« السابقةمتابعة »
evil spirits, which has since been adapted by all the Dutch captains that navigate this haunted river.
There is another story, told of this foul weather urchin, by Skipper Daniel Ouslesticker, of Fish Hill, who was never known to tell a lie. He declared that, in a severe squall, he saw him seated astride of his bowsprit, riding the sloop ashore, full butt against Anthony's nose, and that he was exorcised by Dominie Van Gieson, of Esopus, who happened to be on board, and who sung the hymn of St. Nicholas; whereupon the goblin threw himself up in the air like a ball, and went off in a whirlwind, carrying away with him the night cap of the Dominie's wife ; which was discovered the next Sunday morning hanging on the weathercock of Esopus' church steeple, at least forty miles off! After several events of this kind had taken place, the regular skippers of the river, for a long time, did not venture to pass the Dunderberg without lowering their peaks, out of homage to the Heer of the mountain ; and it was observed that all such as paid this tribute of respect were suffered to pass unmolested *.
* Among the superstitions which prevailed in the colonies, during the early times of the settlements, there seems to have been a singular one about phantom ships. The superstitious fancies of men are always apt to turn upon those objects which concern their daily occupations. The solitary ship, which, from year to year, came like a raven in the wilderness, bringing to the inhabitants of a settlement the comforts of life from the world from which they were cut off, was apt to be present to their dreams, whether sleeping or waking. The accidental sight from shore of a sail gliding along the
DEUCALION OF KENTUCKY.
My grandfather was one of the first settlers of Kentucky. He was, by profession, a miller, and built a flour mill at a village in that state. It was called Thyatira-after one of the ancient towns mentioned in the Bible; and he and his neighbours, the founders, expected it would become a great city, but not a vestige of it, neither of the church or mill, now remains—yet I remember it all well. It was a handsome place, situated at the bottom of a range of hills, wooded to the top-a fine stream washed their feet, and the mill stood at the side of a pretty waterfall.
My grandfather left his property in a flourishing condition to my father, who was an enterprising character. He took an active part in the war for independence; and when the peace was adjusted, he returned to Thyatira, where he enlarged the old flour mill, and constructed
horizon of these, as yet, lonely seas, was apt to be a matter of much talk and speculation. There is mention made in one of the early New England writers, of a ship navigated by witches, with a great horse that stood by the mainmast. I have met with another story, somewhere, of a ship that drove on shore in fair, sunny, tranquil weather, with sails all set, and a table spread in the cabin, as if to regale a number of guests, yet not a living being on board. These phantom ships always sailed in the eye of the wind; or ploughed their way with great velocity, making the smooth sea foam before their bows, when not a breath of air was stirring.
Moore has finely wrought up one of these legends of the sea into a little tale, which, within a small compass, contains the very essence of this species of supernatural tiction. I allude to his Spectre Ship bound to Deadman's Isle.
another for sawing the timber, with which the neighbouring mountains were covered. Every body predicted that my father would soon be one of the richest men in the state, and his prospects were certainly undeniable.
I think it is not possible that I shall ever see again a place half so beautiful as the unfortunate Thyatira, and the valley which it overlooked. The valley was green, the stream was clear, and the woods, that clothed the mountains, were of the loftiest kind, and the richest leaf! All is now desolate. Sometimes of a night, as I came across the Atlantic, I thought the bell of the little wooden church, that stood on the slope above the village, rung in my ear, and I heard the dogs, as it were, bark again, and the cocks crow; but the ship would give a lurch and turn my eyes outwards upon the ocean waters all around me, as lone and wild as the deluge that destroyed my native village.
In the summer before the dreadful yellow fever broke out in Philadelphia- I was in that city at the time when the fever raged, which makes me remember it so well, my father was much troubled by the failure of the stream which supplied his mill. The drought dried it up, and his wheels stood still for want of water. Some of the old neighbours had visited the source of the river in their youth. It was a lake far up among the mountains, and my father, being a bold and enterprising character, thought, if he could enlarge the opening at the banks of the lake, where the stream issued, he would obtain an abundance of water.
The scheme was feasible, and he engaged a number of men to go with him to the lake for that purpose. I was then a youth, fond of any adventure, and I accompanied the heroes of the pickaxe and shovel. We had a cheerful journey through the woods ; we startled showers of beautiful humming-birds; they were all like apple blossoms scattered in the winds; we slept at night in the woods, and we crossed several ancient Indian war tracks, which we knew by their inscriptions on the rocks; we saw also in the forest artificial mounds, on which trees of the oldest growth were growing. They were the work of the inhabitants before the present race, -perhaps they were antediluvian. Sometimes I think America is the old world that was destroyed. But be that as it may, it contains many remains of antiquity that philosophy has not yet explained. The warfare belts of Indians are hieroglyphical lectures. The Egyptians wrote in that language. Did they teach the Indians ? Not, however, to dwell on such abstruse matters, I shall just say, that we reached on the second day the lake which supplied the stream. It was about ten miles long and five broad-a bowl in the midst of several hills. It was overlooked by the woods and mountains; but towards our valley, a vast embankment gave it the form of a dam, over the middle of which the stream of Thyatira flowed.
It was the evening when we reached the top of the embankment; we took some refreshment, and my father proposed that we should rest our. selves for that night ;-—the whole business partook of the nature of a hunting excursion ;-our end was labour, but we sweetened the means with pleasure. Accordingly, after our repast, the party severally betook themselves to the sports in which they most delighted. I retired to a rock that overlooked the lake, and seated myself to view the landscape, that in the lone magnificence of mountain, lake, and wood, was spread around me. The spirit of the place held communion with mine, and I was seized with an awful foreboding. Tranquillity floated like a corpse on the water ; silence sat in the dumbness of death on the mountains; the woods seemed, as the light faded, to take the form of hearseplumes ; and as I looked down towards my native village, I thought of the valley of Jehoshaphat, and the day of judgment. What curious sense of the mind, keener than the eye, and quicker than the ear, gave me in that evening the foretaste of what was to happen?
The rest of the party slept well, but I durst not close my eyes. The moment I did so, the ever restless faculty of my spirit discovered the omens of what was to ensue, and frightened me awake. It is amazing how such things happen ; —for my part, I think the mind never sleeps, and that our dreams are but the metaphorical medium of its reflections when the five physical senses are shut up. Dreams, I would say, are but the metaphors in which reason thinks. But the mysteries of the kingdom of the soul are more dark and profound than those of the other kingdoms of nature, and I cannot expound them.
At daybreak my father called us cheerily to VOL. IV.