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The Undiscounted Dutchman

The Undiscounted Dutchman image
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To show the eft'ects of country banks I will relate a little exawplé tliat enne under mv own obsorvatiou a day or hvo since and perhaps gave rise to these -peoulations. V"o stopped n the evening to sloep in the house of a Dutciman, vvho kopt a sort of traroler'a rest, rathcr I bolieve, least lie should be obliged to euteitain tr&vclers for nofcbing, than fiom any great desire to add to the profits of his farm. It was a scène, and an evoniog, Diado uie mclancholy, with the fear of some day dying, and leaving a world so lovely. The house was situated cu a risins ground, behiud whiob, and close at hand, rvBe a majestic moimtain, not savage with rjeks and rugged precipices, but exhibi ting a green foliage unbroken to the very top, whose graeeful, waving outline brought to the mind images ot' peioe. - Iu front was spread the riehest little vale I ever saw; whoso meadows, and corn fields, the latter rising half a dozcu feet above the fences, and the former speekled with sheep and cattle, suoceeded each other ia ;ich Lixur'aiee. At one extreinity ran a brauch of the river Shenandoah half bid among the high elms aud sycamores; and a little further on, rose a peacked hill, behiud whieh the sun was setting. Evcrything seen was peace itsself, and everythingbeard,akin to sileuce; and only serving to render it still more striking in the intervals. Sometimes the cow-beli's fnr-off-tinkle carne fluttering on a transieut broeze - sometimes the negro's sonorous and resounding laugh waked the mountain echo- sometimes his inimitable whistle, enmlating the fife, and occasionally his song, which meilowed by the distance, was singularlv melodious As long as I live I sball'never forget that sceue. It was, in truth, a placo for a man to make his home; and the houest Dutch man, for such be approved himself, not onlyby his dialect, but by his invincible prc'dileciion for his rich bottoms, seemecl to think as much; for he appeared to bc actnally eontented - a rare thing in tl ie world. In tfais calm leisure of tho dusk of the eveuing, he and his dame- and a jolly dame she was- good humored as a lark, and as round as a dumpling- carne and sat with us in tho poreb; he with his pipe; and she, with her snuffbox, bearing the likeness of Commodore Porter. - This custoin is highly eschewed by all orthodox Englisb travelcrs; but for my part íf a man is not willfully obtrueive and transgressces no laws of etiquette that ho knows of; I like his eompany and can !generally get sometbinj amusing or i structive from him. Mine hostseemed such a rare comfortnble sort of a dog, that I determined to kuow, if possible, how he became so; and in order to entitlc myself to his history, told bim mine beforehand; for country pecple are always a little cautious. The tto y of the Bnrgomaster or justiee, (for so he announced himself,) in substance was ae follows: "I married" said he, "at the age of twenty-six, - though perhaps you won't bolieve it, my wife was reekoned a beauty in her day - my fortune was three hundred pounds and a negro man; and my ■wife brought me a great chest filled with, I dare say six-hundred petticoats and short gowns which have lastcd till this day; so her clothiug has cost me nothing. This was what we had to commence the world with. After looking about a little, I bought this farm, wbich being much worn and out of order, I got cheap. What I had was enough for tho first payment, the rost was to be dividcd in three equal annual inatalments. "The farm as I said, was then iu poor order, the fields a good deal worn out, and the fences bad, and the houses very old. 13ut there was no time to groan; for the year was coming about and the money must be paid. So, Torn and I, and often my wife, turned out early and late, and worked like horses; and after selling my harvest, I carried my first payment home in hard dollars. "Well," continued the Dutchman, "the next year I went on still botter, paid the money still easier, and at the end of the third year my farm was my own. We now thought to make oursclves comfortable by building a better home, for we had but a poor onebefore; so in tho spring I set to work as soon us the frost was out of the gronnd. I burnt my own bricks and lime, from my own limestone and clay, aud furnished boards and timber from my own farm. In tho meantime the war came on; and it is an ill wind that blows nobody good, the number of wagons passing this way, increased every day, because the produce could not go round by sea. I sold all my produce right at my door escept my wheat. If that was high, I coukl afford to send the flour to market; and if not, I cut it into shorts to feed the wagoners' horses. By tbe time my house was finshished it was paid for, and now I don't know what I shall build next, for my part. I am forty-three years old. I have twelve hundred acros of as fine bottom as any in Virginia - a good grist aud saw mili, a tolerably good wife, if I could only make a fine lady of her -but she sticks to the old chest like a moth - a decent house over my head; and I owc no man a shilling except Torn, who, by now and then raising a little grain, shooting a deer, waiting on traveleis, has in iny hands enough to buy his freedom, but he is already free, for that matter and knows he can po when he picases." "Fray," gaid I, did you ever get a discount " "A discount! what's that" said the Dutchman. "Did you ever borrow money of a bank and mortgage your land for it?" "No, uo," said he, "I wasu't such a fooi as that. My poor neighbor whose house you see over the river yonder, with tbe windows broke, and no smoke to the chimney, played a trick of that kind; but his farm is bood to be sold at veuduc, and [ tiiink ot' bijying it. II ia i'uiuily were in great dietrees, though we helped tliem u littlc to gct to the back country, wliero I iiear thuy ure duing protty well again." 1 will not truublu you with the moral of t!ii sioi'y, but coucludü hy bidding you beware of discounts.