« السابقةمتابعة »
board ; and I'll warrant our guest is in no mood to dally with his trencher."
There was a bustle now in the little encampment. One took off the kettle, and turned a part of the contents into a huge wooden bowl; another prepared a flat rock for a table; while a third brought various utensils from the pinnace; Heer Antony himself brought a flask or two of precious liquor from his own private locker; knowing his boon companions too well to trust any of them with the key.
A rude but hearty repast was soon spread, consisting of venison smoking from the kettle, with cold bacon, boiled Indian corn, and mighty loaves of good brown household bread. Never had Dolph made a more delicious repast; and when he had washed it down with two or three draughts from the Heer Antony's flask, and felt the jolly liquor sending its warmth through his veins, and glowing round his very heart, he would not have changed his situation, no, not with the governor of the province.
The Heer Antony, too, grew chirping and joyous ; told half-a-dozen fat stories, at which his white followers laughed immoderately, though the Indians, as usual, maintained an invincible gravity.
"This is your true life, my boy!” said he, slapping Dolph on the shoulder; "a man is never a man till he can defy wind and weather, range woods and wilds, sleep under a tree, and live on bass-wood leaves!”
And then would he sing a stave or two of a Dutch drinking song, swaying a short squab Dutch bottle in his hand, while his myrmidons would join in the chorus, until the woods echoed again; as the good old song has it :
Dally with his trencher : " play with his knife and fork.”
They all with a shout made the elements ring,
So soon as the office was o'er;
And tippled strong liquor gillore.” In the midst of his joviality, however, Heer Antony did not lose sight of discretion. Though he pushed the bottle without reserve to Dolph, he always took care to help his followers himself, knowing the beings he had to deal with ; and was particular in granting but a moderate allowance to the Indians. The repast being ended, the Indians having drunk their liquor and smoked their pipes, now wrapped themselves in their blankets, stretched themselves on the ground with their feet to the fire, and soon fell asleep, like so many tired hounds. The rest of the party remained chatting before the fire, which the gloom of the forest, and the dampness of the air from the late storm, rendered extremely grateful and comforting. The conversation gradually moderated from the hilarity of supper-time, and turned upon hunting adventures, and exploits and perils in the wilderness; many of which were so strange and improbable, that I will not venture to repeat them, lest the veracity of Antony Vander Heyden and his comrades should be brought into question. There were many legendary tales told, also, about the river, and the settlements on its borders ; in which valuable kind of lore, the Heer Antony seemed deeply versed. As the sturdy bush-beater sat in a twisted root of a tree, that served him for an arm-chair, dealing forth these wild stories, with the fire gleaming on his strongly marked visage, Dolph was again repeatedly perplexed by something that reminded him of the phantom of the haunted house ; some vague re
Gillore : generally written “galore,” in plenty.
Haunted house : do you suspect that there is any purpose in repeating this suggestion ? What is it?
semblance, not to be fixed upon any precise feature or lineament, but pervading the general air of his countenance and figure.
The circumstance of Dolph's falling overboard led to the relation of divers disasters and singular mishaps that had befallen voyagers on this great river, particularly in the earlier periods of colonial history; most of which the Heer deliberately attributed to supernatural causes. Dolph stared at this suggestion ; but the old gentleman assured him it was very currently believed by the settlers along the river, that these highlands were under the dominion of supernatural and mischievous beings, which seemed to have taken some pique against the Dutch colonists in the early time of the settlement. In consequence of this, they have ever taken particular delight in venting their spleen, and indulging their humors, upon the Dutch skippers; bothering them with flaws, head winds, counter currents, and all kinds of impediments; insomuch that a Dutch navigator was always obliged to be exceedingly wary and deliberate in his proceedings; to come to anchor at dusk; to drop his peak, or take in sail, whenever he saw a swagbellied cloud rolling over the mountains; in short, to take so many precautions, that he was often apt to be an incredible time in toiling up the river.
Some, he said, believed these mischievous powers of the air to be evil spirits conjured up by the Indian wizards, in the early times of the province, to revenge themselves on the strangers who had dispossessed them of their country. They even attributed to their incantations the misadventure which befell the renowned Hendrick Hudson, when he sailed so gallantly up this river in quest of a north-west passage, and, as he thought, run his ship aground; which
Peak : the upper end of the gaff. Hendrick Hudson : Note 23.
they affirm was nothing more nor less than a spell of these same wizards, to prevent his getting to China in this direction.
The greater part, however, Heer Antony observed, accounted for all the extraordinary circumstances attending this river, and the perplexities of the skippers who navigated it, by the old legend of the Storm-ship, which haunted Point-no-point. On finding Dolph to be utterly ignorant of this tradition, the Heer stared at him for a moment with surprise, and wondered where he had passed his life, to be uninformed on so important a point of history. To pass away the remainder of the evening, therefore, he un
HENRY HUDSON. dertook the tale, as far as his From the painting said to be from the
life, in the possession of the Corporamemory would serve, in the
tion of the City of New York. very words in which it had been written out by Mynheer Selyne, an early poet of the New Nederlandts. Giving, then, a stir to the fire, that sent up its sparks among the trees like a little volcano, he adjusted himself comfortably in his root of a tree; and throwing back his head, and closing his eyes for a few moments, to summon up his recollection, he related the following legend :
THE STORM SHIP.
In the golden age of the province of the New Netherlands, when it was under the sway of Wouter Van Twiller, otherwise called the Doubter, the people of the Manhattoes were alarmed, one sultry afternoon, just about the time of the summer solstice, by a tremendous storm of thunder and lightning. The rain fell in such torrents,
as absolutely to spatter up and smoke along the ground. It seemed as if the thunder rattled and rolled over the
roofs of the houses; the lightning was seen to play about the church of St. Nicholas, and to strive three times, in vain, to strike its weather-cock. Garret Van Horne's
new chimney was WOUTER VAN TWILLER.
split almost from After the picture by E. H. Boughton.
top to bottom; and
Doffue Mildeberger was struck speechless from his bald-faced mare, just as he was riding into town. In a word, it was one of those unparalleled storms, which only happen once within the
The golden age : Note 24.