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From hill and river, and the saddened streams
When raves the wintry blast without his dwelling,
H. W. ROCKWELL.
A PASSAGE OF LIFE.
• Eheu! fugacer Posthume, Posthume,
Alas, my Posthumus! The flying years, as they glide past us to the dark caverns of remote Time, that thief of ages, laden with the treasures that made our youth joyous or brilliant, and leaving us standing here, Heaven save the mark ! little better than bald men ; these rogues of years have filched from me nothing that I more truly regret, than a certain alacrity of perception and of memory, that used at pleasure to cast light like a sunbeam over the events of life, and place at once in bold relief, all that I bad enjoyed, or suffered, or observed, so that it is now by incidental association only, that images once so vivid, and passages of life that belonged to the very core of existence, are made to sketch themselves in faint and colorless outline over the dim retina of past recollection; or come slowly over
"When the same sound is in mine ears
That in those days I heard.' Passing the other day in front of that tall and goodly structure at the lower part of Pearl-street, denominated the Pearl-street House, I recollected that many years ago there stood upon the same site, a venerable fabric, with roofed and projecting windows and outside shutters, that was occupied as a large French boarding-house; well known
for the excellency of the cookery that obtained there, and with all the countervailing discomforts that characterized the Pension Française of that period. I could not help pausing for a few moments, to call up the shade of the old house, and the recollection of some scenes that had taken place within it, once deeply interesting, but now almost forever lost to me. I remembered the old-fashioned door, originally of a chocolate color, with its paint half-scaled off, horizontally divided into two parts; the lower bolted within reach, and the upper part, with an old massive iron-knocker appended to it, swinging in and fro in all weathers; the uncarpeted and comfortless hall; the large staircase that for years had never scraped acquaintance with a broom, clayed and gravelled over like the street, by the frequent passers up and down; the harsh and grating sound of the footstep upon it; and the entire absence of any piece of furniture on which the eye might rest, until, in answer to my tap upon a door in the third story, a deep sonorous voice used to cry, 'Entrez !'
My visits were paid to a French gentleman of about forty years of age; a grandly-developed specimen of the race of man, alike in body and soul, who rises up before me at this moment as he used to do when I entered his apartment, laying aside some crayon-sketches of fortifications, with which I usually found him at work, and receiving me courteously, but with a grave and dignified presence. He was a refugee from the Island of Cuba, forced to leave it precipitately with others of bis countrymen, to escape the deadly hostility induced throughout that Island by the conduct of Bonaparte toward Spain ; and having hastily converted his property, at great sacrifice, into merchandise and money, had lodged it upon his arrival here in the hands of the merchant on whose behalf I appeared, and whose affairs had suddenly fallen into great embarrassment. Another of his country. men, similarly situated, had adopted the same course : they had escaped together; and the object of several of these visits was to arrange the division between them of a large sum of money, amounting to about one third of the aggregate of their joint debts, which it was resolved should be appropriated in this manner for their benefit: but I encountered the most unexpected opposition to this measure. “No,' said this noble-hearted gentleman, 'this will not do. Both my
friend and myself are longing for France. If
you pay us each one third only of his money, you bring us no nearer home. We shall stay here till we have spent it, and both will yet remain in exile. D is older than I am ; you have money enough to pay him; pay him all his debt, principal and interest, and I will wait for mine.'
• But,' said I, it will be long, very long, before such another sum will be collected from the estate.'
* That makes the reason stronger,' said he, 'that it should be paid entirely to D
'It may never be collected again,' said I.
'I cannot think,' he replied, 'that such will prove to be the case; but if so, it is a consolation that will never fail me, to reflect that at any rate he is provided for. He is older than I am, and has less resources within himself. He dreams day and night of France : pay him.'
I did so, and Monsieur D. - sailed for Havre by the first ship.
Time passed off. It was war-time, when we kept short reckoning of the months, except with the Government for pay and rations, and year after year things grew worse and worse with the suspended estate. Many who had pressed their claims, had been paid in full, for it was thought impossible that there should be less than enough for all; and now, instead of large sums, small ones were collected with extreme difficulty. At last, that hope of reinstating name and credit, which dies in the breast of the high-souled merchant with such varied and long-enduring agony, began to fail us; and bankruptcy prepared its seal for one who would have laid down his life with transport to acquit his debts. Our: French creditor remained unpaid, and was frequently unsuccessful in his application for small sums for personal expenses. 'I have no resource but you,' said he; 'I cannot work. I must put some paving-stones in my pocket, and walk off the end of the pier, as soon as you tell me you can do no more.'
I ventured on one occasion to advert to the arrangement that he had insisted upon. “It is never to be regretted,' said he. “Poor D-! he is happy now in France! He could not have existed out of it.'
Some days after this, it was a bright summer day, I remember, that I approached the house in Pearl-street, with a bounding step, and half the money that I had in the world in my pocket, that he had promised to borrow from me, until affairs came round, when I observed a number of busy faces about the door and on the stairs. I asked what was the matter. • Ab! sir,
M !' • What of him ?'
• He died this morning! He had been indisposed for one or two days, and his room was neglected; and this morning, while he was reprimanding the servant for his inattention, he was suddenly struck with a coup de sang, and dropped like a bullet dead upon the floor. They are laying him out : he is to be buried by sunset.'
• Dead !' cried I - buried by sunset !' I was at his side in an instant. He was laid out in his last dress upon a sort of tray or trencher, that exposed his figure at full length, and his countenance wore that look of composed and hallowed elevation, with which the souls of the great and good console the hearts of those who lament them. I looked upon the faces that surrounded him; the truth came upon me, and raising my hands above his corpse, I could not help exclaiming :
Great God! is it possible that this man was a Jew!
Yes, young man,' answered a voice by my side, with a gentleness that I have often since felt I did not deserve,' he was a HEBREW.'
That promise Autumn pays that Spring began,
It was about two hundred and thirty years ago, that an expedition consisting of two ships and a hundred emigrants, left the harbor of Plymouth, in the county of Devon, in merrie England, for the purpose of founding a colony in the then new world. The expedition sailed under the patronage of Lord Chief Justice Popham and Sir Ferdinando Gorges ; with whom were associated others, nobles, knights, and gentlemen, in the great project of forming an empire beyond the seas.
The character of the government, provided for the infant state, bore little resemblance to that which, in after years, was established by the Puritans of New-England; and while the government was, in its nature, simple and aristocratic, the colonists themselves were a band of right merrie adventurers, who left their native land with no more pious motive than that of seeking fame and fortune in the western world.
On the 11th day of August, 1607, the ships arrived at the mouth of the Sagadahock (now Kennebeck) river, and landing upon a small
island, returned thanks to Almighty God for their safe arrival in the promised land, and prepared to commence their settlement.
The land upon which our adventurers disembarked now bears the name of Stage Island; but being unable to obtain fresh water from their wells, they soon afterward removed to the western bank of the river, near the extremity of a peninsula forming a part of the present township of Phipsburg. Here they recommenced their settlement and built a fort ; to which, in honor of George Popham, president of the colony council, they gave the name of Fort Saint George. Their houses and fort completed, and every thing prepared for the winter, the ships, with nearly half the emigrants, who could not be persuaded to remain, sailed on the fifth of December for England.
Knowing, as we now do, the utter failure of the enterprise, it seerns almost farcical that their colony government should have been framed upon a scale commensurate with the wants of a great state; but when the right worshipful members of the council to which its sovereignty was confided, were convened in their council-house, the lack of state in their appointments was amply recompensed by the dignity of their bearing: nor could the little colony complain for want of sufficient governing; for had the worshipful council divided their number among thein, each would have been provided with about six trusty subjects to do honor to his rule. As it was, like other legislative assemblies, they talked long and loudly of the public weal, and managed to busy themselves in enacting laws for the guidance of the colonists in their intercourse with the neighboring savages.
The site of Fort Saint George, though bold and picturesque in the extreme, presented a most dreary spectacle in the depths of winter. The neighboring coast was bounded by high rocky cliffs, rising almost vertically from the water at their bases, and covered with a leafless growth of scrubby oak; with here and there a lofty hemlock showing its dark green foliage in contrast with the wintry waste around. To the north was the unbroken forest, with its wild inhabitants; while on the south and east, the dark waters of the Kennebeck, swelling to a mighty river as they neared the ocean, kept up a continued roar, as they lashed the rocky shores with their spray.
But a short time had elapsed after the completion of the fort, when through the intervention of two natives, who had been carried to England, and were brought back by the founders of St. George, a free intercourse was established with the native tribes. They were found to be friendly, and ever disposed to live on terms of perfect amity with the whites. The Sagamores, or petty chiefs of the neighborhood, visited the fort without suspicion ; offering to guide the strangers to their choicest hunting-grounds, and gladly engaging with the colony in the traffic of furs and peitries. They represented to the president of the council that their great chief, whom they styled the Bashaba, resided to the eastward from the Kennebeck, at a place called Pemaquid, and held his sway over all the chiefs, from the Piscataqua to the Penobscot rivers.
Iu view of his great dignity, they informed him that the Bashaba expected all strangers, arriving in his dominions, to pay their court to him at Pemaquid. Dehamida, one of the restored natives, joined the chiefs in setting forth the grandeur of their mighty prince, the Bashaba,