Full Online Books
Authors Authors Short Stories Short Stories Long Stories Long Stories Funny Stories Funny Stories Love Stories Love Stories Stories For Kids Stories For Kids Poems Poems Essays Essays Nonfictions Nonfictions Plays Plays Folktales Folktales Fairy Tales Fairy Tales Fables Fables Learning Kitchen Learning Kitchen
Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Free Classified Website Without Registration Free Classified Website Daniel Company
Twitter Twitter Add book
Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesSatanstoe; Or, The Littlepage Manuscripts: A Tale Of The Colony - Chapter 18
Famous Authors (View All Authors)
Satanstoe; Or, The Littlepage Manuscripts: A Tale Of The Colony - Chapter 18 Post by :Mike_Russell Category :Long Stories Author :James Fenimore Cooper Date :May 2012 Read :2528

Click below to download : Satanstoe; Or, The Littlepage Manuscripts: A Tale Of The Colony - Chapter 18 (Format : PDF)

Satanstoe; Or, The Littlepage Manuscripts: A Tale Of The Colony - Chapter 18


"Good Sir, why do you start; and seem to fear
Things that do sound so fair? I' the name of truth,
Are ye fantastical, or that indeed
Which outwardly ye show?"


As I have said already, the adventure on the river made a good deal of noise, in that simple community; and it had the effect to render Guert and myself a sort of heroes, in a small way; bringing me much more into notice, than would otherwise have been the case. I thought that Guert, in particular, would be likely to reap its benefit; for, various elderly persons, who were in the habit of frowning, whenever his name was mentioned, I was given to understand, could now smile; and two or three of the most severe among the Albany moralists, were heard to say that, "after all, there was some good about that Guert Ten Eyck." The reader will not require to be told, that a high-school moralist, in a place as retired and insulated as Albany, must necessarily be a being that became subject to a very severe code. Morality, as I understand the matter, has a good deal of convention about it. There is town-morality and country-morality, all over the world, as they tell me. But, in America, our morals were, and long have been, separated into three great and very distinct classes; viz.--New England, or puritan-morals; middle colonies, or liberal morals; and southern colonies, or latitudinarian morals. I shall not pretend to point out all the shades of difference in these several schools; though that in which I had myself been taught, was necessarily the most in conformity with my own tastes. There were minor shades to be found in the same school; Guert and myself belonging to different classes. His morals were of the Dutch class; while mine more properly belonged to the English. The great characteristic of the Dutch school, was the tendency to excess that prevailed, when indulgences were sought. With them, it did not rain often; but, when it did rain, it was pretty certain to pour. Old Col. Follock was a case in point, on this scare; nor was his son Dirck, young and diffident as he was, altogether an exception to the rule. There was not a more respectable man in the colony, in the main, than Col. Van Valkenburgh. He was well connected; had a handsome unencumbered estate; and money at interest;--was a principal prop, in the church of his neighbourhood; was esteemed as a good husband; a good father; a true friend; a kind neighbour; an excellent, and loyal subject, and a thoroughly honest man. Nevertheless, Col. Van Valkenburgh had his weak times and seasons. He _would have a frolic; and the Dominie was obliged to wink at this propensity. Mr. Worden often nicknamed him Col. Frolic. His frolics might be divided into two classes; viz. the moderate and immoderate. Of the first, he had two or three turns a year; and these were the occasions on which he commonly visited Satanstoe or had my father with him at Rockrockarock, as his own place, in Rockland, was called. On these visits, whether to or from, there was a large consumption of tobacco, beer, cider, wine, rum, lemons, sugar, and the other ingredients of punch, toddy and flip; but no outrageously durable excesses. There was much laughing, a great deal of good feeling, many stories, and regular repetitions of old adventures, in the way of traditional narrations; but nothing that could be called decided excesses. It is true, that my grand father, and my father, and the Rev. Mr. Worden, and Col. Follock, were much in the habit of retiring to their beds a little confused in their brains, the consequence of so much tobacco-smoke, as Mr. Worden always maintained; but everything was decent, and in order. The parson, for instance, invariably pulled up on a Friday; and did not take his place in the circle until Monday evening, again; which gave him fully twenty-four hours, to cool off in, before he ascended the pulpit. I will say this, for Mr. Worden, that he was very systematic and methodical in the observance of all his duties; and I have known him, when he happened to be late at dinner, on discovering that my father had omitted to say grace, insist on everybody's laying down their knives and forks, while he asked a blessing; even though it were after the fish was actually eaten. No, no; Mr. Worden was a particular person, about all such things; and it was generally admitted, that he had been the means of causing grace to be introduced into several families, in Westchester; in which it had never been the practice to have it, before his examples and precepts were known to them.

I had not been acquainted with Guert Ten Eyck a fortnight, before I saw he had a tendency to the same sort of excesses as those to which Col. Van Valkenburgh was addicted. There was an old French Huguenot living near Satanstoe--or rather, the son of one, who still spoke his father's language--and who used to call Col. Follock's frolics his "_grands couchers_" and his "_petit couchers_;" (27) inasmuch as he usually got to bed at the last, without assistance; while at the first, it was indispensable that some aid should be proffered. It was these "grands couchers" at which my father never assisted. On these occasions, the colonel invariably held his orgies over in Rockland, in the society of men of purely Dutch extraction; there being something exclusive in the enjoyment. I have heard it said that these last frolics sometimes lasted a week, on really important occasions; during the whole of which time the colonel and all near him were as happy as lords. These "_grands couchers_" however, occurred but rarely--coming round, as it might be, like leap-years, just to regulate the calendar, and adjust the time.

As for my new friend, Guert, he made no manifestation towards a "_grand coucher_" during the time I remained at Albany--this his attachment to Mary Wallace forbade--but, I discovered by means of hints and allusions, that he _had been engaged in one or two such affairs, and that there was still a longing for them in his bones. It was owing to her consciousness of the existence of such weaknesses, and her own strong aversion to anything of the sort, that, I am persuaded, Mary Wallace was alone induced to hesitate about accepting Guert's weekly offer of his hand. The tenderness she evidently felt for him, now shone too obviously in her eyes, to leave any doubt in my mind of Guert's final success; for what woman ever refused long to surrender, when the image of the besieger had taken its place in the citadel of her heart! Even Anneke received Guert with much favour, after his excellent behaviour on the river; and I fancied that everything was going on most flatteringly for my friend, while it seemed to me that I made no advances in my own suit. Such, at least, were my notions on the subject, at the very moment when my new friend, as it appeared, was nearly driven to desperation.

It was near the end of April, or about a month after our perilous adventure on the ice, that Guert came to seek me, one fine spring morning, with something very like despair depicted in his fine, manly face. During the whole of that month, it ought to be premised, I had not dared to speak of love to Anneke. My attentions and visits were incessant and pointed, but my tongue had been silent. The diffidence of real admiration had held me tongue-tied; and I foolishly fancied there would be something like presuming on the services I had so lately rendered, in urging my suit so soon after the occurrence of the events I have described. I had even the romance to think it might be taking an undue advantage of Bulstrode, to wish to press my claims at a moment when the common object of our suit might be supposed to feel the influence of a lively gratitude. These were the notions and sentiments of a very young man, it must be confessed; but I do not know that I ought to feel ashamed of them. At all events, they existed; and they had produced the effect I have mentioned, leaving me to fall, each day, more desperately in love, while I made no sensible advances in preferring my suit. Guert was very much in the same situation, with this difference, however; he made it a point to offer himself, distinctly, each Monday morning, invariably receiving for an answer "no;" if the lady were to be pressed for a definite reply; but leaving some glimmering of hope, should time be given for her to make up her mind. The visit of Guert's, to which I have just alluded, was after one of the customary offers, and usual replies; the offer direct, and the "no," tempered by the doubting and thoughtful brow, the affectionate smile, and the tearful eye.

"Corny," said my friend, throwing down his hat with a most rueful aspect; for, winter having departed, and spring come, we had all laid aside our fur-caps--"Corny, I have just been refused again! That word, 'no,' has got to be so common with Mary Wallace, that I am afraid her tongue will never know how to utter a 'yes!' Do you know, Corny, I have a great mind to consult Mother Doortje!"

"Mother who?--You do not mean Mr. Mayor's cook, surely!"

"No; _Mother Doortje. She is said to be the best fortune teller that has ever lived in Albany. But, perhaps, you do not believe in fortune-tellers; some people I know do not?"

"I cannot say that I have much belief, or unbelief, on the subject, never having seen anything of that sort."

"Have they, then, no fortune-teller, no person who has the dark art, in New York?"

"I have heard of such people, but have never had an opportunity of seeing or hearing for myself. If you _do go to see this Mother Dorrichy, or whatever you call her, I should like amazingly to be of the party." (28)

Guert was delighted to hear this, and he caught eagerly at the offer. If I would stand his friend he would go at once; but he confessed he did not like to trust himself all alone in the old woman's company.

"I am, perhaps, the only man of my time of life, in Albany, who has not, sooner or later, consulted Mother Doortje;" he added! "I do not know how it is, but, _somehow_, I have never liked to tempt fortune by going to question her! One never can tell what such a being may say; and should it be evil, why it might make a man very miserable. I am sure I want no more trouble, as it is, than to find Mary Wallace so undetermined about having me!"

"Then you do not mean to go, after all! I am not only ready, but anxious to accompany you."

"You mistake me, Corny. Go I will, now, though she tell me that which will cause me to cut my throat--but, we must not go as we are; we must disguise ourselves, in order that she may not know us. Everybody goes disguised; and then they have an opportunity of learning if she is in a good vein, or not, by seeing if she can tell anything about their business, or habits, in the first place. If she fail in that, I should not care a straw for any of the rest. So, go to work, Corny, and dress yourself for the occasion--borrow some clothes of the people in the house, here, and come round to me, as soon as you please; I shall be ready, for I often go disguised to frolics--yes, unlucky devil that I am, and come back disguised, too!"

Everything was done, as desired. By means of a servant in the tavern, I was soon equipped in a way that satisfied me was very successful; inasmuch as I passed Dirck, in quitting the house, and my old, confidential friend did not recognise me. Guert was in as good luck, as I actually asked himself for himself, when he opened the door for my admission. The laugh, and the handsome face, however, soon let me into the secret, and we sallied forth in high spirits; almost forgetting our misgivings concerning the future, in the fun of passing our acquaintances in the street, without being known.

Guert was much more artistically and knowingly disguised, than I was myself. We both had put on the clothes of labourers; Guert wearing a smock-frock that he happened to own for his fishing occupations in summer--but I had my usual linen in view, and wore all the ordinary minor articles of my daily attire. My friend pointed out some of these defects, as we went along, and an attempt was made to remedy them. Mr. Worden coming in view, I determined to stop him, and speak to him in a disguised voice, in order to ascertain if it were possible to deceive him.

"Your sarvant, Tominie," I said, making an awkward bow, as soon as we got near enough to the parson to address him; "be you ter Tominie, that marries folk on a pinch?"

"Ay, or on a handful, liking the last best.--Why, Corny, thou rogue, what does all this mean?"

It was necessary to let Mr. Worden into the secret; and he no sooner learned the business we were on, than he expressed a wish to be of the party. As there was no declining, we now went to the inn, and gave him time to assume a suitable disguise. As the divine was a rigid observer of the costume of his profession, and was most strictly a man of his _cloth_, it was a very easy matter for him to make such a change in his exterior, as completely to render him _incognito_. When all was ready, we went finally forth, on our errand.

"I go with you, Corny, on this foolish business," said the Rev. Mr. Worden, as soon as we were fairly on our way, "to comply with a promise made your excellent mother, not to let you stray into any questionable company, without keeping a fatherly eye over you. Now, I regard a fortune-teller's, as a doubtful sort of society; therefore, I feel it to be a duty, to make one of this party."

I do not know whether the Rev. Mr. Worden succeeded in deceiving himself; but, I very well know, he did not succeed in deceiving me. The fact was, he loved a frolic; and nothing made him happier, than to have an opportunity of joining in just such an adventure as that we were on. Judging from the position of her house, and the appearance of things in and around it, the business of Mother Doortje was not of the most lucrative sort. Dirt and poverty were two things not easily encountered, in Albany; and, I do not say, that we found very positive evidence of either, here; but there was less neatness than was usual in that ultra-tidy community; and, as for any great display of abundance, it was certainly not to be met with.

We were admitted by a young woman, who gave us to understand that Mother Doortje had a couple of customers, already; but she invited us to sit down in an outer room, promising that our turn should be the next. We did so, accordingly, listening, through a door that was a little ajar, with no small degree of curiosity, to what was passing within. I accidentally took a seat in a place that enabled me to see the legs of one of the fortune-teller's customers; and, I thought, immediately, that the striped stockings were familiar to me; when the nasal, and very peculiar intonation of Jason, put the matter out of all doubt. He spoke in an earnest manner; which rendered him a little incautious; while the woman's tones were low and mumbled. Notwithstanding, we all overheard the following discourse--

"Well, now, Mother Dorrichay," said Jason, in a very confiding sort of way, "I've paid you well, for this here business, and I want to know if there is any chance, for a poor man, in this colony, who doesn't want for friends, or, for that matter, merit?"

"That's _yourself_" mumbled the female voice--in the way one announces a discovery--"Yes, I see, by the cards, that your question applies to yourself. You are a _young man, that wants not for friends; and you have _merit! You have friends that you deserve; the cards tells me _that!_"

"Well, I'll not deny the truth of what you assert; and, I must say, Dirck, it _is a little strange, this woman, who never saw me before, should know me so well--my very natur', as it might be. But, do you think, I shall do well to follow up the affair I am now on, or that I had best give it up?"

"Give up nothing," answered the oracle, in a very oracular manner, shuffling the cards as she spoke; "no, give up nothing, but keep all you can. That is the way to thrive, in this world."

"By the Hokey, Dirck, she gives good advice, and I think I shall follow it! But how about the land, and the mill-seat--or, rather, how about the particular things I'm thinking about?"

"You are thinking of purchasing--yes, the cards say purchasing; or is it 'disposing--'"

"Why, as I've got none to sell, it can't very well be disposing, Mother."

"Yes, I'm right--this Jack of Clubs settles the matter--you are thinking of buying some land--Ah! there's water running down-hill; and here I see a pond--Why, you are thinking of buying a mill-seat."

"By the Hokey!--Who would have thought this, Dirck!"

"Not a _mill_; no, there is _no mill built; but a mill-_seat_. Six, king, three and an ace; yes, I see how it is--and you wish to get this mill-seat at much less than its real value. _Much less; not less, but _much less."

"Well, this is wonderful! I'll never gainsay fortin-tellin' ag'in!" exclaimed Jason. "Dirck, you are to say nothin' of this, or _think nothin' of this--as it's all in confidence, you know. Now, jist put in a last word, about the end of life, Mother, and I'll be satisfied. What you have told me about my fortin and earnin's must be true, I think, for my whole heart is in them; but I should like to know, after enjoying so much wealth and happiness as you've foretold, what sort of an end I am to make of it?"

"An excellent end--full of grace, and hope, and Christian faith. I see here, something that looks like a clergyman's gown--white sleeves--book under the arm--"

"That can't be _me_. Mother, as I'm no lover of forms, but belong to the platform."

"Oh! I see how it is, now; you dislike Church of England people, and could throw dirt at them. Yes, yes--here _you are--a presbyterian deacon, and one that can lead in a private meeting, on an occasion."

"Come, Dirck, I'm satisfied--let us go; we have kept Mother Doorichaise long enough, and I heard some visiters come in, just now. Thank you, mother--thank you, with all my heart; I think there _must be some truth in this fortin-tellin' after all!"

Jason now arose, and walked out of the house, without even deigning to look at us--and consequently without our being recognised. But Dirck lingered a minute, not yet satisfied with what had been already told him.

"Do you really think I shall never be married, Mother?" he asked, in a tone that sufficiently betrayed the importance he attached to the answer. "I wish to know that particularly, before I go away!"

"Young man," answered the fortune-teller in an oracular manner; "what has been said, has been said! I cannot _make fortunes, but only reveal them. You have heard that Dutch blood is in your veins; but you live in an English colony. _Your king is _her king; while _she is your _queen--_and you are not her master. If you can find a woman of English blood that has a Dutch heart, and has no English suitors, go forward, and you will succeed; but, if you do not, remain as you are until time shall end. These are my words, and these are my thoughts; I can say no more."

I heard Dirck sigh--poor fellow! he was thinking of Anneke--and he passed through the outer room without once raising his eyes from the floor. He left Mother Doortje, as much depressed in spirits, as Jason had left her elated; the one looking forward to the future with a selfish and niggardly hope, while the other regarded it with a feeling as forlorn as the destruction of all his youthful fancies could render any view of his after-life. The reader may feel disposed to smile at the idea of Dirck Van Valkenburgh's possessing youthful fancies--regarding the young man in the quiet, unassuming manner in which he has hitherto been portrayed by me; but it would be doing great injustice to his heart and feelings, to figure him to the mind, as a being without deep sensibilities. I have always supposed that this interview with Mother Doortje had a lasting influence on the fortunes of poor Dirck; nor am I at all certain its effects did not long linger in the temperament of some others that might be named.

As our turns had now come, we were summoned to the presence of this female soothsayer. It is unnecessary to describe the apartment in which we found Mother Doortje. It had nothing unusual in it, with the exception of a raven, that was hopping about the floor, and which appeared to be on the most familiar terms with its mistress. Doortje, herself, was a woman of quite sixty, wrinkled, lean, and hag-like; and, I thought, some care had been taken, in her dress, to increase the effect of this, certainly her natural appearance. Her cap was entirely of black muslin; though her dress itself, was grey. The eye of this woman was of the colour of her gown; and it was penetrating, restless, and deep-seated. Altogether, she looked the character well.

On our entrance, after saluting the fortune-teller, each of us laid a French crown on the table at which she was seated. This coin had become quite current among us, since the French troops had penetrated into our colony; and it was even said they purchased supplies with it, from certain of our own people. As we had paid the highest price ever given, for these glimpses into futurity, we thought ourselves entitled to have the pages of the sealed book freely opened to us.

"Do you wish to see me together; or shall I communicate with one at a time?" demanded Doortje, in her husky, sepulchral voice; which, it struck me, obtained its peculiar tones partly from nature, and partly from art.

It was settled that she should commence with Mr. Worden; but, that all might remain in the room the whole time. While we were talking over this point, Doortje's eyes were by no means fixed, but, I remarked, that they wandered from person to person; like those of one who was gathering information. Many persons do not believe, at all, in the art of the fortune-teller; but insist that there is nothing more in it than trick and management; pretending that this very woman kept the blacks of the town in pay, to bring her information; and that she never told anything of the past, which was true, that had not been previously communicated to herself. I shall not pretend to affirm that the art goes as far as many imagine; but, it strikes me, that it is very presuming, to deny that there is some truth in these matters. I do not wish to appear credulous; though, at the same time, I hold it to be wrong to deny our testimony to facts that we are convinced are true. (29)

Doortje commenced by shuffling an exceedingly dirty pack of cards; which had probably been used five hundred times, on similar duty. She next caused Mr. Worden to cut these cards; when a close and musing examination succeeded. All this time, not a syllable was said; though we were startled by a low whistle, from the woman; which brought the raven upon her shoulder.

"Well, Mother," cried Mr. Worden, with a little impatience, at what he fancied mummery, "I am dying to hear what _has happened, that I may put the more faith in what _is to happen. Tell me something of the crop of wheat, I put into the ground, last autumn; how many bushels I sowed, and on how many acres; whether on new land, or on old?"

"Ay, ay, you have sowed!--and you have sowed!" answered the woman, on a high key, for her; "but your seed fell among tares, and on the flinty ground; and you'll never reap a soul among 'em all! Broadcast may you sow--but narrow will be your harvest."

The Rev. Mr. Worden gave a loud hem--placed his arms akimbo--and seemed determined to brazen it out; though, I could easily perceive, that he felt excessively awkward.

"How is it, with my cattle? and shall I send much mutton to market, this season?"

"A wolf, in sheep's clothing!" muttered Doortje. "No--no--you like hot suppers, and ducks, and lectures to cooks more than gathering in the harvest of the Lord!"

"Come, this is folly, woman!" exclaimed the parson, angrily. "Give me some common sense, for my good French crown. What do you see, in that knave of diamonds, that you study its face so closely?"

"A loping Dominie!--a loping Dominie!" screamed the hag, several times, rather than exclaiming aloud. "See!--he runs, for life; but Beelzebub will overtake him!"

There was a sudden, and dead pause; for the Rev. Mr. Worden had caught up his hat, and darted from the room; quitting the house, as if already busily engaged in the race alluded to. Guert shook his head, and looked serious; but, perceiving that the woman was already tranquil, and was actually shuffling the cards anew, in his behalf, he advanced to learn his fate. I saw the eyes of Doortje fastened keenly on him, as he took his stand near the table, and the corners of her mouth curled in a significant smile. What that meant, exactly, I have never been able to ascertain.

"I suppose, you wish to know something of the past, like all the rest of them," mumbled the woman, "so that you may have faith in what you hear about the future?"

"Why, Mother," answered Guert, passing his hand through his own fine head of natural curls, and speaking a little hastily, "I do not know that it is any great matter about the past. What is done, is done; and there is an end of it. A young man may not wish to hear of such things, at the moment, perhaps, when he is earnestly bent on doing better. We are all young, once in our lives, and we can grow old only after having been so."

"Yes--yes--I see how it is!" muttered Doortje. "So--so--turkeys--turkeys; ducks--ducks--quaack--quaack--quaack--gobble, gobble, gobble--" Here, the old hag set up such an imitation of ducks, geese, turkeys, game-cocks, and other birds, that one who was in an outer room, might well have imagined he heard the cries of a regular poultry-yard. I was startled, myself, for the imitation was very admirable--but Guert was obliged to wipe the perspiration from his face.

"That will do--that will do, Mother!" the young man exclaimed. "I see, you know all about it; and there is no use in attempting disguises with you. Now, tell me, if I am ever to be a married man, or not. My errand here, is to learn that fact; and I may as well own it, at once."

"The world has many women in it--and fair faces are plenty, in Albany," once more mumbled the woman, examining her cards, with great attention. "A youth, like you, might marry twice, even."

"No, _that is impossible; if I do not marry a particular lady, I shall never marry at all."

"Yes--yes--I see how it is!--You are in love, young man."

"D'ye hear that, Corny! Isn't it wonderful, how these creatures can tell? I admit the truth of what you say; but, describe to me the lady that I love."

Guert had forgotten, altogether, that the use of the word _lady_, completely betrayed the fact of his disguise; since no man, truly of his dress and air, would think of applying such a word to his sweetheart. (30) I could not prevent these little betrayals of himself, however; for, by this time, my companion was too much excited, to hear reason.

"The lady that you love," answered the fortune-teller, deliberately, and with the manner of one that proceeded with great confidence, "is _very handsome, in the first place."

"True as the sun in the heavens, Mother!"

"Then, she is virtuous, and amiable, and wise, and witty, and good."

"The Gospel is not more certain! Corny, this surpasses belief!"

"Then, she is _young_. Yes, she is young, and fair, and good; three things that make her much sought after."

"Why is she so long reflecting on my offers, Mother, tell me that, I beg of you; or, will she ever consent to have me?"

"I see--I see--it is all here, on the cards. The lady cannot make up her mind."

"Listen to that, now, Corny; and do not tell me there is nothing in this art. _Why does she not make up her mind? For Heaven's sake, let me know _that_? A man may tire of offering to marry an angel, and getting no answer. I wish to know the reason of her doubts."

"A woman's mind is not easily read. Some are in haste, while some are not. I am of opinion you wish to get an answer before the lady is ready to give it. Men must learn to wait."

"She really seems to know all about it, Corny! Much as I have heard of this woman, she exceeds it all! Good Mother, can you tell me how I can gain the consent of the woman I love?"

"That is only to be had by asking. Ask once, ask twice, ask thrice."

"By St. Nicholas! I have asked, already, twenty times! If asking would do it, she would have been my wife a month since. What do you think, Corny--no, I'll not do it--it is not manly to get the secrets of a woman's heart, by means like these--I'll not ask her!"

"The crown is paid, and the truth must be said. The lady you love, loves you, and she does not love you; she will have you, and she won't have you; she thinks _yes_, and she says _no_."

Guert now trembled all over, like an aspen-leaf.

"I do not believe there is any harm, Corny, in asking whether I gained or lost by the affair of the river? I _will ask her that much, of a certainty. Tell me, Mother, am I better or worse, for a certain thing that happened about a month ago--about the time that the ice went, and that we had a great freshet?"

"Guert Ten Eyck, why do you try me thus?" demanded the fortune-teller, solemnly. "I knew your father, and I knew your mother; I knew your ancestors in Holland, and their children in America. Generations on generations have I known your people, and you are the first that I have seen so ill-clad! Do you suppose, boy, that old Doortje's eyes are getting dim, and that she cannot tell her own nation? I saw you on the river--ha! ha! 't was a pleasant sight--Jack and Moses, too; how they snorted, and how they galloped! Crack--crack--that's the ice--there comes the water!--See, that bridge may hit you on the head! Do _you take care of this bird, and do _you take care of _that_--and all will come round with the seasons. Answer me one thing, Guert Ten Eyck, and answer me truly. Know you ever a young man who goes quickly into the bush?"

"I do, Mother; this young man, my friend, intends to go in a few days, or as soon as the weather is settled."

"Good! go you with him--absence makes a young woman know her own mind, when asking will gain nothing. Go you with him, I say; and if you hear muskets fired, go near them; _fear will sometimes make a young woman speak. You have your answer, and I will tell no more. Come hither, young owner of many half-joes, and touch that card."

"I did as ordered; when the woman began to mumble to herself, and to run over the pack as rapidly as she could. Kings, aces, and knaves were examined, one after another, until she had got the Queen of Hearts in her hand, which she held up to me in triumph.

"That is _your lady. She is a queen of too many hearts! The Hudson did that for you, that it has done for many a poor man before you. Yes, yes; the river did you good: but water will drown, as well as make tears. Do _you beware of Knights Barrownights!" (31)

Here Mother Doortje came to a dead stand in her communications, and not another syllable of any sort could either of us get from her; though, between us, as many as twenty questions were asked. Signs were made for us to depart; and when the woman found our reluctance, she laid a crown for each of us, on the table, with a dignified air, and went into a corner, seated herself, and began to rock her body, like one impatient of our presence. After so unequivocal a sign that she considered her work as done, we could not well do less than return; leaving the money behind us, as a matter of course.

(Footnote 27: In plain English, the "great go-to-bed," and the "little go-to-bed." There may be a portion of our readers who are not aware that the word "levee," meaning a morning reception _by a great man, is derived from the French "lever," which means "to rise," or "to get up." The kings of France were in the habit of receiving homage at their morning toilets; a strange custom, that doubtless had its origin in the _empressement of the courtier to inquire how his master had slept; which receptions were divided into two classes, the "_grand lever_" and the "_petit lever_"--the "great getting-up" or the "little getting-up." The first was an occasion of more state than the last. Even down to the time of Charles X., the court papers seldom went a week without announcing that the king had signed the contract of marriage--a customary compliment in France, among friends of this of that personage--at the "grand lever," or at the "petit lever;" the first, I believe, but am not certain, being the greater honour of the two.--EDITOR.)

(Footnote 28: Doortje--pronounced Doort-yay--means Dorothea. Mr. Littlepage uses a sort of corruption of the pronunciation. I well remember a fortune-teller of that name, in Albany; though it could not have been the Doortje of 1758.--EDITOR.)

(Footnote 29: It is quite evident, that Mr. Cornelius Littlepage was, to agree at least, a believer in the fortune-teller's art. This was, however, no more than was common, a century since. Quite within my recollection, the Albanians had a celebrated dealer in the black art, who was regularly consulted, on the subject of all lost spoons, and the pilfering of servants, by the good housewives of the town, as recently as my school-boy days. The Dutch, like the Germans, appear to have been prone to this species of superstition; from which, even the English of education were far from being free, a century since. Mademoiselle Normand existed in the present century, even, in the sceptical capital of France. But, the somnambulist is taking the place of the ancient soothsayer, in our own times.--EDITOR.)

(Footnote 30: This might have been true, in 1758; but is not true for 1845.--EDITOR.)

(Footnote 31: In the colony of New York, there lived but one titled man, for a considerable period. It was the celebrated Sir William Johnson, Bart., of Johnson Hall, Johnstown, Albany, now Fulton County. The son of Sir William Johnson was knighted during his father's life-time, and was Sir John while Sir William was living. At the death of his father, he was Sir John Johnson, Kt. & Bart.; and it was usual for the common class of people to style him a Knight, of Barrow_night_.--EDITOR.)

If you like this book please share to your friends :

Satanstoe; Or, The Littlepage Manuscripts: A Tale Of The Colony - Chapter 19 Satanstoe; Or, The Littlepage Manuscripts: A Tale Of The Colony - Chapter 19

Satanstoe; Or, The Littlepage Manuscripts: A Tale Of The Colony - Chapter 19
CHAPTER XIXVirtue, how frail it is! Friendship, too rare! Love, how it sells poor bliss For proud despair! But we, though soon they fall, Survive their joy, and all Which ours we call. SHELLEY.Guert Ten Eyck was profoundly impressed with what he had heard, in his visit to the fortune-teller. It affected his spirits, and, as will be seen, it influenced all his subsequent conduct. As for myself, I will not say that I totally disregarded what had passed; though the effect was greatly less on me, than it was on my friend. The

Satanstoe; Or, The Littlepage Manuscripts: A Tale Of The Colony - Chapter 17 Satanstoe; Or, The Littlepage Manuscripts: A Tale Of The Colony - Chapter 17

Satanstoe; Or, The Littlepage Manuscripts: A Tale Of The Colony - Chapter 17
CHAPTER XVIIMy heart leaps up when I behold A rainbow in the sky: So was it when my Life began; So is it now I am a man; So be it when I shall grow old, Or let me die! The child is father of the man; And I could wish my days to be Bound each to each by natural piety. WORDSWORTH.Five minutes longer on the ice of the main channel, and we should have been swept away. Even as we still sat looking at the frightful force of the swift