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as ultimately restored him to reason. It authorized me to become an intercessor with his father, and to close the wounds that had so long ard so unjustly rankled in his bosom.
New Monthly Mag.
THE HAUNTED HOGSHEAD,
A YANKEE LEGEND.*
"Oh, wonderful! wonderful! and most wonderful, wonderful! and yet again wonderful! and after that, out of all whooping!”
SHAKSPEARB. You don't live to Boston, then, do you? No; I calculate you are from the old country, though you speak English almost as well as 1 do. Now, I'm a Kentucky man, and my father was to Bigbone Creek, in old Kentuck, where he could lather every man in the state, but I could lick my father. Well! when I first came to Boston, I guess, I was a spry, active young fellow, and cruel tall for my age; for it's a pretty considerable long time ago, I calculate. So first I goes to look out for Uncle Ben—you've heard of him and his brown mar, I reckon—and I finds Uncle Ben at Major Hickory's Universal Transatlantic Hotel, by Charles Bay, in Fast Boston, taking a grain of mighty fine elegant sangaree, with Judge Dodge and President Pinkney the Rowdey, that built the powerful large log mansion-house in Dog's Misery, in the saltmarshes out beyond Corlear's Hook, in New York. I was always a leetle bit of a favourite with Uncle Ben, and so he says to me,
“ Jonathan W.,” says he, for he calls me Jonathan W. for short; “ I'll tell you what it is,” says Uncle Ben, “ you come out mighty bright this morning, I motion that you take a drop of whisky-toddy or so.”
“ Oh yes, Uncle Ben,” says I; “ I should admire to have a grain, if it's handsom.”
“ Considerably superb,” says he; “it's of the first grade, I guess, for Major Hickory keeps wonderfully lovely liquors ; and I can tell you a genuine good story about them, such as, I guess, you never heard before, since you was raised."
And then he up and told such a tale, that the helps all crowded round him to hear it, and swore it was better than a sermon, so it
And as you're a strannger from the old country, and seem a right slick-away sort of a chap, without a bit of the gentleman about you, and are so mighty inquisitive after odd stories, why I don't mind telling it to the 'Squire myself; and you may depend upon it that it's as true and genuine as if you had heard it from Uncle Ben himself, or July White, his old woolly-headed nigger.
You must know, then, that the Universal Transatlantic Hotel was built an awful long time before I was raised; though my
• By Richard Thomson, E:q. author of “ Tales of an Antiqnary," etc,
Uncle Ben remembered a powerful grand wood house that stood there before it, which was called the Independent Star of Colombia, kept by Jacobus Van Soak, who came to Boston from the old, ancient, veteran Dutch settlers of New York. It was some time after fall in the year 77, that a mighty fierce squall of wind blew down some of the wall of the house where the cellar was, quite to the very foundation. I reckon that the old host was a leetle bit madded at this, he was ; though he bit in his breath, and thought to drive in some new stakes, put up fresh clap-boards, and soon have it all slick and grand again; but, in so doing, as he was taking out the piles underneath the house, what does he find but an awful great big barrel, and a cruel heavy one it was, and smelled like as if it was a hogshead of astonishingly mighty fine old ancient rum. I'll lay you'll never guess how they got it out of the cellar, where they found it, because they never moved it at all, I calculate; though some of the helps and neighbours pulled and tugged at it like natur! But the more they worked, the more the barrel wouldn't move; and my Uncle Ben said that mighty strannge sounds came out of it, just as if it didn't like to be disturbed and brought into the light; and that it swore at the helps and niggers in English and Spanish, Low German and High Dutch. At last, old Van Soak began to be a leetle bit afeard, and was for covering it up again where he found it, till my Uncle Ben vowed it shouldn't be buried without his having a drop out of it, for he was a bold active man, that cared for nothing, and loved a grain of rum, or sangaree, or whisky-toddy, or crank, or any other fogmatic, to his heart, he did. So down in the cellar he sets himself, drives a spigot into the barrel, and draws him a glass of such mighty fine elegant rum, as was never seen before in all Boston.
“ Handsom! considerably handsom! mighty smart rum, I guess,” says my Uncle Ben, as he turned it down; “mild as mother's milk, and bright as a flash of lightning! By the pipe of St Nicholas, I must have another grain !" So he filled him another glass, and then Jacobus plucked up heart, and he took a grain or two, and the helps and bystanders did the same, and they all swore it was superbly astonishing rum, and as old as the Kaatskill mountains, or the days of Wouter Van Twiller, the first Dutch Governor of New York. Well! I calculate that they might at last be a leetle bit staggered, for the rum ran down like water, and they drank about, thinking, you see, that all the strength was gone; and as they were in the dark cellar, they never knew that the day was progressing powerfully fast towards night; for now the barrel was quiet again, and they began to be mighty merry together. But the night came on cruel smart and dark, I reckon, with a pretty terrible loud storm; and so they all thought it best to keep under shelter, and especially where such good stuff was to be had free, gratis, for nothing, into the bargain,
Nobody knows now what time it was, when they heard a mighty fierce knocking on the top of the barrel, and presently a hoarse voice from the inside cried out, “ Yo ho, there, brothers ! open the hatchway and let me out !” which made them all start, I calculate, and sent Van Soak reeling into a dark corner of the cellar, considerably out of his wits with fright and stout old rum.
“ Don't open the hogshead,” cried the helps and neighbours, in mighty great fear; “it's the Devil !"
“ Potstausend !” says my Uncle Ben ;-for you must know that he's a roistering High-German:-“ You're a cowardly crew,” says he, “ that good liquor's thrown away upon.”
“ Thunder and storm!” called out the voice again from the barrel, “ why the Henker don't you unship the hatches ? Am I to stay here these hundred years ?”
“ Stille! mein Herr !" says my Uncle Ben, says he, without being in the least bit afeard, only a leelle madded and wondered he was; “ behave yourself handsom, and don't be in such a pretty particular considerable hurry. I'll tell you what it is; before you come out I should like to make an enquerry of you :- Who are you? where were you raised ? how have you got along in the world ? and when did you come here? Tell me all this speedily, or I shall decline off letting you out, I calculate.”
Open the hogshead, brother !” said the man in the tub, says he, “and you shall know all, and a pretty considerable sight more; and I'll take mighty good care of you for ever, because you're an awful smart, right-slick-away sort of a fellow, and not like the cowardly land-lubbers that have been sucking away my rum with you."
“ Hole mich der Teufel !” said my Uncle Ben, “ but this is a real rig'lar Yankee spark, a tarnation stout blade, who knows what a bold man should be ; and so, by the Henker's horns, I'll let him out at once.'
So, do you see, Uncle Ben made no more ado but broke in the head of the barrel; and what with the storm out of doors, and the laughing and swearing in the cask, a mighty elegant noise there was while he did it, I promise you: but at last there came up out of the hogshead a short, thick-set, truculent, sailor-looking fellow, dressed in the old ancient way, with dirty slops, tarnished goldlaced hat, and blue, stiff-skirted coat, fastened up to his throat with a mighty sight of brass buttons, Spanish steel pistols in a buffalo belt, and a swingeing cutlass by his side. He looked one of the
genuine privateer, bull-dog breed, and his broad swelled face, where it was not red with rage, or the good rum, was black or purple ; marked, I reckon, with a pretty considerable many scars, and his eyes were almost starting out of his head.
If the helps and neighbours were afeard before, they were now astounded outright, I calculate ; and 'specially so when the strannge Sailor got out of his hogshead, and began to lay about him with a fist as hard and as big as a twelve-pounder cannon-shot, crying like a bull-frog in a swamp,—" Now I shall clear out! A plague upon ye all for a crew of cowardly, canting, lubberly knaves! I might have been sucked dry, and staid in the barrel for ever, if your comrade had borne no stouter a heart than you did.”
Well, I guess, that by knocking down the helps and the neighbours he soon made a clear ship; and then, striding up to my Uncle Ben, who warn't not at all afeard, but was laughing at the fun, he says to him, says he, “ As for you, brother, you're afier my own kidney, so give us your fin, and we'll soon be sworn friends, I warrant me." But as soon as he held out his hand, Uncle Ben thought he saw in it the mark of a red horse-shoe, like a brand upon a nigger, which some do say was the very stamp that the Devil put upon Captain Kidd, when they shook hands after burying his treasure at Boston, before he was hanged.
Hagel!” says my Uncle Ben, says he, “what's that in your right hand, my friend ?”
“ What's that to you ?” said the old Sailor. “ We mariners get many a broad and deep red scar, without talking about, or marking
but then we get the heavy 'red gold, and broad pieces along with them, and that's a tarnation smart plaster, I calculate."
“ Then,” says my Uncle Ben again, says he, “may I make an enquerry of you? Where were you raised ? and who's your Boss ?”.
“Oh!" says the Sailor, “ I was born at Nantucket, and Cape Cod, and all along shore there, as the nigger said ; and for the Captain I belong to, why, he's the chief of all the fierce and daring hearts which have been in the world ever since time began.”
“ And, pray, where's your plunder ?” says my Uncle Ben to the strannge Sailor; “and how long have you been in that hogshead ?"
“ Over long, I can tell you, brother; I thought I was never going to come out, I calculate. As for my plunder, I reckon I don't show every body my locker; but you're a bold fellow enough, and only give me your paw to close the bargain, and I'll fill your pouch with dollars for life. I've a stout ship and comrades ready tor
sea, and there's plunder everywhere for lads of the knife and pistol, I reckon ; though the squeamish Lord Bellamont does watch them so closely."