صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

There is nothing in which

to keep them out of view. the talents of a prudent commander are more completely testified, than in thus setting matters off to the greatest advantage; and it is for this reason that our frontier posts at the present day (that of Niagara for example,) display their best suit of regimentals on the back of the sentinel who stands in sight of travellers.

His men being thus gallantly arrayed-those who lacked muskets shouldering spades and pickaxes, and every man being ordered to tuck in his shirt tail and pull up his brogues, General Von Poffenburgh first took a sturdy draught of foaming ale, which, like the magnanimous More of Morehall, was his invariable practice on all great occasions; which done, he put himself at their head, ordered the pine planks which served as a draw bridge, to be laid down, and issued forth from his castle, like a mighty giant, just refreshed with wine. But when the two heroes met, then began a scene of warlike parade, and chivalric courtesy that beggars all description. Risingh, who, as I before hinted, was a shrewd, cunning politician, and had grown gray much before his time, in consequence of his craftiness, saw at one glance the ruling passion of the great Von Poffenburgh, and humoured him in all his valorous fantasies.

Their detachments were accordingly drawn up in front of each other; they carried arms, and they presented arms; they gave the standing salute and passing salute: they rolled their drums, they flourished their fifes, and they waved their colours-they faced to the left, and they faced to the right, and they faced to the right about: -they wheeled forward, and they wheeled backward, and they wheeled into enchelon :-they marched and they counter-marched by grand divisions, by single divisions, and by subdivisions,—by platoons, by sections, and by files-to quick time, in slow time, and in no time at all for having gone through all the evolutions of two great armies, including the eighteen manœuvres of Dundas; having exhausted all that they could recollect or imagine of military tactics, including sundry strange and irregular evolutions, the like of which were

never seen before or since, excepting among certain of our newly raised militia-the two great commanders and their respective troops came at length to a dead halt, completely exhausted by the toils of war. Never

did two valiant train band captains, or two buskined theatric heroes, in the renowned tragedies of Pizarro, Tom Thumb, or any other heroical and fighting tragedy, marshal their gallows-looking, duck-legged, heavy-heeled myrmidons, with more glory and self-admiration.

These military compliments being finished, General Von Poffenburgh escorted his illustrious visitor, with great ceremony, into the fort; attended him throughout the fortifications; showed him the horn-works, crownworks, half-moons, and various other out-works; or rather the places where they ought to be erected; and where they might be erected if he pleased; plainly demonstrating that it was a place of "great capability," and though at present but a little redoubt, yet that it evidently was a formidable fortress in embryo. This survey over, he next had the whole garrison put under arms, exercised and reviewed, and concluded by ordering the three bridewell birds to be hauled out of the black hole, brought up to the halberts, and soundly flogged for the amusement of his visitor, and to convince him that he was a great disciplinarian.

There is no error more dangerous than for a commander to make known the strength, or, as in the present case, the weakness of his garrison; this will be exemplified before I have arrived to the end of my present story, which thus carries its moral, like a roasted goose his pudding, in the very middle. The cunning Risingh, while he pretended to be struck dumb outright, with the puissance of the great Von Poffenburgh, took silent note of the incompetency of his garison, of which he gave a hint to his trusty followers, who tipped each other the wink, and laughed most obstreperously-in their sleeves.

The inspection, review, and flogging being concluded, the party adjourned to the table; for among his other great qualities, the general was remarkably addicted to

huge entertainments, or rather carousals; and in one afternoon's campaign would leave more dead men on the field that ever he did in the whole course of his military career. Many bulletins of these bloodless victories do still remain on record; and the whole province was once thrown in amaze by the return of one of his campaigns; wherein it was stated, that though, like Captain Bobadil, he had only twenty men to back him, yet, in the short space of six months, he had conquered and utterly annihilated sixty oxen, ninety hogs, one hundred sheep, ten thousand cabbages, one thousand bushels of potatoes, one hundred and fifty kilderkins of small beer, two thousand seven hundred and thirty-five pipes, seventyeight pounds of sugar plums, and forty bars of iron, besides sundry small meats, game, poultry, and garden stuffs. An achievement unparalleled since the days of Pantagruel and his all-devouring army; and which showed that it was only necessary to let bellipotent Von Poffenburgh and his garrison loose in an enemy's country, and in a little while they would breed a famine, and starve all the inhabitants.

No sooner, therefore, had the general received the first intimation of the visit of Governor Risingh, than he ordered a great dinner to be prepared; and privately sent out a detachment of his most experienced veterans to rob all the hen roosts in the neighbourhood, and lay the pigsties under contribution-a service to which they had been long inured, and which they discharged with such incredible zeal and promptitude, that the garrison table groaned under the weight of their spoils

I wish, with all my heart, my readers could see the valiant Von Poffenburgh, as he presided at the head of the banquet. It was a sight worth beholding :-there he sat, in his greatest glory, surrounded by his soldiers, like that famous wine-bibber, Alexander, whose thirsty virtues he did most ably imitate; telling astonishing stories of his hair-breadth adventures and heroic exploits, at which, though all his auditors knew them to be most incontinent and outrageous gasconades, yet did they cast up their eyes in admiration, and utter many interjections

of astonishment. Nor could the general pronounce any thing that bore the remotest resemblance to a joke but the stout Risingh would strike his brawny fist upon the table, till every glass rattled again, throwing himself back in his chair, and uttering gigantic peals of laughter, swearing most horribly it was the best joke he ever heard in his life. Thus all was rout and revelry and hideous carousal within Fort Casimir; and so lustily did Von Poffenburgh ply the bottle that in less than four short hours he made himself and his whole garrison, who all sedulously emulated the deeds of their chieftain, dead drunk, in singing songs, quaffing bumpers, and drinking patriotic toasts, none of which but was as long as a Welsh pedigree, or a plea in Chancery.

No sooner did things come to this pass than the crafty Risingh and his Swedes, who had cunningly kept themselves sober, rose on their entertainers, tied them neck and heels, and took formal possession of the fort, and all its dependencies, in the name of Queen Christina of Sweden; administrating, at the same time, an oath of allegiance to all the Dutch soldiers who could be made sober enough to swallow it. Risingh then put the fortifications in order, appointed his discreet and vigilant friend Suen Scutz, a tall, wind-dried, water-drinking, Swede, to the command; and departed, bearing with him this truly amiable garrison and their puissant commander, who, when brought to himself by a sound drubbing, bore no small resemblance to a "deboshed fish," or bloated sea monster, caught upon dry land.

The transportation of the garrison was done to prevent the transmission of intelligence to New-Amsterdam; for much as the cunning Risingh exulted in his stratagem, he dreaded the vengeance of the sturdy Peter Stuyvesant, whose name spread as much terror in the neighbourhood as did whilome that of the unconquerable Scanderbeg among his scurvey enemies the Turks.

Dirk Schuiler and the valiant Peter.

WHOEVER first described common fame, or rumour, as belonging to the sager sex, was a very owl from shrewdness. She has in truth certain feminine qualities to an astonishing degree; particularly that benevolent anxiety to take care of the affairs of others, which keeps her continually hunting after secrets, and gadding about proclaiming them. Whatever is done openly, and in the face of the world, she takes but transient notice of; but whenever a transaction is done in a corner, and attempted to be shrouded in mystery, then her goddesship is at her wit's end to find it out, and takes a most mischievous and lady-like pleasure in publishing it to the world. It is this truly feminine propensity that induces her continually to be prying into cabinets of princes, listening at the key-holes of senate chambers, and peering through chinks and crannies when our worthy congress are sitting with closed doors, deliberating between a dozen excellent modes of ruining the nation. It is this which makes her so obnoxious to all wary statesmen and intriguing commanders-such a stumbling-block to private negociations and secret expeditions, she often betrays by means and instruments which never would have been thought of by any but a female head.

Thus it was in the case of the affair of Fort Casimir. No doubt the cunning Risingh imagined that, by securing the garrison, he should for a long time prevent the history of its fate from reaching the ears of the gallant Stuveysant; but his exploit was blown to the world when he least expected it, and by one of the last beings he would ever have suspected of enlisting as trumpeter to the wide-mouthed deity.

This was one Dirk Schuiler (or Skulker), a kind of hanger-on to the garrison, who seemed to belong to nobody, and in a manner to be self-outlawed. He was one of those vagabond cosmopolites, who shark about

« السابقةمتابعة »