« AnteriorContinuar »
149 But before I start I must have something to eat.' • Yes,' said he, I suppose you will want baiting.' My meal was soon on the table. It was a perfect unique. Read with care, ye who fare sumptuously! A decoction of something, I know not what, called tea ; sour bread; no butter ; but instead thereof a big pickle, full as big as one's wrist. My landlady, not so comely, took a seat beside me with a Jeasy twig to keep off the flies. She was one that in the days of witchcraft would have been seized and hung. My appetite was keen and my only alterna, tive was to eat what was before me, or go without. So I made up my mind to it and did the best I could. I should have had no lasting association but of and amusing character with this breakfast in the wilderness, had it not been for the discord that soon sprung up between my stomach and the strange medley there deposited.--All ready for a start. Horse and wagon, or, as they were called, donkey and dearborn at the door. -- My landlord, dressed in his best grey suit and broad-brimmed white hat, and equipped with a shining whip-stick and leather thong. On inquiring I found that the harness and wagon-body, which were unpainted, were made by himself and sons. The Dutchman said his wife wished to take passage with us some ten miles to visit her relations. “Why, 'said I, 'my baggage fills one half of the wagon and there is but one seat. Where will you put her ?' •0, I'll fix it right,' he replied. "I have a board to put in front; that I'll set on my150
DUTCH WISDOM, self, and you shall have a seat with my wife.' That 's a good one, methought. Such a beauty and no jealousy! My thanks, good man, for such a distinguished favor. Of course I was all attention to ing lady, handed her to her seat with great care,and then placed myself beside her. Our coachman was on his box in a few moments and off we drove. My host was much pleased with his new situation, talked much,and with no little jovialty. He seemed to know every body on the road. All had a word for him and he a word for them. “My name,' said he 'is Sager. Every body knows me I have kept a house of entertainment so long, and they call me everywhere, old Sager.' I am known to be honest and dacent.' We stopped after a few miles ride, to water our donkey. Well, Sager, you have turned stage-driver,have n't ye?' shouted some one of his old acquaintance. "Yes,' says the old man, 'I carries passengers when I can get the right sort.'--- We are on the move again. Very curious and sagacious were his remarks upon religion, medicine, and law. I have ever regretted that I did not put them down word for word. They are a great loss to the world! Here are a few scraps: • It wont do for all to be rich, or all to be poor. The rich will not ask for favors — the poor cannot confer them.' Speaking of his horse, " There is no scrupling his goodness.' Of a certain family They are dreadful kindly - terrible kindly people.' 'He liked to have friends come and make him wisits, but
CURIOSITY AND PERSEVERANCE. 151 not to drink.'-'He had lived with his wife twentyaine years and there had not been twenty hard words between them.'-No notion of ministers' families not working as well as others.' There is one question,' said he, that I want to ask you, if you won't be put out.', . You are at liberty,'said I, if it is a proper question.' 'I want to know which profession you belong to? Which do you suppose?'
A doctor ? No, I guess not." "Lawyer, then?' “No, I can't make my mind up to that.' 'I must be a minister then?" Yes, I rather think so. You are as good as a Yankee at à guess, my friend.
You have hit the nail on the head.' He said he made it a point of conscience to pay five dollars to the minister yearly ; that he sent his children to school as much as he possibly could,and made them learn both Dutch and English. Various Dutch pamphlets I remember hung around the walls of his cabin. He told me he was raised near Philadelphia, and came into this part of the country poor and with a large family of children ; that he planted himself in the forest not far from where he now lived, built him a log hut with but one apartment for his whole family and lived upon dry bread many a day; after a while he removed to a new house and opened it for one of entertainment, and had got along so well in the world that he thought of retiring from business, or giving it up to his son and building himself another house on the opposite side of the road. Much success to you, my honest Dutchman, though I indulge a smile.
AN AWKWARD sow. After we had proceeded ten miles his wife, to my no small relief and joy, resigned her place and struck across the fields to find her relations. The forward seat was now removed, and the old man and myself became nearer friends. Going down hill his horse, who was rather a careless traveller, occasionally stumbled. My friend,' said I, you must pull up your horse on these sharp pitches, or he will be down on all fours before you think of it, snapping your thills and harnesss.' He must look out for himself,' said the old man, I have as much as I can do to take care of myself.' About fifteen minutes after, as we were descending a hill, headlong plunged the donkey, coming down on the shaft with his whole weight. I was out in a moment. As soon as the old gentleman got safely out — the process of which consumed no little time - he trotted up to his beast, gave him a ringing slap on the cheek and addressed him thus : “ You awkward sow, you! What possessed ye to fall down?' We unharnessed the poor thing as quick as possible — got him up, and to our astonishment found he had broken neither harness nor thills, We put all things to rights in a short time, and, as experience teaches caution, the old man kept him up on his feet through the rest of the journey.
Nothing especially worthy of note happened afterwards. Towards the latter part of the afternoon I reached my destination. “Old Sager' thought he must return part of the way before night-fall, so
PITTSBURG. I paid him and we parted like old friends — never probably to see each other again. However the old man may rest assured that his good humour — downright sincerity and curious sagacity will ever be a delightful remembrance - an oases in the desert of life. From this incident I derived more pleasure and real profit than from any that occurred in the whole journey. Ye proud, here learn a lesson of humility, — A log-house in a wilderness is not to be despised.
On my way to Pittsburg one of the wheel-horses of the stage fell on the brow of a hill and was dragged some distance down the gravelly descent goring his side badly. Poor fellow! It could not be prevented. It was one of the inevitable evils of this sublunary sphere.
In Pittsburg—at the Eagle Hotel. Glad to meet again my travelling companion. The wooded and precipitous hills near P*, the road winding along the banks of the transparent Alleghany, and the silent confluence of the latter with the Monongahela, the multitude of Western and other steamboats lying side by side in goodly array, the enormous wag. ons drawn by four or six gigantic horses, the coalpits in the sides of the adjacent hills, and the Babel tongues of every tribe and nation impart to this city a somewhat peculiar character and interest. It is however on the whole a dismal place -- a black spot. The cholera had been raging and but a few days before several had died of this disease in the