Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

any one.

of liberty has gone down angry, extinguished in the waters of popular delusion. Then, for heaven's sake, look at Vixburg. Everything looks worse and worse there. In several of the coun. ties they have quashed all the bonds, in some there are no courts, in others the sheriffs pocket the money, and refuse to shell out to

In one instance a man tried for the murder of his wife es. caped because he was convicted of manslaughter; and in another, a person indicted for stealing a pig got off because it was a chote. They ring the noses of the judges instead of the pigs. From cutting each other up in the papers with pens, they now cut each other up in the streets with bowie knives, and, in my opinion, will soon eat one another like savages, for backbiting has become quite common. The constitution has received a pretty considerable tarnation shock, that's a fact. Van Burenism and Sub-Treasuryism have triumphed; the Whig cause has gained nothing but funeral honours, and a hasty burial below low-water mark. In England, Biddle retiring from the bank has affected the cotton trade, and shook it to its centre. They say, if it paid well, why did he pay himself off ? If it was a losing concern, it was a loss to lose him; but all are at a loss to know the reason of his withdrawing. I own I fear he is playing the game of fast and loose. The breaking of that bank would affect the banks of the Mississippi as well as the Ohio, and the country would be inundated with bad paper, the natural result of his paper war with Jackson, the undamming by the administration of the specie dammed up by him for so long a period. Damn them all, I say. However, Ich, if we have made a losing concern of it, the English have got their per contra sheet, showing a balance against them too. They are going to lose Canada, see if they ain't, as sure as a gun; and if they do, I guess we know where to find it, without any great search after it, either. I didn't think myself it was so far gone goose with them, or the fat in the fire half so bad, until I read Lord Durham's report; but he says, "My experience leaves no doubt on my mind that an invading American army might rely upon the co-operation of almost the entire French population of Lower Canada. Did you ever hear the like of that, Ich? By gosh, but it was worth while to publish that, wasn't it? Now, after such an invitation as that, coming from such a quarter, too, if our folks don't go in and take it, they ought to be kicked clean away to the other side of sun down, hang me if they hadn't enough. It is enough to make a cat sick, too, to hear them Goneys to Canada talk about responsible Government, cuss me if it ain't. They dont know what they are jawing about, them fellows, that's a fact. I should like to know what's the use of mob responsibility when our most responsible treasurers fobbed five millions of dollars lately of the public money, without winking. Where are they now? Why, some on ’em is in France, going the whole figure, and the other rascals at home snapping the fingers of one hand at the people, and gingling their own specie at them with the fingers of the other hand, as sarcy as the devil. Only belong to the majority, and you are as safe as a thief in a mill. They'll carry you thro' the mire at a round trot, as stiff as a pedlar's horse. It's well enough to boast, Ich, of our constitution afore strangers, and particularly afore them colony chaps, because it may do good;

all, I

but I hope I may be most particularly cussed if I wouldn't undertake to drive a stage-coach and four horses thro' most any part of it at full gallop. Responsibility! what infernal nonsense! Show me one of all our public defaulters that deserved hanging, that ever got his due, and then I'll believe the word has some meaning in it. But the British are fools, that's a fact, always was fools, and always will be fools to the end of the chapter; and them are colonists arnt much better, I hope I may be shot if they are. The devil help them

say, till we are ready for them, and then let them look out for squalls, that's all. Lord, if they was to invade us as our folks did them, and we was to catch them, we'd serve them as Old Hickory did Ambristher and Arbuthnot, down there to Florida line-hang 'em up like onions, a dozen on a rope. I guess they won't try them capers with us; they know a trick worth two of that, I'me a thinking. I suppose you've heard the French took a pilot out of a British gun-brig; when called upon for explanation, they said they took this man-of-war for a merchantman. No great compliment that, was it ? but John Bull swallowed it all, though he made awful wry faces in getting it down. As our minister said, suppose they did make such a blunder, what right had they to take him out of a merchantman at all ? and if it was a mistake, why didn't they take him back again when they found out their error? He was such an everlastin' overbearin crittur himself in years past was John Bull, it does one good to see him humbled, and faith he gets more kicks than coppers now. It appears to me they wouldn't have dared to have done that to us, don't it to you? Then they took one of their crack steam frigates for a Mexican. Lord, that was another compliment, and they let drive into her and played the very devil. Nothing but another mistake ag'in, says Bullfrog, upon my vird and onare very soary, but I did not know you, my goot friend ; no, I did not, indeed, I took you for de miserable Mexican -you very much altered from de old time what went beforevary. It was lucky for Johnny Croppo our General Jackson hadn't the helm of state, or he'd a taught them different guess manners, I'm a thinking. If they had dared to venture that sort of work to us in Old Hickory's time, I hope I may be skinned alive by wild cats if he wouldn't have blowed every cussed craft they have out of the water. Lord, Ich, he'd a sneezed them out, cuss me if he wouldn't! There is no mistake in Old Hick, I tell you. If he isn't clear gritginger to the back-bone-tough as whitleather, and spunky as a bull dog, it's a pity, that's all. I must say, at present, our citizens are treated with great respect

abroad. His excellency the honble the governor of the state of Quimbagog lives at St. Jimses, and often dines at the palace. When they go to dinner, he carries the Queen, and Melburne carries Duchess Kent. Him and the Queen were considerably shy at first, but they soon got sociable, and are quite thick now. He told the company there was a town to home called Vixburg, after-(Melburne says ahem! as a hint not to go too far-Governor winks, as much as to say, no fear, my boy,) so called from Vix, scarcely, and burg, a city, which place had become famous throughout America for its respect for the laws, and that many people thought there was a growing resemblance between England and it. Melburne seed the bam, and looked proper vexed; and to turn the conversation, said, “Shall I

I take you,

have the honour to take wine with your Excellency Mister Governor of the state of Quimbagog in America, but now a guest of her most gracious Majesty!” They say he always calls it an honour when he asks him, and pays him the respect to give him all his titles, and when he asks other folks, he says "pleasure" and just nods his head. That's gratifying now, aint it? The truth is, we stand letter A. No. 1 abroad, and for no other reason than thisthe British can whip all the world, and we can whip the British. When you write to England, if you speak of this ship, you must call her the Great Western Steamer, or it may lead to trouble ; for there are two Great Westerns,—this here ship, and one of the great men ; and they won't know which you mean. Many mistakes have happened already, and parcels are constantly sent to his address in that way, that are intended for America. The fact is, there is some truth in the resemblance. Both their trips cost more money than they were worth. Both raised greater expectations than they have fulfilled. Both returned a plaguy sight quicker than they went out : and between

you and me and the post, both are inconveniently big, and have more smoke than power. As soon as I arrange my business at Pittsville, I shall streak it off for Maine, like lightning, for I am in an everlasting almighty hurry, I tell you, and hoping to see you well and stirring, and as hearty as brandy.

I am, dear Ich, yours faithfully, ELNATHAN CARD. P.S.-Keep dark. If you have a rael right-down clipper of a horse in your stable, a-doing of nothing, couldn't you jist whip over to Portland on the 20th, to meet me, in your waggon? If you could, I can put you up to a thing about oil; in which, I think, we could make a considerable of a decent spec, and work it so as to turn a few thousand dollars slick. Gineral Corncob will accommodate us at the bank with what we want; for it was me that helped him over the fence when he was nonplushed last election for senator by the democratic republicans, and he must be a most superfine infernal rascal if he turns stag on me now.

Chew on it, at any rate, and if you have a mind to go snaks, why jist make an arrant for something or another to the Bay, to draw the wool over folke's eyes, and come on the sly, and

you
will
go

back heavier, I guess, than you came by a plaguy long chalk, that's a fact.

Yours, E. C.

THE WISHING WELL,

you

ISLE OF WIGHT.

BY ABRAHAM ELDER, ESQ. In answer to our inquiry respecting the Wishing Well, Captain Nosered gave us the following account of it.

' The Wishing Well is a small spring of water that runs on the edge of the brow of the very steep hill that looks over the Undercliff, a little to the eastward of Ventnor. The superstition respecting it is, that if a person walks quite straight up to it from the low ground beneath without once looking behind him, and then drinks of the water, he will have any three wishes that he makes granted to him.

“It is, however, a feat not often performed. In the first place, the ascent is extremely steep, and the grass very slippery; and, although falling down does not forfeit the privileges of the waterdrinker, yet should he fall, it would be very difficult to avoid looking behind. For, even if the person should not happen to turn partly round in his fall, he will be very apt to forget himself for a moment, and look at the sea and the country beneath. I do not know why it is; but while resting during an ascent of a steep road we have always a natural, and as it were, instinctive inclination to turn round; which, as I before observed, is in the present instance destructive of future prospects. Supposing all these accidents and inclinations surmounted, and the brow of the hill reached, ascending in a straight line, without inclining to the right or left, or looking round, the chances are greatly against coming exactly upon the little spring; and, if you find yourself upon one side of it,it is clear that cannot get to it without turning, which, as I observed before, forfeits the right you would otherwise possess of having your three wishes accomplished.

“Since I have been an inhabitant of Violet Cottage,” continued Captain Nosered, “I have not heard that any one has gone through the ceremony so exactly as to have obtained his three wishes."

“But, then, you should bear in mind, sir,” observed the Antiquary, “ that the spot is so frequented by strangers visiting the island, who are here to-day and gone to-morrow, that the thing might have happened over and over again without its having of necessity come to your knowledge.”

"Your observation, Mr. Winterblossom, is a very correct one. For instance, when I was first married to my dear Florilla,” (here Mrs. Nosered gave a smile of approbation,) "we took a honeymooning tour round the Isle of Wight. Did we not, love ?" (here another smile and a nod.) “Well, when we got to Ventnor, where we drank tea and slept, we determined to visit the Wishing Well the next day after breakfast, and to wish for a boy," (here Mrs. Nosered put her hand before her face, and turned a little on one side, to look as if she was blushing.) “Well, after breakfast we started, and soon arrived at the bottom of the Wishing Hill; but, alas! it was far too steep for Florilla's delicate limbs,” (she was a large, fat, red-faced woman, at the time the Captain related to us this story) so I was obliged to leave her at the bottom of the hill, and see what I could do for the family by going up to the spring, and drinking and wishing by myself. I was wonderfully successful in the ascent. I VOL. V.

2

hand;

never looked onee behind me; though Florilla in all her charms was seated at the bottom of the hill, smiling probably, and looking up towards me. Well, sir, I came straight upon the well at the top of the hill ; I took some of the water up in the hollow of my drank it; I then sat down, and wished for a boy. No boy came, however,-as the saying goes—in the due course of time. About two years afterwards, indeed, we had a little girl.-Jane, my dear, give Mr. Winterblossom a little more sugar in his tea.

That's her, sir. Why it did not turn out right I cannot tell. Perhaps there is no real virtue in the well. Perhaps I failed in some small particular. But, somehow or other, it often strikes me that if Florilla could have managed to have got to the top of the hill, and we had there drunk and wished together, it might have been otherwise.”

Here Jane presented the Antiquary with a cup of tea, and Mrs. Nosered carried one to her husband, and, under pretence of whispering something into his ear, she gave him a little small kiss upon his left cheek; I suppose to thank him for calling her dear,” and talking of her charms before company,—which is more than any wife has strictly a right to expect. I was not, however, forgotten in this amiable distribution of tea ; for the younger daughter, Charlotte, brought me my cup. Charlotte was, indeed, really beautiful. . She had a small elegant nose—not looking downwards—which I admire above all things. Her light brown curls hanging down in long ringlets, and the ends of these silken tendrils resting upon her delicate and white bust—for she wore a low gown, being dressed for the evening. Heaven and earth! what would I have given for her to have whispered something into my ear after the manner of her mother. But, to return to my story. We sipped our tea, and stirred it, and then sipped again, Florilla looking complacently upon her husband ; the Antiquary watching Jane as she spread and sliced the bread and butter ; while I was feasting my eyes upon the beauty of the sweet, dear, Charlotte Nosered.

After the Antiquary had finished his tea, he continued knocking his spoon backwards and forwards in his empty cup-in deep meditation, doubtless, for he was deaf to frequent invitations to another cup. At length he turned to Captain Nosered, and said,

I think you observed, that when you got to the top of the hill you tasted the water,-and then sat down,—and then wished for a boy?"

is Just so.”
“Pray did you turn yourself round when you sat down ?”

“ Undoubtedly I did. The hill is so steep that if I had sat down the other way, I should probably have rolled head over heels down to the bottom of the hill.”

The Antiquary made no answer, but gave a significant nod, and then changed the conversation by requesting Mrs. Nosered to supply him with another cup of tea.

At length I ventured to put in my word, and I said to the Captain,

“ Then, sir, if I understand you rightly, you have tried the well yourself, and it has failed ; and you have never heard of anybody else who has been more successful; although, of course, as Mr. Winterblossom well observed, the thing might have happened without its having of necessity come to your knowledge.

“You have quite misunderstood me, Mr. Elder," said he ;“what !

« ПредишнаНапред »