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to the funeral pyre of his household, and turning over the dry em. bers, disengaged a half-burned cloven skull from among them. He threw himself upon the grass, and bit the ground with a fierce agony that showed some self-reproach must be mingled with his sorrow.
“ My father ! my father !” he cried, writhing in anguish ; “whydid I not come home at once, when I heard that the Black Wolf had gone north with his band ?" A burst of tears seemed to relieve him for a moment; and then, with greater bitterness than ever, he resumed, “Fool-thrice accursed fool that I was I might have known that he would have struck for these mountains, instead of taking the Sa. condaga route, where the palatine yægars were out on the watch for him. To die so like a brute in the hands of the butcherwithout one word of warning—to be burned like a woodchuck in his hole-stricken to death without a chance of dealing one blow for his defence! My father! my poor father! Oh, God! I cannot bear it!”
But the youth knew not the self-renovating spirit of life's spring. time, when he thought that his first sorrow, bitter as it was, would blast his manhood for ever. A first grief never blights the heart of man. The sapling hickory may be bowed—may be shattered by the storm, but it has an elasticity and toughness of fibre that keep it from perishing. It is only long exposure to a succession of harsh and biting winds that steal away its vigour, drinks up its sap of life, and sends a chill at last to the roots which nourished its vitality.
That day of cruel woe, like all others, had an end for the young forester ; and, when the waning moon rose upon the scene of his ruin. ed home, her yellow light disclosed the boy kneeling upon the sod wherewith he had covered up the bones of his only earthly relatives. She, too, was sole witness to the vow of undying vengeance which he swore upon the spot against the whole race of red men.
There are but too many traditions surviving in this region to prove the fulfilment of this fearful vow. But I leave the dire feats of “ Bloody Ben,” by which name only the avenger is now remembered, to some annalist who finds greater pleasure than I do in such horrible details. My business, here, is only to describe the first deed by which he requited the too murderous act of the Indians.
The seasons had twice gone their round since destruction had come over the house of the settler, and his son had never yet revisited the spot, which, with the exuberant growth of an American soil, had partly relapsed into its native wildness, from the tangled vines and thickets which had overgrown the clearing. The strong arm of the govern. ment had for a while driven the Indians beyond the reach of private vengeance; but now they were again returning to their favourite hunting-ground north of the Mohawk, and around the sources of the Hud.
Some even had ventured into Albany to dispose of their packs of skins, and carry back a supply of powder and other necessaries of the hunter of the wilderness. It was two of these that the orphan youth dogged from the settlements, on their way through the northern forests, to the very spot where his oath of vengeance had been recorded. The sequel may best be told in the words of an old hunter, under whose guidance I made my first and only visit to the Dead Clearing.
“ It was about two o'clock of a hot August afternoon, that Ben,
after thus following up their trail for three days, came upon the two Injuns jist where the moose-runway makes an opening in the forest, and lets the light down upon yon willow that still flourishes beside the old hemlock. The Injuns were sitting beneath the willow, thinking themselves sheltered by the rocky bank opposite, and a mass of underwood which had shot up round the top of an oak, which had been twisted off in a tornado in some former day, and then lay im. bedded in weeds beneath the knoll. But a few yards from this bank, in that thicket round the roots of yon mossy old beech, Ben found a shelter, from which, at any moment, he could creep up and cover either with his fire from behind the knoll. But as he had only a onebarrel piece, it required full as cool a hand as his to wait and take both the creeturs at one shot. Bloody Ben, though, was jist the chap to do it. Like enough he waited there or manœuvred round for an hour to get his chance, which did come at last, howsumdever. The Injuns, who, in their own way, are mig talkers, you must knowthat is, when they have really something to talk about-got into some argerment, wherein figures, about which they know mighty little, were concerned. One took out his scalping-knife to make marks upon the earth to help him ; while the other, trying to make matters clearer with the aid of his fingers, their heads came near each other jist as you may have seen those of white people when they get parroiching right in airnest. So they argufied and they counted, getting nearer and nearer as they became more eager, till their skulls, almost touching, came within the exact range of Ben's rifle : and then Ben, he ups and sends the ball so clean through both, that it buried itself in a sapling behind them. And that, I think, was pretty well for the first shot of a lad of eighteen; and Bloody Ben himself never confessed to mak. ing a better one afterwards."
The tourist, who should now seek the scene of this adventure, would perhaps look in vain for the graceful exotic that once marked the spot. The weeping willow, which was only a thrifty sapling when the Indians met their death beneath its fatal shade, was changed into an old decayed trunk, with but one living branch when I beheld it ; ard a ponderous vine was rapidly strangling the life from this decrepid limb. "The hardy growth of the native forest had nearly obliterated the improvements of the pioneer. The wild animals, in drinking from the spring hard by, had dislodged the flat stones from its brink; tall weeds waved amid the spreading pool ; and the fox had made his den in the rocky knoll upon whose side once stood the settler's cabin of THE DEAD CLEARING.
FROM THE FRENCH.
Why have I not,
Lost thee as well ?
UNCLE SAM'S PECULIARITIES.
À JOURNEY FROM NEW YORK TO PHILADELPHIA AND BACK.
The commencement of spring gave me notice to return to New York; and purchasing a “ York wagon," or shandy, to convey my. self and goods, I bade adieu to the “ city of brotherly love,” after a residence of near six months, with a feeling of regret that I should see its inhabitants no more. I took very near the same route as that by which I had arrived in Pennsylvania from New York, avoiding, however, the river Delaware. I was four days on the road ; and, with the exception of one scene to be presently described, and stopping at a “ temperance house," where all the customers seemed to be in a bad state of health, as they were only allowed wine or brandy on the understanding that they might, could, would, or should have the cholera or ague ; of putting up at an inn where there was no. thing to be had that day but potatoes, bread, and apple-jack ;* and narrowly escaping a fine of five dollars in the state of Delaware for smoking a cigar-I met with nothing to arrest attention. But cer. tainly no Englishman can travel in the United States without ex. periencing a certain degree of pride in being allied by the ties of blood, manners, language, and religion to the American people. When he sees a country of such immense extent, covered with roads, railways, and canals, bridges, viaducts, and aqueducts, cities, villages, farms, schoolhouses, and churches, chiefly the labour of a single century; and when, by analogy, he considers what another century will produce, there must arise a feeling of honest pride in seeing that the descendants of the English, separated from the mother country by three thousand miles of ocean, have achieved so much, and have such prospects; and that these happy results are to be at. tributed to the connection between the States and Great Britain, the affluence of the latter, the genius and perseverance of her emigrants who settle in the States, and are yearly adding to the tics of blood by which the two countries are connected.
The States of the south and south-west of America were settled by the Spaniards and Portuguese before the English began to colonise the north ; yet what has been achieved by those two nations in Mexico and Peru, compared with the British progress on the North Atlantic seaboard ? The Spaniards found Mexico and Peru in. habited by thriving, half-civilised nations, numbering their tens of millions, rich in every requisite for the climate ; they found the people living happily under a mild government, respecting the laws, and satisfied with an innocent religion, and nearly all this they have extirpated. In its place, we find a few millions of wretched anarchists and bigots, who have overthrown the heathen worship of the sun for the heathen worship of idols ; and, in place of a parental government, have introduced the steel of the assassin, and the brutal coercion of an igno. rant priesthood.
It is not too much to assert that the United States are still an integral, although an independent part of the British empire. They owe no allegiance to her Majesty of St. James's ; but they owe, and must of necessity pay homage to the language, literature, science, and arts of the parent state ; they live by her commerce, they are succoured by her affluence. History has no parallel to the fact, which will be fully developed in another century, of the two most powerful nations in the world being governed by the same laws and religion, possessing the same language and manners, and having a common ancestry—two branches from the same root ; and well may each be proud of its connection with the other ! The climax of Brit. ish influence over the world is even yet far distant, and the magnitude of that influence so great as to be beyond comparison with that of the present day. When the northern continent of America shall be covered with a population of hundreds of millions, speaking the language of Shakspeare and Milton ; when Australia shall be likewise peopled and studded with English towns, and the remainder of the fifth portion of the globe, the whole of Oceanica, shall own the same allegiance to the literature of Albion; the British dominion over India may expire, the colonies of England may become independent, but imperishable records will attest the supremacy of Great Britian over the world. The “ eternal” city of the Romans has outlived their religion and language, but a prouder destiny awaits the genius of the British : their language, now spoken in every quarter of the globe, and their discoveries and inventions, will certainly live as long as there remains an inhabitant on their islands, and may probably exist long after the revolutions of the earth shall have buried those islands in the ocean, and produced new continents in the seas, which are now merely speckled with embryo mountains.
* A description of brandy made from apples.
The scene to be described occurred at a roadside farm and tavern in the state of Delaware, where I stopped to give my horse a feed. A pedlar's waggon was at the door, and there were three men lounging about, one of whom was the farmer, waiting to see the “ stranger.”
STRANGER. Can my horse have a feed of corn ?
FARMER. Why, stranger, you may go as far as you like, or you may stop here.
STRANGER. But I want to give my horse a feed.
FARMER. I did, and it's a fact. I'll give him as much as he can eat, and more too, but no corn. We haven't much for Christians, less for niggers, and none no ways for a horse.
This reminded me of the mistake I had made ; the word corn, in the States being applied exclusively to Indian corn, with which horses are but seldom fed. My horse was therefore to have oats and chopped hay, with a little bran and salt, which a nigger lad, called from an adjoining field, soon gave him ; while I joined the two men at the door, one of whom was a Connecticut pedlar, and the other a Kentucky horse-dealer and general merchant, or as he called himself
, a ringtailed roarer and screamer. The following dialogue then ensued, which perhaps requires no farther introduction.
KENTUCK. Well, stranger, I go for to lay down that you pride yourself peculiar on that horse.
STRANGER. Noi at all. KENTUCK. He isn't worth quite a thousand dollars, but somewhere between twenty and a hundred, more or less, with no cents over,
STRANGER. You are right.
KENTUCK. Well, then, if you ain't proud of him, pre-haps you 'll spring a leetle, and reach York satisfied, if I show you a crittur of mine that can eat his own weight in hay, and then clear a loghouse without knocking off the shingles. Here he is ; and if Andrew Jack. son wanted to buy him, he shouldn't have him for one cent less than I'm going to sell him to you for.
STRANGER. I am obliged to you, but I do not intend to buy him.
KENTUCK. Oh yes, you will, when you know him well. This ain't a common go-by crittur, but is powerful peculiar, and cor-rect.
STRANGER. A good racer, perhaps ?
KENTUCK. Why, not exact ; but if he was, he'd carry all before him.
PEDLAR. Except six behind.
KENTUCK. He never tried to do anything and couldn't. As for going, he can do that and begin agin when the others leave off. No one going the same way on a 'pike ever saw anything but the crittur's tail when he was ahead, and didn't choose to be overtaken. Wher. ever he moves, he's the best.
PeDLAR. Except four, and they are blind.
KENTUCK. Don't provoke me, for I feel all over kind of snapping turtle with a spice of bear. It's dangerous to ask me what's o'clock when I don't look straight. Whatever I take up I put down fat, and stand on it. My arm ain't entire iron gratis, I guess. Nothing but a vice made double-strong on purpose could make me leave go when I choose to hold on. I expect I was the very best at a tight screw of all them as stood raised in Babylon.
PeDLAR. Except six, and they couldn't hold any.
Kentuck. Except none, you leetle man. Ask any one, from the mayor down to Scotch Sandy, who had the most gunpowder and iron in him, and you 'll find me named, and no one within one day of
PEDLAR. Except three ; and it's twelve o'clock with them when it's only six with you.
KENTUCK. It's well for you that you're a leetle man, or I'd make you creep through the crown of your hat, no ways slow.
PEDLAR. I never creep ; I'm a climber, I am. When I climb, I go up like a squirrel or a 'coon. I could get up a hickory while you were only looking at it. I've climbed all the trees in Connecticut ex• cept five, and they isn't grown yit.
KENTUCK- You climb! Why, I can climb where no man can follow. I'm not a ring taild roarer in fun ; I'm a screamer, I am. I go up, and clear the tree of boughs as I go on; for when I come down I jump. and dive into the earth a foot deep, like a spike. There ain't any as can beat me at climbing no way, I calcylate.
PEDLAR. Except three, and they never tried.
KENTUCK. Out, you varmint ! and let me sell this here crittur to the Yorker, who knows something when he sees it, and can under