« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
renity through her bosom. Her eye was fixed on the distant village church; the bell had tolled for the evening service; the last villager was lagging into the porch; and every thing had sunk into that hallowed stillness peculiar to the day of rest. Her parents were gazing on her with yearning hearts. Sickness and sorrow, which pass so roughly over some faces, had given her's the expression of a seraph's. A tear trembled in her soft blue eye. Was she thinking of her faithless lover ?-or were her thoughts wandering to that distant church-yard, into whose bosom she might soon be gathered ?
Suddenly the clang of hoofs was heard--a horseman galloped to the cottage-he dismounted before the window—the poor girl gave a faint exclamation, and sunk back in her chair; it was her repentant lover! He rushed into the house, and flew to clasp her to his bosom; but her wasted form-her death-like countenance -80 wan, yet so lovely in its desolation,-smote him to the soul, and he threw himself in an agony at her feet. She was too faint to rise-she attempted to extend her trembling hand-her lips moved as if she spoke, but no word was articulated-she looked down upon him with a smile of unutterable tenderness,—and closed her eyes for ever!
Such are the particulars which I gathered of this village story. They are but scanty, and I am conscious have little novelty to recommend them. rage also for strange incident and high-seasoned narrative, they may appear trite and insignificant, but they interested me strongly at the time; and, taken in connexion with the affecting ceremony which I just witnessed, left a deeper impression on my mind than many circumstances of a more striking nature. I have passed through the place since, and visited the church again, from a better motive than mere curiosity. It was a wintry evening; the trees were stripped of their foliage; the churchyard looked naked and mournful, and the wind rustled coldly through the dry grass. Evergreens, however, had been planted about the grave of the village favourite, and osiers were bent over it to keep the turff uninjured.
In the present
The church door was open, and I stepped in. There hung the chaplet of flowers and the gloves as on the day of the funeral: the flowers were withered, it is true, but care seemed to have been taken that no dust should soil their whiteness. I have seen many monuments, where art has exhausted its powers to awaken the sympathy of the spectator; but I have met with none that spoke more touchingly to my heart, than this simple, but delicate memento of departed innocence,
The family meeting was warm and affectionate ; as the evening was far advanced, the Squire would not permit us to change our travelling dresses, but ushered us at once to the company, which was assembled in a large old-fashioned hall. It was composed of different branches of a numerous family connexion, where there were the usual proportion of old uncles and aunts, comfortable married dames, superannuated spinsters, blooming country cousins, half-fledged striplings, and bright-eyeď boarding schcol hoydens. They were variously occupied; some at a round game of cards; others conversing around the fire-place; at one end of the hall was a group of the young folks, some nearly grown up, others of a more tender and budding age, fully engrossed by a merry game; and a profusion of wooden horses, penny trumpets, and tattered dolls about the floor, showed traces of a troop of little fairy beings, who having frolicked through a happy day, had been carried off to slumber through a peaceful night.
The mirth of the company was greatly promoted by the huinours of an eccentric personage whom Mr. Brace
bridge always addressed with the quaint appellation of Master Simon. He was a tight brisk little man, with the air of an arrant old bachelor: His nose was shaped like the bill of a parrot; his face slightly pitted with the small pox, with a dry perpetual bloom on it, like a frost-bitten leaf in autumn. He had an eye of great quickness and vivacity, with a drollery and lurking waggery of expression that was irresistible, He was evidently the wit of the family, dealing very much in sly jokes and innuendoes with the ladies, and making infinite merriment by harpings upon old themes; wbich, unfortunately, my ignorance of the family chronicles did not permit me to enjoy. It seemed to be his great delight during supper to keep a young girl next him in a continual agony of stifled laughter, in spite of her awe of the reproving looks of her mother, who sat opposite. Indeed, he was the idol of the younger part of the company, who laughed at every thing he said or did, and at every turn of his countenance. I could not wonder at it; for he must have been a miracle of accomplishments in their eyes. He could imitate Punch and Judy; make an old woman of his hand, with the assistance of a burnt cork and pocket handkerchief; and cut an orange into such a ludicrous caricature, that the young folks were ready to die with laughing
Like as a mighty grampus, who, though, assailed and buffeted by roaring waves and brawling surges, still keeps on an undeviating course; and though overwhelmed by boisterous billows, still emerges from the troubled deep, spouting and blowing with tenfold violence—so did the inflexible Peter pursue, unwavering, his determined career, and rise contemptuous above the clamours of the rabble,
A DOLEFUL DISASTER OF ANTHONY
RESOLUTELY bent, however, upon defending his beloved city, in despite even of itself, he called upon him his trusty Van Corlear, who was his right-hand man in all times of emergency Him did he adjure to take his'war-đenouncing trumpet, and mounting his horse, to beat up the country, night and day-sounding the alarm along the pastoral borders of the Bronx-startling the wild solitudes of Croton-arousing the rugged yeomanry of Weehawk and Hoboeken--the mighty men of battle of Tappan Bay*; and the brave boys of Tarry town and Sleepy hollow-together with all the other warriors of the country round about; charging them one and all, to sling their powder horns, shoulder their fowling-pieces, and march merrily down to the Manhattoes.
Now there was nothing in all the world, the divine sex excepted, that Anthony Van Cortear loved better than errands of this kind. So, just stopping to take a lusty dinner, and bracing to his side his junk-bottle, well charged with heart-inspiring Hollands, he issued jollily from the city gate, that looked out upon what is at present called Broad-way; sounding as usual a farewell strain, that rung in sprightly echoes through the winding streets of New-Amsterdam-Alas! never more were they to be gladdened by the melody of their favourite trumpeter!
It was a dark and stormy night when the good Anthony arrived at the famous creek (sagely denominated Haerlem river) which separates the island of Manna-hata from the main land. The wind was high, the elements were in an uproar, and no Charon could be found to ferry the adventurous sounder of brass across the water.
* A corruption of Top-paun; so called from a tribe of Indians which boasted of 150 fighting men. See Ogilvie's History,
short time he vapoured like an impatient ghost upon the brink, and then, bethinking himself of the urgency of his errand, took a hearty embrace of his stone bottle, swore most valorously that he would swim across, en spijt den duyvel (in spite of the devil!) and daringly plunged into the stream.-Luckless Anthony! scarce had he buffeted half-way over, when he was observed to struggle violently, as if battling with the spirit of the waters—instinctively
put his trumpet to his mouth, and, giving a vehement blast, sunk for ever to the bottom!
The potent clangour of his trumpet, like the ivory horn of the renowned Paladin Orlando, when expiring in the glorious field of Roncesvalles, rung far and wide through the country, alarming the neighbours round, who hurried in amazement to the spot.—Here an old Dutch burgher, famed for his veracity, and who had been a witness of the fact, related to them the melancholy affair; with the fearful addition (to which I am slow of giving belief), that he saw the duyvel, in the shape of a huge moss-bonker, seize the sturdy Anthony by the leg, and drag him beneath the waves. Certain it is, the place, with the ad.. joining promontory, which projects into the Hudson, has been called Spijt den duyvel, or Spiking duyvel ever since,
- the restless ghost of the unfortunate Anthony still haunts the surrounding solitudes, and his trumpet has often been heard by the neighbours, of a stormy night, mingling with the howling of the blast. Nobody ever attempts to swim over the creek after dark; on the contrary, a bridge has been built to guard against such melancholy accidents in future--and as to moss-bonkers, they are held in such abhorrence that no true Dutchman will admit them to his table, who loves good fish, and hates the devil.
Such was the end of Anthony Van Corlear-a man deserving of a better fate. He lived roundly and soundly, like' a true and jolly bachelor, until the day of his death; but though he was never married, yet did he leave behind some two or three dozen children, in different parts of the country-fine chubby, brawling, flatulent little urchins, from whom, if legends speak true (and they