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Mr. Gathergold, in his young play-days, before his fingers were gifted with the touch of transmutation, had been accustomed to build of snow. It had a richly ornamented portico, sup
ported by tall pillars, beneath which was a lofty door, studded 5 with silver knobs, and made of a kind of variegated wood that
had been brought from beyond the sea. The windows, from the floor to the ceiling of each stately apartment, were composed, respectively, of but one enormous pane of glass, so trans
parently pure that it was said to be a finer medium than even 10 the vacant atmosphere. Hardly anybody had been permitted to
see the interior of this palace; but it was reported, and with good semblance of truth, to be far more gorgeous than the outside, insomuch that whatever was iron or brass in other houses was
silver or gold in this; and Mr. Gathergold's bedchamber, espe15 cially, made such a glittering appearance that no ordinary man
would have been able to close his eyes there. But, on the other hand, Mr. Gathergold was now so inured to wealth, that perhaps he could not have closed his eyes unless where the gleam
of it was certain to find its way beneath his eyelids. 20 In due time, the mansion was finished; next came the uphol
sterers, with magnificent furniture; then, a whole troop of black and white servants, the harbingers of Mr. Gathergold, who, in his own majestic person, was expected to arrive at sunset. Our
friend Ernest, meanwhile, had been deeply stirred by the idea 25 that the great man, the noble man, the man of prophecy, after
so many ages of delay, was at length to be made manifest to his native valley. He knew, boy as he was, that there were a thousand ways in which Mr. Gathergold, with his vast wealth,
might transform himself into an angel of beneficence, and 30 assume a control over human affairs as wide and benignant as
the smile of the Great Stone Face. Full of faith and hope, Ernest doubted not that what the people said was true, and that now he was to behold the living likeness of those wondrous
features on the mountain-side. While the boy was still gazing 35 up the valley, and fancying, as he always did, that the Great
Stone Face returned his gaze and looked kindly at him, the rumbling of wheels was heard, approaching swiftly along the winding road.
“Here he comes !” cried a group of people who were assembled 5 to witness the arrival. "Here comes the great Mr. Gathergold !”
A carriage, drawn by four horses, dashed round the turn of the road. Within it, thrust partly out of the window, appeared the physiognomy of the old man, with a skin as yellow as if his
own Midas-hand had transmuted it. He had a low forehead, 10 small, sharp eyes, puckered about with innumerable wrinkles,
and very thin lips, which he made still thinner by pressing them forcibly together.
“The very image of the Great Stone Face !" shouted the people. “Sure enough, the old prophecy is true; and here we have 15 the great man come, at last!"
And, what greatly perplexed Ernest, they seemed actually to believe that here was the likeness which they spoke of. By the roadside there chanced to be an old beggar-woman and two little
beggar-children, stragglers from some far-off region, who, as 20 the carriage rolled onward, held out their hands and lifted up
their doleful voices, most piteously beseeching charity. A yellow claw—the very same that had clawed together so much wealthpoked itself out of the coach-window, and dropt some copper
coins upon the ground; so that, though the great man's name 25 seems to have been Gathergold, he might just as suitably have
been nicknamed Scattercopper. Still, nevertheless, with an earnest shout, and evidently with as much good faith as ever, the people bellowed,
"He is the very image of the Great Stone Face !” 30 But Ernest turned sadly from the wrinkled shrewdness of
that sordid visage, and gazed up the valley, where, amid a gathering mist, gilded by the last sun beams, he could still distinguish those glorious features which had impressed themselves
into his soul. Their aspect cheered him. What did the benign 35 lips seem to say?
“He will come! Fear not, Ernest; the man will come !"
The years went on, and Ernest ceased to be a boy. He had grown to be a young man now. He attracted little notice from
the other inhabitants of the valley; for they saw nothing remark5 able in his way of life, save that, when the labor of the day was
over, he still loved to go apart and gaze and meditate upon the Great Stone Face. According to their idea of the matter, it was a folly, indeed, but pardonable, inasmuch as Ernest was
industrious, kind, and neighborly, and neglected no duty for 10 the sake of indulging this idle habit. They knew not that the
Great Stone Face had become a teacher to him, and that the sentiment which was expressed in it would enlarge the young man's heart, and fill it with wider and deeper sympathies than other
hearts. They knew not that thence would come a better wisdom 15 than could be learned from books, and a better life than could
be moulded on the defaced example of other human lives. Neither did Ernest know that the thoughts and affections which came to him so naturally, in the fields and at the fireside, and
wherever he communed with himself, were of a higher tone than 20 those which all men shared with him. A simple soul,-simple
as when his mother first taught him the old prophecy,—he beheld the marvelous features beaming adown the valley, and still wondered that their human counterpart was so long in making
his appearance. 25 By this time poor Mr. Gathergold was dead and buried; and
the oddest part of the matter was, that his wealth, which was the body and spirit of his existence, had disappeared before his death, leaving nothing of him but a living skeleton, covered over
with a wrinkled, yellow skin. Since the melting away of his 30 gold, it had been very generally conceded that there was no such
striking resemblance, after all, betwixt the ignoble features of the ruined merchant and that majestic face upon the mountainside. So the people ceased to honor him during his lifetime,
and quietly consigned him to forgetfulness after his decease. 35 Once in a while, it is true, his memory was brought up in con
nection with the magnificent palace which he had built, and which had long ago been turned into a hotel for the accommodation of strangers, multitudes of whom came, every summer,
to visit that famous natural curiosity, the Great Stone Face. 5 Thus, Mr. Gathergold being discredited and thrown into the shade, the man of prophecy was yet to come.
It so happened that a native-born son of the valley, many years before, had enlisted as a soldier, and, after a great deal
of hard fighting, had now become an illustrious commander. 10 Whatever he may be called in history, he was known in camps
and on the battle-field under the nickname of Old Blood-andThunder. This war-worn veteran, being now infirm with age and wounds, and weary of the turmoil of a military life, and
of the roll of the drum and the clangor of the trumpet, that had 15 so long been ringing in his ears, had lately signified a purpose
of returning to his native valley, hoping to find repose where he remembered to have left it. The inhabitants, his old neighbors and their grown-up children, were resolved to welcome
the renowned warrior with a salute of cannon and a public 20 dinner; and all the more enthusiastically, it being affirmed that
now, at last, the likeness of the Great Stone Face had actually appeared. An aid-de-camp of Old Blood-and-Thunder, traveling through the valley, was said to have been struck with the
resemblance. Moreover the schoolmates and early acquaintances 25 of the general were ready to testify, on oath, that, to the best
of their recollection, the aforesaid general had been exceedingly like the majestic image, even when a boy, only that the idea had never occurred to them at that period. Great, therefore, was
the excitement throughout the valley; and many people, who 30 had never once thought of glancing at the Great Stone Face for
years before, now spent their time in gazing at it, for the sake of knowing exactly how General Blood-and-Thunder looked.
On the day of the great festival, Ernest, with all the other people of the valley, left their work, and proceeded to the spot 35 where the sylvan banquet was prepared. As he approached, the
loud voice of the Rev. Dr. Battleblast was heard, beseeching a blessing on the good things set before them, and on the distinguished friend of peace in whose honor they were assembled.
The tables were arranged in a cleared space of the woods, shut 5 in by the surrounding trees, except where a vista opened east
ward, and afforded a distant view of the Great Stone Face. Over the general's chair, which was a relic from the home of Washington, there was an arch of verdant boughs, with the laurel
profusely intermixed, and surmounted by his country's banner, 10 beneath which he had won his victories. Our friend Ernest
raised himself on his tiptoes, in hopes to get a glimpse of the celebrated guest; but there was a mighty crowd about the tables anxious to hear the toasts and speeches, and to catch any word
that might fall from the general in reply; and a volunteer com15 pany, doing duty as a guard, pricked ruthlessly with their bay
onets at any particularly quiet person among the throng. . So Ernest, being of an unobtrusive character, was thrust quite into the background, where he could see no more of Old Blood-and
Thunder's physiognomy than if it had been still blazing on the 20 battle-field. To console himself, he turned towards the Great
Stone Face, which, like a faithful and long-remembered friend, looked back and smiled upon him through the vista of the forest. Meanwhile, however, he could overhear the remarks of
various individuals, who were comparing the features of the 25 hero with the face on the distant mountain-side.
“ 'Tis the same face, to a hair!” cried one man, cutting a caper for joy.
“Wonderfully like, that's a fact !” responded another.
"Like! why, I call it Old Blood-and-Thunder himself, in a 30 monstrous looking-glass !" cried a third. "And why not? He's the greatest man of this or any other age, beyond a doubt.”
And then all three of the speakers gave a great shout, which communicated electricity to the crowd, and called forth a roar
from a thousand voices, that went reverberating for miles among 35 the mountains, until you might have supposed that the Great