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to what I have to tell of the changes in this world. My first trip was to be made in a steamboat which was to start (Ay perhaps would be a better word) at ten o'clock at night. I had never been in one, having been of the same opinion with old What's-his-name, who never could be induced to go on board, not even when the boat was lying at the wharf without a particle of fire-when urged to go, and told that there was no earthly danger, he always shook his head doubtingly, and declared "there was no knowing what accidents might happen.” However, go I must; my business required despatch, and there was no mode of travelling so expeditious. Accordingly, I went on board, and passing the fire-room, where they were just firing up, I stopped with unfeigned horror, and asked myself, if indeed I was prepared to die! I almost fancied myself at the entrance of the infernal regions, and the firemen, all begrimed and black and covered with sweat, seemed like the imps of the devil, tossing the damned spirits into the flames. I shuddered and turned away, inwardly vowing if heaven would be graciously pleased to spare me this time, I would never again voluntarily put myself in the way of being burnt to death. I proceeded to the cabin, which I found, as yet, unoccupied, and you may be certain if the barber's shop had surprised me, my amazement was now complete, at finding myself in the most splendid apartment I had ever beheld. I shall not attempt any description, because I have no doubt, Mr. Editor, you have seen many a one; all I shall say is, that having examined every thing with as much wonder as did Polyglott when “he dinner'd wi' a lord," I laid myself down in a berth, and could not satisfy myself of my personal identity, any more than could he who once went to see some great man, and was treated with so much distinction, that when he retired to bed, he lay some time revolving all that had passed, and the scene around him, and exclaimed, “can this be me.” Putting his foot out of bed, (he had a remarkable foot,) egad! he cried, that is certainly my foot. Just so, clapping my hand to the back of my head, and feeling that the barber had nearly
scalped me, I became assured that it was indeed your humble servant, and was trying to compose myself, when I heard a cry of the stage is come," and in a few moments in walked the captain and seated himself at his writing-table, and immediately afterwards forty passengers, at least, rushed into the cabin, all talking in the loudest key, and dressed in every variety of mode, and seeming to strive with one another who should get first to the captain to pay his money. What does this mean? thought I; wherefore such hurry?
“Why need they be so forward with death, who calls not on them ?" as Falstaff says. I soon found out the cause; they were securing their berths, and as they passed mine, they severally peeped into it; at length, one prying more earnestly than the others, exclaimed,“halloo, my hearty, you are in the wrong box, you must come out.” I made no reply, and he repeated his command to me to turn out-still I said nothing, and he turned to the captain : "I say, captain, here's a Jackson man in my berth.” “Yes,” said I, feeling my dander rise, as honest Jack Downing says, “and I shall assume the responsibility of staying in it.” Alas! I reckoned without my host, for the captain came up and desired me to evacuate the premises. “Why,” said I, “captain, I thought possession was eleven points of law.” “None of your nonsense, sir," returned he, and took hold of my arm. Seeing how matters stood, I fixed myself Dentatus-like, with my back to the side of the boat, and seizing my hickory stick, defended myself manfully, but numbers prevailed over valor, and I was at last ignominiously dragged forth, like Smith from Chickahominy Swamp, to the no small amusement of the company, some of whom hurraed for old baldpate. Here was a pretty commencement of my journey! In the end, I was compelled to sleep upon a table, think o'that! and imagine my horror when I found myself stretched out like a corpse, with a sheet over me!! All my previous fears of being scalded to death rushed upon my mind, and I made sure that this was indeed my winding sheet. The thumping of the boat; the groans of the lever above, leaping and pitching like
some vast giant struggling to be free; the snoring and snorting around me; the intense heat, produced by the juxta-position of so many human bodies, effectually banished sleep from my eyelids; I was “in a state of dissolution and thaw,” and wished myself any where else, even in the Domdaniel caves under the roots of Ocean,” if there were such a place, so that I could escape my present thraldom. How often have I won
ed, said I to myself, that people could be so foolhardy as to live at the foot of Mount Ætna or Vesuvius, where they are liable to be overwhelmed in a moment by burning lava; and here am I, lying near the crater of a volcano, without the hope of escape if there should be an eruption!! Overwhelmed by the oppressive weight of my thoughts, I sunk, from absolute exhaustion, about day-break, into a doze, from which I was almost immediately aroused by a bell, which I mistook for the last trump, and springing up perceived that it announced our arrival at the place of destination, and I was forced to huddle on my clothes as fast as possible. Such a scene of confusion and hurry as now presented itself, baffles my poor powers of description. Passengers, porters, trunks, wheel-barrows, hackmen, every body and every thing, in one moving mass upon the wharf, so completely confounded the few brains I had, that I stood like a fool, while “hack, sir ?" was bawled in one ear, “hack, sir ?'' in another—"omnibus, sir ? do you go in the omnibus ?" One pulled me by the right, another by the left, until my limbs were almost dislocated. At last, remembering a little of my Latin, I concluded it must be right to go with all, and I cried out “omnibus !” “Your baggage, sir, where is it?" “God only knows, my friend,” said I. “Is this it, sir ?” “Yes, yes." Into the omnibus they shoved me, with such despatch, that had I been the “stout gentleman” himself, I am sure none could have seen even the “broad disk of my pantaloons.” It was the first time in my life that I had ever travelled in a carriage without shutting the door, except once, upon compulsion, when my horses ran off with me; but if you will credit me, sir, there is no door to an ómnibus ; so I suppose omnibus means without a door, but in what language is more than I pretend to know. Perhaps it may be the Garamna language, but none but the author of the Doctor can tell that. If you should be acquainted with the tongue, Mr. Editor, just drop me a hint in your next number, and I shall be much obliged to you.
Well, praised be heaven, I had escaped the death of a bog, and felt somewhat revived by the morning air. Away we whirled with great rapidity to the rail-road depot, where the cars were ready to receive us. We were told that from some irregularity, I never knew what, we were to be drawn for some miles by horses, and I blessed my stars at the occurrence, as I had been anticipating, with some dread, that wonderful velocity of the engines of which I had heard and read so much; but short-lived indeed was my joy, as it began to be a matter of interesting speculation whether the cars meeting us, might not, peradventure, be driven by steam. We had not proceeded far, before our apprehensions were realized. Just as we turned an abrupt curvature in the road, there came the engine roaring and snorting upon us!! Mr. Editor, I have been pursued in my time by a mad bull; I have been upon the point of being tossed upon his horns; I have been in imminent peril of being run over by squadrons of wild horses, which had taken the stampado; I have seen perils by sea and perils by land, but never had I felt such alarm, such destitution of all hope of escape, as now. Our driver sprang from his seat, and had just time to unhitch his horses, but what were we to do? One man jumped out and broke his leg, the rest of us kept our seats. I could not leave mine,I was transfixed with horror-my eyes were starting from my head, and my mouth wide open. Breathless, we awaited the shock, and soon it came like a thundercrash. What happened to others I cannot tell. All I remember distinctly is, that the concussion was so tremendous, that it brought my two remaining teeth so violently together, that ihey were both knocked out;
they were the last of the Capulets, and I would not i have taken a thousand dollars a piece for them; it is a
wonder I did not die of fright-my hair, if I had any, must have turned gray; but thanks to the barber, I had none. I was taken up more dead than alive, and nothing could induce me to hazard my life again. I consigned to the devil, all cars, steamboats, rail roads, their projectors and inventors, solemnly vowing never to be in a hurry again as long as I lived, but to remember the old maxim, festina lente-make haste slowly.
My business I abandoned in despair,-bought the dullest horse I could procure-sold my trunk, and got a pair of saddle-bags, and resolved to jog slowly and safely homeward. After a fatiguing journey, I reached my own house, where nobody knew me. When I told my wife who I was and what had occurred to me, she said it was a judgment upon me for being such a fool as to cut my hair in that fashion. She will never listen to me now when I attempt to repeat the particulars of my excursion, and that is the reason I have concluded to trouble you with my history. If it should entertain you, and serve as a warning to my countrymen not to be in such a confounded hurry in doing every thing, I shall be repaid for my trouble. The whole world seems to me to be in a sort of neck-ornothing state; all the sobriety, frugality and simplicity of our forefathers seems to be forgotten, and the only object is, to grow rich suddenly, and time and space must be annihilated in the pursuit.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient, humble servant,