The Adventures of Harry Franco, Volume 1
by Charles Frederick Briggs
CHAPTER I. Being
the beginning of
the Book, is
devoted to the
beginning of the
than half my
CHAPTER III. The
which set the
locomotive of my
CHAPTER IV. The
CHAPTER V. The
CHAPTER VI. My
first dinner at
a Hotel, and the
taking wine too
Shows with what
ease a man may
enter into a
when he has the
means and the
CHAPTER VIII. A
morals, and the
beginning of an
Getting into a
Tells of my
reception by Mr.
Lummucks, and of
the manner in
CHAPTER XII. A
quarters, and a
CHAPTER XIII. A
new field, and
Like a previous
another link to
the chain of my
they may have
at the theatre,
in love on the
stage and off.
CHAPTER XVI. Is
and ends with
of a new career.
Will give a peep
into a ship's
reader may never
have had an
therefore he is
advised not to
how Mr. Ruffin
was tied to the
fife rail, and
how the sailors
went ashore in
the jolly boat,
and how they
Will bring us
the Pampas, a
Return to Buenos
Is devoted to a
slight sketch of
being not at all
essential to a
may be read or
not, as the
from a flogging,
and from Death.
Leave Rio, and
arrive at New
York: a wide
interval, but a
THE ADVENTURES OF HARRY FRANCO, A TALE OF THE GREAT PANIC.
CHAPTER I. Being the beginning of
the Book, is very properly devoted to the beginning of the Hero.
It is a generally received opinion in some parts of the world, that
a man must of necessity have had ancestors; but, in our truly
independent country, we contrive to get along very well without them.
That strange race, called Aristocrats, it is said, consider every body
as nobody, unless they can boast of at least a dozen ancestors. These
lofty people would have scorned an alliance with a parvenu like Adam,
of course. What a fortunate circumstance for their high mightinesses,
that they were not born in the early ages. No antediluvian family would
have been entitled to theslightest consideration from them. When the
world was only two thousand years old, it is melancholy to reflect, its
surface was covered with nobodies; men of yesterday, without an
ancestry worth speaking of. It is not to be wondered at, that such a
set of upstarts should have caused the flood; nothing less would have
washed away their vulgarity, to say nothing of their sins.
But in this blessed country, as is known to all the world, men rest
their claims to notice on their own merits; and as we neither hold
ourselves accountable for the vices, nor take credit to ourselves for
the virtues of our ancestors, it will not be necessary for me to trace
my pedigree any farther back than to my immediate progenitor; and of
him I shall write but very sparingly, as it is my intention, in these
pages, to confine my narrative to my own personal adventures.
Every body has heard of the long Embargo; but every body, it is
probable, has not heard as much about it as I have. It was by that wise
and patriotic measure, that my father was ruined; and it will not be
wondered at, that it should have formed, ever after, the staple of his
conversation. It was not the fashion in those days for a man to set up
his carriage after he had failed in business; so my father conformed to
the custom of the times,as he would have done, probably, if his
misfortunes had overtaken him later in life, and having paid all his
honest debts, he scraped together the odds and ends that were left to
him, and removed to his native village, there to await for better
times; and in due course of events, I made my appearance in the world.
My native village was a quiet little out-of-the-way place, about a
day's ride from one of the steamboat landings on the Hudson. Like every
other little out-of-the-way village, its quiet was in appearance only,
for the men and women who made up its body politic, were as much under
the dominion of the enemy of man's peace, as ever were the dwellers of
a great and crowded city. Of this fact, my unfortunate parents very
soon became convinced. My father, it is probable, always was convinced
of it; but my mother, who was city bread, and who had picked up her
ideas of human nature from novels and romances, expected to find
country people and villagers, as innocent as the lambs that frisked
about on their meadows; and the first outbreak of uncharitableness,
which she witnessed in her new neighbors, caused as much astonishment
in her mind, as though she had found a thorn on the stem of a butter
Having thus accounted for my being in theworld, I shall close this
chapter, and in the very next, proceed at once to the business in hand,
and relate my adventures with as little digression as possible. And I
trust that my kind reader, when he shall arrive at the end, will not be
compelled to ejaculate, as the old woman did when she read the
dictionary through from A to izzard, that she could make neither head
nor tail of the story.
CHAPTER II. Although very short,
will contain more than half my life.
I once had a maiden aunt, who used to say it was easier to raise
children than chickens; from which it might be proper to infer, that
she hated little boys and girls, and loved poultry. The inference may
be true, or not; but none, except the inexperienced, will doubt the
truth of her saying. Certain it is, children will thrive upon means
incredibly small; and where one little existence is suffered to go out
for want of sustenance, dozens are surfeited out of the world, before
they are surfeited with it.
I had one sister; she was two years older than myself, and we grew
up together almost miraculously; for my father having expended nearly
all his means in a legal contest with a stubborn lawyer, had but a
trifle to bestow upon his offspring. The next ten years of his
existence he lived upon hope, expecting, at the death of my
grandfather, who was rich, to come into possession of his property,
jointly with my uncle. But my grandfather was an implacable old man,
and for some reason, which I never rightly understood, he took a
disliketo my father, and bequeathed him but one dollar, leaving the
bulk of his property to my uncle. Although the disappointment to my
father was very great, when the only prop upon which his hopes rested
was knocked from under him, yet the reflection that his father had gone
into an unchangeable existence with hatred in his heart against him,
gave him more pain than the mere loss of the property. When the full
extent of our misfortunes was known, domestic matters were much
straiter with us than before my grandfather's death. My father had
seemingly lost all his energy; and my mother, to solace herself, took
to two articles of domestic manufacture, which owe their support
chiefly to indolent old ladies, and romantic young ones; viz., novels
My sister and myself were left to follow the bent of our own
inclinations, which would no doubt have led us into the street, where
the inclinations of young folks generally lead them, had it not been
that we were very proud, and our little hearts could not brook the
sight of our cousins better dressed than overselves, and, as we were
taught to believe, at our expense. We had no companions, and all our
little stock of knowledge was gained from the books which my mother
read.Miserable food it was for the minds of young creatures like us,
who had no opportunities of correcting by observation the strange
accounts we read of the world we lived in. And so, in this idle manner
I grew up, ignorant of every thing around me, and with dreamy,
ill-defined apprehensions of the way of the world. I had attained to my
seventeenth year; and I might have continued until now doing nothing
better than reading novels, or what is worse, perhaps, writing them,
had it not been for a very trifling incident, which sent me forth into
the world to encounter the adventures which I am now about to relate,
for the especial instruction and benefit of my kind reader.
CHAPTER III. The first impulse which
set the locomotive of my destiny in motion.
It was one of those peculiar days in March, of which the words
bitter, intense, freezing, chilly, or piercing, do not convey an
adequate idea, but which the term raw, very nearly defines. I had been
on an errand for my mother, and was returning home chilled to the
midriff, for I had neither cloak nor great coat, when, as I turned the
corner of the street, I met my cousin John, who was advancing towards
me clothed in a handsome surtout with a fur collar; his flushed cheek,
and his laughing mouth, showed how well at ease he felt, and how well
he was defended against the inclemency of the weather. He was a proud,
overbearing boy, and I had always tried to avoid him; but I encountered
him so suddenly now, that I could not get out of his way without
appearing to be either afraid or ashamed of meeting him.
"What," he said, tapping me on the shoulder with his rattan, "have
you got no cloak to wear this chilly weather, cousin Harry?"
"I do'nt mind the cold," I said, trying to lookvery warm and
cheerful, although my lips were so benumbed I could hardly move them.
"I see you do'nt," he replied.
I felt too indignant to make him any answer, and I turned to leave
him, when he called me back.
"I will tell you something," he said, "if you will promise not to
let on to any body."
"What is it?" I asked eagerly, thinking it might be something in
relation to my grandfather's estate.
"I am a prophet," he said.
"Is that all!" I replied.
"O, no, not quite all; I prophesy that you will die the death of
old Cole's dog one of these days. Do you know what complaint he died
"He died of pride and poverty." And so saying, he laughed
sneeringly, and we parted.
There is neither heat nor cold, sunshine nor gloom, in outward
nature; they exist in the mind alone. The raw east wind still beat in
my face— the long icicles still hung from the branches of the leafless
trees—the ground was still frozen beneath my feet, and my back was
still unprotected by the friendly warmth of a furred great coat — but
I no longer shivered with the cold; the blood burnedin my veins, and
the sweat started upon my forehead. The words of my cousin entered into
my heart; they had either created or put in motion feelings which I had
never known before. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, I was
changed. I was an altered being. I felt desires and aspirations
springing up within me, which almost drove me mad.
I hurried home, and throwing myself on the floor, covered my face
with my hands, and burst into tears. I had never known the bitterness
of grief before. My heart seemed to be running out at my eyes, and at
each sob the cause of my grief seemed but to increase. My mother was in
the middle of a new novel, but she threw it aside, and caught me in her
arms, and began to examine to see if my limbs were broken; and my
sister, without asking the cause of my grief, lifted up her voice, and
wept from sympathy. My father looked on in silent wonder, until finding
that none of my bones were broken, he said it was extremely indecorous
for a lad of my time of life to behave so childish.
I could make no reply to my father's remarks, nor to my mother's
tender inquiries, other than to beg them to ask me no questions, and to
let me retire to my chamber.
"Alas! alas!" I exclaimed, when left to myself, "it is too true; I
shall die, as my cousin has predicted; pride and poverty will lead me
to an ignominious grave. I must live, while I do live, known to but
few, and despised even by them; and at last I shall die, despised by
After a while my grief began to subside; the fountain of my tears
was exhausted; the dreadful words of my cousin grew more and more
indistinct, and in their place came thronging into my brain the many
wonderful stories I had read, of good luck befalling the poor and the
friendless; of great men having taken a fancy to adventurous boys, who
had left their homes with nothing but a wallet and a mother's blessing;
and of their making their fortunes, and returning with their pockets
lined with gold. These fine stories, it is true, were nothing but
fictions; but I did not then know nor indeed dream, that there were men
and women in the world wicked enough to invent stories to mislead the
minds of the young and simple. They were to me veritable histories, the
truth of which it had never entered into my head to call in question.
And so I asked myself why I might not be as acceptable to fortune as
others who had stood in need of her favors, and boldly sought them at
her hands; and as I could make no objectionto this very reasonable
demand, I resolved at once, that I would set out in quest of a fortune
myself, and trust to that friendly divinity for aid, who had conferred
favors on others no better entitled to them than myself.
"Yes, yes," I exclaimed, in the pleasant excitement of my feelings,
"I will prove my cousin a lying prophet; I will gain a name among
men—I will become rich—my parents shall lean on me as a staff in
their old age, and my sister shall look to me for support, and she
shall not look in vain."
With such bold exclamations as these on my lips, and with high
resolves in my heart, I fell asleep, and bright and pleasant were the
visions which visited me in my slumbers. When I awoke in the morning, I
made fresh resolutions to avert the doom which the sneering prophecy of
my cousin had invoked upon my head; and when I told my parents of my
determination to seek my fortune in the world, they made fewer
objections than I had anticipated. In truth, I believe my father was
not at all displeased to have the responsibility of providing for me
shifted from his shoulders to mine; and my mother was so sanguine of my
success, that she could not find it in her heart to oppose my wishes.
Indeed, she had always said I should some day get to be governor, and
my early ambition she considered as an earnest of my future greatness.
But my poor sister did nothing but cry at the prospect of our being
parted, and for her sake I should have been willing to give up all my
After many days spent in debating the subject, it was at last
determined that my father should furnish me with all the money he could
raise, and that I should proceed to New York, and seek for employment
as clerk in a counting house, it being agreed on all hands that that
was one of the genteelest avenues which led up to the temple of the
fickle goddess; for it was a primary consideration with my parents,
that whatever I did should be done genteely. But I made a mental
reservation myself, that fortune should not be rejected, let her
approach in what guise she might, but particularly if in the shape of a
young and beautiful heiress. My plan of operations having been
determined upon, no time was lost in getting me ready for my entrance
into the world. Although my wardrobe was by no means extensive, it
required a great many days to complete all the ripping and altering
which my mother considered necessary. I thought there would never be an
end to the preparation for my departure; but at last the end came, and
unfortunately, the last article of dress which mymother completed was a
white Marseilles vest, which she had altered out of an old one of my
father's, but it was so bespotted with tears and snuff I was never able
to wear it; I prized it more highly, notwithstanding, than I did my new
coat, which was made at the tailor's. Very much to my surprise, I
succeeded in packing all my clothes into a small hair trunk, which had
been a travelling companion of my father's many years before; the
corners of it were secured with strong iron clamps, and the top was
studded with my initials in brass nails; altogether, I thought it made
a very grand appearance, and felt very proud of it. All things being
prepared, the night before my departure was spent in talking over with
my parents and sister the great things that I was to accomplish in the
world; and every moment I felt myself increase in importance, as the
time drew near when I should not only be uncontrolled in my actions,
but should also have the care of making provision for my own wants.
As you, gentle reader, have no doubt known the sad feelings of one
who leaves his home for the first time, it would be superfluous to
relate what mine were on this melancholy occasion. Were I a poet, or,
indeed, had I any other object in view than simply to make a record of
my adventures, this would afford me an excellent opportunity for
dilating to the very edge of endurance upon this most interesting
period of a man's life. But I shall spare the reader any further
reflections on this momentous occasion; and in the next chapter, we
will take our seats together in the stage coach, and so proceed on.
CHAPTER IV. The departure and the
The day had just begun to show itself in the east, when the
rattling of wheels was heard approaching nearer and nearer, and
presently the shrill notes of the stage driver's tin horn saluted our
ears. It was the signal for me to get ready, and I obeyed it as well as
I could; but my eyes were so blinded with tears, I could scarcely see
to do any thing. I kissed my mother and sister again and again; and
when the coach stopped at the door, I was ready with my trunk, and
prepared to step in. My father alone had followed me out, and while the
driver was securing my baggage, he took my hand, and gave me a few
words of advice.
"Your mother, Harry," said my worthy parent, "is, of course,
entitled to your affection, and it is your duty to obey her in all
things, as the good book says; but, you must be aware, that women are
not the fittest persons in the world to give advice to young men on
their entrance into the world; therefore, when her advice comes in
opposition to mine, your own good sense will tell you that mine is
entitled to your first consideration. Never, my son, be ashamed or
afraid of speaking to any body, either to solicit a favor, or for any
other purpose; bear in mind that men are but men, and there is no
station whatever can make more of them; we are all very much alike, and
you can judge from your own feelings that there is no man so good as
not to feel secretly flattered by the attention of any body who will
notice him. And let me once more remind you never to eat an egg out of
a tumbler; nature, my son, has bestowed more care upon eggs than upon
her other productions, and has furnished in their shells the vessels
out of which they should be eaten."
The driver having strapped on my baggage, my father put a small
roll of bank bills into my hand, saying it was all he had to give, me,
and that I must use it with discretion. I squeezed his hand in reply,
jumped into the coach, and the next minute I was fairly on my journey.
The first bound of the coach imparted life to my feelings, and I should
very soon have been in a high state of excitement, but we soon came to
a dead halt at the post office, where we were kept waiting half an hour
or more for the post master to make up his mail bags. At length the
mail bags were ready, and again we started, and again we stopped; itwas
at the tavern, and here we were forced to wait another half hour for
the driver to get his breakfast. The passengers all kept their seats,
and some of them grew very impatient at the delay. One threatened to
write an article and put into the papers, and others proposed
appointing a committee to wait on the driver, and request him to hurry
with his breakfast; but while they were debating the matter, he made
his appearance with a cigar in his mouth; but instead of jumping on to
the box, as he ought, he stood talking quite composedly with the
hostler about his horses. A little gentleman who sat along side of me,
dressed in a satinett frock coat and a white cravat, put his head out
of the window, and spoke to the driver.
"Capting," said the passenger, "I wish you would be so good as to
let us be going, if you please."
"O, I presume there's no occasion for hurrying," said the driver.
"Yes there is though, you pisen critter," said another passenger, "for
I shall have a note protested if I don't get to Simpsonville before
But the impatience of the passengers had but little effect upon the
driver, who continued to puff his cigar, and talk to the hostler; when
he did mount the box, however, truth compets me to saythat he drove in
handsome style. Good humor was soon restored among all the passengers
but one, a very pale faced man, with a bombazine stock, who remarked
that whoever served the public, whether he held the reins of government
or of a stage coach, ought never to be behind the wishes of his
"No politics if you please, mister," said a red faced gentleman;
upon which the discontented passenger drew his chin within the
circumference of his bombazine stock, and said not a word.
This was the first coach I had ever seen the inside of, and it
appeared to be a very grand affair. The cushions were stuffed very
curiously with spiral wires, and some of them had worked through the
leather, and at every jolt of the carriage they scratched me very
unpleasantly, besides making a rent in my trowsers, which I could not
very well conceal. The gentleman who sat behind me said his great
objection to wire cushions was, that they attracted the electric fluid
in a thunder storm. But I was glad to observe from the bright face of
the sky, that there was no danger of a storm before our journey would
be at an end. There were just nine passengers, and but one female among
them; she sat opposite to me on the front seat, but as she wore 2 green
hood, I had not been able to catch aglimpse of her face. A very finely
dressed young gentleman sat next to her, and from his magnificent
appearance, I set him down for the governor's son at the least; for I
had then no idea of the cheapness of finery, or that a governor's son
could dress in any other than the very genteelest clothes. He wore a
lilac calico shirt, with a little ruffle bristling in the bosom, and a
cameo breast-pin almost as large as a saucer; he appeared quite
unconscious of there being any body in the coach besides himself, for
he amused himself by whistling a tune, and occasionally tapping the
side of his long nose with a little ebony stick which he carried in his
hand. After we had travelled some distance, he turned to the young
lady, and asked her if she didn't consider Bulwer a very powerful
The young lady raised her head, so that I caught a glimpse of her
face, and replied in the sweetest, gentlest voice I had ever heard,
that she had never read his works.
"What! never read Pelham," exclaimed the magnificent gentleman, in
"I have not, indeed," replied the young lady, more sweetly, if
possible, than before.
"Then I pity you," said the supposed governor's son.
As this remark seemed expressive of disrespect for the young lady,
I thought I had a right to resent it, for I had conceived a liking for
her the moment she spoke.
"I have not read Bulwer either," I said smartly.
"Then I pity you," said the gentleman.
I felt highly indignant at this cool reply, but I remembered the
advice which my father gave me, never to speak when I was in a passion,
and so I bit my lips and remained silent.
"Is Pelham a good thing?" inquired one of the passengers.
"It's splendid," replied the gentleman; "so sentimental."
After this, there was a good deal of conversation on various
subjects among my fellow travellers, all of which I remember very
distinctly, for I noted the leading ideas at the time in my memorandum
book; but as I have doubts about its possessing much interest for the
general reader, I shall relate no more of it.
I had made up my mind to be very polite to the young lady on the
very first occasion which should offer; but, when we stopped at the
Eagle Tavern to dine, instead of helping her out of the carriage, my
attention was so completely absorbed by theexhibition of a monstrous
circus handbill, that I left that delicate duty to be performed by the
Lambert-like landlord of the tavern. As I stood gazing with intense
curiosity at the grotesque figure of the clown in the handbill,
somebody struck me a smart blow with a rattan across my shoulders,
which caused them to smart not a little, and turning around briskly, I
perceived it was the finely dressed gentleman with the calico shirt,
who had given me this gentle tap; I felt strongly disposed to be angry,
but as he seemed to consider it a good joke, I thought it was one of
the ways of the world; and I remembered that my father had told me,
that if I set myself up in opposition to them, I should have a rough
time of it.
"Come, Colonel," said the gentleman, slapping me on the shoulder,
"what'll you take?"
"Nothing, I thank you," I replied, "I have taken enough already."
"What! don't you liquorate?"
I shook my head, for I did not exactly understand him.
"Don't drink, hey?"
"Sometimes," I answered.
"What! temperance man? Signed a pledge?"
"No, I have not signed a pledge not to drink."
"Then you shall take a horn, so come along."And so saying, he
dragged me up to the bar. "Now what'll you take? julep, sling,
cocktail, or sherry cobbler?"
"Any thing you choose," I replied, for I had not the most remote
idea what the drinks were composed of which he enumerated.
"Then give us a couple of cocktails, bar-keeper," said the
gentleman, "and let us have them as quick as you damn please, for I am
as thirsty as the great desert of Sahara, which old Judah Paddock
I was shocked to hear such language from a gentleman who dressed so
genteely, and who professed to be an admirer of Bulwer; but I kept my
thoughts to myself, and watched the bar-keeper as he mixed the
cocktails: they were a mixture of gin and water, and sugar and nutmeg,
and a few drops of a red liquid, which he poured out of a little cruet
like an ink bottle with a quill stuck in the cork.
My companion tossed off his cocktail almost at a single swallow,
smacked his lips, and pronounced the gin damn'd splendid. But the
splendor of the gin proved too much for my unpractised throat, for in
my attempt to imitate my companion in pouring down the cocktail, it
almost took away my breath, which gave the black hostler and
thebar-keeper such lively pleasure that they came near laughing
themselves into convulsions.
The bell soon rang for dinner, and I followed my fellow traveller
into the dining room, and took a seat at table by the side of a jolly
looking double-chinned gentleman, who, as he drew his chair up with one
hand, reached out the other and seized a covered dish, one half the
contents of which he emptied into his own plate; and I emptied the
remainder into mine.
"That's right," said the double-chinned gentleman, "always eat
oysters at a place like this, because you can eat them quick; no bones
to bother you, toast soft, too, nice and brown. What's that, mace?
mace, I declare! Capital! What a fat one! it just fills up the mouth,
touches all the organs of taste at the same time, and leaves nothing to
be desired. Delicious! what a fat one! Lovely! I knew a man once, an
acquaintance of mine—first rate, ain't they?—an acquaintance of mine
who—best stew I ever sat down to!—'quaintance of mine who—lovely!
—most expeditious eater I ever knew; never was gone from his store
more than fifteen minutes to his dinner; in twelve months eat himself
into dyspepsia; next twelve, into consumption; travelled on a railroad
for his health; next twelve months on his way to kingdom come—in his
"He was expeditious," I said, drawing a long breath, and laying
down my spoon as I finished the last oyster upon my plate. The
double-chinned gentleman finished his at the same moment, although he
had been talking all the while, and I had not spoken a word.
"Very, indeed," he said, in reply to my remark, "very expeditious.
He lived wretchedly, but he died rich."
"Poor fellow!" I exclaimed.
"Poor fellow," he repeated; "why he was president of a bank; poor
fellow, indeed! he left a great estate. But don't waste time; let me
help you to a piece of this steak; how do you like it? speak quick."
"I have no choice, I thank you, sir," I replied.
"What, no choice, no choice, bless me!"
"Then, my friend, do allow me the pleasure of choosing for you.
What a steak! how rich! what juice!"
The ejaculations of my jolly companion, and the sight of the juicy
steak, caused my mouth to overflow.
"Delicious, ain't it?" he said.
"Very indeed, very, how tender; what bread! Salt, sir?"
"Stop a moment, don't disturb it; let me tell you a secret. When
you sit down at a table, always look at the salt first; you will find
it a sure index of the quality of the fare, nine times out of ten.
Never knew it to fail. Now look at this, ain't it a gem? none of your
finical flutings and notchings about it; but a piece of plain
unpretending glass, polished like a diamond. How nicely it is filled,
how smooth and white on its surface: it looks like a piece of alabaster
inserted in a crystal. How fine and spotless! look, it scarce touches
the steak before it is dissolved; not a particle of it will grate
against your teeth, but its delicate flavor will gratify your palate
without your being at all aware that you owe an exquisite enjoyment to
so common an article as salt. See, the little heap on the side of your
plate looks like a snow flake just fallen."
"Salt is certainly a great thing," said the gentleman with the
lilac shirt, who sat opposite, and who had been listening, with his
knife and fork suspended, to the remarks of my double-chinned friend.
"'Tis indeed, a very great thing, very indeed."
"Quite an article of commerce," said the other. "I should'nt wonder
if Congress laid a duty upon it."
"I should'nt wonder," replied the jolly gentleman, winking slyly at
"Where on earth does salt come from?"
"Knowing, aint he?" said the jolly gentleman, aside to me.
"Quite an extensive assortment on the table," remarked the
elegantly dressed gentleman, apparently ambitious of being noticed by
the double-chinned gentleman. But his sagacions remark gained him no
further notice from the object of his attention, for just at that
moment the tin trumpet of the driver was heard, and a general rush took
place from the dinner table to the bar-room, and after paying half a
dollar a piece for our dinner, we scrambled into the stage again; the
young lady, I blush while I write it, was handed in by the driver,
after all were seated.
"Do you know the name of that individual who helped you to steak?"
asked the supposed governor's son in a whisper.
"No, Sir, I do not," I replied; "do you?"
"I know him all to pieces," replied the gentleman.
"Who is he; some great man?"
"He is so. He is the celebrated Mr. Bulbief, the importer of spool
I looked again at Mr. Bulbief, but he had covered his face with his
pocket handkerchief, and was apparently sound asleep. I should soon
have dropped asleep myself—but I sat on the middle seat, with a
gentleman each side of me, who commenced smoking segars, very much to
my annoyance. I thought it was ungentlemanly, and I had a good mind to
have told them so, for the smoke made me deadly sick; but I bore in
mind my father's saying, "that in private, as well as in public, the
will of the majority ought to be the law, even though the minority
suffer in consequence;" and I bore the nauseous smoke from principle as
long as I could, for I supposed there was a point of endurance, beyond
which rebellion would be justifiable. When they lighted fresh cigars, I
ventured to hint that the smoke might not be agreeable to the young
lady. Whereupon one of the smokers replied, "that he would not smoke
another cigar if it was productive of the least discomfort to her; but
he presumed the fragrance was rather pleasant than otherwise, as he
smoked none but the best regalias, which cost him three cents apiece."
"I should be sorry to deprive the gentleman of a pleasure," replied
the young lady, very much to my mortification.
"I thought so," replied the smoker, lighting another cigar.
CHAPTER V. The Steamboat.
It was dark when we reached the landing place on the river, and we
had but just time to get our baggage on to the dock, before we heard
the distant ringing of the steamboat bell, which was soon followed by
the noise of her wheels splashing in the water, and the hissing of the
steam, and then the boat herself came in sight, vomiting forth smoke
and fire. It was the first steamer I had ever seen, and the dim outline
of her huge form, partially illuminated by the lights on her deck, as
she floated past on the dark bosom of the river, filled my mind with
extravagant and grotesque ideas of her size and shape. As I stood
gazing at her with absorbing curiosity, a small boat suddenly darted up
to the dock with the velocity of lightning, the sparkling white foam
rising from her bows like a snow drift. Two men jumped on to the dock,
and began to throw the baggage into the boat, and one by one, my
companions in travel all disappeared. I was completely bewildered, and
at a loss what to do with myself.
"Bear a hand," cried a gruff voice from the boat, "or you'll be
"Why don't you get in, boss?" said one of the men on the dock.
"I don't see how I can," I replied, looking over the end of the
wharf. Without more ado, somebody gave me a push, and I tumbled
headlong into the boat; fortunately, I lighted upon a heap of carpet
bags, and although I was not much hurt, I was most terribly frightened.
The boat was drawn with amazing velocity through the water, and we were
very soon alongside of the steamer. The passengers scrambled on board,
but as I had so far recovered my senses as to perceive my beautiful
fellow traveller sitting in the stern of the boat, I resolved not to
let this last opportunity escape of showing my gallantry, and seeing
somebody near her, I stepped briskly past, and asked her if I should
have the pleasure of assisting her out of the boat; she thanked me very
sweetly, and took hold of my extended hand; but as I stepped back my
foot slipped, and I fell my whole length in the bottom of the boat.
When I got upon my feet again, she was gone. I hobbled on board the
steamer, but I could see nothing of her; I had caught her pocket
handkerchief in my fall, and as I could not find her to restoreit, I
put it into my pocket, to keep in remembrance of her.
The deck of the steamboat was crowded with passengers, and a little
bow-legged negro was running about, with a bell in his hand, crying
out, "passengers what hasn't paid his passages ull please call to the
capn's office and set-tel." So I obeyed the call of the little negro,
and having paid my passage, I ascended a pair of stairs close by, and
found myself alone on the upper deck. There was no moon, but the stars
were shining in all their brightness and beauty, and by their light I
could trace the outline of the banks of the river, which rose high
above my head in black and indistinct masses. The water looked black
and cold, and the night wind was damp and chilly. Below, all was light
and life; but here, a step removed, all was solitary, dark, and still.
I took the handkerchief of my beautiful fellow-traveller from my pocket
and kissed it, and pressed it to my heart; I felt very grand, and
clasped my hands together, and looked up to the stars, but blushed as
the thought crossed my mind, that they might be intelligent existences,
which were looking down into my breast, and reading my thoughts.
I now felt that I was in reality afloat upon the wide world,
ignorant of its ways, with no definiteobject of pursuit, and with but
slender means of support. I thought of my mother and sister, and my
eyes filled with tears. Vague and indistinct apprehensions of evil
rushed through my mind, and I looked forward to the termination of my
journey, and the return of day, with dread. And then I called to mind
the scornful prediction of my proud cousin, and the feelings it
awakened absorbed all others. I threw my hands above me with a feeling
of confidence and pride, and I vowed never to despair, nor to slacken
in my exertions, until I had attained to wealth and fame, and proved my
haughty cousin a liar.
To prevent a return of dull and gloomy forebodings, I left the
upper deck, and found my way down into the cabin, where the brilliancy
and gayety of the scene completely staggered me; so great was the
change from darkness and solitude, to light and revelry. The cabin was
crowded with passengers; some were lolling on the sofas; some were
reading; but the greater part were clustered around the card tables,
where they were playing for money. My fellow traveller in the lilac
shirt was dealing out the cards at one of these tables, and after
dealing them round for a few times, he exclaimed, "vantoon," and
without more ceremony, he caught up a little heap of sixpences and
shillings, and rose up from the table; and seeing me standing by, took
me by the arm, and would make me drink with him at the little bar at
one end of the cabin; and then we went on deck together, when he pulled
out his pocket book, and asked me to accept his card; it was as
J. SMITH DAVIS CO.
DRY GOODS JOBBERS,
Presented by J. Lummucks.
I read this card over and over several times before I could exactly
understand its import; but the thought occurred to me that it was
intended for an introduction, and that my new friend must be Mr.
Lummucks. I felt very much embarrassed, for I had no card of my own to
return, and I was at a loss how to make myself known to him.
"Mr. Lummucks, I presume?" I said, inquiringly.
"Yes, sir," replied the gentleman, lifting his hat.
"I have no card about me," I said, "but my name is Franco."
"Mr. Franco, how do you do," said Mr. Lummucks, taking my hand and
shaking it very warmly, as though he had met with an old friend after a
long separation, "I am very happy to see you."
"I am very well, I thank you, sir," I replied, with as much
solemnity as though I had an insurance upon his life, "how is your
So our introduction being over, we talked quite freely again, and I
thought Mr. Lummucks was the noblest hearted, the genteelest, and the
finest fellow breathing; and I looked upon it as a very favorable omen,
that I should in the very outset of my career, gain the friendship of
so fine a gentleman. Finding that I was unacquainted in New York, he
invited me to go with him to the City Hotel, where he lived. I promised
to do so, and we parted for the night.
Being tired and sleepy, I went down into the cabin again to go to
bed, but to my amazement, I found not only all the births occupied with
sleepers, but all the settees, and chairs, and tables. I looked all
about, but I could find no vacant spot to stretch myself out upon. The
cabin was very warm, and the air disagreeable, and the music of three
or four hundred men snoring in concert, was any thing but pleasant. I
went on deck again, and having found a vacant place, I spread out my
plaid cloak and lay down to sleep. Seeing somethinground and glossy
near me, and supposing it to be a pumpkin, I rested my head upon it for
a pillow, and should very soon have been fast asleep, but for the
difficulty of keeping it steady. It kept rolling away from under my
head, till at length I caught hold of it with both hands, determined,
if possible, to keep it still.
"Murdther! murdther! murdther!" cried out a voice close by my ear.
I started up affrighted, and half a dozen men, in red shirts and
begrimed faces, came running to the place where I lay, when I
discovered by the light of a lantern, which one of them carried, that
the pumpkin which I had been trying to keep under my head, was the bald
pate of a drunken deck passenger. When I had succeeded in convincing
the men that I had no murderous designs upon the deck passenger, I
crept away to another part of the boat, and was soon fast asleep.
When I awoke, it was broad day light, the boat had arrived at the
wharf, and the passengers were hurrying ashore; I jumped up and rubbed
my eyes, very much alarmed, for fear that Mr. Lummucks had gone off and
left me; but luckily I found him, and he called a coach, and we rode up
to the City Hotel together, where I was accommodated with a room in the
fifth story; it was a weary long way up to it, and when I got there, I
felt no disposition to go down again. I had never been so far from the
CHAPTER VI. My first dinner at a
Hotel, and the consequences of taking wine too freely.
Having thrown myself upon the bed, I slept until the bell summoned
me to dinner. I dressed myself, and hurried down to the dining room;
and seeing at a glance that there was no standing upon ceremony, took a
seat at one of the long tables, which were spread the whole length of a
very long room. I eat a plate of black looking soup which was placed
before me, and then waited to be helped to something else, but nobody
spoke, nor even looked at me. There was a constant shouting of "waiter!
waiter! waiter!" and a confused noise of the popping of corks, the
rattling of dishes, and the smacking of lips, enough to have confused
my senses, if they had not been sharpened by hunger. The gentleman who
sat at my left hand, was a lank cadaverous looking personage, with long
black hair, and keen glossy eyes; he wore a white cambric cravat, tied
in a large bow knot in front, the projecting points of which had
intercepted not a few droppings of tobacco juice; he spoke in a
drawling effeminate voice, but in a peremptorymanner, to a stout negro
man who stood behind his chair, and jumped at his commands with the
greatest alacrity, while I could not get a waiter to listen to me.
There was a decanter of wine standing between this gentleman's plate
and mine, with a piece of paper stuck round the neck, on which was
marked No. 49, which I took for the number of the cask out of which it
Finding that nobody was disposed to help me to anything to eat, I
thought I would help myself to something to drink. "Is this Madeira?" I
asked of my left hand neighbor, pointing to the decanter.
"I imagine not, Sir," he replied sharply; "I kind o'reckon its
"Is it indeed," I said; "then I will try a glass of it in
remembrance of my father, for I have often heard him say that sherry
was his favorite wine." So I filled my glass, and drank it off with a
good relish, for it was smooth and finely flavored.
"That's right cool," said my neighbor, fixing his keen eyes upon
"Yes it is," I replied; "I guess it has been iced. I believe I
shall try another glass." And so I took hold of the decanter again to
help myself, upon which the sallow faced gentleman started upon his
feet, and squealed out, "You infernalson of a northern abolitionist, I
will teach you to drink a gentleman's wine;" and at the same time
seizing a table knife, he made a pass at me, which I fortunately
dodged, and seized hold of the decanter of wine, and aimed a blow at
his head, which would infallibly have cracked his skull, had not the
big negro interposed his head, and caught the decanter in its descent
upon his own wool, thereby saving his master's head, but not his wine,
for the decanter was shivered into a thousand pieces, and its contents
flew over me and my antagonist. My next impulse was to lay hold of a
dish of cranberry sauce, with which I might have been more successful
than with the decanter, but before I had time to reach out my hand, I
was surrounded by a dozen, or more, men, who caught hold of me, and
dragged me out of the room, amid a wild uproar of voices, which sounded
in my ears like the yells of demons. They dragged me through the hall
into a small room adjoining, two having hold of my collar, and a stout
fellow hold of each arm. Some eight or ten men followed into the room,
and then one of them stood with his back against the door to keep the
others from crowding in. Somebody on the outside knocked and kicked
very hard against the door, and demanded entrance on the score of his
being one of the gentlemen of the press. But the man who was guarding
the door refused to move, and the gentleman of the press on the outside
gave another savage kick, and swore that the public should be informed
of the outrage it had suffered, in the disrespect shown to his person.
Among the gentlemen who were admitted into the room, was an elderly
man with gold spectacles, and a high bald forehead; they called him
"judge;" his heavy black eyebrows, and a protuberant under lip, gave
his face an expression of sternness, and I trembled as he bent his eyes
upon me. He took a piece of paper and a pencil out of his pocket, and
asked me my name, and where I was from; but I was so terrified I could
make no reply to him, but burst into tears.
"Don't be frightened, sir," said the judge, quietly; "nobody shall
harm you, unless indeed you deserve it very richly, which I am inclined
to believe is not the case."
After a few sobs, which I could not suppress, I told the judge my
name, where I was from, and the particulars of the affray, without
being at all aware of the offence I had committed.
"Ha! ha! ha!" roared the judge, as I concluded my account; "I see
through it all, I think;you did not attempt, then, to entice away the
"A slave!" I exclaimed, in amazement, "I never saw a slave in my
"Well, well; but how is this, colonel?" said the judge, addressing
one of the gentlemen, "you said you could swear you saw the young man
put a tract into the nigger's hand."
"Well, I wish I mought never see ole Virginny agin, if I could'nt a
took a right smart oath I seen him do it, any how; but praps I was
mistaken, it mought a been a napkin."
"Very likely it was," said the judge.
"Hows'ever," said the colonel, "I'll take my oath I seen him, if
you wish; but as the young gentleman says himself he did'nt done it, I
reckon I might as well not."
"So I reckon," said the judge. "Well, gentlemen," he continued, "I
think you must be pretty well satisfied of the young gentleman's
"O, perfectly," they all replied, without appearing to have any
will of their own about the matter.
"I am satisfied if you is, judge," said the colonel, "but as you
and I were at college together, I should like just to swear to
something to oblige you."
The judge thanked him for his kind feelings, but said there was no
particular occasion just then.
For my own part, my amazement and terror increased ever moment, and
I was expecting to hear sentence of death pronounced upon me, when the
judge cleared up all the mystery which hung about the proceedings. "Let
me advise you, Mr. Franco," said the judge kindly, "the next time you
feel an inclination for a glass of sherry, to call for a bottle
yourself, and not to drink another gentleman's, unless he should offer
it to you. I don't know what the custom may be where you were raised,
but such things won't do down south. That gentleman whose wine you made
free with with, was no less a person than the Honorable Sylvanus
Spliteer, the celebrated southern orator, and these gentlemen are his
particular friends, who, hearing something said about abolitionists,
for their ears are very quick to catch any thing that is said on that
subject, and seeing you and the orator in an antagonistic position,
they very naturally concluded that you were trying to entice away his
black boy, who was waiting upon him at table."
I did not think the conclusion was a very naturalone, by any means,
but I felt no inclination to dispute the point.
"But I am very happy to find that all the difficulty has arisen
from a very natural mistake of yours, in supposing that the wine upon
the dinner table, like the brandy and the butter, was for the benefit
of the public."
Although the explanation of the judge had relieved my fears, yet I
felt so mortified and abashed, in finding that I had been guilty of a
gross breach of good manners, that my face burned with shame, and I
could not raise my eyes from the floor. But one of the gentlemen having
stepped out of the room, returned again, bringing Mr. Spliteer himself
with him, who having heard all the particulars, shook me heartily by
the hand, and insisted on my returning to table, and drinking a bottle
of wine with him. The judge, and the colonel, and the other gentlemen,
said they would join us, and of course I could not refuse so kind an
invitation; so we all returned to the dining room, where, as the orator
himself expressed it, the remainder of the afternoon was spent with "a
I must confess that, after this, the titles of judge and colonel
lost something more than half their awe inspiring influence over me;
for such songs, and such speeches, as came from the mouths ofthese
gentlemen, I never listened to before nor since. Even the orator
himself outdid the colonel. The other gentlemen, one of whom was a
doctor, and another a major, told several stories, and related
circumstances which they swore had happened to themselves, although I
had read of the same things in an almanac when I was a little boy, and
I remembered that my grandmother told me they had happened when she was
a girl. I have no distinct recollections of the manner in which the
dinner terminated; but I remember very vividly, that I found myself,
the next morning, lying on my chamber floor, with a burning thirst, and
a violent pain in my head.
CHAPTER VII. Shows with what ease a
man may enter into a commercial speculation, when he has the means and
the inclination so to do.
I had as yet seen nothing of the city; so after breakfast, not
being able to find my good friend Mr. Lummucks, I ventured to take a
stroll through Broadway alone, to see the sights, and put myself in the
way of fortune. I had not rambled far, when I caught sight of a little
red flag hanging upon a pole which was stuck out of a shop door, and
hearing a man talking very loud inside, I stepped in, to see what was
It was a little narrow place, hung round with lithographic prints,
and double barrelled rifles, and duelling pistols, and other works of
art, both instructive and destructive. There was a counter in the
centre of the shop, and at one end of it, elevated on a high stool,
stood a little bald headed man, with protuberant black eyes and
prominent front teeth. He had a little ivory hammer in his hand, which
he flourished about with great earnestness, cyring out all the while,
"a hof, a hof, a hof, a hof," till at last he struck the counter
fiercely with it, and said, "Mr. Smit takes the lot ateighteen and a
hof." There were two or three gentlemen standing about the counter, but
I could not discover that they took the slightest interest in what was
"Now, gentlemen," said the man with the hammer, "I will give you
very great pleasure; you shall all bless your lucky stars, which has
superinduced you to enter this store at this present time. I shall now,
gentlemen, put up lot number twenty one, and it must be sold to the
highest bidder, pos-i-tive-ly — it must indeed, upon my honor. Here,
gentlemen, is something worthy the very highest consideration of
connoisseurs, amateurs, and epicures; it is indeed. You see, gentlemen,
it is a most magnificent rose wood casket, all inlaid with the mother
of pearls and divers other waluable minerals, very rare to be got or
obtained. But, gentlemen, before I open this casket, and dazzle your
precious eyes with the contents thereof, let me tell you its history.
"This casket, gentlemen, is the property of a wirtuous young orphan
lady, which lives in the upper part of the city, who is reduced to the
unfortunate extremity of disposing of a part of her personal effects,
because she done so many charitable acts to the poor, and therefore it
must be sold. Why don't you bid!"
So saying, he opened the casket, and emptied its contents on to the
counter; they consisted of a necklace, a pair of ear rings, a silver
bodkin, a needle case, a musical snuff-box, and a cameo breast pin.
They all looked bright and new, and for aught that I could discover,
were none the worse for wear.
"Come, gentlemen," exclaimed the little man, flourishing his
hammer, "why don't you bid! I shan't take offence at any thing, say two
hundred; one hundred; any thing to start with; say fifty dollars; the
casket alone is worth five times the money. Any gentleman as wants to
make an operation, has now a beautiful opportunity to make four or five
hundred dollars, by purchasing this splendid article. Has'nt he, Mr.
"You may well say that, Mr. Shooda," said the gentleman addressed;
"any shentleman is a fool which does'nt buy that bargain at any price."
The demon of avarice whispered in my ear that now was my time to
turn a penny, and I resolved to bid for the casket, and so lay the
foundation of my fortune. And then the blood rushed to my cheek at the
base thought of taking the advantage of a poor orphan girl's
necessities to enrich myself; and then I resolved I would do no such
thing. But as the auctioneer went on setting forth the value of the
casket, and the low price at which he would sell it, I reasoned with
myself thus: if I do not buy the casket, another will; and if I do buy
it, and give more for it than another would, of course I shall do a
good deed, and while I enrich myself, I shall benefit the poor orphan
girl. And then I thought it might possibly belong to the beautiful
young lady, my companion in the coach, for whom I felt so great a
regard, and if it should be hers, with what pleasure I would restore it
to her. This last thought overcame all my scruples, and I determined to
buy the casket at all hazards.
I am ashamed to confess that, although these thoughts did pass
through my mind, still it was the desire of gain that influenced me. So
easy is it, when we do a mean action, to flatter ourselves that it is
from good motives we do it.
"Do you think he would take a bid of fifty dollars?" I asked of the
gentleman whom the auctioneer addressed as Mr. Isaacs.
Mr. Isaacs had a nose both high and long, and his eyes were very
black, but large and heavy; his hair was black and crispy, and he had a
stoop in his shoulders; he wore a blue frock coat, with a black velvet
collar, and altogether his dress had a second hand appearance. Upon my
putting this question to him, he drew me aside, and whisperingin my
ear, told me not to bid as high as fifty at the first going off,
although he didn't believe the auctioneer would sell the casket for
less than two or three hundred dollars; and then, in a very solemn
manner, he advised me not to let the opportunity slip of buying the
casket. And he told me upon his honor as a gentleman, that he would buy
it of me the very next day at just double the money which I might give
for it, if I should buy it, protesting that he would bid it off
himself, if he had not left his pocket book at home.
So good an opportunity to make money, I was fearful might not occur
again very soon, and I resolved to make the most of it. And according
to the advice of Mr. Isaacs, I bid thirty dollars for the casket.
"For shame, for shame," exclaimed the auctioneer, "to bid thirty
dollars for a magnificent article like this."
I blushed very red, and bid forty.
"Forty, forty, forty, forty, forty, and five, did you say; five,
five, five, five, five."
I did not hear any body bid five, but as the auctioneer had said
that nods and winks would be taken as bids, I supposed that some
gentleman had given him a sly wink.
"Forty-five, forty-five, forty-five, forty-five, forfive,
forty-five," he exclaimed with astonishing rapidity, and just as he was
on the point of letting fall his hammer, I bid fifty.
"Fifty, fifty, fifty, fifty, fifty," he exclaimed more than fifty
times, my heart all the while beating time to the flourishes of his
hammer, 'till it descended to the counter, and I found myself the
purchaser of the valuable casket, and its contents, for the very small
sum of fifty dollars. I paid for it immediately, and to make sure of
it, wrapped it up in my pocket handkerchief, and tucked it under my
Mr. Isaacs said I had made a great purchase, and tried to persuade
me to stop and bid for something else; but I was too much elated, and
in too great a hurry to get to my chamber, and glut my eyes with my
As I left the store, I heard a loud whistle, and suddenly turning
my head, I perceived Mr. Isaacs with his cheeks distended like a
bladder, and his broad lips screwed up like the mouth of a tightly
drawn purse, whistling with all his might; but I was so eager to get to
my chamber that I did not turn back to inquire the cause of it.
CHAPTER VIII. A school for morals,
and the beginning of an adventure.
At the tea table I met Mr. Lummucks; he had heard of my encounter
with the great orator from the South the day before, and he laughed
heartily at my blunder, and said, if I would put myself under his
tuition, he would soon make a man of me, and learn me what life was. By
way of giving me an introductory lesson, he said, I must go to the
theatre with him that evening; and as he offered to pay for my ticket,
I did not feel at liberty to refuse.
As I had often heard the theatre spoken of as a school for morals,
I was not much surprised to meet a good many people there whose morals
seemed to stand in need of a pretty severe schooling; for my own part,
I do not think my own morals were much the better for any thing that I
saw or heard while there.
Mr. Lummucks said he was acquainted with all the principal actors
and actresses, and he promised to take me behind the scenes, and
introduce me to some of them, but first he took me up two or three
flights of stairs into a long room with green walls and red moreen
curtains, with a bar at one end, behind which were half a dozen yellow
women serving out cakes and coffee, and all manner of liquors. There
were a great many young ladies moving about, some with gentlemen, and
some without, but all very gayly dressed, and very free in their
manners; indeed, one of them had the boldness to ask me to treat her to
an orange, which I did, and then she asked me to treat her to a glass
of cordial, which I could not refuse to do, because she was a lady, and
I judged from the familiar manner in which Mr. Lummucks spoke to her,
that she was an intimate acquaintance of his. Another young lady came
up to me, and offered me her card, which I took, and promised to call
on her. Mr. Lummucks appeared to be perfectly at home; he called one
Bess, another Sue, and another Liz. If this, I thought, is the first
lesson in life, I shall not be astonished at any thing which I may meet
I heard a great clapping of hands and stamping of feet, and as I
began to grow tired of the company I was in, I made an excuse that I
wanted to see the play; so I went out of the punch room into the
gallery to see what had called forth the clapping of hands, and to take
a lesson in morals. On the stage, which was a long distance belowme,
were a man and a woman singing with all their might, with their hands
stretched out as if imploring mercy from the audience. He was tall and
thin, with sunken cheeks, which were, notwithstanding, very red; and
she was short and fat: they were both dressed in the strangest looking
clothes I had ever seen, but apparently very richly. I listened
attentively, but I could not understand a word of the song, and the
musicians kept up such a noise I was hardly able to distinguish the
tune. I must acknowledge that I was greatly disappointed in the
exhibition; but it would be wrong in me to condemn what I could not
understand, and, as some do, pronounce every thing bad which is above
Not feeling any interest for the people on the stage, I began to
look around among the audience, and soon discovered something more
interesting and beautiful than I had anticipated. There were a great
many ladies among the audience, who, being dressed in gay clothes, gave
a bright and beautiful appearance to the theatre; but the lights were
so glaring, and the whole scene was so strange to me, it was some time
before I could look composedly, and view in detail the lovely beings
who were clustered together in the circle below me. When my eye had
become more familiarwith the scene, and my perception keener, as I
glanced from group to group, my attention was suddenly arrested by a
beautiful girl, who sat in the lower tier of boxes, dressed in white,
and looking like a lily in a bed of tulips. Upon looking at her more
attentively, I was electrified at discovering in her my gentle
companion of the stage coach. It gave a momentary shock to my feelings
to find one whom I had, in imagination, invested with a pure and holy
character, breathing the atmosphere of such a place; but descending to
the next tier of boxes, I took a seat opposite to her, and soon became
so completely absorbed in the contemplation of her beauties, as to be
insensible to every thing else. She was very beautiful, and having
gazed on her for hours, I thought her image was stamped upon my heart,
and that it would be ever present to the eyes of my mind; but when I
could see her no longer, and I tried to recall her to my mind, it was
in vain; I could only remember that I had seen a being of light and
loveliness, but the form she wore had left no distinct impression upon
She sat between an elderly gentleman, and a lady apparently older
than herself, to whom she occasionally spoke; and I thought I could
distinguish the gentle tones of her voice above all thenoise of the
orchestra and the hubbub of the pit. When the performances were ended,
I hurried down to the lobby, that I might catch a parting glimpse of
her as she left the theatre. I saw her come out leaning on the arm of
the elderly gentleman who sat by her side, and I got as close to her as
I dared, hoping to catch the sound of her voice. They stood on the
steps a few minutes, until a carriage drove up, into which they got
with the other lady; the footman banged too the door and got up behind,
and away they drove. I stood for a moment almost bewildered, and then
darted off in pursuit of the carriage; I ran with all my might, and
hard work I had to keep it in sight. It was a weary long chase, up one
street and down another, 'till at length, when I was quite exhausted,
and scarcely able to move another step, the sweat pouring from every
pore in my body, and my wind quite gone, it stopped in front of a brick
house opposite to a large square filled with trees.
The party got out of the carriage, and the old gentleman handed the
ladies up the steps of the house. "Good night, uncle," said the
youngest lady, in a voice which I could have distinguished among all
the babel tongues of the world. "Good night, Georgy, good night," said
the old gentleman. The door closed upon the ladies, and theold
gentleman stepped into the carriage again, and drove off.
I sat down opposite to the house, under the shade of the trees, to
recover my breath; and having rested myself, I very reluctantly quitted
the spot; but not until I had noted down the number of the house, and
read the name on the silver door plate; it was simply, "Mrs. Smith."
It was past midnight when I got back to the hotel, but I found Mr.
Lummucks sitting in the bar-room, drinking and smoking with two or
three bilious looking gentlemen, whom he introduced to me as merchants
from Mississippi. Mr. Lummucks tried to make me sit down and smoke and
drink with them, but I resolutely refused, notwithstanding the
Mississippi merchants joined in the request, promising me that they
would tell me a mighty big heap of good stories, and that the way they
would amuse me would be sinful to a christian. But I was in a hurry to
be alone in my chamber, where I could shut my eyes upon the world, and
think only of her who had enchanted me.
When I got to my chamber, I locked the door, and took out the
pocket handkerchief, of which I had by a lucky accident become the
possessor, and having pressed it to my heart, spread it out
forexamination, with the hope of discovering about it some clue to the
name of its owner. It was a beautiful bandkerchief; the material was of
a delicate texture, surpassing any thing of the kind I had ever seen
before; it was edged with broad lace, and the corners were curiously
embroidered with fruits and flowers, the like of which I had never seen
in nature; on one of the corners was a scroll, surrounded by a wreath
of roses, and on it was printed, in delicate little letters, "Georgiana
De Lancy." I pressed the name to my lips, and kissed it a thousand
times, and did many other foolish things, 'till at last growing weary,
I lay down upon my bed with the handkerchief in my hand, and dreamed
that the lovely Georgiana was hovering over me, poised in the air by a
pair of purple wings, the gentle motion of which fanned the cool air
across my brow.
CHAPTER IX. Getting into a
In the course of my limited reading, I had met with accounts of men
who had become famous by accident, and gained an immortality without
having labored for it; but, I had never, in my wildest dreams, imagined
that such a lot would be mine. I did, indeed, indulge in the pleasing
hope of achieving fame and fortune, but I did not expect to have
notoriety thrust upon me at the very commencement of my adventures.
The morning after my visit to the Theatre, I was sitting in the bar
room of the hotel, reading the morning papers, when I was startled at
seeing my own name in print. The sensations which I experienced on the
occasion, can be imagined by those who have found themselves
unexpectedly in a newspaper. I was seized with such a fit of trembling,
that it was some time before I could gather my senses sufficiently
together to enable me to read the following article, which fully
accounted for the mark of distinction which had been bestowed upon me.
"Serious Affair.—We have been at great painsto gather the
particulars of the late disgraceful outrage at the City Hotel, knowing
the anxiety of the public mind in relation to this event, and feeling
the full weight of the responsibility which rests upon our shoulders,
as public journalists, to furnish our subscribers,—who, we are proud
to say, are daily increasing, having added more than two thousand to
our lists within the last week, which we happen to know, is more than
the entire subscription of any of our cotemporaries,—with the latest
and most correct in formation.
"Now we distinctly charge, that our contemporary, with whose vile
name we will not soil our columns, has presented his readers(?) with a
garbled and incorrect statement of the transaction alluded to,
notwithstanding he knew we were in possession of the entire particulars
of the affair, which we had obtained at a great expense, and with vast
trouble. However, we feel ourselves touched in a very tender point, and
we shall condescend to hold the wretch personally accountable; and were
it not beneath the character of a gentleman to bandy terms of abuse
with a blackguard, we should call him an ingrained villain, a brute
dyed in the wool, a dirty contemptible creature who could not speak the
truth, though it were for his interest to do so, and who never does
stumble upon it, unless he surreptitiously filches it from our columns;
but we will not make use of the homely phrases of our vernacular; we
forbear; we have no wish to take the bread out of innocent lips. We
understand our contemporary has an interesting family dependent upon
him; but how he came by anything interesting, is to us a matter of
astonishment, and, indeed, we doubt the fact. We leave the creature to
work his own ruin, and hasten to lay the particulars of this gross
outrage before our numerous readers, premising, merely, that a paper is
left at our office for signatures, requesting the Mayor to call a
meeting of our fellow citizens to express their feelings on the
"One of those pestiferous vermin, a travelling abolitionist, by the
name of Franco, had the unparalleled audacity to enter the City Hotel
yesterday, and endeavor, by his damnable arts, to entice away the
faithful slave of the Honorable Sylvanus Spliteer, the chivalric orator
of the South, who being at his dinner, and having just finished a plate
of oxtail soup, a delicacy than which none know better how to concoct
than the worthy hosts of the City, and having taken a decanter of
sherry in his hand for the purpose of taking wine with a distinguished
Senator, and perceiving an attempt made by the at olitionist toforce an
incendiary pamphlet into the hands of his honest negro, with that
promptness peculiar to southern climes, and with that indignant energy
with which the chivalry of the South defend their rights, jumped from
his seat, and, with unerring aim, hurled the decanter at the head of
the fanatic. But unfortunately the decanter was shivered to pieces
instead of the head, and the shrivelled creature got his hide well
soaked with good wine, a piece of good luck which, we will venture to
assert, never befel one of the fraternity before. We regret to add,
that Franco was allowed to escape without farther chastisement.
"Now we sincerely deprecate any attempt at violence or an
infringement of the peculiar privileges of the law, but there are
cases, which of necessity must occur, which call upon the high-souled
and the chivalrous to take the law into their own hands, and inflict
summary punishment. This may be one of those cases; we do not say it
is, and therefore if any violence should be committed, let no one lay
the blame at our door. We have not recommended a coat of tar and
feathers, neither have we made any allusions to the salutary effects of
a ride upon a rail.
"Franco's first name, we gather from the books of the Hotel, is
Harry; he is a youngish person,apparently not more than twenty-one, of
a fair complexion, light blue eyes, and chestnut hair. His clothes are
healthy in their appearance, that is, they appear never to have
suffered from a fit of any kind."
Having always believed implicitly every thing which I saw in print,
I could hardly persuade myself that I had not been guilty of the
outrage of which I saw myself accused. I felt all the shame, at least,
of a real culprit, and hung down my head and pulled my hat over my eyes
for fear of meeting the scornful glances of the men who were moving
about me. I was terrified beyond measure at the allusion to the coat of
tar and feathers, and a ride upon a rail. The prophecy of my haughty
cousin flashed across my mind, and now, I thought, the time of its
fulfilment had come. The unfeeling allusion to my clothes filled me
with indignation; for my mother had exhausted her skill, and her
strength too, in making them, and I thought they fitted me to a hair. I
sat in a corner of the bar-room, with apprehension, trembling and
expecting every moment that violent men would lay their hands upon me,
when I heard the voice of Mr. Spliteer himself in the bar-room. I rose
up, and with tears in my eyes, showed him the paper, and begged him to
screen me from the threatened violence. Heread the article, and laughed
heartily at it, which I thought showed a great want of feeling in him;
but he could well afford to do so, for he got a good deal of praise at
"Don't be alarmed, young man," he said, "abuse and
misrepresentation are the unavoidable penalties of newspaper notoriety.
I have had a heap of it in my day, I can assure you, and I care nothing
for it now; but I must confess it did grind me at first no ways slow.
As for tar and feathers, and a ride upon a rail, dont care a fig about
them; there's not a bit of danger; nobody cares any thing about a
newspaper, for although there is nothing which men read more eagerly,
there is nothing which they heed so little, not even their Bibles.
However, to make all sure, I will take it upon myself to see the
Editor, who is a personal, as well as a political friend of mine, and
to-morrow you shall see that he will contradict every word he has said
to-day in relation to you. And now, do me the favor to drink a julep
with me, and you will feel better, I dare say."
I thanked the honorable Mr. Spliteer for his kindness, for I did
not know how to refuse, and I had, moreover, a curiosity to know what a
julep was. He gave the necessary orders to the bar-keeper; and after a
great display of nutmeg graters and muddling sticks, and of sousing and
flourishing of tumblers by the latter gentleman, the juleps were mixed;
and the honorable Mr. Spliteer himself reached me one of them, for it
would have been quite beneath the dignity of the bar-keeper to have
stooped so far below his proper level as to have acted in the capacity
of a waiter. What the ingredients were of which the juleps were
composed I could form no idea; there was a bunch of green mint in the
tumbler, topped off with a cap of snow, and a slender glass tube was
stuck in the middle. As I had never seen a julep before, I watched the
motions of the orator before I touched the glass; he drew his tumbler
up to him and applied his mouth to the tube, and I did the same.
"Are you fond of juleps?" he asked, taking a long breath.
"Very," I replied, for I found it very palatable.
"So am I," said Mr. Spliteer, "I like them because they are so
"Are juleps healthy, then?" I inquired.
"Very," he said, drawing another long breath. My father drank so
many juleps, that when he died the mint sprouted up all over his grave,
and one of these days you will see it growing on mine."
"I hope not," I replied.
"Do you, indeed," said the chivalrous orator, "why so?"
"Because," I answered, "I hope you will never die."
"Good, good," he exclaimed, apparently highly delighted, "right
good, considering you tried only yesterday to break my head with a
"You must expect when you take wine, that it will get into your
head," I replied.
"So I do," he said, "but not through my skull." And then he laughed
very heartily, and I laughed too, and said a thousand other foolish
things. Having sucked the last drop out of our tumblers, Mr. Spliteer
ordered two more juleps, and told the bar-keeper to make them stiff.
I have not a very clear recollection of what occurred after
drinking the second julep, neither do I remember exactly how many I did
drink; but I know I felt very valiant and very witty, and that I threw
a tumbler at the head of the bar-keeper, and told the honorable Mr.
Spliteer that he looked like a bilious baboon. And, I was afterwards
told, that I soon grew stupid and sleepy, and was taken up into my
chamber, and put to bed by some of the waiters.
CHAPTER X. Recovering from a Julep.
Had I been philosopher enough to have doubted the truth of a
spiritual existence independent of the body, the effects of the juleps
would have cured me of skepticism forever. It is a curious fact, that
when the senses are benumbed with the fumes of strong drink, and our
limbs can no longer perform their offices, and we fall down drunk,
stupid, insensible—our bodies deprived of all sense, sympathy or
feeling; when the noble mansion, which was created for the in-dwelling
of our immortal spirit, has been prostrated by our own follies, and
become a mere heap of breathing matter, and all of our faculties are
benumbed by the fumes of strong drink, and all of our sympathies, and
feelings, bodily and mental, are paralyzed and drunken, then our souls,
as if exulting in the release, which our deadened bodies give them, or
as if ashamed of the disgraced habitations to which their destiny has
assigned them, spread out their wings, and soar away to scenes where
the body is incapable of accompanying them. At least such was the case
with me, for although Ilay on my bed stupid and insensible as a log,
never before was my mind so actively employed as then, and never did my
fancy play such wild and fantastic tricks, or bear me so high on her
wings, in my sober moments.
It was late in the afternoon when I roused up, and found myself
upon my bed with my clothes all on. It was a long while before I could
convince myself that I was not somebody beside myself, and I should
have rubbed my eyes and doubted for a long time, had I not been
impelled by a burning thirst to go in search of water; luckily there
was a goblet full in my chamber, which I soon emptied, and by degrees
became convinced that I was indeed nobody but myself; a very
uncomfortable conclusion to arrive at, for I should just then have been
glad to have been convinced that I was anybody in the world besides
myself, for I felt very wretched. Although I soon established my own
identity, I could not easily separate and distinguish the transactions
of the past two days from the transactions of my drunken visions.
My father was very particular, when I left home, to caution me
against eating an egg out of a wine glass, but he never said a word
about abstaining from juleps. It was wrong in me to blame him for my
own misdeeds, but I could not help thinking, that, if he had cautioned
me against drinking, I might have been spared the bitter feelings which
I then experienced. The prophetic words of my cousin were constantly
ringing in my ears, and the reflection that I might, by my own folly,
have aided to bring on their fulfilment, filled me with grief and
shame. I had not yet done any thing towards bettering my condition, and
I made fresh resolves not to let another day pass without making a
vigorous effort to obtain employment. But the saddening thought came
over me, that I was without friends, and I knew not to whom I could
apply for help or advice, and I had not even fixed in my own mind what
kind of employment I should seek. But I had met with nothing but
kindness thus far, and I felt assured that I should still meet with
kindness and polite treatment; for if men would, when unsolicited, show
me kindness and favor, surely when I did solicit them they would grant
it more readily. Thus I reasoned with myself, and very sound reasoning
I thought it.
Of all the men whom I had seen, none had treated me half so
politely as Mr. Lummucks. I never met him, but he would make me drink
with him; he slapped me across the shoulder with the familiarity of a
brother; he would make me go to the Theatre with him, and he would pay
for myticket; if I sat near him at table, he would send me his wine,
and after dinner he would offer me a cigar, although I always refused
it; he had given me his card on board the steamboat, and he had since
pressed me to call at his store and see him. What but the kindliest
feelings, and the most generous nature, could cause a man to show such
civilities to a stranger. Fortune, I thought, had evidently thrown me
in his way, and I determined to second her endeavors to help me along,
by applying to him for assistance in procuring a situation; and, I had
not a doubt, but that a gentleman of his benevolent feelings, would be
very glad of an opportunity of doing so.
With these soothing and comfortable reflections, I lay down again,
to sleep off all effects of my dissipation, that I might get up in the
morning refreshed and invigorated, and better prepared to prosecute my
schemes for defeating the malicious prophecy of my cousin. And so I
fell asleep, and dreamed of my mother and sister, and of the beautiful
Georgiana. For all the cares and anxieties and disappointments of this
wicked world, cannot deprive us of the privilege of visiting, in our
dreams, the gentle beings whom we love.
CHAPTER XI. Tells of my reception
by Mr. Lummucks, and of the manner in which that polite gentleman
answered my solicitations.
Having dressed myself in my very best clothes, which, to tell the
truth, were my very worst also, I set out, soon after breakfast, in
search of the store of Messrs. J. Smith Davis Co., whose names were on
the card which Mr. Lummucks had given me.
It was a bright and pleasant morning; the streets were full of life
and animation, and every thing looked promising and joyous to me. Men
were hurrying past me in every direction, with looks full of business
and importance, and I thought, where all seemed to be so well employed,
and in such haste, there could be no difficulty in finding something to
do. But, as I was not stinted for time, I did not hurry myself, and
walked leisurely along beneath the awnings, stopping occasionally to
gaze at the heaps of goods which were displayed in the stores, or to
read some curious sign which attracted my attention. After a while I
succeeded in finding Hanover Square, which I was astonished to find was
triangular in shape, and soon discovered the large gilt sign ofMessrs.
J. Smith Davis Co. Luckily, Mr. Lummucks was standing in the door with
his hat off, and his hair brushed down smooth and glossy. As soon as he
saw me, he caught me by the hand, and dragged me into the store.
"How are you this morning, Colonel?" he said.
"Very well, I thank you," I replied, speaking as respectfully as I
knew how; "are you well?"
"Fine as silk," said Mr. Lummucks.
I was glad to hear him say so, and congratulated myself upon
finding him in such a pleasant humor.
The store of Messrs. J. Smith Davis Co. was not very large, but it
was crowded with goods to the very ceiling, and in the middle of the
floor were long piles of calicoes, about which were several young
gentlemen, as busily employed as bees in a hive.
A very little man approached us from the further end of the store,
jerking his little arms and legs with the precision and ease of an
automaton. His dress was new, and bright, and neat. Mr. Lummucks
introduced me to him. He was no other than Mr. Smith Davis himself, the
principal of the firm. I was almost struck dumb to see so much
importance confined within so small a compass. He shook me cordially by
the hand, and asked Mr. Lummucks if he knew me.
"Know him like a book," replied Mr. Lummucks.
Mr. Smith Davis shook me by the hand again, and said he was very
happy to see me; he asked me how the times were, and offered me a
cigar, which I took for fear of giving offence, but the first
opportunity I got I threw it away.
"Buy for cash, or time?" he asked.
I was a little startled at the abruptness of the question, but I
replied, "for cash."
"Would you like to look at some prints, Major?" he asked.
"I am much obliged to you," I replied, "I am very fond of seeing
With that, Mr. Smith Davis commenced turning over one piece of
calico after another, with amazing rapidity.
"There, Major,—very desirable article—splendid style—only
two-and-six; we done a first rate business in that article last season;
cheapest goods in the street."
Before I could make any reply, or even guess at the meaning of Mr.
Davis's remarks, he was called away, and Mr. Lummucks stepped up and
supplied his place.
"You had better buy 'em, Colonel," said Mr. Lummucks, "they will
sell like hot cakes. But did you say you bought for cash."
"Of course," I said, "if I buy at all."
He took a memorandum book out of his pocket, and looked in it for a
"Let me see," he said, "Franco, Franco, Franco, what did you say
your firm was, something and Franco, or Franco and somebody?"
"I have no firm," I replied.
"O, you haven't, haven't you? all alone, hey? but I don't see that
I have got your first name down in my tickler."
"My first name is Harry," I said.
"Right, yes, I remember," said Mr. Lummucks, making a memorandum;
"and your references, Colonel, who did you say were your references?"
"I have no references," I replied, "indeed I know of no one to whom
I could refer, unless to my father."
"What, the old boy in the country?"
"My father is in the country," I answered seriously, not very well
pleased to hear my parent called the old boy.
"Then you have no city references, hey?"
"None at all, sir; I have no friends here except yourself."
"Me!" exclaimed Mr. Lummucks, apparently in great amazement. "Oh,
ah! But how much of a bill do you mean to make with us, Colonel?"
"Perhaps I may buy a vest pattern," I replied, "if you have got
some genteel patterns."
"A vest pattern," cried Mr. Lummucks, "what, hav'nt you come down
for the purpose of buying goods?"
"No, sir," I replied, "I came to New York to seek for employment,
and as you had shown me so many kind attentions, I thought you would be
glad of an opportunity to assist me in finding a situation."
Mr. Lummucks' countenance underwent a very singular change when I
announced my reasons for calling on him.
"Do you see any thing that looks green in there?" he said, pulling
down his eyelid with his forefinger.
"No, sir, I do not," I replied, looking very earnestly into his
"Nor in there, either?" he said, pulling open his other eye.
"Nothing at all, sir," I replied.
"I guess not," said Mr. Lummucks; and without making me any other
answer, he turned on his heel and left me.
"Reg'larly sucked, Jack?" asked a young man who had been listening
to our conversation.
"Don't mention it," said Mr. Lummucks.
"No you don't," said the other.
Mr. Lummucks walked up to Mr. Smith Davis, and whispered in his ear
a few words, upon which that little gentleman turned round, and frowned
upon me most awfully.
I was about to demand an explanation of this strange conduct, when
Mr. Smith Davis came up to me, and told me he was not a retailer, but a
jobber, and advised me if I wanted to negotiate for a vest pattern to
go into Chatham street.
My first impulse was to take Mr. Smith Davis up in my arms, and
give him a good smart cuff on his ears. But I restrained my
indignation, and merely remarked to him, that if he was not a retailer,
he was in a remarkably small way.
"Leave my store, sir," said Mr. Smith Davis, turning very pale.
"Don't be frightened," I said, "I would not stay in it upon any
account." And without more ado I did leave it; but with feelings very
different from those with which I had entered it. To meet with such a
rebuff upon my first application for assistance, was a cruel
disappointment to me, and I could scarcely refrain from tears. I
thought of my poor mother and sister, and above all of my cousin's
prophecy, and my heart sunk within me. It was not until I had gone to
my chamber, and given vent to my feelings in a flood of tears, that I
could regain my self-possession, and revolve in my mind some other plan
I sat opposite to Mr. Lummucks again, at dinner, but he did not
even give me a look of recognition. I thought it was well, perhaps,
that I had met, at the very outset of life, with such an instance of
hollow heartedness and deceit, as it would learn me forever after to be
on my guard in my intercourse with strangers, and not to put too much
dependance upon their professions of friendship, until I had an
opportunity of testing their motives.
Mr. Lummucks, I found out afterwards, was a drummer, who, having
been sent out to drum up customers for his employers, was returning
home when I met him in the stage coach, and imagining that I was a
country merchant, on my way to New York to purchase goods, he
endeavored, by his attention, to lay me under an obligation to make my
purchases of his employers.
CHAPTER XII. A change of quarters,
and a new friend.
I found that the high rate which they charged me for board at the
hotel, would soon exhaust my slender means, so I applied at a genteel
boarding house in Pearl street, kept by a Mrs. Griggs, and agreed with
her for a bed in a room with only five other young gentlemen; the price
which she asked was something less than half what they charged at the
hotel. I was very glad to make the exchange, for I was not only
continually annoyed by the sight of Mr. Lummucks, but by the frequent
mention of my ludicrous encounter with the Southern orator.
The first time I dined at Mrs. Griggs's, I was reminded of the
advice given me by my fellow traveller, about the salt cellar, for on
casting my eyes upon that piece of table furniture, I perceived that it
did not indicate a very sumptuous dinner: it was a little gilt edged
glass dish, with a piece broken out of each corner, and its contents
were coarse and damp; consequently I was prepared to find the soup
cold, the mutton overdone, the vinegar sweet, and the salad warm. But,
thanks to the poverty of my parents, I had learned to eat mydinner
without finding fault with its quality, always satisfied if it was not
deficient in quantity; and although I flattered myself I could
distinguish a good meal from a poor one, I could be content with
Mrs. Griggs's boarders were all young gentlemen, fashionably
dressed, apparently full of fun, and with most excellent appetites.
Their greatest care seemed to be who should eat the greatest quantity
in the shortest space of time. I must confess I could not but regard
them with feelings of envy, for they were mostly clerks in counting
houses and stores, and I knew it was employment which gave them such
light hearts and happy faces. They were somewhat rude in their
behavior, but, as it was the rudeness of buoyant spirits, and not of
ill nature, there was nothing offensive about it. A very tall young
gentleman, with a ring on his forefinger, and a gold chain round his
neck, filled the office of carver, and his perquisites of office were,
as a matter of course, sundry little pieces of the outside, which he
contrived very ingeniously not to touch when he was helping round.
"Mister Barilla, will you, if you please, sir," said one of the
young gentlemen to the carver, "be so kind as to send me, per bearer, a
small invoice of that mutton?"
"Sorry to be under the disagreeable necessity of informing you,
sir," said Mr. Barilla, "have none remaining in first hands, but will
be'stremely happy to send you this tumbled lot," pointing to a scrag on
the side of his plate.
"Not as you know on, you may say to your friends when you write
home," replied the other.
"I say, Mrs. Griggs," said another, "hav'nt you a very good memory,
"Why yes, sir," said Mrs. Griggs, "I believe I have, I was never
called unforgitful; my husband used to say I was very good at
remembering things. Why did you ask, sir?"
"Nothing in particular, mem, I only wanted to inquire how long it
might be since this bread was baked?" said the boarder.
Mrs. Griggs blushed very red, but all the young gentlemen tittered
as though they were highly delighted at this piece of wit; but for my
part, I looked upon it as a piece of great rudeness, and I did not even
"I will tell you what I do remember," said Mrs. Griggs to the
quizzical boarder, "and that is, that you hav'nt paid your last month's
board, you impudence, and I wish you would, or else leave my house. A
poor widow lady, like me, can't afford to keep a genteel boarding house
There was a general burst of laughter at this reply of Mrs. Griggs;
and the witty gentleman turned very red, and looked very sheepish, but
he made no reply.
A young gentleman, who sat at my right, observing, I suppose, that
no one took any notice of me, and pitying my loneliness, commenced a
conversation with me, by asking if I was fond of Manhattan water.
"Is it mineral?" I asked.
"I should think it was," he replied; "it is very hard, at least."
"Does it promote longevity," I inquired, thinking that my neighbour
must be a scientific gentleman, and that it would be necessary to speak
in a dignified manner.
"It promotes longevity of office," he replied; "his honor, the
Recorder, drinks a pint before breakfast every morning, and he has held
his office these twenty years. And the company which supplies it will
live forever, they have got a perpetual charter."
"Indeed," said I, "that is very curious," not knowing exactly what
else to say. "Pray, what are its component parts?"
"Professor Silliman analyzed it once," replied my communicative
neighbor, "and found it contained two parts cats and dogs, and the
other partsdifferent kinds of salts, the names of which I have
"Does any body besides his honor, the Recorder, drink it?" I
"O, yes, sir, it is drank to a very great extent in this community
— you have been drinking it yourself."
"O, no, I have never tasted it, I am certain," I replied.
"O, yes, I am certain you have."
"No, sir, I have not," I replied sharply, not liking to be
contradicted in so positive a manner.
"Allow me to insist that you have, sir; that is the very article in
At this moment, Mrs. Griggs removed my plate, and placed before me
a saucer full of bread pudding, and a copper tea spoon to eat it with;
but the remarks of my communicative neighbor had taken off the keen
edge of my appetite, and I rose up from the table without tasting it.
After dinner, I wandered about the streets until I was tired and
weary, and then I returned to my boarding house, and went early to bed,
with a vague hope of being warned in a dream of some piece of good
fortune, which might be in store for me.
About midnight, I was aroused out of a deepslumber, by the entrance
of three of my room mates; two of them had been to the theatre, and
they commenced singing "Meet me by Moonlight," while the third, who had
been practising at a Thespian club, delivered himself of Hamlet's
soliloquy, trying to make my head answer the purpose of Yorick's skull,
which caused a great deal of merriment; but I twitched my head away,
and drawing the counterpane over it, pretended to be asleep.
It was not long before my other two room mates came in. They were
firemen. They were dressed in red flannel shirts, drab jackets and
trowsers, and large leather caps. They were not both members of the
same company, and they began talking about their respective machines in
a very animated manner, and I expected every moment to see them get
into a fight; but after they had abused each other, in a shocking
manner, for a few minutes, they suddenly stopped, and joined in the
song of "Meet me by Moonlight." I ventured to lift up my head to take a
peep at them, when one of the firemen, a little black haired man, with
steel spectacles, cried out, "hollo! chummy! come jump out of that, and
see the lions dance;" and without more ado, he took hold of my heels
and dragged me out on to the floor before I had timeto make any
resistance. I jumped upon my feet, full of indignation, but perceiving
it was all a joke, I joined in the laugh, which was raised at my
expense, and was very soon on as good terms with my five room mates as
They were whole-souled liberal hearted young fellows, and therefore
they would have something to drink. They cast lots to see who should
pay for the drink, and then drew a card out of a pack to see who should
go after it, and oddly enough it fell to the lot of the same person to
do both; the amateur Thespian was the unfortunate individual. He went
out to a neighboring bar-room, and soon returned with a couple of
tumblers, and a pitcher full of mint juleps, which were no sooner
drank, than we were all seized with a desire to sing.
The little curly-headed fireman, it is proper that I should
mention, being pious, refused to drink any of the juleps, but he
lighted a cigar, and almost suffocated us with smoke.
The breakfast bell rang the next morning before any of us were
awake, but my room-mates all started up at its summons, and began to
dress themselves with great expedition, and with a most generous
indifference about whose clothes they put on. There appeared to be a
complete abandonment of all individual ownership in such articles as
shirt collars and stockings, and one of these free-hearted fellows put
on my stockings without showing the slightest compunction of
conscience. One furnished a bottle of cologne water, and another a pot
of bear's grease; one a hair brush, and another a comb. But I believe
each one confined himself to his own particular tooth brush; at all
events, I was determined to do so myself.
These young gentlemen made a very genteel appearance when they were
dressed, and I have no doubt they made a great show in Broadway of an
evening, when they were released from their business. I could not avoid
reflecting on the ease with which mankind can be imposed upon; and as I
had myself been most grossly deceived by outward appearances, I
determined to be on my guard for the future, and take nothing upon
I was highly delighted with the profundity of my reflections, and
flattered myself that I had made a discovery in morals. The reader will
discover, long before he will arrive at the conclusion of my
adventures, in what manner I profited by this great discovery.
CHAPTER XIII. A new field, and
One of my room-mates was a tall slender youth, with light blue eyes
and whitish hair; he wore a blue frock coat, with a stand-up collar; a
black stock, and a blue cloth cap very much pulled over his eyes; he
usually carried a little ebony stick under one arm, and a half-bound
book under the other. Sometimes, when he did not forget to put them on,
he wore a pair of steel bowed spectacles, the glasses of which were
slightly tinged with blue. He had once been a cadet at West Point, and
he still wore a certain military air, which, although very easily
recognised, would be very difficult to describe. He was very grand in
his conversation, and made use of the choicest words in the dictionary.
His name was D. Wellington Worhoss.
I was sitting in my room after breakfast, with my eyes resting on
Miss De Lancey's handkerchief, while the eyes of my mind were looking
into the dim future which the light of my imagination was beginning to
enliven, when Mr. Worhoss came in, and having pulled off his cap and
gloves, he sat down, and resting his heels upon themantel piece, he
tipped himself back in his chair, and without apparently observing that
I was in the room, began to read aloud.
I did not feel myself very highly complimented by the little notice
which Mr. Worhoss took of me, and to show him that I held him as
cheaply as he seemed to hold me, I opened a book, and began to read
aloud myself. He looked at me over his shoulder with as much sternness
as a young gentleman with blue eyes and whitish hair could assume, but
perceiving that I showed no signs of immediate dissolution from the
effects of his glances, he threw down his book, and I did the same.
Mr. Worhoss and I were, a very few minutes after, established
friends. He swore he would never desert me, and made me his confidant
on the spot.
I was sorry to learn from Mr. Worhoss that times were hard. He
informed me that the "House" in which he had been employed as a clerk,
had "bursted up," and that he was, in consequence, a gentleman at
large. "However," he said in a solemn manner, "I don't care a tenpence
about it; I never did like mercantile pursuits. It indicates a want of
soul to be devoted to them. Business has a tendency to blunt the finer
feelingsof our nature, and I will acknowledge to you in confidence,
that I always found it an extremely difficult operation to adjust my
mind to the level of a counting-room."
"Ah," I said, "I should be very glad of an opportunity to adjust my
mind to any occupation which would yield me a small salary."
"Be content," said Mr. Worhoss, "to cultivate your sensibilities in
some gentlemanly manner, and don't throw away your talents upon trade.
However," he continued, "if gain is your object, I can put you in a way
of making a handsome per centage on a small investment."
I told Mr. Worhoss I should feel myself under great obligations to
him, if he would; that I had got a little money left, and that I should
have no objection in the world to investing it to a good advantage.
"Then you are just the gentleman I wanted to see," he replied,
taking my hand, and squeezing it very warmly. "I have written a prize
article for the Mirror, for which I expect to obtain fifty dollars, and
if you will advance me five dollars, I will return you ten, when I
receive the prize."
I thanked Mr. Worhoss for his liberal offer, and ventured to ask,
if there was not a possibility of his not receiving the prize?
"Not the slightest in the world," he replied; "it is to be awarded
by a committee of literary gentlemen, all men of taste, and they cannot
do otherwise than decide in favor of my article. But you shall judge,
yourself, of the probability of their doing so. I will read the article
I told Mr. Worhoss he might spare himself the trouble, as I had
great confidence in his representations. But, in spite of all I could
say, he would read it to me.
As mankind are prone to wreak their vengeance on the innocent when
they cannot on the offending, I do not feel myself at liberty to break
through an established custom, as I might thereby subject myself to be
called a fanatic, or some other evil name; I shall, therefore, revenge
myself upon you, most gentle reader, for the sin of Mr. Worhoss, by
repeating to you the prize article which that gentleman wrote for the
Mirror. Here it is:
AUGUSTUS DE SATINETT, A TALE OF FASHION; OR, THE MYSTERIES OF THE
PASSIONS. Dedicated to the Thoughtful.
Augustus de Satinett was a jobber; a choicer spirit the region of
Hanover square boasted not.Pearl street and Maiden Lane may have known
his equal, his superior never. He had risen from junior clerk to junior
partner, in one of the oldest firms. The best blood of the revolution
flowed in his veins; his mother was a Van Buster, his father a de
Satinett; a more remote ancestry, or a more noble, it were vain to
desire. Augustus had a noble soul, it was a seven quarter full; his
virtues were all his own, and they were dyed in the wool; his vices
were those of his age—they were dyed in the cloth.
At the time of which I write, Augustus was perfect in manly beauty;
his teeth were white and even, his lips were finely chiselled, a
profusion of chestnut curls clustered upon his noble brow, and genius
flashed from his hazel eyes. He lifted his hat to all his acquaintances
with an air of easy dignity, which spoke, as plainly as an air could
speak, that Augustus had travelled in foreign parts, for he had drummed
in Arkansas, and collected in the lithograph cities of the west.
It required no stretch of classic fancy, in those who saw de
Satinett, to believe that some fond Pygmalion of the sex, whose
existence is a sentiment, had loved into life a marble Antinous, which,
stepping from his eternal pedestal, had puton the habiliments with
which fashion clothes her votaries.
Eugenia Bergenville was the only daughter of a doting mother. She,
Eugenia, and not her mother, was all loveliness and all sentiment. In
her were all the elements of beauty combined, in parts harmonious. She
was like one of those glorious visions of light and loveliness, which
sometimes visit us when the soul is warm and plastic, and which leave
upon the tablets of memory, an impression which time cannot efface.
Her mother had seen much of the world, for she had once dispensed
the culinary offerings of Pomona, in the temple which bears the honored
name of Fulton; to speak plain, she used to sell kitchen vegetables in
Fulton market. But she had become rich by the purchase of a lucky
ticket in a lottery, and retired to private life; and all the energies
of her soul were devoted to the education of the young Eugenia, whom
she determined to bring up in the genteelest manner; with her, to
determine was to do. Eugenia was genteely brought up.
She was an accomplished performer on the piano, and sang in the
Italian style; how could she be otherwise than accomplished—had she
not taken forty lessons of Goward? Not having a decided taste for
reading and writing, those ordinarybranches were dispensed with, they
not being deemed essentials in a genteel bringing up. But she knew
several French phrases by heart, and she could sing an Italian song.
What more could the most fastidious desire? But, she could boast of
more. Her dresses were made by Madam Martineau, who received the Petit
Courier by the Havre packets, direct from Paris, It was the boast of
Eugenia's mother, that her daughter dressed in the very first style.
Augustus and Eugenia met: the Fates had designed them for each
other; there was, therefore, no reason why they should be kept asunder.
It was at a benefit ball in St. Tammany that they first saw each other.
It may be thought by some, that this was an improper place for two
such beings to visit. Perhaps it was. Charruaud's might have been more
select, or Niblo's a thought genteeler. But perils are to be
encountered wherever youth and beauty meet; and we have no desire to
interfere with the doings of those peremptory personages, the Fates; it
was by them ordained, that Augustus and Eugenia should meet within the
walls sacred to St. Tammany.
Many and fair were the forms that graced that benefit ball. Chatham
street sent forth its beauties, and the Bowery held not back its gay
creatures from the festive scene. Long wreaths of greens and paper
roses, were suspended from the pillars of the hall, and the gas lights
burned with a brilliancy which made every thing short of liquid rouge
look pale. Augustus danced a pas de trois with the Misses P., and
Eugenia danced a pas de deux with Mr. P.
Augustus had no sooner seen Eugenia, than he felt that his time was
come, and he sought for the master of ceremonies, who wore a white
riband in his button hole, and requested to be introduced. Now, the
master of ceremonies had never seen Augustus before; but being a
perfect stranger, is no bar at a benefit ball, to an introduction; so
the master of ceremonies took Augustus under his arm, and introduced
him to Eugenia, as his particular friend. Augustus bowed to Eugenia,
and requested the pleasure of dancing with her in the next quadrille.
Now, Eugenia had engaged herself for every dance that might be danced,
and for the rustic reel at the close; but feeling that her destiny was
sealed, with an ingenuousness peculiar to the place, she suddenly
forgot all her promises, and yielded at once to the solicitations of
Augustus; and he had the pleasure, not only of dancingthe next
quadrille with her, but of dancing all the quadrilles that were danced
on that eventful night.
Many months did not pass by before Augustus spoke of marriage; but
Eugenia was a child of nature, and with an artless simplicity, peculiar
only to children of nature, and to the disciples of Madam Darusmont,
she exclaimed, "what is marriage?"
Augustus endeavored to explain to her how it was necessary, before
two souls could be made one, that some form of ceremony should be
submitted to, although a very trifling one would satisfy the law; very
trifling indeed, compared with its enduring effects. But Eugenia could
not understand why she could not love and be loved, as purely and as
ardently, without the aid of priests as with. "What is marriage?" she
exclaimed again, in simple purity of soul; "if it is to love my dear
Augustus better than any other object on earth, better even than my
music master, or my mother, then am I married already."
But, if Augustus was satisfied that Eugenia needed not the ties of
the matrimonial statutes to ensure her felicity, he knew that they were
necessary to ensure his, so he insisted on being married in the old
fashioned manner. Eugenia at last consented, and one bright and
pleasant moonlight night, they were made one by a Roman Catholicpriest,
in his back parlor, in Orange street. The priest being an Irishman, his
foreign accent imparted a degree of romance to the ceremony; which, in
a measure, softened the feelings of Eugenia, and made the requirements
of the law less odious to her susceptible soul.
The honey moon had fulled and waned, when I received an invitation
to spend a sociable evening with Augustus. I found him seated with his
wife. He welcomed me with a cordial welcome, but she neither looked at
me nor welcomed me. An illnatured observer might have said she was in
the sulks, but doubtless her heart was too full; she was too happy to
Augustus was a ripe scholar, and he loved to talk of books. His
library was choice and elegant; it contained Bulwer and Scott complete,
and the "Encyclopedia Americana," and books of a graver cast were not
wanting; the works of Hannah Moore held a conspicuous place on his
shelves, and their contents were familiar to his mind: he had read
Coelebs when a boy, and he had the highest regard for its author; and
when speaking of her, he called her "his Hannah," and his "favorite
Miss Moore." In the course of the evening, he frequently spoke of her
by these familiar names,which showed the warmth of his affection for
his favorite authors.
Time will pass away even when familiar friends are discussing their
favorite authors. Mrs. de Satinett, for so we must call Eugenia, began
to give hints, which could not be misunderstood, that it was time to
retire. The rain was pattering against the windows, and the house was
far up town. Augustus pressed me to take a bed; I could not refuse. As
he showed me to my chamber, he took my hand, "Belville," he said, with
a solemn earnestness, "You are not married."
"No," I said, "but you are."
"Yes," he said, "I feel that I am."
He could say no more, and I bid him good night.
My chamber adjoined that of Augustus and his wife, and as it was a
genteel house, the wall was not so thick but that I could hear the
conversation that passed between them. I was unwilling to do so, of
course, but I could not avoid it.
"I wish I was dead and in my grave," said Eugenia.
"How can you, my dear, distress me to death," said Augustus to this
unnatural wish of his wife.
"No danger of your being distressed to death," said Eugenia,
"What on earth have I done, my dear, to deserve this?" said
"You have broken my poor heart," said Eugenia.
"My dear, you will drive me mad," said Augustus.
"No danger of your going mad," sobbed Eugenia.
"Don't say so, dear, don't; there," a kiss, "there, then."
"Let me alone," exclaimed Eugenia.
"Oh! oh!" groaned Augustus, "what have I done or said to offend
I could hear him pacing the room with quick and rapid strides, and
I thought to myself, how surprising it was, that he did not pursue the
only obviously proper course in such a case. I will not name the course
of action which appeared to me proper on the occasion, for fear of
giving offence; for I am aware that there are differences of opinion on
this as well as on other subjects.
Eugenia, after sobbing hysterically a few minutes longer, exclaimed
again, "I wish I was dead and buried." "Don't, my dear," said Augustus,
"tempt me to say I wish you were." "You cruel wretch," exclaimed
Eugenia, "you are trying tokill me. To sit there all the evening,
before my face, and talk about that nasty Hannah."
"What Hannah?" exclaimed Augustus, in great consternation.
"Your old flame, Miss More, your favorite, as you call her; to my
Augustus laughed outright. He expostulated with Eugenia; he
explained to her that Hannah More was only his favorite author; that he
had never seen her in his life; that she was an ugly old maid, and
above all, that she was in her grave. But it was all to no purpose, he
might have rebuked the angry sea with as much effect. Eugenia had no
conception of such a thing as a favorite author; all books were alike
to her, from a penny magazine to a polyglott bible; and as to a book
having been written by a woman, it was something entirely beyond the
circumference of her understanding; she would not believe a word of it.
She would have it that Hannah More was nothing more nor less than an
old flame, or something worse, of her lord's. She sobbed, and at last
How they settled the difficulty for the night I am ignorant to this
day, for I soon fell asleep, and heard nothing farther of their
From that memorable night I saw a great change in Augustus de
Satinett; but, why prolonga painful tale, or dwell upon the events
which prostrated a noble nature. Thenceforth Augustus knew no rest.
Eugenia would sit for hours, and the only words which would escape her
lips, were, "Miss More." When he sought his home, after a day of
fatiguing toil, the first sound that struck his ear, was, "Hannah;" and
when he laid his head upon his pillow, instead of the sweet spirit of
sleep which once closed his eye lids, the sound of his no longer
favorite "Hannah's" name chased the kind sprite away, and he was doomed
to hear more of Miss More.
At last, Augustus took to gin; but, that old fashioned alleviator
failing to bring relief, he sought for peace amid the din of battle,
and on the plains of Texas joined the brave spirits who poured out
their blood in the cause of liberty and land speculations.
When Mr. Worhoss concluded his article, he exclaimed triumphantly,
"what do you think now?"
The truth is, thought I, that fifty dollars would be an extravagant
price to pay for the history of Mr. de Satinett, but I was afraid to
say so, for fear of offending Mr. Worhoss, so I took out my pocket book
and lent him five dollars, and he gaveme a promise in writing, to
return ten dollars in case he should receive the prize of fifty.
As Mr. Worhoss had been so free in his remarks to me, I frankly
told him what my own condition was, and asked him to recommended me to
some employment. He advised me to take an office in Wall street, and
commence the brokerage business, or to open an eating house, or to
study for the ministry. But, as neither of these employments exactly
suited my expectations, he promised to take me under his protection,
and procure a situation for me immediately, with some respectable
I felt myself fortunate in securing, at so cheap a rate, the
friendship of so accomplished a gentleman as Mr. Worhoss, and I
listened to his conversation for two or three hours with great
"For my own part," said Mr. Worhoss, as he threw his heels over the
back of a chair and lighted a cigar, "I am determined to live easy, to
live well and genteely; and work, I wont."
"Then you have got a rich father to lean upon?" I said.
"No, I haven't," said Mr. Worhoss; "I am sorry to say it, but, my
father is very poor. He was a member of Congress a good many years, and
as he spent all his time in attending to the affairs of the nation, of
course his own affairs all went to sixes and sevens; and all he ever
got for his patriotism, was an appointment at West Point for myself,
and a midshipman's warrant for my brother, who was dismissed the
service for sleeping in his watch; and I left the Point, because I
couldn't brook the restraints that were put upon my actions. The fact
is, I had a penchant for a remarkably fine turkey cock of the
Colonel's, which I endeavored one Christmas eve to introduce into my
room; and this trifling circumstance, some how or other, caused me to
leave the Point. But, it is not absolutely necessary to have a rich
father, in order to live without work. Society, you must know, that is,
the civilized world, have agreed that a few of their number shall live
in ease and elegance, while the many shall work and sweat like slaves."
"I knew that such was the case," I remarked, "but I never knew
before that there was any agreement about the matter. Pray how long is
it since the arrangement was made?"
"Ever since the flood," replied Mr. Warhoss, "and probably long
before. I do not positively assert that there have been any writings
drawn up and signed by the parties, but still the agreement exists, and
it has been strictly adhered to in all ages, and will be in all time to
come, at least in my time; so I have resolved to make the most of it,
without stopping to inquire into the justice of the arrangement."
"Ah," I said, "it is the tyranny of custom, and not an agreement
between the parties that causes such an unnatural state of things to
"All stuff," replied Mr. Warhoss; "how can you call it tyranny,
when the strongest party volunteers to serve the weakest. Tyranny is an
unrighteous exercise of power over those who are incapable of
resistance. If seven eighths of mankind choose to endure all manner of
privations, that the remaining eighth may enjoy all manner of comforts,
you may call it infatuation, but call it not tyranny. However, if you
are fond of argument, I will argue with you about the moon being made
of green cheese, because that is a subject on which there may be
doubts; but to argue about an established fact is an absurdity. The
truth is as I have stated it to you, and I will tell you in confidence
that I have enrolled myself in the ranks of the minority who receive
tribute from the majority, but in what manner I shall receive my
portion I have not determined. You, I perceive, are anxious to join the
many, and laborfor us; well, every man to his liking; I shall not
dispute with you in a matter of personal tastes, but, one thing I will
advise you to do before you proceed any farther; and that is, to have
your head examined."
"My head," I exclaimed in astonishment, "there is nothing the
matter with my head."
"Perhaps not," replied Mr. Worhoss; "I mean the developments of
your skull, that you may know what pursuit is best adapted to your
powers of mind, and in which you would of course be most likely to
As this was a point on which I was most anxious to receive
information, I thanked Mr. Worhoss for his suggestion; and he proposed
that I should go with him to the phrenological rooms of his friend, Mr.
Fingrum; whither I accompanied him, to submit my head, with all its
imperfections, to the examination of that celebrated philosopher.
CHAPTER XIV. Like a previous
chapter, adds another link to the chain of my adventures, without
increasing the intensity of interest which they may have excited.
The "phrenological rooms," were a very small office in Nassau
street, with a dark closet attached to it. There was a little cupboard
in one corner, filled with plaster busts, and most hideous looking
skulls. In the little closet, the floor of which was covered with a
dirty carpet, sat a lady on a high stool, with her hair over her face,
and Mr. Fingrum the phrenologist standing over her, poking his long
bony fingers over her head, and calling out the size of her organs to a
pale young man, who marked them upon a phrenological chart, as they
were announced. Mr. Fingrum was a tall gaunt man, with a very thin face
and a very red nose. He wore a rusty suit of black, and a dirty white
cambric cravat. Altogether, his appearance was philosophical in the
After the manipulation of the lady's head was completed, and all
her organs were properly set down, she glanced over the chart,
apparently with great satisfaction; but, she thought her "amativ." was
put down a number too high; upon which,the phrenologist requested her
to take off her bonnet again, and he re-examined that particular organ,
and decided, that instead of its being rated too high, it was actually
a number too low. He explained, that the reason why the lady had doubts
about it, was all owing to her "self-esteem" being so very small.
With this explanation, she appeared entirely satised; and when she
left the "rooms," she said she should recommend several of her female
acquaintances, who had very interesting heads, to call on Mr. Fingrum
and be examined.
As the phrenological rooms were conducted on the strictly
republican principle of "first come first served," I was forced to wait
my turn, and a stout red faced gentleman next took his seat upon the
Mr. Fingrum hesitated for a minute before he put his hands upon the
head of his sitter, and going to a glass case, he took out a half
decayed skull, which he appeared to regard with great delight.
"This," said the phrenologist, with great solemnity, "is the skull
of Saint Paul."
"What, the apostle!" exclaimed the stout gentleman, starting upon
"The very same," replied Mr. Fingrum.
"Bless my heart, bless my heart," said thegentleman, almost turning
pale, and taking his seat upon the stool again, "that ever I should
live to see the skull of Saint Paul the Apostle. Why he has been dead
these eighteen hundred years."
"No he hasn't," replied the phrenologist, "you must remember that
Saint Paul was a very old gentleman when he suffered martyrdom, and
that he was not converted until some years after the ascension."
"That is true," said the gentleman, "he has not been dead as long
as I thought at first."
"I want you should observe, sir," continued Mr. Fingrum, while he
polished the skull with the palms of his hands, "that a gentleman may
have a development of very bad propensities, and yet be the best and
noblest of his race. Or rather he may have organs which might be
productive of evil, but which, under proper guidance, will become
instruments of good. Thus you see that destructiv. and combativ., which
are so fully developed in Saint Paul, and which once sent him on an
errand of cruelty to Damascus, afterwards, when his conscientiousness,
which you observe is also very large, had aided the Holy Spirit to work
his conversion, caused him to speak out so bravely before Festus and
Agrippa, and enter valiantly into the theatre at Ephesus."
"Well, well, I shouldn't wonder," said the sitter.
Mr. Fingrum replaced the skull of Saint Paul in the glass case, and
commenced the examination of the stout gentleman, who shut both eyes,
and held down his head as reverently as though Mr. Fingrum was about to
pronounce a benediction upon him.
The phrenologist pressed his hands upon the head of his sitter, and
began to name over the developments to his assistant, who sat, pen in
hand, ready to take down his remarks on a chart.
"Amativ. large," mumbled Mr. F.; "Philoprogenitiv. full; Adhesiv.
large; Inhabitiv. small; Concentrativ. large; Combativ. very large;
Destructiv. very large."
"What," exclaimed the gentleman, opening his eyes, and turning
redder in the face, "do you mean to tell me that I am a destructive?"
"I say that you have combativeness and destructiveness very largely
developed, and that you must, in consequence, be addicted to fighting,
"I say I am not," replied the gentleman, "and don't you tell me
that again. I am one of the most peaceable men in my Ward."
"Perhaps you are," said the phrenologist, "butI am not accountable
for your developments, and I must repeat, that your destructiveness is
"Take your hands off of my head," exclaimed the gentleman, jumping
up, "and take that for your insolence, you red nosed ghost." And
without more ado, he struck the phrenologist a blow under the ear,
which sent him reeling up against his assistant, who stumbled against
the case which contained the head of Saint Paul, which he overturned,
and smashed the glass plate which covered that valuable relic. The
destructive gentleman then took his hat, and walked out of the "rooms,"
in a state of high excitement.
The phrenologists got upon their feet again, after a while, but it
was a long time before either could speak.
"That is all owing," said Mr. Fingrum, as soon as he had recovered
from his fright, "to my cautiousness being so small; confound it, I
wish it was bigger. I perceived, at a glance, that that man's self
esteem and combativ., would make him a dangerous subject to handle, and
so I showed him the peculiarities of Saint Paul's skull, to prepare his
mind for what I should be obliged to say about his own; but I ought to
have been more cautious."
"And was that really Saint Paul's skull?" I asked.
"That, no," said the phrenologist, "it was the skull of Gibbs, the
pirate. I saw that the man's marvel. was so large that he would believe
any thing I might tell him; if I had told him it was the skull of Cain,
he would have believed it. But he shall find that my combativeness is
as large as his own; I will go immediately to the police office and
have him arrested." And so he took his hat and cane, and walked off,
and I was obliged to leave the rooms without having my head examined, a
circumstance which I regretted very much, as I felt myself entirely at
a loss to determine what pursuit my talents best qualified me for. My
inclinations rather leaned to the course which my new friend, Mr.
Worhoss, had marked out for himself; but I thought it would be prudent
to try something else first before I joined his party.
At the tea table I met Mr. Worhoss again, and that kind hearted
young gentleman invited me to take a walk with him after tea and see
the town. As I was anxious to see every thing worth seeing, I thanked
him for his kindness, and accepted his offer. He said he would just
step up to his room and dress, and then he should be ready for a walk.
As Mr. Worhoss's "to dress," meant nothingmore than buttoning up
another button of his coat, and brushing his hair, and pulling down his
wristbands, I thought he was an unreasonable long time in doing it. At
length, however, he made his appearance, with his slender ebony stick
in his hand, and we walked out together. The street lamps were lighted,
and Mr. Worhoss remarked that as it was too late to see any thing in
Broadway, it would be advisable to go direct to the theatre. He said
there was to be a sterling English comedy, and a new French dancer, and
consequently, all the beauty and fashion of the city would be present.
I very gladly assented to his proposal, thinking that where all the
beauty of the city was gathered together, my beautiful Georgiana could
not be absent.
Mr. Worhoss proposed that we should sit in the pit, as it was
decidedly respectable, although not as genteel as the boxes. Of course,
I made no objections; and when we reached the entrance, I stopped
short, expecting that he would procure the tickets, as Mr. Lummucks had
done, when he gave me an invitation to go to the theatre with him. But
Mr. Worhoss only pointed to a little round hole in the partition, and
observed that that was the place where they took the money for the
"Is it indeed?" I said.
"Yes," said Mr. Worhoss, "and you had better get a couple of
tickets before they begin to crowd about the doors."
"O, ah," I said, feeling very foolish, "I didn't think of that."
"I knew you didn't," replied Mr. Worhoss, "and that is the very
reason why I reminded you of it."
According to the delicate suggestion of my new friend, I bought two
tickets, and we entered the pit about half an hour before the
performances commenced, which gave me an opportunity to observe all the
beauties as they took their seats in the boxes. I watched them very
narrowly, hoping to discover my beautiful Georgiana among them, but I
was disappointed; she did not come. It was some consolation, however,
to me, to know that her ears would not be offended by the rude and
ribald language of the people in the pit. They were a rough set. I
thought that the respectability of the pit was not quite so decided as
Mr. Worhoss had intimated; but he remarked, that there was an unusual
number of butcher boys present, who were always a great annoyance to
the lovers of the legitimate drama, by their eating of roasted pea
nuts, and encoring all the songs.
I forget the name of the sterling comedy which was played, but it
was all about a wild young fellow, who ran away with a beautiful young
lady, whom he succeeded in marrying in spite of the exertions of her
old guardian to prevent him. I was delighted with the plot, and thought
that the moral was most excellent. After the comedy, Mr. Worhoss, who
appeared to know every body in the Theatre, told me not only the names,
but the personal histories of a good many of the audience. Amongst the
rest, he pointed out to me an elderly gentleman, with a good humored
broad countenance, a high nose, and a pair of twinkling black eyes.
"That gentleman," said Mr. Worhoss, "is Major Rigmaroll, the editor; he
has written criticisms about the stage for the last thirty years. I
know him all to pieces. He is going to publish a book about Shakspeare,
and he has already published one, in which he proves as plain as the
nose on his face, which you see is plain enough, that the American
Indians are descended from Shem, Ham, or Japheth, I forget which; he
claims relationship, by the way, with one of them himself."
"Perhaps," I said, "he wants to lay claim to some Indian lands, on
the score of family connexion."
"Upon my soul I believe he has done so already," said Mr. Worhoss.
"He must be a very learned man," I said, "to be able to trace the
origin of a people who are themselves ignorant of their own descent."
"I guess he is learned," replied Mr. Warhoss; "he knows Josephus
Millerius by heart. But look, see what a long glass he has got in his
hand; he has come here on purpose to criticise the new danseuse."
In a few minutes the stage bell rung; the musicians in the
orchestra began to play. "Hats off," cried the people in the pit. Up
went the green curtain, and disclosed a scene representing a forest of
trees growing out of a board floor, and in bounced a fat woman, who, as
soon as she got to the centre of the stage, elevated one foot to a
horizontal position, and whirled round on the other like a top. I must
confess I was shocked beyond measure, for I had some how or other
imbibed an idea that an opera dancer was a light and gentle little
creature, who tripped and bounded before your vision in graceful
movements, like a sprite; but nothing could be more unlike the reality,
for here was a full grown woman throwing about her legs in all manner
of ungainlyattitudes, and with such an indecent scantiness of clothing
as to fairly make me blush.
But my ideas on this subject, I must acknowledge, differed very
much from those of Mr. Worhoss, for he declared she was a magnificent
dancer, and he said, that, after witnessing such an exhibition, it
would be a down right bore to sit through the farce. As I agreed with
him in his last opinion, we came out of the theatre, and I was glad to
get into the open air again. Mr. Worhoss proposed taking something to
prevent our taking cold, and I followed him into a showy bar-room, next
door to the theatre. He called for two glasses of port wine sangaree,
and after he had emptied his tumbler, he appeared to be deeply absorbed
in the contemplation of a hunting piece which hung opposite to the bar.
As there were a good many young men standing around, and the bar-keeper
seemed to be waiting for the pay for the sangarees, I threw down a
shilling, upon which Mr. Worhoss turned suddenly round, and putting his
hand into his pocket, exclaimed, "you don't say you have paid?"
"Yes I have," I replied.
"Well, that is too bad; come, let us go," said Mr. Worhoss.
"Now, sir," said Mr. Worhoss, "let us havesome oysters, and then we
shall be prepared to finish the evening."
I observed that I was not in the least hungry.
"That is nothing," said Mr. Worhoss; "people don't eat oysters
because they are hungry, any more than they drink wine because they are
I did not want to show my ignorance, so I made no further
objections, but followed Mr. Worhoss down a steep pair of stone steps
into a cellar, which was brilliantly lighted up with gas lights, and we
took our seats in a little box just big enough to hold two persons. The
front of it was enclosed by a red moreen curtain, behind which a man's
head obtruded itself as soon as we entered, and ejaculated, "stew?"
"What is the meaning of that," I asked, staring at the head.
"Stew?" ejaculated the head again.
"He wants to know if you want a stew," said Mr. Worhoss.
But I did not know whether I wanted a stew or not. So I made no
reply, and the man exclaimed once more, "stew?"
"No," said Mr. Worhoss, "none of your stews. Give us two half
dozens fried, and whilst theyare cooking, two half dozens of raw ones
in the shell, and a lemon."
The head disappeared, and very soon returned with the raw ones,
which were large and delicious. Although I was not hungry, I succeeded
in swallowing half a dozen without any difficulty.
"I suppose you don't often drink anything?" remarked Mr. Worhoss,
in an inquiring tone.
"Not often," I replied.
"Neither do I," said Mr. Worhoss, "but a glass of brandy and water
is indispensable with oysters. Shall I order a couple of glasses?"
"Certainly," I replied, and the brandy and water was brought.
In the next box were two young men regaling themselves with a bowl
of oyster soup. From the sound of their voices I thought they were very
young. As they talked very loud, I could not avoid hearing their
"I say, Nick," says one, "how much does your old man allow you per
"Only a dollar," replied the other.
"Only a dollar! what a mean old skunk he must be!"
"Isn't he, proper? I'm blistered if I aint ashamed of him. But I
tell you how I manage it.When I want money, I go to the old woman and
tell her I want to subscribe to the Missionary Society, and she always
"Ha, ha, that is first rate. But you know I haint got no mother, so
I can't do that, of course. But I will tell you how I work it; when I
want money, I go down to the store and get a new suit of clothes, and
then go and pawn them in Chatham street."
"You do? Well I'm blest if that aint capital. I mean to try that
myself. But hurry and eat up your soup, or we shall miss the after
"What, aint you going to have some pie?"
"No, I never eats pastry."
"Then let us have some brandy."
When these interesting young gentlemen were gone, I remarked to Mr.
Worhoss that I didn't like the cellar at all, it was so close and
"Not like it," he exclaimed; "why, oysters would not be oysters if
they were not eaten in a cellar. Don't you know there is an eternal
fitness about every thing, but particularly about eating. The luxury of
a dish does not consist so much in its material, as in the place and
manner in which it is served. A bowl of greasy soup,for instance, with
kernels of pimento floating in it, may be eaten in such a place as this
with great gusto; but if it were placed before you at a regular dinner
table, it would cause a rebellion in your bread-bearer. And what man,
in his senses, would sit down to a table so narrow that his knees
interlocked with his neighbor's opposite, in any place but an oyster
cellar. But there is one exception to the eternal fitness of things.
Fried oysters are fitting on all occasions and in all places."
The fried ones were now brought, and Mr. Worhoss called for more
cold slaw, and two more glasses of brandy, and during the next quarter
of an hour he did not speak a word. When we had finished our oysters,
he drew a long breath, and we rose up to go, and instead of going up to
the bar to pay, he took up a newspaper, and pored over it as earnestly
as though he was reading it for a task. The bar-keeper looked at me
very hard, and as Mr. Worhoss was so intensely interested in the paper
he was reading, I could not do less than offer a bill in payment for
the oysters and brandy. After I had received my change, he threw down
his newspaper, and walked up to the bar with his hand in his pocket,
but the bar-keeper told him the oysters were paid for.
"Franco," says Mr. Worhoss, putting on a very stern look, "don't do
"No, I won't, I assure you," I replied.
"If you do you will offend me," he replied.
And so we ascended into the upper world again.
"It has just occurred to me," said Mr. Worhoss, when he had reached
the pavement, "that to-night is soiree night at No. 8. We will go there
if you have no objection; they will admit me because I am a volunteer,
and they will not object to you because you are a stranger."
I told Mr. Worhoss I was entirely at his disposal, and he might
lead me wherever he liked.
"Perhaps you would prefer to go to a musical party at the Shades,"
"Which will cost the most?" I inquired; "the Shades or the soiree."
"O, the Shades, of course," he said; "it will cost nothing at the
"Then I think I should a little prefer the soiree," I said.
"That is a bright idea," said Mr. Worhoss, "so come along."
We walked down Broadway a short distance, and then turned into a
dimly lighted street, where there appeared to be no dwelling houses,
and theside walks were lumbered up with bales and boxes. We had not
travelled far before we came to a very small house, jammed in between
two very high warehouses, with large folding doors, painted in fancy
colors, and gilt block letters over the entrance, indicating that it
was the Engine Company No. 8. I thought it was a very strange place for
a soiree, but I said nothing, and Mr. Worhoss took a small key out of
his pocket, and opened the door, and I followed him through a dark and
narrow passage, up a pair of steep steps, wondering where in the world
he was leading me, when suddenly he opened a door, and I found myself
ushered into a brilliantly lighted room, with a long table in the
centre, around which were seated fifteen or twenty young men; they were
all dressed in drab jackets and trowsers, and red shirts, in the bosoms
of which was the figure 8, embroidered with white tape. At one end of
the table, seated in an arm chair, which was elevated above the others,
I immediately discovered the little curly headed captain, with steel
spectacles, who had pulled me out of bed the night before. The room was
elegantly furnished, and every thing in it bore a strong contrast to
the rough dresses of the company. The chairs were of mahogany, with the
figure 8 carved in their backs; the floor was carpeted , and the walls
were hung round with pictures in gorgeous gilt frames. One of the
pictures represented the apotheosis of a chief engineer, whose name I
The little captain in the chair requested us to be seated, but
remarked that it was against the rules of the company to allow any but
members to be present at a soiree. I put my hand upon the handle of the
door to retire, but the little captain begged that I would remain for
his sake, and I hung up my hat among the leather caps, and took a seat
at the table by Mr. Worhoss.
"That is just the way," muttered a sallow looking member, "we make
laws and hang them up in gilt frames, and then we obey them — if we
"Of course," said the chairman, "it must be a very bad community
where they have not the grace to make good laws, for nothing can be
easier than to pass virtuous resolutions; and any society or company,
that neglects to do that, must be in a very bad way. That I take to be
an axiom, to say the least of it." Saying which, the little chairman
took off his glasses, rubbed them with his pocket handkerchief, and put
them on again, and looked as though he was determined to frown down all
But the discontented member went on growling and grumbling, utterly
regardless of the chairman's axiom and his severe frowns.
"That is the very thing that I find fault with," he said; "we
pronounce our own condemnation by making laws which we have not the
virtue to observe. It is just the way with us as a nation; our fathers
were willing to stake their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred
honors, to maintain the assertion that all men are born free and equal,
while at the same time they held one quarter part of the population of
their country in bondage."
"Fine him, fine him," cried a dozen voices, "he is talking
"I won't be fined," said the grumbling member; "I am only speaking
the truth, and that is not politics, no how you can fix it."
"You must be fined," said another, "for you are talking religion."
"I am not talking religion," said the grumbler; "I am only speaking
my sentiments. I appeal to the chair."
"There is no religion in your sentiments, I will swear," said the
chairman. "But you shall be fined and turned out too, for you have been
talking abolition, and that is worse than either politics or religion."
"Turn him out, turn him out," they all exclaimed, starting upon
"I won't be turned out," said the refractory member, putting
himself in a position of defence; "Let not a soul of you dare to put a
finger on me."
But firemen dare do any thing, and the abolitionist was seized and
hustled down stairs, and into the street, in spite of all his threats
and struggles. Order was very soon restored, and the chairman being
called on for a song, he sang the following, which he said was his own
composition, and we all joined in the chorus:
THE CAPTAIN'S SONG.
When years twice as many as o'er me have flown,
Shall have dropped from their pinions more sorrows and cares,
And I'm left to bear on ward the burthen alone,
Whose weight now a lov'd one endearingly shares.
Fond memory then, with her pencil of light,
Shall depict in bright colors the joys of this night.
When health shall desert me, when friends shall depart,
When wealth shall have open'd his pinions and flown;
When love, even love, shall have fled from my heart,
Then friendship shall cling to me still, though alone.
And memory then, with her pencil of light,
Shall depict in bright colors the joys of this night.
When death, even death, shall approach like a friend,
And I yield myself up to his chilling embrace;
With a hope of hereafter, though here all shall end,
My last effort shall be to help memory trace,
The forms of my friends with her pencil of light,
As she paints in warm colors the joys of this night.
All the rest of the company either sang a song or told a story, as
they were called upon. And then the little captain was called upon to
relate how he got stuck upon the gable end of an old Dutch house, down
in Coenties slip, one winter night, at the time of the great fire, by
the seat of his trowsers freezing to the ridge pole; and how all the
engines played upon him two or three hours without any body discovering
his perilous situation, and how it took two or three kettles of hot
boiling water to make Jack Frost relieve his hold of him.
This he did with surprising exactness, as Mr. Worhoss observed,
considering he had told it so many times before; for men, he said, were
apt to forget the particulars of a story after having repeated it two
or three hundred times.
The captain appeared gratified by the compliment which Mr. Worhoss
paid to his memory, and shook his head despondingly, and said, fires
are not what they used to be, and intimated that the department might
go to blazes, for all he cared, if there was not a turn out soon.
"There has not been a fire worth mentioning since the great fire,"
said one of the members, who had not opened his lips before, and who
now looked up and down the table very sagaciously.
"That is a fact," exclaimed one or two other members, with as much
solemnity as though it was the only fact that had been uttered for the
"Wasn't that a first rate fire?" said another.
"I guess it was," said two more simultaneously.
"Wasn't it?" said another.
"Didn't Bill Davis do something that night?" said another.
"Do something?" said another little member; "you may well say that;
he did more than something; he saved ever so many children. How many
was it, captain?"
"One only," said the captain, "and a little one too."
"Of course it was a little one, or it could have saved itself,"
"How did it happen," I asked, for I did not care to remain silent
"Is Bill Davis present?" asked the gentleman to whom I addressed
"No, I see he is not, so I will tell you all aboutit. You have
heard about the great fire in Chatham street of course," he said.
"No, sir," I replied, "I never heard it spoken of before."
"You never did?" he exclaimed; "well, wonders will not soon cease,
I do believe. I thought every body had heard about that; why, it was on
that memorable occasion that I turned out for the first time with
number eight. It was a bitter cold night in the month of January, and
when I went up to bed, says I, Mrs. Mix, says I, I should'nt think
strange if we had a fire to-night. I should'nt wonder, says she, if we
had, for I have always observed, Mr. Smith, that fires happen in very
cold nights. So I went up to bed, and just as I was in the very act of
undoing my stock, bang goes the jail bell, so down I went and ran for
dear life, and reached the house just as Bill Davis was taking the
machine out all alone by himself."
"Isn't that Bill Davis a smart fellow?" said one of the members,
interrupting the story teller.
"Isn't he?" said another.
"I guess he is," said a third.
"That is a fact," said another, striking the table enthusiastically
with his fist.
The important truth that Bill Davis was a smart fellow being
established, the story teller proceeded.
"Hallo, Smith, is that you," said Bill; "yes," says I; is that you,
Davis? That is me, says Bill, and so we never exchanged another word
until we reached the fire, and then, says he to me, I tell you what,
Smith, it is going to be a rouser. Isn't it? says I, and then at it we
went. Bill took the pipe, and we began to play, when up started a lady;
where she came from, we couldn't tell; save my child, she screamed,
save my child. Where is he, says Bill; up there, says the lady,
pointing to a window in the third story, out of which the flames were
bursting. Bless my heart, says Bill, if he is in there, he is gone
already. O don't say he is gone, says she I must save him, he is my
only boy; and with that, she steps on the ladder; I can't stand that,
says Bill, turning to me, and letting go the pipe; she is the ladiest
woman I ever saw, and I will save the child or lose myself; and so he
lifted the lady off the ladder, and up he went, and into the window; we
never expected to see Bill again; but I'm blest if he didn't soon make
his appearance again, with the child in his arms; and down he came, and
put it into its mother's lap, who wassitting on the curb stone wringing
her hands, and crying enough to break the heart of a loco foco. Didn't
she then kneel right down in the gutter, and begin to invoke blessings
on to Bill's head. But, Bill says, don't bother me, good woman, with
your nonsense. We got comfortable lodgings for her that night, and the
next day we got up a complimentary benefit-ball for her and the rest of
the sufferers, and I wish I may never see another house afire if her
part of the proceeds of that ball didn't set her up in an elegant
thread and needle store in the Bowery. And they do say Bill means to
marry that woman."
"Ah, that was something like a fire," said the little captain,
shaking his head mournfully; "that happened before the hydrants were
invented. You don't see such fires now-a-days."
One of the company, after this, favored us with the following song:
THE SECOND FIREMAN'S SONG.
Whose fate 'twill be to weep,
Whose fate 'twill be to die,
Before our feast again we keep,
You neither know, nor I.
But since this hour hath found us,
And friendship together hath bound us,
Pluck memory's flowers, while these moments are ours,
And throw her gay garland around us.
Whose fate 't will be to prove
Women are not all true,
Is known to one above,
But not to me nor you.
But since this hour hath found us,
Whose fate 't will be to find
How weak is friendship's tie,
We do not know, but may it bind
Most firmly you and I.
But since this hour hath found us,
Whose fate will 't be to know
The griefs which spring from wine,
To taste the dregs of human wo,
May't be nor yours nor mine.
But since this hour hath found us,
The captain declared the song to be so decidedly sentimental that
he proposed a turn out and a race with the machine, to work off its
depressing effects. The proposal was received with general approbation;
but there being nothing on fire just at that moment, they requested Mr.
Worhoss to go up to the head of the street and give an alarm. I thought
it was a very strange proposition, but he considered it a very good
joke, and agreed to do as he was requested. So the soiree broke up, and
we all repaired to the engine house, the members in high glee, and
thelittle captain full of importance. The preparations for rolling out
were no sooner completed, than we heard the cry of "fire! fire! fire!"
The doors of the engine house were immediately thrown open, and away we
started, dragging the engine after us like horses, for I had
volunteered my services, expecting to see some fine sport. Two ragged
little boys ran on ahead with flaming torches, and another followed in
the rear with a blue signal lantern. The little captain made as much
noise as he possibly could with his speaking trumpet, shouting out,
"pull away, boys, pull away, boys," with as much earnestness as though
half the city had been on fire. We had not rattled over the pavements
long, nor far, before the church bells began to ring, and other engines
and hose carts began to dash up Broadway, thundering over the
pavements, and adding to the din and confusion. But I got out of breath
very soon, and was compelled to let go the drag rope. In escaping to
the sidewalk, I came very near being crushed beneath the wheels of a
hose cart. The lights from innumerable torches and signal lanterns was
flashing and flickering on every side, lighting up the faces of the
firemen as they hurried past, and displaying the gorgeous ornaments of
the engines which they dragged after them.It was a picturesque and
novel sight to me, and as I looked on to the confused scene, I forgot
for a time that it was all a farce, and that all the noise, and
turmoil, and display, was caused by half a dozen thoughtless young
fellows wanting to have a spree. The uproar did not continue a great
while, for as soon as it was discovered that there was no fire, the
bells ceased ringing, and the firemen dragged their machines slowly
back to their respective engine houses.
As I returned to my boarding house, I could not help reflecting, as
I went, on the many false alarms there had been in the world, calling
mankind from their quiet homes to march like fiends to battle, neither
knowing whither they went, nor for what reason they offered up their
own or sacrificed the lives of others; and accomplishing no better end
than to furnish picturesque subjects for painters and poets.
CHAPTER XV. Shows the benefit of
studying morals at the theatre, and the difference between falling in
love on the stage and off.
Being left alone the next morning after the night of adventures
related in the last chapter, I had abundant time to ruminate on all I
had seen, as well as to form new plans for my future conduct. But the
moral of the sterling English comedy which I had seen, took so strong a
hold of my imagination, I could think of nothing else. I could not but
fancy myself in the situation of the fine, free-hearted, thoughtless
young fellow, who ran away with a beautiful young heiress from her
boarding school, and then cajoled her cross old guardian into good
humor, just before the curtain fell, by a witty repartee. Nothing could
be more palpable than the moral of such a conclusion, and nothing more
desirable than to imitate such a proceeding. I found no difficulty in
comparing myself with the hair-brained hero, and the ingenious
architect of airy castles lent her ready aid to help transform the
gentle Georgiana De Lancey into the heroine of the comedy. That she was
rich I had no doubt; that she was at a boarding school I knew, for a
silver plate on the door of the house into which I had seen her enter,
announced that fact to the world; that she loved me was not to be
questioned; I had travelled with her in the stage coach; and that I
loved her, every fibre in my body, and every pulsation of my heart,
bore witness. Nothing could be plainer. The fates had very obligingly
given me possession of the young lady's handkerchief, as if on purpose
to afford me an opportunity of seeking an interview with her; and to
neglect such evident advantages would be to tempt fortune; something I
could not well afford to do, seeing that all my hopes rested upon her
caprices. As I thought over these things, and revolved in my mind the
ease with which an heiress could be obtained and her guardian
mollified, my imagination became wrought up into a perfect phrensy of
delight. But nothing gave me half so much pleasure as the thought of
triumphing over my haughty cousin, and of giving the lie to his
To make all the points of resemblance to my model as exact as
possible, I went to a clothing store in Maiden Lane, where I furnished
myself with a suit of clothes, at a moment's warning, preciselylike
his, namely: a claret colored frock coat, a pair of striped pantaloons,
and a figured satin vest. It took nearly all the money I had in the
world to pay for them; but I bore in mind the valuable casket that I
had purchased on speculation, and the ten dollars which Mr. Worhoss was
to pay me when he got paid for his prize article. But I should not have
hesitated in the purchase, even though I had not had these valuable
reliances to fall back upon in case of need; to have done so would have
been quite out of character with my original.
Having dressed myself in my new clothes, and made a pretty liberal
use of a bottle of cologne water which I found in my room, I liked the
appearance of myself so well, that I resolved to set off without any
delay, and call on Miss De Lancey, under the pretence of returning her
pocket handkerchief, and trust to the kind power who takes venturesome
young fellows under her charge, to bring matters to the wished for
There had been a slight shower in the morning; but now the sky was
clear and blue, and the sun was shining bright and warm, but the snowy
white awnings stretched across the side walks gave a cool and
delightful shade. The activity and bustle which I encountered as I made
my waythrough the crowded streets, added to my hilarious feelings, and
as I emerged from a bye street into Broadway, they were still more
excited by the lively and elegant scene which that famous promenade
presented, and I pulled up my shirt collar and mingled in the throng
with as consequential an air as I could assume, and probably with as
light a heart as any in the crowd. When a man's happiness is based upon
things in possession, it must, of necessity, be limited in extent; but
when it springs from his hopes, there need be no limits to the amount
of it. There was, therefore, no reason why I should not be perfectly
happy, for I had nothing but my hopes to build upon.
Although I was sufficiently engrossed with a sense of my own
importance, I could not avoid bestowing a glance, as I sauntered along,
upon the numerous groups of gayly dressed and beautiful women who
tripped past me, chatting and laughing, and showing their brilliant
white teeth. Some of them were leading by the hand cherublike children,
with golden locks flowing down their graceful shoulders. Others were
stepping in or out of elegant carriages at the doors of the fancy
stores, while the liveried servants, with gold bands round their hats
and white gloves on theirhands, stood, either holding open the carriage
doors, or leaning idly against the awning posts. Neatly dressed young
gentlemen, with ebony sticks in their hands, and a tuft of hair on
their upper lips, made a part of the crowd, and paced along with
measured step, and with an air as solemn and important as though the
sun was shining expressly for their particular pleasure and benefit.
What with the attractions of the shop windows, the beauty of the
women, the loveliness of the children, and the odd airs of the men, my
attention got completely diverted from myself, and I forgot the errand
on which I was bound, until I was reminded of it by reaching the street
which led to Miss Smith's boarding school. My heart fluttered, and the
blood rushed into my face, as I found myself so near the end of my
journey; but I got fresh courage, and strengthened my nerves with a
glass of wine and a cracker at the Independent Coffee House, and then
walked briskly on until I reached Miss Smith's establishment. I felt in
my pocket to make sure that the handkerchief was there, and then ran
boldly up the white marble steps, and gave the bell handle a pull. The
door was opened by a stout black girl, and I asked if Miss De Lancey
was at home. "Walk into the parlor," said the girl, "and I will call
Miss Smith." I did walk into the parlor, where I was left to my
reflections for a length of time, which I could have sworn exceeded an
hour, had not a French clock on the mantel piece assured me it did not
exceed five minutes. The parlor was altogether the handsomest room I
had ever seen, and besides a great abundance of furniture, it contained
a good many curious works of art, principally composed of shells, such
as grottos and temples, vases of flowers, and card racks in the shape
of harps set off with blue ribands; there was also the picture of a
young lady and a weeping willow, looking very much like two sisters,
embroidered on white satin, and hung up in a highly ornamented gilt
frame; this last work of art was executed by Miss Isabella Davis, aged
eleven years. Having at a glance observed all these things, and a good
many more, I began to feel very uneasy, and I had just made up my mind
to steal out of the house as quietly as possible, when I heard a light
step on the stairs. It was light to the ear only, for each step seemed
to strike as palpably upon my heart as though it had been trod upon;
and I am certain if I had died at that moment, the print of a little
shoe would have been distinctly seen there. I held mybreath with
apprehension, but tried to look remarkably easy. The door opened, and
in walked, not the beautiful Georgiana, but a tall lady, dressed in a
snuff colored silk gown and a turban of fearful dimensions. It was no
less a person than Miss Smith herself. I made a low bow, and being
entirely at a loss for a remark, waited for Miss Smith to speak.
"Which of the young ladies did you wish to see?" asked Miss Smith.
"I called for the purpose of seeing Miss De Lancey," I replied,
blushing very red.
"Have you a letter from her guardian?" inquired Miss Smith.
"Not exactly a letter," I replied.
"Only a note, then, I suppose," remarked Miss Smith.
"I believe not," I replied, feeling in my pocket for the
"Perhaps," said Miss Smith, "you are not aware, that it is contrary
to the rules of my establishment to allow any young lady under my
charge to see a gentleman without the permission of her parents or
"Indeed I was not," I replied, drawing a long breath.
"I must then inform you that such is the case," replied Miss Smith,
with cold dignity.
"Ah, it is very unfortunate that I did not know that before," I
said, as the recollection of the cost of my new clothes flashed across
"Pray, could I have the liberty of addressing a few lines to Miss
"By all means," replied Miss Smith, "provided you allow me to read
I thanked Miss Smith for her kindness, made her another low bow,
and wished her a good morning. As I turned to go out of the hall, I
discovered there were a score of bright eyes peeping over the bannister
at the head of the stairs, and not doubting that the brightest and
bluest pair among them belonged to the beautiful Georgiana, I consoled
myself with the reflection, that she would recognise me, and give me
credit for trying to see her. I could not prevail upon myself to give
up her pocket handkerchief; for now that I had been disappointed in my
attempt at an interview with her, it was more precious than ever in my
sight, and I resolved henceforth, that I would wear it next to my
I could no longer compare myself with the lucky scapegrace in the
comedy, and nothing could have been more undramatic than my
interviewwith Miss Smith. I felt unhappy and dispirited, and I made my
way back to my boarding house, through lanes and bye streets, avoiding
Broadway, with its gewgaws and crowds.
CHAPTER XVI. Is full of
disappointments, and ends with the commencement of a new career.
Mr. Worhoss repeated his kindnesses to me so often, in showing me
the lions, as he called it, that I was soon left without a sixpence in
my pocket; for it so happened that I was always left to pay all the
expenses incurred for drink and oysters, for these were necessaries, it
appeared, which could not be dispensed with on any occasion. And as he
had not yet received the money for his prize article, I had no other
resource but the casket and its contents; and I determined to avail
myself of the offer of Mr. Isaacs, who had promised to buy them of me
at just double what I gave for them; so I took the casket under my arm,
and went in pursuit of that gentleman, expecting to find him at the
auction store where I made the purchase. But I was disappointed in not
finding him there. I asked the auctioneer if he could inform me where
Mr. Isaacs was to be seen.
"Bless your innocent heart, my friend," said the auctioneer, "how
should I know any thing about him?"
"Why, I thought he was a friend of yours," I replied.
"A friend of mine," said the auctioneer contemptuously, "why I
never seen the gentleman but once in my life, and I probably shall
never see him again."
I was struck aghast at this intelligence, for all my expectations
of profit were founded upon Mr. Isaacs' promise. I told the auctioneer
that as he had not promised to give me double the cost of the casket,
although Mr. Isaacs had, I did not think I could, in strict justice,
demand it of him, notwithstanding he had sworn that it was worth more
than three times the money that I gave for it; therefore, I would only
request him to take back the casket, and return me the money that I
gave for it, as it was much too costly an article for me to keep.
"That is a very unmercantile proposition, young man," said the
auctionner, "it is quite out of the common course of business. I
couldn't think of doing any such thing."
"Perhaps it may not be strictly according to mercantile usages," I
replied, "but as the advantage will all be on your side, I should not
think you would refuse my offer."
"You talk exactly like a book, young man," replied the auctioneer,
"but it would never do forme to make such an unmercantile operation; if
I should, there is no knowing what the Board of Trade might do with me;
they would haul me up to Albany right off."
"Is it possible," I asked, "that the rules of trade are so
"Certainly, my dear sir," replied the auctioneer; "the Board of
Trade is a very positive body of individuals; look how that respectable
institution used up the Phenix, down there in Wall street, just because
it conferred a favor on an individual one morning, just as you want me
to do to you. It will never do in the world. But I will tell you what I
can do for you, and perhaps it will meet your views. I will take the
casket, and sell it for you to-morrow. I expect a very good company, as
I have advertised some splendid watches."
Being unwilling to take the casket back again, I thanked the
auctioneer, and told him he might sell it the next day, provided he
could get what it cost me.
"You had better not limit it, young man," said the auctioneer, "it
would be a pity to lose the sale of it for the sake of a shilling or
such a matter."
"Well, then," I replied, "sell it for what it will bring; but if
Mr. Isaacs should come in,please ask him to take it at the price which
"I will with pleasure, sir," said the auctioneer, "but I think it
is extremely improbable whether he comes."
I left the auctioneer's store, and sauntered about the streets in a
very unpleasant state of mind, for the disappointment of not seeing
Miss De Lancey, and of not finding Mr. Isaacs, added to the mortifying
reflection that I had, in so short a space of time, spent the little
money that my father had given me, made me very unhappy. I was still
without any prospect of a situation, although Mr. Worhoss had promised
to procure one for me, and I resolved to keep closely all the money
that I might receive from the sale of my casket.
The next day I called at the auction store, and was told that my
casket was sold for five dollars.
The auctioneer reached me four dollars and a half, saying that his
commissions were half a dollar.
"Five dollars!" I exclaimed; "you mean fifty-five, I presume."
"No I don't," said the auctioneer, "I mean five dollars; it was
every cent the casket fetched; I can prove it by my book-keeper."
I grew sick at the intelligence. "Certainly the silver was worth
more than that," I said.
"German silver is not very valuable," replied the auctioneer, at
the same time winking to a man who was paying a bill. "Is it, mister?"
"Not very," replied the man; "German silver is something like
German philosophy, not worth much when you come to use it."
"Here is your money, young man," said the auctioneer, reaching me
four dollars and a half.
"I won't have it," I replied, growing angry at the insolence of the
auctioneer. "You have cheated me most grossly either in the first or
the last sale."
But the auctioneer, instead of resenting my imputation on his
honesty, only laughed and picked his teeth. "Very well, young man," he
said, "if you don't choose to take the money, I shall be very glad to
keep it these hard times."
"You had better take it," said the man who had given his opinion
about German philosophy. "It will be the only satisfaction you can ever
obtain; he has the law on his side."
After a moment's reflection I came to the same conclusion, and I
took the money and put it in my pocket, feeling that I owed my
disappointment to my own credulity and avarice. I said nothing farther
to the auctioneer, but as I was going outof the store, I happened to
look behind a green baize curtain at the end of the counter, and there,
to my great astonishment, I saw Mr. Isaacs himself, scouring a watch
case. It was well both for him and myself, that I had no deadly weapon
in my hand, for I felt that I could kill him on the spot. As it was, I
said nothing to him, but I gave him a look which he must remember till
his dying day.
The sale of my casket was a bitter disappointment to me, and when I
reached my chamber I could not refrain from tears. Mr. Worhoss came in
while I was crying, and asked me if I had heard any bad news. I told
him the cause of my grief, and requested him to return me the money I
had loaned him, as I wanted it to pay my board with. But that
scrupulous gentleman said that he could not return it until the
committee of literary gentlemen had decided about his prize article, as
it would not be fulfilling the conditions on which he borrowed it, if
he should. But I told him if he would return me the five dollars I
would not require ten. He said, however, that his principles were too
honorable to allow him to do so, and that he could not think of paying
me less than he agreed to. I then reminded Mr. Worhoss of his promise
to procure me a situation,thinking, of course, that a gentleman who was
so scrupulous in fulfilling all his promises, would like to be reminded
of any that he had forgotten.
"That is very true," said Mr. Worhoss, "there is a house of my
acquaintance that wants a young man from the country, and I will give
you their number, and then you can make your own arrangements with
"What kind of a house is it?" I inquired.
"O, a first rate house," replied Mr. Warhoss, "Stripes Co.; they do
a splendid domestic commission business in Pine street."
My feelings were so elated with the prospect of employment, that I
told Mr. Worhoss I would forgive him the debt he owed me, in
consideration of his kindness, and begged him to give me the address of
Stripes Co., that I might call on them without delay. He took a
newspaper out of his pocket, from which he cut an advertisement,
stating that Stripes Co. were in want of a clerk. I asked him if I
should make use of his name, and he said I might if I chose, but he
didn't think it would be of any particular benefit to me, as they
didn't know him, although he knew them very well. So I started
immediately for Pine street, hoping to make a favorable impressionupon
Stripes Co., but I was so agitated by my hopes and fears, that, when I
got to their counting room I could scarcely speak, and my agitation was
not at all soothed by meeting five or six young men coming out as I
went in. I inquired for Mr. Stripes, and was shown into a little room
just big enough to contain Mr. Stripes and the desk at which he sat
writing. I held my hat in my hand, and in a trembling voice, asked him
if he was in want of a clerk.
"We have advertised for one," said Mr. Stripes, laying down his
pen, and looking me full in the face, "are you an applicant?"
I replied that I should be glad to obtain the situation, if it
would afford me a living.
"What do you think you could live upon?" asked Mr. Stripes.
I replied that I was a stranger in the city, and consequently
ignorant of the expenses of a clerk, but that I could, no doubt, live
on whatever salary he might pay me.
"I dare say," said Mr. Stripes, "young men can live very cheap when
they are so inclined. I used to live on a shilling a day when I first
came to the city. Do your parents live in the country?"
"Are they wealthy?"
"Not very; indeed, I am afraid they are quite poor."
"Ah, then they are not in the manufacturing line?"
"Not much; my mother used to make all my clothes."
"Indeed; did she make those you have got on!"
"No, sir, I bought these in Maiden Lane."
"Any relations living in the city?"
"None, sir, that I know of."
"Are your parents pious?"
"I dont know, indeed."
"Then I guess they are not. Are you pious yourself?"
As I didn't know what answer to make to this question, I only
blushed and remained silent, feeling sensible that I looked very
"Would you like to distribute tracts?" continued Mr. Stripes.
"I should be willing to do any thing that was not dishonorable."
"What did you say your name was?"
"Franco, hey, what is your first name?"
"Harry Franco, Harry Franco, it seems to me I have heard that name
before. Are you not the abolitionist?"
"Are you not mistaken? I am pretty certain I saw it in the papers.
Are you a colonizationist?"
"I dont know exactly; I believe not."
"I don't know what to think about it. I wouldn't have an
abolitionist in my employ. Can you write well?"
"Tolerably; I can show you a specimen."
"I suppose you have been a good deal to school?"
"No, sir, but very little."
"Have you any brothers?"
"No, sir, I am an only son."
"Are you, indeed! There were thirteen of us; two are dead, and the
rest are all doing a good business. Are you acquainted with domestics?"
"No, no; Ticks and Shirtings and bleached goods."
"Not at all, sir."
"Hem, I don't think we shall want to engage you now; we have had
applications from—let me see how many—I will foot up the list:
sixhundred and eighty-three. But we have engaged a young man who is to
come in the morning. He is to have nothing for his services the first
year, and the empty boxes the second."
I was completely astounded at the termination of Mr. Stripes'
catechism, for I had made up my mind that he meant to employ me, from
the minuteness of his inquiries, and I stood looking at him without
moving, thinking I had certainly misunderstood him.
"That will do," said Mr. Stripes, "I have no farther inquiries to
make; we have engaged an individual to fill the vacancy in our office."
"Then why did you put all these impertinent questions to me," I
said, my anger getting the better of my discretion.
"Don't be saucy, sir," exclaimed Mr. Stripes, turning blue, for his
face before was as white as his bleached goods, "or I will send you to
the police office."
I came out of the store of Stripes Co. with my heart in my throat;
the last hope on which I rested was knocked from under my feet, and the
terrible prophecy of my cousin seemed about to be fulfilled. His words
sounded in my ears, and the forms of my heart-broken mother and sister
were the only objects that presented themselves tomy vision. "Alas!
alas!" I exclaimed, "O that the earth would open and swallow me up."
But my wish was unheeded, and I continued to walk on over the hard
bosom of the earth, if the paved streets of a city can be so called,
until I found myself at the foot of Pine street, in sight of the East
River and the shipping. This was a new scene to me, for since the
morning on which I landed from the steamboat, I had not seen the water.
The life and bustle and novelty of every thing about me soon engrossed
my attention, and I forgot my chagrin and disappointments; and even the
sound of my cousin's hateful voice no longer range in my ears; it was
completely drowned in the cheerful "ho, cheerly!" which proceeded from
the ships, where they were discharging and taking on board their
cargoes. Every thing around was full of liveliness and joy, and I
wondered at the stupidity of Mr. Worhoss in taking me to walk in
Broadway, while here was a scene so full of noble sights. The sky was
bright and blue, and a thousand penons and signals, and the flags of
many nations, floated gracefully upon the breeze. The magnificent
proportions of the ships, with their beautiful figure-heads, and rich
gilding, and bright waists, and tall taper masts, and outstretched
spars, filled me with amazement; and thecountless multitude of smaller
vessels, their curious and varying shapes, and the regular confusion of
their ropes and spars, gave me no less astonishment. Perhaps those who
are in the daily habit of seeing sights like these, may think it
extravagant in me to speak of them in such terms; but those who have
spent their lives in a secluded village will remember with what
wondering eyes they first looked upon the crowded wharves of a thronged
seaport like New York in its hey day of activity, and they will think
my words are cold, and my descriptions tame, as in truth they appear to
me. Since that day I have seen the navies of half the world, and the
crowds of merchant ships which fill the walled docks of London and
Liverpool, with their flags floating heavily in the murky atmosphere of
those smoky cities; and I have visited most of the seaports worth
seeing in the old world and in the new, but I have never seen any, for
brightness and beauty, for liveliness and joy, that can compare with
As I sauntered along the wharves, I thought of Robinson Crusoe, and
Sinbad the Sailor, and Christopher Columbus, and Americus Vespucius,
and all of a sudden it struck me that greater things were to be
accomplished on the ocean than upon the land, and that it would be a
greater triumphif I could achieve a fortune in a foreign land than if I
were to acquire one by regular drudgery at home. It as suddenly
occurred to me, that I had heard my father speak of a relation of his,
whom he used to call Tom Gunnell, who came down to New York, a wild
youth from the country, and went to sea in one of my father's ships
previous to the embargo. I thought that by this time he certainly ought
to be captain of a ship at least, and I determined if possible to find
him, and if it should prove that he had a ship, to ask him to take me
to sea with him. I popped into the first grocery store I came to, and
took up the morning paper to look over the marine list, with the hope
of finding the name of Captain Gunnell, and almost the first
advertisement that I caught sight of was the "Ship Two Marys, Captain
T. Gunnell, for Buenos Ayres;" I could scarcely believe my eyes at
first, and I read the advertisement over three times before I was
convinced that there was no deception about it. This was a piece of
real good luck. I thought the tide of fortune had turned in my favor,
and I took heart again; but remembering the many disappointments I had
encountered already, I controlled my feelings, and set off immediately
in pursuit of Captain Gunnell's ship, determined to know, before I went
backto my boarding-house, whether he was my relation or not. With the
help of an old sailor, who offered his services in consideration of a
glass of gin, I found the Two Marys. She was a smaller ship, and much
blacker and dirtier looking than those which had attracted my attention
at first; she had neither gilding on her stern, nor a varnished waist,
nor a figure-head; but the old sailor who had assisted me in finding
her, observed that she was a "good wholesome lump of a barkey." Without
being very critical in my observations, I climbed up a rope-ladder at
her side and jumped upon deck. A stout red-faced man, with whiskers of
the same hue, and dressed in a blue coat and a white marseilles vest,
was standing under an awning on the after part of the deck. I stepped
up to him, and asked him if Captain Gunnell was on board.
"That is my name, sir," he said.
I then informed the captain who I was, upon which he lifted his hat
very politely, and shook me by the hand, and said he was very happy to
seem; told me I was welcome on board the Two Marys, and inquired very
kindly after my father, and asked me how many sisters I had, and
whether all the girls were married up in the country. And then Captain
Gunnell called out in agruff voice, "Steward!" But no steward came, and
in a few moments he called again still more gruffly, "you steward!" But
still no steward came, and then Captain Gunnell called "Mr. Ruffin!"
"Ay, ay, sir," answered a voice in the ship's hold, in a still gruffer
tone than Captain Gunnell's. "Mr. Ruffin," said the Captain, "send that
black rascal to me." "Ay, ay, sir," answered a voice, which I presume
was Mr. Ruffin's. Presently, a dirty looking negro, with his head
covered with flour, made his appearance from below.
"You black scoundrel," said Captain Gunnell to the steward, "why
did'nt you reply to me when I called?"
"Cause I don't hear," replied the steward; "I was stowing away
eggs, with my head in flour barrel."
"Silence, sir," said the captain, "don't ma e any back answers; but
the next time I call, do you answer me whether you hear me or not; or
I'll pick your ears with a crowbar, you black rascal."
"Ay, ay, sir," said the steward. And he was turning to go away,
when Captain Gunnell again called out, "steward!"
"Sir," replied the steward.
"What did I call you for, steward?" said Captain Gunnell.
"Captain Gunnell didn't say what he call me for," replied the
"Steward," again exclaimed the captain, "bring me two chairs."
"Ay, ay, sir," said the steward, and disappeared down the cabin
stairs, and soon returned, bringing two chairs with him; one had no
back, and the other but three legs. Captain Gunnell invited me to sit
down, apologizing for not inviting me into the cabin, as they were
stowing away the ship's grub, and it was not in a fit condition to
I was impatient to know whether Captain Gunnell would take me to
sea with him or not, and in a very few words I told him the object of
my visit, the which he no sooner heard than he put his hat upon his
head, and looked at me from head to foot. I have found it to be almost
invariably the case, that when I have asked a favor of a man, his
bearing towards me has undergone an immediate and by no means an
agreeable change. Captain Gunnell was not an exception to this rule.
However, I was not disposed to be very particular, so I did not
pretend to notice that he spoke to me, after he heard the object of my
visit, verymuch in the same manner that he spoke to his steward, as he
consented to take me with him, if I chose to go as a green hand. I did
not exactly understand the meaning of the term, but I told him I had no
objections to going in any capacity that he thought me qualified for.
"Qualified!" said the captain, "I don't think you are qualified for
any thing but eating duff. However, young fellow, you are like a young
bear, all your troubles are before you, and if you insist on going, I
will take you with me for your father's sake; he did me a good turn
once, and one good turn deserves another." And then he called for Mr.
Mr. Ruffin answered "ay, ay, sir," from below, and then followed
his voice by springing out of the hold on to the deck. He was not by
any means a very pleasant man to look at; he was short, and thin
visaged, and bow legged; he had a most awful squint, and his nose was
all bent on one side; his shirt sleeves were rolled up above his
elbows, and displayed his long ape like arms as brown as a piece of old
mahogany, and with all their cords and sinews plainly developed; he was
dressed in a pair of canvass trowsers and a calico shirt, neither of
which was remarkably clean, and on his head he wore a low crowned drab
wool hat,with a piece of red quality for a band; every time he spoke he
turned over an enormous quid of tobacco in his mouth, and squirted out
a torrent of juice; he was the chief mate of the ship.
"Mr. Ruffin," said Captain Gunnell, addressing the mate, "is all
the hands shipped?"
"No, sir," replied Mr. Ruffin, "there is one vacancy."
"Then don't give another order, sir," said the captain, "this
youngster wants to ship as a green hand, and I will give him an order
myself on the notary."
"Ay, ay, sir," replied the mate; and then bringing his eyes to a
focus, he surveyed me from head to foot, and jumped down into the hold
again; he had no sooner disappeared, however, than the captain again
called out in his gruff voice, "Mr. Ruffin!"
"Ay, ay, sir," again answered the mate, and sprang on deck once
"Mr. Ruffin," said the captain, "you underderstand, sir, that I
will give this young man an order myself."
"Ay, ay, sir," replied the mate, without showing the slightest
impatience at being called up on so trifling an occasion, or indeed on
no occasion at all.
Captain Gunnell then gave me an order on the notary, to ship me as
a green hand, at ten dollars per month, and told me if I wanted a
month's advance, to tell Tom Goin that he would be security for me.
After I had left the ship, he called me back, and told me to be on
board the next day at twelve o'clock.
CHAPTER XVII. Will give a peep into
a ship's forecastle, and some other places, which the gentle reader may
never have had an opportunity of peeping into before, and therefore he
is advised not to miss this opportunity of doing so.
It may be thought that my prospects were not very bright, and that
I had no great cause for rejoicing; but whether I had or not, I left
the Two Marys with a heart much lighter than when I went on board of
her. My mind was not occupied with Captain Gunnell and his mate, but
with the silver mines of La Plata, and my proud cousin, and the all
lovely Georgiana De Lancey.
It is a blessed thing for the poor wretches who are, by some means
or other, defrauded of their rightful portion of the good things which
surround them, that they can wander at will, and appropriate to their
own use the greenest spots that they can find in the broad region of
Hope. This was my privilege, and I was by no means heedless of my
I hastened back to my boarding house, packed up my clothes, paid
Mrs. Riggs for my board, and told her I should leave her in the
morning. For the first time, I wrote to my father, and informedhim of
my determination to go to sea, and hinted that I should not come back
until I could come with a fortune. I said not a word to Mr. Worhoss
about my intentions, for I didn't consider him entitled to any
consideration. As soon as it was dark, I strolled up to the
establishment of Miss Smith, with the hope of catching a glance of Miss
De Lancey, but without success; there was not a light to be seen, nor a
soul stirring about that respectable school; so I gave a parting look
to the brick walls, which enclosed the form of the gentle Georgiana,
and turned my back upon them with a sigh, without even daring to hope
that I should ever behold her again.
In the morning I went to the Notary's office, and signed my name to
the ship's papers; and while I was reading the articles of agreement,
and the act of Congress which they contained, the notary's clerk
snatched them away from me, and asked me if I wanted to eat them. I
replied, that I didn't like to sign my name to an agreement without
reading it; upon which he cursed both his eyes most profanely, and
wished he might be knocked into the shape of a cocked hat, if such a
thing was ever heard of, as a sailor reading a ship's articles.
A bluff looking sailor who was standing by, saidhe had got an old
"articles" in his chest, and as he was going in the Two Marys himself,
he would let me read them in my watch below, when we got to sea. The
notary asked me if I had got a protection, and on hearing that I had
not, he wanted to know who was going to swear that I was an American,
as it was necessary for some body to do so before I could get one. I
expressed my fears that I should not be able to get a protection, as I
knew of nobody who could swear to the fact of my being a native born.
As I said this, a greasy looking man, in a bob tail green coat, said he
would sell me a protection that would exactly answer the description of
my person, if I had no objections to changing my name to Smith.
"No, sir, I thank you," I replied, "I don't like the name of
"You are a real fool," exclaimed the Notary, "Smith is as good a
purser's name as a man need have."
"I think so too," said the bob-tail-coated gentleman, "it's a good
name enough for a green hand any how."
"But why don't you swear for him, Pete?" asked the notary.
"So I scall," said the obliging Pete, "if he scall give me two
"I would do so with pleasure," I replied, "but will it not be
"Don't make a josey of yourself," said the notary's clerk, "if the
man is willing to swear for you, what do you care about his perjuring
"Well," I replied, "I am willing."
So the gentleman swore that to the best of his belief, that I was
born, and some other form having been observed, a protection was
procured for me from the custom house, and I received a month's pay in
advance, and was told to be on board the ship with my duds by two
o'clock. The sailor who offered to lend me the "articles," asked me to
take a horn with him, and as I was anxious to offend no one, I followed
him into a grocery close by; he walked up to the counter, and filled a
tumbler half full of whiskey, nodded to me, and said, "here's luck,
shipmate," and drank it off, without adding a drop of water to it. But
for my part, I took a very little gin, and a good deal of water, and
nodded to Jack, and repeated his words, but I could not for the life of
me swallow a drop of the gin and water, the scent of it was so
nauseous. Jack threw down a sixpence, but the bar-keeper returned him a
cent, saying he charged three cents a glass at retail, but as Jack took
his whiskey bythe wholesale, he should only charge him two. There were
three or four dirty looking fellows, and a couple of negroes, standing
round the bar, and they all laughed very loud at the bar-keeper's wit,
as though they had never heard the joke before. Jack himself laughed,
and the bar-keeper giggled, and swore it was "too good;" the negroes
said it was "too sweet;" and they all swore with one voice, that Jack
was bound to treat the company; so he told them to "take hold;" one of
the negroes beckoned in two more darkies, who were luxuriating in the
hot sun on a lazy bench at the door. While these amiable gentlemen were
filling their glasses, I contrived to make my escape unperceived.
As I had no farewells to take, all my little arrangements for the
voyage were soon completed, and at the appointed hour, I was on board
the Two Marys, with my chest, which contained a couple of calico
shirts, a pair of duck trowsers, a monkey jacket, a black silk
handkerchief, Blunt's Navigator, and a jack knife. As soon as I got on
board, Mr. Ruffin, the mate, told me I must take my long-tail coat off;
I told him I would as soon as I had put my chest away, and found a
convenient place to undress myself in.
I had got my chest half way down the cabinstairs, when Mr. Ruffin
called out in his gruff voice,
"Hollo! youngster, if you want to get into the after part of the
ship, you musn't crawl in at the cabin windows, but come aft as I did,
by degrees, through the hawse holes, and through every ringbolt in the
I have generally found it a safe way, when any body addressed any
conversation to me which I could not understand, to make no reply, and
as I didn't comprehend a word of what Mr. Ruffin said, I made no
answer, but continued to take my chest down into the cabin.
"Do you hear me, youngster?" growled Mr. Ruffin.
"Yes, sir," I replied, looking up, "I hear you, but I don't
"Don't understand me!" exclaimed Mr. Ruffin, with an oath, "can't
you understand English? Take your traps forward into the forecastle. Do
you understand that?"
I did not exactly understand it, but the steward came to my
assistance, and showed me where the forecastle was, and helped me to
put my chest into it. I could not help thinking that so much violence
was entirely uncalled for on the part of Mr.Ruffin, as I would have
obeyed the most gentle signification of his will with the greatest
The forecastle was a dark and dirty looking hole, without a
particle of paint, and destitute of every kind of convenience, for
either dressing or eating. If I had seen it before I signed the ship's
articles, I doubt whether I should have had courage to have ventured on
going to sea. It was not, however, in my nature, to repine long at any
thing, so I hauled off my coat, and went upon deck, and bustled about
and made myself as busy as possible, trusting that I should do right,
but I doubt whether I was of much service. The decks were full of ropes
and sailor's chests, and all manner of articles, not one of which could
I call by its right name.
The crew being all on board, the pilot took charge of the ship, the
lines were cast loose, and we drifted off into the river, Captain
Gunnell standing on the end of the wharf, hallooing and cursing until
we were out of the sound of his voice. When the ship reached the middle
of the river, the anchor was let go, the riggers were sent ashore, and
the cook, whom Mr. Ruffin called the "Doctor," was ordered to give the
crew their suppers. It was an order I was very glad to hear given, for
I was very hungry; but I looked in vain for the preparationsfor eating,
which I expected to see. My heart sank within me, when on going into
the forecastle, I discovered that our supper consisted of a tub of salt
beef, some hard biscuits, and an iron kettle filled with black tea,
sweetened with molasses.
The sailors were the roughest looking set of men I had ever seen in
my life; they were seated in a half circle on their chests, with each a
tin pot of smoking hot tea, and a long sheath knife in his hand; they
grumbled and damned, and found fault with every thing before them, for
which I did not think they were much to blame. They called the tea
"water bewitched," and one of them swore it was the regular "Yawpan,"
which he had seen sold for sixpence the bushel in Macao. Another said
the beef was part of an old horse, and swore he found a horse's hoof,
with the shoe on it, in the cook's coppers. As for the bread, they said
they should be obliged to carry a ten penny nail in their pockets,
whenever they went to their meals, to nail the biscuit down to the
deck, to keep the worms from running away with it.
"I suppose, Bob," said one, "we shall have small stores all the
"You may swear to that," replied another, "Philadelfy small stores,
a tar pot and a scraper."
At the first sight of the beef, I thought I could not prevail upon
my stomach to become a receptacle for a mouthful of it; but, by
degrees, my hunger got the better of my scruples, and I borrowed a
knife from one of the sailors, and commenced cutting myself a slice;
forks there were none, but I found that good carving was an
accomplishment, indispensable even in a ship's forecastle, for as my
knife diverged a little from a strait line, to include a morsel of fat
in the vicinity, one of my shipmates growled out in no very pleasant
tones, "cut square, matey;" "none of your Philadelfy slices," exclaimed
another, and without further notice, I received a rap across the
knuckles, from the knife handle of the last growler.
"Who did that?" I exclaimed, starting upon my feet.
"Who did it? you Johnny raw, I did it," replied a sailor; at the
sight of whom all my valor melted away. A stouter person than myself
might have pocketed an insult from him, without suffering an imputation
of cowardice; his huge fists and broad shoulders inspired me with a
feeling of respect rather than fear. But I felt that I had been
insulted, and a feeling of shame made me shrink from the notice of my
companions, and I crept into one of the berths, from whence I could
look downand take a leisurely survey of all that was going on. As I
gazed upon the rough faces, and listened to the profane conversation of
the sailors, I felt a misgiving that there were evil days in store for
me, and I could not but wish that I had never left my quiet home, to
seek my fortune in the turbulent world; but thoughts of home were
always accompanied with recollections of the cause of my leaving it;
and I dismissed all fears, and thought only of the sneering prophecy of
A smoky lamp, suspended from the ceiling of the forecastle, gave
but just light enough to show the hard faces of the men who sat
immediately under it; and to reveal but dimly the prominent features of
those who were farther removed, leaving a part of their persons
completely wrapped in obscurity; so that they appeared like half formed
beings, emerging out of chaos. They were all either drunk, or in that
surly and brutish state, which succeeds to a drunken revel. When their
supper was over, they kicked the tub of beef into a corner, and threw
their tin pots on one side, and all signs of a meal were gone: clearing
away the supper things was a short ceremony. Notwithstanding their
apparent surliness and ill humor, one of them volunteered a song, and
in a voice like a northwester, was proceeding with great solemnity to
"It was a ship and a ship of fame,
Launched off the stocks, and bound for the Main,"
when he was suddenly interrupted by a voice on deck, exclaiming,
"hallo there below! stand from under!" And down jumped a young sailor,
with a little blue keg under his arm. "Who knows me?" exclaimed the new
comer; "here I am, Jeremiah Bowhorn!"
Whether it was because of the light hearted and merry tones of the
young sailor's voice, or his neat and good-looking person, or the sight
of the little blue keg which he brought with him, I cannot say, but his
presence seemed to give universal satisfaction; and the sailors all
gave him a hearty welcome, although none of them recognized him for an
old acquaintance, which gave Mr. Bowhorn some surprise, for he said he
thought he knew every body. After he had satisfied sundry inquiries
about the names of his landlord, his sweet-hearts, and his last ship,
he sat down and called for a tort, upon which, one of the sailors took
a little horn drinking cup out of the till of his chest, and Jeremiah
filled it with gin, out of his little cask, which he called his "bull,"
and passed it in turn to each of the sailors. As he filled the last
tort,he caught sight of my head, as I stretched it out over the side of
the berth, to see what was going on, and he swore he would have me out
of my hiding place in a trice, if I didn't jump out and take a horn.
"Come, come, shipmate," he said, "it is too early to go to prayers yet,
so haul yourself out, and take a tort of the real stuff." So I jumped
out of my birth, for my heart yearned towards the new comer the moment
I heard his voice; and in a valiant attempt to swallow a horn of new
whiskey, I came near being strangled. My imminent danger, instead of
exciting sympathy, caused the most boisterous merriment among my
shipmates; and to show me what a green horn I was, each of them drank
another tort of the newly distilled poison without winking. A song
appears to be always the natural effect of drinking. The singer, who
had been interrupted by the sudden dropping in of Jeremiah Bowhorn,
again commenced his solemn ditty, which was patiently listened to by
all hands until the close. But I will only transcribe this one verse,
for the benefit of my readers:
"It was a ship and a ship of fame,
Launched off the stocks, and bound for the Main,
With a hundred and fifty bold young men,
They were picked and chosen every one."
It may, however, be considered ungenerous to give but one verse,
and as the next one seems to be necessary to complete the sense of the
first, I will transcribe that too:
"Benjamin Jones was her captain's name,
He was a fine and a brisk young man,
And as brave a sailor as ever went to sea,
And we were bound for the coast of Africa."
After this song, there was more whiskey drank, and another song was
sung, "'T was down in Cupid's garden," and then another and another.
All the songs had choruses, in which I joined with all my might, and a
terrible uproar we made. The fish in the river, as they swam past our
ship's bows, must have been frightened at the noise. For my own part, I
began to think myself fortunate in falling into the society of such a
fine set of fellows, and my unfavorable impressions were fast wearing
away. Even the man who had rapped me over the knuckles with his knife
handle, no longer looked as forbidding as at first sight he appeared;
his black shaggy eyebrows, it is true, cast a dark shadow over his
face, but the eyes which looked out from beneath them were as blue and
as mild as an infant's; and then his broad, manly chest, and bull like
neck, to which his curly black hair clung like the tendrils of a vine
to thetrunk of an oak, gave an assurance of strength which it was
comfortable to know I could depend upon in time of need.
The tort was passed around so freely, that at last my pleasant
companions began to lose their relish for music, and commenced making
sounds which were any thing but indicative of harmonious feelings. In
the place of singing, they all evinced a decided inclination for
fighting, and more than one boasted of his individual prowess. Fearing
that I might get into a broil, and distrusting my ability to defend
myself with credit, I again retreated to my berth, that I might be out
of harm's way; but it was no easy matter to get into it, for it
appeared to be flying round and round, and I was obliged to stand still
some time before it got steady.
The stout sailor with the shaggy eye brows, whose name I found was
Jack Snaggs, had remained remarkably quiet for some time, sitting with
his lips tightly compressed together, apparently waiting for one of his
shipmates to begin a quarrel with him. But stout men are generally the
last ones that quarrelsome individuals choose to interfere with, and
Jack Snaggs would probably have had to forego the pleasure of a fight,
if he had not provoked one himself. Hesat for some minutes looking
steadily at Jerry Bowhorn, who, nothing daunted by his frowns, shot
fiery glances at him from his keen hazel eyes.
"I say, shipmate," at last said Jack Snaggs to Jeremiah Bowhorn,
"what are you looking at me for?"
"Because you were looking at me," replied Jerry.
"Well, how do you like the looks o'me?" said Jack.
"I don't like the looks of you at all," replied Jerry, with an
"How are you going to help yourself, shipmate?" growled Jack.
To this interrogatory, Jerry made no other reply than to untie his
black silk neckhandkerchief and throw it upon the floor.
"I say, shipmate," said Jack, "warn't you once in Jib-boom alley?"
"I disremember," replied Jerry, "whether I was or not; 'spose I
"I know blasted well you was," replied Jack, getting more excited,
"and you are the highbinder which took away my young woman, the boy
Jack, one night at old mother Dooqueen's, when I was swipy."
"Did I?" said Jerry, tauntingly.
"Yes, you are the very highbinder which did that thing," replied
"Do you call me a highbinder, you drunken swab," exclaimed Jerry,
starting upon his feet, and at the same time pulling off his shirt, and
flourishing his fists in the air.
Jack Snaggs no sooner witnessed this feat, than he imitated it
without the least possible delay, and made a pass at Jerry with one of
his huge fists. But the other sailors interfered, and said if there was
going to be a fight, it should be done in ship-shape fashion or not at
all. They then pulled a chest into the middle of the floor, and having
placed the two combatants astride of it, with their faces to each
other, at a proper distance apart, they fixed them in their places by
driving a couple of nails through the seats of their trowsers to
prevent them from rising and closing in.
Jerry squared his arms, and looked with an undaunted eye upon his
antagonist; but I trembled with fright when I contrasted his slight and
delicate form with that of Jack Snaggs, who, now that he had divested
himself of his shirt, display-a broad chest covered with crispy hair,
and an arm with prodigious muscular developments; myheart was in my
mouth, and I felt that the only hope for Jerry was, that liquor might
have rendered that arm powerless.
They made several ineffectual passes at each other, and at last
Jerry succeeded in giving his antagonist a blow in his left eye, which
immediately began to swell and turn black. Jack, however, didn't appear
to notice it, but sparred away, and presently Jerry got a blow in his
chest which staggered him for a moment, and then, as if he had received
new vigor from the effects of it, he plied his fists so well, and
parried his antagonist's blows with such dexterity, that he soon
planted another blow on his right eye, which evidenly discomposed him,
so much so, that it was plain to perceive he threw about his fists at
random, and although he had a decided advantage in the length of his
arms, yet Jerry, from the quickness of his motions, soon succeeded in
gaining complete mastery over him, when the sailors interfered, and
declared Jerry the victor. Poor Jack was dreadfully disfigured; the
blood was streaming from his mouth and nostrils, and his eyes were
frightfully swollen; he acknowledged that Jerry had flogged him fairly,
and threw his arms around his neck, and wept like a child. I could not
refrain from weeping myself to see him, apparently without a particle
of animosity, take theyoung sailor in his arms, who had so beaten and
bruised him, and hug him to his shaggy breast, while tears, mingled
with blood, ran down his rough face.
One of the sailors took a bottle of brandy out of his chest, and
washed the faces and hands of both the combatants, and it was
discovered that they were neither of them as badly hurt as they
appeared to be. As soon as Jack could speak, he declared it was the
first time he had been licked since his name was Snaggs.
"Your name aint Snaggs?" said Jerry.
"But it is though," replied Jack.
"What, Jack Snaggs," exclaimed Jerry.
"Ay, Jack Snaggs," replied the other.
"Wasn't you in the Vandilly?" inquired Jerry.
"I was quarter-gunner of that barkey," replied Jack.
"Well, I wish I may be turned ashore on a grating, with a pig for a
coxswain, if I wouldn't sooner have struck my old mother than you.
Don't you remember your old chummy, Bill Bowlin, the side boy, who was
put into the mizen top?"
"Remember you, yes," said Jack, trying to pull open his swollen eye
lids, "but you said your name was Bowhorn."
"'Tother was only a purser's name," said Jerry, "but my real name
is Jeremiah Bowhorn."
This discovery, of course, caused a good deal of talk and wonder,
and more drinking, and more singing had to follow. While we were in the
middle of a roaring chorus, Mr. Ruffin, the mate, came to the
forecastle scuttle, and called out, "hallo, there below!"
"Hull high, and you wont break your shins," answered Jerry.
"Do you know who you are talking to?" said Mr. Ruffin, gruftly.
"Yes, I know who you are," replied Jerry, "you were picked up along
shore, the other day, with an eye out."
"What is that you say?" called out Mr. Ruffin in great anger.
"Our Sal says she seed you in the museum for a show," replied
another of the sailors, mimicking the voice of an old woman.
"Come up on deck, and keep watch, you rascal," said Mr. Ruffin.
"Hadn't you better keep it yourself, as you are up there," said
"Come up at once," said Mr. Ruffin, "or I'll be down among you in
less time than a cat can lick her ear."
"Come along," growled Jack Snaggs, "and I'll straiten that ere
crooked eye of yourn."
Nothing will rouse a man's temper like an allusion to his personal
blemishes; and he will fight in defence of his deformities when his
character might be assailed with impunity. The reply of Jack Snaggs
brought Mr. Ruffin into the forecastle at a bound, as soon as the words
were uttered. The stairs which led into the forecastle had been removed
to make more room, and it showed no small degree of courage in Mr.
Ruffin, to intrude himself among us, as there was no way for him to
retreat. He had no sooner landed on the floor, than somebody put out
the light, and with one accord they all fell afoul of him and beat him
until he cried murder. Feeling certain that I should have abundant
cause to wish for an opportunity to do so, before the voyage should be
ended, I could not restrain an inclination to give him two or three
smart kicks myself. At last he begged for mercy, and the sailors took
him up and helped him on deck; and glad enough, no doubt, he was to
escape with the breath in his body.
They struck a light again as soon as they had disposed of Mr.
Ruffin, and to their utter dismay, discovered that in the scuffle the
keg of whiskey had been overturned, and all the liquor spilled. It was
immediately determined that Jack Snaggs should go on deck and ask
permission of the mate to go ashore and get a fresh supply of grog, and
if he should refuse, as it was presumed he would, all hands were to
rush up and seize the mate, tie him to the fife-rail, and then take the
boat and go ashore.
It will be seen in the next chapter with what success this plan was
carried into execution.
CHAPTER XVIII. According to
promise, relates how Mr. Ruffin was tied to the fife rail, and how the
sailors went ashore in the jolly boat, and how they returned again.
Mr. Paterson, the second mate, having been married only the night
before, had obtained permission from the captain to sleep ashore with
his wife; the cook was drunk in his berth; so there was nobody for the
mate to call to his assistance but the steward; it was not, therefore,
a very valiant feat which my shipmates had undertaken to perform.
Jack Snaggs went on deck, and found Mr. Ruffin walking fore and
aft, with his arms folded, and his mind, no doubt, busily employed in
devising plans for "working up" the sailors when he should get them off
soundings, to pay them for the drubbing they had given him.
"What the h— do you want?" he growled out, as Jack approached him.
"If you please, sir," said Jack, in a supplicating voice, "I left
all my white shirts ashore at the washerwoman's, and I want to borrow
the loan of the jolly-boat to go after them."
"Go below, you mutinous scoundrel," repliedthe mate, "or I'll blow
your brains out." At the same time he called to the steward to bring
him his pistols,
But Mr. Snaggs was not a man to stand still and have his brains
blown out; so he caught Mr. Ruffin in his arms, and held him fast,
until the men, who were waiting to hear a scuffle, rushed on deck, and
according to previous arrangement, bound him hand and foot, and then
lashed him to the fife rail. The steward, in the mean time, had come on
deck with the pistols, and Mr. Ruffin ordered him to shoot Jack Snaggs,
but he declined doing any such thing, saying he didn't ship for it.
Jerry had sense enough to reflect that pistols were dangerous
instruments, so he took them out of the negro's hands, and threw them
overboard. They then lowered away the jolly boat, and finding
themselves masters of the ship, they came to the conclusion that they
would take their chests ashore with them, for fear they might wish to
remain after they got there. One of the sailors said they could go
before the Mayor and swear they were afraid of their lives, and that
would clear them from all harm. They accordingly put all their baggage
into the boat, and insisted that I should go with them; but I was
afraid of the consequences, and refused to go. They made mepromise that
I would not release the mate, and then they jumped into the boat, gave
three cheers, and pushed off. As soon as they were gone, I jumped down
into the forecastle, crept into a berth, and snored away with all my
might, pretending to be fast asleep.
Mr. Ruffin was no sooner set at liberty by the steward, than he
came forward, swearing and cursing most horribly; he jumped down into
the forecastle, and going to the berth where the black cook was fast
asleep, began to flog him with a piece of tarred rope; but finding he
could not wake up the negro, he came to the berth where I lay, probably
attracted by the noise I made through my nose, in trying to appear as
though I was sound asleep, and the first thing I perceived was a
stinging cut across my shoulder from a rope's end. I started up to
avoid a repetition. "Haul yourself out of that, you green horn,"
exclaimed Mr. Ruffin, "and come upon deck and keep watch." So without
any opposition, I followed Mr. Ruffin on deck; he ordered me to keep
watch for the remainder of the night, and to rouse him at seven bells
in the morning; he then went below, and after knocking the steward
down, and kicking him for falling, he went to bed.
I paced the deck until I grew weary and sleepy, and then I wrapped
myself up in a monkey jacket and lay down, and was soon lost in sleep.
Dreams are not often interesting at second hand, so I shall not intrude
upon my kind reader those with which I was visited on this occasion.
I felt a sudden twinge at my ear, which broght me upon my feet, and
opening my eyes, the first object I saw was the ugly face of Mr.
Ruffin. "This is a pretty way to keep watch," said the mate; "the sun
has been up these two hours."
"I dare say," I replied, rubbing my eyes.
I felt stiff and lame, and it was some time before I could move
myself with my accustomed activity. Mr. Ruffin made a signal of
distress, by hoisting the ensign union down, and very soon Captain
Gunnel came off with a boat full of men. The mate related to him the
particulars of the last night's rebellion, with a few gratuitous
additions respecting his own valorous achievements; at which Captain
Gunnel was so enraged, that he called the steward to him, and then
knocked him down the cabin stairs, for having refused to shoot Jack
Snaggs; he then struck the cook over the head with an iron soup ladle,
and shook his finger at me in a threatening manner. After having
promised to do a good many horrible things, he got into the boat
andstarted for the shore, and in less than an hour, he returned with
the ship's jolly boat, and all the deserters; but they were as drunk as
lords, and Mr. Ruffin, the cook, and myself, were forced to hoist them
on board. Another boat came off soon after, with half a dozen riggers,
and the pilot; the wind springing up fair, the ship was got underway,
and we were soon outside of the Hook, and before sunset, the Highlands
of Neversink looked like a little blue speck in the horizon.
The first three days I was deadly sick, and I am entirely ignorant
of every thing that took place during that time. The fourth day I began
to recover my appetite, and as it returned I devoured the coarse food
voraciously, which my stomach had refused to receive before. I
gradually gained strength, and ran up and down the rigging without
fear, and felt as happy and as careless as the porpoises, which leaped
about our ship's bows. All the sailors, with the exception of Jack
Snaggs, had recovered from the effects of their dissipation, and they
jumped at the call of Mr. Ruffin, and appeared to obey his orders with
as hearty a will as though nothing had ever happened between them.
Captain Gunnell had lain aside his white waistcoat and ruffle shirt,
and made his appearance on the quarter deck, in a dress not much better
than asailors. I have no doubt he felt himself much more at his ease,
than he did when dressed up in his shore suit.
The weather was bright and warm, and every thing appeared joyous
and pleasant; the ship bounded and dashed through the water, leaving a
foaming white track behind her, and throwing the spray from her bows
like drifts of snow; the very waves appeared to leap up with pleasure,
and the glorious sun seemed to look down upon us with intelligent
kindness, for there was not another object that we could see upon the
waters, to be gladdened by his beams; and at night the stars twinkled
merrily and brightly, as though they kept watch over our destinies; the
winds and the waves made music expressly for our ears, at least I could
not but think so, for there were none to participate with us in these
delights. I was very happy, and had it not been for thoughts of home,
and dreams of Georgiana De Lancey, I could have remained forever at
sea; at least I felt so then. Every day I learned the name of some new
rope, and added to my nautical acomplishments, by practising, in my
watch below, the art of making running bowlines and turk's heads.
I have said that all hands had recovered from the effects of their
drinking, but Jack Snaggs; he,unfortunately, had contrived to smuggle
on board in his chest a jug of rum, of which he drank so constantly,
that the delirium tremens, or, as the sailors called it, the horrors,
was the consequence. It was a melancholy sight to see a stout vigorous
man, like Jack, stand with terrified looks, and cry out that the evil
one was in pursuit of him; whenever he laid down in his birth, he would
exclaim, "there he is, there he is — save me, save me," and then the
sweat would start upon his forehead, and his teeth would chatter like a
man's in an ague fit.
On the fifth day after we left port, towards sunset, a heavy black
cloud was seen in the horizon ahead, and, as it grew dark, a constant
succession of flashes of vivid lightning appeared to dart from it. The
sailors said we were getting into the Gulph Stream. The cloud began to
rise as we approached it, and the air grew warm and oppressive. We were
soon in thick darkness, which was relieved, however, by continual
flashes of lightning; the thunder pealed and rattled over our heads,
and our ship trembled like a leaf; soon the rain came down in torrents,
and sudden gusts of wind assailed us on either quarter. Fortunately, we
had shortened sail, and made every preparation for a storm before it
grew dark. The courses werehauled up, the topsails close reefed, the
jib and spanker hauled down, and a storm staysail set. All hands had
been called upon deck, except Jack Snaggs, who, on account of his
horrors, was allowed to remain below; and we all stood huddled
together, on the quarter deck, that we might be in readiness to carry
into execution any orders which should be given. For my own part, I
enjoyed the sublimity of the scene highly, and felt not the least fear;
indeed, the only thing which annoyed me was the water running down my
back, which rather dampened my admiration of the tempest. The sky was
pitch black, but the sea was covered with little particles of luminous
matter, so numerous and so bright, that they cast a greenish glare upon
our ship, and showed in strong relief all her spars and ropes against
the sky; in addition to this strange and unnatural light, a ball of
phosphorescent matter had gathered at each mast head, and at the ends
of the yards, and gave the ship the appearance of being illuminated
with goblin lanterns. These were novel sights to me, but to the
sailors, and even to Captain Gunnel and the mate, they were sights of
terror; these men who, on ordinary occasions, were full of ribald jests
and wanton oaths, now stood with hushed voices, apparently waiting for
some expected evil. They knew from experience,the dangers which
surrounded them; but I, from ignorance, was without fear or
apprehension. I stood looking over the gunnel, watching the lightning
as it crinkled along on the surface of the waves, when a shrill cry
rising above the tumult of the elements, and the pelting of the rain
and the roaring of the thunder, caused all hands to start with fear.
The sound came from the forward part of the ship, and I recognized in
it the voice of Jack Snaggs; a flash of lightning the next moment
showed the poor wretch standing between the night heads, with his hands
thrown above his head, as if preparing to leap into the ocean. "Bear a
hand forward," exclaimed the captain, "and save him—be quick." But it
was too late; we heard him as he plunged, and I ran to the ship's side,
and caught a glimpse of him struggling in the water; we threw overboard
all the loose articles about deck, but they were of no avail; it was
the last we ever saw of poor Jack.
CHAPTER XIX. Will bring us into
The next morning we were out of the Gulph, and the sky was as blue,
the wind as fair, and the sun as bright and as warm as before; the
waves again seemed to leap up with joy, and the ship bounded and dashed
through the water as gayly as ever; and I should have forgotten the
events of the night before, had it not been that Jack Snaggs was
missing from our mess.
"Harry," said Mr. Ruffin, the mate.
"Sir?" said I.
"Take a slush shoe, and go up aloft and grease the peril of the
maintopsail yard; the slush was all washed off by the rain last night."
"I don't comprehend you, sir," I replied.
"Don't what?" exclaimed the mate.
"I don't comprehend you."
"What the h—is that? don't spout any of your dictionary to me, but
go do as I order you."
All hands, except the man at the wheel, were aloft, some at one
mast head and some at another; there was no one to whom I could apply
for information, and I had not the most vague idea of whata peril could
be. However, I thought, I will go up and grease the maintopsail yard
all over, and then I shall be sure of greasing the peril. So I got a
bucket of warm grease from the cook, and, not without a good deal of
difficulty, succeeded in getting it into the main top. I sat the bucket
of grease down in the top to rest myself, and at the same time to take
a look at the maintopsail yard, to see if there was any curious looking
article about it, that probably bore the name of a peril. But I could
see nothing which apparently needed greasing. I looked down on deck
again, and observing that the Captain and Mr. Ruffin were busy on the
quarter deck looking at the sun, with their quadrants, it occurred to
me that I might slip down on deck, and get my Blunt's Navigator out of
the forecastle, and take it up into the top with me, where I could look
for the meaning of the puzzling word at my leisure. I accordingly left
the bucket of warm grease standing in the top, and slid down on deck by
the mainstay, and got into the forecastle unperceived; but I had
scarcely got the Navigator into my hand, when I heard a terrible outcry
on deck, and Mr. Ruffin calling out my name with all his might. I
dropped the Navigator, and jumped upon deck, and it was not long before
I found out the cause of the tumult.
Now it happened, that in consequence of Captain Gunnell having got
all his sea clothes wet the night before, he had been obliged to dress
himself in his long shore suit, while his other duds, as he called
them, were hung up on the spanker boom to dry; it being also clean
shirt day with Mr. Ruffin, he too had dressed himself in a new calico
shirt and a blue roundabout, for which he paid two pound ten to a
Liverpool tailor, and which was as good as new, for Mr. Ruffin having a
wife and half a dozen children, was very careful of his clothes. Now,
Captain Gunnell and Mr. Ruffin, as I have observed before, were on the
quarter deck, taking an observation of the sun, but as the wind was
drawing aft, and the ship kept coming up, the maintopsail kept dodging
against the sun, and obstructing their view, so they took their
stations amidships directly under the maintop, where they could have a
"Does she rise yet?" asked Capt. Gunnell, putting his quadrant to
his eye, and turning his face upward; "does she rise, sir?" for sailors
call every thing she, even the sun.
"Ay, ay, sir," replied the mate, who also had his face turned
upward, with one eye shut, and the other applied to his quadrant, while
his mouth was wide open.
It unluckily happened that while the captain and mate were in this
position, the man at the wheel put his hand in his pocket to feel for
his tobacco, and a sea striking the ship at the same moment under the
counter, the wheel was knocked out of his other hand, which caused the
ship suddenly to broach to, and the motion overturned the bucket of
warm grease in the top, and down came a torrent of slush, which covered
the Captain and his mate from head to foot; and not a small quantity
found its way down Mr. Ruffin's throat. Of course there was no
observation got that day. I cannot pretend to relate what happened
after I came upon deck, for I was so much terrified when I discovered
the mischief that was done, as to be quite beside myself. The captain
ordered Mr. Ruffin to log me, and swore he would send me back to the
States in irons, by the first man of war he should meet with, to be
tried for my life. He threatened, besides, to feed me on bread and
water the remainder of the voyage, and to stop all my wages, to pay for
his clothes which I had spoiled.
I told Captain Gunnell the reason of my leaving the grease bucket
in the top; and after that, neither he nor the mate ever refused to
explain the meaning of any term which I did not understand.
It was more than two months after we left the Hook, when, at day
break in the morning, we made the land on our lee bow. It proved to be
Cape St. Marys, at the mouth of the Rio de la Plata, and as the wind
was fair, we were soon making our way up the yellow waters of this
famous river. We passed by Monte Video without dropping anchor, and on
the fourth day after entering the river, we were moored in five fathom
hole, opposite Buenos Ayres. Captain Gunnell dressed himself in his
greasy blue suit, and went ashore in the jolly boat. He sent back
orders to the mate not to allow a soul to leave the ship. I was grieved
to hear this order, for I longed to set my feet once more upon dry
land; and the sight of the domes and towers rising above the flatroofs
of the distant city, excited the strongest curiosity in me to have a
nearer view of them. I had heard extravagant stories told of the
magnificence of the old churches, which were erected in this city by
the Jesuits, when the province abounded with gold and silver; of
crucifixes of solid ingots, and altars and images of gold, sparkling
with precious stones. Night after night, when the labor of the day was
over, have I sat gazing at the faint and glimmering lights ashore,
until I fell asleep, and dreamed of walking with black eyedSpanish
girls beneath the lofty roof of some cathedral, the floors of which
were paved with pure gold.
But Mr. Ruffin was determined that dreams like these should never
be realized. It was a favorite maxim with him, to obey orders if you
break owners; and I do not believe he would have consented for a man to
leave the ship if she had been sinking. He was one of those strict
disciplinarians, who will keep the letter of the law, even though they
break the spirit of it in so doing.
Jerry Bowhorn and I had become fast friends, and he was as anxious
as myself to go ashore, though from different motives; he wanted to see
the girls, and have a blow out of grog, and I wanted to see the
churches and hear the women talk Spanish. Had Jack Snaggs been living,
we would have tied the mate to the fife rail, and gone ashore in spite
of him, and the Captain's orders. There was no one in the forecastle
besides Jerry to whom I could have safely trusted a plan for committing
such an outrage, and, even had I been disposed to do so, we were all so
tired and weary with hard work when it came night, that we were glad
enough to lay down to rest. There is nothing which will so effectually
quell discontent, and put an end to a revolt, as good hard work; a man
who is tired to death with labor has but an indifferent appetite for
At last an opportunity offered for both Jerry and myself to gratify
our desires. We had been in the roads almost three weeks, and we had
not seen Captain Gunnell during that time, when at the close of a dark
and blustering day, he came on board in a shore boat, which he
dismissed as soon as he left her. I thought he had taken a very strange
time to visit us, but I was glad to see him again, although he didn't
put himself to the trouble of speaking to me. He was dressed in a new
suit of clothes, and I thought he looked remarkably fine; indeed it was
so long since I had seen any body besides Mr. Ruffin and the swarthy
custom house officer, that he must have looked very bad indeed for me
to have thought otherwise.
As soon as the Captain came on board, he took the custon house
officer on one side, and I observed they were in very earnest
conversation. The officer at last shrugged his shoulders, and was
walking away, when the Captain took a roll of bank bills, as I
supposed, from his pocket book, and gave him, upon which they resumed
their conversation, and then the Captain orderedthe jolly boat to be
lowered away, and Jerry and I were told to get into her. I obeyed the
order with great alacrity, thinking an opportunity had come of visiting
the city. But Jerry told me I had no great cause for rejoicing, as he
understood perfectly well the nature of the expedition on which we were
bound; he said the Captain had chosen a stormy night for smuggling some
goods on shore, and that he had bribed the custom house officer to
assist him in landing them. "However," said Jerry, "if you choose to
join me, we will work a traverse, and get ashore in spite of hem."
I told him I would join him in any thing he might propose or
undertake short of murder and robbery, for my desire to go ashore
amounted to a frenzy.
Jerry's supposition proved true; the jolly boat was filled with
small packages of light goods, and then the Captain and the custom
house officer got into her, and we shoved off from the ship, and began
to pull in for the shore, the second mate acting as coxswain, while
Jerry and I pulled at the oars. The night was dark and stormy, and the
waves ran high, which caused us to make but little headway. I rowed
with all my might, but the Captain got angry, and swore at me for
notrowing better. I had never been accustomed to handle an oar, and I
suppose I exerted myself twice as much as was necessary, for, by the
time we reached the shore, my hands and arms were so violently cramped
I could hardly move them.
The faithless guardian of the customs pointed to a spot opposite to
the Recolata, a spacious cemetery, with a large chapel for the
performance of the burial services, as being the best and most secure
place to land the goods; but the boat was deep, and there being no
pier, we could not approach very near to the beach. So the Captain
asked Jerry if he thought he could carry him ashore on his shoulders.
"Certainly I can, sir," replied Jerry, "I could carry two just like
"But, consider," said Captain Gunnell, "I am very heavy, much
heavier than you think I am."
"And I am very strong in my back," replied Jerry, "I was always
considered so; I once carried old Commodore Pottgut ashore on my back,
"You did?" said the Captain.
"To to sure I did," replied Jerry, "when I was in the States'
"Well," replied the Captain, "if you carried him, you can carry me,
Accordingly, Jerry jumped into the water, which was almost up to
his middle, and Captain Gunnell tucked the tails of his coat under his
arms, and took the watch out of his fob, and held it in his hand to
prevent it from getting wet in case of an accident, and then mounted
himself upon Jerry's shoulders. He was a pretty good load, but Jerry,
as he said, was very strong in his back, and he bore off his burden
very steadily, but not exactly in the direction of the shore. When he
had gone about three times the length of the boat, he suddenly stopped,
and gave a loud scream.
"Hush, you rascal," said the Captain, in a suppressed voice, "you
will alarm the guard."
"I can't help it," roared Jerry, "I have got the cramp. Oh!"
"Silence, you villain," exclaimed the Captain; "if you let me drop,
I'll send you on board the prison ship, and have you flogged."
"O, Captain Gunnell," again shouted Jerry, "I shall let you drop
unless somebody comes to my assistance. Come here, Franco, and lend me
a hand to keep the Captain from falling."
"Jump," said the second mate, "before he lets the Captain fall."
I didn't wait to be ordered a second time, but leaped into the
water, and Jerry seeing me coming towards him, suddenly shook his
burden from his shoulders, and called to me to follow him, and off we
started, leaving the Captain floundering in the water. We soon reached
the shore, and climbed up a steep bank, and ran about half a mile,
without stopping either to speak or look behind us.
CHAPTER XX. Relates what happened
after getting ashore.
"There is no danger," said Jerry, "that we shall be pursued
to-night," as we stopped to take breath, "so let us find a place to
lodge in, and in the morning we will look about us."
Although I was wet and weary, my hands covered with blisters, and
the night was dark, and the wind was cold, yet my spirits were light as
a feather. The uncertainty of our prospects, and a curiosity to see
what the morning's light would reveal, kept my thoughts from dwelling
on the destitute condition in which we were placed. We were outside of
the town, but there were no indications that we were in the immediate
vicinity of a populous city, and there was neither a tree, nor a house
to be seen. It was as still and as desolate as the great desert.
"Come," said Jerry, "let us get amongst the houses, and I will soon
hunt out something to eat, and a bed, never fear."
"Have you got any money?" I inquired, for I began to fear it would
be no easy matter to procure food and lodging without it.
"Not so much as would jingle on a tombstone," replied Jerry, "but I
have got something that we can make a raise with, I dare say; here's
the captain's watch. I caught it out of his hand to keep it from
getting wet, and forgot to stop and return it to him."
I was very sorry to hear this, and told Jerry I would never consent
to his selling the watch, nor take any part of the proceeds of it; but
he succeeded in silencing my scruples, by reminding me that the wages
which were due us, and the clothes which we had left behind, would
repay the captain for the loss of his watch.
We turned our faces towards the city, and soon found ourselves in a
dark, narrow street, with low, flat-roofed houses on each side, having
windows with iron bars and gratings, which gave them the appearance of
prisons. We walked some distance down this street without meeting any
one, or seeing a light in any of the houses. At length we came to a
house which give some evidences of its being inhabited. A light was
streaming from a half-opened door, into which I peeped, and discovered
a swarthy looking man with long black hair hanging down his shoulders;
he wore a conical shaped red cap, and a green jacket, embroidered with
silk braid; he was sittingon a low stool, singing in a subdued voice,
and thrumming on a guitar; at a table, on which were standing a brown
jug and two or three tumblers, were seated two men dressed similarly to
the other, apparently amusing themselves by making passes at each other
with long, murderous-looking knives, which they parried with great
dexterity; they formed a highly picturesque group; but thinking the
society of gentlemen who amused themselves after such a fashion, not
very desirable, we continued our walk in search of a house of more
promising appearance, until we came to a cross street, which by the aid
of a very dim lamp we discovered was the Calle Viente Cinco de Mayo. By
the captain's watch it was near midnight, and we began to be
apprehensive that we should be compelled to spend a sleepless and a
supperless night in the streets, for we could neither see a soul
stirring, nor catch the glimpse of a light in any of the houses. As we
stood hesitating which way to turn next, our ears were suddenly
gladdened by a shout of many voices from the house opposite to where we
were standing, and the oaths and expressions which we heard assured us
they were not uttered by Spaniards. We knocked loudly at the door of
the house without any hesitation, and it was soon opened by a tall
muscular looking man in a blue jacket, who exclaimed, upon seeing us,
"d—n your souls, what do you want?"
"We want something to eat, and a bed," said Jerry.
"The divil take your carcasses then," said the man, "why didn't you
"Because we couldn't get ashore," replied Jerry.
"Have you run away from your ship?" asked the man.
"Yes, Sir," I replied.
"Yankees too. Och faith, it is all right; come in, and go back into
the abbey, and tell the cook to give you some beef. But stop, and take
a drop of brandy first." We walked in, and he bolted the door again.
There were about twenty sailors seated at a long table, with cards
in their hands, pipes in their mouths, and glasses standing before
them. They had apparently just arrived at that point in good fellowship
and merry-making, where a man feels himself impelled to call his friend
a thief and a liar, and to strike any one in the face who may happen to
sit along side of him. But as Jerry and myself were perfectly sober, of
course we felt no disposition to participate in their boisterousmirth,
but on the contrary we regarded them with feelings which would have
done honor to a tetotaller. We passed on through this apartment,
preceded by the man who admitted us, into a little square building,
which he called the "round house;" here he ordered the cook, who was a
one-legged old sailor, to give us some supper. The cook placed before
us, with very little delay, a huge piece of roast beef, a couple of
very small loaves of bread, and a pitcher of aqua vitæ.
When the keen edge of our appetites was taken off, we asked the
cook, who was solacing himself with a paper segar, what the name of our
"None of your gammon, my coveys," replied the cook, "you know Jemmy
as well as I do."
"If that is the name of the landlord here," I replied, "I can swear
that I never heard of him before."
The cook having given vent to his astonishment in a multitude of
curious oaths, informed us that our entertainer was Irish Jemmy, who
had deserted many years before from an English Sloop of War, but who
now kept a house for runaway sailors, and who was universally known as
the sailors' friend.
"Jemmy is the best man as ever lived," said thecook; "he will feed
you on beef and rum as long as you have a mind to stay in his house,
and never ask you when you are going; and when you do go, if you havn't
got a jacket, he'll give you one. But then you musn't make him mad."
"Ah," said Jerry, "who would make such a man mad?"
"Why, you might do it by accident, and then he would as lief kill
you as drink a horn of brandy," replied the cook.
"He never did kill any one, did he?" I asked, somewhat alarmed at
the cook's account.
"He shot his wife wonst in this very blessed room," replied the
cook, in a low voice, "Cos as she disputed him when he was swipy."
"And why didn't the authorities arrest him, and hang him," I asked.
"What, just for shooting his wife?" replied the cook; "you may tell
your mammy when you see her, they don't do such things in this here
country. Besides, if she didn't wish to be shooted, she oughtent to
have disputed him; warnt he her husband? Sarved her right."
"Did she die?" I asked.
"Dead as a door nail. And now he's got another reg'lar nice young
heifer," replied the cook.
"Of course," replied Jerry, "he never so much as winks one of his
blackguard eyes at his customers, if he does shoot his wives."
"Don't he?" replied the cook; "why bless yer heart, 'twas him as
broke my leg, cos I made him mad."
"He break your leg," said Jerry, letting his knife fall.
"To be sure he did," replied the cook, "what on it. I dont care;
he's got to find me in grub all the rest o' my days, besides all the
new duck I want for frocks and trowsers. I am nothing but an old
bugger, it makes no odds whether I've got one leg or two; I'm not
running arter the gals, like you young chaps."
"Are you an American?" I asked, feeling my sympathies excited for
the old cook.
"Me a yankee!" replied the cook, disdainfully. "No, I am a reg'lar
born cockerny. Do you know what that is? A real citizen of Lunnun," he
continued, answering his own question; "and do you know what makes me a
citizen of Lunnun?"
"I suppose it is because you were born there," I replied.
"No, that aint it, young feller," he replied.
"Because you were born in Bow Bells," replied Jerry.
"That aint it," said the cook. "It's because I was born in the
cells of New-Gate, you green horn; I knew you couldn't tell." And so
saying, the old cook hobbled away with the remains of the beef,
chuckling at the recollection of his illustrious birth.
I was not particularly well pleased with the cook's account of
Irish Jemmy, so I proposed to Jerry to start for the pampas in the
morning, and wait there until our ship should sail. Jerry agreed to do
so; and as he had fortunately brought a pistol ashore with him, he
swore if Irish Jemmy offered to harm a hair of my head, he would shoot
him without any hesitation. But as we had eaten Jemmy's beef, and drank
his brandy, I told Jerry we would first talk about paying him, and then
we could shoot him afterwards, if there should be any necessity for
Jerry acknowledged this was right and proper, and said he would
leave the Captain's watch in pledge, until we might return. But when we
proposed it to Jemmy, he would listen to no such thing.
"Tut, tut," he said, "don't bother me with your nonsense. Put up
your watch; you may eat anddrink here as loug as you like in welcome,
for nothing, if you only pay me out of your advance, when you get a
He said we might go out into the camp if we chose, and if we
escaped the Montaneros and the Indians, we should find a hearty welcome
at any estancia or saladara, that we might fall in with, where, if we
were fond of jerked beef and farina, we might stay forever, and no
questions would be asked us.
We were delighted to hear so good an account of the hospitable
habits of the Gauchos, and retired to bed, with an intention of setting
out for the country as soon as it should be light. But the fleas
prevented us from closing our eyes, and as we found it was impossible
to sleep, we set off before the day broke.
CHAPTER XXI. Adventures in the
Pampas, a Pampara,
We made our exit from the town by the same narrow street through
which we entered it the night before; and we made such good use of our
legs, that by the time the sun peeped up above the level plain, which
lay stretched out to the horizon before us, we could see nothing of the
city at our backs, but the domes and spires of the churches and
convents. Magnificent objects they were at a distance; but a near view
of their dilapidated walls, and the nasty finery of their interiors,
completely dispelled all the bright dreams in which I had indulged of
their splendor. Alas! alas! that the Cross of Christ should be elevated
on a towering dome, only to designate a collection of every thing that
is wretched in taste and balsphemous in art.
We continued to trudge on without meeting with either Gauchos or
Montaneros; and as the day advanced, and our hunger increased, we began
to have serious misgivings of getting neither jerked beef nor farina
for our dinners. But we walked sturdily on, neither being willing to
give out first, and at last we descried a clump of trees, at the
apparentdistance of two or three miles, and shaped our course for them,
expecting to find an estancia; but on reaching them, they proved to be
a small orchard of peach trees, with the walls of a house standing
near, which appeared recently to have been burned. The house was
surrounded by a deep ditch, with a small draw bridge. We looked for
something eatable, but in vain. As we were leaving the place, we
discovered a party of horsemen approaching, so we halted for them to
come up. As they were riding at a furious gallop, it was not long
before they were along side of us. There were four of them; fine
cut-throat looking rascals they were. The foremost and youngest of
them, was a noble looking fellow, and he sat as easily and as
gracefully upon his horse's back, as though he had been born there. His
face was full and swarthy, his shoulders broad, and his eyes black and
fiery; his long glossy black hair streamed upon the wind as he rode. On
his head he wore a broad brimmed hat, and over his shoulders a scarlet
poncho, the simplest, but most graceful covering ever worn upon a man's
back. His legs were bare. The other three were leaner and dirtier, and
their ponchos were coarse and ragged.
One of the horsemen spoke to us in Spanish, which neither of us
could understand; but Jerrysupposing they asked us what we were in
search of, replied, "very much of the beef and the farina, signors."
This they understood as little as we had understood them, and they
directly saluted us in a manner which we could not fail to feel, if we
did not understand.
The fine looking fellow in the red poncho, drew his sabre, and gave
Jerry a hearty thwack across his shoulders, with the flat of it; and
one of the ragged rascals at the same time complimented me in a similar
manner, with the handle of a spear, which he carried in his hand. This
had a similar effect upon both of us, for, without any concerted
action, we immediately took to our legs and scampered for life; but we
soon found ourselves stretched upon the ground, for these fine fellows
had, with inconceivable dexterity, contrived to throw a small cord
around our heels, with which they tripped us up. Finding it was
impossible to escape, we made no further attempt, and our captors
having bestowed two or three more whacks upon our shoulders, motioned
to us to get up behind them. As I had taken a fancy to the wearer of
the scarlet poncho, I mounted behind him, and Jerry got up behind the
ruffian who had belabored me with the handle of his spear. We were no
sooner mounted, than away they started at a hard gallop; it was with
thegreatest difficulty that I made out to keep my seat. I clung to the
scarlet poncho with all my might, and came near two or three times
bringing both the wearer of it and myself to the ground, for which I
was favored with some of the choicest curses in the Gaucho dialect. We
rode for more than an hour, without in the least slackening our speed.
By and by, we came to an enclosure, where there were a great number of
horses. The Gauchos dismounted, and caught, with their lassos, fresh
horses for themselves, and for Jerry and myself. When they were
remounted, they motioned to us to follow them, and off they started
again at a full gallop, and off came Jerry and myself, almost
simultaneously. Fortunately, neither of us was hurt by the fall, so we
mounted again, and started once more, and succeeded in keeping our
seats; we had no saddles, and it was terrible hard riding, for we
galloped very hard. Soon, however, my blood became heated, and the
rapidity with which we scoured over the plain, excited my feelings, and
I experienced a sensation of wild delight, which I had never felt
before. I forgot my hunger, my bruises, my perilous situation, and the
aimless journey on which I was bound, and thought how happy I should be
if I could but ride on forever over those boundless plains.
These sensations lasted but a short time; our horses began, after a
while, to flag, their motions became more uneasy, and my blood began to
cool, and feelings of hunger and weariness began to oppress me. The sun
was sinking in the west, and a heavy, dull looking cloud, apparently
charged with rain, and wind, and lightning, was rising in the opposite
direction, when we came to another roofless house, with blackened and
smoky walls, exactly like the one we had left. It was surrounded by a
deep ditch, with a draw bridge, but there were no peach trees near it.
There was a drove of cattle grazing near, and one of our captors caught
a young bullock with a lasso by his hind heels, and brought him to the
ground; and another of the Gauchos severed the head of the animal from
his body; it was quick work. We all dismounted, and from the movement
of the Gauchos, Jerry perceived that they intended to cook the bullock.
So we set ourselves to work, to collect together a heap of sticks, over
which they erected a gallows, from which they suspended the carcass,
without even divesting it of its skin. One of the Gaucho's took a
little pouch from beneath a scarlet girdle, which he wore around his
waist, and having struck a light, he set fire to the heap of sticks,
which cracked and snappedright merrily, and crisped the hide of the
bullock. This manner of roasting beef was entirely novel to me, and
under other circumstances, I might not have regarded it with very
pleasant yearnings; but as it was, my mouth watered as I stirred up the
fire, and the carcass hissed, and cracked, and sputtered. My appetite
was so keen, it appeared to me the heighth of human bliss to sit down
to sup off a whole ox.
It grew dark very suddenly, and the sky was completely overcast
with clouds. The fire, as we stirred it up, and added fresh fagots,
cast around a lurid glare, which fell upon the forms of the Gauchos,
who were stretched out upon the ground, wrapped in their ponchos,
taking a nap, while the bullock was roasting; the grazing cattle and
the blackened walls of the house were the only other objects which the
light revealed. It was a scene of savage picturesqueness, and I should
have enjoyed it highly, had I not been so hungry. When we thought the
beef was sufficiently roasted, we let the fire go down, and called up
the Gauchos, who began immediately to rake away the coals, and make
preparation for taking the bullock down. But they suddenly stopped, and
having listened for a moment with hushed breath, they began to
extinguish the flaming embers, and to smother the fire by throwing sand
upon it. Judging from the earnestness with which they set themselves to
work, we conjectured they had some good cause for doing so, and we
aided them with all our might, Presently the sound of horses' feet was
heard, which grew plainer and plainer every moment; the practised ears
of the Gauchos had enabled them to distinguish it long before it
reached ours. Having extinguished the fire, they caught their horses
and mounted them, and Jerry and I were about to do the same, when one
of the Gauchos struck me across the shoulders with his sabre, and
throwing me the end of his lasso, the other being fastened to a ring in
his saddle, pointed to the roasted carcass, to which I made it fast. I
then mounted my horse; the Gauchos appeared impatient to be gone, but
they walked their horses, dragging the roasted bullock after them, and
Jerry and I followed in the rear. The tramp of horses' feet approaching
us, grew more and more distinct, and from the sound there appeared to
be a numerous troop. The Gaucho who was dragging along the carcass,
finding it an incumbrance, cast off his lasso and left it behind him.
We continued to walk our horses a little further, and then we came to a
halt. The horsemen from whom we were fleeing were, as I judged from the
exclamationsof our captors, a party of Indians, who were attracted by
the light of our fire. If they had surprised us, they would have cut
our throats first, and then regaled themselves with the bullock which
we had been roasting for our supper; a consummation, which it was any
thing but pleasant to anticipate.
From the actions of the Gauchos, I concluded they considered
themselves in danger of being surprised, and I was impatient to start
off on a gallop. Our safety, however, was in the pitchy darkness of the
night, which almost prevented our seeing each other, although we were
closely huddled together. By and by, the horsemen reached the spot
which we had left, and came to a halt. They raked open the coals, which
sent up a few glimmering sparks, but not light enough to reveal the
forms of the marauders. We could hear them yelling and shouting,
apparently giving vent to their disappointment in not finding their
expected prey. Presently we heard them in motion again, and I thought
they were going to continue on their way, but my heart died within me,
when I discovered that they were riding in a circuit around us,
probably supposing that we were somewhere in their immediate
neighborhood. From the sound of the horses' feet, there musthave been
at least thirty of them. Round and round they rode, sometimes
approaching us so closely, that we could hear their voices, as they
muttered to themselves. The Gauchos held their breaths, and ground
their teeth; they kept their sabres in their hands, and their horses
reined up ready for a start. Jerry and myself were closely huddled
together, but we were afraid to speak, even in a whisper; he trembled
like a leaf, and whether I trembled or not, I came near dying with
fright. I thought that my time was come, and the prophecy of my cousin
about to be fulfilled. I saw myself, in imagination, with my throat cut
from ear to ear, blasting upon a desert plain, and I thought of my poor
mother, and my heart broken sister. The horsemen, Indians or
Montaneros, or whatever they were, continued to ride around and about
us, sometimes almost touching us as they flew past. Once I thought I
could distingush a dusky form, but before I could assure myself of it,
it was lost in the darkness. At last the troop halted again, and after
giving another yell, they galloped back in the direction which they
came, and as the sound of their horses' feet grew fainter and fainter,
my heart grew stouter and stouter, and by the time the sound had died
entirely away, thoughts of the roasted bullock beganto intrude
themselves into my mind. Doubtless, the musings of the Gauchos were
running in the same direction, for they dismounted from their horses,
and groped their way back to the ruined house which we had left,
feeling about on the ground, as they went, and Jerry and I did the
same, but without finding the bullock. Strangely enough, we were unable
to find it at all, and the Gauchos each lighted a paper cigar, and
crawled up alongside of the half demolished house, and stretched
themselves out to sleep. Happy fellows, they could solace themselves
with the unsubstantial fumes of a paper cigar, and take their rest on
the bare ground without inconvenience. Jerry and myself sat together on
the ground, conjecturing the probable motives of the Gauchos in making
us their captives, and offering such encouragement to each other, as
our minds could suggest.
Although the sky was filled with black and heavy clouds, there was
not a breath of wind stirring. The atmosphere was warm and oppressive,
and I experienced a difficulty of respiration. The horizon in the
south-east had for some time been constantly illuminated with flashes
of lightning, and every thing seemed to give notice of an approaching
storm. One of the Gauchos started up, and exclaimed, "pampara," upon
which the others withdrew from beneath the walls of the house, and drew
their ponchoes closely about them, and lay down again in an exposed
spot. I looked to the east, and discovered the cause of the Gaucho's
exclamation. A bright yellowish cloud was rising rapidly above the
horizon, and spreading itself over the sky; we were not kept long in
ignorance of its quality, for it soon burst, and a gust of wind and
hail swept over us, compared with which the hardest gale I had ever
experienced was a gentle zephyr. It was well with the Gauchos that they
had crawled away from the walls of the house, for they were prostrated
in a moment. As we were unable to stand upon our feet, we threw
ourselves upon the ground, with our faces down, and a cloud of dust and
leaves, branches of trees, sticks, hail-stones, and fire, passed over
our backs. I was expecting every moment to hear the troop of horsemen
rush by on the wings of the wind. The uproar and hurly burly of the
elements did not continue long; but when the tumult began to subside,
the rain began to pour down in torrents. The Gauchos raised themselves
up, made the sign of the cross, muttered their prayers, and laid down
again, and apparently they soon fell asleep. But I was not used to
sleeping undersuch circumstances, and, if I could have slept with the
rain pouring down upon me, my fears would have kept me awake. Jerry
himself was nodding, and I was left alone to my reflections.
It was very evident that the Gauchos had no intention of robbing
us, for they had made no attempt to search our persons, and I could not
believe that they had made captives of us for the mere pleasure of
beating us; the only use to which I imagined they could put us, was to
compel us to join them on some perilous expedition against the Indians.
That was an enterprise for which I had not the least possible
inclination. There was neither profit nor honor to be gained in it;
nothing that would enable me either to gain the affections of Georgiana
De Lancey, or to triumph over my haughty cousin. Weak and exhausted as
I was, and hopeless as the attempt seemed, I resolved to make an effort
to escape, and find my way back to Buenos Ayres. It so happened that on
the afternoon in which I left the ship, I had taken the pocket
handkerchief of Georgiana De Lancey, and tied it about my neck
underneath my shirt, and now pressing it to my heart, I thought of its
lovely owner, and the blood seemed to start with quickened pulsations
through my veins; it gaveme new life and fresh vigor to go through with
I jogged my companion, and told him what I had resolved to do; he
was at first loth to join me, fearing that, if the Gauchos should awake
before we could make our escape, they would murder us for making the
attempt. But I soon prevailed upon him to accompany me, and we crept
away from where the Gauchos were sleeping, upon our hands and knees,
until we were securely out of their hearing. We were lucky in catching
two of the horses which were within the enclosure of the ditch, and
having walked them quietly over the little bridge, we mounted them, and
turning our backs to the rain, galloped away as fast as they would
carry us. I felt at first very stiff and sore, but the motion of the
horse soon made me feel warm and supple. We galloped away at the
imminent risk of breaking our necks till daylight appeared, when the
rain began to abate, and the wind to lull. We were far enough from the
Gauchos to have no fear of them; but there was no house in sight, and I
felt that I could not hold out much longer without food or rest. We
continued to ride until the sun was above the horizon, when our eyes
were gladdened by the sight of a house, a long way off, with wreaths of
blue smoke ascendingfrom the chimney; it was the most beautiful sight
that ever met my eyes; never before did smoke find favor with me. We
turned our horses' heads directly for the smoking chimney, and when we
got to the house, which was only a rude hut, we dismounted from our
horses, and walked in without any ceremony. Our appearance told our
tale; there was no need of words, even though we could have spoken
them. The inmate of the hut understood our wants, and treated us
kindly. In the centre of the floor was a bright fire, on one side of
which, stuck upon a long stick, was half of a sheep roasting, and
suspended over the fire from the end of a pole was a pot boiling and
bubbling, and sending forth a savory odor, which caused the water to
run out of both corners of my mouth. A swarthy looking Gaucho, and his
still swarthier wife, with three naked children, were seated on the
bare clay floor watching the fire. The man beckoned us to the fire, and
the woman brought us a log to sit upon, while the children crowded
around their father's knees, and stared at us with their fingers in
Jerry observed that these little Gauchos conducted themselves for
all the world like the children in the States, for they, he said,
always puttheir fore fingers in their mouths when they saw a stranger.
By the time our clothes were dry, the mutton was roasted, and the
Gaucho's wife having spread it on a board, and taken the pot off the
pole, gave each of us a small biscuit, and something like a squash
shell; the man motioned to us to eat, and we fell to, first upon the
roast and then upon the boiled, and then upon the roast and then upon
the boiled again.
It was a delicious meal. Such mutton! and such soup! The Gaucho and
the Gaucho's wife looked at us with amazement, as we devoured the fat
and juicy meat, and swallowed the scalding hot pot liquor. Many and
hearty were the encomiums which Jerry and I pronounced upon our
entertainers as we devoured their mutton. Jerry swore that the Gaucho
was the gentlemanliest man he had ever seen in his life, and I told his
wife, although she could not understand a word of what I was saying,
that she was the handsomest woman in the world but one, and that was
Georgiana De Lancey.
At length, our appetites began to fail us, and Jerry, in the
fullness of his gratitude, pulled out the Captain's watch, and offered
it to our host, at the same time turning out his pockets to showthat we
had nothing else to offer in payment for our breakfast. The Gaucho's
eyes sparkled at sight of the watch, but he struck his hand upon his
breast, and shook his head indignantly, and told us in very excellent
pantomime that his feelings were hurt by the offer. I rebuked Jerry for
insulting the honest man's feelings by offering him such a trifle.
"What, then, shall we give him," said Jerry; "you know we hav'n't
got a midi to bless ourselves."
"Give him," I replied, "we will give him nothing, since we have
nothing to give; but we will stay with him, and work for him, to show
"So we will," said Jerry, putting the watch in his fob again; "we
will stay with him the rest of our lives. But I feel confounded sleepy;
let us take a nap on that pile of sheep skins in the corner, and when
we wake we will pitch into the mutton again. So we lay down upon the
sheep skins to sleep, and when we awoke, the sun was in the western
sky. I felt greatly refreshed, although somewhat stiff and feverish.
Perceiving that the Gaucho's wife was making preparations for the
afternoon meal, we got up and stretched ourselves, and when the mutton
was ready, theGaucho invited us as before, and we began to eat, but
with appetites not half as keen as they were in the morning; indeed,
the mutton appeared to have lost its exquisite flavor, and the pot
liquor was barely palateable. Jerry actually found fault because we had
but one little biscuit given us. He said he didn't half like the
Gaucho's looks, and I was obliged to confess that I thought he had a
cut throat cast of the eye. After dinner was over, we sat picking our
teeth in the door way; I told Jerry I felt more like travelling than
sleeping, and by way of sounding his feelings, observed, that Buenos
Ayres could not be a very long way off.
Jerry replied that he did not think it was, and if I would say the
word, he was all ready to pull up stakes and steer for Irish Jemmy's.
I was glad to hear him say so, and we agreed to set off
immediately. I beckoned to the Gaucho, who was reclining on the floor,
with his head in his wife's lap, and the little Gauchos playing about
him, and tried to make him understand that we were going to set off for
the city, and wanted him to show us the way. He pointed in the
direction that we must take, and we shook hands with him and his wife,
and then took our departure on foot. The horses that we rode thenight
before having been left to themselves, had taken themselves off.
The storm had passed over, and the pampas looked green and
pleasant, the sky was soft and blue, and the sun, though fast sinking
in the west, still imparted a warmth to the air; as a good man, even in
his dying moments, will warm the soul by his converse.
We trudged on in fine spirits, exhilarated by the influences of the
weather, and the happy contrast which our condition bore to what it was
the night before. Jerry pulled out his pistol, and on examination,
found it to be in good order. We resolved to fight if either Indians,
or Gauchos, or Montaneros, should attack us again, and to die rather
than incur the risk of spending another night like the last. We had
advanced about two miles, when we made these valiant resolves; there
was not a soul in sight, and our courage was high. The sun had just
disappeared behind the horizon, when we heard the sound of horses' feet
behind us. I looked round, and perceived a horseman approaching us on
full gallop, his poncho streaming out behind in the wind. We stopped,
and Jerry pulled out his pistol and cocked it. As the horse neared us
very fast, we soon discovered the rider to be no other than the Gaucho
, whose hut we had just left. He was coming at a full gallop, and I
perceived him to raise himself upon his stirrups and swing his lasso
round his head, and the next moment I felt the noose drop over my
shoulders, and before I could disengage myself from it, I was jerked to
the ground, and dragged along with great rapidity. I heard the clank of
the Gaucho's cutlass, as he drew it from its steel scabbard, and
wheeled up towards Jerry, who levelled his pistol at him and fired. The
Gaucho fell immediately from his saddle, and his horse stood still.
Jerry cut the lasso, and disengaged me, but I was so terribly
frightened I could not stand upon my feet for some minutes; my head
swam round, and I felt deadly sick; the sight of the bleeding Gaucho
was by no means calculated to restore me. However, I soon recovered
from my fright, and began to assist Jerry in stopping the blood which
gushed out, thick and black, from the wound in the Gaucho's breast.
Unfortunately, neither Jerry nor myself had on a linen shirt, but I
tore the lining out of my jacket, and with it tried to stop the wound,
but it was in vain. The poor wretch never spoke after he fell; his eyes
were rolled up in his head, and his teeth ground together. He was
evidently dead, but I was unwilling to leave him.I was horror struck at
the thought of our kind entertainer having been murdered by one of us
who had so lately been sheltered beneath his roof.
"Come," said Jerry, "we must not stop to set up an Irish howl over
the blackguard now; he's as dead as Julius Cæsar, and it is not his
fault that we are not taking our measure on the green sward, with the
heart's blood running out of a hole in our breasts, instead of himself.
I am sorry he's dead though, any how, for we eat his mutton, and this
is a poor way of discharging a debt."
"Well," I replied, "since we can't restore him to life, let us, at
least, restore his body to his poor wife."
"No, no," said Jerry, "let us mount his horse and be off towards
Buenos Ayres, or they will make mince meat of us if we are caught
So both of us mounted the Gaucho's horse, and rode as fast as he
would carry us towards Buenos Ayres.
I remember having heard that the Gauchos, though they would never
deny a stranger a shelter beneath their roof, nor molest him while a
guest, yet they would rob him if they could after he had left their
door. This may not be true, but I haveno doubt of the intention of the
Gaucho to murder us, for the sake of the watch, which his sense of
honor would not allow him to accept as a present, while we were his
Jerry and I indulged in a good many grave speculations on this
singular trait of character, which helped to pass away the time, and to
divert our thoughts from the unpleasant situation in which we were
placed. We both came to the conclusion, that, strange and incredible as
it might appear for a man to treat us with every kindness, while we
were under his roof, and then attempt to rob us as soon as we had left
it, it was not a whit more wonderful than that, at home, a man could be
a knave, a cheat, and a turncoat in politics, and at the same time be a
gentleman and a christian in private life.
CHAPTER XXII. Return to Buenos
Ayres and Departure for Rio.
When the sun rose the next morning, the towers and domes of the
city were in sight; glad enough we were to see them once more. For fear
of exciting suspicion, we dismounted from our horse and proceeded into
town on foot. We went directly to Irish Jemmy's, where we learned that
the Two Marys had parted her cables, during the pampara which we had
encountered in the pampas, and that in consequence of all the cargo
being out, she had capsized and sunk; the water being shallow, the crew
had saved themselves by clinging to the tops of the masts which were
still out of water.
We were now no longer in fear of Captain Gunnell, and I prevailed
upon Jerry to return him the watch. After having satisfied myself with
rambling about the city, and having discovered that the precious metals
were no longer the principal articles of traffic, and that nothing more
precious than hides and horns had taken their place, I determined to
seek my fortune elsewhere, and accordingly I shipped on board the brig
Juno, bound to Rio de Janeiro. Jerry had shipped, unbeknown to me, to
go to the coast of Africa, in a slaver which lay at Encinada. We parted
very reluctantly, for we were endeared to each other, and I could not
help shedding tears when I shook his hand and bade him good bye.
Just ten days after leaving the mouth of the river, we entered the
magnificent harbor of Rio. I felt myself amply repaid for all the
hardships I had encountered since leaving home, by the sight of this
beautiful bay, with its mountains clothed with eternal green, and its
waters and sky of unchanging blue.
Our brig lay at anchor, and after the cargo was discharged, I went
ashore one afternoon, to look at the city, and while I stood in the
palace square, watching the young Emperor, who was playing in one of
the balconies of the palace, I felt myself suddenly seized by the arms,
and looking up, found that I was in the hands of a Brazilian naval
officer, who was accompanied by two men with cutlasses in their hands.
The captain of the brig had cautioned me before I went ashore, to keep
an eye to windward for a press gang who were picking up all the sailors
they could pounce upon for a frigate in the harbor.
As the officer who had seized me by the arms, turned to speak to
one of the men, I gave a sudden spring and cleared myself from his
grasp. I immediately took to my heels and ran for life, the two men
with the cutlasses following in pursuit. Fortunately, I was not
encumbered with any superfluous clothing; a pair of duck trowsers, a
calico shirt, and a light straw hat, was all the weight I carried. By a
dexterous leap over a heap of bannanas, I gained a slight advantage
over my pursuers; away I went, making my heels fly, but without knowing
where I should land. In turning the corner of a street, I overturned an
old bald-headed priest, who stood under an awning, with a silver plate
in his hand, begging patacs of the passers by; I meant no disrespect to
his black gown, but I was in too great a hurry to stop to make an
apology, so I kept on my way and reached the wharf just as a boat was
shoving off with an American ensign flying at her stern. I gave a leap
and landed just inside of her gunwale, without doing any other damage
than knocking the skin off of my shins, and breaking in the corner of
the bowman's tarpaulin.
"How dare you leap on board this boat," exclaimed a cadaverous
looking man, with an epaulet on his shoulder, who sat with his arms
folded in the stern sheets.
As soon as I recovered my breath, I explained the cause of my hasty
"Very well, sir," said he, "I will teach you better manners. Back
The boat was backed up along side of the stairs at the end of the
"Go ashore, sir," said the man with the epaulet.
"I hope, sir," I replied, "you will not turn me ashore to the mercy
of the press gang, from which I have just escaped."
"How dare you hesitate, you scoundrel!" said the epauletted
gentleman, with severity.
"Because I am an American," I replied, "and I thought I had a right
to claim your protection."
"How do I know you are an American?" he replied snappishly. "Where
is your protection?"
"I have got none," I answered; "the ship to which I belonged
capsized in a pampara, and I lost the one I had."
"That is no fault of mine," replied the officer; "go to the consul
and get a certificate from him that you are an American, and then I may
allow you to go on board."
There was another officer in the boat, a light haired young
gentleman, with an anchor worked on the collar of his jacket, who
interfered in my behalf, and observed, that there would be noharm in
allowing me to go on board the ship, and then I could return in the
market boat in the morning, and, if necessary, the coxswain could take
me under his protection to the consul's office.
"Very well," replied the elder officer, "shove off."
I took a seat in the bows of the boat, and in a very few minutes we
were along side of the ship. Two little boys, looking like miniature
sailors, with blue shirt collars, and white duck trowsers, buttoned
very tightly round the hips, reached out the man ropes to the officers
for them to ascend by, and when they had left the boat, I asked the
bowman the name of the ship, and of the officers.
"The name of the ship," replied the bowman, "is the sloop of war
Columbia, and the name of the brute who wouldn't allow you to stay on
board the boat is Mr. Wollop; but all hands call him dismal Jerry,
except Mike, the mast man, and he calls him Sergeant Longshanks; he is
first leftenant of the ship, but he is much fittinger to be captain of
a millinery store than one of Uncle Sam's ships. The other officer aint
no officer at all; he is nothing but a drunken swab of a young
gentleman by the name of Mr. Ruffalley."
The boat being made fast to the swinging boom, I climbed on board
the ship, and never having been on the deck of an armed vessel before,
I was amazed at the sight of such a number of men lounging about
without apparently having anything to do. Some were reading, others
were sewing, and some were playing drafts with the marines between the
guns. Nobody seemed to be doing any other duty than amusing themselves,
excepting a sailor dressed in a snowy white shirt and trowsers, who was
walking the poop-deck with a spy glass under his arm.
But, notwithstanding the apparent contentment and ease of the
sailors, such a set of grumblers I never encountered before; they all
agreed that a certain unmentionable place would be a pleasant abode
compared with their ship. For my part, I thought that nothing could be
more delightful than to lounge about a ship's deck, with an awning
spread over your head, an abundance of oranges and bananas to eat, and
the loveliest and most picturesque scenery in the world to gaze upon. I
found that the Columbia had been almost three years on the station, and
that she would soon be relieved, and I resolved not to go ashore again
unless I was sent.
At sun down, the band was stationed on thepoop, and played some
martial airs, which were answered, seemingly by echo, from the French
and English frigates which lay moored at some distance from us. The
last tune played was, "Hail Columbia," and as the final note died away,
a couple of violins struck up a sadly merry Scotch reel, in the
starboard gangway, and all the younger and thoughtless part of the crew
capered away with great industry till the perspiration ran from their
faces in streams.
This was all very pleasant, and fixed me in the determination to
stay on board if I could. The Captain, a man of kind and gentlemanly
looks, was walking the deck with his thumbs thrust in the arm holes of
his waistcoat, apparently utterly regardless of every thing around him.
I thought he might be thinking of his wife and little ones at home, and
that it would be a favorable opportunity to speak to him; so I
stationed myself by the fife rail of the main mast, and, as he
approached me, I touched my hat to him. He stopped and asked me what I
I told him the reason of my being on board his ship, and asked him
to allow me to enter as an ordinary seaman.
He replied that he would speak to the firstlieutenant about me in
the morning, and then resumed his walk.
It was a bright and pleasant evening, the sea breeze had just begun
to ripple the still surface of the bay, and the Magellan clouds, and
other celestial beauties, which are hid from the gaze of northern eyes,
were beginning to show their bright faces. I felt melancholy,
notwithstanding the mirth and laughter and boisterous gayety of those
around me. Thoughts of home, of the beautiful Georgiana De Lancey, and
of the harsh prophecy of my cousin, came over me and oppressed me; I
yearned for a sympathetic bosom, with one throb which beat in unison
with my own; there were none among the living souls around me. I crept
away unperceived, and lay down on the top gallant forecastle, and
stretched out my arms to the huge fantastic hills which reared their
giant heads against the night sky.
* * * * * * *
The next morning one of the boatswain's mates told me to go down to
the doctor. I accordingly went and found him on the birth deck with the
lob-lolly boy. The doctor was a little man, with red hair and a very
long nose; he was dressed in a thread-bare blue suit with tarnished
buttons,and a black bombazine stock; pretty sure signs that he had a
growing family at home, which absorbed about seven eighths of his pay
and rations; but that was no business of mine. He felt of my arms and
legs, pounded on my chest, and did some other things, the propriety of
which I could not exactly understand, and having pronounced me sound in
limbs and body, I was enrolled on the ship's papers as an ordinary
CHAPTER XXIII. Is devoted to a
slight sketch of Lieutenant Wallop, and being not at all essential to a
proper development of my adventures, may be read or not, as the reader
Mr. Wallop was by courtesy gallant, as all officers of the navy and
army are; he had seen service on board of a revenue cutter, which might
have been seen during the time of his command, at least eleven months
and some odd days out of the year, lying quietly at anchor in the
neighborhood of that famous strait known to the dwellers about Gowannus
Bay by the name of Buttermilk Channel. It was not a service in which
much renown was to be gained, but in which a good deal of comfort could
be taken, and that with some is quite as desirable as fame.
Mr. Wallop was tall and thin; his face was pale, and his eyes were
fishy in their aspect. He was troubled with a cough which should have
admonished him that his body was made of perishable materials, the
thought of which, one would suppose, should have softened his temper
and humanized his feelings: but the effect of it was the reverse; he
seemed to feel a spite towardsevery one who enjoyed better health than
himself, and yet he never showed the slightest compassionate feeling
for those who were sick and feeble, but on the contrary, he did all in
his power to make them miserable. Some people, I doubt not, considered
Mr. Wallop the very nicest person in the whole world; for there are
those who estimate a man's virtues by the complexion of his garments,
and Mr. Wallop's vest was as spotless as snow, and his buttons were
innocent of rust. He was cleanly to a degree passing credulity. If
others reckoned cleanliness among the half virtues, he considered
slovenliness as a whole vice, and he punished all dirty offenders
accordingly. If a man by accident spit upon deck, he flogged him; and
if in his walks about the ship's decks, he discovered a hat or a
jacket, or any other article, no matter how valuable, out of its proper
place, he would throw it overboard, without asking to whom it belonged,
or moving a muscle in his face. Once, he threw a jacket overboard,
which belonged to an old sailor who had lost an eye in one of the
engagements of the Constitution, in the last war, which so enraged the
old veteran, that he caught up his bag, which contained all his earthly
store, and in a paroxysm of rage, threw it out of a port hole, to keep
his jacket company. Mr. Wallopsmiled, but said nothing; and when the
old man appeared at quarters without his jacket, the gallant lieutenant
stopped his grog for a fortnight.
But Mr. Wallop was pious; he read prayers every Sunday morning on
the drum head of the capstern, for there was no Chaplain on board, and
in the afternoon, he read a chapter or two from the Bible. His
readings, however, were never of gentleness and mercy, but always of
wrath and indignation. He would smack his lips over the destruction of
Sodom and Gomorrah, with as much apparent satisfaction as though he had
been personally aggrieved by the abominations of those wicked cities;
and a smile of delight would steal over his cadaverous features, while
he read of the terrible feat of Samuel, in hewing down the captive
Agag, in Gilgal. It is but justice, however, to say, that Mr. Wallop
never allowed himself to get into a passion; he always had the most
perfect mastery of his passions, and he would give the harshest
commands in the meekest and most lamb-like voice.
One morning, while we lay at anchor in Rio, he came out of his
state-room, just as the hammocks were piped up, in his dressing gown
and slippers, and ordered the gratings to be rigged, and told the
boatswain to send Jack Hanson tohim. It was in the gray of the morning,
and the night mists still hung about the ship. Jack Hanson came aft to
the lieutenant; he was a weather beaten old sailor, who had been petted
by all the officers in the ship, except Mr. Wallop, who never petted
any body but himself. Jack was in some sort a privileged character, and
he had been allowed to do, and to say, any thing he pleased; but he
had, unfortunately, the night before, drank a glass of whiskey, which
one of the boys had contrived to smuggle out of the ward room, to pay
for a hammock lashing, which Jack had grafted for him; and his old head
being weak, and his blood thin, the fumes of the liquor had warmed his
feelings, and he had had the audacity to sing "The Guerriere so bold,"
in a louder tone than exactly harmonized with Mr. Wallop's ear.
Hanson had not the slightest suspicion that the preparation for
flogging were intended for him; and when Mr. Wallop told him to take
off his shirt, the old man turned pale with fright.
"I hope you are not going to flog me, sir," said Hanson, his lips
trembling as he spoke.
"I am," replied Mr. Wallop, calmly.
"For what, sir?" said Hanson.
"For being drunk," replied the lieutenant.
"Heaven bless you," said Hanson, "I was no more drunk than the
sheet anchor is at this moment. I was only a little swipey."
"Silence," said Mr. Wallop. "I say you were drunk. Tie him up,
"I am an old man, sir," said Hanson, looking imploringly up into
the lieutenant's face.
"I know you are," replied Mr. Wallop, in his mild and gentle voice,
"and I would flog you, if you were my grandfather."
Hanson was too much of a sailor to bandy words with his officer, so
he took off his shirt, and the quarter master tied his ancles to the
grating, and his wrists to two eye-bolts in the gangway above his head.
The boatswain's mate, a stout, active man, with an arm so muscular, as
to be unable to strike a light blow, if he had wished to, took his
station, and leisurely disentangled the cords of his cat.
"Begin," said Mr. Wallop.
Hanson groaned as he heard the command given, and when the first
blow fell upon his bare back, he gave a terrific shriek which went to
my very heart. I had never seen a man flogged before, and I had no idea
that one human being could inflict such a punishment upon another.
Ishuddered at the thought of unwittingly incurring it myself, and,
dreadful as it appeared, the disgrace appeared to me greater than the
The master at arms, a gray headed old sailor, counted the strokes,
as they fell upon poor Hanson's back, with a tremulous voice, and when
he had counted twenty-four, Mr. Wallop motioned the boatswain's mate to
stop, and wrapping his gown about his lank person, he retired to his
state-room, probably to engage in his morning's devotions.
Hanson was cut down, and he went below to his berth; his back was
purple with gore. He wanted for neither torts of grog, nor sympathising
friends, but the old tar's spirit was broken, and he never again could
be prevailed upon to sing his favorite song of
"The Guerriere so bold,
On the foaming ocean rolled."
It was not my intention when I commenced writing my adventures, to
make an omnibus of them; but I find that when a man makes up his mind
to go down to posterity, he must of necessity drag others along with
him, whether their company be agreeable or not. Mr. Wallop is one of
those that I am thus compelled to take with me, but to,render his
company as little obnoxious as possible, I have, as it were, given him
an outside seat, all alone by himself.
CHAPTER XXIV. Continues and ends on
Shipboard. A narrow Escape from a flogging, and from Death.
The next day after I came on board, I was put into a mess, and when
dinner was piped, for they do nothing on board a man of war without
first being piped, I took my seat with my messmates, around a huge
plumb pudding, and a kid of boiled beef.
I don't know how it happens, but it is always so arranged on board
a man of war, that there is a bully, a buffoon, and a butt, in each
mess. I am not certain that such is not the case every where; even in
bodies of collected wisdom, I have heard of things very much like
bullying, and buffoonery, and perhaps there always will be butts in all
societies, as long as there are inequalities of intellects.
Now, in the mess which I had joined, it chanced that the butt had
lately set up for a buffoon, and they immediately pitched upon me to
fill the vacancy which he had left.
"I say, chummy," said Tom Sweeny, the captain of the after guard,
"aint your name Newcome?"
"No," I replied.
"But it's Johnny Comelately, aint it, you?" said a young mizen
"No," I replied again, doggedly.
"Well, it's Johnny Raw, I know," said a foretopman, who was the
I gave the bully an indignant look, but made him no reply.
"Well, I'll tell you what it is, sloop mate," said Mr. Sweeny,
winking to his messmates, "it's my 'pinion the doctor won't pass you no
"Why won't he?" I said.
"Because you have got strong symptoms of the fantods; your skin is
so tight you can't shut your eyes without opening your mouth."
At this bright sally, all the mess laughed very heartily, the
captain of the after guard, as a matter of course, laughing louder than
The late butt, who had been absent, now joined the mess, and
perceiving the laudable work in which his messmates were engaged, took
his part, by saying that the boatswain had sent him to tell me to go
down to the purser's steward, and get a piece of cheese to make a fid
for the foretopgallant mast.
"And when you come along," added an ugly old brute, who acted as
cook of the mess, "please to give my complements to the capting, and
tellhim as Mister Swazey would be werry much obliged to him for the
loan of one of his eperlets, as I wants to go ashore this arternoon, to
see my sweet heart, the Countess of Santos."
"What did you come to sea for any how?" asked the foretopman.
"I know," replied Mr. Sweeny, "it was to wear out his old clothes."
"No it warn't," said the cook, "he is a gentleman's son, and he
comed to sea cos as they wanted him to marry a gal which he didn't
like, so he run'd away."
"I will tell you what I didn't come to sea for," I said, jumping
up, "I didn't come to be made fun of by a dirty rascal like you."
"O, ah! didn't you mister?" replied the cook.
"No," I said, throwing down my knife, "and neither you nor any
other man shall make fun of me." So saying, I leaped on to the
messcloth, and gave him a blow in the eye, which sent him reeling
against the bulwarks.
"Hallo, there," cried the officer of the deck, "what's all that?"
"Nothing, sir," answered the captain of the after guard, "only this
here Mister Comelately wants to take charge of the ship."
"Very well, sir," replied the officer, "let mehear no more of this,
or I will make every mother's son of you drink six water grog for a
Whether it was owing to the threat of the officer, or to the attack
I made upon the cook, I cannot say, but neither the bully, nor the
buffoon, nor the captain of the after guard, ever again attempted to
crack any jokes at my expense.
About a month after this, part of the starboard watch, to which I
belonged, was sent on to Hospital Island in charge of a midshipman and
the boatswain, to overhaul some rigging, preparatory to our departure
for home. Hospital Island is one of the pretty little spots of living
green which dot the upper part of the harbor of Rio; there is on it a
pile of grotesque old buildings, which were once occupied as a convent,
but they are now, or were, rented by the United States, for a store
house for the government ships on the Brazilian stations.
Mr. Ruffally was the officer whom the first lieutenant sent in
charge of the gang, with the launch, and he had strict orders, neither
to allow a boat to approach the island, nor one to leave it, lest grog,
in some shape, should be smuggled on board the ship; for Mr. Wallop
believed that the Evil One entered mankind through their gullets, in
the shape of strong drink, and he was determinedthat no evil spirits,
nor any other spirits, should enter his ship's company, at least in
that manner. But Mr. Ruffally liked a horn himself, and what was more,
he had no objection in the world to others taking a horn, and he was
the very last man in the steerage that Mr. Wallop should have sent in
charge of the starboard watch to keep them sober. But the first
lieutenant had never known Mr. Ruffally to go ashore with the other
midshipmen, and he thought him one of the discreetest young gentlemen
in the ship.
The reason why Mr. Ruffally did not go ashore was this: he was
once, before Mr. Wallop joined the ship, appointed caterer of his mess,
and the very first time he went ashore to purchase provisions, he
gambled away all the mess money, pawned his side arms, lost his gold
laced cap, and came off to the ship with an old straw hat on his head,
and his face most wofully scratched. The consequences were, the mess
had to eat pork and beans for the next three months, and he was not
allowed to go ashore until he had furnished himself with side arms, and
so forth, and the state of his finances had not yet enabled him to do
We had not been on the island long, when a little skiff was seen
approaching the shore from Pragy Grand. Mr. Ruffally discovered the
corpulent form of Portuguese Joe seated in the stern, and guessing the
errand on which the crafty smuggler was bound, he contrived to busy
himself in the chapel of the convent in overhauling some old rubbish.
The little skiff touched the beach, and landed, in the twinkling of
an eye, some dozens of bladders well filled with Aquadente, and
Portuguese Joe being well paid for his trouble, shoved off, and
continued on his way towards the opposite side of the harbor. Mr.
Ruffally made his appearance, and exchanged a knowing wink with the
boatswain, and very soon contrived to have a whole bladder of Aquadente
to himself, to which he paid his respects so freely, that he soon was
under the necessity of laying down on the grass, observing, as he
stretched himself out, that the climate was so enervating he should be
under the necessity of leaving the ship if she was not ordered home
immediately. It was not long before he was snoring, as Bill Littlepenny
said, like seven bells half struck.
All work now ceased, or rather we all went to work in good earnest,
under the directions of the boatswain, winding spun yarn round the
bladdersof liquor, so that they could be smuggled on board the ship,
where they would be under the charge of that worthy gentleman, who
would then be enabled to indulge in deep potations of the most
abominable distillation that ever scalded the throat, or eat up the
liver of a man, whenever he had an inclination. We had hardly got
through with the job of enclosing the bladders of liquor in a covering
of spun yarn, when the signal was set for the launch to return to the
ship. Mr. Ruffally was too far gone either to move or speak, so we
lifted him into the boat, and laid him in the stern sheets, and shoved
off for the ship.
Mr. Bunker, the boatswain, was very happy; his eyes sparkled, and
his tongue, though apparently too big for his mouth, was not idle a
moment; he cursed, and laughed, and cried by turns, and in quick
succession; he told stories about killing whales, and talked about the
Essex Junior and Commodore Porter; and he bet his silver call, chain
and all, against a head of tobacco, with Bill Littlepenny, a
foretopman, that he could out jump him, out lift him, out drink him,
and out sing him. Such familiarities from the boatswain, gave the
boat's crew immense satisfaction, and we came along side the ship
inhigh glee. Myself and a marine were the only sober men in the launch;
but the others, drunk though they were, had sense enough left not to
make any noisy demonstrations of their happy condition, as we came
within hail of the ship.
The captain was walking the poop, and seeing Mr. Ruffally lying in
the stern sheets of the boat, he called out to the boatswain, to know
what ailed him.
"I cant say, sir, exactly," said Mr. Bunker, very prudently keeping
his seat, "but I believe he is in a fit."
"A fit!" exclaimed the captain.
"Yes, sir," replied the boatswain, "appleplexy, or something of
"How long since he was taken?" asked the doctor, who now appeared
at the gangway.
"About two hours since, sir," replied the boatswain.
"In the name of heaven!" exclaimed the captain, "why did you not
bring him on board before, or send to the ship for assistance."
"I had no orders, sir," replied the boatswain, gravely, but at the
same time giving a comical twist of his mouth, which set the whole
boat's crew in a broad grin.
"What stupidity!" exclaimed the captain."Bear a hand there, Mr.
Gravel," he said, addressing the officer of the deck, "and get a whip
on the main yard, and hoist Mr. Ruffally on board, in a chair."
The doctor ran below for his phlebotomising instruments, to be in
readiness to bleed the unfortunate midshipman to death, in case he
should not be dead already; and the whole ship was in commotion. The
whip was overhauled, and Mr. Ruffally put into a large arm chair, out
of the captain's own cabin, and carefully hoisted on board, in an
incredibly short space of time. His case was immediately reported to
the first lieutenant, who reported it to the captain, who ordered the
drunken young gentleman to be put under arrest. Mr. Bunker was sent
below to his state-room, with a marine, with a rusty cutlass in his
hand, to stand guard over him. Mr. Wallop looked paler than ever, and
he was seized with a fit of coughing, which he had no sooner recovered
from, than he ordered all the gang who were on the island, o come aft
and toe a seam in the deck. But this was a performance which none of
them were equal to, except the sober marine and myself; so they were
all put in irons, and soon became very noisy.
Mr. Wallop asked me how the men got their liquor, and whether they
had smuggled any on board. But I remembered the kindness which Mr.
Ruffally had shown me, when I leaped into the boat, and I was resolved
not to betray him, let the consequences be what they might. So I
replied to Mr. Wallop, that I knew nothing at all about the matter; as
I was not placed in charge of the men, I had not troubled myself to
watch their actions.
"You lie, sir," said the lieutenant, with a little more passion
than he usually showed, "you do know all about the matter, and I will
flog it out of you, if you do not tell me."
This threat was placing me in an antagonist position, and instead
of terrifying me, it only inspired me with fresh courage to hold out in
my determination. As I had conceived a most thorough contempt for Mr.
Wallop, I could not resist the inclination to tell him, if he attempted
to flog any thing out of me, he would find it would flog it into me.
"Order the gratings to be got up instantly, sir," said the captain,
who overheard me; "and if he does not tell you, sir, give him two
The order was obeyed with great alacrity. The gratings were placed
in the gang-way, and the boatswain's mate summoned.
"Now, you scoundrel," said Mr. Wallop, "answer my question
instantly, or I will flog the life out of you."
The sight of the preparations for flogging were, indeed,
terrifying, and a glance at the sturdy boatswain's-mate, with his arm
bared, and the cat with its thongs still red with Jack Hanson's blood,
in his hand, made me quail; but I was resolved to die, sooner than I
would yield to the tyrannical command of the lieutenant. I made no
reply to his threat, except by a shake of the head.
"Strip off your shirt, you wretch," he said, trying to suppress a
cough, "and, boatswain's mate, pipe all hands to witness punishment."
The order was obeyed. The men came crowding aft to the gangway; the
marines were turned out under arms; the old gray-headed master at arms
took his staion; the boatswain's mate stood ready, and the quarter
masters, with their nettles in their hands, were prepared to seize me
up. I took off my shirt, and stepped with my bare feet upon the
gratings; they put the cords about my ankles, and around my wrists;
they were in the act of making them fast, when I made a sudden spring
on to a gun, and then on top of the hammock nettings, and from thence
into the main rigging. It was a sudden impulse, for the possibility of
escapehad never occurred to me, and, indeed, if the act had been
premeditated, I could not have accomplished it. Luckily, there was no
one aloft, and I reached the top before the first lieutenant recovered
from the astonishment into which my sudden leap threw him.
"Come down, sir," called out the captain, who stood with his sword
in his hand on the poop.
But I made no reply to his command, and sprung into the topmast
"Jump aloft there, captain of the main top," said Mr. Wallop, "and
bring the rascal down, or throw him out of the top."
But the captain of the top did not jump quite as fast as I did, and
before he showed his head through the lubber's hole, I had reached the
topmast cross-trees, where I stood with my arms folded, and gazed about
quite at my leisure. Two other men were sent up to catch me, and as
they moved rather faster than the captain of the top, I climbed up the
topgallant rigging, and then up the royalmast shrouds, and clinging
around the foot of the skysail mast, with my feet resting upon the stay
for support, for a moment I almost forgot my perilous situation. The
higher I mounted, the lighter my spirits grew, and the less fear I
felt. So grand and glorious a view as met my eye, while I gazedaround,
might have beguiled a man's thoughts even upon the gallows. But I was
not allowed to enjoy the prospect long. The captain of the top reached
the topgallant mast head, and told me if I did not come down, he would
certainly haul me down; but I told him if he came within the reach of
my feet, I would give him a kick, which should send him headlong to the
deck, as sure as his name was Dick Smith. But the captain was bellowing
through his speaking trumpet, commanding him to shake me off the mast,
and Dick knew no better than to obey the command of his superior, even
at the risk of his own life, and he began to climb up towards me. My
first impulse was to carry my threat into execution, which I could have
easily done; but a better thought suggested itself to me, and I slipped
down on the opposite side of the royal shrouds, and laying hold of the
topgallant lift, slid down and perched myself on the end of the yard,
where, with my arms crossed, I looked down upon deck, with a feeling of
exultation. My pursuer was about to follow me, when I drew my knife,
and assured him, with an earnestness which frightened him, that if he
made the attempt I would cut the lift, and both of us should go
The captain threatened to shoot me, if I did notcome down, but I
preferred being shot to being flogged, so I shook my head, and folded
my arms again, and turned my face towards the sun, which was just going
down behind the long range of grotesque and lofty mountains, which
bound the western horizon, giving their peaks of deepest blue a tinge
of gold and crimson. The Sugar Loaf, and Gloria Hill, and Cocovado,
began to look black and sombre, as the sun withdrew his rays. The time
for sending down the topgallant yards, on one of which I was perched,
had arrived; the sun had set, but the colors were not hauled down, and
the sunset gun had not been fired.
I could see all the movements that were going on upon deck, the
captain and first lieutenant were pacing the poop deck in a rage, while
the other officers were collected together in little knots, and all the
men were gazing up at me, apparently with intense solicitude. Presently
I saw Mr. Wallop speaking to the marine who had returned from the
island with me in the launch; and from what followed I supposed that he
too had refused to tell how the liquor was procured; for he was seized
up at the gangway, and directly his piercing cries rang through the
air, as the boatswain's mate laid the cat upon his bare back. I writhed
and shuddred every time the boatswain'smate raised his arm. They gave
the poor marine thirty-six lashes, and then they cut him down; he
behaved manfully, and refused to divulge a word.
The captain seized his speaking trumpet again, and called out to me
to come down, swearing a horrible oath, that he would shoot me if I did
not. I only shook my head, and clung more closely to the lift. He
called for the sergeant of marines, who, I remembered having heard, was
an expert marksman with the rifle. The sergeant went upon the poop with
his rifle in his hand, and the captain ordered him to take aim at me,
and fire; but he hesitated, upon which the captain drew his sword, and
commanded him again to fire at me, swearing that he would run him
through if he missed me.
I cannot say that I felt any fear; death was a thousand times
preferable to the disgrace of a flogging, besides, I felt myself
innocent of any offence. And there, too, were the upturned faces of the
whole crew, gazing at me with their hearts in their eyes, and I knew
that I had the sympathy of every man on board, with the exception of
the captain and Mr. Wallop, and even they, I knew, could not condemn me
in their hearts.
I saw the sergeant bring his rifle to an aim, I averted my head;
there was a death-like stillnesson deck; the next moment I heard the
click of the trigger, and quicker than the ball which sped from the
rifle came the thoughts of my mother and sister, the gentle Georgiana,
and the prophecy of my haughty cousin; now was its fulfilment, and all
my exertions had come to nought. O that these thoughts had come but a
moment before; with them in my mind, the gangway would have been
divested of its terrors, the anguish of a life was crowded into the
smallest conceivable space of time. I made an effort to raise my arm,
but it was too late; the ball whizzed through the air, and struck the
lift just beyond the reach of my arm. It did not cut it in two, only
two strands of the rope were severed. There was a hope! How my eyes
gazed upon that slender thread upon which my earthly existence was
hanging, and with what a shock the blood rushed back into my head as I
saw it snap asunder.
In my fall from that fearful height I glanced against the main
yard, which gave a slight turn to my body, just sufficient to carry me
clear of the main chains into the water. The rush of the air as I fell,
the many-voiced shriek of the crew, and the roar of the water as I sank
beneath its surface, all sound in my ears even now while I write; and
often since have I started from a deep sleep,with the same confusion of
noises ringing in my brain.
I had scarcely touched the water before a dozen men had leaped
overboard to rescue me, and, strange as it may seem, the captain was
among the number; they caught me as I rose to the surface, and lifted
me into one of the cutters, from which I was hoisted on board by the
same whip which was got up for Mr. Ruffally, the cause of all the
tumult. I was scarcely for a minute insensible to all that was going
on, but I did not choose to show any signs of life till I had been well
rubbed, and had a glass of brandy poured down my throat, when I opened
my eyes, and made a motion with my hand, just in time to save myself
from being bled by the doctor, who stood by me with his lancet in his
hand. I was then taken below, and put into a cot, where I lay
comfortable enough for the next three weeks, receiving visits every day
from the doctor, and congratulations and kind words from all my
shipmates, particularly from the boatswain and the men who were on the
island with me; all of whom had been set at liberty, without being
punished, and even Mr. Ruffally, the drunken swab of a young gentleman,
was liberated from his confinement.
CHAPTER XXV. Leave Rio, and arrive
at New York: a wide interval, but a short chapter.
During the time that I was confined to my cot, our ship was
relieved by the arrival of the Corvette Union; but a revolution having
broken out in Rio, the American merchants residing there, and the
English admiral on the station, sent to our captain, requesting him to
delay his departure for a few days, until the result of the outbreak
should be known; but he had promised his crew that he would weigh
anchor for home the day after his relief should arrive; and before he
returned an answer to these requests, he called the crew aft, and told
them he felt it his duty to remain, but that he could not do so without
they would release him from his promise; they, however, were too
anxious to get home to do so, and they insisted on his fulfilling it,
which he did.
Mr. Wallop's cough had grown so bad he considered it prudent to
remain on the station, and when he left the ship, the crew could hardly
be restrained from giving three cheers. The thirdday after the ship
left Rio, I came upon deck, and continued to perform my duty the
remainder of the time I was on board, without experiencing any
inconvenience from the effects of my fall. The officer who succeeded
Mr. Wallop as first lieutenant, was Mr. Futtuck, a good sailor and a
strict disciplinarian; under his command the duty of the ship was well
performed; the crew were cheerful and obedient, and the cat was
dispensed with. The brutalizing exhibition of one man flogging another
was never again repeated. Mr. Futtuck was not one of those imbeciles,
who are forced to seek the aid of a boatswain's mate to compel respect
from their inferiors in station.
We were favored with bright skies and full sails on our homeward
passage, and on the forty-seventh morning after leaving Rio, we came in
sight of the Highlands of Neversink, with their woody sides and white
beach, standing like an old friend, to greet me on my return, with an
The wind being favorable, we sailed directly up to the Navy Yard,
and the next day the crew were paid off. As I was only rated an
ordinary seaman, it will readily be supposed that the amount of my
wages was but small, which wastrue enough, and yet I was paid off with
more than double the amount that any of the crew had to receive.
Mr. Futtuck, the first lieutenant, called the petty officers
together the morning on which we were paid off, and told them if they
did not get up a subscription for me, as a compliment for my generosity
in refusing to inform on them, even at the risk of my life, they were
no men, and not deserving the name of sailors; and he promised them if
they did not, he would work the souls out of them, if he ever caught
either of them on board of a ship again.
They all acknowledged it to be a good and seamanlike proposition,
and showed their convictions of its propriety, by ripping out some of
the roundest oaths that were ever uttered. A paper was accordingly
drawn up, requesting the purser to stop out of each man's pay the sum
which should be subscribed against his name, and to pay the same over
Mr. Ruffally headed the list, by putting down his name for fifty
dollars; but it was not paid, as he had already overdrawn his account;
but he told me not to think the less of his generosity, as he intended,
when he went back to North Carolina, to make me a present of a rice
plantationand a hnndred negroes. The boatswain, determined not to be
outdone by a reefer, put down his name for fifty dollars, which was
paid. When the list was handed in to the purser, it amounted to
something more than a thousand dollars.
As I was the last man that joined the ship, I was the last paid
off; and when the purser reached me a check, I was startled at the
amount, and told him he had made a mistake; for I knew nothing about
the subscription, it having been kept a secret from me on purpose. When
the purser explained to me, and told me the money all belonged to me, I
could not help bursting into tears. I told him my conscience would not
allow me to keep the money, as I had done nothing to entitle me to it.
"Don't be a simpleton," said the purser, "you must take it, for the
men are now all ashore, and most of them drunk before this time. So
take the check, and make a good use of the money. I am only sorry it is
not twice as much."
So I put the check into my pocket, and having packed up my few
clothes in a canvass bag, I was about leaving the ship, when Mr.
Futtuck called me to him on the quarter deck.
"Now, Franco," said Mr. Futtuck, "how much money have they given
I showed him the check which the purser had given me.
"Now that is something like," he exclaimed; "I am glad of it; you
deserve it all, and more too. If it were not for my poor old aunt, who
is on my hands just now, God bless her! I would add something handsome
to it, I'm d—d if I wouldn't. However, it's a pretty good sum; more
than I ever expect to be worth, unless the 'bill' should pass both
houses, and I know it wont. But, my fine fellow, don't go among the
girls with a copper in your pocket; they are the very devil for getting
money away from sailors, as I know to my cost. And take my advice, and
don't go to sea again; it's a dog's life. And yet it is a pity that you
should not, for I don't know exactly what a smart youngster like you
could do ashore; perhaps you might get the cashiership of a bank, or
something of that sort. However, keep a stiff upper lip, and if the
bill for creating admirals should pass through Congress, I will use my
influence with the Secretary to get you a midshipman's warrant. I will,
upon my soul; but the service is going to kingdom come, as it is. Bless
my soul, it eats into my happiness, likesalt water on a gilt button, to
think that a set of broad-shouldered, strong-fisted, stout-hearted,
clear-headed, and free-thoughted, fine fellows, should be at the mercy
of a third rate lawyer or a second rate hack novelist—fellows that
don't know a cat-head from a cat-harping."
Knowing it was a peculiarity of Mr. Futtuck's to talk as long as
any one would listen to him, I thought there would be no more
incivility in cutting him short at one time than another. So I thanked
him for his kind promises and good advice, which I promised faithfully
to observe, and bade him good bye.
I took my bag under my arm, jumped into the boat along side, and
pulled myself ashore.
All my shipmates had left the ship some time before me, and she
looked dreary enough. The only signs of life about her were two or
three midshipmen standing on the poop, looking very anxiously upon the
green fields of the Wallabout. Her colors were hauled down, her masts
housed, her rigging was hanging about in disorder, and her top gallant
yards, the scene of my triumph, lay upon deck. I gave her a parting
glance, and calling to mind the gang-way and gratings, andthe cat
o'nine tails, I turned my back upon her, and quickened my pace.
My first object was to find a boarding house, and to divest myself
of my short jacket and nankin collared shirt.
END OF VOL. I.