Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

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 the 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 echelon : 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 manquvres 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 theatre heroes, in the renowned tragedies of Pizarro, Tom Thumb, or any other heroical and fighting tragedy, marshal their gallows-looking, duck-legged, heavy-heeled myrmis dons, with more glory and self-admiration.

These military compliments being finished, General Von Poffenburgh escorted his illustrious visiter, with great ceremony, into the fort; attended him through out the fortifications; showed him the horn-works,

crown-works, half-moons, and various other outworks-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 visiter, 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 garrison, 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 than 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, seventy-eight 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 alldevouring 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 Welch pedigree, or a plea at 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-administering, 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 fortification in order, appointed his discreet and vigilant friend Suen Scutz, à 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 NewAmsterdam; 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 whilom that of the unconquerable Scanderberg among his scurvy enemies, the Turks. ·

THE MUTABILITY OF LITERATURE.

A COLLOQUY IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY.

THERE are certain half-dreaming moods of mind, in which we naturally steal away from noise and

glare, and seek some quiet haunt, where we may indulge our reveries, and build our air castles undisturbed. In such a mood, I was loitering about the old gray cloisters of Westminster Abbey, enjoying that luxury of wandering thought which one is apt to dignify with the name of reflection—when suddenly an irruption of madcap boys from Westminster school, playing at foot-ball, broke in upon the monastic stillness of the place, making the vaulted passages and mouldering tombs echo with their merriment. I sought to take refuge from their noise by penetrating still deeper into the solitudes of the pile, and applied to one of the vergers for admission to the library. He conducted me through a portal rich with the crumbling sculpture of former ages, which opened upon a gloomy passage leading to the Chapter-house, and the chamber in which Doomsday Book is deposited. Just within the passage is a small door on the left. To this the verger applied a key: it was double locked, and opened with some difficulty, as if seldom used. We now ascended a dark narow staircase, and passing through a second door, entered the library. · I found myself in a lofty antique hall, the roof supported by massive joists of old English oak. It was soberly lighted by a row of Gothic windows at a considerable height from the floor, and which apparently opened upon the roofs of the cloisters. An ancient picture of some reverend dignitary of the church, in his robes, hung over the fire-place. Around the hall and in a small gallery were the books, arranged in carved oaken cases. They consisted principally of old polemical writers, and were much more worn by time than use. In the centre of the library was a solitary table, with two or three books on it, an inkstand without ink, and few pens parched by long disuse. The place seemed fitted for quiet study and profound meditation. It was buried deep among the massive walls of the abbey, and shut up from the tumult of the world. I could only hear now and then

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »