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ing gossippings, to lay all the blame on out-door work to do; so that though his Dame Van Winkle. The children of patrimonial estate had dwindled away the village, too, would shout with joy under his management, acre by acre, whenever he approached. He assisted until there was little more left than a at their sports, made their play-things, mere patch of Indian corn and potatoes, taught them to fly kites and shoot mar yet it was the worst conditioned farm in bles, and told them long stories of ghosts, the neighbourhood. witches, and Indians. Whenever he His children, too, were as ragged and went dodging about the village, he was wild as if they belonged to nobody:surrounded by a troop of them, hang- His son Rip, an urchin begotten in his ing on his skirts, clambering on his own likeness, promised to inherit the back, and playing a thousand tricks on habits, with the old clothes of his father. him with impunity; and not a dog He was generally seen trooping like a would bark at him throughout the colt at his mother's heels, equipped in whole neighbourhood.
a pair of his father's cast-off galligasThe great error in Rip's composition kins, which he had much ado to hold was an insuperable aversion to all kinds up with one hand, as a fine lady does of profitable labour. It could not be her train in bad weather, from want of assiduity or perseverance; Rip Van Winkle, however, was one for he would sit on a wet rock, with a of those happy mortals, of foolish, wellrod as long and heavy as a Tartar's oiled disposition, who takes the world lance, and fish all day without a mur easy, eat white bread or brown, which mur, even though he should not be en ever can be got with least thought or couraged by a single nibble. He would trouble, and would rather starve on a carry a fowling piece on his shoulder penny than work for a pound. If left for hours together, trudging through to himself, he would have whistled life woods and swamps, and up hill and away in perfect contentment; but his down dale, to shoot a few squirrels or wife kept continually dinning his ears wild pigeons. He would never refuse about his idleness, his carelessness, and to assist a neighbour even in the rough the ruin he was bringing on his family. est toil, and was a foremost man at all Morning, noon, and night, her tongue country frolics for husking Indian corn, was incessantly going, and every thing or building stone fenees; the women of he said or did was sure to produce a the village, too, used to employ him to torrent of household eloquence. Rip run their errands, and to do such little had but one way of replying to all lecodd jobs as their less obliging husbands tures, and that, by frequent use, had would not do for them. In a word, grown into a habit. He shrugged his Rip was ready to attend to any body's shoulders, shook his head, cast up his business but his own; but as to doing eyes, but said nothing. This, however, family duty, and keeping his farm in always provoked a fresh volley from his order, he found it impossible.
wife; so that he was fain to draw off his In fact, he declared it was of no use forces, and take to the outside of the to work on his farm ; it was the most house—the only side which, in truth, pestilent little piece of ground in the belongs to a henpecked husband. whole country; every thing about it Rip's sole domestic adherent was his went wrong, in spite of him. His fences dog Wolf, who was as much henpecked were continually falling to pieces ; his as his master; for Dame Van Winkle cows would either go astray, or get regarded them as companions in idleamong the cabbages; weeds were sure ness, and even looked upon Wolf with to grow quicker in his fields than any an evil eye, as the cause of his master's where, else; the rain always made a going so often astray. True it is, in all point of setting in just as he had some points of spirit besitting an honourable
dog, he was as courageous an animal hour by his movements as accurately as ever scoured the woods—but what as by a sun dial. It is true, he was courage can withstand the ever-during rarely heard to speak, but smoked his and all-besetting terrors of a woman's pipe incessantly. His adherents, howtongue? The moment Wolf entered
ever, (for every great man has his adthe house, his crest fell, his tail droop- herents, perfectly understood him, and ed to the ground, or curled between his knew how to gather his opinions.legs, he sneaked about with a gallows When any thing
that was read or related air, casting many a sidelong glance at displeased him, he was observed to Dame Van Winkle, and at the least smoke his pipe vehemently, and send Aourish of a broomstick or ladle, he forth short, frequent, and angry puffs ; would fly to the door with yelping pre- but when pleased, he would inhale the cipitation.
smoke slowly and tranquilly, and emit Times grew worse and worse with it in light and placid clouds, and someRip Van Winkle as years of matrimo times taking the pipe from his mouth, ny rolled on; a tart temper never mel and letting the fragrant vapour curl lows with age, and a sharp tongue is about his nose, would gravely nod his the only edge tool that grows keener head in token of perfect approbation. with constant use. For a long while From even this strong hold the unhe used to condole himself, when driven lucky Rip was at length routed by his from home by frequenting a kind of termagant wife, who would suddenly perpetual clubof the sages, philosophers, break in upon the tranquillity of the and other idle personages of the vil- assemblage and call the members all to lage ; which held its sessions on a bench naught; nor was that august personage, before a small inn, designated by a rubi Nicholas Vedder himselt, sacred from cund portrait of His Majesty George the the daring tongue of this terrible viraThird. Here they used to sit in the go, who charged him outright with enshade of a long lazy summer's day, talk couraging her husband in habits of listlessly over village gossip, or tell end idleness, less sleepy stories about nothing. But Poor Rip was at last reduced almost it would have been worth any states to despair; and his only alternative, to man's money to have heard the pro- escape f.om the labour of the farm and found discussions that sometimes took the clamour of his wife, was to take place, when by chance an old newspa- gun in hand, and stroll away into the per fell into their hands from some pass woods. Here he would sometimes seat ing traveller. How solemnly they would himself at the foot of a tree, and share listen to the contents, as drawled out the contents of his wallet with Wolf, by Derrick Van Bummel, the school with whom he sympathised as a fellow master, a dapper learned little man, sufferer in persecution. “ Poor Wolf!" who was not to be daunted by the most he would say, “thy mistress leads thee a gigantic word in the dictionary; and dog's life of it; but never mind, my lad, how sagely they would deliberate upon whilst I live thou shalt never want a public events some months after they friend to stand by thee!" Wolf would had taken place.
wag his tail, look wistfully in his masThe opinions of the junto were com ter's face, and if dogs can feel pity, I pletely controlled by Nicholas Vedder, verily believe he reciprocated the sena patriarch of the village, and landlord timent with all his heart. of the inn, at the door of which he took In a long ramble of the kind on a his seat from morning till night, just fine autumnal day, Rip had unconsciousmoving sufficiently to avoid the sun; ly scrambled to one of the highest parts and keep in the shade of a large tree; of the Kaatskill mountains. He was after so that the neighbours could tell the his favourite sport of squirrel shooting,
and the still solitudes had echoed and but supposing it to be some one of the re-echoed with the reports of his gun. neighbourhood in need of his assistance, Panting and fatigued, he threw himself, he hastened down to yield it. late in the afternoon, on a green knoll, On nearer approach he was still more covered with mountain herbage, that surprised at the singularity of the strancrowned the brow of a precipice. From ger's appearance. He was a short squarean opening between the trees he could built old fellow, with thick bushy hair, overlook all the lower country for many and a grizzled beard. His dress was of a mile of rich woodland. He saw at a the antique Dutch fashion-a cloth jerdistance the lordly Hudson, far, far be- kin strapped round the waist-several low him, moving on its silent but ma-pair of breeches the outer one of amjestic course, with the reflection of a ple volume, decorated with rows of butpurple cloud, or the sail of a lagging tons down the sides, and bunches at the bark, here and there sleeping on its knees. He bore on his shoulder a stout bosom, and at last losing itself in the keg, that seemed full of liquor, and blue highlands.
made signs for Rip to approach and On the other side he looked down in assist him with the load. Though rato a deep mountain glen, wild, lonely, ther shy and distrustful of his new acand shagged, the bottom filled with quaintance, Rip complied with his usual fragments from the impending cliffs, alacrity, and mutually relieving each and scarcely lighted by the reflected other, they clambered up a narrow gulrays of the setting sun. For some time ly, apparently the dry bed of a mounRip lay musing on the scene; evening tain torrent.
tain torrent. As they ascended, Rip was gradually advancing; the mountains every now and then heard long rolling began to throw their long blue shadows peals, like distant thunder, that seemed over the valleys; he saw that it would to issue out of a deep ravine, or rather be dark long before he could reach the cleft between lofty rocks, towards which village, and he heaved a heavy sigh their rugged path conducted. He pauswhen he thought of encountering the ed for an instant, but supposing it to be terrors of Dame Van Winkle.
the muttering of one of those transient As he was about to descend, he heard thunder showers which often take place a voice from a distance, hallooing, in mountain heights, he proceeded. “ Rip Van Winkle! Rip Van Winkle !" Passing through the ravine, they came He looked around, but could see nothing to a hollow, like a small amphitheatre, , but a crow winging its solitary flight surrounded by perpendicular precipices, across the mountain. He thought his over the brinks of which impending fancy must have deceived him and turn trees shot their branches, so that you ed again to descend, when he heard the only caught glimpses of the azure sky same cry ring through the still evening and the bright evening cloud. During air; “ Rip Van Winkle! Rip Van Wine the whole time Rip and his companion kle !"-at the same time Wolf bristled had laboured on in silence; for though up his back, and giving a low growl, the former marvelled greatly what could skulked to his master's side, looking be the object of carrying a keg of liquor fearfully down into the glen. Rip now up this wild mountain, yet there was felt a sort of vague apprehension steal something strange and incomprehensiing over him; he looked anxiously in ble about the unknown, that inspired the same direction, and perceived a awe, and checked familiarity. strange figure slowly toiling up the On entering the amphitheatre, new rocks, and bending under the weight of objects of wonder presented themselves. something he carried on his back. He On a level spot in the centre was a comwas surprised to see any human being pany of odd looking personages playing in this lonely and unfrequented place, at nine-pins. They were dressed in a
quaint outlandish fashion ; some wore Aavour of excellent Hollands. He was short doublets, others jerkins, with long naturally a thirsty soul, and was soon knives in their belts, and most of them tempted to repeat the draught. One had enormous breeches, of similar style taste provoked another, and he reiteratwith that of the guide's. Their visages, ed his visits to the flagon so often, that too, were peculiar : one had a large at length his senses were overpowered, head, broad face, and small piggish his eyes swam in his head, his head eyes; the face of another seemed to con gradually declined, and he fell into a sist entirely of nose, and was surmount deep sleep: ed by a white sugarloaf hat, set off with On waking, he found himself on the a little red cockstail. They all had green knoll from whence he had first beards of various shapes and colours. seen the old man of the glen. He There was one who seemed to be the rubbed his eyes—it was a bright suncommander. He was a stout old gen- ny morning. The birds were hopping tleman, with a weather-beaten counte and twittering among the bushes, and nance; he wore a laced doublet, broad the eagle was wheeling aloft, and breastbelt and hanger, high crowned hat and ing the pure mountain breeze. “Surefeather, red stockings, and high heeled ly," thought Rip, “ I have not slept shoes, with roses in them. The whole here all night.” He recalled the occurgroup reminded Rip of the figures in an rences before he fell asleep. The strange old Flemish painting, in the parlour of man with a keg of liquor—the mounDominie Van Schaick, the village par- tain ravine-the wild retreat among the son, which had been brought over from rocks—the wo-begone party at nineHolland at the time of the settlement. pins the flagon__ Oh! that flagon,
What seemed particularly odd to Rip, that wicked Hagon!” thought Ripwas, that though these folks were evi “ what excuse shall I make to Dame dently amusing themselves, yet they | Van Winkle ?" maintained the gravest faces, the most He looked round for his gun, but in mysterious silence, and were, withal, place of the clean well-oiled fowlingthe most melancholy party of pleasure piece, he found an old firelock lying he had ever witnessed. Nothing inter- by him, the barrel enerusted with rust, rupted the stillness of the scene, but the the lock falling off, and the stock wormRoise of the balls, which, whenever they eaten. He now suspected that the grave were rolled, echoed along the moun roysters of the mountain had put a trick tains like rumbling peals of thunder. upon him, and having dosed' him with
As Rip and his companion approach- liquor, had robbed him of his gun.ed them, they suddenly desisted from Wolf, too, had disappeared, but he their play, and stared at him with such might have strayed away after a squirfixed statue-like gaze, and such strange, rel or partridge. He whistled after him, uncouth, lack-lustre countenances, that and shouted his name, but all in vain ; his heart turned within him, and his the echoes repeated his whistle and knees smote together. His companion shout, but no dog was to be seen. now emptied the contents of the keg He determined to revisit the scene of into large flagons, and made signs to the last evening's gambol, and if he met him to wait upon the company. He with any of the party, to demand his obeyed with fear and trembling: they dog and gun. As he rose to walk he quaffed the liquor in profound silence, found himself stiff in the joints, and and then returned to their game. wanting in his usual activity. “These
By degrees, Rip's awe and apprehen- mountain beds do not agree with me," sion subsided. He even ventured, when thought Rip, "and if this frolick should no eye was fixed upon him, to taste the lay me up with a fit of the rheumatism, beverage, which he found had much the I shall have a blessed time with Dame
Van Winkle.” With seeming difficul whenever they cast their eyes upon him, ty he got down into the glen : he found they invariably stroked their chins.-the gully up which he and his compa The constant recurrence of this gesture nion had ascended the preceding even induced Rip, involuntarily to do the ing, but to his astonishment a mountain same, when, to his astonishment, he stream was now foaming down it, leap- found his beard had grown a foot long. ing from rock to rock, and filling the He had now entered the skirts of the glen with babbling murmurs. He, how-village. A troop of strange children ever, made shift to scramble up its sides, ran at his heels, hooting after him, and working his toilsome way through thick pointing at his gray beard. The dogs ets of birch, sassafras, and witch hazel, too, not one of which he recognized for and sometimes tripped up or entangled an old acquaintance, barked at him as by the wild grape vines that twisted he passed. The very village was altertheir coils and tendrils from tree to tree, ed: it was larger and more populous. and spread a kind of net-work in his There were rows of houses which he path.
had never seen before, and those which At length he reached to where the had been his familiar haunts had disapravine had opened through the cliffs to peared. Strange names were over the the amphitheatre ; but no traces of such doors-strange faces at the windowsopening remained. The rocks present-every thing was strange. His mind now ed a high impenetrable wall, over which misgave him; he began to doubt whethe torrent came tumbling in a sheet of ther both he and the world around him feathery foam, and fell into a broad were not bewitched. Surely this was deep basin, black from the shadows of his native village, which he had left but the surrounding forest. Here, then, the day before. There stood the Kaatpoor Rip was brought to a stand. He skill mountains—there ran the silver again called and whistled after his dog; Hudson at a distance-there was every he was only answered by the cawing of hill and dale precisely as it had always a flock of idle crows, sporting high in been — Rip was sorely perplexed air about a dry tree that overhung, a
“ That fagon last night," thought be, sunny precipice; and who, secure in “ has addled my poor head sadly!" their elevation, seemed to look down It was with some difficulty that he and scoff at the poor man's perplexi- found the way to his own house, which ties. What was to be done ? the morn he approached with silent awe, expecting was passing away, and Rip felt fa- ing every moment to hear the shrill mished for want of his breakfast. He voice of Dame Van Winkle. He found grieved to give up his dog and gun, the house gone to decay—the roof fallen he dreaded to meet his wife ; but it in, the windows shattered, and the would not do to starve among
doors off the hinges. A half-starved tains. He shook his head, shouldered dog that looked like Wolf was skulking the rusty firelock, and, with a heart about it. Rip called him by name, but full of trouble and anxiety, turned his the cur snarled, showed his teeth, and steps homeward.
passed on. This was an unkind cut As he approached the village he met indeed—“ My very dog,” sighed poor a number of people, but none whom Rip, “ has forgotten me !" : he knew, which somewhat surprised He entered the house, which, to tell him, for he had thought himself ac the truth, Dame Van Winkle had alquainted with every one in the country ways kept in neat order. It was empty, round. Their dress, too, was of a dif- forlorn, and apparently abandoned. ferent fashion from that to which he | This desolateness overcame all his conwas accustomed. They all stared at nubial fears—he called loudly for his him with equal marks of surprise, and wife and children-the lonely cham