Page images
PDF
EPUB

6

sary business.

I, hesitatingly, for he looked rather needy, as I thought, “Sir, if money

“Say no more, Sir,' replied he; I perceive that your animal organs, and that of ideality, vastly preponderate over the reflective ; and this unfortunate combination has led to these unhappy consequences : but if you will allow me a thorough examination of your —

• Sir, you are very kind - very ; but having just returned from a foreign land, Sir, and wishing, Sir, to say something to this lady, Sir, will you be so good as to call again, Sir; any other time, Sir'; but don't let me detain you now, Sir; good evening, Sir; and I politely bowed him out of the room.

And now, my dear girl, let us forget this laughable mistake; and, dear, we must be getting ready to be married. We will be married in one month from this yery day!'

• A month! dear me! So very soon! So unexpected !

* Soon! Not a bit too soon, dearest ! So just shut that little ripe mouth, and let me hear no arguments, no objections. I must be back to Havana in all November.'

At this juncture, the mother and sister rëentered; and after explanations, recitals of adventure, statements of future arrangements, and obtaining the old lady's consent, they considerately left us to ourselves, and we poured out our souls together, in all the rapture of passionate attachment. Next day I left for New-York, there to purchase my wedding garments, and to transact certain other neces

At the expiration of a week, I again drew near the temple of my idol, secretly hoping that the accursed phrenologist had been extending his examinations in other regions, if anywhere, during my absence, and feeling beside a great curiosity to find how Clara employed her leisure. So I crept up softly to the house, and again peeped in at the fatal window. The phrenologist was not there — would to Heaven he had been !-- but a person somewhat older, and a great deal larger, with spectacles on nose, and a most diabolical smirk of total depravity. She was seated in the old-fashioned easy-chair, leaning back, while her eyes were closed, as if in conscious shame at her degraded situation; and he was standing over her, making motions that almost stifled me with mortification and rage. He seemed to be rubbing his dirty digits up and down over her soft velvet cheeks ; those cheeks I had so often kissed ; cheeks that now blushed with guilty passion! Anon, the rascal passed his hands over her full, heaving bosom. Yet I had resolution enough to await the result. The scoundrel kneeled — ay, kneeled to her ! — and passed his hands up and down each side, even to her very feet ! How my blood tingled! Yet,' thought I, I will wait! It may be, after all, some other new-fangled notion, started during my absence. I must not again make a fool of myself too suddenly. She may be asleep, and the fellow takes this opportunity to insult her and me. But no ; her sister is there, and smiles complacently, as if in mockery of my disgrace!'

Soon the fellow rose, and whispered in Clara's ear. She replied aloud : O how rejoiced I am at your return, dearest! My heart is all your own!

[ocr errors]

A single moment's reflection would have convinced me that she supposed herself addressing me; but, blinded by what I had seen, and the agony I had felt, I could appreciate nothing save my own dishonor; and jumping in at the window, I rushed upon the villain, and dealt him a thwack that sent him reeling to the wall

. He recovered, however, immediately, and returned the compliment with great vigor. Finding we both might expect some severe sparring, before we had finished, we placed ourselves in the attitude of experienced pugilists, while our eyes glared like the eyes of hungry wolves.

Clara and her sister advanced to the rescue, and caught my arms, crying out, the while, at the top of their voices : Animal Magnetism ! Animal Magnetism! It was nothing but Animal Magnetism !'

* Ay, ay,' I replied, “I saw it was ! at the same time shaking them off, and redoubling my efforts; “there was quite too much of animal attraction to suit me; but wait till I spoil your magnet, and then you, madam, may go to

• Here,' as Yellowplush says, 'I recollect I was obliged to stop ;' for at this moment I received a blow under the left lug, which laid me prostrate and senseless.

When I recovered, I found myself upon the sofa, and Clara's sister bathing my temples.

*How ! - what!' I exclaimed: Ah! I remember! Where is Clara ?'

“She left the room but now, declaring she had done with you for ever.'

• Glad of it! Have the kindness to call her in to receive my farewell.'

Presently she entered, when I commenced a tirade upon her fickleness and faithlessness, etc., which only ended when I was out of breath. She listened calmly till I had done, when she replied with freezing coldness and hauteur :

* Mr. Scrapps! you have spared me the pain I might have felt in bidding you farewell for ever. This is not the first time your absurd jealousy has brought you into a situation the most ridiculous. You will doubtless ere long learn, Sir, that the science of Animal Magnetism is an exalted and innocent one; quite as much so, Sir, as that of Phrenology; and that a woman may submit to the process from pure love of knowledge, without compromising her dignity, her modesty, or her honor ! And so saying, she turned her back upon me, and was stalking out of the room with great dignity.

Bitter remorse overwhelmed me. · Stay! stay! I cried; 'I entreat, I implore! Pardon, pardon my ignorance!

• No, Sir; I am well satisfied, from the frequent manifestations of your jealousy and violent disposition, that we never could be happy together. I should be as jealous as yourself; and our life would be one scene of discord and rude commotion. And, Sir

however reluctantly - I must now bid you an unequivocal and eternal farewell!

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

I lost that girl, merely because I was ignorant of the extent to which modern science had been carried; because I had not then learned, that undue familiarity with the female sex might be extenuated, by the forced ‘march of the age.'

[blocks in formation]

No blossoms, wild and fair,

From the cold suds are peeping, Violets, with blue-veined eyelids,

'Neath the brown turf are sleeping; No brier-roses shower

Their wealth in vale or glen;
No cowslips, Spring's gay heralds,

Peer forth from mossy fen.
Silence is in the forest,

And silence in the vale,
Save when my rustling footsteps

Stai tles the timid qual;
Save when the air rëechoes

The crow's discordant jar;
Or, through the mountain passes,

Rolls on the rumbling car:
Or a brook its fetters sunders,

And madly goes its way, Dashing, in tameless frolic,

Its curling wreaths of spray; My languid spirit wakens,

I seek His sheltering arms, Who gives each varying season

Its own peculiar charms.

The merry darting squirrel

Leaps on the leafless tree;
His bright round eye is watching

My movements anxiously;
Like some coquettish maiden,

He files from spray to spray,
Then turns to note his triumph,

With cool yet shy delay.
The ice-clad boughs are glistening

Ontre margin of the stream,
As, in torch-lighted caverns,

The sparry crystals gleam;
Garlands of partridge berries

Are on the brown sods lying,
And fairy trees, of snow white moss,

With sea-born coral vying.
Fair in their sculptured outline,

Stand the shorn forest.kings,
While at their foot the lichen,

With crimson beaker, springs;
Deep gladness thrills my spirit,

Forth swells the impassioned prayer,
To Him who makes each season

His own peculiar care.

A VISIT TO THE LACKA WANA MINES,

"Thus far into the bowels of the land
Have we marched on!'

SHAKSPEARE.

It is remarkable, that notwithstanding the vast quantities of anthracite coal which are used in our cities, there should be so little curiosity manifested to know its origin. While many of its consumers sit in their parlors, enjoying the cheerful grate, how few of them ever think, with any thing like interest, of the manner in which its fuel is obtained; how few imagine the mighty obstacles which human ingenuity has overcome to procure it! Doubtless it would require an effort of credulity, in many of our worthy citizens, who perhaps every year burn tons of American coal, to believe that it once constituted the herbage of summers long gone by; that Time, for untold ages, has changed the fern, the reed, and the wild flowers of primeval seasons, to a substance hard as the rock, and secreted it far beneath the surface of the earth; and yet this is but one of the curious geological facts connected with these mammoth curiosities. To the naturalist, who loves to search into the by-ways and hidden places of Nature, an opportunity is here offered to penetrate into the very bowels of the land,' and to explore the recesses that for centuries have never been visited by the light of heaven. As the importauce of the Lackawana mines is yearly increasing — at least to us who, in time, must depend almost entirely on them for our supply of fuel — the writer

[ocr errors]

has thought that a brief sketch of them might not be uninteresting to the public.

The coal mines of the Lackawana, equal in extent and importance to any other in Pennsylvania, are situated in the village of Carbondale, in the north-eastern corner of the state. The coal-beds, however, are found to extend beyond the valley of Wyoming, and through the country for many miles around, increasing in depth as they approach the Susquehannah, until at Wilkesbarre the veins are opened from twenty to thirty feet in thickness. The Lackawana, an unimportant stream, flows through the village of Carbondale, and gives its name to the coal found near its banks. Some fifteen or twenty years ago, this place was a cold and uninviting wilderness : the discovery of the coal-beds in the vicinity was the first cause of its settlement; and it owes its present prosperity wholly to its mines. Soon after their fortunate discovery, the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company was formed ; and a large district of coal land having been purchased, a canal was constructed, connecting the waters of the Hudson and Lackawaxen, a distance of about one hundred miles. The rest of the country being too mountainous to continue the canal, a rail-road, sixteen miles in length, was opened between Carbondale and Honesdale, the commencement of the canal.

Since that time, the works have been every year increased and improved, under the care of a skilful engineer; and the mines have been enlarged with the demand for their produce, until their extent, considering the time they have been in operation, is utterly aston ishing to a stranger.

While sojourning in the village of Carbondale, in the course of the last summer, the writer was one day invited to join a company of ladies and gentlemen, about to visit the mines. The superintendent had courteously proffered his services as cicerone, and, attended by him, we proceeded on our way. Stopping at the Company's office, each of the party was equipped with a lamp; thence a short walk brought us to the spot; where, at the foot of an inclined plane, the commencement of the rail-road, was an irregularly-shaped hollow, several hundred feet in extent. It was partly natural, yet had been much excavated, to allow the mines to enter the earth in a lateral or slanting, instead of a perpendicular, direction.

On two or three sides of this hollow, there was a side-hill, of con siderable height, into which several openings had been cut, between ten and fifteen feet square. These were the mines. They frowned black and dismal, and we almost shrank at the thought of entering. Where the rock was not sufficiently strong to support the immense weight imposed on it, it had been propped up with large posts of timber. Into each mine there ran a small rail-road, some two feet wide; and on these there would emerge, every few moments, a mule, drawing a train of cars, of proportionate size, laden with coal, and driven by a boy. These were immediately weighed, emptied of their contents, and sent back into the mines; while the large cars, which received the coal from them, were drawn up the plane, and despatched on their way to the market.

It was a busy day, and the scene was one of the greatest animation. Several hundred men were busily engaged at their various kinds of work. Some • dumped the small cars into the others; some labored at the turning platform; and some were sawing trees into props, to support the excavated chambers; while the whole air resounded with the loud and unceasing cries of the Welsh boys, who drove the mules, and who are thus accustomed to direct them. These imps, smutted with dirt and grease, dressed in rags which were so saturated by the oil from their lamps, that they were in constant danger of catching fire and burning up alive, presented an appearance almost revolting. They seemed, however, to enjoy their life, and yelled, and capered around, in high glee, every time they emerged from the mines.

By the direction of the superintendent, the box of a car was removed, and its place supplied by some clean boards, on which several comfortable seats were fastened. To this a mule was attached ; and all being seated, the driver, by dint of yells and blows, forced the animal into a gallop, and we commenced our journey into the earth.

The entrance of the mine was frightfully low, and had an overhanging aspect, that seemed momently threatening to fall; and although it was so securely propped that there was little danger, yet it was not without a tremor, to say the least, that we passed under it. The roof, which was so low at the entrance that we could almost touch it with our hands, gradually rose, until it reached a height of eight or ten feet, which is its average throughout; dependent, however, on the course of the vein which had been followed ; and this being very undulating, while the rail-road was nearly level, it was at times extremely low, and at others so high that we seemed in some vast cavern.

The air was of a mild temperature, and by no means so difficult or disagreeable to breathe, as we had anticipated; and although, at some places, there was a continual dripping of water from the roof, it seemed not too moist to be healthful. It always preserves an equal temperature; and this is probably the cause of the health enjoyed by those who labor in the mines. We crossed one or two little rivulets of water, during our passage ; but this being the driest of the mines, the quantity was but small. In the others, however, particularly one or two which have been extended under the bed of the Lackawana, the springs which have been laid open are so fruitful, that pumps, moved by the above-mentioned stream, are kept working night and day, to free the mines.

On each side, wherever the top had threatened to fall in, huge props, each the size of a tree, had been placed to support it; and whereever these were old and decayed, there grew on them a kind of fungus, remarkably beautiful in appearance. It was of the purest and most delicate white, and hung in large drops from the decaying posts; and, contrasted with the extreme darkness that enveloped every thing around, shone like lustrous gems, as we passed swiftly along. It has often been gathered as a curiosity ; but experiment has proved that it cannot be preserved. It is nourished by the darkness and damps of the gloomy mine, and shrinks away, and dies, when exposed to the light of day. Our guide pointed out to us, as we passed on, the old chambers,' as they are called; these are spaces of considerable extent, on either side of the road, whence all the

« PreviousContinue »