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• Ay, ay, why shonld n't it be? It's the making of hundreds now-a-days. I am getting tired of my slavish life. There are the rich, with more than they know what to do with; here am I, a poor man. The more I think of it, the more it do n't seem to be right, that one man should have so much more than another. But I'll try this new way before I'm a month older, I'm be goy-blamed if I do n't !'
Here the conversation dropped. But the next morning, bright and early, without saying a word to any one, what does he do, but get up his one-horse wagon, and drive post-haste, four miles to the village of Flushing. When he came back, in a few hours, his beast was 'in a perfect lather,' and somebody was with him. This was one who gloried in the imposing title of Attorney and Counsellor at Law,' a man very much known and distinguished throughout the county. He had for many years practised at the bar, and possessed many qualities essential to the profession. When he lifted up his voice in court, he roared like thunder, mingling heaven and earth together, and making up in wind what he wanted in argument. His style of speaking was such as to take the popular ear. He culled the noblest words, and most highsounding expressions, and made a cheerful sacrifice of sense, if so be that he could wind up with a roaring cataract. When equity so much abounded on the island as to leave little foot-hold for law, he resorted to the respectable and lately very profitable calling of a surveyor
of lands. This stranger had not arrived three minutes at the place, before Mrs. Robert Kushow was informed of it, by a general irruption of the children into the kitchen, who came to say, 'that a great gentleman was a-walkin' with daddy.'
· My sakes alive !' said she, going hastily to the window, I guess Robin has sold the Hill.? And with that, drawing the curtain aside, she narrowly scrutinized their motions. At first they stood stock still, for about five minutes, on the top of the hill, as if to take a bird’seye view of the premises. Then they walked round and round the house. Then they went down to the foot of the garden, and looked into the pig-stye. Thence they proceeded to the hollow by the duck-pond. Here they appeared to enter into animated conversation, and the surveyor began to saw the air with his right arm, as if he were indicating the probable direction of an street. Then, with long strides, he paced off the ground. 'I wonder what all this means,' thought she ; 'Robin has got a kink in his head, that's certain.'
* A very pretty property,' said the surveyor, when he entered the house, a half an hour afterward, and at the same time he nodded his head frequently, and smiled in a complimentary way, 'a ver-y pret-ty prop-erty, and we 'll see what can be done with it. I am much engaged at present, and shall be for some time to come. I am at Salt Meadows, with all my hands, for two weeks, and then I am to lay out the little plains, and then the bog lots. After that I shall be at your service. A very pretty property, Sir, and as I said just now, we 'll see what can be done with it.'
From that time, Robin looked steadily forward to the sale of his land, and directed all his movements accordingly. He forbore to
put any seed in the ground, which would be throwing away his labor upon others, and would not enhance the value of building lots at all. He disposed of some of his live stock, and the least valuable of his farming utensils, and what was worse than all, with a mercenary ingratitude, he sold his báy inare, now far gone in the vale of years, which had done him so much service, and carried so many bags of corn to the mill to be ground, to be ground up herself into bone ma
He scraped all the manure off the place, being wisely determined to make what he could of it, before he delivered it into other hands. This he was now ready to do at a moment’s warning.
The surveyor came at the appointed time, bringing a couple of hands' with him, beside chains and apparatus, and set himself busily to work, having first ordered the children away, because they bothered' him. He disposed of the whole farm in the following manner. He divided it into two hundred lots, of all manner of shapes, oblong, triangular, and rhomboidal. These lay on either side of a great avenue, called Allegany Avenue, which commenced at the house, on the summit of the Crow-Hill, descended and crossed over the duck-pond, passed through and through the barn, and pursuing its uninterrupted course, came out at last in Hell-Fire Lane.* Robin had some objections to this route, and had a good deal rather that the avenue would 'kind o' edge rëound the barn, without smashin' right into it.' But the surveyor said it must go straight; that whoever bought the duckpond, it was their look out, not his; that they could fill it up, or build a bridge over it, or do whatever they pleased with it. As for the barn, it could easily be turned round, and converted into a respectable two-story dwelling. The surveyor laid out the lots on a chart, in a 'first-rate style,' putting a beautiful arrow in the corner, to show the points of compass, laying down a scale of inches, and printing the title of the property in German Text characters, so that it did the eye good to look at it, and Mrs. Kushow could not but acknowledge that it was 'beautifully drawed.' Finally, he computed the value of the lots, and having put tens under tens, hundreds under hundreds, and thousands under thousands, ‘Now,' says Bob, ‘jist cast up, and see what it all comes to.' He did so, and wrought out the amazing result of nine thousand nine hundred and ninety odd dollars.
* This is so called, from intersecting grounds which have been the occasion of 'neverending, still-beginning strifes betwixt two brothers, and the matter is not, nor ever likely to be, disposed of, to the satisfaction of the parties. This unnatural wrangling and litigation, and the bandying of unchristian epithets to which it has given rise, beside the looks of the place, are sufficient to justify the name, and to be an apology to 'ears polite. For the thick-set hedge of furse and cedar, which skirts it on either side, matted and locked together, and interwoven over head, utterly refuses to let in the sun-beams, and the ruggid lane is so full of sharp rocks and rude projecting briars, that a load of hay or a flock of sheep can with difficulty squeeze through, without leaving the greater part of themselves behind. The apples which hang over this lane are as red as fire, and sour as vinegar. The good taste of the surveyor suggested that the name of it be altered, not only for the sake of euphony, but for the better reasons, that it would ruin the speculation altogether ; that they should burn their fingers, and that it was hard that a road which had persevered in a straight course through so many obstacles, should come out in Hell-Fire Lane after all. An ill name, however, deservedly acquired, cannot be shuffled off at any time for a new one, any more than a thief can christen himself an honest man at leisure. Hence this lane is called by the neighbors, and all who have occasion to speak of it, Hell-Fire Lane unto this day.
*Guy ! exclaimed the delighted owner, 'it come pretty nigh mountin' up to ten thousand !'
• I think it will be more likely to exceed that sum, Sir, when the lots come to be sold.'
*Well then, e'posin' we split the difference, and say, in rëound numbers, ten thousand ?'
Very well, Sir, we 'll say ten thousand.'
That,' continued Robin, " is as fur as I dare go; but lands is risin' all the time, and if this state of things goes on, before the day of sale comes, there is no tellin' how wallable them lots
become.' • That's all very true, Sir; a very pretty property — a very pretty property.'
With the exception of a little flutter of the spirits, occasioned by several persons calling to look at the place, Robin now kept his mind as calm as he could, and patiently bided his time. But in order to leave no stone unturned,' one thing more, which suggested itself, was put into execution. He got hand-bills struck off at the printingoffice, in the adjacent village, which he had pasted on every tree from Crow-Hill to Brooklyn on the one side, and from Crow-Hill to Jericho on the other.
These were to the following effect, and headed in large characters :
'REAL ESTATE ! 'A GREAT chance is now offered to capitalists for investment. On the tenth of June, will be sold at auction, at the Merchants' Exchange, New-York, the whole of that valuable property known as the Estate of Robert Kushow, Esq., of Crow-Hill, LongIsland. No pains nor expense have been spared in improving the premises, which possess a commanding prospect, and are admirably adapted to country seats. Such an opportunity rarely offers. Ten per cent. must be paid down on the day of sale. Lithographic maps may be had on application. .N. B. Crow-Hill is only two and a half miles from the Rail-Road.'
Thus had Robin fairly committed himself, and engaged with his whole soul in that dangerous spirit, which having tardily visited the island, and almost spent itself, arrived last of all, to inspire new hopes and loftier expectations among the once contented inhabitants of Crow-Hill. Mrs. Kushow did not indeed possess the sanguine nature of her husband, but her mind had lost its balance, and she had not any more that tranquil spirit, which, rejoicing in food and raiment, has learned therewith to be content. What marvel is it that Robin, unaccustomed to reasoning, and imposed upon by the false appearance of things, should have been persuaded blindly to
take his chance,' when the example of all around him went to promote the spirit of gambling? Hundreds of reasonable men, whose first speculations had been founded on correct principles, and who then played, at least with judgment, had become infatuated, plunging lower into operations, which were essentially gaming, and with which reason had nothing to do. When the intelligent and educated permit themselves to be beguiled, it is easy to find an excuse for the ignorant and simple-hearted.
One evening, in the month of May, a little before sun-set, about three weeks before the appointed day of sale, Robin was negligently sitting, or rather reclining, on the sill of his door, in his shirt sleeves, smoking a pipe. The wife, in a clean cap, sat knitting in the entry, and the young Kushows lay flat upon their backs on the grass,
ing up their bare legs in the air. The wicker gate gradually opened, and an aged man, with white locks, approached, leaning on the top of his staff. It is father Williams,' said Mrs. Kushow, and with a kind alacrity, ran to place a cushioned chair in the porch.
• Young folks think old folks fools,' began the patriarch, with difficulty, bending, and fetching a sigh in the interim, “but old folks know young ones to be so;' and he immediately began to caution Robin against selling the estate. He said that he had lived fifty years in the neighborhood of Black-Stump, and had not lived all that time for nought. That he had seen such carryings-on' before, and that the end of them all was ruination. He did not say that Crow Hill might not be sold for ten thousand dollars, but he did say it would be the worst thing that could happen to its owner. For those whom Fortune favors with her golden smiles, are most likely, in the end, to be irretrievably ruined. He told him to‘let well enough alone;' that
all was not gold that glistened,' and in many a homely adage and proverb, 'none the worse for wear,' went on to caution him. But it did not produce the good effect intended. His mind was 'made up.' The more he listened to reason, the more stiff-necked he became; and when he found no answer to argument, his mind took refuge in unalterable resolution. The old man gave up disputing with him, and told him to take his own way.
On the eve of the expected day of sale, Robin retired to bed at an early hour, but could not for a long time sleep, for thinking. He lay, on his back, smiling in the dark, carried away with sweet anticipations. At last, nature could hold out no longer; his eyes grew heavy, and he slept. But it was a disturbed repose, not like the wellearned reward of toil. He muttered like a guilty man, threw his arms wildly about, started up, snorted abruptly, and nearly kicked his wife out of bed. In the midst of his slumbers, he had a dream. He dreamed that the trial was past, that the long agony was over,
even as he had predicted, and he was rich. No more ploughing, no more sowing, no more earning his bread by the sweat of his brow. He delivered the homestead to strangers, and turned his back upon the hill. He set out on a long journey to visit his parents. They were old and decrepid, and he wished to see them before they died. A year passed away, for in dreams time is nothing, and he returned to his old abode. He did not know the place. The spirit of change had been busy. A great town had sprung up. Instead of the voice of the bird, he heard the hum of men, and the rattling of wheels, instead of the croaking of bull-frogs. The duckpond was become a beautiful lake, and the clap-boarded hovel a stately mansion, colonnaded, and with windows down to the floor, the future residence of Robert Kushow. He was revelling in the very clover of this dream, when he awoke.
It was morning, a beautiful morning. The unclouded sun was brilliantly rising, as if to give earnest of a bright and prosperous day. Robin sprang from his bed, threw up the sash, and looked out. The refreshing breath of the morning met him, and the sweet song and carol of the birds. He heard the dear familiar voice of the quail, distinctly aspirating from the distant fields, · B..o..6 Wh-ite! B..o..6 Wh-ite?' He plunged his whole head into a basin of water, dressed
himself expeditiously, and with the most buoyant spirits, hurried forth to attend to his necessary affairs, and to make his arrangements to go to the city. I shall record his subsequent adventures and successes, in another and concluding number.
"Ir a Huron woman dream thrice of her deceased husband, she believes that he requires her prerence in the land of souls,' and immediately obeys the summons by a voluntary death, commonly putting a period to her existence by a dose of poison.'
OLD NEW-YORK MAGAZINE.
We have met! – we have met !- I have seen him now,