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ning stream. You take out a large jack-knife and cut up the shrubbery around you, and stick it, in connected branches, around the spot where you design to spread your table, forming a little arbor, such as Adam might have dressed for Eve in Paradise. Then you take all your boards from the waggon; and piling up stones for legs, you make as good an extemporaneous table as you can; covering it over with all the towels, cravats, and white aprons you can beg or borrow, for a table-cloth; your dishes are slate-stones; and your seats are made of mounds of earth; and here with many a joke and many a laugh, you pile up your cold tongues, your slits of dried beef, your slices of ham, your cake and cheese, and down the party sits with keen appetites, to what our newspapers call a cold collation. Your water you bring from an adjacent spring, in your hat, or a wooden bowl, unless a sudden thunder-shower should come up, and then you can open your mouth and catch it directly from the sky.
Here the party sit and talk, as Adam and the angel did in Eden, without fear lest dinner cool. The cheeks of the girls are painted with what I consider as the best rouge, good native fresh air, and abundance of exercise, and I have known very important connections formed for life, whose commencement was in a whortleberry pasture. After dinner they scatter again to their afternoon work; and as the sun descends and the time becomes shorter, I
have observed they generally become more sober, and double their diligence, in order to fill their boxes and baskets before evening. Besides, nature becomes a little exhausted, nor can the most lively stream, dance and sparkle through the whole of its course.
I remember, near a great pasture, where our parties used most frequently to go, and which my grandfather called the Take-up-time, on the opposite side of the road, on a smooth grassy plain, stood a little cottage, owned by Mr. Johnny Croft, a widower, whose wealth was by no means to be measured by his outward display. Beside this cottage, flowed a river, fringed with alders, which shall be nameless, because in New England, we do not give very poetic names to our rivers; for who can hitch into rhyme, or soften into an essay, the Amonoosuc, the Shetucket, the Quinebaug, and the Quineboag-Mother Brooks, and a hundred other fluvial mother's names, which seem to have been given to fright the muses from our shores, and to invite nothing but factories and paper-mills to the banks of our streams. Well-the said Mr. Johnny Croft, one day, when the sun was declining, came out, and with all the politeness with which he was master, invited a large party of us, to come into his sentry-box to take tea, previous to our returning home.
It is a maxim among the schoolmen, that whatever is received, is received according to the capacity of the recipient; and accordingly, my first wonder was
how so small a house was to hold so many people. But as Mr. Croft was a widower, and my aunt Hannah a single lady, we agreed, with many winks and much tittering, to accept his invitation. His little room was soon filled; there was hardly a place to set the table. The seats at the table were soon occupied by the junior visitants; and the only chair left vacant for aunt Hannah, was next to our host, the worthy Mr. John Croft, a little older than herself and a widower. In such a condition, it was impossible to restrain the looks, the winks, and smiles of the company. Mr. Johnny was all attention; and my aunt looked queer several times. Sometimes he would help her to a spoonful of honey, and sometimes to a bunch of grapes; and once he invited her to come and spend a week's visit at his house; for which compliment she returned him her humble and hearty thanks; but left it ambiguous whether she ever intended to come. Mr. Croft was a man, who mingled very little in society; he lived in a solitary part of the town, and in his politeness he was not always able to fulfil his good intentions. The scene would have passed off very well but for accident. My aunt's tea happened to be too strong; and Mr. Croft, who was all attention, jumped up and took the tea-kettle off from the fireplace, in the same room, and began to replenish the cup with water. But whilst in the act, the handle slipped from its socket, the tea-kettle fell, scalded Mr. Croft's foot disastrously, and fell
with its sooty sides on my aunt's chintz gown. Many were the apologies on both sides; and deep the sorrow expressed; and I need not say, that all the wit in the waggon, as we rode home that evening, was at my aunt's expense.
O scenes of simplicity and comparative innocence ! How can they regret the chandelier of the midnight dance, who can enjoy our rural moon; or wish for the music or floor of a ball-room, who can hear the melody of our cat-birds as they pursue their simple pleasures on the carpet of nature? Why should those manners be thought despicable, in our fathers, which Goldsmith has commended in verse?
Spontaneous joys, where nature has its play,
But the long pomp, the midnight masquerade,
Many talk of truth, which never sounded the depths from whence it springeth.
Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity.
By the peculiar form in which I have published these papers, I have precluded myself from the adoption of some of those agreeable fictions, with which periodical writers have relieved the reader's weariness, and diversified their speculations; particularly, I can feign no correspondent, who, by remarking on a past paper, can give opportunity of limiting propositions which are too general, or explaining what is obscure. However, I shall adopt somewhat a similar expedient in the following letter, which I hope the reader will be good natured enough to imagine to come from some inquisitive correspondent, who had seen my manuscripts; or, if he is of a more suspicious temperament, he may say, and prove, if he can, that I wrote it to myself.