페이지 이미지

and all his varied apprenticeships may find yourself in a chamber of Babel. What work for the world---nearly whole states a commixed population! yet let us reof coal and iron. Further westward you member that the crossing of breeds, with find that superabundant nature has burst very few exceptions, improves the race. her usual bounds, and shot up a solid We need not fear, therefore, for the future mountain of iron; and further northward | human development of the West. It will be you see exhaustless mines of copper, bet- originally good; we have but to take good ter than the gold mines of California ; and care that, by our moral and educational still westward and northward steam-en-provisions, we keep it so, and on the basis gines will, in a few months, utter their of a strenuous and manly physique rear shrill acclamations over the Galena mines an ennobled intellectual and religious charof lead. This mighty West, we say, is to acter. Give us this, and our destiny will have its own great workshop as well as its need no further anxiety. own great garden. It will supply the rest So far as we could distinguish the naof us with bread most bountifully ; but it tive Westerner from the human intermixtwill supply itself and us too with manu- ure around him, his physical development factures also, to a great extent. In fine, struck us as an improvement on that of his and dropping all rhetoric, the elements of Eastern brethren. He is usually taller all industrial arts are here, and accom- and stouter about the chest, though his panied with facilities which must, sooner climate gives him a more bilious, if not or later, give them a development never more cadaverous aspect. We Ameriknown elsewhere in the world.

cans certainly have a national physique Recalling our thoughts, we next looked peculiarly our own. Its chief characterat the specimens of humanity around us. istic is an attenuation, a narr

rrowing outline, The country and its developments were of both frame and feature. The Westerngrand. What was man? That is a hard er leads off in this trait of our nationality question to answer, for who the Western as he does in all others. He is wiry, man? Doubtless there is by this time a long-limbed, tight-featured, and broad only numerous corps of indigenous Westerners in his heart and humor, the latter of -Hoosiers, Buckeyes, Wolverines, &c. ; which always takes the character of and we never met one that was not a genu- “ mother wit.” The women of the West are ine man—whole-hearted and thoroughly an exception to this physical type genercharacterized; naturally fitted to work ally. We were struck with their almost well, to vote well,—if a Christian, to universal appearance of ill health. Perhaps pray well, -and, if his country needed it, to our observations were erroneous; but we fight well. The native-born men of the doubt whether they do not share, even in West have in fact come almost invariably an augmented degree, the proverbial fraof good old American stock-from re- gility of their Eastern sisters. spectable well-trained families of New- The American women are noted for their England, (which in the West includes New- early beauty and early decay. The law York,) Pennsylvania, and Virginia, and seems universal among us. Foreign womyou cannot find a better edition of Ameri- en-English, German, and even Frenchcan character; but they are hardly discerni- present an obvious contrast in both robustble among the millions that are spreading ness and complexion. Our physiological over these vast regions. There sat around lecturers (of whom Providence rid the me the bearded German, the lank French- country as soon as possible, for they are man, the bluff Englishman, the omnipres- more mischievous than even the doctors) ent and ever-ready Irishman, the hardy have ascribed the fact to the in-door life and Scandinavian, and, on the end seat, the sedentary and dietetic habits of the sex, and African with his mulatto associate—these, have belabored the public abundantly on the besides every physiological variety of the subject from the rostrum and the press. different American States. Look out of the Doubtless they are partially correct; but window and you see the broad coppered the problem has a deeper solution. The features of the Indian ; glance up the vil- fact seems to be that the European races lage street, across which you are flying, are not yet fully acclimated in the New and you see the lithe-limbed Italian, grind- World—at least in North America. Woming music and leading his trained monkey; an, from her more delicate organization, step into the second passenger car and you suffers most from the process. It will re

for poet


quire generations yet, probably, to remedy frequently glanced at it, but, with unacthe evil entirely. In the East, our women countable perversity, have as quickly do injure themselves undoubtedly by their averted their gaze. Nearly all our young habits; but in the West they are ac ones betake themselves to it like newcustomed to activity, to simple and nourish- fledged eagles to the wilds; but, for some ing diet, and the open air; yet the natural reason, they come out speedily, rather fragility of their sex is as common here beak-fallen. Campbell and Bryant have as in the East-perhaps more obvious. best succeeded there, but they have pluckWe have all got to suffer yet in these re ed only a few really indigenous flowers spects from our new-world home ; but from the vast wilderness. Whittier in his we have compensations—splendid ones. “ Mogg Megone” and “ Bridal of PennaMeanwhile let us brave the inclemencies cook,” (“* Phoebus, what a name of our climate-not retreat too much from ry!) Street in his “ Frontenac,” Sands's them, but get inured to them. Let us Yamoyden,” Colton's “ Tecumseh,” and turn the children out of doors more, es most others, smack little of the wild-flower pecially the girls--the future mothers of fragrance that our young nostrils, given the Republic. Harden them in the open to poetical itching, used to snuff up so air, rather than polish them in cribbed often from this ideal woods-realm. As school-houses or asthmatical drawing- for the novelists, if we except Cooper,

The West is educating its daugh- they have not done any better. There is ters rightly in this respect, and, with the a sorry lack of ideal excellence, though improvement of the country, its climate is an abundance of scalps, war-whoops, and becoming more genial; man, as everything torture scenes in their lucubrations. else, will yet flourish there.

But we see the Indian only amid the Such were our observations and medita- accompaniments of our civilization-transtations, when suddenly our attention was formed without being improved by them. recalled. Whiz! and puff! puff! with the What can these be to him but as a Cockjingle of bells and the squealing of rail ney or Broadway fop's trappings drawn road whistles, filled the air. We thrust over a tamed lion ? What if we seek him our head out of the car window and found in his own unchanged domain? There, a very Babel around us--masses of baggage certainly, we shall verify our poetical and merchandise, emigrants from all parts ideals of aboriginal romance ! of Europe, and wiry, loud, nasal-toned, but thought; and it became a favorite exfew-worded Yankees racing about among pectation that, at some “good time comthem, giving orders and giving impulses ing," we should be able to see Indian lifo as if they were driving “ all creation” be- in its native simplicity-in its yet unmixed, fore them. “We are at Sandusky city,” | unaltered communities, among the old said our fat friend, who had been enjoying poetic forests. It was a most entertaintranquil dreams. We were soon on board ing whim of ours. Such a sight is rare; the steamer, and after a magnificent it will not be possible twenty-five years night passage-part of it with moonlight, hence. The next generation will hardly and part with a sublime lake-storm-we find a considerable specimen of pure Inreached Detroit. A few delicious days, dian life on all the continent of North bland as Indian summer, were spent in rest, America, except far off at the pole, as and in preparations for a trip among the among the Esquimaux, and they, it must Indians far up on the Tittebewasse River. be remembered, are not allowed by the

ethnologists to belong to our Indian race. We have seen Indians often, but never | They are a poor, squatty race of blubberone whose personnel did not pretty effect- , eaters, who came from nobody knows ually dash our notions of savage mag- where-Scandinavia perhaps—and who nanimity and romance. Still we have have no more romance in their character kept, doggedly, those notions from child than they have resemblance to the Apollo hood up, determined to have at least one in their persons. He, therefore, that “ native American” realm of idealism, and would see the real Indian life of North often have we wondered that our poets America (the South American is a very and novelists have not come marching out different thing) must be in haste. The last of it more frequently, bending under its scene of this unique and marvelous drama harvests of wild flowers. The poets have' of humanity is just now passing-never

So we

Poets may

MEMORY i Sober Memory,”

if they

again to be seen on the great stage of the however mongrelized with civilization, earth. How strange that travelers do something of his real character and priminot flock to the final places of this spec- tive life might be seen.

So away we tacle—to witness this dying and burial of started with our friend F. to the wilds a race-of a primitive, mysterious people, of Northern Michigan, where a campwhose history is the most curious and in- meeting of Chippewas was about to be explicable problem in the annals of man! held. We will invite the reader thither

We resolved once, as we have said, to in our next number. have a peep at some of the real, unadulterated poetry of Indian life, and was plan

THE TRICKS WHICH MEMORY ning with a literary friend to take first the cars, then Lake steamers, then horseback,

PLAYS US. (over the old portage of the French,) and EMORY is at last canoes, till we should reach the Upper Mississippi, where we hoped we please, but I do not agree with them. should find the noble savage in his golden Memory plays us all manner of tricks, age estate. We had read, in Bancroft and some of them kindly and beneficent, such the elder historians, of the marvelous travels as the good fairies used to indulge in in the and sufferings of those real heroes and first olden time ; some of them mischievous, martyrs on our continent, the old French like those of the half-malicious Puck. Of missionaries, along that route; and, not course I except the scientific and historical keeping“ note of time,” in its later and faster sorts of memory, which are grave affairs joggings under Uncle Sam's goadings and enough: chronicling, and cataloguing, and "gee-ups," fancied that St. Anthony's Falls labeling, and putting away facts in regular and the neighboring regions must be still rank-and-file, like bottles in a chemist's sacred to savage life and romance. While shop, though even there an elf-like freak actually cogitating one evening on this ex- puts things in confusion sometimes. I repedition to the Indian Eden, an old friend fer only to that private sort of memory, a strapping, lank Yankee, who had for which is a kind of familiar spirit to everyyears been wandering over the world—en- body. I hope it is not getting too metatered our room, and, in his genuine nasal, physical to say, that as each man has a proposed an investment. “In what ?" different nature, so has he a special memasked we. “ In lots and a saw-mill.” ory of his own. I would not be meta“ Whereabouts ?" “On Rum River.” physical for the world, for that would make “ Rum River! where is that?" “Rum some people put down the paper at once ; River, sir! Why, do n't you know? It en- but it is necessary to step just so far into ters the Mississippi above St. Anthony's that dreaded sphere, in order to make what Falls—a capital place for investments, I mean plain. If each man or woman fifty per cent. advance in two years, sir. were to add a verse to that song which I have just come from there, and am going used to be popular in my young days, beback with machinery for a steam saw- ginning, “I remember, I remember," the mill.” “ Above St. Anthony's Falls !" result would be that each would sing of a responded we. “Why, how far is it from memory different from that of the other. the nearest settlement ?” “ Nearest set- Even if they remembered precisely the tlement! Why, man, have you been in a same facts, which would, I suppose, hapRip Van Winkle sleep? There are settle- pen now and then, they would give conments enough there; there is the city of the tradictory versions of them. Their memFalls, and We were “dumb found- ories would be tinged with their fears, and ed,” and immediately “knocked under," hopes, and wishes, till they assumed all as they say here in the West. Our ro

manner of hues; for the wish is not only mantic dream of the aboriginal Eden van- father to the thought, as Shakspeare tells ished, and the racket of steam-engines, us, but often parent to the memory also. and the gratings of saw-teeth, have since But I find, from my experience among my been our only associations with the Upper acquaintance, that reasoning about these Mississippi. But if we gave up the hope matters is never satisfactory. We must of finding an Indian Eden, we still hoped always keep going to facts for explanato see the noble savage in some one of tions, and here is a fact which illustrates his retreats in the Western States, where, my theory. I was once in a law court,


where a trial was going on about some Though your memory may not play you body's wagon running down somebody's such tricks as that—not yet, at least-still cart. It was a dull affair enough, as such depend on it, it does indulge in some trials generally are. The case seemed to pranks. If it do not, it must either be one turn on the question whether the cart was of those paragon memories, which are peror was not upon the right side of the fection and a little more, or a memory not street, which, as every one learned in worth having, which leaves the “ tablet of road usage knows, is the left side, and this the mind” a blank. But there are very brought out something far more interesting few memories of either of those descripthan the question itself—the contradictions tions. Most memories present us with of memory. There were two witnesses, records which are like yesterday's sum one on either side, who seemed particularly on a schoolboy's slate-a little “smudged," worthy of credence. Both of them were as we used to say in my youthful days : respectable men, both of them apparently old Time smears the one, just as the jackettrust-worthy, both of them seemingly im- cuffs do the other. I suppose my expepartial-strangers to the parties on either rience in this matter is just that of the side—and both of them exceedingly posi- great part of the rest of the world. A face tive, and totally contradictory. Up to a often flashes past me in the street which certain point their unanimity was wonder- strikes me as familiar, and which yet does

They agreed about the color of the not bring a single association along with horses, of the carts, the time of the day, the it. I say, “I know that man, I'm sure I part of the street, and all the details of know him ; let me see, where did I meet that character; but upon one point it would him.” But that fact, like Glendower's have been as reasonable to expect the spirits, will not come when called for. I heavens and the earth to come together, have an impression that I liked him, or as that their statements could be recon- did n't like him; that he is a good-tempered ciled ; and, unfortunately, that was the or surly, a witty or a dull fellow. Bless very point which was important: one said me, I know him as well as though I had it happened on the right side of the street, lived with him for a twelvemonth ; but his the other on the left; and that each of name, his rank, occupation, habitationthem stuck to, through thick and thin the circumstances under which my knowl. No amount of cross-examination, ingenious edge was obtained—they are clean gone! though it was; no quantity of badgering, Time has been busy with that yesterday's or coaxing, could move either from that life sum, and has rubbed out the working, settled point. They would have as soon leaving only the product decipherable. thought of giving up their faith, or re- Perhaps the rest has vanished into somenouncing their identity, as of denying their thing thinner than “thin air ;” perhaps it memory upon that subject. The more is put away in some out of the way corner each conviction was questioned, the more of my brain, which I have missed for the firmly settled and deeply rooted it became. time ; perhaps I shall stumble over it, as No one thought that these men were com often happens, just when I do not want it. mitting perjury. There was too much There is always a consciousness of this, evident sincerity and earnestness, and too that tells you if you would only look in little interest for that; yet one of them the right place you would find it, and that must have sworn to what was not true. is the most tormenting part of the whole. The judge was puzzled, and in his sum It is like searching for the lost key, which ming-up treated it as a case of mistaken you are virling

your finger all the impression, one way or the other, but time, or going over the alphabet to worm which way, was left for the jury to decide. out a word, which is “on the very tip of The jury were bewildered, and the verdict your tongue,” but will not come any furwas neither better nor worse than a piece ther. That consciousness keeps you on of guess-work. They might have tossed the stretch-on the rack; you cannot, try up a halfpenny to decide what was right, as you will, get rid of the subject ; you with just as much chance of correctness agree with Byron, that“ there are thoughts as they had by “laying their heads to- you cannot banish.” The face asking to gether," and considering their verdict; and be known, insisting to be recognized, perall because memory had been playing tricks tinaciously claiming acquaintance with you, with somebody.

haunts you all day, and gets into your




dreams at night; and in the morning, pos- this story, which he does sometimes-for sibly your wife says to you, “ Mrs. Popjoy he is not a hero, and knows it, and does was here yesterday, Alfred, and her Mary not pretend to be one, and is not above is going to be married to Mr. Friend." acknowledging that he has been horse"Friend! what Friend ?" you ask. “Why, whipped by a man of Williams's size-he do n't you recollect Mr. Friend ; that tall wonders, and everybody else wonders, how young man we met at Popjoy's the last he could have been betrayed into such a time we were there, and—” but you pay blunder; for Williams is dark as a Moor, and no attention to the rest of the narrative; Parsons among the fairest of sandy-haired you heave a huge sigh of relief, and ex

Williams is herculean, and someclaim : “Why, bless me! that was Friend what petulant-looking ; Parsons, slight, I saw yesterday !" When such things diminutive, and lamb-like. No two people happen, you understand it pretty well— could be more dissimilar ; and Powell genmemory has been playing tricks with you. erally winds up with “Well, I was either

Again, memory in her elfish quality will a stupid dolt, or it was one of those unac. now and then play you another trick,- countable tricks that memory plays us!" will cause you to mistake one man for Among the most common vagaries of another. You meet a man in the street memory are those which make us expect with whom you are not very intimate, but to find things very different from what they you know him well enough to talk to : you Though we hardly perhaps can call shake hands with him, get through the it a vagary of memory, when, after years weather, and chat as acquaintances chat, of absence, we find things very different and then you find out that you have been from the treasured image we had retained of talking to Jones, when you thought you them. This is rather the effect of our were talking to Green ; and possibly, as increased knowledge and experience, alyou have been very general in what you though, at the time, it affects us like a have said, there is no harm done. But I trick of memory. When I was young, I have known a few instances where the re- left a quiet country village, and came up sults have been very ludicrous, and a few to this great Babylon of modern times, more where they promised to become se- which some one has appropriately enough rious. Something of that sort happened called “ a brick and mortar wilderness." when Powell met Parsons a little while The vastness of the place, the breadth of ago—no, he did not meet Parsons, he only the streets, and the height of the houses thought he did. After a while, Powell, impressed me, as they do everybody fresh who is a good sort of fellow, but rather too from the green fields, till I got used to it apt to gossip about what does not concern Still, when memory wandered, as it him, said, “ What a fool Williams made of often did, to that dear old road at home, himself in that affair, did n't he?" “What bordered by its fields and hedge-rows, dotted affair ?" said the other, drawing up his here and there by shady elms, under which athletic figure, and looking down on poor

men sat to their bread and cheese at noonlittle Powell, who, like most gossiping tide, it never seemed to me that the road inen, I fancy, would not meet the military was narrow or lonely ; I never thought of standard. Powell felt he was wrong, how it in any other light than as a spacious he did n't know, nor why ; but he was in highway, peopled by hosts of old associafor it, and went on just as men, when they tions. When I returned, however, I found feel they are in a mess, do. “What the old road was only a lane--a mere lane, affair! did n't you hear? 0! I thought which I could almost jump across ! and everybody knew that stupid affair with the laborers going to and from their work Miss Brown.” Poor Powell had scarcely hardly redeemed it from solitude. So it got as far, when the giant he was talking was with the old houses. That old weatherto, turning him round, thrashed him with a boarded, many-gabled, broad-eaved, whiteriding-whip, which he happened to have in painted cottage, with green shutters and his hand at the time. Then, and not till doors, where my first years had been passthen, the truth flashed on him, that instead ed,—that house which used to seem to me of talking to Parsons, as he thought, he a spacious mansion,-how small it now had been actually insulting Williams, whose looked! I stooped as I entered the door, identity he had, by a trick of memory, it seemed so low; and the ceilings, with wholly mistaken. When little Powell tells the great square beams projecting out of


« 이전계속 »