« AnteriorContinuar »
Far be it from me to insult over the ashes of the dead; but I consider it a species of moral obligation to make mention that Ferdinand was not only insensible to all the purposes of piety, but rejected all belief in Revelation. Let the reader impress this circumstance on his mind; let him contemplate the wretchedness of Deistical principles. Had he given to piety an early ascendancy over his heart, he might have withheld Elizabeth from plungng into the vale of misery; he would have sounded in her ears the holy admonition, Return and live, for why wilt thou die!
To the memory of these unfortunate lovers I wrote an elegy, which, produced from sympathy for their fate, may, perhaps, excite the softer emotions in the breasts of my readers. .
ELEGY to the Memory of FERDINAND and
WHERE wand'ring ghosts their vigils keep at night,
That form which once with every charm was blest,
Now lifeless rests beneath the clay-cold ground,
O! you, whose breasts have felt the pangs of love,
Sunk are those hearts that once with vivid glow,
Ah! cruel brother of a charge too good,
[* Joel Barlow, author of the Vision of Columbus.]
Yet shall each muse her tuneful tribute bring,
Ye swains and nymphs, with health and beauty crown'd,
My occupations at New-York, however agreeable, did not repress my desire to explore the continent before me; and I thought it best to travel while I had some crowns left in my purse. I felt regret at the thought of separating from the Doctor, whom I was attached to from habit; but the Doctor soon relieved me by saying, he would accompany me whithersoever I went; that no man loved travelling better than he, and that he would convert his medicine into money to defray his expences on the road.
But tell me, said the Doctor, are you fond of walking? I assured him no person could be more so. Then, resumed he, let us each provide ourselves with a good cudgel, and begin our journey on foot. I will put a case of instruments into my pocket, and you can slip into your's the campaign of Buonaparte in Italy
But whither, replied I, do you propose to go; and what, I beseech you, is the object of your travelling? To see the world, assuredly, said he; to eat, drink and laugh away care on the road. How, Doctor, said I, would you approve of a walk to Philadelphia? I should like it of all things, said the Doctor. In our way to it we should go through the place of my birth; you have heard, I guess, of Hackinsac; and at Philadelphia I could get somebody to introduce me to the great Doctor Rush. All we have to do is to send on our trunks in the coach, and trudge after them on foot.
Our resolution was no sooner taken than executed. The Doctor got an apothecary, who lived opposite, to purchase what few drugs were contained in his painted drawers; and having dispatched our trunks forward by the coach, we began our journey to Philadelphia.
Having crossed the Hudson, which separates York-Island from the shore of the Jerseys, we were landed at a Tavern * delightfully situated on the bank of the river. The Doctor having once reduced a fractured leg for the landlord, proposed dining at the Tavern: he will certainly charge us nothing, said he, for I once reduced his leg, when the Tibia and Fibula were both badly fractured. It was a nice case, and I will put him in mind of it.
* Every public-house in the United States, however contemptible, is dignified by the name of Tavern.
(* In Virginia, at this time, taverns were often called Ordinaries. Cf. La Rochefoucauld, Travels in North America, 1795, 1796, and 1797. London. 1799. Vol. II, p. 68%" After having spent nearly the whole day at M. de Rieux's we went ten miles farther on to Bird-ordinary ”]
But you charged him, Doctor, did you not, said I. No matter for that, replied he. I should have been expelled from the College of Whigs had I not put in
claim. I represented to the Doctor that no man who respected himself would become an eleemosynary guest at the table of another, when he had money to defray his wants. That to remind another of past services discovered a want of humanity; and that a mean action, though it may not torment the mind at the moment it was done, never fails afterwards to bring compunction: for the remembrance of it will present itself like a spectre to the imagination.
The landlord of the tavern was a portly man, who in the middle of the day was dressed in a loose night-gown and mocossins;* he recognised the Doctor, whom he shook heartily by the hand, and turning to a man in company, said, “they may talk of Doctor Rush, Doctor Mitchell, or Doctor Devil, but I maintain Doctor De Bow is the greatest Doctor of them all."
* Mocossins are Indian shoes, made of deer-skin.