."

"Ah, Massa," said he, as he removed it, "dat are is lubbly, dat are a
fac."

When I looked at it, I said very gravely--

"Take it away, Sorrow, I can't eat it; you have put the salt and
pepper on it before you broiled it, and drawn out all the juice. It's
as dry as leather. Take it away."

"Does you tink it would be a little more better if it was a little
more doner, Sar? People of 'finement, like you and me, sometime differ
in tastes. But, Massa, as to de salt, now how you talks! does you
railly tink dis here niggar hab no more sense den one ob dees stupid
white fishermen has? No, Massa; dis child knows his work, and is de
boy to do it, too. When de steak is een amost done, he score him
lengthway--dis way," passing a finger of his right hand over the palm
of the left, "and fill up de crack wid salt an pepper, den gub him one
turn more, and dat resolve it all beautiful. Oh no, Massa, moose meat
is naterally werry dry, like Yankee preacher when he got no baccy. So
I makes graby for him. Oh, here is some lubbly graby! Try dis, Massa.
My old missus in Varginy was werry ticular about her graby. She usen
to say, 'Sorrow, it tante fine clothes makes de gentleman, but a
delicate taste for soups, and grabys, and currys. Barbacues, roast
pigs, salt meat, and such coarse tings, is only fit for Congress men.'
I kirsait my graby, Massa, is done to de turn ob a hair, for dis child
is a rambitious niggar. Fust, Massa, I puts in a lump ob butter bout
size ob peace ob chalk, and a glass ob water, and den prinkle in flour
to make it look like milk, den put him on fire, and when he hiss, stir
him wid spoon to make him hush; den I adds inion, dat is fust biled to
take off de trong taste, eetle made mustard, and a pinch ob most
elegant super-superor yellow snuff."

"Snuff, you rascal!" said I, "how dare you? Take it away--throw it
overboard! Oh, Lord! to think of eating snuff! Was there ever anything
half so horrid since the world began? Sorrow, I thought you had better
broughtens up."

"Well, now, Massa," said he, "does you tink dis niggar hab no soul?"
and he went to the locker, and brought out a small square pint bottle,
and said, "Smell dat, Massa; dat are oliriferous, dat are a fac."

"Why, that's curry-powder," I said; "why don't you call things by
their right name?"

"Massa," said he, with a knowing wink, "dere it more snuff den is made
of baccy, dat are an undoubtable fac. De scent ob dat is so good, I
can smell it ashore amost. Den, Massa, when graby is all ready, and
distrained beautiful, dis child warms him up by de fire and stirs him;
but," and he put his finger on his nose, and looked me full in the
face, and paused, "but, Massa, it must be stir all de one way, or it
iles up, and de debbil hisself won't put him right no more."

"Sorrow," sais I, "you don't know nothin' about your business. Suppose
it did get iled up, any fool could set it right in a minute."

"Yes, yes, Massa," he said, "I know. I ab done it myself often--drink
it all up, and make it ober again, until all right wunst more;
sometimes I drink him up de matter ob two or tree times before he get
quite right."

"No," sais I, "take it off the fire, add two spoonsful of cold water,
heat it again, and stir it the right way, and it is as straight as a
boot-jack."

"Well, Massa," said he, and showed an unusual quantity of white in his
eyes, "well, Massa, you is actilly right. My ole missus taught me dat
secret herself, and I did actilly tink no libbin' soul but me and she
in de whole univarsal United States did know dat are, for I take my
oat on my last will and testament, I nebber tole nobody. But, Massa,"
said he, "I ab twenty different ways--ay, fifty different ways, to
make graby; but, at sea, one must do de best he can with nottin' to do
with, and when nottin' is simmered a week in nottin' by de fire, it
ain't nottin' of a job to sarve him up. Massa, if you will scuze me, I
will tell you what dis here niggar tinks on de subject ob his
perfession. Some grand folks, like missus, and de Queen ob England and
de Emperor ob Roosia, may be fust chop cooks, and I won't deny de fac;
and no tanks to 'em, for dere saucepans is all silber and gold; but I
have 'skivered dey don't know nuffin' about de right way to eat tings
after dey has gone done 'em. Me and Miss Phillesy Anne, de two
confdential sarvants, allers had de dinner sent into our room when
missus done gone feedin'. Missus was werry kind to us, and we nebber
stinted her in nuffin'. I allers gib her one bottle wine and
'no-he-no' (noyeau) more den was possible for her and her company to
want, and in course good conduct is allers rewarded, cause we had what
was left. Well, me and Miss Phillis used to dress up hansum for dinner
to set good sample to niggars, and two ob de coloured waiters tended
on us.

"So one day, said Miss Phillis to me: 'What shall I ab de honor to
help yaw to, Mr Sorrow?'

"'Aunt Phillis,' sais I, 'skuse me one minit, I ab made a grand
'skivery.'

"'What is dat, uncle,' sais she, 'you is so clebber! I clare you is
wort your weight in gold. What in natur would our dear missus do
widout you and me? for it was me 'skivered how to cure de pip in
chickens, and make de eggs all hatch out, roosters or hens; and how to
souse young turkeys like young children in cold water to prevent
staggers, but what is your wention, Mr Sorrow?'

"'Why,' sais I, 'aunty, skuse me one half second. What does you see
out ob dat winder, Sambo? you imperent rascal.'

"'Nuffin', Sar.'

"'Well, you black niggar, if you stare bout dat way, you will see
yourself flogged next time. If you ab no manners, I must teach you for
de credit ob de plantation; hold a plate to Miss Phillis right away.
Why, aunty,' sais I, 'dis is de 'skivery; a house must have solid
foundation, but a dinner a soft one--on count ob disgestion; so I
begins wid custard and jelly (dey tastes werry well together, and are
light on de stomac), den I takes a glass ob whisky to keep 'em from
turnin' sour; dat is de first step. Sambo, pour me out some. Second
one is presarves, ices, fruits--strawberry and cream, or mustache
churnings (pistachio cream) and if dey is skilful stowed, den de cargo
don't shift under de hatches--arter dat comes punkin pie, pineapple
tarts, and raspberry Charlotte.'

"'Mr Sorrow,' sais aunty, 'I is actilly ashamed ob you to name a dish
arter a yaller gall dat way, and call it Charlotte; it's ondecent,
specially afore dese niggars.'

"'Law sakes,' sais I, 'Miss Phillis, does you tink I ab no sense; I
hate a yaller gall as I do pyson.'

"'So does I,' said she, 'dey is neither chalk nor cheese; dey is a
disgrace to de plantation dey is on; but raspberry Charlotte is a name
I nebber heard tell ob for a dish."

"'Why, how you talks,' sais I. 'Well, den is de time for fish, such as
stewed rocks.'

"'Now you is a funnin',' sais aunty, 'isn't you? how on airth do you
stew rocks? yah! yah! yah!'

"'Easy as kiss my hand to you,' sais I, 'and if dere be no fish (and
dat white Yankee oberseer is so cussed lazy bout catchin' of dem, I
must struct missus to discharge him). Den dere is two nice little
genteel dishes, 'birds in de grobe,' and 'plover on de shore,' and den
top off wid soup; and I ain't particular about dat, so long as I ab de
best; and dat, Miss Phillis, makes a grand soft bed, you see, for
stantials like beef or mutton, or ham, or venson, to lay down easy
on.'

"'Well, you is a wonderful man, Mr Sorrow,' sais Miss Phillis, 'I do
really tink dat stands to reason and experience. When I married my
fiff husband--no, it warn't my fiff, it was my sixth--I had lubly baby
tree month old, and my old man killed it maken speriments. He would
give it soup and minced veal to make it trong. Sais I, 'Mr Caesar, dat
ain't natur; fust you know it must ab milk, den pap, and so on in
order.' Sais he, 'I allus feeds master's young bull-dogs on raw meat.'
Well, Caesar died dat same identical night child did (and she gub me a
wink); 'sunthen disagreed wid him also that he eat.' ('Oh Massa,' he
continued, 'bears dat ab cubs and women dat ab childern is dangerous.)
'Mr Sorrow,' said she, 'dat is a great 'skivery of yourn; you'd best
tell missus.'

"'I is most afeard she is too much a slave to fashion,' sais I.

"'Uncle,' said she, 'you mustn't say dat ob dear Miss Lunn, or I must
decline de onor to dine wid you. It ain't spectful. Mr Sorrow, my
missus ain't de slave ob fashion--she sets it, by golly!' and she
stood up quite dignant.

"'Sambo, clar out ob dis dinin' room quick stick,' sais I to de
waiter; 'you is so fond ob lookin' out on de field, you shall go work
dere, you lazy hound; walk out ob de room dis minit; when I has
finished my dinner, I will make you jine de labor gang. Miss Phillis,
do resume your seat agin, you is right as you allus is; shall I ab de
honour to take glass ob wine wid you?'

"Now, Massa, try dat 'skivery; you will be able to eat tree times as
much as you do now. Arter dat invention, I used to enjoy my sleep
grand. I went into de hottest place in de sun, laid up my face to him,
and sleep like a cedar stump, but den I allus put my veil on."

"To keep the flies off?" said I.

"Lordy gracious! no, master, dey nebber trouble me; dey is afraid in
de dark, and when dey see me, dey tink it is night, and cut off."

"What is the use of it, then?"

"To save my complexion, Massa; I is afraid it will fade white. Yah,
yah, yah!"

While we were engaged in eating our steak, he put some glasses on the
table and handed me a black bottle, about two-thirds full, and said,
"Massa, dis here fog ab got down my troat, and up into my head, and
most kill me, I can't tell wedder dat is wine or rum, I is almost
clean gwine distracted. Will Massa please to tell me?"

I knew what he was at, so sais I, "If you can't smell it, taste it."
Well, he poured a glass so full, nobody but a nigger could have
reached his mouth with it without spilling. When he had swallowed it
he looked still more puzzled.

"Peers to me," he said, "dat is wine, he is so mild, and den it peers
to me it's rum, for when it gets down to de stomach he feel so good.
But dis child ab lost his taste, his smell, and his finement,
altogedder."

He then poured out another bumper, and as soon as he had tossed it
off, said, "Dat is de clear grit; dat is oleriferous--wake de dead
amost, it is de genuine piticular old Jamaicky, and no mistake. I must
put dat bottle back and give you todder one, dat must be wine for
sartain, for it is chock full, but rum vaporates bery fast when de
cork is drawn. Missus used to say, 'Sorrow, meat, when kept, comes
bery high, but rum gets bery low.'"

"Happy fellow and lucky fellow too, for what white man in your
situation would be treated so kindly and familiarly as you are? The
fact is, Doctor, the negroes of America, as a class, whether slaves or
free men, experience more real consideration, and are more
comfortable, than the peasants of almost any country in Europe. Their
notions of the origin of white men are very droll, when the things are
removed I will make him give you his idea on the subject.

"Sorrow," said I, "what colour was Adam and Eve?"

"Oh, Massa," said he, "don't go for to ask dis child what you knows
yourself better nor what he does. I will tell you some oder time, I is
bery poorly just now, dis uncountable fog ab got into my bones. Dis is
shocking bad country for niggars; oh, dere is nuffin' like de lubbly
sout; it's a nateral home for blackies.


  'In Souf Carolina de niggars grow
  If de white man will only plant his toe,
  Den dey water de ground wid baccy smoke,
  And out ob de soil dere heads will poke.
  Ring de hoop, blow de horn,
  I nebber see de like since I was born,
  Way down in de counte-ree,
  Four or five mile from de ole Peedee.'


"Oh, Massa, dis coast is only fit for seals, porpoises, and dog-fish,
but not for gentleman, nor niggars, nor ladies. Oh, I berry bad," and
he pressed both hands on his stomach as if he was in great pain.

"Perhaps another glass of old Jamaica would set you right," I said.

"Massa, what a most a grand doctor you would ab made," he said. "Yah,
yah, yah--you know de wery identical medicine for de wery identical
disease, don't you? dat is just what natur was callin' for eber so
bad."

"Natur," sais I, "what's that, spell it."

"R-u-m," said he, "dat is human natur, and whiskey is soft sawder, it
tickle de troat so nice and go down so slick. Dem is de names my old
missus used to gib 'em. Oh, how she would a lubb'd you, if you had
spunked up to her and tied up to our plantation; she didn't fection
Yankees much, for dem and dead niggars is too cold to sleep with, and
cunnuchs (Canadians) she hated like pison, cause they 'ticed off
niggars; but she'd a took to you naterally, you is such a good cook. I
always tink, Massa, when folks take to eatin' same breakfast, same
lunch, same dinner, same tea, same supper, drinkin' same soup, lubbin'
same graby, and fectioning same preserves and pickles, and cakes and
pies, and wine, and cordials, and ice-creams, den dey plaguy soon
begin to rambition one anodder, and when dey do dat, dey is sure to
say, 'Sorrow, does you know how to make weddin' cake, and frost him,
and set him off partikelar jam, wid wices of all kinds, little
koopids, and cocks and hens, and bales of cotton, figs of baccy, and
ears of corn, and all sorts of pretty things done in clarfied sugar.
It do seem nateral to me, for when our young niggars go sparkin' and
spendin' evenings, dey most commonly marries. It stand to reason. But,
Massa, I is bery bad indeed wid dis dreadful pain in my infernal
parts--I is indeed. Oh," said he, smackin' his lips, and drainin' his
glass, "dat is def to a white man, but life to a niggar; dat is
sublime. What a pity it is though dey make de glasses so almighty
tunderin' small; de man dat inwented dem couldn't a had no remaginable
nose at all, dat are a fac."

"But the colour of Adam?" said I.

"Oh, Massa," he said, "you knows bery well he was a black gentleman,
and Missus Eve a most splendid Swanga black lady. Oh yes, Massa, dey
were made black to enjoy de grand warm sun. Well, Cain was a wicked
man, cause he killed his brudder. So de Lord say to him one day,
'Cain, where is your brudder?' 'I don't know, Massa,' said he, 'I
didn't see him nowhere.' Well, de next time he asked him de sef-same
question, and he answered quite sarcy, 'How in de world does I know,'
sais he, 'I ain't my brudder's keeper.' Well, afore he know'd where he
was, de Lord said to him, in a voice of tunder, 'You murdered him, you
villain!' And Cain, he was so scared, he turned white dat very
instant. He nebber could stand heat, nor enjoy summer no more again,
nor none ob his childer arter him, but Abel's children remain black to
dis day. Fac, Massa, fac, I does assure you. When you like supper,
Massa?"

"At ten o'clock," sais I.

"Well, den, I will go and get sunthen nice for you. Oh! my ole missus
was a lubbly cook; I don't believe in my heart de Queen ob England
could hold a candle to her! she knowed twenty-two and a half ways to
cook Indian corn, and ten or twelve ob 'em she inwented herself dat
was de stonishment ob ebbery one."

"Half a way," I said, "what do you mean by that?"

"Why, Massa, de common slommachy way people ab ob boiling it on de
cob; dat she said was only half a way. Oh, Lordy gracious, one way she
wented, de corn was as white as snow, as light as puff, and so
delicate it disgested itself in de mout."

"You can go," said Cutler.

"Tankee, Massa," said Sorrow, with a mingled air of submission and
fun, as much as to say, "I guess I don't want leave for that, anyhow,
but I thank you all the same as if I did," and making a scrape of his
hind-leg, he retired.

"Slick," said Cutler, "it isn't right to allow that nigger to swallow
so much rum! How can one wonder at their degradation, when a man like
you permits them to drink in that manner?"

"Exactly," sais I, "you think and talk like all abolitionists, as my
old friend Colonel Crockett used to say, the Yankees always do. He
said, 'When they sent them to pick their cherries, they made them
whistle all the time, so that they couldn't eat any.' I understand
blacks better than you do. Lock up your liquor and they will steal it,
for their moral perceptions are weak. Trust them, and teach them to
use, and not abuse it. Do that, and they will be grateful, and prove
themselves trustworthy. That fellow's drinking is more for the fun of
the thing than the love of liquor. Negroes are not drunkards. They are
droll boys; but, Cutler, long before thrashing machines were invented,
there was a command, 'not to muzzle the ox that treadeth out the
corn.' Put that in your pipe, my boy, the next time you prepare your
Kinnikennic for smoking, will you?"

"'Kinnikennic,'" said the doctor, "what under the sun is that?"

"A composition," sais I, "of dry leaves of certain aromatic plants and
barks of various kinds of trees, an excellent substitute for tobacco,
but when mixed with it, something super-superior. If we can get into
the woods, I will show you how to prepare it; but, Doctor," sais I, "I
build no theories on the subject of the Africans; I leave their
construction to other and wiser men than myself. Here is a sample of
the raw material, can it be manufactured into civilization of a high
order? Q stands for query, don't it? Well, all I shall do is to put a
Q to it, and let politicians answer it; but I can't help thinking
there is some truth in the old saw, 'Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis
folly to be wise.'"



                             CHAPTER XIV.

                           FEMALE COLLEGES.


After Sorrow had retired, we lighted our cigars, and turned to for a
chat, if chat it can be called one, where I did most of the talking
myself.

"Doctor," said I, "I wish I had had more time to have examined your
collection of minerals. I had no idea Nova Scotia could boast of such
an infinite variety of them. You could have taught me more in
conversation in five minutes than I could have learned by books in a
month. You are a mineralogist, and I am sorry to say I ain't, though
every boarding-school miss now-a-days in our country consaits she is.
They are up to trap at any rate, if nothing else, you may depend," and
I gave him a wink.

"Now don't, Slick," said he, "now don't set me off, that's a good
fellow."

"'Mr Slick,' said a young lady of about twelve years of age to me
wunst, 'do you know what gray wackey is? for I do.'

"'Don't I,' sais I; 'I know it to my cost. Lord! how my old master
used to lay it on!'

"'Lay it on!' she said, 'I thought it reposed on a primitive bed.'

"'No it don't,' said I. 'And if anybody knows what gray wackey is, I
ought; but I don't find it so easy to repose after it as you may. Gray
means the gray birch rod, dear, and wackey means layin' it on. We
always called it gray whackey in school, when a feller was catching
particular Moses.'

"'Why, how ignorant you are!' said she. 'Do you know what them mining
tarms, clinch, parting, and black bat means?'

"'Why, in course I do!' sais I; 'clinch is marrying, parting is
getting divorced, and black bat is where a fellow beats his wife black
and blue."

"'Pooh!' said she, 'you don't know nothing.'

"'Well,' sais I, 'what do you know?'

"'Why,' said she, 'I know Spanish and mathematics, ichthiology and
conchology, astronomy and dancing, mineralogy and animal magnetism,
and German and chemistry, and French and botany. Yes, and the use of
the globes too. Can you tell me what attraction and repulsion is?'

"'To be sure I can,' said I, and I drew her on my knee and kissed her.
'That's attraction, dear.' And when she kicked and screamed as cross
as two cats, 'that, my pretty one,' I said, 'is repulsion. Now I know
a great many things you don't. Can you hem a pocket-handkerchief?'

"'No.'

"'Nor make a pudding?'

"'No.'

"'Nor make Kentucky batter?'

"'No.'

"'Well, do you know any useful thing in life?'

"'Yes, I do; I can sing, and play on the piano, and write valentines,'
sais she, 'so get out.' And she walked away, quite dignified,
muttering to herself, 'Make a pudding, eh! well, I want to know!'

"Thinks I to myself, my pretty little may-flower, in this everlastin'
progressive nation of ourn, where the wheel of fortune never stops
turning day or night, and them that's at the top one minute are down
in the dirt the next, you may say, "'I want to know' before you die,
and be very glad to change your tune, and say, 'Thank heaven I do
know!'"

"Is that a joke of yours," said the doctor, "about the young girl's
geology, or is it really a fact?"

"Fact, I assure you," said I. "And to prove it I'll tell you a story
about a Female College that will show you what pains we take to spoil
our young ladies to home. Miss Liddy Adams, who was proprietor and
'dentess (presidentess) of a Female College to Onionville, was a
relation of mother's, and I knew her when she was quite a young shoat
of a thing to Slickville. I shall never forget a flight into Egypt I
caused once in her establishment. When I returned from the embassy, I
stopped a day in Onionville, near her university--for that was the
name she gave hern; and thinks I, I will just call and look in on Lid
for old acquaintance' sake, and see how she is figuring it out in
life. Well, I raps away with the knocker as loud as possible, as much
as to say, Make haste, for there is somebody here, when a tall spare
gall with a vinegar face opened the door just wide enough to show her
profile, and hide her back gear, and stood to hear what I had to say.
I never see so spare a gall since I was raised. Pharaoh's lean kine
warn't the smallest part of a circumstance to her. She was so thin,
she actilly seemed as if she would have to lean agin the wall to
support herself when she scolded, and I had to look twice at her
before I could see her at all, for I warn't sure she warn't her own
shadow."

"Good gracious!" said the doctor, "what a description! but go on."

"'Is the mistress to home?' said I.

"'I have no mistress,' said she.

"'I didn't say you had,' sais I, 'for I knew you hadn't afore you
spoke.'

"'How did you know that?' said she.

"'Because,' sais I, 'seein' so handsome a lady as you, I thought you
was one of the professors; and then I thought you must be the mistress
herself, and was a thinking how likely she had grow'd since I seed her
last. Are you one of the class-teachers?'

"It bothered her; she didn't know whether it was impudence or
admiration; but when a woman arbitrates on a case she is interested
in, she always gives an award in her own favour.

"'Walk in, Sir,' said she, 'and I will see,' and she backed and backed
before me, not out of deference to me, but to the onfastened hooks of
her gown, and threw a door open. On the opposite side was a large room
filled with galls, peeping and looking over each other's shoulders at
me, for it was intermission.

"'Are these your pupils?' sais I; and before she could speak, I went
right past into the midst of 'em. Oh, what a scuddin' and screamin'
there was among them! A rocket explodin' there couldn't a done more
mischief. They tumbled over chairs, upsot tables, and went head and
heels over each other like anything, shouting out, 'A man! a man!'

"'Where--where?' sais I, a chasin' of them, 'show him to me, and I'll
soon clear him out. What is he a doing of?'

"It was the greatest fun you ever see. Out they flew through the door
at the other eend of the room, some up and some down-stairs, singing
out, 'A man! a man!' till I thought they would have hallooed their
daylights out. Away I flew after them, calling out, 'Where is he? show
him to me, and I'll soon pitch into him!' when who should I see but
Miss Liddy in the entry, as stiff and as starch as a stand-up shirt
collar of a frosty day. She looked like a large pale icicle, standing
up on its broad end, and cold enough to give you the ague to look at
her.

"'Mr Slick,' said she, 'may I ask what is the meaning of all this
unseemly behaviour in the presence of young ladies of the first
families in the State?'

"Says I, 'Miss Adam,' for as she used the word Mr as a handle to me, I
thought I'de take a pull at the Miss,' some robber or housebreaker has
got in, I rather think, and scared the young feminine gender students,
for they seemed to be running after somebody, and I thought I would
assist them.'

"'May I ask, Sir,' a drawin' of herself up to her full height, as
straight and as prim as a Lombardy poplar, or rather, a bull-rush, for
that's all one size. 'May I ask, Sir, what is the object of your visit
here--at a place where no gentlemen are received but the parents or
guardians of some of the children.'

"I was as mad as a hatter; I felt a little bit vain of the embassy to
London, and my Paris dress, particularly my boots and gloves, and all
that, and I will admit, there is no use talkin', I rather kinder
sorter thought she would be proud of the connection. I am a
good-natured man in a general way when I am pleased, but it ain't safe
to ryle me, I tell you. When I am spotty on the back, I am dangerous.
I bit in my breath, and tried to look cool, for I was determined to
take revenge out of her.

"'Allow me to say, Sir,' said she, a perkin' up her mouth like the end
of a silk purse, 'that I think your intrusion is as unwelcome as it is
unpardonable. May I ask the favour of you to withdraw? if not, I must
introduce you to the watchman.'

"'I came,' sais I, 'Miss Adam, having heard of your distinguished
college in the saloons of Paris and London, to make a proposal to you;
but, like a bull--'

"'Oh dear!' said she, 'to think I should have lived to hear such a
horrid word, in this abode of learning!'

"'But,' I went on without stopping, 'like a bull in a chiny-shop, I
see I have got into the wrong pew; so nothin' remains for me but to
beg pardon, keep my proposal for where it will be civilly received, at
least, and back out.'

"She was as puzzled as the maid. But women ain't throwed off their
guard easily. If they are in a dark place, they can feel their way
out, if they can't see it. So says she, dubious like:

"'About a child, I suppose?'

"'It is customary in Europe,' sais I, 'I believe, to talk about the
marriage first, isn't it? but I have been so much abroad, I am not
certified as to usages here.'

"Oh, warn't she brought to a hack! She had a great mind to order me
out, but then that word 'proposal' was one she had only seen in a
dictionary--she had never heard it; and it is such a pretty one, and
sounded so nice to the ear; and then that word 'marriage' was used
also, so it carried the day.

"'This is not a place, Mr Slick, for foundlings, I'de have you to
know,' she said, with an air of disgust, 'but children whose parents
are of the first class of society. If,' and she paused and looked at
me scrutinisin', 'if your proposals are of that nature, walk in here,
Sir, if you please, where our conversation will not be over-heard.
Pray be seated. May I ask, what is the nature of the proposition with
which you design to honour me?' and she gave me a smile that would
pass for one of graciousness and sweet temper, or of encouragement. It
hadn't a decided character, and was a non-committal one. She was doin'
quite the lady, but I consaited her ear was itching to hear what I had
to say, for she put a finger up, with a beautiful diamond ring on it,
and brushed a fly off with it; but, after all, perhaps it was only to
show her lily-white hand, which merely wanted a run at grass on the
after-feed to fatten it up, and make it look quite beautiful.

"'Certainly,' sais I, 'you may ask any question of the kind you like.'

"It took her aback, for she requested leave to ask, and I granted it;
but she meant it different.

"Thinks I, 'My pretty grammarian, there is a little grain of
difference between, 'May I ask,' and, 'I must ask.' Try it again.'

"She didn't speak for a minute; so to relieve her, sais I:

"'When I look round here, and see how charmingly you are located, and
what your occupation is, I hardly think you would feel disposed to
leave it; so perhaps I may as well forbear the proposal, as it isn't
pleasant to be refused.'

"'It depends,' she said, 'upon what the nature of those proposals are,
Mr Slick, and who makes them,' and this time she did give a look of
great complacency and kindness. 'Do put down your hat, Sir. I have
read your Clockmaker,' she continued; 'I really feel quite proud of
the relationship; but I hope you will excuse me for asking, Why did
you put your own name to it, and call it 'Sam Slick the Clockmaker,'
now that you are a distinguished diplomatist, and a member of our
embassy at the court of Victoria the First? It's not an elegant
appellation that, of Clockmaker,' sais she, 'is it?' (She had found
her tongue now.) 'Sam Slick the Clockmaker, a factorist of wooden
clocks especially, sounds trady, and will impede the rise of a
colossal reputation, which has already one foot in the St Lawrence,
and the other in the Mississippi.'

"'And sneezes in the Chesapeake,' sais I.

"'Oh,' said she, in the blandest manner, 'how like you, Mr Slick! you
don't spare a joke even on yourself. You see fun in everything.'

"'Better,' sais I, 'than seeing harm in everything, as them galls--'

"'Young ladies,' said she.

"'Well, young ladies, who saw harm in me because I was a man. What
harm is there in their seeing a man? You ain't frightened at one, are
you, Liddy?'

"She evaded that with a smile, as much as to say, 'Well, I ain't much
skeered, that's a fact.'

"'Mr Slick, it is a subject not worth while pursuing,' she replied.
'You know the sensitiveness, nervous delicacy, and scrupulous
innocence of the fair sex in this country, and I may speak plainly to
you as a man of the world. You must perceive how destructive of all
modesty in their juvenile minds, when impressions are so easily made,
it would be to familiarise their youthful eyes to the larger limbs of
gentlemen enveloped in pantaloons. To speak plainly, I am sure I
needn't tell you it ain't decent.'

"'Well,' sais I, 'it wouldn't be decent if they wern't enveloped in
them.'

"She looked down to blush, but it didn't come natural, so she looked
up and smiled (as much as to say, do get out you impudent critter. I
know its bunkum as well as you do, but don't bother me. I have a part
to play.) Then she rose and looked at her watch, and said the lecture
hour for botany has come.

"'Well,' sais I, a taking up my hat, 'that's a charming study, the
loves of the plants, for young ladies, ain't it? they begin with
natur, you see, and--(well, she couldn't help laughing). 'But I see
you are engaged.'

"'Me,' said she, 'I assure you, Sir, I know people used to say so,
afore General Peleg Smith went to Texas.'

"'What that scallawag,' said I. 'Why, that fellow ought to be kicked
out of all refined society. How could you associate with a man who had
no more decency than to expect folks to call him by name!'

"'How?' said she.

"'Why,' sais I, 'what delicate-minded woman could ever bring herself
to say Pe-leg. If he had called himself Hujacious Smith, or
Larger-limb Smith, or something of that kind, it would have done, but
Peleg is downright ondecent. I had to leave Boston wunst a whole
winter, for making a mistake of that kind. I met Miss Sperm one day
from Nantucket, and says I, 'Did you see me yesterday, with those two
elegant galls from Albany?'

"'No,' said she, 'I didn't.'

"'Strange, too,' said I, 'for I was most sure I caught a glimpse of
you, on the other side of the street, and I wanted to introduce you to
them, but warn't quite sartain it was you. My,' sais I, 'didn't you
see a very unfashionable dressed man' (and I looked down at my Paris
boots, as if I was doing modest), 'with two angeliferous females? Why,
I had a leg on each arm.'

"She fairly screamed out at that expression, rushed into a milliner's
shop, and cried like a gardner's watering-pot. The names she called me
ain't no matter. They were the two Miss Legges of Albany, and cut a
tall swarth, I tell you, for they say they are descended from a
govenor of Nova Scotia, when good men, according to their tell, could
be found for govenors, and that their relations in England are some
pumpkins, too. I was as innocent as a child, Letty.'

"'Well,' said she, 'you are the most difficult man to understand I
ever see--there is no telling whether you are in fun or in earnest.
But as I was a saying, there was some such talk afore General Smith
went to Texas; but that story was raised by the Pawtaxet College
folks, to injure this institution. They did all they could to tear my
reputation to chitlins. Me engaged, I should like to see the man
that--'

"'Well, you seemed plaguey scared at one just now,' sais I. 'I am sure
it was a strange way to show you would like to see a man.'

"'I didn't say that,' she replied, 'but you take one up so quick.'

"'It's a way I have,' said I, 'and always had, since you and I was to
singing-school together, and larnt sharps, flats, and naturals. It was
a crotchet of mine,' and I just whipped my arm round her waist, took
her up and kissed her afore she knowed where she was. Oh Lordy! Out
came her comb, and down fell her hair to her waist, like a mill-dam
broke loose; and two false curls and a braid fell on the floor, and
her frill took to dancin' round, and got wrong side afore, and one of
her shoes slipt off, and she really looked as if she had been in an
indgian-scrimmage and was ready for scalpin'.

"'Then you ain't engaged, Liddy,' sais I; 'how glad I am to hear that,
it makes my heart jump, and cherries is ripe now, and I will help you
up into the tree, as I used to did when you and I was boy and gall
together. It does seem so nateral, Liddy, to have a game of romps with
you again; it makes me feel as young as a two-year-old. How beautiful
you do look, too! My, what a pity you is shut up here, with these
young galls all day, talking by the yard about the corrallas, calyxes,
and staminas of flowers, while you


  "'Are doom'd to blush unseen,
  And waste your sweetness on the desert air.'


"'Oh,' said she, 'Sam, I must cut and run, and 'blush unseen,' that's
a fact, or I'm ruinated,' and she up curls, comb, braid, and shoe, and
off like a shot into a bed-room that adjoined the parlour, and bolted
the door, and double-locked it, as if she was afraid an attachment was
to be levied on her and her chattels, by the sheriff, and I was a
bum-bailiff.

"Thinks I, old gall, I'll pay you off for treating me the way you did
just now, as sure as the world. 'May I ask, Mr Slick, what is the
object of this visit?' A pretty way to receive a cousin that you
haven't seen so long, ain't it? and though I say it that shouldn't say
it, that cousin, too, Sam Slick, the attaché to our embassy to the
Court of Victoria, Buckingham Palace. You couldn't a treated me wuss
if I had been one of the liveried, powdered, bedizened, be-bloated
footmen from 't'other big house there of Aunt Harriette's.' I'll make
you come down from your stilts, and walk naterel, I know, see if I
don't.

"Presently she returned, all set to rights, and a little righter, too,
for she had put a touch of rouge on to make the blush stick better,
and her hair was slicked up snugger than before, and looked as if it
had growed like anything. She had also slipped a handsome habit-shirt
on, and she looked, take her altogether, as if, though she warn't
engaged, she ought to have been afore the last five hot summers came,
and the general thaw had commenced in the spring, and she had got
thin, and out of condition. She put her hand on her heart, and said,
'I am so skared, Sam, I feel all over of a twitteration. The way you
act is horrid.'

"'So do I,' sais I, 'Liddy, it's so long since you and I used to--'

"'You ain't altered a bit, Sam,' said she, for the starch was coming
out, 'from what you was, only you are more forrider. Our young men,
when they go abroad, come back and talk so free and easy, and take
such liberties, and say it's the fashion in Paris, it's quite
scandalous. Now, if you dare to do the like again, I'll never speak to
you the longest day I ever live, I'll go right off and leave, see if I
don't.'

"'Oh, I see, I have offended you,' sais I, 'you are not in a humour to
consent now, so I will call again some other time.'

"'This lecture on botany must now be postponed,' she said, 'for the
hour is out some time ago. If you will be seated, I will set the young
students at embroidery instead, and return for a short time, for it
does seem so nateral to see you, Sam, you saucy boy,' and she pinched
my ear, 'it reminds one, don't it, of bygones?' and she hung her head
a one side, and looked sentimental.

"'Of by-gone larks,' said I.

"'Hush, Sam,' she said, 'don't talk so loud, that's a dear soul. Oh,
if anybody had come in just then, and caught us.'

("Us," thinks I to myself, "I thought you had no objection to it, and
only struggled enough for modesty-like; and I did think you would have
said, caught you.")

"'I would have been ruinated for ever and ever, and amen, and the
college broke up, and my position in the literary, scientific, and
intellectual world scorched, withered, and blasted for ever. Ain't my
cheek all burning, Sam? it feels as if it was all a-fire;' and she put
it near enough for me to see, and feel tempted beyond my strength.
'Don't it look horrid inflamed, dear?' And she danced out of the room,
as if she was skipping a rope.

"Well, well," sais I, when she took herself off. "What a world this
is! This is evangelical learning; girls are taught in one room to
faint or scream if they see a man, as if he was an incarnation of sin;
and yet they are all educated and trained to think the sole object of
life is to win, not convert, but win one of these sinners. In the next
room propriety, dignity, and decorum, romp with a man in a way to make
even his sallow face blush. Teach a child there is harm in everything,
however innocent, and so soon as it discovers the cheat, it won't see
no sin in anything. That's the reason deacons' sons seldom turn out
well, and preachers' daughters are married through a window. Innocence
is the sweetest thing in the world, and there is more of it than folks
generally imagine. If you want some to transplant, don't seek it in
the enclosures of cant, for it has only counterfeit ones, but go to
the gardens of truth and of sense. Coërced innocence is like an
imprisoned lark, open the door and it's off for ever. The bird that
roams through the sky and the groves unrestrained knows how to dodge
the hawk and protect itself, but the caged one, the moment it leaves
its bars and bolts behind, is pounced upon by the fowler or the
vulture.

"Puritans, whether in or out of the church (for there is a whole squad
of 'em in it, like rats in a house who eat up its bread and undermine
its walls), make more sinners than they save by a long chalk. They
ain't content with real sin, the pattern ain't sufficient for a cloak,
so they sew on several breadths of artificial offences, and that makes
one big enough to wrap round them, and cover their own deformity. It
enlarges the margin, and the book, and gives more texts.

"Their eyes are like the great magnifier at the Polytechnic, that
shows you many-headed, many-armed, many-footed, and many-tailed awful
monsters in a drop of water, which were never intended for us to see,
or Providence would have made our eyes like Lord Rosse's telescope
(which discloses the secrets of the moon), and given us springs that
had none of these canables in 'em. Water is our drink, and it was made
for us to take when we were dry, and be thankful. After I first saw
one of these drops, like an old cheese chock full of livin' things, I
couldn't drink nothing but pure gin or brandy for a week. I was scared
to death. I consaited when I went to bed I could audibly feel these
critters fightin' like Turks and minin' my inerds, and I got narvous
lest my stomach like a citadel might be blowed up and the works
destroyed. It was frightful.

"At last I sot up and said, Sam, where is all your common sense gone?
You used to have a considerable sized phial of it, I hope you ain't
lost the cork and let it all run out. So I put myself in the
witness-stand, and asked myself a few questions.

"'Water was made to drink, warn't it?'

"'That's a fact.'

"'You can't see them critters in it with your naked eye?'

"'I can't see them at all, neither naked or dressed.'

"'Then it warn't intended you should?'

"'Seems as if it wasn't,' sais I.

"'Then drink, and don't be skeered.'

"'I'll be darned if I don't, for who knows them wee-monstrosities
don't help digestion, or feed on human pyson. They warn't put into
Adam's ale for nothin', that's a fact.'

"It seems as if they warn't,' sais I. 'So now I'll go to sleep.'

"Well, puritans' eyes are like them magnifiers; they see the devil in
everything but themselves, where he is plaguy apt to be found by them
that want him; for he feels at home in their company. One time they
vow he is a dancin' master, and moves his feet so quick folks can't
see they are cloven, another time a music master, and teaches children
to open their mouths and not their nostrils in singing. Now he is a
tailor or milliner, and makes fashionable garments; and then a manager
of a theatre, which is the most awful place in the world; it is a
reflex of life, and the reflection is always worse than the original,
as a man's shadow is more dangerous than he is. But worst of all, they
solemnly affirm, for they don't swear, he comes sometimes in lawn
sleeves, and looks like a bishop, which is popery, or in the garb of
high churchmen, who are all Jesuits. Is it any wonder these cantin'
fellows pervert the understanding, sap the principles, corrupt the
heart, and destroy the happiness of so many? Poor dear old Minister
used to say, 'Sam, you must instruct your conscience; for an ignorant
or superstitious conscience is a snare to the unwary. If you think a
thing is wrong that is not, and do it, then you sin, because you are
doing what you believe in your heart to be wicked. It is the intention
that constitutes the crime.' Those sour crouts therefore, by creating
artificial and imitation sin in such abundance, make real sin of no
sort of consequence, and the world is so chock full of it, a fellow
gets careless at last and won't get out of its way, it's so much
trouble to pick his steps.

"Well, I was off in a brown study so deep about artificial sins, I
didn't hear Liddy come in, she shut the door so softly and trod on
tiptoes so light on the carpet. The first thing I knew was I felt her
hands on my head, as she stood behind me, a dividin' of my hair with
her fingers.

"'Why, Sam,' said she, 'as I'm a livin' sinner if you ain't got some
white hairs in your head, and there is a little bald patch here right
on the crown. How strange it is! It only seems like yesterday you was
a curly-headed boy.'

"'Yes,' sais I, and I hove a sigh so loud it made the window jar; 'but
I have seen a great deal of trouble since then. I lost two wives in
Europe.'

"'Now do tell,' said she. 'Why you don't!--oh, jimminy criminy! two
wives! How was it, poor Sam?' and she kissed the bald spot on my pate,
and took a rockin'-chair and sat opposite to me, and began rockin'
backwards and forwards like a fellow sawin' wood. 'How was it, Sam,
dear?'

"'Why,' sais I, 'first and foremost, Liddy, I married a fashionable
lady to London. Well, bein' out night arter night at balls and operas,
and what not, she got kinder used up and beat out, and unbeknownst to
me used to take opium. Well, one night she took too much, and in the
morning she was as dead as a herring.'

"'Did she make a pretty corpse?' said Lid, lookin' very sanctimonious.
'Did she lay out handsum? They say prussic acid makes lovely corpses;
it keeps the eyes from fallin' in. Next to dyin' happy, the greatest
thing is to die pretty. Ugly corpses frighten sinners, but elegant
ones win them.'

"'The most lovely subject you ever beheld,' said I. 'She looked as if
she was only asleep; she didn't stiffen at all, but was as limber as
ever you see. Her hair fell over her neck and shoulders in beautiful
curls just like yourn; and she had on her fingers the splendid diamond
rings I gave her; she was too fatigued to take 'em off when she
retired the night afore. I felt proud of her even in death, I do
assure you. She was handsome enough to eat. I went to ambassador's to
consult him about the funeral, whether it should be a state affair,
with all the whole diplomatic corps of the court to attend it, or a
private one. But he advised a private one; he said it best comported
with our dignified simplicity as republicans, and, although cost was
no object, still it was satisfactory to know it was far less expense.
When I came back she was gone.'

"'Gone!' said Liddy, 'gone where?'

"'Gone to the devil, dear, I suppose.'

"'Oh my!' said she. 'Well, I never in all my born days! Oh, Sam, is
that the way to talk of the dead!'

"'In the dusk of the evening,' sais I, 'a carriage, they said, drove
to the door, and a coffin was carried up-stairs; but the undertaker
said it wouldn't fit, and it was taken back again for a larger one.
Just afore I went to bed, I went to the room to have another look at
her, and she was gone, and there was a letter on the table for me; it
contained a few words only.--'Dear Sam, my first husband is come to
life, and so have I. Goodbye, love."

"'Well, what did you do?'

"'Gave it out,' said I, 'she died of the cholera, and had to be buried
quick and private, and no one never knew to the contrary.'

"'Didn't it almost break your heart, Sammy?'

"'No,' sais I. 'In her hurry, she took my dressing-case instead of her
own, in which was all her own jewels, besides those I gave her, and
all our ready money. So I tried to resign myself to my loss, for it
might have been worse, you know,' and I looked as good as pie.

"'Well, if that don't beat all, I declare!' said she.

"'Liddy,' sais I, with a mock solemcoly air, 'every bane has its
antidote, and every misfortin its peculiar consolation.'

"'Oh, Sam, that showed the want of a high moral intellectual
education, didn't it?' said she. 'And yet you had the courage to marry
again?'

"'Well, I married,' sais I, 'next year in France a lady who had
refused one of Louis Philip's sons. Oh, what a splendid gall she was,
Liddy! she was the star of Paris. Poor thing! I lost her in six
weeks.'

"'Six weeks! Oh, Solomon!' said she, 'in six weeks.'

"'Yes,' sais I, 'in six short weeks.'

"'How was it, Sam? do tell me all about it; it's quite romantic. I
vow, it's like the Arabian Nights' Entertainment. You are so unlucky,
I swow I should be skeered--'

"'At what?' sais I.

"'Why, at--'

"She was caught there; she was a goin' to say, 'at marryin' you,' but
as she was a leadin' of me on, that wouldn't do. Doctor, you may catch
a gall sometimes, but if she has a mind to, she can escape if she
chooses, for they are as slippery as eels. So she pretended to
hesitate on, till I asked her again.

"'Why,' sais she, a looking down, 'at sleeping alone tonight, after
hearing of these dreadful catastrophes.'

"'Oh,' sais I, 'is that all?'

"'But how did you lose her?' said she.

"'Why, she raced off,' said I, 'with the Turkish ambassador, and if I
had a got hold of him, I'de a lammed him wuss than the devil beatin'
tan-bark, I know. I'de a had his melt, if there was a bowie-knife out
of Kentucky.'

"'Did you go after her?'

"'Yes; but she cotched it afore I cotched her.'

"'How was that, Sam?'

"'Why, she wanted to sarve him the same way, with an officer of the
Russian Guards, and Mahomet caught her, sewed her up in a sack, and
throwed her neck and crop into the Bosphorus, to fatten eels for the
Greek ladies to keep Lent with.'

"'Why, how could you be so unfortunate?' said she.

"'That's a question I have often axed myself, Liddy,' sais I; 'but I
have come to this conclusion: London and Paris ain't no place for
galls to be trained in.'

"'So I have always said, and always will maintain to my dying day,'
she said, rising with great animation and pride. 'What do they teach
there but music, dancing, and drawing? The deuce a thing else; but
here is Spanish, French, German, Italian, botany, geology, mineralogy,
icthiology, conchology, theology--'

"'Do you teach angeolology and doxyology?' sais I.

"'Yes, angeolology and doxyology,' she said, not knowing what she was
a talking about.

"'And occult sciences?' sais I.

"'Yes, all the sciences. London and Paris, eh! Ask a lady from either
place if she knows the electric battery from the magnetic--'

"'Or a needle from a pole,' sais I.

"'Yes,' sais she, without listening, 'or any such question, and see if
she can answer it."

"She resumed her seat.

"'Forgive my enthusiasm,' she said, 'Sam, you know I always had a
great deal of that.'

"'I know,' said I, 'you had the smallest foot and ankle of anybody in
our country. My! what fine-spun glass heels you had! Where in the
world have you stowed them to?' pretendin' to look down for them.

"'Kept them to kick you with,' she said, 'if you are sassy.'

"Thinks I to myself, what next? as the woman said to the man who
kissed her in the tunnel, you are coming out, Liddy.

"'Kick,' said I, 'oh, you wouldn't try that, I am sure, let me do what
I would.'

"'Why not?' said she.

"'Why,' sais I, 'if you did you would have to kick so high, you would
expose one of the larger limbs.'

"'Mr Slick,' said she, 'I trust you will not so far forget what is due
to a lady, as to talk of showing her larger limbs, it's not decent.'

"'Well, I know it ain't decent,' said I, 'but you said you would do
it, and I just remonstrated a little, that's all.'

"'You was saying about London and Paris,' said she, 'being no place
for educating young ladies in.'

"'Yes,' sais I, 'that painful story of my two poor dear wives (which
is 'all in my eye,' as plain as it was then), illustrates my theory of
education in those two capitals. In London, females, who are a great
deal in society in the season, like a man who drinks, can't stop, they
are at it all the time, and like him, sometimes forget the way home
again. In Paris, galls are kept so much at home before marriage, when
they once get out, they don't want to enter the cage again. They are
the two extremes. If ever I marry, I'll tell you how I will lay down
the law. Pleasure shall be the recreation and not the business of life
with her. Home the rule--parties the exception. Duty first, amusement
second. Her head-quarters shall always be in her own house, but the
outposts will never be neglected.'

"'Nothin' like an American woman for an American man, is there?' said
she, and she drew nearer, lookin' up in my face to read the answer,
and didn't rock so hard.

"'It depends upon how they are brought up,' said I, looking wise.
'But, Liddy,' sais I, 'without joking, what an amazin' small foot that
is of yours. It always was, and wunst when it slipt through a branch
of the cherry-tree, do you recollect my saying, Well I vow that calf
was suckled by two cows? now don't you, Liddy?'

"'No, Sir,' said she, 'I don't, though children may say many things
that when they grow up they are ashamed to repeat; but I recollect
now, wunst when you and I went through the long grass to the
cherry-tree, your mother said, 'Liddy, beware you are not bit by a
garter-snake, and I never knew her meanin' till now;' and she rose up
and said, 'Mr Slick, I must bid you good morning.'

"'Liddy,' sais I, 'don't be so pesky starch, I'll be dod fetched if I
meant any harm, but you beat me all holler. I only spoke of the calf,
and you went a streak higher and talked of the garter.'

"'Sam,' said she, 'you was always the most impedent, forredest, and
pertest boy that ever was, and travellin' hain't improved you one mite
or morsel.'

"'I am sorry I have offended you, Liddy,' sais I, 'but really now, how
do you manage to teach all them things with hard names, for we never
even heard of them at Slickville? Have you any masters?'

"'Masters,' said she, 'the first one that entered this college would
ruin it for ever. What, a man in this college! where the juvenile
pupils belong to the first families--I guess not. I hire a young lady
to teach rudiments.'

"'So I should think,' sais I, 'from the specimen I saw at your door,
she was rude enough in all conscience.'

"'Pooh,' said she, 'well, I have a Swiss lady that teaches French,
German, Spanish, and Italian, and an English one that instructs in
music and drawing, and I teach history, geography, botany, and the
sciences, and so on.'

"'How on earth did you learn them all?' said I, 'for it puzzles me.'

"'Between you and me, Sam,' said she, 'for you know my broughtens up,
and it's no use to pretend--primary books does it all, there is
question and answer. I read the question, and they learn the answer.
It's the easiest thing in the world to teach now-a-days.'

"'But suppose you get beyond the rudiments?'

"'Oh, they never remain long enough to do that. They are brought out
before then. They go to Saratoga first in summer, and then to
Washington in winter, and are married right off after that. The
domestic, seclusive, and exclusive system, is found most conducive to
a high state of refinement and delicacy. I am doing well, Sam,' said
she, drawing nearer, and looking confidential in my face. 'I own all
this college, and all the lands about, and have laid up forty thousand
dollars besides;' and she nodded her head at me, and looked earnest,
as much as to say, 'That is a fact, ain't it grand?'

"'The devil you have,' said I, as if I had taken the bait. 'I had a
proposal to make.'

"'Oh,' said she, and she coloured up all over, and got up and said,
'Sam, won't you have a glass of wine, dear?' She intended it to give
me courage to speak out, and she went to a closet, and brought out a
tray with a decanter, and two or three glasses on it, and some frosted
plum-cake. 'Try that cake, dear,' she said, 'I made it myself, and
your dear old mother taught me how to do it;' and then she laid back
her head, and larfed like anything. 'Sam,' said she, 'what a memory
you have; I had forgot all about the cherry-tree, I don't recollect a
word of it.'

"'And the calf?' said I.

"'Get along,' said she, 'do get out;' and she took up some crumbs of
the cake, and made 'em into a ball as big as a cherry, and fired it at
me, and struck me in the eye with it, and nearly put it out. She
jumped up in a minit: 'Did she hurt her own poor cossy's eye?' she
said, 'and put it een amost out,' and she kissed it. 'It didn't hurt
his little peeper much, did it?'

"Hullo, sais I to myself, she's coming it too peeowerful strong
altogether. The sooner I dig out the better for my wholesomes.
However, let her went, she is wrathy. 'I came to propose to you--'

"'Dear me,' said she, 'I feel dreadful, I warn't prepared for this;
it's very onexpected. What is it, Sam? I am all over of a
twiteration.'

"'I know you will refuse me,' sais I, 'when I look round and see how
comfortable and how happy you are, even if you ain't engaged.'

"'Sam, I told you I weren't engaged,' she said: 'that story of General
Smith is all a fabrication, therefore don't mention that again.'

"'I feel,' said I, 'it's no use. I know what you will say, you can't
quit.'

"'You have a strange way,' said she, rather tart, 'for you ask
questions, and then answer them yourself. What do you mean?'

"'Well,' sais I, 'I'll tell you, Liddy.'

"'Do, dear,' said she, and she put her hand over her eyes, as if to
stop her from hearing distinctly. 'I came to propose to you--'

"'Oh, Sam,' said she, 'to think of that!'

"'To take a seat in my buggy,' sais I, 'and come and spend a month
with sister Sally and me, at the old location.'

"Poor thing, I pitied her; she had one knee over the other, and, as I
said, one hand over her eyes, and there she sot, and the way the upper
foot went bobbin' up and down was like the palsy, only a little
quicker. She never said another word, nor sighed, nor groaned, nor
anything, only her head hung lower. Well, I felt streaked, Doctor, I
tell you. I felt like a man who had stabbed another, and knew he ought
to be hanged for it; and I looked at her as such a critter would, if
he had to look on, and see his enemy bleed to death. I knew I had done
wrong--I had acted spider-like to her--got her into the web--tied her
hand and foot, and tantalized her. I am given to brag, I know, Doctor,
when I am in the saddle, and up in the stirrups, and leavin' all
others behind; but when a beast is choaked and down in the dirt, no
man ever heard me brag I had rode the critter to death.

"No, I did wrong, she was a woman, and I was a man, and if she did act
a part, why, I ought to have known the game she had to play, and made
allowances for it. I dropt the trump card under the table that time,
and though I got the odd trick, she had the honours. It warn't manly
in me, that's a fact; but confound her, why the plague did she call me
'Mr,' and act formal, and give me the bag to hold, when she knew me of
old, and minded the cherry-tree, and all that? Still she was a woman,
and a defenceless one too, and I did'nt do the pretty. But if she was
a woman, doctor, she had more clear grit than most men have. After a
while she took her hand off her eyes and rubbed them, and she opened
her mouth and yawned so, you could see down to her garters amost.

"'Dear me!' said she, trying to smile; but, oh me! how she looked! Her
eyes had no more expression than a China-aster, and her face was so
deadly pale, it made the rouge she had put on look like the hectic of
a dying consumption. Her ugly was out in full bloom, I tell you. 'Dear
cousin Sam,' said she, 'I am so fatigued with my labours as
presidentess of this institution, that I can hardly keep my peepers
open. I think, if I recollect--for I am ashamed to say I was a
noddin'--that you proposed (that word lit her eyes up) that I should
go with you to visit dear Sally. Oh, Sam!' said she (how she bit in
her temper that hitch, didn't she?) 'you see, and you saw it at first,
I can't leave on so short a notice; but if my sweet Sally would come
and visit me, how delighted I should be! Sam, I must join my class
now. How happy it has made me to see you again after so many years!
Kiss me, dear; good bye--God bless you!' and she yawned again till she
nearly dislocated her jaw. 'Go on and write books, Sam, for no man is
better skilled in human natur and spares it less than yourself.' What
a reproachful look she gave me then! 'Good bye, dear!'

"Well, when I closed the door, and was opening of the outer one, I
heard a crash. I paused a moment, for I knew what it was. She had
fainted and fell into a conniption fit.

"'Sam,' sais I to myself, 'shall I go back?'

"'No,' sais I, 'if you return there will be a scene; and if you don't,
if she can't account naterally for it, the devil can't, that's all.'

"Doctor, I felt guilty, I tell you. I had taken a great many rises out
of folks in my time, but that's the only one I repent of. Tell you
what, Doctor, folks may talk about their southern gentlemen, their New
York prince-merchants, and so on, but the clear grit, bottom and game,
is New England (Yankee-doodle-dum). Male or female, young or old, I'll
back 'em agin all creation."

Squire, show this chapter to Lord Tandembery, if you know him; and if
you don't, Uncle Tom Lavender will give you a letter of introduction
to him; and then ask him if ever he has suffered half so much as Sam
Slick has in the cause of edication.



                             CHAPTER XV.

                              GIPSEYING.


We tried the deck again, but the fog was too disagreeable to remain
there, for the water fell from the ropes in such large drops, and the
planks were so wet and slippery, we soon adjourned again to the cabin.

"I have to thank you, Doctor," said I, "for a most charming day at the
Beaver-Dam. That was indeed a day in the woods, and I believe every
one there knew how to enjoy it. How different it is from people in a
town here, who go out to the country for a pic-nic! A citizen thinks
the pleasure of gipseying, as they call it in England, consists solely
in the abundance and variety of the viands, the quality and quantity
of the wines, and as near an approach to a city dinner as it is
possible to have, where there are neither tables, chairs, sideboards,
nor removes. He selects his place for the encampment in the first
opening adjoining the clearing, as it commands a noble view of the
harbour, and there is grass enough to recline upon. The woods are
gloomy, the footing is slippery, and there is nothing to be seen in a
forest but trees, windfalls which are difficult to climb, and boggy
ground that wets your feet, and makes you feel uncomfortable. The
limbs are eternally knocking your hat off, and the spruce gum ruins
your clothes, while ladies, like sheep, are for ever leaving fragments
of their dress on every bush. He chooses the skirts of the forest
therefore, the background is a glorious wood, and the foreground is
diversified by the shipping. The o-heave-o of the sailors, as it rises
and falls in the distance, is music to his ears, and suggestive of
agreeable reflections, or profitable conversation peculiarly
appropriate to the place and the occasion. The price of fish in the
West Indies, or of deals in Liverpool, or the probable rise of flour
in the market, amuse the vacant mind of himself and his partner, not
his wife, for she is only his sleeping partner, but the wide-awake
partner of the firm, one of those who are embraced in the
comprehensive term the 'Co.' He is the depository of his secrets, the
other of his complaints.

"His wife is equally happy, she enjoys it uncommonly, for she knows it
will spite those horrid Mudges. She is determined not to invite them,
for they make too much noise, it gives her the headache, and their
flirting is too bad. Mrs White called them garrison hacks. And besides
(for women always put the real reason last--they live in a postscript)
they don't deserve it, for they left her girls out when they had the
lobster-spearing party by torch-light, with the officers of the
flag-ship, though that was no loss, for by all accounts it was a very
romping party, knocking off the men's hats, and then exchanging their
bonnets for them. And how any mother could allow her daughter to be
held round the waist by the flag-lieutenant, while she leaned over the
boat to spear the fish, is a mystery to her. The polka is bad enough,
but, to her mind, that is not decent, and then she has something to
whisper about it, that she says is too bad (this is a secret though,
and she must whisper it, for walls have ears, and who knows but trees
have, and besides, the good things are never repeated, but the too bad
always is), and Mrs Black lifts up both her hands, and the whites of
both eyes in perfect horror.

"'Now did you ever! Oh, is that true? Why, you don't!'

"'Lucy Green saw him with her own eyes,' and she opens her own as big
as saucers.

"'And what did Miss Mudge say?'

"'Well, upon my word,' said she, 'I wonder what you will do next,' and
laughed so they nearly fell overboard.

"'Oh, what carryings on, ain't it, dear? But I wonder where Sarah
Matilda is? I don't see her and Captain De la Cour. I am afraid she
will get lost in the woods, and that would make people talk as they
did about Miss Mudge and Doctor Vincent, who couldn't find their way
out once till nine o'clock at night.'

"'They'll soon get back, dear,' sais the other, 'let them be; it looks
like watching them, and you know,' laying an emphasis on you, 'you and
I were young once ourselves, and so they will come back when they want
to, for though the woods have no straight paths in them, they have
short cuts enough for them that's in a hurry. Cupid has no watch,
dear; his fob is for a purse,' and she smiles wicked on the mother of
the heiress.

"Well, then, who can say this is not a pleasant day to both parties?
The old gentlemen have their nice snug business chat, and the old
ladies have their nice snug gossip chat, and the third estate (as the
head of the firm calls it, who was lately elected member for Grumble
Town, and begins to talk parliamentary), the third estate, the young
folks, the people of progression, who are not behind but rather ahead
of the age they live in, don't they enjoy themselves? It is very hard
if youth, beauty, health, good spirits, and a desire to please
(because if people havn't that they had better stay to home), can't or
won't make people happy. I don't mean for to go for to say that will
insure it, because nothin' is certain, and I have known many a gall
that resembled a bottle of beautiful wine. You will find one sometimes
as enticin' to appearance as ever was, but hold it up and there is
grounds there for all that, settled, but still there, and enough too
to spile all, so you can't put it to your lips any how you can fix it.
What a pity it is sweet things turn sour, ain't it?

"But in a general way these things will make folks happy. There are
some sword-knots there, and they do look very like woodsmen, that's a
fact. If you never saw a forrester, you would swear to them as
perfect. A wide-awake hat, with a little short pipe stuck in it, a
pair of whiskers that will be grand when they are a few years older--a
coarse check or red flannel shirt, a loose neck-handkerchief, tied
with a sailor's knot--a cut-away jacket, with lots of pockets--a belt,
but little or no waistcoat--homespun trowsers and thick buskins--a
rough glove and a delicate white hand, the real, easy, and natural
gait of the woodman (only it's apt to be a little, just a little too
stiff, on account of the ramrod they have to keep in their throats
while on parade), when combined, actilly beat natur, for they are too
nateral. Oh, these amateur woodsmen enact their part so well, you
think you almost see the identical thing itself. And then they have
had the advantage of Woolwich or Sandhurst, or Chobham, and are dabs
at a bivouac, grand hands with an axe--cut a hop-pole down in half a
day amost, and in the other half stick it into the ground. I don't
make no doubt in three or four days they could build a wigwam to sleep
in, and one night out of four under cover is a great deal for an
amateur hunter, though it ain't the smallest part of a circumstance to
the Crimea. As, it is, if a stick ain't too big for a fire, say not
larger than your finger, they can break it over their knee, sooner
than you could cut it with a hatchet for your life, and see how soon
it's in a blaze. Take them altogether, they are a killing party of
coons them, never miss a moose if they shoot out of an Indian's gun,
and use a silver bullet.

"Well, then, the young ladies are equipped so nicely--they have uglies
to their bonnets, the only thing ugly about them, for at a distance
they look like huge green spectacles. They are very useful in the
forest, for there is a great glare of the sun generally under trees;
or else they have green bonnets, that look like eagle's skins; thin
dresses, strong ones are too heavy, and they don't display the beauty
of nature enough, they are so high, and the whole object of the party
is to admire that. Their walking shoes are light and thin, they don't
fatigue you like coarse ones, and India-rubbers are hideous, they make
your feet look as if they had the gout; and they have such pretty,
dear little aprons, how rural it looks altogether--they act a day in
the woods to admiration. Three of the officers have nicknames, a very
nice thing to induce good fellowship, especially as it has no tendency
whatever to promote quarrels. There is Lauder, of the Rifles, he is so
short, they call him Pistol; he has a year to grow yet, and may become
a great gun some of these days. Russel takes a joke good-humouredly,
and therefore is so fortunate as to get more than his share of them,
accordingly he goes by the name of Target, as every one takes a shot
at him. Duke is so bad a shot, he has twice nearly pinked the
marksman, so he is called Trigger. He always lays the blame of his
want of skill on that unfortunate appendage of the gun, as it is
either too hard or too quick on the finger. Then there is young
Bulger, and as everybody pronounces it as if it had two 'g's' in it,
he corrects them and says, 'g' soft, my dear fellow, if you please; so
he goes by the name of 'G' soft. Oh, the conversation of the third
estate is so pretty, I could listen to it for ever.

"'Aunt,' sais Miss Diantha, 'do you know what
gyp--gypsy--gypsymum--gypsymuming is? Did you ever hear how I stutter
to-day? I can't get a word out hardly. Ain't it provoking?'

"Well, stammering is provoking; but a pretty little accidental
impediment of speech like that, accompanied with a little graceful bob
of the head, is very taking, ain't it?

"'Gypsuming,' sais the wise matron, 'is the plaster of Paris trade,
dear. They carry it on at Windsor, your father says.'

"Pistol gives Target a wink, for they are honouring the party by their
company, though the mother of one keeps a lodging-house at Bath, and
the father of the other makes real genuine East India curry in London.
They look down on the whole of the townspeople. It is natural; pot
always calls kettle an ugly name.

"'No, Ma,' sais Di--all the girls address her as Di; ain't it a pretty
abbreviation for a die-away young lady? But she is not a die-away
lass; she is more of a Di Vernon. 'No, Ma,' sais Di, 'gipsey--ing,
what a hard word it is! Mr Russel says it's what they call these
parties in England. It is so like the gipsy life.'

"'There is one point,' sais Pistol, 'in which they differ.'

"'What's that?' sais Di.

"'Do you give it up?'

"'Yes.'

"'There the gipsy girls steal poultry; and here they steal hearts,'
and he puts his left hand by mistake on his breast, not knowing that
the pulsation there indicates that his lungs, and not his gizzard is
affected, and that he is broken-winded, and not broken-hearted.

"'Very good,' every one sais; but still every one hasn't heard it, so
it has to be repeated; and what is worse, as the habits of the gipsies
are not known to all, the point has to be explained.

"Target sais, 'He will send it to the paper, and put Trigger's name to
it,' and Pistol says, 'That is capital, for if he calls you out, he
can't hit you,' and there is a joyous laugh. Oh dear, but a day in the
woods is a pleasant thing. For my own part, I must say I quite agree
with the hosier, who, when he first went to New Orleens, and saw such
a swad of people there, said, he 'didn't onderstand how on earth it
was that folks liked to live in a heap that way, altogether, where
there was no corn to plant, and no bears to kill.'

"'My, oh my!' sais Miss Letitia, or Letkissyou, as Pistol used to call
her. People ought to be careful what names they give their children,
so as folks can't fasten nicknames on 'em. Before others the girls
called her Letty, and that's well enough; but sometimes they would
call her Let, which is the devil. If a man can't give a pretty fortune
to his child, he can give it a pretty name at any rate.

"There was a very large family of Cards wunst to Slickville. They were
mostly in the stage-coach and livery-stable line, and careless,
reckless sort of people. So one day, Squire Zenas Card had a
christenin' at his house.

"'Sais the Minister, 'what shall I call the child?'

"'Pontius Pilate,' said he.

"'I can't,' said the Minister, 'and I won't. No soul ever heerd of
such a name for a Christian since baptism came in fashion.'

"'I am sorry for that,' said the Squire, 'for it's a mighty pretty
name. I heard it once in church, and I thought if ever I had a son
I'de call him after him; but if I can't have that--and it's a dreadful
pity--call him Trump;' and he was christenened Trump Card.

"'Oh my!' sais Miss Letitia, lispin', 'Captain De la Cour has smashed
my bonnet, see, he is setting upon it. Did you ever?'

"'Never,' said Di, 'he has converted your cottage bonnet into a
country seat, I do declare!'

"Everybody exclaimed, 'That is excellent,' and Russel said, 'Capital,
by Jove.'

"'That kind of thing,' said De la Cour, 'is more honoured in the
breach than the observance;' and winked to Target.

"Miss Di is an inveterate punster, so she returns to the charge.

"'Letty, what fish is that, the name of which would express all you
said about your bonnet?--do you give it up? A bon-net-o!' (Boneto).

"'Well, I can't fathom that,' sais De la Cour.

"'I don't wonder at that,' sais the invincible Di; 'it is beyond your
depth, for it is an out-of-soundings fish.'

"Poor De la Cour, you had better let her alone, she is too many guns
for you. Scratch your head, for your curls and your name are all that
you have to be proud of. Let her alone, she is wicked, and she is
meditating a name for you and Pistol that will stick to you as long as
you live, she has it on the tip of her tongue--'The babes in the
wood.'

"Now for the baskets--now for the spread. The old gentlemen break up
their Lloyds' meeting--the old ladies break up their scandal club--the
young ladies and their beaux are busy in arrangements, and though the
cork-screws are nowhere to be found, Pistol has his in one of the many
pockets of his woodsman's coat, he never goes without it (like one of
his mother's waiters), which he calls his young man's best companion;
and which another, who was a year in an attorney's office, while
waiting for his commission, calls the crown circuit assistant; and a
third, who has just arrived in a steamer, designates as the screw
propeller. It was a sensible provision, and Miss Di said, 'a corkscrew
and a pocket-pistol were better suited to him than a rifle,' and every
one said it was a capital joke that--for everybody likes a shot that
don't hit themselves.

"'How tough the goose is!' sais G soft. 'I can't carve it.'

"'Ah!' sais Di, 'when Greek meets Greek, then comes the tug of war.'

"Eating and talking lasts a good while, but they don't last for ever.
The ladies leave the gentlemen to commence their smoking and finish
their drinking, and presently there is a loud laugh; it's more than a
laugh, it's a roar; and the ladies turn round and wonder.

"Letty sais, 'When the wine is in, the wit is out.'

"'True," sais Di, 'the wine is there, but when you left them the wit
went out.'

"'Rather severe,' said Letty.

"'Not at all,' sais Di, 'for I was with you.'

"It is the last shot of poor Di. She won't take the trouble to talk
well for ladies, and those horrid Mudges have a party on purpose to
take away all the pleasant men. She never passed so stupid a day. She
hates pic-nics, and will never go to one again. De la Cour is a fool,
and is as full of airs as a night-hawk is of feathers. Pistol is a
bore; Target is both poor and stingy; Trigger thinks more of himself
than anybody else; and as for G soft, he is a goose. She will never
speak to Pippen again for not coming. They are a poor set of devils in
the garrison; she is glad they are to have a new regiment.

"Letty hasn't enjoyed herself either, she has been devoured by black
flies and musquitoes, and has got her feet wet, and is so tired she
can't go to the ball. The sleeping partner of the head of the firm is
out of sorts, too. Her crony-gossip gave her a sly poke early in the
day, to show her she recollected when she was young (not that she is
so old now either, for she knows the grave gentleman who visits at her
house is said to like the mother better than the daughter), but before
she was married, and friends who have such wonderful memories are not
very pleasant companions, though it don't do to have them for enemies.
But then, poor thing, and she consoles herself with the idea the poor
thing has daughters herself, and they are as ugly as sin, and not half
so agreeable. But it isn't that altogether. Sarah Matilda should not
have gone wandering out of hearing with the captain, and she must give
her a piece of her mind about it, for there is a good deal of truth in
the old saying, 'If the girls won't run after the men, the men will
run after them;' so she calls out loudly, 'Sarah Matilda, my love,
come here, dear,' and Sarah Matilda knows when the honey is produced,
physic is to be taken, but she knows she is under observation, and so
she flies to her dear mamma, with the feet and face of an angel, and
they gradually withdraw.

"'Dear ma, how tired you look.'

"'I am not tired, dear.'

"'Well, you don't look well; is anything the matter with you?'

"'I didn't say I wasn't well, and it's very rude to remark on one's
looks that way.'

"'Something seems to have put you out of sorts, ma, I will run and
call pa. Dear me, I feel frightened. Shall I ask Mrs Bawdon for her
salts?'

"'You know very well what's the matter; it's Captain De la Cour.'

"'Well, now, how strange,' said Sarah Matilda. 'I told him he had
better go and walk with you; I wanted him to do it; I told him you
liked attention. Yes, I knew you would be angry, but it isn't my
fault. It ain't, indeed.'

"'Well, I am astonished,' replies the horrified mother. 'I never in
all my life. So you told him I liked attention. I, your mother, your
father's wife, with my position in societee; and pray what answer did
he make to this strange conduct?'

"'He said, No wonder, you were the handsomest woman in town, and so
agreeable; the only one fit to talk to.'

"'And you have the face to admit you listened to such stuff?'

"'I could listen all day to it, ma, for I knew it was true. I never
saw you look so lovely, the new bishop has improved your appearance
amazingly.'

"'Who?' said the mother, with an hysterical scream; 'what do you
mean?'

"'The new bustler, ma.'

"'Oh,' said she, quite relieved, 'oh, do you think so?'

"'But what did you want of me, ma?'

"'To fasten my gown, dear, there is a hook come undone.'

"'Coming,' she said, in a loud voice.

"There was nobody calling, but somebody ought to have called; so she
fastens the hook, and flies back as fast as she came.

"Sarah Matilda, you were not born yesterday; first you put your mother
on the defensive, and then you stroked her down with the grain, and
made her feel good all over, while you escaped from a scolding you
know you deserved. A jealous mother makes an artful daughter. But,
Sarah Matilda, one word in your ear. Art ain't cleverness, and cunning
ain't understanding. Semblance only answers once; the second time the
door ain't opened to it.

"Henrietta is all adrift, too; she is an old maid, and Di nicknamed
her 'the old hen.' She has been shamefully neglected today. The young
men have been flirting about with those forward young
girls--children--mere children, and have not had the civility to
exchange a word with her. The old ladies have been whispering gossip
all day, and the old gentlemen busy talking about freights, the
Fall-catch of mackarel, and ship-building. Nor could their talk have
been solely confined to these subjects, for once when she approached
them, she heard the head of the firm say:

"'The 'lovely lass' must be thrown down and scraped, for she is so
foul, and her knees are all gone.'

"And so she turned away in disgust. Catch her at a pic-nic again! No,
never! It appears the world is changed; girls in her day were never
allowed to romp that way, and men used to have some manners. Things
have come to a pretty pass!

"'Alida, is that you, dear? You look dull.'

"'Oh, Henrietta! I have torn my beautiful thread-lace mantilla all to
rags; it's ruined for ever. And do you know--oh, I don't know how I
shall ever dare to face ma again! I have lost her beautiful little
enamelled watch. Some of these horrid branches have pulled it off the
chain.' And Alida cries and is consoled by Henrietta, who is a
good-natured creature after all. She tells her for her comfort that
nobody should ever think of wearing a delicate and expensive lace
mantilla in the woods; she could not expect anything else than to have
it destroyed; and as for exposing a beautiful gold watch outside of
her dress, nobody in her senses would have thought of such a thing. Of
course she was greatly comforted: kind words and a kind manner will
console any one.

"It is time now to re-assemble, and the party are gathered once more;
and the ladies have found their smiles again, and Alida has found her
watch; and there are to be some toasts and some songs before parting.
All is jollity once more, and the head of the firm and his vigilant
partner and the officers have all a drop in their eye, and Henrietta
is addressed by the junior partner, who is a bachelor of about her own
age, and who assures her he never saw her look better; and she looks
delighted, and is delighted, and thinks a pic-nic not so bad a thing
after all.

"But there is a retributive justice in this world. Even pic-nic
parties have their moral, and folly itself affords an example from
which a wise saw may be extracted. Captain de Courlay addresses her,
and after all, he has the manners and appearance of a gentleman,
though it is whispered he is fond of practical jokes, pulls 'colt
ensigns' out of bed, makes them go through their sword exercise
standing shirtless in their tubs, and so on. There is one redeeming
thing in the story, if it be true, he never was known to do it to a
young nobleman; he is too well bred for that. He talks to her of
society as it was before good-breeding was reformed out of the
colonies. She is delighted; but, oh! was it stupidity, or was it
insolence, or was it cruelty? he asked her if she recollected the Duke
of Kent. To be sure it is only fifty-two years since he was here; but
to have recollected him! How old did he suppose she was? She bears it
well and meekly. It is not the first time she has been painfully
reminded she was not young. She says her grandmother often spoke of
him as a good officer and a handsome man; and she laughs, though her
heart aches the while, as if it was a good joke to ask her. He backs
out as soon as he can. He meant well, though he had expressed himself
awkwardly; but to back out shows you are in the wrong stall, a place
you have no business in, and being out, he thinks it as well to jog on
to another place.

"Ah, Henrietta! you were unkind to Alida about her lace mantilla and
her gold watch, and it has come home to you. You ain't made of glass,
and nothing else will hold vinegar long without being corroded itself.

"Well, the toasts are drunk, and the men are not far from being drunk
too, and feats of agility are proposed, and they jump up and catch a
springing bow, and turn a somerset on it, or over it, and they are
cheered and applauded when De Courlay pauses in mid-air for a moment,
as if uncertain what to do. Has the bough given way, or was that the
sound of cloth rent in twain? Something has gone wrong, for he is
greeted with uproarious cheers by the men, and he drops on his feet,
and retires from the company as from the presence of royalty, by
backing out and bowing as he goes, repeatedly stumbling, and once or
twice falling in his retrograde motion.

"Ladies never lose their tact--they ask no questions because they see
something is amiss, and though it is hard to subdue curiosity,
propriety sometimes restrains it. They join in the general laugh
however, for it can be nothing serious where his friends make merry
with it. When he retires from view, his health is drank with three
times three. Di, who seemed to take pleasure in annoying the spinster,
said she had a great mind not to join in that toast, for he was a
loose fellow, otherwise he would have rent his heart and not his
garments. It is a pity a clever girl like her will let her tongue run
that way, for it leads them to say things they ought not. Wit in a
woman is a dangerous thing, like a doctor's lancet, it is apt to be
employed about matters that offend our delicacy, or hurt our
feelings."

"'What the devil is that?' said the head, of the firm, looking up, as
a few drops of rain fell. 'Why, here is a thunder-shower coming on us
as sure as the world. Come, let us pack up and be off.'

"And the servants are urged to be expeditious, and the sword-knots
tumble the glasses into the baskets, and the cold hams atop of them,
and break the decanters, to make them stow better, and the head of the
firm swears, and the sleeping partner says she will faint, she could
never abide thunder; and Di tells her if she does not want to abide
all night, she had better move, and a vivid flash of lightning gives
notice to quit, and tears and screams attest the notice is received,
and the retreat is commenced; but alas, the carriages are a mile and a
half off, and the tempest rages, and the rain falls in torrents, and
the thunder stuns them, and the lightning blinds them.

"'What's the use of hurrying?' says Di, 'we are now wet through, and
our clothes are spoiled, and I think we might take it leisurely.
Pistol, take my arm, I am not afraid of you now.'

"'Why?'

"'Your powder is wet, and you can't go off. You are quite harmless.
Target, you had better run.'

"'Why?'

"'You will be sure to be hit if you don't--won't he, Trigger?'

"But Pistol, and Target, and Trigger are alike silent. G soft has lost
his softness, and lets fall some hard terms. Every one holds down his
head, why, I can't understand, because being soaked, that attitude
can't dry them.

"'Uncle,' says Di, to the head of the firm, 'you appear to enjoy it,
you are buttoning up your coat as if you wanted to keep the rain in.'

"'I wish you would keep your tongue in,' he said, gruffly.

"'I came for a party of pleasure,' said the unconquerable girl, 'and I
think there is great fun in this. Hen, I feel sorry for you, you can't
stand the wet as those darling ducks can. Aunt will shake herself
directly, and be as dry as an India rubber model.'

"Aunt is angry, but can't answer--every clap of thunder makes her
scream. Sarah Matilda has lost her shoe, and the water has closed over
it, and she can't find it. 'Pistol, where is your corkscrew? draw it
out.'

"'It's all your fault,' sais the sleeping partner to the head of the
firm, 'I told you to bring the umbrellas.'

"'It's all yours,' retorts the afflicted husband, 'I told you these
things were all nonsense, and more trouble than they were worth.'

"'It's all Hen's fault,' said Di, 'for we came on purpose to bring her
out; she has never been at a pic-nic before, and it's holidays now.
Oh! the brook has risen, and the planks are gone, we shall have to
wade; Hen, ask those men to go before, I don't like them to see above
my ancles.'

"'Catch me at a pic-nic again,' said the terrified spinster.

"'You had better get home from this first, before you talk of
another,' sais Di.

"'Oh, Di, Di,' said Henrietta, 'how can you act so?'

"'You may say Di, Di, if you please, dear,' said the tormentor; 'but I
never say die--and never will while there is life in me. Letty, will
you go to the ball to-night? we shall catch cold if we don't; for we
have two miles more of the rain to endure in the open carriages before
we reach the steamer, and we shall be chilled when we cease walking.'

"But Letty can do nothing but cry, as if she wasn't wet enough
already.

"'Good gracious!' sais the head of the house, 'the horses have
overturned the carriage, broke the pole, and run away.'

"'What's the upset price of it, I wonder?' sais Di, 'the horses will
make 'their election sure;' they are at the 'head of the pole, they
are returned and they have left no trace behind.' I wish they had
taken the rain with them also.'

"'It's a pity you wouldn't rein your tongue in also,' said the
fractious uncle.

"'Well, I will, Nunky, if you will restrain your choler. De Courcy,
the horses are off at a 'smashing pace;' G soft, it's all dickey with
us now, ain't it? But that milk-sop, Russel, is making a noise in his
boots, as if he was 'churning butter.' Well, I never enjoyed anything
so much as this in my life; I do wish the Mudges had been here, it is
the only thing wanting to make this pic-nic perfect. What do you say,
Target?'

"But Target don't answer, he only mutters between his teeth something
that sounds like, 'what a devil that girl is!' Nobody minds teasing
now; their tempers are subdued, and they are dull, weary, and
silent--dissatisfied with themselves, with each other, and the day of
pleasure.

"How could it be otherwise? It is a thing they didn't understand, and
had no taste for. They took a deal of trouble to get away from the
main road as far as possible; they never penetrated farther into the
forest than to obtain a shade, and there eat an uncomfortable cold
dinner, sitting on the ground, had an ill-assorted party, provided no
amusements, were thoroughly bored, and drenched to the skin--and this
some people call a day in the bush.

"There is an old proverb, that has a hidden meaning in it, that is
applicable to this sort of thing--'As a man calleth in the woods, so
it shall be answered to him.'"



                             CHAPTER XVI.

                     THE WORLD BEFORE THE FLOOD.


We made another attempt at walking on the deck--the moon was trying to
struggle through the fog, which was now of a bright copper colour.

"Doctor," said I, "have you ever seen a yellow fog before?"

"Yes," he said, "I have seen a white, black, red, and yellow fog," and
went off into a disquisition about optics, mediums, reflections,
refractions, and all sorts of scientific terms.

Well, I don't like hard words; when you crack them, which is plaguy
tough work, you have to pick the kernel out with a cambric needle, and
unless it's soaked in wine, like the heart of a hickory nut is, it
don't taste nice, and don't pay you for the trouble. So to change the
subject, "Doctor," sais I, "how long is this everlasting mullatto
lookin' fog a goin' to last, for it ain't white, and it ain't black,
but kind of betwixt and between."

Sais he, and he stopped and listened a moment, "It will be gone by
twelve o'clock to-night."

"What makes you think so?" said I.

"Do you hear that?" said he.

"Yes," sais I, "I do; it's children a playin' and a chatterin' in
French. Now it's nateral they should talk French, seein' their parents
do. They call it their mother-tongue, for old wives are like old
hosses, they are all tongue, and when their teeth is gone, that unruly
member grows thicker and bigger, for it has a larger bed to stretch
out in,--not that it ever sleeps much, but it has a larger sphere of
action,--do you take? I don't know whether you have had this feeling
of surprise, Doctor, but I have, hearing those little imps talk
French, when, to save my soul, I can't jabber it that way myself. In
course of nature they must talk that lingo, for they are quilted in
French--kissed in French--fed in French--and put to bed in
French,--and told to pray to the Virgin in French, for that's the
language she loves best. She knows a great many languages, but she
can't speak English since Henry the Eighth's time, when she said to
him, 'You be fiddled,' which meant, the Scotch should come with their
fiddles and rule England.

"Still somehow I feel strange when these little critters address me in
it, or when women use it to me (tho' I don't mind that so much, for
there are certain freemason signs the fair sex understand all over the
world), but the men puzzle me like Old Scratch, and I often say to
myself, What a pity it is the critters can't speak English. I never
pity myself for not being able to jabber French, but I blush for their
ignorance. However, all this is neither here nor there. Now, Doctor,
how can you tell this fog is booked for the twelve o'clock train? Is
there a Bradshaw for weather?"

"Yes," said he, "there is, do you hear that?"

"I don't hear nothing," sais I, "but two Frenchmen ashore a jawing
like mad. One darsen't, and t'other is afraid to fight, so they are
taking it out in gab--they ain't worth listening to. How do they tell
you the weather?"

"Oh," said he, "it ain't them. Do you hear the falls at my lake? the
west wind brings that to us. When I am there and the rote is on the
beach, it tells me it is the voice of the south wind giving notice of
rain. All nature warns me. The swallow, the pig, the goose, the fire
on the hearth, the soot in the flue, the smoke of the chimney, the
rising and setting sun, the white frost, the stars--all, all tell me."

"Yes," sais I, "when I am to home I know all them signs."

"The spider too is my guide, and the ant also. But the little
pimpernel, the poor man's weather-glass, and the convolvulus are truer
than any barometer, and a glass of water never lies."

"Ah, Doctor," said I, "you and I read and study the same book. I don't
mean to assert we are, as Sorrow says, nateral children, but we are
both children of nature, and honour our parents. I agree with you
about the fog, but I wanted to see if you could answer signals with
me. I am so glad you have come on board. You want amusement, I want
instruction. I will swap stories with you for bits of your wisdom, and
as you won't take boot, I shall be a great gainer."

After a good deal of such conversation, we went below, and in due
season turned in, in a place where true comfort consists in oblivion.
The morning, as the doctor predicted, was clear, the fog was gone, and
the little French village lay before us in all the beauty of ugliness.
The houses were small, unpainted, and uninviting. Fish-flakes were
spread on the beach, and the women were busy in turning the cod upon
them. Boats were leaving the shore for the fishing-ground. Each of
these was manned by two or three or four hands, who made as much noise
as if they were getting a vessel under weigh, and were severally
giving orders to each other with a rapidity of utterance that no
people but Frenchmen are capable of.

"Every nation," said the doctor, "has its peculiarity, but the French
Acadians excel all others in their adherence to their own ways; and in
this particular, the Chesencookers surpass even their own countrymen.
The men all dress alike, and the women all dress alike, as you will
presently see, and always have done so within the memory of man. A
round, short jacket which scarcely covers the waistcoat, trowsers that
seldom reach below the ankle-joint, and yarn stockings, all four being
blue, and manufactured at home, and apparently dyed in the same tub,
with moccasins for the feet, and a round fur or cloth cap to cover the
head, constitute the uniform and unvaried dress of the men. The attire
of the women is equally simple. The short gown which reaches to the
hip, and the petticoat which serves for a skirt, both made of coarse
domestic cloth, having perpendicular blue and white stripes,
constitute the difference of dress that marks the distinction of the
sexes, if we except a handkerchief thrown over the head, and tied
under the chin, for the blue stockings and the moccasins are common to
both, males and females.

"There has been no innovation for a century in these particulars,
unless it be that a hat has found its way into Chesencook, not that
such a stove-pipe looking thing as that has any beauty in it; but the
boys of Halifax are not to be despised, if a hat is, and even an
ourang-outang, if he ventured to walk about the streets, would have to
submit to wear one. But the case is different with women, especially
modest, discreet, unobtrusive ones, like those of the 'long-shore
French.' They are stared at because they dress like those in the world
before the Flood, but it's an even chance if the antediluvian damsels
were half so handsome; and what pretty girl can find it in her heart
to be very angry at attracting attention? Yes, their simple manners,
their innocence, and their sex are their protection. But no cap,
bonnet, or ribbon, velvet, muslin, or lace, was ever seen at
Chesencook. Whether this neglect of finery (the love of which is so
natural to their countrywomen in Europe) arises from a deep-rooted
veneration for the ways of their predecessors, or from the sage
counsel of their spiritual instructors, who desire to keep them from
the contamination of the heretical world around them, or from the
conviction that


  'The adorning thee with so much art
  Is but a barbarous skill,
  'Tis like the barbing of a dart,
  Too apt before to kill,'


I know not. Such however is the fact nevertheless, and you ought to
record it, as an instance in which they have shown their superiority
to this universal weakness. Still, both men and women are decently and
comfortably clad. There is no such thing as a ragged Acadian, and I
never yet saw one begging his bread. Some people are distinguished for
their industry, others for their idleness; some for their ingenuity,
and others for their patience; but the great characteristic of an
Acadian is talk, and his talk is, from its novelty, amusing and
instructive, even in its nonsense.

"These people live close to the banks where cod are found, and but
little time is required in proceeding to the scene of their labour,
therefore there is no necessity for being in a hurry, and there is
lots of time for palaver. Every boat has an oracle in it, who speaks
with an air of authority. He is a great talker, and a great smoker,
and he chats so skilfully, that he enjoys his pipe at the same time,
and manages it so as not to interrupt his jabbering. He can smoke,
talk, and row at once. He don't smoke fast, for that puts his pipe out
by consuming his tobacco; nor row fast, for it fatigues him."

"Exactly," sais I, "but the tongue, I suppose, having, like a clock, a
locomotive power of its own, goes like one of my wooden ones for
twenty-four hours without ceasing, and like one of them also when it's
e'en amost worn-out and up in years, goes at the rate of one hundred
minutes to the hour, strikes without counting the number, and gives
good measure, banging away often twenty tunes at one o'clock."

Every boat now steered for the "Black Hawk," and the oracle stopped
talking French to practise English. "How you do, Sare? how you do your
wife?" said Lewis Le Blanc, addressing me.

"I have no wife."

"No wife, ton pee? Who turn your fish for you, den?"

"Whereat they all laugh, and all talk French again. And oracle says,
'He takes his own eggs to market, den.' He don't laugh at that, for
wits never laugh at their own jokes; but the rest snicker till they
actilly scream.

"What wind are we going to have, Lewis?"

Oracle stands up, carefully surveys the sky, and notices all the
signs, and then looks wise, and answers in a way that there can be no
mistake. "Now you see, Sare, if de wind blow off de shore, den it will
be west wind; if it blow from de sea, den it will be east wind; and if
it blow down coast," pointing to each quarter with his hand like a
weather-cock, "den it will sartain be sout; and up de coast, den you
will be sartain it will come from de nort. I never knew dat sign
fail." And he takes his pipe from his mouth, knocks some ashes out of
it, and spits in the water, as much as to say, Now I am ready to swear
to that. And well he may, for it amounts to this, that the wind will
blow from any quarter it comes from. The other three all regard him
with as much respect as if he was clerk of the weather.

"Interesting people these, Doctor," said I, "ain't they? It's the
world before the Flood. I wonder if they know how to trade? Barter was
the primitive traffick. Corn was given for oil, and fish for honey,
and sheep and goats for oxen and horses, and so on. There is a good
deal of trickery in barter, too, for necessity has no laws. The value
of money we know, and a thing is worth what it will fetch in cash; but
swapping is a different matter. It's a horse of a different colour."

"You will find," said the doctor, "the men (I except the other sex
always) are as acute as you are at a bargain. You are more like to be
bitten than to bite if you try that game with them."

"Bet you a dollar," sais I, "I sell that old coon as easy as a clock.
What, a Chesencooker a match for a Yankee! Come, I like that; that is
good. Here goes for a trial, at any rate.

"Mounsheer," sais I, "have you any wood to sell?"

We didn't need no wood, but it don't do to begin to ask for what you
want, or you can't do nothin'.

"Yes," said he.

"What's the price," said I, "cash down on the nail?" for I knew the
critter would see "the point" of coming down with the blunt.

"It's ten dollars and a half," said he, "a cord at Halifax, and it
don't cost me nothin' to carry it there, for I have my own
shallop--but I will sell it for ten dollars to oblige you." That was
just seven dollars more than it was worth.

"Well," sais I, "that's not high, only cash is scarce. If you will
take mackarel in pay, at six dollars a barrel (which was two dollars
more than its value), p'raps we might trade. Could you sell me twenty
cord?"

"Yes, may be twenty-five."

"And the mackarel?" said I.

"Oh," said he, "mackarel is only worth three dollars and a half at
Halifax. I can't sell mine even at that. I have sixty barrels, number
one, for sale."

"If you will promise me to let me have all the wood I want, more or
less," sais I, "even if it is ever so little; or as much as thirty
cords, at ten dollars a cord, real rock maple, and yellow birch, then
I will take all your mackarel at three and a half dollars, money
down."

"Say four," said he.

"No," sais I, "you say you can't git but three and a half at Halifax,
and I won't beat you down, nor advance one cent myself. But mind, if I
oblige you by buying all your mackarel, you must oblige me by letting
me have all the wood I want."

"Done," said he; so we warped into the wharf, took the fish on board,
and I paid him the money, and cleared fifteen pounds by the operation.

"Now," says I, "where is the wood?"

"All this is mine," said he, pointing to a pile, containing about
fifty cords.

"Can I have it all," said I, "if I want it?"

He took off his cap and scratched his head; scratching helps a man to
think amazingly. He thought he had better ask a little more than ten
dollars, as I appeared to be so ready to buy at any price. So he said,

"Yes, you may have it all at ten and a half dollars."

"I thought you said I might have what I wanted at ten."

"Well, I have changed my mind," said he, "it is too low."

"And so have I," sais I, "I won't trade with a man that acts that
way," and I went on board, and the men cast off and began to warp the
vessel again up to her anchor.

Lewis took off his cap and began scratching his head again, he had
over-reached himself. Expecting an immense profit on his wood, he had
sold his fish very low; he saw I was in earnest, and jumped on board.

"Capitaine, you will have him at ten, so much as you want of him."

"Well, measure me off half a cord."

"What!" said he, opening both eyes to their full extent.

"Measure me off half a cord."

"Didn't you say you wanted twenty or thirty cord?"

"No," sais I, "I said I must have that much if I wanted it, but I
don't want it, it is only worth three dollars, and you have had the
modesty to ask ten, and then ten and a half, but I will take half a
cord to please you, so measure it off."

He stormed, and raved, and swore, and threw his cap down on the deck
and jumped on it, and stretched out his arm as if he was going to
fight, and stretched out his wizzened face, as if it made halloing
easier, and foamed at the mouth like a hoss that has eat lobelia in
his hay.

"Be gar," he said, "I shall sue you before the common scoundrels
(council) at Halifax, I shall take it before the sperm (supreme)
court, and try it out."

"How much ile will you get," sais I, "by tryin' me out, do you think?

"Never mind," said I, in a loud voice, and looking over him at the
mate, and pretending to answer him. "Never mind if he won't go on
shore, he is welcome to stay, and we will land him on the Isle of
Sable, and catch a wild hoss for him to swim home on."

The hint was electrical; he picked up his cap and ran aft, and with
one desperate leap reached the wharf in safety, when he turned and
danced as before with rage, and his last audible words were, "Be gar,
I shall go to the sperm court and try it out."

"In the world before the Flood, you see, Doctor," said I, "they knew
how to cheat as well as the present race do; the only improvement this
fellow has made on the antediluvian race is, he can take himself in,
as well as others."

"I have often thought," said the doctor, "that in our dealings in
life, and particularly in trading, a difficult question must often
arise whether a thing, notwithstanding the world sanctions it, is
lawful and right. Now what is your idea of smuggling?"

"I never smuggled," said I: "I have sometimes imported goods and
didn't pay the duties; not that I wanted to smuggle, but because I
hadn't time to go to the office. It's a good deal of trouble to go to
a custom-house. When you get there you are sure to be delayed, and
half the time to git sarce. It costs a good deal; no one thanks you,
and nobody defrays cab-hire, and makes up for lost time, temper, and
patience to you--it don't pay in a general way; sometimes it will; for
instance, when I left the embassy, I made thirty thousand pounds of
your money by one operation. Lead was scarce in our market, and very
high, and the duty was one-third of the prime cost, as a protection to
the native article. So what does I do, but go to old Galena, one of
the greatest dealers in the lead trade in Great Britain, and
ascertained the wholesale price.

"Sais I, 'I want five hundred thousand dollars worth of lead.'

"'That is an immense order,' said he, 'Mr Slick. There is no market in
the world that can absorb so much at once.'

"'The loss will be mine,' said I. 'What deductions will you make if I
take it all from your house?'

"Well, he came down handsome, and did the thing genteel.

"'Now,' sais I, 'will you let one of your people go to my cab, and
bring a mould I have there.'

"Well, it was done.

"'There,' said I, 'is a large bust of Washington. Every citizen of the
United States ought to have one, if he has a dust of patriotism in
him. I must have the lead cast into rough busts like that.'

"'Hollow,' said he, 'of course.'

"'No, no,' sais I, 'by no manner of means, the heavier and solider the
better.'

"'But,' said Galena, 'Mr Slick, excuse me, though it is against my own
interest, I cannot but suggest you might find a cheaper material, and
one more suitable to your very laudable object.'

"'Not at all,' said I, 'lead is the very identical thing. If a man
don't like the statue and its price, and it's like as not he wont, he
will like the lead. There is no duty on statuary, but there is more
than thirty per cent. on lead. The duty alone is a fortune of not less
than thirty thousand pounds, after all expenses are paid.'

"'Well now,' said he, throwing back his head and laughing, 'that is
the most ingenious device to evade duties I ever heard of.'

"I immediately gave orders to my agents at Liverpool to send so many
tons to Washington and every port and place on the seaboard of the
United States except New York, but not too many to any one town; and
then I took passage in a steamer, and ordered all my agents to close
the consignment immediately, and let the lead hero change hands. It
was generally allowed to be the handsomest operation ever performed in
our country. Connecticut offered to send me to Congress for it, the
folks felt so proud of me.

"But I don't call that smugglin'. It is a skilful reading of a revenue
law. My idea of smugglin' is, there is the duty, and there is the
penalty; pay one and escape the other if you like, if not, run your
chance of the penalty. If the state wants revenue, let it collect its
dues. If I want my debts got in, I attend to drummin' them up together
myself; let government do the same. There isn't a bit of harm in
smugglin'. I don't like a law restraining liberty. Let them that
impose shackles look to the bolts; that's my idea."

"That argument won't hold water, Slick," said the doctor.

"Why?"

"Because it is as full of holes as a cullender.'

"How?"

"The obligation between a government and a people is reciprocal. To
protect on the one hand, and to support on the other. Taxes are
imposed, first, for the maintenance of the government, and secondly,
for such other objects as are deemed necessary or expedient. The
moment goods are imported, which are subject to such exactions, the
amount of the tax is a debt due to the state, the evasion or denial of
which is a fraud. The penalty is not an alternative at your option; it
is a punishment, and that always presupposes an offence. There is no
difference between defrauding the state or an individual.
Corporeality, or incorporeality, has nothing to do with the matter."

"Well," sais I, "Domine Doctor, that doctrine of implicit obedience to
the government won't hold water neither, otherwise, if you had lived
in Cromwell's time, you would have to have assisted in cutting the
king's head off, or fight in an unjust war, or a thousand other wicked
but legal things. I believe every tub must stand on its own bottom;
general rules won't do. Take each separate, and judge of it by
itself."

"Exactly," sais the doctor; "try that in law and see how it would
work. No two cases would be decided alike; you'd be adrift at once,
and a drifting ship soon touches bottom. No, that won't hold water.
Stick to general principles, and if a thing is an exception to the
rule, put it in Schedule A or B, and you know where to look for it.
General rules are fixed principles. But you are only talking for talk
sake; I know you are. Do you think now that merchant did right to aid
you in evading the duty on your leaden Washingtons?"

"What the plague had he to do with our revenue laws? They don't bind
him," sais I.

"No," said the doctor, "but there is a higher law than the statutes of
the States or of England either, and that is the moral law. In aiding
you, he made the greatest sale of lead ever effected at once in
England; the profit on that was his share of the smuggling. But you
are only drawing me out to see what I am made of. You are an awful man
for a bam. There goes old Lewis in his fishing boat," sais he. "Look
at him shaking his fist at you. Do you hear him jabbering away about
trying it out in the 'sperm court?'"

"I'll make him draw his fist in, I know," sais I. So I seized my
rifle, and stepped behind the mast, so that he could not see me; and
as a large grey gull was passing over his boat high up in the air, I
fired, and down it fell on the old coon's head so heavily and so
suddenly, he thought he was shot; and he and the others set up a yell
of fright and terror that made everybody on board of the little fleet
of coasters that were anchored round us, combine in three of the
heartiest, merriest, and loudest cheers I ever heard.

"Try that out in the sperm court, you old bull-frog," sais I. "I guess
there is more ile to be found in that fishy gentleman than in me.
Well," sais I, "Doctor, to get back to what we was a talking of. It's
a tight squeeze sometimes to scrouge between a lie and a truth in
business, ain't it? The passage is so narrow, if you don't take care
it will rip your trowser buttons off in spite of you. Fortunately I am
thin, and can do it like an eel, squirmey fashion; but a stout,
awkward fellow is most sure to be catched.

"I shall never forget a rise I once took out of a set of jockeys at
Albany. I had an everlastin' fast Naraganset pacer once to Slickville,
one that I purchased in Mandarin's place. I was considerable proud of
him, I do assure you, for he took the rag off the bush in great style.
Well, our stable-help, Pat Monaghan (him I used to call Mr Monaghan),
would stuff him with fresh clover without me knowing it, and as sure
as rates, I broke his wind in driving him too fast. It gave him the
heaves, that is, it made his flanks heave like a blacksmith's bellows.
We call it 'heaves,' Britishers call it 'broken wind.' Well, there is
no cure for it, though some folks tell you a hornet's nest cut up fine
and put in their meal will do it, and others say sift the oats clean
and give them juniper berries in it, and that will do it, or ground
ginger, or tar, or what not; but these are all quackeries. You can't
cure it, for it's a ruption of an air vessel, and you can't get at it
to sew it up. But you can fix it up by diet and care, and proper
usage, so that you can deceive even an old hand, providin' you don't
let him ride or drive the beast too fast.

"Well, I doctored and worked with him so, the most that could be
perceived was a slight cold, nothin' to mind, much less frighten you.
And when I got him up to the notch, I advertised him for sale, as
belonging to a person going down east, who only parted with him
because he thought him too heavey for a man who never travelled less
than a mile in two minutes and twenty seconds. Well, he was sold at
auction, and knocked down to Rip Van Dam, the Attorney-General, for
five hundred dollars; and the owner put a saddle and bridle on him,
and took a bet of two hundred dollars with me, he could do a mile in
two minutes, fifty seconds. He didn't know me from Adam parsonally, at
the time, but he had heard of me, and bought the horse because it was
said Sam Slick owned him.

"Well, he started off, and lost his bet; for when he got near the
winnin'-post the horse choked, fell, and pitched the rider off
half-way to Troy, and nearly died himself. The umpire handed me the
money, and I dug out for the steam-boat intendin' to pull foot for
home. Just as I reached the wharf, I heard my name called out, but I
didn't let on I noticed it, and walked a-head. Presently, Van Dam
seized me by the shoulder, quite out of breath, puffin' and blowin'
like a porpoise.

"'Mr Slick?' said he.

"'Yes,' sais I, 'what's left of me; but good gracious,' sais I, 'you
have got the 'heaves.' I hope it ain't catchin'.'

"'No I haven't,' said he, 'but your cussed hoss has, and nearly broke
my neck. You are like all the Connecticut men I ever see, a nasty,
mean, long-necked, long-legged, narrow-chested, slab-sided,
narrow-souled, lantern-jawed, Yankee cheat.'

"'Well,' sais I, 'that's a considerable of a long name to write on the
back of a letter, ain't it? It ain't good to use such a swad of words,
it's no wonder you have the heaves; but I'll cure you; I warn't
brought up to wranglin'; I hain't time to fight you, and besides,'
said I, 'you are broken-winded; but I'll chuck you over the wharf into
the river to cool you, boots and all, by gravy.'

"'Didn't you advertise,' said he, 'that the only reason you had to
part with that horse was, that he was too heavy for a man who never
travelled slower than a mile in two minutes and twenty seconds?'

"'Never!' sais I, 'I never said such a word. What will you bet I did?'

"'Fifty dollars,' said he.

"'Done,' said I. 'And, Vanderbelt--(he was just going on board the
steamer at the time)--Vanderbelt,' sais I, 'hold these stakes.
Friend,' sais I, 'I won't say you lie, but you talk uncommonly like
the way I do when I lie. Now prove it.'

"And he pulled out one of my printed advertisements, and said, 'Read
that.'

"Well, I read it. 'It ain't there,' said I.

"'Ain't it?' said he. 'I leave it to Vanderbelt.'

"'Mr Slick,' said he, 'you have lost--it is here.'

"'Will you bet fifty dollars,' said I, 'though you have seen it, that
it's there?'

"'Yes,' said he, 'I will.'

"'Done,' said I. 'Now how do you spell heavy?'

"'H-e-a-v-y,' said he.

"'Exactly,' sais I; 'so do I. But this is spelt heav-ey. I did it on
purpose. I scorn to take a man in about a horse, so I published his
defect to all the world. I said he was too heavey for harness, and so
he is. He ain't worth fifty dollars--I wouldn't take him as a gift--he
ain't worth von dam?'

"'Well, I did see that,' said he, 'but I thought it was an error of
the press, or that the owner couldn't spell.'

"'Oh!' sais I, 'don't take me for one of your Dutch boors, I beg of
you. I can spell, but you can't read, that's all. You remind me,' sais
I, 'of a feller in Slickville when the six-cent letter stamps came in
fashion. He licked the stamp so hard, he took all the gum off, and it
wouldn't stay on, no how he could fix it, so what does he do but put a
pin through it, and writes on the letter, "Paid, if the darned thing
will only stick." Now, if you go and lick the stamp etarnally that
way, folks will put a pin through it, and the story will stick to you
for ever and ever. But come on board, and let's liquor, and I will
stand treat.'

"I felt sorry for the poor critter, and I told him how to feed the
horse, and advised him to take him to Saratoga, advertise him, and
sell him the same way; and he did, and got rid of him. The rise raised
his character as a lawyer amazing. He was elected governor next year;
a sell like that is the making of a lawyer.

"Now I don't call the lead Washingtons nor the heavey horse either on
'em a case of cheat; but I do think a man ought to know how to read a
law and how to read an advertisement, don't you? But come, let us go
ashore, and see how the galls look, for you have raised my curiosity."

We accordingly had the boat lowered; and taking Sorrow with us to see
if he could do anything in the catering line, the doctor, Cutler, and
myself landed on the beach, and walked round the settlement.

The shore was covered with fish flakes, which sent up an aroma not the
most agreeable in the world except to those who lived there, and they,
I do suppose, snuff up the breeze as if it was loaded with wealth and
smelt of the Gold Coast. But this was nothing (although I don't think
I can ever eat dum fish again as long as I live) to the effluvia
arising from decomposed heaps of sea-wood, which had been gathered for
manure, and was in the act of removal to the fields. No words can
describe this, and I leave it to your imagination, Squire, to form an
idea of a new perfume in nastiness that has never yet been appreciated
but by an Irishman.

I heard a Paddy once, at Halifax, describe the wreck of a carriage
which had been dashed to pieces. He said there was not "a smell of it
left." Poor fellow, he must have landed at Chesencook, and removed one
of those oloriferous heaps, as Sorrow called them, and borrowed the
metaphor from it, that there was not "a smell of it left." On the
beach between the "flakes" and the water, were smaller heaps of the
garbage of the cod-fish and mackarel, on which the grey and white
gulls fought, screamed, and gorged themselves, while on the bar were
the remains of several enormous black fish, half the size of whales,
which had been driven on shore, and hauled up out of the reach of the
waves by strong ox teams. The heads and livers of these huge monsters
had been "tried out in the Sperm court" for ile, and the putrid
remains of the carcass were disputed for by pigs and crows. The
discordant noises of these hungry birds and beasts were perfectly
deafening.

On the right-hand side of the harbour, boys and girls waded out on the
flats to dig clams, and were assailed on all sides by the screams of
wild fowl who resented the invasion of their territory, and were
replied to in tones no less shrill and unintelligible. On the left was
the wreck of a large ship, which had perished on the coast, and left
its ribs and skeleton to bleach on the shore, as if it had failed in
the vain attempt to reach the forest from which it had sprung, and to
repose in death in its native valley. From one of its masts, a long,
loose, solitary shroud was pendant, having at its end a large double
block attached to it, on which a boy was seated, and swung backward
and forward. He was a little saucy urchin, of about twelve years of
age, dressed in striped homespun, and had on his head a red yarn
clackmutch, that resembled a cap of liberty. He seemed quite happy,
and sung a verse of a French song with an air of conscious pride and
defiance as his mother, stick in hand, stood before him, and at the
top of her voice now threatened him with the rod, his father, and the
priest--and then treacherously coaxed him with a promise to take him
to Halifax, where he should see the great chapel, hear the big bell,
and look at the bishop. A group of little girls stared in amazement at
his courage, but trembled when they heard his mother predict a broken
neck--purgatory--and the devil as his portion. The dog was as excited
as the boy--he didn't bark, but he whimpered as he gazed upon him, as
if he would like to jump up and be with him, or to assure him he would
catch him if he fell, if he had but the power to do so.

What a picture it was--the huge wreck of that that once "walked the
waters as a thing of life"--the merry boy--the anxious mother--the
trembling sisters--the affectionate dog; what bits of church-yard
scenes were here combined--children playing on the tombs--the young
and the old--the merry and the aching heart--the living among the
dead. Far beyond this were tall figures wading in the water, and
seeking their food in the shallows; cranes, who felt the impunity that
the superstition of the simple habitans had extended to them, and
sought their daily meal in peace.

Above the beach and parallel with it, ran a main road, on the upper
side of which were the houses, and on a swelling mound behind them
rose the spire of the chapel visible far off in the Atlantic, a sacred
signal-post for the guidance of the poor coaster. As soon as you reach
this street or road and look around you, you feel at once you are in a
foreign country and a land of strangers. The people, their dress, and
their language, the houses, their form and appearance, the implements
of husbandry, their shape and construction--all that you hear and see
is unlike anything else. It is neither above, beyond, or behind the
age. It is the world before the Flood. I have sketched it for you, and
I think without bragging I may say I can take things off to the life.
Once I drawed a mutton chop so nateral, my dog broke his teeth in
tearing the panel to pieces to get at it; and at another time I
painted a shingle so like stone, when I threw it into the water, it
sunk right kerlash to the bottom.

"Oh, Mr Slick," said the doctor, "let me get away from here. I can't
bear the sight of the sea-coast, and above all, of this offensive
place. Let us get into the woods where we can enjoy ourselves. You
have never witnessed what I have lately, and I trust in God you never
will. I have seen within this month two hundred dead bodies on a beach
in every possible shape of disfiguration and decomposition--mangled,
mutilated, and dismembered corpses; male and female, old and young,
the prey of fishes, birds, beasts, and, what is worse, of human
beings. The wrecker had been there--whether he was of your country or
mine I know not, but I fervently hope he belonged to neither. Oh, I
have never slept sound since. The screams of the birds terrify me, and
yet what do they do but follow the instincts of their nature? They
batten on the dead, and if they do feed on the living, God has given
them animated beings for their sustenance, as, he has the fowls of the
air, the fishes of the sea, and the beasts of the field to us, but
they feed not on each other. Man, man alone is a cannibal. What an
awful word that is!"

"Exactly," sais I, "for he is then below the canine species--'dog
won't eat dog.'1 The wrecker lives not on those who die, but on those
whom he slays. The pirate has courage at least to boast of, he risks
his life to rob the ship, but the other attacks the helpless and
unarmed, and spares neither age nor sex in his thirst for plunder. I
don't mean to say we are worse on this side of the Atlantic than the
other, God forbid. I believe we are better, for the American people
are a kind, a feeling, and a humane race. But avarice hardens the
heart, and distress, when it comes in a mass, overpowers pity for the
individual, while inability to aid a multitude induces a carelessness
to assist any. A whole community will rush to the rescue of a drowning
man, not because his purse can enrich them all (that is too dark a
view of human nature), but because he is the sole object of interest.
When there are hundreds struggling for life, few of whom can be saved,
and when some wretches are solely bent on booty, the rest, regardless
of duty, rush in for their share also, and the ship and her cargo
attract all. When the wreck is plundered, the transition to rifling
the dying and the dead is not difficult, and cupidity, when once
sharpened by success, brooks no resistance, for the remonstrance of
conscience is easily silenced where supplication is not even heard.
Avarice benumbs the feelings, and when the heart is hardened, man
becomes a mere beast of prey. Oh this scene afflicts me--let us move
on. These poor people have never yet been suspected of such
atrocities, and surely they were not perpetrated in the world before
the Flood."


1 This homely adage is far more expressive than the Latin one:--

  "Parcit
  Cognates maculis, similis fera."--Juv.



                            CHAPTER XVII.

                             LOST AT SEA.


"I believe, Doctor," sais I, "we have seen all that is worth notice
here, let us go into one of their houses and ascertain if there is
anything for Sorrow's larder; but, Doctor," sais I, "let us first find
out if they speak English, for if they do we must be careful what we
say before them. Very few of the old people I guess know anything but
French, but the younger ones who frequent the Halifax market know more
than they pretend to if they are like some other habitans I saw at New
Orleans. They are as cunning as foxes."

Proceeding to one of the largest cottages, we immediately gained
admission. The door, unlike those of Nova Scotian houses, opened
outwards, the fastening being a simple wooden latch. The room into
which we entered was a large, dark, dingy, dirty apartment. In the
centre of it was a tub containing some goslins, resembling yellow
balls of corn-meal, rather than birds. Two females were all that were
at home, one a little wrinkled woman, whose age it would puzzle a
physiognomist to pronounce on, the other a girl about twenty-five
years old. They sat on opposite sides of the fire-place, and both were
clothed alike, in blue striped homespun, as previously described.

"Look at their moccasins," said the doctor. "They know much more about
deer-skins than half the English settlers do. Do you observe, they are
made of carriboo, and not moose hide. The former contracts with wet
and the other distends and gets out of shape. Simple as that little
thing is, few people have ever noticed it."

The girl, had she been differently trained and dressed, would have
been handsome, but spare diet, exposure to the sun and wind, and
field-labour, had bronzed her face, so that it was difficult to say
what her real complexion was. Her hair was jet black and very
luxuriant, but the handkerchief which served for bonnet and head-dress
by day, and for a cap by night, hid all but the ample folds in front.
Her teeth were as white as ivory, and contrasted strangely with the
gipsy colour of her cheeks. Her eyes were black, soft, and liquid, and
the lashes remarkably long, but the expression of her face, which was
naturally good, indicated, though not very accurately, the absence of
either thought or curiosity.

After a while objects became more distinct in the room, as we
gradually became accustomed to the dim light of the small windows. The
walls were hung round with large hanks of yarn, principally blue and
white. An open cupboard displayed some plain coarse cups and saucers,
and the furniture consisted of two rough tables, a large bunk,1 one or
two sea-chests, and a few chairs of simple workmanship. A large
old-fashioned spinning-wheel and a barrel-churn stood in one corner,
and in the other a shoemaker's bench, while carpenter's tools were
suspended on nails in such places as were not occupied by yarn. There
was no ceiling or plastering visible anywhere, the floor of the attic
alone separated that portion of the house from the lower room, and the
joice on which it was laid were thus exposed to view, and supported on
wooden cleets, leather, oars, rudders, together with some half-dressed
pieces of ash, snow-shoes, and such other things as necessity might
require. The wood-work, wherever visible, was begrimed with smoke, and
the floor, though doubtless sometimes swept, appeared as if it had the
hydrophobia hidden in its cracks, so carefully were soap and water
kept from it. Hams and bacon were nowhere visible. It is probable, if
they had any, they were kept elsewhere, but still more probable that
they had found their way to market, and been transmuted into money,
for these people are remarkably frugal and abstemious, and there can
be no doubt, the doctor says, that there is not a house in the
settlement in which there is not a supply of ready money, though the
appearance of the buildings and their inmates would by no means
justify a stranger in supposing so. They are neither poor nor
destitute, but far better off than those who live more comfortably and
inhabit better houses.


1 Bunk is a word in common use, and means a box that makes a seat by
day and serves for a bedstead by night.


The only article of food that I saw was a barrel of eggs, most
probably accumulated for the Halifax market, and a few small fish on
rods, undergoing the process of smoking in the chimney corner.

The old woman was knitting and enjoying her pipe, and the girl was
dressing wool, and handling a pair of cards with a rapidity and ease
that would have surprised a Lancashire weaver. The moment she rose to
sweep up the hearth I saw she was an heiress. When an Acadian girl has
but her outer and under garment on, it is a clear sign, if she
marries, there will be a heavy demand on the fleeces of her husband's
sheep; but if she wears four or more thick woollen petticoats, it is
equally certain her portion of worldly goods is not very small.

"Doctor," sais I, "it tante every darnin' needle would reach her
through them petticoats, is it?"

"Oh!" said he, "Mr Slick--oh!" and he rose as usual, stooped forward,
pressed his hands on his ribs, and ran round the room, if not at the
imminent risk of his life, certainly to the great danger of the
spinning wheel and the goslings. Both the females regarded him with
great surprise, and not without some alarm.

"He has the stomach-ache," sais I, in French, "he is subject to it."

"Oh! oh!" said he, when he heard that, "oh, Mr Slick, you will be the
death of me."

"Have you got any peppermint?" sais I.

"No," said she, talking in her own patois; and she scraped a spoonful
of soot from the chimney, and putting it into a cup, was about pouring
hot water on it for an emetic, when he could stand it no longer, but
rushing out of the door, put to flight a flock of geese that were
awaiting their usual meal, and stumbling over a pig, fell at full
length on the ground, nearly crushing the dog, who went off yelling as
if another such blow would be the death of him, and hid himself under
the barn. The idea of the soot-emetic relieved the old lady, though it
nearly fixed the doctor's flint for him. She extolled its virtues to
the skies; she saved her daughter's life, she said, with it once, who
had been to Halifax, and was taken by an officer into a pastrycook's
shop and treated. He told her if she would eat as much as she could at
once, he would pay for it all.

Well, she did her best. She eat one loaf of plumcake, three trays of
jellies, a whole counter of little tarts, figs, raisins, and oranges,
and all sorts of things without number. Oh! it was a grand chance, she
said, and the way she eat was a caution to a cormorant; but at last
she gave out she couldn't do no more. The foolish officer, the old
lady observed, if he had let her fetch all them things home, you know
we could have helped her to eat them, and if we couldn't have eat 'em
all in one day, surely we could in one week; but he didn't think of
that I suppose. But her daughter liked to have died; too much of a
good thing is good for nothing. Well, the soot-emetic cured her, and
then she told me all its effects; and it's very surprising, it didn't
sound bad in French, but it don't do to write it in English at all;
it's the same thing, but it tells better in French. It must be a very
nice language that for a doctor, when it makes emetics sound so
pretty; you might hear of 'em while you was at dinner and not disturb
you.

You may depend it made the old lady wake snakes and walk chalks
talking of physic. She told me if a man was dying or a child was born
in all that settlement, she was always sent for, and related to me
some capital stories; but somehow no English or Yankee woman could
tell them to a man, and a man can't tell them in English. How is this,
Squire, do you know? Ah! here is the doctor, I will ask him by and by.

Women, I believe, are born with certain natural tastes. Sally was
death on lace, and old Aunt Thankful goes the whole figure for furs;
either on 'em could tell real thread or genuine sable clear across the
church. Mother was born with a tidy devil, and had an eye for cobwebs
and blue-bottle flies. She waged eternal war on 'em; while Phoebe
Hopewell beat all natur for bigotry and virtue as she called them
(bijouterie and virtu). But most Yankee women when they grow old,
specially if they are spinsters, are grand at compoundin' medicines
and presarves. They begin by nursin' babies and end by nursin'
broughten up folks. Old Mother Boudrot, now, was great on herbs, most
of which were as simple and as harmless as herself. Some of them was
new to me, though I think I know better ones than she has; but what
made her onfallible was she had faith. She took a key out of her
pocket, big enough for a jail-door, and unlocking a huge sailor's
chest, selected a box made by the Indians of birch bark, worked with
porcupine quills, which enclosed another a size smaller, and that a
littler one that would just fit into it, and so on till she came to
one about the size of an old-fashioned coffee-cup. They are called a
nest of boxes. The inner one contained a little horn thing that looked
like a pill-box, and that had a charm in it.

It was a portion of the nail of St Francis's big toe, which never
failed to work a cure on them who believed in it. She said she bought
it from a French prisoner, who had deserted from Melville Island, at
Halifax, during the last war. She gave him a suit of clothes, two
shirts, six pair of stockings, and eight dollars for it. The box was
only a bit of bone, and not worthy of the sacred relic, but she
couldn't afford to get a gold one for it.

"Poor St Croix," she said, "I shall never see him again. He had great
larning; he could both read and write. When he sold me that holy
thing, he said:

"'Madam, I am afraid something dreadful will happen to me before long
for selling that relic. When danger and trouble come, where will be my
charm then?'

"Well, sure enough, two nights after (it was a very dark night) the
dogs barked dreadful, and in the morning Peter La Roue, when he got
up, saw his father's head on the gate-post, grinnin' at him, and his
daughter Annie's handkerchief tied over his crown and down under his
chin. And St Croix was gone, and Annie was in a trance, and the
priest's desk was gone, with two hundred pounds of money in it; and
old Jodrie's ram had a saddle and bridle on, and was tied to a gate of
the widow of Justine Robisheau, that was drowned in a well at Halifax;
and Simon Como's boat put off to sea of itself, and was no more heard
of. Oh, it was a terrible night, and poor St Croix, people felt very
sorry for him, and for Annie La Roue, who slept two whole days and
nights before she woke up. She had all her father's money in her room
that night; but they searched day after day and never found it."

Well, I didn't undeceive her. What's the use? Master St Croix was an
old privateers-man. He had drugged La Roue's daughter to rob her of
her money; had stolen two hundred pounds from the priest, and Como's
boat, and sold the old lady a piece of his toe-nail for eight or ten
pounds' worth in all. I never shake the faith of an ignorant person.
Suppose they do believe too much, it is safer than believing too
little. You may make them give up their creed, but they ain't always
quite so willing to take your's. It is easier to make an infidel than
a convert. So I just let folks be, and suffer them to skin their own
eels.

After that she took to paying me compliments on my French, and I
complimented her on her good looks, and she confessed she was very
handsome when she was young, and all the men were in love with her,
and so on. Well, when I was about startin', I inquired what she had to
sell in the eatin' line.

"Eggs and fish," she said, "were all she had in the house."

On examining the barrel containing the former, I found a
white-lookin', tasteless powder among them.

"What's that?" said I.

Well, she told me what it was (pulverised gypsum), and said, "It would
keep them sweet and fresh for three months at least, and she didn't
know but more."

So I put my hand away down into the barrel and pulled out two, and
that layer she said was three months old. I held them to the light,
and they were as clear as if laid yesterday.

"Boil them," sais I, and she did so; and I must say it was a wrinkle I
didn't expect to pick up at such a place as that, for nothing could be
fresher.

"Here is a dollar," said I, "for that receipt, for it's worth knowing,
I can tell you."

"Now," thinks I, as I took my seat again, "I will try and see if this
French gall can talk English." I asked her, but she shook her head.

So to prove her, sais I, "Doctor, ain't she a beauty, that? See what
lovely eyes she has, and magnificent hair! Oh, if she was well got up,
and fashionably dressed, wouldn't she be a sneezer? What beautiful
little hands and feet she has! I wonder if she would marry me, seein'
I am an orthodox man."

Well, she never moved a muscle; she kept her eyes fixed on her work,
and there wasn't the leastest mite of a smile on her face. I kinder
sorter thought her head was rather more stationary, if anything, as if
she was listening, and her eyes more fixed, as if she was all
attention; but she had dropped a stitch in her knitting, and was
taking of it up, so perhaps I might be mistaken. Thinks I, I will try
you on t'other tack.

"Doctor, how would you like to kiss her, eh? Ripe-looking lips them,
ain't they? Well, I wouldn't kiss her for the world," said I; "I would
just as soon think of kissing a ham that is covered with creosote.
There is so much ile and smoke on 'em, I should have the taste in my
mouth for a week. Phew! I think I taste it now!"

She coloured a little at that, and pretty soon got up and went out of
the room; and presently I heard her washing her hands and face like
anything,

Thinks I, "You sly fox! you know English well enough to kiss in it
anyhow, if you can't talk in it easy. I thought I'de find you out; for
a gall that won't laugh when you tickle her, can't help screamin' a
little when you pinch her; that's a fact." She returned in a few
minutes quite a different lookin' person, and resumed her usual
employment, but still persisted that she did not know English. In the
midst of our conversation, the master of the house, Jerome Boudrot,
came in. Like most of the natives of Chesencook, he was short in
stature, but very active, and like all the rest a great talker.

"Ah, gentlemen," he said, "you follow de sea, eh?"

"No," sais I, "the sea often follows us, especially when the wind is
fair."

"True, true," he said; "I forget dat. It followed me one time. Oh, I
was wunst lost at sea; and it's an awful feelin'. I was out of sight
of land one whole day, all night, and eetle piece of next day. Oh, I
was proper frightened. It was all sea and sky, and big wave, and no
land, and none of us knew our way back." And he opened his eyes as if
the very recollection of his danger alarmed him. "At last big ship
came by, and hailed her, and ask:

"'My name is Jerry Boudrot; where am I?'

"'Aboard of your own vessel,' said they; and they laughed like
anything, and left us.

"Well, towards night we were overtaken by Yankee vessel, and I say,
'My name is Jerry Boudrot; where am I?'

"'Thar,' said the sarcy Yankee captain, 'and if you get this far, you
will be here;' and they laughed at me, and I swore at them, and called
'em all manner of names.

"Well, then I was proper frightened, and I gave myself up for lost,
and I was so sorry I hadn't put my deed of my land on recor, and that
I never got pay for half a cord of wood I sold a woman, who nevare
return agin, last time I was to Halifax; and Esadore Terrio owe me two
shillings and sixpence, and I got no note of hand for it, and I lend
my ox-cart for one day to Martell Baban, and he will keep it for a
week, and wear it out, and my wife marry again as sure as de world.
Oh, I was very scare and propare sorry, you may depend, when presently
great big English ship come by, and I hail her.

"'My name is Jerry Boudrot,' sais I, 'when did you see land last?'

"'Thirty days ago,' said the captain.

"'Where am I?' sais I.

"'In 44° 40' north,' said he, 'and 63° 40' west,' as near as I could
hear him.

"'And what country is dat are?' said I. 'My name is Jerry Boudrot.'

"'Where are you bound?' said he.

"'Home,'1 said I.


1 All colonists call England "home."


"'Well,' said he, 'at this season of the year you shall make de run in
twenty-five day. A pleasant passage to you!' and away he went.

"Oh, I was plague scared; for it is a dreadful thing to be lost at
sea.

"'Twenty-five days,' said I, 'afore we get home! Oh, mon Dieu! oh
dear! we shall all starve to death; and what is worse, die first. What
provision have we, boys?'

"'Well,' sais they, 'we counted, and we have two figs of tobacco, and
six loaf baker's bread (for the priest), two feet of wood, three
matches, and five gallons of water, and one pipe among us all.' Three
matches and five gallons of water! Oh, I was so sorry to lose my life,
and what was wus, I had my best clothes on bord.

"'Oh, boys, we are out of sight of land now,' sais I, 'and what is
wus, may be we go so far we get out sight of de sun too, where is dark
like down cellar. Oh, it's a shocking ting to be lost at sea. Oh,
people lose deir way dere so bad, sometimes dey nevare return no more.
People that's lost in de wood dey come back if dey live, but them
that's lost at sea nevare. Oh, I was damn scared. Oh, mon Dieu! what
is 44° 40' north and 63° 40' west? Is dat de conetry were people who
are lost at sea go to? Boys, is there any rum on board?' and they said
there was a bottle for the old lady's rheumatis. 'Well, hand it up,'
sais I, 'and if ever you get back tell her it was lost at sea, and has
gone to 44° 40' north and 63° 40' west. Oh, dear, dis all comes from
going out of sight of land.'

"Oh, I was vary dry you may depend; I was so scared at being lost at
sea that way, my lips stuck together like the sole and upper-leather
of a shoe. And when I took down the bottle to draw breath, the boys
took it away, as it was all we had. Oh, it set my mouth afire, it was
made to warm outside and not inside. Dere was brimstone, and camphor,
and eetle red pepper, and turpentene in it. Vary hot, vary nasty, and
vary trong, and it made me sea-sick, and I gave up my dinner, for I
could not hole him no longer, he jump so in de stomach, and what was
wus, I had so little for anoder meal. Fust I lose my way, den I lose
my sense, den I lose my dinner, and what is wus I lose myself to sea.
Oh, I repent vary mush of my sin in going out of sight of land. Well,
I lights my pipe and walks up and down, and presently the sun comes
out quite bright.

"'Well, dat sun,' sais I, 'boys, sets every night behind my barn in
the big swamp, somewhere about the Hemlock Grove. Well, dat is 63° 40'
west I suppose. And it rises a few miles to the eastward of that barn,
sometimes out of a fog bank, and sometimes out o' the water; well that
is 44° 40' north, which is all but east I suppose. Now, if we steer
west we will see our barn, but steering east is being lost at sea, for
in time you would be behind de sun.'

"Well, we didn't sleep much dat night, you may depend, but we prayed a
great deal, and we talked a great deal, and I was so cussed scared I
did not know what to do. Well, morning came and still no land, and I
began to get diablement feared again. Every two or tree minutes I run
up de riggin' and look out, but couldn't see notin'. At last I went
down to my trunk, for I had bottle there for my rheumatics too, only
no nasty stuff in it, that the boys didn't know of, and I took very
long draught, I was so scared; and then I went on deck and up de
riggin' again.

"'Boys,' sais I, 'there's the barn. That's 63° 40' west. I tole you
so.' Well, when I came down I went on my knees, and I vowed as long as
I lived I would hug as tight and close as ever I could."

"Your wife?" sais I.

"Pooh, no," said he, turning round contemptuously towards her; "hug
her, eh! why, she has got the rheumatiz, and her tongue is in mourning
for her teeth. No, hug the shore, man, hug it so close as posseeble,
and nevare lose sight of land for fear of being lost at sea."

The old woman perceiving that Jerry had been making some joke at her
expense, asked the girl the meaning of it, when she rose, and seizing
his cap and boxing his ears with it, right and left, asked what he
meant by wearing it before gentlemen, and then poured out a torrent of
abuse on him, with such volubility I was unable to follow it.

Jerry sneaked off, and set in the corner near his daughter, afraid to
speak, and the old woman took her chair again, unable to do so. There
was a truce and a calm, so to change the conversation, sais I:

"Sorrow, take the rifle and go and see if there is a Jesuit-priest
about here, and if there is shoot him, and take him on board and cook
him."

"Oh, Massa Sam," said he, and he opened his eyes and goggled like an
owl awfully frightened. "Goody gracious me, now you is joking, isn't
you? I is sure you is. You wouldn't now, Massa, you wouldn't make dis
child do murder, would you? Oh, Massa!! kill de poor priest who nebber
did no harm in all his born days, and him hab no wife and child to
follow him to--"

"The pot," sais I, "oh, yes, if they ask me arter him I will say he is
gone to pot."

"Oh, Massa, now you is funnin, ain't you?" and he tried to force a
laugh. "How in de world under de canopy ob hebbin must de priest be
cooked?"

"Cut his head and feet off," sais I, "break his thighs short, close up
to the stumps, bend 'em up his side, ram him into the pot and stew him
with ham and vegetables. Lick! a Jesuit-priest is delicious done that
way."

The girl dropped her cards on her knees and looked at me with intense
anxiety. She seemed quite handsome, I do actilly believe if she was
put into a tub and washed, laid out on the grass a few nights with her
face up to bleach it, her great yarn petticoats hauled off and proper
ones put on, and her head and feet dressed right, she'd beat the
Blue-nose galls for beauty out and out; but that is neither here nor
there, those that want white faces must wash them, and those that want
white floors must scrub them, it's enough for me that they are white,
without my making them so. Well, she looked all eyes and ears. Jerry's
under-jaw dropped, Cutler was flabbergasted, and the doctor looked as
if he thought, "Well, what are you at now?" while the old woman
appeared anxious enough to give her whole barrel of eggs to know what
was going on.

"Oh, Massa," said Sorrow, "dis here child can't have no hand in it. De
priest will pyson you, to a dead sartainty. If he was baked he mout
do. In Africa dey is hannibals and eat dere prisoners, but den dey
bake or roast 'em, but stew him, Massa! by golly he will pyson you, as
sure as 'postles. My dear ole missus died from only eaten hogs wid
dere heads on."

"Hogs!" said I.

"Yes, Massa, in course, hogs wid dere heads on. Oh, she was a most a
beautiful cook, but she was fizzled out by bad cookery at de last."

"You black villain," said I, "do you mean to say your mistress ever
eat whole hogs?"

"Yes, Massa, in course I do, but it was abbin' dere heads on fixed her
flint for her."

"What an awful liar you are, Sorrow!"

"'Pon my sacred word and honour, Massa," he said, "I stake my
testament oat on it; does you tink dis here child now would swear to a
lie? true as preachin', Sar."

"Go on," said I, "I like to see a fellow go the whole animal while he
is about it. How many did it take to kill her?"

"Well, Massa, she told me herself, on her def bed, she didn't eat no
more nor ten or a dozen hogs, but she didn't blame dem, it was havin'
dere heads on did all the mischief. I was away when dey was cooked, or
it wouldn't a happened. I was down to Charleston Bank to draw six
hundred dollars for her, and when I came back she sent for me.
'Sorrow,' sais she, 'Plutarch has poisoned me.'

"'Oh, de black villain', sais I, 'Missus, I will tye him to a tree and
burn him.'

"'No, no,' she said, 'I will return good for ebil. Send for Rev. Mr
Hominy, and Mr Succatash, de Yankee oberseer, and tell my poor granny
Chloe her ole missus is dyin', and to come back, hot foot, and bring
Plutarch, for my disgestion is all gone.' Well, when Plutarch came she
said, 'Plue, my child, you have killed your missus by cooking de hogs
wid dere heads on, but I won't punish you, I is intendin' to
extinguish you by kindness among de plantation niggers. I will heap
coals of fire on your head.'

"'Dat's right, Missus,' sais I, 'burn the villain up, but burn him
with green wood so as to make slow fire, dat's de ticket, Missus, it
sarves him right.'

"Oh, if you eber heard yellin', Massa, you'd a heard it den. Plue he
trowed himself down on de ground, and he rolled and he kicked and he
screamed like mad.

"'Don't make a noise, Plutarch,' said she, 'I can't stand it. I isn't
a goin' to put you to def. You shall lib. I will gib you a wife.'

"'Oh, tankee, Missus,' said he, 'oh, I will pray for you night and
day, when I ain't at work or asleep, for eber and eber. Amen.'

"'You shall ab Cloe for a wife.'

"Cloe, Massa, was seventy-five, if she was one blessed second old. She
was crippled with rheumatis, and walked on crutches, and hadn't a
tooth in her head. She was just doubled up like a tall nigger in a
short bed.

"'Oh, Lord, Missus,' said Plutarch, 'hab mercy on dis sinner, O dear
Missus, O lubly Missus, oh hab mercy on dis child.'

"'Tankee, Missus,' said Cloe. 'God bless you, Missus, I is quite appy
now. I is a leetle too young for dat spark, for I is cuttin' a new set
o' teeth now, and ab suffered from teethin' most amazin', but I will
make him a lubin' wife. Don't be shy, Mr Plue,' said she, and she up
wid one ob her crutches and gub him a poke in de ribs dat made him
grunt like a pig. 'Come, tand up,' said she, 'till de parson tie de
knot round your neck.'

"'Oh! Lord, Missus,' said he, 'ab massy!' But de parson married 'em,
and said, 'Slute your bride!' but he didn't move.

"'He is so bashful,' said Cloe, takin' him round de neck and kissin'
ob him. 'Oh, Missus!' she said, 'I is so proud ob my bridegroom--he do
look so genteel wid ole massa's frill shirt on, don't he?'

"When dey went out o' de room into de entry, Cloe fotched him a crack
ober his pate with her crutch that sounded like a cocoa-nut, it was so
hollow.

"'Take dat,' said she, 'for not slutin' ob your bride, you
good-for-nottin' onmanerly scallawag you.'

"Poor dear missus! she died dat identical night."

"Come here, Sorrow," said I; "come and look me in the face."

The moment he advanced, Jerry slipt across the room, and tried to hide
behind the tongues near his wife. He was terrified to death. "Do you
mean to say," said I, "she died of going the whole hog? Was it a
hog--tell me the truth?"

"Well, Massa," said he, "I don't know to a zact sartainty, for I was
not dere when she was tooked ill,--I was at de bank at de time,--but I
will take my davy it was hogs or dogs. I wont just zackly sartify
which, because she was 'mazin' fond of both; but I will swear it was
one or toder, and dat dey was cooked wid dere heads on--dat I will
stificate to till I die!"

"Hogs or dogs," said I, "whole, with their heads on--do you mean
that?"

"Yes, Massa, dis here child do, of a sartainty."

"Hogs like the pig, and dogs like the Newfoundlander at the door?"

"Oh, no, Massa, in course it don't stand to argument ob reason it was.
Oh, no, it was quadogs and quahogs--clams, you know. We calls 'em down
South, for shortness, hogs and dogs. Oh, Massa, in course you knows
dat--I is sure you does--you is only intendin' on puppose to make game
of dis here nigger, isn't you?"

"You villain," said I, "you took a rise out of me that time, at any
rate. It ain't often any feller does that, so I think you deserve a
glass of the old Jamaiky for it when we go on board. Now go and shoot
a Jesuit-priest if you see one."

The gall explained the order to her mother.

"Shoot the priest?" said she, in French.

"Shoot the priest," said Jerry; "shoot me!" And he popped down behind
his wife, as if he had no objection to her receiving the ball first.

She ran to her chest, and got out the little horn box with the nail of
St Francis, and looked determined to die at her post. Sorrow deposited
the gun in the corner, hung down his head, and said:

"Dis here child, Massa Slick, can't do no murder."

"Then I must do it myself," said I, rising and proceeding to get my
rifle.

"Slick," said the doctor, "what the devil do you mean?"

"Why," says I, a settin' down again, "I'll tell you. Jesuit-priests
were first seen in Spain and Portugal, where they are very fond of
them. I have often eaten them there."

"First seen in Spain and Portugal!" he replied. "You are out
there--but go on."

"There is a man," said I, "in Yorkshire, who says his ancestor brought
the first over from America, when he accompanied Cabot in his voyages,
and he has one as a crest. But that is all bunkum. Cabot never saw
one."

"What in the world do you call a Jesuit-priest?"

"Why a turkey to be sure," said I; "that's what they call them at
Madrid and Lisbon, after the Jesuits who first introduced them into
Europe."

"My goody gracious!" said Sorrow, "if that ain't fun alive it's a
pity, that's all."

"We'll," said Jerry, "I was lost at sea that time; I was out of sight
of land. It puzzled me like 44° north, and 63° 40' west."

"Hogs, dogs, and Jesuit-priests!" said the doctor, and off he set
again, with his hands on his sides, rushing round the room in
convulsions of laughter.

"The priest," said I to the old woman, "has given him a pain in his
stomach," when she ran to the dresser again, and got the cup of soot
for him which had not yet been emptied.

"Oh dear!" said he, "I can't stand that; oh, Slick, you will be the
death of me yet," and he bolted out of the house.

Having purchased a bushel of clams from the old lady, and bid her and
her daughter good-bye, we vamosed the ranche.1 At the door I saw a
noble gobbler.


1 One of the numerous corruptions of Spanish words introduced into the
States since the Mexican war, and signifies to quit the house or
shanty. Rancho designates a hut, covered with branches, where herdsmen
temporarily reside.


"What will you take for that Jesuit-priest," said I, "Jerry?"

"Seven and sixpence," said he.

"Done," said I, and his head was perforated with a ball in an instant.

The dog unused to such a sound from his master's house, and
recollecting the damage he received from the fall of the doctor, set
off with the most piteous howls that ever were heard, and fled for
safety--the pigs squealed as if they had each been wounded--and the
geese joined in the general uproar--while old Madam Boudrot and her
daughter rushed screaming to the door to ascertain what these dreadful
men were about, who talked of shooting priests, and eating hogs and
dogs entire with their heads on. It was some time before order was
restored, and when Jerry went into the house to light his pipe and
deposit his money, I called Cutler's attention to the action and style
of a horse in the pasture whom my gun had alarmed.

"That animal," said I, "must have dropped from the clouds. If he is
young and sound, and he moves as if he were both, he is worth six
hundred dollars. I must have him; can you give him a passage till we
meet one of our large coal ships coming from Pictou?"

"Certainly," said he.

"Jerry," sais I, when he returned, "what in the world do you keep such
a fly-away devil as that for? why don't you sell him and buy cattle?
Can't you sell him at Halifax?"

"Oh", said he, "I can't go there now no more, Mr Slick. The boys call
after me and say: Jerry, when did you see land last? My name is Jerry
Boudrot, where am I? Jerry, I thought you was lost at sea! Jerry, has
your colt got any slippares on yet (shoes)? Jerry, what does 44--40
mean? Oh! I can't stand it!"

"Why don't you send him by a neighbour?"

"Oh! none o' my neighbours can ride him. We can't break him. We are
fishermen, not horsemen."

"Where did he come from?"

"The priest brought a mare from Canada with him, and this is her colt.
He gave it to me when I returned from being lost at sea, he was so
glad to see me. I wish you would buy him, Mr Slick; you will have him
cheap; I can't do noting with him, and no fence shall stop him."

"What the plague," sais I, "do you suppose I want of a horse on board
of a ship? do you want me to be lost at sea too? and besides, if I did
try to oblige you," said I, "and offered you five pounds for that
devil nobody can ride, and no fence stop, you'd ask seven pound ten
right off. Now, that turkey was not worth a dollar here, and you asked
at once seven and sixpence. Nobody can trade with you, you are so
everlasting sharp. If you was lost at sea, you know your way by land,
at all events."

"Well," sais he, "say seven pounds ten, and you will have him."

"Oh! of course," said I, "there is capital pasture on board of a
vessel, ain't there? Where am I to get hay till I send him home?"

"I will give you tree hundredweight into the bargain."

"Well," sais I, "let's look at him; can you catch him?"

He went into the house, and bringing out a pan of oats, and calling
him, the horse followed him into the stable, where he was secured. I
soon ascertained he was perfectly sound, and that he was an uncommonly
fine animal. I sent Sorrow on board for my saddle and bridle, whip and
spurs, and desired that the vessel might be warped into the wharf.
When the negro returned, I repeated the terms of the bargain to Jerry,
which being assented to, the animal was brought out into the centre of
the field, and while his owner was talking to him, I vaulted into the
saddle. At first he seemed very much alarmed, snorting, and blowing
violently; he then bounded forward and lashed out with his hind feet
most furiously, which was succeeded by alternate rearing, kicking, and
backing. I don't think I ever see a critter splurge so badly; at last
he ran the whole length of the field, occasionally throwing up his
heels very high in the air, and returned unwillingly, stopping every
few minutes and plunging outrageously. On the second trial he again
ran, and for the first time I gave him both whip and spur, and made
him take the fence, and in returning I pushed him in the same manner,
making him take the leap as before. Though awkward and ignorant of the
meaning of the rein, the animal knew he was in the hands of a power
superior to his own, and submitted far more easily than I expected.

When we arrived at the wharf, I removed the saddle, and placing a
strong rope round his neck, had it attached to the windlass, not to
drag him on board, but to make him feel if he refused to advance that
he was powerless to resist, an indispensable precaution in breaking
horses. Once and once only he attempted escape; he reared and threw
himself, but finding the strain irresistible, he yielded and went on
board quietly. Jerry was as delighted to get rid of him as I was to
purchase him, and though I knew that seven pounds ten was as much as
he could ever realize out of him, I felt I ought to pay him for the
hay, and also that I could well afford to give him a little
conciliation present; so I gave him two barrels of flour in addition,
to enable him to make his peace with his wife, whom he had so grossly
insulted by asserting that his vow to heaven was to hug the shore
hereafter, and had no reference to her. If I ain't mistaken, Jerry
Boudrot, for so I have named the animal after him, will astonish the
folks to Slickville; for of all the horses on this continent, to my
mind, the real genuine Canadian is the best by all odds.

"Ah! my friend," said Jerry, addressing the horse, "you shall soon be
out of sight of land, like your master; but unlike him, I hope you
shall never be lost at sea."



                            CHAPTER XVIII.

                        HOLDING UP THE MIRROR.


From Halifax to Cumberland, Squire, the eastern coast of Nova Scotia
presents more harbours fit for the entrance of men-of-war than the
whole Atlantic coast of our country from Maine to Mexico. No part of
the world I am acquainted with is so well supplied and so little
frequented. They are "thar," as we say, but where are the large ships?
growing in the forest I guess. And the large towns? all got to be
built I reckon. And the mines? why wanting to be worked. And the
fisheries? Well, I'll tell you, if you will promise not to let on
about it. We are going to have them by treaty, as we now have them by
trespass. Fact is, we treat with the British and the Indians in the
same way. Bully them if we can, and when that won't do, get the most
valuable things they have in exchange for trash, like glass beads and
wooden clocks. Still, Squire, there is a vast improvement here, though
I won't say there ain't room for more; but there is such a change come
over the people, as is quite astonishing. The Blue-nose of 1834 is no
longer the Blue-nose of 1854. He is more active, more industrious, and
more enterprising. Intelligent the critter always was, but
unfortunately he was lazy. He was asleep then, now he is wide awake,
and up and doing. He never had no occasion to be ashamed to show
himself, for he is a good-looking feller, but he needn't now be no
longer skeered to answer to his name, when the muster is come and
his'n is called out in the roll, and say, "Here am I, Sirree." A new
generation has sprung up, some of the drones are still about the hive,
but there is a young vigorous race coming on who will keep pace with
the age.

It's a great thing to have a good glass to look in now and then and
see yourself. They have had the mirror held up to them.

Lord, I shall never forget when I was up to Rawdon here once, a
countryman came to the inn where I was, to pay me for a clock I had
put off on him, and as I was a passin' through the entry I saw the
critter standin' before the glass, awfully horrified.

"My good gracious," said he, a talking to himself, "my good gracious,
is this you, John Smiler? I havn't seen you before now going on twenty
years. Oh, how shockingly you are altered, I shouldn't a known you, I
declare."

Now, I have held the mirror to these fellows to see themselves in, and
it has scared them so they have shaved slick up, and made themselves
look decent. I won't say I made all the changes myself, for Providence
scourged them into activity, by sending the weavel into their
wheat-fields, the rot into their potatoes, and the drought into their
hay crops. It made them scratch round, I tell you, so as to earn their
grub, and the exertion did them good. Well, the blisters I have put on
their vanity stung 'em so, they jumped high enough to see the right
road, and the way they travel ahead now is a caution to snails.

Now, if it was you who had done your country this sarvice, you would
have spoke as mealy-mouthed of it as if butter wouldn't melt in it. "I
flatter myself," you would have said, "I had some little small share
in it." "I have lent my feeble aid." "I have contributed my poor
mite," and so on, and looked as meek and felt as proud as a Pharisee.
Now, that's not my way. I hold up the mirror, whether when folks see
themselves in it they see me there or not. The value of a glass is its
truth. And where colonists have suffered is from false reports,
ignorance, and misrepresentation. There is not a word said of them
that can be depended on. Missionary returns of all kinds are coloured
and doctored to suit English subscribing palates, and it's a pity they
should stand at the head of the list. British travellers distort
things the same way. They land at Halifax, where they see the first
contrast between Europe and America, and that contrast ain't
favourable, for the town is dingy lookin' and wants paint, and the
land round it is poor and stony. But that is enough, so they set down
and abuse the whole country, stock and fluke, and write as wise about
it as if they had seen it all instead of overlooking one mile from the
deck of a steamer. The military enjoy it beyond anything, and are far
more comfortable than in soldiering in England; but it don't do to say
so, for it counts for foreign service, and like the witnesses at the
court-marshall at Windsor, every feller sais, Non mi ricordo.
Governors who now-a-days have nothing to do, have plenty of leisure to
write, and their sufferings are such, their pens are inadequate to the
task. They are very much to be pitied.

Well, colonists on the other hand seldom get their noses out of it.
But if provincials do now and then come up on the other side of the
big pond, like deep sea-fish rising to the surface, they spout and
blow like porpoises, and try to look as large as whales, and people
only laugh at them. Navy officers extol the harbour and the market,
and the kindness and hospitality of the Haligonians, but that is all
they know, and as far as that goes they speak the truth. It wants an
impartial friend like me to hold up the mirror, both for their sakes
and the Downing Street officials too. Is it any wonder then that the
English don't know what they are talking about? Did you ever hear of
the devil's advocate? a nickname I gave to one of the understrappers
of the Colonial office, an ear mark that will stick to the feller for
ever! Well, when they go to make a saint at Rome, and canonize some
one who has been dead so long he is in danger of being forgot, the
cardinals hold a sort of court-martial on him, and a man is appointed
to rake and scrape all he can agin him, and they listen very patiently
to all he has to say, so as not to do things in a hurry. He is called
"the devil's advocate," but he never gained a cause yet. The same form
used to be gone through at Downing Street, by an underling, but he
always gained his point. The nickname of the "devil's advocate" that I
gave him did his business for him, he is no longer there now.

The British cabinet wants the mirror held up to them, to show them how
they look to others. Now, when an order is transmitted by a minister
of the crown, as was done last war, to send all Yankee prisoners to
the fortress of Louisburg for safe keeping, when that fortress more
than sixty years before had been effectually razed from the face of
the earth by engineer officers sent from England for the purpose, why
it is natural a colonist should laugh, and say Capital! only it is a
little too good; and when another minister says, he can't find good
men to be governors, in order to defend appointments that his own
party say are too bad, what language is strong enough to express his
indignation? Had he said openly and manly, We are so situated, and so
bound by parliamentary obligations, we not only have to pass over the
whole body of provincials themselves, who have the most interest and
are best informed in colonial matters, but we have to appoint some
people like those to whom you object, who are forced upon us by
hollerin' their daylights out for us at elections, when we would
gladly select others, who are wholly unexceptionable, and their name
is legion; why, he would have pitied his condition, and admired his
manliness. If this sweeping charge be true, what an encomium it is
upon the Dalhousies, the Gosfords, the Durhams, Sydenhams, Metcalfs,
and Elgins, that they were chosen because suitable men could not be
found if not supported by party. All that can be said for a minister
who talks such stuff, is that a man who knows so little of London as
to be unable to find the shortest way home, may easily lose himself in
the wilds of Canada.

Now we licked the British when we had only three millions of people
including niggers, who are about as much use in a war as crows that
feed on the slain, but don't help to kill 'em. We have "run up" an
empire, as we say of a "wooden house," or as the gall who was asked
where she was raised, said "She warn't raised, she growed up." We have
shot up into manhood afore our beards grew, and have made a nation
that ain't afeard of all creation. Where will you find a nation like
ours? Answer me that question, but don't reply as an Irishman does by
repeating it,--"Is it where I will find one, your Honour?"

Minister used to talk of some old chap, that killed a dragon and
planted his teeth, and armed men sprung up. As soon as we whipped the
British we sowed their teeth, and full-grown coons growed right out of
the earth. Lord bless you, we have fellows like Crocket, that would
sneeze a man-of-war right out of the water.

We have a right to brag, in fact it ain't braggin', its talking
history, and cramming statistics down a fellow's throat, and if he
wants tables to set down to, and study them, there's the old chairs of
the governors of the thirteen united universal worlds of the old
States, besides the rough ones of the new States to sit on, and
canvas-back ducks, blue-point oysters, and, as Sorrow says, "hogs and
dogs," for soup and pies, for refreshment from labour, as Freemasons
say. Brag is a good dog, and Holdfast is a better one, but what do you
say to a cross of the two?--and that's just what we are. An English
statesman actually thinks nobody knows anything but himself. And his
conduct puts folks both on the defensive and offensive. He eyes even
an American all over as much as to say, Where the plague did you
originate, what field of cotton or tobacco was you took from? and if a
Canadian goes to Downing Street, the secretary starts as much as to
say, I hope you han't got one o' them rotten eggs in your hand you
pelted Elgin with. Upon my soul, it wern't my fault, his indemnifyin'
rebels, we never encourage traitors except in Spain, Sicily, Hungary,
and places we have nothin' to do with. He brags of purity as much as a
dirty piece of paper does, that it was originally clean.

"We appreciate your loyalty most fully, I assure you," he says. "When
the militia put down the rebellion, without efficient aid from the
military, parliament would have passed a vote of thanks to you for
your devotion to our cause, but really we were so busy just then we
forgot it. Put that egg in your pocket, that's a good fellow, but
don't set down on it, or it might stain the chair, and folks might
think you was frightened at seeing so big a man as me;" and then he
would turn round to the window and laugh.

Whoever brags over me gets the worst of it, that's a fact. Lord, I
shall never forget a rise I once took out of one of these magnetized
officials, who know all about the colonies, tho' he never saw one. I
don't want any man to call me coward, and say I won't take it
parsonal. There was a complaint made by some of our folks against the
people of the Lower provinces seizing our coasters under pretence they
were intrudin' on the fisheries. Our embassador was laid up at the
time with rheumatism, which he called gout, because it sounded
diplomatic. So says he, "Slick, take this letter and deliver it to the
minister, and give him some verbal explanations."

Well, down I goes, was announced and ushered in, and when he saw me,
he looked me all over as a tailor does a man before he takes his
measure. It made me hoppin' mad I tell you, for in a general way I
don't allow any man to turn up his nose at me without having a shot at
it. So when I sat down I spit into the fire, in a way to put it out
amost, and he drew back and made a face, a leettle, just a leettle
uglier than his natural one was.

"Bad habit," sais I, "that'of spittin', ain't it?" lookin' up at him
as innocent as you please, and makin' a face exactly like his.

"Very," said he, and he gave a shudder.

Sais I, "I don't know whether you are aware of it or not, but most bad
habits are catching."

"I should hope not," said he, and he drew a little further off.

"Fact," sais I; "now if you look long and often at a man that winks,
it sets you a winkin'. If you see a fellow with a twitch in his face,
you feel your cheek doin' the same, and stammerin' is catching too.
Now I caught that habit at court, since I came to Europe. I dined
wunst with the King of Prussia, when I was with our embassador on a
visit at Berlin, and the King beats all natur in spittin', and the
noise he makes aforehand is like clearin' a grate out with a poker,
it's horrid. Well, that's not the worst of it, he uses that ugly
German word for it, that vulgarians translate 'spitting.' Now some of
our western people are compelled to chew a little tobacco, but like a
broker tasting cheese, when testing wine, it is only done to be able
to judge of the quality of the article, but even them unsophisticated,
free, and enlightened citizens have an innate refinement about them.
They never use that nasty word 'spitting,' but call it 'expressing the
ambia.' Well, whenever his Majesty crosses my mind, I do the same out
of clear sheer disgust. Some o' them sort of uppercrust people, I call
them big bugs, think they can do as they like, and use the privilege
of indulging those evil habits. When folks like the king do it, I call
them 'High, low, jack, and the game.'"

Well, the stare he gave me would have made you die a larfin'. I never
saw a man in my life look so skeywonaky. He knew it was true that the
king had that custom, and it dumb-foundered him. He looked at me as
much as to say, "Well, that is capital; the idea of a Yankee, who
spits like a garden-engine, swearing it's a bad habit he larned in
Europe, and a trick he got from dining with a king, is the richest
thing I ever heard in my life. I must tell that to Palmerston."

But I didn't let him off so easy. In the course of talk, sais he:

"Mr Slick, is it true that in South Carolina, if a free nigger, on
board of one of our vessels, lands there, he is put into jail until
the ship sails?" and he looked good, as much as to say, "Thank heaven
I ain't like that republican."

"It is," said I. "We consider a free nigger and a free Englishman on a
parr; we imprison a free black, lest he should corrupt our slaves. The
Duke of Tuscany imprisons a free Englishman, if he has a Bible in his
possession, lest he should corrupt his slaves. It's upon the
principle, that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander."

He didn't pursue the subject.

That's what I call brag for brag. We never allow any created critter,
male or female, to go a-head of us in anything. I heard a lady say to
embassador's wife once, in answer to her question, "how she was?"

"Oh, I am in such rude health, I have grown quite indecently stout."

Embassadress never heard them slang words before (for even high life
has its slang), but she wouldn't be beat.

"Oh," said she, "all that will yield to exercise. Before I was married
I was the rudest and most indecent gall in all Connecticut."

Well, an Irishman, with his elbow through his coat, and his shirt, if
he has one, playing diggy-diggy-doubt from his trowsers, flourishes
his shillalah over his head, and brags of the "Imirald Isle," and the
most splindid pisantry in the world; a Scotchman boasts, that next to
the devil and the royal owner of Etna, he is the richest proprietor of
sulphur that ever was heard of; while a Frenchman, whose vanity
exceeds both, has the modesty to call the English a nation of
shopkeepers, the Yankees, canaille, and all the rest of the world
beasts. Even John Chinaman swaggers about with his three tails, and
calls foreigners "Barbarians." If we go a-head and speak out, do you
do so, too. You have a right to do so. Hold the mirror to them, and
your countrymen, too. It won't lie, that's a fact. They require it, I
assure you. The way the just expectations of provincials have been
disappointed, the loyal portion depressed, the turbulent petted, and
the manner the feelings of all disregarded, the contempt that has
accompanied concessions, the neglect that has followed devotion and
self-sacrifice, and the extraordinary manner the just claims of the
meritorious postponed to parliamentary support, has worked a change in
the feelings of the people that the Downing Street officials cannot
understand, or surely they would pursue a different course. They want
to have the mirror held up to them.

I know they feel sore here about the picture my mirror gives them, and
it's natural they should, especially comin' from a Yankee; and they
call me a great bragger. But that's nothin' new; doctors do the same
when a feller cures a poor wretch they have squeezed like a sponge,
ruinated, and given up as past hope. They sing out Quack. But I don't
care; I have a right to brag nationally and individually, and I'd be
no good if I didn't take my own part. Now, though I say it that
shouldn't say it, for I ain't afraid to speak out, the sketches I send
you are from life; I paint things as you will find them and know them
to be. I'll take a bet of a hundred dollars, ten people out of twelve
in this country will recognise Jerry Boudrot's house who have never
entered it, but who have seen others exactly like it, and will say, "I
know who is meant by Jerry and his daughter and wife; I have often
been there; it is at Clare or Arichat or Pumnico, or some such place
or another."

Is that braggin'? Not a bit; it's only the naked fact. To my mind
there is no vally in a sketch if it ain't true to nature. We needn't
go searching about for strange people or strange things; life is full
of them. There is queerer things happening every day than an author
can imagine for the life of him. It takes a great many odd people to
make a world, that's a fact. Now, if I describe a house that has an
old hat in one window, and a pair of trousers in another, I don't stop
to turn glazier, take 'em out and put whole glass in, nor make a
garden where there is none, and put a large tree in the foreground for
effect; but I take it as I find it, and I take people in the dress I
find 'em in, and if I set 'em a talkin' I take their very words down.
Nothing gives you a right idea of a country and its people like that.

There is always some interest in natur, where truly depicted. Minister
used to say that some author (I think he said it was old Dictionary
Johnson) remarked, that the life of any man, if wrote truly, would be
interesting. I think so too; for every man has a story of his own,
adventures of his own, and some things have happened to him that never
happened to anybody else. People here abuse me for all this, they say,
after all my boastin' I don't do 'em justice. But after you and I are
dead and gone, and things have been changed, as it is to be hoped they
will some day or another for the better, unless they are like their
Acadian French neighbours, and intend to remain just as they are for
two hundred and fifty years, then these sketches will be curious; and,
as they are as true to life as a Dutch picture, it will be interestin'
to see what sort of folks were here in 1854, how they lived, and how
they employed themselves, and so on.

Now it's more than a hundred years ago since Smollett wrote, but his
men and women were taken from real life, his sailors from the navy,
his attorneys from the jails and criminal courts, and his fops and
fine ladies from the herd of such cattle that he daily met with. Well,
they are read now; I have 'em to home, and laugh till I cry over them.
Why? Because natur is the same always. Although we didn't live a
hundred years ago, we can see how the folks of that age did; and,
although society is altered, and there are no Admiral Benbows, nor
Hawser Trunnions, and folks don't travel in vans with canvas covers,
or wear swords, and frequent taverns, and all that as they used to did
to England; still it's a pictur of the times, and instructin' as well
as amusin'. I have learned more how folks dressed, talked, and lived,
and thought, and what sort of critters they were, and what the state
of society, high and low, was then, from his books and Fielding's than
any I know of. They are true to life, and as long as natur remains the
same, which it always will, they will be read. That's my idea at
least.

Some squeamish people turn up the whites of their peepers at both
those authors and say they are coarse. How can they be otherwise?
society was coarse. There are more veils worn now, but the devil still
lurks in the eye under the veil. Things ain't talked of so openly, or
done so openly, in modern as in old times. There is more concealment;
and concealment is called delicacy. But where concealment is, the
passions are excited by the difficulties imposed by society. Barriers
are erected too high to scale, but every barrier has its wicket, its
latch key, and its private door. Natur is natur still, and there is as
much of that that is condemned in his books now, as there was then.
There is a horrid sight of hypocrisy now, more than there was one
hundred years ago; vice was audacious then, and scared folks. It ain't
so bold at present as it used to did to be; but if it is forbid to
enter the drawing-room, the back staircase is still free. Where there
is a will there is a way, and always will be. I hate pretence, and,
above all, mock modesty; it's a bad sign.

I knew a clergyman to home a monstrous pious man, and so
delicate-minded, he altered a great many words and passages in the
Church Service, he said he couldn't find it in his heart to read them
out in meetin', and yet that fellow, to my sartain knowledge, was the
greatest scamp in private life I ever knew. Gracious knows, I don't
approbate coarseness, it shocks me, but narvous sensibility makes me
sick. I like to call things by their right names, and I call a leg a
leg, and not a larger limb; a shirt a shirt, though it is next the
skin, and not a linen vestment; and a stocking a stocking, though it
does reach up the leg, and not a silk hose; and a garter a garter,
though it is above the calf, and not an elastic band or a hose
suspender. A really modest woman was never squeamish. Fastidiousness
is the envelope of indelicacy. To see harm in ordinary words betrays a
knowledge, and not an ignorance of evil.

But that is neither here nor there, as I was sayin', when you are dead
and gone these Journals of mine which you have edited, when mellowed
by time, will let the hereafter-to-be Blue-noses, see what the
has-been Nova Scotians here from '34 to '54 were. Now if something of
the same kind had been done when Halifax was first settled a hundred
years ago, what strange coons the old folks would seem to us. That
state of society has passed away, as well as the actors. For instance,
when the militia was embodied to do duty so late as the Duke of Kent's
time, Ensign Lane's name was called on parade. "Not here," said
Lieutenant Grover, "he is mending Sargent Street's breeches."

Many a queer thing occurred then that would make a queer book, I
assure you. There is much that is characteristic both to be seen and
heard in every harbour in this province, the right way is to jot all
down. Every place has its standing topic. At Windsor it is the gypsum
trade, the St John's steamer, the Halifax coach, and a new house that
is building. In King's County it is export of potatoes, bullocks, and
horses. At Annapolis, cord, wood, oars, staves, shingles, and
agricultural produce of all kinds. At Digby, smoked herrings, fish
weirs, and St John markets. At Yarmouth, foreign freights, berthing,
rails, cat-heads, lower cheeks, wooden bolsters, and the crown, palm,
and shank of anchors. At Shelburne, it is divided between fish,
lumber, and the price of vessels. At Liverpool, ship-building, deals,
and timber, knees, transums, and futtucks, pintles, keelsons, and
moose lines. At Lunenburg, Jeddore, and Chesencook, the state of the
market at the capital. At the other harbours further to the eastward,
the coal trade and the fisheries engross most of the conversation. You
hear continually of the fall run and the spring catch of mackerel that
set in but don't stop to bait. The remarkable discovery of the French
coasters, that was made fifty years ago, and still is as new and as
fresh as ever, that when fish are plenty there is no salt, and when
salt is abundant there are no fish, continually startles you with its
novelty and importance. While you are both amused and instructed by
learning the meaning of coal cakes, Albion tops, and what a
Chesencooker delights in, "slack;" you also find out that a hundred
tons of coal at Sydney means when it reaches Halifax one hundred and
fifteen, and that West India, Mediterranean, and Brazilian fish are
actually made on these shores. These local topics are greatly
diversified by politics, which, like crowfoot and white-weed, abound
everywhere.

Halifax has all sorts of talk. Now if you was writin' and not me, you
would have to call it, to please the people, that flourishing great
capital of the greatest colony of Great Britain, the town with the
harbour, as you say of a feller who has a large handle to his face,
the man with the nose, that place that is destined to be the London of
America, which is a fact if it ever fulfils its destiny. The little
scrubby dwarf spruces on the coast are destined not to be lofty pines,
because that can't be in the natur of things, although some folks talk
as if they expected it; but they are destined to be enormous trees,
and although they havn't grown an inch the last fifty years, who can
tell but they may exceed the expectations that has been formed of
them? Yes, you would have to give it a shove, it wants it bad enough,
and lay it on thick too, so as it will stick for one season.

It reminds me of a Yankee I met at New York wunst, he was disposin' of
a new hydraulic cement he had invented. Now cements, either to resist
fire or water, or to mend the most delicate china, or to stop a crack
in a stove, is a thing I rather pride myself on. I make my own cement
always, it is so much better than any I can buy.

Sais I, "What are your ingredients?"

"Yes," sais he, "tell you my secrets, let the cat out of the bag for
you to catch by the tail. No, no," sais he, "excuse me, if you
please."

It ryled me that, so I just steps up to him, as savage as a meat-axe,
intendin' to throw him down-stairs, when the feller turned as pale as
a rabbit's belly, I vow I could hardly help laughin', so I didn't
touch him at all.

"But," sais I, "you and the cat in the bag may run to Old Nick and see
which will get to him first, and say tag--I don't want the secret, for
I don't believe you know it yourself. If I was to see a bit of the
cement, and break it up myself, I'd tell you in a moment whether it
was good for anything."

"Well," sais he, "I'll tell you;" and he gave me all the particulars.

Sais I, "It's no good, two important ingredients are wantin', and you
haven't tempered it right, and it won't stick."

Sais he, "I guess it will stick till I leave the city, and that will
answer me and my eends."

"No," sais I, "it won't, it will ruin you for ever, and injure the
reputation of Connecticut among the nations of the airth. Come to me
when I return to Slickville, and I will show you the proper thing in
use, tested by experience, in tanks, in brick and stone walls, and in
a small furnace. Give me two thousand dollars for the receipt, take
out a patent, and your fortune is made."

"Well," sais he, "I will if it's all you say, for there is a great
demand for the article, if it's only the true Jeremiah."

"Don't mind what I say," said I, "ask it what it says, there it is, go
look at it."

Well, you would have to give these Haligonians a coat of white-wash
that would stick till you leave the town. But that's your affair, and
not mine. I hold the mirror truly, and don't flatter. Now, Halifax is
a sizable place, and covers a good deal of ground, it is most as large
as a piece of chalk, which will give a stranger a very good notion of
it. It is the seat of government, and there are some very important
officers there, judging by their titles. There are a receiver-general,
an accountant-general, an attorney-general, a solicitor-general, a
commissary-general, an assistant commissary-general, the general in
command, the quartermaster-general, the adjutant-general, the
vicar-general, surrogate-general, and postmaster-general. His
Excellency the governor, and his Excellency the admiral. The master of
the Rolls, their lordships the judges, the lord bishop, and the
archbishop, archdeacon, secretary for the Home department, and a host
of great men, with the handle of honourable to their names. Mayors,
colonels, and captains, whether of the regulars or the militia, they
don't count more than fore-cabin passengers. It ain't considered
genteel for them to come abaft the paddle-wheel. Indeed, the
quarter-deck wouldn't accommodate so many. Now, there is the same
marvel about this small town that there was about the scholar's head--


  "And still the wonder grew,
  How one small head could carry all he knew."


Well, it is a wonder so many great men can be warm-clothed,
bedded-down, and well stalled there, ain't it? But they are, and very
comfortably, too. This is the upper crust; now the under crust
consists of lawyers, doctors, merchants, army and navy folks, small
officials, articled clerks, and so on. Well, in course such a town, I
beg pardon, it is a city (which is more than Liverpool in England is),
and has two cathedral churches, with so many grades, trades, blades,
and pretty maids in it, the talk must be various. The military talk is
professional, with tender reminiscences of home, and some little
boasting, that they are suffering in their country's cause by being so
long on foreign service at Halifax. The young swordknots that have
just joined are brim full of ardour, and swear by Jove (the young
heathens) it is too bad to be shut up in this vile hole (youngsters,
take my advice, and don't let the town's-people hear that, or they
will lynch you), instead of going to Constantinople.

"I say, Lennox, wouldn't that be jolly work?"

"Great work," says Lennox, "rum coves those Turks must be in the
field, eh? The colonel is up to a thing or two; if he was knocked on
the head, there would be such promotion, no one would lament him, but
his dear wife and five lovely daughters, and they would be really
distressed to lose him."

He don't check the youthful ardour, on the contrary, chimes in, and is
in hopes he can make interest at the Horse-guards for the regiment to
go yet, and then he gives a wink to the doctor, who was in the corps
when he was a boy, as much as to say, "Old fellow, you and I have seen
enough of the pleasures of campaigning in our day, eh! Doctor, that is
good wine; but it's getting confounded dear lately; I don't mind it
myself, but it makes the expense of the mess fall heavy upon the
youngsters." The jolly subs look across the table and wink, for they
know that's all bunkum.

"Doctor," sais a new hand, "do you know if Cargill has sold his orses.
His leada is a cleverwish saut of thing, but the wheela is a riglar
bute. That's a goodish orse the Admewall wides; I wonder if he is
going to take him ome with him."

"Haven't heard--can't say. Jones, what's that thing that wont burn, do
you know? Confound the thing, I have got it on the tip of my tongue
too."

"Asphalt," sais Jones.

"No! that's not it; that's what wide-awakes are made of."

"Perhaps so," sais Gage, "ass'felt is very appropriate for a fool's
cap."

At which there is a great roar.

"No; but really what is it?"

"Is it arbutus?" sais Simpkins, "I think they make it at Killarney--"

"No, no; oh! I have it, asbestos; well, that's what I believe the
cigars here are made of--they won't go."

"There are a good many things here that are no go," sais Gage, "like
Perry's bills on Coutts; but, Smith, where did you get that flash
waistcoat I saw last night?"

"Oh! that was worked by a poor despairing girl at Bath, during a fit
of the scarlet fever."

"It was a memento mori then, I suppose," replies the other.

But all the talk is not quite so frivolous. Opposite to that large
stone edifice, is an old cannon standing on end at the corner of the
street, to keep carriages from trespassing on the pavement, and the
non-military assemble round it; they are civic great guns. They are
discussing the great event of the season--the vote of want of
confidence of last night, the resignation of the provincial ministry
this morning, and the startling fact that the head upholsterer has
been sent for to furnish a new cabinet, that won't warp with the heat
and fly apart. It is very important news; it has been telegraphed to
Washington, and was considered so alarming, the President was waked up
to be informed of it. He rubbed his eyes and said:

"Well, I acknowledge the coin, you may take my hat. I hope I may be
cow-hided if I knew they had a ministry. I thought they only had a
governor, and a regiment for a constitution. Will it affect the
stocks? How it will scare the Emperor of Rooshia, won't it?" and he
roared so loud he nearly choked. That just shows (everybody regards
the speaker with silence, for he is an oracle), says Omniscient Pitt.

That just shows how little the Yankees know and how little the English
care about us. "If we want to be indepindent and respictable," sais an
Hibernian magnate, "we must repale the Union." But what is this? here
is a fellow tied hand and foot on a truck, which is conveying him to
the police court, swearing and screaming horribly. What is the meaning
of all that?

A little cynical old man, commonly called the major, looks knowing,
puts on a quizzical expression, and touching his nose with the tip of
his finger, says, "One of the new magistrates qualifying as he goes
down to be sworn into office."

It makes the politicians smile, restores their equanimity, and they
make room for another committee of safety. A little lower down the
street, a mail-coach is starting for Windsor, and ten or fifteen men
are assembled doing their utmost, and twenty or thirty boys helping
them, to look at the passengers, but are unexpectedly relieved from
their arduous duty by a military band at the head of a marching
regiment.

Give me the bar though. I don't mean the bar-room, though there are
some capital songs sung, and good stories told, and first-rate rises
taken out of green ones, in that bar-room at the big hotel, but I mean
the lawyers. They are the merriest and best fellows everywhere. They
fight like prize-boxers in public and before all the world, and shake
hands when they set to and after it's over. Preachers, on the
contrary, write anonymous letters in newspapers, or let fly pamphlets
at each other, and call ugly names. While doctors go from house to
house insinuating, undermining, shrugging shoulders, turning up noses,
and looking as amazed as when they was fust born into the world, at
each other's prescriptions. Well, politicians are dirty birds too,
they get up all sorts of lies against each other, and if any one lays
an egg, t'other swears it was stole out of his nest. But lawyers are
above all these tricks. As soon as court is ended, off they go
arm-in-arm, as if they had both been fighting on one side. "I say,
Blowem, that was a capital hit of yours, making old Gurdy swear he was
king of the mountains."

"Not half as good as yours, Monk, telling the witness he couldn't be a
partner, for the plaintiff had put in all the 'stock in hand,' and he
had only put in his 'stock in feet.'"

They are full of stories, too, tragic as well as comic, picked up in
the circuits.

"Jones, do you know Mc Farlane of Barney's River, a Presbyterian
clergyman? He told me he was once in a remote district there where no
minister had ever been, and visiting the house of a settler of Scotch
descent, he began to examine the children.

"'Well, my man,' said he, patting on the shoulder a stout junk of a
boy of about sixteen years of age, 'can you tell me what is the chief
end of man?'

"'Yes, Sir,' said he. 'To pile and burn brush.'1


1 In clearing woodland, after the trees are chopped down and cut into
convenient sizes for handling, they are piled into heaps and burned.


"'No it ain't,' said his sister.

"'Oh, but it is though,' replied the boy, 'for father told me so
himself.'

"'No, no,' said the minister, 'it's not that; but perhaps, my dear,'
addressing the girl, 'you can tell me what it is?'

"'Oh, yes, Sir,' said she, 'I can tell you, and so could John, but he
never will think before he speaks.'

"'Well, what is it, dear?'

"'Why, the chief end of man, Sir, is his head and shoulders.'

"'Oh,' said a little lassie that was listening to the conversation,
'if you know all these things, Sir, can you tell me if Noah had any
butterflies in the ark? I wonder how in the world he ever got hold of
them! Many and many a beauty have I chased all day, and I never could
catch one yet.'"

"I can tell you a better one than that," says Larry Hilliard. "Do you
recollect old Hardwood, our under-sheriff? He has a very beautiful
daughter, and she was married last week at St Paul's Church, to a
lieutenant in the navy. There was such an immense crowd present (for
they were considered the handsomest couple ever married there), that
she got so confused she could hardly get through the responses. When
the archdeacon said, 'Will you have this man to be your wedded
husband?'

"'Yes,' she said, and made a slight pause; and then became bewildered,
and got into her catechism. 'Yes,' she said, 'by God's grace I will,
and I humbly thank my Heavenly Father for having brought me to this
state of salvation.'

"It was lucky she spoke low, and that the people didn't distinctly
hear her, but it nearly choaked the parson."

"Talking of church anecdotes," says Lawyer Martin, "reminds me of old
Parson Byles, of St John's, New Brunswick. Before the American
rebellion he was rector at Boston, and he had a curate who always
preached against the Roman Catholics. It tickled the Puritans, but
didn't injure the Papists, for there were none there at that time. For
three successive Sundays he expounded the text, 'And Peter's wife's
mother lay ill of a fever.'

"From which he inferred priests ought to marry. Shortly after that the
bell was tolling one day, and somebody asked Dr Byles who was dead.

"Says he, and he looked solemcoly, shut one eye and winked with the
other, as if he was trying to shut that also--'I rather think it is
Peter's wife's mother, for she has been ill of a fever for three
weeks.'"

There are charms in these little "home scenes," these little detached
sketches, which are wholly lost in a large landscape.

There is one very redeeming property about the people. Although they
differ widely in politics, I infer that they live in the greatest
possible harmony together, from the fact that they speak of each other
like members of the same family. The word Mr is laid aside as too cold
and formal, and the whole Christian name as too ceremonious. Their
most distinguished men speak of each other, and the public follow
their example, as Joe A, or Jim B, or Bill C, or Tom D, or Fitz this,
or Dick that. It sounds odd to strangers no doubt, but the inference
that may be drawn from it is one of great amiability.

Still, in holding up the mirror, hold it up fairly, and take in all
the groups, and not merely those that excite ridicule. Halifax has
more real substantial wealth about it than any place of its size in
America; wealth not amassed by reckless speculation, but by judicious
enterprise, persevering industry, and consistent economy. In like
manner there is better society in it than in any similar American or
colonial town. A man must know the people to appreciate them. He must
not merely judge by those whom he is accustomed to meet at the social
board, for they are not always the best specimens anywhere, but by
those also who prefer retirement, and a narrower circle, and rather
avoid general society, as not suited to their tastes. The character of
its mercantile men stands very high, and those that are engaged in
professional pursuits are distinguished for their ability and
integrity. In short, as a colonist, Squire, you may at least be
satisfied to hear from a stranger like me, that they contrast so
favourably with those who are sent officially among them from England,
that they need not be ashamed to see themselves grouped with the best
of them in the same mirror.

Yes, yes, Squire, every place has its queer people, queer talk, and
queer grouping. I draw what is before me, and I can't go wrong. Now,
if the sketcher introduces his own person into his foregrounds, and I
guess I figure in all mine as large as life (for like a respectable
man I never forget myself), he must take care he has a good likeness
of his skuldiferous head, as well as a flattering one. Now, you may
call it crackin' and braggin', and all that sort of a thing, if you
please, but I must say, I allot that I look, sit, walk, stand, eat,
drink, smoke, think, and talk, aye, and brag too, like a Yankee
clockmaker, don't you? Yes, there is a decided and manifest
improvement in the appearance of this province. When I say the
province, I don't refer to Halifax alone, though there are folks there
that think it stands for and represents the whole colony. I mean what
I say in using that expression, which extends to the country at
large--and I am glad to see this change, for I like it. And there is a
still more decided and manifest improvement in the people, and I am
glad of that too, for I like them also. Now, I'll tell you one great
reason of this alteration. Blue-nose has seen himself as other folks
see him, he has had "the mirror held up to him."



                             CHAPTER XIX.

                        THE BUNDLE OF STICKS.


I had hardly entered these remarks in my Journal, and ascended the
companion-ladder, when the doctor joined me in my quarter-deck walk,
and said, "Mr Slick, what is your opinion of the state of these North
American colonies?"

What a curious thing these coincidences are, Squire, ain't they? How
often when you are speaking of a man, he unexpectedly makes his
appearance, don't he? or if you are thinking of a subject, the person
who is with you starts the same topic, or if you are a going to say a
thing, he takes, as we say, the very words out of your mouth. It is
something more than accident that, but what is it? Is it animal
magnetism, or what is it? Well, I leave you to answer that question,
for I can't.

"Their growth beats all. The way they are going ahead is a caution to
them that live in Sleepy Hollow, a quiet little place the English call
Downing Street. It astonishes them as a young turkey does a hen that
has hatched it, thinking it was a chicken of her own. She don't know
what in the world to make of the great long-legged, long-bodied
critter, that is six times as large as herself, that has cheeks as red
as if it drank brandy, an imperial as large as a Russian dragoon, eats
all the food of the poultry-yard, takes a shocking sight of nursing
when it is young, and gets as sarcy as the devil when it grows up."

"Yes," said he, "I am aware of its growth; but what do you suppose is
the destiny of British North America?"

"Oh," sais I, "I could tell you if I was Colonial minister, because I
should then have the power to guide that destiny. I know full well
what ought to be done, and the importance of doing it soon, but I am
not in the position to give them the right direction. No English
statesmen have the information, the time, or the inclination to meddle
with the subject. To get rid of the bother of them, they have given up
all control and said to them, 'There is responsible government for
you, now tortle off hum, and manage your own affairs.' Yes, yes, so
far so good--they can manage their own domestic matters, but who is to
manage their foreign affairs, as I said wunst to a member of
parliament. They have outgrown colonial dependance; their minority is
ended; their clerkship is out; they are of age now: they never did
well in your house; they were put out to nurse at a distance; they had
their schooling; they learnt figures early; they can add and multiply
faster than you can to save your soul; and now they are uneasy. They
have your name, for they are your children, but they are younger sons.
The estate and all the honours go to the eldest, who resides at home.
They know but little about their parents, further than that their
bills have been liberally paid, but they have no personal acquaintance
with you. You are tired of maintaining them, and they have too much
pride and too much energy to continue to be a burden to you. They can
and they will do for themselves.

"Have you ever thought of setting them up in business on their own
account, or of taking them into partnership with yourself? In the
course of nature they must form some connection soon. Shall they seek
it with you or the States, or intermarry among themselves, and begin
the world on their own hook? These are important questions, and they
must be answered soon. Have you acquired their confidence and
affection? What has been your manner to them? Do you treat them like
your other younger children that remain at home? Them you put into
your army and navy, place a sword in their hands and say, Distinguish
yourselves, and the highest rewards are open to you; or you send them
to the church or the bar, and say, A mitre or a coronet shall be the
prize to contend for. If you prefer diplomacy, you shall be attaché to
your elder brother. I will place the ladder before you; ascend it. If
you like politics, I will place you in parliament, and if you have not
talents sufficient for the House of Commons, you shall go out as
governor of one of our colonies. Those appointments belong of right to
them, but they can't help themselves at present. Get one while you
can.

"Have you done this, or anything like it, for your children abroad? If
you have, perhaps you will be kind enough to furnish me with some
names, that I may mention them when I hear you accused of neglect. You
are very hospitable and very considerate to strangers. The
representative of any little insignificant German state, of the size
of a Canadian township, has a place assigned him on state occasions.
Do you ever show the same attention to the delegate of a colony, of
infinitely more extent and value than Ireland? There can't be a doubt
you have, though I have never heard of it. Such little trifles are
matters of course, but still, as great interests are at stake, perhaps
it would be as well to notice such things occasionally in the Gazette,
for distant and humble relations are always touchy.

"Ah, Doctor," said I, "things can't and won't remain long as they are.
England has three things among which to choose for her North American
colonies:--First: Incorporation with herself, and representation in
Parliament. Secondly: Independence. Thirdly: Annexation with the
States. Instead of deliberating and selecting what will be most
conducive to the interest of herself and her dependencies, she is
allowing things to take their chance. Now, this is all very well in
matters over which we have no control, because Providence directs
things better than we can; but if one of these three alternatives is
infinitely better than the other, and it is in our power to adopt it,
it is the height of folly not to do so. I know it is said, for I have
often heard it myself, Why, we can but lose the colonies at last.
Pardon me, you can do more than that, for you can lose their
affections also. If the partnership is to be dissolved, it had better
be done by mutual consent, and it would be for the interest of both
that you should part friends. You didn't shake hands with, but fists
at, us when we separated. We had a stand-up fight, and you got licked,
and wounds were given that the best part of a century hasn't healed,
and wounds that will leave tender spots for ever; so don't talk
nonsense.

"Now, Doctor, mark my words. I say again, things won't remain long as
they are. I am glad I have you to talk to instead of the Squire, for
he always says, I am chockfull of crotchets, and brimfull of brag.
Now, it is easy, we all know, to prophesy a thing after it has
happened, but if I foretell a thing and it comes out true, if I
haven't a right to brag of my skill, I have a right to boast that I
guessed right at all events. Now, when I set on foot a scheme for
carrying the Atlantic mail in steamers, and calculated all the
distances and chances, and showed them Bristol folks (for I went to
that place on purpose) that it was shorter by thirty-six miles to come
to Halifax, and then go to New York, than to go to New York direct,
they just laughed at me, and so did the English Government. They said
it couldn't be shorter in the nature of things. There was a captain in
the navy to London too, who said, 'Mr Slick, you are wrong, and I
think I ought to know something about it,' giving a toss of his head.
'Well,' sais I, with another toss of mine, 'I think you ought too, and
I am sorry you don't, that's all.'

"Then the Squire said:--'Why, how you talk, Mr Slick! Recollect, if
you please, that Doctor Lardner says that steam won't do to cross the
Atlantic, and he is a great gun."

"'Well,' sais I, 'I don't care a fig for what Lardner says, or any
other locomotive lecturer under the light of the living sun. If a
steamer can go agin a stream, and a plaguy strong one too, two
thousand five hundred miles up the Mississippi, why in natur can't it
be fixed so as to go across the Atlantic?'

"Well, some time after that, my second Clockmaker came out in London,
and, sais I, I'll stand or fall by my opinion, right or wrong, and I
just put it body and breeches all down in figures in that book. Well,
that set inquiries on foot, folks began to calculate--a tender was
made and accepted, and now steam across the Atlantic is a fixed fact,
and an old story. Our folks warn't over pleased about it, they
consaited I should have told them first, so they might have taken the
lead in it, as they like to go ahead of the British in all things, and
I wish to goodness I had, for thanks are better nor jeers at any time.

"Well, I was right there, you see. So on this subject I have told
Squire, and them who ought to know something of the colonies they
rule, over and over again, and warned government that something was
wanting to place these provinces on a proper permanent footing; that I
knew the temper of colony folks better than they did, and you will
find in my Journals the subject often mentioned. But no, a debate on a
beer bill, or a metropolitan bridge, or a constabulary act, is so
pressing, there is no time. Well, sure enough that's all come true.
First, the Canadian league started up, it was a feverish symptom, and
it subsided by good treatment, without letting blood. Last winter it
was debated in the Legislature here, and the best and ablest speeches
made on it ever heard in British America, and infinitely superior to
the great majority of those uttered in the House of Commons.1 Do you
suppose for a moment that proud-spirited, independent, able men like
those members, will long endure the control of a Colonial minister,
who, they feel, is as much below them in talent, as by accident he may
be above them in rank? No, Sir, the day is past. The form of
provincial government is changed, and with it provincial dependence
also. When we become men, we must put away childish thing's.


1 All these speeches are well worth reading, especially those of Mr
Howe, Mr Johnston, and Mr M. Wilkins. That of the former gentleman is
incomparably superior to any one delivered during the last session of
the Imperial Parliament.


"There is a sense of soreness that is uncomfortably felt by a colonist
now when he surveys our condition, and that of Englishmen, and
compares his own with it. He can hardly tell you what he wants, he has
yet no definite plan: but he desires something that will place him on
a perfect equality with either. When I was in Europe lately, I spent a
day at Richmond, with one of them I had known out in America. He was a
Tory, too, and a pretty staunch one, I tell you.

"Thinks I to myself, 'I'll put you through your paces a little, my
young sucking Washington, for fear you will get out of practice when
you get back.'

"So, sais I, 'how do you get on now? I suppose responsible government
has put an end to all complaints, hain't it?'

"Sais he, 'Mr Slick,' and I saw he felt sore, for he looked like it,
and talked like it; 'Mr Slick,' said he, 'kinder niblin' at the
question, I have no remonstrance to make. There is something very
repulsive in a complaint. I can't bear the sound of it myself. It
should never be pronounced but in the ear of a doctor, or a police
magistrate. Your man with a grievance is everywhere voted a bore. If
he goes to the Colonial Office with one, that stout gentleman at the
door, the porter, who has the keys of that realm of knowledge and
bliss, and knows as much and has as many airs as his master, soon
receives an order not to admit him.

"'Worn out with fatigue and disappointment, the unfortunate suitor
finds at last his original grievance merged in the greater one, that
he can obtain no hearing and no redress, and he returns to his own
province, like Franklin, or the Australian delegate, with thoughts of
deep revenge, and visions of a glorious revolution that shall set his
countrymen free from foreign dominion. He goes a humble suppliant, he
returns an implacable rebel. The restless Pole, who would rather play
the part of a freebooting officer than an honest farmer, and who
prefers even begging to labour, wanders over Europe and America,
uttering execrations against all monarchs in general, and his own in
particular, and, when you shake your head at his oft-told tale of
fictitious patriotism, as he replaces his stereotyped memorial in his
pocket, exhibits the handle of a stiletto, with a savage smile of
unmistakeable scoundrelism.'

"'Poles loom large,' sais I, 'in the fogs of London, but they dwindle
into poor sticks with us.'

"He was in no temper however to laugh. It was evident he felt deeply,
but he was unwilling to exhibit the tender spot. 'The world, Sir,' he
said, 'is full of grievances. Papineau's parliament mustered
ninety-two of them at one time, and a Falmouth packet-ship actually
foundered with its shifting cargo. What a pity it is that their
worthlessness and lightness alone caused them to float! The English,
who reverse every wholesome maxim, in this instance pursued their
usual course. The sage advice, parcere subjectis, et debilare
superbos, was disregarded. The loyalists suffered, the arrogant and
turbulent triumphed. Every house, Sir, in the kingdom is infested with
grievances. Fathers grieve over the extravagances of their sons, the
giddiness of their daughters, and the ceaseless murmurs of their
wives, while they in their turn unite in complaining of parental
parsimony and meanness. Social intercourse I have long since given up,
for I am tired of tedious narratives of the delinquencies of servants
and the degeneracy of the times. I prefer large parties, where,
although you know the smile hides the peevish temper, the aching
heart, the jealous fear, and the wounded pride; yet it is such a great
satisfaction to know there is a truce to complaints, that I prefer its
many falsehoods to unceasing wailings over the sad realities of life.'

"This was no answer, but something to bluff me off. I saw he was
unwilling to speak out, and that it was a mere effort to button up and
evade the subject. So to draw him out, I said,

"'Well, there is one thing you can boast. Canada is the most valuable
and beautiful appendage of the British Crown.'

"'England may boast of it as such,' he said, 'but I have no right to
do so. I prefer being one of the pariahs of the empire, a mere
colonist, having neither grade nor caste, without a country of my own,
and without nationality. I am a humble man, and when I am asked where
I come from, readily answer, the Chaudiere River. Where is that? Out
of the world? Extra flammantia limina mundi. What is the name of your
country? It is not a country, it is only a place. It is better to have
no flag than a borrowed one. If I had one I should have to defend it.
If it were wrested from me I should be disgraced, while my victorious
enemy would be thanked by the Imperial Legislature, and rewarded by
his sovereign. If I were triumphant, the affair would be deemed too
small to merit a notice in the Gazette. He who called out the militia,
and quelled amid a shower of balls the late rebellion, was knighted.
He who assented amid a shower of eggs to a bill to indemnify the
rebels, was created an earl. Now to pelt a governor-general with eggs
is an overt act of treason, for it is an attempt to throw off the
yoke. If therefore he was advanced in the peerage for remunerating
traitors for their losses, he ought now to assent to another act for
reimbursing the expenses of the exhausted stores of the poultry yards,
and be made a marquis, unless the British see a difference between a
rebel mob and an indignant crowd, between those whose life has been
spent in hatching mischief, and those who desired to scare the foul
birds from their nests.

"'If that man had been a colonist, the dispatch marked 'private' would
have said, 'It sarved you right,' whereas it announced to him, 'You
are one of us,' and to mark our approbation of your conduct, you may
add one of these savoury missiles to your coat of arms, that others
may be egged on to do their duty. Indeed, we couldn't well have a flag
of our own. The Americans have a very appropriate and elegant one,
containing stripes emblematical of their slaves, and stars to
represent their free states, while a Connecticut goose typifies the
good cheer of thanksgiving day. It is true we have the honour of
fighting under that of England; but there is, as we have seen, this
hard condition annexed to it, we must consent to be taxed, to
reimburse the losses of those whom by our gallantry we subdue. If we
take Sebastopol, we must pay for the damage we have done. We are not
entitled to a separate flag, and I am afraid if we had one we should
be subject to ridicule. A pure white ground would prefigure our snow
drifts; a gull with outspread wings, our credulous qualities; and a
few discoloured eggs, portray our celebrated missiles. But what sort
of a flag would that be? No, Sir, these provinces should be united,
and they would from their territorial extent, their commercial
enterprise, their mineral wealth, their wonderful agricultural
productions, and, above all, their intelligent, industrious, and still
loyal population, in time form a nation second to none on earth, until
then I prefer to be a citizen of the world.

"'I once asked an Indian where he lived, I meant of course where his
camp was, but the question was too broad, and puzzled him. Stretching
out his arm and describing a circle with his heel, he said, 'I live in
all these woods!' Like him, I live in all this world. Those who, like
the English and Americans, have appropriated so large a portion of it
to themselves, may severally boast, if they think proper, of their
respective governments and territories. My boast, Sir, is a peculiar
one, that I have nothing to boast of.'

"'If such are your views,' I said, 'I must say, I do not understand
that absurd act of firing your parliament house. It is, I assure you,
reprobated everywhere. Our folks say your party commenced as old
Hunkers1 and ended as Barnburners.'


1 "We have been requested to give a definition of this term, 'Old
Hunkers.' Party nicknames are not often logically justified; and we
can only say that that section of the late dominant party in this
State (the democratic) which claims to be the more radical,
progressive, reformatory, &c., bestowed the appellation of 'Old
Hunker' on the other section, to indicate that it was distinguished by
opposite qualities from those claimed for itself. We believe the title
was also intended to indicate that those on whom it was conferred had
an appetite for a large 'hunk' of the spoils, though we never could
discover that they were peculiar in that. On the other hand, the
opposite school was termed 'Barnburners,' in allusion to the story of
an old Dutchman, who relieved himself of rats by burning his barns,
which they infested--just like exterminating all banks and
corporations to root out the abuses connected therewith. The fitness
or unfitness of these family terms of endearment is none of our
business."--NEW YORK TRIBUNE.


"That remark threw him off his guard; he rose up greatly agitated; his
eyes flashed fire, and he extended out his arm as if he intended by
gesticulation to give full force to what he was about to say. He stood
in this attitude for a moment without uttering a word, when by a
sudden effort he mastered himself, and took up his hat to walk out on
the terrace and recover his composure.

"As he reached the door, he turned, and said:

"'The assenting to that infamous indemnity act, Mr Slick, and the
still more disreputable manner in which it received the gubernational
sanction, has produced an impression in Canada that no loyal man--'
but he again checked himself, and left the sentence unfinished.

"I was sorry I had pushed him so hard, but the way he tried to evade
the subject at first, the bitterness of his tone, and the excitement
into which the allusion threw him, convinced me that the English
neither know who their real friends in Canada are, nor how to retain
their affections.

"When he returned, I said to him, 'I was only jesting about your
having no grievances in Canada, and I regret having agitated you. I
agree with you however that it is of no use to remonstrate with the
English public. They won't listen to you. If you want to be heard,
attract their attention, in the first instance, by talking of their
own immediate concerns, and while they are regarding you with intense
interest and anxiety, by a sleight of hand shift the dissolving view,
and substitute a sketch of your own. For instance, says you, 'How is
it the army in the Crimea had no tents in the autumn, and no huts in
the winter--the hospitals no fittings, and the doctors no nurses or
medicines? How is it disease and neglect have killed more men than the
enemy? Why is England the laughing-stock of Russia, and the butt of
French and Yankee ridicule? and how does it happen this country is
filled with grief and humiliation from one end of it to the other? I
will tell you. These affairs were managed by a branch of the Colonial
Office. The minister for that department said to the army, as he did
to the distant provinces, 'Manage your own affairs, and don't bother
us.' Then pause and say, slowly and emphatically, 'You now have a
taste of what we have endured in the colonies. The same incompetency
has ruled over both.'"

"'Good heavens,' said he, 'Mr Slick. I wish you was one of us.'

"'Thank you for the compliment.' sais I. 'I feel flattered, I assure
you; but, excuse me. I have no such ambition. I am content to be a
humble Yankee clockmaker. A Colonial Office, in which there is not a
single man that ever saw a colony, is not exactly the government to
suit me. The moment I found my master knew less than I did, I quit his
school and set up for myself.'

'Yes, my friend, the English want to have the mirror held up to them;
but that is your business and not mine. It would be out of place for
me. I am a Yankee, and politics are not my line; I have no turn for
them, and I don't think I have the requisite knowledge of the subject
for discussing it; but you have both, and I wonder you don't.

"Now, Doctor, you may judge from that conversation, and the deep
feeling it exhibits, that men's thoughts are wandering in new
channels. The great thing for a statesman is to direct them to the
right one. I have said there were three courses to be considered;
first, incorporation with England; secondly, independence; thirdly,
annexation. The subject is too large for a quarter-deck walk, so I
will only say a few words more. Let's begin with annexation first. The
thinking, reflecting people among us don't want these provinces. We
guess we are big enough already, and nothing but our great rivers,
canals, railroads, and telegraphs (which, like skewers in a round of
beef, fasten the unwieldy mass together) could possibly keep us
united. Without them we should fall to pieces in no time. It's as much
as they can keep all tight and snug now; but them skewers nor no
others can tie a greater bulk than we have. Well, I don't think
colonists want to be swamped in our vast republic either. So there
ain't no great danger from that, unless the devil gits into us both,
which, if a favourable chance offered, he is not onlikely to do. So
let that pass. Secondly, as to incorporation. That is a grand idea,
but it is almost too grand for John Bull's head, and a little grain
too large for his pride. There are difficulties, and serious ones, in
the way. It would require participation in the legislature, which
would involve knocking off some of the Irish brigade to make room for
your members; and there would be a hurrush at that, as O'Connell used
to say, that would bang Banaghar. It would also involve an invasion of
the upper house, for colonists won't take half a loaf now, I tell you;
which would make some o' those gouty old lords fly round and scream
like Mother Cary's chickens in a gale of wind; and then there would be
the story of the national debt, and a participation in imperial taxes
to adjust, and so on; but none of these difficulties are insuperable.

"A statesman with a clever head, a sound judgment, and a good heart,
could adjust a scheme that would satisfy all; at least it would
satisfy colonists by its justice, and reconcile the peers and the
people of England by its expediency, for the day Great Britain parts
with these colonies, depend upon it, she descends in the scale of
nations most rapidly. India she may lose any day, for it is a
government of opinion only. Australia will emancipate itself ere long,
but these provinces she may and ought to retain.

"Thirdly, independence. This is better for her than annexation by a
long chalk, and better for the colonies too, if I was allowed to spend
my opinion on it; but if that is decided upon, something must be done
soon. The way ought to be prepared for it by an immediate federative
and legislative union of them all. It is of no use to consult their
governors, they don't and they can't know anything of the country but
its roads, lakes, rivers, and towns; but of the people they know
nothing whatever. You might as well ask the steeple of a wooden church
whether the sill that rests on the stone foundation is sound. They are
too big according to their own absurd notions, too small in the eyes
of colonists, and too far removed and unbending to know anything about
it. What can a man learn in five years except the painful fact, that
he knew nothing when he came, and knows as little when he leaves? He
can form a better estimate of himself than when he landed, and returns
a humbler, but not a wiser man; but that's all his schoolin' ends in.
No, Sirree, it's only men like you and me who know the ins and outs of
the people here."

"Don't say me," said the doctor, "for goodness' sake, for I know
nothing about the inhabitants of these woods and waters, but the
birds, the fish, and the beasts."

"Don't you include politicians," said I, "of all shades and colours,
under the last genus? because I do, they are regular beasts of prey."

Well, he laughed; he said he didn't know nothing about them.

"Well," sais I, "I ain't so modest, I can tell you, for I do know. I
am a clockmaker, and understand machinery. I know all about the
wheels, pulleys, pendulum, balances, and so on, the length of the
chain, and what is best of all, the way to wind 'em up, set 'em a
going, and make 'em keep time. Now, Doctor, I'll tell you what neither
the English nor the Yankees, nor the colonists themselves, know
anything of, and that is about the extent and importance of these
North American provinces under British rule. Take your pencil now, and
write down a few facts I will give you, and when you are alone
meditating, just chew on 'em.

"First--there are four millions of square miles of territory in them,
whereas all Europe has but three millions some odd hundred thousands,
and our almighty, everlastin' United States still less than that
again. Canada alone is equal in size to Great Britain, France, and
Prussia. The maritime provinces themselves cover a space as large as
Holland, Belgium, Greece, Portugal, and Switzerland, all put together.
The imports for 1853 were between ten and eleven millions, and the
exports (ships sold included) between nine and ten millions. At the
commencement of the American Revolution, when we first dared the
English to fight us, we had but two and a half, these provinces now
contain nearly three, and in half a century will reach the enormous
amount of eighteen millions of inhabitants. The increase of population
in the States is thirty-three per cent., in Canada sixty-eight. The
united revenue is nearly a million and a half, and their shipping
amounts to four hundred and fifty thousand tons.

"Now, take these facts and see what an empire is here, surely the best
in climate, soil, mineral, and other productions in the world, and
peopled by such a race as no other country under heaven can produce.
No, Sir, here are the bundle of sticks, all they want is to be well
united. How absurd it seems to us Yankees that England is both so
ignorant and so blind to her own interests, as not to give her
attention to this interesting portion of the empire, that in natural
and commercial wealth is of infinitely more importance than half a
dozen Wallachias and Moldavias, and in loyalty, intelligence, and
enterprise, as far superior to turbulent Ireland as it is possible for
one country to surpass another. However, Doctor, it's no affair of
mine. I hate politics, and I hate talking figures. Sposin' we try a
cigar, and some white satin."



                             CHAPTER XX.

                          TOWN AND COUNTRY.


"Doctor," sais I, as we ascended the deck the following morning, "I
can't tell you how I have enjoyed these incidental runs on shore I
have had during my cruise in the 'Black Hawk.' I am amazin' fond of
the country, and bein' an early riser, I manage to lose none of its
charms. I like to see the early streak in the east, and look on the
glorious sky when the sun rises. I like everything about the country,
and the people that live in it. The town is artificial, the country is
natural. Whoever sees the peep of the morning in the city but a drowsy
watchman, who waits for it to go to his bed? a nurse, that is counting
the heavy hours, and longs to put out the unsnuffed candles, and take
a cup of strong tea to keep her peepers open; or some houseless
wretch, that is woke up from his nap on a door-step, by a punch in the
ribs from the staff of a policeman, who begrudges the misfortunate
critter a luxury he is deprived of himself, and asks him what he is a
doin' of there, as if he didn't know he had nothin' to do nowhere, and
tells him to mizzle off home, as if he took pleasure in reminding him
he had none. Duty petrifies these critters' hearts harder than the
grand marble porch stone that served for a couch, or the doorstep that
was used for a pillow. Even the dogs turn in then, for they don't
think it's necessary to mount guard any longer. Blinds and curtains
are all down, and every livin' critter is asleep, breathing the nasty,
hot, confined, unwholesome air of their bed-rooms, instead of inhaling
the cool dewy breeze of heaven.

"Is it any wonder that the galls are thin, and pale, and delicate, and
are so languid, they look as if they were givin' themselves airs, when
all they want is air? or that the men complain of dyspepsy, and look
hollow and unhealthy, having neither cheeks, stomach, nor thighs, and
have to take bitters to get an appetite for their food, and pickles
and red pepper to digest it? The sun is up, and has performed the
first stage of his journey before the maid turns out, opens the front
door, and takes a look up and down street, to see who is a stirrin'.
Early risin' must be cheerfulsome, for she is very chipper, and throws
some orange-peel at the shopman of their next neighbour, as a hint if
he was to chase her, he would catch her behind the hall-door, as he
did yesterday, after which she would show him into the supper-room,
where the liquors and cakes are still standing as they were left last
night.

"Yes, she is right to hide, for it is decent, if it ain't modest,
seein' the way she has jumped into her clothes, and the danger there
is of jumping out of them again. How can it be otherwise, when she has
to get up so horrid early? It's all the fault of the vile milkman, who
will come for fear his milk will get sour; and that beast, the iceman,
who won't wait, for fear his ice will melt; and that stupid nigger who
will brush the shoes then, he has so many to clean elsewhere.

"As she stands there, a woman ascends the step, and produces a basket
from under her cloak, into which she looks carefully, examines its
contents (some lace frills, tippets, and collars of her mistress,
which she wore a few nights ago at a ball), and returns with something
heavy in it, for the arm is extended in carrying it, and the stranger
disappears. She still lingers, she is expecting some one. It is the
postman, he gives her three or four letters, one of which is for
herself. She reads it approvingly, and then carefully puts it into her
bosom, but that won't retain it no how she can fix it, so she shifts
it to her pocket. It is manifest Posty carries a verbal answer, for
she talks very earnestly to him, and shakes hands with him at parting
most cordially.

"It must be her turn for a ball to-night I reckon, for a carriage
drives very rapidly to within three or four hundred yards of the
house, and then crawls to the door so as not to disturb the family. A
very fashionably-dressed maid is there (her mistress must be very kind
to lend her such expensive head-gear, splendid jewelry, and costly and
elegant toggery), and her beau is there with such a handsome moustache
and becoming beard, and an exquisitely-worked chain that winds six or
seven times round him, and hangs loose over his waistcoat, like a coil
of golden cord. At a given signal, from the boss of the hack, who
stands door in hand, the young lady gathers her clothes well up her
drumsticks, and would you believe, two steps or springs only, like
those of a kangaroo, take her into the house? It's a streak of light,
and nothing more. It's lucky she is thin, for fat tames every critter
that is foolish enough to wear it, and spoils agility.

"The beau takes it more leisurely. There are two epochs in a critter's
life of intense happiness, first when he doffs the petticoats,
pantellets, the hermaphrodite rig of a child, and mounts the jacket
and trowsers of a boy; and the other is when that gives way to a 'long
tail blue,' and a beard. He is then a man.

"The beau has reached this enviable age, and as he is full of
admiration of himself, is generous enough to allow time to others to
feast their eyes on him. So he takes it leisurely, his character, like
that charming girl's, won't suffer if it is known they return with the
cats in the morning; on the contrary, women, as they always do, the
little fools, will think more of him. They make no allowance for one
of their own sex, but they are very indulgent, indeed they are both
blind and deaf, to the errors of the other. The fact is, if I didn't
know it was only vindicating the honour of their sex, I vow I should
think it was all envy of the gall who was so lucky, as to be unlucky;
but I know better than that. If the owner of the house should be
foolish enough to be up so early, or entirely take leave of his
senses, and ask him why he was mousing about there, he flatters
himself he is just the child to kick him. Indeed he feels inclined to
flap his wings and crow. He is very proud. Celestina is in love with
him, and tells him (but he knew that before) he is very handsome. He
is a man, he has a beard as black as the ace of spades, is full
dressed, and the world is before him. He thrashed a watchman last
night, and now he has a drop in his eye, would fight the devil. He has
succeeded in deceiving that gall, he has no more idea of marrying her
than I have. It shows his power. He would give a dollar to crow, but
suffers himself to be gently pushed out of the hall, and the door
fastened behind him, amid such endearing expressions, that they would
turn a fellow's head, even after his hair had grown gray. He then
lights a cigar, gets up with the driver, and looks round with an air
of triumph, as much as to say--'What would you give to be admired and
as successful as I am?' and when he turns the next corner, he does
actilly crow.

"Yes, yes, when the cat's away, the mice will play. Things ain't in a
mess, and that house a hurrah's nest, is it? Time wears on, and the
alternate gall must be a movin' now, for the other who was at the ball
has gone to bed, and intends to have her by-daily head-ache if
inquired for. To-night it will be her turn to dance, and to-morrow to
sleep, so she cuts round considerable smart. Poor thing, the time is
not far off when you will go to bed and not sleep, but it's only the
child that burns its fingers that dreads the fire. In the mean time,
set things to rights.

"The curtains are looped up, and the shutters folded back into the
wall, and the rooms are sprinkled with tea-leaves, which are lightly
swept up, and the dust left behind, where it ought to be, on the
carpet,--that's all the use there is of a carpet, except you have got
corns. And then the Venetians are let down to darken the rooms, and
the windows are kept closed to keep out the flies, the dust, and the
heat, and the flowers brought in and placed in the stands. And there
is a beautiful temperature in the parlour, for it is the same air that
was there a fortnight before. It is so hot, when the young ladies come
down to breakfast, they can't eat, so they take nothing but a plate of
buck-wheat cakes, and another of hot buttered rolls, a dozen of
oysters, a pot of preserves, a cup of honey, and a few ears of Indian
corn. They can't abide meat, it's too solid and heavy. It's so horrid
warm it's impossible they can have an appetite, and even that little
trifle makes them feel dyspeptic. They'll starve soon; what can be the
matter? A glass of cool ginger pop, with ice, would be refreshing, and
soda water is still better, it is too early for wine, and at any rate
it's heating, besides being unscriptural.

"Well, the men look at their watches, and say they are in a hurry, and
must be off for their counting-houses like wink, so they bolt. What a
wonder it is the English common people call the stomach a
bread-basket, for it has no meanin' there. They should have called it
a meat-tray, for they are the boys for beef and mutton. But with us
it's the identical thing. They clear the table in no time, it's a
grand thing, for it saves the servants trouble. And a steak, and a
dish of chops, added to what the ladies had, is grand. The best way to
make a pie is to make it in the stomach. But flour fixins piping hot
is the best, and as their disgestion ain't good, it is better to try a
little of everything on table to see which best agrees with them. So
down goes the Johnny cakes, Indian flappers, Lucy Neals, Hoe
cakes--with toast, fine cookies, rice batter, Indian batter, Kentucky
batter, flannel cakes, and clam fritters. Super-superior fine flour is
the wholesomest thing in the world, and you can't have too much of it.
It's grand for pastry, and that is as light and as flakey as snow when
well made. How can it make paste inside of you and be wholesome? If
you would believe some Yankee doctors you'd think it would make the
stomach a regular glue pot. They pretend to tell you pap made of it
will kill a baby as dead as a herring. But doctors must have some
hidden thing to lay the blame of their ignorance on. Once when they
didn't know what was the matter of a child, they said it was water in
the brain, and now when it dies--oh, they say, the poor thing was
killed by that pastry flour. But they be hanged. How can the best of
anything that is good be bad? The only thing is to be sure a thing is
best, and then go a-head with it.

"Well, when the men get to their offices, they are half roasted alive,
and have to take ices to cool them, and then for fear the cold will
heat them, they have to take brandy cock-tail to counteract it. So
they keep up a sort of artificial fever and ague all day. The ice
gives the one, and brandy the other, like shuttlecock and battledore.
If they had walked down as they had ought to have done, in the cool of
the morning, they would have avoided all this.

"How different it is now in the country, ain't it? What a glorious
thing the sun-rise is! How beautiful the dew-spangled bushes, and the
pearly drops they shed, are! How sweet and cool is the morning air,
and how refreshing and bracing the light breeze is to the nerves that
have been relaxed in warm repose! The new-ploughed earth, the
snowy-headed clover, the wild flowers, the blooming trees, and the
balsamic spruce, all exhale their fragrance to invite you forth. While
the birds offer up their morning hymn, as if to proclaim that all
things praise the Lord. The lowing herd remind you that they have kept
their appointed time; and the freshening breezes, as they swell in the
forest and awaken the sleeping leaves, seem to whisper, 'We too come
with healing on our wings;' and the babbling brook, that it also has
its mission to minister to your wants. Oh, morning in the country is a
glorious thing, and it is impossible when one rises and walks forth
and surveys the scene not to exclaim, 'God is good.'

"Oh, that early hour has health, vigour, and cheerfulness in it. How
natural it seems to me, how familiar I am with everything it
indicates! The dew tells me there will be no showers, the white frost
warns me of its approach; and if that does not arrive in time, the sun
instructs me to notice and remember, that if it rises bright and clear
and soon disappears in a cloud, I must prepare for heavy rain. The
birds and the animals all, all say, 'We too are cared for, and we have
our foreknowledge, which we disclose by our conduct to you." The
brooks too have meaning in their voices, and the southern sentinel
proclaims aloud, 'Prepare.' And the western, 'All is well.'"

Oh, how well I know the face of nature! What pleasure I take as I
commence my journey at this hour, to witness the rising of the mist in
the autumn from the low grounds, and its pausing on the hill-tops, as
if regretting the scene it was about to leave! And how I admire the
little insect webs, that are spangled over the field at that time; and
the partridge warming itself in the first gleam of sunshine it can
discover on the road! The alder, as I descend into the glen, gives me
notice that the first frost has visited him, as it always does, before
others, to warn him that it has arrived to claim every leaf of the
forest as its own. Oh, the country is the place for peace, health,
beauty, and innocence. I love it, I was born in it. I lived the
greater part of my life there, and I look forward to die in it.

"How different from town life is that of the country! There are duties
to be performed in-door and out-door, and the inmates assemble round
their breakfast-table, refreshed by sleep and invigorated by the cool
air, partake of their simple, plain, and substantial meal, with the
relish of health, cheerfulness, and appetite. The open window admits
the fresh breeze, in happy ignorance of dust, noise, or fashionable
darkness. The verandah defies rain or noon-day sun, and employment
affords no room for complaint that the day is hot, the weather
oppressive, the nerves weak, or the digestion enfeebled. There can be
no happiness where there is an alternation of listlessness and
excitement. They are the two extremes between which it resides, and
that locality to my mind is the country. Care, disease, sorrow, and
disappointment are common to both. They are the lot of humanity; but
the children of mammon, and of God, bear them differently.

"I didn't intend to turn preacher, Doctor, but I do positively
believe, if I hadn't a been a clockmaker, dear old Minister would have
made me one. I don't allot, though, I would have taken in Slickville,
for I actilly think I couldn't help waltzing with the galls, which
would have put our folks into fits, or kept old Clay, clergymen like,
to leave sinners behind me. I can't make out these puritan fellows, or
evangelical boys, at all. To my mind, religion is a cheerful thing,
intended to make us happy, not miserable; and that our faces, like
that of nature, should be smiling, and that like birds we should sing
and carol, and like lilies, we should be well arrayed, and not that
our countenances should make folks believe we were chosen vessels,
containing, not the milk of human kindness, but horrid sour vinegar
and acid mothery grounds. Why, the very swamp behind our house is full
of a plant called 'a gall's side-saddle.'1


1 This is the common name for the Sarracenia.


"Plague take them old Independents; I can't and never could understand
them. I believe, if Bishop Laud had allowed them to sing through their
noses, pray without gowns, and build chapels without steeples, they
would have died out like Quakers, by being let alone. They wanted to
make the state believe they were of consequence. If the state had
treated them as if they were of no importance, they would have felt
that too very soon. Opposition made them obstinate. They won't stick
at nothing to carry their own ends.

"They made a law once in Connecticut that no man should ride or drive
on a Sunday except to a conventicle. Well, an old Dutch governor of
New York, when that was called New Amsterdam and belonged to Holland,
once rode into the colony on horseback on a Sabbath day, pretty hard
job it was too, for he was a very stout man, and a poor horseman.
There were no wheel carriages in those days, and he had been used to
home to travel in canal boats, and smoke at his ease; but he had to
make the journey, and he did it, and he arrived just as the puritans
were coming out of meeting, and going home, slowly, stately, and
solemnly, to their cold dinner cooked the day before (for they didn't
think it no harm to make servants work double tides on Saturday),
their rule being to do anything of a week day, but nothing on the
Sabbath.

"Well, it was an awful scandal this, and a dreadful violation of the
blue laws of the young nation. Connecticut and New Amsterdam (New
York) were nothing then but colonies; but the puritans owed no
obedience to princes, and set up for themselves. The elders and
ministry and learned men met on Monday to consider of this dreadful
profanity of the Dutch governor. On the one hand it was argued, if he
entered their state (for so they called it then) he was amenable to
their laws, and ought to be cited, condemned, and put into the stocks,
as an example to evil-doers. On the other hand, they got hold of a
Dutch book on the Law of Nations, to cite agin him; but it was written
in Latin, and although it contained all about it, they couldn't find
the place, for their minister said there was no index to it. Well, it
was said, if we are independent, so is he, and whoever heard of a king
or a prince being put in the stocks? It bothered them, so they sent
their Yankee governor to him to bully and threaten him, and see how he
would take it, as we now do, at the present day, to Spain about Cuba,
and England about your fisheries.

"Well, the governor made a long speech to him, read him a chapter in
the Bible, and then expounded it, and told him they must put him in
the stocks. All this time the Dutchman went on smoking, and blowing
out great long puffs of tobacco. At last he paused, and said:

"'You be tamned. Stockum me--stockum teivel.' And he laid down his
pipe, and with one hand took hold of their governor by the fore-top,
and with the other drew a line across his forehead and said, 'Den I
declare war, and Gooten Himmel! I shall scalp you all.'

"After delivering himself of that long speech, he poured out two
glasses of Schiedam, drunk one himself, and offered the Yankee
governor the other, who objected to the word Schiedam, as it
terminated in a profane oath, with which, he said, the Dutch language
was greatly defiled; but seeing it was also called Geneva, he would
swallow it. Well, his high mightiness didn't understand him, but he
opened his eyes like an owl and stared, and said, 'Dat is tam coot,'
and the conference broke up.

"Well, it was the first visit of the Dutch governor, and they hoped it
would be the last, so they passed it over. But his business was
important, and it occupied him the whole week to settle it, and he
took his leave on Saturday evening, and was to set out for home on
Sunday again. Well, this was considered as adding insult to injury.
What was to be done? Now it's very easy and very proper for us to sit
down and condemn the Duke of Tuscany, who encourages pilgrims to go to
shrines where marble statues weep blood, and cataliptic galls let
flies walk over their eyes without winking, and yet imprisons an
English lady for giving away the 'Pilgrim's Progress.' It's very
wrong, no doubt, but it ain't very new after all. Ignorant and bigoted
people always have persecuted, and always will to the end of the
chapter. But what was to be done with his high mightiness, the Dutch
governor? Well, they decided that it was not lawful to put him into
the stocks; but that it was lawful to deprive him of the means of
sinning. So one of the elders swapped horses with him, and when he
started on the Sabbath, the critter was so lame after he went a mile,
he had to return and wait till Monday.

"No, I don't understand these puritan folks; and I suppose if I had
been a preacher they wouldn't have understood me. But I must get back
to where I left off. I was a talkin' about the difference of life in
town and in the country, and how in the world I got away, off from the
subject, to the Dutch governor and them puritans, I don't know. When I
say I love the country, I mean it in its fullest extent, not merely
old settlements and rural districts, but the great unbroken forest.
This is a taste, I believe, a man must have in early life. I don't
think it can be acquired in middle age, any more than playin' marbles
can, though old Elgin tried that game and made money at it. A man must
know how to take care of himself, forage for himself, shelter himself,
and cook for himself. It's no place for an epicure, because he can't
carry his cook, and his spices, and sauces, and all that, with him.
Still a man ought to know a goose from a gridiron; and if he wants to
enjoy the sports of the flood and the forest, he should be able to
help himself; and what he does he ought to do well. Fingers were made
afore knives and forks; flat stones before bake-pans; crotched sticks
before jacks; bark before tin; and chips before plates; and it's worth
knowing how to use them or form them.

"It takes two or three years to build and finish a good house. A
wigwam is knocked up in an hour; and as you have to be your own
architect, carpenter, mason, and labourer, it's just as well to be
handy as not. A critter that can't do that, hante the gumption of a
bear who makes a den, a fox who makes a hole, or a bird that makes a
nest, let alone a beaver, who is a dab at house building. No man can
enjoy the woods that ain't up to these things. If he ain't, he had
better stay to his hotel, where there is one servant to clean his
shoes, another to brush his coat, a third to make his bed, a fourth to
shave him, a fifth to cook for him, a sixth to wait on him, a seventh
to wash for him, and half a dozen more for him to scold and bless all
day. That's a place where he can go to bed, and get no sleep--go to
dinner, and have no appetite--go to the window, and get no fresh air,
but snuff up the perfume of drains, bar-rooms, and cooking
ranges--suffer from heat, because he can't wear his coat, or from
politeness, because he can't take it off--or go to the beach, where
the sea breeze won't come, it's so far up the country, where the white
sand will dazzle, and where there is no shade, because trees won't
grow--or stand and throw stones into the water, and then jump in arter
'em in despair, and forget the way out. He'd better do anything than
go to the woods.

"But if he can help himself like a man, oh, it's a glorious place. The
ways of the forest are easy to learn, its nature is simple, and the
cooking plain, while the fare is abundant. Fish for the catching, deer
for the shooting, cool springs for the drinking, wood for the cutting,
appetite for eating, and sleep that waits no wooing. It comes with the
first star, and tarries till it fades into morning. For the time you
are monarch of all you survey. No claimant forbids you; no bailiff
haunts you; no thieves molest you; no fops annoy you. If the tempest
rages without, you are secure in your lowly tent. Though it humbles in
its fury the lofty pine, and uproots the stubborn oak, it passes
harmlessly over you, and you feel for once you are a free and
independent man. You realize a term which is a fiction in our
constitution. Nor pride nor envy, hatred nor malice, rivalry nor
strife is there. You are at peace with all the world, and the world is
at peace with you. You own not its authority. You can worship God
after your own fashion, and dread not the name of bigot, idolater,
heretic, or schismatic. The forest is his temple--he is ever present,
and the still small voice of your short and simple prayer seems more
audible amid the silence that reigns around you. You feel that you are
in the presence of your Creator, before whom you humble yourself, and
not of man, before whom you clothe yourself with pride. Your very
solitude seems to impress you with the belief that, though hidden from
the world, you are more distinctly visible, and more individually an
object of Divine protection, than any worthless atom like yourself
ever could be in the midst of a multitude--a mere unit of millions.
Yes, you are free to come, to go, to stay; your home is co-extensive
with the wild woods. Perhaps it is better for a solitary retreat than
a permanent home; still it forms a part of what I call the country.

"At Country Harbour we had a sample of the simple, plain, natural,
unpretending way in which neighbours meet of an evening in the rural
districts. But look at that house in the town, where we saw the family
assembled at breakfast this morning, and see what is going on there
to-night. It is the last party of the season. The family leave the
city in a week for the country. What a delightful change from the
heated air of a town-house, to the quiet retreat of an hotel at a
watering-place, where there are only six hundred people collected. It
is positively the very last party, and would have been given weeks
ago, but everybody was engaged for so long a time a-head, there was no
getting the fashionable folks to come. It is a charming ball. The old
ladies are fully dressed, only they are so squeezed against the walls,
their diamonds and pearls are hid. And the young ladies are so lightly
dressed, they look lovely. And the old gentlemen seem so happy as they
walk round the room, and smile on all the acquaintances of their early
days; and tell every one they look so well, and their daughters are so
handsome. It ain't possible they are bored, and they try not even to
look so. And the room is so well lighted, and so well filled, perhaps
a little too much so to leave space for the dancers; but yet not more
so than is fashionable. And then the young gentlemen talk so
enchantingly about Paris, and London, and Rome, and so disparagingly
of home, it is quite refreshing to hear them. And they have been in
such high society abroad, they ought to be well bred, for they know
John Manners, and all the Manners family, and well informed in
politics; for they know John Russell, who never says I'll be hanged if
I do this or that, but I will be beheaded if I do; in allusion to one
of his great ancestors who was as innocent of trying to subvert the
constitution as he is. And they have often seen 'Albert, Albert,
Prince of Wales, and all the royal family,' as they say in England for
shortness. They have travelled with their eyes open, ears open, mouths
open, and pockets open. They have heard, seen, tasted, and bought
everything worth having. They are capital judges of wine, and that
reminds them there is lots of the best in the next room; but they soon
discover they can't have it in perfection in America. It has been
nourished for the voyage, it has been fed with brandy. It is heady,
for when they return to their fair friends, their hands are not quite
steady, they are apt to spill things over the ladies dresses (but they
are so good-natured, they only laugh; for they never wear a dress but
wunst). And their eyes sparkle like jewels, and they look at their
partners as if they would eat 'em up. And I guess they tell them so,
for they start sometimes, and say:

"'Oh, well now, that's too bad! Why how you talk! Well, travellin'
hasn't improved you?'

"But it must be a charming thing to be eat up, for they look delighted
at the very idea of it; and their mammas seem pleased that they are so
much to the taste of these travelled gentlemen.

"Well then, dancing is voted a bore by the handsomest couple in the
room, and they sit apart, and the uninitiated think they are making
love. And they talk so confidentially, and look so amused; they seem
delighted with each other. But they are only criticising.

"'Who is pink skirt?'

"'Blue-nose Mary.'

"'What in the world do they call her Blue-nose for?'

"'It is a nickname for the Nova Scotians. Her father is one; he made
his fortune by a diving-bell.'

"'Did he? Well, it's quite right then it should go with a belle.'

"'How very good! May I repeat that? You do say such clever things! And
who is that pale girl that reminds you of brown holland, bleached
white? She looks quite scriptural; she has a proud look and a high
stomach.'

"'That's Rachael Scott, one of my very best friends. She is as good a
girl as ever lived. My! I wish I was as rich as she is. I have only
three hundred thousand dollars, but she will have four at her father's
death if he don't bust and fail. But, dear me! how severe you are! I
am quite afraid of you. I wonder what you will say of me when my back
is turned!'

"'Shall I tell you?'

"'Yes, if it isn't too savage.'

"The hint about the money is not lost, for he is looking for a
fortune, it saves the trouble of making one; and he whispers something
in her ear that pleases her uncommonly, for she sais,

"'Ah now, the severest thing you can do is to flatter me that way.'

"They don't discourse of the company anymore; they have too much to
say to each other of themselves now.

"'My! what a smash! what in the world is that?'

"'Nothing but a large mirror. It is lucky it is broken, for if the
host saw himself in it, he might see the face of a fool.'

"'How uproariously those young men talk, and how loud the music is,
and how confounded hot the room is! I must go home. But I must wait a
moment till that noisy, tipsy boy is dragged down-stairs, and shoved
into a hack.'

"And this is upstart life, is it? Yes, but there are changing scenes
in life. Look at these rooms next morning. The chandelier is broken;
the centre table upset, the curtains are ruined, the carpets are
covered with ice-creams, jellies, blancmanges, and broken glass. And
the elegant album, souvenirs, and autograph books, are all in the
midst of this nasty mess.1 The couches are greasy, the silk ottoman
shows it has been sat in since it met with an accident which was only
a trifle, and there has been the devil to pay everywhere. A doctor is
seen going into the house, and soon after a coffin is seen coming out.
An unbidden guest, a disgusting levelling democrat came to that ball,
how or when no one knew; but there he is and there he will remain for
the rest of the summer. He has victimized one poor girl already, and
is now strangling another. The yellow fever is there. Nature has sent
her avenging angel. There is no safety but in flight.


1 Whoever thinks this description over-drawn, is referred to a
remarkably clever work which lately appeared in New York, entitled
"The Potiphar Papers." Mr Slick has evidently spared this class of
society.


"Good gracious! if people will ape their superiors, why won't they
imitate their elegance as well as their extravagance, and learn that
it is the refinement alone, of the higher orders which in all
countries distinguishes them from the rest of mankind? The decencies
of life, when polished, become its brightest ornaments. Gold is a
means, and not an end. It can do a great deal, still it can't do
everything; and among others I guess it can't make a gentleman, or
else California would be chock full of 'em. No, give me the country,
and the folks that live in it, I say."



                             CHAPTER XXI.

                            THE HONEYMOON.


After having given vent to the foregoing lockrum, I took Jehosophat
Bean's illustrated "Biography of the Eleven Hundred and Seven
Illustrious American Heroes," and turned in to read a spell; but arter
a while I lost sight of the heroes and their exploits, and I got into
a wide spekilation on all sorts of subjects, and among the rest my
mind wandered off to Jordan river, the Collingwood girls in
particular, and Jessie and the doctor, and the Beaver-dam, and its
inmates in general. I shall set down my musings as if I was thinking
aloud.

I wonder, sais I to myself, whether Sophy and I shall be happy
together, sposin' always, that she is willing to put her head into the
yoke, for that's by no means sartain yet. I'll know better when I can
study her more at leisure. Still matrimony is always a risk, where you
don't know what sort of breaking a critter has had when young. Women
in a general way don't look like the same critters when they are
spliced, that they do before; matrimony, like sugar and water, has a
nateral affinity for and tendency to acidity. The clear, beautiful,
bright sunshine of the wedding morning is too apt to cloud over at
twelve o'clock, and the afternoon to be cold, raw, and uncomfortable,
or else the heat generates storms that fairly make the house shake,
and the happy pair tremble again. Everybody knows the real, solid
grounds which can alone make married life perfect. I should only prose
if I was to state them, but I have an idea as cheerfulness is a great
ingredient, a good climate has a vast deal to do with it, for who can
be chirp in a bad one? Wedlock was first instituted in Paradise. Well,
there must have been a charming climate there. It could not have been
too hot, for Eve never used a parasol, or even a "kiss-me-quick," and
Adam never complained, though he wore no clothes, that the sun
blistered his skin. It couldn't have been wet, or they would have
coughed all the time, like consumptive sheep, and it would have
spoiled their garden, let alone giving them the chilblains and the
snuffles. They didn't require umbrellas, uglies, fans, or India-rubber
shoes. There was no such a thing as a stroke of the sun or a
snow-drift there. The temperature must have been perfect, and
connubial bliss, I allot, was rael jam up. The only thing that seemed
wanting there, was for some one to drop in to tea now and then for Eve
to have a good chat with, while Adam was a studyin' astronomy, or
tryin' to invent a kettle that would stand fire; for women do like
talking, that's a fact, and there are many little things they have to
say to each other that no man has any right to hear, and if he did, he
couldn't understand.

It's like a dodge Sally and I had to blind mother. Sally was for
everlastingly leaving the keys about, and every time there was an
inquiry about them, or a hunt for them, the old lady would read her a
proper lecture. So at last she altered the name, and said, "Sam, wo is
shlizel?" instead of Where is the key, and she tried all she could to
find it out, but she couldn't for the life of her.

Yes, what can be expected of such a climate as Nova Scotia or England?
Though the first can ripen Indian corn and the other can't, and that
is a great test, I can tell you. It is hard to tell which of them is
wuss, for both are bad enough, gracious knows, and yet the fools that
live in them brag that their own beats all natur. If it is the former,
well then thunder don't clear the weather as it does to the South, and
the sun don't come out bright again at wunst and all natur look clear
and tranquil and refreshed; and the flowers and roses don't hang their
heads down coily for the breeze to brush the drops from their
newly-painted leaves, and then hold up and look more lovely than ever;
nor does the voice of song and merriment arise from every tree; nor
fragrance and perfume fill the air, till you are tempted to say, Now
did you ever see anything so charming as this? nor do you stroll out
arm-in-arm (that is, sposin' you ain't in a nasty dirty horrid town),
and feel pleased with the dear married gall and yourself, and all you
see and hear, while you drink in pleasure with every sense--oh, it
don't do that. Thunder unsettles everything for most a week, there
seems no end to the gloom during these three or four days. You shiver
if you don't make a fire, and if you do you are fairly roasted alive.
It's all grumblin' and growlin' within, and all mud, slush, and slop
outside. You are bored to death everywhere. And if it's English
climate it is wuss still, because in Nova Scotia there is an end to
all this at last, for the west wind blows towards the end of the week
soft and cool and bracing, and sweeps away the clouds, and lays the
dust and dries all up, and makes everything smile again. But if it is
English it's unsettled and uncertain all the time. You can't depend on
it for an hour. Now it rains, then it clears, after that the sun
shines; but it rains too, both together, like hystericks, laughing and
crying at the same time. The trees are loaded with water, and hold it
like a sponge; touch a bough of one with your hat, and you are drowned
in a shower-bath. There is no hope, for there is no end visible, and
when there does seem a little glimpse of light, so as to make you
think it is a going to relent, it wraps itself up in a foggy, drizzly
mist, and sulks like anything.

In this country they have a warm summer, a magnificent autumn, a
clear, cold, healthy winter, but no sort of spring at all. In England
they have no summer and no winter.1 Now, in my opinion, that makes the
difference in temper between the two races. The clear sky and bracing
air here, when they do come, give the folks good spirits; but the
extremes of heat and cold limit the time, and decrease the inclination
for exercise. Still the people are good-natured, merry fellows. In
England, the perpetual gloom of the sky affects the disposition of the
men. America knows no such temper as exists in Britain. People here
can't even form an idea of it. Folks often cut off their children
there in their wills for half nothing, won't be reconciled to them on
any terms, if they once displease them, and both they and their sons
die game, and when death sends cards of invitation for the last
assemblage of a family, they write declensions. There can't be much
real love where there is no tenderness. A gloomy sky, stately houses,
and a cold, formal people, make Cupid, like a bird of passage, spread
his wings, and take flight to a more congenial climate.


1 I wonder what Mr Slick would say now, in 1855?


Castles have show-apartments, and the vulgar gaze with stupid wonder,
and envy the owners. But there are rooms in them all, not exhibited.
In them the imprisoned bird may occasionally be seen, as in the olden
time, to flutter against the casement and pine in the gloom of its
noble cage. There are chambers too in which grief, anger, jealousy,
wounded pride, and disappointed ambition, pour out their sighs, their
groans, and imprecations, unseen and unheard. The halls resound with
mirth and revelry, and the eye grows dim with its glittering
splendour; but amid all this ostentatious brilliancy, poor human
nature refuses to be comforted with diamonds and pearls, or to
acknowledge that happiness consists in gilded galleries, gay
equipages, or fashionable parties. They are cold and artificial. The
heart longs to discard this joyless pageantry, to surround itself with
human affections, and only asks to love and be loved.

Still England is not wholly composed of castles and cottages, and
there are very many happy homes in it, and thousands upon thousands of
happy people in them, in spite of the melancholy climate, the
destitution of the poor, and the luxury of the rich. God is good. He
is not only merciful, but a just judge. He equalizes the condition of
all. The industrious poor man is content, for he relies on Providence
and his own exertions for his daily bread. He earns his food, and his
labour gives him a zest for it. Ambition craves, and is never
satisfied, one is poor amid his prodigal wealth, the other rich in his
frugal poverty. No man is rich whose expenditure exceeds his means;
and no one is poor whose incomings exceeds his outgoings. Barring such
things as climate, over which we have no control, happiness, in my
idea, consists in the mind, and not in the purse. These are plain
common truths, and everybody will tell you there is nothing new in
them, just as if there was anything new under the sun but my wooden
clocks, and yet they only say so because they can't deny them, for who
acts as if he ever heard of them before. Now, if they do know them,
why the plague don't they regulate their timepieces by them? If they
did, matrimony wouldn't make such an everlastin' transmogrification of
folks as it does, would it?

The way cupidists scratch their head and open their eyes and stare
after they are married, reminds me of Felix Culpepper. He was a judge
at Saint Lewis, on the Mississippi, and the lawyers used to talk
gibberish to him, yougerry, eyegerry, iggery, ogerry, and tell him it
was Littleton's Norman French and Law Latin. It fairly onfakilised
him. Wedlock works just such changes on folks sometimes. It makes me
laugh, and then it fairly scares me.

Sophy, dear, how will you and I get on, eh? The Lord only knows, but
you are an uncommon sensible gall, and people tell me till I begin to
believe it myself, that I have some common sense, so we must try to
learn the chart of life, so as to avoid those sunk rocks so many
people make shipwreck on. I have often asked myself the reason of all
this onsartainty. Let us jist see how folks talk and think, and decide
on this subject. First and foremost they have got a great many cant
terms, and you can judge a good deal from them. There is the
honeymoon, now, was there ever such a silly word as that? Minister
said the Dutch at New Amsterdam, as they used to call New York,
brought out the word to America, for all the friends of the new
married couple, in Holland, did nothing for a whole month but smoke,
drink metheglin (a tipple made of honey and gin), and they called that
bender the honeymoon; since then the word has remained, though
metheglin is forgot for something better.

Well, when a couple is married now, they give up a whole month to each
other, what an everlastin' sacrifice, ain't it, out of a man's short
life? The reason is, they say, the metheglin gets sour after that, and
ain't palatable no more, and what is left of it is used for picklin'
cucumbers, peppers, and nastertions, and what not. Now, as Brother
Eldad, the doctor, says, let us dissect this phrase, and find out what
one whole moon means, and then we shall understand what this wonderful
thing is. The new moon now, as a body might say, ain't nothing. It's
just two small lines of a semicircle, like half a wheel, with a little
strip of white in it, about as big as a cart tire, and it sets a
little after sundown; and as it gives no light, you must either use a
candle or go to bed in the dark: now that's the first week, and it's
no great shakes to brag on, is it? Well, then there is the first
quarter, and calling that the first which ought to be second, unless
the moon has only three quarters, which sounds odd, shows that the new
moon counts for nothin'. Well, the first quarter is something like the
thing, though not the real genuine article either. It's better than
the other, but its light don't quite satisfy us neither. Well, then
comes the full moon, and that is all there is, as one may say. Now,
neither the moon nor nothin' else can be more than full, and when you
have got all, there is nothing more to expect. But a man must be a
blockhead, indeed, to expect the moon to remain one minute after it is
full, as every night clips a little bit off, till there is a
considerable junk gone by the time the week is out, and what is worse,
every night there is more and more darkness afore it rises. It comes
reluctant, and when it does arrive it hante long to stay, for the last
quarter takes its turn at the lantern. That only rises a little afore
the sun, as if it was ashamed to be caught napping at that hour--that
quarter therefore is nearly as dark as ink. So you see the new and
last quarter go for nothing; that everybody will admit. The first
ain't much better, but the last half of that quarter and the first of
the full, make a very decent respectable week.

Well, then, what's all this when it's fried? Why, it amounts to this,
that if there is any resemblance between a lunar and a lunatic month,
that the honeymoon lasts only one good week.

Don't be skeared, Sophy, when you read this, because we must look
things in the face and call them by their right name.

Well, then, let us call it the honey-week. Now if it takes a whole
month to make one honey-week, it must cut to waste terribly, mustn't
it? But then you know a man can't wive and thrive the same year. Now
wastin' so much of that precious month is terrible, ain't it? But oh
me, bad as it is, it ain't the worst of it. There is no insurance
office for happiness, there is no policy to be had to cover
losses--you must bear them all yourself. Now suppose, just suppose for
one moment, and positively such things have happened before now, they
have indeed; I have known them occur more than once or twice myself
among my own friends, fact, I assure you. Suppose now that week is
cold, cloudy, or uncomfortable, where is the honeymoon then? Recollect
there is only one of them, there ain't two. You can't say it rained
cats and dogs this week, let us try the next; you can't do that, it's
over and gone for ever. Well, if you begin life with disappointment,
it is apt to end in despair.

Now, Sophy, dear, as I said before, don't get skittish at seeing this,
and start and race off and vow you won't ever let the halter be put on
you, for I kinder sorter guess that, with your sweet temper, good
sense, and lovin' heart, and with the light-hand I have for a rein,
our honeymoon will last through life. We will give up that silly word,
that foolish boys and girls use without knowing its meanin', and we
will count by years and not by months, and we won't expect, what
neither marriage nor any other earthly thing can give, perfect
happiness. It tante in the nature of things, and don't stand to
reason, that earth is Heaven, Slickville paradise, or you and me
angels; we ain't no such a thing. If you was, most likely the first
eastwardly wind (and though it is a painful thing to confess it, I
must candidly admit there is an eastwardly wind sometimes to my place
to home), why you would just up wings and off to the sky like wink,
and say you didn't like the land of the puritans, it was just like
themselves, cold, hard, uncongenial, and repulsive; and what should I
do? Why most likely remain behind, for there is no marrying or giving
in marriage up there.

No, no, dear, if you are an angel, and positively you are amazingly
like one, why the first time I catch you asleep I will clip your wings
and keep you here with me, until we are both ready to start together.
We won't hope for too much, nor fret for trifles, will we? These two
things are the greatest maxims in life I know of. When I was a boy I
used to call them commandments, but I got such a lecture for that, and
felt so sorry for it afterwards, I never did again, nor will as long
as I live. Oh, dear, I shall never forget the lesson poor dear old
Minister taught me on that occasion.

There was a thanksgiving ball wunst to Slickville, and I wanted to go,
but I had no clothes suitable for such an occasion as that, and father
said it would cost more than it was worth to rig me out for it, so I
had to stop at home. Sais Mr Hopewell to me,

"Sam," said he, "don't fret about it, you will find it 'all the same a
year hence.' As that holds good in most things, don't it show us the
folly now of those trifles we set our hearts on, when in one short
year they will be disregarded or forgotten?"

"Never fear," said I, "I am not a going to break the twelfth
commandment."

"Twelfth commandment," said he, repeatin' the words slowly, laying
down his book, taking off his spectacles, and lookin' hard at me,
almost onfakilised. "Twelfth commandment, did I hear right, Sam," said
he, "did you say that?"

Well, I saw there was a squall rising to windward, but boy like,
instead of shortening sail, and taking down royals and topgallant
masts, and making all snug, I just braved it out, and prepared to meet
the blast with every inch of canvas set. "Yes, Sir," said I, "the
twelfth."

"Dear me," said he, "poor boy, that is my fault. I really thought you
knew there were only ten, and had them by heart years ago. They were
among the first things I taught you. How on earth could you have
forgotten them so soon? Repeat them to me."

Well, I went through them all, down to "anything that is his," to
ampersand without making a single stop.

"Sam," said he, "don't do it again, that's a good soul, for it
frightens me. I thought I must have neglected you."

"Well," sais I, "there are two more, Sir."

"Two more," he said, "why what under the sun do you mean? what are
they?"

"Why," sais I, "the eleventh is, 'Expect nothin', and you shall not be
disappointed,' and the twelfth is, 'Fret not thy gizzard.'"

"And pray, Sir," said he, lookin' thunder-squalls at me, "where did
you learn them?"

"From Major Zeb Vidito," said I.

"Major Zeb Vidito," he replied, "is the greatest reprobate in the
army. He is the wretch who boasts that he fears neither God, man, nor
devil. Go, my son, gather up your books, and go home. You can return
to your father. My poor house has no room in it for Major Zeb Vidito,
or his pupil, Sam Slick, or any such profane wicked people, and may
the Lord have mercy on you."

Well, to make a long story short, it brought me to my bearings that. I
had to heave to, lower a boat, send a white flag to him, beg pardon,
and so on, and we knocked up a treaty of peace, and made friends
again.

"I won't say no more about it, Sam," said he, "but mind my words, and
apply your experience to it afterwards in life, and see if I ain't
right. Crime has but two travelling companions. It commences its
journey with the scoffer, and ends it with the blasphemer: not that
talking irreverently ain't very improper in itself, but it destroys
the sense of right and wrong, and prepares the way for sin."

Now, I won't call these commandments, for the old man was right, it's
no way to talk, I'll call them maxims. Now, we won't expect too much,
nor fret over trifles, will we, Sophy? It takes a great deal to make
happiness, for everything must be in tune like a piano; but it takes
very little to spoil it. Fancy a bride now having a tooth-ache, or a
swelled face during the honeymoon--in courtship she won't show, but in
marriage she can't help it,--or a felon on her finger (it is to be
hoped she hain't given her hand to one); or fancy now; just fancy, a
hooping-cough caught in the cold church, that causes her to make a
noise like drowning, a great gurgling in-draught, and a great
out-blowing, like a young sporting porpoise, and instead of being all
alone with her own dear husband, to have to admit the horrid doctor,
and take draughts that make her breath as hot as steam, and submit to
have nauseous garlic and brandy rubbed on her breast, spine, palms of
her hands, and soles of her feet, that makes the bridegroom, every
time he comes near her to ask her how she is, sneeze, as if he was
catching it himself. He don't say to himself in an under-tone damn it,
how unlucky this is. Of course not; he is too happy to swear, if he
ain't too good, as he ought to be; and she don't say, eigh--augh, like
a donkey, for they have the hooping-cough all the year round; "dear
love, eigh--augh, how wretched this is, ain't it? eigh--augh," of
course not; how can she be wretched? Ain't it her honeymoon? and ain't
she as happy as a bride can be, though she does eigh--augh her
slippers up amost. But it won't last long, she feels sure it won't,
she is better now, the doctor says it will be soon over; yes, but the
honeymoon will be over too, and it don't come like Christmas, once
a-year. When it expires, like a dying swan, it sings its own funeral
hymn.

Well, then fancy, just fancy, when she gets well, and looks as chipper
as a canary-bird, though not quite so yaller from the effects of the
cold, that the bridegroom has his turn, and is taken down with the
acute rheumatism, and can't move, tack nor sheet, and has camphor,
turpentine, and hot embrocations of all sorts and kinds applied to
him, till his room has the identical perfume of a druggist's shop,
while he screams if he ain't moved, and yells if he is, and his temper
peeps out. It don't break out of course, for he is a happy man; but it
just peeps out as a masculine he-angel's would if he was tortured.

The fact is, lookin' at life, with its false notions, false hopes, and
false promises, my wonder is, not that married folks don't get on
better, but that they get on as well as they do. If they regard
matrimony as a lottery, is it any wonder more blanks than prizes turn
up on the wheel? Now, my idea of mating a man is, that it is the same
as matching a horse; the mate ought to have the same spirit, the same
action, the same temper, and the same training. Each should do his
part, or else one soon becomes strained, sprained, and spavined, or
broken-winded, and that one is about the best in a general way that
suffers the most.

Don't be shocked at the comparison; but to my mind a splendiferous
woman and a first chop horse is the noblest works of creation. They
take the rag off the bush quite; a woman "that will come" and a horse
that "will go" ought to make any man happy. Give me a gall that all I
have to say to is, "Quick, pick up chips and call your father to
dinner," and a horse that enables you to say, "I am thar." That's all
I ask. Now just look at the different sorts of love-making in this
world. First, there is boy and gall love; they are practising the
gamut, and a great bore it is to hear and see them; but poor little
things, their whole heart and soul is in it, as they were the year
before on a doll or a top. They don't know a heart from a gizzard, and
if you ask them what a soul is, they will say it is the dear sweet
soul they love. It begins when they enter the dancing-school, and ends
when they go out into the world; but after all, I believe it is the
only real romance in life.

Then there is young maturity love, and what is that half the time
based on? vanity, vanity, and the deuce a thing else. The young lady
is handsome, no, that's not the word, she is beautiful, and is a
belle, and all the young fellows are in her train. To win the prize is
an object of ambition. The gentleman rides well, hunts and shoots
well, and does everything well, and moreover he is a fancy man, and
all the girls admire him. It is a great thing to conquer the hero,
ain't it? and distance all her companions; and it is a proud thing for
him to win the prize from higher, richer, and more distinguished men
than himself. It is the triumph of the two sexes. They are allowed to
be the handsomest couple ever married in that church. What an elegant
man, what a lovely woman, what a splendid bride! they seem made for
each other! how happy they both are, eyes can't show--words can't
express it; they are the admiration of all.

If it is in England, they have two courses of pleasure before them--to
retire to a country-house or to travel. The latter is a great bore, it
exposes people, it is very annoying to be stared at. Solitude is the
thing. They are all the world to each other, what do they desire
beyond it--what more can they ask? They are quite happy. How long does
it last? for they have no resources beyond excitement. Why, it lasts
till the first juicy day comes, and that comes soon in England, and
the bridegroom don't get up and look out of the window, on the cloudy
sky, the falling rain, and the inundated meadows, and think to
himself, "Well, this is too much bush, ain't it? I wonder what de
Courcy and de Lacy and de Devilcourt are about to-day?" and then turn
round with a yawn that nearly dislocates his jaw. Not a bit of it. He
is the most happy man in England, and his wife is an angel, and he
don't throw himself down on a sofa and wish they were back in town. It
ain't natural he should; and she don't say, "Charles, you look dull,
dear," nor he reply, "Well, to tell you the truth, it is devilish dull
here, that's a fact," nor she say, "Why, you are very complimentary,"
nor he rejoin, "No, I don't mean it as a compliment, but to state it
as a fact, what that Yankee, what is his name? Sam Slick, or Jim Crow,
or Uncle Tom, or somebody or another calls an established fact!" Her
eyes don't fill with tears at that, nor does she retire to her room
and pout and have a good cry; why should she? she is so happy, and
when the honied honeymoon is over, they will return to town, and all
will be sunshine once more.

But there is one little thing both of them forget, which they find out
when they do return. They have rather just a little overlooked or
undervalued means, and they can't keep such an establishment as they
desire, or equal to their former friends. They are both no longer
single. He is not asked so often where he used to be, nor courted and
flattered as he lately was; and she is a married woman now, and the
beaus no longer cluster around her. Each one thinks the other the
cause of this dreadful change. It was the imprudent and unfortunate
match did it. Affection was sacrificed to pride, and that deity can't
and won't help them, but takes pleasure in tormenting them. First
comes coldness, and then estrangement; after that words ensue, that
don't sound like the voice of true love, and they fish on their own
hook, seek their own remedy, take their own road, and one or the
other, perhaps both, find that road leads to the devil.

Then, there is the "ring-fence match," which happens everywhere. Two
estates, or plantations, or farms adjoin, and there is an only son in
one, and an only daughter in the other; and the world, and fathers,
and mothers, think what a suitable match it would be, and what a grand
thing a ring-fence is, and they cook it up in the most fashionable
style, and the parties most concerned take no interest in it, and,
having nothing particular to object to, marry. Well, strange to say,
half the time it don't turn out bad, for as they don't expect much,
they can't be much disappointed. They get after a while to love each
other from habit; and finding qualities they didn't look for, end by
getting amazin' fond of each other.

Next is a cash match. Well, that's a cheat. It begins in
dissimulation, and ends in detection and punishment. I don't pity the
parties; it serves them right. They meet without pleasure, and part
without pain. The first time I went to Nova Scotia to vend clocks, I
fell in with a German officer, who married a woman with a large
fortune; she had as much as three hundred pounds. He could never speak
of it without getting up, walking round the room, rubbing his hands,
and smacking his lips. The greatest man he ever saw, his own prince,
had only five hundred a-year, and his daughters had to select and buy
the chickens, wipe the glasses, starch their own muslins, and see the
fine soap made. One half of them were Protestants, and the other half
Catholics, so as to bait the hooks for royal fish of either creed.
They were poor and proud, but he hadn't a morsel of pride in him, for
he had condescended to marry the daughter of a staff surgeon; and she
warn't poor, for she had three hundred pounds. He couldn't think of
nothin' but his fortune. He spent the most of his time in building
castles, not in Germany, but in the air, for they cost nothing. He
used to delight to go marooning1 for a day or two in Maitland
settlement, where old soldiers are located, and measured every man he
met by the gauge of his purse. "Dat poor teevil," he would say, "is
wort twenty pounds, well, I am good for tree hundred, in gold and
silver, and provinch notes, and de mortgage on Burkit Crowse's farm
for twenty-five pounds ten shillings and eleven pence
halfpenny--fifteen times as much as he is, pesides ten pounds
interest." If he rode a horse, he calculated now many he could
purchase; and he found they would make an everlastin' cahoot.2 If he
sailed in a boat, he counted the flotilla he could buy; and at last he
used to think, "Vell now, if my vrow would go to de depot (graveyard)
vat is near to de church, Goten Himmel, mid my fortune I could marry
any pody I liked, who had shtock of cattle, shtock of clothes, and
shtock in de Bank, pesides farms and foresht lands, and dyke lands,
and meadow lands, and vind-mill and vater-mill; but dere is no chanse
she shall die, for I was dirty (thirty) when I married her, and she
was dirty-too (thirty-two). Tree hundred pounds! Vell, it's a great
shum; but vat shall I do mid it? If I leave him mid a lawyer, he say,
Mr Von Sheik, you gub it to me. If I put him into de pank, den de ting
shall break, and my forten go smash, squash--vot dey call von shilling
in de pound. If I lock him up, den soldier steal and desert away, and
conetry people shall hide him, and I will not find him no more. I
shall mortgage it on a farm. I feel vary goot, vary pig, and vary
rich. If I would not lose my bay and commission, I would kick de
colonel, kiss his vife, and put my cane thro' his vinder. I don't care
von damn for nopoty no more."


1 Marooning differs from pic-nicing in this--the former continues
several days, the other lasts but one.

2 Cahoot is one of the new coinage, and in Mexico, means a band or
cavalcade.


Well, his wife soon after that took a day and died; and he followed
her to the grave. It was the first time he ever gave her precedence,
for he was a disciplinarian; he knew the difference of "rank and
file," and liked to give the word of command, "Rear rank, take open
order--march!" Well, I condoled with him about his loss. Sais he: "Mr
Shlick, I did'nt lose much by her: the soldier carry her per order, de
pand play for noting, and de crape on de arm came from her ponnet."

"But the loss of your wife?" said I.

Well, that excited him, and he began to talk Hessian. "Jubes renovare
dolorem," said he.

"I don't understand High Dutch," sais I, "when it's spoke so almighty
fast."

"It's a ted language," said he.

I was a goin' to tell him I didn't know the dead had any language, but
I bit in my breath.

"Mr Shlick," said he, "de vife is gone" (and clapping his waistcoat
pocket with his hand, and grinning like a chissy cat), he added, "but
de monish remain."

Yes, such fellows as Von Sheik don't call this ecclesiastical and
civil contract, wedlock. They use a word that expresses their meaning
better--matri-money. Well, even money ain't all gold, for there are
two hundred and forty nasty, dirty, mulatto-looking copper pennies in
a sovereign; and they have the affectation to call the filthy
incrustation, if they happen to be ancient coin, verd-antique. Well,
fine words are like fine dresses; one often covers ideas that ain't
nice, and the other sometimes conceals garments that are a little the
worse for wear. Ambition is just as poor a motive. It can only be
gratified at the expense of a journey over a rough road, and he is a
fool who travels it by a borrowed light, and generally finds he takes
a rise out of himself.

Then there is a class like Von Sheik, "who feel so pig and so
hugeaciously grandiferous," they look on a wife's fortune with
contempt. The independent man scorns connection, station, and money.
He has got all three, and more of each than is sufficient for a dozen
men. He regards with utter indifference the opinion of the world, and
its false notions of life. He can afford to please himself; he does
not stoop if he marries beneath his own rank; for he is able to
elevate any wife to his. He is a great admirer of beauty, which is
confined to no circle and no region. The world is before him, and he
will select a woman to gratify himself and not another. He has the
right and ability to do so, and he fulfils his intention. Now an
independent man is an immoveable one until he is proved, and a soldier
is brave until the day of trial comes. He however is independent and
brave enough to set the opinion of the world at defiance, and he
marries. Until then society is passive, but when defied and disobeyed,
it is active, bitter, and relentless.

The conflict is only commenced--marrying is merely firing the first
gun. The battle has yet to be fought. If he can do without the world,
the world can do without him, but, if he enters it again bride in
hand, he must fight his way inch by inch, and step by step. She is
slighted and he is stung to the quick. She is ridiculed and he is
mortified to death. He is able to meet open resistance, but he is for
ever in dread of an ambuscade. He sees a sneer in every smile, he
fears an insult in every whisper. The unmeaning jest must have a
hidden point for him. Politeness seems cold, even good-nature looks
like the insolence of condescension. If his wife is addressed, it is
manifestly to draw her out. If her society is not sought, it is
equally plain there is a conspiracy to place her in Coventry. To
defend her properly, and to put her on her guard, it is necessary he
should know her weak points himself.

But, alas, in this painful investigation, his ears are wounded by
false accents, his eyes by false motions and vulgar attitudes, he
finds ignorance where ignorance is absurd, and knowledge where
knowledge is shame, and what is worse, this distressing criticism has
been forced upon him, and he has arrived at the conclusion that beauty
without intelligence is the most valueless attribute of a woman. Alas,
the world is an argus-eyed, many-headed, sleepless, heartless monster.
The independent man, if he would retain his independence, must retire
with his wife to his own home, and it would be a pity if in thinking
of his defeat he was to ask himself, Was my pretty doll worth this
terrible struggle after all? wouldn't it? Well, I pity that man, for
at most he has only done a foolish thing, and he has not passed
through life without being a public benefactor. He has held a reversed
lamp. While he has walked in the dark himself, he has shed light on
the path of others.

Ah, Sophy, when you read this, and I know you will, you'll say, What a
dreadful picture you have drawn! it ain't like you--you are too
good-natured, I can't believe you ever wrote so spiteful an article as
this, and, woman like, make more complimentary remarks than I deserve.
Well, it ain't like me, that's a fact, but it is like the world for
all that. Well, then you will puzzle your little head whether after
all there is any happiness in married life, won't you?

Well, I will answer that question. I believe there may be and are
many, very many happy marriages; but then people must be as near as
possible in the same station of life, their tempers compatible, their
religious views the same, their notions of the world similar, and
their union based on mutual affection, entire mutual confidence, and
what is of the utmost consequence, the greatest possible mutual
respect. Can you feel this towards me, Sophy, can you, dear? Then be
quick--"pick up chips and call your father to dinner."



                            CHAPTER XXII.

                           A DISH OF CLAMS.


Eating is the chief occupation at sea. It's the great topic as well as
the great business of the day, especially in small sailing vessels
like the "Black Hawk;" although anything is good enough for me when I
can't get nothin' better, which is the true philosophy of life. If
there is a good dish and a bad one set before me, I am something of a
rat, I always choose the best.

There are few animals, as there are few men, that we can't learn
something from. Now a rat, although I hate him like pyson, is a
travelling gentleman, and accommodates himself to circumstances. He
likes to visit people that are well off, and has a free and easy way
about him, and don't require an introduction. He does not wait to be
pressed to eat, but helps himself, and does justice to his host and
his viands. When hungry, he will walk into the larder and take a lunch
or a supper without requiring any waiting on. He is abstemious, or
rather temperate in his drinking. Molasses and syrup he prefers to
strong liquors, and he is a connoisseur in all things pertaining to
the dessert. He is fond of ripe fruit, and dry or liquid preserves,
the latter of which he eats with cream, for which purpose he forms a
passage to the dairy. He prides himself on his knowledge of cheese,
and will tell you in the twinkling of an eye which is the best in
point of flavour or richness. Still he is not proud--he visits the
poor when there is no gentlemen in the neighbourhood, and can
accommodate himself to coarse fare and poor cookery. To see him in one
of these hovels, you would think he never knew anything better, for he
has a capital appetite, and can content himself with mere bread and
water. He is a wise traveller, too. He is up to the ways of the world,
and is aware of the disposition there is everywhere to entrap
strangers. He knows now to take care of himself. If he is ever
deceived, it is by treachery. He is seized sometimes at the hospitable
board, and assassinated, or perhaps cruelly poisoned. But what skill
can ensure safety, where confidence is so shamefully abused? He is a
capital sailor, even bilge-water don't make him squeamish, and he is
so good a judge of the sea-worthiness of a ship, that he leaves her at
the first port if he finds she is leaky or weak. Few architects, on
the other hand, have such a knowledge of the stability of a house as
he has. He examines its foundations thoroughly, and if he perceives
any, the slightest chance of its falling, he retreats in season, and
leaves it to its fate. In short, he is a model traveller, and much may
be learned from him.

But, then, who is perfect? He has some serious faults, from which we
may also take instructive lessons, so as to avoid them. He runs all
over a house, sits up late at night, and makes a devil of a noise. He
is a nasty, cross-grained critter, and treacherous even to those who
feed him best. He is very dirty in his habits, and spoils as much food
as he eats. If a door ain't left open for him, he cuts right through
it, and if by accident he is locked in, he won't wait to be let out,
but hacks a passage ship through the floor. Not content with being
entertained himself, he brings a whole retinue with him, and actilly
eats a feller out of house and home, and gets as sassy as a free
nigger. He gets into the servant-gall's bed-room sometimes at night,
and nearly scares her to death under pretence he wants her candle; and
sometimes jumps right on to the bed, and says she is handsome enough
to eat, gives her a nip on the nose, sneezes on her with great
contempt, and tells her she takes snuff. The fact is, he is hated
everywhere he travels for his ugly behaviour as much as an Englishman,
and that is a great deal more than sin is by half the world.

Now, being fond of natur, I try to take lessons from all created
critters. I copy the rat's travelling knowledge and good points as
near as possible, and strive to avoid the bad. I confine myself to the
company apartments, and them that's allotted to me! Havin' no family,
I take nobody with me a-visitin', keep good hours, and give as little
trouble as possible; and as for goin' to the servant-gall's room,
under pretence of wanting a candle, I'd scorn such an action. Now, as
there is lots of good things in this vessel, rat like, I intend to
have a good dinner.

"Sorrow, what have you got for us to-day?"

"There is the moose-meat, Massa."

"Let that hang over the stern, we shall get tired of it."

"Den, Massa, dar is de Jesuit-priest; by golly, Massa, dat is a funny
name. Yah, yah, yah! dis here niggar was took in dat time. Dat ar a
fac."

"Well, the turkey had better hang over too."

"Sposin' I git you fish dinner to-day, Massa?"

"What have you got?"

"Some tobacco-pipes, Massa, and some miller's thumbs." The rascal
expected to take a rise out of me, but I was too wide awake for him.
Cutler and the doctor, strange to say, fell into the trap, and
required an explanation, which delighted Sorrow amazingly. Cutler,
though an old fisherman on the coast, didn't know these fish at all.
And the doctor had some difficulty in recognising them, under names he
had never heard of before.

"Let us have them."

"Well, there is a fresh salmon, Massa?"

"Let us have steaks off of it. Do them as I told you, and take care
the paper don't catch fire, and don't let the coals smoke 'em. Serve
some lobster sauce with them, but use no butter, it spoils salmon. Let
us have some hoss-radish with it."

"Hoss-radish! yah, yah, yah! Why, Massa, whar under the sun does you
suppose now I could git hoss-radish, on board ob dis 'Black Hawk?' De
sea broke into my garden de oder night, and kill ebery created ting in
it. Lord a massy, Massa, you know dis is notin' but a fishin'-craft,
salt pork and taters one day, and salt beef and taters next day, den
twice laid for third day, and den begin agin. Why, dere neber has been
no cooking on board of dis here fore-and-after till you yourself comed
on board. Dey don't know nuffin'. Dey is as stupid and ignorant as
coots."

Here his eye rested on the captain, when with the greatest coolness he
gave me a wink, and went on without stopping.

"Scept massa captain," said he, "and he do know what is good, dat ar a
fact, but he don't like to be ticular, so he takes same fare as men,
and dey isn't jealous. 'Sorrow,' sais he, 'make no stinction for me. I
is used to better tings, but I'll put up wid same fare as men.'"

"Sorrow," said the captain, "how can you tell such a barefaced
falsehood. What an impudent liar you are, to talk so before my face. I
never said anything of the kind to you."

"Why, Massa, now," said Sorrow, "dis here child is wide awake, that
are a fac, and no mistake, and it's onpossible he is a dreamin'. What
is it you did say den, when you ordered dinner?"

"I gave my orders and said nothing more."

"Exactly, Massa, I knowed I was right; dat is de identical ting I
said. You was used to better tings; you made no stinctions, and
ordered all the same for boaf of you. Hoss-radish, Massa Slick," said
he, "I wish I had some, or could get some ashore for you, but
hoss-radish ain't French, and dese folks nebber hear tell ob him."

"Make some."

"Oh, Massa, now you is makin' fun ob dis poor niggar."

"I am not. Take a turnip, scrape it the same as the radish, into fine
shaving, mix it with fresh mustard, and a little pepper and vinegar,
and you can't tell it from t'other."

"By golly, Massa, but dat are a wrinkle. Oh, how missus would a lubbed
you. It was loud all down sout dere was a great deal ob 'finement in
her. Nobody was good nuff for her dere; dey had no taste for cookin'.
She was mighty high 'mong de ladies, in de instep, but not a mossel of
pride to de niggars. Oh, you would a walked right into de cockles ob
her heart. If you had tredded up to her, she would a married you, and
gub you her tree plantations, and eight hundred niggar, and ebery
ting, and order dinner for you herself. Oh, wouldn't she been done,
gone stracted, when you showed her how she had shot her grandmother?1
wouldn't she? I'll be dad fetched if she wouldn't."


1 Shooting one's granny, or grandmother, means fancying you have
discovered what was well known before.


"Have you any other fish?" I said.

"Oh yes, Massa; some grand fresh clams."

"Do you know how to cook them?"

"Massa," said he, putting his hands under his white apron, and,
sailor-like, giving a hitch up to his trousers, preparatory to
stretching himself straight; "Massa, dis here niggar is a rambitious
niggar, and he kersaits he can take de shine out ob any niggar that
ever played de juice harp in cookin' clams. Missus structed me
husself. Massa, I shall nebber forget dat time, de longest day I live.
She sent for me, she did, and I went in, and she was lyin' on de sofa,
lookin' pale as de inside of parsimmon seed, for de wedder was brilin'
hot.

"'Sorrow,' said she.

"'Yes, Missus,' said I.

"'Put the pillar under my head. Dat is right,' said she; 'tank you,
Sorrow.'

"Oh, Massa, how different she was from abulitinists to Boston. She
always said Tankee, for ebery ting. Now ablutinists say, 'Hand me dat
piller, you darned rascal, and den make yourself skase, you is as
black as de debbil's hind leg.' And den she say--

"'Trow dat scarf over my ankles, to keep de bominable flies off.
Tankee, Sorrow; you is far more handier dan Aunt Dolly is. Dat are
niggar is so rumbustious, she jerks my close so, sometimes I tink in
my soul she will pull 'em off.' Den she shut her eye, and she gabe a
cold shiver all ober.

"'Sorrow,' sais she, 'I am goin' to take a long, bery long journey, to
de far off counteree.'

"'Oh dear me! Missus,' says I; 'Oh Lord; Missus, you ain't a goin' to
die, is you?' and I fell down on my knees, and kissed her hand, and
said, 'Oh, Missus; don't die, please Missus. What will become oh dis
niggar if you do? If de Lord in his goodness take you away, let me go
wid you, Missus;' and I was so sorry I boohooed right out, and groaned
and wipy eye like courtin' amost.

"'Why, Uncle Sorrow,' said she, 'I isn't a goin' to die; what makes
you tink dat? Stand up: I do railly believe you do lub your missus. Go
to dat closet, and pour yourself out a glass of whiskey;' and I goes
to de closet--just dis way--and dere stood de bottle and a glass, as
dis here one do, and I helpt myself dis fashen.

"'What made you tink I was a goin' for to die?' said she, 'do I look
so ill?'

"'No, Missus; but dat is de way de Boston preacher dat staid here last
week spoke to me,--de long-legged, sour face, Yankee villain. He is
uglier and yallerer dan Aunt Phillissy Anne's crooked-necked squashes.
I don't want to see no more ob such fellers pysonin' de minds ob de
niggars here.'

"Says he, 'My man.'

"'I isn't a man,' sais I, 'I is only a niggar.'

"'Poor, ignorant wretch,' said he.

"'Massa,' sais I, 'you has waked up de wrong passenger dis present
time. I isn't poor, I ab plenty to eat, and plenty to drink, and two
great trong wenches to help me cook, and plenty of fine frill shirt,
longin' to my old massa, and bran new hat, and when I wants money I
asks missus, and she gives it to me, and I ab white oberseer to shoot
game for me. When I wants wild ducks or wenson, all I got to do is to
say to dat Yankee oberseer, 'Missus and I want some deer or some
canvasback, I spect you had better go look for some, Massa Buccra.'
No, no, Massa, I ain't so ignorant as to let any man come over me to
make seed-corn out of me. If you want to see wretches, go to James
Town, and see de poor white critters dat ab to do all dere own work
deyselves, cause dey is so poor, dey ab no niggars to do it for 'em.'

"Sais he, 'Hab you ebber tort ob dat long journey dat is afore you? to
dat far off counteree where you will be mancipated and free, where de
weary hab no rest, and de wicked hab no labor?'

"'Down to Boston I spose, Massa,' sais I, 'mong dem pententionists and
ablutionists, Massa; ablution is a mean, nasty, dirty ting, and don't
suit niggars what hab good missus like me, and I won't take dat
journey, and I hate dat cold counteree, and I want nottin' to do wid
mansipationists.'

"'It ain't dat, said he, 'it's up above.'

"'What,' sais I, 'up dere in de mountains? What onder de sun should I
go dere for to be froze to defth, or to be voured by wild beasts?
Massa, I won't go nowhere widout dear missus goes.'

"'I mean Heaben,' he said, 'where all are free and all equal; where
joy is, and sorrow enters not.'

"'What,' sais I, 'Joy in Heaben? I don't believe one word of it. Joy
was de greatest tief on all dese tree plantations of missus; he stole
more chicken, and corn, and backey, dan his great bull neck was worth,
and when he ran off, missus wouldn't let no one look for him. Joy in
Heaben, eh; and Sorrow nebber go dere! Well, I clare now! Yah, yah,
yah, Massa, you is foolin' dis here niggar now, I know you is when you
say Joy is dead, and gone to Heaben, and dis child is shot out for
ebber. Massa,' sais I, 'me and missus don't low ablution talk here, on
no account whatsomever, de only larnin' we lows of is whippin' fellows
who tice niggars to rections, and de slaves of dis plantation will
larn you as sure as you is bawn, for dey lub missus dearly. You had
better kummence de long journey usself. Sallust, bring out dis
gentleman hoss; and Plutarch, go fetch de saddle-bag down.'

"I led his hoss by where de dogs was, and, sais I, 'Massa, I can't
help larfin' no how I can fix it, at dat ar story you told me about
dat young rascal Joy. Dat story do smell rader tall, dat are a fac;
yah, yah, yah,' and I fell down and rolled ober and ober on de grass,
and it's lucky I did, for as I dodged he fetched a back-handed blow at
me wid his huntin' whip, that would a cut my head off if it had tooked
me round my neck.

"My missus larfed right out like any ting, tho' it was so hot, and
when missus larf I always know she is good-natured.

"'Sorrow,' said missus, 'I am afraid you is more rogue dan fool.'

"'Missus,' sais I, 'I nebber stole the vally of a pin's head off ob
dis plantation, I scorn to do such a nasty, dirty, mean action, and
you so kind as to gib me more nor I want, and you knows dat, Missus;
you knows it, oderwise you wouldn't send me to de bank, instead ob
white oberseer, Mr Succatash, for six, seben, or eight hundred dollars
at a time. But, dere is too much stealin' going on here, and you and
I, Missus, must be more ticklar. You is too dulgent altogether.'

"'I didn't mean that, Sorrow,' she said, 'I don't mean stealin'.

"'Well, Missus, I's glad to hear dat, if you will let me ab permission
den, I will drink you good helf.'

"'Why didn't you do it half an hour ago?' she said.

"'Missus,' sais I, 'I was so busy talkin', and so scared about your
helf, and dere was no hurry,' and I stept near to her side, where she
could see me, and I turned de bottle up, and advanced dis way, for it
hadn't no more dan what old Cloe's thimble would hold, jist like dis
bottle.

"'Why,' said she (and she smiled, and I knowed she was good-natured),
'dere is nottin' dere, see if dere isn't some in de oder bottle,' and
I went back and set it down, and took it up to her, and poured it out
dis way."

"Slick," said Cutler, "I am astonished at you, you are encouraging
that black rascal in drinking, and allowing him to make a beast of
himself," and he went on deck to attend to his duty, saying as he shut
the door, "That fellow will prate all day if you allow him." Sorrow
followed him with a very peculiar expression of eye as he retired.

"Massa Captain," said he, "as sure as de world, is an ablutionist, dat
is just de way dey talk. Dey call us coloured breddren when they tice
us off from home, and den dey call us black rascals and beasts. I wish
I was to home agin, Yankees treat dere coloured breddren like dogs,
dat is a fact; but he is excellent man, Massa Captain, bery good man,
and though I don't believe it's a possible ting Joy is in heaben, I is
certain de captain, when de Lord be good nuff to take him, will go
dere."

"The captain is right," said I, "Sorrow, put down that bottle; you
have had more than enough already--put it down;" but he had no idea of
obeying, and held on to it.

"If you don't put that down, Sorrow," I said, "I will break it over
your head."

"Oh! Massa," said he, "dat would be a sin to waste dis oloriferous rum
dat way; just let me drink it first, and den I will stand, and you may
break de bottle on my head; it can't hurt niggar's head, only cut a
little wool."

"Come, no more of this nonsense," I said, "put it down;" and seeing me
in earnest, he did so.

"Now," sais I, "tell us how you are going to cook the clams."

"Oh! Massa," said he, "do let me finish de story about de way I larned
it.

"'Sorrow,' said missus, 'I am going to take a long journey all de way
to Boston, and de wedder is so cold, and what is wus, de people is so
cold, it makes me shudder,' and she shivered like cold ague fit, and I
was afraid she would unjoint de sofa.

"'Don't lay too close to them, Missus,' sais I.

"'What,' said she, and she raised herself up off ob de pillar, and she
larfed, and rolled ober and ober, and tosticated about almost in a
conniption fit, 'you old goose,' said she, 'you onaccountable fool,'
and den she larfed and rolled ober agin, I tought she would a tumbled
off on de floor, 'do go way; you is too foolish to talk to, but turn
my pillar again. Sorrow,' said she, 'is I showin' of my ankles,' said
she, 'rollin' about so like mad?'

"'Little bit,' sais I, 'Missus.'

"'Den put dat scarf ober my feet agin. What on earth does you mean,
Sorrow, bout not sleepin' too close to de Yankees?'

"'Missus,' sais I, 'does you recollect de day when Zeno was drownded
off de raft? Well, dat day Plutarch was lowed to visit next
plantation, and dey bring him home mazin' drunk--stupid as owl, his
mout open and he couldn't speak, and his eye open and he couldn't see.
Well, as you don't low niggar to be flogged, Aunt Phillissy Ann and I
lay our heads together, and we tought we'd punish him; so we ondressed
him, and put him into same bed wid poor Zeno, and when he woke up in
de mornin' he was most frighten to def, and had de cold chills on him,
and his eye stared out ob his head, and his teeth chattered like
monkeys. He was so frighten, we had to burn lights for a week--he
tought after dat he saw Zeno in bed wid him all de time. It's werry
dangerous, Missus, to sleep near cold people like Yankees and dead
niggars.'

"'Sorrow, you is a knave I believe,' she said.

"'Knave, knave, Missus,' I sais, 'I don't know dat word.'

"'Sorrow,' said she, 'I is a goin' to take you wid me.'

"'Tank you, Missus,' said I, 'oh! bless your heart, Missus.'"

"Sorrow," said I, sternly, "do you ever intend to tell us how you are
going to cook them clams, or do you mean to chat all day?"

"Jist in one minute, Massa, I is jist comin' to it," said he.

"'Now,' sais missus, 'Sorrow, it's werry genteel to travel wid one's
own cook; but it is werry ongenteel when de cook can't do nuffin'
super-superior; for bad cooks is plenty eberywhere widout travellin'
wid 'em. It brings disgrace.'

"'Exactly, Missus,' sais I, 'when you and me was up to de president's
plantation, his cook was makin' plum pudden, he was. Now how in natur
does you rimagine he did it? why, Missus, he actilly made it wid
flour, de stupid tick-headed fool, instead ob de crumbs ob a six cent
stale loaf, he did; and he nebber 'pared de gredients de day afore, as
he had aughten to do. It was nuffin' but stick jaw--jist fit to feed
turkeys and little niggeroons wid. Did you ebber hear de likes ob dat
in all your bawn days, Missus; but den, Marm, de general was a berry
poor cook hisself you know, and it stand to argument ob reason, where
massa or missus don't know nuffin', de sarvant can't neither. Dat is
what all de gentlemen and ladies says dat wisit here, Marm: 'What a
lubly beautiful woman Miss Lunn is,' dey say, 'dere is so much
'finement in her, and her table is de best in all Meriky.'

"'What a fool you is, Uncle Sorrow,' she say, and den she larf again;
and when missus larf den I know she was pleased. 'Well,' sais she,
'now mind you keep all your secrets to yourself when travellin', and
keep your eyes open wide, and see eberyting and say nuffin'.'

"'Missus,' sais I, 'I will be wide awake; you may pend on me--eyes as
big as two dog-wood blossoms, and ears open like mackarel.'

"'What you got for dinner to-day?' she say--jist as you say, Massa.
Well, I tell her all ober, as I tells you, numeratin' all I had. Den
she picked out what she wanted, and mong dem I recklect was clams.'"

"Now tell us how you cooked the clams," I said; "what's the use of
standing chattering all day there like a monkey?"

"Dat, Massa, now is jist what I is goin' to do dis blessid minit.
'Missus,' sais I, 'talkin' of clams, minds me of chickens.'

"'What on airth do you mean,' sais she, 'you blockhead; it might as
well mind you of tunder.'

"'Well, Missus,' sais I, 'now sometimes one ting does mind me of
anoder ting dat way; I nebber sees you, Missus, but what you mind me
ob de beautiful white lily, and dat agin ob de white rose dat hab de
lubly color on his cheek.'

"'Do go away, and don't talk nonsense,' she said, larfing; and when
she larfed den I know she was pleased.

"'So clams mind me of chickens.'

"'And whiskey,' she said.

"'Well, it do, Missus; dat are a fac;' and I helped myself agin dis
way."

"Sorrow," said I, "this is too bad; go forward now and cut this
foolery short. You will be too drunk to cook the dinner if you go on
that way."

"Massa," said he, "dis child nebber was drunk in his life; but he is
frose most to deaf wid de wretched fogs (dat give people here 'blue
noses'), an de field ice, and raw winds: I is as cold as if I slept
wid a dead niggar or a Yankee. Yah, yah, yah.

"'Well, Missus,' sais I, 'dem clams do mind me ob chickens. Now,
Missus, will you skuse me if I git you the receipt Miss Phillis and I
ab cyphered out, how to presarve chickens?'

"'Yes,' she said, 'I will. Let me hear it. Dat is sumthen new.'

"'Well, Missus, you know how you and I is robbed by our niggars like
so many minks. Now, Missus, sposin' you and I pass a law dat all fat
poultry is to be brought to me to buy, and den we keep our fat poultry
locked up; and if dey steal de lean fowls, and we buy 'em, we saves de
fattenin' of 'em, and gibs no more arter all dan de vally of food and
tendin', which is all dey gits now, for dere fowls is always de best
fed in course; and when we ab more nor we wants for you and me, den I
take 'em to market and sell 'em; and if dey will steal 'em arter dat,
Missus, we must try ticklin'; dere is nuffin' like it. It makes de
down fly like a feather-bed. It makes niggars wery sarcy to see white
tief punished tree times as much as dey is; dat are a fac, Missus. A
poor white man can't work, and in course he steal. Well, his time
bein' no airthly use, dey gib him six month pensiontary; and niggar,
who can airn a dollar or may be 100 cents a day, only one month. I
spise a poor white man as I do a skunk. Dey is a cuss to de country;
and it's berry hard for you and me to pay rates to support 'em: our
rates last year was bominable. Let us pass dis law, Missus, and fowl
stealin' is done--de ting is dead.'

"'Well, you may try it for six months,' she say, 'only no whippin'. We
must find some oder punishment,' she said.

"'I ab it,' sais I, 'Missus! Oh Lord a massy, Missus! oh dear missus!
I got an inwention as bright as bran new pewter button. I'll shave de
head of a tief close and smooth. Dat will keep his head warm in de
sun, and cool at night; do him good. He can't go courtin' den, when he
ab 'no wool whar de wool ought to grow,' and spile his 'frolicken, and
all de niggaroons make game ob him. It do more good praps to tickle
fancy ob niggars dan to tickle dere hide. I make him go to church
reglar den to show hisself and his bald pate. Yah, yah, yah!'"

"Come, Sorrow," I said, "I am tired of all this foolery; either tell
me how you propose to cook the clams, or substitute something else in
their place."

"Well, Massa," he said, "I will; but railly now when I gits talkin'
bout my dear ole missus, pears to me as if my tongue would run for
ebber. Dis is de last voyage I ebber make in a fishin' craft. I is
used to de first society, and always moved round wid ladies and
gentlemen what had 'finement in 'em. Well, Massa, now I comes to de
clams. First of all, you must dig de clams. Now dere is great art in
diggin' clams.

"Where you see little hole like worm hole dere is de clam. He breathe
up tru dat, and suck in his drink like sherry-cobbler through a straw.
Whar dere is no little air holes, dere is no clam, dat are a fac. Now,
Massa, can you tell who is de most knowin' clam-digger in de worl? De
gull is, Massa; and he eat his clam raw, as some folks who don't know
nuffin' bout cookin' eat oysters. He take up de clam ebber so far in
de air, and let him fall right on de rock, which break shell for him,
and down he goes and pounces on him like a duck on a June bug.
Sometimes clam catch him by de toe though, and hold on like grim death
to a dead niggar, and away goes bird screamin' and yellin', and clam
sticking to him like burr to a hosses tail. Oh, geehillikin, what fun
it is. And all de oder gulls larf at him like any ting; dat comes o'
seezin' him by de mout instead ob de scruff ob de neck.

"Well, when you git clam nuff, den you must wash 'em, and dat is more
trouble dan dey is worth; for dey is werry gritty naturally, like
buckwheat dat is trashed in de field--takes two or tree waters, and
salt is better dan fresh, cause you see fresh water make him sick.
Well, now, Massa, de question is, what will you ab; clam soup, clam
sweetbread, clam pie, clam fritter, or bake clam?"

"Which do you tink best, Sorrow?" sais I.

"Well, Massa, dey is all good in dere way; missus used to fection
baked clams mighty well, but we can't do dem so tip-top at sea; clam
sweetbread, she said, was better den what is made ob oyster; and as to
clam soup, dat pends on de cook. Now, Massa, when missus and me went
to wisit de president's plantation, I see his cook, Mr Sallust, didn't
know nuffin' bout parin' de soup. What you tink he did, Massa? stead
ob poundin' de clams in a mortar fust, he jist cut 'em in quarters and
puts 'em in dat way. I nebber see such ignorance since I was raised.
He made de soup ob water, and actilly put some salt in it; when it was
sarved up--it was rediculous disgraceful--he left dem pieces in de
tureen, and dey was like leather. Missus said to me:

"'Sorrow,' sais she, 'I shall starve here; dem military men know
nuffin' but bout hosses, dogs, and wine; but dey ain't delicate no way
in dere tastes, and yet to hear 'em talk you'd be most afeered to
offer 'em anyting, you'd tink dey was de debbel and all.'"

"Did she use those words, Sorrow?"

"Well, not zactly," he said, scratching his head, "dey was dicksionary
words and werry fine, for she had great 'finement bout her; but dat
was de meanin' ob 'em.

"'Now, Sorrow,' she said, 'tell me de trut, wasn't dat soup now made
of water?'

"'Yes, Missus, it was,' said I, 'I seed it wid my own eyes.'

"'I taut so,' she said, 'why dat cook ain't fit to tend a bear trap,
and bait it wid sheep's innerds.'"

"Did she use those words?"

"Why laws a massy, Massa! I can't swear to de identical words; how can
I? but as I was a sayin', dere was 'finement in 'em, werry long, werry
crooked, and werry pretty, but dat was all de sense ob 'em.

"'Now, Sorrow,' said she, 'he ought to ab used milk; all fish soups
ought to be made o' milk, and den tickened wid flour.'

"'Why in course, Missus,' sais I, 'dat is de way you and me always
likes it.'

"'It has made me quite ill,' said she.

"'So it ab nearly killed me, Missus,' sais I, puttin' my hand on my
stomach, 'I ab such a pain down here, I tink sometimes I shall die.'

"'Well, you look ill, Uncle Sorrow,' she said, and she went to her
dressin'-case, and took a little small bottle (covered ober wid
printed words), 'Take some o' dis,' said she, and she poured me out
bout dis much (filling his glass again), 'take dat, it will do you
good.'

"'Is it berry bad to swaller,' sais I, 'Missus? I is most afeard it
will spile the 'finement of my taste.'

"'Try it,' sais she, and I shut to my eyes, and made awful long face,
and swallowed it jist dis way.

"'By golly,' sais I, 'Missus, but dat is grand. What is dat?'

"'Clove, water,' said she.

"'Oh, Missus,' sais I, 'dat is plaguy trong water, dat are a fac, and
bery nice flavoured. I wish in my heart we had a nice spring ob it to
home. Wouldn't it be grand, for dis is a bery thirsty niggar, dat are
a fac. Clam pie, Massa, is first chop, my missus ambitioned it some
punkins.'

"Well, how do you make it?"

"Dere is seberal ways, Massa. Sometime we used one way and sometime
anoder. I do believe missus could do it fifty ways."

"Fifty ways!" said I, "now Sorrow, how can you lie that way? I shall
begin to think at last you never had a mistress at all."

"Fifty ways! Well, Massa, goodness gracious me! You isn't goin' to tie
me down to swear to figures now, any more nor identical words, is you?
I ab no manner o' doubt she could fifty ways, but she only used eight
or ten ways which she said was de best. First dere is de clam bake."

"Well, I know that," sais I, "go on to the clam pie."

"What is it?" said the doctor, "for I should like to know how they are
prepared."

"This," said I, "is the most approved mode. A cavity is dug in the
earth, about eighteen inches deep, which is lined with round stones.
On this a fire is made; and when the stones are sufficiently heated, a
bushel or more of clams (according to the number of persons who are to
partake of the feast) is thrown upon them. On this is put a layer of
rock-weed, gathered from the beach, and over this a second layer of
sea-weed. This prevents the escape of the steam, and preserves the
sweetness of the fish. Clams baked in this manner are preferred to
those cooked in the usual way in the kitchen. On one occasion, that of
a grand political mass-meeting in favour of General Harrison on the
4th of July, 1840, nearly 10,000 persons assembled in Rhode Island,
for whom a clambake and chowder was prepared. This was probably the
greatest feast of the kind that ever took place in New England."

"Zactly," said Sorrow, "den dere is anoder way."

"I won't hear it," said I, "stiver now, make the pie any way you
like."

"Massa," said he, "eber since poor missus died from eaten hogs wid
dere heads on, I feel kinder faint when I sees clams, I hab neber
swallowed one since, and neber will. De parfume gits into my stomach,
as it did when de General's cook used water instead of milk, in his
soup. I don't spose you ab any clove-water, but if you will let me
take jist a tumblerfull ob dis, I tink it would make me survive a
little," and without waiting for leave he helped himself to a bumper.
"Now, Massa," he said, "I show you what cookin' is, I know," and
making a scrape of his leg, he left the cabin.

"Doctor," said I, "I am glad you have seen this specimen of a southern
negro. He is a fair sample of a servant in the houses of our great
planters. Cheerful, grateful, and contented, they are better off and
happier than any portion of the same race I have met with in any part
of the world. They have a quick perception of humour, a sort of
instinctive knowledge of character, and great cunning, but their
reasoning powers are very limited. Their appetites are gross, and
their constitutional indolence such that they prefer enduring any
suffering and privation to regular habits of industry.

"Slavery in the abstract is a thing that nobody approves of, or
attempts to justify. We all consider it an evil--but unhappily it was
entailed upon us by our forefathers, and has now grown to be one of
such magnitude that it is difficult to know now to deal with it--and
this difficulty is much increased by the irritation which has grown
out of the unskilful and unjustifiable conduct of abolitionists. The
grossest exaggerations have been circulated as to the conduct and
treatment of our slaves, by persons who either did not know what they
were talking about, or who have wilfully perverted facts. The devil we
have painted black, and the negro received the same colour from the
hand of his Maker. It only remained to represent the planter as of a
deeper dye than either. This picture however wanted effect, and
latterly lights and shades have been judiciously introduced, by
mingling with these groups eastern abolitionists, white overseers, and
English noblemen, and ladies of rank. It made a clever caricature--had
a great run--has been superseded by other follies and extravagancies,
and is now nearly forgotten. The social evil still remains, and ever
will, while ignorant zeal, blind bigotry, hypocrisy, and politics,
demand to have the exclusive treatment of it. The planter has rights
as well as the slave, and the claims of both must be well weighed and
considered before any dispassionate judgment can be formed.

"In the mean time invective and misrepresentation, by irritating the
public, disqualify it for the deliberate exercise of its functions. If
the slaves have to mourn over the want of freedom, the planters may
lament the want of truth in their opponents; and it must be admitted
that they have submitted to the atrocious calumnies that have been so
liberally heaped upon them of late years, with a contempt that is the
best refutation of falsehood, or a meekness and forbearance that
contrast very favourably with the violence and fury of their
adversaries."

My object however, Squire, is not to write a lecture on emancipation,
but to give you a receipt for cooking "a dish of clams."



                            CHAPTER XXIII.

                THE DEVIL'S HOLE; OR, FISH AND FLESH.


"Sorrow," said the doctor, "seems to me to consider women, from the
way he flatters his mistress, as if she was not unlike the grupers at
Bermuda. There is a natural fish-pond there near Flats Village, in
which there is a great lot of these critters, which are about the size
of the cod. They will rise to the surface, and approach the bank for
you to tickle their sides, which seems to afford them particular
delight."

"It is what you would call, I suppose, practical soft sawdering."

"But it is an operation of which the rest are exceedingly jealous, and
while you are thus amusing one of them, you must take care others do
not feel offended, and make a dash at your fingers. With true feminine
jealousy too they change colour when excited, for envy seems to
pervade all animate nature."

"It's called the Devil's Hole where they are, ain't it?" sais I.

"Yes," said he, "it is, and it is situated not far from Moore's
favourite tree, under whose shade he used to recline while writing his
poetry, at a time when his deputy was equally idle, and instead of
keeping his accounts, kept his money. Bermuda is a fatal place to
poets. Moore lost his purse there, and Waller his favourite ring; the
latter has been recently found, the former was never recovered. In one
thing these two celebrated authors greatly resembled each other, they
both fawned and flattered on the great."

"Yes," said Cutler, "and both have met their reward. Everybody regrets
that anything was known of either, but his poetry--"

"Well," sais I, "I am glad I am not an Englishman, or as true as the
world, a chap like Lord John Russell would ruin me for ever. I am not
a poet, and can't write poetry, but I am a Clockmaker, and write
common sense. Now a biographer like that man, that knows as little of
one as he does of the other, would ruin me for everlastingly. It ain't
pleasant to have such a burr as that stick on to your tail, especially
if you have no comb to get it off, is it? A politician is like a bee;
he travels a zig-zag course every way, turnin' first to the right and
then to the left, now makin' a dive at the wild honeysuckle, and then
at the sweet briar; now at the buck-wheat blossom, and then at the
rose; he is here and there and everywhere; you don't know where the
plague to find him; he courts all and is constant to none. But when
his point is gained and he has wooed and deceived all, attained his
object, and his bag is filled, he then shows plain enough what he was
after all the time. He returns as straight as a chalk line, or as we
say, as the crow flies to his home, and neither looks to the right or
to the left, or knows or cares for any of them who contributed to his
success. His object is to enrich himself and make a family name. A
politician therefore is the last man in the world to write a
biography. Having a kind of sneakin' regard for a winding, wavy way
himself, he sees more beauty in the in and out line of a Varginny
fence, than the stiff straight formal post and rail one of New
England. As long as a partizan critter is a thorn in the flesh of the
adverse party, he don't care whether he is Jew or Gentile. He
overlooks little peccadilloes, as he calls the worst stories, and
thinks everybody else will be just as indulgent as himself. He uses
romanists, dissenters, republicans, and evangelicals at his own great
log-rolling1 frollicks, and rolls for them in return.


1 Log-rolling.--In the lumber regions of Maine, it is customary for
men of different logging camps to appoint days for helping each other
in rolling the logs to the river after they are felled and trimmed,
this rolling being about the hardest work incident to the business.
Thus the men of three or four different camps will unite, say on
Monday, to roll for camp No. 1, on Tuesday, for camp No. 2, on
Wednesday, for camp No. 3, and so on through the whole number of camps
within convenient distance of each other. The term has been adopted in
legislation to signify a little system of mutual co-operation. For
instance, a member from St Lawrence has a pet bill for a plank-road
which he wants pushed through. He accordingly makes a bargain with a
member from Onondaga, who is coaxing along a charter for a bank, by
which St Lawrence agrees to vote for Onondaga's bank if Onondaga will
vote St Lawrence's plank-road. This is legislative log-rolling, and
there is abundance of it carried on at Albany every winter. Generally
speaking, the subject of the log-rolling is some merely local project,
interesting only to the people of a certain district; but sometimes
there is party log-rolling, where the Whigs, for instance, will come
to an understanding with the Democrats that the former shall not
oppose a certain democratic measure merely on party grounds, provided
the Democrats will be equally tender to some Whig measure in
return.--J. INMAN.


"Who the plague hain't done something, said something, or thought
something he is sorry for, and prays may be forgot and forgiven; big
brag as I am, I know I can't say I haven't over and over again
offended. Well, if it's the part of a friend to go and rake all these
things up, and expose 'em to the public, and if it's agreeable to my
wife, sposin' I had one, to have 'em published because the stained
paper will sell, all I can sais is, I wish he had shown his regard for
me by running away with my wife and letting me alone. It's astonishing
how many friends Moore's disloyalty made him. A seditious song or a
treasonable speech finds more favour with some people in the old
country than building a church, that's a fact. Howsomever, I think I
am safe from him, for first, I am a Yankee, secondly, I ain't married,
thirdly, I am a Clockmaker, and fourthly, my biography is written by
myself in my book, fifthly, I write no letters I can help, and never
answer one except on business."

"This is a hint father gave me: 'Sam,' said he, 'never talk to a
woman, for others may hear you; only whisper to her, and never write
to her, or your own letters may rise up in judgment against you some
day or another. Many a man afore now has had reason to wish he had
never seen a pen in his life;' so I ain't afeard therefore that he can
write himself up or me down, and make me look skuywoniky, no how he
can fix it. If he does, we will declare war again England, and blow
the little darned thing out of the map of Europe; for it ain't much
bigger than the little island Cronstadt is built on after all, is it?
It's just a little dot and nothin' more, dad fetch my buttons if it
is.

"But to go back to the grupers and the devil's hole; I have been there
myself and seen it, Doctor," sais I, "but there is other fish besides
these in it; there is the parrot-fish, and they are like the feminine
gender too; if the grupers are fond of being tickled, parrots are fond
of hearing their own voices. Then there is the angel-fish, they have
fins like wings of a pale blue colour; but they must be fallen angels
to be in such a place as that hole too, musn't they? and yet they are
handsome even now. Gracious! what must they have been before the fall!
and how many humans has beauty caused to fall, Doctor, hasn't it? and
how many there are that the sound of that old song, 'My face is my
fortune, Sir, she said,' would make their hearts swell till they would
almost burst.

"Well, then there is another fish there, and those Mudians sartainly
must have a good deal of fun in them, to make such a capital and
comical assortment of queer ones for that pond. There is the
lawyer-fish--can anything under the sun be more appropriate than the
devil's hole for a lawyer? What a nice place for him to hang out his
shingle in, ain't it? it's no wonder his old friend the landlord finds
him an office in it--rent free, is it? What mischief he must brood
there; bringing actions of slander against the foolish parrot-fish
that will let their tongues run, ticklin' the grupers, and while they
are smirking and smiling, devour their food, and prosecute the fallen
angels for violating the Maine law and disturbing the peace. The
devil's hole, like Westminster Hall, is a dangerous place for a fellow
of substance to get into, I can tell you; the way they fleece him is a
caution to sinners.

"My dog fell into that fish-pond, and they nearly fixed his flint
before I got him out, I tell you; his coat was almost stripped off
when I rescued him."

"Why, Mr Slick," said the doctor, "what in the world took you to
Bermuda?"

"Why," sais I, "I had heard a great deal about it. It is a beautiful
spot and very healthy. It is all that has ever been said or sung of
it, and more too, and that's sayin' a great deal, for most celebrated
places disappoint you; you expect too much, and few crack parts of the
world come up to the idea you form of them beforehand. Well, I went
down there to see if there was anything to be done in the way of
business, but it was too small a field for me, although I made a spec
that paid me very well too. There is a passage through the reefs
there, and it's not every pilot knows it, but there was a manuscript
chart of it made by a captain of a tradin' vessel. When he died his
widow offered it to the government, but they hummed and hawed about
the price, and was for gitting it for half nothing, as they always do.
So what does I do, but just steps in and buys it, for in war time it
is of the greatest importance to know this passage, and I sold it to
our navy-board, and I think if ever we are at loggerheads with the
British, we shall astonish the weak nerves of the folks at the summer
islands some fine day.

"I had a charming visit. There are some magnificent caves there, and
in that climate they are grand places, I do assure you. I never saw
anything so beautiful. The ceiling is covered with splendiferous
spary-like icicles, or chandelier drops. What do you call that word,
Doctor?"

"Stalactites."

"Exactly, that's it, glorious stalactites reaching to the bottom and
forming fluted pillars. In one of those caves where the water runs,
the admiral floored over the bottom and gave a ball in it, and it was
the most Arabian Night's entertainment kind of thing that I ever saw.
It looked like a diamond hall, and didn't it show off the Mudian galls
to advantage, lick! I guess it did, for they are the handsomest
Creoles in all creation. There is more substance in 'em than in the
tropical ladies. I don't mean worldly (though that ain't to be sneered
at, neither, by them that ain't got none themselves). When the people
used to build small clippers there for the West Indian trade, cedar
was very valuable, and a gall's fortune was reckoned, not by pounds,
but by so many cedars. Now it is banana trees. But dear me, somehow or
another we have drifted away down to Bermuda, we must stretch back
again to the Nova Scotian coast east of Chesencook, or, like Jerry
Boudrot, we shall be out of sight of land, and lost at sea."

On going up on the deck, my attention was naturally attracted to my
new purchase, the Canadian horse.

"To my mind," said the doctor, "Jerry's knee action does not merit the
extravagant praise you bestowed upon it. It is not high enough to
please me."

"There you are wrong," sais I, "that's the mistake most people make.
It is not the height of the action, but the nature of it, that is to
be regarded. A high-stepping horse pleases the eye more than the
judgment. He seems to go faster than he does. There is not only power
wasted in it, but it injures the foot. My idea is this; you may
compare a man to a man, and a woman to a woman, for the two, including
young and old, make the world. You see more of them and know more
about 'em than horses, for you have your own structure to examine and
compare them by, and can talk to them, and if they are of the feminine
gender, hear their own account of themselves. They can speak, for they
were not behind the door when tongues were given out, I can tell you.
The range of your experience is larger, for you are always with them,
but how few hosses does a man own in his life. How few he examines,
and how little he knows about other folk's beasts. They don't live
with you, you only see them when you mount, drive, or visit the
stable. They have separate houses of their own, and pretty buildings
they are too in general, containin' about as much space for sleepin'
as a berth on board a ship, and about as much ventilation too, and the
poor critters get about as little exercise as passengers, and are just
about worth as much as they are when they land for a day's hard tramp.
Poor critters, they have to be on their taps most all the time.1 The
Arab and the Canadian have the best horses, not only because they have
the best breed, but because one has no stalls, and t'other has no
stable treatment.


1 On their feet.


"Now in judging of a horse's action, I compare him not with other
horses, but with animals of a different species. Did you ever know a
fox stumble, or a cat make a false step? I guess not; but haven't you
seen a bear when chased and tired go head over heels? A dog in a
general way is a sure-footed critter, but he trips now and then, and
if he was as big as a horse, would throw his rider sometimes. Now then
I look to these animals, and I find there are two actions to be
combined, the knee and the foot action. The fox and the cat bend the
knee easy and supply, but don't arch 'em, and though they go near the
ground, they don't trip. I take that then as a sort of standard. I
like my beast, especially if he is for the saddle, to be said to trot
like a fox. Now, if he lifts too high, you see, he describes half a
circle, and don't go ahead as he ought, and then he pounds his frog
into a sort of mortar at every step, for the horny shell of a foot is
just like one. Well then, if he sends his fore leg away out in front,
and his hind leg away out behind like a hen scratchin' gravel, he
moves more like an ox than anything else, and hainte sufficient power
to fetch them home quick enough for fast movement. Then the foot
action is a great point, I looked at this critter's tracks on the
pasture and asked myself, Does he cut turf, or squash it flat? If he
cuts it as a gardener does weeds with his spade, then good bye, Mr
Jerry, you won't suit me, it's very well to dance on your toes, but it
don't convene to travel on 'em, or you're apt to make somersets.

"Now, a neck is a valuable thing. We have two legs, two eyes, two
hands, two ears, two nostrils, and so on, but we have only one neck,
which makes it so easy to hang a fellow, or to break it by a chuck
from your saddle; and besides, we can't mend it, as we do a leg or an
arm. When it's broken it's done for; and what use is it if it's
insured? The money don't go to you, but to your heirs, and half the
time they wouldn't cry, except for decency sake, if you did break it.
Indeed, I knew a great man once, who got his neck broke, and all his
friends said, for his own reputation, it was a pity he hadn't broke it
ten years sooner. The Lord save me from such friends, I say. Fact is,
a broken neck is only a nine days' wonder after all, and is soon
forgotten.

"Now, the fox has the right knee action, and the leg is 'thar.' In the
real knee movement, there is a peculiar spring, that must be seen to
be known and valued, words don't give you the idea of it. It's like
the wire end of a pair of galluses--oh, it's charming. It's down and
off in a jiffy, like a gall's finger on a piano when she is doin'
chromatic runs. Fact is, if I am walking out, and see a critter with
it, I have to stop and stare; and, Doctor, I will tell you a queer
thing. Halt and look at a splendid movin' hoss, and the rider is
pleased; he thinks half the admiration is for him, as rider and owner,
and t'other half for his trotter. The gony's delighted, chirups his
beast, gives him a sly touch up with the off heel, and shows him off
to advantage. But stop and look at a woman, and she is as mad as a
hatter. She don't care how much you look at her, as long as you don't
stand still or turn your head round. She wouldn't mind slackin' her
pace if you only attended to that.

"Now the fox has that special springy movement I speak of, and he puts
his foot down flat, he bends the grass rather to him, than from him,
if anything, but most commonly crumples it flat; but you never see it
inclinin' in the line of the course he is runnin'--never. Fact is,
they never get a hoist, and that is a very curious word, it has a very
different meanin' at sea from what it has on land. In one case it
means to haul up, in the other to fall down. The term 'look out' is
just the same.

"A canal boat was once passing through a narrow lock on the Erie line,
and the captain hailed the passengers and said, 'Look out.' Well, a
Frenchman thinking something strange was to be seen, popt his head
out, and it was cut off in a minute. 'Oh, mon Dieu!' said his comrade,
'dat is a very striking lesson in English. On land, look out means,
open de window and see what you will see. On board canal boat it
means, haul your head in, and don't look at nothin'.'

"Well, the worst hoist that I ever had was from a very high-actioned
mare, the down foot slipped, and t'other was too high to be back in
time for her to recover, and over both of us went kerlash in the mud.
I was skeered more about her than myself, lest she should git the skin
of her knee cut, for to a knowing one's eye that's an awful blemish.
It's a long story to tell how such a blemish warn't the hoss's fault,
for I'd rather praise than apologize for a critter any time. And there
is one thing few-people knows. Let the cut come which way it will, the
animal is never so safe afterwards. Nature's bandage, the skin, is
severed, and that leg is the weakest.

"Well, as I was a sayin', Doctor, there is the knee action and the
foot action, and then there is a third thing. The leg must be just
thar."

"Where?" said the doctor.

"Thar," said I, "there is only one place for that, and that is 'thar,'
well forward at the shoulder-point, and not where it most commonly is,
too much under the body--for if it's too far back he stumbles, or too
forward he can't 'pick chips quick stick.' Doctor, I am a borin' of
you, but the fact is, when I get a goin' 'talkin' hoss,' I never know
where to stop. How much better tempered they are than half the women
in the world, ain't they? and I don't mean to undervally the dear
critters neither by no manner of means, and how much more sense they
have than half the men either, after all their cracking and bragging!
How grateful they are for kindness, how attached to you they get. How
willin' they are to race like dry dust in a thunder squall, till they
die for you! I do love them, that is a fact, and when I see a feller a
ill-usin' of one of 'em, it makes me feel as cross as two crooked
gate-posts, I tell you.

"Indeed, a man that don't love a hoss is no man at all. I don't think
he can be religious. A hoss makes a man humane and tender-hearted,
teaches him to feel for others, to share his food, and be unselfish;
to anticipate wants and supply them; to be gentle and patient. Then
the hoss improves him otherwise. He makes him rise early, attend to
meal hours, and to be cleanly. He softens and improves the heart. Who
is there that ever went into a stable of a morning, and his critter
whinnered to him and played his ears back and forward, and turned his
head affectionately to him, and lifted his fore-feet short and moved
his tail, and tried all he could to express his delight, and say,
'Morning to you, master,' or when he went up to the manger and patted
his neck, and the lovin' critter rubbed his head agin him in return,
that didn't think within himself, well, after all, the hoss is a noble
critter? I do love him. Is it nothin' to make a man love at all? How
many fellers get more kicks than coppers in their life--have no home,
nobody to love them and nobody to love, in whose breast all the
affections are pent up, until they get unwholesome and want
ventilation. Is it nothin' to such an unfortunate critter to be made a
stable help? Why, it elevates him in the scale of humanity. He
discovers at last he has a head to think and a heart to feel. He is a
new man. Hosses warn't given to us, Doctor, to ride steeple-chases, or
run races, or brutify a man, but to add new powers and lend new speed
to him. He was destined for nobler uses.

"Is it any wonder that a man that has owned old Clay likes to talk
hoss? I guess not. If I was a gall I wouldn't have nothin' to say to a
man that didn't love a hoss and know all about him. I wouldn't touch
him with a pair of tongs. I'd scorn him as I would a nigger. Sportsmen
breed pheasants to kill, and amature huntsmen shoot dear for the
pleasure of the slaughter. The angler hooks salmon for the cruel
delight he has in witnessing the strength of their dying struggles.
The black-leg gentleman runs his hoss agin time, and wins the race,
and kills his noble steed, and sometimes loses both money and hoss, I
wish to gracious he always did; but the rail hossman, Doctor, is a
rail man, every inch of him, stock, lock, and barrel."

"Massa," said Sorrow, who stood listenin' to me as I was warmin' on
the subject. "Massa, dis hoss will be no manner of remaginable use
under de blessed light ob de sun."

"Why, Sorrow?"

"Cause, Massa, he don't understand one word of English, and de French
he knows no libbin' soul can understand but a Cheesencooker, yah, yah,
yah! Dey called him a 'shovel,' and his tail a 'queue.' "

"What a goose you are, Sorrow," sais I.

"Fac, Massa," he said, "fac I do ressure you, and dey called de little
piggy doctor fell over, 'a coach.' Dod drat my hide if they didn't
yah, yah, yah!"

"The English ought to import, Doctor," sais I, "some of these into
their country, for as to ridin' and drivin' there is nothin' like
them. But catch Britishers admitting there is anything good in Canada,
but the office of Governor-General, the military commands, and other
pieces of patronage, which they keep to themselves, and then say they
have nothing left. Ah me! times is altered, as Elgin knows. The
pillory and the peerage have changed places. Once, a man who did wrong
was first elevated, and then pelted. A peer is now assailed with eggs,
and then exalted."

"Palmam qui meruit ferat," said the doctor.

"Is that the Latin for how many hands high the horse is?" sais I.
"Well, on an average, say fifteen, perhaps oftener less than more.
It's the old Norman horse of two centuries ago, a compound of the
Flemish stock and the Barb, introduced into the Low Countries by the
Spaniards. Havin' been transported to Canada at that early period, it
has remained unchanged, and now may be called a distinct breed,
differing widely in many respects from those found at the present day
in the locations from which they originally came. But look at the
amazin' strength of his hip, look at the lines, and anatomical
formation (as you would say) of his frame, which fit him for both a
saddle and a gig hoss. Look at his chest, not too wide to make him
paddle in his gait, nor too narrow to limit his wind. Observe all the
points of strength. Do you see the bone below the knee and the freedom
of the cord there. Do you mark the eye and head of the Barb. Twig the
shoulder, the identical medium for a hoss of all work, and the
enormous power to shove him ahead. This fellow is a picture, and I am
glad they have not mutilated or broken him. He is just the hoss I have
been looking for, for our folks go in to the handle for fast trotters,
and drive so much and ride so little, it ain't easy to get the right
saddle beast in our State. The Cape Breton pony is of the same breed,
though poor feed, exposure to the weather, and rough usage has caused
him to dwindle in size; but they are the toughest, hardiest,
strongest, and most serviceable of their inches, I know anywhere."

I always feel scared when I git on the subject of hosses for fear I
should ear-wig people, so I stopt short; "And," sais I, "Doctor, I
think I have done pretty well with the talking tacks, spose you give
me some of your experience in the trapping line, you must have had
some strange adventures in your time."

"Well, I have," said he, "but I have listened with pleasure to you,
for although I am not experienced in horses, performing most of my
journeys on foot, I see you know what you are talking about, for I am
familiar with the anatomy of the horse. My road is the trackless
forest, and I am more at home there than in a city. Like you I am fond
of nature, but unlike you I know little of human nature, and I would
rather listen to your experience than undergo the labour of acquiring
it. Man is an artificial animal, but all the inhabitants of the forest
are natural. The study of their habits, propensities, and instincts is
very interesting, and in this country the only one that is formidable
is the bear, for he is not only strong and courageous, but he has the
power to climb trees, which no other animal will attempt in pursuit of
man in Nova Scotia. The bear therefore is an ugly customer,
particularly the female when she has her cubs about her, and a man
requires to have his wits about him when she turns the table on him
and hunts him. But you know these things as well as I do, and to tell
you the truth there is little or nothing that is new to be said on the
subject; one bear hunt is like another. The interest of these things
is not so much in their incidents or accidents, as in the mode of
telling them."

"That's a fact," sais I, "Doctor. But what do you suppose was the
object Providence had in view in filling the world with beasts of
prey? The east has its lions, tigers, and boa-constrictors; the south
its panthers and catamounts; the north its bears and wolves; and the
west its crocodiles and rattle-snakes. We read that dominion was given
over the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and the beast of the
forest, and yet no man in a state of nature scarcely is a match for
any one of these creatures; they don't minister to his wants, and he
can't tame them to his uses."

"I have often asked myself, Slick," said he, "the same question, for
nothing is made in vain, but it is a query not easy to answer. My own
opinion is, they were designed to enforce civilisation. Without these
terrors attending a sojourn in the wilderness, man would have wandered
off as they do, and lived alone; he would have made no home, dwelt
with no wife, and nurtured no children. His descendants would have
done the same. When he encountered another male, he would have given
him battle, perhaps killed and eat him. His very language would have
perished, if ever he had any, and he would have been no better than an
ourang-outang. The option was not given him. He was so constructed and
so situated, he could not live alone. Individual strength was
insufficient for independent existence. To preserve life he had to
herd with his kind. Thus tribes were first formed, and to preserve one
tribe from the violence of another, they again united and formed
nations. This combination laid the foundation of civilisation, and as
that extended, these beasts of prey retired to the confines of the
country, enforcing while they still remain the observance of that law
of nature which assigned to them this outpost duty.

"Where there is nothing revealed to us on the subject, all is left to
conjecture. Whatever the cause was, we know it was a wise and a
necessary one; and this appears to me to be the most plausible reason
I can assign. Perhaps we may also trace a further purpose in their
creation, in compelling by the terror they inspire the inferior
animals to submit themselves to man, who is alone able to protect them
against their formidable enemies, or to congregate, so that he may
easily find them when he requires food; and may we not further infer
that man also may by a similar sense of weakness be led to invoke in
like manner the aid of Him who made all things and governs all things?
Whatever is, is right," and then he quoted two Latin lines.

I hate to have a feller do that, it's like throwin' an apple into the
water before a boy. He either has to lose it and go off disappointed,
wonderin' what its flavour is, or else wade out for it, and like as
not get out of his depth afore he knows where he is. So I generally
make him first translate it, and then write it down for me. He ain't
likely after that to do it a second time. Here are the words:


  "Siquid novisti rectius istis
  Candidas imperti, si non his utere mecum."



                            CHAPTER XXIV.

                          THE CUCUMBER LAKE.


"Here is a place under the lee bow," said the pilot, "in which there
are sure to be some coasters, among whom the mate may find a market
for his wares, and make a good exchange for his mackarel."

So we accordingly entered and cast anchor among a fleet of
fore-and-afters in one of those magnificent ports with which the
eastern coast is so liberally supplied.

"There is some good salmon-fishing in the stream that falls into the
harbour," said the doctor, "suppose we try our rods;" and while Cutler
and his people were occupied in traffic, we rowed up the river beyond
the little settlement, which had nothing attractive in it, and landed
at the last habitation we could see. Some thirty or forty acres had
been cleared of the wood, the fields were well fenced, and a small
stock of horned cattle, principally young ones, and a few sheep, were
grazing in the pasture. A substantial rough log hut and barn were the
only buildings. With the exception of two little children playing
about the door, there were none of the family to be seen.

On entering the house, we found a young woman, who appeared to be its
sole occupant. She was about twenty-five years of age; tall, well
formed, strong, and apparently in the enjoyment of good health and
spirits. She had a fine open countenance, an artless and prepossessing
manner, and was plainly but comfortably clad in the ordinary homespun
of the country, and not only looked neat herself, but everything
around her was beautifully clean. It was manifest she had been brought
up in one of the older townships of the province, for there was an
ease and air about her somewhat superior to the log hut in which we
found her. The furniture was simple and of rude manufacture, but
sufficient for the wants of a small family, though here and there was
an article of a different kind and old-fashioned shape, that looked as
if it had once graced a substantial farm-house, probably a present
from the inmates of the old homestead.

We soon found from her that she and her husband were as she said new
beginners, who, like most persons in the wilderness, had had many
difficulties to contend with, which from accidental causes had during
the past year been greatly increased. The weavil had destroyed their
grain crop and the rot their potatoes, their main dependence, and they
had felt the pressure of hard times. She had good hopes however she
said for the present season, for they had sowed the golden straw
wheat, which they heard was exempt from the ravages of insects, and
their potatoes had been planted early on burnt land without barn
manure, and she was confident they would thereby be rescued from the
disease. Her husband, she informed us, in order to earn some money to
make up for their losses, had entered on board of an American fishing
vessel, and she was in daily expectation of his arrival, to remain at
home until the captain should call for him again, after he had landed
his cargo at Portland. All this was told in a simple and unaffected
manner, but there was a total absence of complaint or despondency,
which often accompany the recital of such severe trials.

Having sent Sorrow back in the boat with an injunction to watch our
signal of recall, we proceeded further up the river, and commenced
fishing. In a short time we killed two beautiful salmon, but the black
flies and musquitoes were so intolerably troublesome, we were
compelled to return to the log hut. I asked permission of our
cheerful, tidy young hostess to broil a piece of the salmon by her
fire, more for the purpose of leaving the fish with her than anything
else, when she immediately offered to perform that friendly office for
us herself.

"I believe," she said, "I have a drawing of tea left," and taking from
the shelf a small mahogany caddy, emptied it of its contents. It was
all she had. The flour-barrel was also examined and enough was
gathered, as she said by great good luck, to make a few cakes. Her old
man, she remarked, for so she termed her young husband, would be back
in a day or two and bring a fresh supply. To relieve her of our
presence, while she was busied in those preparations, we strolled to
the bank of the river, where the breeze in the open ground swept away
our tormentors, the venomous and ravenous flies, and by the time our
meal was ready, returned almost loaded with trout. I do not know that
I ever enjoyed anything more than this unexpected meal. The cloth was
snowy white, the butter delicious, and the eggs fresh laid. In
addition to this, and what rendered it so acceptable, it was a free
offering of the heart.

In the course of conversation I learned from her, that the first year
they had been settled there they had been burnt out, and lost nearly
all they had, but she didn't mind that she said, for, thank God, she
had saved her children, and she believed they had originally put up
their building in the wrong place. The neighbours had been very kind
to them, helped them to erect a new and larger house, near the
beautiful spring we saw in the green; and besides, she and her husband
were both young, and she really believed they were better off than
they were before the accident.

Poor thing, she didn't need words of comfort, her reliance on
Providence and their own exertions was so great, she seemed to have no
doubt as to their ultimate success. Still, though she did not require
encouragement, confirmation of her hopes, I knew, would be grateful to
her, and I told her to tell her husband on no account to think of
parting with or removing from the place, for I observed there was an
extensive intervale of capital quality, an excellent mill privilege on
the stream where I caught the salmon, and as he had the advantage of
water carriage, that the wood on the place, which was of a quality to
suit the Halifax market, would soon place him in independent
circumstances.

"He will be glad to hear you think so, Sir," she replied, "for he has
often said the very same thing himself; but the folks at the
settlement laugh at him when he talks that way, and say he is too
sanguine. But I am sure he ain't, for it is very much like my poor
father's place in Colchester, only it has the privilege of a harbour
which he had not, and that is a great thing."

The signal for Sorrow having been hung out for some time, we rose to
take leave, and wishing to find an excuse for leaving some money
behind me, and recollecting having seen some cows in the field, I
asked her if she could sell me some of her excellent butter for the
use of the cabin. She said she could not do so, for the cows all had
calves, and she made but little; but she had five or six small prints,
if I would accept them, and she could fill me a bottle or two with
cream.

I felt much hurt--I didn't know what to do. She had given me her last
ounce of tea, baked her last cake, and presented me with all the
butter she had in the house. "Could or would you have done that?" said
I to myself, "come, Sam, speak the truth now." Well, Squire, I only
brag when I have a right to boast, though you do say I am always brim
full of it, and I won't go for to deceive you or myself either, I know
I couldn't, that's a fact. I have mixed too much with the world, my
feelings have got blunted, and my heart ain't no longer as soft as it
used to did to be. I can give, and give liberally, because I am able,
but I give what I don't want and what I don't miss; but to give as
this poor woman did all she had of these two indispensable articles,
tea and flour, is a thing, there is no two ways about it, I could not.

I must say I was in a fix; if I was to offer to pay her, I knew I
should only wound her feelings. She derived pleasure from her
hospitality, why should I deprive her of that gratification? If she
delighted to give, why should I not in a like feeling be pleased to
accept, when a grateful reception was all that was desired--must I be
outdone in all things? must she teach me how to give freely and accept
gracefully?

She shall have her way this hitch, and so will I have mine bime by, or
the deuce is in the die. I didn't surely come to Liscombe Harbour to
be taught those things.

"Tell your husband," sais I, "I think very highly of his location, and
if hard times continue to pinch him, or he needs a helping hand, I am
both able and willing to assist him, and will have great pleasure in
doing so for her sake who has so kindly entertained us in his absence.
Here is my card and address, if he wants a friend let him come to me,
and if he can't do that, write to me, and he will find I am on hand.
Any man in Boston will tell him where Sam Slick lives."

"Who?" said she.

"Sam Slick," sais I.

"My goodness," said she, "are you the Mr Slick who used to sell--" She
paused and coloured slightly, thinking perhaps, as many people do, I
would be ashamed to be reminded of pedling.

"Wooden clocks," sais I, helping her to the word. "Yes," sais I, "I am
Sam Slick the Clockmaker, at least what is left of me."

"Goodness gracious, Sir," said she, advancing and shaking hands
cordially with me, "how glad I am to see you! You don't recollect me
of course, I have grown so since we met, and I don't recollect your
features, for it is so long ago, but I mind seeing you at my father's
old house, Deacon Flint's, as well as if it was yesterday. We bought a
clock from you; you asked mother's leave to let you put it up, and
leave it in the room till you called for it. You said you trusted to
'soft sawder' to get it into the house, and to 'human natur' that it
should never come out of it. How often our folks have laughed over
that story. Dear, dear, only to think we should have ever met again,"
and going to a trunk she took out of a bark-box a silver sixpence with
a hole in it, by which it was suspended on a black ribbon.

"See, Sir, do you recollect that, you gave that to me for a keepsake?
you said it was 'luck-money.'"

"Well," sais I, "if that don't pass, don't it? Oh, dear, how glad I am
to see you, and yet how sad it makes me too! I am delighted at meetin'
you so onexpected, and yet it makes me feel so old it scares me. It
only seems as if it was the other day when I was at your father's
house, and since then yon have growd up from a little girl into a tall
handsome woman, got married, been settled, and are the mother of two
children. Dear me, it's one o' the slaps old Father Time gives me in
the face sometimes, as much as to hint, 'I say, Slick, you are gettin'
too old now to talk so much nonsense as you do.' Well," sais I, "my
words have come true about that silver sixpence."

"Come here, my little man," sais I to her pretty curly-headed little
boy; "come here to me," and I resumed my seat. "Now," sais I, "my old
friend, I will show you how that prophecy is fulfilled to this child.
That clock I sold to Deacon Flint only cost me five dollars, and five
dollars more would pay duty, freight, and carriage, and all expenses,
which left five pounds clear profit, but that warn't the least share
of the gain. It introduced my wares all round and through the country,
and it would have paid me well if I had given him a dozen clocks for
his patronage. I always thought I would return him that profit if I
could see him, and as I can't do that I will give it to this little
boy," so I took out my pocket-book and gave her twenty dollars for
him.

"Come," sais I, "my friend, that relieves my conscience now of a debt
of gratitude, for that is what I always intended to do if I got a
chance."

Well, she took it, said it was very kind, and would be a great help to
them; but that she didn't see what occasion there was to return the
money, for it was nothing but the fair profit of a trade, and the
clock was a most excellent one, kept capital time, and was still
standing in the old house.

Thinks I to myself, "You have taught me two things, my pretty friend;
first, how to give, and second, how to receive."

Well, we bid her good-bye, and after we had proceeded a short distance
I returned.

Sais I, "Mrs Steele, there is one thing I wish you would do for me; is
there any cranberries in this neighbourhood?"

"Plenty, Sir," she said; "at the head of this river there is an
immense bog, chock full of them."

"Well," sais I, "there is nothin' in natur I am so fond of as them; I
would give anything in the world for a few bushel. Tell your husband
to employ some people to pick me this fall a barrel of them, and send
them to me by one of our vessels, directed to me to Slickville, and
when I go on board I will send you a barrel of flour to pay for it.

"Dear me, Sir," said she, "that's a great deal more than their value;
why they ain't worth more than two dollars. We will pick them for you
with great pleasure. We don't want pay."

"Ain't they worth that?" said I, "so much the better. Well, then, he
can send me another barrel the next year. Why, they are as cheap as
bull beef at a cent a pound. Good bye; tell him to be sure to come and
see me the first time he goes to the States. Adieu."

"What do you think of that, Doctor?" said I, as we proceeded to the
boat; "ain't that a nice woman? how cheerful and uncomplaining she is;
how full of hope and confidence in the future. Her heart is in the
right place, ain't it? My old mother had that same sort of contentment
about her, only, perhaps, her resignation was stronger than her hope.
When anything ever went wrong about our place to home to Slickville,
she'd always say, 'Well, Sam, it might have been worse;' or, 'Sam, the
darkest hour is always just afore day,' and so on. But Minister used
to amuse me beyond anything, poor old soul. Once the congregation met
and raised his wages from three to four hundred dollars a-year. Well,
it nearly set him crazy; it bothered him so he could hardly sleep. So
after church was over the next Sunday, he sais, 'My dear brethren, I
hear you have raised my salary to four hundred dollars. I am greatly
obliged to you for your kindness, but I can't think of taking it on no
account. First, you can't afford it no how you can fix it, and I know
it; secondly, I ain't worth it, and you know it; and thirdly, I am
nearly tired to death collecting my present income; if I have to dun
the same way for that, it will kill me. I can't stand it; I shall die.
No, no; pay me what you allow me more punctually, and it is all I ask,
or will ever receive.'

"But this poor woman is a fair sample of her class in this country; I
do believe the only true friendship and hospitality is to be found
among them. They ain't rich enough for ostentation, and are too equal
in condition and circumstances for the action of jealousy or rivalry;
I believe they are the happiest people in the world, but I know they
are the kindest. Their feelings are not chilled by poverty or
corrupted by plenty; their occupations preclude the hope of wealth and
forbid the fear of distress. Dependent on each other for mutual
assistance, in those things that are beyond individual exertion, they
interchange friendly offices, which commencing in necessity, grow into
habit, and soon become the 'labour of love.' They are poor, but not
destitute, a region in my opinion in which the heart is more fully
developed than in any other. Those who are situated like Steele and
his wife, and commence a settlement in the woods, with the previous
training they have received in the rural districts, begin at the right
end; but they are the only people who are fit to be pioneers in the
forest. How many there are who begin at the wrong end; perhaps there
is no one subject on which men form such false notions as the mode of
settling in the country, whether they are citizens of a colonial town,
or strangers, from Great Britain.

"Look at that officer at Halifax: he is the best dressed man in the
garrison; he is well got up always; he looks the gentleman every inch
of him; how well his horses are groomed; how perfect his turn-out
looks; how well appointed it is, as he calls it. He and his servant
and his cattle are a little bit of fashion imported from the park, and
astonish the natives. Look at his wife, ain't she a beautiful
creature? they are proud of, and were just made for each other. This
is not merely all external appearance either: they are accomplished
people; they sing, they play, they sketch, they paint, they speak
several languages, they are well read, they have many resources.
Soldiering is dull, and, in time of peace, only a police service. It
has disagreeable duties; it involves repeated removals, and the
alternation of bad climates--from Hudson's Bay to Calcutta's Black
Hole. The juniors of the regimental officers are mere boys, the
seniors great empty cartouch-boxes, and the women have cabals,--there
is a sameness even in its variety; but worse than all, it has no
home--in short, the whole thing is a bore. It is better to sell out
and settle in the province; land is cheap; their means are ample, and
more than sufficient for the requirements of the colony; country
society is stupid; there are no people fit to visit. It is best to be
out of the reach of their morning calls and their gossip. A few miles
back in the woods there is a splendid stream with a beautiful cascade
on it; there is a magnificent lake communicating with several others
that form a chain of many miles in extent. That swelling knoll that
slopes so gently to the water would be such a pretty site for a
cottage-orné, and the back-ground of hanging wood has an indescribable
beauty in it, especially in the autumn, when the trees are one
complete mass of variegated hues. He warms on the theme as he dilates
on it, and sings as he turns to his pretty wife:


  'I knew by the smoke that so gracefully curled
  Above the green elms that a cottage was near;
  And I said, if there's peace to be found in the world,
  The heart that is humble might hope for it here.'


"How sweet to plan, how pleasant to execute. How exciting to see it
grow under one's own eye, the work of one's own hand, the creation of
one's own taste. It is decided on; Dechamps retires, the papers go in,
the hero goes out--what a relief! no inspection of soldiers' dirty
kits--no parade by day--no guards nor rounds by night--no fatigue
parties of men who never fatigue themselves--no stupid
court-martial--no horrid punishments--no reviews to please a colonel
who never is pleased, or a general who will swear--no marching through
streets, to be stared at by housemaids from upper windows, and by
dirty boys in the side paths--no procession to follow brass
instruments, like the train of a circus--no bearded band-master with
his gold cane to lead on his musicians, and no bearded white goat to
march at the head of the regiment. All, all are gone.

"He is out of livery, he has played at soldiering long enough, he is
tired of the game, he sells out, the man of business is called in, his
lawyer, as he terms him, as if every gentleman kept a lawyer as he
does a footman. He is in a hurry to have the purchase completed with
as little delay as possible. But delays will occur, he is no longer a
centurion and a man of authority, who has nothing to do but to say to
this one, Come, and he cometh; and another, Go, and he goeth; Do this,
and it is done. He can't put a lawyer under arrest, he is a man of
arrests himself. He never heard of an attachment for contempt, and if
he had, he couldn't understand it; for, when the devil was an
attorney, he invented the term, as the softest and kindest name for
the hardest and most unkind process there is. Attachment for contempt,
what a mockery of Christian forgiveness!

"A conveyancer is a slow coach, he must proceed cautiously, he has a
long journey to take, he has to travel back to a grant from the crown,
through all the 'mesne' conveyances. He don't want a mean conveyance,
he will pay liberally if it is only done quickly; and is informed
'mesne' in law signifies intermediate. It is hard to say what the
language of law does mean. Then there are searches to be made in the
record offices, and the--damn the searches, for he is in a hurry and
loses his patience--search at the bankers, and all will be found
right. Then there are releases and assignments and discharges. He can
stand it no longer, he releases his lawyer, discharges him, and
assigns another, who hints, insinuates, he don't charge; but gives him
to understand his predecessor was idle. He will lose no time, indeed
he has no time to lose, he is so busy with other clients' affairs, and
is as slow as the first man was.

"But at last it is done; the titles are completed. He is presented
with a huge pile of foolscap paper, very neatly folded, beautifully
engrossed and endorsed in black letters, and nicely tied up with red
tape, which, with sundry plans, surveys, and grants, are secured in a
large despatch box, on which are inscribed in gold letters the
'Epaigwit estate.' It is a pretty Indian word that, it means the 'home
on the wave.' It is the original name of that gem of the western ocean
which the vulgar inhabitants have christened Prince Edward's Island.

"But what can you expect of a people whose governor calls the gentry
'the upper crust of society,' and who in their turn see an affinity
between a Scotch and a Roman fiddle, and denounce him as a Nero? But
then who looks, as he says, for taste in a colony? it is only us
Englishmen who have any. Yes, he calls this place 'Epaigwit.' It has a
distingué appearance on his letters. It has now a name, the next thing
is 'a local habitation.' Well, we won't stop to describe it, but it
has an elegant drawing-room, if there was only company to collect in
it, a spacious dining-room, and though only two plates are on the
table there is room for twenty, and a charming study, only awaiting
his leisure to enjoy it, and so on.

"It is done and the design carried out, though not completed; prudence
forbids a further expenditure just now. It has cost five times as much
as was contemplated, and is not worth a tenth part of the outlay,
still it is very beautiful. Strangers go to see it, and every one
pronounces it the prettiest thing in the Lower provinces. There have
been some little drawbacks, but they are to be expected in a colony,
and among the Goths and Vandals who live there. The contractors have
repudiated their agreement on account of the extensive alterations
made in the design and the nature of the work, and he has found there
is law in the country if not justice. The servants find it too lonely,
they have no taste for the beauties of nature, and remain without
work, or quit without notice. If he refuses to pay he is sued, if he
pays he is cheated. The house leaks, for the materials are green; the
chimneys smoke, for the drafts are in the wrong place. The children
are tormented by black flies and musquitoes, and their eyes are so
swelled they can't see. The bears make love to his sheep, and the
minks and foxes devour his poultry. The Indians who come to beg are
supposed to come to murder, and the negroes who come to sell wild
berries are suspected of coming to steal. He has no neighbours, he did
not desire any, and if a heavy weight has to be lifted, it is a
little, but not much, inconvenience to send to the town for
assistance; and the people go cheerfully, for they have only five
miles to come, and five to return, and they are not detained more than
five minutes, for he never asks them into his house. The butcher won't
come so far to carry his meat, nor the baker his bread, nor the
postman to deliver his letters.

"The church is too far off, and there is no school. But the clergyman
is not fit to be heard, he is such a drone in the pulpit; and it is a
sweet employment to train one's own children, who thus avoid
contamination by not associating with vulgar companions.

"These are trifling vexations, and what is there in this life that has
not some little drawback? But there is something very charming in
perfect independence, in living for each other, and in residing in one
of the most delightful spots in America, surrounded by the most
exquisite scenery that was ever beheld. There is one thing however
that is annoying. The country people will not use or adopt that pretty
word Epaigwit, 'the home of the wave,' which rivals in beauty of
conception an eastern expression. The place was originally granted to
a fellow of the name of Umber, who was called after the celebrated
navigator Cook. These two words when united soon became corrupted, and
the magnificent sheet of water was designated 'the Cucumber Lake,'
while its splendid cataract, known in ancient days by the Indians as
the 'Pan-ook,' or 'the River's Leap,' is perversely called by way of
variation 'the Cowcumber Falls;' can anything be conceived more vulgar
or more vexatious, unless it be their awkward attempt at
pronunciation, which converts Epaigwit into 'a pig's wit,' and Pan-ook
into 'Pond-hook?'

"But then, what can you expect of such boors, and who cares, or what
does it matter? for after all, if you come to that, the 'Cumberland
Lakes' is not very euphonious, as he calls it, whatever that means. He
is right in saying it is a beautiful place, and, as he often observes,
what an immense sum of money it would be worth if it were only in
England! but the day is not far distant, now that the Atlantic is
bridged by steamers, when 'bag-men' will give place to tourists, and
'Epaigwit' will be the 'Killarney' of America. He is quite right, that
day will come, and so will the millennium, but it is a good way off
yet; and dear old Minister used to say there was no dependable
authority that it ever would come at all.

"Now and then a brother officer visits him. Elliott is there now, not
the last of the Elliotts, for there is no end of them, and though only
a hundred of them have been heard of in the world, there are a
thousand well known to the Treasury. But he is the last chum from his
regiment he will ever see. As they sit after dinner he hands the
olives to his friend, and suddenly checks himself, saying, I forgot,
you never touch the 'after-feed.' Then he throws up both eyes and
hands, and affects to look aghast at the mistake. 'Really,' he says,
'I shall soon become us much of a boor as the people of this country.
I hear nothing now but mowing, browsing, and 'after-feed,' until at
last I find myself using the latter word for 'dessert.' He says it
prettily and acts it well, and although his wife has often listened to
the same joke, she looks as if it would bear repetition, and her face
expresses great pleasure. Poor Dechamps, if your place is worth
nothing, she at least is a treasure above all price.

"Presently Elliott sais, 'By-the-by, Dechamps, have you heard we are
ordered to Corfu, and embark immediately?'

"Dear me, what magic there is in a word. Sometimes it discloses in
painful distinctness the past, at others it reveals a prophetic page
of the future; who would ever suppose there was anything in that
little insignificant word to occasion a thought, unless it was whether
it is pronounced Corfoo or Corfew, and it's so little consequence
which, I always give it the go by and say Ionian Isles.

"But it startled Dechamps. He had hoped before he left the army to
have been ordered there, and from thence to have visited the classic
coasts of Greece. Alas, that vision has gone, and there is a slight
sigh of regret, for possession seldom equals expectation, and always
cloys. He can never more see his regiment, they have parted for ever.
Time and distance have softened some of the rougher features of
military life. He thinks of the joyous days of youth, the varied
scenes of life, his profession exposed to his view, and the friends he
has left behind him. The service he thinks not so intolerable after
all, and though regimental society is certainly not what he should
choose, especially as a married man, yet, except in a rollicking
corps, it may at least negatively be said to be 'not bad.'

"From this review of the past he turns to the prospect before him. But
he discerns something that he does not like to contemplate, a slight
shadow passes over his face, and he asks Elliott to pass the wine. His
wife, with the quickness of perception so natural to a woman, sees at
once what is passing in his mind; for similar, but deeper, far deeper
thoughts, like unbidden guests, have occupied hers many an anxious
hour. Poor thing, she at once perceives her duty and resolves to
fulfil it. She will be more cheerful. She at least will never murmur.
After all, Doctor, it's no great exaggeration to call a woman that has
a good head and kind heart, and the right shape, build, and bearings,
an angel, is it? But let us mark their progress, for we shall be
better able to judge then.

"Let us visit Epaigwit again in a few years. Who is that man near the
gate that looks unlike a servant, unlike a farmer, unlike a gentleman,
unlike a sportsman, and yet has a touch of all four characters about
him? He has a shocking bad hat on but what's the use of a good hat in
the woods, as poor Jackson said, where there is no one to see it. He
has not been shaved since last sheep-shearing, and has a short black
pipe in his mouth, and the tobacco smells like nigger-head or
pig-tail. He wears a coarse check shirt without a collar, a black silk
neck-cloth frayed at the edge, that looks like a rope of old ribbons.
His coat appears as if it had once been new, but had been on its
travels, until at last it had got pawned to a Jew at Rag-alley. His
waistcoat was formerly buff, but now resembles yellow flannel, and the
buttons, though complete in number are of different sorts. The
trowsers are homespun, much worn, and his boots coarse enough to swap
with a fisherman for mackarel. His air and look betokens pride
rendered sour by poverty.

"But there is something worse than all this, something one never sees
without disgust or pain, because it is the sure precursor of a
diseased body, a shattered intellect, and voluntary degradation. There
is a bright red colour that extends over the whole face, and reaches
behind the ears. The whiskers are prematurely tipt with white, as if
the heated skin refused to nourish them any longer. The lips are
slightly swelled, and the inflamed skin indicates inward fever, while
the eyes are bloodshot, the under lids distended, and incline to
shrink from contact with the heated orbs they were destined to
protect. He is a dram-drinker; and the poison that he imbibes with New
England rum is as fatal, and nearly as rapid in its destruction, as
strikline.

"Who is he; can you guess? do you give it up? He is that handsome
officer, the Laird of Epaigwit as the Scotch would say, the general as
we should call him, for we are liberal of titles, and the man that
lives at Cowcumber Falls, as they say here. Poor fellow, he has made
the same discovery Sergeant Jackson did, that there is no use of good
things in the woods where there is no one to see them. He is about to
order you off his premises, but it occurs to him that would be absurd,
for he has nothing now worth seeing. He scrutinises you however to
ascertain if he has ever seen you before. He fears recognition, for he
dreads both your pity and your ridicule; so he strolls leisurely back
to the house with a certain bull-dog air of defiance.

"Let us follow him thither; but before we enter, observe there is some
glass out of the window, and its place supplied by shingles. The
stanhope is in the coach-house, but the by-road was so full of stumps
and cradle-hills, it was impossible to drive in it, and the moths have
eaten the lining out. The carriage has been broken so often it is not
worth repairing, and the double harness has been cut up to patch the
tacklin' of the horse-team. The shrubbery has been browsed away by the
cattle, and the rank grass has choked all the rose bushes and pretty
little flowers. What is the use of these things in the woods? That
remark was on a level with the old dragoon's intellect; but I am
surprised that this intelligent officer; this man of the world, this
martinet, didn't also discover, that he who neglects himself soon
becomes so careless as to neglect his other duties, and that to lose
sight of them is to create and invite certain ruin. But let us look at
the interior.

"There are some pictures on the walls, and there are yellow stains
where others hung. Where are they? for I think I heard a man say he
bought them on account of their handsome frames, from that
crack-brained officer at Cucumber Lake; and he shut his eye, and
looked knowing and whispered, 'Something wrong there, had to sell out
of the army; some queer story about another wife still living; don't
know particulars.' Poor Dechamps, you are guiltless of that charge at
any rate, to my certain knowledge; but how often does slander bequeath
to folly that which of right belongs to crime! The nick-knacks, the
antique china, the Apostles' spoons, the queer little old-fashioned
silver ornaments, the French clock, the illustrated works, and all
that sort of thing,--all, all are gone. The housemaids broke some, the
children destroyed others, and the rest were sent to auction, merely
to secure their preservation. The paper is stained in some places, in
others has peeled off; but where under the sun have all the
accomplishments gone to?

"The piano got out of tune, and there was nobody to put it in order:
it was no use; the strings were taken out, and the case was converted
into a cupboard. The machinery of the harp became rusty, and the cords
were wanted for something else. But what is the use of these things in
the woods where there is nobody to see them? But here is Mrs Dechamps.
Is it possible! My goody gracious as I am a living sinner! Well I
never in all my born days! what a dreadful wreck! you know how
handsome she was. Well, I won't describe her now, I pity her too much.
You know I said they were counterparts, just made for each other, and
so they were; but they are of different sexes, made of different
stuff, and trouble has had a different effect on them. He has
neglected himself, and she is negligent of her dress too, but not in
the same way. She is still neat, but utterly regardless of what her
attire is; but let it be what it may, and let her put on what she
will, still she looks like a lady. But her health is gone, and her
spirits too; and in their place a little, delicate hectic spot has
settled in her cheek, beautiful to look at, but painful to think of.
This faint blush is kindly sent to conceal consumption, and the faint
smile is assumed to hide the broken heart. If it didn't sound
unfeelin', I should say she was booked for an early train; but I think
so if I don't say so. The hour is fixed, the departure certain; she is
glad to leave Epaigwit.

"Somehow though I must say I am a little disappointed in her. She was
a soldier's wife; I thought she was made of better stuff, and if she
had died would have at least died game. Suppose they have been
unfortunate in pitching their tent 'on the home of the wave,' and got
aground, and their effects have been thrown overboard; what is that,
after all? Thousands hare done the same; there is still hope for them.
They are more than a match for these casualties; how is it she has
given up so soon? Well, don't allude to it, but there is a sad
tragical story connected with that lake. Do you recollect that
beautiful curly-headed child, her eldest daughter, that she used to
walk with at Halifax? Well, she grew up into a magnificent girl; she
was full of health and spirits, and as fleet and as wild as a hare.
She lived in the woods and on the lake. She didn't shoot, and she
didn't fish, but she accompanied those who did. The beautiful but
dangerous bark canoe was her delight; she never was happy but when she
was in it. Tom Hodges, the orphan boy they had brought with them from
the regiment, who alone of all their servants had remained faithful in
their voluntary exile, was the only one permitted to accompany her;
for he was so careful, so expert, and so good a swimmer. Alas! one
night the canoe returned not. What a long, eager, anxious night was
that! but towards noon the next day the upturned bark drifted by the
shore, and then it was but too evident that that sad event which the
anxious mother had so often dreaded and predicted had come to pass.
They had met a watery grave. Often and often were the whole chain of
lakes explored, but their bodies were never found. Entangled in the
long grass and sunken driftwood that covered the bottom of these
basins, it was not likely they would ever rise to the surface.

"It was impossible to contemplate that fearful lake without a shudder.
They must leave the place soon and for ever. Oh, had Emily's life been
spared, she could have endured any and everything for her sake. Poor
thing! how little she knew what she was a talking about, as she broke
the seal of a letter in a well-known hand. Her life was spared; it
never was endangered. She had eloped with Tom Hodges--she had reached
Boston--she was very happy--Tom was all kindness to her. She hoped
they would forgive her and write to her, for they were going to
California, where they proposed to be married as soon as they arrived.
Who ever appealed to a mother for forgiveness in vain? Everything
appeared in a new light. The child had been neglected; she ought not
to have been suffered to spend so much of her time with that boy; both
her parents had strangely forgotten that they had grown up, and--it
was no use to say more. Her father had locked her out of his heart,
and thrown away the key for ever. He wished she had been drowned, for
in that case she would have died innocent; and he poured out such a
torrent of imprecations, that the poor mother was terrified lest, as
the Persians say, these curses, like fowls, might return home to
roost, or like prayers, might be heard, and procure more than was
asked.

"You may grieve over the conduct of a child, and lament its untimely
death, and trust in God for his mercy; but no human being can reverse
the order of things, and first mourn the decease of a child, and then
grieve for its disgraceful life; for there is a grave again to be dug,
and who knoweth whether the end shall be peace? We can endure much,
but there is a load that crusheth. Poor thing! you were right, and
your husband wrong. Woman-like, your judgment was correct, your
impulses good, and your heart in the right place. The child was not to
be blamed, but its parents. You could, if you thought proper, give up
society and live for each other; you had proved it, and knew how
hollow and false it was; but your children could not resign what they
never had, nor ignore feelings which God had implanted within them.
Nature has laws which must and will be obeyed. The swallow selects its
mate, builds its nest, and occupies itself in nurturing its young. The
heart must have something to love, and if it is restricted in its
choice, it will bestow its affections not on what it would approve and
select, but upon what it may chance to find; you are not singular in
your domestic affliction; it is the natural consequence of your
isolation, and I have known it happen over and over again.

"Now, Doctor, let us return, after the lapse of a few years, as I did,
to Epaigwit. I shall never forget the impression it made upon me. It
was about this season of the year I went there to fish, intending to
spend the night in a camp, so as to be ready for the morning sport:
'Why, where am I?' sais I to myself, when I reached the place. 'Why,
surely this ain't Cucumber Lake! where is that beautiful hanging wood,
the temptation in the wilderness that ruined poor Dechamps? gone, not
cleared, but destroyed; not subdued to cultivation, but reduced to
desolation.' Tall gaunt black trees stretch out their withered arms on
either side, as if balancing themselves against a fall, while huge
trunks lie scattered over the ground, where they fell in their fierce
conflict with the devouring fire that overthrew them. The ground is
thickly covered with ashes, and large white glistening granite rocks,
which had formerly been concealed by moss, the creeping evergreen, and
the smiling, blushing may-flower, now rear their cold snowy heads that
contrast so strangely with the funereal pall that envelopes all around
them. No living thing is seen there, nor bird, nor animal, nor insect,
nor verdant plant; even the hardy fire-weed has not yet ventured to
intrude on this scene of desolation, and the woodpecker, afraid of the
atmosphere which charcoal has deprived of vitality, shrinks back in
terror when he approaches it. Poor Dechamps, had you remained to
witness this awful conflagration, you would have observed in those
impenetrable boulders of granite a type of the hard, cold, unfeeling
world around you, and in that withered and blackened forest, a fitting
emblem of your blighted and blasted prospects.

"But if the trees had disappeared from that side of the lake, they had
been reproduced on the other. The fields, the lawn, and the garden
were over-run with a second growth of wood that had nearly concealed
the house from view. It was with some difficulty I forced my way
through the chaparel (thicket), which was rendered almost impenetrable
by thorns, Virginia creepers, honeysuckles, and sweet-briars, that had
spread in the wildest profusion. The windows, doors, mantle-pieces,
bannisters, and every portable thing had been removed from the house
by the blacks, who had squatted in the neighbourhood; even the
chimneys had been taken down for the bricks. The swallows were the
sole tenants; the barn had fallen a prey to decay and storms, and the
roof lay comparatively uninjured at some distance on the ground. A
pair of glistening eyes, peeping through a broken board at the end,
showed me that the foxes had appropriated it to their own use. The
horse-stable, coach-house, and other buildings were in a similar state
of dilapidation.

"I returned to the camp, and learned that Mrs Dechamps was reposing in
peace in the village church-yard, the children had been sent to
England to their relatives, and the captain was residing in California
with his daughter and Tom Hodges, who were the richest people in St
Francisco."

"What a sad picture!" said the doctor.

"Well, it's true though," said I, "ain't it?"

"I never was at Cucumber Lake," said he, smiling, "but I have known
several similar failures. The truth is, Mr Slick, though I needn't
tell you, for you know better than I do, our friend Steele began at
the right and Dechamps at the wrong end. The poor native ought always
to go to the woods, the emigrant or gentleman never; the one is a
rough and ready man; he is at home with an axe, and is conversant as
well with the privations and requirements as with the expedients and
shifts of forest life; his condition is ameliorated every year, and in
his latter days he can afford to rest from his labours; whereas, if he
buys what is called a half-improved farm, and is unable to pay for it
at the time of the purchase, the mortgage is almost sure to ruin him
at last. Now a man of means who retires to the country is wholly unfit
for a pioneer, and should never attempt to become one; he should
purchase a farm ready made to his hands, and then he has nothing to do
but to cultivate and adorn it. It takes two generations, at least, to
make such a place as he requires. The native, again is one of a class,
and the most necessary one too in the country; the people sympathise
with him, aid and encourage him. The emigrant-gentleman belongs to no
class, and wins no affection; he is kindly received and judiciously
advised by people of his own standing in life, but he affects to
consider their counsel obtrusive and their society a bore; he is
therefore suffered to proceed his own way, which they all well know,
as it has been so often travelled before, leads to ruin. They pity,
but they can't assist him. Yes, yes, your sketch of 'Epaigwit' is so
close to nature, I shouldn't wonder if many a man who reads it should
think he sees the history of his own place under the name of 'the
Cucumber Lake.'"



                             CHAPTER XXV.

                             THE RECALL.


In compiling this Journal, Squire, my object has been less to give you
the details of my cruise, than to furnish you with my remarks on men
and things in general. Climate, locality, and occupation form or vary
character, but man is the same sort of critter everywhere. To know him
thoroughly, he must be studied in his various aspects. When I learned
drawing, I had an India-rubber figure, with springs in it, and I used
to put it into all sorts of attitudes. Sometimes it had its arms up,
and sometimes down, now a-kimbo, and then in a boxing posture. I stuck
out its legs or made it stand bolt upright, and put its head every way
I could think of, and so on. It taught me to draw, and showed me the
effect of light and shade. So in sketching human character, feelings,
prejudices, and motives of action, I have considered man at one time
as a politician, a preacher, or a trader, and at another as a
countryman or a citizen, as ignorant or wise, and so on. In this way I
soon learned to take his gauge as you do a cask of spirits, and prove
his strength or weakness by the bead I could raise on him.

If I know anything of these matters, and you seem to consait I do, why
I won't act "Peter Funk"1 to myself, but this I will say, "Human natur
is my weakness." Now I think it best to send you only such portions of
my Journal as will interest you, for a mere diary of a cruise is a
mere nothing. So I skip over my sojourn at Canzeau, and a trip the
doctor and I took to Prince Edward's Island, as containing nothing but
a sort of ship's log, and will proceed to tell you about our sayings
and doings at that celebrated place Louisburg, in Cape Breton, which
was twice besieged and taken, first by our colony-forefathers from
Boston, and then by General Wolfe, the Quebec hero, and of which
nothing now remains but its name, which you will find in history, and
its harbour, which you will find in the map. The French thought
building a fortress was colonization, and the English that blowing it
up was the right way to settle the country. The world is wiser now.


1 At petty auctions in the States, a person is employed to bid up
articles, in order to raise their price. Such a person is called a
Peter Funk, probably from that name having frequently been given when
things were bought in. In short, it is now used as a
"puffer."--BARTLETT.


As we approached the place the Doctor said, "You see, Mr Slick, the
entrance to Louisburg is pointed out to voyagers coming from the
eastward, by the ruins of an old French lighthouse, and the lantern of
a new one, on the rocky wall of the north shore, a few minutes after
approaching which the mariner shoots from a fretful sea into the
smooth and capacious port. The ancient ruins display even yet the most
attractive object to the eye. The outline of these neglected mounds,
you observe, is boldly marked against the sky, and induces a visit to
the spot where the fortress once stood. Louisburg is everywhere
covered with a mantle of turf, and without the assistance of a native
it is not easy to discover even the foundations of the public
buildings. Two or three casemates still remain, appearing like the
mouths of huge ovens, surmounted by a great mass of earth and stone.
These caverns, originally the safeguards of powder and other
combustible munitions of war, now serve to shelter the flocks of sheep
that graze upon the grass that conceals them. The floors are rendered
nearly impassable by the ordure of these animals, but the vaulted
ceilings are adorned by dependent stalactites, like icicles in shape,
but not in purity of colour, being of a material somewhat similar to
oyster shells. The mass of stone^1 and brick that composed the
buildings, and which is now swept so completely from its site, has
been distributed along the shores of America, as far as Halifax and
Boston, having been successively carried away for the erections in
those places and the intermediate coast, which contains many a chimney
bearing the memorials of Louisburg. The remains of the different
batteries on the island and round the harbour are still shown by the
inhabitants, as well as of the wharves, stockade, and sunken ships of
war. On gaining the walls above the town, they are found to consist of
a range of earthen fortifications with projecting angles, and
extending as already mentioned from the harbour to the sea,
interrupted at intervals by large pits, said to have been produced by
the efforts of the captors to blow up the walls. From these heights,
the glacis slopes away to the edge of the bog outside, forming a
beautiful level walk, though now only enjoyed by the sheep, being,
like the walls, carpeted by short turf. At the termination of this
line of fortification on the sea-shore, is a huge and uncouth black
rock, which appears to have been formerly quarried for building stone,
large quantities ready hewn being still scattered round it, and
gathered in masses as if prepared for that use.


1 See Haliburton's "History of Nova Scotia."


"The prospect from the brow of the dilapidated ramparts is one of the
most impressive that the place affords. Looking to the south-west over
the former city, the eye wanders upon the interminable ocean, its blue
rolling waves occupying three-fourths of the scene, and beyond them,
on the verge of the horizon, a dense bank of fog sweeps along with the
prevailing S.W. wind, precluding all hopes of discerning any vista
beyond that curtain. Turning landwards towards the south-west, over
the spacious bog that lies at the foot of the walls, the sight is met
by a range of low wood in the direction of Gabarus, and can penetrate
no further. The harbour is the only prospect to the northward, and
immediately in its rear the land rises so as to prevent anymore
distant view, and even the harbour appears dwindled to a miniature of
itself, being seen in the same picture with the mighty ocean that
nearly surrounds the beholder. The character of the whole scene is
melancholy, presenting the memorials of former life and population,
contrasted with its present apparent isolation from the natives of the
earth. The impression is not weakened by the sight of the few
miserable huts scattered along the shores of the port, and the little
fishing vessels, scarcely perceptible in the mountain-swell of the
ocean; they serve but to recall painfully the images of elegant
edifices that once graced the foreground, and of proud flags that
waved upon the face of that heaving deep.

"It is not easy to give a reason for the continued desolation of
Louisburg. A harbour opening directly upon the sea, whence egress is
unobstructed and expeditious, and return equally convenient at all
seasons; excellent fishing grounds at the very entrance; space on
shore for all the operations of curing the fish; every advantage for
trade and the fisheries is offered in vain. The place would appear to
be shunned by tacit consent. The shallops come from Arichet and St
Peter's Bay to fish at its very mouth, but no one sets up his
establishment there. The merchants resort to every station in its
vicinity, to Main-a-Dieu, the Bras d'Or, St Anne, Inganish, nay, even
Cape North, places holding out no advantage to compare with those of
Louisburg, yet no one ventures there. The fatality that hangs over
places of fallen celebrity seems to press heavily on this once valued
spot."

"Massa Doctor," said Sorrow, when he heard this description, "peers to
me, dem English did gib de French goss widout sweetenin', most
particular jess dat are a nateral fac. By golly, but dey was strange
folks boff on 'em. Ki dey must been gwine stracted, sure as you born,
when dey was decomposed (angry) wid each other, to come all de way out
here to fight. Lordy gracious, peers to me crossin' de sea might a
cooled them, sposin' dar hair was rumpled."

"You are right, Sorrow," said I; "and, Doctor, niggers and women often
come to a right conclusion, though they cannot give the right reasons
for it, don't they?"

"Oh, oh, Mr Slick," said he, "pray don't class ladies and niggers
together. Oh, I thought you had more gallantry about you than that."

"Exactly," sais I, "there is where the shoe pinches. You are a so far
and no further emancipationist. You will break up the social system of
the south, deprive the planter of his slave, and set the nigger free;
but you will not admit him to your family circle, associate with him,
or permit him to intermarry with your daughter. Ah, Doctor, you can
emancipate him, but you can't emancipate yourself. You are willing to
give him the liberty of a dog; he may sleep in your stable, exercise
himself in the coachyard, and may stand or run behind your carriage,
but he must not enter the house, for he is offensive, nor eat at your
table, for the way he devours his food is wolfish; you unchain him,
and that is all. But before the collar was unfastened he was well and
regularly fed, now he has to forage for it; and if he can't pay for
his grub, he can and will steal it. Abolition has done great things
for him. He was once a life-labourer on a plantation in the south, he
is now a prisoner for life in a penitentiary in the north, or an idle
vagrant, and a shameless, houseless beggar. The fruit of cant is
indeed bitter. The Yankees emancipated their niggers because it didn't
pay to keep slaves. They now want the southern planters to liberate
theirs for conscience sake. But here we are on the beach; let us
land."

After taking a survey of the scene from the sight of the old town, we
sat down on one of the eastern mounds, and the doctor continued his
account of the place. "It took the French twenty-fire years to erect
Louisburg," he said, "and though not completed according to the
original design, it cost not less than thirty millions of livres. It
was environed, two miles and a half in circumference, with a stone
wall from thirty to thirty-six feet high, and a ditch eighty feet
wide. There was, as you will see, six bastions and eight batteries,
with embrasures for 148 cannon. On the island at the entrance of the
harbour, which we just passed, was a battery of thirty twenty-eight
pounders, and at the bottom of the port another mounting thirty-eight
heavy guns. In 1745, a plan for taking it was conceived by a
colonial-lawyer, a Governor of Massachusetts, and executed by a body
of New England volunteers, led on by a country trader. History can
hardly furnish such another instance of courage and conduct in an
undisciplined body, laying siege to a regular constructed fortress
like this. Commodore Warren, when first applied to for assistance,
declined to afford it, as well because he had no orders as that he
thought the enterprise a rash one. He was however at last instructed
from home to co-operate with the Yankee troops, and arrived in season
to witness the progress of the siege, and receive the whole of the
honour which was so exclusively due to the Provincials. This act of
insolence and injustice on the part of the British was never forgotten
by your countrymen, but the memory of favours is short-lived, and a
similar distribution of rewards has lately surprised and annoyed the
Canadians. The colonist who raised the militia and saved Canada, as
you have justly remarked elsewhere, was knighted, while he who did no
more than his duty as an officer in the army, was compensated for two
or three little affairs in which the soldiers were engaged by a
coronet and a pension."

"Exactly," sais I, "what's sauce for the goose ought to be sauce for
the gander; but it seems English geese are all swans."

"Well, in 1758, it was again taken by the English, who attacked it
with an immense and overpowering armament, consisting of 151 sail, and
14,000 men. Profiting by the experience of the Provincials, they soon
reduced the place, which it is astonishing could have made any
resistance at all against such an overwhelming force. Still, this
attack was mostly an English one; and though it dwindles into utter
insignificance when compared with the previous capture by the
colonists, occasioned a great outbreak of national pride. The French
colours were carried in pompous parade, escorted by detachments of
horse and foot-guards, with kettle-drums and trumpets, from the palace
of Kensington to St Paul's Cathedral, where they were deposited as
trophies, under a discharge of cannon, and other noisy expressions of
triumph and exultation. Indeed, the public rejoicings for the conquest
of Louisburg were diffused through every part of the British
dominions; and addresses of congratulation were presented to the king
by a great number of flourishing towns and corporations."

"Twenty-five years afterwards the colonists, who were denied the
credit of their gallant enterprise, made good their claim to it by
conquering those who boasted that they were the conquerors
themselves."

"I am glad to hear you say so, Doctor," said I, "for I concur in it
all. The English are liberal, but half the time they ain't just.
Spendin' money in colonies is one thing, but givin' them fair play is
another. The army complains that all commendation and promotion is
reserved for the staff. Provincials complain of similar injustice, but
there is this wide difference, the one has the 'Times' for its
advocate, the other is unheard or unheeded. An honest statesman will
not refuse to do justice--a willy poilitician will concede with grace
what he knows he must soon yield to compulsion. The old Tory was a man
after all, every inch of him."

"Now," sais the doctor, "that remark reminds me of what I have long
intended to ask you if I got a chance. How is it, Mr Slick, that you,
who are a republican, whenever you speak of England are so
conservative? It always seemed to me as if it warn't quite natural. If
I didn't know you, I should say your books were written by a colonist
who had used your name for a medium for giving his own ideas."

"Well," sais I, "Doctor, I am glad you asked me, for I have thought
myself it wasn't unlikely some folks would fall into that mistake.
I'll tell you how this comes, though I wouldn't take the trouble to
enlighten others, for it kinder amuses me to see a fellow find a
mare's nest with a tee-hee's egg in it. First, I believe that a
republic is the only form of government suited to us, or practicable
in North America. A limited monarchy could not exist in the States,
for royalty and aristocracy never had an original root there. A
military or despotic one could be introduced, because a standing army
can do anything, but it couldn't last long. Liberty is too deeply
seated, and too highly prized, to be suppressed for any length of
time.

"Now, I like a republic, but I hate a democracy. The wit of man never
could have devised anything more beautiful, better balanced, and more
skilfully checked, than our constitution is, or rather was; but every
change we make is for the worse. I am therefore a conservative at
home. On the other hand, the English constitution is equally well
suited to the British. It is admirably adapted to the genius,
traditions, tastes, and feelings of the people. They are not fitted
for a republic. They tried it once, and it failed; and if they were to
try it again it would not succeed. Every change they make is also for
the worse. In talking therefore as I do, I only act and talk
consistently, when I say I am a conservative abroad also.

"Conservatism, both in the States and in Great Britain, when rightly
understood, has a fixed principle of action, which is to conserve the
constitution of the country, and not subvert it. Now, liberalism
everywhere is distinguished by having no principle. In England it
longs for office, and sacrifices everything to it. It does nothing but
pander. It says religion is a matter of taste, leave it to itself and
it will take care of itself; now that maxim was forced on us by
necessity, for at the Revolution we scarcely had an Episcopal church,
it was so small as hardly to deserve the name. But in England it is an
unconstitutional, irrational, and monstrous maxim. Still it suits the
views of Romanists (although they hold no such doctrine themselves),
for it is likely to hand over the church revenues in Ireland to them.
It also suits Dissenters, for it will relieve them of church rates;
and it meets the wishes of the republican party, because they know no
church and no bishop will soon lead to no monarch. Again, it says,
enlarge the franchise, so as to give an increase of voters; that
doctrine suits all those sections also, for it weakens both monarchy
and aristocracy. Then again, it advocates free-trade, for that weakens
the landed interest, and knocks from under nobility one of its best
pillars. To lower the influence of the church pleases all political
Come-outers, some for one, and some for another reason. Their views
are not identical, but it is for their interest to unite. One
advocates it because it destroys Protestantism as a principle of the
constitution, another because the materials of this fortress, like
those of Louisburg, may be useful for erecting others, and among them
conventicles.

"Then there is no truth in liberalism. When Irish emancipation was
discussed, it was said, Pass that and you will hear no more
grievances, it will tend to consolidate the church and pacify the
people. It was no sooner granted, than ten bishopricks were
suppressed, and monster meetings paraded through and terrified the
land. One cardinal came in place of ten Protestant prelates, and so
on. So liberalism said Pass the Reform Bill, and all England will be
satisfied; well, though it has not worked well for the kingdom, it has
done wonders for the radical party, and now another and more extensive
one is promised. The British Lion has been fed with living raw meat,
and now roars for more victims. It ain't easy to onseat liberals, I
tell you, for they know how to pander. If you promise power to those
who have none, you must have the masses with you. I could point you
out some fellows that are sure to win the dead^1 heads, the dough2
boys, the numerous body that is on the fence,3 and political
come-outers.4 There is at this time a postponed Reform Bill. The
proposer actually cried when it was deferred to another session. It
nearly broke his heart. He couldn't bear that the public should have
it to say, 'They had seen the elephant.'"


1 Dead heads may perhaps be best explained by substituting the words
"the unproductive class of operatives," such as spend their time in
ale-houses; demagogues, the men who, with free tickets, travel in
steam-boats, frequent theatres, tavern-keepers, &c.

2 Pliable politicians, men who are accessible to personal influences
or considerations.

3 A man is said to be on a fence who is ready to join the strongest
party because he who sits on a fence is in a position to jump down,
with equal facility, on either side of it.

4 "Political come-outers" are the loose fish of all parties.
Dissenters from their own side.--See Bartlett's definitions.


"Seeing the elephant," said the doctor, "was he so large a man as
that?"

"Lord bless you," sais I, "no, he is a man that thinks he pulls the
wires, like one of Punch's small figures, but the wires pull him and
set him in motion. It is a cant term we have, and signifies 'going out
for wool and coming back shorn.' Yes, he actually shed tears, like a
cook peelin' onions. He reminded me of a poor fellow at Slickville,
who had a family of twelve small children. His wife took a day, and
died one fine morning, leaving another youngster to complete the
baker's dozen, and next week that dear little innocent died too. He
took on dreadfully about it. He boo-hooed right out, which is more
than the politicioner did over his chloroformed bill.

"'Why,' sais I, 'Jeddediah, you ought to be more of a man than to take
on that way. With no means to support your family of poor helpless
little children, with no wife to look after them, and no airthly way
to pay a woman to dry-nurse and starve the unfortunate baby, it's a
mercy it did die, and was taken out of this wicked world.'

"'I know it and feel it, Mr Sam,' said he, lookin' up in a way that
nobody but him could look, 'but--'

"'But what?' sais I.

"'Why,' says he, 'but it don't do to say so, you know.'

"Jist then some of the neighbours came in, when he burst out wuss than
before, and groaned like a thousand sinners at a camp-meetin'.

"Most likely the radical father of the strangled Reform Bill comforted
himself with the same reflection, only he thought it wouldn't do to
say so. Crocodiles can cry when they are hungry, but when they do it's
time to vamose the poke-loken,1 that's a fact. Yes, yes, they
understand these things to England as well as we do, you may depend.
They warn't born yesterday. But I won't follow it out. Liberalism is
playing the devil both with us and the British. Change is going on
with railroad haste in America, but in England, though it travels not
so fast, it never stops, and like a steam-packet that has no freight,
it daily increases its rate of speed as it advances towards the end of
the voyage. Now you have my explanation, Doctor, why I am a
conservative on principle, both at home and abroad."


1 Poke-loken, a marshy place, or stagnant pool, connected with a
river.


"Well," said the doctor," that is true enough as far as England is
concerned, but still I don't quite understand how it is, as a
republican, you are so much of a conservative at home, for your
reasons appear to me to be more applicable to Britain than to the
United States."

"Why," sais I, "my good friend, liberalism is the same thing in both
countries, though its work and tactics may be different. It is
destructive but not creative. It tampers with the checks and balances
of our constitution. It flatters the people by removing the restraints
they so wisely placed on themselves to curb their own impetuosity. It
has shaken the stability of the judiciary by making the experiment of
electing the judges. It has abolished equity, in name, but infused it
so strongly in the administration of the law, that the distinctive
boundaries are destroyed, and the will of the court is now substituted
for both. In proportion as the independence of these high officers is
diminished, their integrity may be doubted. Elected, and subsequently
sustained by a faction, they become its tools, and decide upon party
and not legal grounds. In like manner, wherever the franchise was
limited, the limit is attempted to be removed. We are, in fact, fast
merging into a mere pure democracy,1 for the first blow on the point
of the wedge that secures the franchise, weakens it so that it is sure
to come out at last. Our liberals know this as well your British
Gerrymanderers do."


1 De Tocqueville, who has written incomparably the best work that has
ever appeared on the United States, makes the following judicious
remarks on this subject: "Where a nation modifies the elective
qualification, it may easily be foreseen, that sooner or later that
qualification will be abolished. There is no more invariable rule in
the history of society. The further electoral rights are extended, the
more is felt the need of extending them; for after each concession,
the strength of the democracy increases, and its demands increase with
its strength. The ambition of those who are below the appointed rate
is irritated, in exact proportion of the number of those who are above
it. The exception at last becomes the rule, concession follows
concession, and no step can be made, short of universal suffrage."


"Genymanderers,"1 he said, "who in the world are they? I never heard
of them before."


1 This term came into use in the year 1811, in Massachusetts, where,
for several years previous, the federal and democratic parties stood
nearly equal. In that year, the democratic party, having a majority in
the Legislature, determined so to district the State anew, that those
sections which gave a large number of federal votes might be brought
into one district. The result was, that the democratic party carried
everything before them at the following election, and filled every
office in the State, although it appeared by the votes returned, that
nearly two-thirds of the votes were Federalists. Elridge Gerry, a
distinguished politician at that period, was the inventor of that
plan, which was called Gerrymandering, after him.--Glossary of
Americanisms.


"Why," sais I, "skilful politicians, who so arrange the electoral
districts of a State, that in an election one party may obtain an
advantage over its opponent, even though the latter may possess a
majority of the votes in the State; the truth is, it would be a long
story to go through, but we are corrupted by our liberals with our own
money, that's a fact. Would you believe it now, that so long ago as
six years, and that is a great while in our history seein' we are
growing at such a rate, there were sixty thousand offices in the gift
of the general government, and patronage to the extent of more than
forty million of dollars, besides official pickings and parquisites,
which are nearly as much more in the aggregate? Since then it has
grown with our growth. Or would you believe that a larger sum is
assessed in the city of New York, than would cover the expenses of the
general government at Washington? Constructive mileage may be
considered as the principle of the party, and literally runs through
everything."

"What strange terms you have, Mr Slick," said he; "do pray tell me
what that is."

"Snooping and stool-pidgeoning," sais I.

"Constructive mileage, snooping and stool-pidgeoning!" said he, and he
put his hands on his ribs, and running round in a circle, laughed
until he nearly fell on the ground fairly tuckered out, "what do you
mean?"

"Constructive mileage," says I, "is the same allowance for journeys
supposed to be performed as for those that are actually made, to and
from the seat of government. When a new president comes into office,
Congress adjourns of course on the third of March, and his
inauguration is made on the fourth; the senate is immediately convened
to act on his nominations, and though not a man of them leaves
Washington, each is supposed to go home and return again in the course
of the ten or twelve hours that intervene between the adjournment and
their reassembling. For this ideal journey the senators are allowed
their mileages, as if the journey was actually made. In the case of
those who come from a distance, the sum often amounts, individually,
to one thousand or fifteen hundred dollars."

"Why, Mr Slick," said he, "that ain't honest."

"Honest," said I, "who the plague ever said it was? but what can you
expect from red republicans? Well, snooping means taking things on the
sly after a good rumage; and stool-pidgeoning means plundering under
cover of law; for instance, if a judge takes a bribe, or a fellow is
seized by a constable, and the stolen property found on him is given
up, the merciful officer seizes the goods and lets him run, and that
is all that ever is heard of it--that is stool-pidgeoning. But now,"
sais I, "sposin' we take a survey of the place here, for in a general
way I don't affection politics, and as for party leaders, whether
English reformers or American democrats, critters that are dyed in the
wool, I hate the whole caboodle of them. Now, having donated you with
my reasons for being a conservative, sposin' you have a row yourself.
What do you consider best worth seeing here, if you can be said to see
a place when it don't exist? for the English did sartainly deacon the
calf^1 here, that's a fact. They made them smell cotton, and gave them
partikilar Moses, and no mistake."


1 To deacon a calf, is to knock a thing on the head as soon as born or
finished.


"Of the doings of the dead," he said, "all that is around us has a
melancholy interest; but of the living there is a most extraordinary
old fellow that dwells in that white house on the opposite side of the
harbour. He can tell us all the particulars of the two sieges, and
show us the site of most of the public buildings; he is filled with
anecdotes of all the principal actors in the sad tragedies that have
been enacted here; but he labours under a most singular monomania.
Having told these stories so often he now believes that he was present
at the first capture of the fortress, under Colonel Pepperal and the
New England militia in 1745, and at the second in 1754, when it was
taken by Generals Amherst and Wolfe. I suppose he may be ninety years
of age; the first event must have happened therefore nineteen and the
other six years before he was born; in everything else his accuracy of
dates and details is perfectly astonishing."

"Massa," said Sorrow, "I don't believe he is nuffin' but a
reeblushionary suspensioner (a revolutionary pensioner), but it peers
to me dem folks do libb for ebber. My poor old missus used to call 'em
King George's hard bargains, yah, yah, yah. But who comma dere,
Massa?" said he, pointing to a boat that was rapidly approaching the
spot where we stood.

The steersman, who appeared to be the skipper of a vessel, inquired
for Cutler, and gave him a letter, who said as soon as he had read it,
"Slick, our cruise has come to a sudden termination. Blowhard has
purchased and fitted out his whaler, and only awaits my return to take
charge of her and proceed to the Pacific. With his usual generosity,
he has entered my name as the owner of one half of the ship, her
tackle and outfit. I must go on board the 'Black Hawk' immediately,
and prepare for departing this evening."

It was agreed that he should land the doctor at Ship Harbour, who was
anxious to see Jessie, which made him as happy as a clam at
high-water, and put me ashore at Jordan, where I was no less in a
hurry to see a fair friend whose name is of no consequence now, for I
hope to induce her to change it for one that is far shorter, easier to
write and remember, and, though I say it that shouldn't say it, one
that I consait she needn't be ashamed of neither.

On our way back, sais the doctor to me:

"Mr Slick, will you allow me to ask you another question?"

"A hundred," sais I, "if you like."

"Well," sais he, "I have inquired of you what you think of state
affairs; will you tell me what you think about the Church? I see you
belong to what we call the Establishment, and what you denominate the
American Episcopal Church, which is very nearly the same thing. What
is your opinion, now, of the Evangelical and Puseyite parties? Which
is right and which is wrong?"

"Well," sais I, "coming to me about theology is like going to a goat's
house for wool. It is out of my line. My views on all subjects are
practical, and not theoretical. But first and foremost, I must tell
you, I hate all nick-names. In general, they are all a critter knows
of his own side, or the other either. As you have asked me my opinion,
though, I will give it. I think both parties are wrong, because both
go to extremes, and therefore are to be equally avoided. Our Articles,
as dear old Minister used to say, are very wisely so worded as to
admit of some considerable latitude of opinion; but that very latitude
naturally excludes anything ultra. The Puritanical section, and the
Newmanites (for Pusey, so far, is stedfast), are not, in fact, real
churchmen, and ought to leave us. One are Dissenters and the other
Romanists. The ground they severally stand on is slippery. A false
step takes one to the conventicle and the other to the chapel. If I
was an Evangelical, as an honest man, I would quit the Establishment
as Baptist Noel did, and so I would if I were a Newmanite. It's only
rats that consume the food and undermine the foundations of the house
that shelters them. A traitor within the camp is more to be dreaded
than an open enemy without. Of the two, the extreme low-churchmen are
the most dangerous, for they furnish the greatest number of recruits
of schism, and, strange to say, for popery too. Search the list of
those who have gone over to Rome, from Ahab Meldrum to Wilberforce,
and you will find the majority were originally Puritans or
infidels--men who were restless, and ambitious of notoriety, who had
learning and talent, but wanted common sense. They set out to astonish
the world, and ended by astonishing themselves. They went forth in
pursuit of a name, and lost the only one they were known by. Who can
recognise Newman in Father Ignatius, who, while searching for truth,
embraced error? or Baptist Noel in the strolling preacher, who uses a
horse-pond instead of a font, baptizes adults instead of infants, and,
unlike his Master, 'will not suffer little children to come unto him?'
Ah, Doctor, there are texts neither of these men know the meaning of,
'Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.' One of them has yet to learn that
pictures, vestments, music, processions, candlesticks, and
confessionals are not religion, and the other that it does not consist
in oratory, excitement, camp-meetings, rant, or novelties. There are
many, very many, unobtrusive, noiseless, laborious, practical duties
which clergymen have to perform; what a pity it is they won't occupy
themselves in discharging them, instead of entangling themselves in
controversies on subjects not necessary to salvation! But, alas! the
Evangelical divine, instead of combating the devil, occupies himself
in fighting his bishop, and the Newmanite, instead of striving to save
sinners, prefers to 'curse and quit' his church. Don't ask me
therefore which is right; I tell you, they are both wrong."

"Exactly," sais he.


  "In medio tutissimus ibis."


"Doctor," sais I, "there are five languages spoke on the Nova Scotia
coast already: English, Yankee, Gaelic, French, and Indian; for
goodness gracious sake don't fly off the handle that way now and add
Latin to them! But, my friend, as I have said, you have waked up the
wrong passenger, if you think I am an ecclesiastical Bradshaw. I know
my own track. It is a broad gauge, and a straight line, and I never
travel by another, for fear of being put on a wrong one. Do you take?
But here is the boat alongside;" and I shook him by the hand, and
obtained his promise at parting that he and Jessie would visit me at
Slickville in the autumn.

And now, Squire, I must write finis to the cruise of the "Black Hawk,"
and close my remarks on "Nature and Human Nature," or, "Men and
Things," for I have brought it to a termination, though it is a hard
thing to do, I assure you, for I seem as if I couldn't say Farewell.
It is a word that don't come handy, no how I can fix it. It's like
Sam's hat-band which goes nineteen times round, and won't tie at last.
I don't like to bid good-bye to my Journal, and I don't like to bid
good-bye to you, for one is like a child and the other a brother. The
first I shall see again, when Hurst has a launch in the spring, but
shall you and I ever meet again, Squire? that is the question, for it
is dark to me. If it ever does come to pass, there must be a
considerable slip of time first. Well, what can't be cured must be
endured. So here goes. Here is the last fatal word, I shut my eyes
when I write it, for I can't bear to see it. Here it is--


                              Ampersand.



                               THE END.





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