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day after day, during which the concerns of his farm took care of themselves. By such judicious methods he contrived to get himself pretty deeply in debt; he was dunned; he borrowed money of one man to pay another; at length a testy creditor sued him; his other creditors followed the example, and the unfortunate man saw all the dogs of the law let loose on him at
He had not borne his prosperity calmly, and it could not therefore be expected that he should show himself a stoic under misfortune. He grew moody and testy, and a kind of instinct drove him again to ramble in the woods without either his rifle or his dogs, as was his wont in the days of his youth and his deformity. One evening, as he was returning, a little after sunset, he chanced to pass slowly under the boughs of the great oak. He was thinking that on the whole he had little reason to thank the kindness of his supernatural friend. has made me a handsome fellow,” thought be," but what of that? If I had not been handsome, I should not have run into expenses that have made me poor. A man may as well be miserable from deformity as from poverty.” At that very moinent, a sweet, low voice, from the boughs of the tree, the well-remembered voice that three years before he had heard at nightfall on that very spot, articulated his name. He looked
up, and saw the same calm features of unearthly loveliness and youth, with a smile playing about the beautiful mouth. “ I know thy thoughts, Caspar," said the apparition, "and thy misfortunes, and it shall not be my fault if thou art not happy. Dig on the north side of the trunk of this tree, just under the extremity of that long branch which points towards the ground, and there thou wilt find what, if thou art reasonable, will suffice thy wishes. Replace the earth carefully.” Caspar was of too impatient a temperament to defer for a moment the enjoyment of his good fortune. He went immediately for a spade. On his return he again looked up to the place where he had beheld the vision, but he saw only the brown bark of the tree visible in a strong gleam of twilight, and the neighbouring boughs and foliage moving and murmuring in the night-wind that was just beginning to rise. He turned up the earth at the spot which had been pointed out to him, and took out a large jar of money, and then shovelled back the mould; and pressed the turf into its place.
On examining the coins in the jar, they proved to be Spanish and Portuguese gold pieces of a pretty ancient date, all of them at least half a century old, some still older. Among the many persons from whom I have gathered the particulars of the tradition I am recording, I have not met with one who could satisVol. II.
factorily explain the circumstance of the money being found in that place. It could not be the coinage of the apparition, for it was not to be supposed that she was the proprietor of a mint, and if she were, why should the coins be so old ? As to the suggestion that it was buried there by Captain Kidd, the pirate, I do not think it worthy of notice, for I hold it certain that he concealed his money elsewhere, though it is not for my interest, at present, to reveal the particular spot. Besides, what should the Captain be doing in the woods of Pennsylvania, more than a hundred miles from the sea coast ?
Caspar, however, cared not when the pieces were coined, nor by whom; he was not accustomed to speculate upon his good fortune, but to enjoy it. He held, that if there is any pleasure in the mere exercise of speculation, there is as much opportunity for it afforded by bad luck as by good, and he chose not to confound things which appeared to him so completely different. After paying off all his creditors, he gave a grand entertainment at his house, to which all his neighbours, for several miles round, were invited, and among the rest the testy creditor who had set the example of bringing a process against him. This fellow got as drunk as a lord on the whiskey of the man, whom, a few weeks ago, he would have ruined, and hugged his generous entertainer with tears in his eyes. As he was altogether too far gone to find his own way home, Caspar ordered out his great Pennsylvania wagon, drawn by two spirited horses, and driven by a shining-faced black fellow; the maudlin hero was lifted into the hinder seat, and nodding majestically as he went, was whirled home in that sublime condition.
It took less than half the gold of which Caspar became possessed in this extraordinary way, to satisfy all his debts; and the sight of the remainder, blinking and smiling in the capacious jar, was not likely to suggest to his mind any very strong motives for leaving off his habits of idleness and expense. His only study seemed how to get rid of his money, and in this laudable design fortune seemed willing to assist him. About this time, Nicholas Vadokin, the schoolmaster who had penned the unfortunate epistle of Caspar to Adelaide, having saved a little money by his vocation, set up a shop in the neighbourhood, which he furnished from Philadelphia with dry goods, and groceries, and all that miscellaneous collection of merchandise to be found in the store of a country trader. Nicholas was a cunning Hanoverian, with a shrewd hazel eye and brassy complexion.. He was a prompt, ready-spoken man, who could turn his hand to any thing, and having come to the United States to make his fortune, he would have thought himself convicted of want of
perseverance and enterprise, had he suffered himself to be diverted from his object by any trifling scruples of conscience. For four years he had flogged the children of the place for a livelihood, and he now resolved to try whether any thing could be made by fawning on their parents. To Mr. Buckel, as the richest man in the neighbourhood, he was particularly attentive and obsequious. He always offered him a glass of bad wine whenever he came to his shop; talked to him of his wealth, his horses, his wagon, and his dogs ; listened with profound interest to long stories of his hunting exploits; and though he scorned to flatter a man to his face, hinted that he ought to be a candidate for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. He was so conscientious as to let him have all the goods for which he had occasion, at first cost; and whenever one of his loaded wagons arrived from Philadelphia, he never failed to take his
patron aside, and tell him of such and such articles, which he had purchased expressly on his account, all which, the good natured Caspar was always sure to take off his hands. Caspar soon came to be a daily frequenter of the shop, and he never called without making a purchase; for the ingenious Nicholas had always a reason for his taking almost every article he had. One thing was necessary, another convenient, one was fashionable, another indispensable to a man of his fortune and character; this was wonderfully cheap, and that wonderfully rare; and how could he refuse to be guided by the advice of his excellent and disinterested friend, who was so attentive to his convenience, and who let him have every thing at cost. In a short time, Caspar found the bottom of his jar; his money was gone, but his habits of expense were not easily shaken off ; and, being pressed for cash, he applied to his friend Nicholas. Nicholas showed himself truly his friend ; for he counted out to him the sum he wanted, with many smiles and protestations of delight at being able to do him a service, and took a mortgage of his estate.
The story of the mortgage soon took air, and immediately afterwards, Caspar, finding himself without money, found himself without credit also. In his embarrassment he again went to Nicholas for assistance, but his disinterested friend unfortunately had not the means of helping him further. A day or two after he called at the shop for the purpose of beginning a new score ; but Nicholas informed him, with a very solemn look, that although there was no man in the world whom he would go farther to serve than his very good friend Mr. Buckel, yet his duty to his family obliged him to give credit to those only whose circumstances justified the expectation that they would pay; he added, however, that he should be exceedingly happy
to supply him with any thing he wanted, for ready cash. Caspar
stood for a moment as if thunderstruck, and the next, his rage prevailing over his astonishment, he levelled a blow at the Hanoverian, which would infallibly have knocked him down, had he not wisely avoided it by ducking under the counter. Caspar returned home to digest his mortification as he could, and the blue devils followed him and fastened upon him. He felt the thirst of Tantalus, a continual craving for expense, with no means of satisfying it ; it seemed to him as if all the rest of the world were rolling in wealth, buying and selling, driving fine horses, and feasting each other like princes, while he, poor fellow, had not a beggarly doit to spend. He grew meagre and hollow-eyed, and walked about with his hands in his pockets, looking vacantly at the geese nipping the grass before his door, and the hens wallowing in the sand of the road, and jerking it over their backs with their wings. At last he thought of the vision he had seen in the oak. "I will see her again,” thought he; “ who knows but she may relieve me a second time?" He sat off for the tree that very evening. It was an October night, and he lingered under it till the grass grew silvery with the frost, but she did not appear. The next evening he repaired to the same spot, and looked with a still more intense anxiety for her appearance, but saw only the boughs struggling with the wind, and the dropping leaves. The third evening he was more successful; she was there, but her look was sad and reproachful. At times the gusts that swept by would rudely toss her hair above her forehead and against the trunk of the tree; and then, as they subsided, it would fall down again on each side of her fine countenance. so I had hoped, Caspar," said the vision, with a mournful voice, that seemed like an articulate sigh, “to have reserved for some more pressing need of thine, the last favour that is in my power to bestow upon thee. I have observed thy nightly visits to my shade; I know thy motive; I know that thou wilt be unhappy if my bounty is withheld; and I cannot forget that thou wast born under my boughs, and that thy intercession has preserved me from the axe. Between the two roots that diverge eastward from my trunk, thou wilt find a portion of what the children of men value more than all the other gifts of heaven. Replace the turf over my roots, and remember that this is the last of my benefits. Caspar dug eagerly in the spot, for he had been provident enough to bring his spade with him, and joyfully carried home a jar of money of the same figure and capacity with the former.
It were long to tell by what methods Caspar contrived to get rid of the second donation of the lady of the oak. To do him
justice, he set out with the firmest resolutions of frugality and economy, and actually kept the gold by him three days without touching a moidore. But when he came to raise the mortgage of his friend Nicholas, and to satisfy some other debts that were a little troublesome, the habit of paying out money, being once re-admitted, obstinately kept possession. His old propensity to extravagance returned upon him with a violence that swept all his resolutions away. It is true, that when he saw his finances nearly exhausted, he made some praiseworthy attempts to repair them. It is whispered that he gambled a little with certain smooth-spoken, well-dressed emigrants from the country of his fathers; and it is very certain that he bought lottery tickets, drew blanks, bought others, and had the satisfaction of drawing an additional number of blanks. I have often thought that it was a thousand pities that Caspar did not live in these blessed times, and in this well-governed state of New York, where the law refuses to license these pernicious institutions, and probibits the sale of the tickets of all such as are established in other states. It is true, that the ghosts of old lotteries chartered long ago are raised, and meet you at every turn; that lottery offices are multiplied without number, and almost every tenth door holds out an invitation to try your luck ; that the worthy and conscientious people who live by decoying others into this legalized gambling, swarm all over our city, each provided with his poet, who indites his advertisement in the sweetest of rhymes—a circumstance conveying this most beautiful moral, little attended to, I fear, by the eager adventurer who buys the ticket—that he is paying his money
song. I say it is a pity that Caspar had not lived in these blessed times, and in this blessed state ; for although he might not have been prevented from engaging as deeply as he pleased in these beneficial speculations, he could not but have admired the wise and effectual measures taken to suppress them.
Suffice it to say, that Caspar saw himself growing poor, and, as he had no taste for the pleasures of such a condition, he determined to make a desperate effort to shoot beyond the circle of the whirlpool that threatened to carry him down. He was well satisfied that he should get nothing by applying to the lady of the oak, but he could not help suspecting that there was more gold buried under her boughs. “ The two jars,” said he to himself,“ were concealed in different places, both near the same tree, which served as a kind of mark by which to find them again ; and who knows how many more are lying scattered about the same spot? I will search at least ; if there is any gold there, it is a pity it should lie useless in the earth, and if there is not, I