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my paper bills in full. After that, we had, once more, a quiet spell of weather in the office.
I DISPLAYED, in fancy types at the head of the · Wolftown Banner,' a line asserting that journal to be 'Devoted to Politics, News, and General Literature. Of the first of these subjects I have already given my opinion and a partial experience; and the reader may judge how much I esteemed the life of a politician. However, I may as well confess that in the purlieus of Wolftown, politics were a staple article, and proved the main support of my paper.
Moneypenny and the ins' of his party always paid or indorsed for me liberally, to keep me going, and only required, in return, the aid of the press to advocate their principles and candidates.
As for news, sometimes we had something of a local nature to communicate that might interest the world at large; but this good luck transpired very seldom. Editorials, aside from political squibs, related principally to the fact that “Z. Jones, at the brickstore, had received a nice stock of fall and winter goods; for particulars, see advertisement;' or that “Widow M.'s hen had emulated the
goose in the size of her “last lay ;” or that ‘ B. Beebe's boy had nearly severed his little finger from his left hand with a new penknife, presented to him by his grandma.? Foreign and domestic news generally ranged, in age,
from seven to ten days older than in neighboring towns. We had no railroad in those days, running within forty miles of us, and our postal arrangement with Uncle Samuel precluded the possibility of obtaining a mail oftener than once a week. The time for the arrival of the mail was on Monday, and our publication-day was Saturday. The lapse of time between the two was favorable for the selecting and ‘setting up the intelligence thus received, but not at all advantageous to that freshness which adds a specific interest to general news. However, we claimed, in Wolftown, to be contented and philosophical people, so that items were greedily devoured, if they did strongly smack of maturity.
The 'general literature department of the ‘Banner' was, however, a favorite one with me. For this I selected weekly from my limited number of exchange papers, some magazine article, by one of our best American writers, or an article from ‘Household Words, conducted by Dickens ;' à charge, by the way, of which he is about as innocent as is the barn-yard chicken unfledged.
Then I used, every month, to borrow Godey's of Mrs. Moneypenny, the only subscriber to that delectable but effeminate concern in all Wolftown. From this I would copy, in about six weeks, the entire contents, fashions and all, but, of course, without the illustrations.
Think not that Wolftown was without its literary aspirants, or the · Banner' unfavored with contributions from pens more prolific than blessed with genius. Far different the case, I assure you. Some few of these favors attained to the dignity of print; but my
office-stove oftener became the receptacle of thoughts that burned and words that breathed. I once made a calculation upon the number of “Essays' written on the respective literary characters of William Shakspeare, Esq., and George Gordon Lord Byron, both of some poetical celebrity in times past. I think, now,
İ favored within ten months with one dozen of each. Of this number I was cruel enough to burn all but one, and that treated of Lord Byron. It was judiciously written, and expressed the most sensible views of the literary meteor' that I had ever met with. It came chirographed in a bold, free hand, which I failed to recognize, and was, either by oversight or excessive modesty on the part of the contributor, entirely anonymous. I handed it to the compositor, wrote a commendatory notice of it, gave it to the world in the 'Banner, and discovered, within a fortnight, that I had, unwittingly, published one of the best articles in Tuckerman's Thoughts on the Poets.'
I used to receive, on an average, about ten original ‘pomes' every week from our village poets, accompanied by request to publish them, 'willy nilly.'
Now I have always borne the character of an accommodating, generous fellow, among those who know me best; but I have been stigmatized by the literary crowd of Wolftown, as a conceited, crabbed, consummate, confounded fool' — and why ? Only because I could never find genius or common-sense, or poetry, in the rhymed effusions of 'Fanny Flowerleaf, Wilhelmina Willow,
· ' ''
Frank Firleaf,' or 'Getty Greenleaf. These four never failed to send me, at first, from one to six 'pomes' every week, which, like the Phoenix, (not John,) seemed to spring from their own ashes in my stove, so very similar were they to their predecessors. They all harped on the same themes - love and death, usually — and, bearing the same general features, reminded me, by their simi larity, of a bundle of quills. In all I was informed that:
"In death we all must die;
Forever leave the earth;
And wait our spiritual birth.'
'I TELL thee, thou fair one, I love thee !
Forever thou ’lt find me thy slave :
On thy lover, and say thou wilt have,
Had I been a veritable disciple of Old Epicurus, their constant and vivid pictures of mortality held so unremittingly and originally before my eyes, must have forced me to renounce my comfortable creed, and devote myself to an ascetic and anchorite life. My mode of escape was by deferring 'the publication of these poetic morceaux, on account of the crowded state of our columns,' to some indefinite period; and then allowing the manuscript to be
accidentally mislaid, at the same time expressing my regret that the world had lost so much of poesy by our carelessness.
I found it necessary, often by severity, to check the cacoethes scribendi of some few annoying ones, who, undiscouraged by my hints expressed in Notices to Correspondents,' continued to bore me, week after week, with their precious effusions. As a sample, the following were applied to two of the most persistent :
“Triticus will excuse us if we most positively refuse to print any of his balderdash. His Byron a Philosopher' is an effusion, aside from its abominable orthography, too obtuse for our understanding, and diffused over too much paper to convey his idea, if he had one to commence with. Byron was a good poet, but too hotheaded for a sound philosopher, and any such writer as Triticus must write himself an ass, ere he can convince us to the contrary.
“Fanny Fairlocks' can do better by assisting her invalid mother at home than by copying a whole page of Tennyson, and sending it to us for publication as original. We trust that for her own sake she may quit putting her pen to paper for the press, and eventually become a good wife and mother, for which station of life she was evidently intended by Nature. As for poetry, dear young lady, cherish it in your heart as long as you can, but do not dream yourself a poet, or descend to despicable plagiary.?
Most generally, these 'first-rate notices? of mine would prove conclusive, and abate that particular nuisance. If the scribbler still continued to send his manuscripts to me, I kindled my fire with them, and merely mentioned that fact in my next,' connected with the real name of the contributor, and that would finish his attempts upon my literary department. Had I continued to publish the ‘Banner' for another year,
I think I should have demolished the literary ambition of seveneighths of the aspiring crowd with whom I labored. In fact, I was already considered a rural Macaulay in my critical notices; when an event occurred that dissolved my connection with the country press, as 'Editor and Publisher,' forever.
I had locked up the office one wintry night, and sought my lodgings in the Wolftown Hotel. My only journeyman and the "devil had also retired in peace to the bosoms of their families at an early hour. I was lying awake, dreaming of 'ways and means' to procure more paper, being at that juncture as penniless as before my encounter with Meggles
. Suddenly I was startled by the cry of Fire!' Hastily dressing, I issued forth, as did every other soul in the hotel, to discover the seat of conflagration. I can hardly express the peculiar state of my feelings, when I discovered the ‘Banner Office entirely enveloped in a mass of flame. I did not, like Nero, indulge in violin practice, nor, like that other artist, sit calmly down and sketch the scene while the fire destroyed his house. No! I rushed to the spot, arriving just in time to see roof, walls, chimney, press, types, and ink-keg, fall simultaneously into the cellar, and become a fiery altar of destruction. I had no VOL. LI.
insurance, and there was no help needed, after that, to ruin me. I went home a poor man; but with a strange sense of relief from a clogging weight. Moneypenny offered, the next morning, to set me going again in a new office, with new material of his
but I respectfully begged the privilege of firmly declining.
My brother and I concluded that we would leave Wolftown forever, and seek our fortunes elewhere. We struck out a new line of business, in the next town.
We went to work digging wells. In three years we have dug fifty of those conveniences. We make a good thing of it. We get good pay; and although it is hard work most of the time, yet I like it better than editing and publishing a country newspaper. It is not attended with so many difficulties.
"Truth, it is said, 'lies in the bottom of a well. Brother and I have frequently found it there. We think we never found it so largely in Wolftown! Good night!
O WIND! your sweet breath on my cheek I watch the pansies struggling up
Is harsher than December's rain : Atween the dead leaves crispy gold : It wakes a grief no tongue can speak, O bliss ! thus MEMORY lifts her cup It wakes anew a nameless pain.
From out my heart's drear blight and
For then her small feet, through the wold, O heart! be still! the fluttering dress
Rustled the dead leaves as she came The loving words you long to hear, Unto the beach, where manifold
Will never come again to bless, The jasmin twines its clots of flame. Though still you wait from year to year.
The Pe$$ons of Crime:
OR, SOME PASSAGES IN THE LIFE OF AN AMERICAN 'EXPERT.'
When the writer of these pages was yet a boy, he came across the extraordinary Narrative which it is intended shall here forcibly and faithfully be portrayed. Except the · Pilgrim's Progress,' of Bunyan, the Adventures of Captain JAMES RILEY, on Sea and Land, and Roderick Random, by Smollet, it was the only book he had ever encountered, save his few school-books, and the ‘BOOK OF Books,' the BIBLE.
It made a strong impression upon his youthful mind, which, unlike many other youthful impressions, has never faded in after life, but seems rather to have increased with years. It is one of the great Lessons of Crime, and its Retribution, which once read, can never be obliterated. There was so much of romance, too, about the incidents recorded such terrible visitations of punishment upon the performer of the guilty acts recorded - that the lesson proved a good one; and we venture to say, that its perusal may have deterred thousands from crime.
We shall begin with the history, or narrative of STEPHEN BURROUGHS, at the time he was a mere boy, residing with his father, a Presbyterian clergyman, in the town of Coventry, New Hampshire. • Even as a boy,' he himself declares, “I became the terror of the people where I lived, and all were unanimous in declaring, that "Stephen Burroughs was the worst boy in town, and those who could get him whipped were most worthy of esteem.”'
Although his father, as we have said, was a Presbyterian, and he was educated in all the rigor of that order, yet his thirst for vicious jokes, and sinful “fun, as he terms it, was insatiable. Among other things, he was fond of pestering his superiors in age, particularly if they chanced to have reproved him for his misdeeds, or informed his father of his derelictions. An instance of this, (accompanied by many other juvenile tricks of a similar character,) is interesting, as showing how even such small occurrences had a decided influence upon the character which he afterward sustained, and in directing the course of his eventful life :
'A NEIGHBOR of my father's, an old man, had a fine yard of water-melons, which had been purloined by somebody, for three or four succeeding nights. The old man being of a hasty, petulant disposition, was determined to watch his water-melons with a club, and severely beat the thief. One night he took his stand in a convenient place for watching, unknown to any one. Accident made me acquainted with the old man's situation; and suspecting his intention, I went to a son of his, a young man of about twenty, and told him I saw a man in the water-melon yard, whom I suspected to be the thief; and advised him to go cautiously to the yard, and peradventure he might catch him. Accordingly the young man went; but no sooner had he got into the yard, than the old man, supposing this to be the thief, rushed from his hiding-place, and attacked his son with his club, and severely handled the poor fellow, before he found out his mistake. The son supposing the thief was beating him, bawled out to his father,