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ing beings whose minds are congenial to the scenery around them. In the clear verdure of the smooth meadow, he sees the natural love of cleanliness which, he imagines, must exist in the bosom of every inhabitant of the country in the clear blue sky, unobstructed by the dark atmosphere which in the city dims its lustre, he perceives a semblance of the purity and innocence of the hearts which animate the gentle bosoms of the country maidens: in the charms which meet his ear in the "stilly hum" of the insects of the woods, the soft warblings of the feathered family, or the distant lowings of the meek domestic cow, he seems to feel that here, if any where, the "mens sibi conscia recti" must be the enviable birth-right of every occupant of the humble mansions before him and when the gentle breeze conveys to his ear the whisperings of the mighty wood, and to his smell the balmy fragrance of the rich clover fields, he is sincerely impressed with a belief, that the happy possessors of all these blessings must, in the fulness of their hearts, hourly breathe forth fervent aspirations of gratitude to that Supreme Being who, in his goodness, has made them so rich in the plenitude of his sweetest gifts.
Ombre de' boschi a' dolci furti amici,
Dell' aure seduttrici
Il dolce vaneggiar, de' lieti augelli
Il lascivo garrir, fra sasso e sasso
Il franger delle vive onde sonore,
La terra, il ciel, tutto inspirava amore.
But how mistaken are these hastily formed ideas of a casual visiter to the country. When the establishment of a regular communication with the city has introduced into some section of the country a share of the refinement which characterizes formed society; there, indeed, something like civilization may be expected-but nothing more. The fact is, that until steam-boats were introduced into common use, every country settlement, a few miles distant from the city, and actually inaccessible by land carriage, remained in the primitive state of barbarism in which it was established by its original occupants. To exemplify this, it is only necessary to refer the reader, who has some topographical knowledge of the city of New-York and its propinquities, to the present flourishing condition of the ancient town of Communipaw, whose inhabitants, with a species of brute instinct, sometimes denominated "a reverence for good old fashions," still preserve the
antiquated and barbarous manners and customs, both of dress and address, which distinguished their ancestors.
There is, however, a certain other place, not far south of Communipaw, where a much greater degree of genuiue barbarism prevailed, until the establishment of a regular steamboat ferry altered the face of things. The topographically learned reader will at once conjecture, that Staten Island, (or as it was originally called, Staaten's Island, and afterwards, with some justice, Satan's Island) is the place referred to,
At the time in which the achievement hereafter related took place, Steam-boats were unknown, even by name, to the natives of Staten Island. Few of its inhabitants had ever been to "York," although its proud spires might be seen, every fair day, from their very doors; and these few consisted of the fishermen, the farmers, and the ferrymen of the Island.
During the shad season, the fishermen generally freighted every ferry-boat that plied between the island and the city, in addition to their own small craft: and wo to the luckless wight whose business compelled him to proceed by the usual conveyances to New-York. On such miserable occasions, the body of the boat, filled with piles of shad, which attracted myriads of flies-the stern, and the little smoky cabin, filled with fishermen and ferrymen, smoking segars, chewing tobacco, and drinking rum, which might be nosed half way across the bay-their ceaseless bawling and roaring, intermingled with "curses, not deep, but loud," as the rum worked its way to their thick brain-these were the only attractions of a passage across the most beautiful bay on the face of the earth.
By farmers, are meant such of the islanders as were not absolutely amphibious; that is, those who were too lazy to catch more fish than would supply their own immediate wants, and who, to make up for this negligence, occasionally raised a few bushels of potatoes, a patch of cabbages, or a rood of turnips. But even such samples of industry were extremely rare; and the stock exported from the island to the Fly and Bear markets, consisted chiefly of apples, pears, black-berries and peaches, the culture of which required little or no labour, and the sale of which rarely produced any other good effect than a drunken frolick, of a week's duration, which usually ended in broken heads, bloody noses, and torn clothes, when these rural swains would return, ragged and pennyless, to the bosoms of their tender families, there to have their wounds healed, their linen washed, and their breeches mended. But to the ferrymen-for "thereby hangs a tale," to wit,
the tale which is to follow. These worthies had, by dint of impudence, drunkenness, and intolerable bullying, succeeded in establishing themselves as the aristocracy of the island. There was no small policy displayed by them in maintaining this supremacy. It was their uniform rule to preserve union among themselves as a body. An affront to one was considered an affront to the body corporate, and punished accordingly. Their regular place of meeting was at a small, square, one-sto ried wooden building, at first denominated "Crab-Hall," but afterwards dignified with the appellation of "The Devil's Punch Bowl;" which name, at the time to which this narrative refers, was displayed in large, clumsy, red letters over the top of the door. In this respectable mansion might, at all hours, be seen a motley collection of boatmen, children, pigs, chickens and dogs; some lying down on the floor, others reclined on the rough benches which lined the walls of the interior of the house; some busily engaged in playing cards and dice, while the remainder were employed in tossing coppers, or drinking rum. At night, a cock-fight, a fist-a-cuff, or an eel-dance formed the amusements of such of this honourable body as happened to be on the island. When stress of weather, hopes of lucre, or any similar occasion happened to detain any of them in the city all night, they were in the regular habit of sleeping and taking their meals at the "Boatmen's Hotel, or Staaten Island Inn and Ferry House," an old fashioned stone building near White Hall, and tenanted by one "Aunty Herringblob."
It one night happened that Joshua Martinow, and Little Silvy, (so big Silvy's brother was called, to distinguish him from his elder brother) having been both overcome with liquor, were compelled, by inability to pilot themselves, much less their boats, to put up for the night at Aunty Herringblob's. Little Silvy was up long before Joshua had slept off his liquor, and after disgorging the ninepence demanded for his bed, manfully resolved, in order to make up for lost time, to proceed to Staten Island forthwith, with such freight or passengers as Providence might throw in his way. On reaching the wharf, however, Little Silvy found that wind and tide were both so much opposed to his good resolution, that he accepted, as thankfully as he could, an invitation from the skipper of a fishing smack, which laid in the slip, to take his bitters and his breakfast on board his craft. After having completed his gratuitous breakfast, the lesser Silvy finding no farther hopes of passengers or provender, quietly wended his way back to the Boatmen's Hotel, where he found that the lazy lodgers had not yet breakfast
ed, although it was now nearly half past seven o'clock. After waiting a few minutes, however, Joshua Martinow, together with the other lodgers of the Hotel, made their appearance, and ranged themselves around the breakfast table. Little Silvy placed himself close by Joshua, (who was the only Staten Island boatman, besides himself, in the company.) not with the intention of repeating his disjeune, as he had already eaten as much as he could carry, but merely for the sake of consulting as to the best mode of mustering freight or passengers for the island. As their conversation increased in interest, Little Silvy had gradually approached so close to the table, that he appeared to be one of its regular customers; and when, at the conclusion of their meal, every man that had partaken of Aunty Herringblob's breakfast, had planked his two shillings, and the old lady had counted her money, with true old fashioned scrupulosity, she remarked that twoshillings were wanting to make up for all the noses that had been at table. Every man, save Silvy, vociferously swore that he had ponied up his "quarter:" whereupon the landlady observed that Silvy the less had not paid his reckoning. Silvy, vapouring with wrath, insisted upon knowing "vether she meant for to say as he did'nt buck up his nine pence for his bed?" and intimated that "she'd better not be a comin' over him vid no more of them ere insinivations." Aunty Herringblob said "she accused no gentleman that was a gentleman, and acted as sich; but she would wish to know if Mr. Silvy hadn't had his breakfast at her ordinar, that was all." On canvassing the votes of the party present (in which Silvy was backed only by Joshua,) it appeared that there was a great majority of votes against poor Little Silvy; and notwithstanding all his own pertinacity in denying the fact, backed by the luminous oaths of Joshua Martinow, the landlady insisted on his planking two shillings. The excitement on her behalf was so great, that Silvy, seeing no chance of honourable escape, any. said he was content to pay the two shillings, provided Aunty would let him know whether she undertook to give a person 66 as much as ever he could eat at a sittin' ;" because, he thought "that ere must be a bad rule as vouldn't vork both vays." To this Aunty Herringblob replied in the affirmative. "Vell, but lookee here now Aunty," said the lesser Silvy, suppose any vone comes here to eat a bit of dinner, and afore he's got enough, every thing's clean eaten up, vy vot: then??? Why then," said Aunty, "I'll find more. Nobody needs ever go from my table without a belly full, and that of the best, thof I say it, that shouldn't." "Vell then, mind now, Aunty, that ere's your
rule." "Yes, that is my rule, and always shall be my rule, Mr. Silvy." "That's enough, Aunty. There's your two shilling, thof I must say, I takes it a little unkind in you, Aunty, vot's had mints of money out of a body, to treat me in that ere sneakin' vay:-Don't you Josh ?" "A fool and his money's soon parted," was Joshua's laconic reply, as he left the house followed by Little Silvy,
On reaching the wharf, Joshua Martinow and Little Silvy found, to their great satisfaction, that the tide had changed, and that there was wind enough to insure their reaching the island before night; a calculation not always to be made with certainty, at the early time in which these events took place. They accordingly determined to unmoor their several barks, and proceed forthwith to the island, there to concert measures for taking signal vengeance on Aunty Herringblob: all which was done; after first leaving word for such boatmen as might come to town, to ply oar and sail, in order to reach the island again before night, inasmuch as there was to be a great consultation held that evening, at "The Devil's Punch Bowl," on a matter of vital importance to the body at large.
Providence favoured their wishes; for the wind changed with their desires, and before old Sol had hidden his jolly face behind Tar Barrel Hill, there was not only a quorum of members assembled, but every ferryman belonging to the island was in his place. On the principle that "might makes right," Big Silvy, being the largest and strongest man present, took the chair, which consisted of an old flour barrel, whose top was well fastened by an iron hoop, in order to secure Big Silvy's bottom. After swallowing, with becoming gravity, a huge mug of gin and beer, his favourite beverage, Big Silvy intimated his readiness to proceed to business, by inquiring "vot they meant by sitting like a lot of dried mackerel, instead of telling vot they had to say." Hereupon Little Silvy," sitting in his place" propounded as follows: "Neighbours ye all know that old Turk, Aunty Herringblob; and vot I vants to show, is the vay in which she pumped my fob this ere mornin'. Last night, ye see, Josh Martinow and me staid up at York, being as how Josh va'nt altogether snug in his knowledge box, and his compass vould'nt vork. Vell in the mornin' I gets up bright and early, pays my nine pence to Aunty for sleeping, tho' Lord knows, the bed-bugs vould hardly let me close my eyes. I'm bit all over. Vy vot are you all a laughin' at ?—If you don't believe me, vy look here :-seein's believin' I suppose.-But that's neither here nor there, so I'll go on with my story. Vell -as I vas a sayin' a'ter I had planked the cash, I goes down to