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Myths and Legends of Our Own Land — Volume 02 : the Isle of Manhattoes and nearby

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58 pages
Project Gutenberg's The Isle of Manhattoes and Nearby, by Charles M. SkinnerThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it,give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online atwww.gutenberg.netTitle: The Isle of Manhattoes and Nearby Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land, Volume 2.Author: Charles M. SkinnerRelease Date: October 22, 2006 [EBook #6607]Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE ISLE OF MANHATTOES AND NEARBY ***Produced by David WidgerMYTHS AND LEGENDS OF OUR OWN LAND By Charles M. SkinnerVol. 2.THE ISLE OF MANHATTOES AND NEARBYCONTENTS:Dolph HeyligerThe Knell at the WeddingRoistering Dirck Van DaraThe Party from Gibbet IslandMiss Britton's PokerThe Devil's Stepping-StonesThe Springs of Blood and WaterThe Crumbling SilverThe Cortelyou ElopementVan Wempel's GooseThe Weary WatcherThe Rival FiddlersWyandankMark of the Spirit HandThe First Liberal ChurchTHE ISLE OF MANHATTOES AND NEARBYDOLPH HEYLIGERNew York was New Amsterdam when Dolph Heyliger got himself born there,—a graceless scamp, though a brave, good-natured one, and being left penniless on his father's death he was fain to take service with a doctor, while his mother kepta shop. This doctor had bought a farm on the island of Manhattoes—away out of town, where ...
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Project Gutenberg's The Isle of Manhattoes andNearby, by Charles M. SkinnerThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere atno cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under theterms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.netATintlde : LTehgee nIsdlse  Ooff  MOaurn hOatwtno eLsa annd,d  VNoeluarmbey  2M.ythsAuthor: Charles M. SkinnerRelease Date: October 22, 2006 [EBook #6607]Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERGEBOOK THE ISLE OF MANHATTOES ANDNEARBY ***Produced by David Widger
OMFY TOHUSR  AONWD NL ELAGNEDNDS                                   By                           Charles M. SkinnerVol. 2.THE ISLE OF MANHATTOES AND NEARBY
CONTENTS:Dolph HeyligerThe Knell at the WeddingRoistering Dirck Van DaraThe Party from Gibbet IslandMiss Britton's PokerTThhee  SDperviinl'gs s Sotfe pBplionogd- Satnodn eWsaterTThhee  CCrourtmelbylionug  ESliolvpeermentVan Wempel's GooseThe Weary WatcherThe Rival FiddlersWyandankTMhaer kF iorfs tt hLei bSerpairli t CHhaurncdhTHE ISLE OFMANHATTOES ANDNEARBY
DOLPH HEYLIGERNew York was New Amsterdam when DolphHeyliger got himself born there,—a gracelessscamp, though a brave, good-natured one, andbeing left penniless on his father's death he wasfain to take service with a doctor, while his motherkept a shop. This doctor had bought a farm on theisland of Manhattoes—away out of town, whereTwenty-third Street now runs, most likely—and,because of rumors that its tenants had noisedabout it, he seemed likely to enjoy theresponsibilities of landholding and none of itsprofits. It suited Dolph's adventurous dispositionthat he should be deputed to investigate thereason for these rumors, and for three nights hekept his abode in the desolate old manor, emergingafter daybreak in a lax and pallid condition, butkeeping his own counsel, to the aggravation of thepopulace, whose ears were burning for his news.Not until long after did he tell of the solemn treadthat woke him in the small hours, of his door softlyopening, though he had bolted and locked it, of aportly Fleming, with curly gray hair, reservoir boots,slouched hat, trunk and doublet, who entered andsat in the arm-chair, watching him until the cockcrew. Nor did he tell how on the third night hesummoned courage, hugging a Bible and acatechism to his breast for confidence, to ask themeaning of the visit, and how the Fleming arose,and drawing Dolph after him with his eyes, led him
downstairs, went through the front door withoutunbolting it, leaving that task for the trembling yeteager youth, and how, after he had proceeded to adisused well at the bottom of the garden, hevanished from sight.Dolph brooded long upon these things anddreamed of them in bed. He alleged that it was inobedience to his dreams that he boarded aschooner bound up the Hudson, without theformality of adieu to his employer, and after beingspilled ashore in a gale at the foot of Storm King,he fell into the company of Anthony VanderHevden, a famous landholder and hunter, whoachieved a fancy for Dolph as a lad who couldshoot, fish, row, and swim, and took him home withhim to Albany. The Heer had commodiousquarters, good liquor, and a pretty daughter, andDolph felt himself in paradise until led to the roomhe was to occupy, for one of the first things that heset eyes on in that apartment was a portrait of thevery person who had kept him awake for the worsepart of three nights at the bowerie in Manhattoes.He demanded to know whose picture it was, andlearned that it was that of Killian Vander Spiegel,burgomaster and curmudgeon, who buried hismoney when the English seized New Amsterdamand fretted himself to death lest it should bediscovered. He remembered that his mother hadspoken of this Spiegel and that her father was themiser's rightful heir, and it now appeared that hewas one of Heyden's forbears too. In his dreamthat night the Fleming stepped out of the portrait,led him, as he had done before, to the well, where
he smiled and vanished. Dolph reflected, nextmorning, that these things had been ordered tobring together the two branches of the family anddisclose the whereabouts of the treasure that itshould inherit. So full was he of this idea that hewent back to New Amsterdam by the firstschooner, to the surprise of the Heer and theregret of his daughter.After the truant had been received with execrationsby the doctor and with delight by his mother, whobelieved that spooks had run off with him, and withastonishment, as a hero of romance, by the public,he made for the haunted premises at the firstopportunity and began to angle at the disused well.Presently he found his hook entangled insomething at the bottom, and on lifting slowly hediscovered that he had secured a fine silverporringer, with lid held down by twisted wire. It wasthe work of a moment to wrench off the lid, whenhe found the vessel to be filled with golden pieces.His fishing that day was attended with such luck asnever fell to an angler before, for there were otherpieces of plate down there, all engraved with theSpiegel arms and all containing treasure.By encouraging the most dreadful stories about thespot, in order to keep the people wide away from it,he accomplished the removal of his prizes bit by bitfrom their place of concealment to his home. Hisunaccounted absence in Albany and his dealingswith the dead had prepared his neighbors for anychange in himself or his condition, and now that healways had a bottle of schnapps for the men and a
pot of tea for the women, and was good to hismother, they said that they had always known thatwhen he changed it would be for the better,—atwhich his old detractors lifted their eyebrowssignificantly—and when asked to dinner by himthey always accepted.Moreover, they made merry when the day cameround for his wedding with the little maid of Albany.They likewise elected him a member of thecorporation, to which he bequeathed some of theSpiegel plate and often helped the other cityfathers to empty the big punch-bowl. Indeed, it wasat one of these corporation feasts that he died ofapoplexy. He was buried with honors in the yard ofthe Dutch church in Garden Street.
THE KNELL AT THE WEDDINGA young New Yorker had laid such siege to theheart of a certain belle—this was back in theKnickerbocker days when people married for love—that everybody said the banns were as good aspublished; but everybody did not know, for one finemorning my lady went to church with anothergentleman—not her father, though old enough tobe—and when the two came out they were manand wife. The elderly man was rich. After the firstparoxysm of rage and disappointment had passed,the lover withdrew from the world and devotedhimself to study; nor when he learned that she hadbecome a widow, with comfortable belongingsderived from the estate of the late lamented, did herenew acquaintance with her, and he smiled bitterlywhen he heard of her second marriage to a youngadventurer who led her a wretched life, but atonedfor his sins, in a measure, by dying soon enoughafterward to leave a part of her fortune unspent.In the lapse of time the doubly widowed returned toNew York, where she met again the lover of heryouth. Mr. Ellenwood had acquired the reserve of ascholar, and had often puzzled his friends with hiseccentricities; but after a few meetings with theobject of his young affection he came out of hisglooms, and with respectful formality laid again ather feet the heart she had trampled on forty yearsbefore. Though both of them were well on in life,the news of their engagement made little of a
sensation. The widow was still fair; the wooer wasquiet, refined, and courtly, and the union of theirfortunes would assure a competence for the yearsthat might be left to them. The church of St. Paul,on Broadway, was appointed for the wedding, andit was a whim of the groom that his bride shouldmeet him there. At the appointed hour a companyof the curious had assembled in the edifice; a rattleof wheels was heard, and a bevy of bridesmaidsand friends in hoop, patch, velvet, silk, powder,swords, and buckles walked down the aisle; butjust as the bride had come within the door, out ofthe sunlight that streamed so brilliantly on themounded turf and tombstones in the churchyard,the bell in the steeple gave a single boom.The bride walked to the altar, and as she took herplace before it another clang resounded from thebelfry. The bridegroom was not there. Again andagain the brazen throat and iron tongue sent out adoleful knell, and faces grew pale and anxious, forthe meaning of it could not be guessed. With eyesfixed on the marble tomb of her first husband, thewoman tremblingly awaited the solution of themystery, until the door was darkened by somethingthat made her catch her breath—a funeral. Theorgan began a solemn dirge as a black-cloakedcortege came through the aisle, and it was withamazement that the bride discovered it to beformed of her oldest friends,—bent, withered;paired, man and woman, as in mockery—whilebehind, with white face, gleaming eyes, disorderedhair, and halting step, came the bridegroom, in hisshroud.
"Come," he said,—"let us be married. The coffinsare ready. Then, home to the tomb.""Cruel!" murmured the woman."Now, Heaven judge which of us has been cruel.Forty years ago you took away my faith, destroyedmy hopes, and gave to others your youth andbeauty. Our lives have nearly run their course, so Iam come to wed you as with funeral rites." Then, ina softer manner, he took her hand, and said, "All isforgiven. If we cannot live together we will at leastbe wedded in death. Time is almost at its end. Wewill marry for eternity. Come." And tenderlyembracing her, he led her forward. Hard as wasthe ordeal, confusing, frightening, humiliating, thebride came through it a better woman."It is true," she said, "I have been vain and worldly,but now, in my age, the truest love I ever knew hascome back to me. It is a holy love. I will cherish itforever." Their eyes met, and they saw each otherthrough tears. Solemnly the clergyman read themarriage service, and when it was concluded thelow threnody that had come from the organ in keywith the measured clang of the bell, merged into anobler motive, until at last the funeral measureswere lost in a burst of exultant harmony. Sobs ofpent feeling and sighs of relief were heard as thebridal party moved away, and when the newmadewife and husband reached the portal the bell wassilent and the sun was shining.