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My own Life and Adventures.
(Continued from page 71.) CHAPTER VII.
cient in the business of life. He was My uncle's infuence. The influence of the tav
therefore opposed to education in geneern.-State of society forty years agor-Liquor ral, and particularly so in my case; and opposed to education. The church and the not only was his opinion equivalent to tavern. The country schoolhouse.— Books used law with respect to me, but it was of in the school.—A fero words about myself.
great force in the village, on account of I PAss over a space of several years in his character and position. my history, and come to the period when He kept the village tavern, which in I was about fifteen. Up to this time, I those days of rum and punch was an had made little progress in education, institution of great power and authority, compared with what is done at the pres. It was common, at the period of which I ent day. I could indeed read and write, speak, for the church or meeting-house and I knew something of arithmetic, and tavern to stand side by side ; but but advance beyond this was incon- if one day in the week, sobriety and siderable. A brief detail of certain cir- temperance were preached in the former, cumstances will show the reason of hard drinking and licentiousness were this.
deeply practised in the latter during the In the first place, my uncle had no other six. The tavern, therefore, not very high estimation of what he called only counteracted the good effect of the larnin; he was himself a man of ac- preacher, but it went farther, and in tion, and believed that books render many cases corrupted the whole mass of people dull and stupid, rather than effi- society. The members of the church
thought it no scandal to make regular admirers than the cock and bull of my visits to the bar-room at eleven o'clock uncle's sign. How many a toper has in the forenoon, and at four P. M.; the looked upon it when approaching the deacon always kept his jugs well filled, tavern with his feverish lip, as the emand the minister took his toddy or his blem and assurance of the rum that was tansy bitters, in open day, and without soon to feed the fire kindled in his reproach.
throat ; how many a jolly fellow, stagIn such a state of society as this, the gering from the inn, has seen that sign tavern-keeper was usually the most in- reeling against the sky, and mixing grofluential man in the village, and if he tesquely with the dreamy images of his kept good liquors, he was irresistible. fancy!. Now
uncle was a prince of a tavern If we add to this description, that in keeper for these jolly days. He was, the street, and nearly in front of the tavin fact, what we call a whole-souled fel- ern, was a wood-pile about ten feet high, low: generous, honest, and frank-heart- and covering three or four square rods ed. His full, ruddy countenance be- of ground; that on one side was a litter spoke all this; and his cheerful, hearty of harrows, carts and ploughs, and on voice carried conviction of it to every the other a general assortment of waglistener. Beside, his tavern was freely .ons, old sleighs, broken stages, and and generously kept: it was liberally a rickety vehicle resembling a modern supplied with good beds, and every chaise without a top; and if we sprinkle other luxury or comfort common to between all these articles a good supply those days. As I have said before, it of geese and pigs, we shall have a pretty was situated upon the great road, then fair account of the famous Cock and Buil travelled by the mail stages between tavern that flourished in Salem nearly Boston and New York. The establish- forty years ago. ment was of ample extent, consisting of The proprietor of such an establisha pile of wooden buildings of various ment could not, in those days, but be a and irregular architecture-all painted a man of influence; and the free manners deep red. There was near it a large and habits of my uncle' tended to inbarn with extensive cow-houses, a corn crease the power that his position gave crib, a smoke-house, and a pig-sty, ar- him. He drank liberally himself
, and ranged solely with a view to ease of com- vindicated his practice by saying that munication with the house, and conse- good liquor was one of the gifts of proviquently all drawn closely around it. dence, and it was no sin-indeed it was The general effect, when viewed at a rather a duty--to indulge in providential distance, was that of two large jugs sur- gifts freely. All this made him a favorrounded with several smaller ones. ite, particularly with a set of hard drink
Before this heap of edifices swung ers who thronged the bar-room, especially the tavern sign, with a picture of a of a wet day and on-winter evenings. barn-yard cock on one side, and a bull As I have said, my uncle was opposed upon the other, as I have told you before : to education, and as he grew older and and though the artist that painted it drank deeper, his prejudice against it was only a common house-dauber, and seemed to increase; and though I canthough the pictures were of humble not easily account for the fact, still every pretensions when compared with the drunkard in the place was an enemy to productions of Raphael, still, few speci- all improvements in the school. When mens of the fine arts have ever had more a town-meeting took place, these per
sons were invaribly in opposition to my own fortunes. I have yet a sadder every scheme, the design of which was story to tell, as to the effect of the village to promote the cause of education, and tavern, not only upon myself, but upon my this party was usually headed by my uncle, and several others. That must uncle. And it is not a little curious be reserved for some of the sad pages that the tavern party also had its influence through which my tale will lead you. in the church, for my uncle was a member For the present, I only point out the of it, and many of his bar-room cronies fact, that a man who encourages the sale also. They were so numerous as to of liquors is usually unfriendly to the cast a heavy vote, and therefore they ex- education and improvement of mankind; ercised a good deal of power here. As in that his position tends to make him fear respect to the school, so in the house of the effect of light and wish for darkness; worship, they were for spending as little that hard drinking will ruin even a genmoney as possible, and for reducing its erous and noble mind and heart; and power and influence in society to the low- that the habit of dealing in liquor is one est possible scale. They even held the to be feared, as it induces a man to minister in check, and though he saw the take narrow, selfish, and low views of evil tendency of intemperance in the vil. human nature and human society. It lage, he had not nerve enough to attack it appears to me that a trade which thrives except in a very soft and mild way, which when men turn drunkards, and which probably served to increase the vice at fails when men grow temperate, is a which he aimed; for vice always thrives trade which is apt to injure the mind and when holy men condemn it gently. soul of one who follows it. Even my
Now I have said that my uncle was noble-hearted and generous uncle feli, a kind-hearted, generous man, by na- under such sinister influences. ture; how then could he be so narrow- But to return to the school. I have minded in respect to education and re- already described the situation of the ligion? The answer to this question is house. The building itself was of wood, easy. He was addicted to the free use about fifteen feet square, plastered withof liquors, which not only tends to de- in, and covered with benches without stroy the body, but to ruin all the nobler backs, which were constructed by thrustparts of the mind. As he came more ing sticks, for legs, through auger holes and more under the influence of ardent in a plank. On one side, against the spirits, he grew narrow-minded, sottish wall, was a long table, serving as a desk and selfish. And this is one of the for the writers. great evils of taking ardent spirits. The The chimney was of rough stone, and use of them always tends to break down the fire-place was of the same material. the mind; to take away from us those But what it lacked in grace of finish, was noble feelings and lofty thoughts, which made up in size. I believe that it was are the glory of man ; in short, to sink us at least ten feet wide, and five in depth, lower and lower toward the brute crea- and the flue was so perpendicular and tion. A determined drunkard is usu- ample, that the rain and snow fell down ally a great part of the time but little to the bottom, without the risk of strikelevated above a beast.
ing the sides. In summer, the school Now I have been particular about this was kept by a woman, who charged the part of my story, for I wished to show town a dollar a week, boarding herself; you the natural influence of the habits in winter it was kept by a man, who was of my uncle, and their operation upon paid five dollars a month and found.
Here about seventy children, of all ripen and harden youth for the stern sizes, were assembled during this latter endurances of manhood. portion of the year; the place and The school began at nine in the manner of treatment being arranged as morning, and it was rare that the fire much as possible on the principle that a gave out any heat so early as this ; nor schoolhouse is a penitentiary, where the could it have been of much consequence more suffering, the more improvement. had it done so, for the school-room was
I have read of despots and seen pris.' almost as open as a sieve, letting in the ons, but there are few of the former bitter blast at every window and door, more tyrannical than the birch-despot of and through a thousand cracks in the former days, or of the latter, more thin plastering of the walls. Never gloomy than the old-fashioned school- have I seen such a miserable set of house, under the tyrant to which it was blue-nosed, chattering, suffering creausually committed.
tures as were these children, for the I must enter into a few details. first hour after the opening of school, on The fuel for the school consisted of a cold winter morning. Under such cirwood, and was brought in winter, load cumstances, what could they do? Noby load, as it was wanted; though it thing, and they were expected to do occasionally happened that we got en- nothing. tirely out, and the school was kept The books in use. were Webster's without fire if the master could endure Spelling Book, Dilworth's Arithmetic, the cold, or dismissed if the weather Webster's Second and Third Part, the chanced to be too severe to be borne. New Testament, and Dwight's GeograThe wood was green oak, hickory, or phy. These were all, and the best scholars maple, and when the fire could be in- of the seminary never penetrated more duced to blaze between the sticks, there than half through this mass of science. was a most notable hissing and frying. There was no such thing as a history, and a plentiful exudation of sap at each a grammar, or a map in the school. end of them.
These are mysteries reserved for more The wood cut into lengths modern days. of about five feet, by the scholars, Such was the state of things such each of the larger boys taking his the condition of the school, where I return at this, and at making the fire in ceived my education, the only education the morning. This lattter was a task that I ever enjoyed, except such as I that demanded great strength and pa- have since found in study by myself, tience; for, in the first place, there must and amid the active pursuits of life. be a back-log, five feet in length, and at But let me not blame the schoolhouse least fifteen inches in diameter; then a alone; I was myself in fault, for even top-stick about two-thirds as big; and the poor advantages afforded me there, I then a forestick of similar dimensions. wilfully neglected; partly because I It required some strength to move these was fond of amusing myself and impalogs to their places; and after the frame tient of application ; partly because I of the work was built, the gathering of thought myself worth ten thousand dolchips, and the blowing, the wooing, the lars, and fancied that I was above the courting that were necessary to make the necessity of instruction ; and partly berevolting flame take hold of the wet fuel, cause my uncle and his bar-room friends demanded a degree of exertion, and an were always sneering at men of educaendurance of patience, well calculated to tion, and praising men of spirit and ac
tion—those who could drive a stage moved, creeping lazily along, catching skilfully, or beat in pitching cents, or a slight puff at intervals. The musical bear off the palm in a wrestling-match, portion of the company contrived to or perchance carry the largest quantity make the time pass pleasantly away in of liquor under the waistcoat.
singing certain old airs which chimed Such being the course of circumstan in with the feeling and situation of the ces that surrounded me at the age of company. At last the breeze came fifteen, it will not be surprising if my again, and about ten at night they found story should at last lead to some painful themselves in the little cove before the facts; but my succeeding chapters will quiet town of Gloucester. Here they show.
cast anchor; and so much pleased were (To be continued.)
they, that they stayed the next day and enjoyed the pleasure of a ramble along the rocky shores, fishing for perch, &c. They found an excellent host at the
Gloucester hotel, where they passed the The Artists' Cruise.
next night. I cannot do better than to
tell the rest of the story in the words of ABOUT the first of August, 1840, an these adventurers. excursion was set on foot, by five young “With a bright sun, a fresh breeze, men of Boston, for recreation and amuse- and a calm sea, we left Gloucester and ment-one full of interest and excite
shaped our course around Cape Ann for ment, conducive equally to health and the Isles of Shoals, a group which lie at pleasure. The plan was this to em- the farther extremity of Ipswich bay, bark in a small pleasure-boat called the across which we merrily steered, emPhantom, built and owned by one of the bracing the opportunity of initiating company, who was also well skilled in the inexperienced in the duties of amanautical affairs, and proceed by easy dis teur seamanship. In a few hours we tances along the coast as far “ down ran in between the rocky isles, which, as East” as time or inclination would ad- we gradually neared them, seemed to mit-letting the events and adventures rise from out the waves. Anchoring in of the day determine the movements of the midst of a fleet of fishing boats, we the next.
prepared our supper, which was soon The company consisted of young despatched with much mirth, owing to artists-lovers of nature-ready to ap- the primitive simplicity of our arrangepreciate all the new and beautiful points ments. We passed the night at our that might meet the eye. The boat was anchorage, after witnessing the effect of hauled up at Phillip's beach, Lynn, to a magnificent thunder-storm, and spent which place the party proceeded, and the morning in strolling among the rocks fitted her out with all the conveniences along the shore, and amusing ourselves and comforts proper for the cruise. with the characteristic traits of the Everything being ready, they sailed on islanders whom we met; their isolated the first of the week, with a fair south- position, and constant devotion to the west wind, passed Marblehead and Sa- single occupation of catching and curing lem gaily, and stretched onward for fish, appearing to interpose a bar to their Cape Ann. As night came on they advancement in any other qualification. were becalmed, but it was very clear, From the Isles of Shoals we had the and the moon shone gloriously, as they next day.a fair run to Wood Island, and