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SECTION :r of all

books issui 's of the

Legislator session.

If any person injure or fail to return any book taken from the Librajy,
he shall forfeit and pay to the Librarian, for the benefit of the Library,
three times the value thereof; and before the Controller shall issue his
warrant in favor of any member or officer of the Legislature, or of this
State, for his per diem, allowance, or salary, he shall be satisfied that
such member or officer has returned all books taken out of the Library by
him, and has settled all accounts for injuring such books or otherwise.

Sec. 15. Books may be taken from the Library by the members of the
Legislature and its officers during the session of the. same, and at any
time by the Governor and the officers of the Executive Department of
this State who are required to keep their offices at the seat of government,
the Justices of the Supreme Court, the Attorney-General and the Trustees
of the Library.







"Then thou knewest her?" said the Knight.

"Not I," answered the Squire; "but the person who told me the itory stiM
It WM to true and certain, that if ever I should chance to tell it again, I might
affirm upon oath that I had seen it with my own eyes." Sancha Panza.






Entered according to the Act of Congress, la the yew 1886, bjr


la tbo Clerk'* Office of the District Court of the United State*, in and for
tbe Eastern DUtrict of Pennsylvania,




- V. IT

IT is not improbable that some of those who read
this book, may feel a wish to know in what man
ner I became possessed of the manuscript Such
a desire is too just and natural to be thwarted, and
the tale shall be told as briefly as possible.

During the summer of 1828, while travelling
among those valleys of Switzerland which lie be
tween the two great ranges of the Alps, and in
which both the Rhone and the Rhine take their
rise, I had passed from the sources of the latter to
those of the former river, and had reached that
basin in the mountains that is so celebrated for con
taining the glacier of the Rhone, when chance gave
me one of those rare moments of sublimity and
solitude, which are the more precious in the other
hemisphere from their infrequency. On every side
the view was bounded by high and ragged moun
tains, their peaks glittering near the sun, while di
rectly before me, and on a level with the eye, lay
that miraculous frozen sea, out of whose drippings
the Rhone starts a foaming river, to glance away
to the distant Mediterranean. For the first time,
during a pilgrimage of years, I felt alone with na
ture in Europe. Alas ! the enjoyment, as all such
enjoyments necessarily are amid the throngs of the
old world, was short and treacherous. A party



came round the angle of a rock, along the narrow
bridle-path, in single files ; two ladies on horseback,
folio-wed by as many gentlemen on foot, and pre
ceded by the usual guide. It was but small cour
tesy to rise and salute the dove-like eyes and bloom
ing cheeks of the former, as they passed. They
were English, and the gentlemen appeared to re
cognize me as a countryman. One of the latter
stopped, and politely inquired if the passage of the
Furca was obstructed by snow. He was told not,
and in return for the information, said that I would
find the Grimsel a little ticklish ; " but," he added,
smiling, " the ladies succeeded in crossing, and you
will scarcely hesitate." I thought I might get over
a difficulty that his fair companions had conquered.
He then told me Sir Herbert Taylor was made ad
jutant-general, and wished me good morning,

I sat reflecting on the character, hopes, pursuits
and interests of man, for an hour, concluding that
the stranger was a soldier, who let some of the or
dinary workings of his thoughts overflow in this
brief and casual interview. To resume my solita
ry journey, cross the Rhone, and toil my way up
the rugged side of the Grimsel, consumed two more
hours, and glad was I to come in view of the little
chill-looking sheet of water on its summit, which is
called the Lake of the Dead. The path was filled
with snow, at a most critical point, where, indeed,
a misplaced footstep might betray the incautious to
their destruction. A large party on the other side
appeared fully aware of the difficulty, for it hao


halted, and was in earnest discussion -with the guide,
touching the practicability of passing. It was de
cided to attempt the enterprise. First came a fe
male of one of the sweetest, serenest countenances
I had ever seen. She, too, was English ; and though
she trembled, and blushed, and laughed at herself,
she came on with spirit, and would have reach
ed my side in safety, had not an unlucky stone
turned beneath a foot that was much too pretty for
those wild hills. I sprang forward, and was so
happy as to save her from destruction. She felt
the extent of the obligation, and expressed her
thanks modestly but with fervor. In a minute we
were joined by her husband, who grasped my hand
with warm feeling, or rather with the emotion one
ought to feel who had witnessed the risk he had just
run of losing an angel. The lady seemed satisfied
at leaving us together.

"'You are an Englishman?" said the stranger.

" An American."

" An American ! This is singular will you

pardon a question? You have more than saved

my life you have probably saved my reason

will you pardon a question ? Can money serve


I smiled, and told him, odd as it might appear to
him, that though an American, I was a gentleman.
He appeared embarrassed, and his fine face work
ed, until I began to pity him, for it was evident he
wished to show me in some way, how much he felt


ne was my debtor, and yet he did not know exactly
what to propose.

"We may meet again," I said, squeezing his

<; Will you receive my card T"

" Most willingly."

He put " Viscount Householder" into my hand,
and in return I gave him my own humble appellation.

He looked from the card to me, and from me to
the card, and some agreeable idea appeared to flash
upon his mind.

" Shall you visit Geneva this summer?" he ask
ed, earnestly.

" Within a month."

** Your address "

" Hotel de 1'Ecu."

" You shall hear from me. Adieu."

We parted, he, his lovely wife and his guides de
scending to the Rhone, while I pursued my way to
the Hospice of the Grimsel. Within the month, I
received a large packet at 1'Ecu. It contained a
valuable diamond ring, with a request that I would
wear it, as a memorial of Lady Householder, and
a fairly written manuscript. The following short
note explained the wishes of the writer.

" Providence brought us together for more purposes than
were, at first, apparent I have long hesitated about pub
lishing the accompanying narrative, for in England there is
a disposition to cavil at extraordinary facts, but the distance
of America from my place of residence will completely save


me from ridicule. The world must have the truth, and I see
no better means than by resorting to your agency. All I ask
is that you will have the book fairly printed, and that you
will send one copy to my address, Householder-hall, Dorset
shire, England, and another to Capt Noah Poke, Stonington,
Connecticut, in your own country. My Anna prays for you,
vid is ever your friend. Do not forget us.

Yours, most faithfully,


I have rigidly complied with this request, and
having sent the two copies according to direction,
the rest of the edition is at the disposal of any one
who may feel an inclination to pay for it In return
for the copy sent to Stonington, I received the fol
lowing letter.

On board the Debby and Dolly, Stnnnin'tun,

April 1st, 1835.

Dear /Sir, Your favour is come to hand, and found me
in good health, as I hope these few lines will have the same
advantage with you. I have read the book, and must say
there is some truth in it, which, I suppose, is as much as be
falls any book, the Bible, the Almanac, and the State Laws,
excepted. I remember Sir John well, and shall gainsay no
thing he testifies to, for the reason that friends should not
contradict each other. I was also acquainted with the four
Monikins he speaks of, though I knew them by differentnames.
Miss Poke says she wonders if it's all true, which I wunt tell
her, seeing that a little unsartainty makes a woman rational.
As to my navigating without geometry, that's a matter that
was'n't worth booking, for it's no cur'osity in these parts,
bating a look at the compass once or twice a day, and so I
take my leave of you, with offers to do any commission fo:


you among the Sealing Islands, for which I sail to-morrow
wind and weather permitting.

Yours to sarve,

NOAH Pone.

To the Author of the Spy, Esquire,
town, County, York State.

P. S. I always told Sir John to steer clear of too much
journalizing, but he did nothing but write, night and day, for
a week ; and as you brew, so you must bake. The wind hai
chopped, and we shall take our anchor this tide ; so no more
at present

N. R Sir John is a little out about my eating the mon
key, which I did, four years before I fell in with him, down
on the Spanish Main. It was not bad food to the taste, but
it was wonderful narvous to the eye. I i 1 ally thought i
had got hold of Miss Poke's youngest born."



The Author's pedigree also, that of his Father.

THE philosopher who broaches a new theory is
bound to furnish, at least, some elementary proofs
of the reasonableness of his positions, and the his
torian who ventures to record marvels that have
hitherto been hid from human knowledge, owes it
to a decent regard to the opinions of others, to pro-
dtice some credible testimony in favor of his vera
city. I am peculiarly placed in regard to these
two great essentials, having little more than its
plausibility to offer in favor of my philosophy, and
no other witness than myself to establish the impor
tant facts that are now about to be laid before the
reading world, for the first time. In this dilemma,
I fully feel the weight of responsibility under which
I stand ; for there are truths of so little apparent
probability as to appear fictions, and fictions so like
the truth that the ordinary observer is very apt to
affirm that he was an eye-witness to their exist
ence : two facts that all our historians would do
well to bear in mind, since a knowledge of the cir
cumstances might spare them the mortification of
having testimony that cost a deal of trouble, dis
credited in the one case, and save a vast deal of
painful and unnecessary labor, in the other. Thrown
upon myself, therefore, for what the French call les
pieces justtficatives of my theories, as well as of


my facts, I see no better way to prepare the readei
to believe me, than by giving an unvarnished nar
rative of my descent, birth, education and life, up
to the time I became a spectator of those wonder
ful facts it is my happiness to record, and with
which it is now his to be made acquainted.

I shall begin with my descent, or pedigree, both
because it is in the natural order of events, and be
cause, in order to turn this portion of my narrative
to a proper account, in the way of giving credibil
ity to the rest of it, it may be of use in helping to
trace effects to their causes.

I have generally considered myself on a level
with the most ancient gentlemen of Europe, on the
score of descent, few families being more clearly
and directly traced into the mist of time, than that
of which I am a member. My descent from my
father is undeniably established by the parish regis
ter, as well as by the will of that person himself,
and I believe no man could more directly prove the
truth of the whole career of his family, than it is
in my power to show that of my ancestor up to the
hour when he was found, in the second year of his
age, crying with cold and hunger, in the parish of
St. Gile's, in the city of Westminster, and in the
United Kingdom of Great Britain. An orange-
woman had pity on his sufferings. She fed him
with a crust, warmed him with purl, and then hu
manely led him to an individual with whom she
was in the habit of having frequent but angry in
terviews the parish officer. The case of my an
cestor was so obscure as to be clear. No one
could tell to whom he belonged, whence he came ;
or what was likely to become of him ; and as the
law did not admit of the starvation of children in
the street, under circumstances like these, the pa
rish officer, after making all proper efforts to induce


some of the childless and benevolent of his ac
quaintance, to believe that an infant thus abandoned
was intended as an especial boon from Providence
to each of them in particular, was obliged to com
mit my father to the keeping of one of the regular
nurses of the parish. It was fortunate for the au
thenticity of this pedigree, that such was the result
of the orange- woman's application; for, had my
worthy ancestor been subjected to the happy acci
dents and generous caprices of voluntary charity,
it is more than probable I should be driven to throw
a veil over those important years of his life that
were notoriously passed in the work-house, but
which, in consequence of that occurrence, are now
easily authenticated by valid minutes and docu
mentary evidence. Thus it is that there exists no
void in the annals of our family, even that period
which is usually remembered through gossiping and
idle tales in the lives of most men, being matter of
legal record in that of my progenitor, and so con
tinued to be down to the day of his presumed ma
jority, since he was indented to a careful master
the moment the parish could with any legality, put
ting decency quite out of the question, get rid of
him. I ought to have said, that the orange-woman,
taking a hint from the sign of a butcher opposite to
whose door my ancestor was found, had very clev
erly given him the name of Thomas Goldencalf.

This second important transition in the affairs of
my father, might be deemed a presage of his future
fortunes. He was bound apprentice to a trader in
fancy articles, or a shopkeeper who dealt in such
objects as are usually purchased by those who do
not well know what to do with their money. This
trade was of immense advantage to the future pros
perity of the young adventurer ; for, in addition to
the known fact that they who amuse are much bet


ter paid than they who instruct their fellow-crea
tures, his situation enabled him to study those ca
prices of men, which, properly improved, are of
themselves a mine of wealth, as well as to gain a
knowledge of the important truth that the greatest
events of this life are much oftener the result of
impulse than of calculation.

I have it by a direct tradition, orally conveyed
from the lips of my ancestor, that no one could
have been more lucky than himself in the charac
ter of his master. This personage, who came, in
time, to be my maternal grandfather, was one of
those wary traders who encourage others in their
follies, with a view to his own advantage, and the
experience of fifty years had rendered him so ex
pert in the practices of his calling, that it was sel
dom he struck out a new vein in his mine, without
finding himself rewarded for the enterprise, by a
success that was fully equal to his expectations.

" Tom," he said one day to his apprentice, when
time had produced confidence and awakened sym
pathies between them, " thou art a lucky youth, or
the parish officer would never have brought thee
to my door. Thou little knowcst the wealth that
is in store for thee, or the treasures that are at thy
command, if thou provest diligent, and in particu
lar faithful to my interests." My provident grand
father never missed an occasion to throw in a use
ful moral, notwithstanding the general character of
veracity that distinguished his commerce. "Now,
what dost think, lad, may be the amount of my
capital ?"

My ancestor in the male line hesitated to reply,
for, hitherto, his ideas had been confined to the
profits ; never having dared to lift his thoughts as
nigh as that source from which he could not but see
they flowed in a very ample stream ; but thrown


Upon mmself by so unexpected a question, and being
quick at figures, after adding ten per cent, to the
sum which he knew the last year had given as the
nett avails of their joint ingenuity, he named the
amount, in answer to the interrogatory.

My maternal grandfather laughed in the face of
my direct lineal ancestor.

'* Thou judgest, Tom," he said, when his mirth
was a little abated, " by what thou thinkest is the
cost of the actual stock before thine eyes, when thou
should'st take into the account that which I term
our floating capital."

Tom pondered a moment, for while he knew that
his master had money in the funds, he did not ac
count that as any portion of the available means
connected with his ordinary business ; and as for a
floating capital, he did not well see how it could be
of much account, since the disproportion between the
cost and the selling prices of the different articles
in which they dealt was so great, that there was no
particular use in such an investment. As his master,
However, rarely paid for any thing until he was in
possession of returns from it that exceeded the debt
some seven-fold, he began to think the old man was
alluding to the advantages he obtained in the way
of credit, and after a little more cogitation, he ven
tured to say as much.

Again my maternal grandfather indulged in a
hearty fit of laughter.

" Thou art clever in thy way, Tom," he said,
" and I like the minuteness of thy calculations, for
they show an aptitude for trade ; but there is genius
in our calling as well as cleverness. Come hither,
boy," he added, drawing Tom to a window whence
they could see the neighbors on their way to church,
for it was on a Sunday that my two provident pro
genitors indulged in this moral view of humanity,


as best befitted the day, " come hither, boy, and
thou shalt see some small portion of that capital
which thou seemest to think hid, stalking abroad
by day-light, and in the open streets. Here, thou
see'st the wife of oar neighbor, the pastry-cook ;
with what an air she tosses her head and displays
the bauble thou soki'st her yesterday : well, even that
slattern, idle and vain, and little worthy of trust as
she is, carries about with her a portion of my cap
ital !"

My worthy ancestor stared, for ho never knew
the other to be guilty of so great an indiscretion
as to trust a woman whom they both knew bought
more than her husband was willing to pay for.

" She gave me a guinea, master, for that which
did not cost a seven-shilling piece !"

" She did, indeed, Tom, and it was her vanity
that urged her to it. I trade upon her folly, youn-
ker, and upon that of all mankind ; now dost not
see with what a capital I carry on affairs ? There
there is the maid, carrying the idle hussy's pat
tens in the rear; I drew upon my stock in that
wench's possession, no later than the last week, for
half a crown !"

Tom reflected a long time on these allusions of
his provident master, and although he understood
them about as well as they will be understood by
the owners of half the soft humid eyes and sprouting
whiskers among my readers, by dint of cogitation
he came at last to a practical understanding of the
subject, which before he was thirty he had, to use
a French term, pretty well exphite.

I learn by unquestionable tradition, received also
from the mouths of his contemporaries, that the
opinions of my ancestor tmderwcnt some material
changes between the ages of ten and forty, a cir
cumstance that has often led me to reflect that peo


pie might do well not to be too confident of the>
principles, during the pliable period of life, whec
the mind, like the tender shoot, is easily bent aside
and subjected to the action of surrounding causes.

During the earlier years of the plastic age, my
ancestor was observed to betray strong feelings of
compassion at the sight of charity-children, nor
was he ever known to pass a child, especially a
boy that was still in petticoats, and who was crying
with hunger in the streets, without sharing his own
crust with him. Indeed, his practice on this head
was said to be steady and uniform, whenever the
rencontre took place after my worthy father had
had his own sympathies quickened by a good din
ner ; a fact that may be imputed to a keener sense
of the pleasure he was about to confer.

After sixteen, he was known to converse occa
sionally on the subject of politics, a topic, on which
he came to be both expert and eloquent before
twenty; His usual theme was justice and the sa
cred rights of man, concerning which he some
times uttered very pretty sentiments, and such as
were altogether becoming in one who was at the
bottom of the great social pot that was then, as
now, actively boiling, and where he was made to
feel most, the heat that kept it in ebullition. I am
assured that on the subject of taxation, and on that
of the wrongs of America and Ireland, there were
few youths in the parish who could discourse with
more zeal and unction. About this time, too, he
was heard shouting " Wilkes and Liberty !" in the
public streets.

But, as is the case with all men of rare capaci
ties, there was a concentration of powers in the
mind of my ancestor, which soon brought all his
errant sympathies, the mere exuberance of acute
and overflowing feelings, into a proper and useful


subjection, centering all in the one absorbing and
capacious receptacle of self. I do not claim for
my father any peculiar quality in this respect, for I
have often observed that many of those who, (like
giddy-headed horsemen that raise a great dust, and
scamper as if the highway were too narrow for
their eccentric courses, before they are fairly seat
ed in the saddle, but who afterwards drive as di
rectly at their goals as the arrow parting from the
bow,) most indulge their sympathies at the com
mencement of their careers, are the most apt to
wards the close to get a proper command of their
feelings, and to reduce them within the bounds 01
common sense and prudence. Before five-and-
twenty, my father was as exemplary and as con
stant a devotee of Plutus, as was then to be found
between Ratcliffe Highway and Bridge Street : I
name these places in particular, as all the rest of
the great capital in which he was born is known to
be more indifferent to the subject of money.

My ancestor was just thirty, when his master,
who like himself was a bachelor, very unexpected
ly, and a good deal to the scandal of the neighbor
hood, introduced a new inmate into his frugal abode,
in the person of an infant female child. It would seem
that some one had been speculating on his stock of
weakness too, for this poor, little, defenceless and
dependent being was thrown upon his care, like
Tom himself, through the vigilance of the parish-
officers. There were many good-natured jokes
practised on the prosperous fancy-dealer, by the
more witty of his neighbours, at this sudden turn of
good fortune, and not a few ill-natured sneers were
given behind his back ; most of the knowing ones
of the vicinity finding a stronger likeness between
the little girl and all the other unmarried men of
the eight or ten adjoining streets, than to the worthy


housekeeper who had been selected to pay for her
support I have been much disposed to admit the
opinions of these amiable observers as authority in
my own pedigree, since it would be reaching the
obscurity in which all ancient lines take root, a
generation earlier than by allowing the presumption
that little Betsey was my direct male ancestor's
master's daughter ; but, on reflection, I have deter
mined to adhere to the less popular but more sim
ple version of the affair, because it is connected
with the transmission of no small part of our estate,
a circumstance of itself that at once gives dignity

Online LibraryJames Fenimore CooperWorks (Volume 17) → online text (page 1 of 35)