« AnteriorContinuar »
Meadville. An adventure in the wilderness. A logo
cabin. An honest Dutchman. Bats in the attic. My sleeping room. Novel breakfast. A stage load. Distinguished honor. Dutch wisdom, curiosity, and perseverance. An awkward sow. The Moral of the Tale. Pittsburg. Allegany Mountains. Tornads. Bedford Springs. Fredericktown.
On a second trip up the Hudson, in company with a friend, I left Albany for the Falls of Niagara. It would be useless for me to say anything of Schenectady, Utica, Trenton-Falls, the Montezuma Marshes, Geneva, Canandaigua, Rochester, still more of the great, wonder of the world, for the reason I have given heretofore, that they have been described many times and infin tely better than is in my power. It is sufficient to say that no one who can muster the wherewithal to visit them, should stay at home. From the Falls we went to Buffalo and there took steamboat on Lake Erie for the town of Erie. Thence we proceeded to Meadville --- where we passed the Sabbath. Here we found an old acquaintance and friend a member of the same profession with ourselves --- one who had been an associate in Theological studies --- wasted to a skeleton by the fever of the country and laid upon the bed of his last sickness. It was but a few weeks AN ADVENTURE IN THE WILDERNESS. 145 before that we had seen him in Cambridge in good health. At the first glance I perceived the seal of death upon his countenance, and not long after we bade him a final and heart-rending adieu, we received the tidings of his departure, I trust, to a better and happier world.* On our way from Meadville to Pittsburg is laid the scene of an occurrence which I shall relate if it is in my power. We left Mercer (I think it was) in the stage for P* early in the evening after we had taken supper. It was cloudy and dark, and the roads were in a desperately bad state. At first we hesitated about starting, and for myself I regretted afterwards that we did. The driver told us he should have his lanterns lighted and assured us we should go on safely. We found the roads, if anything, worse than we expected. The blackest pall of night gradually descended upon us, and what was not the least evil of all, the lights for some reason or other went out. The peril was such that the horses could not proceed faster than a walk. The driver stopped once or twice to light up, but did not succeed. There was no probability of our getting ahead more than twenty miles if we travelled all night. As to sleep, or anything different from a state of perpetual anxiety, it was out of the question, at least, as regarded myself. My companion was one not subject to agita146 AN HONEST DUTCHMAN. tion or alarm, and could sleep soundly, if need were, on the top-gallant yards of a main-mast. He was for going on -- I was clean the contrary.' However we agreed to disagree. He was to have his way, I mine , but we engaged to meet again at Pittsburg. The driver was requested to leave me on the way, wherever there was a chance of my being taken care of for the night. After poking through the dark for a few miles and pitching into numberless mud-holes, he came to a halt and informed me that we had reached a place for the wayfarer. What sort of a place ?' I asked. “A log cabin.' Who lives in it ? an honest man ?! Yes, a right honest Dutchman.' "Well, you must rouse him and let him know what's coming.' It was late and the Dutchman--wife, children and all--was a-bed. The door was, as usual, unfastened. The driver entered without knocking and notified my host. He was up in a trice and was looking about for his pantaloons. No matter for them,' exclaimed my pioneer who was in somewhat of a hurry. Luckily they were found, and soon issued forth the dapper man in his pants of grey. He greeted me with such an open, downright manner that I felt all confidence in him at once, though in the depths of the forest and miles from any other human dwelling. I expressed some anxiety that my baggage should be out of harm's way. He said he would take it into his own sleeping-room and there it would be safe. I told him I was tired and wished to go to bed im.
* My companion ,sad to tell, has since followed him. He died within a short time, in the West Indies, whither he had gone seeking health.
BATS IN THE ATTIC.
147 mediately. He took a bit of candle to light me. And where do you think he lighted me? Up the rounds of a tottlish ladder into the loft of his cabin. As he was leading the way to my resting place, a large bat flew by within a few inches of my face.
What! I exclaimed, do you have bats here ?' “Yes,' said he, a plenty. But we never mind them.' "Don't mind them? Well, if you don't mind them, there is no reason why I should.' There was just light enough from his candle to perceive that there was no window and that there was another bed close to mine with somebody in it. Said I, “ You have got some personage here within arm's length of me. I should like to know who it is, as I am not in the habit of sleeping where there are strangers.' 60,' said he, that's one of my sons. You need have no fears of him. I'll bail ye for him --- he is an honest fellow.' “But you have no windows here --I never shall know when to get up.'. We can rouse ye,' he replied. In a short time my host left me and I found my way after some effort between the sheets which felt about as soft as crash-towel. Notwithstanding this inconvenience I slept soundly. When I awoke the next morning, my room-mate had disappeared. It was late, as I expected it would be. I might have slept all day, had it not been for wide cracks between boards nailed over an opening at the head of my bed. I bestirred myself, and when apparelled thought it would be well to take a view of the premises before leaving them.
A WAY TO GET ALONG. The loft seemed to be the place of deposit for all valuables --- the Dutchman's bank. Here was a pile of one sort of grain --- there of another. Here was wool carded and uncarded --- there was an old spinning wheel, &c. There was variety enough to remind one of a “Fair.' As soon as I had dropped myself down all eyes were fixed upon me. My host and wife, with their bevy of bare-footed chil dren, girls and boys, stared at me with the most insatiate curiosity. To meet their gaze required more of a face of brass than I happened to be blessed with. The plague of it was --- a young man in black, with spectacles on nose, and all. My first object was to to ascertain if there was a prospect of my getting a conveyance towards P*. I inquired of my landlord. He did not know of any. Can't I get a horse and wagon somewhere about?' 'I have no neighbors,' said he ; there is no house within six miles. Perhaps you can help me on a piece.' • I don't see how I can. It is a very busy time with me. My horse I use every day on my land.' • But I must go on in some way. As for stopping here all day and taking the stage at night, I cannot think of it. As like as not I should be in no better predicament than I was last night. You must carry me on if you possibly can. You shall be no loser.' He thought awhile. At length he said, “ I am willing to take you on to a certain village --- twenty-four miles distant --- for so much.” “Very well,' said I, harness up and let us be off, for I am in haste.