James Fenimore Cooper
Part 2 out of 9
"Often, Corny; while Madam Mordaunt lived, my mother and I used to go there
every summer. The poor lady is now dead, but I go there still."
"Why did you not ride on as far as Lilacsbush, and levy a dinner on your
relations? I should think Herman Mordaunt would feel hurt, were he to learn
that an acquaintance, or a relation, had put up at an inn, within a couple
of miles of his own house. I dare say he knows both Major and Capt.
Littlepage, and I protest I shall feel it necessary to send him a note of
apology for not calling. These things ought not to be done, Dirck, among
persons of a certain stamp, and who are supposed to know what is proper."
"This would be all right enough, Corny, had Herman Mordaunt, or his
daughter, been at Lilacsbush; but they live in Crown Street, in town, in
winter, and never come out here until after the Pinkster holidays, let
_them_ come when they may."
"Oh! he is as great a man as that, is he?--a town and country house; after
all, I do not know whether it would do to be quite so free with one of his
standing, as to go to dine with him without sending notice."
"Nonsense, Corny. Who hesitates about stopping at a gentleman's door, when
he is travelling? Herman Mordaunt would have given us a hearty welcome,
and I should have gone on to Lilacsbush, did I not know that the family
is certain to be in town at this season. Easter came early this year, and
to-morrow will be the first day of the Pinkster holidays. As soon as they
are over, Herman Mordaunt and Anneke will be out here to enjoy their lilacs
"Oh, ho! there is an Anneke, as well as the old gentleman. Pray, how old
may Miss Anneke be, Master Dirck?"
As this question was asked, I turned to look my friend in the face, and I
found that his handsome, smooth, fair Dutch lineaments were covered with a
glow of red, that it was not usual to see extended so far from his ruddy
cheeks. Dirck was too much of a man, however, to turn away, or to try to
hide blushes so ingenuous; but he answered stoutly--
"My cousin, Anneke Mordaunt, is just turned of seventeen; and, I'll tell
you what, Corny--"
"Well--I am listening, with both ears, to hear your _what_--Out with it,
man; both ears are open."
"Why, Anneke (On-na-_kay_), is one of the very prettiest girls in the
colony!--What is more, she is as sweet and goot"--Dirck grew Dutch, as he
grew animated--"as she is pretty."
I was quite astounded at the energy and feeling with which this was said.
Dirck was such a matter-of-fact fellow, that I had never dreamed he could
be sensible to the passion of love; nor had I ever paused to analyze the
nature of our own friendship. We liked each other, in the first place, most
probably, from habit; then, we were of characters so essentially different,
that our attachment was influenced by that species of excitement which is
the child of opposition. As we grew older, Dirck's good qualities began to
command my respect, and reason entered more into my affection for him. I
was well convinced that my companion could, and would, prove to be a warm
friend; but the possibility of his ever becoming a lover, had not before
crossed my mind. Even then, the impression made was not very deep or
lasting, though I well remember the sort of admiration and wonder with
which I gazed at his flushed cheek, animated eye, and improved mien. For
the moment, Dirck really had a commanding and animated air.
"Why, Anneke is one of the prettiest girls in the colony!" my friend had
"And your cousin?"
"My second cousin.--Her mother's father and my mother's mother were brother
"In that case, I shall hope to have the honour of being introduced, one of
these days, to Miss Anneke Mordaunt, who is just turned of seventeen, and
is one of the prettiest girls in the colony, and is as good as she is
"I wish you to see her, Corny, and that before we go home," Dirck replied,
all his philosophy, or phlegm, whichever the philosophy of other people may
term it, returning; "come; let us go back to the inn; our dinner will be
I mused on my friend's unusual manner, as we walked back towards the inn;
but it was soon forgotten, in the satisfaction produced by eating a
good, substantial meal of broiled ham, with hot potatoes, boiled eggs,
a beefsteak, done to a turn, with the accessions of pickles, cold-slaw,
apple-pie, and cider. This is a common New York tavern dinner, for the
wayfarer; and, I must say, I have got to like it. Often have I enjoyed such
a repast, after a sharp forenoon's ride; ay, and enjoyed it more than I
have relished entertainments at which have figured turkies, oysters, hams,
hashes, and other dishes, that have higher reputations. Even turtle-soup,
for which we are somewhat famous in New York, has failed to give me the
Dirck, to do him justice, ate heartily; for it is not an easy matter to
take away his appetite. As usual, I did most of the talking; and that
was with our landlady, who, hearing I was a son of her much-esteemed and
constant customer, Major Littlepage, presented herself with the dessert and
cheese, and did me the honour to commence a discourse. Her name was Light;
and light was she certain to cast on everything she discussed; that is to
say, innkeeper's light; which partakes somewhat of the darkness that is so
apt to overshadow no small portion of the minds of her many customers.
"Pray, Mrs. Light," I asked, when there was an opening, which was not until
the good woman had exhausted her breath in honour of the Littlepages,
"do you happen to know anything of a family, hereabouts, of the name of
"Do I _happen_ to know, sir!--Why, Mr. Littlepage, you might almost as well
have asked me, if I had ever heard of a Van Cortlandt, or a Philipse, or
a Morris, or any other of the gentry hereabouts. Mr. Mordaunt has a
country-place, and a very pretty one it is, within two miles and a half of
us; and he and Madame Mordaunt never passed our door, when they went into
the country to see Madame Van Cortlandt, without stopping to say a word,
and leave a shilling. The poor lady is dead; but there is a young image
of her virtues, that is coming a'ter her, that will be likely to do some
damage in the colony. She is modesty itself, sir; so I thought it could do
her no harm, the last time she was here, just to tell her, she ought to be
locked up, for the thefts she was likely to commit, if not for them she had
committed already. She blushed, sir, and looked for all the world like the
shell of the most delicate boiled lobster you ever laid eyes on. She is
truly a charming young lady!"
"Thefts of hearts, you mean of course, my good Mrs. Light?"
"Of nothing else, sir; young ladies are apt to steal hearts, you know.
My word for it, Miss Anneke will turn out a great robber, after her own
fashion, you know, sir."
"And whose hearts is she likely to run away with, pray? I should be pleased
to hear the names of some of the sufferers."
"Lord, sir!--she is too young to have done much _yet_, but wait a
twelvemonth, and I'll answer the question."
I could see all this time that Dirck was uneasy, and had some amusement in
watching the workings of his countenance. My malicious intentions, however,
were suddenly interrupted. As if to prevent further discourse, and, at the
same time, further _espionage_, my young friend rose from table, ordering
the horses and the bill.
During the ride to town, no more was said of Lilacsbush, Herman Mordaunt,
or his daughter Anneke. Dirck was silent, but this was his habit after
dinner, and I was kept a good deal on the alert in order to find the road
which crossed the common, it being our desire to go in that direction.
It is true, we might have gone into town by the way of Bloomingdale,
Greenwich, the meadows and the Collect, and so down past the common upon
the head of Broadway; but my mother had particularly desired we would
fall into the Bowery Lane, passing the seats that are to be found in that
quarter, and getting into Queen Street as soon as possible. By taking this
course she thought we should be less likely to miss our way within the town
itself, which is certainly full of narrow and intricate passages. My uncle
Legge had removed into Duke Street, in the vicinity of Hanover Square;
and Queen Street, I well knew, would lead us directly to his door. Queen
Street, indeed, is the great artery of New York, through which most of its
It was drawing towards night when we trotted up to the stable, where we
left our horses, and obtaining a black to shoulder our portmanteaus, we
began to thread the mazes of the capital on foot. New York was certainly,
even in 1757, a wonderful place for commerce! Vessels began to be seen
some distance east of Fly Market, and there could not have been fewer than
twenty ships, brigs, and schooners, lying in the East river, as we walked
down Queen Street. Of course I include all descriptions of vessels that go
to sea, in this estimate. At the present moment, it is probable twice
that number would be seen. There Dirck and I stopped more than once,
involuntarily, to gaze at the exhibitions of wealth and trade that offered
themselves as we went deeper into the town. My mother had particularly
cautioned me against falling into this evidence of country habits, and
I felt much ashamed at each occurrence of the weakness; but I found it
irresistible. At length my friend and I parted; he to go to the residence
of his aunt, while I proceeded to that of mine. Before separating, however
we agreed to meet next morning in the fields at the head of Broadway,
on the common, which, as it was understood, was to be the scene of the
My reception in Duke Street was cordial, both on the part of my uncle and
on the part of my aunt; the first being a good-hearted person, though a
little too apt to run into extravagance on the subject of the rights of the
rabble. I was pleased with the welcome I received, enjoyed an excellent hot
supper, to which we sat down at half-past eight, my aunt being fond of town
hours, both dining and supping a little later than my mother, as being more
fashionable and genteel.  As I was compelled to confess fatigue, after
so long a ride, as soon as we quitted the table I retired to my own room.
The next day was the first of the three that are devoted to Pinkster, the
great Saturnalia of the New York blacks. Although this festival is always
kept with more vivacity at Albany than in York, it is far from being
neglected, even now, in the latter place. I had told my aunt, before I left
her, I should not wait for breakfast, but should be up with the sun, and
off in quest of Dirck, in order that we might enjoy a stroll along the
wharves before it was time to repair to the common, where the fun was to
be seen. Accordingly I got out of the house betimes, though it was an hour
later than I had intended; for I heard the rattling of cups in the little
parlour, the sign that the table was undergoing the usual process of
arrangement for breakfast. It then occurred to me that most, if not all of
the servants, seven in number, would be permitted to enjoy the holiday;
and that it might be well if I took all my meals, that day, in the fields.
Running back to the room, I communicated this intention to Juno, the girl I
found doing Pompey's work, and left the house on a jump. There was no
great occasion for starving, I thought, in a town as large and as full
of eatables as New York; and the result fully justified this reasonable
Just as I got into Hanover Square, I saw a grey-headed negro, who was for
turning a penny before he engaged in the amusements of the day, carrying
two pails that were scoured to the neatness of Dutch fastidiousness, and
which were suspended from the yoke he had across his neck and shoulders. He
cried "White wine--white wine!" in a clear sonorous voice; and I was at his
side in a moment. White wine was, and is still, my delight of a morning;
and I bought a delicious draught of the purest and best of a Communipaw
vintage, eating a cake at the same time. Thus refreshed, I proceeded into
the square, the beauty of which had struck my fancy as I walked through it
the previous evening. To my surprise, whom should I find in the very centre
of Queen Street, gaping about him with a most indomitable Connecticut
air, but Jason Newcome! A brief explanation let me into the secret of his
presence. His boys had all gone home to enjoy the Pinkster holiday, with
the black servants of their respective families; and Jason had seized the
opportunity to pay his first visit to the great capital of the colony. He
was on his travels, like myself.
"And what has brought you down here?" I demanded, the pedagogue having
already informed me that he had put up at a tavern in the suburbs, where
horse-keeping and lodgings were "reasonable." "The Pinkster fields are up
near the head of Broadway, on the common."
"So I hear," answered Jason; "but I want to see a ship and all the sights
this way, in the first place. It will be time enough for Pinkster, two or
three hours hence, if a Christian ought even to look at such vanities. Can
you tell me where I am to find Hanover Square, Corny?"
"You are in it now, Mr. Newcome; and to my fancy, a very noble area it is!"
"_This_ Hanover Square!" repeated Jason. "Why, its shape is not that of a
square at all; it is nearer a _triangle_."
"What of that, sir? By a square in a town, one does not necessarily
understand an area with four equal sides and as many right angles, but an
open space that is left for air and beauty. There are air and beauty enough
to satisfy any reasonable man. A square may be a parallelogram, or a
triangle, or any other shape one pleases."
"This, then, is Hanover Square!--a New York square, or a Nassau Hall
square, Corny; but not a Yale College square, take my word for it. It is so
"Small!--the width of the street at the widest end must be near a hundred
feet; I grant you it is not half that at the other end, but that is owing
to the proximity of the houses."
"Ay, it is all owing to the proximity of the houses, as you call it. Now,
according to my notion, Hanover Square, of which a body hears so much talk
in the country, ought to have had fifty or sixty acres in it, and statues
of the whole House of Brunswick, besides. Why is that nest of houses left
in the middle of your square?"
"It is not, sir. The square ceases when it reaches _them._ They are too
valuable to be torn down, although there has been some talk of it. My uncle
Legge told me, last evening, that those houses have been valued as high as
twelve thousand dollars; and some persons put them as high as six thousand
This reconciled Jason to the houses; for he never failed to defer to money,
come in what shape it would. It was the only source of human distinction
that he could clearly comprehend, though he had some faint impressions
touching the dignity of the crown, and the respect due to its
"Corny," said Jason, in an under tone, and taking me by the arm to lead me
aside, though no one was near, like a man who has a great secret to ask, or
to communicate, "what was that I saw you taking for your bitters, a little
"Bitters! I do not understand you, Jason. Nothing bitter have I tasted
to-day; nor can I say I have any great wish to put anything bitter into my
"Why, the draught you got from the nigger who is now coming back across the
square, as you call it, and which you seemed to enj'y particularly. I am
dry, myself, and should wonderfully like a drink."
"Oh! that fellow sells 'white wine,' and you will find it delicious. If you
want your 'bitters,' as you call them, you cannot do better than stop him,
and give him a penny."
"Will he let it go so desperate cheap as that?" demanded Jason, his eyes
twinkling with a sort of "bitters" expectation.
"That is the stated price. Stop him boldly; there is no occasion for all
this Connecticut modesty. Here, uncle, this gentleman wishes a cup of your
Jason turned away in alarm, to see who was looking on; and, when the cup
was put into his hand, he shut his eyes, determined to gulp its contents at
a swallow, in the most approved "bitters" style. About half the liquor went
down his throat, the rest being squirted back in a small white stream.
"Buttermilk, by Jingo!" exclaimed the disappointed pedagogue, who expected
some delicious combination of spices with rum. St. Jingo was the only
saint, and a "darnation" or "darn you," were the only oaths his puritan
education ever permitted him to use.
[Footnote 9: The dinner of the last half century is, in one sense, but a
substitute for the _petits soupers_ of the century or two that preceded. It
is so entirely rational and natural, that the cultivated and refined should
meet for the purposes of social enjoyment after the business of the day has
terminated, that the supper has only given place to the same meal under
another name, and at hours little varying from those of the past. The
Parisian dines at half-past six, remaining at table until eight. The
Englishman, later in all his hours, and more ponderous in all his habits,
sits down to table about the time the Frenchman gets up; quitting it
between nine and ten. The Italian pays a tribute to his climate, and has
his early dinner and light supper, both usually alone, the habits of the
country carrying him to the opera and the _conversazione_ for social
communion. But what is the American? A jumble of the same senseless
contradictions in his social habits, as he is fast getting to be in his
political creeds and political practices; a being that is _in transitu_,
pressed by circumstances on the one side, and by the habit of imitation on
the other; unwilling, almost unable, to think and act for himself. The only
American who is temporarily independent in such things, is the unfledged
provincial, fresh from his village conceit and village practices, who,
until corrected by communion with the world, fancies the south-east corner
of the north-west parish, in the town of Hebron, in the county of Jericho,
and the State of Connecticut, to be the only portion of this globe that is
perfection. If he should happen to keep a school, or conduct a newspaper,
the community becomes, in a small degree, the participant of his rare
advantages and vast experience!--EDITOR.]
"Here's your fine clams!
As white as snow!
On Rockaway these clams do grow."
_New York Cries_.
It was some time before Jason's offended dignity and disappointment would
permit him to smile at the mistake; and we had walked some distance towards
Old Slip, where I was to meet Dirck, before the pedagogue even opened his
lips. Then, the only allusion he made to the white wine, was to call it
"a plaguy Dutch cheat;" for Jason had implicitly relied on having that
peculiar beverage of his caste, known as "bitters." What he meant by
a _Dutch_ cheat, I do not know; unless he thought the buttermilk was
particularly Dutch, and _this_ buttermilk an imposition.
Dirck was waiting for me at the Old Slip; and, on inquiry, I found he had
enjoyed his draught of white wine as well as myself, and was ready for
immediate service. We proceeded along the wharves in a body, admiring the
different vessels that lined them. About nine o'clock, all three of us
passed up Wall Street, on the stoops of which, no small portion of its
tenants were already seated, enjoying the sight of the negroes, as, with
happy "shining" faces they left the different dwellings, to hasten to the
Pinkster field. Our passage through the street attracted a good deal of
attention; for, being all three strangers, it was not to be supposed we
could be thus seen in a body, without exciting a remark. Such a thing could
hardly have been expected in London itself.
After showing Jason the City Hall, Trinity Church, and the City Tavern, we
went out of town, taking the direction of a large common that the King's
officers had long used for a parade-ground, and which has since been called
the Park, though it would be difficult to say why, since it is barely a
paddock in size, and certainly has never been used to keep any animals
wilder than the boys of the town. A park, I suppose, it will one day
become, though it has little at present that comports with my ideas of such
a thing. On this common, then, was the Pinkster ground, which was now quite
full of people, as well as of animation.
There was nothing new in a Pinkster frolic, either to Dirck, or to myself;
though Jason gazed at the whole procedure with wonder. He was born within
seventy miles of that very spot, but had not the smallest notion before, of
such a holiday as Pinkster. There are few blacks in Connecticut, I believe;
and those that are there, are so ground down in the Puritan mill, that they
are neither fish, flesh, nor red-herring, as we say of a nondescript. No
man ever heard of a festival in New England, that had not some immediate
connection with the saints, or with politics.
Jason was at first confounded with the noises, dances, music, and games
that were going on. By this time, nine-tenths of the blacks of the city,
and of the whole country within thirty or forty miles, indeed, were
collected in thousands in those fields, beating banjoes, singing African
songs, drinking, and worst of all, laughing in a way that seemed to set
their very hearts rattling within their ribs. Everything wore the aspect of
good-humour, though it was good-humour in its broadest and coarsest forms.
Every sort of common game was in requisition, while drinking was far from
being neglected. Still, not a man was drunk. A drunken negro, indeed, is by
no means a common thing. The features that distinguish a Pinkster frolic
from the usual scenes at fairs, and other merry-makings, however, were of
African origin. It is true, there are not now, nor were there then, many
blacks among us of African birth; but the traditions and usages of their
original country were so far preserved as to produce a marked difference
between this festival, and one of European origin. Among other things, some
were making music, by beating on skins drawn over the ends of hollow
logs, while others were dancing to it, in a manner to show that they felt
infinite delight. This, in particular, was said to be a usage of their
Hundreds of whites were walking through the fields, amused spectators.
Among these last were a great many children of the better class, who had
come to look at the enjoyment of those who attended them, in their own
ordinary amusements. Many a sable nurse did I see that day, chaperoning
her young master, a young mistress, or both together, through the various
groups; demanding of all, and receiving from all, the respect that one of
these classes was accustomed to pay to the other.
A great many young ladies between the ages of fifteen and twenty were also
in the field, either escorted by male companions, or, what was equally as
certain of producing deference, under the dare of old female nurses, who
belonged to the race that kept the festival. We had been in the field
ourselves two hours, and even Jason was beginning to condescend to be
amused, when, unconsciously, I got separated from my companions, and was
wandering through the groups by myself, as I came on a party of young
girls, who were under the care of two or three wrinkled and grey-headed
negresses, so respectably attired, as to show at once they were
confidential servants in some of the better families. As for the young
ladies themselves, most were still of the age of school girls; though there
were some of that equivocal age, when the bud is just breaking into the
opening flower, and one or two that were even a little older; young women
in forms and deportment, though scarcely so in years. One of a party of two
of the last, appeared to me to possess all the grace of young womanhood,
rendered radiant by the ingenuous laugh, the light-hearted playfulness, and
the virgin innocence of sweet seventeen. She was simply, but very prettily
dressed, and everything about her attire, air, carriage and manner, denoted
a young lady of the better class, who was just old enough to feel all the
proprieties of her situation, while she was still sufficiently youthful to
enjoy all the fun. As she came near me, it seemed as if I knew her; but it
was not until I heard her sweet, mirthful voice, that I recollected the
pretty little thing in whose behalf I had taken a round with the butcher's
boy, on the Bowery road, near six years before. As her party came quite
near the spot where I stood, what was only conjecture at first, was reduced
to a certainty.
In the surprise of the moment, happening to catch the eye of the young
creature, I was emboldened to make her a low bow. At first she smiled,
like one who fancies she recognises an acquaintance; then her face became
scarlet, and she returned my bow with a very lady-like, but, at the same
time, a very distant curtsey; upon which, bending her blue eyes to the
ground, she turned away, seemingly to speak to her companion. After this,
I could not advance to speak, though I was strongly in hopes the old black
nurse who was with her would recognise me, for she had manifested much
concern about me on the occasion of the quarrel with the young butcher.
This did not occur; and old Katrinke, as I heard the negress called,
jabbered away, explaining the meaning of the different ceremonies of
her race, to a cluster of very interested listeners, without paying any
attention to me. The tongues of the pretty little things went, as girls'
tongues will go, though my unknown fair one maintained all the reserve
and quiet of manner that comported with her young womanhood, and apparent
condition in life.
"Dere, Miss Anneke!" exclaimed Katrinke, suddenly; "dere come a genttleum
dat will bring a pleasure, I know."
"_Anneke," I_ repeated, mentally, and "gentleman that will cause pleasure
by his appearance." "Can it be Dirck?" I thought. Sure enough, Dirck it
proved to be, who advanced rapidly to the group, making a general salute,
and finishing by shaking my beautiful young stranger's hands, and
addressing her by the name of "cousin Anneke." This, then, was Annie
Mordaunt, as the young lady was commonly called in the English circles,
the only child and heiress of Herman Mordaunt, of Crown Street and of
Lilacsbush. Well, Dirck has more taste than I had ever given him credit
for! Just as this thought glanced through my mind, my figure caught my
friend's eye, and, with a look of pride and exultation, he signed to me to
draw nearer, though I had managed to get pretty near as it was, already.
"Cousin Anneke," said Dirck, who never used circumlocution, when direct
means were at all available, "this is Corny Littlepage, of whom you have
heard me speak so often, and for whom I ask one of your best curtsies and
Miss Mordaunt was kind enough to comply literally, both curtsying and
smiling precisely as she had been desired to do, though I could see she was
also slightly disposed to laugh. I was still making my bow, and mumbling
some unintelligible compliment, when Katrinke gave a little exclamation,
and using the freedom of an old and confidential servant, she eagerly
pulled the sleeve of her young mistress, and hurriedly whispered something
in her ear. Anneke coloured, turned quickly towards me, bent her eyes more
boldly and steadily on my face--and then it was that I fancied the sweetest
smile which mortal had ever received, or that with which I had just before
been received, was much surpassed.
"Mr. Littlepage, I believe, is not a total stranger, cousin Dirck," she
said. "Katrinke remembers him, as a young gentleman who once did me an
important service, and now I think I can trace the resemblance myself! I
allude to the boy who insulted me on the Bowery Road, Mr. Littlepage, and
your handsome interference in my behalf."
"Had there been twenty boys, Miss Mordaunt, an insult to _you_ would have
been resented by any man of ordinary spirit."
I do not know that any youth, who was suddenly put to his wits to be
polite, or sentimental, or feeling, could have done a great deal better
than _that_! So Anneke thought too, I fancy, for her colour increased,
rendering her ravishingly lovely, and she looked surprisingly pleased.
"Yes," put in Dirck with energy,--"let twenty, or a hundred try it if they
please, Anneke, men or boys, and they'll find those that will protect you."
"You for one, of course, cousin Dirck," rejoined the charming girl, holding
out her hand towards my friend, with a frankness I could have dispensed
with in her; "but, you will remember, Mr. Littlepage, or _Master_
Littlepage as he then was, was a stranger, and I had no such claim on
_him_, as I certainly have on you."
"Well, Corny, it is odd you never said a word of this to me! when I was
showing him Lilacsbush, and talking of you and of your father, not a word
did he say on the subject."
"I did not then know it was Miss Mordaunt I had been so fortunate as to
serve; but here is Mr. Newcome at your elbow, Follock, and dying to be
introduced, as he sees I have been."
Anneke turned to smile and curtsey again to Jason, who made his bow in
a very school-master sort of a fashion, while I could see that the
circumstance I had not boasted of my exploit gave it new importance in the
sweet creature's eyes. As for Jason, he had no sooner got along with
the introduction,--the first, I fancy, he had ever gone regularly
through,--than, profiting by some questions Miss Mordaunt was asking Dirck
about his mother and the rest of the family, he came round to me, drew me
aside by a jerk of the sleeve, and gave me to understand he had something
for my private ear.
"I did not know before that you had ever kept school, Corny," he half
"How do you know it now, Mr. Newcome? since the thing never happened?"
"How comes it, then, that this young woman called you _Master_ Littlepage?"
"Bah! Jason, wait a year or two, and you will begin to get truer notions of
us New Yorkers."
"But I heard her with my own ears--_Master_ Littlepage; as plain as words
were ever called."
"Well, then, Miss Mordaunt must be right, and I have forgotten the affair.
I must once have kept a woman's school, somewhere^ in my younger days, but
"Now this is nothing (nawthin', as expressed) but you? desperate York
pride, Corny; but I think all the better of you for it. Why, as it could
not have taken place after you went to college, you must have got the start
of even me! But, the Rev. Mr. Worden is enough to start a youth with a
large capital, if he be so minded. I admit he does understand the dead
languages. It is a pity he is so very dead in religious matters."
"Well--well--I will tell you all about it another time, you perceive, now,
that Miss Mordaunt wishes to move on, and does not like to quit us too
abruptly. Let us follow."
Jason complied, and for an hour or two we had the pleasure of accompanying
the young ladies, as they strolled among the booths and different groups of
that singular assembly. As has been said, most of the blacks had been born
in the colony, but there were some native Africans among them. New York
never had slaves on the system of the southern planters, or in gangs of
hundreds, to labour in the fields under overseers, and who lived apart in
cabins of their own; but, our system of slavery was strictly domestic, the
negro almost invariably living under the same roof with the master, or, if
his habitation was detached, as certainly sometimes happened, it was still
near at hand, leaving both races as parts of a common family. In the
country, the negroes never toiled in the field, but it was as ordinary
husbandmen; and, in the cases of those who laboured on their own property,
or as tenants of some extensive land-ford, the black did his work at his
master's side. Then all, or nearly all our household servants were, and
still are, blacks, leaving that department of domestic economy almost
exclusively in their hands, with the exception of those cases in which the
white females busied themselves also in such occupations, united to the
usual supervision of the mistresses. Among the Dutch, in particular, the
treatment of the negro was of the kindest character, a trusty field slave
often having quite as much to say on the subject of the tillage and the
crops, as the man who owned both the land he worked, and himself.
A party of native Africans kept us for half an hour. The scene seemed to
have revived their early associations, and they were carried away with
their own representation of semi-savage sports. The American-born blacks
gazed at this group with intense interest also, regarding them as so many
ambassadors from the land of their ancestors, to enlighten them in usages
and superstitious lore, that were more peculiarly suited to their race. The
last even endeavoured to imitate the acts of the first, and, though the
attempt was often ludicrous, it never failed on the score of intention and
gravity. Nothing was done in the way of caricature, but much in the way of
respect and affection.
Lest the habits of this generation should pass away and be forgotten, of
which I see some evidence, I will mention a usage that was quite common
among the Dutch, and which has passed in some measure, into the English
families that have formed connections with the children of Holland. Two of
these intermarriages had so far brought the Littlepages within the pale,
that the usage to which I allude was practised in my own case. The custom
was this: when a child of the family reached the age of six, or eight, a
young slave of the same age and sex, was given to him, or her, with some
little formality, and from that moment the fortunes of the two were
considered to be, within the limits of their respective pursuits and
positions, as those of man and wife. It is true, divorces do occur, but it
is only in cases of gross misconduct, and quite as often the misconduct is
on the side of the master, as on that of the slave. A drunkard may get in
debt, and be compelled to part with his blacks this one among the rest; but
this particular negro remains with him as long as anything remains. Slaves
that seriously misbehave, are usually sent to the islands, where the toil
on the sugar plantations proves a very sufficient punishment.
The day I was six, a boy was given to me, in the manner I have mentioned;
and he remained not only my property, but my factotum, to this moment.
It was Yaap, or Jacob, the negro to whom I have already had occasion to
allude. Anneke Mordaunt, whose grandmother was of a Dutch family, it will
be remembered, had with her there, in the Pinkster field, a negress of just
her own age, who was called Mari; not Mary, or Maria; but the last, as
it would be pronounced without the final a. This _Mari_ was a buxom,
glistening, smooth-faced, laughing, red-lipped, pearl-toothed, black-eyed
hussy, that seemed born for fun; and who was often kept in order by
her more sedate and well-mannered young mistress with a good deal of
difficulty. My fellow was on the ground, somewhere, too; for I had given
him permission to come to town to keep Pinkster; and he was to leave
Satanstoe, in a sloop, within an hour after I left it myself. The wind had
been fair, and I made no question of his having arrived; though, as yet, I
had not seen him.
I could have accompanied Anneke, and her party, all day, through that
scene of unsophisticated mirth, and felt no want of interest. Her presence
immediately produced an impression; even the native Africans moderating
their manner, and lowering their yells, as it might be, the better to suit
her more refined tastes. No one, in our set, was too dignified to laugh,
but Jason. The pedagogue, it is true, often expressed his disgust at the
amusements and antics of the negroes, declaring they were unbecoming human
beings and otherwise manifesting that disposition to hypercriticism, which
is apt to distinguish one who is only a tyro in his own case.
Such was the state of things, when Ma_ri_ came rushing up to her young
mistress, with distended eyes and uplifted hands, exclaiming, on a key that
necessarily made us all sharers in the communication--
"Oh! Miss Anneke!--What you t'ink, Miss Anneke! Could you ever s'pose sich
a t'ing, Miss Anneke!"
"Tell me at once, Mari, what it is you have seen, or heard; and leave off
these silly exclamations;" said the gentle mistress, with a colour that
proved she was unused to her own girl's manner.
"Who _could_ t'ink it, Miss Anneke! Dese, here, werry niggers have sent
all'e way to deir own country, and have had a lion cotched for Pinkster!"
This was news, indeed, if true. Not one of us all had ever seen a lion;
wild animals, then, being exceedingly scarce in the colonies, with the
exception of those that were taken in our own woods. I had seen several
of the small brown bears, and many a wolf, and one stuffed panther, in my
time; but never supposed it within the range of possibilities, that I could
be brought so near a living lion. Inquiry showed, nevertheless, that Mari
was right, with the exception of the animal's having been expressly
caught for the occasion. It was the beast of a showman, who was also the
proprietor of a very active and amusing monkey. The price of admission was
a quarter of a dollar, for adult whites; children and negroes going in for
half-price. These preliminaries understood, it was at once settled that all
who could muster enough of money and courage, should go in a body, and gaze
on the king of beasts. I say, of courage; for it required a good deal for a
female novice to go near a living lion.
The lion was kept in a cage, of course, which was placed in a temporary
building of boards, that had been erected for the Pinkster field. As we
drew near the door, I saw that the cheeks of several of the pretty young
creatures who belonged to the party of Anneke, began to turn pale; a sign
of weakness that, singular as it may appear, very sensibly extended itself
to most of their attendant negresses. Mari did not flinch, however; and,
when it came to the trial, of that sex, she and her mistress were the only
two who held out in the original resolution of entering. Some time
was thrown away in endeavouring to persuade two or three of her older
companions to go in with her; but, finding it useless, with a faint smile,
Miss Mordaunt calmly said--
"Well, gentlemen, Mari and myself must compose the female portion of the
party. I have never seen a lion, and would not, by any means, miss this
opportunity. We shall find my friends waiting for such portions of us as
shall not be eaten, on our return."
We were now near the door, where stood the man who received the money, and
gave the tickets. It happened that Dirck had been stopped by a gentleman of
his acquaintance, who had just left the building, and who was laughingly
relating some incident that had occurred within. I stood on one side of
Anneke, Jason on the other, while Mari was close in the rear.
"A quarter for each gentleman and the lady," said the door-keeper, "and a
shilling for the wench."
On this hint, Jason, to my great surprise, (for usually he was very
backward on such occasions,) drew out a purse, and emptying some silver
into his hand, he said with a flourish--
"Permit me, Miss--it is an honour I covet; a quarter for yourself, and a
shilling for Mari."
I saw Anneke colour, and her eye turn hastily towards Dirck. Before I had
time to say anything, or to do anything in fact, she answered steadily--
"Give yourself no trouble, Mr. Newcome; Mr. Littlepage will do me the
favour to obtain tickets for me."
Jason had the money in his fingers, and I passed him and bought the
tickets, while he was protesting--
"It gave him pleasure--he was proud of the occasion--another time her
brother could do the same for his sisters and he had six," and other
matters of the sort.
I simply placed the tickets in Anneke's hand, who received them with an
expression of thanks, and we all passed; Dirck inquiring of his cousin, as
he came up, if he should get her tickets. I mention this little incident as
showing the tact of woman, and will relate all that pertains to it, before
I proceed to other things. Anneke said nothing on the subject of her
tickets until we had left the booth, when she approached me, and with that
grace and simplicity which a well-bred woman knows how to use on such an
occasion, and quietly observed--
"I am under obligations to you, Mr. Littlepage, for having paid for my
tickets;--they cost three shillings, I believe."
I bowed, and had the pleasure of almost touching Miss Mordaunt's beautiful
little hand, as she gave me the money. At this instant, a jerk at my elbow
came near causing me to drop the silver. It was Jason, who had taken this
liberty, and who now led me aside with a earnestness of manner it was not
usual for him to exhibit. I saw by the portentous look of the pedagogue's
countenance, and his swelling manner, that something extraordinary was on
his mind, and waited with some little curiosity to learn what it might be.
"Why, what in human natur', Corny, do you mean?" he cried, almost angrily.
"Did ever mortal man hear of a gentleman's making a lady pay for a treat!
Do you know you have made Miss Anneke pay for a treat!"
"A treat, Mr. Newcome!"
"Yes, a treat, Mr. Corny Littlepage! How often do you think young ladies
will accompany you to shows, and balls, and other sights, if you make _them
Then a laugh of derision added emphasis to Jason's words.
"Pay!--could I presume to think Miss Mordaunt would suffer me to pay money
for her, or for her servant?"
"You almost make me think you a nat'ral! Young men _always_ pay for young
women, and no questions asked. Did you not remark how smartly I offered to
pay for this Miss, and how well she took it, until you stepped forward and
cut me out;--I bore it, for it saved me three nine-pences."
"I observed how Miss Mordaunt shrunk from the familiarity of being called
Miss, and how unwilling she was to let you buy the tickets; and that I
suspect was solely because she saw you had some notion of what you call a
I cannot enter into the philosophy of the thing, but certainly nothing is
more vulgar in English, to address a young lady as Miss, without affixing
a name, whereas I know it is the height of breeding to say Mademoiselle in
French, and am told the Spaniards, Italians and Germans, use its synonyme
in the same manner. I had been indignant at Jason's familiarity when he
called Anneke--the pretty Anneke!--Miss; and felt glad of an occasion to
let him understand how I felt on the subject.
"What a child you be, a'ter all, Corny!" exclaimed the pedagogue, who was
much too good-natured to take offence at a trifle. "You a bachelor of arts!
But this matter _must_ be set right, if it be only for the honour of my
school. Folks"--Jason never blundered on the words 'one' or 'people' in
this sense--"Folks may think that you have been in the school since it has
been under my care, and I wouldn't for the world have it get abroad that
a youth from my school had neglected to treat a lady under such
Conceiving it useless to remonstrate with _me_ any further, Jason proceeded
forthwith to Anneke, with whom he begged permission to say a word in
private. So eager was my companion to wipe out the stain, and so surprised
was the young lady, who gently declined moving more than a step, that the
conference took place immediately under my observation, neither of the
parties being aware that I necessarily heard or saw all that passed.
"You must excuse Corny, Miss," Jason commenced, producing his purse again,
and beginning to hunt anew for a quarter and a shilling; "he is quite
young, and knows nawthin' worth speaking of, of the ways of mankind. Ah!
here is just the money--three ninepennies, or three York shillings. Here,
Miss, excuse Corny, and overlook it all; when he is older, he will not make
"I am not certain that I understand you, sir!" exclaimed Anneke, who had
shrunk back a little at the 'Miss,' and who now saw Jason hold out the
silver, with a surprise she took no pains to conceal.
"This is the price of the tickets--yes, that's all. Naw-thin' else, on
honour. Corny, you remember, was so awful dumb as to let you pay, just as
if you had been a gentleman."
Anneke now smiled, and glancing at me at the same instant, a bright blush
suffused her face, though the meaning of my eye, as I could easily see,
strongly tempted her to laugh.
"It is very well as it is, Mr. Newcome, though I feel much indebted to
your liberal intentions," she said, turning to rejoin her friends; "it is
customary in New York for ladies to pay, themselves, for everything of this
nature. When I go to Connecticut, I shall feel infinitely indebted to you
for another such offer."
Jason did not know what to make of it! He long after insisted that the
young lady was 'huffed,' as he called it, and that she had refused to take
the money merely because she was thus offended.
"There is a manner, you know, Corny," he said, "of doing even a genteel
thing, and that is to do it genteelly. I much doubt if a genteel thing
_can_ be done ungenteelly. One thing I'm thankful for, and that is, that
she don't know that you ever were at the 'Seminarian Institute' in your
life;" such being the appellation Jason had given to that which Mr. Worden
had simply called a 'Boys' School.' To return to the booth.
The lion had many visitors, and we had some difficulty in finding places.
As a matter of course, Anneke was put in front, most of the men who were in
the booth giving way to her with respectful attention. Unfortunately,
the young lady wore an exceedingly pretty shawl, in which scarlet was a
predominant colour; and that which occurred has been attributed to this
circumstance, though I am far from affirming such to have been literally
the case. Anneke, from the first, manifested no fear; but the circle
pressing on her from without, she got so near the cage that the beast
thrust a paw through, and actually caught hold of the shawl, drawing the
alarmed girl quite up to the bars. I was at Anneke's side, and with a
presence of mind that now surprises me, I succeeded in throwing the shawl
from the precious creature's shoulders, and of fairly lifting her from the
ground and setting her down again at a safe distance from the beast. All
this passed so soon that half the persons present were unconscious of what
had occurred until it was all over; and what astonishes me most is, that I
do not retain the least recollection of the pleasure I ought to have felt
while my arm encircled Anneke Mordaunt's slender waist, and while she was
altogether supported by me. The keeper interfered immediately, and the lion
relinquished the shawl, looking like a disappointed beast when he found it
did not contain its beautiful owner.
Anneke was rescued before she had time fully to comprehend the danger she
had been in. Even Dirck could not advance to her aid, though he saw and
comprehended the imminent risk ran by the being he loved best in the world;
but Dirck was always so slow! I must do Jason the credit to say that he
behaved well, though so situated as to be of no real use. He rushed forward
to assist Anneke, and remained to draw away the shawl, as soon as the
keeper had succeeded in making the lion relinquish his hold. But, all this
passed so rapidly, as to give little opportunity for noting incidents.
Anneke was certainly well frightened by this adventure with the lion, as
was apparent by her changing colour, and a few tears that succeeded. Still,
a glass of water, and a minute or two, seated in a chair, were sufficient
to restore her self-composure, and she remained with us, for half an hour,
examining and admiring her terrible assailant.
And, here, let me add, for the benefit of those who have never had an
opportunity of seeing the king of beasts, that he is a sight well worthy to
behold! I have never viewed an elephant, which travelled gentlemen tell me
is a still more extraordinary animal, though I find it difficult to imagine
anything finer, in its way, than the lion which came so near injuring
"sweet Anne Mordaunt." I question if any of us were aware of the full
extent of the danger she ran, until we began to reflect on it coolly, after
time and leisure were afforded. As soon as the commotion naturally produced
at first, had subsided, the incident seemed forgotten, and we left the
booth, after a long visit, expatiating on the animal, and its character,
apparently in forgetfulness of that which, by one blow of his powerful paw,
the lion might have rendered fatal to one of the very sweetest and
happiest innocents of the whole province, but for the timely and merciful
interposition of a kind providence.
After the little affair of the tickets, I walked on with Anneke, who
declared her intention of quitting the field, her escape beginning to
affect her spirits, and she was afraid that some particularly kind friend
might carry an exaggerated account of what had happened to her father.
Dirck offered to accompany her home, for Mr. Mordaunt kept no carriage; or,
at least, nothing that was habitually used as a town equipage. We had all
gone as far as the verge of the Common with Anneke, when the sweet girl
stopped, looked at me earnestly, and, while her colour changed and tears
rose to her eyes, she said,--
"Mr. Littlepage, I am just getting to be fully conscious of what I owe to
you. The thing passed so suddenly, and I was so much alarmed, that I did
not know how to express myself at the time, nor am I certain that I do now.
Believe me, notwithstanding, that I never can forget this morning, and I
beg of you, if you have a sister, to carry to her the proffered friendship
of Anneke Mordaunt, and tell her that her own prayers in behalf of her
brother will not be more sincere than mine."
Before I could recollect myself, so as to make a suitable answer, Anneke
had curtsied and walked away, with her handkerchief to her eyes.
"Nay, be brief:
I see into thy end, and am almost
A man already."
As Dirck accompanied Miss Mordaunt to her father's house in Crown Street,
 I took an occasion to give Jason the slip, being in no humour to
listen to his lectures on the proprieties of life, and left the Pinkster
field as fast as I could. Notwithstanding the size and importance of New
York, a holiday like this could not fail to draw great crowds of persons
to witness the sports. In 1757, James de Lancey was at the head of the
government of the province, as indeed he had been, in effect, for much of
his life; and I remember to have met his chariot, carrying the younger
children of the family to the field, on my way into the town. As the day
advanced, carriages of one sort and another made their appearance in
Broadway, principally conveying the children of their different owners. All
these belonged to people of the first mark; and I saw the Ship that denotes
the arms of Livingston, the Lance, of the de Lanceys, the Burning Castle,
of the Morrises, and other armorial bearings that were well known in the
province. Carriages, certainly, were not as common in 1757 as they have
since become; but most of our distinguished people rode in their coaches,
chariots, or phaetons, or conveyances of some sort or other, when there was
occasion to go so far out of town as the Common, which is the site of the
present "Park." The roads on the island of Manhattan were very pretty and
picturesque, winding among rocks and through valleys, being lined with
groves and copses in a way to render all the drives rural and retired. Here
and there, one came to a country-house, the residence of some person of
importance, which, by its comfort and snugness, gave all the indications
of wealth and of a prudent taste. Mr. Speaker Nicoll had  occupied a
dwelling of this sort for a long series of years, that was about a league
from town, and which is still standing, as I pass it constantly in
travelling between Satanstoe and York. I never saw the Patentee myself, as
he died long before my birth; but his house near town still stands, as I
have said, a memorial of past ages!
The whole town seemed alive, and everybody had a desire to get a glance at
the sports of the Pinkster Field; though the more dignified and cultivated
had self-denial enough to keep aloof, since it would hardly have comported
with their years and stations to be seen in such a place. The war had
brought many regiments into the province, however, and I met at least
twenty young officers, strolling out to the scene of amusement, as I walked
into town. I will confess I gazed at these youths with admiration, and not
entirely without envy, as they passed me in pairs, laughing and diverting
themselves with the grotesque groups of blacks that were occasionally
met, coming in from their sports. These young men I knew had enjoyed the
advantages of being educated at home, some of them, quite likely, in the
Universities, and all of them amid the high civilization and taste of
England. I say all of them, too hastily; as there were young men of the
colonies among them, who probably had not enjoyed these advantages. The
easy air, self-possession, and quiet, what shall I call it?--insolence
would be too strong a word, and a term that I, the son and grandson of old
king's officers, would not like to apply, and yet it comes nearest to what
I mean as applicable to the covert manner of these young men--but, whatever
it was, that peculiar air of metropolitan superiority over provincial
ignorance and provincial dependence, which certainly distinguished all the
younger men of this class, had an effect on me, I find it difficult to
describe. I was a loyal subject, loved the King,--most particularly since
he was so identified with the Protestant succession,--loved all of the
blood-royal, and wished for nothing more than the honour and lustre of the
English crown. One thus disposed could not but feel amicably towards the
King's officers; yet, I will confess, there were moments when this air of
ill-concealed superiority, this manner that so much resembled that of the
master towards the servant, the superior to the dependent, the patron
to the client, gave me deep offence, and feelings so bitter, that I was
obliged to struggle hard to suppress them. But this is Anticipating, and is
interrupting the course of my narrative. I am inclined to think there must
always be a good deal of this feeling, where the relation of principal and
dependant exists, as between distinct territories.
I was a good deal excited, and a little fatigued with the walk and the
incidents of the morning, and determined to proceed at once to Duke Street,
and share the cold dinner of my aunt; for few private families in York,
that depended on regular cooks for their food, had anything served warm on
their tables, for that and the two succeeding days. Here and there a
white substitute was found, it is true, and we had the benefit of such an
assistant at half-past one. It was the English servant of a Col. Mosely, an
officer of the army, who was intimate at my uncle's, and who had had the
civility to offer a man for this occasion. I afterwards ascertained,
that many officers manifested the same kind spirit towards various other
families in which they visited on terms of friendship.
Marriages between young English officers and our pretty, delicate York
belles, were of frequent occurrence, and I had felt a twinge or two, on the
subject of Anneke, that morning, as I passed the youths of the 55th,
60th, or Loyal Americans, 17th, and other regiments that were then in the
My aunt was descending from the drawing-room, in dinner dress--for that no
lady ever neglects, even though she dines on a cold dumpling. As I opened
the street-door, Mrs. Legge was not coming down alone to take her seat at
table, but, having some extra duty to perform in consequence of the absence
of most of her household, she was engaged in that service. Seeing me,
however, she stopped on the landing of the stains, and beckoned me to
"Corny," she said, "what have you been doing, my child, to have drawn this
honour upon you?"
"Honour!--I am ignorant of having even received any. What can you mean, my
"Here is Herman Mordaunt waiting to see you, in the drawing-room. He asked
particularly for _you_;--wishes to _see_ you--expresses his regrets that
_you_ are not in, and talks only of _you_ /"
"In which case, I ought to hasten up stairs in order to receive him, as
soon as possible. I will tell you all about it at dinner, aunt;--excuse me
Away I went, with a beating heart, to receive a visit from Anneke's father.
I can scarcely give a reason why this gentleman was usually called, when
he was spoken of, and sometimes when he was spoken to, _Herman_ Mordaunt;
unless, indeed, it were, that being in part of Dutch extraction, the name
which denoted the circumstance (Hermanus--pronounced by the Hollanders,
Her_maa_nus,) was used by a portion of the population in token of the fact,
and adopted by others in pure compliance. But _Herman_ Mordaunt was
he usually styled; and this, too, in the way of respect, and not as
coarse-minded persons affect to speak of their superiors, or in a way to
boast of their own familiarity. I should have thought it an honour, at my
time of life, to receive a visit from Herman Mordaunt; but my heart fairly
beat, as I have said, as I went hastily up stairs, to meet Anneke's father.
My uncle was not in, and I found my visitor waiting for me, alone, in
the drawing-room. Aware of the state of the family, and of all families,
indeed, during Pinkster, he had insisted on my aunt's quitting him, while
he looked over some new books that had recently been received from home;
among which was a new and very handsome edition of the Spectator, a work
that enjoys a just celebrity throughout the colonies.
Mr. Mordaunt advanced to receive me with studied politeness, yet a
warmth that could not well be counterfeited, the instant I approached.
Nevertheless, his manner was easy and natural; and to me he appeared to be
the highest-bred man I had ever seen.
"I am thankful that the debt of gratitude I owe you, my
young friend," he said, at once, and without preface of any sort, unless
that of manner be so received, "is due to the son of a gentleman I so
much esteem as Evans Littlepage. A loyal subject, an honest man, and a
well-connected and well-descended gentleman, like him, may well be the
parent of a brave youth, who does not hesitate to face even lions, in
defence of the weaker sex."
"I cannot affect to misunderstand you, sir," I answered; "and I sincerely
congratulate you that matters are no worse; though you greatly overrate the
danger. I doubt if even a lion would have the heart to hurt Miss Mordaunt,
were she in his power."
I think this was a very pretty speech, for a youth of twenty; and I confess
I look back upon it, even now, with complacency. If I occasionally betray
weakness of this character, I beg the reader to recollect that I am acting
in the part of an honest historian, and that it is my aim to conceal
nothing that ought to be known.
Herman Mordaunt did not resume his seat, on account of the lateness of the
hour, (half-past one); but he made me professions of friendship, and
named Friday, the first moment when he could command the services of his
domestics, when I should dine with him. The army had introduced later hours
than was usual; and this invitation was given for three o'clock; it being
said, at the time, as I well remember, that persons of fashion in London
sat down to table even later than this. After remaining with me five
minutes, Herman Mordaunt took his leave. Of course, I accompanied him to
the door, where we parted with many bows.
At dinner, I told my uncle and aunt all that had occurred, and was glad to
hear them both speak so favourably of my new acquaintances.
"Herman Mordaunt might be a much more considerable man than he is,"
observed my uncle, "were he disposed to enter into public life. He has
talents, a good education, a very handsome estate, and is well-connected in
the colony, certainly; some say at home, also."
"And Anneke is a sweet young thing," added my aunt; "and, since Corny was
to assist any young lady, I am heartily glad it was Anneke. She is an
excellent creature, and her mother was one of my most intimate friends, as
she was of my sister Littlepage, too. You must go and inquire after her
health, this evening, Corny. Such an attention is due, after what has
passed all round."
Did I wish to comply with this advice? Out of all question; and yet I was
too young, and too little at my ease, to undertake this ceremony, without
many misgivings. Luckily, Dirck came in, in the evening; and my aunt
repeating her opinion before my friend, he at once declared it was
altogether proper, and that he thought Anneke would have a right to expect
it. As he offered to be my companion, we were soon on our way to Crown
Street, in which Mr. Mordaunt owned and inhabited a very excellent house.
We were admitted by Mr. Mordaunt himself, not one of his blacks, having yet
returned from the Pinkster field.
Dirck appeared to be on the best terms, not only with Herman Mordaunt, but
with his charming daughter. I had observed that the latter always called
him "_cousin_ Dirck," and I hardly knew whether to interpret this as a sign
of particular or of family regard. That Dirck was fonder of Anneke Mordaunt
than of any other human being, I could easily see; and I confess that the
discovery already began to cause uneasiness. I loved Dirck, and wished he
loved any one else but the very being I feared he did.
Herman Mordaunt showed me the way, up the noble, wide, mahogany-garnished
staircase of his dwelling, and ushered us into a very handsome, though not
very large, but well-lighted drawing-room. There sat Anneke, his daughter,
in the loveliness of her maiden charms, a little more dressed than usual,
perhaps, for she had three or four young and lovely girls with her, and
five or six young men; among whom were no less than three scarlet coats.
I shall not attempt to conceal my weakness. Only twenty, inexperienced and
unaccustomed to town society, I felt awkward and unpleasantly the instant I
entered the room; nor did the feeling subside during the first half-hour.
Anneke came forward, one or two steps, to meet me; and I could see, she was
almost as much confused, as I was myself. She blushed, as she thanked me
for the service I had rendered, and expressed her satisfaction that her
father had been fortunate enough to find me at home, and had had an
opportunity of saying a little of what he felt, on the occasion. She then
invited me to be seated, naming me to the company, and telling me who
two or three of the young ladies were. From these last I received sundry
approving smiles; which I took as so many thanks for serving their friend;
while I could not help seeing that I was an object of examination to most
of the men present. The three officers, in particular, looked at me the
most intently, and the longest.
"I trust, your little accident, which could have been of no great moment,
in itself, since you escaped so well, did not have the effect to prevent
you from enjoying the rare fun of this Pinkster affair?" said one of the
scarlet coats, as soon as the movement caused by my reception had subsided.
"You call it a 'little accident,' Mr. Bulstrode," returned Anneke, with a
reproachful shake of her pretty head, "but, I can assure you, it is not a
trifle, to a young lady, to find herself in the paws of a lion."
"_Serious_ accident, then; since, I see, you are resolved to consider
yourself a victim;" rejoined the other; "but, not serious enough, I trust,
to deprive you of the fun?"
"Pinkster fields, and Pinkster frolics, are no novelties to us, sir, as
they occur every season; and I am just old enough not to have missed one of
them all, for the last twelve years."
"We heard you had been 'out," put in another red-coat, whom I had heard
called Billings, "accompanied by a little army, of what Bulstrode called,
the Light Infantry."
Here three or four of the other young ladies joined in the discourse, at
once, protesting against Mr. Bulstrode's placing their younger sisters
in the army, in so cavalier a manner; an accusation that Mr. Bulstrode
endeavoured to parry, by declaring his hopes of having them all, not only
in the army, but in his own regiment, one day or other. At this, there was
a certain amount of mirth, and various protestations of an unwillingness
to enlist; in which, I was glad to see, that neither Anneke, nor her most
intimate friend, Mary Wallace, saw fit to join, I liked their reserve of
manner, far better than the girlish trifling of their companions; and, I
could see, that all the men respected them the more for it. There was a
good deal of general and disjointed conversation that succeeded; which
I shall not pretend to follow or relate, but confine myself to such
observations as had a bearing on matters that were connected with myself.
As none of the young soldiers were addressed by their military titles, such
things never occurring in the better circles, as I now discovered, and,
least of all, in those connected with the army, I was not able, at the
time, to ascertain the rank of the three red-coats; though I afterwards
ascertained, that the youngest was an ensign, of the name of Harris; a
mere boy, and the younger son of a member of Parliament. The next oldest,
Billings, was a captain, and was said to be a natural son of a nobleman;
while Bulstrode was actually the oldest son of a baronet, of three or four
thousand a year, and had already bought his way up as high as a Majority,
though only four-and-twenty. This last was a handsome fellow, too; nor had
I been an hour in his company, before I saw, plainly enough, that he was
a strong admirer of Anneke Mordaunt. The other two evidently admired
themselves too much, to have any very lively feelings on the subject of
other persons. As for Dirck, younger than myself, and diffident, as well as
slow by nature, he kept himself altogether in the back-ground, conversing,
most of the time, with Herman Mordaunt, on the subject of farming.
We had been together an hour, and I had acquired sufficient ease to change
my seat, and to look at a picture or two, which adorned the walls, and
which were said to be originals, from the Old World; for, to own the truth,
the art of painting has not made much progress in the colonies. We _have_
painters, it is true, and one or two are said to be men of rare merit, the
ladies being very fond of sitting to them for their portraits; but these
are exceptions. At a future day, when critics shall have immortalized the
names of a Smybert, and a Watson, and a Blackburn, the people of these
provinces will become aware of the talents they once possessed among them;
and the grandchildren of those who neglected these men of genius, in their
day--ay, their descendants to the latest generations--will revenge the
wrongs of merit and talent, to the end of civilized time. It is a failing
of colonies to be diffident of their own opinions; but I have heard
gentlemen, who were educated at home, and who possessed cultivated and
refined tastes, affirm that the painters of Europe, when visiting this
hemisphere, have retained all their excellence; and have painted as freely
and as well, under an American, as under a European sun. As for a sister
art, the Thespian muse had actually made her appearance among us, five
years before the time of my visit to town in 1757, or in 1752; a theatre
having actually been built and opened in Nassau Street in 1753, with a
company under the care of the celebrated Hallam, and his family. This
theatre I had been dying to visit, while it stood, for as yet I had never
witnessed a theatrical performance; but my mother's injunctions prevented
me from entering it while at college. "When you are old enough, Corny," she
used to say, "you shall have my permission to go as often as is proper; but
you are now of an age, when Shakspeare and Rowe might unsettle your Latin
and Greek." My task of obedience had not been very difficult, inasmuch as
the building in Nassau Street, the second regular theatre ever erected in
British America, was taken down, and a church erected in its place. 
The comedians went to the islands, and had not reappeared on the continent
down to the period of which I am now writing; nor did their return occur
until the following year. That they were expected, however, and that a new
house had been built for them, in another part of the town, I was aware,
though month after month passed away, and the much-expected company did not
appear. I had understood, however, that the large military force
collecting in the colony, would be likely to bring them back soon; and the
conversation soon took a turn, that proved how much interest the young, the
gay, and the fair, felt in the result. I was still looking at a picture,
when Mr. Bulstrode approached me, and entered into conversation. It will be
remembered, that this gentleman was four years my senior; that he had been
at one of the universities; was the heir to a baronetcy; knew the world;
had risen to a Majority in the army, and was by nature, as well as
training, agreeable, when he had a mind to be, and genteel. These
circumstances, I could not but feel, gave him a vast advantage over me;
and I heartily wished that we stood anywhere but in the presence of Anneke
Mordaunt, as he thus saw fit to single me out for invidious comparison,
by a sort of _tete-a-tete,_ or aside. Still, I could not complain of his
manner, which was both polite and respectful; though I could scarce divest
myself of the idea, that he was covertly amusing himself, the whole time.
"You are a fortunate man, Mr. Littlepage," he commenced, "in having had it
in your power to do so important a service to Miss Mordaunt. We all envy
you your luck, while we admire your spirit, and I feel certain the men
of our regiment will take some proper notice of it. Miss Anneke is in
possession of half our hearts, and we should be still more heartless to
overlook such a service."
I muttered some half-intelligible answer to this compliment, and my new
"I am almost surprised, Mr. Littlepage," he added, "that a man of your
spirit does not come among us in times as stirring as these. They tell me
both your father and grandfather served, and that you are quite at your
ease. You will find a great many men of merit and fashion among us, and
I make no doubt they would contribute to make your time pass agreeably
enough. Large reinforcements are expected, and if you are inclined for a
pair of colours, I think I know a battalion in which there are a vacancy
or two, and which will certainly serve in the colonies. It would afford me
great pleasure to help to further your views, should you be disposed to
turn them towards the army."
Now all this was said with an air of great apparent frankness and
sincerity, which I fancied was only the more visible from the circumstance
that Anneke was so seated as unavoidably to hear every word of what was
said. I observed that she even turned her eyes on me as I made my answer,
though I did not dare so far to observe her in turn as to note their
"I am very sensible, Mr. Bulstrode, of the liberality and kindness of your
intentions," I answered steadily enough, for pride came to my assistance,
"though I fear it will not be in my power to profit by it at once, if ever.
My grandfather is still living, and he has much influence over me and my
fortune, and I know it is his wish that I should remain at Satanstoe."
"Where?" demanded Bulstrode, with more quickness and curiosity than
strictly comported with good-breeding perhaps.
"Satanstoe; I do not wonder you smile, for it has an odd sound, but it is
the name my grandfather has given the family place in Westchester. Given, I
have said, though translated would be better, as I understand the present
appellation is pretty literally rendered into English from the Dutch."
"I like the name exceedingly, Mr. Littlepage, and I feel certain I should
like your good, old, honest, Anglo-Saxon grandfather. But, pardon me, it is
his wish you should remain at Satansfoot?"
"Satanstoe, sir; we do not aspire to the whole foot. It is my grandfather's
wish that I remain at home until of age, which will not be now for some
"By way of keeping you out of Satan's footsteps, I suppose. Well, these old
gentlemen are often right. Should you alter your views, however, my dear
Littlepage, do not forget me, but remember you can count on one who has
some little influence, and who will ever be ready to exert it in the behalf
of one who has proved so serviceable to Miss Mordaunt. Sir Harry is a
martyr to the gout, and talks of letting me stand in his place at the
dissolution. In that case my wishes will naturally carry more weight. I
like that name of Satanstoe amazingly!"
"I am infinitely obliged to you, Mr. Bulstrode, though I will confess I
have never looked forward to rising in the world by taxing my friends. One
may own that he has had some hopes founded on merit and honesty--"
"Poh! poh!--my dear Littlepage, honesty is a very pretty thing to talk
about, but I suppose you remember what Juvenal says on that interesting
subject--"_probitas laudatur et alget._" I dare say you are fresh enough
from college to remember that comprehensive sentiment."
"I have never read Juvenal, Mr. Bulstrode, and never wish to, if such be
the tendency of what he teaches--"
"Juvenal was a satirist, you know," interrupted Bulstrode a little hastily,
for by this time he too had ascertained that Anneke was listening, and
he betrayed some eagerness to get rid of so flagitious a sentiment; "and
satirists speak of things as they are, rather than as they ought to be.
I dare say Rome deserved all she got, for the moralists give a very sad
account of her condition. Of all the large capitals of which we have any
account, London is the only town of even tolerable manners."
What young Bulstrode would have ventured to say next, it is out of my
power to guess; for a certain Miss Warren, who was of the company, and
who particularly affected the youth, luckily called out at this critical
"Your attention one moment, if you please, Mr. Bulstrode; is it true that
the gentlemen of the army have been getting the new theatre in preparation,
and that they intend to favour us with some representations? A secret
something like this has just leaked out, from Mr. Harris, who even goes so
far as to add that you can tell us all about it."
"Mr. Harris must be put under an arrest for this, though I hear the colonel
let the cat out of the bag, at the Lt. Governor's table, as early as last
"I can assure you, Mr. Bulstrode," Anneke observed calmly, "that I have
heard rumours to this effect for quite a fortnight. You must not blame Mr.
Harris solely, for your whole regiment has been hinting to the same purpose
far and near."
"Then the delinquent will escape, this time. I confess the charge; we have
hired the new theatre, and do intend to solicit the honour of the ladies
coming to hear me murder Cato, and Scrub; a pretty climax of characters,
you will admit, Miss Mordaunt?"
"I know nothing of Scrub, though I have read Mr. Addison's play, and think
you have no need of being ashamed of the character of Cato. When is the
theatre to open?"
"We follow the sable gentry. As soon as St. Pinkster has received his
proper share of attention, we shall introduce Dom-Cato and Mr. Scrub to
All the young ladies, but Anneke and her friend Mary Wallace, laughed, two
or three repeating the words 'St. Pinkster,' as if they contained something
much cleverer than it was usual to hear. A general burst of exclamations,
expressions of pleasure, and of questions and answers followed, in which
two or three voices were heard at the same moment, during which time Anneke
turned to me, who was standing near her, at the spot occupied by Bulstrode
a minute before, and seemed anxious to say something.
"Do you seriously think of the army, Mr. Littlepage?" she asked, changing
colour at the freedom of her own question.
"In a war like this, no one can say when he may be called on to go out," I
answered. "But, only as a defender of the soil, if at all."
I thought Anneke Mordaunt seemed pleased with this answer. After a short
pause, she resumed the dialogue.
"Of course you understand Latin, Mr. Littlepage, although you have not been
at the universities?"
"As it is taught in our own colleges, Miss Mordaunt."
"And that is sufficient to tell me what Mr. Bulstrode's quotation means--if
it be proper for me to hear."
"He would hardly presume to use even a Latin saying in your presence, that
is unfit for your ear. The maxim which Mr. Bulstrode attributes to Juvenal,
simply means 'that honesty is praised and starves.'"
I thought that something like displeasure settled on the fair, polished,
brow of Miss Mordaunt, who, I could soon see, possessed much character and
high principles for one of her tender years. She said nothing, however,
though she exchanged a very meaning glance with her friend Mary Wallace.
Her lips were moved, and I fancied I could trace the formation of the
sounds "honesty is praised and starves!"
"And _you_ are to be Cato I hear, Mr. Bulstrode," cried one of the young
ladies, who thought more of a scarlet coat, I fancy, than was for her own
good. "How very charming! Will you play the character in regimentals or in
mohair--in a modern or in an ancient dress?"
"In my _robe de chambre_, a little altered for the occasion, Unless St.
Pinkster and his sports should suggest some more appropriate costume,"
answered the young man lightly.
"Are you quite aware what feast Pinkster is?" asked Anneke, a little
Bulstrode actually changed colour, for it had never crossed his mind to
inquire into the character of the holiday; and, to own the truth, the
manner in which it is kept by the negroes of New York, never would
enlighten him much on the subject.
"That is information for which I perceive I am now about to be indebted to
"Then you shall not be disappointed, Mr. Bulstrode; Pinkster is neither
more nor less than the Festival of Whit-sunday, or the Feast of Pentecost.
I suppose we shall now hear no more of your saint."
Bulstrode took this little punishment, which was very sweetly but quite
steadily uttered, with perfect good-humour, and with a manner so rebuked
as to prove that Anneke possessed great control over him. He bowed in
submission, and she smiled so kindly, that I wished the occasion for the
little pantomime had not occurred.
"_Our_ ancestors, Miss Mordaunt, never heard of any Pinkster, you will
remember, and that must explain my ignorance," he said meekly.
"But some of _mine_ have long understood it, and observed the festival,"
"Ay, on the side of Holland--but when I presume to speak of _our_
ancestors, I mean those which I can claim the honour of boasting as
belonging to me in common with yourself."
"Are you and Mr. Bulstrode, then, related?" I asked, as it might be
involuntarily and almost too abruptly.
Anneke replied, however, in a way to show that she thought the question
natural for the circumstances, and not in the least out of place.
"My grandfather's mother, and Mr. Bulstrode's grandfather, were brother and
sister," was the quiet answer.
"This makes us a sort of cousins, according to those Dutch notions which he
so much despises, though I fancy it would not count for much at home."
Bulstrode protested to the contrary, stating that he knew his father valued
his relationship to Mr. Mordaunt, by the earnest manner in which he had
commanded him to cultivate the acquaintance of the family the instant he
reached New York. I saw by this, the footing on which the formidable
Major was placed in the family, everybody seeming to be related to Anneke
Mordaunt but myself. I took an occasion that very evening, to question the
dear girl on the subject of her Dutch connections, giving her a clue to
mine but with all our industry, and some assistance from Herman Mordaunt,
who took an interest in such a subject, as it might be _ex officio_, we
could make out no affinity worth mentioning.
[Footnote 10: Now, Liberty Street.]
[Footnote 11: The person meant here, was William Nicoll, Esquire, Patentee
of Islip, a large estate on Long Island, that is still in the family, under
a Patent granted in 1683. This gentleman was a son of Mr. Secretary Nicoll,
who is supposed to have been a relative of Col. Nicoll, the first English
Governor. Mr. Speaker Nicoll, as the son was called, in consequence of
having filled that office for nearly a generation, was the direct ancestor
of the Nicolls of Islip and Shelter Island, as well as of a branch long
settled at Stratford, Connecticut. The house alluded to by Mr. Littlepage,
as a relic of antiquity in _his_ day,--American antiquity, be it
remembered,--was standing a few years since, if it be not still standing,
at the point of junction between the Old Boston Road and the New Road, and
nearly opposite to tha termination of the long avenue that led to Rosehill,
originally a seat of the Watts'. The house stood a short distance above the
present Union Square, and not far from that of the present Gramercy. It
was, or is, a brick-house of one story, with a small court-yard in front;
the House of Refuge being at a little distance on its right. If still
standing, it must now be one of the oldest buildings of any sort, in a town
of 400,000 souls! As Mr. Speaker Nicoll resigned the chair in 1718, this
house must be at least a hundred and thirty or forty years old; and it may
be questioned if a dozen as old, public of private, can be found on the
As the regular family residences of the Nicolls were in Suffolk, or on
their estates, it is probable that the abode mentioned was, in a measure,
owing to an intermarriage with the Watts', as much as to the necessity of
the Speaker's passing so much time at the seat of government.--EDITOR.]
[Footnote 12: The church is now (1845) being converted into a Post-Office.]
"Sir Valentino, I care not for her, I."
"I hold him but a fool, that will endanger
His body for a girl that loves him not."
"I claim her not, and therefore she is thine."
_Two Gentlemen of Verona_.
I saw Anne Mordaunt several times, either in the street or in her own
house, between that evening and the day I was to dine with her father. The
morning of the last named day Mr. Bulstrode favoured me with a call, and
announced that he was to be of the party in Crown Street, and that the
whole company was to repair to the theatre, to see his own Cato and Scrub,
in the evening.
"By giving yourself the trouble to call at the Crown and Bible, kept
hard-by here, in Hanover Square or Queen Street, by honest Hugh Gaine, you
will find a package of tickets for yourself, Mr. and Mrs. Legge, and your
relative Mr. Dirck Follock, as I believe the gentleman is called. These
Dutch have extraordinary patronymics, you must admit, Littlepage."
"It may appear so to an Englishman, though our names are quite as odd to
strangers. But Dirck Van Valkenburgh is not a kinsman of mine, though he is
related to the Mordaunts, _your_ relatives."
"Well, it's all the same! I knew he was related to somebody that I know,
and I fancied it was to yourself. I am sure I never see him but I wish he
was in our grenadier company."
"Dirck would do honour to any corps, but you know how it is with the Dutch
families, Mr. Bulstrode. They still retain much of their attachment to
Holland, and do not as often take service in the army, or navy, as we of
"I should have thought a century might have cooled them off, a little, from
their veneration of the meadows of Holland. It is the opinion at home, that
New York is a particularly well affected colony."
"So it is, as I hear from all sides. As respects the Dutch, among
ourselves, I have heard my grandfather say, that the reign of King William
had a powerful influence in reconciling them to the new government,
but, since his day, that they are less loyal than formerly. The Van
Valkenburghs, notwithstanding, pass for as good subjects as any that the
house of Hanover possesses. On no account would I injure them in your
"Good or bad, we shall hope to see your friend, who is a connection in some
way, as you believe, of the Mordaunts. You will get but a faint idea of
what one of the royal theatres is, Littlepage, by this representation of
ours, though it may serve to kill time. But, I must go to rehearsal; we
shall meet at three."
Here my gay and gallant major made his bow, and took his leave. I proceeded
on to the sign of the Crown and the Bible, where I found a large collection
of people, coming in quest of tickets. As the _elite_ of the town would
not of themselves form an audience sufficiently large to meet the towering
ambition of the players, more than half the tickets were sold, the money
being appropriated to the sick families of soldiers--those who were not
entitled to receive aid from government. It was deemed a high compliment
to receive tickets gratis, though all who did, made it a point to leave a
donation to the fund, with Mr. Gaine. Receiving my package, I quitted the
shop, and it being the hour for the morning promenade, I went up Wall
Street, to the Mall, as Trinity Church Walk was even then called. Here, I
expected to meet Dirck, and hoped to see Anneke, for the place was much
frequented by the young and gay, both in the mornings and in the evenings.
The bands of different regiments were stationed in the churchyard, and the
company was often treated to much fine martial music. Some few of the more
scrupulous objected to this desecration of the churchyard, but the army had
everything pretty much in its own way. As they were supposed to do nothing
but what was approved of at home, the dissenters were little heeded, nor do
I think the army would have greatly cared, had they been more numerous.
I dare say there were fifty young ladies promenading the church-walk when
I reached it, and nearly as many young men in attendance on them; no small
portion of the last being scarlet-coats, though the mohairs had their
representatives there too. A few blue-jackets were among us also, there
being two or three king's cruisers in port. As no one presumed to promenade
the Mall, who was not of a certain stamp of respectability, the company was
all gaily dressed; and I will confess that I was much struck with the air
of the place, the first time I showed myself among the gay idlers. The
impression made on me that morning was so vivid, that I will endeavour to
describe the scene, as it now presents itself to my mind.
In the first place, there was the noble street, quite eighty feet in width
in its narrowest part, and gradually expanding as you looked towards the
bay, until it opened into an area of more than twice that width, at the
place called the Bowling-Green.  Then came the Fort, crowning a sharp
eminence, and overlooking everything in that quarter of the town. In the
rear of the Fort, or in its front, taking a water view, lay the batteries
that had been built on the rocks which form the south-western termination
of the island. Over these rocks, which were black and picturesque, and over
the batteries they supported, was obtained a view of the noble bay, dotted
here and there with some speck of a sail, or possibly with some vessel
anchored on its placid bosom. Of the two rows of elegant houses, most of
them of brick, and with very few exceptions principally of two stories in
height, it is scarcely necessary to speak, as there are few who have not
heard of, and formed some notion of Broadway; a street that all agree is
one day to be the pride of the western world.
In the other direction, I will admit that the view was not so remarkable,
the houses being principally of wood, and of a somewhat ignoble appearance.
Nevertheless the army was said to frequent those habitations quite as much
as they did any other in the place. After reaching the Common, or present
Park, where the great Boston road led off into the country, the view was
just the reverse of that which was seen in the opposite quarter. Here, all
was inland, and rural. It is true, the new Bridewell had been erected in
that quarter, and there was also a new gaol, both facing the common; and
the king's troops had barracks in their rear; but high, abrupt, conical
hills, with low marshy land, orchards and meadows, gave to all that portion
of the island a peculiarly novel and somewhat picturesque character. Many
of the hills in that quarter, and indeed all over the widest part of the
island, are now surmounted by country-houses, as some were then, including
Petersfield, the ancient abode of the Stuyvesants, or that farm which, by
being called after the old Dutch governor's retreat, has given the name
of Bowery, or Bouerie, to the road that led to it; as well as the
Bowery-house, as it was called, the country abode of the then Lieutenant
Governor, James de Lancey, Mount Bayard, a place belonging to that
respectable family; Mount Pitt, another that was the property of Mrs.
Jones, the wife of Mr. Justice Jones, a daughter of James de Lancey, and
various other mounts, houses, hills, and places, that are familiar to the
gentry and people of New York.
But, the reader can imagine for himself the effect produced by such a
street as Broadway, reaching very nearly half a mile in length, terminating
at one end, in an elevated, commanding Fort, with its back-ground of
batteries, rocks and bay, and, at the other, with the common, on which
troops were now constantly parading, the Bridewell an I gaol, and the novel
scene I have just mentioned. Nor is Trinity itself to be forgotten. This
edifice, one of the noblest, if not the most noble of its kind, in all
the colonies, with its gothic architecture, statues in carved stone, and
flanking walls, was a close accessory of the view, giving to the whole
grandeur, and a moral. 
As has been said, I found the Mall crowded with young persons of fashion
and respectability. This Mall was near a hundred yards in length; and it
follows that there must have been a goodly show of youth and beauty. The
fine weather had commenced; spring had fairly opened; Pinkster Blossoms
(the wild honeysuckle) had been seen in abundance throughout the week; and
everything and person appeared gay and happy.
I could discover that my person in this crowd attracted attention as a
stranger. I say as a stranger; for I am unwilling to betray so much vanity
as to ascribe the manner in which many eyes followed me, to any vain notion
that I was known or admired. Still, I will not so far disparage the gifts
of a bountiful Providence, as to leave the impression that my face, person,
or air was particularly disagreeable. This would not be the fact; and I
have now reached a time of life when something like the truth may be
told, without the imputation of conceit. My mother often boasted to her
intimates, "that Corny was one of the best-made, handsomest, most active,
and genteelest youths in the colony." This I know, for such things will
leak out; but mothers are known to have a remarkable weakness on the
subject of their children. As I was the sole surviving offspring of my dear
mother, who was one of the best-hearted women that ever breathed, it is
highly probable that the notions she entertained of her son partook largely
of the love she bore me. It is true, my aunt Legge, on more than one
occasion, has been heard to express a very similar opinion; though nothing
can be more natural than that sisters should think alike, on a family
matter of this particular nature, more especially as my aunt Legge never
had a child of her own to love and praise.
Let all this be as it may, well stared at was I, as I mingled among the
idlers on Trinity Church Walk, on the occasion named. As for myself, my
own eyes were bent anxiously on the face of every pretty, delicate young
creature that passed, in the hope of seeing Anneke. I both wished and
dreaded to meet her; for, to own the truth, my mind was dwelling on her
beauty, her conversation, her sentiments, her grace, her gentleness, and
withal her spirit, a good deal more than half the time. I had some qualms
on the subject of Dirck, I will confess; but Dirck was so young, that his
feelings could not be much interested, after all; and then Anneke was a
second cousin, and that was clearly too near to marry. My grandfather had
always put his foot down firmly against any connection between relations
that were nearer than _third_ cousins; and I now saw how proper were his
reasons. If they were even farther removed, so much the better, he said;
and so much the better it was.
If the reader should ask me why I _dreaded_ to meet Anne Mordaunt, under
such circumstances, I might be at a loss to give him a very intelligible
answer. I feared even to see the sweet face I sought; and oh! how soft,
serene, and angel-like it was, at that budding age of seventeen!--but,
though I almost feared to see it, when at last I saw her I had so anxiously
sought approaching me, arm and arm with Mary Walface, having Bulstrode next
herself, and Harris next her friend, my eyes were instantly averted, as
if they had unexpectedly lighted on something disagreeable. I should have
passed without even the compliment of a bow, had not my friends been more
at their ease, and more accustomed to the free ways of town life than I
happened to be myself.
"How's this, Cornelius, _Coeur de Lion_!" exclaimed Bulstrode, stopping,
thus causing the whole party to stop with him, or to appear to wish to
avoid me; "will you not recognise us, though it is not an hour since you
and I parted? I hope you found the tickets; and when you have answered
'yes,' I hope you will turn and do me the honour to bow to these ladies."
I apologized, I am afraid I blushed; for I detected Anneke looking at me,
as I thought, with some little concern, as if she pitied my awkward country
embarrassment. As for Bulstrode, I did not understand him at that time;
it exceeding my observation to be certain whether he considered me of
sufficient importance or not, to feel any concern on my account, in
his very obvious suit with Anneke. Nevertheless, as he treated me with
cordiality and respect, while he dealt with me so frankly, there was not
room to take offence. Of course, I turned and walked back with the party,
after had properly saluted the ladies and Mr. Harris.
"_Coeur de Lion_ is a better name for a soldier than for a civilian;"
said Anneke, as we moved forward; "and, however much Mr. Littlepage may
_deserve_ the title, I am not certain, Mr. Bulstrode, he would not prefer
leaving it among you gentlemen who serve the king."
"I am glad of this occasion, Mr. Littlepage, to enlist you on my side, in
a warfare I am compelled to wage with Miss Anne Mordaunt," said the Major
gaily. "It is on the subject of the great merit of us poor fellows who have
crossed the wide Atlantic in order to protect the colonies, New York among
the number, and their people, Miss Mordaunt and Miss Wallace inclusively,
from the grasp of their wicked enemies, the French. The former young lady
has a way of reasoning on the matter to which I cannot assent, and I am
willing to choose you as arbitrator between us."
"Before Mr. Littlepage accept the office, it is proper he should know its
duties and responsibilities," said Anneke, smiling. "In the first place,
he will find Mr. Bulstrode with loud professions of attachment to the
colonies, much disposed to think them provinces that owe their very
existence to England; while I maintain it is English _men_, and that it
is not England, that have done so much in America. As for New York, Mr.
Littlepage, and especially as for you and me, we can also say a word in
favour of Holland. I am very proud of my Dutch connections and Dutch
I was much gratified with the "as for you and me;" though I believe I cared
less for Holland than she did herself. I made an answer much in the vein
of the moment; but the conversation soon changed to the subject of the
military theatre that was about to open.
"I shall dread you as a critic, cousin Annie," so Bulstrode often termed
Anneke, as I soon discovered; "I find you are not too well disposed to us
of the cockade, and I think you have a particular spite to our regiment.
I know that Billings and Harris, too, hold you in the greatest possible
"They then feel apprehensive of a very ignorant critic; for I never was
present at a theatrical entertainment in my life," Anneke answered with
perfect simplicity. "So far as I can learn, there never has been but one
season of any regular company, in this colony; and that was when I was a
very little and a very young girl--as I am now neither very large, nor very
old as a young woman."
"You see, Littlepage, with how much address my cousin avoids adding, and
'very uninteresting, and very ugly, and very disagreeable, and very much
unsought,' and fifty other things she _might_ add with such perfect truth
and modesty! But is it true, that the theatre was open only one season,
"So my father tells me, though I know very little of the facts themselves.
To-night will be my first appearance in _front_ of any stage, Mr.
Bulstrode, as I understand it will be your first appearance _on_ it."
"In one sense the last will be true, though not altogether in another. As
a school-boy, I have often played, school-boy fashion; but this is quite a
new thing with us, to be _amateur_ players."
"It may seem ungrateful, when you are making so many efforts, principally
to amuse us young ladies, I feel convinced, to inquire if it be quite
as wise as it is novel. I must ask this, as a cousin, you know, Henry
Bulstrode, to escape entirely from the imputation of impertinence."
"Really, Anneke Mordaunt, I am not absolutely certain that it is. Our
manners are beginning to change in this respect, however, and I can assure
you that various noblemen have permitted sports of this sort at their
seats. The custom is French, as you probably know, and whatever is French
has much vogue with us during times of peace. Sir Harry does not altogether
approve of it, and as for my lady mother, she has actually dropped more
than one discouraging hint on the subject in her letters."
"The certain proof that you are a most dutiful son. Perhaps when Sir Harry
and Lady Bulstrode learn your great success, however, they will overlook
the field on which your laurels have been won. But our hour has come, Mary;
we have barely time to thank these gentlemen for their politeness, and to
return in season to dress. I am to enact a part myself, at dinner, as I
hope you will all remember."
Saying this, Anneke made her curtsies in a way to preclude any offer of
seeing her home, and went her way with her silent but sensible-looking and
pretty friend. Bulstrode took my arm with an air of easy superiority, and
led the way towards his own lodgings, which happened to be in Duke Street.
Harris joined another party, making it a point to be always late at dinner.
"That is not only one of the handsomest, but she is one of the most
charming girls in the colonies, Littlepage!" my companion exclaimed, as
soon as we had departed, speaking at the same time with an earnestness and
feeling I was far from expecting. "Were she in England, she would make one
of the first women in it, by the aid of a little fashion and training; and
very little would do too, for there is a charm in her _naivete_ that is
worth the art of fifty women of fashion."
"Fashion is a thing that any one may want who does not happen to be in
vogue," I answered, notwithstanding the great degree of surprise I felt.
"As for training, I can see nothing but perfection in Miss Mordaunt as she
is, and should deprecate the lessons that produced any change."
I believe it was now Bulstrode's turn to feel surprise, for I was conscious
of his casting a keen look into my face, though I did not like to return
it. My companion was silent for a minute; then, without again adverting to
Anneke, he began to converse very sensibly on the subject of theatres and
plays. I was both amused and instructed, for Mr. Bulstrode was an educated
and a clever man; and a strange feeling came over the spirit of my dream,
even then, as I listened to his conversation. This man, I thought, admires
Anne Mordaunt, and he will probably carry her with him to England, and
obtain for her that fashion and training of which he has just spoken. With
his advantages of birth, air, fortune, education, and military rank, he can
scarcely fail in his suit, should he seriously attempt one; and it will be
no more than prudent to command my own feelings, lest I become the hopeless
victim of a serious passion. Young as I was, all this I saw, and thus I
reasoned; and when I parted from my companion I fancied myself a much wise
man than when we had met. We separated in Duke Street, with a promise on my
part to call at the Major's lodgings half an hour later, after dressing,
and walk with him to Herman Mordaunt's door.
"It is fortunate that it is the fashion of New York to walk to a dinner
party," said Bulstrode, as he again took my arm on our way to Crown Street;
"for these narrow streets must be excessively inconvenient for chariots,
though I occasionally see one of them. As for sedan chairs, I detest them
as things unfit for a man to ride in."
"Many of our leading families keep carnages, and _they_ seem to get along
well enough," I answered. "Nevertheless, it is quite in fashion even for
ladies to walk. I understand that many, perhaps most of your auditors, will
walk" to the play-house door this evening."
"They tell me as much," said Bulstrode, curling his lip, a little, in a
way I did not exactly like. "Notwithstanding, there will be many charming
creatures among them, and they shall be welcome. Well, Littlepage, I do
not despair of having you among us; for, to be candid, without wishing to
boast, I think you will find the ----th as liberal a set of young men as
there is in the service. There is a wish to have the mohairs among us
instead of shutting ourselves up altogether in scarlet. Then your father
and grandfather have both served, and that will be a famous introduction."
I protested my unfitness for such an amusement, never having seen such an
exhibition in my life; but to this my companion would not listen; and we
picked our way, as well as we could, through William Street, up Wall, and
then by Nassau into Crown; Herman Mordaunt owning a new house, that stood
not far from Broadway, in the latter street. This was rather in a remote
part of the town; but the situation had the advantage of good air; and, as
a place extends, it is necessary some persons should live on its skirts.
"I wish my good cousin did not live quite so much in the suburbs," said
Bulstrode, as he knocked in a very patrician manner; "it is not altogether
convenient to go quite so much out of one's ordinary haunts, in order to
pay visits. I wonder Mr. Mordaunt came so far out of the world, to build."
"Yet the distances of London must be much greater though _there_ you have
"True; but not a word more on _this_ subject: I would not have Anneke fancy
I ever find it far to visit _her_."
We were the last but one; the tardy Mr. Harris making it a point always to
be the last. We found Anneke Mordaunt supported by two or three ladies of
her connection, and a party of quite a dozen assembled. As most of those
present saw each other every day, and frequently two or three times a day,
the salutations and compliments were soon over, and Herman Mordaunt began
to look about him, to see who was wanting.
"I believe everybody is here but Mr. Harris," the father observed to his
daughter, interrupting some of Mr. Bulstrode's conversation, to let this
fact be known. "Shall we wait for him, my dear; he is usually so uncertain
"Yet a very important man," put in Bulstrode, "as being entitled to lead
the lady of the house to the table, in virtue of his birthright. So much
for being the fourth son of an Irish baron! Do you know Harris's father has
just been ennobled?"
This was news to the company; and it evidently much increased the doubts of
the propriety of sitting down without the young man in question.
"Failing of this son of a new Irish baron, I suppose you fancy I shall be
obliged to give my hand to the eldest son of an English baronet," said
Anneke, smiling, so as to take off the edge of a little irony that I fancy
just glimmered in her manner.
"I wish to Heaven you _would_, Anne Mordaunt," whispered Bulstrode, loud
enough for me to hear him, "so that the heart were its companion!"
I thought this both bold and decided; and I looked anxiously at Anneke,
to note the effect; but she evidently received it as trifling, certainly
betraying no emotion at a speech I thought so pointed. I wished she had
manifested a little resentment. Then she was so very young to be thus
"Dinner had better be served, sir," she calmly observed to her father. "Mr.
Harris is apt to think himself ill-treated if he do not find everybody at
table. It would be a sign his watch was wrong, and that he had come half an
hour too soon."
Herman Mordaunt nodded assent, and left his daughter's side to give the
"I fancy Harris will regret this," said Bulstrode. "I wish I dared repeat
what he had the temerity to say to me on this very subject, no later than
"Of the propriety of so doing, Mr. Bulstrode must judge for himself; though
_repetitions_ of this nature are usually best avoided."
"No, the fellow deserves it; so I will just tell you and Mr. Littlepage in
confidence. You must know, as his senior in years, and his senior officer
in the bargain, I was hinting to Harris the inexpediency of always being so
late at dinner; and here is my gentleman's answer:--'You know,' said he,
'that excepting my lord Loudon, the Commander-in-chief, the Governor, and a
few public officers, I shall now take precedence of almost every man here;
and I find, if I go early to dinner, I shall have to hand in all the
elderly ladies, and to take my place at _their_ sides; whereas, if I go
a little late, I can steal in alongside of their daughters.' Now, on the
present occasion, he will be altogether a loser, the lady of the house not
yet being quite fifty."
"I had not given Mr. Harris credit for so much ingenuity," said Anneke,
quietly. "But here he is to claim his rights."
"Ay, the fellow has remembered _your_ age, and quite likely your
Dinner was announced at that instant, and all eyes were turned on Harris,
in expectation that he would advance to lead Anneke down stairs. The young
man, even more youthful than myself, had a good deal of _mauvaise honte;_
for, though the son of an Irish peer, of two months' creation, the family
was not strictly Irish, and he had very little ambition to figure in this
manner. From what I saw of him subsequently, I do believe that nothing but
a sense of duty to his order made him respect these privileges of rank at
all, and that he would really just as soon go to a dinner-table last,
as first. In the present case, however, he was soon relieved by Herman
Mordaunt; who had been educated at home, and understood the usages of the
world very well.
"Gentlemen," he said, "I must ask you to waive the privileges of rank in
favour of Mr. Cornelius Littlepage, to-day. This good company has met to do
honour especially to his courage and devotion to his fellow-creatures, and
he will do me the favour to hand Miss Mordaunt down stairs."
Herman Mordaunt then pointed out to the Hon. Mr. Harris, the next lady of
importance, and to Mr. Bulstrode a third; after which all the rest took
care of themselves. As for myself, I felt my face in a glow, at this
unexpected order, and scarcely dared to look at Anneke as we led the way to
the dining-room door. So much abashed was I, that I scarce touched the tips
of her slender little fingers, and a tremour was in the limb that performed
this office, the whole time it was thus employed. Of course, my seat
was next to that of the young and lovely mistress of the house, at this
What shall I say of the dinner? It was the very first entertainment of the
sort at which I had ever been present; though I had acquired some of the
notions of town habits, on such occasions, at my aunt Legge's table. To my
surprise, there was soup; a dish that I never saw at Satanstoe, except in
the most familiar way; while here it was taken by every one, seemingly as a
matter of course. Everything was elegant, and admirably cooked. Abundance,
however, was the great feature of the feast; as I have heard it said, is
apt to be the case with most New York entertainments. Nevertheless, I have
always understood that, in the way of eating and drinking, the American
colonies have little reason to be ashamed.
"Could I have foreseen this dinner, Miss Mordaunt," I said, when everybody
was employed, and I thought there was an opening to say something to my
beautiful neighbour; "it would have made my father very happy to have sent
a sheepshead to town, for the occasion."
Anneke thanked me, and then we began to converse about the game.
Westchester was, and is still, famous for partridges, snipe, quails, ducks,
and meadow-larks; and I understood expatiating on such a subject, as well
as the best of them. All the Littlepages were shots; and I have known my
father bag ten brace of woodcock, among the wet thickets of Satanstoe, of
a morning; and this with merely a second class dog, and only one. Both
Bulstrode and Harris listened to what I said on this subject with great
attention, and it would soon have been the engrossing discourse, had not
Anneke pleasantly said--
"All very well, gentlemen; but you will remember that neither Miss Wallace,
nor I, shoot."
"Except with the arrows of Cupid," answered Bulstrode, gaily; "with these
you do so much execution _between you_," emphasizing the words, so as
to make me look foolish, for I sat between them, "that you ought to be
condemned to hear nothing but fowling conversation for the next year."
This produced a laugh, a little at my expense, I believe; though I could
see that Anneke blushed, while Mary Wallace smiled indifferently; but as
the healths now began, there was a truce to trifling. And a serious thing
it is, to drink to everybody by name, at a large table; serious I mean to
a new beginner. Yet, Herman Mordaunt went through it with a grace and
dignity, that I think would have been remarked at a royal banquet. The
ladies acquitted themselves admirably, omitting no one; and even Harris
felt the necessity of being particular with this indispensable part of
good-breeding. So well done was this part of the ceremony, that I declare,
I believe everybody had drunk to everybody, within five minutes after
Herman Mordaunt commenced; and it was very apparent that there was more
ease and true gaiety _after_ all had got through, than there had previously
But the happy period of every dinner-party, is after the cloth is removed.
With the dark polished mahogany for a back-ground, the sparkling decanters
making their rounds, the fruit and cake baskets, the very scene seems to
inspire one with a wish for gaiety. Herman Mordaunt called for toasts, as
soon as the cloth disappeared, with a view I believe of putting everybody
at ease, and to render the conversation more general. He was desired to set
the example, and immediately gave "Miss Markham," who, as I was told, was
a single lady of forty, with whom he had carried on a little flirtation.
Anneke's turn came next, and she chose to give a sentiment, notwithstanding
all Bulstrode's remonstrances, who insisted on a gentleman. He did not
succeed, however; Anneke very steadily gave "The Thespian corps of the
----h; may it prove as successful in the arts of peace, as in its military
character it has often proved itself to be in the art of war." Much
applause followed this toast, and Harris was persuaded by Bulstrode to
stand up, and say a few words, for the credit of the regiment. Such a
speech!--It reminded me of the horse that was advertised as a show, in
London, about this time, and which was said 'to have its tail where its
head ought to be.' But, Bulstrode clapped his hands, and cried 'hear,' at
every other word, protesting that the regiment was honoured as much in the
thanks, as in the sentiment. Harris did not seem displeased with his own
effort, and, presuming on his rank, he drank, without being called on,
"to the fair of New York; eminent alike for beauty and wit, may they only
become as merciful as they are victorious."
"Bravo!" again cried Bulstrode,--"Harris is fairly inspired, and is growing
better and better. Had he said imminent, instead of eminent, it would be
more accurate, as their frowns are as threatening, as their smiles are
"Is that to pass for _your_ sentiment, Mr. Bulstrode, and are we to drink
it?" demanded Herman Mordaunt.
"By no means, sir; I have the honour to give Lady Dolly Merton."
Who Lady Dolly was, nobody knew, I believe, though we of the colonies
always drank a titled person, who was known to be at home, with a great
deal of respectful attention, not to say veneration. Other toasts followed,
and then the ladies were asked to sing. Anneke complied, with very little
urging, as became her position, and never did I hear sweeter strains than
those she poured forth! The air was simple, but melody itself, and the
sentiment had just enough of the engrossing feeling of woman in it, to
render it interesting, without in the slightest degree impairing its
fitness for the virgin lips from which it issued. Bulstrode, I could see,
was almost entranced; and I heard him murmur "an angel, by Heavens!" He
sang, himself, a love song, full of delicacy and feeling, and in a way to
show that he had paid much attention to the art of music. Harris sang, too,
as did Mary Wallace; the former, much as he spoke; the last plaintively,
and decidedly well. Even Herman Mordaunt gave us a strain, and my turn
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