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GOLDEN THOUGHTS WHICH TURNISH A THEME FOR REFLECTION, AND A TEXT POR
Of night impatient we demand the day;
I never spoke the word “Farewell”
But with an utterance faint and broken;
- Coleridge. Past: How readily we wish time spent revoked, That we might try the ground again, where once (Through inexperience, as we now perceive,) We miss'd that happiness we might have found.
Many things impossible to thought
Hold you ever to your special drift;
If aught obstruct thy cause, yet stand not still,
-Sir 7. Denham. Quarrels :
Dissensions, like small streams, are first begun:
-Garth. Resignation :
T> be resign'd when ill betide,
And pleased with favors given,
Friends who can never alter or forsake,
And all neglect, perforce, must calmly take,
Which worldly cares have in my spirit wrought And, o'er your old familiar pages bending, Refresh my mind with many a tranquil thought
-Mrs. Non, n. Revenge:
The fairest action of our human life
Is scorning to revenge an injury;
His adversary's heart to him doth tie:
Where can a frail man hide him? in what arms
-Fanshaw. Riches :
Riches cannot rescue from the grave,
Oh, life is a waste of wearisome hours,
Silence in times of suff'ring is best;
He that commits a sin shall find
The world with calumny abounds;
Nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep.-Young.
RIP VAN WINKLE.
all the good-wives of the village, who, as usual with the amiable sex, took his part in all family squabbles,
and never failed, whenever they talked those miatters Whoever has made a voyage up the Hudson, must over in their evening gossipings, to lay all the blame remember the Kaatskill Mountains. They are a on Dame Van Winkle. The children of the village, dismembered branch of the great Appalachian fam. too, would shout with joy whenever he approached. dy, and are seen away to the west of the river, He assisted at their sports, made their playthings, swelling up to a noble height, and lording it over the taught them to fly kites and shoot marbles, and told surrounding country. Every change of season, every them long stories of ghosts, witches, and Indians. change of weather, indeed every hour of the day, Whenever he went dodging about the village, he produces some change in the magical hues and was surrounded by a troop of them, hanging on his shapes of these mountains, and they are regarded skirts, clambering on his back, and playing a thousby all the good-wives, far and near, as perfect bar- and tricks on him with impunity; and not a dog ometers. When the weather is fair and settled, they would bark at him throughout the neighbourhood. are clothed in blue and purple, and print their bold The great error in Rip's composition was an inoutlines on the clear evening sky; but sometimes, superable aversion to all kinds of profitable labour. when the rest of the landscape is clou less, they will It could not be for the want of assiduity or persegather a hood of gray vapours about their summits, verance; for he would sit on a wet rock, with a rod which, in the last rays of the settir, sun, will glow as long and heavy as a Tartar's lance, and fish all and light up like a crown of glory.
day without a murmur, even though he should not At the foot of these fairy mountains, the voyager be encouraged by a singlc nibble. He would carry may have descried the light smoke curling up from a fowling-piece on his shoulder for hours together, a village, whose single roofs gleam among the trees, trudging through woods and swamps, and up hill and just where the blue tints of the upland melt away down dale, to shoot a few squirrels or wild pigeons. into the fresh green of the nearer landscape. It is a He would never even refuse to assist a neighbour in little village of great antiquity, having been founded the roughest toil, and was a foremost man at all by some of the Dutch colonists, in the early times country frolics for husking Indian corn or building of the province, just about the beginning of the gov- stone fences; the women of the village, too, used to ernment of the good Peter Stuyvesant (may he rest employ him to run their errands, and to do such litin peace!); and there were some of the houses of tle odd jobs as their less obliging husbands would the original settlers standing within a few years, not do for them;-in a word, Rip was ready to attend with lattice windows, gable fronts surmounted with to anybody's business but his own; but is to doing weather-cocks, and built of small yellow bricks family duty and keeping his farm in order, it was brought from Holland.
impossible. In that same village, and in one of these very In fact, he declared it was no use to work on his houses (which, to tell the precise truth, was sadly farm; it was the most pestilent little piece of ground time-worn and weather-beaten), there livet many in the whole country; everything about it went years since, while the country was yet a province of wrong, and would go wrong in spite of him. His Great Britain, a simple, good-natured fellow, of the fences were continually falling to pieces; his cow name of Rip Van Winkle. He was a descendant of would either go astray, or get among the cabbages; the Van Winkles who figured so gallantly in the weeds were sure to grow quicker in his fields than chivalrous days of Peter Stuyvesant, and accom- anywhere else; the rain always made a point of set. panied him to the siege of Fort Christina. He ting in just as he had some out-door work to do. So inherited, however, but little of the martial character that, though his patrimonial estate had dwindled of his ancestors. I have observed that he was a away under his management, acre by acre, until there simple, good-natured man; he was moreover o kind was little more left than a mere patch of Indian corn neighbour and an obedient henpecked husband. In- and potatoes, yet it was the worst-conditioned farm deed, to the latter circumstance might be owing that in the neighbourhood. meekness of spirit which gained him such universal His children, too, were as ragged and wild as popularity; for those men are most apt to be obse- they belonged to nobody. His son Rip, an urchin quious and conciliating abroad who are under the begotten in his own likeness, promised to inherit the discipline of shrews at home. Their tempers, doubt. habits, with the old clothes, of his father. He was less, are rendered pliant and malleable in the fiery generally seen trooping sike a coli at his mother's furnace of domestic tribulation, and a curtain-lecture heels, equipped in a pair of his father's cast off galli. is worth all the sermons in the world for teaching gaskins, which he had much ado to hold up with one the virtues of patience and long-suffering. A ter- hand, as a fine lady does her train in bad weather. magant wife may, therefore, in some respects, be Rip Vaa Winkle, however, was one of those happy considered a tolerable blessing; and if so, Rip Van mortals, of foolish, well-oiled dispositions, who take Winkle was thrice blessed.
th- world easy, eat white bread or brown, whichever Certain it is, that he was a great favourite among can be got with least thought or trouble, and would rather starve on a penny than work for a pound. If by his movements as accurately as by a sun-dial. It left to himself, he would have whistled life away, in is true, he was rarely heard to speak, but smoked his perfect contentment; but his wife kept continually pipe incessantly. His adherents, however (for every dinning in his ears about his idleness, his careless- great man has his adherents), perfectly understood ness, and the ruin he was bringing on his family. him, and knew how to gather his opinions. When Morning, noon, and night, her tongue was inces- anything that was read or related displeased him, he santly going, and everything he said or did was sure was observed to smoke his pipe vehemently and send to produce a torrent of household eloquence. Rip forth short, frequent, and angry puffs; but when had but one way of replying to all lectures of the pleased, he would inhale the smoke slowly and tran. kind, and that, by frequent use, had grown into a quilly, and emit it in light and placid clouds, and habit. He shrugged his shoulders, shook his head, sometimes taking the pipe from his mouth, and let. cast up his eyes, but said nothing. This, however, ting the fragrant vapour curl about his nose, would always provoked a fresh volley from his wife, so that gravely nor his head in token of perfect approba. he was fain to draw off his forces, and take to the
tion. outside of the house—the only side which, in truth, From even this stronghold the unlucky Rip was belongs to a henpecked husband.
at length routed by his termagant wife, who would Rip's sole domestic adherent was his dog Wolf, suddenly break in upon the tranquility of the assem. who was as much henpecked as his master; for blage, call the members all to nought, nor was that Dame Van Winkle regarded them as companions in august personage, Nicholas Vedder himself, sacred dleness, and even looked upon Wolf with an evil from the daring tongue of this terrible virago, who eye as the cause of his master's going so often astray. charged him outright with encouraging her husband True it is, in all points of spirit befitting an honour- in habits of idleness. able dog, he was as courageous an animal as ever Poor Rip was at last reduced almost to despair; scoured the woods—but what courage can withstand and his only alternative to escape from the labour of the ever-during and all-besetting terrors of a woman's the farm and the clamour of his wife, was to take tongue? The moment Wolf entered the house, his gun in hand and stroll away into the woods. Here crest fell, his tail drooped to the ground or curled be- he would sometimes seat himself at the foot of a tween his legs, he sneaked about with a gallows air, tree and share the contents of his wallet with Wolf, casting many a sidelong glance at Dame Van Winkle, with whom he sympathized as a fellow-sufferer in and, at the least flourish of a broomstick or ladle, persecution.
“Poor Wolf,” he would say, “thy miswould flee to the door with yelping precipitation.
tress leads thee a dog's life of it; but never mind, Times grew worse and worse with Rip Van Winkle my lad, whilst I live thou shalt never want a friend as years of matrimony rolled on; a tart temper never to stand by thee!” Wolf would wag his tail, look mellows with age, and a sharp tongue is the only wistfully in his master's face, and if dogs can feel edge-tool that grows keener by constant use. For a pity, I verily believe he reciprocated the sentiment long while he used to console iimself, when driven with all his heart. from home, by frequenting a kind of perpetual club In a long ramble of the kind on a fine autumnal of the sages, philosophers, and other idle personages day, Rip had unconsciously scrambled to one of the of the village, that held its sessions on a bench before highest parts of the Kaatskill Mountains. He was a small inn, designated by a rubicund portrait of his after his favorite sport of squirrel-shooting, and the majesty George III. Here they used to sit in the still solitudes had echoed and re-echoed with the reshade, of a long lazy summer's day, talk listlessly ports of his gun. Panting and fatigued, he threw over village gossip, or tell endless sleepy stories himself, late in the afternoon, on a green knoll, cov. about nothing. But it would have been worth any ered with mountain herbage, that crowned the brow statesman's money to have heard the profound dis. of a precipice. From an opening between the trees, cussions that sometimes took place, when by chance he could overlook all the lower country for many a an old newspaper fell into their hands from some mile of rich woodland. He saw at a distance the passing traveller. How solemnly they would listen lordly Hudson, far, far below him, moving on in its to the contents, as drawled out by Derrick Van silent but majestic course, with the reflection of a Bummel, the schoolmaster, a dapper, learned little purple cloud, or the sail of a lagging bark, here and man, who was not to be daunted by the inost gigantic there sleeping on its glassy bosom, and at last losing
itself in the blue highlands.
On the other side he looked down into a deep had taken place.
mountain glen, wild, lonely, and shagged, the bottom The opinions of this junto were completely con. filled with fragments from the impending cliffs, and trolled by Nicholas Vedder, a patriarch of the vil age scarcely lighted by the reflected rays of the setting and landiord of the inn, at the door of which he took sun. For some time Rip lay musing on this scene, his seat from morning till night, just moving suffi. evening was gradually advancing, the mountains be. ciently to avoid the sun and keep in the shade of a gan to throw their long blue shadows over the val. large tree; so that the neighbours could tell the hour leys, he saw that it would be dark long before he
deliberate upon public events some months after they 100