Page images
PDF
EPUB

impassable, they finally arrived at Billinges, twelve miles from Dedham. On entering the tavern, Madam Knight is welcomed with the following salutation from the eldest daughter of the family. It is a fine specimen of choice yankee, and proves the great antiquity of that interesting dialect.

“ Law for me what in the world brings You here at this time a night? I never see a woman on the Rode so Dreadfull late, in all the days of my varsall life. Who are you? Where are You going? I'me scar'd out of my witts—with much of the same Kind. I stood agast, Prepareing to reply, when in comes my Guide-to him Madam turn'd Rorering out: Lawful heart, John, is it You ?-how de do! Where in the world are you going with this woman? Who is she? John made no Ansr. but sat down in the corner, fumbled out his black Juuk, and saluted that instead of Debb.”—pp. 12, 13.

Madam Knight is at last admitted, and is shown to a " little back lento,” filled with the bedstead, where she goes to sleep with“ her head upon a sad-coloured pillow.” The next day,

, about two in the afternoon, she arrives at another inn.

'Here, having called for something to eat, ye woman bro't in a Twisted thing like a cable, but something whiter ; and laying it on the bord, tugg’d for life to bring it into a capacity to spread; wch having wth great pains accomplished, she served in a dish of Pork and Cabage.”—pp.

14, 15.

The “sauce” (meaning the cabbage) serves Madam Knight “the whole day after for a Cudd." The next day, our indefatigable traveller arrives at a river, which she crosses “in a Cannoo so very small and shallow,” that, for fear of upsetting, she did not venture so much as to lodg her tongue a hair's breadth more on one side of her mouth than tother." We desy the ingenuity of modern wits to give a better illustration of delicate equilibrium. After passing through sundry dismal forests, and descending divers break-neck precipices, she arrives at last at a “ very firce and hazzardos river." Across this she valiantly swims her horse, and soon gets safe to the other side, which is the beginning of the Narragansett country. Here she traverses many “dolesome woods," until she gets up to the top of a hill, from which she sees the rising moon, or, as she more poetically expresseth it," the Kind Conductress of the night just Advancing above the Horisontall Line.” At the sight of this “fair Planett,” she falls into a rapture, and is inspired with “ many very diverting tho'ts," which she has carefully preserved in metre, for the benefit of posterity. She gets no sleep that night, “because of the clamour of some of the Town tope-ers in the next room, who were in strong debate concerning the Signifycation of

the word Narragansett.” One of the topers uttered his etymological decrees with “such a Roreing voice, and such Thundering blows with the fist of wickedness on the Table," that it pierced her very head. Our afflicted traveller philosophically consoles herself with the fortunate recollection of a friend of hers, who was once kept awake a whole night by the disputations of a country lieutenant, a sergeant, an ensign, and a deacon,“ contriving how to bring a triangle into a square.” The day following, she arrives at Mr. Devill's house of entertainment, where “no, or none,” is all the answer she can get from the old Sophister.” Having vented her disappointment in some vituperative stanzas, she comes to Paukataug river, and stops until the tide falls, at a “Misirable hutt." At Stonington, which she reaches the next day, she is joined by an old man and his daughter, “on a sorry lean jade, wth only a Bagg under her for a pillion. The following is too graphic, and too characteristic, to omit:

“Wee made Good speed along, wch made poor Jemima make many a sow'r face, the mare being a very hard trotter ; and after many a hearty and bitter Oh, she at length Low'd out: Lawful Heart, father! this bare mare hurts inee Dingeely, I'me direfull sore I vow; with many words to that purpose : poor Child, sais Gaffer-she us't to serve your inother so. I don't care how mother us't to do, quoth Jemima, in a pasionate tone. At which the old man Laugh't, and kik't his Jade o' the side, which made her Jolt ten times harder.

“ About seven that Evening, we come to New-London Ferry: bere, by reason of a very high wind, we mett with great difficulty in getting overthe Boat tos't exceedingly, and our Horses cappered at a very surprising Rate, and set us all in a fright; especially poor Jemima, who desired her father to say so jack to the Jade, to make her stand. But the careless parent, taking no notice of her repeated desires, She Roared out in a Passionate manner: Pray suth father, Are you deaf? Say so Jack to the Jade, I tell you. The Dutiful Parent obeys; saying so Jack, so Jack, as gravely as if hee'd bin to saying Catechise after Young Miss, who with her fright look’t of all coullers in ye Rain Bow."-pp. 31, 32.

The next day Madam Knight leaves New-London under the protection of " a young gentleman,” whom she pays well for his trouble, and prosecutes her toilsome journey towards NewHaven. During the process of her approximation to this place, she encounters divers moving accidents. She rides through “Rodes Incumbred wth Rocks and mountainos passages ;" she is thrown from her horse in going over a bridge ;-she pays sixpence for a dinner, “wch was only Smell;"—and in answer to an inquiry about the road, she is told to “ ride on a little further, and turn down by the corner of Uncle Sam's lott.” From all these jeopardies, she providentially escapes, and arrives at

New-Haven about two in the afternoon. Here she informs herself of the manners and customs of the people, (some curious instances of which she gives,) and is moreover told " a pleasant story about an Indian, a black man, and a pair of justices," which the reader will find preserved for him in the book. The Narragansett Indians were “the most salvage of all salvages that she had ever seen;" they mourned for the dead, and were very fond of rum.

We pass by the curious specimen of New Haven patois, which seems to have altered very little for the last hundred and fifty years. The behaviour of the simpering Bumpkin, and the curtsying Joane, at the merchant's store, is described with great spirit, and shows how steady have been the habits of the simple rustics of Connecticut. On the morning of the sixth of December, (having stayed at New Haven six weeks "to rest and recruit herself,' before she proceeded on her journey,) Madam Knight sets out for New York, reaches “Northwalk," about noon, and arrives at Rye about nine o'clock at night. After a vigorous but unsuccessful attempt on the part of a degenerate Mounseer to fabricate a fricasee for her, Madam Knight goes indignantly to bed, but finds it impossible to sleep for the hardness of the husks, and the shortness of the covering.

« On the strength of a good breakfast,” however, which she gets at NewRochelle, she reaches New York the next day about an hour before sunset.

The description of New York and its inhabitants is, as far as it goes, extremely diverting; we only regret that there is not more of it. The following is a specimen :

“They have Vendues very frequently, and make their Earnings very well by them, for they treat with good Liquor Liberally, and the Customers Drink as Liberally and Generally pay for't as well, by paying for that which they Bidd up Briskly for, after the sack has gone plentifully about; tho' sometimes good penny worths are got there. Their Diversions in the Winter is Riding Sleys about three or four Miles out of Town, where they have Houses of entertainment at a place called the Bowery, and some go to friends Houses who handsomely treat them. Mr. Burroughs cary'd his spous and Daughter and myself out to one Madame Dowes, a Gentlewoman that lived at a farm House, who gave us a handsome Entertainment of five or six Dishes and choice Beer and metheglin, Cyder, &c. all which she said was the produce of her farm. I believe we mett 50 or 60 sleys that day-they fly with great swiftness, and some are so furious that they'le turn out of the path for none except a Loaden Cart. Nor do they spare for any diversion the place affords, and are sociable to a degree, they'r Tables being as free to their Naybours as to themselves.”_

pp. 55, 56.

We have not room for any part of the catalogue of miseries

which Madam Knight encountered on her return. She got safe home to Boston on the third day of March, 1705, having performed in five months, (inclusive of stoppages to rest and recruit herself,) a journey which now, with the same allowance, would scarcely require as many days. Her relations and friends came flocking in to welcome her, and to hear the story of her “travails and transactions," and "now" she concludes

“ I cannot fully express my Joy and Satisfaction; But desire sincearly to adore my Great Benefactor for thus graciously carrying forth and returning in safety his unworthy handmaid.”

Art. VII.-The New York Medical and Physical Journal, No.

XIII. Edited by John B. Beck, M. D., Fellow of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New-York, Corresponding Member of the Medical Society of London, &c. E. Bliss & E. White. 1825.

The current of medical literature, which a century since bore on its fruitful bosom ponderous tomes, heavy folios, and wellfilled quartos, which, though rare in their appearance, compensated for their infrequency by the quantity of matter they contained, has, in our degenerate days, been subdivided into an almost innumerable number of small, but rapid streams, carry. ing with them abundant fertility, in all the thousand forms of periodicals, from the stately quarterly journal of original papers, down to the humble weekly register, in eight pages duodecimo, a thing of shreds and patches,” purloined from the wardrobes of its richer and better clad neighbours. But while it is acknowledged that the advantages derived from this general and rapid diffusion of information are incalculably valuable, it cannot be denied that the system is attended by many and striking evils. It begets an inattention and distaste for the old and sterling writers, whose sound reasoning, and close observation, are often neglected for new speculations and flimsy theories. It generates professional pedantry, the worst variety of that extensive genus. But the heaviest of all its offences is, that it creates a morbid appetite for novelty, encouraging a bost of medical quid nuncs, whose whole study is to learn, not something valuable, but something new. Ånd this state of things itself ministers to this objectionable end; for the ignorance of the old writers gives to their exploded systems and whimsical opinions all the freshness of novelty, and the quaint notions of Guy de Chauliac, Anthony Nuck, and John of Gaddesden, arrayed in modern costume, have often excited admiration by their depth and originality.

On the other hand, the man of experience, perhaps we should say business, whose life is devoted to his professional pursuits, unable or unwilling to appropriate sufficient time to arrange his thoughts in a regular and systematic form, or, in other words, to make a book, often gives the result of his observations and reflections in the condensed, and at the same time, interesting and familiar form of an article in a medical journal. Indeed, a vast proportion of the curious and valuable cases upon which the most important practical improvements are founded, are treasured up in this form by men who are capable of observing with care, and describing with accuracy, though perhaps unequal to the task of drawing new conclusions, or of correcting or confirming those already received. In addition to this, medical journals enable the practitioner to keep pace with the progress of his profession, no unimportant circumstance to those whose res angusta domi does not permit the purchase of the scores of books which the press, with a marvellous fecundity, daily brings forth. But the greatest advantage which flows from them is the freedom of inquiry which they excite, the spirit of scrutiny which they stir up upon all points, whether theoretical or practical, and the independent and unshackled medium which they present for the expression of opinion.

The last number of the New York Medical and Physical Journal commences the 4th volume, and has, we understand, gone on from its commencement with a steadily increasing patronage and support. Unconnected with any medical sect or school, and wedded to no professional opinions, we see nothing to prevent its maintaining, or even going beyond, the high character which it at present sustains. The last number contains the annual address to the State Medical Society by its late veteran President, Dr. Coventry, whose zeal for the improvement and respectability of his profession seems to increase with his years,—an account of the late epidemic small-pox in Albany, by Dr. L. C. Beck,-a very ingenious and learned article on Menstruation by Dr. Manly,—the Medical Topography of the island of Nassau,-a quarterly report of the diseases occurring in the New York Hospital, by Dr. Moore,--with various other matter, offering a large body of interesting and useful information.

« PreviousContinue »