Imagini ale paginilor
[ocr errors][graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors]

Comparative Size of Animals. This engraving represents several while the elephant is only about nine or well-known animals, and exhibits them ten feet high, the giraffe is seventeen. in just proportion to one another. The It is well to be able to carry in the elephant is the largest, and the rat is memory an accurate idea of the comthe smallest, in the picture. The came- parative size of quadrupeds; and, therelopard, or giraffe, is the tallest—for fore, I ask my young reader to run over the picture with me. The elephant, or significance. His Yankee phrases with his curling trunk and long tusks, and tone gave additional force to his takes the lead ; and he is six times as narrative; and, owing to this and the large as a horse. Next comes the rhi- circumstances under which he told his noceros, with a horn on his nose, and a tale, it made such an impression on my skin that makes him look as if he had a mind, that I remember it better than harness on.

anything else which has lain so long Next comes the hippopotamus--a fel- in memory. low that loves the mud-and a stupid I slept pretty well during the night, creature he seems to be. Then comes though I waked up several times, and the tall giraffe, with ears resembling saw Mat with one eye open, at my

side. horns, and standing up very straight for Feeling that I had a faithful sentinel to a four-legged creature. The horse, one keep guard, I fell back into my repose. of the most graceful of animals, is next. The sun rose at last. It was a beautiful Then comes the lion—then the tiger- frosty morning, and the black and gray then the stag—then the sheep—then the squirrels were enlivening the woods with deer—then the antelope-then the wolf their merry gambols. I should gladly

dog—then the jackal—then have stayed in the place for a long time, the fox-then the wild-cat—then the and really began to feel that I should rabbit-then, last and least, the rat. like to turn Indian and make the forest

my dwelling-place. But this was momentary: we soon began our march, and entering the high road, proceeded on our

way to Albany. Merry's Adventures.

I have not time or space to tell all the

little adventures we met with-all the CHAPTER XVIII.

good jokes Mat uttered, or the smart

speeches he made. I must hurry on in We are told that the wandering Arabs, my story, for I am afraid that, if I do after the day's march over the desert not, my readers will think it like the old which they love to inhabit, gather in woman's stocking—the more she knit, groups at night and amuse each other by the further she got from the end of it. telling tales. It always seemed to me We reached Albany in a few days, that a story under these circumstances and finding a sloop about departing for would be more interesting than if told New York, we concluded to take pasin the house, by the quiet fireside ; for sage in her and go to that city. This the feelings and fancy are apt to be ex- was a little out of our way,

but we did cited when there nothing but the not mind that. The captain of the vesheavens above us and the wide land- sel was a Dutchman, and his name was scape around us. Certain I am that Dyke. He was a short, stout, broadMat Olmsted's story of the Chippewa shouldered man, and his pantaloons Chief and his bride Meena, seemed far were made somewhat like petticoats more interesting from the fact that it was hitched up between his legs. He had a related in the woods, by the side of a pipe in his mouth nearly the whole watch-fire. It must be understood that time; and such clouds of smoke as he my friend was no scholar; and, though did send forth! Puff, puff, puff! Mat I have mended his language as to the Olmsted called him Captain Volcano, grammar, I have not added to its point more than half the time. However, he

was a good sailor, and he managed the seen Kid there in the midst of his jolly sloop very well.

sailors, all of them drinking, singing, • Beside Mat and myself, there was a and telling wild tales of the sea. young man on board, who had been col

“ Now my father, as I said, was a lecting furs from the Indians, and was now brave man, and he offered to sleep in the proceeding to sell them at New York. hut one night for a bottle of brandy. He was a pleasant fellow, and such lots This banter was accepted, and my

father of stories as he and Mat and the Dutch was put over to the island in a boat and captain told, I never heard before. I left to himself. He had taken care to could fill a book with them; but I shall have the bottle of brandy with him. He only give a sample from each of the nar- repaired to the hut, and sat himself down rators.

upon a sailor's chest which chanced to One moonlight evening, as we were be there. gliding down the Hudson river, its broad “ There was no furniture in the room, bosom seeming like a sea of silver, we save a rough table which stood in the were all seated on the deck of the ves- centre, and an old-fashioned high-backed sel, the captain, as usual, puffing at his chair. My father placed the bottle on pipe as if he was carrying on a manu- the table, and which, by the way, was factory of clouds, and was paid by the one of your deep craft

, with a long neck, hogshead. For some time there was a and holding somewhere about half a dead silence; when at last the captain gallon. took his pipe from his mouth, and grave- “ After sitting nearly an hour upon ly remarked that his father was the bra- the chest, all the while looking at the vest man that ever lived.

bottle, which glimmered in the moonlight “How so?” says Matthew.

that stole between the rafters of the hut, “Look there," said Captain Dyke, my father laid himself down on the floor pointing to a little island in the river. and tried to go to sleep. He had not which we were then passing. “ That lain long; however, before the bottle slid island,” he continued, “was once the re- gently off the table, and then began to sort of Captain Kid, the famous pirate, lengthen, till it grew up as tall as a wowho had a fine ship in which he sailed man. Pretty soon it assumed the shape over the world, and, robbing every ves- of one of my father's sweethearts, and sel he met of its money, collected a vast beckoned to him to come and kiss her! deal of gold and silver. After a long With this request he complied, of course, voyage, he used to sail up this river and and then they fell to dancing in a very bury his money on this island. When merry style. As they were whirling I was a boy, there was a hut still stand- round and round, the old chair began to ing there, which was said to have been bob about, and at the same moment the built by Kid himself.

rickety table rocked to and fro, then “There were a great many wild sto- whirled round and performed a pirouette ries told about this hut; for it was said upon one of its legs. A moment after, that the captain and his crew used to these two joined hand in hand with my hold their revels there. Long after the father and his sweetheart, and round and famous freebooter was hung, and his round they flew. Everything went on companions were dead, it was main- like a regular cotillon. It was back to tained that strange noises were heard in back, cross over, right and left, chassez, the hut, and several persons who had and balance to partners! My father was peeped in at night declared that they had in great spirits, and he performed the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



double shuffle to admiration. The old " and that's a good proof that old Nick table did the same, the high-backed chair himself was there to drink the liquor." followed, and Miss Bottle beat them all. “No, no," said Matthew, significantly; Such pigeon-wings as she executed nev. “it only proves that your father kissed er were seen before! The whole party Miss Bottle a little too often; so he got caught the spirit of the moment, and it drunk and had the nightmare, and all now seemed to be a strife to see which this scene was a vision of his brain ! would surpass the rest in feats of grace



father could drink and agility.

two quarts of brandy in a single night. My father had seen many a frolic, I had an uncle who performed a greater but never such a one as that; and, what feat than that in the revolutionary war, was remarkable, the dance seemed con- for he captured a British officer with a stantly to increase in quickness and mer- sausage! riment. The top of the table looked like " Indeed!” said the captain and the the jolly face of a Dutchman, the mouth fur-trader both at once; « let us hear stretched wide, and the eyes goggling the story.” with laughter. The old chair seemed “ Well," said Matthew ; "it happened to nod and wink with elvish mirth; and thus. At one time during the war, as the maiden, who all the time appeared you all know, Washington was situated to have a queer resemblance to a bottle, with his little army at Tappan, near the frisked and flirted the gayest of the par- North river, while Sir Harry Clinton, ty. On went the dance, until my father the British commander, with his troops, was entirely out of breath; but there were at New York. The space between was no cessation to the sport. There the two armies was called the Neutral seemed to be an old fiddler standing in Ground, and it was chiefly occupied one corner, but nothing save two eyes by a set of people called Cow-boys. and his elbow were distinctly visible. These fellows went back and forth, The latter flew more rapidly every mo- trading with both parties, and cheating ment, the music quickened, and the dan- everybody, as they could get a chance. cers kept time. For seven hours my “ Now my uncle, whose name was father performed his part in the dance, Darby, was a Cow-boy by profession, but until, at last, he reeled, and, falling for. he was a patriot in disguise, as you shall ward, knocked the table, the chair, and hear. One cold winter's night he was the bottle all into a heap. The vision trudging along over the road with a bag immediately vanished, and soon after of sausages on his back, going to sell there was a rapping at the door. The them to General Putnam, whose quarpeople had come over to the island, for ters were at the distance of three or four it was now morning. They found my miles. As he was walking along over father in a swoon, lying across the table, a lonely part of the road, it being a little the chair crushed, and the bottle broken after sunset and already growing dark, in a hundred fragments, which lay scat- he heard a horse's gallop at no great distered on the floor."

tance. He was at the bottom of a hill, "A strange story that,” says Matthew, and in the midst of a thick wood. Lookas the Dutchman paused; s but I wish ing to the top of the hill, he saw a man to ask one question.

Was there any

on horseback, who now began gently to liquor upon the floor where the bottle come down the descent. My uncle was was broken?

not only made for a patriot, but also for “Not a drop," said the Dutchman; a great general. Believing that the man



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]



on horseback was a British officer, the otism is often rewarded with ingratitude. idea suddenly entered his head that he My uncle received the sergeant's horse, would capture him, if it should appear it is true, as a recompense, but he was that he was unarmed. Accordingly, he called “Sassage Darby' during the rethrust his hand hastily into his wallet, mainder of his life.” took out one of the frozen sausages, When Matthew had done, the captain crooked it in the shape of a pistol, and turned to the fur-trader, and said, "We stood still in the middle of the road. have each of us told our story; it is now The stranger soon approached, and my your turn to tell one.” Well," said uncle Darby called out, “Who goes the young man in reply; "you have rethere?' 'You must first tell me who lated an adventure of your father; our you are!' said the person on horseback. friend Matthew has told one of his uncle; *That's as we can agree,' said my uncle; I will now relate one of myself.” • for it takes two to make a bargain in “When I was a boy, I read Robinson these parts. All this time, he was look- Crusoe, and so I had a great fancy for ing very sharp to see if the man had any going to sea. Nothing would do, but I weapons about him, and perceiving that must be a sailor. My father and mother he was unarmed, he sprang upon him were both opposed to it; and, finding it like a tiger, seized the horse by the bri- impossible to obtain their consent, I redle, and thrust the muzzle of the seem- solved to run away. Getting together ing pistol in the face of the rider. a little money, I packed up my clothes,

“ * Dismount, or I'll blow your brains and one night set off for New London in out!' said Darby. My uncle had a voice Connecticut, a distance of about twenty of thunder, and the astonished traveller miles from where I lived. I there enexpected every moment to be shot tered on board a schooner bound for through the body. It was no time for Boston, which sailed the next day. parley; so the man dismounted, and my There were but five persons on board, uncle, putting his foot in the stirrup, the captain, his two sons, one sixteen sprung to the saddle in an instant. and the other seventeen years old,-an • Now,' said he, my pretty fellow, you old sailor, and myself. must go and see old Put. To the right " It was the beginning of winter, but about face, forward, march!' The man the weather was uncommonly fine, and hesitated, but

my uncle pretended to cock in a short time we were out upon the his pistol, and pointed it at the man's We scudded along with a light breast. This settled the question, and wind for a couple of days, when there the poor fellow began doggedly to ascend was a sudden change of weather. It the hill. Following him close behind, first blew from the southeast, and rained and keeping his weapon in a threaten- smartly. I was a little sea-sick, but still ing attitude, he conducted the man along able to keep upon the deck. The storm the road, and in the space of about an increased, and the wind shifting to the hour ushered him into the presence of northeast, it began to snow.

At the General Putnam. On examination, he same time it grew cold, and in a very proved to be a British sergeant, who was short space everything about the vessel out upon a frolic, and, wishing to pass as was sheeted with ice and snow. She an American, had left his weapons be. became perfectly unmanageable, and was hind. The story made a vast deal of fun now drifting before the gale towards the in the camp, and my uncle acquired island of Nantucket, which was at our great renown for his exploit. But patri- lee. We put out our anchor, but it was



« ÎnapoiContinuați »