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ries is rooted in my memory. I will tell it as well as I I wish you could have heard the doctor!
At nineteen years of age, he joined the army of the provinces, that in 1755 essayed to take Crown Point from the French. He marched to the lakes with Colonel Ephraim Williams, than whom a more gallant man never breathed the air of New-England. The doctor fought under his command at Lake George, on the memorable eighth of September; saw, or imagined he saw, the fall of his brave leader; and is quite sure that he put a bullet into the French officer, Mons. St. Pierre. The next year he joined Rogers' company of Rangers, and was stationed with a party of them at Fort Ann, not far from where Whitehall now stands. But at that day it was a dark and bloody ground;' a frontier station in the forests, which were filled with rival savages attached to France or Eng. land.
One day, in mid-winter, eight rangers, with a serjeant, were ordered out on some service; the doctor did not know what, but probably to seize some straggling Frenchman about Ticonderoga or Crown-Point, and bring him to the fort, for the sake of obtaining intelligence. He was himself of the party. A narrow road, or rather path, led northward toward Canada, and they followed it for several hours. There had just been a very heavy fall of snow: all the pines and hemlocks of the forest were loaded thick with it; and as the afternoon was still and clear, only occasional flakes or light masses dropped from the burdened boughs like feathers. These circumstances were stamped on the old man's mind, seeming like a constantly-recurring dream. The rangers waded in Indian file through the snow, and as danger was apprehended, a man was placed some rods in advance, one on each flank, and another behind. This last was the doctor himself, and this was the gun
I carried,' said he, taking a short heavy piece from a corner. They saw no signs of the enemy: there was no sound but the note of the little chicka-dee-dee,' so familiar to the pine woods in winter.
At length, they descended into a hollow : the frozen sheet of Lake George lay not far on the left, and a steep hill on the right. The ground a short distance before them, was quite low and swampy, little brook had spread itself out on the path, making a frozen space, free from trees, across which their advanced man was now slowly tramping, crushing his boots into ice and water at every step. He paused suddenly, turned sharply round, and gave the low whistle appointed as the signal of alarm. He had seen the tracks of many moccasined feet in the fresh snow beyond. There was not time to think; the loud report of a gun broke the stillness. The ranger gave a shrill scream, leaped four feet into the air, and fell fat. Instantly the Indian yell burst from the woods on the left and front, followed by the stunning rattle of more than fifty guns, and not a man of the rangers but one ever moved alive from the spot where he stood transfixed with surprise at the sudden death of his comrade.
That man was our hero, whose position, far behind the rest, saved him. He remembered the panic felt at the fierce burst of yells and musketry, and the sudden rush of the savage swarm from their ambush, upon his fallen comrades: and, in the next instant, that his memory
could recall, he was flying back toward the fort. He heard sharp, sudden yelps behind him, and glancing back, saw two Indians bounding on his track. He ran a mile, he should think, without turning or hearing a single sound ; then turning his head, saw an Indian leaping, silent as a spectre, within a few rods of him. With admirable coolness, he turned quickly round, and raising his gun with a steady hand, fired with such good effect that the Abenaki pitched forward to the ground, and his shaven head ploughed up the snow for yards, by the impulse of his headlong pursuit. The young soldier turned and fled again, and as he did so he heard the report of the other Indian's gun, followed by the loud humming of the ball. So alert and attentive were his faculties, that he observed where the bullet struck upon a loaded bough in front of him, scattering the glistening particles of snow.
The path now led downward with a steep descent : at the bottom an ancient pine-tree had fallen across it, whose sharp broken branches rose up perpendicularly from the prostrate trunk four or five feet from the ground, blocking up the way, like a bristling chevaux-de-frise. The rangers had previously turned aside into the woods to avoid it. There was no time to do so now. The doctor's limbs were small and light, but active as a deer's, and the Indian's tomahawk was close behind. Without hesitating, he ran down and sprang into the air. His foot caught, so that he fell on the other side ; but he snatched up his gun and ran again. In a moment, he heard a wild and horrid cry, and turning as he ran up the opposite hill, he saw a sight that has murdered his sleep for many a night." The daring savage had leaped like him, but had not succeeded so well; he had tripped, and one of the broken branches had caught and impaled him on its upright point, passing upward into the cavity of his chest! He saw the starting eye-balls, and the painted features hideously distorted, and paused to see no more.
About sunset the sentinels of Fort-Ann saw him emerging from the woods, running as if the Indians were behind him still. A strong party sent out next morning found the bodies of the rangers stripped, and frozen in the various positions in which they had died, so that they appeared like marble statues. On a tree close by, the French officer who commanded the Abenakis bad fastened a piece of birch bark, inscribed with an insolent and triumphant message to the English. The bodies of the two Indians had been removed, although the white snow around the old pine tree retained ineffaceable marks of the tragedy that had been enacted there, and was beaten hard by the moccasins of a crowd of savages who had gathered about the place.
This taste of war was enough for the doctor's martial zeal. He did not take the field again till twenty years afterward, when he came to WASHINGTON's camp at Cambridge, armed with probe and balsam, instead of musket and powder.
Come out and sit with me, dear wife, beneath these branching trees,
The shadows here are thick and cool, the South wind stirs the leaves,
The odors of the jasmines and the roses fill the air,
The humming-birds are busy through the flower-encumbered vines, Where the golden honey-suckle from our own green woods entwines With its paler foreign sisters, mid whose dark-green glossy leaves The flowers profusely clustered there entice the tiny thieves.
Where the coral woodbine hauntingly displays its crimson blooms,
A hundred snowy doves upon the grass have settled down,
The mocking-bird, for many a week so busy, now can rest,
Behold, just overhead, his mate is sitting on the nest,
The sun's first rays are shooting up above the eastern woods,
This tallest one for Hamilton, our little manly boy,
This for our silent little girl, the quiet ISIDORE,
Life's spring has passed from us, dear wife! its summer glides away,
We have been very happy, dear, for more than ten long years,
For many a pleasant year, perhaps, to bless us they may live,
And after we are dead and gone, and buried many a year,
Then shall they think of us, dear wife! with love and grief sincere,
In our sweet children's virtues we shall live and love again.
A RACE ON THE BAHAMA BANKS.
FANCY yourself, reader, cloud-borne over a boundless forest of thickgrowing, broad-branched trees, each leaf, bud, flower and bough being formed of purplish-golden light, which like diamonds in clear star-light, glitters and sparkles in the dark blue of the night. Fancy your mistformed chariot to be gliding along through these tree-tops of light, like a waving breeze; and as it moves ripplingly along, a gentle swell pre. cedes it, breaking buds and flowrets from the thin boughs. Look at each little gem of light sinking from your touch, and fancy if you can that you hear a low, sweet music, as of many water-drops beating upon thin pearl shells, while the growing red-branched coral in its islandmakings, crackles a merry castanet accompaniment ! Can you paint these wild fancies upon your mind's canvass ? If so, you can fully appreciate a night-sail on the Bahama Banks.
Come, and seat yourself with me out upon our arching bowsprit, and glance over the gilded prow of my swift-gliding craft, out upon the flashing waters. The sea over which we are sailing is about six fathoms in depth, and on the ocean-bottom you will perceive a perfect forest of sea-fans, purple-branched, and interlaced with each other; a meadow of pinken coral, with here and there interspersed a dark, chestnut-colored sponge, on which the mermaids seat themselves when they gather shells, pearls, and wreck-gems with which to deck their jetty locks, and contrast their peerless charms. Our vessel, built like a dolphin, seems to
sit in the arms of the blue ocean as the dark pupil of a gay woman's azure eye floats in the soft iris which surrounds it. Aloft, from the thin peaks of our bending spars, our banner floats, looking like a reflection of the azure star-lit sky, tinged with pink and white above it. Around, the horizon is measured by our eye-sight, and not even a speck is there to destroy its curvillinear grace. A bove, beneath, around, all is as God has made it; beautiful !- unpaintably beautiful !
Another fancy, reader. Do you see yonder stream of slow-moving silvery light, a few fathoms in advance of our bows ? It looks like a lengthened reflection of dim fire-flame cast upon the drifting current. It is a light which would flash fearfully quick and bright, were you or I to topple from our seat down into the gleaming waters. It is a shark! His rapid motion agitates the waters, which are filled with phosphoric animalculæ, causing his wake to look like a stream of silvery light. The shark keeps on, ever near us : he is hungry, and waits for a victim.
Now look within the spray-gemmed circle of our bows. Do you see here and there, like the quick, bright flashings of 'heat-lightning' before a summer night's shower, fast-moving rays of brightness ? Behold the hues — how changeable! Now palish blue, now gold-and-green, and now pinken as the reflected smiles of sunset. 'Tis the merry dolphin, sporting in our path.
Far out upon our larboard bow, do you not hear a sound like an arrow's rushing flight through the air ? Observe the slender thread of flashing water rising between you and the blue, thread-like horizon, even as a draught-ray of the sun, linking sky and sea. It rises like a fountain jet, and then dissolving into a thin, smoke-like mist. It is the porpoise, gamboling in his awkward way; for all things leap with joy upon the Banks' in a bright summer's night.
In the fall of 1839 I took my last cruise upon the · Bahama Banks.' I hope it may not be the last, for as a sick infant yearns for its mother's smile, as it longs for her gentle rockings, as it pines to hear her low, love-toned voice of kindness, so does my land-bound heart sicken for the flashing face of old Ocean, its lofty heavings, and its wild converse ! Oh God! save me from dying on the land !
I have a strange, wild, yet I think pleasant theory ; one which I never before have uttered, although in many a fevered hour at sea I have cherished it as a young lover cherishes hopes of future bliss. When a sailor dies he is enwrapped in many a snowy fold, and if he be one of Liberty's sons, he is entwined in her own star-spangled drapery. Then, with heavy weights he is ballasted deep and well; God's holy blessing is invoked, and he is given to the ocean-sepulchre. The waters open, bubble for a moment, and with a gurgling echo fall asleep again. The body sinks far down ; down beyond the dominion of sharks, or whales, or living things; down where the liquid mass becomes too dense to permit of decay or decomposition; too dense for it to sink farther below, and the weight alone is too great to permit it ever to rise. There, in the blue depths of the sea, will it remain enveloped in an imperishable shroud, until Gabriel's trump shall sound the muster-roll for all! Then, if he died in youth's blossom-time, with the pencillings of beauty in his face, and the lines of grace in his