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giddy heads, who think after they act, and act differently from what they think; who make excellent determinations overnight and forget to keep them the next morning.
“This is a fine conclusion, truly, of my voyage,” said he, as he almost buried himself in a sumptuous featherbed, and drew the fresh white sheets up to his chin. “ Here am I, instead of finding a bag of money to carry home, launched in a strange place with scarcely a stiver in my pocket; and, what is worse, have jumped ashore up to my very ears in love into the bargain. However,” added he, after some pause, stretching himself and turning himself in bed, “I'm in good quarters for the present, at least; so I'll e'en enjoy the present moment, and let the next take care of itself; I dare say all will work out, somehow or other,' for the best."
As he said these words, he reached out his hand to extinguish the candle, when he was suddenly struck with astonishment and dismay, for he thought he beheld the phantom of the haunted house staring on him from a dusky part of the chamber. A second look reassured him, as he perceived that what he had taken for the spectre was, in fact, nothing but a Flemish portrait, hanging in a shadowy corner just behind a clothes-press. It was, however, the precise representation of his nightly visitor. The same cloak and belted jerkin. The same grizzled beard and fixed eye, the same broad slouched hat, with a feather hanging over one side. Dolph now called to mind the resemblance he had frequently remarked between his host and the old man of the haunted house; and was fully convinced they were in some way connected, and that
Stiver : a Dutch coin worth about two cents.
some especial destiny had governed his voyage. He lay gazing on the portrait with almost as much awe as he had gazed on the ghostly original, until the shrill house-clock warned him of the lateness of the hour. He put out the light; but remained for a long time turning over these curious circumstances and coincidences in his mind, until he fell asleep. His dreams partook of the nature of his waking thoughts. He fancied that he still lay gazing on the picture, until, by degrees, it became animated; that the figure descended from the wall and walked out of the room; that he followed it and found himself by the well, to which the old man pointed, smiled on him, and disappeared.
In the morning when he waked, he found his host standing by his bedside, who gave him a hearty morning's salutation, and asked him how he had slept. Dolph answered cheerily; but took occasion to inquire about the portrait that hung against the wall. “Ah,” said Heer Antony, “that's a portrait of old Killian Vander Spiegel, once a burgomaster of Amsterdam, who, on some popular troubles abandoned Holland, and came over to the province during the govern
PETER STUYVESANT. ment of Peter Stuyvesant. After the portrait from life in the pos
session of the New York Historical He was my ancestor by the
Society. mother's side, and an old miserly curmudgeon he was. When the English took pos
Peter Stuyvesant : Note 33.
session of New Amsterdam in 1664, he retired into the country. He fell into a melancholy, apprehending that his wealth would be taken from him and he come to beggary. He turned all his property into cash, and used to hide it away. He was for a year or two concealed in various places, fancying himself sought after by the English, to strip him of his wealth ; and finally was found dead in his bed one morning, without any one being able to discover where he had concealed the greater part of his money."
When his host had left the room, Dolph remained for some time lost in thought. His whole mind was occupied by what he had heard. Vander Spiegel was his mother's family name; and he recollected to have heard her speak of this very Killian Vander Spiegel as one of her ancestors. He had heard her say, too, that her father was Killian's rightful heir, only that the old man died without leaving anything to be inherited. It now appeared that Heer Antony was likewise a descendant, and perhaps an heir also, of this poor rich man; and that thus the Heyligers and the Vander Heydens were remotely connected.
What,” thought he, “if, after all, this is the interpretation of my dream, that this is the way I am to make my fortune by this voyage to Albany, and that I am to find the old man's hidden wealth in the bottom of that well ? But what an odd, round-about mode of communicating the matter! Why the plague could not the old goblin have told me about the well at once, without sending me all the way to Albany to hear a story that was to send me all the way back again?”
These thoughts passed through his mind while he was dressing He descended the stairs, full of perplexity, when the bright face of Marie Vander Heyden suddenly
beamed in smiles upon him, and seemed to give him a clew to the whole mystery. “After all,” thought he, "the old goblin is in the right. If I am to get his wealth, he means that I shall marry his pretty descendant; thus both branches of the family will be again united, and the property go on in the proper channel.”
No sooner did this idea enter his head, than it carried conviction with it. He was now all impatience to hurry back and secure the treasure, which, he did not doubt, lay at the bottom of the well, and which he feared every moment might be discovered by some other person. “Who knows,” thought he, “but this night-walking old fellow of the haunted house may be in the habit of haunting every visitor, and may give a hint to some shrewder fellow than myself, who will take a shorter cut to the well than by the way of Albany ?” He wished a thousand times that the babbling old ghost was laid in the Red Sea, and his rambling portrait with him. He was in a perfect fever to depart. Two or three days elapsed before any opportunity presented for returning down the river. They were ages to Dolph, notwithstanding that he was basking in the smiles of the pretty Marie, and daily getting more and more enamoured.
At length the very sloop from which he had been knocked overboard, prepared to make sail. Dolph made an awkward apology to his host for his sudden departure. Antony Vander Heyden was sorely astonished. He had concerted half-a-dozen excursions into the wilderness; and his Indians were actually preparing for a grand expedition to one of the lakes. He took Dolph aside, and exerted his eloquence to get him to abandon all thoughts of business, and to remain with him, but in vain; and he at length gave up the attempt, observing, "that it was a
thousand pities so fine a young man should throw himself away." Heer Antony, however, gave him a hearty shake by the hand at parting, with a favorite fowling-piece, and an invitation to come to his house whenever he revisited Albany. The pretty little Marie said nothing; but as he gave her a farewell kiss, her dimpled cheek turned pale, and a tear stood in her eye. Dolph sprang lightly on board of the vessel.
They hoisted sail; the wind was fair; they soon lost sight of Albany, its green hills, and embowered islands. They were wafted gayly past the Kaatskill mountains, whose fairy heights were bright and cloudless. They passed prosperously through the highlands, without any molestation from the Dunderberg goblin and his crew; they swept on across Haverstraw Bay, and by Croton Point, and through the Tappaan Zee, and under the Palisadoes, until, in the afternoon of the third day, they saw the promontory of Hoboken, hanging like a cloud in the air; and, shortly after, the roofs of the Manhattoes rising out of the water.
Dolph's first care was to repair to his mother's house; for he was continually goaded by the idea of the uneasiness she must experience on his account. He was puzzling his brains, as he went along, to think how he should account for his absence, without betraying the secrets of the haunted house. In the midst of these cogitations, he entered the street in which his mother's house was situated, when he was thunderstruck at beholding it a heap of ruins.
There had evidently been a great fire, which had destroyed several large houses, and the humble dwelling of poor Dame Heyliger had been involved in the conflagration. The walls were not so completely destroyed but that
Fairy heights : Note 34