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unrivaled on the earth. The Mississippi rolls, to a far greater distance, a deep current of turbid waters, hardly restrained within low and uncultivated banks: the Rhine, the great highway of nations, has its cities, vineyards, and castled craggs : the Nile sheds fertility over barren lands, and renders fruitful that, which, without it, would not be habitable; but none of these streams, each of which has been called the Father of Waters, can show, upon its banks or on its surface, such lively or wild assemblages of busy towns, cultivated fields, countless fleets, cliffs and mountains, as are forever impressed upon the memory of the traveler, when he first beholds the River Hudson. All these are but a step from the crowded streets of the city. A "little hour" carries one far up this immense conduit, and every minute offers changes to the eye as splendid as those of the Kaleidoscope. Broadway is “ the full tide of human existence ;” but when the din of the streets and the glare of the sun become oppressive to the senses, in five minutes the citizen may be extended under the rural shades of Hoboken, looking from a safe distance at the “Great Babel," and listening to the softened “ she pours through all her gates." At Boston there are no such retreats, within an accessible distance or expense, for frequent relaxation. At New-York there are to be seen, daily, individuals, family parties, and
troops of friends," crowding the decks of the steam-boats that connect the country with the city. Who ever went to Hoboken without being pleasingly moved at the sight of mothers and their little offspring, family groups, that in every direction, enliven that most charming spot? The banks of the river for two or three miles, on the declivity, are shaded with trees, and cut into graveled walks, while the river, the
, glancing vessels, and the city, are seen under the branches. Every point on the North river is, in the present state of steam-navigation, in the vicinity of New-York; and link after link, of natural or artificial water carriage, connects the great city with the lakes, and the rivers of the West and North. The increase of the city is in proportion to the facilities of distant communication. The policy of the state is liberal ; and those who are guilty of poverty, and punished by laws in other states, may go to New-York, reform, and labor honestly without the fear of a dungeon.
Poverty in New-York subjects a man neither to the prison nor the pillor If the legislators consider it a crime, they believe that it carries its own punishment, and the penalty of the laws is inflicted only on violence and fraud.
New-York has, in one thing, unfortunately, departed from the fashions of its Dutch ancestry ; neatness, which was carried to excess in the early settlements, is not now an attribute of the city. There is, indeed, but one nuisance ; but this is so general and annoying, that it seems to include every other. It was the complaint of an unsophisticated son of Erin, when pushed into the gutter of a paved street, by a porker of thirty stone, that the “hogs were loose and the stones tied;" and the first part of the complaint, though from so humble a source, is worthy the attention of the corporation! It is averred, by the owners of the swine, that a hog is your only scavenger; and that he devours, readily, all vegetable or animal matter that is undergoing the process of putrefaction. But this is only a commutation of nuisIf a person is satisfied with evidence so little philosophical as
that of his senses, let him walk near the gutters in New York, and he will detect the recent presence of swine, though none are in sight. He can, by no effort of imagination, fancy himself in Arabia Felix ; nor could he form the wish of Catullus, to be all nose. The air is filled with particles, that tend to generate disease. If the reader supposes that the effluvia from a vast piggery are either agreeable or wholesome, let him visit some corrupted sink of this kind near Boston. In New-York, the evil principle is more diluted, for the swine are not collected in dense bodies ; but still it exists to the danger of health and the confusion of taste. This, and the innumerable signs promising “mint julep,” are the chief of the objectionable peculiarities that attract the notice of a stranger in New-York.
The street vehicles are of all descriptions. Some are designed to transport bodies of men to and from the remote parts of the city to Wall-street, and other places of business; and they are constantly in motion. They are long coaches of various fashions, with two seats running lengthwise, so that the two rows of passengers sit facing each other. The passengers may be counted by scores. The entrance is behind, and the steps are immovable; but passengers frequently enter and quit while the vehicle is in motion.
It is not for a passing stranger, leaving a quiet home for a few days to encounter the hurry of a large commercial city, properly to describe or estimate New-York. He can but seize a few points in the general description. One thing is certain ; that while visiters may sometimes be dissatisfied with New-York, residents from the most beautiful cities of the earth, from Florence, Naples, Cadiz, &c. universally prefer it to all other cities.
THE PHANTOM SHIP.
On a fine September morning, as the sun threw his first beams above the distant ocean, and a few straggling gleams of light began to play among the dark woods that clothe the banks of the Merrimac, we embarked upon the river and set sail down the stream. Fresh was the mountain breeze that filled the sails of our gallant bark ; fresh was the clear wave that dashed around her prow; fresh were the odors wafted from the verdant banks; but fresher than all were the spirits of our jocund crew, consisting of some three dozen right rustical souls, male and female-I begʻtheir pardon-gentlemen and ladies. In a word, this was the singing choir of the first parish of our little village, bound upon the yearly watering frolic to Plum-Island. There were the pink and flower of the village, no small part of its gentility, and oddities enow to make up an assortment. There were Angelina and Ethelinda, and Thankful and Silence; there were Dandy Dumbleton and Clodhopping Bill; there were Simon Spindle in silk inexpressibles, and Belshazzar Barleycorn with his pigtail queue. Every Jack had his Jill, and every rank and condition in the great world of our little town had its representative in the party. Tom Taffrail, a sturdy tar, who had faced the hurricanes of the West-Indies, was elected skipper ;
Giles Elderberry scraped away upon his ancient three-stringed fiddle, and gave us " The tongs and the bones," and " The shoe-slapping jig," in fine fashion ; while Deacon Doolittle stationed himself in the sternsheets and shook his ghostly noddle, at proper intervals, to keep the young folks in sobriety.
The rapid wave and fresh breeze set us down the stream in noble style, and the voyage, though short, was crowded with adventures. The Deacon lost his leather spectacles overboard by a flap of the main-sail ; Dorothy Dobbins was frightened into hysterics by a big sturgeon that jumped out of water close under our stern; and Belshazzar Barleycorn shipped a sea down his throat as he lay upon the fore cuddy with his mouth open. These disasters might have appalled some people ; but we reflected upon the hazards of those who go
down into the sea, and do business upon the mighty waters; so we met all mishaps with fortitude, and kept up stout hearts. Old Powow Hill was soon left behind us, and as the wreaths of mist upon its sides were curling into the sky before the slant sunbeams, we almost fancied we beheld the breaking up of the ancient nocturnal orgies, and troops of phantoms, streaming away in Indian file, into thin air. Soon the spires of Newburyport rose on our right; we opened the wide expanse at the mouth of the stream ; Plum-Island rose upon the view, showing a long line of white sandy hummocks, patched with green, and the blue ocean and the heights of Cape Ann in the distance.
We steered down the sound, between the island and the main land for some half dozen miles, landed, and pitched our tents among the sand-hills. Need I relate how jovially we passed the day ; how we strolled over the island, gathered beach plums, and junketed upon the heaps of good things which had been baked, boiled, stewed and roasted for this eventful day! how we slaughtered regiments of wild fowl upon the marshes along the sound, or wooed the fresh breeze and the sparkling surf on the sea shore ! Suffice it to say, the day was glorious and the company jovial; we were bustling, blowzed and boisterous to the full measure of our wishes ; and the festivities of the occasion, as the newspapers say, " went off with great hilarity and good feeling."
As the sun began to roll down the clear sky, and we had already made preparations for re-embarking, the wind fell into a calm. Soon the sinking orb was obscured by a pile of thick, blue clouds, which rose fast up the western heaven ; the hot air, stagnant and oppressive, admonished us of an approaching thunder shower. Our tents, which had been struck, were speedily pitched again in a deep hollow between two steep ridges of the sand. Fold after fold of the black mass of clouds pushed rapidly over our heads as we scrambled under the shelter. A flash of lightning now broke from its dark bosom ; the broken rumbling of the far-off thunder was heard, and two or three scattering drops of rain fell. Another flash streamed over us, and a stunning peal immediately followed. The whole heaven was suddenly overshadowed, and the waters came dashing down in a torrent.
Ere the fury of the tempest was spent, night had come on; and we remained snugly housed under our canvas, with the intention of remaining till the next day. In the midst of the pastimes, which we had contrived to beguile the hours, we were suddenly struck with the strange deportment of Skipper Tom, and his crony, Dick Halyard,
who sat peeping out of the tent, shaking their heads, and whispering in a very mysterious fashion.
“Smite my timbers," said Tom, counting on his fingers, “but this is the very day—the twenty-second of September.”
“Sure enough it is," said Dick, stretching his head out, and fixing his eyes intently toward the sea; “ standing in straight to the land with all sail set."
They say she is never seen but once in fifty years, and always on the same day of the month."
“Not as you knows on," replied Dick. “ Seven years this blessed day, the Charming Nancy, bound in from the West-Indies, fell in with her just as she had weathered Cape Ann. They luffed up and run right athwart her hawse ; but before you could say Jack Robinson, a white squall sent them high and dry on the Isle of Shoals ! But she 's out of sight now ; gone to Davy's locker; no—there she looms up again, with all kites out. Halloo, Skipper Tom !” cried one of the company,
66 what sail is that you spy?”
“A queerish sort of craft," returned he, with a mysterious cock of the eye, and thrusting an enormous quid of tobacco into his cheek, “ hails from Cape Flyaway."
“ Taunt rigged, and with a light set of ballast," added Dick, cocking his eye ditto.
Here we crowded to the door of the tent, and looked out, but could see nothing ; dark clouds hung over the sea, and the rain poured heavily. How was it possible,” we asked, “to espy a sail at sea in such a night as this."
“i Tis the Phantom Ship,” said Tom. At this moment a flash of fire was seen far in the offing, and the peal of a cannon came booming over the waves. “ Hark! she is firing for a pilot.”. By the light of the flash, we discerned at a distance, what seemed to be the white sails of a ship, steering directly towards us. The next instant all was dark again.
“The Phantom Ship!" exclaimed every one, the “Phantom Ship !" Here we called to memory the old tradition of the pirates, who were known to have resorted to this island, and buried their treasures among the sand. Their ghosts had ever since haunted the shore, and had been seen by too many credible persons to leave a doubt as to the truth of the story.
“And once every fifty years," said Tom, reciting the whole tale, or some say every seven years; howsomever, that 's neither here nor there; but just on the twenty-second of September, the pirate ship heaves in sight, with all sail set, and makes signal for a pilot. Jack Weatherbrain once put off in his cock-boat to go aboard, thinking it a West-Indiaman."
“ And what became of him ?” asked a dozen voices at once.
“What became of him !” reiterated Tom,“ why, the more he made sail, the more he could n't overhaul her; and finally she never hove to, but plumped ashore on the beach and went out of sight over Old Town Hill."
“Not as I heard the story,” interrupted Dick; "she always steers a regular course over the beach to Dead Man's Hollow, and there
vanishes. Every body knows that is the spot where the pirates buried their money.”
“ That 's a fact,” said an old woman of the party ; “ for old Squire Grip-hard once followed the ship over the island, and discovered the very spot. He came within a hair's breadth of finding all the money.'
“How happened it?" asked the Deacon ; “why did n't he go straight to work and dig for it ?”
“That's exactly what he did," returned she ; " but just at the moment when he heard the guineas clinking under his feet, a great lubber of a sea-gull made a stoop at him and flew off with his wig ; another one let fall a monstrous clam souse upon his bald pate. It set his intellectuals into such a tympany that he could not tell north from south; and so, running after his wig, he lost his way, and did not recover his wits till he found himself up to the chin in water. In fact, he has been sort of crack-skulled ever since."
“ Could n't a body find the place by daylight ?” asked the Deacon, earnestly, and thrusting his hands into his pockets.
“ That is what many a man has tried,” answered Tom; “but a wild
goose chase they have had of it. One might as well look for a needle in a bottle of hay. Look out! here she comes !"
By this time we could discern the tall form of the Phantom Ship, gliding with a stately and ghostlike motion directly in upon the shore. The angry surf roared along the beach and threw dim flashes of phosphoric light before her path as she drew near the land; but not a sail shivered in the wind, nor the least did she deviate from her direct
Between the wailing gusts of the storm we could hear the following strain, chanted in full chorus by the crew :
Bear away! bear away, boys !
And trim the broad sail ;
All fresh in the gale.
Hillio! hillio! hillio!
Let the blue forked lightning
Still wide round us burn;
Sill thunder astern.
Dash higher the spray;
Hillio! hillio! hillio!
The Deacon strained his eyes after the Phantom Ship, as she moved over the sand-hills; scratched his head, fumbled in his pockets, and fidgeted about in a most uneasy manner. Presently catching a sly chance, he nuzzled closely to Tom's ear and whispered, “ 'T would be a capital thing, I'm thinking, Tom, if you and I could light upon the
money. Suppose we slip out slily and give chase ?" "Not ,” said Tom, shaking his head most decisively, “d 'ye take me for a green-horn ?"