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holding it in no manner of estimation—but lounged about the fort
, depending upon chance for a subsistence, getting drunk whenever he could get liquor, and stealing whatever he could lay his hands on. Every day or two he was sure to get a sound rib-roasting for some of his misdemeanours, which, however, as it broke no bones, he made very light of, and scrupled not to repeat the offence whenever another opportunity presented. Sometimes, in consequence of some flagrant villainy, he would abscond from the garrison, and be absent for a month at a time; skulking about the woods and swamps, with a long fowling-piece on his shoulder, laying in ambush for game, or squatting himself down on the edge of a pond catching fish for hours together, and bearing no little resemblance to that notable bird ycleped the Mud-pole. When he thought his crimes had been forgotten or forgiven, he would sneak back to the fort with a bundle of skins, or a bunch of poultry, which perchance he had stolen, and would exhange them for liquor, with which, having well soaked his carcass, he would lay in the sun and enjoy all the luxurious indolence of that swinish philosopher Diogenes. He was the terror of all the farm-yards in the country, into which he made fearful inroads; and sometimes he would make his sudden appearance at the garrison at daybreak, with the whole neighbourhood at his heels, like a scoundrel thief of a fox, detected in his maraudings, and hunted to his hole. Such was this Dirk Schuiler; and from the total indifference he showed to this world or its concerns, and from his truly Indian stoicism and taciturnity, no one would ever have dreamed that he would have been the publisher of the treachery of Risingh.
When the carousal was going on, which proved so fatal to the brave Von Poffenburgh and his watchful garrison, Dirk skulked about from room to room, being a kind of privileged vagrant or useless hound, whom nobody noticed. But though a fellow of few words, yet, like your taciturn people, his eyes and ears were always open, and in the course of his prowlings he overheard, the whole plot of the Swedes. Dirk immediately settled in his own mind how he should turn the matter to his own advantage. He played the perfect jack-of-both-sides ; that is to say, he made a prize of every thing that came in his reach, robbed both parties, stuck the copper-bound cocked hat of the puissant Von Poffenburgh on his head, whipped a
huge pair of Risingh's jack boots under his arm, and took to his heels just before the catastrophe and confusion at the garrison.
Finding himself completely dislodged from his haunt in this quarter, he directed his flight towards his native place, New-Amsterdam, from whence he had formerly been obliged to abscond precipitately, in consequence of misfortune in business, that is to say, having been detected in the act of sheep-stealing. After wandering many days in the woods, toiling through swamps, fording brooks, swimming various rivers, and encountering a world of hardships that would have killed any other being but an Indian, a back-wood man, or the devil; he at length arrived, half-famished, and lank as a starved weasel at Communipaw, where he stole a canoe, and paddled over to New-Amsterdam. Immediately on landing, he repaired to Governor Stuyvesant, and in more words than he had ever spoken before in the whole course of his life, gave an account of the disastrous affair.
On receiving these direful tidings, the valiant Peter started from
his seat, as did the stout King Arthur when at “merry Carleile,” the news was brought him of the uncourteous misdeeds of the “grim barone"-without uttering a word, he dashed the pipe he was smoking against the back of the chimney, thrust a prodigious quid of negro-headed tobacco into his left cheek, pulled up his galligaskins, and strode up and down the room, humming, as was customary with him when in a passion, a hideous north-west ditty. But, as I have before shown, he was not a man to vent his spleen in idle vapouring. His first measure after the paroxysm of wrath had subsided, was to stump up stairs to a huge wouden chest, which served as his armoury, from whence he drew forth that identical suit regimentals described in the preceding chapter. In these portentous habiliments he arrayed himself, like Achilles in the armour of Vulcan, and maintaining all the while a most appalling silence, knitting his brows, and drawing his breath through his clenched teeth. Being hastily equipped, he strode
down into the parlour, jerked down his trusty sword from over the fire-place, where it was usually suspended; but before he girded it on his thigh he drew it from its scabbard, and as his eye coursed along the rusty blade, a grim smile stole over his iron visage. It was the first smile that had visited his countenance for five long weeks; but every one who beheld
it prophesied that there would soon be warm work in the province!
Thus armed at all points, with grisly war depicted in each feature, his very cocked hat assuming an air of uncommon defiance, he instantly put himself on the alert, and despatched Anthony Van Corlear hither and thither. this way and that way, through all the muddy streets and crooked lanes of the city, summoning by sound of trumpet his trusty peers to assemble in instant council
. This done, by way of expediting matters, according to the custom of people in a hurry, he kept in continual bustle, shifting from chair to chair, popping bis head out of every window, and stumping up and down stairs with his wooden leg in such brisk and incessant motion, that, as we are informed by an authentic historian of the times, the continual clatter bore no small resemblance to the music of a cooper hooping a flour barrel.
Description of the powerful Army that assembled at the
City of New-Amsterdam-together with the interview between Peter the Headstrong and General Von Poffenburgh ; and Peter's Sentiments respecting unfortu
nate great Men. While thus the enterprising Peter was coasting, with flowing sail, up the shores of the lordly Hudson, and arousing all the phlegmatic little Dutch settlements upon its borders, a great and puissant concourse of warriors was assembling at the city of New-Amsterdam. And here that invaluable fragment of antiquity, the Stuyvesant manuscript, is more than commonly particular; by which means I am enabled to record the illustrious host that encamped itself on the public square, in front of the fort, at present denominated the Bowling Green.
In the centre then was pitched the tents of the men of battle of the Manhattoes; who, being the inmates of the metropolis, composed the life-guards of the governor. These were commanded by the valiant Stoffel Brinkerhoof, who whilome had acquired such immortal fame at Oyster Bay—they displayed as a standard, a beaver rampant on a field of orange; being the arms of the province,
and denoting the persevering industry, and the amphibious origin of the Nederlanders.*
On their right hand might be seen the vassals of that renowned Mynheer Michael Paw,t who lorded it over the fair regions of ancient Pavonia, and the lands away south, even unto the Navesink mountains, # and was moreover patroon of Gibbet-Island. His standard was borne by his trusty squire, Cornelius Van Vorst; consisting of a huge oyster recumbent upon a sea green field, being the armorial bearings of his favourite metropolis, Communipaw. He brought to the camp a stout force of warriors, heavily armed, being each clad in ten pair of linsey Woolsey breeches, and overshadowed by broad brimmed beavers, with short pipes twisted in their hatbands. These were the men who vegetated in the mud along the shores of Pavonia ; being of the race of genuine copperheads, and were fabled to have sprung from oysters.
At a little distance was encamped the tribe of warriors who came from the neighbourhood of Hell-Gate. These were commanded by the Suy Dams, and the Van Dams, incontinent hard swearers as their names betoken-they were terrible looking fellows, clad in broad-skirted gaberdines, of that curious coloured cloth called thunder and lightning; and bore as a standard three devil's darningneedles, volant, in a flame coloured field.
Hard by was the tent of the men of battle from the marshy borders of the Wael-bogtig,ll and the country thereabouts—these were of a sour aspect, by reason that they lived on crabs, which abound in these parts: they were the first institutors of that honourable order of knighthood, called Fly market shirks; and if tradition speak true, did likewise introduce the far famed step in dancing, called "double trouble.” They were commanded by the fearless Jacobus Varra Vanger, and, had moreover, a jolly band of Breukelen* ferrymen, who performed a brave concerto on conchshells.
* This was likewise the great seal of the New-Netherlands, as may still be seen in ancient records.
† Besides what is related in the Stuyvesant MS. I have found mention made of this illustrious patroon in another manuscript, which says "De Heer (or the Squire) Michael Paw, a Dutch subject, about 30th Aug. 1630, by deed purchased Staten Island. N. B. The same Michael Paw had what the Dutch call a colonie at Pavonia, on the Jersey shore, opposite New York, and his overseer, in 1636, was named Corns. Van Vorst--a person of the same name, in 1769, owned Pawles Hook, and a large farm at Pa. vonia, and is a lineal descendant from Van Vorst."
So called from the Navesink tribe of Indians, that inhabited these parts at present they are erroneously denominated the Neversink, or Neversunk mountains.
ll i. e. The Winding Bay, named from the windings of its shores. This has since been corrupted by the vulgar into the Wallabout, and is the basin which shelters onur infant navy.
But I refrain from pursuing this minute description which goes on to describe the warriors of Bloemen-dael, and Wec-hawk, and Hoboken, and sundry other places, well known in history and song-for now does the sound of martial music alarm the people of New-Amsterdam, sounding afar from beyond the walls of the city. But this alarm was in a little time relieved, for lo, from the midst of a vast cloud of dust, they recognized the brimstone coloured breeches, and splendid silver leg of Peter Stuyvesant glaring in the sunbeams; and beheld him approaching at the head of a formidable army, which he had mustered along the banks of the Hudson. And here the excellent but anonymous writer of the Stuyvesant manuscript breaks out into a brave but glorious description of the forces, as they defiled through the principal gate of the city that stood by the head of Wall-street.
First of all came the Van Bummels, who inhabit the pleasant borders of the Bronx. These were short fat men, wearing exceeding large trunk breeches, and are renowned for feats of the trencher : they were the first inventors of suppawn, or mush and milk.-Close in their rear marched the Van Vlotans, of Kaats Kill
, most horrible quaffers of new cider, and arrant braggarts in their liquor.
- After them came the Van Pelts, of Groodt Esopus, dexterous horsemen, mounted upon goodly switch-tailed steeds of the Esopus breed: these were mighty hunters of minks and musk rats, whence came the word Peltry.Then the Van Nests of Kinderhoek, valiant robbers of birds' nests, as their name denotes: to these, if the report may be believed, are we indebted for the invention of slapjacks, or buckwheat cakes. Then the Van Higginbottoms, of Wapping's Creek: these came armed with ferules and birchen rods, being a race of schoolmasters, who first
*Now spelt Brooklyn.