Part 4 out of 9
"What is the meaning of them pews with tops to them, Corny?" the pedagogue
whispered me, afraid to encounter the parson's remarks, by his own
"They are the pews of families of distinction in this place, Mr. Newcome;
and the canopies, or tops, as you call them, are honourable signs of their
"Do you think their owners will sit under such coverings in paradise,
Corny?" continued Jason, with a sneer.
"It is impossible for me to say, sir; it is probable, however, the just
will not require any such mark to distinguish them from the unjust."
"Let me see," said Jason, looking round and affecting to count; "there are
just three--Bishop, Priest, and Deacon, I suppose. Waal, there's a seat
for each, and they can be comfortable _here_, whatever may turn up
I turned away, unwilling to dispute the point, for I knew it was as
hopeless to expect that a Danbury man would feel like a New Yorker, on such
a subject, as it was to expect that a New Yorker could be made to adopt
Danbury sentiments. As for the _argument_, however, I have heard others of
pretty much the same calibre often urged against the three orders of the
On quitting St. Peter's, I communicated the invitation of Guert Ten Eyck to
Mr. Worden, and urged him to be of the party. I could see that the notion
of a pleasant supper was anything but unpleasant to the missionary. Still
he had his scruples, inasmuch as he had not yet seen his reverend brother
who had the charge of St. Peter's, did not know exactly the temper of his
mind, and was particularly desirous of officiating for him, in the presence
of the principal personages of the place, on the approaching Sunday. He
had written a note to the chaplain; for the person who had the cure of the
Episcopalians held that rank in the army, St. Peter's being as much of an
official chapel as a parish church; and he must have an interview with that
individual before he could decide. Fortunately, as we descended the street,
towards our inn, we saw the very person in question. The marks of the
common office that these two divines bore about their persons in their
dress, sufficed to make them known to each other at a glance. In five
minutes, they had shaken hands, heard each man's account of himself, had
given and accepted the invitation to preach, and were otherwise on free and
easy terms. Mr. Worden was to dine in the fort, with the chaplain. We then
walked forward towards the tavern.
"By the way, Mr. ----," said Mr. Worden, in a parenthesis of the discourse,
"the family of Ten Eyck is quite respectable, here in Albany."
"Very much so, sir--a family that is held in much esteem. I shall count on
your assisting me, morning and evening, my dear Mr. Worden."
It is surprising how the clergy do depend on each other for 'assistance!'
"Make your arrangements accordingly, my good brother--I am quite fresh, and
have brought a good stock of sermons; not knowing how much might remain
to be done in the army. Corny," in a half-whisper, "you can let our new
friends know that I will sup with them; and, harkee--just drop a hint to
them, that I am none of your puritans."
Here, then, we found everything in a very fair way to bring us all out in
society, within the first two hours of our arrival. Mr. Worden was engaged
to preach the next day but one; and he was engaged to supper that same day.
All looked promising, and I hurried on in order to ascertain if Guert Ten
Eyck had made his promised call. As before, he was met in the street, and
the acceptance of the Dominie was duly communicated. Guert seemed highly
pleased at this success; and he left me, promising to be punctual to his
hour. In the mean time, we had to dine.
The dinner proved a good one; and, as Mr. Worden remarked, it was quite
lucky that the principal dish was venison, a meat that was so easy of
digestion, as to promise no great obstacle to the accommodation of the
supper. He should dine on venison, therefore; and he advised all three of
us to follow his example. But, certain Dutch dishes attracted the eye and
taste of Dirck; while Jason had alighted on a hash, of some sort or other,
that he did not quit until he had effectually disposed of it. As for
myself, I confess, the venison was so much to my taste, that I stuck by the
parson. We had our wine, too, and left the table early, in order not to
interfere with the business of the night.
After dinner, it was proposed to walk out in a body, to make a further
examination of the place, and to see if we could not fall in with an army
contractor, who might be disposed to relieve Dirck and myself of some
portion of our charge. Luck again threw us in the way of Guert Ten
Eyck, who seemed to live in the public street. In the course of a brief
conversation that took place, as a passing compliment, I happened to
mention a wish to ascertain, where one might dispose of a few horses, and
of two or three sleigh-loads of flour, pork, &c., &c.
"My dear Mr. Littlepage," said Guert, with a frank smile and a friendly
shake of the hand, "I am delighted that you have mentioned these matters
to me; I can take you to the very man you wish to see; a heavy
army-contractor, who is buying up everything of the sort he can lay his
Of course, I was as much delighted as Guert could very well be, and left
my party to proceed at once to the contractor's office, with the greatest
alacrity; Dirck accompanying me. As we went along, our new friend advised
us not to be very backward in the way of price, since the king paid, in the
"Rich dealers ought to pay well," he added; "and, I can tell you, as a
useful thing to know, that orders came on, no later than yesterday, to buy
up everything of the soil that offered. Put sleigh and harness, at once,
all in a heap, on the king's servants."
I thought the idea not a bad one, and promised to profit by it. Guert was
as good as his word, and I was properly introduced to the contractor. My
business was no sooner mentioned, than I was desired to send a messenger
round to the stables, in order that my conveyance, team, &c., might make
their appearance. As for the articles that were still on the road, I had
very little trouble. The contractor knew my father, and he no sooner heard
that Mr. Littlepage, of Satanstoe, was the owner of the provisions, than
he purchased the whole on the guaranty of his name. For the pork I was to
receive two half-joes the barrel, and for the flour one. This was a good
sale. The horses would be taken, if serviceable, as the contractor did not
question, as would the lumber-sleighs, though the prices could not be set
until the different animals and objects were seen and examined.
It is amazing what war will do for commerce, as well as what it does
against it! The demand for everything that the judgment of my father had
anticipated, was so great, that the contractor told me very frankly the
sleighs would not be unloaded in Albany at all, but would be sent on north,
on the line of the expected route of the army, so as to anticipate the
disappearance of the snow and the breaking up of the roads.
"You shall be paid liberally for your teams, harness and sleighs," he
continued, "though no sum can be named until I see them. These are not
times when operations are to be retarded on account of a few joes, more
or less, for the King's service must go on. I very well know that Major
Littlepage and Col. Follock both understand what they are about, and have
sent us the right sort of things. The horses are very likely a little old,
but are good for one campaign; better than if younger, perhaps, and were
they colts we could get no more than that out of them. These movements in
the woods destroy man and beast, and cost mints of money. Ah! There comes
Sure enough, the sleigh drove round from the tavern, and we all went out
to look at the horses, &c. Guert now became an important person. On the
subject of horses he was accounted an oracle, and he talked, moved, and
acted like one in all respects. The first thing he did was to step up to
the animal's head, and to look into the mouth of each in succession. The
knowing way in which this was done, the coolness of the interference,
and the fine, manly form of the intruder, would have given him at once a
certain importance and a connection with what was going on, had not his
character for judgment in horse-flesh been well established, far and near,
in that quarter of the country.
"Upon my word, wonderfully good mouths!" exclaimed Guert, when through.
"You must have your grain ground, Mr. Littlepage, or the teeth never could
have stood it so well!"
"What age do you call the animals, Guert?" demanded the contractor.
"That is not so easily told, sir. I admit that they are aged horses; but
they may be eight, or nine, or even ten, as for what can be told by their
teeth. By the looks of their limbs, I should think they might be nine
"The near-horse is eleven," I said, "and the off-horse is supposed to
"Poh! poh! Littlepage," interrupted Guert, making signs to me to be
quiet--"you may _think_ the off-horse ten, but I should place him at about
nine. His teeth are excellent, and there is not even a wind-gall on his
legs. There is a cross of the Flemish in that beast."
"Well, and what do you say the pair is worth, Master Guert," demanded
the contractor, who seemed to have a certain confidence in his friend's
judgment, notwithstanding the recklessness and freedom of his manner.
"Twelve half-joes for them both?"
"That will never do, Mr. Contractor," answered Guert shaking his head. "In
times like these, such stout animals, and beasts too in such heart and
condition, ought to bring fifteen."
"Fifteen let it be then, if Mr. Littlepage assents. Now for the sleigh, and
harness, and skins. I suppose Mr. Littlepage will part with the skins too,
as he can have no use for them without the sleigh?"
"Have _you_, Mr. Contractor?" asked Guert, a little abruptly. "That
bear-skin fills my eye beautifully, and if Mr. Littlepage will take a
guinea for it, here is his money."
As this was a fair price, it was accepted, though I pressed the skin on
Guert as a gift, in remembrance of our accidental acquaintance. This
offer, however, he respectfully, but firmly resisted. And here I will take
occasion to say, lest the reader be misled by what is met with in works of
fiction, and other light and vain productions, that in all my dealings,
and future connection with Guert, I found him strictly honourable in
money matters. It is true, I would not have purchased a horse on his
recommendation, if he owned the beast; but we all know how the best men
yield in their morals when they come to deal in horses. I should scarcely
have expected Mr. Worden to be orthodox, in making such bargains. But, on
all other subjects connected with money, Guert Ten Eyck was one of the
honestest fellows I ever dealt with.
The contractor took the sleigh, harness, and skins, at seven more
half-joes; making twenty-three for the whole outfit. This was certainly
receiving two half-joes more than my father had expected; and I owed the
gain of sixteen dollars to Guert's friendly and bold interference. As soon
as the prices were settled, the money was paid me in good Spanish gold;
and I handed over to Dirck the portion that properly fell to his father's
share. As it was understood that the remaining horses, sleighs, harness,
provisions, &c., were to be taken at an appraisal, the instant they
arrived, this hour's work relieved my friend and myself from any further
trouble on the subject of the property entrusted to our care. And a relief
it was to be so well rid of a responsibility that was as new as it was
heavy to each of us.
The reader will get some idea of the pressure of affairs, and how necessary
it was felt to be on the alert in the month of March--a time of the year
when twenty-four hours might bring about a change in the season--by the
circumstance that the contractor sent his new purchase to be loaded up from
the door of his office, with orders to proceed on north, with supplies for
a depot that he was making as near to Lake George as was deemed prudent;
the French being in force at Ticonderoga and Crown Point, two posts at the
head of Champlain; a distance considerably less than a hundred miles from
Albany. Whatever was forwarded as far as Lake George while the snow lasted,
could then be sent on with the army, in the contemplated operations of the
approaching summer, by means of the two lakes, and their northern outlets.
"Well, Mr. Littlepage," cried Guert, heartily; "_that_ affair is well
disposed of. You got goot prices, and I hope the King has got goot horses.
They are a little venerable, perhaps; but what of that? The army would
knock up the best and youngest beast in the colony, in one campaign in the
woots; and it can do no more with the oldest and worst. Shall we walk rount
into the main street, gentlemen? This is about the hour when the young
ladies are apt to start for their afternoon sleighing."
"I suppose the ladies of Albany are remarkable for their beauty, Mr. Ten
Eyck," I rejoined, wishing to say something agreeable to a man who seemed
so desirous of serving me. "The specimens I saw in crossing the river this
morning, would induce a stranger to think so."
"Sir," replied Guert, walking towards the great avenue of the town, "we are
content with our ladies, in general, for they are charming, warm-hearted
and amiable; but there has been an arrival among us this winter, from your
part of the colony, that has almost melted the ice on the Hudson!"
My heart beat quicker, for I could only think of one being of her sex, as
likely to produce such a sensation. Still, I could not abstain from making
a direct inquiry on the subject.
"From _our_ part of the colony, Mr. Ten Eyck!--You mean from New York,
"Yes, sir, as a matter of course. There are several beautiful English women
who have come up with the army; but no colonel, major, or captain, has
brought such paragons with him, as Herman Mordaunt, a gentleman who may be
known to you by name?"
"Personally too, sir. Herman Mordaunt is even a kinsman of Dirck Follock,
my friend here."
"Then is Mr. Follock to be envied, since he can call cousin with so
charming a young lady as Anneke Mordaunt."
"True sir, most true!" I interrupted, eagerly; "Anne Mordaunt passes for
the sweetest girl in York!"
"I do not know that I should go quite as far as that, Mr. Littlepage,"
returned Guert, moderating his warmth, in a manner that a little surprised
me, though his handsome face still glowed with honest, natural admiration;
"since there is a Miss Mary Wallace in her company, that is quite as much
thought of, here in Albany, as her friend, Miss Mordaunt."
Mary Wallace! The idea of comparing the silent, thoughtful, excellent
though she were, Mary Wallace, with Anneke could never have crossed my
mind. Still, Mary Wallace certainly _was_ a very charming girl. She was
even handsome; had a placid, saint-like character of countenance that had
often struck me, singular beauty and development of form, and, in any
other company than that of Anneke's, might well have attracted the first
attention of the most fastidious beholder.
And Guert Ten Eyck admired,--perhaps loved, Mary Wallace! Here, then, was
fresh evidence how much we are all inclined to love our opposites; to form
close friendships with those who resemble us least, principles excepted,
for virtue can never cling to vice, and how much more interest novelty
possesses in the human breast, than the repetition of things to which we
are accustomed. No two beings could be less alike than Mary Wallace and
Guert Ten Eyck; yet the last admired the first.
"Miss Wallace is a very charming young lady, Mr. Ten Eyck," I rejoined, as
soon as wonder would allow me to answer, "and I am not surprised you speak
of her in terms of so much admiration."
Guert stopped short in the street, looked me full in the face with an
expression of truth that could not well be feigned, squeezed my hand
fervently, and rejoined with a strange frankness, that I could not have
imitated, to be master of all I saw--
"Admiration, Mr. Littlepage, is not a word strong enough for what I feel
for Mary! I would marry her in the next hour, and love and cherish her for
all the rest of my life. I worship _her_, and love the earth she treads
"And you have told her this, Mr. Ten Eyck?"
"Fifty times, sir. She has now been two months in Albany, and my love was
secured within the first week. I offered myself too soon, I fear; for Mary
is a prutent, sensible young woman, and girls of that character are apt
to distrust the youth who is too quick in his advances. They like to
be served, sir, for seven years and seven years, as Joseph served for
"You mean, most likely, Mr. Ten Eyck, as Jacob served for Rachel."
"Well, sir, it may be as you say, dough I t'ink that in our Dutch Bibles,
it stands as Joseph served for Potiphar--but you know what I mean, Mr.
Littlepage. If you wish to see the ladies, and will come with me, I will go
to a place where Herman Mordaunt's sleigh invariably passes at this hour,
for the ladies almost live in the air. I never miss the occasion of seeing
I had now a clue to Guert's being so much in the street. He was as good as
his word, however, for he took a stand near the Dutch church, where I soon
had the happiness of seeing Anneke and her friend driving past, on their
evening's excursion. How blooming and lovely the former looked! Mary
Wallace's eye turned, I fancied understandingly, to the corner where Guert
had placed himself, and her colour deepened as she returned his bow. But,
the start of surprise, the smile, and the lightening eye of Anneke, as she
unexpectedly saw me, filled my soul with delight, almost too great to be
[Footnote 19: The population of Albany could not have reached 4000 in
1758. Its Dutch character remained down to the close of this century,
with gradual changes. The writer can remember when quite as much Dutch
as English was heard in the streets of Albany, though it has now nearly
disappeared. The present population must be near 40,000.
Mr. Littlepage's description was doubtless correct, at the time he wrote;
but Albany would now be considered a first-class country town, in Europe.
It has much better claims to compare with the towns of the old world, in
this character, than New York has to compare with their capitals.--EDITOR.]
[Footnote 20: There were two churches, of this character, built on this
spot. The second, much larger than the first, but of the same form, was
built _round_ the other, in which service was held to the last, when it
was literally thrown out of the windows of its successor. The last edifice
disappeared about forty years since.--EDITOR.]
[Footnote 21: I cannot recollect one of these canopied pews that is now
standing, in this part of the Union. The last, of my knowledge, were in St.
Mark's, New York, and, I believe, belonged to the Stuyvesants, the patron
family of that church. They were taken down when that building was
repaired, a few years since. This is one of the most innocent of all our
innovations of this character. Distinctions in the House of God are opposed
to the very spirit of the Christian religion; and it were far more fitting
that pews should be altogether done away with, the true mode of assembling
under the sacred roof, than that men should be classed even at the foot of
It may be questioned if a hatchment is now hung up, either on the dwelling,
or in a church, in any part of America. They were to be seen, however, in
the early part of the present century. Whenever any such traces of ancient
usages are met with among us, by the traveller from the old world, he is
apt to mistake them for the shadows "that coming events cast before,"
instead of those of the past.--EDITOR.]
"Then the wine it gets into their heads,
And turns the wit out of its station;
Nonsense gets in, in its stead,
And their puns are now all botheration."
_The Punning Society._
Guert Ten Eyck looked at me expressively, as the sleigh whirled round an
angle of the building and disappeared. He then proposed that we should
proceed. On ascending the main street, I was not a little surprised at
discovering the sort of amusement that was going on, and in which it seemed
to me all the youths of the place were engaged. By youths, I do not mean
lads of twelve and fourteen, but young men of eighteen and twenty, the
amusement being that of sliding down hill, or "coasting," as I am told
it is called in Boston. The acclivity was quite sharp, and of sufficient
length to give an impetus to the sled, that was set in motion at a short
distance above the English church; an impetus that would carry it past the
Dutch church--a distance that was somewhat more than a quarter of a mile.
The hand-sleds employed, were of a size and construction suited to the
dimensions of those that used them; and, as a matter of course, there was
no New Yorker that had not learned how to govern the motion of one of these
vehicles, even when gliding down the steepest descent, with the nicest
delicacy and greatest ease. As children, or boys as late in life as
fourteen even, every male in the colony, and not a few of the females, had
acquired this art; but this was the first place in which I had ever known
adults to engage in the sport. The accidental circumstance of a hill's
belonging to the principal street, joined to the severity of the winters,
had rendered an amusement suited to grown people, that, elsewhere, was
monopolized by the children.
By the time we had ascended as high as the English church, a party of young
officers came down from the fort, gay with the glass and the song of the
regimental mess. No sooner did they reach the starting-point, than three
or four of the more youthful got possession of as many sleds, and off
they went, like the shot starting from its gun. Nobody seemed to think it
strange; but, on the contrary, I observed that the elderly people looked
on with a complacent gravity, that seemed to say how vividly the sight
recalled the days of their own youth. I cannot say, however, that the
strangers succeeded very well in managing their sleds, generally meeting
with some stoppage before they reached the bottom of the hill.
"Will you take a slide, Mr. Littlepage?" Guert demanded, with a courteous
gravity, that showed how serious a business he fancied the sport. "Here
is a large and strong sled that will carry double, and you might trust
yourself with me, though a regiment of horse were paraded down below."
"But are we not a little too _old_ for such an amusement, in the streets of
a large town, Mr. Ten Eyck?" I answered, doubtingly, looking round me in
an uncertain manner, as one who did not like to adventure, even while he
hesitated to refuse. "Those king's officers are privileged people, you
"No man has a higher privilege to use the streets of Albany, than Mr.
Cornelius Littlepage, sir, I can assure you. The young ladies often honour
me with their company, and no accident has ever happened."
"Do the young ladies venture to ride down _this_ street, Mr. Ten Eyck?"
"Not often, sir, I grant you; though that _has_ been done, too, of a
moon-light night. There is a more retired spot, at no great distance from
this street, however, to which the ladies are rather more partial. Look,
Mr. Littlepage!--There goes the Hon. Capt. Monson, of the ----th, and he
will be down the hill and up again before we are off, unless you hurry.
Take your seat, lady-fashion, and leave me to manage the sled."
What could I do! Guert had been so very civil, was so much in earnest,
everybody seemed to expect it of me, and the Hon. Capt. Monson was already
a hundred yards on his way to the bottom, shooting ahead with the velocity
of an arrow. I took my seat, accordingly, placing my feet together on the
front round, "_lady-fashion_," as directed. In an instant, Guert's manly
frame was behind me, with a leg extended on each side of the sled, the
government of which, as every American who has been born north of the
Potomac well knows, is effected by delicate touches of the heels. Guert
called out to the boys for a shove, and away we went, like the ship that is
bound for her "destined element," as the poets say. We got a good start,
and left the spot as the arrow leaves its bow.
Shall I own the truth, and confess I had a momentary pleasure in the
excitement produced by the rapidity of the motion, by the race we were
running with another sled, and by the skill and ease with which Guert,
almost without touching the ground, carried us unharmed through sundry
narrow passages, and along the line of wood and venison loaded sleighs,
barely clearing the noses of their horses. I forgot that I was making this
strange exhibition of myself, in a strange place, and almost in strange
company. So rapid was our motion, however, that the danger of being
recognised was not very great; and there were so many to divide attention,
that the act of folly would have been overlooked, but for a most untimely
and unexpected accident. We had gone the entire length between the
two churches with great success,--several steady, grave, and
respectable-looking old burghers calling out, on a high key, "Vell done,
Guert!"--for Guert appeared to be a general favourite, in the sense of fun
and frolic at least,--when, turning an angle of the Old Dutch Temple, in
the ambitious wish of shooting past it, in order to run still lower and
shoot off the wharf upon the river, we found ourselves in imminent danger
of running under the fore-legs of two foaming horses, that were whirling a
sleigh around the same corner of the church. Nothing saved us but Guert's
readiness and physical power. By digging a heel into the snow, he caused
the sled to fly round at a right angle to its former course, and us to fly
off it, heels over head, without much regard to the proprieties, so far as
postures or grace was concerned. The negro who drove the sleigh pulled up,
at the same instant, with so much force as to throw his horses on their
haunches. The result of these combined movements was to cause Guert and
myself to roll over in such a way as to regain our feet directly alongside
of the sleigh. In rising to my feet, indeed, I laid a hand on the side of
the vehicle, in order to assist me in the effort.
What a sight met my eyes! In the front stood the negro, grinning from ear
to ear; for _he_ deemed every disaster that occurred on runners a fit
subject for merriment. Who ever did anything but laugh at seeing a sleigh
upset?--and it was consequently quite in rule to do so on seeing two
overgrown boys roll over from a hand-sled. I could have knocked the rascal
down, with a good will, but it would not have done to resent mirth
that proceeded from so legitimate a cause. Had I been disposed to act
differently, however, the strength and courage necessary to effect such
a purpose would have been annihilated in me, by finding myself standing
within three feet, and directly in front of Anneke Mordaunt and Mary
Wallace! The shame at being thus detected in the disastrous termination of
so boyish a flight, at first nearly overcame me. How Guert felt I do not
know, but, for a single instant, I wished him in the middle of the Hudson,
and all Albany, its Dutch Church, sleds, hill, and smoking burghers
included, on top of him.
"Mr. Littlepage!" burst out of the rosy lips of Anneke, in a tone of voice
that was not to be misunderstood.
"Mr. Guert Ten Eyck!" exclaimed Mary Wallace, in an accent and manner that
"At your service, Miss Mary," answered Guert, who looked a little sheepish
at the result of his exploit, though for a reason I did not at first
comprehend, brushing some snow from his cap at the same time--"At your
service, now and ever, Miss Mary. But, do not suppose it was awkwardness
that produced this accident, I entreat of you. It was altogether the fault
of the boy who is stationed to give warning of sleighs below the church,
who must have left his post. Whenever either of you young ladies will do
me the honour to take a seat with me, I will pledge my character, as an
Albanian, to carry her to the foot of the highest and steepest hill in town
without disturbing a riband."
Marv Wallace made no answer; and I fancied she looked a little sad. It is
possible Anneke saw and understood this feeling, for she answered with a
spirit that I had never seen her manifest before--
"No, no, Mr. Ten Eyck," she said; "when Miss Wallace or I wish to ride down
hill, and become little girls again, we will trust ourselves with boys,
whose constant practice will be likely to render them more expert than men
can be, who have had time to forget the habits of their childhood. Pompey,
we will return home."
The cold inclination of the head that succeeded, while it was sufficiently
gracious to preserve appearances, proved too plainly that neither Guert
nor myself had risen in the estimation of his mistress, by this boyish
exhibition of his skill with the hand-sled. Had either of these young
ladies been Albanians, it is probable they would have laughed at our
mishap; but no high hill running directly into New York, the custom that
prevailed at Albany did not prevail in the capital. Small boys alone used
the hand-sled in that part of the colony, while the taste continued longer
among the more stable and constant Dutch. Of course, we had nothing to do
but to make profound bows, and suffer the negro to move on.
"There it is, Littlepage," exclaimed Guert, with a species of sigh; "I
shall have nothing but iced looks for the next week, and all for riding
down hill four or five years later than is the rule. Everybody, hereabouts,
uses the hand-sled until eighteen, or so; and I am only five-and-twenty.
Pray, what may be your age, my dear fellow?"
"Twenty-one, only about a month since. I wish, with all my heart, it were
"Turned the corner!--well, that's unlucky; but we must make the best of
it. My taste is for _fun_, and so I have admitted to Miss Wallace, twenty
times; but she tells me that, after a certain period, men should look to
graver things, and think of their country. She has lectured me already,
once, on the subject of sliding; though she allows that skating is a manly
"When a lady takes the trouble to lecture, it is a sure sign she feels some
interest in the subject."
"By St. Nicholas! I never thought of that, Littlepage!" cried Guert, who,
notwithstanding the great advantages he possessed in the way of face and
figure, turned out to have less personal vanity about him than almost any
man I ever met with. "_Lecture_ me she has, and that more than once, too!"
"The lady who lectures _me_, sir, will not get rid of me, at the end of the
"That's manly! I like it, Littlepage; and I like _you_. I foresee we shall
be great friends; and we'll talk more of this matter another time. Now,
Mary has spoken to me of the war, and hinted that a single man, like
myself, with the world before him, might do something to make his name
known in it. I did not like that; for a girl who loved a fellow would not
wish to have him shot."
"A girl who took no interest in her suitor, Mr. Ten Eyck, would not care
whether he did anything or not. But I must now quit you, being under an
engagement to meet Mr. Worden at the inn, at six."
Guert and I shook hands, for the tenth or twelfth time that day, parting
with an understanding that he was to call for us, to accompany our party to
the supper, at the previously appointed hour. As I walked towards the inn,
I pondered on what had just occurred, in a most mortified temper. That
Anneke was displeased, was only too apparent; and I felt fearful that her
displeasure was not entirely free from contempt. As for Guert's case, it
did not strike me as being half so desperate as my own; for there was
nothing unnatural, but something quite the reverse, in women of sense
and stability, when they admire any youth of opposite temperament--and I
remembered to have heard my grandfather say that such was apt to be the
case,--wishing to elevate their suitors in their pursuits and characters.
Had Anneke taken the pains to remonstrate with me about the folly of what I
had done, I should have been encouraged; but the cold indifference of her
manner, not to call it contempt, cut me to the quick. It is true, Anneke
seemed to feel most on her friend's account; but I could not mistake the
look of surprise with which she saw me, Cornelius Littlepage, rise from
under her sleigh, and stand brushing the snow from my clothes, like a great
calf as I was! No man can bear to be rendered ridiculous in the presence of
the woman he loves.
Near the inn I met Dirck, his whole face illuminated with a look of
"I have just met Anneke and Mary Wallace!" he said, "and they stopped their
sleigh to speak to me. Herman Mordaunt has been here half the winter, and
he means to remain most of the summer. There will be no Lilacsbush this
season, the girls told me, but Herman Mordaunt has got a house, where he
lives with his own servants, and boils his own pot, as he calls it. We
shall be at home there, of course, for you are such a favourite, Corny,
ever since that affair of the lion! As for Anneke, I never saw her looking
"Did Miss Mordaunt say she would be happy to see us on the old footing,
"Did she?--I suppose so. She said I shall be glad to see you, cousin Dirck,
whenever you can come, and I hope you will bring with you sometimes the
clergyman of whom you have spoken."
"But nothing of Jason Newcome or Corny Littlepage? Tell the truth at once,
Dirck; my name was not mentioned?"
"Indeet it was, t'ough; _I_ mentioned it several times, and told them how
long we had been on the roat, and how you trove, and how you had sold the
sleigh and horses already, and a dozen other t'ings. Oh! we talket a great
deal of you, Corny; that is, I dit, and the girls listened."
"Was my name mentioned by either of the young ladies, Dirck, in direct
"To be sure; Anneke had something to say about you, though it was so much
out of the way, I can hardly tell you what it was now. Oh! I remember: she
said 'I have seen Mr. Littlepage, and think he has grown since we last
met; he promises to make a _man_ one of these days.' What could t'at mean,
"That I am a fool, a great overgrown boy, and wish I had never seen Albany;
that's what it means. Come, let us go in; Mr. Worden will be expecting us.
Ha! Who the devil's that, Dirck?"
A loud Dutch shout from Dirck broke out of him, regardless of the street,
and his whole face lighted up into a broad sympathetic smile. I had caught
a glimpse of a sled coming down the acclivity we were slowly ascending,
which sled glided past us just as I got the words out of my mouth. It was
occupied by Jason alone, who seemed just as much charmed with the sport
as any other grown-up boy on the hill. There he went, the cocked-hat
uppermost, the pea-green coat beneath, and the striped woollens and heavy
plated buckles stuck out, one on each side, governing the movement of the
sled with the readiness of a lad accustomed to the business.
"That must be capital fun, Corny!" my companion said, scarce able to
contain himself for the pleasure he felt. "I have a great mind to borrow a
sled and take a turn myself."
"Not if you intend to visit Miss Mordaunt, Dirck. Take my word for it, she
does not like to see men following the pleasures of boys."
Dirck stared at me, but being taciturn by nature, he said nothing, and we
entered the house. There we found Mr. Worden reading over an old sermon,
in readiness for his next Sunday's business; and sitting down, we began to
compare notes on the subject of the town and its advantages. The divine was
in raptures. As for the Dutch he cared little for them, and had seen but
little of them, overlooking them in a very natural, metropolitan sort of
way; but he had found so many English officers, had heard so much from
home, and had received so many invitations, that _his_ campaign promised
nothing but agreeables. We sat chatting over these matters until the tea
was served, and for an hour or two afterwards. My bargains were applauded,
my promptitude--the promptitude of Guert would have been more just--was
commended, and I was told that my parents should hear the whole truth in
the matter. In a word, our Mentor being in good-humour with himself, was
disposed to be in good humour with every one else.
At the appointed hour, Guert came to escort us to the place of meeting. He
was courteous, attentive, and as frank as the air he breathed, in manner.
Mr. Worden took to him excessively, and it was soon apparent that he and
young Ten Eyck were likely to become warm friends.
"You must know, gentlemen, that the party to which I have had the honour
of inviting you, will be composed of some of the heartiest young men in
Albany, if not in the colony. We meet once a month, in the house of an old
bachelor, who belongs to us, and who will be delighted to converse with
you, Mr. Worden, on the subject of religion. Mr. Van Brunt is very expert
in religion, and we make him the umpire of all our disputes and bets on
This sounded a little ominous, I thought; but Mr. Worden was not a man to
be frightened from a good hot supper, by half-a-dozen inadvertent words. He
could tolerate even a religious discussion, with such an object in view.
He walked on, side by side with Guert, and we were soon at the door of the
house of Mr. Van Brunt, the Bachelor in Divinity, as I nicknamed him. Guert
entered without knocking, and ushered us into the presence of our _quasi_
We found in the room a company of just twelve, Guert included; that being
the entire number of the club. It struck me, at the first glance, that the
whole set had a sort of slide-down-hill aspect, and that we were likely to
make a night of it. My acquaintance with Dirck, and indeed my connection
with the old race, had not left me ignorant of a certain peculiarity in the
Dutch character. Sober, sedate, nay phlegmatic as they usually appeared
to be, their roystering was on a pretty high key, when it once fairly
commenced. We thought one lad of the old race, down in Westchester, fully a
match for two of the Anglo-Saxon breed, when it came to a hard set-to; no
ordinary fun appeasing the longings of an excited Dutchman. Tradition had
let me into a good many secrets connected with their excesses, and I had
heard the young Albanians often mentioned as being at the head of their
profession in these particulars.
Nothing could be more decorous, or considerate, however, than our
introduction and reception. The young men seemed particularly gratified at
having a clergyman of their party, and I make no doubt it was intended that
the evening should be one of unusual sobriety and moderation. I heard the
word "Dominie" whispered from mouth to mouth, and it was easy to see the
effect it produced. Most eyes were fastened on Van Brunt, a red-faced,
square-built, somewhat dissolute-looking man of forty-five, who seemed to
find his apology for associating with persons so much his juniors, in his
habits, and possibly in the necessity of the case; as men of his own years
might not like his company.
"And, gentlemen, it is dry business standing here looking at each other,"
observed Mr. Van Brunt; "and we will take a little punch, to moisten our
hearts, as well as our throats. Guert, yon is the pitcher."
Guert made good use of the pitcher, and each man had his glass of punch,--a
beverage then, as now, much used in the colony. I must acknowledge that the
mixture was very knowingly put together, though I had no sooner swallowed
my glass, than I discovered it was confounded strong. Not so with Guert.
Not only did he swallow _one_ glass, but he swallowed _two_, in quick
succession, like a man who was thirsty; standing at the time in a fine,
manly, erect attitude, as one who trifled with something that did not half
tax his powers. The pitcher, though quite large, was emptied at that one
assault, in proof of which it was turned bottom upwards, by Guert himself.
Conversation followed, most of it being in English, out of compliment to
the Dominie, who was not supposed to understand Dutch. This was an error,
however, Mr. Worden making out tolerably well in that language, when he
tried. I was felicitated on the bargains I had made with the contractor;
and many kind and hospitable attempts were made to welcome me in a frank,
hearty manner among strangers. I confess I was touched by these honest and
sincere endeavours to put me at my ease, and when a second pitcher of punch
was brought round, I took another glass with right good-will, while Guert,
as usual, took two; though the liquor _he_ drank, I had many occasions to
ascertain subsequently, produced no more visible effect on him, in the way
of physical consequences, than if he had not swallowed it. Guert was no
drunkard, far from it; he could only drink all near him under the table,
and remain firm in his chair himself. Such men usually escape the
imputation of being sots, though they are very apt to pay the penalty of
their successes at the close of their career. These are the men who break
down at sixty, if not earlier, becoming subject to paralysis, indigestion,
and other similar evils.
Such was the state of things, the company gradually getting into a very
pleasant humour, when Guert was called out of the room by one of the
blacks, who bore a most ominous physiognomy while making his request.
He was gone but a moment, when he returned with a certain sort of
consternation painted in his own handsome face. Mr. Van Brunt was called
into a corner, where two or three more of the principal persons present
soon collected, in an earnest, half-whispered discourse. I was seated so
near this group, as occasionally to overhear a few expressions, though
to get no clear clue to its meaning. The words I overheard were,
"old Cuyler"--"capital supper"--"venison and ducks"--"partridges and
quails"--"knows us all"--"never do"--"Dominie the man"--"strangers"--"how
to do it?" and several other similar expressions, which left a vague
impression on my mind that our supper was in great peril from some cause or
other; but what that cause was I could not learn. Guert was evidently the
principal person in this consultation, everybody appearing to listen to his
suggestions with respect and attention. At length our friend came out of
the circle, and in a courteous, self-possessed manner communicated the
difficulty in the following words:
"You must know, Rev. Mr. Worden, and Mr. Littlepage, and Mr. Follock, and
Mr. Newcome, that we have certain customs of our own, among us youths of
Albany, that perhaps are not familiar to you gentlemen nearer the capital.
The trut' is, that we are not always as wise and as sober as our parents,
and grandparents in particular, could wish us to be. It is t'ought a good
thing among us sometimes, to rummage the hen-roosts and poultry-yards of
the burghers, and to sup on the fruits of such a forage. I do not know how
it is with you, gentlemen; but I will own, that to me, ducks and geese got
in this innocent, game-like way, taste sweeter than when they are bought in
the market-hall: our own supper for to-night was a _bought_ supper, but
it has become the victim of a little enlargement of the practice I have
"How!--how's that, friend Ten Eyck!" exclaimed Mr. Worden, in no affected
consternation. "The _supper_ a victim, do you say?"
"Yes, sir; to be frank at once, it is gone; gone to a pullet, a steak, and
a potatoe. They have not left us a dish!"
"They!" echoed the parson--"And who can _they_ be?"
"That is a point yet to be ascertained, for the operation has been carried
on in so delicate and refined a way, that none of our blacks know anything
of the matter. It seems there was a cry of fire just now, and it took every
one of the negroes into the street; during which time all our game has been
put up, and has flown."
"Bless me! bless me! what a calamity!--what a rascally theft! Did you not
mark it down?"
"No sir, I am sorry to say we have not; nor do we apply such hard names to
a frolic, even when we lose our supper by it. It is the act of some of our
associates and friends, who hope to feast at our expense to-night; and who
will, gentlemen, unless you will consent to aid us in recovering our lost
"Aid you, my dear sir--I will do any thing you can wish--what will you have
me attempt! Shall I go to the fort, and ask for succour from the army?"
"No, sir; our object can be effected short of t'at. I am quite certain
we can find what we want, only two or three doors from this, if you will
consent to lend us a little, a very little of your assistance."
"Name it--name it, at once, for Heaven's sake, Mr. Guert. The dishes
must be getting cold, all this time," cried Mr. Worden, jumping up with
alacrity, and looking about him, for his hat and cloak.
"The service we ask of you, gentlemen, is just this," rejoined Guert, with
a coolness that, when I came to reflect on the events of that night, has
always struck me as singularly astonishing. "Our supper, and an excellent
one it is, is close at hand, as I have said. Nothing will be easier than to
get it on our own table, in the next room, could we only manage to call old
Doortje off duty, and detain her for five minutes at the area gate of her
house. She knows every one of _us_, and would smell a rat in a minute, did
_we_ show ourselves; but Mr. Worden and Mr. Littlepage, here, might amuse
her for the necessary time, without any trouble. She is remarkably fond of
Dominies, and would not be able to trace _you_ back to this house, leaving
us to eat the supper in peace. After _t'at_, no one cares for the rest."
"I'll do it!--I'll do it!" cried Mr. Worden, hurrying into the passage, in
quest of his hat and cloak. "It is no more than just that you should have
your own, and the supper will be either eaten, or overdone, should we go
"No fear of constables, Mr. Worden, we never employ them in our poultry
wars. All we, who will get the supper back again, can expect, will be
merely a little hot water, or a skirmish with our friends."
The details of the movement were now intelligibly and clearly settled.
Guert was to head a party provided with large clothes-baskets, who were to
enter the kitchen, during Doortje's absence, and abstract the dishes, which
could not yet be served, as all in Albany, of a certain class, sat down to
supper at nine precisely. As for Doortje, a negro who was in the house, in
waiting on one of the guests, his master, would manage to get her out to
the area gate, the house having a cellar kitchen, where it would depend on
Mr. Worden to detain her, three or four minutes. To my surprise, the
parson entered on the execution of the wild scheme with boyish eagerness,
affirming that he could keep the woman half an hour, if it were necessary,
by delivering her a lecture on the importance of observing the eighth
commandment. As soon as the preliminaries were thus arranged, the two
parties proceeded on their respective duties, the hour admonishing us of
the necessity of losing no time unnecessarily.
I did not like this affair from the first, the experiment of sliding down
hill, having somewhat weakened my confidence in Guert Ten Eyck's judgment.
Nevertheless, it would not do for _me_ to hold back, when Mr. Worden led,
and, after all, there was no great harm in recovering a supper that had
been abstracted from our own house. Guert did not proceed, like ourselves,
by the street, but he went with his party, out of a back gate into an
alley, and was to enter the yard of the house he assailed, by means of a
similar gate in its rear. Once in that yard, the access to the kitchen, and
the retreat, were very easy, provided the cook could be drawn away from her
charge at so important a moment. Everything, therefore, depended on the
address of the young negro who was in the house, and ourselves.
On reaching the gate of the area, we stopped while our negro descended to
invite Doortje forth. This gave us a moment to examine the building. The
house was large, much larger than most of those round it, and what struck
me as unusual, there was a lighted lamp over the door. This looked as if it
might be a sort of a tavern, or eating house, and rendered the whole thing
more intelligible to me. Our roystering plunderers doubtless intended to
sup on their spoils at that tavern.
The negro was gone but a minute, when he came out with a young black of his
own sex, a servant whom he was leading off his post, on some pretence
of his own, and was immediately followed by the cook. Doortje made many
curtsies as soon as she saw the cocked-hat and black cloak of the Dominie,
begging his pardon and asking his pleasure. Mr. Worden now began a grave
and serious lecture on the sin of stealing, holding the confounded Doortje
in discourse quite three minutes. In vain the cook protested she had taken
nothing; that her master's property was sacred in her eyes, and ever had
been; that she never gave away even cold meats without an order, and that
she could not imagine why _she_ was to be talked to in this way. To give
him his due, Mr. Worden performed his part to admiration, though it is true
he had only an ignorant wench, who was awed by his profession, to manage.
At length we heard a shrill whistle from the alley, the signal of success,
when Mr. Worden wished Doortje a solemn good-night, and walked away with
all the dignity of a priest. In a minute or two we were in the house again,
and were met by Guert with cordial shakes of the hand, thanks for our
acceptable service, and a summons to supper. It appears that Doortje had
actually dished-up everything, all the articles standing before a hot fire
waiting only for the clock to strike nine to be served. In this state,
then, the only change the supper had to undergo, was to bring it a short
distance through the alley and to place it on our table, instead of that
for which it was so lately intended.
Notwithstanding the rapidity with which the changes had been made, it would
not have been very easy for a stranger to detect any striking irregularity
in our feast. It is true, there were two sets of dishes on the table, or
rather dishes of two different sets; but the ducks, game, &c., were not
only properly cooked, but were warm and good. To work everybody went,
therefore, with an appetite, and for five minutes little was heard beyond
the clatter of knives and forks. Then came the drinking of healths, and
finally the toasts, and the songs, and the stories.
Guert sang capitally, in a fine, clear, sweet, manly voice, and he gave us
several airs with words both in English and in Dutch. He had just finished
one of these songs, and the clapping of hands was still loud and warm, when
the young man called on Mr. Worden for a lady, or a sentiment.
"Come, Dominie," he called out, for by this time the feast had produced
its familiarity--"Come, Dominie, you have acquitted yourself so well as a
lecturer, that we are all dying to hear you preach."
"A lady do you say, sir?" asked the parson, who was as merry as any of us.
"A laty--a laty"--shouted six or seven at once. "The Tominie's laty--the
"Well, gentlemen, since you will have it so, you shall have one. You must
not complain if she prove a little venerable,--but I give you 'Mother
This produced a senseless laugh, as such things usually do, and then
followed my turn. Mr. Van Brunt very formally called on me for a
lady. After pausing a moment I said, as I flatter myself, with
spirit--"Gentlemen, I will give you another almost as heavenly--Miss Anneke
"Miss Anneke Mordaunt!" was echoed round the table, and I soon discovered
that Anneke was a general favourite, and a very common toast already at
"I shall now ask Mr. Guert Ten Eyck for his lady," I said, as soon as
silence was restored, there being very little pause between the cups that
This appeal changed the whole character of the expression of Guert's face.
It became grave in an instant, as if the recollection of her whose name
he was about to utter produced a pause in his almost fierce mirth. He
coloured, then raised his eyes and looked sternly round as if to challenge
denial, and gave--
"Miss Mary Wallace."
"Ay, Guert, we are used to that name, now," said Van Brunt, a little drily.
"This is the tenth time I have heard it from you within two months."
"You will be likely to hear it twenty more, sir; for I shall give Mary
Wallace, and nobody but Mary Wallace, while the lady remains Mary Wallace.
How, now, Mr. Constable! What may be the reason we have the honour of a
visit from you at this time of night." 
[Footnote 22: In this whole affair of the supper, the reader will find
incidents that bear a striking resemblance to certain local characteristics
portrayed by Mrs. Grant, of Laggan, in her memoirs of an American Lady;
thus corroborating the fidelity of the pictures of our ancient manners,
as given by that respectable writer, by the unquestioned authority of Mr.
"Masters, it is proved already
That you are little better than false knaves;
And it will go near to be thought so, shortly."
The sudden appearance of the city constable, a functionary whose person was
not unknown to most of the company, brought every man at table to his feet,
the Rev. Mr. Worden, Dirck and myself, included. For my own part, I saw no
particular reason for alarm, though it at once struck me that this visit
might have some connection with the demolished supper, since the law does
not, in all cases, suffer a man to reclaim even his own, by trick or
violence. As for the constable himself, a short, compact, snub-nosed,
Dutch-built person, who spoke English as if it disagreed with his bile, he
was the coolest of the whole party.
"Vell, Mr. Guert," he said, with a sort of good-natured growl of authority,
"here I moost coome ag'in! Mr. Mayor woult be happy to see you, and ter
Tominie, dat ist of your party; and ter gentleman dat acted as clerk, ven
he lectured old Doortje, Mr. Mayor's cook."
Mr. Mayor's cook! Here, then, a secret was out, with a vengeance! Guert had
not reclaimed his own lost supper, which, having passed into the hands of
the Philistines, was hopelessly gone; but he had actually stolen and eaten
the supper prepared for the Mayor of Albany,--Peter Cuyler, a man of note,
and standing, in all respects; a functionary who had held his office from
time immemorial;--the lamp was the symbol of authority, and not the sign of
an inn, or an eating-house;--the supper, moreover, was never prepared for
one man, or one family, but had certainly been got up for the honourable
treatment of a goodly company;--fifteen stout men had mainly appeased their
appetites on it; and the fragments were that moment under discussion among
half-a-dozen large-mouthed, shining negro faces, in the kitchen! Under
circumstances like these, I looked inquiringly at the Rev. Mr. Worden--and
the Rev. Mr. Worden looked inquiringly at me. There was no apparent remedy,
however; but, after a brief consultation with Guert, we, the summoned
parties, took our hats and followed Dogberry to the residence of Mr. Mayor.
"You are not to be uneasy, gentlemen, at this little interruption of our
amusements," said Guert, dropping in between Mr. Worden and myself, as we
proceeded on our way, "these things happening very often among us. You are
innocent, you know, under all circumstances, since you supposed that
the supper was our own--brought back by direct means, instead of having
recourse to the shabby delays of the law."
"And whose supper may this have been, sir, that we have just eaten!"
demanded Mr. Worden.
"Why, there can be no harm, now, in telling you the truth, Dominie; and I
will own, therefore, it belonged in law to Mr. Mayor Cuyler. There is no
great danger, however, as you will see, when I come to explain matters. You
must know that the Mayor's wife was a Schuyler, and my mother has some of
that blood in her veins, and we count cousins as far as we can see, in
Albany. It is just supping with one's relations, a little out of the common
way, as you will perceive, gentlemen."
"Have you dealt fairly with Mr. Littlepage and myself, sir, in this
affair?" Mr. Worden asked, a little sternly. "I might, with great
propriety, lecture to a cook, on the eighth commandment, when that cook
was a party to robbing you of your supper; but how shall I answer to His
Honour, Mr. Mayor, on the charge which will now be brought against me?
It is not for myself, Mr. Guert, that I feel so much concern, as for the
credit and reputation of my sacred office, and that, too, among your
disciples of the schools of Leyden!"
"Leave it all to me, my dear Dominie--leave it all to me," answered Guert,
well disposed to sacrifice himself, rather than permit a friend to suffer.
"I am used to these little matters, and will take care of you."
"I vill answer for t'at," put in the constable, looking over his shoulder.
"No young fly-away in All_pon_ny hast more knowletge in t'ese matters t'an
Mr. Guert, here. If any potty can draw his heat out of the yoke, Mr. Guert
can, Yaas--yaas--he know all apout t'ese little matters, sure enough."
This was encouraging, of a certainty! Our associate was so well known for
his tricks and frolics, that even the constable who took him calculated
largely on his address in getting out of scrapes! I did not apprehend that
any of us were about to be tried and convicted of a downright robbery;
for I knew how far the Dutch carried their jokes of this nature, and how
tolerant the seniors were to their juniors; and especially how much all men
are disposed to regard any exploit of the sort of that in which we had been
engaged, when it has been managed adroitly, and in a way to excite a laugh.
Still, it was no joke to rob a Mayor of his supper these functionaries
usually passing to their offices through the probationary grade of
Alderman.  Guert was not free from uneasiness, as was apparent by a
question he put to the officer, on the steps of Mr. Cuyler's house, and
under the very light of the official lamp.
"How is the old gentleman, this evening, Hans?" the principal asked, with
some little concern in his manner. "I hope he and his company have supped?"
"Vell, t'at is more t'an I can tell you, Mr. Guert. He look't more as like
himself, when he hat the horse t'ieves from New Englant taken up, t'an he
hast for many a tay. 'Twas most too pat, Mr. Guert, to run away wit' the
Mayor's _own_ supper! I coult have tolt you who hast your own tucks and
"I wish you had, Hans, with all my heart; but we were hard pushed, and
had a strange Dominie to feed. You know a body must provide _well_ for
"Yaas, yaas; I understants it, and knows how you moost have peen nonplush't
to do sich a t'ing; put it was _mo-o-st_ too pat. Vell, we are all young,
afore we live to be olt--t'at effery potty knows."
By this time the door was open, and we entered. Mr. Mayor had issued orders
we should all be shown into the parlour, where I rather think, from what
subsequently passed, he intended to cut up Guert a little more than common,
by exposing him before the eyes of a particular person. At all events, the
reader can judge of my horror, at finding that the party whose supper I had
just helped to demolish, consisted, in addition to three or four sons and
daughters of the house, of Herman Mordaunt, Mary Wallace, and Anneke! Of
course, everybody knew _what_ had been done; but, until we entered the
room, Mr. Mayor alone knew _who_ had done it. Of Mr. Worden and myself
even, he knew no more than he had learned from Dootje's account of the
matter; and the cook, quite naturally, had represented us as rogues
feigning our divinity.
Guert was a thoroughly manly fellow, and he did us the justice to enter the
parlour first. Poor fellow! I can feel for him, even at this distance of
time, when his eye first fell on Mary Wallace's pallid and distressed
countenance. It could scarcely be less than I felt myself, when I first
beheld Anneke's flushed features, and the look of offended propriety that I
fancied to be sparkling in her estranged eye.
Mr. Mayor evidently regarded Mr. Worden with surprise, as indeed he did
me; for, instead of strangers, he probably expected to meet two of those
delinquents whose faces were familiar to him, by divers similar jocular
depredations, committed within the limits of his jurisdiction. Then the
circumstance that Mr. Worden was a real Dominie, could not be questioned
by those who saw him standing, as he did, face to face, with all the usual
signs of his sacred office in his dress and air.
"I believe there must be some mistake here, constable!" exclaimed Mr.
Mayor. "Why have you brought these two strange gentlemen along with Guert
"My orters, Mr. Mayor, wast to pring Dootje's 'rapscallion Tominie,' and
his 'rapscallion frient;' and t'at is one, and t'is ist t'ot'e."
"This gentleman has the appearance of being a _real_ clergyman, and that
too, of the church of England."
"Yaas, Mr. Mayor, t'at is yoost so. He wilt preach fifteen minutes wit'out
stopping, if you wilt give him a plack gownt; and pray an hour in a white
"Will you do me the favour, Guert Ten Eyck, to let me have the names of
the strangers I have the pleasure to receive," said the mayor, a little
"Certainly, Mr. Mayor; certainly, and with very great pleasure. I should
have done this at once, had we been ushered into your house by any one but
the city constable. Whenever I accompany that gentleman anywhere, I always
wait to ascertain my welcome."
Guert laughed with some heart at this allusion to his own known
delinquencies, while Mr. Cuyler only smiled. I could see, notwithstanding
the severe measures to which he had resorted in this particular case, that
the last was not unfriendly to the first, and that our friend Guert had
not fallen literally among robbers, in being brought to the place where we
"This reverend dominie," continued Guert, as soon as he had had his laugh,
and had ventured to cast a short, inquiring glance at Mary Wallace, "is a
gentleman from England, Mr. Mayor, who is to preach in St. Peter's the day
after to-morrow, by special invitation from the chaplain; when, I make no
doubt, we shall all be much edified; Miss Mary Wallace among the rest, if
she will do him the honour to attend the service--good, and angelic, and
_forgiving_, as I know she is by nature."
This speech caused all eyes to turn on the young lady whose face crimsoned,
though she made no reply. I now felt satisfied that Guert's manly, frank,
avowed, and sincere admiration had touched the heart of Mary Wallace, while
her reason condemned that which her natural tenderness encouraged; and the
struggle in her mind was then, and long after, a subject of curious study
with me. As for Anneke, I thought she resented this somewhat indiscreet,
not to say indelicate though indirect avowal of his feelings towards his
mistress; and that she looked on Guert with even more coldness than she had
previously done. Neither of the ladies, however, said anything. During
this dumb-show, Mr. Cuyler had leisure to recover from the surprise of
discovering that one of his prisoners was really a clergyman, and to
inquire who the other might be.
"That gentleman, then, is in fact a clergyman!" he answered. "You have
forgotten to name the other, Guert."
"This is Mr. Corny Littlepage, Mr. Mayor--the only son of Major Littlepage,
of Satanstoe, Westchester."
The Mayor looked a little puzzled, and I believe felt somewhat embarrassed
as to the manner in which he ought to proceed. The incursion of Guert upon
his premises much exceeded in boldness, anything of the kind that had ever
before occurred in Albany. It was common enough for young men of his stamp
to carry off poultry, pigs, &c., and feast on the spoils; and cases
had occurred, as I afterwards learned, in which rival parties of these
depredators preyed on each other--the same materials for a supper
having been known to change hands two or three times before they were
consumed--but no one had ever presumed, previously to this evening, to make
an inroad even on Mr. Mayor's hencoop, much less to molest the domains of
his cook. In the first impulse of his anger, Mr. Cuyler had sent for the
constable; and Guert's club, with its place of meeting being well known,
that functionary having had many occasions to visit it, the latter
proceeded thither forthwith. It is probable, however, a little reflection
satisfied the mayor that a frolic could not well be treated as a larceny;
and that Guert had some of his own wife's blood in his veins. When he came
to find that two respectable strangers were implicated in the affair, one
of whom was actually a clergyman, this charitable feeling was strengthened,
and he changed his course of proceeding.
"You can return home, Hans," said Mr. Mayor, very sensibly mollified in his
manner. "Should there be occasion for your further services, I will send
for you. Now gentlemen," as soon as the door closed on the constable, "I
will satisfy you that old Peter Cuyler can cover a table, and feed his
friends, even though Guert Ten Eyck be so near a neighbour. Miss Wallace,
will you allow me the honour to lead you to the table? Mr. Worden will see
Mrs. Cuyler, in safety, to the same place."
On this hint, the missionary stepped forward with alacrity, and led Mrs.
Mayoress after Mary Wallace, with the utmost courtesy. Guert did the same
to one of the young ladies of the house; Anneke was led in by one of the
young men; and I took the remaining young lady, who, I presumed, was also
one of the family. It was very apparent we were respited; and all of us
thought it wisest to appear as much at our ease as possible, in order not
to balk the humour of the principal magistrate of the ancient town of
To do Mr. Mayor justice, the lost time had been so well improved by
Doortje, that, on looking around the table, I thought the supper to which
we were thus strangely invited, was, of the two, the best I had seen that
evening. Luckily, game was plenty; and, by means of quails, partridges,
oysters, venison patties, and other dishes of that sort, the cook had
managed to send up quite as good a supper, at ten o'clock, as she had
previously prepared for nine.
I will not pretend that I felt quite at my ease, as I took my seat at the
table, for the second time that night. All the younger members of the party
looked exceedingly grave, as if they could very well dispense with our
company; the old people alone appearing to enter into the scene with any
spirit. Anneke did not even look at me, after the first astounded look
given on my entrance; nor did Mary Wallace once cast her eyes towards
Guert, when we reached the supper-room. Mr. Mayor, notwithstanding, had
determined to laugh off the affair; and he and Mr. Worden soon became
excellent friends, and began to converse freely and naturally.
"Come, cousin Guert," cried Mr. Mayor, after two or three glasses of
Madeira had still further warmed his heart, "fill, and pledge me--unless
you prefer to give a lady. If the last, everybody will drink to her, with
hearty good-will. You eat nothing, and must drink the more."
"Ah! Mr. Mayor, I have toasted one lady, to-night, and cannot toast
"Not present company excepted, my boy?"
"No, sir, not even with that license. I pledge you, with all my heart, and
thank you, with all my heart, for this generous treatment, after my own
foolish frolic;--but, you know how it is, Mr. Mayor, with us Albany youths,
when our pride is up, and a supper must be had--"
"Not I, Guert; I know nothing about it; but should very well like to learn.
How came you, in the first place, to take such a fancy to my cook's supper?
Did you imagine it better than Van Brunt's cook could give you?"
"The supper of Arent Van Brunt's cook has disappeared--gone on the hill, I
fancy, among the red-coats; and, to own the truth, Mr. Mayor, it was yours,
or nothing. I had invited these gentlemen to pass the evening with us. One
of our blacks happened to mention what was going on here, and hospitality
led us all astray. It was nothing more, I do assure you, Mr. Mayor."
"And so your hospitable feelings made your guests work for their supper, by
sending them to preach to old Doortje, while you were dishing up my ducks
"Your pardon, Mr. Mayor; Doortje had dished-up, before she went to lecture.
Your cook is too well trained to neglect her duty, even to hear a sermon by
the Rev. Mr. Worden! But, these gentlemen were quite as much deceived as
the old woman; for, they supposed we were after our own lost goods, and
did not know that you dwelt here; and were as much my dupes as old Doortje
herself. Truth obliges me to own this much, in their justification."
There was a general clearing up of countenances, at this frank avowal; and
I saw that Anneke, herself, turned her looks inquiringly upon the
speaker, and suffered a smile to relieve the extreme gravity of her sweet
countenance. From that moment, a very sensible change came over the
feelings and deportment of the younger part of the company, and the
conversation became easier and more natural. It was certainly much in our
favour to have it known, we had not officiously and boyishly joined in
a gratuitous attempt to rob and insult this particular and unoffending
family, but that Mr. Worden and I supposed we were simply aiding in getting
back those things which properly belonged to our hosts, and getting them
back, too, in a manner of which the party we supposed we were acting
against, would certainly have no right to complain, inasmuch as they
had set the example. Guert was encouraged to go on further with his
explanations; which he did, in his own honest, candid manner, exculpating
us, in effect, from everything but being a little too much disposed
to waggery, for a minister of the church, and his pupil, who had just
commenced his travels.
Anneke's face brightened up, more and more, as the explanations proceeded;
and, soon after they were ended, she turned to me in a very gracious
manner, and inquired after my mother. As I sat directly opposite to her,
and the table was narrow, we could converse without attracting much
attention to ourselves; Mr. Mayor and his other guests keeping up a round
of reasonably noisy jokes, on the events of the evening, nearer the foot of
"You find some customs in Albany, Mr. Littlepage, that are not known to us,
in New York," Anneke observed, after a few preliminary remarks had opened
the way to further communication.
"I scarce know, Miss Anneke, whether you allude to what has occurred this
evening, or to what occurred this afternoon?"
"To both, I believe," answered Anneke, smiling, though she coloured, as I
thought, with a species of feminine vexation; "for, certainly, one is no
more a custom with us than the other."
"I have been most unfortunate, Miss Mordaunt, in the exhibitions I have
made of myself in the course of the few hours I have passed in this, to me,
strange place. I am afraid you regard me as little more than an overgrown
boy who has been permitted by his parents to leave home sooner than he
"This is your construction, and not mine, Mr. Littlepage. I suppose you
know--but, we will talk of this in the other room, or at some other time."
I took the hint, and said no more on the subject while at table. Mr. Mayor,
I suppose in consideration of our having gone through the exactions of one
feast already that evening, permitted us to leave the supper-room much
earlier than common, and the hour being late, the whole party broke up
immediately afterwards. Before we separated, however, Herman Mordaunt
approached me, in a friendly, free way, and invited me to come to his house
at eight next morning to breakfast, requesting the pleasure of Dirck's
company at the same time; the invitation to the latter going through me.
It is scarcely necessary to say how gladly I accepted, and how much I was
relieved by this termination of an adventure that, at one moment, menaced
me with deep disgrace. Had Mr. Mayor seen fit to pursue the affair of the
abstraction of his first supper in a serious vein, although the legal
consequences could not probably have amounted to anything very grave, they
might prove very ridiculous; and I have no doubt they would have brought
about a very abrupt termination of my visit to the north. As it was, my
mind was vastly relieved, as I believe was the case also with that of the
Rev. Mr. Worden.
"Corny," said that gentleman, after we had wished Guert good-night, and
were well on our way to the inn again, "this second supper has helped
surprisingly to digest the first. I doubt if our new acquaintance, here,
will be likely to turn out very profitable to us."
"Yet, sir, you appeared to take to him exceedingly, and I had thought you
"I like the fellow well enough too; for he is hearty, and frank, and
good-natured; but there was some little policy in keeping on good terms
with him. I'm afraid, Corny, I did not altogether consult the dignity of my
holy office, this morning, on the ice! It is exceedingly unbecoming in a
clergyman, to be seen running in a public place like a school-boy, or a
youngster contending in a match. I thought, moreover, I overheard one
of those young Dutchmen call me the 'Loping Dominie;' and so, taking
altogether, it struck me it would be wisest to keep on good terms with this
Guert Ten Eyck."
"I see your policy, sir, and it does not become me to deny it. As for
myself, I confess I like Guert surprisingly, and shall not give him up
easily; though he has already got me into two serious scrapes in the short
time we have been acquainted; He is a hearty, good-natured, thoughtless
young fellow; who, Dutchman-like, when he does make an attempt to enjoy
life, does it with all his heart."
I then related the affair of the hand-sled to Mr. Worden, who gave me some
of that sort of consolation, of which a man receives a great deal, as he
elbows his way through this busy, selfish world.
"Well, Corny," said my old master, "I am not certain you did not look
more like a fool, as you rolled over from that sled, than I looked while
'loping' from our friends in the sleigh!"
We both laughed as we entered the tavern; I, to conceal the vexation I
really felt, and Mr. Worden, as I presume, because he was flattered with
the belief that I must have appeared quite as ridiculous as himself.
Next morning I proceeded to Herman Mordaunt's residence at the earliest
hour the rules of society would allow. I found the family established in
one of those Dutch edifices, of which Albany was mainly composed, and which
stood a little removed from the street--having a tiny yard in front, with
the _stoop_ in the gable, and that gable towards the yard. The battlement
walls of this house diminished towards the high apex of a very steep roof
by steps, as we are all so much accustomed to see, and the whole was
surmounted by an iron weathercock, that was perched on a rod of some
elevation. It was always a matter of importance with the Dutch to know
which way the wind blew; nor did it comport with their habits of minute
accuracy, to trust to the usual indications of the feeling on the skin, the
bending of branches, the flying of clouds, or the driving of smoke; but
they must and would have the certainty of a machine, that was constructed
expressly to let them know the fact. Smoke might err, but a weathercock
No one was in the little parlour into which I was shown by the servant
who admitted me to the house, and in whom I recognised Herman Mordaunt's
principal male attendant, of the household in New York. How pleasantly did
that little room appear to me, in the minute or two that I was left in it
alone. There lay the very shawl that Anneke had on, the day I met her in
the Pinkster Field; and a pair of gloves that it seemed to me no other
hands but hers were small enough to wear, had been thrown on the shawl,
carelessly, as one casts aside a thing of that sort, in a hurry. A dozen
other articles were put here and there, that denoted the habits and
presence of females of refinement. But the gloves most attracted my
attention, and I must needs rise and examine them. It is true, these gloves
might belong to Mary Wallace, for she, too, had a pretty little hand, but I
fancied they belonged to Anneke. Under this impression, I raised them to my
lips, and was actually pressing them there, with a good deal of romantic
feeling, when a light footstep in the room told me I was not alone.
Dropping the gloves, I turned and beheld Anneke herself. She was regarding
me with an expression of countenance I did not then know how to interpret,
and which I now hardly know how to describe. In the first place, her
charming countenance was suffused with blushes, while her eyes were filled
with an expression of softened interest, that caused my heart to beat so
violently, that I did not know but it would escape by the channel of the
throat. How near I was to declaring all I felt, at that moment; of throwing
myself at the feet of the dear, dear creature, and of avowing how much and
engrossingly she had filled both my waking and sleeping thoughts during
the last year, and of beseeching her to bless the remainder of my days, by
becoming my wife! Nothing prevented this sally, but the remark which Anneke
made, the instant she had gracefully curtsied, in return to my confused and
awkward bow, and which happened to be this:
"What do you find so much to admire in Miss Wallace's gloves?" asked the
wilful girl, biting her lip, as I fancied, to suppress a smile, though
her cheeks were still suffused, and her eyes continued to give forth that
indescribable expression of bewitching softness. "It is a pair my father
presented to her, and she wore them last evening in compliment to him."
"I beg pardon, Miss Mordaunt--Miss Anneke--that is--I beg pardon. Is there
not a very delightful odour about those gloves--that is, I was thinking so,
and was endeavouring to ascertain what it might be by the scent."
"It must be the lavender with which we young ladies are so coquettish as to
sprinkle our gloves and handkerchiefs--or it may be musk. Mary is rather
fond of musk, though I prefer lavender. But what an evening we had, Mr.
Littlepage! and what an introduction you have had to Albany and most of
all, what a master of ceremonies!"
"Do you then dislike Guert Ten Eyck as an acquaintance, Miss Anneke?"
"Far from it. It is quite impossible to _dislike_ Guert; he is so manly; so
ready to admit his own weaknesses; so sincere in all he does and says; so
good natured; and, in short, so much that, were one his sister, she might
wish him to be, and yet so much that a sister must regret."
"I thought last evening that all the ladies felt an interest in him,
notwithstanding the numberless wild and ill-judged things he does. Is he
not a favourite with Miss Wallace?"
The quick, sensitive glance that Anneke gave me, said plainly enough that
my question was indiscreet, and it was no sooner put than it was regretted.
A shadow passed athwart the sweet face of my companion, and a moment of
deep, and, as I fancied, of painful thought succeeded. Then a light broke
over all, a smile illumined her features, after which a light girlish laugh
came to show how active were the agents within, and how strong was the
native tendency to happiness and humour.
"After all, Corny Littlepage," said Anneke, turning her face towards me
with an indescribable character of fun and feeling so blended in it, as
fairly to puzzle me, "you must admit that your exploit in the hand-sled was
sufficiently ridiculous to last a young man for some time!"
"I confess it all, Anneke, and shall have a care how I turn boy again in
a strange place. I am rejoiced to find, however, that you look upon the
foolish affair of the slide as more grave than that of the supper, which I
was fearful might involve me in serious disgrace."
"Neither is very serious, Mr. Littlepage, though the last might have proved
awkward, had not the Mayor known the ways of the young men of the town.
They say, however, that nothing so bold has ever before been attempted in
that way, in Albany, great as are the liberties that are often taken with
the neighbours' hen-coops."
And she laughed, and this time it was naturally, and without the least
"I hope you will not think it shabby in me, if I seem to wish to throw
all the blame on this harum-scarum Guert Ten Eyck. He drew me into both
affairs, and into the last, in a great measure, innocently and ignorantly."
"So it is understood, and so it would be understood, the moment Guert Ten
Eyck was found to be connected with the affair at all."
"I may hope, then, to be forgiven, Anneke?" I said, holding out a hand to
invite her to accept it as a pledge of pardon.
Anneke did not prudishly decline putting her own little hand in mine,
though I got only the ends of two or three slender delicate fingers; and
her colour increased as she bestowed this grace.
"You must ask forgiveness, Corny," she answered,--I believe she now used
this familiar name simply to show how completely she had forgotten the
little spleen she had certainly felt at my untoward exhibition in the
street.--"You must ask forgiveness of those who possess the right to
pardon. If Corny Littlepage chooses to slide down hill, like a boy, what
right has Anneke Mordaunt to say him nay?"
"Every right in the world--the right of friendship--the right of a superior
mind, of superior manners--the right that my----"
"Hush!--that is Mr. Bulstrode's footstep in the passage, and he will not
understand this discussion on the subject of my manifold rights. It takes
him some time, however, to throw aside his overcoats, and furs, and sword;
and I will just tell you that Guert Ten Eyck is a dangerous master of
ceremonies for Corny Littlepage."
"Yet, he has sense enough, feeling enough, _heart_ enough to admire and
love Mary Wallace."
"Has he told you this, so soon! But, I need not ask, as he tells his love
to every one who will listen."
"And to Miss Wallace herself, I trust, among the number. The man who loves,
and loves truly, should not long permit its object to remain in any doubt
of his feelings and intentions. It has ever appeared to me, Miss Mordaunt,
as a most base and dastardly feeling in a man to wish to be certain of a
woman's returning his love, before he has the manliness to let his mistress
understand his wishes. How is a sensitive female to know when she is safe
in yielding her affections, without this frankness on the part of her
suitor? I'll answer for it that Guert Ten Eyck has dealt thus honestly and
frankly with Mary Wallace."
"That is a merit which cannot be denied him," answered Anneke, in a low,
thoughtful tone of voice. "Mary has heard this from his own mouth, again
and again. Even my presence has been no obstacle to his declarations, for
three times have I heard him beg Mary to consider him as a suitor for her
hand, and entreat her not to decide on his offer until he has had a longer
opportunity to win her esteem."
"And this you will admit, Miss Mordaunt, is to his credit, is manly, and
"It is certainly frank and honourable, Mr. Littlepage, since it enables
Miss Wallace to understand the object of his attentions, and leaves nothing
to doubt, or uncertainty."
"I am glad you approve of such fair and frank proceedings;--though but a
moment remains to say what I wish, it will suffice to add, that the course
Guert Ten Eyck has taken towards Mary Wallace, Cornelius Littlepage would
wish to pursue towards Anneke Mordaunt."
Anneke started, turned pale; then showed cheeks that were suffused with
blushes, and looked at me with timid surprise. She made no answer; though
that earnest, yet timid gaze, long remained, and for that matter, still
remains, vividly impressed upon my recollection. It seemed to express
astonishment, startled sensibility, feminine bashfulness, and maiden
coyness; but it did not appear to me that it expressed displeasure. There
was no time, however, to ask for explanations, since the voices of Herman
Mordaunt and Bulstrode were now heard at the very door, and, at the next
instant, both entered the room.
[Footnote 23: The American Mayor is usually a different person from the
English Mayor. Until within the last five-and-twenty or thirty years, the
Mayor of New York was invariably a man of social and political importance,
belonging strictly to the higher class of society. The same was true of the
Mayor of Albany. At the present time, the rule has been so far enlarged, as
to admit a selection from all of the more reputable classes, without any
rigid adherence to the highest. The elective principle has produced the
change. During the writer's boyhood, Philip Van Rensselaer, the brother of
the late Patroon, was so long Mayor of Albany, as to be universally known
by the _sobriquet_ of "The Mayor."--EDITOR.]
[Footnote 24: This opinion of the constable's must refer to the notion
common amongst the non-Episcopal sects, that the value of spiritual
provender was to be measured by the quantity. Preaching, however,
_might_ be overdone in the Dutch Reformed Churches; for, quite within my
recollection, a half-hour glass stood on the pulpit of the Dutch edifice
named in the text, to regulate the dominie's wind. It was said it might be
turned _once_ with impunity; but wo betide him who should so far trespass
on his people's patience as to presume to turn it _twice_.--EDITOR.]
"My beautiful! my beautiful! that standest meekly by,
With thy proudly arch'd and glossy neck, and dark and fiery eye--
"Thus, thus I leap upon thy back, and scour the distant plains:
Away! who overtakes me now, shall claim thee for his pains."
_The Arab to his Steed_.
Bulstrode seemed happy to meet me, complaining that I had quite forgotten
the satisfaction with which all New York, agreeably to his account of the
matter, had received me the past spring. Of course, I thanked him for his
civility; and we soon became as good friends as formerly. In a minute or
two, Mary Wallace joined us, and we all repaired to the breakfast-table,
where we were soon joined by Dirck, who had been detained by some affairs
of his own.
Herman Mordaunt and Bulstrode had the conversation principally to
themselves for the first few minutes. Mary Wallace was habitually silent;
but Anneke, without being loquacious, was sufficiently disposed to
converse. This morning, however, she said little beyond what the civilities
of the table required from the mistress of the house, and that little in as
few words as possible. Once or twice I could not help remarking that her
hand remained on the handle of a richly-chased tea-pot, after that hand
had performed its office; and that her sweet, deep blue eye was fixed on
vacancy, or on some object before her with a vacant regard, in the manner
of one that thought intensely. Each time as she recovered from these little
_reveries_, a slight flush appeared on her face, and she seemed anxious to
conceal the involuntary abstraction. This absence of mind continued until
Bulstrode, who had been talking with our host on the subject of the
movements of the army, suddenly directed his discourse to me.
"I hope we owe this visit to Albany," he said, "to an intention on your
part, Mr. Littlepage, to make one among us in the next campaign. I hear of
many gentlemen of the colonies who intend to accompany us in our march to
"That is somewhat farther than I had thought of going Mr. Bulstrode,"
was my answer, "inasmuch as I have never supposed the king's forces
contemplated quite so distant a march. It is the intention of Mr. Follock
and myself to get permission to attach ourselves to some regiment and to go
forward as far as Ticonderoga, at least; for we do not like the idea of
the French holding a post like that, so far within the limits of our own
"Bravely said, sir; and I trust I shall be permitted to be of some
assistance when the time comes to settle details. Our mess would always be
happy to see you; and you know that I am at its head, since the Lt. Colonel
has left us."
I returned my thanks, and the discourse took another direction.
"I met Harris, as I was walking hither this morning," Bulstrode continued,
"and he gave me, in his confused Irish way--for I insist he is Irish,
although he was born in London--but he gave me a somewhat queer account
of a supper he was at last night, which he said had been borne off by a
foraging party of young Albanians, and brought into the barracks, as a
treat to some of our gentlemen. This was bad enough, though they tell me
a Dutchman always pardons such a frolic; but Harris makes the matter much
worse, by adding that the supperless party indemnified itself by making
an attack on the kitchen of Mr. Mayor, and carrying off his ducks and
partridges, in a way to leave him without even a potatoe!"
I felt that my face was as red as scarlet, and I fancied everybody was
looking at me, while Herman Mordaunt took on himself the office of making a
"The story does not lose in travelling, as a matter of course," answered
our host, "though it is true in the main. We all supped with Mr. Cuyler
last evening, and know that he had much more than a potatoe on the table."
"All!--What, the ladies?"
"Even to the ladies--and Mr. Littlepage in the bargain," returned Herman
Mordaunt, casting a glance at me, and smiling. "Each and all of us will
testify he not only had a plenty of supper, but that which was good."
"I see by the general smile," cried Bulstrode, "that them is a _sous
entendu_ here, and shall insist on being admitted to the secret."
Herman Mordaunt now told the whole story, not being particularly careful
to conceal the more ludicrous parts, dwelling with some emphasis on the
lecture Mr. Worden had delivered to Doortje, and appealing to me to know
whether I did not think it excellent. Bulstrode laughed, of course; though
I fancied both the young ladies wished nothing had been said on the
subject. Anneke even attempted, once or twice, to divert her father from
certain comments that he made, in which he spoke rather lightly of such
sort of amusements, in general.
"That Guert Ten Eyck is a character!" exclaimed Bulstrode, "and one I am
sometimes at a loss to comprehend. A more manly-looking, fine, bold young
fellow, I do not know; and he is often as manly and imposing in his
opinions and judgments, as he is to the eye; while, at times, he is almost
childish in his tastes and propensities. How do you account for this, Miss
"Simply, that nature intended Guert Ten Eyck for better things than
accident and education, or the want of education, have enabled him to
become. Had Guert Ten Eyck been educated at Oxford, he would have been a
very different man from what he is. If a man has only the instruction of a
boy, he will long remain a boy."
I was surprised at the boldness and decision of this opinion, for it was
not Anneke's practice to be so open in delivering her sentiments of others;
but, it was not long ere I discovered that she did not spare Guert, in the
presence of her friend, from a deep conviction he was not worthy of the
hold he was sensibly gaining on the feelings of Mary Wallace. Herman
Mordaunt, as I fancied, favoured his daughter's views in this behalf; and
there was soon occasion to observe that poor Guert had no other ally, in
that family, than the one his handsome, manly person, open disposition,
and uncommon frankness had created in his mistress's own bosom. There was
certainly a charm in Guert's habitual manner of underrating himself, that
inclined all who heard him to his side; and, for myself, I will confess I
early became his friend in all that matter, and so continued to the last.
Bulstrode and I left the house together, walking arm and arm to his
quarters, leaving Dirck with the ladies.
"This is a charming family," said my companion, as we left the door; "and I
feel proud of being able to claim some affinity to it, though it is not so
near as I trust it may one day become."
I started, almost twitching my arm away from that of the Major's, turning
half round, at the same instant, to look him in the face. Bulstrode smiled,
but preserved his own self-possession, in the stoical manner common to men
of fashion and easy manners, pursuing the discourse.
"I see that my frankness has occasioned you some little surprise," he
added; "but the truth is the truth; and I hold it to be unmanly for a
gentleman who has made up his mind to become the suitor of a lady, to make
any secret of his intentions;--is not that your own way of thinking, Mr.
"Certainly, as respects the lady; and possibly, as respects her family; but
not as respects all the world."
"I take your distinction, which may be a good one, in ordinary cases;
though, in the instance of Anneke Mordaunt, it may be merciful to let
wandering young men, like yourself, Corny, comprehend the real state of the
case. I very well understand your own particular relation to the family
of the Mordaunts; but others may approach it with different and more
"Am I to understand, Mr. Bulstrode, that Miss Mordaunt is your betrothed?"
"Oh! by no means; for she has not yet made up her mind to accept me. You
are to understand, however, that I have proposed to Herman Mordaunt, with
my father's knowledge and approbation, and that the affair is _in petto_.
You can judge for yourself of the probable termination, being a better
judge, as a looker-on, than I, as a party interested, of Anneke's manner of
viewing my suit."
"You will remember I have not seen you together these ten months, until
this morning; and I presume you do not wish me to suppose you have been
waiting all that time for an answer."
"As I consider you an _ami de famille_, Corny, there is no reason why there
should not be a fair statement of things laid before you, for that affair
of the lion will ever render you half a Mordaunt, yourself. I had proposed
to Anneke, when you first saw me, and got the usual lady-like answer that
the dear creature was too young to think of contracting herself, which was
certainly truer then than now; that I had friends at home who ought to be
consulted, that time must be given, or the answer would necessarily be
'no', and all the usual substance of such replies, in the preliminary state
of a negotiation."
"And there the matter has stood ever since?"
"By no means, my dear fellow; as far from that as possible. I heard Herman
Mordaunt, for he did most of the talking on that side, with the patience
of a saint, observed how proper it all was, and stated my intention to
lay every thing before my father, and then advance to the assault anew,
reinforced by his consent, and authority to offer settlements."
"All of which you got, by return of vessel, on writing home?" I added,
unable to imagine how any man could hesitate about receiving Anneke
Mordaunt for a daughter-in-law.
"Why, not exactly by return of vessel, though Sir Harry is much too
well-bred to neglect answering a letter. I never knew him to do such a
thing in his life; no, not when I have pushed him a little closely on the
subject of my allowance having been out before the quarter was up, as will
sometimes happen at college, you know, Corny. To tell you the truth, my
dear boy, Sir Harry's consent did _not_ come by return of vessel, though an
answer did. It is a confounded distance across the Atlantic, and it
takes time to argue a question, when the parties are 'a thousand leagues
"Argue!--What argument could be required to convince Sir Harry Bulstrode of
the propriety of your getting Anneke Mordaunt for a wife, _if you could?_"
"Quite plain and sincere, upon my honour!--But, I love you for the
simplicity of your character, Corny, and so shall view all favourably. If I
_could!_ Well, we shall know at the end of the approaching campaign, when
you and I come back from our trip to Quebec."
"You have not answered my question, in the mean time, concerning Sir Harry
"I beg Sir Harry's and your pardon. What argument could be required to
convince my father?--Why, you have never been at home, Littlepage, and
cannot easily understand, therefore, what the feeling is precisely in
relation to the colonies--much depends on that, you know."
"I trust the mother loves her children, as I am certain the children love
"Yes, you are all loyal;--I will say that for you, though Albany is not
exactly Bath, or New York, Westminster. I suppose you know, Littlepage,
that the church upon the hill, yonder, which is called St. Peter's, though
a very good church, and a very respectable church, with a very reputable
congregation, is not exactly Westminster Abbey, or even St. James's?"
"I believe I understand you, sir; and so Sir Harry proved obstinate?"
"As the devil!--It took no less than three letters, the last of which was
pretty bold, to get him round, which I did at last, and his consent, in
due form, has been handed in to Herman Mordaunt. I contended, with some
advantages in the affair, or I never should have prevailed. But, you will
see how it was. Sir Harry is gouty and asthmatic both, and no great things
of a life, at the best, and every acre he has on earth is entailed; just
making the whole thing a question of time."
"All of which you communicated, of course, to Anneke and Herman Mordaunt?"
"If I did I'll be hanged! No, no; Master Corny, I am not so green as
that would imply. You provincials are as thin-skinned as _raisons de
Fontainbleau_, and are not to be touched so rudely. I do not believe Anneke
would marry the Duke of Norfolk himself, if the family raised the least
scruple about receiving her."
"And would not Anneke be right, in acting under so respectable a feeling?"
"Why, you know she would only marry the duke, and not his mother, and
aunts, and uncles. I cannot see the necessity of a young woman's making
herself uncomfortable on that account. But, we have not come to that yet
for I would wish you to understand, Littlepage, that I am not accepted, No,
no! justice to Anneke demands that I should say this much. She knows of Sir
Harry's consent, however, and that is a good deal in my favour, you must
allow. I suppose her great objection will be to quitting her father, who
has no other child, and on him it _will_ bear a little hard; and, then,
it is likely she will say something about a change of country, for you
Americans are all great sticklers for living in your own region."
"I do not see how you can justly accuse us of that, since it is universally
admitted among us that everything is better at home than it is in the
"I really think, Corny," rejoined Bulstrode, smiling good-naturedly, "were
you to pay the old island a visit, now, you yourself would confess that
some things _are_."
"I to visit!--I am at a loss to imagine why I am named as one disposed to
deny it. Had it been Guert Ten Eyck, now, or ever Dirck Follock, one might
imagine such a thing,-but I, who come from English blood, and who have an
English-born grandfather, at this moment, alive and well at Satanstoe, am
not to be included among the disaffected to England."
Bulstrode pressed my arm, and his conversation took a more confidential
air, as it proceeded. "I believe you are right, Corny," he said; "the
colony is loyal enough, Heaven knows; yet I find these Dutch look on us
red-coats more coldly than the people of English blood, below. Should it
be ascribed to the phlegm of their manners, or to some ancient grudge
connected with the conquest of their colony?"
"Hardly the last, I should think, since the colony was traded away, under
the final arrangement, in exchange for a possession the Dutch now hold in
South America. There is nothing strange, however; in the descendants of the
people of Holland preferring the Dutch to the English."
"I assure you, Littlepage, the coldness with which we are regarded by the
Albanians has been spoken of among us; though most of the leading families
treat us well, and aid us all they can. They should remember that we are
here to fight, their battles, and to prevent the French from overrunning
"To that they would probably answer that the French would not molest them,
but for their quarrel with England. Here we must part, Mr. Bulstrode, as
I have business to attend to. I will add one word, however, before we
separate, and that is, that King George II. has not more loyal subjects in
his dominions, than those who dwell in his American provinces."
Bulstrode smiled, nodded in assent, waved his hand, and we parted.
I had plenty of occupation for the remainder of that day. Yaap arrived with
his 'brigade of sleighs' about noon, and I went in search of Guert, in
whose company I repaired once more to the office of the contractor. Horses,
harness, sleighs, provisions and all were taken at high prices, and I was
paid for the whole in Spanish gold; joes and half-joes being quite as much
in use among us in that day as the coin of the realm. Spanish silver has
always formed our smaller currency, such a thing as an English shilling, or
a sixpence, being quite a stranger among us. Pieces of eight, or dollars,
are our commonest coin, it is true, but we make good use of the half-joe in
all heavy transactions. I have seen two or three Bank of England notes in
my day, but they are of very rare occurrence in the colonies. There have
been colony bills among us, but they are not favourites, most of our
transactions being carried on by means of the Spanish gold and Spanish
silver, that find their way up from the islands and the Spanish main. The
war of which I am now writing, however, brought a great many guineas
among us, most of the troops being paid in that species of coin; but the
contractors, in general, found it easier to command the half-joe than the
guinea. Of the former, when all our sales were made, Dirck and myself had,
between us, no less than one hundred and eleven, or eight hundred and
eighty-eight dollars in value.
I found Guert just as ready and just as friendly on this occasion, as he
had been on the previous day. Not only were all our effects disposed of,
but all our negroes were hired to the army for the campaign, Yaap excepted.
The boys went off with their teams towards the north that same afternoon,
in high spirits, as ready for a frolic as any white youths in the colony. I
permitted Yaap to go on with his sleigh, to be absent for a few days, but
he was to return and join us before we proceeded in quest of the 'Patent,'
after the breaking up of the winter.
It was late in the afternoon before everything was settled, when Guert
invited me to take a turn with him on the river in his own sleigh. By this
time I had ascertained that my new friend was a young man of very handsome
property, without father or mother, and that he lived in as good style
as was common for the simple habits of those around him. Our principal
families in New York were somewhat remarkable for the abundance of their
plate, table-linen, and other household effects of the latter character,
while here and there one was to be found that possessed some good pictures.
The latter, I have reason to think, however, were rare, though occasionally
the work of a master did find its way to America, particularly from Holland
and Flanders. Guert kept bachelor's hall, in a respectable house, that had
its gable to the street, as usual, and which was of no great size; but
everything about it proved that his old black housekeeper had been trained
under a _regime_ of thorough neatness; for that matter, everything around
Albany wore the appearance of being periodically scoured. The streets
themselves could not undergo that process with snow on the ground; but once
beneath a roof, and everything that had the character of dirt was banished.
In this particular Guert's bachelor residence was as faultless as if it had
a mistress at its head, and that mistress were Mary Wallace.
"If she ever consent to have me," said Guert, actually sighing as he spoke,
and glancing his eyes round the very pretty little parlour I had just been
praising, on the occasion of the visit I first made to his residence that
afternoon; "if she ever consent to have me, Corny, I shall have to build
a new house. This is now a hundred years old, and though it was thought a
great affair in its day, it is not half good enough for Mary Wallace. My
dear fellow, how I; envy you that invitation to breakfast this morning!
what a favourite you must be with Herman Mordaunt!"
"We are very good friends, Guert,"--for, with the freedom of our colony
manners, we had already dropped into the familiarity of calling each other
'Corny' and 'Guert'--"we are very good friends, Guert," I answered, "and, I
have some reason to think, Herman Mordaunt does not dislike me. It was in
my power to be of a trifling service to Miss Anneke, last spring, and the
whole family is disposed to remember it."
"So I can see, at a glance; even Anneke remembers it. I have heard the
whole story from Mary Wallace; it was about a lion. I would give half of
what I am worth, to see Mary Wallace in the paws of a lion, or any other
wild beast; just to let her see that Guert Ten Eyck has a heart, as well as
Corny Littlepage. But, Corny my boy, there is one thing you must do; you
are in such favour, that it will be easy for you to effect it; though I
might try in vain, for ever."
"I will do anything that is proper, to oblige you, Guert, for you have a
claim on me for services rendered by yourself."
"Pshaw!--Say nothing of such matters; I am never happier than when buying
or selling a horse; and, in helping you to get off your old cattle, why,
I did the King no harm, and you some good. But, it was about horses I was
thinking. You must know, Littlepage, there is not a young man, or an old
man, within twenty miles of Albany, that drives such a pair of beasts as
"You surely do not wish me to sell these horses to Mary Wallace, Guert!" I
"Ay, my lad; and this house, and the old farm, and two or three stores
along the river; and all I have, provided you can sell me with them. As
the ladies have no present use for horses, however, Herman Mordaunt having
brought up with him a very good pair, that came near running over you and
me, Corny; so there is no need of any sale; but I _should_ like to drive
Mary and Anneke a turn of a few miles, with that team of mine, and in my
"That cannot prove such a difficult affair; young ladies, ordinarily,
consenting readily enough to be diverted with a sleigh-ride."
"The off-one carries himself more like a colonel, at the head of his
regiment, than like an ignorant horse!"
"I will propose the matter to Herman Mordaunt, or to Anneke, herself, if
you desire it."
"And the near-one has the movement of a lady in a minuet, when you rein
him in a little. I drove those cattle, Corny, across the pine-plains, to
Schenectady, in one hour and twenty-six minutes;--sixteen miles, as the
crow flies--and nearer sixty, if you follow all the turnings of the fifty
"Well, what am I to do? tell this to the ladies, or beg them to name a
"Name a day!--I wish it had come to _that_. Corny, with my whole soul. They
are two beauties!"
"Yes, I think everybody will admit _that_," I answered innocently; "yet,
very different in their charms."
"Oh! not a bit more alike than is just necessary for a good match. I call
one Jack, and the other Moses. I never knew an animal that was named
'Jack,' who would not do his work. I would give a great deal, Corny, that
Mary Wallace could see that horse move!"
I promised Guert that I would use all my influence with the ladies, to
induce them to trust themselves with his team, and, in order that I might
speak with authority, the sleigh was ordered round to the door forthwith,
with a view first to take a turn with me. The winter equipage of Guert Ten
Eyck was really a tasteful and knowing thing. I had often seen handsomer
sleighs, in the way of paint, varnish, tops and mouldings; for to these he
appeared to pay very little attention. The points on which its owner most
valued his sleigh, was the admirable manner in which it rested on its
runners--pressing lightly both behind and before. Then the traces were
nearer on a level with the horses, than was common; though not so high as
to affect the draft. The colour, without, was a sky-blue; a favourite Dutch
tint; while within, it was fiery-red. The skins were very ample: all coming
from the grey wolf. As these skins were lined with scarlet cloth, the
effect of the whole was sufficiently cheering and warm. I ought not to
forget the bells. In addition to the four sets buckled to the harness, the
usual accompaniment of every sort of sleigh-harness, Guert had provided two
enormous strings (always leathern straps), that passed from the saddles
quite down under the bodies of Jack and Moses; and another string around
each horse's neck, thus increasing the jingling music of his march, at
least fourfold beyond the usual quantity. 
In this style, then, we dashed from the door of the old Ten Eyck-house; all
the blacks in the street gazing at us in delight, and shaking their sides
with laughter--a negro always expressing his admiration of anything, even
to a sermon, in that mode. I remember to have heard a traveller who had
been as far as Niagara, declare that his black did nothing but roar
with laughter, the first half-hour he stood confronted with that mighty
Nor did the blacks alone stop to admire Guert Ten Eyck, his sleigh and his
horses. All the young men in the place paid Guert this homage, for he
was unanimously admitted to be the best whip, and the best judge of
horse-flesh, in Albany; that is, the best judge for his years. Several
young women who were out in sleighs, looked behind them, as we passed,
proving that the admiration extended even to the other sex. All this Guert
felt and saw, and its effect was very visible in his manner as he stood
guiding his spirited pair, amid the woodsleds that still crowded the main
Our route lay towards the large flats, that extend for miles along the west
shore of the Hudson, to the north of Albany. This was the road usually
taken by the young people of the place, in their evening sleigh-rides not a
few of the better class stopping to pay their respects to Madame Schuyler,
a widow born of the same family as that into which she had married, and
who, from her character, connections and fortune, filled a high place in
the social circle of the vicinity. Guert knew this lady, and proposed that
I should call and pay my respects to her--a tribute she was accustomed to
receive from most strangers of respectability. Thither, then, we drove as
fast as my companion's blacks could carry us. The distance was only a few
miles, and we were soon dashing through the open gate, into what must have
been a very pretty, though an inartificial, lawn in the summer.
"By Jove, we are in luck!" cried Guert, the moment his eyes got a view of
the stables: "Yonder is Herman Mordaunt's sleigh, and we shall find the
All this turned out as Guert had announced. Anneke and Mary Wallace had
dined with Madame Schuyler, and their coats and shawls had just been
brought to them, preparatory to returning home, as we entered. I had heard
so much of Madame Schuyler as not to approach this respectable person
without awe, and I had no eyes at first for her companions. I was well
received by the mistress of the house, a woman of so large a size as to
rise from her chair with great difficulty, but whose countenance expressed
equally intelligence, principles, refinement and benevolence. She no sooner