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one servant quickly followed another, bringing news of some sad misfortune and disappointment. It seemed the very elements had turned against me; for the stream that supplied my engine with water was now nearly dry. This was a circumstance unknown before by the oldest citizens. A constant stream of only the size of a quarter of an inch would have supplied it night and day. During the month that I lay sick at Martinsburg, I made many promises to the Lord that I would set out to serve him; but the adversary of my soul was constantly engaged in striving to prevent me-telling me, Not now. The cares of business and pain of body all seemed to unite against me to crowd out and choke every good desire. O! my dear reader, let me here solemnly and emphatically warn you, and in the name of God beseech you, to set out this moment to seek the Lord, with full purpose of heart, before the evil day draws near when you shall be laid upon a bed of languishing! You will then have enough to grapple with, without drinking the wormwood and the gall. "Seek the Lord while he may be found," and your bed of death shall
"Be soft as downy pillows are,
While on his breast you lean your head,
And breathe your life out sweetly there."
Having partially recovered, so that I could hobble across the room on a pair of crutches, I was carried back to the mill, which I found motionless, and everything around wore a gloomy aspect. The ex
cessive drought throughout the country had stopped nearly all my water-mills. Something was necessary to be done, to bring up the rear in my business, and secure, if possible, the back money which was already earned, and in the hands of the company, but which was subject to forfeiture unless the job was completed. It was certain ruin to stop there, and it could be nothing worse to endeavour to finish. My promises to God were as if written on the snow. I clenched the muck-rake to gather up some of the scattered straws. I resolved to go to Baltimore, although I looked more like a candidate for the grave-yard than for any other business.
However, I met the company, and they agreed to join with me in supplying the residue of timber, promising to pay me for all I would supply, be it more or less. That night I stayed in Baltimore, and put up at Beltshoover's large hotel, a place where I had usually stopped. I was shown by the servant to my lodging-room. There I spent a most solemn night; and though I was not in very great pain, yet it seemed that none but death was to be my companion in the night. When I went to bed, I got the servant to fasten the bell of my room over my head, so that I could reach up my arm and ring it if I should have occasion, or rather the wire of my bell that passed from my room, through various walls of the house, into a lower room where the servant watched. Pulling that wire would ring a bell having the number of my room, and so di
rect the servant to the right place. But, thank God! I survived the dead, though I believe I prayed in rather more earnest that night than I ever had before; but I fear I prayed more for the preservation of my life than for the pardon of my sins.
I now returned home again, being determined that even the elements should not prevail against me in stopping my mills. So I rigged a team and hauled about twenty hogsheads of water daily, for about six weeks. This, in addition to what I received by sinking a well, enabled me to keep my engine in motion, praying and expecting every day that the heavens would give us rain. Although, in this way, my water cost me five dollars a day, yet it was wisdom to obtain it so, under our circumstances. So the company and myself, by bringing a large quantity of timber from North Carolina, and every other place where we could procure it, at almost any price, completed the contract early the next spring. I think it was in October that I set the mill in operation, driving everything I could before me. I had now regained my health, with the exception that my right leg was shrunk and withered, from the upper joint of my thigh down to my ankle. So I halted on my thigh, like Jacob, when he wrestled at the ford of Jabbok with the angel. Gen. xxxii. I was still listening to the advice of the adversary of my soul, "Wait till a more convenient season, to give your heart unto God." O! how
true it is, that the Lord is long-suffering, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Pet. iii, 9.
Christmas had now arrived, and I was able to lay aside one of my crutches and again to mount my horse. Having business with Colonel Colston, who had also been engaged in furnishing timber for the company, I went to see him. And perhaps it would not be uninteresting or out of place here, to give my northern reader a little account of my visit, and a short description of this distinguished family. The colonel was an heir of at least one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, and was one of the Virginia bloods," as he was termed. He was a noble-looking, free-hearted man, and, in short, he possessed every qualification of a gentleman. He had been a member of Congress several years. He lived in a large and ancient brick mansion, situated about a mile south of the Potomac river. Around this he owned about fifteen hundred acres of elegant limestone land, divided into several farms. The canal company had thrown a heavy dam across the river near him, where he had erected, about five years previous, a flouring-mill and saw-mill. These, having cost about thirty-five thousand dollars, burned down the first week, the fire also consuming a large amount of wheat with them. At the time of my visit, he had just completed another similar mill on the same ground. This being Christmas-day, and the birthday of the colonel, they had been accustomed,
for many years, to observe it as a family festival. I had often visited him before, and on that occasion he pressed me to dine with him, and remain all night. About four o'clock the rich banqueting table was spread, covered with the luxuries of life and the dainties of the season. His family consisted of a wife and five children, a family tutor, a young lady, who was a relative, and an old mother of about eighty, a relic of the Washington family. She was an own sister to Chief Justice Marshall, and a near connexion of General Washington. After dinner, talking and mincing perhaps an hour and a half, bottles of very rich wine were produced, and a glass for each; and while drinking, sentiments or toasts were freely exchanged, in which the old lady and the colonel participated. This was a respectable family, and could boast of noble ancestors. Before we arose from the table, the colonel related his experience for the last previous ten years, which was as follows:
He said that he was that day fifty-five years old. When he was forty-five he resolved to let go public offices and build the mill, as I have heretofore stated, get out of debt, and so arrange his property as to have no other care but to receive the revenue of the rents that it yielded him. The balance of his life, from fifty years old, he had resolved to dedicate to God, and enjoy the comfort of his family. "But alas!" said he, "how vain are all human calculations! From the very period I had set to be re