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not get near them for a shot. We pulled along, occasionally seeing an alligator, with his head just raised on the surface of the water, appearing to the unpractised eye, more like a piece of rough black wood, than like any thing belonging to a living animal, and occasionally getting a shot at a monkey or a bird.
For the distance of six or seven miles, the banks of the river, are covered with dense growths of mangrove and other aqueous plants, which prevent the possibility of landing, except where there are paths worn by the alligators, and beasts of prey coming to the river to drink. Farther on, the country became more open, the trees of a taller growth, and patches of the banks quite clear, where we easily effected a landing at several places, but found nothing to repay us for the trouble. Soon after we came to a small assemblage of huts, with some little appearance
of cultivation around them, but the natives appeared to be an indolent, dirty set of beings, having no cares whatever to trouble them, and little other occupation, save smoking and drinking. One can hardly imagine the habit of smoking being practised in a more injurious way to the system, than it is done by these natives. We saw it here in a manner which I never expect to see again. The apparatus consisted of a large hollow calabash or gourd, with two holes in it, one at the side into which is inserted the pipe, fitting perfectly tight, and another at the top, which serves as a mouth-piece. The pipe is filled with tobacco, of the very strongest kind, and the operation of smoking com
The smoker sits down on the ground with his body inclined forward and his head immediately over the calabash, and applying his mouth to the top hole, inhales the air in the vessel, with the whole strength of his lungs. This, he has to repeat several times before the air within gives place to the smoke from the pipe, as the calabash is generally of several gallons capacity; at the fourth or fifth inhalation however, it is the strong dense smoke of the tobacco, which fills his chest and lungs, and the man appears as if he were half strangled, for his eyes start out, his chest heaves convulsively, and the smoke rushes from his mouth and nose in clouds. This satisfies him for the time, and he does not return for another draught for perhaps ten minutes; an observer would imagine that he had got enough already to last him his life time; but this man when asked whether it was really a pleasure to him, said . me like him too much,' and we left him at the conclusion of a second long pull at the calabash.
Leaving this assemblage of huts, we advanced up the river, occasionally getting a shot at a monkey on the bank, or a fish-eagle screaming above our heads, and finding as we advanced the banks more open, so that we could land any where without difficulty.
I may here remark, that in all the African rivers, great difficulty is experienced in landing near their mouths in consequence of the heavy impenetrable jingles of mangrene and other plants, which flourish better where the water is brackish or slightly salt than in pure streams. As we advance up, however, these plants become thinner, the banks firmer and more strong, and at last the open country comes in sight and a landing is easily obtained, the mangrene has entirely disappeared and given place in the water to beautiful flowering plants, and on the banks to the tall trees of the forest.
ONCE upon a time Jupiter determined to ascertain personally the grievances about which mankind were so continually importuning him, that his residence in Olympus was far from being a sinecure. He accordingly alighted on the Battery in New York, one fine summer night, having descended on the back of a large eagle, which he keeps exclusively for the saddle. He had scarcely dismissed his aërial courser, and assumed the appearance of a respectable old gentleman with a dark-brown wig, equal to Batchelor's best gossamer, when he heard some voices which proceeded from three beggars, a cripple, a negro and a middle aged vagrant, who apparently possessed no infirmity but an unshaven beard, unwashed skin and ragged attire. They were lying on the grass at their ease after the heat and wanderings of the day; and were bantering each other on their respective demerits. Said the
negro, •Were I white I would open a shop in Chathamstreet, and as no man would be more diligent and enterprising, I would gradually enlarge my stock of goods, and extend the variety of my dealings, till I should in time become an extensive merchant and rich; but a colored man must be either a servant or a beggar, and as neither position will procure more than a living, I prefer ease to labor.'
A white skin,' retorted the cripple contemptuously, 'may be a very pretty treasure in the eyes of a ' nigger,' but it is an insufficient capital to commence business on in New-York. Had I limbs like other
may as well
men, I would indeed scorn to be a beggar; but a cripple though he should perform more labor than two able bodied porters would still be required to accept his compensation as a charity. The world therefore, gives me no alternative; I must live by charity, and I take it without labor as with.'
• Comrades !' exclaimed the third, 'I see your I am neither black nor a cripple; hence you think I ought not to be a beggar; but without capital or credit a man can no more create property than he can build a ship without tools. When the tide and winds are both against a vessel she drops anchor, and makes no fruitless effort to go ahead; and I am not fool enough to adopt a different policy.'
The self-complacent trio then arose and wended their way to a den in Anthony-street, where the vagrancy of the day was succeeded by a night of intoxication.
Jupiter permitted them to depart without revealing to them his presence, being intent on supplying general remedies for the ills of life rather than on empirically meliorating individual miscarriages. He saw the difficulty which repressed the energies of these men and kept them idle, but as he could not conveniently remodel the world, and prevent some men from being black, some from being crippled, and some from being poor; or give every man all the facilities for prosperity that each individual should desire; he resolved to accomplish the same end by a device, and he accordingly established a new decree, that hereafter no man's prosperity shall depend on what he possesses not, but on the use which he sħall make of the means that he happens to possess. While Jupiter was revolving in his thoughts the benign operation of this new principle, and forseeing how by means of it, Fulton would practically annihilate space, and Morse annihilate time, the light of day had for some hours dawned upon the earth, and lighted up the Battery with all the effulgence of a July morning; and he was aroused from his pleasant reverie by a little girl, who in a whining tone that was entirely different from the voice which he supposed he had formed in
Pray Sir, give me a cent to buy some bread for daddy, who is very sick and has nothing to eat.'
* Child,' replied the benevolent Deity, your father is just the person I want to see. Lead me to him and I will assist him.'
The little girl was a good deal surprised, having never before met with such a reception. Usually those who gave money threw her a penny and said nothing, while those who spoke gave harsh language and no pennies; but her case was pressing, and she led the way as he had commanded. Jupiter soon found himself in a loathsome cellar, where, lying in a corner on some foul rags and straw, was the miserable father.
* Alas! thought Jupiter, something in this world must need alteration.' After administering a few drops of nectar, and a small piece of ambrosia, to the sick man, who became thereby wonderfully revived
Friend,' said Jupiter, ‘you see that I can relieve you; but before I give you any more of my medicines, I must be informed how you came
into this wretched condition. The city seems full of delightful residences, and I find you in a damp, dark room under ground.
• Ah! sighed the man, 'I perceive by your remarks, as well as by your conduct, that you are a stranger in New-York. I possess not a dollar in the world, and how can I obtain better lodgings ?'
• But,' replied Jupiter, other people obtain better lodgings, and why not you?'
• The story is not long,' said the mendicant, • All men are not made to be rich, nor are we all endued with the same talents. Some men can never thrive, while the touch of others will turn every thing into gold.
• You surprise me,' said Jupiter, ‘I was not aware of these facts ; and should they prove true, they shall be corrected. I will tolerate no such inequalities.
The mendicant stared, thinking his benevolent friend was a maniac, , and began to be afraid ; but Jupiter threw a little poppy on the sick man's eyelids, and they instantly closed in a gentle slumber.
Jupiter next entered a superb mansion in Union-Place. The owner was not at home, but a loquacious footman who stood at the door, gladly undertook for the bribe of a little nectar, to relate the history of his master. He was a rich merchant of South-street, who confined himself to his counting-house. Nothing could exceed the prosperity with which he was constantly attended. His ships arrive in port at the times when they are most needed, and bring cargoes that always suit the market. Prices usually fall after he sells, and rise after he purchases ; and moreover, his debtors never run away, nor his friends become treacherous.
*I perceive,' said Jupiter, “this is one of the men whose touch turns every thing into gold.'
• Exactly so,' said the footman.'
• These differences in the formation of men,' thought Jupiter, ‘must "be corrected.'
He strolled next into the City-Hall, where he found in session the Circuit Court of the United States. The great cause of John Jacob Astor against the State of New-York, was on trial, and one of the most celebrated jurists of the country was addressing the court. The knowledge which the lawyer displayed, and the eloquence with which he uttered it, excited the admiration of a crowd of auditors, who said that the lawyer was to receive a fee of five thousand dollars for his effort, and that he well merited all he was to receive.
At one end of the bar sat a lawyer who was dozing. He was shabbily dressed, and his apparent poverty and listlessness induced Jupiter to arouse him, and ascertain why he also was not obtaining five thousand dollar fees. The man scarcely knew whether to laugh at the question or to be angry. At length his love of ease conquered his irritability, and he laughed.
old man,' said he,' where did you come from to ask such a question? The counsellor who is addressing the court is a great genius. We possess only one such man in the state ; and but two or three in the United States.'