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house of the neighborhood. It was indeed a goblin-looking pile; shattered and time-worn ; dismal with clanking wheels and rushing streams, and all kinds of uncouth noises. A horse-shoe nailed to the door to keep off witches, seemed to have lost its power; for as Diedrich approached, an old negro thrust his head all dabbled with flour, out of a hole above the water wheel, and grinned and rolled his eyes, and appeared to be the very hobgoblin of the place. Yet this proved to be the great historic genius of the Hollow, abounding in that valuable information never to be acquired from books. Diedrich Knickerbocker soon discovered his merit. They had long talks together seated on a broken millstone, heedless of the water and the clatter of the mill; and to his conference with that African sage, many attribute the surprising, though true story of Ichabod Crane,' and the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow. We refrain, however, from giving farther researches of the historian of the Manhattoes, during his sojourn at the Roost; but may return to them in future pages.

Reader, the Roost still exists. Time, which changes all things, is slow in its operations on a Dutchman's dwelling. The stout Jacob Van Tassel, it is true, sleeps with his fathers; and his great goose-gun with him : yet his stronghold still bears the impress of its Dutch origin. Odd rumors have gathered about it, as they are apt to do about old mansions, like moss and weather stains. The shade of Wolfert Acker still walks his unquiet rounds at night in the orchard ; and a white figure has now and then been seen seated at a window and gazing at the moon, from a room in which a young lady is said to have died of love and green apples.

Mementoes of the sojourn of Diedrich Knickerbocker are still cherished at the Roost. His elbow chair and antique writing-desk maintain their place in the room he occupied, and his old cocked hat still hangs on a peg against the wall.

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1 the story originally told in the “Sketch Book," which was published many years before " Wolfert's Roost."



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In the golden age of the province of the New-Netherlands, when it was under the sway of Wouter Van Twiller, otherwise called the Doubter, the people of the Manhattoes were alarmed, one sultry afternoon, just about the time of the summer solstice,' by a tremendous storm of thunder and lightning. The rain descended in such torrents, as absolutely to spatter up and smoke along the ground. It seemed as if the thunder rattled and rolled over the very roofs of the houses ; the lightning was seen to play about the church of St. Nicholas, and to strive three times, in vain, to strike its weathercock. Garret Van Horne's new chimney was split almost from top to bottom; and Doffue Mildeberger was struck speechless from his bald-faced mare, just as he was riding into town. In a word, it was one of those unparalleled storms, that only happen once within the memory of that venerable personage, known in all towns by the appellation of 66 the oldest inhabitant."

Great was the terror of the good old women of the Manhattoes. They gathered their children together, and took refuge in the cellars ; after having hung a shoe on the iron point of every bed-post, lest it should attract the lightning. At length the storm abated ; the thunder sunk into a growl ; and the setting sun, breaking from under the fringed borders of the clouds, made the broad bosom of the bay to gleam like a sea of molten gold.

The word was given from the fort, that a ship was standing up the bay. It passed from mouth to mouth, and street to

· Irving always speaks of the time of Van Twiller in this way. See pp. 33, 38.

the second Director, 1633-1637. See p. 44. 3 by Irving himself in “ Knickerbocker.”

one of the early forms of Manhattan (p. 38, note).

6 The summer solstice comes on June 21st.

6 This touch of nature may be verified by any one who has the fortune to have the sea to the west of him in the summer.



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street, and soon put the little capital in a bustle. The arrival of a ship, in those early times of the settlement, was an event of vast importance to the inhabitants. It brought them news from the old world, from the land of their birth, from which they were so completely severed : to the yearly ship,' too, they looked for their supply of luxuries, of finery, of comforts, and almost of necessaries. The good vrouwo could not have her new cap, nor new gown, until the arrival of the ship; the artist waited for it for his tools, the burgomaster for his pipe and his supply of Hollands, the school-boy for his top and marbles, and the lordly landholder for the bricks : with which he was to build his new mansion. Thus every one, rich and poor, great and small, looked out for the arrival of the ship. It was the great yearly event of the town of New-Amsterdam ; and from

; one end of the year to the other, the ship—the ship-the ship -was the continual topic of conversation.

The news from the fort, therefore, brought all the populace down to the battery, to behold the wished-for sight. It was not exactly the time when she had been expected to arrive, and the circumstance was a matter of some speculation. Many were the groups collected about the battery. Here and there might be seen a burgomaster, of slow and pompous gravity, giving his opinion with great confidence to a crowd of old women and idle boys. At another place was a knot of old weatherbeaten fellows, who had been seamen or fishermen in their times, and were great authorities on such occasions; these gave different opinions, and caused great disputes among their several adherents : but the man most looked up to, and followed and watched by the crowd, was Hans Van Pelt, an old Dutch sea-captain retired from service, the nautical oracle

1 the yearly ship sent out by the company 4 The Battery still exists as a name in at home.

New York. ? Dutch for “woman " or "wife”; the 6 Strictly speaking, there were no burgoGerman form is fruu.

masters in New York till 1653, when finally, 3 Bricks were not yet made in the new under Stuyvesant, New Amsterdam was country, although now very many brick- incorporated as a city. The burgomasters kilns may be seen on the Hudson.

were members of the legislative council.


of the place. He reconnoitred the ship through an ancient telescope, covered with tarry canvas, hummed a Dutch tune to himself, and said nothing. A hum, however, from Hans Van Pelt had always more weight with the public than a speech from another man.

In the meantime, the ship became more distinct to the naked eye : she was a stout, round Dutch-built vessel, with high bow and poop, and bearing Dutch colors. The evening sun gilded her bellying canvas, as she came riding over the long waving billows. The sentinel who had given notice of her approach, declared, that he first got sight of her when she was in the centre of the bay; and that she broke suddenly on his sight, jast as if she had come out of the bosom of the black thundercloud. The bystanders looked at Hans Van Pelt, to see what he would say to this report : Hans Van Pelt'screwed his mouth closer together, and said nothing ; upon which some shook their heads, and others shrugged their shoulders.

The ship was now repeatedly hailed, but made no reply, and, passing by the fort, stood on up the Hudson. A gun was brought to bear on her,' and, with some difficulty, loaded and fired by Hans Van Pelt, the.garrison not being expert in artillery. The shot seemed absolutely to pass through the ship, and to skip along the water on the other side, but no notice was taken of it! What was strange, she had all her sails set, and sailed right against wind and tide, which were both down the river. Upon this Hans Van Pelt, who was likewise harbor-master, ordered his boat, and set off to board her ; but after rowing two or three hours, he returned without success. Sometimes he would get within one or two hundred yards of her, and then, in a twinkling, she would be half a mile off. Some said it was because his oarsmen, who were rather pursy and short-winded, stopped every now and then to take breath, and spit on their bands; but this, it is probable, was a mere scandal. He got near enough, however, to see the crew ; whe

1 A shot fired over the bows of a ship is a sign that she must come to

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were all dressed in the Dutch style, the officers in doublets and high hats and feathers : not a word was spoken by any one on board ; they stood as motionless as so many statues, and the ship seemed as if left to her own government. Thus she kept on, away up the river, lessening and lessening in the evening sunshine, until she faded from sight, like a little white cloud melting away in the summer sky.

The appearance of this ship threw the governor into one of the deepest doubts' that ever beset him in the whole course of his administration. Fears were entertained for the security of the infant settlements on the river, lest this might be an enemy's ship in disguise, sent to take possession. The governor called together his council repeatedly to assist him wh their conjectures. He sat in his chair of state, built of timber from the sacred forest of the Hague, and smoking his long jasminę pipe, and listened to all that his counsellors had to say on a subject about which they knew nothing; but, in spite of all the conjecturing of the sagest and oldest heads, the governor still continued to doubt.

Messengers were despatched to different places on the river; but they returned without any tidings—the ship had made no port. Day after day, and week after week, elapsed; but she

1 never returned down the Hudson. As, however, the council seemed solicitous for intelligence, they had it in abundance. The captains of the sloops seldom arrived without bringing some report of having seen the strange ship at different parts of the river; sometimes near the Palisadoes ;' sometimes off Croton Point, and sometimes in the highlands; but she never was reported as having been seen above the highlands. The crews of the sloops, it is true, generally differed among themselves in their accounts of these apparitions ; but they may have arisen from the uncertain situations in which they saw her. Sometimes it was by the flashes of the thunder-storm


1 Irving, in “Knickerbocker," laid great stress on Van Twiller's doubts. See p. 29.

2 For these points on the Hudson see the map, p. 10.

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