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Title: Haw-Ho-Noo - Records of a Tourist
Author: Lanman, Charles
Language: English
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                         RECORDS OF A TOURIST.

                            CHARLES LANMAN,

  And without registering these things by the pen,
    they will slide away unprofitably.
                                                           Owen Feltham.

                      LIPPINCOTT, GRAMBO AND CO.,
                             SUCCESSORS TO
                         GRIGG, ELLIOT AND CO.,
                        14 NORTH FOURTH STREET.

     Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1850, by
                      LIPPINCOTT, GRAMBO AND CO.,
 in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the Eastern District of

                   T. K. AND P. G. COLLINS, PRINTERS.

                      WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT, ESQ.,
                          IN WHOM ARE BLENDED
                         THE POET AND THE MAN,
                             _This Volume_
                      IS AFFECTIONATELY INSCRIBED,
                              THE AUTHOR.

                             TO THE PUBLIC.

The title and table of contents of this volume contain all that I have
to say in regard to its character. My only apology for again appearing
before the public is to be found in the treatment which I have
heretofore experienced from the critics. With _one_ exception, the more
prominent periodicals of England and the United States have spoken of my
former productions in the most kindly manner, and I sincerely thank them
for their friendship. With regard to the exception alluded to—the
“_North American Review_”—I have only to say that its assault upon me
was cruel, prompted by an unworthy motive, and wholly undeserved. I
write from impulse and for the pleasure which the employment affords.
That my books are popular is indeed a matter of rejoicing; but I make no
pretensions whatsoever in the literary line, and only desire the
approbation of those who are willing to believe me a lover of truth, of
nature, and my friends.

The word Haw-ho-noo was originally applied to America by the Iroquois
Indians, and signifies _the country upheld on the back of a turtle_; and
my reasons for employing it on the present occasion are simply these—a
portion of the volume is devoted to the traditionary lore of the
Aborigines, and the whole has reference to my native land.

                                                                   C. L.

Washington, _Summer of 1850_.


  The Sugar Camp                                                      13
  The Old Academy                                                     21
  Accomac                                                             27
  Salmon Fishing                                                      34
  The Fur Trappers                                                    46
  The Canadian Recluse                                                52
  Trout Fishing                                                       57
  Rock Creek                                                          66
  Lilly Larnard                                                       75
  Basse Fishing                                                       83
  A Virginia Barbecue                                                 94
  Death in the Wilderness                                             98
  Rock Fishing                                                       101
  Rattlesnakes                                                       113
  The Western Pioneer                                                119
  Pike Fishing                                                       123
  Plantation Customs                                                 139
  Fishing in General                                                 146
  Our Master in Landscape Painting                                   152
  Poverty in the Empire City                                         165
  The Fatal Valentine                                                182
  Indian Legends                                                     187

                         RECORDS OF A TOURIST.

                            THE SUGAR CAMP.

Among our more agreeable recollections of the wilderness are those
associated with the making of _maple sugar_. Our first taste of this
sweetest of woodland luxuries was received from the hands of an Indian,
into whose wigwam we had wandered from our father’s dwelling on one of
the Saturday afternoons of our boyhood. It was many years ago, and long
before the frontier of Michigan was transformed into a flourishing
member of the national confederacy. Since that time we have not only
eaten our full proportion of the luxury in question, both in wigwam and
cabin, but we have seen it extensively manufactured by the Indian, as
well as the white man; and we now purpose to discourse upon the article
itself, and upon a few incidents connected with its manufacture.

Maple sugar is made from the sap of a tree, known by the several names
of rock maple, hard maple, and sugar maple, which is found in great
abundance in various portions of the Union, but chiefly in the northern
States. It is a lofty and elegantly proportioned tree, and its foliage
is particularly luxuriant; and, when touched by the frosts of autumn, is
pre-eminently brilliant. The wood is also highly esteemed for the beauty
of its fibre, which consists of concentrical circles, resembling the eye
of a bird; and hence the term _birds_-eye maple.

Generally speaking, the sugar-making season commences early in April, is
universally considered as one of festivity, and seldom continues more
than about four weeks. The sudden transition of the temperature from
winter to spring is essential to its production, for at this season
alone does the vital principle of the tree pass in large quantities from
the roots into its branches. Hence it is that, while making this
passage, the sap has to be withdrawn; and this is accomplished by making
an incision in the tree some three feet from the ground, and receiving
the liquid in a vessel prepared for the purpose. And it has been
observed that, when a frosty night is followed by a dry and sunny day,
the sap flows abundantly, at which times three or four gallons are
obtained from a single tree in twenty-four hours. The process employed
for converting the sap into sugar is perfectly simple, and consists in
boiling it first into a sirup and then into a more tangible substance.
Of this sugar there are two kinds, viz., the hard or cake sugar, and
that of a friable character, which is produced by constantly stirring
the thick sirup when it is becoming cool. The taste of the sap or juice,
when taken from the tree, is just sweet enough to be noticed; and though
we have never ascertained the quantity commonly obtained from a single
tree, we have been told that a very fruitful tree, in a good season, may
be made to yield five pounds of the best sugar. To the human palate this
juice is not generally agreeable, but wild and domestic animals are said
to be inordinately fond of it, and slake their thirst with it whenever
they can. Although a sufficient quantity of maple sugar has never been
manufactured in this country to rank it among our articles of
exportation, it has, for many years past, been about the only sugar used
by a large number of people—especially those who live in the more
thickly-wooded districts of the States, and those inhabiting the
northern and western frontiers of the United States and Canada. In the
opinion of all who manufacture the article it is held in high
estimation, both as a luxury and on account of its nutrition. In regard
to this last quality, we believe it is superior to all other sugars; for
we know, from personal observations, that when eaten by the Indian
children, during the manufacturing season, they become particularly
hearty, though exclusively confined to it as an article of food for
weeks at a time.

From the very nature of the business, the making of maple sugar is
commonly carried on in an encampment, and we now purpose to describe the
various kinds with which we are acquainted, beginning, as a matter of
course, with an Indian camp. We are speaking of the remote past, and of
an encampment of Ottawa Indians, in one of the maple forests skirting
the western shore of Green Bay. It is in the month of April, and the
hunting season is at an end. Albeit, the ground is covered with snow,
the noonday sun has become quite powerful, and the annual offering has
been made to the Great Spirit, by the medicine men, of the first product
of one of the earliest trees in the district. This being the preparatory
signal for extensive business, the women of the encampment proceed to
make a large number of wooden troughs (to receive the liquid treasure),
and, after these are finished, the various trees in the neighborhood are
tapped, and the juice begins to run. In the mean time, the men of the
party have built the necessary fires, and suspended over them their
earthen, brass, or iron kettles. The sap is now flowing in copious
streams, and from one end of the camp to the other is at once presented
an animated and romantic scene, which continues, without interruption,
day and night until the end of the sugar season. The principal
employment to which the men devote themselves is that of lounging about
the encampment, shooting at marks, and playing the moccasin game; while
the main part of the labor is performed by the women, who not only
attend to the kettles, but employ all their leisure time in making the
beautiful birchen mocucks, for the preservation and transportation of
the sugar when made; the sap being brought from the troughs to the
kettles by the boys and girls. Less attention than usual is paid by the
Indians at such times to their meals, and, unless game is very easily
obtained, they are quite content to depend upon the sugar alone. If an
Indian happens to return from the river with a fish, he throws it
without any ceremony into the boiling sap, dipping it out, when cooked,
with a ladle or stick; and therefore it is that we often find in the
maple sugar of Indian manufacture the bones of a trout, or some more
unworthy fish. That even a bird, a rabbit, or an opossum, is sometimes
thrown into the kettle instead of a fish is beyond a doubt; and we are
not positively certain that the civilized fashion of eating jelly with
roast lamb may not be traced to the barbarous custom of cooking animals
in hot sap. That this sap itself, when known to be clear and reduced to
the consistency of molasses, is a palatable article, we are ready to
maintain against the world; and we confess that, when not quite so
fastidious as now, we have often eaten it in truly dangerous quantities,
even in the cabin of an Indian. As we have already intimated, the sugar
season is dependent upon the weather; but, even when it is prolonged to
four or five weeks, it continues from beginning to end to be one of
hilarity and gladness. At such times, even the wolfish-looking dogs seem
to consider themselves as entitled to the privilege of sticking their
noses into the vessels of sap not yet placed over the fire. And in this
manner does the poor Indian welcome returning spring.

It is now about the middle of June, and some fifty birchen canoes have
just been launched upon the waters of Green Bay. They are occupied by
our Ottawa sugar-makers, who have started upon a pilgrimage to Mackinaw.
The distance is near two hundred miles, and as the canoes are heavily
laden, not only with mocucks of sugar, but with furs collected by the
hunters during the past winter, and the Indians are traveling at their
leisure, the party will probably reach their desired haven in the course
of ten days. Well content with their accumulated treasures, both the
women and the men are in a particularly happy mood, and many a wild song
is heard to echo over the placid lake. As the evening approaches, day
after day they seek out some convenient landing-place, and, pitching the
wigwams on the beach, spend a goodly portion of the night carousing and
telling stories around their camp fires, resuming their voyage after a
morning sleep, long after the sun has risen above the blue waters of the
east. Another sunset hour, and the cavalcade of canoes is quietly
gliding into the crescent bay of Mackinaw, and, reaching a beautiful
beach at the foot of a lofty bluff, the Indians again draw up their
canoes, again erect their wigwams. And, as the Indian traders have
assembled on the spot, the more improvident of the party immediately
proceed to exhibit their sugar and furs, which are usually disposed of
for flour and pork, blankets and knives, guns, ammunition, and a great
variety of trinkets, long before the hour of midnight. That the
remainder of this night is devoted to feasting and dancing, and
tumultuous recreation, is a matter of course. But the trader who would
obtain from the Indians their more unique articles of merchandize,
usually visits the encampment on the following morning, when he is
always certain of obtaining from the young women, on the most reasonable
terms, their fancy mocucks of sugar, all worked over with porcupine
quills; and a great variety of beautifully worked moccasins, and fancy
bags, made of the sweet-smelling deer skin. In about a week after their
arrival at Mackinaw, the Ottawa Indians begin to sigh for the freedom of
the wilderness; and, before the trader has left his bed on some pleasant
morning, there is nothing to be seen on the beach at Mackinaw but the
smoking embers of a score or two of watch-fires.

We would now conduct our readers into the sugar camp of a Frenchman. It
is situated in one of the maple forests of Michigan, on the banks of the
river Raisin, and within half a mile of the rude comfortable dwelling of
the proprietor. Very much the same process is here pursued in making the
sugar that we have already described, only that a large proportion of
the labor is performed by the men and boys, the women participating in
the employment more for the purpose of carefully packing away the sugar
when made, and having a little romantic sport in the way of eating hot
sugar in the aisles of the church-like forest. The season of winter with
our Frenchman has been devoted almost exclusively to the pleasures of
life, and the making of sugar is the first and probably the only really
lucrative business which he ever transacts. By the term lucrative we
mean a business which allows him to lay aside a little spare money, for,
generally speaking (like the class to which he belongs in the
north-west), he is perfectly satisfied if the agricultural products of
his small farm yield him a comfortable living. Maple sugar and maple
molasses are considered by our friend and his family as among their
greatest luxuries; and, while he makes a point of taking a goodly
quantity to market, he never fails to keep a plentiful supply of both
under his own roof. In transporting his sugar (as well as all other
marketable articles) to the neighboring town, he employs a rude
two-wheeled vehicle, made exclusively of wood, and drawn by a Canadian
pony. On his first visit to the town after the sugar season is ended, he
will be accompanied by his entire family, decked in their more tidy
garments; and, before his return home, you may be certain that the
Catholic priest, whose church he regularly attends, will receive a
handsome present of the newly-made sugar, with perhaps a small keg of
the delicious maple sirup or molasses. And thus does the Frenchman of
the frontier welcome the return of spring.

But we have spent some pleasant days in the sugar camps of the Dutch
yeomanry on the eastern and southern side of the Catskill Mountains, and
we must not omit to pay our respects to them. The very best of sugar is
made in this region, and much of it into solid cakes of various sizes,
from one pound to twenty. It is manufactured here both for home
consumption and the market, and the price which it has usually commanded
during the last ten years has been about one York shilling per pound.
The labor in this region is about equally divided between the women and
the men, and considerable attention is devoted to the cultivation of the
maple-tree. In cooling their sugar, or rather in performing the business
called “sugaring off,” the Dutch employ immense wrought-iron pans, which
are undoubtedly a great improvement upon the Indian and French fashions,
which are simply no fashions at all, since the kettle employed to boil
the sugar are used to cool it off.

But the Dutch of whom we are speaking, those especially who are more
wealthy than their neighbors, have a very sensible mode of winding up
their sugar-making labors by giving what they term a “_Sugar-bee_,” or
party. The elements which go to make up one of these rustic
entertainments it would be difficult to describe. We may mention,
however, that everybody is invited, old men and their wives, young men
and maidens; that the principal recreation is that of dancing to the
music of a fiddle; that a most sumptuous and excessively miscellaneous
feast is spread before the multitude; that the people assemble in the
afternoon, and generally succeed in getting home an hour or two _after_
the break of day. That an abundance of maple sugar is met with on these
occasions will be readily imagined, and we may add that, in those
districts where temperance societies are unpopular, the sugar is taken
considerably adulterated in whisky.

The last sugar-bee to which we ever had the pleasure of being invited,
while once sojourning among the Catskills, was given by an old Dutchman
who resided on the side of a mountain, some _ten_ miles from our
temporary abode. We started for his house about sundown, in a large
lumber-wagon, which was packed by no less than eight buxom damsels and
four young men besides ourself. Although when stepping into the wagon we
were a perfect stranger to nearly all the party, we were received as an
old friend. The damsels were in high glee; we had a reckless driver and
a span of capital horses, and of course the young men were not at all
backwards in their deportment. The first five miles of the road was very
good, and, as we rattled along, the songs, uncouth and shrill, which
were sung awakened many a mountain echo. But while all this was going
on, and other things which we have not time to mention, the sky became
overcast, and in a short time it began to rain, and a most intense
darkness settled upon the world. Our driver became bewildered, and the
first that _we_ knew was that _he_ had lost the road, and that our
horses had halted directly in front of a huge stump. Having thus
unexpectedly been brought to a stand, the male members of the party
proceeded to reconnoitre, and one of them fortunately discovered a light
at the distance of half a mile. Towards this light did the entire party
direct their march, and about twelve o’clock succeeded in reaching a
log-cabin, which was inhabited by an old hunter; and as the guests of
this man did the party, in a very disagreeable mood, spend the remainder
of the night. Long before the mists had left the valleys on the
following morning, the party had worked its way out of the woods, and
for a week afterwards we were frequently complimented for the important
part that we had taken in the last _sugar-bee_.

We cannot conclude this article without remarking that maple sugar of
rare quality is manufactured in the States of Vermont, New Hampshire,
and Maine; but as we have never visited that section of the Union in the
spring we cannot, from personal observation, speak of the New England
sugar camps. That the maple sugar usually offered for sale in the Boston
and New York markets is chiefly brought from this section of country we
know to be a fact, and it is one which forcibly illustrates the true
idea of Yankee enterprise.

P. S.—Since writing the above, we have had the pleasure of reading an
interesting description of _a maple sugar camp_, by the eminent
ornithologist Mr. Audubon, from which we gather the following
particulars, viz., that the juice of the sugar maple was to him a most
refreshing and delicious beverage; that it takes ten gallons of this
juice to make one pound of grained sugar; that the best of the sirup is
made at the close of the sugar season; and that the sugar maple is found
in abundance from Maine to Louisiana, invariably growing on rich and
elevated grounds.

                            THE OLD ACADEMY.

  “I feel like one who treads alone
  Some banquet hall deserted.”

The iron bolted-door swings and creaks upon its hinges, and we are
standing within the dilapidated walls of “the old academy.” Fifteen
years have elapsed since we last stood here, a wild and happy
school-boy. Then, this building was the chief attraction of a little
village, which was made up of a pretty church, one old store and
post-office, and a cluster of some twenty rural dwellings, situated on a
broad street, canopied with venerable elms. In coming up here this
afternoon, we noticed that the various woodlands on the surrounding
hills were much narrowed by the farmer’s axe, and we thought of the
armies of men which time is continually leveling with the earth. Near a
large pool in which we were wont to bathe many years ago, now stands a
railroad depot, where locomotive engines do congregate, to enjoy a brief
rest from their labors. Upon the walls of the old academy there seemed
to be brooding the spirit of desolation, and we approached it with a
heavy heart.

What a throng of recollections is rushing upon us as our footsteps now
echo in the silent and abandoned place! The past appears before us like
an open and familiar volume.

Here we are in the vestibule, where we scholars used to hang our caps
and coats, and which we remember as the scene of many a scrape and
scuffle between hot-headed and unfledged lawyers, doctors and divines!
Oh, how real does everything appear! We could almost believe that not
even a week had elapsed since our own loud laugh resounded here, when
our heart knew not the burden of a care. There is the same old rent in
the ceiling, which was made by a stroke of lightning, during a severe
storm, when the whole school were pale and breathless with mortal fear;
and yonder is the identical peg which Billy Langdon, “the bully,” tried
to usurp from us, and whom it was our good luck to punish with a
flogging, thereby securing to ourself a reputation for possessing
genuine courage. Since then, we have been a dweller in the wilderness
and pent-up city, and have ever found courage to be a valuable quality
in our intercourse with men. But a man may have a stout heart and yet be
poor, unloved and unknown.

With timid footsteps we move along, peering into each nook and corner
with curious eye. The threshold of another door is passed and we are in
the large general school-room, with its rows of desks for the boys, and
the platform with the large old-fashioned chair in the centre for the
master. There, upon the floor, lies a tattered copy of Virgil, another
of Euclid, a few leaves out of the National Preceptor, and a chapter or
two of Murray’s Grammar. Having fulfilled their office, they have been
thrown aside as of no farther avail, even as some of the _noble-hearted_
in the world are wont to treat their most faithful friends. Here, at our
side, resting upon its shattered frame, stands the identical globe over
which we once pondered with a wondering heart. It is covered with dust,
through which we can just discover that the uppermost country is
England. True, England is indeed without a rival in her glory, but is
there not a stain of something resting upon her domain? Look at the
condition of her people, who are sorely oppressed by the mean ambition
of her aristocracy.—But to return. How neglected and lonely is this
place! The dust upon the floor is so thick that our footsteps are as
distinctly visible as when we walk upon the snow. A sunbeam stealing
through a western window points us to the wall where hangs the old
forsaken clock. Its song of “Passing away” is ended, and has been for
many a year; but the language of its familiar countenance seems to be,
“They are all gone, the pleasant, old familiar faces!” Yes, they are
gone—but where? We know not the destiny of a single one. The hour-hand
is resting upon the figure four, the hour of all others which we boys
loved. Stop, did we not see the waving hand of our master, and hear the
bustle of dismission? Yes, we have caught our cap—we are the first one
out. Now listen to the loud, clear, hearty shout of half a hundred
boys.—’Tis only the vision of a heated brain, and we are sitting once
again at the same desk and in the same seat which were ours fifteen
years ago. Here is the same fantastic ink-blot which we made when we
indited our first and only poem to the eyebrows of a charming little
girl, with whom we fancied ourself in love; and there is the same square
cavity in the desk, which we cut with our knife, and where we used to
imprison the innocent flies, which remembered fact is a memorial of our
rare genius. But look! are we not a trespasser? for here cometh an
ancient-looking spider with vengeance in his very gait. In moving out of
his way, we notice that his gossamer hammock is in prime order. How like
a nabob liveth that old spider! Around his home, we see the carcasses of
a hundred insects that have afforded him food; he is monarch of all he
surveys; and if he desires to become a traveler, he has but to leap upon
the slender threads leading to the remotest corners of the room, which
are to him safer and better than a railroad. This seat, which hath been
inherited from us by a poor solitary spider, we now look upon perhaps
for the last time. But we cannot take our final leave without dwelling
upon one incident with which it is associated. That is the spot where we
plead our cause, when once arraigned by the masters of the academy for
having been the ringleader of a conspiracy. It was the third day of
July, and on dismissing the school, our master had informed us that we
must celebrate the memorable Fourth by _attending school_. Surprise, and
a shadow of disappointment fell upon every countenance, and we sought
our respective rooms murmuring. That evening our marbles and balls were
idle. At my suggestion, the wink was tipt to a chosen band of patriots.
We met, and after discussing the outrageous conduct of our principal,
unanimously resolved that we would spend the following day at the
neighboring village of Brooklyn, where we knew there was to be a
celebration. We went, had a glorious walk, saw revolutionary soldiers,
enjoyed a sumptuous dinner, heard a smart oration, fired unnumbered
cannon, saw lots of pretty girls, and were at home again a little after
sunset. On the following morning, the patriots were changed into a band
of culprits, standing before our compeers to be tried, condemned and
punished. Having been proved to be the leader, we are the chief speaker,
and, in our boyish estimation, “defender of the constitution.” Then it
was, and in the seat already mentioned, that we delivered our maiden
speech. It was a powerful appeal, no doubt, but was of no avail. We were
condemned, and our punishment was, to be expelled. The next day,
however, the whole of us were readmitted as regular members, and thus
ended the affair of our impeachment.

Walking in this room and thinking upon this incident has brought before
us a troop of shadows, that have once had a material existence. Our
principal was one H——, who had thin lips, a sharp nose, gray eyes, and a
cold heart. He was a good schoolmaster, but nothing more. He knew not
what it was to be loved, for he could not sympathize with a single one
of his pupils. He seldom smiled, and when he did it seemed to be against
his nature. He was a most cruel man, as a scar upon my poor back might
testify even now. What has become of him we know not, but if he be among
the living, we are sure he is a solitary being and a misanthrope. His
assistant, named W——, we distinctly remember as the ugliest-looking man
we ever saw; but he was a good-hearted soul, and merited the friendly
feelings which were lavished upon him so abundantly. When we last heard
of him he was a much respected and well-established clergyman. And so it
is that time works its changes.

Dearly do we love the memory of our school-fellows! Charley Snow was a
rattle-headed southerner, who hated books, loved a frolic, and spent his
money, of which he had an abundance, like water. The poet of our academy
was Edward Hunt, the son of a poor woman and a widow, who lived upon a
neighboring farm. He was a beautiful boy, fond of being alone, and when
with his playmates shy as a captured deer. All the manual labor of his
home he performed himself, and yet he had but few superiors as a
student. More than half of his time was spent with his mother, and for
that reason my heart ever yearned towards the noble boy. Our
metaphysical philosopher was one Henry Clare, who had been made
decidedly mad by too much learning. A splendid landscape or a brilliant
sunset he could not understand, but over a piece of gray stone, a homely
little insect or a leaf of sorrel, he would be in perfect raptures. But
the youth who exerted the most salutary influence upon us was William
Vane, whom his Maker had formed a cripple, but gifted with a superb
intellect and the disposition of an angel. How kindly did he endeavor to
cheer up those boys who came out of school with blistered hands, or were
suffering with other troubles! Seldom did we ever hear an oath in the
presence of William Vane, for few could endure his manly frown and
reprimand. Many a soul will enjoy, or is enjoying a happy immortality on
account of that unfortunate—no, that thrice-blessed youth, for from very
childhood he was a Christian. One queer fellow that we had with us was
Joe Leroy. He thought more of performing an odd caper than of anything
else; but his particular passion was for athletic feats, such as
climbing, running, and jumping. Once, with the aid of a rope, we saw him
ascend one side of the academy building, pass over the roof, and descend
upon the opposite side. He could outrun the whole of us, and in the
department of jumping he was equal to a kangaroo. Jack Harmer was
another lad to whom books were a terror. He longed to be a sailor, and
devoted all his leisure time to sailing a little brig on a sheet of
water in a meadow, two hundred feet wide. And so we could go on for
hours, mentioning the names of those who were the playmates of our later
boyhood. Where they are, and what their destiny, we cannot tell. That
our own name has long since been forgotten by them we do not doubt. Is
it not foolish, then, to cherish their memories in our heart as we do?
No, for they are linked with a portion of the past that we would have
immortal—the spring of our existence. The power of recalling the sunny
hours of life, we would not part with for the world; next to our dreams
of heaven, do we value the dreams of our early days. But like a weaver’s
shuttle is our life, and it were unwise for us to forget the future in
thinking of the past. If we are permitted to live, how soon will our
body be like this crumbling edifice, in whose deserted chambers we are
now a pilgrim. Years ago we came here to school our mind; now, we are a
teacher ourself, and of ourself too, but a very poor one, for we cannot
rule the unruly passions of our heart. Our only hope is in the fountain
filled with blood.

But if we remember rightly, there is a room in this old building that we
have not yet visited. Yes, here is the narrow stairway that led to the
Exhibition Hall in the second story. Cautiously we enter it; but here
also has the spirit of desolation a home. On these mutilated seats once
thronged thousands of spectators; and yonder is the platform where the
youthful orators were wont to “speak in public on the stage.” The only
breathing creature that meets our eye is a little mouse running to his
hole, almost frightened to death by our appearance. When last we stood
in this place, thousands of human hearts beat happily, for parents
listened to the eloquence of their children, and those children gloried
in the realization of their long-cherished hopes. How vivid are our
recollections of that exhibition day! It concluded an exile of three
years from our far distant home in the wilds of Michigan. The period of
return our heart panted after continually, for we were away from the
home of boyhood, from a mother, a father, and sisters; and though we
often visited, and were under the care of kindred, we felt ourself to be
alone and companionless. And with that day, too, are associated events
that flattered our youthful ambition; and though we know them to be idle
as a tale that is told, we cannot but cherish the memory of that day
even for them. But with our last day at school are associated some
clouds and shadows, the most prominent of which were our leave-takings
with our schoolfellows. We parted for our widely separated homes, and
where we all are, or what is our present condition are things known only
to the Father of the world.—It is well—it is well. “Our sorrow voices
itself to the stranger many; and all that in other days were gladdened
by our song—if still living—stray scattered through the world.” It is

But the hours of day are almost numbered, and it is time for us to be
gone; and besides the glow upon yonder window tells us that “the sun
hath made a glorious set,” and that we should improve the hour to the
gratification of our passion for the poetry of the sky. A few moments
more, and we are on the green in front of the Old Academy. Forgetful of
the unnumbered feelings it has inspired and the pictures it has
recalled, we are wending our way to the home of a kind friend, wholly
absorbed with the gorgeous appearance of the western sky and the solemn
twilight by which we are surrounded. The hour is one that we have ever
dearly loved, for it is the sabbath of the day, when a solemn stillness
is around, and an unutterable joy is wont to take possession of the


Upwards of two hundred years ago the long peninsula, now divided into
the counties of Accomac and Northamptom, in Virginia, was known by the
Indian name of _Acohawmack_. An extensive tribe of aborigines who
occupied the country bore the same title, and the meaning of the word is
said to be _People who live upon shell fish_. Next to a scanty record
embodied in Captain Smith’s History of Virginia, the earliest printed
account of this region may be found at the conclusion of a pamphlet
written by one Colonel Norwood, of England, wherein he describes “_A
Voyage to Virginia in 1649_.” At the conclusion of his perilous voyage
across the Atlantic, it was the author’s misfortune to be wrecked upon
one of the islands on the eastern shore of Accomac, and that, too, in
the stormy month of January. To comment upon Norwood’s well written and
very interesting pamphlet is not now our object; but we will remark, in
passing, that this document, taken in connection with the county records
of the peninsula, which extend as far back as the year 1632, and also
with the ancient graveyards of the region, would furnish material for an
exceedingly valuable and entertaining volume, and we are surprised that
some enterprising antiquarian of Virginia has not, long before this,
taken the matter in hand. It is our province to speak of _Accomac_ (by
which we mean the ancient dominion known by that name) as it appears to
the traveler of the present day.

What the distance may be from Washington to the northern line of Accomac
we cannot imagine, but we know that if the morning cars to Baltimore are
punctual, and you are fortunate enough to meet the Whitehaven steamboat
at Baltimore at 8 o’clock, you may enjoy your next breakfast at
Horntown, a few miles south of the Maryland line, and within the limits
of Accomac. On board of the steamer which brought us down the bay, there
was rather a scarcity of passengers but among them were some intelligent
gentlemen, from one of whom we gathered the following items of
information. The entire length of Chesapeake Bay, from Havre de Grace to
Norfolk, is two hundred miles; in width it varies from five to
twenty-six miles, and in depth from four to twenty-four fathoms. Its
shores are low and level, with occasional bluffs, however, and its
waters clear and of a greenish hue. It contains a great number of
islands, some of which are exceedingly fertile, but destitute of all
picturesque beauty. During the autumn and winter its shallower waters
are filled with almost every variety of waterfowl; it is said to yield a
larger quantity of oysters than any other section of the globe of the
same size; and it is also famous for the abundance and quality of its
shad, striped basse or rock-fish, its drum, sheepshead, and a species of
sea-trout. On approaching the Wicomoco river, an island of one thousand
acres was pointed out to us called Bloodsworth Island, which is the
property of two men, who reside upon their domain, a pair of veritable
hermits, who live upon fish and waterfowl instead of cultivating their
soil. Our attention was also directed to a neighboring island, which
seemed to be in a state of high cultivation, and we were told that the
owner thereof had refused the handsome price of one hundred dollars per
acre for the entire island. With regard to Deal’s Island and Dames
Quarter, in this vicinity of the bay, we heard the following anecdote.
The _original_ name of the first was “Devil’s Island,” and that of the
second “Damned Quarter,” as any one may see by referring to some of the
older maps. Once upon a time, as the story goes, a Connecticut skipper
in his smack chanced to make his course up the Chesapeake, and as he was
a stranger in this region, he hailed nearly every vessel or boat he met
with a lot of questions. “What island is that?” inquired the Yankee of a
downward bound brig. “_Devil’s Island_,” was the brief reply; whereupon
the stranger’s conscience was a little disturbed. About an hour
afterwards “What island is that?” again vociferated the skipper; and a
Chesapeake fisherman replied, “_Damned Quarter_.” At this intelligence,
the Yankee was so much alarmed that he immediately made a sudden tack,
and with his helm “hard up” started for the outlet of the bay, and was
never heard of more in southern waters.

The peninsula of Accomac, as nearly as we can ascertain, varies in width
from eight to twelve miles, and is not far from seventy miles long.
Generally speaking, it is almost as level as the sea, the highest ground
not attaining a greater elevation than some twenty feet. The soil is of
a sandy character, and the forests, which are quite extensive, are
composed chiefly of pine and oak. The country is almost entirely
destitute of running streams, and nearly all the inlets, especially on
the bay side, are lined with extensive marshes, where snakes turtles,
and lizards are particularly abundant. Along the sea side of Accomac lie
a successions of sandy islands, which render the navigation dangerous,
and between which and the main shore the water is shallow and far from
clear. Two of the above islands, Assateague and Chingoteague, are
inhabited by a peculiar people, of whom I shall have something to say in
another place. The only villages in this district, properly so called,
are Drummontown and Eastville; they are the county seats, and though
bearing an ancient appearance, they contain some good houses, and are
well worth visiting. You can hardly travel eight miles in any direction
without coming to a post-office, which glories in a village name, and
therefore appears on paper to much better advantage than in reality. In
some parts of the country, we frequently noticed houses which seemed to
have been abandoned by their owners, as if the soil in the vicinity had
been completely worn out, and could not be profitably cultivated. These
household ruins, together with the apparent want of enterprise which one
notices everywhere, conspire to throw a gloom over the traveler’s mind,
thereby preventing him, perhaps, from fully appreciating the happiness
which really prevails among the people. And these (as is the case, in
fact, with every nook and corner of the world) constitute the principal
attraction of Accomac; for man by nature is a lover of his kind, and “we
have all one human heart by which we live.”

If we were called upon to classify the Accomacians, we would divide them
into the gentry, the miscellaneous fraternity, and the slave population.
The gentry are a comparatively small class, but the principal
landholders of the district. They come of good old English families, and
are highly intelligent and well educated. The houses they occupy are
homely in appearance, but well supplied with all the substantials that
can add to the pleasures of country life. They seem to think more of
comfort than display, and are distinguished for their hospitality to
strangers. The miscellaneous fraternity to which we have alluded is more
extensive. A very large proportion of them obtain their living from the
sea, annually bringing up from its bed an immense quantity of oysters
and clams, which they sell to the fishermen of Philadelphia and New
York; but these fishermen not only send to market large numbers of fish,
but during the winter and autumn months they make a good deal of money
by killing waterfowl, which abound on all the shores of the peninsula.
The more legitimate fishermen of Accomac, who number between thirty and
forty voters, reside on the neighboring islands of Chingoteague and
Assateague. They are an exceedingly hardy, rude, and simple-hearted
race, and a little more at home on the water than on the land. The
dangers to which they wilfully expose themselves are truly astonishing,
and almost lead one to suppose that they are web-footed. We have been
told of one individual who, for the want of a boat, once swam a distance
of three miles in midwinter merely for the purpose of examining the
wreck of a brig which had been abandoned by its owners; and we have
heard of others who had been upset at sea, a distance of ten miles from
shore, but who have regained their mother earth with the ease and
carelessness of wild geese. In the miscellaneous fraternity may also be
included the mechanics of the country, and all such people as
stage-drivers, dram-shop keepers, peddlers, and other kindred birds.

The slave population of this district is decidedly the most extensive,
and, if we are to judge by their general deportment and by what they
say, they are undoubtedly by far the happiest class on the peninsula. We
questioned them occasionally with regard to what we have been educated
to look upon as a hard lot, but we never saw but one individual who
succeeded in rousing our sympathies, and before he finished talking to
us we discovered that he was a scamp of the first water, and therefore
not worthy of credit. Every negro in this section of country has the
evening hours to himself, as well as the entire Sabbath, and, instead of
being “lashed” into obedience, is constantly treated with the utmost
kindness. Many of them, who choose to labor for themselves, have free
permission to follow any employment they please; and we know of several
individuals who earn thirty dollars per month by voluntary labor, and
whose services are valued by their masters at only ten or fifteen
dollars; so that the servant pockets fifty per cent. of his monthly
earnings. But what proves more conclusively than anything else that the
black man’s bondage is not unbearable, is the fact that they are the
most moral and religious people of the country. They are, at the same
time, the most polite and the most kindly spoken people that we have met
with in our wanderings; and we verily believe that they would not break
the imaginary chain which now binds them to their masters. We confess
that we have a natural repugnance to the word _bondage_, but our dread
of a mere idea cannot make us deaf to the eloquence of what we have
_seen_. It is true that our experience has not been extensive, but we
cannot see that the slaves so called of this region are any more to be
pitied than the children of any careful and affectionate parent. A
goodly number of the blacks in this region are free; and we know of one
individual who is not only free, but the owner of no less than three

And now, with regard to those traits which the Accomacians possess in
common. In religion they are Methodists and Baptists, and in politics
they belong to the rank and file of the unterrified Democracy. Those who
are at all educated are highly educated; but of the twenty-five thousand
souls who inhabit the peninsula, we suppose that not more than one
thousand could distinguish the difference between the English and the
Chippewa alphabet. In the two counties of Accomac and Northamptom, the
idea of even a weekly newspaper was never dreamed of. The people are
fond of amusements, which consist principally of dancing and
card-playing parties, and the Saturday of each week is usually
appropriated as a holiday. Any event which can bring together a crowd is
gladly welcomed, so that court days, training days, election days, the
Fourth of July, Christimas day, New Year’s day, and Thanksgiving day are
among the white days of the unwritten calendar of the Accomacians. The
roads of the country are all by nature very good, and the people
exceedingly fond of going through the world as pleasantly as possible;
so that each man who can own a horse is sure of owning a gig, and many
of them are particularly unique and tottleish, something like a
scow-boat in a gale of wind.

But the crowning peculiarity of this nook of the great world has
reference to the custom of raising and taming wild horses. Like
everything poetical connected with the habits of our people, this custom
is rapidly becoming obsolete, and will soon be remembered merely as an
idle and romantic tale. The very idea of having to do with wild horses
excited our fancy the very moment we heard the custom alluded to; and we
made every effort to collect reliable information upon it, as it existed
half a century ago. As good fortune would have it, we found out an
intelligent and venerable gentleman, who supplied us with many
interesting particulars. The “oldest inhabitant” to whom we allude is
the Rev. David Watts, of Horntown, who is now in the 82d year of his
age, and the substance of his information is as follows:—

In the Atlantic Ocean, off the north-eastern shore of Accomac, lies a
long and sandy island known by the name of Assateague. The distance from
one extremity to the other is perhaps ten miles, and in reaching it you
have to cross a bay that is perhaps eight miles wide. At the present
time, there are only four families residing upon the island, one of them
having charge of the lighthouse, the remaining three being devoted to
the fishing business. From time immemorial it has been famous for its
luxuriant grass, and from the period of the Revolution down to the year
1800 supplied an immense number of wild horses with food. When these
animals were first introduced upon the island has not been ascertained,
but it is said that they were the most abundant about half a century
ago. At that period there was a kind of stock company in existence,
composed principally of the wealthier planters residing on the main
shore. The animals were of the pony breed, but generally beautifully
formed and very fleet; of a deep black color, and with remarkably long
tails and manes. They lived and multiplied upon the island without the
least care from the hand of man, and, though feeding entirely on the
grass of the salt meadows, they were in good condition throughout the
year. They were employed by their owners, to a considerable extent, for
purposes of agriculture, but the finer specimens were kept or disposed
of as pets for the use of ladies and children. The prices which they
commanded on the island varied from ten to twenty dollars, but by the
time a handsome animal could reach New York or New Orleans, he was
likely to command one hundred and fifty or two hundred dollars.

But by far the most interesting circumstance connected with the wild
horses of Assateague had reference to the annual festival of penning the
animals, for the purpose, not only of bringing them under subjection,
but of selling them to any who might desire to purchase. The day in
question was the 10th of June, on which occasion there was always an
immense concourse of people assembled on the island from all parts of
the surrounding country; not only men, but women and children; planters
who came to make money, strangers who wished to purchase a beautiful
animal for a present, together with the grooms or horse-tamers, who were
noted at the time for their wonderful feats of horsemanship. But a large
proportion of the multitude came together for the purpose of having a
regular frolic; and feasting and dancing were carried on to a great
extent, and that too upon the open sandy shore of the ocean, the people
being exposed during the day to the scorching sunshine, and the scene
being enlivened at night by immense bonfires, made of wrecked vessels or
drift wood, and the light of the moon and stars. The staple business of
these anniversaries, however, was to tame and brand the horses; but to
give an account of all the particulars attending these exciting scenes
would require more time than I can spare at the present moment. Suffice
it to say that the horses were usually cornered in a pen, perhaps a
hundred at a time, when, in the presence of the immense concourse of
people, the tamers would rush into the midst of the herd, and not only
noose and halter the wild and untamed creatures, but, mounting them, at
times even without a bridle, would rush from the pen and perform a
thousand fantastic and daring feats upon the sand. Few, if any, of these
horsemen were ever killed or wounded while performing these exploits,
though it is said that they frequently came in such close contact with
the horses as to be compelled to wrestle with them, as man with man.
But, what was still more remarkable, these men were never known to fail
in completely subduing the horses they attempted to tame; and it was
often the case that an animal which was as wild as a hawk in the morning
could be safely ridden by a child at the sunset hour. But enough, until
some future day, on this interesting theme.

                            SALMON FISHING.

  I like the society of fish, and as they cannot with any convenience to
  themselves visit me on dry land, it becomes me in point of courtesy to
  pay my respects to them in their own element.
                                                         William Scrope.

Of the genuine salmon, we believe there is but one distinct species in
the world; we are sure there is not in the United States. From its lithe
beauty, its wonderful activity, and its value as an article of food, it
unquestionably takes precedence of all the fish which swim in our
waters. It is an ocean-born fish, but so constituted that it has to
perform an annual pilgrimage into our fresh-water rivers for the purpose
of depositing its spawn. Their running time usually occupies about two
months, and that is the period when they are in season, and of course
the only period when they are taken in great numbers.

The variety of which we speak is a slender fish, particularly solid in
texture, and has a small head and delicate fins. The upper jaw is the
larger, while the tip of the under jaw in the female has an upward turn.
The back is usually of a bluish color, the sides of a silvery hue, and
the belly pure white, while along the centre of its body runs a narrow
black stripe. The scales are small, and the mouth is covered with small,
but stout and pointed teeth. A few dark spots are dispersed over that
part of the body above the lateral line, and the females usually exhibit
a larger number of these spots than the males. The tail of the young
salmon is commonly forked, while in the adult fish it is quite square.
To speak of the salmon as a bold biter and a handsome fish, or of his
wonderful leaping powers, would be but to repeat a thrice-told tale.

And now for a few words on some of the habits of the salmon. He is
unquestionably the most active of all the finny tribes, but the
wonderful leaps which he is reported to have made are all moonshine. We
have seen them perform some superb somersets, but we never yet saw one
which could scale a perpendicular waterfall of ten feet. That they have
been taken above waterfalls three or four times as high we do not deny;
but the wonder may be dispensed with, when we remember that a waterfall
seldom occurs, which does not contain a number of resting-places for the
salmon to take advantage of while on his upward journey.

Contrary to the prevailing opinion, we contend that the salmon is
possessed of a short memory. While fishing in a small river on a certain
occasion, owing to the bad position in which we were placed, we lost a
favorite fly, and it so happened that in about one hour afterwards a
fish was taken by a brother angler, in whose mouth was found the
identical fly that we had lost.

This fish is a voracious feeder, and an epicure in his tastes, for his
food is composed principally of small and delicate fish, and the
sea-sand eel; but it is a fact that the _surest_ bait to capture him
with is the common red worm.

The salmon is a shy fish, and as he invariably inhabits the clearest of
water, it is always important that the angler’s movements should be
particularly cautious; and in throwing the fly, he should throw it clear
across the stream, if possible; and after letting it float down for a
few yards he should gradually draw it back again, with an upward

Like all other fish that swim near the surface of the water, the salmon
cannot be eaten in too fresh a condition; and, judging from our own
experience, they may be eaten three times a-day, for a whole season, and
at the end of their running time they will gratify the palate more
effectually than when first brought upon the table.

The process of spawning has been described by various writers, and the
general conclusion is as follows. On reaching a suitable spot for that
purpose, the loving pair manage to dig a furrow some six feet long, in
the sand or gravel, into which the male ejects his milt, and the female
her spawn; this they cover with their tails, and leaving this deposit to
the tender mercies of the liquid elements, betake themselves to the sea
whence they came. This spawning operation usually occupies about ten
days, and takes place in the autumn; and when the spring-time comes the
salmon are born, and, under “their Creator’s protection,” are swept into
the sea, where they come to their natural estate by the following
spring, and ascend their native rivers to revisit the haunts of their
minnowhood. And it is a singular fact, that the salmon leaves the sea in
an emaciated condition, acquires his fatness while going up a river, and
subsequently returns to the sea for the purpose of recruiting his wonted
health and beauty.

The salmon is a restless fish, and seldom found a second time in exactly
the same spot; but his principal traveling time is in the night, when
the stars are shining brightly and all the world is wrapt in silence.

The salmon come up from the sea during a flood or a freshet, and in
ascending a river, they invariably tarry for a short time in all the
pools of the same. Their object in doing this has not been clearly
defined; but is it unreasonable to suppose that they are influenced by
the same motives which induce a human traveler to tarry in a pleasant
valley? The only difference is, that when the man would resume his
journey he waits for a sunny day, while the salmon prefers a rainy day
to start upon his pilgrimage. The best places to fish for salmon are the
shallows above the deep pools; and it is a settled fact, that after you
have killed a fish, you are always sure to find in the course of a few
hours another individual in the same place. It would thus seem that they
are partial to certain localities. Another thing that should be
remembered is, that salmon never take the natural fly while it is in a
stationary position, or when floating down stream; hence the great
importance of carrying the artificial fly directly across the stream, or
in an upward oblique direction. When you have hooked a salmon, it is a
bad plan to strain upon him in any degree, unless he is swimming towards
a dangerous ground, and even then this is an unsafe experiment. The
better plan is to throw a pebble in front of him, for the purpose of
frightening him back, and you should manage to keep as near his royal
person as practicable. Another peculiarity of the salmon is the fact
that (excepting the shad) it is the only fish which seems to be
perfectly at home in the salt sea, as well as in the fresh springs among
the mountains. It is also singular in the color of its flesh, which is a
deep pink, and the texture of its flesh is remarkably solid: the latter
circumstance is proved by the fact that you cannot carry a salmon by the
gills, as you can other fish, without tearing and mutilating him to an
uncommon degree.

In olden times there was hardly a river on the eastern coast of the
United States, north of Virginia, which was not annually visited by the
salmon; but those days are for ever departed, and it is but seldom that
we now hear of their being taken in any river south of Boston. They
frequented, in considerable numbers, the Susquehanna, the Delaware, and
North rivers, but were eminently abundant in the Connecticut and the
Thames. On the former stream it used to be stipulated by the
day-laborer, that he should have salmon placed upon his table only four
times in the week; and we have been told by an old man residing on the
latter stream, that the value of three salmon, forty years ago, was
equal to one shad—the former were so much more abundant than the latter.
But steamboats, and the din of cities, have long since frightened the
salmon from their ancient haunts, and the beautiful aborigines of our
rivers now seek for undisturbed homes in more northern waters. Once in a
while, even at the present time, the shad fishermen of the Merrimac and
Saco succeed in netting a small salmon; but in the Androscoggin,
Kennebec, and Penobscot, they are yet somewhat abundant, and these are
the rivers which chiefly supply our city markets with the fresh article.

As the ice melts away in the spring, says Dr. J. V. C. Smith, in his
interesting little book on the Fishes of Massachusetts, they rush to the
rivers from the ocean; and it is an undeniable fact, confirmed by
successful experiments, that they visit, as far as possible, the very
streams in which they were born. When undisturbed, they swim slowly in
large schools near the surface; yet they are so timid, that if suddenly
frightened, the whole column will turn directly back towards the sea. It
has also been proven that a salmon can scud at the surprising velocity
of thirty miles an hour. The young are about a foot long when they visit
the rivers for the first time; and at the end of two years, according to
Mr. Smith, they weigh five or six pounds, and attain their full growth
in about six years. When running up the rivers they are in a fat
condition; after that period, having deposited their spawn, they return
to the sea, lean and emaciated. In extremely warm weather, and while yet
in the salt water, they are often greatly annoyed by a black and
flat-looking insect, which is apt to endanger their lives. As soon,
however, as the salmon reaches the fresh water, this insect drops off,
and the fish rapidly improves.

The streams which these fish ascend are invariably distinguished for
their rocky and gravelly bottoms, for the coldness and purity of their
water, and for their rapid currents. Those which afford the angler the
most sport, are rather small and shallow, and empty into tide-water
rivers; while in these they are chiefly taken with the net. The
tributaries of the Androscoggin, Kennebec, and Penobscot, having all
been blocked up with mill-dams, the salmon is only found in the
principal estuaries; and as these are large and deep, they are of no
value to the angler, and will not be many years longer even to the
fishermen who capture them for the purpose of making money. So far as
our own experience goes, we only know of one river, within the limits of
the Union, which affords the angler good salmon fishing, and that is the
Aroostook, in Maine. We have been informed, however, that the regular
salmon is taken in many of those rivers, in the northern part of New
York, which empty into Lake Ontario and the upper St. Lawrence, but we
are compelled to doubt the truth of the statement. Such may have been
the case in former times, but we think it is not so now. Salmon are not
taken at Montreal, and it is therefore unreasonable to suppose that they
ever reach the fountain-head of the St. Lawrence; this portion of the
great river is too far from the ocean, and too extensively navigated,
and the water is not sufficiently clear. That they once ascended to the
Ottawa river and Lake Ontario we have not a doubt, but those were in the
times of the days of old. Another prevailing opinion with regard to
salmon, we have it in our power decidedly to contradict. Mr. John J.
Brown, in his useful little book entitled the “American Angler’s Guide,”
makes the remark, that salmon are found in great abundance in the
Mississippi and its magnificent tributaries. Such is not the fact, and
we are sure that if “our brother” had ever caught a glimpse of the muddy
Mississippi, he would have known by intuition that such _could_ not be
the case. Nor is the salmon partial to any of the rivers of the far
South, as many people suppose, not being known in any river emptying
into the Gulf of Mexico; so that the conclusion of the whole matter is
just this, that the salmon fisheries of the United States proper are of
but little consequence when compared with many other countries on the
globe. When we come to speak of our territories, however, we have a very
different story to relate, for a finer river for salmon does not water
any country than the mighty Columbia—that same Columbia where a certain
navigator once purchased a ton of salmon for a jack-knife. But that
river is somewhat too far off to expect an introduction in our present
essay, and we will therefore take our reader, by his permission, into
the neighboring Provinces of Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.

Before proceeding another step, however, we must insert a paragraph
about the various methods employed to capture the salmon. The Indians,
and many white barbarians, spear them by torch-light; and the thousands
sent to market in a smoked condition are taken in nets and seines of
various kinds. But the only instruments used by the scientific angler
are a rod and reel, three hundred feet of hair or silk line, and an
assortment of artificial flies. Our books tell us that a gaudy fly is
commonly the best killer, but our own experience inclines us to the
belief that a large brown or black hackle, or any neatly-made gray fly,
is much preferable to the finest fancy specimens. As to bait-fishing for
salmon, we have never tried it—we care less about it than we know, and
we know but precious little. Next to a delicately made fly, the most
important thing to consider is the leader of the line, which should be
made of the best material (a twisted gut), and at least five feet in
length. But if the angler is afraid of wading in a cold and even a deep
stream, the very best of tackle will avail him nothing. It is but seldom
that a large salmon can be taken, without costing the captor a good deal
of hard labor, and a number of duckings. And when the character of the
fish is remembered, this assertion will not appear strange. Not only is
the salmon a large fish, but he is remarkable for his strength and
lightning quickness. Owing to his extreme carefulness in meddling with
matters that may injure him, it is necessary to use the most delicate
tackle, in the most cautious and expert manner. To pull a salmon in
shore, immediately after he has been hooked, will never do; the expert
way is to give him all the line he wants, never forgetting in the mean
time that it must be kept perfectly taut. And this must be done
continually, in spite of every obstacle, not only when the fish performs
his splendid leaps out of the water, but also when he is stemming the
current of the stream, trying to break the naughty hook against a rock,
or when he has made a sudden wheel, and is gliding down the stream with
the swiftness of a falling star. The last effort to get away, which I
have mentioned, is usually the last that the salmon makes, and it is
therefore of the highest importance that the angler should manage him
correctly when going down. Narrow rifts, and even waterfalls, do not
stop the salmon; and bushes, deep holes, slippery bottoms, and rocky
shores must not impede the course of the angler who would secure a
prize. And though the salmon is a powerful fish, he is not long-winded,
and by his great impatience is apt to drown himself much sooner than one
would suppose. The times most favorable for taking this fish are early
in the morning and late in the afternoon; and when the angler reaches
his fishing ground, and discovers the salmon leaping out of the water,
as if too happy to remain quiet, he may then calculate upon rare sport.
As to the pleasure of capturing a fine salmon, we conceive it to be more
exquisite than any other sport in the world. We have killed a buffalo on
the head waters of the St. Peter’s river, but we had every advantage
over the pursued, for we rode a well-trained horse, and carried a
double-barreled gun. We have seen John Cheney bring to the earth a
mighty bull moose, among the Adirondac mountains, but he was assisted by
a pair of terrible dogs, and carried a heavy rifle. But neither of these
exploits is to be compared with that of capturing a twenty pound salmon,
with a line almost as fine as the flowing hair of a beautiful woman.
When we offer a fly to a salmon, we take no undue advantage of him, but
allow him to follow his own free will; and when he has hooked himself,
we give him permission to match his strength against our skill. Does not
this fact prove that salmon fishing is distinguished for its humanity,
if not for its _fishanity_? We have set in a cariole and driven a
Canadian pacer, at the rate of a mile in two minutes and a half, on the
icy plains of Lake Erie, and as we held the reins, have thought we could
not enjoy a more exquisite pleasure. That experience, however, was ours
long before we had ever seen a genuine salmon; we are somewhat wiser
now, for we have acquired the art of driving through the pure white foam
even a superb salmon, and that, too, with only a silken line some
hundred yards in length.

One of the most fruitful salmon regions for the angler to visit lies on
the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, between the Saguenay and
the North-west river in Labrador. A few years ago, however, there was
good fishing to be had in Mal Bay River, above the Saguenay, and also in
the Jacques Cartier, above Quebec, but good sport is seldom found in
either of those streams at the present time. But the principal
tributaries of the Saguenay itself (particularly the River St.
Margaret), afford the rarest of sport, even now. The streams of this
coast are rather small, but very numerous, and without a single
exception, we believe, are rapid, cold, and clear. They abound in
waterfalls, and though exceedingly wild, are usually quite convenient to
angle in, for the reason that the spring freshets are apt to leave a
gravelly margin on either side. The conveniences for getting to this
out-of-the-way region are somewhat rude, but quite comfortable and very
romantic. The angler has to go in a Quebec fishing smack, or if he is in
the habit of trusting to fortune when he gets into a scrape, he can
always obtain a passage down the St. Lawrence in a brig or ship, which
will land him at any stated point. If he goes in a smack, he can always
make use of her tiny cabin for his temporary home; but if he takes a
ship, after she has spread her sails for Europe, he will have to depend
upon the hospitality of the Esquimaux Indians. At the mouths of a few of
the streams alluded to, he may chance to find the newly-built cabin of a
lumberman, who will treat him with marked politeness; but he must not
lay the “flattering unction” to his soul that he will receive any
civilities from the agents of the Hudson’s Bay Company whom he may
happen to meet in that northern wilderness.

A large proportion of these streams run through an unknown mountain
land, and are yet nameless; so that we cannot designate the precise
localities where we have been particularly successful; and we might add
that the few which have been named by the Jesuit Missionaries can never
be remembered without a feeling of disgust. Not to attempt a pun, it can
safely be remarked that those names are decidedly _beastly_; for they
celebrate such creatures as the hog, the sheep, and the cow. The salmon
taken on this coast vary from ten to forty pounds, though the average
weight is perhaps fifteen pounds. They constitute an important article
of commerce, and it is sometimes the case that a single fisherman will
secure at least four hundred at one tide, in a single net. The cities of
Montreal and Quebec are supplied with fresh salmon from this portion of
the St. Lawrence, and the entire valley of that river, as well as
portions of the Union, are supplied with smoked salmon from the same
region. The rivers on the southern coast of the Gulf of St. Lawrence are
generally well supplied with salmon, but those streams are few and far
between, and difficult of access. But a visit to any portion of this
great northern valley, during the pleasant summer time, is attended with
many interesting circumstances. Generally speaking, the scenery is
mountainous, and though the people are not very numerous, they are
somewhat unique in their manners and customs, and always take pleasure
in lavishing their attentions upon the stranger. The weeks that we spent
voyaging upon the St. Lawrence we always remember with unalloyed
pleasure; and if we thought that fortune would never again permit us to
revisit those delightful scenes, we should indeed be quite unhappy.

The most agreeable of our pilgrimages were performed in a small
sail-boat, commanded by an experienced and very intelligent pilot of
Tadousac, named Ovington, and our companions were Charles Pentland,
Esq., of Launce au Leau on the Saguenay, and George Price, Jr., Esq., of
Quebec. We had everything we wanted in the way of “creature comforts;”
and we went everywhere, saw everybody, caught lots of salmon, killed an
occasional seal, and tried to harpoon an occasional white porpoise; now
enjoying a glorious sunset, and then watching the stars and the strange
aurora, as we lay becalmed at midnight far out upon the deep; at one
time gazing with wonder upon a terrible storm, and then again happy,
fearless, and free, dashing over the billows before a stiff gale.

Some of the peculiar charms of fly-fishing in this region are owing to
the fact that you are not always sure of the genus of your fish even
after you have hooked him, for it may be a forty or a twenty pound
salmon, and then again it may be a salmon-trout or a four pound specimen
of the common trout. The consequence is, that the expectations of the
angler are always particularly excited. Another pleasure which might be
mentioned is derived from the queer antics and laughable yells of the
Indians, who are always hanging about your skirts for the express
purpose of making themselves merry over any mishap which may befall you.
The only drawback which we have found in fishing in these waters is
caused by the immense number of musquitoes and sand-flies. Every new
guest is received by them with particular and constant attention: their
only desire, by night or day, seems to be to gorge themselves to death
with the life-blood of those who “happen among them.” It actually makes
our blood run cold to think of the misery we endured from these winged

Even with the Gulf of St. Lawrence before our mind, we are disposed to
consider the Bay of Chaleur the most interesting salmon region in the
British Possessions. This estuary divides Lower Canada from New
Brunswick, and as the streams emptying into it are numerous and always
clear, they are resorted to by the salmon in great numbers. The scenery
of the bay is remarkably beautiful: the northern shore, being rugged and
mountainous, presents an agreeable contrast to the southern shore, which
is an extensive lowland, fertile, and somewhat cultivated. The principal
inhabitants of this region are Scotch farmers, and the simplicity of
their lives is only equaled by their hospitality; and upon this bay,
also, reside the few survivors of a once powerful aboriginal nation, the
Micmac Indians. But of all the rivers which empty into the Bay of
Chaleur, there is not one that can be compared to the Restigouche, which
is its principal tributary. It is a winding stream, unequal in width,
and after running through a hilly country, it forces its way through a
superb mountain gorge, and then begins to expand in width until it falls
into its parent bay. The scenery is beautiful beyond compare, the eye
being occasionally refreshed by the appearance of a neat farm, or a
little Indian hamlet. The river is particularly famous for its salmon,
which are very abundant and of a good size. But this is a region which
the anglers of our country or the Provinces, with two or three
exceptions, have not yet taken the trouble to visit, and many of the
resident inhabitants are not even aware of the fact that the salmon may
be taken with the fly. The regular fishermen catch them altogether with
the net, and the Indians with the spear; and it is a singular fact that
the Indians are already complaining of the whites for destroying their
fisheries, when it is known that a single individual will frequently
capture in a single day a hundred splendid fellows, and that, too, with
a spear of only one tine. It is reported of a Scotch clergyman who once
angled in “these parts,” that he killed three hundred salmon in one
season, and with a single rod and reel. A pilgrimage to the Restigouche
would afford the salmon fisher sufficient material to keep his thinkers
busy for at least one year. The angler and lover of scenery who could
spare a couple of months, would find it a glorious trip to go to the Bay
of Chaleur in a vessel around Nova Scotia, returning in a canoe by the
Restigouche, and the Spring River, which empties into the St. John. His
most tedious portage would be only about three miles long (a mere
nothing to the genuine angler), and soon after touching the latter river
he could ship himself on board of a steamboat, and come home in less
than a week, even if that home happened to be west of the Alleghany

Of all the large rivers of New Brunswick, we know not a single one which
will not afford the fly fisherman an abundance of sport. Foremost among
our favorites, we would mention the St. John, with the numerous
beautiful tributaries which come into it below the Great Falls, not
forgetting the magnificent pool below those falls, nor Salmon River and
the Aroostook. The scenery of this valley is charming beyond compare,
but the man who would spend a summer therein must have a remarkably long
purse, for the half-civilized Indians, and the less than half-civilized
white people, of the region, have a particular passion for imposing upon
travelers and charging them the most exorbitant prices for the simple
necessaries they may need. The salmon of the St. John are numerous, but
rather small, seldom weighing more than fifteen pounds. The fisheries of
the bay of Fundy, near the mouth of the St. John, constitute an
important interest, in a commercial point of view. The fishermen here
take the salmon with drag-nets, just before high water: the nets are
about sixty fathoms long, and require three or four boats to manage
them. The fish are all purchased, at this particular point, by one man,
at the rate of eighty cents a-piece, large and small, during the entire
season. The other New Brunswick rivers to which we have alluded are the
Mirimichi and the St. Croix; but as we have never angled in either, we
will leave them to their several reputations.

We now come to say a few words of Nova Scotia, which is not only famous
for its salmon, but also for its scientific anglers. In this province
the old English feeling for the “gentle art” is kept up, and we know of
fly fisherman there, a record of whose piscatorial exploits would have
overwhelmed even the renowned Walton and Davy with astonishment. The
rivers of Nova Scotia are quite numerous, and usually well supplied with
salmon. The great favorite among the Halifax anglers is Gold River, a
cold and beautiful stream, which is about sixty miles distant from that
city, in a westerly direction. The valley of the stream is somewhat
settled, and by a frugal and hard-working Swiss and German population,
who pitched their tents there in 1760. It is fifteen years since it was
discovered by a strolling angler, and at the present time there is
hardly a man residing on its banks who does not consider himself a
faithful disciple of Walton. Even among the Micmac Indians, who pay the
river an annual visit, may be occasionally found an expert fly fisher.
But, after all, Nova Scotia is not exactly the province to which a
Yankee angler would enjoy a visit, for cockney fishermen are a little
too abundant, and the ways of the people in some ridiculous particulars
smack too much of the mother country.

Having finished our geographical history of the salmon and his American
haunts, we will take our leave of him by simply remarking (for the
benefit of those who like to preserve what they capture), that there are
three modes for preserving the salmon:—first, by putting them in salt
for three days, and then smoking, which takes about twelve days;
secondly, by regularly salting them down, as you would mackerel; and
thirdly, by boiling and then pickling them in vinegar. The latter method
is unquestionably the most troublesome, but at the same time the most
expeditious; and what can tickle the palate more exquisitely than a
choice bit of pickled salmon, with a bottle of Burgundy to float it to
its legitimate home?

                           THE FUR TRAPPERS.

The unique brotherhood of men to whom we now direct the attention of our
readers have always depended upon the fur trade alone for their support,
and as the various fur companies of North America have flourished and
declined, so have the trappers multiplied or decreased in numbers. The
French, who were the founders of the fur trade on this continent,
established themselves here in 1606, and the trapping fraternity may
therefore claim the honor of having existed nearly two centuries and a
half. To estimate the precise number of individuals composing this class
at the present time would be an impossibility, occupying as they do a
section of country extending from the Pacific Ocean to Hudson’s Bay.

By the laws of our country they have ever been looked upon as aliens
from the commonwealth of civilization, and by the Indian tribes as
trespassers upon their natural and inherited privileges. The blood of
the white man, though frequently considerably adulterated, invariably
runs through their veins, and the great majority trace their origin to a
French, Scottish, or Irish ancestry, it being an established and
singular fact that trappers of pure American blood are exceedingly rare.
Those of the far north commonly have the dark eyes and hair of the
Canadian Frenchman, and those of the south-west the flaxen hair and
broad brogue of the Scotchman or Irishman. The motives generally found
to have influenced them in entering upon their peculiar life are of
course exceedingly various, but among the more common ones may be
mentioned a deeply-rooted love for the works of Nature in their primeval
luxuriance, want of sufficient intelligence to prosecute a more
respectable business, and a desire to keep out of the way of certain
laws which they may have transgressed in their earlier days. They are
usually men with families, their wives being pure Indian, and their
children, as a matter of course, half breeds. They have what may be
termed fixed habitations, but they are rude log cabins, located on the
extreme frontiers of the civilized world. In religion, as a class, they
are behind their red brethren of the wilderness, and their knowledge of
books is quite as limited. Generally speaking, they spend about nine
months roaming alone through the solitude of the forests and prairies,
and the remaining three months of the year with their families or at the
trading posts of the fur companies. As their harvest time is the winter,
they are necessarily men of iron constitutions, and frequently endure
the severest hardships and privations. Understanding as they do the
science of trapping and the use of the gun more thoroughly than the
Indian, they eclipse him in the business of acquiring furs, and from
their superior knowledge of the civilized world, limited though it be,
they realize much greater profits, and hence it is that they are not
only hated by the Indian but also by the traders. Their manner of
dressing is ordinarily about half civilized, their buckskin hunting
shirts and fur caps, of their own manufacture, appearing almost as
picturesque as the blankets and plumes of the Indian himself. Like the
Indians, too, they prefer richly-fringed leggins to pantaloons, and
embroidered moccasins to shoes. To be perfectly free from every
restraint both of body and mind, is their chief ambition, and to enjoy
the freedom of the wilderness is their utmost happiness. Those who
follow their trade among the mountains are commonly banded together in
parties of half a dozen. They perform their long journey altogether upon
horseback, and when among the mountains are as expert in scaling
precipices, surmounting waterfalls, and buffeting snow-storms as the
more hardy of the Indian tribes. They are expert horsemen, ride the best
of animals, and take great pleasure not only in decking themselves with
ornaments, but also in caparisoning their horses in the most grotesque
yet picturesque manner. As to the animals which all of them make it
their business to capture, it may be mentioned that chiefest among them
all is the beaver; but a goodly portion of their income is derived from
the furs and peltries of the martin, otter, muskrat, bear, fox, mink,
lynx, wolverine, raccoon, wolf, elk, and deer, and the robes of the huge

But let us describe the life of the trapping fraternity somewhat more
minutely, in doing which we shall give an illustrative sketch of the
career of a single individual, describing his departure from home, his
sojourn in the wilderness, his return home, and his manner of spending
his brief summer furlough.

It is a bright October morning, and about the threshold of the trapper’s
cabin there is an unusual stir. While the trapper himself is busily
engaged in examining and putting in order his traps, packing away his
powder and lead, with a number of good flints, giving the lock of his
old rifle a thorough oiling, and sharpening his knives, his wife is
stowing away in his knapsack a few simple cooking utensils, a small bag
of tea and a little sugar, several pairs of moccasins and coarse woolen
socks, and a goodly quantity of the sinewy material used in making
snow-shoes. The fact that our friend is about to separate from his
family for the most part of a year, makes him particularly kind to those
about him; and, by way of manifesting his feelings, he gives into his
wife’s possession what little spare money he may have left in his pocket
out of his earnings of the previous year, and allows his children to
make as much noise as they please, even refraining from scolding them
when they kick and abuse his favorite hunting dogs. All things being
ready, night comes, and the trapper permits himself to enjoy another
sleep in the midst of his household, but long before the break of day he
has whistled to his dogs, and, with his knapsack on his back, has taken
his departure for a stream that rises among the Rocky Mountains. If his
course lies through a forest land he continues to travel on foot, taking
his own leisure, killing a sufficient quantity of game to satisfy his
wants, and sleeping at night upon his skins, under a canopy of leaves.
If extensive water courses lie within his range, he purchases a canoe of
some wandering Indians and plays the part of a navigator; and if he
finds it necessary to cross extensive prairies, he obtains a pony, and,
packing himself and plunder upon the animal, plays the part of an
equestrian. When the first blast of December, accompanied by a shower of
snow, sweeps over the land, it finds our trapper friend snugly domiciled
in a log shanty at the mouth of the river where he purposes to spend the
winter trapping for beaver.

And now all things are ready, and the trapper has actually entered upon
his winter avocation. He has reconnoitered the valley in which he finds
himself, and, having ascertained the localities of the beaver, with
their houses and dams, he forthwith manages to shoot a single male
beaver, and having obtained from his glandulous pouch a substance called
_castoreum_, he mixes it with a number of aromatics, and in three or
four days he is supplied with a suitable bait and proceeds to set his
traps. As the senses of the beaver are exceedingly keen, the business of
the trapper requires experience and great caution, and he glides through
the forests almost with the silence of a ghost; but, when a master of
his calling, he seldom leaves a beaver village until, by his cunning
arts, it has become depopulated. The war of extermination, as already
intimated, begins at the mouth of the river, and with our friend will
only cease when he has reached the fountain-head, or the season for
trapping comes to an end. The coldest of winds may blow and the woods
may be completely blocked with snow, but the trapper has mounted his
snow-shoes, and day after day does he revisit and rearrange his traps.
If night overtake him when far removed from his shanty (which may be the
case more than half the time), he digs himself a hole in some sheltered
snow bank, and, wrapped up in his blanket by the side of his solitary
fire, spends a strangely comfortable night. When not engaged with his
traps, he employs his time in drying and dressing his furs; or, as fancy
may dictate, he shoulders his gun and starts out for the purpose of
capturing a deer, a bear, or some of the beasts which are wont to howl
him to sleep at the midnight hour. Venison and bear meat constitute his
principal food, but he is particularly partial to the tail of his
favorite beaver. The only human beings with which he has any social
intercourse during the long winter are the poor wandering Indians who
chance to visit him in his cabin; and at such times many are the wild
adventures and strange legends which they relate to each other around
the huge fire of the trapper. And he now enjoys to perfection the
companionship of his dogs. Companions, it is true, of another sort
sometimes gather around his lonely habitation to relieve his solitude,
for the snowy owl hoots and screams at night from the huge pine branch
that reaches over his cabin, or perhaps an unmolested deer manifests its
love of companionship by browsing the twigs in broad daylight almost at
his very threshold. But now fair weather cometh out of the north, and
the trapper begins to think that he has secured such a supply of furs as
will guarantee him a comfortable support during the coming summer, and
one by one he gathers in his traps. The crack of his rifle is now heard
more frequently echoing through the woods, for he cares not to obtain
more beaver skins even if he could, and he would obtain a sufficient
number of miscellaneous furs to render his assortment complete. Heavy
spring rains have set in, the water courses are nearly released from
their icy fetters, and on issuing from his cabin, after a night of
conflicting dreams, he finds that the neighboring stream has become
unusually full. A single glance at its turbid waters is enough. He cuts
down a suitable tree and builds him a canoe, and in this does he stow
away his furs and all his other plunder; and, seizing his paddle, he
jumps into his seat, and with a light heart starts for his distant home.

The rains are over and gone, and although our voyager has already been
ten days upon the waters, he has yet at least a thousand additional
miles to travel. Rapids without number are to be passed, many a
laborious portage must be made around huge waterfalls, and at least two
months must elapse before he can moor his little barge in the haven
where he would be. Day follows day, and his course is onward. All along
his route the forest trees are bursting their buds and decking
themselves with the livery of the vernal season, while the grasses and
flowers of the prairies are striving to overreach each other as they
loom into the pleasant sunshine. And then, too, the heart of our voyager
is cheered by the singing of birds. When night comes, and he has lain
himself down by his watchfire on the shore, in some little cove, he is
lulled to sleep by the murmuring music of the stream. If, on a pleasant
day when he is fatigued, he happen upon an Indian encampment and finds
that an extensive ball-play or an Indian horse-race, or any important
medicine ceremony is about to occur, he tarries there for a few hours,
and then, as his mind dwells upon the grotesque and laughable scenes he
has witnessed, resumes his voyage in a more cheerful mood. Day follows
day, and the stream upon which he is now floating is broad and deep, and
sweeps onward as if rejoicing with pride for having triumphed over the
obstacles of the wilderness, and is rapidly approaching the fields and
the abodes of civilization. It is now the close of a day in the leafy
month of June, and our voyager is gliding noiselessly into the quiet
cove beside his cabin, and, uttering a loud whistle or whoop and firing
his gun, his wife and children hasten to the shore, and—the trapper is
at home!

The summer time, in the opinion of our trapper friend, is the season of
unalloyed enjoyment, for it is then that he gives himself up to the
gratification of all his desires. Having disposed of his furs and
peltries at the nearest trading post for a few hundred dollars in cash,
or its equivalent in merchandise, he deems himself independently rich,
and conducts himself accordingly. In a fit of liberality, he orders his
wife and children into his canoe and takes them upon a visit to the
nearest frontier village or city, where he loads them with gewgaws, and
the family spend a few days. The novelty of this visit soon passes away,
and our trapper with his family are once more domiciled in their cabin.
A week of inactivity then follows, and the trapper becomes as restless
as a fish out of water. He is troubled with a kind of itching palm, and
away he goes upon a vagabondizing tour among the hangers-on about the
trading establishments, recounting to all who will listen to him his
adventures in the wilderness, and spending the remainder of the summer
after the manner of the idle and the dissipated. But the first frost
brings him to his senses, and the trapper is himself again—for he is
thinking of the wilderness.

                         THE CANADIAN RECLUSE.

Of the many singular characters which we have met with in our various
travels, we remember none with more pleasure, and even wonder, than the
hero of this chapter. In company with three friends, we were upon a
fishing cruise along the northern shore of the river St. Lawrence, above
the Saguenay, and having on a certain afternoon steered our little craft
into a cove at the mouth of a brook, for the purpose of obtaining fresh
water, we were surprised to find ourselves in the immediate neighborhood
of a rude but comfortable log cabin. Curiosity, as a matter of course,
led us to visit the cabin, and introduce ourselves to the proprietor. We
did so, and were not only warmly welcomed, but were invited to tarry
with our new acquaintance until the next day, and had we not accepted
the invitation, the following particulars would not now be made known to
the public.

The individual under consideration was a Frenchman, and a native of
Quebec. He was above the medium height, about forty years of age,
graceful in his manners, active in mind and body, and altogether just
the character to rivet the attention of the most casual observer. He was
wholly ignorant of the world, having never been out of his native city,
excepting when he took up his abode in this out-of-the-way corner of the
country, where, at the time we met with him, he had been secluded for
nearly twenty years. He had a wife (but no children) who was as much
like himself in appearance and character as nature could well allow her
to be. He was totally illiterate, and yet possessed an attachment to the
unwritten science of botany which was truly remarkable. His cabin had
only two lower rooms and one garret, and yet the best of the three was
exclusively appropriated to a collection of plants, gathered from the
neighboring hills and mountains, and numbering several hundred
varieties, together with large moose horns, furs, and other forest
curiosities. He knew not the generic name of a single specimen, and yet
he would expatiate upon their beauty in the most interesting manner,
showing that he loved them with intense affection. To the hunting and
cultivation of plants he told us he was in the habit of devoting more
than half of his time, whereupon we asked him from what source he
obtained his living. He informed us that having inherited the large
tract of land upon which he resided, he had come here for the purpose of
getting a living out of _that_. On casting our eyes about, and finding
nothing for them to rest upon but mountains of solid rock, where even
pine trees hardly had the courage to grow, we thought his reply somewhat
mysterious. He smiled at our perplexity, and then told us that he had
two or three profitable salmon fishing grounds within a mile of his
house, which were rented out to Quebec fishermen, and yielded him all
the necessaries of life, and that he obtained his fresh meats with his
own hands from the forest.

Had we been inclined to doubt any of the assertions of our friend in
regard to his good living, all such doubts would have been most
assuredly dispelled by what we witnessed and enjoyed before closing our
eyes on the night in question. Having taken us to the fishing ground
lying nearest to his cabin, for the purpose of letting us see how the
salmon were taken in the circular set nets (into which they swam on
their way up stream when the tide was high, and from which they were
taken by the hundred when the tide was low), he picked out a splendid
twenty pound fish, and piloted us back again to his dwelling. He then
excused himself from further waiting upon us, and, begging us to amuse
ourselves by _examining his plants_, or doing anything else we pleased,
he informed us that he must assist his wife in preparing our supper. We
bowed our most willing assent, and as the sun was near his setting, we
ascended a neighboring knoll for the purpose of enjoying the extensive
prospect which presented itself to view.

We were looking towards the south, and across that portion of the noble
St. Lawrence where it is without an island, and its shores are
twenty-five miles apart. The retinue of clouds around the setting sun
were brilliant to a marvelous degree, and were distinctly mirrored on
the tranquil bosom of the superb river. In the distance we could barely
discover the southern shore, forming a long narrow line of purple; about
a dozen miles to the eastward one solitary ship lay floating at the
mercy of the tide, and in the foreground was the cabin of our
entertainer, partly hidden from our view by a few stunted trees, and
apparently hemmed in by inaccessible mountains, while before the cabin
lay extended some half dozen immense mongrel dogs, which were the only
living creatures, besides ourselves, tending to animate the lonely
scene. Silently communing with our own hearts, we watched with peculiar
interest the coming forth, one after another, of the beautiful stars,
and we could not but think of our distant homes, and of the ties which
bound us to the absent and loved. One moment more, and we heard a loud
hallo, which came from the lungs of our Canadian friend, who informed us
that supper was ready, whereupon we descended to the cabin at a pace
bordering upon a run.

And such a supper! Our host presided, and while two of his guests were
seated on either side, the hostess occupied the opposite end of the
table from her husband. She could not speak a word of English, and of
course uttered all her apologies in French; and though the husband
pretended to talk English, we begged him to remember that his guests all
understood French, and that he had better converse as nature dictated.
No objections were made, and we proceeded to business. The table was
literally loaded; and, whilst the matron poured out a capital cup of
coffee, the host overwhelmed the plates of his guests with various kinds
of meat, most of which were fried or broiled almost to a crisp. We gave
vent to our curiosity by inquiring the names of the dishes we were
eating. From this moment, until the truly delicious feast was ended, the
talking was all performed by the Canadian botanist, and the substance of
his remarks may be stated as follows:

“That meat in the blue platter, gentlemen, was cut from the hind
quarters of the biggest _black bear_ ever seen among the mountains. He
weighed over four hundred pounds, and was as savage as he was fat and
big. I was climbing along the edge of a hill, about a week ago, for the
purpose of securing a small yellow flower that I had discovered hanging
from a rock, when the bear in question came running out of the mouth of
his den, and saluting me with a long scratch on the back, I gave him a
stab in the belly, and tumbled myself down the offset in the most hasty
manner imaginable. I always take my gun with me when I go into the
woods, and when I reached the bottom of the hill I looked out for the
bear, and, discovering him on a stump some twenty yards off, I gave him
a shot, and he made at me with the fires of revenge and rage in his eye.
I climbed up a small tree, and while the rascal made an unsuccessful
attempt to follow me, I reloaded my gun and sent another charge directly
into his mouth, which gave him a bad cough, and in a short time he
staggered a few paces from the tree and fell to the ground quite dead.
_I then went back to the cliff to secure my yellow flower_, and during
that afternoon, by the aid of my pony, dragged the bear to my cabin.

“In that dish, with a piece broken from the edge, gentlemen, you have a
mixture of _moose tongue_, _moose lip_, and _moose brains_. I spent
nearly a month moose-hunting, last winter, in company with a couple of
Indians, and though the snow was deep, the crust hard, our snowshoes in
good order, our dogs brave and strong, and moose were numerous, we only
killed about sixteen. I only brought home the heads (while the Indians
were satisfied with the skins and haunches), but I was more than paid
for all my trouble, in the way of hard traveling and cold sleeping, for
in one of the moose-yards that we visited _I found a specimen of pine
which I had never seen before_. It was very soft and beautiful, and I
think the book-men of England would give a good deal of money if they
could have it in their great gardens.

“As to that meat in the white dish, which you all seem to eat with such
a relish, I think you will be surprised to learn that it is nothing but
_beaver’s tail_. To my taste it is the sweetest meat in the world, and I
am only sorry that this valuable animal is becoming so very scarce in
this section of country. My present stock of beaver’s tail came from the
shore of Hudson’s Bay, and, though I bought it of an Indian, I had to
pay him as much for the tails as the fur company paid him for the skins
of his animals. I never trapped for beaver myself, but I have for otter,
and often have great sport in killing seals, which are very abundant in
the St. Lawrence, and afford to the Indians pretty good food during the
hard winters. The only thing that I have against the beaver is, that he
has a fashion, I am told, _of cutting down for his house such beautiful
trees as the birch, mulberry, willow, and poplar before they are half

“As to the salmon upon which you have been feasting, gentlemen, you know
as much about that particular individual as I do, since you saw him
while yet in his native element. The men who hire my fishing grounds pay
me so much for every fish they take, and sell them at a great profit in
Quebec and even in Montreal. From the fisheries on this shore are the
people of Canada exclusively supplied with the salmon, and when we have
a good season our merchants manage to send over to the United States, in
a smoked condition, a good many thousand. As to taking them with those
pretty little flies, which you, gentlemen, always carry in your
pocket-books, I never could understand how you manage to deceive so
sensible a fish as the salmon. Of one thing I am certain: if you expect
to take any of the salmon in this region with those little lines and
hooks, you will be much mistaken. You will have to go down to the
Saguenay, where I am told the fish do not know any better than to be
deceived by your cunning arts. But, if I was ever to follow fishing as
you do, it seems to me that instead of red, yellow, and blue feathers, I
should cover my hooks _with the bright berries and buds which you may
find upon some trees even during the fishing season_.”

This last remark of our host convinced us that he was indeed possessed
with a ruling passion, and we of course gratified ourselves by humoring
him to the length of our patience. He not only monopolized the
conversation during supper, but he did most of the talking until
bed-time. We spent the night under his roof, sleeping upon bear skins,
spread on the floor; and, after an early breakfast, we bade him adieu,
and pursued our course down the St. Lawrence.

                             TROUT FISHING.

  It carries us into the most wild and beautiful scenery of nature;
  amongst the mountain lakes and the clear and lovely streams that gush
  from the higher ranges of elevated hills, or make their way through
  the cavities of calcareous rocks.
                                                      Sir Humphrey Davy.

Were it not for the salmon, we should pronounce the trout the most
superb game-fish in the world. As the case now stands, however, we are
inclined to believe that he has delighted a greater number of anglers
than any other inhabitant of the “liquid plain.” The characteristics of
this charming fish are so well known that we shall not, on this
occasion, enter upon a scientific description, either of his person or
habits. In all the particulars of beauty, of color and form, of grace,
of activity, of intelligence and flavor, as before intimated, he has but
one rival. He always glories in the coldest and purest of water, and the
regions of country to which he is partial are commonly distinguished for
the wildness of their scenery; and therefore it is that to the lover of
nature this imperial fish has ever been exceedingly dear. Their period
of spawning is in the autumn, and they recover as early as February,
thereby remaining in season a part of the winter, as well as the entire
spring and summer—though the trouting months, _par excellence_, are May
and June.

In weight, even when fully grown, the different varieties of trout run
from four ounces to sixty pounds, and of the different distinct species
found in the United States and Canada, we are acquainted only with the

_The Common or Brook and River Trout._—There is hardly a cold and rocky
stream in any of the New England or Northern States, or among the
mountains of the Middle and Southern States, where this species is not
found in abundance. In regard to weight, they ordinarily vary from three
or four ounces to two pounds; and in color, according to the character
of the brook or river which they inhabit. So apparent is the difference
of color in this family, that, in the several sections of the country
where they are found, they are designated by the names of Silver or Fall
trout, as in Lake George; and the Black trout, as in many of the smaller
lakes or ponds of New England. The only _civilized_ mode employed by our
people for taking them is with the hook; but, while the scientific
angler prefers the artificial fly (with an appropriate reel), large
numbers are annually destroyed by the farmers’ boys with the common hook
and red worm. As to the heathenish mode of netting this beautiful fish,
we can only say that it merits the most earnest condemnation of every
gentleman. The common trout is proverbially one of the most skittish of
all the finny tribes; but, when he happens to be a little hungry, he is
fearless as the hawk, and at such times often leaps into the air as if
for the purpose of defying the cunning of his human enemies. According
to our experience, the best bait for early spring fishing is the common
worm, but for June, July, and August we prefer the fly. Sometimes,
however, a minnow is preferable to either. The great charm of
fly-fishing for trout is derived from the fact that you then see the
movement of your fish, and if you are not an expert hand, the chances
are that you will capture but one out of the hundred that may rise to
your hook. You can seldom save a trout unless you strike the very
instant that he leaps. But, even after this, a deal of care is required
to land him in safety. If he is a half-pounder, you may pull him out
directly; but if larger than that, after fairly hooking him, you should
play him with your whole line, which, when well done, is a feat full of
poetry. The swiftness with which a trout can dart from his hiding-place
after a fly is truly astonishing; and we never see one perform this
operation without feeling an indescribable thrill quivering through our
frame. The fact that this is the only fish in the world which nature has
designated by a row of scarlet spots along the sides, would seem to
imply that she deemed it the perfection of her finny creations, and had,
therefore, fixed upon it this distinguishing mark of her skill.

_The Salmon Trout._—Under this head we include all those fish of the
trout genus which are found only in those lakes of our country having no
connection whatever with the sea. The fish now under consideration
resembles, in its general appearance, the legitimate salmon, but is
totally unlike it in several particulars. The salmon trout, for example,
varies in weight from three to sixty pounds; and, if everybody is to be
believed, they have been taken in some of our waters weighing upwards of
one hundred pounds. They are also of much less value than the real
salmon as an article of food, there being nothing at all delicate in the
texture or flavor of a mammoth fish. As sporting fish, too, they are of
little value, for they love the gloom of deep water, and are not
distinguished for their activity. The names besides its own by which
this fish is recognized, are the lake trout and the Mackinaw trout; and,
by many people who ought to know better, they are often confounded with
the genuine salmon. As is the case with the salmon, they are seldom or
never found in any of our rivers, but chiefly in the lakes of the
northern and northwestern States of the Union, being found in the
greatest numbers at the Straits of Mackinaw, in Lake Superior, Lake
George, and the other lakes of the Empire State, and in Moosehead Lake.

_The Sea Trout._—Our idea of this fish is that it is quite at home in
the “deep, deep sea,” but rather partial to the brackish waters of large
rivers and the inland bays of the American coast. And also that they
vary in weight from three to fifteen pounds, and ought to be highly
prized as a game-fish, their flesh being of a rosy hue, and excellent,
and their courage and strength allied to those of their more
aristocratic cousin—the salmon. Like the salmon and common trout, too,
they scorn the more common baits of the fisherman, and possess a decided
taste for the fly, albeit thousands of them are taken with the shrimp
and minnow. The waters where they mostly abound are those of the lower
St. Lawrence and its tributaries, the bay of Cape Cod, all along the
southern shore of Barnstable, the entire shore of Martha’s Vineyard, and
the bays Delaware and Chesapeake. So much for the varieties of trout
with which we are personally acquainted.

It now behooves us to record some of our experience in trout fishing,
but we have already published in our books of travel, and elsewhere,
quite as many _fish stories_ as will be readily believed. We shall,
therefore, content ourselves, on this occasion, with a brief description
of our favorite localities.

As a matter of course, the first place that we mention in this
connection is Saut St. Marie, which, for many reasons, is an exceedingly
attractive place. In the first place, it is the outlet to Lake Superior,
the largest body of fresh water on the globe. It is also the western
terminating point of the lake navigation of the north. From the earliest
periods of our history to the present time, it has been, as it were, the
starting place for all the fur expeditions by land which have ever
penetrated the immense wilderness bordering on Hudson’s Bay and the
Arctic ocean. The fall of the river St. Mary, at the spot called the
Saut, is nearly twenty-five feet within the space of half a mile, so
that from a canoe at the foot of the rapid it presents the appearance of
a wall of foam. The width of it is reputed to be one mile, and on the
British side are several beautiful islands, covered with hemlock,
spruce, and pine, pleasingly intermingled with birch. The bed of the
river at this point consists chiefly of colored sand-stones, the depth
varies from ten to perhaps one hundred feet, and the water is
perpetually cold, and as clear as it is possible for any element to be.
But what makes the Saut particularly attractive to the angler, is the
fact that the common trout is found here in good condition throughout
the year. They are taken with the fly, and from boats anchored in the
more shallow places of the river, as well as from the shore. We have
known two fishermen to spend an entire day in a single reef, or at one
anchorage, and, in spite of sunlight and east winds, have known them to
capture more than a cart load of the spotted beauties, varying in weight
from half a pound to three and four. How it is that the fish of this
region always appear to be in season has never been explained, but we
should imagine that either they have no particular time for spawning, or
that each season brings with it a variety peculiar to itself. Those of
the present day who visit Saut St. Marie for the purpose of throwing the
fly, ought to be fully prepared with tackle, and that of the best
quality. With regard to the _creature comforts_ obtainable in the
village of Saut St. Marie, they will be as well supplied as in any other
place of the same size equally remote from the civilized centre of the
world. And when the pleasures of trout fishing begin to subside they can
relieve the monotony of a sojourn here by visiting the Indians in their
wigwams, and seeing them capture (with nets, in the pure white foam) the
beautiful white fish; they may also with little difficulty visit the
copper mines of Lake Superior, or, if they would do their country
service (provided they are Americans), they may indite long letters to
members of Congress on the great necessity of a ship canal around the
falls or rapids of St. Mary.

And now for the island of Mackinaw. For an elaborate description of this
spot we refer our readers to any of the numerous travelers who have
published its praises, not forgetting, by way of being _impartial_, an
account from our own pen already before the public. The time is rapidly
approaching, we believe, when this island will be universally considered
one of the most healthful, interesting, convenient, and fashionable
watering-places in the whole country. And the naturalists, not to say
the angler, will find here the celebrated Mackinaw trout in its greatest
perfection. And when the Detroit and Chicago steamer runs into the
little crescent harbor of the island for the purpose of landing the
traveler, and he discovers among the people on the dock some half-dozen
wheelbarrows laden with fish four feet long and weighing fifty or sixty
pounds, he must not be alarmed at finding those fish to be Mackinaw
trout, and not sturgeon, as he might at first have imagined. The truth
is, the very size of these fish is an objection to them, for, as they
have to be taken in deep water, and with a large cord, there is far more
of manual labor than sport in taking them. But when one of these
monsters happens to stray towards the shore where the water is not over
fifty feet, it is then, through the marvellously clear water,
exceedingly pleasant to watch their movements as they swim about over
the beds of pure white sand. As before intimated, the Mackinaw trout is
far inferior to the common trout as an article of food, and to the white
fish almost infinitely so.

The Mackinaw trout (as is the case with all salmon trout) is in fine
condition throughout the winter months; and the Indians are very fond of
taking them through the ice. Their manner of proceeding is to make a
large hole in the ice, over which they erect a kind of wigwam, so as to
keep out the light; and, stationing themselves above the hole, they lure
the trout from the bottom by an artificial bait, and when he comes
sufficiently near pick him out with a spear: and they are also taken
with a hook. The voraciousness of the Mackinaw trout at this season is
said to be astonishing; and it is recorded of a Canadian fisherman that,
having lost all his artificial bait, by their being bitten to pieces, he
finally resorted to a large jackknife attached to a hook which he had in
his pocket, and which was swallowed by a thirty pound fish. Another
anecdote that we have heard touching this mode of winter fishing is as
follows, and shows the danger with which it is sometimes attended. An
Indian fisherman, of renown among the tribes of Lake Superior, while
fishing on this lake in the manner above mentioned, at a considerable
distance from the shore, was once detached with a cake of ice from the
shore and carried into the lake by the wind, and was never heard of
more. Such a death as he must have met with it would be difficult to

But we cannot leave Mackinaw without making a passing allusion to the
fish whose Indian name is _ciscovet_. It is a beautiful fish,
unquestionably of the trout family, a bold biter, richly flavored, and
quite beautiful both in symmetry and color. They are not very abundant,
and are altogether the greatest fishy delicacy in this region, excepting
the white fish. They weigh from five to ten pounds, and are remarkable
for their fatness. At the Island of Mackinaw the common trout are not
found at all, but in all the streams upon the main shore of Lake
Michigan, which is only a short distance off, they are very abundant and
very large.

Another trouting region whose praises we are disposed to sing is that of
northern New York, lying between Lake George and Long Lake. All the
running waters of this section of country are abundantly supplied with
common trout, and all the lakes (which are quite numerous) with salmon
trout. The scenery everywhere is of the wildest and most imposing
character. The two branches of the noble Hudson here take their rise,
and almost every rood of their serpentine courses abounds in rapid and
deep pools, yielding common trout of the largest size. But the angler
who visits this region must not expect to be feasted with the
fashionable delicacies of the land, or spend his nights in luxuriantly
furnished rooms; he must be a lover of salt pork, and well acquainted
with the yielding qualities of a pine floor. To those of our readers who
would become better acquainted with the region alluded to, we would
recommend the interesting descriptions of Charles F. Hoffman, Esq., and
the spirited though somewhat fantastic ones of J. T. Headley, Esq.

In the “times of old” we have enjoyed ourselves exceedingly in making
piscatorial pilgrimages among the Catskill and Sharidaken Mountains, but
their wilderness glory is rapidly departing. We can now only recommend
this region as abounding in beautiful as well as magnificent scenery.
Now, while we think of it, however, we have one little incident to
record connected with Shaw’s Lake, which beautifies the summit of one of
the Catskills. Having once caught a large number of small common trout
in a stream that ran out of this lake, we conceived the idea that the
lake itself must of necessity contain a large number of full grown fish
of the same species. With this idea in view, we obtained the services of
a mountaineer named Hammel, and tried our luck at the lake, by the light
of the moon, with set lines and live minnows. During the night we caught
no less than forty-two trout, averaging in weight over a pound apiece.
We were of course greatly elated at this success; and, having enjoyed
quite a romantic expedition, we subsequently published an account of the
particulars. A few days after this, a party of anglers residing in the
town of Catskill saw what we had written, and immediately posted off to
Shaw’s Lake, for the purpose of spending a night there. They did so, and
also fished after the same manner that we did, and yet did not capture a
single trout. They of course returned home considerably disgusted, and
reported that the lake in question was covered with dead eels, that the
water was alive with lizards, that they saw the glaring eyes of a
panther near their watch-fire, and that _we_ had been guilty of
publishing a falsehood. It now becomes us to deny, and in the most
expressive tone, this rough impeachment, although we fully confess that
there still hangs a mystery over our piscatorial good fortune.

If the anglers of New York city are to be believed, there is no region
in the world like Long Island for common trout. We are informed,
however, that the fish are here penned up in ponds, and that a
stipulated sum per head has to be paid for all the fish captured. With
this kind of business we have never had any patience, and we shall
therefore refrain from commenting upon the exploits or trespassing upon
the exclusive privileges of the cockney anglers of the empire city.

But another trouting region, of which we can safely speak in the most
flattering terms, is that watered by the two principal tributaries of
the river Thames, in Connecticut, viz., the Yantic and the Quinnebaug.
It is, in our opinion, more nearly allied to that portion of England
made famous by Walton in his _Complete Angler_, than any other in the
United States. The country is generally highly cultivated, but along
nearly all its very beautiful streams Nature has been permitted to have
her own way, and the dark pools are everywhere overshadowed by the
foliage of overhanging trees. Excepting in the immediate vicinity of the
factories, trout are quite abundant, and the anglers are generally
worthy members of the gentle brotherhood. When the angler is overtaken
by night, he never finds himself at a loss for a place to sleep; and it
has always seemed to us that the beds of this region have a “smell of
lavender.” The husbandmen whom you meet here are intelligent, and their
wives neat, affable, and polite, understanding the art of preparing a
frugal meal to perfection. Our trouting recollections of this section of
New England are manifold, and we would part with them most unwillingly.
Dearly do we cherish, not only recollections of scenery and fishing, but
of wild legends and strange characters, bright skies, poetic
conceptions, and soul-instructing lessons from the lips of Nature. Yes,
and the secret of our attachment to the above-mentioned streams may be
found in the character of these very associations. What intense
enjoyment would not Father Walton have derived from their wild and
superb scenery! The streams of England are mostly famous for the bloody
battles and sieges which they witnessed for many centuries, and the
turreted castles which they have only tell us eventful stories of a race
of earth-born kings. But many of the streams of our country, even in
these days, water a virgin wilderness, whose only human denizens are the
poor but noble Indian tribes, who live, and love, and die in their
peaceful valleys; and the unshorn forests, with the luxuriantly
magnificent mountains, sing a perpetual hymn of praise to One who is
above the sky and the King of kings.

Of all the New England States, however (albeit much might be written in
praise of Vermont and New Hampshire, with their glorious Green and White
Mountains), we believe that Maine is altogether the best supplied. In
the head waters of the Penobscot and Kennebec, the common trout may be
found by the thousand; and in Moosehead Lake, as before stated, salmon
trout of the largest size and in great numbers. This is even a more
perfect wilderness than that in the northern part of New York, and it is
distinguished not only for its superb scenery, but its fine forests
afford an abundance of large game, such as moose, deer, bears, and
wolves, which constitute a most decided attraction to those disciples of
the gentle art who have a little of the fire of Nimrod in their natures.

Another, and the last region towards which we would direct the attention
of our readers, is that portion of Canada lying on the north shore of
the St. Lawrence. At the mouth of all the streams here emptying into the
great river, and especially at the mouth of the Saguenay, the sea trout
is found in its greatest perfection. They vary from five to fifteen
pounds, and are taken with the fly. But what makes the fishing for them
particularly interesting, is the fact that when the angler strikes a
fish it is impossible for him to tell, before he has seen his prize,
whether he has captured a salmon trout, a mammoth trout, common trout
(which are here found in brackish or salt water), or a magnificent
salmon, glistening in his silver mail.

                              ROCK CREEK.

It was a delightful autumnal morning, and we had called upon a friend
(who, like ourself, is a lover of nature), and proposed that we should
spend a day in the woods; whereupon he whistled for his handsome
greyhound, and with our sketch-books in hand, we departed. We turned our
faces towards _Rock Creek_, which rises in the central portion of
Montgomery county, Maryland, and after running a distance of some
fifteen miles, finally empties into the Potomac, between Washington and
Georgetown. And now, before going one step further, we wish to inform
the reader that it is not our intention to give a complete description
of this charming stream: to accomplish that task faithfully it would be
necessary for us to write a thousand poems and paint at least a thousand
pictures, every one of which should be a gem. We purpose only to record
the more prominent impressions which have been left upon our mind by the
excursions to which we allude.

We struck the creek just without the limits of the city, and the first
object that attracted our attention was “Decatur’s tomb.” This memorial
of a departed naval hero occupies the summit of a picturesque hill, and
is shaded from the sun by a brotherhood of handsome oak trees. It is
built of bricks (which are painted white), and resembles in shape a
small Grecian temple without its columns, and is without any
inscription. The remains of the commodore were originally deposited
here, but his ashes have subsequently been removed to Philadelphia and
deposited in his family vault. The land upon which this tomb is located
is called Kalorama, and belongs to an estate originally owned by Joel
Barlow, which fact is alone sufficient to give it a reputation; but it
is somewhat more interesting to know that it was upon this spot of earth
that Robert Fulton first tried his experiments while studying out the
science of steam navigation. This was at the time when Barlow and Fulton
were on the most intimate terms of friendship, and Kalorama was Fulton’s
principal home. A gentleman residing in Georgetown informs us that he
can remember the time when an old wooden shed was standing in the
vicinity of Rock Creek, where Fulton tried many of his experiments; and
we are also informed that the parlor walls of Kalorama were once
ornamented with fresco paintings executed by Fulton at the request of
his friend Barlow. Subsequently to that period and while yet a member of
Barlow’s family, Fulton kept an account-book, in which he recorded all
his business transactions, and that curious and valuable relic of the
departed engineer is now in the possession of a citizen of Washington,
by whose politeness we are privileged to gratify our antiquarian readers
with a brief description of the account-book in question. It is of the
size of an ordinary mercantile cash-book, and although only half filled
with writing, it contains a record of business transactions occurring
during the years 1809,-’10,-’11,-’12,-’13, and ’14. It seems to have
been kept with little regard to method, but nevertheless contains a
great variety of items which are quite valuable in a historical point of
view. On a fly leaf, for example, we have the following record:—

  “1813. The dry-dock finished at the steamboat works in Jersey City on
  the 14th October. On that day, at 1 o’clock, the original North River
  steamboat entered for the first time, and I believe is the first
  vessel that has been in a dry-dock in the United States.”:—

With regard to the name of the “original North River steamboat,” I am
not certain; but on the same leaf with the above, I find the following

  “_Car of Neptune_—length of her bottom 157 feet; do. on deck 171 feet
  6 inches; extreme width of the bottom 22 feet; do. on deck 26 feet.”

With a view of showing the profitableness of the steam-boating business
in the olden times, I append the following:—

        “Total number of passengers in the Raritan for 1809:

       202  to Elizabethtown Point, at      4s.   each       101 00
     1,480  to Amboy, at                      8    do      1,480 50
       692  to Brunswick, at                 12    do      1,038 75
        90  way                                               55 20
            Total receipts                                 2,675 45
  “Of this sum one-sixth, equal 445 90, to patentees.”

Of the various persons with whom Fulton seems to have had extensive
dealings, the principal one was Robert R. Livingston, from whom large
sums of money were frequently received. The principal items under the
head of 1813 (which seems to have been a very busy year), give one an
idea of the extent of Fulton’s business, and is as follows:—

  “Steamboats building and engaged:
  2 from New Orleans to Louisville and St Louis, Mississippi    $60,000
  1 “ Pittsburg to Louisville, Ohio                              25,000
  1 “ Richmond to Norfolk, James River                           35,000
  1 “ Washington to Malbourg, Potomac                            20,000
  1 on Long Island Sound, from New York to Hartford              40,000
  1 “ East River ferry boat to Brooklyn                          20,000
  1, Petersburg                                                  25,000
  1, Elizabeth                                                   30,000
  1, Robert Fulton                                               25,000
  1, Charleston                                                  30,000
  1, Cape Fear                                                   22,000
     Total                                                     $332,000”

Another record which I find under the same head is this:—

  “Waters under the direction of B. H. Latrobe, or such of them as he
  shall have a steamboat on and in actual operation by January, 1815.
  Such as shall not have the funds raised for one boat within one year
  from May 1, 1813, shall be at the disposal of Livingston and Fulton.

  “1st, Potomac, from Georgetown to Potomac Creek.

  “2d, for the sounds from Charleston to Savannah.

  “3d, from Pittsburg to Louisville.

  “4th, the Cumberland from Nashville to Louisville.

  “5th, the Tennessee to Louisville.

  “For raising companies, funds, and establishing these, he has to have
  of each one-third of the patentee’s rights.”

Under the head of 1812, we find a statement giving the expenses of a
North River steamboat (what one we know not), which amounted to $610 per
month, the boat making seventy-six trips. And as to wages, we gather
that the captain received $50 per month; pilot, $35; engineer, $35;
seamen and firemen, $20 each; cook, $16; servants, $14; and chambermaid,

Another record readeth as follows:—

  “_Gentlemen of influence in Cincinnati, Ohio._—Jacob Burnet, Esq.,
  Martin Baum, Esq., Jesse Hunt, General Findley, General Gano, Mr.

The following I find under the head of “Notes on Steamboats:”—

  “The Comet constructed at Pittsburg in the spring of 1813, for Mr.
  Smith, is 52 feet long and 8 feet beam, cylinder 6¼ inches diameter,
  18 inches stroke, vibrating motion, no condenser or air-pump. The
  water wheel in the stern, 6 feet diameter, 8 paddles 2 feet 6 inches
  long and 11 inches wide. The boiler 14 feet long, 2 feet 6 inches
  wide, with a flue high, steam from 50 to 60 pounds to the inch square,
  20 to 30 double stroke a minute. _This is Evans’s idea of steam power
  by high steam. It was the Marquis of Worcester’s 120 years ago; and
  Mr. Watts 30 years ago tried and abandoned it._”

Another curious memorandum, which is without a caption, is as follows:—

  “10,000 acres of pine land on Egg Harbor River, the property of
  Ebenezer Tucker, of Tuckerton, Burlington county, known by the name of
  Judge Tucker. Should this land produce only ten cords to an acre, it
  will be 1,000 to 100 acres, or 100,000 cords. The steam-boats from New
  York will use 1,500 cords a year, or, for New York and Albany, 3,000
  cords; thence 20 years would consume the wood of 6,000 acres, in which
  time, the first cut would grow up, and thus this 10,000 acres would
  perpetually supply the steamboats.”

The longest record in this account book (like all the others) is in
Fulton’s own handwriting, and entitled “_Livingston and Fulton vs. Lake
Champlain boat_.” It occupies four closely written pages, is dated
October 12, 1810, and signed by Robert R. Livingston. It is an
interesting document, but as the volume in question is about to be
presented to the New York Historical Society, I will leave it with that
honorable body to give it to the public in some of their interesting

But enough of this episode. Though Rock Creek may have been the
birthplace of Fulton’s steamboat idea, yet it is certain that, with all
his fiery monsters at our command, we could never ascend this beautiful
stream without the use of our legs, and we will therefore rejoin our
companion and continue our pedestrian pilgrimage.

Our next halting-place, after we left Kalorama, was at an old mill,
located in the centre of a secluded glen. With the humming music of its
wheels, with the polite attentions of the _floury_ miller, and the
rustic beauty of his cottage and children, we were well pleased, but
with the natural loveliness of the place we were delighted. A greater
variety of luxuriant foliage I never before witnessed in so limited a
nook of the country. From one point of view a scene presented itself
which was indeed exquisite. We were completely hemmed in from the great
world, and, in addition to the mill and the cottage, we had a full view
of the stream, which was spanned by a rustic foot bridge, upon which a
couple of children were standing and throwing pebbles in the water,
while a few paces beyond a man was pulling to the shore a small boat
laden with wood. On either hand, a number of proud-looking oaks towered
against the sky, and by the water’s edge in the distance stood a
stupendous silver willow, literally white with age; and, to complete the
picture, we had in one place a mysterious brick ruin, and in the
foreground a variety of mossy rocks, upon which, in a superb attitude,
stood our beautiful greyhound, watching a little army of minnows
sporting in a neighboring pool. And with what great name does our reader
imagine this beautiful place is associated? None other than that of the
late John Quincy Adams, who became its purchaser many years ago, and to
whose estate (as I believe) it now belongs. And many a time, in other
days, has that distinguished statesman spent his morning under the dome
of the capitol in political debate, and the afternoon of the same day in
this romantic glen, listening to the singing of a thousand birds, which
had built their nests in the branches of his own trees.

The roads which cross the channel of Rock Creek, and frequently run for
a long distance along its winding vale, are distinguished for their
loneliness, and of course well adapted to please the poetic mind. Along
many of them you might walk for miles without meeting a human being, but
then you would be sure to frighten many a rabbit, and destroy the
gossamery hammocks of unnumbered spiders. While passing along the road
which took us from Adams’ Mill further up the stream, we chanced to
overtake a small negro boy (who was almost without any rags on his back,
and whose straw hat looked as if the cows had feasted upon its brim),
with whom our companion held the following dialogue:—

“Boy, where are you going?”

“I’m gwine down to Mr. Pierce’s.”

And here—taking out his pencil, holding up his sketch-book, and looking
very fiercely at the darkie—our friend exclaimed, “I’ll sketch you, you

Whereupon the poor boy uttered a most frightful yell, and ran away in
the greatest consternation, as if we had been a pair of murderers.

Our next stopping-place was at a cider mill, where an old negro, with
the assistance of a mule, was grinding apples, and another man was
pressing the sweet juice into a mammoth tub. A lot of boys, who were out
on a chestnut gathering excursion, had discovered the mill, and having
initiated themselves into the good graces of the darkies, were evidently
enjoying a portion of Mr. Horace Greeley’s celebrated “good time.”

But it is now about noon, and we have reached that spot upon Rock Creek
known as Pierce’s Plantation. Here we found the ruins of an old
saw-mill, and while transferring a portrait of it to our sketch-book,
with its half decayed dam, and two or three hoary sycamores and elms, we
discovered a boy in the act of fishing. We bowed to him as to a brother
angler, and looking into his basket, we found snugly lying there no less
than half a dozen handsome fall[1] fish, weighing from six ounces to a
pound each. These we of course purchased, and then inquired of the boy
if he knew of a house in that vicinity where we could likely have the
fish cooked. He replied in the affirmative, whereupon we sent him to the
dwelling he mentioned for the purpose of warning the inmates of our
approach. On our arrival there we were warmly welcomed, and in due time
we had the satisfaction of enjoying as finely cooked fish as ever
tickled the palate of Izaak Walton or Sir Humphrey Davy. Not only were
we waited upon with marked politeness, but were treated with an
abundance of delicious currant wine and new cider, and for all this
truly southern hospitality we could make no return, excepting in the way
of gratitude.

But, pleasant as was our reception and repast at this Rock Creek
cottage, our own mind was more deeply impressed with the exquisitely
charming appearance of the cottage itself and surrounding buildings. It
struck us as one of the most comfortable and poetical nooks that we ever
beheld. It seemed to have everything about it calculated to win the
heart of a lover of nature and rural life. Though situated on the side
of a hill and embowered in trees, it commands a pleasing landscape; and
as it was built upwards of one hundred years ago, it is interesting for
its antiquity. Surmounted as it is with a pointed roof, green with the
moss of years, and flanked by a vine-covered porch, the vegetation which
clusters around it is so abundant that you can hardly discover its real
proportions. And all the out-buildings are in strict keeping with the
cottage itself. It is, upon the whole, one of the most interesting nooks
to be found anywhere within an hour’s ride of the capitol; and we can
fully understand what a certain wealthy gentleman _felt_ when he made
the remark that this Rock Creek cottage was the only place he had ever
seen which he would prefer to his own, albeit his own residence is one
of the most costly and beautiful in the District of Columbia.

The scenery of Rock Creek for several miles above the Pierce Plantation
is chiefly distinguished for its simple and quiet beauty. The whole vale
in fact is remarkably luxuriant, and probably contains as great a
variety of foliage as can be found in the same space in any section of
the country. For miles and miles do the trees come together as if for
the purpose of protecting the murmuring stream from the kisses of the
sunlight, and even in September birds and flowers are quite abundant;
for here it is (it would seem) that summer lingers longest in the lap of
autumn. And such vines, too, as cluster along the margin of this stream!
The graceful net-work which they have formed over the tiny waterfalls
and the deep dark pools, with all their tendrils, are graceful beyond
compare; and while happy children go there at times to gather the
luscious grapes, we are certain that the little people of fairyland are
well content with their allotted privilege of using the swing of the
vine, while in the enjoyment of their midnight revels.

But we find that we are getting to be decidedly too poetical for our own
safety and the comfort of our readers, and as the sun has long since
passed the meridian, it is time that we should think of returning home.
And, besides, as we shall return to the city by a different route from
the one we came, we purpose to introduce to our readers one or two more
“places of note” which are identified with Rock Creek.

And first as to the Rock Creek church, which lies somewhere between one
and two miles eastward of the stream from which it derives its name. The
original Rock Creek chapel was founded in the year 1719, and the bricks
employed in its construction were brought from England. It became a
parish church in 1726, at which time the glebe land (as at the present
time, I believe) amounted to one hundred acres. It was rebuilt in the
year 1768, and many improvements added in the year 1808. The first
rector of the church was the Rev. George Murdock, who officiated for
thirty-four years; his successors were Rev. Alexander Williamson, Rev.
Thomas Read, Rev. Alfred Henry Dashields, Rev. Thomas G. Allen, Rev.
Henry C. Knight, Rev. Levin I. Gills, Rev. Edward Waylen, and the
present incumbent, Rev. William A. Harris. Of Mr. Read it is recorded
that he presided over the church for forty years, during the whole of
which time he was absent only _thirty_ months; and with regard to Mr.
Waylen, it may be stated that he compiled an interesting history of the
Parish, which was published in 1845.

The appearance of Rock Creek church as it now stands is simply that of
an old-fashioned but very comfortable brick church. It occupies the
summit of a gentle hill, and is completely surrounded with a brotherhood
of fine oak and chestnut-trees. On every side of it tombs and
grave-stones are quite abundant, and some of them are so very old as to
be almost entirely hidden in the earth. Although we spent nearly an hour
in this city of the dead deciphering the various epitaphs, we only
stumbled upon one which attracted our particular attention; it was a
simple stone slab, covered with moss, upon which was this touching

               “_Grant, Lord, when I from death do wake,
                     I may of endless life partake.
                                 J. R._

And now, by way of variety, suppose our readers tarry with us for a few
moments at the residence of a certain retired banker, which lies only a
short distance from the Rock Creek church. With the elegant mansion and
highly cultivated grounds, everybody must of necessity be pleased, for
we believe that a more tasteful and superb place is not to be found in
the country. It caps the summit of the loftiest hill in the vicinity of
Washington, and while in one direction it commands a view of the
Allegheny Mountains, in another lies spread out a complete panoramic
view of the metropolis of the land, with a magnificent reach of the
Potomac extending a distance of at least forty miles. To comment upon
the spirits who preside over the mansion to which we have alluded is not
our purpose, but we may mention in passing that among the numerous
productions of art which adorn the interior are two capital pictures by
Morland, and a very fine landscape by Gainsborough. But enough. The sun
is already near the horizon, and even now the latter half of our walk
home must be by the light of the moon. And so much for a vagabondizing
day on Rock Creek.

                             LILLY LARNARD.

                    All that life can rate
  Worth name of life, in her hath estimate;
  Youth, beauty, wisdom, courage, virtue, all
  That happiness and prime can happy call.

Lilly Larnard is an only child, the pride of her mother, and the delight
of her father, who is the clergyman of a secluded and beautiful New
England village. We desire to make our reader acquainted with this dear
girl, but what can we find to say which hath not been anticipated by the
poet? Her character is already revealed. Well, then, since we happen to
be an intimate acquaintance and are in the mood, we will say something
about her by way of illustration.

As we passed by her cottage this afternoon, which stands on the southern
extremity of the green, about a hundred paces from the meeting-house, we
noticed an almost startling stillness about the premises, as if the
place were deserted; but this was owing to the heat and natural silence
of the hour. The closed window-blinds, half hidden by woodbine and
honeysuckle; the open doors, with a kitten sunning itself upon the sill
of one of them, bespoke it not only inhabited, but the abode of peace
and contentment. In a green grape-vine arbor beside the house sat our
little heroine, engaged in drawing some curious flowers, which she had
gathered in the meadow during her morning walk. At this moment two of
her female cousins stopped at the front gate, and called her to go with
them on a ramble through the woodlands. We had just time to change from
one hand to the other our heavy string of trout, for we were returning
home from angling, when out she came, bounding like a fawn, robed in
white muslin, her gipsy bonnet awry, and a crimson scarf thrown
carelessly over her shoulders. This simple dress is a specimen of her
taste in such matters, and the very thing to correspond with her
dark-brown curling hair, regular pearly teeth, blue, Madonna-like eyes,
and blooming cheeks. A snow-white terrier, her constant playmate and
companion, soon came following after, and having licked the hands of the
two friends, as a token of recognition, leaped a neighboring fence, and
led the way across a clover-field. When we turned to look again, the
happy group were crossing a rude bridge at the foot of a hill; and
following the path a short distance, they were lost to view.

Lilly Larnard is now in her sixteenth year. She is passionately fond of
the country; and we do believe, could she obtain permission, would spend
half her time in the open air. If she has but one summer hour to spare,
she goes no farther than her favorite brook, half a mile from home,
where she will angle away her time, wandering up the stream to where the
overhanging trees throw a soft twilight upon her path; and, if
_necessity_ requires it, will off with her slippers, and wade in after a
bunch of lilies or some golden pebbles. The neighboring farmer, as he
comes to the post-office early in the morning, if he chances to pass the
parsonage, will most likely be saluted by a sweet smile and bow. And
from whom, do you think? From Lilly Larnard, to be sure, who is airing
the parlor, dusting the furniture, or arranging some creeping flowers
beside the door with her pretty face almost hidden in a “kerchief
white.” And it may be, when mowing in one of his fields in the
afternoon, he will be surprised by a hearty laugh in an adjoining copse,
and on looking around behold a party of girls returning from the
strawberry hills, with Lilly as their leader. She is a pure-hearted
lover of nature, and everything, from the nameless flower to the
cloud-capt mountain, hath a language which causes her to feel that the
attributes of God are infinite. For her gayer hours, Nature “hath a tale
of gladness, and a smile and eloquence of beauty, and glides into her
darker musings, with a mild and gentle sympathy, which steals away their
sharpness ere she is aware.”

But how does she busy herself at home? it will be asked. She is an early
riser; and the first thing she does in the morning, after she has left
her room, is to put everything in its place which is out of place. She
kindly directs and helps Betty, the servant, to perform those numerous
little household duties, such as feeding the chickens and straining the
milk, not forgetting to give pussy a saucer full of the warm, sweet
liquid. She sets the breakfast table, prepares the toast, and all those
kindred delicacies, and pours out the coffee, sitting like a fairy queen
in the old high-backed chair, with her parents on either side. And when
her father clasps his hands to implore a blessing, she meekly bows her
head, sweetly responding to the solemn Amen. If anything is wanted from
the kitchen, she is up and away, and back again almost in a minute, so
sprightly is she in all her movements. During the forenoon, she is
generally helping her mother to sew or knit, or do anything else which
is required to be done; or, if her father wants her to read one of his
chaste and deeply religious sermons, the sweetness of her eloquent voice
makes it doubly impressive. In the afternoon, she is generally engaged
in some benevolent duty. Not one in a hundred is so well acquainted with
the poor of the parish.

She enters the abode of the poor widow, and, besides administering to
her temporal wants, gives her the overflowing sympathy of her own warm
heart, administering at the same time the consolations of religion. It
is a common sight to see her tripping along the street, with a basket on
her arm; and the clerk, or more stately merchant, as he sees her pass
his door, takes particular pains to make a bow, inwardly exclaiming—“Who
now is to become the debtor of Lilly Larnard?” And the stranger who may
have met her in his walk, fails not to inquire of his host, at evening,
the name of the lovely creature who wears a white dress and gipsy

Lilly is a Christian, not only a church-going Christian, but her life is
one continued round of charitable deeds and pious duties, almost worthy
of an angel. She has a class of little boys in the Sabbath school, and
they are all so fond of their amiable teacher that I do believe they
would undergo almost any trial for her sake. She _loves_ her Bible too,
and would be unhappy were she deprived of the privilege of reading it
every day. When she rises from her pillow at dawn, she kneels beside her
couch, and breathes her offering of prayer; and so, too, when the day is
closed and she retires to repose.

Her father is a clergyman of easy fortune. The prayer of his youth seems
to have been kindly answered by the Most High. About one year ago he
bought a beautiful chestnut pony, and, all saddled and bridled,
presented it to Lilly on her fifteenth birthday. As might be expected,
she was perfectly transported with the gift. “Oh! father,” she
exclaimed, “how I will try to merit your approbation in every action of
my life.”

A colored boy, named Tommy, is Lilly’s groom and page, and he seems to
love the pony and his mistress above everything else in the world. A
smarter and better-hearted page did not follow a high-born lady of the
feudal times. Lilly has now become a first-rate rider; and often, when
with her friends, takes pleasure in boasting of her noble
accomplishment, and the speed of her horse. When she has been out
riding, she almost always manages to canter through the middle street of
the village on her return. Sometimes she is alone with her dog, and
sometimes with a female friend; but the forelock of her pony is always
surmounted by a few flowers, or a cluster of green leaves, for she has a
queer notion of ransacking the most secluded corners of the field and
wood. Only a week ago (the very day we caught that two-pound trout),
while standing upon a hill, we saw her trying to leap a narrow but deep
brook, and she did not give up trying until she had accomplished the
deed. We thought that if her pony had been gifted with the power of
speech, he would have exclaimed, “Well done, you courageous girl, you
possess a wonderful deal of spunk!”

Lilly left school about two years ago, because her father chose to
superintend her education himself. She is a good scholar in everything
requisite for a lady. You could hardly puzzle her with questions in
history, geography, or mathematics. Her modesty and simplicity of
character are so great that you would be surprised at the extent of her
book-information and practical knowledge. She has a wonderful talent for
making herself agreeable under all circumstances. If she meets a beggar
woman in the street, she will talk, familiarly with her about her
sorrows, instructing her to bear up under every trial. She is the
universal favorite of the whole village. All who know her, the poor and
the rich, from the child of three years to the hoary head, all love her
with the affection felt toward a sister or daughter. She smiles with
those who smile, and weeps with those who weep. Servant-girls consult
with her about purchasing a new dress, and little children invite her to
participate with them in their pastimes.

Lilly Larnard is a lover of poetry. Yes, whether she sees it in the
primrose and the evening cloud; or hears it in the laughing rivulet and
the song of birds; or reads it in the pages of Spenser, Milton,
Shakspeare, Wordsworth, or Coleridge. And she is a _writer_, too, of
sweet and soothing poetry, just such as should always emanate from the
pure-hearted. To give the reader an idea of her poetic powers, we will
here quote her last effort, which was written with a pencil on a
fly-leaf of Dana’s Poems while walking on the sea-shore; for, be it
known that the village of her birth is within sound of the never-ceasing
roar of the Atlantic. The title of it is—

                           A SEA-SHORE ECHO.

  “Alone! and on the smooth, hard, sandy shore of the boundless sea! A
  lovelier morning never dawned upon the world of waters. O! how balmy,
  how clear, how soul-subduing, how invigorating is the air! Calmness
  sits throned upon the unmoving clouds, whose colors are like the sky,
  only of a brighter hue. One of them, more ambitious than its fellows,
  is swimming onward, a wanderer, and companionless. O that I could rest
  upon its ‘unrolling skirts,’ and take an aerial pilgrimage around the
  globe—now looking down upon its humming cities, and fruitful and
  cultivated plains; and again, upon some unpeopled wilderness or ocean
  solitude! But alas! the peerless beauty of that light cloud will be
  extinguished, when the sun shall have withdrawn his influence, and, if
  not entirely dispersed, will take another shape, and make its home in
  darkness. And so have I seen a man, when wandering from the heavenly
  sunshine of religion, passing from his cradle to the grave.

  “As I gaze upward into yon blue dome, the anxieties of life are all
  forgotten, and my heart throbs with a quicker pulse, and beats with an
  increasing thrill of joy. How holy and serene those azure depths of
  air! Strange, that aught so beautiful should canopy a world of tears,
  decay, and death! Yonder sky is the everlasting home of countless
  worlds; the vast ethereal chamber, where are displayed the wonders of
  the thunder, and lightning, and rainbow; and a mirror, too, reflecting
  the glorious majesty, the wisdom and power of the Omnipotent. Lo!
  across my vision there is floating another cloud, whiter than the
  driven snow! Rearward, there trails along another, and still another,
  until pile on pile they reach upward to the very zenith; and oh, how
  gorgeous the scenes which my fancy conjures up, delighted with their
  changing loveliness! One moment, I behold a group of angels reclining
  at ease upon the summit of a pearly battlement; and now, summoned by a
  celestial strain of melody, they spread their pinions for a higher
  flight—a flight into the diamond portals of the New Jerusalem. Again,
  a river of pure white foam rolls swift but noiseless through unpeopled
  valleys, hemmed in by airy mountains of wondrous height, until its
  waters empty into a tranquil sea, boundless and ‘beautiful
  exceedingly;’ and on this, a myriad of swanlike barges are gliding to
  and fro, without a breeze, while the voyagers are striking their
  golden harps, and singing hymns of sweetest strain and holiest import,
  whose echoes die away on the shadowy waves. There! all these, like the
  dreams of youth, are melting into nothingness; and my eyes now rest
  only upon the dark blue ocean.

  “The green waves of the Atlantic, with their undulating swell, come
  rolling in upon the sand, making a plaintive music, sweeter than the
  blended harmonies of a thousand instruments. Would that I might leap
  in and wrestle with them, and, when overcome by fatigue, lay my heated
  brow upon those cool watery pillows, rocked to sleep as in a cradle,
  while my lullaby would be the moaning of the sea. The mists of morning
  are all dispelled, and the glorious sunshine, emblem of God’s love, is
  bathing with effulgent light the ocean before me, and behind me the
  mountains and valleys of my own loved country. Look! how the white
  caps chase each other along the watery plain, like the milk-white
  steeds, striving in their freedom to outstrip the breeze. Whence comes
  this breeze, and whither is it going? Three days ago, at set of sun,
  it spread its wing near to a sandy desert of Africa, where a caravan
  of camels, and horses, and men, had halted for the night; and at the
  dawning of to-morrow, it will be sporting with the forest-trees of the
  western wilderness!

  “Far as the eye can reach, the sea is ‘sprinkled o’er with ships,’
  their white sails gleaming in the sunlight. One of them has just
  returned from India, another from the Pacific, and another from the
  Arctic Sea. Years have elapsed since they departed hence. They have
  been exposed to a thousand dangers; but the great God, who holds the
  ocean in the hollow of his hand, has conducted them back to their
  desired homes. How many silent prayers of thanksgiving, and what a
  thrilling and joyous shout, will echo to the shore, as those
  storm-beaten mariners drop anchor in their native waters! Yonder, too,
  are other ships, bound to the remotest corners of the earth. They seem
  to rejoice in their beauty and speed, and proud is their bearing; but
  will they ever return? Alas! the shadowy future alone can answer.
  Farewell, a long farewell, ye snowy daughters of the ocean.”

But to return. Lilly Larnard is fond of music, too, and plays
delightfully on the harp. Her voice is sweeter than the fall of waters
when heard at a distance in the stillness of the twilight hour. She
knows nothing of fashion; and if she did, would consider it beneath her
dignity to be incommoded or swayed by it. Instead of decking herself
with gew-gaws for a brilliant appearance in the gay saloon, within sound
of the rude jest and foolish flattery, she strives by watchfulness and
care to purify her daily conduct; for hers is not less prone to sin than
all other human hearts. “Necklaces does she sometimes wear, in her
playful glee, made of the purple fruit that feeds the small birds in the
moors, and beautiful is the gentle stain then visible over the blue
veins of her swan-like bosom.” Beautiful as she is, a feeling of vanity
never yet entered the heart of the rector’s daughter. She feels too
deeply the truth, that personal charms, which are the only pride of
weak-minded persons, time will eventually transform into wrinkled
homeliness; and that an affectionate heart and good understanding will
endure, and become more perfect, until the pilgrimage of life is ended.

Never has Lilly Larnard been more than thirty miles away from the
village of her birth. She has read of cities, and the busy multitudes
that throng them; of armies and navies; of politics and war; but all
these things to her are but as the visions of a dream. She is ignorant
of the real condition and character of the great world, for naught but
the echo of its din has ever fallen upon her ear. She listens with
wonder to the deeds of which we sometimes tell her we have been an
unwilling witness in the wilderness of men. She thinks it strange, that
the inhabitants of cities think so much of the present life, and so
little of the future. Her days have been spent in innocence beneath the
blue dome of the illimitable sky, inhaling the pure unadulterated air of
the country, now sporting in the sunshine, and now sprinkled by a
refreshing shower; while the loveliest of flowers and birds, and holy
and tender affections, have been her hourly companions; and her nights
have passed away in pleasant dreams of that bright world beyond the

                             BASSE FISHING.

  “We delight, as all the world has long well known, in every kind of
  fishing, from the whale to the minnow.”
                                                      Christopher North.

The beautiful fish now chosen for our “subject theme” is a genuine
_native American_, and ranks high among the game fish of the country.
When fully grown, he is commonly about fifteen inches long, two inches
in thickness, and some five inches broad, weighing perhaps five or six
pounds. He belongs to the perch family, has a thick oval head, a swallow
tail, sharp teeth, and small scales. In color, he is deep black along
the back and sides, growing lighter and somewhat yellowish towards the
belly. He has a large mouth and is a bold biter, feeds upon minnows and
insects, is strong and active, and when in season possesses a fine
flavor. He spawns in the spring, recovers in July, and is in his prime
in September.

The black basse is peculiarly a Western fish, and is not known in any of
the rivers which connect immediately with the Atlantic Ocean. They are
found in great abundance in the upper Mississippi and its tributaries,
in all the great lakes excepting Superior, in the upper St. Lawrence, in
Lake Champlain and Lake George, and nearly all the smaller lakes of New
York. In portions of the last-named State they are called the Oswego
basse, in the southwest the black perch, and in the northwest, where
they are most abundant, the black basse. In nearly all the waters where
they abound has it been our good fortune to angle for the fish, and his
very name is associated with much of the most beautiful scenery in the
land. Our own experience, however, in basse fishing is chiefly
identified with Lake George, Lake Erie, Lake Michigan, and the upper
Mississippi, and to these waters alone is it our purpose to devote a few

And, first, as to the beautiful “Horicon” of the North. Embosomed as it
is among the wildest of mountains, and rivaling, as do its waters, the
blue of heaven, it is indeed all that could be desired, and in every
particular worthy of its fame. Although this lake is distinguished for
the number and variety of its trout, I am inclined to believe that the
black basse found here afford the angler the greatest amount of sport.
They are taken during the entire summer, and by almost as great a
variety of methods as there are anglers; trolling with a minnow,
however, and fishing with a gaudy fly from the numerous islands in the
lake, are unquestionably the two most successful methods. As before
intimated, the basse is a very active fish, and, excepting the salmon,
we know of none that perform, when hooked, such desperate leaps out of
the water. They commonly frequent the immediate vicinity of the shores,
especially those that are rocky, and are seldom taken where the water is
more than twenty feet deep. They commonly lie close to the bottom, rise
to the minnow or fly quite as quickly as the trout, and are not as
easily frightened by the human form.

The late William Caldwell, who owned an extensive estate at the southern
extremity of Lake George, was the gentleman who first introduced us to
the basse of said lake, and we shall ever remember him as one of the
most accomplished and gentlemanly anglers we have ever known. He was
partial to the trolling method of fishing, however, and the manner in
which he performed a piscatorial expedition was somewhat unique and
romantic. His right hand man on all occasions was a worthy mountaineer,
who lived in the vicinity of his mansion, and whose principal business
was to take care of the angler’s boat, and row him over the lake. For
many years did this agreeable connection exist between Mr. Caldwell and
his boatman, and, when their fishing days were over, was happily
terminated by the deeding of a handsome farm to the latter by his
munificent employer. But we intended to describe one of Mr. Caldwell’s

It is a July morning, and our venerable angler, with his boatman, has
embarked in his feathery skiff. The lake is thirty-three miles long, and
it is his intention to perform its entire circuit, thereby voyaging at
least seventy miles. He purposes to be absent about a week, and, having
no less than half a dozen places on the lake shore where he can find a
night’s lodging, he is in no danger of being compelled to camp out. His
little vessel is abundantly supplied with fishing tackle, as well as the
substantials of life, and some of its liquid luxuries. He and _Care_
have parted company, and his heart is now wholly open to the influences
of nature, and therefore buoyant as the boat which bears him over the
translucent waters. The first day his luck is bad, and he tarries at a
certain point for the purpose of witnessing the concluding scene of a
deer hunt, and hearing the successful hunter expatiate upon his exploits
and the quality of his hounds. On the second day the wind is from the
south, and he secures no less than twenty of the finest basse in the
lake. On the third day he also has good luck, but is greatly annoyed by
thunder showers, and must content himself with one of the late magazines
which he has brought along for such emergencies. The fifth and sixth
days he has some good fishing, and spends them at Garfield’s Landing
(for the reader must know that there is a tiny steamboat on Lake
George), where he has an opportunity of meeting a brotherhood of
anglers, who are baiting for the salmon trout; and the seventh day he
probably spends quietly at Lyman’s Tavern, in the companionship of an
intelligent landscape painter (spending the summer there), arriving at
home on the following morning.

As to our own experience in regard to basse fishing in Lake George, we
remember one incident in particular which illustrates an interesting
truth in natural history. We were on a trouting expedition, and happened
to reach the lake early in June, before the basse were in season, and we
were stopping with our friend Mr. Lyman, of Lyman’s Point. The idea
having occurred to us of spearing a few fish by torchlight, we secured
the services of an experienced fisherman, and with a boat well supplied
with _fat pine_, we launched ourselves on the quiet waters of the lake
about an hour after sundown. Basse were very abundant, and we succeeded
in killing some half dozen of a large size. We found them exceedingly
tame, and noticed, when we approached, that they were invariably alone,
occupying the centre of a circular and sandy place among the rocks and
stones. We inquired the cause of this, and were told that the basse were
casting their spawn, and that the circular places were the beds where
the young were protected. On hearing this our conscience was somewhat
troubled for what we had been doing, but we resolved to take one more
fish and then go home. We now came to a large bed, around the edge of
which we discovered a number of very small fish, and over the centre of
the bed a very large and handsome basse was hovering. We darted our
spear, and only wounded the poor fish. Our companion then told us that
if we would go away for fifteen minutes, and then return to the same
spot, we should have another chance at the same fish. We did so, and the
prediction was realized. We threw the spear again, and again missed our
game, though we succeeded in nearly cutting the fish in two pieces. “You
will have the creature yet; let us go away again,” said my companion. We
did so, and lo! to our utter astonishment, we again saw the fish, all
mutilated and torn, still hovering over its tender offspring! To relieve
it of its pain we darted the spear once more, and the basse lay in our
boat quite dead; and we returned to our lodgings on that night a
decidedly unhappy man. We felt, with the _ancient mariner_, that we
“_had done a hellish deed_” and most bitterly did we repent our folly.
Ever since that time have we felt a desire to atone for our wickedness,
and we trust that the shade of Izaak Walton will receive our humble
confession as an atonement. The basse that we took on the night in
question, owing to their being out of season, were not fit to eat, and
we had not even the plea of palatable food to offer. The maternal
affection of that black basse for its helpless offspring, which it
protected even unto death, has ever seemed to us in strict keeping with
the loveliness and holiness of universal nature.

And now with regard to Lake Erie. We know not of a single prominent
river emptying into this lake in which the black basse is not found in
considerable numbers. The sport which they yield to the disciples of
Walton at the eastern extremity of the lake has been described by George
W. Clinton, Esq., of Buffalo, in a series of piscatorial letters
published in the journals of that city; and, as we would not interfere
with him while throwing the fly in his company on the same stream,
neither will we trespass upon that literary ground which he has so
handsomely made his own. When, however, we hear the green waves of Lake
Erie washing its western shores, we feel that we have a right to be
heard, for in that region, when it was for the most a lonely wilderness,
did we first behold the light of this beautiful world. With the windings
of the Sandusky, the Maumee, the Huron, and the Detroit rivers we are
quite familiar, and we know that they all yield an abundance of black
basse; but with the river Raisin we are as well acquainted as a child
could be with its mother’s bosom. Upon this stream was the home of our
boyhood, and at the bare mention of its name unnumbered recollections
flit across the mind, which to our hearts are inexpressibly dear.

Even when a mere boy we esteemed the black basse as a peer among his
fellows, and never can we forget our first prize. We had seated ourself
at the foot of an old sycamore, directly on the margin of the river
Raisin, and among its serpent-like roots we were fishing for a number of
tiny rock basse that we had chanced to discover there. We baited with a
worm, and while doing our utmost to capture a two-ounce fish, we were
suddenly frightened by the appearance of a black basse, which took our
hook and was soon dangling in the top of a neighboring bush. Our delight
at this unexpected exploit was unbounded, and, after bothering our
friends with an account of it until the night was far spent, we retired
to bed, and in our dreams caught the same poor fish over and over again
until morning. From that day to this, rivers and fish have haunted us
like a passion.

Like the trout, the black basse seems to be partial to the more romantic
and poetical places in the rivers which they frequent. On the river
Raisin, for example, we used to enjoy the rarest of sport at an old and
partly dilapidated mill-dam, which was covered with moss, and at the
foot of which were some of the nicest “deep holes” imaginable. Wherever
the timbers of the dam formed a “loop-hole of retreat,” there we were
always sure of finding a basse. And we also remember an old mill, in
whose shadowy recesses, far down among the foundation timbers, the basse
delighted to congregate, and where we were wont to spend many of our
Saturday afternoons; but our favorite expeditions were those which
occupied entire days, and led us along the banks of the Raisin, in the
vicinity of its mouth, and far beyond the hearing of the mill-wheel or
the clink of the blacksmith’s anvil. At such times the discovery of old
sunken logs was all that we cared for, for we knew that the basse
delighted to spend the noontide hours in their shadow. And when we could
borrow a canoe, and obtain a foothold on the extreme point of a wooded
island, so as to angle in the deep and dark holes, we seldom failed in
realizing all the enjoyment that we anticipated. And, if we chanced to
come across a party of fishermen drawing the seine, we were sure to
forget our promise to our parents to return home before sundown, and,
far too often for a good boy, did we remain with them even until the
moon had taken her station in the sky. To count the fish thus captured,
and to hear the strange adventures and exploits talked over by these
fishermen, was indeed a delightful species of vagabondizing; and we
usually avoided a very severe scolding by returning home “with one of
the largest basse ever caught in the river,” which we may have taken
with the hook or purchased of the fishermen. But we are talking of the
“times of the days of old,” and as we remember that the glories of the
River Raisin, in regard to its scenery and its fish, are for ever
departed, we hasten to other waters.

In fancy we have now crossed the peninsula of Michigan, or rather
compassed it by means of the splendid steamers which navigate the waters
of Huron and Michigan, and we are now on the banks of the river St.
Joseph. This is a small river, and unquestionably one of the most
beautiful in the western world. It runs through an exceedingly fertile
country, abounds in luxuriant islands, is invariably as clear as
crystal, and in its course winding to an uncommon degree. It is
navigable for small steamboats to the village of Niles, fifty miles from
its mouth, and for batteaux somewhere about fifty miles further, towards
its source. Early in the spring it abounds in the more common varieties
of fresh-water fish, but throughout the summer and autumn it yields the
black basse in the greatest abundance.

Our piscatorial experience upon the St. Joseph has not been very
extensive, but we deem it worthy of a passing notice. We were on our way
to the “Far West,” and had been waylaid in the beautiful village of
Niles by one of the fevers of the country. The physician who attended us
was a genuine angler, and we believe that our speedy recovery was owing
almost entirely to the capital fish stories with which he regaled us
during that uncomfortable period. Be that as it may, one thing we very
clearly remember, which is this: that we enjoyed some of the most
remarkable basse fishing in his company that we have ever experienced.
It was in September, and we commenced fishing at three o’clock in the
afternoon. We baited with live minnows, fished with hand lines, and from
a boat which was firmly anchored at a bend of the river, and just above
a long and very deep hole, two miles above the village of Niles. Our
lines were upwards of a hundred feet long, and, as the current was very
rapid, the pulling in of our minnows was performed with very little
trouble. The sun was shining brightly, and the only sounds which floated
in the air were the singing of birds, the rustling of the forest leaves,
and the gentle murmuring of the waters as they glided swiftly along the
luxuriant banks of the stream. We fished a little more than two hours,
but in that time we caught no less than ninety-two basse, a dozen of
which weighed over five pounds, and the great majority not less than two
pounds. Such remarkable luck had never been heard of before in that
vicinity, and of course for several days thereafter the river was
covered with boats; but, strange to say, nearly all the anglers returned
home disappointed. On a subsequent occasion, the doctor and his patient
made another trial at their favorite spot, but succeeded in taking only
a single fish, from which circumstance we came to the conclusion that we
had actually cleared that portion of the river of its fishy inhabitants.

Before quitting the St. Joseph, we ought to state that its beautiful
tributaries, the Pipe Stone and the Paw-Paw, afford a superior quality
of basse, and that no pleasanter fishing-ground can anywhere be found
than at the mouth of the parent river itself. With regard to the other
principal rivers of western Michigan, we can only say that the Kalamazoo
and the Grand River are not one whit behind the St. Joseph in any of
those charms which win the affections of the angler and the lover of

We come now to speak of the Upper Mississippi, in whose translucent
waters, as before stated, the black basse is found in “numbers
numberless.” Not only do they abound in the river itself and its noble
tributaries, but also in the lakes of the entire region. The only people
who angle for them, however, are the travelers who occasionally
penetrate into this beautiful wilderness of the Northwest. Generally
speaking, the basse, as well as all other kinds of fish, are taken by
the Indians with a wooden spear, and more to satisfy hunger than to
enjoy the sport. The angler who would cast a fly above Fort Snelling
must expect to spend his nights in an Indian lodge instead of a
white-washed cottage, to repose upon a bear-skin instead of a bed (such
as Walton loved) which “smells of lavender,” and to hear the howl of the
wolf instead of a “milk-maid’s song.”

As our piscatorial recollections of the section of country just named
are not particularly interesting, and as it is attracting much attention
at the present time (1849), under the new name of _Minesota_, or _Turbid
Water_, we shall conclude our essay with the following general

According to the final provisions of the act of Congress which has
lately transferred this extensive wilderness into a Territory of the
United States, it is bounded on the north by the British possessions, on
the east by Lake Superior and the State of Wisconsin, on the south by
the State of Iowa, and on the west by the Missouri river and the
extensive possessions of the Indians. The surface of the country is
generally level, and it has been estimated that at least two-thirds of
its area consists of prairie land, the remainder being forest. Much of
the soil is fertile, and easy of cultivation. It is watered by no less
than six of the most superb rivers on the face of the earth—the
Mississippi and Missouri, River Au Jacques, the St. Peters, or Minesota
River, the Red River, emptying into Hudson’s Bay, and the St. Louis,
emptying into Lake Superior. Were it not for the Falls of St. Mary (a
canal having been built around those of Niagara), a vessel sailing from
the city of New York, by the St. Lawrence and the great lakes, might
deposit her merchandise almost within its very heart; while it is a
well-known fact that a New Orleans steamer may, by the Mississippi and
Missouri rivers, transport the products of the South to its more remote
extremities. The two facts, that Minesota is laved by the waters of the
largest lake in the world, and that in its very centre are located at
least a thousand lesser lakes, which constitute the fountainhead of the
Father of Waters, are in themselves sufficient to give it a world-wide
reputation. In addition to all this, the climate of this territory is
all that could be desired. The winters are indeed somewhat long and
cold, but they are regular; and, as to the summers, we have never
witnessed any that were to us so bracing and delightful. The dreaded
ague is a stranger in this region, and the very night-airs seem to
increase the strength of the voyagers and Indian traders, who, for the
most part, are the only civilized inhabitants of the domain. Game is
found in the greatest abundance, from the buffalo to the deer and the
grouse, and there is no region in the world where can be found a greater
variety of fresh-water fish.

The Indian population is by far the most extensive now existing within
its limits, but the nations are only two in number, the Chippeways and
the Sioux. The wrongs which these unfortunate children of the wilderness
have for many years past endured from the more unprincipled traders are
among the blackest crimes of the white man, and it is to be most
sincerely hoped that a new order of things will now be brought about
which may in some slight degree atone for those wrongs. To us, who have
been a devoted lover of the red man, even from childhood, the fact that
the race is literally withering from the land of their fathers is indeed
depressing and sickening. With all his faults, we dearly love the poor
neglected and deeply-wronged Indian, and we verily believe that our
beloved country can never prosper, as it might, until we have done
something to atone for the unnumbered outrages committed against the
race by our more unworthy citizens. But we are wandering.

With regard to the towns or villages existing at the present time in
Minesota, we can offer but little. So far as we now remember, they
consist of only three: Fond du Lac, on the St. Louis, a mere trading
post; St. Peters, at the mouth of the river of that name, distinguished
as the site of Fort Snelling, as being within five or six miles of the
Falls of St. Anthony, and at the head of steamboat navigation; and the
hamlet of St. Paul, which is on the west side of the Mississippi, only
about six miles below the mouth of the St. Peter’s. The fact that the
last-named place has been selected as the seat of government of the new
Territory renders it of some interest. It is situated on a bluff which
rises some fifty feet above the Mississippi, and, though flanked by a
thinly-wooded, or rather prairie country, the soil is fertile, and the
scenery both up and down the Mississippi is exceedingly beautiful.
Unlike that portion running south of the Missouri, this portion of the
great river is invariably translucent, and for many reasons is
interesting to an uncommon degree. Steamboats drawing only a few inches
of water navigate this portion of the river during the whole summer.
When we visited St. Paul (1846) the majority of its dwellings, if not
all (numbering not more than half a dozen), were built of logs, and,
though very comfortable, were not particularly showy. At that time, too,
the only business carried on there was that of trading with the Indians.
Our most vivid recollections of the place are associated with a supper
that we enjoyed in the cabin of the principal trader. We had lost
ourself in traveling by land from Lake St. Croix to the village, and for
many hours before our arrival we had been in a particularly hungry mood.
We entered St. Paul just as the sun was setting; and it so happened
that, on the very outskirts of the place, we chanced to kill a couple of
young coons. A portion of one of these animals, fried in its own fat,
with a dish of tea, constituted our supper, and a more truly
satisfactory supper we have hardly ever enjoyed, albeit we have been
quite an extensive traveler in the wilderness. If the citizens of St.
Paul only welcomed their newly-appointed governor by giving him a coon
supper, we feel confident that he was well pleased with the reception.

With regard to the agricultural products, we cannot speak with much
confidence. Wild rice, we know, grows in great abundance, and is the
staple article of food with the Indians. For corn, the climate is
considered rather cold; but potatoes and the more common vegetables grow
to perfection. In many parts the maple-tree predominates, and a fine
sugar is produced in considerable quantities. The principal timbers are
pine and a dwarfish oak. The only Alpine region of Minesota is that
which lies upon Lake Superior, and the beautiful mountains which here
kiss the blue of heaven are invariably covered with a miscellaneous
forest; and, if half the stories we have heard are true, they must
abound in the valuable minerals of copper and silver.

Those of our readers who may desire further information in regard to the
Territory of Minesota would do well to consult the following
authorities, viz., Gen. Pike, who traveled through the region in 1806;
Henry R. Schoolcraft’s Travels, both in 1820 and 1832; Major Long, who
visited Leech Lake in 1823; and M. Nicolet, whose map of the region is
exceedingly valuable; an occasional item of information may also be
obtained from a little work entitled “A Summer in the Wilderness,”
published in 1846.

                          A VIRGINIA BARBECUE.

The word _barbecue_ is said to be derived from a combination of two
French words, signifying _from the head to the tail_, or rather,
“according to the moderns,” _the whole figure, or the whole hog_. By
some, this species of entertainment is thought to have originated in the
West India Islands. However this may be, it is quite certain that it was
first introduced into this country by the early settlers of Virginia;
and though well known throughout all the Southern States, it is commonly
looked upon as a “pleasant invention” of the Old Dominion. The idea was
evidently conceived by a rural population, and in a district where
villages and the ordinary public buildings of the present time were few
and far between. For purposes of business or pleasure, the people found
it necessary, or advisable, to meet together in masses, at stated
periods; and as these meetings were made a kind of rural festival, and
as the animals served up on such occasions were commonly roasted entire,
it was not unnatural that the feast should eventually have become known
as a barbecue.

Of the genus barbecue, as it exists at the present time, we believe
there are only two varieties known to the people of Virginia, and these
may be denominated as social and political. The social barbecue is
sometimes given at the expense of a single individual, but more commonly
by a party of gentleman, who desire to gratify their friends and
neighbors by a social entertainment. At times, the ceremony of issuing
written invitations is attended to; but, generally speaking, it is
understood that all the yeomanry of the immediate neighborhood, with
their wives and children, will be heartily welcomed, and a spirit of
perfect equality invariably prevails. The spot ordinarily selected for
the meeting is an oaken grove in some pleasant vale, and the first
movement is to dispatch to the selected place a crowd of faithful
negroes, for the purpose of making all the necessary arrangements. If
the barbecue is given at the expense of half a dozen gentlemen, you may
safely calculate that at least thirty servants will be employed in
bringing together the good things. Those belonging to one of the
entertainers will probably make their appearance on the ground with a
wagon load of fine young pigs: others will bring two or three lambs,
others some fine old whisky and a supply of wine, others the necessary
table-cloths, plates, knives, and forks, others an abundance of bread,
and others will make their appearance in the capacity of musicians. When
the necessaries are thus collected, the servants all join hands and
proceed with their important duties. They first dig a pit, four feet
wide, two or three deep, and as long as they require, into which they
throw a quantity of wood, for the purpose of obtaining therefrom a bed
of burning coals. This done, the more expert kitchen negroes proceed to
roast (by laying them upon sticks across the fires) the various animals
prepared for the occasion. In the mean time, all the other arrangements
are progressing, such as spreading the white cloths upon the temporary
board tables, and clearing a place for dancing. The guests begin to
assemble about ten o’clock, and by noon there is hardly a tree within
hailing distance of the centre of attraction to which a horse is not
fastened. The assembly is quite large; and white dresses and scarlet
shawls are as numerous as the summer flowers upon the neighboring hills.
Old men are here with their wives and daughters, in whose veins floweth
the best of aristocratic blood; young husbands with their wives;
unmarried gentlemen with a bevy of laughing girls under their charge;
and children of every age, from the wild and boisterous boy to little
girls just old enough to totter after a butterfly. One, or perhaps two
hours, are then spent by the multitude in playing rural games, in social
converse, in telling stories, or in discussing the news of the day.
Finally, the pigs and lambs have all been roasted, and the feast is
ready; whereupon there followeth as busy and satisfactory a scene as can
well be imagined. After it is ended, the negroes come into rightful
possession of all the tables and the abundance of good things left over;
and, having quietly invited a number of their friends, with their
families, they proceed to enjoy their portion of the entertainment,
which is generally concluded by a regular negro frolic, with banjo and
fiddle, in a neighboring grove. In due time, after the more substantial
feature of the barbecue has been enjoyed, the musicians are summoned to
their allotted places, and the entire party of ladies and gentlemen
proceed to trip the light fantastic toe. The exercise continues for
whole hours, and white-haired men and little girls are seen wending
their way through the intricate mazes of the country dance and the
Virginia reel. As the sun nears the horizon, the more advanced members
of the party quietly take their departure, leaving a cloud of dust
behind them on the road. By the time the last day-flower has closed its
petal, the young men and maidens have entire possession of the barbecue
ground; and having wound up the last reel by the light of the newly
risen moon, they dismiss the musicians, gather together their hats and
shawls, and with many a song and jest return to their several homes.

With regard to the political barbecue, we have to remark that it differs
from the one already described only in the following particulars: It is
generally gotten up by the leaders of one of the political parties, and
speeches take the place of dancing, although ladies in considerable
numbers are invariably in attendance. Previous to the appointed day for
the political barbecue, a placard is nailed to all the barn doors and
blacksmith shops in the district or county where it occurs, to the
effect that “several distinguished speakers will be present on the
occasion,” and that the people of all parties are invited to be present.
If the entertainers on this occasion are of the Whig party, the first
speech, as a matter of course, is delivered by a Whig orator, and it is
no uncommon sight to see this gentleman standing literally _on the
stump_. After he has taken his seat, he is usually followed by a brother
orator of the Democratic party; and so, alternately, are the principles
of the prevailing parties fully discussed. Generally speaking, the
greatest decorum exists, not only among the speakers but among the
listeners; and if severe remarks are dropped in the heat of debate, they
are not commonly considered of sufficient consequence to create a breach
between personal friends. There are times, however, when even the
political barbecue is concluded by a dance; but as the crowd is then
particularly miscellaneous, the hilarity which usually prevails is apt
to be a little too boisterous. When given in the autumn, new cider
usually takes the place of more stimulating drinks (so far as the
multitude are concerned, at any rate), and when this is the case, it is
very seldom that any improprieties occur. But, generally speaking, a
genuine Virginia barbecue, whether of a political or social character,
is a rural entertainment which deserves far more praise than censure,
and we know of none which affords the stranger a better opportunity of
studying the character of the yeomanry of the Southern States.

                        DEATH IN THE WILDERNESS.

Midway between the St. Louis River and Sandy Lake, in the Territory of
Minesota, is to be found one of the largest and most forbidding of
tamarack swamps. From time immemorial it has been a thing of dread, not
only to the Indians, but also to the traders and voyagers, for directly
across its centre runs the portage train leading from the waters of Lake
Superior to those of the Upper Mississippi. For a goodly portion of the
year it is blocked up with snow, and during the summer is usually so far
covered with water as only occasionally to afford a little island of
coarse vegetation. It is so desolate a place as to be uninhabited even
by wild animals, and hence the pleasures of traveling over it are far
from being manifold. In fact, the only way in which it can be overcome
during the vernal months is by employing a rude causeway of logs for the
more dangerous places; and as it happens to be directly on the route of
a portage over which canoes and packs of furs are annually transported
to a considerable extent, we cannot wonder that it should frequently be
the scene of mishaps and accidents. Evidences to prove this, we
distinctly remember to have seen, when once crossing the swamp, for all
along the trail were the skeletons of canoes, which had been abandoned
by their owners, together with broken paddles and remnants of camp
furniture. But the most interesting object that we witnessed in this
remote corner of the wilderness was a rude wooden cross, surmounting a
solitary grave. And connected with this grave is the following story,
obtained from one who assisted at the burial.

It was a summer day, and many years ago, when a stranger made his
appearance at the Sault St. Marie. He reported himself as coming from
Montreal and anxious to obtain a canoe passage to the head waters of the
Mississippi. He was a Frenchman, of elegant address, and in easy
circumstances, so far as one could judge from his stock of traveling
comforts. His name and business, however, were alike unknown, and hence
a mystery attended his every word and movement. Having purchased a new
canoe and a comfortable tent, he secured the services of four stalwart
Chippeways and started upon his western pilgrimage. He sailed along the
southern shore of Lake Superior, and as its unique features developed
themselves to his view one after another, he frequently manifested the
gratification he experienced in the most enthusiastic manner, thereby
increasing the mystery which surrounded him. Wholly unacquainted with
the language spoken by his companions, he could only converse with them
by signs; but though they could not relate to him the traditions
associated with the sandstone cliffs, mountains, and beautiful islands
which they witnessed, they did everything in their power to make him
comfortable. They entered his tent and built his watch-fire at night,
supplied him with game and fish, and during the long pleasant days, when
skimming over the blue waters, entertained him with their romantic but
uncouth songs. In due time, they reached the superb and most picturesque
St. Louis River, surmounted by means of many portages its waterfalls,
entered and ascended one of its tributaries, and finally drew up their
canoe at the eastern extremity of the portage leading over the tamarack

The spot where the voyagers landed was distinguished for its beauty, and
as they arrived there in the afternoon, they concluded that a better
place could not be found to spend the night. The tent of the stranger
was therefore erected, and while the Indians busied themselves in
preparing the evening meal, the former amused himself by exploring the
immediate vicinity of the encampment. He wandered into a neighboring
swamp for the purpose of obtaining a few roots of the _sweet flag_ of
which he was particularly fond, and on his return to the tent ate an
unreasonable quantity of what he had collected. On that night he was
taken sick, and while endeavoring to account for heart-burning and
severe pains that he experienced, he pulled out of his pocket a specimen
of the root he had eaten and handed it to the Indians. They were
surprised at this movement, but on examining the root they found it to
be a deadly poison, whereupon they managed to inform the stranger that
he had made a great mistake, and would probably lose his life. This
intelligence was of course received with amazement and horror, and the
unhappy man spent a most agonizing night. At daybreak he was a little
better, and insisted upon immediately continuing his journey. The
voyagers obeyed, and packing up their plunder, started across the
portage in single file. The excitement which filled the mind of the
stranger seemed to give new energy to his sinews, and he traveled for
about an hour with great rapidity; but by the time he reached the centre
of the tamarack swamp his strength failed him, and he was compelled to
call a halt. Upon one of the green islands, already mentioned the
Indians erected his tent, and, with all the blankets and robes belonging
to the company, made him as comfortable as possible. The hours of the
day were nearly numbered: the stranger had endured the severest agony,
and he knew that he was about to die! He divested himself of his
clothes, and with all his papers and other personal property, motioned
that they should be placed in a heap a few paces from the door of his
tent. His request was obeyed. He then handed them all the money he had,
and dispatched all his attendants upon imaginary errands into the
neighboring woods, and when they returned they found the heap of clothes
and other property changed into heaps of ashes. They supposed the sick
man had lost his reason, and therefore did not deem his conduct
inexplicable. They only increased their kind attentions, for they felt
that the stream of life was almost dry. Again did the stranger summon
the Indians to his side, and pulling from his breast a small silver
crucifix, motioned to them that they should plant upon his grave a
similar memento; and hiding it again in the folds of his shirt, cast a
lingering and agonizing look upon the setting sun, and in this manner
breathed his last.

By the light of the moon did the Indians dig a grave on the spot where
the stranger died, into which they deposited his remains, with the
crucifix upon his breast. At the head of the grave, they planted a rude
cross made of the knotty tamarack wood, and after a night of troubled
repose, started upon their return to the Sault St. Marie, where they
finally recounted the catastrophe of their pilgrimage. And such is the
story that we heard of the lonely cross on the northern wilderness
surmounting the remains of the nameless exile.

                             ROCK FISHING.

  Of recreations, there is none
  So fine as fishing is alone;
  All other pastimes do no less
  Than mind and body both possess:
  My hands alone my work can do,
  So I can fish and study too.
                                                           Isaak Walton.

                    THE STRIPED BASSE, OR ROCK-FISH.

We consider the rock-fish, striped basse, one of the finest game fish to
be found in American waters. From all that we can learn, it is peculiar
to this country, and to particular sections, not being found farther
north than Maine, nor farther south than the Carolinas, where it is
known as the Rock-Fish. It varies in weight from six ounces to one
hundred pounds; and though a native of the ocean, it spends a portion of
every year in the fresh water rivers—yet it seems to be partial to the
mouths of our larger estuaries. Our naturalists have pronounced it a
member of the perch family, and doubtless with scientific propriety; but
we have seen a basse that would outweigh at least four score of the
largest perch found in the country. The rock is a thick-set and solid
fish, having a strong bony mouth, and sharp teeth. In color, it varies
from a deep green on the back to a rich silvery hue on the belly, and
its scales are large and of a metallic lustre. But the distinguishing
feature of this fish consists in the striped appearance of its body.
Running from the head nearly to the tail, there are no less than eight
regularly marked lines, which in the healthy fish are of a deep black.
Its eyes are white, head rather long, and the under jaw protrudes beyond
the upper one, somewhat after the manner of the pike. The strength of
the basse is equal to that of the salmon, but in activity it is
undoubtedly inferior. As an article of food, it is highly valued, and in
all the Atlantic cities invariably commands a good price.

The spawning time of this fish we have not positively ascertained,
though we believe it to be in the spring or early summer. The New York
markets are supplied with them throughout the year, but it is
unquestionably true that they are in their prime in the autumn. The
smaller individuals frequent the eddies of our rivers, while those of a
larger growth seem to have a fancy for the reefs along the coast. On the
approach of winter, they do not strike for the deep water, but find a
residence in the bays and still arms of the sea, where they remain until
the following spring. They begin to take the hook in April, and,
generally speaking, afford the angler any quantity of sport until the
middle of November. For the smaller fish at the North, the shrimp and
minnow are the most successful baits; and for the larger individuals
nothing can be better than the skin of an eel, neatly fastened upon a
squid. The river fisherman requires a regular fit out of salmon tackle,
while he who would capture the monsters of the ocean only needs a couple
of stout Kirby hooks, a small sinker, a very long and heavy line, a gaff
hook, and a surf boat. But those who capture the basse for lucrative
purposes resort to the following more effectual methods—first by using
set lines, and secondly by the employment of gill-nets and the seine.
The sport of taking a twenty-pound basse in a convenient river is allied
to that of capturing a salmon, but as the former is not a very skittish
fish, the difficulties are not so great. As before intimated, all our
Atlantic rivers, from the Penobscot to the Savannah, are regularly
visited by the basse; but we are inclined to believe that they are found
in the greatest abundance and perfection along the shores of
Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Maine. At any rate, our
own experience has been confined to this region; and though we remember
with unfeigned pleasure our success in taking the larger varieties along
the shores of Martha’s Vineyard, at Montauk Point, and in the vicinity
of Watch Hill, yet we are disposed to yield the palm to Block Island.
This out-of-the-way spot of the green earth belongs to Rhode Island,
comprises a whole county of that State, and lies about forty miles from
the main shore. It is nine miles in length, and varies in width from
three to four miles. It is quite hilly, with an occasional rocky shore,
contains a number of salt water ponds, and is covered with a scanty
growth of trees and other vegetation. The male inhabitants, numbering
only a few hundred souls, are devoted exclusively to the fishing
business, and they are as amiable and honest at heart, as they are rude
and isolated in their manner of life. Block Island sailors frequently
find their way to the remotest quarters of the globe, though few who
were born upon the island ever become entirely weaned from its
ocean-girt shores. The Block Island fishermen build their own smacks,
and as these are about the only things they do manufacture, they have
acquired remarkable skill in building swift vessels, which are also
distinguished for their strength and safety.

The pleasantest time to kill basse at Block Island is in the month of
October, and immediately after a severe blow, for then it is that the
larger fish seek a sheltering place between the reefs and the shore. And
if the angler would be certain of success, he ought to be upon the water
before sunrise, or at the break of day. He must have only one companion,
a stalwart Block Islander, whose duty it shall be to steady the boat, as
she dashes along upon the restless bosom of the ground swell, so that,
with his legs carefully braced, he can throw his squid to a great
distance, instead of being thrown himself into the sea. And if an
occasional shark should stray into the vicinity of his boat, he must not
suffer himself to be alarmed, for a single discharge from the
fisherman’s pistol (which he usually carries for that purpose) will be
sure to frighten the monster out of his way. Gulls without number, large
and small, of a dark gray and a pure white, will be sure to fly
screaming above his head, and their wild chorus will mingle well with
the monotonous war of the waves as they sweep upon the shore. The
fatigue attendant upon this mode of fishing is uncommonly great; and if
the angler should happen to strike a forty-pounder, he will be perfectly
satisfied with that single prize; but if his luck should lie among the
smaller varieties, he ought to be content with about half a dozen
specimens, weighing from ten to fifteen pounds, which would probably be
the result of the morning’s expedition. On returning to the shore, the
angler will find himself in a most impatient mood for breakfast; but
with a view of enhancing the anticipated enjoyment, he should first
throw aside his clothes and make a number of plunges in the pure white
surf, which will cause him to feel as strong and supple as a leopard.

We did think of commenting upon Block Island as a most fitting place to
study the mighty ocean, for the waves which wash its shores come from
the four quarters of the globe. It so happens, however, that we have
just been reading a passage in an admirable little volume entitled “_The
Owl Creek Letters_” (the author is a man after our own heart), which was
written at Block Island, and we are sure the passage in question would
“take the wind out of any sail” that our pen might produce. The passage
alluded to is as follows:—

“Men speak of our ‘mother the earth.’ But I never could appreciate the
metaphor. A hard mother is old Terra. She refuses us food, save when
compelled by hard struggling with her, and then yields it reluctantly.
She deceives us too often, and finally takes us, when worn and weary,
only by the difficult digging of a grave.

“But the ocean is mother-like, singing songs to us continually, and
telling a thousand legends to our baby ears. She casts up toys to us on
every shore, bright shells and pebbles. (What else do we live for?)
True, maniac as she is, she sometimes raves madly and hurls her children
from her arms, but see how instantly she clasps them again close, close
to her heaving bosom, and how calmly and quietly they sleep there—as she
sings to them—nor wake again to sorrow.”

As to basse fishing in the vicinity of New York, where scientific
anglers are quite abundant, it affords us pleasure to give our readers
the following account, written at our request by G. C. Scott, Esq., who
is quite distinguished for his love and practical knowledge of the
gentle art.

“The weather and the tide are in our favor, and the moon all right, for
this planet, you must know, always gives the basse an excellent appetite
and great activity. Speaking of its influence upon the appetite of fish,
reminds me that those in the waters near the ocean bite best in the new
of the moon; whilst salt water fish which are up the creeks and near to
fresh water, are killed in the greatest number during high tides, and
immediately after a hard ‘nor’easter,’ when the wind has shifted to the
north-west. You may prove these facts without going half a dozen miles
from old Gotham, and I have always noticed that it is better fishing in
‘the Kills’ and at the hedges of Newark Bay, as well as at those in the
lower part of the Bay of New York, when the tide is high; while the
fishing at King’s Bridge and the mouth of Spiting Devil is always best
at extreme low tides.

“As we are out after basse, suppose we ‘make a day of it,’ and first try
the bridge at Haerlem Dam. Being an angler yourself, you know of course
that much depends upon bait, and we will want to use the best. As it is
the month of August, we will purchase a few shedder crabs in the market;
and if we find shrimp necessary, we can procure enough of them at either
of the fishing-grounds. During the spring, I use shad roes for basse
bait; but in summer, and until the first of October, I prefer shedder
crabs; after that, I use shrimp and soft-shell clams. Some anglers
prefer shrimp at all seasons, as it is well known that small basse are
more generally taken with them; but for my part, give me shedder crabs
enough, and I will agree to forego the use of all other kinds of bait
for basse. Next, you may want to know how to rig your tackle? Where we
are going to-day, you want nothing but a good basse rod, reel and float,
with a single gut leader, to which you fasten a hook and attach it to
the line one-third of its length from the hook. Use your float only when
the tide runs slowly, for bottom fishing is the best for large fish,
unless you troll for them, when you use a squid and fish in the Bronx
with a regular trolling tackle, of sufficient strength to land a fish
weighing one hundred and fifty pounds, for they are sometimes caught
there of that weight, but generally from thirty to eighty pounds.

“Well, having arrived at King’s Bridge, and as it is about ebb tide, we
will first see what we can kill from the east bridge. I like bridge
fishing, for it is so fine to pay out line from; and then in striking a
fish thirty yards off, there is so much sport in playing him, and your
being such a distance above the water, you generally fasten him at the
first bite. Reel off! reel off! you have struck him! There! give him
play, but feel his weight and let him contend for every inch of line
that you give him, or he will take the whole of it without exhausting
himself, and you will lose him. Keep him in slack water, and after
playing him until you kill him, land him on the shore, for he is too
heavy to risk your tackle in raising him to the bridge. And now, having
fished out the last of the ebb, and the turn until the tide runs too
fast to use a float, just step into this punt and we will anchor out
near the edge of the current, by the first island below the mill, and
fish in the current without the float, until the tide turns, when we
will make for the mouth of the Spiting Devil, and fish fifty rods below
it in the Hudson.

“Now, my friend, this day’s sport may be considered a fair criterion for
these grounds. We have taken between twenty and thirty basse, but there
is only one that weighs over five pounds, and their average weight will
not vary much from half that. To-night we will troll in the Bronx, for
if the sky be clear, the basse will bite sooner at a squid ‘by the light
of the moon’ than in the day time; and there is very little use in
stopping to try McComb’s Dam, as the sport will not be first-rate there
until the Croton Aqueduct is finished and the coffer dam is torn away,
so that the fish may have a clear run and unobstructed passage between
the East and Hudson rivers. It is supposed that this will be effected
next year, when McComb’s Dam will retrieve its lost honors and furnish
one of the best places for sport in this vicinity, to those who prefer
bridge fishing.

“Having given you a taste of the sport on the waters bounding this
island on the north and east, let us to-day fasten our punt to the lower
hedges of New York bay, and try the difference between ‘bottom fishing,’
and that ‘with the float.’ I will remark, in passing, that it is better
to anchor your punt about a rod above the hedge and fish towards the
hedge without a float, than to fasten your boat to the hedge, as
commonly practiced, and fish with a float; for you will notice that
while you, in the old way, are continually reeling up and making casts,
I am feeling for them with a moving bait toward the bottom, and as near
the hedge as I can venture without getting fast. And then when I strike,
I am sure to fasten them as they turn from me for the shelter of the
hedge. I can also better play my bait without the danger of too much
slack. You will see also that I kill the largest fish.

“Let us now up anchor and away for the Kills and to the reef opposite
Port Richmond. Here the fish are about as large as those at the hedges
we just left. The tide is nearly full, and we will fish without the
float until it is about to turn, when we will move over to the Jersey
shore about fifty rods below the mouth of Newark Bay. Here, as the tide
is just in the turn, we can fish an hour of the ebb with floats, when it
will be best to try bottom-fishing again. Well, if you are tired of
killing younglings varying from one to three pounds, let us put the punt
about and prepare for a beautiful row up to the third, fourth, and fifth
hedges in Newark Bay—trying each one—and we may strike some fish that
will try our tackle. Change your leader for a heavier one and let go the
anchor, for we are three rods above the hedge. The water is quite slack,
and we will try the float until the tide ebbs a little more and the
current becomes more rapid. There, sir, what think you of that? He feels
heavy—see him spin! take care of your line or he’ll get foul, as I
cannot govern him, and it will be with great difficulty that I keep him
out of the hedge. What a splendid leap! I’ll see if I can turn him—here
he comes—take the landing net—there! there, we have him, and I will bet
the champagne that he weighs nearer twenty pounds than ten!

“Thus, my friend, having shown you the principal grounds and informed
you of the bait and tackle to be used in killing basse in this vicinity,
I hope that you will not be at loss for piscatorial sport when trying
your skill in the waters of old Gotham.”

It is now time that we should say something about basse or rock fishing
in the South. The only streams frequented by this fish, of which we have
any personal knowledge, are the Potomac, and Roanoke, though we have
heard many wonderful stories related of the James River and the Great
Pedee. In speaking of the Potomac we are sorely tempted to indite an
episode upon the beautiful and magnificent sweeps which this river makes
after it leaves the gorge of Harper’s Ferry until it loses itself in
Chesapeake Bay, and also upon its historical associations, among which
the genius of Washington reigns supreme—but it is our duty to forbear,
for we should occupy too much time.

Unquestionably, the finest rock-ground on the Potomac is the place known
as the Little Falls, about four miles above Georgetown. At this point
the river is only fifty yards wide, and as the water descends not more
than about ten feet in running three hundred yards, the place might be
more appropriately termed a schute than a fall. The banks on either side
are quite abrupt and picturesque; the bed of the stream is of solid
rock, and below the rapids are a number of inviting pools, where the
water varies from forty to sixty feet in depth. The tides of the ocean
reach no further up the Potomac than this spot, and though the rock-fish
are caught in considerable numbers at the Great Falls (which are ten
miles further up the river, and exceedingly romantic), yet they seem to
be partial to the Little Falls, where they are frequently found in very
great numbers. They follow the shad and the herring in the spring, but
afford an abundance of sport from the 1st of May until the 4th of July,
though they are caught in certain portions of the Potomac through the
year, but never above the Great Falls. The rock of this portion of the
Potomac vary in weight from two to eighteen or twenty pounds, and it is
recorded of the anglers and business fishermen that they frequently kill
no less than five hundred fish in a single day. The favorite bait in
this region is the belly part of the common herring, as well as the
shiner and smelt; but it is frequently the case that a common yellow
flannel fly will commit sad havoc among the striped beauties. A stout
rod, a large reel, and a long line are important requisites to the
better enjoyment of rock-fishing at this point; but as the good standing
places are few in number, many anglers resort to boat-fishing, which is
here practiced with pleasure and profit. Of the many scientific anglers
who visit the Little Falls during the spring and summer, the more expert
ones come from Washington; and of one of these the story is related that
he once killed no less than eighty handsome rock-fish in a single
afternoon. He occupied a dangerous position upon two pointed rocks in
the river (one foot upon each rock and elevated some five feet above the
water), and fished in a pool that was some seventy feet down the stream,
while the fish were landed by an expert servant stationed on the shore
about thirty feet below the spot occupied by the angler. The gentleman
alluded to is acknowledged to be the most successful angler in this
region, and in an occasional conversation with him, we have obtained a
goodly number of piscatorial anecdotes. One or two of them are as

On one occasion, while playing a good-sized rock-fish, it unfortunately
ran around a sharp rock, and by cutting the line made its escape,
carrying off the angler’s float, and a favorite fly. On the third day
after this event a boy who was playing on the river about half a mile
below the Falls, happened to see a cork darting hither and thither
across the surface of the water, and immediately went in pursuit of the
life-like piece of wood. After many twistings and turnings and a long
row, he finally overtook it, and to his utter astonishment he landed in
his boat a very handsome five pound Basse. He recognized the fly as the
one commonly employed by our angler, to whom the fly, the float and the
fish were promptly delivered by the honest boy.

Another and a similar incident was as follows:

Our angling friend had lost another float, by the obstinacy of another
fish. About a week after the mishap a fisherman who had a “trot line”
set across the river at Georgetown, for the purpose of taking cat-fish,
discovered a great splashing in the water near the middle of his line,
and on hastening to the spot he had the pleasure of pulling up a very
handsome twelve pound Basse. After faring sumptuously upon the fish, the
fortunate individual took it into his head that the tackle belonged to
_the_ angler of the Falls, whereupon he delivered it to our friend,
accompanied with a statement of the manner in which he made the
discovery. The distance traveled by that fish, with a hook in his mouth,
was four miles, and it was by the merest accident that his leading
string had become entangled with the “trot line.”

The angling ground at the Little Falls is annually rented by the
proprietors to a couple of men named Joe Paine and Jim Collins, who are
the presiding geniuses of the place, and have been such for upwards of
twenty years. They pay a rent of seventy dollars per annum, and as they
receive from fifty cents to five dollars from every angler who visits
them, and as they are occasionally troubled with as many as thirty
individuals per day, it may readily be imagined that their income is
quite respectable. Some of Collins’ friends allege that he has several
thousand dollars stowed away in an old pocket book, which it is his
intention to bequeath to a favorite nephew, he himself being a bachelor.
The reputation of Jim Collins in this section of country is very
extensive, and that this should be the case is not at all strange, for
he is a decided original. He is about fifty years of age, measures six
feet five inches in height, and the offshoots from the four prongs of
his body number _twenty-four_ instead of twenty as in ordinary mortals;
I mean by this, that his fingers and toes number no less than
twenty-four. Notwithstanding this bountiful supply of fingers and toes,
Jim Collins has a great antipathy to useful labor, and is as averse to
walking as any other web-footed animal. Fishing and sleeping are his two
principal employments; and that he is a judge of good whisky, none of
his acquaintance would have the hardihood to doubt. The taking of small
fish he considers a business beneath his dignity, and the consequence is
that his tackle consists of a miniature bed cord, with a hook and cedar
pole to match, and his bait a whole herring. He commonly fishes in a
boat, and the dexterity with which he “_Kawallups_” the fish upon his
lap is truly astonishing. But if you would see Jim Collins in his glory,
wait until about the middle of a June afternoon, after he has pocketed
some fifteen dollars, and he is sunning himself, with pipe in mouth,
upon the rocks, absorbed in _fishy contemplations_. His appearance at
such times is allied to that of a mammoth crane, watching (as he does
his cockney brethren of the craft) the movements of a lot of
half-fledged water birds.

During the fishing season he is generally actively employed, but the
remainder of his time he spends about the Little Falls, as if his
presence were indispensable to the safe passage of the waters of the
Potomac through this narrow gorge. That Jim Collins should have met with
many queer mishaps, during a residence of twenty years on the Potomac,
may be readily imagined; but we believe, the most unique adventure of
which he has ever been the victim, happened on this wise. The substance
of the story is as follows:—

Our hero is a great lover of “sturgeon meat,” and for many years past it
has been a habit with him to fish for that huge leather mouthed monster
with a large cord and sharp graffling hooks, sinking them to the bottom
with a heavy weight and then dragging them across the bed of the stream;
his sense of touch being so exquisite, that he can always tell the
instant that his hooks have struck the body of a sturgeon, and when this
occurs it is almost certain that the fish becomes a victim to the cruel
art. In practising this mode of fishing, Jim Collins invariably occupies
a boat alone, which he first anchors in the stream. On one occasion he
had been fishing in this manner for a long time without success, and for
the want of something more exciting, he had resorted more frequently
than usual to his junk bottle. In process of time, however, he found the
exercise of fishing decidedly a bore, but as he was determined not to
give up the sport and at the same time was determined to enjoy a quiet
nap, he tied the cord to his right arm, and lounged over on his back for
the purpose of taking a snooze. There was an unusual calmness in the air
and upon the neighboring hills, and even the few anglers who were
throwing the fly at the Falls, did so in the laziest manner imaginable.
While matters were in this condition, a sudden splash broke the
surrounding stillness, which was immediately followed by a deafening
shout, for it was discovered that a sturgeon had pulled poor Collins out
of his boat into the swift stream, and was in great danger of leading
him off to the residence of _David Jones_. At one moment the fisherman
seemed to have the upper hand, for he pulled upon his rope, and swore
loudly, sprawling about the water like a huge devil fish; but in another
instant the poor fellow would suddenly disappear, and an occasional
bubble rising to the surface of the stream, was all the evidence that
the fellow was not quite drowned. This contest lasted for some fifteen
minutes, and had not the sturgeon finally made his escape, Jim Collins
would have been no more. As it happened, however, he finally reached the
shore, about two hundred yards below the Falls, and as he sat upon a
rock, quite as near the river Styx as he was to the Potomac, he lavished
some heavy curses upon the escaped sturgeon, and insisted upon it, that
the best hooks that man ever made were now forever lost. Years have
elapsed since this occurrence took place, and when the ancient Fisherman
“hath his will,” he recounts the story of this catastrophe with as
brilliant a fire in his eye as that which distinguished the countenance
of Coleridge’s particular friend, the “Ancient Mariner.”

Before closing this essay, it is “right and proper” that we should
allude to the beautiful scenery that the angler will enjoy in going to
and returning from the Little Falls. The entire region, in fact, known
by the name of Cooney, and comprehending some fifteen miles of the
Potomac, is particularly picturesque, but is at the same time said to be
the most barren and useless portion of Virginia. In visiting the Falls
you have to pass over a kind of wooded and rocky interval, and by an
exceedingly rough road, which is annually submerged by the spring
freshets. The water here sometimes rises to the height of fifty feet,
and often makes a terrible display of its power; on one occasion the
water came down the valley with such impetuosity that a certain wall
composed of rocks six or eight feet square, and united together with
iron, was removed to a distance of many rods from its original position.
To the stranger who may visit the Little Falls, we would say forget not
on your return to Washington, the superb prospect which may be seen from
the Signal Tree on the Heights of Georgetown. From that point the eye
comprehends at one glance, the church spires and elegant residences of
Georgetown, the Metropolis of the land, with its capitol and numerous
public buildings, and the more remote city of Alexandria, with a reach
of the magnificent Potomac, extending a distance of at least thirty
miles. The better time to look upon this prospect, is at the sunset
hour, when the only sounds that fill the air are the shrieking of the
swallows, and the faintly heard song of a lazy sailor far away upon the
river, where perhaps a score or two of vessels are lying becalmed, while
on the placid stream a retinue of crimson clouds are clearly and
beautifully reflected. Scenes of more perfect loveliness are seldom
found in any land.


We believe that we have seen a greater number of these reptiles, in our
various journeyings, and been more intensely frightened by them than any
other scenery-loving tourist or angler in the country, and hence the
idea of our present essay. We shall record our stock of information for
the benefit of the general reader, rather than for the learned and
scientific, beginning our remarks with what we know of the character of
that really beautiful and magnanimous, but most deadly animal, which was
adopted as the Revolutionary emblem of our country, as the eagle is now
the emblem of the Republic.

The rattlesnake derives its name from an instrument attached to its
tail, consisting of a series of hollow scaly pieces which, when shaken,
make a rattling or rustling noise. The number of these pieces or rattles
are said to correspond with the number of years which the animal has
attained, and some travelers assert that they have been discovered with
thirty rattles, though thirteen is a much more common number. It is one
of the most venomous of serpents, and yet one that we cannot but
respect, since it habitually makes the most honorable use of the
singular appendage with which it is gifted. It never strikes a foe
without first warning him of his danger. In form it is somewhat
corpulent, has a flat heart-shaped head, and is supplied with fangs,
varying from a half-inch to an inch in length, which lie hidden
horizontally in the flesh of the upper jaw, and are capable of being
thrown out like the blade of a knife. The venom emitted by it is so
deadly that it has been known to cause the death of a human being in a
very few hours, and to destroy a dog or cat in less than twenty minutes,
and yet we have met with some half-dozen individuals in our travels who
have been bitten by the rattlesnake without being seriously injured.
Horses and cattle are known to become exceedingly terrified at its
appearance, and generally speaking, when bitten, die in a short time,
and yet we once saw a horse, which was only troubled in consequence of
its bite, by a disease resembling the scurvy. The hair dropped from the
skin of the quadruped, and he looked horribly if he did not feel so. As
to the effect of this poison upon hogs, it has frequently been proven to
be perfectly harmless, and we know it to be the custom in certain
portions of the country for farmers to employ their swine for the
express purpose of destroying the rattlesnakes infesting their land. The
effect of the rattlesnake’s bite upon itself is said to be generally
fatal. In regard to the antidote of this poison we are acquainted with
only one, which is the plant commonly called the rattlesnake weed. Both
the leaf and the root are employed, and applied internally as well as
externally. This plant grows to the height of six or eight inches, has
one stock and a leaf resembling in shape the head of the rattlesnake,
and is almost invariably found in those sections of the country where
the reptile abounds.

The courage of the rattlesnake is by no means remarkable, and it is but
seldom that they will dispute the right of way with a man who is not
afraid of them. They are sluggish in their movements, and accomplish the
most of their traveling during the nocturnal hours. They feed upon
almost every variety of living creatures which they can overpower. They
are not partial to water, but when compelled to cross a river or lake,
they perform the feat in a most beautiful manner, holding their heads
about one foot from the surface, and gliding along at a rapid rate. They
are affectionate creatures, and it is alleged that when their offspring
are very young, and they are disturbed by the presence of man, the
mothers swallow their little ones until the danger is past, and then
disgorge them alive and writhing.

Another of their peculiarities consists in the fact, that they may be
entirely disarmed by brandishing over their heads the leaves of the
white ash, which are so obnoxious to their nervous system as to produce
the most painful contortions of the body. When traveling at night in
search of food, or for purposes of recreation, as it may be, they have a
fashion of visiting the encampments of hunters, and it has been
ascertained that the only way of keeping them at a respectable distance
is to encircle the camp with a rope, over which they are afraid to
crawl;—and it has frequently happened to hunters, in a snake country,
that on awaking after a night of repose, they have discovered on the
outside of their magic circle as many as a dozen of the charming
creatures, carefully coiled up and sound asleep. It is also related of
this snake that it has the power of throwing off or suppressing a
disagreeable effluvium, which is quite sickening to those who come
within its range. If this be true it occurs chiefly in the month of
August, when the weather is sultry and the snake is particularly fat.
That this snake has the power of _charming_, as some writers maintain,
may be true, but we know not of an authenticated instance. That it may
have a very quiet way of stealing upon its prey seems to us much more
plausible—but upon this fact we are non-committal. As to their power of
_hissing_—that also is an undecided question. In regard to their manner
of biting we can speak with more confidence. They never attack a man
without first coiling themselves in a graceful manner, and instead of
jumping they merely extend their bodies, with the quickness of thought,
towards their mark, and if they do not reach it, they have to coil
themselves again for a second effort, and when they hit a man at all, it
is generally on his heel, for the bruising of which they have the
authority of the Scriptures.

The rattlesnake is peculiar to the American continent. Four varieties
alone are known to naturalists, three of which are found in the United
States, and one in South America. In the States bordering on the Gulf of
Mexico they attain the length of seven and eight feet and a diameter of
three to four inches—the males having four fangs, and the females only
two. These are characterized by a kind of diamond figure on the skin,
and are partial to the low or bottom lands of the country. Those found
in the Middle and Northern States are called the common or banded
rattlesnakes, and are altogether the most abundant in the Union. They
vary in length from two and a half to four feet, and are partial to
mountainous and rocky districts. There is also a very small, but most
dangerous variety, called the ground rattlesnakes, which are found on
the sterile and sandy prairies of the West, and to a limited extent in
the barren districts of the South. In Canada they are almost unknown,
and even in the more thickly settled States of the Union they are
rapidly becoming extinct. As to their value, it may be stated that their
oil and gall are highly prized in all sections of the Union for
medicinal purposes, and by the Indians and slave population of the
South, their flesh is frequently employed as an article of food, and
really considered sweet and nourishing.

The attachment of the Aborigines to this famous reptile is proverbial:
among nearly all the tribes, even at the present day, it is seldom
disturbed, but is designated by the endearing epithet of _grandfather_.
It is recorded, however, by the early historians, that when one tribe
desired to challenge another to combat, they were in the habit of
sending into the midst of their enemy the skin of a rattlesnake, whereby
it would appear to have been employed as an emblem of revenge. And as to
the origin of the rattlesnake, the old men among the Cherokees relate a
legend to the following effect, which, the reader will notice, bears a
striking analogy to the history of our Saviour. A very beautiful young
man, with a white face and wrapped in a white robe, once made his
appearance in their nation, and commanded them to abandon all their old
customs and festivals, and to adopt a new religion. He made use of the
softest language, and everything that he did proved him to be a good
man. It so happened, however, that he could make no friends among them,
and the medicine men of the nation conspired to take away his life. In
many ways did they try to do this—by lashing him with serpents and by
giving him poison, but were always unsuccessful. But in process of time
the deed was accomplished and in the following manner. It was known that
the good stranger was in the habit of daily visiting a certain spring
for the purpose of quenching his thirst, and bathing his body. In view
of this fact, the magicians made a very beautiful war-club, inlaid with
bone and shells, and decorated with rattles, and this club they offered
to the Great Spirit, with the prayer that he would teach them how to
destroy the stranger. In answer to the prayer, a venomous snake was
created and carefully hidden under a leaf by the side of the spring. The
stranger, as usual, came there to drink, was bitten by the snake, and
perished. The Cherokee nation then fell in love with the snake, and
having asked the Great Spirit to distinguish it, by some peculiar mark,
from all the other snakes in the world, he complied by transferring to
its body the rattles which had made the club of sacrifice so musical to
the ear, and so beautiful to the eye. And from that rattlesnake are
descended all the poisonous snakes now scattered through the world.

We commenced this article with the determination of not writing a single
paragraph (for the above legend, after a fashion, is historical) which
could be classed with the unbelievable things called “Snake Stories,”
but the following matter-of-fact, though disconnected anecdotes, may not
be unacceptable to our readers.

We were once upon a fishing expedition among the mountains of North
Carolina, with two other gentlemen, when it so happened that we
concluded to spend the night in a deserted log cabin, belonging to one
of the party. By the light of a large fire, we partook of a cold but
comfortable supper, and after talking ourselves into a drowsy mood, we
huddled together on the floor, directly in front of the fireplace, and
were soon in a sound sleep. About midnight, when the fire was out, one
of the party was awakened by a singular rattling noise, and having
roused his companions, it was ascertained beyond a doubt that there were
two rattlesnakes within the room where they were lying. We arose, of
course, horrified at the idea, and as we were in total darkness, we were
afraid even to move for fear of being bitten. We soon managed, however,
to strike a light, and when we did so, we found one of our visitors on
the hearth, and one in the remotest corner of the room. We killed them,
as a matter of course, with a most hearty relish, and in the morning
another of the same race, just without the threshold of the cabin. The
reptiles had probably left the cabin just before our arrival, and on
returning at midnight, had expressed their displeasure at our intrusion
upon their abode, by sounding their rattles.

On another occasion we were of a party of anglers who killed a
rattlesnake on one of the mountains overlooking Lake George (where this
reptile is very abundant), and after its head had been cut off and
buried, one of the party affirmed that there was not a person present
who could take the dead snake in his hand, hold it out at arm’s length,
and give it a sudden squeeze, without dropping it to the ground. A wager
was offered, and by the most curious and courageous of the party was
accepted. He took the snake in his hand and obeyed the instructions,
when the serpentine body suddenly sprang as if endowed with life, and
the headless trunk struck the person holding it, with considerable force
upon the arm. To add that the snake fell to the ground most suddenly is
hardly necessary. We enjoyed a laugh at the expense of our ambitious
friend, but the phenomenon which he made known, remains to this day
entirely unexplained. Since that time we have been led to believe that
there is not one man in a thousand who would have the fortitude to
succeed in the experiment above mentioned.

                           A WESTERN PIONEER.

It was about twenty years ago, on a bright November morning, that a
large covered wagon, drawn by four horses, came to a halt in front of
the office of the Receiver of Money for the Public Lands in the village
of Monroe, territory of Michigan. The wagon in question contained
implements of husbandry, a plentiful stock of provisions, and all the
household furniture of a family consisting of an old man and his wife,
three sons, and two daughters; and their outside possessions were
comprised in a small but miscellaneous herd of cows, oxen, sheep, and
hogs. The head of this family was a New York farmer in indigent
circumstances, who had conceived the idea of making himself a home in
what was then the wilderness of Michigan. All the money he had in the
world was one hundred dollars, and with this he purchased at the
land-office a tract of eighty acres of uncultivated land, which he had
never seen, but upon which he was about to locate with his family. The
honest and independent deportment of this emigrant enlisted the feelings
of the Receiver, and he accordingly extended an invitation to him and
his party to spend the night under his roof. The invitation was
accepted, and after a “lucid interval” of comfortable repose, and
cheered by a warm breakfast, the emigrating party respectfully took
their leave of their entertainer, and started upon their dreary

The distance they had to travel was some hundred and eighty miles. As
the roads were new and rough, they plodded along, day after day, at a
slow rate, and with much difficulty; took their meals in the open air,
and spent their nights under a tent, with only a few heavy quilts to
protect them from the dampness of the ground. While upon this journey
they were overtaken by cold weather, and, in fording one of the many
streams which crossed their route, the venerable emigrant had one of his
legs frost-bitten, which resulted, after much delay and trouble in
sending for a physician, in its amputation. His life was spared,
however, and in due time, in spite of the calamity which had befallen
them, the emigrants were encamped upon their “land of promise.”

Having thus reached the end of their journey, the first thing to be done
was to erect a suitable dwelling wherein to spend the winter; and, the
father of the family having been rendered almost helpless by his
misfortune, the labor of building it devolved exclusively upon his sons,
the youngest of whom was a mere boy. Animated by a most noble spirit,
they fell to work without any delay, and in the course of ten days had
accomplished their first task, and were the masters of a comfortable
log-cabin. It stood on the sandy knoll of an “oak opening,” and in the
immediate vicinity of a sparkling rivulet. The only evidences of
civilization which surrounded them were the stumps, and chips, and
decaying branches which covered the site of their labors; but the
emigrants had a home, and though a rude and apparently comfortless one,
they were satisfied, if not happy.

The winter days passed rapidly away; and, while the disabled emigrant
did little else than keep himself warm by his huge wood-fire, his sons
were felling the trees on every side, and doing their utmost to enclose
their domain. And at night, when gathered at the evening meal, or in a
circle around their hearth, and the newly-cut wood was hissing under the
influence of the bright flame, they would talk over the pleasures of
other days, experienced in a distant portion of the land, and cherish
the hope that the future had even more happiness in store. Within their
cabin was to be found the spirit of genuine religion, and, as the
hopeful music of woman’s voice was there, and their hearts were bound
together by the chords of a holy family love, they were indeed happy.

It was now the spring-time of the year, a warmer tint was in the sky,
and all around the wilderness was beginning to blossom like the rose.
The birds were building their nests, and their sweet minstrelsy was
heard throughout the air; and there, too, was the tinkling of bells, for
the cattle sought their food in the remote dells, and returned at the
sunset hour, with their udders teeming full. The brush and waste wood of
the “girdled clearings” were gathered into heaps and burnt—in the
daytime forming fantastic columns of smoke, and at night making the
midnight darkness, save where the flame was particularly brilliant, more
profound. And then the plough was brought forth, and made to try its
strength in turning up the virgin soil. Our emigrant friend has now
entirely recovered from his late disaster, and, having manufactured for
himself an artificial leg, he begins to think it time for him to lend a
helping hand towards accelerating the improvements of his “farm.” The
smell of the ploughed field has given him a thrill of pleasure, and he
determines to try what he can accomplish in the way of planting corn.
This effort proves successful, and, as he becomes accustomed to the use
of his new member, he takes the lead in most of the farming operations,
and thinks no more of his past sufferings than of the fact that he is
what many people are pleased to term a poor man.

As industry and virtue are almost invariably followed by prosperity, we
must not wonder at the future career of our Western pioneer. Five years
have passed away, and, as his crops have been abundant, we find him the
possessor of half a thousand acres of valuable land instead of one
hundred. He has also gathered the means to build himself a new frame
house; and, as the “harvest is past and the summer ended,” his barns are
filled to overflowing. On every side are spread out extensive fields,
and his hired men may be counted by the dozen. They have gathered in the
crops, and, after a brief furlough, a portion of them will take
possession of the barns, and devote themselves to the flail, while the
remainder will enter some neighboring woodland with their axes, and
proceed in their laborious work of destruction. Winter comes, and still
the sounds of the flail and the axe are heard in the barn and in the
forest. The coldest of winds may blow, and the snow may fall so as to
bury the fences, but what matter? The genius of health reigns supreme.
All the day long, and at night, huge fires are blazing in the dwelling
of the pioneer; his larder is filled with an abundance of the good
things of life, and his numerous cattle are more comfortably housed than
himself when first he came into the wilderness. Spring has returned once
more, and a new life has been instilled not only into the earth, but
also into the blood of man.

It is now the delightful season of midsummer, and we see before us,
basking in the sunshine, a domain of two thousand acres of land, in the
highest state of cultivation. Capping the summit of a hill stands a
spacious and elegant mansion, surrounded with outhouses, and bespeaking
the possessor to be a man of opulence and taste. In one direction,
fading away to a great distance, lie a succession of fields waving with
golden grain; in another, hill beyond hill of the deep green and
graceful corn; in another we see a magnificent meadow, with hundreds of
cattle and horses and sheep quietly grazing or sporting in their glee;
and in another direction an almost impenetrable forest, where the
black-walnut, the white-wood, the oak, and the hickory strive to excel
each other in the respective attributes of beauty and might. And this is
the home and the domain of the Western pioneer. Less than a mile distant
from his mansion stands a charming village, from which arises a single
spire, pointing to the Christian’s home. The pastor of that church is
the youngest son of our friend the pioneer. Within said village, too,
may be seen an “Eagle Hotel,” and a “New York Store,” which are both the
property of his two elder sons. At their expense a public school has
been established within the village. The country around is intersected
with the best of roads, along which the heavily-laden wain pursues its
snail-like course, and the mail coach rattles along with its panting
horses, nine passengers on the inside, and a deep coating of dust on the
boot and everything outside. Plenty and peace have taken possession of
the land, and the pioneer of other days has become the nabob of the
present time.

                             PIKE FISHING.

  If so be the angler catch no fish yet hath he a wholesome walk to the
  brook-side, and pleasant shade by the sweet silver streams.
                                                          Robert Burton.

The Pike is a common fish in all the temperate, and some of the northern
regions of the world; but in no country does he arrive at greater
perfection than in the United States. For some unaccountable reason he
is generally known in this country as the pickerel; and we would
therefore intimate to our readers that our present discourse is to be of
the legitimate pike. In England, he is known under the several names of
pike, jack, pickerel and luce. His body is elongated and nearly of a
uniform depth from the head to the tail; the head is also elongated, and
resembles that of the duck; his mouth is very large and abundantly
supplied with sharp teeth, and his scales are small and particularly
adhesive; the color of his back is a dark brown, sides a mottled green
or yellow, and belly a silvery white. The reputation of this fish for
amiability is far from being enviable, for he is called not only the
shark of the fresh waters, but also the tyrant of the liquid plain. He
is a cunning and savage creature, and for these reasons even the most
humane of fishermen are seldom troubled with conscientious scruples when
they succeed in making him a captive. Pliny and Sir Francis Bacon both
considered the pike to be the longest lived of any fresh water fish, and
Gesner mentions a pike which he thought to be two hundred years old. Of
these ancient fellows, Walton remarks, that they have more in them of
state than goodness, the middle sized individuals being considered the
best eating. The prominent peculiarity of this fish is his
voraciousness. Edward Jesse relates that five large pike once devoured
about eight hundred gudgeons in the course of three weeks. He swallows
every animal he can subdue, and is so much of a cannibal that he will
devour his own kind full as soon as a common minnow. Young ducks and
even kittens have been found in his stomach, and it is said that he
often contends with the otter for his prey. Gesner relates the story
that a pike once attacked a mule while it was drinking on the margin of
a pond, and his teeth having become fastened in the snout of the
astonished beast, he was safely landed on the shore. James Wilson once
killed a pike weighing seven pounds, in whose stomach was found another
pike weighing over a pound, and in the mouth of the youthful fish was
yet discovered a respectable perch. Even men, while wading in a pond,
have been attacked by this fresh water wolf. He is so much of an
exterminator, that when placed in a small lake with other fish, it is
not long before he becomes “master of all he surveys,” having
depopulated his watery world of every species but his own. The following
story, illustrating the savage propensity of this fish, is related by J.
V. C. Smith. A gentleman was angling for pike, and having captured one,
subsequently met a shepherd and his dog, and presented the former with
his prize. While engaged in clearing his tackle, the dog seated himself
unsuspectingly in the immediate vicinity of the pike, and as fate would
have it, his tail was ferociously snapped at by the gasping fish. The
dog was of course much terrified, ran in every direction to free
himself, and at last plunged into the stream. The hair had become so
entangled in the fish’s teeth, however, that it could not release its
hold. The dog again sought the land, and made for his master’s cottage,
where he was finally freed from his unwilling persecutor; but
notwithstanding the unnatural adventure of the fish, he actually sunk
his teeth into the stick which was used to force open his jaws.

The pike of this country does not differ essentially from the pike of
Europe. His food usually consists of fish and frogs, though he is far
from being particular in this matter. He loves a still, shady water, in
river or pond, and usually lies in the vicinity of flags, bulrushes and
water-lilies, though he often shoots out into the clear stream, and on
such occasions frequently affords the rifleman a deal of sport. In
summer he is taken at the top and in the middle, but in winter at the
bottom. His time for spawning is March, and he is in season about eight
months in the year. In speaking of the size of this fish, the anglers of
Europe have recorded some marvelous stories, of which we know nothing,
and care less. In this country they vary from two to four feet in
length, and in weight from two to forty pounds; when weighing less than
two pounds, he is called a jack. As an article of food he seems to be in
good repute; but since we once found a large water-snake in the stomach
of a monster fish, we have never touched him when upon the table. He
suits not our palate, but as an object of sport we esteem him highly,
and can never mention his name without a thrill of pleasure.

In this place we desire to record our opinion against the idea that the
pike and maskalunge are one and the same fish. For many years we
entertained the opinion that there was no difference between them, only
that the latter was merely an overgrown pike. We have more recently had
many opportunities of comparing the two species together, and we know
that to the careful and scientific observer, there is a marked
difference. The head of a maskalunge is the smallest; he is the stoutest
fish, is more silvery in color, grows to a much larger size, and is with
difficulty tempted to heed the lures of the angler. They are so
precisely similar in their general habits, however, that they must be
considered as belonging to the pike family. They are possibly the
independent, eccentric and self satisfied nabobs of the race to which
they belong; always managing to keep the world ignorant of their true
character, until after their days are numbered.

We will now mention one or two additional traits, which we had nearly
forgotten. The first is, that the pike is as distinguished for his
abstinence as for his voracity. During the summer months, his digestive
organs seem to be somewhat torpid, and this is the time that he is out
of season. During this period he is particularly listless in his
movements, spending nearly all the sunny hours basking near the surface
of the water; and as this is the period when the smaller fry are usually
commencing their active existence, we cannot but distinguish in this
arrangement of nature the wisdom of Providence. Another habit peculiar
to this fish, is as follows:—During the autumn, he spends the day-time
in deep water, and the nights in the shallowest water he can find along
the shores of river or lake. We have frequently seen them so very near
the dry land as to display their fins. What their object can be in thus
spending the dark hours, it is hard to determine: is it to enjoy the
warmer temperature of the shallow water, or for the purpose of watching
and capturing any small land animals that may come to the water to
satisfy their thirst? We have heard it alleged that they seek the shore
for the purpose of spawning, but it is an established fact that they
cast their spawn in the spring; and, besides, the months during which
they seek the shore as above stated, are the very ones in which they are
in the best condition, and afford the angler the finest sport. Autumn is
the time, too, when they are more frequently and more easily taken with
the spear, than during any other season. And as to this spearing
business, generally speaking, we consider it an abominable practice, but
in the case of the savage and obstinate pike, it ought to be
countenanced even by the legitimate angler.

We have angled for pike in nearly all the waters of this country where
they abound. The immense quantity of book lore that we have read
respecting the character of pike tackle, has always seemed to us an
intelligent species of nonsense—a kind of literature originally invented
by tackle manufacturers. Our own equipment for pike fishing we consider
first-rate, and yet it consists only of a heavy rod and reel, a stout
linen line, a brass snell, a sharp Kirby hook, and a landing net. For
bait we prefer a live minnow, though a small shiner, or the belly of a
yellow perch, is nearly as sure to attract notice. We have taken a pike
with a gaudy fly, and also with an artificial minnow, but you cannot
depend upon these allurements. Sinkers we seldom use, and the
fashionable thing called a float we utterly abominate. We have fished
for pike in almost every manner, but our favorite method has ever been
from an anchored boat, when our only companion was a personal friend,
and a lover of the written and unwritten poetry of nature. This is the
most quiet and contemplative method, and unquestionably one of the most
successful ones; for though the pike is not easily frightened, it takes
but a single splash of an oar when trolling, to set him a-thinking,
which is quite as unfortunate for the angler’s success as if he were
actually alarmed. Another advantage is, that while swinging to an anchor
you may fish at the bottom, if you please, or try the stationary
trolling fashion. To make our meaning understood, we would add, that an
expert angler can throw his hook in any direction from his boat, to the
distance of at least a hundred feet, and in pulling it in, he secures
all the advantages that result from the common mode of trolling. The
pike is a fish which calls forth a deal of patience, and must be
humored; for he will sometimes scorn the handsomest bait, apparently out
of mere spite; but the surest time to take him is when there is a cloudy
sky and a southerly breeze. Live fish are the best bait, as we have
before remarked, though the leg of a frog is good, and in winter a piece
of pork, but nothing can be better than a shiner or a little perch; and
it might here be remarked, that as the pike is an epicure in the manner
of his eating, it is invariably a good plan to let him have his own
time, after he has seized the bait. As to torchlight fishing for pike,
though unquestionably out of the pale of the regular angler’s sporting,
it is attended with much that we must deem poetical and interesting. Who
can doubt this proposition, when we consider the picturesque effect of a
boat and lighted torch, gliding along the wild shores of a lake, on a
still, dark night, with one figure noiselessly plying an oar, and the
animated attitude of another relieved against the fire-light, and
looking into the water like Orpheus into hell. And remember, too, the
thousand inhabitants of the liquid element that we see, and almost fancy
to be endowed with human sympathies? What a pleasure to behold the
various finny tribes amid their own chosen haunts, leading, as Leigh
Hunt has exquisitely written,

  “A cold, sweet, silver life, wrapped in round waves,
  Quickened with touches of transporting fear!”

In some of the Northern States fishing for pike with set lines through
the ice, is practiced to a great extent. The lines are commonly attached
to a figure four, by which the fisherman is informed that he has a bite,
and if he has many lines out and the fish are in a humor to be captured,
this mode of fishing is really very exciting. Especially so, if the ice
is smooth and the fisherman can attend to his hooks with a pair of sharp
skates attached to his feet.

Another mode for catching pike in the winter, and which we have seen
practiced in the lakes and rivers of Michigan, is as follows. You cut a
large hole in the ice, over which you erect a tent or small portable
house; and after taking a seat therein, you let down a bait for the
purpose of alluring the fish, and as they follow the hook, even to your
feet, you pick them out with a sharp spear.

But it is time that we should change the tone of our discourse and
mention the favorite waters of the American pike. The largest we have
ever seen were taken in the Upper Mississippi, and on the St. Joseph and
Raisin rivers of Michigan, where they are very abundant. They are also
found in nearly all the streams emptying into Lakes Michigan, Erie, and
Ontario;—also, in the Ohio and its tributaries. We have heard of them in
the Upper St. Lawrence, and know them to abound in Lake Champlain, and
in a large proportion of the lakes and rivers of New England. A very
pretty lady once told us that she had seen a pike taken from Lake
Champlain, which was as long as the sofa upon which we were seated
together, and conversing upon the gentle art of fishing, and the tender
one of love. Pike fishing with the hook we have not practiced to a very
great extent. Our angling experience has been chiefly confined to the
smaller lakes of Connecticut, particularly those in the vicinity of
Norwich. Our favorite resort has been Gardner’s Lake, whose shores are
surrounded with pleasant wood-crowned hills, teeming with partridge and
wood-cock, and the Sabbath stillness which usually reigns about it is
seldom broken, save by the dipping oar or the laugh of the light-hearted
fisherman. Dearly indeed do we cherish the memory of the pleasant days
spent upon this picturesque lake; and we hope it may never be used for
any other purpose than to mirror the glories of heaven, and never be
visited by any but genuine sportsmen and true-hearted lovers of nature.
Preston Lake is another beautiful sheet of water near Norwich, which
reminds us of a night adventure. A couple of us had visited it for the
purpose of taking pike by torch-light, having brought our spears and
dry-pine all the way from Norwich in a one-horse wagon. It was a cold
but still autumnal night, and as we tied our horse to a tree in an open
field, we had every reason to anticipate a “glorious time.” So far as
the fish were concerned we enjoyed fine sport, for we caught about a
dozen pike, varying from one to four pounds in weight; but the miseries
we subsequently endured were positively intolerable. Not only did we
work an everlasting while to make our boat seaworthy, but in our
impatience to reach the fishing grounds, we misplaced our brandy bottle
in the tall grass, and were therefore deprived of its warming
companionship. About midnight a heavy fog began to arise, which not only
prevented us from distinguishing a pike from a log of wood, but caused
us to become frequently entangled in the top of a dry tree, lying on the
water. Our next step, therefore, was to go home, but then came the
trouble of finding our “desired haven.” This we did happen to find, for
a wonder, and having gathered up our plunder started on our course over
the frosty grass after our vehicle and horse. We found them, but it was
in a most melancholy plight indeed. Like a couple of large fools, we had
omitted to release the horse from the wagon as we should have done, and
the consequence was that he had released himself by breaking the fills
and tearing off the harness, and we discovered him quietly feeding a few
paces from the tree to which we had fastened him. What next to do, we
could not in our utter despair possibly determine; but after a long
consultation we both concluded to mount the miserable horse, and with
our fish in hand we actually started upon our miserable journey home.
Our fish were so heavy that we were compelled at the end of the first
mile to throw them away, and as the day was breaking we entered the
silent streets of Norwich, pondering upon the pleasures of pike fishing
by torch-light, and solemnly counting the cost of our nocturnal

But the most successful pike fishing we ever enjoyed was at Crow Wing,
on the Upper Mississippi. We were spending a few days with an isolated
Indian trader of the wilderness, around whose cabin were encamped about
three hundred Chippewa Indians. Seldom was it that we allowed a night to
pass away, without trying our luck with the spear, and as a dozen canoes
were often engaged in the same sport, the bosom of the river often
presented a most romantic and beautiful appearance. Each canoe usually
contained two or three individuals, and our torches, which were made of
dried birch bark, threw such a flood of light upon the translucent
water, that we could see every object in the bed of the river with the
utmost distinctness. Beautiful indeed were those fishing scenes, and
when the canoes had floated down the river for a mile or two, the
homeward bound races that followed between the shouting Indians were
exciting in the extreme. And what added to _our_ enjoyment of this
sporting was the idea that to grasp the hand of a white man (besides
that of our host), we should have to travel one hundred miles through a
pathless wilderness. We seldom took any note of time, and sometimes were
throwing the spear even when the day was breaking. The largest fish that
we saw taken at Crow Wing weighed upwards of forty pounds, and we have
known five spearmen to take seventy pike and maskalunge in a single

But we must curtail our pike stories, for we purpose to append to our
remarks a few interesting observations upon that and a kindred fish
which have been kindly furnished to us by an accomplished scholar, a
genuine angler and a valued friend, John R. Bartlett, Esq.

The pike bears the same relation to the finny tribes that the hyena and
jackall do to animals, the vulture to birds, or the spider to
insects—one of the most voracious of fishes. He feeds alike on the
living or dead; and even those of his own brethren which are protected
by nature against the attacks of other fish, find no protection against
him. It is remarkable in the economy of animals, that while nature
provides her weaker and smaller creatures with the means of defence
against the stronger ones, she has, at the same time, furnished some of
the latter with weapons, apparently for the very purpose of overcoming
the feeble, however well they may be guarded. Thus, the pike, with its
immense jaws, armed with innumerable teeth, is able to seize and crush
every kind of fish. Its own kind do not escape, for instances are
frequent when a pike of three or four pounds is found in the stomach of
one of twelve or fifteen pounds weight.

It is interesting to notice the habits of the pike, which an angler may
easily do in still, clear water. They have been characterized as a
solitary, melancholy, and bold fish. Never are they found in schools, or
even in pairs, as most other fish are, nor are they often seen in open
water, where other fish would discover them and avoid their grasp. When
in open water they lie very near the bottom, quite motionless, appearing
like a sunken stick. Their usual and favorite place of resort is among
the tall weeds where they cannot be seen. Here they lie, as it were, in
ambush, waiting the approach of some innocent, unsuspecting fish, when
they dart forth with a swiftness which none of the finny tribe can
attain, seize their harmless victim, and slowly bear it away to some
secluded spot. Here they crush their prey with their immense jaws, and
leisurely force it into their capacious stomachs. Often, when angling
for the pike with a live perch, from a wharf so far raised above the
water that I could see every object for twenty feet on either side, a
pike has so suddenly darted from a cluster of weeds, beyond the range of
my vision, that the first intimation I had of his presence was, that he
had seized my bait.

On one occasion, when angling in the St. Lawrence, where pike are very
abundant, I put a minnow on my hook, and threw my line towards a mass of
weeds, in the hope of tempting a perch to take it. Not many minutes had
elapsed before my silvery minnow had tempted the appetite of one, which
soon conveyed him to his maw. Knowing that my game was sure, I let him
play about, first allowing him to run to the extent of my line and then
drawing him towards me, when on a sudden a pike shot from his hiding
place and seized my perch. I was obliged to let the fellow have his own
way, and give him all the time he wanted to swallow the perch, when with
a good deal of difficulty, I succeeded in disabling him and towed him in
triumph to the shore. The perch weighed a pound and a half; the pike ten

The long and slender form of the pike, tapering towards the head and
tail, enables him to move with great rapidity through the water, while
his smooth and finless back facilitates his movements through the weeds
or marine plants. Thus has nature provided this fish with a form adapted
to its habits, and with large and well-armed jaws, to give it a
pre-eminence among the finny tribes which inhabit the same waters. I
have often thought why so great an enemy, so great a devourer of his
race, should be placed among them, favored by so many advantages. May it
not, nay, must it not be for some wise purpose? It is known how very
prolific fishes are, and unless some way was provided to lessen the
number, our inland waters could not contain the vast numbers which a few
years would produce. Most fish live on each other, others on decomposing
substances floating about. It is not always the largest that prey on
each other, for the sturgeon is one of the largest fresh water fish, and
he subsists on decomposing matter, or minute fish. A few pike placed in
a lake, would very effectually prevent an over-population. May it not,
then, be so ordered that the inhabitants of the seas, which are not so
favored as those who dwell on the earth’s surface, and who have a great
variety of food to supply their wants, may have the means of providing
their own sustenance by an immense increase of their own species?

Blaine observes that “the abstinence of the pike and jack is no less
singular than their voracity; during the summer months their digestive
faculties are somewhat torpid, which appears a remarkable peculiarity in
pike economy, seeing it must be in inverse ratio to the wants of the
fish, for they must be at this time in a state of emaciation from the
effects of spawning. During the summer they are listless, and affect the
surface of the water, where in warm sunny weather they seem to bask in a
sleepy state for hours together. It is not a little remarkable, that
smaller fish appear to be aware when this abstinent state of their foe
is upon him; for they who at other times are evidently impressed with an
instinctive dread of his presence, are now swimming around him with
total unconcern. At these periods, no baits, however tempting, can
allure him; but on the contrary, he retreats from everything of the
kind. Windy weather is alone capable of exciting his dormant powers.
This inaptitude to receive food with the usual keenness, continues from
the time they spawn, until the time of their recovery from the effects
of it.”

The peculiarity above noticed does not entirely apply to the pike of the
Northern States, and particularly of the great lakes and rivers, whose
waters are not so sensibly affected by the heat of summer as shallow
water is. In the smaller streams he lies in the listless state described
by Mr. Blaine, but when he can reach the deep water he always does so.

Pike are found in all the lakes and inland waters of the Northern and
Middle States of the Union. In the great lakes they grow to an enormous
size. No fish is better known throughout Europe and the northern parts
of Asia. In colder climes he attains the largest size, and is said by
Walkenburg to disappear in geographical distribution with the fir. In
our waters they are taken of all sizes, from four or five pounds to
fifty or sixty. Their haunts are generally among the weeds or marine
plants near the shore, or in deep bays where the water is not made rough
by winds, and in all parts of rivers. They are rarely found on rocky
bottoms or bars. A high wind and rough sea often drives them from their
weedy haunts into deeper water. I have noticed this particularly on Lake
Ontario. From wharves where basse are only taken on ordinary occasions,
pike will bite with avidity when a severe gale is blowing and the water
is in a disturbed state.

This fish, according to Donovan, attains a larger size in a shorter
time, in proportion to most others. In the course of the first year it
grows eight or ten inches; the second, twelve or fourteen; the third,
eighteen or twenty inches. Some pike were turned into a pond in England,
the largest of which weighed two and a half pounds. Four years after,
the water was let off, when one pike of nineteen pounds, and others of
from eleven to fifteen, were found. Mr. Jesse, in his Gleanings of
Natural History, relates certain experiments by which he shows that the
growth of pike is about four pounds a year, which corresponds with the
growth of those before stated.

The various books on sporting give numerous instances of pike weighing
from thirty to forty pounds, taken in England, though an instance is
mentioned in Dodsley’s Register for 1765, of an enormous pike weighing
170 pounds, which was taken from a pool near Newport, England, which had
not been fished in for ages. In Ireland and Scotland, they are found
larger than in England. In the Shannon and Lough Corrib, they have been
found from seventy to ninety-two pounds in weight. At Broadford, near
Limerick, one was taken weighing ninety-six pounds. Another was caught
by trolling in Loch Pentluliche, of fifty pounds; and another in Loch
Spey, that weighed 146 pounds. But these are small in comparison with a
pike, which is stated by Gesner (and from him quoted by most writers on
fish) to have been taken in a pool near the capital of Sweden, in the
year 1497, which was fifteen feet in length, and weighed 350 pounds.
Under the skin of this enormous fish was discovered a ring of cypress
brass, having a Greek inscription round the rim, which was interpreted
by Dalburgus, Bishop of Worms, to signify: “I am the fish first of all
placed in this pond, by the hands of Frederic the Second, on the 5th of
October, in the year of grace 1230;” which would make its age 267 years.
The ring about his neck was made with springs, so as to enlarge as the
fish grew. His skeleton was for a long time preserved at Manheim.

During the past summer, which I spent on the banks of the St. Lawrence,
I had frequently tried the spool trolling, and always with success.
Sometimes I would use two lines, one 70, the other 120 feet in length.
On the larger one I had the best success, and my bait would be seized
three times, when on the shorter one it would be but once; it being
farther from the boat, the movements of which through the water, and the
noise of the oars, drove the fish off. From experience I am satisfied
that long trolling lines are the best. Basse will seize a fly or spoon
at a few feet distance, but a pike will not. I have tried the
experiment, when trolling for pike, to attach to one hook a bait of pork
and red flannel, a very common bait, and to the other a brass spoon. The
latter was invariably seized first, for the only reason, I suppose, that
it made more show in the water. Neither resembled a fish, fly, or any
living creature, but curiosity or hunger attracted the fish to the
strange bait gliding through the water, which they seized, paying with
their lives the penalty for so doing.

There is a large fish of the pike species commonly called the Maskinonge
or Maskalunge before spoken of, of what specific character is not well
understood by naturalists. Their habits and their haunts are the same as
those of the pike, and they attain a larger size than any fish of our
inland waters. I have seen them carried by two men of ordinary height,
with a pole running through the gills and supported on the shoulders of
the men. In this position the tail of the fish dragged on the ground.
Forty or fifty pounds is not an unusual weight for them, and instances
are known when much larger ones have been caught. Maskinonge are
generally taken in seines, seldom with the hook. Their size is so large
that the ordinary baits of anglers would be no temptation for them. In
the several opportunities which I have had to examine the stomachs of
these fish I have invariably found within them, fish of very large size,
such as no angler would ever think of putting on his line. The largest
perch I ever saw, about fifteen inches in length, was taken from the
paunch of a Maskinonge, and I have often seen catfish, perch, and other
fish, weighing from one to two pounds, taken from them; but in no
instance small fish; and hence anglers have not taken them, as few would
angle with live bait of that size, where there are no fish but these
which would take it.

The most exciting sport I ever had on the St. Lawrence, or anywhere
else, was in taking a maskinonge. It was a regular battle, such only as
the salmon anglers enjoy when they hook a twenty-pounder. As the method
was quite different, I will send you all the particulars.

A friend and myself took a small skiff, with one trolling line,
intending to take turns at the oars, and proceeded at once to a favorite
spot among the “Thousand Islands.”

I held the trolling line with a spoon hook attached, while my companion
pulled the oars. We sailed among the secluded places, wherever weeds
were seen below the surface of the water, and were rewarded with good
sport by taking several fine pike, weighing from six to fifteen pounds,
which we managed to secure with ease, save the largest, which gave us
some trouble. We then thought we would try deeper water, in the hope of
tempting larger fish. A few windings among the clusters of small islands
brought us to the channel of the river, when I directed my companion to
increase the speed of our skiff, determined that the curiosity of no
fish should be satisfied, without first tasting my gilded spoon. We
pulled for half a mile, when the river wound suddenly round an island,
which presented a bold shore, from the rushing of the river’s current.
The tall forest trees extended to the very brink of the river, over
which they hung, throwing a deep shadow on the water. This quiet spot
looked as though it might be an attractive one for some solitary fish,
and we accordingly took a sweep around the foot of the island.—Scarcely
had we entered the deep shade spoken of, when I felt a tug at my line,
which was so strong that I supposed my hook had come in contact with a
floating log or fallen tree. My companion backed water with his oars to
relieve my hook, when another violent pull at my line convinced me that
it was no log, but some living creature of great weight. My line was
already out its full length of 150 feet; no alternative was therefore
left but to give my fish more line by rowing after him.

This we did for a few minutes, when I began to pull in the slack of my
line, some fifty feet or more, when I felt my fish. The check was no
sooner felt by him than he started forward with a velocity scarcely
conceivable in the water, bringing my line taut, and the next moment our
skiff was moving off stern foremost towards the river’s channel. We soon
perceived that our fish had turned his head up stream, and as the water
was deep, there was no danger of his coming in contact with weeds or
protruding rocks. We therefore allowed him to tow us for about five
minutes, when he stopped. Then quickly backing water with our oars, and
taking in our line, we carefully laid it over the skiff’s side, until we
had approached within twenty feet of our fish. I then gave him another
check, which probably turned his head, for he again darted off in a
contrary direction down stream. We pulled our skiff in the same
direction as fast as possible to give the fish a good run before
checking him again, but he soon had the line out its full length, and
was again towing our skiff after him with more rapidity than before.
This did not last long, however, for I then took the line and hauled
towards him to lessen our distance. He made another slap, when I managed
to keep my line taut, and with our oars moved towards him. Our victim
now lay on the surface of the water with his belly upward, apparently
exhausted, when we found him to be a maskinonge, between five and eight
feet in length. We had no sooner got him alongside than he gave a slap
with his tail and again darted off the whole length of the line, taking
us once more in tow. His run was now short, and it was evident he was
getting tired of the business. Again the line slacked and we drew the
skiff up to the spot where he lay turned up on his back.

He now seemed so far gone that I thought we might draw him into our
skiff, so I reached out my gaff and hooked him under the jaw, while my
companion passed his oar under him. In this way we contrived to raise
him over the gunwale of the skiff, when he slid to its bottom. I then
placed my foot back of his head to hold him down, in order to disengage
my hook, which passed through his upper jaw. No sooner had I attempted
this than he began to flap about, compelling us to give him room to
avoid his immense jaws. Every moment seemed to increase his strength,
when my companion seized an oar in order to dispatch him, while I took
out my knife for the same purpose. The first blow with the oar had only
the effect to awaken our fish, which taking another and more powerful
somerset, threw himself over the gunwale of our skiff, which was but a
few inches above the water, and with a plunge disappeared in the deep
water at our side. We had scarcely recovered from our surprise, when I
found my line drawn out again to its full length, save a few tangles and
twists, which had got into it in the struggle between us and our fish.
We determined to trifle no longer with the fellow, with our small skiff,
but to make for the shore and there land him. A small island, a short
distance from us, seemed to present a convenient place, and here without
further ceremony we pulled, towing our fish after us. I leaped into the
water about ten feet from the shore, and tugged away at my victim, who
floated like a log upon the water, while my companion stood by with an
oar to make the capture more sure this time. In this way we landed him
in safety just one hour and a quarter after he was first hooked. This
maskinonge weighed 49 pounds, and had within him a pike of three pounds
weight, a chub, partially decomposed, of four pounds, and a perch of one
and a half pounds, which appeared to have been but recently swallowed;
yet this fish’s appetite was not satisfied, and he lost his life in
grasping at a glittering bauble. Any person who has ever killed a pike
of ten pounds or upwards, can readily imagine the strength of one five
times its weight.

The great strength of these fish was shown in a sporting adventure which
happened to a friend of mine when out a few evenings since, spearing by
torch light. The person alluded to had never before tried his hand with
the spear, although he was a skillful angler. On this occasion he had
killed several fish, which he secured without trouble. He was then in
about six or eight feet of water, when he discovered a large fish,
either a very large pike or maskinonge. He planted himself with one foot
below the flaming torch, the other a little behind, when he plunged his
spear into the huge fish that lay so quietly before him; but whether he
was so deceived in the depth of the water, or whether he had not braced
himself properly in the boat is not known, at any rate he struck the
fish, which darted off like lightning, taking the spear with him, as
well as him who threw it. For the gentleman, probably deceived by the
depth of the water, had reached forward too far and thereby lost his
balance. So over he went head foremost, holding on to the spear. But he
was satisfied without following the fish further, which escaped with the
long spear, neither of which could be again seen. The gentleman made the
best of his way into the skiff. Two days after a large maskinonge
floated ashore several miles below the spot where the event took place,
with the spear still clinging to him, just before the dorsal fin.

                          PLANTATION CUSTOMS.

We profess to be neither a defender nor an advocate of slavery, but
circumstances having brought us into frequent communication with the
colored population of the Southern States, we have the satisfaction of
knowing that our opinions, concerning their condition, whether correct
or not, are the result of personal observation. We do indeed consider
the institution as an evil, but we consider the fanaticism of the North
to be a much greater evil. By birth and education are we a Northern man,
and we willingly acknowledge that we started upon our first journey
through the Southern States, harboring in our breast an unreasonable
number of prejudices against the institution already mentioned. The
tables, however, are now completely turned. Aside from the abstract idea
which has ever and will ever trouble us, we have seen but little to
mourn over and regret, but rather observed much, as touching the
happiness of the negro and especially his customs, which we cannot but
commend and admire. Instead of commenting upon these customs in a
general manner, we propose to give an idea of them by describing two
specimens—the negro manner of spending the Christmas Holidays, and the
prominent features of one of their Corn Huskings.

The scene of our first description is a plantation in the interior of
South Carolina. Within hailing distance of the planter’s mansion is a
collection of picturesque cabins, where are domiciled his negroes,
numbering in all about one hundred souls. It is early morning and the
day before Christmas. The slaves have obtained their accustomed
furlough, which is to last until the close of the year, and they are now
on the point of carrying to the market of some neighboring town the
products they may have obtained from their allotted plots of ground
during the bygone season. All the means of conveyance belonging to the
plantation have been placed at their disposal, and the day has arrived
when they are to receive in hard money, or merchandise, the fruit of
their own industry, irrespective of their obligations to their masters.
As a matter of course, the excitement among them is unusual, and is
participated in by all—men, women, and children. All things being ready,
the sable fraternity are upon the move, and as they enter upon a road
winding through a succession of picturesque woods, we will glance at
some of the characters belonging to the cavalcade. The leader thereof is
probably the most industrious and frugal of the whole brotherhood, and
he is taking to market, in a double wagon drawn by two horses, some two
or three bales of cotton, which he will dispose of for one hundred and
fifty dollars. The next vehicle is also a wagon, and in it are two or
three old women, who have under their especial protection an assortment
of poultry which it is their intention to exchange with the village
merchant for any little conveniences that they may need, or any fancy
articles that they may desire. Directly behind these we have a noisy
party of girls and boys, who are footing their way to market more for
the frolic or freedom of the thing than any desire to obtain money,
albeit we doubt not but some of the boys may have stowed away in one of
the wagons an occasional fox or coon skin which have accidentally come
into their possession by means of their cunningly devised traps. In
another wagon, drawn by a pair of mules, we notice a load of
miscellaneous articles, including a supply of rudely wrought
agricultural implements, a few bags of corn and other grain, and a
neatly dressed hog, with his hoofs pointing to the sky. We now have a
venerable negro, mounted upon an equally venerable horse, his only
saddle consisting of a large bag of choice seeds, which he has been
permitted to glean from his master’s fields at the end of the harvest.
And coming up in the rear, is the excessively miscellaneous portion of
the procession, who ramble along, so far as their appearance is
concerned, somewhat after the manner of a party of bedlamites, but as
joyous and light-hearted as if they were the lords instead of the serfs
of creation. And so much for the appearance of our friends on their way
to market.

The thousand and one incidents which occur at the town, interesting and
unique as they are, we will leave to the imagination of our readers.
Towards the close of the day the party return to their cabins upon the
plantation, and albeit some of the more indiscreet may have imbibed an
undue quantity of the intoxicating beverage, the majority of them are as
circumspect in their deportment as could be expected. And then, on their
arrival home, commences the long-anticipated frolic of Christmas Eve.
The banjos and fiddles are brought forth, and devoting themselves most
heartily to the pleasures of dancing, singing, and comparing notes as to
the acquisitions made during the day, the hours of night are soon
numbered, and the revelry is only concluded by the approach of day.

Two hours after sunrise on Christmas morning the sable fraternity are
all out of their beds and moving about with considerable activity,
considering their loss of sleep, and a new order of things is about to
occur. The house servants, and such of the field hands as think their
services may be needed, place themselves in the way of the master and
mistress of the plantation, and cheerfully perform any necessary work
which may be allotted to them. This done, they return to their cabins,
and plan the various means of enjoying themselves. Those old women, and
others who are religiously disposed, jump into a wagon and drive to some
neighboring church to hear the story of the Saviour. Others, who have
relatives belonging to another plantation, start off upon a friendly
visitation. Some, who have a passion for shooting, and have either
borrowed or purchased the necessary fusees, depart upon a vagabondizing
excursion into the woods; while others, who are particularly covetous,
and have already experienced the satisfaction of owning a little
property, remain about the premises for the purpose of accomplishing
some newly-conceived scheme, which will most likely result at no distant
day in his purchasing his freedom. As Christmas is passed, so are the
remaining days of the week, an arrangement having been made among the
negroes, that a portion of them should take turns with another portion,
so that the necessary labor of the plantation might not be neglected. At
the commencement of the year, the regular order of business is resumed
upon the plantation, and so continues with occasional interruption until
another Christmas arrives, to the entire satisfaction, both of master
and slave.

The rural custom denominated _corn husking_ or _corn shucking_ is
peculiar to the Southern States. It occurs at night, in the autumn of
the year, is participated in by negroes alone, and has for its main
object the husking and the gathering into barns of the yellow maize or
corn. And the locality of our present description is a plantation in the
State of Georgia.

Intelligence having previously been circulated throughout the district,
that a husking is to occur on a certain night, at a certain plantation,
the first step, as a matter of course, is to prepare for the
contemplated meeting. The corn yielded by the present harvest is hauled
in from the surrounding fields, and deposited in huge heaps, immediately
around the crib or barn into which it is eventually to be deposited. The
roof of the crib having been built so as to be easily removed, and for
the purpose of allowing the corn to be thrown into the building from a
considerable distance, it is accordingly transferred to some
out-of-the-way place, there to remain until reappropriated to its
legitimate use after the husking is ended. The next step is to bring
together at convenient points around the barn and the stacks of corn,
huge quantities of light wood, which is to be employed for the several
purposes of tempering the night air, affording necessary light, and
rendering the approaching scene as cheerful as possible. And while all
these preparations are being made by the men, others of quite as much
importance are occupying the attention of all the women belonging to the
plantation, whose business it is to prepare the feast which necessarily
follows the actual business of husking; while the children are probably
spending their time in clearing away the rubbish from a level spot of
ground in the vicinity of the bonfires, where it is more than probable
we may yet have the pleasure of witnessing a negro dance.

Night has settled upon the world, and the whole space enclosed by the
planter’s mansion and his almost innumerable outhouses, is filled with a
hum of talking and laughing voices—the loud talking and the hoarse
laughing of perhaps two hundred negroes, exclusive of woman and
children. The torch is now applied to the piles of dry wood, and by the
brilliant light of the several fires the _huskers_ move to their
allotted places around the corn house and seat themselves upon the
ground. They are divided into what might be termed four divisions
(occupying or flanking the several sides of the house), each one of
which is “_headed_” by one of the smartest men in the company, whose
province it is not only to superintend his division, and with the
assistance of several boys to throw the corn, as it is husked, into the
crib, but to take the lead in the singing which, among the blacks,
invariably, and we believe necessarily, accompanies the business of
husking corn. All things being ready, a signal is given, and the whole
party fall to work as if their very lives depended upon their handling a
specified quantity of the white and yellow grain. At the same instant
commences a mingled sound of shouting and singing voices, which
presently swell into a loud and truly harmonious chorus, and the husking
scene is in its prime. The very fires seem elated with the singular but
interesting prospect which they illumine, and shoot their broad sheets
of flame high into the air. Song follows song, in quick succession, and
in every direction piles of beautiful corn seem to spring out of the
earth as if by magic, and with the quickness of magic are transferred
into the great receptacle, which is itself rapidly becoming filled. Rude
indeed are the songs they sing, but harmonious and plaintive. The words
are improvised and the ideas are simple, but there is invariably a
pathos and harmony in the chorus which fails not to delight the ear.
Amusing stories are occasionally told, and then resoundeth far over the
quiet fields sleeping in moonlight, even as did the songs, boisterous
peals of laughter. One, two, three, and perhaps four hours have elapsed,
and it is now midnight, when the announcement is made by some patriarch
of the company that the corn is all husked, and the crib is nearly full.
One more song is called for, during the singing of which the roof is
replaced upon the corn house, and after congregating around the fires,
partly with a view of comparing notes as to the amount of labor
performed, but more especially for the purpose of drying the sweat from
their sable faces, the entire party of huskers move to the spacious
kitchen attached to the planter’s mansion.

And here an entirely new scene presents itself to our view. Board tables
have been spread in every available corner, and even in the more
sheltered portions of the adjoining yard, and everywhere is displayed a
most sumptuous entertainment, consisting not only of the substantials of
life, strangely served up in the form of a thick soup, but abounding
even in luxuries. Good whisky and perhaps peach brandy is supplied in
reasonable quantities, and the women, having finished their allotted
duties, now mingle with the men, and the feasting company presents as
merry and happy a picture of rural life as can well be imagined. Each
negro devotes himself to his particular mess, and somewhat after the
manner of the aborigines. Jokes of questionable elegance and delicacy
are uttered to a considerable extent, and many compliments paid to the
“_lib’ral and magnan’mous massa ob dis plantation_.” On such occasions,
as might not be supposed, acts of decided impropriety but seldom occur,
and it is not often that a sufficient quantity of spirit is imbibed,
either materially to injure the health or produce intoxication. In this
particular, even the “_down-trodden_” slaves, as they are called, may
often set a worthy example for the imitation of those who occupy a more
elevated rank in society.

We now come to describe the concluding scene of the corn-husking
entertainment, which consists of a dance upon the spot cleared away by
the boys in the vicinity of the late fires, which are replenished for
further use. The scraping of fiddles and the thumping of banjos having
been heard above the clatter of _spoons_, _soup-plates_, and _gourds_,
at the various supper tables, a new _stampede_ takes place, and the
musicians are hurried off to the dancing ground, as if to trip the light
fantastic toe were deemed the climax of earthly happiness. “On with the
dance, let joy be unconfined.” But there seemeth no need of the poet’s
advice on the present occasion, for the sable congregation now
assembled, seem animated with an almost frantic excitement. The dance,
as a matter of course, is the famous “_Virginia Reel_,” and at least a
hundred individuals have formed themselves in their proper places. No
sooner do the instruments attain the necessary pitch, than the head
couples dash into the arena, now slowly and disdainfully, now swiftly
and ferociously, and now performing the _double shuffle_ or the
_pigeon-wing_. Anon they come to a stand, while others follow, and go
through the same fantastic performances, with the addition perhaps of an
occasional leap or whirl. The excitement is becoming more intense than
ever, and it is evident that those whose business it is to stand still,
are actually dancing in their shoes. Louder than ever wails the
music—order is followed by confusion—and in the madness of the dance
there is no method. The brilliant watch-fires cast a ruddy glow upon the
faces of the dancers, and when, as it sometimes happens, an individual
chances to wander without the circle, his leaping and uncouth figure
pictured against the sky, resembles more the form of a lost spirit than
a human being. Music, dancing, shouting, leaping, and laughing, with
other indescribable matters, are mingled together in a most unique
manner, constituting a spectacle only equaled by the midnight dances of
painted savages. For hours does this frolic continue, and perhaps is
only brought to an end by the crowing of a cock, or the first glimpse
over the eastern hills, of the coming day. And then comes the breaking
up of the assembly, so that by the usual breakfast hour, the negroes
have reached the several plantations to which they belong, and after
spending rather an idle day, are ready for any other _husking_ to which
they may be invited, and which their masters will permit them to attend.

                          FISHING IN GENERAL.

  “We have, indeed, often thought that angling alone offers to man the
  degree of half business, half idleness, which the fair sex find in
  their needle-work or knitting, which, employing the hands, leaves the
  mind at liberty, and occupying the attention, so far as is necessary
  to remove the painful sense of a vacuity, yet yields room for
  contemplation, whether upon things heavenly or earthly, cheerful or
                                                       Sir Walter Scott.

In the preceding articles we have given the public the substance of our
experience in regard to our five favorite fish, the salmon, trout, pike,
rock, and black basse. On the present occasion we purpose to embody
within the limits of a single article, our stock of information upon the
remaining fish of the United States, which properly come under the
jurisdiction of the angler. We shall proceed in our remarks after the
manner of the dictionary-makers, and shall take up each variety without
any regard to their order, but as they may happen to come into our mind.

_The Perch._—With two members of this family alone are we personally
acquainted, viz. the yellow perch and the white perch. The first is a
beautiful fish, and found in nearly all the waters of the Northern and
Middle States, and probably as well known throughout the world as any of
the finny tribes. Its predominating color is yellow; it has an elegant
form, is a bold biter, varies in weight from four ounces to a pound
(although occasionally found in New England weighing two pounds); has a
dry and sweet flesh, but ill adapted to satisfy the cravings of a hungry
man on account of its bones, which are particularly numerous, hard, and
pointed. They generally swim about in _schools_, and yet at the same
time are not at all distinguished for their intelligence, being
invariably allured to destruction by the most bungling anglers, and the
more common kinds of bait. They spawn in the autumn, and recover, so as
to be in fine condition, early in the spring. They delight in clear
rivers or lakes, with pebbly bottoms, though sometimes found on sandy or
clayey soils. They love a moderately deep water, and frequent holes at
the mouth of small streams or the hollows under the banks. With regard
to the white perch we have only to say that it is well described by its
name, is a migratory fish, found in nearly all the rivers of the
Atlantic coast, from Boston to Norfolk; and they weigh from six ounces
to one pound, are in season during the spring and summer, are capital as
an article of food, and afford the entire brotherhood of anglers an
abundance of sport. As touching the name of the fish now before us, we
desire to chronicle our opinion respecting an important instance in
which it has been misapplied. Many years ago, while reading the
remarkable and intensely interesting work of Audubon on the birds of
America, we chanced upon the description of a fish, found in the Ohio,
to which he gave the name of white perch. Subsequently to that period,
while sojourning in the city of Cincinnati, we happened to remember Mr.
Audubon’s description, and one morning visited the market for the
purpose of examining the fish. We found them very abundant, and were
informed that they commanded a high price. On examining the fish,
however, in view of certain doubts that we had previously entertained
(for we knew that the white perch of the book was a native of salt
water), we found it to be not a legitimate white perch, but simply the
fish known on Lake Erie as the fresh water sheepshead. But this
misapplication of the term perch is not peculiar to the residents on the
Ohio, for we know that, throughout the Southern States where the black
basse is found, it is universally called the black perch; and that in
the vicinity of Boston and Nahant the miserable little fish called the
conner is there designated as a black perch. That there are several
varieties of the real perch besides those which we have mentioned we do
not deny, but we feel confident that the above correction cannot be

_The Maskalunge and Pickerel._—Both of these fish are peculiar to the
United States, and especially to the Great Lakes, and the waters of the
St. Lawrence and Mississippi. The former belongs unquestionably to the
pike family, although commonly weighing from twenty to forty pounds,
while many people affirm that it is only an overgrown pike. They are
valued as an article of food, and by those who are fond of killing the
most savage of game at the expense of much labor, they are highly
appreciated. The best and about the only valuable account of this fish
that we have ever seen, was written by George W. Clinton, Esq., and
published in the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser. As to the fish which we
call the pickerel, we have to say that it occupies a position somewhere
between the trout and perch; that it is a favorite with the anglers of
Lake Champlain, Lake Erie, and Lake Michigan, and with those also who
practice the gentle art along the borders of the Ohio and the Tennessee.
It is an active fish, of a roundish form, with large mouth and sharp
teeth, and covered with small scales, the predominating colors being a
dark green and yellowish white. The name which it bears is the one so
generally applied, but erroneously, to the legitimate pike. It is also
the same fish known in the Southwest as the salmon, but as unlike the
peerless creature of the far North as a gray wolf is unlike a deer. As
is the case with the maskalunge, the pickerel is among the first of the
finny tribes that run up our Western rivers early in the spring; and in
the waters of Lake Champlain and the St. Lawrence they are found herding
with the yellow perch, and we believe that in some districts they are
considered as belonging to the perch family.

_The Catfish._—This fish is distinguished for its many deformities, and
is a great favorite with all persons who have a fancy for muddy waters.
In the Mississippi they are frequently taken weighing upwards of one
hundred pounds; and while they are taken in all the tributaries of that
river, it has been ascertained that they decrease in size as you ascend
towards the north. They are also found in the tributaries of Lake Erie.
They are taken with any kind of bait; and as they are very strong the
best of tackle is invariably necessary. This fish is also found in many
of the lakes of New England, where they seldom weigh more than two
pounds, being there known as the horn or bull pout, owing to a peculiar
pictorial thorn with which they are adorned. Their flesh, though not
particularly sweet, is said to be easily digested, and they are often
sought for by people with weak stomachs. But it has always seemed to us
that it required a very _powerful_ stomach to eat a piece from one of
the mammoths of the Western waters.

As to the remaining fresh-water fish of the country, we will content
ourself by merely mentioning the names of those which are known to our
anglers, to wit: the chub, dace, white basse, sunfish, roach, bream, and
rock basse. The fish called in Virginia and Maryland the fall fish is
identical with the dace. In the waters of the West the mullet, fresh
water sheepshead, and sucker, are found in immense numbers, but they are
all exceedingly poor eating, and as sporting fish are of no account. The
sturgeon, we believe, is found almost everywhere, and known to almost

There is a fish found in Florida which we have never seen, but which,
from all the descriptions that we have heard, belongs either to the
trout or basse families. It abounds in all the rivers, lakes and springs
of this State, is a bold biter, reaches the weight of fifteen pounds,
has a white and sweet flesh, and is taken in very much the manner
employed by northern anglers in capturing the pike, and with similar
artificial baits.

We now come to our favorites of the ocean and tide-water rivers; and the
first fish that we mention is the _black fish_, or _tautog_, as it was
called by the Mohegan Indians. It is a stationary inhabitant of the salt
water, and usually found upon reefs and along rocky shores. It is taken
all along the Atlantic coast between New York and Boston, but it has
been known north of Cape Cod only within a few years; its legitimate
home is Long Island Sound. It is an active, bold, strong, and tough
fish, highly esteemed as an article of food, and, like the cod, is
brought to the principal markets in floating cars, in which confinement
they are said to fatten. They are by no means a handsome fish, and their
scales are so adhesive as to be taken off only with the skin. They are a
summer fish, being taken as early as April, and no later than October. A
three-pounder is considered a good fish, but we have often taken them
weighing ten pounds, and have seen them weighing fifteen pounds. They
are generally taken with the hand line, and no better bait can be
employed than the lobster or soft crab.

_The Sheepshead._—This is a thick set but rather handsome fish, and, for
the sweetness of its flesh, highly esteemed. They are seldom seen in the
New York market, but very common in the Charleston and Mobile markets,
from which we infer that they are partial to southern waters. They vary
in weight from three pounds to fourteen; live exclusively upon shell
fish, and invariably command a high price. They are popular with the
anglers, for they swim in shoals and are captured with but little

_The Blue Fish._—The name of this glorious fish reminds us of the ground
swell, and sends through our whole frame a thrill of pleasure. They are
a species of mackerel, attaining in certain places the weight of a dozen
pounds. They swim in shoals, and are taken with a trolling line and an
ivory squid. Our favorite mode for taking them has ever been from a
small boat with a hand line, though many people prefer taking them from
a sailboat when running before a breeze. They are quite as active a fish
as we have ever seen, and the strength of their jaws is so great that we
have known them to bite off a man’s finger. When fresh and fat we
consider them quite as delicate as the real mackerel, and much better
than the black fish. They are found on the sea coast as far south as
Norfolk (where they are called tailors), but they are particularly
abundant along the shores of Connecticut and Rhode Island. In some
places we have often found them so numerous that we have seen a dozen of
them darting after our squid at the same instant. They are in season
during the whole of summer and autumn.

Another capital fish that we have caught “all along shore” between New
York and Cape Cod, is the _weak fish_, or _squeteague_. It never comes
into the fresh water rivers, and usually makes its appearance about
harvest time. Its habits are similar to those of the striped basse, and
in appearance it closely resembles the _ciscovet_, of Lake Superior.
They commonly weigh from three to five pounds, though they have been
taken weighing nearly ten. They are bold biters, and highly esteemed for
their sweetness.

With regard to the remaining fish found on our seaboard we are disposed
to be quite brief. The _mackerel_ we esteem, and have had rare sport in
taking them, but we look upon them as the exclusive property of our
merchants. The _halibut_ we admire, but fear, for he reminds us of one
of the most fatiguing piscatorial adventures we ever experienced, when
we hooked a thirty-pounder in the Atlantic, one hundred miles off
Nantucket. As to the _cod_, we have only to say that we have caught them
off Nahant by the hundred, and never wish to catch any more; like the
_mackerel_, we consider them the exclusive property of the mercantile
fraternity. With the _king fish_ and _drum_ we are wholly unacquainted.
The _tom cod_ and _conner_ or _blue perch_ we despise, and our antipathy
to snakes has always caused us to avoid the eel. Of the _sea basse_ and
_paugee_, if we knew what to say, we would indite a long paragraph, for
we esteem them both. As to the _shad_ and _sea sturgeon_, we shall
dismiss them with an angler’s scorn, for they know not what it is to
take the hook. And now that we have reached the bottom of our last page
(devoted to the finny tribes), we are reminded of the very peculiar but
sweet and valuable fish, which are ever found only at the bottom of the
sea—the _flounder and flat-fish_. Many a time and oft have we taken them
both with the hook and spear, and we can pay them no higher compliment
than by mentioning the fact that they are particular favorites with the
distinguished painter, _William S. Mount, Esq._, of Long Island.

                        OUR MASTER IN LANDSCAPE.

  “His departure has left a vacuity which amazes and alarms us. It is as
  if the voyager on the Hudson were to look to the great range of the
  Catskills, at the foot of which Cole, with a reverential fondness, had
  fixed his abode, and were to see that the grandest of its summits had
  disappeared, had sunk into the plain from our sight. I might use a
  bolder similitude; it is as if we were to look over the heavens on a
  starlight evening and find that one of the greater planets, Hesperus
  or Jupiter, had been blotted from the sky.”
                               Funeral Oration by William Cullen Bryant.

Upon the romantic life of the greatest of American landscape painters it
is not our province to discourse, for that task has been assigned to a
gifted poet and friend of the departed—the Reverend Louis L. Noble;—nor
do we purpose to expatiate upon his beautiful character as a man, and
his genius as an artist; for that labor of love has already been
accomplished by the eminent poet from whom we have borrowed our motto.
The only idea that we have in view, is simply to describe the truly Epic
productions of the late Thomas Cole (in whose studio, which looked out
upon the Catskill Mountains, we have spent many pleasant hours), for the
edification of those of our readers who have never had an opportunity of
examining them.

In the first place, then, we will turn our attention to the series of
five pictures, entitled “_The Course of Empire_.” This work is an
epitome of the life of man, and is conceived and executed in a manner
which must convince the beholder that the artist possessed many of the
attributes of the philosopher, the poet, and the Christian.

In the first picture we have a perfectly wild scene of rocks, mountains,
woods, and a bay of the ocean, reposing in the luxuriance of a ripe
spring. The clouds of night are being dissipated by the beams of the
rising sun. On the opposite side of the bay rises a lofty promontory,
crowned by a singular, isolated rock, which would ever be a conspicuous
landmark to the mariner. As the same locality is preserved in each
picture of the series, this rock identifies it, although the position of
the spectator changes in the several pictures. The chase being the most
characteristic occupation of savage life, in the foreground we see an
Indian clothed in skins, pursuing a wounded deer, which is bounding down
a narrow ravine. On a rock, in the middle ground, are other Indians,
with their dogs surrounding another deer. On the bosom of a little river
below are a number of canoes passing down the stream, while many more
are drawn up on the shore. On an elevation beyond these is a cluster of
wigwams, and a number of Indians dancing round a fire. In this picture
we have the first rudiments of society. Men are already banded together
for mutual aid in the chase. In the canoes, huts, and weapons, we
perceive that the useful arts have commenced, and in the singing, which
usually accompanies the dance of savages, we behold the germs of music
and poetry. The Empire is asserted, to a limited degree, over sea, land,
and the animal kingdom.

Ages have passed away, and in the second picture we have the Simple or
Arcadian State of Society. The time of day is a little before noon, and
the season early summer. The “untracked and rude” has been tamed and
softened. Shepherds are tending their flocks; a solitary ploughman, with
his oxen, is turning up the soil; and in the rude vessels passing into
the haven of a growing village, and in the skeleton of a barque building
on the shore, we perceive the commencement of Commerce. From a rude
temple on a hill the smoke of sacrifice is ascending to the sky,
symbolizing the spirit of Religion. In the foreground, on the left hand,
is seated an old man, who, by describing strange figures in the sand,
seems to have made some geometrical discovery, demonstrating the infancy
of Science. On the right hand is a woman with a distaff, about crossing
a stone bridge; beside her, a boy is drawing on a stone the figure of a
man with a sword; and beyond these, ascending the road, a soldier is
partly seen. Under some noble trees, in the middle distance, are a
number of peasants dancing to the music of pipe and timbrel. All these
things show us that society is steadily progressing in its march of
usefulness and power.

Ages have again passed away, and in the third picture we have a
magnificent city. It is now mid-day, and early autumn. The bay is now
surrounded by piles of architecture, temples, colonnades, and domes. It
is a day of rejoicing. The spacious harbor is crowded with vessels,
war-galleys, ships, and barques, their silken sails glistening in the
sunshine. Moving over a massive stone bridge, in the foreground, is a
triumphal procession. The conqueror, robed in purple, is mounted on a
car drawn by an elephant, and surrounded by captives and a numerous
train of guards and servants, many of them bearing pictures and golden
treasures. As he is about to pass the triumphal arch, beautiful girls
strew flowers in his path; gay festoons of drapery hang from the
clustered columns; golden trophies glitter in the sun, and incense rises
from silver censers. Before a Doric temple, on the left, a multitude of
white-robed priests are standing on the marble steps, while near them a
religious ceremony is being performed before a number of altars. The
statue of Minerva, with a Victory in her hand, stands above the building
of the Caryatides, on a columned pedestal, near which is a company of
musicians, with cymbals, “trumpets also, and shawms.” From the lofty
portico of a palace, an imperial personage is watching the procession,
surrounded by her children, attendants, and guards. Nations have been
subjugated, man has reached the summit of human glory. Wealth, power,
knowledge, and taste have worked together and accomplished the highest
meed of human achievement and Empire.

Another change—and lo! in the fourth picture, the Vicious State, or
State of Destruction. Behold the consequences of luxury, in the weakened
and debased condition of mankind. A savage enemy has entered the once
proud and happy city; a fierce tempest is raging; walls and colonnades
are lying in the dust, and temples and palaces are being consumed by the
torch of the incendiary. The fire of vengeance is swallowing up the
devoted city. An arch of the bridge over which the triumphal procession
had before passed, has been battered down, and broken pillars, ruins of
war-engines, and the temporary bridge which had been thrown over,
indicate that this has been the scene of direst contention. Now there is
a terrible conflict on the bridge, whose insecurity accelerates the
horror of the conflict. Horses, and men, and chariots, are precipitated
into the raging waves. War-galleys are contending; others in flames; and
others still, sinking beneath the prow of a superior foe. Smoke and
flames are issuing from the falling and prostrate edifices; and along
the battlements and in the blocked-up streets the conflict is dreadful
indeed. The foreground is strewed with the bodies of the dead and dying.
Some have fallen into the basin of a fountain, tinging the water with
blood. One female is sitting in mute despair over the dead body of her
son; another leaping over a battlement, to escape the grasp of a ruffian
soldier; and other soldiers drag a woman by the hair down the steps,
that form the pedestal of a mutilated colossal statue, whose shattered
head lies on the pavement below. A barbarous enemy has conquered the
city; Carnage and Destruction have asserted their frightful Empire.

The last and most impressive picture of this series is the scene of
Desolation. The sun has just departed, and the moon is ascending the
twilight sky over the ocean, near the place where the sun rose in the
first picture. The shades of evening are gradually stealing over the
shattered and ivy-grown ruins of that once great city. A lonely column
rises in the foreground, on whose capital a solitary heron has built her
nest, and at the foot of it her mate is standing in the water, both of
them apparently conscious of being a living mockery. The Doric temple
and triumphal bridge may still be identified among the ruins, which are
laved by the waters of the tranquil sea. But though man and his works
have perished, the steep promontory with its isolated rock, still rears
itself against the sky, unmoved, unchanged. Time has consumed the works
of man, and art is resolving into its elemental nature. The gorgeous
pageant has passed, the roar of battle has ceased, the multitude has
mingled with the dust, the Empire is extinct.

The first, second, and last of these paintings are the best of the
series, not only in the poetry they portray, but in their execution. The
style is more varied and natural, and has less the appearance of paint
than many of the artist’s later productions. As to the third and fourth
paintings, the conception of both is exceedingly fine and poetical, but
they are deficient in execution. The architecture is admirably done, but
the numerous figures which it was necessary to introduce, are poorly
drawn and arranged; and there is a feebleness in the effect. It would
be, perhaps, too much to ask that an artist should be a great painter of
scenery, and also a master of the human figure. As a whole, however, the
Course of Empire is a work of art worthy of any nation or any painter.
These pictures were painted for the late Luman Reed, at a cost of eight
thousand dollars, but are now the property of the New York Gallery,
which institution owes its existence to Mr. Reed, whose collection of
pictures formed the foundation thereof.

The next work to which we would call the attention of our readers is
called “_The Voyage of Life_.” It is a series of four pictures,
allegorically portraying the prominent features of man’s life, viz:
childhood, youth, manhood, and old age. The subject is one of such
universal interest, that it were almost impossible to treat it in an
entirely original manner, but no one can deny that the conception of the
painter displays a high and rare order of poetic power.

In the first, we behold the dawn of a summer morning. A translucent
stream is issuing from an unknown source, out of a deep cavern in the
side of a mountain. Floating gently down the stream, is a golden boat,
made of the sculptured figures of the Hours, while the prow is formed by
the present hour holding forth an emblem of Time. It is filled with
flowers, and on these a little child is seated, tossing them with his
upraised hands, and smiling with new-born joy, as he looks upon the
unnumbered beauties and glories of this bright world around him; while a
guardian angel is at the helm, with his wings lovingly and protectingly
extended over the child. Love, purity, and beauty emanate like incense
from the sky, the earth, and water, so that the heart of the gazer seems
to forget the world, and lose itself in a dream of heaven.

A few fleeting years are gone, and behold the change! The Stream of Life
is widened, and its current strong and irresistible, but it flows
through a country of surpassing loveliness. The voyager, who is now a
youth, has taken the helm into his own hands, and the dismissed angel
stands upon the shore looking at him with “a look made of all sweet
accord,” as if he said in his heart, “God be with thee, thoughtless
mortal!” But the youth heeds not his angel, for his eyes are now riveted
by an airy castle pictured against the sky, dome above dome, reaching to
the very zenith. The phantom of worldly happiness and worldly ambition
has absorbed the imagination and eager gaze of the wayward voyager, and
as he urges his frail bark onward, he dreams not of the dangers which
may await him in his way. To the boat, only a few flowers are now
clinging, and on closer observation we perceive that the castle in the
air, apparently so real, has only a white cloud for its foundation, and
that ere long the stream makes a sudden turn, rushing with the fury of a
maddened steed down a terrible ravine. The moral of the picture it is
needless to elucidate.

Another change, and lo! the verge of a cataract and a fearful storm. The
rudderless bark is just about to plunge into the abyss below, while the
voyager (now in the prime of manhood) is imploring the only aid that can
avail him in the trying hour, that of heaven. Demoniacal images are
holding forth their temptations in the clouds around him, but he heeds
them not. His confidence in God supports him, the previous agony of his
soul is dispelled or subdued, by a reflection of immortal light stealing
through the storm, and by the smiles of his guardian angel, visibly
stationed in the far-off sky.

The Voyage of Life is ended, and our voyager, now white with hoary
hairs, has reached that point where the waters of time and eternity
mingle together—a bold conception, which is finely embodied by the
daring genius of the painter. The hour-glass is gone, and the shattered
bark is ready to dissolve into the fathomless waters beneath. The old
man is on his knees, with clasped hands and his eyes turned heavenward,
for the greenness of earth is forever departed, and a gloom is upon the
ocean of eternity. But just above the form of our good voyager is
hovering his angel, who is about to transport him to his home; and, as
the eye wanders upward, an infinite host of heavenly ministers are seen
ascending and descending the cloudy steps which lead to the bosom of
God. Death is swallowed up in life, the glory of heaven has eclipsed
that of the earth, and our voyager is safe in the haven of eternal rest.
And thus endeth the allegory of Human Life.

With regard to the mechanical execution of these paintings, we consider
them not equal to some of the earlier efforts of the same pencil. They
are deficient in atmosphere, and have too much the appearance of paint.
The water in the first, second, and third pictures is superior, but the
perspective and atmosphere in the second are masterly. In all of them
the figures are very fine, considering the difficulty of managing such
peculiar characters. In the first we are pleased with the simplicity of
the composition: in the second, with the variety, there being portrayed
the elm of England, the plains of Tuscany, the palm of tropic climes,
the mountains of Switzerland, and the oak of America; in the third, with
the genius displayed in using the very storm to tell a story; and in the
fourth, with the management of the shadows, and the apparent reality of
the light from heaven. These pictures were painted for the late Samuel
Ward of New York city, and the price received for them was six thousand
dollars. During the last year, however, they were purchased by the
American Art Union, and distributed among the prizes at their annual
lottery in December.

Duplicates of the above paintings were executed by Cole, and sold to a
gentleman in Cincinnati in the year 1846.

The last, and in many respects the most impressive, of Cole’s more
ambitious productions, is a series of five pictures entitled _The Cross
and the World_. The designs or studies for these pictures were all
executed, but owing to the untimely death of the artist, only two out of
the five were ever finished on a large scale. This series of pictures
constitutes a Christian poem of a high order, and in describing them, we
shall employ the language of the artist’s friend Noble, who has probably
studied the entire work more thoroughly than any other man. The idea is
that two youths enter upon a pilgrimage—one to the cross and the other
to the world.

In the first picture the eye of the beholder first strikes the bold
termination of a chain of mountains, with craggy peaks lost in the

The same lofty range is seen through the entire series.

To the left, a straight and narrow path takes its way up a rugged gorge,
down which there beams a silvery light from a bright cross in the sky.
The path at first leads off through fields of real flowers, betokening
the early part of the Christian life, neither difficult nor uninviting.
In the distance a dark mist, hovering over the track, conceals from the
advancing wayfarer the real difficulties of his journey, and betokens
the sorrows which of necessity befall him. To the right, a gracefully
winding way leads down into a gently undulating and pleasant vale.
Stretching forward through delightful landscapes, it finally fades away,
and leaves the eye to wander on to the dim pinnacles and domes of a
great city. A golden light falls through an atmosphere of repose, and
lends warmth, softness, and beauty, as well to crag and precipice as to
the rich valley. By-paths, serpent-like, steal up upon the sunny slopes
of the mountain, inviting the traveler to the enjoyment of the prospect
and the coolness of the waterfall.

Vegetation of unnatural growth, and gorgeous and unreal flowers skirt
the borders of the way.

At the foot of the mountain stands Evangelist with the open Gospel. A
little in advance are the waters, symbolical of Baptism.

Two youths, companions in the travel of life, having come to the parting
of their road, are affectionately and earnestly directed to the shining
cross. While one, through the power of truth, enters with timid steps
upon his holy pilgrimage, the other, caught by the enchantment of the
earthly prospect, turns his back upon Evangelist and the Cross, and
speeds forward upon the pathway of the world.

In the second picture we have a wild mountain region now opening upon
the beholder. It is an hour of tempest. Black clouds envelop the
surrounding summits. A swollen torrent rushes by, and plunges into the
abyss. The storm, sweeping down through terrific chasms, flings aside
the angry cataract, and deepens the horror of the scene below. The
pilgrim, now in the vigor of manhood, pursues his way on the edge of a
frightful precipice. It is a moment of imminent danger. But gleams of
light from the shining cross break through the storm, and shed fresh
brightness along his perilous and narrow path. With steadfast look, and
renewed courage, the lone traveler holds on his heavenly pilgrimage.

The whole symbolizes the trials of faith.

In the third picture the beholder looks off upon an expanse of tranquil
water. On the right are the gardens of pleasure, where the devotees of
sensual delights revel in all that satiates and amuses. Near a fountain,
whose falling waters lull with perpetual murmurs, stands a statue of the
goddess of Love. An interminable arcade, with odorous airs and delicious
shade, invites to the quiet depths of a wilderness of greenery and
flowers. A gay throng dances upon the yielding turf, around a tree, to
the sound of lively music. Near an image of Bacchus, a company enjoys a
luxurious banquet.

On the left is the Temple of Mammon, a superb and costly structure,
surmounted by the wheel of Fortune. Beneath its dome, a
curiously-wrought fountain throws out showers of gold, which is eagerly
caught up by the votaries below.

From the great censers, rising here and there above the heads of the
multitude, clouds of incense roll up and wreath the columns of the
temple—a grateful odor to the God. The trees and shrubbery of the
adjacent grounds are laden with golden fruit.

Far distant, in the middle of the picture, a vision of earthly power and
glory rises upon the view. Splendid trophies of conquest adorn the
imposing gateway; suits of armor, gorgeous banners, and the victor’s
wreath. Colonnades and piles of architecture stretch away in the vast
perspective. At the summit of a lofty flight of steps stand conspicuous
the throne and the sceptre. Suspended in the air, at the highest point
of human reach, is that glittering symbol of royalty, the crown. Between
the beholder and this grand spectacle are the armies in conflict, and a
city in flames, indicating that the path to glory lies through ruin and
the battle-field. To the contemplation of this alluring scene the
Pilgrim of the World, now in the morning of manhood, is introduced.
Which of the fascinating objects before him is the one of his choice, is
left to the imagination of the spectator. The picture symbolizes the
pleasure, the fortune, and the glory of the world.

In the fourth picture, the pilgrim, now an old man on the verge of
existence, catches a first view of the boundless and eternal. The
tempests of life are behind him; the world is beneath his feet. Its
rocky pinnacles, just rising through the gloom, reach not up into his
brightness; its sudden mists, pausing in the dark obscurity, ascend no
more into his serene atmosphere. He looks out upon the infinite.
Clouds—embodiments of glory, threading immensity in countless lines,
rolling up from everlasting depths—carry the vision forward toward the
unapproachable light. The Cross, now fully revealed, pours its
effulgence over the illimitable scene. Angels from the presence, with
palm and crown of immortality, appear in the distance, and advance to
meet him. Lost in rapture at the sight, the pilgrim drops his staff, and
with uplifted hands, sinks upon his knees.

In the last picture, desolate and broken, the pilgrim, descending a
gloomy vale, pauses at last on the horrid brink that overhangs the outer
darkness. Columns of the Temple of Mammon crumble; trees of the gardens
of pleasure moulder on his path. Gold is as valueless as the dust with
which it mingles. The phantom of glory—a baseless, hollow fabric—flits
under the wing of death to vanish in a dark eternity. Demon forms are
gathering around him. Horror-struck, the pilgrim lets fall his staff,
and turns in despair to the long-neglected and forgotten Cross. Veiled
in melancholy night, behind a peak of the mountain, it is lost to his
view forever.

The above pictures are in the possession of the artist’s family. We did
think of describing at length _all_ the imaginative productions of our
great master in landscape, but upon further reflection we have concluded
merely to record their titles, by way of giving our readers an idea of
the versatility of Cole’s genius. They are as follows:—_The Departure
and Return_, which is a poetical representation of the Feudal Times,
_The Cross in the Wilderness_, _Il Penseroso_, _L’Allegro_, _The Past
and Present_, _The Architect’s Dream_, _Dream of Arcadia_, _The
Expulsion of Adam and Eve_, and _Prometheus Bound_. As the last
mentioned picture is owned in England, and is unquestionably one of the
wildest and most splendid efforts of the painter’s pencil, we cannot
refrain from a brief description. The scene represented is among the
snow-covered peaks of a savage mountain land, and to the loftiest peak
of all, is chained the being who gives the picture a name. Immediately
in the foreground, is a pile of rocks and broken trees, which give a
fine effect to the distant landscape, while, just above this foreground,
is a solitary vulture slowly ascending to the upper air, to feast upon
its victim. The idea of leaving the devouring scene to the imagination,
could only have been conceived by the mind of the most accomplished
artist. The time represented is early morning—and the cold blue ocean of
the sky is studded with one brilliant star, which represents Jupiter, by
whose order Prometheus was chained to the everlasting rock.

This is one of the most truly sublime pictures we have ever seen, and
possesses all the qualities which constitute an epic production. The
unity of the design is admirable—one figure, one prominent mountain, a
cloudless sky, one lonely star, one representative of the feathery
tribes, and one cluster of rocks for the foreground—and it is also
completely covered with an atmosphere which gives every object before us
a dreamy appearance. In point of execution we cannot possibly find a
fault with this glorious picture, and we do not believe that the idea of
the poet was ever better illustrated by any landscape painter.

With regard to the actual views and other less ambitious productions of
Cole, we can only say that the entire number might be estimated at about
one hundred. The majority of them are illustrative of European scenery,
but of those which are truly American, it may be said that they give a
more correct and comprehensive idea of our glorious scenery, than do the
productions of any other American artist. In looking upon his better
pictures of American scenery we forget the pent-up city, and our hearts
flutter with a joy allied to that which we may suppose animates the
woodland bird, when listening in its solitude to the hum of the
wilderness. Perpetual freedom, perpetual and unalloyed happiness, seem
to breathe from every object which he portrays, and as the eye wanders
along the mountain declivities, or mounts still farther up on the
chariot-looking clouds, as we peer into the translucent waters of his
lakes and streams, or witness the solemn grandeur and gloom of his
forests, we cannot but wonder at the marvelous power of genius. The
style of our artist is bold and masterly. While he did not condescend to
delineate every leaf and sprig which may be found in nature, yet he gave
you the spirit of the scene. To do this is the province of genius, and
an attainment beyond the reach of mere talent. The productions of Cole
appeal to the intellect more than to the heart, and we should imagine
that Milton was his favorite poet. He loved the uncommon efforts in
nature, and was constantly giving birth to new ideas. He had a passion
for the wild and tempestuous, and possessed an imagination of the
highest order. He was also a lover of the beautiful, and occasionally
executed a picture full of quiet summer-like sentiment: but his joy was
to depict the scenery of our mountain land, when clothed in the rich
garniture of autumn. He was the originator of a new style, and is now a
most worthy member of that famous brotherhood of immortals whom we
remember by the names of Lorraine, Poussin, Rosa, Wilson, and

The name of Cole is one which his countrymen should not willingly let
die. A man of fine, exalted genius, by his pencil he has accomplished
much good, not only to his chosen art, by becoming one of its masters,
but eminently so in a moral point of view. And this reminds us of the
influences which may be exerted by the landscape painter. That these are
of importance no one can deny. Is not painting as well the expression of
thought as writing? With his pencil, if he is a wise and good man, the
artist may portray, to every eye that rests upon his canvass, the
loveliness of virtue and religion, or the deformity and wretchedness of
a vicious life. He may warn the worldling of his folly and impending
doom, and encourage the Christian in his pilgrimage to heaven. He may
delineate the marvelous beauty of nature, so as to lead the mind upward
to its Creator, or proclaim the ravages of time, that we may take heed
to our ways and prepare ourselves for a safe departure from this world,
into that beyond the Valley of the Shadow of Death. A goodly portion of
all these things have been accomplished by Thomas Cole. As yet, he is
the only landscape painter in this country who has attempted imaginative
painting, and the success which has followed him in his career, even in
a pecuniary point of view, affords great encouragement to our younger
painters in this department of the art. He has set a noble example,
which ought to be extensively followed. Observe, we do not mean by this
that his subjects ought to be imitated. Far from it; because they are
not stamped with as decided a national character, as the productions of
all painters should be. Excepting his actual views of American scenery,
the paintings of Cole might have been produced had he never set foot
upon our soil. Let our young artists aspire to something above a mere
copy of nature, or even a picture of the fancy; let them paint the
visions of their imagination. No other country ever offered such
advantages as our own. Let our young painters use their pencils to
illustrate the thousand scenes, strange, wild, and beautiful, of our
early history. Let them aim high, and their achievements will be
distinguished. Let them remember that theirs is a noble destiny. What
though ancient wisdom and modern poetry have told us that “art is long
and time is fleeting!”—let them toil and persevere with nature as their
guide, and they will assuredly have their reward.


  And wherefore do the poor complain?
    The rich man asked of me:
  Come walk abroad with me, I said,
    And I will answer thee.

Attended by police officers, we once paid a visit to a building called
the Old Brewery, which infests the city of New York as does a cancer the
bosom of a splendid woman. At the time in question, it was a very large
and rickety affair, and the _home_ of about _eighty pauper families_;
and we verily believe contained more unalloyed suffering than could have
been found in any other building in the United States. It belonged to
the city, and was rented by a woman, who, in her turn, rented it out by
piecemeal to the paupers. For many years it was a dram shop or a college
for the education of drunkards, and it is now the comfortless hospital
or dying-place of those drunkards and their descendants. We visited this
spot at midnight, and were lighted on our way by torches which we
carried in our hands.

Having passed through a place called Murderer’s Alley (on account of the
many murders committed there), our leading officer bolted into a room,
where was presented the following spectacle. The room itself was more
filthy than a sty. In the fireplace were a few burning embers, above
which hung a kettle, tended by a woman and her daughter. It contained a
single cabbage, and was all they had to eat, and the woman told us she
had not tasted food for twenty-four hours. The wretched being, it
appears, had been engaged in a fight with some brute of a man, who had
so severely bruised her face that one whole side was literally black and
blue. We asked her some questions and alluded to her young daughter. She
replied to our inquiries, and then burst into tears, and wept as if her
heart was broken. The only comment which the daughter made was, “Mother,
what are you crying about? Don’t make a fool of yourself. Tears will not
wipe away God’s curse.” The couch to which this pair of women were to
retire after their midnight meal, was a pallet of straw, wet with liquid
mud that came oozing through the stone walls of the subterranean room.
This woman told us that her husband was in the State prison, and that
she was the mother of seven daughters, all of whom but the one present
had died in girlhood, utterly abandoned to every vice. “Yes,” added the
woman, “and I hope that me and my Mary will soon join them; there can be
no worse hell than the one we are enduring.” She mourned over her
unhappy fate, and looked upon vice as a matter of necessity—for they
could not starve.

In the next room that we entered, on a litter of straw, and with hardly
any covering upon them, lay a man and his wife, the former suffering
with asthma and the latter in the last stages of consumption. Covered as
they were with the most filthy rags, they looked more like reptiles than
human beings. In another corner of the same room, upon a wooden box, sat
a young woman with a child on her lap; the former possessing a pale and
intellectual countenance, while the latter was a mere skeleton. The
woman uttered not a word while we were present, but seemed to be musing
in silent despair. Her history and very name were unknown, but her
silence and the vacant stare of her passionless eyes spoke of
unutterable sorrow. She was the “queen of a fantastic realm.”

Another room that we entered contained no less than five families, and
in one corner was a woman in the agonies of death, while at her side sat
a miserable dog, howling a requiem over the dying wretch. In another
corner lay the helpless form of a boy, about ten years of age, who was
afflicted with the small-pox, and had been abandoned to his miserable
fate. He had rolled off the straw, and his cheek rested upon the wet
floor, which was black with filth. All the rooms we visited were pretty
much alike, crowded with human beings, but there were particular ones
which attracted our attention. The faded beauty and yet brilliant eye of
one woman attracted our notice, and we were informed that it was only
about two years ago that she was performing Juliet at one of the
principal theatres to the delight of thousands. She is now an outcast,
and her only possession is a ragged calico gown. In another room we
noticed the living remains of a German philosopher, who was once a
preacher, then a professor in the Berlin and Halle Universities, an
author, a rationalist, a doctor of philosophy, and now a—pauper. He came
to this country about three years ago, supposing that his learning would
here find a ready market. This man is master of the Hebrew, Greek,
Latin, French, and German languages, and yet a bitter reviler of the
Christian religion! He was brought to his present state by the united
influences of his infidel principles and the wine cup.

In one room we saw a husband and his wife with three children, sound
asleep on a bed of shavings, and the furniture thereof consisted of only
a pine box, a wooden bowl (partly filled with meal), and a teacup, while
on the hearth of the empty fireplace were scattered a few meatless
bones. In another we saw a woman in a state of gross intoxication, whose
child, wrapped in rags, was lying on a bed of _warm ashes_ in one corner
of the fireplace. In one room a lot of half-clothed negroes were
fighting like hyenas; and in another a forlorn old man was suffering
with delirium tremens. In another, still, the fireplace was destitute of
fire and the hearth of wood. On the floor were three litters of straw;
on one lay the corpse of a woman and a dead infant, and another child
about three years of age, which had no covering upon its shivering body
except the fragments of an old cloak. On one pile of straw lay a
middle-aged man apparently breathing his last; and in the opposite
corner was seated a drunken woman, a stranger to the dead and dying, who
was calling down curses upon the head of her husband, who had abandoned
her to her misery. As we rambled about the old building, peering into
the dark rooms of poverty and infamy, we were forcibly reminded of
Dante’s description of hell. The majority of women that we saw were
widows, and we were informed that the rent they paid varied from two to
six shillings per week. Our guide, before leaving, directed our
attention to the back yard, where, within the last two years, twenty
people had been found dead. Their histories yet remain in mystery, and
we were told of the singular fact that a funeral had not been known to
occur at the Old Brewery for many years, as it has ever been a
market-place for anatomists and their menials.

On giving the readers of the Express some of the above facts, a number
of benevolent individuals remitted to us quite a large amount of money
for the inmates of the Brewery. One lady (God bless the Christian!) sent
us no less than ten dollars. In fulfilling our obligations to these
charitable friends, we purchased clothing, bread, pork, fish, and
vegetables, and, assisted by a couple of servants, took another walk
over the mansion of suffering. As we went in the day time, we expected
to see less misery than we did on our former visits, but were sadly
disappointed. We entered several new rooms and saw new pictures of
distress. In one was a very old negro, sitting in his desolate chimney
corner, with no clothing on his person but a pair of pantaloons; he was
afflicted with the asthma and shivering with cold, while his poor wife
was weeping over their wretched condition. When we supplied the latter
with food, we thought the overjoyed being would actually clasp me in her
arms. On entering another room, we discovered a mass of rags in one
corner, where lay an elderly woman who had lost the use of her limbs,
and had not been able to move from her couch of shavings for upwards of
two months. She was evidently the victim of consumption, and not far
from the gateway to the grave. Her only attendant was a kindly-disposed
woman who had the dropsy. When we gave her some food, she actually wept
tears of gratitude, and begged me to _accept a rug_, which she had made
of rags, probably picked up in the street. In another room, before an
expiring fire, sat a sickly-looking girl, about ten years of age,
holding in her arms a little babe, and the countenances of both were
deeply furrowed by premature suffering. Her story was that her mother
had been dead about a month, and she knew not the fate of her father,
who had been arrested for stealing some two weeks before. She obtained
her living by begging, and when too feeble to carry her infant sister in
the street, was in the habit of leaving it in her room under the
protection of a miserable dog, to which she directed my attention. We
gave this sadly unfortunate girl a large supply of food, and was sorely
grieved that it was not in our power to take her from her cheerless
dwelling place to some other home, where she might be fed, clothed, and
instructed. The act of adopting such a child would cover a multitude of
sins. The condition of Mr. Dickens’s fancy child “Little Nell” was real
happiness compared to the condition of this living and yet dying orphan.
God have mercy upon the _innocent_ poor!

Another room into which we entered was completely crowded with human
beings. On one bed of rags and straw lay a woman who was so very ill
that she could not speak, and her only covering, strange as it may seem,
was a tattered _American flag_. She was a stranger to all her
companions, but supposed to be the wife of a sailor, who had died some
months before. Immediately in front of the fireplace, lying on her side,
was a colored woman moaning with the rheumatism, and in her immediate
vicinity was her husband, suffering intensely with a cold. Here sat an
Irish woman on a chest, holding an infant in her arms; she was _singing_
a lullaby, and yet she told me that she had not eaten a hearty meal for
many weeks. There, lying in his corner, was a middle aged man, confined
to the floor by an ulcerated knee, and he had in charge a feeble babe,
which had never been blessed with even a calico dress—it was not only
naked, but a cripple from its birth. The wife of this man was dead, and
those were her dying groans which chilled my blood with horror when we
made a nocturnal visit to this miserable abode. His only helper in his
hour of great need was a puny boy, about seven years old, who seemed to
be an idiot. The appearance of this child we cannot possibly describe.
The _happiest_ individual in this room was a colored man, who appeared
to be in good health, but he crawled about on crutches, for he had lost
both his legs. He seemed to be an exceedingly worthy and amiable man,
and we were lavish in our gifts to him and those in whom he was

But enough, enough. There can be no use in continuing this painful
record. We would assure our readers, however, that we have only sketched
a small portion of the unimagined misery which lately existed and still
exists in the Old Brewery. The spectacles we have witnessed there excel
the most extravagant flights of fancy; we have never read the book which
contained pictures of such complete and hopeless misery. We have told a
simple tale of truth, contributed our pittance, and it now remains for
the opulent of the great metropolis and the rulers thereof to do their
duty. Is it right that such a building as the Old Brewery should be
suffered to exist within a stone’s throw of the City Hall? Is it right
that the “hell hounds” (we now allude to a fact) should be permitted by
the authorities to sell their poisons _under the same roof_ where
hundreds of people are dying from starvation, brought upon them by their
own folly and those very dram shops? We would not make an issue upon the
license question; but, we ask, is it right, is it humane, to allow this
state of things? If the aged in iniquity cannot be reclaimed, ought not
something to be done to save the children of the Old Brewery—the
innocent, laughter-loving children, from spending their days in misery?
If nothing else can be done, it would be a mercy to fire that abode of
suffering, even though every soul within its walls should perish in the
flames; the wail of agony would indeed be dreadful, but it would be of
short duration. Why will not the superb city of New York wipe from her
bosom this lump of leprosy, which is now preying upon her vitals? Can
the rich now understand why it is that the poor complain?

An Irishman, his wife, and two children were brought to the alms-house
in a complete state of starvation. They landed in the city from an
emigrant ship, and had not tasted food for several days. The mother was
wellnigh a perfect skeleton, and the sunken cheeks and eyes of the whole
family told the melancholy truth that they were the victims of the most
intense suffering. One of the children was so near dead that it could
not walk, whilst it was with the utmost difficulty that even the father
could totter over the floor. They were as nearly dead as it is possible
for the living to be, and want of food was the principal cause which had
brought them to this miserable state. In answer to all questions asked
them, their replies were, “We want some bread; do give us some bread; we
will die if you do not give us some bread.” As a matter of course their
wants were immediately supplied, but the utmost caution was necessary in
administering food. When they were seated at the table, the first thing
the mother did was to feed her youngest child. In doing this she took
not the least notice of herself, but uttered a strange wild laugh; and,
when the child was made quite sick by even a spoonful of rice, the
mother wept most bitterly, and said: “Oh, my child is going to die!—what
shall I do to save its darling life?” Four days afterwards every member
of this exiled family had passed into the unknown future.

On another occasion an intemperate woman was taken to the alms-house,
ragged and reeling at the time, and bearing a little child, supposed to
be about sixteen months old. It was literally a skeleton, entirely
destitute of flesh, a mere fragment of humanity. The smaller portions of
its arms and legs were not more than half an inch in thickness, while
the corners of its mouth were drawn down, and its eyes so deeply sunken
that it had the appearance of an old and decrepit woman. Its face was
white as snow, its body almost as cold, and wrinkles upon its cheek and
brow were distinctly marked; and what made the picture still more
wretched was the fact that the poor child had the _whooping cough_ and
was _totally blind_. The opinion of the attending physician was that the
child had been famished. On questioning the mother about her offspring
it was ascertained that the child had never taken any food but what came
from her breast; its condition was partly attributed to this fact, and
it was evident that all its sufferings were inherited from its mother;
that _it had been a drunkard even from the hour of its birth_. It was
found necessary to take the child away from its mother; but, as she
would not give it up, she was taken to the Tombs, and at midnight, when
the parent was in a deep sleep, the child was taken from her filthy and
inflamed bosom, and placed in the hands of a careful nurse. The weeping
and wailing of that forsaken mother, on the following morning, were
terrible in the extreme. Her brain was on fire, and at the setting of
the sun she was numbered with the dead. In less than a week thereafter
the pauper child had followed its mother to Potter’s Field.

It was recorded in the newspapers that the dead body of an aged man had
been found, tied up in a coffee bag, and floating in the East river. His
throat was cut from ear to ear, and it was supposed he had been
murdered, but later developments explained the mystery. The name of the
deceased was subsequently ascertained; he belonged to one of the oldest
and most respectable families of Connecticut, and was related to one of
its former governors. The individual in question spent the morning and
noon of his life in the lap of luxury; in old age, however, his wealth,
wife, children, and nearly all his kindred, were taken away from him,
and he became a man acquainted with many sorrows. Some months previous
to the time when his body was found, and while actually suffering from
hunger, it so happened that he entered a certain dwelling for the
purpose of asking alms. The principal inmate of that dwelling was a
widow who had once been on the most intimate terms with the family of
the beggar, having been born in the same town. The friends of other days
recognized each other, a long conversation ensued, which recalled a
thousand recollections of childhood, and they were very happy. The only
thought which oppressed the spirit of the mendicant was, that his bones,
when he came to die, would be deposited in the soil of strangers, and
his only prayer was that he might be buried among his kindred. His kind
friend assured him that, if her own life was spared, the desire of his
heart should be fully gratified.

Weeks passed on, and, contrary to the wishes of his friend, the old man
became an inmate of the almshouse. In process of time the silver cord of
the pilgrim’s life was broken, and he was buried in the public
graveyard. Subsequently to this his body was disinterred, used for
purposes of dissection, and rudely thrown into the river. In the
meanwhile the widow had sent to the coroner to inquire how she might
obtain the pauper’s body, as she wished to bury him elsewhere than in
Potter’s Field, but she could meet with no encouragement. A number of
days was the man’s body tossed to and fro in the East River, but by the
hand of Providence it was washed ashore and given in charge to the
coroner. This gentleman suspected that the deceased was the friend of
the widow who had consulted him some days before, and it so happened
that his suspicions were well founded, for the body in due time was
recognized. It was given into the custody of the good woman, who had it
placed in a decent coffin, and the aged pauper was buried in the vault
of the W——, in Connecticut, by the side of his wife and children. It is
indeed a fact that fiction is often not one-half so strange as truth;
and it is also certain that human life is but a dream, and the ways of
God unsearchable.

Beautiful were the orphan minstrels of whom we are now to speak;
beautiful in mind and heart. The party was composed of three
individuals, two sisters and a little brother, the eldest of whom had
not yet seen her thirteenth summer. Remarkable singers they were not,
but yet there was something wild and plaintive in their voices which
cannot easily be forgotten. The instruments they used, however—the harp,
the tamborin, and flute—were uncommonly musical, and played upon with
facility and taste.

We became acquainted with these minstrels in this wise. They had stopped
for a few moments, about nine o’clock in the evening, in the hall of
Rathbun’s hotel. After delighting a crowd of listeners, and receiving a
few pennies, they courtesied and bowed, and then continued on their way.
We had an hour’s leisure at the time, and resolved as a matter of
curiosity, that we would follow the children. We did so, and saw them
enter two or three hotels, where they performed a number of pieces. The
night was now far advanced, and they turned Barclay Street on their way
home. Onward did they trip, with gladness in their hearts, talking
together in the French tongue; and, in a few moments after, we saw them
turn down Washington street into an emigrant boarding house. We were now
in a predicament, and afraid to lose our game. But resolving to defend
our conduct by inquiring after some imaginary person, we bolted into the
house and followed the children up two flights of stairs. They entered a
room where were seated a very old man and an equally old woman. The
meeting between this aged pair and the little children was quite
touching, for, when the money was counted and laid away, the latter were
rewarded by a loving embrace. Soon as this scene was ended we made our
appearance, and introduced ourselves by asking the intended question.
This having been promptly and politely answered, we proceeded a little
further in our queries, and obtained the following information: The
senior members of this family were the grandparents of the children, and
their only relatives in the world. The old man said they were all
natives of France; that they had been in this country four months; and
that their only support was derived from the _unwearied labors of the
minstrel children_. As the old man told his story his eyes were filled
with tears; he was mourning over his own helplessness, and yet rejoicing
over the _living blessings_ of his old age. Having apologized for my
rudeness, and uttered what I thought would be a word of comfort, we bade
each member of the family a kind good night, and left them to obtain the
repose they needed, and to dream perchance of church bells ringing in
one of the beautiful valleys of their native land.

We happened to be out at an unusually late hour on a certain night, and
while on our way home witnessed the following picture. In passing one of
the more splendid mansions in the upper part of Broadway our attention
was attracted by a singular looking object, which we thought was
attempting to effect an entrance into the house. Curiosity led us to
draw near, when we beheld a group of three little girls nestled in the
corner of the marble doorway. One of them appeared to be about twelve
years of age, and the other two had perhaps seen seven and nine years.
The former was seated in the Turkish fashion on the coarse matting,
apparently half asleep, whilst the heads of the other two were pillowed
on her lap, and both evidently enjoying a dream of peace and comfort. As
we remembered the sumptuous and fashionable entertainment in which we
had just participated, and reflected upon the picture before us, we were
almost disposed to doubt the evidence of our senses. It was already past
midnight, and the sleet which beat upon our head assured us that we
ought to make an effort to relieve the vagrant children from their
miserable condition, for they were almost naked and barefooted.

After some difficulty we found a watchman, when we awoke the children
and asked them about their home. They reluctantly told us where their
parents resided, and it was with the utmost difficulty that we could
induce them to accompany us. We succeeded, however, in taking them
_home_, which was a comfortless dwelling with one room, where we
witnessed the following spectacle. On a bed of straw lay the father of
these children in a state of senseless intoxication, and on the bare
floor in another corner of the room was the mother, moaning with pain,
and bleeding from wounds which had been inflicted by her cruel husband.
One of the little girls told us they had not eaten as much food as they
wanted for ten days, that they had been forced into the street for the
purpose of begging, and that the scene before us was an old story to
them. My opulent and happy readers, it is probable, can scarcely believe
that such things actually exist in the Christian city of New York; but
what we assert is as true as the fact, that the scourge intemperance is
annually destroying some thirty thousand souls in our land alone.

This allusion to intemperance reminds me of another melancholy picture,
which we once witnessed in the great emporium. We had been enjoying a
walk among the shipping in South street, when we discovered, partly
hidden from view by a pile of casks and boxes, a man and two guardian
angels. It was the insensible form of a poor drunkard, lying on the
ground, and at his side two little girls, one of whom looked upon me
with a most wo-begone expression of countenance, while the pale temples
of the other were resting on the bloated bosom of the man. He was their
father, and they were motherless.

We once visited the Children’s Hospital connected with the Alms-house of
New York, and the spectacles we there witnessed were even more touching
than those connected with the Old Brewery. The entire building (which is
on Blackwell’s Island) contained over one hundred children, about
one-half of whom were so ill as to be confined to their beds, and it is
the room where these were harbored to which we now allude. The beds were
arranged along the walls, about three feet apart, and each end of every
bed or cot was occupied by a sick child. The majority of them were
motherless and fatherless, and entirely dependent upon strangers for
those kind and delicate attentions which commonly smooth the pathway to
the grave. Some of them were the offspring of intemperate parents, now
confined in the State Prison; while many of them had not even inherited
a name. Not one of the whole number but presented a feeble and haggard
appearance, and the pains of many were intense, for their mingled moans
actually fills the room with a heart-sickening chorus. One poor little
thing, about three years of age, was sitting in its bed, eating a dry
crust of bread, to satisfy a morbid appetite, and the disease which
preyed upon the vitals of this child was consumption in its most ghastly
form. Hollow and wrinkled were its cheeks, eyes large and deeply sunken,
and, while looked upon, hot tears trickled upon its pillow. In the same
bed was another of these unhappy children, dying from the terrible
malady of scrofula. It had been a cripple from its birth, and could
hardly be recognized as a human being. We caught a glimpse of the
creature’s countenance as it slumbered, and was positively startled by
its surpassing beauty. It was as bright and spiritual as the light of a
star. It was certain, however, that death had marked it for the grave,
and we remembered the poet’s words:—

            “The good die first,
  And they, whose hearts are dry as summer dust,
  Burn to the socket.”

This deformed but yet lovely fragment of humanity had been picked up as
a foundling, and was without a name. Another child which attracted my
attention, though only about twelve years of age, had the appearance of
being thirty. She had been brought from an emigrant ship, suffering with
fever associated with bronchitis. She had a finely developed head, a
beautiful and highly intellectual face, but it was deeply marked with
the lines of suffering, and her cheeks were flushed with the hue of
approaching death. She was also troubled with a hollow cough, and her
body was a mere skeleton. The attending physician patted her upon the
head and asked her how she felt to-day; when she looked up with a smile,
“made of all sweet accord,” and answered: “I am going to die, doctor.
Tell them to have my coffin ready; and, dear doctor, will they not bury
me by the side of my mother and little sister, in that place you call
Potter’s Field?” Who now can ask the question: “And wherefore do the
poor complain?”

Four Irishmen, all afflicted with the ship fever, had landed from an
emigrant ship in the city of New York. The party consisted of a father
and three sons. They were friendless and without money. In the company
of three hundred beings, as miserable as themselves, had they landed in
the city, and, in the confusion attendant upon the discharge of the
ship, it so happened that they were separated, and the father knew not
the fate of the sons, nor the sons the fate of the father.

A number of weeks elapsed, when the elder brother of this family called
upon the commissioner of the almshouse, praying for assistance that he
might find his relatives, if yet in the land of the living. The story
that he told of his own sufferings since his arrival was most
melancholy; for he had been living the life of a sick vagrant, in and
about the Tombs. The commissioner took pity upon him and gave him all
the assistance he desired, and the pauper, with a guide, started upon
the hunting expedition. The first place they visited was the New York
Hospital, where it was ascertained the second brother had died of the
loathsome ship fever, and whence his remains had been taken to Potter’s
Field. They next went to the Bellevue Hospital, and heard precisely the
same story with regard to the third brother. They also visited the
Lunatic Asylum, where it was ascertained that the father had been
confined as a raving maniac, but had paid the debt of nature, and was
now a resider in the city of the dead. As to the feelings of the forlorn
man, who had thus been stripped of every tie which bound him to the
earth, I cannot attempt to describe them. His only prayer was that one
little spot of earth might be granted to him, where he might rebury his
dead relatives, provided their bodies could be recognized, and where his
own ashes might be deposited after his race was run. The commissioner
promised to do all in his power to bring out this result, and in less
than one week _the pauper’s prayer was answered_!

It was an emigrant ship, and when boarded by a New York pilot he was
informed that she had left England with two hundred poverty-stricken
passengers, some twenty-five of whom had died on the passage, and been
buried in the deep. Among the departed were a father and mother, who had
left behind them a little girl nine years old. Desolate indeed was her
lot before she became an orphan; but when the “silver cord” which bound
her to her parents was broken, her condition became more deplorable than
ever; and, as the ship glided into the noble bay of New York, the child
was also numbered with the dead—none knowing whence she came, none
knowing even her baptismal name.

In due time the ship was safely moored, and, while the usual discharging
bustle was going on, an almshouse coffin was sent for, into which the
pauper child was placed (with her ragged clothes carefully tucked round
her body), and then given into the charge of the alms-house sextons. Not
one tear was shed as they mounted the hearse, and not one word of regret
or sorrow was uttered by the multitude around as the sextons started for
Potter’s Field.

Long was the way to the crowded city of the dead. The sextons were in a
merry mood, and, as their carriage rattled over the stony streets, they
cracked their jokes and laughed as if going to a wedding instead of the
tomb. But how could these men be blamed? They were following their
vocation and receiving liberal pay. Once in a while, however, a
troublesome thought seemed to pass their minds, but it was only when
fearful that they might lose their dinner on account of the great number
of paupers who were to be buried before the coming on of night. They
hurried by a school-house, before which a flock of little girls were
playing and laughing in their glee, but these happy children thought not
upon the sister spirit whose remains were going to the grave. Onward
rattled the hearse, and after turning the corner of a street it came to
a halt, and the senior sexton stepped into his house for a drink of
water. A number of laughing children met him at the door, and after he
had satisfied his thirst he gave each one of them a kiss, and again, in
a jovial mood, started for the public grave-yard. Another mile and the
hearse reached the margin of the East River, where the Potter’s Field
boat was in waiting, managed by the keeper of the field. Carelessly was
the coffin transferred from the hearse to the boat, and the journey of
the dead was continued. The boat was now moored at the landing place on
Randall’s Island, where the coffin was taken away on a man’s shoulder,
and deposited in a deep trench covered with a few shovels full of sand,
and lying in the midst of a multitude of unknown dead from every nation
on the globe. And thus endeth the story of the pauper child, who crossed
the ocean only to find a grave _in a land she never saw, and where the
very name she bore is utterly unknown_.

It was the twilight hour, and we saw an old and deformed woman standing
in front of St. Paul’s, asking alms. We happened to be in the mood just
then, and tarried for a few moments to watch the charity of the world.
Many, in the passing tide of human life, were to us unknown, but of the
few that we recognized the following attracted our particular attention:

First came a gentleman whom we knew to be a merchant of great wealth;
and, as he approached the beggar, we surely thought that he would listen
to her petition. But no—he was thinking of his last importation, or the
sum total of his rents, and he passed on with these words as a donation:
“You must go to the poor-house, my good woman.” We thought upon the days
of darkness.

Then came a scholar-like looking young man, whom we knew to be a
struggler with poverty; but he approached the beggar with a smile upon
his countenance, dropped a shilling into her withered hand, called for
God’s blessing to rest upon her head, and resumed his way. My fancy now
wandered to that blessed region where ever floweth the river of life.

Next came an intemperate and selfish man. When the imploring look of the
cripple met his own, he coolly frowned upon her, uttered a wicked curse,
and reeled onward to a hall of sinful revelry. And now we pondered on
the worm that never dieth.

Finally came a little flock of boys and girls, returning from school.
The woman smiled upon them, but spoke not a single word. The children
knew her to be a beggar, and paused to talk with her a moment. She told
them briefly the story of her life, and they were melted to tears. All
the pennies that the children could raise were given to the woman; and
each child, with an immortal jewel in its heart, passed on its way to
receive a shower of kisses from its fond parents. And now our mind
reveled in a dream of heaven-born loveliness.

And now, by way of giving our readers an idea of _self-inflicted_
poverty, we will furnish them with a brief sketch of an old miser
residing in the Empire city:

He is an old man—a very old man; he is also a strange man—a very strange
man; whose history and name are alike unknown. His business is that of a
paper scavenger, and the spoil which he collects in his journeying about
the city he disposes of at the rate of one cent per pound. Many pounds
does he often gather in a single day; but, as it only costs him four
shillings per week to live, it is certain he lays up a few shillings at
the close of every day. He commences his daily business in the down-town
streets even when the day is breaking, and continues at his monotonous
employment until the dark hours. He never goes home to dinner, but, when
hungry, generally purchases a dry crust of bread, and eats it sitting
upon the lower steps of the Custom-house or the City Hall. Never does he
utter a word to a living soul; and when the stranger looks upon him he
feels disposed to exclaim, “what a poor miserable being!” He is, indeed,
a pitiable object to look upon, for his leather clothes are glossy and
hard with the accumulated filth of many years, and his countenance is
furrowed all over with deep wrinkles which no one could believe were
ever moistened with a tear. He is a hard-visaged man, repulsive and even
terrible to look upon. For fifteen years have we known this singular
being, and “even then he was so old he seems not older now.” There are
people in this great city who have been familiar with his form for
upwards of twenty years, and they affirm that he has been a paper
scavenger during all that time. At all times, when the winds of winter
howl through the streets, and also when the dog-star reigns, does he
pursue his laborious and degrading employment.

And now, that I have introduced my hero to the reader, it is meet that
we should mention what we know of his actual condition. He is a miser—a
narrow-minded and mean miser, who can count his dollars by tens of
thousands. If the reader doubts my word, let him, when next he meets the
miserable man in the public highway, ask him the time of day, and he
will be promptly answered, on the authority of a superb gold watch,
hidden in his filthy vestments. A dry crust of bread, and a cast-off
bone constitute his daily food, and yet this man carries the deeds in
his pocket which prove him to be the proprietor of at least five
handsome dwelling houses, located in a fashionable part of the city;
certificates of bank stock and other valuable papers are also hidden in
his pockets. He is a widower, but the father of an only daughter, whom
he has established over a superbly furnished house as the sole mistress
and only tenant. She has all she needs in the way of household things,
and every luxury of the season, and, though her servants may prepare a
sumptuous feast, none participate with her in its enjoyment. Though it
would add to her happiness on such occasion to call in a neighboring
friend, yet the privilege of giving an invitation is denied by her
father in the most positive and imperative manner. In the rear of this
daughter’s dwelling is located a rickety shell of a cabin, resembling
more the appearance of a sty than a human habitation, and this is the
only dwelling-place of our miser; and here he spends the precious hours
of his leisure life, counting his gold and examining the signatures of
his deeds by the light which rests upon his oaken table, and seldom is
it extinguished until after the hour of midnight; and when exhausted
with his strange vigils, carefully does he fasten, with heavy iron
bolts, the door of his den, and sink to sleep upon his bed of rags.

                          THE FATAL VALENTINE.

Mary Marlowe was a beautiful girl, and the only child of devoted
parents. Her father was a merchant in moderate circumstances, and
resided in one of the more secluded streets of the great emporium of our
land. The society to which they belonged was of the highest
respectability, but the life led by each member of this family was
distinguished for its peacefulness.

All the young men who were acquainted with the only daughter, were
charmed by her accomplished mind, personal beauty, and the sweetness of
her voice. But among those who aspired to win her hand and heart, was
one who had been received as an accepted lover. The parties were worthy
of each other, and the love which was daily uniting them almost into one
being, was eminently refined and pure. Charming beyond compare were the
scenes which the lover was constantly picturing to his mind, but the
smiles of his lady constituted the sunlight of every scene; and she,
too, cherished many a vision of unalloyed happiness, and the thought
never entered her mind that the world contained a single cloud that
could possibly cast a shadow over her heart. Like a young and vigorous
tree of the forest, the young man stood among his fellows; and like a
flower in a remote dell dwelt the heroine of our story, in her quiet

It was the evening of St. Valentine’s Day, and Mary Marlowe was seated
before a comfortable fire; now thoughtfully peering into the glowing
grate, and anon enjoying some of the fine passages of her favorite
authors. Her father was absent from home on some charitable errand,
while her mother and a country cousin, who was making her a winter
visit, were spending the evening with a neighboring family. And it so
happened, too, that Mary’s lover was absent from the city, so the
beautiful damsel was entirely alone. Yes, she was indeed alone, but far
from being in a lonely mood, for her thoughts were with her lover, and
she amused herself by dwelling upon the treasures of her
newly-discovered ideal world.

But now the damsel is startled by the sudden ringing of the street door
bell, and the servant presently makes his appearance in the parlor with
a note addressed to Mary Marlowe. She recognizes the hand-writing—it is
from her lover, and quickly does she fix herself comfortably in the old
arm-chair to enjoy the anticipated luxury. She opens the letter, and
reads as follows:—

  “My dear Mary—You are indeed dear to me, but at the same time I think
  you are a cold-hearted girl, and I fear that you possess a timid and
  bashful disposition, which would never be reconciled to my sterner
  nature. In view of this deeply-rooted belief, I have conceived the
  idea of bringing our intimacy of half a year to an immediate close.
  And what more appropriate season could be selected for our separation
  than the present, when, as I doubt not, you are well-nigh overwhelmed
  with the missives of St. Valentine, and can, in a moment, select a
  worthy lover from the many who have sought your hand? And now that I
  may be in the fashion, I subscribe myself,
                                             Your Friend and Valentine.”

The cruel arrow has pierced the maiden’s heart, and by the calm despair
now resting on her brow, we tremble for her fate. Tears come not to her
relief—the crimson current in her veins has ceased to flow, and she
falls into the hollow of her chair in a deep swoon. And now she is
visited by a dream, and if we are to believe the story of her
countenance, strange and fearful must be the character of that dream.

                            * * * * * * * *

It is now ten o’clock; the family have all returned, and our Mary has
recovered from her swoon. Laughingly does her mother talk to her about
her housekeeping duties, for her drooping eyelids intimate the idea that
she has enjoyed a comfortable nap. To this a pleasant reply is returned,
accompanied with a kiss for all present, but none, save our poor Mary,
can see the heavy cloud brooding upon the household. A few moments more,
and the family have all retired to their several apartments, and the
house is shrouded in silence.

As usual, Mary and her cousin are to occupy the same bed, and the
latter, being uncommonly drowsy, is soon lost in a sweet slumber. And
now let us watch with care the movements of her companion, who, when
last noticed by the sleeper, was poring over the pages of her Bible.
Noiselessly do her footsteps fall upon the carpet, as she goes to a
closet for a small vial, which she examines, and then places upon her
dressing-case. Drawer after drawer is opened, and on one or two chairs
are displayed the various articles which compose the dress of a bride.
And now the lady retires to her bath, and then comes forth with a ruddy
glow upon her cheek; her flowing hair is bound into its beautiful folds,
and in a short time she stands before her mirror decked in spotless
white, as if for a virgin festival. What does all this mean? Alas! our
Mary is “the queen of a fantastic realm.”

But, lo! another change. The lamp has been extinguished, and our Mary is
upon her knees at prayer, with her hands closely clasped, and her full
liquid eyes turned heavenward. The mellow moonlight steals sweetly
through the open curtains, adding an unwonted brightness, as it were, to
the figure of the praying girl. Not a sound is there to break the holy
silence of the place—no sound save the almost inaudible words of this
strange prayer:—

“Father in heaven, I cannot understand the decree of thy Providence, but
I submit to thy dispensation without a murmur. I knew that in my womanly
idolatry I was forgetting thee, and I now beseech thee, in thine
infinite love, to have mercy upon me, and wash my soul from every
transgression. Have mercy also, O God, upon him who has broken my heart;
comfort my parents in their declining years, and answer my prayer
through the merits of thy Son, the Redeemer of the world. I come to
dwell with Thee, if thou wilt receive me to thy bosom. Amen and Amen.”

                            * * * * * * * *

Morning dawned, and the pleasant sunshine was flooding the world with
beauty. Our Mary’s cousin was the first to awaken from slumber, when she
encircled her bedfellow with her arms, and imprinted an affectionate
kiss upon her lips; one moment more, and she was petrified with
horror—for Mary Marlowe was numbered with the dead.

On the third day after that of St. Valentine, the lover of the unhappy
suicide returned to the city. He found not his beloved in the pleasant
parlor of her father, but a sleeper in the voiceless and desolate tomb.
The fatal valentine was found and submitted to his inspection. He avowed
his utter ignorance of it, and having fallen into a settled melancholy,
is now a raving maniac. As to the thoughtless and wicked man who wrote
the foolish valentine, his name and purpose are alike unknown.

  Note.—The prominent features of this incident actually occurred in the
  city of New York in February, 1847.

                            INDIAN LEGENDS.

                           NOTE PRELIMINARY.

The following romantic but authentic legends have been collected by the
writer from a variety of sources, and are now presented to the public as
an addition to the aboriginal lore, already published in his several
books of travel.

                            INDIAN LEGENDS.

                         THE SHOOTING METEORS.

Among the Indians who live upon the north-eastern shore of Lake Huron, a
remnant of the Iroquois, it is believed that the heavens contain only
four meteors which have the power of shooting through the sky. It is
thought they severally occupy the four quarters of the compass, and that
they never perform their arrowy journey excepting for the purpose of
warning the Huron Indians of approaching war. The meteors in question,
or Pun gung-nung, are recognized by their peculiar brilliancy, and
universally considered the Manitoes or guardian spirits of the entire
Indian race. They came into existence at the same period of time which
witnessed the creation of Lake Huron itself, and the legend which
accounts for their origin is distinguished for the wild and romantic
fancies of the aborigines. I obtained it from a chief named _On
qwa-sug_, or Floating Wood.

It was the winter time, and an Indian with his wife and two children, a
daughter and a son, were living in a wigwam on a bleak peninsula of the
Great Lake. The game of that section of country had nearly all
disappeared, and the fish were spending the season in such deep water,
that it was quite impossible to secure any of them for food. Everything
seemed to go wrong with the poverty-stricken Indian, and he was
constantly troubled with the fear that the Master of Life intended to
annihilate his family and himself by starvation. He expressed his
anxiety to his wife, and was surprised to hear her answer him with a

Nearly half a moon had passed away, and the sufferings of this
unfortunate family were melancholy in the extreme. Whole days did the
father spend roaming through the forests, with his bow and arrows, and
on four several evenings had he returned without even a pair of tiny
snow-birds for a supper. The ill-luck which attended him in his
expeditions made him very miserable, but he was frequently astonished
and alarmed, on such occasions, by the conduct of his wife and children.
When he gave them an account of his ill-luck in obtaining game, instead
of manifesting any anxiety, they usually ran about the wigwam with their
fingers on their mouths, and uttering a singular moan. He noticed with
fear that they were becoming greatly emaciated for the want of food. So
deeply grieved was the poor man, that he almost resolved to bury himself
in the snow and die. He made a better resolution and again went out to

On one occasion he had wandered into the woods to an unusual distance,
and, as fortune would have it, was successful in finding and shooting a
single rabbit. With the speed of a deer did he return to his cabin (with
his braided shoes over the crusted snow), but he now met with a new
disappointment. On entering his lodge he found the fire entirely out,
and the simple utensils for cooking all scattered about in great
confusion; but what was far more melancholy, his wife and children were
gone, and he knew not where to find them. The more he thought upon what
had happened for many days past, the more bewildered did he become. He
threw down his game almost in despair, and hurried out of his cabin in
search of his missing family. He looked in every direction, but could
see no signs of their appearing, and the only noise that he could
possibly hear was a singular and most doleful moan, resembling the wail
of a loon, which seemed to come from the upper air. By a natural
instinct he raised his eyes towards the heavens, and beheld perched upon
the dry limb of a tall tree which stood a short distance off, all the
members of his family. He shouted with delight at the unexpected
spectacle, and, rushing towards the tree, told his wife and children
that they must come down, for he had killed a rabbit and they would now
have a good feast. But again was he astonished to find his words
unheeded. Again did he beseech them to come down, but they replied not a
single word, and looked upon him with eyes that seemed made of fire. And
what was still more wonderful it was evident that they had thrown aside
their beaver and deer-skin dresses, and were now decked out in newly
fashioned robes made of the fur of the white fisher and the white fox.
All this was utterly inexplicable, and the poor husband re-entered his
lodge, bewildered and perplexed to a marvelous degree.

Then it was that the idea entered his head that he would try an
experiment, by appealing to the hunger of his obstinate wife and
children. He therefore cleaned the rabbit and boiled a sweet soup which
he carried out, and with which he endeavored to allure his friends to
the earth. But this attempt was all in vain. The mother and her children
expressed no desire for the food, and still remained upon the tree,
swaying to and fro like a flock of large birds. Again in his
wretchedness was he about to destroy himself, but he took the precaution
to appropriate the soup to its legitimate purpose. Soon as this business
was accomplished, he relapsed into his former state of melancholy, from
which he was suddenly aroused by the moans of his wife, which he was
sure had an articulate tone. Again was he riveted to his standing place
under the magic tree, and from the moaning of his wife he gathered the
following intelligence. She told him that the Master of Life had fallen
in love with her and her two children, and had therefore transformed
them all into spirits, with a view of preparing them for a home in the
sky. She also told him that they would not depart for their future home
until the coming spring, but would in the meantime roam in distant
countries till the time of his own transportation should arrive. Having
finished her communication, she and her children immediately commenced a
song, which resembled the distant winds, when they all rose gracefully
from the tree, and leaning forward upon the air, darted away across the
lake toward the remote South.

A cheerless and forlorn moon did the poor Indian spend in his lonely
lodge on the margin of the Great Lake. Spring came, and just as the last
vestige of snow had melted from the woods, and at the quiet evening
hour, his spirit-wife again made her appearance, accompanied by her two
children. She told her husband that he might become a spirit by eating a
certain berry. He was delighted with the idea, and, complying with her
advice, he suddenly became transformed into a spirit, and having flown
to the side of his wife and children, the party gradually began to
ascend into the air, when the Master of Life thought proper to change
them into a family of Shooting Stars. He allotted to each a particular
division of the heavens, and commanded them to remain there forever, as
the guardians of the great nation of Lake Huron.

                        THE MAIDEN OF THE MOON.

  The following legend was obtained from the lips of a Chippeway woman
  named Penaqua, or the Female Pheasant, and I hardly know which to
  admire most, the simple beauty of the plot, or the graphic and unique
  manner of the narrative, of which, I regret to say, I can hardly give
  a faithful translation.

Among the rivers of the North, none can boast of more numerous charms
than the St. Louis, and the fairest spot of the earth which it waters is
that where now stands the trading post of Fond du lac. Upon this spot,
many summers ago, there lived a Chippeway chief and his wife, who were
the parents of an only daughter. Her name was Weesh—Ko-da-e-mire, or the
Sweet Strawberry, and she was acknowledged to be the most beautiful
maiden of her nation. Her voice was like that of the turtle-dove, and
the red deer was not more graceful and sprightly in its form. Her eyes
were brilliant as the star of the northern sky, which guides the hunter
through the wilderness, and her dark hair clustered around her neck like
grape vines around the trunk of the tree they loved. The young men of
every nation had striven to win her heart, but she smiled upon none.
Curious presents were sent to her from the four quarters of the world,
but she received them not. Seldom did she deign to reply to the many
warriors who entered her father’s lodge, and when she did, it was only
to assure them that while upon earth she would never change her
condition. Her strange conduct astonished them, but did not subdue their
affection. Many and noble were the deeds they performed, not only in
winning the white plumes of the eagle, but in hunting the elk and the
black bear. But all their exploits availed them nothing, for the heart
of the beautiful girl was still untouched.

The snows of winter were all gone, and the pleasant winds of spring were
blowing over the land. The time for making sugar had arrived, though the
men had not yet returned from the remote hunting grounds, and in the
maple forests bright fires were burning, and the fragrance of the sweet
sap filled all the air. The ringing laugh of childhood and the mature
song of women were heard in the valley, but in no part of the wilderness
could be found more happiness than on the banks of the St. Louis. But
the Sweet Strawberry mingled with the young men and maidens of her tribe
in a thoughtful mood and with downcast eyes. She was evidently bowed
down by some mysterious grief, but she neglected not her duties; and
though she spent much of her time alone, her buchère-bucket was as
frequently filled with the sugar juice as any of her companions.

Such was the condition of affairs when a party of young warriors from
the far North came upon a frolic to the St. Louis River. Having seen the
many handsome maidens of this region, the strangers became enamored of
their charms, and each one succeeded in obtaining the love of a maiden,
who was to become his bride during the marrying season of summer.

The warriors had heard of the Sweet Strawberry, but, neglected by all of
them, she was still doomed to remain alone. She witnessed the happiness
of her old playmates, and, wondering at her own strange fate, spent much
of her time in solitude. She even became so unhappy and bewildered that
she heeded not the tender words of her mother, and from that time the
music of her voice was never heard.

The sugar making season was now rapidly passing away, but the brow of
the Sweet Strawberry was still overshadowed with grief. Everything was
done to restore her to her wonted cheerfulness, but she remained
unchanged. Wild ducks in innumerable numbers arrived with every southern
wind, and settled upon the surrounding waters, and proceeded to build
their nests in pairs, and the Indian maiden sighed over her mysterious
doom. On one occasion she espied a cluster of early spring flowers
peering above the dry leaves of the forest, and, strange to say, even
these were separated into pairs, and seemed to be wooing each other in
love. All things whispered to her of love, the happiness of her
companions, the birds of the air, and the flowers. She looked into her
heart, and, inwardly praying for a companion whom she might love, the
Master of Life took pity upon her lot and answered her prayer.

It was now the twilight hour, and in the maple woods the Indian boys
were watching their fires, and the women were bringing in the sap from
the surrounding trees. The time for making sugar was almost gone, and
the well-filled mokucks, which might be seen in all the wigwams,
testified that the yield had been abundant. The hearts of the old women
beat in thankfulness, and the young men and maidens were already
beginning to anticipate the pleasures of wedded life and those
associated with the sweet summer time. But the brow of the Sweet
Strawberry continued to droop, and her friends looked upon her as the
victim of a settled melancholy. Her duties, however, were performed
without a murmur, and so continued to be performed until the trees
refused to fill her buchère-bucket with sap, when she stole away from
the sugar camp and wandered to a retired place to muse upon her sorrows.
Her unaccountable grief was very bitter, but did not long endure; for,
as she stood gazing upon the sky, the moon ascended above the hills and
filled her soul with a joy she had never felt before. The longer she
looked upon the brilliant object, the more deeply in love did she become
with its celestial charms, and she burst forth into a song—a loud, wild,
and joyous song. Her musical voice echoed through the woods, and her
friends hastened to ascertain the cause. They gathered around her in
crowds, but she heeded them not. They wondered at the wildness of her
words, and the airy-like appearance of her form. They were spell-bound
by the scene before them, but their astonishment knew no limits when
they saw her gradually ascend from the earth into the air, where she
disappeared, as if borne upward by the evening wind. And then it was
that they discovered her clasped in the embraces of the moon, for they
knew that the spots which they saw within the circle of that planet were
those of her robe, which she had made from the skins of the spotted

Many summers have passed away since the Sweet Strawberry became the
Maiden of the Moon, yet among all the people of her nation is she ever
remembered for her beauty and the mystery of her being.

                         THE GHOSTLY MAN-EATER.

There is an idea existing among the Chippeway Indians, which
corroborates a statement made by the early travelers on this continent
relative to the belief that there once existed among the aboriginal
tribes, a species of vampire, or ghostly man-eater. The Chippeways do
not assert that there ever lived more than one of these unearthly
beings; but they pretend that such an one did, and does exist, and that
he has his residence upon an island in the centre of Lake Superior—which
island can never be seen by mortal man, excepting when darkness has
settled upon the world. The stories they relate of his appearance and
deeds, are horrible in the extreme, and resemble much the creations of a
mind suffering under the influence of the nightmare. For example, they
describe this monster as possessing the material appearance of the human
form—but of such a nature as not to be susceptible to the touch. He is
said to have the body of a serpent, with human legs and arms—all
supplied with immense nails, which he employs for the double purpose of
digging up the earth, and dissecting the bodies upon which he feeds; his
head is like that of the wolf, and his teeth of a peculiar sharpness.

The deeds which he performs are worthy of his personal appearance—and
some of them are as follows: When the Indian mother, during a long
journey, has lost her infant child, and placed it on the rude scaffold,
that she may return to it at some future day, the Ghostly Man-Eater only
waits until she is fairly out of his sight, and then proceeds to the
sacred place, and feasts himself upon the tender flesh and blood of his
victim. And therefore it is, that the traveler sometimes sees, in the
remote wilderness, fragments of human bones scattered on the ground, as
if a wolf had been suddenly interrupted, while devouring his prey. But
the Man-Eater sometimes enters the house, or half-buried receptacle of
the dead; and, after digging his way to the decaying body, coils himself
up, as if in delight, and gluts his appetite with the unholy food. How
it is that he travels, with lightning speed, from one distant place to
another, has never been ascertained; but the strange sounds which the
Indian occasionally hears, high in the air above his wigwam, is thought
to be the song of the Man-Eater, as he hurries upon the wings of the
wind, from a recent banquet, to his mysterious island on the lake.

But I once heard a legend in the Chippeway country, which accounted for
the origin of the man-eating monster—and I now record it in the English
tongue, for the benefit of those who feel an interest in the mythology
of the Indian, and the peculiarities of his mind. The individual from
whom I obtained this story was named Ka-yon-kee-me, or the Swift Arrow;
and his words, as near as we can remember them, were as follows:—

I ask the white man to listen. At an early period in the history of the
world, an old Indian hunter and a little boy who was his grandson, lived
in an isolated cabin on the north shore of Lake Superior. They were the
only remnants of a once powerful tribe of Indians, whose name is not now
remembered. It was the middle of a long and dreary winter, and the
entire country was covered with snow, to the height of the tallest
wigwam. The section of country where resided the hunter and child was
particularly desolate, and destitute of almost every species of game;
and whilst the former was too feeble to wander far, after the necessary
food, the latter was too young and inexperienced. The very wood which
the unequal pair collected to keep them warm, was brought to their cabin
with the greatest difficulty; and the thought occasionally entered the
old man’s mind, that the Great Spirit was about to give him up to the
pains of starvation. He uttered not a murmur, however; but, as he
reflected upon his impending fate, he bit his lips with a scornful

One, two, and three days had passed away and the old man, as well as the
child, had not tasted a particle of food. But, on the evening of the
fourth day, the boy came tottering into the comfortless lodge and threw
at the feet of his grandfather the lifeless body of a white partridge,
which he had fortunately killed with his own arrow. Immediately was the
bird divested of its feathers—and, while yet its very blood was warm, it
was devoured by the starving man and child.—Sweet was the slumber of the
noble boy on that night—but, as the story goes, that aged man was
visited by a dreadful dream at the same time, which made him a maniac.

Another day was nearly gone, and the unhappy pair were standing in front
of their wigwam watching the western sky, as the sun enlivened it with
his parting beams. The old man pointed to the bright picture, and told
the boy that there was the gateway to the Spirit Land, where perpetual
summer reigned, and game was found in great abundance. He spoke too of
the child’s father and mother, and of his little brother, whom he
described as decked out in the most beautiful of robes, as they wandered
through the forests of that distant, shadowy land. The boy, though
suffering with the pangs of hunger, clapped his little hands in glee,
and told his grandfather that it would make him very happy if he could
go to the land of perpetual summer. And then it was that the old man
patted the boy upon his head, and told him that his desires should be
realized before the sun again made its appearance above the snow-covered
mountains and plains of the east.

It was now the hour of midnight. Intensely cold was the wind which swept
over the wilderness, but the sky was very blue, and studded with many
stars. No sound broke upon the air, save the occasional groan of the ice
along the lake shore, and the hissing whisper of the frost. Within the
Indian lodge, which was the very home of desolation, the child was
sweetly sleeping, enveloped in his robes, while the old man bent over
the burning embers as if in despair. Some inhuman thought had crazed his
brain, and he was nerving himself for an unheard of crime. One moment
more, and in the dim light of that lonely lodge, gleamed the polished
blade of a flinty weapon—a sudden groan was heard—and the Indian maniac
was feeding upon the body of his child.

I have given the white man a sorrowful history, but it is one which the
Chippeway nation believe. On the morning which followed the event I have
now narrated, a party of Indian hunters came to the cabin of the unknown
man, and they found him lying dead upon the ground, with the mangled
remains of the boy at his side. This was the most terrible deed which
ever happened in the Chippeway country—and the one which so greatly
offended the Great Spirit, that he pronounced a curse upon the man who
had destroyed his child for food—and he, therefore, doomed him to live
upon the earth forever, tormented with an appetite which nothing can
ever appease, but the decaying flesh of the human race.

                       THE FIRE-WATER SACRIFICE.

The historical tradition which I am now to narrate, is said to have
occurred at an early day on the extreme western point of what is now
called Drummond’s Island, in the northern waters of Lake Huron. I
obtained it from the lips of Kah-ge-ga-gah-bowh, or _Upright Standing_,
a young chief of the Chippeway nation, who assured me that it
commemorated the first introduction of the baneful Fire-water into the
Indian country.

It was the afternoon of a pleasant day in the autumn-time, when a
trading canoe landed on Drummond’s Island, in the immediate vicinity of
a Chippeway village. It belonged to a French trader, and was laden with
a barrel of whisky, which he had brought from the lower country. Soon as
he had deposited his barrel upon the beach, he called together the men
of the village, and told them that he had it in his power to supply them
with a beverage which would make them exceedingly happy, and that he was
willing to supply them with what they wanted, provided they would give
into his hands all the furs they had in their possession. A bargain was
consequently made, and while the entire population of the village were
quaffing the baneful fire-water, the trader packed away his treasures in
the canoe, and under cover of the night, started upon his return to

The moon and stars came forth in the northern sky, and the only sound
which broke the solitude of the wilderness issued from the Indian
village, where the medicine man and the chief, the Indian mother and her
infant, were shouting and dancing and fighting in a delirium of madness.
The carousal did not end until the break of day, and soon as the sun was
fairly risen above the horizon, it was rumored in every wigwam that a
young hunter named Ne-mo-a-Kim, or _Purple Shell_, had taken the life of
a brother hunter, who happened to be his dearest friend, An apparent
gloom rested upon every countenance, and as the more aged Indians
reflected upon the sudden disappearance of the trader, and upon the
headache which many of them endured, they became greatly enraged, and
attributed the calamity which had befallen them to the burning water.
But the trader who had brought it to them was beyond their reach; so
they buried the murdered man with appropriate honors, and then announced
that a council should be immediately held to decide upon the fate of the
murderer. Blood for blood was demanded by the relatives of the deceased;
the time-honored law of the Chippeways could not be evaded, and a
delegation was appointed to prepare Ne-mo-a-Kim for the sacrifice. His
lodge was entered by the ministers of death, but Ne-mo-a-Kim was not
there. They hunted for him in all the wigwams of the village, but
nowhere could he be found. The old men who had suffered with him in the
remote wilderness, and had never known him to be guilty of a cowardly
deed, now shook their heads in sorrow and disappointment. Another
council was held, another ancient law remembered, and it was again
decided that the only relative and brother of Ne-mo-a-Kim should suffer
in his stead. The name of that brother was Ma-Ko-nah, or _The Unbending
Pine_, and when they informed him of his fate, he uttered not a murmur,
but demanded that his execution should take place on the following night
at the rising of the moon.

And now for another scene in our strange story. The sun has long been
absent from the western sky, and once more has the solemn midnight
settled upon the world. The inhabitants of the Indian village have
assembled upon a level green. Firmly in the earth have they planted a
stake, on either side of which are burning a couple of huge fires, while
at the distance of about one hundred feet may be discerned a crowd of
eight or ten young men, who are bending their bows and straightening
their arrows for the cruel deed. A small white cloud makes its
appearance above the horizon, and a murmur of excitement issues from the
crowd of human beings. The proud form of an Indian is now seen marching
across the green, when the name of Ma-Ko-nah is whispered from ear to
ear, and an unearthly shout ascends into the upper air. The heroic man
stands before the stake, and looks with scorn upon the withes lying at
his feet. The people have confided in his bravery, and they will not
humble his proud spirit by resorting to the disgraceful implements of
security. Upon his naked breast has the Indian hero painted the uncouth
figure of a swan, as a certain mark for the arrows which are to deprive
him of life. Around his waist has he carefully adjusted his richest
robe, and by a motion of his hand, has signified his intention of
delivering a speech; an intense silence reigns throughout the
surrounding multitude, and Ma-Ko-nah thus addresses his cowardly
brother, whose spirit he imagines to be hovering near.

“Willingly do I die for you, my brother, but you have disgraced your
nation. Your name will hereafter be hissed at by the little boys, when
they pick up the purple shells on the lake shore. I am going to the
Spirit Land, and while I shall be happy in the possession of every good,
you will be despised by all who learn your history. Your food will be
bitter, and the ground upon which you will have to sleep will always be
uneven, and covered with thorns and stones. You are a coward, my
brother; but Ma-Ko-nah is a brave man, and not afraid to die.”

Loud and long was the shout which replied to this proud speech. All
things were now ready, and the fatal moment, when the rim of the moon
should appear above the distant waters, was nigh at hand. Another snowy
cloud floated into view, and just as the signal to fire was about to be
given by the great medicine man, Ne-mo-a-Kim suddenly burst through the
crowd, and threw himself upon the ground before his brother Ma-Ko-nah.
To describe the confusion which followed were quite impossible. It were
sufficient to know that Ma-Ko-nah was released from his obligation, and
while he was to continue in the land of the living, his repentant
brother was to perish. But though he now yielded himself as a willing
sacrifice, his integrity had been doubted, and the lately untouched
thongs were used to bind him to the stake. All things were again ready,
the signal was given, the loud twang of the bow-strings pulled at the
same instant was heard, and the Chippeway murderer was weltering in his
own blood.

The night was far spent, the silence of the grave rested upon the
wilderness village, and all the Indians, save one, were asleep in their
wigwams. But Ma-Ko-nah was filled with grief, and the remaining hours of
that night did he spend in his lodge, mourning over the body of his
unfortunate and only brother. His father and mother were both dead, and
so also was his wife, and the heart of Ma-Ko-nah was very desolate. So
endeth the story of The Fire-Water Sacrifice.

                     ORIGIN OF THE CATAWBA INDIANS.

There was a time when the world was an unbroken waste of rocks, hills,
and mountains, save only one small valley, which was distinguished for
its luxuriance, and where reigned a perpetual summer. At that time, too,
the only human being who inhabited the earth was a woman, whose
knowledge was confined to this valley, and who is remembered among the
Catawbas as the mother of mankind. She lived in a cavern, and her food
consisted of the honey of flowers, and the sweet berries and other
fruits of the wilderness. Birds without number, and the wild streams
which found a resting place in the valley, made the only music which she
ever heard. Among the wild animals, which were very numerous about her
home, she wandered without any danger; but the beaver and the doe were
her favorite companions. In personal appearance she was eminently
beautiful, and the lapse of years only had a tendency to increase the
brightness of her eyes and the grace of her movements. The dress she
wore was made of those bright green leaves which enfold the water
lilies, and her hair was as long as the grass which fringed the waters
of her native vale. She was the ruling spirit of a perennial world, for
even the very flowers which bloomed about her sylvan home were never
known to wither or die. In spite of her lonely condition, she knew not
what it was to be lonely; but ever and anon a strange desire found its
way to her heart, which impelled her to explore the wild country which
surrounded her home. For many days had she resisted the temptation to
become a wanderer from her charming valley, until it so happened, on a
certain morning, that a scarlet butterfly made its appearance before the
door of her cave, and by the hum of its wings invited her away. She
obeyed the summons, and followed the butterfly far up a rocky ravine,
until she came to the foot of a huge waterfall, when she was deserted by
her mysterious pilot, and first became acquainted with the emotion of
fear. Her passage of the ravine had been comparatively smooth; but when
she endeavored, in her consternation, to retrace her steps, she found
her efforts unavailing, and fell to the ground in despair. A deep sleep
then overcame her senses, from which she was not awakened until the
night was far spent; and then the dampness of the dew had fallen upon
her soft limbs, and for the first time in her life did she feel the pang
of a bodily pain. Forlorn and desolate indeed was her condition, and she
felt that some great event was about to happen, when, as she uncovered
her face and turned it to the sky, she beheld, bending over her
prostrate form, and clothed in a cloud-like robe, the image of a being
somewhat resembling herself, only that he was more stoutly made, and of
a much fiercer aspect. Her first emotion at this strange discovery was
that of terror; but as the mysterious being looked upon her in kindness,
and raised her lovingly from the ground, she confided in his protection,
and listened to his words until the break of day.

He told her that he was a native of the far off sky, and that he had
discovered her in her forlorn condition while traveling from the evening
to the morning star. He told her also that he had never before seen a
being so soft and beautifully formed as she. In coming to her rescue he
had broken a command of the Great Spirit, or the Master of Life, and, as
he was afraid to return to the sky, he desired to spend his days in her
society upon earth. With joy did she accept this proposal; and, as the
sun rose above the distant mountains, the twain returned in safety to
the luxuriant vale, where, as man and woman, for many moons, they lived
and loved in perfect tranquillity and joy.

In process of time the woman became a mother; from which time the
happiness of the twain became more intense, but they at the same time
endured more troubles than they had ever known before. The man was
unhappy because he had offended the Master of Life, and the mother was
anxious about the comfort and happiness of her newly-born child. Many
and devout were the prayers they offered to the Great Spirit for his
guidance and protection, for they felt that from them were to be
descended a race of beings more numerous than the stars of heaven. The
Great Spirit had compassion on these lone inhabitants of the earth; and,
in answer to their prayers, he caused a mighty wind to pass over the
world, making the mountains crowd closely together, and rendering the
world more useful and beautiful by the prairies and valleys and rivers
which now cover it, from the rising to the setting sun. The Master of
Life also told his children that he would give them the earth and all
that it contained as their inheritance; but that they should never enjoy
their food without labor, should be annually exposed to a season of
bitter cold, and that their existence should be limited by that period
of time when their heads should become as white as the plumage of the
swan. And so endeth the words of the Catawba.

                            THE LONG CHASE.

It was a summer day, and my birchen canoe, paddled by a party of
Chippeway Indians, was gliding along the southern shore of Lake
Superior. We had left the Apostle Islands, and were wending our way
towards the mouth of the Ontonagon, where we intended to spend the
night. Behind us reposed in beauty the Emerald Islands, in our front
appeared the Porcupine Mountains, the sky above was without a cloud, and
the waste of sleeping waters was only broken by the presence of a lonely
swan, which seemed to be following in our wake, apparently for the sake
of our companionship. I was delighted with the scene which surrounded
me, and having requested my comrades to refill their pipes from my
tobacco-pouch, I inquired for an adventure or a story connected with
this portion of the lake. I waited but for a moment, when the chief of
the party, _O-gee-maw-ge-zhick_, or Chief of the Sky, signified his
intention by a sudden exclamation, and proceeded with the following
historical tradition:

The Indian warrior of other days seldom thought that distance ought to
be considered when he went forth to battle against his enemies, provided
he was certain of winning the applause of his fellow men. Fatigue and
hunger were alike looked upon as unimportant considerations, and both
endured without a murmur.

The white man had not yet become the owner of this wilderness, and our
nation was at war with the Iroquois, who had invaded our territory. At
this time it was that a party of six Iroquois runners had been sent by
their leading chiefs from Ke-wa-we-non, on the southern shore of Lake
Superior, to examine the position of the Chippeways, who were supposed
to be on an island called Moo-ne-quah-na-kon-ing. The spies having
arrived opposite to the island where their enemies were encamped (which
island was about three miles from the main shore), they built a
war-canoe out of the bark of an elm-tree, launched it at the hour of
midnight, and, having implored the god of war to smile upon them and
keep the lake in peace, they landed on the island, and were soon
prowling through the village of the unconscious Chippeways.

They were so cautious in all their movements, that their footsteps did
not even awaken the sleeping dogs. It so happened, however, that they
were discovered, and that, too, by a young woman, who, according to
ancient custom, was leading a solitary life previous to becoming a
mother. In her wakefulness she saw them pass near her lodge and heard
them speak, but could not understand their words, though she thought
them to be of the Na-do-was tribe. When they had passed, she stole out
of her own wigwam to that of her aged grandmother, whom she informed of
what she had seen and heard. The aged woman only reprimanded her
daughter for her imprudence, and did not heed her words. “But, mother,”
replied the girl, “I speak the truth; the dreaded Na-do-was are in our
village; and if the warriors of the Buffalo Race do not heed the story
of a foolish girl, their women and their children must perish.” The
words of the girl were finally believed, and the warriors of the Crane
and Buffalo tribes prepared themselves for the capture. The war-whoop
echoed to the sky; and the rattling of bows and arrows was heard in
every part of the island. In about an hour, the main shore was lined
with about eight hundred canoes, whose occupants were anxiously waiting
for the appearance of the spies. These desperate men, however, had made
up their minds to try the mettle of their oars to the utmost, and, as
the day was breaking, they launched their canoe from a woody cove, shot
round the island, and started in the direction of the Porcupine
Mountains, which were about sixty miles distant. Soon as they came in
sight of the Chippeways, the latter became quite frantic, and, giving
their accustomed yell, the whole multitude started after them swift as
the flight of gulls. The mighty lake was without a ripple; and the
beautiful fish in its bosom wandered about their rocky haunts in perfect
peace, unconscious of the dreadful strife which was going on above. The
canoes of the pursued and the pursuers moved with magic speed. The
Iroquois were some two miles ahead, and while they strained every nerve
for life, one voice rose high into the air, with a song of invocation to
the spirits of their race for protection; and, in answer to their
petition, a thick fog fell upon the water, and caused great confusion.
One of the Chippeway warriors laid down his paddle, seized his
mysterious rattle (made of deer’s hoof), and, in a strange, wild song,
implored the spirits of his race to clear away the fog, that they might
only see their enemies. The burthen of the song was:—

  “Mon e-tou ne bah bah me tah wah
  Ke shig ne bah bah me tah goon
  Ah bee ne nah wah goom me goon
  Men ke che dah awas—awas.”

Which may be translated as follows:—

  “Spirit! whom I have always obeyed,
  Here cause the skies now to obey,
  And place the waters in our power.
  We are warriors—away, away.”

Just as the last strain died upon the air, the fog quickly rolled away,
and the Iroquois spies were discovered hastening towards the shore, near
Montreal river. Then came the fog again, and then departed, in answer to
the conflicting prayers of the nations. Long and awfully exciting was
the race. But the Great Spirit was the friend of the Chippeway, and just
as the Iroquois were landing on the beach, four of them were pierced
with arrows, and the remaining two taken prisoners. A council was then
called, for the purpose of deciding what should be done with them; and
it was determined that they should be tortured at the stake. They were
fastened to a tree, and surrounded with wood, when, just as the torch
was to be applied, an aged warrior stepped forth from the crowd of
spectators, and thus addressed the assembly:—

“Why are you to destroy these men? They are brave warriors, but not more
distinguished than we are. We can gain no benefit from their death. Why
will you not let them live, that they may go and tell their people of
our power, and that our warriors are numerous as the stars of the
northern sky.” The council pondered upon the old man’s advice, and there
was a struggle between their love of revenge and love of glory; but both
became victorious. One of the spies was released, and, as he ascended a
narrow valley, leading to the Porcupine Mountains, the fire was applied
to the dry wood piled round the form of the other; and in the darkness
of midnight, and amid the shouting of his cruel enemies, the body of the
Iroquois prisoner was consumed to ashes. The spot where the sacrifice
took place has been riven by many a thunderbolt since then, for the god
of war was displeased with the faintheartedness of the Chippeway, in
valuing a name more highly than the _privilege_ of revenge; and the same
summer, of the following year, which saw the humane Chippeway buried on
the shore of Superior, also saw the remains of the pardoned spy
consigned to the earth on the shore of Michigan.

Thus endeth the legend of Shah-gah-wah-mik, one of the Apostle Islands,
which the French named La Pointe, and which was originally known as
Moo-ne-quah-na-kon-ing. The village stood where the old trading
establishment is now located; and among the greenest of the graves in
the hamlet of La Pointe is that where lie the remains of the Indian girl
who exposed herself to reproach for the purpose of saving her people.

                           THE LONE BUFFALO.

Among the legends which the traveler frequently hears, while crossing
the prairies of the Far West, I remember one which accounts in a most
romantic manner for the origin of thunder. A summer-storm was sweeping
over the land, and I had sought a temporary shelter in the lodge of a
Sioux, or Dahcotah Indian on the banks of the St. Peters. Vividly
flashed the lightning, and an occasional peal of thunder echoed through
the firmament. While the storm continued my host and his family paid but
little attention to my comfort, for they were all evidently stricken
with terror. I endeavored to quell their fears, and for that purpose
asked them a variety of questions respecting their people, but they only
replied by repeating, in a dismal tone, the name of the Lone Buffalo. My
curiosity was of course excited, and it may be readily imagined that I
did not resume my journey without obtaining an explanation of the mystic
words; and from him who first uttered them in the Sioux lodge I
subsequently obtained the following legend:—

There was a chief of the Sioux nation whose name was the Master Bear. He
was famous as a prophet and hunter, and was a particular favorite with
the Master of Life. In an evil hour he partook of the white man’s
fire-water, and in a fighting broil unfortunately took the life of a
brother chief. According to ancient custom blood was demanded for blood,
and when next the Master Bear went forth to hunt, he was waylaid, shot
through the heart with an arrow, and his body deposited in front of his
widow’s lodge. Bitterly did the woman bewail her misfortune, now
mutilating her body in the most heroic manner, and anon narrating to her
only son, a mere infant, the prominent events of her husband’s life.
Night came, and with her child lashed upon her back, the woman erected a
scaffold on the margin of a neighboring stream, and with none to lend
her a helping hand, enveloped the corpse in her more valuable robes, and
fastened it upon the scaffold. She completed her task just as the day
was breaking, when she returned to her lodge, and shutting herself
therein, spent the three following days without tasting food.

During her retirement the widow had a dream, in which she was visited by
the Master of Life. He endeavored to console her in her sorrow, and for
the reason that he had loved her husband, promised to make her son a
more famous warrior and medicine man than his father had been. And what
was more remarkable, this prophecy was to be realized within the period
of a few weeks. She told her story in the village, and was laughed at
for her credulity.

On the following day, when the village boys were throwing the ball upon
the plain, a noble youth suddenly made his appearance among the players,
and eclipsed them all in the bounds he made and the wildness of his
shouts. He was a stranger to all, but when the widow’s dream was
remembered, he was recognized as her son, and treated with respect. But
the youth was yet without a name, for his mother had told him that he
should win one for himself by his individual prowess.

Only a few days had elapsed, when it was rumored that a party of Pawnees
had overtaken and destroyed a Sioux hunter, when it was immediately
determined in council that a party of one hundred warriors should start
upon the war-path and revenge the injury. Another council was held for
the purpose of appointing a leader, when a young man suddenly entered
the ring and claimed the privilege of leading the way. His authority was
angrily questioned, but the stranger only replied by pointing to the
brilliant eagle’s feathers on his head, and by shaking from his belt a
large number of fresh Pawnee scalps. They remembered the stranger boy,
and acknowledged the supremacy of the stranger man.

Night settled upon the prairie world, and the Sioux warriors started
upon the war-path. Morning dawned, and a Pawnee village was in ashes,
and the bodies of many hundred men, women, and children were left upon
the ground as food for the wolf and vulture. The Sioux warriors returned
to their own encampment, when it was ascertained that the nameless
leader had taken more than twice as many scalps as his brother warriors.
Then it was that a feeling of jealousy arose, which was soon quieted,
however, by the news that the Crow Indians had stolen a number of horses
and many valuable furs from a Sioux hunter as he was returning; from the
mountains. Another warlike expedition was planned, and as before, the
nameless warrior took the lead.

The sun was near his setting, and as the Sioux party looked down upon a
Crow village, which occupied the centre of a charming valley, the Sioux
chief commanded the attention of his braves and addressed them in the
following language:

“I am about to die, my brothers, and must speak my mind. To be fortunate
in war is your chief ambition, and because I have been successful you
are unhappy. Is this right? Have you acted like men? I despise you for
your meanness, and I intend to prove to you this night that I am the
bravest man in the nation. The task will cost me my life, but I am
anxious that my nature should be changed and I shall be satisfied. I
intend to enter the Crow village alone, but before departing, I have one
favor to command. If I succeed in destroying that village, and lose my
life, I want you, when I am dead, to cut off my head and protect it with
care. You must then kill one of the largest buffaloes in the country and
cut off his head. You must then bring his body and my head together, and
breathe upon them, when I shall be free to roam in the Spirit-land at
all times, and over our great prairie-land wherever I please. And when
your hearts are troubled with wickedness remember the Lone Buffalo.”

The attack upon the Crow village was successful, but according to his
prophecy the Lone Buffalo received his death wound, and his brother
warriors remembered his parting request. The fate of the hero’s mother
is unknown, but the Indians believe that it is she who annually sends
from the Spirit land the warm winds of spring, which cover the prairies
with grass for the sustenance of the Buffalo race. As to the Lone
Buffalo, he is never seen even by the most cunning hunter, excepting
when the moon is at its full. At such times he is invariably alone,
cropping his food in some remote part of the prairies; and whenever the
heavens resound with the moanings of the thunder, the red man banishes
from his breast every feeling of jealousy, for he believes it to be the
warning voice of the Lone Buffalo.

                          LEGENDS OF MACKINAW.

The original Indian name of this island was Mich-il-i-mack-i-nack,
signifying the mammoth turtle. It is a beautiful spot of earth, and its
origin is accounted for by the following Ottaway legend:—

When the world was in its infancy, and all the living creatures were
wandering over its surface from their several birth-places, for a
permanent home, it so happened that a multitude of turtles came to the
southern shore of Lake Erie. They found the country generally level, and
were delighted with the muddy waters of the lake, and also with the many
stagnant rivers and ponds which they discovered in its vicinity. But
while the race were generally satisfied with their discoveries, and
willing to remain where they were, the mammoth leader of the multitude
resolved upon extending his journey to the north. He was allured to this
undertaking by a strange light of exceeding loveliness (supposed to be
the Aurora Borealis), which he had frequently observed covering the
horizon. He endeavored to obtain a few companions for his intended
pilgrimage, but without success. This disappointment did not dishearten
him, however, and as he remembered that the summer was only half gone,
he determined to depart alone. Long and very circuitous was his journey,
and many, beautiful and lonely, the bayous and swamps where he
frequently tarried to rest himself and obtain refreshment. Summer, and
nearly the whole of autumn were now passed, and the traveling turtle
found himself on a point of land which partially divided the two lakes
of Huron and Michigan. Already he had been numbed by chilly winds, but
his ambition was so great that he still persisted in his foolish
pilgrimage. The day on which he made his final launch upon the waters,
was particularly cold and desolate, and it so happened that in the
course of a few days his career was stopped by the formation of an icy
barrier, which deprived him of life and left him, a little black spot,
on the waste of frozen waters.

Spring returned once more, but while the ice gradually dissolved itself
into beautiful blue waves, the shell of the turtle was fastened to a
marine plant or tall reed, and in process of time became an island,
which the Indians appropriately named Mich-il-i-mack-i-nack, or the
Mammoth Turtle.

The individual from whom I obtained the above story was an Ottaway
Indian; and he told it to me as we sat together on the brow of the
arched rock which has, from time immemorial, been considered the
principal natural curiosity of Mackinaw. The following legend I obtained
from the same source, and, like the majority of Indian stories, it is
uncouth and unnatural; but interesting for the reason that it bears a
curious analogy to a certain passage in the Old Testament. But this
remark is applicable, I believe, to the early traditions of nearly all
the aboriginal nations of North America. But to the tradition:—

Very many winters ago, the sun was regularly in the habit of performing
his daily circuit across the heavens, and when the stars made their
appearance in the sky, he invariably descended into an immense hole
supposed to be located in the remote west. But in process of time it so
happened that a chief of the Ottaways committed an unheard of crime
against the person of his only daughter, and the Master of Life became
so offended, that he caused a mighty wind to come upon the earth,
whereby the rocky hills were made to tremble, and the waters which
surrounded them to roar with a dreadful noise. During this state of
things, which lasted for one whole day, the sun shot through the heavens
with an unsteady motion, and when it had reached the zenith suddenly
became fixed, as if astonished at the red man’s wickedness. All the
people of the Ottaway nation were greatly alarmed at this phenomenon,
and while they were gazing upon the luminary, it gradually changed into
the color of blood, and with a dreadful noise, as if in a passion, it
fell upon the earth. It struck the northern shore of Mackinaw, formed
the cavity of the Arched Rock, and so entered the earth, from which it
issued in the far east, at an early hour on the following morning, and
then resumed its usual journey across the heavens.

Many, very many winters have passed away since the last mentioned
incident occurred, and it is true that even the present race of Indians
can seldom be persuaded to approach the brow of the Arched Rock. Never
have I heard of one who was sufficiently bold to walk over the arch,
though the feat might be easily accomplished by any man with a steady
nerve. The shores of the island of Mackinaw are almost entirely
abrupt—and their general altitude is about one hundred and fifty feet;
but the summit of the Arched Rock has been estimated to be at least two
hundred feet above the water. In connection with the above stories, I
might introduce a description of the island they commemorate, but such a
description has already been published in my “Summer in the Wilderness.”


My main object in the present paper is to record a complete account of
the ceremonies which were once practised by the Cherokee Indians, in
connection with their principal agricultural pursuit of raising maize or
Indian corn. For the great majority of my facts I am indebted to Mr.
Preston Starritt, of Tennessee. While this is the case, however, I beg
my readers to understand that I shall speak of the tribe in question as
it existed in the times of old, when its members were the sole
proprietors of the southern Alleghanies. Let us, then, banish from our
minds the unhappy relations which brood over the Cherokees at the
present time, and, by the aid of our fancy, mingle with the nation as it
existed when in its pristine glory.

The snows of winter have melted from the mountain peaks, the rains are
over and gone, the frosts are out of the ground, and the voice of the
turtle is heard in the land. The beautiful valley to which we have
journeyed is entirely surrounded with mountains, about five miles
square, watered by a charming stream, and inhabited by two thousand
aborigines, who are divided into seven clans, and located in seven
villages. The ruling men of the tribe have signified to their people
that the period for planting corn has arrived, and that they must gather
themselves together for the purpose of submitting to the annual
ceremonies of purification. For doing this they have a double object:
they would, in the first place, expunge from their bodies every vestige
of all the colds and diseases with which they may have been afflicted
during the past winter; and, in the second place, they would propitiate
the Great Spirit, so as to secure his blessing upon the crops which they
are about to deposite in the ground. The moon being now at its full, and
a fitting location having been selected, the chiefs and magicians
congregate together, and the preliminary measures are thus managed. A
magic circle is made to keep out all evil spirits and enemies, and the
medicine men then proceed to walk in single file, and with measured
steps, completely around the spot which they would render sacred, and
which is generally half a mile in diameter, marking their route by
plucking a single leaf from every tree or bush which they may happen to
pass, all these leaves being carefully deposited in a pouch carried for
the purpose. In the mean time, the brotherhood of chiefs have not been
unemployed, for while the most aged individual of all has been making a
collection of roots, the remainder have built a rude dam, and thereby
formed a pond or pool of water on the creek which invariably waters the
sacred enclosure. The entire population of the valley are now summoned
to the outskirts of the sacred enclosure, and a general invitation
extended to all to approach and join the chiefs and magicians in the
rite they are about to perform; it being understood, however, that no
man, under penalty of death, shall venture to participate who has left a
single wrong unrevenged or committed any unmanly deed, and no woman who
has given birth to a child since the preceding full moon. In the centre
of the sacred ground, and in the vicinity of the pool, a large fire is
now made, around which the multitude are congregated. The night is
clear, and the moon and stars are flooding the earth with light. An
earthen pot is now placed upon the fire, the roots gathered by the old
chief, numbering seven varieties, are placed therein, also the leaves
plucked by the magicians, when the pot is filled with water by seven
virgins, who are promoted to this honor by the appointment of the senior
chief. After the contents of the pot have been thoroughly boiled, and a
most bitter but medicinal beverage been made, all the persons present
are called upon to take seven sips of the bitter liquid, and then
directed to bathe no less than seven times in the neighboring pool, the
waters of which have been rendered sacred by the incantations of the
priests. All these things being done, the multitude assemble around the
fire once more, and, to the music of a strange wild singing, they dance
until the break of day, and then disperse to their several homes. The
friendship of the Great Spirit has now been secured, and therefore, as
opportunity offers, the Indians proceed to loosen their ground, as best
they may, and then plant their corn. This labor is performed chiefly by
the women, and the planted fields are considered as under their especial
charge. Though planted in the greatest disorder, they keep their
cornfields entirely free of weeds, and the soil immediately around the
corn in a loose condition. At every full moon they are commonly
apprehensive that some calamity may befall their crop, and, by way of
keeping the Great Spirit on their side, the women have a custom of
disrobing themselves, at the dead hour of night, and of walking entirely
around the field of corn.

And now that the sunshine and showers of summer are performing their
ministry of good in bringing the corn to its wonted perfection, it may
be well to make the reader acquainted with the following facts: As the
Indians purify themselves and perform all their religious rites only
when the moon is at its full, so do they refrain from plucking a single
ear of corn until they have partaken of their annual harvest or
green-corn feast. This feast occurs on that night of the full moon
nearest to the period when the corn becomes ripe; and, by a time-honored
law of the nation, no man, woman, or child is ever permitted, under
penalty of death, to pluck a single roasting-ear. So rigidly enforced is
this law that many Cherokees are known to have lost their lives for
disobeying it, while many families have suffered the pangs of hunger for
many days, even while their fields were filled with corn, merely because
the harvest moon had not yet arrived, and they had not partaken of their
annual feast. If a full moon should occur only one week after the corn
has become suitable to pluck, the Indians will not touch a single ear
until the next moon, even if it should then be so hard as to require
pounding before becoming suitable for food. During the ripening period
the cornfields are watched with jealous care, and the first stalk that
throws out its silken plume is designated by a distinguishing mark. In
assigning reasons for this peculiar care, the Indians allege that until
the harvest feast has taken place the corn is exclusively the property
of the Great Spirit, and that they are only its appointed guardians; and
they also maintain that, when the corn is plucked before the appointed
moon has arrived, the field which has thus been trespassed upon is sure
to be prostrated by a storm or be afflicted with the rot; and wherefore
it is that they are always greatly alarmed when they discover that a
cornfield has been touched, as they say, by the Evil One.

But the harvest moon is now near at hand, and the chiefs and medicine
men have summoned the people of the several villages to prepare
themselves for the autumnal festival. Another spot of ground is
selected, and the same sanctifying ceremony is performed that was
performed in the previous spring. The most expert hunter in each village
has been commissioned to obtain game, and while he is engaged in the
hunt the people of his village are securing the blessing of the Great
Spirit by drinking, with many mystic ceremonies, the liquid made from
seven of the most bitter roots to be found among the mountains. Of all
the game which may be obtained by the hunters, not a single animal is to
be served up at the feast whose bones have been broken or mutilated; nor
shall a rejected animal be brought within the magic circle, but shall be
given to those of the tribe who, by some misdeed, have rendered
themselves unworthy to partake of the feast. The hunters are always
compelled to return from the chase at the sunset hour, and long before
they come in sight of their villages they invariably give a shrill
whistle, as a signal of good luck, whereupon the villagers make ready to
receive them with a wild song of welcome and rejoicing.

The pall of night has once more settled upon the earth, the moon is in
its glory, the watch-fire has been lighted within the magic circle, and
the inhabitants of the valley are again assembled together in one great
multitude. From all the cornfields in the valley the magicians have
collected the marked ears of corn, and deposited them in the kettles
with the various kinds of game which may have been slaughtered, from the
bear, the deer, and the turkey, to the opossum, the squirrel, and the
quail. The entire night is devoted to eating, and the feast comes not to
an end until all the food has been dispatched, when, in answer to an
appropriate signal from the medicine men, the bones which have been
stripped of their flesh are collected together and pounded to a kind of
powder, and scattered through the air. The seven days following this
feast are devoted to dancing and carousing, and at the termination of
this period the inhabitants of the valley retire to their various
villages, and proceed to gather in their crops of the sweet maize or
Indian corn.

                        THE OVERFLOWING WATERS.
                      A TRADITION OF THE CHOCTAWS.

The world was in its prime, and time rolled on with its accustomed
regularity. The tiny streams among the hills and mountains shouted with
joy, and the broad rivers wound their wonted course along the peaceful
valleys. Many a tall oak had grown from the acorn, spread its rich
foliage to the summer winds, decayed with age, and mingled with its
mother earth. The moon and stars had long made the night-skies
beautiful, and guided the Indian hunter through the wilderness. The sun,
which the red man calls the glory of the summer time, had never failed
to appear at his appointed periods. Many generations of men had lived
and passed away.

In process of time the aspect of the world became changed. Brother
quarreled with brother, and cruel wars frequently covered the earth with
blood. The Great Spirit saw all these things and was displeased. A
terrible wind swept over the wilderness, and the red men knew that they
had done wrong, but they lived as if they did not care. Finally a
stranger prophet made his appearance among them, and proclaimed in every
village the news that the human race was to be destroyed. None believed
his words, and the moons of summer again came and disappeared. It was
now the autumn of the year. Many cloudy days had occurred, and then a
total darkness came upon the earth, and the sun seemed to have departed
forever. It was very dark and very cold. Men laid themselves down to
sleep, but they were troubled with unhappy dreams. They arose when they
thought it was time for the day to dawn, but only to see the sky covered
with a darkness deeper than the heaviest cloud. The moon and stars had
all disappeared, and there was constantly a dismal bellowing of thunder
in the upper air. Men now believed that the sun would never return, and
there was great consternation throughout the land. The great men of the
Choctaw nation spoke despondingly to their fellows, and sung their death
songs, but those songs were faintly heard in the gloom of the great
night. It was a most unhappy time indeed, and darkness reigned for a
great while. Men visited each other by torch-light. The grains and
fruits of the land became mouldy, and the wild animals of the forest
became tame and gathered around the watch-fires of the Indians, entering
even into the villages.

A louder peal of thunder than was ever before heard now echoed through
the firmament, and a light was seen in the North. It was not the light
of the sun, but the gleam of distant waters. They made a mighty roar,
and, in billows like the mountains, they rolled over the earth. They
swallowed up the entire human race in their career, and destroyed
everything which had made the earth beautiful. Only one human being was
saved, and that was the mysterious prophet who had foretold the
wonderful calamity. He had built him a raft of sassafras logs, and upon
this did he float safely above the deep waters. A large black bird came
and flew in circles above his head. He called upon it for aid, but it
shrieked aloud, and flew away and returned to him no more. A smaller
bird, of a bluish color, with scarlet eyes and beak, now came hovering
over the prophet’s head. He spoke to it, and asked if there was a spot
of dry land in any part of the waste of waters. It fluttered its wings,
uttered a sweet moan, and flew directly towards that part of the sky
where the newly-born sun was just sinking in the waves. A strong wind
now arose, and the raft of the prophet was rapidly borne in the same
direction which the bird had pursued. The moon and stars again made
their appearance, and the prophet landed upon a green island, where he
encamped. Here he enjoyed a long and refreshing sleep, and when morning
dawned he found that the island was covered with every variety of
animals, excepting the great _Shakanli_, or mammoth, which had been
destroyed. Birds, too, he also found here in great abundance. He
recognized the identical black one which had abandoned him to his fate
upon the waters, and, as it was a wicked bird and had sharp claws, he
called it _Ful luh-chitto_, or bird of the Evil One. He also discovered,
and with great joy, the bluish bird which had caused the wind to blow
him upon the island, and because of its kindness to him and its beauty,
he called it _Puch che-yon-sho-ba_, or the soft-voiced pigeon. The
waters finally passed away, and in process of time that bird became a
woman and the wife of the prophet, from whom the people now living upon
the earth are all descended. And so endeth the story of The Overflowing

                         THE NAMELESS CHOCTAW.

There once lived in the royal Indian town of _E-ya-sho_ (Ya-zoo) the
only son of a war chief, who was eminently distinguished above all his
fellows for his elegant form and noble bearing. The old men of the
nation looked upon him with pride, and said that he was certainly born
to occupy a high position as a warrior. He was also an eloquent orator,
and none ever thought of doubting his courage. But, with all these
qualities, he was not allowed a seat in the councils of his nation,
because he had not distinguished himself in war. The renown of having
slain an enemy he could not claim, nor had he ever been fortunate enough
to take a single prisoner. He was universally beloved, and, as the name
of his childhood had been abandoned according to an ancient custom, and
he had not yet succeeded in winning a name worthy of his ability, he was
known among his kindred as the Nameless Choctaw.

In the town of E-ya-sho there also once lived the most beautiful maiden
of her tribe. She was the daughter of a hunter, and the betrothed of the
Nameless Choctaw. They met often at the great dances, but, because she
hoped to become his bride, she treated him as a stranger. Often, too,
did they meet at the setting of the sun, but then they listened to the
song of the whipporwill or watched the rising of the evening star, when
each could hear the throbbing of the other’s heart. They loved with a
wild passion and were very happy. At such times one thought alone
entered their minds to cast a shadow. It was this: They knew that the
laws of their nation were unalterable, and that she could not become his
bride until he had won a name. She knew that he could always place at
the door of her lodge an abundance of game, and would deck her with the
most beautiful of shells and wampum; but all this availed them nothing;
that he must go upon the war-path was inevitable. She belonged to a
proud family, and she never would consent to marry a man who had not a
loud sounding name, and who could not sit in the councils of her people.
She was willing to become his bride at any time, and therefore left him,
by his prowess, to decide upon that time.

It was now midsummer and the evening hour. The Nameless Lover had met
his promised bride upon the summit of a small hill, covered with pines.
From the centre of a neighboring plain arose the smoke of a large
watch-fire, around which were dancing a party of four hundred warriors.
They had planned an expedition against the Osages, and the present was
the fourth and last night of the preparation ceremonies. Up to that
evening the Nameless Choctaw had been the leader in the dances, and even
now his absence was only temporary, for he had stolen away to express
his parting vows to his beloved. The last embrace was given, and then
the maiden was alone upon the hill-top, looking down in sadness upon the
dancing warriors, among whom she beheld none who commanded more
attention than the being whom she loved.

Morning dawned, and the Choctaw warriors were upon the war-path leading
to the country of their enemies, far up on the headwaters of the
Arkansas. Upon that stream they found a cave, and in that cave, because
they were on a prairie land, they secreted themselves. Two men were then
selected to act as spies, one of whom (the Nameless Choctaw) was to
reconnoitre in the west and the other in the east. Night came, and the
party in the cave were discovered by an Osage hunter, who had traveled
thither for the purpose of sheltering himself until morning from the
heavy dews. By the light of the stars did he then travel to the nearest
village, and having warned his people of the proximity of their enemies,
they hurried in a large body to the cave. At its mouth they built a
fire, and when the sun rose into the horizon the entire party of
Choctaws had been smothered to death by the cunning of their enemies.

The Choctaw spy who had journeyed towards the east, had witnessed the
surprise and unhappy fate of his brother warriors, and, returning to his
own country, he called a council and revealed the sad intelligence. As
to the fate of the Nameless Choctaw, who had journeyed to the westward,
he knew that he too must have been overtaken and slain. Upon the heart
of one being this last intelligence fell with a most heavy weight, and
the promised bride of the Nameless Lover pined in melancholy grief. From
the night on which she was made wretched, she began to droop, and before
the reigning moon had passed away she died, and was buried on the
identical spot where she had parted with her lover.

But what became of the Nameless Choctaw? It was not true that he had
been overtaken and slain. He was indeed discovered by the Osages, and
far over the prairies and across the streams was he closely pursued. For
many days and through the watches of many nights did the race continue,
but the Choctaw warrior finally made his escape. His course had been
exceedingly winding, and when he came to a pause he was astonished to
find that the sun rose in the wrong quarter of the heavens. Everything
appeared to him wrong and out of order, and the truth was he became a
bewildered and forlorn man, and everywhere did he wander. He found
himself at the foot of a mighty range of mountains, which were covered
with grass and unlike any that he had ever before seen.

It so happened, however, at the close of a certain day, that he
sauntered into a wooded valley, and having built him a rude bower and
killed a rabbit, he lighted a fire, and prepared himself for one quiet
meal and a night of repose. Morning dawned, and he was still in trouble.
Many moons passed away and the Choctaw was still desolate and forlorn.
It was now summer, and he called upon the Great Spirit to make his
pathway plain; and having hunted the forests for a spotted deer, and
slain her, on a day when there was no wind he offered a sacrifice, and
that night supped upon a portion of the animal’s sweet flesh. His fire
burnt brightly, and though somewhat forlorn, he found that his heart was
at peace. But now he hears a footstep! A moment more, and a snow-white
wolf of immense size is crouching at his feet, and licking his torn
moccasins. “How came you in this strange country?” inquired the wolf;
and the poor Indian related the story of his unsuccessful exploit and
subsequent escape. The wolf took pity upon the Choctaw and told him that
he would conduct him in safety to the country of his kindred; and on the
following morning did they take their departure. Long, very long was the
journey, and many and very wild and turbulent the streams which they had
to cross. The wolf helped the Choctaw to kill game for their mutual
sustenance, and by the time that the moon for weeding the corn had
arrived the nameless Choctaw had entered his native village again. This
was on the anniversary of the day he had parted with his betrothed, and
he was sorely grieved to find his people mourning her untimely death.
Time and fatigue had so changed the returned Choctaw that his relatives
and friends did not recognize him, and he chose not to reveal himself.
From many a mouth, however, did he learn the story of her death, and
many a wild song, to the astonishment of all his friends, did he sing to
the memory of the departed, whom he called by the beautiful name of
Imma, or the idol of warriors. And on a cloudless night did he wander to
the grave of his beloved, and at a moment when the Great Spirit cast his
shadow upon the moon (alluding to an eclipse) did he throw himself
thereon and die. For three nights thereafter were the inhabitants of the
Choctaw village alarmed by the continual howling of a wolf, and when it
ceased, the pine forest, upon the hill where the lovers were resting in
peace, took up the dismal howl or moan, and has continued it to the
present time.

                         THE SPIRIT SACRIFICE.

It was midsummer, and there was a terrible plague in the wilderness.
Many a Chippeway village on the borders of Lake Superior had been
depopulated. The only band of the great northern nation which had thus
far escaped, was the one whose hunting grounds lay on the northern shore
of the St. Mary’s River. Their principal village stood upon a gentle
promontory overlooking the Great Lake, immediately at the head of the
_Sault_ or Falls, and at this village the chiefs and warriors of the
tribe were assembled in council. Incantations of every possible
description had for many days been performed, and yet nightly tidings
were received, showing that the fatal disease was sweeping over the
land, like the fires of autumn over the prairies. The signs in the sky,
as well as these tidings, convinced the poor Indians that their days
were numbered. It was now the last night of their council, and they were
in despair. They knew that the plague had been sent upon the earth by
the Great Spirit, as a punishment for some crime, and they also knew
that there was but one thing that could possibly appease his anger. And
what was this? The sacrifice of the most beautiful girl of her tribe.
And such was the decree, that she should enter her canoe, and throwing
away her paddle, cast herself upon the waters, just above the _Sault_.

Morning dawned, and loud and dismal beyond compare, was the wail of
sorrow which broke upon the silent air. Another council was held, and
the victim for the sacrifice was selected. She was an only child, and
her mother was a widow, feeble and infirm. They told the maiden of her
fate, and she uttered not a repining word. The girls and women of the
village flocked around their long-loved companion, and decked her hair
and her neck with all the brightest wampum, and the most beautiful
feathers and shells that could be found in all the tribe. The time
appointed for the sacrifice was the sunset hour; and as the day was
rapidly waning, the gloom which pervaded the entire village gradually
increased, and it even seemed as if a murmuring tone mingled with the
roar of the mighty waterfall. The day had been one of uncommon splendor,
and as the sun descended to the horizon a retinue of gorgeous clouds
gathered around him, and the great lake, whose waters receded to the
sky, was covered with a deeper blue than had ever before been seen.

All things were now ready, and the Indian maiden was ready for the
sacrifice. In silence was she conducted to her canoe, and loud was the
wail of lamentation. It died away; and now, to the astonishment of all
the people, a strange echo came from over the waters. What could it
mean? A breathless silence ensued, and even the old men listened with
fear. And now a louder and a clearer continuation of the same echo
breaks upon the air. A speck is seen upon the waters. The sun has
disappeared, and a small canoe is seen rapidly approaching, as if from
the very spot where the orb touched the waters. The song increases; and
as the fairy-like canoe sweeps mysteriously over the watery waste, it is
now seen to contain a beautiful being, resembling a girl, clothed in a
snow-white robe. She is in a standing attitude, her arms are folded, and
her eyes are fixed upon the heavens. Her soul is absorbed in a song, of
which this is the burden:—

  “I come from the Spirit land,
  To appease the Great Spirit,
  To stay the plague,
  And to save the life of the beautiful Chippeway.”

Onward she came, and her pathway lay directly towards the mighty rapids.
With utter astonishment did the Indians look upon this unheard of
spectacle, and while they looked they saw the canoe and its spirit
voyager pass directly into the foam, where it was lost to them for ever.

And so did the poor Indians escape the plague. The St. Mary is a
beautiful river; and during the summer time its shores are always lined
with lilies, large, and of a marvelous whiteness; and it is a common
belief among the Chippeways, that they owe their origin to the
mysterious spirit, from whose mutilated body they sprang. And so endeth
the Legend of the Spirit Sacrifice.

                            THE PEACE MAKER.

  The following story was obtained by the writer, directly from the lips
  of a Seneca Indian, and the hero is said to have been the grandfather
  of the celebrated orator Red Jacket.

There was a time when all the Indian tribes in the world were at war
with the great Seneca nation, whose hunting grounds were on the borders
of Lake Ontario. So fearful had they become of their enemies, that the
bravest hunters and warriors never left their wig-wams without bending
their bows, and little children were not permitted by their mothers to
gather berries or hickory nuts in the neighboring woods. The head chief
of the nation at that time, was _Sa-go-you-wat-ha_, or _Always Awake_.
He was a good man, and being sorely grieved at the unhappiness of his
people, he conceived the idea of securing a permanent peace. It was
true, he said, that his father had been a cruel and unpopular chief, but
he did not think it right that the generation which followed his father
should be made miserable for crimes never committed by them. And
therefore it was that he prayed to the _Great Ha-nee_ to tell him, in a
dream, what he must do to accomplish his end. Night came, and in spite
of his name, _Always Awake_ fell into a deep sleep and had a dream.

He was told that in the direction whence came the warm winds of summer,
and distant from his village a journey of one moon, there was a very
large mountain. On the summit of that mountain, as he was told, were
living a few people from all the nations of the earth, excepting the
Senecas. The place alluded to was called the _Mountain of Refuge_, and
it was so sacred a place, that its soil had never been wet with human
blood, and the people who lived there, were the peculiar favorites of
the Great Ha-nee, and were the law makers of the world. The dream also
told the Seneca chief, that he could secure a permanent peace only by
visiting the sacred mountain; but as the intervening distance was so
great, and his trail would be only among enemies, the dangers of the
expedition would be very numerous. By traveling at night, however, and
sleeping in the day time, the task might be accomplished, and he was at
liberty to try _his_ fortune.

_Always Awake_ pondered a long time upon this strange vision, but
finally determined to start upon the appointed expedition. Great was the
fatigue that he endured, and oftentimes was he compelled to satisfy his
hunger with the roots and berries of the forest. Many a narrow escape
did he make from his enemies; but in due time he reached the Mountain of
Refuge. He was warmly welcomed among the Indians of the mountain, and
when he told his story and talked of peace, they honored him with many a
loud shout of applause. A council was held, and a decree passed, to the
effect that the important question at stake should be settled by another
council composed of the head chiefs of all the Indian nations in the
land. The fleetest runners were employed to disseminate the news, and at
the appointed time the council of chiefs was held. They formed
themselves into a confederacy, and with one exception, the nations of
the wilderness became as one people, and so continued until the white
man crossed the great waters and taught them the vices which have almost
consumed them from the face of the earth. The only nation that would not
join the confederation was the Osage nation, and because of their
wickedness in so doing, they were cursed by the Great Ha-nee, and have
ever since been a by-word and a reproach among their fellows.

And when the Seneca chief returned to his own country, he was very
happy. His trail through the forests and over the mountains was lined
with bonfires, and in every village that he tarried, he was feasted with
the best of game. One moon after he returned to his people he died and
was buried on the banks of the beautiful lake where he lived; and ever
since that time the Great Ha-nee has permitted his people to live upon
the land inherited from their fathers.

                          ORIGIN OF THE DEER.
                           A SHAWNEE LEGEND.

Wa-pit-pa-taska, or the Yellow Sky, was the daughter of a Shawnee or
Snake hunter. His lodge was not one of the handsomest in the village
where it stood, but the paths leading to it were more beaten than those
leading to any other, for the daughter of the hunter was a great
favorite among the young men of her tribe. The exploits of those who
sought her hand had no charm for her ear, and her tastes were strangely
different from those common among women. She knew that she had not many
years to live upon the earth, and her dreams had told her she was
created for an unheard-of mission. There was a mystery about her being,
and none could comprehend the meaning of her evening songs. On one
condition alone did she avow her willingness to become a wife, and this
was, that he who became her husband should never, under any
circumstances, mention her name. If he did so, a sad calamity would
befall him, and he would forever thereafter regret his thoughtlessness.
By this decree was the love of one of her admirers greatly enhanced, and
before the summer was gone the twain were married and dwelt in the same

Time flew on and the Yellow Sky sickened and died, and her last words
were that her husband should never forget her admonition about breathing
her name. The widower was very unhappy, and for five summers did he
avoid his fellow men, living in solitude, and wandering through the
forests alone. The voices of autumn were now heard in the land, and the
bereaved husband had, after his many journeyings, returned to the grave
of his wife, which he found overgrown with briers and coarse weeds. For
many moons had he neglected to protect the remains of his wife, and he
now tried to atone for his wickedness by plucking up the briers and
covering the grave with a soft sod. In doing this he was discovered by a
stranger Indian, who asked him whose grave it was of which he was taking
so much care? “It is the grave,” said he, “of _Wa-pit-pa-taska_;” and
hardly had the forbidden name (which he thoughtlessly uttered) passed
from his lips, before he fell to the earth in a spasm of great pain. The
sun was setting, and his bitter moans echoed far through the gloomy
woods, even until the darkness settled upon the world.

Morning came, and near the grave of the Yellow Sky a large buck was
quietly feeding. It was the unhappy husband, whom the Great Spirit had
thus changed. The trotting of a wolf was heard in the brake, and the
deer pricked up his ears. One moment more, and the wolf started after
the deer. The race was very long and painful, but the deer finally
escaped. And thus from a man came into existence the beautiful deer, or
_mu-rat-si_; and because of the foolishness of this man, in not
remembering his wife’s words, the favorite animal of the Shawnee has
ever been at the mercy of the wolf.

                        LEGEND OF THE WHITE OWL.

It was in the country of the Winnebagoes, or people of the turbid water,
and there was a great scarcity of game. An Indian hunter, while
returning from an unsuccessful expedition, at the sunset hour, chanced
to discover in the top of a tree a large white owl. He knew that the
flesh of this bird was not palatable to the taste, but as he thought of
his wife and children, who had been without food for several days, he
concluded to bend his bow and kill the bird. Hardly had he come to this
determination, before he was astonished to hear the owl speaking to him
in the following strain: “You are a very foolish hunter. You know it is
against the laws of your nation to kill any of my tribe, and why should
you do wrong because you happen to be a little hungry? I know that your
wife and children are also hungry, but that is not a good reason for
depriving me of life. I too have a wife and several children, and their
home is in the hollow of an old tree. When I left them a little while
ago, they were quite as hungry as you are, and I am now trying to obtain
for their enjoyment a red squirrel or a young opossum. Unlike you, I
have to hunt for my game only at night, and if you will go away and not
injure me, I may have it in my power to do you a kindness at some future

The Indian hunter was convinced, and he unbent his bow. He returned to
his wigwam, and after he had told his wife what had happened to him, she
told him she was not sorry, for she had been particularly fortunate in
gathering berries. And then the Indian and his family were contented,
and game soon afterwards became abundant in the land.

Many seasons had passed away, and the powerful nation of the Iroquois
were making war upon the Winnebagoes. The hunter already mentioned had
become a successful warrior and a chief. He was a mark for his enemies,
and the bravest among them started upon the war-path for the express
purpose of effecting his destruction. They hunted him as they would the
panther, but he always avoided their arrows. Many days of fatigue had he
now endured, and, believing that his enemies had given up the chase, he
stopped, on a certain evening, to rest himself and enjoy a repast of
roots. After this comfortless supper was ended, he wrapped himself in
his skins and thought that he would lie down and enjoy a little sleep.
He did so, and the only sounds which broke the stillness of the air were
caused by the falling of the dew from the leaves, and the whistling of
the whipporwill. It was now past midnight, and the Winnebago was yet
undisturbed. A whoop is heard in the forest, but so remote from his
grassy couch as not to be heard by the unconscious sleeper. But what can
this shouting mean? A party of the Iroquois warriors have fallen upon
the trail of their enemy, and are in hot pursuit. But still the
Winnebago warrior is in the midst of a pleasant dream. On come his
enemies, and his death is inevitable. The shouting of the Iroquois is
now distinct and clear, but in the twinkling of an eye it is swallowed
up in a much louder and more dismal shriek, which startled the Winnebago
to his feet. He is astonished, and wonders whence comes the noise. He
looks upwards, and lo! perched upon one of the branches of the tree
under which he had been resting, the form of a large white owl. It rolls
its large yellow eyes upon him, and tells him that an enemy is on his
trail, and that he must flee for his life. And this is the way in which
the white owl manifested its gratitude to the Winnebago hunter for his
kindness in sparing its own life many years before. And since that time
the owl has ever been considered a very good and a wise bird, and when
it perches above the wigwam of the red man it is always safe from harm.

                      DEATH OF THE GIANT CANNIBAL.

  The following story was obtained from the lips of a Chippeway warrior
  named _Maw-gun-nub_, or Setting-ahead. He told it with as serious an
  air as if it had been a matter of actual and important history, and
  was evidently a firm believer in the wonders therein contained.

An Indian village stood upon the borders of the Lake of the Woods. It
was a summer day, and a heavy rain storm had passed over the country,
when a large Giant or Cannibal suddenly made his appearance in the
village. He was as tall as the tallest hemlock, and carried a club in
his hand which was longer than the longest canoe. He told the Indians
that he had come from a far country in the North; that he was tired and
hungry; and that all the wild rice and the game in the village must be
immediately brought to his feet, that he might satisfy his appetite. His
orders were obeyed, and when the food was brought, and the inhabitants
of the village were collected together to see him enjoy his feast, the
Giant told them he was not yet satisfied; whereupon, with one blow of
his huge club, he destroyed, with one exception, all the people who had
treated him so kindly. The only person who escaped the dreadful blow was
a little boy, who happened to be sick in one of the wigwams.

After the Giant had committed his cruel deed, he devoured a number of
the dead bodies, and during the night disappeared without discovering
the boy. In a few days the boy was well enough to move about, and as he
went from one wigwam to another, he thought of his friends who had been
so suddenly killed, and was very unhappy. For many seasons did he live
alone. While very young his food consisted of such birds as the
partridge, but as he grew up to the estate of manhood, he became a
successful hunter, and often feasted upon the deer and the buffalo. He
became a strong man, but was very lonely, and every time he thought of
the Giant who had destroyed his relatives and friends he thirsted for

Time passed on, and the Chippeway hunter became uneasy and discontented.
He fasted for many days, and called upon the Great Spirit to give him
power to discover and destroy the Giant who had done him so much harm.
The Great Spirit took pity upon him, heard his prayer, and sent to his
assistance a troop of a hundred men, from whose backs grew the most
beautiful of wings. They told the hunter that they knew all about the
Giant, and would help him to take his life. They said that the Giant was
very fond of the meat of the white bear, and that if the hunter would
give a bear feast they were certain that the Giant would make his
appearance and ask for a portion of the choice food. The time for giving
the feast was appointed, and it was to take place in a large natural
wigwam, formed by the locked branches of many trees; whereupon the
strange people disappeared and the hunter started towards the north
after a bear.

The hunter was successful; the appointed time arrived, the feast was
ready, and the strange people were on the ground. The dancing and the
singing were all over, and the hot bear soup filled the wigwam with a
pleasant odor. A heavy tramp was heard in the woods, and in a little
time the Giant made his appearance, attracted to the place by the smell
of the soup. He came rushing to the wigwam like one who knew not what it
was to fear; but when he saw the array of people with wings he became
very quiet, and asked the hunter if he might participate in the feast.
The hunter told him that he might, on condition that he would go to the
mouth of a certain stream that emptied into the lake, and bring
therefrom to the wigwam a large rock which he would find there. The
Giant was angry at this request, but as he was afraid of the people with
wings he dared not disobey. He did as he was bidden, and the thong which
he used to hold the rock on his back cut a deep gash in his forehead.

The hunter was not yet satisfied, and he told the Giant that before he
could be admitted to the feast he must bring to the wigwam a gill-net
that would reach across the widest stream. The Giant departed, and,
having obtained a beautiful net from a _mammoth spider_ that lived in a
cave, he brought it to the hunter. The hunter was well pleased, but not
yet fully satisfied. One more thing did he demand from the Giant before
he could be admitted to the feast, which was this, that he must make his
appearance at the feast wearing a robe made of weasel skins, with the
teeth and claws all on. This robe was obtained, the Giant was admitted,
and the feast proceeded.

It lasted for several days and nights, and the hunter, the strange
people, and the Giant danced and caroused together as if they had been
the best of friends. The Giant was delighted with the singing of his
entertainers, and while he praised them to the skies he did not know
that in his bowl of soup the Chippeway hunter, who had not forgotten the
death of his friends, had placed a bitter root, which would deprive him
of his strength. But such was, indeed, the case. On the last night of
the feast the Giant became very tired and stupid, and asked permission
to enjoy some sleep. Permission was granted, and in the centre of the
great lodge was spread for his accommodation his weasel-skin robe. Upon
the stone which he brought from the river did he rest his head, and over
him was spread the net he had obtained from the mammoth spider. He then
fell into a deep sleep, and the men with wings and the hunter continued
the revelry. Each man supplied himself with a war club, and they
performed the dance of revenge. They formed a ring around the sleeping
Giant, and at a signal made by the hunter they all gave him a severe
blow, when the spirit-men disappeared into the air, and the weasel-skin
robe suddenly became alive. The little animals feasted upon the Giant
with evident satisfaction, and by morning there was nothing left of him
but his bones. These did the hunter gather into a heap, and having burnt
them to ashes, he threw them into the air, and immediately there came
into existence all the beautiful birds which now fill the world. And in
this manner was the great Giant of the Chippeways destroyed, and instead
of his living to feast upon the flesh of man, his own body, by the
wisdom of the Great Spirit, was turned into the birds, which are the
animal food of man.

                         THE CHIPEWAY MAGICIAN.

This legend, with at least a score of variations, was related to me by a
Chippeway hunter named _Ka-zhe-osh_, or the _Fleet Flyer_. It is
excessively romantic, but will most certainly enlist the sympathies of
the ladies.

Near the head of the Mississippi is Sandy Lake. In the centre of this
lake there is an island, and on this island, in the olden times, stood a
Chippeway village. The chief of this village had a daughter, and that
daughter had a lover, who was the greatest warrior of his tribe, and a
magician. He had the power of turning himself into any kind of animal he
pleased, and for this reason he was looked upon with suspicion by the
females of his acquaintance. He lived in a secluded lodge on the
outskirts of the village, and none ever disturbed him in his seclusion
without express permission; and a greater number of scalps hung from the
poles of his lodge than from those of any other in the tribe. The
chief’s daughter admired him for his noble bearing and his exploits, but
she could not reconcile herself to become his wife. She was afraid of
the strange power that he possessed, but she loved her father, and had
promised him that she would never disobey his commands in regard to
choosing her husband, though she trusted that the magician would never
be mentioned in that connection.

In view of this state of things the magician made interest with the
entire brotherhood of warriors and hunters, and proclaimed his intention
of leading them upon the war-path to a distant country. He was unhappy,
and hoped to find peace of mind by wandering into strange lands. At an
appointed time the party assembled upon a neighboring plain, and they
went through the ceremonies of the war-dance. They also shouted a loud
war song, with the following burden:—

  “We love the whoop of our enemies;
  We are going to war,
  We are going to war, on the other side of the world.”

On witnessing these preparations, the chief of the village became
troubled. He well knew that if the old men and the women and children
under his charge should be abandoned by the fighting men and hunters of
the tribe, they would be visited by much suffering, and he determined to
avoid the calamity. But how could this be done? He thought of only one
method, which was to give the magician his daughter. He told the
daughter, and she promised to obey. He made the proposition to the
magician, and it was accepted. It was on certain conditions, however,
and these were as follows:—

The magician was first to capture the largest white-fish in the lake,
then kill a white deer, and finally win a foot-race of fifteen miles
against the swiftest runner in the tribe. All these things the magician
promised to do, and he did them all. He turned himself into an otter,
and by the assistance of the chief of the otters secured the largest
fish that had ever been seen, and appearing in his own form again,
deposited it in the lodge of the chief. He also turned himself into a
black wolf, and having ranged the forest for a white deer he caught it,
and again resuming his natural form carried it to the lodge where lived
his betrothed. In running the race that had been proposed he had one
hundred competitors, and at the end of the fifteen miles was stationed
the chief’s daughter, with a belt of wampum in her hand to crown the
victor. The magician started upon the race in the form of a man, but
before he had run a mile he turned himself into a hawk, and swooping to
the side of the maiden, demanded that she should now become an inmate of
his lodge. She consented, and the chief gave her to the magician. Before
he took her away he called together the men of his tribe who had
competed with him for the prize, and complimented them for their great
activity in running the race, and condoled with them in their
disappointment. He then told the chief that he did not thank him for
what he had done, and turning to the daughter he said that as she had
cost him so much trouble she must enter his camp and do all his work for
him, even to the end of her days. And ever since that time has it been
the lot of all Indian women to act as the servants of their husbands.

                            THE LOVER STAR.

  I obtained the following legend from the lips of an Indian trader,
  whom I met at the island of La Pointe, in Lake Superior. He said it
  was related to him by a hunter of the Chippewyan nation, and that he
  had heard a similar story among the Chippeways.

There was once a quarrel among the stars, when one of them was driven
away from its home in the heavens and descended to the earth. It
wandered from one tribe of Indians to another, and had been seen
hovering over the camp-fires of a thousand Indians, when they were
preparing themselves to sleep. It always attracted attention and
inspired wonder and admiration. It often lighted upon the heads of
little children, as if for the purpose of playing with them, but they
were invariably frightened and drove it away by their loud crying. Among
all the people in the world, only one could be found who was not afraid
of this beautiful star; and this was a little girl, the daughter of a
Chippewyan warrior. She was not afraid of the star, but rather than
this, she loved it with her whole heart, and was very happy in her love.
That she was loved by the star in return there could be no doubt, for
wherever she traveled with her father through the wilderness there, as
the night came on did the star follow, but it was never seen in the day
time. When the girl awoke at night, the star floated just above her
head; and, when she was asleep, it was so constant in its watchfulness,
that she never opened her eyes, even at midnight, without beholding its
brilliant light. People wondered at this strange condition of things,
but how much more did they wonder, when they found that the father of
the girl never returned from the hunt without an abundance of game. They
therefore concluded that the star must be the son of the Good Spirit,
and they ever after spoke of it with veneration.

Time passed on, and it was midsummer. The Indian girl had gone into the
woods for the purpose of gathering berries. Those of the wintergreen
were nearly all eaten up by the pigeons and the deer, and, as the
cranberries were beginning to ripen, she wandered into a large marsh
with a view of filling her willow basket with them. She did so, and in
the tangled thickets of the swamp she lost her way. She became
frightened and cried aloud for her father to come to her assistance. The
only creatures that answered her cries were the frogs and the lonely
bittern. The night was rapidly coming, and the farther she wandered the
more intricate became her path. At one time she was compelled to wade
into the water even to her knees, and then again would she fall into a
deep hole and almost become drowned among the poisonous slime and weeds.
Night came, and the poor girl looked up at the sky, hoping that she
might see the star that she loved. A storm had arisen, and the rain fell
so rapidly that a star could not live in it, and therefore was there
none to be seen. The storm continued, the waters of the country rose,
and in rushing into the deeper lakes, they destroyed the Indian girl,
and washed her body away so that it never could be found.

Many seasons passed away and the star continued to be seen above the
watch-fires of the Chippewyans; but it would never remain long in one
place, and its light appeared to have become dimmed. It ever seemed to
be looking for something that it could not find, and people knew that it
was unhappy on account of the untimely death of the girl it had loved.
Additional years passed on, and with the leaves of autumn, it finally
disappeared. A cold and long winter soon followed, and then the hottest
summer that had ever been known. During this season it so happened that
a hunter chanced at night to follow a bear into one of the largest
swamps of the land, when to his astonishment he discovered a small light
hanging over the water. It was so beautiful that he followed it for a
long distance, but it led into such dangerous places that he gave up the
pursuit, and returned to tell his people what he had seen. And then it
was that the oldest men of the tribe told him that the light he had seen
was the star that had been driven from heaven, and that it was now
wandering over the earth for the purpose of finding the beautiful girl
it had loved. And that same star is still upon the earth, and is often
seen by the hunters as they journey at night through the wilderness.

                      ORIGIN OF THE POTTOWATOMIES.

According to the belief of the Pottowatomies, there once lived on the
western shore of Lake Michigan two great spirits. Their names were
_Kit-che-mo-ne-to_, or the Good Spirit, and _Mat-che-mo-me-to_, the Evil
Spirit. They were equally powerful, but the creation of the world was
attributed to the former. When he had piled up the mountains, and filled
the valleys with running streams, he proceeded to people the world with
living creatures, and allotted to each variety its peculiar sphere. He
then endeavored to create a being that should resemble himself, but in
this attempt he did not succeed. The animal that he made looked and
acted more like a wolf than any other creature. Disappointed at this
failure the Good Spirit became angry, and seizing the strange creature
he had made he threw it into a great lake, and it was drowned. A storm
arose, and the waters of the lake made a terrible noise as they beat
upon its rocky shores. Among the shells and pebbles washed upon the
sands were the bones of the strange animal that the Good Spirit had
made, and when the storm had abated the bones were turned into a being
who bore a strong likeness to the present race of Pottowatomies, and
that being was the first woman. So well pleased with this creation was
the Good Spirit that he made five other beings resembling her in form,
but only more rugged, who were to help her in all her employments; and
these were the first men. One of them was named _U-sa-me_, or
Smoking-Weed; another _Wa-pa-ho_, or Pumpkin; another _Esh-kos-sim-in_,
or the Melon; another _Ko-kees_, or the Bean; and the other
_Mon-ta-min_, or Yellow Maize. The business of these several beings was
to protect and gather the various productions of the earth after which
they were named, and in doing this they continued to be employed from
the time that the acorn fell to the ground until it became one of the
largest trees of the forest.

The world had now become very beautiful, and the few men who had the
care of it very proud. They became the friends of the Evil Spirit. They
quarreled among themselves, and in process of time with the woman, whom
they had for a long time obeyed. They looked upon her as the queen of
the world, and coveted her power and happiness. They tried to take her
life, but without success. She became acquainted with the wickedness of
their hearts, and regretted that she had ever been created. So unhappy
did she become that she prayed to the Good Spirit to take her to the
sky; and when the following evening came she was transformed into a
star, and ever since that time has been the first to take her station in
the horizon after the sun has disappeared behind the distant hills. And
it is thought that so long as this star remains unchanged no misfortune
can happen to the world.

When the five young men found themselves alone they were sorry for the
unkind feelings they had manifested towards the woman, and were
constantly missing the brightness of her smiles and the music of her
voice, which they now remembered with mingled feelings of pleasure and
pain. They were in great tribulation, and expected to perish from the
face of the earth for their wickedness. They called upon the Evil Spirit
for comfort and power, but he heard them not; he had abandoned them to
their fate. They then thought that they would implore the assistance of
the Good Spirit. They did so, and told him that they only wanted each
the companionship of a woman, like the one that had been taken away.
Their prayer was answered, and thus did they become the husbands of
affectionate wives, from whom are descended the nation of Pottowatomies,
or _the people who make their own fires_.

                        ORIGIN OF THE CHOCTAWS.

  The _sea_ alluded to in this legend is supposed to be the _Gulf of
  Mexico_, and the _mighty river_ the _Mississippi_. So said the
  educated Choctaw _Pitchlyn_, from whom it was obtained. The idea that
  the Choctaws were the original mound builders, will strike the reader
  as something new.

According to the traditions of the Choctaws, the first of their race
came from the bosom of a magnificent sea. Even when they first made
their appearance upon the earth they were so numerous as to cover the
sloping and sandy shore of the ocean far as the eye could reach, and for
a long time did they follow the margin of the sea before they could find
a place suited to their wants. The name of their principal chief has
long since been forgotten, but it is well remembered that he was a
prophet of great age and wisdom. For many moons did they travel without
fatigue, and all the time were their bodies strengthened by pleasant
breezes, and their hearts, on the other hand, gladdened by the
luxuriance of a perpetual summer. In process of time, however, the
multitude was visited by sickness, and one after another were left upon
the shore the dead bodies of old women and little children. The heart of
the Prophet became troubled, and, planting a long staff that he carried
in his hand, and which was endowed with the miraculous power of an
oracle, he told his people that from the spot designated they must turn
their faces towards the unknown wilderness. But before entering upon
this portion of their journey he designated a certain day for starting,
and told them that they were at liberty, in the meantime, to enjoy
themselves by feasting and dancing, and performing their national rites.

It was now early morning, and the hour appointed for starting. Heavy
clouds and flying mists rested upon the sea, but the beautiful waves
melted upon the shore as joyfully as ever before. The staff which the
Prophet had planted was found leaning towards the north, and in that
direction did the multitude take up their line of march. Their journey
lay across streams, over hills and mountains, through tangled forests,
and over immense prairies. They were now in an entirely strange country,
and as they trusted in their magic staff they planted it every night
with the utmost care, and arose in the morning with great eagerness to
ascertain the direction towards which it leaned. And thus had they
traveled for many days when they found themselves upon the margin of an
_O-kee-na-chitto_, or great highway of water. Here did they pitch their
tents, and having planted the staff, retired to repose. When morning
came the oracle told them that they must cross the mighty river before
them. They built themselves a thousand rafts, and reached the opposite
shore in safety. They now found themselves in a country of surpassing
loveliness, where the trees were so high as almost to touch the clouds,
and where game of every variety and the sweetest of fruits were found in
the greatest abundance. The flowers of this land were more brilliant
than any they had ever before seen, and so large as often to shield them
from the sunlight of noon. With the climate of the land they were
delighted, and the air they breathed seem to fill their bodies with a
new vigor. So pleased were they with all that they saw that they built
mounds in all the more beautiful valleys they passed through, so that
the Master of Life might know that they were not an ungrateful people.
In this new country did they conclude to remain, and here did they
establish their national government with its benign laws.

Time passed on, and the Choctaw nation became so powerful that its
hunting grounds extended even to the sky. Troubles now arose among the
younger warriors and hunters of the nation, until it came to pass that
they abandoned the cabins of their forefathers, and settled in distant
regions of the earth. Thus from the very body of the Choctaw nation have
sprung those other nations which are known as the Chickasaws, the
Cherokees, the Creeks or Mukogees, the Shawnees and the Delawares. And
in the process of time the Choctaws founded a great city, wherein their
more aged men might spend their days in peace; and, because they loved
those of their people who had long before departed into distant regions,
they called this city _Yazoo_, the meaning of which is, _home of the
people who are gone_.

                          THE DANCING GHOSTS.

That beautiful phenomenon known to the white man as the Aurora Borealis,
or Northern Lights, is called by the Chippeway Indians
_Je-bi-ne-me-id-de-wand_, or the Dancing Ghosts. The legends accounting
for it are numerous, and the following, which was related to the
translator by a Chippeway hunter, named _Keesh-Chock_, or Precipice
Leaper, is quite as fantastic as the phenomenon itself. That it is a
very ancient tradition is evident from the fact that the sacrifice to
which it alludes has not been practiced by the Chippeways for at least a

There was a time when all the inhabitants of the far North were
afflicted by a famine. It was in the depth of winter, and the weather
had for a long time been so cold that even the white bear was afraid to
leave his hiding place. The prairies were so deeply covered with snow
that the deer and the buffalo were compelled to wander to a warmer
climate, and the lakes and rivers were so closely packed with ice that
it was only once in a while that even a fish could be obtained. Such
sorrow as reigned throughout the land had never before been known. The
magicians and wise men kept themselves hidden in their cabins. The
warriors and hunters, instead of boasting of their exploits, crowded
around their camp-fires, and in silence meditated upon their unhappy
doom. Mothers abandoned their children to seek for berries in the
desolate forests, and the fingers of the young women had become stiff
from idleness, for they had not any skins out of which to make the
comfortable moccasin. From one end of the Chippeway country to the other
was heard the cry of hunger and distress. That the Great Spirit was
angry with his people was universally believed, but for what reason none
of the magicians could tell. The chief of the Chippeways was the oldest
man in the nation, and he was consulted in regard to the impending
calamity. He could give no reason for the famine, but stated that he had
been informed in a dream that the anger of the Great Spirit could be
appeased by a human sacrifice. How this should come to pass, however, he
could not tell, and therefore concluded to summon to his lodge all the
medicine-men who lived within a day’s journey, for the purpose of
consulting with them. He did so, and when the council was ended it was
proclaimed that three Chippeways should be immediately bound to the
stake and consumed. They were to be selected by lot from among the
warriors of the tribe; and, when this sad intelligence was promulgated,
a national assembly was ordered to convene.

The appointed time arrived, and, in the presence of a large multitude,
the fatal lots were cast, and three of the bravest men of the tribe were
thus appointed to the sacrifice. They submitted to their fate without a
murmur. Whilst their friends gathered around them with wild
lamentations, and decked them with the costliest robes and ornaments to
be found in all the tribe, the youthful warriors uttered not a word
about their untimely departure, but only spoke in the most poetical
language of the happy hunting grounds upon which they were about to
enter. The spot selected for the sacrifice was the summit of a
neighboring hill which was covered with woods. Upon this spot had three
stakes been closely erected, around which there had been collected a
large pile of dry branches and other combustible materials. To the
stakes, at the hour of midnight, and by the hands of the magicians,
unattended by spectators, were the three warriors securely fastened.
They performed their cruel duty in silence, and the only sounds that
broke the stillness of that winter night were the songs and the
shoutings of the multitude assembled in the neighboring village. The
incantations of the priests being ended, they applied a torch to the
fagots, and, returning to their village, spent the remainder of the
night in performing a variety of strange and heart-sickening ceremonies.

Morning dawned, and upon the hill of sacrifice was to be seen only a
pile of smouldering ashes. On that day the weather moderated, and an
unusual number of hunters went forth in pursuit of game. They were all
more successful than they had been for many seasons, and there was an
abundance of sweet game, such as the buffalo, the bear, and the deer in
every wigwam. A council was called, and the patriarch chief proclaimed
the glad tidings that the Great Spirit had accepted their sacrifice, and
that it was now the duty of his children to express their gratitude by a
feast—the feast of _bitter roots_.

The appointed night arrived, and the bitterest roots which could be
found in the lodges of the magicians were collected together and made
into a soup. The company assembled to partake of this feast, was the
largest that had ever been known, and, as they were to conclude their
ceremony of thankfulness by dancing, they had cleared the snow from the
centre of their village, and on this spot were they duly congregated. It
was a cold and remarkably clear night, and their watch-fires burnt with
uncommon brilliancy. It was now the hour of midnight, and the bitter
soup was all gone. The flutes and the drums had just been brought out,
and the dancers, decked in their most uncouth dresses, were about to
enter the charmed ring, when a series of loud shoutings were heard, and
the eyes of the entire multitude were intently fixed upon the northern
sky, which was illuminated by a most brilliant and unearthly light. It
was a light of many colors, and as changeable as the reflections upon a
summer sea at the sunset hour. Across this light were constantly dancing
three huge figures of a crimson hue, and these did the magicians
proclaim to be the ghosts of the three warriors who had given up their
bodies for the benefit of their people, and who had thus become great
chiefs in the spirit-land. The fire by which their bodies had been
consumed had also consumed every feeling of revenge; and ever since that
remote period it has been their greatest pleasure to illume by their
appearance on winter nights the pathway of the hunters over the snowy
plains of the north.

                           THE STRANGE WOMAN.

It was in olden times, and two Choctaw hunters were spending the night
by their watch-fire in a bend of the river Alabama. The game and the
fish of their country were with every new moon becoming less abundant,
and all that they had to satisfy their hunger on the night in question,
was the tough flesh of a black hawk. They were very tired, and as they
mused upon their unfortunate condition, and thought of their hungry
children, they were very unhappy, and talked despondingly. But they
roasted the bird before the fire, and proceeded to enjoy as comfortable
a meal as they could. Hardly had they commenced eating, however, before
they were startled by a singular noise, resembling the cooing of a dove.
They jumped up and looked around them to ascertain the cause. In one
direction they saw nothing but the moon just rising above the forest
trees on the opposite side of the river. They looked up and down the
river, but could see nothing but the sandy shores and the dark waters.
They listened, and nothing could they hear but the murmur of the flowing
stream. They turned their eyes in that direction opposite the moon, and
to their astonishment, they discovered standing upon the summit of a
grassy mound, the form of a beautiful woman. They hastened to her side,
when she told them she was very hungry, whereupon they ran after their
roasted hawk, and gave it all into the hands of the strange woman. She
barely tasted of the proffered food, but told the hunters that their
kindness had preserved her from death, and that she would not forget
them, when she returned to the happy grounds of her father, who was the
_Hosh-tah-li_, or Great Spirit of the Choctaws. She had one request to
make, and this was, that when the next moon of midsummer should arrive,
they should visit the spot where she then stood. A pleasant breeze swept
among the forest leaves, and the strange woman suddenly disappeared.

The hunters were astonished, but they returned to their families, and
kept all that they had seen and heard, hidden in their hearts. Summer
came, and they once more visited the mound on the banks of the Alabama.
They found it covered with a new plant, whose leaves were like the
knives of the white man. It yielded a delicious food, which has since
been known among the Choctaws as the sweet toncha or Indian maize.

                         THE VAGABOND BACHELOR.

In the great wilderness of the north, midway between Hudson’s Bay and
Lake Ontario, lies a beautiful sheet of water called Stone Lake. It is
surrounded with hills, which are covered with a dense forest, and the
length thereof is about twelve miles. On the shore of this lake there
stood, in the olden time, an Ottawa village, and the most notorious
vagabond in said village was an old bachelor. He was a kind-hearted
rogue, and though he pretended to have a cabin of his own, he spent the
most of his time lounging about the wigwams of his friends, where he was
treated with the attention usually bestowed upon the oldest dog of an
Indian village. The low cunning for which he was distinguished made him
the laughing-stock of all who knew him, and his proverbial cowardice had
won for him the contempt of all the hunters and warriors. Whenever a war
party was convened for the purpose of pursuing an enemy, Wis-ka-go-twa,
or the White Liver, always happened to be in the woods; but when they
returned, singing their songs of victory, the vagabond bachelor
generally mingled conspicuously with the victors.

But, in process of time, Wis-ka-go-twa took it into his head to get
married, and from that moment began the troubles of his life. As soon as
his resolution had become known among the young women of the village,
they came together in secret council, and unanimously agreed that not
one of them would ever listen to the expected proposals of the bachelor,
for they thought him too great a coward to enjoy the pleasures of
matrimony. Years elapsed, and the vagabond was still in the enjoyment of
his bachelorhood.

In the meanwhile a beautiful maiden, named Muck-o-wiss, or the
Whipporwill, had budded into the full maturity of life. She was the
chief attraction of the village, and the heart of many a brave warrior
and expert hunter had been humbled beneath her influence. Among those
who had entered her lodge in the quiet night, and whispered the story of
his love, was Wis-ka-go-twa. She deigned not to reply to his avowals,
and he became unhappy. He asked the consent of her father to their
union, and he said that he had no objections provided the daughter was
willing. It so happened, however, that the maiden was not willing, for
she was a member of that female confederacy which had doomed the
vagabond lover to the miseries of single life. Time passed on, and he
was the victim of a settled melancholy.

The sunny days of autumn were nearly numbered, and an occasional blast
from the far north had brought a shudder to the breast of Wis-ka-go-twa,
for they reminded him of the long winter which he was likely to spend in
his wigwam alone. He pondered upon the gloomy prospect before him, and
in his frenzy made the desperate resolution that he would, by any means
in his power, obtain the love of his soft-eyed charmer. He consequently
began to exert himself in his daily hunts, and whenever he obtained an
uncommonly fat beaver, or large bear, he carefully deposited it before
the lodge of Muck-o-wiss, and he now mingled, more frequently than ever
before, in the various games of the village, and was not behind his more
youthful rivals in jumping and playing ball. In a variety of ways did he
obtain renown, but it was at the expense of efforts which nearly
deprived him of life. Again did he sue for the smiles of Muck-o-wiss,
but she told him he was an old man, and that he did not wear in his hair
a single plume of the eagle, to show that he had ever taken a scalp.

The disappointed vagabond now turned his attention to war. It so
happened, however, that a permanent peace had been established between
the Ottawas and the neighboring tribes, so that our hero was baffled on
this score also. But he had heard it reported in the village that a
party of Iroquois warriors had been seen on that side of the Great Lake,
and as they were heartily hated by his own tribe, he conceived the idea
of absenting himself for a few days, for the purpose of playing a
deceptive game upon the maiden of his love and the entire population of
the village where he lived. Having formed his determination, he kept it
entirely to himself, and on a certain morning he launched his canoe upon
the lake and disappeared, as if going upon a hunting expedition.

Four or five days had elapsed, and the vagabond bachelor was not yet
returned. On the afternoon of the sixth day, a couple of Indian boys,
who had been frolicking away the morning in the woods, returned to the
village in an uncommonly excited mood. They visited almost every wigwam,
and related a grand discovery which they had made. While chasing a deer
into a secluded bay, about ten miles down the lake, they announced that
they had seen Wis-ka-go-twa engaged in a most singular employment. They
were aware of his peculiar reputation, and when they saw him in this
out-of-the-way place, they watched him in silence from behind a fallen
tree. The first act which they saw him perform was, to shoot into the
side of his little canoe some twenty of his flint-headed arrows, which
mutilated the canoe in a most disgraceful manner. He next took some
unknown instrument, and inflicted a number of severe wounds upon his
arms and legs. But the deepest incision which he made was on his leg,
just above the knee, into which they were astonished to see him place,
with a small stick, a kind of white material, which resembled the dry
shell of a turtle. All this being accomplished, they saw the vagabond
embark in his leaky canoe, as if about to return to the village. They
suspected the game that was being played, so they made the shortest cut
home and related the foregoing particulars.

An hour or two passed on, and, as the sun was setting, the villagers
were attracted by a canoe upon the lake. They watched it with peculiar
interest, and found that it was steadily approaching. Presently it made
its appearance within hailing distance, when it was discovered to be
occupied by the vagabond bachelor. Every man, woman, and child
immediately made their appearance on the shore, apparently for the
purpose of welcoming the returning hunter, but in reality with a view of
enjoying what they supposed would turn out a good joke. The hunter
looked upon the crowd with evident satisfaction, but he manifested his
feelings in a very novel manner, for he was momentarily uttering a
long-drawn groan, as if suffering from a severe wound. As the canoe
touched the sand it was found to be half full of bloody water, and one
of the sides had evidently been fired into by the arrows of an enemy. A
murmur ran through the crowd that Wis-ka-go-twa must have had a dreadful
time, and he was called upon to give the particulars, when he did so in
a few words. He had been overtaken, he said, by a party of Iroquois,
consisting of some twenty men, who attacked him while he was pursuing a
bear, and though he succeeded in killing four of his rascally pursuers,
his canoe had been sadly mutilated, and he had received a wound which he
feared would be the cause of his death. In due time the wound was
revealed to the public eye, and the young women turned away with a
shudder; and then the vagabond bachelor was conveyed to his lodge, and
the medicine-man sent for to administer relief.

A day or two elapsed, and the poor hunter was evidently in a bad way.
They asked him what individual in the village he would have to attend
him. He expressed a preference for the father of Muck-o-wiss, who came
and faithfully attended to his duties as a nurse; but the sick was not
yet satisfied. “Whom will you have now?” asked the old man, and the name
of Muck-o-wiss trembled on the lips of the sick lover. His chief desire
was granted, and for three days did the maiden attend to the little
wants of her unfortunate lover. Another day, and he was rapidly mending.
He was now so nearly restored that the maiden began to talk of returning
to her mother’s wigwam. This intelligence roused the hunter from his bed
of furs, and he once more avowed his undying attachment to the charming
maiden. She repulsed him with a frown, and retired from the lodge; so
the hunter was again sadly disappointed. The maiden hastened to tell the
news to all the women of the village, and after they had enjoyed
themselves for upwards of an hour, Muck-o-wiss returned to the wigwam of
her lover, and told him that she would become his wife on one condition,
which was, that on the day he should succeed in killing five bears, on
that day would she enter his lodge and make it her permanent home. For
an Indian to kill five bears on one day was considered a remarkable
feat, and the roguish Muck-o-wiss thought herself secure.

Days passed on, and the vagabond bachelor was again restored to sound
health and devoting himself to the chase. It was just the season when
the black bear takes up its annual journey for the south, and the hunter
had discovered a narrow place in the lake, where the animals were in the
habit of coming. It was the last day of autumn, and early in the morning
he had stationed himself in a good ambush. By the time the sun cast a
short shadow, he had killed three fine specimens, and placed them before
the lodge of his intended wife. The middle of the afternoon arrived, and
he had deposited the fourth animal at the same place. The sunset hour
was nigh at hand, and the hunter had killed and placed in his canoe the
fifth and largest bear that he had ever seen. The happiest hour of the
poor man’s life was now surely nigh at hand. Impatiently did he paddle
his way home. The villagers saw that the vagabond bachelor had been
successful, and Muck-o-wiss and all her female companions were filled
with consternation. But the truly heroic warriors, who had striven in
vain to win the love of the village beauty, were not only astonished,
but indignant, for they could not bear the idea of losing, in such a
manner, the prize which had urged them on in the more noble deeds of
war. But now has the canoe once more reached the shore. Upon his back
has the hunter lifted his prize, and up the bank is he toiling and
staggering along with the immense load, and now has he fixed his eyes
upon the lodge where he is hoping to receive his promised bride. His
heart flutters with tumultuous joy—his knees tremble from fatigue—a
strange faintness passes over his brain—he reels from his upright
position—the bear falls to the ground—and the vagabond bachelor is—dead.

                       ORIGIN OF THE WATER LILY.

Many, many moons ago, an old and very celebrated hunter of the
Pottowattomie nation was at the point of death, in a remote forest. He
was alone on his bed of leaves, for he had been stricken by the hand of
disease while returning from a hunting expedition. Among the treasures
that he was to leave behind him was a beautiful hickory arrow, with
which he had killed a great number of animals. The head thereof was made
of a pure white flint, and the feathers which adorned it had been
plucked from the wings of the scarlet birds. It had been the means of
saving his life on many occasions, and its virtues were so peculiar,
that it could pass entire through a buffalo without being tinged with
the life-blood of the animal.

The greatest weight which rested upon the mind of the dying Indian,
arose from the idea that he could not bequeath his arrow to his oldest
son. He was alone in the wilderness, and it made him very unhappy to
think that the treasure of his family might yet become the property of
an enemy, who would be likely to cross his trail after the ravens or
wolves had eaten his flesh. But this was a thought that he could not
possibly endure, and as the pall of night settled upon the world, he
fixed his eyes upon the northern star, which had guided him through many
dangers, and prayed to the Master of Life that he would take his arrow
and carry it safely to the smiling planet. A moment more and the unknown
hunter buried his head among the dry leaves, and—died.

On the following night, a terrible gale of wind swept over the land,
which took the arrow from the ground and hurled it into the upper air. A
strange silence immediately followed, when the northern star was seen to
tremble in the sky: another brief period elapsed, and there was a
deafening noise heard in the firmament, when the evening star left its
own quiet home, and fell upon the northern star for the purpose of
winning, by single combat, the arrow of the great hunter. The conflict
was a desperate one, and as the two stars fought for the earthly prize,
sparks of white light shot from their sides, and in unnumbered particles
fell upon the country now known as Michigan. A long rain storm soon
followed, by which the particles of light were taken to the river, and
by a decree of the Master of Life, were changed into the beautiful white
lilies which adorn the numerous streams of the western country.

                         THE FAITHFUL COUSINS.

I now speak of two Chippeway hunters, who lived among the Porcupine
mountains, near Lake Superior. They were the oldest sons of two
brothers, and noted in their village for the warm friendship existing
between them, and for their powers in hunting. They were very famous
throughout the land, and into whatever village they happened to enter,
the old men asked them to remain and marry their handsome women, but the
hunters laughed at all such proposals, for they had pledged their words
to each other that they would ever remain single and free.

It was when the leaves were fading, that the young cousins heard of a
great hunt which was to take place in a distant village. It was got up
by an old warrior, who was the father of a beautiful daughter, and he
had determined that the most successful hunter should become his
son-in-law. This intelligence had been conveyed to the cousins in a
secret manner, and on departing from their own village, they spoke not a
word of their determination. In due time the hunt took place, and an
immense quantity of game was taken. Some of the hunters brought home two
bears, some three and four deer, but the two cousins captured each five
bears. As no one man had eclipsed his fellows, it was resolved by the
old warrior that the man who should bring to his lodge the scalps of ten
bears, should be the successful candidate for the hand of his daughter.
Another hunt took place, and each of the cousins brought in, not only
the scalps of ten full grown bears, but also a large quantity of choice
meats, which they deposited at the tent door of the chief. The
difficulty of making a selection was now even greater than before, but
the truth was, the young friends had no desire to marry the beautiful
girl, but were only anxious to manifest their bravery, or rather
wonderful expertness in killing wild animals. Their singular conduct
astonished everybody, but mostly the venerable warrior and his favorite

The important question must be decided, however, and the old man
resorted to a number of expedients to decide upon a future son-in-law.
The first was that the two cousins should enter upon a wrestling
match—they did so, and the twain fell to the ground at the same moment.
The next was that they should try their agility in leaping over a
suspended stick, but in this trial they also came out exactly even. The
third was, that they shoot their arrows at a pair of humming birds, and
the maker of the best shot to be the lady’s husband; the arrows were
thrown, and the right wing of each bird was broken. The fourth expedient
was that they should go upon a squirrel hunt—they did so, and each one
returned with just exactly one hundred of those sprightly creatures. It
now came to pass, and was whispered about the village, that one of the
cousins had really become interested in the girl who was the innocent
cause of so much contention, and when her father found this out, he
resolved to make one more experiment. He therefore commanded the young
men to kill each a specimen of the _ke necoh_ or war-eagle, and the one
who should present her with the greatest number of perfectly formed
feathers, would be welcomed as a relative. The trial was made and the
whole number of feathers obtained was twenty-one, the odd feather having
been gained by the enamored cousin. The girl was of course awarded to
him in due time, but what was the surprise of all the villagers, when it
was proclaimed that he would not receive the prize unless the young men
of the tribe should first build him a handsome lodge and furnish it with
the choicest of meats and skins. At this suggestion the young men were
greatly enraged, but they concluded, in consideration of their
admiration for the Indian girl, to change their minds, and forthwith
proceeded to erect the new lodge.

In the meanwhile, it was ascertained that the unlucky cousin had become
somewhat offended at his companion, whereupon the accepted lover joined
the other in a bear hunt for the purpose of effecting a reconciliation.
It so happened, however, that the existing coldness between them could
not be removed, and while the twain were toiling up a remote hill with
the view of encamping for the night, the disappointed cousin was
suddenly transformed into a large fire-fly, and having ascended into the
air, immediately experienced another change, and became what is now
known as the Northern Star. The remaining cousin felt himself severely
punished by this abandonment for having broken his vow, and therefore
became an exile from his native land and led a comfortless and solitary
life; while the maiden whom he was to wed, it is said, is still waiting
patiently, but in vain, for the return of her long lost lover.

                           THE OSAGE DAMSEL.

There once lived in the Osage country an Indian whose name was
_Koo-zhe-ge-ne-cah_; or _The Distant Man_. He had been a famous warrior
and hunter, but time had weakened his arm and lifted a mist before his
eye. His wives were all dead, and the only one of his kindred left upon
earth to minister to his wants was a little damsel, his grandchild, and
the joy of his old age. The twain were much beloved by all their tribe,
and when journeying across the broad prairies they were always supplied
with the gentlest of horses, and they never had to ask the second time
for their favorite food. Whenever the tribe came to a halt on the bank
of a river, in a country abounding in game, the first tent-poles planted
in the ground were those belonging to the Distant Man and his child, and
their tent always stood next to that of the chief.

It was midsummer, and the entire Osage nation was encamped upon a plain
at the foot of a mountain, covered to the very summit with rich grass
and brilliant flowers. The last hunts had been successful, and in every
lodge was to be found an abundance of buffalo and deer meat. Feasting
and merrymaking, dancing and playing ball, were the chief employments of
the hour throughout the entire village, while in every direction upon
the prairies the horses, with their feet hobbled, were cropping their
sweet food. The children and the dogs sported upon the green together,
and many a laugh resounded long and loud. The sun was near his setting,
when suddenly an unusual stillness pervaded the air. The people gathered
together in haste and wondered what it could all mean. The strange
silence caused them to listen with increased attention, when a distant
whoop came stealing along the air. It seemed to come from the
neighboring mountain, and as the multitude cast their eyes in that
direction, they saw a single horseman coming towards their encampment
with the speed of the wind. They waited in breathless expectation, and
were astonished at the boldness of the stranger in riding with such fury
directly into their midst.

He was mounted upon a black horse of gigantic size, with splendidly
flowing mane and tail, and an eye of intense brilliancy, and was
caparisoned in a most gorgeous manner. The stranger was clad from head
to foot with a dress of many colors, and from his hair hung a great
variety of the most curious plumes. He carried a lance, and to his side
were fastened a bow and a quiver of arrows. He was in the prime of life,
and his bearing was that of a warrior chief. He avowed himself the son
of the Master of Life, and his home to be in the Spirit Land. He said
that there was a woman in that land who had told him that the most
beautiful maiden in the Osage nation was her daughter. From other lips
also had he heard that she was good as well as beautiful, and that her
only protector and friend was an old man named _Koo-ze-ghe-ne-cah_. He
had asked for a dream that he might see this being of the earth. Having
seen her, and being in want of a wife, he was now come to demand her of
her venerable parent, and forthwith rode to the door of his tent to make
a bargain. The stranger dismounted not from his horse, but talked with
the old man leaning upon the neck of his noble animal, the maiden
meanwhile sitting in pensive quietness within her tent door, working a
pair of moccasins. The old man doubted the stranger’s words, and desired
him to prove that he was the son of the Master of Life. “What sign of my
nature and power would you witness?” inquired the stranger. “That you
would cover the heavens with thick darkness, picture it with lightning,
and fill the air with loud thunder,” replied the old man. “Do this, and
my daughter shall be your bride.” Suddenly a storm arose, and the sign
was fulfilled to the utmost extent, so that the entire nation were
stricken with fear. Night came on, the sky was without a cloud, but
spangled with stars, and the air was perfectly serene, and when the
stranger and his steed were sought for, it was found that they had
disappeared. Peace rested upon the Osage village, and the oldest men of
that tribe never enjoyed a more refreshing sleep than on that memorable

On the following day everything about the Osage encampment wore its
ordinary aspect, and the events of the previous day were talked over as
people talk of their dreams. The old man and the maiden made an offering
to the Master of Life, and while the former, before the assembled
nation, promised to give up his child, she, in her turn, expressed her
entire willingness to become the bride of the stranger, should he ever
return. Not only was she prompted to do this by the honor conferred upon
her, and also by the nobleness of the stranger, but she thought it would
make her so happy to rejoin her long departed mother in the spirit land.
She was only troubled about the feeble old man, whom she dearly loved;
but when the whole nation promised, as with one voice, to make him the
object of their peculiar care, she was satisfied.

Again was the sun in the western horizon. Again did the stranger appear
mounted as before. But as he entered the village, there trotted by his
side a white horse of exceeding beauty, decked from forelock to tail
with the richest and rarest of ornaments. He had come for his bride, and
was impatient to be gone. He led the white horse to the tent of the girl
he loved, and throwing at her feet a dress of scarlet feathers, he
motioned her to prepare for a long journey. When she was ready, he
motioned to the white horse to fall upon his knees, and the maiden
leaped upon his back. The twain then walked their horses to the
outskirts of the village, and as they passed along the stranger took
from his quiver and tossed into the hands of the Osage chief and each of
his warriors and hunters, a charmed arrow, which, he said, would enable
them not only to subdue their enemies, but also supply them with an
abundance of game, as long as they roamed the prairies. The stranger now
gave a whoop and the horses started upon the run. Their path lay over
the mountain, where the stranger had been first seen. They flew more
swiftly than the evening breeze, and just as the sun disappeared, they
reached the summit of the mountain and also disappeared, as if received
into the bosom of a golden cloud.

                        THE SPECTRE AND HUNTER.

  The following legend was originally translated into English by an
  educated Choctaw, named _J. L. McDonald_, and subsequently embodied in
  a private letter to another Choctaw, named _Peter P. Pitchlyn_. The
  former of these very worthy Indian gentlemen has long been dead, and
  it is therefore with very great pleasure that I avail myself of the
  opportunity, kindly afforded me by the latter gentleman, of
  associating the legendary relic with my own. I have ventured, by the
  permission and advice of Mr. Pitchlyn, to alter an occasional
  expression in the text, but have not trespassed upon the spirit of the

Ko-way-hoom-mah, or the Red Panther, once started out on a hunting
expedition. He had an excellent bow, and carried with him some jerked
venison. His only companion was a large white dog, which attended him in
all his rambles. This dog was a cherished favorite, and shared in all
his master’s privations and successes. He was the social companion of
the hunter by day, and his watchful guardian by night.

The hunter had traveled far, and as the evening approached, he encamped
upon a spot that bore every indication of an excellent hunting-ground.
Deer-tracks were seen in abundance, and turkeys were heard clucking in
various directions, as they retired to their roosting places.
Ko-way-hoom-mah kindled a fire, and having shared a portion of his
provision with his dog, he spread his deer-skin and his blanket by the
crackling fire, and mused on the adventures of the day already passed,
and on the probable success of the ensuing one. It was a bright
starlight night; the air was calm, and a slight frost which was falling,
rendered the fire comfortable and cheering. His dog lay crouched and
slumbering at his feet, and from his stifled cries, seemed dreaming of
the chase. Everything tended to soothe the feelings of our hunter, and
to prolong that pleasant train of associations, which the beauty of the
night and the anticipations of the morrow were calculated to inspire. At
length, when his musings were assuming that indefinite and dreamy state
which precedes a sound slumber, he was startled by a distant cry, which
thrilled on his ear, and roused him into instant watchfulness. He
listened with breathless attention, and in a few minutes again heard the
cry, keen, long, and piercing. The dog gave a plaintive and ominous
howl. Ko-way-hoom-mah felt uneasy. Can it be a lost hunter? was the
inquiry which suggested itself. Surely not, for a true hunter feels lost
nowhere. What then can it be? With these reflections our hunter stepped
forth, gathered more fuel, and again replenished his fire. Again came a
cry, keen, long, and painfully thrilling, as before. The voice was
evidently approaching, and again the dog raised a low and mournful howl.
Ko-way-hoom-mah then felt the blood curdling to his heart, and folding
his blanket around him, he seated himself by the fire and fixed his eyes
intently in the direction from which he expected the approach of his
startling visitor. In a few moments he heard the approach of his
footsteps. In another minute, a ghastly shape made its appearance, and
advanced towards the fire. It seemed to be the figure of a hunter, like
himself. Its form was tall and gaunt, its features livid and unearthly.
A tattered robe was girded round his waist, and covered his shoulders,
and he bore an unstrung bow and a few broken arrows.

The spectre advanced to the fire, and seemed to shiver with cold. He
stretched forth one hand, then the other to the fire, and as he did so,
he fixed his hollow and ghastly eye on Ko-way-hoom-mah, and a slight
smile lighted up his livid countenance, but not a word did he utter.
Ko-way-hoom-mah felt his flesh and hair creep, and the blood freezing in
his veins, yet with instinctive Indian courtesy he presented his
deer-skin as a seat for his grim visitor. The spectre waved his hand,
and shook his head in refusal. He stepped aside, plucked up a parcel of
briers from an adjacent thicket, spread them by the fire, and on his
thorny couch he stretched himself and seemed to court repose.

Our hunter was petrified with mingled fear and astonishment. His eyes
continued long riveted on the strange and ghastly being stretched before
him, and he was only awakened from his trance of horror by the voice of
his faithful dog. “Arise,” said the dog, suddenly and supernaturally
gifted with speech, “Arise, and flee for your life! The spectre now
slumbers: should you also slumber, you are lost. Arise and flee, while I
stay and watch!” Ko-way-hoom-mah arose, and stole softly from the fire.
Having advanced a few hundred paces, he stopped to listen; all was
silent, and with a beating heart he continued his stealthy and rapid
flight. Again he listened, and again, with renewed confidence, he
pursued his rapid course, until he had gained several miles on his route
homeward. Feeling at length a sense of safety, he paused to recover
breath, on the brow of a lofty hill. The night was calm and serene, the
stars shone with steady lustre, and as Ko-way-hoom-mah gazed upwards, he
breathed freely and felt every apprehension vanish. Alas! on the
instant, the distant baying of his dog struck on his ear; with a thrill
of renewed apprehension, he bent his ear to listen, and the appalling
cry of his dog, now more distinctly audible, convinced him that the
spectre was in full pursuit. Again he fled with accelerated speed, over
hill, over plain, through swamps and thickets, till once more he paused
by the side of a deep and rapid river. The heavy baying of his dog told
him too truly, that his fearful pursuer was close at hand. One minute he
stood for breath, and he then plunged into the stream. But scarcely had
he gained the centre, when the spectre appeared on the bank, and plunged
in after him, closely followed by the panting dog. Ko-way-hoom-mah’s
apprehensions now amounted to agony. He fancied he saw the hollow and
glassy eyeballs of his pursuer glaring above the water, and that his
skeleton hand was already outstretched to grapple with him. With a cry
of horror he was about to give up the struggle for life and sink beneath
the waves, when his faithful dog, with a fierce yell, seized upon his
master’s enemy. After a short but severe struggle they both sunk; the
waters settled over them forever. He became an altered man. He shunned
the dance and the ball play, and his former hilarity gave place to a
settled melancholy. In about a year after this strange adventure he
joined a war party against a distant enemy and never returned.

                                THE END.


[1]The Fall Fish of Rock Creek is evidently identical with the Dace of
    Walton; it is really a beautiful and sweet fish, and well deserves
    its local reputation.

[2]The unvarnished facts contained in this article were picked up by the
    writer in the autumn and winter of 1847, while he had charge of the
    city department of the New York Daily Express.

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