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had existed between those two eminent burghers, Mynheers Tenbroeck and Hardenbroeck, ever since their unhappy altercation on the coast of Bellevue. The great Hardenbroeck had waxed very wealthy and powerful from his domains, which embraced the whole chain of Apulean mountains that stretch along the gulf of Kip's Bay, and from part of which his descendants have been expelled in latter ages by the powerful clan of the Joneses and the Schermerhornes.
An ingenious plan for the city was offered by Mynheer Tenbroeck, who proposed that it should be cut up and intersected by canals, after the manner of the most admired cities in Holland. To this Mynheer Hardenbroeck was diametrically opposed, suggesting in place thereof that they should run out docks and wharves by means of piles, driven into the bottom of the river, on which the town should bę butlt. “By these means," said he, triumphantly, “shall we rescue a considerable space of territory from these immense rivers, and build a city that shall rival Amsterdam, Venice, or any amphibious city in Europe.” To this proposition Tenbroeck (or Ten Breeches) replied, with a look of as much scorn as he could possibly assume. He cast the utmost censure upon the plan of his antagonist as being preposterous, and against the very order of things, as he would leave to every true Hollander. “For what," said he," is a town without canals ?-It is like a body without veins and arteries, and must perish for want of a free circulation of the vital fluid.” Tough Breeches, on the contrary, retorted with a sarcasm upon his antagonist, who was somewhat of an arid, dry boned habit; he remarked, that as to the circulation of the blood being necessary to existence, Mynheer Ten Breeches was a living contradiction to his own assertion; for every body knew there had not a drop of blood circulated through his winddried carcass for good ten years, and yet there was not a greater busybody in the whole colony. Per
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sonalities have seldom much effect in making con. verts in argument; nor have I ever seen a man convinced of error by being convicted of deformity. At least, such was not the case at present. Ten Breeches was very acrimonious in reply, and Tough Breeches, who was a sturdy little man, and never gave up the last word, rejoined with increasing spirit-Ten Breeches had the advantage of the greatest volubility, but Tough Breeches had that invaluable coat of mail in argument called obstinacy -Ten Breeches had, therefore, the most metal, but Tough Breeches the best bottom-so that though Ten Breeches made a dreadful clattering about his ears, and battered and belaboured him with hard words and sound arguments; yet Tough Breeches hung on most resolutely to the last. They parted, therefore, as is usual in all arguments where both parties are in the right, without coming to any conclusion; but they hated each other most heartily for ever after, and a similar breach with that between the houses of Capulet and Montague did ensue be. tween the families of Ten Breeches and Tough Breeches.
I would not fatigue my reader with these dull matters of fact, but that my duty as a faithful historian requires that I should be particular; and, in truth, as I am now treating of the critical period, when our city, like a young twig first received the twists and turns, that have since contributed to give it the present picturesque irregularity for which it is celebrated, I cannot be too minute in detailing their first causes.
After the unhappy altercation I have just mentioned, I do not find that any thing farther was said on the subject worthy of being recorded. The council, consisting of the largest and oldest heads in the community, met regularly once a-week, to ponder on this monstrous subject; but either they were deterred by the war of words they had witnessed, or they were naturally averse to the exercise of the tongue, and the consequent exercise of the brain-certain it is, the most profound silence was maintained the question, as usual, lay on the table-the members quietly smoked their pipes, making but few laws, without ever enforcing any, and, in the mean time, the affairs of the settlement went on-as it pleased God.
As most of the council were but little skilled in the mystery of combining pothooks and hangers, they determined, most judiciously, not to puzzle either themselves or posterity with voluminous records. The secretary, however, kept the minutes of the council with tolerable precision, in a large vellum folio, fastened with massy brass clasps; the journal of each meeting consisted but of two lines, stating in Dutch, that “the council sat this day, and smoked twelve pipes on the affairs of the colony." By which it appears that the first settlers did not regulate their time by hours, but pipes, in the same manner as they measure distances in Holland at this very time; an admirably exact measurement, as the pipe in the mouth of a true born Dutchman is never liable to those acci. dents and irregularities that are continually putting our clocks out of order.
In this manner did the profound council of NewAMSTERDAM smoke, and doze, and ponder, from week to week, month to month, and year to year, in what manner they should construct their infant settlement; mean while, the town took care of itself, and like a sturdy brat which is suffered to run about wild, unshackled by clouts and bandages, and other abominations, by which your notable nurses and sage old women cripple and disfigure the children of men, increased so rapidly in strength and magnitude, that before the honest burgomasters had determined upon a plan, it was too late to put it in execution-whereupon they wisely abandoned the subject altogether.
THE LITTLE MAN IN BLACK.
The following story has been handed down by a family tradition for more than a century. It is one on which my cousin Christopher dwells with more than usual prolixity; and being, in some measure, connected with a personage often quoted in our work, I have thought it worthy of being laid before my readers.
Soon after my grandfather, Mr. Lemuel Cockloft, had quietly seated himself at the Hall, and just about the time that the gossips of the neighbourhood, tired of prying into his affairs, were anxious for some new tea-table topic, the busy community of our little village was thrown into a grand turmoil of curiosity and conjecture—a situation very common to little gossipping villages-by the sudden and unaccountable appearance of a mysterious individual.
The object of this solicitude was a little black-looking man, of a foreign aspect, who took possession of an old building, which having long had the reputation of being haunted, was in a state of ruinous desolation, and an object of fear to all true believers in ghosts. He usually wore a high sugar-loaf hat with a narrow brim, and a little black cloak, which, short as he was, scarcely reached below his knees. He sought no intimacy or acquaintance with any oneappeared to take no interest in the pleasures or the little broils of the village-nor ever talked, except sometimes to himself in an outlandish tongue. He commonly carried a large book, covered with sheepskin, under his arm, appeared always to be lost in meditation—and was often met by the peasantry, sometimes watching the dawning of the day, sometimes at noon seated under a tree poring over his volume, and sometimes at evening gazing with a look of
sober tranquillity at the sun, as it gradually sunk below the horizon.
The good people of the vicinity beheld something prodigiously singular in all this: a profound mystery seemed to hang about the stranger, which, with all their sagacity, they could not penetrate; and in the excess of worldly charity they pronounced it a sure sign 6 that he was no better than he should be;" a phrase innocent enough in itself; but which, as applied in common, signifies nearly every thing that is bad. The young people thought him a gloomy misanthrope, because he never joined in their sports; the old men thought still more hardly of him, because he followed no trade, nor ever seemed ambitious of earning a farthing; and as to the old gossips, baffled by the inflexible taciturnity of the stranger, they unanimously declared that a man who could not or would not talk was no better than a dumb beast. The little man in black, careless of their opinions, seemed resolved to maintain the liberty of keeping his own secret;. and the consequence was, that, in a little while, the whole village was in an uproar; for in little communities of this description, the members have always the privilege of being thoroughly versed, and even of meddling in all the affairs of each other.
A confidential conference was held one Sunday morning after sermon, at the door of the village church, and the character of the unknown fully investigated. The schoolmaster gave as his opinion that he was the wandering Jew; the sexton was certain that he must be a freemason from his silence; a third maintained, with great obstinacy, that he was a High German Doctor, and that the book which he carried about with him contained the secrets of the black art; but the most prevailing opinion seemed to be that he was a witch-a race of beings at that time abounding in those parts: and a sagacious old matron, from Connecticut, proposed to ascertain the fact by sousing him into a kettle of hot water.'
Suspicion, when once afloat, goes with wind and