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the Baron had interrupted him in every attempt to tell his tale. How the sight of the bride had completely captivated him, and that to pass a few hours near her, he had tacitly suffered the mistake to continue. How he had been sorely perplexed in what way to make a des cent retreat, until the Baron's goblin stories had suggested his eccentric exit. How, fearing the feudal hostility of the family, he had repeated his visits by stealth-had haunted the garden beneath the young lady's windowhad wooed-had won—had borne away in triumphand, in a word, had wedded the fair.
Under any other circumstances, the Baron would have been inflexible, for he was tenacious of paternal authority, and devoutly obstinate in all family feuds ; but he loved his daughter; he had lamented her as lost; he rejoiced to find her still alive; and, though her husband was of 'a hostile house, yet, thank heaven, he was not a goblin. There was something, it must be acknowledged, that did not exactly accord with his notions of strict veracity, in the joke the knight had passed upon him of his being a dead man; but several old friends present, who had served in the wars, assured him that every stratagem was excusable in love, and that the cavalier was entitled to especial privilege, having lately served as a trooper.
Matters, therefore, were happily arranged. The Baron pardoned the young couple on the spot. The revels at the castle were resumed. The poor relations overwhelmed this new member of the family with loving-kindness; he was so gallant, so generous—and so rich. The aunts, it is true, were somewhat scandalized that their system of strict seclusion, and passive obedience, should be so badly exemplified, but attributed it all to their negligence in not having the windows grated. One of them was particularly mortified at having her marvellous story marred, and that the only spectre she had ever seen should turn out a counterfeit ; but the niece seemed perfectly happy at have ing found him substantial flesh and blood-and so the story ends.
A WET SUNDAY IN A COUNTRY INN. It was a rainy Sunday, in the gloomy month of Novem ber. I had been detained, in the course of a journey, by
a slight indisposition, from which I was recovering; but I was still feverish, and was obliged to keep within doors all day, in an inn of the small town of Derby. A wet Sunday in a country inn! whoever has had the luck to experience one can alone judge of my situation. The rain pattered against the casements; the bells tolled for church with melancholy sound. I went to the windows in quest of something to amuse the eye; but it seemed as if I had been placed completely out of the reach of all amusement. The windows of my bed-room looked out among tiled roofs and stacks of chimneys, while those of my sittingroom commanded a full view of the stable-yard. I know of nothing more calculated to make a man sick of this world than a stable-yard on a rainy day. The place was littered with wet straw that had been kicked about by travellers and stable-boys. In one corner was a stagnant pool of water, surrounding an island of mack; there were several half-drowned fowls crowded together under a cart, among which was a miserable crest-fallen cock, drenched out of all life and spirit ; his drooping tail matted, as it were, into a single feather, along which the water trickled from his back ; near the cart was a half-dozing cow, chewing the cud, and standing patiently to be rained on, with wreaths of vapour rising from her reeking hide; a wall-eyed horse, tired of the loneliness of the stable, was poking his spectral head out of a window, with the rain dripping on it from the eaves; an unhappy cur, chained to a doghouse hard by, uttered something every now and then, between a bark and a yelp; a drab of a kitchen wench tramped backwards and forwards through the yard in pattens, looking as sulky as the weather itself; every thing, in short, was comfortless and forlorn, excepting a crew of hard-drinking ducks, assembled like boon companions round a puddle, and making a riotous noise over their liquor.
I was lonely and listless, and wanted amusement. My room soon became insupportable. I abandoned it, and sought what is technically called the traveller's-room. This is a public room set apart at most inns for the accommodation of a class of wayfarers, called travellers, or riders ; a kind of commercial knights errant, who are incessantly scouring the kingdom in gigs, on horseback, or by coach. They are the only successors that I know of, at the present day, to the knights errant of yore. They lead the same kind of roving adventurous life, only changing the lance for a driving-whip, the buckler for a patterncard, and the coat of mail for an upper Benjamin. Instead! of vindicating the charms of peerless beauty, they rove about, spreading the fame and standing of some substantial tradesman, or manufacturer, and are ready at any time to bargain in his name; it being the fashion now-a-days to trade, instead of fight, with one another. As the room of the hostel, in the good old fighting times, would be hung round at night with the armour of wayworn warriors, such as coats of mail, falehions, and yawning helmets ; so the travellers' room is garnished with the harnessing of their successors, with box coats, whips of all kinds, spurs, gaiters, and oil cloth covered hats.
I was in hopes of finding some of these worthies to talk with, but was disappointed. There were, indeed, two or three in the room; but I could make nothing of them. One was just finishing breakfast, quarrelling with his bread and butter, and huffing the waiter ; another_buttoned on a pair of gaiters, with many execrations at Boots for not having cleaned his shoes well; a third sat drumming on the table with his fingers, and looking at the rain as it streamed down the window glass : they all appeared infected by the weather, and disappeared, one after the other, without exchanging a woru.
I sauntered to the window and stood gazing at the people, picking their way to the church, with petticoats hoisted midleg high, and dripping umbrellas. The belt ceased to toll, and the streets became silent. I then amused myself with watching the daughters of a tradesman opposite; who being confined to the house for fear of wetting their Sunday finery, played off their charms ac the front windows, to fascinate the chance tenants of the inn. They at length were summoned away by a vigi lant vinegar-faced mother, and I had nothing further from without to amuse me.
What was I to do to pass away the long-lived day? ) was sadly nervous and lonely ; and every thing about al inn seems calculated to make a dull day ten times duller Old newspapers, smelling of beer and tobacco smoke, and which I had already read half a dozen times. Good for nothing books, that were worse than rainy weather. I bored myself to death with an old volume of the Lady's Magazine. I read all the common-place names of ambitious travellers scrawled on the panes of glass; the eternal families of the Smiths and the Browns, and the Jack
sons, and the Johnsons, and all the other sons; and I decyphered several scraps of fatiguing inn-window poetry, which I have met with in all parts of the world.
The day continued lowering and gloomy; the slovenly, ragged, spongy clouds drifted heavily along; there was no variety even in the rain ; it was one dull, continued, monotonous patter-patter-patter, excepting that now
and then I was enlivened by the idea of a brisk shower, from the rattling of the drops upon a passing umbrella.
It was quite refreshing (if I may be allowed a hackneyed phrase of the day), when, in the course of the morning, a horn blew, and a stage coach whirled through the street, with outside passengers stuck all over it, cowering under cotton umbrellas, and seethed together, and reeking with the steams of wet box-coats and vipper Benjamins.
The sound brought out from their lurking-places a crew of vagabond boys, and vagabond dogs, and the carroty-headed hostler, and that non-descript animal ycleped Boots, and all the other vagabond race, that infest the purlieus of an inn; but the þustle was transient; the coach again whirled on its way; and boy and dog, hos. tler and Boots, all slunk back again to their holes; the street again became silent, and the rain continued to rain
In fact, there was no hope of its clearing up, the barometer pointed to rainy weather ; mine hostess's tortoise shell cat sat by the fire washing her face, and rubbing her paws over her ears; and, on referring to the Almanack, 1 found a direful prediction stretching from the top of the page to the bottom through the whole month, "expect much-rain-about--this--time !"
AN OBEDIENT HEN-PECKED HUSBAND.
In that same village, and in one of these very houses, (which, to tell the precise truth, was sadly time-worn and weather beaten,) there lived many years since, when the country was yet a province of Great Britain, a simple good-natured fellow, of the name of Rip Van Winkle. He was a descendant of the Van Winkles who figured so gallantly in the chivalrous days of Peter Stuyvesant, and accompanied him to the seige of Fort Christina, He inherited, however, but little of the martial
character of his ancestors. I have observed that he was a simple good-natured man ; he was, moreover, a kind neighbour, and an obedient hen-pecked husband. Indeed, to the latter circumstance might be owing that meekness of spirit which gained him such universal popularity; for those men are most apt to be obsequious and conciliating abroad, who are under the discipline of shrews at home. Their tempers, doubtless, are rendered pliant and maleable in the fiery furnace of domestic tribulation, and a curtain lecture is worth all the sermons in the world for teaching the virtues of patience and long suffering. A termagent wife may, therefore, in some respects, be considered a tolerable blessing; and if so, Rip Van Winkle was thrice blessed.
Certain it is, that he was a great favourite among all the good wives of the village, who, as usual with the amiable sex, took his part in all family squabbles ; and never failed, whenever they talked those matters over in their evening gossipings, to lay all the blame on Dame Van Winkle. The children of the village, too, would shout with joy whenever he approached. He assisted at their sports, made their playthings, taught them to fly kites and shoot marbles, and told them long stories of ghosts, witches, and Indians. Whenever he went dodging about the village, he was surrounded by a troop of them, hanging on his skirts, clambering on his back, and playing a thousand tricks on him with impunity; and not a dog would bark at him throughout the neighbourhood.
The great error in Rip's composition was an insuperable aversion to all kinds of profitable labour. It could not be from the want of assiduity or perseverance; for he would sit on a wet rock, with a rod as long and heavy as a Tartar's lance, and fish all day without a murmer, even though he should not be encouraged by a sinble nibble. He would carry a fowling piece on his shoulder for hours together, trudging through woods and swamps, and up hill and down dale, to shoot a few squirrels or wild pigeons. He would never refuse to assist a neighbour even in the roughest toil, and was a foremost man at all country frolics for husking Indian corn, or building stone fences; the women of the village, too, used to employ him to run their errands, and to do such little odd jobs as their less obliging husbands would not do for them.-In a word, Rip was ready to attend to any body's