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BY J. K. PAULDING.
CHANGELESS AND ELIHU GO-AHEAD.
Changeless alone, with a book in his hand. Change. BLESS me! how the world has changed within my recollection! Alas, the days of slow traveling and quick wit are no more. No man can walk quietly along in this city, without being pestered with forty invitations :—“Broadway, up?” A man's sanity is doubted, if he venture to travel with horses to see the country, instead of hissing along-chu-chu-chuwhiz-biz—phiz—ting-a-ling-splash, splash-dash, mash, crash
-hissing, rending, tearing,—whistling and shrieking like a regiment of insane fifes kindly assisted by a chorus of eagles, frightening horses, killing cows, burning hay-stacks, turning the houses hind part before and making them look nine ways for Sunday, debauching morals, kicking up a dust, sowing Canada thistles and rag-weed, marring the fair face of nature, scaring the echoes, banishing the dryads and the nymphs: in a word, ruining a beautiful world! :
And this is called traveling! A New Yorker has six weeks to spare. Will he travel over and become acquainted with a part of his own State ? Not he. There's time enough for him to be steamed over a great part of the Union. None of your insignificant journeys for him; none of your snail's pace for the votary of railroads! He packs up a portmanteau, takes a steamboat at seven o'clock at night, and rages up the Hudson after dark, cursing his luck the while because he's aboard the slowest boat. Next morning, at daylight, he's in a railroad-car, and in twenty-four hours, more or less, we find him at Niagara. He has already heard the waters roar, and been behind the falls : that's enough for him. He's uneasy until he's off again: a steamboat receives him, and, before he knows wþere he is, he has reached Chicago, or Green Bay. He jumps ashore, and makes a straight track for the Illinois River. Unlucky dog, he has to do this by stage; never mind, steamboat again, -paddle, paddle, paddle. Here he is on the Mississippi-paddle again. Suddenly he falls into a dreadful state of excitement on the appearance of a rival boat; bribes the fireman to burn more wood; is in a
fever of anxiety, till the boilers of one or both explode; is blown
Change. Ask him in. (Exit Servant.) I wonder who can want to see me? I thought forty years would have settled most of my old acquaintance.
(Enter Elihu Go-ahead.) (Aside.) Hum!—a stranger: wants to humbug me, I'll bet. (Aloud.) Take a seat, sir.
Elihú. (Sits. Much obliged. My name is Go-ahead, sir.
Change. Aside.) The fellow with the pernicious appellation ! (Aloud.) Wei, Mr. Go-ahead, what's your business with me?
Elihú. You have property, sir, in St. Lawrence county, tract known as the Changeless Anti-Improvement Retreat,-so set down in the tax-list; water-lots, privileges, fisheries. Do you yet own it, sir?
Change. I do; and, may I ask, what is that to you?
Elihu. Mr. Changeless, I hope your name is not indicative of your disposition. • Change. Again I ask, sir, what is that to you?
Elihu. Mr. Changeless, you are a fortunate individual. I find, sir, on your land—is there nobody listening ?
(Rises and examines the doors.) Change. What, what, for Heaven's sake? No mines, I hope ?
Elihu. Mines! Better than that. There is, sir, on your land, a site for a grand commercial mart!
Change. (Rises in agitation and paces the room.) I'm weary of this life! Is there no comfort left for me on earth ? I had flattered myself that there was nothing on my land but rocks and trees. I had indulged the hope that nothing could be made of my property but boards and farms. And now to be-It will kill me!
Elihu. Why, what on earth is the matter with the man?
Elihu. Yes, sir: I assure you, the situation is admirable, unprecedented. Virgin forest now, to-be-sure; but, by the expenditure of a few thousand dollars, it might be made a great central depôt,-an unexampled emporium-a-only wants a rail
road, sir. By-the-way, I have a map of the property and plan of the road with me. (Unrolls a map.) Here, sir, you perceive
Change. (Stooping to look at it.) Ah, I see, I see: a fine river on one side of my property, and a dirty, muddy, stagnant, sickly abortion of an unfinished canal on the other; and you want me to construct a railroad between the two. Why, you reprobate, you demon, it is a mere flying in the face of Provi.
Elihu. These are hard words, Mr. Changeless; but don't you perceive how much this road would increase the value of your property?
Change. I am satisfied with it as it stands. You would make me expend half my fortune for benefits which may possibly accrue some centuries hence, and tell me I am making money. I tell you, sir, I have already paid the State, in taxes, enough to sicken me of the improved value of my lands, if I should live fifty years. Thank Heaven, they can't legislate them bodily away!
Elihu. But consider, sir-the internal improvement-satisfaction of public sentiment-advantage to the country.
Change. Internal improvement! Infernal rather! Infernal infernal-infernal!
Elihu. But public sentiment-advantage to the country—
Change. Deuce take public sentiment! Confound the advantage to the country: no, no, I don't mean that; but-butdeuce take you, you, you, you, and all miscreants like you. Why don't you pick my pockets at once and be done with it? None of your speaking, roundabout, dilatory, mean-spirited, legal modes of diddling a man out of his money!
Elihu. Mr. Changeless, I must say, this abusive conduct of yours is very singular.
Change. Singular! I wish it was double, sir-ten times—as much abuse and ten times as strong, that it might penetrate your confounded wrought-iron head. I wish I could scream with the concentrated shrillness of forty steam-whistles, that you might be enabled to understand me, you uneasy concatenation of steam, rails, cylinders, and imposition. Mr. Go-ahead, you may perhaps understand and pardon my excitement when I tell you that you have this day put to flight some Utopian dreams I had encouraged of having penetrated beyond the reach of improve·ment, dissipated some hopes I had fondly cherished, of living and dying in peace. I had hoped, sir, that I might have been permitted to pass the rest of my pilgrimage on earth in quiet, and that I had found a place where my bones, after my death, might rest undisturbed by corporations, street-inspectors, railroad
projectors, canal-diggers, scientific agriculturists, and all similar nuisances to society. :
Elihu. Well, I confess, I can't exactly understand your ideas. But people will have strange fancies--eccentric some-some halfcracked.
Change. Among whom, I presume, you include me, Mr. Goahead.
· Elihu. Not at all, I assure you, far from it. (Aside.) There's no persuading him to the railroad, -that's clear. I'll try the other project. (Aloud.) Mr. Changeless, one of the greatest improvements of the age is the economy practiced in the burning of fuel. Now, I, sir, have invented a stove which exceeds every thing yet; but I find myself in want of the capital to enable me to introduce it successfully to the public. If you would wish, therefore, to purchase part of my patent-right, I should be disposed to be accommodating as to price. Extraordinary invention -soon become universal-economy-air-tight.
Change. Mr. Go-ahead, if I could instantly annihilate every stove, and all recollection of them, from the face of the earth, I would do so without hesitation. I verily believe, sir, they are one cause of the degeneracy of the human race. Air-tight! one of those diabolical contrivances, I suppose, that explodes if you do not spend half your time in attending on it.
Elihu. I assure you, sir
Change. Assure me not, for I have made up my mind not to believe you. Sir, a man who is so wedded to railroads, who invents air-tight stoves, is not deserving of credit. Mark me, sir, I say it is impossible that he should speak the truth. Truth and stoves I hold to be incompatible. When you find a man that warms himself by a good, roaring, cheerful, sparkling, hearty, a old-fashioned hickory fire, trust him implicitly without further inquiry.
Elihu. Mr. Changeless, these are very strange opinions— wouldn't meet with the public approbation.
Change. Opinions! I express my sincere conviction.
Change. Yes, sir! Ten thousand times yes! I would see you and your whole generation crammed into the mouths of your stoves, before I would condescend to interest myself in sheet iron and such like economical nonsense. Besides, it's a wicked plot : it's no better than manslaughter. Why, sir, the average of human life is shortened at least ten years by the prevalent use of stoves. To-be-sure, there is economy in that.
Elihu. Sir, you are behind the age three bundred years at least: public opinion, sir-sint of the nineteenth century
Change. Away, Beelzebub, prince of diabolical inventions ! Vanish, spirit of the nineteenth century, or I shall do something I may be ashamed of! I can contain myself no longer-I shall be obliged to put myself into a strait-jacket
(Advances furiously upon Elihu.) Elihu. (Aside.) An escaped lunatic, as I'm a sinner.
(Exit in dismay.)
BELIAL'S SPEECH AGAINST WAR.
BY JOHN MILTON.
As not behind in hate, if what was urged,
Of all his aim, after some dire revenge.
With armed watch', that render all access
Or could we break our way