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their throne and sceptre usurped — their kingdom po more - their father's graves bore the imprint of other footsteps and they looked upon the wreck like Caius Marius on poor fallen Carthage !
The game, too, by instinct, commenced their emigration. No longer screened by the green shadows of the forest, they sought another home by the wild shores of the Pacific. The echo of the woodman's axe was no music to them, and each blow started them from their forest reveries. They, too, followed the Indians, and destruction then commenced with greater fury than ever.
At last, in the course of events, my turn came. I was then a goodly tree, and held my head as high as almost any brother by my side. 'I recollect a little thick, chubby personage came waddling along, with an axe upon his shoulder, muttering against his ill fortune, and leaning against my trunk, swore that wood-chopping was nothing but slavery, and no man, with the least spark of freedom, would ever be caught at it. He said his master had no more heart than a rock; that he saw about as much of society as an owl, owing to his sequestered employment; and he had a good mind, he said, to quit the business, and join the army, as General Washington was much in want of volunteers. After discharging the bile from his stomach, he seemed to feel better; and commenced in good earnest to hack away. The consequence was, that I soon expired, though not exactly without a groan. My limbs were handsomely trimmed up, and some part burnt, while other portions were transported to a certain establishment, and there converted into broom-sticks, and finally into a broom itself.
The process of manufacturing cannot much interest my readers. The proceeding is a common one, without much novelty or poetry to recommend it. I might say, in a fanciful way, that here I was baptized, as I received my name, or rather changed it. I had for a long time been an ornament to the forest; now I was to become the thing of a kitchen — to be handled by servants, house-wives, etc. But in the first place, I had the satisfaction of being placed, or rather hung, in front of the village store. A hole had been bored through my head, a leather string run through, and I was thus exposed for sale to the highest bidder. I recollect being witness to many confidential interviews which passed between the merchant and his clerk. The former, in a supposed confidential way, began one night to boast of the profits arising from having his yard-stick some sixteenth of an inch too short. The world, he said, obtained a living by knavery — why should not be help to play the game ? The lawyer fleeced his clients the doctor his patients ; large salaries commanded the genius of the pulpit ; in fact, there was trickery in all business, and all professions, and why should not be live by the same means? He then asked the clerk if the sugar had been sanded, the rum watered, and the goods marked up. He proposed, among other things, to get up a dissolution, and sell all the goods off at cost,' as they had now an unusual quantity of the old stock on hand, and that would be the only method of effecting an entire sale of every thing.
I must confess I was astonished at such a colloquy; but being
dumb, I could not of course express my feelings. Oh, how I wished that some one would drop in and purchase me ! But each one urged some objection, and it was long before I found a master.
At last a poor ragged-looking outcast staggered up to me, and grasping my head, steadied himself into the store, where a bargain was soon under way. He was, indeed, a pitiable object. His shoe gaped open at the toe, and the dirty woollen yarn fluttered from the orifice. His pantaloons and coat altogether outrivalled Joseph's in color, and the rainbow into the bargain. Oh, he had a beautiful face ! It was all dotted with little red spots, which shone and bloomed, in palpable relief. There was a rheumy substance flowing continually from his eyes, and the lashes which were — or rather had been bathing therein, were now completely scalded away. His breath was quite unlike the spicy gales of the east; and some one declared in my hearing that it was inflammable. I soon saw that the man was no friend of the merchant's. It might be that there was not sufficient confidence reposed in his paper.
Cash was insisted
but the buyer as strongly insisted upon credit. At last, however, the merchant got the best of the argument, and I was purchased.
My new master and I started for home, but, alas ! we did not reach it. He became extremely weary, from various causes, and dropping behind a hedge, he fell asleep, and so remained until morning. While he was in a state of insensibility, a sly urchin came by, and after mischievously tying him to the fence, grasped me with great eagerness, and ran away. He carried me along on his shoulder, whistling as he went, for want of thought,' until he came to a rapid river that ran by the road side, where he Aung me in, and
I launched, like a dart, far down the rapid tide.
I recollect as I came to a still, deep spot in the river, I beheld a fisherman sitting very quietly under the shadow of a bank, in patient hope of a nibble. He looked like a statue - so calm so placid so composed. Nothing sublunary appeared to trouble him. The little bubbles and foam played round his line the small whirlpools gathered here and there, taking the saw-dust in their circles — and every now and then some 'trout in speckled pride' threw himself above the tranquil surface of the waters. I saw the fisherinan, and he saw me. With what anxiety he watched me! As I neared the shore, he rose upon his feet, and reaching afar with his pole, vored to draw me to the shore ; but he lost his balance, and toppling over, away he went. We floated in company down to the shallows, where he struggled upon his feet, and paused to take breath. Having no time to waste, I could not tarry with him ; so bidding him good morning,' I pursued my solitary way.
Onward and onward I moved, until I reached a little mill-dam, and floating idly into the floom of a cloth-dressing establishment, became entangled under the wheel, on the ‘apron,' and soon brought the whole concern to a pause. The head-water on the wheel was extremely light; and being of good substantial oak, my beauty was but slightly marred. Soon, however, the foreman came down, his mouth overflowing with oaths, and denounced all the floating trash that ever swam on water; and when, at last, he reached me, I was
jerked out with great spite, and, with an imprecation, thrown into the race-way.
At last, I wheeled into a quiet little pool, almost buried by the creeping herbage that gathered above it. I had not remained long in this situation, before I heard a rustling among the vines, and presently a sweet form burst through, and stood watching me in silence. The waters never before mirrored a lovelier face. She was extremely plain and simple in her costume, but every thing about her exhibited great care and cleanliness. She reached out her hand, and grasped me; and after eyeing me quite curiously, hurried away with me toward the house. I was taken into a little cottage, where every thing indicated what the world terms poverty. Ah! how little the world knows of what constitutes real happiness! There were no shining mirrors — no draped damask swaying to every breeze – no Brussels carpeting to tread upon — but nature was there : hill, valley, rock, and pure breezes, were the wealth and treasures of this spot.
The whole family consisted only of a mother, and three children who gathered around, and many were the surmises passed upon me. I might have floated off with the last freshet ; perhaps some unruly urchin had plunged me into the stream, or some other strange accident might have befallen me. And then they reasoned, that it was wrong to take possession of me. They finally concluded, however, to adopt me, and I soon became an inmate of the family. I could scarcely have fallen into hands where I should have been obliged to be more industrious. Neatness and order were the predominant qualities of the household. To appearance, every one was happy; and the hours as they passed, were welcomed by cheerful and contented hearts. The family rose in the twilight of the morning, and the sluggard never entered their doors. Unfortunately my residence here was doomed to be a brief one. One summer day, a poor tattered-looking being came in, and solicited alms. As benevolence was a prominent feature in the character of the inmates, he was soon supplied with the necessaries of life, and to all appearance was extremely grateful for their charity. As he passed out, however, he seized, partially concealed, and bore me away in triumph. He seemed greatly to pride himself on his success, and then immediately began planning to himself schemes to obtain more plunder. With this villain I kept company many days; and the art and deception which he used to excite the pity and liberality of his dupes, would scarcely be credited. At last, my peregrinations were brought to a close, and my master sat me up in a corner, in his own house. This house wa situated in a valley between two towering hills — a fit spot
for one who pursued its occupant's line of business. The rooms were crowded with plunder, and the children, who had been bred to the employment of their father, were as wicked in appearance as reality. I was often amused in watching them, while engaged in their decorations, previous to a sally forth in pursuit of sympathy. How they studied the passions — the melancholy whine — the instantaneous shedding of tears! What charity would not bestow, vice obtained by theft. This little company dispersed themselves over a wide extent of country, and weeks frequently passed ere their return. I often wished that the power of speech had been bestowed upon me. Then, I
thought, I would make an exposition of my master's wicked house. But, alas ! I lost my head here, and this is the simple tale of my decapitation.
My master remarked to my mistress that the day was a cloudy one, and the skies indicated rain. She begged leave to differ — it was too cool to rain. He declared he had known it rain when it was much cooler. She averred that there could be no such thing. He said she was always in the opposition. She maintained he was 'no better than he should be.' This he conceived to be no less than slander outright, and spitefully spit in her face. She, in return, caught me up, and anon, thick and fast fell the blows upon her 'ť other half.' At last my head flew off in the conflict, and being thus ruined, I was thrown far down the declivity, and consigned, as supposed, to oblivion.
It so happened, that a fine boy, who was rambling among the hills, saw me in my prostrate condition, and like the good Samaritan, took compassion upon my exposed situation. Catching me up, he bore me along in the capacity of a walking-staff. He was just at that romantic age when hope colored the future with her most gorgeous hues. Rustic and simple, the world was a mystery to him, and he lived in imagination a hundred lives. How insensible he appeared to the fact that he was linking his heart to those hills and streams, by a cord too firm for the world ever to sunder that images were engraving themselves upon his soul which would live forever! He was dreaming of ambition : wealth, learning, power, dominion, were his gods. Poor child ! Although I am a broomstick, yet let me moralize. And I would ask, could this biography reach him, if he ever turned, in the busy pathway of life, to those pure hills that shadowed the cottage of his nativity ? I would ask him, if the recollection of those spots are not living fountains to his thirsty soul? Oh! he has not forgotten their woody aisles — the summer wind that twinkled the foliage of the trees the rainbow glories that hung there in beauty, when silent autumn came on with solemn pace. The tiny brook that fell leaping from on high, turned bis wheel, while he gazed mutely by, in young astonishment. He hears again, in fancy, the deep bay of his dog reverberating afar among the rocks; the chatter of the squirrel, that provoked him from his secure eyrie on high, breaks once more upon his busy ear. Sweet, indeed, are such reminiscences! They are the only pure balm for the troubled spirit. But to return.
The little urchin who took charge of me, after rambling for many hours, conveyed me home, where I was quietly placed in the corner of the room.
The first objects which I observed on my arrival, were two young ladies, of very pleasing appearance. I soon learned that they were orphans, and resorted to needle-work for a livelihood. The village itself was quite a conspicuous little spot, and distinguished for the pride and gentility of its people. But a false pride tyrannized over these two ladies. They were ashamed of their employment. Standing quietly in my corner, listening to the ceaseless stitch of the needle, I have seen the whole stock and business disappear by a solitary rap at the door. They would then shake the wrinkles from
their dresses, gather a stray curl to its proper place, assume a convivial demeanor, and declare to their company that slaves only labored for a living. How ignorant they affected themselves in regard to industry! But the strangest delusion of all, was the supposition that the world was ignorant of their schemes. The world knew them all; and many is the joke that has been uttered by young bucks, in my presence, on this subject, when the ladies had for a moment left the room.
Had the power of speech been granted me, methinks I might have given them some good counsel. I would have charged them never to be ashamed of industry, let the nature of their employment be what it might. Industry is always honorable. The sluggard is a nuisance to society. And young ladies ought to consider that such conduct is only throwing a brief deception around them, which must disappear, when marriage at last overtakes them. She who has been instrumental in deceiving a lover, generally receives her punishment at the hands of a husband. And the world are not always deceived, though such may be the opinion of those who play the game. When this is the case, contempt and scorn are the natural consequence.
While I was an inmate in this family, I had an opportunity of witnessing another poor specimen of humanity. He occupied a front room, in the second story of the house, and bad been for years a victim to patent medicines. He had read the manifold advertisements of these articles, until he imagined himself possessed of every disease in Christendom.. Around his apartment, arranged in rows, might be seen the productions of the whole host of empirics, from Adam downward. Poor deluded soul! Pale and emaciated, he crawled around his room, suffering more from imagination than ten thousand realities could have inflicted. He murmured at every change in the weather. The damp morning incurred his bitter denunciations ; the clear sky was too bracing for his consumptive constitution; in short, no change of climate or season was acceptable to him. He daily died a hundred deaths in fearing one. He kept in attendance a quack physician, who invariably steamed bim once a week, to prepare his system, as he said, for the mysterious medicine which was to follow. He condoled often with his patient in thus being so unfortunately afflicted, and declared that it was not so much his fee which he desired, as it was to be a philanthropist to mankind. The fact was, the patient had been blessed with a good stock of health ; but in a weak moment, he submitted to quackery; and from that period, had been undergoing the process of slow murder. From morning until night, and from night until morning again, I have listened to his ‘ugh ! -ugh!
ugh!' — his
his sighs. Still, he was made to believe that he was mending fast;' and even while the quack was declaring that he would yet see good days, and be a blessing to his friends,' he died !
In this family, I had been used for almost every purpose. On Mondays I was engaged to stir up the clothes, as they hang boiling and bubbling over the fire. Three days at least in the week I was hurled at the fowls and pigs, when they encroached too near the kitchen door. Sometimes I might be seen bracing