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replied I, "so rough that I am afraid I shall never make any pail of it smooth." "No?" said Mr Lightly, "why not?" "Look at the trees." "You must cut them down." "Look at the rocks." "You must grub them up, they'll make excellent stone walls.'' "Doubtless, if I had the people who piled Ossa on Pelion, to assist me." Mr Lightly had never read the history of the great rebellion of the Giants, and rather stared at me. "But," added I, "do you really think I can make any thing out of these mountains?" "Do 1?" said he, "only come over and see me to-morrow, and I will give you proof of it; but no, now 1 think of it, not to-morrow, the day after: I am going to walk to Poughkeepsie to-morrow, and sha'nt be back till sundown." "Poughkeepsie!" cried I, "and back again in one day: why 'tis sixty miles; you mean you'll be back the day after to-morrow evening." "No I don't: I mean to-morrow evening, God willing; but my days are much longer than yours." "I should think so; you mean to make the sun stand still, like Joshua.'' "No I don't, though my name is Joshua. I mean to be up at the first crowing of an old cock, that never sleeps after three in the morning, in summer." "But you've got a horse, why don't you ride?" "O, that would take me two days; and I can't well spare the time. I never ride when I'm in a hurry." So saying, Mr Lightly, after taking my promise to come over the day after to-morrow, took his departure, leaving me to ponder on the vast improbability of a man walking to Poughkeepsie, and back again in one day. If he does, thought I, I shall begin to believe in the seven league boots.
The next morning but one, accordingly, my old man guided me by a winding path, to the summit of the mountain, and pointing to a comfortable looking house, surrounded by a large barn, and other out houses, standing in the midst of green meadows and cultivated fields, told me that was the place to which 1 was going. As I paused awhile to contemplate the little rural landscape, I could not help wishing that it had pleased Providence to cast my lot where the rocks were so scarce, and the meadows so green. Lightly saw me at the top of the hill, and making some half a dozen long strides with his long legs, met me more than half way up the mountain side. "Good morning, good morning," said he, repeating it twice, for I soon found he was very fond of talking, and often repeated the same thing to keep himself going. I returned his salutation, adding, " I see you have got back." "O yes; but not quite so soon as I calculated. 1 went about four miles out of my way, to bring home my old woman's yarn from the manufactory, and it was almost dark before I got home." During his brief dialogue, he had shot ahead of me two or three times. "You are no. great walker, I see," said Mr Lightly. "Why, no; I don't think I could walk sixty-eight miles a day, in the month of June, without being a little tired." "There's nothing like trying," said he. "I don't think I shall try,'' thought I.
My new friend, Mr Lightly, kept me with him all day, showing me what he had done in the course of eight or ten years, and describing his farm, as it was when he first purchased it, for little or nothing. We came to a beautiful meadow, which I could not help admiring, and wishing I had such a one on my farm, "You have a much finer one," said Lightly. "Where? 1 never saw it." "Directly before your door." "That! why it is paved with rocks." "Well, and so was this." "What has become of them all?'' "There they are," pointing to the wall which surrounded the meadow.
The wall seemed a work of the Cyclops, or the builders of the pyramids, for it was literally rocks piled on rocks, "as if by magic spell." I inquired how he got these rocks one upon the other, as I did not see any machinery. "We had no machines but such as these," holding out his hard, bony hands, and baring part of his arms, that were nothing but twisted sinews. "But you did not dig these rocks out of the ground, and pile them up here yourself, sure ly?" "No, no; not quite that either. I have six boys, who assisted me. You shall see them; they will be home from work presently." "Fine boys' work! faith I should like to see them." "Yonder they come," said Mr Lightly.
I followed the direction of his eye, and beheld coming down the hill, afar off, what I took for six giants, striding onward with intent to devour us at one meal. As they advanced towards me, my apprehensions subsided, for I saw in their open countenances, and clear blue eyes, indubitable tokens of harmlessness and good nature. 1 never saw such men before: and here in the mountains, out of the sphere of those artificial distinctions, which level in some measure, all physical disparities, I could not help feeling a sort of qualm of inferiority. In the crowded city, and amid the conflicts of civilized society, the mind predominates; but here my business was to cut down trees, and remove rocks, and the man best qualified for these, was the great man for my money. After seeing these "boys," I did not so much wonder at the miracles they had achieved. The whole farm, in fact, exhibited proofs of the wonders which may be wrought by a few strong arms, animated and impelled by as many stout hearts. "You see what we have done," said Lightly, "whycan't you do the same?" "My good sir, 1 am neither a giant myself, nor have I any sons that are giants." "Well, well," said he, "I will tell you what was partly my reason —what was partly my reason, for asking you over to see me. My youngest boy—step out Ahasuerus—my youngest boy is just married, and as our hive is pretty full, it is necessary that he should swarm out with his wife, who is a good hearty, industrious girl, that will be excellent help for your old woman. You can't get on at first without some hard work, and you will not be able to work yourself for some time very hard; you will want such a boy as mine, to break the way a little smooth for you."
I caught at the proposal instantly: we were not long in coming to terms, and in three days the new married couple, the boy and the girl, were established at my house. "She don't know any thing about housekeeping," said my old woman. "You shall teach her," said I, and she went about her work perfectly content. "He is a mere boy," quoth my old man, "what can he know of farming?'' '* He will learn it of you," said I, and the old man felt as proud as a peacock.
My Polyphemus with two eyes, set to work without delay, under the direction of my old man, who talked a great deal, and did nothing; and who, after having given his opinion, was content to follow that of the other. I was busy, too, looking on; running about, doing little or nothing: but taking an interest, and sympathizing with the lusty labours of the young giant, Ahasuerus, to such a degree that I have often actually fallen into a violent perspiration, at seeing him prying up a large stone. Thus I got a great deal of the benefit of hard work, without actually fatiguing myself. By degrees, I came to work a little myself; and when I did not work, I gave my advice, and saw the others work. One day—it was the crisis of my life—one day Ahasuerus and the old man were attempting to raise a rock out of the ground by means of a lever, but their weight was not sufficient. They tried several times but in vain; whereat the spirit came upon me, and seizing the far end of the lever, I hung upon it with all my might, kicking most manfully all the while. The rock yielded to our united exertions, and rolled out of the ground. It was my victory. "We should not have got it out without you," said Ahasuerus. "It was all your doing," quoth the old man.
But, to tell you the honest truth, I quaked in the midst of my triumph, lest this unheard of exertion might have injured a blood vessel, or strained some of the vital parts. That night I thought, some how or other, I felt rather faintish and languid. But it may be I was only a little sleepy; for I fell asleep in five minutes, and did not wake till sunrise. It was some time before I could persuade myself I was quite well; but being unable fairly to detect anything to the contrary, I arose and walked forth into the freshness of the morning, and my spirit laughed in concert with the sprightly insects and chirping birds.
After this I became bolder and bolder, until finally animated by the example of the great Ahasuerus, I one day laid hold of a rock and rolled it fairly out of its bed. I was astonished at this feat; I had no idea that I could make the least exertion, without suffering for it severely in some way or other. I never could do it before, and what is the reason I can do it now, thought I; I certainly used to feel very faint, on occasion of sometimes drawing a hard cork out of a bottle. My new monitor, experience, whispered me, that this was nothing but apprehension, which when it becomes a habit, and gains a certain mastery over the mind, produces a sensation allied to faintness. It embarrasses the pulsation, and that occasions a feeling of swooning. The mental, causes the physical sensation. 1 was never so happy in my whole life, as when I received this lesson of experience. I was no longer afraid of dying off hand, of the exertion of drawing a cork.
Thus we went on during the summer. The salt pork relished wonderfully; the bread and milk became a delicious dessert; and the rocks daily vanished from the meadow, like magic. The autumn now approached, and 1 bethought myself how I should get through the winter, with so many broken panes, and so many sky lights in the roof of my house. There was neither carpenter nor glazier in ten miles; and I was at a loss what to do. I spoke to Ahasuerus the Great about it. "If you will get me a few shingles and nails, and some glass and putty, I will do it myself," said he. "If you can do it, so can I," said I! for I began to be a little jealous of Ahasuerus. Accordingly, I procured the materials, and mounting on the roof, went to work zealously. It was a devil of abusiness; but I got through it at last. It did not look very well, to be sure; but it kept out the rain, the snow, and the keen air. Encouraged at my unaccountable ingenuity as a carpenter, I commenced glazier, and broke six panes of glass off hand. With the seventh, however, I succeeded; and well it was that I did so, for I had determined this should be the last, and its failure would have for ever satisfied me, that none but a man who had learned the trade of a glazier, could put in a pane of glass. As it was, I passed from the extreme of depression and vexation, to that of exultation and vanity.
"How easy it is to get on in this world, and with what small means, we may attain to all the necessary comforts of life!" cried I; "men make themselves slaves to ward off evils that are imaginary: and sweat through a life of toil, to become at last dependent on others, for what they can do just as well themselves. What is the use of plaguing myself with these eternal labours; I will be idle and happy. Remember the poet at Saratoga. Remember the philosopher. Remember the politician. Remember the man of nerves," whispered memory in my ear, "and remember thyself —remember Dtspepst.'' I fled from my conclusion as fast as I could run, and worked that day harder than ever.
Winter came, and having a vast forest of wood, some of which was decaying, and the remainder had reached its full maturity, I determined to have it cut down and sold to pay my debt to my old Scotsman. With the assistance of one or two others, Ahasuerus performed wonders in the woods, as he had done among the rocks. I forget how many cords they sent to market, but it produced enough to pay my old friend, and then I stood upon the proudest eminence an unambitious man can attain: I owed no man a penny, and I could live without running in debt. This is a great and solid happiness, not sufficiently appreciated at this time. People that know no better, are apt to think that winter in the country is one long series of dead uniformity; and that there is no enjoyment away from the fire-side. But they are widely mistaken; nature every where presents a succession of varieties, and those of winter are not the least beautiful. The short days of December and January, are perhaps the most gloomy; but have this advantage, that they are short, and followed by good long nights, in which it is a luxury, to nestle in a warm bed, hear the wind whistle, or the light fleeces of snow patting against the windows, and fall asleep thinking how much better off we are, than millions of our fellowcreatures. When the earth lies barren, the herbage destroyed, and the forests, stripped of their leafy honours, stand bare to the winds, even then nature is not altogether desolate in these lonely mountains. The homely brown of the woods is dotted here and there by clusters of evergreens, that appear only the more beautiful from the barrenness that surrounds them; and even the gravity of the old grey beard rocks, is often enlivened with spots of green moss, that relieve their sober aspect. There is music too in the wintry solitudes; for in the pure clear air, every sound is musical. The lowing of the cattle, the barking of the dog and the squirrel, the drumming of the partridge, the echoes of the fowler's gun, the woodman's axe, whose strokes are by and bye followed by the loud crash of the falling tree, all breaking in succession, and sometimes mingling in chorus on the beautiful and buoyant air, bear with them a lonely, yet touching charm, which to a contented mind, in a healthy frame, affords the means of real substantial enjoyment.
Anon nature puts on her robe of spotless white, the true livery