Зображення сторінки

to receive this as an intentional insult. He means " You set me such a fine example, dad—but we nothing of the kind, but only intends to convey the won't quarrel. Ride up to Spanker-he may let idea, that compared with him, his opponent must you get near enough to seize the bridle." be content to rank second. His son humors this Ike obeyed his son's request, crying co-boy, colove of disquisition more, perhaps, to have a sub-boy, co-boy, as he approached the runaway. The ject on which he may exercise his wit, than to horse, at first, raised his head, but soon again comgratify his parent. His invectives he does not at menced toying with the grass. No sooner, howall regard, or only looks upon them as evidences ever, had Isham come within kicking distance, of his prowess.

When Beau arose from the table than he braced his fore-legs and let fly, making his he was satisfied that he had been very witty, and heels ring against the old fellows stirrup-imon. Isham was content to think victory had perched Ike’s foot was terribly shaken, and he spluttered out upon his standard. For a half hour afterwards he a volume of oaths which almost convulsed his son might be heard muttering to himself, “ dont's no with laughter. Beau had considered his fall a kind hargument, Billy, cuss me ef dont's a hargument !" of disgrace, but, when he ascertained that his fa

That Virginian Saturnalia—a Barbecue-has ther was not much injured, his own mishap was been so often described, that we despair of doing completely forgotten, and he poured forth a shuwer any sort of justice to the scene at Bubble-Spring; of his peculiar wit upon the head of his pareni. and, indeed, our object is not so much to attempt He asked him if he thought he could prove there this, as to portray the different characters who may were more ways of catching a horse than running take a part therein, and, more especially, to make after him—then he told him he should blame the the reader better acquainted with Messrs. Isham stirrup and not Spanker's heel—that had not and William Parsons.

touched him. He next launched out into a dissertaBeau Parsons mounted his horse, and having tion upon first and second causes, and proved bereined him in tightly, he thrust his spurs into his yond cavil, that upon the girth rested the whole resides to ascertain his capability of doing justice to sponsibility—if that had not broken all would have his master's person when he should appear before been well, and, finally, he worked Isham isto a the company at the Spring, and then rode on at a raging ill-humor by telling him, he firmly beliered rapid pace, perfectly convinced that Mr. William the devil was at the bottom of the whole business. Parsons had not his equal on earth. Isham, after The old man dismounted, and afier limping about looking at his son's equestrian demonstrations for for some time, swearing like a trooper at every some time, and murmuring something about spurs step, suddenly became conscious that he was DA being an argument for a horse, mounted a sober- acting as a Christian should act. looking nag, and set forth, thinking earth an Eden, Billy,” he exclaimed, “ Billy, don't plague ibe mankind Angels, and both capable of proof, he, Ike now-I know I'll do wrong ef you do, an' I doa't Parsons, being first wrangler.

wanter." Isham had not gone far, before he discovered his “ You do wrong, my dear sir? Impossible! Your son seated on the side of the road and his horse face at this moment is as placid as an infant's, and quietly picking the grass a hundred or two yards you have not uttered an improper expression since distant.

the accident-I shall never forget your example, “ Hurt, Billy ?" inquired the old man, for it was and hereafter, will bear all of my misfortunes with evident from the chagrined appearance of Beau, patience and resignation.” that he had been thrown—"I thought you could “Oh, d-n me, Billy, this is too bad-stop, ef ride any beast, no matter how wild.”

you please, stop!” Billy made no answer to the query, but asked his " Stop? to be sure I will, if you desire it, but i father, somewhat bitterly, if he thought he could hope, on some future occasion, you will perunit me prove that a man might keep his seat when the to express my admiration of your heroic beharje. girth breaks and the saddle falls off; pointing to What have you in your saddle-bags ?" his harness in the middle of the road.

“Corn, Billy, corn, an' onerly think-part of it • Why, Billy, I don't think I can—but why don't waster feed that infarnal horse of yourn." you catch your horse ?”

“Corn is an argument to catch a horse, d3d“ Do you suppose I can do every thing ?” asked why did you not think of this before ?" Beau, “I can run—there is no doubt of that-but “Stay, Billy, stay-corn can't be called an harmy vanity will not allow me to say I can beat gument to catch a horse. We ollers drive with an Spanker."

hargument—that is, ef it's good for any thing“I can prove, Billy, that we need’n't ollers run but never persuade except with—what do we pe arter a horse to git him."

suade with, Billy ?". “Oh, d-n it! catch the horse--that is the best “Corn, I hope," said Billy, “for otherwise, if way of proving you are able to do so."

corn turns out an argument, and your distinctions “Cuss my soul, Billy-how often must I tell just

, my horse will run like the devil. I'll try to you erbout cussin'?"

with this nubbin, be the event what it may."

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

"Wait a moment, Billy, until we settle this lit-flection and refraction. The excuse was not adtle squabble of ourn. I says we drive with an mitted, and Ellen was ordered to stretch forth her hargument."

hand to receive the thwacks of the ferule. I then * And I

say, if we do, my horse will run," changed my ground and swore by all the gods in * Why, Billy, you are a cussed fool-didn't I Tooke's Pantheon, she had nothing to do with it—I tell you corn wan't an hargument to catch a horse ?" had committed a rape on her lips. It would not

* That remains to be proved,” interrupted Beau, do—she was punished, and I received a double and, by means of his bait, his horse was soon se- quantity of dog-wood for what the pedagogue called, cured and harnessed, minus a girth.

my impertinence. Many an inward vow did I re" You've cotched him, Bill; but all the newspa- gister, should ever I arrive at a height of five feet, pers on the face of the globe shouldn't convince to beat him within an inch of his life. I have me corn's an hargument, when I sees you catch a since thought better, and whilst I am thinking, I horse with it, an' hears you readin' erbout drivin' had as well resume my narrative. convictions to the heart of the people. The horse, Before the door of the school-house at Bubbleas you said, oughter have run, ef it had been one ; Spring, on every occasion of rustic festivity, is oughtn't he, Bill?"

erected an arbor, made of the branches of a gre" Yes, yes! and I will run, too, if you don't nadier-looking grove of oaks not a hundred yards stop-you have contradicted yourself a dozen, or off. The ground being levelled and beaten permore, times."

fectly hard, is covered with a bushel or two of Bill, you are my son, but you are a monstrous bran, and makes as comfortable a dancing room as liar."

ever a “sovereign" shook his heel above. From " In stating an effect, dad, you have, perhaps, hence is derived a phrase which, we fear, a large unwittingly given the cause. But, good morning. part of our readers have never yet heard, to wit: I hope the throes of your brain will cure the sores a bran-dance. Let no city lady turn up her nose of your heel, before you reach the Spring ;” and, at the idea of performing a pirouette on such a thus saying, off gallopped Beau Parsons.

floor, and in broad daylight. We have seen the ** Thar be goes,” exclaimed Ike, “ arfter havin' eyes of those who might do the honors of a palace, said somethin' that no ornary man can make heads sparkle with pleasure as they dashed the bran from or tails outer."

under their feet, to the music of a negro's violin. Lest some one, relying upon the misnomers of Here, however, we shall have, principally, to porAmerican nomenclature, should take it upon him- tray the ignorant; for our object is originality, but seli to assert that there is no spring at Bubble- rest assured, it is not the ignorant alone, who enjoy Spring, we here assure all who feel at all interested a bran-dance. in the matter, that, there is not only a spring, but one Mr. William Parsons tied his steed so soon as of the clearest, deepest, brightest springs, which the he arrived within a hundred yards of Bubble-Spring, mountains of Virginia may boast. Bubble-Spring is for he doubted his power of displaying his horsethe scene of many of our schoolboy freaks. Hard manship, without a girth to his saddle. Having by, under the shade of a noble oak-a mildew ascertained that the last button—we might say, blight the Vandal who has since “belted” it !- lower button-on his coat was perfectly fast, he stands a queer-looking building of unhewn logs, in took his hat in his hand, in defiance of sunshine, which, many years ago, we learned the mysteries and, with a rakish air, walked up to greet the asof the alphabet, and experienced the tender mer- sembled company. Bill, be it known, has one lancies of the bireh--we should say, the dog-wood. guage for the men and another for the ladies. The Over this spring have we bent with some fair- first is comprehensible by ordinary mortals ; the haired schoolmate, and besought her with all of last, unless a Daniel or a Joseph shall again appear our youthful eloquence, to give us a kiss, that we on earth, must ever remain a little enigmatical. might have the pleasure of seeing our shadows kiss Whether this be complimentary to the fair sex, be helow! Many a time has our request been granted, it far from us to determine ; though it certainly and whilst our laughter-loving inamorata was vainly looks so, to address them in a palois which others endeavoring to look down into the waters, we, as may barely understand. Let those who may, moot rainly, were trying to read the mysteries of the the question. human heart by gazing into the depths of her own “Ned Woodville, how are you ?–Miss Wooddark blue eyes. Egad! it almost makes us weep ville, I greet thee," was his salutation, on appearing to think of it! “Mr. Birchrod,” would exclaim before a brother and sister. soome mean-hearted boy—“Mr. Birchrod, Paul and “Where is uncle Ike?" was chorussed by a Eilen have been kissing again," and, forthwith, half-a-dozen voices. Isham, like old King Cole, Paul and Ellen were summoned from the ranks of was a jolly old soul, and, of course, a favorite. riggling children, to answer the charge. It was “Gents, I left him behind-ladies, he rideth n vain I declared we were studying the laws of hither," was the reply. shadows-the mysterious rules which govern re- “ Billy,” whispered the aforementioned Ned

« But

Woodville, “do talk like a sensible man for one say something about kissing being one of the day in your life.”

devil's weapons, but was forced to yield to the “Ned, blast your eyes, I think you might under- overwhelming majority which declared it an innostand what I said to you without tasking your brain cent recreation. too severely, but the ladies—blessings on them- “ There's a charity which is inexhaustible, are not to be spoken to as your common clay-por- gents—what is it?" celain, Ned, porcelain. Ladies," he continued, This question was answered by the crowd fronting a bevy of six or eight girls,-"a toast to thrusting their hands into their pockets. you, fair maidens, and in Nature's unadulterated “ Haint it to give thater which makes us no wine will I drink it. On this day we asserted our poorer, an' the receiver richer ?" independence of British authority, and this day we “ Just so, just so," was the response, and the will ever commemorate by acknowledging our de- hands were withdrawn from the pockets. pendence on yours.”

you have lost sight of 'won't bite.'" in“Ned,” said he, leading his coony off by the terposed Beau. arm, “Ned, that was fine, and I hope you will not “No I haint, tho'," and Ike's eyes glistened blab, when I declare I have been thinking of it for with excitement. an hour. Come, I will drink your health, and, “Ef Lucy gives me a kiss, is she any poorer ? hang it, Nature's wine shall be adulterated this “No! no!" responded the audience. time;" and in brandy-toddy he gave,

a better ac- "An' haint I richer?" . quaintance, as the boy said to his daddy."

The answer to this did not, at first, secm sa ob. Isham Parsons now arrived, and most cordially vious, but the old man, finally, carried the day, was the old fellow greeted by the whole assembly. and was assured that he would be infinitely richer. His reputation as a saint-not much worsted by “ There can be but one reason, then, aginst her his known fondness for expletives—backed by his doin' so, an' thater is the fear of a bite. I said I popularity as a man, and his age as a patriarch, won't bite,' an' now I asks"-here Isham rose procured him more kisses-Ike loves kisses-from upon his feet, like Henry when he uttered his celethe coral lips of the girls, than would have caused brated warning to George the Third-—"ef won't his son to go raving mad with joy; and we shall do bite haint an hargument for kissin'?" Beau nothing but justice, when we say, if he could "You have carried the day-give up, Bear," have looked into the hearts of the ladies, he would exclaimed the assembly; and Billy finding the corhave found the salutes given the father, were, rent of popular opinion so strongly against him, sometimes, intended as proxies for the son. retired without attempting an answer, and reven

" I've two harguments why you oughter to kiss ged himself by whispering in the ears of the ladiesme, Lucy,” said he, to a coy damsel, who appeared "I won't bite.” Thus, though his father clined desirous of avoiding his salute.

the victory in the argument, the reputation of Beze. “ You can't win kisses by arguments, uncle Ike; as a wit, was considerably increased! but let's hear them."

Isham, and some of the old men, now thought it “ The first is, I'm old.”

high time to “wet their whistles;" and a table, "A very good reason for not kissing you." under the oak tree we have before mentioned, gare “And the other is, I won't bite."

them ample means of doing so. Ike was called on “Won't bite is no argument,” exclaimed Billy for a toast, and gave—“harguments and the gaisParsons, who had been watching the old man, ho- the one will win the tother." Politics, that suite ping, or rather knowing, something would turn up, qua non of American chit-chat, was then introdswhereon he might electrify the ladies with his bril-ced. Lawyers, doctors, pastors, editors ; readers liant wit. He knew Isham well; for no sooner did of plausibilities, pills, prayers, and paragraphs he hear one of his “harguments," as he chose to might all have learned something from the sugcall his reasons, impeached, than he wheeled around, gestions here thrown out. One thought a canal and the fair lady was utterly forgotten in his en- across the Isthmus of Panama would certainly endeavors to prove “ won't bite” an argument. Ike's hance the value of granite in New-Hampshire. peculiarity was also known to the whole crowd, Another declared, without a veto on the Bank of and he soon had a dense and laughing audience the United States—the monster-no herrings woal! listening to his lucid illustrations. Our character again appear off the coast of North-Carolina ; arł is a rare one, but he may have a local habitation yet another swore, that since the introduction of and a name.

the Tariff, the Hessian fly had destroyed more “Gents, I erpeals to you-haint kissin' inercent grain than would suffice to feed half the paupers in itself?"

of Europe. War, and all of its horrors, were the) “ It is, it is!" responded the whole throng, with brought upon the tapis. The Americans were the exception of Billy. The Socratic method of roundly asserted to be the greatest people on earth. reasoning was a thing he did not like—especially and the Virginians the very persons alluded to, when employed against himself. He attempted to when it was said, the children of this world are

[ocr errors]

his person.

wiser in their generation, than the children of light. | lady, a just regard for the safety of that lady deThe rifle of the western pioneer was declared an clares that he should not throw his legs too far,” infinitely superior weapon to a British ninety-six was the parody which he addressed to a red-headed pounder; and it was seriously mooted, whether or specimen of the human race, whose lower limbs not, a Chinese cracker in the hands of an Ameri- seemed every moment about to give his companion can schoolboy, was more effective than one of the greeting which the windmill gave the knight of their congreve rockets. Isham Parsons, as those La Mancha. To another, who had lost his partwho have attentively studied his character will sup- ner, he gave a similar parody; asking him to “make pose, was first and foremost in these disquisitions, i known the causes which impelled bim to a separaand he was in the very act of giving his reasons tion"-all of which was received with great apin favor of the boy and cracker, when the negro plause, the Declaration of Independence being, as fieddler was heard to strike his bow across the back it should be, at the finger-ends of every one. of his instrument, as a signal for the dancing to “ Your heel is well, I see, dad," said Beau, as begin. lke-10 use his own simile-was off like he passed Isham in the mazes (emphatically so) of a shot from a hot shovel, and, with the prettiest the dance. girl present, was the first man upon the floor, pre- The old man saw that the tale of the morning's pared to exhibit the agility, if not the graces, of mishap would soon be told by his son, and his love

of fun determined his course at once. Had we the pencil of a Cruikshank (Phoebus, “ Billy had a fall this morin',” he said to his what a name!) and the pen of a Dickens, we should partner. despair of doing any sort of justice to the scene 6. You don't say so !” exclaimed the partner-which now arose.

To dancing, as to every thing and the speakers were off, in different directions, else, each man seemed to think the Declaration of before an answer could be given or received. Independence applied; and, of course, the steps, “ Yes he did,” said Ike, when they again met. turnings, windings, kickings, jumpings of one, were “ HIow?" cried Miss, and, again they were forced wholly independent of another. One fellow ap- to part. peared to think the Graces always walked side- “Horse !” exclaimed Ike, when for the third ways—accordingly, he walked sideways. Another time they were vis-a-vis. thooght backwards, still more graceful—he walked “Oh, do-do stop and tell,” requested the inquibackwards—another thought a slide superior to a sitive lady, and Isham, nothing loth, gave an acjump, and yet another, a jump superior to a slide-count, something like the following, of the morntheir movements were regulated to suit these fan- ing's adventure : cies. One genius supported himself on his left He said that Billy, when he started from home, leg, whilst the right was made to gyrate around its made his horse rear and pitch in a most extraordistand-still neighbor-he was a patronizer of astral nary manner, for the purpose of exciting bis (Ike’s) dancing; the left leg being the sun, and the right admiration of his horsemanship. That he (Ike) typefying the movements of the heavenly bodies. had told him, after a rise there was always a fall, The ladies had grace enough, but, of course, their and his son had laughied him to scorn. But the steps had 10 be regulated by those of their part-event proved the truth of the prediction. Billy ners. The astral dancer kept a laughing girl had not gone more than a half mile before he was wheeling around him in an orbit as eccentric as thrown, and his vanity, if not his person, grievouly that of any comet that ever alarmed the world. wounded. Ike said, farther, that he had overtaken Move, her beau would not; until he had ground a him and offered the use of his steed to gain poshole in the earth, and, then, a jump gave him a session of his son's runaway. Beau accepted the stable foundation on which he might recommence offer, but only to increase the number of his mis. the same maneuvre. The partner of the gentle- fortunes. He (Beau) mounted and pursued, but the man whose forte was a jump, had a still more dif- recreant steed saluted his stirrup-iron with a kick ficult task, and would, willingly, have exchanged so severe as to lame him very considerably, for the with the one who was compelled to play planet to time being. Mr. Isham Parsons, moreover, assertthe brilliant orb we have mentioned—a Venus to ed that it was at the earnest request of Billy, that his Phæbus !

he had not before told the tale, but Beau had just " Faster, darky, faster!” exclaimed Ike, to the made an insinuation which induced him (Ike) to ebony fiddler—"cuss me boys,” he continued, “ ef declare the whole business. By way of clincher I'm usin to sich slow movements,” and the old fel- to this string of falsehoods, he added, that he had low's shrunken shanks, twinkled like a swiftly re. never heard a man curse and swear as Billy did, volving wheel in the sunshine.

in the whole course of his life—that he was greatly Mr. William Parsons was all animation ; and his mortified, and gave him a lecture both on the imwil became absolutely dazzling.

policy and iniquity of profane language ; but, final“When, in the course of human events, it be- ly, admitted that the kick of a horse would, if any comes necessary for a gentleman to dance with a

Vol. VII-72

[merged small][ocr errors]

thing could, justify a deviation from the ordinary standing the many bards who have endeavored to modes of expression.

write the world into a contrary opinion-and now Now, let no one, in disdain, cast our worthy old the gentlemen having followed in the footsteps of Isham aside. He is not only honest and charita- these fair, but not quite ethereal beings, are quaffble, but, if we judge a man by his intentions, he is ing libations (pouring libations has gone out of good. So far as these were concerned, his tale fashion) to the Goddess of Freedom, in whaterer was no breach of sound morality. Isham Parsons land she may be found. Wine brightens wit, and is a genius, and must not be judged by rules appli- whiskey, gin, brandy, and all the other adulteracable to ordinary men. He saw that the enemy tions of alcohol, are apt to do the same thing. All was about to enter his own territory, and, like varieties of table-talk, were to be heard at Bubbleanother Scipio, he determined to carry the war into Spring. Sentiment mingled with common-place; Africa—to occupy the very fortress from which his the profound with the shallow; the high with the foe intended to make his hostile demonstrations, low; the deep with the lofty, and—it is with re'Twas for fun, reader, fun, and the father of lies gret we say it—the stammering enunciation of never yet told one, designed to give pleasure, with- some of the speakers showed too plainly, that, out inflicting injury upon mankind.

though wine may elevate our ideas, it, but too often, “How's your foot, Beau !" asked a dancer. injures our power of expressing them.

“Excellent,” said Beau, cutting the back-shuffle “There is two things," quoth Isham Parsons, to prove it.

rising from his seat, glass in hand, " which we “How's your heel, Beau ?" asked another. oughter to do on the 4th of July-git merry and

Beau again declared that it was “excellent,” but and" seemed a little surprised at the frequency of the “Curse the British," supplied a fellow close by. question. At last he appeared to have made a dis- “Ay, ay, cuss the British-and Kurnwallis, escovery, and uttering an anathema against his wor-pecially," said Ike. thy parent, which did him but little honor, and “By the way,” interposed one, “ I've heara say would redound still less to our credit to repeat, he we were descendants of these same Britishers—it walked up to a young lady and requested the plea- is all a lie, and the man who says I've a drap of sure of conducting her to the table, when the im- their blood in my veins, I'll wallop him. I had a portant hour of dinner should arrive. The lady long slipe ruther be kin to a nigger." said she would look over her engagements and see “Kin to 'em, indeed !” exclaimed Ike, “ why whether this pleasure might be granted without Kerlumbus diskivered Ameriky, and every body diminishing that of some one else, and she took a knows he was a—a—" slate of one of the school-children, which hung “ Frenchman," added Beau, gravely. dangling from a bough of the arbor, and began to “Yes, a Frenchman, as I was guine to say," read her “engagements” with as much complacen- lied Isham. cy as a banker would scan his “notes due.” Beau Beau saw a smile on the face of a few knowing saw from the slate-which, doubtless, she never ones, and this was ample encouragement to lead intended him to see- —that her promises were many, Mr. Parsons, the elder, into a maze of contradiebut how did his heart dance with joy, and how did tions. After having made his too credulous prohis vanity rise, when he beheld her, with the great-genitor assert, that Columbus was the eitizen of est nonchalance, place her delicate fore-finger upon half a dozen nations—Ike taking care, after every her tongue, and having slightly moistened it, pro- acknowledgment, to blame the treachery of his ceed to rub out a name and substitute that of Mr. memory--he astonished the old fellow, as much as William Parsons. He bowed; she smiled, and the his son could astonish him, hy roundly denying that affair was settled, though the hopes of some biped any such person had ever existed, and, as usual, were blasted in so doing.

called on him to prove it. Ike happened to be *** Dinner, we would apostrophize thee! and more ting next the schoolmaster, and he gare him ? particularly that variety of thy fair form, yclept a signal to come to his assistance. Mr. Thwacken's barbecue! We have lost none of the reverence was not a mind which could bring its energies to wherewith we were wont to regard thee in years bear in a moment, but his intimate acquaintance bygone, but we cannot consent to do penance by with Peter Parley, saved his credit. He whisperthinking over past joys; and that we do think ed in Ike's ear, when we write, must be evident to every one. Some of these days we may embalm thee in verse

“ Columbus was a sailor brave,

That first did cross the Atlantic ware." as musical as the spluttering of thy gravy upon the glowing coals, but now-no, we cannot !

Ike pretended to be in a deep study for a moThe ladies have eaten—for that ladies do eat, ment, as if collecting his logical weapons, and, the ghosts which haunt the ben-roost, the barn- after having suffered a sufficient time to elapse to yard, and the pig-sty, in the neighborhood of Bubble- give what he should say an air of originality, be Spring, could they speak, would declare, notwith-'exclaimed

« НазадПродовжити »