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ORIGINAL PAPERS.

FOR THE PORT FOLIO.

THE AMERICAN LOUNGER.

No. XXXII.

May heaven have compassion upon those whose
doom it is to ply the quill in hot weather! If this
task require uncommon diligence, at any time, it
makes double demands upon us at a sultry season.
And if the habitually industrious, may claim some
excuse for indolence, at such a time, the Lounger
cannot doubt of a ready forgiveness.

My readers, I hope, have not been very much
displeased at my silence for a couple of weeks.
When the merchant has deserted his compting-
house, the lawyer laid aside his docket, the divine
his quill, the shoemaker his awl, and the taylor his
shears, it cannot be expected that the mere Loun-
ger should stick to his business. If the interest of
their families cannot enable the busiest classes of
mankind to get the better of the fear of death, when
it hovers over them in the tremendous form of pes-
tilence, what can be expected of one who has no
interest of this kind to detain him at a post of dan-
ger, whose customary haunts are all dismally soli-
tary, and who finds the hospitable door no longer
open? To lounge alone is not always an unpleasant
thing, but to lounge in company is infinitely more
pleasant. To have a companion sympathetically
nodding with you, to see him give you yawn for
yawn, and puff for puff, and to have now and then
your impatience of the lagging hours echoed by a....
“what's a clock now?....…“Damn it, I believe it'll
never be night”.…is extremely desirable. At pre-
sent, however, all my friends have disappeared. The
first alarm of yellow fever is sufficient to disperse
them into remote quarters. Yet they have with-
drawn from melancholy naked streets, not so much
from the fear of death as from the love of variety.
Several of them are usually detained in town by
some unlucky engagement, in the hot season, and
a yellow fever, by putting an end to all business,
and thereby permitting them to decamp, is a most
welcome visitant. Their hopes and fears vibrate
as rapidly as those of the plodders, but the vibra-
tions of one set, are directly opposite to those of the
other. When the rumours of fever increase, the
Lounger's hopes keeps pace with them. Pestilence
is to him a sort of key which opens his prison doors,
and gives him the liberty of fields and forests. On
the contrary, when these rumours decline, their
spirits are, in a like degree, depressed. They have
nothing before them but the prospect of impertinant
customers and insolent duns. Their ears ring with
the odious sounds of....“have you got”....and “go
to the custom-house and ask”....On the contrary,
when the conservators of the public health publish
the joyful tidings of....“Whereas there is good
reason to believe that there prevails among us a
malignant and CONTAGIOUS fever”....how lightly
do their spirits dance. What gay images of gasp-
ing woodcocks and bleeding squirrels; of foaming
bottles and fuming segars; of gigs, curricles and
tandems, hover before their eyes, and with what
impatience do they haste to some paradise of a
watering-place where they may revel for a holiday
of two or three months!



Two of my particular friends have gone upon an
eastern tour, intending to make a long stay at Le-
banon and Ball's-town; three others have bent their
steps to the sea-shore, while another has retired
from the Yellow-fever to the Yellow-springs. They,
no doubt, pass their time very agreeably, if the so-
ciety of those like ourselves contribute to pleasure.
I sympathise with them, however, in the present
gloomy prospect of returning health. I can easily
imagine their saddened visages, and the disconso-
late accent with which they cry out.…“two new
cases! Only two!” My generosity, however, in the
present case, must yield to my selfishness, nor can
I help rejoicing at the probable return of the run-
aways, not for their own sake, indeed, but for my
own. Solitude has become altogether insupporta-
ble. I am tired of seeing the aromatic cloud roll
from no lips but mine, and I long to hear some other
humming than that of ale.

“But why, Mr. Saunter,” I suppose somebody
will ask, “do not you follow the example of your
friends, and betake yourself, like them, to the sea-
shore or the spring-head?” Alas! my reasons for
staying in the city, dangerous and lonely as it is,
are of the most substantial kind. Some of my
friends give me credit for my courage, and I deem
it politic not to discountenance the imputation.
Others are kind enough to lay my stay to the ac-
count of charitable motives. As I walk about a
good deal, some people generously suspect that
I am hunting poverty to her holes, and warming
her darkest and dampest corners with the searching
beams of my munificence. I do not care to dis-
courage such kind thoughts by unseasonable can-
dour, especially as such construction is put upon
my conduct by very few, and is least apt to occur
to those who know me best. The real motive of
my stay is known only to the old lady, my aunt,
with whom I live. She is confounded stingy, and
instead of supplying me with the means of being
charitable to others, is even deaf to the claims of
that charity which begins at home. I would gladly
have the power of relieving every body's wants,
and especially should be happy to relive all my
own wants,
and if I want charity, it is a want, not of
inclination, but of means.

I see no necessity of making the world as know-
ing in this respect as my aunt. I will, therefore,
sit down contentedly with the praise of charity
from those who are kind enough to give it to me,
and with the rewards of courage, to which those
are surely entitled, who, whatever be their motive,
can look yellow fever boldly in the face.


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