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diately springs up in the midst of the wilderness, large enough for a parish church, and furnished with windows of all dimensions, but so rickety and flimsy withal, that every blast gives it a fit of the ague.
By the time the outside of this mighty air-castle is completed, either the funds or the zeal of our adventurer are exhausted, so that he barely manages to half finish one room within, where the whole family burrow together-while the rest of the house is devoted to the curing of pumpkins, or storing of carrots and potatoes, and is decorated with fanciful festoons of dried apples and peaches. The outside remaining unpainted, grows venerably black with time; the family wardrobe is laid under contribution for old hats, petticoats, and breeches, to stuff into the broken windows, while the four winds of heaven keep up a whistling and howling above this ærial palace, and play as many unruly gambols, as they did of yore in the cave of old Eolus.
The humble log hut, which whilome nestled this improving family snugly within its narrow but comfortable walls, stands hard by, in ignominious contrast, degraded into a cow-house or pig-stye; and the whole scene reminds one forcibly of a fable, which I am surprised has never been recorded, of an aspiring snail, who abandoned his humble habitation, which he had long filled with great respectability, to crawl into the empty shell of a lobster-where he would no doubt have resided with great style and splendor, the envy and hate of all the pains-taking snails in his neighborhood, had he not accidentally
perished with cold, in one corner of his stupendous mansion.
Being thus completely settled, and to use his own words, "to rights," one would imagine that he would begin to enjoy the comforts of his situation, to read newspapers, talk politics, neglect his own business, and attend to the affairs of the nation, like a useful and patriotic citizen; but now it is that his wayward disposition begins again to operate. He soon grows tired of a spot where there is no longer any room for improvement-sells his farm, air-castle, petticoat windows and all, reloads his cart, shoulders his axe, puts himself at the head of his family, and wanders away in search of new lands-again to fell treesagain to clear corn-fields-again to build a shingle palace, and again to sell off and wander.
Such were the people of Connecticut, who bordered upon the eastern frontier of Nieuw Nederlandts; and my readers may easily imagine what obnoxious neighbors this light-hearted but restless tribe must have been to our tranquil progenitors. If they cannot, I would ask them, if they have ever known one of our regular, well-organized Dutch families, whom it hath pleased Heaven to afflict with the neighborhood of a French boarding-house? The honest old burgher cannot take his afternoon's pipe on the bench before his door, but he is persecuted with the scraping of fiddles, the chattering of women, and the squalling of children-he cannot sleep at night for the horrible melodies of some amateur, who chooses to serenade the moon, and display his terrible proficiency in execution, on the clarionet, the
hautboy, or some other soft-toned instrument-nor can he leave the street door open, but his nose is defiled by the unsavoury visits of a troop of pug dogs, who even sometimes carry their loathsome ravages into the sanctum sanctorum, the parlor !
If my readers have ever witnessed the sufferings of such a family, so situated, they may form some idea how our worthy ancestors were distressed by their mercurial neighbors of Connecticut.
Gangs of these marauders, we are told, penetrated into the New Netherland settlements, and threw whole villages into consternation by their unparalleled volubility, and their intolerable inquisitivenesstwo evil habits hitherto unknown in those parts, or only known to be abhorred; for our ancestors were noted as being men of truly Spartan taciturnity, and who neither knew nor cared aught about any body's concerns but their own. Many enormities were committed on the highways, where several unoffending burghers were brought to a stand, and tortured with questions and guesses, which outrages occasioned as much vexation and heart-burning as does the modern right of search on the high seas.
The Baron Von Der Wart, accused, though it is believed unjustly, as an accomplice in the assassination of the emperor Albert, was bound alive on the wheel, and attended by his wife Gertrude, throughout his last agonizing moments, with the most heroic fidelity. Her own sufferings, and those of her unfortunate husband, are most affectingly described in a letter, which she afterwards addressed to a female friend, and which was published some years ago at Haarlem, in a book entitled. Gertrude Von Der Wart, or fidelity unto Death.'
Her hands were clasped, her dark eyes raised,
Up to the fearful wheel she gazed—
All that she loved was there.
The night was round her clear and cold,
Its pale stars watching to behold
And bid me not depart,' she cried,
This is no time to quit thy side:
Hath the world aught for me to fear,
The world! what means it?-mine is here
I will not leave thee now !
'I have been with thee in thine hour
Doubt not its memory's living power.
We have the blessed heaven in view,
And were not these high words to flow
She bore her lofty part:
But oh! with such a freezing eye,
With such a curdling cheek-Love, love! of mortal agony,
Thou, only thou, shouldst speak!
The winds rose high-but with them rose Her voice, that he might hear;— Perchance that dark hour brought repose
To happy bosoms nea
While she sat striving with despair
Beside his tortured form,
And pouring her deep soul in prayer
She wiped the death damps from his brow,
Whose touch upon the lute chords low,
She spread her mantle o'er his breast,
Oh! lovely are ye, Love and Faith,
She had her meed-one smile in Death
While even, as o'er a martyr's grave,
And, weeping, blessed the God who gave Strength to forsake it not!