Koningsmarke, the Long Finne,
V2 by James Kirke Paulding
Notwithstanding the testimony of King James the First, Cotton
Mather, and divers other unquestionable authorities, backed by the
opinions of a good portion of mankind, in all time past, there are a
vast many philosophers of this unbelieving age, who affect to doubt the
existence of witchcraft, or diabolism, in the affairs of this world.
There is no use in arguing with such sturdy unbelievers. We will
therefore content ourselves with expressing a firm conviction, that
this influence does exist even at this present time; and that its
effects are every day to be seen, more especially in certain highly
gifted persons being thereby enabled to perform tasks, which in the
ordinary limits of the human faculties, would be quite impossible.
In no instance does this diabolical, or magical power, this direct
influence of what Sir Walter Scott calls "gramarye," appear so evident
to us, as in the ease with which certain great authors produce those
immortal works, that succeed each other with the rapidity of the
discharges of a repeating gun. Indeed, if we look back to the first
invention of printing, an art which may be said to be the parent of
authorship, we shall trace it to this diabolical influence, in the case
of the renowned Doctor Faustus, whose power of multiplying books was
universally ascribed to the direct agency of gramarye, and who to this
day is familiarly coupled with the spirit of darkness. Nay, the doctor,
according to unquestionable tradition, was finally carried away, in
consequence of a compact, the conditions of which every body is
acquainted with. This origin of the art is commemorated in the singular
fact, that a certain class of persons employed in the printing-offices
are to this day familiarly called printer's devils, indubitably with
reference to this diabolical origin of the art. The name of this
mischevious and evil disposed familiar, or bad spirit, who inspired
Doctor Faustus, was Mephostophilos, as we learn from Christopher
Marlow, from whom as great a man as Will Shakspeare borrowed a great
many good things.
That this same Mephostophilos still exercises great influence in the
affairs of authors and printers, and occasionally contracts to lend his
assistance on certain conditions, is, we think, sufficiently apparent
in the case of various great writers now living, who, not to be
profane, certainly write as if the d—l were in them. Some we behold
committing the most foul offences against our mortal enemy, common
sense; others exhibiting unquestionable proofs of the inspiration which
animates them, by attacking and tearing to pieces, the characters of
men, women, and little children, and thus committing the most wanton
depredations on the scanty stock of human happiness. But if the truth
must be ventured upon, in no class of writers do we see this diabolical
spirit so clearly evinced, as among the critics, who, not to speak
irreverently of these dispensers of fame, do certainly display a most
horrible propensity to wickedness, in mauling and cutting up innocent
authors, with as little remorse as if they were so many cabbages or
Another most pregnant example of this actual agency of the great
printer's devil 'ycleptMephostophilos, is that of the celebrated person
known by the appellation of the "Great Unknown," who, if we might be
allowed the suggestion, is no other than Mephostophilos himself. Not to
mention his prerogative of being invisible, and his power of keeping
his own secret, two things unexampled in the history of successful
authors, both which savour strongly of "gramarye," there are other
shrewd indications of this identity. We have some little experience in
these matters, and hold it utterly impossible for a mere mortal man,
with one head, and one right hand, to write books of any sort, much
less such astonishing clever stories as those of the Great Unknown, at
the rate he doth, without having actually bargained with some evil
agent to assist him. That mental Scots Fiddle, which scholars
denominate the cacoethes scribendi, can never sufficiently
account for the supernatural celerity with which he utters his works to
the world, unless aided by the supposition of some wicked compact, or,
what is more probable, of our author being no other than Mephostophilos
This theory of the agency of the evil one in the writing of books,
is by no means so improbable as may seem at first sight, nor is the
Great Unknown the only writer of the present time, to whom the
imputation may be reasonably applied, in our opinion. What else could
have tempted my lord Byron and Mr. Southey to outrage the Judgment Seat
of Heaven in their two "Visions?" or what but this, could have prompted
Mr. Thomas Moore, to mingle his poetical fictions, and mix up the puny
fires of his sensual inspiration, with those sacred documents which
form the rock of our faith; to blast the reputation of the angels, by
giving to them the desires and the frailties of the most degenerate of
the daughters of men? Certainly it is not uncharitable to suppose these
works were written either by persons who, to use the common phrase, had
"got the d—l in them," or who were at least instigated by his
immediate agency. Nothing less than a direct jogging of the elbow, from
some mischievously inclined spirit, could, in our humble trans-atlantic
opinion, have prompted these mere mortal men thus to "rush in where
angels dare not tread;" or stimulated the wayward genius of my lord
Byron, ever sickening, as it would seem, after singularity, to
attempt, at this time of day, to prove the father of evil, the author
of all our woes, an enlightened philosopher; and the first murderer, a
pious seeker after knowledge.
In thus attempting to identify the "Great Unknown" with the great
Mephostophilos, who is supposed to have been the inventor of the
mischievous art of printing, (so obnoxious to the Holy Alliance,
doubtless on account of its diabolical origin,) we have not the most
remote intention to raise a prejudice against that mysterious person.
Indeed, we have no doubt that this suggestion will increase the avidity
of the juvenile world, for the perusal of these thrice profitable
works—profitable to the author, profitable to the printer, and
profitable to the booksellers. Our object was simply to offer some
probable theory or hypothesis, whereby this distracting question, which
hath already, like the old controversy concerning atoms, set the
learned and unlearned together by the ears, might be settled, and
mankind thereafter sleep quietly over these productions, without being
disturbed with the insatiable twitches of an ever wakeful curiosity.
Our explanation is, we think, most peculiarly happy, since, while it
offers a satisfactory solution concerning the miraculous conception and
delivery of these popular works, it likewise explains the nature and
source of that singular faculty of bewitching his readers, which our
author possesses in such perfection. Under the influence of this, they
become blinded to his most glaring faults, and come at length actually
to swallow the unequalled impossibility of a woman (having a tongue)
being silent, through the whole course of three volumes!
The gentle and courteous reader has, doubtless, long before this,
discovered that we ourselves deal in no such wicked mysteries, and that
we lay claim to no inspiration but what is honestly come by at least.
No motive of profit or convenience can possibly induce us to make any
covenant with Mephostophilos or any other evil disposed enormity, or to
introduce our readers to a fellowship with any being more mischievous
than an author. So far from this, we will for the present take our
leave of him, with an honest, old-fashioned benediction on his house
and all within it, which, in truth, may not be altogether superfluous,
seeing there be so many evil spirits abroad now-a-days, both in prose
"Saint Francis and Saint Benedight,
Blesse this house from wicked wight,
From the nightmare and the goblin,
That is hight Good Fellow Robin;
Keep it from all evil spirits,
Fairies, weasels, rats and ferrets,
From Curfew time
To the next prime."
"Through untrack'd woods, a weary way,
They wander'd with great pain;
And some that went forth on that day,
Never return'd again."
After the savages had completed the plundering and burning of the
village, they departed with their prisoners towards the river, on whose
banks the principal part of them resided. Besides the fair Christina
and Koningsmarke, the captives consisted of counsellor Ludwig Varlett,
Lob Dotterel, a poor man named Claas Tomeson, his wife and child, and
that likely fellow Cupid, who, for some cause or other, seemed rather
to accompany them voluntarily than by compulsion.
They shaped their course to the westward, passing through deep
forests, where the sound of the axe had never been heard, and where the
wild animals had hitherto maintained undisturbed possession. Poor
Christina was soon so worn down with grief and fatigue, that she was
incapable of keeping up with the rest of the party, and had not the
Long Finne sometimes taken her in his arms and carried her through the
swamps, she would have been murdered by the savages, who several times
turned back and threatened her with their tomahawks. At the end of the
first day's journey, the luckless wife of Claas Tomeson, whose infant
was scarcely a month old, was so worn down, that the Indians debated
whether they should not put an end to them both. Finally it was
resolved upon and they were despatched, in spite of the shrieks of
Christina, and the agonizing cries of the husband, who was first tied
to a tree, and thus he witnessed, without being able to make a single
effort to prevent it, the fate of his helpless wife, and still more
Three days more they journeyed in this manner, Christina every day
becoming more weak, and every moment expecting to meet the fate of the
poor woman and her child. Towards the evening of the fourth, they
approached the banks of the river on which dwelt the tribe of the
Rolling Thunder, and gave the war-whoop, which was answered by the
women, children and old men that had remained at home. One of the
warriors had been previously sent to the town to inform them of the
success of the expedition, and prepare them for a frolic. Accordingly,
the party was met about half a mile from the town, by an infuriated
rabble, armed with guns, clubs, and tomahawks, hallooing and whooping
with horrible exultation, mixed with cries of vengeance, from the
kindred of those who had been slain in the attack upon Elsingburgh.
Poor Claas Tomeson was selected, on this occasion, for the object of
their infernal meriment. He was stripped, painted black with charcoal,
and apprized that if he gained the door of the council house, which was
pointed out to him, he would be safe. They then gave him the start
about six paces, and Claas ran for his life, followed by the yelling
crew, who assailed him with every ingenuity of torture they could
devise; beating him with clubs, cutting at him with their tomahawks,
and sometimes putting the muzzles of their guns close to his naked skin
and firing powder into it, powowing and beating their rude drums all
the while. Poor Claas, although wounded and maimed in a cruel manner,
animated by a last hope, exerted himself to the utmost, and at length
succeeded in gaining the door of the council house, that sanctuary even
among barbarians. He seized the door post, and at the same instant
fainted under his tortures and exertions. A dispute now arose, whether
he had fairly entitled himself to the condition upon which his life was
to be spared, and it was with great difficulty the old men could
restrain the infuriated youth from despatching him. At length it was
agreed to spare the victim, at least for the present, and he was
carried to a wigwam, where a doctor or conjurer was sent to attend upon
The first thing the doctor did, was to mumble to himself a parcel of
unconnected jargon, which poor Claas as little comprehended as a
civilized patient does a civilized doctor, when he describes his
symptoms. He then caused a large fire to be made, and the door to be
shut, and thereupon began to cut capers and shout aloud, until he was
in a glorious perspiration; it being his opinion, that whenever a
patient could not take sufficient exercise to produce this effect upon
himself, the next best thing was for the doctor to do it for him. So,
also, if it was necessary to take medicines, or fast, the practice of
the Indian doctor was to take the physic, and undergo the penance
himself; all which equally redounded to the benefit of the sick
man—provided the doctor was well paid. Without that indispensable
preliminary, this mode of cure was devested of all its efficacy. After
capering himself into a fine perspiration, and swallowing a dose of
something, the doctor inquired of Claas how he felt himself. The poor
fellow, who was soon recovered to the use of his senses, thought it
most prudent to compliment the doctor by saying he was much better; for
he was apprehensive that if the doctor lost all hope of finally curing
his patient, he might cut the matter short and save his credit, by
recommending an auto de fe, so he professed himself marvellously
The next day the Doctor came again, cut a few more capers, talked a
little jargon, and took a drink of strong liquor, or rum, in order to
strengthen his patient, who, as before, declared the great benefit he
received from the prescription. The third time, the doctor brought with
him his great medicine, as he called it, which was to perfect the cure.
He began with making the most diabolical faces imaginable; then he
puffed, and strained, and struggled, as if contesting with some
invisible being with might and main. Presently he ceased, crying out,
at the same time, "Mila-mila-kipokitie koasab," which, in the learned
language of the Indians, means, "give, give me thy breeches." This
being explained to Claas, and he at the same time assured that the
success of the great medicine depended upon his complying with the
requisitions of the doctor, he was fain to give up his breeches. The
doctor then commenced another great contest with the invisible maneto,
whom he again tumbled on the floor with a mighty effort, exclaiming at
the same time— "Mila-mila-capotionian," which means "give me thy
coat." With this also poor Claas complied. Hereupon the doctor began a
struggle more desperate than the preceding, which terminated in his
crying out aloud—"Mila-mila-papakionian," which means, give me thy
waistcoat, Claas parted with his red waistcoat, gorgeously bedecked
with round metal buttons, with a sore heart. In this way the doctor
gradually devested his patient of all his valuables, and at length,
looking round to see if there was any thing left, he took out of his
leathern pouch an eagle's feather, and, pulling some of the down, blew
it in the face of his patient, crying out—"Houana!
houana!—magat! magat!" "'Tis done—'tis done—he is strong, he
is strong." Then carefully gathering together the various items of his
fee, he marched with astonishing dignity and gravity out of the wigwam.
In process of time honest Claas actually recovered, furnishing a
pregnant example of the excellent effects resulting from the doctor's
taking his own prescriptions, instead of administering them to the
In the mean while a council had been held for the purpose of
deciding the destinies of the other prisoners. Agreeably to the customs
of these people, the relatives of an Indian killed in battle have the
choice, either of adopting a prisoner in the room of the friend they
have lost, or of putting him to death by torture. Accordingly,
Christina, Koningsmarke, Counsellor Varlett, Lob Dotterel, and Claas
Tomeson, the latter scarce recovered from the effects of the gauntlet
he had run, were brought forth in front of the council house, to
receive their doom of death or adoption.
The mothers of three warriors slain at the attack upon Elsingburgh
came forth, howling, and tearing their long black hair, like so many
furies thirsting for the blood of their victims; while the young
children, taught from their infancy to banquet on the tortures of
their enemies, stood ready to assist, if necessary, in executing the
judgment. After examining the prisoners for a few minutes, as if
debating whether to yield to the suggestions of policy or vengeance, a
young squaw came forward, and taking the hand of Christina,
exclaimed—"Five moons ago I lost a sister, who was carried away by
the Mohawks; thou shalt take her place, and be unto me as a sister."
The old men signified their acquiescence, and the Indian girl led her
white sister to her wigwam.
The wife of the chief who was slain in attempting to detain the
boat, as we have heretofore stated, then stepped forth, after having
for a while contemplated the face and form of the Long Finne, and
addressed the old men—"My children have lost a father, I a husband—
revenge is sweet—but who will hunt for us, and supply us with food in
the long winters, if I should say, let us sacrifice this white-man who
killed a red chief? No—let him be my slave, and hunt for me, as he
did who is now gone to the land of spirits." Her choice was in like
manner sanctioned by the sages, and Koningsmarke was given to the
Indian widow as her husband, or slave, as she should ultimately decide.
Next came the turn of Lob Dotterel, whose bald pate excited, in no
small degree, the wonder of the forest kings, who had heard the story
of his scalp coming off in such a miraculous manner. A grand council
had been held upon his wig, but they could make nothing of it. The
prevailing opinion was, that it was a great medicine, by the virtue of
which Lob had escaped all damage from an operation so fatal to others,
and that the high constable was a sort of wizard, whom it would be
somewhat dangerous to meddle with. After a long talk among the old men,
it was at length decided to spare him, for the present, with a view to
his instructing them in the method of compounding this great medicine,
so important to the safety of the Indian warrior.
Counsellor Varlett and Claas Tomeson now only remained to be
adjudged, and the assemblage of women and children began to murmur at
the thoughts of losing what is considered a high frolic among them, in
like manner as civilized women and children delight in seeing a man
hanged. The mothers of two of the warriors slain at Elsingburgh, came
forward, and clamorously demanded their victims; a demand, which,
according to the sacred customs of the savages, must not be denied.
Their doom was accordingly pronounced, and hailed by the dismal scalp
halloo, the signal of torture and death. The two victims were
accordingly seized, stripped, and painted black, and beaten with sticks
by the women and boys. Claas Tomeson's hands were then tied behind his
back with a rope, the other end of which was fastened to a stake about
fifteen feet high, leaving sufficient length to admit of his going
round it two or three times, and back again. A chief then addressed the
multitude, urging every topic calculated to excite their ruling passion
of revenge, and was answered by a yell that made the vast forest ring.
Then began a scene of horror, which has been often witnessed by the
dauntless spirits who marched in the van, to the exploring and settling
of this new world, and which may, perhaps, in some measure, serve to
excuse their harshness to that unhappy race, by whom their friends and
brothers had so often suffered. The Indian men first approached, and
fired powder into his naked skin. Then they lighted the pile, composed
of sticks, one end of which was previously charred by fire laid around
the post, at the distance of five or six yards. A party of these
exasperated and inhuman beings, then seizing the burning brands,
surrounded the wretched victim, and thrust them into his naked body.
Presenting themselves on every side, which ever way he ran, he met the
fiends with their burning fagots, and if he stood still, they all
assailed him at once. The squaws then threw the hot ashes and burning
coals upon his bare head, which, falling upon the ground, in a little
while he had nothing to tread upon but a bed of fire. Claas called them
cowards— women—and begged them to shoot him like men and warriors.
But they only answered him with laughter, shouts, and new tortures.
Claas then, in the agony of his sufferings, besought the Almighty to
have compassion upon him, and permit him at once to die. "Hark!" cried
the warriors; "he is a woman, he is no warrior, he cries out like a
coward." Exhausted, at length, with pain and exertion, he laid himself
down upon his face, gradually losing all acuteness of sensation, and
apparently becoming almost insensible. But from this blessed apathy he
was roused by an old hag, who, placing some burning coals on a piece of
bark, threw them upon his back, which was now excoriated from head to
foot. The poor victim again started upon his feet, and walked slowly
round the post, gazing with a vacant look on those about him, and
appearing hardly to know what was going forward. Perceiving that he no
longer was susceptible to suffering, a chief came behind him, and
buried his tomahawk in the back of his head. He fell, and yielded his
tortured spirit without a groan.
It now came to the turn of Ludwig Varlett, who had witnessed this
scene with a degree of firmness, peculiar to that class of people who
march in the van of civilization, in our woody progress, and whose
daily toils, dangers and exposures, gradually render them almost
insensible to fear or suffering. Perceiving his fate to be inevitable,
he resolved to meet it like a man; at the same time athought came over
him, that he might possibly escape the tortures of his poor comrade. By
means of some little smattering of their language, which he had
acquired as a trader, he managed to make some of the chiefs comprehend
that he was in possession of a great medicine, so powerful, as to
render those acquainted with the secret, invulnerable to a rifle ball.
The chiefs shook their heads, with a sort of incredulous chuckle, and
asked him if he were willing to try the experiment in his own person.
Ludwig said yes, and desired that five or six of them would load their
guns, while he placed himself about twenty yards distant. They did so,
and the crowd stood in breathless anxiety to witness the virtues of the
great medicine. "One—two—three— fire!" cried he; and the next
instant he lay stretched a corse. The Indians ran up to him, and then,
for the first time, comprehending the whole affair, they became mad
with rage and disappointment. They tore his body into pieces, scooped
up his blood with their hands, and drank it smoking hot, and finally
tossed his limbs into the flames. But the brave Ludwig felt it not, and
escaped, by his presence of mind, the sad and lingering tortures of
This horrible festival was concluded by a drinking match, which they
were enabled to carry to the most extravagant excess, by means of a
quantity of spirits they had taken at the village of Elsingburgh. The
two tribes, who had been jointly engaged in that expedition, first
separated, the one crossing the river, in order that the remembrance of
former injuries, which is the first impulse of intoxication in the
mind of an Indian, might not produce hostilities between the two. They
then appointed persons to secrete their arms, and maintain order during
the scene which was to ensue. The debauch then commenced, by pouring a
keg of spirits into a large kettle, and dipping it out with wooden
ladles. A scene ensued which baffles all description. The shoutings,
hallooings, whoopings, and shrieks, of each party, were heard at
intervals, during the whole night, and the morning presented the
wretched bacchanals, dejected, worn out, and melancholy in the extreme.
Some had their clothes torn from their backs, some were wounded, others
crippled, and three dead bodies marked the bloody excesses to which
barbarians are prone, when their dormant passions are excited by that
most pernicious foe of savage and civilized man, strong drink.
"I have some little smattering of Greek,
Hebrew, Chaldaie, and Egyptian,
Welsh, Irish Dutch, and Biscayan;
Indeed, all the tongues of Europe,
Asia, and Africa, are tolerably familiar—
But in America, and the new-found world,
I very much fear there be some languages
That would go near to puzzle me."
In the mean time Christina was taken home by the Indian girl, who
was called Aonetti, which signifies Deer Eyes, from their resemblance
in wildness and brilliancy to those of that animal. Aonetti was
considered the beauty of the village, having, in addition to her fine
eyes, a profusion of long black hair, a pretty, round, graceful figure,
and an expression of tender seriousness in her countenance, peculiarly
interesting. The family consisted of Aonetti's mother, an aged widow,
and the Night Shadow, her only son, one of the most
distinguished warriors and hunters of the tribe. Night Shadow was
upwards of six feet high, straight as a pine, active as the deer, and
brave as a lion. He could turn his face towards any point of the
compass, and march a hundred miles through the forest without deviating
to the right or to the left; he could follow the track of man or beast
upon the dry leaves, with the sagacious instinct of a hound; and in
hunting he disdained to pursue any but the noblest beasts of the
forest. The wigwam inhabited by this family was of the better sort,
having two rooms, partitioned off from each other by strips of bark.
Christina became an inmate of this simple habitation, and was
treated in all respects as if she were the daughter of the same mother.
Aonetti was very fond of her, and gave her the name of Mimi,
which, in her language, signified the Turtle Dove. The mother addressed
her as daughter, the young people as sister. Among the savages, all
women, whatever be their rank, work, if they are capable of employment.
With the exception of a few slaves, who were sometimes reserved from
among their prisoners, the labours of the field and of the household,
were all performed by the females. Poor Christina, whose education had
little qualified her for this mode of life, made but an awkward hand at
planting corn, and little Deer Eyes often laughed at her bringing up,
as quite ridiculous for a woman. Christina was therefore indulged in
the performance of less laborious duties, such as bringing water from
the spring, just in the centre of the village; gathering cranberries,
and preparing their daily meals; to which last she soon became
adequate, as their art of cookery was extremely simple. In this manner
the time passed away, heavily indeed; but although her thoughts
perpetually recurred to her home in the village of Elsingburgh, and to
the kindness of her father, now dead perhaps, or if living, mourning
her absence in all the anxiety of perfect ignorance whether she were
living or dead; still Christina did not sink under her misfortunes.
Perhaps the secret consciousness that her lover was near, and shared
her fate, contributed not a little to support her in these hours of
The Long Finne, whose life, as we have before stated, was reprieved
by the widow, became her slave, according to the Indian custom. For a
time he was narrowly watched, and never suffered out of sight of the
village. But perceiving that he preserved a cheerful countenance, and
seemed by degrees to become reconciled to his situation, they gradually
relaxed in their vigilance, and sometimes took him out hunting with
The first time this happened, the Long Finne, anxious to distinguish
himself, shot so well, that the savage hunters became not a little
jealous; for they are extremely tenacious of their superior skill, not
only in war, but in hunting. Perceiving this to be the case,
Koningsmarke designedly missed several shots, and they became highly
pleased to think that his first success was merely owing to chance. By
degrees, as he gained their confidence, they suffered him to go into
the woods by himself to hunt, so that, if he could have endured the
thought of deserting Christina, he might, in all probability, have
escaped. He often debated whether it would not be better to attempt
returning to Elsingburgh with a view to apprise the Heer of his
daughter's situation, in order that measures might be taken to ransom
her; but the fear that the savages might perhaps revenge his desertion
by the sacrifice of his fellow prisoners, deterred him from putting
this project into execution.
In the intervals of his labours, and in the evening, the Long Finne,
when he had become sufficiently acquainted with the Indian language,
was amused with the conversation of an aged Indian warrior, the father
of his mistress, who resided in the family. Ollentangi, as he was
called, had been in his day a great warrior, statesman and hunter. But
he was now nearly seventy years old, and, being subject to rheumatism,
the common malady of the old Indians, lived a life of leisure, and
passed his time principally in smoking. Ollentangi was considered as
one of the wisest men of his tribe, and, indeed, so far as the light of
nature would carry him, was justly entitled to the appellation of a
sage. Had his opportunities been equal, he might perhaps have been a
Solon or a Socrates. With this old man Koningsmarke often discussed the
comparative excellence of the Indian religion, customs, laws, and modes
of society, contrasted with those of civilized nations, and was
frequently surprised at the ingenuity with which he supported the
superior happiness and virtue of the savages.
It was Ollentangi's opinion, that the Great Spirit had made the
red-men for the shade, and the white-men for the sunshine; the former
to hunt, the latter to work.
"Your Black Gowns," would he say, "tell us to believe as they do,
and live as they live. They say we must set about dividing our
forests, putting up fences, and ploughing with horses and oxen. But who
is to say what shall belong to each man, that we may put up our fences
accordingly? Where are we to get oxen and horses? We have nothing but
furs to pay for them, and if we leave off hunting before we have become
farmers, we shall neither have furs to barter, nor meat to support us.
As to our religion," continued he, "we think we can understand it, but
that is more than we can say of yours. Our religion is fitted for our
state of nature; it is incorporated with our habits and manners, and we
must change these before we are fit to become Christians. You may in
time make us bad Indians, but you will never make us good whitemen. Be
certain that so long as we have plenty of game, we shall never become
farmers, nor send our children to school, nor believe in your Gods."
"You talk of our Gods, Ollentangi," said Koningsmarke—"we
acknowledge but one."
"Yes, but then you have a Good Spirit and an Evil Spirit, and your
Good Spirit is, according to your own account, not so powerful as your
Bad one, who not only causes your world to be overrun with evil, but
actually carries off a vast many more people than your Good Spirit. It
would seem, from this, that he was the more powerful of the two.
Besides, your Black Gowns have assured me that their Good Spirit is
composed of three Good Spirits, all equal; therefore, you must have
more Gods than one."
Koningsmarke endeavoured to explain the mystery of the Trinity to
Ollentangi, but without effect. It was beyond the comprehension of the
man of nature, who continued obstinately to affirm, that if the Great
Spirit was composed of three Great Spirits, they must have a plurality
of spirits, and that if it was not so composed, then his doctrine could
not be true. Such is the utmost extent to which human reason can carry
the man of nature.
One day Ollentangi came, and with much gravity informed Koningsmarke
that he had a great project in his head, for the benefit of the
"Listen," said he: "That you are a miserable race in your own
country, appears certain, or you would not not have come hither to
disturb us. Now our wise men have just determined to send some of our
best conjurers out to your country to convert your people to our
belief; to teach them to hunt the deer, and to live without cheating
one another in making bargains: what think yon of this?"
"But," said Koningsmarke, "your conjurers don't understand our
"Oh that is easily got over. They shall teach your people ours,"
"Well, but the state of society is so different among us, that your
conjurers could never teach us to live as you do—besides, we have so
little game that if we all became hunters we should be likely to
"Oh but we shall soon remedy that—we shall plant acorns, and they
in time will grow into great forests of trees, and game will increase
"Yes, but what shall we do while the trees are growing? We have a
saying, that while the grass grows the steed starves. It will take five
thousand moons for the forest to become like these."
"Well, and how long will it take for an Indian to become a
white-man? A little tree, if let alone, will grow into a great one
within a certain time. It takes longer to change men than trees. But
let us proceed, our conjurers shall teach you, among other things, to
believe in all our great medicines, to make an eagle's feather protect
you from a bullet, a fish bone ward off the lightning, and a tobacco
leaf secure you from all the dangers of the forest. They shall teach
you all these things."
"But we can't be taught such things, Ollentangi; we shall not be
able to comprehend how, or believe that a fish bone can be made to keep
off lightning. 'Tis contrary to all our experience, and, to say the
truth, is too foolish for the most ignorant among us to believe. If it
is a mystery, we can't comprehend it; if it is no mystery 'tis no
better than nonsense."
Very well—you tell me our religion is too foolish for your wisdom,
and yours is too wise for our folly. We shall teach you a little of our
ignorance in these matters, that you may comprehend us; and you shall
teach us some of your wisdom, that we may comprehend you. This will be
proper and neighbourly. We shall in time make men of you. I don't think
your case quite desperate."
"But you will not be able to teach us ignorance, as you call it. The
mind never goes backwards."
"You have just acknowledged what I want you to believe, namely, that
we Indians are wiser and happier than you. I have known several
white-men become Indians, but I never saw an Indian turn white-man.
Therefore, if the human mind never goes backwards, 'tis a proof that
the state of nature is better than the civilized state."
One evening Koningsmarke undertook to prove to Ollentangi, that a
people who cultivated the ground had a right to take it away from those
who only hunted upon it, because it was the will of the Great Spirit
that the human race should increase to the greatest possible number in
all parts of the world. "Now you red-men pretend to occupy the whole
country for a hundred miles round," said the Long Finne, "though there
is but two or three hundred of you, and it is large enough, if properly
cultivated, to support five hundred times as many."
"Very well," replied Ollentangi; "you say it is the will of the
Great Spirit that men should increase and be happy. You told me the
other day, I remember, that your countrymen came here to look for land,
because there were too many people and too little land in their
country. People then, by your account, can increase too fast for their
happiness. Now this never happens to us red-men, therefore we are
happier than you. Besides, you tried to persuade me, not long since,
that hardly one in a hundred of the white people were happy when they
returned to the region of souls. It is plain, therefore, that the more
people there are in this world, the more they will want land, and the
greater will be the number of the miserable in a future state. How is
Koningsmarke undertook to explain all these matters, but they were
beyond the reach of the old man's philosophy, although one of the most
acute Indians of the new world. Among other things, Ollentangi laughed,
a thing he very seldom did, when Koningsmarke impeached the right of
the Indians to the forests, which they had possessed for several
"Listen to me," said he—"More than twenty thousand moons ago, a
female pappoose was found, only a month old, in the waters of a lake,
lying in a little canoe of rushes. When this pappoose grew up, she
became a great prophetess, and before she disappeared she foretold the
coming of the white-men. She performed many strange and wonderful
things, such as turning night into day, and water into dry land. As our
people increased, she made this continent, which was, at first, but a
little island; and told us to remove hither, for we lived a great many
months' journey towards the rising sun. Though our people were as yet
but few, we wanted room to hunt; so the squaw went to the water side,
and prayed that the little island might grow bigger, for the use of her
chosen people. The Great Spirit hereupon sent a great number of
tortoises and muskrats, that brought mud, sand, and other things, so
that, in time, the island became a great continent. In memory of this
service, our tribe was divided into two parts; one of which is called
the Mud-Turtle, the other the Muskrat. Now, as our great grandmother
made this country for our own use entirely, and on purpose that we
might have plenty of room to hunt in, it is plain that you white-men
can have no claim upon it, but that you tell as great lies about your
Great Spirit having made it for you."
At another time, Koningsmarke took occasion to treat Ollentangi's
philosophy and religion with very little ceremony, affirming that it
was nothing but the light of nature, which only served to lead people
"Very good," replied Ollentangi—"I see every day, the bears,
beavers, and all other animals, pursuing their natural impulses, by
which they attain to such a degree of happiness as they are capable of
enjoying. The beasts that live in the woods follow, then, what you call
the light of nature—now which is the happiest, a dog that is chained
up all day, whipped, and kicked into the knowledge of white-men, to
snarl and bite, and point with his nose, or a deer that runs wild in
the forest, and pursues what you call the light of nature?"
"I should think the deer," replied Koningsmarke.
"Very well, then," said Ollentangi; "is it not the same with men?
You white-men are the dogs that are chained up, and taught to bite each
other; and we are the deer, that run free and wild in the woods."
Koningsmarke would then undertake to explain the distinction between
man and all other animals; the former being governed by reason, the
latter only by instinct, and therefore of an inferior race by nature.
But Ollentangi stoutly denied that there was any difference of this
kind, since, if any thing, the animals were wiser a great deal than men.
"The beaver," said he, "builds better houses than we Indians, and
the fox is better lodged in winter than we. Had we been naturally as
reasonable as they, we should have made our habitations under ground,
at least for the cold season. You white-men, it is true, build better
houses than the beavers, and are better lodged than the foxes, but in
attaining to this you have become a miserable, degenerate race of
slaves, who do nothing but work all day long, and buy and sell every
thing, from your Maker, down to the smallest article that you possess.
You see, therefore, that you have not such good reason as you think,
for running down the light of nature, since, according to your own
account, it must have guided you at first to all your early and fancied
Koningsmarke then strove to convey to the mind of the poor savage,
some definite idea with respect to the distinction between reason and
inspiration, the latter of which he told him was the source of the
christian religion. Ollentangi shook his head.
"Yes!—this is what our jugglers and conjurers tell us. They
pretend that the Great Spirit sends his messages by them. But we don't
believe it, because it is certain that if the Great Spirit had any
messages, he would send them to the chiefs of the tribe, and not to
such contemptible fellows."
The more, in fact, that Koningsmarke conversed with the old Indian,
the more he became sensible that it was impossible to make him
comprehend the most simple elements of our social and religious
systems. Long before the winter set in, the Long Finne became
unalterably convinced that all religions must be accommodated to the
state of society, as well as the progress of intelligence; that
religion is an integral portion of both; and that the attempt to
propagate a system of faith at war with either, must necessarily
entirely fail, or, if partially successful, be productive of great moral evil.
Many other discussions took place between Ollentangi and
Koningsmarke, but we have already detailed sufficient to give some
little idea of the confined views and opinions of an Indian sage.
Besides, it is high time to return to the fair and gentle Christina,
whom, though sometimes we seem to lose sight of, we never for a moment
During the first weeks of their captivity, such was the watchful
jealousy of the savages, that Koningsmarke had no opportunity of
speaking either to Christina or honest Lob Dotterel, who, being neither
hunter nor warrior, and having no little boys to keep in order, sunk
into a personage of very little consequence, in his own opinion. The
miracle of his wig, however, caused him to be somewhat wondered at by
the Indians. The Long Finne sometimes met Christina at the spring,
without daring to talk but with his eyes. In time, however, he was less
watched, and besides occasionally conversing, he sometimes met her in
the forest gathering cranberries. On these occasions the desolate
condition of the poor girl, thus alone in the pathless wilderness
without a friend but him, caused the gentle Christina to forget the
scar on his neck, and the warnings of Bombie of the Frizzled Head. A
flood of tender emotions rushed on her heart at these times, and, as
the tears trickled from her eyes, which she turned up towards him like
an infant looking to its parent for protection, she sometimes forgot to
resist when he kissed them away. The Long Finne occasionally came to
the wigwam where Christina resided, and where his visits were not
discouraged, more especially by the blue-eyed Swede and the dark-eyed
Indian maid, the latter of whom, in a little while, learned sufficient
of their language to make herself understood on various little
occasions. She was particularly importunate with Christina to teach her
how the Indian word kisakia, which signifies "I love," was
pronounced in her native language.
It was not long, in fact, before the gentle Christina and the Deer
Eyes, with that quicksighted instinct common to their sex, discovered,
or rather began to suspect, that they were, or would soon become,
rivals. At least it was so with Christina; for the ignorance of Aonetti
in the modes and customs that restrain the exhibition of certain
feelings on the part of civilized women, kept her for a long time from
knowing the state of Christina's heart. The Indian women are as
remarkable for the tenderness and warmth of their affections, as the
Indian men are for their coldness and indifference. They become
suddenly and strongly attached, especially to white men; and, being
entirely governed by the feelings of nature, do not hesitate to take
upon themselves those advances, which, among civilized people, are the
province of men alone. The gentle and tender simplicity with which the
Indian girls of the better sort do this, is peculiarly affecting, and
takes from their advances all appearance of indelicate forwardness.
The progress of this new sentiment in the heart of Aonetti, was
indicated in the increasing languor of her eyes; her carelessness in
the performance of domestic duties; her solitary walks, and her
hanging about Christina's neck, kissing her, and whispering, "I love
him—O how I love him!" She was accustomed, in her ramblings, to
compose little extemporary songs, and hum them to wild tunes of her own
fancying; one of which Christina caught, and translated, or at least
imitated, in the following lines:
My love's like the deer in the forest that skip,
Like the cranberry's hue are his cheek and his lip;
His spirit sits by me at night when I sleep,
But when I awake it is gone, and I weep.
I love him—Oh how I love him!
But his bride, his
own bride, I never shall be,
He loves, but he loves not, he loves not poor me;
When he's near me I'm sad, and wish him away,
And when he is gone, I could bless him to stay.
I love him—Oh how I
do love him!
When Christina discovered the state of the Indian girl's heart, it
did not weaken her affection for her adopted sister, or diminish her
grateful recollection of the kindness which she owed to that
kind-souled being. True, she did not perhaps think her a dangerous
rival, or it is possible her feelings might have been somewhat
different. As it was, she returned her caresses, and complied with her
request to sing some of those songs that were favourites with
Koningsmarke, that she too might learn them, and sing his heart away,
as she expressed it in her figurative language. Though we firmly
believe that Christina was capable of feeling and exercising as much
generosity as ever fell to the lot of woman, still we will not pretend
to say, that her sympathy for the Deer Eyes would have continued
unshaken, or survived the shock of her successful rivalship. As it was,
however, it happened that circumstances and events occurred about this
time, that united the two maidens in one common cause of jealousy and
The Indians among whom our hero and heroine were now domesticated,
had long been on ill terms with a tribe dwelling on the banks of the
Ohio. There was a world of forest between them, it is true; but the
hunting excursions of the savages, like the commercial pursuits of
civilized men, often made tribes who lived at a distance from each
other, neighbours and rivals. Some hundred years before, one of the
Ohio tribe had been killed, by an Indian of the Susquehanna, and the
vengeance of an Indian never sleeps or dies. The former, not long
previous to the period to which our history has now arrived, had sent
a petticoat to the latter, accompanied by a most insulting message,
that "they were women, and no warriors—and that they would shortly
come, and make them run into the hollow trees like woodchucks." Such
banters were not uncommon among the savages, and this message was
considered a declaration of war.
This war message, with the reflection which i, containedt enraged
the Rolling Thunder and his warriors to such a degree, that they
resolved, with the approbation of the old men, to convince the Ohio
Indians they were not women, by undertaking an expedition against them
forthwith. Preparatory to setting out, however, they held a war dance.
This dance was accompanied by vocal and instrumental music. The
latter was produced by a drum, made from a piece of hollow tree, cut
off so as to leave one end closed by the wood, to hold water in the
bottom. Over the other end was drawn a piece of dried skin, somewhat
resembling parchment, and which, when beaten upon with a stick,
produced a sound somewhat similar to a muffled-drum. The party which
was to go on this war expedition, collected round an aged Indian, who
now began to sing, accompanying himself, by striking upon the drum at
regular intervals. Each of these warriors, armed either with a
tomahawk, war-club, or spear, began to move forward in concert towards
the west, the direction in which they were going to war. When they had
advanced about fifty or sixty yards, they suddenly pointed their
weapons, in a furious and threatening manner, towards their enemy, and,
suddenly turning round, with a terrible shout, danced back in concert
They then began the war song, which was sung by one person at a
time, and consisted in relating, in a sort of recititavo, the exploits
of the warrior himself, or what he was resolved to perform in the
These promises are similar to the vows of knight errantry; to shrink
from their performance, is considered an indelible disgrace, and the
warriors often sacrifice themselves rather than fail. At the end of the
relation of every past exploit, the warrior struck a post with his
tomahawk, and those who had witnessed what he related, testified to its
truth by crying out— "Huh! huh!" On the contrary, if he related any
thing that was doubtful, they shook their heads, and were perfectly
silent. The whole ceremony was concluded by a loud shout, and many
young men who had declined going to the war, were so animated with the
scene, that they immediately signified their intention to join the
They next proceeded to the ceremony of adopting Lob Dotterel, whom
it was their intention to admit into a participation of the glories of
the expedition; he having at length gained their confidence, by his
apparent cheerfulness, and the readiness with which he accomodated
himself to their habits and customs. Koningsmarke was already
considered as belonging to the tribe, in virtue of the widow's choice.
The first part of this ceremony consisted in pulling out all the
hair, except what grows just upon the crown of the head, which is left
to be dressed after the Indian fashion. As, however, Lob Dotterel had
no hair upon his head, they proceeded, in lieu thereof, to infringe
upon his beard, which, by this time, had grown to a considerable
length. In order to proceed the more expeditiously, the person who
officiated in this matter ever and anon dipped his fingers into some
ashes, which was placed on a piece of bark, that he might take the
better hold. The high constable winced at every twitch, and the tears
rolled down his cheeks, to the great amusement of the spectators. This
being finished, they proceeded to bore his nose and ears, into which
they hung certain rich copper rings, and jewels, of unknown price,
having cost them whole kingdoms.
The high constable was then handed over to three or four squaws, who
led him to the river side, bidding him plunge in head-foremost. To this
Lob Dotterel demurred, it being his firm belief that they intended to
drown him. Upon this they laid hold of him, and, spite of his sturdy
resistance, dragged him into the water, where they rubbed and scrubbed
him till he had scarcely any skin remaining. He was then led to the
council house, where he was gorgeously decked with a new pair of
leggings and moccasins, beaded garters, porcupine quills, hair dyed
red, and, finally, accommodated with a magnificent cap, made of the
skin of a buffalo's head, with the horns on. Then seating him upon a
bear skin, they gave him a pipe, a tomahawk, and a pouch containing the
herb called killegenico, which they sometimes used instead of tobacco,
and materials for striking fire. After this, they painted him in their
best style, and with all the colours they had in their possession. This
important ceremony being concluded, an aged chief arose and made him a
long speech, the substance of which was as follows:—
"My son—You have just had all the white blood washed out of your
body, and are now a red chief. You are a great man, among a great
nation of warriors, and are from this day called the Jumping Sturgeon,
after a mighty Mingo chief, who fell many moons ago fighting with the
Five Nations. My son, you are now of our flesh and bone—your heart is
our heart—our hearts are your hearts—and as you fight in our
quarrels, so will we defend and protect you as our son and brother!"
The Jumping Sturgeon was then solemnly introduced to his new kinsmen
and kinswomen, and invited to a great feast, where he ate boiled corn
with a wooden Iadle, and got mortal tipsy; which last ceremony
completed his initiation into the Muskrat tribe. Early the next
morning, the painted warriors, accompanied by Koningsmarke and the
illustrious Jumping Sturgeon, set forth upon their expedition to the
Ohio. Koningsmarke was followed by the tears of Christina, the hopes
of Aonetti, and the encouragement of the widow, who comforted him with
the assurance, that if he conducted himself like a brave warrior, she
would, on his return with a reasonable number of scalps, make him sole
lord of herself and her pewter work. The warriors left the village at
the dawning of day, chanting their marching song, of which the
following is a careless sort of translation:
To battle! to battle!
Hurrah! to battle!
Let them not see us!
Let them not hear us!
Let them not fear us!
Till they shall feel us!
Hush! hush! hush!
We're on the track;
Yon fire at the bush
Has warm'd their back!
Crawl on the earth,
Smother your breath,
Be silent as death!
Hush! hush! hush!
They are near, they are near!
'Tis their last, last day!
Their death song I hear;
And now it dies away!
So shall they die;
Ere they hear our war-cry,
Low shall they lie!
Hark! they are near!
Halt! level your guns!
Your tomahawks lift,
Swift as the deer runs—
Swift, swift, swift!
Spare none, not one!
Let the hot blood run;
'Tis done—'tis done!
They are dead!
Shall they lift their head;
Shall they wake from the dead!
The dead shall sleep,
While the living weep.
Let them mourn, mourn, mourn;
The dead, the dead will return
"Then straight they seiz'd their tomahawks, and fast (not very
They on their cruel business all silently did go,
Until they came to where the gentle stream did flow;
And then with blood did quickly run the silver Ohio." Western Boatman's Ballad.
The war party, accompanied by Koningsmarke, and the new chief, the
Jumping Sturgeon, dressed in the manner before described, proceeded
with great celerity on its march towards the Ohio. The savages never
encumber themselves with baggage, and generally fight in a
breech-cloth, leggings, and moccasins. Although there is no punishment
but that of disgrace among them, they act in concert on their war
expeditions, and obey the orders of the chief warrior with cheerfulness
and punctuality. The officers lay the plan of attack, and conduct the
operations until the battle commences, when every man fights for
himself, as if the victory depended on him alone. The order to advance
or retreat is generally given with a yell or a shout, which is readily
understood and obeyed. No corporeal punishment was permitted or
practised among these tribes, either in peace or war, except in
retaliation for similar outrages; and such is their abhorrence of
stripes, that they never even chastise their children. On one occasion,
a chief beat his son, a boy of about ten years old, during the absence
of its mother, who, on her return, was so indignant at the outrage,
that she took the boy with her, and departed, like another Hagar, to
the wilderness. Her husband traced her to a distant tribe, and, being
unable to persuade her to return, remained with her, and never joined
his friends afterwards. The only punishment inflicted on children, is
that of ducking, which accounts for a saying among them, that their
pappooses are always better in winter than in summer, as they do not
mind a ducking in warm weather.
The party proceeded with that silence and celerity, so
characteristic of the red-men of the western hemisphere, until they
arrived within about half a day's journey of the village inhabited by
their enemies. Each man was then forbidden either to make a noise, or
fire a gun, and they remained lying on the ground, in the thick woods,
until dark, when they commenced their march, with even greater caution
and swiftness than before. Their object was to effect a complete
surprise, by approaching the village without even alarming the dogs,
those watchful guardians of the night. About two hours before day they
arrived at the little town. There was not a fire burning, and every
soul in it seemed fast asleep. Not a sound was heard, except the owl
and the wolf, the former screaming, the latter howling his dismal notes
at a distance. All at once, and just before the Muskrats and MudTurtles
had made their final dispositions for the onset, a deep-mouthed hound
yelled forth the signal of alarm, which was answered by a hundred
others in an instant.
At the sound of this well-known signal, the sleeping warriors of the
village started up, and, seizing their arms, rushed out, while the
assailants as suddenly came upon them. The village fronted close on the
river's bank, which consisted of two steps, or terraces, rising one
above the other, the uppermost receding fifteen or twenty paces in the
rear of the other. These are generally denominated, at the present
time, the first and second banks of the rivers of the west. Below ran
the Ohio, with a deep and somewhat rapid current.
An Indian battle is like one of Homer's, and consists, for the most
part, in a series of personal contests. Each one singles out his
adversary, and personal strength and prowess carry the day. Dire was
the yelling and shouting which succeeded the alarm in the village. The
warriors of the Ohio, though taken by surprise, fought manfully, and
the various feats of arms performed that morning, might throw into the
shade the splendid acts of tilt and tourney. Among those who most
distinguished themselves on this occasion, was the Jumping Sturgeon,
who, making a virtue of necessity, and not daring to run away, fought
right valiantly, from pure instinct, to save his life.
He was singled out by a tall Indian, just about daylight, who,
watching the moment when he had discharged his gun, and before he could
load again, quickly advanced upon him with his lifted tomahawk. The
Sturgeon clubbed his musket, and both slowly approached, cautiously
eyeing each other. At length the tall chief let fly his tomahawk, which
his adversary watching, presented his buffalo cap with such surprising
judgment, that the weapon was received upon one of the horns, and fell
innocuous to the ground, doing the Sturgeon no other damage than that
of setting his head to ringing bob-majors. Taking advantage, however,
of the temporary confusion created by this said ringing, the tall Chief
suddenly rushed upon the ci-devant high constable of Elsingburgh,
before he could make a blow with his musket, and a mortal contest of
skill and strength took place. They fell, the tall Indian uppermost. In
this situation the Indian began to yell horribly, and to feel for his
knife; but, luckily for the Jumping Sturgeon, his adversary wore, by
way of ornament, that day, a woman's apron, which he had bought from a
French trader, and, in the hurry of surprise, tied on over his knife.
This prevented his getting it out as quickly as he otherwise would have
done, and enabled Lob Dotterel, alias the Jumping Sturgeon, to get one
of his thumbs in his mouth. This not only disabled one of the Indian's
hands, but embarrassed the operation of the other, by the pain it
occasioned. At length the Indian got hold of the blade of his knife,
just below the haft, at the moment the other found an opportunity to
seize the handle, chewing the Indian's thumb all the while with great
vigour. As the Indian pulled the knife out of the scabbard, Lob gave
his thumb a terrible screw between his teeth, and, at the same moment,
jerked the knife through his hand, cutting the fingers to the bone.
This disconcerted the Indian, so that he relaxed his hold, and, by a
sudden effort, the other threw him off and jumped on his feet, just as
the Indian also did the same. The valiant Sturgeon, however, continued
to hold fast the Indian's thumb between his grinders with singular
tenacity, and thus maintained a decided advantage over his antagonist,
to whose ribs he was at length enabled to apply the knife he had
wrested from him. The moment he felt the application, although it was
arrested by the said ribs, the Indian gave a yell, and, with a violent
start, drew part of his thumb from betwixt the high constable's
grinders, a portion of it remaining behind, and retreated with great
precipitation, leaving his adversary master of the field.
In the mean time the battle raged with great fury in the village,
and along the river's bank. The Long Finne having, in the confusion of
the fight, followed a stout chief to the edge of the first bank, the
latter suddenly turned about, seized, and drew him down on the beach,
just at the edge of the water, where was hid an Indian boy, of about
fourteen or fifteen years of age. The Long Finne fell uppermost, but
during the struggle to keep him down, the warrior said something to the
Indian lad, who ran up the bank like a deer, and almost instantly
returned with a tomahawk. On perceiving his approach, the large Indian
put his arms about Koningsmarke, and held him fast with all his
strength, while the other approached with his lifted tomahawk. Thus
pinioned, the youth had no other resource but to watch the blow of the
Indian lad, which he opportunely arrested by a kick, that knocked it
from his grasp to some distance. At this, the large Indian uttered an
exclamation of contempt for the lad, who immediately ran and picked up
the tomahawk, with which he again approached, but with great caution,
making various evolutions and pretended blows to deceive Koningsmarke,
till he got an opportunity to give the fatal one. Such, however, was
the vigilance and activity of Koningsmarke, that he escaped this time,
with a wound in his arm, that failed in disabling him. Perceiving the
lad was returning again to repeat the blow, and being conscious that
this mode of warfare must result entirely to his disadvantage, he made
a sudden, violent, and unexpected effort, escaped from the embrace of
the large Indian, gained his feet, seized his musket, which he had
dropped in falling down the bank, and shot the Indian boy through the
heart, as he ran up a third time with his tomahawk.
The large Indian was now on his feet also, and, suddenly seizing
Koningsmarke by the leg, pitched him heels over head into the water.
The same impulse carried the Indian down the slippery bank after him;
and now a desperate and deadly struggle ensued, each straining every
nerve, and exerting every art and effort to drown his adversary.
Sometimes one would be under, and sometimes the other, until, half
strangled, Koningsmarke had the good fortune to seize the Indian by the
only lock of hair he wore on his head. By this means he was enabled to
force his head under water, and to keep it there. This appeared to
decide the conflict. The efforts of the Indian seemed gradually to
relax, and to become apparently unpurposed, as if he was fast sinking
into insensibility. Koningsmarke relaxed his grasp, and discovered too
late the wily stratagem. The moment he let go his hair the Indian was
on his feet again, and the contest was renewed, until, as they by
degrees pushed each other into the stream, they were borne by the
current beyond their depth.
The instinct of self-preservation soon took another direction. Both,
as if actuated by one impulse, now let go of each other, and made for
the shore, to seize the weapons which were lying there, consisting of
the tomahawk and two guns, one of which, belonging to the Indian, had
not been discharged. The Indian was the better swimmer of the two, and
succeeded in gaining the shore first. He ran to the loaded musket, and
almost at the same moment Koningsmarke seized the tomahawk. The Indian
raised the gun, took a sure and deadly aim, and drew the trigger. The
gun snapped, and before the savage warrior could cock her again, the
active youth sprung upon him, and buried the tomahawk in his burning
brain. He uttered a horrible yell; but even in the agonies of death,
remembering the point of honour, which, among the sons of the forest,
consists in not leaving their dead bodies in the hands of their
enemies, with a dying effort, he plunged into the stream, where he was
carried down the current, beyond the reach of his enemies.
By this time, the resistance of the Indian villagers had ceased.
They had fought long enough to enable their wives and children to
escape beyond the river, and, having lost many of their best warriors,
besides others that were wounded, the survivors took an opportunity, at
a well-known signal, to plunge into the river, where, by dexterously
diving at every discharge of their enemies, and other evolutions, they
finally gained the opposite bank, and disappeared. The victors then set
fire to the village, after plundering it; yelled, danced, feasted, and
sung, during the rest of the day, and at night departed in triumph to
But we ought not to omit mentioning, that, after all, the success of
the expedition of the Muskrats and Mud-Turtles, was, in no small
degree, owing to that great medicine, Lob Dotteral's wig. The wig had
been solemnly consigned to the custody of the principal priest, or
conjurer, who clapped it on his head, and accompanied the party. When
the battle commenced, the conjurer danced, sung, cut capers, and made
such an intolerable noise, as to excite the particular attention of one
of the hostile chiefs, who immediately advanced to silence him. The
conjurer retreated—the warrior followed—and, coming up with him,
seized his queue, which, to his utter dismay, came off, leaving the
bare pate of the conjurer perfectly uninjured. The simple warrior of
the forest was dismayed at this strange wonder; and it was soon
whispered about that the enemy was in possession of a great medicine,
which preserved their heads at the expense of their hair. This
dicouraged the Ohio warriors, so that they did not fight with a good
heart afterwards. On such trifles do the fate of villages, cities, and
 See Indian Wars.
In the course of our relaxations from the labours of this stupendous
work, we the other day, while lounging, as is our custom, about a
worthy bookseller's shop, were somewhat amused by the criticisms of a
couple of smart young gentlemen on the new novel called the Pioneers.
This they agreed in pronouncing absolutely vulgar, a phrase than
which none other ever spoken or written, is so absolutely fatal to a
book, in the beau-monde. The smartest of the young gentlemen
maintained, with an air of authority, that nearly all the characters of
that work were exceedingly low, the scenes and incidents vulgar and
common-place, and the whole scope and tenor of it only fit to amuse and
edify the almanac readers, and connoisseurs in dying speeches. The
other not only assented to this, but added likewise, that the tale was
destitute of interest, and totally wanting in those high-wrought scenes
of guilt or misery, which give such a zest to the fashionable novels
and plays of the present age.
We confess we were somewhat startled at these criticisms, especially
as they were uttered by two of the best dressed young fellows we had
seen in a long time, and our coat, to say the truth, being considerably
out of date, as well as not a little threadbare, we felt our taste and
judgment somewhat overawed upon this occasion. Retiring to our solitary
lodging, we fell upon attempting to account for this perhaps
fashionable opinion of a work we had read with a pleasure and interest
we felt almost ashamed to avow in the presence of such well-dressed
judges, and which, till that moment, we had considered as one of the
most agreeable, as well as natural pictures, of a state of society
peculiar to our country, that we had ever seen. Our early life, too,
had been passed in the midst of rural scenes and rural society, and we
could bear testimony, on the authority of our own experience, to the
truth and nature of the author's delineations, not only of character
and manners, but of seasons and scenery. Nay, we had actually known a
Richard Jones, a village doctor, an emigrant Frenchman, and a Squire
Doolittle, so like those introduced in the Pioneers, that we could
almost swear they were the same. The gradual opening of the forest; the
introduction of religious worship; the establishment of courts of
justice; the new-year sports and festivals; and the progress of a new
settlement in all its features, from a state of nature to a state of
society, was so familiar to our recollection, that the reading of this
charming work seemed actually to present before us the picture hitherto
only preserved in the memory of the past.
Such being the case, we did not like to hear those characters with
whom we had been accustomed to associate, and those little incidents
and amusements which we had mingled in and shared with such a relish,
in the days of boyhood, treated as low and vulgar. Sure we are, that
nature and simplicity are not the soils in which such weeds are
produced, and that the manners and customs peculiar to a large portion
of the human race, however they may differ from those of a more
artificial, not to say corrupt society, could not be justly branded
with the imputation of vulgarity.
Reflecting in retirement upon these matters, we gradually fell into
a train of reflections, which, we believe, will in some measure account
for the condemnation bestowed upon one of our favourite works, by the
two fashionable young gentlemen before mentioned. With certain people,
perhaps a large portion of those who read novels, every thing which is
not fashionable is vulgar. A worthy farmer or mechanic, in a clean
white frock, and thick-soled shoes, is vulgar, and therefore ought not
to be introduced into a genteel novel. The picture of a village group
dancing at a ball with might and main, must also of necessity be
vulgar—because they are not fashionably dressed, and do not
understand the mysteries of the cotillion, the allemande, the partridge
run, and the pigeon wing. In short, with this class of readers and
critics, every trait of nature, and every exhibition of manners, or
dress, which does not come up to the standard of fashionable elegance,
is of necessity low and vulgar. Compared, indeed, with a masquerade,
where all the mysteries of intrigue are practised, or a fashionable
ball, where nakedness stares us in the face, the country ball may be
perfectly pure and innocent; still it must be low, vulgar, nay,
indecent, because the dancers are not fashionable people, nor the
decorations, the music, and the steps, such as would be tolerated by a
genuine fashionable reader.
If we trace this vulgar error to its source, we shall find it, in
general, flowing from a false opinion with regard to what constitutes
real refinement. In the general estimation, refinement, or gentility,
as opposed to vulgarity, consists not in intellectual, or moral
superiority, but in outward manners and outward splendours, in station,
title, or wealth. This opinion is the offspring of ignorance and
vulgarity combined; and, accordingly, we shall generally find, that
those who declaim most against a book as vulgar, are the vulgar
themselves, or, at least, those pretended persons of refinement, who
graduate gentility according to the scale just mentioned.
This impression, with respect to the indissoluble connexion between
rank and title on one hand, and refinement and gentility on the other,
is, perhaps, stronger in this country than elsewhere. The imaginations
of our youthful readers are early prepared by the books which are
generally put into their hands, to estimate the refinement of persons
according to their rank and precedence, without regarding any other
criterion. This first impression remains unimpaired by the subsequent
results of experience and observation, because here we seldom or never
have an opportunity of correcting it, by comparing the phantom of our
imagination with the real being whom we have been accustomed to regard
with such unqualified admiration. Hence it is, that we are too apt to
consider all the actions of the higher orders of society, such as kings
and nobles, as perfectly genteel, and all those of the lower degrees of
people, as low and vulgar. For this reason, too, it is absolutely
indispensable, that all the heroes, heroines, and principal actors in
our novels, and other works of imagination, should be of a certain
rank, in order to escape the charge of vulgarity. Unfortunately for us,
in this republican country, we have neither kings nor nobility, to
render our literature genteel; and, consequently, the writer, who, like
the author of the Pioneers, confines himself to the homely characters
of this land of equality, instead of introducing his readers to levees
and drawing-rooms, must remain subject to the imputation of vulgarity,
unless some other standard can be found by which to regulate our
That there is such a standard, and that it is the only true one,
is, we think, quite incontrovertible. If we come fairly to put the
question to the test, it will be found that the essence of vulgarity
consists, more or less, in its approaches to what is actually vicious
and indecent. It is, in fact, much more nearly allied to morals than to
manners. Whatever approximates to vice or indecency, or whatever leads
the imagination, by a natural connexion, to impressions that are allied
to either, is in itself, in a similar degree, low and vulgar. Thus,
when we read of a King of Prussia getting intoxicated, and beating his
wife or his daughter, whatever be the rank of the parties, the scene is
as intrinsically vulgar, as if it were laid in the kitchen of a palace,
or the bar of a country tavern. So, also, when, in a late popular work
of the "Great Unknown," we are introduced to the court of a king, and
presented with pictures of morals the most debauched and corrupt; with
titled pimps, and prositute duchesses; with a parent seeking to compass
the purposes of revenge, by placing his only daughter in the power of a
systematic seducer and voluptuary—not the rank of the actors, the
splendours of a court, nor the false glitter thrown around the whole by
the genius of the writer, can rescue the picture from the imputation
of vulgar indecency.
There is nothing of all this in the novel of the Pioneers; neither
exhibitions of high-born or vulgar vice; and we think we may go so far
as to challenge the very best dressed of our fashionable critics, to
point out a scene or a sentiment in that work, which, by any natural
association, will affect the imagination with ideas of vulgar
sensuality, or encourage a violation either of decency or morality. The
whole is pure, and unsoiled by any thing of the kind; and, for
ourselves, we are not afraid to invite a comparison, with regard to
this essential point of vulgarity, between the fireside of the worthy
Judge Temple, and the beer-drinking, bear-baiting festivity of
Kenilworth, or the gross corruptions of the court of Charles the
Second, on both of which the most polished of our readers banquet with
such a refined gusto.
"Death! what is it?
It may be, 'tis—hum—
It may be, 'tis not too."
The Muskrat and Mud-Turtle warriors returned to their homes,
bringing with them the body of one of their chiefs, who had died of his
wounds on the second day of their journey. On coming within hearing of
the village, they uttered the death-howl, as was their custom, to
signify that they had lost one of their number. This howl was perfectly
understood by the wives and mothers of the tribes, who rushed forth,
with dismal shrieks, to meet the train, each one not knowing but that
she had lost a son or a husband. The body of the chief was then placed
on the shoulders of four of the most distinguished warriors, and
carried in procession to the village, followed by the women and old
men, the former tearing their hair and uttering shrieks, that echoed in
the recesses of the forest. The near relations of the deceased,
however, followed in profound silence, without exhibiting any marks of
affliction, it being considered unworthy of the fallen chief for his
kindred to weep over his fate.
They dressed the corpse, seated it on a mat, in the posture to which
the warrior was most accustomed when alive, and, sitting in a circle
around him, pronounced his funeral eulogy, by relating, one by one, his
exploits in battle, as well as those of his ancestors. When these were
finished, they chanted a sort of funeral hymn, something to the
following effect, as nearly as it can be rendered from their native
Thou art here, and yet thou art gone;
Thou look'st as thou didst before;
Thou seemest a man, yet art none;
Thou art gone, to return no more.
Thou art, yet hast ceased to be;
Thy form and thy face appear;
Thou hast eyes, yet thou canst not see;
Thou hast ears, yet thou canst not hear.
Was it thou that talk'd with us erewhile?
Was it thou that went with us to fight?
Was it thou that shared battle and toil?
Was it thou that wert with us last night?
Yes! thou art here, and yet art away;
We see thee, and yet thou art not;
Thy life is like yesterday—
And nothing remains but what's nought.
That something which made thee alive,
Where is it—what was it—where, where?
Twas a spirit—that still must survive
In the stars, or the sky, or the air.
To that spirit these honours we pay—
That spirit which still hears us mourn—
That something which ne'er shall decay,
That something which ne'er shall return.
The body of the red chief was then carried to a hut prepared for the
purpose, where it remained twenty-four hours, during which time the
tribes were engaged in feasting and dancing. It was then carried to the
grave, and buried, sitting upright, with the face to the rising sun.
The friends and relatives threw the arms of the dead warrior into the
grave, with pipes, tobacco, corn, and some pieces of wampum. The grave
was then closed, and the name of the deceased, from that time, never
uttered by either his relatives or friends.
During the absence of Koningsmarke on the war expedition, Christina
and the Indian maid did little else but ponder upon the dangers to
which he was exposed, and weep. They still continued to love each
other, although the secret consciousness of rivalry, that gradually
arose in the bosom of each, prompted them to seek in separate solitudes
the indulgence of their feelings. At times, Aonetti, after an absence
of several hours, during which she wandered in the woods, or along the
bank of the river, would return and weep on the bosom of Christina. "I
love you," she would say—"I love you; but I know that you will be the
cause of my unhappiness. Some time or other you will go home, and he
will follow you. I shall then be left alone; I shall lose my love, and
there will be none left even to pity me." Christina, safe in the
consciousness of her love being amply returned, could afford to pity
her rival; and she did pity her, although she could not help feeling a
certain awkward sensation, that sometimes caused her to return the
caresses of the Indian maid with a coldness that did not always escape
her notice. "I tire you," would Aonetti exclaim, and retire to weep,
and sing her melancholy songs.
How long the mutual friendship of these two innocent girls would
have continued to withstand the jealousies of love, it is impossible to
tell, for now a more formidable rival announced herself, and diverted
their mutual fears to one object. The Indian widow, who had saved the
life of Koningsmarke by claiming him as her slave, being smitten with
the relation of his prowess in the late battle, and his desperate
encounter with the two Indians, made known to the chiefs and sages her
intention of choosing him for a husband, in the room of the one she had
lost. This proposal was received with approbation by all, and
preparations were made accordingly to celebrate the wedding with great
This news came like cold steel to the hearts of the two young women,
who could now fully sympathize with each other. "We shall now mourn
together," exclaimed Aonetti; "we shall both be wretched. Let us never
part." Koningsmarke, however disinclined to this match, knew that if he
discovered any unwillingness, the insult would be felt by all the
tribes, and resented with the most inflexible severity. He therefore
appeared highly sensible of the happiness and honour that awaited him,
resolving, at the same time, to lose not a moment in concerting with
Christina the means of immediate escape. Watching an opportunity, while
she was taking a solitary walk, and when she was out of the reach of
observation, he met her, shedding tears alone by the side of the stream.
"Christina, why do you weep?" exclaimed the youth. Christina,
started, and hastily wiped her eyes.
"I have lost my home, my father, and all that I loved, or that loved
me. They have forgotten me too, or they would, ere this, have sought me
until I was found. I shall never see them again. Is it any wonder that
Koningsmarke sat down by her side, took her hand, and kissed it.
"Thou hast yet one friend who will never desert thee. I have been as
the son of thy poor father; I will be as the brother of his child;
dearer and nearer than a brother, if thou wilt give me leave."
"Nearer and dearer thou canst not be," replied the gentle maid,
withdrawing her hand. "The husband of another can be no nearer to me
than a brother. Thou wilt become a savage in thy heart, and the parent
"Nay, give me thy hand," he replied; "I swear by the gratitude I owe
thy parent, by the love I bear to thee, by all my hopes here and beyond
the grave, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
"But thou wilt wed with another; and— and"—Here she hid her
face with her hands, and wept on his shoulder.
"Hear me, Christina," cried the youth. "Were the stake and the fagot
the alternative, as I have reason to believe they are, I would not wed
any but thee. I sought you to tell you so—to concert means for our
escape—to place all on one cast—to live for thee, or to die with
thee. Darest thou flee with me to-night, and risk the chance of being
retaken and tortured at the stake?"
"I can dare all," replied Christina, "but only to see thee in the
arms of another."
Koningsmarke held her to his breast for a moment, with a feeling of
unutterable tenderness and gratitude, and then proceeded to explain his
plan for escaping. By occasionally questioning the savages, he had,
without exciting their suspicions, gained sufficient information, as he
supposed, to enable him to shape his course, so as to strike the
Delaware somewhere in the vicinity of Elsingburgh and Coaquanock. In
pursuance of this plan, it was arranged, that, while the Indians were
feasting and carousing, as they proposed to do that night, in honour of
his approaching nuptials, they should, separately, as soon as the
savages became intoxicated, as was their custom, repair to the spot
where they now sat, and from thence pursue the route that Koningsmarke
supposed would lead them the nearest way home.
"Christina," said the youth, solemnly, "I cannot disguise from thee
the toils thou wilt be obliged to sustain, and the imminent danger of
our being overtaken, and tortured to death by slow degrees. To me all
this is nothing—but for thee—O God!—to see thy snow-white skin
blackened in the fire—thy beauteous limbs the sport of barbarous
cruelty—thy precious blood— thy life, dearer than all this
earth—dearer than heaven itself—wasting—wasting away, by
drops—breath by breath! Think ere thou shalt decide. We must now
separate, for fear of observation."
"If," said Christina, "the fatigue should bear hard upon me, I will
call to my aid the hope that I shall meet my poor father ere long. If
we are overtaken, I will try not to despair; and if we are placed
together at the stake, I will endeavour to support the torture, by thy
example, and God's help."
"Let us part, then, at once," replied the youth; "and Heaven prosper
us this night. Farewell. Should you chance to come hither before me,
wait, and be not afraid."
He kissed her cheek, and they returned, separately and at different
times, to the village, where, luckily, owing to the preparations for
the feast, which occupied the attention of all, their absence had not
"But he got down on t'other side,
And then they couldn't find him;
He ran fourteen miles in fifteen days,
And never look'd behind him."
The night set in with rout and revelry, with drinking, feasting,
dancing, and shouts, that rent the solitudes of the forest, and
silenced the very howlings of its hungry tenants. On these occasions,
it is usual to appoint persons to guard the arms of the warriors, and
keep themselves sober, lest, in the mad excesses of drunkenness, the
barbarous bacchanals should get possession of them, and maim or murder
one another. Koningsmarke, at his particular request, was appointed to
this station, and Lob Dotterel, much against the wishes of the youth,
appointed his assistant. The latter part of this arrangement
embarrassed Koningsmarke not a little, since the company of the high
constable of Elsingburgh rendered his secret departure much more
difficult, and he did not dare to associate him in his plan of escape,
for fear of being betrayed.
As the night waned away, the scene of savage debauchery became more
disgusting and horrible. Some were howling an unintelligible jargon,
some rolling upon the earth like drunken swine, and others venting
their excited passions in struggles, in which the madness of rage was
contrasted with the imbecility of beastly intoxication. By degrees, one
after another, they sunk into a deep sleep, and all remained quiet. Now
was the eventful hour; but the presence of Lob Dotterel, whom
Koningsmarke had vainly attempted to persuade to retire, and leave him
to watch alone, restrained his departure. At length his patience became
exhausted, and, desiring that trusty officer to await his return a few
moments, he seized a gun, a tomahawk, and a knife, having previously
provided himself with ammunition, and hastily departed.
Approaching the appointed spot, his heart beat with uncontrollable
apprehension at not seeing Christina. He pronounced her name, and he
saw her white figure glide from behind a tree. "I thought you would
never come," said the trembling girl, as she panted in his arms.
"To hold thee thus," whispered Koningsmarke, "is a happiness I
could wish to last for ever; but there is not a moment to be lost; let
us away, and God be our guide."
They struck into the forest, in the direction marked out by the Long
Finne, and had proceeded about half a mile, when they thought they
heard footsteps behind them.
"We are pursued," cried Christina—"we are lost."
"Hush!" whispered the youth—"perhaps it is only some wild animal."
"Heaven grant it may be," said Christina; "the wolf or the bear
would be more welcome than man."
They stopped, and listened in breathless anxiety. Some one was heard
trampling slowly through the bushes, but whether man or beast could not
be discerned, as the moon had just gone behind a cloud. Presently it
emerged, and they could see the figure of a man, at a little distance,
"He must be quieted," cried Koningsmarke, and, grasping his gun,
advanced a few steps towards the figure.
"Oh don't kill him," cried Christina; "perhaps it is some friend."
"I will know soon," he replied. "Whoever you are, speak, or die."
"A friend," exclaimed the figure, in the well-known voice of honest
Lob Dotterel. "I watched you," said the high constable, coming up, "for
I observed you had something in hand. You would not trust me—but I
will be true as steel. I mean to go with you, and share your fate, be
it what it may."
"Thou art right welcome, Lob," quoth the Long Finne—"but every
moment is a life to one or all of us. Pass we on."
Alternately assisting, supporting, and sometimes carrying Christina,
they passed rapidly on their way, and, by the dawn of the morning, had
proceeded several miles, without meeting with any interruption, except
what nature presented. Christina complained of fatigue, and it was
agreed to rest a little while, as they supposed the savages would sleep
late that morning, from the effects of the night's debauchery. They
accordingly sat down, and partook of some dried venison, with which
Koningsmarke had supplied himself. In a few minutes they heard the
report of a gun, and, an instant after, a wounded deer bounded past
them, and fell dead within a few yards of where they sat. Koningsmarke
and the high constable started on their feet at once, and stood ready
for what might follow. A few moments elapsed in this state of suspense,
when they observed two Indians, armed with guns, approaching among the
trees. Quick as lightning, on observing the two white-men, they darted
each behind a separate tree, and, in almost as little time, the others
did the like, Koningsmarke snatching Christina, and placing her behind
him, under cover of the tree.
Each party now remained, with their guns cocked, watching till the
exposure of some part of the body of an adversary should give them an
opportunity of firing with effect. It has been observed as a
characteristic of the Indians, that they never willingly come to a
personal contest with a white-man, or engage, in fact, in any way, if
they can avoid it, till some advantage presents itself. In this state
of awful suspense, Koningsmarke seized an opportunity to motion to the
high constable to follow his example. He then took off his hat, and
waved it, as sportsmen do when they wish to decoy a duck, alternately
holding it out from behind the tree, and snatching it back again. His
example was promptly followed by Lob, with his buffalo cap. In the
dense obscurity of morning, in a deep forest, the two Indians were
deceived by this stratagem, and, believing it to be their antagonists
thus peeping from behind their covert, fired at the same instant. Both
hat and cap fell to the ground, and the two Indians rushed out, to use
the tomahawk and scalping knife on their fallen foes. As they came on
heedlessly, the two white-men took a deliberate aim, one at each, and
fired. The foremost fell dead; the other bounded into the woods,
uttering the howl of pain and baffled rage, and disappeared.
Instantly loading their guns, they proceeded on their journey, with
the increased apprehension, arising from the possibility that the
wounded savage might reach the village, and alarm the warriors into
immediate pursuit. In passing by the dead body of the savage,
Christina, influenced and impelled by that fascination which horror
exercises over the human mind, involuntarily turned to look at it, and
recognised the features of Aonetti's brother, who she now recollected
had been out several days on a hunting expedition. "Poor Aonetti!" she
mentally exclaimed, "I was born to be your bane"—and Christina at
that moment forgot her dangers, in thinking on the sufferings of her
Little occurred during the rest of the day, except increasing toils
and difficulties in the march, accompanied by increasing weariness.
They made a sort of litter of the branches, and, from time to time,
carried the weary girl upon their shoulders. But their progress, slow
at first, became more slow as the day wore away, so that night overtook
them before they had completed twenty miles, according to their best
computation. The apprehension of pursuit, and the danger of being
overtaken, now yielded to the demands of nature, and they were forced
to take some rest. They formed a rude shelter, with the bark and
branches of trees, for Christina, while they laid down, one on each
side of the entrance. Weariness soon closed their eyes, in spite of
every motive for wakefulness. They slept for several hours, and,
probably, would have slept till morning, had they not been roused by
the knell of death. Starting up, the two white-men found themselves, at
the same instant, seized, and pinioned, with their hands behind their
backs, before they could possibly make any resistance.
The wretched Christina, whom the sight of the savage group, and the
sound of their dismal yell, had struck into a temporary insensibility
to all around her, was seized, and, sometimes dragged, sometimes
carried, forced along with her unfortunate companions, towards the
village from whence they had attempted to escape. They passed by the
spot where the affray of the morning took place, and, pointing to the
dead body of the chief, whirled their tomahawks in the air, over the
heads of the two prisoners, giving them to understand, at the same
time, they had not sacrificed them on the spot, because they meant to
torture them to death. Taking up the dead body, they then marched in
procession to the village, chanting their death song by the way.
"Theye tyed hymme toe ye fatale tree,
And lyghted uppe ye pyle,
And daune'd and sunge ryghte merrilie,
But he could'ent rayse a smyle."
On arriving at the village, the procession was met, according to
custom, by a crowd of women and children, who, amidst yells and
shrieks, denounced the most bitter imprecations upon the wretched
fugitives, and were with difficulty prevented from putting them to
instant death. Among the most violent of these, were the widow whom
Koningsmarke was to have married, and the mother of Aonetti; the one
maddened with jealous rage, the other, by the wild, unrestrained
feelings of a savage mother, who had lost her only son. The Indian maid
did not appear; whether detained by her own feelings, or from some
other cause, we cannot tell.
The savages, however wild, and free from the ordinary restraints of
civilized society, had yet some forms of justice. A council of the
chiefs and old men was convened immediately, and the case of the three
captives taken into consideration. After a grave debate, it was
unanimously decided, that Koningsmarke and Lob Dotterel, having both
been solemnly adopted into the tribe, and received as brothers—having
deserted them, and, in so doing, taken the life of one of their bravest
chiefs, should perish by the torture that very day. With respect to the
poor white maid, there was at first some doubts as to the degree of her
participation in the guilt of her companions. While balancing on her
fate, Aonetti rushed into the council room, with dishevelled hair, and
frantic gestures. She threw herself, one by one, at the feet of the old
men, embraced their knees, and claimed of them the pardon of her
adopted sister. "She is innocent," cried the gentle maid; "she only
sought to join her father. Which of you would blame your daughter if
she tried to escape from the white-men, and come to you? I have lost my
only brother, and I am about to lose—but spare me my sister, that I
may have some one to love."
The tears and supplications of the Indian maid fell upon the hard
hearts of the old men, and with some difficulty they consented that
Christina should be given in charge to her adopted sister. The moment
Aonetti heard their decision, she ran, with the lightness of a deer, to
the hut where the three captives were confined, and, making her way in,
threw herself into the arms of her poor Mimi.
"Thou art safe—thou art spared, my sister," she exclaimed. "And
our friends?"—panted Christina, in almost unintelligible accents.
The Indian maid, as if struck with a sudden pang of recollection,
slowly turned, looked at Koningsmarke, and then hid her face in the
bosom of Christina. So expressive was her look and action, that each of
the wretched prisoners understood what she could not speak.
"'Tis well," said Koningsmarke; "a life of wandering, wretchedness,
and poverty, in the old world, is now to be brought to a miserable end
in the new. For myself—but you, Oh! you, my poor Christina, what will
become of you? Thy pure and innocent soul is redeemed; but who shall
redeem thy body from this woful captivity?"
"Death," said Christina. "Dost thou think I can know of thy
tortures—of thy death—of the furies tearing thy flesh—of the
flaming brands being thrust into thy body—the coals— Oh God!—the
live coals being sprinkled on thy bare head, till madness,
insensibility and death relieve thee—dost thou think I can bear all
this, and live? No, no—I shall die, if not with thee, but a little
while after thee."
"But live, I beseech thee, Christina," said Koningsmarke, "for the
sake of thy father, who"—
"My father! I shall never see him more. Perhaps ere this his gray
hairs have been brought in sorrow to the grave. Perhaps—but it
matters little to him or me. When you are gone, who shall guide me
homeward? who risk his life to restore me to a parent, even if he
lives? No, no—I shall never see him more! I have nothing to live for,
since you are lost to me."
"My hours are numbered," replied Koningsmarke, as he heard a distant
shout—"Come hither, Christina—nearer—yet nearer. My arms are
pinioned," continued he, with a melancholy smile—"you need not fear
me." She approached, and leaned her head on his shoulder.
"God bless thee, my dear one, for never blessing fell upon a more
innocent head than thine. In this last hour, tell me one thing. Had we
returned to Elsingburgh in safety together, wouldst thou have joined
thy fate with mine in the presence of heaven? wouldst thou have tried
to forget the long-past time, and lived only in the future?"
"In the presence of Heaven, I would," replied Christina—"I would,
had the shade of my mother haunted our bridal bed. My love and my
gratitude should have conquered my remembrance of the errors of thy
"Then seal it with a last kiss; and now, come what will, by the
blessing of God, I stand prepared for whatsoever may happen. A little
while, and we shall meet again—or I have been dreaming all my life."
"Aonetti," continued he, to the Indian maid, who had stood in a
distant corner, with her face from them, weeping—"Aonetti, come
She approached. "Take your sister's hand, and promise to be kind to
her when I am gone."
The Indian maid shook her head. "What! will you not promise me this,
"She must be kind to me," replied the Indian maid, "for I shall be
more wretched than Mimi. She will remember thy love, but I shall only
remember thy death."
"But you will promise to be kind to her?" repeated Koningsmarke.
"Yes, yes, if I can remember any one but thee and myself," said
At that moment the door flew open with violence, and a crowd rushed
in. They seized Koningsmarke and the poor high constable, who, ever
since his recapture, had been in a sort of stupor, and hurried them
towards the river side, where, on a little level greensward, were
placed two stakes, around which, at a distance of three or four paces,
were placed piles of wood. In their progress to the funeral pyres,
Koningsmarke and Lob Dotterel were harassed and beaten with sticks by
the women and boys, who vented their rage in every possible variety of
injury and insult. Among these, the widow, whose affections had been
treated with such contemptuous ingratitude, was the most conspicuous.
With dishevelled hair, and ferocious gestures, she followed him step by
step, taunting him with the beauties of his white woman, alarming his
fears by threats of terrible vengeance on poor Christina, and
triumphing in the prospect of his approaching tortures.
"Look!" cried the virago; "yonder is the stake and the pile; I shall
hear thee groan—I shall see the hot brands, the live coals scorch
thee—I shall see the knife and the tomahawk enter thy flesh—I
shall see thy limbs tremble like a woman—and I shall laugh, when the
drops of agony roll down thy forehead."
Arrived at the stake, they proceeded to strip the two victims, with
the exception of their waists, and to paint them black with charcoal
and grease. They were then fastened to the stake, and, all being ready,
the horrible ceremony was about to begin, when Aonetti came running
franticly to the spot. Christina had sunk into a temporary
insensibility, when the crowd carried off Koningsmarke, and, on coming
to herself, besought Aonetti to make one last effort to reprieve the
"It is too late now," said the Indian maid— " 'tis too late; they
will spurn me; they will beat me away. They are mad with rage and
"Then I will go," hastily exclaimed Christina, starting up at the
same time. "Perhaps they will pity my sorrows."
"Pity!" said Aonetti, despondingly—"Pity! they know it not. If you
seek to stop them, they will tear you to pieces."
"No matter—no matter—my heart is torn to pieces already. Let
them tear my flesh, I care not. Come, come—'twill be too late."
"'Tis too late already—the smoke begins to rise—nothing can save
"But we can die too. Let us go—let us go, or I shall go mad."
"He killed my brother, and he loves not me," said Aonetti; "yet I
will make one more effort, even though they do spurn me. Stay here, my
sister, and I will soon return." Christina had again sunk into a
temporary insensibility, which prevented her following.
As the Indian maid approached, she called upon them to stay a
moment, ere they lighted the piles. The noise was hushed, by the
command of some of the sages who were presiding at this solemn
ceremony, for so it was reckoned by the Indians. Aonetti then urged
every motive she could think of, to induce them to spare the two
victims. She stated the rewards that would be given, if they carried
them to the Big Hats at Coaquanock, and the terrible vengeance
the white-men would take, when they heard of the sacrifice of their
"If you spare them," said she, "their friends will ransom them with
great kegs of spirits, with tobacco pipes, powder, shot, and every
thing you want. If you put them to death, the whitemen will find you
out one day or other, and then wo to the red-men of the forest—wo to
their wives and their children—to themselves and their posterity.
Every drop of blood you shed this day, I prophecy, will be repaid with
rivers of blood. Spare these white-men, and let the tall youth be unto
me the brother I have lost."
"Thou meanest a husband," exclaimed the Indian widow, who had
listened with horrible impatience to Aonetti's arguments. "Thou wouldst
take to thy arms the white-man whose hands are red with the blood of
thine only brother! Shame of thy sex, and shame of the Indian name! I
know thee and thy wishes; I have watched thy tears and thy sighs, thy
lonely rambles, thy words, nay, thy very looks. I demand that the shade
of my murdered husband, of this wretched girl's murdered brother, of
all those who have fallen victims to the cursed arts and bloody policy
of the white-men, be appeased, by the sacrifice of these deserters from
their adopted tribe. Else, may the wrath of the Great Spirit confound
our tribe, and his malediction sweep you from the earth."
These words were answered by a shout of approbation from the crowd,
and followed by the acquiescence of the old men present, who again
decided that the ceremony should proceed. It was now one of those
bright, clear, still afternoons, which are common in the month of
September. There was not a breath of air to curl the river, or wave the
leaves of the forest, nor a cloud to be seen in the sky. At this
moment, when they were about to set fire to the funeral pile, a sudden
burst of thunder, loud and sharp, arrested them. The eyes of all were
turned upwards, with a sensation of awe and surprise. From the most
enlightened philosopher, down to the most ignorant savage; from man, to
the birds of the air, the beasts of the field, it would seem there is
something in the great operations of nature, such as tempests,
earthquakes, and thunder storms, that excites the apprehensions, or at
least the awe, of both reason and instinct. It is not alone a fear of
the effects of these terrible demonstrations of irresistible power,
that causes this cowering or elevation of the faculties; it is, that by
a direct operation, the mind is led to a contemplation of an infinite
Being, by witnessing the display of infinite power.
There was not a cloud to be seen in the sky, and this circumstance
occasioned the thunder clap to have the appearance of something
altogether supernatural. The flends who carried the lighted brands to
fire the funeral pyres, involuntarily paused, and the Indian maid,
taking advantage of the moment, cried out:
"Hark! the Great Spirit bears testimony against this deed. You heard
his voice in the air. It came not from the clouds, for there is not a
cloud in the skies. It is the great Master of life that cries out from
above against his people that have offended him. In his name I command
you to stop—in his name I command you to spare these white-men!"
The figure of the little Indian maid appeared to dilate with the
dignity of inspiration. Her eyes were turned in eager gaze towards the
heavens, and she seemed as if she actually saw the visible form of the
Being whose judgment she had invoked. The frantic rage of the women and
boys yielded to the influence of a superstitious awe. The elders
consulted together for a moment, and then decided that the ceremony
should be suspended till they could offer a sacrifice, and ascertain
the will of the Great Spirit. The crowd then dispersed, disappointed,
yet not daring to complain; and Koningsmarke, with his companion, were
again remanded to the place whence they came, after being washed, and
permission given to dress themselves. Here they were left, guarded
without by sentinels, to await the result of the appeal to the Great
Farewell, farewell, my bonny maid;
Whom I no more shall see;
I die, but I am not afraid,
Because I die for thee.
"Then came Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego."
Christina passed the interval between the departure and return of
the Indian maid, in that state of vague and indefinite horror, in which
the human mind, as it were, takes refuge from its miseries. The events
of the two preceding days had so harassed her mind, and worn down her
strength, as to produce that state of moral and physical weakness,
which diminishes the acuteness of suffering, by its very incapacity of
resistance. The past, the present, and the future, offered themselves
to her mind, rather as horrible visions than as cruel realities; and
when she saw the return of Koningsmarke, she hardly comprehended the
fact, that he had at least received a temporary reprieve. By degrees,
however, the agitation of her mind yielded to an irresistible
drowsiness, and, supported in the arms of Aonetti, she sunk into a long
and quiet sleep, from which she awoke perfectly restored to a distinct
comprehension of her present situation.
In the mean time, the old men of the tribes had called their
principal priest or conjurer, to take the usual measures for
ascertaining the will of the Great Spirit, in relation to the fate of
the two white-men. A fire was kindled on the greensward, around which Mackate Ockola, or the Black Gown, danced, and howled, and indulged
in every possible contortion of visage, until he had exhausted his
strength, and worked up his mind into a species of real, or imaginary,
or pretended inspiration. From this he gradually fell into a trance,
which lasted about half an hour, during which time the assembled old
men sat in a profound and awful silence. At length Mackate Ockola
seemed to awake, and to remain for a while, staring around, as if
unconscious of his situation. Recovering by degrees, he started upon
his feet, and cried out in a hollow voice—"I have seen the Great
Spirit. He came to me in a dream, in the form of a great eagle, and
said, Listen to me, Mackate Ockola, and hear what I will. Many moons
shall not appear and pass away, ere the white-men will grow into
numbers like the leaves on the trees. As they grow in numbers, my
people will decay and disappear. They will go out like the embers of an
almost extinguished fire, until they have no habitations but their
graves; and even in these they will not be suffered to rest, for the
white-men, not content with what grows on the surface of the earth,
will tear up her bosom, and lay your bones bleaching in the sun and the
wind, in search of riches and food. The deer will disappear from your
forests; the fishes will be shut out from your streams, by these
people, who build dams like the beavers; and you will starve on your
hunting grounds. You cannot avoid your destiny, but you may delay it,
by destroying those, whose children, if they live, will destroy yours.
Go and tell my people, that for every drop of the white-man's blood
they shall spare, their children and their children's children will pay
This cruel message, the fabrication of the priest, decided the fate
of Koningsmarke and the luckless high constable of Elsingburgh. It is
impossible for us to tell what were the motives of Mackate Ockola, in
thus urging the death of the two captives. But it may be observed here,
that the early systems of religion, in all nations and countries with
which we have any acquaintance, are more or less tinged with blood.
Everywhere the priests have demanded victims to propitiate their bloody
deities, and everywhere the altars have been funeral pyres. The Mexican
priests demanded human sacrifices; in other places, the blood of
animals sufficed; and even among the Bramins, whose religion forbids
the shedding of the blood of animals, human victims are encourged by
the priests, to expose themselves to every species of torture at the
feast of the Juggernaut, and to offer up their lives on the funeral
pile. Superstition and fanaticism, in truth, delight in blood; and in
all ages and nations their steps may be traced by that infallible mark.
It was reserved for the mild and merciful system of religion under
which we live, to banish all atonements of blood, all sacrifices of
animals; to make the offerings of the heart a substitute for the
torture of victims; and, had not the love of wealth, the lust of power,
and the pride of opinion, marred the beautiful system, so as to wrest
its precepts to the ourposes of avarice and ambition, it had come down
to us, even to this day, without its snow-white surplice being
sprinkled with the blood of a single victim. But here, alas! as in all
preceding systems of faith, the avarice, the ambition, the bigotry, and
the pride of opinion, which seem the besetting sins of man, have
exercised their pernicious influence, and, first and last, caused the
shedding of more blood than has ever smoked upon all the Pagan altars
of the world. Thus has the purest, the most mild, and the most perfect
system of humanity ever propounded to mankind, been impiously made the
pretext for every species of cruelty and bloodshed; and, what is
perhaps still more to be lamented, its divine precept of love to all
our fellow creatures, converted into a warrant, not to say a duty, to
hate all those who do not think and believe exactly like ourselves.
But to return from this digression, which we hope the reader will
pardon. Koningsmarke and his companions in affliction remained ignorant
of the decision we have just recorded. We will not say happily
ignorant, since, perhaps, actual certainty would have been preferable
to the doubts which harassed their minds. When Christina awoke from her
long sleep, with mind and body both invigorated, it was some moments
before she came to a full consciousness of her situation. "Where am I?"
exclaimed she. "In the arms of thy sister," whispered the Indian maid.
Christina looked around the hut. By the dim light of an almost
extinguished fire, she observed two figures in a sitting posture,
leaning against the wall. "Who is that?" whispered she to Aonetti.
he," replied the Indian maid.
"Oh God! they have spared him then," shrieked poor Christina; "my
sister has prevailed, and he is safe!"
"Safe till to-morrow," replied the other.
"No longer. To-morrow I know not what may become of them. Our priest
is to decide, and he never leans to mercy."
Koningsmarke, observing that Christina was awake, called out to
"Christina! wilt thou not come near me?"
"Come thou to me," replied she, preserving, even in this trying
moment, that sentiment of delicate propriety which never forsakes a
"I cannot—I am fastened to this spot."
Christina approached, and, by the light of the fire, perceived he
was bound to one of the posts that supported the simple edifice.
"He asks not for me," thought Aonetti, and wept in secret.
In this, which each seemed to have a presentiment was the last hour
they should spend together, for the signs of day now began to appear,
Koningsmarke and Christina preserved towards each other a deep
solemnity of deportment, from which all the little outward endearments
of love were banished.
"I have a presentiment," said Koningsmarke, "that thou wilt yet live
to be received to the arms of thy father."
"To the arms of my Heavenly Father," returned Christina, "for none
other shall I ever behold. If the sun sees thee die this morn at its
rising, it will set at night on my breathless corse."
"Nay," returned Koningsmarke, "say not so, my best love. Thou hast
motives to live, and duties to perform, when I am gone. Thou hast known
me but a little while; thy father thou hast known from the first breath
of that life which he gave thee. Return the blessing, and live for him."
"I shall never see him more," cried Christina.
"When I am gone," continued the other, "and when you see your
father, tell him that I remembered his kindness, even when the flaming
brand was pointed at my naked throat, and the coals of fire were about
being poured on my uncovered head. Tell him that I protected you while
I could—that I exposed my life to preserve yours—and that I
perished in a last effort to restore you to his arms. Should he ever
know what thou knowest, he will forgive me, as thou hast done, for the
sake of what I have done and tried to do for thee. Wilt thou bear him
this message from me, Christina?"
Christina could not answer, for her emotions almost stopped her
breath. Her eyes were dry, but her heart wept tears of blood. For a
while she remained insensible in his arms. At that moment the door of
the hut was opened, it being now broad daylight, and Koningsmarke, with
his unfortunate companion, whose stupor became every hour more
profound, were untied from the post, and conducted out of the hut. The
youth motioned to Aonetti, and, pressing the inanimate form of
Christina to his heart, as for the last time, imprinted a kiss upon her
cold forehead, and gently gave her to the arms of the Indian maid.
"Be good to thy sister," whispered he.
"I will—but say good-by to poor Aonetti."
"Good-by—and may thy God and mine bless thee," replied
Koningsmarke, and hastily left the place without looking back.
The same preparations we described on the preceding day were
renewed, and the two captives fastened to the stake. The brands were
again lighted, the knife and the tomahawk lifted to begin their work,
and the revengeful barbarians standing on tiptoe to enter on the bloody
business. But again Providence interposed. All at once the hands of the
brandbearers were arrested, and the eyes of every one turned in a
direction towards the river, along whose banks appeared a train of
white-men, bearing a white flag, the universal emblem of peace and
good-will. As they came nearer, the stiff and stately form of Shadrach
Moneypenny, followed by eight or ten others, dressed in broad-brimmed
hats, with their arms folded upon their bosoms, were distinguished,
walking with slow and steady pace towards the spot occupied by the old
men of the tribes. They were accompanied by others, bearing a variety
of articles of Indian trade. They came in peace, and they were
received in peace by the sons of the shade. The policy of William Penn
with regard to the Indians, can never be sufficiently praised or
admired. From his first arrival at Coaquanock, to the period of his
final departure, he preserved peace with the ancient proprietors of the
soil and the game, by the simple expedient of dealing with them as if
they were his equals. He bought their lands at a price equivalent to
the advantages they yielded to the original occupants; restrained his
people from all encroachments upon those the Indians thought proper to
retain; and so inviolably kept sacred the stipulations of his first
purchase, that it has been said, with equal truth and bitterness, that
"it was the only treaty not ratified by oaths, and the only one that
was never violated."
By these means, and by the peaceful deportment of his people on all
occasions, William Penn acquired and retained the confidence and
good-will of the Indians, in a degree of which there are few examples.
Indeed we may safely say, that none, without resorting to the agency of
superstition or fear, ever attained so great an influence over the
violent, capricious, and intractable tempers of the savages of North
America; a singular race, with whom all attempts at civilization only
seem to destroy their good qualities, and convert them from barbarians
The Big Hats, as the Indians called them, were not unknown to some
of the old men of the tribes, who had treated and traded with them, at
Coaquanock, and who now received Shadrach and his suite as old
acquaintances. By means of an interpreter, they entered on business
"Thou comest as a friend," said Ollentangi.
"Yea, verily," quoth Shadrach; "I come from William Penn, who is the
friend of all mankind, of all countries and colours. He hath heard thou
hast two white-men, and a maiden with them, taken at the burning of
Elsingburgh. Verily, that was a bad act, sachems. What had they done
unto thee, that thou shouldst set fire to their houses, and carry their
women and children into captivity? had they not buried the hatchet and
smoked the calumet with thy tribe?"
"True," replied Ollentangi, "but they had killed our game, and shut
out the fish from our rivers, therefore we made war upon them."
"Yea, verily," quoth Shadrach, who, by the way, loved a controversy
in a peaceable way, almost as well as William Penn himself—"Yea,
verily, but the wild beasts of the forest belong to any body; they are
given to all that can catch them. Neither are the fish thine, since
they swim through all parts of the great seas, and wherever they will.
Until thou shalt catch them they are not thine."
"True," replied Ollentangi, with infinite gravity, "but if the
white-man prevents the fish from coming to us, how can we catch them?
We shall starve in the mean while."
"Verily," quoth Shadrach, "I am fain to confess the truth of thy
words. There is no argument so strong as necessity. But still thou
shouldst not have made war against them for this. Thou shouldst have
gone to law, and, peradventure, obliged them in a peaceable manner to
break down the obstructions that did prevent the fish from passing
"True, brother," rejoined Ollentangi—"we have heard something of
that same law. It is a contest of talking, and he that talks the
longest wins the cause. Now you white-men can out-talk us, and we can
beat you in fighting. Should we not be great fools, to choose the
former mode of deciding our differences?"
"Yea, I must needs confess of a truth there is some little shadow,
as it were, a small modicum of a glimmer of carnal reason in what thou
sayest. But verily I must not pretermit the business of my mission, for
the two captives are kept all this while in a parlous condition. Art
thou ready to hear me in the spirit of peace?"
"Say on—in the spirit of peace," replied Ollentangi.
"In the spirit of peace, then," quoth Shadrach, raising himself on
tiptoe, and cocking his beaver, "in the spirit of peace I come from the
good William Penn, who is thy friend in the gospel, (and, verily,
considering thy Pagan state, out of the gospel likewise,) to say unto
thee thus wise: Listen—I speak his words, and not mine own.
"William Penn hath learned, by means of the (I may say) providential
agency of a certain profane tie-wig, (which, judging from the bald pate
of yon captive, must have appertained unto him,) that the people,
(meaning thee,) calling themselves (as I may say, idly and profanely,)
the Muskrats and Mud-Turtles, are in possession of certain two
white-men (who, I am inclined to believe, must be those tied to the
stake close by,) together, with a young maiden, daughter to him who
calleth himself the Heer Piper, (who I must aver to be somewhat of an
uncourteous little man,) all three carried away captives from the
village of Elsingburgh. Now thus saith William Penn: inasmuch as thou
lovest good watch-coats, he hath sent thee a score of these; and
inasmuch as thou lovest glass beads, and other pernicious vanities of
the flesh, (to say nothing of the devil,) he hath sent thee ten strings
of these, wherewith to pamper the pride of thy ears and noses; and
inasmuch as thou lovest tobacco, he hath sent thee threescore and ten
tin tobacco boxes, filled with that egregious puffardo, called tobacco,
(which, by the way, I should hold in singular abomination, were it not
that it was hated by James, called the First, that enemy to the
saints.) For all which good things, William Penn, as aforesaid, asketh
nothing but the freedom of the three aforesaid captives, that they may
be delivered to their friends."
"Brother," quoth an old Indian, "brother, thou hast forgotten one
part of William Penn's message."
"Yea, verily!" replied Shadrach, "what is that?"
"It runneth thus," replied the Indian: "And inasmuch as thou lovest
strong liquors, William Penn hath sent thee two kegs of brandy,
wherewith to get right merry, and drink his health."
"Of a certainty, Muskrat," said Shadrach, "the truth is not in thee,
for my message hath nothing of such import appertaining to its
contents. William Penn dealeth not in rum, brandy, or any other liquid
abominations; neiher is he moved by any kind of spirit but that of
righteousness. But do ye straightway consult ogether what answer I am
to bear with me to Coaquanock."
While the old men were consulting, Shadrach, like a redoubtable
plenipotentiary, caused the watch coats, the glass beads, and the
tobacco boxes, to be ostentatiously displayed before the longing eyes
of the savages. The more they looked, the more they waxed willing to
surrender the captives, until at length Ollentangi announced to
Shadrach, that they had no objection to make the exchange, provided the
widow, who, as affianced to Koningsmarke, ought to have a voice in his
disposal, gave her consent. But that notable virago, on being applied
to, flatly refused to sanction the treaty, and loudly demanded the
sacrifice of her ungrateful slave, who had scorned her love, and
forsaken her for a whey-faced girl. Hereupon, Shadrach Moneypenny drew
from his pouch a beautiful string of sky-blue glass beads, which he
courteously and gallantly tied about the neck of the inexorable widow.
He then produced a small looking glass, which he held up before her,
that she might see herself thus apparelled, making her understand, at
the same time, that these things should be hers, provided she would
consent to the reprieve of Koningsmarke. The widow's heart was melted;
she acquiesced in the freedom of her affianced husband, and departed,
with a delighted heart, to contemplate herself and her beads in her
No obstacle now remained to the release of the two captives, who had
listened to this negotiation with a breathless solicitude. They were
accordingly untied, washed, dressed, and conducted to the hut where we
left Christina and the Indian maid. The meeting between the former and
Koningsmarke, after such a parting as we have described, was
accompanied by feelings that, though repressed by the presence of the
strangers, may be easily imagined. Immediate preparations were made for
their departure, lest the savages might repent their bargain, after the
novelty of possessing the coats, beads, and tin boxes had passed away.
Poor Aonetti was quite broken hearted at the parting with her sister.
She would have accompanied her, but was prevented by her mother and
friends. Christina, too, could not, in the midst of the new visions of
joyous hope that danced before her fancy, forget the gentle kindnesses,
the sisterly affection of the little Deer Eyes. But a secret feeling
which she could not repress, prevented her encouraging the idea of
Aonetti accompanying her to Elsingburgh. She therefore embraced her
with tears, kissed her cheek, and bade her sometimes remember her
sister Mimi. "Ah!" replied the artless maid, "I know I should, I ought
to be happy, for you and he will be happy; but I shall be so
miserable when you are gone, that I shall soon die.—I could have
borne his death, for we would have mourned together; but I cannot
survive his departure with you." Shadrach now summoned his troop, and
the procession departed from the village, to return no more.
Before we conclude this book, it may be proper to explain the
causes which led to the release of our three captives. The circumstance
may serve to show on what trifling chances the fate of individuals
sometimes turns. The Indian belonging to the village on the Ohio,
destroyed, as we have related, by the Muskrats and Mud-Turtles, who had
obtained possession of Lob Dotterel's wig, some time afterwards visited
Coaquanock, and carried that great medicine with him. As may naturally
be supposed, such an appendage excited no little curiosity on the part
of the Big Hats; and a correspondent of the Royal Society of England,
just then established, set about preparing a memoir upon the subject,
wherein he intended to prove, that some of the Indian tribes wore wigs.
Subsequent inquiry, however, fully elucidated the phenomenon, and the
learned person threw his memoir into the fire. The wig made no little
noise in the new world, insomuch that some of the villagers
occasionally neglected their own affairs, to talk on the subject. But
the good William Penn, putting all the circumstances together, had
little doubt that the wig was connected with the fate of the captives
of Elsingburgh. With that humanity which characterized all his actions,
he lost no time in preparing the mission of Shadrach Moneypenny, which
happily resulted in the redemption of our three captives, as we have
We must not omit mentioning, that the likely fellow, Cupid, of whom
we have of late said nothing, because we had nothing to say, also
accompanied Shadrach, somewhat against his will. He had lived a life of
perfect freedom and idleness, two things equally dear to his condition
and colour, the savages permitting him to lounge about, and sun himself
as much as he pleased. Cupid, in the elevation of his heart, at thus
seeing himself turned gentleman, and his old enemy, Lob Dotterel,
obliged to labour for his behoof, one day incautiously let out a
secret, which he might better have kept, as it led to consequences that
finally involved not only himself in destruction, but caused also the
death of his grandmother, the sybil of the Frizzled Head.
Omitting, at least for the present, the principal incidents which
befel Shadrach and his party on their return to Coaquanock, we shall
merely remark, that honest Lob Dotterel continued, during the whole
journey, stupified with the vicissitudes he had encountered within a
short time past. Nor did he exhibit any sign of consciousness till, on
his arrival at this renowned settlement, his wrath was suddenly
enkindled, at seeing a knot of little children making dirt pies in the
middle of the street. Hereupon the soul of the high constable of
Elsingburgh, suddenly awaked to a perception of passing objects; and he
threatened roundly to commit the juvenile offenders.
It is quite impossible for our readers to conceive a tenth part of
the yearnings we have endured in the course of this work, in
consequence of not having been able, without committing some
unpardonable violence, to introduce to their acquaintance and
familiarity a single titled person, for the purpose of giving dignity
to distress, and point to our jokes. The only man of high rank, the
honour of whose intimacy we enjoyed in our travels abroad, was a
certain Duke Humphrey, with whom we occasionally dined. But as, to say
the truth, we can't declaim much in favour of his dinners or his wine,
we will not trouble our readers with an introduction; for, to be candid
with them, his notice would confer no great honour, the said Duke being
generally surrounded by a set of hungry authors, who for the most part
did not know where else to get a dinner.
This incapacity we consider a most serious misfortune, inasmuch as
novel writers, we mean those who aspire to the notice and approbation
of the beau monde, may be said to be in the predicament of
certain insignificant people, who derive their sole consequence from
the company they affect to keep, and to which they take occasion to
introduce their friends. These aforesaid persons, by affecting great
intimacy with people of rank, retailing their jokes, and sometimes
pretending to disclose their most secret thoughts, acquire the
reputation of high ton, and greatly excite the wonder and
admiration of the vulgar. We recollect a good-natured, good-for-nothing
sort of fellow of this kind, who made it his sole business to introduce
a certain great man, with whom he was a kind of hanger-on, to all his
little acquaintance. By this means he managed to attain to great
consequence, in a certain circle, and got numerous invitations to
dinner parties. Nay, he at last turned his great man to so good an
account, that a city heiress actually was induced to marry him, solely
on the score of having it announced in the papers, that his great
friend was at the wedding and gave away the bride.
We have endeavoured to make all the amends possible for the absence
of what constitutes the quintessence of the interest arising from works
of imagination by the introduction of persons coming as near to kings
and nobility, as any that are the natural product of our country. But,
after all, we are obliged to confess, that Indian monarchs, provincial
governors, nay, our good friend William Penn himself, though the
illustrious founder of what may almost be called an empire, are but
poor substitutes for dukes and earls, whose very titles tickle the
fancy so delightfully, that the reader seems all the while swimming in
an ocean of peacock's feathers.
True it is, that we have a knight—not a knight errant, but a
genuine knight of James the First's own dubbing, in reserve, as a sort
of bonne bouche for the last, in order to leave an agreeable
impression on the palate of the reader's imagination. But, after all,
what is a mere knight? they are so plenty now-a-days in Old England,
especially ever since the battle of Waterloo, that the title has not
been able to entrap a single city heiress. "Your thirty pound knights,"
as an old dramatist calls them, who have barely enough to pay for
their spurs, swarm exceedingly, and are uncommonly anxious to make
every rich plebeian Joan they meet, a lady. Nay, not a few of the
species have lately infested our country, and, by their actual
presence, irretrievably robbed the fashionable young ladies of one of
their favourite subjects of contemplation, by giving a clear
demonstration that, whatever a king, a duke, or a lord may be, a knight
is but a mere man with a "Sir" to his name. Such as he is, however, we
beg the reader to make the most of him, when he vouchsafes his
To confess the honest truth, we are, as has been most likely
discovered ere this, rather new in the trade of novel writing, having
been partly induced to enter upon it, as people engage in the tobacco
or grocery line, from seeing others prosper mightily in the business.
But we shall do better hereafter, having felt the want of a hero and
heroine of proper rank most sorely in the course of this work. We take
this opportunity of advertising our friends, and the public in general,
that we have at present six new historical novels on the anvil, one of
which, we have contracted with our bookseller to hammer out every
twelvemonth, and each of which shall contain one legitimate,
tyrannical king at least, provided there should be a sufficient number
remaining unhanged at that time. We have also stipulated with our
publisher, that not one of the characters shall be below a right
honourable, or an Irish peer, at least. Advising our readers to
keep a good look out for these high treats, we now proceed with the
thread of our history.
Accursed be the stars * * * * * * * * *!
The fulsome sun, that shines on all alike,
Good, bad, indifferent, Tag, Rag, and Bobtail!
Satan's abus'd, and so is honest Cain,
And so am I—but * * * * * * * *!
It is now time to return, and take a look at the worthy inhabitants
of Elsingburgh, who had long ago rebuilt their habitations, and were
now each one pursuing his usual avocations, under the salutary pressure
of that necessity, which obliges mankind to forget the past, in
providing for the wants of the present and the future.
As we before premised, the house of Dominie Kanttwell was rebuilt
and furnished, by the pious exertions of his flock, before any body
else had provided for his own necessities; and, notwithstanding the
zeal with which that worthy man declaimed against good works, on this
occasion he was pleased to exempt those which were done in his especial
behoof from his malediction. Indeed, it must be confessed, the Dominie
looked upon charity, especially that charity which was exercised in his
own favour, as belonging to a species of good works, which might, under
certain circumstances, be tolerated. Still he continued to rail against
the luxuries and indulgences of this world, although his capacious
rotundity of figure, his double chin, and large square silver buckles,
furnished shrewd indications, that the Dominie did not feel it
absolutely necessary to reinforce his precepts by the authority of his
The good aunt Edith, according to the testimony of Dominie
Kanttwell, who had lately induced her to make a will in favour of the
church, grew every day more perfect. So far did she carry her contempt
for the things of this world, that she extended it to all mankind,
except a small circle of the elect, who listened to her edifying
instructions, and talked scandal against all the rest of the villagers,
whom they were pleased to denominate "vessels of wrath." Considering
all these as objects of the Divine vengeance, the good people thought
themselves bound to hate them also, and to decline any exchange of
kindness or social intercourse with such wicked sinners. These simple,
well-meaning souls, thought that they became saints, by strictly
following the example of aunt Edith and the Dominie. But they were
mistaken. They became spiritually proud, (the worst species of pride,)
hard-hearted, arrogant, and supercilious, to all but the chosen set;
incapable of social or kindred affection; strangers to the indulgence
of pity; bad fathers, mothers, husbands, and wives; and incorrigible in
their faults, because they cherished them as virtues. In fine, while
complacently viewing themselves as exclusively belonging to the elect
, they treated all others as outcasts; as beings having no sort of
affinity with themselves, and no common interest with them, either in
this world or the world to come. Hence, all the kindnesses of good
neighbourhood, the civilities of social life, the customary exchange of
acts of courtesy and friendship, all those little ties which knit
society together by the best bonds, those of mutual benefits, producing
mutual good will—all these gave place to a harsh contempt, an
arrogant superiority, on one hand, and a settled hatred, or
contemptuous indifference, on the other. Such is ever the result of
carrying to extremes the application of those excellent precepts, which
were doubtless only intended to check, but not destroy, those worldly
feelings and pursuits, which are essential, not only to the happiness,
but the very existence of mankind, and are only pernicious to society,
or individuals, when operating without either moral or religious
As to the good aunt Edith, she might with truth be said to wallow
every day deeper and deeper in the mire of pious abstraction. Her time,
during the intervals between going to church, night meetings, and love
feasts, was usually passed in bed, where she kept all the family
waiting upon her, and where she and the virago, Bombie of the Frizzled
Head, used to have divers keen encounters of that sharpest of all sharp
weapons, the tongue. While the disconsolate Heer, to whom she was
indebted for an asylum, a home, and all the comforts of life, was
sitting in solitary sorrow, remembering and lamenting his gentle and
affectionate child, without a soul to sympathize in his cureless grief,
the excellent Edith, considering him as little better than one of the
wicked, paid no attention to his infirmities or his woes, except
occasionally to comfort him with the assurance that the loss of his
only child was a judgment upon him, for loving her better than the
church and the Dominie.
Sometimes the Frizzled Head, who, though a shrew and a termagant of
the first order, was not altogether destitute of that carnal and
worldly-minded sympathy, which is held in such abomination by the
elect, when exercised towards the sinful sons and daughters of men,
would prepare some favourite dish, or little nick-nack, to tempt the
waning appetite of her master. But so sure as aunt Edith heard of this,
though ever so sick and weak, she would rise from her bed, as it were
by miracle, lay violent hands on the portion of the good Heer, who
fared, on these occasions like poor Esau, and carry it off to comfort
Dominie Kanttwell, or some one of the elect who had caught cold
attending upon a night meeting. Indeed, it was the great object of the
Dominie's policy, to govern the community of Elsingburgh, by
establishing a sort of imperium in imperio in every house of the
village. This he effected by gaining an ascendency over the married
females, and thus governing the household, in spite of the sinful and
inordinate grumblings of its liege and legitimate lord. Some people may
think this mode of acquiring influence was not exactly either fair or
honest; but it is not our business (being bachelors) to contest the
point. We only profess to tell what is necessary to the progress and
final catastrophe of our history.
Numerous, not to say innumerable, were the little societies
established, under the influence and patronage of aunt Edith and
Dominie Kanttwell, whose industry in collecting donations from men,
women, and children, was such, that there was not a bit of molasses
candy, or pennyworth of gingerbread, wickedly devoured by the little
urchins of Elsingburgh. All went to the Dominie, and through
him—nobody knew where. One society was the parent of half a dozen
more, until they multiplied so fast, that the good women of the village
had no time to attend to domestic affairs; and no traveller could
sojourn a night at Elsingburgh, without rising pale in the morning, in
consequence of having sufficed to satiate the appetites of innumerable
caitiffs of the carniverous species, whose numbers always furnish
shrewd indications of good or evil housekeeping. The Dominie was the
prime mover of all these, and it was observed of him, that, like
Goldsmith's "man in black," he always went about with his
three-cornered cocked hat, to collect subscriptions, but never was seen
to put any thing in it himself. Hence it was affirmed by his admirers,
that he was a truly charitable person, who hated ostentation, and
always gave in secret. Like Falstaff, however, though nobody, such was
the care he took to avoid discovery, ever detected him in being
charitable himself, he was certainly the cause of charity in others. So
much, indeed, did he excel in the art of levying contributions on the
necessities of the poor, that, at one period of our history, there was
hardly a labouring man in the village that had a whole coat to his
back, or a child that was not sorely out at the elbows; nay, it may
with perfect veracity be affirmed, that the majority of them were in
the situation of the veritable "Dicky Doubt," as set forth in the
famous couplet of which Dicky is the hero. The following colloquy,
between a worthy, hard-working man, called Fospe Ontstout, and his
wife, relative to these matters, has been preserved by the Historical
Society of Elsingburgh, and will better illustrate the effects of the
Dominie's exertions, than any general details. There is a notice of
Fospe Ontstout appended to the article, stating, that, being at length
reduced to actual poverty, by the attention his wife paid to every
body's wants and affairs but those of her family, and the charity she
bestowed every where but at home, he retrieved his affairs entirely,
by the lucky thought of getting appointed beggar to two or three
societies: "thus," as the old sly boots of an author adds, "thus
cunnynglie deportynge hymselfe, belike untoe certaine greenehornes,
who, after beyinge sorely plucked, doe incontinentlye turne ymselves
aboute, and plucke others ynne theire turne." It is likewise noted in
the old manuscript, that Fospe's wife was a plump, rosy-faced dame, and
reckoned one of the prettiest women in the whole village.
It was a cold, raw evening, and
Fospe, after being out all
day in the sleet and rain cutting wood, returned home, cold, wet, and
hungry, and addressed his wife as follows:
Fospe. Terese, my good girl, my feet are as wet as a drowned
rat. Give me a pair of dry stockings from those I bought the other day
of the pedler from New-York.
Terese. I can't, my dear; I gave them all to the society last
night. The Dominie says we must give all our sparings to the poor, and
tells us we shall never miss what we give away in this manner.
Fospe. Hum! I wish the Dominie would make his words good, for
I feel just now very uncomfortable, and miss very much the dry
stockings you gave away to the society. But I suppose there's no help
for it; so, as I have no money just now, I must borrow the shilling I
gave Hans for Christmas, and step over to the shop to buy a pair.
Terese. But, my dear, Hans has parted with his money already.
Fospe. What, the young rogue has been at the cake-shop, I
Terese. No, my dear, Dominie Kanttwell persuaded us to give
it to the society, and promised to mention Hans, in his sermon
next Sunday, before the whole congregation.
Fospe. Well, what's done can't be undone; we must sell the
pig, for my stockings are not only wet, but worn out, and I must have a
dry pair, wife.
Terese. To-be-sure, but, my dear, the pig is gone too.
Fospe. What, has he run away, or been stolen?
Terese. No, my dear; but the Dominie begged him for the
society: he assured me the pig would be returned tenfold to us.
Fospe. Um! ay! Well, Terese, just run to the pig-stye, and
see if the ten pigs have arrived. We must part with one of them
immediately. But stay; it is wet, and you'd better not go out this
evening. Call Hans, and I'll send him.
Terese. Here he comes, my dear.
Fospe. Why, he looks like a beggar's brat, all in rags. I
wish, my dear, you would mend his trowsers, for you see his knees are
Terese. I would, my dear, but really I havn't time. The
society has agreed to make up six dozen suits for the poor children of
Greenland, who, the Dominie assures us, are starving with cold, and all
my time is taken up in labouring for these dear little sufferers. The
Dominie says it will bring a blessing on the family.
Fospe. Well, well, the Dominie, I dare say, is right. Here,
Hans, run to the pig stye, and see if the ten pigs are come.
Terese. Lord, my dear, you don't—you're not such a fool as
to believe they are come already.
Fospe. Why not, my dear? The Dominie told you so, and every
thing he says is true. But, my dear, what have you got for supper? you
know I've had nothing since breakfast. Can't you cook some of the fat
venison, left this morning?—come, bustle, my dear, I'm as hungry as a
Terese. But, my dear, all the fat venison is gone; I—
Fospe. What! you, and
Hans, and the rest of the fat
rogues, have made away with it, hey? Well, never mind, I'm glad you've
got good stomachs and something to fill them.
Terese. No, no, my dear, we made our dinner of the fresh fish
you caught yesterday, from under the ice. The Dominie begged the
venison for a poor family, he said had given all they could spare to
the society, and were now sick and starving.
Fospe. Very well, Terese, we mustn't refuse to help people
that are sick and starving. But though I'm not sick, I'm almost starved
myself. Do bake me a warm Indian cake, will you? come, that's a good
Terese. I would, my dear, but how worldly minded you are! The
Dominie says we mustn't think of such things: don't you see the fire is
all gone out?
Fospe. Yes, and feel it too; but how came you to let it go
out, my dear, this raw, cold day?
Terese. Why, my dear, Dominie Kanttwell called for me to go
with him to a meeting, and so—
Fospe. Hum! but what became of the children while you were
Terese. Why, I locked them all up together, and put out the
fire, for fear of accidents.
Fospe. Careful mother! Well, I'll go and make a fire, and
then you shall bake me the Indian cake, while I dry myself by the blaze.
Terese. Yes, my dear, but—
Fospe. But what, Terese?
Terese. Why, to tell you the truth, my dear, I am engaged to
go with the Dominie to a love feast this evening, and it is now about
the time. The Dominie says, that baking cakes, mending our children's
clothes, and all that, is but filthy rags, compared with love feasts
and prayer meetings.
The patience of poor Fospe was now quite exhausted;—"the d—l
take the Dominie," cried he, "I wish he had my wet feet and empty
stomach for his night's portion with all my heart." Just then the
Dominie entered, with a stately step, and sonorous "hem!" that awed the
spirit of the good yeoman into silent acquiescence. Terese put on her
bonnet and cloak, and accompanied the Dominie to the love feast, whence
she did not return till almost midnight. Poor Fospe went to bed
wet and hungry, and could not help thinking, as he said his prayers,
that the Dominie might be better employed than in teaching well-meaning
women, that the neglect of their domestic duties in this world was the
surest passport to happiness in the world to come.
Before concluding this chapter, it is our desire to have it
distinctly understood, that we enter not, either directly or
indirectly, upon any questions connected with religious controversies
or the utility of any of those numerous societies, which the zeal, the
humanity, or the ostentatious vanity of mankind have instituted for the
propagation of the faith, or the alleviation of distress. All we design
is, to relate what happened in the famous village of Elsingburgh; and
if, in so doing, it should appear that indiscreet zeal, sometimes, is
found at war with social duties and social happiness, and that
ill-directed charity often improverishes the industrious without
relieving the idle, let us not be blamed for these consequences. They
only furnish additional proof, that excess is in itself the root
of all evil, and that whenever the blessed institution of religion
interferes with our social and moral obligations, it ceases to be the
conservator of human happiness, as well as of human virtue. As the
excesses of sensual indulgence destroy the capacity for more refined
gratifications, so do those of a fanatical religion blight and wither
the most amiable feelings of the heart, rendering us insensible to many
of the purest, the most exalted delights of which our nature is
"Let fools gaze
At bearded stars, it is all one to me
As if they had been shaved.
I will out-beard a comet any day.
Or night either, marry."
All this while the poor Heer remained without a hope, without a
comforter, his mind ever running on the blue-eyed maiden he had,
peradventure, lost for ever. The judgment which, according to aunt
Edith's theory, had fallen upon his head, for the punishment of his
sinful delights in contemplating the mild virtues and gentle,
unobtrusive charms of his duteous, affectionate daughter, seemed only
to bind him more closely to the earth, for he could think of naught but
her. There is no surer sign of a profound and lasting wound of the
heart, than when we turn in sickening disgust from those little
amusements, habits, or gratifications, which long custom has either
endeared to us, or rendered difficult to shake off. Thus the good Heer
now never was seen to smoke his pipe at morn or evening, or heard to
swear in classic High Dutch, sure evidences that his heart was almost
broken. His sole employment was in doing nothing, although he was
incapable of sitting still more than a minute at a time. Like Bombie of
the Frizzled Head, he wandered and wandered about, seeming without
purpose, or even consciousness, until some sound, some object, some
nothing, as it would seem, struck upon one of those chords by which
every thing that is beautiful or sweet in nature is connected with the
memory of those we love, and have lost. Then his trembling lip, and
wan, wet eye, bore testimony, that the light still continued to burn,
though the lamp which held it seemed quite broken to pieces.
He no longer took an interest in the affairs of his government,
which now fell into the hands of master Wolfgang Langfanger, who
thereupon took his full swing of public improvements. He caused new
streets to be opened in every direction across the fields, which the
good people of Elsingburgh avoided in dry weather on account of the
dust, and in wet, on account of the mud. Thus the fine grassy lawns,
and rich fields, that whilome yielded a golden harvest of grain, were
cut up and laid waste, to wait till the village should grow over them.
The unlucky proprietors were in this way, as it were, cut with a
two-edged sword; they were obliged to pay for these improvements, and
at the same time lost the products of their fields. But the masterpiece
of Langfanger's policy was that of pulling down an old market, and
building a new one in another part of the village, in the management of
which business he is supposed to have laid down the first principles of
the great and thriving science of political economy, or picking
people's pockets on a great scale. He caused the people living near the
old market to pay roundly for its removal as a nuisance; and then he
caused the people that lived about where the new one was to be built,
to pay roundly for the vast pleasure and advantage of its
neighbourhood. Thus he pinched them through both ears, and got the
reputation of a great financier.
There was muckle scratching of heads at Elsingburgh, and serious
complaints made to the Governor; but that good man paid little or no
attention either to his own wants or to those of his people. He was,
indeed, desolate and forlorn. The Dominie now seldom came near him,
because he refused to be comforted by his assurances that the loss of
his only child was a great blessing, if properly considered; aunt Edith
was quite elevated above the world and all things in it, save the
meeting of the elect at societies, love feasts, and the like. She held
such bereavements as the loss of children, parents, friends, and
brothers, as trifles which affected none save the worldly minded, the
chosen vessels of wrath; and considered the performance of domestic
duties as among the filthiest of those filthy rags, miscalled good
works. Nay, the veritable Bombie of the Frizzled Head, although she
continued duteously to serve up the favourite dish of pepperpot at
supper time, obstinately refused to sympathize with him in the
extremity of his sorrows.
"Ah! if my poor lost Christina were here," would he sometimes
exclaim, when any little string was touched that brought her loss home
to him—"ah! if she were here, I should not be left thus alone.
But what is an old man like me, without the tender and duteous
ministrations of a virtuous daughter? he is a trunk, whose roots are
decayed—whose branches are blighted—whose heart, hollow and
decayed, is only the refuge of the worm that never dies. Snow Ball,
witch, devil, whatever thou art, tell me, dost thou think I shall ever
see my poor Christina more?"
"I have seen what I have seen—I know what I know."
"Well, well," impatiently rejoined the Heer; "I suppose you do; most
people can say that of themselves. But hast thou seen, and dost thou
know, more than other people? Answer me, scourge of satan—dost thou
think we shall ever meet again?"
"There—perhaps," replied the Frizzled Head, pointing her
horn-headed stick towards the blue sky, that was studded with stars,
among which the new crescent of the moon held its course, like a bark
of pearl in a sea of azure— "there, where the purified spirit finds
its last serene abode—or"—dropping her stick to point to the
"Away, thou screeching day-owl," interrupted the Heer; "blasted be
the heart that conceived, the breath that shall utter such a prophecy!
Why, I—I indeed have sometimes soiled my immortal spirit with the
stain of worldly sins; but she—Oh! she was pure as the flake of snow
in its midway flight from the heavens, ere it reaches this contaminated
earth; she was"—
"Ay, Heer, she
was—and which of us, in looking back, cannot
put our finger on the point of time when we too were innocent? Months
have passed away, since thy daughter left thee, but in less time than
that, according to thy book of faith, the angels lost their place in
heaven; a third part of the stars that glittered around the throne of
Him who made us all, black, red, and white, alike, tumbled to the
earth—ay, lower than the earth—into the bottomless gulf; he who was
called the Son of the Morning, fell among the rest, and foremost of
them all. Wilt thou say, then, that because thy daughter was pure and
innocent months ago, she must of necessity be so still?"
"Pestilent imp of darkness, seed of sulphur, scourge of my blasted
hopes, torturer of my broken heart," cried the Heer, "be silent, or
tell me what thou really knowest of my lost child."
"I know," replied the Frizzled Head, "that she still lives, for had
she died, I should have seen and spoken with her, ere her body had
passed into the tomb. I know she lives, but that is all I know. Whether
thou wilt ever see her, here or hereafter, I cannot tell; and if I
cannot, none other can; for I have seen what I have seen—I know what
I know. I saw thy child carried like a lamb from its fold, in company
with the wolf that seeks to devour her; I warned him by the memory of
the past, the hope of the future; I adjured him by the fate of the
mother, by the kindness of the father, the affection of the daughter,
by all that good men hold sacred and villains scorn, to be unto her a
true and watchful shepherd: he appealed to heaven he would. But if man
is a wolf to man, what is he to woman? At first, the cringing slave,
and next the unfeeling tyrant."
"But, shall I see her again before I die?" reiterated the Heer, who,
in the weakness of sorrow, sought to wring from the Frizzled Head, even
what he would not dare to believe when it was uttered.
"The revolving sun often brings every thing back to where it was
before. Thou mayst, perhaps, see her again; she may one day come to
thee, when she hath forgotten herself and her parent; when time, and
hardships, and the example of those around her, have worn out all
traces of thy gentle, delicate and duteous daughter. She may return
with a painted face, and limbs dilated into a clumsy magnitude, by toil
and exposure to the wintry winds, and the labours which brutal man puts
on our sex, when neither honour nor shame restrains his wanton
tyranny; she may come with a pappoose!"
"Hence!" burst forth the almost maddened Heer; "hence, wholesale
dealer in the devil's haberdashery; away! offspring of wrath and fire;
drown thyself in the river, hang thyself on the highest tree of the
forest, or rather live, and waste away thy black and blasted flesh in
tortures, such as thou hast inflicted upon a poor, childless old
man—begone, and der teufel hole dich."
This was the first time the Heer had relapsed into High Dutch since
the loss of Christina, and, if the truth were known, it is believed the
Frizzled Head purposely provoked him in this manner, that he might
sometimes forget his daughter in rage against his slave. But she failed
in her object. The anger of the master was momentary; the grief of the
father was without end.
"Were it not that I pity the multitude of printers, these chapters
had never been written. But besides, I find it necessary to refresh my
dulness every day by eating, for, by'r Lady, Minerva loves the larder."
After a conversation similar to that recorded in the last chapter,
the Heer seated himself disconsolately in his old arm chair, and was
silently and sorrowfully contemplating a picture, representing his
little daughter Christina, then about a year old, nestling on the bosom
of her mother, now no more. As a specimen of art the picture was not
worth a stiver; but the Heer would not have parted with it for the
whole wealth of his territory, for it was almost the only memorial,
save that which he carried in his old broken heart, of the two beings
he had loved better than all the world besides. While thus seated, the
good Heer communed with his heart, in something like the following
"Ah! wife of my bosom, and daughter of my affections, ye are gone
from me, though in the common course of nature I should rather have
departed before you. Alas! a wifeless and childless old man is like the
withered trunk of a tree, whose branches have all been lopped off close
to its body; without verdure, without leaves, without life, it stands
bare to the winds of heaven, the emblem of sterility and decay. No bird
nestles in its leafy covert—no animal seeks a shelter in its
shade—no little suckers shoot forth from its sapless roots, to
indicate where the old trunk decayed and died. Where are ye now, my
companion in youth, my solace in declining age? The one is a saint in
heaven— but the other! my sprightly, kind-hearted, duteous daughter!
Her eyes, the colour of Heaven, are long ere this closed in darkness;
her cheeks, the colour of the rose, are clay cold and blanched
now—the prey of sorrow, and the worms. Or perhaps she still lives, a
wretched outcast of the woods, the companion of wild beasts, the slave
of men wilder than they; shut out from her customary society, deprived
of the solace of parental affection, and robbed of all that makes
existence aught but a weary burden, a weight that crushes the elastic
spirit to the earth, and points it to the grave as its only refuge. My
daughter! my only, my beloved child!"
As the Heer thus indulged himself in melancholy ponderings, his
attention was called off by a distant noise, that came to his ear like
the shouts of joyful exultation. He listened, but again all was silent.
What can it mean thought he. But the thought was only momentary, and he
sunk into his usual train of dark and dismal contemplation. Again the
shout was repeated, still nearer, by the noisy tongues of the village
train, whose elastic spirits were ever ready to seize occasions for
noise and jollity. Nearer, and still nearer, came the rout, until at
length the attention of the Heer was roused by something which struck
upon his heart like a repetition of Christina's name. He started up,
and, hurrying with faltering steps to the window, beheld, a little way
off, a crowd of people, in the midst of which seemed to be a tall,
stately figure, mounted on horseback, with something that looked like a
woman seated behind him. The waning lamp of his aged eyes would not
permit him to distinguish any more. Yet—and the hope glanced upon his
heart like lightning—yet, if it should be her, returning at
last to his arms! As the eye, when long accustomed to darkness, shuts
close its lids at the slightest ray of light, so does the mortal
spirit, weakened by age, long suffering, melancholy thoughts, and dark
forebodings, become overpowered by the first ray of hope that glances
into its gloomy recesses. It often happens, too, that the ardent desire
to realize a darling hope, is checked by an apprehension that
certainty, instead of leading to fruition, will only lead to
disappointment. To minds naturally weak, or weakened by long suffering,
uncertainty is less painful than to know the worst.
From one or both these causes, the good Heer, instead of going forth
to learn the truth, returned trembling to his chair and there sat
waiting, almost in a state of insensibility, the approach of the crowd.
"My father! where, where is he?" exclaimed a voice that went to the
innermost soul of the Heer, who sat riveted to his chair, without the
power of speech or motion. A moment after, a figure rushed in and threw
herself at his feet, kissed his hands, and wept upon them.
"My father, hast thou forgotten Christina,— or, Oh! heavenly
powers! perhaps he has forgotten himself! speak to me, dear father, or
kiss me, or press my hand—Oh, do something to show thou rememberest
and lovest thy child."
The Heer pressed her hand, in token that he had not forgotten his
daughter, but it was some minutes before he became sufficiently
recovered to take her to his bosom, weep over, and bless her. When he
did, the scene was so moving, that the spectators shed tears of
sympathy; and even the dry and parched cheeks of Shadrach Moneypenny
exhibited indications of moisture.
"But you must thank my deliverers," said Christina, when the first
strong feelings of joy had subsided.
"And who are they?" answered the Heer, wiping his eyes and looking
round. "Ah! Long Finne, art thou there? I dare almost swear thou hadst
a hand in my daughter's preservation: come hither, boy, thou art thrice
welcome. Is it not so, Christina?"
"I owe my life to him," replied Christina, "but not my liberty,
"To whom then? if he is present, I will hug him in my arms; if
absent, I will seek him through the world but I will thank him; if he
be poor, I will make him rich; if he be rich, he shall have my
everlasting gratitude. Stand forth, whoever thou art; the guilty, are
not ashamed of their evil deeds—why should the virtuous blush for
The stiff and upright form of Shadrach Moneypenny now advanced with
measured steps towards the Heer, who, on perceiving it approaching,
started up, and hugged Shadrach, with such good will, that the head of
the Governor actually dislodged the hat of the other, and it fell to
the floor. Shadrach stooped down with great deliberation, and, picking
up the hat, placed it on his head and said—
"Take notice, friend Piper, I pulled not off mine own hat, in
reference to thy dignity, or that of thy master, the bloody-minded man
who carrieth the gospel of peace upon the incarnadined point of his
sword. It fell by accident, verily."
"Be it so," returned the Heer; "thou shalt wear thy beaver in the
presence of kings, nay, of the King of kings, if thou likest, my noble
benefactor, to whom I owe more than I can ever pay."
"I am not thy benefactor, friend Piper," quoth Shadrach, "and thou
owest me no more than that good will which we are enjoined to bear
towards all our neighbours. What I have done was by the command (or
rather, at the request) of William Penn, (for we obey no orders from
any man, or body of men, except we list,) who sent me forthwith into
the wilderness, with store of glass beads, tobacco, and the like, to
redeem thy daughter, together with him they call the Long Finne;
likewise friend Dotterel, commonly denominated among the aboriginals
the Jumping Sturgeon; and lastly, the coloured lad, bearing the heathen
appellative of Cupid, the which I do intreat thee, as a particular
favour, to have christened over again, in which case I will accord
myself to stand godfather."
"Well, then," replied the Heer, "I shall bethink myself of some
means worthily and magnificently to reward both the good William Penn
and all those who have been the instruments of his benevolence in the
redemption of my dear child, whose return to my bosom is as the warmth
of spring to the torpid animals of the forest."
"William Penn wants no rewards, neither do I," quoth Shadrach. "When
he despatched me forth into the wilderness, and I departed in
accordance with his wishes, it was not as if on an expedition of trade
or profit. We will exchange with thee good offices, but we cannot sell
der teufel," replied the Heer, a rittle ruffled—
"Swear not at all," interrupted Shadrach— "friend Piper, swear not
at all. And, now I bethink me, if thou wishest to exhibit thy gratitude
to William Penn, or me, his chosen vessel, let it be in the utter
abandonment of that unseemly custom, which, I am aggrieved to say,
savours of the company and good fellowship of Sathan and his imps."
At any other time, this sally of Shadrach would have brought the
wrath of the Heer upon him, in a great tempest of expletives; but now
he had got his daughter's hand in his, while she herself was seated on
the little stool, which whilome supported his gouty foot, and felt so
happy at the moment, that he had neither room nor words for any other
"Say, then," said he at length, in reply to Shadrach's
exhortation—"say that I will come myself, and thank him for having
restored to me my child; and think to thyself that I will never forget
thy good offices."
"I will so say," rejoined Shadrach. "And now, albeit I have finished
my mission, and done the bidding (or rather the request) of William
Penn, I will essay my return from whence I came. Farewell, friend
Piper—swear not at all."
Shadrach then shook hands with the Governor, the Long Finne, and the
likely fellow Cupid, whom he exhorted to take to himself a new name of
Christian seemliness. He also looked about for the Jumping Sturgeon,
who, however, was found wanting, being at that time busily employed in
keeping order among his old enemies, the roystering urchins of
Elsingburgh. The spirit then moved Shadrach Moneypenny to approach the
fair Christina, which he did with great gallantry, his beaver being up
"Maiden," quoth Shadrach, "umph! verily thou art fair, and comely
therewithal: will shake hands with thee for old acquaintance sake.
Verily, I say again, thou art exceeding fair and comely: I will salute
thee, maiden, being thereunto moved by having sojourned with thee in
the wilderness. Verily, I say a third time, maiden, thou art altogether
and without equal fair and comely; I will embrace thee in the spirit,
being thereunto moved by"—
But Shadrach, as he opened his arms to carry into execution his
sober wishes, like another Ixion, embraced a cloud. Christina had taken
advantage of his habit of elevating his eyes to the ceiling, to slip
away, unperceived by the good man, who, without the least appearance of
being ruffled and disquieted at the disappointment, gravely observed
that the maiden was over bashful. He then turned himself as on a pivot,
and departed amid the grateful thanks of all, save the Long Finne, who
never forgave Shadrach the sin of having touced the red lip of
"Most heart-commanding faced gentlewoman, even as the stone in India
called basilinus hurts all that look on it, and as the serpent in
Arabia called smaragdus delighteth the sight, so does thy celestial,
orb-assimilating eyes both please, and, pleasing, pain my love-darted
Euphues, and his England.
When Shadrach Moneypenny had gathered himself together, and departed
for Coaquanock, the Heer and his little party, being left alone, drew
into a circle, and began to compare notes one with another. Perhaps one
of the most pleasing results of the meeting of long separated friends
is this mutual interchange of the relations of past events. Our little
self-love is gratified in telling all that has happened to us, and our
curiosity, perhaps a better feeling, feasted with the chronicle of what
has befallen others. Alternately the hero and the auditor of these
domestic legends, each one enjoys a temporary hour of supremacy, and
all are pleased, because all have their turn in talking. The happy
Heer, seated between his daughter and the Long Finne, holding a hand
of the former, questioned, and answered, and listened, and talked, like
a boy; for the return of his darling had made him feel young again.
The party consisted only of the three, with the occasional intrusion
of the Frizzled Head, and her likely grandson, who, under various
pretences, went and came, without having any positive errand to justify
the intrusion. The good aunt Edith was, as usual, lying abed, too sick
even to admit of a visit from her niece, which she feared might agitate
her so much that she would not be able to attend a prayer meeting on
the ensuing evening. The worthy Dominie Kanttwell, too, was either
engaged, or pretended to be so, and came not to congratulate the Heer
on the return of his only child from captivity among the wild men of
the woods. Indeed, it was shrewdly suspected, that the good man, as
well as aunt Edith, were both somewhat mortified at the failure of
their favourite doctrine of temporal judgments, on this occasion, as
exemplified in the happy return of Christina; and there were those who
did not scruple to insinuate, that the Dominie was sorely wounded in
spirit, at the downfall of a plan for benefiting the church, which
depended on the absence of the fair Christina, and a certain
alteration in the Heer's will, which he did not despair of bringing
about in time.
"Ah! poor Ludwig!" cried the Heer, as Koningsmarke related the
manner in which he had cheated the savages of their bloody feast—
"ah! brave, merry, thoughtless, swearing rogue! he lived only for the
present breath he drew, and thought not of the next moment, much less
of the morrow. Jolly Varlett! he was as brave as the great Gustavus,
not to mention another person, whose name it would not become me to
utter, being that self-praise is but another name for self-blame. He
used to say, that a man who feared not what the present moment could
bring, yet shrunk from the next, was like a superstitious blockhead,
that would wrestle with flesh and blood, and run away from his own
shadow. Honest Wolfgang Langfanger and he could never agree, for
Wolfgang thought nothing of the present, I mean in a worldly point of
view, while Ludwig held, that in the firm of Past, Present, and Future,
the first and the last were little more than sleeping partners. Ah!
pleasant, merry Varlett! would I could hear him swear again! But now,"
continued the Heer, addressing himself to Koningsmarke—"now tell me
about thyself. How didst thou live, and how did my poor little girl
endure the savage thraldom—hey? Thy hand is not so soft nor so white
as it used to be, my daughter," said he, as he pressed it tenderly in
This led to a recapitulation of the events detailed in our preceding
chapters, in which Christina and Koningsmarke, alternating, related
their dangers and sufferings, omitting certain tender scenes, only
interesting to the performers. The Heer alternately laughed and wept.
As they related the adventures of Lob Dotterel's wig, and the adoption
of that trusty officer into the tribe of the Muskrats, he indulged in
bursts of merriment, and ever after called him by the name of the
Jumping Sturgeon. The sufferings of his dear child melted his heart;
and when she told him of the kindness of little Aonetti, the Deer Eyes,
he declared his determination to have her sought out, and brought to
Elsingburgh, that he might reward her, by the affection of a father,
for her goodness to his daughter. Christina, however, for some reason
or other, which, as she did not avow, we should hold ourselves guilty
of betraying her confidence if we disclosed, did not second this
motion, and the good Heer was too happy to notice her apparent
indifference to her adopted sister.
"And now," exclaimed the Heer, when they had finished the relation
of their adventures— "and now, Koningsmarke, my dear son, for such
thou hast been to me, tell me how I may best reward thee, for having
saved the life of my child, and oftentimes watched over her safety in
the desolate wilderness. I have wealth, more than enough for my wants,
speak, and as much of it is thine as shall place thee above the world."
Koningsmarke replied not, but shook his head, looked at Christina,
"No?" said the good Heer, answering his look and shake of the head,
"No? thou art proud, then, and disdainest to be repaid for thy kindness
to an old man and his daughter with money. But remember, I am at least
thy debtor for a handful of Mark Newby's halfpence," added he, smiling.
"Money cannot repay me for what I have done for thy daughter,"
rejoined Koningsmarke, with an air and tone of melancholy pride.
"No? Der teufel! but—what? thou holdest thy favours above
all price then?"
"None think less than I do of what I have done for others: what
others do for me, is a different affair."
"Well, then, I have some influence with the great Gustavus, who, no
doubt, remembers the good service I did him, in taking a corporal's
guard. I will use it in thy behalf, and intreat him, as I am old and
feeble, and wish for retirement, to appoint thee my successor in the
government of New Swedeland—hey?"
The Long Finne again shook his head, and was silent.
du galgen schivenkel," exclaimed the Heer,
waxing wroth apace—"what! then thou disdainest my friendship, and
contemnest my gratitude? Harkye, henkers knecht, be pleased to
comprehend, that I hold when a man refuses to be repaid for favours he
confers, he cancels the obligation. Lookye, Long Finne— am I not old
enough to be thy father? am I not the representative of the great
Gustavus? am I not obliged to thee for the safety of my only child?
'Sfoot, sir—and dost thou dare to tell me, thus to my face, that it
is not thy pleasure to be rewarded? Now mark me, youngster— either
name thy reward, or fight me to-morrow norning, with good broad swords.
I'll teach thee to encumber me with a load of gratitude sufficient to
smother Shadrach Moneypenny's great horse, and then refuse to assist me
in getting rid of it. Come, stripling, name thy reward, or shalt smoke
for it to-morrow."
Koningsmarke dropped on his knee, and, taking the hand of Christina,
pressed it to his lips and his heart.
"I deserve her not—I ask her not—I dare not ask you for her.
But, Oh! Heer—if she owes her life to me, as well as to thee—if I
have watched, and toiled, and fought for her—if I have borne her in
my arms, when her own limbs refused to support her, through the irksome
wilderness— if I have been to her as a brother, to you as a
son—think what I could wish—not what I ask, or deserve as a
recompense—the only recompense you can bestow, or I accept."
henckers knecht—my daughter, hey? By the glory of
the immortal champion, Gustavus, but that is indeed cancelling the
obligation! Thou first gavest me my daughter, and now thou wilt take
her away again. Thou wouldst rob me of the treasure thou hast just
found and restored to me?"
"Not rob thee, Heer; I would wish to double the blessing, by adding
to the solace of a daughter's tender ministry, the support of a
duteous, grateful son."
"And thou wouldst not ask her to abandon her poor old father?"
"No—we would live and die with thee. Thy house should be our home;
and, if it so pleased Heaven, our graves should be close to thine."
"Sayest thou, coward! ha! thou hadst rather marry, then, than meet
my old rusty broad sword? well, thou art a prudent young stripling
after all. Christina, hast got a fever, for within these last fifteen
minutes, thy pulse hath risen to a truly alarming pitch? Christina,
what shall I say to this worthy lad, who so well understandeth the
value of his services? truly, honest Finne, thou shalt be made
superintendant of the Indian trade, being as thou so well comprehendest
the mysteries of bargaining."
If a young woman can possibly be brought to say yes, to such a
question as that of the Heer, it must be when she is alone with the
person that asks it, unless we are mistaken in our recollection of the
pure and delicate Dan Cupid, that whilome used to fan the flame of love
in female hearts. Christina replied not.
"Well," said the Heer, silence gives consent. Thou art no true
woman, Christina, if thou art not ready to devote thyself to the wishes
of one, who gave thee life, and of that good-looking youth, who hath
preserved it more than once. Here, Long Finne, here is her hand; if she
dissents, she has only to signify so much by withdrawing it."
Christina did not withdraw her hand, although her pale cheek, and
trembling frame, bore testimony that though she gave herself to
Koningsmarke, it was not with that ample trust, that boundless
confidence, that unshrinking, measureless hope, with which the ardent,
inexperienced maid so often throws herself, her virtues, her wealth,
and her beauty into the bosom of man.
"This day shall be kept as the happiest of my life," cried the Heer.
"It is—yes, it is the day I was married, the day of thy birth,
Christina; the day too in which God gave thee to me a second time, that
I might secure thy happiness by giving thee to one whom Providence made
the instrument of thy preservation. Blessed be this day!"
"It is the day of thy wife's death, too!" exclaimed the Frizzled
Head, who was always flitting about like the bird of night, and always
croaking. "It is the day of thy wife's death; thy wife, who, if she
could at this blessed moment lift the shroud and come among you, would
hold up her bloodless hand, and shriek in ghostly accents against this
unhappy union; forbidden by the memory of the past, the auguries of the
future. I, that know what thou, Heer, knowest not—I, that have seen
what thou didst not see, I tell thee, Heer, I tell thee, weak maiden,
and," holding up her withered finger in scorn, to Koningsmarke, "I tell
thee, that rather than this accursed marriage shall take place, I
will say what shall blast thy purpose and send thee wandering again to
another new world, if such there be. Better be dead than wedded thus.
"Housekeeper of Satan!" answered the Heer, "avaunt, fly,
skip—herald of wrath and abomination! When was it that I was ever
inclined to be merry, that thou didst not essay to turn my gayety into
gloomy forebodings? when did I ever open my heart to the memory of
past, or the anticipation of future happiness, that thou camest not,
like the raven, to croak me into fancied misery? when did the sun shine
ever warm on my heart, that thou didst not come and freeze it stiff and
cold? Away, and howl in churchyards, at midnight; scream into the ear
of guilt thy accursed maledictions. Be silent with that eternal clapper
of thine, or speak to be understood, or"—
"I do howl in the ears of guilt, and I speak to be understood by
those I wish to understand me. Those now hear me, who know full well
what I mean, yet dare to despise my warnings; who would rush into each
other's arms, even though the grave of a mother lay between them and
their desires; who—but the time is not yet come, that I must and will
"Then, in the name of Heaven, be quiet till then, and do not mar
this happy hour. I would thou wert silent, even as the grave thou
speakest of; for thy talking is worse than the screechowl, the wolf,
and the Indian, a joining in concert with the midnight storm. How is
it, that thou wouldst mar the happiness of thy master and young
"I mar their happiness!" retorted the Snow Ball; "I seek to prevent
their misery; to save virtue from the contamination of vice; to revenge
the death of her, who, of all thy colour and thy race, was the only one
whose kindness was never accompanied by insult—whose benefits were
never cancelled by capricious tyranny. Heer, why do I take an interest
in the prosperity of thy household? why do I seek thy happiness? It is
not that thou art, in the language of thy haughty race, my master, but
because thou wert the husband of the kindest being that ever breathed
the breath of life. Daughter of my mistress, why do I watch over thy
welfare? It is not that thou art the child of my master, and I thy
slave, but that she was thy mother, and that with her latest
breath she besought me to be unto thee a watchful and devoted servant,
to see that no harm fell upon thy innocent head. Such I have
been—such I will be, until I join my mistress, where I may be
permitted, though black as ink, to say to her snow-white spirit, I did
my duty to her at least."
"The yellow plague sieze thee, thou incomprehensible riddle of
darkness," cried the Heer. "Begone, for I swear to thee, Snow Ball, the
Long Finne shall marry my daughter, though thou talkest thyself white
in the face. To-morrow shall be the day, and then, when I have secured
my girl a protector in weal and wo, in storm and sunshine, I am ready
to obey that call which, sooner or later, brings all mankind to their
last muster. Depart in peace, old sinner, and hold thy peace, if such a
matter be possible."
"I go," replied the Frizzled Head, without moving a step. "Heer!
Heer! thou wilt remember, when I am dead, in sorrow and remorse, that I
warned thee, yet thou wouldst not listen. When the storm comes, and
thou and thine shall be laid low in the dust, thy roots bare, and thy
branches broken, like the trees after a whirlwind, then thou shalt
weep, and tear thy gray hairs, and call upon the mountains to fall, the
rocks to cover thee: but it will be vain. Thou shalt invoke death, but
he will not come; thou shalt seek the grave, but it will not open to
thee; thou shalt live, despairing, until thy legs shall refuse to carry
thee, thy hands to lift themselves to thy head, and thy mind and body
become those of the helpless infant."
During this mysterious colloquy, Christina had remained speechless
and motionless, her cold and almost lifeless hand grasped in that of
Koningsmarke, who himself remained silent, as if overawed by the
horrible fluency of the sable prophetess. There is something allied to
the sublime in futurity; and even the strongest mind, fortified by the
consciousness of innocence, involuntarily shrinks when the veil is
withdrawn, and renders the homage of its fears, where it refuses that
of its faith.
"Daughter of the kindest mistress that ever fell to one of our
unhappy race," resumed Bombie of the Frizzled Head, addressing
Christina, "wilt thou devote thy virtue, thy beauty, thy life, to this
"Who twice saved mine," hastily interrupted Christina; "I am bound
by my faith to do so. When we parted, never expecting to meet again;
when he was going to be tortured at the stake, for having sought to
restore me to my father; and when it seemed hardly within the compass
or the power of fate to restore him to me, or me to my home, I promised
to be his, if we ever lived to return hither. I will keep my word, let
what will follow; I will pay the debt of gratitude I owe him, though it
be at the price of a broken heart, a blasted fame; yea! even though my
mother's spirit should—" Here the poor maiden covered her face with
her hands, and became choked with her rising emotions.
"Then be the curse of thy mother on thy head, and on the heads of
all that shall be born of thee, as the curse of Cain was upon him and
all his posterity—"
Here Christina uttered a shriek, and fell insensible into the arms
of her father. The Heer raved in agony. "To-day," he cried, "the Lord
restored to me a lost child, and to-day, ere yet I had kissed and
blessed her, thou—thou, black and malignant devil, hast destroyed
her. But thou shalt pay for this, thou and all thy accursed race."
"Better thus—better dead, than to live as thou mayst yet live to
see her, with a blighted cheek, a broken heart, and a conscience
gnawed, morning, noon, and night, sleeping and waking, by the worm that
never dies," replied the sybil.
What more she would have said was interrupted by the intrusion of
Lob Dotterel, followed by a number of the villagers, having in custody
the body of that likely fellow Cupid. Their presence turned the current
of Bombie's feelings into another channel, and the disclosures that
followed led to consequences which will be related in the succeeding
It hath been aptly and truly said, that "there is reason in the
roasting of an egg." But, assuredly, if the roasting of an egg to
please every palate requires great discretion, the boiling of one is a
matter of much more difficult attainment. Some people like their eggs
as hard as a bullet, in defiance of that mortal foe to good eating,
erewhile known by the name of the spleen, afterwards christened bile,
and now of universal acceptation, as the dyspepsia. Others will have
their eggs raw, or so nearly raw, as to puzzle human reason to decide
whether they are raw or boiled. A third party, who may be denominated tertium quids, prefer them half boiled, and so on, through every
gradation, from one extreme to the other.
It is astonishing, what a number of families there are, both in the
old and new world, whose peace almost entirely depends on the judicious
boiling of those oddities, which, from the first cackling of the hen to
their being served up at the breakfast table, or hatched into chickens,
seem destined to give great trouble to the fair sex. Certain it is,
that the boiling of eggs is a matter of great moment to the peace of
society and the happiness of mankind. We have seen a lord of the
creation put out of humour for a whole day, because his egg had been
kept ten seconds too long in the skillet. Nay, we have more than once
beheld a lively, good-humoured Frenchman, who was the life of a stage
coach all night long, eat twenty hard boiled eggs in the morning at
breakfast, and grumble all the while at the cook, the house, and all
within it, except the pretty bar maid.
And here we will observe, that the best possible test of a gentleman
is his behaviour at a dinner, breakfast, or supper table, in a hotel or
steam-boat. It is there that his pretensions are put to the touchstone,
and that fine clothes fail to hide from observation the clown that
lurks beneath them. If we find him snatching at every dish within his
reach; filling his plate with fish, flesh and fowl; eating as if his
last, or rather his first meal were come; and, at the same time,
looking about with eyes as wide open as his mouth, to see what next to
devour—not velvet cloth coat, dandy pantaloons, or corset dire, will
suffice to place him in the rank of gentlemen. Were we to express our
idea of a wellbred man in one word, we would say, he was a gentleman,
even in his eating; nor would we hesitate to place any man in that
class, who, being fond of soft eggs, should be able to eat them boiled
hard, without grumbling. We remember, for we delight to remember every
thing connected with that gay, good-humoured, sprightly old gentleman,
Deidrich Knickerbocker, that he always superintended boiling his eggs
himself, by a stop watch, and more than once came near to scalding his
fingers, in his haste to rescue his favourites from the boiling
element, ere the fatal crisis was passed.
This diversity of taste extends to almost every enjoyment and luxury
of life, more especially to books, in the composition of which,
notwithstanding so many appearances to the contrary, we will venture to
say, that almost as much reason is necessary, as in the roasting or
boiling of eggs. Some readers like what are called hard studies, as
some men like hard eggs; while others luxuriate in raw sentiment, and
melting, drivelling, ropy softness. Some delight in impossible
adventures, and others in common-place matter of fact. In short, it is
quite unnecessary to insist on what the experience of all mankind
verifies every hour of the day.
It is in order to accommodate, as far as possible, every class of
readers, that we have endeavoured, in the course of this work, to do
what we are fully convinced can easily be done, namely, please all
sorts of people, whether lovers of hard or soft eggs. We mean all those
who are naturally inclined to be pleased with every thing; which class
includes, beyond doubt, a majority of mankind; for, as to the critics,
and other ill-disposed people, whose pleasure consists in being
displeased, we have nothing to say to such unreasonable people, except
that whatever faults are incorporated in this work, were wilfully
placed there, for the sole purpose of affording them the pleasure of
grumbling a little.
Our introductory chapters are intended for the deepest philosophers,
who will find therein matters of weighty import; our historical details
are for the inveterate lovers of truth; our love scenes for all whom
it may concern; our gravity for the aged; our jests for the young; our
wisdom is at any body's service that can find it out; and the sublime
declamation of the Frizzled Head is particularly intended for the
refreshment of ladies and gentlemen of colour, who, it is presumed,
will become ere long sufficiently enlightened to scold their masters,
and bully their mistresses, into a proper sense of equality.
"From fire, and water, and all things amiss,
Deliver the house of an honest justice."
The interruption to the eloquence of the Frizzled Head, recorded in
the last chapter of the seventh book of this veracious history, was, as
the reader may recollect, occasioned by the intrusion of a crowd of the
inhabitants of Elsingburgh, headed by Lob Dotterel, having in custody
that likely fellow, the goblin Cupid. Lob's hand had been out so long,
that, although by no means an ill-natured or malicious person, his
fingers itched to lay hold of a culprit of some kind or other. The
moment, therefore, that he resumed the duties of high constable of
Elsingburgh, he began to look about sharply, and make most diligent
inquisition into the affairs of the village, in order, if possible, to
catch some one tripping. Failing in this, he bethought himself of
certain boastings of Cupid, during their captivity among the Indians,
from which it appeared, that this likely youth had not only given
information to the hostile savages, but actually caused, by his
immediate agency, the blowing up of the magazine, and consequent
destruction of Elsingburgh.
The high constable, stimulated by a longing desire of labouring once
again in his favourite vocation, perhaps actuated, too, by a
consciousness of the necessity of exposing and punishing a crime so
dangerous to the existence of all the little communities that were
springing up in this new world, as that of conspiring with the savages,
laid this information before master Wolfgang Langfanger. Langfanger was
at this time perfectly at leisure to attend to the affair, having just
wrought up the village to a state of improvement, to which nothing
could be added and nothing taken away, since, in truth, he had left the
good people exceedingly bare of all resources for either public or
private emergencies. By his direction, Lob Dotterel forthwith summoned
the posse comitatus, and proceeded to search for the goblin
Cupid, whom, it is recorded, they found most lovingly consorting with
his old friend Grip, who still survived, and discovered nearly as much
sensibility, on this occasion, as the far-famed dog of Ulysses, from
which honest Grip was very possibly a lineal descendant.
The moment master Lob laid his terrible paw on the shoulder of the
goblin Cupid, in the way of hostility, did honest Grip take a similar
liberty with the heel of the high constable, which he continued to hold
in his teeth, but without actually biting through the skin. Lob was no
Achilles, and if he had been, he was, like that hard-talking hero, at
least vulnerable in his heel. The salutation of Grip was therefore
highly obnoxious to the high constable, who called on the posse to
assist him in the discharge of his functions. But not one of these
worthy citizens had the least inclination in the world to risk an
encounter with the white tusks of Cupid's guardian angel, for the
public benefit. They therefore contented themselves with calling off
the dog, who resisted all their coaxing and blandishments, till one of
them bethought himself of producing a bone. Every dog has his price,
and the fidelity of Grip, sorry we are to record it, yielded to the
irresistible seductions of the marrow bone. All the excuse we can
allege for this ignominious conduct, is, that poor Grip had been much
neglected in the absence of his friend Cupid, and that he was now half
starved, But, after all, we fear this circumstance only furnishes
another indication of that downhill course of every thing in this
world, which is so clearly discerned by every man after he passes the
age of forty, and begins to go down hill himself. It is then that, like
a passenger in a swift-sailing vessel, while sitting apparently still
himself, he sees every thing else going backwards, though in reality it
is himself that is outstripping all things, in his progress to the end
of his journey. Be this as it may, the dog seized his bone, and,
retreating to his strong hold under an old piazza, began to discuss it
with such earnestness, that his old friend Cupid was carried away,
without exciting even a growl of disapprobation.
"Well, master constable," quoth the Heer, as Lob entered with Cupid
in custody, "what is the matter now? hast thou been exercising thy
functions already? hast thou caught a sinner, hey? Take notice, I
pardon him outright, for no one shall date his shame or his punishment
from the day when my child was returned to me from the wilderness. What
bath this boy done?"
Lob Dotterel then proceeded to detail the confession, or rather
boast of the Goblin, that they might thank him for their captivity, and
the burning of Elsingburgh, as he had not only given information to
the savages of the proper time for making the attack, but had actually
himself blown up the magazine.
"It is a lie: he never said so, or, if he did, he bore false witness
against himself," cried the Frizzled Head, who had discovered great
agitation, from the moment Cupid was brought in by Lob Dotterel.
"Silence!" exclaimed Lob, with the gravity of the worthy Rinier
Skaats, erewhile crier and queller of noisy curs and falling shovels
and tongs, in the ancient city hall of Gotham, now levelled, like the
good Rinier himself, with, yea, below the dust of the earth.
"Silence thou!" retorted Bombie of the Frizzled Head; "silence!
scraper of night cellars, inquisitor of dungeons, keen-scented hound of
two legs, whose delight is to hunt down, equally, the guilty who sin
wilfully, and the innocent who cannot defend themselves."
"Silence! I say," cried the Heer, in a voice of unequalled
authority; "silence! dost think there is nobody to talk but yourselves,
ye scum of a kettle of boiled porpoises? If we all talk at once, I
should like to know where the listeners are to come from, der teufel
"I will not be silent," quoth the Snow Ball; "I will speak, Heer,
for it is the only right reserved by our unhappy race. Shall we be trod
under foot, and not turn? Shall we be beaten, and not curse? Shall we
be oppressed, ground to the earth, abused, insulted, manacled,
enslaved, and not rail? Heer! Heer! the heart and the tongue cannot be
held in fetters; the one will engender, the other mutter curses in
secret, even as dogs howl to the moon, when there is nothing else to
bay. Beware, beware; it is but for me to speak out, and the fabric of
thy happiness will crumble to the earth; thou wilt go down to the
grave, not as a happy old man, beholding his children and his
children's children sporting around his decaying roots, but like a
wretched being, seeking in death, not immortality, but a refuge from
recollections of the past, that swallow up all fears of the future.
Touch not a hair of that boy's head, or thy own gray hairs shall
assuredly go down to the grave in anguish and unutterable despair."
"Had it been any thing but this," rejoined the Heer, who,
stout-hearted as he was, could not help feeling, he might not exactly
tell how, at these mysterious denunciations—"had it been any lesser
offence, I would have pardoned it, and offered up my forgiveness at the
shrine of this happy day. But the crime of this boy is one that
endangers the safety and the lives of communities and states;—it has
cost us our good town and fort of Elsingburgh, both consumed in the
flames; it has cost us the lives of our dear and worthy counsellor
Ludwig Varlett, and the poor Claas Tomeson, his wife and child; and it
has cost me months of unutterable misery. My own sufferings I might
forget; those of my child I might forgive; but, as the guardian and
protector of my people, I must see justice done upon one who has been
the instrument of destruction to their homes, and of exile bondage, and
tortures, to their friends and neighbours. As I live, thy grandson
shall be tried to-morrow, if it please God; and if he doth not clear
himself of this heavy charge, so surely as the morrow comes, he shall
be made to feel at least some part of what he hath made others feel and
suffer. Go thy ways, old woman, and pray that thy lad may be found
innocent, for it is only his innocence that can shield him now."
"Innocent!" retorted the Frizzled Head— "Innocent! Dost thou tell
me, Heer, that innocence is a surety against condemnation and
punishment in this world? I, that have seen the finger of scorn
pointing at an innocent child, not for its own guilt, but the guilt of
its parents— I, that have seen the strong giant, wickedness,
bestriding the world, and crushing the unoffending helpless beneath
him—I, that have seen innocent hearts broken asunder, by being made
to bear the burthen and the shame of others' crimes—I, that have
every where beheld the seeds of good reaped by the wicked, and the
seeds of evil gathered by the virtuous man—I!— talk to me of my
child's innocence being a shield of protection! Had I not forgot to
laugh, long, many long years ago, I would laugh in thy face, Heer,
though my burthen in this life is to bear the heavy load of inferiority
to the lowest, the meanest, the vilest of thy race."
"He shall be tried by the laws of the land, and adjudged by his
neighbours," quoth the Heer.
"The laws of the land!" rejoined the Snow Ball. "Had he any voice in
making these laws? Has he any interest or stake in that society to
which he is held in subjection, and to whose welfare he is to be
sacrificed? Neighbours say you! He hath no neighbours; they will sit in
judgment upon him, not as beings placed on a level with a slave,
sharing his feelings, his wrongs, and his resentment. No, Heer, that
which alone gives rise to the sympathy between man and man, is when he
puts himself in the place of his neighbour, and asks his heart what he
would do, or feel, or suffer, if placed in his neighbour's situation.
But alas! my master, what sympathy can there ever be betwixt the
freeman and the slave."
"Go thy ways," mildly, yet firmly replied the Heer, waving his hand
for her to depart. "There is some truth in what thou sayest; but still,
I declare to thee, he shall clear himself of this crime to-morrow, or
lay down his life to expiate it. Go thy ways. I pity thee—but thou
talkest to the winds."
"Then may thy last petitions on thy death bed, be howled out to the
winds, as I do now! But it is not alone I and mine that shall suffer;
thou and thine, Heer, will live to rue the hour when the only being
that owns kindred or fellowship with me in this wide world shall be
made a spectacle and a victim. Before I go, as I shall surely go, when
that hour arrives, I will lay that on thy heart shall make it bleed or
break; I will pour out a vial of wrath on thy gray head, and on the
innocent head of thy child, shall blast and scorch them, as the
lightning scorches the earth, so that neither grass, nor herbage, nor
any thing green, ever grows there again."
"Let it be so—if it must, it must. I shall do my duty, let come
what will," quoth the Heer, at the same time directing that a high
court should be held on the morrow, for the trial of Cupid, who, in the
interim, was entrusted to the care of Lob Dotterel, to be guarded with
all possible vigilance. The sable lad had all this while maintained a
dogged silence, either trusting to the overwhelming eloquence of his
grandmother, or actuated by that unconquerable obstinacy, which is so
often a characteristic of his race, and which in the ignorant is called
stupidity— in the enlightened, philosophy.
The party then dispersed their various ways; and it may not be
beneath the dignity of this history to record, that the good Heer, who
was thus ready to brave the mysterious denunciations of Bombie, in
order to further the sacred ends of justice, that night went to bed
without his supper, either because he had no appetite, or, rather, as
we believe, that the Frizzled Head refused to cook his favourite dish
"Hem! grass and hay. We're all mortal!"
Betimes the next morning, the trial of the likely fellow Cupid came
on in the High Court of Elsingburgh; where presided the Heer in person,
assisted by Counsellors Langfanger and Pfegel, and prompted in the
mysteries of that most mysterious of all sciences, the law, by six
folios of jurisprudence, each one nearly a foot thick, and containing
sufficient matter to confound half the universe.
The prisoner was brought in by Lob Dotterel, the gravity of whose
deportment would have done credit to a much greater man than himself,
and whose attention seemed equally divided between Cupid, and a parcel
of his old enemies, the boys, who pressed forward to see what was going
to become of their sable playmate. Among those who attended the trial
was Bombie of the Frizzled Head, whose agitation was singularly
contrasted with the apparently stupid insensibility of her grandson.
The prisoner, in fact, seemed almost unconscious of his situation, and
stood with folded arms, staring around the room with a vacant
abstraction, as if he had no concern in what was going forward.
Those important forms, so essential to the very existence of
lawyers, if not of the law, being gone through, and the indictment
read, charging the prisoner, among other matters, with conspiring
against the life of the great Gustavus, Cupid was asked the usual
question of "guilty, or not guilty?" He made no reply, and continued
obstinately silent, affording, in this respect, a singular contrast to
her of the Frizzled Head, who it was impossible to keep quiet, though
Lob Dotterel cried "silence!" loud enough to be heard across the broad
This refusal to plead had like to put a stop to the whole business.
Counsellor Langfanger quoted, from a volume ten inches thick, a case
which went to establish the doctrine, that it was impossible to try a
criminal who would neither confess his guilt, nor assert his innocence.
The Heer, on the contrary, produced a book, at least two inches thicker
than the other, and printed in black-letter besides, which rebutted the
authority of Counsellor Langfanger's case, and held it sound law to
proceed upon the silence of a criminal, in a case of this kind, as on a
confession of guilt. We shall not trouble the reader with the arguments
adduced in support of one or other of these doctrines, but content
ourselves with stating the decision of the court, which was, that they
would wave insisting upon an answer, and proceed with the trial.
The business was soon over, as at that time there was not a single
lawyer in the whole community of Elsingburgh; a proof how much this new
world has improved since, there being hardly a village of that size at
present in the country, that hath not at least two lawyers in it, to
puzzle the justices and confound the laws of the land. Besides the
frequent boasts of Cupid, during the abode in the wilderness, one or
two persons deposed, that they had seen that likely youth hovering
about the magazine, and at length stealing away in great haste, a few
moments before the explosion took place. He was asked if he had any
witnesses to produce in his behalf, or any thing to say for himself,
but he remained silent as before. The proofs were so clear, that there
was little, if any, room for doubt, and the court, after a few minutes
consultation, agreed in pronouncing him guilty, and sentencing him to
be hanged, for having conspired with the savages, thereby occasioning
the destruction of the village, and the loss of several lives.
This sentence was received by the prisoner with the same immovable
indifference he had hitherto preserved; he made no gesture, he moved
not his lips, but continued, as before, to gaze around, without
appearing to notice any thing. There was an awful silence throughout
the whole court, for there is something in the annunciation of a
disgraceful and violent death, from the mouth of a judge, animated by
no passion, prejudice, or resentment, but standing there as the oracle
of the laws, the mouth-piece of the community, to denounce against the
offender the just punishment of his crime, that makes the most volatile
serious, the most unthinking shudder. Even the fluent Bombie seemed for
once quelled into silence, by the shock of this awful dispensation, and
she followed her condemned grandson out of the court in dead silence,
her head bent down upon her bosom.
Between the condemnation of Cupid and the time appointed for his
execution, the Frizzled Head employed herself in making interest with
Christina, the Long Finne, and, indeed, every one whose intercession
she thought might induce the Heer to mitigate the punishment of her
grandson. But the Heer remained immovable to the solicitations of his
daughter and the Long Finne. The crime was of too deep a die; the
example of pardon might be of the most pernicious consequences; and the
prerogative of mercy ought never to be exercised to the endangeringthe
safety of the state, or the security of life and property.
The day before the execution Bombie essayed, for the last time, to
move the Heer in behalf of her grandson.
"Art thou resolved that he shall die on the morrow?" said she.
"As surely as to-morrow shall come, so sure as the sun shall rise,
even so surely shall he never live to see it go down," replied the Heer.
"Thou hast forgotten, then, the services I have done to thee and
thine; thou no longer rememberest that I have been to thy wife who is
gone a faithful handmaid; that I ministered to her in sickness and in
health, and that, when she died, she bequeathed me to thy care and
protection: thou hast forgot that it was I that bore thy infant
daughter in my arms, when her own limbs would not support her; that it
was I who, when her mother died, did all I could to supply the place of
a mother to her; and that I have watched, and do still watch, over the
welfare of thy child, even while thou art dooming mine to a shameful
death. Thou hast forgotten all this, Heer!"
"Say not so," rejoined the Heer, "for so it is not. I remember thou
hast been to me and mine a faithful slave, and I am grateful for thy
"But what?" interrupted the Frizzled Head. "Thou wouldst strive to
persuade me of thy good will, while thou refusest me the last request I
shall ever make thee. Of what use is thy gratitude to me, if thou wilt
not permit it to sway thy actions? what avails it, if, when thou
inffictest a wound of death, thou shalt whine in my ear, that thou art
sorry for it? Say that thou wilt spare his life, and I will believe in
"If the risk of sparing him were mine alone," said the Heer, "I
would not hesitate; but I am not acting for myself. The safety of my
people depends upon the punishment of those who conspire to destroy
them, as did thy grandson. Were I to let him loose, he might again
occasion the destruction of our village, and how then should I answer
it to my God, my kind, or my people?"
"Yes!" retorted the Frizzled Head, with bitterness, "yes! such is
the code and the heart of the white-man. His duties are ever
conflicting with each other, and even the precepts of forgiveness,
inculcated by the book which he pretends came directly from heaven,
must yield to laws of his own making. As a christian, it is his duty to
pardon; as a legislator, to punish offences. He cannot love his country
without being unjust to his friends, nor fulfil his duties to the
public, but at the sacrifice of kindred affection, and domestic ties.
But, once more— once more, and for the last time, art thou resolved,
"Fixed as fate?"
"As I live, I swear that, so far as rests with me, he shall pay the
forfeit of his dark and malignant crime, before mid-day to-morrow.
Trouble me no more—I am deaf to thy petition."
"Then thus may it be with thy petitions, now, henceforth, and for
ever more, whether addressed to thy fellow creatures, or to Him who
made us all. If thou callest for sympathy, mayst thou meet with scorn;
if thou askest for kindness, mayst thou be answered with the
bitterness of contumely; if thou criest out for bread, mayst thou
receive a stone; and if, in the last hour of thy existence, struggling
between life and death, time and eternity, fearing, hoping, trembling,
expiring, thou shalt address thy last prayer for pardon to the throne
of thy Maker, may he turn a deaf ear, as thou hast done to mine."
So saying, she departed from the presence of the Heer, and took her
way through the village, stopping at every house, and madly calling on
the inhabitants to interfere, and rescue her grandson from what she
called the tyranny of the Governor. But her exhortations produced
little or no effect. The people had suffered too much from the
treasonable practices of Cupid, to feel any sympathy for him; and they
were so accustomed to consider the declamations of Bombie of the
Frizzled Head as little better than mysterious parables, coming from
the mouth of one who possessed little in common with ordinary mortals,
that few paid much attention to her from any other motive than fear.
Early the next morning there was a great bustle observed in the
village, for this was the morning big with the fate of Bombie's
grandson. This was the first example of a capital punishment that ever
occurred in Elsingburgh, and the effect was proportionably profound.
Every body seemed agitated and in motion, yet nothing was doing. All
avocations were suspended, and, although there was a great deal of
talking, it was all in whispers. A certain deep impression of horror
reigned all around, and the imagination was filled with nothing but
images of death. Yet such is the apparent inconsistency of human
nature, that there was not a soul in the whole village, except the
Heer's family, that was capable of motion, who did not attend the
execution of Cupid. Men, women, and children, impelled by that
mysterious fascination which draws the bird to the fang of the
rattle-snake, and sometimes impels the human being to precipitate
himself from the brow of the precipice, poured forth, on this occasion,
to witness what struck them with horror in the exhibition, and made the
night terrible for a long while afterwards. The people of the country,
and those who live in retired villages, see so little of novelty, that
they are extremely fond of sights, and are almost equally attracted by
any thing that breaks in upon the monotony of their existence. It is
not that people love to witness spectacles of horror, or the effusion
of human blood, but that they want excitement, and often seek it after
a strange manner.
The goblin Cupid had not spoke, since the moment of his apprehension
by Lob Dotterel. To the exhortations of Dominie Kanttwell, as well as
the lamentations of his grandmother, he turned a deaf ear; and it was
impossible to discover, by any outward indications, whether terror or
obstinacy was at the bottom of this apparent insensibility. When
conducted to the foot of the gallows, he looked about as if he were
rather a spectator than an actor in the scene; nor did the agonies of
the poor old sybil, his grandmother, who, when she came to take leave
of him, discovered a degree of intense feeling, that drew a tear from
many an eye, make the least impression upon him, or draw forth one
single returning endearment.
"Farewell, my son," said she, giving him a last embrace; "despised,
deformed being of a despised race, farewell. I have loved thee the
more, for that thou wert hated by all the world—contemned by the most
despicable of the white-man's race— hooted at by the very beggar that
slept in the sun by the road-side—and every where, and at all times,
the sport of capricious power. Why should I lament thee? Thou art
going where, even according to the creed of thy oppressors, all will be
equal, and where, I say, thou wilt have thy turn to play the master.
Yes! I see it—I feel it—I know it! Each dog shall have his day, and
why not so with man? Millions of people live and die in the belief,
that the ox which is driven, the horse that is rode, the sheep that is
eaten by man, shall, in some future revolution of time, drive, ride,
and eat the tyrant who did even so unto them. And shall not our race
have their turn? It must be so, here or hereafter."
The Frizzled Head was waxing sublime and incomprehensible apace,
when Lob Dotterel apprized her, that if she had any thing more to say
to the poor deformed creature, she must say it soon, as his last moment
The Snow Ball turned herself about, looked all around the circle
with a scrutinizing eye, and said, as it were to herself, "he is not
here." Then, as if at that moment, for the first time, struck with that
feeling of absolute and inevitatable certainty, under which the agony
of the heart is quelled for a time, and hope sinks into listless
despondency, she quietly retired a little way from the gallows, and
stood immovable, leaning on her stick. She saw the fatal knot tied;
the cap, which shut out time, and enveloped eternity, drawn over his
eyes; heard the last exhortation, the hymn that was to waft his soul no
one knew where, without moving a muscle, or uttering a word. The noise
of the cart, as it drew from under the fatal tree, seemed for a moment
to shake her old crazy frame. She gazed for a minute, while her
grandson was hanging in the mid air, and was silent, till the total
cessation of motion in his limbs announced that all was over. Then,
letting fall her stick, clasping her old withered hands, and raising
her eyes to heaven, she shrieked out—
"'Tis done—and may all the cruel, accursed race of the white-man
thus perish, as thou, my poor boy, hast perished. Yes! yes! ye proud,
upstart race, the time shall come, it shall surely come, when the pile
of oppression ye have reared to the clouds shall fall, and crush your
own heads. Black-men and red-men, all colours, shall combine against
your pale, white race; and the children of the master shall become the
bondsmen of the posterity of the slave! I say it—I, that am at this
moment standing scarce nearer to time than to eternity—I, that am at
this moment shaking hands with death, and my body and spirit taking
their last leave of each other—I say it—and I say my last."
The tough old heart strings that had so often been tested, in the
hard gales of life, now cracked, and gave way; the strong frame that
had endured so many hardships, all at once refused to endure any more,
and in less than a minute after Bombie uttered these words she sunk to
the ground, overwhelmed by the agony of her feelings.
Numbers flocked around, as is usual in these cases, and one of the
crowd exclaimed to the others, "raise her up." "Raise her!" repeated
the Frizzled Head, the last energies of life trembling on her
tongue—"Raise her!" none but Him who broke down the eternal barriers
between the quick and the dead; who called at the mouth of the
sepulchre, and awoke the sleeping dust; who triumphed over death and
the grave, can raise this withered old trunk. The hour is come—it is
past. Wait, boy—I come." Her eyes closed, and she departed to a
The crowd dispersed, overwhelmed with terror; and that night there
was little sleep in the village of Elsingburgh. The good housewife lay
wakeful and afraid by the side of her tired husband, will be nothing
left of the red-men but their name, and their graves."
When the Rolling Thunder ceased, Dominie Kanttwell arose and made a
speech, which, however zealous and well meant, only served to
exasperate the red kings. He treated their ancient belief with scorn;
insulted their feelings of national pride; scoffed at their modes of
thinking and acting; and drew a mortifying contrast betwixt the
ignorant barbarian roaming the woods, and the white-man enjoying the
comfort and security of civilized life. The surrounding Indians began
to murmur; then to gnash their teeth, and finally many of them,
starting up, seized their tomakawks, and uttered the war-whoop. The
Heer and his party were now in imminent danger of falling victims to
the fury of the moment. But the Rolling Thunder arose, and,
waving his hand for silence, spoke as follows:—
"Red-men!—hear me! The Long Knives came here in peace, so let them
depart. Let us not imitate their treachery, by taking advantage of
their confidence to destroy them. Behold! I here extinguish the pipe of
peace; I break the belt of wampum, that was the symbol of our being
friends, and dig up the buried
"If thou haddest prayed but halfe so muche to me,
As I have prayed to thy relykes and thee,
Nothynge concernynge myne occupacion,
But straighte shulde have wroughte one operation."
The reader may chance to recollect the oath of Governor Piper, that,
notwithstanding the opposition of the mysterious Bombie, the Long Finne
and the fair Christina should be wedded on the morrow. Many days had
elapsed, yet Christina was not yet a wife, which shows how careful
people should be of taking rash oaths. The Heer, in truth, had been too
busy all this while to attend to his own private affairs. Besides the
vexatious trial and execution of Cupid, and the eternal exhortations,
threats, and prophecies of his grandmother, there was a storm gathering
in the north, that menaced the downfall of his authority, as well as
that of the Swedish crown in the new world. The king of England,
Charles the Second, being one day informed that Cornelius De Witt had
caused to be painted a great picture, or rather an "abusive picture,"
as his majesty was pleased to call it, representing the said De Witt,
with the attributes of a conqueror in a naval fight with England, fell
into a bad humour, and determined to go to war with the Dutch.
A consequence of this war, as every body knows, or ought to know,
was the capture of the Dutch possessions in what was called the
New-Netherlands, in North America, and a surrender of all their claims,
by treaty, at the conclusion of peace. These claims, now reverting to
England, comprehended all the settlements below Coaquanock, to the
mouth of the Delaware river, although these were originally founded by
the Swedes, who disallowed the Dutch claim, and professed to hold under
an express grant or recognition from England. In this complicated state
of affairs, it was plain, that the right of the strongest was worth all
the rest of these rights put together; and that, consequently, the
power of the good Heer rested on a rather ticklish foundation. Several
messages had passed between him and Governor Lovelace, of New-York,
who, about this time, signified to the Heer, that unless he agreed to a
surrender upon terms, he should in a few months send a power adequate
to force a surrender without any terms at all. Governor Piper had
received sufficient information from New-York, to satisfy him that his
power was totally incompetent to resist the puissance of Governor
Lovelace, and that he had nothing to do but surrender at discretion,
whenever the summons was given. He was, therefore, just now, suffering
the unpleasant anticipation of being shortly obliged to return to a
private station, which, albeit that it is usually denominated the "post
of honour," is not much coveted by most people, more especially those
who have been accustomed to posts of profit.
These public perplexities naturally drew off the attention of
Governor Piper from the affairs of his daughter, who, on her part,
however, although she had consented to become the wife of Koningsmarke,
still discovered an insurmountable objection, in her behaviour,
actually to commit matrimony with that youth. We call him a youth, on
account of his being so much younger than ourselves, although, in
truth, he was not much under thirty years of age, notwithstanding he
looked younger. Indeed, the struggles of poor Christina, betwixt
gratitude and love, on one hand, and filial affection and duty towards
the memory of her mother, on the other, now that she was returned to
her home, and out of the reach of the daily and hourly anxieties which
occupied her during her captivity, returned again as violently as ever.
The anticipation of her union with Koningsmarke afforded her no
pleasure, and she seized every pretext to elude or put aside his
solicitations to fulfil her own promise, and the wishes of her father.
As they walked one evening along the little stream we have heretofore
mentioned, they came to the place where Koningsmarke had rescued
Christina from the pollution of the poor maniac. The sight of this spot
recalled more vividly to her recollection the terrors of that horrible
hour. She shuddered, and looked in his face with an expression of love
and gratitude, that found its way to the innermost folds of his heart.
"What do I not owe thee," whispered she, softly, at the same time
pressing closely to his side, as if terrified with the very phantom of
"Thou owest me nothing—at least nothing that thou canst not easily
repay," replied Koningsmarke. "I ask nothing from gratitude, every
thing from love. Be mine, Christina, as thou hast promised. Thy father
"And my mother?" replied Christina, with a penetrating look.
"She is beyond the reach of this world," replied the youth. "Nothing
that passes here below, nothing that thou canst do, or leave undone,
neither thy virtues nor thy crimes, can reach her knowledge. The grave
is the eternal barrier between the present and future state of
existence. It breaks the ties of kindred, it severs the bonds of love
and friendship. We shall be rewarded and punished for the past, in the
future, and that is all. We cannot know what is passing in this
wretched world; we cannot look down from the skies, and see what is
done and suffered by those we love, and yet enjoy the delights of
beatitude. Christina, my beloved Christina, do not sacrifice thy own
happiness, as well as mine; do not refuse to fulfil the wishes of one
parent, and that a living one, in a vain and futile idea that it will
rejoice the spirit of one that is dead. Spirits never rejoice or grieve
at aught that passes here."
"Did my father know what I know," rejoined Christina, "he would
spurn thee for asking, and me for granting what thou askest."
"But he knows it not, nor ever will know it. Now that the tattling
Bombie is gone, thou art the only being on earth that knows how much
thou hast to forgive towards me. Once mine, or even if never mine, I
know thy generous nature will bury the secret from all the world
"But can I bury it so deep that it will not haunt me, morning, noon,
and night, as it doth now? I cannot hide it from my own heart; it is
like the spectre to the guilty mind, and ever seizes the moment of
forgetfulness, to come, when least expected, and dash away the cup of
bliss, just at the very lips."
"Christina," said the Long Finne, in a severe and solemn tone, "I
cannot endure this life much longer. Weighed down, as I am, by the
recollections of the past, I would not be, or even seem, presumptuous,
impatient, or unreasonable; but why didst thou first give thyself to
me? and, why dost thou now withhold the gift? Be what thou wilt, but be
"Why!" exclaimed the unhappy girl, bursting into a paroxysm of
passionate wo—"why is it that man, and woman too, are ever the sport
of conflicting duties and wishes? why is it that the tenderness, or, if
you will, the weakness of woman's heart, so often betrays her reason,
and places her good name, her peace of mind, her welfare, here and
hereafter, in the power of man? One moment, yes, even at this moment,
when the fate of my mother is full before my eyes, who shall dare blame
me, if, here on this spot, where I myself was saved from a fate ten
times more dreadful, I should waver, like a wretched being, as I am,
between conflicting feelings, wishes and duties? that when I call to
mind our captivity together, our mutual dangers, and thy unwearied
kindness, I should stand, incapable of a lasting decision, fluctuating
and inconsistent— despicable in mine own eyes, perhaps in the eyes of
thy better judgment—promising, one day, what I shrink from
performing—my heart torn, my temper variable, my very reason
sometimes tottering under the weight of its perplexities? Give me a
little time, and I promise, on the faith of woman, to be thine, as I
"Well, then," replied he, tenderly, "I will wait with patience thy
decision, and live, or rather exist, in the anticipation of my
"Happiness!" rejoined the maid; "believe it not, hope it not: the
recollections of former times forbid it. Those who have not laid in
the past a foundation for future happiness, have erected their hopes
on the sand—in barrenness and sterility."
The two lovers returned home, little satisfied with themselves, or
each other. Koningsmarke accused Christina, in his own mind, of
wavering and caprice; and Christina herself suffered the torments of
self-reproach, as at one moment she charged herself with forgetting the
obligations of filial duty, and the next, of being insensible to love,
founded on the sacred obligations of gratitude. But these struggles
were speedily brought to an end by a train of events, which we shall
reserve for the next chapter.
"There came a knight of gallant fame,
Sir Robert Carre was hight his name,
On ship-board, with his jolly crew,
And said—`Sir Piper, how dy'e do?"'
We have before taken occasion to allude to certain disputes which
were, ever and anon, revived between the potent settlements of New-York
and Elsingburgh, which, from time to time, menaced the very existence
of the latter. The storm thickened every day, inasmuch, as that King
Charles, who, unquestionably, was of happy memory in his time, had
granted all the claims of the Dutch in North America to his brother
James, Duke of York, afterwards King James the Second, also of blessed
memory, in his time. But, as the memory of kings, like every sublunary
thing, hath its day, it is but fair to apprize the reader, who may be a
little rusty in history, in consequence of not having paid due
attention to the Waverley novels, that neither of these illustrious
princes are thought much of in these days of impiety and
However this may be, his Grace of York forthwith took possession of
the colony of New Amsterdam, to which he obtained an undoubted right;
first, by conquest, and next, by christening it over again, whereby it
acquired, and still, happily, retains the name of New-York to this day.
This fair and renowned colony, with its beautiful city, its Dutch
burgomasters, dumpling dowagers, and cherry-cheeked girls, was now
governed in the name of the proprietary, by Colonel Richard Lovelace,
an old cavalier and soldier, who had been an actor in the Parliamentary
wars, and cherished a mortal antipathy to puritans, republicans, and
all sorts of people who refused to drink, and who sung psalms through
their noses. Indeed, his politics formed the ruling principles of
action with the Coloel, who, among other matters, got tipsy every
afternoon, and turned his back upon all sorts of meeting-houses; not so
much out of an affection for wine, or a hatred to religion, as because
his enemies, the puritans, or crop-ears, as he was wont to call them,
hated drinking, and loved long prayers. With all this, he valued
himself upon his gallantry to the fair sex, and cherished to the last
a portion of that dignified courtesy of damsels, particularly those
that were young and pretty, which constituted one of those beautiful
characteristics, that threw something like an air of refinement even
over the barbarous ages of chivalry.
Governor Lovelace professed, moreover, a most bitter and sovereign
contempt for the king-people of this free and high-spirited quarter of
our mundane sphere, derived from his early habits of thinking and
acting. Passive obedience, and non-resistance, were his creed, and in
his private opinion worth all other commandments put together; and if
the Governor ever hated one thing beyond all others, it was a person in
private life who meddled with public affairs. Writing, on one occasion,
to his valiant captain, Sir Robert Carre, on occasion of some troubles
in the, then, newly acquired possessions on the lower Delaware, the
Governor gravely observes: "as for the poor deluded sort, I think the
advice of one of their own countrymen is not to be despised, who,
knowing their temper well, prescribed a method for keeping them in
order, which is, severity, and laying such taxes on them as may not
give them liberty to entertain any other thoughts, but how to discharge
them." This method we hereby humbly recommend to Messieurs of the Holy
Alliance, as summing up, in the smallest possible compass, the
quintessence of a pure system of legitimate government. That they may
be sure of receiving the benefit of this precious morceau, we have
specially directed our bookseller to transmit to each of the "Three
Gentlemen of Verona," a copy of this our work, with a reference to this
There was one feature, and that a leading one, in the character of
Governor Lovelace, which, however, in a great degree tempered and
neutralized his tyrannical maxims of government. He was the most
indolent of all the representatives of majesty, that ever presided in
this new world, and his love of ease so equally balanced his love of
sway, that, although abstractedly the greatest little tyrant in the
world, he was not guilty, so far as we have investigated the history of
those times, of a single act of oppression, during the whole period he
presided over the colony. It is, indeed, a singular circumstance, and
only to be explained by this peculiarity in his character, that this
same Governor was the identical person who voluntarily delegated a
great portion of his civil authority, in the city, to a board of five
aldermen, whereby he laid the foundation of that puissant Council,
which hath since presided over our destinies, to the great glory and
advantage of the community. One of his regulations, most peculiarly
praiseworthy, and the revival of which we strenuously recommend, was,
that no play should be performed, and no book published, until it had
been first read, and approved of, by the board of Aldermen. As these
worthy censors had very little time, and no inclination to read books,
the number of manuscripts multiplied exceedingly. His Excellency
boasted, that in consequence of this simple expedient, the mischievous
art of printing became almost extinct in his dominion, and the repose
of his reign was not interrupted by the intrusion of a single new book.
Such was Colonel Richard Lovelace; a brave soldier, an indolent
statesman, with a head none of the clearest, and a heart never shut,
except to Presbyterians, Roundheads, and meddling politicians.
Governor Lovelace, soon after being quietly settled in his
government, despatched a summons to the Heer Piper, to surrender his
town and fort of Elsingburgh forthwith "to the obedience of his Majesty
King Charles the Second," &c. The Heer declined the invitation,
inasmuch as King Charles and his master were at peace, and he had no
inclination whatever to disturb the harmony that reigned between them.
Anticipating, however, that this summons would be followed by a visit,
Governor Piper despatched the Long Finne and a party with presents to
the neighbouring Indians, willing them to take arms in his favour. This
they declined, with secret wishes, however, that the two belligerants
would mutually exterminate each other. In addition to this, the Heer
fell into a violent bustle, and incontinently busied himself for
several days in doing nothing, as is customary with people who talk a
great deal and swear roundly.
Thus waned away the time, until one morning, a fine south wind
blowing right up the river, the little colony was alarmed with the
sight of three vessels of war, bearing upwards, their sails all set,
and colours flying, in gallant trim. They came like birds upon the
wing, each, as the sailor say, when the white foam gathers in waves at
the bows, "carrying a bone in her teeth," and advancing so rapidly,
that, ere the wise heads of Elsingburgh could guess, or reckon, what
they wanted, or whither they were going, conjecture was at an end, by
the ships coming to anchor directly opposite the town, as if in scorn
of the formidable battery of swivels erected for its defence. Lob
Dotterel wanted to call out the posse comitatus, and take these
intruders into custody, but his ardour was restrained by the Heer, who
anticipated, with exceeding low spirits, the speedy termination of the
Sweedish dynasty in this new hemisphere. He felt his greatness
tottering, and undoubtedly soliloquized on the slippery nature of human
power, after the manner of Cardinal Wolsey, and other great men.
In less than an hour, a boat put off from the largest ship, bearing
a white flag, in token of peace, as is customary, when a message is
sent, which, if not complied with, is to be followed by blows. This
boat conveyed the famous Sir Robert Carre, one of those brave and hardy
adventurers, who preceded, or followed, the discovery of this new
world. They were a species of knights errant, who, instead of being
enlisted in the cause of love and beauty, set forth to seek their
fortunes on the high seas, or in the new world, where rumours of
boundless wealth allured them to risk all, and float on the tide which
then began to set towards the west. The greater portion of these were
most devout enemies to the pope and the Spaniards; against whom they
waged perpetual war, pretty much regardless whether the respective
countries were at peace or not, religious zeal and antipathies being
held as sufficient causes for making war, independently of those
grounds of complaint which are usually put forth to justify an appeal
to arms. These adventurers were, unquestionably, men of talents and
bravery, but, if the truth must be fold, they were no great respecters
of property, and thought little of plundering a town on the Spanish
Main, or boarding a galleon, without the ceremony of inquiring whether
the laws of nations justified the act. They belonged, generally, to the
race of younger brothers; which, in countries like England, where the
estate is principally monopolized by the first born, has produced a
large portion of those whose crimes have dishonoured, or whose bravery
and talents have exalted and ennobled the national character. Although
it would be gross injustice to class these wild, adventurous spirits,
with the bloody and desperate race of buccaniers which succeeded them,
still we think, it cannot be doubted that they in some measure prepared
the way for those remorseless enemies of the human race. The custom of
making war upon the Spanish settlements in the new world, in the loose
and unauthorized manner practised by the first adventurers, gradually
loosened the restraints imposed by the laws of nations, and in the end
led to that entire abandonment of principle, and that total disregard
of the claims of justice and humanity, which characterized those
wretched miscreants called the buccaniers, whose very courage
constituted the greatest of their crimes, since it conquered the only
restraint which villains acknowledge in the commission of enormities.
Sir Robert Carre was a man of few words, which peculiarity rendered
him particularly disagreeable to the Heer, who liked very much to talk
a great deal before he came to a decision. The knight laconically, and
categorically, demanded the surrender of Elsingburgh and its
dependencies to the Governor of New-York, as representative of the King
of England, to whom the right to all these territories appertained, by
discovery, purchase, conquest, and various other grounds, each of which
was amply sufficient to establish the right of the strongest. Governor
Piper comprehended, pretty clearly, that he must positively comply with
this request, or demand, because the hostile force was amply sufficient
to level his town and fort to the dust in two hours at farthest. But
the good man wisely determined to put a bold face on the business, and
not ignominiously surrender, without a long discussion, which he looked
upon as the next best thing to a stout defence vi et armis. In
short, he was resolved upon a negotiation, let what would happen, and
privately stipulated with himself to have at least threescore and ten
articles for the security of the persons and property of his people,
and the honour of his government, in the capitulation. Preparatory to
this he pompously demanded four and twenty hours to consider of this
summons. But Carre was a person equally averse to wasting time as
words; he, therefore, very unceremoniously, replied, that as it was
impossible to make any defence, there was very little use in
considering about it; he therefore allowed him twenty-four minutes,
instead of twenty-four hours, to decide.
"Der teufel!" quoth the Heer, "that is not time enough to
decide which side of the mouth I shall smoke my pipe this morning, much
less to settle about the surrender of a whole province."
"Well, but if there is no choice, where is the use of taking time to
consider? If a man must, he must, Governor."
"Must!—du galgen!—I see no must in the case. I would
have thee to know, sir Knight, if it were not for the shedding of
christian blood, to which I have much disinclination, being partly
convinced by my friend William Penn, that there is no use for it in
this world, I would, peradventure, blow thee and thy ships sky high, henckers knechts and all."
"No use in shedding christian blood!" exclaimed the Knight. "Why,
d—n my blood, Governor, if I don't think you've turned papist. Why,
'sblood! what would become of us soldiers, if there was to be no
cutting of throats, hey? Would you make rascal leather aprons of us,
and set us cheating in a small way for a living, instead of growing
rich by plundering towns, and noble feats of arms? But come, the time
is just out; is it capitulation, or must I wipe thy town out of the map
of the universe in the twinkling of an eye?"
"Patience—patience, Sir Knight; where is the use of being so
hasty? You see I am in no hurry."
"Faith, Governor," replied the other, "that is generally the case.
There is all the difference in the world between one who gives and one
who takes; but come, security of person and property is the word, and
where these are safe, what signifies a change of masters, hey?"
"And the honour of the Swedish crown?" replied the Heer.
"Oh! as to that it shall be as full of honour as an egg's full of
meat. I shall take special care of that myself!"
"And our religion?"
"Nobody shall touch a hair of its head. You may have just what you
like, and as much as you will, always excepting popery, which I have
sworn against, and Presbyterianism, which his Excellency Governor
Lovelace doth not abide, drunk or sober."
"Well, well," quoth the Heer, with a long and deep-drawn sigh, "if I
could keep it from thee, I would bury thee, thy comrades, thy Governor,
and thy King, in the sand of this good river, ere I would give up my
sword. As it is—here, take it; and now I am resigned to the lot of a
private man, a situation which all great persons fall in love with,
when they can do no better. I will retire unto my little farm yonder,
and plant cabbages, like another Dioclesian."
So saying, the Heer delivered up his trusty blade; and thus the
dominion of New Swedeland passed from the superintendence of the Heer
Piper forever. No prodigy, that we know of, accompanied this transfer
of empire, which, by the way, Dominie Kanttwell pronounced a judgment
upon the people of Elsingburgh, who about this time began somewhat to
relapse into the wicked practice of ballad singing.
After taking formal possession of Elsingburgh and its dependencies,
in the name of his sovereign, firing a salute in honour of his
conquest, and appointing a provisional junta, Sir Robert Carre weighed
anchor, and returned with his fleet to New-York, where, on reporting
his success, his Excellency Governor Lovelace gave a great turtle
feast, at which his five newly created aldermen are reported to have
done great credit to the Governor's selection, by their excellent
judgment in eating. The only remarkable circumstance which followed the
capture of Elsingburgh was the mysterious disappearance of the Long
Finne, who was missing from the time of Sir Robert's departure; but
whether he went with him, was kidnapped, or forcibly carried off, or
what was become of him, none knew, or, at least, if any one did know,
the secret was kept with singular discretion.
Various were the conjectures of the people of the village, as to the
strange disappearance of the youth; but, as not one of these came near
the truth, we shall not trouble the reader with reciting them. The good
Heer was sorely perplexed, and could not help reverting to those
suspicions which had arisen in his mind on the first appearance of the
Long Finne, as related in the early part of this history. These
suspicions were strengthened by the insinuations of Othman Pfegel and
the Dominie, who both related certain mysterious facts concerning
Koningsmarke, which, whether true or false, afforded grounds for a
suspicion that there was a good understanding betwixt him and the
English commander. As to our poor blue-eyed village maid, the fair and
gentle Christina, though her feelings were kept to herself, or, at
least, vented only in solitude and darkness, yet we can venture to
affirm, that she had her own thoughts of this mysterious affair. Young
women, and especially young women in love, judging by themselves, are
prone to ascribe every action of their lovers to the influence of that
single passion, which, while it subsists in all its youthful warmth and
purity, is their own guide and polar star. Christina thus attributed
the disappearance of Koningsmarke, not to any treasonable practices
against the colony, or any fear of discovery and punishment, but to
pique or disappointment, on account of her having so often resisted his
persuasions for a speedy union. "But if so, he will think better of it,
and return speedily," would she say to her innocent heart, which, even
at that moment, trembled with a latent fear, lest the promised hope
should never be realized. Every hour that passed away without bringing
him back, diminished her confidence in the hope of his return; and when
a fortnight had elapsed, without either seeing or hearing of him, her
pale cheek and dim eye, her careless dress, and her indifference to
those little domestic cares and incidents which so pleasantly and
beneficially employ the hours of woman, all combined, served to
indicate to an observing eye, that harassing state of feeling, which,
when long continued, either triumphs over the body or the mind.
A critical friend of ours, whom we consult in all our literary
projects, and whose opinions we always follow, when we like them,
assures us that this our work will undoubtedly fail in attracting the
affections of that class of fashionable readers to whom we especially
address ourselves, for want of the indispensable requisite of a
reasonable quantity of bloodshed and murder.
"All the works of imagination," said he, "which have been the most
singularly successful of late, you will observe, abound in battle,
murder, and sudden deaths, events for which people of a pure natural
taste have a peculiar relish, as is evinced in the avidity with which
they peruse the accounts of last dying speeches and executions. All
writers," continued our critical monitor, "agree, that what is most
agreeable to nature, in narration, sentiment, or description,
approaches the nearest to the true standard of taste; and,
consequently, the vulgar taste must come the nearest to perfection,
being the least sophisticated by arbitrary rules, or factitious
refinements. It is, therefore, a happy omen for literature, that the
fashionable taste is now making daily approaches to that of the vulgar,
and no longer banquets with such extraordinary zest on those
refinements in sentiment, those polished graces, and latent beauties,
which, in less happy ages of literature, were relished with such
unaccountable delight. Such effeminacies as these have given place to
more manly and unsophisticated compositions— to delineations of
habits and manners, which, being natural and vulgar in themselves, are
calculated to enchant all persons of a truly natural taste. The writer
who would please the public now, must deal in perpetual excitements;
must lavish incidents like chaff before the wind; and excite either
disgust, astonishment, or horror, in every page, or his book will
certainly come upon the parish before it is six months old."
Our friend further assured us, that, as he saw no possibility of
bringing the catastrophe of our history to a fortunate issue, the best
thing we could do, would be to kill off all our principal actors as
fast as possible, for which purpose he advised us to borrow the
assistance of Tristan L'Hermite, Trois Echelles, and other
pleasant fellows, equally expert at hanging and joking, who give such a
marvellous zest to the late work of our great master in the mysteries
of historical fiction. But, notwithstanding what our friend said on
this subject, we cannot but hope, and believe, that the good people of
this country, owing to the mildness of their laws, and other
circumstances, are not so fond of hanging, and such like amusements, as
some of the more refined nations of the world. We trust they may
possibly be brought to relish less piquant entertainments, and that,
although they do stick pegs in the claws of lobsters to prevent their
biting, and sometimes cut off the heads of chickens with a dull axe,
they will, peradventure, excuse us if we finish this our work without a
single additional instance of mortality, natural or otherwise, or
resorting to the aid of our old friends, Messrs. Trois Echelles and
"If ye be set on mervaylynge,
Then shall ye heare a mervaylouse thing
And though, indeed, all be not new,
Yet suer the most part shall be true."
Time and the world alike move on unceasingly and in the self-same
undeviating pace, let what will happen. The keenest misfortunes of
individuals, the death of men who have filled the world with their
glory, the change of dynasties, and the revolutions of empires, affect
not the general course of events, or the great business of the human
bee-hive. The daily wants of mankind, the necessity of exertion, the
gratification of the passions, one or other, or all combined, still
keep up the busy current of life, which continues its course without
ceasing, and will only be finally arrested, when the consummation of
the great scheme of infinite wisdom and power shall have arrived.
Three weeks had now nearly elapsed, since the total subversion of
the authority of the Heer, and the mysterious disappearance of the
Long Finne. The inhabitants of Elsingburgh continued in the quiet
pursuit of their daily avocations, and scarcely ever thought of the
great revolution that had overturned, in the language of historians,
their happiness and prosperity. It was only the Heer and his gentle
daughter, on whom this wave of ill fortune had especially expended its
violence. The former not only felt his diminished consequence, but now
actually experienced what may be truly called one of the greatest
misfortunes incident to human nature. Being restricted from all
participation in the new government, he knew not what to do with
himself, and was at length reduced to the necessity of taking two naps
extra, to assist him in getting through the livelong, tedious day. The
fiend Ennui laid hold of him with leaden gripe, and, had it not been
that he at last luckily took to the Job-like business of fishing
inveterately in the neighbouring river for amusement, it is impossible
to say what might have been the ill consequences, to a man having
nothing to do, and at the same time being naturally inclined to be
busy. As for poor Christina, she complained not, she wept not, except
in secret; and to those who judge of the depths of the waters by the
noise they make, rather than by their stillness, she seemed as if
nothing was the matter with her.
In this state were the various persons and things appertaining to
our history, when, on a certain night, there gathered together, about
the spacious chimney of Master Oldale's castle, a group of village
blades, whose deeds of drinking used to stand recorded in veritable
chalk, in one corner of that sanctum sanctorum, vulgarly 'yclept
the bar. The company consisted of Wolfgang Langfanger, Othman Pfegel,
and Lob Dotterel, who, being each equally deprived of their vocation
under the ancient system of Elsingburgh, were compelled, in sheer
self-defence, to pass part of the time at the inn, to hear the news,
and kill the common enemy of all idlers. Besides these, there was
master Oldale, who, like a trusty publican and sinner, that understood
his business, was ever accustomed to encourage the practice of
tippling, not only by precept, but by example. The fifth personage, who
completed the group, was a singular itinerant genius, called Lowright,
a traveling pedler, tinker, and what not, who regularly traversed the
wilderness between New-York and the river Delaware, once a year, with
his pack on his back, and as regularly, as is usual with such losel
wights, did incontinently cheat about one half of the men, and all the
women of Elsingburgh. He was well known, and, to say truth, not much
respected, not only among the Indians, but also by the inhabitants of
the little villages, that now began to peep forth in groups of log
huts, at intervals "few and far between," in the desert. Mankind
unquestionably have a natural aptitude to be cheated in one way or
other; sometimes by rulers, sometimes by priests, and sometimes by
pedlers. Besides, Lowright was not only a pestilent rogue, but a merry
rogue, who sung excellent songs, told the most bloody stories, and
withal never cheated any body but in jest. When charged with his
rogueries, he always turned them off with an excellent joke,
accompanied by an irresistible laugh; and it is well known, that if you
keep people, and especially women, in a good humour, you may cheat them
out of any thing. Much of the news that passed between New-York and
Elsingburgh was brought by this strolling wight; for at that time it
was a rare thing for any one to venture on a journey through this wild
It was now waxing late in the evening; the night was becoming
excessively dark, and the flashes of lightning which penetrated the
crevices of the windows, followed by the distant and muttering thunder,
gave indication of a coming storm. The conversation turned on the late
events of the village, and especially the fate of the goblin Cupid, and
his mysterious grandmother, whose night walkings still continued the
common theme of the village. Lob Dotterel was called upon to verify
these legends, and, after whetting his whistle, looking cautiously
about the room, and drawing his chair a little more within the circle,
cleared his throat, and attested to the following facts, in the midst
of peels of thunder, that now became more loud and frequent:
"You must know," said the ci-devant high constable, "that one
night—it was the Wednesday night following the death of Cupid and his
grandmother—I had been out late on business." Here master Oldale
tipped the company a wink, which conveyed to their comprehension that
Lob had been tippling at the sign of the Indian Queen, rather more than
beseemed a discreet, sober man. "When I got home, I proceeded to
undress myself, and was just standing before the glass, tying on my
nïght-cap, when, as I am a christian man and a living sinner, I saw in
the glass the face of the black witch Bombie, looking just over my
shoulder, with eyes as red as coals, and lips moving as if she was
speaking, though I could hear nothing. I looked round, though my head
moved on my shoulders like a door on rusty hinges, but nobody was
there. I looked in the glass, and there was the ghastly face glaring
over my shoulder as before, with red eyes, and blue lips moving with a
quivering motion, without uttering a word. Often, as I turned my head
to look behind me, I saw nothing; but the moment I turned to the
looking glass, the face appeared, just peering over my shoulder.
Presently I felt two cold hands on my back, and the face in the glass
came so close to mine, that I felt its breath against my cheek."
"I never heard of a ghost breathing before," said Lowright; "but
maybe the spirits of ladies of colour are different from those of white
people. Go on, master constable."
"The weight of the hands on my shoulders grew heavier and heavier,
till at last I fell flat on my face upon the floor, unable to support
it any longer. What time I lay there I can't tell, but when I came to
myself, and looked about, there was nothing in the room but old Grip,
the dog, who lay fast asleep in a corner."
As master Dotterel concluded his story, there came a terrible flash
of lightning, followed by an awful crash of thunder, that seemed to
have dashed the universe to atoms. The company gradually contracted
their little circle, until their knees mixed with each other, and, late
as it was, no one seemed inclined to go to rest, amid the uproar
without and the solemnity within doors. The crash was followed by an
awful silence, until the tinker exclaimed, "There will be bitter
weather by and by, and, for my part, I could never sleep in a thunder
storm. Come, landlord, another tankard, and master Wolfgang will tell
us a story, to pass away the time."
The tankard was brought, and master Wolfgang, at the request of the
company, commenced his story as follows:
"Many years ago, it was in my native country of Sweden, I happened
once to be benighted at a distance of several miles from any house. It
was in the summer season, and much such a night as this. The thunder
rolled incessantly, followed by continued flashes of lightning which
blinded both me and my horse. By the light of one of these, I thought
I could distinguish an old ruined building, that I took to be the
remains of a church, which I knew from report was situated somewhere
hereabouts. I heard the roar of the tempest approaching nearer and
nearer, while the big drops of rain began to fall thicker and faster
every moment. There was no alternative, but to weather the storm
without a shelter, or seek it in the old church, which, though the
windows were broken and the doors decayed, was still better than
nothing. I had an invincible antipathy to churches and churchyards at
night; but then I hated a wet jacket even more than I feared ghosts; so
I e'en dismounted, led my horse inside of the door, and groped my way
into a pew in one corner, where there was tolerable shelter. Presently
the rain came in torrents, the thunder rolled, and burst, and crashed,
and the lightning flashed upon the white tombstones, that peeped above
the sills of the windows. Soon I began to feel the effects of a long
day's journey, and, stretching myself out on the seat, I gradually fell
fast asleep. After some time, I was disturbed by a strange sound, not
unlike the tremulous quaver of the screech-owl, `hoo! hoo! hoo!' I
opened my eyes, and the first object they met was a tall, ghastly
female figure, leaning over me, with her face close to mine. During my
nap it had cleared up, and the bright moonbeams, pouring into the
windows, and ruined roof and walls, fell directly on the spectre before
me. To my dying day, I shall never forget the lank face, hollow cheeks,
and glaring eyes of the figure, as, with raised hands, the long,
skinny, and bony fingers of which were extended over me, it repeated
the quaver, in a shrill, hollow tone, and bent down and kissed me, with
lips that seemed covered with the damps and mildews of the sepulchre. I
shrunk, and shuddered as if death had sealed me his own in that
horrible kiss, which was followed by the same tremulous `hoo! hoo!
hoo!' My limbs refused to obey the impulse of my fears, and, for the
life of me I could not make a single effort to escape, but felt as I
had sometimes done in dreams, where we struggle in vain to stir hand or
foot. At this moment the day began to dawn, and a gun from a
neighbouring fortress announced the morning. The figure started at the
explosion, which broke on the deathlike silence, and echoed far and
wide. `Hoo! hoo! hoo!' cried the spectre of horror, as she stooped
again and gave me one of her infernal kisses. She then moved slowly
away, and disappeared, I could not tell how, in the obscurity of a
distant corner of the ruined building.
"When I was assured of its being gone, I started up, mounted my
horse, and proceeded rapidly to a village about four miles distant,
where I ordered breakfast. I had scarcely been here half an hour when I
heard the same noise which had alarmed me so much in the church. `What
is that?' I exclaimed, as one of the attendants came in. `Oh,' replied
she, `'tis only a poor crazy woman, that wanders about these parts, but
never hurts any body, and never says any thing but `hoo! hoo! hoo!'
`And kisses every body?' `No—they say she only kisses those who are
going to die very soon.' I kept the secret of her salute, although, to
tell the honest truth, gentlemen, I considered myself, for a whole year
afterwards, as little better than a dead man. This happened more than
twenty years ago, and yet, at times, and especially in such a night as
this, the impression of my adventure in the old ruined church is as
fresh as if it had happened yesterday. But come, master Lowright, the
night wears apace, and there is no venturing out in the uproar and
darkness. You must keep us company in another tankard and another
"With all my heart," replied the jolly pedler; "let me whet my
whistle, and you shall have a story that will astonish you all." The
tankard passed round, and master Lowright commenced his legend.
"You must know, gossips, that, though I come from New-York, I don't
live in the city, but in a deep forest about four miles off on the
island, where every thing is as wild, and in as perfect a state of
nature, as it was the day of the deluge. My house is of a single story,
containing a single room, which serves me for parlour, kitchen, and
hall. My bed is in the attic story above, and is gained by means of a
ladder. I have no family, except a dog and a cat, and there is not a
house within sight of my solitary abode. Why I have chosen such a
situation is an affair of my own, and I shall, therefore, not trouble
you with my reasons for preferring this retired and lonely spot.
"One summer evening, I was sitting smoking my pipe at the door of my
castle—it was somewhere, I think, about four years ago—when I
observed a man coming towards me, with a staff in his hand, and dressed
in the style of a common beggar. As he advanced up the little path
which led to my dwelling, I observed that he was tall and straight in
his person, and that his face was remarkably handsome. Altogether,
indeed, he was the likeliest person I have seen in a long time, except
the young man called the Long Finne, who was here last year, and whom I
saw carried to prison in New-York the other day." "What!" exclaimed
Wolfgang Langfanger, "is the Long Finne in NewYork?" "Ay, that he is,
to his cost, for he is condemned to be whipt through the streets, and
afterwards sold to Barbadoes as a slave, for having conspired, it is
said, with the savages, against the English power. But I will go on
with my story, for I see master Dotterel begins to wax sleepy.
"As the beggar approached me, he began, in the usual way, to beg for
a lodging, as the night was setting in dark, and the path to the city,
being through the woods, would be difficult to find. `But I have only
one bed in my house,' replied I, `and that I generally like to keep to
"`Beggars must not be choosers,' replied he; `I can sleep on the
hearth by the fire. I have made harder lodging than that in my time,
and so I have wherewithal over my head, I care little what is under
it, provided it is not harder than a stone.'
"`But,' replied I, `I know you not; I live alone here in the woods,
and it is not usual to take people in our houses, without knowing
something of them.'
"`What!' quoth the beggar, looking round on my poor household with a
dry, sarcastic air, `you are afraid I shall rob you? Only to think of
the difference between us! I am equally a stranger to you, and yet, you
see, I am not afraid to sleep in your house. But the beggar sings
before the robber.'
"The humour of the rogue pleased me; I at length consented that he
should stay the night, and make his pillow on the hearth stone. We sat
up till almost midnight, chatting over our adventures, and then went to
bed. But some how or other, I couldn't sleep; or, if I did fall asleep
for a moment, it was only to be awakened with frightful dreams. On one
of these occasions, I thought I heard a stir in the room below, and,
cautiously creeping to the opening, saw a sight that froze every drop
of my blood into an icicle."
"What was it?" exclaimed Lob Dotterel, opening one eye, and drawing
his chair closer into the corner.
"It was the beggar, busily employed in whetting the point of a
knife, that appeared to me at least a yard long. Ever and anon he would
feel the point, shake his head, as much as to say, `it won't do yet,'
and then set to work sharpening it again. I had not the least doubt
that he intended to murder me, under an impression that I had hoarded
up money in my business. I therefore prepared myself for defending my
life as well as I could. I had a pistol, but, unluckily, it wanted a
lock, and an old rusty sword, without edge or point." "Ay," quoth
master constable, "like one of your excellent razors." "Or rather, like
your excellent wit," replied the pedler, and incontinently got the
laugh on his side.
"What was to be done? I began to distil into a jelly, and felt both
courage and strength fast fleeting away, as too often happens in these
hours of sore extremity. Desperation at last supplied the place of
valour and discretion, and I determined, instead of waiting till the
wretch had sharpened his knife, so as to stick me through and through
in the twinkling of an eye, to come upon him by surprise, and carry the
war into his own camp. I therefore suddenly plumped down upon him,
with my trusty blade in hand—and what d'ye think, gentlemen, was the
"Why, you killed him," said the whole company with one voice.
"No! he killed me!"
Here the whole company started up, as if by one impulse, and stared
in silent horror at master Lowright, marvelling whether it was really
himself sitting among then, or only the ghost of himself.
At the moment of this ecstatic climax of wonder and dismay, there
was a loud crash of thunder, succeeded by a tremendous bouncing,
thumping, howling, and shrieking, in the garret above, that appalled
the stoutest hearts of the whole company, and caused each man to press
close to his neighbour in trembling agitation. Presently something was
heard to fall, with a weight that shook the floor, through the opening
which led by a ladder into the attic story; the lamp, that stood nearly
under it, was suddenly extinguished, and there was a hissing, and
spitting, and howling, in the darkness, as if the fiends had suddenly
decamped from their ordinary abodes, to take lodgings at master
Oldale's castle. All was horror, dismay, and confusion; not a soul
dared stir from the spot where he was planted, and not a soul uttered a
word, save the ci-devant high constable, who, on this occasion,
disgraced his valorous exploits among the Indians, by roaring lustily
for help, being fast held by the leg, by Othman Pfegel, who had tumbled
flat on the floor. The cry brought mistress Oldale, with a candle,
which at once disclosed the cause of all this uproar, in the persons of
two cats, who had, agreeably to the custom of these amiable animals,
been making "cruel love," after the manner of certain affectionate
couples, who act upon the old saying, that the falling out of lovers is
the renewal of love. The discovery forthwith put an end to the merry
making. Each man felt an internal consciousness of having been
frightened at nothing, and sneaked away to bed, without the ceremony of
bidding good night.
"He is in prison, let us go to him—
He cannot come to us. His thoughts alone are free:
They'll fly abroad, like to old Noah's bird,
And tell him that the earth affords no place
Of rest but that—no friend to take his hand,
And buoy him above the boundless waves.
Let's go to him."
News fly swift every where, but most of all in a country village. It
was soon communicated to the Heer Piper and his fair daughter, that the
Long Finne had been carried a prisoner to New-York, and condemned to be
whipt, and sold to slavery. The pedler was called up, and stated, that
the youth had been seized the night before the sailing of the fleet, as
he was taking a solitary walk along the river side; conveyed on board
the ships; transported to New-York; tried for treasonable practices;
condemned, and sentenced to these ignominious punishments. Such indeed
was the sad story of Koningsmarke, who had been seized and taken to
NewYork in manner aforesaid, and there brought to trial before the
Governor and his council. It was in vain that he asserted his
innocence, and that at the time he was accused of these crimes he was a
subject of Sweden, and owed no allegiance to any other power, much less
a power which exercised no authority in New-Swedeland. He was answered,
that the Swedes from the first had no right to the territory they
occupied, which, in fact, appertained to Great Britain by discovery.
Koningsmarke was therefore living under an usurped government, and
could claim no immunity on the score of not owing allegiance to a power
which, though not actually in possession, always had the right. The
council, consisting of the Governor, Thomas Delaval, and Ralph
Whitfield, on these grounds, decreed as follows:
"That Koningsmarke, commonly called the Long Finne, deserved to die;
yet, in regard that many concerned with him in these practices might
also be involved in the præmunire, if the rigour of the law should be
extended, and amongst them divers ignorant and simple people, it was
thought fit to order, that the Long Finne should be severely whipt, and
stigmatized with the letter R, with an inscription in great letters on
his breast, that he received that punishment for rebellion; and
afterwards to be secured till sent to Barbadoes, or some other remote
plantation, to be sold."
When Christina heard of this terrible sentence, her heart failed
her, and she sunk insensible into the arms of her father. Every species
of bitter, indelible disgrace was combined in this punishment; and who
is there, that cherishes a friend, or adores a lover, but would rather
have heard that he was dead, than thus scourged, branded, and sold to
slavery? When Christina came to herself, she desired to be conducted to
her chamber and left alone. After remaining there an hour or two, she
sent for her father, who found her pale, feeble, and nearly exhausted
with the misery of her feelings. Yet there was a speaking energy in her
light blue eye, that indicated she was labouring with some resolve that
possessed her whole soul.
"How art thou now, my dear daughter?" said the Heer.
"Well—very well," replied Christina; "but, my father, I have one
request to make thee, which, as thou valuest my happiness, nay, my very
life, I beseech thee to grant me. Wilt thou?"
"What is it, my dear one?" answered the Heer, with affectionate
sympathy; "it must be impossible, if I refuse it to thee. What is it?"
Christina looked wistfully in his face, and replied— "He saved my
life; he bore me in his arms, as a mother her only offspring; he
watched over me in the wilderness; he risked death and torture in the
attempt to restore me to thee; and shall not I do something to requite
all these obligations?"
"All that can be done to rescue him from this disgrace and misery
shall be done. I will send, and demand him as a subject of my master."
"Alas!" replied Christina, "when I wanted his aid, he did not send;
he came himself; he risked all for me, and shall not we risk something
for him? Let us not send, but go to him, father. Kindness should never
come at second hand. Even those who cannot ward off the calamities of
others, may alleviate them by sympathy."
"But think, my love, what will the world say of thy pilgrimage? Will
they not taunt thee with the reproach of following a degraded,
condemned criminal—a lover, whose affection is thy disgrace, and whom
to love is infamy?"
"Father," replied Christina, "I know that it is for the honour and
happiness of my sex, that they should, in all the ordinary
circumstances of life, conform to the strict rules of female decorum,
and pay due deference to the opinions of the world. But I also know,
father, that there are times and occasions, when love, gratitude,
filial duty, parental affection, attachment to our country, nay, even
the desire of fame, not only justify, but demand a departure from
common rules, and the sacrifice of those delicate restraints, which
otherwise should never be disregarded. To save a husband, I should be
applauded for this act, even though he were unworthy my affection.
Shall I not do likewise for one to whom gratitude at least has bound me
"But think of the toils and dangers of the journey, my daughter."
"Thou forgettest, father," replied Christina, with a languid
smile—"thou forgettest I am used to traverse the wilderness. The
errand I go upon will make me heedless of the way, except as it may
delay our efforts till they shall be too late."
"Ah!" replied the old man, with a melancholy, doubting shake of the
head, "come when they will, I fear all our endeavours will be too
late, or, at least, in vain. What hast thou to offer, to tempt the
statesman to forgo an act of policy like this?"
"My tears, my thanks, my prayers, my everlasting gratitude. Surely,
father, the hearts of men are not turned into stone by the exercise of
power, nor can they be insensible to the delight of making the heart
leap in the bosom of a lonely stranger."
"Well, well—I will no longer oppose thee, my girl. We will go, in
God's name; and, if it be necessary, I, even I, will humble myself
before Richard Lovelace, rather than see thee mourn thyself into a
shadow, and die of a broken heart. I have lost thee once, and know the
agonies of such a bereavement. We will go, and speedily."
Christina threw herself into the arms of her parent, and exclaimed
amid her tears—"Oh! that I may live to repay my father for all his
When it was known that the Heer and his daughter were going to
undertake this long journey, part of which was through a forest, as yet
trodden only by wild beasts and red-men, with now and then a wandering
being like Low-right, half a dozen of the villagers came in a body,
and offered their services to escort their ancient chief and his
daughter. "We will paddle a canoe for you to the Falls, and we will
carry you in a litter of boughs, when the way is wet and deep, or you
become tired." The Heer was affected by their good will, and, shaking
the hand of each, accepted their offers, with hearty thanks. Even in
the depression of his feelings, and amid the downfall of his power, the
heart of the Heer swelled with honest pride, to find that, though the
means of bestowing benefits on his neighbours had passed away, they
still remembered his kindness in the days of his prosperity. So easy,
indeed, is it for rulers to make themselves beloved by the people, that
whenever we hear the cries of the multitude ascending against kings and
their ministers, and see their arms raised in opposition to their will,
we are certain that pride, arrogance, misgovernment, and oppression,
are at the bottom of this discontent.
"Not all the roses grafted on her cheeks,
Not all the graces dancing in her eyes,
Not all the music set upon her tongue,
Nor all the lilies that lie on her breast
In dazzling whiteness, are of half the worth
Of that true faith, which is a woman's crown."
In two days all was ready; and one calm morning, in the merry month
of June, our little party embarked on the flood tide that set briskly
up the river, in their light canoe. A gentle southern breeze rippled
the surface of the waters, and cooled the summer air into a balmy
freshness, exquisitely grateful to the senses. First, they passed
Coaquanock, then a little thriving village, but since become a noble
city, honoured in its illustrious founder, and thrice honoured in the
residence of a sage whose precepts enlightened, whose example adorned a
subsequent age. Light skimmed the pine canoe along the low banks;
fringed with tufts of water willows, that bent down and kissed the
waves, as they approached the little settlements of Burlington and
Bristol, where a few clear fields around a cluster of rustic buildings,
announced the commencement of that great change in the aspect of the
country, and the destinies of its ancient inhabitants, which is rapidly
pervading the new world, and will probably not stop, until it has
passed from the Atlantic of the East to the shores of the Ocean of the
West, with an impulse unabating and irresistible.
The Falls, where Trenton now stands, was the last settlement of
white-men on the upper Delaware. From thence was one wide extended
forest, through which roamed the Tirans, the Tiascons, the Raritans,
and a hundred other wandering tribes, long since extinct, or
represented by a few degenerate beings, who seem only to live for the
purpose of proving that the red-man was born for the shade, the
white-man for the sunshine. All these were now on good terms with their
new neighbours from Europe, and our little party journeyed, unmolested,
from the falls, through the forest, along where the classic fanes of
Princeton now attract the youth of our country from all quarters; where
Kingston, and Brunswick, and Woodbridge, and Rahway, now swarm with a
little busy fry, but where at that time no trace of cultivation was to
be seen, till they came into the vicinity of Elizabeth Town, then just
settled. Christina and the good Heer, when fatigued with walking, or
when the way was more than commonly rough, or obstructed, were carried
by their faithful escort on a litter of boughs; and when they came to a
stream that was not fordable, they launched their light canoe, and
paddled to the other side.
At what is called Elizabeth-Town Point, where they were sorely
annoyed by moschettoes, our little party embarked on the tide that
carried them rapidly through the Kills. Neither the waters nor the land
on either side presented the gay and moving scene that they do now. No
oyster boats plied their busy rakes; no fleet of painted shallops and
pettiaugers, such as are now every moment seen gliding past each other
like the winds; no steam boats unfurled their smoky pennons to the
breeze; and the only animated beings besides themselves, were the gulls
that skimmed the surface of the waters, and the fish that sported
beneath. Where the little villages, the whitening spires, and
thickly-strewed farm houses, now animate the landscape on either side,
was nothing but lofty trees, on the dead branches of which was here
and there seen the fish-hawk, watching to pounce upon his finny prey,
and the eagle waiting his opportunity to make him resign it. The moment
the hawk had seized his prize, and rose into the air, the lordly eagle
flew forth and pursued him till he let it drop, when, darting with
inconceivable velocity, the regal robber seized it ere it reached the
So beautiful a scene might have charmed a heart that dwelt not upon
deep objects of interest, that swallowed up all sympathy with nature
and her enchanting pageantry. But the attention of the good Heer and
his daughter was concentrated on one idea, and they remained unmoved by
the fair succession of objects that passed rapidly before their eyes,
until they opened upon the delightful bay, and city, which seemed
rising from its capacious bosom. For a moment, each was animated by a
spark of wonder and admiration; but the thought that they were now
approaching the place, and the hour, which was to seal their fate as
happy or miserable beings in this world, speedily assumed its
ascendancy, and shut out all other thoughts and feelings. Arriving at
New-York, our little party landed, like pilgrims in some desert
country, or, at least, where they felt as lonely as in the midst of
the desert. Strangers to the place, and every soul within it, they knew
not whither to seek a shelter, but wandered about the little crooked
streets and lanes, as objects of wonder, rather than sympathy, to the
Passing, at length, by the door of a comfortable looking mansion,
the ears of the good Heer and his daughter were saluted with some lines
of an old ballad, which was familiar to their recollection, chanted by
a voice that seemed like one they had heard somewhere before.
"Bless me!" exclaimed the Heer, involuntarily; "if it was not quite
impossible, I should think I heard our old neighbour, Wolvert Spangler,
singing one of his ditties."
The exclamation was overheard by the singer, who came straight to
the door, exhibiting the little, chubby, round, jolly face of the
identical ballad-singing cobbler of Elsingburgh. The moment honest
Wolvert saw the old man and his daughter, he recognised them, and ran
and took the hands of the Heer, and shook them cordially, with tears of
"My old master," cried he, at last, "it makes my heart glad to see
thee. And thou, too, my little mistress, wilt let a humble old
acquaintance, who hath often taken measure of thy little foot, welcome
thee to this good city."
"In good sooth, Wolvert," quoth the Heer, "thy welcome is well
timed, and grateful to our hearts as our necessities. We are here as
strangers, without house, or home, or friends—"
"Sayest thou so," interrupted Wolvert, "I am glad of it—I am
heartily glad of it, for then thou wilt, perhaps, accept of me as a
friend, and my house as thy home. Never wilt thou enter a threshold,
where thou shalt be more welcome, or meet with hearts more glad to
administer to thy happiness. Come forth, dame," cried he; "thou hast
not forgot the kindness of my benefactress, to me and mine, when I had
neither house nor home. I have often told thee of it."
At this call there came forth, with active alacrity, a comely dame,
neatly and comfortably apparelled, and, with courtesy and smiling look,
besought them to enter and make themselves at home. "We will accept
thine offers frankly," said the Heer, "not only because we know not
whither else to go, but most especially, that thy welcome seems to be
truly and sincerely tendered."
"Else may one of the heaviest of Dominie Kanttwell's judgments
befall me and mine—my house and all within it," quoth honest
Wolvert, as he showed the father and daughter into his comfortable
little parlour, the floor of which was sprinkled with sand from the sea
shore, as white as the driven snow. After partaking of some
refreshments, which were pressed upon them with genuine, honest
earnestness, the Heer, whose heart was scarce ever so shut up but that
good cheer warmed and expanded it into something like honest jollity,
addressed his host as follows:
"Neighbour Spangler, I am glad, for thy sake as well as my own, that
thou seemest so comfortably settled, and seemingly, therewithal, so
well to do in the world. Thou hast been industrious and saving, I dare
swear for thee, hey? for, if I recollect right, when thou badest
farewell to Elsingburgh, in sober sadness, thou didst not over and
above abound in the good things of this life, hey? Tell us thy
"That is soon done," replied the other: "after leaving Elsingburgh,
I found my way to the Hoarkill, where I had a brother a skipper, who
owned a small vessel, with which he plied along the coast, to and
again. I got a passage with him to New-York, where I went forth into
the streets to seek my fortune. Providence, I humbly hope, in spite of
the judgments of Dominie Kanttwell, conducted me to the owner of this
house, then a worthy and thriving shoemaker, who, luckily, wanted a
journeyman, and took me on the recommendation of my face. This was not
the only good turn my face did me, for, in about a year, my master
died, leaving his widow all his possessions. The good dame was fond of
music, and in good time my ballads made an impression on her heart. To
cut short a long story, and a tolerably long courtship, I married an
excellent wife, who made me quite independent of the world, and to
whom, I trust, I have been, and always shall be, a good husband. Not
only this, Heer, but Governor Lovelace has lately made me one of his
five Aldermen, and consults me on all great occasions of state,
because, as he is pleased to observe, I always agree with him in
opinion, which is a proof of my being a person of sound discretion. So
you see, my worthy old master, my old friends, the ballads, have been
the making of me, after all."
The Heer pondered a few moments on this piece of biography, and then
addressed himself to Alderman Spangler, in an anxious tone, and with a
hesitating manner, as if afraid of hearing a reply to his questions.
"As thou art in the confidence of the Governor, thou canst, perhaps,
tell me something concerning the fate of a youth, who is dear to us, at
least, to me, and whom thou mayest remember at Elsingburgh, as commonly
known by the name of the Long Finne. We have learned that he is here,
and in jeopardy of life and liberty."
"You have learned the truth," replied the other. "Poor lad! I have
made every effort to save him from punishment, for what, I have every
reason to believe, he is not guilty of. I have even opposed the will of
the Governor, until he begins to waver in his opinion of my great
discretion. But his excellency is exceedingly prejudiced against
Koningsmarke, because his behaviour, during his examination before the
Council, was rather bold, and, according to the Governor's acceptation,
savoured of a crop-ear and Presbyterian parliament rebel."
"In what predicament stands he now?" asked the Heer.
"He stands," replied the other, "condemned to be publicly whipt, and
afterwards sold as a slave to Barbadoes. The first part of the sentence
is to be inflicted to-morrow, by twelve o'clock."
"Thou hadst better retire with our kind hostess, my daughter," said
the Heer, addressing Christina, whose emotions almost shook her frame
to dissolution, as the thought crossed her mind that it was now too
late to save poor Koningsmarke, at least from disgrace. But she reisted
the motion to retire.
"I came to see all, to hear all, and to bear all, if Providence will
vouchsafe to give me a few days' strength. The time presses, and what
is done must be done speedily, or never. Good Wolvert, canst thou
procure me the means of seeing Richard Lovelace this night?"
"I fear not, maiden," replied Wolvert; "he is now on Staaten-island,
on a shooting party to kill bears, and will not return till late, if at
all. But he will of necessity be here in the morning."
"Wilt thou see him in the morning before
the hour arrives,
and gain me admission to his presence?"
"If God will so help me as to succeed, it shall be so," replied he.
"Can I not see—him?" said Christina, with anxious and
"What, the youth? No, not to-night. He is confined in the fort, and
none can see him, without an order from the Governor. But
tomorrow—be of good heart, my poor maiden— to-morrow we will essay
what we can do. Richard Lovelace is a passionate man, but he is not
cruel. Let us put our trust in Heaven."
"I do," replied Christina, "but my fears overpower my trust. Would,
Oh! would to God this night were past, for I fear my mind will fail me,
ere the hour approaches when I shall most need its support, and that of
my Maker. Father, I would wish to retire, and prepare for the morrow."
Christina was conducted to a chamber by the good dame, who
discreetly left her alone, after seeing that nothing was wanting to her
"Unlock these iron gates, I say!
And give me up your prisoner;
'Fore Heaven, ere long we'll hamper him
With bonds, to which your iron chains
Are as Sampson's burnt flax."
The fatigues of a long and tedious journey could not conquer the
wakeful agony of poor Christina, who paced her room backwards and
forwards, till the crowing of the cock announced the approach of the
morning, which was to decide upon her happiness or misery. The rising
sun found her pale and worn with anxiety and suffering; yet there was a
firmness, a composure in her voice and manner, which indicated a mind
wound up to meet the events of the day, let them take what turn they
Soon as the hour at which the Governor usually finished his
breakfast arrived, the kind-hearted Spangler went forth to solicit an
immediate interview for the Heer and his daughter. His excellency
happened to be in high good humour that morning, having just heard
some news from England, which gave him particular satisfaction, but
which, having no especial reference to our history, we shall pass over
"What tell ye me, Alderman! the old Governor of Elsingburgh come
hither with his daughter, to solicit the pardon of him they call the
Long Finne? Body o'me! is she young and handsome—hey?"
"She is pale and sad," replied Spangler; "but the damsel has fair
blue eyes, is of exceeding comely features, and her shape is without
"What! no Dutch dowdy, shaped like a tub—hey? Well, I shall put on
my regimentals, and you shall go and bring the old Heer and his
The Alderman departed on his errand, and the Governor proceeded to
dress for his audience of the fair young Swede, whose limbs trembled so
that she could scarcely support herself, as they came into the presence
of him who derived a present consequence beyond all other human agents,
from having in his dispensation the fate of Koningsmarke. The old
cavalier was struck with the beauty of our heroine, and with mingled
gallantry and compassion, conducted her to a chair. After a moment's
embarrassment, Christina said to the Heer:—
"Father, the hour draws nigh, each moment is precious."
The Heer, then, in a firm, manly, and feeling manner, required the
pardon and enfranchisement of the young Swede called Koningsmarke, who
in all that he had done, had acted under his orders, as lawful and
unquestionable representative of the king of Sweden, then possessed of,
and exercising jurisdiction over the territory of Elsingburgh.
"But he invited the savages to take arms, and thereby endangered the
lives of many of the subjects of my master. This was against the laws
of God and man, and he deserves the severest punishment."
"The laws of God," replied the Heer, "authorize the means of
self-defence at least; and the practice of thy nation, as well as of
all the first adventurers in this new world, hath been to enlist the
savages in their wars with each other. He did not invite the red-men to
invade thy town, or murder thy people, but to assist in defending our
lives and property. For this he had my commission, and if any one is to
blame in this business, here I render myself thy prisoner, to take the
consequences of an act which was not his, but mine."
"But," said Lovelace, "it is in proof, from the testimony of thy own
people, that he continued his practices among the savages, after the
surrender of Elsingburgh, and that he was, consequently, guilty of
conspiracy and treason against the king's majesty of England."
"That is impossible," replied the Heer, "because he was with me
during the whole period of the negotiation, and also that which
followed the surrender of my power, until the evening preceding the
departure of the fleet, when, as I understand, he was kidnapped and
forcibly carried away by the agents of Sir Robert Carre. Who among my
people gave thee such false and wicked information?"
Governor Lovelace opened a drawer, and produced a letter from Othman
Pfegel, conveying these charges against the Long Finne, and referring
to Dominie Kanttwell for a full corrobation.
"The galgen schivenkel," exclaimed the Heer; "the Long Finne
shall cut off his ears, and a slice of the Dominie's tongue, if he ever
lives to get back to Elsingburgh; and if he does not, I will live a
little while longer, if it be only to do that good turn to a youth
whom I loved as my own son."
"But what proof hast thou of this?" rejoined Lovelace.
"The word, or, if thou so pleasest, the oath, of a man of honour,"
quoth the Heer.
"And mine also," faltered the weeping Christina. "The young man was
never absent from me, all this while, long enough to hold any
communication with the savages.
"Indeed!" quoth Lovelace—"is the young man nearly related to thee?"
"No; not a drop of blood that runs in his veins is of kindred with
mine. I owe him nothing on that score, but I am indebted to him for
life, and more than life. Why," continued Christina to herself, after a
struggle and a pause, "why should I shrink, from what my heart
dictates, and gratitude makes it a crime to omit? The moments are
numbered—the clock strikes eleven—one hour, and but one hour more,
to wrestle with fate."
Rising from her seat, Christina tottered towards Governor Lovelace,
and sunk at his feet.
"Oh, sir! exclaimed the maiden, with clasped hands, "if thou canst
not yield to justice, which demands the release of the innocent, yield
thou to the prayers of mercy, which entreats his pardon at thy hands.
At other times I might veil my maiden modesty, and shrink from the
avowal, but now, I proclaim to thee that this youth is my affianced
husband, that both gratitude and love have bound me to him for ever,
and that if he is disgraced by public stripes, and sold to captivity
among the slaves of the Indies, not he alone, but I, shall feel the
blows and the chains. My father, too, will become ere long a childless
old man, bearing on his shoulders a burthen of misery, greater than
even his weight of years. Think of all this, and feel as I and my
father would feel for thee, wert thou and thy daughter thus pleading
before us for life and death. Thou hast a daughter, perhaps?"
The gallant, hearty old cavalier wiped his eyes, and, hastily
approaching the fire-place, rung the bell. A servant entered
"My carriage, instantly; do you hear? instantly." He then sat down
and employed himself in writing, till the servant announced the
carriage was ready, when he arose, and, approaching Christina, gave her
the billet he had just finished.
"Thou shalt bear the first tidings thyself, my daughter," said
Lovelace, "for so I feel for thee. Enter the carriage with thy father,
drive to the prison, deliver this letter to the keeper—and may those
who would shrink from such exertions as thine never taste the delight
which is now preparing for thee. Go, and bring the young man with thee
hither. No thanks—there is not a moment to be lost."
He then handed Christina to the carriage, placed her in it with her
father, and bade the coachman drive to the prison with all possible
speed. The clock struck twelve a few minutes after they left the
Governor's mansion, and Christina, as she counted the last stroke,
exclaimed, in an agony of feeling—
"We shall come too late. Oh! I know him him so well! I know that if
he is once made a public spectacle—if the lash but once outrages the
sacred dignity of manhood—it will be as if he were lost to us for
ever; he will die, or, at least, he will never see us more."
A few minutes brought them to the fort, which served as the prison
for state criminals, where they perceived a bustle and confusion in the
hall as they approached. As they came nearer, they could see a tall
figure struggling with one or two soldiers, who seemed striving to
strip him of his upper garments; a measure which he appeared to resist
with all his might.
"Pooh! pooh!" exclaimed one of the soldiers, in a rough voice;
"there is no use in resisting, and you may as well take it quietly."
"Is there no hope they will shoot me?" replied the struggling
prisoner. "Must I be whipped like a slave?"
"As sure as your name is Long Finne," replied the other. "Here comes
the tickler, with his cat-o'-nine-tails; if you had as many lives as a
cat, he'd scourge them all out of you, I'll swear for it."
"Then God forgive me!" exclaimed the youth, as he snatched the
bayonet which the soldier carried stuck in his belt, and directed it to
his own bosom. At that instant, and just as the point became died in
blood, a voice that went to his soul, exclaimed:—"Hold! in the name
of Heaven! thy honour is saved!" The next moment Christina sank into
his arms, and her pure white bosom was stained with the blood of him
who pressed her to his heart. When the blue-eyed maid saw the blood,
she started away in horrible despair. "Am I then too late? Hast thou
done the deed? O! righteous powers, one moment had saved him and me,
and that moment was wasted!"
Koningsmarke solemnly assured her that he was not hurt, and that his
arm was arrested by her voice, just in time to save his life.
"And such is thy love for me!" said Christina; "thou couldst not
endure a little for one who would suffer all for thee."
"Any thing but stripes and brands. Couldst thou, dear Christina,
bear to link thy fate with that of a man who bore on his back the scars
of disgrace, and on his brow the brand of indelible infamy?"
"Yes!" replied she, raising her eyes to Heaven, as an appeal to the
ordeal of truth: "Yes! but neither thou nor I could bear it long."
"Come, come," cried the Heer, who now for the first time found the
use of his eyes and tongue—"come, come, you young fools, don't stand
here talking and crying before these rough and tough-hearted knaves,
who, I see, don't know whether to laugh or cry. Mr. Jailor, is the
"Perfectly so, sir:—the young gentleman is free to depart when he
"Well, then, let us depart, in God's name," quoth the Heer to his
young companions. "And here is something to make merry with, boys,"
throwing a hand full of rix-dollars among the men of bolts and bars,
who greeted him with cheers, as he departed, and took coach for the
"When heroine and hero haply wed
It is all one to us as they were dead;
Since in all ages it hath been the way,
That funeral or marriage ends the play."
Governor Lovelace received the party with great cordiality, and felt
his heart warm with honest benevolence, as the father and daughter
poured out their gratitude in thanks.
"Give me thy hand, young man," said he to the Long Finne. "The
assurances of this worthy old gentleman, backed by the entreaties of
this fair lady, have convinced me thou hast been basely slandered. Give
me thy hand; I hope there is no ill blood between us."
"None," replied Koningsmarke; "the wisest men may be deceived; it is
only the virtuous and just that will acknowledge and repair their
"And I," rejoined his Excellency, "hereby covenant to forgive
myself, and all my enemies, on one condition; which is no other than
that, as I perceive with sufficient clearness this young couple
contemplate joining their fates together ere long, thou, Governor
Piper, wilt lay thy commands upon them to honour my house with the
ceremony, and therewithal charge them, upon pain of forfeiting thy
blessing, to permit me the pleasure of giving away a lady, whom, if I
were a young man, as I once was, I would dispute the possession of with
Guy of Warwick himself. What sayest thou, Governor?"
"I say," replied the Heer, "yea, I swear, that it must, and shall be
so, or I will withdraw my consent in favour of the backbiter Othman
Pfegel, whom I do contemplate to beat lustily on my return. Art thou
content, my daughter?"
"Dear Father, allow me till to-morrow to decide."
"Very well, but,
der teufel! what has got into thee, girl?
When any thing turns up to separate thee from the Long Finne, thou art
half mad; and when I am willing to unite you together, thou art more
than half a fool, I think, and don't altogether know thy own mind. But
harkye, girl, be ready to-morrow morning either to consent to marry the
youth, or never to see him more."
"I agree to the alternative, father," replied Christina, bending
her head down upon her bosom.
Governor Lovelace now drew the Heer aside, and whispered him, "come
with me, and let us leave them together—I dare swear the matter will
be settled to our satisfaction;" and thereupon the two old gentlemen
left the room together. Koningsmarke, then, taking the hand of
"Christina, thou hast this day made me thy debtor in a sum of
gratitude, which I can never repay. Dare I ask thee to add to it by
complying with the wishes of thy father? I speak not of my own
happiness, but of his. He will rejoice in our union.
"Believe it not—hope it not," replied Christina. "Oh, how I
rejoice in the events of this day, which have enabled me to repay, at
least, some of my obligations to thee! Thou didst once save my life and
honour, and I have helped, to redeem thine. Thus far are we even, as to
the past; as to the future, believe not that I can ever join my fate
indissolubly to that of a robber— at least, to one who has been an
associate of robbers. The debt of gratitude repaid, I can yield nothing
"A robber!" exclaimed the Long Finne, starting away from her with
dismay and astonishment— "a robber!"
"Yes! I have said it; for the truth compelled me, at last, to utter
the word, which I have carried in my heart as a poisoned dagger, from
the very moment, when, at one and the same time, I became thy debtor in
an eternal weight of gratitude, and discovered thou wert unworthy of my
love. Nay, deny it not; thy whole behaviour, from first to last, hath
acquiesced in the imputation. None but robbers could have acted as thou
and thy companions acted."
"But I do deny it. I appeal to facts, to the whole history of my
past life, to the eternal fountain of truth, to God, and man. I have
never been what thou hast named me."
This solemn denial led to explanations, which, for the purpose of
compressing in as short a space as possible, we shall give in the way
of a connected narrative, and in our own words. For this purpose it
will be necessary to go back to the period when the Heer Piper resided
in Finland, with his wife, a timid, gentle being, their daughter
Christina, and the Frizzled Head, then to all appearance, as old as on
the day she died.
At that period, and, indeed, it hath ever since been too much the
case with the north of Europe, to the vexation, and ruin, and
degradation of the cultivators of the soil, the province was infested
with soldiery, who, quartered among the inhabitants, too frequently
acted like so many freebooters, rather than as protectors of the lives
and property of the people. It was in those days, and it is still, the
custom, for the petty princes of the north to hire out their subjects
at so much per head, to cut the throats, not of the enemies of their
country, but of those of the worthy potentate who paid for their
services. The regiment of Holstein, commanded by Colouel Koningsmarke,
was, in this way, employed in the service of Sweden, at that time on
the eve of becoming embroiled with the Catholic powers of Germany.
These foreign auxiliaries and hirelings, as might be supposed, having
no attachment to the soil, no common interests, or affinities of blood
or affection with the people, too often acted as their oppressors, and
plundered and insulted them at pleasure.
One summer evening, in the absence of the Heer, as Christina, then a
little girl of about six years old, and her mother, were sitting, just
about the twilight, in a little low parlour, whose open windows looked
out on a charming rural landscape, tinted with the soft, enchanting,
changeful hues of evening, on a sudden they were broken in upon by a
party of ruffians, armed, and apparently half mad with liquor, who
rudely seized both mother and daughter, and, by way of a good joke,
frightened them almost into convulsions. They shrieked and screamed,
but without any other effect than to bring forth old Bombie, who
assailed the intruders with the most bitter reproaches she could
devise. This brought the attention of the drunken rout towards the
Frizzled Head, whom they seized, and, with great ceremony, proceeded,
as they pretended, to decapitate forthwith.
Among the party was a fair, light-haired, blue-eyed youth,
apparently about thirteen years of age, who, however, kept aloof, and
partook not in any of these outrages, until, incited by the taunts, and
ridicule, and, finally, commanded by the leader of the party, he came
forward reluctantly, and affected to assist in restraining the violent
efforts of poor Bombie, whose hands they were endeavouring to bind. The
moment the boy came near enough, Bombie seized him by the collar, and,
tearing off his ruff, disclosed a large and singular scar, just under
his ear, in the shape of a cross. Christina, whose eyes were naturally
turned in that direction, also saw the scar, which was impressed on
her memory, not only by the terrors of the scene, but by the
exclamation of the Frizzled Head, who cried out—
"Ah! ha! thou bearest a mark—not the mark of Cain, but one by
which I shall know thee, whatever changes time and chance may produce
in thee. Thou carriest a sign, which to others may be the emblem of
salvation, but which to thee, sooner or later, shall be the signal of
disgrace and condemnation. I will remember thee."
The youth stood abashed, and took the opportunity of a momentary
pause, to whisper the leader of the party, a threat of representing the
affair to his father, if they proceeded to any further violence. The
whisper was, however, unnoticed by those whom it was intended to
benefit. The party, after eating, drinking or wasting every thing they
could find, finally departed, and returned to their quarters. The
agitation and fright produced by this scene of outrage, operating upon
the gentle spirits and weak frame of Christina's mother, threw her into
a nervous fever, which in a few weeks terminated her life. The
impression of these events was never effaced from the mind of
Christina; and, in truth, it may be said, that it strengthened with
age, and every little while received a deeper shade of horror, from the
exaggerated declamations of the Frizzled Head; who, as her memory
became less retentive and connected, substituted the youth with the
scar for the principal actor in the death of her beloved mistress. In
this way does memory often exaggerate the past, almost as much as hope
does the future.
The regiment of Koningsmarke marched the next day to a distant part
of the country; and, indeed, the knowledge of this event, was what
principally emboldened the ruffians who belonged to that corps, to the
outrage we have related. It is not within our plan to follow the Long
Finne, step by step, till his appearance at Elsingburgh. Suffice it to
say, that he was left, by the death of his father, an extravagant
daring adventurer, without money, or the means of subsistence: that,
not long afterwards, when his mother died in great distress, she gave
him a letter to her brother, the Heer's old friend, Caspar Steinmets,
who received him as a son, and with whom he lived for some time. Old
Caspar, however, was a man who thought no more of to-morrow than a
grasshopper, but sung, and basked in the sun, and was merry all day
long. Such men seldom leave much behind them, except a sort of
equivocal posthumous fame, made up of a kind recollection of their
generosity and good humour, mixed with a few shrugs of pity, at their
want of prudence.
Old Caspar died; his money was all spent; his salary, as high
bailiff to a prince whose territories, we are credibly informed,
extended over two square miles, throughout which he held absolute sway,
ceased with his latest breath; and when honest Caspar was fairly housed
in the final asylum, there was nothing left to his heir, but the
recollection of his kindness, that last legacy of gratitude, which the
good heart delights to cherish as a keepsake for ever.
In casting about where to choose his future lot, or, in other words,
what he might do to keep soul and body together, when the few
rix-dollars he had about him should be melted into thin air, and
identified with the things that have been, young Koningsmarke, who was
called the Long Finne, gentle reader! because he was born in Finland,
and nearly six feet high, was attracted by the new world. It was now
about the time when the dashing adventurers; the ruined lads, who had
wasted their inheritance; the younger brothers, who never had any
inheritance at all; the hero, alive to glory; the daring spirit,
willing to stake his life on the chance of unbounded wealth; and,
lastly, the pious convert, ready to do all, to dare all, and to suffer
all, were, each and every one, turning their faces towards the setting
sun, as to a region where some might retrieve their fortunes, others
enjoy the liberty of their consciences. Koningsmarke knew that Sweden
claimed rights, and had a settlement in this quarter of the world, and
that was all he knew. He was little aware that this territory was
governed by the Heer Piper, whose house, when a boy, he had entered in
the manner aforesaid; and, indeed, he had long since forgotten the
whole affair, as we forget our boyish frolics when arrived at the age
of manhood. He took the first opportunity of embarking for the new
world; arrived at the Hoarkill; proceeded to Elsingburgh; where he fell
into the custody of that vigilant police officer, Lob Dotterel, and was
recognised by Bombie, who accidentally discovered the scar, which, as
rather unbecoming to his appearance, he generally hid with a high ruff.
Koningsmarke, at the conclusion of this explanation, solemnly
assured Christina that every word of it was true; that he had
extenuated nothing; and that, any farther than hath been just related,
he had no participation in an event which he had first learned from the
Frizzled Head, on his arrival at Elsingburgh, but in a manner so
mysterious and exaggerated, as almost convinced him he was actually a
murderer. Christina, too, when she looked attentively backwards, and
traced the progress of her impressions with regard to this painful
event, could not but acknowledge, that they were in a great measure
derived from the declamations of Bombie.
To the foregoing explanations of the Long Finne, we beg leave to
prefix a few of our own. In addition to the declamatory exaggerations
of the Frizzled Head, it is probable that the Long Finne himself may
have contributed to mislead our readers, by occasionally indulging in
that inflated, romantic style, too common, with those of exalted
imaginations—calling himself an outcast to whom the elements
themselves afforded no refuge; a prey to the worm that never dies—as
if for the sole purpose of making himself interesting. To this we may
add, that we ourselves, with the most disinterested intentions of
enhancing the reader's perplexity and delight, in perusing this work,
have now and then coloured the charges of the Frizzled Head, and the
admissions of the Long Finne, a little highly. Should the reader be
ill-natured enough to find fault with us for thus verifying the old
proverb that "a story never loses by telling," we shall take care how
we treat him to another mystery.
The explanation of Koningsmarke, with his solemn assurances of its
truth, removed a load that had long pressed on the heart of Christina,
and when he again besought her to comply with the wishes of her father,
she held out her hand with a smile, such as had not lighted up her eyes
for a long time past.
"The will of my father shall be obeyed," said the blue eyed maiden;
"for now I trust that so it can be done, without any offence, either to
my father, or my mother that is in heaven. Oh God! I thank thee; I can
now conform to his wishes, and consult my own heart, without wedding
myself to never dying remorse. I am thine for ever."
A kiss, and an embrace, sealed this covenant just as the two old
squires entered the room.
"Well," quoth the Heer, "are we to be united to-morrow, never to
part, or to part, never to meet again?"
"She has said that to-morrow she will be mine," replied the Long
Finne, "and she never broke her word."
"Did I not tell thee," quoth the Cavalier Lovelace, "that there was
nothing like leaving them alone? Egad, there is always two to one
against a woman in such a case, not to say two to nothing; for there is
the lover and the lady on one side, and nobody on the other."
"Well, then," quoth the Heer, "to-morrow shall see thee one."
"Nay, let it be the day after to-morrow," rejoined Governor
Lovelace: "I must have time to bid the company, and, 'fore Heaven,
Heer! but we'll carouse a little, shall we?"
"Verily," replied the other, "I see no special reason why the heart
of an old man like me may not, on an occasion like this, rejoice and be
glad. I will drink a bumper to the name of the best of daughters with
"Ay, and to every letter of her name, or my name is not Richard
This matter being concluded upon, the preparations were made by the
hearty Cavalier Lovelace, to celebrate the wedding, in a style suitable
to his own dignity, and the regard he began to feel for Christina,
whose appearance and character had won his warm heart. One thing he
especially stipulated, to wit, that the ceremony should not be
performed by a Presbyterian parson, nor the wedding dress made by a
French milliner. The former part of the stipulation was easily
accorded, and the latter was entirely unnecessary, as there was not a
single French milliner at that time in the whole province.
At length the happy hour arrived, which for ever united Koningsmarke
and Christina in one fate and one name. All the dignitaries of the city
were bidden, not forgetting Alderman Spangler and his dame; and it was
the opinion of the young ladies present, that the bridegroom was quite
as handsome as the red-coats of Governor Lovelace's staff, who made
such havoc in the tender hearts of the pretty maidens of New-York.
Truth, our governing principle in this history, obliges us to state,
that Governor Lovelace, the Heer Piper, Alderman Spangler, and one or
two others, did carouse it lustily till the second crowing of the cock,
when the Governor's old black valet entered the room, and informed his
Excellency that it was high time to go to bed, an intimation which he
never failed to attend to with perfect docility.
The day but one after the wedding, the Heer, his daughter, and the
Long Finne, bade the worthy Cavalier Lovelace farewell, and embarked in
his state barge, for Elizabeth-Town Point, where they took up their
line of march, and arrived in due time, without any accident, at
Elsingburgh. After sojourning a few days, they retired to a beautiful
farm, on the banks of a little river, about half way between
Elsingburgh and Coaquanock, where, in rural ease, rural quiet, the
enjoyment of leisure, health, and competency, combined with exercise
and employment, they passed quietly down the stream of life, with as
much content as falls to the lot of this world. But the Heer and his
daughter could never agree on the subject of rural economy. Christina
was for planting flowers, and ornamental shrubs, and beautifying all
around; while the Heer had a most pestilent propensity for the useful,
and valued a patch of cabbages above a bed of tulips of a thousand
dies. Christina at length succeeded so far as to make him promise to
pay some little attention to ornament, and cultivate a few favourite
flowers, which engagement he conscientiously kept, by planting a
notable bed of cauliflowers.
In process of time the good Heer saw his race prolonged, in the
person of a little blue-eyed grandson, concerning whom he balanced
three whole days, in sore perplexity, whether to call him after the
immortal Gustavus, or his good friend the Governor of New-York.
Gratitude at length got the better of loyalty, and the boy was
christened Richard Lovelace. The Heer privately covenanted with
himself, at the same time, that the next should be called Gustavus
Adolphus, let what would happen.
As we like to follow old customs, sanctioned by the examples of our
betters, we will conclude by gratifying the reader's curiosity with
regard to the other principal characters of our history.
The worthy Dominie Kanttwell, not long afterwards, married the
prettiest and richest girl in the whole village, and the next sabbath
preached a mortal philippic against the lusts of the flesh, and the
mammon of unrighteousness. On this unlooked for event taking place,
aunt Edith took mortal disgust to his doctrines, turned backslider, and
married Wolfgang Lang-fanger, then a spruce widower, who privately
declared one night at master Oldale's, that the improvement of that
good lady was the hardest task he ever undertook in all his life.
Lob Dotterel being, by the influence of the Heer with Governor
Lovelace, reinstated in his office of High Constable, passed the rest
of his days in busy importance, and happy assiduity, only that he was
ocasionally molested by the intrusion of the ghost of Bombie of the
Frizzled Head, which never forgave his agency in the catastrophe of the
likely fellow Cupid.
Poor Othman Pfegel having been confidentially apprized, that the
Long Finne intended to take the first opportunity of giving him a
sufficiency of drubbing to last him all the days he had to live,
departed suddenly—not this life but the village of Elsingburgh, and
settled down at the Hoarkill, where nobody thought it worth while to