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1 Uao sworn upon the Altar ot' God, ctcuml hostility to every form of 'Ayraiiny over tho Mind of Mali." Thomas Jcllcrsoii. ,
PiuXTEI) AND PUBLISHED BY 11. WEBB. '
Volume III. BSjOOrvISBUIffiG, COJLUM25IA COUNTY, PA. SATUIiBAY, OCTOBEB 5, 3L839. Mnsnbcr 38.
OFFICE OF THE DEMOCRAT,
"Opposm: St. Paul's Church, Main-st.
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LETTERS addressed on business, must
be post paid.
From t!ic Lady 'a Book.
MY UNCLE NICHOLAS.
BY IUCIIAUD IT.EN SMITH.
Call no man happy 'till you know the nature of
Jus death; ho is ut best but lortmintc.
Soluji to Crcasus.
Time cats Uio children lie beget.1!, and the
memory of few men outlive their monument:-;
nay, myriad? pass into oblivion e
von before the elements have sullied their
cpilaps. My Uncle Nicholas, notwithstand
ing his dcserls, has not escaped this order of
things. I knew him in the April of my
years the fiower-lime of life; and as my
mind reverts to those sunny duys, the first
object it rest? upon is the beloved image of
.aiy uncle Nicholas.
He v.as a placid being, over flowing with
the best of humanities. His heart and his
doors were open to all his fellow beings,
-and there was net a creature endued with
aniual life, towards which ho did not sid
ously avoid giving pain. His dogs loved
him, and he could not walk abroad into his
fields but his cattle followed him, and fed
out of his hand.
" He was a scholar, a ripe and a good
one, at leas: l viewed mm as sucn iu my
boyhood. His mind was stored with goud
learning, but his favorite companions were
those hearty old poets who have retained
their freshness for centuries, and who pos
sess a re-productive faculty that will make
tham blossom through succeeding ages.
"With what delight would he pore over the
harmonious numbers of Spencer, and Dray
ton, and Drummond, and the vigorous dram
atists of those times ! and there was scarce
ly a gem of the minor poets that he had not
culled to grace his memory. These he
would recite with all the feeling and enthu
siasm of early life, and at times 1 imagined
thoy were golden links that inscparately
bound him to "his boyhood. They appear
ed to possess tho faculty of making him
He was a quiet humorist, but with no
,-m oro gall than might bu found in a dove.
His face was ever mantling with some pleas
ant thought, and his mind flowed on as gent
ly as a secret brook, that ever and anon
dimples and smiles at its own babbling.
He was married, and my aunt was one
of tho gentlest of creatures. You might
have searched the world without finding a
pair whose hearts and minds so perfectly
harmonised. She was a delicately attuned
instrument, ever breathing the softest mu
eio; never deprrssecd to sadness, and sel
dom cshilcratcd beyond a placid smile.
If perehnice sho lauglicd.it was at some jest
of my uncle Nicholas; not that it excited
Iter risible faculties, but that she peiccived
by the mantling of his countenance there
was moro intended than came within the
scope of her apprehension; and she would
laugh outright that ho might more fully en
joy the freak of his imagination. How they
loved each other I
My uncle dwelt on a farm in tho out
skirts of a village Ho had selected it as
bis residence in early life, and lived long e
nough to seo tho primitive settlement as
sume something like a name on tho may of
hid county .II " wis identified with thejspot;"
the villagers in a measure looked upon him as
their patriarch, and even tho children would
Weak off their amusements to salute him
as he passed; and he ever had a kind word
and a jest to bestow upon the humblest of
the liltlo troglodytes. Thoy all called him
uncle Nicholas, and he was so kind to them,
that many grow up in the belief that he was
actually the uncle of the whole village.
His residence was a delightful spot. His
farm Was well cultivated, and his buildings,
while they afforded every comfort, wore not
so ostentatious as to awaken the envy of his
less prosperous neighbors A river flowed
beside it, and in the rear where shady walks
of sugar maple, to which the villagers would
resort of a summer afternoon for recreation
and few would fail in reluming to stop at
my uncle's cottage and partake of the hos
pitality of hia hoard. Indeed, he and his
were were looked up as common property.
At these social gatherings, all the belles
of the village would rival each other to se
cure my uncle's attention. Ho was ever
the gayest among tho gay, while his gentle
manners and playful fancy ministered to the
dolight of all; and it was amusing to behold
the quiet complacency of my aunt as she
gazed on his little gallantries, and to watch
her countenance gradually light up, as her
mind would pass from the scene before her.
to the halcyon days when he wooed and
won her, and then she would turn to her
next neighbor and whisper in a tone ming
led with pride and fondness, " You seo
his winning ways have not yet left him,"
And then she would smile and look on in
silence, as if life could afford no delight
like gazing on my uncle Nicholas, when ho
Happy ! The heavens themsolves are
never so bright and clear, but that a cloud
over shadows some portion, and there lives
not that man whose mind is so free, but that
at.so.mc period a phantom pursues it, from
which' he fears escape is impossible. My
uncle's phantom was the dread of poverty.
He had lived generously, and from his hab
its and tone of mind was ill calculated to in
crease his possessions. As he advanced in
ago his property had imperceptibly wasted
away; and to increase his terrors, there was
a lawsuit against him that had been pending
many yoars. He dreaded its termination
would result in ruin, though convinced that
justice was on his side; but the boasted trial
by jury is by no means as infallible, as its
encomiasts pretend, for it is a difficult mat
ter for one man who does not understand
his case, to explain it to twelve, who fre
quonlly are incapable of comprehending the
matter under any circumstances. And by
this frail tenure do we cling to our posses
sions, liberty and life. The sword of Dam
ocles is a type of the trial by jury.
It was a melancholy sight to behold the
old gentleman, term after term, attending
court to learn tho issue of his cause. It ab
sorbed all his faculties and sapped the very
foundation of his mind. He was wont to
have a word and a cheerful smile for all he
met, but now he would pass his next neigh
bor without token of recognition. His lit
tle fiicnds, tho children, no longer followed
him. His favorite volumes remained un
diluted on the shelves their charm had pas
sed away, and those vernal fancies, that
were wont to mako his heart like a sing
ing bird iu the spring, had died, and it sung
lie would at times struggle to disengage
his mind from the phantom that embraced
it with iron clutches, anil nflectmore cheer
fulness in the presence of my aunt, for he
perecitcd that his melancholy was contagi
ons. How tenderly she watched over him,
and soothed him and encouraged him I At
one of these tender interviews which were
frequent, ho appcaircd tuddenly animated
with hope the world was open to him
ho was a man and could labor like other
men his countenance brightened, and he
"Tho spider taken hold with her hands
and is iu king's palaces." He fondly look
ed into the recess of his wife's heart through
her glistening eyes, and continued, 'The
ants ate people not strong." He paused,
and finished the proverb in a stone scaiccly
audible "yet they pr-paw their weat in
tho summer. Alas the snows of many win
tors are on my head." -A tear dropped
from his eye on the pale forehead of the
partner of hts bosom. She consoled him no
more that day.
He had contracted various small debts
with the tradesman of tho villiage, among
whom were some new-comers who had not
known him in his palmy days. And even
if they had, the chances are that it would
not have altered their conduct towards him.
Few men makes an a-gis of tho past to
shield them from present evils. Truo he
had been as libornl as the sun that shines on
nil alike without distinction; but how soon
do we forget the splendor of yesterday, if
tho sun riso in clouds to-morrow.
His creditors became impatient, & though
there were some hesitation in taking out the
first execution, yet that being done, others
followed as regularly as links of tho same
chain There was a time when he felt as
confident and secure among the villagers as
in the bosom of his own family; but now
there was no longer safety for the sole of his
foot on his hearth stone. He wa3 humbled
and he moved among his neighbors, a bro
ken down man, with fear, and trembling,
dreading all whom he chanced to meet.
At length his library was seized upon and
sold His books were of no great value to
any other than himself, but he prized them
beyond every thing. He had bought them
in his boyhood; they had been the compan
ion oi lus nie the never-Iailms ministers
of purest delight and they at length had
departed from him. True, their places
might have been filled by modern reprints,
but he would not have known his own fa
miliar friends in their gaudy dresses. To
take from them the rude simplicity of their
birth, was to break the wan by which they
chanued him. To take the little treasure of
his boyhood, was to sever the chain that
bound him to happier days, and as he be
held them scattering one by one, he wept
as if they were things of life that had aban
doned him in his misfortunes.
It was a melancholy sight to behold him
after this event, seated in his study gazing
on the empty shelves, and repealing various
choice passages from his favorite volumes.
I witnessed him once, looking intently on
the vacant spot where a fine, old copy of
Ilerrick's poems had stood for near half a
century. I knew the place well, for at the
time it was my delight to delve for the pure
oro of that "very best of English lyric
poets." A melancholy smile came over his
bland countenance, and he repeated in a low
tremulous voice :
Call me no more,
The music of the feast;
Since now, las !
The mirth that was
In me, is dead or ceased.
Before I went
Into the loathed west;
I could rehearse
A lyric verso .
And spend it with the best.
But time, aii mc !
Has laid, I see,
My organ fast asleep;
And turn'd my voice
Into the noise
Of thoso that sit and weep.
His eyes slowly moved along the empty
shelves until they rested upon a place that
had been occupied by a collection of the
old dramatists. He smiled though he shed
tears, and continued to repeat in the same
tremulous lone :
Adieu; farewell earth's bliss,
This world uncertain is;
Fond are life's lustful joys,
Death proves them all but toys,
None from his darts can fly.
I am sick, I must die;;
Loid have mercy on u 1
Rich men, trust not in wealth;
Gold cannuot buy your health.
Phvsic himself mustfudtj
All things to end are made.
The plague full swift goes by.
I am sick, I must die
Lord have mercy on us !
Hasto, therefore, each degree,
To welcome destiny;
Heaven is our heritage,
Earth but a player's Btage.
Mount me into the sky.
I am sick, I must die
Lord have mercy on us !
"Beshrew mo but thy song hath moved
me." I turned from the window through
which I was gazing, unperceived, Ss left
him repeating fragment upon fragment.
My uncle was accustomed to rise with
the sun, and continued his habit to the last.
But he no longer enjoyed the songs of the
birds, the babling of the waterfall, nor the
fresh breeze of morning laden with frag
rance their influence had departed from
them; still he adhered to his custom, and
would wander from his green meadows to
the maple grove, and from the grove to the
river, as if in pursuit of something ho Knew
not wiiat. On his return, his usual remark
was. "Is it not strange that tho flowers
should have lost their fragance, and the lit
tie birds their skill in singing?" In happi
er days how he would praise the flowers
and the birds.
As term-time approached, his malady
even insreascd. His morning meal would
scarcely be over when he would adjust his
dress, and call for his hat and cane, and on
being asked wither ho wa3 going, he would
luvanauly reply, "Jo the villiage to ce
my friends- Of late they have ceased to
come hear, aud H is right that I should sec
He would for hours walk from one end
of the village to tho other, aud bow to all
who accosted him, vol pause to converse
with none. And on his return, when my
good aunt would inquiro whether he had
seen his friends the constant reply was,
"No ; I have fallen in with none of them
Alas ! my poor uncle, how thy brain must
have been shattered to imagine that a man
in adversity can ever find his friends!
At length the dreaded day arrived his
cause was marked for trial, and in a few
hours the result would bo known, The
matter in dispute was not of such groat mo
mcnt, but he had brooded over it until his
fears had magnified it to vital importance.
His opponent was a coarse and brutal man
and in their protracted contest the abruptness
of his demcnaor had awakened whatever la
tent asperity had found a hiding place in my
uncle's bosom. He looked upon that cause
trilling as it was, as the most important
matter of his life. His daily thoughts and
iiritated feelings had magnified it. Even
the little ant by constant application can,
create a monnd altogether disproportionate
to its own size, and there is not a column
so beautiful that may not bo defaced by the
rail of a slimy snail. My poor uncle feared
the ant hill and recoiled the filth of the
The morn his case wa3 to bo tried, he
dressed himself with unusual care, and mv
aunt, knowing the bent of his mind, exerci
sed all her appliances to oncourago him.
He went to the court house, aud took his
scat, a dejected man. He looked around
as if in search of some or.e to sit beside him
to aid and sustain him, but none such were
present, and ho sat alone.
The cause was called, the jury empanel
led, and the investigation proceeded. Eve
ry question IhBl arose in its progress,
wrought up my uncle's mind to painful in
tenseness. In the order of his feelings he
at times interrupted the proceedings.and he
was rudely ordered by the court to sit down
and be silent. He obeyed, while ever fibre
of his frame shook with passion, and offen
ded pride. His opponent smiled in tri
umph as ho beheld his confusion ; my uncle
sat alone ; no one approached to sympathize
with him, and he felt as if deserted by all.
In consequonce of the distracted slato of his
mind, his defence though-a just one, had
been imperfectly made out. Facts had es
caped his memory ; papers were missing
that should have been produced, and the re
suit was, tho jury returned a verdict against
him without leaving the box. It fell like a
thunderbolt upon him ; he fancied the last
business of his life was over, and in the tri
umph of the moment, his adversary taunted
him, and openly charged him with dishon
csty. Tho old man rose to repel the insult
while every limb shook with passion as if
palsy struck. All was confusion. Tho
judges interfered to preserve order. My
uncle heard them not. He was comman"
ded to sit down but still persisted to vindi
cate his character. A second a third time
was ho called upon to sit down and be si
lent, which awakened him to a sens8 of his
position. He beheld his antagonist still
smiling, ho slowly sunR into his soat, and
as if abashed his head hung over his bosom
and gradually descended until it rested on
the desk before him. Order was again re
stored, and the court proceeded in its busi
ness. A few moments after, some one, ap
proached ray uncle and on raisiug him he
was found to be dead.
Thus died that good old man. Thcro
was a time when I looked upon him as be
ing secure from the shafts of fate; but who
may boast of to morrow ! Ho was healthy
had health and friends, and his gentle, spirit
made his home a paradise. His sources of
enjoyment were boundless, for all nature,
from her sublime mysteries, oven down to
.the petals of a simple flower was one mighty
minister, and he drew wisdom and delight
from all. And yet asingle cloud was mag
nified until it overshadowed his heaven of
happiness, and he died friendless andheart
broken : all had vanished-, that made earth
beautiful. But is this strange ? The flow
ers of life pass away as the flowers of sea-'"
sons", without beinj conscious of the cause
of their decayrand there breathes not that
man, however -prosperous., but like my
poor uncle, hath his phantom, and in time
discovers that "even in laughter the heart
is sorrowful and the end of that mirth is
wf yn I'm uxspftsv
An old lady in the country, of the ch3
said to make good stepmothers, had an ex
quisite from the city to dine with her on .a
certain occassion. For the desart, was art
enormous apple-pie. 'La ma'am,' said tho
gentleman, 'how do you manage lo handlo
such a pie.' 'Easy enough,' was the quiet
reply, wc make the crust in a wheelbarrow
wheel it under an apple tree, and then shake
the fruit into it.'
Selfishness. Within his house in a great
arm chair before the fire sat an old grey head
ed man ripe for the grave. 'Twas winter,
and the cold wind whistled among the leaf
less branches from the trees, and the snow
and sleet rattled against the windows. The
old man cliuckled, for he was warm and
comfortable, and the biting blast touched
him not. Ho said " I have enough I am
rich so blow ye winds and drift ye snows
I am safe." A servant entered and, " Sir
a woman is at the door trembling with cold,
has no where to sleep, no home to go to;
she beg3jfor a corner of your kitchen to pas
the night in." " Away, I've no room for
theiving beggars; there is a taveru close by
tell hei to go there." " She says sho
has no money, and begs you to give here-
nough to buy a meal and lodging." " Be
gone drive her off, what I've got is my own,
and I'll keep it too. I'vo none to squander
on worthless mendicant. "
The next morning the old man slopped
out into the porch, and thero upon one of
the benches sat the poor beggar woman
His rjgc was kindled.
Did 1 not tell you 1 have nothinfjforyou,
impudence I Come, come, tramp. Leave
my house, I say, d'ye hear?" Sho hoard
him not ! She was dead ! The old man
mote his breat and entered his house. He
never left it again for he also died, and
died miserable, though rich.
TTcllerisms. A chicl's amang ye, takin
noles, as tho pickpocket said von he vas
at the race-course.
'That's flat burglary' as tho justico said
ven he saw the vomen stealing the cake off