Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

be prevailed upon to trust herself to the frail tenure of the rope he had prepared. At length, however, she threw herself off; and Jack carefully guiding the rope she landed in safety.

The next moment he was by her side.

But the great point was still unaccomplished. They had escaped from the New Prison, it is true ; but the wall of Clerkenwell Bridewell, by which that jail was formerly surrounded, and which was more than twenty feet high, and protected by formidable and bristling chevaux de frise, remained to be scaled. Jack, however, had an expedient for mastering this difficulty. He ventured to the great gates, and by inserting his gimblets into the wood at intervals, so as to form points upon which he could rest his foot, he contrived to ascend them; and when at the top, having fastened a portion of his dress to the spikes, he managed, not without considerable risk, to draw up his female companion. Once over the iron spikes, Bess exhibited no reluctance to be let down on the other side of the wall. Having seen his mistress safe down, Jack instantly descended, leaving the best part of his clothes, as a memorial of his flight, to the jailor.

And thus he effected his escape from the New Prison.

ted by formihich was morwhich that time; but the hey had

HOW TO FEED A LION !

BY J. JOCUND.
Take a wonder,--no matter what monster it be,
A doctor of medicine, a pompous D.D.,
An actor, an author, a fiddler, a fool,
(In choosing a Lion the calling's no rule,)
Let the beast be eccentric, or learned, or sad,
A martyr to science, a poet half mad;
Then, having assembled the greatest, the least
Of your friends, make this Lion the first at a feast;
Give him the choice fare, 'mid the choicest of things,
Through soup, fish, and meat, to the game's breast and wings,
The pastry, the liqueurs, the ices, the pines,
The nicest of morsels, the choicest of wines !
Let him be your party, your guest, and your care,
Devote not a look to another one there;
And, as for good humour, bestow not a tittle,
Your lion looks greater, your friends feel more little,
(Sufficient for them that they come, and you victual!)
Have no eyes, and no ears, no thoughts save for him.
If he smile, 'tis bis wit; if he growl,'tis his whim;
Dare not to disturb; beware how you teaze;
Let him frisk if he like; let him sulk if he please;
Whene'er he's pathetic you tears mustn't fail;
And with laughier expire as he “flashes his tail!
Let it be understood, (yet not strictly true,)
Though brutish to others, he's gentle to you;
And when 'gainst your pet curs open “full cry" on,
You vow “they don't know how to treat such a Lion!
They ought to be silent whenever he roars,
For the Lion's above such a parcel of bores.''
Avd, though 'gainst this Lion they storin, rave, and swear,
They ’re agreed on one point" he's the biggest BEAST there!"

24

THE CRAYON PAPERS.

WOLFERT'S ROOST.

BY WASHINGTON IRVING. I have observed that as a man advances in life, he is subject to a kind of plethora of the mind, doubtless occasioned by the vast accumulation of wisdom and experience upon the brain. Hence, he is apt to become narrative and admonitory, that is to say, fond of telling long stories, and of doling out advice, to the small profit and great annoyance of his friends. As I have a great horror of becoming the oracle, or, more technically speaking, the “bore,” of the domestic circle, and would much rather bestow my wisdom and tediousness upon the world at large, I have always sought to ease off this surcharge of the intellect by means of my pen, and hence have inflicted divers gossipping volumes upon the patience of the public. I am tired, however, of writing volumes; they do not afford exactly the relief I require; there is too much preparation, arrangement, and parade, in this set form of coming before the public. I am growing too indolent and unambitious for any thing that requires labour or display. I have thought, therefore, of securing to myself a snug corner in some periodical work, where I might, as it were, loll at my ease in my elbow chair, and chat sociably with the public as with an old friend, on any chance subject that might pop into my brain.

Diedrich Knickerbocker, was one of my earliest and most valued friends, and the recollection of him is associated with some of the pleasantest scenes of my youthful days. To explain this, and to show how I came into possession of sundry of his posthumous works, which I have from time to time given to the world, permit me to relate a few particulars of our early intercourse. I give them with the more confidence, as I know the interest taken in that departed worthy.

My first acquaintance with that great and good man,- for such I may venture to call him, now that the lapse of some thirty years has shrouded his name with venerable antiquity, and the popular voice has elevated him to the rank of the classic historians of yore, - my first acquaintance with him was formed on the banks of the Hudson, not far from the wizard region of Sleepy Hollow. He had come there in the course of his researches among the Dutch neighbourhoods for materials for his immortal history. For this purpose he was ransacking the archives of one of the most ancient and historical mansions in the country. It was a lowly edifice, built in the time of the Dutch dynasty, and stood on a green bank, overshadow. ed by trees, from which it peeped forth upon the Great Tappan Zee, so famous among early Dutch navigators. A bright, pure spring welled up at the foot of the green bank; a wild brook came babbling down a neighbouring ravine, and threw itself into a little woody cove in front of the mansion. It was, indeed, as quiet and sheltered a nook as the heart of man could require, in which to take refuge from the cares and troubles of the world; and, as such, it had been chosen in old times, by Wolfert Acker, one of the privy-councillors of the renowned Peter Stuyvesant.

This worthy but ill-starred man had led a weary and worried life, throughout the stormy reign of the chivalric Peter, being one of those unlucky wights with whom the world is ever at variance, and who are kept in a continual fume and fret by the wickedness of mankind. At the time of the subjugation of the province by the English, he retired hither in high dudgeon ; with the bitter determination to bury himself from the world, and live here in peace and quietness for the remainder of his days. In token of this fixed reso. lution, he inscribed over his door the favourite Dutch motto, “ Lust in Rust," (pleasure in repose.) The mansion was then called “Wolfert's Rust”-Wolfert's Rest; but in process of time, the name was vitiated into Wolfert's Roost, — probably from its quaint cock-loft look, or from its having a weather-cock perched on every gable. This name it continued to bear long after the unlucky Wolfert was driven forth once more upon a wrangling world, by the tongue of a termagant wife; for it passed into a proverb through the neighbourhood, and has been handed down by tradition, that the cock of the Roost was the most hen-pecked bird in the country.

This primitive and historical mansion has since passed through many changes and trials, which it may be my lot hereafter to notice. At the time of the sojourn of Diedrich Knickerbocker, it was in possession of the gallant family of the Van Tassels, who have figured 80 conspicuously in his writings. What appears to have given it peculiar value, in his eyes, was the rich treasury of historical facts here secretly hoarded up, like buried gold; for, it is said that Wolfert Acker, when he retreated from New Amsterdam, carried off with him many of the records and journals of the province, pertain. ing to the Dutch dynasty ; swearing that they should never fall into the hands of the English. These, like the lost books of Livy, had baffled the research of former historians; but, these did I find the indefatigable Diedrich diligently deciphering. He was already a sage in years and experience, I but an idle stripling ; yet he did not despise my youth and ignorance, but took me kindly by the hand, and led me gently into those paths of local and traditional lore which he was so fond of exploring. I sat with him in his little chamber at the Roost, and watched the antiquarian patience and perseverance with which he deciphered those venerable Dutch documents, worse than Herculanean manuscripts. I sat with him by the spring, at the foot of the green bank, and listened to his heroic tales about the worthies of the olden time, the paladins of New Amster. dam. I accompanied him in his legendary researches about Tarrytown and Sing-Sing, and explored with him the spell-bound recesses of Sleepy Hollow. I was present at many of his conferences with the good old Dutch burghers and their wives, from whom he derived many of those marvellous facts not laid down in books or records, and which give such superior value and authenticity to his history, over all others that have been written concerning the New Nether

lands.

But, let me check my proneness to dilate upon this favourite theme; I may recur to it hereafter. Suffice it to say, the intimacy thus formed continued for a considerable time; and, in company with the worthy Diedrich, I visited many of the places celebrated by his pen. The currents of our lives at length diverged. He remained at home to complete his mighty work, while a vagrant fancy led me

« PreviousContinue »