« ZurückWeiter »
"Your premises ! The highway is as free as a watercourse. You must be a d-d fool!"
“Man!” exclaimed Croton, with solemn emphasis, “if you do not leave bere instantly, I will have you removed.”
“Have me removed !” said the other, laughing, as if struck with the ridiculousness of the idea. “Pray, who is to do it? Suppose, now," he added, coming up still closer to the fence, “I say, suppose I should make up my mind to go in and see your wife and children, who is to prevent me?"
Croton was now thoroughly alarmed. He cast his eyes up the street. He saw two men walking toward bim. They were his parishioners. Here was relief almost immediate.
The sailor saw him looking, and seemed to understand what was passing in his mind. “Come, now," he said, "you don't answer?'
"I will answer you presently," returned Croton, growing bolder.
“So you think I had better not go in ?” continued the sailor, in a tantalizing tone.
“Move on, instantly, or I put you in custody." The two men were getting near.
Why, don't you know me, Crote? By I don't believe the fellow is shamming, after all. You didn't know Reub, that's a fact."
Croton Ellsworth turned pale. For once he exbibited this show of emotion. What could it be? The two persons came up and passed unheeded. He seized on the paling for support.
The sailor stood look. ing at him with an expression of intense contempt.
“Shall I go in?" he asked.
“No, Reuben, no. I can't have you come in. The house is full -friends from New York. Besides, my wife doesn't know-doesn't know
"That you have such a rough customer for a brother, eh, whom you are ashamed to own. Well, Crote, it's like you. I suppose you are afraid I'll tell about your lark with Sally Jenkens—a d-d shame it was, too. Crote,” he continued, with a knowing wink, "you are the same cunning coon you always was-ha-ha-ha-ha-saw it when those pretty girls came out.”
"Reuben, how can you go on so? Do you never think of God, and judgment, and eternity ? ”
"Don't come your cant over me. Anything but that. What do know about God, and judgment, and eternity ? You were born a hypocrite, Crote, and a hypocrite you are, and always will be."
“You are a bold blasphemer.”
"What do you care what I am ? Just drop that sort of thing, and tell me where I can find my shipmate."
“I will inquire of the servants; stay where you are till I return." Croton Ellsworth came speedily back with the desired information.
Croton," said the sailor, in a less rude tone than he had previously used, “Croton, how is mother?"
"She is well, I presume," said the clergyman, hesitatingly.
know? When did you hear from her?”
“It is some considerable time.”
" Which is devilish small rations, I'll be bound," interrupted Reuben. “Confess, Crote, you have not sent her a stiver for six months.”
The other was silent.
“You see, Crote, I am a reprobate—a swearing, drinking, ungodly reprobate. You are a saint-one of the oily, unguentum kind. Now listen to me. When I shipped on my three years' cruise, I entered on the articles, three-fourths of wages to be paid to the old woman.' The rest was enough for toggery and tobacco; as for grog, no use for it on board. Good-day. I'll call on you again some time, and see my sweet little nephews and nieces."
He disappeared round the corner, and pursued his way along the lane, leaving the clergyman in a state of mind quite indescribable.
“Who is that very rude-looking creature, that Croton talks so long with ?” asked one of the Miss Marlinspikes of his wife.
"I am sure I cannot imagine.”
At this moment Croton entered. He looked pale and disturbed. The question was repeated.
“Oh, only a sailor; a very interesting man; an extremely interesting and instructive person.
He has lately returned from the Sandwich Islands."
James Thomas Fields.
Born in Portsmouth, N. H., 1816. Died in Boston, Mass., 1881.
(Ballads and Other Verses. 1881.]
A maiden fair, without pretence,
Her modest garb drew every eye,
They argued long, and reasoned loud,
They knew the length of Plato's beard,
And so she said, “Excuse me, friends,
GLANCES AT THACKERAY.
[Yesterdays with Authors. 1871.) THA WHACKERAY announced to me by letter in the early autumn of
1852 that he had determined to visit America, and would sail for Boston by the Canada on the 30th of October. All the necessary arrangements for his lecturing tour had been made without troubling him with any of the details. He arrived on a frosty November evening, and went directly to the Tremont House, where rooms had been engaged for him. I remember his delight in getting off the sea, and the enthusiasm with which he hailed the announcement that dinner would be ready shortly. A few friends were ready to sit down with him, and he seemed greatly to enjoy the novelty of an American repast. In London he had been very curious in his inquiries about American oysters, as marvellous stories, which he did not believe, had been told him of their great size. We apologized—although we had taken care that the largest specimens to be procured should startle bis unwonted vision when he came to the table—for what we called the extreme smallness of the oysters, promising that we would do better next time. Six bloated Falstaffian bivalves lay before him in their shells. I noticed that he gazed at them anxiously with fork upraised; then he whispered to me, with a look of anguish, "How shall I do it?” I described to him the simple process by which the free-born citizens of America were accustomed to accomplish such a task. He seemed satisfied that the thing was feasible, selected the smallest one in the half-dozen (rejecting a large one, “because,” he said, "it resembled the High Priest's servant's car that Peter cut off "), and then bowed his head as if he were saying grace. All eyes were upon him to watch the effect of a new sensation in the person of a great British author. Opening his mouth very wide, he struggled for a moment, and then all was over. I shall never forget the comic look of despair he cast upon the other five over-occupied shells. I broke the perfect stillness by asking bim bow he felt. "Profoundly grateful," he gasped, “and as if I had swallowed a little baby.”
Thackeray's playfulness was a marked peculiarity; a great deal of the time he seemed like a school-boy, just released from his task. In the midst of the most serious topic under discussion he was fond of asking permission to sing a comic song, or he would beg to be allowed to enliven the occasion by the instant introduction of a brief double-shuffle. Barry Cornwall told me that when he and Charles Lamb were once making up a dinner-party together, Charles asked him not to invite a certain lugubrious friend of theirs. “Because," said Lamb, "he would cast a damper even over a funeral.” I have often contrasted the habitual qualities of that gloomy friend of theirs with the astounding spirits of both Thackeray and Dickens. They always seemed to me to be standing in the sunshine, and to be constantly warning other people out of cloudland. During Thackeray's first visit to America his jollity knew no bounds, and it became necessary often to repress bim when he was walking in the street. I well remember his uproarious shouting and dancing when he was told that the tickets to his first course of readings were all sold, and when we rode together from his hotel to the lecture-ball he insisted on thrusting both his long legs out of the carriage window, in deference, as he said, to his magnanimous ticket-holders. An instance of his procrastination occurred the evening of his first public appearance in America. His lecture was advertised to take place at half past seven, and when he was informed of the hour, he said he would try and be ready at eight o'clock, but thought it very doubtful. Horrified at this assertion, I tried to impress upon him the importance of punctuality on this, the night of his first bow to an American audience.
At a quarter past seven I called for him, and found him not only unshaved and undressed for the evening, but rapturously absorbed in making a penand-ink drawing to illustrate a passage in Goethe's Sorrows of Werther, for a lady, which illustration,-a charming one, by the way, for he was greatly skilled in drawing,-he vowed he would finish before he would budge an inch in the direction of the (I omit the adjective) Melodeon. A comical incident occurred just as he was about leaving the hall, after his first lecture in Boston. A shabby, ungainly looking man stepped briskly up to him in the anteroom, seized his hand and announced himself as "proprietor of the Mammoth Rat," and proposed to exchange season tickets. Thackeray, with the utmost gravity, exchanged cards and promised to call on the wonderful quadruped next day.
Robert Traill Spence Lowell.
Born in Boston, Mass., 1816. Died at Schenectady, N. Y., 1891.
THE BRAVE OLD SHIP, THE ORIENT.
[Fresh Hearts that Failed Three Thousand Years Ago. 1860.]
COE for the brave ship Orient!
Woe for the old ship Orient!
down went the brave old ship, the Orient!
It was the fairest day in the merry month of May,