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dle height, and neither very corpulent nor otherwise, and at first sight there appeared nothing about him to distinguish him from the ordinary run of mortals. He was, however, a singular individual, and had some strange peculiarities. Melancholy had “ marked him for her own;"—he was evidently a man of many sorrows, and a deep and settled grief seemed to pervade his every action. His appetite was uncommonly good, and he ate more and talked less than any man I ever saw.
He was an inoffensive being; and yet, for some unascertained cause, the landlady "looked loweringly" upon him.--As I entered the house rather abruptly one evening, I perceived the middle-aged gentleman and the lady of the mansion in deep and earnest conversation. The tones of her voice were sharp and decided-her action was energetic in the extreme-her face had lost much of the mild expression and winning softness which characterize her sex, and I distinctly heard her pronounce the impressive words--" I have been put off long enough, and I'll be put off no longer !The middle-aged gentleman sighed profoundly; he was evidently much affected, and without saying. a word, he took up his candle, and retired to his bed. Heaven only knows what were his reflections !
Next morning, notwithstanding the severe men
tal struggle of the preceding evening, not a trace of passion was visible on his countenance. He was calm, though by no means collected, for instead of taking his place next the landlady, as was his wont, he obliviously seated himself opposite a dish of pickled salmon, a fish for which he had always manifested a decided predilection. His mind was in a high state of abstraction—the world around was to him as nothing—and he helped himself four times from the savoury fish alluded to, without in the least noticing the inflamed and ominous looks of the hostess. He continued to eat, as it appeared to me, mechanically, long after the other boarders had arisen from the table, until looking around and perceiving that he was seated alone with the lady, who was apparently preparing to open a conversation, with more agility than I had previously seen him manifest, he started from his chair-seized by mistake a new hat instead of his old one from the pile in the passage, and rushed out of the house. He came not to dinner, and at tea he was not visible !
“Next morn we miss'd him at his 'customed seat,
Along the side, nor at the foot was he: " Another came"
but not so did the middle-aged gentleman, and from that time forward he was seen among us no more. At the expiration of twenty-four hours, the landlady overcame her natural feelings of delicacy, and proceeded to break'open his clothes chest, in order to elicit some compensation for sundry pecuniary obligations which she alleged he had omitted to discharge. I was present at the operation : the lock was forced—the lid was anxiously raised—but alas ! an extensive vacuum presented itself. No integuments were there, excepting a few "shreds and patches” at the bottom of the chest in the shape of ancient shirts and fractions of neck and pocket handkerchiefs. This was all that the repository of the middle-aged gentleman contained, setting aside a few sheets of paper which the landlady threw away as rubbish, and which I instinctively secured. On one of them was written the following "Legend," which illustrates in a high degree the morbid sensibility of the amiable writer. Connected as it is with local circumstances calculated to render it peculiarly interesting to the feelings of every NewYorker, and breathing as it does a tone of the purest morality, I feel it my bounden duty to give it without alteration or addition to the public. The catastrophe is singularly impressive and strikingly applicable to the present high-pressure times. Though I cannot say that I myself recollect the events here recorded, there is strong reason to be
lieve they are not apochryphal, and doubtless live in the memories of many worthy inhabitants of this city. The following is the
“I am a miserable individual; my brightest hopes have been blighted and my finest feelings exceedingly lacerated. All my life an unfortunate constitutional temperament has disinclined me from following any useful or profitable employment; and as I inherited nothing from the author of my lamented existence, excepting a good constitution and somewhat of an epicurean taste, I have consequently been subjected to the mercenary importunities of mankind in every city, town, and village where I have resided for any length of time. Even when totally destitute of money, and without the most distant prospect of ever possessing any, they have ruthlessly pressed their claims upon me, until disgusted with their heartless importunities, I have frequently, without vouchsafing a parting word, quitted their domiciles, and wandered no one knew whither. In the course of my shifting, strolling life, I have, as might be expected, met with strange incidents and scarcely to be credited adventures, but among
them all I know of none which more powerfully affected me than one which accurred in this
very city of New York, early in the nineteenth century.
“ It was on a Sunday morning in the beginning of May, that. I opened the door of a house which had become hateful to me, and sallied out into the street. Unconscious of what direction I was taking, chance conducted me into Maiden-lane, and I sauntered down until my further progress was impeded by the East River. It was one of those delicious May mornings when spring, as if mad with joy at effecting her escape from the dominion of winter, had infused an exuberance of life and animation into all creation. The waves were glancing and dancing in the sunshine across the beautiful bay of New York, and the fresh breeze came sweeping over the waters. The denizens of the city were thronging across to Long Island to
“Gulp their weekly air,"
and many aspiring young men were seated aloft in their buggies, sulkies, and other vehicles with names of equal euphony, awaiting the arrival of the boat. A friend of mine, who happened to be going that way, entreated me to accompany him, and as he satisfied all pecuniary demands, I entered the gate, and took my station by the toll-gatherer, with whose appearance and manners I was very