Page images

wild dance of intellectual excitement, tramples under his massive foot all the little chickens of our imagination, and scares each half-fledged fancy back to its native shell. Be it rather your pleasure to chirp the tremblers forth to the corn of praise and the sunshine of approbation. Who has pot found hintself to be totally absorbed by the volubility of others; so that he could neither find subject nor words, even when an interval was left for their exercise ?'... 'Did it never occur to you, my game friend, as you strapped on your gaffs, and crowed defiance at a rooster of another feather, that the rest of the social circle do not derive your pleasure from the set-to,' and would gladly be excused from being annoyed by the argumentative combat? And, as for hobbies, they prance prettily enough on their proper ground; but do not let them caracole in the parlor. People would rather be kicked by any thing than by other people's hobbies; and, again, these hobbies, being merely composed of wood and leather, aro never wearied, and cannot stop. They outstrip every body, and carry pone with them. Hark, in your ear.

Leave hobby at home; he will not be restive or break things, when you are not by. It is disagreeable to be ridden down by these unaccommodatiog quadrupeds. Folks do not like it.

Speaking of the author of the above: we find the following in a late number of the • New World newspaper, under the head of · Bad, both Ways.' It confirms what we have heretofore suspected, as our readers will remember : Major Noah's Sunday Messenger quotes a paragraph from the Philadelphia · Saturday Museum,' edited by Joseph C. NEAL, the accomplished author of the 'Charcoal Sketches,' introducing it with • John Neal, has the following happy hit,' etc. We have seen this mistake made often; and it is one which, in justice to the editor of the · Museum,' ought to be corrected. Very likely many people think John NEAL the author of the Charcoal Sketches' themselves; while on the other hand — and that is the worst part of the matter - John Neal's wordy and unnatural trash may be attributed to the lively and piquant · Sketcher. If you see a spirited, readable thing going the rounds of the press, with the name of 'Neal tacked to it, or quoted as John Neal's, rely upon it, if you credit it, that you will be mistaken in the person.' . : . THE lines to the ancient and · fish-like' town of Newport in our last “Gossip' have reminded a correspondent of an advertisement which he cut from a Newport journal some months since, offering for sale a dwelling-house opposite Trinity-church and its beautiful burying. ground.' The commendations of the locale are in rather an unusual vein: 'From the windows of the premises, the occupiers may gaze upon the grave-yard, and meditate upon the general resurrection of the human family, on that fearful day, when the trump will sound its last wild blast, and the mighty dead come forth to judgment. We are all naturally depraved, and from present appearances, some awful doom is awaiting us; in all human probability, the last knell will soon be sounded; and it becomes those who are wise, to prepare for the winding up of eartlı’s drama, for we must finally go to that lone tomb, where there is neither counsel or devise. This is a good opportunity for a family to locate themselves near the burying-ground, where the soul may be improved by melancholy reflections on its condition and final destiny.' Perhaps our advertiser's faith was that of MILLER, and his men.' Apropos of Newport, fish, etc., our friend says: 'I remember an anecdote told me some years ago, which I do not recollect to have seen in print. My informant was himself a native of Newport, and not, I believe given to flights of fancy; and therefore I have not the least reason for suspecting he was making game of me. He told me, what every body knows, that Newport was once the richest and most flourishing town in NewEngland, but that within the last forty years it had sadly decayed, and was now but a mere shadow of its former self. In the days of its prosperity the inhabitants lived luxuriously, and the markets were consequently loaded with the richest viands; but with its fallen fortunes the rich food gradually disappeared, until finally nothing but fish was to be found in the stalls. Of piscatorials, however, there was an endless variety; and with bass on one day, halibut the next, tautog on the third, etc., varied now and then with clams, quahogs and other shell-fish, the inhabitants generally appeared contented with their fare. Some of the older natives, howbeit, did not like to be seen carrying home fish every day; and so, to keep up ancient appearances, they used sometimes to place their scaly dinners, carefully concealed, in the bottom of a covered basket, from the top of which protruded, at one time perhaps the stump-end of a leg of mutton, at another a brace of turkey-legs! My friend told me, he had known one pair of the latter to serve the above purpose for upward of five years.' . • · A LATE American traveller, writing of Miss Jane PORTER, says that

she is now more than sixty years old, and is still in mourning for her first and only lover, who died when she was about twenty.' 'It is only in a strong imagination,' says SOUTHEY, that the deceased object of affection can retain so firm a hold, as never to be dispossessed from it by a living one; and when the imagination is thus possessed, unless the heart be strong, the heart itself, or the intellect, is likely to give way.' A most affecting instance of this kind is related by Dr. Uwins in his Treatise on Disorders of the Brain. A lady on the point of marriage, whose intended husband usually travelled by the stage-coach to visit her, went one day to meet him, and found instead of him an old friend who came to announce to her the tidings of his sudden death. She uttered a scream, and piteously exclaimed, 'He is dead! But then all consciousness of the affliction that had befallen her ceased. •From that fatal moment,' says the author, “ has this unfortunate female daily for fifty years, in all seasons, traversed the distance of a few miles to the spot where she ex. pected her future husband to alight from the coach; and every day she utters in a plaintive tone, . He is not come yet! I will return to-morrow!'... We heard a voice at the Italian Opera the other evening, that in some of its tones was not unlike the tearing of a strong rag. It reminded a most fair lady of an anecdote derived from the lips of one of our prominent religious journalists, which we think is worth preserving and perpetuating Being at a social party, when a young man, he was vehemently called upon by the members to sing a song. He replied that he would first tell them a story, and that then, if they still persisted in their demand, he would endeavor to execute a song. When a boy, well in his 'teens, he took lessons in singing; and one Sabbath morning he went up into his father's garret, as had been his custom, to practice all alone by himself. While in full cry' he was suddenly sent for by the old gentleman.' "This is pretty conduct!' exclaimed his father; 'pretty employment, for the son of pious parents, to be sawing boards in the garret on a Sunday morning, loud enough to be heard by all the neighbors! Sit down, Sir, and take your book.' Our contemporary was unanimously excused from singing the proposed song. There was a species of strong ‘ presumptive evidence' against him. HERE is one of your sort of men now (we have known him long and well) who knows how to observe quite as well as Miss Martineau; and who, as Sir WALTER Scott says of himself, never met the humblest individual in the corner of a stage-coach, from whom he did not gather something to assist him in the delineation of character, or that was other. wise worthy of remembrance: ‘In the course of my travels, experience has taught me many things not to be found in the guide-books, and I doubt if the knowledge ever could have been acquired, but that I have made it a rule to hear all things, see all things, patiently talk with every body about every thing; mingle unreservedly with the masses, and melt into the common sympathies of the people; becoming one of them; participating in their hopes and fears; discoursing of crops, prices, floods, droughts, rail-roads, steam-engines, politics, religion - no, not religion; no good comes of talking to travellers on that theme. In short, I have discovered that your true philosophical traveller when he goes abroad unbuttons his pride, doffs his dignity, and quietly puts 'ego’ to bed. In this spirit your true student studies character. Pride, arrogance, vanity, are uncomfortable ‘compagnons du royage,' and should be left behind. Let your heart be filled wi' boundless love;' and let yourself down, or elevate yourself up, as the case may be, to the level of those whom you encounter. It was in this ternper, and in this mood, that I stumbled on a character the other evening on board a steam-boat, which presented some traits that I thought rather original and unique. I daguerreotyped him on the spot. I had just finished supper, and was quietly enjoying my cigar on the deck, when I heard an individual declaiming in a loud tone of voice to some two or three attentive listeners, (but evidently intended for the benefit of whomsoever it might concern,) on pathology. Being as it were thus invited, I also became a listener to something like the following: There it is now! Well, some people talk about seated fevers. I do n't know any thing about seated fevers; there aint no such thing as seated fever. A musquitoe-bite is a fever; cure the bite, and the fever leaves you. So with a bile - just the same thing ; their aint no such thing, I tell you, as seated VOL. XXV.


fever. The fact is, your regular doctor practizes according to books. I practize according to common sense. Now there was Dr. Rugg, of our village, the Sampson of the Materier. Medicker. Well, he treats severs according to the books; consequence is I get all the patients : and he says to me one day, says he,' why,' says he, - how is it, you get all the fever-cases ?' And I told him exactly how it was; and it is so.' 'Well, Doctor, interrupted one of the listeners, 'How do you treat fevers ?' * Well, there it is, you see; you ask me how I treat fevers! If you had asked me when I first commenced practizing I could ha’ told you; cant tell you now. I treat cases just as I find 'em, according to common sense. And there it is : now there was Mrs. Scuttle; she was taken sick; all the folks said she had the consumption ; had two doctors to her; did n't do her a single mossel o'good. They sent for me. Well, as I went into the house, I see a lot o'tanzy and a flock of chickens by the door: felt her pulse: says I, • Mrs. Scuttle, you aint no more got the consumption than I've got it. Two weeks, an' I cured her! Well, doctor, how did you cure her ? * How did I cure her? There it is, ag’in! I told you I see a lot of tanzy and a flock of chickens growing at the door. I gi'n her some of the tanzy and a fresh-laid egg - brought her right up. It's kill or cure with me! In fact, I call myself an officer. My saddle-bags is my soldiers, and my disease my inimy. I rush at him; and 'ither he or me has got to conquer. I never give in!' My cigar was out; and while lighting another, the doctor vanished; possibly hastened by the influence of one of his own prescriptions.' ... We do not quite like the • Reflections on the New-Year. The tone of monition, of warning, would have reached the heart with more effect, were it separated from a certain spirit of despondency, of foreboding, which would ‘sadden but not soothe. It is true, that various fortunes are the lot of men; true, that chance and change come to all; true, that our possessions may • fleet like morning clouds away.' All earthly comforts, says the quaint and pensive GEORGE WITHER,

* All earthly comforts vanish thus;

So little hold of them have we,
That we from them, or they from us,

May in a moment ravished be:
Yet we are neither just nor wise,
If present mercies we despise ;
Or mind not how there may be made

A thankful use of what we bad.' The annual festival of the patron-Saint of the KNICKERBOCKERS was held at the CityHotel on the sixth ultimo. It was a glorious feast, and did honor to Saint Nicholas and his noble devotees. We have looked, until a late hour, for the published proceedings, with the view of transferring to our pages some of the brief and felicitous speeches which we heard with so much delight. Of these hereafter. The dinner and all its accessories were such as reflected the highest credit upon the stewards and their stewards. · · · The remarks which we have ventured on two or three occasions to make, touching Law and Lawyers, have brought us many pleasant communications, one of which will be found in preceding pages. We do not know that we have laughed more heartily, however, at any one of them, than at the one in which we find an anecdote to this effect: A young lawyer who had been making an elaborate plea in an important civil case, before a jury whom he had over and over again complimented for their excellent · understanding' and remarkable intelligence,' was about leaving the case in their hands, when it occurred to him to ask whether there was any point of law, or any legal term, upon which they desired information. One of the jurors, who had apparently been the most attentive man of the entire twelve, replied, that he b’lieved he understood it all, except one thing: he'd like to know, since le 'd been asked, what was the meanin' of them words, defendant' and 'plaintiff ? That was all that bothered him. Here was a hopeful chance for a verdict, was n't there? ... SOME young person has sent us a long string of verses on an old cow, * about to leave for the first time the paternal roof. It strikes us that they may be intended as a burlesque upon the Hon. Mrs. Norton's lines, "The Arab’s Adieu to his Horse:'

"My brindled one! my brindled one! thou standest silent by,
Looking intent upon the ground, while tears are in thine eye;

[ocr errors]

Look not so hard upon that hay, mind not the open door,
Nor seek to reach the Indian corn, that lies upon the floor :
Strike not the ground with unshod boof, nor kick at vacancy ;
Kick not so hard I pr'ithee now, perchance thou may'st hit me;
The stranger soon will hold the pail, to strip thee of thy milk!
Farewell ! but oh! behave thyself, or thou may'st ‘feel the silk.'
*Farewell! those free untired feet full many a mile may roam,
Before thou 'It reach the stranger's barn, now destined for thy homo ;
Some other hand, less free than mine, will deal the hay to thee,
Thou 'lt be abused by many hands, by none caressed as me;
The morning sun will rise the same, and shed his light around,
But in thy old place at our barn no more wilt thou be found :
Night in her certain round will come, and darken all the earth,

But wo is me! no more wilt thou be seen in thy old berth!' We may not be considered as acting a kindly part by our young friend, in giving even this sample of his poetical genius; but we desired to record an instance of disinterested affec. tion. The young man loves that cow. · .. What shall we say of the ó red thieves' who steal our thunder, and claim it as their own? Ned BUNTLINE's “ Running the Blockade is still · running,' to be glorified by the press, yet no mention is made of its paternity. From the distant west, we are informed by the journals, in advance, what a brilliant poem Mr. BIDDLE has written for the · Mirror' weekly; the same brilliant poem'having been written by Mr. Biddle for the KNICKERBOCKER, years ago, and set up for its pages from his Ms., now lying before us. The poem is also included in the Ollapodiana' Papers of the late Willis GAYLORD CLARK, recently published. The new · Native American Magazine' makes up an entire article from certain ancient ‘Gossip' of ours, but gives no intimation of its source. There are at least half a dozen other and kindred instances of modern conveyancing' which we might mention. “Fair play!' fellow-laborers, monthly, weekly, and diurnal. • • . There can be little doubt, we think, that the following, although it appears under a new signature in the Sunday Mercury,' is from the pen of that edifying laypreacher, Brother . Dow, JR.' We submit it: “THANKSGIVING ‘aint what it used to was,' when we were a little shaver, sprouting up out of our boots among the green hills of Vermont-- not by a long chalk. Then we used to get up early, wash our face, eat our baked potatoes, mount a clean apron, bedeck our neck with a snow-white ruffle, cock the brim of our new felt hat up behind, encase our hands in a nice pair of speckled woollen mittens, take our skates and locomote away to a strong patch of smooth ice, and there amuse ourself till hunger drove us home ; sure to do it always in time, and in first-rate condition; to partake largely of the old-fashioned dinner, that the very thought of now makes us wish that we could turn back and grow the other way; grow down, grow young, till we became a boy again in brown sattinets, with two rows of bright buttons over each shoulder and one down our back; seated, with our boots dangling round the chair-legs, at the same old table, stuffing our jacket with the good things that used to was; just what we can't now, and it is so long ago that we can hardly recollect what they were ; but we can recollect that toward the last we used to let go the middle buttons on our jacket; delightful sensation to think of now, when we can't get a decent meal without forking over the equivalent in good hardware currency. Even after we had grown out of our boyish suits, and had shoved our spindle shanks into manly habiliments, far away from our “ boyhood's home,' we had kind friends that used to send us parcels of thanksgiving good things ; but that has all passed. Well do we recollect the last present of holiday luxuries; a sugar-box packed full, by a fair hand too, and transmitted many scores of miles: the eatables were all spoiled, but we were not the less grateful : in the box, too, was a smooth sheet of foolscap covered with kind words and wishes; holiday greetings, such as we have not forgotten, and never can forget, so long as we have a thanksgiving dinner to eat, or a proclamation to read. How stands the account now? No dinner to eat at home — no home to eat a dinner at; no friends to send us a portion of their dinners; they've all stepped out, or forgotten us. Well, who cares? We get up a thanksgiving dinner on our own hook every year: if the governor fails to issue a proclamation, we do it ourself, and do it well; get an old copy, and putty it

cence. . . .

[ocr errors]

up to suit the occasion, and then, true to the teachings of other days, we live up to it like old times.' There are numerous little touches of a true pencil in this rambling reminis

• Thomas Aquinas’ should see the propriety, we think, of suppressing for the present his remarks upon · Clerical Absolution. His allusions could not at ihis moment be mistaken, and he will himself admit that they would be far more applicable after a decision shall have been had upon important questions still pending. We cannot but agree with him, (assuming his grounds established, that the specious exterior of such a prelate as he has either fancied or described, is 'a mockery on true virtue, an imposition on the good sense of the world, and an insult to the life of Christ and the morality of his gospel. No one will hesitate to admit that such a man may be aptly compared to a mountain remarkable for sterility and elevation, which encumbers the earth with its pressure, while it chills all around with its shade." . . . Our contemporary of the Commercial Advertiser daily journal had some pertinent and pungent remarks the other day, touching the number and character of the pictures which are often exposed for sale to pseudo-amateurs in the metropolis - the nouveau riche, in most instances, who must affect a taste for vertu, though they have it not — as undoubted productions of the old masters. A writer in one of the English magazines lets us into the secret of old picture-making. It is called “doctoring' by the renovators. To doctor' a picture is to 'do the ancient gaff;' to make the production of today wear the respectable and seductive garb of two centuries back. While the visitor is at the renovator's apartment, he transforms a picture of Saint Peter into a . Smuggler on the Lookout! lie paints out the halo of glory around the Saint's head and the wards of the key in his hand, then puts him on a red cap; 6 and you have a bandit on the look-out, the key being converted by the alteration into a pistol; a decidedly more saleable article, and one upon which you may affix a more profitable name. It's a Salvator kosa now! Calling upon him on another occasion, he finds him engrossed in doing a Cuyp.' Animitation or copy of that master was placed upon the easel, representing two or three cows in repose on the bank of a river; a distant village church on a low horizon; and a Dutch vessel nearing the foreground; with a due proportion of illumination from the glances of the departing sun. Having slightly oiled and wiped the young Cuyp, the “ renovator proceeds to rub the sky and distance over with a dingy mixture of myguelp, ivory- black and Naples yellow; avoiding the foreground, which he serves in the same way, save that his preparation is less muddy and opaque, for the transparency of near objects. “Having done this he proceeded to rub the dirt into the interstices of the picture, producing a kind of granulated texture, the apparent effect of age.' The visitor is astounded at the sudden metamor. phose, (in which by the way the old frame has been made to partake) which in ten minutes is apparent in a newly-painted work; a senile visage stamped as it were instantaneously upon an unfurrowed infant. I suppose you never once thought, says the renovator, of making a calculation as to how many accredited pictures by different masters there are in the various public and private collections ? Now as to Cuyp, for instance, he must have been harder worked than a West-India slave, to have produced one half that bear his name. And yet every purchaser hugs himself upon having one of the right sort. So soon as he gets it, it becomes his pet; he sees it all beautisul: peculiarities regarded by his neighbors as objectionable, his self-devotion glozes into symbols of excellence; and that is where it is; only half the cheat is perpetrated for him; the remainder he does for him. self.' ... Yes, friend •C.,' the fixed objects in nature, once seen in fellowship with those who have gone before us to 'a better country,' are mementos which are « pleasant though mournful to the soul. But the changeful scenes of earth bring with them, we cannot tell how or why, more unmixed emotions :

The clouds and sunbeams o'er his eye

That once their shades and glory threw,
Have left in yonder silent sky

No vestige where they flew :'

« PreviousContinue »