Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

objected, that the smoking of a pipe would hardly justify the setting up of a memorial stone, I answer, that even now the Moquis Indian, ere he takes his first whiff, bows reverently toward the four quarters of the sky in succession, and that the loftiest monuments have been reared to perpetuate fame, which is the dream of the shadow of smoke. The Saga, it will be remembered, leaves this Bjarna to a fate something like that of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, on board a sinking ship in the “wormy sea,” having generously given up his place in the boat to a certain Icelander. It is doubly pleasant, therefore, to meet with this proof that the brave old man arrived safely in Vinland, and that his declining years were cheered by the respectful attentions of the dusky denizens of our then uninvaded forest. Most of all was I gratified, however, in thus linking forever the name of my native town with one of the most momentous occurrences of modern times. Hitherto Jaalam, though in soil, climate, and geographical position as highly qualified to be the theatre of remarkable historical incidents as any spot on the earth's surface, has been, if I may say it without seeming to question the wisdom of Providence, almost maliciously neglected, as it might appear, by occurrences of world-wide interest in want of a situation. And in matters of this nature it must be confessed that adequate events are as necessary as the vates sacer to record them. Jaalam stood always modestly ready, but circumstances made no fitting response to her generous intentions. Now, however, she assumes her place on the historick roll. I have hitherto been a zealous opponent of the Circean herb, but I shall now reëxamine the question without bias.

I am aware that the Rev. Jonas Tutchel, in a recent communication to the “Bogus Four Corners Weekly Meridian," has endeavored to show that this is the sepulchral inscription of Thorwald Eriksson, who, as is well known, was slain in Vinland by the natives. But I think he has been misled by a preconceived theory, and cannot but feel that he has thus made an ungracious return for my allowing him to inspect the stone with the aid of my own glasses (he having by accident left his at home) and in my own study. The heathen ancients might have instructed this Christian minister in the rites of hospitality ; but much is to be pardoned to the spirit of self-love. He must indeed be ingenious who can make out the words her hvílir from any characters in the inscription in question, which, whatever else it may be, is certainly not mortuary. And even should the reverend gentleman succeed in persuading some fantastical wits of the soundness of his views, I do not see what useful end he will have gained. For if the English Courts of Law hold the testimony of gravestones from the burial-grounds of Protestant dissenters to be questionable, even where it is essential in proving a descent, I cannot conceive that the epitaphial assertions of heathens should be esteemed of more authority by any man of orthodox sentiments.

At this moment, happening to cast my eyes upon

the stone, whose characters a transverse light from my southern window brings out with singular distinctness, another interpretation has occurred to me, promising even more interesting results. I hasten to close my letter in order to follow at once the clue thus providentially suggested.

I inclose, as usual, a contribution from Mr. Biglow, and remain, Gentlemen, with esteem and respect, Your Obedient Humble Servant,

HOMER WILBUR, A. M.

I THANK ye, my frien's, for the warmth o' your

greetin': Ther' 's few airthly blessin's but wut's vain an'

fleetin'; But ef ther' is one thet hain't no cracks an' flaws, An' is wuth goin' in for, it 's pop'lar applause ; It sends up the sperits ez lively ez rockets, An' I feel it - wal, down to the eend o'my pockets. Jes' lovin' the people is Canaan in view, But it's Canaan paid quarterly t'hev 'em love you ; It's a blessin' thet's breakin' out ollus in fresh

spots ; It's a-follerin' Moses 'thout losin' the flesh-pots. But, Gennlemen, 'scuse me, I ain't sech a raw cus Ez to go luggin' ellerkence into a caucus, – Thet is, into one where the call comprehen's Nut the People in person, but on'y their frien's; I'm so kin' o' used to convincin' the masses Of th' edvantage o' bein' self-governin' asses,

I forgut thet we're all o' the sort thet pull wires An' arrange for the public their wants an' desires, An' thet wut we bed met for wuz jes' to agree Wut the People's opinions in futur' should be.

Now, to come to the nub, we've ben all disappinted,
An' our leadin' idees are a kind o' disjinted,
Though, fur ez the nateral man could discern,
Things ough' to ha' took most an oppersite turn.
But The’ry is jes’ like a train on the rail,
Thet, weather or no, puts her thru without fail,
While Fac' 's the ole stage thet gits sloughed in

the ruts,
An' hez to allow for your darned efs an' buts,
An' so, nut intendin' no pers'nal reflections,
They don't — don't nut allus, thet is, - make con-

nections : Sometimes, when it really doos seem thet they'd

oughter Combine jest ez kindly ez new rum an' water, Both 'll be jest ez sot in their ways ez a bagnet, Ez otherwise-minded ez th' eends of a magnet, An' folks like you ’n’ me, thet ain't ept to be

sold, Git somehow or 'nother left out in the cold.

I expected 'fore this, 'thout no gret of a row,
Jeff D. would ha' ben where A. Lincoln is now,
With Taney to say 't wuz all legle an' fair,
An' a jury o' Deemocrats ready to swear
Tbet the ingin o' State gut throwed into the ditch
By the fault o' the North in misplacin' the switch.

Things wuz ripenin' fust-rate with Buchanan to

nuss 'em; But the People — they would n't be Mexicans, cuss

'em ! Ain't the safeguards o' freedom upsot, 'z you may

say, Ef the right o' rev'lution is took clean away? An' doos n't the right primy-fashy include The bein' entitled to nut be subdued ? The fect is, we'd gone for the Union so strong, When Union meant South ollus right an' North

wrong, Thet the People gut fooled into thinkin' it might Worry on middlin' wal with the North in the right. We might ha' ben now jest ez prosp'rous ez France, Where p’litikle enterprise hez a fair chance, An' the People is heppy an' proud et this hour, Long ez they hev the votes, to let Nap hev the

power ; But our folks they went an' believed wut we'd

told 'em, An', the flag once insulted, no mortle could hold

'em. 'T wuz pervokin' jest when we wuz cert'in to win, An' I, for one, wun't trust the masses agin: For a People thet knows much ain't fit to be free In the self-cockin', back-action style o' J. D.

I can't believe now but wut half on 't is lies;
For who 'd thought the North wuz agoin' to rise,
Or take the pervokin’est kin' of a stump,
'thout 't wuz sunthin' ez pressin' ez Gabr'el's las'

trump?

« ZurückWeiter »