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POVERTY NOT MISERY.
159 never been here before ?' said one. “Never.' 'Perhaps you'll get lost.' No,' says the other, there is no danger - our house is just at the foot of the hill.' Pointing ahead, there,' said she, 'is our hovel.' • How do you contrive to live here ?' said I. O, in our way. We get an honest living we work for it, and nothing can be more honest than this. We don't call ourselves poor.' Who in the world are poor,' methought, “if you are not?' "This gentleman don't look,'said the other, 'as though he worked much for his living. The house was a one story building containing two or three rooms, and was occupied by two or three families. I remarked, 'I suppose you live pretty comfortable here - do a little yourself — get enough to eat and drink – have wood enough to burn and clothes enough to keep warm during the cold winter nights. Yes, I putter round, gather a few sticks for firing and so on, and, thank God, I have got a husband that can work for his living, and if he can't do anything else, can work on a little patch of ground we have. I have plenty to eat and drink. I have wood enough and can keep warm the coldest night in winter if I only have him with me.' She was proceeding in a curious strain. Not knowing what might be said, I felt not a little uneasy, and, as quick as it was in my power gave a different turn to the conversation. The dame who proved herself of such amorous material, was a salt-rheum-eyed wench, of some fifty years old, stockingless, and with all the marks of extreme 160 ASCENT OF THE MONADNOCK. destitution upon her. They little suspected who I was, and after I left them, I could not restrain a hearty laugh at their singular chitty-chattiness.
ASCENT OF THE MONADNOCK.
To err is human. “Hope deferred,' etc. Misfor. tunes never come single. Genuine benevolence.
This Mountain is one of the White Mountain ridge and rises to the height of 3254 feet. Having passed the Sabbath in Dublin, N. H. with a clerical gentleman of my acquaintance, who was kind enough to invite me to accompany him to this place on an exchange, we set off on Monday morning to return to Fitchburg. The road led us along the base of the Monadnock. As we gazed at it with eager eyes, the ascent appeared gradual and the summit not far distant. We began to talk seriously of attempting the ascent, and at length concluded so to do. We left our horse and chaise at the nearest farm-house, and as we could not obtain a guide, thought there would be no difficulty in guiding our selves. So off we started. We were not so fortunate as to find a path, and were obliged to make one as we proceeded. This was no easy matter as there was much brush-wood to work thro'. After something of a strain we reached the top of
HOPE DEFERRED,' ETC. 161 the first peak. As we looked upward we saw another peak at the distance of a mile. So down we go nearly a half a mile over rocks and fallen trees and up we toil to the height of the second peak. To our surprize and disappointment there is a still higher peak beyond. Surely this, we thought, must be the summit of the mountain. So down we go again and up we toil again. Quite exhausted we reach the height of the third peak. We look beyond and upward, and lo! another still higher and more difficult of access. We were not disposed to give out, though we had little strength left. Like human beings we aspired to reach the utmost elevation. So having reposed awhile we perform another go-down and go-up, but not without incredible fatigue. We look again and the summit is far off still. We seem to make no approach to it. It appears more distant than when we first began the ascent. Exhausted and heart-sickened we are ready to give over the pursuit. But it is dreadful hard, when one has toiled so much, to fail of the object sought. So we think we will make one more effort, trusting to a kind providence that it will be all required of us. We reach the elevation of this peak and look around. It is the loftiest of all. Our exploit is achieved our solicitude at an end. Our toil rewarded. We remained some time on the summit to derive all the pleasure we could from the wide and varied prospect, and to gather strength sufficient to make the descent. Having nothing to
162 MISFORTUNES NEVER SINGLE. eat or drink with us, and of course were about half famished. At length we left the many peaks, over which we had traversed, alone in their glory,' and sought the base of the one on which we stood. How sadly unfortunate! Instead of finding anythiug like a path as we expected, we were obliged to penetrate through a forest all but impenetrable, and which human foot had never penetrated before, to slide down fearful declivities of bare rocks, and sometimes, with nought to hold by but twigs and shrubs, to drop ourselves from perpendicular precipices, not know. ing what foot-hold we should find below. We were in a melancholy plight before we had made half the descent. Our shoes,a few hours before all shining bright, worn to the eolor of the grey rocks - our suits of black none the more comely for their rough treatment from bushes and briars — our strength all gone-our hearts faint--and countenances as pallid as if the grave was about to claim us. We feared we should die upon the mountain and become the food of the vultures, our bones whiten in the depth of the forest, and what had become of us ever be a mystery. However such proved not to be our fate. We lived to get into the lowlands and made out to stagger to the nearest farm-house. We told the farmer's wife, in the fewest words, the plight we were in and begged of her to accommodate us with a bed to lie down and restourselves. We obtained what we wished and soon fell asleep losing all recollection of the past. It was GENUINE BENEVOLENCE. 163 several hours and towards the close of the day before we again made our appearance. In the meantime our kind hostess had provided for us an excellent supper, and had sent one of her sons after our horse and chaise, which was no less than two or three miles off. We ate heartily and would have repaid her well for all she had done for us, but she refused to take the smallest compensation. Blessings on thee, good woman! Thou hast cast thy bread upon the waters. May it return to thee again! We set off considerably refreshed, and that night we rode to Fitchburg — a distance of thirty miles.