Imágenes de páginas

a mariner, and who was charitably adjudged by the neighbors of his day and time to have been a corsair. At home, though silent and reserved, he was as peaceable as any Christian man need be. He always impressed it upon his daughter, however, that not in his day should that chest be opened. “I dread to look at it,' said he. Wild as he might have been to men, to his daughter he was kind, and she loved him the more because the world around loved him less.

Though after his death she was at full liberty to open the chest, she would as soon have thought of tearing up her father's portrait; and with her peculiar notions, she soon associated its inviolability with, as she phrased it, good luck; and the more years that rolled over, the more secure did the quaint old depository become. Her daughter was too fond of her mother to do aught to displease or vex her, and her wish Heinrich was but too happy to follow. There was in Frankfort no first-of-May custom of chaos; and though Heinrich often thought that it ought to be opened, it was not.

The departure was made, the old chest was brought out to the day, and they left the city of their ancestors for the New World, where life has something else in it than the gloomy round of a struggle for subsistence. Their neighbors sang a strain of sad but sweet music as the steamer left the wharf; and Heinrich and his family would have answered by song, but they could not sing while Frankfort was fading from the view.

Our chronicles are of the lake, not the ocean, so we cannot be historians of the voyage. When it was good weather, they longed for America; when it was storm and sea-sickness, they mourned for home.

Heinrich was no man to linger in a city. Frankfort was all the city be desired, and that was left behind. He held a renewed council when the family were gathered in an obscure German boarding-house in Greenwichstreet in New-York. The associations there did not add to their happiness, nor to their stock of funds, scanty when they left home, and almost entirely exhausted now. This time Heinrich was almost the only speaker. “My children,' said he, 'we are not of those who go to the public for relief. We may have to do so, but we will try ourselves first. We will go westward ; ' and Lucille was delighted. She had looked out for the Indians every day since she landed, and she wanted to be out of NewYork.

Their arrangements for departure were soon accomplished. Father, children, grandmother, and chest were all received at the wharf in Albany by a canal-boat, which, according to the usage in such cases, was crowded from stem to stern, and was as disagreeable as could have been desired by the most melancholy tastes. It was in the summer of 1832 when these incidents occurred, a time when the cholera was pervading this state, and was every where a desolation. Heinrich had his plans rather vaguely defined. He intended to go west, which is definite or indefinite, according as you are headed right, as they say at sea; but how to obtain the land he wanted was in the future. Still, men of energy and of mind often encounter a shapeless future, moulding it as they advance. The detail of the canal-passage was a sad one. The cleanliness of the Heinrich family was in their favor, and their good sense caused them to take many precautions neglected by their companions. It would have been well indeed, if all their companions had been as wise; but the usual disregard of prudence and neatness worked its legitimate result. The cholera broke out in the boat, and it became a dismal and gloomy journey. The plans of Heinrich, which were formed with a tinge of the couleur de rose in them, became less distinct, and by the time the boat had advanced beyond Syracuse, he was as near despair as could arise in his character. There was among the passengers a Pennsylvanian, a resident of those northern counties of that state, which then, as they even now are, were rather wild and secluded, but on whose fortunes the Erie road is exerting a most benefical influence. He talked with Heinrich, and being a Pennsylvanian, had no difficulty in expressing his views in German ; entered into his plans and sympathized with him, concluding all by advising him to give up the going to the west, and to leave the canal at Montezuma, and go to Pike county in his state, where he had lands that he would dispose of to him for a mere trifle — as well he might, if by this he could get them settled. But we will not attribute improper motives to the Pennsylvanian, for he gave Heinrich a small addition to his funds, and when they came ashore at Montezuma, he busied himself in procuring for him a wagon and team, with which to transport his family and the few movables, including the chest, which had accompanied him. The Pikecounty man said he would go ahead and beat' a track for him. Those boys of yours,' said he, “ will soon raise something, even out of our rough hilis;' and with kind wishes he parted, having given him directions as to his route, which was to be along the Cayuga, and via Ithaca and Owego, to the promised land.

The journey southward was begun on the morrow. It refreshed and invigorated the heart of Heinrich to have thus found sympathy and kindness in a strange land, and he entered into animated conversation with the family. As for them, they were charmed by the incidents of the route, and the more, when from the height of land at the Bridge, the Cayuga spread itself before them, like a band of silver spread upon the green earth. There were earnest congratulations that they were rid of the canal-boat, and wondering surmises as to what Pike county would prove to be. The old lady rather liked the promise of the mountain, and was soon off in a series of wild hill-and-forest legends of the father-land. Suddenly she started, and exclaimed, “My children, do you know what day this is ?' Heinrich answered, it was the twenty-fifth of August. “I knew it,' she said, exultingly. "The very day that the good Agnes received canonization. Ah! there is good luck for us in store to-day. “I trust there is,' replied Heinrich. “I see my friend has marked a place called Aurora, as that where we are to dine. This ride has given me a strong desire that the good luck shall come in the shape of a good dinner.'

As they rode along, Heinrich talked freely with his children of the hope that they would yet be able to go to the west. He had read intelligently of that glorious region, of its capacities for the formation by the hand of industry of independent position - a place where the boys could have a home of their own. My own,' that word which only in America is used by the people individually, as well as collectively. Their progress was as pleasant as animated converse generally makes a journey;

the old lady insisting on some good luck being about to befall them, and the children joining, with the buoyancy of thought of the young, in her fancy. Heinrich urged ahead to the place of dinner.

The day was cloudless, and of course, in August, hot. The lake was calm and as quiet as peace itself. Its waters were the mirror of the sky, and the blue above and the deep beneath' answered in loveliness to each other, while the transparency of the fluid made it easy to count the very pebbles at the bottom, for fathoms in depth. They had now arrived at the Cedar Heights, and Lucille proposed that, under its plea ant shade, they should give their horses and themselves a temporary rest and shelter. Heinrich rather demurred at stopping so near their dining-place, but Lucille was so like her mother that he never had the heart to refuse her any thing. So the team was fastened to a tree, and the family sat down on the verge of the heights; the pleasant foliage above, and that calm and beautiful lake beneath them.

The noon-hour is always the quietest even in the quiet country; the meal has drawn to the house the cultivators of the field, and there is what Bryant truthfully designates a slumberous silence. While Lucille and the old lady were devising all manner of improbable fancies as to the particular form in which the good luck was coming, as the latter was sure, on this St. Agatha's day, it would come, Heinrich and the boys continued to talk, and hope while they talked, of the garden west. He did not like the rocks of old Pike much, as they rose to view in his mind, but he was determined to press

forward. Just at this juncture a noisy watch-dog, that professed to guard the nearest farm-house, deemed it, very absurdly, his duty to tear down the road and commence a furious barking in front of the horses. There was more consequence in his bark than he imagined ; just as great results often ensue from the noise that the foolish make. The horses, aroused from their doze, started suddenly back, and thus broke their halter, and, frightened by its dangling about their heads, reared, plunged, and by way of climax, commenced a vigorous run-away. The old chest rattled as they ran, and this, added to the continued noise of the dog, who thought he had achieved a victory, aroused Heinrich and the family, who followed after in a spasmodic attempt to arrest the flight. The human part of the chase was distanced, but the valiant dog kept up with the horses, and barking and jumping furiously at the nigh horse, he crowded the team to the lake side of the road, so that while going at full speed they suddenly turned to the right, and dashed down the small ravine, the locality of which the tourist can see, by the unpainted wooden boat-house at the place where the little glen is terminated by the beach. The descent is very rapid, and the ravine narrow. The horses, wild with excitement and goaded on by the dog, tore through the defile, and suddenly turning to the left as they came on the beach,

crushed over, and its contents were violently thrown out. The chest struck with great force upon a rock, and its cover was dashed in and broken, and out rolled into the bright waters a complete rain of gold and silver coin, which lay among the smooth stones, tesselating the bottom, as it were, with a brilliant pavement of glittering metal and many-colored pebbles, the transparency of the water causing all to seem as if cased in crystal. The dog, struck in its fall by the chest, went barking back,

the wagon

the blow the only reward of his over-zeal. The onward flight of the horses, encumbered by the capsized wagon, was readily arrested by one of the boys.

Heinrich had bitter feelings as he saw the wagon go down the ravine. "Good luck with a vengeance,' cried he, “if this is it. A wagon to pay for, and all oar goods in the water probably. If this is St. Agatha's day, it is a sad one. But he worked as well as talked, and in a few moments he and the family were at the scene of the disaster, and the old lady followed with all possible dispatch. There lay the broken chest, and all around it shone and sparkled in the sun's bright rays the gold. The long-kept secret of the corsair's treasure, a treasure probably gathered in the fierce and terrible conflicts of the wild seas, was revealed on the margin of a calm and gentle lake, in the country far off from the Old World.

*My chest, my father's chest!' cried the old lady; "but,' as if her heart struggled for an instant with one emotion, did I not tell you St. Agatha's day would bring us good luck? The ocean gave it to him, and the lake has given it to us.'

The whole affair had taken but a few minutes in its occurrence, and the neighbor farmers had been too much occupied with the serious duty of dinner to heed the noise, most of which was indeed the volunteer efforts of the dog. In a moment, Heinrich and the old lady and Lucille and her brothers were engaged with the utmost zeal in recovering the lost treasure, and the pure waters, in their transparent truth, kept none of it back.

And now a new council was held, and the old lady, seated on the broken chest, was the chief orator. She told them the story of her father's wild adventures, and of the strange things he had seen and done in his life on the seas. She said that she could readily account for the wish expressed by him, that the chest should not be opened in his day; since gold, won as she feared his was, would only be a fearful though giittering history of the past. She did not regret that she had loved her father's memory as she had, for now, at their utmost need, they would have the benefit, in these new and fresh scenes of the New World, of the treasure. And under the shade of these cedars, in the rich recesses of the verdure of these heights, new plans were formed, and a vision of comfort and possessions in the rich west soon superseded the destiny for old Pike. The returning journey northward was commenced, and at Springport, around a good dinner, the designs for the future were carefully reviewed and matured. The means now at their command were used in wisdom and prudence, and a few weeks thereafter found Heinrich in possession of one of the finest locations in Wisconsin that the government land-office could furnish.

The boys were delighted, and while they never, like true-hearted men as they grew to be, forgot their old country, they had a kindred love for their new home. Pike county was not forgotten; for while the Pennsylvanian in a few years thereafter carried Lucille there as a bride, she wrote to her father that though the soil was not so fertile as in Wisconsin, there could be no happier home than hers was. They all remember the Cedar Heights and St. Agatha's day, nor will they ever forget it, though the father and the aged mother teach the family that it was not good luck, but a kind Providence, that then so suddenly changed their destiny.

A R E V E R I E.


It is a night Of deep and intense beauty : such an one As brings to the wo-burthened, world-sick soul Its own sweet influence of waking dreams, And steeps it in the sense of earnest rest. Oh! at such times, when the full worth of life, And its deep meaning, falls upon the heart, And we essay to grasp, with finite mind, The thought of IMMORTALITY, how vain Seem all the things for which we daily strive For which we daily pay that coin of Heaven, The precious hours of life! On ev'ry side We find Infinity. The countless stars, The thousand ages that have passed away, The unknown wonders of forthcoming years, The unsolved mystery of our own being All these can make us lose ourselves in thought, And send the baffled Soul in weariness Back from the oft-tried effort to achieve Their comprehension! Here is the true school, Where we may learn humility ; where we Must own our power powerless, and turn From vain self-worship to that high source whence Comes all we have. Could we this lesson learn ; Could we remember when, sore vexed with cares, Or when our hearts are filled with grief — with griet That knows no cure — that then the night Of Death must come, and bring us rest and dreams Of untold joy, through all eternity ; Should we not meet our ills with stronger hearts, And nerve us well to pass the grand ordeal With less of trembling fear, and firmer trust In God — the 'great ALL-FATHER' – than if we Were wont to contemplate throughout our lives Our own small greatness only? Tell me not That we should bind us to the Actual, Nor let Imagination e'er take wing! Let Fancy have her flight, and though she bring Us back nor coin, nor any worldly store, And for this lack be deemed a useless bird By those who think the only thing in life Is the • Almighty Dollar'. still will she Be sure to lift us for a while from all The petty thoughts that so engross our souls

, And keep us far from God. Oh! if such hours Were daily visitants, our lives would be Far purer; and surely He would have less need To send dark sorrow to our hearts, to teach Backward our way toward Him. But we must have Blow after blow, ere we can learn to look From earth,' and bless the Hand that chastens us In pity and in love.

« AnteriorContinuar »