ページの画像
PDF
ePub

as might have been expected, and we were fain to retreat into the house. The next expedient was to support Mrs. Titmouse on the little bench, while she tried to accomplish the mighty work; and having been partially successful in this, we at length took our leave, promising aid for the morrow, and hearing the poor woman's tongue at intervals till we were far in the wood. “Lord bless ye I’m sure I’m under an everlastin' compliment to ye; I wish I know’d how I could pay ye. Such ladies to be a waitin' on the likes of me; I’m sure I never see nothing like it,” &c. &c. And now we began to wonder how long it would be before we should see our respected spouses, as poor Lorenzo had fallen exhausted on the bed, and was in no condition to see us even a part of the way home. The wood was very dark, though we could see glimpses of the mill-pond lying like liquid diamonds in the moonlight. We had advanced near the brow of the hill which descends toward the pond, when strange sounds met our ears. Strange sounds for our peaceful village Shouts and howling—eldrich screams—Indian yells— the braying of tin horns, and the violent clashing of various noisy articles. We hurried on, and soon came in sight of a crowd of persons, who seemed coming from the village to the pond. And now loud talking, threats—“Duck him duck the impudent rascal” what could it be 7 Here was a mob a Montacute mob and the cause? I believe all mobs pretend to have causes. Could the choice spirits have caught an abolitionist 7 which they thought, as I had heard, meant nothing less than a monster. But now I recollected having heard that a ventriloquist, which I believe most of our citizens considered a beast of the same nature, had sent notices of an exhibition for the evening; and the truth flashed upon us at once. “In with him in with him l’’ they shouted as they approached the water, just as we began to descend the hill. And then the clear fine voice of the dealer in voice was distinctly audible above the hideous din— “Gentlemen, I have warned you ; I possess the means of defending myself, you will force me to use them.” “Stop his mouth,” shouted a well-known bully, “he lies; he ha’n’t got nothing ! in with him l’’ and a violent struggle followed, some few of our sober citizens striving to protect the stranger. One word to Mrs. Rivers, and we set up a united shriek, a screech like an army of sea-gulls. “Help ! help !” and we stopped on the hill-side, our white dresses distinctly visible in the clear, dazzling moonlight. We “stinted not nor staid" till a diversion was fairly effected. A dozen forms seceded at once from the crowd, and the spirit of the thing was at an end. We waited on the spot where our artifice began, certain of knowing every individual who should approach ; and the very first proved those we most wished to see. And now came the very awkward business of explaining our ruse, and Mrs. Rivers was rather sharply reproved for her part of it. Harley Rivers was not the man to object to any thing like a lark, and he had only attempted to effect the release of the ventriloquist, after Mr. Clavers had joined him on the way to Mr. Titmouse's. The boobies who had been most active in the outrage, would fain have renewed the sport; but the ventriloquist had wisely taken advantage of our diversion in his favour, and was no where to be found. The person at whose house he had put up told afterwards that he had gone out with loaded pistols in his pocket; so even a woman's shrieks, hated of gods and men, may sometimes be of service. Montacute is far above mobbing now. This was the first and last exhibition of the spirit of the age. The most mobbish of our neighbours have flitted westward, seeking more congenial association. I trust they may be so well satisfied that they will not think of returning; for it is not pleasant to find a dead pig in one's well, or a favourite dog hung up at the gate-post ; to say nothing of cows milked on the marshes, hen-roosts rifled, or melon-patches cleared in the course of the night. We learned afterwards the “head and front” of the ventriloquist's offence. He had asked twenty-five cents a-head for the admission of the sovereign people.

[ocr errors]

Bah bah —not a bit magic in it at all—not a bit. It is all founded on de planetary influence, and de sympathy and force

of numbers. I will show you much finer dan dis. - Antiquary.

THE very next intelligence from our urban rival came in the shape of a polite note to Mr. Clavers, offering him any amount of stock in the “Merchants' and Manufacturers' Bank of Tinkerville.” My honoured spouse—I acknowledge it with regret—is any thing but “an enterprising man.” But our neighbour, Mr. Rivers, or his astute father for him, thought this chance for turning paper into gold and silver too tempting to be slighted, and entered at once into the business of making money on a large scale. I looked at first upon the whole matter with unfeign. ed indifference, for money has never seemed so valueless to me as since I have experienced how little it will buy in the woods; but I was most unpleasantly surprised when I heard that Harley Rivers, the husband of my friend, was to be exalted to the office of President of the new bank. “Just as we were beginning to be so comfortable, to think you should leave us,” said I to Mrs. Rivers. “Oh dear no,” she replied; “Harley says it will not be necessary for us to remove at present. The

business can be transacted just as well here, and we shall not go until the banking-house and our own can be erected.” This seemed odd to a novice like myself; but I rejoiced that arrangements were so easily made which would allow me to retain for a while so pleasant a companion. As I make not the least pretension to regularity, but only an attempt to “body forth '' an unvarnished picture of the times, I may as well proceed in this place to give the uninitiated reader so much of the history of the Tinkerville Bank, as has become the property of the public ; supposing that the effects of our “General Banking Law” may not be as familiarly known elsewhere as they unfortunately are in this vicinity. When our speculators in land found that the glamour had departed, that the community had seen the ridicule of the delusion which had so long made

“The cobwebs on a cottage wall
Seem tapestry in lordly hall; ... 3
A nutshell seem a gilded barge,
A sheeling seem a palace large,
And youth seem age and age seem youth.”

And poverty seem riches, and idleness industry, and fraud enterprise ; some of these cunning magicians set themselves about concocting a new species of gramarye, by means of which the millions of acres of wild land which were left on their hands might be turned into bond fide cash—paper cash at least, to meet certain times of payment of certain moneys borrowed at certain rates of interest during the fervour of the spec

« 前へ次へ »