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my exposed situation. It is a singular fact, that I slept that night more sweetly than I had done, ever since I determined upon the enjoyment of a life of luxury and ease ; and what is equally singular, I waked early in the morning, without either a sore throat, a swelled face, or a rheumatic headache. I am certain of this, for 1 felt my throat, shook my head to hear if it cracked, and looked in a bit of glass to see if my face retained its true proportions. 1 con. fess, I was rather disappointed. "But never mind," thought I, "I shall certainly pay for it to-morrow."
The morrow came, however, and I was again disappointed. I was sure it would come next day. But wonderful as it may seem, 1 thought I ftlt better than when I had slept in a feather bed, and a close room, warmed with anthracite coal. I began to be encouraged, and by degrees became reconciled to the enormity of sleeping on a straw bed, in a room where the air was playing about in zephyrs, without catching cold. My reader, if he chance to be in the enjoyment of ease and luxury, will shrink with horror from my dinners, which consisted of a piece of salt pork and potatoes for the first course, and some bread and butter, or bread and milk for the dessert. At first, I was certain the pork would produce indigestion; but] suppose, as there was nothing particularly inviting in it, I did not eat enough to do me any harm, for I certainly felt as light as a feather after my meals, and instead of dozing away an hour in a chair, was ready for exercise at a minute'.' warning.
The old couple welcomed me to my "nice place," and were exceedingly eloquent in praise of my nice, comfortable house, the nice pork, the bread and butter, and the milk all equally " nice." By degrees I began to be infected with their unaffected content, and sometimes actually caught myself enjoying the scanty comforts before me. I did not reason on the matter, and cudgel myself into an unwilling submission to necessity: but I benefitted by the example of the honest old couple, without reasoning at all about it. Reason and precept, are a sort of pedagogues, that at best but bring about a grumbling acquiescence; but example comes in the shape of a gentle guide, himself pursuing the right way, and not commanding us to follow, but beckoning us on with smiles.
I confess, when I looked around on my domain, I despaired of ever bringing it into order, beauty, or productiveness. 1 knew not the magic of labour and perseverance; nor did I dream that the fields around me which seemed only fruitful in rocks and stones, could ever be made to wave in golden grain, or green meadows. The only spot of all my extensive estate that seemed susceptible of improvement, was about twenty acres that lay directly before my door, between two shelving rocky mountains, and through which ran a little brook of clear spring water. But even this was so sprinkled with rocks which had rolled down from the neighbouring hills, that it was sufficiently discouraging to a man who had for several years worn spatterdashes, because he shrunk from pulling on his boots. I spent a month nearly, in pondering on what I should first undertake, and ended in despairing to undertake any thing.
One day I was leaning over the bars, at the entrance to my house, when a tall raw-boned figure, with hardly an ounce of flesh to his complement, came riding along, on a horse as hardy and rawboned as himself. He stopt at the bars, and bade me good morning. In justice to myself, I must say, that though proud enough in all conscience, I am not one of those churls, who because they have a better coat on their backs, which by the way often belongs to the tailor, think themselves entitled to receive the honest salute of an honest man, with coldness or contempt. Beshrew me, such arrant blockheads, they call this vulgar insolence, when in fact, it is the impulse of nature whispering to the inmost man, that there is nothing in outward circumstances, or the difference of wealth or dress, which places one being so high above another, that he must not speak to him, when they happen to meet or be thrown together. Even when I was enjoying a life of luxury and ease, and possessed of great wealth, it was a pleasure to me to talk with these honest fellows in linsey woolsey; and I will here bear this testimony, that I have gained from them more practical knowledge, heard more plain good sense, and caught more valuable hints from the government and enjoyment of life, than I ever did from all the philosophers I ever conversed with, or all the books I ever read. "Good morning, good morning," said the tall man on the tall horse, and "good morning, good morning," replied I, repeating the salutation twice, not to be outdone in courtesy. "I believe you don't know me," said he, after a short pause, which short as it was, proved the longest he ever afterwards made in his conversations with me. "1 believe you don't know me! my name is Lightly, and I am your next neighbour over the mountain yonder." "And my name is Amber," said I, "and I am heartily glad to have you for a neighbour. Won't you alight?" "Why, I don't care if I do; it was partly my business to come and have a talk with you."
Mr Lightly accordingly dismounted, and fastening his horse under a tree, to protect him from the sun, which was waxing hot, followed me into the house. After taking something, he looked about, first at one mountain, then at another, and at length began, "A rough country this you've got into, Mr Ambler." "Very," replied I, "so rough that I am afraid I shall never make any pait 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."
1 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?'' a 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