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contact with the reality ; that there was more prose than poetry in getting well soaked with salt water in a dark night on a winter's coast ; in reefing top-sails, and sending down top-gallant masts in a gale of wind on a lee shore; or hoisting out or in cargo, day after day, exposed to the sun, with the thermometer at ninety degrees, Fahrenheit. He did not even think there was anything particularly captivating in eating, week after week, salt junk of the color and consistence of St. Domingo mahogany, and sea biscuit which abounded with insects of different varieties; and drinking water, from which a well-nurtured horse would have turned away in disgust. But Ichabod was blessed with a good constitution and a robust frame; a happy disposition, and a good deal of determination of character; and having once fairly got his hands in the tarbucket, he resolved to pursue the sea-faring business as his occupation in life. He began at the lowest round, but he resolved to mount to the top of the ladder.
Ichabod went to sea on several voyages before the mast, and being of a cheerful, lively temperament, promptly obeying the orders of his officers, without sulky looks or mutterings of discontent, and desirous of making every one around him as happy as himself, he was always a favorite on board ; and treated with kindness by his
officers, and with affection by his shipmates. Nor was Ichabod Allen deficient in a manly spirit neither. He cautiously abstained from giving just cause of offence, on the one hand, but he would never tamely submit to an injury or an insult, on the other. Notwithstanding the apparent amiability of his temper, it could be excited without much difficulty ; and more than once he was known to teach a practical lesson to an ill-mannered bully, and strongly impressed it on his memory, too, that a happy disposition, a heart over-flowing with the milk of human kindness, and handsome features, almost always illuminated by smiles, were not incompatible with a brave and noble spirit.
At the age of twenty-one, Ichabod Allen was as fine a looking fellow as one would desire to see on a summer's day. He was a good, but rather favorable specimen of a Yankee sailor. His frame was compact and muscular, his step was elastic, and his healthy, though sun-burnt complexion, his clear, hazel eye, and his intelligent countenance, all assisted in forming a physiognomy, such as sentimental young ladies love to meet with in their dreams, or haply to look upon in their waking moments. But Ichabod, although he carried in his heart a bosom formed neither of ice nor granite; although he had Airted and frolicked with gay and laughing damsels of every clime; although five of the most renowned man-subduing belles in his native village, where he was in the habit of passing a week or two every year, had opened their batteries upon him with a firm determination to bring him to his knees, make him acknowledge the supremacy of female charms, and surrender at discretion ; yet, down to the time when our tale commences, his bosom had been invulnerable to the shast of Cupid, and his heart continued as sound as a roach. How he succeeded in passing through the fiery ordeal unscathed, I shall not undertake to explain. It is an old saying, however, that marriage and hanging go by destiny; and a Mussulman would have said that “his time had not yet come.”
Ichabod Allen was attached to the good ship Tantarabogus, lying at one of the wharves in Boston, as second mate ; but it being the winter season, and as the ship was not expected to sail on her voyage for Havana and elsewhere, for several weeks, he obtained permission from the owners to visit his father's family. After being for several days a welcome inmate of the old mansion, beneath whose roof he first drew the breath of life, and almost envying his sisters and brothers their social and domestic enjoyinents, he suddenly determined to take the opportunity to visit a kind uncle who resided in Allensville, in the State of Maine, and who had several times, with great earnestness, invited the young sailor to make his appearance in that quarter.
Ichabod Allen stepped into the stage-sleigh one cold morning in January, at an early hour, and after a comfortless ride of two days and a half, in that most uncomfortable of all vehicles which the ingenuity of man ever invented, and being upset only four times on his route, he was safely deposited, although almost as gelid as an icicle, at the door of the Black Swan Public House, in Allensville. This noted tavern, indeed the only one in the village, was kept by Jonas Sanderson, a bluff-looking, ruddy-cheeked, good-humored landlord, who delighted in seeing all his customers “ taking their comfort,” as he called it, which, according to his notions, consisted in swilling deep and frequent potations of sling, toddy, or flip. And Jonas Sanderson, with singular hospitality, neglected no attentions which would contribute to the comfort of his guests; and his bar-room was frequented not only by the passing travellers, for whose especial accommodation our country taverns were originally intended, but by all the idle, the silly, the vicious, and the intemperate men within a circle of several miles, who sought to kill “ the enemy" by drinking alcoholic drinks, at the same time that they emptied their purses, destroyed their constitu
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tions, and brought misery upon their families. Thus Jonas Sanderson waxed rich ; for the money which the poor infatuated inebriate should have spent to clothe and feed his shivering and starving wife and children, was paid over to the landlord, for generồusly, hospitably supplying his fellow-men with a poison, destructive alike to body and soul. Jonas Sanderson was also a respectable man, and honored with the commission of justice of the peace,
which gave him a legitimate claim to the title of “Squire.” But the Squire's rubicund countenance and bloodshot eyes, showed that he was “ taking his own comfort” pretty often; and those who watched the signs of the times, predicted that many years would not elapse, before even the “burly host ” himself — albeit, his worldly possessions might increase in value -- would become one of that very class of despised and degraded beings, ycleped drunkards, which he had labored so hard, by night and by day, by precept and example, to increase and multiply in the village.
Ichabod Allen, after warming himself by the large and cheerful fire in the bar-room, and returning the stare of the motley group, which were collected, apparently to inhale the stimulating effluvia, and procure a drop or two of comfort, inquired the direction in which his uncle Timothy