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Title: Satanstoe; Or, the Littlepage Manuscripts. A Tale of the Colony
Author: Cooper, James Fenimore
Language: English
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SATANSTOE

or,

THE LITTLEPAGE MANUSCRIPTS


A TALE OF THE COLONY.


By J. Fenimore Cooper.


“The only amaranthine flower on earth
is virtue: the only treasure, truth.”--SPENSER



PREFACE.

Every chronicle of manners has a certain value. When customs are connected
with principles, in their origin, development, or end, such records have
a double importance; and it is because we think we see such a connection
between the facts and incidents of the Littlepage Manuscripts, and certain
important theories of our own time, that we give the former to the world.

It is perhaps a fault of your professed historian, to refer too much to
philosophical agencies, and too little to those that are humbler. The
foundations of great events, are often remotely laid in very capricious and
uncalculated passions, motives, or impulses. Chance has usually as much to
do with the fortunes of states, as with those of individuals; or, if there
be calculations connected with them at all, they are the calculations of a
power superior to any that exists in man.

We had been led to lay these Manuscripts before the world, partly by
considerations of the above nature, and partly on account of the manner
in which the two works we have named, “Satanstoe” and the “Chainbearer,”
 relate directly to the great New York question of the day, ANTI-RENTISM;
which question will be found to be pretty fully laid bare, in the third
and last book of the series. These three works, which contain all the
Littlepage Manuscripts, do not form sequels to each other, in the sense of
personal histories, or as narratives; while they do in that of principles.
The reader will see that the early career, the attachment, the marriage,
&c. of Mr. Cornelius Littlepage are completely related in the present book,
for instance; while those of his son, Mr. Mordaunt Littlepage, will be just
as fully given in the “Chainbearer,” its successor. It is hoped that the
connection, which certainly does exist between these three works, will have
more tendency to increase the value of each, than to produce the ordinary
effect of what are properly called sequels, which are known to lessen the
interest a narrative might otherwise have with the reader. Each of these
three books has its own hero, its own heroine, and its own---picture--of
manners, complete; though the latter may be, and is, more or less thrown
into relief by its _pendants_.

We conceive no apology is necessary for treating the subject of
anti-rentism with the utmost frankness. Agreeably to our views of the
matter, the existence of true liberty among us, the perpetuity of the
institutions, and the safety of public morals, are all dependent on putting
down, wholly, absolutely, and unqualifiedly, the false and dishonest
theories and statements that have been boldly advanced in connection with
this subject. In our view, New York is at this moment, much the most
disgraced state in the Union, notwithstanding she has never failed to pay
the interest on her public debt; and her disgrace arises from the fact that
her laws are trampled underfoot, without any efforts, at all commensurate
with the object, being made to enforce them. If _words_ and _professions_
can save the character of a community, all may yet be well; but if states,
like individuals, are to be judged by their actions, and the “tree is to be
known by its fruit,” God help us!

For ourselves, we conceive that true patriotism consists in laying bare
everything like public vice, and in calling such things by their right
names. The great enemy of the race has made a deep inroad upon us, within
the last ten or a dozen years, under cover of a spurious delicacy on the
subject of exposing national ills; and it is time that they who have not
been afraid to praise, when praise was merited, should not shrink from the
office of censuring, when the want of timely warnings may be one cause of
the most fatal evils. The great practical defect of institutions like
ours, is the circumstance that “what is everybody’s business, is nobody’s
business;” a neglect that gives to the activity of the rogue a very
dangerous ascendency over the more dilatory correctives of the honest man.



CHAPTER I.

  “Look you,
  Who comes here: a young man, and an old, in solemn talk.”

  _As You Like it_.


It is easy to foresee that this country is destined to undergo great and
rapid changes. Those that more properly belong to history, history will
doubtless attempt to record, and probably with the questionable veracity
and prejudice that are apt to influence the labours of that particular
muse; but there is little hope that any traces of American society, in
its more familiar aspects, will be preserved among us, through any of the
agencies usually employed for such purposes. Without a stage, in a national
point of view at least, with scarcely such a thing as a book of memoirs
that relates to a life passed within our own limits, and totally without
light literature, to give us simulated pictures of our manners, and the
opinions of the day, I see scarcely a mode by which the next generation can
preserve any memorials of the distinctive usages and thoughts of this.
It is true, they will have traditions of certain leading features of the
colonial society, but scarcely any records; and, should the next twenty
years do as much as the last, towards substituting an entirely new race for
the descendants of our own immediate fathers, it is scarcely too much to
predict that even these traditions will be lost in the whirl and excitement
of a throng of strangers. Under all the circumstances, therefore, I have
come to a determination to make an effort, however feeble it may prove, to
preserve some vestiges of household life in New York, at least; while I
have endeavoured to stimulate certain friends in New Jersey, and farther
south, to undertake similar tasks in those sections of the country. What
success will attend these last applications, is more than I can say, but,
in order that the little I may do myself shall not be lost for want of
support, I have made a solemn request in my will, that those who come after
me will consent to continue this narrative, committing to paper their own
experience, as I have here committed mine, down as low at least as my
grandson, if I ever have one. Perhaps, by the end of the latter’s career,
they will begin to publish books in America, and the fruits of our joint
family labours may be thought sufficiently matured to be laid before the
world.

It is possible that which I am now about to write will be thought too
homely, to relate to matters much too personal and private, to have
sufficient interest for the public eye; but it must be remembered that the
loftiest interests of man are made up of a collection of those that are
lowly; and, that he who makes a faithful picture of only a single important
scene in the events of single life, is doing something towards painting the
greatest historical piece of his day. As I have said before, the leading
events of my time will find their way into the pages of far more pretending
works than this of mine, in some form or other, with more or less of
fidelity to the truth, and real events, and real motives; while the humbler
matters it will be my office to record, will be entirely overlooked by
writers who aspire to enrol their names among the Tacituses of former ages.
It may be well to say here, however, I shall not attempt the historical
mood at all, but content myself with giving the feelings, incidents, and
interests of what is purely private life, connecting them no farther with
things that are of a more general nature, than is indispensable to render
the narrative intelligible and accurate. With these explanations, which are
made in order to prevent the person who may happen first to commence the
perusal of this manuscript from throwing it into the fire, as a silly
attempt to write a more silly fiction, I shall proceed at once to the
commencement of my proper task.

I was born on the 3d May, 1737, on a neck of land, called Satanstoe, in the
county of West Chester, and in the colony of New York; a part of the widely
extended empire that then owned the sway of His Sacred Majesty, George II.,
King of Great Britain, Ireland, and France; Defender of the Faith; and, I
may add, the shield and panoply of the Protestant Succession; God bless
him! Before I say anything of my parentage, I will first give the reader
some idea of the _locus in quo_, and a more precise notion of the spot on
which I happened first to see the light.

A “neck,” in West Chester and Long Island parlance, means something that
might be better termed a “head and shoulders,” if mere shape and dimensions
are kept in view. Peninsula would be the true word, were we describing
things on a geographical scale; but, as they are, I find it necessary to
adhere to the local term, which is not altogether peculiar to our county,
by the way. The “neck” or peninsula of Satanstoe, contains just four
hundred and sixty-three acres and a half of excellent West Chester land;
and that, when the stone is hauled and laid into wall, is saying as much in
its favour as need be said of any soil on earth. It has two miles of beach,
and collects a proportionate quantity of sea-weed for manure, besides
enjoying near a hundred acres of salt-meadow and sedges, that are not
included in the solid ground of the neck proper. As my father, Major
Evans Littlepage, was to inherit this estate from his father, Capt. Hugh
Littlepage, it might, even at the time of my birth, be considered old
family property, it having indeed, been acquired by my grandfather, through
his wife, about thirty years after the final cession of the colony to the
English by its original Dutch owners. Here we had lived, then, near half a
century, when I was born, in the direct line, and considerably longer if
we included maternal ancestors; here I now live, at the moment of writing
these lines, and here I trust my only son is to live after me.

Before I enter into a more minute description of Satanstoe, it may be well,
perhaps, to say a word concerning its somewhat peculiar name. The neck lies
in the vicinity of a well-known pass that is to be found in the narrow arm
of the sea that separates the island of Manhattan from its neighbour, Long
Island, and which is called Hell Gate. Now, there is a tradition, that I
confess is somewhat confined to the blacks of the neighbourhood, but
which says that the Father of Lies, on a particular occasion, when he was
violently expelled from certain roystering taverns in the New Netherlands,
made his exit by this well-known dangerous pass, and drawing his foot
somewhat hastily from among the lobster-pots that abound in those waters,
leaving behind him as a print of his passage by that route, the Hog’s
Back, the Pot, and all the whirlpools and rocks that render navigation so
difficult in that celebrated strait, he placed it hurriedly upon the spot
where there now spreads a large bay to the southward and eastward of the
neck, just touching the latter with the ball of his great toe, as he passed
Down-East; from which part of the country some of our people used to
maintain he originally came. Some fancied resemblance to an inverted
toe (the devil being supposed to turn everything with which he meddles,
upside-down,) has been imagined to exist in the shape and swells of our
paternal acres; a fact that has probably had its influence in perpetuating
the name.

Satanstoe has the place been called, therefore, from time immemorial; as
time is immemorial in a country in which civilized time commenced not a
century and a half ago: and Satanstoe it is called to-day. I confess I am
not fond of unnecessary changes, and I sincerely hope this neck of land
will continue to go by its old appellation, as long as the House of Hanover
shall sit on the throne of these realms; or as long as water shall run
and grass shall grow. There has been an attempt made to persuade the
neighbourhood, quite lately, that the name is irreligious and unworthy of
an enlightened people, like this of West Chester; but it has met with no
great success. It has come from a Connecticut man, whose father they say is
a clergyman of the “_standing_ order;” so called, I believe, because they
stand up at prayers; and who came among us himself in the character of a
schoolmaster. This young man, I understand, has endeavoured to persuade the
neighbourhood that Satanstoe is a corruption introduced by the Dutch, from
Devil’s Town; which, in its turn, was a corruption from Dibbleston; the
family from which my grandfather’s father-in-law purchased having been,
as he says, of the name of Dibblee. He has got half-a-dozen of the more
sentimental part of our society to call the neck Dibbleton; but the attempt
is not likely to succeed in the long run, as we are not a people much given
to altering the language, any more than the customs of our ancestors.
Besides, my Dutch ancestors did not purchase from any Dibblee, no such
family ever owning the place, that being a bold assumption of the Yankee to
make out his case the more readily.

Satanstoe, as it is little more than a good farm in extent, so it is little
more than a particularly good farm in cultivation and embellishment.
All the buildings are of stone, even to the hog-sties and sheds, with
well-pointed joints, and field walls that would do credit to a fortified
place. The house is generally esteemed one of the best in the Colony, with
the exception of a few of the new school. It is of only a story and a half
in elevation, I admit; but the rooms under the roof are as good as any of
that description with which I am acquainted, and their finish is such as
would do no discredit to the upper rooms of even a York dwelling. The
building is in the shape of an L, or two sides of a parallelogram, one
of which shows a front of seventy-five, and the other of fifty feet.
Twenty-six feet make the depth, from outside to outside of the walls. The
best room had a carpet, that covered two-thirds of the entire dimensions
of the floor, even in my boyhood, and there were oil-cloths in most of the
better passages. The buffet in the dining-room, or smallest parlour, was
particularly admired; and I question if there be, at this hour, a handsomer
in the county. The rooms were well-sized, and of fair dimensions, the
larger parlours embracing the whole depth of the house, with proportionate
widths, while the ceilings were higher than common, being eleven feet, if
we except the places occupied by the larger beams of the chamber floors.

As there was money in the family, besides the Neck, and the Littlepages had
held the king’s commissions, my father having once been an ensign, and my
grandfather a captain, in the regular army, each in the earlier portion of
his life, we always ranked among the gentry of the county. We happened to
be in a part of Westchester in which were none of the very large estates,
and Satanstoe passed for property of a certain degree of importance. It is
true, the Morrises were at Morrisania, and the Felipses, or Philipses, as
these Bohemian counts were then called, had a manor on the Hudson, that
extended within a dozen miles of us, and a younger branch of the de Lanceys
had established itself even much nearer, while the Van Cortlandts, or a
branch of them, too, dwelt near Kingsbridge; but these were all people who
were at the head of the Colony, and with whom none of the minor gentry
attempted to vie. As it was, therefore, the Littlepages held a very
respectable position between the higher class of the yeomanry and those
who, by their estates, education, connections, official rank, and
hereditary consideration, formed what might be justly called the
aristocracy of the Colony. Both my father and grandfather had sat in the
Assembly, in their time, and, as I have heard elderly people say, with
credit, too. As for my father, on one occasion, he made a speech that
occupied eleven minutes in the delivery,--a proof that he had something to
say, and which was a source of great, but, I trust, humble felicitation in
the family, down to the day of his death, and even afterwards.

Then the military services of the family stood us in for a great deal, in
that day it was something to be an ensign even in the militia, and a far
greater thing to have the same rank in a regular regiment. It is true,
neither of my predecessors served very long with the King’s troops, my
father in particular selling out at the end of his second campaign; but
the military experience, and I may add the military glory each acquired
in youth, did them good service for all the rest of their days. Both were
commissioned in the militia, and my father actually rose as high as major
in that branch of the service, that being the rank he held, and the title
he bore, for the last fifteen years of his life.

My mother was of Dutch extraction on both sides, her father having been a
Blauvelt, and her mother a Van Busser. I have heard it said that there was
even a relationship between the Stuyvesants and the Van Cortlandts, and the
Van Bussers; but I am not able to point out the actual degree and precise
nature of the affinity. I presume it was not very near, or my information
would have been more minute. I have always understood that my mother
brought my father thirteen hundred pounds for dowry (currency, not
sterling), which, it must be confessed, was a very genteel fortune for
a young woman in 1733. Now, I very well know that six, eight, and ten
thousand pounds sometimes fall in, in this manner, and even much more in
the high families; but no one need be ashamed, who looks back fifty years,
and finds that his mother brought a thousand pounds to her husband.

I was neither an only child, nor the eldest-born. There was a son who
preceded me, and two daughters succeeded, but they all died in infancy,
leaving me in effect the only offspring for my parents to cherish and
educate. My little brother monopolised the name of Evans, and living
for some time after I was christened, I got the Dutch appellation of my
maternal grandfather, for my share of the family nomenclature, which
happened to be Cornelius--Corny was consequently the diminutive by which I
was known to all the whites of my acquaintance, for the first sixteen or
eighteen years of my life, and to my parents as long as they lived. Corny
Littlepage is not a bad name, in itself, and I trust they who do me the
favour to read this manuscript, will lay it down with the feeling that the
name is none the worse for the use I have made of it.

I have said that both my father and grandfather, each in his day, sat in
the assembly; my father twice, and my grandfather only once. Although we
lived so near the borough of West Chester, it was not for that place they
sat, but for the county, the de Lanceys and the Morrises contending for the
control of the borough, in a way that left little chance for the smaller
fishes to swim in the troubled water they were so certain to create.
Nevertheless, this political elevation brought my father out, as it
might be, before the world, and was the means of giving him a personal
consideration he might not have otherwise enjoyed. The benefits, and
possibly some of the evils of thus being drawn out from the more regular
routine of our usually peaceable lives, may be made to appear in the course
of this narrative.

I have ever considered myself fortunate in not having been born in the
earlier and infant days of the colony, when the interests at stake, and the
events by which they were influenced, were not of a magnitude to give the
mind and the hopes the excitement and enlargement that attend the periods
of a more advanced civilization, and of more important incidents. In this
respect, my own appearance in this world was most happily timed, as any one
will see who will consider the state and importance of the colony in the
middle of the present century. New York could not have contained many less
than seventy thousand souls, including both colours, at the time of my
birth, for it is supposed to contain quite a hundred thousand this day on
which I am now writing. In such a community, a man has not only the room,
but the materials on which to figure; whereas, as I have often heard him
say, my father, when he was born, was one of less than half of the smallest
number I have just named. I have been grateful for this advantage, and I
trust it will appear, by evidence that will be here afforded, that I have
not lived in a quarter of the world, or in an age, when and where, and to
which great events have been altogether strangers.

My earliest recollections, as a matter of course, are of Satanstoe and the
domestic fireside. In my childhood and youth, I heard a great deal said of
the Protestant Succession, the House of Hanover, and King George II.; all
mixed up with such names as those of George Clinton, Gen. Monckton, Sir
Charles Hardy, James de Lancey, and Sir Danvers Osborne, his official
representatives in the colony. Every age has its _old_ and its _last_ wars,
and I can well remember that which occurred between the French in the
Canadas and ourselves, in 1744. I was then seven years old, and it was an
event to make an impression on a child of that tender age. My honoured
grandfather was then living, as he was long afterwards, and he took a
strong interest in the military movements of the period, as was natural for
an old soldier. New York had no connection with the celebrated expedition
that captured Louisbourg, then the Gibraltar of America, in 1745; but this
could not prevent an old soldier like Capt. Littlepage from entering into
the affair with all his heart, though forbidden to use his hand. As the
reader may not be aware of all the secret springs that set public events
in motion, it may be well here to throw in a few words in the way of
explanation.

There was and is little sympathy, in the way of national feeling, between
the colonies of New England and those which lie farther south. We are all
loyal, those of the east as well as those of the south-west and south; but
there is, and ever has been, so wide a difference in our customs, origins,
religious opinions, and histories, as to cause a broad moral line, in the
way of feeling, to be drawn between the colony of New York and those
that lie east of the Byram river. I have heard it said that most of the
emigrants to the New England states came from the west of England where
many of their social peculiarities and much of their language are still to
be traced, while the colonies farther south have received their population
from the more central counties, and those sections of the island that are
supposed to be less provincial and peculiar. I do not affirm that such is
literally the fact, though it is well known that we of New York have long
been accustomed to regard our neighbours of New England as very different
from ourselves, whilst, I dare say, our neighbours of New England have
regarded us as different from themselves, and insomuch removed from
perfection.

Let all this be as it may, it is certain New England is a portion of the
empire that is set apart from the rest, for good or for evil. It got its
name from the circumstance that the English possessions were met, on its
western boundary by those of the Dutch, who were thus separated from the
other colonies of purely Anglo-Saxon origin, by a wide district that was
much larger in surface than the mother country itself. I am afraid there is
something in the character of these Anglo-Saxons that predisposes them to
laugh and turn up their noses at other races; for I have remarked that
their natives of the parent land itself, who come among us, show this
disposition even as it respects us of New York and those of New England,
while the people of the latter region manifest a feeling towards us, their
neighbours, that partakes of anything but the humility that is thought
to grace that Christian character to which they are particularly fond of
laying claim.

My grandfather was a native of the old country, however, and he entered but
little into the colonial jealousies. He had lived from boyhood, and had
married in New York, and was not apt to betray any of the overweening
notions of superiority that we sometimes encountered in native-born
Englishmen, though I can remember instances in which he would point out the
defects in our civilization, and others in which he dwelt with pleasure on
the grandeur and power his own island. I dare say this was all right, for
few among us have ever been disposed to dispute the just supremacy of
England in all things that are desirable, and which form the basis of human
excellence.

I well remember a journey Capt. Hugh Littlepage made to Boston, in 1745,
in order to look at the preparations that were making for the great
expedition. Although his own colony had no connection with this enterprise,
in a military point of view, his previous service rendered him an object of
interest to the military men then assembled along the coast of New England.
It has been said the expedition against Louisbourg, then the strongest
place in America, was planned by a lawyer, led by a merchant, and executed
by husbandmen and mechanics; but this, though true as a whole, was a rule
that had its exceptions. There were many old soldiers who had seen the
service of this continent in the previous wars, and among them were several
of my grandfather’s former acquaintances. With these he passed many a
cheerful hour, previously to the day of sailing, and I have often thought
since, that my presence alone prevented him from making one in the fleet.
The reader will think, I was young, perhaps, to be so far from home on such
an occasion, but it happened in this wise: My excellent mother thought I
had come out of the small-pox with some symptoms that might be benefited by
a journey, and she prevailed on her father-in-law to let me be of the party
when he left home to visit Boston in the winter of 1744-5. At that early
day moving about was not always convenient in these colonies, and my
grandfather travelling in a sleigh that was proceeding east with some
private stores that had been collected for the expedition, it presented a
favourable opportunity to send me along with my venerable progenitor, who
very good-naturedly consented to let me commence my travels under his own
immediate auspices.

The things I saw on this occasion have had a material influence on my
future life. I got a love of adventure, and particularly of military parade
and grandeur, that has since led me into more than one difficulty. Capt.
Hugh Littlepage, my grandfather, was delighted with all he saw until after
the expedition had sailed, when he began to grumble on the subject of the
religious observances that the piety of the Puritans blended with most
of their other movements. On the score of religion there was a marked
difference; I may say there _is_ still a marked difference between New
England and New York. The people of New England certainly did, and possibly
may still, look upon us of New York as little better than heathens; while
we of New York assuredly did, and for anything I know to the contrary may
yet, regard them as canters, and by necessary connection, hypocrites. I
shall not take it on myself to say which party is right; though it has
often occurred to my mind that it would be better had New England a little
less self-righteousness, and New York a little more righteousness, without
the self. Still, in the way of pounds, shillings and pence, we will not
turn our backs upon them any day, being on the whole rather the most
trustworthy of the two as respects money; more especially in all such cases
in which our neighbour’s goods can be appropriated without having recourse
to absolutely direct means. Such, at any rate, is the New York opinion, let
them think as they please about it on the other side of Byram.

My grandfather met an old fellow-campaigner, at Boston, of the name of
Hight, Major Hight, as he was called, who had come to see the preparations,
too; and the old soldiers passed most of the time together. The Major was
a Jerseyman, and had been somewhat of a free-liver in his time, retaining
some of the propensities of his youth in old age, as is apt to be the case
with those who cultivate a vice as if it were a hot-house plant. The Major
was fond of his bottle, drinking heavily of Madeira, of which there was
then a good stock in Boston, for he brought some on himself; and I can
remember various scenes that occurred between him and my grandfather, after
dinner, as they sat discoursing in the tavern on the progress of things,
and the prospects for the future. Had these two old soldiers been of the
troops of the province in which they were, it would have been “Major” and
“Captain” at every breath; for no part of the earth is fonder of titles
than our eastern brethren; [1] whereas, I must think we had some claims to
more true simplicity of character and habits, notwithstanding New York has
ever been thought the most aristocratical of all the northern colonies.
Having been intimate from early youth, my two old soldiers familiarly
called each other Joey and Hodge, the latter being the abbreviation of
one of my grandfather’s names, Roger, when plain Hugh was not used, as
sometimes happened between them. Hugh Roger Littlepage, I ought to have
said, was my grandfather’s name.

“I should like these Yankees better, if they prayed less, my old friend,”
 said the Major, one day, after they had been discussing the appearances of
things, and speaking between the puffs of his pipe. “I can see no great use
in losing so much time, by making these halts to pray, when the campaign is
fairly opened.”

“It was always their way, Joey,” my grandfather answered, taking his time,
as is customary with smokers. “I remember when we were out together, in the
year ‘17, that the New England troops always had their parsons, who acted
as a sort of second colonels. They tell me His Excellency has ordered a
weekly fast, for public prayers, during the whole of this campaign.”

“Ay, Master Hodge, praying and plundering; so they go on,” returned the
Major, knocking the ashes out of his pipe, preparatory to filling it anew;
an employment that gave him an opportunity to give vent to his feelings,
without pausing to puff.--“Ay, Master Hodge, praying and plundering; so
they go on. Now, do you remember old Watson, who was in the Massachusetts
Levies, in the year ‘12?--old Tom Watson; he that was a sub under Barnwell,
in our Tuscarora expedition?”

My grandfather nodded his head in assent, that being the only reply the
avocation of smoking rendered convenient, just at that moment, unless a
sort of affirmatory grunt could be construed into an auxiliary.

“Well, he has a son going in this affair; and old Tom, or Colonel Watson,
as he is now very particular to be called, is down here with his wife and
two daughters, to see the ensign off. I went to pay the old fellow a visit,
Hodge; and found him, and the mother and sisters, all as busy as bees
in getting young Tom’s baggage ready for a march. There lay his whole
equipment before my eyes, and I had a favourable occasion to examine it at
my leisure.”

“Which you did with all your might, or you’re not the Joe Hight of the
year ‘10,” said my grandfather, taking his turn with the ashes and the
tobacco-box.

Old Hight was now puffing away like a blacksmith who is striving to obtain
a white heat, and it was some time before he could get out the proper reply
to this half-assertion, half-interrogatory sort of remark.

“You may be sure of that,” he at length ejaculated; when, certain of his
light, he proceeded to tell the whole story, stopping occasionally to puff,
lest he should lose the “vantage ground” he had just obtained. “What d’ye
think of half-a-dozen strings of red onions, for one item in a subaltern’s
stores!”

My grandfather grunted again, in a way that might very well pass for a
laugh.

“You’re certain they were red, Joey?” he finally asked.

“As red as his regimentals. Then there was a jug, filled with molasses,
that is as big as yonder demijohn;” glancing at the vessel which contained
his own private stores. “But I should have thought nothing of these, a
large empty sack attracting much of my attention. I could not imagine what
young Tom could want of such a sack; but, on broaching the subject to the
Major, he very frankly gave me to understand that Louisbourg was thought to
be a rich town, and there was no telling what luck, or Providence--yes, by
George!--he called it _Providence!_--might throw in his son Tommy’s way.
Now that the sack was empty, and had an easy time of it, the girls would
put his bible and hymn-book in it, as a place where the young man would be
likely to look for them. I dare say, Hodge, you never had either bible or
hymn-book, in any of your numerous campaigns?”

“No, nor a plunder-sack, nor a molasses-jug, nor strings of red onions,”
 growled my grandfather in reply.

How well I remember that evening! A vast deal of colonial prejudice and
neighbourly antipathy made themselves apparent in the conversation of
the two veterans; who seemed to entertain a strange sort of contemptuous
respect for their fellow-subjects of New England; who, in their turn,
I make not the smallest doubt, paid them off in kind--with all the
superciliousness and reproach, and with many grains less of the respect.

That night, Major Hight and Capt. Hugh Roger Littlepage, both got a little
how-come-you-so, drinking bumpers to the success of what they called “the
Yankee expedition,” even at the moment they were indulging in constant side
hits at the failings and habits of the people. These marks of neighbourly
infirmity are not peculiar to the people of the adjacent provinces of New
York and of New England. I have often remarked that the English think and
talk very much of the French, as the Yankees speak of us; while the French,
so far as I have been able to understand their somewhat unintelligible
language--which seems never to have a beginning nor an end--treat the
English as the Puritans of the Old World. As I have already intimated, we
were not very remarkable for religion in New York, in my younger days;
while it would be just the word, were I to say that religion was
_conspicuous_ among our eastern neighbours. I remember to have heard
my grandfather say, he was once acquainted with a Col. Heathcote, an
Englishman, like himself, by birth, and a brother of a certain Sir Gilbert
Heathcote, who was formerly a leading man in the Bank of England. This Col.
Heathcote came among us young, and married here, leaving his posterity
behind him, and was lord of the manor of Scarsdale and Mamaroneck, in our
county of West Chester. Well, this Col. Heathcote told my grandfather,
speaking on the subject of religion, that he had been much shocked, on
arriving in this country, at discovering the neglected condition of
religion in the colony; more especially on Long Island, where the people
lived in a sort of heathenish condition. Being a man of mark, and connected
with the government, The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in
Foreign Parts, applied to him to aid it in spreading the truths of the
bible in the colony. The Colonel was glad enough to comply; and I remember
my grandfather said, his friend told him of the answer he returned to these
good persons in England. “I was so struck with the heathenish condition of
the people, on my arriving here,” he wrote to them, “that, commanding the
militia of the colony, I ordered the captains of the different companies to
call their men together, each Sunday at sunrise, and to drill them until
sunset; unless they would consent to repair to some convenient place, and
listen to morning and evening prayer, and to two wholesome sermons read by
some suitable person, in which case the men were to be excused from drill.”
 [2] I do not think this would be found necessary in New England at least,
where many of the people would be likely to prefer drilling to preaching.

But all this gossip about the moral condition of the adjacent colonies of
New York and New England is leading me from the narrative, and does not
promise much for the connection and interest of the remainder of the
manuscript.

[Footnote 1: It will be remembered Mr. Littlepage wrote more than seventy
years ago, when this distinction might exclusively belong to the _East_;
but the _West_ has now some claim to it, also.]

[Footnote 2: On the subject of this story, the editor can say he has seen a
published letter from Col. Heathcote, who died more than a century since,
at Mamaroneck, West Chester Co., in which that gentleman gives the Society
for the propagation of the gospel an account of his proceedings, that
agrees almost _verbatim_ with the account of the matter that is here given
by Mr. Cornelius Littlepage. The house in which Col. Heathcote dwelt was
destroyed by fire, a short time before the revolution; but the property
on which it stood, and the present building, belong at this moment to his
great-grandson, the Rt. Rev. Wm. _Heathcote_ de Lancey, the Bishop of
Western New York. On the subject of the _plunder_, the editor will remark,
that a near connection, whose grandfather was a Major at the taking of
Louisbourg, and who was subsequently one of the first Brigadiers appointed
in 1775, has lately shown him a letter written to that officer, during the
expedition, by _his_ father; in which, blended with a great deal of pious
counsel, and some really excellent religious exhortation, is an earnest
inquiry after the _plunder_.--EDITOR.]



CHAPTER II.

  “I would there were no age between ten and three-and-twenty;
  or that youth would sleep out the rest.”

  _Winter’s Tale_.


It is not necessary for me to say much of the first fourteen years of
my life. They passed like the childhood and youth of the sons of most
gentlemen in our colony, at that day, with this distinction, however. There
was a class among us which educated its boys at home. This was not a very
numerous class, certainly, nor was it always the highest in point of
fortune and rank. Many of the large proprietors were of Dutch origin, as a
matter of course; and these seldom, if ever, sent their children to England
to be taught anything, in my boyhood. I understand that a few are getting
over their ancient prejudices, in this particular, and begin to fancy
Oxford or Cambridge may be quite as learned schools as that of Leyden; but,
no Van, in my boyhood, could have been made to believe this. Many of the
Dutch proprietors gave their children very little education, in any way or
form, though most of them imparted lessons of probity that were quite as
useful as learning, had the two things been really inseparable. For my
part, while I admit there is a great deal of knowledge going up and down
the land, that is just of the degree to trick a fellow-creature out of his
rights, I shall never subscribe to the opinion, which is so prevalent among
the Dutch portion of our population, and which holds the doctrine that the
schools of the New England provinces are the reason the descendants of the
Puritans do not enjoy the best of reputations, in this respect. I believe a
boy may be well taught, and made all the honester for it; though, I admit,
there may be, and is, such a thing as training a lad in false notions,
as well as training him in those that are true. But, we had a class,
principally of English extraction, that educated its sons well; usually
sending them home, to the great English schools, and finishing at the
universities. These persons, however, lived principally in town, or, having
estates on the Hudson, passed their winters there. To this class the
Littlepages did not belong; neither their habits nor their fortunes
tempting them to so high a flight. For myself, I was taught enough Latin
and Greek to enter college, by the Rev. Thomas Worden, an English divine,
who was rector of St. Jude’s, the parish to which our family properly
belonged. This gentleman was esteemed a good scholar, and was very popular
among the gentry of the county; attending all the dinners, clubs, races,
balls, and other diversions that were given by them, within ten miles of
his residence. His sermons were pithy and short; and he always spoke of
your half-hour preachers, as illiterate prosers, who did not understand
how to condense their thoughts. Twenty minutes were his gauge, though
I remember to have heard my father say, he had known him preach all of
twenty-two. When he compressed down to fourteen, my grandfather invariably
protested he was delightful.

I remained with Mr. Worden until I could translate the two first AEneids,
and the whole of the Gospel of St. Matthew, pretty readily; and then my
father and grandfather, the last in particular, for the old gentleman had a
great idea of learning, began to turn over in their minds, the subject of
the college to which I ought to be sent. We had the choice of two, in both
of which the learned languages and the sciences are taught, to a degree,
and in a perfection, that is surprising for a new country. These colleges
are Yale, at New Haven, in Connecticut, and Nassau Hall, which was then at
Newark, New Jersey, after having been a short time at Elizabethtown, but
which has since been established at Princeton. Mr. Worden laughed at
both; said that neither had as much learning as a second-rate English
grammar-school; and that a lower-form boy, at Eton or Westminster, could
take a master’s degree at either, and pass for a prodigy in the bargain.
My father, who was born in the colonies, and had a good deal of the right
colony feeling, was nettled at this, I remember; while my grandfather,
being old-country born, but colony educated, was at a loss how to view the
matter. The captain had a great respect for his native land, and evidently
considered it the paradise of this earth, though his recollections of it
were not very distinct; but, at the same time, he loved Old York, and West
Chester in particular, where he had married and established himself at
Satan’s Toe; or, as he spelt it, and as we all have spelt it, now, this
many a day, Satanstoe. I was present at the conversation which decided the
question, as regarded my future education, and which took place in the
common parlour, around a blazing fire, about a week before Christmas, the
year I was fourteen. There were present Capt. Hugh Roger, Major Evans, my
mother, the Rev. Mr. Worden, and an old gentleman of Dutch designation and
extraction, of the name of Abraham Van Valkenburgh, but who was familiarly
called, by his friends, ‘Brom Follock, or Col. Follock or Volleck, as the
last happen to be more or less ceremonious, or more or less Dutch. Follock,
I think, however was the favourite pronunciation. This Col. Van Valkenburgh
was an old brother-soldier of my father’s, and, indeed, a relation, a
sort of a cousin through my greatgrandmother, besides being a man of much
consideration and substance. He lived in Rockland, just across the Hudson,
but never failed to pay a visit to Satanstoe at that season of the year. On
the present occasion, he was accompanied by his son, Dirck, who was _my_
friend, and just a year my junior.

“Vell, den,”--the colonel commenced the discourse by saying, as he tapped
the ashes out of his pipe for the second time that evening, having first
taken a draught of hot flip, a beverage much in vogue then, as well as
now,--“vell, den, Evans, vat is your intention as to ter poy? Vill he pe
college-l’arnt, like as his grant-fat’er, or only school-l’arnt, like as
his own fat’er?” The allusion to the grandfather being a pleasantry of the
colonel’s, who insisted that all the old-country born were “college-l’arnt”
 by instinct.

“To own the truth, ‘Brom,” my father answered, “this is a point that is not
yet entirely settled, for there are different opinions as to the place to
which he shall be sent, even admitting that he is to be sent at all.”

The colonel fastened his full, projecting, blue eyes on my father, in a way
that pretty plainly expressed surprise.

“Vat, den, is dere so many colleges, dat it is hart to choose?” he said.

“There are but two that can be of any use to us, for Cambridge is much too
distant to think of sending the boy so far. Cambridge was in our thoughts
at one time, but that is given up.”

“Vhere, den, ist Camprige?” demanded the Dutchman, removing his pipe to ask
so important a question, a ceremony he usually thought unnecessary.

“It is a New England college--near Boston; not half a day’s journey
distant, I fancy.”

“Don’t sent Cornelius dere,” ejaculated the colonel, contriving to get
these words out alongside of the stem of the pipe.

“You think not, Col. Follock,” put in the anxious mother; “may I ask the
reason for that opinion?”

“Too much Suntay, Matam Littlepage--the poy wilt be sp’ilt by ter
ministers. He will go away an honest lat, and come pack a rogue. He will
l’arn how to bray and to cheat.”

“Hoity toity! my noble colonel!” exclaimed the Rev. Mr. Worden, affecting
more resentment than he felt. “Then you fancy the clergy, and too much
Sunday, will be apt to convert an honest youth into a knave!”

The colonel made no answer, continuing to smoke very philosophically,
though he took occasion, while he drew the pipe out of his mouth, in one of
its periodical removals, to make a significant gesture with it towards the
rising sun, which all present understood to mean “down east,” as it is
usual to say, when we mean to designate the colonies of New England. That
he was understood by the Rev. Mr. Worden, is highly probable; since that
gentleman continued to turn the flip of one vessel into another, by way of
more intimately blending the ingredients of the mixture, quite as coolly as
if there had been no reflection on his trade.

“What do you think of Yale, friend ‘Brom?” asked my father, who understood
the dumb-show as well as any of them.

“No tifference, Evans; dey all breaches and brays too much. _Goot_ men have
no neet of so much religion. Vhen a man is _really_ goot, religion only
does him harm. I mean Yankee religion.”

“I have another objection to Yale,” observed Capt. Hugh Roger, “which is
their English.”

“Och!” exclaimed the Colonel--“Deir English is horriple! Wuss dan ast to us
Tutch.”

“Well, I was not aware of that,” observed my father. “They are English,
sir, as well as ourselves, and why should they not speak the language as
well as we?”

“Why toes not a Yorkshireman, or a Cornishman, speak as veil as a Lonnoner?
I tell you what, Evans, I’ll pet the pest game-cock on ter Neck, against
the veriest tunghill the parson hast, ter Presitent of Yale calls p e e n,
pen, ant roof, ruff--and so on.”

“My birds are all game,” put in the divine; “I keep no other breed.”

“Surely, Mr. Worden, _you_ do not countenance cock-fights by your
presence!” my mother said, using as much of reproach in her manner as
comported with the holy office of the party she addressed, and with her own
gentle nature. The Colonel winked at my father, and laughed _through his
pipe_, an exploit he might have been said to perform almost hourly. My
father smiled in return; for, to own the truth, he _had_ been present
at such sports on one or two occasions, when the parson’s curiosity had
tempted him to peep in also; but my grandfather looked grave and much in
earnest. As for Mr. Worden himself, he met the imputation like a man. To do
him justice, if he were not an ascetic, neither was he a whining hypocrite,
as is the case with too many of those who aspire to be disciples and
ministers of our blessed Lord.

“Why not, Madam Littlepage?” Mr. Worden stoutly demanded. “There are worse
places than cock-pits; for, mark me, I never bet--no, not on a horse-race,
even; and _that_ is an occasion on which any gentleman might venture a few
guineas, in a liberal, frank, way. There are so few amusements for people
of education in this country, Madam Littlepage, that one is not to be too
particular. If there were hounds and hunting, now, as there are at home,
you should never hear of me at a cock-fight, I can assure you.”

“I must say I do not approve of cock-fights,” rejoined my mother meekly;
“and I hope Corny will never be seen at one. No--never--never.”

“Dere you’re wrong, Matam Littlepage,” the Colonel remarked, “for ter sight
of ter spirit of ter cocks wilt give ter boy spirit himself. My Tirck,
dere, goes to all in ter neighbourhood and he is a game-cock himself, let
me tell you. Come, Tirck--come--cock-a-doodle-doo!”

This was true all round, as I very well knew, young as I was. Dirck, who
was as slow-moving, as dull-seeming, and as anti-mercurial a boy to look at
as one could find in a thousand, was thorough game at the bottom, and he
had been at many a main, as he had told me himself. How much of his spirit
was derived from witnessing such scenes I will not take on me to affirm;
for, in these later times, I have heard it questioned whether such
exhibitions do really improve the spectator’s courage or not. But Dirck had
pluck, and plenty of it, and in that particular, at least, his father was
not mistaken. The Colonel’s opinion always carried weight with my
mother, both on account of his Dutch extraction, and on account of his
well-established probity; for, to own the truth, a text or a sentiment from
him had far more weight with her than the same from the clergyman. She was
silenced on the subject of cock-fighting for the moment, therefore, which
gave Capt. Hugh Roger further opportunity to pursue that of the English
language. The grandfather, who was an inveterate lover of the sport, would
have cut in to that branch of the discourse, but he had a great tenderness
for my mother, whom everybody loved by the way, and he commanded himself,
glad to find that so important an interest had fallen into hands as good as
those of the Colonel. _He_ would just as soon be absent from church as be
absent from a cock-fight, and he was a very good observer of religion.

“I should have sent Evans to Yale, had it not been for the miserable manner
of speaking English they have in New England,” resumed my grandfather; “and
I had no wish to have a son who might pass for a Cornish man. We shall have
to send this boy to Newark, in New Jersey. The distance is not so great,
and we shall be certain he will not get any of your round-head notions of
religion, too, Col. ‘Brom, you Dutch are not altogether free from these
distressing follies.

“Debble a pit!” growled the Colonel, through his pipe; for no devotee of
liberalism and latitudinarianisrn in religion could be more averse to
extra-piety than he. The Colonel, however, was not of the Dutch Reformed;
he was an Episcopalian, like ourselves, his mother having brought this
branch of the Follocks into the church; and, consequently, he entered into
all our feelings on the subject of religion, heart and hand. Perhaps Mr.
Worden was a greater favourite with no member of the four parishes over
which he presided, than with Col. Abraham Van Valkenburgh.

“I should think less of sending Corny to Newark,” added my mother, “was it
not for crossing the water.”

“Crossing the water!” repeated Mr. Worden. “The Newark we mean, Madam
Littlepage, is not at home: the Jersey of which we speak is the adjoining
colony of that came.”

“I am aware of that, Mr. Worden; but it is not possible to get to Newark,
without making that terrible voyage be tween New York and Powles’ Hook. No,
sir, it is impossible; and every time the child comes home, that risk will
have to be run. It would cause me many a sleepless night!”

“He can go by Tobb’s Ferry, Matam Littlepage,” quietly observed the
Colonel.

“Dobb’s Ferry can be very little better than that by Powles’ Hook,”
 rejoined the tender mother. “A ferry is a ferry; and the Hudson will be the
Hudson, from Albany to New York. So water is water.”

As these were all self-evident propositions, they produced a pause in the
discourse; for men do not deal with new ideas as freely as they deal with
the old.

“Dere is a way, Evans, as you and I know py experience,” resumed the
Colonel, winking again at my father, “to go rount the Hudson altoget’er. To
pe sure, it is a long way, and a pit in the woots; but petter to untertake
dat, than to haf the poy lose his l’arnin’. Ter journey might be made in
two mont’s, and he none the wuss for ter exercise. Ter Major and I were
never heartier dan when we were operating on the he’t waters of the Hutson.
I will tell Corny the roat.”

My mother saw that her apprehensions were laughed at, and she had the good
sense to be silent. The discussion did not the less proceed, until it was
decided, after an hour more of weighing the _pros_ and the _cons_, that I
was to be sent to Nassau Hall, Newark, New Jersey, and was to move from
that place with the college, whenever that event might happen.

“You will send Dirck there, too,” my father added, as soon as the affair in
my case was finally determined. “It would be a pity to separate the boys,
after they have been so long together, and have got to be so much used to
each other. Their characters are so identical, too, that they are more like
brothers than very distant relatives.”

“Dey will like one anot’er all de petter for pein’ a little tifferent,
den,” answered the Colonel, drily.

Dirck and I were no more alike than a horse resembles a mule.

“Ay, but Dirck is a lad who will do honour to an education--he is solid and
thoughtful, and learning will not be thrown away on such a youth. Was he in
England, that sedate lad might get to be a bishop.”

“I want no pishops in my family, Major Evans; nor do I want any great
l’arnin’. None of us ever saw a college, and we have got on fery vell. I
am a colonel and a memper; my fat’er was a colonel and a memper; and my
grand-fet’er _woult_ have peen a colonel and a memper, but dere vast no
colonels and no mempers in his time; though Tirck, yonter can be a colonel
and a memper, wit’out crosting dat terriple ferry that frightens Matam
Littlepage so much.”

There was usually a little humour in all Col. Follock said and did, though
it must be owned it was humour after a very Dutch model; Dutch-built fun,
as Mr. Worden used to call it. Nevertheless, it was humour; and there was
enough of Holland in all the junior generations of the Littlepages to enjoy
it. My father understood him, and my mother did not hear the last of the
“terriple ferry” until not only I, but the college itself, had quitted
Newark; for the institution made another remove to Princeton, the place
where it is now to be found, some time before I got my degree.

“You have got on very well without a college education, as all must admit,
colonel,” answered Mr. Worden; “but there is no telling how much _better_
you would have got on, had you been an A. M. You might, in the last case,
have been a general and a member of the King’s council.”

“Dere ist no yeneral in ter colony, the commander-in-chief and His
Majesty’s representatif excepted,” returned the colonel. “We are no
Yankees, to make yenerals of ploughmen.”

Hereupon, the colonel and my father knocked the ashes out of their pipes at
the same instant, and both laughed,--a merriment in which the parson, my
grandfather, my dear mother, and I myself joined. Even a negro boy, who was
about my own age, and whose name was Jacob, or Jaap, but who was commonly
called Yaap, grinned at the remark, for he had a sovereign contempt for
Yankee Land, and all it contained; almost as sovereign a contempt as that
which Yankee Land entertained for York itself, and its Dutch population.
Dirck was the only person present who looked grave; but Dirck was
habitually as grave and sedate, as if he had been born to become a
burgomaster.

“Quite right, Brom,” cried my father; “_colonels_ are good enough for us;
and when we do make a man _that_, even, we are a little particular about
his being respectable and fit for the office. Nevertheless, learning will
not hurt Corny, and to college he shall go, let you do as you please with
Dirck. So that matter is settled, and no more need be said about it.”

And it was settled, and to college I _did_ go, and that by the awful
Powles’ Hook Ferry, in the bargain. Near as we lived to town, I paid my
first visit to the island of Manhattan the day my father and myself started
for Newark. I had an aunt, who lived in Queen Street, not a very great
distance from the fort, and she had kindly invited me and my father to
pass a day with her, on our way to New Jersey, which invitation had been
accepted. In my youth, the world in general was not as much addicted to
gadding about as it is now getting to be, and neither my grandfather nor my
father ordinarily went to town, their calls to the legislature excepted,
more than twice a year. My mother’s visits were still less frequent,
although Mrs. Legge, my aunt, was her own sister. Mr. Legge was a lawyer of
a good deal of reputation, but he was inclined to be in the opposition,
or espoused the popular side in politics; and there could be no great
cordiality between one of that frame of mind and our family. I remember
we had not been in the house an hour, before a warm discussion took place
between my uncle and my father, on the question of the right of the subject
to canvass the acts of the government. We had left home immediately
after an early breakfast, in order to reach town before dark; but a long
detention at the Harlem Ferry, compelled us to dine in that village, and it
was quite night before we stopped in Queen Street. My aunt ordered supper
early, in order that we might get early to bed, to recover from our
fatigue, and be ready for sight-seeing next day. We sat down to supper,
therefore, in less than an hour after our arrival; and it was while we were
at table that the discussion I have mentioned took place. It would seem
that a party had been got up in town among the disloyal, and I might almost
say, the disaffected, which claimed for the subject the right to know in
what manner every shilling of the money raised by taxation was expended.
This very obviously improper interference with matters that did not belong
to them, on the part of the ruled, was resisted by the rulers, and that
with energy; inasmuch as such inquiries and investigations would naturally
lead to results that might bring authority into discredit, make the
governed presuming and prying in their dispositions, and cause much
derangement and inconvenience to the regular and salutary action of
government. My father took the negative of the proposition, while my uncle
maintained its affirmative. I well remember that my poor aunt looked
uneasy, and tried to divert the discourse by exciting our curiosity on a
new subject.

“Corny has been particularly lucky in having come to town just as he has,
since we shall have a sort of gala-day, to-morrow, for the blacks and the
children.”

I was not in the least offended at being thus associated with the negroes,
for they mingled in most of the amusements of us young people; but I did
not quite so well like to be ranked with the children, now I was fourteen,
and on my way to college. Notwithstanding this, I did not fail to betray an
interest in what was to come next, by my countenance. As for my father, he
did not hesitate about asking an explanation.

“The news came in this morning, by a fast-sailing sloop, that the Patroon
of Albany is on his way to New York, in his coach-and-four, and with two
out-riders, and that he may be expected to reach town in the course of
to-morrow. Several of my acquaintances have consented to let their children
go out a little way into the country, to see him come in; and, as for the
blacks, you know, it is just as well to give them _permission_ to be of the
party, as half of them would otherwise go without asking it.”

“This will be a capital opportunity to let Corny see a little of the
world,” cried my father, “and I would not have him miss it on any account.
Besides, it is useful to teach young people early, the profitable lesson of
honouring their superiors and seniors.”

“In that sense it may do,” growled my uncle, who, though so much of a
latitudinarian in his political opinions never failed to inculcate all
useful and necessary maxims for private life; “the Patroon of Albany being
one of the most respectable and affluent of all our gentry. I have no
objections to Corny’s going to see that sight; and, I hope, my dear, you
will let both Pompey and Caesar be of the party. It won’t hurt the fellows
to see the manner in which the Patroon has his carriage kept and horses
groomed.”

Pompey and Caesar were of the party, though the latter did not join us
until Pompey had taken me all round the town, to see the principal sights;
it being understood that the Patroon had slept at Kingsbridge, and would
not be likely to reach town until near noon. New York was certainly not the
place, in 1751, it is to-day; nevertheless, it was a large and important
town, even when I went to college, containing not less than twelve thousand
souls, blacks included. The Town Hall is a magnificent structure, standing
at the head of Broad Street; and thither Pompey led me, even before my
aunt had come down to breakfast. I could scarcely admire that fine edifice
sufficiently; which, for size, architecture and position, has scarcely now
an equal in all the colonies. It is true, that the town has much improved,
within the last twenty years; but York was a noble place, even in the
middle of this century! After breakfast, Pompey and I proceeded up
Broadway, commencing near the fort, at the Bowling Green, and walking some
distance beyond the head of Wall Street, or quite a quarter of a mile. Nor
did the town stop here; though its principal extent is, or was then, along
the margin of the East River. Trinity Church I could hardly admire enough
either; for, it appeared to me, that it was large enough to contain all the
church-people in the colony. [3] It was a venerable structure, which had
then felt the heats of summer and the snows of winter on its roofs and
walls, near half a century, and it still stands a monument of pious zeal
and cultivated taste. There were other churches, belonging to other
denominations, of course, that were well worthy of being seen; to say
nothing of the markets. I thought I never should tire of gazing at the
magnificence of the shops, particularly the silversmiths’; some of which
must have had a thousand dollars’ worth of plate in their windows, or
otherwise in sight. I might say as much of the other shops, too, which
attracted a just portion of my admiration.

About eleven, the number of children and blacks that were seen walking
towards the Bowery Road, gave us notice that it was time to be moving in
that direction. We were in the upper part of Broadway, at the time, and
Pompey proceeded forthwith to fall into the current, making all the haste
he could, as it was thought the traveller might pass down towards the East
River, and get into Queen Street, before we could reach the point at which
he would diverge. It is true, the old town residence of Stephen de Lancey,
which stood at the head of Broadway, just above Trinity, [4] had been
converted into a tavern, and we did not know but the Patroon might choose
to alight there, as it was then the principal inn of the town; still, most
people preferred Queen Street; and the new City Tavern was so much out of
the way, that strangers in particular were not fond of frequenting it.
Caesar came up, much out of breath, just as we got into the country.

Quitting Broadway, we went along the country road that then diverged to the
east, but which is now getting to contain a sort of suburb, and passing
the road that leads into Queen Street, we felt more certain of meeting the
traveller, whose carriage we soon learned had not gone by. As there were
and are several taverns for country people in this quarter, most of us went
quite into the country, proceeding as far as the villas of the Bayards, de
Lanceys, and other persons of mark; of which there are several along the
Bowery Road. Our party stopped under some cherry-trees, that were not
more than a mile from town, nearly opposite to Lt. Gov. de Lancey’s
country-house; [5] but many boys &c. went a long long way into the country,
finishing the day by nutting and gathering apples in the grounds of
Petersfield and Rosehill, the country residences of the Stuyvesant and
Watt, or, as the last is now called the Watts, families. I was desirous of
going thus far myself, for I had heard much of both of those grand places;
but Pompey told me it would be necessary to be back for dinner by half-past
one, his mistress having consented to postpone the hour a little, in order
to indulge my natural desire to see all I could while in town.

We were not altogether children and blacks who were out on the Bowery
Road that day,--many tradesmen were among us, the leathern aprons making
a goodly parade on the occasion. I saw one or two persons wearing
swords, hovering round, in the lanes and in the woods,--proof that even
gentlemen had some desire to see so great a person as the Patroon of
Albany pass. I shall not stop to say much of the _transit_ of the
_Patroon_. He came by about noon, as was expected, and in his
coach-and-four, with two out-riders, coach-man, &c. in liveries, as is
usual in the families of the gentry, and with a team of heavy, black,
Dutch-looking horses, that I remember Caesar pronounced to be of the
true Flemish breed. The Patroon himself was a sightly, well-dressed
gentleman, wearing a scarlet coat, flowing wig, and cocked hat; and I
observed that the handle of his sword was of solid silver. But my father
wore a sword with a solid silver handle, too, a present from my
grandfather when the former first entered the army. [6] He bowed to the
salutations he received in passing, and I thought all the spectators
were pleased with the noble sight of seeing such an equipage pass into
the town. Such a sight does not occur every day in the colonies, and I
felt exceedingly happy that it had been my privilege to witness it.

A little incident occurred to myself that rendered this day long memorable
to me. Among the spectators assembled along the road on this occasion, were
several groups of girls, who belonged to the better class, and who had been
induced to come out into the country, either led by curiosity or by the
management of the different sable nurses who had them in charge. In one of
these groups was a girl of about ten, or possibly of eleven years of age,
whose dress, air, and mien, early attracted my attention. I thought her
large, bright, full, blue eye, particularly winning; and boys of fourteen
are not altogether insensible to beauty in the other sex, though they are
possibly induced oftener to regard it in those who are older than in those
who are younger than themselves. Pompey happened to be acquainted with
Silvy, the negress who had the care of my little beauty, to whom he bowed,
and addressed as Miss Anneke (Anna Cornelia abbreviated). Anneke I thought
a very pretty name too, and some little advances were made towards an
acquaintance by means of an offering of some fruit that I had gathered by
the way-side. Things were making a considerable progress, and I had asked
several questions, such as whether ‘Miss Anneke had ever seen a patroon,’
which ‘was the greatest personage, a patroon or a governor, whether ‘a
nobleman who had lately been in the colony, as a military officer, or the
patroon, would be likely to have the finest coach,’ when a butcher’s boy,
who was passing, rudely knocked an apple out of Anneke’s hand, and caused
her to shed a tear.

I took fire at this unprovoked outrage, and lent the fellow a dig in the
ribs that gave him to understand the young lady had a protector. My chap
was about my own age and weight, and he surveyed me a minute with a species
of contempt, and then beckoned me to follow him into an orchard that was
hard by, but a little out of sight. In spite of Anneke’s entreaties I went,
and Pompey and Caesar followed. We had both stripped before the negroes
got up, for they were in a hot discussion whether I was to be permitted to
fight or not. Pompey maintained it would keep dinner waiting; but Caesar,
who had the most bottom, as became his name, insisted, as I had given a
blow, I was bound to render satisfaction. Luckily, Mr. Worden was very
skilful at boxing, and he had given both Dirck and myself many lessons, so
that I soon found myself the best fellow. I gave the butcher’s boy a bloody
nose and a black eye, when he gave in, and I came off victor; not, however,
without a facer or two, that sent me to college with a reputation I hardly
merited, or that of a regular pugilist.

When I returned to the road, after this breathing, Anneke [7] had
disappeared, and I was so shy and silly as not to ask her family name from
Caesar the Great, or Pompey the Little.

[Footnote 3: The intelligent reader will, of course, properly appreciate
the provincial admiration of Mr. Littlepage, who naturally fancied his own
best was other people’s best. The Trinity of that day was burned in the
great fire of 1776. The edifice that succeeded it, at the peace of 1783,
has already given place to a successor, that has more claim to be placed
on a level with modern, English, town church-architecture, than any other
building in the Union. When another shall succeed this, which shall be as
much larger and more elaborated than this is compared to its predecessor,
and still another shall succeed, which shall bear the same relation to
that, then the country will possess an edifice that is on a level with the
first-rate Gothic cathedral-architecture of Europe. It would be idle to
pretend that the new Trinity is without faults; some of which are probably
the result of circumstances and necessity; but, if the respectable
architect who has built it, had no other merit, he would deserve the
gratitude of every man of taste in the country, by placing church-towers of
a proper comparative breadth, dignity and proportions, before the eyes of
its population. The diminutive meanness of American church-towers, has been
an eye-sore to every _intelligent_, travelled American, since the country
was settled.--EDITOR.]

[Footnote 4: The site of the present City Hotel.--ED.]

[Footnote 5: Now, de Lancey Street.--ED.]

[Footnote 6: This patroon must have been Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, who lived
to be a bachelor of forty before he married. If there be no anachrenism,
this gentleman married Miss Van Cortlandt, one of the seven daughters
of Stephanus Van Cortlandt, who was proprietor of the great manor of
Cortlandt, West Chester county, and who, in his day, was the principal
personage of the colony. The seven daughters of this Colonel Van Cortlandt,
by marrying into the families of de Lancey, Bayard, Van Rensellaer,
Beekman, M’Gregor--Skinner, &c. &c. brought together a connection that was
long felt in the political affairs of New York. The Schuylers were related
through a previous marriage, and many of the Long Island and other families
of weight by other alliances. This connection formed the court party, which
was resisted by an opposition led by the Livingstons, Morris, and other
names of _their_ connection. This old bachelor, Jeremiah Van Rensellaer,
believing he would never marry, alienated, in behalf of his next brother
and anticipated heir, the Greenbush and Claverack estates,--portions of
those vast possessions which, in our day, and principally through the
culpable apathy, or miserable demagogueism of those who have been entrusted
with the care of the public weal, have been the pretext for violating
some of the plainest laws of morality that God has communicated to
man.--EDITOR.]

[Footnote 7: Pronounced On-na-_kay_, I believe.--EDITOR]



CHAPTER III.

  “Believe me, thou talkest of an admirable conceited fellow. Has
  he any unbraided wares?”

  “Pr’ythee, bring him in; and let him approach singing.”

  _Winter’s Tale_.


I have no intention of taking the reader with me through college, where
I remained the usual term of four years. These four years were not idled
away, as sometimes happens, but were fairly improved. I read all of the New
Testament, in Greek; several of Cicero’s Orations; every line of Horace,
Satires and Odes; four books of the Iliad; Tully de Oratore, throughout;
besides paying proper attention to geography, mathematics, and other of the
usual branches. Moral philosophy, in particular, was closely attended to,
senior year, as well as Astronomy. We had a telescope that showed us all
four of Jupiter’s moons. In other respects, Nassau might be called the seat
of learning. One of our class purchased a second-hand copy of Euripides, in
town, and we had it in college all of six months; though it was never
my good fortune to see it, as the young man who owned it, was not much
disposed to let profane eyes view his treasure. Nevertheless, I am certain
the copy of the work was in college; and we took good care to let the Yale
men hear of it more than once. I do not believe _they_ ever saw even the
outside of an Euripides. As for the telescope, I can testify of my own
knowledge; having seen the moons of Jupiter as often as ten times, with my
own eyes, aided by its magnifiers. We had a tutor who was expert among the
stars, and who, it was generally believed, would have been able to see the
ring of Saturn, could he have found the planet; which, as it turned out, he
was unable to do.

My four college years were very happy years. The vacations came often, and
I went home invariably; passing a day or two with my aunt Legge, in going
or coming. The acquisition of knowledge was always agreeable to me; and I
may say it without vanity, I trust, at this time of life, I got the third
honour of my class. We should have graduated four, but one of our class was
compelled to quit us at the end of junior year, on account of his health.
He was an unusually hard student, and it was generally admitted that he
would have taken the first honour had he remained. We were thought to
acquit ourselves with credit at the commencement; although I afterwards
heard my grandfather tell Mr. Worden, that he was of opinion the addresses
would have been more masculine and commendable, had less been said of
the surprising growth, prosperity, and power of the colonies. He had no
objection to the encouragement of a sound, healthful, patriotic feeling;
but to him it appeared that something more novel might have better pleased
the audience. This may have been true, as all three of us had something to
say on the subject; and it is a proof how much we thought alike, that our
language was almost as closely assimilated as our ideas.

As for the Powles Hook Ferry, it was an unpleasant place I will allow;
though by the time I was junior I thought nothing of it. My mother,
however, was glad when it was passed for the last time. I remember the very
first words that escaped her, after she had kissed me on my final return
from college, were, “Well, Heaven be praised, Corny! you will never again
have any occasion to cross that frightful ferry, now college is completely
done with!” My poor mother little knew how much greater dangers I was
subsequently called on to encounter, in another direction. Nor was she
minutely accurate in her anticipations, since I have crossed the ferry in
question, several times in later life; the distances not appearing to be as
great, of late years, as they certainly seemed to be in my youth.

It was a feather in a young man’s cap to have gone through college in 1755,
which was the year I graduated. It is true, the University men, who had
been home for their learning, were more or less numerous; but they were of
a class that held itself aloof from the smaller gentry, and most of them
were soon placed in office, adding the dignity of public trusts to their
acquisitions--the former in a manner overshadowing the latter. But, I was
nearer to the body of the community, and my position admitted more of
comparative excellence, as it might be. No one thinks of certain habits,
opinions, manners, and tastes, in the circle where they are expected to
be found; but, it is a different thing where all, or any of these
peculiarities form the exception. I am afraid more was anticipated from my
college education than has ever been realized; but I will say this for my
_Alma Mater_, that I am not conscious my acquisitions at college have ever
been of any disadvantage to me; and I rather think they have, in some
degree at least, contributed to the little success that has attended my
humble career.

I kept up my intimacy with Dirck Follock, during the whole time I remained
at college. He continued the classics with Mr. Worden, for two years after
I left the school; but I could not discover that his progress amounted
to anything worth mentioning. The master used to tell the Colonel, that
“Dirck’s progress was slow and sure;” and this did not fail to satisfy a
man who had a constitutional aversion to much of the head-over-heels rate
of doing things among the English population. Col. Follock, as we always
called him, except when my father or grandfather asked him to drink a
glass of wine, or drank his health in the first glass after the cloth
was removed, when he was invariably styled Col. Van Valkenburgh, at full
length; but Col. Follock was quite content that his son and heir should
know no more than he knew himself, after making proper allowances for the
difference in years and experience. By the time I returned home, however,
a material change had been made in the school. Mr. Worden fell heir to a
moderate competency at home, and he gave up teaching, a business he had
never liked, accordingly. It was even thought he was a shade less zealous
in his parochial duties, after the acquisition of this fifty pounds
sterling a-year, than he had previously been; though I am far from
insisting on the fact’s being so. At any rate, it was not in the power of
£50 per annum to render Mr. Worden apathetic on the subject of the church;
for he continued a most zealous churchman down to the hour of his death;
and this was something, even admitting that he was not quite so zealous as
a Christian. The church being the repository of the faith, if not the
faith itself, it follows that its friends are akin to religion, though not
absolutely religious. I have always liked a man the better for being what
I call a sound, warm-hearted churchman, though his habits may have been a
little free.

It was necessary to supply the place left vacant by the emigration of Mr.
Worden, or to abandon a school that had got to be the nucleus of knowledge
in Westchester. There was a natural desire, at first, to obtain another
scholar from home; but no such person offering, a Yale College graduate was
accepted, though not without sundry rebellions, and plenty of distrust.
The moment he appeared, Col. Follock, and Major Nicholas Oothout, another
respectable Dutch neighbour, withdrew their sons; and from that hour Dirck
never went to school again. It is true, Westchester was not properly a
Dutch county, like Rockland, and Albany, and Orange, and several others
along the river; but it had many respectable families in it, of that
extraction, without alluding to such heavy people as the Van Cortlandts,
Felipses, Beekmans, and two or three others of that stamp. Most of our
important county families had a different origin, as in the case of the
Morrises, of Morrisania, and of the Manor of Fordham, the Pells, of Pelham,
the Heathcotes, of Mamanneck, the branch of the de Lanceys, at West Farms,
the Jays, of Rye, &c., &c. All these came of the English, or the Huguenot
stock. Among these last, more or less Dutch blood was to be found, however;
though Dutch prejudices were a good deal weakened. Although few of these
persons sent their boys to this school, they were consulted in the
selection of a master; and I have always supposed that their indifference
was the cause that the county finally obtained the services of a Yankee,
from Yale.

The name of the new pedagogue was Jason Newcome, or, as he pronounced the
latter appellation himself, Noo-come. As he affected a pedantic way of
pronouncing the last syllable long, or as it was spelt, he rather called
himself Noo-comb, instead of Newcome, as is the English mode, whence he
soon got the nick-name of Jason Old Comb among the boys; the lank,
orderly arrangement of his jet-black, and somewhat greasy-looking locks,
contributing their share towards procuring for him the _sobriquet_, as I
believe the French call it. As this Mr. Newcome will have a material part
to play in the succeeding portions of this narrative, it may be well to be
a little more minute in his description.

I found Jason fully established in the school, on my return from college. I
remember we met very much like two strange birds, that see each other for
the first time on the same dunghill; or two quadrupeds, in their original
interview in a common herd. It was New Haven against Newark; though the
institution, after making as many migrations as the House of Loretto,
finally settled down at Princeton, a short time before I took my degree. I
was consequently entitled to call myself a graduate of Newark,--a sort of
scholar that is quite as great a curiosity in the country as a Queen Anne’s
farthing, or a book printed in the fifteenth century. I remember the first
evening we two spent in company, as well as if the meeting occurred only
last night. It was at Satanstoe, and Mr. Worden was present. Jason had a
liberal supply of puritanical notions, which were bred in-and-in in his
moral, and I had almost said, in his physical system; nevertheless, he
could unbend; and I did not fail to observe that very evening, a gleam of
covert enjoyment on his sombre countenance, as the hot-stuff, the cards,
and the pipes were produced, an hour or two before supper,--a meal we
always had hot and comfortable. This covert satisfaction, however, was not
exhibited without certain misgiving looks, as if the neophyte in these
innocent enjoyments distrusted his right to possess his share. I remember
in particular, when my mother laid two or three new, clean packs of cards
on the table, that Jason cast a stealthy glance over his shoulder, as if
to make certain that the act was not noted by the minister, or the
“neighbours.” The neighbours!--what a contemptible being a man becomes,
who lives in constant dread of the comments and judgments of these social
supervisors! and what a wretch, the habit of deferring to no principle
better than their decision has made many a being, who has had originally
the materials of something better in him, than has been developed by the
_surveillance_ of ignorance, envy, vulgarity, gossiping and lying! In those
cases in which education, social position, opportunities and experience
have made any material difference between the parties, the man who yields
to such a government, exhibits the picture of a giant held in bondage by a
pigmy. I have always remarked, too, that they who are best qualified to
sit in this neighbourhood-tribunal, generally keep most aloof from it, as
repugnant to their tastes and habits, thus leaving its decisions to the
portion of the community least qualified to make such as are either just or
enlightened.

I felt a disposition to laugh outright, at the manner in which Jason
betrayed a sneaking consciousness of crime, as he saw my meek, innocent,
simple-minded, just and warm-hearted mother lay the cards on the table that
evening. His sense of guilt was purely conventional, while my mother’s
sense of innocence existed in the absence of false instruction, and in the
purity of her intentions. One had been taught no exaggerated and false
notion of sin,--nay, a notion that is impious, as it is clearly impious
in man to torture acts that are perfectly innocent, _per se_, into formal
transgressions of the law of God,--while the other had been educated under
the narrow and exaggerated notions of a provincial sect, and had obtained a
species of conscience that was purely dependent on his miserable schooling.
I heard my grandfather say that Jason actually showed the white of his eyes
the first time he saw Mr. Worden begin to deal, and he still looked, the
whole time we were at whist, as if he expected some one might enter, and
tell of his delinquency, I soon discovered that Jason had a much greater
dread of being told of, than of doing such things as taking a hand at
whist, or drinking a glass of punch, from which I inferred his true
conscience drew perceptible distinctions between the acts and the penalties
he had been accustomed to see inflicted on them. He was much disposed to a
certain sort of frailty; but it was a sneaking disposition to the last.

But, the amusing part of the exhibition, that first evening of our
acquaintance, was Mr. Worden’s showing off his successor’s familiarity
with the classics. Jason had not the smallest notion of quantity; and he
pronounced the Latin very much as one would read Mohawk, from a vocabulary
made out by a hunter, or a savant of the French Academy. As I had received
the benefit of Mr. Worden’s own instruction, I could do better, and,
generally, my knowledge of the classics went beyond that of Jason’s. The
latter’s English, too, was long a source of amusement with us all, though
my grandfather often expressed strong disgust at it. Even Col. Follock did
not scruple to laugh at Newcome’s English, which, as he frequently took
occasion to say, “hat a ferry remarkaple sount to it.” As this peculiarity
of Jason’s extended a good way into the Anglo-Saxon race, in the part of
the country in which he was born, it may be well to explain what I mean a
little more at large.

Jason was the son of an ordinary Connecticut farmer, of the usual
associations, and with no other pretension to education than such as was
obtained in a common school, or any reading which did not include the
Scriptures, some half-dozen volumes of sermons and polemical works, all the
latter of which were vigorously as well as narrowly one-sided, and a
few books that had been expressly written to praise New England, and to
undervalue all the rest of the earth. As the family knew nothing of the
world beyond the limits of its own township, and an occasional visit
to Hartford, on what is called “election-day,” Jason’s early life was
necessarily of the most contracted experience. His English, as a matter of
course, was just that of his neighbourhood and class of life; which was
far from being either very elegant or very Doric. But on this rustic,
provincial, or rather, hamlet foundation, Jason had reared a superstructure
of New Haven finish and proportions. As he kept school before he went to
college, while he was in college, and after he left college, the whole
energies of his nature became strangely directed to just such reforms of
language as would be apt to strike the imagination of a pedagogue of his
calibre. In the first place, he had brought from home with him a great
number of sounds that were decidedly vulgar and vicious, and with these in
full existence in himself, he had commenced his system of reform on other
people. As is common with all tyros, he fancied a very little knowledge
sufficient authority for very great theories. His first step was to improve
the language, by adapting sound to spelling and he insisted on calling
angel, _an_-gel, because a-n spelt an; chamber, _cham_-ber, for the same
reason; and so on through a long catalogue of similarly constructed words.

“English,” he did not pronounce as “__lish” but as “_Eng_lish,” for
instance; and “nothing” (anglicè _nuth_ing), as _noth_-ing; or, perhaps, it
were better to say “_naw_thin’.” While Jason showed himself so much of
a purist with these and many other words, he was guilty of some of the
grossest possible mistakes, that were directly in opposition to his own
theory. Thus, while he affectedly pronounced “none,” (nun,) as “known,” he
did not scruple to call “stone,” “stun,” and “home,” “hum.” The idea of
pronouncing “clerk,” as it should be, or “clark,” greatly shocked him, as
it did to call “hearth,” “h’arth;” though he did not hesitate to call this
good earth of ours, the “‘arth.” “Been,” he pronounced “ben,” of course,
and “roof,” he called “ruff,” in spite of all his purism.

From the foregoing specimens, half a dozen among a thousand, the reader
will get an accurate notion of this weakness in Jason’s character. It was
heightened by the fact that the young man commenced his education, such as
it was, late in life, and it is rare indeed that either knowledge or tastes
thus acquired are entirely free from exaggeration. Though Jason was several
years my senior, like myself he was a recent graduate, and it will be easy
enough to imagine the numberless discussions that took place between us, on
the subject of our respective acquisitions. I say ‘respective,’ instead of
mutual acquisitions, because there was nothing mutual about it, or _them_.
Neither our classics, our philosophy, nor our mathematics would seem to
have been the same, but each man apparently had a science, or a language of
his own, and which had been derived from the institution where he had been
taught. In the classics I was much the strongest, particularly in the
quantities, but Jason had the best of it in mathematics. In spite of his
conceit, his vulgarity, his English, his provincialism, and the awkwardness
with which he wore his tardily acquired information, this man had strong
points about him, and a native shrewdness that would have told much more in
his favour had it not been accompanied by a certain evasive manner, that
caused one constantly to suspect his sincerity, and which often induced
those who were accustomed to him, to imagine he had a sneaking propensity
that rendered him habitually hypocritical. Jason held New York in great
contempt; a feeling he was not always disposed to conceal, and of necessity
his comparisons were usually made with the state of things in Connecticut,
and much to the advantage of the latter. To one thing, however, he was much
disposed to defer, and that was money. Connecticut had not then, nor has it
now, a single individual who would be termed rich in New York; and Jason,
spite of his provincial conceit, spite of his overweening notions of moral
and intellectual superiority, could no more prevent this profound deference
for wealth, than he could substitute for a childhood of vulgarity and
neglect, the grace, refinement and knowledge which the boys of the more
fortunate classes in life obtain as it might be without knowing it. Yes,
Jason bowed down to the golden calf, in spite of his puritanism, his
love of liberty, his pretension to equality and the general strut of his
disposition and manner.

Such is an outline of the character and qualifications of the man whom I
found, on my return from college, at the head of Mr. Worden’s school. We
soon became acquainted, and I do not know which got the most ideas from the
other, in course of the first fortnight. Our conversation and arguments
were free, almost to rudeness, and little mercy was shown to our respective
prejudices. Jason was ultra leveling in his notions of social intercourse,
while I had the opinions of my own colony, in which the distinctions of
classes are far more strongly marked than is usual in New England, out of
Boston, and its immediate association. Still Jason deferred to names, as
well as money, though it was in a way very different from my own. New
England was, and is, loyal to the crown; but having the right to name
many of its own governors, and possessing many other political privileges
through the charters that were granted to her people, in order to induce
them to settle that portion of the continent, they do not always manifest
the feeling in a way to be agreeable to those who have a proper reverence
for the crown. Among other points, growing out of this difference in
training, Jason and I had sundry arguments on the subject of professions,
trades and callings. It was evident he fancied the occupation of a
schoolmaster next in honour to that of a clergyman. The clergy formed a
species of aristocracy, according to his notions; but no man could commence
life under more favourable auspices, than by taking a school. The following
dialogue occurred between us, on this subject; and I was so much struck
with the novelty of my companion’s notions, as to make a note of it, as
soon as we parted.

“I wonder your folks don’t think of giving you suthin’ to do, Corny,”
 commenced Jason, one day, after our acquaintance had ripened into a sort
of belligerent intimacy. “You’re near nineteen, now, and ought to begin to
think of bringing suthin’ in, to pay for all the outgoings.”

By “your folks,” Jason meant the family of Littlepage; and the blood of
that family quickened a little within me, fit the idea of being profitably
employed, in the manner intimated, because I had reached the mature and
profitable age of nineteen.

“I do not understand you exactly, Mr. Newcome, by your bringing something
in,” answered I, with dignity enough to put a man of ordinary delicacy on
his guard.

“Bringing suthin’ in is good English, I hope, Mr. Littlepage. I mean that
your edication has cost your folks enough to warrant them in calling on you
for a little interest. How much do you suppose, now, has been spent on your
edication, beginning at the time you first went to Mr. Worden, and leaving
off the day you quitted Newark?”

“Really, I have not the smallest notion; the subject has never crossed my
mind.”

“Did the old folks never say anything to you about it?--never foot up the
total?”

“I am sure it is not easy to see how this could be done, for I could not
help them in the least.”

“But your father’s books would tell that, as doubtless it all stands
charged against you.”

“Stands charged against me!--How, sir! do you imagine my father makes
a charge in a book against me, whenever he pays a few pounds for my
education?”

“Certainly; how else could he tell how much you have had?--though, on
reflection, as you are an only child, it does not make so much difference.
You probably will get all, in the end.”

“And had I a brother, or a sister, do you imagine, Mr. Newcome, each
shilling we spent would be set down in a book, as charges against us?”

“How else, in natur’, could it be known which had had the most, or any sort
of justice be done between you?”

“Justice would be done, by our common father’s giving to each just as much
of his own money as he might see fit. What is it to me, if he chose to give
my brother a few hundred pounds more than he chose to give to me? The money
is his, and he may do with it as he choose.”

“An hundred pounds is an awful sight of money!” exclaimed Jason, betraying
by his countenance how deeply he felt the truth of this. “If you have had
money in such large sums, so much the more reason why you should set about
doing suthin’ to repay the old gentleman. Why not set up a school?”

“Sir!”

“Why not set up a school, I say? You might have had this of mine, had you
been a little older; but once in, fast in, with me. Still, schools are
wanted, and you might get a tolerable good recommend. I dare say your tutor
would furnish a certificate.”

This word “recommend” was used by Jason for “recommendation” the habit of
putting verbs in the places of substantives, and _vice versa_, being much
in vogue with him.

“And do you really think that one who is destined to inherit Satanstoe,
would act advisedly to set up a school? Recollect, Mr. Newcome, that my
father and grandfather have both borne the king’s commission; and that
the last bears it, at this very moment, through his representative, the
Governor.”

“What of all that? What better business is there than keeping a good
school? If you are high in your notions, get to be made a tutor in that New
Jersey college. Recollect that a tutor in a college is somebody. I did hope
for such a place, but having a Governor’s son against me, as a candidate,
there was no chance.”

“A Governor’s son a candidate for a tutorship in a college! You are pleased
to trifle with me, Mr. Newcome.”

“It’s true as the gospel. You thought some smaller fish put me down, but he
was the son of the Governor. But, why do you give that vulgar name to your
father’s farm--Satanstoe is not decent; yet, Corny, I’ve heard you use it
before your own mother!”

“That you may hear every day, and my mother use it, too, before her own
son. What fault do you find with the name of Satanstoe?”

“Fault!--In the first place it is irreligious and profane; then it is
ungenteel and vulgar, and only fit to be used in low company. Moreover, it
is opposed to history and revelation, the Evil One having a huff, if you
will, but no toes. Such a name couldn’t stand a fortnight before public
opinion in New England.”

“Yes, that may be very true; but we do not care enough for His Satanic
Majesty in the colony of New York, to treat him with so much deference. As
for the ‘huffs,’ as you call them----”

“Why, what do _you_ call ‘em, Mr. Littlepage?”

“Hoofs, Mr. Newcome; that is the New York pronunciation of the word.”

“I care nothing for York pronunciation, which everybody knows is Dutch and
full of corruptions. You’ll never do anything worth speaking of in this
colony, Corny, until you pay more attention to your schools.”

“I do not know what you call attention, Mr. Jason, unless we have paid it
already. Here, I have the caption, or rather preamble of a law, on that
very subject, that I copied out of the statute-book on purpose to show you,
and which I will now read in order to prove to you how things really stand
in the colony.”

“Read away,” rejoined Jason, with an air of sufficient disdain.

Read I did, and in the following sententious and comprehensive language,
viz:--“Whereas the youth of this colony are found, by manifold experience,
to be not inferior in their natural geniuses to the youth of any other
country in the world, therefore be it enacted, &c.” [8]

“There, sir,” I said in exultation, “you have chapter and verse for the
true character of the rising generation in the colony of New York.”

“And what does that preamble lead to?” demanded Jason, a little staggered
at finding the equality of our New York intellects established so clearly
by legislative enactment.

“It is the preamble to an act establishing the free schools of New York, in
which the learned languages have now been taught these twenty years; and
you will please to remember that another law has not long been passed
establishing a college in town.”

“Well, curious laws sometimes do get into the statute-books, and a body
must take them as he finds them. I dare say Connecticut might have a word
to say on the same subject, if you would give her a chance. Have you heard
the wonderful news from Philadelphia, Corny, that has just come among us?”

“I have heard nothing of late; for you know I have been over in Rockland,
with Dirck Follock, for the last two weeks, and news never reaches that
family, or indeed that county.”

“No, that is true enough,” answered Jason, drily; “News and a Dutchman have
no affinity, or attraction, as we would say in philosophy; though there is
gravitation enough on one side, ha! boy?”

Here Jason laughed outright, for he was always delighted whenever he could
get a side-hit at the children of Holland, whom he appeared to regard as a
race occupying a position between the human family and the highest class of
the unintellectual animals. But it is unnecessary to dwell longer on this
dialogue, my object being merely to show the general character of Jason’s
train of thought, in order to be better understood when I come to connect
his opinions with his acts.

Dirck and myself were much together after my return from college. I passed
weeks at a time with him, and he returned my visits with the utmost freedom
and good-will. Each of us had now got his growth, and it would have done
the heart of Frederick of Prussia good, to have seen my young friend after
he had ended his nineteenth year. In stature he measured exactly six feet
three, and he gave every promise of filling up in proportion. Dirck was
none of your roundly-turned, Apollo-built fellows, but he had shoulders
that his little, short, solid, but dumpy-looking mother, who was of the
true stock, could scarcely span, when she pulled his head down to give him
a kiss; which she did regularly, as Dirck told me himself, twice each year;
that is to say, Christmas and New-Year. His complexion was fair, his limbs
large and well proportioned, his hair light, his eyes blue, and his face
would have been thought handsome by most persons. I will not deny, however,
that there was a certain ponderosity, both of mind and body, about my
friend, that did not very well accord with the general notion of grace and
animation. Nevertheless, Dirck was a sterling fellow, as true as steel, as
brave as a game-cock, and as honest as noon-day light.

Jason was a very different sort of person, in many essentials. In figure,
he was also tall, but he was angular, loose-jointed and swinging--slouching
would be the better word, perhaps. Still, he was not without strength,
having worked on a farm until he was near twenty; and he was as active as a
cat; a result that took the stranger a little by surprise, when he regarded
only his loose, quavering sort of build. In the way of thought, Jason would
think two feet to Dirck’s one; but I am far from certain that it was always
in so correct a direction. Give the Dutchman time, he was very apt to come
out right; whereas Jason, I soon discovered, was quite liable to come to
wrong conclusions, and particularly so in all matters that were a little
adverse, and which affected his own apparent interests. Dirck, moreover,
was one of the best-natured fellows that breathed; it being almost
impossible to excite him to anger; when it did come, however, the
earthquake was scarcely more terrific. I have seen him enraged, and would
as soon encounter a wild-boar in an open field, as run against his course,
while in the fit.

Modesty will hardly permit me to say much of myself. I was well-grown,
active, strong, for my years; and, I am inclined to think, reasonably
well-looking; though I would prefer that this much should be said by
any one but myself. Dirck and I often tried our manhood together, when
youngsters, and I was the better chap until my friend reached his
eighteenth year, when the heavy metal of the young Dutch giant told in our
struggles. After that period was past, I found Dirck too much for me, in a
close gripe, though my extraordinary activity rendered the inequality less
apparent than it might otherwise have proved. I ought not to apply the
term of “extraordinary” to anything about myself, but the word escaped
me unconsciously, and I shall let it stand. One thing I will say,
notwithstanding, let the reader think of it as he may: I was good-natured
and well-disposed to my fellow-creatures, and had no greater love of money
than was necessary to render me reasonably discreet.

Such is an outline of the characters and persons of three of the principal
actors in the scenes I am about to relate; scenes that will possess some
interest for those who love to read accounts of adventures in a new
country, however much they may fail in interesting others, when I speak of
the condition and events of the more civilized condition of society, that
was enjoyed, even in my youth, in such old counties as Westchester, and
such towns as York.

[Footnote 8: This quotation would seem to be accurate, and it is somewhat
curious to trace the reason why a preamble so singular should have been
prefixed to the law. Was it not owing to the oft-repeated and bold
assertions of Europeans, that man deteriorated in this hemisphere? Any
American who has been a near observer of European opinion, even in our day,
must have been frequently amused at the expression of surprise and doubt
that so often escapes the residents of the Old World, when they discover
anything that particularly denotes talent coming from the New. I make
little question that this extraordinary preamble is a sort of indirect
answer to an imputation that was known to be as general, in that age, as
it was felt to be unjust. My own experience would lead me to think native
capacity more abundant in America than in the midland countries of Europe,
and quite as frequently met with as in Italy itself; and I have often heard
teachers, both English and French, admit that their American and West-India
scholars were generally the readiest and cleverest in their schools. The
great evil under which this country labours, in this respect, is the sway
of numbers, which is constantly elevating mediocrity and spurious talent to
high places. In America we have a _higher average_ of intelligence, while
we have far less of the _higher class;_ and I attribute the latter fact
to the control of those who have never enjoyed the means of appreciating
excellence.--EDITOR.]



CHAPTER IV.

  “Let us, then, be up and doing,
  With a heart for any fate;
  Still achieving, still pursuing,
  Learn to labour and to wait.”

  LONGFELLOW.


The spring of the year I was twenty, Dirck and myself paid our first visit
to town, in the characters of young men. Although Satanstoe was not more
than five-and-twenty miles from New York, by the way of King’s-Bridge, the
road we always travelled in order to avoid the ferry, it was by no means as
common to visit the capital as it has since got to be. I know gentlemen who
pass in and out from our neighbourhood, now, as often as once a fortnight,
or even once a week; but thirty years since this was a thing very seldom
done. My dear mother always went to town twice a year; in the spring to
pass Easter week, and in the autumn to make her winter purchases. My father
usually went down four times, in the course of the twelve months, but he
had the reputation of a gadabout, and was thought by many people to leave
home quite as much as he ought to do. As for my grandfather, old age coming
on, he seldom left home now, unless it were to pay stated visits to certain
old brother campaigners who lived within moderate distances, and with whom
he invariably passed weeks each summer.

The visit I have mentioned occurred some time after Easter, a season of
the year that many of our country families were in the habit of passing
in town, to have the benefit of the daily services of Old Trinity, as the
Hebrews resorted to Jerusalem to keep the feast of the passover. My mother
did not go to town this year, on account of my father’s gout, and I
was sent to supply her place with my aunt Legge, who had been so long
accustomed to have one of the family with her at that season, that I was
substituted. Dirck had relatives of his own, with whom he staid, and thus
every thing was rendered smooth. In order to make a fair start, my friend
crossed the Hudson the week before, and, after taking breath at Satanstoe
for three days, we left the Neck for the capital, mounted on a pair of as
good roadsters as were to be found in the county: and that is saying a good
deal; for the Morrises, and de Lanceys, and Van Cortlandts all kept racers,
and sometimes gave us good sport, in the autumn, over the county course.
West Chester, to say no more than she deserved, was a county with a
spirited gentry, and one of which no colony need be ashamed.

My mother was a tender-hearted parent, and full of anxiety in behalf of an
only child. She knew that travelling always has more or less of hazard,
and was desirous we should be off betimes, in order to make certain of our
reaching town before the night set in. Highway robbers, Heaven be praised!
were then, and are still, unknown to the colonies; but there were other
dangers that gave my excellent parent much concern. All the bridges were
not considered safe; the roads were, and are yet, very circuitous, and it
was possible to lose one’s way; while it was said persons had been known to
pass the night on Harlem common, an uninhabited waste that lies some seven
or eight miles on our side of the city. My mother’s first care, therefore,
was to get Dirck and myself off early in the morning; in order to do which
she rose with the light, gave us our breakfasts immediately afterwards, and
thus enabled us to quit Satanstoe just as the sun had burnished the eastern
sky with its tints of flame-colour.

Dirck was in high good-humour that morning, and, to own the truth, Corny
did not feel the depression of spirits which, according to the laws of
propriety, possibly ought to have attended the first really free departure
of so youthful an adventurer from beneath the shadows of the paternal roof.
We went our way laughing and chatting like two girls just broke loose from
boarding-school. I had never known Dirck more communicative, and I got
certain new insights into his feelings, expectations and prospects, as we
rode along the colony’s highway that morning, that afterwards proved to
be matters of much interest with us both. We had not got a mile from the
chimney-tops of Satanstoe, ere my friend broke forth as follows:--

“I suppose you have heard, Corny, what the two old gentlemen have been at,
lately?”

“Your father and mine?--I have not heard a syllable of any thing new.”

“They have been suing out, before the Governor and Council, a joint claim
to that tract of land they bought of the Mohawks, the last time they were
out together on service in the colony militia.”

I ought to mention, here, that though my predecessors had made but few
campaigns in the regular army, each had made several in the more humble
capacity of a militia officer.

“This is news to me, Dirck,” I answered. “Why should the old gentlemen have
been so sly about such a thing?”

“I cannot tell you, lest they thought silence the best way to keep off the
yankees. You know, my father has a great dread of a yankee’s getting a
finger into any of his bargains. He says the yankees are the locusts of the
west.”

“But, how came you to know any thing about it, Dirck?”

“I am no yankee, Corny.”

“And your father told _you_ on the strength of this recommendation?”

“He told me, as he tells me most things that he thinks it best I should
know. We smoke together, and then we talk together.”

“I would learn to smoke too, if I thought I should get any useful
information by so doing.”

“Dere is much to be l’arnt from ter pipe!” said Dirck, dropping into a
slightly Dutch accent, as frequently happened with him, when his mind took
a secret direction towards Holland, though in general he spoke English
quite as well as I did myself, and vastly better than that miracle of
taste, and learning, and virtue, and piety, Mr. Jason Newcome, A.B., of
Yale, and prospective president of that, or some other institution.

“So it would seem, if your father is telling you secrets all the time you
are smoking together. But where is this land, Dirck?”

“It is in the Mohawk country--or, rather, it is in the country near the
Hampshire Grants, and at no great distance from the Mohawk country.”

“And how much may there be of it?”

“Forty thousand acres; and some of it of good, rich flats, they say; such
as a Dutchman loves.”

“And your father and mine have purchased all this land in company, you
say--share and share alike, as the lawyers call it.”

“Just so.”

“Pray how much did they pay for so large a tract of land?”

Dirck took time to answer this question. He first drew from his breast a
pocket-book, which he opened as well as he could under the motion of his
roadster, for neither of us abated his speed, it being indispensable to
reach town before dark. My friend succeeded at length in putting his hand
on the paper he wanted, which he gave to me.

“There,” he said; “that is a list of the articles paid to the Indians,
which I have copied, and then there have been several hundred pounds of
fees paid to the Governor and his officers.”

I read from the list, as follows; the words coming out by jerks, as the
trotting of my horse permitted. “Fifty blankets, each with yellow strings
and yellow trimmings; ten iron pots, four gallons each; forty pounds of
gunpowder; seven muskets; twelve pounds of small beads; ten strings of
wampum; fifty gallons of rum, pure Jamaica, and of high proof; a score of
jews-harps, and three dozen first quality English-made tomahawks.”

“Well, Dirck,” I cried, as soon as through reading, “this is no great
matter to give for forty thousand acres of land, in the colony of New York.
I dare say a hundred pounds currency ($250) would buy every thing here,
even to the rum and the first quality of English-made tomahawks.”

“Ninety-six pounds, thirteen shillings, seven pence ‘t’ree fart’in’s’ was
the footing of the whole bill,” answered Dirck deliberately, preparing to
light his pipe; for he could smoke very conveniently while trotting no
faster than at the rate of six miles the hour.

“I do not find that dear for forty thousand acres; I suppose the muskets,
and rum, and other things were manufactured expressly for the Indian
trade.”

“Not they, Corny: you know how it is with the old gentlemen;--they are as
honest as the day.”

“So much the better for them, and so much the better for us! But what is to
be done with this land, now they own it?”

Dirck did not answer, until we had trotted twenty rods; for by this time
the pipe was at work, and the moment that smoke was seen he kept his eye on
it, until he saw a bright light in front of his nose.

“The first thing will be to find it, Corny. When a patent is signed and
delivered, then you must send forth some proper person to find the land it
covers. I have heard of a gentleman who got a grant of ten thousand acres,
five years since; and though he has had a hunt for it every summer since,
he has not been able to find it yet. To be sure, ten thousand acres is a
small object to look for, in the woods.”

“And our fathers intend to find this land as soon as the season opens?”

“Not so fast, Corny; not so fast! That was the scheme of your father’s
Welsh blood, but mine takes matters more deliberately. Let us wait until
next year, he said, and then we can send the boys. By that time, too, the
war will take some sort of a shape, and we shall know better how to care
for the children. The subject has been fairly talked over between the two
patentees, and we are to go early _next_ spring, not this.”

The idea of land-hunting was not in the least disagreeable to me; nor was
it unpleasant to think that I stood in reversion, or as heir, to twenty
thousand acres of land, in addition to those of Satanstoe. Dirck and I
talked the matter over, as we trotted on, until both of us began to regret
that the expedition was so far in perspective.

The war to which Dirck alluded, had broken out a few months before our
visit to town: a Mr. Washington, of Virginia--the same who has since become
so celebrated as the Col Washington of Braddock’s defeat, and other events
at the south--having been captured, with a party of his men, in a small
work thrown up in the neighbourhood of the French, somewhere on the
tributaries of the Ohio; a river that is known to run into the Mississippi,
a vast distance to the west. I knew very little then, nor do I know much
now of these remote regions, beyond the fact that there are such places,
and that they are sometimes visited by detachments, war-parties, hunters,
and other adventurers from the colonies. To me, it seems scarce worth
fighting about such distant and wild territory; for ages and ages must
elapse before it can be of any service for the purposes of civilization.
Both Dirck and myself regretted that the summer would be likely to go by
without our seeing the enemy; for we came of families that were commonly
employed on such, occasions. We thought both our fathers might be out;
though even that was a point that still remained under discussion.

We dined and baited at Kingsbridge, intending to sup in town. While the
dinner was cooking, Dirck and I walked out on the heights that overlook the
Hudson; for I knew less of this noble river than I wished to know of it. We
conversed as we walked; and my companion, who knew the river much better
than myself, having many occasions to pass up and down it, between the
village of Haverstraw and town, in his frequent visits to his relatives
below, gave me some useful information.

“Look here, Corny,” said Dirck, after betraying a good deal of desire to
obtain a view of some object in the distance, along the river-side; “Look
here, Corny, do you see yonder house, in the little bay below us, with the
lawn that extends down to the water; and that noble orchard behind it?”

I saw the object to which Dirck alluded. It was a house that stood near the
river, but sheltered and secluded, with the lawn and orchard as described;
though at the distance of some two or three miles all the beauties of the
spot could not be discovered, and many of them had to be received on the
faith of my companion’s admiration. Still I saw very plainly, all the
principal objects named; and, among others, the house, the orchard, and the
lawn. The building was of stone--as is common with most of the better sort
of houses in the country--was long, irregular, and had that air of
solid comfort about it, which it is usual to see in buildings of that
description. The walls were not whitewashed, according to the lively tastes
of our Dutch fellow-colonists, who appear to expend all their vivacity in
the pipe and the brush, but were left in their native grey; a circumstance
that rendered the form and dimensions of the structure a little less
distinct, at a first glance, than they might otherwise have proved. As
I gazed at the spot, however, I began to fancy it a charm, to find the
picture thus sobered down; and found a pleasure in drawing the different
angles, and walls, and chimneys, and roofs, from this back-ground, by means
of the organ of sight. On the whole, I thought the little sequestered bay,
the wooded and rocky shores, the small but well distributed lawn, the
orchard, with all the other similar accessories, formed together one of the
prettiest places of the sort I had ever seen. Thinking so, I was not slow
in saying as much to my companion. I was thought to have some taste in
these matters, and had been consulted on the subject of laying out grounds
by one or two neighbours in the county.

“Whose house is it, Dirck?” I enquired; “and how came you to know anything
about it?”

“That is Lilacsbush,” answered my friend; “and it belongs to my mother’s
cousin, Herman Mordaunt.”

I had heard of Herman, or, as it is pronounced, Harmar Mordaunt. He was
a man of considerable note in the colony, having been the son of a Major
Mordaunt, of the British army, who had married the heiress of a wealthy
Dutch merchant, whence the name of Herman; which had descended to the son
along with the money. The Dutch were so fond of their own blood, that they
never failed to give this Mr. Mordaunt his Christian name; and he was
usually known in the colony as Herman Mordaunt. Further than this, I knew
little of the gentleman, unless it might be that he was reputed rich, and
was admitted to be in the best society, though not actually belonging to
the territorial or political aristocracy of the colony.

“As Herman Mordaunt is your mother’s cousin, I suppose, Dirck,” I resumed,
“that you have been at Lilacsbush, and ascertained whether the inside of
the house is as pleasant and respectable as the outside.”

“Often, Corny; while Madam Mordaunt lived, my mother and I used to go there
every summer. The poor lady is now dead, but I go there still.”

“Why did you not ride on as far as Lilacsbush, and levy a dinner on your
relations? I should think Herman Mordaunt would feel hurt, were he to learn
that an acquaintance, or a relation, had put up at an inn, within a couple
of miles of his own house. I dare say he knows both Major and Capt.
Littlepage, and I protest I shall feel it necessary to send him a note of
apology for not calling. These things ought not to be done, Dirck, among
persons of a certain stamp, and who are supposed to know what is proper.”

“This would be all right enough, Corny, had Herman Mordaunt, or his
daughter, been at Lilacsbush; but they live in Crown Street, in town, in
winter, and never come out here until after the Pinkster holidays, let
_them_ come when they may.”

“Oh! he is as great a man as that, is he?--a town and country house; after
all, I do not know whether it would do to be quite so free with one of his
standing, as to go to dine with him without sending notice.”

“Nonsense, Corny. Who hesitates about stopping at a gentleman’s door, when
he is travelling? Herman Mordaunt would have given us a hearty welcome,
and I should have gone on to Lilacsbush, did I not know that the family
is certain to be in town at this season. Easter came early this year, and
to-morrow will be the first day of the Pinkster holidays. As soon as they
are over, Herman Mordaunt and Anneke will be out here to enjoy their lilacs
and roses.”

“Oh, ho! there is an Anneke, as well as the old gentleman. Pray, how old
may Miss Anneke be, Master Dirck?”

As this question was asked, I turned to look my friend in the face, and I
found that his handsome, smooth, fair Dutch lineaments were covered with a
glow of red, that it was not usual to see extended so far from his ruddy
cheeks. Dirck was too much of a man, however, to turn away, or to try to
hide blushes so ingenuous; but he answered stoutly--

“My cousin, Anneke Mordaunt, is just turned of seventeen; and, I’ll tell
you what, Corny--”

“Well--I am listening, with both ears, to hear your _what_--Out with it,
man; both ears are open.”

“Why, Anneke (On-na-_kay_), is one of the very prettiest girls in the
colony!--What is more, she is as sweet and goot”--Dirck grew Dutch, as he
grew animated--“as she is pretty.”

I was quite astounded at the energy and feeling with which this was said.
Dirck was such a matter-of-fact fellow, that I had never dreamed he could
be sensible to the passion of love; nor had I ever paused to analyze the
nature of our own friendship. We liked each other, in the first place, most
probably, from habit; then, we were of characters so essentially different,
that our attachment was influenced by that species of excitement which is
the child of opposition. As we grew older, Dirck’s good qualities began to
command my respect, and reason entered more into my affection for him. I
was well convinced that my companion could, and would, prove to be a warm
friend; but the possibility of his ever becoming a lover, had not before
crossed my mind. Even then, the impression made was not very deep or
lasting, though I well remember the sort of admiration and wonder with
which I gazed at his flushed cheek, animated eye, and improved mien. For
the moment, Dirck really had a commanding and animated air.

“Why, Anneke is one of the prettiest girls in the colony!” my friend had
exclaimed.

“And your cousin?”

“My second cousin.--Her mother’s father and my mother’s mother were brother
and sister.”

“In that case, I shall hope to have the honour of being introduced, one of
these days, to Miss Anneke Mordaunt, who is just turned of seventeen, and
is one of the prettiest girls in the colony, and is as good as she is
pretty.”

“I wish you to see her, Corny, and that before we go home,” Dirck replied,
all his philosophy, or phlegm, whichever the philosophy of other people may
term it, returning; “come; let us go back to the inn; our dinner will be
getting cold.”

I mused on my friend’s unusual manner, as we walked back towards the inn;
but it was soon forgotten, in the satisfaction produced by eating a
good, substantial meal of broiled ham, with hot potatoes, boiled eggs,
a beefsteak, done to a turn, with the accessions of pickles, cold-slaw,
apple-pie, and cider. This is a common New York tavern dinner, for the
wayfarer; and, I must say, I have got to like it. Often have I enjoyed such
a repast, after a sharp forenoon’s ride; ay, and enjoyed it more than I
have relished entertainments at which have figured turkies, oysters, hams,
hashes, and other dishes, that have higher reputations. Even turtle-soup,
for which we are somewhat famous in New York, has failed to give me the
same delight.

Dirck, to do him justice, ate heartily; for it is not an easy matter to
take away his appetite. As usual, I did most of the talking; and that
was with our landlady, who, hearing I was a son of her much-esteemed and
constant customer, Major Littlepage, presented herself with the dessert and
cheese, and did me the honour to commence a discourse. Her name was Light;
and light was she certain to cast on everything she discussed; that is to
say, innkeeper’s light; which partakes somewhat of the darkness that is so
apt to overshadow no small portion of the minds of her many customers.

“Pray, Mrs. Light,” I asked, when there was an opening, which was not until
the good woman had exhausted her breath in honour of the Littlepages,
“do you happen to know anything of a family, hereabouts, of the name of
Mordaunt?”

“Do I _happen_ to know, sir!--Why, Mr. Littlepage, you might almost as well
have asked me, if I had ever heard of a Van Cortlandt, or a Philipse, or
a Morris, or any other of the gentry hereabouts. Mr. Mordaunt has a
country-place, and a very pretty one it is, within two miles and a half of
us; and he and Madame Mordaunt never passed our door, when they went into
the country to see Madame Van Cortlandt, without stopping to say a word,
and leave a shilling. The poor lady is dead; but there is a young image
of her virtues, that is coming a’ter her, that will be likely to do some
damage in the colony. She is modesty itself, sir; so I thought it could do
her no harm, the last time she was here, just to tell her, she ought to be
locked up, for the thefts she was likely to commit, if not for them she had
committed already. She blushed, sir, and looked for all the world like the
shell of the most delicate boiled lobster you ever laid eyes on. She is
truly a charming young lady!”

“Thefts of hearts, you mean of course, my good Mrs. Light?”

“Of nothing else, sir; young ladies are apt to steal hearts, you know.
My word for it, Miss Anneke will turn out a great robber, after her own
fashion, you know, sir.”

“And whose hearts is she likely to run away with, pray? I should be pleased
to hear the names of some of the sufferers.”

“Lord, sir!--she is too young to have done much _yet_, but wait a
twelvemonth, and I’ll answer the question.”

I could see all this time that Dirck was uneasy, and had some amusement in
watching the workings of his countenance. My malicious intentions, however,
were suddenly interrupted. As if to prevent further discourse, and, at the
same time, further _espionage_, my young friend rose from table, ordering
the horses and the bill.

During the ride to town, no more was said of Lilacsbush, Herman Mordaunt,
or his daughter Anneke. Dirck was silent, but this was his habit after
dinner, and I was kept a good deal on the alert in order to find the road
which crossed the common, it being our desire to go in that direction.
It is true, we might have gone into town by the way of Bloomingdale,
Greenwich, the meadows and the Collect, and so down past the common upon
the head of Broadway; but my mother had particularly desired we would
fall into the Bowery Lane, passing the seats that are to be found in that
quarter, and getting into Queen Street as soon as possible. By taking this
course she thought we should be less likely to miss our way within the town
itself, which is certainly full of narrow and intricate passages. My uncle
Legge had removed into Duke Street, in the vicinity of Hanover Square;
and Queen Street, I well knew, would lead us directly to his door. Queen
Street, indeed, is the great artery of New York, through which most of its
blood circulates.

It was drawing towards night when we trotted up to the stable, where we
left our horses, and obtaining a black to shoulder our portmanteaus, we
began to thread the mazes of the capital on foot. New York was certainly,
even in 1757, a wonderful place for commerce! Vessels began to be seen
some distance east of Fly Market, and there could not have been fewer than
twenty ships, brigs, and schooners, lying in the East river, as we walked
down Queen Street. Of course I include all descriptions of vessels that go
to sea, in this estimate. At the present moment, it is probable twice
that number would be seen. There Dirck and I stopped more than once,
involuntarily, to gaze at the exhibitions of wealth and trade that offered
themselves as we went deeper into the town. My mother had particularly
cautioned me against falling into this evidence of country habits, and
I felt much ashamed at each occurrence of the weakness; but I found it
irresistible. At length my friend and I parted; he to go to the residence
of his aunt, while I proceeded to that of mine. Before separating, however
we agreed to meet next morning in the fields at the head of Broadway,
on the common, which, as it was understood, was to be the scene of the
Pinkster sports.

My reception in Duke Street was cordial, both on the part of my uncle and
on the part of my aunt; the first being a good-hearted person, though a
little too apt to run into extravagance on the subject of the rights of the
rabble. I was pleased with the welcome I received, enjoyed an excellent hot
supper, to which we sat down at half-past eight, my aunt being fond of town
hours, both dining and supping a little later than my mother, as being more
fashionable and genteel. [9] As I was compelled to confess fatigue, after
so long a ride, as soon as we quitted the table I retired to my own room.

The next day was the first of the three that are devoted to Pinkster, the
great Saturnalia of the New York blacks. Although this festival is always
kept with more vivacity at Albany than in York, it is far from being
neglected, even now, in the latter place. I had told my aunt, before I left
her, I should not wait for breakfast, but should be up with the sun, and
off in quest of Dirck, in order that we might enjoy a stroll along the
wharves before it was time to repair to the common, where the fun was to
be seen. Accordingly I got out of the house betimes, though it was an hour
later than I had intended; for I heard the rattling of cups in the little
parlour, the sign that the table was undergoing the usual process of
arrangement for breakfast. It then occurred to me that most, if not all of
the servants, seven in number, would be permitted to enjoy the holiday;
and that it might be well if I took all my meals, that day, in the fields.
Running back to the room, I communicated this intention to Juno, the girl I
found doing Pompey’s work, and left the house on a jump. There was no
great occasion for starving, I thought, in a town as large and as full
of eatables as New York; and the result fully justified this reasonable
opinion.

Just as I got into Hanover Square, I saw a grey-headed negro, who was for
turning a penny before he engaged in the amusements of the day, carrying
two pails that were scoured to the neatness of Dutch fastidiousness, and
which were suspended from the yoke he had across his neck and shoulders. He
cried “White wine--white wine!” in a clear sonorous voice; and I was at his
side in a moment. White wine was, and is still, my delight of a morning;
and I bought a delicious draught of the purest and best of a Communipaw
vintage, eating a cake at the same time. Thus refreshed, I proceeded into
the square, the beauty of which had struck my fancy as I walked through it
the previous evening. To my surprise, whom should I find in the very centre
of Queen Street, gaping about him with a most indomitable Connecticut
air, but Jason Newcome! A brief explanation let me into the secret of his
presence. His boys had all gone home to enjoy the Pinkster holiday, with
the black servants of their respective families; and Jason had seized the
opportunity to pay his first visit to the great capital of the colony. He
was on his travels, like myself.

“And what has brought you down here?” I demanded, the pedagogue having
already informed me that he had put up at a tavern in the suburbs, where
horse-keeping and lodgings were “reasonable.” “The Pinkster fields are up
near the head of Broadway, on the common.”

“So I hear,” answered Jason; “but I want to see a ship and all the sights
this way, in the first place. It will be time enough for Pinkster, two or
three hours hence, if a Christian ought even to look at such vanities. Can
you tell me where I am to find Hanover Square, Corny?”

“You are in it now, Mr. Newcome; and to my fancy, a very noble area it is!”

“_This_ Hanover Square!” repeated Jason. “Why, its shape is not that of a
square at all; it is nearer a _triangle_.”

“What of that, sir? By a square in a town, one does not necessarily
understand an area with four equal sides and as many right angles, but an
open space that is left for air and beauty. There are air and beauty enough
to satisfy any reasonable man. A square may be a parallelogram, or a
triangle, or any other shape one pleases.”

“This, then, is Hanover Square!--a New York square, or a Nassau Hall
square, Corny; but not a Yale College square, take my word for it. It is so
small, moreover!”

“Small!--the width of the street at the widest end must be near a hundred
feet; I grant you it is not half that at the other end, but that is owing
to the proximity of the houses.”

“Ay, it is all owing to the proximity of the houses, as you call it. Now,
according to my notion, Hanover Square, of which a body hears so much talk
in the country, ought to have had fifty or sixty acres in it, and statues
of the whole House of Brunswick, besides. Why is that nest of houses left
in the middle of your square?”

“It is not, sir. The square ceases when it reaches _them._ They are too
valuable to be torn down, although there has been some talk of it. My uncle
Legge told me, last evening, that those houses have been valued as high as
twelve thousand dollars; and some persons put them as high as six thousand
pounds.”

This reconciled Jason to the houses; for he never failed to defer to money,
come in what shape it would. It was the only source of human distinction
that he could clearly comprehend, though he had some faint impressions
touching the dignity of the crown, and the respect due to its
representatives.

“Corny,” said Jason, in an under tone, and taking me by the arm to lead me
aside, though no one was near, like a man who has a great secret to ask, or
to communicate, “what was that I saw you taking for your bitters, a little
while ago?”

“Bitters! I do not understand you, Jason. Nothing bitter have I tasted
to-day; nor can I say I have any great wish to put anything bitter into my
mouth.”

“Why, the draught you got from the nigger who is now coming back across the
square, as you call it, and which you seemed to enj’y particularly. I am
dry, myself, and should wonderfully like a drink.”

“Oh! that fellow sells ‘white wine,’ and you will find it delicious. If you
want your ‘bitters,’ as you call them, you cannot do better than stop him,
and give him a penny.”

“Will he let it go so desperate cheap as that?” demanded Jason, his eyes
twinkling with a sort of “bitters” expectation.

“That is the stated price. Stop him boldly; there is no occasion for all
this Connecticut modesty. Here, uncle, this gentleman wishes a cup of your
white wine.”

Jason turned away in alarm, to see who was looking on; and, when the cup
was put into his hand, he shut his eyes, determined to gulp its contents at
a swallow, in the most approved “bitters” style. About half the liquor went
down his throat, the rest being squirted back in a small white stream.

“Buttermilk, by Jingo!” exclaimed the disappointed pedagogue, who expected
some delicious combination of spices with rum. St. Jingo was the only
saint, and a “darnation” or “darn you,” were the only oaths his puritan
education ever permitted him to use.

[Footnote 9: The dinner of the last half century is, in one sense, but a
substitute for the _petits soupers_ of the century or two that preceded. It
is so entirely rational and natural, that the cultivated and refined should
meet for the purposes of social enjoyment after the business of the day has
terminated, that the supper has only given place to the same meal under
another name, and at hours little varying from those of the past. The
Parisian dines at half-past six, remaining at table until eight. The
Englishman, later in all his hours, and more ponderous in all his habits,
sits down to table about the time the Frenchman gets up; quitting it
between nine and ten. The Italian pays a tribute to his climate, and has
his early dinner and light supper, both usually alone, the habits of the
country carrying him to the opera and the _conversazione_ for social
communion. But what is the American? A jumble of the same senseless
contradictions in his social habits, as he is fast getting to be in his
political creeds and political practices; a being that is _in transitu_,
pressed by circumstances on the one side, and by the habit of imitation on
the other; unwilling, almost unable, to think and act for himself. The only
American who is temporarily independent in such things, is the unfledged
provincial, fresh from his village conceit and village practices, who,
until corrected by communion with the world, fancies the south-east corner
of the north-west parish, in the town of Hebron, in the county of Jericho,
and the State of Connecticut, to be the only portion of this globe that is
perfection. If he should happen to keep a school, or conduct a newspaper,
the community becomes, in a small degree, the participant of his rare
advantages and vast experience!--EDITOR.]



CHAPTER V.

  “Here’s your fine clams!
  As white as snow!
  On Rockaway these clams do grow.”

  _New York Cries_.


It was some time before Jason’s offended dignity and disappointment would
permit him to smile at the mistake; and we had walked some distance towards
Old Slip, where I was to meet Dirck, before the pedagogue even opened his
lips. Then, the only allusion he made to the white wine, was to call it
“a plaguy Dutch cheat;” for Jason had implicitly relied on having that
peculiar beverage of his caste, known as “bitters.” What he meant by
a _Dutch_ cheat, I do not know; unless he thought the buttermilk was
particularly Dutch, and _this_ buttermilk an imposition.

Dirck was waiting for me at the Old Slip; and, on inquiry, I found he had
enjoyed his draught of white wine as well as myself, and was ready for
immediate service. We proceeded along the wharves in a body, admiring the
different vessels that lined them. About nine o’clock, all three of us
passed up Wall Street, on the stoops of which, no small portion of its
tenants were already seated, enjoying the sight of the negroes, as, with
happy “shining” faces they left the different dwellings, to hasten to the
Pinkster field. Our passage through the street attracted a good deal of
attention; for, being all three strangers, it was not to be supposed we
could be thus seen in a body, without exciting a remark. Such a thing could
hardly have been expected in London itself.

After showing Jason the City Hall, Trinity Church, and the City Tavern, we
went out of town, taking the direction of a large common that the King’s
officers had long used for a parade-ground, and which has since been called
the Park, though it would be difficult to say why, since it is barely a
paddock in size, and certainly has never been used to keep any animals
wilder than the boys of the town. A park, I suppose, it will one day
become, though it has little at present that comports with my ideas of such
a thing. On this common, then, was the Pinkster ground, which was now quite
full of people, as well as of animation.

There was nothing new in a Pinkster frolic, either to Dirck, or to myself;
though Jason gazed at the whole procedure with wonder. He was born within
seventy miles of that very spot, but had not the smallest notion before, of
such a holiday as Pinkster. There are few blacks in Connecticut, I believe;
and those that are there, are so ground down in the Puritan mill, that they
are neither fish, flesh, nor red-herring, as we say of a nondescript. No
man ever heard of a festival in New England, that had not some immediate
connection with the saints, or with politics.

Jason was at first confounded with the noises, dances, music, and games
that were going on. By this time, nine-tenths of the blacks of the city,
and of the whole country within thirty or forty miles, indeed, were
collected in thousands in those fields, beating banjoes, singing African
songs, drinking, and worst of all, laughing in a way that seemed to set
their very hearts rattling within their ribs. Everything wore the aspect of
good-humour, though it was good-humour in its broadest and coarsest forms.
Every sort of common game was in requisition, while drinking was far from
being neglected. Still, not a man was drunk. A drunken negro, indeed, is by
no means a common thing. The features that distinguish a Pinkster frolic
from the usual scenes at fairs, and other merry-makings, however, were of
African origin. It is true, there are not now, nor were there then, many
blacks among us of African birth; but the traditions and usages of their
original country were so far preserved as to produce a marked difference
between this festival, and one of European origin. Among other things, some
were making music, by beating on skins drawn over the ends of hollow
logs, while others were dancing to it, in a manner to show that they felt
infinite delight. This, in particular, was said to be a usage of their
African progenitors.

Hundreds of whites were walking through the fields, amused spectators.
Among these last were a great many children of the better class, who had
come to look at the enjoyment of those who attended them, in their own
ordinary amusements. Many a sable nurse did I see that day, chaperoning
her young master, a young mistress, or both together, through the various
groups; demanding of all, and receiving from all, the respect that one of
these classes was accustomed to pay to the other.

A great many young ladies between the ages of fifteen and twenty were also
in the field, either escorted by male companions, or, what was equally as
certain of producing deference, under the dare of old female nurses, who
belonged to the race that kept the festival. We had been in the field
ourselves two hours, and even Jason was beginning to condescend to be
amused, when, unconsciously, I got separated from my companions, and was
wandering through the groups by myself, as I came on a party of young
girls, who were under the care of two or three wrinkled and grey-headed
negresses, so respectably attired, as to show at once they were
confidential servants in some of the better families. As for the young
ladies themselves, most were still of the age of school girls; though there
were some of that equivocal age, when the bud is just breaking into the
opening flower, and one or two that were even a little older; young women
in forms and deportment, though scarcely so in years. One of a party of two
of the last, appeared to me to possess all the grace of young womanhood,
rendered radiant by the ingenuous laugh, the light-hearted playfulness, and
the virgin innocence of sweet seventeen. She was simply, but very prettily
dressed, and everything about her attire, air, carriage and manner, denoted
a young lady of the better class, who was just old enough to feel all the
proprieties of her situation, while she was still sufficiently youthful to
enjoy all the fun. As she came near me, it seemed as if I knew her; but it
was not until I heard her sweet, mirthful voice, that I recollected the
pretty little thing in whose behalf I had taken a round with the butcher’s
boy, on the Bowery road, near six years before. As her party came quite
near the spot where I stood, what was only conjecture at first, was reduced
to a certainty.

In the surprise of the moment, happening to catch the eye of the young
creature, I was emboldened to make her a low bow. At first she smiled,
like one who fancies she recognises an acquaintance; then her face became
scarlet, and she returned my bow with a very lady-like, but, at the same
time, a very distant curtsey; upon which, bending her blue eyes to the
ground, she turned away, seemingly to speak to her companion. After this,
I could not advance to speak, though I was strongly in hopes the old black
nurse who was with her would recognise me, for she had manifested much
concern about me on the occasion of the quarrel with the young butcher.
This did not occur; and old Katrinke, as I heard the negress called,
jabbered away, explaining the meaning of the different ceremonies of
her race, to a cluster of very interested listeners, without paying any
attention to me. The tongues of the pretty little things went, as girls’
tongues will go, though my unknown fair one maintained all the reserve
and quiet of manner that comported with her young womanhood, and apparent
condition in life.

“Dere, Miss Anneke!” exclaimed Katrinke, suddenly; “dere come a genttleum
dat will bring a pleasure, I know.”

“_Anneke,” I_ repeated, mentally, and “gentleman that will cause pleasure
by his appearance.” “Can it be Dirck?” I thought. Sure enough, Dirck it
proved to be, who advanced rapidly to the group, making a general salute,
and finishing by shaking my beautiful young stranger’s hands, and
addressing her by the name of “cousin Anneke.” This, then, was Annie
Mordaunt, as the young lady was commonly called in the English circles,
the only child and heiress of Herman Mordaunt, of Crown Street and of
Lilacsbush. Well, Dirck has more taste than I had ever given him credit
for! Just as this thought glanced through my mind, my figure caught my
friend’s eye, and, with a look of pride and exultation, he signed to me to
draw nearer, though I had managed to get pretty near as it was, already.

“Cousin Anneke,” said Dirck, who never used circumlocution, when direct
means were at all available, “this is Corny Littlepage, of whom you have
heard me speak so often, and for whom I ask one of your best curtsies and
sweetest smiles.”

Miss Mordaunt was kind enough to comply literally, both curtsying and
smiling precisely as she had been desired to do, though I could see she was
also slightly disposed to laugh. I was still making my bow, and mumbling
some unintelligible compliment, when Katrinke gave a little exclamation,
and using the freedom of an old and confidential servant, she eagerly
pulled the sleeve of her young mistress, and hurriedly whispered something
in her ear. Anneke coloured, turned quickly towards me, bent her eyes more
boldly and steadily on my face--and then it was that I fancied the sweetest
smile which mortal had ever received, or that with which I had just before
been received, was much surpassed.

“Mr. Littlepage, I believe, is not a total stranger, cousin Dirck,” she
said. “Katrinke remembers him, as a young gentleman who once did me an
important service, and now I think I can trace the resemblance myself! I
allude to the boy who insulted me on the Bowery Road, Mr. Littlepage, and
your handsome interference in my behalf.”

“Had there been twenty boys, Miss Mordaunt, an insult to _you_ would have
been resented by any man of ordinary spirit.”

I do not know that any youth, who was suddenly put to his wits to be
polite, or sentimental, or feeling, could have done a great deal better
than _that_! So Anneke thought too, I fancy, for her colour increased,
rendering her ravishingly lovely, and she looked surprisingly pleased.

“Yes,” put in Dirck with energy,--“let twenty, or a hundred try it if they
please, Anneke, men or boys, and they’ll find those that will protect you.”

“You for one, of course, cousin Dirck,” rejoined the charming girl, holding
out her hand towards my friend, with a frankness I could have dispensed
with in her; “but, you will remember, Mr. Littlepage, or _Master_
Littlepage as he then was, was a stranger, and I had no such claim on
_him_, as I certainly have on you.”

“Well, Corny, it is odd you never said a word of this to me! when I was
showing him Lilacsbush, and talking of you and of your father, not a word
did he say on the subject.”

“I did not then know it was Miss Mordaunt I had been so fortunate as to
serve; but here is Mr. Newcome at your elbow, Follock, and dying to be
introduced, as he sees I have been.”

Anneke turned to smile and curtsey again to Jason, who made his bow in
a very school-master sort of a fashion, while I could see that the
circumstance I had not boasted of my exploit gave it new importance in the
sweet creature’s eyes. As for Jason, he had no sooner got along with
the introduction,--the first, I fancy, he had ever gone regularly
through,--than, profiting by some questions Miss Mordaunt was asking Dirck
about his mother and the rest of the family, he came round to me, drew me
aside by a jerk of the sleeve, and gave me to understand he had something
for my private ear.

“I did not know before that you had ever kept school, Corny,” he half
whispered earnestly.

“How do you know it now, Mr. Newcome? since the thing never happened?”

“How comes it, then, that this young woman called you _Master_ Littlepage?”

“Bah! Jason, wait a year or two, and you will begin to get truer notions of
us New Yorkers.”

“But I heard her with my own ears--_Master_ Littlepage; as plain as words
were ever called.”

“Well, then, Miss Mordaunt must be right, and I have forgotten the affair.
I must once have kept a woman’s school, somewhere in my younger days, but
forgotten it.”

“Now this is nothing (nawthin’, as expressed) but you? desperate York
pride, Corny; but I think all the better of you for it. Why, as it could
not have taken place after you went to college, you must have got the start
of even me! But, the Rev. Mr. Worden is enough to start a youth with a
large capital, if he be so minded. I admit he does understand the dead
languages. It is a pity he is so very dead in religious matters.”

“Well--well--I will tell you all about it another time, you perceive, now,
that Miss Mordaunt wishes to move on, and does not like to quit us too
abruptly. Let us follow.”

Jason complied, and for an hour or two we had the pleasure of accompanying
the young ladies, as they strolled among the booths and different groups of
that singular assembly. As has been said, most of the blacks had been born
in the colony, but there were some native Africans among them. New York
never had slaves on the system of the southern planters, or in gangs of
hundreds, to labour in the fields under overseers, and who lived apart in
cabins of their own; but, our system of slavery was strictly domestic, the
negro almost invariably living under the same roof with the master, or, if
his habitation was detached, as certainly sometimes happened, it was still
near at hand, leaving both races as parts of a common family. In the
country, the negroes never toiled in the field, but it was as ordinary
husbandmen; and, in the cases of those who laboured on their own property,
or as tenants of some extensive land-ford, the black did his work at his
master’s side. Then all, or nearly all our household servants were, and
still are, blacks, leaving that department of domestic economy almost
exclusively in their hands, with the exception of those cases in which the
white females busied themselves also in such occupations, united to the
usual supervision of the mistresses. Among the Dutch, in particular, the
treatment of the negro was of the kindest character, a trusty field slave
often having quite as much to say on the subject of the tillage and the
crops, as the man who owned both the land he worked, and himself.

A party of native Africans kept us for half an hour. The scene seemed to
have revived their early associations, and they were carried away with
their own representation of semi-savage sports. The American-born blacks
gazed at this group with intense interest also, regarding them as so many
ambassadors from the land of their ancestors, to enlighten them in usages
and superstitious lore, that were more peculiarly suited to their race. The
last even endeavoured to imitate the acts of the first, and, though the
attempt was often ludicrous, it never failed on the score of intention and
gravity. Nothing was done in the way of caricature, but much in the way of
respect and affection.

Lest the habits of this generation should pass away and be forgotten, of
which I see some evidence, I will mention a usage that was quite common
among the Dutch, and which has passed in some measure, into the English
families that have formed connections with the children of Holland. Two of
these intermarriages had so far brought the Littlepages within the pale,
that the usage to which I allude was practised in my own case. The custom
was this: when a child of the family reached the age of six, or eight, a
young slave of the same age and sex, was given to him, or her, with some
little formality, and from that moment the fortunes of the two were
considered to be, within the limits of their respective pursuits and
positions, as those of man and wife. It is true, divorces do occur, but it
is only in cases of gross misconduct, and quite as often the misconduct is
on the side of the master, as on that of the slave. A drunkard may get in
debt, and be compelled to part with his blacks this one among the rest; but
this particular negro remains with him as long as anything remains. Slaves
that seriously misbehave, are usually sent to the islands, where the toil
on the sugar plantations proves a very sufficient punishment.

The day I was six, a boy was given to me, in the manner I have mentioned;
and he remained not only my property, but my factotum, to this moment.
It was Yaap, or Jacob, the negro to whom I have already had occasion to
allude. Anneke Mordaunt, whose grandmother was of a Dutch family, it will
be remembered, had with her there, in the Pinkster field, a negress of just
her own age, who was called Mari; not Mary, or Maria; but the last, as
it would be pronounced without the final a. This _Mari_ was a buxom,
glistening, smooth-faced, laughing, red-lipped, pearl-toothed, black-eyed
hussy, that seemed born for fun; and who was often kept in order by
her more sedate and well-mannered young mistress with a good deal of
difficulty. My fellow was on the ground, somewhere, too; for I had given
him permission to come to town to keep Pinkster; and he was to leave
Satanstoe, in a sloop, within an hour after I left it myself. The wind had
been fair, and I made no question of his having arrived; though, as yet, I
had not seen him.

I could have accompanied Anneke, and her party, all day, through that
scene of unsophisticated mirth, and felt no want of interest. Her presence
immediately produced an impression; even the native Africans moderating
their manner, and lowering their yells, as it might be, the better to suit
her more refined tastes. No one, in our set, was too dignified to laugh,
but Jason. The pedagogue, it is true, often expressed his disgust at the
amusements and antics of the negroes, declaring they were unbecoming human
beings and otherwise manifesting that disposition to hypercriticism, which
is apt to distinguish one who is only a tyro in his own case.

Such was the state of things, when Ma_ri_ came rushing up to her young
mistress, with distended eyes and uplifted hands, exclaiming, on a key that
necessarily made us all sharers in the communication--

“Oh! Miss Anneke!--What you t’ink, Miss Anneke! Could you ever s’pose sich
a t’ing, Miss Anneke!”

“Tell me at once, Mari, what it is you have seen, or heard; and leave off
these silly exclamations;” said the gentle mistress, with a colour that
proved she was unused to her own girl’s manner.

“Who _could_ t’ink it, Miss Anneke! Dese, here, werry niggers have sent
all’e way to deir own country, and have had a lion cotched for Pinkster!”

This was news, indeed, if true. Not one of us all had ever seen a lion;
wild animals, then, being exceedingly scarce in the colonies, with the
exception of those that were taken in our own woods. I had seen several
of the small brown bears, and many a wolf, and one stuffed panther, in my
time; but never supposed it within the range of possibilities, that I could
be brought so near a living lion. Inquiry showed, nevertheless, that Mari
was right, with the exception of the animal’s having been expressly
caught for the occasion. It was the beast of a showman, who was also the
proprietor of a very active and amusing monkey. The price of admission was
a quarter of a dollar, for adult whites; children and negroes going in for
half-price. These preliminaries understood, it was at once settled that all
who could muster enough of money and courage, should go in a body, and gaze
on the king of beasts. I say, of courage; for it required a good deal for a
female novice to go near a living lion.

The lion was kept in a cage, of course, which was placed in a temporary
building of boards, that had been erected for the Pinkster field. As we
drew near the door, I saw that the cheeks of several of the pretty young
creatures who belonged to the party of Anneke, began to turn pale; a sign
of weakness that, singular as it may appear, very sensibly extended itself
to most of their attendant negresses. Mari did not flinch, however; and,
when it came to the trial, of that sex, she and her mistress were the only
two who held out in the original resolution of entering. Some time
was thrown away in endeavouring to persuade two or three of her older
companions to go in with her; but, finding it useless, with a faint smile,
Miss Mordaunt calmly said--

“Well, gentlemen, Mari and myself must compose the female portion of the
party. I have never seen a lion, and would not, by any means, miss this
opportunity. We shall find my friends waiting for such portions of us as
shall not be eaten, on our return.”

We were now near the door, where stood the man who received the money, and
gave the tickets. It happened that Dirck had been stopped by a gentleman of
his acquaintance, who had just left the building, and who was laughingly
relating some incident that had occurred within. I stood on one side of
Anneke, Jason on the other, while Mari was close in the rear.

“A quarter for each gentleman and the lady,” said the door-keeper, “and a
shilling for the wench.”

On this hint, Jason, to my great surprise, (for usually he was very
backward on such occasions,) drew out a purse, and emptying some silver
into his hand, he said with a flourish--

“Permit me, Miss--it is an honour I covet; a quarter for yourself, and a
shilling for Mari.”

I saw Anneke colour, and her eye turn hastily towards Dirck. Before I had
time to say anything, or to do anything in fact, she answered steadily--

“Give yourself no trouble, Mr. Newcome; Mr. Littlepage will do me the
favour to obtain tickets for me.”

Jason had the money in his fingers, and I passed him and bought the
tickets, while he was protesting--

“It gave him pleasure--he was proud of the occasion--another time her
brother could do the same for his sisters and he had six,” and other
matters of the sort.

I simply placed the tickets in Anneke’s hand, who received them with an
expression of thanks, and we all passed; Dirck inquiring of his cousin, as
he came up, if he should get her tickets. I mention this little incident as
showing the tact of woman, and will relate all that pertains to it, before
I proceed to other things. Anneke said nothing on the subject of her
tickets until we had left the booth, when she approached me, and with that
grace and simplicity which a well-bred woman knows how to use on such an
occasion, and quietly observed--

“I am under obligations to you, Mr. Littlepage, for having paid for my
tickets;--they cost three shillings, I believe.”

I bowed, and had the pleasure of almost touching Miss Mordaunt’s beautiful
little hand, as she gave me the money. At this instant, a jerk at my elbow
came near causing me to drop the silver. It was Jason, who had taken this
liberty, and who now led me aside with a earnestness of manner it was not
usual for him to exhibit. I saw by the portentous look of the pedagogue’s
countenance, and his swelling manner, that something extraordinary was on
his mind, and waited with some little curiosity to learn what it might be.

“Why, what in human natur’, Corny, do you mean?” he cried, almost angrily.
“Did ever mortal man hear of a gentleman’s making a lady pay for a treat!
Do you know you have made Miss Anneke pay for a treat!”

“A treat, Mr. Newcome!”

“Yes, a treat, Mr. Corny Littlepage! How often do you think young ladies
will accompany you to shows, and balls, and other sights, if you make _them
pay_!”

Then a laugh of derision added emphasis to Jason’s words.

“Pay!--could I presume to think Miss Mordaunt would suffer me to pay money
for her, or for her servant?”

“You almost make me think you a nat’ral! Young men _always_ pay for young
women, and no questions asked. Did you not remark how smartly I offered to
pay for this Miss, and how well she took it, until you stepped forward and
cut me out;--I bore it, for it saved me three nine-pences.”

“I observed how Miss Mordaunt shrunk from the familiarity of being called
Miss, and how unwilling she was to let you buy the tickets; and that I
suspect was solely because she saw you had some notion of what you call a
treat.”

I cannot enter into the philosophy of the thing, but certainly nothing is
more vulgar in English, to address a young lady as Miss, without affixing
a name, whereas I know it is the height of breeding to say Mademoiselle in
French, and am told the Spaniards, Italians and Germans, use its synonyme
in the same manner. I had been indignant at Jason’s familiarity when he
called Anneke--the pretty Anneke!--Miss; and felt glad of an occasion to
let him understand how I felt on the subject.

“What a child you be, a’ter all, Corny!” exclaimed the pedagogue, who was
much too good-natured to take offence at a trifle. “You a bachelor of arts!
But this matter _must_ be set right, if it be only for the honour of my
school. Folks”--Jason never blundered on the words ‘one’ or ‘people’ in
this sense--“Folks may think that you have been in the school since it has
been under my care, and I wouldn’t for the world have it get abroad that
a youth from my school had neglected to treat a lady under such
circumstances.”

Conceiving it useless to remonstrate with _me_ any further, Jason proceeded
forthwith to Anneke, with whom he begged permission to say a word in
private. So eager was my companion to wipe out the stain, and so surprised
was the young lady, who gently declined moving more than a step, that the
conference took place immediately under my observation, neither of the
parties being aware that I necessarily heard or saw all that passed.

“You must excuse Corny, Miss,” Jason commenced, producing his purse again,
and beginning to hunt anew for a quarter and a shilling; “he is quite
young, and knows nawthin’ worth speaking of, of the ways of mankind. Ah!
here is just the money--three ninepennies, or three York shillings. Here,
Miss, excuse Corny, and overlook it all; when he is older, he will not make
such blunders.”

“I am not certain that I understand you, sir!” exclaimed Anneke, who had
shrunk back a little at the ‘Miss,’ and who now saw Jason hold out the
silver, with a surprise she took no pains to conceal.

“This is the price of the tickets--yes, that’s all. Naw-thin’ else, on
honour. Corny, you remember, was so awful dumb as to let you pay, just as
if you had been a gentleman.”

Anneke now smiled, and glancing at me at the same instant, a bright blush
suffused her face, though the meaning of my eye, as I could easily see,
strongly tempted her to laugh.

“It is very well as it is, Mr. Newcome, though I feel much indebted to
your liberal intentions,” she said, turning to rejoin her friends; “it is
customary in New York for ladies to pay, themselves, for everything of this
nature. When I go to Connecticut, I shall feel infinitely indebted to you
for another such offer.”

Jason did not know what to make of it! He long after insisted that the
young lady was ‘huffed,’ as he called it, and that she had refused to take
the money merely because she was thus offended.

“There is a manner, you know, Corny,” he said, “of doing even a genteel
thing, and that is to do it genteelly. I much doubt if a genteel thing
_can_ be done ungenteelly. One thing I’m thankful for, and that is, that
she don’t know that you ever were at the ‘Seminarian Institute’ in your
life;” such being the appellation Jason had given to that which Mr. Worden
had simply called a ‘Boys’ School.’ To return to the booth.

The lion had many visitors, and we had some difficulty in finding places.
As a matter of course, Anneke was put in front, most of the men who were in
the booth giving way to her with respectful attention. Unfortunately,
the young lady wore an exceedingly pretty shawl, in which scarlet was a
predominant colour; and that which occurred has been attributed to this
circumstance, though I am far from affirming such to have been literally
the case. Anneke, from the first, manifested no fear; but the circle
pressing on her from without, she got so near the cage that the beast
thrust a paw through, and actually caught hold of the shawl, drawing the
alarmed girl quite up to the bars. I was at Anneke’s side, and with a
presence of mind that now surprises me, I succeeded in throwing the shawl
from the precious creature’s shoulders, and of fairly lifting her from the
ground and setting her down again at a safe distance from the beast. All
this passed so soon that half the persons present were unconscious of what
had occurred until it was all over; and what astonishes me most is, that I
do not retain the least recollection of the pleasure I ought to have felt
while my arm encircled Anneke Mordaunt’s slender waist, and while she was
altogether supported by me. The keeper interfered immediately, and the lion
relinquished the shawl, looking like a disappointed beast when he found it
did not contain its beautiful owner.

Anneke was rescued before she had time fully to comprehend the danger she
had been in. Even Dirck could not advance to her aid, though he saw and
comprehended the imminent risk ran by the being he loved best in the world;
but Dirck was always so slow! I must do Jason the credit to say that he
behaved well, though so situated as to be of no real use. He rushed forward
to assist Anneke, and remained to draw away the shawl, as soon as the
keeper had succeeded in making the lion relinquish his hold. But, all this
passed so rapidly, as to give little opportunity for noting incidents.

Anneke was certainly well frightened by this adventure with the lion, as
was apparent by her changing colour, and a few tears that succeeded. Still,
a glass of water, and a minute or two, seated in a chair, were sufficient
to restore her self-composure, and she remained with us, for half an hour,
examining and admiring her terrible assailant.

And, here, let me add, for the benefit of those who have never had an
opportunity of seeing the king of beasts, that he is a sight well worthy to
behold! I have never viewed an elephant, which travelled gentlemen tell me
is a still more extraordinary animal, though I find it difficult to imagine
anything finer, in its way, than the lion which came so near injuring
“sweet Anne Mordaunt.” I question if any of us were aware of the full
extent of the danger she ran, until we began to reflect on it coolly, after
time and leisure were afforded. As soon as the commotion naturally produced
at first, had subsided, the incident seemed forgotten, and we left the
booth, after a long visit, expatiating on the animal, and its character,
apparently in forgetfulness of that which, by one blow of his powerful paw,
the lion might have rendered fatal to one of the very sweetest and
happiest innocents of the whole province, but for the timely and merciful
interposition of a kind providence.

After the little affair of the tickets, I walked on with Anneke, who
declared her intention of quitting the field, her escape beginning to
affect her spirits, and she was afraid that some particularly kind friend
might carry an exaggerated account of what had happened to her father.
Dirck offered to accompany her home, for Mr. Mordaunt kept no carriage; or,
at least, nothing that was habitually used as a town equipage. We had all
gone as far as the verge of the Common with Anneke, when the sweet girl
stopped, looked at me earnestly, and, while her colour changed and tears
rose to her eyes, she said,--

“Mr. Littlepage, I am just getting to be fully conscious of what I owe to
you. The thing passed so suddenly, and I was so much alarmed, that I did
not know how to express myself at the time, nor am I certain that I do now.
Believe me, notwithstanding, that I never can forget this morning, and I
beg of you, if you have a sister, to carry to her the proffered friendship
of Anneke Mordaunt, and tell her that her own prayers in behalf of her
brother will not be more sincere than mine.”

Before I could recollect myself, so as to make a suitable answer, Anneke
had curtsied and walked away, with her handkerchief to her eyes.



CHAPTER VI.

  “Nay, be brief:
  I see into thy end, and am almost
  A man already.”

  _Cymbeline_.


As Dirck accompanied Miss Mordaunt to her father’s house in Crown Street,
[10] I took an occasion to give Jason the slip, being in no humour to
listen to his lectures on the proprieties of life, and left the Pinkster
field as fast as I could. Notwithstanding the size and importance of New
York, a holiday like this could not fail to draw great crowds of persons
to witness the sports. In 1757, James de Lancey was at the head of the
government of the province, as indeed he had been, in effect, for much of
his life; and I remember to have met his chariot, carrying the younger
children of the family to the field, on my way into the town. As the day
advanced, carriages of one sort and another made their appearance in
Broadway, principally conveying the children of their different owners. All
these belonged to people of the first mark; and I saw the Ship that denotes
the arms of Livingston, the Lance, of the de Lanceys, the Burning Castle,
of the Morrises, and other armorial bearings that were well known in the
province. Carriages, certainly, were not as common in 1757 as they have
since become; but most of our distinguished people rode in their coaches,
chariots, or phaetons, or conveyances of some sort or other, when there was
occasion to go so far out of town as the Common, which is the site of the
present “Park.” The roads on the island of Manhattan were very pretty and
picturesque, winding among rocks and through valleys, being lined with
groves and copses in a way to render all the drives rural and retired. Here
and there, one came to a country-house, the residence of some person of
importance, which, by its comfort and snugness, gave all the indications
of wealth and of a prudent taste. Mr. Speaker Nicoll had [11] occupied a
dwelling of this sort for a long series of years, that was about a league
from town, and which is still standing, as I pass it constantly in
travelling between Satanstoe and York. I never saw the Patentee myself, as
he died long before my birth; but his house near town still stands, as I
have said, a memorial of past ages!

The whole town seemed alive, and everybody had a desire to get a glance at
the sports of the Pinkster Field; though the more dignified and cultivated
had self-denial enough to keep aloof, since it would hardly have comported
with their years and stations to be seen in such a place. The war had
brought many regiments into the province, however, and I met at least
twenty young officers, strolling out to the scene of amusement, as I walked
into town. I will confess I gazed at these youths with admiration, and not
entirely without envy, as they passed me in pairs, laughing and diverting
themselves with the grotesque groups of blacks that were occasionally
met, coming in from their sports. These young men I knew had enjoyed the
advantages of being educated at home, some of them, quite likely, in the
Universities, and all of them amid the high civilization and taste of
England. I say all of them, too hastily; as there were young men of the
colonies among them, who probably had not enjoyed these advantages. The
easy air, self-possession, and quiet, what shall I call it?--insolence
would be too strong a word, and a term that I, the son and grandson of old
king’s officers, would not like to apply, and yet it comes nearest to what
I mean as applicable to the covert manner of these young men--but, whatever
it was, that peculiar air of metropolitan superiority over provincial
ignorance and provincial dependence, which certainly distinguished all the
younger men of this class, had an effect on me, I find it difficult to
describe. I was a loyal subject, loved the King,--most particularly since
he was so identified with the Protestant succession,--loved all of the
blood-royal, and wished for nothing more than the honour and lustre of the
English crown. One thus disposed could not but feel amicably towards the
King’s officers; yet, I will confess, there were moments when this air of
ill-concealed superiority, this manner that so much resembled that of the
master towards the servant, the superior to the dependent, the patron
to the client, gave me deep offence, and feelings so bitter, that I was
obliged to struggle hard to suppress them. But this is Anticipating, and is
interrupting the course of my narrative. I am inclined to think there must
always be a good deal of this feeling, where the relation of principal and
dependant exists, as between distinct territories.

I was a good deal excited, and a little fatigued with the walk and the
incidents of the morning, and determined to proceed at once to Duke Street,
and share the cold dinner of my aunt; for few private families in York,
that depended on regular cooks for their food, had anything served warm on
their tables, for that and the two succeeding days. Here and there a
white substitute was found, it is true, and we had the benefit of such an
assistant at half-past one. It was the English servant of a Col. Mosely, an
officer of the army, who was intimate at my uncle’s, and who had had the
civility to offer a man for this occasion. I afterwards ascertained,
that many officers manifested the same kind spirit towards various other
families in which they visited on terms of friendship.

Marriages between young English officers and our pretty, delicate York
belles, were of frequent occurrence, and I had felt a twinge or two, on the
subject of Anneke, that morning, as I passed the youths of the 55th,
60th, or Loyal Americans, 17th, and other regiments that were then in the
province.

My aunt was descending from the drawing-room, in dinner dress--for that no
lady ever neglects, even though she dines on a cold dumpling. As I opened
the street-door, Mrs. Legge was not coming down alone to take her seat at
table, but, having some extra duty to perform in consequence of the absence
of most of her household, she was engaged in that service. Seeing me,
however, she stopped on the landing of the stains, and beckoned me to
approach.

“Corny,” she said, “what have you been doing, my child, to have drawn this
honour upon you?”

“Honour!--I am ignorant of having even received any. What can you mean, my
dear aunt?”

“Here is Herman Mordaunt waiting to see you, in the drawing-room. He asked
particularly for _you_;--wishes to _see_ you--expresses his regrets that
_you_ are not in, and talks only of _you_!”

“In which case, I ought to hasten up stairs in order to receive him, as
soon as possible. I will tell you all about it at dinner, aunt;--excuse me
now.”

Away I went, with a beating heart, to receive a visit from Anneke’s father.
I can scarcely give a reason why this gentleman was usually called, when
he was spoken of, and sometimes when he was spoken to, _Herman_ Mordaunt;
unless, indeed, it were, that being in part of Dutch extraction, the name
which denoted the circumstance (Hermanus--pronounced by the Hollanders,
Her_maa_nus,) was used by a portion of the population in token of the fact,
and adopted by others in pure compliance. But _Herman_ Mordaunt was
he usually styled; and this, too, in the way of respect, and not as
coarse-minded persons affect to speak of their superiors, or in a way to
boast of their own familiarity. I should have thought it an honour, at my
time of life, to receive a visit from Herman Mordaunt; but my heart fairly
beat, as I have said, as I went hastily up stairs, to meet Anneke’s father.

My uncle was not in, and I found my visitor waiting for me, alone, in
the drawing-room. Aware of the state of the family, and of all families,
indeed, during Pinkster, he had insisted on my aunt’s quitting him, while
he looked over some new books that had recently been received from home;
among which was a new and very handsome edition of the Spectator, a work
that enjoys a just celebrity throughout the colonies.

Mr. Mordaunt advanced to receive me with studied politeness, yet a
warmth that could not well be counterfeited, the instant I approached.
Nevertheless, his manner was easy and natural; and to me he appeared to be
the highest-bred man I had ever seen.

“I am thankful that the debt of gratitude I owe you, my
young friend,” he said, at once, and without preface of any sort, unless
that of manner be so received, “is due to the son of a gentleman I so
much esteem as Evans Littlepage. A loyal subject, an honest man, and a
well-connected and well-descended gentleman, like him, may well be the
parent of a brave youth, who does not hesitate to face even lions, in
defence of the weaker sex.”

“I cannot affect to misunderstand you, sir,” I answered; “and I sincerely
congratulate you that matters are no worse; though you greatly overrate the
danger. I doubt if even a lion would have the heart to hurt Miss Mordaunt,
were she in his power.”

I think this was a very pretty speech, for a youth of twenty; and I confess
I look back upon it, even now, with complacency. If I occasionally betray
weakness of this character, I beg the reader to recollect that I am acting
in the part of an honest historian, and that it is my aim to conceal
nothing that ought to be known.

Herman Mordaunt did not resume his seat, on account of the lateness of the
hour, (half-past one); but he made me professions of friendship, and
named Friday, the first moment when he could command the services of his
domestics, when I should dine with him. The army had introduced later hours
than was usual; and this invitation was given for three o’clock; it being
said, at the time, as I well remember, that persons of fashion in London
sat down to table even later than this. After remaining with me five
minutes, Herman Mordaunt took his leave. Of course, I accompanied him to
the door, where we parted with many bows.

At dinner, I told my uncle and aunt all that had occurred, and was glad to
hear them both speak so favourably of my new acquaintances.

“Herman Mordaunt might be a much more considerable man than he is,”
 observed my uncle, “were he disposed to enter into public life. He has
talents, a good education, a very handsome estate, and is well-connected in
the colony, certainly; some say at home, also.”

“And Anneke is a sweet young thing,” added my aunt; “and, since Corny was
to assist any young lady, I am heartily glad it was Anneke. She is an
excellent creature, and her mother was one of my most intimate friends, as
she was of my sister Littlepage, too. You must go and inquire after her
health, this evening, Corny. Such an attention is due, after what has
passed all round.”

Did I wish to comply with this advice? Out of all question; and yet I was
too young, and too little at my ease, to undertake this ceremony, without
many misgivings. Luckily, Dirck came in, in the evening; and my aunt
repeating her opinion before my friend, he at once declared it was
altogether proper, and that he thought Anneke would have a right to expect
it. As he offered to be my companion, we were soon on our way to Crown
Street, in which Mr. Mordaunt owned and inhabited a very excellent house.
We were admitted by Mr. Mordaunt himself, not one of his blacks, having yet
returned from the Pinkster field.

Dirck appeared to be on the best terms, not only with Herman Mordaunt, but
with his charming daughter. I had observed that the latter always called
him “_cousin_ Dirck,” and I hardly knew whether to interpret this as a sign
of particular or of family regard. That Dirck was fonder of Anneke Mordaunt
than of any other human being, I could easily see; and I confess that the
discovery already began to cause uneasiness. I loved Dirck, and wished he
loved any one else but the very being I feared he did.

Herman Mordaunt showed me the way, up the noble, wide, mahogany-garnished
staircase of his dwelling, and ushered us into a very handsome, though not
very large, but well-lighted drawing-room. There sat Anneke, his daughter,
in the loveliness of her maiden charms, a little more dressed than usual,
perhaps, for she had three or four young and lovely girls with her, and
five or six young men; among whom were no less than three scarlet coats.

I shall not attempt to conceal my weakness. Only twenty, inexperienced and
unaccustomed to town society, I felt awkward and unpleasantly the instant I
entered the room; nor did the feeling subside during the first half-hour.
Anneke came forward, one or two steps, to meet me; and I could see, she was
almost as much confused, as I was myself. She blushed, as she thanked me
for the service I had rendered, and expressed her satisfaction that her
father had been fortunate enough to find me at home, and had had an
opportunity of saying a little of what he felt, on the occasion. She then
invited me to be seated, naming me to the company, and telling me who
two or three of the young ladies were. From these last I received sundry
approving smiles; which I took as so many thanks for serving their friend;
while I could not help seeing that I was an object of examination to most
of the men present. The three officers, in particular, looked at me the
most intently, and the longest.

“I trust, your little accident, which could have been of no great moment,
in itself, since you escaped so well, did not have the effect to prevent
you from enjoying the rare fun of this Pinkster affair?” said one of the
scarlet coats, as soon as the movement caused by my reception had subsided.

“You call it a ‘little accident,’ Mr. Bulstrode,” returned Anneke, with a
reproachful shake of her pretty head, “but, I can assure you, it is not a
trifle, to a young lady, to find herself in the paws of a lion.”

“_Serious_ accident, then; since, I see, you are resolved to consider
yourself a victim;” rejoined the other; “but, not serious enough, I trust,
to deprive you of the fun?”

“Pinkster fields, and Pinkster frolics, are no novelties to us, sir, as
they occur every season; and I am just old enough not to have missed one of
them all, for the last twelve years.”

“We heard you had been ‘out,” put in another red-coat, whom I had heard
called Billings, “accompanied by a little army, of what Bulstrode called,
the Light Infantry.”

Here three or four of the other young ladies joined in the discourse, at
once, protesting against Mr. Bulstrode’s placing their younger sisters
in the army, in so cavalier a manner; an accusation that Mr. Bulstrode
endeavoured to parry, by declaring his hopes of having them all, not only
in the army, but in his own regiment, one day or other. At this, there was
a certain amount of mirth, and various protestations of an unwillingness
to enlist; in which, I was glad to see, that neither Anneke, nor her most
intimate friend, Mary Wallace, saw fit to join, I liked their reserve of
manner, far better than the girlish trifling of their companions; and, I
could see, that all the men respected them the more for it. There was a
good deal of general and disjointed conversation that succeeded; which
I shall not pretend to follow or relate, but confine myself to such
observations as had a bearing on matters that were connected with myself.

As none of the young soldiers were addressed by their military titles, such
things never occurring in the better circles, as I now discovered, and,
least of all, in those connected with the army, I was not able, at the
time, to ascertain the rank of the three red-coats; though I afterwards
ascertained, that the youngest was an ensign, of the name of Harris; a
mere boy, and the younger son of a member of Parliament. The next oldest,
Billings, was a captain, and was said to be a natural son of a nobleman;
while Bulstrode was actually the oldest son of a baronet, of three or four
thousand a year, and had already bought his way up as high as a Majority,
though only four-and-twenty. This last was a handsome fellow, too; nor had
I been an hour in his company, before I saw, plainly enough, that he was
a strong admirer of Anneke Mordaunt. The other two evidently admired
themselves too much, to have any very lively feelings on the subject of
other persons. As for Dirck, younger than myself, and diffident, as well as
slow by nature, he kept himself altogether in the back-ground, conversing,
most of the time, with Herman Mordaunt, on the subject of farming.

We had been together an hour, and I had acquired sufficient ease to change
my seat, and to look at a picture or two, which adorned the walls, and
which were said to be originals, from the Old World; for, to own the truth,
the art of painting has not made much progress in the colonies. We _have_
painters, it is true, and one or two are said to be men of rare merit, the
ladies being very fond of sitting to them for their portraits; but these
are exceptions. At a future day, when critics shall have immortalized the
names of a Smybert, and a Watson, and a Blackburn, the people of these
provinces will become aware of the talents they once possessed among them;
and the grandchildren of those who neglected these men of genius, in their
day--ay, their descendants to the latest generations--will revenge the
wrongs of merit and talent, to the end of civilized time. It is a failing
of colonies to be diffident of their own opinions; but I have heard
gentlemen, who were educated at home, and who possessed cultivated and
refined tastes, affirm that the painters of Europe, when visiting this
hemisphere, have retained all their excellence; and have painted as freely
and as well, under an American, as under a European sun. As for a sister
art, the Thespian muse had actually made her appearance among us, five
years before the time of my visit to town in 1757, or in 1752; a theatre
having actually been built and opened in Nassau Street in 1753, with a
company under the care of the celebrated Hallam, and his family. This
theatre I had been dying to visit, while it stood, for as yet I had never
witnessed a theatrical performance; but my mother’s injunctions prevented
me from entering it while at college. “When you are old enough, Corny,” she
used to say, “you shall have my permission to go as often as is proper; but
you are now of an age, when Shakspeare and Rowe might unsettle your Latin
and Greek.” My task of obedience had not been very difficult, inasmuch as
the building in Nassau Street, the second regular theatre ever erected in
British America, was taken down, and a church erected in its place. [12]
The comedians went to the islands, and had not reappeared on the continent
down to the period of which I am now writing; nor did their return occur
until the following year. That they were expected, however, and that a new
house had been built for them, in another part of the town, I was aware,
though month after month passed away, and the much-expected company did not
appear. I had understood, however, that the large military force
collecting in the colony, would be likely to bring them back soon; and the
conversation soon took a turn, that proved how much interest the young, the
gay, and the fair, felt in the result. I was still looking at a picture,
when Mr. Bulstrode approached me, and entered into conversation. It will be
remembered, that this gentleman was four years my senior; that he had been
at one of the universities; was the heir to a baronetcy; knew the world;
had risen to a Majority in the army, and was by nature, as well as
training, agreeable, when he had a mind to be, and genteel. These
circumstances, I could not but feel, gave him a vast advantage over me;
and I heartily wished that we stood anywhere but in the presence of Anneke
Mordaunt, as he thus saw fit to single me out for invidious comparison,
by a sort of _tête-à-tête,_ or aside. Still, I could not complain of his
manner, which was both polite and respectful; though I could scarce divest
myself of the idea, that he was covertly amusing himself, the whole time.

“You are a fortunate man, Mr. Littlepage,” he commenced, “in having had it
in your power to do so important a service to Miss Mordaunt. We all envy
you your luck, while we admire your spirit, and I feel certain the men
of our regiment will take some proper notice of it. Miss Anneke is in
possession of half our hearts, and we should be still more heartless to
overlook such a service.”

I muttered some half-intelligible answer to this compliment, and my new
acquaintance proceeded.

“I am almost surprised, Mr. Littlepage,” he added, “that a man of your
spirit does not come among us in times as stirring as these. They tell me
both your father and grandfather served, and that you are quite at your
ease. You will find a great many men of merit and fashion among us, and
I make no doubt they would contribute to make your time pass agreeably
enough. Large reinforcements are expected, and if you are inclined for a
pair of colours, I think I know a battalion in which there are a vacancy
or two, and which will certainly serve in the colonies. It would afford me
great pleasure to help to further your views, should you be disposed to
turn them towards the army.”

Now all this was said with an air of great apparent frankness and
sincerity, which I fancied was only the more visible from the circumstance
that Anneke was so seated as unavoidably to hear every word of what was
said. I observed that she even turned her eyes on me as I made my answer,
though I did not dare so far to observe her in turn as to note their
expression.

“I am very sensible, Mr. Bulstrode, of the liberality and kindness of your
intentions,” I answered steadily enough, for pride came to my assistance,
“though I fear it will not be in my power to profit by it at once, if ever.
My grandfather is still living, and he has much influence over me and my
fortune, and I know it is his wish that I should remain at Satanstoe.”

“Where?” demanded Bulstrode, with more quickness and curiosity than
strictly comported with good-breeding perhaps.

“Satanstoe; I do not wonder you smile, for it has an odd sound, but it is
the name my grandfather has given the family place in Westchester. Given, I
have said, though translated would be better, as I understand the present
appellation is pretty literally rendered into English from the Dutch.”

“I like the name exceedingly, Mr. Littlepage, and I feel certain I should
like your good, old, honest, Anglo-Saxon grandfather. But, pardon me, it is
his wish you should remain at Satansfoot?”

“Satanstoe, sir; we do not aspire to the whole foot. It is my grandfather’s
wish that I remain at home until of age, which will not be now for some
months.”

“By way of keeping you out of Satan’s footsteps, I suppose. Well, these old
gentlemen are often right. Should you alter your views, however, my dear
Littlepage, do not forget me, but remember you can count on one who has
some little influence, and who will ever be ready to exert it in the behalf
of one who has proved so serviceable to Miss Mordaunt. Sir Harry is a
martyr to the gout, and talks of letting me stand in his place at the
dissolution. In that case my wishes will naturally carry more weight. I
like that name of Satanstoe amazingly!”

“I am infinitely obliged to you, Mr. Bulstrode, though I will confess I
have never looked forward to rising in the world by taxing my friends. One
may own that he has had some hopes founded on merit and honesty--”

“Poh! poh!--my dear Littlepage, honesty is a very pretty thing to talk
about, but I suppose you remember what Juvenal says on that interesting
subject--“_probitas laudatur et alget._” I dare say you are fresh enough
from college to remember that comprehensive sentiment.”

“I have never read Juvenal, Mr. Bulstrode, and never wish to, if such be
the tendency of what he teaches--”

“Juvenal was a satirist, you know,” interrupted Bulstrode a little hastily,
for by this time he too had ascertained that Anneke was listening, and
he betrayed some eagerness to get rid of so flagitious a sentiment; “and
satirists speak of things as they are, rather than as they ought to be.
I dare say Rome deserved all she got, for the moralists give a very sad
account of her condition. Of all the large capitals of which we have any
account, London is the only town of even tolerable manners.”

What young Bulstrode would have ventured to say next, it is out of my
power to guess; for a certain Miss Warren, who was of the company, and
who particularly affected the youth, luckily called out at this critical
instant--

“Your attention one moment, if you please, Mr. Bulstrode; is it true that
the gentlemen of the army have been getting the new theatre in preparation,
and that they intend to favour us with some representations? A secret
something like this has just leaked out, from Mr. Harris, who even goes so
far as to add that you can tell us all about it.”

“Mr. Harris must be put under an arrest for this, though I hear the colonel
let the cat out of the bag, at the Lt. Governor’s table, as early as last
week.”

“I can assure you, Mr. Bulstrode,” Anneke observed calmly, “that I have
heard rumours to this effect for quite a fortnight. You must not blame Mr.
Harris solely, for your whole regiment has been hinting to the same purpose
far and near.”

“Then the delinquent will escape, this time. I confess the charge; we have
hired the new theatre, and do intend to solicit the honour of the ladies
coming to hear me murder Cato, and Scrub; a pretty climax of characters,
you will admit, Miss Mordaunt?”

“I know nothing of Scrub, though I have read Mr. Addison’s play, and think
you have no need of being ashamed of the character of Cato. When is the
theatre to open?”

“We follow the sable gentry. As soon as St. Pinkster has received his
proper share of attention, we shall introduce Dom-Cato and Mr. Scrub to
your acquaintance.”

All the young ladies, but Anneke and her friend Mary Wallace, laughed, two
or three repeating the words ‘St. Pinkster,’ as if they contained something
much cleverer than it was usual to hear. A general burst of exclamations,
expressions of pleasure, and of questions and answers followed, in which
two or three voices were heard at the same moment, during which time Anneke
turned to me, who was standing near her, at the spot occupied by Bulstrode
a minute before, and seemed anxious to say something.

“Do you seriously think of the army, Mr. Littlepage?” she asked, changing
colour at the freedom of her own question.

“In a war like this, no one can say when he may be called on to go out,” I
answered. “But, only as a defender of the soil, if at all.”

I thought Anneke Mordaunt seemed pleased with this answer. After a short
pause, she resumed the dialogue.

“Of course you understand Latin, Mr. Littlepage, although you have not been
at the universities?”

“As it is taught in our own colleges, Miss Mordaunt.”

“And that is sufficient to tell me what Mr. Bulstrode’s quotation means--if
it be proper for me to hear.”

“He would hardly presume to use even a Latin saying in your presence, that
is unfit for your ear. The maxim which Mr. Bulstrode attributes to Juvenal,
simply means ‘that honesty is praised and starves.’”

I thought that something like displeasure settled on the fair, polished,
brow of Miss Mordaunt, who, I could soon see, possessed much character and
high principles for one of her tender years. She said nothing, however,
though she exchanged a very meaning glance with her friend Mary Wallace.
Her lips were moved, and I fancied I could trace the formation of the
sounds “honesty is praised and starves!”

“And _you_ are to be Cato I hear, Mr. Bulstrode,” cried one of the young
ladies, who thought more of a scarlet coat, I fancy, than was for her own
good. “How very charming! Will you play the character in regimentals or in
mohair--in a modern or in an ancient dress?”

“In my _robe de chambre_, a little altered for the occasion, Unless St.
Pinkster and his sports should suggest some more appropriate costume,”
 answered the young man lightly.

“Are you quite aware what feast Pinkster is?” asked Anneke, a little
gravely.

Bulstrode actually changed colour, for it had never crossed his mind to
inquire into the character of the holiday; and, to own the truth, the
manner in which it is kept by the negroes of New York, never would
enlighten him much on the subject.

“That is information for which I perceive I am now about to be indebted to
Miss Mordaunt.”

“Then you shall not be disappointed, Mr. Bulstrode; Pinkster is neither
more nor less than the Festival of Whit-sunday, or the Feast of Pentecost.
I suppose we shall now hear no more of your saint.”

Bulstrode took this little punishment, which was very sweetly but quite
steadily uttered, with perfect good-humour, and with a manner so rebuked
as to prove that Anneke possessed great control over him. He bowed in
submission, and she smiled so kindly, that I wished the occasion for the
little pantomime had not occurred.

“_Our_ ancestors, Miss Mordaunt, never heard of any Pinkster, you will
remember, and that must explain my ignorance,” he said meekly.

“But some of _mine_ have long understood it, and observed the festival,”
 answered Anneke.

“Ay, on the side of Holland--but when I presume to speak of _our_
ancestors, I mean those which I can claim the honour of boasting as
belonging to me in common with yourself.”

“Are you and Mr. Bulstrode, then, related?” I asked, as it might be
involuntarily and almost too abruptly.

Anneke replied, however, in a way to show that she thought the question
natural for the circumstances, and not in the least out of place.

“My grandfather’s mother, and Mr. Bulstrode’s grandfather, were brother and
sister,” was the quiet answer.

“This makes us a sort of cousins, according to those Dutch notions which he
so much despises, though I fancy it would not count for much at home.”

Bulstrode protested to the contrary, stating that he knew his father valued
his relationship to Mr. Mordaunt, by the earnest manner in which he had
commanded him to cultivate the acquaintance of the family the instant he
reached New York. I saw by this, the footing on which the formidable
Major was placed in the family, everybody seeming to be related to Anneke
Mordaunt but myself. I took an occasion that very evening, to question the
dear girl on the subject of her Dutch connections, giving her a clue to
mine but with all our industry, and some assistance from Herman Mordaunt,
who took an interest in such a subject, as it might be _ex officio_, we
could make out no affinity worth mentioning.

[Footnote 10: Now, Liberty Street.]

[Footnote 11: The person meant here, was William Nicoll, Esquire, Patentee
of Islip, a large estate on Long Island, that is still in the family, under
a Patent granted in 1683. This gentleman was a son of Mr. Secretary Nicoll,
who is supposed to have been a relative of Col. Nicoll, the first English
Governor. Mr. Speaker Nicoll, as the son was called, in consequence of
having filled that office for nearly a generation, was the direct ancestor
of the Nicolls of Islip and Shelter Island, as well as of a branch long
settled at Stratford, Connecticut. The house alluded to by Mr. Littlepage,
as a relic of antiquity in _his_ day,--American antiquity, be it
remembered,--was standing a few years since, if it be not still standing,
at the point of junction between the Old Boston Road and the New Road, and
nearly opposite to tha termination of the long avenue that led to Rosehill,
originally a seat of the Watts’. The house stood a short distance above the
present Union Square, and not far from that of the present Gramercy. It
was, or is, a brick-house of one story, with a small court-yard in front;
the House of Refuge being at a little distance on its right. If still
standing, it must now be one of the oldest buildings of any sort, in a town
of 400,000 souls! As Mr. Speaker Nicoll resigned the chair in 1718, this
house must be at least a hundred and thirty or forty years old; and it may
be questioned if a dozen as old, public of private, can be found on the
whole island.

As the regular family residences of the Nicolls were in Suffolk, or on
their estates, it is probable that the abode mentioned was, in a measure,
owing to an intermarriage with the Watts’, as much as to the necessity of
the Speaker’s passing so much time at the seat of government.--EDITOR.]

[Footnote 12: The church is now (1845) being converted into a Post-Office.]



CHAPTER VII.

  “Sir Valentino, I care not for her, I.”

  “I hold him but a fool, that will endanger
  His body for a girl that loves him not.”

  “I claim her not, and therefore she is thine.”

  _Two Gentlemen of Verona_.


I saw Anne Mordaunt several times, either in the street or in her own
house, between that evening and the day I was to dine with her father. The
morning of the last named day Mr. Bulstrode favoured me with a call, and
announced that he was to be of the party in Crown Street, and that the
whole company was to repair to the theatre, to see his own Cato and Scrub,
in the evening.

“By giving yourself the trouble to call at the Crown and Bible, kept
hard-by here, in Hanover Square or Queen Street, by honest Hugh Gaine, you
will find a package of tickets for yourself, Mr. and Mrs. Legge, and your
relative Mr. Dirck Follock, as I believe the gentleman is called. These
Dutch have extraordinary patronymics, you must admit, Littlepage.”

“It may appear so to an Englishman, though our names are quite as odd to
strangers. But Dirck Van Valkenburgh is not a kinsman of mine, though he is
related to the Mordaunts, _your_ relatives.”

“Well, it’s all the same! I knew he was related to somebody that I know,
and I fancied it was to yourself. I am sure I never see him but I wish he
was in our grenadier company.”

“Dirck would do honour to any corps, but you know how it is with the Dutch
families, Mr. Bulstrode. They still retain much of their attachment to
Holland, and do not as often take service in the army, or navy, as we of
English descent.”

“I should have thought a century might have cooled them off, a little, from
their veneration of the meadows of Holland. It is the opinion at home, that
New York is a particularly well affected colony.”

“So it is, as I hear from all sides. As respects the Dutch, among
ourselves, I have heard my grandfather say, that the reign of King William
had a powerful influence in reconciling them to the new government,
but, since his day, that they are less loyal than formerly. The Van
Valkenburghs, notwithstanding, pass for as good subjects as any that the
house of Hanover possesses. On no account would I injure them in your
opinion.”

“Good or bad, we shall hope to see your friend, who is a connection in some
way, as you believe, of the Mordaunts. You will get but a faint idea of
what one of the royal theatres is, Littlepage, by this representation of
ours, though it may serve to kill time. But, I must go to rehearsal; we
shall meet at three.”

Here my gay and gallant major made his bow, and took his leave. I proceeded
on to the sign of the Crown and the Bible, where I found a large collection
of people, coming in quest of tickets. As the _élite_ of the town would
not of themselves form an audience sufficiently large to meet the towering
ambition of the players, more than half the tickets were sold, the money
being appropriated to the sick families of soldiers--those who were not
entitled to receive aid from government. It was deemed a high compliment
to receive tickets gratis, though all who did, made it a point to leave a
donation to the fund, with Mr. Gaine. Receiving my package, I quitted the
shop, and it being the hour for the morning promenade, I went up Wall
Street, to the Mall, as Trinity Church Walk was even then called. Here, I
expected to meet Dirck, and hoped to see Anneke, for the place was much
frequented by the young and gay, both in the mornings and in the evenings.
The bands of different regiments were stationed in the churchyard, and the
company was often treated to much fine martial music. Some few of the more
scrupulous objected to this desecration of the churchyard, but the army had
everything pretty much in its own way. As they were supposed to do nothing
but what was approved of at home, the dissenters were little heeded, nor do
I think the army would have greatly cared, had they been more numerous.

I dare say there were fifty young ladies promenading the church-walk when
I reached it, and nearly as many young men in attendance on them; no small
portion of the last being scarlet-coats, though the mohairs had their
representatives there too. A few blue-jackets were among us also, there
being two or three king’s cruisers in port. As no one presumed to promenade
the Mall, who was not of a certain stamp of respectability, the company was
all gaily dressed; and I will confess that I was much struck with the air
of the place, the first time I showed myself among the gay idlers. The
impression made on me that morning was so vivid, that I will endeavour to
describe the scene, as it now presents itself to my mind.

In the first place, there was the noble street, quite eighty feet in width
in its narrowest part, and gradually expanding as you looked towards the
bay, until it opened into an area of more than twice that width, at the
place called the Bowling-Green. [13] Then came the Fort, crowning a sharp
eminence, and overlooking everything in that quarter of the town. In the
rear of the Fort, or in its front, taking a water view, lay the batteries
that had been built on the rocks which form the south-western termination
of the island. Over these rocks, which were black and picturesque, and over
the batteries they supported, was obtained a view of the noble bay, dotted
here and there with some speck of a sail, or possibly with some vessel
anchored on its placid bosom. Of the two rows of elegant houses, most of
them of brick, and with very few exceptions principally of two stories in
height, it is scarcely necessary to speak, as there are few who have not
heard of, and formed some notion of Broadway; a street that all agree is
one day to be the pride of the western world.

In the other direction, I will admit that the view was not so remarkable,
the houses being principally of wood, and of a somewhat ignoble appearance.
Nevertheless the army was said to frequent those habitations quite as much
as they did any other in the place. After reaching the Common, or present
Park, where the great Boston road led off into the country, the view was
just the reverse of that which was seen in the opposite quarter. Here, all
was inland, and rural. It is true, the new Bridewell had been erected in
that quarter, and there was also a new gaol, both facing the common; and
the king’s troops had barracks in their rear; but high, abrupt, conical
hills, with low marshy land, orchards and meadows, gave to all that portion
of the island a peculiarly novel and somewhat picturesque character. Many
of the hills in that quarter, and indeed all over the widest part of the
island, are now surmounted by country-houses, as some were then, including
Petersfield, the ancient abode of the Stuyvesants, or that farm which, by
being called after the old Dutch governor’s retreat, has given the name
of Bowery, or Bouerie, to the road that led to it; as well as the
Bowery-house, as it was called, the country abode of the then Lieutenant
Governor, James de Lancey, Mount Bayard, a place belonging to that
respectable family; Mount Pitt, another that was the property of Mrs.
Jones, the wife of Mr. Justice Jones, a daughter of James de Lancey, and
various other mounts, houses, hills, and places, that are familiar to the
gentry and people of New York.

But, the reader can imagine for himself the effect produced by such a
street as Broadway, reaching very nearly half a mile in length, terminating
at one end, in an elevated, commanding Fort, with its back-ground of
batteries, rocks and bay, and, at the other, with the common, on which
troops were now constantly parading, the Bridewell an I gaol, and the novel
scene I have just mentioned. Nor is Trinity itself to be forgotten. This
edifice, one of the noblest, if not the most noble of its kind, in all
the colonies, with its gothic architecture, statues in carved stone, and
flanking walls, was a close accessory of the view, giving to the whole
grandeur, and a moral. [14]

As has been said, I found the Mall crowded with young persons of fashion
and respectability. This Mall was near a hundred yards in length; and it
follows that there must have been a goodly show of youth and beauty. The
fine weather had commenced; spring had fairly opened; Pinkster Blossoms
(the wild honeysuckle) had been seen in abundance throughout the week; and
everything and person appeared gay and happy.

I could discover that my person in this crowd attracted attention as a
stranger. I say as a stranger; for I am unwilling to betray so much vanity
as to ascribe the manner in which many eyes followed me, to any vain notion
that I was known or admired. Still, I will not so far disparage the gifts
of a bountiful Providence, as to leave the impression that my face, person,
or air was particularly disagreeable. This would not be the fact; and I
have now reached a time of life when something like the truth may be
told, without the imputation of conceit. My mother often boasted to her
intimates, “that Corny was one of the best-made, handsomest, most active,
and genteelest youths in the colony.” This I know, for such things will
leak out; but mothers are known to have a remarkable weakness on the
subject of their children. As I was the sole surviving offspring of my dear
mother, who was one of the best-hearted women that ever breathed, it is
highly probable that the notions she entertained of her son partook largely
of the love she bore me. It is true, my aunt Legge, on more than one
occasion, has been heard to express a very similar opinion; though nothing
can be more natural than that sisters should think alike, on a family
matter of this particular nature, more especially as my aunt Legge never
had a child of her own to love and praise.

Let all this be as it may, well stared at was I, as I mingled among the
idlers on Trinity Church Walk, on the occasion named. As for myself, my
own eyes were bent anxiously on the face of every pretty, delicate young
creature that passed, in the hope of seeing Anneke. I both wished and
dreaded to meet her; for, to own the truth, my mind was dwelling on her
beauty, her conversation, her sentiments, her grace, her gentleness, and
withal her spirit, a good deal more than half the time. I had some qualms
on the subject of Dirck, I will confess; but Dirck was so young, that his
feelings could not be much interested, after all; and then Anneke was a
second cousin, and that was clearly too near to marry. My grandfather had
always put his foot down firmly against any connection between relations
that were nearer than _third_ cousins; and I now saw how proper were his
reasons. If they were even farther removed, so much the better, he said;
and so much the better it was.

If the reader should ask me why I _dreaded_ to meet Anne Mordaunt, under
such circumstances, I might be at a loss to give him a very intelligible
answer. I feared even to see the sweet face I sought; and oh! how soft,
serene, and angel-like it was, at that budding age of seventeen!--but,
though I almost feared to see it, when at last I saw her I had so anxiously
sought approaching me, arm and arm with Mary Walface, having Bulstrode next
herself, and Harris next her friend, my eyes were instantly averted, as
if they had unexpectedly lighted on something disagreeable. I should have
passed without even the compliment of a bow, had not my friends been more
at their ease, and more accustomed to the free ways of town life than I
happened to be myself.

“How’s this, Cornelius, _Coeur de Lion_!” exclaimed Bulstrode, stopping,
thus causing the whole party to stop with him, or to appear to wish to
avoid me; “will you not recognise us, though it is not an hour since you
and I parted? I hope you found the tickets; and when you have answered
‘yes,’ I hope you will turn and do me the honour to bow to these ladies.”

I apologized, I am afraid I blushed; for I detected Anneke looking at me,
as I thought, with some little concern, as if she pitied my awkward country
embarrassment. As for Bulstrode, I did not understand him at that time;
it exceeding my observation to be certain whether he considered me of
sufficient importance or not, to feel any concern on my account, in
his very obvious suit with Anneke. Nevertheless, as he treated me with
cordiality and respect, while he dealt with me so frankly, there was not
room to take offence. Of course, I turned and walked back with the party,
after had properly saluted the ladies and Mr. Harris.

“_Coeur de Lion_ is a better name for a soldier than for a civilian;”
 said Anneke, as we moved forward; “and, however much Mr. Littlepage may
_deserve_ the title, I am not certain, Mr. Bulstrode, he would not prefer
leaving it among you gentlemen who serve the king.”

“I am glad of this occasion, Mr. Littlepage, to enlist you on my side, in
a warfare I am compelled to wage with Miss Anne Mordaunt,” said the Major
gaily. “It is on the subject of the great merit of us poor fellows who have
crossed the wide Atlantic in order to protect the colonies, New York among
the number, and their people, Miss Mordaunt and Miss Wallace inclusively,
from the grasp of their wicked enemies, the French. The former young lady
has a way of reasoning on the matter to which I cannot assent, and I am
willing to choose you as arbitrator between us.”

“Before Mr. Littlepage accept the office, it is proper he should know its
duties and responsibilities,” said Anneke, smiling. “In the first place,
he will find Mr. Bulstrode with loud professions of attachment to the
colonies, much disposed to think them provinces that owe their very
existence to England; while I maintain it is English _men_, and that it
is not England, that have done so much in America. As for New York, Mr.
Littlepage, and especially as for you and me, we can also say a word in
favour of Holland. I am very proud of my Dutch connections and Dutch
descent.”

I was much gratified with the “as for you and me;” though I believe I cared
less for Holland than she did herself. I made an answer much in the vein
of the moment; but the conversation soon changed to the subject of the
military theatre that was about to open.

“I shall dread you as a critic, cousin Annie,” so Bulstrode often termed
Anneke, as I soon discovered; “I find you are not too well disposed to us
of the cockade, and I think you have a particular spite to our regiment.
I know that Billings and Harris, too, hold you in the greatest possible
dread.”

“They then feel apprehensive of a very ignorant critic; for I never was
present at a theatrical entertainment in my life,” Anneke answered with
perfect simplicity. “So far as I can learn, there never has been but one
season of any regular company, in this colony; and that was when I was a
very little and a very young girl--as I am now neither very large, nor very
old as a young woman.”

“You see, Littlepage, with how much address my cousin avoids adding, and
‘very uninteresting, and very ugly, and very disagreeable, and very much
unsought,’ and fifty other things she _might_ add with such perfect truth
and modesty! But is it true, that the theatre was open only one season,
here?”

“So my father tells me, though I know very little of the facts themselves.
To-night will be my first appearance in _front_ of any stage, Mr.
Bulstrode, as I understand it will be your first appearance _on_ it.”

“In one sense the last will be true, though not altogether in another. As
a school-boy, I have often played, school-boy fashion; but this is quite a
new thing with us, to be _amateur_ players.”

“It may seem ungrateful, when you are making so many efforts, principally
to amuse us young ladies, I feel convinced, to inquire if it be quite
as wise as it is novel. I must ask this, as a cousin, you know, Henry
Bulstrode, to escape entirely from the imputation of impertinence.”

“Really, Anneke Mordaunt, I am not absolutely certain that it is. Our
manners are beginning to change in this respect, however, and I can assure
you that various noblemen have permitted sports of this sort at their
seats. The custom is French, as you probably know, and whatever is French
has much vogue with us during times of peace. Sir Harry does not altogether
approve of it, and as for my lady mother, she has actually dropped more
than one discouraging hint on the subject in her letters.”

“The certain proof that you are a most dutiful son. Perhaps when Sir Harry
and Lady Bulstrode learn your great success, however, they will overlook
the field on which your laurels have been won. But our hour has come, Mary;
we have barely time to thank these gentlemen for their politeness, and to
return in season to dress. I am to enact a part myself, at dinner, as I
hope you will all remember.”

Saying this, Anneke made her curtsies in a way to preclude any offer of
seeing her home, and went her way with her silent but sensible-looking and
pretty friend. Bulstrode took my arm with an air of easy superiority, and
led the way towards his own lodgings, which happened to be in Duke Street.
Harris joined another party, making it a point to be always late at dinner.

“That is not only one of the handsomest, but she is one of the most
charming girls in the colonies, Littlepage!” my companion exclaimed, as
soon as we had departed, speaking at the same time with an earnestness and
feeling I was far from expecting. “Were she in England, she would make one
of the first women in it, by the aid of a little fashion and training; and
very little would do too, for there is a charm in her _naiveté_ that is
worth the art of fifty women of fashion.”

“Fashion is a thing that any one may want who does not happen to be in
vogue,” I answered, notwithstanding the great degree of surprise I felt.
“As for training, I can see nothing but perfection in Miss Mordaunt as she
is, and should deprecate the lessons that produced any change.”

I believe it was now Bulstrode’s turn to feel surprise, for I was conscious
of his casting a keen look into my face, though I did not like to return
it. My companion was silent for a minute; then, without again adverting to
Anneke, he began to converse very sensibly on the subject of theatres and
plays. I was both amused and instructed, for Mr. Bulstrode was an educated
and a clever man; and a strange feeling came over the spirit of my dream,
even then, as I listened to his conversation. This man, I thought, admires
Anne Mordaunt, and he will probably carry her with him to England, and
obtain for her that fashion and training of which he has just spoken. With
his advantages of birth, air, fortune, education, and military rank, he can
scarcely fail in his suit, should he seriously attempt one; and it will be
no more than prudent to command my own feelings, lest I become the hopeless
victim of a serious passion. Young as I was, all this I saw, and thus I
reasoned; and when I parted from my companion I fancied myself a much wise
man than when we had met. We separated in Duke Street, with a promise on my
part to call at the Major’s lodgings half an hour later, after dressing,
and walk with him to Herman Mordaunt’s door.

“It is fortunate that it is the fashion of New York to walk to a dinner
party,” said Bulstrode, as he again took my arm on our way to Crown Street;
“for these narrow streets must be excessively inconvenient for chariots,
though I occasionally see one of them. As for sedan chairs, I detest them
as things unfit for a man to ride in.”

“Many of our leading families keep carnages, and _they_ seem to get along
well enough,” I answered. “Nevertheless, it is quite in fashion even for
ladies to walk. I understand that many, perhaps most of your auditors, will
walk to the play-house door this evening.”

“They tell me as much,” said Bulstrode, curling his lip, a little, in a
way I did not exactly like. “Notwithstanding, there will be many charming
creatures among them, and they shall be welcome. Well, Littlepage, I do
not despair of having you among us; for, to be candid, without wishing to
boast, I think you will find the ----th as liberal a set of young men as
there is in the service. There is a wish to have the mohairs among us
instead of shutting ourselves up altogether in scarlet. Then your father
and grandfather have both served, and that will be a famous introduction.”

I protested my unfitness for such an amusement, never having seen such an
exhibition in my life; but to this my companion would not listen; and we
picked our way, as well as we could, through William Street, up Wall, and
then by Nassau into Crown; Herman Mordaunt owning a new house, that stood
not far from Broadway, in the latter street. This was rather in a remote
part of the town; but the situation had the advantage of good air; and, as
a place extends, it is necessary some persons should live on its skirts.

“I wish my good cousin did not live quite so much in the suburbs,” said
Bulstrode, as he knocked in a very patrician manner; “it is not altogether
convenient to go quite so much out of one’s ordinary haunts, in order to
pay visits. I wonder Mr. Mordaunt came so far out of the world, to build.”

“Yet the distances of London must be much greater though _there_ you have
coaches.”

“True; but not a word more on _this_ subject: I would not have Anneke fancy
I ever find it far to visit _her_.”

We were the last but one; the tardy Mr. Harris making it a point always to
be the last. We found Anneke Mordaunt supported by two or three ladies of
her connection, and a party of quite a dozen assembled. As most of those
present saw each other every day, and frequently two or three times a day,
the salutations and compliments were soon over, and Herman Mordaunt began
to look about him, to see who was wanting.

“I believe everybody is here but Mr. Harris,” the father observed to his
daughter, interrupting some of Mr. Bulstrode’s conversation, to let this
fact be known. “Shall we wait for him, my dear; he is usually so uncertain
and late?”

“Yet a very important man,” put in Bulstrode, “as being entitled to lead
the lady of the house to the table, in virtue of his birthright. So much
for being the fourth son of an Irish baron! Do you know Harris’s father has
just been ennobled?”

This was news to the company; and it evidently much increased the doubts of
the propriety of sitting down without the young man in question.

“Failing of this son of a new Irish baron, I suppose you fancy I shall be
obliged to give my hand to the eldest son of an English baronet,” said
Anneke, smiling, so as to take off the edge of a little irony that I fancy
just glimmered in her manner.

“I wish to Heaven you _would_, Anne Mordaunt,” whispered Bulstrode, loud
enough for me to hear him, “so that the heart were its companion!”

I thought this both bold and decided; and I looked anxiously at Anneke,
to note the effect; but she evidently received it as trifling, certainly
betraying no emotion at a speech I thought so pointed. I wished she had
manifested a little resentment. Then she was so very young to be thus
importuned!

“Dinner had better be served, sir,” she calmly observed to her father. “Mr.
Harris is apt to think himself ill-treated if he do not find everybody at
table. It would be a sign his watch was wrong, and that he had come half an
hour too soon.”

Herman Mordaunt nodded assent, and left his daughter’s side to give the
necessary order.

“I fancy Harris will regret this,” said Bulstrode. “I wish I dared repeat
what he had the temerity to say to me on this very subject, no later than
yesterday.”

“Of the propriety of so doing, Mr. Bulstrode must judge for himself; though
_repetitions_ of this nature are usually best avoided.”

“No, the fellow deserves it; so I will just tell you and Mr. Littlepage in
confidence. You must know, as his senior in years, and his senior officer
in the bargain, I was hinting to Harris the inexpediency of always being so
late at dinner; and here is my gentleman’s answer:--‘You know,’ said he,
‘that excepting my lord Loudon, the Commander-in-chief, the Governor, and a
few public officers, I shall now take precedence of almost every man here;
and I find, if I go early to dinner, I shall have to hand in all the
elderly ladies, and to take my place at _their_ sides; whereas, if I go
a little late, I can steal in alongside of their daughters.’ Now, on the
present occasion, he will be altogether a loser, the lady of the house not
yet being quite fifty.”

“I had not given Mr. Harris credit for so much ingenuity,” said Anneke,
quietly. “But here he is to claim his rights.”

“Ay, the fellow has remembered _your_ age, and quite likely your
_attractions_!”

Dinner was announced at that instant, and all eyes were turned on Harris,
in expectation that he would advance to lead Anneke down stairs. The young
man, even more youthful than myself, had a good deal of _mauvaise honte;_
for, though the son of an Irish peer, of two months’ creation, the family
was not strictly Irish, and he had very little ambition to figure in this
manner. From what I saw of him subsequently, I do believe that nothing but
a sense of duty to his order made him respect these privileges of rank at
all, and that he would really just as soon go to a dinner-table last,
as first. In the present case, however, he was soon relieved by Herman
Mordaunt; who had been educated at home, and understood the usages of the
world very well.

“Gentlemen,” he said, “I must ask you to waive the privileges of rank in
favour of Mr. Cornelius Littlepage, to-day. This good company has met to do
honour especially to his courage and devotion to his fellow-creatures, and
he will do me the favour to hand Miss Mordaunt down stairs.”

Herman Mordaunt then pointed out to the Hon. Mr. Harris, the next lady of
importance, and to Mr. Bulstrode a third; after which all the rest took
care of themselves. As for myself, I felt my face in a glow, at this
unexpected order, and scarcely dared to look at Anneke as we led the way to
the dining-room door. So much abashed was I, that I scarce touched the tips
of her slender little fingers, and a tremour was in the limb that performed
this office, the whole time it was thus employed. Of course, my seat
was next to that of the young and lovely mistress of the house, at this
banquet.

What shall I say of the dinner? It was the very first entertainment of the
sort at which I had ever been present; though I had acquired some of the
notions of town habits, on such occasions, at my aunt Legge’s table. To my
surprise, there was soup; a dish that I never saw at Satanstoe, except in
the most familiar way; while here it was taken by every one, seemingly as a
matter of course. Everything was elegant, and admirably cooked. Abundance,
however, was the great feature of the feast; as I have heard it said, is
apt to be the case with most New York entertainments. Nevertheless, I have
always understood that, in the way of eating and drinking, the American
colonies have little reason to be ashamed.

“Could I have foreseen this dinner, Miss Mordaunt,” I said, when everybody
was employed, and I thought there was an opening to say something to my
beautiful neighbour; “it would have made my father very happy to have sent
a sheepshead to town, for the occasion.”

Anneke thanked me, and then we began to converse about the game.
Westchester was, and is still, famous for partridges, snipe, quails, ducks,
and meadow-larks; and I understood expatiating on such a subject, as well
as the best of them. All the Littlepages were shots; and I have known my
father bag ten brace of woodcock, among the wet thickets of Satanstoe, of
a morning; and this with merely a second class dog, and only one. Both
Bulstrode and Harris listened to what I said on this subject with great
attention, and it would soon have been the engrossing discourse, had not
Anneke pleasantly said--

“All very well, gentlemen; but you will remember that neither Miss Wallace,
nor I, shoot.”

“Except with the arrows of Cupid,” answered Bulstrode, gaily; “with these
you do so much execution _between you_,” emphasizing the words, so as
to make me look foolish, for I sat between them, “that you ought to be
condemned to hear nothing but fowling conversation for the next year.”

This produced a laugh, a little at my expense, I believe; though I could
see that Anneke blushed, while Mary Wallace smiled indifferently; but as
the healths now began, there was a truce to trifling. And a serious thing
it is, to drink to everybody by name, at a large table; serious I mean to
a new beginner. Yet, Herman Mordaunt went through it with a grace and
dignity, that I think would have been remarked at a royal banquet. The
ladies acquitted themselves admirably, omitting no one; and even Harris
felt the necessity of being particular with this indispensable part of
good-breeding. So well done was this part of the ceremony, that I declare,
I believe everybody had drunk to everybody, within five minutes after
Herman Mordaunt commenced; and it was very apparent that there was more
ease and true gaiety _after_ all had got through, than there had previously
been.

But the happy period of every dinner-party, is after the cloth is removed.
With the dark polished mahogany for a back-ground, the sparkling decanters
making their rounds, the fruit and cake baskets, the very scene seems to
inspire one with a wish for gaiety. Herman Mordaunt called for toasts, as
soon as the cloth disappeared, with a view I believe of putting everybody
at ease, and to render the conversation more general. He was desired to set
the example, and immediately gave “Miss Markham,” who, as I was told, was
a single lady of forty, with whom he had carried on a little flirtation.
Anneke’s turn came next, and she chose to give a sentiment, notwithstanding
all Bulstrode’s remonstrances, who insisted on a gentleman. He did not
succeed, however; Anneke very steadily gave “The Thespian corps of
the----h; may it prove as successful in the arts of peace, as in its
military character it has often proved itself to be in the art of war.”
 Much applause followed this toast, and Harris was persuaded by Bulstrode
to stand up, and say a few words, for the credit of the regiment. Such a
speech!--It reminded me of the horse that was advertised as a show, in
London, about this time, and which was said ‘to have its tail where its
head ought to be.’ But, Bulstrode clapped his hands, and cried ‘hear,’
at every other word, protesting that the regiment was honoured as much
in the thanks, as in the sentiment. Harris did not seem displeased with
his own effort, and, presuming on his rank, he drank, without being
called on, “to the fair of New York; eminent alike for beauty and wit,
may they only become as merciful as they are victorious.”

“Bravo!” again cried Bulstrode,--“Harris is fairly inspired, and is growing
better and better. Had he said imminent, instead of eminent, it would be
more accurate, as their frowns are as threatening, as their smiles are
bewitching.”

“Is that to pass for _your_ sentiment, Mr. Bulstrode, and are we to drink
it?” demanded Herman Mordaunt.

“By no means, sir; I have the honour to give Lady Dolly Merton.”

Who Lady Dolly was, nobody knew, I believe, though we of the colonies
always drank a titled person, who was known to be at home, with a great
deal of respectful attention, not to say veneration. Other toasts followed,
and then the ladies were asked to sing. Anneke complied, with very little
urging, as became her position, and never did I hear sweeter strains than
those she poured forth! The air was simple, but melody itself, and the
sentiment had just enough of the engrossing feeling of woman in it, to
render it interesting, without in the slightest degree impairing its
fitness for the virgin lips from which it issued. Bulstrode, I could see,
was almost entranced; and I heard him murmur “an angel, by Heavens!” He
sang, himself, a love song, full of delicacy and feeling, and in a way to
show that he had paid much attention to the art of music. Harris sang, too,
as did Mary Wallace; the former, much as he spoke; the last plaintively,
and decidedly well. Even Herman Mordaunt gave us a strain, and my turn
followed. Singing was somewhat of a _forte_ with me, and I have reason to
think I made out quite as well as the best of them. I know that Anneke
seemed pleased, and I saw tears in her eyes, as I concluded a song that was
intended to produce just such an effect.

At length the youthful mistress of the house arose, reminding her father
that he had at table the principal performer of the evening, by way of a
caution, when three or four of us handed the ladies to the drawing-room
door. Instead of returning to the table, I entered the room, and Bulstrode
did the same, under the plea of its being necessary for him to drink no
more, on account of the work before him.

[Footnote 13: Mr. Cornelius Littlepage betrays not a little of provincial
admiration, as the reader will see. I have not thought it necessary to
prune these passages, their causes being too familiar to leave any danger
of their insertion’s being misunderstood. Admiration of Broadway, certainly
not more than a third-class street, as streets go in the old world, is so
very common among us as to need no apology.--EDITOR.]

[Footnote 14: The provincial admiration of Mr. Cornelius Littlepage was not
quite as much in fault, as respects the church, as the superciliousness of
our more modern tastes and opinions may lead us to suspect. The church that
was burned in 1776, was a larger edifice than that just pulled down, and,
in many respects, was its superior.--EDITOR.]



CHAPTER VIII.

  “Odd’s bodikins, man, much better: use
  Every man after his desert, and who shall ‘scape
  Whipping? use them after your own honour
  And dignity: the less they deserve, the more
  Merit is in your bounty.”

  _Hamlet_.


“Harris will be _hors de combat_” Bulstrode soon observed, “unless I can
manage to get him from the table.--You know he is to play Marcia this
evening; and, though a _little_ wine will give him fire and spirit for the
part, too much will impair its feminine beauties. Addison never intended
that ‘the virtuous Marcia,’ in towering above her sex, was to be picked
out of a kennel, or from under a table. Harris is a true Irish peer, when
claret is concerned.”

All the ladies held up their hands, and protested against Mr. Harris’ being
permitted to act a travestie on their sex. As yet, no one had known how the
characters were to be cast, beyond the fact that Bulstrode himself was to
play Cato, for great care had been taken to keep the bills of the night
from being seen, in order that the audience might have the satisfaction of
finding out, who was who, for themselves. At the close of each piece a bill
was to be sent round, among the favoured few, telling the truth. As Anneke
declared that her father never locked in his guests, and had faithfully
promised to bring up everybody for coffee, in the course of half an hour,
it was determined to let things take their own way.

Sure enough, at the end of the time mentioned, Herman Mordaunt appeared,
with all the men, from the table. Harris was not tipsy, as I found was
very apt to be the case with him after dinner, but neither was he sober.
According to Bulstrode’s notion, he may have had just fire enough to
play the ‘virtuous Marcia.’ In a few minutes he hurried the ensign off,
declaring that, like Hamlet’s ghost, their hour had come. At seven, the
whole party left the house in a body to walk to the theatre. Herman
Mordaunt did not keep a proper town equipage, and, if he had, it would
not have contained a fourth of our company. In this, however, we were not
singular, as nine in ten of the audience that night, I mean nine in ten of
the gentle sex, went to the theatre on foot.

Instead of going directly down Crown Street, into Maiden Lane, which would
have been the nearest way to the theatre, we went out into Broadway, and
round by Wall Street, the walking being better, and the gutters farther
from the ladies; the centre of the street being at no great distance from
the houses, in the narrower passages of the town. We found a great many
well-dressed people moving in the same direction with ourselves. Herman
Mordaunt remarked that he had never before seen so many hoops, cardinals,
cocked hats and swords in the streets, at once, as he saw that evening. All
the carriages in town rolled past us as we went down Wall Street, and by
the time we reached William Street, the pavements resembled a procession,
more than anything else. As every one was in full dress, the effect was
pleasing, and the evening being fine, most of the gentlemen carried their
hats in their hands, in order not to disturb their curls, thus giving to
the whole the air of a sort of vast drawing-room. I never saw a more lovely
creature than Anneke Mordaunt appeared, as she led our party, on this
occasion. The powder had got a little out of her fine auburn hair, and on
the part of the head that was not concealed by a cap, that shaded half her
beautiful face, it seemed as if the rich covering bestowed by nature
was about to break out of all restraint, and shade her bust with its
exuberance. Her negligée was a rich satin, flounced in front, while the
lace that dropped from her elbows seemed as if woven by fairies, expressly
for a fairy to wear. She had paste buckles in her shoes, and I thought I
had never beheld such a foot, as was occasionally seen peeping from beneath
her dress, while she walked daintily, yet with the grace of a queen, at my
side. I do not thus describe Anneke with a view of inducing the reader to
fancy her stately and repulsive; on the contrary, winning ease and natural
grace were just as striking in her manner, as were beauty, and sentiment,
and feeling in her countenance. More than once, as we walked side by side,
did I become painfully conscious how unworthy I was to fill the place I
occupied. I believe this humility is one of the surest signs of sincere
love.

At length we reached the theatre, and were permitted to enter. All the
front seats were occupied by blacks, principally in New York liveries; that
is to say, with cuffs, collars and pocket-flaps of a cloth different from
the coat, though a few were in lace. These last belonged to the topping
families, several of which gave colours and ornaments almost as rich as
those that I understand are constantly given at home. I well remember that
two entire boxes were retained by servants, in shoulder-knots, and much
richer dresses than common, one of whom belonged to the Lt. Governor,
and the other to my Lord Loudon, who was then Commander-In-Chief. As the
company entered, these domestics disappeared, as is usual, and we all
took our seats on the benches thus retained for us. Bulstrode’s care was
apparent in the manner in which he had provided for Anneke, and her party,
which, I will take it on myself to say, was one of the most striking, for
youth and good looks, that entered the house that evening.

Great was the curiosity, and deep the feeling, that prevailed, among the
younger portion of the audience in particular, as party after party was
seated, that important evening. The house was ornamented as a theatre, and
I thought it vast in extent; though Herman Mordaunt assured me it was
no great things, in that point of view, as compared with most of the
playhouses at home. But the ornaments, and the lights, and the curtain, the
pit, the boxes the gallery, were all so many objects of intense interest.
Few of us said anything; but our eyes wandered over all with a species of
delight, that I am certain can be felt in a theatre only once. Anneke’s
sweet face was a picture of youthful expectation; an expectation, however,
in which intelligence and discretion had their full share. The orchestra
was said to have an undue portion of wind instruments in it; though I
perceived ladies all over the house, including those in our own box,
returning the bows of many of the musicians, who, I was told, were
_amateurs_ from the army and the drawing-rooms of the town.

At length the Commander-In-Chief and the Lt. Governor entered together,
occupying the same box, though two had been provided, their attendants
having recourse to the second. The commotion produced by these arrivals had
hardly subsided, when the curtain arose, and a new world was presented to
our view! Of the playing, I shall not venture to say much; though to me
it seemed perfection. Bulstrode gained great applause that night; and I
understand that divers gentlemen, who had either been educated at home,
or who had passed much time there, declared that his Cato would have done
credit to either of the royal theatres. His dress appeared to me to be
everything it should be; though I cannot describe it. I remember that
Syphax wore the uniform of a colonel of dragoons, and Juba, that of a
general officer; and that there was a good deal of criticism expended, and
some offence taken, because the gentlemen who played these parts came out
in wool, and with their faces blacked. It was said, in answer to these
feelings, that the characters were Africans; and that any one might see, by
casting his eyes at the gallery, that Africans are usually black, and that
they have woolly hair; a sort of proof that, I imagine, only aggravated the
offence. [15] Apart from this little mistake, everything went off well,
even Marcia. It is true, that some evil-inclined person whispered that the
“virtuous Marcia” was a little how-came-you-so; but Bulstrode afterwards
assured me that his condition helped him along amazingly, and that it added
a liquid lustre to his eyes, that might otherwise have been wanting. The
high-heeled shoes appeared to trouble him; but some persons fancied it gave
him a pretty tottering in his walk, that added very much to the deception.
On the whole, the piece went off surprisingly, as I could see by Lord
Loudon and the Lt. Governor, both of whom seemed infinitely diverted.
Herman Mordaunt smiled once or twice, when he ought to have looked grave;
but this I ascribed to a want of practice, of late years, in scenic
representations. He certainly was a man of judgment, and must have known
the proper moments to exhibit particular emotions.

During the interval between the play and the farce, the actors came among
us, to receive the homage they merited, and loud were the plaudits that
were bestowed on them. Anneke’s bright eyes sparkled with pleasure as she
admitted, without reserve, to Bulstrode the pleasure she had received, and
confessed she had formed no idea, hitherto, of the beauty and power of a
theatrical representation, aided as was this, by the auxiliaries of lights,
dress and scenery. It is true, the women had been a little absurd, and the
“virtuous Marcia” particularly so; but the fine sentiments of Addison,
which, though as Herman Mordaunt observed, they had all the accuracy and
all the stiffness of a pedantic age, were sufficiently beautiful and
just, to cover the delinquencies of the Hon. Mr. Harris. She hoped the
afterpiece would be of the same general character, that they might all
enjoy it as much as they had the play itself.

The other young ladies were equally decided in their praise, though it
struck me that Anneke _felt_ the most, on the occasion. That the Major had
obtained a great advantage by his efforts, I could not but see; and the
folly of my having any pretensions with one who was courted by such a
rival, began to impress itself on my imagination with a force I found
painful. But the bell soon summoned away the gallant actors, in order to
dress for the farce.

The long interval that occurred between the two pieces, gave ample
opportunity for visiting one’s acquaintances, and to compare opinions. I
went to my aunt’s box, and found her well satisfied, though less animated
than the younger ladies, in the expression of her pleasure. My uncle was
altogether himself; good-natured, but not disposed to award any indiscreet
amount of praise.

“Pretty well for boys, Corny,” he said, “though the youngster who acted
Marcia had better been at school. I do not know his name, but he completely
took all the virtue out of Marcia. He must have studied her character from
some of the ladies who follow the camp.”

“My dear uncle, how differently you think from all in our box! That
gentleman is the Hon. Mr. Harris, who is only eighteen, and has a pair of
colours in the ----th, and is a son of Lord Ballybannon, or Bally-something
else, and is said to have the softest voice in the army!”

“Ay, and the softest head, too, I’ll answer for it. I tell you, Corny, the
Hon. Mr. Ballybilly, who is only eighteen, and has a pair of colours in
the ----th, and the softest voice in the army, had better been at school,
instead of undermining the virtue of the ‘virtuous Marcia,’ as he has so
obviously done. Bulstrode did well enough; capitally well, for an amateur,
and must be a first-rate fellow. By the way, Jane”--that was my aunt’s
name--“they tell me, he is likely to marry that exceedingly pretty daughter
of Herman Mordaunt, and make her Lady Bulstrode, one of these days.”

“Why not, Mr. Legge?--Anne Mordaunt is as sweet a girl as there is in the
colony, and is very respectably connected. They even say the Mordaunts are
of a high family at home. Mary Wallace told me that Herman Mordaunt and Sir
Henry Bulstrode are themselves related; and you know, my dear, how intimate
the Mordaunts and the Wallaces are?”

“Not I;--I know nothing of their intimacies, though I dare say it may be
all true. Mordaunt’s father was an English gentleman of some family, I have
always heard, though he was as poor as a church-mouse, when he married one
of our Dutch heiresses; and as for Herman Mordaunt himself, he proved he
had not lost the instinct by marrying another, though she did not happen to
be Dutch. Here comes Anneke to inherit it all, and I’ll answer for it that
care is had that she shall marry an heir.”

“Well, Mr. Bulstrode is an heir, and the eldest son of a baronet. I am
always pleased when one of our girls makes a good connection at home, for
it does the colony credit. It is an excellent thing, Corny, to have our
interest well sustained at home--especially before the Privy Council, they
tell me.”

“Well, I am not,” answered my uncle. “I think it more to the credit of the
colony for its young women to take up with its young men, and its young men
with its young women. I wish Anne Mordaunt had been substituted for the
Hon. Ballyshannon to-night. She would have made a thousand times better
‘virtuous Marcia.”

“You surely would not have had a young lady of respectability appear in
public, in this way, Mr. Legge.”

My uncle said something to this, for he seldom let “Jane” get the better of
it for want of an answer; but as I left the box, I did not hear his reply.
It seemed then to be settled, in the minds of most persons, that Bulstrode
was to marry Anneke! I cannot describe the new shock this opinion gave me;
but it seemed to make me more fully sensible of the depth of the impression
that had been made on myself, in the intercourse of a single week. The
effect was such that I did not return to the party I had left, but sought
a seat in a distant part of the theatre, though one in which I could
distinctly see those I had abandoned.

The Beaux Stratagem soon commenced, and Bulstrode was again seen in the
character of Scrub. Those who were most familiar with the stage, pronounced
his playing to be excellent--far better in the footman than in the Roman
Senator. The play itself struck me as being as broad and coarse as could be
tolerated; but as it had a reputation at home, where it had a great name,
our matrons did not dare to object to it. I was glad to see the smiles soon
disappear from Anneke’s face, however, and to discover that _she_ found
no pleasure in scenes so unsuited to her sex and years. The short, quick
glances that were exchanged between Anneke and Mary Wallace, did not escape
me, and the manner in which they both rose, as soon as the curtain dropped,
told quite plainly the haste they were in to quit the theatre. I reached
their box-door in time to assist them through the crowd.

Not a word was said by any of us, until we reached the street, where two or
three of Miss Mordaunt’s female friends became loud in the expression of
their satisfaction. Neither Anneke nor Mary Wallace said anything, and so
well did I understand the nature of their feelings, that I made no allusion
whatever to the farce. As for the others, they did but chime in with what
appeared to be the common opinion, and were to be pitied rather than
condemned. It was perhaps the more excusable in them to imagine such a play
right, inasmuch as they must have known it was much extolled at home, a
fact that gave any custom a certain privilege in the colonies. A mother
country has much of the same responsibility as a natural mother, herself,
since its opinions and example are apt to be quoted in the one case by the
dependant, in justification of its own opinions and conduct, as it is by
the natural offspring in the other.

I fancy, notwithstanding, this sort of responsibility gives the ministers
or people of England very little trouble, since I never could discover
any sensitiveness to their duties on this score. We all went in at Herman
Mordaunt’s, after walking to the house as we had walked from it, and were
made to take a light supper, including some delicious chocolate. Just as
we sat down to table, Bulstrode joined us, to receive the praises he had
earned, and to enjoy his triumph. He got a seat directly opposite to mine,
on Anneke’s left hand, and soon began to converse.

“In the first place,” he cried, “you must all admit that Tom Harris did
wonders to-night as Miss Marcia Cato. I had my own trouble with the rogue,
for there is no precedent for a tipsy Marcia; but we managed to keep him
straight, and that was the nicest part of my management, let me assure
you.”

“Yes,” observed Herman Mordaunt, drily; “I should think keeping Tom Harris
straight, after dinner, an exploit of no little difficulty, but a task that
would demand a very judicious management, indeed.”

“You were pleased to express your satisfaction with the performance of
Cato, Miss Mordaunt,” said Bulstrode, in a very deferential and solicitous
manner; “but I question if the entertainment gave you as much pleasure?”

“It certainly did not. Had the representation ended with the first piece, I
am afraid I should too much regret that we are without a regular stage; but
the farce will take off much of the keenness of such regrets.”

“I fear I understand you, cousin Anne, and greatly regret that we did not
make another choice,” returned Bulstrode, with a humility that was not
usual in his manner, even when addressing Anneke Mordaunt; “but I can
assure you the play has great vogue at home; and the character of Scrub, in
particular, has usually been a prodigious favourite. I see by your look,
however, that enough has been said; but after having done so much to amuse
this good company, to-night, I shall feel authorised to call on every lady
present, at least for a song, as soon as the proper moment arrives. Perhaps
I have a right to add, a sentiment, and a toast.”

And songs, and toasts, and sentiments, we had, as usual, the moment we had
done eating. It was, and indeed _is_, rather more usual to indulge in this
innocent gaiety after supper, than after dinner, with us; and that night
everybody entered into the feeling of the moment with spirit. Herman
Mordaunt gave “Miss Markham,” as he had done at dinner, and this with an
air so determined, as to prove no one else would ever be got out of _him_.

“There is a compact between Miss Markham and myself, to toast each other
for the remainder of our lives,” cried the master of the house, laughing;
“and we are each too honest ever to violate it.”

“But Miss Mordaunt is under no such engagement,” put in a certain Mr.
Benson, who had manifested much interest in the beautiful young mistress of
the house throughout the day; “and I trust we shall not be put off by any
such excuse from her.”

“It is not in rule to ask two of the same race for toasts in succession,”
 answered Herman Mordaunt. “There is Mr. Bulstrode dying to give us another
English belle.”

“With all my heart,” said Bulstrode, gaily. “This time it shall be Lady
Betty Boddington.”

“Married or single, Bulstrode?” inquired Billings, as I thought with some
little point.

“No matter which, so long as she be a beauty and a toast. I believe it
is now my privilege to call on a lady, and I beg a gentleman from Miss
Wallace.”

There had been an expression of pained surprise, at the trifling between
Billings and Bulstrode, in Anneke’s sweet countenance; for, in the
simplicity of our provincial habits, we of the colonies did not think it
exactly in rule for the single to toast the married, or _vice versa_; but
the instant her friend was thus called on, it changed for a look of gentle
concern. Mary Wallace manifested no concern, however, but gave “Mr. Francis
Fordham.”

“Ay, Frank Fordham, with all my heart,” cried Herman Mordaunt. “I hope he
will return to his native country as straight-forward, honest, and good as
he left it.”

“Mr. Fordham is then abroad?” inquired Bulstrode. “I thought the name new
to me.”

“If being at home can be called being abroad. He is reading law at the
Temple.”

This was the answer of Mary Wallace, who looked as if she felt a friendly
interest in the young Templar, but no more. She now called on Dirck for
his lady. Throughout the whole of that day, Dirck’s voice had hardly been
heard; a reserve that comported well enough with his youth and established
diffidence. This appeal, however, seemed suddenly to arouse all that there
was of manhood in him; and that was not a little, I can tell the reader,
when there was occasion to use it. Dirck’s nature was honesty itself; and
he felt that the appeal was too direct, and the occasion too serious, to
admit of duplicity. He loved but one, esteemed but one, felt for one only;
and it was not in his nature to cover his preference by any attempt at
deception. After colouring to the ears, appearing distressed, he made an
effort, and pronounced the name of--“Anneke Mordaunt.”

A common laugh rewarded this blunder; common with all but the fair creature
who had extorted this involuntary tribute, and myself, who knew Dirck’s
character too well not to understand how very much he must be in earnest
thus to lay bare the most cherished secret of his heart. The mirth
continued some time, Herman Mordaunt appearing to be particularly pleased,
and applauding his kinsman’s directness with several ‘bravos’ very
distinctly uttered. As for Anneke, I saw she looked touched, while she
looked concerned, and as if she would be glad to have the thing undone.

“After all, Dirck, much as I admire your spirit and plain dealing, boy,”
 cried Herman Mordaunt, “Miss Wallace can never let such a toast pass. She
will insist on having another.”

“I!--I protest I am well pleased with it, and ask for no other,” exclaimed
the lady in question. “No toast can be more agreeable to me than Anneke
Mordaunt, and I particularly like the quarter from which this comes.”

“If friends can be trusted in a matter of this nature,” put in Bulstrode,
with a little pique, “Mr. Follock has every reason to be contented. Had I
known, however, that the customs of New York allowed a lady who is present
to be toasted, that gentleman would not have had the merit of being the
first to make this discovery.”

“Nor is it,” said Herman Mordaunt; “and Dirck must hunt up another to
supply my daughter’s place.”

But no other was forthcoming from the stores of Dirck Follock’s mind. Had
he a dozen names in reserve, not one of them would he have produced under
circumstances that might seem like denying his allegiance to the girl
already given; but he _could_ not name any other female. So, after some
trifling, the company attributing Dirck’s hesitation to his youth and
ignorance of the world, abandoned the attempt, desiring him to call on
Anneke herself for a toast in turn.

“_Cousin_ Dirck Van Valkenburgh,” said Anneke, with the greater
self-possession and ease of her sex, though actually my friend’s junior by
more than two years; laying some emphasis, at the same time, on the word
_cousin_.

“There!” exclaimed Dirck, looking exultingly at Bulstrode; “you see,
gentlemen and ladies, that _it_ is permitted to toast a person present, if
you happen to respect and esteem that person!”

“By which, sir, we are to understand how much Miss Mordaunt respects and
esteems Mr. Dirck Van Valkenburgh,” answered Bulstrode gravely. “I am
afraid there is only too much justice in an opinion that might, at the
first blush, seem to savour of self-love.”

“An imputation I am far from denying,” returned Anneke, with a steadiness
that showed wonderful self-command, did she really return any of Dirck’s
attachment. “My kinsman gives me as his toast, and I give him as mine. Is
there anything unnatural in that?”

Here there was an outbreak of raillery at Anneke’s expense, which the young
lady bore with a calmness and composure that at first astonished me. But
when I came to reflect that she had been virtually at the head of her
father’s house for several years, and that she had always associated with
persons older than herself, it appeared more natural; for it is certain
we can either advance or retard the character by throwing a person into
intimate association with those who, by their own conversation, manners,
or acquirements, are most adapted for doing either. In a few minutes the
interruption was forgotten by those who had no interest in the subject,
and the singing commenced. I had obtained so much credit by my attempt at
dinner, that I had the extreme gratification of being asked to sing another
song by Anneke herself. Of course I complied, and I thought the company
seemed pleased. As for my young hostess, I knew she looked more gratified
with my song than with the afterpiece, and that I felt to be something.
Dirck had an occasion to renew a little of the ground lost by the toast,
for he sang a capital comic song in Low Dutch. It is true, not half the
party understood him, but the other half laughed until the tears rolled
down their cheeks, and there was something so droll in my friend’s manner,
that everybody was delighted. The clocks struck twelve before we broke up.

I staid in town but a day or two longer, meeting my new acquaintances every
day, and sometimes twice a-day, however, on Trinity Church Walk. I paid
visits of leave-taking with a heavy heart, and most of all to Anneke and
her father.

“I understood from Follock,” said Herman Mordaunt, when I explained the
object of my call, “that you are to leave town to-morrow. Miss Mordaunt and
her friend, Miss Wallace, go to Lilacsbush this afternoon; for it is high
time to look after the garden and the flowers, many of which are now in
full bloom. I shall join them in the evening and I propose that you young
men, take a late breakfast with us, on your way to Westchester. A cup of
coffee before you start, and getting into your saddle at six, will bring
all right. I promise you that you shall be on the road again by one, which
will give you plenty of time to reach Satanstoe before dark.”

I looked at Anneke, and fancied that the expression of her countenance was
favourable. Dirck left everything to me, and I accepted the invitation.
This arrangement shortened my visit in Crown Street, and I left the house
with a lighter heart than that with which I had entered it. It is always so
agreeable to get an unpleasant duty deferred!

Next day Dirck and I were in the saddle at six precisely, and we rode
through the streets just as the blacks were washing down their stoops and
side-walks; though there were but very few of the last, in my youth. This
is a commodious improvement, and one that it is not easy to see how the
ladies could dispense with, and which is now getting to be pretty common;
all the new streets, I see, being provided with the convenience.

It was a fine May morning, and the air was full of the sweet fragrance of
the lilac, in particular, as we rode into the country. Just as we got into
the Bowery Lane, a horseman was seen walking out of one of the by-streets,
and coming our way. He no sooner caught sight of two travellers going in
his own direction, than he spurred forward to join us; being alone, and
probably wishing company. As it would have been churlish to refuse to
travel in company with one thus situated, we pulled up, walking our horses
until the stranger joined us; when, to our surprise, it turned out to be
Jason Newcome. The pedagogue was as much astonished when he recognised us,
as we were in recognising him; and I believe he was a little disappointed;
for Jason was so fond of making acquaintances, that it was always a
pleasure to him to be thus employed. It appeared that he had been down
on the island to visit a relative, who had married and settled in that
quarter; and this was the reason we had not met since the morning of the
affair of the lion. Of course we trotted on together, neither glad nor
sorry at having this particular companion.

I never could explain the process by means of which Jason wound his way
into everybody’s secrets. It is true he had no scruples about asking
questions; putting those which most persons would think forbidden by the
usages of society, with as little hesitation as those which are universally
permitted. The people of New England have a reputation this way; and I
remember to have heard Mr. Worden account for the practice in the following
way: Everything and everybody was brought under rigid church government
among the Puritans; and, when a whole community gets the notion that it is
to sit in judgment on every act of one of its members, it is quite natural
that it should extend that right to an inquiry into all his affairs. One
thing is certain; our neighbours of Connecticut do assume a control over
the acts and opinions of individuals that is not dreamed of in New York;
and I think it very likely that the practice of pushing inquiry into
private things, has grown up under this custom.

As one might suppose, Jason, whenever baffled in an attempt to obtain
knowledge by means of inquiries, more or less direct, sought to advance his
ends through conjectures; taking those that were the most plausible, if
any such could be found, but putting up with those that had not even
this questionable recommendation, if nothing better offered. He was,
consequently, for ever falling into the grossest errors, for, necessarily
making his conclusions on premises drawn from his own ignorance and
inexperience, he was liable to fall into serious mistakes at the very
outset. Nor was this the worst; the tendency of human nature not being very
directly to charity, the harshest constructions were sometimes blended with
the most absurd blunders, in his mind, and I have known him to be often
guilty of assertions, that had no better foundation than these conjectures,
which might have subjected him to severe legal penalties.

On the present occasion, Jason was not long in ascertaining where we were
bound. This was done in a manner so characteristic and ingenious, that I
will attempt to relate it.

“Why, you’re out early, this morning, gentlemen,” exclaimed Jason,
affecting surprise. “What in natur’ has started you off before breakfast?”

“So as to be certain not to lose our suppers at Satanstoe, this evening,” I
answered.

“Suppers? why, you will almost reach home (Jason _would_ call this word
_hum_) by dinner-time; that is, your York dinner-time. Perhaps you mean to
call by the way?”

“Perhaps we do, Mr. Newcorne; there are many pleasant families between this
and Satanstoe.”

“I know there be. There’s the great Mr. Van Cortlandt’s at Yonker’s;
perhaps you mean to stop there?”

“No, sir; we have no such intention.”

“Then there’s the rich Count Philips’s, on the river; that would be no
great matter out of the way?”

“It’s farther than we intend to turn.”

“Oh! so you _do_ intend to turn a bit aside! Well, there’s that Mr.
Mordaunt, whose daughter you pulled out of the lion’s paws;--he has a house
near King’s-Bridge, called Lilacsbush.”

“And how did you ascertain that, Jason?”

“By asking. Do you think I would let such a thing happen, and not inquire
a little about the young lady? Nothing is ever lost by putting a few
questions, and inquiring round; and I did not forget the rule in her case.”

“And you ascertained that the young lady’s father has a place called
Lilacsbush, in this neighbourhood?”

“I did; and a queer York fashion it is to give a house a name, just as you
would a Christian being; that must be a Roman Catholic custom, and some way
connected with idolatry.”

“Out of all doubt. It is far better to say, for instance, that we are going
to breakfast at Mr. Mordaunt’s-es-es, than to say we intend to stop at
Lilacsbush.”

“Oh! you be, be you? Well, I thought it would turn out that some such place
must have started you off so early. It will be a desperate late breakfast,
Corny!”

“It will be at ten o’oclock, Jason, and that is rather later than common;
but our appetites will be so much the better.”

To this Jason assented, and then commenced a series of manoeuvres to be
included in the party. This we did not dare to do, however, and all Jason’s
hints were disregarded, until, growing desperate by our evasions, he
plumply proposed to go along, and we as plumply told him we would take no
such liberty with a man of Herman Mordaunt’s years, position and character.
I do not know that we should have hesitated so much had we considered Jason
a gentleman, but this was impossible. The custom of the colony admitted
of great freedom in this respect, being very different from what it is
at home, by all accounts, in these particulars; but there was always an
understanding that the persons one brought with him should be of a certain
stamp and class in life; recommendations to which Jason Newcome certainly
had no claim.

The case was getting to be a little embarrassing, when the appearance of
Herman Mordaunt himself, fortunately removed the difficulty. Jason was not
a man to be thrown off very easily; but here was one who had the power, and
who showed the disposition to set things right. Herman Mordaunt had ridden
down the road a mile or two to meet us, intending to lead us by a private
and shorter way to his residence, than that which was already known to us.
He no sooner saw that Jason was of our company, than he asked that as a
favour, which our companion would very gladly have accepted as a boon.

[Footnote 15: In England, Othello is usually played as a black, while in
America he is played as a nondescript; or of no colour that is ordinarily
seen. It is not clear that England is nearer right than America, however;
the Moor not being a negro, any more than he is of the colour of a dried
herring.--EDITOR.]



CHAPTER IX.

  “I question’d Love, whose early ray
  So heavenly bright appears;
  And love, in answer, seem’d to say,
  His light was dimm’d by tears.”

  HEBER.


It was not long after the explanation occurred, as respects Jason, and the
invitation was given to include him in our party, before Herman Mordaunt
opened a gate, and led the way into the fields. A very tolerable road
conducted us through some woods, to the heights, and we soon found
ourselves on an eminence, that overlooked a long reach of the Hudson,
extending from Haverstraw, to the north, as far as Staten Island, to the
south; a distance of near forty miles. On the opposite shore, rose the
wall-like barrier of the Palisadoes, lifting the table-land, on their
summits, to an elevation of several hundred feet. The noble river, itself,
fully three-quarters of a mile in width, was unruffled by a breath of air,
lying in one single, extended, placid sheet, under the rays of a bright
sun, resembling molten silver. I scarce remember a lovelier morning;
everything appearing to harmonize with the glorious but tranquil grandeur
of the view, and the rich promises of a bountiful nature. The trees were
mostly covered with the beautiful clothing of a young verdure; the birds
had mated, and were building in nearly every tree; the wild-flowers started
up beneath the hoofs of our horses; and every object, far and near, seemed,
to my young eyes, to be attuned to harmony and love.

“This is a favourite ride of mine, in which Anneke often accompanies
me,” said Herman Mordaunt, as we gained the commanding eminence I have
mentioned. “My daughter is a spirited horse-woman, and is often my
companion in these morning rides. She and Mary Wallace should be somewhere
on the hills, at this moment, for they promised to follow me, as soon as
they could dress for the saddle.”

A cry of something like wild delight burst out of Dirck, and the next
moment he was galloping away for an adjoining ridge, on the top of which
the beautiful forms of the two girls were just then visible; embellished by
neatly-fitting habits, and beavers with drooping feathers. I pointed out
these charming objects to Herman Mordaunt, and followed my friend, at
half-speed. In a minute or two the parties had joined.

Never had I seen Anneke Mordaunt so perfectly lovely, as she appeared that
morning. The exercise and air had deepened a bloom that was always rich;
and her eyes received new lustre from the glow on her cheeks. Though
expected, I thought she received us as particularly acceptable guests;
while Mary Wallace manifested more than an usual degree of animation, in
her reception. Jason was not forgotten, but was acknowledged as an old
acquaintance, and was properly introduced to the friend.

“You frequently take these rides, Mr. Mordaunt tells me,” I said, reining
my horse to the side of that of Anneke’s, as the whole party moved on; “and
I regret that Satanstoe is so distant, as to prevent our oftener meeting
of a morning. We have many noted horse-women, in Westchester, who would be
proud of such an acquisition.”

“I know several ladies, on your side of Harlem river” Anneke answered,
“and frequently ride in their company; but none so distant as any in your
immediate neighbourhood. My father tells me, he used often to shoot over
the fields of Satanstoe, when a youth; and still speaks of your birds with
great affection.”

“I believe our fathers were once brother-sportsmen. Mr. Bulstrode has
promised to come and imitate their good example. Now you have had time to
reflect on the plays you have seen, do you still feel the same interest in
such representations as at first?”

“I only wish there was not so much to condemn. I think Mr. Bulstrode might
have reached eminence as a player, had not fortune put it, in one sense,
beyond his reach, as an elder son, and a man of family.”

“Mr. Bulstrode, they tell me, is not only the heir of an old baronetcy, but
of a large fortune?”

“Such are the facts, I believe. Do you not think it creditable to him, Mr.
Littlepage, that one so situated, should come so far to serve his king and
country, in a rude war like this of our colonies?”

I was obliged to assent, though I heartily wished that Anneke’s manner had
been less animated and sincere, as she put the question. Still, I hardly
knew what to think of her feelings towards that gentleman; for, otherwise,
she always heard him named with a calmness and self-possession that I
had observed was not shared by all her young companions, when there was
occasion to allude to the gay and insinuating soldier. I need scarcely say,
it was no disadvantage to Mr. Bulstrode to be the heir of a baronetcy, in
an English colony. Somehow or other, we are a little apt to magnify such
accidental superiority, at a distance from home; and I _have_ heard
Englishmen, themselves, acknowledge that a baronet was a greater man, in
New York, than a duke was in London. These were things, that passed through
my mind, as I rode along at Anneke’s side; though I had the discretion not
to give utterance of my thoughts.

“Herman Mordaunt rode in advance, with Jason; and he led the party, by
pretty bridle-paths, along the heights for nearly two miles, occasionally
opening a gate, without dismounting, until he reached a point that
overlooked Lilacsbush, which was soon seen, distant from us less than half
a mile.

“Here we are, on my own domain,” he said, as he pulled up to let us join
him; “that last gate separating me from my nearest neighbour south. These
hills are of no great use, except as early pastures, though they afford
many beautiful views.”

“I have heard it predicted,” I remarked, “that the time would come, some
day, when the banks of the Hudson would contain many such seats as that of
the Philipses, at Yonkers, and one or two more like it, that I am told are
now standing above the Highlands.”

“Quite possibly; it is not easy to foretell what may come to pass in such a
country. I dare say, that in time, both towns and seats will be seen on the
banks of the Hudson, and a powerful and numerous nobility to occupy the
last. By the way, Mr. Littlepage, your father and my friend Col. Follock
have been making a valuable acquisition in lands, I hear; having obtained a
patent for an extensive estate, somewhere in the neighbourhood of Albany?”

“It is not so very extensive, sir, there being only some forty thousand
acres of it, altogether; nor is it very near Albany, by what I can learn,
since it must lie at a distance of some forty miles, or more, from that
town. Next winter, however, Dirck and myself are to go in search of the
land, when we shall learn all about it.”

“Then we may meet in that quarter of the country. I have affairs of
importance at Albany, which have been too long neglected; and it has been
my intention to pass some months at the north, next season; and early in
the season, too. We may possibly meet in the woods.”

“You have been at Albany, I suppose, Mr. Mordaunt?”

“Quite often, sir; the distance is so great, that one has not much
inducement to go there, unless carried by affairs, however, as has been my
case. I was at Albany before my marriage, and have had various occasions to
visit it since.”

“My father was there, when a soldier; and he tells me it is a part of the
province well worth seeing. At all events, I shall encounter the risk and
fatigue next season; for it is useful to young persons to see the world.
Dirck and myself may make the campaign, should there be one in that
direction.”

I fancied Anneke manifested some interest in this conversation; but we rode
on, and soon alighted at the door of Lilacsbush. Bulstrode was not in the
way, and I had the supreme pleasure of helping Miss Mordaunt to alight,
when we paused a moment before entering the house, to examine the view. I
have given the reader some idea of the general appearance of the place; but
it was necessary to approach it, in order to form a just conception of its
beauties. As its name indicated, the lawn, house, and out-buildings were
all garnished or buried in lilacs, the whole of which were then in full
blossom. The flowers filled the air with a species of purple light, that
cast a warm and soft radiance even on the glowing face of Anneke, as she
pointed out to me the magical effect. I know no flower that does so much
to embellish a place, as the lilac, on a large scale, common as it is, and
familiar as we have become with its hues and its fragrance.

“We enjoy the month our lilacs are out, beyond any month in the year,” said
Anneke, smiling at my surprise and delight; “and we make it a point to pass
most of it here. You will at least own, Mr. Littlepage, that Lilacsbush is
properly named.”

“The effect is more like enchantment than anything else!” I cried. “I
did not know that the simple, modest lilac could render anything so very
beautiful!”

“Simplicity and modesty are such charms in themselves, sir, as to be potent
allies,” observed the sensible but taciturn Mary Wallace.

To this I assented, of course, and we all followed Mr. Mordaunt into
the house. I was as much delighted with the appearance of things in the
interior of Lilacsbush, as I had been with the exterior. Everywhere, it
seemed to me, I met with the signs of Anneke’s taste and skill. I do not
wish the reader to suppose that the residence itself was of the very first
character and class, for this it could not lay claim to be. Still, it was
one of those staid, story-and-a-half dwellings, in which most of our
first families were, and are content to dwell, in the country; very much
resembling the good old habitation at Satanstoe in these particulars. The
furniture, however, was of a higher town-finish than we found it necessary
to use; and the little parlour in which we breakfasted was a model for an
eating-room. The buffets in the corners were so well polished that one
might see his face in them; the cellarets were ornamented with plated
hinges, locks, etc., and the table itself shone like a mirror. I know not
how it was, but the china appeared to me richer and neater than common
under Anneke’s pretty little hand; while the massive and highly-finished
plate of the breakfast service, was such as could be wrought only in
England. In a word, while everything appeared rich and respectable, there
was a certain indescribable air of comfort, gentility, and neatness about
the whole, that impressed me in an unusual manner.

“Mr. Littlepage tells me, Anneke,” observed Herman Mordaunt, while we were
at breakfast, “that he intends to make a journey to the north, next winter,
and it may be our good fortune to meet him there. The ----th expects to be
ordered up as high as Albany, this summer; and we may all renew our songs
and jests, with Bulstrode and his gay companions, among the Dutchmen.”

I was charmed with this prospect of meeting Anneke Mordaunt at the north,
and took occasion to say as much; though I was afraid it was in an awkward
and confused manner.

“I heard as much as this, sir, while we were riding,” answered the
daughter. “I hope cousin Dirck is to be of the party?”

Cousin Dirck assured her he was, and we discussed in anticipation the
pleasure it must give to old acquaintances to meet so far from home. Not
one of us, Herman Mordaunt excepted, had ever been one hundred miles from
his or her birth-place, as was ascertained on comparing notes. I was the
greatest traveller; Princeton lying between eighty and ninety miles from
Satanstoe, as the road goes.

“Perhaps I come nearer to it than any of you,” put in Jason, “for my late
journey on the island must have carried me nearly that far from Danbury.
But, ladies, I can assure you, a traveller has many opportunities for
learning useful things, as I know by the difference there is between York
and Connecticut.”

“And which do you prefer, Mr. Newcome?” asked Anneke, with a somewhat
comical expression about her laughing eyes.

“That is hardly a fair question, Miss;” no reproof could break Jason of
this vulgarism, “since it might make enemies for a body to speak all of his
mind in such matters. There are comparisons that should never be made, on
account of circumstances that overrule all common efforts. New York is
a great colony--a very great colony, Miss; but it was once Dutch, as
everybody knows, begging Mr. Follock’s pardon; and it must be confessed
Connecticut has, from the first, enjoyed almost unheard-of advantages, in
the moral and religious character of her people, the excellence of her
lands, and the purity”--Jason called this word “poority;” but that did not
alter the sentiment--though I must say, once for all, it is out of my power
to spell every word as this man saw fit to pronounce it--“of her people and
church.”

Herman Mordaunt looked up with surprise, at this speech; but Dirck and
I had heard so many like it, that we saw nothing out of the way on this
particular occasion. As for the ladies, they were too well-bred to glance
at each other, as girls sometimes will; but I could see that each thought
the speaker a very singular person.

“You find, then, a difference in customs between the two colonies, sir?”
 said Herman Mordaunt.

“A vast difference truly, sir. Now there was a little thing happened about
your daughter, ‘Squire Mordaunt, the very first time I saw her”--the
present was the _second_ interview--“that could no more have happened
in Connecticut, than the whole of the province could be put into that
tea-cup.”

“To my daughter, Mr. Newcome!”

“Yes, sir, to your own daughter; Miss, that sits there looking as innocent
as if it had never come to pass.”

“This is so extraordinary, sir, that I must beg an explanation.”

“You may well call it extr’ornary, for extr’ornary it would be called all
over Connecticut; and I’ll never give up that York, if this be a York
usage, is or can be right in such a matter, at least.”

“I entreat you to be more explicit, Mr. Newcome.”

“Why, sir, you must know, Corny, here, and I, and Dirck there, went in to
see the lion, about which no doubt you’ve heard so much, and Corny paid for
Miss’s ticket Well, _that_ was all right enough, but----”

“Surely, Anneke, you have not forgotten to return to Mr. Littlepage the
money!”

“Listen patiently, my dear sir, and you will get the whole story, my
delinquencies and debts included, if any there are.”

“That’s just what she did, Squire Mordaunt, and I maintain there is not the
man in all Connecticut that would have taken it. If ladies can’t be treated
to sights, and other amusements, I should like to know who is to be so.”

Herman Mordaunt, at first, looked gravely at the speaker, but catching the
expression of our eyes he answered with the tact of a perfectly well-bred
man, as he certainly was, on all occasions that put him to the proof--

“You must overlook Miss Mordaunt’s adhering to her own customs, Mr.
Newcome, on account of her youth, and her little knowledge of any world
but that immediately around her. When she has enjoyed an opportunity of
visiting Danbury, no doubt she will improve by the occasion.”

“But, Corny, sir--think of Corny’s falling into such a mistake!”

“As for Mr. Littlepage, I must suppose he labours under somewhat of the
same disadvantage. We are less gallant here than you happen to be in
Connecticut; hence our inferiority. At some future day, perhaps, when
society shall have made a greater progress among us, our youths will come
to see the impropriety of permitting the fair sex to pay for anything, even
their own ribands. I have long known, sir, that you of New England claim to
treat your women better than they are treated in any other portion of the
inhabited world, and it must be owing to that circumstance hat they enjoy
the advantage of being ‘treated’ for nothing.”

With this concession Jason was apparently content. How much of this
provincial feeling, arising from provincial ignorance, have I seen since
that time! It is certain that our fellow-subjects of the eastern provinces
are not addicted to hiding their lights under bushels, but make the most
of all their advantages. That they are superior to us of York, in some
respects, I am willing enough to allow; but there are certainly points on
which this superiority is far less apparent. As for Jason, he was entirely
satisfied with the answer of Herman Mordaunt, and often alluded to the
subject afterwards, to my prejudice, and with great self-complacency. To
be sure, it is a hard lesson to beat into the head of the self-sufficient
colonist, that his own little corner of the earth does not contain all that
is right, and just, and good, and refined.

I left Lilacsbush, that day, deeply in love. I hold it to be unmanly to
attempt to conceal it. Anneke had made a lively impression on me from the
very first, but that impression had now gone deeper than the imagination,
and had very sensibly touched the heart. Perhaps it was necessary to see
her in the retirement of the purely domestic circle, to give all her charms
their just ascendency. While in town, I had usually met her in crowds,
surrounded by admirers or other young persons of her own sex, and there was
less opportunity for viewing the influence of nature and the affections on
her manner. With Mary Wallace at her side, however, there was always one
on whom she could exhibit just enough of these feelings to bring out the
loveliness of her nature without effort or affectation. Anne Mordaunt never
spoke to her friend without a change appearing in her manner. Affection
thrilled in the tones of her voice, confidence beamed in her eye, and
esteem and respect were to be gathered from the expectation and deference
that shone in her countenance. Mary Wallace was two years the oldest, and
these years taken in connection with her character, entitled her to receive
this tribute from her nearest associate; but all these feelings flowed
spontaneously from the heart, for never was an intercourse between two of
the sex more thoroughly free from acting.

It was a proof that passion was getting the mastery over me, that I now
forgot Dirck, his obvious attachment, older claims, and possible success. I
know not how it was, or why it was, but it was certain that Herman Mordaunt
had a great regard for Dirck Van Valkenburgh. The affinity may have counted
for something, and it was possible that the father was already weighing the
advantages that might accrue from such a connection. Col. Follock had the
reputation of being rich, as riches were then counted among us; and the
young fellow himself, in addition to a fine manly figure, that was fast
developing itself into the frame of a youthful Hercules, had an excellent
temper, and a good reputation. Still, this idea never troubled me. Of Dirck
I had no fears, while Bulstrode gave me great uneasiness, from the first.
I saw all his advantages, may have even magnified them; while those of my
near and immediate friend, gave me no trouble whatever. It is possible, had
Dirck presented himself oftener, or more distinctly to my mind, a feeling
of magnanimity might have induced me to withdraw in time, and leave him
a field to which he had the earliest claim. But, after the morning at
Lilacsbush, it was too late for any such sacrifice on my part; and I rode
away from the house, at the side of my friend, as forgetful of his interest
in Anneke, as if he had never felt any. Magnanimity and I had no further
connection in relation to my pretensions to Anneke Mordaunt.

“Well,” commenced Jason, as soon as we were fairly in the saddle, “these
Mordaunts are even a notch above your folks, Corny? There was more silver
vessels in that room where we ate, than there is at this moment in all
Danbury! The extravagance amounts to waste. The old gentleman must be
desperate rich, Dirck?”

“Herman Mordaunt has a good estate, and very little of it has gone for
plate, Jason; that which you saw is old, and came either from Holland, or
England; one home, or the other.”

“Oh! Holland is no home for me, boy. Depend on it, all that plate is not
put there for nothing. If the truth could be come at, this Herman Mordaunt,
as you call him, though I do not see why you cannot call him _‘Squire_
Mordaunt, like other folks, but this Mr. Mordaunt has some notion, I
conclude, to get his daughter off on one of these rich English officers, of
whom there happen to be so many in the province, just at this time. I never
saw the gentleman, but there was one Bulstrode named pretty often this
forenoon,”--Jason’s morning always terminated at his usual breakfast
hour,--“and I rather conclude he will turn out to be the chap, in the long
run. Such is my calculation, and _they_ don’t often fail.”

I saw a quick, surprised start in Dirck; but I felt such a twinge myself,
that there was little opportunity to inquires into the state of my friend’s
feelings, at this coarse, but unexpected remark.

“Have you any particular reason, Mr. Newcome, for; venturing such an
opinion?” I asked, a little sternly.

“Come, don’t let us, out here in the highway, begin to mister one another.
You are Corny, Dirck is Dirck, and I am Jason. The shortest way is commonly
the best way, and I like given-names among friends. Have I any particular
reason?--Yes; plenty on ‘em, and them that’s good. In the first place, no
man has a daughter,”--darter à la Jason,--“that he does not begin to think
of setting her out in the world, accordin’ to his abilities; then, as
I said before, these folks from home” (hum) “are awful rich, and rich
husbands are always satisfactory to parents, whatever they may be to
children. Besides, some of these officers will fall heirs to titles, and
that is a desperate temptation to a woman, all over the world. I hardly
think there is a young woman in Danbury that could hold out agin’ a real
title.”

It has always struck me as singular, that the people of Jason’s part of the
provinces should entertain so much profound respect for titles. No portion
of the world is of simpler habits, nor is it easier to find any civilized
people among whom there is greater equality of actual condition, which,
one would think, must necessarily induce equality of feeling, than in
Connecticut, at this very moment. Notwithstanding these facts, the love of
title is so great, that even that of serjeant is often prefixed to the name
of a man on his tombstone, or in the announcement of his death or marriage;
and as for the militia ensigns and lieutenants, there is no end to them.
Deacon is an important title, which is rarely omitted; and wo betide the
man who should forget to call a magistrate “esquire.” No such usages
prevail among us; or, if they do, it is among that portion of the people of
this colony which is derived from New England, and still retains some of
its customs. Then, in no part of the colonies is English rank more deferred
to, than in New England, generally, notwithstanding most of those colonies
possess the right to elect nearly every officer they have among them. I
allow that we of New York defer greatly to men of birth and rank from home,
and it is right we should so do; but I do not think our deference is as
great, or by any means as general, as it is in New England. It is possible
the influence of the Dutch may have left an impression on our state of
society, though I have been told that the colonies farther south exhibit
very much the same characteristics as we do, ourselves, on this head. [16]

We reached Satanstoe a little late, in consequence of the delay at
Lilacsbush, and were welcomed with affection and warmth. My excellent
mother was delighted to see me at home again, after so long an absence,
and one which she did not think altogether without peril, when it was
remembered that I had passed a whole fortnight amid the temptations and
fascinations of the capital. I saw the tears in her eyes as she kissed me,
again and again, and felt the gentle, warm embrace, as she pressed me to
her bosom, in maternal thanksgiving.

Of course, I had to render an account of all I had seen and done, including
Pinkster, the theatre, and the lion. I said nothing, however, of the
Mordaunts, until questioned about them by my mother, quite a fortnight
after Dirck had gone across to Rockland. One morning, as I sat endeavouring
to write a sonnet in my own room, that excellent parent entered and took
a seat near my table, with the familiarity the relation she bore me
justified. She was knitting at the time, for never was she idle, except
when asleep. I saw by the placid smile on her face, which, Heaven bless
her! was still smooth and handsome, that something was on her mind, that
was far from disagreeable; and I waited with some curiosity for the
opening. That excellent mother! How completely did she live out of herself
in all that had the most remote bearing on my future hopes and happiness!

“Finish your writing, my son,” commenced my mother, for I had instinctively
striven to conceal the sonnet; “finish your writing; until you have done, I
will be silent.”

“I have done, now, mother; ‘twas only a copy of verses I was endeavouring
to write out--you know--that is--write out, you know.”

“I did not know you were a poet, Corny,” returned my mother, smiling still
more complacently, for it _is_ something to be the parent of a poet.

“I!--I a poet, mother?--I’d sooner turn school-master, than turn poet.
Yes, I’d sooner be Jason Newcome, himself, than even suspect it possible I
_could_ be a poet.”

“Well, never mind; people never turn poets, I fancy, with their eyes open.
But, what is this I hear of your having saved a beautiful young lady from
the jaws of a lion, while you were in town; and why was I left to learn all
the particulars from Mr. Newcome?”

I believe my face was of the colour of scarlet, for it felt as if it were
on fire, and my mother smiled still more decidedly than ever. Speak! I
could not have spoken to be thus smiled on by Anneke.

“There is nothing to be ashamed of, Corny, in rescuing a young lady from a
lion, or in going to her father’s to receive the thanks of the family. The
Mordaunts are a family any one can visit with pleasure. Was the battle
between you and the beast, a very desperate conflict, my child?”

“Poh! mother:--Jason is a regular dealer in marvels, and he makes mountains
of mole-hills. In the first place, for ‘jaws,’ you must substitute ‘paws,’
and for a ‘young lady,’ ‘her shawl.’”

“Yes, I understand it was the shawl, but it was on her shoulders, and could
not have been disengaged time enough to save her, had you not shown so much
presence of mind and courage. As for the ‘jaws,’ I believe that was my
mistake, for Mr. Newcome certainly said ‘claws.’”

“Well, mother, have it your own way. I was of a little service to a very
charming young woman, and she and her father were civil to me, as a matter
of course. Herman Mordaunt is a name we all know, and, as you say, his is a
family that any man may be proud of visiting, ay, and pleased too.”

“How odd it is, Corny,” added my mother, in a sort of musing, soliloquizing
way,--“you are an only child, and Anneke Mordaunt is also an only child, as
Dirck Follock has often told me.”

“Then Dirck has spoken to you frequently of Anneke, before this, mother?”

“Time and again; they are relations, you must have heard; as, indeed, you
are yourself, if you did but know it.”

“I?--I related to Anneke Mordaunt, without being too _near_?”

My dear mother smiled again, while I felt sadly ashamed of myself at the
next instant. I believe that a suspicion of the truth, as respects my
infant passion, existed in that dear parent’s mind from that moment.

“Certainly related, Corny, and I will tell you how. My
great-great-grandmother, Alida van der Heyden, was a first cousin of Herman
Mordaunt’s great-great-grandmother, by his mother’s side, who was a Van
Kleeck. So, you see, you and Anneke are actually related.”

“Just near enough, mother, to put one at ease in their house, and not so
near as to make relationship troublesome.”

“They tell me, my child, that Anneke is a sweet creature!”

“If beauty, and modesty, and grace, and gentleness, and spirit, and sense,
and delicacy, and virtue, and piety, can make any young woman of seventeen
a sweet creature, mother, then Anneke is sweet.”

My dear mother seemed surprised at my warmth, but she smiled still more
complacently than ever. Instead of pursuing the subject, however, she saw
fit to change it, by speaking of the prospects of the season, and the many
reasons we all had for thankfulness to God. I presume, with a woman’s
instinct, she had learned enough to satisfy her mind for the present.

The summer soon succeeded to the May that proved so momentous to me; and I
sought occupation in the fields. Occupation, however, would not do. Anneke
was with me, go where I would; and glad was I when Dirck, about midsummer,
in one of his periodical visits to Satanstoe, proposed that we should ride
over, and make another visit to Lilacsbush. He had written a note, to say
we should be glad to ask a dinner and beds, if it were convenient, for a
day a short distance ahead; and he waited the answer at the Neck. This
answer arrived duly by mail, and was everything we could wish. Herman
Mordaunt offered us a hearty welcome, and sent the grateful intelligence
that his daughter and Mary Wallace would both be present to receive us. I
envied Dirck the manly feeling which had induced him to take this plain and
respectable course to his object.

We went across the country, accordingly, and reached Lilacsbush several
hours before dinner. Anneke received us with a bright suffusion of the
face, and kind smiles; though I could not detect the slightest difference
in her manners to either. To both was she gracious, gentle, attentive, and
lady-like. No allusion was made to the past, except a few remarks that were
given on the subject of the theatre. The officers had continued to play
until the ----th had been ordered up the river, when Bulstrode, Billings,
Harris, virtuous Marcia, and all, had proceeded to Albany in company.
Anneke thought there was about as much to be displeased with, as there was
to please, in these representations; though her removal to the country
had prevented her seeing more than three of them all. It was admitted all
round, however, that Bulstrode played admirably; and it was even regretted
by certain persons, that he should not have been devoted to the stage.

We passed the night at Lilacsbush, and remained an hour or two after
breakfast, next morning. I had carried a warm invitation from both my
parents to Herman Mordaunt, to ride over, with the young ladies, and taste
the fish of the Sound; and the visit was returned in the course of the
month of September. My mother received Anneke as a relation; though I
believe that both Herman Mordaunt and his daughter were surprised to learn
that they came within even the wide embrace of Dutch kindred. They did not
seem displeased, however, for the family name of my mother was good, and no
one need have been ashamed of affinity to _her_, on her own account. Our
guests did not remain the night, but they left us in a sort of a chaise
that Herman Mordaunt kept for country use, about an hour before sunset. I
mounted my horse, and rode five miles with the party, on its way back,
and then took my leave of Anneke, as it turned out, for many, many weary
months.

The year 1757 was memorable in the colonies, by the progress of the war,
and as much so in New York as in any other province. Montcalm had advanced
to the head of Lake George, had taken Fort William Henry, and a fearful
massacre of the garrison had succeeded. This bold operation left the
enemy in possession of Champlain; and the strong post of Ticonderoga was
adequately garrisoned by a formidable force. A general gloom was cast over
the political affairs of the colony; and it was understood that a great
effort was to be made, the succeeding campaign, to repair the loss. Rumour
spoke of large reinforcements from home, and of greater levies in the
colonies themselves than had been hitherto attempted. Lord Loudon was to
return home, and a veteran of the name of Abercrombie was to succeed him in
the command of all the forces of the king. Regiments began to arrive from
the West Indies; and, in the course of the winter of 1757-8, we heard at
Satanstoe of the gaieties that these new forces had introduced into the
town. Among other things, a regular corps of Thespians had arrived from the
West Indies.

[Footnote 16: As respects the love of titles that are derived from the
people, there is nothing-opposed to strict republican, or if the reader
will, democratic, principles, since it is deferring to the power that
appoints, and manifests a respect for that which the community chooses to
elevate. But, the deference to _English_ rank, mentioned by Mr. Littlepage,
is undeniably greater among the mass in New England, than it is anywhere
else in this country, at this very moment. One leading New York paper,
edited by New England men, during the last controversy about the indemnity
to be paid by France, actually styled the Due de Broglie “his grace,”
 like a Grub Street cockney,--a mode of address that would astonish that
respectable statesman, quite as much as it must have amused every man
of the world who saw it. I have been much puzzled to account for this
peculiarity--unquestionably one that exists in the country--but have
supposed it must be owing to the diffusion of information which carries
intelligence sufficiently far to acquaint the mass with leading social
features, without going far enough to compensate for a provincial position
and provincial habits. Perhaps the exclusively English origin of the people
may have an influence. The writer has passed portions of two seasons in
Switzerland, and, excluding the small forest cantons, he has no hesitation
in saying that the habits and general notions of Connecticut are
more inherently democratical than those of any part of that country.
Notwithstanding, he thinks a nobleman, particularly an English nobleman, is
a far greater man in New England, than he is among the real middle-state
families of New York.--EDITOR.]



CHAPTER X.

  “Dear Hasty-Pudding, what unpromised joy
  Expands my heart to meet thee in Savoy!
  Doom’d o’er the world through devious paths to roam,
  Each clime my country, and each house my home,
  My soul is sooth’d, my cares have found an end:
  I greet my long-lost, unforgotten friend.”

  BARLOW.


The winter was soon drawing to a close, and my twenty-first birth-day was
past. My father and Col. Follock, who came over to smoke more than usual
that winter with my father, began to talk of the journey Dirck and I were
to take, in quest of the Patent. Maps were procured, calculations were
made, and different modes of proceeding were proposed, by the various
members of the family. I will acknowledge that the sight of the large,
coarse, parchment map of the Mooseridge Patent, as the new acquisition was
called, from the circumstance of the surveyors having shot a moose on a
particular ridge of land in its centre, excited certain feelings of avarice
within my mind. There were streams meandering among hills and valleys;
little lakes, or ponds, as they were erroneously called in the language of
the country, dotted the surface; and there were all the artistical proofs
of a valuable estate that a good map-maker could devise, to render the
whole pleasing and promising. [17]

If it were a good thing to be the heir of Satanstoe, it was far better to
be the tenant in common, with my friend Dirck, of all these ample plains,
rich bottoms, flowing streams and picturesque lakes. In a word, for the
first time, in the history of the colonies, the Littlepages had become
the owners of what might be termed an estate. According to our New York
parlance, six or eight hundred acres are not an estate; nor two or three
thousand, scarcely, but ten, or twenty, and much more, forty thousand acres
of land might be dignified with the name of an estate!

The first knotty point discussed, was to settle the manner in which Dirck
and myself should reach Mooseridge. Two modes of going as far as Albany
offered, and on one of these it was our first concern to decide. We might
wait until the river opened, and go as far as Albany in a sloop, of which
one or two left town each week when business was active, as it was certain
to be in the spring of the year, It was thought, however, that the army
would require mos’ of the means of transportation of this nature that
offered; and it might put us to both inconvenience and delay, to wait on
the tardy movements of quarter-masters and contractors. My grandfather
shook his head when the thing was named, and advised us to remain as
independent as possible.

“Have as little as possible to do with such people, Corny,” put in my
grandfather, now a grey-headed, venerable-looking old gentleman, who did
not wear his wig half the time, but was content to appear in a pointed
night-cap and gown at all hours, until just before dinner was announced,
when he invariably came forth dressed as a gentleman--“Have as little as
possible to do with these gentry, Corny. Money, and not honour, is their
game; and you will be treated like a barrel of beef, or a bag of potatoes,
if you fall into their hands. If you move with the army at all, keep among
the real soldiers, my boy, and, above all things, avoid the contractors.”

It was consequently determined that there was too much uncertainty and
delay in waiting for a passage to Albany by water; for it was known that
the voyage itself often lasted ten days, or a fortnight, and it would be so
late before we could sail, as to render this delay very inconvenient. The
other mode of journeying, was to go before the snow had melted from the
roads, by the aid of which, it was quite possible to make the distance
between Satanstoe and Albany in three days.

Certain considerations of economy next offered, and we settled down on the
following plan; which, as it strikes me, is, even now, worthy of being
mentioned on account of its prudence and judgment. It was well known that
there would be a great demand for horses for the army, as well as for
stores, provisions, &c., of various sorts. Now, we had on the Neck several
stout horses, that were falling into years, though still serviceable and
good for a campaign. Col. Follock had others of the same description, and
when the cavalry of the two farms were all assembled at Satanstoe, there
were found to be no fewer than fourteen of the venerable animals. These
made just three four-horse teams, besides leaving a pair for a lighter
load. Old, stout lumber sleighs were bought, or found, and repaired; and
Jaap, having two other blacks with him, was sent off at the head of what my
father called a brigade of lumber sleighs, all of which were loaded with
the spare pork and flour of the two families. The war had rendered these
articles quite high; but the hogs that were slaughtered at Christmas had
not yet been sold; and it was decided that Dirck and myself could not
commence our career as men who had to buy and sell from the respective
farms, in any manner more likely to be useful to us and to our parents,
than this. As Yaap’s movements were necessarily slow, he was permitted to
precede Dirck and myself by two entire days, giving him time to clear the
Highlands before we left Satanstoe. The negroes carried the provender for
their horses, and no small portion of the food, and all of the cider that
was necessary for their own consumption. No one was ashamed of economising
with his slaves in this manner; the law of slavery itself existing
principally as a money-making institution. I mention these little matters,
that posterity may understand the conventional feeling of the colony, on
such points.

When everything was ready, we had to listen to much good advice from our
friends, previously to launching ourselves into the world. What Col.
Follock said to Dirck, the latter never told me; but the following was
pretty much the form and substance of that which I received from my own
father--the interview taking place in a little room he called his “office;”
 or “study,” as Jason used to term it.

“Here, Corny, are all the bills, or invoices, properly made out,” my father
commenced, handing me a small sheaf of papers; “and you will do well to
consult them before you make any sales. Here are letters of introduction
to several gentlemen in the army, whose acquaintance I could wish you to
cultivate. This, in particular, is to my old captain, Charles Merrewether,
who is now a Lt. Col., and commands a battalion in the Royal Americans. You
will find him of great service to you while you remain with the army, I
make no doubt. Pork, they tell me, if of the quality of that you will have,
ought to bring three half joes, the barrel--and you might ask that
much. Should accident procure you an invitation to the table of the
Commander-In-Chief, as may happen through Col. Merrewether’s friendship I
trust you will do full credit to the loyalty of the Littlepages Ah! there’s
the flour, too; it ought to be worth two half joes the barrel, in times
like these. I have thrown in a letter or two to some of the Schuylers, with
whom I served when of your age. They are first-rate people, remember, and
rank among the highest families of the colonies; full of good old Van
Cortlandt blood, and well crossed with the Rensselaers. Should any of them
ask you about the barrel of tongues, that you will find marked T--”

“Any of whom, sir; the Schuylers, the Cortlandts, or the Rensselaers?”

“Poh! any of the sutlers, or contractors, I mean, of course. You can tell
them that they were cured at home, and that you dare recommend them as fit
for the Commander-In-Chief’s own table.”

Such was the character of my father’s parting instructions. My mother held
a different discourse.

“Corny, my beloved child,” she said; “this will be an all-important journey
to you. Not only are you going far from home, but you are going to a part
of the country where much will be to be seen. I hope you will remember what
was promised for you, by your sponsors in baptism, and also what is owing
to your own good name, and that of your family. The letters you take with
you, will probably introduce you to good company, and that is a great
beginning to a youth. I wish you to cultivate the society of reputable
females, Corny. My sex has great influence on the conduct of yours, at your
time of life, and both your manners and principles will be aided by being
as much with women of character as possible.”

“But, mother, if we are to go any distance with the army, as both my father
and Col. Follock wish, it will not be in our power to be much in ladies’
society.”

“I speak of the time you will pass in and near Albany. I do not expect you
will find accomplished women at Mooseridge, nor, should you really go any
distance with the troops, though I see no occasion for your going with them
a single foot, since you are not a soldier, do I suppose you will find
many reputable women in the camp; but, avail yourself of every favourable
opportunity to go into good company. I have procured a letter for you, from
a lady of one of the great families of this county, to Madam Schuyler, who
is above all other women, they tell me, in and around Albany. Her you
must see, and I charge you, on your duty, to deliver this letter. It is
possible, too, that Herman Mordaunt----”

“What of Herman Mordaunt and Anneke, mother?”

“I spoke only of Herman Mordaunt himself, and did not mention Anneke, boy,”
 answered my mother, smiling “though I doubt not that the daughter is with
the father. They left town for Albany, two months since, my sister Legge
writes me, and intend to pass the summer north. I will not deceive you,
Corny, so you shall hear all that your aunt has written on the subject.
In the first place, she says Herman Mordaunt has gone on public service,
having an especial appointment for some particular duty of importance, that
is private, but which it is known will detain him near Albany, and among
the northern posts, until the close of the season, though he gives out to
the world, he is absent on account of some land he has in Albany county.
His daughter and Mary Wallace are with him, with several servants, and they
have taken up with them a sleigh-load of conveniences; that looks like
remaining. Now, you ought to hear the rest, my child, though I feel no
apprehension when such a youth as yourself is put in competition with any
other man in the colony. Yes, though your own mother, I think I may say
_that!_”

“What is it, mother?--never mind me; I shall do well enough, depend on
it--that is--but what is it, dear mother?”

“Why, your aunt says, it is whispered among a few in town, a very few only,
but whispered, that Herman Mordaunt got the appointment named, merely
that he might have a pretence for taking Anneke near the ----th, in which
regiment it seems there is a baronet’s son, who is a sort of relative of
his, and whom he wishes to marry to Anneke.”

“I am sorry, then, that my aunt Legge listens to any such unworthy gossip!”
 I indignantly cried. “My life on it, Anneke Mordaunt never contemplated so
indelicate a thing!”

“No one supposes Anneke does, or did. But fathers are not daughters, Corny;
no, nor mothers neither, as I can freely say, seeing you are my only child.
Herman Mordaunt may imagine all this in _his_ heart, and Anneke be every
thing that is innocent and delicate.”

“And how can my aunt Legge’s informants know what is in Herman Mordaunt’s
heart?”

“How?--I suppose they judge by what they find in their own, my son; a
common means of coming at a neighbour’s failings, though I believe virtues
are rarely detected by the same process.”

“Ay, and judge of others by themselves. The means may be common, mother,
but they are not infallible.”

“Certainly not, Corny, and that will be a ground of hope to you. Remember,
my child, you can bring me no daughter I shall love half as well as I
feel I can love Anneke Mordaunt. We are related too, her father’s
great-great-grandmother----”

“Never mind the great-great-grandmother, my dear, good, excellent, parent.
After this I shall not attempt to have any secret from you. Unless Anneke
Mordaunt consent to be your daughter, you will never have one.”

“Do not say that, Corny, I beseech you,” cried my mother, a good deal
frightened. “Remember there is no accounting for tastes; the army is a
formidable rival, and, after all, this Mr. Bulstrode, I think you call him,
may prove as acceptable to Anneke as to her father. Do not say so cruel a
thing, I entreat of you, dearest, dearest, Corny.”


“It is not a minute, mother, since you said how little you apprehended for
me, when opposed by any other man in the province!”

“Yes, child, but that is a very different thing from seeing you pass all
your days as a heartless, comfortless old bachelor. There are fifty young
women in this very county, I could wish to see you united to, in preference
to witnessing such a calamity.”

“Well, mother, we will say no more about it. But is it true that Mr. Worden
actually intends to be of our party?”

“Both Mr. Worden and Mr. Newcome, I believe. We shall scarcely know how to
spare the first, but he conceives he has a call to accompany the army, in
which there are so few chaplains; and souls are called to their last dread
account so suddenly in war, that one does not know how to refuse to let him
go.”

My poor, confiding mother! When I look back at the past, and remember the
manner in which the Rev. Mr. Worden discharged the duties of his sacred
office during the campaign that succeeded, I cannot but smile at the manner
in which confidence manifests itself in woman. The sex has a natural
disposition to place their trusts in priests, by a very simple process of
transferring their own dispositions to the bosoms of those they believe set
apart for purely holy objects. Well, we live and learn. I dare say that
many are what they profess to be, but I have lived long enough now to know
_all_ are not. As for Mr. Worden, he had one good point about him, at
any rate. His friends and his enemies saw the worst of him. He was no
hypocrite, but his associates saw the man very much as he was. Still, I am
far from wishing to hold up this imported minister as a model of Christian
graces for my descendants to admire. No one can be more convinced than
myself how much sectarians are prone to substitute their own narrow notions
of right and wrong for the Law of God, confounding acts that are perfectly
innocent in themselves with sin; but, at the same time, I am quite aware
too, that appearances are ever to be consulted in cases of morals, and
that it is a minor virtue to be decent in matters of manners. The Rev. Mr.
Worden, whatever might have been his position as to substantial, certainly
carried the external of liberality to the verge of indiscretion.

A day or two after the conversation I have related, our party left
Satanstoe, with some _éclat_. The team belonged equally to the Follocks and
the Littlepages, one horse being the property of my father, while the
other belonged to Col. Follock. The sleigh, an old one new painted for the
occasion, was the sole property of the latter gentleman, and was consigned,
in mercantile phrase, to Dirck, in order to be disposed of as soon as we
should reach the end of our journey. On its exterior it was painted a
bright sky-blue, while its interior was of vermilion, a colour that was and
is much in vogue for this species of vehicle, inasmuch as it carries with
it the idea of warmth; so, at least, the old people say, though I will
confess I never found my toes any less cold in a sleigh thus painted, than
in one painted blue, which is usually thought a particularly cold colour to
the feet.

We had three buffalo-skins, or, rather, two buffalo (bison) skins and one
bear-skin. The last, being trimmed with scarlet cloth, had a particularly
warm and comfortable appearance. The largest skin was placed on the
hind-seat, and thrown over the back of the sleigh, as a matter of course;
and, though this back was high enough to break off the wind from our heads
and necks, the skin not only covered it, but it hung two or three feet
down behind, as is becoming in a gentleman’s sleigh. The other buffalo was
spread in the bottom of the sleigh, as a carpet for all four, leaving an
apron to come in front upon Dirck’s and my lap, as a protection against the
cold in that quarter. The bear-skin formed a cushion for us in front, and
an apron for Mr. Worden and Jason, who sat behind. Our trunks had gone on
the lumber sleighs, that is, mine and Dirck’s had thus been sent, while our
two companions found room for theirs in the conveyance in which we went
ourselves.

It was March 1st, 1758, the morning we left Satanstoe, on this memorable
excursion. The winter had proved as was common in our latitude, though
there had been more snow along the coast than was usual. Salt air and snow
do not agree well together; but I had driven in a sleigh over the Neck,
most of the month of February, though there were symptoms of a thaw, and
of a southerly wind, the day we left home. My father observed this, and he
advised me to take the road through the centre of the county, and get among
the hills, as soon as possible. Not only was there always more snow in that
part of the country, but it resisted the influence of a thaw much longer
than that which had fallen near the sea or Sound. I got my mother’s last
kiss, my father’s last shake of the hand, my grandfather’s blessing,
stepped into the sleigh, took the reins from Dirck, and drove off.

A party in a sleigh must be composed of a very sombre sort of persons, if
it be not a merry one. In our case, everybody was disposed to good-humour;
though Jason could not pass along the highway, in York Colony, without
giving vent to his provincial, Connecticut hypercriticism. Everything was
Dutch, according to his view of matters; and when it failed of being Dutch,
why, it was York-Colony. The doors were not in the right places; the
windows were too large, when they were not too small; things had a
cabbage-look; the people smelt of tobacco; and hasty-pudding was called
“suppaan.” But these were trifles; and being used to them, nobody paid much
attention to what our puritanical neighbour saw fit to pour out, in the
humility and meekness of his soul. Mr. Worden chuckled, and urged Jason on,
in the hope of irritating Dirck; but Dirck smoked through it all, with an
indifference that proved how much he really despised the critic. I was the
only one who resented this supercilious ignorance; but even I was often
more disposed to laugh than to be angry.

The signs of a thaw increased, as we got a few miles from home; and by the
time we reached White Plains, the “south wind” did not blow “softly,” but
freshly, and the snow in the road became sloppy, and rills of water were
seen running down the hill-sides, in a way that menaced destruction to the
sleighing. On we drove, however, and deeper and deeper we got among the
hills, until we found not only more snow, but fewer symptoms of immediately
losing it. Our first day’s work carried us well into the manor of the Van
Cortlandts, where we passed the night. Next morning the south wind was
still blowing, sweeping over the fields of snow, charged with the salt
air of the ocean; and bare spots began to show themselves on all the
acclivities and hill-sides--an admonition for us to be stirring. We
breakfasted in the Highlands, and in a wild and retired part of them,
though in a part where snow and beaten roads were still to be found. We had
escaped from the thaw, and no longer felt any uneasiness on the subject of
reaching the end of our journey on runners.

The second day brought us fairly through the mountains, out on the plains
of Dutchess, permitting us to sup at Fishkill. This was a thriving
settlement, the people appearing to me to live in abundance, as certainly
they did in peace and quiet. They made little of the war, and asked us many
questions concerning the army, its commanders, its force and its objects.
They were a simple, and judging from appearances, an honest people, who
troubled themselves very little with what was going on in the world.

After quitting Fishkill we found a great change, not only in the country,
but in the weather. The first was level, as a whole, and was much better
settled than I could have believed possible so far in the interior. As for
the weather, it was quite a different climate from that we had left below
the highlands. Not only was the morning cold, cold as it had been a month
earlier with us, but the snow still lay two or three feet in depth on a
level, and the sleighing was as good as heart could wish.

That afternoon we overtook Yaap and the brigade of lumber-sleighs.
Everything had gone right, and after giving the fellow some fresh
instructions, I passed him, proceeding on our route. This parting did not
take place, however, until the following had been uttered between us:

“Well, Yaap,” I inquired, as a sort of close to the previous discourse,
“how do you like the upper counties?”

A loud negro laugh succeeded, and a repetition of the question was
necessary to extort an answer.

“Lor’, Masser Corny, how you t’ink I know, when dere not’in but snow to be
seen!”

“There was plenty of snow in Westchester; yet, I dare say you could give
some opinion of our own county!”

“‘Cause I know him, sah; inside and out, and all over Masser Corny.”

“Well; but you can see the houses, and orchards, and barns, and fences, and
other things of that sort.”

“‘Em pretty much like our’n, Masser Corny; why you bother nigger with sich
question?”

Here another burst of loud, hearty “yah--yah--yahs succeeded; and Yaap had
his laugh out before another word could be got out of him, when I put the
question a third time.

“Well, den, Masser Corny, sin’ you _will_ know, dis is my mind. Dis country
is oncomparable wid our ole county sah. De houses seem mean, de barns look
empty, de fencea be low, and de niggers, ebbery one of ‘em, look cold,
sah--yes, sah--‘ey look berry cold!”

As a “cold negro” was a most pitiable object in negro eyes, I saw by this
summary that Yaap had commenced his travels in much of the same temper of
superciliousness as Jason Newcome. It struck me as odd at the time; but,
since that day, I have ascertained that this feeling is a very general
travelling companion for those who set out on their first journey.

We passed our third night at a small hamlet called Rhinebeck, in a
settlement in which many German names were to be found. Here we were
travelling through the vast estates of the Livingstons, a name well-known
in our colonial history. We breakfasted at Claverack, and passed through
a place called Kinderhook--a village of Low Dutch origin, and of some
antiquity. That night we succeeded in coming near Albany, by making a very
hard day’s drive of it. There was no village at the place where we slept;
but the house was a comfortable, and exceedingly neat Dutch tavern. After
quitting Fishkill we had seen more or less of the river, until we passed
Claverack, where we took our leave of it. It was covered with ice, and
sleighs were moving about it, with great apparent security; but we did not
like to try it. Our whole party preferred a solid highway, in which there
was no danger of the bottom’s dropping out.

As we were now about to enter Albany, the second largest town in the colony
and one of the largest inland towns of the whole country, if such a word
can properly be given to a place that lies on a navigable river, it
was thought necessary to make some few arrangements, in order to do it
decently. Instead of quitting the tavern at daylight, therefore, as had
been our practice previously, we remained until after breakfast, having
recourse to our trunks in the mean time. Dirck, Jason and myself, had
provided ourselves with fur caps for the journey, with ear-laps and other
contrivances for keeping oneself warm. The cap of Dirck, and my own, were
of very fine martens’ skins, and as they were round and high, and each was
surmounted with a handsome tail, that fell down behind, they had both a
smart and military air. I thought I had never seen Dirck look so nobly and
well, as he did in his cap, and I got a few compliments on my own air in
mine, though they were only from my mother, who, I do think, would feel
disposed to praise me, even if I looked wretchedly. The cap of Jason was
better suited to his purse, being lower, and of fox-skins, though it had a
tail also. Mr. Worden had declined travelling in a cap, as unsuited to his
holy office. Accordingly he wore his clerical beaver, which differed a
little from the ordinary cocked-hats, that we all wore as a matter of
course, though not so much so as to be very striking.

All of us had overcoats well trimmed with furs, mine and Dirck’s being
really handsome, with trimmings of marten, while those of our companion
were less showy and expensive. On a consultation, Dirck and I decided that
it was better taste to enter the town in traveller’s dresses, than to enter
it in any other, and we merely smartened up a little, in order to appear as
gentlemen. The case was very different with Jason. According to his idea a
man should wear his best clothes on a journey, and I was surprised to see
him appear at breakfast, in black breeches, striped woollen stockings,
large plated buckles in his shoes, and a coat that I well knew he
religiously reserved for high-days and holidays. This coat was of a light
pea-green colour, and but little adapted to the season; but Jason had not
much notion of the fitness of things, in general, in matters of taste.
Dirck and myself wore our ordinary snuff-coloured coats, under our furs;
but Jason threw aside all the overcoats, when we came near Albany, in order
to enter the place in his best. Fortunately for him, the day was mild,
and there was a bright sun to send its warm rays through the pea-green
covering, to keep his blood from chilling. As for Mr. Worden, he wore a
cloak of black cloth, laying aside all the furs, but a tippet and muff,
both of which he used habitually in cold weather.

In this guise, then, we left the tavern, about nine in the morning,
expecting to reach the banks of the river about ten. Nor were we
disappointed; the roads being excellent, a light fall of snow having
occurred in the night, to freshen the track. It was an interesting moment
to us all, when the spires and roofs of that ancient town, Albany, first
appeared in view! We had journeyed from near the southern boundary of
the colony, to a place that stood at no great distance from its frontier
settlements on the north. The town itself formed a pleasing object, as we
approached it, on the opposite side of the Hudson. There it lay, stretching
along the low land on the margin of the stream, and on its western bank,
sheltered by high hills, up the side of which, the principal street
extended, for the distance of fully a quarter of a mile. Near the head of
this street stood the fort, and we saw a brigade paraded in the open ground
near it, wheeling and marching about. The spires of two churches were
visible, one, the oldest, being seated on the low land, in the heart of the
place, and the other on the height at no great distance from the fort;
or about half-way up the acclivity, which forms the barrier to the inner
country, on that side of the river. Both these buildings were of stone, of
course, shingle tenements being of very rare occurrence in the colony of
New York, though common enough further east. [18]

I will own that not one of our party liked the idea of crossing the Hudson,
in a loaded sleigh, on the ice, and that in the month of March. There were
no streams about us to be crossed in this mode, nor was the cold exactly
sufficient to render such a transit safe, and we felt as the inexperienced
would be apt to feel in circumstances so unpleasant. I must do Jason the
credit to admit that he showed more plain, practical, good sense than any
of us, determining our course in the end by his view of the matter. As for
Mr. Worden, however, nothing could induce him to venture on the ice in a
sleigh, or _near_ a sleigh, though Jason remonstrated in the following
terms--

“Now, look here, Rev. Mr. Worden”--Jason seldom omitted anybody’s
_title_--“you’ve only to turn your eyes on the river to see it is dotted
with sleighs, far and near. There are highways north and south, and if
that be the place, where the crossing is at the town, it is more like a
thoroughfare than a spot that is risky. In my judgment, these people who
live hereabouts ought to know whether there is any danger or not.”

Obvious as was this truth, ‘Rev. Mr. Worden’ made us stop on terra firma,
and permit him to quit the sleigh, that he might cross the river on foot.
Jason ventured a hint or two about faith and its virtues, as he stripped
himself to the pea-green, in order to enter the town in proper guise,
throwing aside everything that concealed his finery. As for Dirck and
myself, we kept our seats manfully, and trotted on the river at the point
where we saw sleighs and foot-passengers going and coming in some numbers.
The Rev. Mr. Worden, however, was not content to take the beaten path,
for he knew there was no more security in being out on the ice, _near_ a
sleigh, than there was in being _in_ it, so he diverged from the road,
which crossed at the ferry, striking diagonally atwhart the river towards
the wharves of the place.

It seemed to me to be a sort of a holiday among the young and idle, one
sleigh passing us after another, filled with young men and maidens, all
sparkling with the excitement of the moment, and gay with youth and
spirits. We passed no less than four of these sleighs on the river, the
jingling of the bells, the quick movement, the laughter and gaiety, and the
animation of the whole scene, far exceeding anything of the sort I had
ever before witnessed. We were nearly across the river, when a sleigh more
handsomely equipped than any we had yet seen, dashed down the bank, and
came whirling past us like a comet. It was full of ladies, with the
exception of one gentleman, who stood erect in front, driving. I recognised
Bulstrode, in furs like all of us, capped and _tailed_, if not plumed,
while among the half-dozen pairs of brilliant eyes that were turned with
their owner’s smiling faces on us, I saw one which never could be forgotten
by me, that belonged to Anneke Mordaunt. I question if we were recognised,
for the passage was like that of a meteor; but I could not avoid turning
to gaze after the gay party. This change of position enabled me to be a
witness of a very amusing consequence of Mr. Worden’s experiment. A sleigh
was coming in our direction, and the party in it seeing one who was known
for a clergyman, _walking_ on the ice, turned aside and approached him on
a gallop, in order to offer the courtesy of a seat to a man of his sacred
profession. Our divine heard the bells, and fearful of having a sleigh so
near him, he commenced a downright flight, pursued by the people in the
sleigh, as fast as their horses could follow. Everybody on the ice pulled
up to gaze in wonder at this strange spectacle, until the whole party
reached the shore, the Rev. Mr. Worden pretty well blown, as the reader may
suppose.

[Footnote 17: Forty years ago, a gentleman in New York purchased a
considerable body of wild land, on the faith of the map. When he came
to examine his new property, it was found to be particularly wanting in
water-courses. The surveyor was sought, and rebuked for his deception, the
map having numerous streams, &c. “Why did you lay down all these streams
here, where none are to be found?” demanded the irritated purchaser,
pointing to the document. “Why?--Why who the d---l ever saw a map without
rivers?” was the answer. EDITOR.]

[Footnote 18: In nothing was the difference of character between the people
of New England, and those of the middle colonies, more apparent than in the
nature of the dwellings. In New York, for instance, men worth thousands
dwelt in humble, low, (usually one story) dwellings of stone, having
window-shutters, frequently within as well as without, and the other
appliances of comfort; whereas the farmer farther east, was seldom
satisfied, though his means were limited, unless he lived in a house as
good as his neighbour’s; and the strife dotted the whole of their colonies
with wooden buildings, of great pretension for the age, that rarely
had even exterior shutters, and which frequently stood for generations
unfinished. The difference was not of Dutch origin, for it was just as
apparent in New Jersey or Pennsylvania as in New York, and I think it
may be attributed to a very obvious consequence of a general equality of
condition, a state of society in which no one is content to wear even the
semblance of poverty, but those who cannot by any means prevent it; but,
in which all strive to get as high as possible, in appearances at
least.--EDITOR.]



CHAPTER XI.

  Bid physicians talk our veins to temper,
  And with an argument new-set a pulse,
  Then think, my lord, of reasoning unto love.

  YOUNG.


As the road from the ferry into the town ran along the bank of the river,
we reached the point where the Rev. Mr. Worden had landed precisely at
the same instant with his pursuers, who had been obliged to make a little
circuit, in order to get off the ice. I do not know which party regarded
the other in the greatest astonishment,--the hunted, or the hunters. The
sleigh had in it two fine-looking young fellows, that spoke English with a
slight Dutch accent, and three young women, whose bright coal-black eyes
betokened surprise a little mitigated by a desire to laugh. Seeing that we
were all strangers, I suppose, and that we claimed the runaway as belonging
to our party, one of the young men raised his cap very respectfully, and
opened the discourse by asking in a very civil tone--

“What ails the reverent gentleman, to make him run so fast?”

“Run!” exclaimed Mr. Worden, whose lungs had been playing like a
blacksmith’s bellows--“Run! and who would not run to save himself from
being drowned?”

“Drowned!” repeated the young Dutchman, looking round at the river, as if
to ascertain whether the ice were actually moving--“why does the Dominie
suppose there was any danger of _that?_”

As Mr. Worden’s bellows were still hard at work, I explained to the young
Albanians that we were strangers just arrived from the vicinity of New
York; that we were unaccustomed to frozen rivers, and had never crossed
one on the ice before; that our reverend companion had chosen to walk at a
distance from the road, in order to be in less danger should any team break
in, and that he had naturally run to avoid their sleigh when he saw it
approaching. The Albanians heard this account in respectful silence, though
I could see the two young men casting sly glances at each other, and that
even the ladies had some little difficulty in altogether suppressing
their smiles. When it was through, the oldest of the Dutchmen--a fine,
dare-devil, roystering-looking fellow of four or five-and-twenty, whose
dress and mien, however, denoted a person of the upper class,--begged a
thousand pardons for his mistake, quitting his sleigh and insisting on
having the honours of shaking hands with the whole of us. His name was
‘Ten Eyck,’ he said; ‘Guert Ten Eyck,’ and he asked permission, as we were
strangers, of doing the honour of Albany to us. Everybody in the place knew
him, which, as we afterwards ascertained, was true enough, for he had
just as much reputation for fun and frolic as at all comported with
respectability; keeping along, as it were, on the very verge of the pale
of reputable people, without being thrown entirely out of it. The young
females with him were a shade below his own natural position in society,
tolerating his frolics on account of this circumstance, aided as it was by
a singularly manly face and person, a hearty and ready laugh, a full purse,
and possibly by the secret hope of being the happy individual who was
designed by Providence to convert ‘a reformed rake into the best of
husbands.’ In a word, he was always welcome with them, when those a little
above them felt more disposed to frown.

Of course, all this was unknown to us at the time, and we accepted
Guert Ten Eyck’s proffers of civility in the spirit in which they
were offered. He inquired at what tavern we intended to stop, and
promised an early call. Then, shaking us all round by the hand again
with great cordiality, he took his leave. His companion doffed a very
dashing, high, wolf-skin cap to us, and the black-eyed trio, on the
hind-seat, smiled graciously, and away they drove at a furious rate,
startling all the echoes of Albany with their bells. By this time Mr.
Worden was seated, and we followed more moderately, our team having
none of the Dutch courage of a pair of horses fresh from the stable.
Such were the circumstances under which we made our entrance into the
ancient city of Albany. We were all in hopes, the little affair of
the chase would soon be forgotten, for no one likes to be associated
with a ridiculous circumstance, but we counted without our host.
Guert Ten Eyck was not of a temperament to let such an affair sleep,
but, as I afterwards ascertained, he told it with the laughing
embellishments that belonged to his reckless character, until, in
turn, the Rev. Mr. Worden came to be known, throughout all that
region, by the nick-name of the “Loping Dominie.”

The reader may be assured our eyes were about us, as we drove through the
streets of the second town in the colony. We were not unaccustomed to
houses constructed in the Dutch style, in New York, though the English mode
of building had been most in vogue there, for half a century. It was not so
with Albany, which remained, essentially, a Dutch town, in 1758. We heard
little beside Dutch, as we passed along. The women scolded their children
in Low Dutch, a use, by the way, for which the language appears singularly
well adapted; the negroes sang Dutch songs; the men called to each other
in Dutch, and Dutch rang in our ears, as we walked our horses through the
streets, towards the tavern. There were many soldiers about, and other
proofs of the presence of a considerable military force were not wanting;
still, the place struck me as very provincial and peculiar, after New York.
Nearly all the houses were built with their gables to the streets, and each
had heavy wooden Dutch stoops, with seats, at its door. A few had small
court-yards in front, and, here and there, was a building of somewhat more
pretension than usual. I do not think, however, there were fifty houses in
the place, that were built with their gables off the line of the streets.
[19]

We were no sooner housed, than Dirck and I sallied forth to look at the
place. Here we were, in one of the oldest towns of America; a place that
could boast of much more than a century’s existence, and it was natural to
feel curious to look about one. Our inn was in the principal street,--that
which led up the hill towards the fort. This street was a wide avenue, that
quite put Broadway out of countenance, so far as mere width was concerned.
The streets that led out of it, however, were principally little better
than lanes, as if the space that had been given to two or three of the main
streets had been taken off of the remainder. The High Street, as we English
would call it, was occupied by sleds filled with wood for sale; sleds
loaded with geese, turkeys, tame and wild, and poultry of all sorts;
sleds with venison, still in the skin, piled up in heaps, &c.,--all these
eatables being collected, in unusual quantities as we were told, to meet
the extraordinary demand created by the different military messes. Deer
were no strangers to us; for Long Island was full of all sorts of game,
as were the upper counties of New Jersey. Even Westchester, old and well
settled as it had become, was not yet altogether clear of deer, and nothing
was easier than to knock over a buck in the highlands. Nevertheless, I had
never seen venison, wild turkeys and sturgeons, in such quantities as they
were to be seen that day in the principal street of Albany.

The crowd collected in this street, the sleighs that were whirling past,
filled with young men and maidens, the incessant jingling of bells, the
spluttering and jawing in Low Dutch, the hearty English oaths of serjeants
and sutlers’-men and cooks of messes, the loud laughs of the blacks, and
the beauty of the cold clear day, altogether produced some such effect on
me, as I had experienced when I went to the theatre. Not the least striking
picture of the scene, was Jason, in the middle of the street, gaping
about him, in the cocked-hat, the pea-green coat, and the striped woollen
stockings.

Dirck and myself naturally examined the churches. These were two, as has
been said already,--one for the Dutch, and the other for the English. The
first was the oldest. It stood at the point where the two principal streets
crossed each other, and in the centre of the street, leaving sufficient
passages all round it. The building was square, with a high pointed roof,
having a belfry and weathercock on its apex; windows, with diamond panes
and painted glass, and a porch that was well suited both to the climate and
to appearances. [20]

We were examining this structure, when Guert Ten Eyck accosted us, in his
frank, off-hand way--

“Your servant, Mr. Littlepage; your servant, Mr. Follock,” he cried, again
shaking each cordially by the hand. “I was on the way to the tavern to
look you up, when I accidentally saw you here. A few gentlemen of my
acquaintance, who are in the habit of supping together in the winter time,
meet for the last jollification of the season to-night, and they have all
express’t a wish to have the pleasure of your company. I hope you will
allow me to say you will come? We meet at nine, sup at ten, and break up at
twelve, quite regularly, in a very sedate and prudent manner.”

There was something so frank and cordial, so simple and straight-forward in
this invitation, that we did not know how to decline it. We both knew that
the name of Ten Eyck was respectable in the colony; our new acquaintance
was well dressed, he seemed to be in good company when we first met him,
his sleigh and horses had been actually of a more dashing stamp than usual,
and his own attire had all the peculiarities of a gentleman’s, with the
addition of something even more decided and knowing than was common. It is
true, the style of these peculiarities was not exactly such as I had seen
in the air, manners and personal decorations of those of Billings and
Harris; but they were none the less striking, and none the less attractive;
the two Englishmen being “macaronis,” from London, and Ten Eyck being a
“buck” of Albany.

“I thank you, very heartily, Mr. Ten Eyck,” I answered, “both for myself
and for my friend”--

“And will let me come for you at half-past eight, to show you the way?”

“Why, yes, sir; I was about to say as much, if it be not giving you too
much trouble.”

“Do not speak of tr-r-ouple”--this last word will give a very good
notion of Guert’s accent, which I cannot stop to imitate at all times in
writing--“and do not say your _fre’nt_, but your _fre’ntz_.”

“As to the two that are not here, I cannot positively answer; yonder,
however, is one that can speak for himself.”

“I see him, Mr. Littlepage, and will answer for _him_, on my own account.
Depent on it, _he_ will come. But the Dominie--he has a hearty look, and
can help eat a turkey and swallow a glass of goot Madeira--I think I can
rely on. A man cannot take all that active exercise without food.”

“Mr. Worden is a very companionable man, and is excellent company at a
supper-table. I will communicate your invitation, and hope to be able to
prevail on him to be of the party.”

“T’at is enough, sir,” returned Ten Eyck, or Guert, as I shall henceforth
call him, in general; “vere dere ist a vill, dere ist a vay.” Guert
frequently broke out in such specimens of broken English, while at other
times he would speak almost as well as any of us. “So Got pless you my dear
Mr. Littlepage, and make us lasting friends. I like your countenance, and
my eye never deceives me in these matters.”

Here, Guert shook us both by the hand again, most cordially, and left us.
Dirck and I next strolled up the hill, going as high as the English church,
which stood also in the centre of the principal street, an imposing and
massive edifice in stone. With the exception of Mother Trinity, in New
York, this was the largest, and altogether the most important edifice
devoted to the worship of my own church I had ever seen. In Westchester,
there were several of Queen Anne’s churches, but none on a scale to compare
with this. Our small edifices were usually without galleries, steeples,
towers, or bells; while St. Peter’s, Albany, if not actually St. Peter’s,
Rome, was a building of which a man might be proud. A little to our
surprise, we found the Rev. Mr. Worden and Mr. Jason Newcome had met at the
door of this edifice, having sent a boy to the sexton in quest of the key.
In a minute or two, the urchin returned, bringing not only the key of the
church, but the excuses of the sexton for not coming himself. The door was
opened, and we went in.

I have always admired the decorous and spiritual manner in which the Rev.
Mr. Worden entered a building that had been consecrated to the services of
the Deity. I know not how to describe it; but it proved how completely he
had been drilled in the decencies of his profession. Off came his hat, of
course; and his manner, however facetious and easy it may have been the
moment before, changed on the instant to gravity and decorum. Not so with
Jason. He entered St. Peter’s, Albany, with exactly the same indifferent
and cynical air with which he had seemed to regard everything but money,
since he entered “York Colony.” Usually, he wore his cocked-hat on the back
of his head, thereby lending himself a lolloping, negligent, and, at the
same time, defying air; but I observed that, as we all uncovered, he
brought his own beaver up over his eye-brows, in a species of military
bravado. To uncover to a church, in his view of the matter, was a sort of
idolatry; there might be images about, for anything he knew; “and a man
could never be enough on his guard ag’in being carried away by such evil
deceptions,” as he had once before answered to a remonstrance of mine, for
wearing his hat in our own parish church.

I found the interior of St. Peter’s quite as imposing as its exterior.
Three of the pews were canopied, having coats of arms on their canopies.
These, the boy told us, belonged to the Van Rensselaer and Schuyler
families. All these were covered with black cloth, in mourning for some
death in those ancient families, which were closely allied. I was very much
struck with the dignified air that these patrician seats gave the house of
God. [21]

There were also several hatchments suspended against the walls; some being
placed there in commemoration of officers of rank, from home, who had died
in the king’s service in the colony; and others to mark the deaths of some
of the more distinguished of our own people.

Mr. Worden expressed himself well pleased with appearances of things, in
and about this building; though Jason regarded all with ill-concealed
disgust.

“What is the meaning of them pews with tops to them, Corny?” the pedagogue
whispered me, afraid to encounter the parson’s remarks, by his own
criticism.

“They are the pews of families of distinction in this place, Mr. Newcome;
and the canopies, or tops, as you call them, are honourable signs of their
owners’ conditions.”

“Do you think their owners will sit under such coverings in paradise,
Corny?” continued Jason, with a sneer.

“It is impossible for me to say, sir; it is probable, however, the just
will not require any such mark to distinguish them from the unjust.”

“Let me see,” said Jason, looking round and affecting to count; “there are
just three--Bishop, Priest, and Deacon, I suppose. Waal, there’s a seat
for each, and they can be comfortable _here_, whatever may turn up
_herea’ter_.”

I turned away, unwilling to dispute the point, for I knew it was as
hopeless to expect that a Danbury man would feel like a New Yorker, on such
a subject, as it was to expect that a New Yorker could be made to adopt
Danbury sentiments. As for the _argument_, however, I have heard others of
pretty much the same calibre often urged against the three orders of the
ministry.

On quitting St. Peter’s, I communicated the invitation of Guert Ten Eyck to
Mr. Worden, and urged him to be of the party. I could see that the notion
of a pleasant supper was anything but unpleasant to the missionary. Still
he had his scruples, inasmuch as he had not yet seen his reverend brother
who had the charge of St. Peter’s, did not know exactly the temper of his
mind, and was particularly desirous of officiating for him, in the presence
of the principal personages of the place, on the approaching Sunday. He
had written a note to the chaplain; for the person who had the cure of the
Episcopalians held that rank in the army, St. Peter’s being as much of an
official chapel as a parish church; and he must have an interview with that
individual before he could decide. Fortunately, as we descended the street,
towards our inn, we saw the very person in question. The marks of the
common office that these two divines bore about their persons in their
dress, sufficed to make them known to each other at a glance. In five
minutes, they had shaken hands, heard each man’s account of himself, had
given and accepted the invitation to preach, and were otherwise on free and
easy terms. Mr. Worden was to dine in the fort, with the chaplain. We then
walked forward towards the tavern.

“By the way, Mr. ----,” said Mr. Worden, in a parenthesis of the discourse,
“the family of Ten Eyck is quite respectable, here in Albany.”

“Very much so, sir--a family that is held in much esteem. I shall count on
your assisting me, morning and evening, my dear Mr. Worden.”

It is surprising how the clergy do depend on each other for ‘assistance!’

“Make your arrangements accordingly, my good brother--I am quite fresh, and
have brought a good stock of sermons; not knowing how much might remain
to be done in the army. Corny,” in a half-whisper, “you can let our new
friends know that I will sup with them; and, harkee--just drop a hint to
them, that I am none of your puritans.”

Here, then, we found everything in a very fair way to bring us all out in
society, within the first two hours of our arrival. Mr. Worden was engaged
to preach the next day but one; and he was engaged to supper that same day.
All looked promising, and I hurried on in order to ascertain if Guert Ten
Eyck had made his promised call. As before, he was met in the street, and
the acceptance of the Dominie was duly communicated. Guert seemed highly
pleased at this success; and he left me, promising to be punctual to his
hour. In the mean time, we had to dine.

The dinner proved a good one; and, as Mr. Worden remarked, it was quite
lucky that the principal dish was venison, a meat that was so easy of
digestion, as to promise no great obstacle to the accommodation of the
supper. He should dine on venison, therefore; and he advised all three of
us to follow his example. But, certain Dutch dishes attracted the eye and
taste of Dirck; while Jason had alighted on a hash, of some sort or other,
that he did not quit until he had effectually disposed of it. As for
myself, I confess, the venison was so much to my taste, that I stuck by the
parson. We had our wine, too, and left the table early, in order not to
interfere with the business of the night.

After dinner, it was proposed to walk out in a body, to make a further
examination of the place, and to see if we could not fall in with an army
contractor, who might be disposed to relieve Dirck and myself of some
portion of our charge. Luck again threw us in the way of Guert Ten
Eyck, who seemed to live in the public street. In the course of a brief
conversation that took place, as a passing compliment, I happened to
mention a wish to ascertain, where one might dispose of a few horses, and
of two or three sleigh-loads of flour, pork, &c., &c.

“My dear Mr. Littlepage,” said Guert, with a frank smile and a friendly
shake of the hand, “I am delighted that you have mentioned these matters
to me; I can take you to the very man you wish to see; a heavy
army-contractor, who is buying up everything of the sort he can lay his
hands on.”

Of course, I was as much delighted as Guert could very well be, and left
my party to proceed at once to the contractor’s office, with the greatest
alacrity; Dirck accompanying me. As we went along, our new friend advised
us not to be very backward in the way of price, since the king paid, in the
long run.

“Rich dealers ought to pay well,” he added; “and, I can tell you, as a
useful thing to know, that orders came on, no later than yesterday, to buy
up everything of the soil that offered. Put sleigh and harness, at once,
all in a heap, on the king’s servants.”

I thought the idea not a bad one, and promised to profit by it. Guert was
as good as his word, and I was properly introduced to the contractor. My
business was no sooner mentioned, than I was desired to send a messenger
round to the stables, in order that my conveyance, team, &c., might make
their appearance. As for the articles that were still on the road, I had
very little trouble. The contractor knew my father, and he no sooner heard
that Mr. Littlepage, of Satanstoe, was the owner of the provisions, than
he purchased the whole on the guaranty of his name. For the pork I was to
receive two half-joes the barrel, and for the flour one. This was a good
sale. The horses would be taken, if serviceable, as the contractor did not
question, as would the lumber-sleighs, though the prices could not be set
until the different animals and objects were seen and examined.

It is amazing what war will do for commerce, as well as what it does
against it! The demand for everything that the judgment of my father had
anticipated, was so great, that the contractor told me very frankly the
sleighs would not be unloaded in Albany at all, but would be sent on north,
on the line of the expected route of the army, so as to anticipate the
disappearance of the snow and the breaking up of the roads.

“You shall be paid liberally for your teams, harness and sleighs,” he
continued, “though no sum can be named until I see them. These are not
times when operations are to be retarded on account of a few joes, more
or less, for the King’s service must go on. I very well know that Major
Littlepage and Col. Follock both understand what they are about, and have
sent us the right sort of things. The horses are very likely a little old,
but are good for one campaign; better than if younger, perhaps, and were
they colts we could get no more than that out of them. These movements in
the woods destroy man and beast, and cost mints of money. Ah! There comes
your team.”

Sure enough, the sleigh drove round from the tavern, and we all went out
to look at the horses, &c. Guert now became an important person. On the
subject of horses he was accounted an oracle, and he talked, moved, and
acted like one in all respects. The first thing he did was to step up to
the animal’s head, and to look into the mouth of each in succession. The
knowing way in which this was done, the coolness of the interference,
and the fine, manly form of the intruder, would have given him at once a
certain importance and a connection with what was going on, had not his
character for judgment in horse-flesh been well established, far and near,
in that quarter of the country.

“Upon my word, wonderfully good mouths!” exclaimed Guert, when through.
“You must have your grain ground, Mr. Littlepage, or the teeth never could
have stood it so well!”

“What age do you call the animals, Guert?” demanded the contractor.

“That is not so easily told, sir. I admit that they are aged horses; but
they may be eight, or nine, or even ten, as for what can be told by their
teeth. By the looks of their limbs, I should think they might be nine
coming grass.”

“The near-horse is eleven,” I said, “and the off-horse is supposed to
be----”

“Poh! poh! Littlepage,” interrupted Guert, making signs to me to be
quiet--“you may _think_ the off-horse ten, but I should place him at about
nine. His teeth are excellent, and there is not even a wind-gall on his
legs. There is a cross of the Flemish in that beast.”

“Well, and what do you say the pair is worth, Master Guert,” demanded
the contractor, who seemed to have a certain confidence in his friend’s
judgment, notwithstanding the recklessness and freedom of his manner.
“Twelve half-joes for them both?”

“That will never do, Mr. Contractor,” answered Guert shaking his head. “In
times like these, such stout animals, and beasts too in such heart and
condition, ought to bring fifteen.”

“Fifteen let it be then, if Mr. Littlepage assents. Now for the sleigh, and
harness, and skins. I suppose Mr. Littlepage will part with the skins too,
as he can have no use for them without the sleigh?”

“Have _you_, Mr. Contractor?” asked Guert, a little abruptly. “That
bear-skin fills my eye beautifully, and if Mr. Littlepage will take a
guinea for it, here is his money.”

As this was a fair price, it was accepted, though I pressed the skin on
Guert as a gift, in remembrance of our accidental acquaintance. This
offer, however, he respectfully, but firmly resisted. And here I will take
occasion to say, lest the reader be misled by what is met with in works of
fiction, and other light and vain productions, that in all my dealings,
and future connection with Guert, I found him strictly honourable in
money matters. It is true, I would not have purchased a horse on his
recommendation, if he owned the beast; but we all know how the best men
yield in their morals when they come to deal in horses. I should scarcely
have expected Mr. Worden to be orthodox, in making such bargains. But, on
all other subjects connected with money, Guert Ten Eyck was one of the
honestest fellows I ever dealt with.

The contractor took the sleigh, harness, and skins, at seven more
half-joes; making twenty-three for the whole outfit. This was certainly
receiving two half-joes more than my father had expected; and I owed the
gain of sixteen dollars to Guert’s friendly and bold interference. As soon
as the prices were settled, the money was paid me in good Spanish gold;
and I handed over to Dirck the portion that properly fell to his father’s
share. As it was understood that the remaining horses, sleighs, harness,
provisions, &c., were to be taken at an appraisal, the instant they
arrived, this hour’s work relieved my friend and myself from any further
trouble on the subject of the property entrusted to our care. And a relief
it was to be so well rid of a responsibility that was as new as it was
heavy to each of us.

The reader will get some idea of the pressure of affairs, and how necessary
it was felt to be on the alert in the month of March--a time of the year
when twenty-four hours might bring about a change in the season--by the
circumstance that the contractor sent his new purchase to be loaded up from
the door of his office, with orders to proceed on north, with supplies for
a depot that he was making as near to Lake George as was deemed prudent;
the French being in force at Ticonderoga and Crown Point, two posts at the
head of Champlain; a distance considerably less than a hundred miles from
Albany. Whatever was forwarded as far as Lake George while the snow lasted,
could then be sent on with the army, in the contemplated operations of the
approaching summer, by means of the two lakes, and their northern outlets.

“Well, Mr. Littlepage,” cried Guert, heartily; “_that_ affair is well
disposed of. You got goot prices, and I hope the King has got goot horses.
They are a little venerable, perhaps; but what of that? The army would
knock up the best and youngest beast in the colony, in one campaign in the
woots; and it can do no more with the oldest and worst. Shall we walk rount
into the main street, gentlemen? This is about the hour when the young
ladies are apt to start for their afternoon sleighing.”

“I suppose the ladies of Albany are remarkable for their beauty, Mr. Ten
Eyck,” I rejoined, wishing to say something agreeable to a man who seemed
so desirous of serving me. “The specimens I saw in crossing the river this
morning, would induce a stranger to think so.”

“Sir,” replied Guert, walking towards the great avenue of the town, “we are
content with our ladies, in general, for they are charming, warm-hearted
and amiable; but there has been an arrival among us this winter, from your
part of the colony, that has almost melted the ice on the Hudson!”

My heart beat quicker, for I could only think of one being of her sex, as
likely to produce such a sensation. Still, I could not abstain from making
a direct inquiry on the subject.

“From _our_ part of the colony, Mr. Ten Eyck!--You mean from New York,
probably?”

“Yes, sir, as a matter of course. There are several beautiful English women
who have come up with the army; but no colonel, major, or captain, has
brought such paragons with him, as Herman Mordaunt, a gentleman who may be
known to you by name?”

“Personally too, sir. Herman Mordaunt is even a kinsman of Dirck Follock,
my friend here.”

“Then is Mr. Follock to be envied, since he can call cousin with so
charming a young lady as Anneke Mordaunt.”

“True sir, most true!” I interrupted, eagerly; “Anne Mordaunt passes for
the sweetest girl in York!”

“I do not know that I should go quite as far as that, Mr. Littlepage,”
 returned Guert, moderating his warmth, in a manner that a little surprised
me, though his handsome face still glowed with honest, natural admiration;
“since there is a Miss Mary Wallace in her company, that is quite as much
thought of, here in Albany, as her friend, Miss Mordaunt.”

Mary Wallace! The idea of comparing the silent, thoughtful, excellent
though she were, Mary Wallace, with Anneke could never have crossed my
mind. Still, Mary Wallace certainly _was_ a very charming girl. She was
even handsome; had a placid, saint-like character of countenance that had
often struck me, singular beauty and development of form, and, in any
other company than that of Anneke’s, might well have attracted the first
attention of the most fastidious beholder.

And Guert Ten Eyck admired,--perhaps loved, Mary Wallace! Here, then, was
fresh evidence how much we are all inclined to love our opposites; to form
close friendships with those who resemble us least, principles excepted,
for virtue can never cling to vice, and how much more interest novelty
possesses in the human breast, than the repetition of things to which we
are accustomed. No two beings could be less alike than Mary Wallace and
Guert Ten Eyck; yet the last admired the first.

“Miss Wallace is a very charming young lady, Mr. Ten Eyck,” I rejoined, as
soon as wonder would allow me to answer, “and I am not surprised you speak
of her in terms of so much admiration.”

Guert stopped short in the street, looked me full in the face with an
expression of truth that could not well be feigned, squeezed my hand
fervently, and rejoined with a strange frankness, that I could not have
imitated, to be master of all I saw--

“Admiration, Mr. Littlepage, is not a word strong enough for what I feel
for Mary! I would marry her in the next hour, and love and cherish her for
all the rest of my life. I worship _her_, and love the earth she treads
on.”

“And you have told her this, Mr. Ten Eyck?”

“Fifty times, sir. She has now been two months in Albany, and my love was
secured within the first week. I offered myself too soon, I fear; for Mary
is a prutent, sensible young woman, and girls of that character are apt
to distrust the youth who is too quick in his advances. They like to
be served, sir, for seven years and seven years, as Joseph served for
Potiphar.”

“You mean, most likely, Mr. Ten Eyck, as Jacob served for Rachel.”

“Well, sir, it may be as you say, dough I t’ink that in our Dutch Bibles,
it stands as Joseph served for Potiphar--but you know what I mean, Mr.
Littlepage. If you wish to see the ladies, and will come with me, I will go
to a place where Herman Mordaunt’s sleigh invariably passes at this hour,
for the ladies almost live in the air. I never miss the occasion of seeing
them.”

I had now a clue to Guert’s being so much in the street. He was as good as
his word, however, for he took a stand near the Dutch church, where I soon
had the happiness of seeing Anneke and her friend driving past, on their
evening’s excursion. How blooming and lovely the former looked! Mary
Wallace’s eye turned, I fancied understandingly, to the corner where Guert
had placed himself, and her colour deepened as she returned his bow. But,
the start of surprise, the smile, and the lightening eye of Anneke, as she
unexpectedly saw me, filled my soul with delight, almost too great to be
borne.

[Footnote 19: The population of Albany could not have reached 4000 in
1758. Its Dutch character remained down to the close of this century,
with gradual changes. The writer can remember when quite as much Dutch
as English was heard in the streets of Albany, though it has now nearly
disappeared. The present population must be near 40,000.

Mr. Littlepage’s description was doubtless correct, at the time he wrote;
but Albany would now be considered a first-class country town, in Europe.
It has much better claims to compare with the towns of the old world, in
this character, than New York has to compare with their capitals.--EDITOR.]

[Footnote 20: There were two churches, of this character, built on this
spot. The second, much larger than the first, but of the same form, was
built _round_ the other, in which service was held to the last, when it
was literally thrown out of the windows of its successor. The last edifice
disappeared about forty years since.--EDITOR.]

[Footnote 21: I cannot recollect one of these canopied pews that is now
standing, in this part of the Union. The last, of my knowledge, were in St.
Mark’s, New York, and, I believe, belonged to the Stuyvesants, the patron
family of that church. They were taken down when that building was
repaired, a few years since. This is one of the most innocent of all our
innovations of this character. Distinctions in the House of God are opposed
to the very spirit of the Christian religion; and it were far more fitting
that pews should be altogether done away with, the true mode of assembling
under the sacred roof, than that men should be classed even at the foot of
the altar.

It may be questioned if a hatchment is now hung up, either on the dwelling,
or in a church, in any part of America. They were to be seen, however, in
the early part of the present century. Whenever any such traces of ancient
usages are met with among us, by the traveller from the old world, he is
apt to mistake them for the shadows “that coming events cast before,”
 instead of those of the past.--EDITOR.]



CHAPTER XII.

  “Then the wine it gets into their heads,
  And turns the wit out of its station;
  Nonsense gets in, in its stead,
  And their puns are now all botheration.”

  _The Punning Society._


Guert Ten Eyck looked at me expressively, as the sleigh whirled round an
angle of the building and disappeared. He then proposed that we should
proceed. On ascending the main street, I was not a little surprised at
discovering the sort of amusement that was going on, and in which it seemed
to me all the youths of the place were engaged. By youths, I do not mean
lads of twelve and fourteen, but young men of eighteen and twenty, the
amusement being that of sliding down hill, or “coasting,” as I am told
it is called in Boston. The acclivity was quite sharp, and of sufficient
length to give an impetus to the sled, that was set in motion at a short
distance above the English church; an impetus that would carry it past the
Dutch church--a distance that was somewhat more than a quarter of a mile.
The hand-sleds employed, were of a size and construction suited to the
dimensions of those that used them; and, as a matter of course, there was
no New Yorker that had not learned how to govern the motion of one of these
vehicles, even when gliding down the steepest descent, with the nicest
delicacy and greatest ease. As children, or boys as late in life as
fourteen even, every male in the colony, and not a few of the females, had
acquired this art; but this was the first place in which I had ever known
adults to engage in the sport. The accidental circumstance of a hill’s
belonging to the principal street, joined to the severity of the winters,
had rendered an amusement suited to grown people, that, elsewhere, was
monopolized by the children.

By the time we had ascended as high as the English church, a party of young
officers came down from the fort, gay with the glass and the song of the
regimental mess. No sooner did they reach the starting-point, than three
or four of the more youthful got possession of as many sleds, and off
they went, like the shot starting from its gun. Nobody seemed to think it
strange; but, on the contrary, I observed that the elderly people looked
on with a complacent gravity, that seemed to say how vividly the sight
recalled the days of their own youth. I cannot say, however, that the
strangers succeeded very well in managing their sleds, generally meeting
with some stoppage before they reached the bottom of the hill.

“Will you take a slide, Mr. Littlepage?” Guert demanded, with a courteous
gravity, that showed how serious a business he fancied the sport. “Here
is a large and strong sled that will carry double, and you might trust
yourself with me, though a regiment of horse were paraded down below.”

“But are we not a little too _old_ for such an amusement, in the streets of
a large town, Mr. Ten Eyck?” I answered, doubtingly, looking round me in
an uncertain manner, as one who did not like to adventure, even while he
hesitated to refuse. “Those king’s officers are privileged people, you
know.”

“No man has a higher privilege to use the streets of Albany, than Mr.
Cornelius Littlepage, sir, I can assure you. The young ladies often honour
me with their company, and no accident has ever happened.”

“Do the young ladies venture to ride down _this_ street, Mr. Ten Eyck?”

“Not often, sir, I grant you; though that _has_ been done, too, of a
moon-light night. There is a more retired spot, at no great distance from
this street, however, to which the ladies are rather more partial. Look,
Mr. Littlepage!--There goes the Hon. Capt. Monson, of the ----th, and he
will be down the hill and up again before we are off, unless you hurry.
Take your seat, lady-fashion, and leave me to manage the sled.”

What could I do! Guert had been so very civil, was so much in earnest,
everybody seemed to expect it of me, and the Hon. Capt. Monson was already
a hundred yards on his way to the bottom, shooting ahead with the velocity
of an arrow. I took my seat, accordingly, placing my feet together on the
front round, “_lady-fashion_,” as directed. In an instant, Guert’s manly
frame was behind me, with a leg extended on each side of the sled, the
government of which, as every American who has been born north of the
Potomac well knows, is effected by delicate touches of the heels. Guert
called out to the boys for a shove, and away we went, like the ship that is
bound for her “destined element,” as the poets say. We got a good start,
and left the spot as the arrow leaves its bow.

Shall I own the truth, and confess I had a momentary pleasure in the
excitement produced by the rapidity of the motion, by the race we were
running with another sled, and by the skill and ease with which Guert,
almost without touching the ground, carried us unharmed through sundry
narrow passages, and along the line of wood and venison loaded sleighs,
barely clearing the noses of their horses. I forgot that I was making this
strange exhibition of myself, in a strange place, and almost in strange
company. So rapid was our motion, however, that the danger of being
recognised was not very great; and there were so many to divide attention,
that the act of folly would have been overlooked, but for a most untimely
and unexpected accident. We had gone the entire length between the
two churches with great success,--several steady, grave, and
respectable-looking old burghers calling out, on a high key, “Vell done,
Guert!”--for Guert appeared to be a general favourite, in the sense of fun
and frolic at least,--when, turning an angle of the Old Dutch Temple, in
the ambitious wish of shooting past it, in order to run still lower and
shoot off the wharf upon the river, we found ourselves in imminent danger
of running under the fore-legs of two foaming horses, that were whirling a
sleigh around the same corner of the church. Nothing saved us but Guert’s
readiness and physical power. By digging a heel into the snow, he caused
the sled to fly round at a right angle to its former course, and us to fly
off it, heels over head, without much regard to the proprieties, so far as
postures or grace was concerned. The negro who drove the sleigh pulled up,
at the same instant, with so much force as to throw his horses on their
haunches. The result of these combined movements was to cause Guert and
myself to roll over in such a way as to regain our feet directly alongside
of the sleigh. In rising to my feet, indeed, I laid a hand on the side of
the vehicle, in order to assist me in the effort.

What a sight met my eyes! In the front stood the negro, grinning from ear
to ear; for _he_ deemed every disaster that occurred on runners a fit
subject for merriment. Who ever did anything but laugh at seeing a sleigh
upset?--and it was consequently quite in rule to do so on seeing two
overgrown boys roll over from a hand-sled. I could have knocked the rascal
down, with a good will, but it would not have done to resent mirth
that proceeded from so legitimate a cause. Had I been disposed to act
differently, however, the strength and courage necessary to effect such
a purpose would have been annihilated in me, by finding myself standing
within three feet, and directly in front of Anneke Mordaunt and Mary
Wallace! The shame at being thus detected in the disastrous termination of
so boyish a flight, at first nearly overcame me. How Guert felt I do not
know, but, for a single instant, I wished him in the middle of the Hudson,
and all Albany, its Dutch Church, sleds, hill, and smoking burghers
included, on top of him.

“Mr. Littlepage!” burst out of the rosy lips of Anneke, in a tone of voice
that was not to be misunderstood.

“Mr. Guert Ten Eyck!” exclaimed Mary Wallace, in an accent and manner that
bespoke chagrin.

“At your service, Miss Mary,” answered Guert, who looked a little sheepish
at the result of his exploit, though for a reason I did not at first
comprehend, brushing some snow from his cap at the same time--“At your
service, now and ever, Miss Mary. But, do not suppose it was awkwardness
that produced this accident, I entreat of you. It was altogether the fault
of the boy who is stationed to give warning of sleighs below the church,
who must have left his post. Whenever either of you young ladies will do
me the honour to take a seat with me, I will pledge my character, as an
Albanian, to carry her to the foot of the highest and steepest hill in town
without disturbing a riband.”

Marv Wallace made no answer; and I fancied she looked a little sad. It is
possible Anneke saw and understood this feeling, for she answered with a
spirit that I had never seen her manifest before--

“No, no, Mr. Ten Eyck,” she said; “when Miss Wallace or I wish to ride down
hill, and become little girls again, we will trust ourselves with boys,
whose constant practice will be likely to render them more expert than men
can be, who have had time to forget the habits of their childhood. Pompey,
we will return home.”

The cold inclination of the head that succeeded, while it was sufficiently
gracious to preserve appearances, proved too plainly that neither Guert
nor myself had risen in the estimation of his mistress, by this boyish
exhibition of his skill with the hand-sled. Had either of these young
ladies been Albanians, it is probable they would have laughed at our
mishap; but no high hill running directly into New York, the custom that
prevailed at Albany did not prevail in the capital. Small boys alone used
the hand-sled in that part of the colony, while the taste continued longer
among the more stable and constant Dutch. Of course, we had nothing to do
but to make profound bows, and suffer the negro to move on.

“There it is, Littlepage,” exclaimed Guert, with a species of sigh; “I
shall have nothing but iced looks for the next week, and all for riding
down hill four or five years later than is the rule. Everybody, hereabouts,
uses the hand-sled until eighteen, or so; and I am only five-and-twenty.
Pray, what may be your age, my dear fellow?”

“Twenty-one, only about a month since. I wish, with all my heart, it were
ten!”

“Turned the corner!--well, that’s unlucky; but we must make the best of
it. My taste is for _fun_, and so I have admitted to Miss Wallace, twenty
times; but she tells me that, after a certain period, men should look to
graver things, and think of their country. She has lectured me already,
once, on the subject of sliding; though she allows that skating is a manly
exercise.”

“When a lady takes the trouble to lecture, it is a sure sign she feels some
interest in the subject.”

“By St. Nicholas! I never thought of that, Littlepage!” cried Guert, who,
notwithstanding the great advantages he possessed in the way of face and
figure, turned out to have less personal vanity about him than almost any
man I ever met with. “_Lecture_ me she has, and that more than once, too!”

“The lady who lectures _me_, sir, will not get rid of me, at the end of the
discourse.”

“That’s manly! I like it, Littlepage; and I like _you_. I foresee we shall
be great friends; and we’ll talk more of this matter another time. Now,
Mary has spoken to me of the war, and hinted that a single man, like
myself, with the world before him, might do something to make his name
known in it. I did not like that; for a girl who loved a fellow would not
wish to have him shot.”

“A girl who took no interest in her suitor, Mr. Ten Eyck, would not care
whether he did anything or not. But I must now quit you, being under an
engagement to meet Mr. Worden at the inn, at six.”

Guert and I shook hands, for the tenth or twelfth time that day, parting
with an understanding that he was to call for us, to accompany our party to
the supper, at the previously appointed hour. As I walked towards the inn,
I pondered on what had just occurred, in a most mortified temper. That
Anneke was displeased, was only too apparent; and I felt fearful that her
displeasure was not entirely free from contempt. As for Guert’s case, it
did not strike me as being half so desperate as my own; for there was
nothing unnatural, but something quite the reverse, in women of sense
and stability, when they admire any youth of opposite temperament--and I
remembered to have heard my grandfather say that such was apt to be the
case,--wishing to elevate their suitors in their pursuits and characters.
Had Anneke taken the pains to remonstrate with me about the folly of what I
had done, I should have been encouraged; but the cold indifference of her
manner, not to call it contempt, cut me to the quick. It is true, Anneke
seemed to feel most on her friend’s account; but I could not mistake the
look of surprise with which she saw me, Cornelius Littlepage, rise from
under her sleigh, and stand brushing the snow from my clothes, like a great
calf as I was! No man can bear to be rendered ridiculous in the presence of
the woman he loves.

Near the inn I met Dirck, his whole face illuminated with a look of
pleasure.

“I have just met Anneke and Mary Wallace!” he said, “and they stopped their
sleigh to speak to me. Herman Mordaunt has been here half the winter, and
he means to remain most of the summer. There will be no Lilacsbush this
season, the girls told me, but Herman Mordaunt has got a house, where he
lives with his own servants, and boils his own pot, as he calls it. We
shall be at home there, of course, for you are such a favourite, Corny,
ever since that affair of the lion! As for Anneke, I never saw her looking
so beautiful!”

“Did Miss Mordaunt say she would be happy to see us on the old footing,
Dirck?”

“Did she?--I suppose so. She said I shall be glad to see you, cousin Dirck,
whenever you can come, and I hope you will bring with you sometimes the
clergyman of whom you have spoken.”

“But nothing of Jason Newcome or Corny Littlepage? Tell the truth at once,
Dirck; my name was not mentioned?”

“Indeet it was, t’ough; _I_ mentioned it several times, and told them how
long we had been on the roat, and how you trove, and how you had sold the
sleigh and horses already, and a dozen other t’ings. Oh! we talket a great
deal of you, Corny; that is, I dit, and the girls listened.”

“Was my name mentioned by either of the young ladies, Dirck, in direct
terms?”

“To be sure; Anneke had something to say about you, though it was so much
out of the way, I can hardly tell you what it was now. Oh! I remember: she
said ‘I have seen Mr. Littlepage, and think he has grown since we last
met; he promises to make a _man_ one of these days.’ What could t’at mean,
Corny?”

“That I am a fool, a great overgrown boy, and wish I had never seen Albany;
that’s what it means. Come, let us go in; Mr. Worden will be expecting us.
Ha! Who the devil’s that, Dirck?”

A loud Dutch shout from Dirck broke out of him, regardless of the street,
and his whole face lighted up into a broad sympathetic smile. I had caught
a glimpse of a sled coming down the acclivity we were slowly ascending,
which sled glided past us just as I got the words out of my mouth. It was
occupied by Jason alone, who seemed just as much charmed with the sport
as any other grown-up boy on the hill. There he went, the cocked-hat
uppermost, the pea-green coat beneath, and the striped woollens and heavy
plated buckles stuck out, one on each side, governing the movement of the
sled with the readiness of a lad accustomed to the business.

“That must be capital fun, Corny!” my companion said, scarce able to
contain himself for the pleasure he felt. “I have a great mind to borrow a
sled and take a turn myself.”

“Not if you intend to visit Miss Mordaunt, Dirck. Take my word for it, she
does not like to see men following the pleasures of boys.”

Dirck stared at me, but being taciturn by nature, he said nothing, and we
entered the house. There we found Mr. Worden reading over an old sermon,
in readiness for his next Sunday’s business; and sitting down, we began to
compare notes on the subject of the town and its advantages. The divine was
in raptures. As for the Dutch he cared little for them, and had seen but
little of them, overlooking them in a very natural, metropolitan sort of
way; but he had found so many English officers, had heard so much from
home, and had received so many invitations, that _his_ campaign promised
nothing but agreeables. We sat chatting over these matters until the tea
was served, and for an hour or two afterwards. My bargains were applauded,
my promptitude--the promptitude of Guert would have been more just--was
commended, and I was told that my parents should hear the whole truth in
the matter. In a word, our Mentor being in good-humour with himself, was
disposed to be in good humour with every one else.

At the appointed hour, Guert came to escort us to the place of meeting. He
was courteous, attentive, and as frank as the air he breathed, in manner.
Mr. Worden took to him excessively, and it was soon apparent that he and
young Ten Eyck were likely to become warm friends.

“You must know, gentlemen, that the party to which I have had the honour
of inviting you, will be composed of some of the heartiest young men in
Albany, if not in the colony. We meet once a month, in the house of an old
bachelor, who belongs to us, and who will be delighted to converse with
you, Mr. Worden, on the subject of religion. Mr. Van Brunt is very expert
in religion, and we make him the umpire of all our disputes and bets on
_that_ subject.”

This sounded a little ominous, I thought; but Mr. Worden was not a man to
be frightened from a good hot supper, by half-a-dozen inadvertent words. He
could tolerate even a religious discussion, with such an object in view.
He walked on, side by side with Guert, and we were soon at the door of the
house of Mr. Van Brunt, the Bachelor in Divinity, as I nicknamed him. Guert
entered without knocking, and ushered us into the presence of our _quasi_
host.

We found in the room a company of just twelve, Guert included; that being
the entire number of the club. It struck me, at the first glance, that the
whole set had a sort of slide-down-hill aspect, and that we were likely to
make a night of it. My acquaintance with Dirck, and indeed my connection
with the old race, had not left me ignorant of a certain peculiarity in the
Dutch character. Sober, sedate, nay phlegmatic as they usually appeared
to be, their roystering was on a pretty high key, when it once fairly
commenced. We thought one lad of the old race, down in Westchester, fully a
match for two of the Anglo-Saxon breed, when it came to a hard set-to; no
ordinary fun appeasing the longings of an excited Dutchman. Tradition had
let me into a good many secrets connected with their excesses, and I had
heard the young Albanians often mentioned as being at the head of their
profession in these particulars.

Nothing could be more decorous, or considerate, however, than our
introduction and reception. The young men seemed particularly gratified at
having a clergyman of their party, and I make no doubt it was intended that
the evening should be one of unusual sobriety and moderation. I heard the
word “Dominie” whispered from mouth to mouth, and it was easy to see the
effect it produced. Most eyes were fastened on Van Brunt, a red-faced,
square-built, somewhat dissolute-looking man of forty-five, who seemed to
find his apology for associating with persons so much his juniors, in his
habits, and possibly in the necessity of the case; as men of his own years
might not like his company.

“And, gentlemen, it is dry business standing here looking at each other,”
 observed Mr. Van Brunt; “and we will take a little punch, to moisten our
hearts, as well as our throats. Guert, yon is the pitcher.”

Guert made good use of the pitcher, and each man had his glass of punch,--a
beverage then, as now, much used in the colony. I must acknowledge that the
mixture was very knowingly put together, though I had no sooner swallowed
my glass, than I discovered it was confounded strong. Not so with Guert.
Not only did he swallow _one_ glass, but he swallowed _two_, in quick
succession, like a man who was thirsty; standing at the time in a fine,
manly, erect attitude, as one who trifled with something that did not half
tax his powers. The pitcher, though quite large, was emptied at that one
assault, in proof of which it was turned bottom upwards, by Guert himself.

Conversation followed, most of it being in English, out of compliment to
the Dominie, who was not supposed to understand Dutch. This was an error,
however, Mr. Worden making out tolerably well in that language, when he
tried. I was felicitated on the bargains I had made with the contractor;
and many kind and hospitable attempts were made to welcome me in a frank,
hearty manner among strangers. I confess I was touched by these honest and
sincere endeavours to put me at my ease, and when a second pitcher of punch
was brought round, I took another glass with right good-will, while Guert,
as usual, took two; though the liquor _he_ drank, I had many occasions to
ascertain subsequently, produced no more visible effect on him, in the way
of physical consequences, than if he had not swallowed it. Guert was no
drunkard, far from it; he could only drink all near him under the table,
and remain firm in his chair himself. Such men usually escape the
imputation of being sots, though they are very apt to pay the penalty of
their successes at the close of their career. These are the men who break
down at sixty, if not earlier, becoming subject to paralysis, indigestion,
and other similar evils.

Such was the state of things, the company gradually getting into a very
pleasant humour, when Guert was called out of the room by one of the
blacks, who bore a most ominous physiognomy while making his request.
He was gone but a moment, when he returned with a certain sort of
consternation painted in his own handsome face. Mr. Van Brunt was called
into a corner, where two or three more of the principal persons present
soon collected, in an earnest, half-whispered discourse. I was seated so
near this group, as occasionally to overhear a few expressions, though
to get no clear clue to its meaning. The words I overheard were,
“old Cuyler”--“capital supper”--“venison and ducks”--“partridges and
quails”--“knows us all”--“never do”--“Dominie the man”--“strangers”--“how
to do it?” and several other similar expressions, which left a vague
impression on my mind that our supper was in great peril from some cause or
other; but what that cause was I could not learn. Guert was evidently the
principal person in this consultation, everybody appearing to listen to his
suggestions with respect and attention. At length our friend came out of
the circle, and in a courteous, self-possessed manner communicated the
difficulty in the following words:

“You must know, Rev. Mr. Worden, and Mr. Littlepage, and Mr. Follock, and
Mr. Newcome, that we have certain customs of our own, among us youths of
Albany, that perhaps are not familiar to you gentlemen nearer the capital.
The trut’ is, that we are not always as wise and as sober as our parents,
and grandparents in particular, could wish us to be. It is t’ought a good
thing among us sometimes, to rummage the hen-roosts and poultry-yards of
the burghers, and to sup on the fruits of such a forage. I do not know how
it is with you, gentlemen; but I will own, that to me, ducks and geese got
in this innocent, game-like way, taste sweeter than when they are bought in
the market-hall: our own supper for to-night was a _bought_ supper, but
it has become the victim of a little enlargement of the practice I have
mentioned.”

“How!--how’s that, friend Ten Eyck!” exclaimed Mr. Worden, in no affected
consternation. “The _supper_ a victim, do you say?”

“Yes, sir; to be frank at once, it is gone; gone to a pullet, a steak, and
a potatoe. They have not left us a dish!”

“They!” echoed the parson--“And who can _they_ be?”

“That is a point yet to be ascertained, for the operation has been carried
on in so delicate and refined a way, that none of our blacks know anything
of the matter. It seems there was a cry of fire just now, and it took every
one of the negroes into the street; during which time all our game has been
put up, and has flown.”

“Bless me! bless me! what a calamity!--what a rascally theft! Did you not
mark it down?”

“No sir, I am sorry to say we have not; nor do we apply such hard names to
a frolic, even when we lose our supper by it. It is the act of some of our
associates and friends, who hope to feast at our expense to-night; and who
will, gentlemen, unless you will consent to aid us in recovering our lost
dishes.”

“Aid you, my dear sir--I will do any thing you can wish--what will you have
me attempt! Shall I go to the fort, and ask for succour from the army?”

“No, sir; our object can be effected short of t’at. I am quite certain
we can find what we want, only two or three doors from this, if you will
consent to lend us a little, a very little of your assistance.”

“Name it--name it, at once, for Heaven’s sake, Mr. Guert. The dishes
must be getting cold, all this time,” cried Mr. Worden, jumping up with
alacrity, and looking about him, for his hat and cloak.

“The service we ask of you, gentlemen, is just this,” rejoined Guert, with
a coolness that, when I came to reflect on the events of that night, has
always struck me as singularly astonishing. “Our supper, and an excellent
one it is, is close at hand, as I have said. Nothing will be easier than to
get it on our own table, in the next room, could we only manage to call old
Doortje off duty, and detain her for five minutes at the area gate of her
house. She knows every one of _us_, and would smell a rat in a minute, did
_we_ show ourselves; but Mr. Worden and Mr. Littlepage, here, might amuse
her for the necessary time, without any trouble. She is remarkably fond of
Dominies, and would not be able to trace _you_ back to this house, leaving
us to eat the supper in peace. After _t’at_, no one cares for the rest.”

“I’ll do it!--I’ll do it!” cried Mr. Worden, hurrying into the passage, in
quest of his hat and cloak. “It is no more than just that you should have
your own, and the supper will be either eaten, or overdone, should we go
for constables.”

“No fear of constables, Mr. Worden, we never employ them in our poultry
wars. All we, who will get the supper back again, can expect, will be
merely a little hot water, or a skirmish with our friends.”

The details of the movement were now intelligibly and clearly settled.
Guert was to head a party provided with large clothes-baskets, who were to
enter the kitchen, during Doortje’s absence, and abstract the dishes, which
could not yet be served, as all in Albany, of a certain class, sat down to
supper at nine precisely. As for Doortje, a negro who was in the house, in
waiting on one of the guests, his master, would manage to get her out to
the area gate, the house having a cellar kitchen, where it would depend on
Mr. Worden to detain her, three or four minutes. To my surprise, the
parson entered on the execution of the wild scheme with boyish eagerness,
affirming that he could keep the woman half an hour, if it were necessary,
by delivering her a lecture on the importance of observing the eighth
commandment. As soon as the preliminaries were thus arranged, the two
parties proceeded on their respective duties, the hour admonishing us of
the necessity of losing no time unnecessarily.

I did not like this affair from the first, the experiment of sliding down
hill, having somewhat weakened my confidence in Guert Ten Eyck’s judgment.
Nevertheless, it would not do for _me_ to hold back, when Mr. Worden led,
and, after all, there was no great harm in recovering a supper that had
been abstracted from our own house. Guert did not proceed, like ourselves,
by the street, but he went with his party, out of a back gate into an
alley, and was to enter the yard of the house he assailed, by means of a
similar gate in its rear. Once in that yard, the access to the kitchen, and
the retreat, were very easy, provided the cook could be drawn away from her
charge at so important a moment. Everything, therefore, depended on the
address of the young negro who was in the house, and ourselves.

On reaching the gate of the area, we stopped while our negro descended to
invite Doortje forth. This gave us a moment to examine the building. The
house was large, much larger than most of those round it, and what struck
me as unusual, there was a lighted lamp over the door. This looked as if it
might be a sort of a tavern, or eating house, and rendered the whole thing
more intelligible to me. Our roystering plunderers doubtless intended to
sup on their spoils at that tavern.

The negro was gone but a minute, when he came out with a young black of his
own sex, a servant whom he was leading off his post, on some pretence
of his own, and was immediately followed by the cook. Doortje made many
curtsies as soon as she saw the cocked-hat and black cloak of the Dominie,
begging his pardon and asking his pleasure. Mr. Worden now began a grave
and serious lecture on the sin of stealing, holding the confounded Doortje
in discourse quite three minutes. In vain the cook protested she had taken
nothing; that her master’s property was sacred in her eyes, and ever had
been; that she never gave away even cold meats without an order, and that
she could not imagine why _she_ was to be talked to in this way. To give
him his due, Mr. Worden performed his part to admiration, though it is true
he had only an ignorant wench, who was awed by his profession, to manage.
At length we heard a shrill whistle from the alley, the signal of success,
when Mr. Worden wished Doortje a solemn good-night, and walked away with
all the dignity of a priest. In a minute or two we were in the house again,
and were met by Guert with cordial shakes of the hand, thanks for our
acceptable service, and a summons to supper. It appears that Doortje had
actually dished-up everything, all the articles standing before a hot fire
waiting only for the clock to strike nine to be served. In this state,
then, the only change the supper had to undergo, was to bring it a short
distance through the alley and to place it on our table, instead of that
for which it was so lately intended.

Notwithstanding the rapidity with which the changes had been made, it would
not have been very easy for a stranger to detect any striking irregularity
in our feast. It is true, there were two sets of dishes on the table, or
rather dishes of two different sets; but the ducks, game, &c., were not
only properly cooked, but were warm and good. To work everybody went,
therefore, with an appetite, and for five minutes little was heard beyond
the clatter of knives and forks. Then came the drinking of healths, and
finally the toasts, and the songs, and the stories.

Guert sang capitally, in a fine, clear, sweet, manly voice, and he gave us
several airs with words both in English and in Dutch. He had just finished
one of these songs, and the clapping of hands was still loud and warm, when
the young man called on Mr. Worden for a lady, or a sentiment.

“Come, Dominie,” he called out, for by this time the feast had produced
its familiarity--“Come, Dominie, you have acquitted yourself so well as a
lecturer, that we are all dying to hear you preach.”

“A lady do you say, sir?” asked the parson, who was as merry as any of us.

“A laty--a laty”--shouted six or seven at once. “The Tominie’s laty--the
Tominie’s laty.”

“Well, gentlemen, since you will have it so, you shall have one. You must
not complain if she prove a little venerable,--but I give you ‘Mother
Church.’”

This produced a senseless laugh, as such things usually do, and then
followed my turn. Mr. Van Brunt very formally called on me for a
lady. After pausing a moment I said, as I flatter myself, with
spirit--“Gentlemen, I will give you another almost as heavenly--Miss Anneke
Mordaunt!”

“Miss Anneke Mordaunt!” was echoed round the table, and I soon discovered
that Anneke was a general favourite, and a very common toast already at
Albany.

“I shall now ask Mr. Guert Ten Eyck for his lady,” I said, as soon as
silence was restored, there being very little pause between the cups that
night.

This appeal changed the whole character of the expression of Guert’s face.
It became grave in an instant, as if the recollection of her whose name
he was about to utter produced a pause in his almost fierce mirth. He
coloured, then raised his eyes and looked sternly round as if to challenge
denial, and gave--

“Miss Mary Wallace.”

“Ay, Guert, we are used to that name, now,” said Van Brunt, a little drily.
“This is the tenth time I have heard it from you within two months.”

“You will be likely to hear it twenty more, sir; for I shall give Mary
Wallace, and nobody but Mary Wallace, while the lady remains Mary Wallace.
How, now, Mr. Constable! What may be the reason we have the honour of a
visit from you at this time of night.” [22]

[Footnote 22: In this whole affair of the supper, the reader will find
incidents that bear a striking resemblance to certain local characteristics
portrayed by Mrs. Grant, of Laggan, in her memoirs of an American Lady;
thus corroborating the fidelity of the pictures of our ancient manners,
as given by that respectable writer, by the unquestioned authority of Mr.
Cornelius Littlepage.--EDITOR.]



CHAPTER XIII.

  “Masters, it is proved already
  That you are little better than false knaves;
  And it will go near to be thought so, shortly.”

  _Dogberry_.


The sudden appearance of the city constable, a functionary whose person was
not unknown to most of the company, brought every man at table to his feet,
the Rev. Mr. Worden, Dirck and myself, included. For my own part, I saw no
particular reason for alarm, though it at once struck me that this visit
might have some connection with the demolished supper, since the law does
not, in all cases, suffer a man to reclaim even his own, by trick or
violence. As for the constable himself, a short, compact, snub-nosed,
Dutch-built person, who spoke English as if it disagreed with his bile, he
was the coolest of the whole party.

“Vell, Mr. Guert,” he said, with a sort of good-natured growl of authority,
“here I moost coome ag’in! Mr. Mayor woult be happy to see you, and ter
Tominie, dat ist of your party; and ter gentleman dat acted as clerk, ven
he lectured old Doortje, Mr. Mayor’s cook.”

Mr. Mayor’s cook! Here, then, a secret was out, with a vengeance! Guert had
not reclaimed his own lost supper, which, having passed into the hands of
the Philistines, was hopelessly gone; but he had actually stolen and eaten
the supper prepared for the Mayor of Albany,--Peter Cuyler, a man of note,
and standing, in all respects; a functionary who had held his office from
time immemorial;--the lamp was the symbol of authority, and not the sign of
an inn, or an eating-house;--the supper, moreover, was never prepared for
one man, or one family, but had certainly been got up for the honourable
treatment of a goodly company;--fifteen stout men had mainly appeased their
appetites on it; and the fragments were that moment under discussion among
half-a-dozen large-mouthed, shining negro faces, in the kitchen! Under
circumstances like these, I looked inquiringly at the Rev. Mr. Worden--and
the Rev. Mr. Worden looked inquiringly at me. There was no apparent remedy,
however; but, after a brief consultation with Guert, we, the summoned
parties, took our hats and followed Dogberry to the residence of Mr. Mayor.

“You are not to be uneasy, gentlemen, at this little interruption of our
amusements,” said Guert, dropping in between Mr. Worden and myself, as we
proceeded on our way, “these things happening very often among us. You are
innocent, you know, under all circumstances, since you supposed that
the supper was our own--brought back by direct means, instead of having
recourse to the shabby delays of the law.”

“And whose supper may this have been, sir, that we have just eaten!”
 demanded Mr. Worden.

“Why, there can be no harm, now, in telling you the truth, Dominie; and I
will own, therefore, it belonged in law to Mr. Mayor Cuyler. There is no
great danger, however, as you will see, when I come to explain matters. You
must know that the Mayor’s wife was a Schuyler, and my mother has some of
that blood in her veins, and we count cousins as far as we can see, in
Albany. It is just supping with one’s relations, a little out of the common
way, as you will perceive, gentlemen.”

“Have you dealt fairly with Mr. Littlepage and myself, sir, in this
affair?” Mr. Worden asked, a little sternly. “I might, with great
propriety, lecture to a cook, on the eighth commandment, when that cook
was a party to robbing you of your supper; but how shall I answer to His
Honour, Mr. Mayor, on the charge which will now be brought against me?
It is not for myself, Mr. Guert, that I feel so much concern, as for the
credit and reputation of my sacred office, and that, too, among your
disciples of the schools of Leyden!”

“Leave it all to me, my dear Dominie--leave it all to me,” answered Guert,
well disposed to sacrifice himself, rather than permit a friend to suffer.
“I am used to these little matters, and will take care of you.”

“I vill answer for t’at,” put in the constable, looking over his shoulder.
“No young fly-away in All_pon_ny hast more knowletge in t’ese matters t’an
Mr. Guert, here. If any potty can draw his heat out of the yoke, Mr. Guert
can, Yaas--yaas--he know all apout t’ese little matters, sure enough.”

This was encouraging, of a certainty! Our associate was so well known for
his tricks and frolics, that even the constable who took him calculated
largely on his address in getting out of scrapes! I did not apprehend that
any of us were about to be tried and convicted of a downright robbery;
for I knew how far the Dutch carried their jokes of this nature, and how
tolerant the seniors were to their juniors; and especially how much all men
are disposed to regard any exploit of the sort of that in which we had been
engaged, when it has been managed adroitly, and in a way to excite a laugh.
Still, it was no joke to rob a Mayor of his supper these functionaries
usually passing to their offices through the probationary grade of
Alderman. [23] Guert was not free from uneasiness, as was apparent by a
question he put to the officer, on the steps of Mr. Cuyler’s house, and
under the very light of the official lamp.

“How is the old gentleman, this evening, Hans?” the principal asked, with
some little concern in his manner. “I hope he and his company have supped?”

“Vell, t’at is more t’an I can tell you, Mr. Guert. He look’t more as like
himself, when he hat the horse t’ieves from New Englant taken up, t’an he
hast for many a tay. ‘Twas most too pat, Mr. Guert, to run away wit’ the
Mayor’s _own_ supper! I coult have tolt you who hast your own tucks and
venison.”

“I wish you had, Hans, with all my heart; but we were hard pushed, and
had a strange Dominie to feed. You know a body must provide _well_ for
company.”

“Yaas, yaas; I understants it, and knows how you moost have peen nonplush’t
to do sich a t’ing; put it was _mo-o-st_ too pat. Vell, we are all young,
afore we live to be olt--t’at effery potty knows.”

By this time the door was open, and we entered. Mr. Mayor had issued orders
we should all be shown into the parlour, where I rather think, from what
subsequently passed, he intended to cut up Guert a little more than common,
by exposing him before the eyes of a particular person. At all events, the
reader can judge of my horror, at finding that the party whose supper I had
just helped to demolish, consisted, in addition to three or four sons and
daughters of the house, of Herman Mordaunt, Mary Wallace, and Anneke! Of
course, everybody knew _what_ had been done; but, until we entered the
room, Mr. Mayor alone knew _who_ had done it. Of Mr. Worden and myself
even, he knew no more than he had learned from Dootje’s account of the
matter; and the cook, quite naturally, had represented us as rogues
feigning our divinity.

Guert was a thoroughly manly fellow, and he did us the justice to enter the
parlour first. Poor fellow! I can feel for him, even at this distance of
time, when his eye first fell on Mary Wallace’s pallid and distressed
countenance. It could scarcely be less than I felt myself, when I first
beheld Anneke’s flushed features, and the look of offended propriety that I
fancied to be sparkling in her estranged eye.

Mr. Mayor evidently regarded Mr. Worden with surprise, as indeed he did
me; for, instead of strangers, he probably expected to meet two of those
delinquents whose faces were familiar to him, by divers similar jocular
depredations, committed within the limits of his jurisdiction. Then the
circumstance that Mr. Worden was a real Dominie, could not be questioned
by those who saw him standing, as he did, face to face, with all the usual
signs of his sacred office in his dress and air.

“I believe there must be some mistake here, constable!” exclaimed Mr.
Mayor. “Why have you brought these two strange gentlemen along with Guert
Ten Eyck?”

“My orters, Mr. Mayor, wast to pring Dootje’s ‘rapscallion Tominie,’ and
his ‘rapscallion frient;’ and t’at is one, and t’is ist t’ot’e.”

“This gentleman has the appearance of being a _real_ clergyman, and that
too, of the church of England.”

“Yaas, Mr. Mayor, t’at is yoost so. He wilt preach fifteen minutes wit’out
stopping, if you wilt give him a plack gownt; and pray an hour in a white
shirt.” [24]

“Will you do me the favour, Guert Ten Eyck, to let me have the names of
the strangers I have the pleasure to receive,” said the mayor, a little
authoritatively.

“Certainly, Mr. Mayor; certainly, and with very great pleasure. I should
have done this at once, had we been ushered into your house by any one but
the city constable. Whenever I accompany that gentleman anywhere, I always
wait to ascertain my welcome.”

Guert laughed with some heart at this allusion to his own known
delinquencies, while Mr. Cuyler only smiled. I could see, notwithstanding
the severe measures to which he had resorted in this particular case, that
the last was not unfriendly to the first, and that our friend Guert had
not fallen literally among robbers, in being brought to the place where we
were.

“This reverend dominie,” continued Guert, as soon as he had had his laugh,
and had ventured to cast a short, inquiring glance at Mary Wallace, “is a
gentleman from England, Mr. Mayor, who is to preach in St. Peter’s the day
after to-morrow, by special invitation from the chaplain; when, I make no
doubt, we shall all be much edified; Miss Mary Wallace among the rest, if
she will do him the honour to attend the service--good, and angelic, and
_forgiving_, as I know she is by nature.”

This speech caused all eyes to turn on the young lady whose face crimsoned,
though she made no reply. I now felt satisfied that Guert’s manly, frank,
avowed, and sincere admiration had touched the heart of Mary Wallace, while
her reason condemned that which her natural tenderness encouraged; and the
struggle in her mind was then, and long after, a subject of curious study
with me. As for Anneke, I thought she resented this somewhat indiscreet,
not to say indelicate though indirect avowal of his feelings towards his
mistress; and that she looked on Guert with even more coldness than she had
previously done. Neither of the ladies, however, said anything. During
this dumb-show, Mr. Cuyler had leisure to recover from the surprise of
discovering that one of his prisoners was really a clergyman, and to
inquire who the other might be.

“That gentleman, then, is in fact a clergyman!” he answered. “You have
forgotten to name the other, Guert.”

“This is Mr. Corny Littlepage, Mr. Mayor--the only son of Major Littlepage,
of Satanstoe, Westchester.”

The Mayor looked a little puzzled, and I believe felt somewhat embarrassed
as to the manner in which he ought to proceed. The incursion of Guert upon
his premises much exceeded in boldness, anything of the kind that had ever
before occurred in Albany. It was common enough for young men of his stamp
to carry off poultry, pigs, &c., and feast on the spoils; and cases
had occurred, as I afterwards learned, in which rival parties of these
depredators preyed on each other--the same materials for a supper
having been known to change hands two or three times before they were
consumed--but no one had ever presumed, previously to this evening, to make
an inroad even on Mr. Mayor’s hencoop, much less to molest the domains of
his cook. In the first impulse of his anger, Mr. Cuyler had sent for the
constable; and Guert’s club, with its place of meeting being well known,
that functionary having had many occasions to visit it, the latter
proceeded thither forthwith. It is probable, however, a little reflection
satisfied the mayor that a frolic could not well be treated as a larceny;
and that Guert had some of his own wife’s blood in his veins. When he came
to find that two respectable strangers were implicated in the affair, one
of whom was actually a clergyman, this charitable feeling was strengthened,
and he changed his course of proceeding.

“You can return home, Hans,” said Mr. Mayor, very sensibly mollified in his
manner. “Should there be occasion for your further services, I will send
for you. Now gentlemen,” as soon as the door closed on the constable, “I
will satisfy you that old Peter Cuyler can cover a table, and feed his
friends, even though Guert Ten Eyck be so near a neighbour. Miss Wallace,
will you allow me the honour to lead you to the table? Mr. Worden will see
Mrs. Cuyler, in safety, to the same place.”

On this hint, the missionary stepped forward with alacrity, and led Mrs.
Mayoress after Mary Wallace, with the utmost courtesy. Guert did the same
to one of the young ladies of the house; Anneke was led in by one of the
young men; and I took the remaining young lady, who, I presumed, was also
one of the family. It was very apparent we were respited; and all of us
thought it wisest to appear as much at our ease as possible, in order not
to balk the humour of the principal magistrate of the ancient town of
Albany.

To do Mr. Mayor justice, the lost time had been so well improved by
Doortje, that, on looking around the table, I thought the supper to which
we were thus strangely invited, was, of the two, the best I had seen that
evening. Luckily, game was plenty; and, by means of quails, partridges,
oysters, venison patties, and other dishes of that sort, the cook had
managed to send up quite as good a supper, at ten o’clock, as she had
previously prepared for nine.

I will not pretend that I felt quite at my ease, as I took my seat at the
table, for the second time that night. All the younger members of the party
looked exceedingly grave, as if they could very well dispense with our
company; the old people alone appearing to enter into the scene with any
spirit. Anneke did not even look at me, after the first astounded look
given on my entrance; nor did Mary Wallace once cast her eyes towards
Guert, when we reached the supper-room. Mr. Mayor, notwithstanding, had
determined to laugh off the affair; and he and Mr. Worden soon became
excellent friends, and began to converse freely and naturally.

“Come, cousin Guert,” cried Mr. Mayor, after two or three glasses of
Madeira had still further warmed his heart, “fill, and pledge me--unless
you prefer to give a lady. If the last, everybody will drink to her, with
hearty good-will. You eat nothing, and must drink the more.”

“Ah! Mr. Mayor, I have toasted one lady, to-night, and cannot toast
another.”

“Not present company excepted, my boy?”

“No, sir, not even with that license. I pledge you, with all my heart, and
thank you, with all my heart, for this generous treatment, after my own
foolish frolic;--but, you know how it is, Mr. Mayor, with us Albany youths,
when our pride is up, and a supper must be had--”

“Not I, Guert; I know nothing about it; but should very well like to learn.
How came you, in the first place, to take such a fancy to my cook’s supper?
Did you imagine it better than Van Brunt’s cook could give you?”

“The supper of Arent Van Brunt’s cook has disappeared--gone on the hill, I
fancy, among the red-coats; and, to own the truth, Mr. Mayor, it was yours,
or nothing. I had invited these gentlemen to pass the evening with us. One
of our blacks happened to mention what was going on here, and hospitality
led us all astray. It was nothing more, I do assure you, Mr. Mayor.”

“And so your hospitable feelings made your guests work for their supper, by
sending them to preach to old Doortje, while you were dishing up my ducks
and game?”

“Your pardon, Mr. Mayor; Doortje had dished-up, before she went to lecture.
Your cook is too well trained to neglect her duty, even to hear a sermon by
the Rev. Mr. Worden! But, these gentlemen were quite as much deceived as
the old woman; for, they supposed we were after our own lost goods, and
did not know that you dwelt here; and were as much my dupes as old Doortje
herself. Truth obliges me to own this much, in their justification.”

There was a general clearing up of countenances, at this frank avowal; and
I saw that Anneke, herself, turned her looks inquiringly upon the
speaker, and suffered a smile to relieve the extreme gravity of her sweet
countenance. From that moment, a very sensible change came over the
feelings and deportment of the younger part of the company, and the
conversation became easier and more natural. It was certainly much in our
favour to have it known, we had not officiously and boyishly joined in
a gratuitous attempt to rob and insult this particular and unoffending
family, but that Mr. Worden and I supposed we were simply aiding in getting
back those things which properly belonged to our hosts, and getting them
back, too, in a manner of which the party we supposed we were acting
against, would certainly have no right to complain, inasmuch as they
had set the example. Guert was encouraged to go on further with his
explanations; which he did, in his own honest, candid manner, exculpating
us, in effect, from everything but being a little too much disposed
to waggery, for a minister of the church, and his pupil, who had just
commenced his travels.

Anneke’s face brightened up, more and more, as the explanations proceeded;
and, soon after they were ended, she turned to me in a very gracious
manner, and inquired after my mother. As I sat directly opposite to her,
and the table was narrow, we could converse without attracting much
attention to ourselves; Mr. Mayor and his other guests keeping up a round
of reasonably noisy jokes, on the events of the evening, nearer the foot of
the table.

“You find some customs in Albany, Mr. Littlepage, that are not known to us,
in New York,” Anneke observed, after a few preliminary remarks had opened
the way to further communication.

“I scarce know, Miss Anneke, whether you allude to what has occurred this
evening, or to what occurred this afternoon?”

“To both, I believe,” answered Anneke, smiling, though she coloured, as I
thought, with a species of feminine vexation; “for, certainly, one is no
more a custom with us than the other.”

“I have been most unfortunate, Miss Mordaunt, in the exhibitions I have
made of myself in the course of the few hours I have passed in this, to me,
strange place. I am afraid you regard me as little more than an overgrown
boy who has been permitted by his parents to leave home sooner than he
ought.”

“This is your construction, and not mine, Mr. Littlepage. I suppose you
know--but, we will talk of this in the other room, or at some other time.”

I took the hint, and said no more on the subject while at table. Mr. Mayor,
I suppose in consideration of our having gone through the exactions of one
feast already that evening, permitted us to leave the supper-room much
earlier than common, and the hour being late, the whole party broke up
immediately afterwards. Before we separated, however, Herman Mordaunt
approached me, in a friendly, free way, and invited me to come to his house
at eight next morning to breakfast, requesting the pleasure of Dirck’s
company at the same time; the invitation to the latter going through me.
It is scarcely necessary to say how gladly I accepted, and how much I was
relieved by this termination of an adventure that, at one moment, menaced
me with deep disgrace. Had Mr. Mayor seen fit to pursue the affair of the
abstraction of his first supper in a serious vein, although the legal
consequences could not probably have amounted to anything very grave, they
might prove very ridiculous; and I have no doubt they would have brought
about a very abrupt termination of my visit to the north. As it was, my
mind was vastly relieved, as I believe was the case also with that of the
Rev. Mr. Worden.

“Corny,” said that gentleman, after we had wished Guert good-night, and
were well on our way to the inn again, “this second supper has helped
surprisingly to digest the first. I doubt if our new acquaintance, here,
will be likely to turn out very profitable to us.”

“Yet, sir, you appeared to take to him exceedingly, and I had thought you
excellent friends.”

“I like the fellow well enough too; for he is hearty, and frank, and
good-natured; but there was some little policy in keeping on good terms
with him. I’m afraid, Corny, I did not altogether consult the dignity of my
holy office, this morning, on the ice! It is exceedingly unbecoming in a
clergyman, to be seen running in a public place like a school-boy, or a
youngster contending in a match. I thought, moreover, I overheard one
of those young Dutchmen call me the ‘Loping Dominie;’ and so, taking
altogether, it struck me it would be wisest to keep on good terms with this
Guert Ten Eyck.”

“I see your policy, sir, and it does not become me to deny it. As for
myself, I confess I like Guert surprisingly, and shall not give him up
easily; though he has already got me into two serious scrapes in the short
time we have been acquainted; He is a hearty, good-natured, thoughtless
young fellow; who, Dutchman-like, when he does make an attempt to enjoy
life, does it with all his heart.”

I then related the affair of the hand-sled to Mr. Worden, who gave me some
of that sort of consolation, of which a man receives a great deal, as he
elbows his way through this busy, selfish world.

“Well, Corny,” said my old master, “I am not certain you did not look
more like a fool, as you rolled over from that sled, than I looked while
‘loping’ from our friends in the sleigh!”

We both laughed as we entered the tavern; I, to conceal the vexation I
really felt, and Mr. Worden, as I presume, because he was flattered with
the belief that I must have appeared quite as ridiculous as himself.

Next morning I proceeded to Herman Mordaunt’s residence at the earliest
hour the rules of society would allow. I found the family established in
one of those Dutch edifices, of which Albany was mainly composed, and which
stood a little removed from the street--having a tiny yard in front, with
the _stoop_ in the gable, and that gable towards the yard. The battlement
walls of this house diminished towards the high apex of a very steep roof
by steps, as we are all so much accustomed to see, and the whole was
surmounted by an iron weathercock, that was perched on a rod of some
elevation. It was always a matter of importance with the Dutch to know
which way the wind blew; nor did it comport with their habits of minute
accuracy, to trust to the usual indications of the feeling on the skin, the
bending of branches, the flying of clouds, or the driving of smoke; but
they must and would have the certainty of a machine, that was constructed
expressly to let them know the fact. Smoke might err, but a weathercock
would not!

No one was in the little parlour into which I was shown by the servant
who admitted me to the house, and in whom I recognised Herman Mordaunt’s
principal male attendant, of the household in New York. How pleasantly did
that little room appear to me, in the minute or two that I was left in it
alone. There lay the very shawl that Anneke had on, the day I met her in
the Pinkster Field; and a pair of gloves that it seemed to me no other
hands but hers were small enough to wear, had been thrown on the shawl,
carelessly, as one casts aside a thing of that sort, in a hurry. A dozen
other articles were put here and there, that denoted the habits and
presence of females of refinement. But the gloves most attracted my
attention, and I must needs rise and examine them. It is true, these gloves
might belong to Mary Wallace, for she, too, had a pretty little hand, but I
fancied they belonged to Anneke. Under this impression, I raised them to my
lips, and was actually pressing them there, with a good deal of romantic
feeling, when a light footstep in the room told me I was not alone.
Dropping the gloves, I turned and beheld Anneke herself. She was regarding
me with an expression of countenance I did not then know how to interpret,
and which I now hardly know how to describe. In the first place, her
charming countenance was suffused with blushes, while her eyes were filled
with an expression of softened interest, that caused my heart to beat so
violently, that I did not know but it would escape by the channel of the
throat. How near I was to declaring all I felt, at that moment; of throwing
myself at the feet of the dear, dear creature, and of avowing how much and
engrossingly she had filled both my waking and sleeping thoughts during
the last year, and of beseeching her to bless the remainder of my days, by
becoming my wife! Nothing prevented this sally, but the remark which Anneke
made, the instant she had gracefully curtsied, in return to my confused and
awkward bow, and which happened to be this:

“What do you find so much to admire in Miss Wallace’s gloves?” asked the
wilful girl, biting her lip, as I fancied, to suppress a smile, though
her cheeks were still suffused, and her eyes continued to give forth that
indescribable expression of bewitching softness. “It is a pair my father
presented to her, and she wore them last evening in compliment to him.”

“I beg pardon, Miss Mordaunt--Miss Anneke--that is--I beg pardon. Is there
not a very delightful odour about those gloves--that is, I was thinking so,
and was endeavouring to ascertain what it might be by the scent.”

“It must be the lavender with which we young ladies are so coquettish as to
sprinkle our gloves and handkerchiefs--or it may be musk. Mary is rather
fond of musk, though I prefer lavender. But what an evening we had, Mr.
Littlepage! and what an introduction you have had to Albany and most of
all, what a master of ceremonies!”

“Do you then dislike Guert Ten Eyck as an acquaintance, Miss Anneke?”

“Far from it. It is quite impossible to _dislike_ Guert; he is so manly; so
ready to admit his own weaknesses; so sincere in all he does and says; so
good natured; and, in short, so much that, were one his sister, she might
wish him to be, and yet so much that a sister must regret.”

“I thought last evening that all the ladies felt an interest in him,
notwithstanding the numberless wild and ill-judged things he does. Is he
not a favourite with Miss Wallace?”

The quick, sensitive glance that Anneke gave me, said plainly enough that
my question was indiscreet, and it was no sooner put than it was regretted.
A shadow passed athwart the sweet face of my companion, and a moment of
deep, and, as I fancied, of painful thought succeeded. Then a light broke
over all, a smile illumined her features, after which a light girlish laugh
came to show how active were the agents within, and how strong was the
native tendency to happiness and humour.

“After all, Corny Littlepage,” said Anneke, turning her face towards me
with an indescribable character of fun and feeling so blended in it, as
fairly to puzzle me, “you must admit that your exploit in the hand-sled was
sufficiently ridiculous to last a young man for some time!”

“I confess it all, Anneke, and shall have a care how I turn boy again in
a strange place. I am rejoiced to find, however, that you look upon the
foolish affair of the slide as more grave than that of the supper, which I
was fearful might involve me in serious disgrace.”

“Neither is very serious, Mr. Littlepage, though the last might have proved
awkward, had not the Mayor known the ways of the young men of the town.
They say, however, that nothing so bold has ever before been attempted in
that way, in Albany, great as are the liberties that are often taken with
the neighbours’ hen-coops.”

And she laughed, and this time it was naturally, and without the least
restraint.

“I hope you will not think it shabby in me, if I seem to wish to throw
all the blame on this harum-scarum Guert Ten Eyck. He drew me into both
affairs, and into the last, in a great measure, innocently and ignorantly.”

“So it is understood, and so it would be understood, the moment Guert Ten
Eyck was found to be connected with the affair at all.”

“I may hope, then, to be forgiven, Anneke?” I said, holding out a hand to
invite her to accept it as a pledge of pardon.

Anneke did not prudishly decline putting her own little hand in mine,
though I got only the ends of two or three slender delicate fingers; and
her colour increased as she bestowed this grace.

“You must ask forgiveness, Corny,” she answered,--I believe she now used
this familiar name simply to show how completely she had forgotten the
little spleen she had certainly felt at my untoward exhibition in the
street.--“You must ask forgiveness of those who possess the right to
pardon. If Corny Littlepage chooses to slide down hill, like a boy, what
right has Anneke Mordaunt to say him nay?”

“Every right in the world--the right of friendship--the right of a superior
mind, of superior manners--the right that my----”

“Hush!--that is Mr. Bulstrode’s footstep in the passage, and he will not
understand this discussion on the subject of my manifold rights. It takes
him some time, however, to throw aside his overcoats, and furs, and sword;
and I will just tell you that Guert Ten Eyck is a dangerous master of
ceremonies for Corny Littlepage.”

“Yet, he has sense enough, feeling enough, _heart_ enough to admire and
love Mary Wallace.”

“Has he told you this, so soon! But, I need not ask, as he tells his love
to every one who will listen.”

“And to Miss Wallace herself, I trust, among the number. The man who loves,
and loves truly, should not long permit its object to remain in any doubt
of his feelings and intentions. It has ever appeared to me, Miss Mordaunt,
as a most base and dastardly feeling in a man to wish to be certain of a
woman’s returning his love, before he has the manliness to let his mistress
understand his wishes. How is a sensitive female to know when she is safe
in yielding her affections, without this frankness on the part of her
suitor? I’ll answer for it that Guert Ten Eyck has dealt thus honestly and
frankly with Mary Wallace.”

“That is a merit which cannot be denied him,” answered Anneke, in a low,
thoughtful tone of voice. “Mary has heard this from his own mouth, again
and again. Even my presence has been no obstacle to his declarations, for
three times have I heard him beg Mary to consider him as a suitor for her
hand, and entreat her not to decide on his offer until he has had a longer
opportunity to win her esteem.”

“And this you will admit, Miss Mordaunt, is to his credit, is manly, and
like himself?”

“It is certainly frank and honourable, Mr. Littlepage, since it enables
Miss Wallace to understand the object of his attentions, and leaves nothing
to doubt, or uncertainty.”

“I am glad you approve of such fair and frank proceedings;--though but a
moment remains to say what I wish, it will suffice to add, that the course
Guert Ten Eyck has taken towards Mary Wallace, Cornelius Littlepage would
wish to pursue towards Anneke Mordaunt.”

Anneke started, turned pale; then showed cheeks that were suffused with
blushes, and looked at me with timid surprise. She made no answer; though
that earnest, yet timid gaze, long remained, and for that matter, still
remains, vividly impressed upon my recollection. It seemed to express
astonishment, startled sensibility, feminine bashfulness, and maiden
coyness; but it did not appear to me that it expressed displeasure. There
was no time, however, to ask for explanations, since the voices of Herman
Mordaunt and Bulstrode were now heard at the very door, and, at the next
instant, both entered the room.

[Footnote 23: The American Mayor is usually a different person from the
English Mayor. Until within the last five-and-twenty or thirty years, the
Mayor of New York was invariably a man of social and political importance,
belonging strictly to the higher class of society. The same was true of the
Mayor of Albany. At the present time, the rule has been so far enlarged, as
to admit a selection from all of the more reputable classes, without any
rigid adherence to the highest. The elective principle has produced the
change. During the writer’s boyhood, Philip Van Rensselaer, the brother of
the late Patroon, was so long Mayor of Albany, as to be universally known
by the _sobriquet_ of “The Mayor.”--EDITOR.]

[Footnote 24: This opinion of the constable’s must refer to the notion
common amongst the non-Episcopal sects, that the value of spiritual
provender was to be measured by the quantity. Preaching, however,
_might_ be overdone in the Dutch Reformed Churches; for, quite within my
recollection, a half-hour glass stood on the pulpit of the Dutch edifice
named in the text, to regulate the dominie’s wind. It was said it might be
turned _once_ with impunity; but wo betide him who should so far trespass
on his people’s patience as to presume to turn it _twice_.--EDITOR.]



CHAPTER XIV.

  “My beautiful! my beautiful! that standest meekly by,
  With thy proudly arch’d and glossy neck, and dark and fiery eye--

  “Thus, thus I leap upon thy back, and scour the distant plains:
  Away! who overtakes me now, shall claim thee for his pains.”

  _The Arab to his Steed_.


Bulstrode seemed happy to meet me, complaining that I had quite forgotten
the satisfaction with which all New York, agreeably to his account of the
matter, had received me the past spring. Of course, I thanked him for his
civility; and we soon became as good friends as formerly. In a minute or
two, Mary Wallace joined us, and we all repaired to the breakfast-table,
where we were soon joined by Dirck, who had been detained by some affairs
of his own.

Herman Mordaunt and Bulstrode had the conversation principally to
themselves for the first few minutes. Mary Wallace was habitually silent;
but Anneke, without being loquacious, was sufficiently disposed to
converse. This morning, however, she said little beyond what the civilities
of the table required from the mistress of the house, and that little in as
few words as possible. Once or twice I could not help remarking that her
hand remained on the handle of a richly-chased tea-pot, after that hand
had performed its office; and that her sweet, deep blue eye was fixed on
vacancy, or on some object before her with a vacant regard, in the manner
of one that thought intensely. Each time as she recovered from these little
_reveries_, a slight flush appeared on her face, and she seemed anxious to
conceal the involuntary abstraction. This absence of mind continued until
Bulstrode, who had been talking with our host on the subject of the
movements of the army, suddenly directed his discourse to me.

“I hope we owe this visit to Albany,” he said, “to an intention on your
part, Mr. Littlepage, to make one among us in the next campaign. I hear of
many gentlemen of the colonies who intend to accompany us in our march to
Quebec.”

“That is somewhat farther than I had thought of going Mr. Bulstrode,”
 was my answer, “inasmuch as I have never supposed the king’s forces
contemplated quite so distant a march. It is the intention of Mr. Follock
and myself to get permission to attach ourselves to some regiment and to go
forward as far as Ticonderoga, at least; for we do not like the idea of
the French holding a post like that, so far within the limits of our own
province.”

“Bravely said, sir; and I trust I shall be permitted to be of some
assistance when the time comes to settle details. Our mess would always be
happy to see you; and you know that I am at its head, since the Lt. Colonel
has left us.”

I returned my thanks, and the discourse took another direction.

“I met Harris, as I was walking hither this morning,” Bulstrode continued,
“and he gave me, in his confused Irish way--for I insist he is Irish,
although he was born in London--but he gave me a somewhat queer account
of a supper he was at last night, which he said had been borne off by a
foraging party of young Albanians, and brought into the barracks, as a
treat to some of our gentlemen. This was bad enough, though they tell me
a Dutchman always pardons such a frolic; but Harris makes the matter much
worse, by adding that the supperless party indemnified itself by making
an attack on the kitchen of Mr. Mayor, and carrying off his ducks and
partridges, in a way to leave him without even a potatoe!”

I felt that my face was as red as scarlet, and I fancied everybody was
looking at me, while Herman Mordaunt took on himself the office of making a
reply.

“The story does not lose in travelling, as a matter of course,” answered
our host, “though it is true in the main. We all supped with Mr. Cuyler
last evening, and know that he had much more than a potatoe on the table.”

“All!--What, the ladies?”

“Even to the ladies--and Mr. Littlepage in the bargain,” returned Herman
Mordaunt, casting a glance at me, and smiling. “Each and all of us will
testify he not only had a plenty of supper, but that which was good.”

“I see by the general smile,” cried Bulstrode, “that them is a _sous
entendu_ here, and shall insist on being admitted to the secret.”

Herman Mordaunt now told the whole story, not being particularly careful
to conceal the more ludicrous parts, dwelling with some emphasis on the
lecture Mr. Worden had delivered to Doortje, and appealing to me to know
whether I did not think it excellent. Bulstrode laughed, of course; though
I fancied both the young ladies wished nothing had been said on the
subject. Anneke even attempted, once or twice, to divert her father from
certain comments that he made, in which he spoke rather lightly of such
sort of amusements, in general.

“That Guert Ten Eyck is a character!” exclaimed Bulstrode, “and one I am
sometimes at a loss to comprehend. A more manly-looking, fine, bold young
fellow, I do not know; and he is often as manly and imposing in his
opinions and judgments, as he is to the eye; while, at times, he is almost
childish in his tastes and propensities. How do you account for this, Miss
Anneke?”

“Simply, that nature intended Guert Ten Eyck for better things than
accident and education, or the want of education, have enabled him to
become. Had Guert Ten Eyck been educated at Oxford, he would have been a
very different man from what he is. If a man has only the instruction of a
boy, he will long remain a boy.”

I was surprised at the boldness and decision of this opinion, for it was
not Anneke’s practice to be so open in delivering her sentiments of others;
but, it was not long ere I discovered that she did not spare Guert, in the
presence of her friend, from a deep conviction he was not worthy of the
hold he was sensibly gaining on the feelings of Mary Wallace. Herman
Mordaunt, as I fancied, favoured his daughter’s views in this behalf; and
there was soon occasion to observe that poor Guert had no other ally, in
that family, than the one his handsome, manly person, open disposition,
and uncommon frankness had created in his mistress’s own bosom. There was
certainly a charm in Guert’s habitual manner of underrating himself, that
inclined all who heard him to his side; and, for myself, I will confess I
early became his friend in all that matter, and so continued to the last.

Bulstrode and I left the house together, walking arm and arm to his
quarters, leaving Dirck with the ladies.

“This is a charming family,” said my companion, as we left the door; “and I
feel proud of being able to claim some affinity to it, though it is not so
near as I trust it may one day become.”

I started, almost twitching my arm away from that of the Major’s, turning
half round, at the same instant, to look him in the face. Bulstrode smiled,
but preserved his own self-possession, in the stoical manner common to men
of fashion and easy manners, pursuing the discourse.

“I see that my frankness has occasioned you some little surprise,” he
added; “but the truth is the truth; and I hold it to be unmanly for a
gentleman who has made up his mind to become the suitor of a lady, to make
any secret of his intentions;--is not that your own way of thinking, Mr.
Littlepage?”

“Certainly, as respects the lady; and possibly, as respects her family; but
not as respects all the world.”

“I take your distinction, which may be a good one, in ordinary cases;
though, in the instance of Anneke Mordaunt, it may be merciful to let
wandering young men, like yourself, Corny, comprehend the real state of the
case. I very well understand your own particular relation to the family
of the Mordaunts; but others may approach it with different and more
interested views.”

“Am I to understand, Mr. Bulstrode, that Miss Mordaunt is your betrothed?”

“Oh! by no means; for she has not yet made up her mind to accept me. You
are to understand, however, that I have proposed to Herman Mordaunt, with
my father’s knowledge and approbation, and that the affair is _in petto_.
You can judge for yourself of the probable termination, being a better
judge, as a looker-on, than I, as a party interested, of Anneke’s manner of
viewing my suit.”

“You will remember I have not seen you together these ten months, until
this morning; and I presume you do not wish me to suppose you have been
waiting all that time for an answer.”

“As I consider you an _ami de famille_, Corny, there is no reason why there
should not be a fair statement of things laid before you, for that affair
of the lion will ever render you half a Mordaunt, yourself. I had proposed
to Anneke, when you first saw me, and got the usual lady-like answer that
the dear creature was too young to think of contracting herself, which was
certainly truer then than now; that I had friends at home who ought to be
consulted, that time must be given, or the answer would necessarily be
‘no’, and all the usual substance of such replies, in the preliminary state
of a negotiation.”

“And there the matter has stood ever since?”

“By no means, my dear fellow; as far from that as possible. I heard Herman
Mordaunt, for he did most of the talking on that side, with the patience
of a saint, observed how proper it all was, and stated my intention to
lay every thing before my father, and then advance to the assault anew,
reinforced by his consent, and authority to offer settlements.”

“All of which you got, by return of vessel, on writing home?” I added,
unable to imagine how any man could hesitate about receiving Anneke
Mordaunt for a daughter-in-law.

“Why, not exactly by return of vessel, though Sir Harry is much too
well-bred to neglect answering a letter. I never knew him to do such a
thing in his life; no, not when I have pushed him a little closely on the
subject of my allowance having been out before the quarter was up, as will
sometimes happen at college, you know, Corny. To tell you the truth, my
dear boy, Sir Harry’s consent did _not_ come by return of vessel, though an
answer did. It is a confounded distance across the Atlantic, and it
takes time to argue a question, when the parties are ‘a thousand leagues
asunder.’”

“Argue!--What argument could be required to convince Sir Harry Bulstrode of
the propriety of your getting Anneke Mordaunt for a wife, _if you could?_”

“Quite plain and sincere, upon my honour!--But, I love you for the
simplicity of your character, Corny, and so shall view all favourably. If I
_could!_ Well, we shall know at the end of the approaching campaign, when
you and I come back from our trip to Quebec.”

“You have not answered my question, in the mean time, concerning Sir Harry
Bulstrode.”

“I beg Sir Harry’s and your pardon. What argument could be required to
convince my father?--Why, you have never been at home, Littlepage, and
cannot easily understand, therefore, what the feeling is precisely in
relation to the colonies--much depends on that, you know.”

“I trust the mother loves her children, as I am certain the children love
their mother.”

“Yes, you are all loyal;--I will say that for you, though Albany is not
exactly Bath, or New York, Westminster. I suppose you know, Littlepage,
that the church upon the hill, yonder, which is called St. Peter’s, though
a very good church, and a very respectable church, with a very reputable
congregation, is not exactly Westminster Abbey, or even St. James’s?”

“I believe I understand you, sir; and so Sir Harry proved obstinate?”

“As the devil!--It took no less than three letters, the last of which was
pretty bold, to get him round, which I did at last, and his consent, in
due form, has been handed in to Herman Mordaunt. I contended, with some
advantages in the affair, or I never should have prevailed. But, you will
see how it was. Sir Harry is gouty and asthmatic both, and no great things
of a life, at the best, and every acre he has on earth is entailed; just
making the whole thing a question of time.”

“All of which you communicated, of course, to Anneke and Herman Mordaunt?”

“If I did I’ll be hanged! No, no; Master Corny, I am not so green as
that would imply. You provincials are as thin-skinned as _raisons de
Fontainbleau_, and are not to be touched so rudely. I do not believe Anneke
would marry the Duke of Norfolk himself, if the family raised the least
scruple about receiving her.”

“And would not Anneke be right, in acting under so respectable a feeling?”

“Why, you know she would only marry the duke, and not his mother, and
aunts, and uncles. I cannot see the necessity of a young woman’s making
herself uncomfortable on that account. But, we have not come to that yet
for I would wish you to understand, Littlepage, that I am not accepted, No,
no! justice to Anneke demands that I should say this much. She knows of Sir
Harry’s consent, however, and that is a good deal in my favour, you must
allow. I suppose her great objection will be to quitting her father, who
has no other child, and on him it _will_ bear a little hard; and, then,
it is likely she will say something about a change of country, for you
Americans are all great sticklers for living in your own region.”

“I do not see how you can justly accuse us of that, since it is universally
admitted among us that everything is better at home than it is in the
colonies.”

“I really think, Corny,” rejoined Bulstrode, smiling good-naturedly, “were
you to pay the old island a visit, now, you yourself would confess that
some things _are_.”

“I to visit!--I am at a loss to imagine why I am named as one disposed to
deny it. Had it been Guert Ten Eyck, now, or ever Dirck Follock, one might
imagine such a thing,-but I, who come from English blood, and who have an
English-born grandfather, at this moment, alive and well at Satanstoe, am
not to be included among the disaffected to England.”

Bulstrode pressed my arm, and his conversation took a more confidential
air, as it proceeded. “I believe you are right, Corny,” he said; “the
colony is loyal enough, Heaven knows; yet I find these Dutch look on us
red-coats more coldly than the people of English blood, below. Should it
be ascribed to the phlegm of their manners, or to some ancient grudge
connected with the conquest of their colony?”

“Hardly the last, I should think, since the colony was traded away, under
the final arrangement, in exchange for a possession the Dutch now hold in
South America. There is nothing strange, however; in the descendants of the
people of Holland preferring the Dutch to the English.”

“I assure you, Littlepage, the coldness with which we are regarded by the
Albanians has been spoken of among us; though most of the leading families
treat us well, and aid us all they can. They should remember that we are
here to fight, their battles, and to prevent the French from overrunning
them.”

“To that they would probably answer that the French would not molest them,
but for their quarrel with England. Here we must part, Mr. Bulstrode, as
I have business to attend to. I will add one word, however, before we
separate, and that is, that King George II. has not more loyal subjects in
his dominions, than those who dwell in his American provinces.”

Bulstrode smiled, nodded in assent, waved his hand, and we parted.

I had plenty of occupation for the remainder of that day. Yaap arrived with
his ‘brigade of sleighs’ about noon, and I went in search of Guert, in
whose company I repaired once more to the office of the contractor. Horses,
harness, sleighs, provisions and all were taken at high prices, and I was
paid for the whole in Spanish gold; joes and half-joes being quite as much
in use among us in that day as the coin of the realm. Spanish silver has
always formed our smaller currency, such a thing as an English shilling, or
a sixpence, being quite a stranger among us. Pieces of eight, or dollars,
are our commonest coin, it is true, but we make good use of the half-joe in
all heavy transactions. I have seen two or three Bank of England notes in
my day, but they are of very rare occurrence in the colonies. There have
been colony bills among us, but they are not favourites, most of our
transactions being carried on by means of the Spanish gold and Spanish
silver, that find their way up from the islands and the Spanish main. The
war of which I am now writing, however, brought a great many guineas
among us, most of the troops being paid in that species of coin; but the
contractors, in general, found it easier to command the half-joe than the
guinea. Of the former, when all our sales were made, Dirck and myself had,
between us, no less than one hundred and eleven, or eight hundred and
eighty-eight dollars in value.

I found Guert just as ready and just as friendly on this occasion, as he
had been on the previous day. Not only were all our effects disposed of,
but all our negroes were hired to the army for the campaign, Yaap excepted.
The boys went off with their teams towards the north that same afternoon,
in high spirits, as ready for a frolic as any white youths in the colony. I
permitted Yaap to go on with his sleigh, to be absent for a few days, but
he was to return and join us before we proceeded in quest of the ‘Patent,’
after the breaking up of the winter.

It was late in the afternoon before everything was settled, when Guert
invited me to take a turn with him on the river in his own sleigh. By this
time I had ascertained that my new friend was a young man of very handsome
property, without father or mother, and that he lived in as good style
as was common for the simple habits of those around him. Our principal
families in New York were somewhat remarkable for the abundance of their
plate, table-linen, and other household effects of the latter character,
while here and there one was to be found that possessed some good pictures.
The latter, I have reason to think, however, were rare, though occasionally
the work of a master did find its way to America, particularly from Holland
and Flanders. Guert kept bachelor’s hall, in a respectable house, that had
its gable to the street, as usual, and which was of no great size; but
everything about it proved that his old black housekeeper had been trained
under a _regime_ of thorough neatness; for that matter, everything around
Albany wore the appearance of being periodically scoured. The streets
themselves could not undergo that process with snow on the ground; but once
beneath a roof, and everything that had the character of dirt was banished.
In this particular Guert’s bachelor residence was as faultless as if it had
a mistress at its head, and that mistress were Mary Wallace.

“If she ever consent to have me,” said Guert, actually sighing as he spoke,
and glancing his eyes round the very pretty little parlour I had just been
praising, on the occasion of the visit I first made to his residence that
afternoon; “if she ever consent to have me, Corny, I shall have to build
a new house. This is now a hundred years old, and though it was thought a
great affair in its day, it is not half good enough for Mary Wallace. My
dear fellow, how I; envy you that invitation to breakfast this morning!
what a favourite you must be with Herman Mordaunt!”

“We are very good friends, Guert,”--for, with the freedom of our colony
manners, we had already dropped into the familiarity of calling each other
‘Corny’ and ‘Guert’--“we are very good friends, Guert,” I answered, “and, I
have some reason to think, Herman Mordaunt does not dislike me. It was in
my power to be of a trifling service to Miss Anneke, last spring, and the
whole family is disposed to remember it.”

“So I can see, at a glance; even Anneke remembers it. I have heard the
whole story from Mary Wallace; it was about a lion. I would give half of
what I am worth, to see Mary Wallace in the paws of a lion, or any other
wild beast; just to let her see that Guert Ten Eyck has a heart, as well as
Corny Littlepage. But, Corny my boy, there is one thing you must do; you
are in such favour, that it will be easy for you to effect it; though I
might try in vain, for ever.”

“I will do anything that is proper, to oblige you, Guert, for you have a
claim on me for services rendered by yourself.”

“Pshaw!--Say nothing of such matters; I am never happier than when buying
or selling a horse; and, in helping you to get off your old cattle, why,
I did the King no harm, and you some good. But, it was about horses I was
thinking. You must know, Littlepage, there is not a young man, or an old
man, within twenty miles of Albany, that drives such a pair of beasts as
myself.”

“You surely do not wish me to sell these horses to Mary Wallace, Guert!” I
rejoined, laughing.

“Ay, my lad; and this house, and the old farm, and two or three stores
along the river; and all I have, provided you can sell me with them. As
the ladies have no present use for horses, however, Herman Mordaunt having
brought up with him a very good pair, that came near running over you and
me, Corny; so there is no need of any sale; but I _should_ like to drive
Mary and Anneke a turn of a few miles, with that team of mine, and in my
own sleigh!”

“That cannot prove such a difficult affair; young ladies, ordinarily,
consenting readily enough to be diverted with a sleigh-ride.”

“The off-one carries himself more like a colonel, at the head of his
regiment, than like an ignorant horse!”

“I will propose the matter to Herman Mordaunt, or to Anneke, herself, if
you desire it.”

“And the near-one has the movement of a lady in a minuet, when you rein
him in a little. I drove those cattle, Corny, across the pine-plains, to
Schenectady, in one hour and twenty-six minutes;--sixteen miles, as the
crow flies--and nearer sixty, if you follow all the turnings of the fifty
roads.”

“Well, what am I to do? tell this to the ladies, or beg them to name a
day?”

“Name a day!--I wish it had come to _that_. Corny, with my whole soul. They
are two beauties!”

“Yes, I think everybody will admit _that_,” I answered innocently; “yet,
very different in their charms.”

“Oh! not a bit more alike than is just necessary for a good match. I call
one Jack, and the other Moses. I never knew an animal that was named
‘Jack,’ who would not do his work. I would give a great deal, Corny, that
Mary Wallace could see that horse move!”

I promised Guert that I would use all my influence with the ladies, to
induce them to trust themselves with his team, and, in order that I might
speak with authority, the sleigh was ordered round to the door forthwith,
with a view first to take a turn with me. The winter equipage of Guert Ten
Eyck was really a tasteful and knowing thing. I had often seen handsomer
sleighs, in the way of paint, varnish, tops and mouldings; for to these he
appeared to pay very little attention. The points on which its owner most
valued his sleigh, was the admirable manner in which it rested on its
runners--pressing lightly both behind and before. Then the traces were
nearer on a level with the horses, than was common; though not so high as
to affect the draft. The colour, without, was a sky-blue; a favourite Dutch
tint; while within, it was fiery-red. The skins were very ample: all coming
from the grey wolf. As these skins were lined with scarlet cloth, the
effect of the whole was sufficiently cheering and warm. I ought not to
forget the bells. In addition to the four sets buckled to the harness, the
usual accompaniment of every sort of sleigh-harness, Guert had provided two
enormous strings (always leathern straps), that passed from the saddles
quite down under the bodies of Jack and Moses; and another string around
each horse’s neck, thus increasing the jingling music of his march, at
least fourfold beyond the usual quantity. [25]

In this style, then, we dashed from the door of the old Ten Eyck-house; all
the blacks in the street gazing at us in delight, and shaking their sides
with laughter--a negro always expressing his admiration of anything, even
to a sermon, in that mode. I remember to have heard a traveller who had
been as far as Niagara, declare that his black did nothing but roar
with laughter, the first half-hour he stood confronted with that mighty
cataract.

Nor did the blacks alone stop to admire Guert Ten Eyck, his sleigh and his
horses. All the young men in the place paid Guert this homage, for he
was unanimously admitted to be the best whip, and the best judge of
horse-flesh, in Albany; that is, the best judge for his years. Several
young women who were out in sleighs, looked behind them, as we passed,
proving that the admiration extended even to the other sex. All this Guert
felt and saw, and its effect was very visible in his manner as he stood
guiding his spirited pair, amid the woodsleds that still crowded the main
street.

Our route lay towards the large flats, that extend for miles along the west
shore of the Hudson, to the north of Albany. This was the road usually
taken by the young people of the place, in their evening sleigh-rides not a
few of the better class stopping to pay their respects to Madame Schuyler,
a widow born of the same family as that into which she had married, and
who, from her character, connections and fortune, filled a high place in
the social circle of the vicinity. Guert knew this lady, and proposed that
I should call and pay my respects to her--a tribute she was accustomed to
receive from most strangers of respectability. Thither, then, we drove as
fast as my companion’s blacks could carry us. The distance was only a few
miles, and we were soon dashing through the open gate, into what must have
been a very pretty, though an inartificial, lawn in the summer.

“By Jove, we are in luck!” cried Guert, the moment his eyes got a view of
the stables: “Yonder is Herman Mordaunt’s sleigh, and we shall find the
ladies here!”

All this turned out as Guert had announced. Anneke and Mary Wallace had
dined with Madame Schuyler, and their coats and shawls had just been
brought to them, preparatory to returning home, as we entered. I had heard
so much of Madame Schuyler as not to approach this respectable person
without awe, and I had no eyes at first for her companions. I was well
received by the mistress of the house, a woman of so large a size as to
rise from her chair with great difficulty, but whose countenance expressed
equally intelligence, principles, refinement and benevolence. She no sooner
heard the name of Littlepage, than she threw a meaning glance towards
the young female friends, mine following and perceiving Anneke colouring
highly, and looking a little distressed. As for Mary Wallace she appeared
to me then, as I fancied was usually the case whenever Guert Ten Eyck
approached her, to be struggling with a species of melancholy pleasure.

“It is unnecessary for me to hear your mother’s name, Mr. Littlepage,” said
Madam Schuyler, extending a hand, “since I knew her as a young woman. In
_her_ name you are welcome; as, indeed, you would be in your own, after
the all-important service I hear you have rendered my sweet young friend,
here.”

I could only bow, and express my thanks; but it is unnecessary to say how
grateful to me was praise of this sort, coming, as I knew it must, from
Anneke in the first instance. Still, I could hardly refrain from laughing
at Guert, who shrugged his shoulders, and turned towards me with a look
that repeated his ludicrous regrets he could not see Mary Wallace in a
lion’s paws! The conversation then took the usual turn, and I got an
opportunity of speaking to the young ladies.

After the character I had heard of Madam Schuyler, I was a good deal
surprised to find that Guert was somewhat of a favourite. But even the most
intellectual and refined women, I have since had occasion to learn, feel a
disposition to judge handsome, manly, frank, flighty fellows like my new
acquaintance, somewhat leniently. With all his levity, and his disposition
to run into the excesses of animal spirits, there was that about Guert
which rendered it difficult to despise him. The courage of a lion was
in his eye, and his front and bearing were precisely those that are
particularly attractive to women. To these advantages were added a seeming
unconsciousness of his superiority to most around him, in the way of looks,
and a humility of spirit that caused him often to deplore his deficiencies
in those accomplishments which characterize the man of study and of
intellectual activity. It was only among the hardy, active, and reckless,
that Guert manifested the least ambition to be a leader.

“Do you still drive those spirited blacks, Guert,” demanded Madam Schuyler,
in a gentle, affable way, that inclined her to adapt her discourse to the
tastes of those she might happen to be with; “those, I mean, which you
purchased in the autumn?”

“You may be certain of that, aunt,”--every one who could claim the most
distant relationship to this amiable woman, and whose years did not render
the appellation disrespectful, called her “aunt”--“you may be certain of
that, aunt, for their equals are not to be found in _this_ colony. The
gentlemen of the army pretend that no horse can be good that has not what
they call _blood_; but Jack and Moses are both of the Dutch breed, and the
Schuylers and the Ten Eycks will never own there is no “blood” in such a
stock. I have given each of these animals my own name, and call them Jack
Ten Eyck and Moses Ten Eyck.”

“I hope you will not exclude the Littlepages and the Mordaunts from your
list of dissenters, Mr. Ten Eyck,” observed Anneke, laughing, “since both
have Dutch blood in their veins, too.”

“Very true, Miss Anneke; Miss Wallace being the only true, thorough,
Englishwoman here. But, as Aunt Schuyler has spoken of my team, I wish I
could persuade you and Miss Mary to let me drive you back to Albany with
it, this very evening. Your own sleigh can follow and your father’s horses
being English, we shall have an opportunity of comparing the two breeds.
The Anglo-Saxons will have no load, while the Flemings will; still I will
wager animal against animal, that the last do the work the most neatly, and
in the shortest time.”

To this proposition, however, Anneke would not consent; her instinctive
delicacy, I make no doubt, at once presenting to her mind the impropriety
of quitting her own sleigh, to take an evening’s drive in that of a young
man of Guert’s established reputation for recklessness and fun, and who was
not always fortunate enough to persuade young women of the first class to
be his companions. The turn the conversation had taken, nevertheless, had
the effect to produce so many urgent appeals, that were seconded by myself,
to give the horses a trial, that Mary Wallace promised to submit the matter
to Herman Mordaunt, and, should he approve, to accompany Guert, Anneke and
myself, in an excursion the succeeding week.

This concession was received by poor Guert with profound gratitude; and he
assured me, as we drove back to town, that he had not felt so happy for the
last two months.

“It is in the power of such a young woman--young angel, I might better
say,” added Guert, “to make anything she may please of me! I know I am an
idler, and too fond of our Dutch amusements, and that I have not paid the
attention I ought to have paid to books; but let that precious creature
only take me by the hand, and I should turn out an altered man in a month.
Young women can do anything they please with us, Mr. Littlepage, when they
set their minds about it in earnest. I wish I was a horse, to have the
pleasure of dragging Mary Wallace in this excursion!”

[Footnote 25: As it is possible this book may pass into the hands of others
than Americans, it maybe well to say that a sleigh-bell is a small hollow
ball, made of bell-metal, having a hole in it that passes round half of
its circumference, and containing a small _solid_ ball, of a size not to
escape. These bells are fastened to leathern straps, which commonly pass
round the necks of the horses. In the time of Guert Ten Eyck, most of the
bells were attached to small plates, that were buckled to various parts
of the harness; but, as this caused a motion annoying to the animals, Mr.
Littlepage evidently wishes his readers to understand that his friend, Ten
Eyck, was too knowing to have recourse to the practice. Even the straps are
coming into disuse, the opinion beginning to obtain that sleigh-bells are
a nuisance, instead of an advantage. Twenty years since, the laws of most
large towns rendered them necessary, under the pretence of preventing
accidents by apprising the footman of the approach of a sleigh; but more
horses are now driven, in the state of New York, without than with bells,
in winter.

“Sleigh,” as spelt, is purely an American word. It is derived from “slee,”
 in Dutch; which is pronounced like “sleigh.” Some persons contend; that
the Americans ought to use the old English words “sled,” or: “sledge.” But
these words do not precisely express the things we possess. There is as
much reason for calling a pleasure conveyance by a name different from
“sled,” as there is for saying “coach” instead of “wagon.” “Sleigh” _will_
become English, ere long, as it is now American. Twenty millions of
people not only can make a word, but they can make a language, if it be
needed.--EDITOR.]



CHAPTER XV.

  “When lo! the voice of loud alarm
  His inmost soul appals:
  What ho! Lord William, rise in haste!
  The water saps thy walls!”

  _Lord William_.


The visit to Madam Schuyler occurred of a Saturday evening; and the matter
of our adventure in company with Jack and Moses, was to be decided on the
following Monday. When I rose and looked out of my window on the Sunday
morning, however, there appeared but very little prospect of its being
effected that spring, inasmuch as it rained heavily, and there was a fresh
south wind. We had reached the 21st of March, a period of the year when a
decided thaw was not only ominous to the sleighing, but when it actually
predicted a permanent breaking up of the winter. The season had been late,
and it was thought the change could not be distant.

The rain and south wind continued all that day, and torrents of water came
rushing down the short, steep streets, effectually washing away everything
like snow. Mr. Worden preached, notwithstanding, and to a very respectable
congregation. Dirck and myself attended; but Jason preferred sitting out a
double half-hour glass sermon in the Dutch church, delivered in a language
of which he understood very little, to lending his countenance to the rites
of the English service. Both Anneke and Mary Wallace found their way up
the hill, going in a carriage; though I observed that Herman Mordaunt was
absent. Guert was in the gallery, in which we also sat; but I could not
avoid remarking that neither of the young ladies raised her eyes once,
during the whole service, as high as our pews. Guert whispered something
about this, as he hastened down stairs to hand them to their carriage,
when the congregation was dismissed, begging me, at the same time, to be
punctual to the appointment for the next day. What he meant by this last
remembrancer, I did not understand; for the hills were beginning to exhibit
their bare breasts, and it was somewhat surprising with what rapidity a
rather unusual amount of snow had disappeared. I had no opportunity to
ask an explanation, as Guert was too busy in placing the ladies in the
carriage, and the weather was not such as to admit of my remaining a moment
longer in the street than was indispensably necessary.

A change occurred in the weather during the night, the rain having ceased,
though the atmosphere continued mild, and the wind was still from the
south. It was the commencement of the spring; and, as I walked round to
Guert Ten Eyck’s house, to meet him at breakfast, I observed that several
vehicles with wheels were already in motion in the streets, and that divers
persons appeared to be putting away their sleighs and sleds, as things of
no further use, until the next winter. Our springs do not certainly come
upon us as suddenly as some of which I have read, in the old world; but
when the snow and winter endure as far into March as had been the case with
that of the year 1758, the change is often nearly magical.

“Here, then, is the spring opening,” I said to Dirck, as we walked along
the well-washed streets; “and, in a few weeks, we must be off to the bush.
Our business on the Patent must be got along with, before the troops are
put in motion, or we may lose the opportunity of seeing a campaign.”

With such expectations and feelings I entered Guert’s bachelor abode;
and the first words I uttered, were to sympathize in his supposed
disappointment.

“It is a great pity you did not propose the drive to the ladies for
Saturday,” I began; “for that was not only a mild day, but the sleighing
was excellent. As it is, you will have to postpone your triumph until next
winter.”

“I do not understand you!” cried Guert; “Jack and Moses never were in
better heart, or in better condition. I think they are equal to going to
Kinderhook in two hours!”

“But who will furnish the roads with snow? By looking out of the window,
you will see that the streets are nearly bare.”

“Streets and roads! Who cares for either, while we have the river? We often
use the river here, weeks at a time, when the snow has left us. The ice has
been remarkably even the whole of this winter, and, now the snow is off it,
there will be no danger from the air-holes.”

I confess I did not much like the notion of travelling twenty miles on the
ice, but was far too much of a man to offer any objections.

We breakfasted, and proceeded in a body to the residence of Herman
Mordaunt. When the ladies first heard that we had come to claim the
redemption of the half-promise given at Madam Schuyler’s, their surprise
was not less than mine had been, half an hour before, while their
uneasiness was probably greater.

“Surely, Jack and Moses cannot exhibit all their noble qualities without
snow!” exclaimed Anneke, laughing, “Ten Eycks though they be!”

“We Albanians have the advantage of travelling on the ice, when the
snow fails us,” answered Guert. “Here is the river, near by, and never was
the sleighing on it, better than at this moment.”

“But, it has been many times safer, I should think. This looks very much
like the breaking up of winter!”

“That is probable enough, and so much greater the reason why we should not
delay, if you and Miss Mary ever intend to learn what the blacks can do. It
is for the honour of Holland that I desire it, else would I not presume so
far. I feel every condescension of this sort, that I receive from you two
ladies, in a way I cannot express; for no one Knows, better than myself,
how unworthy I am of your smallest notice.”

This brought the signs of yielding, at once, into the mild countenance of
Mary Wallace. Guert’s self-humiliation never failed to do this. There was
so much obvious truth in his admission, so sincere a disposition to place
himself where nature and education, or a _want_ of education had placed
him, and most of all, so profound a deference for the mental superiority of
Mary herself, that the female heart found it impossible to resist. To my
surprise, Guert’s mistress, contrary to her habit in such things, was the
first to join him, and to second his proposal. Herman Mordaunt entering the
room at this instant, the whole thing was referred to him, as in reason it
ought to have been.

“I remember to have travelled on the Hudson, a few years since,” returned
Herman Mordaunt, “the entire distance between Albany and Sing-Sing, and
a very good time we had of it; much better than had we gone by land, for
there was little or no snow.”

“Just our case now, Miss Anneke!” cried Guert. “Good sleighing on the
river, but none on the land.”

“Was that near the end of March, dear Papa?” asked Anneke, a little
inquiringly.

“No, certainly not, for it was early in February, But the ice, at this
moment, must be near eighteen inches thick, and strong enough to bear a
load of hay.”

“Yes, Masser Herman,” observed Cato, a grey-headed black, who had never
called his master by any other name, having known him from an infant; “yes,
Masser Herman, a load do come over dis minute.”

It appeared unreasonable to distrust the strength of the ice, after this
proof to the contrary, and Anneke submitted. The party was arranged
forthwith, and in the following manner:--The two ladies, Guert and myself,
were to be drawn by the blacks, while Herman Mordaunt, Dirck, and any one
else they could enlist, were to follow in the New York sleigh. It was hoped
that an elderly female connection, Mrs. Bogart, who resided at Albany,
would consent to be of the party, as the plan was to visit and dine with
another and a mutual connection of the Mordaunts, at Kinderhook, While the
sleighs were getting ready, Herman Mordaunt walked round to the house of
Mrs. Bogart, made his request, and was successful.

The clock in the tower of the English church struck ten, as both sleighs
drove from Herman Mordaunt’s door. There was literally no snow in the
middle of the streets; but enough of it, mingled with ice, was still to be
found nearer the houses, to enable us to get down to the ferry, the point
where sleighs usually went upon the river. Here Herman Mordaunt, who was in
advance, checked his horses, and turned to speak to Guert on the propriety
of proceeding. The ice near the shore had evidently been moved, the river
having risen a foot or two, in consequence of the wind and the thaw, and
there was a sort of icy wave cast up near the land, over which it was
indispensable to pass, in order to get fairly on the river. As the top of
this ridge, or wave, was broken, it exposed a fissure that enabled us to
see the thickness of the ice, and this Guert pointed out in proof of its
strength. There was nothing unusual in a small movement of the covering of
the river, which the current often produces; but, unless the vast fields
below got in motion, it was impossible for those above materially to change
their positions. Sleighs were passing, too, still bringing to town, hay
from the flats on the eastern bank, and there was no longer any hesitation.
Herman Mordaunt’s sleigh passed slowly over the ridge, having a care to the
legs of the horses, and ours followed in the same cautious manner, though
the blacks jumped across the fissure in spite of their master’s exertions.

Once on the river, however, Guert gave his blacks the whip and rein, and
away we went like the wind. The smooth, icy surface of the Hudson was our
road, the thaw having left very few traces of any track. The water had
all passed beneath the ice, through cracks and fissures of one sort and
another, leaving us an even, dry, surface to trot on. The wind was still
southerly, though scarcely warm, while a bright sun contributed to render
our excursion as gay to the eye, as it certainly was to our feelings. In
a few minutes every trace of uneasiness had vanished. Away we went, the
blacks doing full credit to their owner’s boasts, seeming scarcely to touch
tke ice, from which their feet appeared to rebound with a sort of elastic
force. Herman Mordaunt’s bays followed on our heels, and the sleighs had
passed over the well-known shoal of the Overslaugh, within the first twenty
minutes after they touched the river.

Every northern American is familiar with the effect that the motion of a
sleigh produces on the spirits, under favourable circumstances. Had our
party been altogether composed of Albanians, there would probably have been
no drawback on the enjoyment, for use would have prevented apprehension;
but it required the few minutes I have mentioned to give Anneke and Mary
Wallace full confidence in the ice. By the time we reached the Overslaugh,
however, their fears had vanished; and Guert confirmed their sense of
security, by telling them to listen to the sounds produced by his horses’
hoofs, which certainty conveyed the impression of moving on a solid
foundation.

Mary Wallace had never before been so gay in my presence, as she appeared
to be that morning. Once, or twice, I fancied her eyes almost as bright as
those of Anneke’s, and certainly her laugh was as sweet and musical. Both
the girls were full of spirits, and some little things occurred that
gave me hopes Bulstrode had no reason to fancy himself as secure, as he
sometimes seemed to be. A casual remark of Guert’s had the effect to bring
out some of Anneke’s private sentiments on the subject; or, at least, so
they appeared to be to me.

“I am surprised that Mr. Mordaunt forgot to invite Mr. Bulstrode to be one
of our party, to-day,” cried Guert, when we were below the Overslaugh. “The
Major loves sleighing, and he would have filled the fourth seat, in the
other sleigh, very agreeably. As for coming into this, that would be
refused him, were he even a general!”

“Mr. Bulstrode is English,” answered Anneke, with spirit, “and fancies
American amusements beneath the tastes of one who has been presented at the
Court of St. James.”

“Well, Miss Anneke, I cannot say that I agree with you at all, in this
opinion of Mr. Bulstrode,” Guert returned, innocently. “It is true, he is
English; that he fancies an advantage, as does Corny Littlepage, here; but
we must make proper allowances for home-love and foreign-dislike.”

“‘Corny Littlepage, here,’ is only _half_ English, and that half is
colony-born and colony-bred,” answered the laughing girl, “and he has loved
a sleigh from the time when he first slid down hill--”

“Ah! Miss Anneke--let me entreat--”

“Oh! no allusion is intended to the Dutch church and its
neighbourhood;--but, the sports of childhood are always dear to us, as are
sometimes the discomforts. Habit and prejudice are sister hand-maidens; and
I never see one of these gentlemen from home, taking extraordinary interest
in any of our peculiarly colony usages, but I distrusted an extra amount of
complaisance, or a sort of enjoyment in which we do not strictly share.”

“Is this altogether liberal to Bulstrode, Miss Anneke,” I ventured to put
in; “he seems to like us, and I am sure he has good reason so to do. That
he likes _some_ of us, is too apparent to be concealed or denied.”

“Mr. Bulstrode is a skilful actor, as all who saw his Cato must be aware,”
 retorted the charming girl, compressing her pouting lips in a way that
seemed to me to be inexpressibly pleasing; “and those who saw his Scrub
must be equally convinced of the versatility of his talents. No, no; Major
Bulstrode is better where he is, or will be to-day, at four o’clock--at the
head of the mess of the ----th, instead of dining in a snug Dutch parlour,
with my cousin, worthy Mrs. van der Heyden, at a dinner got up with colony
hospitality, and colony good-will, and colony plainness. The entertainment
we shall receive to-day, sweetened, as it will be, by the welcome which
will come from the heart, can have no competitor in countries where a
messenger must be sent two days before the visit, to ask permission to
come, in order to escape cold looks and artificial surprise. I would prefer
surprising my friends from the heart, instead of from the head.”

Guert expressed his astonishment that any one should not always be glad
and willing to receive his friends; and insisted on it, that no such
inhospitable customs _could_ exist. I knew, however, that society could not
exist on the same terms, in old and in new countries--among a people that
was pressed upon by numbers, and a people that had not yet felt the evils
of a superabundant population. Americans are like dwellers in the country,
who are always glad to see their friends; and I ventured to say something
of the causes of these differences in habits.

Nothing occurred worthy of being dwelt on, in our ride to Kinderhook. Mrs.
Van der Heyden resided at a short distance from the river, and the blacks
and the bays had some little difficulty in dragging us through the mud to
her door. Once there, however, our welcome fully verified the theory of
the colony habits, which had been talked over in our drive down. Anneke’s
worthy connection was not only glad to see her, as anybody might have been,
but she would have been glad to receive as many as her house would hold.
Few excuses were necessary, for we were all welcome. The visit would retard
her dinner an hour, as was frankly admitted--but that was nothing; and
cakes and wine were set before us in the interval, did we feel hungry in
consequence of a two hours’ ride. Guert was desired to make free, and go to
the stables to give his own orders. In a word, our reception was just that
which every colonist has experienced, when he has gone unexpectedly to
visit a friend, or a friend’s friend. Our dinner was excellent, though not
accompanied by much form. The wine was good; Mrs. van der Heyden’s deceased
husband having been a judge of what was desirable in that respect.
Everybody was in good-humour; and our hostess insisted on giving us coffee
before we took our departure.

“There will be a moon, cousin Herman,” she said, “and the night will be
both light and pleasant. Guert knows the road, which cannot well be missed,
as it is the river; and if you quit me at eight, you will reach home in
good season to go to rest. It is so seldom I see you, that I have a
right to claim every minute you can spare. There remains much to be told
concerning our old friends and mutual relatives.”

When such words are accompanied by looks and acts that prove their
sincerity, it is not easy to tear ourselves away from a pleasant house. We
chatted on, laughed, listened to stories and colony anecdotes that carried
us back to the last war, and heard a great many eulogiums on beaux and
belles, that we young people had, all our lives, considered as respectable,
elderly, commonplace sort of persons.

At length the hour arrived when even Mrs. Bogart herself admitted we ought
to part. Anneke and Mary were kissed, enveloped in their furs, and kissed
again, and then we took our leave. As we left the house, I remarked that a
clock in the passage struck eight. In a few minutes every one was placed,
and the runners were striking fire from the flints of the bare ground. We
had less difficulty in descending than in ascending the bank of the river,
though there was no snow. It did not absolutely freeze, nor had it actually
frozen since the commencement of the thaw, but the earth had stiffened
since the disappearance of the sun. I was much rejoiced when the blacks
sprang upon the ice, and whirled us away, on our return road at a rate even
exceeding the speed with which they had come down it in the morning. I
thought it high time we should be in motion on our return; and in motion
we were, if flying at the rate of eleven miles in the hour could thus be
termed.

The light of the moon was not clear and bright, for there was a haze in the
atmosphere, as is apt to occur in the mild weather of March; but there was
enough to enable Guert to dash ahead with as great a velocity as was at all
desirable. We were all in high spirits; us two young men so much the more,
because each of us fancied he had seen that day evidence of a tender
interest existing in the heart of his mistress towards himself. Mary
Wallace had managed, with a woman’s tact, to make her suitor appear even
respectable in female society, and had brought out in him many sentiments
that denoted a generous disposition and a manly heart, if not a cultivated
intellect; and Guert was getting confidence, and with it the means of
giving his capacity fairer play. As for Anneke, she now knew my aim, and I
had some right to construe several little symptoms of feeling, that escaped
her in the course of the day, favourably. I fancied that, gentle as it
always was, her voice grew softer, and her smile sweeter and more winning,
as she addressed herself to, or smiled on me; and she did just enough of
both not to appear distant, and just little enough to appear conscious; at
least such were the conjectures of one who I do not think could be properly
accused of too much confidence, and whose natural diffidence was much
increased by the self-distrust of the purest love.

Away we went, Guert’s complicated chimes of bells jingling their merry
notes in a manner to be heard half a mile, the horses bearing hard on the
bits, for they knew that their own stables lay at the end of their journey,
and Herman Mordaunt’s bays keeping so near us that, notwithstanding the
noise we made with our own bells, the sounds of his were constantly in our
ears. An hour went swiftly by, and we had already passed Coejeman’s, and
had a hamlet that stretched along the strand, and which lay quite beneath
the high bank of the river, in dim distant view. This place has since been
known by the name of Monkey Town, and is a little remarkable as being the
first cluster of houses on the shores of the Hudson after quitting Albany.
I dare say it has another name in law, but Guert gave it the appellation I
have mentioned.

I have said that the night had a sombre, misty, light, the moon wading
across the heavens through a deep but thin ocean of vapour. We saw the
shores plainly enough, and we saw the houses and trees, but it was
difficult to distinguish smaller objects at any distance. In the course of
the day twenty sleighs had been met or passed, but at that hour everybody
but ourselves appeared to have deserted the river. It was getting late for
the simple habits of those who dwelt on its shores. When about half-way
between the islands opposite to Coejeman’s and the hamlet just named,
Guert, who stood erect to drive, told us that some one who was out late,
like themselves, was coming down. The horses of the strangers were in a
very fast trot, and the sleigh was evidently inclining towards the west
shore, as if those it held intended to land at no great distance. As it
passed, quite swiftly, a man’s voice called out something on a high key,
but our bells made so much noise that it was not easy to understand him. He
spoke in Dutch, too, and none of our ears, those of Guert excepted,
were sufficiently expert in that language to be particularly quick in
comprehending what he said. The call passed unheeded, then, such things
being quite frequent among the Dutch, who seldom passed each other on the
highway without a greeting of some sort or other. I was thinking of this
practice, and of the points that distinguished our own habits from those of
the people of this part of the colony, when sleigh-bells sounded quite near
me, and turning my head, I saw Herman Mordaunt’s bays galloping close to
us, as if wishing to get alongside. At the next moment the object was
effected, and Guert pulled up.

“Did you understand the man who passed down, Guert?” demanded Herman
Mordaunt, as soon as all noises ceased.

“He called out to us, at the top of his voice, and would hardly do that
without an object.”

“These men seldom go home, after a visit to Albany, without filling their
jugs,” answered Guert, drily; “what could he have to say, more than to wish
us good-night?”

“I cannot tell, but Mrs. Bogart thought she understood something about
‘Albany,’ and ‘the river.’”

“The ladies always fancy Albany is to sink into the river after a great
thaw,” answered Guert, good-humouredly; “but I can show either of them that
the ice is sixteen inches thick, here where we stand.”

Guert then gave me the reins, stepped out of the sleigh, went a short
distance to a large crack that he had seen while speaking, and returned
with a thumb placed on the handle of the whip, as a measure to show that
his statement was true. The ice, at that spot, was certainly nearer
eighteen than sixteen inches thick. Herman Mordaunt showed the measure
to Mrs. Bogart, whose alarm was pacified by this positive proof. Neither
Anneke nor Mary exhibited any fear; but, on the contrary, as the sleighs
separated again, each had something pleasant, but feminine, to say at the
expense of poor Mrs. Bogart’s imagination.

I believe I was the only person in our own sleigh who felt any alarm, after
the occurrence of this little incident. Why uneasiness beset _me_, I cannot
precisely say. It must have been altogether on Anneke’s account, and not in
the least on my own. Such accidents as sleighs breaking through, on our New
York lakes and rivers, happened almost every winter, and horses were often
drowned; though it was seldom the consequences proved so serious to their
owners. I recalled to mind the fragile nature of ice, the necessary effects
of the great thaw and the heavy rains, remembering that frozen water might
still retain most of its apparent thickness, after its consistency was
greatly impaired. But, I could do nothing! If we landed, the roads were
impassable for runners, almost for wheels, and another hour might carry
the ladies, by means of the river, to their comfortable homes. That day,
however, which, down to the moment of meeting the unknown sleigh, had been
the very happiest of my life, was entirely changed in its aspect, and I no
longer regarded it with any satisfaction. Had Anneke been at home, I could
gladly have entered into a contract to pass a week on the river myself,
as the condition of her safety, I thought but little of the others, to my
shame be it said, though I cannot do myself the injustice to imagine, had
Anneke been away, that I would have deserted even a horse, while there was
a hope of saving him.

Away we went! Guert drove rapidly, but he drove with judgment, and it
seemed as if his blacks knew what was expected of them. It was not long
before we were trotting past the hamlet I have mentioned. It would seem
that the bells of the two sleighs attracted the attention of the people on
the shore, all of whom had not yet gone to bed; for the door of a house
opened, and two men issued out of it, gazing at us as we trotted past at
a pace that defied pursuit. These men also hallooed to us, in Dutch, and
again Herman Mordaunt galloped up alongside, to speak to us.

“Did you understand these men?” he called out, for this time Guert did not
see fit to stop his horses; “they, too, had something to tell us.”

“These people always have something to tell an Albany sleigh, Mr.
Mordaunt,” answered Guert; “though it is not often that which it would do
any good to hear.”

“But Mrs. Bogart thinks they also had something to say about ‘Albany,’ and
the ‘river.’”

“I understand Dutch as well as excellent Mrs. Bogart,” said Guert, a little
drily; “and I heard nothing; while I fancy I understand the river better.
This ice would bear a dozen loads of hay, in a close line.”

This again satisfied Herman Mordaunt and the ladies, but it did not satisfy
me. Our own bells made four times the noise of those of Herman Mordaunt;
and it was very possible that one, who understood Dutch perfectly, might
comprehend a call in that language, while seated in his own sleigh, when
the same call could not be comprehended by the same person, while seated in
Guert’s. There was no pause, however; on we trotted; and another mile was
passed, before any new occurrence attracted attention.

The laugh was again heard among us, for Mary Wallace consented to sing
an air, that was rendered somewhat ludicrous by the accompaniment of the
bells. This song, or verse or two, for the singer got no further on account
of the interruption, had drawn Guert’s and my attention behind us, or away
from the horses, when a whirling sound was heard, followed immediately by
a loud shout. A sleigh passed within ten yards of us, going down, and the
whirling sound was caused by its runners, while the shout came from a
solitary man, who stood erect, waving his whip and calling to us in a loud
voice, as long as he could be heard. This was but for a moment, however, as
his horses were on the run; and the last we could see of the man, through
the misty moon-light, he had turned his whip on his team, to urge it ahead
still faster. In an instant, Herman Mordaunt was at our side, for the third
time that night, and he called out to us somewhat authoritatively to stop.

“What can all this mean, Guert?” he asked. “Three times have we had
warnings about ‘Albany’ and the ‘river.’ I heard this man myself utter
those two words, and cannot be mistaken.”

“I dare say, sir, that you may have heard something of the sort,” answered
the still incredulous Guert; “for these chaps have generally some
impertinence to utter, when they pass a team that is better than their own.
These blacks of mine, Herman Mordaunt, awaken a good deal of envy, whenever
I go out with them; and a Dutchman will forgive you any other superiority,
sooner than he will overlook your having the best team. That last man had a
spur in his head, moreover, and is driving his cattle, at this moment, more
like a spook than like a humane and rational being, I dare say he asked if
we owned Albany and the river.”

Guert’s allusion to his horses occasioned a general laugh; and laughter is
little favourable to cool reflection. We all looked out on the solemn and
silent night, cast our eyes along the wide and long reach of the river, in
which we happened to be, and saw nothing but the calm of nature, rendered
imposing by solitude and the stillness of the hour. Guert smilingly renewed
his assurances that all was right, and moved on. Away we went! Guert
evidently pressed his horses, as if desirous of being placed beyond this
anxiety as soon as possible. The blacks flew, rather than trotted; and we
were all beginning to submit to the exhilaration of so rapid and easy a
motion, when a sound which resembled that which one might suppose the
simultaneous explosion of a thousand rifles would produce, was heard, and
caused both drivers to pull up; the sleighs stopping quite near each other,
and at the same instant! A slight exclamation escaped old Mrs. Bogart; but
Anneke and Mary remained still as death.

“What means that sound, Guert?” inquired Herman Mordaunt; the concern he
felt being betrayed by the very tone of his voice. “Something seems wrong!”

“Something _is_ wrong,” answered Guert, coolly, but very decidedly; “and it
is something that must be seen to.”

As this was said, Guert stepped out on the ice, which he struck a hard blow
with the heel of his boot, as if to make certain of its solidity. A second
report was heard, and it evidently came from _behind_ us. Guert gazed
intently down the river; then he laid his head close to the surface of
the ice, and looked again. At the same time, three or four more of these
startling reports followed each other in quick succession. Guert instantly
rose to his feet.

“I understand it, now,” he said, “and find I have been rather too
confident. The ice, however, is safe and strong, and we have nothing to
fear from its weakness. Perhaps it would be better to quit the river
notwithstanding, though I am far from certain the better course will not be
to push on.”

“Let us know the danger at once, Mr. Ten Eyck,” said Herman Mordaunt, “that
we may decide for the best.”

“Why, sir, I am afraid that the rains and the thaw together, have thrown so
much water into the river, all at once, as it might be, as to have raised
the ice and broken it loose, in spots, from the shores. When this happens
_above_, before the ice has disappeared below, it sometimes causes dams to
form, which heap up such a weight as to break the whole plain of ice far
below it, and thus throw cakes over cakes until walls twenty or thirty
feet high are formed. This has not happened _yet_, therefore there is no
immediate danger; but by bending your heads low, you can see that such a
_break_ has just taken place about half a mile below us.”

We did as Guert directed, and saw that a mound had arisen across the river
nearer than the distance named by our companion, completely cutting off
retreat by the way we had come. The bank on the west side of the Hudson was
high at the point where we were, and looking intensely at it, I saw by the
manner in which the trees disappeared, the more distant behind those that
were nearer, that we were actually in motion! An involuntary exclamation
caused the whole party to comprehend this startling fact at the same
instant. We were certainly in motion, though very slowly, on the ice of
that swollen river, in the quiet and solitude of a night in which the moon
rather aided in making danger apparent than in assisting us to avoid it!
What was to be done? It was necessary to decide, and that promptly and
intelligently.

We waited for Herman Mordaunt to advise us, but he referred the matter at
once to Guert’s greater experience.

“We cannot land here,” answered the young man, “so long as the ice is in
motion, and I think it better to push on. Every foot will bring us so much
nearer to Albany, and we shall get among the islands a mile or two higher,
where the chances of landing will be greatly increased. Besides, I have
often crossed the river on a cake, for they frequently stop, and I have
known even loaded sleighs profit by them to get over the river. As yet
there is nothing very alarming;--let us push on, and get nearer to the
islands.”

This, then, was done, though there was no longer heard the laugh or the
song among us. I could see that Herman Mordaunt was uneasy about Anneke,
though he could not bring her into his own sleigh, leaving Mary Wallace
alone; neither could he abandon his respectable connection, Mrs. Bogart.
Before we re-entered the sleighs, I took an occasion to assure him that
Anneke should be my especial care.

“God bless you, Corny, my dear boy,” Herman Mordaunt answered, squeezing
my hand with fervour. “God bless you, and enable you to protect her. I was
about to ask you to change seats with me; but, on the whole, I think my
child will be safer with you than she could be with me. We will await God’s
pleasure as accident has placed us.”

“I will desert her only with life, Mr. Mordaunt. Be at ease on that
subject.”

“I know you will not--I am _sure_ you will not, Littlepage; that affair of
the lion is a pledge that you will not. Had Bulstrode come, we should have
been strong enough to----but Guert is impatient to be off. God bless you,
boy--God bless you. Do not neglect my child.”

Guert _was_ impatient, and no sooner was I in the sleigh than we were once
more in rapid motion. I said a few words to encourage the girls, and then
no sound of a human voice mingled with the gloomy scene.



CHAPTER XVI.

  He started up, each limb convulsed
  With agonizing fear,
  He only heard the storm of night--
  ‘Twas music to his ear.

  _Lord William_.


Away we went! Guert’s aim was the islands, which carried him nearer home,
while it offered a place of retreat, in the event of the danger’s becoming
more serious. The fierce rapidity with which we now moved prevented all
conversation, or even much reflection. The reports of the rending ice,
however, became more and more frequent, first coming from above, and then
from below. More than once it seemed as if the immense mass of weight that
had evidently collected somewhere near the town of Albany, was about to
pour down upon us in a flood--when the river would have been swept for
miles, by a resistless torrent. Nevertheless, Guert held on his way;
firstly, because he knew it would be impossible to get on either of the
main shores, anywhere near the point where we happened to be; and secondly,
because, having often seen similar dammings of the waters, he fancied
we were still safe. That the distant reader may understand the precise
character of the danger we ran, it may be well to give him some notion of
the localities.

The banks of the Hudson are generally high and precipitous, and in some
places they are mountainous. No flats worthy of being mentioned, occur,
until Albany is approached; nor are those which lie south of that town, of
any great extent, compared with the size of the stream. In this particular
the Mohawk is a very different river, having extensive flats that, I have
been told, resemble those of the Rhine, in miniature. As for the Hudson,
it is generally esteemed in the colony as a very pleasing river; and I
remember to have heard intelligent people from home, admit, that even the
majestic Thames itself, is scarcely more worthy to be visited, or that it
better rewards the trouble and curiosity of the enlightened traveller. [26]

While there are flats on the shores of the Hudson, and of some extent, in
the vicinity of Albany, the general formation of the adjacent country is
preserved,--being high, bold, and in some quarters, more particularly to
the northward and eastward, mountainous. Among these hills the stream
meanders for sixty or eighty miles north of the town, receiving tributaries
as it comes rushing down towards the sea. The character of the river
changes entirely, a short distance above Albany; the tides flowing to that
point, rendering it navigable, and easy of ascent in summer, all the way
from the sea. Of the tributaries, the principal is the Mohawk, which runs
a long distance towards the west--they tell me, for I have never visited
these remote parts of the colony--among fertile plains, that are bounded
north and south by precipitous highlands. Now, in the spring, when the vast
quantities of snow, that frequently lie four feet deep in the forests, and
among the mountains and valleys of the interior, are suddenly melted by the
south winds and rains, freshets necessarily succeed, which have been known
to do great injury. The flats of the Mohawk, they tell me, are annually
overflown, and a moderate freshet is deemed a blessing; but, occasionally,
a union of the causes I have mentioned, produces a species of deluge that
has a very opposite character. Thus it is, that houses are swept away;
and bridges from the smaller mountain streams, have been known, to come
floating past the wharves of Albany, holding their way towards the ocean.
At such times the tides produce no counter-current; for it is a usual
thing, in the early months of the spring, to have the stream pour downwards
for weeks, the whole length of the river, and to find the water fresh even
as low as New York.

Such was the general nature of the calamity we had been so unexpectedly
made to encounter. The winter had been severe, and the snows unusually
deep; and, as we drove furiously onward, I remembered to have heard
my grandfather predict extraordinary freshets in the spring, from the
character of the winter, as we had found it, even previously to my quitting
home. The great thaw, and the heavy rains of the late storm, had produced
the usual effect; and the waters thus let loose, among the distant, as
well as the nearer hills, were now pouring down upon us in their collected
might. In such cases, the first effect is, to loosen the ice from the
shores; and, local causes forcing it to give way at particular points, a
breaking up of its surface occurs, and dams are formed that set the stream
back in floods upon all the adjacent low land, such as the flats in the
vicinity of Albany.

We did not then know it, but, at the very moment Guert was thus urging
his blacks to supernatural efforts--actually running them as if on a
race-course--there was a long reach of the Hudson, opposite to, for a short
distance below, and for a considerable distance above the town, which was
quite clear of stationary ice. Vast cakes continued to come down, it is
true, passing on to increase the dam that had formed below, near and on
the Overslaugh, where it was buttressed by the islands, and rested on the
bottom; but the whole of that firm field, on which we had first driven
forth that morning, had disappeared! This we did not know at the time, or
it might have changed the direction of Guert’s movements; but I learned it
afterwards, when placed in a situation to inquire into the causes of what
had occurred.

Herman Mordaunt’s bells, and the rumbling sound of his runners, were heard
close behind us, as our own sleigh flew along the river at a rate that I
firmly believe could not have been much less than that of twenty miles in
the hour. As we were whirled northward, the reports made by the rending of
the ice increased in frequency and force. They really became appalling!
Still, the girls continued silent, maintaining their self-command in a most
admirable manner; though I doubt not that they felt, in the fullest extent,
the true character of the awful circumstances in which we were placed. Such
was the state of things, as Guert’s blacks began sensibly to relax in their
speed, for want of wind. They still galloped on, but it was no longer with
the swiftness of the wind; and their master became sensible of the folly of
hoping to reach the town ere the catastrophe should arrive. He reined in
his panting horses, therefore, and was just falling into a trot, as a
violent report was heard directly in our front. At the next instant the ice
rose, positively, beneath our horses’ hoofs, to the height of several feet,
taking the form of the roof of a house. It was too late to retreat, and
Guert shouting out “Jack”--“Moses,” applied the whip, and the spirited
animals actually went over the mound, leaping a crack three feet in width,
and reaching the level ice beyond. All this was done, as it might be, in
the twinkling of an eye. While the sleigh flew over this ridge, it was with
difficulty I held the girls in their seats; though Guert stood nobly erect,
like the pine that is too firmly rooted to yield to the tempest. No sooner
was the danger passed, however, than he pulled up, and came to a dead halt.

We heard the bells of Herman Mordaunt’s sleigh, on the other side of the
barrier, but could see nothing. The broken cakes, pressed upon by millions
of tons weight above, had risen fully ten feet, into an inclination that
was nearly perpendicular; rendering crossing it next to impossible, even to
one a-foot. Then came Herman Mordaunt’s voice, filled with paternal agony,
and human grief, to increase the awe of that dreadful moment!

“Shore!--shore!--” he shouted, or rather yelled--“In the name of a
righteous Providence, to the shore, Guert!”

The bells passed off towards the western bank, and the rumbling of the
runners accompanied their sound. That was a breathless moment to us four.
We heard the rending and grinding of the ice, on all sides of us; saw
the broken barriers behind and in front; heard the jingling of Herman
Mordaunt’s bells, as it became more and more distant, and finally ceased;
and felt as if we were cut off from the rest of our species. I do not think
either of us felt any apprehension of breaking through; for use had so
accustomed us to the field of the river, while the more appalling grounds
of alarm were so evident, that no one thought of such a source of danger.
Nor was there much, in truth, to apprehend from that cause. The thaw had
not lasted long enough materially to diminish either the thickness or the
tenacity of the common river ice; though it was found unequal to resisting
the enormous pressure that bore upon it from above. It is probable that
a cake of an acre’s size would have upheld, not only ourselves, but our
sleigh and horses, and carried us, like a raft, down the stream; had there
been such a cake, free from stationary impediments. Even the girls now
comprehended the danger, which was in a manner suspended over us,--as the
impending wreath of snow menaces the fall of the _avalanche_. But, it was
no moment for indecision or inaction.

Cut off, as we were, by an impassable barrier of ice, from the route taken
by Herman Mordaunt, it was necessary to come to some resolution on our own
course. We had the choice of endeavouring to pass to the western shore,
on the upper side of the barrier, or of proceeding towards the nearest of
several low islands which lay in the opposite direction. Guert determined
on the last, walking his horses to the point of land, there being no
apparent necessity for haste, while the animals greatly needed breath. As
we went along, he explained to us that the fissure below cut us off from
the only point where landing on the western shore could be practicable. At
the same time, he put in practice a pious fraud, which had an excellent
effect on the feelings and conduct of both the girls, throughout the
remainder of the trying scenes of that fearful night; more especially on
those of Anneke. He dwelt on the good fortune of Herman Mordaunt, in being
on the right side of the barrier that separated the sleighs, in a way to
induce those who did not penetrate his motive, to fancy the rest of the
party was in a place of security, as the consequence of this accident. Thus
did Anneke believe her father safe, and thus was she relieved from much
agonizing doubt.

As soon as the sleigh came near the point of the island, Guert gave me the
reins, and went ahead to examine whether it were possible to land. He was
absent fifteen minutes; returning to us only after he had made a thorough
search into the condition of the island, as well as of that of the ice in
its eastern channel. These were fifteen fearful minutes; the rending of the
masses above, and the grinding of cake on cake, sounding like the roar of
the ocean in a tempest. Notwithstanding all the awful accessories of this
dreadful night, I could not but admire Guert’s coolness of manner, and his
admirable conduct. He was more than resolute; for he was cool, collected,
and retained the use of all his faculties in perfection. As plausible as it
might seem, to one less observant and clear-headed, to attempt escaping to
the western shore, Guert had decided right in moving towards the island.
The grinding of the ice, in another quarter, had apprised him that the
water was forcing its way through, near the main land; and that escape
would be nearly hopeless, on that side of the river. When he rejoined us,
he called me to the heads of the horses, for a conference; first solemnly
assuring our precious companions that there were no grounds for immediate
apprehension. Mary Wallace anxiously asked him to repeat this to _her_, on
the faith due from man to woman; and he did it; when I was permitted to
join him without further opposition.

“Corny,” said Guert, in a low tone, “Providence has punished me for my
wicked wish of seeing Mary Wallace in the claws of lions; for all the
savage beasts of the Old World, could hardly make our case more desperate
than it now is. We must be cool, however, and preserve the girls or die
like men.”

“Our fates are, and must be, the same. Do you devote yourself to Mary, and
leave Anneke to me. But, why this language; surely, our case is by no means
so desperate.”

“It might not be so difficult for two active, vigorous young men to get
ashore; but it would be different with females. The ice is in motion all
around us; and the cakes are piling and grinding on each other in a most
fearful manner. Were it light enough to see, we should do much better; but,
as it is, I dare not trust Mary Wallace any distance from this island,
at present. We may be compelled to pass the night here, and must make
provision accordingly. You hear the ice grinding on the shore; a sign that
everything is going down stream.--God send that the waters break through,
ere long; though they may sweep all before them, when they do come. I fear
me, Corny, that Herman Mordaunt and his party are lost!”

“Merciful Providence!--can it be as bad as that!--I rather hope they have
reached the land.”

“_That_ is impossible, on the course they took. Even a man would be
bewildered and swept away, in the torrent that is driving down under the
west shore. It is that vent to the water, which saves us. But, no more
words.--You now understand the extent of the danger, and will know what
you are about. We must get our precious charge on the island, if possible,
without further delay. Half an hour--nay, half a minute may bring down the
torrent.”

Guert took the direction of everything. Even while we had been talking, the
ice had moved materially; and we found ourselves fifty feet further from
the island than we had been. By causing the horses to advance, this
distance was soon recovered; but it was found impossible to lead or drive
them over the broken cakes with which the shore of the island now began to
be lined. After one or two spirited and determined efforts, Guert gave the
matter up, and asked me to help the ladies from the sleigh. Never did women
behave better, than did these delicate and lovely girls, on an occasion so
awfully trying. Without remonstrances, tears, exclamations or questions,
both did as desired; and I cannot express the feeling of security I felt,
when I had helped each over the broken and grinding border of white ice,
that separated us from the shore. The night was far from cold; but the
ground was now frozen sufficiently to prevent any unpleasant consequences
from walking on what would otherwise have been a slimy, muddy alluvion; for
the island was so very low, as often to be under water, when the river was
particularly high. This, indeed, formed our danger, after we had reached
it.

When I returned to Guert, I found him already drifted down some little
distance; and this time we moved the sleigh so much above the point, as
to be in less danger of getting out of sight of our precious wards. To my
surprise, Guert was busy in stripping the harness from the horses, and Jack
already stood only in his blinkers. Moses was soon reduced to the same
state. I was wondering what was to be done next, when Guert drew each
bridle from its animal, and gave a smart crack of his whip. The liberated
horses started back with affright--snorted, reared, and, turning away, they
went down the river, free as air, and almost as swift; the incessant and
loud snapping of heir master’s whip, in no degree tending to diminish their
speed. I asked the meaning of this.

“It would be cruel not to let the poor beasts make use of the strength
and sagacity nature has given them to save their lives,” answered Guert,
straining his eyes after Moses, the horse that was behind, so long as his
dark form could be distinguished, and leaning forward to listen to the
blows of their hoofs, while the noises around us permitted them to be
heard. “To us, they would only be an encumbrance, since they never could
be forced over the cracks and caked ice in harness; nor would it be at all
safe to follow them, if they could. The sleigh is light, and we are strong
enough to shove it to land, when there is an opportunity; or, it may be
left on the island.”

Nothing could have served more effectually to convince me of the manner in
which Guert regarded our situation, than to see him turn loose beasts which
I knew he so highly prized. I mentioned this; and he answered me with a
melancholy seriousness, that made the impression so much the stronger--

“It is possible they may get ashore, for nature has given a horse a keen
instinct. They can swim, too, where you and I would drown. At all events,
they are not fettered with harness, but have every chance it is in my power
to give them. Should they land, any farmer would put them in his stable,
and I should soon hear where they were to be found; if, indeed, I am living
in the morning to make the inquiry.”

“What is next to be done, Guert?” I asked, understanding at once both his
feelings and his manner of reasoning.

“We must now run the sleigh on the island; after which it will be time to
look about us, and to examine if it be possible to get the ladies on the
main land.”

Accordingly, Guert and I applied ourselves to the task, and had no great
difficulty in dragging the sleigh over the cakes, grinding and in motion as
they were. We pulled it as far as the tree beneath which Anneke and Mary
stood; when the ladies got into it and took their seats, enveloped in the
skins. The night was not cold for the season, and our companions were
thickly clad, having tippets and muffs, still, the wolves’ skins of Guert
contributed to render them more comfortable. All apprehension of immediate
danger now ceased, for a short time; nor do I think either of the females
fancied they could run any more risk, beyond that of exposure to the night
air, so long as they remained on _terra firma_. Such was not the case,
however, as a very simple explanation will render apparent to the reader.

All the islands in this part of the Hudson are low, being rich, alluvial
meadows, bordered by trees and bushes; most of the first being willows,
sycamores, or nuts. The fertility of the soil had given to these trees
rapid growths, and they were generally of some stature; though not one
among them had that great size which ought to mark the body and branches of
a venerable tenant of the forest. This fact, of itself, proved that no one
tree of them all was _very_ old; a circumstance that was certainly owing to
the ravages of the annual freshets. I say annual; for though the freshet
which now encompassed us, was far more serious than usual, each year
brought something of the sort; and the islands were constantly increasing
or diminishing under their action. To prevent the last, a thicket of trees
was left at the head of each island, to form a sort of barricade against
the inroads of the ice in the spring. So low was the face of the land,
or meadow, however, that a rise of a very few feet in the river would
be certain to bring it entirely under water. All this will be made more
apparent by our own proceedings, after we had placed the ladies in the
sleigh; and more especially, by the passing remarks of Guert while employed
in his subsequent efforts.

No sooner did Guert Ten Eyck believe the ladies to be temporarily safe,
than he proposed to me that we should take a closer look at the state of
the river, in order to ascertain the most feasible means of getting on the
main land. This was said aloud, and in a cheerful way, as if he no longer
felt any apprehension, and, evidently to me, to encourage our companions.
Anneke desired us to go, declaring that now she knew herself to be on dry
land, all her own fears had vanished. We went accordingly, taking our first
direction towards the head of the island.

A very few minutes sufficed to reach the limits of our narrow domain; and,
as we approached them, Guert pointed out to me the mound of ice that was
piling up behind it, as a most fearful symptom.

“_There_ is our danger,” he said, with emphasis, “and we must not trust to
these trees. This freshet goes beyond any I ever saw on the river; and not
a spring passes that we have not more or less of them. Do you not see,
Corny, what saves us now?”

“We are on an island, and cannot be in much danger from the river while we
stay here.”

“Not so, my dear friend, not at all so. But, come with me and look for
yourself.”

I followed Guert, and did look for myself. We sprang upon the cakes of ice,
which were piled quite thirty feet in height, on the head of the island,
extending right and left, as far as our eyes could see, by that misty
light. It was by no means difficult moving about on this massive pile, the
movement in the cakes being slow, and frequently interrupted; but there was
no concealing the true character of the danger. Had not the island, and the
adjacent main interposed their obstacles, the ice would have continued to
move bodily down the stream, cake shoving over cake, until the whole found
vent in the wider space below, and floated off towards the ocean. Not only
was our island there; however, but other islands lay near us, straitening
the different channels or passages in such a way, as to compel the
formation of an icy dam; and, on the strength of this dam rested all our
security. Were it to be ruptured anywhere near us, we should inevitably be
swept off in a body. Guert thought, however, as has been said already, that
the waters had found narrow issues under the main land, both east and west
of us; and should this prove to be true, there was a hope that the great
calamity might be averted. In other words, if these floodgates sufficed, we
_might_ escape; otherwise the catastrophe was certain.

“I cannot excuse it to myself to remain here, without endeavouring to see
what is the state of things nearer to the shore,” said Guert, after we had
viewed the fast accumulating mass of broken ice above us, as well as the
light permitted, and we had talked over together the chances of safety,
and the character of the danger. “Do you return to the ladies, Corny, and
endeavour to keep up their spirits, while I cross this channel on our
right, to the next island, and see what offers in that direction.”

“I do not like the idea of your running all the risk alone; besides,
something may occur to require the strength of two, instead of that of one,
to overcome it.”

“You can go with me as far as the next island, if you will, where we shall
be able to ascertain at once whether it be ice or water that separates us
from the eastern shore. If the first, you can return as fast as possible
for the ladies, while I look for a place to cross. I do not like the
appearance of this dam, to be honest with you; and have great fears for
those who are now in the sleigh.”

We were in the very act of moving away, when a loud, cracking noise, that
arose within a few yards, alarmed us both; and running to the spot whence
it proceeded, we saw that a large willow had snapped in two, like a
pipe-stem, and that the whole barrier of ice was marching, slowly, but
grandly, over the stump, crushing the fallen trunk and branches beneath its
weight, as the slow-moving wheel of the loaded cart crushes the twig. Guert
grasped my arm, and his fingers nearly entered the flesh, under his iron
pressure.

“We must quit this spot--” he said firmly, “and at once. Let us go back to
the sleigh.”

I did not know Guert’s intentions, but I saw it was time to act with
decision. We moved swiftly down to the spot where we had left the sleigh;
and the reader will judge of our horror, when we found it gone! The whole
of the low point of the island where we had left it, was already covered
with cakes of ice that were in motion, and which had doubtless swept off
the sleigh during the few minutes that we had been absent! Looking around
us, however, we saw an object on the river, a little distance below, that I
fancied was the sleigh, and was about to rush after it, when a voice filled
with alarm, took us in another direction. Mary Wallace came out from behind
a tree, to which she had fled for safety, and seizing Guert’s arm, implored
him not to quit her again.

“Whither has Anneke gone?” I demanded, in an agony I cannot describe--“I
see nothing of Anneke!”

“She would not quit the sleigh,” answered Mary Wallace, almost panting
for breath--“I implored--entreated her to follow me--said you _must_ soon
return; but she refused to quit the sleigh. Anneke is in the sleigh, if
that can now be found.”

I heard no more; but springing on the still moving cakes of ice, went
leaping from cake to cake, until my sight showed me that, sure enough,
the sleigh was on the bed of the river, over which it was in slow motion;
forced downwards before the new coating of ice that was fast covering
the original surface. At first I could see no one in the sleigh; but, on
reaching it, I found Anneke buried in the skins. She was on her knees: the
precious creature was asking succour from God!

I had a wild but sweet consolation in thus finding myself, as it might be,
cut off from all the rest of my kind, in the midst of that scene of gloom
and desolation, alone with Anneke Mordaunt. The moment I could make her
conscious of my presence, she inquired after Mary Wallace, and was much
relieved on learning that she was with Guert, and would not be left by him,
for a single instant, again that night. Indeed, I saw their figures dimly,
as they moved swiftly across the channel that divided the two islands, and
disappear in that direction, among the bushes that lined the place to which
they had gone.

“Let us follow,” I said eagerly. “The crossing is yet easy, and we, too,
may escape to the shore.”

“Go you!” said Anneke, over whom a momentary physical torpor appeared to
have passed. “Go you, Corny,” she said; “a man may easily save himself; and
you are an only child--the sole hope of your parents.”

“Dearest, beloved Anneke!--why this indifference--this apathy on your own
behalf? Are _you_ not an only child, the sole hope of a widowed father?--do
you forget _him?_”

“No, no, no!” exclaimed the dear girl, hurriedly. “Help me out of the
sleigh, Corny: there, I will go with you anywhere--any how--to the end of
the world, to save my father from such anguish!”

From that moment the temporary imbecility of Anneke vanished, and I found
her, for the remainder of the time we remained in jeopardy, quick to
apprehend, and ready to second all my efforts. It was this passing
submission to an imaginary doom, on the one hand, and the headlong effect
of sudden fright on the other, which had separated the two girls, and which
had been the means of dividing the whole party as described.

I scarcely know how to describe what followed. So intense was my
apprehension on behalf of Anneke, that I can safely say, I did not think
of my own fate, in the slightest degree, as disconnected from hers. The
self-devoted reliance with which the dear girl seemed to place all her
dependence on me, would, of itself, have produced this effect, had she not
possessed my whole heart, as I was now so fully aware. Moments like those,
make one alive to all the affections, and strip off every covering that
habit or the dissembling of our manners is so apt to throw over the
feelings. I believe I both spoke and acted towards Anneke, as one would
cling to, or address the being dearest to him in the world, for the next
few minutes; but, I can suppose the reader will naturally prefer learning
what we did, under such circumstances, rather than what we said, or how we
felt.

I repeat, it is not easy for me to describe what followed. I know we first
rather ran, than walked, across the channel on which I had last seen the
dim forms of Guert and Mary, and even crossed the island to its eastern
side, in the hope of being able to reach the shore in that quarter. The
attempt was useless, for we found the water running down over the ice like
a race-way. Nothing could be seen of our late companions; and my loud and
repeated calls to them were unanswered.

“Our case is hopeless, Cornelius,” said Anneke; speaking with a forced
calmness when she found retreat impossible in that direction, “Let us
return to the sleigh, and submit to the will of God!”

“Beloved Anneke!--Think of your father, and summon your whole strength.
The bed of the river is yet firm; we will cross it, and try the opposite
shore.”

Cross it we did, my delicate companion being as much sustained by my
supporting arm, as by her own resolution but we found the same obstacle
to retreat interposing there also. The island above had turned the waters
aside, until they found an outlet under each bank--shooting along their
willowy shores, with the velocity of arrows. By this time, owing to our
hurried movement, I found Anneke so far exhausted, that it was absolutely
necessary to pause a minute to take breath. This pause was also necessary,
in order to look about us, and to decide understandingly as to the course
it was necessary now to pursue. This pause, brief as it was, moreover,
contributed largely to the apparent horrors of our situation.

The grating, or grinding of the ice above us, cake upon cake, now sounded
like the rushing of heavy winds, or the incessant roaring of a surf upon
the sea-shore. The piles were becoming visible, by their height and their
proximity, as the ragged barriers set slowly but steadily down upon us;
and the whole river seemed to me to be in motion downwards. At this awful
instant, when I began to think it was the will of Providence that Anneke
and I were to perish together, a strange sound interrupted the fearful
natural accessories of that frightful scene. I certainly heard the bells
of a sleigh; at first they seemed distant and broken--then, nearer and
incessant, attended by the rumbling of runners on the ice. I took off my
cap and pressed my head, for I feared my brain was unsettled. There it
came, however, more and more distinctly, until the trampling of horses’
hoofs mingled in the noise.

“Can there be others as unhappy as ourselves!” exclaimed Anneke, forgetting
her own fears in generous sympathy. “See, Littlepage!--see, _dear_
Cornelius--yonder surely comes another sleigh!”

Come it did, like the tempest, or the whirlwind; passing within fifty feet
of us. I knew it at a glance. It was the sleigh of Herman Mordaunt, empty;
with the horses, maddened by terror, running wherever their fears impelled.
As the sleigh passed, it was thrown on one side; then it was once more
whirled up again; and it went out of sight, with the rumbling sound of the
runners mingling with the jingling of bells and the tramp of hoofs.

At this instant a loud, distant cry from a human voice, was certainly
heard. It seemed, to me, as if some one called my name; and Anneke said,
she so understood it, too. The call, if call it was, came from the south,
and from under the western shore. At the next moment, awful reports
proceeded from the barrier above; and, passing an arm around the slender
waist of my lovely companion, to support her, I began a rapid movement in
the direction of that call. While attempting to reach the western shore, I
had observed a high mound of broken ice, that was floating down; or rather,
was pressed down on the smooth surface of the frozen river, in advance of
the smaller cakes that came by in the current. It was increasing, in size,
by accessions from these floating cakes, and threatened to form a new dam,
at some narrow pass below, as soon as of sufficient size. It occurred to me
we should be temporarily safe, could we reach that mound, for it rose so
high as to be above danger from the water. Thither, then, I ran, almost
carrying Anneke on my arm; our speed increased by the terrific sounds from
the dam above us.

We reached the mound, and found the cakes so piled, as to be able to ascend
them; though not without an effort. After getting up a layer or two, the
broken mass became so irregular and ragged, as to render it necessary for
me to mount first, and then to drag Anneke up after me. This I did, until
exhausted; and we both seated ourselves on the edge of a cake, in order to
recover our breath. While there, it struck me, that new sounds arose from
the river; and, bending forward to examine, I saw that the water had forced
its way through the dam above and was coming down upon us in a torrent.

[Footnote 26: This remark of Mr. Cornelius Littlepage’s, may induce a smile
in the reader. But, few persons of fifty can be found, who cannot recall
the time, when it was a rare thing to imagine _anything_ American, as good
as its English counterpart. The American who could write a book--a real,
live book--forty years since, was a sort of prodigy. It was the same with
him who could paint any picture beyond a common portrait. The very fruits
and natural productions of the country were esteemed, doubtingly; and he
was a bold man who dared to extol even canvass-back ducks, in the year
1800! At the present day, the feeling is fast undergoing an organic change.
It is now the fashion to _extol_ everything American, and from submitting
to a degree that was almost abject, to the feeling of colonial dependency,
the country is filled, to-day, with the most profound provincial
self-admiration. It is to be hoped that the next change will bring us to
something like the truth.--EDITOR.]



CHAPTER XVII.

  My heart leaps up when I behold
  A rainbow in the sky:
  So was it when my Life began;
  So is it now I am a man;
  So be it when I shall grow old,
  Or let me die!

  The child is father of the man;
  And I could wish my days to be
  Bound each to each by natural piety.

  WORDSWORTH.


Five minutes longer on the ice of the main channel, and we should have been
swept away. Even as we still sat looking at the frightful force of the
swift current, as well as the dim light of that clouded night would permit,
I saw Guert Ten Eyck’s sleigh whirl past us; and, only a minute later,
Herman Mordaunt’s followed; the poor, exhausted beasts struggling in the
harness for freedom, that they might swim for their lives. Anneke heard the
snorting of those wretched horses; but her unpractised eyes did not detect
them, immersed, as they were, in the current; nor had she recognised the
sleigh that whirled past us, as her father’s. A little later, a fearful
shriek came from one of the fettered beasts; such a heart-piercing cry as
it is known the horse often gives. I said nothing on the subject, knowing
that love for her father was one of the great incentives which had aroused
my companion to exertion; and being unwilling to excite fears that were now
latent.

Two or three minutes of rest were all that circumstances permitted. I could
see that everything visible on the river, was in motion downwards; the
piles of ice on which we were placed, as well as the cakes that glanced by
us, in their quicker descent. Our own motion was slow, on account of the
mass which doubtless pressed on the shoals of the west side of the river;
as well as on account of the friction against the lateral fields of ice,
and occasionally against the shore. Still, we were in motion; and I felt
the necessity, on every account, of getting as soon as possible on the
western verge of our floating island, in order to profit by any favourable
occurrence that might offer.

Dear Anneke!--How admirably did she behave that fearful night! From the
moment she regained her entire consciousness, after I found her praying in
the bottom of the sleigh, down to that instant, she had been as little
of an encumbrance to my own efforts, as was at all possible. Reasonable,
resolute, compliant, and totally without any ill-timed exhibition
of womanly apprehension, she had done all she was desired to do
unhesitatingly, and with intelligence. In ascending that pile of ice, by
no means an easy task under any circumstances, we had acted in perfect
concert, every effort of mine being aided by one of her own, directed by my
advice and greater experience.

“God has not deserted us, dearest Anneke,” I said, now that my companion’s
strength appeared to have returned, “and we may yet hope to escape. I can
anticipate the joy we shall bring to your father’s heart, when he again
takes you to his arms, safe and uninjured.”

“Dear, _dear_ father!--What agony he must now be suffering on my
account.--Come, Corny, let us go to him at once, if it be possible.”

As this was said, the precious girl arose, and adjusted her tippet in a
way that should cause her no encumbrance; like one ready to set about
the execution of a serious task with all her energies. The muff had been
dropped on the river; for neither of us had any sensibility to cold. The
night, however, was quite mild, for the season; and we probably should not
have suffered, had our exertions been less violent. Anneke declared herself
ready to proceed, and I commenced the difficult and delicate task of aiding
her across an island composed of icy fragments, in order to reach its
western margin. We were quite thirty feet in the air; and a fall into any
of the numerous caverns, among which we had to proceed, might have been
fatal; certainly would have crippled the sufferer. Then the surface of
the ice was so smooth as to render walking on it an exceedingly delicate
operation; more especially as the cakes lay at all manner of inclinations
to the plane of the horizon. Fortunately, I wore buckskin moccasins over my
boots; and their rough leather aided me greatly in maintaining my footing.
Anneke, too, had socks of cloth; without which, I do not think, she could
have possibly moved. By these aids, however, and by proceeding with the
utmost caution, we had actually succeeded in attaining our object, when the
floating mass shot into an eddy, and, turning slowly round, under this new
influence, placed us on the outer side of the island again! Not a murmur
escaped Anneke, at this disappointment; but, with a sweetness of temper
that spoke volumes in favour of her natural disposition, and a resignation
that told her training, she professed a readiness to renew her efforts.
To this I would not consent, however; for I saw that the eddy was still
whirling us about; and I thought it best to escape from its influence
altogether, before we threw away our strength fruitlessly. Instead of
re-crossing the pile, therefore, I told my fair companion that we would
descend to a cake that lay level on the water, and which projected from the
mass to such a distance, as to be close to the shore, should we again get
near it. This descent was made, after some trouble, though I was compelled
to receive Anneke entirely into my arms, in order to effect it. Effect it I
did; placing the sweet girl safely at my side, on the outermost and lowest
of all the cakes in our confused pile.

In some respects this change was for the better; while it did not improve
our situation in others. It placed both Anneke and myself behind a shelter,
as respected the wind; which, though neither very strong nor very cold,
had enough of March about it to render the change acceptable. It took my
companion, too, from a position where motion was difficult, and often
dangerous; leaving her on a level, even spot, where she could walk with
ease and security, and keep the blood in motion by exercise. Then it put
us both in the best possible situation to profit by any contact with that
shore, along and near which our island was now slowly moving.

There could no longer be any doubt of the state of the river in general.
It had broken up; spring had come, like a thief in the night; and the ice
below having given way, while the mass above had acquired too much power
to be resisted, everything was set in motion; and, like the death of the
strong man, the disruption of fields in themselves so thick and adhesive,
had produced an agony surpassing the usual struggle of the seasons.
Nevertheless, the downward motion had begun in earnest, and the centre of
the river was running like a sluice, carrying away, in its current, those
masses which had just before formed so menacing an obstacle above.

Luckily, our own pile was a little aside from the great downward rush. I
have since thought, that it touched the bottom, which caused it to turn, as
well as retarded its movement. Be this as it might, we still remained in a
little bay, slowly turning in a circle; and glad was I to see our low cake
coming round again, in sight of the western shore. The moment now demanded
decision; and I prepared Anneke to meet it. A large, low, level cake had
driven up on the shore, and extended out so far as to promise that our own
cake would touch it, in our evolutions. I knew that the ice, in general,
had not broken in consequence of any weakness of its own, but purely under
the weight of the enormous pressure from above, and the mighty force of the
current; and that we ran little, or no risk, in trusting our persons on
the uttermost limits of any considerable fragment. A station was taken,
accordingly, near a projection of the cake we were on; when we waited for
the expected contact. At such moments, the slightest disappointment carries
with it the force of the greatest circumstances. Several times did it
appear, to us, that our island was on the point of touching the fastened
cake, and as often did it incline aside; at no time coming nearer than
within six or eight feet. This distance it would have been easy enough, for
_me_ to leap across, but, to Anneke, it was a barrier as impassable as the
illimitable void. The sweet girl saw this; and, she acted like herself,
under the circumstances. She took my hand, pressed it, and said earnestly,
and with patient sweetness--

“You see how it is, Corny; I am not permitted to escape; but you can easily
reach the shore. Go, then, and leave me in the hands of Providence. Go; I
never can forget what you have already done; but it is useless to perish
together!”

I have never doubted that Anneke was perfectly sincere in her wish that I
should, at least, save my own life. The feeling with which she spoke; the
despair that was coming over her; and the movement of our island, which, at
that moment, gave signs of shooting away from the shore, altogether, roused
me to a sudden, and certainly, to a very bold attempt. I tremble, even at
this distance of time, as I write the particulars. A small cake of ice was
floating in between us and that which lay firmly fastened to the shore. Its
size was such as to allow it to pass between the two; though not without
coming nearly, if not absolutely, in contact with one, if not with both.
I observed all this; and, saying one word of encouragement to Anneke,
I passed an arm around her waist--waited the proper moment--and sprang
forward. It was necessary to make a short leap, with my precious burthen
on my arm, in order to gain this floating bridge; but it was done, and
successfully. Scarcely permitting Anneke’s foot to touch this frail
support, which was already sinking under our joint weight, I crossed it
at two or three steps, and threw all my power into a last and desperate
effort. I succeeded here, also; and fell, upon the firmer cake, with a
heart filled with gratitude to God. The touch told me that we were
safe; and, in the next instant, we reached the solid ground. Under such
circumstances, one usually looks back to examine the danger he has just
gone through. I did so; and saw that the floating cake of ice had already
passed down, and was out of reach; while the mass that had been the means
of saving us, was slowly following, under some new impulse, received from
the furious currents of the river. But we were saved; and most devoutly
did I thank my God, who had mercifully aided our escape from perils so
imminent.

I was compelled to wait for Anneke, who fell upon her knees, and remained
there quite a minute, before I could aid her in ascending the steep
acclivity which formed the western bank of the Hudson, at this particular
point. We reached the top, however, after a little delay, and pausing once
or twice to take breath; when we first became really sensible of the true
character of the scene from which we had been delivered. Dim as was the
light, there was enough to enable us to overlook a considerable reach of
the river, from that elevated stand. The Hudson resembled chaos rushing
headlong between the banks. As for the cakes of ice--some darting past
singly, and others piled as high as houses--of course, the stream was
filled with such; but, a large, dark object was seen coming through that
very channel, over which Anneke and I had stood, less than an hour before,
sailing down the current with fearful rapidity. It was a house; of no great
size, it is true, but large enough to present a singular object on the
river. A bridge, of some size, followed; and a sloop, that had been borne
away from the wharves of Albany, soon appeared in the strange assemblage,
that was thus suddenly collected on this great artery of the colony.

But the hour was late; Anneke was yet to care for; it was necessary to seek
a shelter. Still supporting my lovely companion, who now began to express
her uneasiness on account of her father, and her other friends, I held the
way inland; knowing that there was a high road parallel to the river, and
at no great distance from it. We reached the highway, in the course of ten
minutes, and turned our faces northward, as the direction which led towards
Albany. We had not advanced far before I heard the voices of men, who were
coming towards us; and glad was I to recognise that of Dirck Follock among
the number. I called aloud, and was answered by a shout of exultation,
which, as I afterwards discovered, spontaneously broke out of his mouth,
when he recognised the form of Anneke. Dirck was powerfully agitated when
we joined him; I had never, previously, seen anything like such a burst of
feeling from him; and it was some time before I could address him.

“Of course, your whole party is safe?” I asked, a little doubtingly; for
I had actually given up all who had been in Herman Mordaunt’s sleigh for
lost.

“Yes, thank God! all but the sleigh and horses. But where are Guert Ten
Eyck and Miss Wallace?”

“Gone ashore on the other side of the river; we parted, and they took that
direction, while we came hither.” I said this to quiet Anneke’s fears; but
I had misgivings about their having got off the river at all. “But let me
know the manner of your own escape.”

Dirck then gave us a history of what had passed; the whole party turning
back to accompany us, as soon as I told them that their errand--a search
for the horses--was useless. The substance of what we heard was as
follows:--In the first effort to reach the western shore, Herman Mordaunt
had been met by the very obstacle which Guert had foreseen and he turned
south, hoping to find some spot at which to land, by going farther from the
dam that had formed above. After repeated efforts, and having nearly
lost his sleigh and the whole party, a point was reached at which Herman
Mordaunt determined to get his female companion on shore, at every hazard.
This was to be done only by crossing floating cakes of ice, in a current
that was already running at the rate of four or five miles in the hour.
Dirck was left in charge of the horses while the experiment was made; but
seeing the adventurers in great danger, he flew to their assistance--when
the whole party were immersed, though not in deep water. Left to
themselves, and alarmed with the floundering in the river and the grinding
of the cakes, Herman Mordaunt’s bays went off in the confusion. Mrs. Bogart
was assisted to the land, and was helped to reach the nearest dwelling--a
comfortable farm-house, about a quarter of a mile beyond the point where we
had met the party. There Mrs. Bogart had been placed in a warm bed, and the
gentlemen were supplied with such dry clothes as the rustic wardrobe of
these simple people could furnish. The change made, Dirck was on his way to
ascertain what had become of the sleigh and horses, as has been mentioned.

On inquiry, I found that the spot where Anneke and myself had landed was
quite three miles below the island on which Guert and I had drawn the
sleigh. Nearly the whole of this distance had we floated with the pile of
broken ice, in the short time we were on it; a proof of the furious rate at
which the current was setting downward. No one had heard anything of
Guert and Mary; but I encouraged my companion to believe that they were
necessarily safe on the other shore. I certainly deemed this to be very
questionable, but there was no use in anticipating evil.

On reaching the farm-house, Herman Mordaunt’s delight and gratitude may
more easily be imagined than described. He folded Anneke to his heart, and
she wept like an infant on his bosom. Nor was I forgotten in this touching
scene but came in for a full share of notice.

“I want no details, noble young man--” I am professing to write the truth,
and must be excused for relating such things as these, but--“I want no
details, noble young man,” said Herman Mordaunt, squeezing my hand, “to
feel certain that, under God, I owe my child’s life, for the second time,
to you. I wish to Heaven!--but, no matter--it is now too late--some other
way may and _must_ offer. I scarce know what I say, Littlepage; but what I
_mean_ is, to express faintly, some small portion of the gratitude I feel,
and to let you know how sensibly and deeply your services are felt and
appreciated.”

The reader may think it odd, that this incoherent, but pregnant speech,
made little impression on me at the time, beyond the grateful conviction
of having really rendered the greatest of all services to Anneke and her
father; though I had better occasion to remember it afterwards.

It is unnecessary to dwell more particularly on the occurrences at the
farm-house. The worthy people did what they could to make us comfortable,
and we were all warm in bed, in the course of the next half-hour.

On the following morning a wagon was harnessed, and we left these simple
countrymen and women--who refused everything like compensation, as a matter
of course--and proceeded homeward. I have heard it said that we Americans
are mercenary: it may be so, but not a man, probably, exists in the
colonies, who would accept money for such assistance. We were two hours
in reaching Albany, on wheels; and entered the place about ten, in a very
different style from that in which we had quitted it the day before. As we
drove along, the highway frequently led us to points that commanded views
of the river, and we had so many opportunities of noting the effects of the
freshet. Of ice, very little remained. Here and there a cake or a pile
was seen still adhering to the shore, and occasionally fragments floated
downwards; but, as a rule, the torrent had swept all before it. I
particularly took notice of the island on which we had sought refuge. It
was entirely under water, but its outlines were to be traced by the bushes
which lined its low banks. Most of the trees on its upper end were cut
down, and all that grew on it would unquestionably have gone, had not the
dam given way as early as it did. A great number of trees had been broken
down on all the islands; and large tops and heavy trunks were still
floating in the current, that were lately tenants of the forest, and had
been violently torn from their places.

We found all the lower part of Albany, too, under water. Boats were
actually moving through the streets; a considerable portion of its
inhabitants having no other means of communicating with their neighbours. A
sloop of some size lay up on one of the lowest spots; and, as the water was
already subsiding, it was said she would remain there until removed by the
shipwrights. Nobody was drowned in the place; for it is not usual for the
people of these colonies to remain in their beds, at such times, to await
the appearance of the enemy in at their windows. We often read of such
accidents destroying hundreds in the Old World; but, in the New, human life
is of too much account to be unnecessarily thrown away, and so we make some
efforts to preserve it.

As we drove into the street in which Herman Mordaunt lived, we heard a
shout, and turning our heads, we saw Guert Ten Eyck waving his cap to us,
with joy delineated in every feature of his handsome face. At the next
moment he was at our side.

“Mr. Herman Mordaunt,” he cried, shaking that gentleman most cordially
by the hand, “I look upon you as one raised from the dead; you and my
excellent neighbour, Mrs. Bogart, and Mr. Follock, here! How you got off
the river is a mystery to me, for I well know that the water commonly
breaks through first under the west shore. Corny and Miss Anneke--God bless
you both! Mary Wallace is in terror lest ill news come from some of you;
but I will run ahead and let her know the glad tidings. It is but five
minutes since I left her, starting at every sound, lest it prove the foot
of some ill-omened messenger.”

Guert stopped to say no more. In a minute he was inside of Herman
Mordaunt’s house--in another Anneke and Mary Wallace were locked in each
other’s arms. After exchanging salutes, Mrs. Bogart was conveyed to her own
residence, and there was a termination to that memorable expedition.

Guert had less to communicate, in the way of dangers and marvels, than I
had anticipated. It seemed, that when he and Miss Wallace reached the inner
margin of the last island, a large cake of ice had entered the strait,
and got jammed; or rather, that it went through, forced by the tremendous
pressure above; though not without losing large masses, as it came in
contact with the shores, and grinding much of its material into powder,
by the attrition. Guert’s presence of mind and decision did him excellent
service here. Without delaying an instant, the moment it was in his power,
he led Mary on that cake, and crossed the narrow branch of the river, which
alone separated him from the main land, on it, dry-shod. The water was
beginning to find its way over this cake, as it usually did on all those
that lay low, and which even stopped in their progress; but this did not
offer any serious obstacles to persons who were so prompt Safe themselves,
our friends remained to see if we could not be induced to join them; and
the call we heard, was from Guert, who had actually re-crossed to the
island, in the hope of meeting us, and directing us to a place of safety.
Guert never said anything to me on the subject, himself; but I subsequently
gathered from Mary Wallace’s accounts, that the young man did not rejoin
her without a good deal of hazard and difficulty, and after a long and
fruitless search for his companions. Finding it useless to remain any
longer on the river-side, Guert and his companion held their way towards
Albany. About midnight they reached the ferry, opposite to the town; having
walked quite six miles, filled with uneasiness on account of those who had
been left behind. Guert was a man of decision, and he wisely determined it
would be better to proceed, than to attempt waking up the inmates of any of
the houses he passed. The river was now substantially free from ice, though
running with great velocity. But, Guert was an expert oarsman; and, finding
a skiff, he persuaded Mary Wallace to enter it; actually succeeding, by
means of the eddies, in landing her within ten feet of the very spot where
the hand-sled had deposited him and myself, only a few days before. From
this point, there was no difficulty in walking home; and Miss Wallace
actually slept in her own bed, that eventful night if, indeed, she _could_
sleep.

Such was the termination of this adventure; one that I have rightly termed
memorable. In the end, Jack and Moses came in safe and sound; having
probably swum ashore. They were found in the public road, only a short
distance from the town, and were brought in to their master the same
day. Every one who took any interest in horses--and what Dutchman does
not?--knew Jack and Moses, and there was no difficulty in ascertaining to
whom they belonged. What is singular, however, both sleighs were recovered;
though at long intervals of time, and under very different circumstances.
That of Guert, wolves’ skins and all, actually went down the whole length
of the river on the ice; passing out to sea through the Narrows. It must
have gone by New York in the night, or doubtless it would have been picked
up; while the difficulty of reaching it, was its protector on the descent,
_above_ the town. Once outside of the Narrows, it was thrown by the tide
and winds upon the shore of Staten Island; where it was hauled to land,
housed, and, being properly advertised in our New York paper, Guert
actually got tidings of it in time to receive it, skins and all, by one of
the first sloops that ascended the Hudson that year; which was within
a fortnight after the river had opened. The year 1758 was one of great
activity, on account of the movements of the army, and no time was then
unnecessarily lost.

The history of Herman Mordaunt’s sleigh was very different. The poor bays
must have drowned soon after we saw them floating past us in the torrent.
Of course, life had no sooner left them, than they sank to the bottom of
the river, carrying with them the sleigh to which they were still attached.
In a few days the animals rose to the surface--as is usual with all swollen
bodies--bringing up the sleigh again. In this condition, the wreck was
overtaken by a downward bound sloop, the men of which saved the sleigh,
harness, skins, foot-stoves, and such other articles as would not float
away.

Our adventure made a good deal of noise in the circle of Albany; and I have
reason to think that my own conduct was approved by those who heard of it.
Bulstrode paid me an especial visit of thanks, the very day of my return,
when the following conversation took place between us:--

“You seem fated, my dear Corny,” the Major observed, after he had paid the
usual compliments, “to be always serving me in the most material way, and I
scarcely know how to express all I feel on the occasion. First, the lion,
and now this affair of the river--but, that Guert will drown, or make away
with the whole family before the summer is over, unless Mr. Mordaunt puts a
stop to _his_ interference.”

“This accident was one that might have overtaken the oldest and most
prudent man in Albany. The river seemed as solid as the street when we went
on it; and another hour, even as it was, would have brought us all home, in
entire safety.”

“Ay, but that hour came near bringing death and desolation into the most
charming family in the colony; and you have been the means of averting the
heaviest part of the blow. I wish to Heaven, Littlepage, that you would
consent to come into the army! Join us as a volunteer, the moment we move,
and I will write to Sir Harry to obtain a pair of colours for you. As soon
as he hears that we are indebted to your coolness and courage for the life
of Miss Mordaunt, he will move heaven and earth, to manifest his gratitude.
The instant this good parent made up his mind to accept Miss Mordaunt as a
daughter, he began to consider her as a child of his own.”

“And Anneke--Miss Mordaunt, herself, Mr. Bulstrode---does she regard Sir
Harry as a father?”

“Why, that must be coming by slow degrees, as a matter of course, you know.
Women are slower than us men to admit such totally novel impressions; and
I dare say Anneke fancies one father enough for her, just at this moment:
though she sends very pleasant messages to Sir Harry, I can assure you,
when in the humour! But, what makes you so grave, my good Corny?”

“Mr. Bulstrode, I conceive it no more than fair, to be as honest as
yourself in this matter. You have told me that you are a suitor for Miss
Mordaunt’s hand; I will now own to you that I am your rival.”

My companion heard this declaration with a quiet smile, and the most
perfect good-nature.

“So you actually wish to become the husband of Anneke Mordaunt, yourself,
my dear Corny, do you?” he said, so coolly, that I was at a loss to know of
what sort of materials the man could be made.

“I do, Major Bulstrode--it is the first and last wish of my heart.”

“Since you seem disposed to reciprocate my confidence you will not take
offence if I ask you a question or two!”

“Certainly not, sir; your own frankness shall be a rule for my government.”

“Have you ever let Miss Mordaunt know that such are your wishes?”

“I have, sir; and that in the plainest terms--such as cannot well be
misunderstood.”

“What! last night?--On that infernal ice!--While she thought her life was
in your hands!”

“Nothing was said on the subject, last night, for we had other thoughts to
occupy our minds.”

“It would have been a most ungenerous thing to take advantage of a lady’s
fears--”

“Major Bulstrode!--I cannot submit--”

“Hush, my dear Corny,” interrupted the other, holding out a hand in a most
quiet and friendly manner; “there must be no misunderstanding between you
and me. Men are never greater simpletons, than when they let the secret
consciousness of their love of life push them into swaggering about their
honour; when their honour has, in fact, nothing to do with the matter
in hand. I shall not quarrel with you; and must beg you, in advance, to
receive my apologies for any little indecorum into which I may be betrayed
by surprise; as for great pieces of indecorum, I shall endeavour to avoid
_them_.”

“Enough has been said, Mr. Bulstrode; I am no wrangler, to quarrel with a
shadow; and, I trust, not in the least, that most contemptible of all human
beings, a social bully, to be on all occasions menacing the sword or the
pistol. Such men usually _do_ nothing, when matters come to a crisis. Even
when they fight, they fight bunglingly, and innocently.”

“You are right, Littlepage, and I honour your sentiments. I have remarked
that the most expert swordsman with his tongue, and the deadest shot at a
shingle, are commonly as innocent as lambs of the shedding of blood on the
ground. They can sometimes screw themselves up to _meet_ an adversary, but
it exceeds their powers to use their weapons properly, when it comes to
serious work. The swaggerer is ever a coward at heart, however well he may
wear a mask for a time. But enough of this.--We understand each other, and
are to remain friends, under all circumstances. May I question further?”

“_Ask_ what you please, Bulstrode--I shall answer, or not, at my own
discretion.”

“Then, permit me to inquire, if Major Littlepage has authorized you to
offer proper settlements?”

“I am authorized to offer nothing.--Nor is it usual for the husband to make
settlements on his wife, in these colonies, further than what the law does
for her, in favour of her own. The father, sometimes, has a care for the
third generation. I should expect Herman Mordaunt to settle _his_ estate on
his daughter, and her rightful heirs, let her marry whom she may.”

“Ay, that is a very American notion; and one on which Herman Mordaunt, who
remembers his extraction, will be little likely to act. Well, Corny, we
are rivals, as it would seem; but that is no reason we should not remain
friends. We understand each other--though, perhaps, I ought to tell you
all.”

“I should be glad to know _all_, Mr. Bulstrode; and can meet my fate, I
hope, like a man. Whatever it may cost me, if Anneke prefer another, her
happiness will be dearer to me than my own.”

“Yes, my dear fellow, we all say and think so at one-and-twenty; which is
about your age, I believe. At _two_-and-twenty, we begin to see that our
own happiness has an equal claim on us; and, at _three_-and-twenty, we even
give it the preference. However, I will be just, if I am selfish. I have no
reason to believe Anne Mordaunt does prefer me; though my _perhaps_ is not
altogether without a meaning, either.”

“In which case, I may possibly be permitted to know to what it refers?”

“It refers to the father; and, I can tell you, my fine fellow, that fathers
are of some account, in the arrangement of marriages between parties of any
standing. Had not Sir Harry authorized my own proposals, where should I
have been? Not a farthing of settlement could I have offered, while he
remained Sir Harry; notwithstanding I had the prodigious advantage of the
entail. I can tell you what it is, Corny; the existing power is always an
important power since we all think more of the present time, than of the
future. That is the reason so few of us get to Heaven. As for Herman
Mordaunt, I deem it no more than fair to tell you, he is on my side, heart
and hand. He likes my offers of settlement; he likes my family; he likes my
rank, civil and military; and I am not altogether without the hope, that he
likes _me_.”

I made no direct answer, and the conversation soon changed. Bulstrode’s
declaration, however, caused me to remember both the speech and manner of
Herman Mordaunt, when he thanked me for saving his daughter’s life. I
now began to reflect on it; and reflected on it much during the next
few months. In the end, the reader will learn the effect it had on my
happiness.



CHAPTER XVIII.

  “Good Sir, why do you start; and seem to fear
  Things that do sound so fair? I’ the name of truth,
  Are ye fantastical, or that indeed
  Which outwardly ye show?”

  _Banquo_.

As I have said already, the adventure on the river made a good deal of
noise, in that simple community; and it had the effect to render Guert and
myself a sort of heroes, in a small way; bringing me much more into
notice, than would otherwise have been the case. I thought that Guert,
in particular, would be likely to reap its benefit; for, various elderly
persons, who were in the habit of frowning, whenever his name was
mentioned, I was given to understand, could now smile; and two or three of
the most severe among the Albany moralists, were heard to say that, “after
all, there was some good about that Guert Ten Eyck.” The reader will not
require to be told, that a high-school moralist, in a place as retired and
insulated as Albany, must necessarily be a being that became subject to a
very severe code. Morality, as I understand the matter, has a good deal of
convention about it. There is town-morality and country-morality, all over
the world, as they tell me. But, in America, our morals were, and long
have been, separated into three great and very distinct classes; viz.--New
England, or puritan-morals; middle colonies, or liberal morals; and
southern colonies, or latitudinarian morals. I shall not pretend to point
out all the shades of difference in these several schools; though that in
which I had myself been taught, was necessarily the most in conformity with
my own tastes. There were minor shades to be found in the same school;
Guert and myself belonging to different classes. His morals were of the
Dutch class; while mine more properly belonged to the English. The great
characteristic of the Dutch school, was the tendency to excess that
prevailed, when indulgences were sought. With them, it did not rain often;
but, when it did rain, it was pretty certain to pour. Old Col. Follock was
a case in point, on this scare; nor was his son Dirck, young and diffident
as he was, altogether an exception to the rule. There was not a more
respectable man in the colony, in the main, than Col. Van Valkenburgh.
He was well connected; had a handsome unencumbered estate; and money at
interest;--was a principal prop, in the church of his neighbourhood; was
esteemed as a good husband; a good father; a true friend; a kind neighbour;
an excellent, and loyal subject, and a thoroughly honest man. Nevertheless,
Col. Van Valkenburgh had his weak times and seasons. He _would_ have a
frolic; and the Dominie was obliged to wink at this propensity. Mr. Worden
often nicknamed him Col. Frolic. His frolics might be divided into two
classes; viz. the moderate and immoderate. Of the first, he had two or
three turns a year; and these were the occasions on which he commonly
visited Satanstoe or had my father with him at Rockrockarock, as his own
place, in Rockland, was called. On these visits, whether to or from, there
was a large consumption of tobacco, beer, cider, wine, rum, lemons, sugar,
and the other ingredients of punch, toddy and flip; but no outrageously
durable excesses. There was much laughing, a great deal of good feeling,
many stories, and regular repetitions of old adventures, in the way of
traditional narrations; but nothing that could be called decided excesses.
It is true, that my grand father, and my father, and the Rev. Mr. Worden,
and Col. Follock, were much in the habit of retiring to their beds a little
confused in their brains, the consequence of so much tobacco-smoke, as Mr.
Worden always maintained; but everything was decent, and in order. The
parson, for instance, invariably pulled up on a Friday; and did not take
his place in the circle until Monday evening, again; which gave him fully
twenty-four hours, to cool off in, before he ascended the pulpit. I will
say this, for Mr. Worden, that he was very systematic and methodical in the
observance of all his duties; and I have known him, when he happened to be
late at dinner, on discovering that my father had omitted to say grace,
insist on everybody’s laying down their knives and forks, while he asked a
blessing; even though it were after the fish was actually eaten. No, no;
Mr. Worden was a particular person, about all such things; and it was
generally admitted, that he had been the means of causing grace to be
introduced into several families, in Westchester; in which it had never
been the practice to have it, before his examples and precepts were known
to them.

I had not been acquainted with Guert Ten Eyck a fortnight, before I saw
he had a tendency to the same sort of excesses as those to which Col. Van
Valkenburgh was addicted. There was an old French Huguenot living near
Satanstoe--or rather, the son of one, who still spoke his father’s
language--and who used to call Col. Follock’s frolics his “_grands
couchers_” and his “_petit couchers_;” [27] inasmuch as he usually got
to bed at the last, without assistance; while at the first, it was
indispensable that some aid should be proffered. It was these “grands
couchers” at which my father never assisted. On these occasions, the
colonel invariably held his orgies over in Rockland, in the society of
men of purely Dutch extraction; there being something exclusive in the
enjoyment. I have heard it said that these last frolics sometimes lasted
a week, on really important occasions; during the whole of which time the
colonel and all near him were as happy as lords. These “_grands couchers_”
 however, occurred but rarely--coming round, as it might be, like
leap-years, just to regulate the calendar, and adjust the time.

As for my new friend, Guert, he made no manifestation towards a “_grand
coucher_” during the time I remained at Albany--this his attachment to Mary
Wallace forbade--but, I discovered by means of hints and allusions, that he
_had_ been engaged in one or two such affairs, and that there was still a
longing for them in his bones. It was owing to her consciousness of the
existence of such weaknesses, and her own strong aversion to anything of
the sort, that, I am persuaded, Mary Wallace was alone induced to hesitate
about accepting Guert’s weekly offer of his hand. The tenderness she
evidently felt for him, now shone too obviously in her eyes, to leave any
doubt in my mind of Guert’s final success; for what woman ever refused long
to surrender, when the image of the besieger had taken its place in the
citadel of her heart! Even Anneke received Guert with much favour, after
his excellent behaviour on the river; and I fancied that everything was
going on most flatteringly for my friend, while it seemed to me that I made
no advances in my own suit. Such, at least, were my notions on the subject,
at the very moment when my new friend, as it appeared, was nearly driven to
desperation.

It was near the end of April, or about a month after our perilous adventure
on the ice, that Guert came to seek me, one fine spring morning, with
something very like despair depicted in his fine, manly face. During the
whole of that month, it ought to be premised, I had not dared to speak of
love to Anneke. My attentions and visits were incessant and pointed, but
my tongue had been silent. The diffidence of real admiration had held
me tongue-tied; and I foolishly fancied there would be something like
presuming on the services I had so lately rendered, in urging my suit so
soon after the occurrence of the events I have described. I had even the
romance to think it might be taking an undue advantage of Bulstrode, to
wish to press my claims at a moment when the common object of our suit
might be supposed to feel the influence of a lively gratitude. These were
the notions and sentiments of a very young man, it must be confessed; but
I do not know that I ought to feel ashamed of them. At all events, they
existed; and they had produced the effect I have mentioned, leaving me to
fall, each day, more desperately in love, while I made no sensible advances
in preferring my suit. Guert was very much in the same situation, with this
difference, however; he made it a point to offer himself, distinctly, each
Monday morning, invariably receiving for an answer “no;” if the lady were
to be pressed for a definite reply; but leaving some glimmering of hope,
should time be given for her to make up her mind. The visit of Guert’s, to
which I have just alluded, was after one of the customary offers, and usual
replies; the offer direct, and the “no,” tempered by the doubting and
thoughtful brow, the affectionate smile, and the tearful eye.

“Corny,” said my friend, throwing down his hat with a most rueful aspect;
for, winter having departed, and spring come, we had all laid aside our
fur-caps--“Corny, I have just been refused again! That word, ‘no,’ has got
to be so common with Mary Wallace, that I am afraid her tongue will never
know how to utter a ‘yes!’ Do you know, Corny, I have a great mind to
consult Mother Doortje!”

“Mother who?--You do not mean Mr. Mayor’s cook, surely!”

“No; _Mother_ Doortje. She is said to be the best fortune teller that has
ever lived in Albany. But, perhaps, you do not believe in fortune-tellers;
some people I know do not?”

“I cannot say that I have much belief, or unbelief, on the subject, never
having seen anything of that sort.”

“Have they, then, no fortune-teller, no person who has the dark art, in New
York?”

“I have heard of such people, but have never had an opportunity of seeing
or hearing for myself. If you _do_ go to see this Mother Dorrichy, or
whatever you call her, I should like amazingly to be of the party.” [28]

Guert was delighted to hear this, and he caught eagerly at the offer. If
I would stand his friend he would go at once; but he confessed he did not
like to trust himself all alone in the old woman’s company.

“I am, perhaps, the only man of my time of life, in Albany, who has not,
sooner or later, consulted Mother Doortje;” he added! “I do not know how
it is, but, _somehow_, I have never liked to tempt fortune by going to
question her! One never can tell what such a being may say; and should it
be evil, why it might make a man very miserable. I am sure I want no more
trouble, as it is, than to find Mary Wallace so undetermined about having
me!”

“Then you do not mean to go, after all! I am not only ready, but anxious to
accompany you.”

“You mistake me, Corny. Go I will, now, though she tell me that which will
cause me to cut my throat--but, we must not go as we are; we must disguise
ourselves, in order that she may not know us. Everybody goes disguised; and
then they have an opportunity of learning if she is in a good vein, or not,
by seeing if she can tell anything about their business, or habits, in the
first place. If she fail in that, I should not care a straw for any of the
rest. So, go to work, Corny, and dress yourself for the occasion--borrow
some clothes of the people in the house, here, and come round to me,
as soon as you please; I shall be ready, for I often go disguised to
frolics--yes, unlucky devil that I am, and come back disguised, too!”

Everything was done, as desired. By means of a servant in the tavern, I was
soon equipped in a way that satisfied me was very successful; inasmuch as
I passed Dirck, in quitting the house, and my old, confidential friend did
not recognise me. Guert was in as good luck, as I actually asked himself
for himself, when he opened the door for my admission. The laugh, and the
handsome face, however, soon let me into the secret, and we sallied forth
in high spirits; almost forgetting our misgivings concerning the future, in
the fun of passing our acquaintances in the street, without being known.

Guert was much more artistically and knowingly disguised, than I was
myself. We both had put on the clothes of labourers; Guert wearing a
smock-frock that he happened to own for his fishing occupations in
summer--but I had my usual linen in view, and wore all the ordinary minor
articles of my daily attire. My friend pointed out some of these defects,
as we went along, and an attempt was made to remedy them. Mr. Worden coming
in view, I determined to stop him, and speak to him in a disguised voice,
in order to ascertain if it were possible to deceive him.

“Your sarvant, Tominie,” I said, making an awkward bow, as soon as we got
near enough to the parson to address him; “be you ter Tominie, that marries
folk on a pinch?”

“Ay, or on a handful, liking the last best.--Why, Corny, thou rogue, what
does all this mean?”

It was necessary to let Mr. Worden into the secret; and he no sooner
learned the business we were on, than he expressed a wish to be of the
party. As there was no declining, we now went to the inn, and gave him time
to assume a suitable disguise. As the divine was a rigid observer of the
costume of his profession, and was most strictly a man of his _cloth_, it
was a very easy matter for him to make such a change in his exterior, as
completely to render him _incognito_. When all was ready, we went finally
forth, on our errand.

“I go with you, Corny, on this foolish business,” said the Rev. Mr. Worden,
as soon as we were fairly on our way, “to comply with a promise made your
excellent mother, not to let you stray into any questionable company,
without keeping a fatherly eye over you. Now, I regard a fortune-teller’s,
as a doubtful sort of society; therefore, I feel it to be a duty, to make
one of this party.”

I do not know whether the Rev. Mr. Worden succeeded in deceiving himself;
but, I very well know, he did not succeed in deceiving me. The fact was, he
loved a frolic; and nothing made him happier, than to have an opportunity
of joining in just such an adventure as that we were on. Judging from the
position of her house, and the appearance of things in and around it, the
business of Mother Doortje was not of the most lucrative sort. Dirt and
poverty were two things not easily encountered, in Albany; and, I do not
say, that we found very positive evidence of either, here; but there was
less neatness than was usual in that ultra-tidy community; and, as for any
great display of abundance, it was certainly not to be met with.

We were admitted by a young woman, who gave us to understand that Mother
Doortje had a couple of customers, already; but she invited us to sit down
in an outer room, promising that our turn should be the next. We did so,
accordingly, listening, through a door that was a little ajar, with no
small degree of curiosity, to what was passing within. I accidentally
took a seat in a place that enabled me to see the legs of one of the
fortune-teller’s customers; and, I thought, immediately, that the striped
stockings were familiar to me; when the nasal, and very peculiar intonation
of Jason, put the matter out of all doubt. He spoke in an earnest manner;
which rendered him a little incautious; while the woman’s tones were low
and mumbled. Notwithstanding, we all overheard the following discourse--

“Well, now, Mother Dorrichay,” said Jason, in a very confiding sort of way,
“I’ve paid you well, for this here business, and I want to know if there is
any chance, for a poor man, in this colony, who doesn’t want for friends,
or, for that matter, merit?”

“That’s _yourself_” mumbled the female voice--in the way one announces
a discovery--“Yes, I see, by the cards, that your question applies to
yourself. You are a _young_ man, that wants not for friends; and you have
_merit!_ You have friends that you deserve; the cards tells me _that!_”

“Well, I’ll not deny the truth of what you assert; and, I must say, Dirck,
it _is_ a little strange, this woman, who never saw me before, should know
me so well--my very natur’, as it might be. But, do you think, I shall do
well to follow up the affair I am now on, or that I had best give it up?”

“Give up nothing,” answered the oracle, in a very oracular manner,
shuffling the cards as she spoke; “no, give up nothing, but keep all you
can. That is the way to thrive, in this world.”

“By the Hokey, Dirck, she gives good advice, and I think I shall follow
it! But how about the land, and the mill-seat--or, rather, how about the
particular things I’m thinking about?”

“You are thinking of purchasing--yes, the cards say purchasing; or is it
‘disposing--’”

“Why, as I’ve got none to sell, it can’t very well be disposing, Mother.”

“Yes, I’m right--this Jack of Clubs settles the matter--you are thinking
of buying some land--Ah! there’s water running down-hill; and here I see a
pond--Why, you are thinking of buying a mill-seat.”

“By the Hokey!--Who would have thought this, Dirck!”

“Not a _mill_; no, there is _no_ mill built; but a mill-_seat_. Six, king,
three and an ace; yes, I see how it is--and you wish to get this mill-seat
at much less than its real value. _Much_ less; not less, but _much_ less.”

“Well, this is wonderful! I’ll never gainsay fortin-tellin’ ag’in!”
 exclaimed Jason. “Dirck, you are to say nothin’ of this, or _think_ nothin’
of this--as it’s all in confidence, you know. Now, jist put in a last word,
about the end of life, Mother, and I’ll be satisfied. What you have told me
about my fortin and earnin’s must be true, I think, for my whole heart
is in them; but I should like to know, after enjoying so much wealth and
happiness as you’ve foretold, what sort of an end I am to make of it?”

“An excellent end--full of grace, and hope, and Christian faith. I see
here, something that looks like a clergyman’s gown--white sleeves--book
under the arm--”

“That can’t be _me_. Mother, as I’m no lover of forms, but belong to the
platform.”

“Oh! I see how it is, now; you dislike Church of England people, and could
throw dirt at them. Yes, yes--here _you_ are--a presbyterian deacon, and
one that can lead in a private meeting, on an occasion.”

“Come, Dirck, I’m satisfied--let us go; we have kept Mother Doorichaise
long enough, and I heard some visiters come in, just now. Thank you,
mother--thank you, with all my heart; I think there _must_ be some truth in
this fortin-tellin’ after all!”

Jason now arose, and walked out of the house, without even deigning to look
at us--and consequently without our being recognised. But Dirck lingered a
minute, not yet satisfied with what had been already told him.

“Do you really think I shall never be married, Mother?” he asked, in a tone
that sufficiently betrayed the importance he attached to the answer. “I
wish to know that particularly, before I go away!”

“Young man,” answered the fortune-teller in an oracular manner; “what has
been said, has been said! I cannot _make_ fortunes, but only reveal them.
You have heard that Dutch blood is in your veins; but you live in an
English colony. _Your_ king is _her_ king; while _she_ is your _queen--_and
you are not her master. If you can find a woman of English blood that has a
Dutch heart, and has no English suitors, go forward, and you will succeed;
but, if you do not, remain as you are until time shall end. These are my
words, and these are my thoughts; I can say no more.”

I heard Dirck sigh--poor fellow! he was thinking of Anneke--and he passed
through the outer room without once raising his eyes from the floor. He
left Mother Doortje, as much depressed in spirits, as Jason had left her
elated; the one looking forward to the future with a selfish and niggardly
hope, while the other regarded it with a feeling as forlorn as the
destruction of all his youthful fancies could render any view of his
after-life. The reader may feel disposed to smile at the idea of Dirck Van
Valkenburgh’s possessing youthful fancies--regarding the young man in the
quiet, unassuming manner in which he has hitherto been portrayed by me; but
it would be doing great injustice to his heart and feelings, to figure him
to the mind, as a being without deep sensibilities. I have always supposed
that this interview with Mother Doortje had a lasting influence on the
fortunes of poor Dirck; nor am I at all certain its effects did not long
linger in the temperament of some others that might be named.

As our turns had now come, we were summoned to the presence of this female
soothsayer. It is unnecessary to describe the apartment in which we found
Mother Doortje. It had nothing unusual in it, with the exception of a
raven, that was hopping about the floor, and which appeared to be on the
most familiar terms with its mistress. Doortje, herself, was a woman of
quite sixty, wrinkled, lean, and hag-like; and, I thought, some care had
been taken, in her dress, to increase the effect of this, certainly her
natural appearance. Her cap was entirely of black muslin; though her dress
itself, was grey. The eye of this woman was of the colour of her gown; and
it was penetrating, restless, and deep-seated. Altogether, she looked the
character well.

On our entrance, after saluting the fortune-teller, each of us laid a
French crown on the table at which she was seated. This coin had become
quite current among us, since the French troops had penetrated into our
colony; and it was even said they purchased supplies with it, from certain
of our own people. As we had paid the highest price ever given, for these
glimpses into futurity, we thought ourselves entitled to have the pages of
the sealed book freely opened to us.

“Do you wish to see me together; or shall I communicate with one at a
time?” demanded Doortje, in her husky, sepulchral voice; which, it struck
me, obtained its peculiar tones partly from nature, and partly from art.

It was settled that she should commence with Mr. Worden; but, that all
might remain in the room the whole time. While we were talking over this
point, Doortje’s eyes were by no means fixed, but, I remarked, that they
wandered from person to person; like those of one who was gathering
information. Many persons do not believe, at all, in the art of the
fortune-teller; but insist that there is nothing more in it than trick and
management; pretending that this very woman kept the blacks of the town
in pay, to bring her information; and that she never told anything of the
past, which was true, that had not been previously communicated to herself.
I shall not pretend to affirm that the art goes as far as many imagine;
but, it strikes me, that it is very presuming, to deny that there is some
truth in these matters. I do not wish to appear credulous; though, at the
same time, I hold it to be wrong to deny our testimony to facts that we are
convinced are true. [29]

Doortje commenced by shuffling an exceedingly dirty pack of cards; which
had probably been used five hundred times, on similar duty. She next
caused Mr. Worden to cut these cards; when a close and musing examination
succeeded. All this time, not a syllable was said; though we were startled
by a low whistle, from the woman; which brought the raven upon her
shoulder.

“Well, Mother,” cried Mr. Worden, with a little impatience, at what he
fancied mummery, “I am dying to hear what _has_ happened, that I may put
the more faith in what _is_ to happen. Tell me something of the crop of
wheat, I put into the ground, last autumn; how many bushels I sowed, and on
how many acres; whether on new land, or on old?”

“Ay, ay, you have sowed!--and you have sowed!” answered the woman, on a
high key, for her; “but your seed fell among tares, and on the flinty
ground; and you’ll never reap a soul among ‘em all! Broadcast may you
sow--but narrow will be your harvest.”

The Rev. Mr. Worden gave a loud hem--placed his arms akimbo--and seemed
determined to brazen it out; though, I could easily perceive, that he felt
excessively awkward.

“How is it, with my cattle? and shall I send much mutton to market, this
season?”

“A wolf, in sheep’s clothing!” muttered Doortje. “No--no--you like hot
suppers, and ducks, and lectures to cooks more than gathering in the
harvest of the Lord!”

“Come, this is folly, woman!” exclaimed the parson, angrily. “Give me some
common sense, for my good French crown. What do you see, in that knave of
diamonds, that you study its face so closely?”

“A loping Dominie!--a loping Dominie!” screamed the hag, several times,
rather than exclaiming aloud. “See!--he runs, for life; but Beelzebub will
overtake him!”

There was a sudden, and dead pause; for the Rev. Mr. Worden had caught up
his hat, and darted from the room; quitting the house, as if already busily
engaged in the race alluded to. Guert shook his head, and looked serious;
but, perceiving that the woman was already tranquil, and was actually
shuffling the cards anew, in his behalf, he advanced to learn his fate. I
saw the eyes of Doortje fastened keenly on him, as he took his stand near
the table, and the corners of her mouth curled in a significant smile. What
that meant, exactly, I have never been able to ascertain.

“I suppose, you wish to know something of the past, like all the rest of
them,” mumbled the woman, “so that you may have faith in what you hear
about the future?”

“Why, Mother,” answered Guert, passing his hand through his own fine head
of natural curls, and speaking a little hastily, “I do not know that it is
any great matter about the past. What is done, is done; and there is an
end of it. A young man may not wish to hear of such things, at the moment,
perhaps, when he is earnestly bent on doing better. We are all young, once
in our lives, and we can grow old only after having been so.”

“Yes--yes--I see how it is!” muttered Doortje. “So--so--turkeys--turkeys;
ducks--ducks--quaack--quaack--quaack--gobble, gobble, gobble--” Here, the
old hag set up such an imitation of ducks, geese, turkeys, game-cocks, and
other birds, that one who was in an outer room, might well have imagined he
heard the cries of a regular poultry-yard. I was startled, myself, for
the imitation was very admirable--but Guert was obliged to wipe the
perspiration from his face.

“That will do--that will do, Mother!” the young man exclaimed. “I see, you
know all about it; and there is no use in attempting disguises with you.
Now, tell me, if I am ever to be a married man, or not. My errand here, is
to learn that fact; and I may as well own it, at once.”

“The world has many women in it--and fair faces are plenty, in Albany,”
 once more mumbled the woman, examining her cards, with great attention. “A
youth, like you, might marry twice, even.”

“No, _that_ is impossible; if I do not marry a particular lady, I shall
never marry at all.”

“Yes--yes--I see how it is!--You are in love, young man.”

“D’ye hear that, Corny! Isn’t it wonderful, how these creatures can tell? I
admit the truth of what you say; but, describe to me the lady that I love.”

Guert had forgotten, altogether, that the use of the word _lady_,
completely betrayed the fact of his disguise; since no man, truly of his
dress and air, would think of applying such a word to his sweetheart. [30]
I could not prevent these little betrayals of himself, however; for, by
this time, my companion was too much excited, to hear reason.

“The lady that you love,” answered the fortune-teller, deliberately, and
with the manner of one that proceeded with great confidence, “is _very_
handsome, in the first place.”

“True as the sun in the heavens, Mother!”

“Then, she is virtuous, and amiable, and wise, and witty, and good.”

“The Gospel is not more certain! Corny, this surpasses belief!”

“Then, she is _young_. Yes, she is young, and fair, and good; three things
that make her much sought after.”

“Why is she so long reflecting on my offers, Mother, tell me that, I beg of
you; or, will she ever consent to have me?”

“I see--I see--it is all here, on the cards. The lady cannot make up her
mind.”

“Listen to that, now, Corny; and do not tell me there is nothing in this
art. _Why_ does she not make up her mind? For Heaven’s sake, let me know
_that_? A man may tire of offering to marry an angel, and getting no
answer. I wish to know the reason of her doubts.”

“A woman’s mind is not easily read. Some are in haste, while some are not.
I am of opinion you wish to get an answer before the lady is ready to give
it. Men must learn to wait.”

“She really seems to know all about it, Corny! Much as I have heard of this
woman, she exceeds it all! Good Mother, can you tell me how I can gain the
consent of the woman I love?”

“That is only to be had by asking. Ask once, ask twice, ask thrice.”

“By St. Nicholas! I have asked, already, twenty times! If asking would
do it, she would have been my wife a month since. What do you think,
Corny--no, I’ll not do it--it is not manly to get the secrets of a woman’s
heart, by means like these--I’ll not ask her!”

“The crown is paid, and the truth must be said. The lady you love, loves
you, and she does not love you; she will have you, and she won’t have you;
she thinks _yes_, and she says _no_.”

Guert now trembled all over, like an aspen-leaf.

“I do not believe there is any harm, Corny, in asking whether I gained
or lost by the affair of the river? I _will_ ask her that much, of a
certainty. Tell me, Mother, am I better or worse, for a certain thing that
happened about a month ago--about the time that the ice went, and that we
had a great freshet?”

“Guert Ten Eyck, why do you try me thus?” demanded the fortune-teller,
solemnly. “I knew your father, and I knew your mother; I knew your
ancestors in Holland, and their children in America. Generations on
generations have I known your people, and you are the first that I have
seen so ill-clad! Do you suppose, boy, that old Doortje’s eyes are getting
dim, and that she cannot tell her own nation? I saw you on the river--ha!
ha! ‘t was a pleasant sight--Jack and Moses, too; how they snorted,
and how they galloped! Crack--crack--that’s the ice--there comes the
water!--See, that bridge may hit you on the head! Do _you_ take care of
this bird, and do _you_ take care of _that_--and all will come round with
the seasons. Answer me one thing, Guert Ten Eyck, and answer me truly. Know
you ever a young man who goes quickly into the bush?”

“I do, Mother; this young man, my friend, intends to go in a few days, or
as soon as the weather is settled.”

“Good! go you with him--absence makes a young woman know her own mind, when
asking will gain nothing. Go you with him, I say; and if you hear muskets
fired, go near them; _fear_ will sometimes make a young woman speak. You
have your answer, and I will tell no more. Come hither, young owner of many
half-joes, and touch that card.”

“I did as ordered; when the woman began to mumble to herself, and to
run over the pack as rapidly as she could. Kings, aces, and knaves were
examined, one after another, until she had got the Queen of Hearts in her
hand, which she held up to me in triumph.

“That is _your_ lady. She is a queen of too many hearts! The Hudson did
that for you, that it has done for many a poor man before you. Yes, yes;
the river did you good: but water will drown, as well as make tears. Do
_you_ beware of Knights Barrownights!” [31]

Here Mother Doortje came to a dead stand in her communications, and not
another syllable of any sort could either of us get from her; though,
between us, as many as twenty questions were asked. Signs were made for us
to depart; and when the woman found our reluctance, she laid a crown for
each of us, on the table, with a dignified air, and went into a corner,
seated herself, and began to rock her body, like one impatient of our
presence. After so unequivocal a sign that she considered her work as done,
we could not well do less than return; leaving the money behind us, as a
matter of course.

[Footnote 27: In plain English, the “great go-to-bed,” and the “little
go-to-bed.” There may be a portion of our readers who are not aware that
the word “levee,” meaning a morning reception _by_ a great man, is derived
from the French “lever,” which means “to rise,” or “to get up.” The kings
of France were in the habit of receiving homage at their morning toilets; a
strange custom, that doubtless had its origin in the _empressement_ of the
courtier to inquire how his master had slept; which receptions were divided
into two classes, the “_grand lever_” and the “_petit lever_”--the “great
getting-up” or the “little getting-up.” The first was an occasion of more
state than the last. Even down to the time of Charles X., the court papers
seldom went a week without announcing that the king had signed the contract
of marriage--a customary compliment in France, among friends of this of
that personage--at the “grand lever,” or at the “petit lever;” the first, I
believe, but am not certain, being the greater honour of the two.--EDITOR.]

[Footnote 28: Doortje--pronounced Doort-yay--means Dorothea. Mr. Littlepage
uses a sort of corruption of the pronunciation. I well remember a
fortune-teller of that name, in Albany; though it could not have been the
Doortje of 1758.--EDITOR.]

[Footnote 29: It is quite evident, that Mr. Cornelius Littlepage was, to
agree at least, a believer in the fortune-teller’s art. This was, however,
no more than was common, a century since. Quite within my recollection,
the Albanians had a celebrated dealer in the black art, who was regularly
consulted, on the subject of all lost spoons, and the pilfering of
servants, by the good housewives of the town, as recently as my school-boy
days. The Dutch, like the Germans, appear to have been prone to this
species of superstition; from which, even the English of education were
far from being free, a century since. Mademoiselle Normand existed in
the present century, even, in the sceptical capital of France. But, the
somnambulist is taking the place of the ancient soothsayer, in our own
times.--EDITOR.]

[Footnote 30: This might have been true, in 1758; but is not true for
1845.--EDITOR.]

[Footnote 31: In the colony of New York, there lived but one titled man,
for a considerable period. It was the celebrated Sir William Johnson,
Bart., of Johnson Hall, Johnstown, Albany, now Fulton County. The son of
Sir William Johnson was knighted during his father’s life-time, and was Sir
John while Sir William was living. At the death of his father, he was Sir
John Johnson, Kt. & Bart.; and it was usual for the common class of people
to style him a Knight, of Barrow_night_.--EDITOR.]



CHAPTER XIX.

  Virtue, how frail it is!
  Friendship, too rare!
  Love, how it sells poor bliss
  For proud despair!
  But we, though soon they fall,
  Survive their joy, and all
  Which ours we call.

  SHELLEY.


Guert Ten Eyck was profoundly impressed with what he had heard, in his
visit to the fortune-teller. It affected his spirits, and, as will be seen,
it influenced all his subsequent conduct. As for myself, I will not say
that I totally disregarded what had passed; though the effect was greatly
less on me, than it was on my friend. The Rev. Mr. Worden, however, treated
the matter with great disdain. He declared that he had never before been so
insulted in his life. The old hag, no doubt, had seen us all before, and
recognised him. Profiting by a knowledge of this sort--that was very easily
obtained in a place of the size of Albany--she had taken the occasion to
make the most of the low gossip that had been circulated at his expense.
“Loping Dominie, indeed,” he added; “as if any man would not run to save
his life! You saw how it was with the river, Corny, when it once began to
break up, and know that my escape was marvellous. I deserve as much credit
for that retreat, boy, as Xenophon did for his retreat with the Ten
Thousand. It is true, I had not thirty-four thousand, six hundred and fifty
stadia to retreat over; but acts are to be estimated more by quality, than
by quantity. The best things are always of an impromptu character; and,
generally, they are on a small scale. Then, as for all you tell me about
Guert; why, the hussy knew him--_must_ have known him, in a town like
Albany, where the fellow has a character that identifies him with all sorts
of fun and roguery. Jack, and Moses, too! Do you think the inspiration
of even an evil spirit, or of forty thousand devils, would lead a
fortune-teller to name any horse Moses? Jack might do, perhaps; but _Moses_
would never enter the head of even an imp! Remember, lad, Moses was the
great law-giver of the Jews; and such a creature would be as apt to suppose
a horse was named Confucius, as to suppose he was named Moses!”

“I suppose the inspiration, as you call it, sir, would lead a clever
fortune-teller to give things as they are; and to call the horses by their
real names, let them be what they might.”

“Ay, such inspiration as this miserable, old, wrinkled, impudent she-devil
enjoys! Don’t tell me, Corny; there is no such thing as fortune-telling;
at least, nothing that can be depended on in all cases--and this is one of
downright imposition. ‘Loping Dominie,’ forsooth!”

Such were the Rev. Mr. Worden’s sentiments on the subject of Mother
Doortje’s revelations. He exacted a pledge from us all, to say nothing
about the matter; nor were we much disposed to be communicative on the
subject. As for Guert, Dirck, Jason, and myself, we did not hesitate to
converse on the circumstances of our visits, among ourselves, however; and
each and all of us viewed the matter some what differently from our Mentor.
I ascertained that Jason had been highly gratified with what had been
predicted on his own behalf; for what was wealth in his eyes had been
foretold as his future lot; and a man rarely quarrels with good fortune,
whether in prospective, or in possession. Dirck, though barely twenty,
began to talk of living a single life from this time; and no laughter
of mine could induce the poor lad to change his views, or to entertain
livelier hopes. Guert was deeply impressed, as has been said; and feeling
no restraint in the matter of his own case, he took occasion to speak of
his visit to the woman, one morning that Herman Mordaunt, the two ladies,
Bulstrode, and myself, were sitting together, chatting, in the freedom of
what had now become a very constant intercourse.

“Are such things as fortune-tellers known in England, Mr. Bulstrode?” Guert
abruptly commenced, fastening his eyes on Mary Wallace, as he asked the
question; for on her were his thoughts running at the time.

“All sorts of silly things are to be found in Old England, Mr. Ten Eyck, as
well as some that are wise. I believe London has one or two soothsayers;
and I think I have heard elderly people say that the fashion of consulting
them has somewhat increased, since the court has been so German.”

“Yes,” Guert innocently replied; “I find it easy to believe that; for,
it is a common saying, among our people, that the German and Low Dutch
fortune-tellers are the best known. They have had, or pretend to have had,
witches in New England; but no one, hereabouts, puts any faith in the
pretence. It is like all the bragging of these boastful Yankees!”

I observed that Mary Wallace’s colour deepened; and that, in biting off a
thread, she profited, by the occasion, to avert her face in such a manner,
that Bulstrode, in particular, could not see it.

“The meaning of all this,” put in Major Bulstrode “is, that our friend
Guert has been to pay a visit to Mother Doortje’s; a woman of some note,
who lives on the hill, and who has a reputation, in that way, among these
good Albanians! Several of our mess have been to see the old woman.”

“It is, Mr. Bulstrode,” Guert answered, in his manly way, and with a
gravity which proved how much he was in earnest. “I have been to see Mother
Doortje, for the first time in my life; and Corny Littlepage, here, was my
companion. Long as I have known the woman by reputation, I have never had
any curiosity to pay her a visit, until this spring. We have been, however;
and, I must say, I have been greatly surprised at the extent of the
knowledge of this very extraordinary person.”

“Did she tell you to look into the sweetmeat-pot, for the lost spoon, Mr.
Ten Eyck,” Anneke inquired, with an archness of eye and voice, that sent
the blood to my own face, in confusion. “They say, that fortune-tellers
send all prudent, yet careless housewives, to the sweetmeat-pots, to look
for the lost spoons! Many have been found, I hear, by this wonderful
prescience.”

“Well, Miss Anneke, I see, you have no faith,” answered Guert, fidgeting;
“and people who have no faith, never believe. Notwithstanding, _I_ put so
much confidence in what Doortje has told me, that I intend to follow her
advice let matters turn out as they may.”

Here Mary Wallace raised her thoughtful, full, blue eyes to the face of the
young man; and they expressed an intense interest, rather than any light
curiosity, that even her woman’s instinct and woman’s sensitiveness could
not so far prevail, as to enable her to conceal. Still, Mary Wallace did
not speak, leaving the others present to maintain the discourse.

“Of course, you mean to tell us all about it, Ten Eyck,” cried the Major;
“there is nothing more likely to succeed, with an audience, than a good
history of witchcraft, or something so very marvellous, as to do violence
to common sense, before we give it our faith.”

“Excuse me, Mr. Bulstrode; these are things I cannot well mention; though,
Corny Littlepage will testify, that they are very wonderful. At any rate,
I shall go into the bush, this spring; and Littlepage and Follock, being
excellent companions, I propose to join their company. It will be late,
before the army will be ready to move; and, by that time, all three of us
propose to join you before Ticonderoga; if, indeed, you succeed in getting
so far.”

“Say, rather, in front of Montreal; for, I trust, this new
Commander-In-Chief will find something more for us to do, than the last one
did. Shall I have a sentinel placed at Doortje’s door, in your absence,
Guert!”

The smile, this question produced, was general; Guert, himself, joining in
it; for his good-nature was of proof. When I say the smile was general,
however, I ought to except Mary Wallace, who smiled little, that morning.

“We shall be neighbours, then,” Herman Mordaunt quietly observed; “that
is to say, if you mean, by accompanying Corny and Dirck to the bush, you
intend to go with them to the patent, lately obtained by Messrs. Littlepage
and Van Valkenburgh. I have an estate, in that quarter, which is now ten
years old; and these ladies have consented to accompany me thither, as soon
as the weather is a little more settled, and I can be assured that our army
will be of sufficient force to protect us from the French and Indians.”

It is unnecessary for me to say with what delight Guert and I heard this
announcement! On Bulstrode, however, it produced an exactly contrary
effect. He did not appear, to me, to be surprised, at a declaration that
was so new to us; but several expressions fell from him, that showed he had
no idea the two estates, that of Herman Mordaunt’s, and that which belonged
to us, lay so near together. It was by means of _his_ questions, indeed,
that I learned the real facts of the case. It appeared that Herman
Mordaunt’s business, in Albany, was to make some provisions in behalf of
this property, on which he had caused mills to be erected, and some of the
other improvements of a new settlement, to be made, two or three years
before; and which, by the progress and events of the war, was getting to be
in closer proximity to the enemy, than was desirable. Even where the French
lay, at Ticonderoga, his mills, in particular, might be thought in some
danger, though forty or more miles distant; for parties of savages, led
on by white men, frequently marched that distance through the forests, in
order to break up a settlement and to commit depredations. But the enemy
had crossed Lake George, the previous summer, and had actually taken Fort
William Henry, at its southern extremity, by siege. It is true, this was
the extent of their inroad; and, it was now known, that they had abandoned
this bold conquest, and had fallen back upon Ty and Crown Point, two of the
strongest military positions in the British colonies. Still, Ravensnest, as
Herman Mordaunt’s property was called, was far from being beyond the limits
of sorties; and the residence, at Albany, was solely to watch the progress
of events in that quarter, and to be near the scene. If he had any public
employment, it remained a profound mystery. A new source of embarrassment
had arisen, however; and this it was that decided the proprietor to visit
his lands in person. The fifteen or twenty families he had succeeded in
establishing on the estate, at much cost and trouble, had taken the alarm
at the prospect of a campaign in their vicinity; and had announced an
intention of abandoning their huts and clearings, as the course most
expedient for the times. Two or three had already gone off towards the
Hampshire Grants, whence they had originally come; profiting by the last of
the snow; and, it was feared, that others might imitate their caution.

Herman Mordaunt saw no necessity for this abandonment of advantages over
the wilderness, that had been obtained at so much cost and trouble. The
labour of a removal, and a return, was sufficient, of itself, to give a new
direction to the movements of his settlers; and, as their first entrance
into the country had been effected through his agency, and aided by his
means, he naturally wished to keep the people he had got to his estate with
so much difficulty, and at so much cost, at their several positions, as
long, at least, as he conceived it to be prudent. In these circumstances,
therefore, he had determined to visit Ravensnest in person, and to pass a
part, if not most of the summer, among his people. This would give them
confidence, and would enable him to infuse new life into their operations.
It would seem, that Anneke and Mary Wallace had refused to let Mr. Mordaunt
go alone; and, believing, himself, there was no danger in the course he
was about to take, the father and guardian, for Mary Wallace was Herman
Mordaunt’s ward, had yielded to the importunities of the two girls; and it
had been formally decided that they were all to proceed together, as soon
as the season should get to be a little more advanced. Intelligence of this
intention had been sent to the settlers; and its effect was to induce them
to remain at their posts, by pacifying their fears.

I might as well add, here, what I learned subsequently, in the due course
of events. Bulstrode had been made acquainted with Herman Mordaunt’s plans,
they being sworn friends, and the latter warmly in the interest of the
former’s suit; and he had known how to profit by the information. It was
now time to put the troops in motion; and several parties had already
marched towards the north, taking post at different points that it was
thought desirable to occupy, previously to the commencement of the
campaign. Among other corps under orders of this nature, was that commanded
by Bulstrode; and he had sufficient interest, at head-quarters, to get
it sent to the point nearest to Ravensnest; where it gave him the double
advantage, of having it in his power to visit the ladies, on occasion,
while, at the same time, he must appear, to them, somewhat in the character
of a protector. The object of Dirck and myself, in visiting the north,
was no secret; and, it was generally understood, that we were to go to
Mooseridge; but we did not know, ourselves, that Herman Mordaunt had an
estate so near us. This intelligence, as has been said, I now ascertained,
was as new to Bulstrode as it was to myself.

The knowledge of many little things I have just mentioned, was obtained
by me only at intervals, and by means of observation and discourse.
Nevertheless, the main points were determined on the morning on which Guert
referred to his visit to the fortune-teller, and in the manner named. The
conversation lasted an hour; nor did it cease, until all present got a
general idea of the course intended to be pursued by the different parties
present, during the succeeding summer.

It happened, that morning, that Bulstrode, Dirck, and Guert withdrew
together, the two last to look at a horse the former had just purchased,
leaving me alone with the young ladies. No sooner was the door closed on
the retiring members of our party, than I saw a smile struggling about
the handsome mouth of Anneke; Mary Wallace continuing the whole time
thoughtful, if not sad.

“And _you_ were of the party at the fortune-teller’s, too, it seems, Mr.
Littlepage,” Anneke remarked, after appearing to be debating with herself
on the propriety of proceeding any farther in the subject. “I knew there
was such a person in Albany, and that thrifty housekeepers _did_ sometimes
consult her; but I was ignorant that men, and _educated_ men, paid her that
honour.”

“I believe there is no exception in the way of sex or learning, to her
influence, or her authority. They tell me that most of the younger officers
of the army visit her, while they remain here.”

“I would much like to know if Mr. Bulstrode has been of the number! He is
young enough in years, though so high in rank. A major may have as much
curiosity as an ensign; or, as it may appear, dear Mary, of a woman who has
lost her grandmother’s favourite dessert-spoon.”

Mary Wallace gave a gentle sigh, and she even raised her eyes from her
work; still, she made no answer.

“You are severe on us, Anneke;” for, since the affair on the river, the
whole family treated me with the familiarity of a son or a brother--“I
fancy we have done no more than Mr. Mordaunt has done in his day.”

“This may be very true, Corny, and not make the consultation the wisest
thing in nature. I hope, however, you do not keep your fortune a secret,
but let your friends share in your knowledge!”

“To me the woman was far from being communicative, though she treated Guert
Ten Eyck better. Certainly, she told him many extraordinary things, of the
past even; unless indeed, she knew who he was.”

“Is it probable, Mr. Littlepage,” said Mary Wallace, “that any person in
Albany should not know Guert Ten Eyck, and a good deal of his past history?
Poor Guert makes himself known wherever he is!”

“And, often much to his advantage,” I added--a remark that cost me nothing;
but which caused Mary Wallace’s face to brighten, and even brought a faint
smile to her lips. “All that is true; yet there _was_ something wild and
unnatural in the woman’s manner, as she told these things!”

“All of which you seem determined to keep to yourself?” observed Anneke, as
one asks a question.

“It would hardly do to betray a friend’s secrets. Let Guert answer for
himself; he is as frank as broad day, and will not hesitate about letting
you know all.”

“I wish Corny Littlepage were only as frank as twilight!”

“I have nothing to conceal--and least of all from you, Anneke. The
fortune-teller told me that the queen of my heart was the queen of
_too many_ hearts; that the river had done me no harm; and that I must
particularly beware of what she called Knights-Barrow_nights_.”

I watched Anneke closely, as I repeated this warning of Mother Doortje; but
could not read the expression of her sweet and thoughtful countenance. She
neither smiled nor frowned; but she certainly blushed. Of course, she did
not look at me--for that would have been to challenge observation. Mary
Wallace, however, _did_ smile, and she _did_ look at me.

“You believe all the wizzard told you, Corny?” said Anneke, after a short
pause.

“I believed that the queen of my heart was the queen of many hearts; that
the river had done me no harm--though I could not say, or see, that it had
done me much good; and that I had much to fear from Knights-Barrow_nights_.
I believed all this, however, before I ever saw the fortune-teller.”

The next remark that was made came from Anneke, and it referred to the
weather. The season was opening finely, and fast; and it could not be long
before the great movements of the year must commence. Several regiments
had arrived in the colonies, and various officers of note and rank had
accompanied them. Among others who had thus crossed the Atlantic for
the first time, was my Lord Howe, a young soldier of whom fame spoke
favourably, and from whom much was expected in the course of the
anticipated service of the year. While we were talking over these things,
Herman Mordaunt re-entered the room, after a short absence, and he took
me with him to examine his preparations for transporting the ladies to
Ravensnest. As we went along, the discourse was maintained, and I learned
many things from my older and intelligent companion, that were new to me.

“New lords, new laws, they say, Corny,” continued Herman Mordaunt; “and
this Mr. Pitt, the great commoner, as some persons call him, is bent on
making the British empire feel the truth of the axiom. Everything is alive
in the colonies, and the sluggish period of Lord Loudon’s command is
passed. Gen. Abercrombie, an officer from whom much is expected, is now at
the head of the King’s troops, and there is every prospect of an active
and most important campaign. The disgraces of the few last years _must_ be
wiped out, and the English name be made once more to be dreaded on this
continent. The Lord Howe of whom Anneke spoke, is said to be a young man
of merit, and to possess the blood of our Hanoverian monarchs; his mother
being a half-sister, in the natural way, of his present Majesty.”

Herman Mordaunt then spoke more fully of his own plans for the
summer--expressed his happiness at knowing that Dirck and myself were to be
what he called his neighbours--though, on a more exact computation, it
was ascertained, that the nearest boundaries of the two patents, that of
Ravensnest, and that of Mooseridge, lay quite fourteen miles apart, with a
dense and virgin forest between them. Nevertheless, this would be making us
neighbours, in a certain sense; as gentlemen always call men of their own
class neighbours, when they live within visiting distance, or near enough
to be seen once or twice in a year. And such men _are_ neighbours, in the
sense that is most essential to the term--they know each other better;
understand each other better; sympathize more freely; have more of the
intercourse that makes us judges of motives, principles, and character,
twenty-fold, than he who lives at the gate, and merely sees the owner of
the grounds pass in and out, on his daily avocations. There is, and can
be no greater absurdity, than to imagine that the sheer neighbourhood,
or proximity of position, makes men acquainted. That was one of Jason
Newcome’s Connecticut notions. Having been educated in a state of society
in which all associated on a certain footing of intimacy, and in which half
the difficulties that occurred were “told to the church,” he was for ever
fancying he knew all the gentry of Westchester, because he had lived a year
or two in the county; when, in fact, he had never spoken to one in a dozen
of them. I never could drive this notion out of his head, however; for
_looking_ often at a man, or occasionally exchanging a bow with him on the
highway, he would insist was knowing him, or what he called, being “well
acquainted;” a very favourite expression of the Danbury man’s; though their
sympathies, habits, opinions, and feelings, created so vast a void between
the parties, they hardly understood each other’s terms, and ordinary
language, when they did begin to converse, as sometimes happened.
Notwithstanding all this, Jason insisted to the last that he _knew_ every
gentleman in the county, whom he had been accustomed to hear alluded to in
discourse, and when he had seen them once or twice, though it were only
at church. But Jason had a very flattering notion, generally, of his own
acquisitions on all subjects.

Herman Mordaunt had made careful provision for the contemplated journey;
having caused a covered vehicle to be constructed, that could transport not
only himself and the ladies, but many articles of furniture that would be
required during their residence in the forest. Another conveyance, strong,
spacious, and covered, was also prepared for the blacks, and another
portion of the effects. He pointed out all these arrangements to me with
great satisfaction, dwelling on the affection and spirit of the girls with
a pleasure he did not affect to conceal. For my own part, I have always
been of opinion, that Anneke was solely influenced by pure, natural regard,
in forming her indiscreet resolution; while her father was governed by
the secret expectation that the movement would leave open the means of
receiving visits and communications from Bulstrode, during most of the
summer. I commended the arrangements, made one or two suggestions of my own
in behalf of Anneke and Mary, and we returned to our several homes.

A day or two after this visit to the workshops, and the conversation
related, the ----th took up its line of march for the north. The troops
defiled through the narrow streets in the neighbourhood of the barracks,
half an hour after the appearance of the sun, preceded and followed by a
long train of baggage-wagons. They marched without tents, however, it being
well understood that they were going into a region where the axe could at
any time cover thousands of men, in about the time that a camp could be
laid out, and the canvass spread. Hutting was the usual mode of placing
an army under cover in the forest; and a dozen marches would take the
battalion to the point where it was intended it should remain, as a support
to two or three other corps still further in advance, and to keep open the
communications.

Bulstrode, however, did not quit Albany in company with his regiment. I had
been invited, with Guert and Dirck, to breakfast at Herman Mordaunt’s that
morning; and, as we approached the door, I saw the Major’s groom walking
his own and his master’s horse, in the street, near by. This was a sign we
were to have the pleasure of Bulstrode’s company at breakfast. Accordingly,
on entering the room, we found him present, in the uniform of an officer of
his rank, about to commence a march in the forests of America. I thought
him melancholy, as if sad at parting; but my most jealous observation could
detect no sign of similar feeling on the part of Anneke. She was not quite
as gay as usual, but she was far from being sad.

“I leave you, ladies, with the deepest regret,” said Bulstrode, while at
table, “for you have made this country more than a home to me--you have
rendered it _dear_.”

This was said with feeling; more than I had ever seen Bulstrode manifest
before, and more than I had given him credit for possessing. Anneke
coloured a little; but there was no tremor in the beautiful hand, that held
a highly-wrought little tea-pot suspended over a cup, at that very moment.

“We shall soon meet again, Harry,” Herman Mordaunt remarked, in a tone of
strong affection; “for, our party will not be a week behind you. Remember,
we are to be _good_ neighbours, as well as neighbours; and, if the mountain
will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet must go to the mountain.”

“Which means, Mr. Bulstrode,” said Mary Wallace, with one of her sweet
smiles, and one that was as open and natural as childhood itself, “that
you are Mahomet, and we are the mountain. Ladies can neither travel, with
comfort, in a wilderness, nor visit a camp, with propriety, if they would.”

“They tell me, I shall not be in a camp at all,” answered the soldier;
“but in good, comfortable log-barracks, that have been built for us by the
battalion we relieve. I am not without hopes, they will be such as even
ladies will not disdain to use, on an emergency. There ought to be no
Mahomet, and no mountain, between such old and intimate friends.”

The conversation then turned on the plans and expectations of the
respective parties; and the usual promises were made, of being sociable
and good neighbours, as had just been suggested. Herman Mordaunt evidently
wished to consider Bulstrode as one of his family; a feeling that might
excuse itself to the world, on the score of consanguinity; but which, it
was easy enough, for me, to see, had its origin in a very different cause.
When Bulstrode rose to take his leave, I wished myself away, on account of
the exhibition of concern it produced; while the desire to watch the effect
on Anneke, would have kept me rooted to the floor, even had it been proper
that I should retire.

Bulstrode was more affected than I could have thought possible. He took one
of Herman Mordaunt’s hands into his own, and pressed it warmly, for some
little time, before he could speak at all.

“God only knows what this summer is to see, and whether we are ever to meet
again, or not,” he then said, “but, come what may, the past, the _happy
past_, is so much gained from the commonplace. If you never hear of me
again, my dear kinsman, my letters to England will give you a better
account of my gratitude, than anything I can say in words. They have been
written as your kindnesses have been bestowed; and they faithfully pourtray
the feelings to which your hospitality and friendship have given rise. In
a possible event, I have requested that every one of them may be sent to
America, for your special perusal--”

“Nay, my dear Harry, this is foreboding the very worst,” interrupted
Herman Mordaunt, dashing a tear from his eye, “and is making a very short
separation, a more serious matter than one ought--”

“Nay, sir, a soldier, who is about to be posted within striking distance of
his enemy, can never speak, with confidence, of separations that are to
be short. This campaign will be decisive, for me,”--glancing
towards Anneke--“I must return a conqueror, in one sense, or I do not
wish to return at all. But, God bless you, Herman Mordaunt, as your own
countrymen call you; a thousand years could not efface from my heart, the
remembrance of all your kindness.”

This was handsomely expressed; and the manner in which it was uttered, was
as good as the language. Bulstrode hesitated a moment--looked at the two
girls in doubt--and first approached Mary Wallace.

“Adieu, excellent Mary Wallace,” he said, taking her offered hand, and
kissing it with a freedom from emotion, that denoted it was only friendship
and respect which induced the act--“I believe, you are a severe critic
on Catos and Scrubs; but, I forgive all your particular backbitings,
on account of your general indulgence and probity. You may meet with a
thousand mere acquaintances, before you find another who shall have the
same profound respect for your many virtues, as myself.”

This was handsomely said, too; and it caused Mary Wallace to remove the
handkerchief from her eyes, and to utter her adieus cordially, and with
some emotion. Strangers say that our women want feeling--passion; or, if
they have it, that it is veiled behind a mask of coldness, that takes away
from its loveliness and warmth; that they are girlish and familiar, where
they might better be reserved; and distant, and unnatural, where feeling
and nature ought to assert their sway. That they have less _manner_, in all
respects, in that of self-control, and perhaps of self-respect, in their
ordinary intercourse, and in that of _acting_, where it may seem necessary
so to do, I believe to be true; buts he who denies an American girl a
heart, knows nothing about her. She is _all_ heart; and the apparent
coldness is oftener the consequence of not daring to trust her feelings,
and her general dislike to everything artificial, than to any want of
affections. Two girls, educated, however, as had been Anneke and Mary
Wallace, could not but acquit themselves better, in such a scene, than
those who had been less accustomed to the usages of polite life, which are
always more or less, the usages of convention.

On the present occasion, Mary Wallace was strongly affected; it would not
have been possible, for one of her gentle nature and warm affections, to be
otherwise, when an agreeable companion, one she had now known intimately
near two years, was about to take his leave of her, on an errand that he
himself either thought, or affected so well to seem to think, might lead to
the most melancholy issue. She shook hands with Bulstrode, warmly; wished
him good fortune, and various other pleasant things; thanked him for his
good opinion, and expressed her hope, as well as her belief, that they
should all meet again before the summer was over, and again be happy in
each other’s society.

Anneke’s turn came next. Her handkerchief was at her eyes; and, when it was
removed, the face was pale, and the cheeks were covered with tears. The
smile that followed, was sweetness itself; and, I will own, it caused me a
most severe pang. To my surprise, Bulstrode said nothing. He took Anneke’s
hand, pressed it to his heart, kissed it, left a note in it, bowed, and
moved away. I felt ashamed to watch the countenance of Miss Mordaunt, under
such circumstances, and turned aside, that observation might not increase
the distress and embarrassment she evidently felt. I saw enough,
notwithstanding, to render me more uncertain than ever, as to the success
of my own suit. Anneke’s colour had come and gone, as Bulstrode stood near
her, acting his dumb-show of leave-taking; and, to me, she seemed far more
affected than Mary Wallace had been. Nevertheless, her feelings were
always keener and more active than those of her friend; and, that which my
sensitiveness took for the emotion of tenderness, might be nothing more
than ordinary womanly feeling and friendship. Besides, Bulstrode was
actually her relative.

We men all attended Bulstrode to his horse. He shook us cordially by the
hand; and, after he had got into the saddle, he said--“This summer will be
warmer than is usual, even in your warmy-cold climate. My letters from home
give me reason to think that there is, at last, a man of talents at the
head of affairs; and the British empire is likely to feel the impulse he
will give it, at its most remote extremities. I shall expect you three
young men to join the ----th, as volunteers, as soon as you hear of our
moving in advance. I wish I had a thousand like you; for that affair of the
river tells where a man will be found when the time comes. God bless you,
Corny!” leaning forward in his saddle, to give me another shake of the
hand; “we _must_ remain friends, _coute qui couté_.”

There was no withstanding this frankness, and so much good-temper. We shook
hands most cordially; Bulstrode raised his hat and bowed; after which
he rode away, as I fancied, at a slow, thoughtful, reluctant pace.
Notwithstanding the kindness of this parting, I had more cause than ever to
regret Bulstrode had appeared among us; and the scenes of that morning only
confirmed me in a resolution, previously adopted, not to urge Anneke to any
decision, in my case, at a moment when I felt there might be so much danger
it would be adverse.



CHAPTER XX.

  “Come, let a proper text be read,
  An’ touch it aff wi’ vigour,
  How graceless Ham leugh at his dad,
  Which made Canaan a nigger.”

  BURNS.


Ten days after the departure of the ----th, Herman Mordaunt and his
family, with our own party, left Albany, on the summer’s business. In that
interval, however, great changes had taken place in the military aspect of
things. Several regiments of King’s troops ascended the Hudson, most of the
sloops on the river, of which there could not have been fewer than thirty
or forty, having been employed in transporting them and their stores. Two
or three corps came across the country, from the eastern colonies,
while several provincial regiments appeared; everything tending to a
concentration at this point, the head of navigation on the Hudson. Among
other men of mark, who accompanied the troops, was Lord Viscount Howe, the
nobleman of whom Herman Mordaunt had spoken. He bore the local rank of
Brigadier, [32] and seemed to be the very soul of the army. It was not his
personal consideration alone, that placed him so high in the estimation
of the public and of the troops, but his professional reputation, and
professional services. There were many young men of rank in the army
present; and, as for younger sons of peers, there were enough to make
honourables almost as plenty, at Albany, as they were at Boston. Most of
the colonial families of mark had sons in the service, too; those of the
middle and southern colonies bearing commissions in regular regiments,
while the provincial troops from the eastern were led, as was very usual,
in that quarter of the country, by men of the class of yeomen, in a great
degree; the habits of equality that prevailed in those provinces making few
distinctions, on the score of birth or fortune.

Yet it was said, I remember, that obedience was as marked, among the
provincials from Massachusetts and Connecticut, as among those that came
from farther south; the men deferring to authority, as the agent of the
laws. They were fine troops, too; better than our own colony regiments, I
must acknowledge; seeming to belong to a higher class of labourers; while,
it must be admitted, that most of their officers were no very brilliant
representatives of manners, acquirements, or habits, that would be likely
to qualify them for command. It must have been that the officers and men
suited each other; for, it was said all round, that they stood well, and
fought very bravely, whenever they were particularly well led, as did not
always happen to be the case. As a body of mere physical men, they were
universally allowed to be the finest corps in the army, regulars and all
included.

I saw Lord Howe two or three times, particularly at the residence of Madam
Schuyler, the lady I have already had occasion to mention, and to whom I
had given the letter of introduction procured by my mother, the Mordaunts
visiting her with great assiduity, and frequently taking me with them. As
for Lord Howe, himself, he almost lived under the roof of excellent Madam
Schuyler; where, indeed, all the good company assembled at Albany, was, at
times, to be seen.

Our party was a large one; and, it might have passed for a small corps of
the army itself, moving on in advance; as was the case with corps, or parts
of corps, now, almost daily. Herman Mordaunt had delayed our departure,
indeed, expressly with a view to render the country safe, by letting it
fill with detachments from the army; and our progress, when we were once in
motion, was literally from post to post; encampment to encampment. It may
be well to enumerate our force, and to relate the order of our march, that
the reader may better comprehend the sort of business we were on.

Herman Mordaunt took with him, in addition to the ladies, a black cook, and
a black serving-girl; a negro-man, to lake care of his horses, and another
as his house-servant. He had three white labourers, in addition--men
employed about the teams, and as axe-men, to clear the woods, bridge the
streams, and to do other work of that nature, as it might be required. On
our side, there were us three gentlemen, Yaap, my own faithful negro, Mr.
Traverse, the surveyor, two chain-bearers, and two axe-men. Guert Ten Eyck
carried with him, also, a negro-man, who was called Pete; it being contrary
to _bonos mores_ to style him Peter or Petrus; the latter being his true
appellation. This made us ten men strong, of whom eight were white, and two
black. Herman Mordaunt mustered, in all, just the same number, of which,
however, four were females. Thus, by uniting our forces, we made a party of
twenty souls, altogether. Of this number, all the males, black and white,
were well armed, each man owning a good rifle, and each of the gentlemen a
brace of pistols in addition. We carried the latter belted to our bodies,
with the weapons, which were small and fitted to the service, turned
behind, in such a way as to be concealed by our outer garments. The belts
were also hid by the flaps of our nether garments. By this arrangement, we
were well armed without seeming to be so; a precaution that is sometimes
useful in the woods.

It is hardly necessary to say, that we did not plunge into the forest in
the attire in which we had been accustomed to appear in the streets of
New York and Albany. Cocked hats were laid aside altogether; forest caps,
resembling in form those we had worn in the winter, with the exception that
the fur had been removed, being substituted. The ladies wore light beavers,
suited to their sex; there being little occasion for any shade for the
face, under the dense canopies of the forest. Veils of green, however, were
added, as the customary American protection for the sex. Anneke and Mary
travelled in habits, made of light woman’s cloth, and in a manner to fit
their exquisite forms like gloves. The skirts were short, to enable them to
walk with ease, in the event of being compelled to go a-foot. A feather
or two, in each hat, had not been forgotten--the offering of the natural
propensity of their sex, to please the eyes of men.

As for us men, buckskin formed the principal material of our garments.
We all wore buckskin breeches, and gaiters, and moccasins. The latter,
however, had the white-man’s soles; though Guert took a pair or two with
him that were of the pure Indian manufacture. Each of us had a coatee, made
of common cloth; but we all carried hunting-shirts, to be worn as soon as
we entered the woods. These hunting-shirts, green in colour, fringed and
ornamented garments, of the form of shirts to be worn over all, were
exceedingly smart in appearance, and were admirably suited to the woods. It
was thought that the fringes, form, and colour, blended them so completely
with the foliage, as to render them in a manner invisible to one at a
distance; or at least, undistinguished. They were much in favour with all
the forest corps of America, and formed the usual uniform of the riflemen
of the woods, whether acting against man, or only against the wild beasts.

Neither Mr. Worden, nor Jason, moved with the main party; and it was
precisely on account of these distinctions of dress. As for the divine, he
was so good a stickler for appearances, he would have worn the gown
and surplice, even on a mission to the Indians; which, by-the-way, was
ostensibly his present business; and, at the several occasions, on which I
saw him at cock-fights, he kept on the clerical coat and shovel-hat. In a
word, Mr. Worden never neglected externals, so far as dress was concerned;
and, I much question, if he would have consented to read prayers without
the surplice, or to preach without the gown, let the desire for spiritual
provender be as great as it might. I very well remember to have heard my
father say, that, on one occasion, the parson had refused to officiate of
a Sunday, when travelling, rather than bring discredit on the church, by
appearing in the discharge of his holy office, without the appliances that
belonged to the clerical character.

“More harm than good is done to religion, Mr. Littlepage,” said the Rev.
Mr. Worden, on that occasion, “by thus lessening its rites in vulgar eyes.
The first thing is to teach men to respect holy things, my dear sir; and a
clergyman in his gown and surplice, commands threefold the respect of one
without them. I consider it, therefore, a sacred duty to uphold the dignity
of my office on all occasions.”

It was in consequence of these opinions, that the divine travelled in his
clerical hat, clerical coat, black breeches, and band, even when in pursuit
of the souls of red men among the wilds of North America! I will not take
it upon myself to say, these observances had not their use; but I am very
certain they put the reverend gentleman to a great deal of inconvenience.

As for Jason, he gave a Danbury reason for travelling in his best.
Everybody did so, in his quarter of the country; and, for his part, he
thought it disrespectful to strangers, to appear among them in old clothes!
There was, however, another and truer reason, and that was economy; for
the troops had so far raised the price of everything, that Jason did not
hesitate to pronounce Albany the dearest place he had ever been in. There
was some truth in this allegation; and the distance from New York, being no
less than one hundred and sixty miles--so reported--the reader will at once
see, it was the business of quite a month, or even more, to re-furnish the
shelves of the shop that had been emptied. The Dutch not only moved slow,
but they were methodical; and the shopkeeper whose stores were exhausted in
April, would not be apt to think of replenishing them, until the regular
time and season returned.

As a consequence of these views and motives, the Rev. Mr. Worden and Mr.
Jason Newcome left Albany twenty-four hours in advance of the rest of our
party, with the understanding they were to join us at a point where the
road led into the woods, and where it was thought the cocked hat and the
skin cap might travel in company harmoniously. There was, however, a reason
for the separation I have not yet named, in the fact that all of my own set
travelled on foot, three or four pack-horses carrying our necessaries. Now
Mr. Worden had been offered a seat in a government conveyance, and Jason
managed to worm himself into the party, in some way that to me was ever
inexplicable. It is, however, due to Mr. Newcome to confess that his
faculty of obtaining favours of all sorts, was of a most extraordinary
character; and he certainly never lost any chance of preferment for want
of asking. In this respect, Jason was always a moral enigma, to me; there
being an absolute absence, in his mind, of everything like a perception
of the fitness of things, so far as the claims and rights of persons
were connected with rank, education, birth, and experience. Rank, in the
official sense, once possessed, he understood and respected; but of the
claims to entitle one to its enjoyment, he seemed to have no sort of
notion. For property he had a profound deference, so far as that deference
extended to its importance and influence; but it would have caused him not
the slightest qualm, either in the way of conscience or feeling, to find
himself suddenly installed in the mansion of the patroons, for instance,
and placed in possession of their estates, provided only he fancied he
could maintain his position. The circumstance that he was dwelling under
the roof that was erected by another man’s ancestors, for instance, and
that others were living who had a better moral right to it, would give him
no sort of trouble, so long as any quirk of the law would sustain him in
possession. In a word, all that was allied to sentiment, in matters of this
nature, was totally lost on Jason Newcome, who lived and acted, from the
hour he first came among us, as if the game of life were merely a game
of puss in the corner, in which he who inadvertently left his own post
unprotected, would be certain to find another filling his place as speedily
as possible. I have mentioned this propensity of Jason’s at some little
length, as I feel certain, should this history be carried down by my own
posterity, as I hope and design, it will be seen that this disposition to
regard the whole human family as so many tenants in common, of the estate
left by Adam, will lead, in the end, to something extraordinary. But,
leaving the Rev. Mr. Worden and Mr. Jason Newcome to journey in their
public conveyance, I must return to our own party.

All of us men, with the exception of those who drove the two wagons of
Herman Mordaunt, marched a-foot. Each of us carried a knapsack, in addition
to his rifle and ammunition; and, it will be imagined, that our day’s work
was not a very long one. The first day, we halted at Madam Schuyler’s, by
invitation, where we all dined; including the surveyor. Lord Howe was among
the guests, that day, and he appeared to admire the spirit of Anneke and
Mary Wallace greatly, in attempting such an expedition, at such a time.

“You need have no fears, however, ladies, as we shall keep up strong
detachments between you and the French,” he said, more gravely, after some
pleasant trifling on the subject. “Last summer’s work, and the disgraceful
manner in which poor Munro was abandoned to his fate, has rendered us all
keenly alive to the importance of compelling the enemy to remain at the
north end of Lake George; too many battles having already been fought on
this side it, for the credit of the British arms. We pledge ourselves to
your safety.”

Anneke thanked him for this pledge, and the conversation changed. There
was a young man present, who bore the name of Schuyler, and who was nearly
related to Madam, with whose air, manner and appearance I was much struck.
His aunt called him ‘Philip;’ and, being about my own age, during this
visit I got into conversation with him. He told me he was attached to the
commissariat under Gen. Bradstreet, and that he should move on with the
army, as soon as the preparations for its marching were completed. He
then entered into a clear, simple explanation of the supposed plan of the
approaching campaign.

“We shall see you and your friends among us, then, I hope,” he added, as
we were walking on the lawn together, previously to the summons to dinner;
“for, to own to you the truth, Mr. Littlepage, I do not half like the
necessity of our having so many eastern troops among us, to clear this
colony of its enemies. It is true, a nation must fight its foes wherever
they may happen to be found; but there is so little in common, between us
and the Yankees, that I could wish we were strong enough to beat back the
French alone.”

“We have the same sovereign and the same allegiance,” I answered; “if you
can call that something in common.”

“That is true; yet, I think you must have enough Dutch blood about you to
understand me. My duty calls me much among the different regiments; and, I
will own, that I find more trouble with one New England regiment, than with
a whole brigade of the other troops. They have generals, and colonels, and
majors, enough for the army of the Duke of Marlborough!”

“It is certain, there is no want of military rank among them--and they are
particularly fond of referring to it.”

“Quite true,” answered young Schuyler, smiling. “You will hear the word
‘general’ or ‘colonel’ oftener used, in one of their cantonments, in a
day, than you shall hear it at Head Quarters in a month. They have capital
points about them, too; yet, somehow or other, we do not like each other.”

Twenty years later in life, I had reason to remember this remark, as well
as to reflect on the character of the man who had uttered it. I, or my
successors, will probably have occasion to advert to matters connected with
this feeling, in the later passages of this record.

I had also a little conversation with Lord Howe, who complimented me on
what had passed on the river. He had evidently received an account of that
affair from some one who was much my friend, and saw fit to allude to the
subject in a way that was very agreeable to myself. This short conversation
was not worth repeating, but it opened the way to an acquaintance that
subsequently was connected with some events of interest.

About an hour after dinner, our party took its leave of Madam Schuyler, and
moved on. The day’s march was intended to be short, though by this time the
roads were settled, and tolerably good. Of roads, however, we were not long
to enjoy the advantages, for they extended only some thirty miles to the
north of Albany, in our direction. With the exception of the military
route, which led direct to the head-waters of Lake Champlain, this was
about the extent of all the avenues that penetrated the interior, in that
quarter of the country. Our direction was to the northward and eastward,
both Ravensnest and Mooseridge lying slightly in the direction of the
Hampshire Grants.

As soon as we reached the point on the great northern road, or that which
led towards Skeenesborough, Herman Mordaunt was obliged to quit his wagons,
and to put all the females on horseback. The most necessary of the stores
were placed on pack-horses; and, after a delay of half a day, time lost in
making these arrangements, we proceeded. The wagons were to follow, but at
a slow pace, the ladies being compelled to abandon them on account of the
ruggedness of the ways, which would have rendered their motion not easy to
be borne. Our cavalcade and train of footmen made a respectable display
along the uneven road, which soon became very little more than a line cut
through the forest, with an occasional wheel-track, but without the least
attempt to level the surface of the ground by any artificial means. This
was the place where we were to overtake Mr. Worden and Jason, and where we
did find their effects; the owners themselves having gone on in advance,
leaving word that we should fall in with them somewhere on the route.

Guert and I marched in front, our youth and vigour enabling us to do this
with great ease to ourselves. Knowing that the ladies were well cared for,
on horseback, we pushed on, in order to make provision for their reception,
at a house a few miles distant, where we were to pass the night. This
building was of logs, of course, and stood quite alone in the wilderness,
having, however, some twenty or thirty acres of cleared land around it; and
it would not do to pass it, at that time of the day. The distance from this
solitary dwelling to the first habitation on Herman Mordaunt’s property,
was eighteen miles; and that was a length of road that would require the
whole of a long May day to overcome, under our circumstances.

Guert and myself might have been about a mile in advance of the rest of the
party, when we saw a sort of semi-clearing before us, that we mistook at
first for our resting-place. A few acres had been chopped over, letting in
the light of the day upon the gloom of the forest, but the second growth
was already shooting up, covering the area with high bushes. As we drew
nearer, we saw it was a small, abandoned clearing. Entering it, voices were
heard at no great distance, and we stopped; for the human voice is not
heard, in such a place, without causing the traveller to pause, and stand
to his arms. This we did; after which we listened with some curiosity and
caution.

“High!” exclaimed some one, very distinctly, in English.

“Jack!” said another voice, in a sort of answering second that could not
well be mistaken.

“There’s three for low;--is that good?” put in the first speaker.

“It will do, sir; but here are a ten and an ace. Ten and three, and four
and two make nineteen;--I’m game.”

“High, low, Jack and game!” whispered Guert; “here are fellows playing at
cards, near us; let us go on and beat up their quarters.”

We did so; and, pushing aside some bushes, broke, quite unexpectedly to all
parties, on the Rev. Mr. Worden and Jason Newcome, playing the game of ‘All
Fours on a stump;’ or, if not literally in the classic position of using
‘the stump,’ substituting the trunk of a fallen tree for their table. As we
broke suddenly in upon the card-players, Jason gave unequivocal signs of a
disposition to conceal his hand, by thrusting the cards he held into his
bosom, while he rapidly put the remainder of the pack under his thigh,
pressing it down in a way completely to conceal it. This sudden movement
was merely the effect of a puritanical education, which, having taught him
to consider that as a sin which was not necessarily a sin at all, exacted
from him that hypocrisy which is the tribute that vice pays to virtue! Very
different was the conduct of the Rev. Mr. Worden. Taught to discriminate
better, and unaccustomed to set up arbitrary rules of his own as the law of
God, this loose observer of his professional obligations is other matters,
made a very proper distinction in this. Instead of giving the least
manifestation of confusion or alarm, the log on which he was seated was not
more unmoved than he remained, at our sudden appearance at his side.

“I hope, Corny, my dear boy,” Mr. Worden cried, “that you did not forget
to purchase a few packs of cards; which I plainly see, will be a great
resource for us, in this woody region. These cards of Jason’s are so
thumbed and handled, that they are not fit to be touched by a gentleman, as
I will show you.--Why, what has become of the pack, Master Newcome?--It was
on the log but a minute ago!”

Jason actually blushed! Yes, for a wonder, shame induced Jason Newcome to
change colour! The cards were reluctantly produced from beneath his leg,
and there the schoolmaster sat, as it might be in presence of his school
actually convicted of being engaged in the damning sin of handling certain
spotted pieces of paper, invented for, and used in the combinations of a
game played for amusement.

“Had it been push-pin, now,” Guert whispered, “it would give Mr. Newcome
no trouble at all; but he does not admire the idea of being caught at
‘All Fours, on a stump.’ We must say a word to relieve the poor sinner’s
distress. I have cards, Mr. Worden, and they shall be much at your service,
as soon as we can come at our effects. There is one pack in my knapsack,
but it is a little soiled by use, though somewhat cleaner than that. If you
wish it, I will hand it to you. I never travel without carrying one or two
clean packs with me.”

“Not just now, sir, I thank you. I love a game of Whist, or Picquet, but
cannot say I am an admirer of All Fours. As Mr. Newcome knows no other, we
were merely killing half an hour, at that game; but I have enough of it
to last me for the summer. I am glad that cards have not been forgotten,
however; for, I dare say, we can make up a very respectable party at Whist,
when we all meet.”

“That we can, sir, and a party that shall have its good players. Miss Mary
Wallace plays as good a hand at Whist, as a woman should, Mr. Worden; and
a very pretty accomplishment it is, for a lady to possess; useful, sir, as
well as entertaining; for anything is preferable to dummy. I do not think a
woman should play quite as well as a man, our sex having a natural claim to
lead, in all such things; but it is very convenient, sometimes, to find a
lady who can hold her hand with coolness and skill.”

“I would not marry a woman who did not understand Picquet,” exclaimed the
Rev. Mr. Worden; “to say nothing of Whist, and one or two other games. But,
let us be moving, since the hour is getting late.”

Move on we did, and in due time we all reached the place at which we were
to halt for the night. This looked like plunging into the wilderness
indeed; for the house had but two rooms, one of which was appropriated to
the use of the females, while most of us men took up our lodgings in
the barn. Anneke and Mary Wallace, however, showed the most perfect
good-humour; and our dinner, or supper might better be the name, was
composed of deliciously fat and tender broiled pigeons. It was the pigeon
season, the woods being full of the birds; and we were told, we might
expect to feast on the young to satiety.

About noon the next day, we reached the first clearing on the estate of
Ravensnest. The country through which we were travelling was rolling rather
than bold; but it possessed a feature of grandeur in its boundless forests.
Our route, that day, lay under lofty arches of young leaves, the buds just
breaking into the first green of the foliage, tall, straight columns,
sixty, eighty, and sometimes a hundred feet of the trunks of the trees,
rising almost without a branch. The pines, in particular, were really
majestic, most of them being a hundred and fifty feet in height, and a few,
as I should think, nearly if not quite two hundred. As everything grows
towards the upper light, in the forest, this ought not to surprise those
who are accustomed to see vegetation expand its powers in wide-spreading
tops, and low, gnarled branches that almost touch the ground, as is the
case in the open fields, and on the lawns of the older regions. As is usual
in the American virgin forest, there was very little underbrush; and we
could see frequently a considerable distance through these long vistas of
trees; or, indeed, until the number of the stems intercepted the sight.

The clearings of Ravensnest were neither very large nor very inviting. In
that day, the settlement of new lands was a slow and painful operation, and
was generally made at a great outlay to the proprietor. Various expedients
were adopted to free the earth from its load of trees; [33] for, at that
time, the commerce of the colonies did not reward the toil of the settler
in the same liberal manner as has since occurred. Herman Mordaunt, as we
moved along, related to me the cost and trouble he had been at already, in
getting the ten or fifteen families who were on his property, in the first
place, to the spot itself; and, in the second place, to induce them to
remain there. Not only was he obliged to grant leases for three lives,
or, in some cases, for thirty or forty years, at rents that were merely
nominal, but, as a rule, the first six or eight years the tenants were to
pay no rent at all. On the contrary, he was obliged to extend to them many
favours, in various ways, that cost no inconsiderable sum in the course of
the year. Among other things, his agent kept a small shop, that contained
the most ordinary supplies used by families of the class of the settler,
and these he sold at little more than cost, for their accommodation,
receiving his pay in such articles as they could raise from their
half-tilled fields, or their sugar-bushes, and turning those again into
money, only after they were transported to Albany, at the end of a
considerable period. In a word, the commencement of such a settlement was
an arduous undertaking, and the experiment was not very likely to succeed,
unless the landlord had both capital and patience.

The political economist can have no difficulty in discovering the causes of
the circumstances just mentioned. They were to be found in the fact that
people were scarce, while land was superabundant. In such a condition of
society, the tenant had the choice of his farm, instead of the landlord’s
having a selection of his tenants, and the latter were to be bought only on
such conditions as suited themselves.

“You see,” continued Herman Mordaunt, as we walked together, conversing on
this subject, “that my twenty thousand acres are not likely to be of much
use to myself, even should they prove to be of any to my daughter. A
century hence, indeed, my descendants may benefit from all this outlay of
money and trouble; but it is not probable that either I or Anneke will ever
see the principal and interest of the sums that will be expended in the way
of roads, bridges, mills, and other things of that sort. Years must go
by, before the light rents which will only begin to be paid a year or two
hence, and then only by a very few tenants, can amount to a sufficient sum
to meet the expenses of keeping up the settlement, to say nothing of the
quit-rents to be paid to the crown.”

“This is not very encouraging to a new beginner in the occupation of a
landlord,” I answered; “and, when I look into the facts, I confess, I am
surprised that so many gentlemen in the colony are willing to invest the
sums they annually do in wild lands.”

“Every man who is at his ease in his moneyed affairs, Corny, feels a
disposition to make some provision for his posterity. This estate, if kept
together, and in single hands may make some descendant of mine a man of
fortune. Half a century will produce a great change in this colony; at the
end of that period, a child of Anneke’s may be thankful that his mother
had a father who was willing to throw away a few thousands of his own, the
surplus of a fortune that was sufficient for his wants without them, in
order his grandson may see them converted into tens, or possibly into
hundreds of thousands.”

“Posterity will, at least, owe us a debt of gratitude, Mr. Mordaunt; for I
now see that Mooseridge is not likely to make either Dirck or myself very
affluent patroons.”

“On that you may rely. Satanstoe will produce you more than the large
tracts you possess in this quarter.”

“Do you no longer fear, sir, that the war, and apprehension of Indian
ravages, may drive your people off?”

“Not much at present, though the danger was great at one time. The war
_may_ do me good, as well as harm. The armies consume everything they can
get--soldiers resembling locusts, in this respect. My tenants have had the
commissaries among them; and, I am told, every blade of grass they can
spare--all their surplus grain, potatoes, butter, cheese, and, in a word,
everything that can be eaten, and with which they are willing to part, has
been contracted for at the top of the market. The King pays in gold, and
the sight of the precious metals will keep even a Yankee from moving.”

About the time this was said, we came in sight of the spot Herman Mordaunt
had christened Ravensnest; a name that had since been applied to the whole
property. It was a log building, that stood on the verge of a low cliff of
rocks, at a point where a bird of that appellation had originally a nest on
the uppermost branches of a dead hemlock. The building had been placed, and
erected, with a view to defence, having served for some time as a sort of
rallying point to the families of the tenantry, in the event of an Indian
alarm. At the commencement of the present war, taking into view the exposed
position of his possessions on that frontier,--frontier as to settlement,
if not as to territorial limits,--Herman Mordaunt had caused some attention
to be paid to his fortifications; which, though they might not have
satisfied Mons. Vauban, were not altogether without merit, considered in
reference to their use in case of a surprise.

The house formed three sides of a parallelogram, the open portion of the
court in the centre, facing the cliff. A strong picket served to make a
defence against bullets on that side; while the dead walls of solid logs
were quite impregnable against any assault known in forest warfare, but
that of fire. All the windows opened on the court; while the single outer
door was picketed, and otherwise protected by the coverings of plank. I was
glad to see by the extent of this rude structure, which was a hundred feet
long by fifty in depth, that Anneke and Mary Wallace would not be likely to
be straitened for room. Such proved to be the fact; Herman Mordaunt’s agent
having prepared four or five apartments for the family, that rendered them
as comfortable as people could well expect to be in such a situation.
Everything was plain, and many things were rude; but shelter, warmth and
security had not been neglected.

[Footnote 32: The ordinary American reader may not know that the rank
of Brigadier, in the British army, is not a step in the regular line of
promotion, as with us. In England, the regular military gradations are from
Colonel to Major-general, Lieut. General, General, and Field Marshal. The
rank of Brigadier is barely recognised, like that of Commodore, in the
navy, to be used on emergencies; usually as brevet, _local_ rank, to enable
the government to employ clever colonels at need.]

[Footnote 33: The late venerable Hendrick Frey was a man well known to all
who dwelt in the valley of the Mohawk. He had been a friend, contemporary,
and it is believed an executor of the celebrated Sir William Johnson, Bart.
Thirty years since, he related to the writer the following anecdote. Young
Johnson first appeared in the valley as the agent of a property belonging
to his kinsman, Admiral Sir Peter Warren, K. B.; who, having married in
the colony, had acquired several estates in it. Among other tracts was one
called Warrens-bush, on the Mohawk, on which young Johnson first resided.
Finding it difficult to get rid of the trees around his dwelling, Johnson
sent down to the admiral, at New York, to provide some purchases with which
to haul the trees down to the earth, after grubbing and cutting the roots
on one side. An acre was lowered in this manner, each tree necessarily
lying at a larger angle to the earth than the next beneath it. An easterly
wind came one night, and, to Johnson’s surprise, he found half his trees
erect again, on rising in the morning! The mode of clearing lands by
‘purchases’ was then abandoned.--EDITOR.]



CHAPTER XXI.

  “And long shall timorous fancy see
  The painted chief and pointed spear;
  And Reason’s self shall bow the knee
  To shadows and delusions here.”

  FRENEAU.


It is not necessary to dwell on the manner in which Herman Mordaunt and his
companions became established at Ravensnest. Two or three days sufficed to
render them as comfortable as circumstances would permit; then Dirck and I
bethought us of proceeding in quest of the lands of Mooseridge. Mr. Worden
and Jason both declined going any further; the mill-seat, of which the last
was in quest, being, as I now learned, on the estate of Herman Mordaunt,
and having been for some time the subject of a negotiation between the
pedagogue and its owner. As for the divine, he declared that he saw a
suitable ‘field’ for his missionary labour where he was; while, it was easy
to see, that he questioned if there were fields of any sort, where we were
going.

Our party, on quitting Ravensnest, consisted of Dirck and myself, Guert,
Mr. Traverse, the surveyor, three chain-bearers, Jaap or Yaap, Guert’s man,
Pete, and one woodsman or hunter. This would have given us ten vigorous and
well-armed men, for our whole force. It was thought best, however, to add
two Indians to our number, in the double character of hunters and runners,
or messengers. One of these red-skins was called Jumper, in the language
of the settlement where we found them; and the other Trackless; the latter
_sobriquet_ having been given him on account of a faculty he possessed of
leaving little or no trail in his journeys and marches. This Indian was
about six-and-twenty years of age, and was called a Mohawk, living with the
people of that tribe; though, I subsequently ascertained that he was, in
fact, an Onondago [34] by birth. His true name was Susquesus, or Crooked
Turns; an appellation that might or might not speak well of his character,
as the Turns’ were regarded in a moral, or in a physical sense.

“Take that man, Mr. Littlepage, by all means,” said Herman Mordaunt’s
agent, when the matter was under discussion. “You will find him as useful,
in the woods, as your pocket-compass, besides being a reasonably good
hunter. He left here, as a runner, during the heaviest of the snows, last
winter, and a trial was made to find his trail, within half an hour after
he had quitted the clearing, but without success. He had not gone a mile in
the woods, before all traces of him were lost, as completely as if he had
made the journey in the air.”

As Susquesus had a reputation for sobriety, as was apt to be the case with
the Onondagoes, the man was engaged, though one Indian would have been
sufficient for our purpose. But Jumper had been previously hired; and it
would have been dangerous, under our circumstances, to offend a red-man, by
putting him aside for another, even after compensating him fully for the
disappointment. By Mr. Traverse’s advice, therefore, we took both. The
Indian or Mohawk name of Jumper, was Quissquiss, a term that, I fancy,
signified nothing very honourable or illustrious.

The girls betrayed deep interest in us, on our taking leave; more, I
thought, than either had ever before manifested. Guert had told me,
privately, of an intention, on his part, to make another offer to Mary
Wallace; and I saw the traces of it in the tearful eyes and flushed cheeks
of his mistress. But, at such a moment, one does not stop to think much of
such things; there being tears in Anneke’s eyes, as well as in those of her
friend. We had a thousand good wishes to exchange; and we promised to keep
open; the communication between the two parties, by means of our runners
semi-weekly. The distance, which would vary from fifteen to thirty miles,
would readily admit of this, since either of the Indians would pass over
it, with the greatest ease to himself, in a day, at that season of the
year.

After all, the separation was to be short, for we had promised to come over
and dine with Herman Mordaunt on his fiftieth birth-day, which would occur
within three weeks. This arrangement made the parting tolerable to us young
men, and our constitutional gaiety did the rest. Half an hour after the
last breakfast at Ravensnest saw us all on our road, cheerful, if not
absolutely happy. Herman Mordaunt accompanied us three miles; which led him
to the end of his own settlements, and to the edge of the virgin forest.
There he took his leave, and we pursued our way with the utmost diligence,
for hours, with the compass for our guide, until we reached the banks of a
small river that was supposed to lie some three or four miles from the
southern boundaries of the patent we sought. I say, ‘supposed to lie,’ for
there existed then, and, I believe, there still exists much uncertainty
concerning the land-marks of different estates in the woods. On the banks
of this stream, which was deep but not broad, the surveyor called a halt,
and we made our dispositions for dinner. Men who had walked as far and as
fast as we had done, made but little ceremony and for twenty minutes every
one was busy in appeasing his hunger. This was no sooner accomplished,
however than Mr. Traverse summoned the Indians to the side of the fallen
tree on which we had taken our seats, when the first occasion occurred for
putting the comparative intelligence of the two runners to the proof. At
the same time the principal chain-bearer, a man whose life had been passed
in his present occupation, was brought into the consultation, as follows.

“We are now on the banks of this stream, and about this bend in it,”
 commenced the surveyor, pointing to the precise curvature of the river on
a map he had spread before him, at which he supposed we were actually
situated; “and the next thing is to find that ridge on which the moose was
killed, and across which the line of the patent we seek is known to run.
This abstract of the title tells us to look for a corner somewhere off
here, about a mile or a mile and a half from this bend in the river--a
black oak, with its top broken off by the wind, and standing in the centre
of a triangle made by three chestnuts. I think you told me, David that you
had never borne a chain on any of these ridges?”

“No, sir, never;” answered David, the old chain-bearer already mentioned;
“my business never having brought me out so far east.--A black oak, with
corner blazes on it, and its top broken down by the wind, and standing
atween three chestnuts, howsomedever, can be nothing so very hard to
find, for a person that’s the least acquainted. These Injins will be the
likeliest bodies to know that tree, if they’ve any nat’ral knowledge of the
country.”

Know a tree! There we were, and had been for many hours, in the bosom of
the forest, with trees in thousands ranged around us; trees had risen
on our march, as horizon extends beyond horizon on the ocean, and this
chain-bearer fancied it might be in the power of one who often passed
through these dark and untenanted mazes, to recognise any single member of
those countless oaks, and beeches, and pines! Nevertheless, Mr. Traverse
did not seem to regard David’s suggestion as so very extravagant, for he
turned towards the Indians and addressed himself to them.

“How’s this?” he asked; “Jumper, do you know anything of the sort of tree I
have described?”

“No,” was the short, sententious answer.

“Then, I fear, there is little hope that Trackless is any wiser, as you are
Mohawk born, and _he_, they tell me, is at bottom an Onondago. What say
you, Trackless? can you help us to find the tree?”

My eyes were fastened on Susquesus, as soon as the Indians were mentioned.
There he stood, straight as the trunk of a pine, light and agile in person,
with nothing but his breech-cloth, moccasins, and a blue calico shirt
belted to his loins with a scarlet band, through which was thrust the
handle of his tomahawk, and to which were attached his shot-pouch and horn,
while his rifle rested against his body, butt downward. Trackless was a
singularly handsome Indian, the unpleasant peculiarities of his people
being but faintly portrayed in his face and form; while their nobler and
finer qualities came out in strong relief. His nose was almost aquiline;
his eye, dark as night, was restless and piercing; his limbs Apollo-like;
and his front and bearing had all the fearless dignity of a warrior,
blended with the grace of nature. The only obvious defects were in his
walk, which was Indian, or in-toed and bending at the knee; but, to
counterbalance these, his movements were light, springy and swift. I
fancied him, in figure, the very _beau-idéal_ of a runner.

During the time the surveyor was speaking, the eye of Susquesus was
seemingly fastened on vacancy, and I would have defied the nicest observer
to detect any consciousness of what was in hand, in the countenance of this
forest stoic. It was not his business to speak, while an older runner
and an older warrior was present--for Jumper was both--and he waited for
others, who might know more, to reveal their knowledge ere he produced
his own. Thus directly addressed, however, all reserve vanished, and he
advanced two or three steps, cast a curious glance at the map, even put a
finger on the river, the devious course of which it followed across the
map, much as a child would trace any similar object that attracted his
attention. Susquesus knew but little of maps, it was clear enough; but the
result showed that he knew a great deal about the woods, his native field
of action.

“Well, what do you make of my map, Trackless,” repeated the surveyor. “Is
it not drawn to suit your fancy?”

“Good”--returned the Onondago, with emphasis. “Now show Susquesus _your_
oak tree.”

“Here it is, Trackless. You see it is a tree drawn in ink, with a broken
top, and here are the three chestnuts, in a sort of triangle, around it.”

The Indian examined the tree with some interest, and a slight smile
illumined his handsome, though dark countenance. He was evidently pleased
at this proof of accuracy in the colony surveyors, and, no doubt, thought
the better of them for the fidelity of their work.

“Good,” he repeated, in his low, guttural, almost feminine voice, so soft
and mild in its tone. “_Very_ good. The pale-faces know everything! Now,
let my brother find the tree.”

“That is easier said than done, Susquesus,” answered Traverse, laughing.
“It is one thing to sketch a tree on a map, and another to go to its root,
as it stands in the forest, surrounded by thousands of other trees.”

“Pale-face must first see him, or how paint him? Where painter?”

“Ay, the surveyor saw the tree once, and marked it once, but that is not
finding it again. Can you tell me where the oak stands? Mr. Littlepage will
give the man who finds that corner a French crown. Put me anywhere on the
line of the old survey, and I will ask favours of no one.”

“Painted tree _there_,” said Susquesus, pointing a little scornfully at the
map, as it seemed to me. “Pale-face can’t find him in wood. Live tree out
younder; Injin know.”

Trackless pointed with great dignity towards the north east, standing
motionless as a statue the while, as if inviting the closest possible
scrutiny into the correctness of his assertion.

“Can you lead us to the tree?” demanded Traverse, eagerly. “Do it, and the
money is yours.”

Susquesus made a significant gesture of assent; then he set about
collecting the scanty remains of his dinner, a precaution in which we
imitated him, as a supper would be equally agreeable as the meal just
taken, a few hours later. When everything was put away, and the packs
were on our shoulders--not on those of the Indians, for _they_
seldom condescended to carry burthens, which was an occupation for
women--Trackless led the way, in the direction he had already pointed out.

Well did the Onondago deserve his name, as it seemed to me, while he
threaded his way through that gloomy forest, without path, mark or sign of
any sort, that was intelligible to others. His pace was between a walk and
a gentle trot, and it required all our muscles to keep near him. He looked
to neither the right nor the left, but appeared to pursue his course guided
by an instinct, or as the keen-scented hound follows the viewless traces of
his game. This lasted for ten minutes, when Traverse called another halt,
and we clustered together in council.

“How much further do you think it may be to the tree, Onondago?” demanded
the surveyor, as soon as the whole party was collected in a circle. “I have
a reason for asking.”

“So many minutes,” answered the Indian, holding up five fingers, or the
four fingers and thumb of his right hand. “Oak with broken top, and
pale-face marks, _there_.”

The precision and confidence with which the Trackless pointed, not a little
surprised me, for I could not imagine how any human being could pretend to
be minutely certain of such a fact, under the circumstances in which we
were placed. So it was, however; and so it proved in the end. In the mean
time, Traverse proceeded to carry out his own plans.

“As we are so near to the tree,” he said, for the surveyor had no doubt of
the red-man’s accuracy, “_we_ must also be near the line. The last runs
north and south, on this part of the patent, and we shall shortly cross it.
Spread yourselves, therefore, chain-bearers, and look for blazed trees;
for, put me anywhere on the boundaries, and I’ll answer for finding any
oak, beech, or maple, that is mentioned in the corners.”

As soon as this order was received, all the surveyor’s men obeyed, opening
the order of their march, and spreading themselves in a way to extend their
means of observing materially. When all was ready, a sign was made to the
Indian to proceed. Susquesus obeyed, and we were all soon in quick motion
again.

Guert’s activity enabled him to keep nearest to the Onondago, and a shout
from his clear, full throat, first announced the complete success of the
search. In a moment the rest of us pressed forward, and were soon at the
end of our journey. There was Susquesus, quietly leaning against the trunk
of the broken oak, without the smallest expression of triumph in either his
manner or his countenance. That which he had done, he had done naturally,
and without any apparent effort or hesitation. To him the forest had its
signs, and metes, and marks--as the inhabitant of the vast capital has his
means of threading its mazes with the readiness of familiarity and habit.
As for Traverse, he first examined the top of the tree, where he found the
indicated fracture; then he looked round for the three chestnuts, each of
which was in its place; after which he drew near to look into the more
particular signs of his craft. There they were, three of the inner sides of
the oak being blazed, the proof it was a corner; while that which had no
scar on its surface looked outward, or from the Patent of Mooseridge.
Just as all these agreeable facts were ascertained, shouts from the
chain-bearers south of us, announced that they had discovered the line--men
of their stamp being quite as quick-sighted, in ascertaining their own
peculiar traces, as the native of the forest is in finding his way to
any object in it which he has once seen, and may desire to revisit. By
following the line, these men soon joined us, when they gave us the
additional information that they had also actually found the skeleton of
the moose that had given its name to the estate.

Thus far, all was well, our success much exceeding our hopes. The hunters
were sent to look for a spring; and, one being found at no great distance,
we all repaired to the spot, and hutted for the night. Nothing could be
more simple than our encampment; which consisted of coverings made of the
branches of trees, with leaves and skins for our beds. Next day, however,
Traverse finding the position favourable for his work, he determined to
select the spot as head-quarters; and we all set about the erection of a
log-house, in which we might seek a shelter in the event of a storm, and
where we might deposit our implements, spare ammunition, and such stores as
we had brought with us on our backs. As everybody worked with good-will at
the erection of this rude building, and the labourers were very expert with
the axe, we had it nearly complete by the setting of the next day’s sun.
Traverse chose the place because the water was abundant, and good, and
because a small knoll was near the spring, that was covered with young
pines that were about fourteen or fifteen inches in diameter, while they
grew to the height of near a hundred feet, with few branches, and straight
as the Onondago. These trees were felled, cut into lengths of twenty and
thirty feet, notched at the ends, and rolled alternately on each other,
so as to enclose an area that was one-third longer than it was wide. The
notches were deep, and brought the logs within two or three inches of each
other; and the interstices were filled with pieces of riven chestnut, a
wood that splits easily and in straight lines; which pieces were driven
hard into their beds, so as to exclude the winds and the rains. As the
weather was warm, and the building somewhat airy at the best, we cut no
windows, though we had a narrow door in the centre of one of the longer
sides. For a roof we used the bark of the hemlock, which, at that season,
came off in large pieces, and which was laid on sticks, raised to the
desired elevation by means of a ridge pole.

All this was making no more than one of the common log-houses of the new
settlements, though in a more hurried and a less artificial manner than was
usual. We had no chimney, for our cooking could be done in the open air;
and less attention was paid to the general finish of the work, than might
have been the case had we expected to pass the winter there. The floor was
somewhat rude, but it had the effect of raising us from the ground, and
giving us perfectly dry lodgings; an advantage not always obtained in the
woods. It was composed of logs roughly squared on three sides, and placed
on sleepers. To my surprise, Traverse directed a door to be made of riven
logs, that were pinned together with cross-pieces, and which was hung
on the usual wooden hinges. When I spoke of this as unnecessary labour,
occupying two men an entire day to complete, he reminded me that we were
much in advance from the settlements; that an active war was being waged
around us, and that the agents of the French had been very busy among our
own tribes, while those in Canada often pushed their war-parties far within
our borders. He had always found a great satisfaction, as well as security,
in having a sort of citadel to retreat to, when on these exposed surveys;
and _he_ never neglected the necessary precaution, when he fancied himself
in the least danger.

We were quite a week in completing our house; though, after the first day,
neither the surveyor nor his chain-bearers troubled themselves with the
labour, any further than to make an occasional suggestion. Traverse and his
men went to work in their own pursuit, running lines to divide the patent
into its great lots, each of which was made to contain a thousand acres.
It should be mentioned that all the surveys, in that day, were made on the
most liberal scale, our forty thousand acres turning out, in the end, to
amount to quite three thousand more. So it was with the subdivisions of the
Patent, each of which was found to be of more than the nominal dimensions.
Blazed trees, and records cut into the bark, served to indicate the lines,
while a map went on _pari passu_ with the labour, the field-book containing
a description of each lot, in order that the proprietor of the estate might
have some notions of the nature of its soil and surface, as well as of the
quality and sizes of the trees it bore.

The original surveyors, those on whose labours the patent of the King was
granted, had a comparatively trifling duty to perform. So long as they gave
a reasonably accurate outline of an area that would contain forty thousand
acres of land, more or less, and did not trespass on any prior grant, no
material harm could be done, there being no scarcity of surface in the
colony; but, Mr. Traverse had to descend to a little more particularity. It
is true, he ran out his hundreds of acres daily, duly marking his corners
and blazing his line trees, but something very like a summer’s work lay
before him. This he understood, and his proceedings were as methodical and
deliberate as the nature of his situation required.

In a very few days, things had gotten fairly in train, and everybody was
employed in some manner that was found to be useful. The surveying party
was making a very satisfactory progress, running out their great lots
between sun and sun, while Dirck and myself made the notes concerning their
quality, under the dictation of Mr. Traverse. Guert did little besides
shoot and fish, keeping our larder well supplied with trout, pigeons,
squirrels, and such other game as the season would allow, occasionally
knocking over something in the shape of poor venison. The hunters
brought us their share of eatables also; and we did well enough, in this
particular, more especially is trout proved to be very abundant. Yaap, or
Jaap, as I shall call him in future, and Pete, performed domestic duty,
acting as scullions and cooks, though the first was much better fitted to
perform the service of a forester. The two Indians did little else, for
the first fortnight, but come and go between Ravensnest and Mooseridge,
carrying missives and acting as guides to the hunters, who went through
once or twice within that period, to bring us out supplies of flour,
groceries, and other similar necessaries; no inducement being able to
prevail on the Indians to carry anything that approached a burthen, either
in weight or appearance.

The surveying party did not always return to the hut at night, but it
‘camped out,’ as they called it, whenever the work led them to a distance
on the other side of the tract. Mr. Traverse had chosen his position for
head-quarters more in reference to its proximity to the settlement at
Ravensnest, than in reference to its position on the Patent. It was
sufficiently central to the latter, as regarded a north and south line, but
was altogether on the western side of the property. As his surveys extended
east, therefore, he was often carried too far from the building to return
to it each night, though his absences never extended beyond the evening of
the third day. In consequence of this arrangement, his people were enabled
to carry the food they required without inconvenience, for the periods they
were away, coming back for fresh supplies as the lines brought them west
again. Sundays were strictly observed by us all, as days of rest; a respect
to the day that is not always observed in the forest; he who is in the
solitude of the woods, like him who roams athwart the wastes of the ocean,
often forgetting that the spirit of the Creator is abroad equally on the
ocean and on the land, ready to receive that homage of his creatures,
which is a tribute due to beneficence without bounds, a holiness that is
spotless, and a truth that is inherent.

As Jumper, or the Trackless, returned from his constantly recurring visits
to our neighbours, we young men waited with impatience for the letter that
the messenger was certain to bear. This letter was sometimes written by
Herman Mordaunt himself, but oftener by Anneke, or Mary Wallace. It was
addressed to no one by name, but uniformly bore the superscription of ‘To
the Hermits of Mooseridge;’ nor was there anything in the language to
betray any particular attention to either of the party. We might have liked
it better, perhaps, could we have received epistles that were a little
more pointed in this particular; but those we actually got were much
too precious to leave any serious grounds of complaint. One from Herman
Mordaunt reached us on the evening of the second Saturday, when our whole
party was at home, and assembled at supper. It was brought in by the
Trackless, and, among other matters, contained this paragraph:

“We learn that things hourly assume a more serious aspect with the armies.
Our troops are pushing north, in large bodies, and the French are said to
be reinforcing. Living as we do, out of the direct line of march, and
fully thirty miles in the rear of the old battle-grounds, I should feel no
apprehension, were it not for a report I hear, that the woods are full of
Indians. I very well know that such a report invariably accompanies the
near approach of hostilities in the frontier settlements, and is to be
received with many grains of allowance; but it seems so probable the French
should push their savages on this flank of our army, to annoy it on the
advance, that, I confess, the rumour has some influence on my feelings. We
have been fortifying still more; and I would advise you not to neglect such
a precaution altogether. The Canadian Indians are said to be more subtle
than our own; nor is government altogether without the apprehension that
our own have been tampered with. It was said at Albany, that much French
silver had been seen in the hands of the people of the Six Nations; and
that even French blankets, knives, and tomahawks, were more plentiful among
them than might be accounted for by the ordinary plunder of their warfare.
One of your runners, the man who is called the Trackless, is said to live
out of his own tribe; and such Indians are always to be suspected. Their
absence is sometimes owing to reasons that are creditable; but far oftener
to those that are not. It may be well to have an eye on the conduct of this
man. After all, we are in the hands of a beneficent and gracious God, and
we know how often his mercy has saved us, on occasions more trying than
this!”

This letter was read several times, among ourselves, including Mr.
Traverse. As the _oi polloi_ of our party were eating out of ear-shot, and
the Indians had left us, it naturally induced a conversation that turned on
the risks we ran, and on the probability of Susquesus’s being false.

“As for the rumour that the woods are full of Indians,” the surveyor
quietly observed, “it is very much as Herman Mordaunt says--there is never
a blanket seen, but fame magnifies it into a whole bale. There is danger
to be apprehended from savages, I will allow, but not one-half that the
settlers ordinarily imagine. As for the French, they are likely to need all
their savages at Ty; for, they tell me Gen. Abercrombie will go against
them with three men to their one.”

“With that superiority, at least,” I answered; “but, after all, would not
a sagacious officer be likely to annoy his flank, in the manner here
mentioned?”

“We are every mile of forty to the eastward of the line of march; and why
should parties keep so distant from their enemies?”

“Even such a supposition would place our foes between us and our friends;
no very comfortable consideration, of itself. But, what think you of this
hint concerning the Onondago?”

“There may be truth in _that_--more than in the report that the woods are
full of savages. It is usually a bad sign when an Indian quits his tribe;
and this runner of ours is certainly an Onondago; _that_ I know, for the
fellow has twice refused rum. Bread he will take, as often as offered; but
rum has not wet his lips, since I have seen him, offered in fair weather or
foul.”

“T’at _is_ a bad sign”--put in Guert, a little dogmatically for him. “T’e
man t’at refuses his glass, in good company, has commonly something wrong
in his morals. I always keep clear of such chaps.”

Poor Guert!--How true that was, and what an influence the opinion had on
his character and habits. As for the Indian, I could not judge him so
harshly. There was something in his countenance that disposed me to put
confidence in him, at the very moment his cold, abstracted manners--cold
and abstracted even for a red-skin in pale-face company--created doubts and
distrust.

“Certainly, nothing is easier than for a man in his situation to sell us,”
 I answered, after a short pause, “if he be so disposed. But, what could the
French gain by cutting off a party as peaceably employed as this? It can be
of no moment to them, whether Mooseridge be surveyed into lots this year,
or the next.”

“Quite true; and I am of opinion that Mons. Montcalm is very indifferent
whether it be ever surveyed at all,” returned Traverse, who was an
intelligent and tolerably educated man. “You forget, however, Mr.
Littlepage, that both parties offer such things as premiums on scalps.
A Huron may not care about our lines, corners, and marked trees; but he
_does_ care, a great deal, whether he is to go home with an empty string,
or with half-a-dozen human scalps at his girdle.”

I observed that Dirck thrust his fingers through his bushy hair, and that
his usually placid countenance assumed an indignant and semi-ferocious
appearance. A little amused at this, I walked towards the log on which
Susquesus was seated, having ended his meal, in silent thought.

“What news do you bring us from the red-coats, Trackless?” I asked, with
as much of an air of indifference as I could assume. “Are they out in
sufficient numbers to eat the French?”

“Look at leaves; count ‘em;” answered the Indian.

“Yes, I know they are in force; but, what are the red-skins about? Is the
hatchet buried, among the Six Nations, that you are satisfied with being a
runner, when scalps may be had near Ticonderoga?”

“Susquesus _Onondago_”--the red-man replied, laying a strong emphasis on
the name of his tribe. “No Mohawk blood run in him. _His_ people no dig up
hatchet, this summer.”

“Why not, Trackless? You are allies of the Yengeese, and ought to give us
your aid, when it is wanted.”

“Count leaves--count Yengeese. Too much for one army. No want Onondago.”

“That may be true, possibly, for we are certainly very strong. But, how
is it with the woods--are they altogether clear of red-skins, in times as
troublesome as these?”

Susquesus looked grave, but he made no answer. Still, he did not endeavour
to avoid the keen look I fastened on his face, but sat composed, rigid, and
gazing before him. Knowing the uselessness of attempting to get anything
out of an Indian, when he was indisposed to be communicative, I thought
it wisest to change the discourse. This I did by making a few general
inquiries as to the state of the streams, all of which were answered, when
I walked away.

[Footnote 34: Pronounced On-on-daw-ger, the latter syllable hard; or, like
ga, as it is sometimes spelled. This is the name of one of the midland
counties of New York. The tribe from which it is derived, in these later
times, has over borne a better name for morals, than its neighbours,
the Oneidas, the Mohawks, &c., &c. The Onondagoes belonged to the Six
Nations.--Editor.]



CHAPTER XXII.

  “Fear not, till Birnam Wood
  Shall come to Dunsinane.”

  _Macbeth_.


I cannot say I was quite satisfied with the manner of Susquesus; nor, on
the other hand, was I absolutely uneasy. All might be well; and, if it were
not, the power of this man to injure us could not be very great. A new
occurrence, however, raised very unpleasant doubts of his honesty. Jumper
being out on a hunt, the Onondago was sent across to Ravensnest the next
trip, out of his turn; but, instead of returning, as had been the practice
of both, the next day, we saw no more of him for near a fortnight. As
we talked over this sudden and unexpected disappearance, we came to the
conclusion, that, perceiving he was distrusted, the fellow had deserted,
and would be seen no more. During his absence, we paid a visit to
Ravensnest ourselves, spending two or three happy days with the girls,
whom we found delighted with the wildness of their abode, and as happy as
innocence, health, and ceaseless interest in the forest and its habits,
could make them. Herman Mordaunt, having fortified his house sufficiently,
as he fancied, to remove all danger of an assault, returned with us to
Mooseridge, and passed two or three days in walking over and examining
the quality of the land, together with the advantages offered by the
water-courses. As for Mr. Worden and Jason, the former had gone to join the
army, craving the flesh-pots of a regimental mess, in preference to the
simple fare of the woods; while Jason had driven a hard bargain with Herman
Mordaunt for the possession of the mill-seat; which had been the subject of
frequent discussions between the parties, and about which the pedagogue had
deemed it prudent to draw on the wisdom of Mother Doortje. As the reader
may have some curiosity to know how such things were conducted in the
colony, in the year 1758, I will recapitulate the terms of the bargain that
was finally agreed on, signed and sealed.

Herman Mordaunt expected no emolument to himself, from Ravensnest, but
looked forward solely to a provision for posterity. In consequence of these
views, he refused to sell, but gave leases on such conditions as would
induce tenants to come into his terms, in a country in which land was far
plentier than men. For some reason, that never was very clear to me, he was
particularly anxious to secure Jason Newcome, and no tolerable terms seemed
extravagant to effect his purpose. It is not surprising, therefore,
that our miller in perspective got much the best of the bargain, as its
conditions will show.

The lease was for three lives, and twenty-one years afterwards. This would
have been thought equal to a lease for forty-two years, in that day, in
Europe; but experience is showing that it is, in truth, for a much longer
period, in America. [35] The first ten years, no rent at all was to be
paid. For the next ten, the land, five hundred acres, was to pay sixpence
currency an acre, the tenant having the right to cut timber at pleasure.
This was a great concession, as the mill-lot contained much pine. For the
remainder of the lease, be it longer or shorter, a shilling an acre, or
about sixpence sterling, was to be paid for the land, and forty pounds
currency, or one hundred dollars a year, for the mill-seat. The mills to be
taken by the landlord, at an appraisal ‘made by men’, at the expiration of
the lease; the tenant to pay the taxes. The tenant had the privilege of
using all the materials for his dams, buildings, &c., he could find on the
land.

The policy of the owners of Mooseridge was different. We intended to sell
at low prices, at first, reserving for leases hereafter, such farms as
could not be immediately disposed of, or for which the purchaser failed to
pay. In this manner it was thought we should sooner get returns for our
outlays, and sooner ‘build up a settlement,’ as the phrase goes. In
America, the reader should know, everything is ‘built.’ The priest ‘builds
up’ a flock; the speculator, a fortune; the lawyer, a reputation; and the
landlord, a settlement; sometimes, with sufficient accuracy in language, he
even builds a town.

Jason was a very happy man, the moment he got his lease, signed and sealed,
in his own possession. It made him a sort of a land-holder on the spot, and
one who had nothing to pay for ten years to come. God forgive me, if I
do the man injustice; but, from the first, I had a suspicion that Jason
trusted to fortune to prevent any pay-day from ever coming at all. As for
Herman Mordaunt, he seemed satisfied, for he fancied that he had got a
man of some education on his property, who might answer a good purpose in
civilizing, and in otherwise advancing the interests of his estate.

Just as the rays of the rising sun streamed through the crevices of our log
tenement, and ere one of us three idlers had risen from his pallet, I heard
a moccasined foot moving near me, in the nearly noiseless tread of an
Indian. Springing to my feet, I found myself face to face with the missing
Onondago!

“You here, Susquesus!” I exclaimed; “we supposed you had abandoned us. What
has brought you back?”

“Time to go, now,” answered the Indian, quietly. “Yengeese and Canada
warrior soon fight.”

“Is this true!--And do you, _can_ you know it to be true! Where have you
been this fortnight past?”

“Been see--have see--know him just so. Come--call young men; go on
war-path.”

Here, then, was an explanation of the mystery of the Onondago’s absence! He
had heard us speak of an intention of moving with the troops, at the
last moment, and he had gone to reconnoitre, in order that we might have
seasonable notice when it would be necessary to quit the ‘Ridge,’ as we
familiarly termed the Patent. I saw nothing treasonable in this, but rather
deemed it a sign of friendly interest in our concerns; though it was
certainly ‘running’ much farther than the Indian had been directed to
proceed, and ‘running’ a little off the track. One might overlook such an
irregularity in a savage, however, more especially as I began to weary of
the monotony of our present manner of living, and was not sorry to discover
a plausible apology for a change.

The reader may be certain, it was not long before I had communicated the
intelligence brought by the Trackless, to my companions; who received it as
young men would be; apt to listen to tidings so stirring. The Onondago was
summoned to our council, and he renewed his protestation that it was time
for us to be moving.

“No stop”--he answered, when questioned again on the subject; “time go.
Canoe ready--gun loaded--warrior counted--chief woke up--council fire gone
out. Time, go.”

“Well then, Corny,” said Guert, rising and stretching his fine frame like a
lion roused from his lair, “here’s off. We can go to Ravensnest to sleep,
to-day; and, to-morrow we will work our way out into the highway, and fall
into the line of march of the army. I shall have another opportunity of
seeing Mary Wallace, and of telling her how much I love her. That will be
so much gained, at all events.”

“No see squaw--no go to Nest!” said the Indian, with energy. “War-path
_this_ way,” pointing in a direction that might have varied a quarter of a
circle from that to Herman Mordaunt’s settlement. “Bad for warrior to see
squaw when he dig up hatchet--only make woman of him. No; go this way--path
there--no here--scalp there--squaw here.”

As the gestures of the Onondago were quite as significant as his language,
we had no difficulty in understanding him. Guert continued his questions,
however, while dressing, and we all soon became convinced, by the words of
the Indian, broken and abrupt as they were, that Abercrombie was on the
point of embarking with his army on Lake George, and that we must needs
be active, if we intended to be present at the contemplated operations in
front of Ticonderoga.

Our decision was soon reached, and our preparations made. By packing and
shouldering his knapsack, and arming himself, each man would be ready;
though a short delay grew out of the absence of Traverse and his
chain-bearers. We wrote a letter, however, explaining the reason of our
intended absence, promising to return as soon as the operations in front of
Ty should be terminated. This letter we left with Pete, who was to remain
as cook, though Jaap bestirred himself, loaded his broad shoulders with
certain indispensables for our march, took his rifle, pack and horn and
was ready to move as soon as any of us. All this the fellow did, moreover,
without orders; deeming it a part of his duty to follow his young master,
even if he followed him to evil. No dog, indeed, could be truer, in this
particular, than Jaap or Jacob Satanstoe, for he had adopted the name of
the Neck as his patronymic; much as the nobles of other regions style
themselves after _their_ lands.

When all was ready, and we were on the point of quitting the hut, the
question arose seriously, whether we were to go by Ravensnest, or by the
new route that the Onondago had mentioned. Path there was not, in either
direction; but, we had land-marks, springs, and other known signs, on the
former; while of the latter we literally knew nothing. Then Anneke and
Mary Wallace, with their bright, blooming, sunny faces--bright and
happy whenever we appeared, most certainly, of late--were in the former
direction, and even Dirck cried out ‘for Ravensnest.’ But, on that route
the Onondago refused to stir one foot. He stood, resembling a finger-post,
pointing north-westerly with an immovable obstinacy, that threatened to
bring the order of our march into some confusion.

“We know nothing of that route, Trackless,” Guert observed, or rather
replied, for the Indian’s manner was so expressive as to amount to a
remark, “and we would rather travel a road with which we are a little
acquainted. Besides, we wish to pay our parting compliments to the ladies.”

“Squaw no good, now--war-path no go to squaw. Huron--French warrior, here.”

“Ay, and they are there, too. We shall be on their heels soon enough, by
going to Ravensnest.”

“No soon ‘nough--can’t do him. Path long, time short. Pale-face warrior in
great hurry.”

“Pale-face warriors’ friends are in a hurry, too--so you will do well to
follow us, as we do not intend to follow you. Come, gentlemen, we will lead
the Indian, as the Indian does not seem disposed to lead us. After a mile
or two he will think it more honourable to go in advance; and, for that
distance, I believe, I can show you the way.”

“That road good for young men who don’t want see enemy!” said Susquesus,
with ironical point.

“By St. Nicholas! Indian, what do you mean?” cried Guert, turning short on
his heels and moving swiftly towards the Onondago, who did not wait for
the menacing blow, but wheeled in his tracks and led off, at a quick pace,
directly towards the north-west.

I do believe that Guert pursued, for the first minute, with no other
intention than that of laying his powerful arm on the offender’s shoulder;
but I dropped in on his footsteps so soon, Dirck following me, and Jaap
Dirck, that we were all moving off Indian file, or in the fashion of the
woods, at the rate of four miles in the hour, almost before we knew it. An
impulse of that angry nature is not over in a minute, and, before either of
us had sufficiently cooled to be entirely reasonable, the whole party was
fairly out of sight of the hut. After that no one appeared to think of the
necessity or of the expediency of reverting to the original intention. It
was certainly indiscreet, thus to confide absolutely in the good faith of a
savage, or a semi-savage, at least, whom we scarcely knew, and whom we had
actually distrusted; but we did it, and precisely in the manner and
under the feelings I have described. I know that we all thought of the
indiscretion of which we had been guilty, after the first mile; but each
was too proud to make the other acquainted with his misgivings. I say all,
but Jaap ought to be excepted, for nothing in the shape of danger ever gave
that negro any concern, unless it was spooks. He _was_ afraid of ‘spooks,’
but he did not fear man.

Susquesus manifested the same confidence in his knowledge of the woods,
while now leading the way, league after league through the dark forest,
as he had done when he took us to the oak with the broken top. On this
occasion, he guided us more by the sun, and the course generally, than by
any acquaintance with objects that we passed; though, three times that day
did he point out to us particular things that he had before seen, while
traversing the woods in directions that crossed, at angles more or less
oblique, the line of our present route. As for us, it was like a sailor’s
pointing to a path on the trackless ocean. We had our pocket-compasses, it
is true, and understood well enough that a north-west course would bring us
out somewhere near the foot of Lake George; but I much doubt if we could
have made, by any means, as direct a line, by their aid, as we did by that
of the Indian.

On this subject we had a discussion among ourselves, I well remember, when
we halted to eat and rest, a little after the turn of the day. For five
hours had we walked with great rapidity, much as the bird flies, so far as
course was concerned, never turning aside, unless it might be to avoid some
impassable obstacle; and our calculation was that we had made quite twenty,
of the forty miles we had to go over, according to the Onondago’s account
of the probable length of our journey. We had strung our sinews and
hardened our muscles in such a way as to place us above the influence of
common fatigue; yet, it must be confessed, the Indian was much the freshest
of the five, when we reached the spring where we dined.

“An Indian does seem to have a nose much like that of a hound,” said Guert,
as our appetites began to be appeased; “_that_ must be admitted. Yet I
think, Corny, a compass would carry a man through the woods with more
certainty than any signs on the bark of trees, or looks at the sun.”

“A compass cannot err, of course; but it would be a troublesome thing to be
stopping every minute or two, to look at your compass, which must have time
to become steady, you will remember, or it would become a guide that is
worse than none.”

“Every minute or two! Say once in an hour, or once in half an hour, at
most. I would engage to travel as straight as the best Indian of them all,
by looking at my compass once in half an hour.”

Susquesus was seated near enough to us three to over hear our conversation,
and he understood English perfectly, though he spoke it in the usual,
clipped manner of an Indian. I thought I could detect a covert gleam of
contempt in his dark countenance, at this boast of Guert’s; but he made no
remark. We finished our meal, rested our legs; and, when our watches told
us it was one o’clock, we rose in a body to resume our march. We were
renewing the priming of our rifles, a precaution each man took twice every
day, to prevent the effects of the damps of the woods, when the Onondago
quietly fell in behind Guert, patiently waiting the leisure of the latter.

“We are all ready, Trackless,” cried the Albanian “give us the lead and the
step, as before.”

“No”--answered the Indian. “Compass lead, now Susquesus no see any
longer,--blind as young dog.”

“Oh! that is your game, is it! Well, let it be so. Now, Corny, you shall
learn the virtue there is in a compass.”

Hereupon Guert drew his compass from a pocket in his hunting-shirt, placed
it on a log, in order to get a perfectly accurate start, and waited until
the quivering needle had become perfectly stationary. Then he made his
observation, and took a large hemlock, which stood at the distance of some
twenty rods, a great distance for a sight in the forest, as his land-mark,
gave a shout, caught up his compass, and led off. We followed, of course,
and soon reached the tree. As Guert now fancied he was well entered on the
right course, he disdained to turn to renew his observation, but called out
for us to ‘come on;’ as he had a new tree for his guide, and that in the
true direction. We may have proceeded in this manner for half a mile, and I
began to think that Guert was about to triumph--for, to me, it did really
seem that our course was as straight as it had been at any time that day.
Guert now began to brag of his success, talking _to_ me, and _at_ the
Indian, who was between us over his shoulder.

“You see, Corny,” he said, “I am used to the bush, after all, and have
often been up among the Mohawks, and on their hunts. The great point is to
begin right; after which you can have no great trouble. Make certain of the
first ten rods, and you can be at ease about the ten thousand that are to
follow. So it is with life, Corny, boy; begin right, and a young man is
pretty certain of coming out right. I made a mistake at the start, and you
see the trouble it has given me. But, I was left an orphan, Littlepage, at
ten years of age; and the boy that has neither father nor money, must be
an uncommon boy not to kick himself out of the traces before he is twenty.
Well, Onondago, what do you say to following the compass, now!”

“Best look at him--he tell,” answered Susquesus, our whole line halting to
let Guert comply.

“This d----d compass will never come round!” exclaimed Guert, shaking the
little instrument in order to help the needle round to the point at which
he wished to see it stand. “These little devils are very apt to get out of
order, Corny after all.”

“Try more--got three”--said the Indian, holding up the number of fingers he
mentioned, as was his wont, when mentioning numbers of any sort.

On this hint Dirck and I drew out our compasses, and the three were placed
on a log, at the side of which we had come to our halt. The result showed
that the three ‘little devils’ agreed most accurately, and that we were
marching exactly south-east, instead of north-west! Guert looked, on
that occasion, very much as he did when he rose from the snow, after the
hand-sled had upset with us. There was no resisting the truth; we had got
turned completely round, without knowing it. The fact that the sun was so
near the zenith, probably contributed to our mistake; but, any one who has
tried the experiment, will soon ascertain how easy it is for him to lose
his direction, beneath the obscurity and amid the inequalities of a virgin
forest. Guert gave it up, like a man as he was, and the Indian again passed
in front, without the slightest manifestation of triumph or discontent. It
required nothing less than a thunderbolt to disturb the composure of that
Onondago!

From that moment our progress was as swift as it had been previously to
the halt; while our course was seemingly as unerring as the flight of the
pigeon. Susquesus did not steer exactly north-west, as before, however, but
he inclined more northerly. At length, it was just as the sun approached
the summits of the western mountains, an opening appeared in our front,
beneath the arches of the woods, and we knew that a lake was near us, and
that we were on the summit of high land, though at what precise elevation
could not yet be told. Our route had lain across hills, and through
valleys, and along small streams; though, as I afterwards ascertained, the
Hudson did not run far enough north to intercept our march; or rather, by
a sudden turn to the west, it left our course clear. Had we inclined
westwardly ourselves, we might have almost done that which Col. Follock had
once laughingly recommended to my mother, in order to avoid the dangers of
the Powles Hook Ferry, gone round the river.

A clearing now showed itself a little on our right; and thither the Indian
held his way. This clearing was not the result of the labours of man, but
was the fruit of one of those forest accidents that sometimes let in the
light of the sun upon the mysteries of the woods. This clearing was on the
bald cap of a rocky mountain, where Indians had doubtless often encamped;
the vestiges of their fires proving that the winds had been assisted by the
sister element, in clearing away the few stunted trees that had once grown
in the fissures of the rocks. As it was, there might have been an open
space of some two or three acres, that was now as naked as if it had never
known any vegetation more ambitious than the bush of the whortleberry or
the honeysuckle. Delicious water was spouting from a higher ridge of the
rocks, that led away northerly, forming the summit of an extensive range
in that direction. At this spring Susquesus stooped to drink; then he
announced that our day’s work was done.

Until this announcement, I do not believe that one of us all had taken
the time to look about him, so earnest and rapid had been our march. Now,
however, each man threw aside his pack, laid down his rifle, and, thus
disencumbered, we turned to gaze on one of the most surprisingly beautiful
scenes eye of mine had ever beheld.

From what I have read and heard, I am now fully aware, that the grandest of
our American scenery falls far behind that which is to be found among the
lakes and precipices of the Alps, and along the almost miraculous coast
of the Mediterranean; and I shall not pretend that the view I now beheld
approached many, in magnificence, that are to be met with in those magic
regions. Nevertheless, it was both grand and soft; and it had one element
of vastness, in the green mantle of its interminable woods, that is not
often to be met with in countries that have long submitted to the sway of
man. Such as it was, I shall endeavour to describe it.

Beneath us, at the distance of near a thousand feet, lay a lake of the most
limpid and placid water, that was beautifully diversified in shape, by
means of bluffs, bays, and curvatures of the shores, and which had an
extent of near forty miles, We were on its eastern margin, and about
one-third of the distance from its southern to its northern end. Countless
islands lay almost under our feet, rendering the mixture of land and water,
at that particular point, as various and fanciful as the human imagination
could desire. To the north, the placid sheet extended a great distance,
bounded by rocky precipices, passing by a narrow gorge into a wider and
larger estuary beyond. To the south, the water lay expanded to its oval
termination, with here and there an island to relieve the surface. In that
direction only, were any of the results of human industry to be traced.
Everywhere else, the gorges, the receding valleys, the long ranges of
hills, and the bald caps of granite, presented nothing to the eye but the
unwearying charms of nature. Far as the eye could reach, mountain behind
mountain, the earth was covered with its green mantle of luxuriant leaves;
such as vegetation bestows on a virgin soil beneath a beneficent sun. The
rolling and variegated carpet of the earth resembled a firmament reversed,
with clouds composed of foliage.

At the southern termination of the lake, however, there was an opening in
the forest of considerable extent; and one that had been so thoroughly made
as to leave few or no trees. From this point we were distant several miles,
and that distance necessarily rendered objects indistinct; though we had
little difficulty in perceiving the ruins of extensive fortifications. A
thousand white specks, we now ascertained to be tents, for the works were
all that remained of Fort William Henry, and there lay encamped the army
of Abercrombie; much the largest force that had then ever collected in
America, under the colours of England. History has since informed us that
this army contained the formidable number of sixteen thousand men. Hundreds
of boats, large batteaux, that were capable of carrying forty or fifty men,
were moving about in front of the encampment, and, remote as we were, it
was not impossible to discover the signs of preparation, and of an early
movement. The Indian had not deceived us thus far, at least, but had shown
himself an intelligent judge of what was going on, as well as a faithful
guide.

We were to pass the night on the mountain. Our beds were none of the best,
as the reader may suppose, and our cover slight; yet I do not remember to
have opened my eyes from the moment they were closed, until I awoke in the
morning. The fatigue of a forced march did that for us which down cannot
obtain for the voluptuary, and we all slept as profoundly as children.
Consciousness returned to me, by means of a gentle shake of the shoulder,
which proceeded from Susquesus. On arising, I found the Indian still near
me, his countenance, for the first time since I had known him, expressing
something like an animated pleasure. He had awoke none of the others, and
he signed for me to follow him, without arousing either of my companions.
Why I had been thus particularly selected for the scene that succeeded,
I cannot say, unless the Onondago’s native sagacity had taught him to
distinguish between the educations and feelings of us three young men. So
it was, however, and I left the rude shelter we had prepared for the night,
alone.

A glorious sight awaited me! The sun had just tipped the mountain-tops with
gold, while the lake and the valleys, the hill-sides even, and the entire
world beneath, still reposed in shadow. It appeared to me like the
awakening of created things from the sleep of nature. For a moment or more,
I could only gaze on the wonderful picture presented by the strong contrast
between the golden hill-tops and their shadowed sides--the promises of day
and the vestiges of night. But the Onondago was too much engrossed with his
own feelings, to suffer me long to disregard what he conceived to be the
principal point of interest. Directed by his finger, and eye, for he spoke
not, I turned my look towards the distant shore of William Henry, and at
once perceived the cause of his unusual excitement. As soon as the Indian
was certain that I saw the objects that attracted himself so strongly, he
exclaimed with a strong, guttural, emphatic cadence--

“Good!”

Abercrombie’s army was actually in motion! Sixteen thousand men had
embarked in boats, and were moving towards the northern end of the lake,
with imposing force, and a most beautiful accuracy. The unruffled surface
of the lake was dotted with the flotilla, boats in hundreds stretching
across it in long, dark lines, moving on towards their point of destination
with the method and concert of an army with its wings displayed. The last
brigade of boats had just left the shore when I first saw this striking
spectacle, and the whole picture lay spread before me at a single glance.
America had never before witnessed such a sight; and it may be long before
she will again witness such another. For several minutes I stood entranced;
nor did I speak until the rays of the sun had penetrated the dusky light
that lay on the inferior world, as low as the bases of the western
mountains.

“What are we to do, Susquesus?” I then asked, feeling how much right the
Indian now might justly claim to govern our movements.

“Eat breakfast, first”--the Onondago quietly replied; “then go down
mountain.”

“Neither of which will place us in the midst of that gallant army, as it is
our wish to be.”

“See, bye’m by. Injin know--no hurry, now. Hurry come, when Frenchman
shoot.”

I did not like this speech, nor the manner in which it was uttered; but
there were too many things to think of, just then, to be long occupied by
vague conjectures touching the Onondago’s evasive allusions. Guert and
Dirck were called, and made to share in the pleasure that such a sight
could not fail to communicate. Then it was I got the first notion of what I
should call the truly martial character of Ten Eyck. His fine, manly figure
appeared to me to enlarge, his countenance actually became illuminated, and
the expression of his eye, usually so full of good-nature and fun, seemed
to change its character entirely, to one of sternness and seventy.

“This is a noble sight, Mr. Littlepage,” Guert remarked, after gazing
at the measured but quick movement of the flotilla, for some time, in
silence--“a truly noble sight, and it is a reproach to us three for having
lost so much time in the woods, when we ought to have been _there_, ready
to aid in driving the French from the province.”

“We are not too late, my good friend, as the first blow yet remains to be
struck.”

“You say true, and I shall join that army, if I have to swim to reach the
boats. It will be no difficult thing for us to swim from one of these
islands to another, and the troops must pass through the midst of them, ‘n
order to get into the lower lake. Any reasonable man would stop to pick us
up.”

“No need,” said the Onondago, in his quiet way. “Eat breakfast; then go.
Got canoe--that ‘nough.”

“A canoe! By St. Nicholas! Mr. Susquesus, I’ll tell you what it is--you
shall never want a friend as long as Guert Ten Eyek is living, and able to
assist you. That idea of the canoe is a most thoughtful one, and shows that
a reasoning man has had the care of us. We can now join the troops, with
the rifles in our hand, as becomes gentlemen and volunteers.”

By this time Jaap was up, and looking at the scene, with all his eyes. It
is scarcely necessary to describe the effect on a negro. He laughed in
fits, shook his head like the Chinese figure of a mandarin, rolled over on
the rocks, arose, shook himself like a dog that quits the water, laughed
again, and finally shouted. As we were all accustomed to these displays of
negro sensibility, they only excited a smile among us, and not even that
from Dirck. As for the Indian, he took no more notice of these natural, but
undignified signs of pleasure, in Jaap, than if the latter had been a dog,
or any other unintellectual animal. Perhaps no weakness would be so likely
to excite his contempt, as to be a witness of so complete an absence of
self-command, as the untutored negro manifested on this occasion.

As soon as our first curiosity and interest were a little abated, we
applied ourselves to the necessary duty of breaking our fasts. The meal was
soon despatched; and, to say the truth, it was not of a quality to detain
one long from anything of interest. The moment we had finished, the whole
party left the cap of the mountain, following our guide as usual.

The Onondago had purposely brought us to that look-out, a spot known to
him, in order that we might get the view of its panorama. It was impossible
to descend to the lake-shore at that spot, however, and we were obliged to
make a detour of three or four miles, in order to reach a ravine, by means
of which, and not without difficulty either, that important object was
obtained. Here we found a bark canoe of a size sufficient to hold all five
of us, and we embarked without a moment’s delay.

The wind had sprung up from the south, as the day advanced, and the
flotilla of boats was coming on, at a greatly increased rate, as to speed.
By the time we had threaded our way through the islands, and reached the
main channel, if indeed any one passage could be so termed, among such a
variety, the leading boat of the army was within hail. The Indian paddled,
and, waving his hand in sign of amity, he soon brought us alongside of the
batteau. As we approached it, however, I observed the fine, large form
of the Viscount Howe, standing erect in its bows, dressed in his Light
Infantry Forest Uniform, as if eager to be literally the foremost man of
a movement, in the success of which, the honour of the British empire,
itself, was felt to be concerned.

[Footnote 35: It has been found that a three lives’ lease, in the State of
New York, is equal to a term of more than thirty years.--EDITOR.]



CHAPTER XXIII.

  “My sons? It may
  Unman my heart, and the poor boys will weep;
  And what can I reply, to comfort them,
  Save with some hollow hopes, and ill-worn smiles?”

  _Sardanapalus_.


My Lord Howe did not at first recognise us, in our hunting-shirts. With
Guert Ten Eyck, however, he had formed such an acquaintance, while at
Albany, as caused him to remember his voice, and our welcome was both frank
and cordial. We inquired for the ----th, declaring our intention to join
that corps, from the commander of which all three of us had reiterated and
pressing invitations to join his mess. The intention of seeking our friend
immediately, nevertheless, was changed by a remark of our present host if
one may use such a term as applied to the commander of a brigade of boats.

“Bulstrode’s regiment is in the centre, and will be early in the field,” he
said; “but not as early as the advanced guard. If you desire good living,
gentlemen, I am far from wishing to dissuade you from seeking the
flesh-pots of the ----th; there being a certain Mr. Billings, in that
corps, who has an extraordinary faculty, they tell me, in getting up a good
dinner out of nothing; but, if you want service, we shall certainly be the
first brigade in action; and, to such fare as I can command, you will be
most acceptable guests. As for anything else, time must show.”

After this, no more was said about looking for Bulstrode; though we let our
noble commander understand, that we should tax his hospitality no longer
than to see him fairly in the field, after driving away the party that it
was expected the enemy would send to oppose our landing.

Susquesus no sooner learned our decision, than he took his departure,
quietly paddling away towards the eastern shore; no one attempting to
intercept a canoe that was seen to quit the batteau that was known to carry
the commander of the advanced brigade.

The wind freshened, as the day advanced, and most of the boats having
something or other in the shape of a sail, our progress now became quite
rapid. By nine o’clock we were fairly in the Lower Lake, and there was
every prospect of our reaching our point of destination by mid-day. I
confess, the business we were on, the novelty of my situation, and the
certainty that we should meet in Montcalm an experienced as well as a most
gallant foe, conspired to render me thoughtful, though I trust not timid,
during the few hours we were in the batteau. Perfectly inactive, it is
not surprising that so young a soldier should feel sobered by the solemn
reflections that are apt to get possession of the mind, at the probable
approach of death--if not to myself, at least to many of those who were
around me. Nor was there anything boastful or inflated in the manner or
conversation of our distinguished leader, who had seen much warm service in
Germany, in the wars of his reputed grandfather and uncle, young as he
was. On the contrary, My Lord Howe, that day, was grave and thoughtful, as
became a man who held the lives of others in his keeping, though he was
neither depressed nor doubting. There were moments, indeed, when he spoke
cheerfully to those who were near him; though, as a whole, his deportment
was, as I have just said, grave and thoughtful. Once I caught his eye
fastened on me, with a saddened expression; and, I suppose that a question
he soon after put me, was connected with the subject of his thoughts.

“How would our excellent and respectable friend, Madam Schuyler, feel, did
she know our precise position at this moment, Mr. Littlepage? I do believe
that excellent woman feels more concern for those in whom she takes an
interest, than they often feel for themselves.”

“I think, my lord, that, in such a case, we should certainly receive the
benefit of her prayers.”

“You are an only child, I think she told me, Littlepage?”

“I am, my lord; and thankful am I that my mother cannot foresee this
scene.”

“I, too, have those that love me, though they are accustomed to think of me
as a soldier, and liable to a soldier’s risks. Happy is the military
man who can possess his mind, in the moment of trial, free from the
embarrassing, though pleasing, and otherwise so grateful ties of affection.
But, we are nearing the shore, and must attend to duty.”

This is the last conversation I held with that brave soldier; and these
were the last words, of a private nature, I ever heard him utter. From that
moment, his whole soul seemed occupied with the discharge of his duty, the
success of our arms, and the defeat of the enemy.

I am not soldier enough to describe what followed in a very military or
intelligible manner. As the brigade drew near the foot of the lake, where
there was a wide extent of low land, principally in forest, however, some
batteaux were brought to the front, on which were mounted a number of
pieces of heavy artillery. The French had a party of considerable force
to oppose our landing; but, as it appeared they had not made a sufficient
provision of guns, on their part, to contend with success; and our grape
scouring the woods, we met with but little real resistance. Nor did we
assail them precisely at the point where we were expected but proceeded
rather to the right of their position. At the signal, the advanced brigade
pushed for the shore, led by our gallant commander, and we were all soon on
_terra firma_, without sustaining any loss worth naming. We four, that is,
Guert, Dirck, myself and Jaap, kept as near as was proper to the noble
brigadier, who instantly ordered an advance, to press the retreating foe.
The skirmishing was not sharp, however, and we gained ground fast, the
enemy retiring in the direction of Ticonderoga, and we pressing on their
rear, quite as fast as prudence and our preparations would allow. I could
see that a cloud of Indians was in our front, and will own, that I felt
afraid of an ambush; for the artful warfare practised by those beings of
the wood, could not but be familiar, by tradition at least, to one born and
educated in the colonies. We had landed in a cove, not literally at the
foot of the lake, but rather on its western side; and room was no sooner
obtained, than Gen. Abercrombie got most of his force on shore, and formed
it, as speedily as possible, in columns. Of these columns we had four, the
two in the centre being composed entirely of King’s troops, six regiments
in all, numbering more than as many thousand men; while five thousand
provincials were on the flanks, leaving quite four thousand of the latter
with the boats, of which this vast flotilla actually contained the large
number of one thousand and twenty five! All our boats, however, had not yet
reached the point of debarkation; those with the stores, artillery, &c.,
&c., being still some distance in the rear.

Our party was now placed with the right centre column, at the head of which
marched our noble acquaintance. The enemy had posted a single battalion in
a log encampment, near the ordinary landing; but finding the character of
the force with which he was about to be assailed, its commandant set fire
to his huts and retreated. The skirmishing was now even of less moment than
it had been on landing, and we all moved forward in high spirits, though
the want of guides, the density of the woods, and the difficulties of the
ground, soon produced a certain degree of confusion in our march. The
columns got entangled with each other, and no one seemed to possess the
means of promptly extricating them from this awkward embarrassment. Want of
guides was the great evil under which we laboured; but it was an evil that
it was now too late to remedy.

Our column, notwithstanding, or its head rather, continued to advance, with
its gallant leader keeping even pace with its foremost platoon. We four
volunteers acted as look-outs, a little on its flank; and I trust there
will be no boasting, if I say, we kept rather in advance of the leading
files, than otherwise. In this state of things, French uniforms were seen
in front, and a pretty strong party of the enemy was encountered,
wandering, like ourselves, a little uncertain of the route they ought to
take, in order to reach their entrenchments in the shortest time. As a
matter of course, this party could not pass the head of our column, without
bringing on a collision, though it were one that was only momentary. Which
party gave the first fire, I cannot say, though I thought it was the
French. The discharge was not heavy, however, and was almost immediately
mutual. I know that all four of us let off our rifles, and that we halted,
under a cover, to reload. I had just driven the ball down, when my eye
caught the signs of some confusion in the head of the column, and I saw the
body of an officer borne to the rear. It was that of Lord Howe! He had
fallen at the first serious discharge made by the enemy in that campaign!
The fall of its leader, so immediately in its presence, seemed to rouse the
column into a sense of the necessity of doing something effective, and it
assaulted the party in its front with the rage of so many tigers,
dispersing the enemy like chaff; making a considerable number of prisoners,
besides killing and wounding not a few.

I never saw a man more thoroughly aroused than was Guert Ten Eyck, in this
little affair. He had been much noticed by Lord Howe, during the residence
of that unfortunate nobleman at Albany; and the loss of the last appeared
to awaken all that there was of the ferocious in the nature of my usually
kind-hearted Albany friend. He acted as our immediate commander; and he led
us forward on the heels of the retreating French, until we actually came in
sight of their entrenchments. Then, indeed, we all saw it was necessary to
retreat in our turn; and Guert consented to fall back, though it was done
surlily, and like a lion at bay. A party of Indians pressed us hard, in
this retreat, and we ran an imminent risk of our scalps; all of which, I
have ever believed, would have been lost, were it not for the resolution
and Herculean strength of Jaap. It happened, as we were dodging from tree
to tree, that all four of our rifles were discharged at the same time; a
circumstance of which our assailants availed themselves to make a rush at
us. Luckily the weight of the onset fell on Jaap, who clubbed his rifle,
and literally knocked down in succession the three Indians that first
reached him. This intrepidity and success gave us time to reload; and
Dirck, ever a cool and capital shot, laid the fourth Huron on his face,
with a ball through his heart. Guert then held his fire, and called on Jaap
to retreat. Fie was obeyed; and under cover of our two rifles, the whole
party got off; the red-skins being too thoroughly rebuked to press us very
closely, after the specimen they had just received of the stuff of which we
were made.

We owed our escape, however, as much to another circumstance, as to this
resolution of Jaap, and the expedient of Guert. Among the provincials was a
partisan of great repute, of the name of Rogers. This officer led a party
of riflemen on our left flank, and he drove in the enemy’s skirmishers,
along his own front, with rapidity, causing them to suffer a considerable
loss. By this means, the Indians before us were held in check; as there was
the danger that Major Rogers’s party might fall in upon their rear, should
they attempt to pursue us, and thus cut them off from their allies. It was
well it was so; inasmuch as we had to fall back more than a mile, ere we
reached the spot where Abercrombie brought his columns to a halt, and
encamped far the night. This position was distant about two miles from the
works before Ticonderoga; and consequently at no great distance from the
outlet of Lake George. Here the army was brought into good order, and took
up its station for some little time.

It was necessary to await the arrival of the stores, ammunition and
artillery. As the bringing up these materials, through a country that was
little else than a virgin forest, was no easy task, it occupied us quite
two days. Melancholy days they were, too; the death of Lord Howe acting
on the whole army much as if it had been a defeat. He was the idol of the
King’s troops, and he had rendered himself as popular with us Americans, as
with his own countrymen. A sort of ominous sadness prevailed among us each
common man appearing to feel his loss as he might have felt that of a
brother.

We looked up the ----th, and joined Bulstrode, as soon as we reached the
ground chosen for the new encampment. Our reception was friendly, and even
kind; and it became warmer still, as soon as it was understood that we
composed the little party that had skirmished so freely on the flank of the
right centre column, and which was known to have gone farther in advance
than any one else, in that part of the field. Thus we joined our corps with
some _éclat_, at the very outset, everybody welcoming us cordially, and
with seeming sincerity.

Nevertheless, the general sadness existed in the ----th, as well as in all
the other corps. Lord Howe was as much beloved in that regiment, as in
any other; and our meeting and subsequent intercourse could not be called
joyful. Bulstrode had an extensive and important command, for his rank and
years, and he certainly was proud of his position; but I could see that
even his elastic and usually gay temperament was much affected by what had
occurred. That night we walked together, apart from our companions, when he
spoke on the subject of our loss.

“It may appear strange to you, Corny,” he said, “to find so much depression
in camp, after a debarkation that has certainly been successful, and a
little affair that has given us, as they assure me, a couple of hundred
prisoners. I tell you, however, my friend, it were better for this army to
have seen its best corps annihilated, than to have lost the man it has.
Howe was literally the soul of this entire force. He was a soldier by
nature, and made all around him soldiers. As for the Commander-In-Chief, he
does not understand you Americans, and will not use you as he ought; then
he does not understand the nature of the warfare of this continent, and
will be very likely to make a blunder. I’ll tell you how it is, Corny; Howe
had as much influence with Abercrombie, as he had with every one else; and
an attempt will be made to introduce his mode of fighting; but such a man
as Lord Howe requires another Lord Howe to carry out his own conceptions.
That is the point on which, I fear, we shall fail.”

All this sounded very sensible to me, though it sounded discouragingly; I
found, however, that Bulstrode did not entertain these feelings alone, but
that most around me were of the same way of thinking. In the mean time, the
preparations proceeded; and it was understood that the 8th was to be the
day that was to decide the fate of Ticonderoga; The fort proper, at this
celebrated station, stands on a peninsula, and can only be assailed on one
side. The outworks were very extensive on that side, and the garrison was
known to be formidable. As these outworks, however, consisted principally
of a log breastwork, and it could be approached through open woods, which
of itself afforded some cover, it was determined to carry it by storm, and,
if possible, enter the main work with the retreating enemy. Had we waited
for our artillery, and established batteries, our success would have been
certain; but the engineer reported favourably of the other project; and
perhaps it better suited the temper and impatience of the whole army, to
push on, rather than proceed by the slow movements of a regular siege.

On the morning of the 8th, therefore, the troops were paraded for the
assault, our party falling in on the flank of the ----th, as volunteers.
The ground did not admit of the use of many horses, and Bulstrode marched
with us on foot; I can relate but little of the general movements of that
memorable day, the woods concealing so much of what was done, on both
sides. I know this, however; that the flower of our army were brought into
the line, and were foremost in the assault; including both regulars and
provincials. The 42d, a Highland corps, that had awakened much interest in
America, both by the appearance and character of its men, was placed at a
point where it was thought the heaviest service was to be performed. The
55th, another corps on which much reliance was placed, was also put at the
head of another column. A swamp extending for some distance along the only
exposed front of the peninsula, these two corps were designated to carry
the log breastwork, that commenced at the point where the swamp ceases;
much the most arduous portion of the expected service, since this was the
only accessible approach to the fortress itself. To render their position
more secure, the French had placed several pieces of artillery in battery,
along the line of this breastwork; while we had not yet a gun in front to
cover our advance.

It was said, that Abercrombie did not take counsel of any of the American
officers with him, before he decided on the attack of the 8th of July. He
had directed his principal engineer to reconnoitre; and that gentleman
having reported that the defences offered no serious scientific obstacles,
the assault was decided on. This report was accurate, doubtless, agreeably
to the principles and facts of European warfare; but it was not suited to
those of the conflicts of this continent. It was to be regretted, however,
that the experience of 1755, and the fate of Braddock, had not inculcated
a more extensive lesson of discretion among the royal commanders, than was
manifested by the incidents of this day.

The ----th was placed in column directly in the rear of the Highlanders,
who were led, on this occasion, by Col. Gordon Graham; a veteran officer of
great experience, and of an undaunted courage. [36] Of course, I saw this
officer and this regiment, being as they were directly in my front, but I
saw little else; more especially after the smoke of the first discharge was
added to the other obstacles to vision.

A considerable time was consumed in making the preparations; but, when
everything was supposed to be ready, the columns were set in motion. It was
generally understood that the troops were to receive the enemy’s fire, then
rush forward to the breastwork, cross the latter at the bayonet’s point, if
it should be necessary, and deliver their own fire at close quarters; or on
their retreating foes. Permission was given to us volunteers, and to divers
light parties of irregulars, to open on any of the French of whom we might
get glimpses, as little was expected from us in the charge.

Nearly an hour was consumed in approaching the point of attack, owing to
the difficulties of the ground, and the necessity of making frequent halts,
in order to dress. At length the important moment arrived when the head of
the column was ready to unmask itself, and consequently to come under
fire. A short halt sufficed for the arrangements here, when the bagpipes
commenced their exciting music, and we broke out of cover, shouting and
cheering each other on. We must have been within two hundred yards of the
breastwork at the time, and the first gun discharged was Jaap’s, who, by
working his way into the cover of the swamp, had got some distance ahead of
us, and who actually shot down a French officer who had got upon the logs
of his defences, in order to reconnoitre. That assault, however, was
fearfully avenged! The Highlanders were moving on like a whirlwind, grave,
silent and steady, cheered only by their music, when a sheet of flame
glanced along the enemy’s line, and the iron and leaden messengers of death
came whistling in among us like a hurricane. The Scotsmen were staggered by
that shock; but they recovered instantly and pressed forward. The ----th
did not escape harmless, by any means; while the din told us that
the conflict extended along the whole of the breastwork, towards the
lake-shore. How many were shot down in our column, by that first discharge,
I never knew; but the slaughter was dreadful, and among those who fell was
the veteran Graham, himself. I can safely say, however, that the plan
of attack was completely deranged from this first onset; the columns
displaying and commencing their fire as soon as possible. No men could have
behaved better than all that I could see; the whole of us pushing on for
the breastwork, until we encountered fallen trees; which were made to serve
the purpose of chevaux-de-frise. These trees had been felled along the
front of the breastwork, while their branches were cut, and pointed like
stakes. It was impossible to pass in any order, and the troops halted
when they reached them, and continued to fire by platoons, with as much
regularity as on parade. A few minutes of this work, however, compelled
different corps to fall back, and the vain conflict was continued for four
hours, on our part almost entirely by a smart but ineffective fire of
musketry; while the French sent their grape into our ranks almost with as
much impunity as if they had been on parade. It had been far better for our
men had they been less disciplined, and less under the control of their
officers; for the sole effect of steadiness, under such circumstances, is
to leave the gallant and devoted troops, who refuse to fall back, while
they are unable to advance, only so much the longer in jeopardy.

Guert had shouted with the rest; and I soon found that by following him for
a leader, we should quickly be in the midst of the fray. He actually led us
up to the fallen trees, and, finding something like a cover there, we three
established ourselves among them as riflemen, doing fully out share of
service. When the troops fell back, however, we were left in a manner
alone, and it was rather dangerous work to retire; and finding ourselves
out of the line of fire from our own men, no immaterial point in such a
fray, we maintained our post to the last. Admonished, after a long time,
of the necessity of retreating, by the manner in which the fire of our own
line lessened, we got off with sound skins, though Guert retired the whole
distance with his face to the enemy, firing as he withdrew. We all did the
last, indeed, using the trees for covers. Towards the close we attracted
especial attention; and there were two or three minutes during which the
flight of bullets around us might truly, without much exaggeration, be
likened to a storm of hail!

Jaap was not with us in this sally, and I went into the swamp to look for
him. The search was not long, for I found my fellow retreating also, and
bringing in with him a stout Canadian Indian as a prisoner. He was making
his captive carry three discharged rifles, and blankets; one of which had
been his own property once, and the others that of two of his tribe, whom
the negro had left lying in the swamp as bloody trophies of his exploits. I
cannot explain the philosophy of the thing, but that negro ever appeared to
me to fight as if he enjoyed the occupation as an amusement.

These facts were scarcely ascertained, when we learned the important
intelligence that a general retreat was ordered. Our proud and powerful
army was beaten, and that, too, by a force two-thirds less than its own! It
is not easy to describe the miserable scene that followed. The transporting
of the wounded to the rear had been going on the whole time, and, as
usually happens, when it is permitted, it had contributed largely to thin
the ranks. These unfortunate men were put into the batteaux in hundreds,
while most of the dead were left where they lay. So completely were our
hopes frustrated, and our spirits lowered, that most of the boats pulled
off that night, and all the remainder quitted the foot of the lake early
next day.

Thus terminated the dire expedition of 1758 against Ticonderoga, and with
it our expectations of seeing Montreal, or Quebec, that season. I dare say,
we had fully ten thousand bayonets in the field that bloody day, and quite
five thousand men closely engaged. The mistake was in attempting to carry a
post that was so nearly impregnable, by assault; and this, too, without the
cover of artillery. The enemy was said to have four or five thousand men
present, and this may be true, as applied to all within the defences;
though I question if more than half that number pulled triggers on us, in
the miserable affair. There is always much of exaggeration in both the
boasting and the apologies of war.

Our own loss, on this sad occasion, was reported at 548 slain, and 1356
wounded. This was probably within the truth; though the missing were said
to be surprisingly few, some thirty or forty, in all; the men having no
place to repair to but the boats. Of the Highlanders, it was said that
nearly half the common men, and twenty-five, or nearly _all_ the officers,
were either killed or wounded! One account, indeed, said that _every_
officer of that corps, who was on the ground, suffered. The 55th, also, was
dreadfully cut up. Ten of its officers were slain outright, and many were
wounded. As for the ----th, it fared a little better, not heading a column;
but its loss was fearful. Bulstrode was seriously wounded, early in the
attack, though his hurt was never supposed to be dangerous. Billings was
left dead on the field, and Harris got a scratch that served him to talk of
in after life.

The confusion was tremendous after such a conflict and such a defeat. The
troops re-embarked without much regard to corps or regularity of movement;
and the boats moved away as fast as they received their melancholy cargoes.
An immense amount of property was lost; though I believe all the customary
military trophies were preserved. As the provincials had been the least
engaged, and had suffered much the least, in proportion to numbers, a large
body of them was kept as a rear-guard, while the regular corps removed
their wounded and _matériel_.

As for us three or four, including Jaap, who stuck by his prisoner, we
scarcely knew what to do with ourselves. Everybody who felt any interest in
us, was either killed or wounded. Bulstrode we could not see; nor could we
even find the regiment. Should we succeed in the attempt at the last, very
few now remained in it who would have taken much, or indeed any concern
in us. Under the circumstances, therefore, we held a consultation on the
lake-shore, uncertain whether to ask admission into one of the departing
boats, or to remain until morning, that our retreat might have a more manly
aspect.

“I’ll tell you what it is, Corny,” said Guert Ten Eyck, in a somewhat
positive manner, “the less _we_ say about this campaign, and of our share
in it, the petter. We are not soldiers, in the regular way, and if we keep
quiet, nobody will know what a t’rashing we t’ree, in particular, haf
receivet. My advice is, t’at we get out of this army as we got into
it--t’at is, py a one-sided movement, and for ever after-holt our tongues
about our having had anyt’ing to do with it. I never knew a worsted man any
the more respected for his mishap; and I will own, that I set down flogging
as a very material part of a fight.”

“I am quite sure, Guert, I am as little disposed to brag of my share in
this affair, as you or any one can possibly be; but it is much easier to
talk about getting away from this confused crowd than really to do the
thing. I doubt if any of these boats will take us in; for an Englishman,
flogged, is not apt to be very good-natured; and all our friends seem to be
killed or wounded.”

“You want go?” asked a low Indian voice at my elbow. “Got ‘nough, eh?”

Turning, I saw Susquesus standing within two feet of me. Our consultation
was necessarily in the midst of a moving throng; and the Onondago must have
approached us, unnoticed, at the commencement of our conference. There
he was, however, though whence he came or how he got there, I could not
imagine, at the time, and have never been able to learn since.

“Can you help us to get away, Susquesus?” was my answer. “Do you know of
any means of crossing the lake?”

“Got canoe. That good. Canoe go, though Yengeese run.”

“That in which we came off to the army, do you mean?”

The Indian nodded his head, and made a sign for us to follow. Little
persuasion was necessary, and we proceeded at his heels, in a body, in the
direction he led. I will confess, that when I saw our guide proceeding
eastward, along the lake-shore, I had some misgivings on the subject of his
good faith. That was the direction which took us towards, instead of _from_
the enemy; and there was something so mysterious in the conduct of this
man, that it gave me uneasiness. Here he was, in the midst of the English
army in the height of its confusion, though he had declined joining it
previously to the battle. Nothing was easier than to enter the throng, in
its present confused state, and move about undetected for hours, if one had
the nerve necessary for the service; and, in that property, I felt certain
the Onondago was not deficient. There was a coolness in the manner of
the man, a quiet observation, both blended with the seeming apathy of a
red-skin, that gave every assurance of his fitness for the duty.

Nevertheless, there was no remedy but to follow, or to break with our guide
on the spot. We did not like to do the last, although we conferred together
on the subject, but followed, keeping our hands on the locks of our rifles,
in readiness for a brush, should we be led into danger. Susquesus had no
such treacherous intentions, however, while he had disposed of his canoe
in a place that denoted his judgment. We had to walk quite a mile ere we
reached the little bush-fringed creek in which he had concealed it. I have
always thought we ran a grave risk, in advancing so far in that direction,
since the enemy’s Indians would certainly be hanging around the skirts of
our army, in quest of scalps; but I afterwards learned the secret of the
Onondago’s confidence, who first spoke on the subject after we had left the
shore, and then only in an answer to a remark of Guert’s.

“No danger,” he said; “red-man gettin’ Yengeese scalps, on the war-path.
Too much kill, now, to want more.”

As both governments pursued the culpable policy of paying for human scalps,
this suggestion probably contained the whole truth.

Previously to quitting the creek, however, there was a difficulty to
dispose of. Jaap had brought his Huron prisoner with him; and the Onondago
declared that the canoe could not carry six. This we knew from experience,
indeed, though five went in it very comfortably.

“No room,” said Susquesus, “for red-man. Five good--six bad.”

“What shall we do with the fellow, Corny?” asked Guert, with a little
interest. “Jaap says he is a proper devil, by daylight, and that he had a
world of trouble in taking him, and in bringing him in. For five minutes,
it was heads or tails which was to give in; and the nigger only got the
best of it, by his own account of the battle, because the red-skin had the
unaccountable folly to try to beat in Jaap’s brains. He might as well have
battered the Rock of Gibraltar, you know, as to attempt to break a nigger’s
skull, and so your fellow got the best of it. What shall we do with the
rascal?”

“Take scalp,” said the Onondago, sententiously; “got good scalp--war-lock
ready--paint, war-paint--capital scalp.”

“Ay, that may do better for you, Master Succetush”--so Guert always called
our guide, “than it will do for us Christians. I am afraid we shall have to
let the ravenous devil go, after disarming him.”

“Disarmed he is already; but he cannot be long without a musket, on this
battle-ground. I am of your opinion, Guert; so, Jaap, release your prisoner
at once, that we may return to Ravensnest, as fast as possible.”

“Dat berry hard, Masser Corny, sah!” exclaimed Jaap, who did not half like
the orders he received.

“No words about it, sir, but cut his fastenings”--Jaap had tied the
Indian’s arms behind him, with a rope, as an easy mode of leading him
along. “Do you know the man’s name?”

“Yes, sah--he say he name be Muss”--probably Jaap’s defective manner of
repeating some Indian sound; “and a proper muss he get in, Masser Corny,
when he try to cotch Jaap by he wool!”

Here I was obliged to clap my hand suddenly on the black’s mouth, for the
fellow was so delighted with the recollection of the manner in which he
had got the better of his red adversary, that he broke out into one of the
uncontrollable fits of noisy laughter, that are so common to his race. I
repeated the order, somewhat sternly, for Jaap to cut the cords, and then
to follow us to the canoe, in which the Onondago and my two friends had
already taken their places. My own foot was raised to enter the canoe, when
I heard heavy stripes inflicted on the back of some one. Rushing back to
the spot where I had left Jaap and his captive, Muss, I found the former
inflicting a severe punishment, on the naked back of the other, with the
end of the cord that still bound his arms. Muss, as Jaap called him,
neither flinched nor cried. The pine stands not more erect or unyielding,
in a summer’s noontide, than he bore up under the pain. Indignantly I
thrust the negro away, cut the fellow’s bonds with my own hands, and drove
my slave before me to the canoe.

[Footnote 36: Holmes’s Annals say, that Lord John Murray commanded the 42d,
on this occasion. I presume, as Mr. Littlepage was there, and was posted
so near the corps in question, he cannot well be mistaken. Mrs. Grant, of
Laggan, who was at Albany at the time, and whose father was in the
battle, agrees with Mr. Littlepage, in saying that Gordon Graham led the
42d.--EDITOR.]



CHAPTER XXIV.

  “Pale set the sun--the shades of evening fell,
  The mournful night-wind sung their funeral knell;
  And the same day beheld their warriors dead,
  Their sovereign captive and their glory fled!”

  MRS. HEMANS.


I shall never forget the journey of that fearful night. Susquesus paddled
the canoe, unaided by us, who were too much fatigued with the toil of the
day, to labour much, as soon as we found ourselves in a place of safety.
Even Jaap lay down and slept for several hours, the sleep of the weary. I
do not think any of us, however, actually slept for the first hour or two,
the scenes through which we had just passed, and that, indeed, through
which we were then passing, acting as preventives to such an indulgence.

It must have been about nine in the evening, when our canoe quitted the
ill-fated shore at the south end of Lake George, moving steadily and
silently along the eastern margin of the sheet. By that time, fully five
hundred boats had departed for the head of the lake, the retreat having
commenced long before sunset. No order was observed in this melancholy
procession, each batteau moving off as her load was completed. All the
wounded were on the placid bosom of the ‘Holy Lake,’ as some writers have
termed this sheet of limpid water, by the time we ourselves got in motion;
and the sounds of parting boats told us that the unhurt were following as
fast as circumstances would allow.

What a night it was! There was no moon, and a veil of dark vapour was drawn
across the vault of the heavens, concealing most of the mild summer stars,
that ought to have been seen twinkling in their Creator’s praise. Down,
between the boundaries of hills, there was not a breath of air, though we
occasionally heard the sighings of light currents among the tree-tops,
above us. The eastern shore having fewer sinuosities than the western, most
of the boats followed its dark, frowning mass, as the nearest route, and we
soon found ourselves near the line of the retiring batteaux. I call it the
line, for though there was no order observed each party making the best of
its way to the common point of destination, there were so many boats in
motion at the same time, that, far as the eye could penetrate by that
gloomy light, an unbroken succession of them was visible. Our motion was
faster than that of these heavily-laden and feebly-rowed batteaux, the
soldiers being too much fatigued to toil at the oars, after the day they
had just gone through. We consequently passed nearly everything, and soon
got on a parallel course with that of the boats, moving along at a few rods
in-shore of them. Dirck remarked, however, that two or three small craft
even passed us. They went so near the mountain, quite within its shadows,
in fact, as to render it difficult to say what they were; though it was
supposed they might be whale-boats, of which there were more than a hundred
in the flotilla, carrying officers of rank.

No one spoke. It appeared to me that not a human voice was raised among
those humiliated and defeated thousands. The plash of oars, so long as we
were at a distance from the line, alone broke the silence of night; but
that was incessant. As our canoe drew ahead, however, an hour or two after
we had left the shore, and we overtook the boats that had first started,
the moaning and groans of the wounded became blended with the monotonous
sounds of the oars. In two respects, these unfortunate men had reason to
felicitate themselves, notwithstanding their sufferings. No army could have
transported its wounded with less pain to the hurt; and the feverish thirst
that loss of blood always induces, might be assuaged by the limpid element
on which we all floated.

After paddling for hours, Susquesus was relieved by Jaap, Dirck, Guert and
myself occasionally lending our aid. Each had a paddle, and each used it as
he saw fit, while the Onondago slept. Occasionally I caught a nap, myself,
as did my companions; and we all felt refreshed by the rest and sleep. At
length we reached the narrow pass, that separated the Upper from the Lower
Lake, and we entered the former. This is near the place where the islands
are so numerous, and we were unavoidably made to pass quite close to some
of the batteaux. I say to some, for the line became broken at this point,
each boat going through the openings it found the most convenient.

“Come nearer with that bark canoe,” called out an officer, from a batteau;
“I wish to learn who is in it.”

“We are volunteers, that joined the ----th, the day the army moved up,
and were guests of Major Bulstrode. Pray sir, can you tell us where that
officer can be found?”

“Poor Bulstrode! He got a very awkward hit, early in the day, and was taken
past me to the rear. He will be able neither to walk nor to ride, for some
months, if they save his leg. I heard the Commander-In-Chief order him to
be sent across the lake, in the first boat with wounded; and some one told
me, Bulstrode, himself, expressed an intention to be carried some distance,
to a friend’s house, to escape from the abominations of an army hospital.
The fellow has horses enough to transport him, on a horse-litter, to Cape
Horn, if he wishes it. I’ll warrant you, Bulstrode works his way into good
quarters, if they are to be had in America. I suppose this arm of mine will
have to come off, as soon as we reach Fort William Henry; and, that job
done, I confess I should like amazingly to keep him company. Proceed,
gentlemen; I hope I have not detained you; but, observing a bark canoe, I
thought it my duty to ascertain we were not followed by spies.”

This, then, was another victim of war! He spoke of the loss of his arm,
notwithstanding, with as much coolness as if it were the loss of a tooth;
yet; I question not, that in secret, he mourned over the calamity in
bitterness of heart. Men never wear the mask more completely than when
excited and stimulated by the rivalry of arms. Bulstrode, too, at
Ravensnest! He could be carried nowhere else, so easily; and, should his
wound be of a nature that did not require constant medical treatment, where
could he be so happily bestowed as under the roof of Herman Mordaunt? Shall
I confess that the idea gave me great pain, and that I was fool enough
to wish I, too, could return to Anneke, and appeal to her sympathies, by
dragging with me a wounded limb!

Our canoe now passed quite near another batteau, the officer in command of
which was standing erect, seemingly watching our movements. He appeared to
be unhurt, but was probably intrusted with some special duty. As we paddled
by, the following curious conversation occurred.

“You move rapidly to the rear, my friends,” observed the stranger; “pray
moderate your zeal; others are in advance of you with the evil tidings!”

“You must think ill of our patriotism and loyalty, sir, to imagine we are
hastening on with the intelligence of a check to the British arms,” I
answered as drily, and almost as equivocally, in manner, as the other had
spoken.

“The check!--I beg a thousand pardons--I see you _are_ patriots, and of the
purest water! Check is just the word; though check-_mate_ would be more
descriptive and significant! A charming time we’ve had of it, gentlemen!
What say you?--it is your move, now.”

“There has been much firmness and gallantry manifested by the troops,” I
answered, “as we, who have been merely volunteers, will always be ready to
testify.”

“I beg your pardons, again and again,” returned the officer, raising his
hat and bowing profoundly--“I did not know I had the honour to address
volunteers. You are entitled to superlative respect, gentlemen, having come
voluntarily into such a field. For my part, I find the honour oppressive,
having no such supererogatory virtue to boast of. Volunteers! On my word,
gentlemen, you will have many wonders to relate, when you get back into the
family circle.”

“We shall have to speak of the gallantry of the Highlanders, for we saw all
they did and all they suffered.”

“Ah! Were you, then, near that brave corps!” exclaimed the other, with
something like honest, natural feeling, for the first time exhibited in
his voice and meaning; “I honour men who were only _spectators_ of so much
courage, especially if they took a tolerably _near_ view of it. May I
venture to ask your names, gentlemen.”

I answered, giving him our names, and mentioning the fact that we had been
the guest of Bulstrode, and how much we were disappointed in having missed
not only our friend, but his corps.

“Gentlemen, I honour courage, let it come whence it may,” said the
stranger, with strong feeling, and no acting, “and most admire it when I
see it exhibited by natives of these colonies, in a quarrel of their own. I
have heard of you as being with poor Howe, when he fell, and hope to know
more of you. As for Mr. Bulstrode, he has passed southward, now some hours,
and intends to make his cure among some connections that he has in this
province. Do not let this be the last of our intercourse, I beg of you; but
look up Capt. Charles Lee, of the ----th, who will be glad to take each and
all of you by the hand, when we once more get into camp.”

We expressed our thanks, but Susquesus causing the canoe to make a sudden
inclination towards the shore, the conversation was suddenly interrupted.

By this time the Indian was awake, and exercising his authority in the
canoe, again. Gliding among the islands, he shortly landed us at the
precise point where we had embarked only five days before. Securing his
little bark, the Onondago led the way up the ravine, and brought us out on
the naked cap of the mountain, where we had before slept, after an hour of
extreme effort.

If the night had been so memorable, the picture presented at the dawn of
day, was not less so! We reached that lofty look-out about the same time in
the morning as the Indian had awakened me on the previous occasion, and had
the same natural outlines to the view. In one sense, also, the artificial
accessaries were the same, though exhibited under a very different aspect.
I presume the truth will not be much, if any exceeded, when I say that a
thousand boats were in sight, on this, as on the former occasion! A few, a
dozen or so, at most, appeared to have reached the head of the lake; but
all the rest of that vast flotilla was scattered along the placid surface
of the lovely sheet, forming a long, straggling line of dark spots, that
extended to the beach under Fort William Henry, in one direction, and far
as eye could reach in the other. How different did that melancholy, broken
procession of boats appear, from the gallant array, the martial bands, the
cheerful troops, and the multitude of ardent young men who had pressed
forward, in brigades, less than a week before, filled with hope, and
exulting in their strength! As I gazed on the picture I could not but fancy
to myself the vast amount of physical pain, the keen mental suffering,
and the deep mortification that might have been found, amid that horde of
returning adventurers. We had just come up from the level of this scene of
human agony, and our imaginations could portray details that were beyond
the reach of the senses, at the elevation on which we stood.

A week before, and the name of Abercrombie filled every mouth in America;
expectation had almost placed his renown on that giddy height, where
performance itself is so often insecure. In the brief interval, he was
destroyed. Those who had been ready to bless him, would now heap curses on
his devoted head, and none would be so bold as to urge aught in his favour.
Men in masses, when goaded by disappointment, are never just. It is,
indeed, a hard lesson for the individual to acquire; but, released from
his close, personal responsibility, the single man follows the crowd, and
soothes his own mortification and wounded pride by joining in the cry that
is to immolate a victim. Yet Abercrombie was not the foolhardy and besotted
bully that Braddock had proved himself to be. His misfortune was to be
ignorant of the warfare of the region in which he was required to serve,
and possibly to over-estimate the imaginary invincible character of the
veterans he led. In a very short time he was recalled, and America heard no
more of him. As some relief to the disgrace that had anew alighted on the
British arms, Bradstreet, a soldier who knew the country, and who placed
much reliance on the young man of her name and family whom I had met at
Madam Schuyler’s, marched against Frontenac, in Canada, at the head of a
strong body of provincials; an enterprise that, as it was conducted with
skill, resulted in a triumph.

But with all this my narrative has no proper connection. No sooner did we
reach the bald mountain-top, than the Onondago directed Jaap to light a
fire, while he produced, from a deposit left on the advance, certain of the
materials that were necessary to a meal. As neither of us had tasted food
since the morning of the previous day, this repast was welcome, and we
all partook of it like so many famished men. The negro got his share, of
course, and then we called a council as to future proceedings.

“The question is, whether we ought to make a straight path to Ravensnest,”
 observed Guert, “or proceed first to the surveyor’s, and see how things are
going on in that direction.”

“As there can be no great danger of a pursuit on the part of the French,
since all their boats are in the other lake,” I remarked, “the state of the
country is very much what it was before the army moved.”

“Ask that question of the Indian,” put in Dirck, a little significantly.

We looked at Susquesus inquiringly, for a look always sufficed to let him
comprehend us, when a tolerably plain allusion had been previously made.

“Black-man do foolish t’ing,” observed the Onondago.

“What I do, you red-skin devil?” demanded Jaap, who felt a sort of natural
antipathy to all Indians, good or bad, excellent or indifferent; a feeling
that the Indians repaid to his race by contempt indifferently concealed.
“What I do, red-devil, ha?--dat you dares tell Masser Corny _dat_!”

Susquesus manifested no resentment at this strong and somewhat rude appeal;
but sat as motionless as if he had not heard it. This vexed Jaap so much
the more; and, my fellow being exceedingly pugnacious on all occasions that
touched his pride, there might have been immediate war between the two, had
I not raised a finger, at once effectually stilling the outbreak of Jacob
Satanstoe’s wrath.

“You should not bring such a charge against my slave, Onondago,” I said,
“unless able to prove it.”

“He beat red warrior like dog.”

“What of dat!” growled Jaap, who was only half-quieted by my sign. “Who
ebber hear it hurt red-skin to rope-end him?”

“Warrior back like squaw’s. Blow hurt him. He never forget.”

“Well, let him remember den,” grinned the negro, showing his ivory teeth
from ear to ear. “Muss was _my_ prisoner; and what _good_ he do me, if he
let go widout punishment. I wish you tell Masser Corny _dat_, instead of
tellin’ him nonsense. When he flog me, who ebber hear me grumble?”

“You have not had half enough of it, Jaap, or your manners would be
better,” I thought it necessary to put in, for the fellow had never before
manifested so quarrelsome a disposition in my presence; most probably
because I had never before seen him at variance with an Indian. “Let me
hear no more of this, or I shall be obliged to pay off the arrears on the
spot.”

“A little hiding does a nigger good, sometimes,” observed Guert,
significantly.

I observed that Dirck, who loved my very slave principally because he
was mine, looked at the offender reprovingly; and by these combined
demonstrations, we succeeded in curbing the fellow’s tongue.

“Well, Susquesus,” I added, “we all listen, to hear what you mean.

“Musquerusque chief--Huron chief--got very tender back; never forget rope.”

“You mean us to understand that my black’s prisoner will be apt to make
some attempt to revenge himself for the flogging he got from his captor?”

“Just so. Indian good memory--no forget friend--no forget enemy.”

“But your Huron will be puzzled to find us, Onondago. He will suppose us
with the army; and, should he even venture to look for us there, you see he
will be disappointed.”

“Never know. Wood full of paths--Injin full of cunning. Why talk of
Ravensnest?”

“Was the name of Ravensnest mentioned in the presence of that Huron?” I
asked, more uneasy than such a trifle would probably have justified me in
confessing.

“Ay, something was said about it, but not in a way the fellow could
understand,” answered Guert, carelessly. “Let him come on, if he has not
had enough of us yet.”

This was not my manner of viewing the matter, however; for the mentioning
of Ravensnest brought Anneke to my mind, surrounded by the horrors of an
Indian’s revenge.

“I will send you back to the Huron, Susquesus,” I added, “if you can name
to me the price that will purchase his forgiveness.”

The Onondago looked at me meaningly a moment; then, bending forward, he
passed the fore-finger of his hand around the head of Jaap, along the line
that is commonly made by the knife of the warrior, as he cuts away the
trophy of success from his victim. Jaap comprehended the meaning of this
very significant gesture, as well as any of us, and the manner in which
he clutched the wool, as if to keep the scalp in its place, set us all
laughing. The negro did not partake of our mirth; but I saw that he
regarded the Indian, much as the bull-dog shows his teeth, before he makes
his spring. Another motion of my finger, however, quelled the rising. It
was necessary to put an end to this, and Jaap was ordered to prepare our
packs, in readiness for the expected march. Relieved from his presence,
Susquesus was asked to be more explicit.

“You know Injin,” the Onondago answered. “Now he t’ink red-coats driv’ away
and skeared, he go look for scalp. Love all sort scalp--old scalp, young
scalp--man scalp, woman scalp--boy scalp, gal scalp--all get pay, all get
honour. No difference to him.”

“Ay!” exclaimed Guert, with a strong aspiration, such as escapes a man who
feels strongly; “he is a devil incarnate, when he once gets fairly on the
scent of blood! So you expect these French Injins will make an excursion in
among the settlers, out here to the south-east of us?”

“Go to nearest--don’t care where he be. Nearest your friend; won’t like
that, s’pose?”

“You are right enough, Onondago, in saying that. I shall not like it, nor
will my companions, here, like it; and the first thing you will have to do,
will be to guide us, straight as the bird flies, to the Ravensnest; the
picketed house, you know, where we have left our sweethearts.”

Susquesus understood all that was said, without any difficulty; in proof of
which, he smiled at this allusion to the precious character of the inmates
of the house Guert told him to seek.

“Squaw pretty ‘nough,” he answered, complacently. “No wonder young man like
him. But, can’t go there, now. First find friends measure land. All Injin
land, once!”

This last remark was made in a way I did not like; for the idea seemed to
cross the Onondago’s brain so suddenly, as to draw from him this brief
assertion in pure bitterness of spirit.

“I should be very sorry if it had not been, Susquesus,” I observed, myself,
“since the title is all the better for its having been so, as our Indian
deed will show. You know, of course, that my father, and his friend, Col.
Follock, bought this land of the Mohawks, and paid them their own price for
it.”

“Red-man nebber measure land so. He p’int with finger, break bush down, and
say, ‘there, take from that water to that water.’”

“All very true, my friend; but, as that sort of measurement will not answer
to keep farms separate, we are obliged to survey the whole off into lots of
smaller size. The Mohawks first gave my father and his friend, as much land
as they could walk round in two suns, allowing them the night to rest in.”

“_That_ good deed!” exclaimed the Indian, with strong emphasis. “Leg can’t
cheat--pen great rogue.”

“Well, we have the benefit of both grants; for the proprietors actually
walked round the estate, a party of Indians accompanying them, to see that
all was fair. After that, the chiefs signed a deed in writing, that there
might be no mistake, and then we got the King’s grant.”

“Who give King land, at all?--All land here red-man land; who give him to
king?”

“Who made the Delawares women?--The warriors of he Six nations, was it not,
Susquesus?”

“Yes--my people help. Six Nation great warrior, and put petticoat on
Delawares, so they can’t go on war-path any more. What that to do with
King’s land?”

“Why, the King’s warriors, you know, my friend, have taken possession of
this country, just as the Six Nations took possession of the Delawares,
before they made them women.”

“What become of King’s warrior, now?” demanded the Indian, quick as
lightning. “Where he run away to? Where land Ticonderoga, now? Whose land
t’other end lake, now?”

“Why, the King’s troops have certainly met with a disaster; and, for the
present, their rights are weakened, it must be admitted. But, another day
may see all this changed, and the King will got his land again. You will
remember, he has not sold Ticonderoga to the French, as the Mohawks sold
Mooseridge to us; and that, you must admit, makes a great difference. A
bargain is a bargain, Onondago.”

“Yes, bargain, bargain--that good. Good for red-man, good for pale-face--no
difference--what Mohawk sell, he no take back, but let pale-face keep--but
how come Mohawk and King sell, too? Bot’ own land, eh?”

This was rather a puzzling question to answer to an Indian. We white people
can very well understand that a human government, which professes, on the
principles recognised by civilized nations, to have jurisdiction over
certain extensive territories that lie in the virgin forest, and which
are used only, and that occasionally, by certain savage tribes as
hunting-grounds, should deem it right to satisfy those tribes, by purchase,
before they parcelled out their lands for the purposes of civilized life;
but, it would not be so easy to make an unsophisticated mind understand
that there could be two owners to the same property. The transaction is
simple enough to us, and it tells in favour of our habits, for we have the
power to grant these lands without ‘extinguishing the Indian title,’ as it
is termed; but it presents difficulties to the understandings of those who
are not accustomed to see society surrounded by the multifarious interests
of civilization. In point of fact, the Indian purchases give no other
title, under our laws, than the right to sue out, in council, a claim
to acquire by, the grant of the crown; paying to the latter such a
consideration as in its wisdom it shall see fit to demand. Still, it was
necessary to make some answer to the Onondago’s question, lest he might
carry away the mistaken notion that we did not justly own our possessions.

“Suppose you find a rifle to your fancy, Susquesus,” I said, after
reflecting a moment on the subject, “and you find two Indians who both
claim to own it; now, if you pay each warrior his price, is your right to
the title any the worse for having done so? Is it not rather better?”

The Indian was struck with this reply, which suited the character of his
mind. Thrusting out his hand, he received mine, and shook it cordially,
as much as to say he was satisfied. Having disposed of this episode thus
satisfactorily, we turned to the more interesting subject of our immediate
movements.

“It would seem that the Onondago expects the French Indians will now strike
at the settlements,” I remarked to my companions, “and, that our friends
at Ravensnest may need our aid; but, at the same time, he thinks we
should first return to Mooseridge, and join the surveyors. Which mode of
proceeding strikes you as the best, my friends?”

“Let us first hear the Injin’s reasons for going after the surveyors,”
 answered Guert. “If he has a sufficient reason for his plan, I am ready to
follow it.”

“Surveyor got scalp, as well as squaw,” said Susquesus, in his brief,
meaning manner.

“That must settle the point!” exclaimed Guert. “I understand it all, now.
The Onondago thinks the Mooseridge party may be cut off, as being alone and
unsupported, and that we ought to apprise them of this danger.”

“All perfectly just,” I replied, “and it is what they, being our own
people, have a right to expect from us. Still, Guert, I should think those
surveyors might be safe where they are, in the bosom of the forest, for
a year to come. Their business there cannot be known, and who is then to
betray them?”

“See,” said Susquesus, earnestly. “Kill deer, and leave him in the wood.
Won’t raven find carcass?”

“That may be true enough; but a raven has an instinct, given him by nature,
to furnish him with food. He flies high in the air, moreover, and can see
farther than an Indian.”

“Nuttin’ see farther than Injin! Red-man fly high, too. See from salt lake
to sweet water. Know ebbery t’ing in wood. Tell him nuttin’ he don’t know.”

“You do not suppose, Susquesus, that the Huron warriors could find our
surveyors, at Mooseridge?”

“Why, no find him? Find moose; why no find ridge, too? Find Mooseridge,
sartain; find land-measurer.”

“On the whole, Corny,” Guert remarked after musing a little, “we may do
well to follow the Injin’s advice. I have heard of so many misfortunes that
have befallen people in the bush, from having despised Indian counsels,
that I own to a little superstition on the subject. Just look at what
happened yesterday! Had red-skin opinions been taken, Abercrombie might now
have been a conqueror, instead of a miserable, beaten man.”

Susquesus raised a finger, and his dark countenance became illumined by an
expression that was more eloquent even than his tongue.

“Why no open ear to red-man!” he asked, with dignity. “Some bird sing a
song that good--some sing bad song--but all bird know his own song. Mohawk
warrior use to wood, and follow a crooked war-path, when he meet much
enemy. Great Yengeese chief think his warrior have two life, that he put
him before cannon and rifle, to stand up and be shot. No Injin do so
foolish--no--never!”

As this was too true to be controverted, the matter was not discussed; but,
having determined among ourselves to let the Onondago take us back on the
path by which we had come, we announced our readiness to start as soon as
it might suit his convenience. Being sufficiently rested, Susquesus, who
did everything on system, manifesting neither impatience nor laziness,
arose and quietly led the way. Our course was just the reverse of that
on which we had travelled when we left Mooseridge; and I did not fail to
observe that, so accurate was the knowledge of our guide, we passed many of
the same objects as we had previously gone near. There was nothing like a
track, with the exception of occasional foot-prints left by ourselves;
but it was evident the Onondago paid not the least attention to these,
possessing other and more accessible clues to his course.

Guert marched next to the Indian, and I was third in the line. How often,
that busy day, did I gaze at my file-leader, in admiration of his figure
and mien! Nature appeared to have intended him for a soldier. Although
so powerful, his frame was agile--a particular in which he differed from
Dirck; who, although so young, already gave symptoms of heaviness, at no
distant day. Then Guert’s carriage waa as fine as his form. The head was
held erect; the eye was intrepid in its glance; and the tread elastic,
though so firm. To the last hour, on that long and weary march, Guert
leaped logs, sprang across hollows in the ground, and otherwise manifested
that his iron sinews and hardened muscles retained all their powers. As he
moved in my front, I saw, for the first time, that some of the fringe of
his hunting-shirt had been cut away in the fight, and that a musket-ball
had passed directly through his cap. I afterwards ascertained that Guert
was aware of these escapes, but his nature was so manly he did not think of
mentioning them.

We made a single halt, as before, to dine; but little was said, at this
meal, and no change in our plan was proposed. This was the point where we
ought to have diverged from the former course, did we intend to proceed
first to Ravensnest; but, though all knew it, nothing was said on the
subject.

“We shall carry unwelcome tidings to Mr. Traverse, and his men,” Guert
observed, a minute or two before our halt was up; “for, I take it for
granted, the news cannot have gone ahead of _us_.”

“We first,” answered the Onondago. “Too soon for Huron, yet. T’ink
so--nobody know.”

“I wish, Corny,” pursued the Albanian, “we had thought of saying a word to
Doortje about this accursed expedition. There is no use in a man’s being
above his business; and he who puts himself in the way of fortune, might
profit by now and then consulting a fortune-teller.”

“Had we done so, and had all that has happened been foretold, do you
suppose it would have made any change in the result?”

“Perhaps not, since we should have been the persons to relate what we had
heard. But, Abercrombie, himself, need have had no scruples about visiting
that remarkable old woman. She’s a wonderful creature, Corny, as we must
allow, and a prudent general would not fail to respect what she told
him. It is a thousand pities that either the Commander-In-Chief, or the
Adjutant-General, had not paid Doortje a visit before they left Albany. My
Lord Howe’s valuable life might then have been saved.”

“In what way. Guert? I am at a loss to see in what manner any good could
come of it.”

“In what manner?--Why, in the plainest possible. Now, suppose Doortje had
foretold this defeat; it is clear, Abercrombie, if he put any faith in the
old woman, would not have made the attack.”

“And thus defeat the defeat. Do you not see, Guert, that the soothsayer
can, at the best, but foretell what _is_ to happen, and that which _must_
come _will_. It would be an easy matter for any of us to get great
reputations for fortune-telling, if all we had to do was to predict
misfortunes, in order that our friends might avoid them. As nothing would
ever happen, in consequence of the precautions taken to avert the evils, a
name would be easily and cheaply maintained.”

“By St. Nicholas! Corny, I never thought of that! But, you have been
college-taught; and a thousand things are picked up at colleges, that
one never dreams of at an academy. I see reason, every day, to lament my
idleness when a boy; and fortunate shall I be, if I do not lament it all my
life.”

Poor Guert! He was always so humble, when the subject of education arose,
however accidentally or unintentionally on my part, that it was never
commented on, that it did not give me pain, exciting a wish to avoid it.
As the time for the halt was now up, it was easy to terminate the present
discussion, by declaring as much, and proceeding on our way.

We had a hard afternoon’s walk of it, though neither of the five manifested
the least disposition to give in. As for Susquesus, to me, he never seemed
to know either fatigue or hunger. He was doubtless acquainted with both;
but his habits of self-command were so severe, as to enable him completely
to conceal his sufferings in this, as well as in most other respects.

The sun was near setting when we entered within the limits of the
Mooseridge estate. We ascertained this fact by passing the line-trees, some
of which had figures cut into their barks, to denote the numbers of the
great subdivisions of the property. Guert pointed out these marks; being
far more accustomed to the woods than either Dirck or myself. Aided by such
guides, we had no difficulty in making a sufficiently straight course to
the hut.

Susquesus thought a little caution necessary, as we drew near to the end of
our journey. Causing us to remain behind, he advanced in front, himself, to
reconnoitre. A signal, however, soon took us to the place where he stood,
when we discovered the hut just as we had left it, but no one near it.
This might be the result of mere accident, the surveying party frequently
‘camping out,’ in preference to making a long march after a fatiguing day’s
work; and Pete would be very likely to prefer going to join these men, to
remaining alone in the hut. We advanced to the building, therefore,
with confidence. On reaching it, we found the place empty, as had been
anticipated, though with every sign about it of its tenants having left it
but a short time previously; that morning, at the furthest.

Jaap set about preparing a supper out of the regular supplies of the party;
all of which were found in their places, and in abundance. On inquiry of
the fellow, I ascertained it was his opinion Mr. Traverse had gone off that
very day, most probably to some distant portion of the Patent, taking Pete
with him, as everything was covered up and put away with that sort of care
that denotes an absence of some little time. The Indian heard the negro’s
remark, to this effect, and, tossing his head significantly, he said--

“No need guess---go see--light enough--plenty time. Injin soon tell.”

He quitted the hut, on the spot, and immediately set about this
self-assigned duty.



CHAPTER XXV.

  “Thou tremblest; and the whiteness in thy cheek
  Is apter than thy tongue to tell thy errand.”

  SHAKSPEARE.


Curiosity induced me to follow the Indian, in order to watch his movements.
Susquesus proceeded a short distance from the hut, quitting the knoll
entirely, until he reached lower land, where a foot-print would be most
likely to be visible, when he commenced a slow circuit of the place, with
eyes fastened on the earth, as the nose of the hound follows the scent. I
was so much interested in the Onondago’s manner, as to join him, falling-in
in his rear, in order not to interfere with his object.

Of foot-marks there were plenty, more particularly on the low, moist
ground, where we were; but they all appeared, to me, to have no interest
with the Indian. Most of our party wore moccasins; and it was not easy to
see how, under such circumstances, and amid such a maze of impressions,
it could be possible for any one to distinguish a hostile from a friendly
trail. That Susquesus thought the thing might be done, however, was very
evident by his perseverance, and his earnestness.

At first, my companion met with no success, or with nothing that he fancied
success; but, after making half the circuit of the hut, keeping always a
hundred yards distant from it, he suddenly stopped; stooped quite to the
earth; then arose, and, sticking a broken knot into the ground, as a mark,
he signed to me to keep a little on one side, while he turned at right
angles to his former course, and moved inwards towards our dwelling. I
followed slowly, watching his movements, step by step.

In this manner we reached the hut, deviating from a direct line, in order
to do so. At the hut, itself, Susquesus made a long and minute examination;
but even I could see, that the marks here were so numerous, as to baffle
even him. After finishing his search at this point, the Indian turned, and
went back to the place where he had stuck the knot in the ground. In doing
this, however, he followed his own trail, returning by precisely the same
deviating course as that by which he had come. This, alone, would have
satisfied me that he saw more than I did; for, to own the truth, I could
not have done the same thing.

When we reached the knot, Susquesus followed that (to me invisible) trail
outside of the circle, leading off into the forest in a direct line from
the hut and spring. I continued near him, although neither had spoken
during the whole of this examination, which had now lasted quite half an
hour. As it was getting dark, however, and Jaap showed the signal that
our supper was ready, I thought it might be well, at length, to break the
silence.

“What do you make of all this, Trackless?” I inquired. “Do you find any
signs of a trail?”

“Good trail”--Susquesus answered; “new trail, too Look like Huron!”

This was startling intelligence, certainly; yet, much as I was disposed to
defer to my companion’s intelligence in such matters, in general, I thought
he must be mistaken in his fact. In the first place, though I had seen many
foot-prints near the hut, and along the low land on which the Indian made
his circuit, I could see none where we then were. I mentioned this to the
Indian, and desired him to show me, particularly, one of the signs which
had led him to his conclusion.

“See,” said Susquesus, stooping so low as to place a finger on the
dead leaves that ever make a sort of carpet to the forest, “here been
moccasin--that heel; this toe.”

Aided, in this manner, I could discover a faint foot-print, which might,
by aid of the imagination, be thus read; though the very slight impression
that was to be traced, might almost as well be supposed anything else, as
it seemed to me.

“I see what you mean, Susquesus; and, I allow, it _may_ be a foot-print,” I
answered; “but then it may also have been left by anything else, which has
touched the ground just at that spot. It may have been made by a falling
branch of a tree.”

“Where branch?” asked the Indian, quick as lightning.

“Sure enough; that is more than I can tell you. But I cannot suppose _that_
a Huron foot-print, without more evidence than you now give.”

“What you call that?--this--that--t’other?” added the Indian, stepping
quickly back, and pointing to four other similar, but very faint
impressions on the leaves; “no see him, eh?--Just leg apart, too!”

This was true enough; and now my attention was thus directed, and my senses
were thus aided, I confess I did discover certain proofs of footsteps, that
would, otherwise, have baffled my most serious search.

“I can see what you mean, Susquesus,” I said, “and will allow that this
line of impressions, or marks, does make them look more like footsteps. At
any rate, most of our party wear moccasins as well as the red-men, and how
do you know that some of the surveyors have not passed this way?”

“Surveyor no make such mark. Toe turn in.”

This was true, too. But it did not follow that a foot-print was a Huron’s,
merely because it was Indian. Then, where were the enemy’s warriors to come
from, in so short a time as had intervened between the late battle and the
present moment? There was little question all the forces of the French,
pale-face and red-man, had been collected at Ticonderoga to meet the
English; and the distance was so great as almost to render it impossible
for a party to reach this spot so soon, coming from the vicinity of
the fortress after the occurrence of the late events. Did not the lake
interpose an obstacle, I might have inferred that parties of skirmishers
would be thrown on the flanks of the advancing army, thus bringing foes
within a lessened distance of us; but, there was the lake, affording a safe
approach for more than thirty miles, and rendering the employment of any
such skirmishers useless. All this occurred to me at the moment, and I
mentioned it to my companion as an argument against his own supposition.

“No true,” answered Susquesus, shaking his head. “That trail--he Huron
trail, too. Don’t know red-man to say so.”

“But red-men are human as well as pale-faces. It must be seventy miles from
this spot to the foot of Lake George, and your conjecture would make it
necessary that a party should have travelled that distance in less than
twenty-four hours, and be here some time before us.”

“We no travel him, eh?”

“I grant you that, Trackless; but we came a long bit of the road in a
canoe, each and all of us sleeping, and resting ourselves, in turns. These
Hurons must have come the whole distance by land.”

“No so. Huron paddle canoe well as Onondago. Lake there--canoe plenty. Why
not come?”

“Do you suppose, Trackless, that any of the French Indians would venture on
the lake while it was covered with our boats, as was the case last night?”

“What ‘our boat’ good for, eh? Carry wounded warrior--carry runaway
warrior--what he care? T’ink Huron ‘fraid of boat? Boat got eye, eh? Boat
see; boat hear, boat shoot, eh?”

“Perhaps not; but those who were in the boats can do all this, and would be
apt, at least, to speak to a strange canoe.”

“Boat speak my canoe, eh? Onondago canoe, strange canoe, too.”

All this was clear enough, when I began to reflect on it. It was certainly
possible for a canoe with two or three paddles, to go the whole length of
the lake in much less time than we had employed in going two-thirds of
the distance; and a party landing in the vicinity of William-Henry, could
certainly have reached the spot where we then were, several hours sooner
than we had reached it ourselves. Still, there existed all the other
improbabilities on my side of the question. It was improbable that a
party should have proceeded in precisely this manner; it was still more
improbable that such a party, coming on a war-path, from a distant part of
the country, should know exactly where to find our hut. After a moment’s
pause, and while we both slowly proceeded to join our companion, I
suggested these objections to the Onondago.

“Don’t know Injin,” answered the other, betraying more earnestness of
manner than was usual with him, when he condescended to discuss any of
the usages of the tribes, with a pale-face. “He fight first; then he want
scalp. Ever see dead horse in wood--well, no crow there, eh? Plenty crow,
isn’t he? Just so, Injin. Wounded soldier carry off, and Injin watch in
wood, behind army, to get scalp. Scalp good, after battle. Want him, very
much. Wood full of Huron, along path to Albany. Yengeese down in heart;
Huron up. Scalp so good, t’ink of nuttin’ else.”

By this time we had reached the hut, where I found Guert and Dirck already
at their supper. I will own that my appetite was not as good as it might
have been, but for the Onondago’s conjectures and discoveries; though
I took a seat, and began to eat with my friends. While at the meal, I
communicated to my companions all that had passed, particularly asking of
Guert, who had a respectable knowledge of the bush, what he thought of the
probabilities of the case.

“If hostile red-skins have really been here, lately,” the Albanian
answered, “they have been thoroughly cunning devils; for not an article
in or about the hut has been disturbed. I had an eye to that myself, the
moment we arrived; for I have thought it far from unlikely that the Hurons
would be out, on the road between William-Henry and the settlements, trying
to get scalps from the parties that would be likely to be sent to the rear
with wounded officers.”

“In which case our friend Bulstrode might be in danger?”

“He must take his chance, like all of us. But, he will probably be carried
to Ravensnest, as the nearest nest for him to nestle in. I don’t half like
this trail, however, Corny; it is seldom a red-skin of the Onondago’s
character, makes a mistake in such a matter!”

“It is too late, now, to do anything to-night,” Dirck observed. “Besides,
I don’t think any great calamity is likely to befall any of us, or Doortje
would have dropped some hint about it. These fortune-tellers seldom let
anything serious pass without a notice of some sort or other. You see,
Corny, we went through all this business at Ty, without a scratch, which is
so much in favour of the old woman’s being right.”

Poor Dirck! that prediction had made a deep impression on his character,
and on his future life. A man’s faith must be strong, to fancy that a
negative of this nature could carry with it any of the force of a positive,
affirmative prediction. Nevertheless, Dirck had spoken the truth, in one
respect. It was too late to do anything that night, and it only remained to
prepare to take our rest as securely as possible.

We consulted on the subject, calling on the Indian to aid us. After talking
the matter over, it was determined to remain where we were, securing the
door, and bringing everybody within the building; for the negroes and the
Indians had been much in the habit of sleeping about, under brush covers
that they had erected for themselves. It was thought that, having once
visited the hut, and finding it empty, the enemy, if enemy there were,
would not be very likely to return to it immediately, and that wo might
consider our selves as comparatively safe, from that circumstance alone.
Then, there were all the chances that the trail might have been left by
friendly, instead of hostile Indians, although Susquesus shook his head
in the negative, whenever this was mentioned. At all events, we had but
a choice of three expedients--to abandon the Patent, and seek safety in
flight; to ‘camp out;’ or to shut ourselves up in our fortress. Of the
first, no one thought for a moment; and of the two others, we decided on
the last, as far the most comfortable, and, on the whole, as the safest.

An hour after we had come to this determination, I question if either of
the five knew anything about it. I never slept more profoundly in my life,
and my companions subsequently gave the same account of their several
conditions. Fatigue, and youth, and health, gave us all refreshing sleep;
and, as we lay down at nine, two o’clock came after so much time totally
lost in the way of consciousness. I say two o’clock; for my watch told me
that was just the hour, when the Indian awoke me, by shaking my shoulder.
One gets the habits of watchfulness in the woods, and I was on my feet in
an instant.

Dark as it was, for it was deep night, I could distinguish that Susquesus
was alone stirring, and that he had unbarred the door of our cabin. Indeed,
he passed through that open space, into the air of the forest, the moment
he perceived I was conscious of what I was about. Without pausing to
reflect, I followed, and soon stood at his side, some fifteen or twenty
feet from the hut.

“This good place to hear,” said the Indian, in a low suppressed tone. “Now,
open ear.”

What a scene was that, which now presented itself to my senses! I can see
it, at this distance of time, after years of peaceful happiness, and years
of toil and adventure. The morning, or it might be better to say the night,
was not very dark in itself; but the gloom of the woods being added to the
obscurity of the hour, it lent an intensity of blackness to the trunks
of the trees, that gave to each a funereal and solemn aspect. It was
impossible to see for any distance, and the objects that were visible were
only those that were nearest at hand. Notwithstanding, one might imagine
the canopied space beneath the tops of the trees, and fancy it, in the
majesty of its gloomy vastness. Of sounds there were literally none, when
the Indian first bade me listen. The stillness was so profound, that I
thought I heard the sighing of the night air among the upper branches of
the loftier trees. This might have been mere imagination; nevertheless, all
above the summits of the giant oaks, maples and pines, formed a sort of
upper world as regarded us; a world with which we had little communication,
during our sojourn in the woods below. The raven, and the eagle, and the
hawk, sailed in that region, above the clouds of leaves beneath them, and
occasionally stooped, perhaps, to strike their quarry; but, to all else, it
was inaccessible, and to a degree invisible.

But, my present concern is with the world I was in; and, what a world it
was! Solemn, silent, dark, vast and mysterious. I listened in vain, to
catch the footstep of some busy squirrel, for the forest was alive with the
smaller animals, by night quite as much as by day; but everything, at that
moment, seemed stilled to the silence of death.

“I can hear nothing, Trackless,” I whispered--“Why are you out here?”

“You hear, soon--wake me up, and I hear twice. Soon come ag’in.”

It did soon come again. It was a human cry, escaping from human lips in
their agony! I heard it once only; but, should I live to be a hundred, it
would not be forgotten. I often hear it in my sleep, and twenty times have
I awoke since, fancying that agonizing call was in my ears. It was long,
loud, piercing, and the word ‘help’ was as distinct as tongue could make
it.

“Great God!” I exclaimed--“some one is set upon, and calls for aid in his
extremity. Let us arouse our friends, and go to his assistance. I cannot
remain here, Susquesus, with such a cry in my ears.”

“Best go, t’ink too,” answered the Onondago. “No need call, though; two
better than four. Stop minute.”

I did remain stationary that brief space, listening with agonized
uncertainty, while the Indian entered the hut, and returned, bringing out
his rifle and my own. Arming ourselves, and shutting the door of the cabin,
to exclude the night-air, at least, Susquesus led off, with his noiseless
step, in a south-west direction, or that in which we had heard the sound.

Our march was too swift and earnest to admit of discourse. The Onondago had
admonished me to make as little noise as possible; and, between the anxiety
I felt, and the care taken to comply, there was, indeed, but little
opportunity for conversing. My feelings were wrought up to a high pitch;
but my confidence in my companion being great, I followed in his footsteps,
as diligently as my skill would allow. Susquesus rather trod on air than
walked; yet I kept close at his heels, until we had gone, as I should
think, fully half a mile in the direction from which that awful cry had
come. Here Susquesus halted, saying to me, in a low voice--

“No far from here--best stop.”

I submitted, in all things, to the directions of my Indian guide. The
latter had selected the dark shadows of two or three young pines for our
cover, where, by getting within their low branches, we were completely
concealed from any eye that was distant from us eight or ten feet. No
sooner were we thus posted, than the Onondago pointed to the trunk of a
fallen tree, and we took our seats silently on it. I observed that my
companion kept his thumb on the cock of his rifle, while his fore-finger
was passed around the trigger. It is scarcely necessary to say that I
observed the same precaution.

“This good,” said Susquesus, in a voice so low and soft that it could not
attract more attention than a whisper; “this very good--hear him ag’in,
soon; then know.”

A stifled groan _was_ heard, and that almost as soon as my companion ceased
to speak. I felt my blood curdle at these frightful evidences of human
suffering; and an impulse of humanity caused me to move, as if about to
rise. The hand of Trackless checked the imprudence.

“No good,” he said, sternly. “Sit still. Warrior know how to sit still.”

“But, Heavenly Providence! There is some one in agony, quite near us, man.
Did you not hear a groan Trackless?”

“To be sure, hear him.--What of that? Pain make groan come, alway, from
pale-face.”

“You think, then, it is a white-man who suffers? if so, it must be one of
our party, as there is no one else near us. If I hear it again, I must go
to his relief, Onondago.”

“Why you behave like squaw? What of little groan? Sartain, he pale-face;
Injin never groan on war-path. Why he groan, you t’ink? Cause Huron meet
him. That reason he groan. You groan, too, no sit still. Injin know time to
shoot--know time not to shoot.”

I had every disposition to call aloud, to inquire who needed succour;
yet the admonitions of my companion, aided as they, were by the gloomy
mysteries of that vast forest, in the hour of deepest night, enabled me to
command the impulse. Three times, notwithstanding, was that groan repeated;
and, as it appeared to me, each time more and more faintly. I thought,
too, when all was still in the forest--when we sat ourselves in breathless
expectation of what might next reach our ears--attentive to each sighing
of the night-air, and distrustful even of the rustling leaf--that the last
groan of all, though certainly the faintest of any we had heard, was much
the nearest. Once, indeed, I heard, or fancied I heard, the word ‘water,’
murmured in a low, smothered tone, almost in my ear. I thought, too, I knew
the voice; that it was familiar to me; though I could not decide, in the
state of my feelings, exactly to whom, it belonged.

In this manner we passed what, to me, were two of the most painful hours
of my life, waiting the slow return of light. My own impatience was nearly
ungovernable; though the Indian sat, the whole of that time, seemingly as
insensible as the log which formed his seat, and almost as motionless. At
length this intensely anxious, and even physically painful watch, drew near
its end. Signs of day gleamed through the canopy of leaves, and the rays
of dull light appeared to struggle downward, rendering objects dimly
discernible.

It was not long ere we could ascertain that we had so completely covered
ourselves, as to be in a position where the branches of the pines
completely shut out the view of objects beyond. This was favourable to
reconnoitring, however, previously to quitting our concealment, and
enabled us to have some care of ourselves while attending to the duties of
humanity.

Susquesus used the greatest caution in looking around before he left the
cover. I was close at his side, peeping through such openings as offered;
for my curiosity was so intense, that I almost forgot the causes for
apprehension. It was not long before I heard the familiar Indian
interjection, “hugh!” from my companion; a proof that something had caught
his eye, of a more than ordinarily exciting character. He pointed in the
way I was to look, and there, indeed, I beheld one of those frightful
instances of barbarous cruelty, that the usages of savage warfare have
sanctioned, as far back as our histories extend, among the forest warriors
of this continent. The tops of two saplings had been brought down near each
other, by main force, the victim’s hands attached firmly to upper branches
of each, and the trees permitted to fly back to their natural positions, or
as near them as the revolting means of junction would allow. I could scarce
believe my senses, when my sight first revealed the truth. But there hung
the victim, suspended by his arms, at an elevation of at least ten or
fifteen feet from the earth. I confess I sincerely hoped he was dead, and
the motionless attitude of the body gave me reason to think it might be so.
Still, the cries for “help,” uttered wildly, hopelessly, in the midst of a
vast and vacant forest, the groans extorted by suffering, must have been
his. He had probably been thus suspended and abandoned, while alive!

Even the Onondago could not restrain me, after I fully saw and understood
the nature of the cruelty which had been exercised on the miserable victim
who was thus suspended directly before my eyes, and I broke out of the
cover, ready, I am willing to confess, to pull trigger on the first hostile
red-man I saw. Fortunately for myself, most probably, the place had long
been deserted. As the back of the sufferer was towards me, I could not tell
who he was; but his dress was coarse, and of the description that belongs
to the lowest class. Blood had flowed freely from his head, and I made no
doubt he had been scalped; though the height at which he hung, and the
manner in which his head had fallen forward upon his breast, prevented me
front ascertaining the fact at once, by the aid of sight. Thus much did I
perceive, however, ere the Indian joined me.

“See!” said Susquesus, whose quick eye never let anything escape it long,
“told you so; Huron been here.”

As this was said, the Indian pointed significantly at the naked skin, which
was visible between the heavy, coarse shoes of the victim, and the trowsers
he wore, when I discovered it was black. Moving quickly in front, so as to
get a view of the face, I recognised the distorted features of Petrus, or
Pete, Guert Ten Eyck’s negro. This man had been left with the surveyors, it
will be remembered, and he had either fallen into the hands of his captors,
while at the hut, engaged in his ordinary duties, or he had been met in the
forest while going to, or coming from those he served, and had thus been
treated. We never ascertained the facts, which remain in doubt to this
hour.

“Give me your tomahawk, Trackless,” I cried, as soon as horror would
permit me to speak, “that I may cut down this sapling, and liberate the
unfortunate creature!”

“No good--better so,” answered the Indian. “Bear--wolf can’t get him, now.
Let black-skin hang--good as bury--no safe stay here long. Look round and
count Huron, then go.”

“Look round and count the Hurons,” I thought to myself; “and in what manner
is this to be done?” By this time, however, it was sufficiently light to
see foot-prints, if any there were, and the Onondago set about examining
such traces of what had passed at that terrible spot, as might be
intelligible to one of his experience.

At the foot of a huge oak, that grew a few yards from the fatal saplings,
we found the two wooden, covered pails in which we knew Pete had been
accustomed to carry food to Mr. Traverse and the chain-bearers. They were
empty, but whether the provisions they unquestionably had contained fell to
the share of those for whom they were intended, or to that of the captors,
we never learned. No traces of bones, potato-skins, or other fragments were
discovered; and, if the Hurons had seized the provisions, they doubtless
transferred them to their own repositories, without stopping to eat.
Susquesus detected proof that the victim had been seated at the foot of the
oak, and that he had been seized at that spot. There were the marks of many
feet there, and some proofs of a slight scuffle. Blood, too, was to be
traced on the leaves, from the foot of the oak, to the place where poor
Pete was suspended; a proof that he had been hurt, previously to being
abandoned to his cruel fate.

But the point of most interest with Trackless was to ascertain the number
of our foes. This might be done, in some measure, according to his view of
the matter, by means of the foot-prints. There was no want of such signs,
the leaves being much disturbed in places, though after a short but anxious
search, my companion thought it wisest to repair to the hut, lest those it
contained might be surprised in their sleep. He gave me to understand that
the enemy did not appear to be numerous at that spot, three or four at
most, though it was quite possible, nay highly probable, that they had
separated, and that their whole force was not present at this miserable
scene.

It was broad daylight when we came in sight of the hut again, and I
perceived Jaap was up and busy with his pots and kettles near the spring.
No one else was visible, and we inferred that Guert and Dirck were still on
their pallets. We took a long and distrustful survey of the forest around
the cabin, from the height where we stood, ere we ventured to approach it
any nearer. Discovering no signs of danger, and the forest being quite
clear of underbrush or cover of any sort, large trees excepted, for some
distance from the hut, we then advanced without apprehension. This open
character of the woods near our dwelling was felt to be a very favourable
circumstance, rendering it impossible for an enemy to get very near us by
daylight, without being seen. It was owing to the fact that we had used so
much of the smaller timber, in our own operations, while the negroes had
burned most of the underbrush for fuel.

Sure enough, I found my two friends fast asleep, and certainly much
exposed. When aroused and told all that had occurred to me and the Indian,
their surprise was great, nor was their horror less. Jaap, who, missing us
on rising, supposed we had gone in pursuit of game, had followed us into
the hut, and heard my communications. His indignation was great, at the
idea of one of his own colour’s being thus treated, and I heard him vowing
vengeance between his set teeth, in terms that were by no means measured.

“By St. Nicholas!” exclaimed Guert, who had now finished dressing, and who
accompanied me out into the open air, “my poor fellow shall be revenged,
if the rifle will do it! Scalped, too, do you say, Corny?”

“As far as we could ascertain, suspended as he was from the tree. But,
scalped he must be, as an Indian never permits a dead captive to escape
this mutilation.”

“And you have been out in the forest three hours, you tell me, Corny?--You
and Trackless?”

“About that time, I should judge. The heart must have been of stone, that
could resist those cries!”

“I do not blame you, Littlepage, though it would have been kinder, and
wiser, had you taken your friends with you. We must stick together, in
future, let what may happen. Poor Petrus! I wonder Doortje should have
hinted nothing of that nigger’s fate!”

We then held a long consultation on the subject of our mode of proceeding,
next. It is unnecessary to dwell on this conference, as its conclusions
will be seen in the events of the narrative; but it was brought to a close
by a very sudden interruption, and that was the sound of an axe in the
forest. The blows came in the direction of the scene of Pete’s murder,
and we had collected our rifles, and were preparing to move towards the
suspected point, when we saw Jaap staggering along, coming to the hut,
beneath the load of his friend’s body. The fellow had stolen away, unseen,
on this pious duty, and had executed it with success. In a minute or two
he reached the spring, and began to wash away the revolting remains of the
massacre from the head of the Huron’s victim.

We now ascertained that poor Pete had been badly cut by knives, as well
as scalped, and suspended in the manner related. Both arms appeared to be
dislocated, and the only relief to our feelings, was in the hope that an
attempt to inflict so much suffering must have soon defeated itself. Guert,
in particular, expressed his hope that such was the case, though the awful
sounds of the past night were still too fresh in my ears to enable me to
believe all I could wish on that subject A grave was dug, and we buried the
body at once, rolling a large log or two on the spot, in order to prevent
wild beasts from disinterring it. Jaap worked hard in the performance of
these rites, and Guert Ten Eyck actually repeated the Lord’s Prayer and the
Creed over the grave, when the body was placed in it, with a fervour and
earnestness that a little surprised me.

“He was but a nigger, Corny, it is true,” said the Albanian, a little
apologetically perhaps, after all was over, “but he was a very goot nigger,
in the first place; then, he had a soul, as well as a white man--Pete had
his merits, as well as a Tominie, and I trust they will not be forgotten in
the last great account. He was an excellent cook, as you must have seen,
and I never knew a nigger that had more of the dog-like fidelity to his
master. The fellow never got into a frolic without coming honestly to ask
leave; though, to be sure, I was not a hard master, in these particulars,
on reasonable occasions.”

We next ate our breakfasts, with as much appetite as we could. Shouldering
our packs, and placing all around, and in the hut, as much as possible in
the condition in which we had found the place, we then commenced our march,
Susquesus leading, as usual.

We went in quest of the surveyors, who were supposed to be in the
south-east corner of the Patent, employed as usual, and ignorant of all
that had passed. At first, we had thought of discharging our rifles, as
signals to bring them in; but these signals might apprize our enemies,
as well as our friends, of our presence, and the distance was too great,
moreover, to render it probable the reports could be heard by those for
whom alone they would be intended.

The route we took was determined by our general knowledge of the quarter
of the Patent in which the surveyors ought now to be, as well as by the
direction in which the body of Pete had been found. The poor fellow was
certainly either going to, or coming from the party, and being in constant
communication with them, he doubtless knew where they were at work.
Then the different trails of the surveyors were easily enough found by
Trackless, and he told us that the most recent led off in the direction I
have named. Towards the south-east, therefore, we held our way, marching,
as before, in Indian file; the Onondago leading, and the negro bringing up
the rear.



CHAPTER XXVI.

  “‘Tis too horrible!
  The weariest and most loathed worldly life
  That age, ache, penury, and imprisonment
  Can lay on nature, is a paradise,
  To what we fear of death.”

  _Measure for Measure._


We were not long in reaching the point of the Patent in which the surveyors
had been at work, after which we could have but little difficulty in
finding their present actual position. The marked trees were guides that
told the whole story of their labours. For an hour and a half, however, we
moved rapidly forward, Susquesus on the lead, silent, earnest, watchful,
and I fear I must add, revengeful. Not a syllable had been uttered during
the whole of that time, though our senses were keenly on the alert; and we
avoided everything like a cover that might conceal an ambush. Suddenly
the Indian halted; at the next instant he was behind a tree. Each of us
imitated him, quick as thought, for this was our previous training in the
event of encountering an enemy; and we all well knew the importance of
a cover in forest warfare. Still, no foe could be seen. After examining
around us in every direction, for a minute or two, and finding the woods
vacant and silent as ever, Guert and I quitted our own trees, and joined
the Trackless, at the foot of his own huge pine.

“Why this, Susquesus?” demanded the Albanian, sharply; for he began to
suspect a little acting, got up to magnify the Indian’s usefulness; “here
is neither pale-face nor red-skin. Have done with this folly, and let us go
forward.”

“No good--warrior been here; p’rhaps gone, p’rhaps no; soon see. Open eye,
and look.”

As a gesture accompanied this speech, we did look again, and this time
in the right direction. At the distance of a hundred yards from us was a
chestnut, that might be seen from its roots to its branches. On the ground,
partly concealed by the tree, and partly exposed, was the leg of a man,
placed as the limb would be apt to lie, on the supposition that its owner
lay on his back, asleep. It showed a moccasin, and the usual legging of an
Indian; but the thigh, and all the rest of the frame, was concealed. The
quick eye of the Onondago had caught this small object, even at that
distance, comprehended it at a glance, when he instantly sought a cover,
as described. Guert and I had some difficulty at first, even after it was
pointed out to us, in recognising this object; but it soon became distinct
and intelligible.

“Is that a red-skin’s leg?” asked Guert, dropping the muzzle of his rifle,
as if about to try his skill on it.

“Don’t know,” answered the Indian; “got leggin, got moccasin; can’t see
colour. Look most pale-face; leg big.”

What there was to enable one, at that distance, to distinguish between the
leg of a white man and the leg of an Indian, at first greatly exceeded our
means of conjecturing; but the Onondago explained it, when asked, in his
own usual, sententious manner, by saying:

“Toe turn out--Injin turn in--no like, at all. Pale-face big; Injin no very
big.”

The first was true enough in walking, and it did seem probable that the
difference might exist in sleep. Guert now declared there was no use in
hesitating any longer; if asleep he would approach the chestnut cautiously,
and capture the stranger, if an Indian, before he could rise; and if a
white man, it must be some one belonging to our own set, who was taking
a nap, probably, after a fatiguing march. Susquesus must have satisfied
himself, by this time, that there was no immediate danger; for merely
saying, “all go together,” he quitted the cover, and led down towards the
chestnut with a rapid but noiseless step. As we moved in a body all five of
us reached the tree at the same instant, where we found Sam, one of our own
hunters, and whom we supposed to be with Mr. Traverse, stretched on his
back, dead; with a wound in his breast that had been inflicted by a knife.
He, too, had been scalped!

The looks we exchanged, said all that could be said on the subject of the
gravity of this new discovery. Susquesus, alone, was undisturbed; I rather
think he expected what he found. After examining the body, he seemed
satisfied, simply saying, “kill, last night.”

That poor Sam had been dead several hours was pretty certain, and the
circumstance removed all apprehension of any immediate danger from his
destroyers. The ruthless warriors of the woods seldom remained long near
the spot they had desolated, but passed on, like the tornado, or the
tempest. Guert, who was ever prompt when anything was to be done, pointed
to a natural hollow in the earth; one of those cavities that are so common
in the forest, and which are usually attributed to the upturning of trees
in remote ages, and suggested that we should use it as a grave. The body
was accordingly laid in the hole, and we covered it in the best manner we
could; succeeding in placing over it something like a foot deep of light
loam, together with several flat stones; rolling logs on all, as we had
done at the grave of Pete. By this time Guert’s feelings were so thoroughly
aroused, that, in addition to the prayer and the creed, which he again
repeated, in a very decorous and devout manner, he concluded the whole
ceremony by a brief address. Nor was Guert anything but serious in what
he did, or said, on either of these solemn occasions; his words, like his
acts, being purely the impulses of a simple mind, which possesses longings
after devotion and scriptural truths, without knowing exactly how to
express them; and this, moreover, in spite of the mere animal propensities,
and gay habits of his physical conformation, and constitutional tendencies.

“Deat’, my friends,” said Guert, most seriously, becoming Dutch, as usual,
as he became interested; “Deat’ is a sutten visiter. He comes like a thief
in the night, as you must all have often he’rt the Tominie say; and happy
is he whose loins are girlet, and whose lamp is trimmed. Such, I trust,
is the case with each of you; for, it is not to be concealet, that we are
likely to have serious work before us. Here have been Injins, beyont a
question; and they are Injins, too, that are out on the war-path, in search
of English scalps; or, what is of equal importance to Mr. Follock and
myself, Dutch scalps in the pargain; which makes it so much the more
necessary for every man to be on his guart, and to stant up to his work,
when it may come, as the pull-tog stants up to the ox. Got forpit t’at I
should preach revenge over t’e grave of a frient; but the soltier fights
none the worse for knowing t’at he has peen injuret in his feelin’s, as has
certainly peen the case with ourselves. Perhaps I ought to say a wort
in behalf of the teat, as this is the last, and only time, that a
fellow-creature will ever have occasion to speak of him. Sam was an
excellent hunter, as his worst enemy must allow; and now he is gone, few
petter remain pehint. He had one weakness, which, stanting over his grave,
an honest man ought not to try to conceal; he dit love liquor; put, in
this, he was not alone. Nevertheless, he was honest; and his wort might
pass where many a man’s pont would be wort’less; and I leave him in the
merciful hants of his Creator. My frients, I haf but little more to say,
and that is this--that life is uncertain, and deat’ is sure. Samuel has
gone before us, only a little while; and may we all be equally preparet to
meet our great account. Amen.”

Did any one smile at this address! Far from it! Singular, disconnected, and
unsophisticated as it may seem to certain persons, it had one great merit
that is not always discernible in the speeches of those who officiate at
the most elaborate funeral rites. Guert was sincere, though he might not
be either logical or very clear. This was apparent in his countenance,
his voice, his whole manner. For myself, I will allow, I saw nothing
particularly out of place, in this address, at the time, nor do I now
regard it as either irreverent or unseasonable.

We left the grave of the hunter, in the depths of that interminable forest,
as the ship passes away from the spot on the ocean where she has dropped
her dead. At some future day, perhaps, the plough-share may turn up the
bones, and the husbandman ruminate on the probable fate of the lonely man,
whose remains will then again be brought to the light of day. As we left
the spot, the Indian detained us a moment, to put us on our guard.

“Huron do that,” he said, meaningly--“No see difference, eh? Saw no hang up
like Pete.”

“That is true enough, Susquesus,” Guert answered; for Guert, by his age,
his greater familiarity with the woods, his high courage and his
personal prowess, had now assumed, unresistingly on our part, a sort of
chieftainship over us, “Can you tell us the reason, however?”

“Muss, you call him, back sore--that all. Know him well; don’t love flog.
No Injin love flog.”

“And you think, then, Jaap’s prisoner has had a hand in this, and that the
war-path is open to revenge as well as public service--that we are hunted
less for our scalps than to put a plaster on the Huron’s back?”

“Sartain. T’ree canoe go by on lake--t’at Muss, you call him--know him,
well. He no want sleep till back get well. See how he use nigger! Hang him
on tree--only kill pale-face and take away scalp.”

“Do you suppose that he made this difference in the treatment of his two
captives, on account of the colour? That he was so cruel to Petrus because
Jaap, another nigger, had flogged him?”

“Sartain--just so. Back feel better after t’at. Good for back to hang
nigger. Jaap see, some time.”

I will do my fellow the justice to say, that in the way of courage, few men
were his equals. As I have said before, he only feared spooks, or Dutch
ghosts; for the awe he had of me was so blended with love, as not to
deserve the name of fear. In general, unless the weather happened to be
cold, his face was of a deep, glistening black; coffin-colour, as the boys
sometimes called it; but, I observed, notwithstanding his nerve and
his keen desire to be revenged for the cruel treatment bestowed on his
companion and brother, that his skin now assumed a greyish hue, such as
is seen only in hard frosts, as a rule, in the people of his race. It was
evident that the Trackless’ manner of speaking had produced an effect, and
I have always thought the impresssion then made on Jaap was of infinite
service to us, by setting in motion, and keeping in lively activity, every
faculty of his mind and body. I had a specimen of this, as we moved off,
Jaap walking for some distance close at my heels, in order to make me the
repository of his griefs and solicitude.

“I hopes, Masser Corny, sah,” commenced the negro, “you doesn’t t’ink
anyt’ing of what dis here Injin say?”

“I think, Jaap, it will be necessary for you to keep you eyes open, and by
no means to fall into the hands of your friend Muss, as you call him, or he
may serve you even worse than he served poor Pete. I hope, too, this will
be warning to you, of the necessity of treating your prisoners kindly,
should you ever make another.”

“I don’t t’ink, Masser Corny, you consider pretty much, sah. What good it
do a nigger to captivate an Injin, if he let him go ag’in, and don’t lick
him little? Only little, Masser Corny. Ebbery t’ing so handy too, sah--rope
all ready, back bare, and feelin’ up, like, after such a time in takin’ ‘e
varmint, sah!”

“Well, Jaap, what is done, is done, and there is no use in regretting it,
in words. Of one thing, however, you may be certain; no mercy will be shown
_you_, should this fellow, Muss, be actually out here, on our heels, and
should you be so unfortunate as to fall into his hands.”

The negro growled out his discontent, and I could see that his mind was
made up to give stout battle, ere _his_ wool should be disturbed by the
knife of a savage. A moment later, he stepped aside, and respectfully
permitted Dirck to take his proper place, next to me, in the line.

We may have proceeded two miles from the spot where we had buried Sam, the
hunter, when on rising a little hillock, the Indian tossed his arm, the
sign that a new discovery was made. This time, however, the gesture was
rather made in exultation than in horror. As he came to a dead halt at the
same instant, we all closed eagerly up, and got an early view of the cause
of this exhibition of feeling.

The ground fell away, in a sort of swell, for some distance in our
front; and, the trees being all of the largest size, and totally without
underbrush, the place had somewhat of the appearance of a vast, forest
edifice, to which the canopy of leaves above formed the roof, and the stems
of oaks, lindens, beeches and maples, might be supposed to be the columns
that upheld it. Within this wide, gloomy, yet not unpleasant hall, a sombre
light prevailed, like that which is cast through the casements of an
edifice of the ancient style of architecture, rendering everything mellow
and grave. A spring of sweet water gushed from a rock, and near it were
seated, in a circle, Mr. Traverse and his two chain-bearers, seemingly
taking their morning’s meal; or, rather, reclining after it, with the pail,
platters and fragments before them; like men reposing after appeasing their
hunger, and passing a few minutes in idle talk. Tom, the second hunter and
axe-man, lay asleep, a little apart.

“Here has been even no alarm, thank Got,” said Guert, cheerfully, “and we
are in time to let them know their danger. I will give the call; it will
sound sweetly to their ears!”

“No call,” said Trackless, quickly; “hollow no good, now. Soon get there,
and tell him, in low voice.”

As this was clearly prudent, we pushed forward in a body, taking no pains,
however, to conceal our approach, but making somewhat of a measured tread,
with our footsteps. A strange sensation came over me, as we advanced, and I
found that neither of the surveyors stirred! A suspicion of the dread truth
forced itself on my mind; but I can hardly say that the shock was any the
less, when, on getting near, we saw by the pallid countenances, fixed,
glassy eyes, and fallen jaws, that all our friends were dead. The savage
ingenuity of Indians had propped the bodies in reclining positions, and
thrown them into attitudes that had a horrible resemblance to the species
of indulgence that I have just described.

“Holy Heaven!” exclaimed Guert, dropping the butt of his rifle on the
ground; “we are too late!”

No one else spoke. On removing the caps, it was found that each man had
been scalped, and that all of those, whom we had left a few days before,
proud of their strength and instinct with life, had departed in spirit,
soon to be seen no more. Jumper, the other Indian, alone remained to be
accounted for. Rifle-balls had been at work here, each of the four having
been shot; Mr. Traverse, in no less than three places.

I will confess, that a suspicion of the Oneida crossed my mind, now, for
the first time; and I did not scruple to mention it to my companions, as
soon as either of us had power to speak, or listen.

“No true,” said Trackless, positively. “Jumper poor Injin--that so--love
rum--no rascal, to kill friend. Musohoeenah warrior to do so. Just like
him. No; Jumper fool--love rum--no bad Injin.”

Where, then, was Jumper? He alone, of all whom we had left behind us,
remained to be found. We made a long search for his body, but without any
success. Susquesus examined the trails, and the bodies, and gave it as his
opinion that the surveyor and chain-bearers might have been killed about
three or four hours; and that the murderers, for such, in our eyes, they
who had done the foul deed were to be accounted, had not been away from
the place more than twenty minutes, when we arrived. This might well have
happened, and we not hear the rifles; as the distance from the hut was
several miles; and, two hours before, we must have been not far from
the place where we had passed the night. That the attack occurred after
daylight, was reasonably certain; and, as Pete was surely seized while
alive, some intelligence might have been obtained from him, that directed
the savages to the point where the outlying party would probably be
expecting him. Nevertheless, this, was pretty much conjecture, and we never
knew which victim fell first, or whether the negro was taken at all, near
the spot where he was gibbeted. The infernal cruelty of his conquerors may
have kept him as a prisoner, for some time before the final catastrophe,
and caused them to carry him about with them as a captive, in order to
subject the wretch to as much misery as possible, for, as Susquesus said,
Muss’ ‘back very sore.’

We buried poor Traverse, and his chain-bearers, near the spring, using one
of the same natural hollows in the earth as that in which we had interred
the hunter. On a search, it was ascertained that their arms and ammunition
had been carried off, and that the pockets of the dead men had been rifled.
The American Indian is seldom a thief, in the ordinary sense of the term;
but, he treats the property of those whom he slays as his own. In this
particular, he does not differ materially from the civilized soldier, I
believe, plunder being usually considered as a legitimate benefit of war.
The Hurons had laid their hands on the compass and chains, for we could
discover neither; but they had left the field-book and notes of Traverse,
as things that, to them, were useless. In other respects, the visit of the
savages to this fatal spot left the appearance of having been hurried.

On this occasion, Guert made no attempts at morals, or eloquence. The shock
had disqualified us all for anything of the sort, and we discharged our
duties with the earnest diligence, and grave thoughtfulness, of men who did
not know but the next moment might bring themselves into the midst of a
scene of deadly strife. We worked hard, and a little hastily, and were soon
ready to depart. It was determined, on a hurried consultation, to follow
the trail of the Hurons, as the most certain method of surprising them, on
the one hand, and of preventing them from surprising us, on the other. The
Indian would have no difficulty in pursuing the very obvious trail that was
left, and which bore all the proofs of having been left by a dozen men.

The reader, who is unacquainted with the usages of the American savage,
is not to suppose that this party had moved through the forest, in a
disorderly group, regardless of the nature of the vestiges of their passage
left behind them. The native warrior never does that; usually he marches in
a line of single files, which has obtained the name of Indian file with us;
and, whenever there are strong reasons for concealing his numbers, it is
his practice for each succeeding man to follow, as nearly as possible,
in the footsteps of the warrior who precedes him; thereby rendering a
computation difficult, if not impossible. In this manner our foes had
evidently marched; but Susquesus, who had been busy examining the marks
around the spring, the whole time we were occupied in burying the dead,
gave it as his opinion that our enemies could not number less than a dozen
warriors. This was not very pleasing intelligence, since it would render
success in a conflict next to hopeless. So, at least, I viewed the matter,
though Guert saw things differently. This highly intrepid man could not
find it in his heart to abandon the idea of driving foes so ruthless out of
the country; and, I do believe, he would have faced a hundred savages at
once when we quitted the spring.

The Onondago had no difficulty in following the trail, which led us, at
first, for some distance in a line towards Ravensnest, then made a sudden
inclination in the direction of the hut. It was probably owing to this
circuit, and want of settled purpose in the Hurons, that we did not
encounter them on our advance towards the “bloody spring,” as the spot
where Traverse was slain has been subsequently called.

It was not long ere we found ourselves quite near our own trail, though,
perhaps fortunately for us, we did not actually strike it. Had our movement
been discovered, doubtless the enemy would have got into our rear, a
position in which Indians are always most formidable. As it was, however,
we possessed that great advantage ourselves, and pursued our way with so
much the greater confidence, knowing full well that danger was only to be
apprehended in our front, the quarter on which all our eyes were fixed.

Although our return-march was swift, it was silent as that of a train of
mourners. Mourners we were, indeed, for it was not possible for human
hearts to be so obdurate as to feel insensible to the amount of misery that
our late companions must have suffered, and to the suddenness of their
fates. No one spoke, and Susquesus had never found us so close on his heels
as we kept ourselves all that morning. The foot of the file-leader was
scarcely out of its place, ere that of his successor covered the same spot!

The trail led us quite close to the hut, which we reached as near as might
be to noon. On approaching the cabin, we used the utmost caution lest our
enemies might then be in it, in ambush. The trail did not extend quite to
the building, however, but diverged in a westerly direction, from a point
that may have been a hundred yards distant from our habitation, though in
full view of it. Here we found the signs of a gathering of the party into
a cluster, and we inferred that a counsel had been held on the subject
of once more going to the hut, or of turning aside to pursue some other
object. Susquesus made a close examination at this spot, and gave it as his
opinion, again, that the hostiles must, at least, number the dozen he had
already mentioned. Leaving us to watch the signs about our dwelling, from
covers we took for that purpose, he followed the trail for half a mile, in
order to make certain it did not approach the log-house on its opposite
side. So far from this proving to be the case, however, he ascertained that
it led off in a straight line towards Ravensnest. This was, if anything,
more unpleasant news to Guert and myself, than if the Onondago had brought
back a confirmation of his first suspicion that the Hurons might be waiting
for us, in our own temporary house. Complaints were useless, however, and
we smothered our apprehensions as well as we could.

Susquesus was not a warrior to confide entirely in the signs of an open
march. Experienced woodsmen frequently left their trails visible expressly
to deceive; and the Onondago, who personally knew Muss, as Jaap called his
prisoner, was fully aware that he had to deal with a profoundly artful foe.
Not satisfied with even what he had seen, he cautioned us about quitting
the cover, except under his guidance, and then commenced a mode of approach
that was purely Indian, and which, in its way, had much of the merit of the
approaches of more civilized besiegers, by means of their entrenchments
and zig-zags. Our advance was regulated in this way. Each man was told to
select the nearest tree that led him towards the hut, and to pass from the
old to the new cover, in as rapid and sudden a manner as his agility would
allow. By observing this precaution, and by using great activity, we had
got within twenty yards of the door of the cabin, in the course of ten
minutes. Guert could not submit to this slow, and, as he called it, unmanly
procedure any longer; but quitting his cover, he now walked straight and
steadily to the door of the cabin, threw it open, and announced to us that
the place was empty. Susquesus made another close examination around the
building, and told us he felt quite certain that the spot had not been
visited since we had left it that morning. That was grateful intelligence
to us all, since it was the only probable clue by which our enemies could
have learned our return to the Patent at all.

The question now arose as to future proceedings. Nothing was to be gained
by remaining on the property, while prudence, and the danger of our
friends, united to call us away. We felt it would be a most hazardous thing
to attempt reaching Ravensnest; though we felt it was a hazard we were
bound to incur. While the matter was talked over, those among us who had
any appetite, profited by the halt, to dine. An Indian on a war-path, is
equally ready to eat, or to fast; his powers of endurance, both ways, more
especially when the food is game, amounting to something wonderful.

While Susquesus, and Jaap, in particular, were performing their parts in a
very serious manner, in this way, and the rest of us were picking up a
few morsels, more like men whose moral feelings cheeked their physical
propensities, I caught a distant glimpse of a man’s form, as it glided
among the trees, at some distance from us. Surprise and awe were so strong
in me, that I did not speak, but pointed with a finger eagerly in the
necessary direction, in order to let the Onondago see the same object too.
Susquesus was not slow in detecting the stranger, however; for I think
he must have seen him, even before he was descried by myself. Instead of
manifesting any emotion, however, the Onondago did not even cease to eat;
but merely nodded his head, and muttered, “Good--now hear news--Jumper
come.”

Sure enough, it was Jumper; and his appearance in the flesh, not only
alive, but unharmed, produced a general shout among us as he came in, on
such a long, loping gait, as usually marked a runner’s movement. In a
moment he was among us, calm, collected, and without motion. He gave no
salutation, but seated himself quietly on a log, waiting to be questioned,
before he spoke; impatience being a womanly weakness.

“Jumper, my honest fellow,” cried Guert, not without emotion, for joy was
struggling powerfully with his organs of speech, “you are heartily welcome!
These devils incarnate, the Hurons, have not injured _you_, at least!”

Liquor had rendered Jumper’s faculties somewhat obtuse, in general, though
he was now perfectly sober. He gave a sort of dull look of recognition at
the speaker, and muttered his answer in a low, sluggish tone:

“Plenty Huron,” he said; “clearin’ full. Pale-face in fort send Jumper with
message.”

We should have overwhelmed the fellow with questions, had he not unfolded
a corner of his calico shirt, and exhibited several letters, each of which
was soon in the hand of the individual to whom it was addressed. Guert,
Dirck, and myself, severally got his communication; while there was a
fourth, in the handwriting of Herman Mordaunt, that bore the superscription
of poor Traverse’s name. Subsequent events have placed it in my power to
give copies of all the letters, thus received. My own was in the following
words:

    “My dearest father is so much occupied, as to desire _me_ to write
    you this note. Mr. Bulstrode sent an express, yesterday, who was
    bearer of the sad tidings from Ticonderoga. He also announced his
    own approach; and we expect him, in a horse-litter, this evening.
    Reports are flying about the settlement, that savages have been seen
    in our own woods. I endeavour to hope that this is only one of those
    idle rumours, of which we have had so many, lately. My father
    however, is taking all necessary precautions, and he desires _me_ to
    urge on _you_ the necessity of collecting all your party, should you
    be again at Mooseridge, and of joining us _without delay_. We have
    heard of your safety, and gallant conduct, through the man sent
    forward by Mr. Bulstrode; his master having heard of you all, safe
    in a canoe on the lake, the night after the battle, through a Mr.
    Lee; a gentleman of great eccentricity of character, though, it is
    said, of much talent, with whom papa happens to be acquainted. I
    trust this note will find you at your hut, and that we shall see you
    all, with the least possible delay.

    “ANNEKE.”

This, certainly, was not a note to appease the longings of a lover; though
I had infinite gratification in seeing the pretty characters that had been
traced by Anne Mordaunt’s hand, and of kissing the page over which that
hand must have passed. But, there was a postscript, the part of a letter
in which a woman is said always to give the clearest insight into her true
thoughts. It was in these words, viz.:--

“I see that I have underscored the ‘me,’ where I speak of papa’s desire
that _I_ should write to you, in preference to another. We have gone
through one dreadful scene, in company, and, I confess, Corny, I should
feel far happier, if another is to occur, that _you_ and _yours_, should
be with us, here, behind the defences of this house, than exposed, as you
otherwise might be, in the forest. Come to us, then, I repeat, with the
least possible delay.”

This postscript afforded me far more satisfaction than the body of the
note; and I was quite as ready to comply with Anneke’s request, as the dear
girl, herself, could be to urge it. Guert’s letter was as follows:--

    “Mr. Mordaunt has commanded Anneke and myself to write to those of
    your party, with whom he fancies each has the most influence, to
    urge you to come to Ravensnest, as speedily as possible. We have
    received most melancholy news; and a panic prevails among the poor
    people of this settlement. We learn that Mr. Bulstrode, accompanied
    by Mr. Worden, is within a few hours’ journey of us, and the
    families of the vicinity are coming to us, frightened and weeping. I
    do not know that I feel much alarmed, myself; my great dependence is
    on a merciful Providence; but, the dread Being on whom I rely, works
    through human agents; and, I know of none in whom I can place more
    confidence, than on Guert Ten Eyck.

    “MARY WALLACE.”


“By St. Nicholas! Corny, these are such summonses as a man never hesitates
about obeying,” cried Guert, rising, and beginning to replace his knapsack.
“By using great diligence, we may reach the Nest, yet, before the family
goes to bed, and make not only them, but ourselves, so much the more
comfortable and secure.”

Guert had a willing auditor, in me; nor was Dirck at all backward about
complying. The letters certainly much quickened our impulses; though, in
fact, there remained nothing else to do; unless, indeed, we intended to lie
out, exposed to all the risks of a vindictive and savage warfare. Dirck’s’
letter was from Herman Mordaunt; and it told the truth in plainer language
than it had been related by either of the ladies. Here it is.

    “Dear Dirck,--The savages are certainly approaching us, my young
    kinsman; and it is for the good of us all to unite our forces. Come
    in, for God’s sake, with your whole party, as speedily as possible.
    I have had scouts out, and they have all come in with reports that
    the signs of trails, in the forest, abound. I expect, at least a
    hundred warriors will be upon us, by to-morrow, and am making my
    preparations accordingly. In approaching the Nest, I would advise
    you to enter the ravine north of the house, and to keep within its
    cover until you get to its southern termination. This will bring you
    within a hundred rods of the gate, and greatly increase your chances
    of entering, should we happen to be invested when you get here. God
    bless you, dear Dirck, and guide you all safely to your friends.

    “HERMAN MORDAUNT.

    “Ravensnest, July 11th, 1758.”

Guert and I read this letter hastily, before we commenced our march. Then,
abandoning the hut, and all it contained, to the mercy of any who might
pass that way, we set off for our point of destination, on a quick step,
carrying little besides our arms, ammunition, and the food that was
necessary to assure our strength.

As before, Trackless led, keeping the Jumper a little on his flank; the
danger of encountering foes being now considered to be greatly increased.
It was true, we were still in the rear of the party that had committed
the deeds at Mooseridge; but the Onondago no longer followed its trail;
pursuing a different course, or one that led directly to his object.



CHAPTER XXVII.

  “My father had a daughter lov’d a man,
  As it might be perhaps, were I a woman,
  I should your lordship.”

  _Viola_.


As the reader must, by this time, have a pretty accurate idea of our manner
of marching in the wilderness, I shall not dwell on this part of our
proceedings any longer. On we went, and at a rapid rate, the guide having
abandoned the common route, which had got to be a pretty visible trail, and
taking another on which, as it appeared to me, he had no other clue than an
instinct. Guert had told Susquesus of the ravine, and how desirable it
was to reach it, getting for an answer a quiet nod of the head, and a low
ejaculation. It was understood, however, that we were to approach Herman
Mordaunt’s fortress, by that avenue.

It was past the turn of the day when we quitted Mooseridge, and none of us
hoped to reach Ravensnest before dark. It fell out, as we expected, night
drawing its veil over the scene, about half an hour before the Trackless
plunged into the northern, or forest-end of the ravine. Thus far, we had
got no evidence whatever of the proximity of foes. Our march had been
silent, rapid, and watchful, but it proved to be perfectly undisturbed. We
knew, however, that the critical portion of it was still before us; and
just as the sun set, we had made a halt, in order to look to our arms. It
may now be well to say a word or two on the subject of the position of
Herman Mordaunt’s ‘garrison,’ as well as of the adjacent settlement. I call
Ravensnest the ‘garrison,’ for that is the word which New York custom has
long applied to the fortress itself, as well as those who defend it. Some
critics pretend there is authority to justify the practice, and I see by
the dictionaries that they are not entirely in the wrong.

The Nest stood quite half a mile from the nearest point of the forest, a
belt of trees that fringed the margin, and which filled the cavity of
the ravine, excepted. Near it, and in plain sight, was the heart of the
settlement itself, which extended, in an east and west direction, fully
four miles. This area, however, was cleared only in a settlement fashion;
having patches of virgin forest scattered pretty profusely over its
surface. The mill-lot, as Jason’s purchase was termed, lay at the most
distant extremity of the view, but, as yet, the axe had not been applied
to it. I had remarked in my last visit to the place, that, standing before
Herman Mordaunt’s door, something like a dozen log cabins were to be seen
at a time in different parts of the settlement, and that this number might
have been increased to twenty, by varying the observer’s position.

Of course, the whole of the open space was more or less disfigured by
stumps, dead and girdled trees, charred stubs, log-heaps, brush, and all
the other unseemly accompaniments of the first eight or ten years of the
existence of a new settlement. This period, in the history of a country,
may be likened to the hobbledehoy condition in ourselves, when we have lost
the graces of childhood, without having attained the finished forms of men.

Herman Mordaunt’s settlement would have been thought a strong country, in
one sense, for a field fight, had there been men enough to contend with a
hostile party of any force. But, I had heard him say that he had but about
seventeen rifles and muskets that could be in the least relied on, inasmuch
as some of his people were Europeans, and had no knowledge of fire-arms,
while experience had shown that others, on the occurrence of an alarm,
invariably fled to the woods, with their families, instead of rallying
around the settlement colours. Such delinquencies usually take place, I
believe, on all emergencies; love of life being even a stronger instinct
than love of property. Here and there a sturdy fellow, however, would bar
himself in, with a determination to go for the whole, under his own bark
roof; and, occasionally, defences were made that would do credit to a hero.

It should be apparent to those who have any accurate notion of savage
warfare, that the ravine, being, as it was, the only wooded spot near
Herman Mordaunt’s fortress, would be the place of all others most likely to
contain an enemy who made his approaches against a garrison, by means of
natural facilities alone. We were aware of this; and Guert, who took an
active command among us, as we drew near to danger, issued his commands for
every man to be on the alert, in order that there might be no confusion.
We were instructed as to the manner of proceeding the moment an alarm was
given; and Guert, who was a capital mimic, had previously taught us several
calls and rallying signals, all of which were good imitations of the cries
of different tenants of the woods, principally birds. These signals had
their origin with the red-man, who often resorted to them, and were said to
be more successfully practised by our own hunters and riflemen than even by
those with whom they originated.

On entering the ravine, the order of our march was changed. While Susquesus
and Jumper were still kept in advance, Guert, Dirck, Jaap and myself moved
abreast, and quite close together. The density of the foliage, and the deep
obscurity that prevailed in the bottom of this dell-like hollow, rendered
this precaution necessary. It soon became so dark, indeed, that our only
guide was the brook that gurgled along the bottom of the ravine, and which
we knew issued into the open ground at its termination, to join a small
river that meandered through some natural meadows to the westward of the
Nest, but which, in the language of the country, was called a ‘creek.’ This
abuse of good old English words, I am sorry to say, is getting to be only
too common among us; yet, I have heard Americans boast that we speak the
language better than the mother country! That we have no class among us
that uses an unintelligible dialect, like that of Lancashire or Yorkshire,
is true enough; and, that we have fewer persons who use decided vulgarisms,
in the way of false grammar, than is the case in England, may be also
accurate; but, it might be well for us to correct a great many faults into
which we have certainly fallen, before we declaim with so much confidence
about the purity of our English. [37] To return to the ravine.

We had gone so far in the hollow, dark dell, as to have reached a point
where the faint light of the open ground and the stars in the firmament
became visible to us, when we suddenly found ourselves alongside of the
Trackless and Jumper. These Indians had halted; for their quick, jealous,
eagle-like glances had detected the signs of enemies. Nor was this
discovery very difficult to make, though some pains had actually been taken
to conceal what was going on in our front. A party of some forty savages,
every man of whom was in his war-paint, had lighted a fire beneath a
shelving rock, and were gathered around it at supper. The fire had already
done its duty, and was now merely smouldering, throwing a faint, flickering
light on the dark, fierce features of the group that was clustered round.
We might have approached the spot in any other direction, without seeing
the danger in time to avoid it; but a kind Providence had carried the two
Indians directly to a point where the dying embers immediately caught their
attention, and where they halted as has been said. I do not think we were
more than forty yards from this fearful band of savages, when they first
met my eye; and, hardened as I had certainly somewhat become, by the
service and scenes I had so lately gone through, I will confess that my
blood was a little chilled at the sight.

Our conference was in whispers. There we stood, huddled together beneath
a huge oak, the shade of which rendered the darkness that formed our only
safeguard, so much the more intense. So close were we, in fact, that even
Jaap’s body was in absolute contact with my own. Susquesus proposed making
a _détour_, by crossing the brook, which, fortunately, tumbled down some
rocks at this point, making a very favourable noise, and thus pass our
enemies, who would not probably end their meal until we had time to reach
the ‘garrison.’ To this Guert applied his veto. He was of opinion, and I
have always thought it was the decision of a man born to be a soldier, that
we were exactly in the position we might desire to occupy, in order to be
of great service to the family, and to strike the enemy with a panic. By
attacking, we should certainly surprise the party in our front, and might
make such an impression as would induce them to abandon the settlement.
Both Dirck and myself coincided in this opinion, which even received the
support of Jaap’s voice.

“Yes, sah!--yes, Masser Corny, now ‘e time to wengeance poor Pete!” he
muttered, and that rather louder than was thought quite prudent.

As soon as the Trackless found how things were going, he and Jumper
prepared for the conflict, as coolly as any of us. Our arrangements were
very simple, and were soon made. We were to deliver a single fire from the
spot where we stood, shout, and charge with the knife and tomahawk. No time
was to be wasted, however; and, instead of remaining near the light, small
as it was, we were to push for the mouth of the ravine, and thence make the
best of our way, singly or in company, as chance should offer, to the gate
of Ravensnest. In a moment we were in open files, and had our orders.

“Remember Traverse!” said Guert, sternly--“remember poor Sam, and all our
murteret frients!”

The reader knows that Guert was apt to be very Dutch, when much excited.
We _did_ remember the dead; and I have often thought, but never knew
precisely, that each of us sacrificed a victim to the manes of our lost
companions, on that stern occasion. Our rifles rang, or cracked would be
the better word, almost simultaneously; a yell arose from the savages
around the fire; our own shouts mingled with that yell, and forward we
went, endeavouring to make our numbers appear as if we were a hundred.

One retains but very indistinct notions of a charge like that, made as it
was, in the dark, beyond its general characteristics. We swept directly
among the slain and wounded, and I heard Jaap dealing one or two awful
blows on the bodies; but no one opposed us. A moment after we had passed
the smouldering fire, three or four shot were discharged at us, but there
was no sign of their telling on any of our party. The distance from the
fire to the mouth of the ravine, might have been a hundred yards; and the
external light, or lesser darkness may be a better expression, served us
for a guide. Thither we pushed, fast as we could, though by no means in
compact order.

For this part of the affair, I can only speak for myself. I saw men moving
swiftly among the trees, and I supposed them to be my companions; but we
had become separated, it being understood that each man was now to shift
for himself. As our rifles were discharged, and there was no time to reload
them, there was little use, indeed, in any halt. Perceiving this, I did not
issue from the ravine at the brook, but clinging more to its side, left it
at a little height above the level of the adjacent plain. Here I paused to
load, the cover being good, and the position every way favourable. While
thus employed, I found time to look around me, and to ascertain the
situation of things in the settlement, so far as the hour and the obscurity
would permit.

The plain was glimmering with the remains of a dozen large fires, the ruins
of so many log-houses and barns. Their light amounted to no more than to
render the darkness of the night distinctly visible, and to afford some
small clues to the extent of the ravages that had been already committed.
The house of Ravensnest, however, was untouched. There it stood, looking
dark and gloomy; for, having no external windows, no other light was to
be seen than a single candle, that was probably placed in a loophole as a
signal. Profound stillness reigned in and around the building, producing
a species of mystery that was, in itself, under such circumstances, an
element of force. There was not light enough to distinguish objects at any
distance, and, having reloaded my rifle, I thought it wisest to make the
best of my way to the gate. At that moment, the stillness in my rear seemed
to possess something affirmatively fearful about it.

It was certainly a somewhat hazardous thing to break cover, at such a
moment, and under such circumstances; but it was absolutely necessary to
incur its risks. My first leap carried me half-way down the declivity, and
I was soon on the level land. In my front were two men, one of whom seemed
to me to be in the grasp of the other. As they were moving, though slowly,
in the direction of the house, I ventured to ask ‘Who goes there?’

“Oh, Corny, my lad, is that you?” answered Guert. “Got be praised! you seem
unhurt, and are just in time to help me along with this Huron, on whom I
blundered in the dark, and have disarmed and captured. Give him a kick or a
push, if you please; for the fellow holds back like a hog.”

I had too much knowledge of Indian vindictiveness, however, to adopt the
means recommended; but seizing the captive by one arm, while Guert held
the other, we ran him up to the _abbatis_ that covered the gate of the
“garrison,” with very little difficulty. Here we found Herman Mordaunt
and a dozen of his people, all armed, ready to receive Us. They were in
expectation of our appearance, both on account of the hour, and on account
of the clamour in the ravine, which had been distinctly heard at the house.
In less than a minute everybody was in, safe and unharmed. The fact was,
that our attack had been so sudden as to sweep everything before it, and
the enemy had not time to recover from his panic, before we were all snugly
housed. Once within the gate of Ravensnest we ran no risks, beyond those
which were common to all such log fortresses in the warfare of the
wilderness.

It would not be easy for a pen as unskilful as mine, to portray the change,
from the gloom of the ravine, the short but bloody assault, the shouts,
the rush, and the retreat, of the outer world, to the scene of domestic
security we found within the Nest, embellished, as was the last, by woman’s
loveliness and graces, and, in many respects, by woman’s elegance. Anneke
and her friend received us in a bright, cheerful, comfortable apartment,
that was rendered so much the more attractive by their tears and their
smiles, neither of which were spared. I could see that both had been
dreadfully agitated; but joy restored their colour, and brought back the
smiles to their sweet faces. The situation of the place was such, perhaps,
as to render cheerfulness neither very lasting nor very lively; but the
tenderest female can find her heart suddenly so lightened from its burthen
of apprehensions, as to be able to seem momentarily happy, even when
environed by the horrors of war. Such, in a measure, was the character of
the reception we now received, together with a thousand thanks for having
so promptly answered their letters in person. The dear creatures had
the ingenuity not to seem to ascribe that prompt obedience to their own
requests, which we had manifested, to any care for ourselves, but solely
to a wish to oblige and protect them. The reader will understand that all
explanations still remained to be made, on both sides. These soon came,
however; facts pressing themselves on the attention, at such times, with
a weight that is irresistible. The ice was broken by Herman Mordaunt’s
entering the room, and speaking to us, like one who felt that a great
omission had been made.

“We had closed the gate, and set the look-out at the loops again,” he said,
“before I ascertained that all your party is not here. I see nothing of
Traverse and his chain-bearers, nor of Sam or Tom, your hunters! Surely,
they are not left behind in the forest?”

Neither of us three spoke. Our looks must have told the sad story, for
Herman Mordaunt seemed to understand us on the instant.

“No!” he exclaimed--“Can it be possible? Not _all_, surely!”

“_All_, Mr. Mordaunt, even to my poor slave, Petrus,” answered Guert,
solemnly. “They were set upon, while dispersed, I suppose, and have been
murdered, while we were still absent, on our expedition.”

The dear girls clasped their hands, and I thought Anneke’s pallid lips
moved, as if in prayer. Her father shook his head, and for some time he
paced the room in silence. Then rousing himself, like one conscious of the
necessity of calmness and exertion, he resumed the discourse.

“Thank God, Mr. Bulstrode reached us safely last evening, just after we
despatched the runner; and _he_ is beyond the reach of these demons for the
present!”

After this we were enabled to converse more connectedly, exchanging such
statements as enabled each party to understand the precise condition of the
other. We were then carried to Bulstrode’s room, for he had expressed a
desire to see us, as soon as we could be spared. Our fellow campaigner
received us in good spirits, for one in his situation, speaking of the
events in front of Ticonderoga sensibly, and without any attempt to conceal
the mortification that he felt, in common with the whole British empire.
His hurt was by no means a bad one; likely to cripple him for a few weeks,
but the leg was in no danger.

“I have had the resolution and address, Corny, to work my way into good
quarters, this unexpected siege excepted,” he observed to me, when the
others had withdrawn, leaving us alone. “This rivalry of ours is a generous
one, and may now have fair play. If we quit this Nest of Herman Mordaunt’s
without ascertaining the true state of Anneke’s feelings, we shall deserve
to be condemned to celibacy for the remainder of our days. There never were
two such opportunities for wooing to advantage!”

“I confess our situation does not strike me as being quite as favourable,
Mr. Bulstrode,” I answered. “Anneke must have too many apprehensions on
her own account, and on account of others, to be as sensible to the tender
sentiments of love, as might be the case in the peace and security of
Lilacsbush.”

“Ah! It is very evident you know nothing of the female sex, Corny, by
that remark. I will grant you, that unwooed previously, and without any
foundation laid, if I may express myself so irreverently, your theory might
turn out to be true; but not so under actual circumstances. Here is a young
lady in her nineteenth year, who knows she is not only sought, but has long
been sought, ay warmly, ardently sought, by two reasonably unobjectionable
young men, placed in the very situation to have all her sensibilities
excited, by one or the other, and, depend on it, the matter will be
determined within this blessed week. If I should prove to be the fortunate
man, I hope to be able to manifest a generous sympathy; and, _vice versâ,_
I shall expect the same. Though this sad, sad business before Ty has been a
good preparative for humiliation.”

I could not avoid smiling at Bulstrode’s singular views of our suit; but,
as Anneke was ever with me an engrossing theme, spite of our situation,
which certainly was not particularly appropriate to love, I did not feel
equal to quitting it abruptly. The matter was consequently pursued. As I
asked Bulstrode to explain himself, I got from him the following account of
his theory.

“Why, I reason in this wise, Corny. Anneke loves _one_ of us two, beyond
all question. That she _loves_, I will swear; her blushes, her beaming
eyes, even her beauty is replete with the loveliness of the sentiment. Now,
it is not possible that she should love any other person than one of us
two, for the simple reason that she has no other suitor. I shall be frank
with you, and confess that I think I am the favoured fellow, while, I dare
say, you are just as sanguine and think it is yourself.”

“I give you my honour, Major Bulstrode, so presuming, so improper a thought
has never--”

“Yes, yes--I understand all that. You are not worthy of Anne Mordaunt’s
love, and therefore have never presumed to imagine that she could bestow
it on such a poor, miserable, worthless, good-for-nothing a fellow as
yourself. I have a great deal of the same very proper feeling; but, at the
same time, each of us is quite confident of his own success, or he would
have given up the pursuit long since.”

“I do assure you, Bulstrode, anything but confidence mingles with _my_
feelings on this subject. _You_ may have reasons for your own security, but
I can boast of none.”

“I have no other than self-love, of which every man has a just portion for
his own comfort and peace of mind. I say that hope is indispensable to
love, and hope is allied to confidence. My reasoning on these points is
very simple. And, now for the peculiar advantages we enjoy for bringing
matters to a crisis. In the first place, I am hurt, you will understand;
suffering under an honourable wound, received in open battle, fighting for
king and country. Then, I have been brought fresh from the field, on my
litter, into the presence of my mistress, bearing on my person the evidence
of my risk, and, I hope, of my good conduct. There is not one woman in a
thousand, if she hesitated between us, that would not decide in my favour,
on these grounds alone. You have no notion, Corny, how the hearts of these
sweet, gentle, devoted, generous little American girls melt to sympathy,
and the sufferings of a poor wretch that they know adores them! Make a
nurse of a female, and she is yours, nine times out of ten. This has been
a master-stroke of mine, but I hope you will pardon it. Stratagems are
excusable in love, as in war.”

“I have no difficulty in understanding your policy, Bulstrode; though I
confess to some in understanding your frankness. Such as it is, however, I
trust you feel certain it will not be abused. Now, as to my situation, what
peculiar countervailing advantages do I enjoy?”

“Those of a defender. Oh, _that_ is a battering-ram of itself! This
confounded assault on the settlement, which they tell me is rather serious,
and may keep alive apprehensions for some days yet, is a most unlucky thing
for me, while it is of great advantage to you. A wounded man cannot excite
one-half the interest he otherwise might, when there is a chance that
others may be slain, every minute. Then, the character of a defender is a
great deal; and being a generous rival, as I have always told you, Corny,
my advice is to make the most of it. I conceal nothing, and intend to do
all I can with my wound.”

It was scarcely possible not to laugh at this strangely frank, yet, I fully
believe, strangely sincere communication; for Bulstrode was a humorist,
with all his conventionalism and London notions, and was more addicted to
saying precisely what he thought, than is common with men of his class.
After sitting and chatting with him half an hour longer, on the subject of
the late military operations, of which he spoke with both feeling and good
sense, I took my leave for the night.

“God bless you, Corny,” he said, squeezing my hand, as I left him; “improve
the opportunity in your own way, for I assure you I shall do it in mine. It
is present valour against past valour. If it were not my own case that is
concerned, there is not a man living to whom I should more freely wish
success.”

And I believe Bulstrode did not exceed the truth in his declarations. That
I should succeed with Anneke, he did not think, as was apparent to me by
his general manner, and the consciousness he must have possessed of his
own advantages in the way of rank and fortune, as well as in having Herman
Mordaunt’s good wishes. Oddly enough, in quitting my rival, and under
circumstances so very peculiar, I was accidentally thrown into the presence
of my mistress, and that, too, alone! Anneke was the sole occupant of the
little room in which the girls habitually staid, when I returned to it;
Guert having managed to induce Mary Wallace to walk with him in the
court, the only place the ladies now possessed for exercise; while Herman
Mordaunt, Mr. Worden, and Dirck, were together in the public-room, making
some arrangement with the confused body of the settlers, who had crowded
into the Nest, for the night-watch. I shall not stop to express the delight
I felt at finding Anneke there; nor was it in any degree diminished, as
I met the soft expression of her sweet eyes, and saw the blushes that
suffused her cheek. The conversation I had just held, doubtless, had its
effect; for I determined, at once, that so favourable an occasion for
pressing my suit should not be lost. I was goaded on, if the truth must be
told, by apprehension of Bulstrode’s wound.

What I said precisely, in the commencement of that interview, is more than
I could record, did I think it would redound to my advantage, as I fear
it would not; but I made myself understood, which is more, I fancy, than
happens to all lovers in such scenes. At first I was confused and a little
incoherent, I suspect; but feeling so far got the better of these defects,
as to enable me to utter what I wished to express. Towards the end, if I
spoke in the least as warmly and distinctly as I felt, there must have been
some slight touch of eloquence about my manner and language. This being the
first occasion, too, on which I had ever had an opportunity of urging my
suit very directly, there was so much to be said, so many things to be
explained, and so many seemingly slighted occasions to account for, that
Anneke had little else to do, for the first ten minutes, but to listen. I
have always ascribed the self-possession which my companion was enabled to
command during the remainder of this interview, to the time that was thus
accorded her to rally her thoughts.

Dear, precious Anneke! How admirably did she behave that memorable night!
It was certainly an extraordinary situation in which to speak of love; yet,
I much question if the feelings be not more likely to be true and natural
at such times, than when circumstances admit of more of the expedients of
every-day life. I could see that my sweet listener was touched, from the
moment I commenced, and that her countenance betrayed a tender interest
in what I said. Presuming on this, or encouraged by her blushes and her
downcast eyes, I ventured to take a hand, and perceived I was not repulsed.
Then it was that I found words, that actually brought tears to my
companion’s eyes, and Anneke was enabled to answer me.

“This is so unusual--so extraordinary a time to speak of such things,
Corny,” she said, “that I hardly know what ought to be my reply. Of one
thing, however, I feel certain; persons surrounded as we are by dangers
that may, at any instant, involve our destruction, have an unusual demand
on them for sincerity. Affectation, I hope, I am never much addicted to,
and prudery I know _you_ would condemn. I have a feeling uppermost, at this
instant, that I wish to express, yet scarce know how--”

“Do not suppress it, beloved Anneke; be as generous as I am certain you are
sincere.”

“Corny, it is this. I know we are in danger--very great danger of being
overcome; captured, perhaps slain, by the ruthless beings who are prowling
around our dwelling, and that no one in this house can count on a single
day of existence even with the ordinary vain security of man. Now, should
anything befall _you_, after this, and I survive you, I should survive
for the remainder of my days to mourn your loss, and to feel the keenest
regrets that I had hesitated to own how much interest I have long felt in
you, and how happy I have been with the consciousness of the preference
that you so frankly and honestly avowed in my favour, months ago.”

As the tears, as well as blushes of Anneke, accompanied these admissions,
it was not possible for me to doubt what I heard. From that moment, a world
of confidence, and a flow of pure, sweet, strong, natural feeling, bound us
more and more closely together. Guert was in a happy mood to detain Mary
Wallace, and business greatly befriended me, as respected the others. More
than an hour had I Anne Mordaunt all to myself; and when the heart is open,
how much can be uttered and understood, on such a subject as love, in an
hour of unreserved confidence, and of strong feeling! Anneke admitted to
me, before we separated, that she had often thought of the chivalrous boy,
who had volunteered to do battle in her behalf, when she was little more
than a child herself, and thought of him as a generous-minded girl would be
apt to think of a lad, under the circumstances. This very early preference
had been much quickened and increased by the affair of the lion, and our
subsequent intercourse. Bulstrode, that formidable, encouraged rival,
encouraged by her father if not by herself, had never interested her in the
least, beyond the feeling natural to the affinity of blood; and I might
have spared myself many hours of anxious concern, on his account, could I
only have seen what was now so unreservedly told to me. Poor Bulstrode!
a feeling of commiseration came over me, as I listened to my companion’s
assurances that he had never in the least touched her heart, while, at
the same time, blushing very red, she confessed my own power over it. An
expression to this effect even escaped her aloud--

“Have no concern on Mr. Bulstrode’s account, Corny,” Anneke answered,
smiling archly, like one who had well weighed the pros and cons of the
whole subject, in her own mind; “he may be a little mortified, but his
fancy will soon be forgotten in rejoicing that he had not yielded to a
passing inclination, and connected himself with a young, inexperienced
American girl, who is hardly suited to move in the circles in which his
wife must live--I do believe Mr. Bulstrode prefers me, just now, to any
other female he may tappen to know; but his attachment, if it deserve the
name, has not the heart in it, dear Corny, that I know is to be found in
your’s. We women are said to be quick in discovering when we are really
loved, and I confess that my own little experience inclines me to believe
that the remark does us no more than justice.”

I then spoke of Guert, and expressed a hope that his sincere, obvious,
manly devotion, might finally touch her heart, and that my new friend,
towards whom, however, I began already to feel as towards an old friend,
might finally meet with a return for a passion that I was persuaded was as
deep and as sincere as my own; a comparison that I felt was as strong as
any I could make in Guert’s behalf.

“On this subject, you are not to expect me to say much, Corny,” answered
Anneke, smiling. “Every woman is the mistress of her own secrets on such a
subject; and, did I know fully Mary Wallace’s mind or wishes in reference
to Mr. Ten Eyck, as I do not profess to know either, I should not feel at
liberty to betray her, even to you. I have no longer any secret of my own,
as respects Corny Littlepage, but must not be expected to be as weak in
betraying my whole sex, as I have been in betraying myself!”

I was obliged to be satisfied with this sweet admission and with the
knowledge that I had been long loved. When Anneke left me, which, at
the expiration of more than an hour, she insisted on doing, under the
consciousness of all that had passed between us, I had a good deal of
difficulty in believing that I was not dreaming. This _ecclaircissement_
was so sudden, so totally unexpected I fancy to us both, that well might it
so seem to either; yet, I fancy we did not part without a deep
conviction that both were happier than when we met. I solemnly declare,
notwithstanding, that I felt sorrow, almost regret, on behalf of Bulstrode.
The poor fellow had been so evidently confident of success, only an hour or
two before, that I could not have acquainted him with my own success, had
he been up, and able to prefer his own suit; in his actual situation, such
a procedure would have appeared brutal.

As for Guert Ten Eyck, he rejoined me sadder and more despairing than ever.

“It struck me, Corny, that if Mary Wallace had the smallest inclination in
my behalf, she would manifest it at a moment when we may all be said to be
hanging between life and deaf. I have often heard it said that the woman
who would trifle with a young fellow at a ball, or on a sleigh-ride, and
use him like a dog, while every one was laughing and making merry, would
come round like one of the weather-cocks on our Dutch barns, at a shift of
the wind, the instant that distress or unhappiness alighted on her suitor.
In other worts, that the very girl who would be capricious and uncertain,
in happiness and prosperity, would suddenly become tender and truthful, as
soon as sorrow touched the man who wished to have her. On the strength of
this, then, I thought I would urge Mary, to the best of my poor abilities,
and you know they are no great matter, Corny, to give me only a glimmering
of hope; but without success. Not a syllable more could I get out of her
than that the time was unseasonable to talk of such things; and I do think
I should be ready to go and meet these Huron devils, hand to hand, were it
not for the fact that the very girl who thus remonstrated, staid with me
quite two hours, listening to what I had to say, though I spoke of nothing
else. There was a crumb of comfort in that, lad, or I do not understand
human nature.”

There was, truly. Still, I could not but compare Anne Mordaunt’s generous
confessions, under the influence of the same facts, and fancy that the
prospects of the simple-minded, warm-hearted, manly young Albanian, were
far less flattering than my own.

[Footnote 37: It is _northern_ American, to call a small ‘lake’ a ‘pond,’ a
small ‘river’ a ‘creek,’ even though it should be an ‘outlet,’ instead of
an ‘inlet,’ &c. &c. It is a more difficult thing than is commonly supposed,
to make two great nations, each of which is disposed to innovate, speak the
same language with precise uniformity. The Manhattanese, who have probably
fewer of the peculiarities of the inhabitants of a capital than the
population of any other town in the world of four hundred thousand
souls, the consequences of a rapid growth, and of a people who have
come principally from the country are much addicted to introducing new
significations for words, which arise from their own provincial habits. In
Manhattanese parlance, for instance, a ‘square’ is a ‘park,’ or, even a
‘garden’ is a ‘park.’ A promenade, on the water, is a ‘battery!’ It is a
pity that, in this humour for change, they have not thought of altering the
complex and imitative mine of their town.--EDITOR.]



CHAPTER XXVIII.

  “Between two worlds life hovers like a star,
  ‘Twixt night and morn, upon the horizon’s verge:
  How little do we know that which we are!
  How less what we may be! The eternal surge
  Of time and tide rolls on, and bears afar
  Our bubbles: as the old burst, new emerge,
  Lashed from the foam of ages; while the graves
  Of empires heave but like some passing wave.”

  BYRON.


It was now announced by Herman Mordaunt in person, that the watch was set
for the night, and that each man might seek his rest. The crowded state of
the Nest was such, as to render it no easy matter to find a place in which
to sleep, straw being our only beds. At length we found our pallets, such
as they were; and, spite of all that had passed that evening, truth compels
me to admit that I was soon in a profound sleep. There was no exception to
this rule among the Mooseridge party, I believe, fatigue proving to to be
more powerful, than either successful love, unsuccessful love, or personal
apprehension.

It was about three o’clock, when I felt a significant pressure of the arm,
such as one gives when he especially wishes to attract attention. It was
Jason Newcome, employed in awakening the men of the house, without giving
such an alarm as might reach the ears without. In a few minutes everybody
was up and armed.

As the morning, just before the appearance of light, when sleep is
heaviest, is the hour when savages usually attack, no one was surprised at
these preparations, which were understood to be ordered by Herman Mordaunt,
who was a-foot, and on the look-out himself, at a place favourable to
observation. In the mean time, we men, three or four-and-twenty in all,
assembled in the court, in waiting for a summons to the gate, or the loop.
Jason had executed his trust so dexterously, that neither female nor child
knew anything of our movement; all sleeping, or seeming to sleep in
the security of a peaceful home. I took an occasion to compliment the
ex-pedagogue and new miller, on the skill he had shown; and we fell into a
low discourse, in consequence.

“I have been thinking that this warfare may put a new face on these
settlements, Corny,” continued Jason, after we had conversed some little
time, “more especially as to the titles.”

“I cannot see how they are to be affected, Mr. Newcome, unless the French
should happen to conquer the colony, a thing not very likely to happen.”

“That’s just it; exactly what I mean, as to principle. Have not these
Hurons conquered this particular settlement? I say they have. They are in
possession of the whull of it, this house excepted; and it appears to me
that if we ever get re-possession, it will be by another conquest. Now,
what I want to know is this--does not conquest give the conquerors a right
to the conquered territory? I have no books here, yet; but I’m dreadful
forgetful, or I _have_ read that such is the law.”

I may say that this was the first direct demonstration that Jason ever made
on the property of Herman Mordaunt. Since that time he has made many more,
some of which I, or he who may be called on to continue this narrative,
will probably relate; but I wish to record, here, this as the first in a
long series of attempts which Jason Newcome has practised, in order to
transfer the fee-simple of the mill-lot at Ravensnest, from the ownership
of those in whom it is vested by law, to that of his own humble, but
meritorious person.

I had little time to answer this very singular sort of reasoning; for,
just then, Herman Mordaunt appeared among us, and gave us serious duty to
perform. The explanations with which his orders were preceded, were these.
As had been anticipated, the Indians had adopted the only means that could
prove effective against such a fortress as the Nest without the aid of
artillery. They were making their preparations to set the building on fire,
and had been busy all night in collecting a large amount of pine-knots,
roots, &c., which they had succeeded in piling against the outer logs, at
the point where one wing touched the cliff, and where the formation of the
ground enabled them to approach the building without incurring much risk.
Their mode of proceeding is worthy of being related. One of the boldest and
most skilful of their number had crept to the spot, and posted himself so
close to the logs as to be safe from observation, as well as reasonably
safe from shot. His associates had then extended to him one end of a long
pole, they standing below, some on a shelf of the cliff, and the rest on
the ground; all being safe from harm so long as they kept close to their
respective covers. Thus disposed, these children of the forest passed hours
in patient toil, in forwarding by means of a basket, the knots, and ‘other
combustibles, up to the warrior, who kept his position close under the
building, and who piled them in the way most favourable to his object.

Susquesus had the merit of discovering the projected attempt, the
arrangements for which had completely escaped the vigilance of the
sentinels. It would seem that the Onondago, aware of the artifices of the
red-man, and acquainted in particular with the personal character of Jaap’s
friend. Muss, did not believe the night would go by without some serious
attempt on the house. The side of the cliff was much the weakest point of
the fortress, having no other protection than the natural obstacles of the
rocks, which were not inaccessible, though somewhat difficult of ascent,
and the low picketing, already mentioned. Under such circumstances, the
Indian felt certain the assault would be made on that side. Placing himself
on watch, therefore, he discovered the first attempts of the Hurons, but
did not let them be known to Herman Mordaunt, until they were nearly
completed; his reason for the delay being the impatience of the pale-faces,
which would not have suffered the enemy to accomplish his object, so far as
preparations were concerned; the thing of all others he himself thought
to be the most desirable. By allowing the Hurons to waste their time and
strength in making arrangements for an assault that was foreseen, and which
might be met and defeated, a great advantage was obtained; whereas, by
driving them prematurely from an artifice they were known to be engaged in,
they would have recourse to another, and the difficulty of discovery would
be added to our other disadvantages. So Susquesus reasoned, as was said at
the time; and it is certain that so he acted.

But, the time had come to meet these covert preparations Herman Mordaunt
now held a consultation, on the subject of our proceedings. The question
submitted was, whether we ought to let the Hurons go any further; whether
we should shoot the adventurous savage who was known still to be posted
under the logs of the house, and scatter his pile of knots, by a sortie;
or, whether it were wiser to let the enemy proceed to the extremity of
actually lighting his fire, before we unmasked. Something was to be said in
favour of each plan. By shooting the savage who had made a lodgment under
our walls, and scattering his pile, we should unquestionably defeat the
present attempt; but, in all probability, another would be made the
succeeding night; whereas, by waiting to the last moment, such an effectual
repulse might be given to our foes, as would at once terminate their
expedition.

On consultation, and weighing all the points as they offered, it was
decided to adopt the latter policy. But one spot commanded a view of the
pile at all, and that was a loop, that had been cut only the day before,
and which looked directly down on the place, from a projection that existed
in the second story, and which ran around the whole building. These
projections were common enough, in the architecture of the provinces at
that day, being often adopted in exposed positions, purposely to afford the
means of protecting the inferior and external portions of the dwellings.
The Nest possessed this advantage, though the loops necessary to complete
the arrangement, had only quite recently been cut. At this loop, then, I
stationed myself, for a short time, watching what was going on below. The
night was dark, but there was no difficulty, in distinguishing the pile of
knots, which to me seemed several feet high, besides being of some length,
or in noting the movements of the Indian who had built it. At the moment I
took my stand at the loop, this man was actually engaged in setting fire to
his combustibles.

For several minutes Guert and I watched our enemy while he was thus
employed, for the Huron was obliged to proceed with the utmost caution,
lest a light prematurely shed around should betray him. He cautiously
lighted his knots quite within the pile, having left a place for that
purpose; and his combustibles were well in flames before the latter began
to throw their rays to any distance. We had a quantity of water provided in
the room from which we beheld all these movements, and might at any time
have extinguished the fire, by pouring a stream through our loop, provided
we did not wait too long. But Guert objected to ‘spoiling the sport,’ as he
called it, insisting that the logs of the house would be slow to ignite,
and that we might at any moment scatter the knots, by a rapid sortie. His
wish was to let the enemy proceed in his designs, as far as would be at all
safe, in order to render his defeat more overwhelming.

Owing to our position, directly over his head, we had no chance to see
the face of the incendiary while he was thus engaged. At length he cast a
glance upward, as if to note the effect of the flames, which were beginning
to throw their forked tongues above the pile, when we both recognised
Jaap’s prisoner, Muss. The sight proved too much for Guert’s philosophy,
and thrusting the muzzle of his rifle through the loop, he blazed away
at him, without much regard to aim. This report was a sort of signal for
action, the whole house, and all the outer, world appearing to be in a
clamour in an instant. I had no means of seeing Muss, but some of our
look-outs, who had him in view most of the time, told me, after all was
over, that the fellow seemed much astonished at the suddenness of
this assault; that he gazed up at the loop an instant, uttered a loud
exclamation, then yelled the war-whoop at the top of his voice, and went
bounding off into the darkness, like a buck put up unexpectedly from his
lair. The fields all around the Nest seemed to be alive with whooping
demons. Herman Mordaunt had done little towards embellishing the place; and
stumps were standing in hundreds all about it, many having been left within
twenty yards of the buildings. It now seemed as if every one of these
stumps had an Indian warrior lodged behind it, while bands of them appeared
to be leaping about in the gloom, under the rocks. At one time, I fancied
we must be surrounded by hundreds of these ruthless foes, though I now
suppose that their numbers were magnified by their activity and their
infernal yells. They manifested no intention to attack, nevertheless, but
kept screaming around us in all directions, occasionally discharging a
rifle, but, as a whole, waiting the moment when the flames should have done
their work.

Considering the fearful circumstances in which he was placed, Herman
Mordaunt was wonderfully collected. For myself, I felt as if I had fifty
lives to lose, Anneke being, uppermost in my thoughts. The females,
however, behaved uncommonly well; making no noise, and using all the
self-command they could assume, in order not to distract the exertions
of their husbands and friends. Some of the wives of the sturdy settlers,
indeed, actually exhibited a species of stern courage that would have done
credit to soldiers; appearing in the court, armed, and otherwise rendering
themselves useful. It often happened that women of this class, by
practising on deer, and wolves, and bears, got to be reasonably expert with
fire-arms, and did good service in attacks on their dwellings. I remarked,
in all the commoner class of females, that night, a sort of fierce
hostility to their savage foes, in whom they doubtless saw only the
murderers of children, and wretches who made no distinction of sex or age,
in pursuing their heartless warfare. Many of them appeared like the dams of
the inferior animals when their young were in danger.

An interval of ten or fifteen minutes must have occurred between the moment
when Guert discharged his rifle and that in which the battle really began.
All this time the fire was gathering head, our tardy attempts to extinguish
it proving a complete failure. But little apprehension was felt on this
account, however, the flames proving an advantage, by casting their light
far into the fields, and even below the rocks, while they did not reach the
court at all; thus placing a portion of the enemy, should they venture to
attack, under a bright light, while it left us in darkness. The only point,
however, at which we could fear a serious assault, was on the side of the
rocks, where the court had no other protection than the low, but close and
tolerably strong picket. Fortunately, the formation of the ground on that
side prevented one who stood on the meadows below from firing into the
court from any point within the ordinary range of the rifle. It was this
circumstance that had determined the site of the garrison.

Such was the state of things when Anneke’s own girl came to ask me to go to
her mistress, if it were possible for me to quit my station, were it
only for a minute. Having no particular duty to perform, there was no
impropriety in complying with a request which, in itself, was every way so
grateful to my feelings. Guert was near me at the time, and heard what the
young negress said; this induced him to inquire if there was no message for
himself; but, even at that serious moment, Mary Wallace did not relent. She
had been kinder than common in manner, the previous night, as the Albanian
had admitted; but, at the same time, she had appeared to distrust her own
resolution so much, as even to give less direct encouragement than had
actually escaped her on previous occasions.

I found Anneke expecting me in that little parlour where I had so recently
listened to her sweet confessions of tenderness the evening before. She was
alone, the instinct of her sex teaching her the expediency of having no
witness of the feelings and language that might escape two hearts that were
united as were ours, under circumstances so trying. The dear girl was pale
as death when I entered; she had doubtless been thinking of the approaching
conflict, and of what might be its frightful consequences; but, my presence
instantly caused her face to be suffused with blushes, it being impossible
for her sensitive mind not to revert to what had so lately occurred.
This truth to the instinctive principle of her nature could hardly be
extinguished in woman, even at the stake itself. Notwithstanding the
liveliness and varying character of her feelings, Anneke was the first to
speak.

“I have sent for you, Corny,” she said, laying a hand on her heart, as if
to quiet its throbbings, “to say one word in the way of caution--I hope it
is not wrong.”

“You _can_ do nothing wrong, beloved Anneke,” I answered; “or, nothing that
would seem so in my eyes. Be not thus agitated. Your fears have increased
the danger, which we consider as trifling. The risks Guert, Dirck, and
myself have already run, are tenfold those which now beset us.”

The dear girl submitted to have an arm of mine passed around her waist,
when her head dropped on my breast, and she burst into tears. Enabled by
this relief to command her feelings a little, it was not long ere Anneke
raised herself from the endearing embrace I felt impelled to give her,
though still permitting me to hold both her hands; and she looked up into
my face, with the full confidence of affection, renewing the discourse.

“I could not suffer you to engage in this terrible scene, Corny,” she said,
“without one word, one look, one sign of the interest I feel in you. My
dear, dear father has heard all; and, though disappointed, he does not
disapprove. You know how warmly he has wished Mr. Bulstrode for a son, and
can excuse that preference; but he desired me, not ten minutes since, as he
left me, after giving me a kiss and his blessing, to send for you, and to
say that he shall hereafter look upon you as my and his choice. Heaven
alone knows whether we are to be permitted to meet again, dear Corny; but,
should that never be granted us, I feel it will relieve your mind to know
that we shall meet as the members of one family.”

“We are the only children of our parents, Anneke, and our union will
gladden their hearts almost as much as it can gladden our own.”

“I have thought of this, already. I shall have a mother, now; a blessing I
hardly ever knew!”

“And one that will dearly, dearly love you, as I know by her own opinions,
again and again expressed in my presence.”

“Thank you, Corny--and thanks to that respected parent, too. Now, go,
Corny; I am fearful this selfish gratification only adds to the danger of
the house--go; I will pray for your safety.”

“One word, dearest;--poor Guert!--You cannot know how disappointed he is,
that I alone should be summoned here, at such a moment.”

Anneke seemed thoughtful, and it struck me she was a little distressed.

“What can I do to alter this?” she said, after a short pause. “A woman’s
judgment and her feelings may not impel her the same way; then Mary Wallace
is a girl who appreciates propriety so highly!”

“I understand you, Anneke. But, Guert is of so noble a disposition, and
acknowledges all his defects so meekly, and with so much candour! Man
cannot love woman better than he loves Mary Wallace. Her extreme prudence
is a virtue, in his eyes, even while he suffers by it.”

“I cannot change Mary Wallace’s nature, Corny,” said Anneke, smiling sadly,
and, as I fancied, in a way that said ‘were it I, the virtues of Guert
should soon outweigh his defects;’ “but Mary will be Mary, and we must
submit. Perhaps to-morrow may bring her wavering mind to something like
decision; for these late events have proved greatly Mr. Ten Eyck’s friends.
But Mary is an orphan, and prudence has been taught her as her great
protection. Now, go, Corny, lest you be missed.”

The dear girl parted from me hurriedly, but not without strong
manifestation of feeling. I folded her to my heart; that being no moment
for affectations or conventional distance; and I know _I_ was, while
I trusted Anneke might be, none the less happy for remembering we had
exchanged these proofs of mutual attachment.

Just as I reached the court, I heard a yell without, which my experience
before Ty had taught me was the whoop the Hurons give when they attack. A
rattling fire succeeded, and we were instantly engaged in a hot conflict.
Our people fought under one advantage, which more than counter-balanced
the disadvantage of their inferiority in numbers. While two sides of the
buildings, including that of the meadows, or the one on which an assault
could alone be successful, were in bright light, the court still remained
sufficiently dark to answer all the purposes of defence. We could see each
other, but could not be distinguished at any distance. Our persons, when
seen from without, must have been confounded, too, with the waving shadows
of the pickets.

As I approached the pickets, through the openings of which our people were
already keeping up a dropping fire on the dark-looking demons who were
leaping about on the meadows below, I learned from Herman Mordaunt,
himself, who received me by an affectionate squeeze of the hand, that a
large body of the enemy was collected directly under the rocks, and that
Guert had assumed the duty of dislodging them. He had taken with him,
on this service, Dirck, Jaap, and three or four more of the best men,
including both of our Indians. The manner in which he proposed to effect
this object was bold, and like the character of the leader of the party.
As so much depended on it, and on its success, I will explain a few of its
more essential details.

The front of the house ranged north and south, facing westward. The two
wings, consequently, extended east and west. The fire had been built at
the verge of the cliff, and at the north-east angle of the building. This
placed the north and east sides of the square in light, while it left the
west and south in deep darkness. The gate opening to the west, it was not a
very hopeless thing to believe it practicable to lead a small party round
the south-west angle of the house, to the verge of the cliff, where the
formation of the ground would allow of a volley’s being given upon those
savages who were believed to be making a lodgment directly beneath our
pickets, with a view of seizing a favourable moment to scale them. On this
errand, then, Herman Mordaunt now gave me to understand my friends had
gone.

“Who guards the gate, the while?” I asked, almost instinctively.

“Mr. Worden, and your old acquaintance and my new tenant, Newcome. They are
both armed, for a parson will not only fight the battles of the spirit,
but he will fight those of the field, when concerned. Mr. Worden has shown
himself a man in all this business.”

Without replying, I left Herman Mordaunt, and proceeded to the gate myself,
since there was little to be done in the court. _There_ we were strong
enough; stronger, perhaps, than was necessary; but I greatly distrusted
Guert’s scheme, the guard at the gate, and most of all the fire.

I was soon at Mr. Worden’s side. There the reverend gentleman was, sure
enough, with Jason Newcome at his elbow. Their duty was to keep the gate
in that precise condition in which it could be barred, or unbarred, at
the shortest notice, as friends or foes might seek admission. The parties
appeared to be fully aware of the importance of the trust they filled, and
I asked permission to pass out. My first object was the fire, for it struck
me Herman Mordaunt felt too much confidence in his means of extinguishing
it, and that our security had been neglected in that quarter. I was no
sooner outside the buildings, therefore, than I turned to steal along
the wall to the north-west corner, where alone I could get a view of the
dangerous pile.

The brightness of the glare that was gleaming over the fields and stumps,
that came within the compass of the light from the fire, added to my
security by the contrast, though it did not tell well for that particular
source of danger. The dark stumps, many of which were charred by the fires
of the clearing, and were absolutely black, seemed to be dancing about in
the fields, under the waving light, and twice I paused to meet imaginary
savages ere I had gained the corner of the house. Each alarm, however, was
idle, and I succeeded in obtaining the desired view. Not only were the
knots burning fiercely, but a large sheet of flame was clinging to the logs
of the house, menacing us with a speedy conflagration. The danger would
have been greater, but a thunder-shower had passed over the settlement only
an hour before we were alarmed, and coming from the north, all that side of
the house had been well drenched with rain. This occurred after ‘Muss’ had
commenced his pile, or he might have chosen another side of the building.
The deep obscurity of that gust, however, was probably one of the means of
his success. He must have been at work during the whole continuance of the
storm.

I was not absent from the gate two minutes. That brief space was sufficient
for my first purpose. I now desired Jason to enter the court, and to
tell Herman Mordaunt not to delay a moment in applying the means for
extinguishing the flames. There was greater danger from them than there
possibly could be from any other attack upon the pickets, made in the
darkness of the morning. Jason was cool by temperament, and he was a good
agent to be employed on such a duty. Promising to be quick, he left us,
and I turned my face towards Guert and his party. As yet, nothing had been
heard of the last. This very silence was a source of alarm, though it was
difficult to imagine the adventurer had met with an enemy, since such a
collision must have been somewhat noisy. A few spattering shot, all of
which came from the west side of the buildings, and the flickering light of
the fire, were the only interruptions to the otherwise death-like calm of
the hour.

The same success attended me in reaching the south-west as in reaching
the north-west angle of the house. To me, it seemed as if the savages had
entirely abandoned the fields in my vicinity. When I took my stand at this
corner of the building, I found all its southern side in obscurity, though
sufficient light was gleaming over the meadows to render the ragged edges
of the cliff visible in that direction. I looked along the log walls to
this streak of light, but could see no signs of my friends. I was certain
they were not under the house, and began to apprehend some serious
indiscretion on the part of the bold Albanian. While engaged in
endeavouring to get a clue to Guert’s movements, by devouring every dark
object I could perceive with my eyes, I felt an elbow touched lightly, and
saw a savage in his half-naked, fighting attire, at my side. I could see
enough to ascertain this, but could not distinguish faces. I was feeling
for my hunting-knife, when the Trackless’s voice stayed my hand.

“He wrong”--said the Onondago, with emphasis. “Head too young--hand
good--heart good--head very bad. Too much fire--dark here--much better.”

This characteristic criticism on poor Guert’s conduct, served to tell the
whole story. Guert had put himself in a position in which the Onondago had
refused to remain; in other words, he had gone to the verge of the cliff,
where he was exposed to the light of the fire, and where he was necessarily
in danger of being seen. Still, no signs of him were visible, and I was on
the point of moving along the south side of the building, to the margin of
the rocks, when the Trackless again touched my arm, and said “There!”

There our party was, sure enough! It had managed to reach the verge of the
rocks at a salient point, which placed them in an admirable position for
raking the enemy, who were supposed to be climbing to the pickets, with a
view to a sudden spring, but at a dangerous distance from the buildings.
The darkness had been the means of their reaching that point, which was
about a hundred yards from the spot where I had expected to find them, and
admirably placed for the intended object. The whole procedure was so much
like Guert’s character, that I could not but admire its boldness, while I
condemned its imprudence. There was, however, no time to join the party, or
to warn its leader of the risks he ran. We, who stood so far in the rear,
could see and fully appreciate all the danger, while he probably did not.
There the whole party of them stood, plainly though darkly drawn in high
relief, against the light beyond, each poising his rifle and making his
dispositions for the volley. Guert was nearest to the verge of the rocks,
actually bending over them; Dirck was close at his side; Jaap just behind
Dirck; Jumper close at Jaap’s elbow; and four of the settlers, bold and
hardy men, behind the Oneida.

I could scarcely breathe, for painful expectation, when I saw Guert and his
companions thus rising from the earth, bringing their entire figures in
front of the back-ground of light. I could have called out to warn them of
the danger they ran; but it would have done no good, nor was there time for
remonstrances. Guert must have felt he occupied a dangerous position, and
what he did was done very promptly. Ten seconds after I saw the dark forms,
all their rifles were discharged, as it might be at a single crack. One
instant passed, in death-like stillness, through all the fields, and in the
court; then came a volley from among the stumps at a little distance from
our side of the building, and the adventurers on the rocks, or those that
could, rushed towards the gate. Two of the settlers, however, and the
Oneida, I saw fall, myself. The last actually leaped upward, into the
air, and went down the cliff. But Guert, Dirck, Jaap, and the other two
settlers, had moved away. It was at that moment that my ears were filled
with such yells as I had not supposed the human throat could raise, and all
the fields on our side of the house seemed alive with savages. To render
the scene more appalling, that was the precise instant when the water,
previously provided by Herman Mordaunt, fell upon the flames, and the light
vanished, almost as one extinguishes a candle. But for this providential
coincidence, there was scarce a chance for the escape of one of the
adventurers. As it was, rifle followed rifle, from among the stumps, though
it was no longer with any certain aim.

The battle had now become a _mélée_. The savages went leaping and whooping
forward in the darkness, and heavy blows were given and taken. Guert’s
clear, manly voice was heard, rising above the clamour, encouraging his
companions to press through the throng of their assailants, in tones full
of confidence. Both the Trackless and myself discharged our rifles at the
foremost of the Hurons, and each certainly brought down his man; but it was
not easy to see what we could do next. To stand aloof and see my friends
borne down by numbers was impossible, however, and Susquesus and myself
fell upon the enemy’s rear. This charge of ours had the appearance of a
sortie, and it produced a decided effect on the result, opening a passage
by which Dirck and the two settlers issued from the throng, and joined us.
This was no sooner done, than we all had to stand at bay, retreating little
by little, as we could. The result would still have been doubtful, even
after we had succeeded in reaching the south-western angle of the building,
had it not been for a forward movement on the part of Herman Mordaunt, at
the head of half-a-dozen of his settlers. This reinforcement came into the
affair with loaded rifles, and a single discharge, given as soon as we were
in a line with our friends, caused our assailants to vanish, as suddenly as
they had appeared. On reflecting on the circumstances of that awful night,
in after-life, I have thought that the force in the rear of the Hurons
began to melt away, even before Herman Mordaunts support was received,
leaving their front weak and unsustained. At any rate, the enemy fled to
their covers, as has just been related, and we entered the gate in a body,
closing and barring it, as soon as possible.

I can scarcely describe the change that had come over the appearance of
things in that eventful night. The fire was extinguished, even to the
embers, and deep darkness had succeeded to the glimmering, waving red light
of the flames. The yells, and whoops, and screams, and shouts, for our men
had frequently thrown back the defiance of their foes in cheers, were done;
a stillness as profound as that of the grave reigning over the whole place.
The wounded seemed ashamed even to groan; but our hurt, of whom there were
four, went into the house to be cared for, stern and silent. No enemy was
any longer to be apprehended beneath the pickets, for the streak of morning
was just appearing above the forest, in the east, and Indians rarely attack
under the light of day. In a word, _that_ night, at least, was passed, and
we were yet protected by Providence.

Herman Mordaunt now bethought him of ascertaining his precise situation,
the extent of his own loss, and, as far as possible, of that which we had
inflicted on the enemy. Guert was called for, to aid in this inquiry, but
no Guert was to be found! Jaap, too, was absent. A muster was had, and then
it was found that Guert Ten Eyck, Jaap Satanstoe, Gilbert Davis, and Moses
Mudge were all wanting. The Jumper, too, did not appear; but I accounted
for him, and for the two settlers named, having actually seen them
fall. Day returned to us slowly, while agitated by the effect of these
discoveries; but it brought no relief. We soon ventured to re-open the
gates, knowing no Indian would remain very near the building, while it was
light; and, having examined all the dangerous covers, we passed outside the
court with confidence, in quest of the bodies of our friends. Not an Indian
was seen, Jumper excepted. The Oneida lay at the foot of the rocks, dead,
and scalped; as did Davis and Mudge on the summit. Everything else human
had disappeared. Dirck was confident that six or seven of the Hurons fell
by the volley from the cliff, but the bodies had been carried off. As to
Guert and Jaap, no traces of them remained, dead or alive.



CHAPTER XXIX.

  “She looked on many a face with vacant eye,
  On many a token without knowing what;
  She saw them watch her without asking why,
  And reck’d not who around her pillow sat;
  Not speechless, though she spoke not; not a sigh
  Relieved her thoughts: dull silence and quick chat
  Were tried in vain by by those who served; she gave
  No sign, save breath, of having left the grave.”

  BYRON.


It was a most painful moment to me, when Herman Mordaunt, an hour after all
these facts were established, came to summon me to the presence of Anneke
and Mary Wallace. One gleam of joy, one ray of the sunshine of the heart,
shone on Anneke’s sweet countenance as she saw me unharmed enter the
room, but it quickly disappeared in the strong sympathy she felt for the
sufferings of her friend. As for Mary Wallace, death itself could hardly
have left her more colourless, or with features more firmly impressed with
the expression of mental suffering. Anneke was the first to speak.

“God be praised that this dreadful night is passed, and you and my dearest
father are spared!” the precious girl said, with fervour, pressing the hand
that had taken one of hers, in both her own. “For this much, at least, we
can be grateful; would I could add for the safety of us all!”

“Tell me the worst at once, Mr. Littlepage,” added Mary Wallace; “I can
bear anything better than uncertainty. Mr. Mordaunt says that you know the
facts better than any one else, and that you must relate them. Speak, then,
though it break my heart to hear it!--is he killed?”

“I hope, through Heaven’s mercy, not. Indeed, I think not; though I fear he
must be a prisoner.”

“Thank you for that, dear, dear Mr. Littlepage! Oh! Thank you for that,
from the bottom of my heart. But may they not torture him? Do not these
Hurons torture their prisoners? Conceal nothing from me, Corny; you cannot
imagine how much self-command I have, and how well I can behave. Oh!
conceal nothing.”

Poor girl! At the very moment she was boasting of her fortitude and ability
to endure, her whole frame was trembling from head to foot, her face was
of the hue of death, and the smile with which she spoke was frightfully
haggard. That pent-up passion, which had so long struggled with her
prudence, could no longer be suppressed. That she really loved Guert, and
that her love would prove stronger than her discretion, I had not doubted,
now, for some months; but, never having before witnessed the strength of
any feeling that had been so long and so painfully suppressed, I confess
that this exhibition of a suffering so intense, in a being so delicate, so
excellent, and so lovely, almost unmanned me. I took Mary Wallace’s hand
and led her to a chair, scarce knowing what to say to relieve her mind. All
this time, her eye never turned from mine, as if she hoped to learn the
truth by the aid of the sense of sight alone. How anxious, jealous,
distrustful, and yet beseeching was that gaze!

“Will he be tortured?” She rather whispered huskily, than asked aloud.

“I trust, by God’s mercy, not. They have taken my slave, Jaap, also; and it
is far more probable that _he_ would be the victim, in such a case, than
Mr. Ten Eyck--”

“Why do you call him Mr. Ten Eyck? You have always called him Guert of
late--you are his friend--you think well of him--you cannot be less his
friend, now that he is miserable, than when he was happy, and the pride of
all human eyes, in his strength and manly beauty!”

“Dear Miss Wallace, compose yourself, I do entreat of you--no one will
cling to Guert longer than I.”

“Yes; I have always thought this--always _felt_ this. Guert cannot be
low, or mean in his sentiments, while an educated gentleman, like Corny
Littlepage, is his friend. I have written to my aunt, and we must not be
too hasty in our judgments. The spirit and follies of youth will soon be
over, and then we shall see a shining character in Guert Ten Eyck. Is not
this true, Anneke?”

Anneke knelt at the side of her friend, folded her in her arms, drew the
quivering head down upon her own sympathising bosom, and held it there a
moment, in the very attitude of protecting, solacing love. After a brief
pause, Mary Wallace burst into tears, and I have ever thought that that
relief, under God’s mercy, saved her reason. In a few minutes, the sufferer
became more calm, when she retired into herself, as was her wont, leaving
Anneke and me to discuss the subject.

After turning all the chances and probabilities in our minds, I promised my
companions not to lose a moment, but to use immediate means of ascertaining
all that could be ascertained, in Guert’s behalf, and of doing everything
that could be done, to save him.

“You will not deceive me, Corny,” whispered Mary Wallace, pressing my hand
at leave-taking, in both her own. “I know I can depend on _you_, for he
_boasts_ of being your friend.”

Anneke’s painful smile added force to this request, and I tore myself away
unwilling to quit such a sufferer, yet unable to remain. Herman Mordaunt
was seen conversing with Susquesus, in the court, and I joined him at once,
determined to lose no time.

“I was speaking to the Trackless on this very subject,” answered Herman
Mordaunt, as soon as I had explained my purpose, “and am now waiting for
his answer. Do you think it, then, safe to send a messenger out to the
Hurons, in order to inquire after our friends, and to treat with them!”

“No send?--Why not?” returned the Indian. “Red man glad to see messenger.
Go when he want; come back when he want. How can make bargain, if scalp
messenger?”

I had heard that the most savage tribes respected a messenger; and, indeed,
the necessity of so doing was, of itself, a sort of security that such
must be the case. It was true, that the bearer of a flag might be in more
danger, on such an errand, than would be the case in a camp of civilized
men; but these Canada-Indians had been long serving with the French, and
their chiefs, beyond a question, had obtained some of the notions of
pale-face warfare. Without much reflection, therefore, and under an impulse
in behalf of my friend, and my slave--for Jaap’s fate was of lively
interest with me--I volunteered to bear a flag myself. Herman Mordaunt
shook his head, and seemed reluctant to comply.

“Anneke would hardly pardon me for consenting to that,” he answered. “You
must remember, now, Corny, that a very tender and sensitive heart is bound
up in you, and you must no longer act like a thoughtless, single man. It
would be far better to send this Onondago, if he will agree to go. He
understands the red men, and will be able to interpret the omens with more
certainty, than any of us, What say you, Susquesus; will you be a messenger
to the Hurons?”

“Sartain;--why no go, if he want? Good to be messenger, sometime. Where
wampum--what tell him?”

Thus encouraged, we deliberated together, and soon had Susquesus in
readiness to depart. As for the Indian, he laid aside all his arms, washed
the war-paint from his face, put a calico shirt over his shoulders, and
assumed the guise of peace. We gave him a small, white flag to carry,
feeling certain that the Huron chiefs must understand its meaning; and
thinking it might be better, in bearing a message from pale-faces, that
he who carried it should have a pale-face symbol of his errand. Susquesus
found some wampum, too; having as much faith in that, probably, as in
anything else. He then set forth, being charged to offer liberal ransom to
the Hurons, for the living, uninjured bodies of Guert Ten Eyck and Jaap
Satanstoe.

We entertained no doubt that the enemy would be found in the ravine, for
that was the point, in every respect, most favourable to the operations of
the siege; being near the house, having a perfect cover, possessing water,
wood, and other conveniences. From that point the Nest could be watched,
and any favourable chance improved. Thither, then, Susquesus was told to
proceed; though it was not thought advisable to fetter one so shrewd, with
too many instructions. Several of us accompanied the Onondago to the gate,
and saw him moving across the fields, towards the wood, in his usual loping
trot. A bird could scarcely have flown more directly to its object.

The half-hour that succeeded the disappearance of Susquesus, in the mouth
of the ravine, was one of intensely painful suspense. We all remained
without the gate, waiting the result, including Dirck, Mr. Worden, Jason,
and half-a-dozen of the settlers. At length the Onondago reappeared; and,
to our great joy, a group followed him, in which were both the prisoners.
The last were bound, but able to walk. This party might have contained a
dozen of the enemy, all of whom were armed. It moved slowly out of the
ravine, and ascended to the fields that were on a level with the house,
halting when about four hundred yards from us. Seeing this movement, we
counted out exactly the same number of men, and went forward, halting at
a distance of two hundred yards from the Indians. Here we waited for our
messenger, who continued on, after the Hurons had come to a stand. Thus far
everything looked propitious.

“Do you bring us good news?” Herman Mordaunt eagerly asked. “Are our
friends unhurt?”

“Got scalp--no hurt--take prisoner--jump on ‘em, ten, two, six--cotch ‘em,
then. Open eyes; you see.”

“And the Hurons--do they seem inclined to accept the ransom? Rum, rifle,
blanket and powder; you offered all, I hope, Susquesus?”

“Sartain. No forget; that bad. Say take all that; some more, too.”

“And they have come to treat with us? What are we to do, now, Susquesus?”

“Put down rifle--go near and talk. You go--priest go--young chief go--that
t’ree. Then t’ree warrior lay down rifle, come talk, too. Prisoner wait.
All good.”

This was sufficiently intelligible, and believing that anything like
hesitation might make the condition of Guert desperate, we prepared to
comply. I could see that the Rev. Mr. Worden had no great relish for
the business, but was ashamed to hang back when he saw Herman Mordaunt
cheerfully advancing to the interview. We three were met by as many Hurons,
among whom was Jaap’s friend ‘Muss,’ who was evidently the leading person
of the party. Guert and Jaap were held, bound, about a hundred yards in the
rear, but near enough to be spoken to, by raising the voice. Guert was
in his shirt and breeches, with his head uncovered, his fine curly hair
blowing about in the wind, and I thought I saw some signs of blood on his
linen. This might be his own, or it might have come from an enemy. I called
to him, therefore, inquiring how he did, and whether he were hurt.

“Nothing to speak of, Corny, I thank you,” was the cheerful answer; “these
red gentlemen have had me tied to a tree, and have been seeing how near
they could hurl their tomahawks without hitting. This is one of their
customary amusements, and I have got a scratch or two in the sport. I hope
the ladies are in good spirits, and do not let the business of last night
distress them.”

“There is blessed news for you, Guert--Susquesus, ask these chiefs if I may
go near my friend to give him one word of consolation--on my honour, no
attempt to release him will be made by me, until I return here.”

I spoke earnestly, and the Onondago interpreted what I had said into the
language of the Hurons. I had made this somewhat hardy request, under an
impulse that I found ungovernable, and was surprised, as well as pleased,
to find it granted. These savages confided in my word, and trusted to my
honour with a stately delicacy that might have done credit to the manners
of civilized kings, giving themselves no apparent concern about my
movements, although they occurred in their own rear. It was too late to
retract, and, leaving Herman Mordaunt endeavouring to drive a bargain
with Muss and his two companions, I proceeded, unconcerned myself, boldly
towards the armed men who held Guert and Jaap prisoners. I thought my
approach _did_ cause a slight movement among these savages, and there was a
question and answer passed between them and their leaders. The latter said
but a word or two, but these were uttered authoritatively, and with a
commanding toss of a hand. Brief as they were, they answered the purpose,
and I was neither molested nor spoken to, during the short interview I had
with my friend.

“God bless you, Corny, for this!” Guert cried with feeling, as I warmly
shook his hand. “It requires a warm heart, and a bold one too, to lead a
man into this ‘lion’s den.’ Stay but a moment, lest some evil come of it,
I beg of you. This squeeze of the hand is worth an estate to a man in my
situation; but remember Anneke. Ah! Corny, my dear friend, I could be happy
even here, did I know that Mary Wallace grieved for me!”

“Then be happy, Guert. My sole object in venturing here, was to tell you to
hope everything in that quarter. There will be no longer any coyness, any
hesitation, any misgivings, when you shall be once restored to us.”

“Mr. Littlepage, you would not trifle with the feelings of a miserable
captive, hanging between torture and death, is my present case! I can
hardly credit my senses; yet, you would not mock me!”

“Believe all I say--nay, all you _wish_, Guert. It is seldom that woman
loves as _she_ loves, and this I swear to you. I go now, only to aid Herman
Mordaunt in bringing you where your own ears shall hear such proofs of what
I say, as have been uttered in mine.”

Guert made no answer, but I could see he was profoundly affected. I
squeezed his hand, and we parted, in the full hope, on my side at least,
that the separation would be short. I have reason to think Guert shed
tears; for, on looking back, I perceived his face turned away from those
who were nearest to him. I had but a single glance at Jaap. My fellow stood
a little in the rear, as became his colour; but he watched my countenance
with the vigilance of a cat. I thought it best not to speak to him, though
I gave him a secret sign of encouragement.

“These chiefs are not very amicably disposed, Corny,” said Herman Mordaunt,
the instant I rejoined him. “They have given me to understand that Jaap
will be liberated on no terms whatever. They must have his scalp, as
Susquesus tells me, on account of some severity he himself has shown to one
of these chiefs. To use their own language, they want it for a plaster to
this warrior’s back. His fate, it would seem, is sealed, and he has only
been brought out yonder, to raise hopes in him that are to be disappointed.
The wretches do not scruple to avow this, in their own sententious manner.
As for Guert, they say he slew two of their warriors, and that their wives
will miss their husbands, and will not be easily quieted unless they see
his scalp, too. They offer to release him, however, on either of two sets
of terms. They will give up Guert for two of what they call chiefs, or for
four common men. If we do not like those conditions, they will exchange
him, on condition we give two common men for him, and abandon the Nest to
them, by marching out, with all my people, before the sun is up above our
heads.”

“Conditions that you cannot accept, under any circumstances, I fear, sir?”

“Certainly not. The delivery of any two is out of the question--would be
so, even to save my own life. As for the Nest and its contents, I would
very willingly abandon all, a few papers excepted, had I the smallest faith
in the chiefs’ being able to restrain their followers; but the dreadful
massacre of William-Henry is still too recent, to confide in anything of
the sort. My answer is given already, and we are about to part. Possibly,
when they see us determined, they may lower their demands a little.”

A grave parting wave of the hand was given by Muss, who had conducted
himself with great dignity in the interview, and the three Hurons walked
away in a body.

“Best go,” said Susquesus, significantly. “Maybe want rifle. Hurons in
‘arnest.”

On this hint, we returned to our friends, and resumed our arms. What
succeeded, I learned in part by the relations of others, while a part was
witnessed by my own eyes. It seems that Jaap, from the first, understood
the desperate nature of his own position. The remembrance of his mis-deeds
in relation to Muss, whose prisoner he had more especially become, most
probably increased his apprehensions, and his thoughts were constantly bent
on obtaining his liberty, by means entirely independent of negotiation.
From the instant he was brought out of the ravine, he kept all his eyes
about him, watching for the smallest chance of effecting his purpose. It
happened that one of the savages so placed himself before the negro, who
was kept behind all near him, as to enable Jaap to draw the Huron’s knife
from its sheath without being detected: He did this while I was actually
with the party, and all eyes were on me. Guert and himself were bound, by
having their arms fastened above the elbows, behind the back; and when
Guert turned aside to shed tears, as mentioned, Jaap succeeded in cutting
his fastenings. This could be done, only while the savages were following
my retreating form with their eyes. At the same time Jaap gave the knife
to Guert, who did him a similar service. As the Indians did not take the
alarm, the prisoners paused a moment, holding their arms as if still bound,
to look around them. The Indian nearest Guert had two rifles, his own and
that of Muss, both leaning negligently against his shoulder, with their
breeches on the ground. To these weapons Guert pointed; and, when the three
chiefs were on the point of rejoining their friends, who were attentive to
their movements in order to ascertain the result, Guert seized this savage
by his arm, which he twisted until the Indian yelled with pain, then caught
one rifle, while Jaap laid hold of the other. Each fired and brought down
his man; then they made an onset with the butts of their pieces on the rest
of the party. This bold assault, though so desperate in appearance, was
the wisest thing they could do; as immediate flight would have left their
enemies an opportunity of sending the swift runners of their pieces in
pursuit.

The first intimation we had of any movement of this sort was in the reports
of the rifles. Then, I not only saw, but I heard the tremendous blow Jaap
gave to the head of Muss; a blow that demolished both the victim and the
instrument of his destruction. Though the breech of the rifle was broken,
the heavy barrel still remained, and the negro flourished it with a force
that swept all before him. It is scarcely necessary to say Guert was not
idle in such a fray. He fought for Mary Wallace, as well as for himself,
and he overturned two more of the Indians, as it might be, in the twinkling
of an eye. Here Dirck did good service to our friends. His rifle was in his
hands, and, levelling it with coolness, he shot down a powerful savage who
was on the point of seizing Guert from behind. This was the commencement of
a general war, volleys now coming from both parties; from ourselves, and
from the enemy, who were in the cover of the woods. Intimidated by the fury
of the personal assault under which they were suffering, the remaining
Indians near Guert and the negro leaped away towards their friends,
yelling; leaving their late prisoners free, but more exposed to fire than
they could have been when encircled even by enemies.

Everything passed with fearful rapidity. Guert seized the rifle of a fallen
Indian, and Jaap obtained another, when they fell back towards us, like two
lions at bay, with rifle-bullets whizzing around them at every step. Of
course, we fired, and we also advanced to meet them; an imprudent step,
since the main body of the Hurons were covered, rendering the contest
unequal. But, there was no resisting the sympathetic impulses of such a
moment, or the exultation we all felt at the exploits of Guert and Jaap,
enacted, as they were, before our eyes. As we drew together, the former
shouted and cried--

“Hurrah! Corny, my noble fellow--let us charge the woot--there’ll not be a
reat-skin left in it, in five minutes. Forwart, my friends--forwart, all!”

It certainly was an exciting moment. We all shouted in our turns, and
all cried ‘forward,’ in common. Even Mr. Worden joined in the shout, and
pressed forward. Jason, too, fought bravely; and we went at the wood like
so many bull-dogs. I fancy the pedagogue thought the fee-simple of his
mills depended on the result. On we went, in open order, reserving our fire
for the last moment, but receiving dropping shots, that did us no harm,
until we dashed into the thicket.

The Hurons were discomfited, and they fled. Though a panic is not usual
among those wild warriors, they seldom rally on the field. If once driven,
against their will, a close pursuit will usually disperse them for a time;
and such was the case now. By the time I got fairly into the ravine, I
could see or hear of no enemy. My friends were on my right and left,
shouting and pressing on; but there was no foe visible. Guert and Jaap were
in advance, for we could not overtake them; and they had fired, for they
got the last glimpses of the enemy. But one more shot did come from the
Hurons in that inroad. It was fired from some one of the retreating party,
who must have been lingering in its rear. The report sounded far up the
ravine, and it came like a farewell and final gun. Distant as it was,
however, it proved the most fatal shot to us that was fired in all that
affair. I caught a glimpse of Guert, through the trees, and saw him fall.
In an instant, I was at his side.

What a change is that from the triumph of victory to the sudden approach of
death! I saw by the expression of Guert’s countenance, as I raised him in
my arms, that the blow was fatal. The ball, indeed, had passed directly
through his body, missing the bones, but injuring the vitals. There is no
mistaking the expression of a death-wound on the human countenance, when
the effect is direct and not remote. Nature appears to admonish the victim
of his fate. So it was with Guert.

“This shot has done for me, Corny,” he said, “and it seems to be the very
last they intended to fire. I almost hope there can be no truth in what you
told me of Mary Wallace!”

That was neither the time nor the place to speak on such a subject, and
I made no answer. From the instant the fall of Guert became known, the
pursuit ceased, and our whole party collected around the wounded man.
The Indian alone seemed to retain any consciousness of the importance
of knowing what the enemy was doing, for his philosophy was not easily
disturbed by the sudden appearance of death among us. Still he liked
Guert, as did every one who could get beyond the weaknesses of his outer
character, and fairly at the noble traits of his manly nature. Susquesus
looked at the sufferer a moment, gravely and not without concern; then he
turned to Herman Mordaunt, and said--

“This bad--save scalp, that good, though. Carry him in house. Susquesus
follow trail and see what Injin mean.”

As this was well, he was told to watch the enemy, while we bore our friend
towards the Nest. Dirck consented to precede us, and let the melancholy
truth be known, while I continued with Guert, who held my hand the whole
distance. We were a most melancholy procession, for victors. Not a serious
hurt had any of our party received, in this last affair, the wound of Guert
Ten Eyck excepted; yet, I question if more real sorrow would have been felt
over two or three other deaths. We had become accustomed to our situation;
it is wonderful how soon the soldier does; rendering death familiar, and
disarming him of half his terrors; but calamities can, and do occur, to
bring back an army to a sense of its true nature and its dependence on
Providence. Such had been the effect of the loss of Lord Howe, on the
troops before Ticonderoga, and such was the effect of the fall of Guert Ten
Eyck, on the small band that was collected to defend the possessions and
firesides of Ravensnest.

We entered the gate of the house, and found most of its tenants already
in the court, collected like a congregation in a church that awaits the
entrance of the dead. Herman Mordaunt had sent an order to have his own
room prepared for the sufferer, and thither we carried Guert. He was placed
on the bed; then the crowd silently withdrew. I observed that Guert’s eyes
turned anxiously and inquiringly around, and I told him, in a low voice, I
would go for the ladies myself. A smile, and a pressure of the hand, showed
how well I had interpreted his thoughts.

Somewhat to my surprise, I found Mary Wallace, pale it is true, but
comparatively calm and mistress of herself. That instinct of propriety
which seems to form a part of the nature of a well-educated woman, had
taught her the necessity of self-command, that no outbreak of her feelings
should affect the sufferer. As for Anneke, she was like herself, gentle,
mourning, and full of sympathy for her friend.

As soon as apprised of the object of my visit, the two girls expressed
their readiness to go to Guert. As they knew the way, I did not attend
them, purposely proceeding an another direction, in order not to be a
witness of the interview. Anneke has since told me, however, that Mary’s
self-command did not altogether desert her, while Guert’s cheerful
gratitude probably so far deceived her as to create a short-lived hope that
the wound was not mortal. For myself, I passed an hour in attending to the
state of things in and around the house, in order to make certain that no
negligence occurred still to endanger our security. At the end of that
time, I returned to Guert, meeting Herman Mordaunt near the door of his
room.

“The little hope we had is vanished,” said the last, in a sorrowful tone.
“Poor Ten Eyck has, beyond a question, received his death-wound, and
has but a few hours to live. Were my people safe, I would rather that
everything at Ravensnest, house and estate, were destroyed, than had this
happen!”

Prepared by this announcement, I was not as much surprised as I might
otherwise have been, at the great change that had occurred in my friend,
since the time I quitted his room. It was evident he anticipated the
result. Nevertheless he was calm; nay, apparently happy. Nor was he so much
enfeebled as to prevent his speaking quite distinctly, and with sufficient
ease. When the machine of life is stopped by the sudden disruption of
a vital ligament, the approaches of death, though more rapid than with
disease, are seldom so apparent. The first evidences of a fatal termination
are discovered rather through the nature of the violence, than by means of
apparent effects.

I have said that Guert seemed even happy, though death was so near. Anneke
told me, subsequently, that Mary Wallace had owned her love, in answer to
an earnest appeal on his part, and, from that moment, he had expressed
himself as one who was about to die contented. Poor Guert! It was little he
thought of the dread future, or of the church on earth, except as the last
was entitled to, and did receive on all occasions, his outward respect.
It seemed that Mary Wallace, habitually so reserved and silent among her
friends, had been accustomed to converse freely with Guert, and that she
had made a serious effort, during her residence in Albany, to enlighten his
mind, or rather to arouse his feelings on this all-important subject, and
that Guert, sensible of the pleasure of receiving instruction from such
a source, always listened with attention. When I entered the room, some
allusion had just been made to this theme.

“But for you, Mary, I should be little better than a heathen,” said Guert,
holding the hand of his beloved, and scarce averting his eyes from their
idol a single instant. “If God has mercy on me, it will be on your
account.”

“Oh! no--no--no--Guert, say not, think not _thus!_” exclaimed Mary Wallace,
shocked at this excess of his attachment even for herself at such a moment.
“We all receive our pardons through the death and mediation of his Blessed
Son. Nothing else can save you, or any of us, my dear, dear Guert; and I
implore you not to think otherwise.”

Guert looked a little bewildered; still he looked pleased. The first
expression was probably produced by his not exactly comprehending the
nature of that mysterious expiation, which baffles the unaided powers of
man, and which, indeed, is to be felt, rather than understood. The look of
pleasure had its origin in the ‘dear, dear Guert,’ and, more than that, in
the consciousness of possessing the affections of the woman he had so long
loved, almost against hope. Guert Ten Eyck was a man of bold and reckless
character, in all that pertained to risks, frolic, and youthful adventure;
but the meekest Christian could scarcely possess a more lowly opinion of
his own frailties and sins, than this dashing young fellow possessed of his
own claims to be valued by such a being as Mary Wallace. I often wondered
how he ever presumed to love her, but suppose the apparent vanity must
be ascribed to the resistless power of a passion that is known to be the
strongest of our nature. It was also a sort of moral anomaly that two
so opposed to each other in character; the one verging on extreme
recklessness, the other pushing prudence almost to prudery; the one so gay
as to seem to live for frolic, the other quiet and reserved should conceive
this strong predilection for each other; but so it was. I have heard
persons say, however, that these varieties in temperament awaken interest,
and that they who have commenced with such dissimilarities, but have
assimilated by communion, attachment, and habits, after all, make the
happiest couples.

Mary Wallace lost all her reserve, in the gush of tenderness and sympathy,
that now swept all before it. Throughout the whole of that morning, she
hung about Guert, as the mother watches the ailing infant. If his thirst
was to be assuaged, her hand held the cup; if his pillow was to be
replaced, her care suggested the alteration; if his brow was to be wiped,
she performed that office for him, suffering no other to come between her
and the object of her solicitude.

There were moments when the manner in which Mary Wallace hung over Guert,
was infinitely touching. Anneke and I knew that her very soul yearned to
lead his thoughts to dwell on the subject of the great change that was so
near. Nevertheless, the tenderness of the woman was so much stronger
than even the anxiety of the Christian, that we perceived she feared
the influence on his wound. At length, happily for an anxiety that was
beginning to be too painful for endurance, Guert spoke on the subject,
himself. Whether his mind adverted naturally to such a topic, or he
perceived the solicitude of his gentle nurse, I could not say.

“I cannot stay with you long, Mary,” he said, “and I should like to have
Mr. Worden’s prayers, united to yours, offered up in my behalf. Corny will
seek the Dominie, for an old friend?”

I vanished from the room, and was absent ten minutes. At the end of that
time, Mr. Worden was ready in his surplice, and we went to the sick room.
Certainly, our old pastor had not the way of manifesting the influence of
religion, that is usual to the colonies, especially to those of the more
northern and eastern portion of the country; yet, there was a heartiness
in his manner of praying, at times, that almost persuaded me he was a good
man. I will own, however, that Mr. Worden was one of those clergymen who
could pray much more sincerely for certain persons, than for others. He
was partial to poor Guert; and I really thought this was manifest in his
accents, on this melancholy occasion.

The dying man was relieved by this attention to the rites of the church.
Guert was not a metaphysician; and, at no period of his life, I believe,
did he ever enter very closely into the consideration of those fearful
questions which were connected with his existence, origin, destination,
and position, in the long scale of animated beings. He had those general
notions on these subjects, that all civilized men imbibe by education and
communion with their fellows, but nothing more. He understood it was a duty
to pray; and I make no doubt he fancied there were times and seasons in
which this duty was more imperative than at others; and times and seasons
when it might be dispensed with.

How tenderly and how anxiously did Mary Wallace watch over her patient,
during the whole of that sad day! She seemed to know neither weariness nor
fatigue. Towards evening, it was just as the sun was tinging the summits of
the trees with its parting light, she came towards Anneke and myself,
with a face that was slightly illuminated with something like a glow of
pleasure, and whispered to us, that Guert was better. Within ten minutes
of that moment, I approached the bed, and saw a slight movement of the
patient’s hand, as if he desired me to come nearer.

“Corny,” said Guert, in a low, languid voice--“it is nearly all over. I
wish I could see Mary Wallace, once more, before I die!”

Mary was not, _could_ not be distant. She fell upon her knees, and clasped
the yielding form of her lover to her heart. Nothing was said on either
side; or, if aught were said, it was whispered, and was of a nature too
sacred to be communicated to others. In that attitude did this young woman,
long so coy and so difficult to decide, remain for near an hour, and in
that quiet, cherishing, womanly embrace, did Guert Ten Eyck breathe his
last.

I left the sufferer as much alone with the woman of his heart, as comported
with prudence and a proper attention on my part; but it was my melancholy
duty to close his eyes. Thus prematurely terminated the earthly career of
as manly a spirit as ever dwelt in human form. That it had imperfections,
my pen has not concealed; but the long years that have since passed away,
have not served to obliterate the regard so noble a temperament could not
fail to awaken.



CHAPTER XXX.

  How slow the day slides on! When we desire
  Time’s haste, he seems to lose a match with lobsters:
  And when we wish him stay, he imps his wings
  With feathers plumed with thought.

  ALBAMAZAR.


It is unnecessary to dwell on the grief that we all felt for our loss. That
night was necessarily one of watchfulness but few were inclined to sleep.
The return of light found us unmolested, however; and an hour or two later,
Susquesus came in, and reported that the enemy had retreated towards
Ticonderoga. There was nothing more to fear from that quarter, and the
settlers soon began to return to their dwellings, or to such as remained.
In the course of a week the axe again rang in the forest, and rude
habitations began to reappear, in the places of those that had been
destroyed. As Bulstrode could not well be removed, Herman Mordaunt
determined to pass the remainder of the season at Ravensnest, with the
double view of accommodating his guest, and of encouraging his settlers.
The danger was known to be over for that summer at least, and, ere the
approach of another, it was hoped that the humiliated feelings of Great
Britain would so far be aroused, as to drive the enemy from the province;
as indeed was effectually done.

On consultation, it was decided that the body of Guert ought to be sent,
for interment among his friends, to Albany. Dirck and myself accompanied
it, as the principal attendants, all that remained of our party going with
us. Herman Mordaunt thought it necessary to remain at Ravensnest, and
Anneke would not quit her father. The Rev. Mr. Worden’s missionary
zeal had, by this trial, effectually evaporated, and he profited by
so favourable an occasion to withdraw into the safer and more peopled
districts. I well remember as we marched after the horse-litter that
carried the remains of poor Guert, the divine’s making the following
sensible remarks:--

“You see how it is, on this frontier, Corny,” he said; “it is premature to
think of introducing Christianity. Christianity is essentially a civilized
religion, and can only be of use among civilized beings. It is true, my
young friend, that many of the early apostles were not learned, after the
fashion of this world, but they were all thoroughly civilized. Palestine
was a civilized country, and the Hebrews were a great people; and I
consider the precedent set by our blessed Lord is a command to be followed
in all time, and that his appearance in Judea is tantamount to his saying
to his apostles, ‘go and preach me and my gospel to all _civilized_
people.’”

I ventured to remark that there was something like a direct command to
preach it to _all_ nations, to be found in the bible.

“Ay, that is true enough,” answered Mr. Worden, “but it clearly means all
_civilized_ nations. Then, this was before the discovery of America, and
it is fair enough to presume that the command referred solely to _known_
nations. The texts of scripture are not to be strained, but are to be
construed naturally, Corny, and this seems to me to be the natural reading
of that passage. No, I have been rash and imprudent in pushing duty to
exaggeration, and shall confine my labours to their proper sphere,
during the remainder of my days. Civilization is just as much a means of
providence as religion itself; and it is clearly intended that one should
be built on the other. A clergyman goes quite far enough from the centre of
refinement, when he quits home to come into these colonies to preach the
gospel; letting alone these scalping devils the Indians, who, I greatly
fear, were never born to be saved. It may do well enough to have societies
to keep them in view, but a meeting in London is quite near enough ever to
approach them.”

Such, ever after, appeared to be the sentiments of the Rev. Mr. Worden, and
I took no pains to change them. I ought, however, to have alluded to the
parting with Anneke, before I gave the foregoing extract from the parson’s
homily. Circumstances prevented my having much private communication with
my betrothed before quitting the Nest; for Anneke’s sympathy with Mary
Wallace was too profound to permit her to think much, just then, of aught
but the latter’s sorrows. As for Mary herself, the strength and depth of
her attachment and grief were never fully appreciated, until time came to
vindicate them. Her seeming calm was soon restored, for it was only under
a tempest of feeling that Mary Wallace lost her self-command; and the
affliction that was inevitable and irremediable, one of her regulated
temperament and high principles, struggled to endure with Christian
submission. It was only in after-life that I came to know how intense and
absorbing had, in truth, been her passion for the gay, high-spirited,
ill-educated, and impulsive young Albanian.

Anneke wept for a few minutes in my arms, a quarter of an hour before our
melancholy procession quitted the Nest. The dear girl had no undue reserve
with me; though I found her a little reluctant to converse on the subject
of our own loves, so soon after the fearful scenes we had just gone
through. Still, she left me in no doubt on the all-important point of my
carrying away with me her whole and entirely undivided heart. Bulstrode she
never had, never _could_ love. This she assured me, over and over again.
He amused her, and she felt for him some of the affection and interest of
kindred, but not the least of any other interest. Poor Bulstrode! now I was
certain of success, I had very magnanimous sentiments in his behalf, and
could give him credit for various good qualities that had been previously
obscured in my eyes. Herman Mordaunt had requested nothing might be said to
the major of my engagement; though an early opportunity was to be taken by
himself, to let the suitor understand that Anneke declined the honour of
his hand. It was thought the information would best come from him.

“I shall be frank with you, Littlepage, and confess I have been very
anxious for the union of my daughter and Mr. Bulstrode,” added Herman
Mordaunt, in the interview we had before I left the Nest; “and I trust to
your own good sense to account for it. I knew Bulstrode before I had any
knowledge of yourself; and there was already a connection between us, that
was just of a nature to render one that was closer, desirable. I shall not
deny that I fancied Anneke fitted to adorn the station and circles to which
Bulstrode would have carried her; and, perhaps, it is a natural parental
weakness to wish to see one’s child promoted. We talk of humility and
contentment, Corny, though there is much of the _nolo episcopari_ about it,
after all. But you see that the preference of the child is so much stronger
than that of the parent, that it must prevail. I dare say, after all, you
would much rather be Anneke’s choice, than be mine?”

“I can have no difficulty in admitting that, sir,” I answered; “and I feel
very sensible of the liberal manner in which you yield your own preferences
to our wishes. Certainly, in the way of rank and fortune, I have little to
offer, Mr. Mordaunt, as an offset to Mr. Bulstrode’s claims; but, in love
for your daughter, and in an ardent desire to make her happy, I shall not
yield to him, or any other man, though he were a king.”

“In the way of fortune, Littlepage, I have very few regrets. As you are to
live in this country, the joint means of the two families, which, some
day, must centre in you and Anneke, will prove all-sufficient; and, as for
posterity, Ravensnest and Mooseridge will supply ample provisions. As the
colony grows, your descendants will increase, and your means will increase
with both. No, no; I may have been a little disappointed; that much I will
own; but I have not been, at any time, displeased. God bless you, then, my
dear boy; write us from Albany, and come to us at Lilacs bush in September.
Your reception will be that of a son.”

It is needless to dwell on the melancholy procession we formed through the
woods. Dirck and myself kept near the body, on foot, until we reached the
highway, when vehicles were provided for the common transportation. On
reaching Albany, we delivered the remains of Guert to his relatives, and
there was a suitable funeral given. The bricked closet behind the chimney,
was opened, as usual, and the six dozen of Madeira, that had been placed in
it twenty-four years before, or the day the poor fellow was christened, was
found to be very excellent. I remember it was said generally, that better
wine was drunk at the funeral of Guert Ten Eyck, than had been tasted at
the obsequies of any individual who was not a Van Rensselaer, a Schuyler,
or a Ten Broeck, within the memory of man. I now speak of funerals in
Albany; for I do suppose the remark would scarcely apply to many other
funerals, lower down the river. As a rule, however, very good wine was
given at all our funerals.

The Rev. Mr. Worden officiated, and was universally regarded with interest,
as a pious minister of the gospel, who had barely escaped the fate of the
person he was now committing ‘dust to dust,’ while devotedly and ardently
employed in endeavouring to rescue the souls of the very savages who sought
his life, from the fate of the heathen.

I remember there was a very well worded paragraph to this effect in the New
York Gazette, and I had heard it said, but do not remember to have
ever seen it myself, that in one of the reports of the Society for the
Promulgation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, the circumstances were alluded
to in a very touching and edifying manner.

Poor Guert! I passed a few minutes at his grave before we went south. It
was all that was left of his fine person, his high spirit, his lion-hearted
courage, his buoyant spirits, and his unextinguishable love of frolic. A
finer physical man I never beheld, or one who better satisfied the eye, in
all respects. That the noble tenement was not more intellectually occupied,
was purely the consequence of a want of education. Notwithstanding, all the
books in the world could not have converted Guert Ten Eyck into a Jason
Newcome, or Jason Newcome into a Guert Ten Eyck. Each owed many of his
peculiarities, doubtless, to the province in which he was bred and born,
and to the training consequent on these accidents; but nature had also
drawn broad distinctions between them. All the wildness of Guert’s impulses
could not altogether destroy his feelings tone, and tact as a gentleman;
while all the soaring, extravagant pretensions of Jason never could have
ended in elevating him to that character. Alas! Poor Guert! I sincerely
mourned his loss for years, nor has his memory yet ceased to have a deep
interest with me.

Dirck Follock and I would have been a good deal caressed at Albany, on our
return, both on account of what had happened, and on account of our Dutch
connections, had we been in the mood to profit by the disposition of the
people. But, we were not. The sad events with which we had been connected
were still too recent to indulge in gaieties or company; and, as soon, as
possible after the funeral, we seized the opportunity of embarking on board
a sloop bound to New fork. Our voyage was generally considered a prosperous
one, lasting, indeed, only six days. We took the ground three times, it is
true; but nothing was thought of that, such accidents being of frequent
occurrence. Among the events of this sort, one occurred in the Overslaugh,
and I passed a few hours there very pleasantly, as it was so near the scene
of our adventure on the river. Anneke always occupied much of my thoughts,
but pleasing pictures of her gentle decision, her implicit reliance on
myself, her resignation, her spirit, and her intelligence were now blended,
without any alloy, in my recollections. The dear girl had confessed to me,
that she loved me even on that fearful night, for her tenderness in
my behalf dated much farther back. This was a great addition to the
satisfaction with which I went over every incident and speech, in
recollection, endeavouring to recall the most minute tone or expression, to
see if I could _now_ connect it with any sign of that passion, which I
was authorized in believing did even then exist. Thus aided, equally
by Anneke’s gentle, blushing admissions, and my own wishes, I had no
difficulty in recalling pictures that were infinitely agreeable to myself,
though possibly not minutely accurate.

In the Tappaan Sea, Dirck left us; proceeding into Rockland, to join his
family. I continued on in the sloop, reaching port next day. My uncle and
aunt Legge were delighted to see me, and I soon found I should be a lion,
had I leisure to remain in town, in order to enjoy the notoriety my
connection with the northern expedition had created. I found a deep
mortification pervading the capital, in consequence of our defeat, mingled
with a high determination to redeem our tarnished honour.

Satanstoe, with all its endearing ties, however, called me away; and I
left town, on horseback, leaving my effects to follow by the first good
opportunity, the morning of the day succeeding that on which I had arrived.
I shall not attempt to conceal one weakness. As usual, I stopped at
Kingsbridge to dine and bait; and while the notable landlady was preparing
my dinner, I ascended the heights to catch a distant view of Lilacsbush.
There lay the pretty cottage-like dwelling, placed beneath the hill, amid a
wilderness of shrubbery; but its lovely young mistress was far away, and I
found the pleasure with which I gazed at it blended with regrets.

“You have been north, I hear, Mr. Littlepage,” my landlady observed, while
I was discussing her lamb, and peas and asparagus; “pray, sir, did you
hear or see anything of our honoured neighbours, Herman Mordaunt and his
charming daughter?”

“Much of both, Mrs. Light; and that under trying circumstances. Mooseridge,
my father’s property in that part of the province, is quite near to
Ravensnest, Herman Mordaunt’s estate, and I have passed some time at it.
Have no tidings of the family reached you, lately?”

“None, unless it be the report that Miss Anneke will never return to us.”

“Anneke not return! In the name of wonder, how do you hear this?”

“Not as _Miss_ Anneke, but as Lady Anneke, or something of that sort. Isn’t
there a General Bulstrom, or some great officer or other, who seeks her
hand, and on whom she smiles, sir?”

“I presume I understand you, now. Well, what do you learn of him?”

“Only that they are to be married next month--some say they _are_ married
already, and that the old gentleman gives Lilacsbush, out and out, and four
thousand pounds currency, down, in order to purchase so high an honour for
his child. I tell the neighbours it is too much, Miss Anneke being worth
any lord in England, on her own, sole, account.”

This intelligence did not disturb me, of course, for it was tavern-tidings
and neighbours’ news. Neighbours! How much is that sacred word prostituted!
You shall find people opening their ears with avidity to the gossip of a
neighbourhood, when nineteen times in twenty it is less entitled to credit
than the intelligence which is obtained from a distance, provided the
latter come from persons of the same class in life as the individuals in
question, and are known to them. What means had this woman of knowing the
secrets of Herman Mordaunt’s family, that were one-half as good as those
possessed by friends in Albany, for instance? This neighbourhood testimony,
as it is called, does a vast deal of mischief in the province, and most
especially in those parts of it where our own people are brought in contact
with their fellow-subjects, from the more eastern colonies. In my eyes,
Jason Newcome’s opinions of Herman Mordaunt, and his acts, would be
nearly worthless, shrewd as I admit the man to be; for the two have not a
distinctive opinion, custom, and I had almost said principle, in common.
Just appreciation of motives and acts can only proceed from those who feel
and think alike; and this is morally impossible where there exist broad
distinctions in social classes. It is just for this reason that we attach
so little importance to the ordinary reports, and even to the sworn
evidence, of servants.

Our reception at Satanstoe was just what might have been expected. My dear
mother hugged me to her heart, again and again, and seemed never to be
satisfied with feasting her eyes on me. My father was affected at seeing
me, too; and I thought there was a very decided moisture in his eyes. As
for old Capt. Hugh Roger, three-score-and-ten had exhausted his fluids,
pretty much; but he shook me heartily by the hand, and listened to my
account of the movements before Ty with all a soldier’s interest, and with
somewhat of the fire of one who had served himself in more fortunate times.
I had to fight my battles o’er and o’er again, as a matter of course, and
to recount the tale of Ravensnest in all its details. We were at supper,
when I concluded my most laboured narrative, and when I began to hope my
duties, in this respect, were finally terminated. But my dear mother had
heavier matters still, on her mind; and it was necessary that I should give
her a private conference, in her own little room.

“Corny, my beloved child,” commenced this anxious and most tender parent,
“you have said nothing _particular_ to me of the Mordaunts. It is now time
to speak of that family.”

“Have I not told you, mother, how we met at Albany, and of what occurred on
the river.” I had not spoken of that adventure in my letters, because I was
uncertain of the true state of Anneke’s feelings, and did not wish to raise
expectations that might never be realized.--“And of our going to Ravensnest
in company, and of all that happened at Ravensnest after our return from
Ty.”

“What is all this to me, child! I wish to hear you speak of Anneke--is it
true that she is going to be married?”

“It is true. I can affirm that much from her own mouth.”

My dear mother’s countenance fell, and I could hardly pursue my wicked
_equivoque_ any further.

“And she has even had the effrontery to own this to _you,_ Corny?”

“She has, indeed; though truth compels me to add, that she blushed a great
deal while admitting it, and seemed only half-disposed to be so frank: that
is, at first; for, in the end, she rather smiled than blushed.”

“Well, this amazes me! It is only a proof that vanity, and worldly rank,
and worldly riches, stand higher in the estimation of Anneke Mordaunt, than
excellence and modest merit.”

“What riches and worldly rank have I, mother, to tempt any woman to forget
the qualities you have mentioned?”

“I was not thinking of you, my son, in that sense, at all. Of course, I
mean Mr. Bulstrode.”

“What has Mr. Bulstrode to do with my marriage with Anne Mordaunt; or any
one else but her own sweet self, who has consented to become my wife; her
father, who accepts me for a son, my father, who is about to imitate his
example, by taking Anneke to his heart as a daughter, and you, my dearest,
dearest mother, who are the only person likely to raise obstacles, as you
are now doing.”

This was a boyish mode of producing a most delightful surprise, I am very
ready to acknowledge; and, when I saw my mother burst into tears, I felt
both regret and shame at having--practised it. But youth is the season of
folly, and happy is the man who can say he has never trifled more seriously
with the feelings of a parent. I was soon pardoned--what offence would
not that devoted mother have pardoned her only child!--when I was made to
relate all that was proper to be told, of what had passed between Anneke
and myself. It is scarcely necessary to say, I was assured of the cheerful
acquiescence in my wishes, of all my own family, from Capt. Hugh Roger,
down to the dear person who was speaking. They had set their minds on my
becoming the husband of this very young lady; and I could not possibly have
made any communication that would be more agreeable, as I was given to
understand from each and all, that very night.

My return to Satanstoe occurred in the last half of the month of July. The
Mordaunts were not to be at Lilacsbush until the middle of September, and I
had near two months to wait for that happy moment. This time was passed as
well as it could be. I endeavoured to interest myself in the old Neck, and
to plan schemes of future happiness there, that were to be realized in
Anneke’s society. It was and is a noble farm; rich, beautifully placed,
having water on more than three of its sides, in capital order, and well
stocked with such apples, peaches, apricots, plums, and other fruits,
as the world can scarcely equal. It is true that the provinces a little
further south, such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia,
think they can beat us in peaches; but I have never tasted any fruit that
I thought would compare with that of Satanstoe. I love every tree, wall,
knoll, swell, meadow, and hummock about the old place. One thing distresses
me. I love old names, such as my father knew the same places by; and I like
to mispronounce a word, when custom and association render the practice
familiar. I would not call my friend, Dirck Follock, anything else but
Follock, unless it might be in a formal way, or when asking him to drink a
glass of wine with me, for a great deal. So it is with Satanstoe; the name
is homely, I am willing to allow; but it is strong, and conveys an idea.
It relates also to the usages and notions of the country; and names ought
always to be preserved, except in those few instances in which there are
good reasons for altering them. I regret to say, that ever since the
appearance of Jason Newcome among us, there has been a disposition among
the ignorant and vulgar, to call the Neck, Dibbleton; under the pretence I
have already mentioned, that it once belonged to the family of Dibblees;
or, as some think, as a pious diminutive of Devil’s-Town. I indignantly
repel this supposition; though, I do believe, that Dibbleton is only a
sneaking mode of pronouncing Devilton; as, I admit, I have heard the old
people laughingly term the Neck. This belongs to the “Gaul darn ye” school,
and it is not to my taste. I say the ignorant and vulgar, for this is just
the class to be squeamish on such subjects. I have been told--though I
cannot say that I have heard it myself--but I am told, there have been
people from the eastward among us of late years, who affect to call
“Hell-Gate,” “Hurl-Gate,” or “Whirl-Gate,” or by some other such
sentimental, whirl-a-gig name; and these are the gentry who would wish to
alter “Satanstoe” into “Dibbleton!” Since the eastern troops have begun to
come among us, indeed, they have commenced a desperate inroad on many of
our old, venerated Dutch names; names that the English, direct from home,
have generally respected. Indeed, change--change in all things, seems to be
the besetting passion of these people. We, of New York, are content to do
as our ancestors have done before us; and this they ridicule, making it
matter of accusation against us, that we follow the notions of our fathers.
I shall never complain that they are deserting so many of _their_ customs;
for, I regard the changes as improvements; but I beg that they may leave us
ours.

That there is such a thing as improvement I am willing enough to admit, as
well as that it not only compels, but excuses changes; but, I am yet to
learn it is matter of just reproach that a man follows in the footsteps of
those who have gone before him. The apothegms of David, and the wisdom of
Solomon, are just as much apothegms and wisdom, in our own time, as they
were the day they were written, and for precisely the same reason--their
truth. Where there is so much stability in morals, there must be permanent
principles, and something surely is worthy to be saved from the wreck
of the past. I doubt if all this craving for change has not more of
selfishness in it than either of expediency or of philosophy; and I could
wish, at least, that Satanstoe should never be frittered away into so
sneaking a substitute as Dibbleton.

That was a joyful day, when a servant in Herman Mordaunt’s livery rode in
upon our lawn, and handed me a letter from his master, informing me of the
safe arrival of the family, and inviting me to ride over next day in time
to take a late breakfast at Lilacsbush. Anneke had written to me twice
previously to this; two beautifully expressed, feminine, yet spirited,
affectionate letters, in which the tenderness and sensibility of her nature
were barely restrained by the delicacy of her sex and situation. On the
receipt of this welcome invitation, I was guilty of the only piece of
romantic extravagance that I can remember having committed in the course
of my life. Herman Mordaunt’s black was well treated, and dismissed with a
letter of acceptance. One hour after he left Satanstoe--I _do_ love that
venerable name, and hope all the Yankees in Christendom will not be able to
alter it to Dibbleton--but, one hour after the negro was off, I followed
him myself, intending to sleep at the well-known inn at Kingsbridge, and
not present myself at the Bush, until the proper hour next morning.

I had got to the house of the talkative landlady two hours before sunset,
put up my horse, secured my lodgings, and was eating a bite myself, when
the good housewife entered the room.

“Your servant, Mr. Littlepage,” commenced this loquacious person; “how are
the venerable Captain Hugh Roger, and the Major, your honoured father?
Well, I see by your smile. Well, it is a comfortable thing to have our
friends enjoy good health--my own poor man enjoyed most wretched health
all last winter, and is likely to enjoy very much the same, that which
is coming. I should think you had come to the wedding at Lilacsbush, Mr.
Corny, had you not stopped at my door, instead of going on direct to that
of Herman Mordaunt.”

I started, but supposed that the news of what was to happen had leaked out,
and that this good woman, whose ears were always open, had got hold of a
neighbourhood _truth_ for once in her life.

“I am on no such errand, Mrs. Light, but hope to be married, one of these
days, to some one or other.”

“I was not thinking of your marriage, sir, but that of Miss Anneke, over
at the ‘Bush, to this Lord Bulstrom. It’s a great connection for the
Mordaunts, after all, though Herman Mordaunt is of good blood, himself,
they tell me. The knight’s man often comes here, to taste new cider, which
he admits is as good as English cider, and I believe it is the only thing
which he has found in the colonies that he thinks is one-half as good; but
Thomas tells me all is settled, and that the wedding must take place right
soon. It has only been put off on account of Miss Wallace, who is in deep
mourning for her own husband, having lost him within the honey-moon, which
is the reason she still bears her own name. They tell me a widow who loses
her husband in the honey-moon is obliged to bear her maiden name; otherwise
Miss Mary would be Mrs. Van Goort, or something like that.”

As it was very clear the neighbourhood knew little about the true state of
things in Herman Mordaunt’s family, I took my hat and proceeded to execute
the intention with which I had left home. I was sorry to hear that
Bulstrode was at Lilacsbush, but had no apprehension of his ever marrying
Anneke. I took the way to the heights, and soon reached the field where I
had once met the ladies, on horseback. There, seated under a tree, I saw
Bulstrode alone, and apparently in deep contemplation. It was no part of my
plan to be seen, or to have my presence known, and I was retiring, when I
heard my name, discovered that I was recognised, and joined him.

The first glance at Bulstrode showed me that he knew the truth. He
coloured, bit his lips, forced a smile, and came forward to meet me,
limping just enough to add interest to his gait, and offered his hand with
a frank manliness that gave him great merit in my eyes. It was no trifle
to lose Anne Mordaunt, and I am afraid I could not have manifested half so
much magnanimity. But, Bulstrode was a man of the world, and he knew how
to command the exhibition of his feelings, if not to command the feelings
themselves.

“I told you, once, Corny,” he said, offering his hand, “that we must remain
friends, _coute qui couté_--you have been successful, and I have failed.
Herman Mordaunt told me the melancholy fact before we left Albany; and
I can tell you, _his_ regrets were not so very flattering to you.
Nevertheless, he admits you are a capital fellow, and that if it were not
for Alexander, he could wish to be Diogenes. So you have only to provide
yourself with a lantern and a tub, marry Anneke, and set up housekeeping.
As for the honest man, I propose saving you some trouble, by offering
myself in that character, even before you light your wick. Come, take a
seat on this bench, and let us chat.”

There was something a little forced in all this, it is true, but it was
manly. I took the seat, and Bulstrode went on.

“It was the river that made your fortune, Corny, and undid me.”

I smiled, but said nothing; though I knew better.

“There is a fate in love, as in war. Well, I am as well off as Abercrombie;
we both expected to be victorious, while each is conquered. I am more
fortunate, indeed; for he can never expect to get another army, while I may
get another wife. I wish you would be frank with me, and confess to what
you particularly ascribe your own success.”

“It is natural, Mr. Bulstrode, that a young woman should prefer to live in
her own country, to living in a strange land, and among strangers.”

“Ay, Corny, that is both patriotic and modest; but it is not the real
reason. No, sir; it was Scrub, and the theatricals, by which I have been
undone. With most provincials, Mr. Littlepage, it is a sufficient apology
for anything, that the metropolis approves. So it is with you colonists, in
general; let England say yes, and you dare not say, no. There is one thing,
that persons who live so far from home, seldom learn; and it is this: There
are two sorts of great worlds; the great vulgar world, which includes all
but the very best in taste, principles, and manners, whether it be in a
capital or a country; and the great _respectable_ world, which, infinitely
less numerous, contains the judicious, the instructed, the intelligent,
and, on some questions, the good. Now, the first form fashion; whereas the
last produce something far better and more enduring than fashion. Fashion
often stands rebuked, in the presence of the last class, small as it
ever is, numerically. Very high rank, very finished tastes, very strong
judgments, and very correct principles, all unite, more or less, to make up
this class. One, or more of these qualities may be wanting, perhaps, but
the union of the whole forms the perfection of the character. We have daily
examples of this at home, as well as elsewhere; though, in our artificial
state of society it requires more decided qualities to resist the influence
of fashion, when there is not positive, social rank to sustain it, perhaps,
than it would in one more natural. That which first struck me, in Anneke,
as is the case with most young men, was her delicacy of appearance, and her
beauty. This I will not deny. In this respect, your American women have
quite taken me by surprise. In England, we are so accustomed to associate a
certain delicacy of person and air, with high rank, that I will confess, I
landed in New York with no expectation of meeting a single female, in
the whole country, that was not comparatively coarse, and what we are
accustomed to consider common, in physique; yet, I must now say that,
apart from mere conventional finish, I find quite as large a proportion of
aristocratical-looking females among you, as if you had a full share of
dutchesses. The last thing I should think of calling an American woman,
would be coarse. She may want manner, in one sense; she may want finish, in
a dozen things; she may, and often does, want utterance, as utterance is
understood among the accomplished; but she is seldom, indeed, coarse or
vulgar, according to our European understanding of the terms.”

“And of what is all this _ápropos_, Bulstrode?”

“Oh! of your success, and my defeat, of course, Corny,” answered the major,
smiling. “What I mean, is this--that Anneke is one of your second class, or
is better than what fashion can make her; and Scrub has been the means of
my undoing. She does not care for fashion, in a play, or a novel, or
a dress even, but looks for the proprieties. Yes, Scrub has proved my
undoing!”

I did not exactly believe the last; but, finding Bulstrode so well disposed
to give his rejection this turn, it was not my part to contradict him. We
talked together half an hour longer, in the most amicable manner, when we
parted; Bulstrode promising not to betray the secret of my presence.

I lingered in sight of the house until evening, when I ventured nearer,
hoping to get a glimpse of Anneke as she passed some window, or appeared,
by the soft light of the moon, under the piazza that skirted the south
front of the building. Lilacsbush deserved its name, being a perfect
wilderness of shrubbery; and, favoured by the last, I had got quite near
the house, when I heard light footsteps on the gravel of an adjacent walk.
At the next instant, soft, low voices met my ears, and I was a sort of
compelled auditor of what followed.

“No, Anne, my fate is sealed for this world,” said Mary Wallace, “and
I shall live Guert’s widow as faithfully and devotedly, as if the
marriage-vow had been pronounced. This much is due to his memory, on
account of the heartless doubts I permitted to influence me, and which
drove him into those terrible scenes that destroyed him. When a woman
really loves, Anneke, it is vain to struggle against anything but positive
unworthiness, I fear. Poor Guert was not unworthy in any sense; he was
erring and impulsive, but not unworthy. No--no--not unworthy! I ought to
have given him my hand, and he would have been spared to us. As it is, I
can only live his widow in secret, and in love. You have done well, dearest
Anneke, in being so frank with Corny Littlepage, and in avowing that
preference which you have felt almost from the first day of your
acquaintance.”

Although this was music to my ears, honour would not suffer me to hear
more, and I moved swiftly away, stirring the bushes in a way to apprize the
speaker of the proximity of a stranger. It was necessary to appear, and I
endeavoured so to do, without creating any alarm.

“It must be Mr. Bulstrode,” said the gentle voice of Anneke, “who is
probably looking for us--see, there he comes, and we will meet--”

The dear speaker became tongue-tied; for, by this time, I was near enough
to be recognised. At the next instant, I held her in my arms. Mary Wallace
disappeared, how or when, I cannot say. I place a veil over the happy
hour that succeeded, leaving the old to draw on their experience for its
pictures, and the young to live in hope. At the end of that time, by
Anneke’s persuasion, I entered the house, and had to brave Herman
Mordaunt’s disposition to rally me. I was not only mercifully, but
hospitably treated, however, Anneke’s father merely laughing at my little
adventure, saying, that he looked upon it favourably, and as a sign that I
was a youth of spirit.

Early in October we were married, the Rev. Mr. Worden performing the
ceremony. Our home was to be Lilacsbush, which Herman Mordaunt conveyed to
me the same day, leaving it, as it was furnished, entirely in my hands. He
also gave me my wife’s mother’s fortune, a respectable independence, and
the death of Capt. Hugh Roger, soon after, added considerably to my means.
We made but one family, between town, Lilacsbush, and Satanstoe, Anneke and
my mother, in particular, conceiving a strong affection for each other.

As for Bulstrode, he went home before the marriage, but keeps up a
correspondence with us to this hour. He is still single, and is a declared
old bachelor. His letters, however, are too light-hearted to leave us any
concern on the subject; though these are matters that may fall to the share
of my son Mordaunt, should he ever have the grace to continue this family
narrative.


THE END.





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