Page images
PDF
EPUB

canoe.

[ocr errors]

the current, we a little ahead in the race across cleared the animal, but the rocks were slip the river. The buck saw this, and knowing pery, and a mis-step sent him rolling into the from instinct that he could use his wounded water beneath the stag's feet. The noble ani. limb to more advantage in the water than on mal raised both fore feet, and struck the prosland, turned his head down stream.

trate hunter a violent blow in the shoulders. “ Let me have a crack at that fellow," said and he was in a fair way to demolish him, if I to Dill.

Brooks had not rushed to the assistance of his “ Pop away; but I'll bet a pound of tobacco comrade. A smart blow with the butt of his you miss him. Aim for his head ; don't spoil rifle caused the deer to turn his attention to the hide."

Brooks, which gave Dill a chance to recover. “Go ahead," shouted Brooks, as he saw me “Keep him there," shouted Dill, blowing the taking pretty deliberate aim ; “I want a crack water out of his mouth, and in an instant he at him myself.”

was again on his feet. The deer made a I banged away, from the bow, and had the plunge at Brooks, and fell upon his knees. satisfaction of hearing my ball strike the water " Now's your time!” cried Brooks; “ cut his about a yard to the right of the deer, for which confounded throat.” I very religiously swore at the wobbling of the Dill did not want prompting. Quick as

Three other shots were fired with no thought, he sprang upon the buck, seized him better success, for we were then in the shade by one of his antlers, and plunged his hunting of the mountain and its dense pine trees, and knife hilt deep into the neck of his victim. such a thing as getting a sight was out of the The buck bounded to his feet, reared high in question.

the air, and fell dead at the feet of the badly "Drop your rifles and use the paddles,” said bruised hunter. Dill looked at the conquered Dill, impatiently. “We must overhaul that animal an instant, and then quietly remarkedfellow on the rifile yonder, or we'll lose him; * Pretty snug fight, I call that-let's have besides we are frightening away all the game some liquor, "and he took a pull at the jug within ten miles."

with the utmost complacency. To the paddles we betook ourselves, in good The canoe was once more got into deep earnest, and when the deer was within a rod water, the deer put in tow, and, after a jolly of the head of the riffile we were not two rods health all round to Dill, we resumed our voybehind him.

age to the lick. “Stand clear and give me a chance at the It was after ten o'clock when we were fairly bow there,” shouted Dill, and with two strides ensconced behind the murderous “blind" at he had passed to the front, and with his hunting the salt lick. For over an hour we waited knife in his teeth, sprung upon the setting without hearing anything but the screaming pole with increased vigor.

of wolves and catamounts, who scented us, but As the buck struck the rocks that here filled were too cowardly to attack. Several times the bed of the stream in broken masses, he Dill called our attention to the crackling of began to plunge and snort as before, and dry twigs a little distance in our rear. At stumbling upon one higher than the rest, fell. times the sounds seemed to approach, and He was evidently bleeding profusely.

again they would recede. “Now, altogether!" shouted the herculean “A bar arter our vension,” said Dill. “Where hunter, and as we all sprang to our propellers did you hang it, Brooks ?'' the canoe was run upon a rock beside the prey, “On that beach thar, in front of the blind. and tipped upon the side. My first idea was Thar aint no bar anxious to come thar for it, to keep my rifle and powder dry, but Dill I rather guess." sprang into the water and grappled with the “ Hist! there,” said Dill, "a little fellow, I buck just as he was rising from his fall. take it; but it's a deer sure."

Did you ever see a wounded buck at bay? Sure enough, the next minute we heard the If you have not, I can tell you that he is not plashing of footsteps in the mud around the the pleasantest customer in the world to play lick. with. The old wood monarch saw the ap. «Give me a chance, now, Dill,” said I. “ You proach of the hunter, and, as the latter came have won your bet, and I must have a chance within fighting distance, turned his fiery eye- for mine." balls upon him, and made a desperate plunge. “Agreed,” said Dill; “but wait a minit-The bunter spirang to one side, and would have "thar'll be more of 'em 'fore long, and maybe

[ocr errors]

til get a crack at that bar along with you." Why to kill the first deer, of course." 1 14 bear had been creeping nearer and near- "Well, that is cool-but how are we to de er, and was evidently bent on stealing the dead cide the bet ?'' heek

“ Leave it to Dill." In a short time, two other deers came down Accordingly Dill was selected to decide who toute lick, and I began to grow impatient. had won, and after examining the wound with

* L*t's shoot, Dill, those fellows won't stay all the pomp and circumstance of a country ehera all night."

doctor, and inspecting the pieces, like a gay Lo Wait ’till I strike a light," said the hunter: old hunter, as he is, decided that the wound Vint, are you both ready."

was made by a ball from a cut rifle. Brooks I replied in the affirmative, and Dill, having used a smooth bore, and had to give in—but he crijit out of the blind, lighted some tarred never paid the quart of Monongahela. anual, which blazed up, and gave us a good We had no more sport that night, and at muht of the deers, who gazed upon the sudden day dawn Dill went to look for his buck light vith astonishment.

was gone; and jumping upon the trail, he - Fire !-you fool!” growled Dill, and two started upon a dog-trot into the thicket. In rifles answered the order.

less than twenty minutes, we heard the crack The field was reconnoitered, and one young of his rifle, and following the course of the redior was found to be shot directly between the port, found him quietly skinning old Br iin. (yes.

It was a monstrous bear, and as pork was What the deuce did you shoot for ?" asked scarce in that region, we were well satisfied 1 of Brooks, after we had returned to the blind. with the change.

WOLVUS VAN DEEK.

THE DUTCHMAN OF KIPP’BAY.

A "EISTORY SHOWING THE DANGERS ENCOUNTERED AND THE TRIALS ENDURED BY THE ENTERPRISING

ANCESTORS OF MODERN GOTIAM.

BY J. C. M.

Two hundred years ago this great city, | the Vanderskatens, the Van Sauns, and whatwhich we call New-York, Gotham, and like somever other Vans there might have been, nardes, was but a wee bit of a place, extending all two hundred years agone. But trees have its bounds not farther than what is now termed not thus spoken, friend reader; however, Brrad-street, on the east, and Rector-street on legend and history have. I presume, at this the north. This island, above these streets, present time to unfold a few historic pages, was then either a dense forest, or, where a few and, with the aid of a little legendary lere, Dutch pioneers had encroached upon it, culti- give to the world an almost unbelievable story. vated fields. If trees could speak of deeds of I must, however, before entering upon my arIul 2. wonderful would be the tales told by the duous labor, that you may appreciate in the ft of Nieu Amsterdam, of the achievements right spirit what I intend telling, caution you oor Dutch forefathers ;-how, when their with the fact that there are many in this world Wat he dogs gave notice of the approach of the who are too credulous and others not credured-skins, they would sally forth to the field, lous enough, --be neither of these, for, in my for rather wood, of anticipated battle, and, see opinion, half-way. in matters of this kind, gening the enemy-return to their homes with the erally, is the better. It must be known to futte of their blunderbusses pointed behind almost all New-Yorkers, that on the gast them. The woods would tell of the Dutch side of this island there exists the remnant of man's courage in more ways than this : they what in olden time was a beautiful little cove. would speak of the unheard exploring exploits called " Kipp's Bay." The river winds into upon our rivers by such noble men as the Van the land about five hundred feet, and washes Winkles, the Van Tromps, the Dundersmashers, ! a shore which was once most beautifully picturesque. The high hill on the north side, as his place. One afternoon, in the fall of 1640, now by the vandal hand of man in rapid pro- a party of these aquaeous Dutchmen entered gress of leveling, was covered with magnificent the hut of Van Deek and with woful countetrees, which reared their heads in grandeur nances spake to him of the impassable spot, high into the air, and appeared like giant man above alluded to. Now Van Deek, although a in a green old age, smiling upon the lovely great discoverer round about this island, had landscape on either side of the river. The never ventured so far as the mystic barrier, and shore, southward, was comparatively level, and for this reason-he was fearful lest he might bordered with thick underbrush which acted, be drawn into "the gate” above, which was a apparently, as the spirit of affection, connect world of horror to a Dutchman. He had deing, as it did, the different tribes of Arbori in voted his attention mostly to ascertaining the a net-work of lovely relationship. The waters sources of Newtown and Bushwick creeks, of the bay were remarkable for their serenity while searching for crabs on the opposite side even in stormy weather, for the powerful out- of East river, and it was but a few moments side currents sweeping past it prevented a di- after his return from one of these hazardous vergence into its circle, and this may account excursions, that the party just referred to, for the proverbial calm which reigned there. reached his domicil. Wolvus, as usual, laugh

In the year 1640, a Dutchman, named Wol- ed vociferously, but not a smile, of the thinnest vus Van Deek, had built himself a log-hut species, illumined the visages of his guests; on hard by the shore of this bay, into which he the contrary, dark clouds played upon them, had ensconced himself in all the glory of bach- which Wolvus perceiving, caused him to re

elorship, for be it known he had attained the no- strain his mirth; he then condescendingly · ble age of forty, and still assisted himself single- enquired the reason of their gloom, and Hans

handed, though not as many might be led to be- Dundersmasher, the spokesman, informed him lieve by the above expression, a one-armed man. of their inability to accomplish their desire of Wolvus was a very "considerable” looking in- going beyond the “ barrier.” dividual; his circumference did not exceed “ Vell,” said Wolvus, “ vhat do you vant me seven feet, nor was his height less than four feet to do ?" and ten inches. His head was ono of a species “Vhy,” replied Hans, “it ish our vish dat intended to sustain many ups and downs (in you shall pass de place ve cant—ve ish deschipolite language, ascendities and declensions) with ded dat you ish de mans' vhat can do twice as out any injurious results to either its interior mooch as to our vonce." or exterior qualities. Wolvus bad limbs like “Vell,” said Wolvus, " I vill twice as mooch." other humans, but it 'is needless to describe His answer was satisfactory, and after a them-suffice it, they were in strict proportion draught of skiedam had been disposed of by to his body. Contrary to what might be opined each, the exploring party gave five cheers and from his dimensions, Wolvus was of a very retired. sweet disposition, yet capable of being made Wolvus, so soon as his guests were out of the exponent of another kind, resembling what sight, sat himself down and soliloquized thus : some people now-a-days use in the manufao- “Vell, mine aspirations vill pe reached! mine ture of pickles, viz., vitriol. We shall see the frients vant me to make var against te tyvil of effects of the latter in this history.

te parrier, ant I vill! If I looshe mine preath It seems, from chronicles of the time in which in te var, Hans, and te whole people vill put Van Deek lived, that the venturesome explorers te name of Wolvus Van Deek in te town clock from the city could never attain any distance vhere all in te future vill think I am going forbeyond where the shot-tower now stands, for effer. If I fight te var fictorious, I vill eat ash 80 soon as they reached that spot a violent mooch ash I likes. Up mit you, Wolvus !" storm or quicksilver-calm would interfere with Having concluded his soliloquy he bestirred them and compel them to return. In their ex- himself in preparation for the next night, upon cursions they would frequently knock against which he had concluded to make his efforts to Wolvus's door, and he, in his jovial manner, pass the mysterious obstruction. The early always welcomed them with a laugh such as morning found Van Deek hard at work caulkhe alone, of all Nieu Amsterdamers could usher ing and tarring his boat., Before noon this lainto existence. In consequence of his friendly bor was finished, and he commenced laying in nature he was known to all the explorers who a heap of stores—four hams, a dozen cabbages, had had the temerity to run up the river as far / fifty or more sassengers, a keg of skiedam and

mas

other eatables and drinkables too numerous to away, and voices, masculine in their tone, think of. Now what he was going to do with chanted these lines : all this food it would be difficult at this era to

Man of clay! dost mark us? determine, had we not at our command chron

List! icles of the time, two hundred years ago. His

All our words, ominous, vitriol disposition was excited, and one would

Hist!

Speak to thee of dangers near, suppose he intended to tire the devil of the

Listen or thou'lt quickly rue delay! “ mystic barrier" out of existence, by eating.

Go! the winds, here listless, We shall see. About ten o'clock in the night,

Heed! Wolvus clambered into his boat and pushed

Round thy hut tempestuous,

Speed' forth. A violent storm was howling around

Roll their briny floods-dost hear? him but he heeded it not.

Stubbornness will surely bring dismay! It must be borne in mind that the bay was

The chant concluded, loud blew the blast never known to be affected by storms more than to cause a gentle ripple on its surface, but again and high leaped the waters around Wol

vus. Having some knowledge of discretion, upon the outer edge the waters foamed and heaved furiously, and formed a wall over which he, at the finale of the music, thought it would it was extremely difficult to leap. Wolvus whether or not his shanty was already, or being,

be the better part of valor to return and see took advantage of an eddy in the north corner and was whirled out into the channel with the destroyed by the elements. Turning his boat's speed of a gun-shot By his skilful experience Reaching the bay, he perceived that it was as

head homeward, he dashed furiously forward. alone did he then preserve his vessel from calm as usual. Thinking, however, that the swamping. He battled with the wind and

tempest had been making havoc of his house, currents for over two hours, at the expiration he approached it and landed. Upon examinaof which time he arrived at the place where tion, he discovered nothing whatever out of he was to do most valorous fight. So soon as

the way. Then was the wrath of Wolvus his boat struck the mysterious line there was kindled? Aye, he heaped loads of fuel upon it a very perceptible cessation of the storm around in the way of skiedam, and he became once him, and voices, while the winds were sighing more valiant. All of a sudden he sprang up most lamentably, yet sweetly through the for- from his long bench upon which he had been est, sang as follows:

momentarily reclining, and opened his pantry. As the winds are singing,

Out came a huge blunderbuss, then several List!

loaves of bread, and lastly a large firkin of a And their tones are ringing, Hist!

Dutchman's indispensable-sour cabbage.--'Mid these bowers entrancingly,

These having been severally stowed in his boat
Hie thee to thy dwelling by the shore; he once more pushed forth. Passing through
'Round whose walls are dashing,
-Heed!

many dangers he at length pulled up, compelWaves, whose wrath is crashing,

led to do so, at the mysterious line. Most la-Speed !

mentable howls proceeded from the forest, but All thy towers, despoiling thee,

Van Deek could not now be intimidated. LiftHaste ! or homestead thine thou'lt see no more.

ing and holding aloft a large ham, he cried,

“ Now I vill see if I vont pass from here. You As any other man would do under the same circumstances , Wolvus assumed a tragic atti- spirits dont eat—vell, I vill make you eat !**

with this he threw quite on to the shore the tude, caused, as some would say, by fright, but pork, which no sooner struck it than the howlit was not so; he was only startled. Throwing ing music became more boisterous. “Ah, ha!” off the effects of the shock he had received, he exelaimed, " I vill make you eat more as but retaining his stage position, he exclaimed, dis," and whizzed through the air another ham. with a voice of thunder, “ Ha! Ha! tou ten Louder blew the winds and more courageous ants of te teep, in te upstairs, I vill not be became Wolvus. Off went his coat, then his afraid mit you. I vill girt up mine loins ant" just at this point of his speech he was inter-vest, up rolled he his sleeves, and at that rupted by an awful streak of lightning which

* The Dutch pioneers entertained a traditionary nocompletely unmanned him. The breezes, be

tion that if evil spirits could be induced to eat they were fore weeping among the forest branches, died | harmless.

moment might have been witnessed one of the with a "vhat ?" By and by Van Deek's nervhardest fights upon which ever single man ous system was reinvigorated, when he related ventured. Ham after ham, loaf after loaf, his encounter with the opposers to progress up were made to bound through the air, food for the river, how he had fought and been worstthe ærial beings opposed to him. “Now I vill ed. His last words to them, however, before dishcoffer,” cried he, "vedder you is mine ene- they again parted, was, “I vill try vonce more; mies. Shpirits tont eat, and if tey tont tey if I tont come pack to mine house before musht pe afrait of mine vecheta ples. I vill twelf, you shall pash te parrier." make you hallo so moosh as more! I vill see Next morning welcomed our exploring party if you vill shtant akainst me after I beshtow to “ Kipp's Bay," but Wolvus didn't. They tis cappache.” Collecting his almost exhausted waited till afternoon, when they set out for strength, he elevated the firkin and gave a the terrible line, past which they were whirled most desperate heave, but, alas! he threw him with tremendous power, verifying what Wolself with it, proving thereby that this last effort vus had predicted. With some difficulty, Dunwas too much for him. Finding himself in dersmasher and confreres gained the city, and the water and his boat not discoverable for the sounded round the town what had been done. darkness, his only hope of saving himself was The Dutch men and women wondered greatly ; to make for the shore, for, although he could but as day came and went and no Wolvus, they not drown in consequence of his fat, he be- wondered yet more and more, till a farmer thought himself that the waves inight press from Spuyt and Duyvel creek informed them, his breath out of him, carry his floating body that late one night he heard a great ballowing with the tide in the first calm past the city and which caused him, tho' with great fear, to display to the citizens the valorous Wolvus rise, look out, and see whence it proceeded, conquered. He could not bear this last thought, whether from an owl or human being. He therefore he struck out for the land, determin- stated that he saw running, as if all the uglied to carry the war, if need be, into the very est animals were after him, a man whom he camp of the enemy. So soon as he landed supposed to be Van Deek. This recital was among the bushes he was struck on all sides sufficient. Word was instantly sent to the with what he imagined, harpoons, tridents and settlement at Albany, that in case a person all such sort of warlike implements. He soon answering the description of Wolvus should found these were not to be stood calmly and make his appearance there in a flighty mansought for his gun in his breeches pockets. It ner, he should be stopped and cared for. But was not in either of them, but in the boat, and no Wolvus was ever again heard of. It may whither that had gone Wolvus did not take be recollected that some time since, a Frenchtime to think. He came to the conclusion very man, whom some call Sue, wrote a novel soon that flight was better than remaining entitled the “Wandering Jew;" it commences where he was, and he ran as fast as his weight in a strange, uncouth style, somewhat like would permit him, southward, along the land this : “There were two foot-prints, one on near the shore, finally striking his head against either side of Bherring's straits.” This Frenchsomething most sound. He pushed and pushed man through his novel goes on to prove, I beagain with his cranium till the obstacle gave lieve, that these prints were made by the way, when lo! his body was stretched full “ Jew;" but such is not the fact, they are the length on his own cabin floor. There was no only evidences of the whereabouts of our unmovement afterward. The rays of the rising fortunate, yet brave friend, Wolvus Van Deek, sun streamed through the doorway of Van of Kipp's Bay, all two hundred years ago. Deek's hut, but no mortal was stirring within it. No noise issued therefrom except a hoarse

[Later writers, of less etherial conceptions than the snoring. The sun marked the hour of twelve Knickerbocker historians of 1640, aver that the barwhen a boat struck upon the beach near the riar alluded to in this chronicle was neither more nor cabin, and soon after Dundersmasher and less than the swift tide which always sets there. “ The friends were in the presence of Wolvus's sleep- few Dutchmen,” say they “who went so far from the ing body. After an half hour's hard labor city, were afraid to go up with the tide lest they should

be carried into the hell-gate, and when the tide ran they succeeded in waking our knight and en

counter they were unable to stem it.” The voices quired how he had succeeded. They were that Wolvus heard, are set down by the same writers, answered to all their questions for a long time as the result of a singing in his head.ED!TOR. )

« PreviousContinue »