Page images
PDF
EPUB

these shores, together with melted feldspars, slates, and other vitreous pebble-stones and boulders, indicating former volcanic action in the region.

It has formed no part of the object of these sketches to put down a regular succession of diurnal events, which, though always important to the party, might afford very little to interest the reader. Scarcely a day passed, which did not afford its share of little incidents, agreeable or disagreeable, which usually go to swell the bulk of modern narrations of travel, without however uniformly adding much to the stock of useful knowledge, or the sources of literary pleasure. Nor were there wanting scenes and subjects well worthy of the notice that has been denied them. More than once on the trip has the wish been expressed, that the author of A Winter in the West,' or 'First Impressions of Europe, had been present, to seize the living traits of the landscape, or that these far-off realities in American scenery had fallen under the Doric pen of the great DIEDERICH himself. Confident I am that the region constitutes a store of rich materials for the pen and pencil of the future tourist, and it is one which, it may be anticipated, will ere long be displayed in its most attractive colors.

NUMBER XII.

Michilimackinac. We descended the falls, or Sault of St. Mary's, in our boat, with all its fixtures standing, and came out of the foaming billows at its foot, under the enlivening influences of the Canadian boat-song, After a few days' rest at this ancient point of French settlement, (A. D., 1678,) we continued our descent of the stream to Lake Huron, having gone through the rocky and romantic pass of the Montreal Channel. We then visited the thriving Indian village of Portagunissee, and the shores of Drummond Island, so noted for their organic remains, and returned to the island of islands, Michilimackinac, after an absence not exceeding a month, improved in health, and exhilarated in spirits, by the remembrance of scenes and situations of the most pleasing description. And now, my dear Sir, I tender you my regards, and remain, with every wish for your editorial and personal prosperity, your obedient servant, HENRY R. SCHOOLCRAFT.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

سوال یہ ہے کے ر م ن وا بھی ہنس رہے

A CHAPTER ON PROPOSALS.

MR. Editor: Your correspondent, who is a man somewhat advanced in years, and capable of looking back upon the follies and errors of his youth with a calm and contemplative spirit, proposes to open the budget of his experience for the benefit of the rising generation, and to give, through your pages, an occasional lesson therefrom, to the crowds of youth and beauty who assemble monthly at your literary feasts. For himself

, age has long since blunted his sensibilities too much to endanger his becoming discomposed by a review of his youthful follies, and his incognito will effectually preserve him from any serious harm, either from the laugh or sneer which may be provoked by a plain and unvarnished recital of his early experience.

As will have been understood by the title to this essay, I propose to offer at present a few remarks upon the subject of matrimonial proposals. So much has been said, thought, written, and done, upon this subject, that the man who could actually offer any thing like a new, genuine, and efficient chart to the lorn and frightened mariner upon the uncertain sea of love, must indeed be a genius, the rail-road track of whose imagination diverges far from the ordinary dusty highway of human thoughts.

Your humble correspondent proposes no such lofty flight. For him it shall be sufficient, if he succeeds in selecting among the many awkward modes now in vogue, of asking a lady's heart, that which is least so; nothing doubting, but that by so doing he will confer a lasting favor upon the many individuals who are doomed to tread the dark and shadowy path toward that fairy land from whose bourne (take the word of a happy husband of thirty years' experience for it,) no traveller ever wishes to return.

If, unfortunately, the veil of obscurity which still hangs between us and the past, did not shut out from our eager gaze, among other valuable learning, the minutiæ of the science of courtship, as it must have been understood by the Pyramuses, Phaons, and Leanders of a former world, doubtless many a valuable lesson might be derived from the experience of men who succeeded so well in gaining the affections of the beautiful and gifted fair ones of their own sunny

climes. What modern lover would not give half his wits, to learn the first tender word of affection, which, breathed through a crevice in the cruel wall that divided her from her adorer, melted the heart of the lovely but ill-starred Thisbe ? — or learn, at still greater cost, if possible, the initiatory language of his love, for whom, when subsequently faithless and perjured, the broken-hearted Sappho leaped from Leucate's steep, or his for whose sake the fair and persecuted Hero, the beautiful priestess of Venus, sought and found death in the deep waters of the Hellespont? Alas ! the dark wave of oblivion has half hid from our view the particulars of these veritable and affecting histories, and we seek in vain at the fountains of classic light, for a single ray to illuminate this dark and perplexing subject.

But to enter more minutely into the subject, allow me to give, as in the outset I have proposed, a brief account of an early adventure :

'quaeque ipse miserrima vidi Et

quorum, pars magna, fui.'

It will not be deemed vanity at my age to say, that at twenty-five I was possessed of a full share of the ordinary personal charms of youth. Within a little of the Chesterfieldian standard of height, five feet ten, with locks black and glossy as the raven's wing (alas ! the driven snow is not whiter now!) with fair complexion, cheeks glowing with the red tide of youth and health, and possessing what is generally considered sufficient good sense and education for all the practical purposes of life, it may be thought that my experience in matters of the heart ought to have proved an exception to the rule that the course of true love never did run smooth. But, alas! not

It was my fortune to become acquainted with a young lady possessed of so many charms, mental, moral, and personal, and so super-eminent in each, that it was indeed impossible for me to avoid falling, as I did, desperately in love with her.

As far as glances of the eye, tremors of the voice, and occasional innuendoes, might go, I doubt not that I succeeded full well in imparting to her a knowledge of the state of my heart; and I will not presume upon your patience so much as to detail the extacy of joy with which I first discovered, or fancied that I discovered, through similar media, a reciprocity of feeling on the part of the young lady. Let it suffice to say that this was the case, and that the time came when it was incumbent on me to make a distinct avowal of my love. This, after long and perplexing mental debate, I resolved to do by letter; and after writing some forty epistles on as many sheets of gilded satin-paper, I finally succeeded in forming a letter, amounting to about six lines, containing, as I thought, the condensed quintessence of every thing that could or ought to be said on the subject. Of this precious morceau, I retain now but slight recollection. That it abounded with terms expressive of pure, warm, ardent, glowing, undying, everlasting, and unprecedented affection, I have not the least doubt. But unfortunately, this little specimen of epistolary excellence was scarcely finished, when, chancing to peruse some of the experiences of a predecessor in the paths of love, I read that nothing was more unwise or dangerous, than making an offer of one's hand and heart by means of pen and paper.

With the credulity of a simple mind, I at once gave implicit credence to this doctrine, and, frightened at the fearful precipice which I had so narrowly avoided, I immediately destroyed my letter, and resolved to declare myself in person, with my own lips and voice, and to hear with my own ears the reply which was to seal my destiny.

Never did an Alexander, a Wallace, or a Napoleon, feel the inspiriting effects of a heroic resolution more powerfully than I felt the influence of this. I had resolved. I would execute! I walked the streets with a proud consciousness of the heroism of my resolution; and in the height of my pride, fairly feared lest, in the words of the poet, I should strike the stars with my lofty head.' But sensible of the imperfection of human powers, and conscious that mine, in particular, were liable to fail on so delicate an emergency, I resolved at least to write and commit to memory my declaratory speech. This undignified and foolish thing I did. Instead of trusting to the warm outpouring of an ingenuous heart, which in some way at least would have managed to make itself understood and felt, I committed to memory a cold formula of words, to be delivered as the school-boy recites his speech, of which it is sufficient for the purposes of this article to recollect the following sentence: 'Miss Adams ! will you allow me to offer you my hand and heart ?'

The fearful hour arrived. The evening for my wonted visit approached, and I found myself seated by the side of my adored, in the summer evening twilight. The last rays of the setting sun had gradually disappeared from the rosy clouds that lingered about the west. The full moon rode high in heaven, and one by one the glorious stars became visible :

'In such a night
Stood Dido with a willow in her hand,
Upon the wild sea-banks, and waved her love

To come again to Carthage.' The open window by wbich we sat looked out upon a garden stored with a profusion of rich and rare flowers, from which there exhaled, and rose around us, a delicious fragrance, forming a fit atmosphere for such a scene. The time, the silence, the scenery, every thing was appropriate ; and she, the beautiful, the almost unearthly, seemed by intuition to understand my thoughts and intention, as with head bent down, she gazed earnestly (and with a slight blush upon the fair cheeks around which her auburn curls were playing,) upon a moss-rose which she was earnestly engaged in pulling to pieces. I was employed in the equally serious occupation of opening and shutting a small fancy snuff-box which I held in my hand.

Alas! where now was the Alexandrian or Neapolitan courage that had inspired me? I felt my valor oozing out of the palms of my hands! But at length, summoning resolution, like a man upon the scaffold who wishes to die with at least seeming fortitude, or to use a more forcible illustration, gathering together and concentrating, as it were, all the energies of my mind, after the manner of one about to submit to that most inhuman of all earthly tortures, the extraction of a tooth; I say, with such energy as this, I raised my eyes to those of Isabella, and in the language of my prepared speech said, 'Miss ADAMS !'

[ocr errors]

The unnecessary and startling emphasis with which this rather formal commencement was delivered, seriously frightened both parties. The rose dropped from her fingers, the box from mine; and I was only able to follow up this impressive exordium with some common-place remark about the beauty of the evening, after which we relapsed into our former silence.

Gathering however, energy from defeat, I made, after a slight pause, a second attempt :

Miss Adams,' said I, in a slow, solemn, sepulchral voice, 'will you, will you will you allow me to offer you

to offer you pinch of snuff'?'

. With pleasure, Sir,' replied a soft, sweet voice, which, in contrast with my own, sounded like a strain of soft music following up the rumblings of an earthquake. I felt my eyes starting from my head. I felt that the veins on my forehead were swollen like the streams of spring. I felt the red blood mantling over face, brow, and neck. I heard the loud beating of my heart; and in an agony of both bodily and mental pain, to which the rack, the wheel, and the gibbet, were paradise, I rushed from the room, hurried to my home, entered my own chamber; locked, doubly, trebly locked my door, lest any one should observe my shame, and vented my spleen in idle imprecations upon my own stupidity.

An hour's walk across my chamber served, however, to calm my spirits; and with a composure that seemed really supernatural, compared with my recent violent agitation, 1 sat down and wrote:

‘Dear Isabella : Take pity on an unhappy youth, who is too deeply in love with you to utter two consecutive words in your presence! I'am miserable till I hear from you.'

This note was immediately despatched, and in half an hour I was the happiest man in the universe. My Isabella proved a pattern of excellence. I was never offended with her but once, and then she dispelled my wrath, by asking me, in a mock-serious tone of voice :

- will you — allow me to offer you pinch of snuff!'

SENEX.

• Will you

will you

a

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »