Page images

take away a band-box from a ragged unlicensed negro, that he received a severe wound on the pate with a broad-axe, the scar of which he bore to his grave. Harry's head was dressed by a surgeon, and soon got well; and he had the pleasure of seeing the officious blackamoor put into the penitentiary for his pains. Another time, our sturdy porter, who disdained to give place with his carriage to any other vehicle, had his leg run over by a drunken cartman. Fortunately, however, his limb being none of the stoutest, got between two paving stones, and no bones were broken.

[ocr errors]

Harry had always a martial turn, and was very fond of exhibiting his person in the military costume; and had war broken out again, and his services been required, would no doubt have turned colonel or major at the least, and have borne his honours as well, and acquired as much renown, as any of the suddenly made officers of the present day. It was in his military dress, one summer's afternoon, that Harry regaled the spectators on the Battery, with an aquatic exhibition, on one of Mr. Jackson's patent mattresses; on which occasion our versatile youth, in paddling, skulling and splashing about in the water, completely bore away the palm from the Esquimaux Indian, who had exhibited a few days previously in his canoe. Harry, however, had well nigh paid dear for his renown; for, losing his equilibrium, his head popped under the surface, and he had like to have undergone the pains of submersion. Mention was made of this fact in the newspapers; and our hero, who, from his residence in Spain, and long exposure to wind and weather, had acquired rather a swarthy hue, was designated as "a coloured gentleman in regimentals."

But the time was fast approaching when Harry's career of usefulness and ornament, like other mundane phenomena, was to be brought to a close. In the summer of 1822, the yellow fever broke out in New-York. Slender was foremost in attendance upon the sick; and, as I am credibly informed, held the basin for the first man with the black vomit. Performing, alternately, the parts of physician, nurse, watchman and deputy health officer, he remained in the city all the season; faithfully filling each office, and rendering, with alacrity, to the sick, all those little services and attentions which none knew better how to perform than he.

Harry escaped the fever; but whether the poison, to which he had so long been exposed, still lurked in his system, or whether the large draughts of brandy which he took to counteract its effects, (and of which, to use his own words, he had drank enough to swim in) had given a shock to his constitution, I Vol. I. No. V.


cannot tell; but, strange as it may appear, he was seized one morning with a violent fit of apoplexy. The best medical advice was immediately procured, and Harry was bled, cupped on the temples, blistered on the back of the neck, and had sinapisms applied to his feet; besides other extreme unctions of medicine and surgery. By this vigorous treatment he recovered from the apoplexy, and, for a few weeks, seemed doing well. But, alas! how fallacious are the anticipations of futurity! He was seized with an erysipelas of his left leg, which in spite of yest cataplasms, spirituous lotions, and farinaceous applications, progressing rapidly, soon reached his abdomen ; and, to use the words of the surgeon, who made the post-mortem examination, produced sad work among the viscera therein contained. Thus perished, at the tender age of 48, Harry Slender, a person of whom it may with truth be affirmed, we shall never look upon his like again. I shall conclude with the words of the eloquent porter, who delivered his eulogy in the back room of Mr. Patten's porter house.

"Time, with his cruel scythe, has cut down one of the sweetest flowerets that ever blossomed on this terrestrial sphere. Death has wheeled off on his barrow the most precious load that ever freighted Charon's steam-boat. The grave has closed with its gaping jaws over one of the prettiest anatomies that ever walked abroad in the frail vestments of mortality. Fare thee well, Harry!-for thou wast the kindest soul that ever poted a gin cock-tail; thou wast the truest soul that ever spat upon six-pence for good luck; and thou wast the worthiest soul that ever stretched shanks behind a wheelbarrow."

The following beautiful and tender lines were written shortly after his death by a young poet of this city, who is also dead.

[blocks in formation]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Their fainting close revives a tale,
Unknown but to the sufferer's heart;
Whose moistened eyes and forehead pale,
Proclaim Life, Love and all must part.

They rouse the soul with martial strain

Whose thoughts have long been weaned from glory,
They breathe the warrior's pride and pain
When weltering on his mantle gory.

They whisper love too oft deceiving,
Born to gladden by deceit

Each wo with transient hope relieving;

Then fading like these sounds so sweet.
July 27th, 1824


[blocks in formation]

Then the Fisher bove in sight,

His barque flew fast to land,

For he plied his oar, as he neared the shore,
Till he gained the welcome strand.

Success had crowned his toil,

He was safe from the wild wave's foam, And his heart was light, his hopes were bright As the moon beams round his home.

Then the voice of joy was heard
From his cottage on the steep,

And the happy song of the anxious throng,
As they hailed him from the deep,

It rose in thanks to Heaven,

'Twas raised for Heaven to hear, Sweet as the strain o'er Bethlehem's plain, For it rose from hearts sinc re.

It rose- -it paused--it fell---
'Twas done ;- --the strain was o'er,
And all was still, on their lonely hill,
As the waters on their shore.



Midnight waned in the ebon sky,

And the deep-blue vault of heaven was still,
Save the warning voice of the angel's cry,
As he watched the fiends on Zion hill.
His warder note, in the depths of night,
Is heard alone by the minstrel's ear,
(For the high star-beam, as it gilds the sight,
Has a voice that fancy's heart may hear;)
And the sleeping earth in silence lay,
Dreaming of love or hate or wo,

And the lulling lapse of a streamlet's play
Rose faint and far in the moonlight glow

And I wandered on in reverie lost,
'Till the brutal roar of a revel rout

The circling current of fancy crossed,

And made the wak'd sense gaze about;

When the flaring lights of the banquet hall,
And the noisy rush of revelry,

And the mummery mask, and sparkling ball,
Burst on my ear, and heart, and eye.
And I stood and mused of the forms that there
Displayed their charms to the losel's view,
And the visored smile that masked despair,
And the scornful laugh that ne'er was true;---

« PreviousContinue »