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bling with rage, began to undervalue and sneer at straight streets, and boldly affirmed that crooked ones were infinitely better for a variety of reasons that he did not think proper to mention, and that any man of taste would decide that Pearl-street was a finer street than any in Philadelphia.
This was perfectly unbearable, and the Philadelphian, after swearing in a very wicked manner, went on to more than insinuate that his opponent was a fool, an ass, an idiot, and no gentleman; and they might have proceeded to settle whether straight or crooked streets were best by knocking each other's brains out, if the company had not interfered. Happily at this crisis the dinner-bell rang, and to those who have traveled much in steam-boats, I need say no more to account for the instant cessation of all symptoms of hostility. Never did the clock striking twelve in a romantic melo-drama produce so dramatic an effect, as the ringing of the dinner-bell on board of a steam-boat. All previous topics of conversation, argumentation, or disputation, are instantly swept away, and a universal rush is made towards the savory cabin. You may know an old traveler by observing him take his station near the hatchway as the time approaches. As soon as the welcome sound strikes his ear, he gives a look of triumph round the deck for a single instant at the
inconsiderate persons who, in remote parts of it, have been gratifying their passion for the picturesque, and immediately dives below. Then may be seen the hurry and trepidation of the novice, the struggle on the part of the gentlemen between the attention and politeness due to the ladies, and their own love of victuals-the painful efforts of the ladies to preserve an air of unconcern and composure, and their anxiety touching the delicate first-cuts from the bosoms of capons and turkeys-then may be seen the utter looks of consternation of those unfortunate people who happen to be at the bows of the boat, and the glare of horrid malignity with which all the company above regard any corpulent old gentleman who takes his time in descending the ladder. The most impudent thing I ever witnessed in the whole course of my existence, was during a scene of this kind, on board a steam-boat last summer. An astonishingly fat old man was, by reason of his previous advantageous locality, almost the first who reached the entrance to the cabin when the dinner-bell rang. He swung his unwieldly mass of brawn slowly and heavily into the doorway, completely obstructing the passage, and proceeded to descend at a snail's pace, amid the smothered execrations of the company. After a considerable interval of time, he succeeded in reaching
the middle of the ladder, when, what will it be supposed the fat old man did? He actually came to a full stop, took his hat from his head, drew from thence a pocket-handkerchief, proceeded deliberately to wipe his forehead, then one cheek, then the other, and concluded by drawing it leisurely across his chin, after which he deposited it in his hat again, placed his hat on his head, and continued on his way as if he had done nothing amiss. It speaks volumes for the morals of the people and the state of society, when I affirm, though it may seem incredible, that he escaped without the slightest violence! As the lady says in the tragedy, "curses kill not ;" and it was lucky for the fat old gentleman that this was the case, otherwise he would have been a lifeless corpse before dinner that day.
I have rather wandered from the subject of localities, and it is now too late to recur to it again. I may, however, state, that the Bostonian, Philadelphian, and New-Yorker spoke no more during the passage, and doubtless parted with a hearty contempt for each other; thus adding one more to the many instances of the utility of warm disputes about nothing at all.
Mark it, Cesario, it is old and plain;
The spinsters and the knitters in the sun,
And the free maids that weave their thread with bones
I LIKE an old song. It is the freshest piece of antiquity in existence; and is, moreover, liable to no selfish individual appropriation. It was born far back in the traditionary times, so that its parentage is somewhat equivocal; yet its reputation suffers not on that account, and it comes down to us associated with all kinds of fond and endearing reminiscences. It melted or gladdened the hearts of our forefathers, and has since floated around the green earth, finding a welcome in every place humanized by a ray of fancy or feeling, from "throne to cottage hearth." It has trembled on the lips of past and forgotten beauty; and has served, in countless wooings, as the appropriate medium for the first
fearful breathings of affection. The youthful maiden has broken the silence with it in many a lovely, lonely dell; and the shepherd has chaunted it on the still hill side. The rude sailor has filled up the pauses of his watch by whistling it to the shrill winds and sullen waters; and it has bowed the head, brought the tear to the eye, and recalled home, and home thoughts to the mind of many a wanderer on a distant shore. It has been heard in the solitudes of nature, and at the crowded, festive board. It has refreshed the worn-out heart of the worldling, and awakened "thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears," in the minds of the moody and contemplative. It has been a source of consolation and joy to those who have passed away; it comes unexhausted to us; and it will glide gently down the stream of time, cheering and soothing as it goes, from generation unto generation, till utilitarianism becomes universal, and music and poetry fade into a dimly remembered dream. Yet a truebred, moth-eaten antiquary would sacrifice it, if he could, for a copper coin fifty years its senior!
If any musical man expect, from the title to this, a learned article, he will be egregiously disappointed. I have no pretensions to treat this subject scientifically, being, indeed, admirably qualified, in this age of confessions, as far as want of knowledge