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that's age. And I've lost my habit of laughing—but that's proper, as I'm warden. On the whole, however, I'm tolerably contented, and 1 think I shall live these ten years—if my wife settles down—as she will, you know. God bless you, Tom. How is the vinegar? Well—marry! mind that.
Yours always, G. N. B. I wouldn't marry a beautyif I were you, Tom.
Poor Gourlay! His wife's a belle, and he's as jealous as Bluebeard—dying absolutely of corrosion. It's eating him up by inches. Hang the letters! they make me melancholy. One more, and I'll throw the boding things into the fire:—
My tweet Tom—I hope the gods have promised thee a new weasand. The vinegar improves, doubtless, by age. It must be a satisfaction, too, that it is nectar of your own bottling. Here I am—the happiest dog that is coupled. My wife (I took warning from Gourlay) is not run after by a pack of puppies. She's not handsome. Heaven knows—(I wish she were a trifle prettier) but she's as good as Dorcas. Ah! how we walk aud talk, evenings, (I prefer that time, as I can imagine her pretty, when I don't see her, you know, Tom.) And how we sit in the dim light of the boudoir, and gaze at each other's just perceptible figure, and sight Ah, Tom! marry and be blessed—as I am! Yours truly, Piiil.
P. S. Marry a woman that is at least pretty, Tom.
The gods forbid that I should marry one like yours, Phil! She is enough to make one's face ache! And so you are all discontented —one's wife is too smart, another's too simple, another's too pretty, and another's too plain! And what might not mine have been, bad I, too, been irreparably a husband!
Well I am an "old bachelor." I didn't think it though, till now. How hard it is to believe one's self past any thing in this world! And is it my lot, with all my peculiar fitness for matrimony,—with all my dreams of woman, my romance, my skill in philandering—is it my lot to be laid on the shelf, after all! Am I to be shunned by sixteen as a bore—to be pointed at by schoolboys as an " old bachelor' .—(shocking title!) to be invited to superannuated tea-drinkings—to be quizzed with solicitations for foundling hospitals—to be asked of my rheumatism, and pestered for suuir, and recommended to warm chairs! The gods pity me! ...... i
But, not so fast! What is the prodigious difference! What if I were married! I should have to pay for a whole house instead of a part—to feed Heaven-knows-how-many mouths instead of one—to give up my whole bed for a half or quarter—to dine at another's hour and not my own—to adopt another's friendships and submit my own to her pleasure—to give up my nap after dinner for a romp with a child—to turn my library into a nursery, and my quiet fire into a Babel—to call on my wife's cronies, and dine my wife's followers, and humour my wife's palate, at the expense of my own cronies, followers, and palate. "But there's domestic felicity,'' says the imp at my elbow, "and interchange of sentiment, and sweet reliance, and the respectability of a man with a family, and duty to the state, and perpetuation of name, and comfort, and attention, and love." Prizes in a lottery—all! and a whole life the price of a ticket!
And why not live single, then. What should I have then, which I cannot have now. Company at my table? I can have it when I like—and what is better, such as I like. Personal attention? Half a wife's pin-money will purchase the most assiduous. Love? What need have I of that? or how long does it last when it is compulsory? Is there a treasure in my heart that will canker if it is not spent? Have I affections that will gnaw like a hunger if they are not fed. Must I love and be beloved? I think not. But this is the rub, if there be one.
I'll look into it the first day I feel metaphysical.
Ameiican Monthly Mag.
Tub Swallow is a bonnie bird, comes twitt'ring o'er the sea,
The lambs like snow all nibbling go upon the ferny hills,
Thine be sweet mornings with the bee that's out for honey dew,
The river blue that rushes through the valley hears thee sing.
The silent power that brought thee back, with leading-strings of love,
Oh! all thy life's one pleasant hymn to God who sits on high,
THE GRATEFUL NEGRO.*
In the island of Jamaica, there lived two planters; whose methods of managing their slaves were as different as possible. Mr Jefferies considered the negroes as an inferior species, incapable of gratitude, disposed to treachery, and to be roused from their natural indolence only by force: he treated his slaves, or rather suffered his overseer to treat them, with the greatest severity. Jefferies was not a man of a cruel, but of a thoughtless and extravagant temper. He was of such a sanguine disposition, that he always calculated upon having a fine season, and fine crops on his plantation; and never had the prudence to make allowance for unfortunate accidents: he required, as he said, from his overseer, produce, and not excuses.
Durant, the overseer, did not scruple to use the most cruel and barbarous method of forcing the slaves to exertions beyond their strength. Complaints of his brutality, from time to time, reached his master's ears; but, though Mr Jefferies was moved to momentary compassion, he shut his heart against conviction: he hurried away to the jovial banquet, and drowned all painful reflections in wine. He was this year much in debt; and, therefore, being more than usually anxious about his crop, he pressed his overseer to exert himself to the utmost.
The wretched slaves, upon his plantation, thought themselves still more unfortunate, when they compared their condition with that of the negroes on the estate of Mr Edwards. This gentleman treated his slaves with all possible humanity and kindness. He wished that there was no such thing as slavery in the world; but he was convinced, by the arguments of those who have the best means of obtaining information, that the sudden emancipation of the negroes would rather increase than diminish their miseries. His benevolence therefore confined itself within the bounds of reason. He adopted those plans, for the amelioration of the state of the slaves, which appeared to him the most likely to succeed without producing any violent agitation or revolution. For instance, his negroes had reasonable and fixed daily tasks; and, when these were finished, they were permitted to employ their time for their own advantage, or amusement. If they chose to employ themselves longer for their master, they were paid regular wages for their extra work. This reward, for as such it was considered, operated most powerfully upon the slaves. Those who are animated by hope can perform what would seem impossibilities, to those who are under the depressing influence of fear. The wages, which Mr Edwards promised, he took care to see punctually paid. He had an excellent overseer, of the name of Abraham Bayley; a man of a mild but steady temper, who was attached not only to his master's interests but to his virtues; and who therefore was more intent upon seconding his humane views, than upon squeezing from the labour of the negroes the utmost produce. Each negro had, near his cottage, a portion of land, called his provision-ground; and one day in the week was allowed for its cultivation. It is common in Jamaica for the slaves to have provision-grounds, which they cultivate for their own advantage; but it too often happens that, when a good negro has successfully improved his little spot of land, when he has built himself a house, and begins to enjoy the fruits of his industry, his acquired property is seized upon by the sheriff's officer for the payment of his master's debts: he is forcibly separated from his wife and children, dragged to public auction, purchased by a stranger, and perhaps sent to terminate his miserable existence in the mines of Mexico; excluded for ever from the light of heaven! and all this without any crime or imprudence on his part, real or pretended. He is punished because his master is unfortunate. To this barbarous injustice the negroes on Mr Edwards's plantation were never exposed. He never exceeded his income; he engaged in no wild speculations; he contracted no debts; and his slaves, therefore, were in no danger of being seized by a sheriff's officer: their property was secured to them by the prudence as well as by the generosity of their master.
* One of Miia Edgeworth's " Popular Tales."
One morning, as Mr Edwards was walking in that part of his plantation which joined to Mr Jefferies' estate, he thought he heard the voice of distress, at some distance. The lamentations grew louder and louder as he approached a cottage, which stood upon the borders of Jefferies' plantation. This cottage belonged to a slave of the name of Caesar, the best negro in Mr Jefferies' possession. Such had been his industry and exertion, that, notwithstanding the severe tasks imposed by Durant, the overseer, Ciesar found means to cultivate his provision-ground to a degree of perfection, no where else to be seen, on this estate. Mr Edwards had often admired this poor fellow's industry; and now hastened to inquire what misfortune had befallen him.
When he came to the cottage, he found Caesar standing with his arms folded, and his eyes fixed upon the ground. A young and beautiful female negro was weeping bitterly, as she knelt at the feet of Durant, the overseer, who regarded her with a sullen aspect, repeated, "He must go. I tell you, woman, he must go. What signifies all this nonsense?" At the sight of Mr Edwards, the overseer's countenance suddenly changed, and assumed an air of obsequious civility. The poor woman retired to the further corner of the cottage, and continued to weep. Caesar never moved. "Nothing is the matter, Sir," said Durant, "but that Cffisar is going to be sold. That is what the woman is crying for. They were to be married; but we'll find Clara another husband, I tell her; and she'll get the better of her grief, you know, Sir, as I tell her, in time." "Never! never !"said Clara. "To whom is Caesar going to be sold; and for what sum?" "For what can be got for him," replied Durant, laughing; "and to whoever will buy him. The sheriff's officer is here, who has seized him for debt, and must make the most of him at market.'' "Poor fellow!" said Mr Edwards; "and must he leave this cottage which he has built, and these bananas which he has planted ?'.' Cesar now, for the first time, looked up, and fixing his eyes upon Mr Edwards for a moment, advanced with an intrepid, rather than an imploring countenance, and said, " Will you be my master? Will you be her maser? Buy both of us. You shall not repent of it. Caesar will serve you faithfully." On hearing these words, Clara sprang forwards; and, clasping her hands together, repeated, "Caesar will serve you faithfully."
Mr Edwards was moved by their entreaties, but he left them without declaring his intentions. He went immediately to Mr Jefferies, whom he found stretched on a sofa, drinking coffee. As soon as Mr Edwards mentioned the occasion of his visit, and expressed his sorrow for Caesar, Jefferies exclaimed, " Yes, poor devil! I pity him, from the bottom of my soul. But what can I do? I leave all those things to Durant. He says the sheriff's officer has seized him; and there's an end of the matter. You know money must be had. Besides, Caesar is not worse off than any other slave sold for debl. What signifies talking about the matter, asif itwere something that never happened before! Is not it a case that occurs every day in Jamaica?" "So much the worse," replied Mr Edwards. "The worse for them, to be sure," said Jefferies. "But, after all, they are slaves, and used to be treated as such; and they tell me the negroes are a thousand times happier here, with us, than they ever were in their own country." "Did the negroes tell you so themselves?" "No; but people better informed than negroes have told me so; and, after all, slaves there must be; for indigo, and rum, and sugar we must have." "Granting it to be physically impossible that the world should exist, without rum, sugar, and indigo, why could they not be produced by freemen, as well as by slaves? If we hire negroes for labourers, instead of purchasing them for slaves, do you think they would not work as well as they do now? Does any negro, under the fear of the overseer, work harder than a Birmingham journeyman, or a Newcastle collier; who toil for themselves and