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“Arria, the wife of Cæcina Poëtus, a man of consular dignity, who died in the forty-second year of the Christian era. Her husband and son were both at the same time dangerously ill. The son died, but the mother concealed the distressing event from the sick father ; and whenever she appeared in his preseuce, assumed a cheerful countenance, and answered bis inquiries res pecting the deceased with so much courage and serenity, that she even prevented the suspicion of his death. When ber husband was confined at Rome by the command of Claudius, she insisted upon attending bim; and when the order came for hiin to destroy himself, observing his hesitation, she plunged a dagger in her breast; then presenting it, covered with blood, to her husband, exclaimed, in words celebrated by the ancients: ‘Poetus, it is not painful!'
At last the royal mandate came,
His hours were numbered now;
The blanching of his brow.
Read in a Roman's eye?
I live, or dare to die.'
Was this but lofty language breathed
With shrinking woman's art?
The sword deep in her heart !
Warm with her life-blood's stain,
* Beloved ! this is not pain !'* Elizabeth-boun, (N. J.,) 1836.
B. 11. L.
Gentle READER — did you ever take a pleasure-ride of a fortnight or three weeks in a sail-boat ? If not, step on board with me, and I will show you, in my usual gossiping way, how to enjoy yourself, if you are willing to forego beds of down, and are content to rough it for a while in the open air. It is right good sport to take a sail-boat, such as I had, with a half-deck at the bow, under which two might creep, to sleep or get out of the rain, while the other steered for I always liked to have a man for each pair of oars, and one for the tiller, in case of necessity. But we depended most on
our sails. The boat was about five tons burthen, and rigged sloop fashion, with a topsail complete, and colors flying. She was just the thing,' exactly. Nor must I forget to mention an old half or rather quarterbarrel, with sand and bricks in it to prevent it from burning – for be it known that this was our stove, on which to boil a kettle, and broil a squirrel, duck, or piece of bacon and how delicious are these viands on the water, whil you are living all the time in the open air ! better than the best cookery of famed Astor's. Then, there are the sweet potatoes roasted, and not villanously boiled : it takes a man who has been on such a trip, to tell you what good living is. Wine only moderately good, becomes nectar; and the wild oranges
which you may pluck on any point of the river we are descending are about to sail down the St. John's, to coast it a while, and then run up the St. Mary's into Georgia. It is a new voyage to us - and what more can any man want, than novelty and excitement ? The risks of travelling in an open boat — of being overset or swamped in a gale — is enough of itself to make a man grow fat, with good cheer; but when all is novelty, it is well nigh happiness complete. That 'well nigh' means, that “Jadyes fayre' are wanting in our premises. Let us go on, however ; we may find some before we are through.
* A very beautiful picture of this scene is in the possession of a gentleman of Trenton.
The wild sour orange -- (for there are two kinds of wild orange, the sweet and sour) - makes 'orangeade,' with good sugar, and by my faith, although it is not a very elegant drink, I have taken it with genuine yankee molasses, and contrived to live through it. But the syrup of the sugar-cane
is the thing.' This alone, with sour oranges, will enable a man to snap his fingers at bilious fevers and malaria, and will cure a sick man, too, sooner than all the nostrums of the apothecary shop. I am really serious. Give me my choice, and I would take these and good bacon, before all the doctor's stuff in the world — for I have seen them tried. But, with a provision-box well stored, let us go ahead.' The wind is fair, and the river black with a stiff breeze; and with our tiny topsail up, off we speed, with a salute from a rifle fowling-piece, and a pair of horse-pistols – all our stock of arms. Bear away, now, and coil all the tackle snug for squalls, and let us see who has more enjoyment in the world than we have. I guess nobody. The country is all wild no houses to be seen
- and only by close looking, can be discovered an Indian's wigwam ; for we are starting from our camp more than a hundred miles up the river, and are beginning to sail down.
But what is that in the water, looking like a snake, bearing along yonder ? It is a summer-duck, which swims with its body all under water, leaving only its head and slim, long neck out; it is called a snake-bird. Hand me the shot-gun for him, for- if the truth must be told - I am only a second-rate rifleman, and cannot be sure of such a small mark, while the boat is dancing, and the duck is slipping along at so rapid a rate. If I were still, and he were at rest, I might tell another story- for I have seen the heads of smaller birds slipped off before they knew what hurt them, but not often, when the bird and boat are both moving. Bang! then goes the shot-gun. Ten to one he is not hurt, even with this. You must catch him in a tree on the bank, if you wish to do any thing; there a rifle ball will pin him behind the knuckles of bis wings, without much doubt, from the shore or from the boat. I believe they sink if you hit them in the water, for all their feathers are wet as a scalded chicken's, and they cannot fly far before they perch in a tree and dry them. I do not remember to have picked up a single one after shooting at only his neck and head, although it may have been the case, since I shot and ate several on this excursion. I should not forget the squirrels on the banks : if you want one or two for supper with your bacon, it is best to go on shore and hunt a little ; you will soon find them. There is no time now; though the wind is fair, and roars under our bows : merrily sail we on,' and now is the time to look at the St. John's.
This river is much larger than most people have any idea of. In some places you cannot, when in the centre, distinguish with the naked eye a horse from a cow on either shore ; it contracts, however, in other places. We have little tempests in tea-pots here, for in Florida the wind blows at a small rate, sometimes, while the rain pours down, and the thunder snaps and cracks, and 'fires away, as If Beelzebub and all his tribe had broken loose, and Milton's veritable battle were being fought over again. It was during the rainy season, or more properly the thunder-and-lightning-season, that I started on my land-locked voyage of discovery. We had rain enough ; about five showers a day, on an average, came over us : and
look in any direction we might choose, we could see showers. Sometimes it would rain as hard as it could pour within two hundred yards of us, and yet not a drop touch us. These showers afford some relief for a time from the heat which comes down in regular streams, like blasts of caloric from a house-furnace; and even at night I have felt almost scorching currents of air out on the wide river. But by keeping in the shade of the sail, and having a good breeze almost always, I never suffered much from the heat. In truth, strange as it may appear, I have actually suffered more from heat at the north than south, and more from cold at the south than north. It is the sudden change, more than the degree of heat or cold, which we feel. But forget not, reader, that we are going ahead' all this time : the yellow-white bubbles are floating astern, and the green headlands and old fields once tilled by Spaniards, who are dead or far away, but which have not regained fertility by their long fallow are reached once in a long while; sometimes we go on shore to look if there be any old tame orange-trees, or fig or peach-trees, or any other fruits, that may happen to be in season but they are scarce enough on the upper part of the river.
But what is that we see over the wide reach ahead ? As I live, it is a square-rigged vessel! Don't you know what that is ?' says my man for as yet I had only one man on board, and was trusting to good fortune to ship another hand before two days' sail. 'Don't you know, Sir,' said he, what that is ?' •No. how should I ? — I have never seen it before. I suppose she is just in, and after live oak.' He laughed and replied, “ That is the Flying Dutchman. Did you never hear of him before ? 'Oh yes,' said I, ' but I did pot know he was an old settler of Florida. May be he makes the St. John's his harbor ?' “You will find, Sir, before long, it is no joke. He will fly away before you know what you are about.' Very good — I'll watch him, and be bound for it, find out the mystery, how a squarerigged vessel, lying at anchor, can escape my ken.
I'll board him within two hours, and hear news from home : so brace out the jib, and give a little more sheet; then make us some good 'orangeade' to treat our friends, and load all the guns to salute them in style. The negro grinned, and went to work, saying, 'Guess you won't get many letters from the Flying Dutchman.'
Thus we drave along, he hard at work doing nothing, and I steering. The reach between where we were and the spectre-ship was fourteen or fifteen miles over, and there was plenty of time to tell a short story of a man living on the bank of the river just above. There was not much about him, only he could not read the nature of his little children, and was harsh and cruel. My feelings were never 80 lacerated as by his treatment of a little boy about four years of age. He was delicate, and possessed most acute feelings of affection; but they were never met by either of his parents; and when he was harshly reprimanded, he would fall into fits. His father kept a long ox-gad to whip him with, and his body was scarred all over; and when he crawled upon the bed to lay down his feeble limbs, the great gad was taken down, and he was jerked off, and then, from wounded feelings and terror, he rolled, choking and convulsed, upon the ground. This was called giving himself the strangest airs, for
which, to serve him right,' he should be skinned.' But this is a melancholy story. We will have a better.
One day, sitting with a young man in our camp, near the Devil's Elbow, we heard a most furious dashing of oars, and presently a boat was seen, full of live-oak cutters, and others, heading for us, with might and main. I was led to conclude something very important had happened, and that either the assistance of the young man with me, or my own, was wanting in some emergent case. This, indeed, was the fact. A dispute had happened between two of the cutters: one had sold another a pair of inexpressibles, for which he refused payment, as they had been worn out without doing, as the defendant said, fair service. This, however, was a mere excuse.
He did not wish to do justice, and he thought he could impose on the silly fellow who had sold him the garment. But the others took up
the quarrel, and said the rogue should be tried, according to law, and forced to pay. They had heard that the young man in my employ had a commission of justice of the peace, which was but partly true, as he had not been sworn in. All the laws of the territory had been sent to him; but he was too modest to accept the dignity. However, the excuse would not answer. Tried the culprit must be, and they turned to me to make them out a warrant. The spokesman - a half horse and half alligator fellow, with a knot on his shoulder as large as your fist from poling flat-boats up the St. Lawrence, and a slight limp from a shot, got by running past a Spanish guard in Mexico or Peru, when they hailed and bade him stop -- vowed that, regular or irregular, if I would only make out a paper, he would fetch him, or fetch a piece of him.'' Here,' said I to myself, 'is a chance for sport. Let us have a regular trial, and do such justice as shall shame all the lawyers in the world.'
I therefore sat down and wrote a rigmarole, with long words and odd Latin terms, as bad as you will find in the most mystified books of that parasitical profession, which has come down from the times of Woden and Thor, with very few improvements. I mean, I made out a right good law paper; and when I read it to them, they wondered at my learning, for they could not understand a word of it at all; it was, therefore, as awful as the big wigs and wide gowns, which hide the cracked skulls and misshapen bodies of the men who are appealed to for their precedents in all our courts. I told him to read that to him, and tell him to come, trusting to overcome the scru. ples of our modest young justice of the peace, by the time he could return. He went off, rolling an enormous quid of tobacco in his mouth, with his fists clenched, not because he loved justice so much as an excuse to exercise his physical powers in case of resistance; for he was a right down bad fellow, who swore on another occasion that he would even kill me, if ever he should see me alone near his camp; and no doubt he would have done so, had he dared to try it; but I easily put him down with a black scowl, for I felt my mental power over him. But he was an excellent bull-dog, and would have made a most capital leader of boarders for a pirate-captain. He recognised no law but force, and in this he excelled. He had not been gone more than an hour, before he returned with the culprit — a tall, half-bent fellow, of little less than six feet, when he straightened up.