Various.

Graham's Magazine, Vol. XXXV, No. 3, September 1849 online

. (page 1 of 2)
Online LibraryVariousGraham's Magazine, Vol. XXXV, No. 3, September 1849 → online text (page 1 of 2)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


GRAHAM'S MAGAZINE, SEPTEMBER 1849 ***




Produced by Mardi Desjardins & the online Distributed
Proofreaders Canada team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net from
page images generously made available by Google Books





GRAHAM’S MAGAZINE.
VOL. XXXV. September, 1849. No. 3.


Table of Contents

Fiction, Literature and Other Articles

General Training
Jasper St. Aubyn
Sketches of Life in Our Village
Legend of the Introduction of Death, and Origin of
the Medicine Worship Among the Ogibwas
Love Tests of Halloween
Jessie Lincoln
Colored Birds.—The Bullfinch.
A Traveler’s Story
The Two Paths
Wild-Birds of America
Review of New Books

Poetry, Music, and Fashion

To the Lily of the Valley
“Good-Night.”
The Spanish Maiden
The Angel’s Visit
Lily Leslie
To a Portrait
The Odalisque
To Inez.—At Florence.
Communion of the Sea and Sky
Time and Change
Woman’s Heart:—A Sonnet.
The Rain
Le Follet
Oh, Let Thy Locks Unbraided Fall

Transcriber’s Notes can be found at the end of this eBook.

* * * * *

[Illustration: NO ROSE WITHOUT A THORN.

Engraved and Printed expressly for Graham’s Magazine by J. M. Butler.]

* * * * *

GRAHAM’S MAGAZINE.

VOL. XXXV. PHILADELPHIA, SEPTEMBER, 1849. NO. 3.

* * * * *




GENERAL TRAINING.


BY ALFRED B. STREET.


There were three events which we used to look forward to at the approach
of summer with a great deal of interest. These were the Fourth of July,
General Training and Camp Meeting. The denizens of a city can hardly
understand the pleasure with which the inhabitants of a secluded village
hail any thing out of the usual quiet routine of existence. Consequently
they would be likely to stare at the very idea of any one who was old
enough to drive fast trotters, attend cock-fights, shoot balls over
billiard-tables, and dance the polka, attaching any importance to such
ordinary if not “decidedly vulgar” matters. But with all due deference
to the dandies, I must still reiterate that we thought these three
things of much consequence, and entitled to the place of events in our
simple village calendar. The Fourth of July was a great affair, inasmuch
as it was not only great in itself, but it opened as it were the gates
of the decided summer, letting in upon us those long delicious hours
when the sun’s eye begins to glance through its cloud lashes at three in
the morning, and shoots up its light to wink and glimmer until nine in
the evening. Camp Meeting was also very important—inherently of
course—and also as coming as it did in October, it shut those same
summer portals, and reminded us of the occasional pretence of Jack
Frost, that jackall of winter, who comes prowling amidst our gardens
some time before the stern roar of the old lion is heard. But General
Training occurring in August, sandwiched between the two—the
summit-level, so to speak, of the season—the acme—the apex—was, on
the whole, the greatest event of the three. It was coupled with nothing
else, either as herald of bright days, or reminder that those days were
past. It had neither the brilliance of hope nor the fragrance of memory.
It was therefore self-sustained—it shone by its own light. And full of
the elements of enjoyment was it. So much bustle and noise—such
rattle-te-bang topsy-turvy scenes—such unloosing of the elements of
fun—such odd admixtures and jumblings together of objects, all broadly
picturesque and ludicrous, did the day present, that no wonder it
created such a sensation in our usually quiet and well behaved village.

As the contrast last hinted at constituted one of its charms to me, I
will commence by sketching the appearance of the village the evening
before.

We will suppose the time to be about six o’clock, P. M. in the last week
of August. The sun is about an hour and a half high, and is beginning to
throw out rays of the richest and at the same time the softest splendor.
A broad beam, like a golden vista, strikes Rumsey’s house on the hill
right along the toes, thence, darting a blow athwart the breast of
Fairchild’s domicil, it hits St. John’s store right in the abdomen, and
then sinks down the slope of the street. This is on one side of the
village. On the other, a second beam comes along in a sort of stealthy,
zigzag manner, being broken by a row of trees, until, blazes! it pitches
into the two lower eyes of Coit’s dingy edifice so violently as to make
them flash again. After this feat, it laughs along the verge of the
village green, making it wear an edging of gold, and then paints the
black picture of the mail-coach before Hamble’s door in such grotesque
proportions as to send the head of one horse poking into the middle of
the street, and his tail streaming into Cady’s store. And not only this,
but the beam sketches the figure of Hamble himself coming from “Saint’s
store,” with a bottle of “sour wine” for his bar, in one hand, and a
white pitcher brimming with the cool nectar from the “corner well” in
the other.

Would you believe it? these were the only objects visible in the street.
How all the inhabitants had contrived to withhold themselves from sight
in this mellow sunset I cannot imagine. But such was the fact. The
houses stood protruding their noses of porches at those opposite, and
peering into one another’s eyes, with their dark wigs cutting against
the soft amber sky—the trees were whispering soft things to one another
in a gentle breeze stirring, each one moving its thousand lips so
delicately that the sunlight which was kissing them seemed trembling
with rapture—in short, an air of quiet solitude brooded over the whole
place.

By and by the quick rattle of wheels struck upon my ear, and looking in
the direction of the sound, I saw a two-horse wagon coming furiously
down the street with a collection of white, red, and black plumes, with
bayonets and gun-barrels glistening above, and a great blue standard
fluttering over the whole. A strain of martial music simultaneously
struck up from amongst the warlike array, which array to my nearer
vision, resolved itself into a dozen men, “armed and equipped as the law
directs,” including a fifer, who was lengthening his visage into a
puckered whistle upon his little yellow tube, a drummer, who was
entangling his sticks in the loudest manner on the sounding sheep-skin,
and a bass-drum player, who had hung his huge instrument, like a great
barrel, at the end of the wagon, and who, being a little the worse for
liquor, (shown by constant lurches,) came down upon the quivering
circles each side with prodigious vigor at precisely the wrong times,
thereby breaking up and almost overpowering the tune by an irregular
succession of boom—boom—boom-boom-booms.

As the wagon pulled up with an emphasis at Wiggins’s, three huzzas rent
the air from the occupants, a dozen shots, in which were mingled the
round, deep tone of the musket, and the short, peevish crack of the ride
succeeded—and the “sodgers” bounded upon the stoop, streamed into the
bar-room, calling for “liquor,” and lo! the “premonitory symptoms” of
General Training.

After this temporary ripple in the current, the village again settled
down into its customary quiet. The sun disappeared—the golden glow
crept up the western sky as if to greet the “hunter’s moon,” that looked
in the sweet twilight like an orb of pearl, becoming, however,
momentarily brighter, like the hope of a holy heart as the night of the
grave approaches. And soon the gold was chased down by the silver, and
the beautiful moonlight lay as if it was tangible sleep upon the
village.

About ten o’clock I took one of my solitary walks along the single
street. Nothing could be more silent and solitary. The soft yet splendid
sheen streamed down upon the roof, and whilst the dwellings upon one
side of the spacious thoroughfare were bathed in lovely light, those
opposite were lying in the deepest blackness. The tricks of the
moonlight were various. The old weather streaked Court-House looked as
white and new as the smart Presbyterian “Meeting-House” just erected,
whilst its belfry (so open that it seemed as if it would ring its own
bell when the wind blew) cocked itself up with a pert air, like the
upturned nose of a conceited man, and the red pimple of a clerk’s office
between both Court and Meeting-House, looked redder than ever. Hamble’s
rough stone wall was sleeked over very prettily, sending out from its
summit gleams of light like silver flashes—the white chips about his
wood-shed were like patches of snow—the shadow of a log, with an axe
struck into it, seemed like a black pump lying prostrate—the shrubbery
in the little enclosure along the side of the tavern, sparkled out into
a million of eyes—the sign, with the red coach upon it, going so fast
that its wheels were nothing but spokes, and the horses so fierce that
they were galloping right up into the air, looked bright as a new
button, whilst the broad village green seemed like an expanse of (if I
may use the expression) solidified light. I turned to pursue my walk.
The fluted pillars of St. John’s store looked “good enough to eat,” as a
rather matter-of-fact girl once observed to me in a moonlight walk, and
the “corner well,” with its long arm of a pole reared over its head, and
its bucket tucked down at its front, seemed as if it had just drank and
had put down its glass. I still made my way up the street. Not a single
person abroad, not a light to be seen—it appeared as if the whole
village had grown out, as it were, of the quiet and beautiful light that
lay so broadly upon it. Tired at last of being the only watcher in the
silent village, I retraced my steps, and (to speak vulgarly) “went to
bed.”

I was awakened by martial music in full blast. I dressed myself and
sallied out. A broad beam of the newly risen sun had settled like a
yellow pool just in front of Wiggins’s tavern, and standing within it,
were the three worthies who had awakened the Monticello echoes the
evening before with their music from the wagon. The fifer was again
spitting his breath most industriously into his “whistle,” as the boys
called it, and keeping time with his foot, the drummer, who had a way of
looking down upon his drum, and working his mouth to the motion of his
sticks, was sending out his rattling tones by his side, and facing the
two, with his shoulders drawn back, and supporting his instrument on his
breast, the bass-drummer was bringing down his leathered knobs this time
to the music, (he had only had two morning bitters, so Wiggins said,)
but with such a terrific noise as to make even himself wince at every
stroke.

There was quite a collection of men around the “musicianers;” several
with brown cartridge-boxes and bayonet-sheaths, and one or two with gilt
eagles in their hats, and plumes of white feathers, whilst one fellow
was equipped with an old straw hat, the rim of which was shorn away at
his forehead—a red flannel shirt, linsey-woolsey pantaloons, and a
long, heavy rifle on his shoulder. This genius was fairly wrapped up in
the music. He was evidently enchanted. Now he would listen with his
mouth wide open, then he would look around the group and nod, as if to
say, “_isn’t_ that fine!” and then he would give birth to laughter, as
though he couldn’t restrain himself any longer for the life of him.

Interspersed amidst this group were many of the village boys, edging
their way at every practicable point nearer the musicians. One
youngster, ragged as a saw, had succeeded in placing himself by the
tenor drum, and was looking at the double performance of mouth and
sticks, with the greatest admiration, whilst another, with open elbows
and slouched hat, which was only prevented by a bulge in front from
sliding entirely over his dirty face, was peering up into the twitching
countenance of the bass-drummer, standing the thunder of the blows with
all the nonchalance of a real veteran.

My attention was now, however, attracted toward the genius with the
rifle, by his giving birth to a loud shout. Inflamed beyond bounds by
the music which was now on a rattling quick-step, the red flanneled
gentleman now made a spring in the air, and then dashed out into a “heel
and toe” dance, flourishing his rifle as if it had been a walking-stick,
now over his head, and now on each side of him, and making every thing
fairly echo with his loud and frequent whoops. He at length became the
lodestone of all eyes, except those of the musicians, fairly driving
these worthies in the most ungrateful manner (they being the source of
his inspiration) into the shade; becoming, as it were, the centre of a
circle of grinning faces, until completely tired out with his exertions,
he broke away, ascended the tavern stoop, and the next moment made the
bar-room ring with his vociferation for “a small pull of some of the
real grit!”

By and by the “trainers” began to appear at all points, some in groups,
some singly, some by wagon loads. And one wagon came in so filled with
bristling muskets, that it had the appearance of a huge steel porcupine.

The population of the surrounding country, men, women and children,
commenced streaming in to gaze upon “the show,” and make merry amongst
themselves. A number also of the surrounding farmers and their wives
came as venders of pies, cake, small beer, cider, etc., turning their
wagons into shops, wheeling them under the shadows of the trees,
detaching the horses, flinging at the same time quantities of hay before
them, and covering the seats of the wagons with cards of yellow
gingerbread, mingled with pies, carved generally into quarters, and
cider barrels at the ends, with faucets resembling hooked noses. Others
again had erected booths of rough boards or hemlock boughs filled with
articles of consumption. I looked at one for a few moments which Aunt
Betsy Lossing had (as usual) erected.

It was composed of hemlock boards, with branches of the same tree. A
rude counter had been placed athwart the entrance, behind which appeared
Betsy’s red face and burly form, together with a boy and girl as
assistants. Upon shelves were rows of casks lettered gin, brandy,
whisky, etc.; on the highest shelf were two or three boxes of cigars, a
dozen thick glass tumblers, and a small box of lemons, whilst below all,
two barrels of cider (probably) looked out dimly from the shadow. The
sunshine streamed richly in, lighting the lemons brilliantly, giving to
the cigars a warm tint of brown, flashing upon the gilt letters of the
casks, dancing on the glasses, and only failing to penetrate the recess
where the barrels lay on their stomachs.

Still did the soldiery and country people stream in. By this time
several pedlers had established their box wagons upon the grassy margins
of the broad village street, and were as clamorous in their vocations as
crows around a carrion.

The village was now a scene of active, noisy, bustling life. I amused
myself for a short time by examining in detail the human current that
flowed past my office steps. Now passed a pair of country lovers, the
girl in the act of biting off a huge piece of mince pie, whilst the “he”
was industriously engaged in puffing at a great black cigar, giving his
rosy-cheeked sweetheart the benefit of the smoke gratis. Next a little
rustic maiden alone, all beflowered and beribboned like a walking
milliner shop; then a young woodsman, who had scarcely ever emerged from
the forest before, but who had “left the saw-mill to-day to go a
trainen,” sauntered past with his rusty old musket (which doubtless did
service at Minisink in “granddaddy’s” hands) horizontal upon his
shoulder; then a rough-looking check-shirted hunter, with his rifle in
his grasp, and then a bumpkin from “Strong’s Settlement,” with his hands
deep in his pockets, his “limpsey” hat upon one side of his head, minus
half the crown and the whole of the rim, and opening his gray eyes so
wide as fairly to pull his mouth open.

Succeeding this interesting specimen of humanity, minced along a
youthful, undersized soldier, in an old blue artillery coat, made in the
Revolution, the red-striped skirts striking his heels, the breast down
to his hips, and the sleeves tucked up nearly to the elbows; and next
strode a brawny hero, who crowded himself into a gray cavalry jacket,
with its shadow of a skirt cocked up behind like the brush of a deer,
and the breasts shrinking away nearly under his arms.

“I say there, hadn’t you two fellers better swap?” shouted a pedler from
his box as the twain passed.

“Darn me,” added he, in an under tone, as they went regardless along,
“if one of them are chaps don’t look loose enuff to run out of his coat
like this ere old woman’s cider, whilst that are other crittur is
screwed up so tight that he’ll sartenly bust up afore long. However it’s
their business, not mine. HERE’S a lot of fine spoons! no Garman silver
about _them_. Come, roll up, tumble up, any way to get up—come, give us
a bid!” etc. etc.

The rolling of drums now announced that the time for the mustering of
the different companies composing the regiment (the bloody 185th) had
arrived. Lines of soldiers were soon seen scattered along the street,
and the loud voices of the sergeants calling the roll were heard. There
were two uniform companies attached to the regiment, beside “the troop,”
or light-horse company, viz., the artillery and rifle. The dress of the
former was a blue jacket, with red tufts on the shoulders, and caps with
red tufts in front, whilst that of the latter was a green hunting shirt
fringed with black, with black plumes in their hats. The cavalry company
were dressed in red coats faced and cuffed with black velvet. The rest
of the regiment were clothed, some in odd uniforms, others in their
every-day clothing, and presented a strange and motley array of colors
and accoutrements.

The preliminaries being gone through, the arduous duty of forming the
companies into line was now to be accomplished. A great stir was at this
instant discernible amongst the crowd before Wiggins’s steps, and
shortly I observed the figures of several officers waving and glittering
with feathers and tinsel rising above the surface of heads as they
mounted their prancing steeds. Spurring them through the throng, they
succeeded after a while in clearing a long space and extending the
breadth of the village street. The word was then given to form the line,
and amidst the loud orders of the officers I could see the different
squads arranging themselves into marching order. A few minutes elapsed,
and then arose a din sufficient to drive one crazy, and yet of the most
ludicrous character. Each company was furnished with its own drum and
fife, and, in some instances, bass-drum and cymbals. The three or four
companies near me commenced marching in columns at nearly the same
moment, their respective bands striking up at the same time, each
playing its own tune. The effect was laughable in the highest degree.
“Hail Columbia” had its slow heels tripped up completely by the
_pirouettes_ of “Yankee Doodle;” the “Girl I Left Behind Me” and
“Miller’s Quick Step,” locked themselves together in a perfect wrestling
match, first one down, then the other—now a bar struggling
convulsively, then a strain nearly throttled; then high and low notes,
tug and tug, heard alternately, the whole at last mingling itself up
into the strangest entanglement possible—a maelstrom, so to speak, of
whirling music. A bass-drum would thunder down, breaking the back at a
stroke of a long roll proceeding from a tenor one near by, whilst
another of the latter species would rub-a-dub right into a pair of
cymbals, and scatter their silver clashings into an entire route. New
tunes would be constantly arriving as the distant companies came
marching up to give fresh life to the wrangling discord, whilst to add
to the uproar, the whole pack of pedlers, amounting to nearly a dozen,
had given tongue at the first hurly-burly of the music, bursting out, as
it were, in full cry. “_Here’s_ your fine penknives, all a going at
onst,” shouted a tall, ram-rod looking fellow, with a knob of a hat, and
a nose that seemed stretching out on purpose to scent a good bargain.
“Walk up, ladies and gentlemen,” bawled another, with a white broad-brim
so weak and slouchy as to look as if about to faint away off his head.
“How much for this splendid necklace!” yelled another, in a higher key,
with the rim of his beaver cocked fiercely in front, and with a patch in
the back of his coat, as though he had an eye there to look after his
articles in that direction. “Come, gentlemen, can’t wait, onst, twice!
wont you say sixpence more!” said a fourth, sinking from a shout
gradually down to a coaxing whine, whilst a fifth, with straight, black
hair and saturnine complexion, giving him quite a sanctimonious look,
let his tongue run on in chase of “a penny, a penny, a penny, a penny,”
with the perseverance of a bloodhound.

Elevated on one of the wagons was a member of the light-horse company.
He had taken the post as a matter of joke, and was now holding up the
different articles for sale with a merry smile on his face, and every
now and then winking to the crowd as if to remind them what a capital
jest his being there was. The pedler himself in the meanwhile, with an
apple of a face perched upon a bean-pole of a form, was with great
_nonchalance_ seated upon his box, evidently quite content that the
light-horseman should do the work, and he sit by and receive the
profits. So exciting and pleasant did the soldier find his self-imposed
task, so elated by the possession of this new accomplishment, which had
remained undeveloped even to himself until now, and so intoxicated with
the flattery which the laughter of the throng at his jokes offered, that
he continued there all day, incurring a fine for non-attendance at the
parade.

At the next “General Training” I saw the same fellow. Turned topsy-turvy
by his success, he had abandoned his farm and “took to peddlen” on his
own hook. But what a difference. Interested now in the occupation
personally, and having the “keenest sort” of an eye to the profits, his
selling was no longer a joke. The merry glance was replaced by a look of
care, his dashing, off-hand manner was exchanged for an eager,
beseeching air, his jokes were few and evidently forced; in short, in
making his amusement his trade, he had made himself a very poor pedler.

What became of him I don’t know, but I heard casually once that he had
after a while betaken himself again to his little farm, (which he had
mortgaged to obtain his fitting out as a pedler,) quite broken-spirited
and out at elbows.

Foremost in the tempest of martial music, towering, as it were, the very
genius of the scene, was Joe Lippett. Joe was a capital hand at a fife,
his long chin serving as a resting-place for the instrument. He was
therefore engaged to play for half a dozen companies. It was a sight to
see him. Marching forward with immense strides, his puckered lips and
promontory-like chin forming a deep nook into which his fife was thrust,
he sent forth his piercing notes like a north-wester. After escorting a
company “into line,” he would vanish, and in a minute would be seen at
the head of another, blowing away like Tophet, and after performing the
same service to it, _presto!_ his shrill music would be heard, and his
legs and chin seen coming from a different quarter.

At last, after great exertions, involving vast displays of horsemanship,
and large, particularly guttural, words of command, continual risings in
their stirrups, and occasional looks of deep ferocity, the junior
officers of the day succeeded in getting the regiment into line, as it
is called in military parlance, but in fact into a curve, as the middle


1

Online LibraryVariousGraham's Magazine, Vol. XXXV, No. 3, September 1849 → online text (page 1 of 2)