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Finding himself completely dislodged from his haunt in this quarter, he directed his flight towards his native place, New Amsterdam, from whence he had formerly been obliged to abscond precipi. tately, in consequence of misfortune in business, that is to say, having been detected in the act of sheep-stealing. After wandering many days in the woods, toiling through swamps, fording brooks, swimming
various rivers, and encountering a world of hardships that would have killed any other being but an Indian, a back-wood man, or the devil, he at length arrived half-famished, and lank as a starved weasel, at Communipaw, where he stole a canoe, and paddled over to New Amsterdam. Immediately on landing, he repaired to Governor Stuyvesant, and in more words than he had ever spoken before in the whole course of his life, gave an account of the disastrous affair.
On receiving these direful tidings, the valiant Peter started from his seat, as did the stout King Arthur when, at “merry Carleile,” the news was brought him of the uncourteous misdeeds of the 'grim barone"-without uttering a word, he dashed the pipe he was smoking against the back of the chimney, thrust a prodigious quid of negroheaded tobacco into his left cheek, pulled up his galligaskins, and strode up and down the room, humming, as was customary with him when in a passion, a hideous, north-west ditty. But, as I have before shown, he was not a man to vent his spleen in idle vapouring. His first measure, after the paroxysm of wrath had subsided, was to stump up stairs to a huge wooden chest, which served as his armoury, from whence he drew forth that identical suit of regimentals described in the preceding chapter. In these portentous habiliments he arrayed himself, like Achilles in the armour of Vulcan, maintaining all the while a most appalling silence, knitting his brows, and drawing his breath through his clenched teeth. Being hastily equipped, he strode down into the parlour, jerked down his trusty sword from over the fire-place, where it was usually suspended; but before he girded it on his thigh he drew it from its scabbard, and as his eye coursed along the rusty blade, a grim smile stole over his iron visage. It was the first smile that had visited his countenance for five long weeks; but every one who beheld it prophesied that there would soon be warm work in the province !
Thus armed at all points, with grisly war depicted in each feature, his very cocked hat assuming an air of uncommon defiance, he instantly put himself on the alert, and despatched Anthony Van Corlear hither and thither, this way and that way, through all the muddy streets and crooked lanes of the city, summoning by sound of trumpet his trusty peers to assemble in instant council. This done, by way of expediting matters, according to the custom of people in a hurry, he kept in continual bustle, shifting from chair to chair, popping his head out of every window, and stumping up and down stairs with his wooden leg in such brisk and incessant motion, that, as we are informed by an authentic historian of the times, the continual clatter bore no small resem. blance to the music of a cooper hooping a flour barrel.
A summons so peremptory, and from a man of the governor's mettle, was not to be trifled with; the sages forthwith repaired to the council chamber, where the gallant Stuyvesant entered in martial style, and took his chair, like another Charlemagne, among his Paladins. The counsellors seated themselves with the utmost tranquillity, and lighting their long pipes, gazed with unruffled composure on his excellency and his regimentals; being, as all counsellors should be, not easily flattered, or taken by surprise. The governor, looking around for a moment with a lofty and soldier-like air, and resting one hand on the pummel of his sword, and flinging the other forth, in a free and spirited manner, addressed them in a short but soul-stirring harangue.
I am extremely sorry that I have not the advantages of Livy, Thucydides, Plutarch, and others of my predecessors, who were furnished, as I am told, with the speeches of all their great emperors, generals, and orators, taken down in short hand by the most accurate stenographers of the time; whereby they were enabled wonderfully to enrich their histories, and delight their readers with sublime strains of eloquence. Not having such important auxiliaries, I cannot possibly pronounce what was the tenor of Governor Stuyvesant's speech. Whether he with maiden coyness hinted to his hearers, that “there was a