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tinct curses, or with eyes upturned in passionate prayer (never for him. self, for he felt, or professed to feel, that he was already damned, but) for their happiness who at the moment were objects of his idolatry ;-or, with his glances introverted to a heart gnawed with anguish, and with a face shrouded in gloom, he would brave the wildest storms; and all night, with drenched garments and arms beating the winds and rains, would speak as if to spirits that at such times only could be evoked by him from the Aidenn, close by whose portals his disturbed soul sought to forget the ills to which his constitution subjected him-close by the Aidenn where were those he loved—the Aidenn which he might never see, but in fitful glimpses, as its gates opened to receive the less fiery and more happy natures whose destiny to sin did not involve the doom of death.
He seemed, except when some fitful pursuit subjugated his will and engrossed his faculties, always to bear the memory of some controlling sorrow. The remarkable poem of “The Raven " was probably much more nearly than has been supposed, even by those who were very intimate with him, a reflection and an echo of his own history. He was that bird's
unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Every genuine author, in a greater or less degree, leaves in his works, whatever their design, traces of his personal character: elements of his immortal being, in which the individual survives the person. While we read the pages of the “ Fall of the House of Usher,” or of “Mesmeric Revelations,” we see in the solemn and stately gloom which invests one,. and in the subtle metaphysical analysis of both, indications of the idiosyncrasies—of what was most remarkable and peculiar—in the author's intellectual nature. But we see here only the better phases of his nature, only the symbols of his juster action, for his harsh experience had deprived him of all faith in man or woman. He had made up his mind upon the numberless complexities of the social world, and the wbole system with him was an imposture. This conviction gave a direction to his shrewd and naturally unamiable character. Still, though he regarded society as composed altogether of villains, the sharpness of his intellect was not of that kind which enabled him to cope with villany, while it continually caused him by overshots to fail of the success of honesty. He was in many respects like Francis Vivian, in Bulwer's novel of "The Caxtons.” Passion, in him, comprebended many of the worst emotions which militate against human bappiness. You could not contradict him but you raised quick choler ; you could not speak of wealth but his cheek paled with gnawing envy. The astonishing natural advantages of this poor boy—his beauty, his readiness, the daring spirit that breathed around him like a fiery atmosphere—bad raised his constitutional selfconfidence into an arrogance tbat turned his very claims to admiration into prejudices against him. Irascible, envious—bad enough, but not the worst, for these salient angles were all varnished over with a cold repellant cynicism : his passions vented themselves in sneers. There seemed to him no moral susceptibility; and, what was more remarkable in a proud nature, little or nothing of the true point of honor. He had, to a morbid excess, that desire to rise which is vulgarly called ambition, but no wish for the esteem or the love of his species; only the hard wish to succeed—not shine, not serve—succeed, that he might have the right to despise a world which galled his self-conceit.
Thomas Bangs Thorpe.
Born in Westfield, Mass., 1815. DIED in New York, N. Y., 1878.
[The Mysteries of the Backwoods. 1846.]
sion of a friend, where I was staying to drown dull care, that I first had the pleasure of seeing Tom Owen. He was straggling on this occasion up the rising ground that led to the hospitable mansion of mine host, and the difference between him and ordinary men was visible at a glance; perhaps it showed itself as much in the perfect contempt of fashion he displayed in the adornment of his outward man as it did in the more elevated qualities of his mind that were visible in his face. His head was adorned with an outlardish pattern of a hat; his nether limbs were ensconced in a pair of inexpressibles, beautifully fringed by the brierbushes through which they were often drawn; coats and vests he considered as superfluities, and hanging upon his back were a couple of pails, and an axe in his right hand formed the varieties that represented the corpus of Tom Owen. As is usual with great men, he had his followers, and with a courtier-like humility they depended upon the expres- . sion of his face for all their hopes of success. The usual salutations of meeting were susicient to draw me within the circle of his influence, and I at once became one of his most ready followers. "See yonder!” said Torn, stretching his long arm into infinite space, "see yonder—there's
a bee." We all looked in the direction he pointed, but that was the extent of our observation. " It was a fine bee," continued Tom,“ black body, yellow legs, and into that tree," pointing to a towering oak, blue in the distance. “In a clear day I can see a bee over a mile, easy !” When did Coleridge “talk ” like that? And yet Tom Owen uttered such a saying with perfect ease.
After a variety of meanderings through the thick woods, and clambering over fences, we came to our place of destination as pointed out by Tom, who selected a mighty tree whose trunk contained the sweets, the possession of which the poets have likened to other sweets that leave a , sting behind. The felling of a mighty tree is a sight that calls up a variety of emotions; and Tom's game was lodged in one of the finest in the forest. But "the axe was laid at the root of the tree,” which, in Tom's mind, was made expressly for bees to build their nests in, that he might cut them down and obtain possession thereof. The sharp sounds of the axe as it played in the hands of Tom, and was replied to by a stout negro from the opposite side, by the rapidity of their strokes fast gained upon the heart of the lordly sacrifice. There was little poetry in the thought that long before this mighty empire of states was formed Tom Owen's "bee-hive" had stretched its brawny arms to the winter's blast and grown green in the summer's sun. Yet such was the case, and how long I might have moralized I know not, had not the enraged buzzing about my ears satisfied me that the occupants of the tree were not going to give up their home and treasure without showing considerable practical fight. No sooner had the little insects satisfied themselves that they were about to be invaded than they began one after another to descend from their airy abode and fiercely pitch into our faces; anon a small company, headed by an old veteran, would charge with its entire force
upon all parts of our body at once. It need not be said that the better part of valor was displayed by a precipitate retreat from such attacks.
In the midst of this warfare the tree began to tremble with the fastrepeated strokes of the axe, and then might have been seen a bee-hive of stingers precipitating themselves from above on the unfortunate hunter beneath. Now it was that Tom shone forth in his glory.
His partisans, like many hangers-on about great men, began to desert him on the first symptoms of danger; and when the trouble thickened, they, one and all, took to their heels, and left only our hero and Sambo to fight their adversaries. Sambo, however, soon dropped his axe and fell into all kinds of contortions; first he would seize the back of his neck with his hands, then his shins, and yell with pain. "Don't boller, nigger, till you get out of the woods," said the sublime Tom, consolingly; but writhe be did, until he broke and left Tom“ alone in his glory.”
Cut-thwack! sounded through the confused hum at the foot of the tree, marvellously reminding me of the interruptions that occasionally broke in upon the otherwise monotonous hours of my school-boy days. A sharp cracking finally told me the chopping was done, and looking aloft, I saw the mighty tree balancing in the air. Slowly and majestically it lowed for the first time towards its mother earth, gaining velocity as it descended, shivering the trees that interrupted its downward course, and falling with thundering sound, splintering its mighty limbs and burying them deeply in the ground.
The sun, for the first time in at least two centuries, broke uninterrupredly through the chasm made in the forest, and shone with splendor upon the magnificent Tom standing a conqueror among his spoils
. As might be expected, the bees were very much astonished and con. fused, and by their united voices they proclaimed death, had it been in their power, to all their foes, not, of course, excepting Tom Owen himself. But the wary hunter was up to the tricks of this trade, and, like a politician, he knew how easily an enraged mob could be quelled with smoke; and smoke he tried until his enemies were completely destroyed. We, Tom's hangers-on, now approached his treasure. It was a rich one, and, as he observed,"contained a rich chance of plunder.” Nine feet, by measurement, of the hollow of the tree was full, and this afforded many pails of pure honey. Tom was liberal, and supplied us all with more than we wanted, and "toted," by the assistance of Sambo, his share to his own home, soon to be devoured and replaced by the destruction of another tree and another nation of bees.
Johnson J. Hooper.
Born in North Carolina, about 1815. Died in Alabama, 1863.
TAKING THE CENSUS.
(Adventures of Capt. Simon Suggs. 1845. -New Edition, with Alabama Sketches. 1881.] WE
E rode up one day to the residence of a widow rather past the
prime of life—just that period at which nature supplies most abundantly the oil which lubricates the hinges of the female tongueand hitching to the fence, walked into the house.
“Good morning, madam,” said we, in our usual bland, and somewhat insinuating manner.
"Mornin'," said the widow gruflly.
Drawing our blanks from their case, we proceeded—“I am the man, madam, that takes the census, and"
"The mischief you are!” said the old termagant. “Yes, I've hearn of you; Parson W. told me you was coming, and I told him jist what I tell you, that if you said 'cloth,' soap,' ur chickens,' to me, I'd set the dogs on ye.--Here, Bull! here, Pomp!” Two wolfish curs responded to the call for Bull and Pomp, by coming to the door, smelling at our feet with a slight growl, and then laid down on the steps. “Now," continued the old she-savage, "them's the severest dogs in this country. Last week Bill Stonecker's two-year-old steer jumped my yard-fence, and Bull and Pomp tuk him by the throat, and they killed him afore my boys could break 'em loose, to save the world.”
"Yes, ma'am," said we, meekly; " Bull and Pomp seem to be very fine dogs."
“ You may well say that: what I tells them to do they do—and if I was to sick them on your old hoss yonder, they'd eat him up afore you could say Jack Roberson. And it's jist what I shall do, if you try to pry into my copsarns. They are none of your business, nor Van Buren's Duther, I reckon. Oh, old Van Banburen! I wish I had you here, you old rascal ! I'd show you what-I'd—I'd make Bull and Pomp show you how to be sendin' out men to take down what little stuff people's got, jist to tax it, when it's taxed enough a'ready!”
All this time we were perspiring through fear of the fierce guardians of the old widow's portal. At length, when the widow paused, we remarked that as she was determined not to answer questions about the produce of the farm, we would just set down the age, sex, and complexion of each member of her family.
“No sich a thing-you'll do no sich a thing,” said she; “ I've got five in family, and that's all you'll git from me. Old Van Buren must have a heap to do, the dratted old villyan, to send you to take down how old my children is. I've got five in family, and they are all between five and a hundred years old ; they are all a plaguy sight whiter than you, and whether they are he or she, is none of your consarns.”
We told her we would report her to the marshal, and she would be fined: but it only augmented her wrath.
“Yes ! send your marshal, or your Mr. Van Buren here, if you're bad off to let 'em comelet Mr. Van Buren come "-looking as savage as a Bengal tigress-“Oh, I wish he would come "-and her nostrils dilated, and her eyes gleamed—“I'd cut his head off!”
“ That might kill him," we ventured to remark, by way of a joke.
“Kill him! kill him-ob-if I had him here by the years I reckon I would kill him. A pretty fellow to be eating his vittils out'n gold spoons that poor people's taxed for, and raisin' an army to get him made king