« AnteriorContinuar »
beach of ‘Cromwell's Cove;' and we can see easterly, opposite to us, the ‘HEMLOCK SHORE;' and northerly, the “WOODFIELD Meadows; and southerly, over ‘Hill Rock’to the rocky shore beyond; and westerly, into 'SAG HARBOR' again on the right.
Heigho! what a ramble we have had; and here I lie at rest nigh noon of this hot August day, underneath the cooling shadows of this clump of heavy-foliaged hickories! I was quite a boy when there was great talk of conveying the water of this lake to New-York City. How it would be done we boys did wonder! In barrels, or carts, or by engines ? One boy I recollect, who was studying Conversations on Chemistry,' suggested syphons. But we had no faith in ‘Emily' and 'Caroline' or “Mrs. B.,' on a subject of this magnitude. What a pity to take the water away! What would the pickerel, and clouders, and perch, and turtles, and catfish, and silversides, and killies, and frogs, and eels, all do without the water! What would become of the pond-lilies, and what would become of our scow and log-boat? At length, one sultry afternoon in August, a party of four very stout and very rosy-looking gentlemen came up from the city in a barouche, and drove down through the WOODFIELD Meadows' to the shore of the lake. The summer had been very dry, and the water was very low; you might almost walk to the edge of the bank where the sandy beach ceases, and, the mud beginning, the bottom pitches precipitously down many a fathom deep. The pond-lilies were half out of water, and panting with heat, looked very dishevelled and dowdyish. Thousands of young tad-poles lay in the shoal water, just on the bottom, sunning themselves. Not a breath of air was stirring; it was the hottest day in the year. One of the gentlemen alighted from the barouche, and going down to the water's edge, suddenly started back, as the water seemed alive and receding from him; it was black with myriads of tadpoles, who, frightened from their propriety, rushed like mad into the deeper water. The gentleman stooped down, and scooped up a little water with his hand close by the edge of the lake, where it was of more than blood-heat, and where the tad-poles had been startled from their bath into a premature toilet. He held the water up to his face, and tasting and smelling of it, put it from him as if he had touched pitch and been defiled. He rapidly and vigorously applied a snowy cambric handkerchief to the parts affected and infected, and having hastily gotten into the barouche, the party went back to town. What report these learned chemists or astrologers, whichever they were, made, or whether they furnished the Corporation with a chemical analysis of the water, I know not. Enough for us, the water was there yet; it was not carried to New-York; and so the fish and the pond lilies, and our scow and logboat, got safely out of that scrape.
And here am I still this sultry summer's afternoon lying on this sweet hill-side, under the shadow of these wide-spreading hiekories, and these memories of times and places pass and repass before my vision like the creatures of a dream. The phantoms I summon mingle and fade away, like the kaleidoscopic changes of the mirage. Pain and pleasure mingle, mingle. I gather up my hat and cane, that have rolled away on the grass, and make my way, musing and thoughtful, toward my parental home. Who would not have been a boy? Who would be a boy again ! Woodfield, Westchester County, (N. Y.,) A.D. 1851.
Then bury me at eve!
Where I would dwell!
"O DEAR is a tale of the olden time,
WATSON'S ANNALS: MOTTO.
Talking of good fellows, reader, some people call Lola Montez one. She always was a trump, they say the veritable Queen of Hearts. I said so once, more than four hundred years ago. It was at the great Council of Constance, where she then shone a bright particular star, known to the world as the Fair IMPERIA. I was myself
, at that confidential secretary to His Excellency Bishop Matteis, a worthy man and great scholar.
Now one day, while awaiting in that lady's ante-chamber the opportunity to speak a few words with a certain cardinal, whom I erroneously supposed at the time to be in confab with her, and being weary of delay, I began to sing, in baritono profundo, a song of my own composition, which had recently become immensely popular among the lords spiritual and temporal, the bishops, archbishops, cardinals
, priests and laymen, in attendance on the council; and the words were:
· Constance lies on the Boden Boden See,
Constance lies on the Boden Boden See,
I had proceeded thus far, when a musical voice from behind cried out, • Bravo! I turned and beheld the Fair Imperia.
* That is a sweet lay, Sir Secretary. Are the words your own ?'
I bowed assent, with conscious pride. Of all affectation, reader, the most contemptible is that of pretending to underrate your own poetry when
know that it is good. I love poets,' continued Imperia. “Will you come and take supper with me this evening ?'
• A thousand pardons, fair lady,' I replied, “but my lord bishop requires my attendance.'
"Oh, never mind your bishop; you can run home and poison him, you know, long before dinner! Ha! I have in my cabinet some exquisite Milanese Assa Porci, which will settle him directly. Or if you prefer it, one of my esquires shall go immediately and stab him.
Overcome by this excess of kindness, I could only thank Imperia, and assure her that these intensities of politeness were quite needless; that for once I would venture to play the truant, and become her guest.
• Then why in the name of all the devils and the red fire of hell could n't you say so at once!' quoth the lady. Reader, I did take supper with her at the risk of getting my
head broken. She flung both her cats out of the window; set her dog at a primate who came to make an evening call; tired the curtains and quenched it with three dozen of Burgundy; cursed the cook for not putting pointlace around the handle of the joint of venison; and concluded with an abortive attempt to assassinate her dressing.maid for sneezing during prayers.
A good deed always meets with its reward. More than four hundred years afterward, id est, one sunny afternoon in Munich, on or about the twenty-fifth of April, A.D. 1847, I found myself in company with half the town in general, and the Swiss corps of students in particular, seated in a beer-hall just without the walls. ` And you must know, my friend, that it is an old custom to sell in that particular place, from the twentieth of April until the first of May, a strong beer known as · Salvator,' to all applying. But from the latter date until the first of June another variety, termed • Bok,' is sold at another place, not far from the Residenz, or Palace.
Now the honest and virtuous citizens of Munich were making merry after their own hearts over the Salvator beer. Some were abusing the king, and others disputing whether the electric telegraph wire, which passed through the Neu Strass, were a lightning-rod or a patent clothesline. Some were swearing by Donner wetter and Parapluie
, and others screaming out · Sepperl' to the beer-maid. Finally, a jovial student of law, named Sturzenegger, (ultimately turned out of the university for his political liberalism,) proposed that we should sing 'On yonder rock reclining.' But a slight difficulty interposed; for of the singers present very few knew it in the same tongue. Each therefore started on his own hook.
A sang in Italian.
So we were all as happy as clams at high tide. And with my meerschaum rolling volumes of smoke out of my mouth, with a mighty Mass'l' of Salvator before me, I mused over the wise things which Professor Beckers had said that morning in bis lecture on Schelling; over the profundities which Schubert had that afternoon evolved in Natural History, and the excellent arguments which Goerres would to-morrow develop; and just as I was losing myself in Thiersch's Æsthetics and Neumann's Modern History, I heard a row outside
An accurate row; a well-defined row; a devil of a row. For the Fair Imperia that was, the lovely Lola that is, having learned (probably from her particular friend Mr. Meyer, alias His Majesty King Louis) that her ancient enemies, the people of Munich, were all off on a batter in the Salvator Kneiss, resolved to beard the lions in their den, and take a drink herself; and had actually descended from her carriage, whip in hand, for the purpose
When being recognized by some of the natives, they at once arose and greeted her with a pereat. With hoots, yells and screams, the multitude drove her back to the vehicle, pelted it, smashed the glasses, and cursed like Russians. Hearing a mutteredSacrament!' beside me, I turned and beheld my particular friend H., studiosus juris, holding a mighty paving-stone, with which he was about to annihilate Lola, kill the coachman, and very probably injure the horses and carriage, which I incontinently twitched out of his hands. And so I paid for my supper.
Francoys Villon, the madcap poet who flourished during the reigns of Charles the VII. and Louis the XI., was an intimate friend of mine. Once or twice in every century I always make a point of reading through his • Testaments.' And I would advise you, friend-reader, to do the same; if not several times, at different ages, at least once during the century in which you live. For never was there yet so good a poet, so little read:
Vulon sut le premier, dans ces siècles grossiers,
Debrouiller l'art confus de nos vieux romanciers.' So said Boileau, with reason.
Villon, I am sorry to say, was a hard boy.' Reckless, wild, and eccentric, his whole life was one continued scrape. A genuine student of Paris, his money and time went, as he expressed it:
"Tout aux tavernes, et aux filles.'
No class of men have changed so little during the course of centuries