Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

all sat,

side.” This was put in by a great laughing lout was no longer any interchange of visits, once so of a fellow, who inade the rafters ring with his pleasant in the long winter nights, between the own approval.

old people, nor was there the same liberty felt by “You had better look to yourself, Dirck Diet- the young folks themselves when they met. The rick. There are worse things than the jugges in actual position of Teunis was fathomed easily by these times," said the goaded Jerry, who was in Elsie, but with tact and delicacy she avoided all no mood to be tormented while his wrisis were allusions to the public affairs of the country. She glowing with the iron rings. “There are stone never inquired after the reason of his absences, jugges, where some folks would be if they got yet seemed to expect him to embrace such occatheir own."

sions as the present for meeting her, and talking “Don't be angry," was the mellowing response over local matters, of which there was always a of Dirck; “ for the Dominie said after you went sufficient stock on hand. away, that he believed good came out of it. He You were not at the wedding of Peggy Wolfin preached all the better for your example."

on Friday last," said Teunis, as he took up a large “Aye,” said Jerry, "just as some folks would stalk of corn, balancing it on his right thumbnail,

“, be better whigges if a cowboy were tied at the as if he cared but little whether he husked any koort house door every morning."

more that night or not. “ You were expected to Come, come, no more of dat," said old stand as bride's-maid, and there was some disapTobias, the good Boerman, in whose barn they pointment you may be sure."

“ we have no more of dat, come and eat These last words were uttered in a low tone, de sheeps, and de bearen, and de chicken, and which the heart, if inclined, is sure to feel, and drink de rum and de cider."

the damsel had not a heart of stone. In a corner, away from the most roystering of “ These are not times, you know, Teunis, for the company, sat Elsie, along with a few of the young girls to go much alone, and my father had best class of young persons. Both sexes regarded heard something which made him more than Elsie as a superior person, and were never too usually afraid of my going out. Indeed, I am familiar in their approaches. Such as like herself, here just now more on my mother's leave than on had relatives in the large towns, or who had his. Do you not think these are hard times to improved themselves by the best company whom marry?" they could find, were usually found near Martin That depends, Elsie, upon whether both be Schuyler's daughter, and were fond of quoting of one mind, in some things union is strength, her as an authority. Among the young men was and two sticks tied together are stronger than the Teunis Roe, who had either by accident or affinity same two sticks taken separately." Teunis here of disposition, found himself side by side with threw the ear of corn into the basket, just as Elsie Elsie upon several occasions of public gatherings, cast one in the same place; and then laughing at and he had not been an entire stranger at the the conjunction, asked the maiden whether she Hoogenhuisen in former days. Indeed there was would like to see how the two lay in the basket a time when old Egbert Roe and Martin Schuyler heads or thraws. were sworn friends and brothers. But oh! that O, you may look if you please," said Elsie, weary war! it had proved what they had often half blushing; “Nelly Schutt there, would take heard the Dominie say: “De vader zal tegen den that to be as certain as the good book, but”zoon verdeeld zijn en de zoon tagen den vader." “See, there they are lying side by side, as cozy

This was literally the case, for Teunis in his as two kittens," said Teunis, as he held down the heart was Whig, and his father was in his heart basket to the candle; and to tell the truth, a Tory. It was the son against the father, and woman's curiosity or something else, inclined the father against the son, and both in the same Elsie this time, as before, to look and laugh at house, sworn foes, but as yet in part secret. For the folly of the sign. so long as Teunis had to remain at home he must “There now," said Teunis, “is a quarrel keep his principles to himself. His peculiar and getting up between these onwijzen." hard case was fully understood by Elsie, though “ Teunis, mind what the Dominie says; he that not by Martin, and consequently the intimacy of calleth his brother fool-you know the rest."

— the two families was broken up), so far that there "I know, Elsie, but what can you call that

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

66

a

[ocr errors]

Dick Deidricht but a fool; hear how he is provok- tion just to see her good-natured look as she suring Jerry to bring up niatters which should be veyed the ample table, with her guests devouring kept out of our homes, and from these friendly far more than all the worth of the labor they had gatherings. I must go and keep them quiet.” performed ; but it would be so rich to tell after

And off he moved, but before he had time to ward, that she had cooked two more sheep, killed put in a word, Tobias was giving out the bill of five more turkeys, and twenty more chickens than fare, in his own peculiar manner, which had the dame Languendyck ever did. Besides, every one same happy influence upon Dutch blood that the had at least a yard of sausage put on his place, smell of good dinners has upon hungry dogs, and a pound of rolichie ; cabbage and onion, apples hungry princes, or princesses, for animal nature and cider, all came on just as if they had not eaten during a time of hunger is much the same in the anything for a month. Never were a company

a quadruped and the biped.

more unfit, according to city notions, of taking It would require more words than can be spared themselves to the ball-room; but the spirit of these to describe a supper among the honest Dutch on folks was just rising. The plentiful draughts of the Hudson River. They must have inherited cider and brandy which were drank, without injury their liking from their ancestors on the Scheldt, to the perpendicular position of the guests, helped and in the Low Countries, where the sturdy to carry them through the contra-dances, without Boerman after working in the deep bogs came being hindered by their abdominal gravity. The home to his vrow and fed heartily and slept it off. barn floor, during the supper, had been cleared And, imitating the burgomaster of the place on by the negroes, who always worked with right his great occasions, he too called in his “Vrenden good will when there was to be-gezang en het en de geburen en bringt het gemeste kalf en stagt geric-music and dancing; and even the good het; en laat ons eten en vrolijk zijn.”

Dominie would stand at the door and see his chilThe old Hollander was very orthodox, and in dren vrolicke.

dren vrolicke. All was full of glee and merriment, killing the fatted calf, and being in a vrolicke- and fairly on the way to a happy termination, (Anglicè, merry). He was never hurt by a good when old Fred, the head man of Tobias, came supper. He lay all the easier, like an old Roman rushing into the middle of the floor, his jaws chaton his couch, that the citadel was well provisioned. tering, and his face the color of his gray head, It would be an interesting history to tell all that screaming and acting as a lunatic may be supposed lay on the vast table, made of doors taken from to act, under a black skin and African features. their hinges, and covered with linen sheets, on Not a word. could be got from him except the which lay piles of meat in huge wooden dishes, sound “ Yuur en sulfur-Gog en de Magog. Ingen not carefully selected, the one animal from the barbareen."

" These words came out in the form other, but the bear and the cow were together, of squeals and grunts, more than like human and the chicken and the rabbit were on the same speech. plate. Equal hillocks of bread stood ready to be Of course all amusement came to a close at this distributed by the bustling fat hoscess, who moved sudden apparition, for while some declared that around as we have seen a Dutch scow among Fred had seen a geest, others a spook, some had, other craft, coming square up against one and with more presence of mind, run to the door, and another, till she succeeds in laying a portion coming back announced the tidings, more alarming equally as large as Benjamin's share, before each than anything of the witching kind, that the vuur guest. She repeated these acts of kindness to the teeken on the Keekute was in a blaze. This was end of the feast, every now and again urging the acknowledged beacon of warning, and was like them to partake, saying to one, “You don't like the fiery cross of the Scottish clans, the gathered our victuals, Jake.” “ Take up the leg of that signal in approaching danger. The combustible turkey and send it with the rest, Tim.” “Now, material had been brought together early in the

. • Elsie, eat till you burst, I wish you may." “No summer, and was in fine fitness for the torch. An ting like good victuals.'

onset was expected from the west, as already She did not mean all she said, but she intended referred to, and now that the glare was reflected to do her best at being hospitable; and being from the sky, the yells of the Indians almost sung among her own kind of people, it was a satisfac- I already in the ears of the helpless and the cow

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

ardly. What added to the anxiety and uneasiness “Elsie ! Elsie ! why in such haste? I want
of the occasion, many were known to be secretly you to tell me if you''.
friendly to the savages, now near at hand, and were “Be quick, Teunis," said the hurried girl, as
mingling with the very persons whose lives would she held in the panting animal, “ for you see that
be sought out with as much horror and fiendish doggie there running before me is saying, as
delight as was usual on such occasions. All the plainly as he can speak, 'the Tories have your old
company prepared to go ; some to their homes, father by the throat, and the Indians swinging
and others to the general rendezvous.

your mother's scalp by the gray hair.' Oh,
Elsie, with the rest, had risen in a moment of Teunis, do not stop me just now.”
surprise, and after looking to the Keekute on the And wi h that, she struck her horse once more,
river-bank, she turned her eyes to the west in giving him rein, so that it was with difficulty that
search of the hill above Hoogenhuisen; and there, her follower could keep up with her, though well
too, rose up the great Aame, like a fiery tongue mounted himself, and holding a capital bridle hand
speaking to heaven for relies. Her heart smote for a colonist and a dull Dutchman, as all the
her for being in the midst of pleasure at such a Englishmen were accustomed to speak of every one
time ; while without uttering a single word, except but fox-hunters who pretended to ride.
a low whisper to Teunis, who stood waiting her " The Tories are not so cruel as you take them
will, though he had spoken not a word.

to be, Elsie; but tell me if you have any suspicion De tijd is nabij ; laat ons van hier gaar, of my putting a straw in the way of hurting”-he Teunis ?''

was going to say Elsie, but he changed it to " any “I am beside thee, Elsie, and am ready. Meet of ihe volke of Hoogenhuisen ?" me at the outside of the big poorte. I shall be “No Teunis, no, you would not with your own there with the horses ;'' and without a word more, hand, I know; I could pledge myself for you, but he was off on his errand.

there are'' Elsie was soon out and mounted on her sheep- " There are more Tories than Teunis Roe, you skin saddle, and was carefully adjusting her fout would say, Elsie. I thank you for the confidence into the iron, preparing for a sharp gallop, when, you place at least in me, though you almost called without looking up, she said in low, but somewhat

me by a name I am not deserving of, but Tory agitated tone of voice, “ Teunis, there is no need or not, the hand that is raised against Elsie Schuy. of your protection just now. The road is good, ler is aimed against a heart not far from her.” the night clear, and filly is sure-footed."

“ Thank

you,
thank
you.

That is all I can say Had the young man been struck by some unseen just now; I was going to say something about our hand, the effect could not have stupified him more not being seen together at such meetings as we than these words, which he interpreted into some- have come from, but there is no time for anything thing like a suspicion of his honor. He had not but action.

but action. See how the sky is glowing all around recovered himself yet when Elsie continued :

us; and, O mine Goden, why am I away from the - And now there is the less need of your pro- side of my fader and my moder!” tection, for upon my word there is Rover come

By this time they had rode at least three miles, out to meet me. Oh, something bad must have and in fifteen minutes more they would see, from happened. He has either been sent hither by my a small hill, what was the state of things at Hoomother, or his own instinct has brought him to genhuisen ; for the fear all the time in Elsie's warn me beforehand;' and without another word, mind was, that the mansion had been fired, and in the agitation of her spirit, she struck her pony that the blaze they saw reflected overhead was not a sharp stroke with her whip. Teunis, true to his the signal, but the dwelling. This made her spare Dutch nature, while trying to open his mouth for neither horse nor herself, till finding that the an explanation, was left on the road beside his im- faithful creature required a few minutes to breathe, patient horse, who would hardly allow the master she slackened her pace, and began by saying : time to mount on his back. But once there, he gal- “You see, Teunis, that I am now near home, loped after Elsie with the fury of passion aroused, and it will bring trouble on you, on us both, if we and came up easily to the leader before the end of be seen together on such a night as this. Let us the first mile. Once alongside of the eager damsel, part now. Part here till this weary war be over ; he called out in nervous earnestness :

and then''

a

"And what then?" said the eager youth. horse the reins, and off she started, as if mounted

' “Shall I come back then to be rejected for my on a deer, and was out of sight in a moment, cowardice at this hour, in leaving you in danger before her agitated companion had time to recover of being scalped, that I might save myself from himself. disgrace at home? No, Elsie ; I am a man, though However, Teunis, instead of obeying the manI have not stood out for my country yet, as others date to go back, slipped from his horse, tying him have done ; and I have a man's heart that would beneath a tree, a little way distant from the road, not suffer a hair of any woman's head to be hurt and taking a near path to Hoogenhuisen, was at by those savages, could I hinder it with my the door watching the movements of the inmates hand. Least of all would I stand back and see with great earnestness. He had his fears that all a foul finger put on your fair skin; so help me was not right. He was well aware how much both God!”

Martin and his fearless daughter were dreaded and The tears started into Elsie's eyes at this burst hated by the Tories ; so he resolved to become of passion, so gratifying to her kindly nature ; their secret protector. How far this was the result and, struggling with herself, she endeavored to of feeling or

of feeling or conviction, he did not stop to inquire. give such a reply as might not betray her real It was enough that he had heard dark hints, secret sentiments; though the more she repressed them, cablings; and that he knew the Indians were on the more they overcame her; so dashing forward the hills, waiting the proper moment, when their at a rapid pace, they stood looking from the hill friends would give the signal. The teeken vuur, toward Hoogenhuisen, when both at once ex- or signal fire, showed that the Whigs were someclaimed —“It is the teeken vuur! the teeken what aware of their danger; still it was with a vuur !"

beating heart as Elsie felt, that he saw the dog "God be thanked," said Elsie; “my poor Rover by the side of his mistress : all the superstiparents are safe yet, and my father on his waakt tion of his nature aided in making him afraid. toren : Now, Teunis, you have come as far as it is Nor were his suspicions set at rest, as the sagacious safe for you to be. When these times are over, I animal passed him again without recognition, will think of this night.”

going straight to the side of a rock, and giving a She held out her hand as the parting signal. slight but earnest whine, as if seeking for someThe hand trembled, and all the more that Teunis thing which he had lost in the dark. At that held it longer than a mere good-night would moment an object glided like a ghost, through the require. When he found words, he said :

barn-yard toward a corner, where it remained in "Do not forbid me to come, before these dark the stillest quiet, more as a shadow seemed than a days are over.

You know where my feelings are, body moving. Had the moon been up at the where my desire is at this moment."

time, the watcher would have expected a man to Elsie interrupted him by saying, “This is no have followed, but neither sound was heard, nor time for feeling, but for convictions; and where form seen, though the eyes of Teunis were fixed duty calls, the Dominie says we should be: mine with painful interest upon the place. is now to be on the waakt toren alongside of my “Some one must be watching here as well as father. Go you where your conscience points.” myself; I must see the end of this; for it cannot "Mine is also on the watch-tower; and to be for good that any one is here at this hour.''

" morrow, if I have heard aright, shall decide the But then he thought within himself of how Martin fate of more than one."

Schuyler would scowl were he to meet him in his "Teunis, do not tell me of anything you have yard, at this hour of the night. “I must see the heard below, for I cannot tell you in confidence end of this. Something is out of its place here, any of our concerns : so God guide us both, and and my help may be of use to my friends; and if save the righteous cause."

I prove myself to be a friend indeed, I may get And with these words she gave her impatient | farther into a corner of the old man's heart."

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

-1 am

[ocr errors]

Author of "Nellie's Memories,Wee Wife,Barbara Heathcote's Trial,and Robert Ord's Atonement."

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

a

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

CHAPTER XIII. HONOR'S INTERCESSION. the inside ; but, as Miss Nethecote observed in a WOODSIDE, as Mr. Grey's house was called, lay low voice. in a little hollow scooped out of the main road, "How was a women with bad health, and six and forming a sort of dingle, beside which flowed children, and only one servant, to keep a place the trout-stream; the garden ascended at the back, tidy and comfortable ?” and led by a gate into a small pine-wood, which Dym thought she would have managed better looked deliciously shady by day, but somewhat when she saw the living-room of the family. The sombre at night, the house being perfectly lonely, muslin curtains were torn and soiled; the tablewith the exception of two cottages lower down cover spotted with ink; lesson-books strewn hither the road.

and thither; a Noah's ark was on the floor; and a Dym thought the steep garden beautiful, and sickly-looking child lay fast asleep with a box of longed to explore it; but on nearer view it was tin soldiers beside her, and a headless doll hugged somewhat wild and uncultivated; weeds grew in tightly in her arms. Honor picked her up, by the garden-paths, and roses and lillies bloomed way of beginning, and nearly crushed a farmyard amid cabbages and tall straggling heads of aspara- and half a dozen ducks and geese ; two or three gus; the ivy that covered the house was graceful trees crackled crisply under her feet. in its negligence, but sadly required cropping and Mrs. Grey lay on a couch at the end of the training; and two boys and a girl, looking equally room, with a piled-up basket of mending beside uncared for, were playing at horses before the gate. her. A great boy of three was fretfully trying to They rushed up to Honor at once, and the leader clamber up in her lap, and a beautiful infant lay -a pretty little dark-eyed thing-exclaimed:

fast asleep in an old-fashioned cradle with rockers. “Oh, I am so glad you've come, Miss Nethe- Honor deposited the sleeping child carefully on cote! Now mamma won't cry any more to day.” the couch at the mother's feet; and lifting the

" If mamma is ill, you should not have left her, boy into her arms, and rocking the cradle at the Amy,” returned Honor reprovingly. And the same time, quietly introduced Dym. child hung her head.

Now, Esther, you must cheer up; for I have - Mother said we might go out and play, as she brought Miss Elliott to talk to you.” wasn't well enough to hear us our lessons,” shouted “You have brought her into a sad untidy place, the driver-a sturdy bright-faced boy of nine. I am afraid ; but I am very glad to see you, Miss

“Never mind, Rupert, you shall do your Latin Elliott, all the same. A new face is rather a treat with me,” observed Miss Nethecote consolingly. in these parts; I never see any one but HonorAnd as the young student looked anything but never." gratified, she added :

“I have some fine

pears

for Except Mrs. Chichester and Mrs. Fortescue some good children, but they must be fairly earned now and then, you mean. And you forget how first.

kind Mrs. Trevor was last summer." “Oh, I'll come in and do my sums !" called Yes; but she has not been for a long time. I out Edgar, the second boy.

was only saying so to Edward this morning; but “Mayn't I hem my duster?"' pleaded Amy. as I told him, what inducement can any one have

Honor smiled, and then bade them all come in to come to such a place? Please sit down Miss quietly by and by. She only wanted to introduce Elliott. I am afraid the children have littered all a new friend to their mother, and then she would the chairs." attend to them.

“She shall have mine, for I want to clear up The outside of the house had prepared Dym for the room, and then I have promised to take the total want of comfort and even cleanliness in Rupert to his lessons. Miss Elliott, I believe you

1

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »