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'On breaking into a loud laugh at the utter stupidity of this typical metamor. phosis, I found that the stranger grew red in the face. He snatched the paper from my hand, and disappeared, making his bow as he retired.' And that was the last of him!'
PROFESSOR ADAM SYGHTE, T B—and the lave' of our “Vishing Gompanie' in the ‘Tract of IOHN Brown,' take your eyes and throw them over the ensuing sentences, all the way from Prairie du Chien, which record ' A Night's Fish-Spearing on the Mississippi. The description is considerable' graphic:
* DURING one of my first visits to the Upper Mississippi, I noticed boats with fires perched upon their bows, gliding over its waters, like spectres, on still, calm evenings. On inquiry, I found that they were used for spearing fish! The boats had a very picturesque effect, the light reflecting on the occupants, some standing with spears clenched in their hands, their countenances gleaming with excitement, gazing into the darkness before them: the fire shedding over them its red glare and smoke, gave them the appearance of CHARON and his companions crossing the river Styx. Two friends who were with me, myself included, having a desire to try our skill with the spear, soon found means of gratifying it. It was a dark, cloudy night, when we, having obtained the right kind of a boat, one that would sit steadily upon the water, and of good dimensions, and a ‘Jack,' which is a kind of grate set upon the top of a post three or four feet in height on the bow of the boat, on which a fire is built with dry pine sticks, and is made to burn more brightly by an occasional sprinkle of rosin upon it: and stowing in our boat a quarter of a cord of pine wood to 'fire up' with, we took our departure. We had a jolly old steersman, of a size and proportion fit to do justice to any aldermanic chair, who could steer a boat to the nicety of a hair. He hinted, that on account of the prevalence of the ague, a wee drop of Old Rye'would be an article which prudence and his throat called upon us to take along; according to his suggestion we obtained a bottle of dew-drop.
LIKE balmy airs of sunny South
It brightens every scene!' We pulled up the Mississippi several miles, close in shore to avoid the current. The bluffs rose almost immediately from our boat to the height of several hundred feet, perpendicularly, and seemed ready to precipitate themselves upon us at any moment. As the fish are found in the 'sloughs' and lakes making out from the Mississippi, we crossed the river at a point which our guide thought would bring
us to the mouth of Greenleaf Slough;' but as it had been some time since he had been in that vicinity, he missed it by a mile or more. We found it, however, at last : its mouth was very narrow, with a strong current setting in at right angles with the river. It appeared like entering a dense forest: the trees, which grow large and luxuriantly on the islands and "bottoms' of the Mississippi, hung over from either side, meeting in the centre, and excluding what little light Night had
When we lighted our fire on the ‘jack,' the effect was truly strange and beautiful !
* We had just got well into the excitement of spearing, having in our boat three or four · Buffalo,' which would weigh twenty or thirty pounds each, and I having received a severe wound in my leg from a spear in the hands of one of my fellowfishermen who was endeavoring to disengage an enormous ‘Buffalo' from it; when we found farther progress by water barred by a mass of huge trees and roots, which had found lodgment across the 'slough.' We had either to return or to drag our boat over this 'Red-river raft.' We determined not to be baffled by any obstacle. After a short counsel of war, we placed our jack' upon the banks, and put our shoulders to the boat, which was very large and heavy. After a good half-hour's work, we succeeded in getting again afloat: but we were destined to still farther disappointment; for in less than ten minutes we came on to another raft, much more formidable than the first. The huge trunks and roots were piled up for the space of eight or ten rods to the height of six or eight feet in every conceivable shape and form. As we expected to return by the same route we came, this at first determined our return; but, after exploring beyond the raft and finding no more obstructions; knowing that by following the current we should again come into the Mississippi, unless the water sunk in the sand, we concluded to keep on. Most of us succeeded, before overcoming this raft, in getting into the water; but we laughed at our mishaps, took a sip of the 'dew-drop,' and pushed on. We found the fish plenty — the sport fine! It requires considerable practice to handle the spear with dexterity; and even then, more fish are lost than saved. They have generally to be struck while swimming rapidly, the boat being all the time in motion, slowly paddled by the steersman.
• About mid-night we found the water growing very shallow, and the boat grounded several times. We had been going all the time in a direction away from our point of departure, and were fearful that we should have to retrace our course, but the water became suddenly deeper; we emerged into a lake, and again entered another slough,' which changed our direction. Thus we floated on through lake and winding strait, the silence only broken by the projected spear or struggles of the captured game.
• About three o'clock A.M., we again found ourselves on the Mississippi a mile or two below our lodgings, where we arrived with our boat loaded with pike, pickerel, bass, sturgeon, sheep's-head, "buffalo,' etc. Our inner man calling for something to appease the Night's fasting, we proceeded to discuss a few delicate animals of the genus Oyster, species Cove, the only species well and favorably known in this section of the country.'
Perhaps we may, some time or other, accept ‘WAKEZEN's' hospitable offer. He is right: we do ‘love to fish.'
We propose to remark we to be deterred from doing so, because Mr. GRAY chances to be connected with this Magazine — that he has, in our judgment, the best-appointed, most extensive, and best-managed printing-office in the United States. Examine the
present number of the KNICKERBOCKER, scarcely a tithe of his multitudinous work. Does it not satisfy the eye? — does it not tell the story?' The celerity of the establishment is wonderful. At a latish period of the month, we came to town to finish off the number: and lo! all seemed "backward in coming forward,' by reason of the type-founder's delay in finishing off our new dress. “It will be all right,' said Mr. Gray: come to-morrow noon.' came: and there were the corrected proof-sheets, all ready for 'make-up;' read as only our proof-reader can read: all ready, with our almost unnecessary revision, for the stereotyper's chaldron. Now of these things we believe that it becomes us, in gratitude, somewhat to 'glory.' • The fact,' says the *Tribune,' amusingly, that Mr. CHARLES Mathews has appeared in an American theatre in a comedy in which he had not already won distinction on the Lon. don boards, but which play was written in America especially for him, will probably be a matter of some surprise to not a few of his London admirers, many of whom, we understand, look upon New-Yorkers as a sort of semi-civilized savages, who subsist upon the meat of the bears and buffaloes they slay in the immediate suburbs of the city, and who barter the skins of these valuable animals for admission tickets to the theatre. Whatever stories Mr. MATHEWS on his return may have to tell of the aborigines he has so fearlessly encountered, he will at least be able to inform his friends that certain ones of 'yo salvages ' have acquired a considerable facility in play-writing, and that in America has been written a comedy in which it is no condescension for the ‘first light comedian in England' to go through his professional paces.' THERE is a vein of originality pervading the annexed lines, which will transfix the attention of all lovers of the sublime and mystic in poetry :
Rise, JUPITER, with emerald hair,
And wake the snakes of Thessaly ; Who does not know that pán-cakes are
Devoured subjectively — and why? "Wise sages, of the olden time,
With introverted vision look ; But ah! a fip is not a dime,
And for mixed ‘snifters' can't be took.
Go, lovers of the sacred Styx,
And grind your laughter into tears ; While plaintive melody of bricks
Floats through the silence of the years. "Ye cannot count me as I run;
I play with stars at pitch and toss ; I am the uncle of the sun,
Half alligator and half hoss.'
'Do you take the idea ?'
The late lamented JOHN Wilson, the celebrated Scottish vocalist, who was as excellent a Man as he was a singer, used to narrate a circumstance which will remind ‘S. G. M.' of the subjectmatter of his communication to the Editor, which we may say in passing, awaits future publication : 'One pleasant Sunday in Glasgow,' said he one night in the sanctum, 'a stalwart Highland-man entered a drug-store, or apothecary's shop, and said: 'Have ye any spirits, or alcohol ? All the shops are closed, and I canna get a quaigh o' Glenlivat or Islay: I am sair thirsty. Canna ye gie me a wee drap o' somethin' warmin' ?' It really seemed a hard case : and the good-hearted apothecary helped him to what he supposed to be an uncommonly stiff horn of pure spirits, or alcohol. The man drank it off ; gave him one wild look; spread his two hands suddenly over the abdominal portion of his person, and immediately vacated the premises. The apothecary was startled: What was the matter with the man?' He took down the vessel
from which he had poured the devouring fluid, and found that he had given the man, by mistake, a bumper of aqua-fortis ! He was frightened half to death! The man had left his hat behind him, and the apothecary, bare-headed, rushed out with it in his hand, his hair flying in the wind, and ‘made hot pursuit' after the fugitive. But he was hopelessly gone. What a life of anxiety the poor fellow lived for some three months ! He was afraid to open the daily newspapers, lest he should see recorded the mysterious and melancholy death of his victim in the public streets. At length, however, his fears died away. Nothing was heard from the missing sufferer, until six months after the awful event: when, one pleasant Sunday morning, who should walk into his shop, but the dientical' individual himself! 'Have you got,' said he, to the astounded apothecary, "have you got any more of that liquor you sold me the last time I was here? If you have, give me a horn. I never tasted any thing like it. It went right to the spot ! Why, it lasted me a fortnight. No reduction about that fluid !' But the apothecary contented himself this time, by giving his returned customer a glass of pure spirits, as being by much the safer drink of the two.'
A WESTERN correspondent, who avows himself to have been incited to exertion by the success of the “Hen-Persuader,' has invented a 'Mortar-and-Plaster-Mixing Machine,' which, we think, must
come into general use. It is very simple : so are all great inventions. The plan, briefly stated, is as follows: ‘First: procure a common mortar-bed; put in the component parts, such as are generally used; then add a little corn, the quantity of which is to be graduated by the quantity of mortar or plaster to be made. Then turn in a few swine; and by the time the corn is gone, the mortar will be ready for use. In making plaster, the swine should stay in over night, to allow time for removing the hair, which the lime will accomplish : thus saving the expense of purchasing that article. The swine can then be removed and slaughtered, without the expense of scraping: thus, together with the labor of mixing, saving at least one-third the cost of the old plan.' How this may strike sculptors, masons, lath-and-plasterers, and others interested in plaster, mortar, etc., we of course cannot say: but to us, the invention seems quite a feasible one. At all events, the materials for an experiment are very accessible and cheap. We can't tell, “to a hog,' the precise swine-population of our Union; but we shall, we think, be safe in asserting, on the authority of the last census, that the number is large, and rapidly increasing.' But to us, the whole subject is a bore. The little fragment which ensues narrates an actual occurrence. We know not who is the author, but the lines are very beautiful :
“PRAY,' said a mother to her dying child:
looked - to Jesus raised his eyes,
DR. LIVINGSTONE, in the exceedingly interesting volume elsewhere noticed in the present number, 'Travels and Researches in South-Africa,' gives the following illustration of the strong love of offspring implanted in the breasts of African women :
"My knowledge in the line of obstetrics procured for me great fame in a department in which I could lay no claim to merit. A woman came a distance of one hundred miles for relief in a complaint which seemed to have baffled the native doctors ; a complete cure was the result. Some twelve months after she returned to her husband, she bore a son. Her husband having previously reproached her for being barren, she sent me a handsome present, and proclaimed all over the country that I possessed a medicine for the cure of sterility. The consequence was, that I was teased with applications from husbands and wives from all parts of the country. Some came upward of two hundred miles to purchase the great boon, and it was in vain for me to explain that I had only cured the disease of the other case. The more I denied, the higher their offers rose; they would give any money for the child medicine;' and it was really heart-rending to hear the earnest entreaty, and see the tearful eye, which spoke the intense desire for offspring : 'I am getting old; you see gray hairs here and there on my head, and I have no child; you know how Bechuana husbands cast their old wives away ; what can I do? I have no child to bring water to me when I am sick,' etc.' A touching incident.
Mr. Trow has not been so thoughtful as to send us a copy of our old friend Dr. Francis's Discourse before the New-York Historical Society : but we have read very good reports of it in the daily journals; and we take great pleasure in fully indorsing the following well-expressed opinion of the same: "The City of New-York is fortunate in the possession of such an enthusiastic antiquary and honest chronicler as the author of this Discourse. Dr. Francis is himself part and parcel of the Island of Manhattan: a native of its soil, he has always been identified with its interests: conversant with the lights and shadows of its society in the most various relations, he has watched its progress with a singularly observant eye: familiar with its most remarkable celebrities both in public and private life, he has stored his memory with a rich fund of personal anecdote : and with his great mental activity, his genial hilarity, and his wonderful copiousness of expression, he is admirably fitted for the task of recalling the events of the olden time, and presenting them to the living generation with a freshness scarcely diminished by the lapse of years.'
The following touching account of * Old Grimes' Last Gasp'we are assured is entirely ‘founded :' “After remaining some fifteen, perhaps sixteen, minutes in that sweet, placid, halfunconscious state, which is the gently 'inclined plane' of dissolution, that good old man' slowly lifted his filmy lids. With a fluttering hope, that was still half-despair, I watched the electric kindling of the old intelligence far down in the cold, vacuous depths of those beloved eyes, where once retributive lightning and healing benison, the lion and the lamb of his nature, had lain together. Suddenly the lips moved: I bent eagerly forward as the ghost of that voice, once so orotund and majestic, murmured brokenly: 'What — kind — of — a — panic is this, which is — disturb — ing the — country ?' I could only shake my head in sorrowful incomprehension, for grief