Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

XXVIII.

“What ho! what ho! the roosters crow!

We've had a pretty chase!
Your work is sped, my gallant steed!

For we are at the place.
"Tis time; I sceni the morning air;
The wedding company is there;
And all is ready for the show;
Come on, my charger! in we go."

XXIX.

A lofty gate of iron grate

Athwart the passage rose;
At his whip-stroke back springs the lock,

Away the cross-bar goes;
The churchyard portals open wide,
And, helter-skelier! in they ride;
The horse's hoofs, in tramping on,
Struck fire from many a burial-stone.

XXX.

Look! look! what now? A pretty show!

What miracle is this?
See! see! the horseman's drapery

Is falling piece by piece!
Off go at once his flesh and hair!
His skull and all his bones are bare !
A naked skeleton he stands,
With scythe and hour-glass in his hands.

XXXI.

Uprears the horse with wildest force,

And snorts a fiery stream;
Then wheeling round sinks in the ground

Directly under them.
There's howling in the upper spheres!
There's wailing from the sepulchres !
Till poor Lenora well may doubt,
If she be in the flesh or out.

XXXII.

Around her then the spectre train

A ghostly dance prolong, And capering in airy ring,

They howl a parting song: “Be patient, though your heart should break! And never-never undertake God's holy purpose to control : The Lord have mercy on your soul !"

THE STORY OF THE MUCH-WRONGED MAN.

EDITED BY WILLIAM M. GOUGE.

CHAPTER I.

a celebrated boarding-school in How

ard-street. My own wrongs are quite I was born—no matter when, and sufficient to entitle my name to immotno matter where. Neither is it of any tality. It is said that they who boast consequence who my father was, much of their ancestry, are like the potatoless my grandfather. It has been said plant, the best part of which is under that in this republican country of ours, ground. I am not of that number of any man who can go back for three vain-glorious fools. I rest my claims generations without stumbling over a to distinction on my own doings, or cobbler's stool, is a nobleman. For rather on my own sufferings. my part, I think it the height of aris These sufferings commenced very tocratic presumption for any man in early. The appetite for fruit is very this country to have had a grand- strong in children; I endeavored to father, or, at least, if he has had one, gratify it in the natural way, by seizto know anything about him.

ing on fruit where I found it most abunAnd yet, if disposed to boast of my dant; that is, in the public marketparentage, I might, perhaps, excite the place. In so doing, I practised a truly envy of some of those who plume Spartan policy, in being as secret as themselves most on the gentility of possible, for I wished to give no oftheir descent. What would they say, fence to either Jew or Gentile. But I if I should tell them that my father's was sometimes discovered, and as the chief residence was a noble castle, on market-women knew as little of ana most delightful site, called Cherry cient history as they did of natural phiHill !* And that he had another resi- losophy, many were the kicks and dence in a place known by the roman- cuff's I received from them, merely belic name of Moyamensing! The cause I gratified my natural appetite front of his castle in the latter place, in a natural way, by munching a few (it is still standing), is the most beau- apples, or it may be a few pears. iiful specimen of the Gothic in the The cruelties I suffered in the city, country, with the exception of the drove me into the country. But the New York University.

farmers, when I attempted to pick a But I waive all titles to distinction few cherries or a few plums, assailed founded on my illustrious ancestry. As me with sticks and stones, and somelittle am I disposed 10 boast of my times set their dogs upon me. They education, though I received the were quite as inhuman as the markeigreater part of my literary tuition at women, and, I firmly believe, knew

• We know of no place in Pennsylvania, called Cherry Hill, except the site of the Eastern Penitentiary. The Penitentiary building is, indeed, a noble structure, having a front of six hundred and fifty feet, with turrets at the corners, and a fine tower in the centre edifice, but we presume this cannot be the castle to which “ The Muchwronged Man ” alludes.

| Moyamensing is the name of an incorporated district having the city of Philadelphia proper on the north, and Southwark on the east. There are in it two very fine castles, one in the Egyptian style, for insolvent debtors, the other, which has a Gothic front, is used as a county prison.

| The only building on Howard-street, Spring Garden, Philadelphia, is the House of Refuge. But, no doubt, there are in other cities, other Howard-streets, having in them other boarding-schools. There is no reason for believing that “ The Muchwronged Man"

was born in Pennsylvania.

[blocks in formation]

75

CHAPTER II.

quite as little of ancient history and of Think not I wish to deprive you of natural philosophy, Why else should the opportunity of gratifying your they have objected to a poor, innocent natural appetites in a natural way. I child like me, gratifying his natural am not so unphilosophical. Man was appetites in a natural way?

not born to labor or to save. It is evi. Since I have come to have orchards, dent that he was not, for otherwise be and fruit-gardens, and graperies of my would have been born naturally indusown, I confess that a new light of phi. trious and economical, as is the ant losophy has broken upon me. But or the bee. View human nature as there are, I will maintain, two philoso- it is, and you cannot but be convinced, phies: one proper to shirtless and that man was born that he might enpenniless boys, the other proper to joy the fruits of other men's labors, if men of wealih and station. 'I believe he has dexterity enough to appropriate in both, and have in my time lived up them to his own use. This is the true to both. I should like to see the boy end of our being. To eat or to be that would venture to take an apple or eaten, is the first law of nature. If a pear from one of my trees. I would we do not eat, the worms will eat us. soon teach the young rascal the differ- So, 10 cheat or be cheated, is the ence between meum and tuum.

first law of civilized society. In one I was born for a hero. I always or other of these two categories do all knew I was.

The story of the Spare mankind arrange themselves. Let the tan youth, who stole a fox, and then youthful reader bear this in mind. He suffered it to eat out his own bowels will find it of more practical value than rather than confess the theft, early ex- all the philosophy that has ever been cited my emulation. The noble Spar- written. tans encouraged their youth in stealing, and made the whole offence consist in being found out. The Spartans were true philosophers. Throughout my life I have endeavored to act on Spar One of the most beloved friends of tan principles.

my youth was named Snooks—Jerry The histories of Pizarro and Cortez Snooks. My own name is Scrogginssed to delight me exceedingly; and Giles Scroggins. So intimate were we, often did I regret that I could not, like that our companions used to say that them, act out my true character. This Orestes and Pylades could never have is, as the great German poel, Goethe, been more closely united than were says, the end of our being, and I agree Snooks and Scroggios. We suffered with him. Circumstances were against about equally from the inhuman market me; but I did what I could. I used women, and the no less in human farmto stand at the doors of the theatres, ers, when endeavoring to gratify our and appropriate to myself every now natural appetites in a natural way, and and then a pocket-handkerchief, and were united in affliction when brought occasionally a pocket-book. Shall I before committing magistrates for our relate what I suffered in consequence exploits at the doors of ihearres. from inhuman and unphilosophic As we grew older, we looked out for watchmen and constables,to say nothing wider and for nobler fields of action. of aldermen and other committing We were not long in discovering that magistrates? I will not. I fear the certain persons in the country bad details would be 100 much for the feels stored away large amounts of hard ings of the sympathizing reader. money. “This is absolutely too bad,"

Spartan heroism of this kind is little said Snooks. “Instead of investing esteemed in modern days. Could I their money in Vicksburg or United get the ears of the rising generation, I States Bank stock, as sensible men would, from my own sad experience, would do, these curmudgeons are caution them to beware of its exer- hoarding it where it is of no more use, cise. Beloved youth, listen to one who either to themselves or others, than so loves you as a father. There is a much money at the bottom of the sea. pleasure, I know, in picking pockets at Let us remove the deposits." “ With ihe theatre, and sometimes a profit. all my heart," said I. Nothing can But danger attends it. Besides this, be more patriotic than to bring this it is not respectable.

hoarded treasure into circulation. And

while we are thus benefiting our coun- extensive scale than ours. They pluntry, we shall do an essential favor to dered nations. We plundered only the present possessors of the money by individuals. They spread devastation relieving them from a load of care." through whole countries. We have

With these praiseworthy and truly done nothing more than keep a single Christian-like sentiments, we went to county in a state of alarm. The world work, and removed a considerable is very inconsistent. Conduct which amount of gold and silver from a place is precisely the same in principle, it in his barn-yard, where a German farm- applauds in them, and condemns in er had deposited it for safety, to what us. we considered a place of far more se. “ Yes,” continued I, “and what an curity, namely, our own pockets. But, utter disregard is paid to the muchoh! the ingratitude of the world in vaunted principles of free trade,' in general, and of German farmers in our particular case! What the world particular! Though we relieved this is pleased to call thieving and robbing, man of a load of care, he cried out is our trade. It is the one to which against us as if we had injured him we were apprenticed, and affords the sorely. And the world in general, only way in which we know how to though we were benefiting it, by in- geian honest livelihood. The political creasing the amount of active circulat- economists of highest repute, from ing medium, pursued us as thieves and Adam Smith 10 Condy Raguet, all robbers, brought us before courts and agree in declaring that every trade and magistrates, had us convicted, and profession is best regulated if left to sentenced us to a long imprisonment. itself. Why, then, make a particular Yes, they imprisoned us, both Snooks exception in regard to our business ? and me!

Can any one say that it is more injuriWhen we were released from con ous to the community than the trade finement, my beloved friend and myself of a distiller, or many other trades that took counsel together as to what way might be mentioned? Surely, surely, we should next attempt to serve our are both of us much-wronged country, and render our own names illustrious. · Let us show to the “We are indeed,” replied Snooks.

rld,” said Snooks, “that the age of “But there is no use in contending with heroism is not past. Let us become the prejudices of mankind. There knight-errants. “ Nobly advised !" are,' says Dr. Franklin, but three said I. “Lord Byron used to say that modes of acquiring wealth. The first if the stocks failed, he meant to take is by agriculture, the only honest way. to the highway, for that was the only The second is by robbery, the course course now left for honest men. Our the Romans pursued. The third is by case is precisely that which Lord Byron commerce, which is generally cheatsupposed might be his. We have no ing.' We have tried the Roman way, stocks, and we are honest men. There, and found it not acceptable to our comfore, let us do what his lordship said patriots. We must accommodate ourhe would do, if he were in our condi- selves to the age in which we live, and tion."

the country in which we dwell. What To the highway we accordingly do you say, Scroggins, to our aiding the took, and our feats of prowess were operations of commerce by establishing such as might in former ages have a money manufactory?" been rehearsed by many a bard. But “What, counterfeiting !" I exclaimalas! in these degeneraie days, knight- ed. “Oh, Snooks! conscience ! conerrantry is called by the vulgar name science !" of highway robbery, and punished as “Now, Scroggins," said he, “don't an offence against the statutes. Again make a fool of yourself. I have as we were pursued, again caught, again much regard to conscience as you or convicted, again imprisoned.

any other man living has. If you will When released from confinement, listen to nie candidly, I will prove to we held another council of war. “You you that the undertaking I propose is and I,” said Snooks, “are two little not only innocent, but highly laudaJulius Cæsars, or two little Napoleon ble." Bonapartes. The only difference is, “Do it," I replied, “and I will at that iheir operations were on a more once become your partner.”

we

men.”

[ocr errors]

CHAPTER III.

“Well, then," said he,"is not money "you a Whig, and a subscriber to the something entirely conventional ?" • New York Courier and Enquirer,' to

"! I cannot say but it is,” rejoined I. ask such a question! For what other

“Does it not owe its whole value to object is our party laboring than 10 idthe tacit agreement of men to receive crease the amount of circulating mediit from one another in exchange forum ? Do not all our Whig orators and commodities ?”

Whig editors unite in declaring that “ It is so declared," said I, “ in the scarcity of money is the cause of all Whig newspapers, and you and I are the calamities the counıry is suffering? both good members of the Whig Are they pot equally unanimous in party.

declaring that paper is, as a material • Well, then," resumed he, “ if you for money, far preferable to gold and and I should fabricate notes so much silver ?" like those at present in circulation that “ You need say no more," I replied. the difference between them could not “I see the force of your argument. be discovered, would not the one kind Want of circulating medium is the answer the purposes of trade as well great want of the country. It is this as the olher ?"

that has caused the fall in the prices "I cannot see,” said I, “why they of labor and of produce, of stocks and should not. Every counterfeit, till its of real estate. We have plenty of land, true character is discovered, performs plenty of pork, plenty of cotton, plenty the same functions as a genuine note. of great men, plenty of everything, in When the circulation of small notes short, except money. Let us go to was suppressed in Pennsylvania, it was work to supply this deficiency." found that many of the dollar notes which had for years formed part of the currency of that State, were counterfeits. Yet exchanges were effected by them as well as they could have been by genuine notes, or even by silver For a time the money manufactory dollars. As they performed all the that was established by Snooks and uses of money, the original issuers of myself was highly useful to the counthem rendered a benefit to society; try. Our issues, which were abundant, while they who proclaimed them coun- answered as good a purpose as could terfeit, caused a destruction of value have been answered by silver dollars exactly equal to the amount of notes or golden eagles. If we had only been that were in consequence withdrawn “let alone,” we should have produced from circulation."

that rise of prices which is the devout “They acted more sensibly,” con object of all Whig aspirations. Some tinued Snooks, “in certain districts of malicious Loco-Focos saw this, and to New Jersey, where, as I am credibly frustrate our patriotic intentions, they informed, the whole circulating medi- had us again arrested. um, some years ago, was made up of I must confess that on this occasion counterfeit notes. Everybody knew my spirits sunk within me. Here was they were counterfeit; but as every- I, laboring to the best of my ability to body consented to receive them, they promote an object which the whole answered the same purposes in trade Whig party had long been endeavoring that genuine notes did in other parts in vain to effect, and my ungrateful of the country.'

countrymen, instead of rewarding me "As money is something entirely for my pains, were for punishing me conventional,” rejoined I, “it is evident as a felon. So disgusted was I with that if people will only consent to take mankind that I would, if I could, hare them, counterfeit notes will serve the fled for refuge to the deserts of Arabia ; same purposes as genuine. And if we but even this small consolation was can make our counterfeit notes so much denied me. I was shut up within the like the genuine that it will be difficult four walls of a prison, there to await to distinguish the one from the other, my trial. I can see no great harm in engaging in Such were my feelings at the time; the business. It is innocent, I know: but we little know the uses of afflicbut how will you prove it laudable?tion.

“Well, now, Scroggins," said he, Feeling the want of religious conso

« AnteriorContinuar »