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On the bosom of the East River, cabled to the wharf, floated a light sloop, with its deck carefully scrubbed down, and its red flag floating gaily in the wind. Gently upon the water lay its cool image. From its anchorage to the wharf its tall mast reached, and tipped with its wavy shadow the countenance of a quiet idler, whose head rested on a decayed pile, while his feet hung carelessly over the wharf's end. On board the graceful vessel, extended on his 'abdominal region,' with his twinkling eyes peering at the water, over the sloop's stern, was stretched Solomon Quigg. A group of blue fish had gathered just before him. Perhaps they expected a congressional effort. Ever and anon, Quigg would cast an eye toward the shore, as if in momentary expectation of the arrival of some personage, or the turning up of some matter of importance. About the time when the guard on board a man-of-war's man, which lay anchored in the middle of the stream, had sounded the three o'clock bell, a group of vagabond and listless persons began to gather before the vessel on whose deck Quigg reposed. Rapidly, dozen by dozen, their numbers increased. Every moment the collection became more extended and more motley. Stevedores, wharfingers, a stray custom-house officer. -old gentlemen who had come to the neighboring market for fish - all aided in completing the human assortment.
Precisely at five, Quigg arose from his recumbent posture, ascended the rigging to the main-top, there took his stand, turned toward his auditory, took off his bell-shaped hat, cast it on the deck, and made a low and solemn bow, which was received by the vast congregation with nine cheers. He then addressed them in a short speech, something in his old style of eloquence.
He could not resist the temptation of so high a pulpit.' It was better, in that respect, than the floor of the house; it gave him a more commanding view of his audience. He closed his harangue with a touching allusion to the difficulty of obtaining a subsistence, and the brevity of life — and leaped! Through the air, like an arrow, Quigg descended to the water. His head cleaved its glassy surface. The lookers-on beheld his descending form, as for a moment his white feet glimmered above the river, and then disappeared. Five minutes elapsed, and Quigg arose not. The crowd thought this a special feat, and gave three cheers. Five minutes more passed, and yet Quigg rëascended not to the light. The feat was miraculous. The assemblage burst into three cheers again, heartier and more protracted than ever. A few philosophers among the audience began now to doubt the rëappearance of the aquatic diver.' The performance was too good to be fictitious. Another five minutes elapsed. An idle friend of Quigg's stepped out from the rabble, and began to whimper.
The sun went down, and Solomon Quigg arose not. He had made his last dive. The river was searched, but no mortal relic discovered. In the soft river mud he had found a ready coffin. In its liquid embraces slept forever the person of Solomon Quigg, exmember of the Nineteenth Congress of the United States.
Until it folds its weary wing
Once more within the hand divine,
My spirit turns to thiné !
Child of the sea, the mountain stream,
From its dark caverns, hurries on,
By evening's star, and noon-tide's sun –
O'er-wearied, in the waiting sea,
So turns my soul to Thee !
Oh thou who bid'st the torrent flow,
Who lendest wings unto the wind -
Oh, whither shall I go to find
Is there no holy wing for me,
Of highest heaven for Thee !
Oh, would I were as free to rise,
As leaves on autumn's whirlwind borne
Or sound, or ray, or star of morn,
Or aught which soars unchecked and free,
Myself in finding Thee!
Men without stirrups look fine, ride bold, tire soon : men without discretion cut dash, but knock up all in a crack.'
I HAVE said the president's fresh brought me my suspension-bill ; and with it, I should add, came abundant food for excitement. I had tired of college, and my readings had began to lose some of their interest. I was summoned to the president's study. I had so long been suffered to do as I pleased, without interruption, that I was in hopes no fault save idleness could be registered against me. But I had been watched by my evil genius, the tutor. He had seen me in the city at evening, when I excused myself from morning's exercise, under the plea of sickness. He 'pumped' the family where I roomed; and when I thought myself most safe, I was in the midst of danger.
*Well, Conworth,' said the good old president, 'I am sorry to inform you, that the government deem it expedient that you should spend a few months in the country. We hope this early lesson will be salutary. You have by no means attended to your studies with proper diligence. We received you, at first, though not properly fitted, at the request of your tutor; but you seem unwilling or unable to exert yourself to receive the benefits of college instruction ;
abem ! and - (the kind old man seemed unwilling to pass sentence) —'a ahem! You are, in short, suspended for six months to B, under the care of the Rev. Mr. P
I took the paper, with a sorrowful face, although delighted at heart; for I had heard B spoken of as a delightful place. I was hurrying off to hire a gig, and ride round to my father's through the suburbs, ' for,' thought I, I may as well take a ride as I go, and be in time for dinner, too.' And, to show the frivolity of my
character still more, I was quite pleased, to think I should get a good dinner that day, and a glass of wine. In short, I received this event as a god-send, because it was something novel.
I was just stepping into the chaise to depart, amid the regrets of some, the sympathies of others, and the good wishes of all my fellow-students, or rather fellow-idlers, when a carriage drove swiftly up to the place, and out jumped my father! The president had written him in the morning, so that he received the letter about the time I got my bill of suspension. He was all consternation. He thought me irrevocably lost. He was as one demented. He asked me to accompany him to my room. The students drew off, in awe and conscience-strickenness, and we were left alone. He looked me full in the face for a few moments, and tears started in his eyes. He brushed them hastily away, and gave vent to the agony of his feelings in a torrent of abuse.
I considered myself ill-treated. I did not see then, as I now see, how he felt. I did not look at his heart as I now do. I took him literally. I told him ‘I was ready to seek my own fortune. I could take care of myself. He might discard me, if he chose ; there were ways enough to get a support.' I braved him. He was overcome. His sufferings were too much for words. He was in despair. He saw all his hopes cut off, his family disgraced, and me, his eldest son, an outcast from society.
•Come, Sir!' and we walked down stairs. As we reached the bottom, a herd of people had collected. The news of my suspension had reached the stable-keepers, etc. They flocked in for pay. Bills to an enormous amount were presented. They were paid instantly. Not an objection was made - not a word uttered. After all was settled, my father, who had put on a stern demeanor, got into the carriage, and bade me follow, with the air of an emperor. I was thrown into insignificance by the stateliness of his grief. He did not deign to utter a word to me; and I slunk back into the troublous ruminations of my own conscience. At last it seemed an age to me
we arrived at home.
A good dinner and a glass of wine seemed to restore in some measure the equanimity of my father. I was watching the workings of his countenance. I drank pretty freely myself, for a boy under sentence, and was vastly polite to my mother. Always thinking of excitement, no sooner did I find my nerves pretty well braced, than, leaving my mother's side, I walked to my father, and stooping down, whispered in his ear:
Can I have the horses this afternoon ? We had a guest or two, by some chance, that day. My father forgot himself, and thundered out, as if crazed by the magnitude of the request, No, Sir!' I was suddenly brought to my senses, from the imprudent for
wardness of a fool. I slunk away to my room, and buried my face in my pillow, till I fell asleep. When I awoke, I began to suspect that my father knew me better than I thought he did.
The next morning my breakfast was brought to my room, and I was apprized that the chaise would be ready to conduct me out of town in the course of an hour. I inquired for my father, and requested to see him. “He had gone out; he could not see me; I was to go with the servant.' A letter was handed to me, and with an aching heart, I broke the seal. It was from my father. The letter was kind in the extreme, but it painted in glowing colors the agony of his mind. I seemed to grow acquainted with my father. He was full as much an enthusiast as myself. Trade had buried up a fine character, but nature brought out the brilliant passages of his mind sometimes. Here is the letter :
'My Son : You are pleased with your situation, I see, and am sorry for it. You afflict me still more. Until you become a father yourself, you can never know the severity of my disappointments. Go, reform your idle habits : make your exile a season of reflection. I forgive you : try to forgive yourself.
"Thomas will go with you. Do not loiter by the way. Avoid your associates. It is they have ruined you. Enclosed is $100. Use it for necessaries and comforts, but be prudent. My hopes are weakened, but not destroyed. Adieu !
'YOUR AFFECTIONATE FATHER.' I wept over this letter for an hour. My father's goodness over
I knelt down, and solemnly, on my knees, vowed to reform all idle habits, and to be worthy of such a generous parent. I felt relieved, elevated, and strengthened, by this good resolution. I arose, washed my face, ran and kissed my mother, jumped into the chaise, and we were on our way to B
The ride took us all day. It rained, was cold, and every thing looked dreary. My romance hardly bore me out through this trial. If I had parted in anger from my friends — been kicked out of doors, and turned adrift to seek my own bread - my spirit would have risen to meet the emergency, and I should have viewed my case, with my then set of feelings, as one of tyranny and oppression. But now I had no such consolatory thoughts. I had done wrong — been generously forgiven — my pockets crammed with money; and I could not but view myself as a very bad and culpable young man. Chewing the cud of bitter reflections — wet, hungry, disgusted with myself and the whole world - the servant set me down at the door of the good clergyman, at dusk. I had only time to remark that it was a one-story, yellow house, without blinds or curtains, naked of shrubbery, and barn-like in its appearance.
A little short malignant-looking man came out to see what was the matter. The servant gave him a letter. He kept us standing in the rain while he read it, and then coldly invited me in. Thomas was dismissed without notice. I was shown into a room without fire. He did not even ask me if I had dined. I had not eaten since my slight morning's meal.
For the first time in my life, I felt supremely wretched. I felt to the quick that I was punished. By-and-by I was called from my cheerless, fireless, and almost windowless room, to tea. I looked around for somebody or something to love, but all was stiff, and