Obrázky na stránke

the inventor has been dead a long time, and lived to see the general adoption of his word, notwithstanding it has as yet no place in any dictionary that I have seen. Supposing it to be an English word, I consulted Walker, and was mortified to find that he took no notice of it. I then made sundry combinations of other terms, but could light upon none that seemed at all plausible, except the word calk us, which, united into caucus, may produce a kind of onomatopeia, descriptive of the assemblage in question ; for to calk, is, according to the above mentioned lexicographer, “to stop the leak of a vessel," and inasmuch as a caucus is urged by the admirers of Mr. Van Buren, to be the means of stopping all leaks in our political vessel, there seems to be some show of reason in this derivation. Upon further reflection, however, I concluded that the word must be Greek, and having recourse to Schrevelius, found the paronymous term kakos, malus.

This I presently rejected, though apparently descriptive of the pernicious tendency of caucus, because the institutors of that pestilent rchy would hardly have selected so barefaced an epitheton, such a cacophony, if I may so speak. On further search, upon meeting with kaukis, I was so much delighted with the near resemblance of sound, as to jump up and cry out “eureka ;” but moderated my rapture on discovering that “genus calceamenti,” the explanatory terms in Latin, could not be tortured to any manner of application, unless indeed it was intended to indicate that the members of a caucus would be willing to stand in the people's shoes, upon the occasion of electing a president of the United States; or unless we observe further the aliter baukos, jucundus, for it is literally a very pleasant and right merry way of getting rid of the difficulty of a choice by the people. So far the Greek. As to the Latin, I have consulted every dictionary in my possession, from Ainsworth and Young, up to old Thoma Thomasius, printed coventriæ Septimo Idus, Februarii, 1630, and can find nothing resembling our caucus, but the three-headed robber cacus, who by paronomasia, might be considered as the grand prototype of that modern monster, which has stolen, if not the cattle, at least the property of the American Hercules, and will keep it unless he rise in his might, and crushing the political thief resume his original rights. Now, Mr. Editor, I am disposed to rest here; though not quite so well satisfied as Jonathan Oldbuck was about the locality of Agricola’s camp, from those mysterious initials which the mischievous Edie Ochiltree so wickedly interpreted to mean “Ailic Davy's lang ladle," and not “Agricola dicavit libens lubens," as Monkbarns would have it ;-but do observe, sir, the singular coincidences between cacus and caucus; the one a three-headed rogue--the other a sort of political Cerberus; the first slily taking away the cattle of another—the second insidiously cajoling the people of their rights; the former hiding them in a cave, where they were discovered by their bellowing—the latter betrayed by a bellowing from Maine to Georgia; and finally cacus demolished by Hercules, and caucus easily demolished by the Herculean force of public sentiment.

I acknowledge, however, that I am not entirely satisfied, notwithstanding this “confirmation strong," and hope you will speedily relieve the perplexity of

Your most obedient servant. P.S. A friend facetiously suggests that caucus is nothing more than

a corruption,-Caucus, quasi corkus; that is, shut close the doors that nobody may hear us.

Ah! tell me not of the heights sublime,

The rocks at Harper's Ferry,
Of mountains rent in the lapse of time-

They're very sublime-oh very !
I'm thinking more of the glowing cheek

Of a lovely girl and merry,
Who climb’d with me to yon highest peak--

The girl of Harper's Ferry.

She sailed with me o'er the glassy wave,

In yonder trim-built wherry;
Shall I ever forget the looks she gave,
Or the voice which rang so merry

? To the joy she felt, her lips gave birth

Lips, red as the ripest cherry-
I saw not Heaven above, nor Earth-

Sweet girl of Harper's Ferry!
We clamber'd away over crag and hill

Through places dark and dreary;
We stooped to drink of the sparkling rill'

And gather the blushing berry;
Dame Nature may sunder the Earth by storms

And rocks upon rocks may serry,
But I like her more in her fragile forms,

My girl of Harper's Ferry.
1 followed her up the steps of stone,"

To where the dead they bury;
On Jefferson's rock she stood alone,

Looking on Harper's Ferry-
But I, like Cymon, the gaping clown,

Stood, lost in a deep quandary,
Nor thought of the river, the rock, the town,

Dear girl of Harper's Ferry.
She carv'd her name on the well known rock,

The rock at Harper's Ferry ;
You would not have thought me a stone or stock,

Bending o'er charming Mary-
Insensible rock! how hard thou wert,

Hurting her fingers fairy,
Deeper she writ upon my soft heart-

The girl of Harper's Ferry.
Ye who shall visit this scene again,

This rock at Harper's Ferry,
Come pledge me high in the brisk champaigne,

Or a glass of the palest sherry-
And this is the name which ye shall quaff,

The name of Mary Perry!
She's fairer than all your loves by half-

The girl of Harper's Ferry.



MODERN TRAVELLING. Forty years ago I was a great traveller, and was pretty well acquainted with the means of transportation then in use; but about that time, I retired to the country, and settled upon a small farm, where I have, until lately, pursued the even tenor of my way. During the last summer, some business compelled me to set out for a distant point, and I left my little home with extreme reluctance. As I was to travel in a world about which I knew but little, except through the newspapers, I thought it right to rig myself out in somewhat better style than usual, so I put on my best bib and tucker, and repaired to town and sought a barber's shop to get my hair cut, and my beard shaved, humming as I went along the old song,

"I called to the barber, come shave me boy, do you hear, And I'll give you sixpence for to spend in ale or beer; Shave me, shave me, barber come shave me, Make me look neat and spruce that Molly may have me.” Sixpence quotha! it cost me four-and-sixpence, at the least. When I opened the door, I was so much astonished at the elegance of the apartment, that I drew back, and would have retired, thinking I had made some mistake, when two or three fellows flew out upon me, and began brushing my coat with such impetuous violence that I could not escape from them ; indeed it was with much ado that I could prevent my ears from being brushed off by their whizzing brooms. I was as restive, you may depend upon it, as my horse is under a cedar broom ; twice they struck me severe blows on the cheek, but always begged pardon, so I could not be offended; and, indeed, I had made up my mind when I left home, not to betray my ignorance of present customs. All this time two small shavers were dusting my boots, and I protest it was with much difficulty I could keep my legs. After considerable suffering on my part, and repeated declarations of my being satisfied with their services, and paying each of them something, (for I saw they expected it, they desisted.

I now expressed a wish to be shaved and trimmed, and was immediately disrobed, and ushered to a high-backed chair, where my head was roughly thrown back, my chin tucked, and the operation of shaving performed in the “twinkling of an ejaculation.It did not take long to cut my hair and strangle me with cologne water; but what was my surprise, when they were done with me, to find the whole of my occiput as bare as the palm of my hand, and nothing left upon my head but a few straggling locks at the side, time having already stripped naked my forehead. I was sadly vexed, but what could I say? I had voluntarily put myself in their power, and was devoutly glad when I got into the street, that I had escaped alive from their hands. Well, I had now paid four-and-sixpence; I had lost all my hair; my face had been scratched by brooms and lacerated by a razor, and I had learned in exchange that barbers were different folks now-a-days from what they used to be, and that men were brushed down like horses—rather a bad speculation! I had not been in this world, it is true, "ever since King Pepin was a little boy,” but I was pretty old, and had never been treated so unceremoniously in my life. I had imagined when I entered the house, that I was going into just such a shop as my old friend Kippin used to keep, who received me with the profoundest of bows, and shaved me with a solemnity of manner that suited my temper exactly. No tawdry ornaments hung upon the walls; no mirrors flashed wheresoever you turned; no newspapers lay scattered around; no Helen Jewetts or other engravings caught your eye. His walls were mute as “Tara's Halls” —a piece of broken looking-glass stood upon the table, and an old shavingcan, encrusted with the smoke of a thousand fires, sat disconsolately in the chimney; but, nevertheless, these modern fellows cannot shave as Kippin “used to could.There is too much hurry in every thing now-a-days! It is true shaving must be done by steam-the water ought to be hot, but the razor travels too incontinently fast, and the whirlpools in my beard cannot be crossed over with such despatch--but, pshaw! this is nothing

« PredošláPokračovať »