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lightened and humane generation of the presoras day 'ave taken an opposite course, and have su managed that the aldermen are the best fed mera in the community ; feasting lustily on the fat things of the land, and gorging so heartily oysters and turtles, that in process of time they acquire the activity of the one, and the form, the waddle, and the green fat of the other. The consequence is, as I have just said, these luxu. rious feastings do produce such dulcet equanimity and repose of the soul, rational and irrational, that their transactions are proverbial for urvarying monotony; and the profound laws, which they enact in their dozing moments, amid th? labours of digestion, are quietly suffered to remain as dead letters, and never enforced when awake. In a word, your fair round-bellied bure gomaster, like a full-fed mastiff, dozes quietly at the house-door, always at home, and always at hand to watch over its safety : but as to electing a lean, meddling candidate to the office, as has now and then been done, I would as lici put a greyhound to watch the horise, ur a racce horse to drag an ox-waggon.
The burgomasters then, as I have already mentioned, were wisely chosen by weight, and the schepens or assistant aldermen, were appointed to attend upon them, and help them to eat ; but the latter, in the course of time, when they had been fed and fattened into sufficient bulk of body and drowsiness of brain, become very cligible candidates for the burgomasters' chair; have fairly eaten themselves into office, as :
mouse eats its way into a comfortable lodgment in a goodly blue-nosed, skimmed-milk, NewEngland cheese.
AN OBEDIENT HENPECKED HUSBAND.
In that same village, and in one of these very nouses (which, to tell the precise truth, was sadly time-worn and weather-beaten), there lived, many years since, when the country was yet a province of Great Britain, a simple, good-natured fellow, of the name of Rip Van Winkle. He was a descendant of the Van Winkles who figured so gallantly in the chivalrous days of Peter Stuyvesant, and accompanied him to the ziege of Fort Christina. He inherited, however, but little of the martial character of his ancestors. I have observed that he was a simple, goodnatured man; he was, moreover, a kind neighpour, and an obedient henpecked husband. Indeed, to the latter circumstance might be owing that meekness of spirit which gained him such universal popularity; for those men are most apt to be obsequious and conciliating abroad, who are under the discipline of shrews at home. Their tempers, doubtless, are rendered pliant and malleable in the fiery furnace of domestic tribulation, and a curtain lecture is worth all the sermons in the world for teaching the virtues of patience and long-suffering. A termagant wife may, therefore, in some respects, be considered a
tolerable blessing; and if so, Rip Van Wirkus was thrice blessed.
Certain it is, that he was a great favourile among all the good wives of the village, who, as usual with the amiable sex, took his part in all tumily squabbles; and never failed, whenever they talked those matters over in their evening gossipings, to lay all the blame on Dame Van Winkle. The children of the village, too, would shout with joy whenever he approached. He assisted at their sports, made their playthings, taught them to fly kites and shoot marbles, and told them long stories of ghosts, witches, and Indians. Whenever he went dodging about the village, he was surrounded by a troop of them, hanging on his skirts, clambering on his back, and playing a thousand tricks on him with impunity; and not a dog would bark at him throughout the neighbourhood.
The great error in Rip's composition was an insuperable aversion to all kinds of profitable labour. It could not be from the want of assiduity or perseverance; for he would sit on a wet rock, with a rod as long and heavy as a Tartar's lance, and fish all day without a murmur, even though he should not be encouraged by i single nibble. He would carry a fowling-piece on his shoulder for hours together, trudging through woods and swamps, and up hill and down dale, to shoot a few squirrels or wild pigeons. He would never refuse to assist a neighbour even in the roughest toil, and was a foremost man at al muntry frolics for husking Indian corn, or building stone fences; the women of the village, too, used to employ him to run their errands, and to do such little odd jobs as their less obliging husbands would not do for them.-In a word, Rip was ready to attend to anybody's business but his own; but as to doing family duty, and keeping his farm in order, he found it impossible.
In fact, he declared it was of no use to work on his farm; it was the most pestilent little piece of ground in the whole country ; every thing about it went wrong, and would go wrong, in spite of him. His fences were continually falling to pieces; his cow would either go astray, or get among the cabbages ; weeds were sure to grow quicker in his fields than anywhere else; the rain always made a point of setting in just as he had some out-door work to do; so that though his patrimonial estate had dwindled away under his management, acre by acre, until there was little more left than a mere patch of Indian corn and potatoes, yet it was the worst-conditioned farm in the neighbourhood.
His children, too, were as ragged and wild as if they belonged to nobody. His son Rip, an urchin begotten in his own likeness, promised to inherit the habits with the old clothes of his father. He was generally seen trooping like a colt at his mother's heels, equipped in a pair of his father's cast off galligaskins, which he haa much ado to hold up with one hand, as a fine lady does her train in bad weather.
Rip Van Winkle, however, was one of those happy mortals, of foolish, well-oiled dispositione , who take the world easy, eat white bread or brown, whichever can be got with least thought or trouble, and would rather starve on a penny than work for a pound. If left to himself, he would have whistled life away in perfect contentment; but his wife kept continually dinning in his ears about his idleness, his carelessness, and the ruin he was bringing on his family. Morning, noon, and night, her tongue was incassantly going, and everything he said or did was sure to produce a torrent of household eloquence. Rip had but one way of replying to all lectures of the kind, and that, by frequent use, had got into a habit. He shrugged his shoulders, shook his head, cast up his eyes, but said nothing. This, however, always provoked a fresh volley from his wife; so that he was fain to draw off his forces, and take to the outside of the house—the only side which, in truth, belongs to a henpecked husband.
Rip's sole domestic adherent was his dog Wolf, who was as much henpecked as his master; for Dame Van Winkle regarded them as companions in idleness, and even looked upon Wolf with an evil eye, as the cause of his master going so often astray. True it is, in all points of spirit befitting an honourable dog, he was as courageous an animal as ever scoured the woods—but what courage can withstand the everduring and all-besetting terrors of a woman's tongue ? The moment Wolf entered the house his crest fell, his tail drooped to the ground or curled between his legs, he sneakcd about