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wardly, for the future, to have done with subscription-papers of every kind.
"Experience is a great master!" we groaned out, as we rubbed our bruised shins. F. A.
THE VACATION STROLLINGS OF GEOFFREY LA-TOUCHE. No. I.
Passage from New York to West Point.
On the morning of August 15, I was waked from a sound sleep, at half past six o'clock, by the announcement that a carriage was in waiting, to convey me to the Albany boat. Giving two or three emphatical growls, on the key of B flat, and as many yawns, at an angle of forty-five, I proceeded to equip myself for the day's journey. That being done, I crept down stairs, with all possible caution, in order that none of my fellow-boarders should be roused at such an unseasonable hour, and paying my excellent friend, Mr. Bunker, the moderate sum of fourteen dollars* for a week's sojourn, I seated myself in the coach, and was whirled rapidly along to the foot of Courtlandt Street. Scarcely had we come to a halt, before both doors were flung open, and half a dozen heads thrust in, the proprietors of which were bellowing out" this side, sir-this side-here-this way-two fifty and found." Amid this clash of contending interests and opposite factions, I was well nigh stunned, when a sharp whisper informed me that the three-dollar boat was exclusively for the most respectable persons. This, of course, decided me; and committing my trunk to a fellow who looked as if he was desirous of a nearer acquaintance
* Francis Airy expressed some doubt as to the truth of this pecuniary statement. Accordingly a committee of two was deputed to question Geoffrey on it, he having retired to the bed-room about an hour before the reading of his piece. The committee, consisting of Charles Sherry and Luke Lockfast, after some moments returned with a report that it was impossible to get any thing from him, but mutterings about Madeira and Champaigne, from which we conclude that when in New York he made plentiful libations to Bacchus.
with its internal arrangements, I ordered him to lead the way; which he did, with wonderful effect, creating what might be termed a vacuum, had he not left in his track some dozen young stragglers, a woman or two, et cetera, et
I was now safely seated on the quarter deck of the North America. The second bell had rung out its warning, and the captain was advancing with orders for the third and last. At its first sound, every one bent as much as possible towards the bow, and grasped the nearest fixture. Mothers held fast their children, and maiden ladies their bonnets. At length the signal was given. Round went the stop-cock -off darted the boat. The multitude that thronged the pier-head, was soon but an undistinguished mass of matter; the suburbs of the city were rapidly passed, and we pursuing our solitary way on the tranquil bosom of that most beautiful of rivers.
Reader, in some future number of our redoubted magaazine, I may treat you to a tour on the same route, in which I propose to sentimentalize most feelingly, and quote Byron's verses by the gross. At present, I must confine myself to the description of characters and circumstances, that will leave but little room for the play of imagination. Meanwhile forgive me that, in a theatre so grand and beautiful, I represent such a trifling and ludicrous farce.
My attention was first attracted to a group, worthy the pencil of that admirable caricaturist, Johnston. It consisted of a man about fifty years of age, with a face singularly expressive of shrewdness, sternness, and good humor,—his better half, a woman of immense proportions, apparently of that passive disposition, which most generally accompanies unwieldy bulk, and his two daughters, rigged out in the extreme of the fashion, both as to the extent of their headgear, aud the height and lowness of their dresses. Nature had given to the eldest very light brown hair, a singular optical obliquity, and a leaden cast of features, so singularly contrasted with the gay and airy personal adornments, with which the milliner and mantua-maker had invested her, that if my sense of propriety had not greatly predominated over my sense of the ridiculous, I should have given vent to my feelings in a loud burst of laughter. As it was, I had hardly
composed my features, when the bonnet of the youngest turned, so that, through the long vista of flowers and riband-festoons, I distinguished two sparkling jet eyes, a slightly curved nose, and a lovely mouth and chin. Her complexion was rather inclined to the brunette, and what little hair I could see was black. A curious sensation crept over me; I felt my heart rising in my throat, and involuntarily putting my finger within my neckcloth, found that-I had not shaved. Clearing the way with wonderful expedition, I arrived at the barber's shop within a quarter of an hour, seated myself in the chair, and submitted to what every man must, who is not an advocate for extensively I cultivated whiskers.
I had not been long in this situation, when a young fellow in an olive coat, white waistcoat, crossed by a plaided silk riband, to which appertained an eye-glass, and pantaloons of some thin, delicately-striped material, entered the shop. He was rather handsome, but so full of affectation, that he showed it in every motion and attitude. After taking off his coat, stock, and dickie, he gave himself up "to be operated upon," as he termed it. Just then, a man of about four or five feet in diameter, worked himself through the door-way, and seeing both chairs occupied, vented his rage in a long string of oaths, interspersed with the exclamations," Near eight o'clock," "Breakfast most ready,"
"Dead with hunger,"-pronounced somewhat in the tone and manner of Jones, as Gobble, and seizing a razor, proceeded instantly to business. Although rather slow, he and myself had finished, before the young man, who was detained by his amazing niceness and particularity. We were arranging our neckcloths, as the barber presented the looking-glass to him for the third time, and asked with an official, brisk sort of politeness, if he would have any thing further done. To which he replied, "When you have taken the three lowest hairs from my right-hand whisker, and furnished me with a piece of court-plaster, a tenth of an inch square, to hide the rent made in my skin by your dull instrument of torture, you will have done all that I can at present think of." On hearing this Euphuistical speech, our fat friend turned quite round, stretched his eyes wide open, dropped his lower jaw, and seemed perfectly amazed; and probably
would have remained in that attitude some time, had not the breakfast-bell at that instant saluted his ear. The sound seemed to act like magic upon him; he thrust his hand into his pocket, produced his fourpence, and trudged off with astonishing alacrity. Not to be behind hand in a good cause, I followed directly in the rear, but was soon separated from him, and borne along some distance, without touching the deck. All of a sudden there was a dead halt, the cause of which was not long a mystery to me; for from my airy elevation, I could see the companion from whom I had just been torn, entirely blocking up the gangway, and the crowd pressing upon him in a most barbarous manner. I could distinguish, too, his heavy, sepulchral groans, from the shrill cries of" Down with him," "Squeeze him through," and other such phrases. At length a dull sound, resembling that made by the rolling of a well-packed wool-bag down stairs, and the renewed advance of the multitude, gave ample proof that the passage was again clear.
I arrived in the cabin, considerably bruised, but without any material injury. Not being in season for the first course, I was waiting an opportunity to reascend the stairs, when I felt my leg seized by a strong hand, and turning round, recognised my fat friend, in a most pitiful plight. He had partially hidden himself under a side-table, to avoid being trampled upon, and requested my assistance, in a most dolorous voice. Accordingly I gave him my hand, and, aided by one or two by-standers, succeeded in raising him upon his feet. But the poor man was so much debilitated by his late tumble, that he could not support himself, and submitted to be carried away and deposited in a birth, to which he desired his breakfast* should be brought, as soon as convenient. We assured him that we would do our best
* The gentleman recovered, we have since heard, soon after his arrival at Albany. As his restoration to health was so sudden, we will give, in the shape of a prescription, the course he adopted, and which every one may pursue with perfect safety. For breakfast take 4 bowls of chocolate, 2 fourpenny biscuits, and a pound of beaf-steak; sleep 2 hours. For dinner, three full plates of turtle-soup, three-fourths of a pound of beef à la mode, and a good-sized cut of a venison pasty; sleep 4 hours. For tea, six muffins, a dozen buck-wheats, and 6 cups of shells; sleep 12 hours,-if y f you
for his comfort, and retired, leaving him apparently wellpleased with his recumbent posture.
On returning to the breakfast room, the tables had been replenished, and a new set taken their places. I saw but one opening, and taking possession of it, found myself next the party to which I first introduced you, reader. The old gentleman was eating his meal with a keen relish,—his wife with an intense interest. Both daughters were engrossed in attending to the exquisite, from whom we last parted in the barber's shop. "Shall I help you to a small piece of chicken, Mr. ?" said the youngest. "I'm extremely obliged to you, Miss but I never eat meat in the morning; I'm sorry you should ever have suspected I could be guilty of such a horrid vulgarity." "Yes, Mr.
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I had but little doubt you'd refuse, when I offered it; it was merely an experiment on my part, to assure myself you had contracted no such ungentlemanlike habit in your tour through the Canadas." "Happy am I, Miss that any thing I do, or leave undone, can receive the approbation of a taste so nicely refined as yours. Waiter,I say, waiter, can you procure for me some little nicknack, that will gratify my palate, without oppressing my stomach?" I had eaten enough to satisfy my hunger, and was growing so sick from over-hearing such conversation, that I payed my half dollar, and hurried upon deck. There I found a tall, thin, weasel-faced politician haranguing thirty or forty Irishmen in the fore part of the boat, and amused myself awhile with watching the change of their countenances, as the orator grew warmer in his subject, and more deeply involved in the labyrinth of his own ideas. Tired of this, I fixed myself on a settee; alternately reading Knickerbocker, and looking at the scenery to which he so frequently alludes. In an hour or two we had passed the peak over which the sun's rays were refracted upon An
* Mr. La-Touche's claims to a knowledge of Optics, and the terms therein used, being decidedly apocryphal, it was unanimously resolved to wake him, and ascertain on what authority he ventured to use such scientific language. The same committee that formerly ventured upon him, volunteered their services, and retired. Scarcely had they disappeared before Lockfast lay sprawling upon the floor, and the enraged author entered the room, grappling Sherry by the throat, and vowing revenge for his having