« EelmineJätka »
FROM JOHN BILL AND BROTHER JONATHAN.
whose disputes, tumbles, and occasional buffetings | So he went to some of his doctors and got them to for the prizes, were inimitably ludicrous upon the draw up a prescription, made up of thirty-nine difslippery element. Among the most obstreperous ferent articles, many of them bitter enough to some and mischievous of the crowd was that likely fel. palates. This he tried to make Jonathan swallow Cupid, who made more noise, and tripped up low; and finding he made villanous wry faces, and more heels that day, than any half a dozen of his would not do it, fell upon him and beat him like contemporaries. His voice could be heard above fury. After this, he made the house so disagreeall the rest, especially after the arrival of the Heer, able to him, that Jonathan, though as hard as a before whom he seemed to think it his duty to ex- pine knot and as tough as leather, could bear it no ert himself, while his unrestrained, extravagant longer. Taking his gun and his axe, he put himlaugh exhibited that singular hilarity of spirit self in a boat and paddled over the millpond to which distinguishes the deportment of the African some new lands to which the squire pretended slave from the invariable gravity of the free red some sort of claim, intending to settle them, and man of the western world.
build a meeting-house without a steeple as soon All day, and until after the sun had set and the as he grew rich enough. shadows of night succeeded, the sports continued, When he got over, Jonathan found that the land and the merry sounds rung far and near, occasion- was quite in a state of nature, covered with wood, ally interrupted by those loud noises which some- and inhabited by nobody but wild beasts. But times shoot across the ice like a rushing earthquake, being a lad of mettle, he took his axe on one and are occasioned by its cracking, as the water shoulder and his gun on the other, marched into riscs or falls.
the thickest of the wood, and clearing a place, built a log hut. Pursuing his labours, and handling his
axe like a notable woodman, he in a few years THE QUARREL OF SQUIRE BULL AND cleared the land, which he laid out into thirteen HIS SON.
guod farms: and building himself a fine frame house, about half-finished, began to be quite snug
and comfortable. Joux Bull was a choleric old fellow, who held But Squire Bull, who was getting old and a good manor in the middle of a great millpond, stingy, and, besides, was in great want of money, and which, by reason of its being quite surrounded on account of his having lately been made to pay by water, was generally called Bullock Island. swinging damages for assaulting his neighbours Bull was an ingenious man, an exceedingly good and breaking their heads—the squire, I say, findblacksmith, a dexterous cutler, and a notable | ing Jonathan was getting well to do in the world, weaver and pot-baker besides. He also brewed began to be very much troubled about his welfare; capital porter, ale, and small beer, and was in fact so he demanded that Jonathan should pay him a a sort of jack of all trades, and good at each. In good rent for the land which he had cleared and addition to these, he was a hearty fellow, an ex- made good for something. He trumped up I know cellent bottle-companion, and passably honest as not what claim against him, and under different
pretences managed to pocket all Jonathan's honest But what tarnished all these qualities was a gains. In fact, the poor lad had not a shilling left devilish quarrelsome, overbearing disposition, which for holyday occasions; and had it not been for the was always getting him into some scrape or other. filial respect he felt for the old man, he would cerThe truth is, he never heard of a quarrel going on tainly have refused to submit to such impositions. among his neighbours, but his fingers itched to be But for all this, in a little time, Jonathan grew in the thickest of them; so that he was hardly ever up to be very large of his age, and became a tall, seen without a broken head, a black eye, or a stout, double-jointed, broad-footed cub of a fellow, bloody nose. Such was Squire Bull, as he was awkward in his gait and simple in his appearance;' commonly called by the country people his neigh- but showing a lively, shrewd look, and having the bours-one of those odd, testy, grumbling, boast- promise of great strength when he should get his ing old codgers, that never get credit for what they full growth. He was rather an odd-looking chap, are, because they are always pretending to be what in truth, and had many queer ways; but everythey are not.
body that had seen John Bull saw a great likeness The squire was as tight a hand to deal with in between them, and swore he was John's own boy, doors as out; sometimes treating his family as if and a true chip of the old block. Like the old they were not the same flesh and blood, when they squire, he was apt to be blustering and saucy, but happened to differ with him in certain matters. in the main was a peaceable sort of careless fellow, One day he got into a dispute with his youngest that would quarrel with nobody if you only let son Jonathan, who was familiarly called BROTHER | him alone. He used to dress in homespun trouJONATHAN, about whether churches ought to be sers with a huge bagging seat, which seemed to called churches or meeting-houses; and whether have nothing in it. This made people to say he steeples were not an abomination. The squire, had no bottom ; but whoever said so lied, as they either having the worst of the argument, or being found to their cost whenever they put Jonathan naturally impatient of contradiction, (I can't tell in a passion. He always wore a linsey-woolsey which,) fell into a great passion, and swore he coat that did not above half cover his breech, and would physic such notions out of the boy's noddle. the sleeves of which were so short that his hand
FROM THE DUTCHMAN'S FIRESIDE.
and wrist came out beyond them, looking like a stained snow, and the whole scene, as he describes shoulder of mutton. All which was in conse- it with quaint pathos, is enough to make one's quence of his growing so fast that he outgrew his blood run cold. He managed to raise himself upclothes.
right, and, by dint of incredible exertions, to reach While Jonathan was outgrowing his strength a neighbouring settlement, distant about forty in this way, Bull kept on picking his pockets of miles, where he told his story, and then was put every penny he could scrape together; till at last to bed, where he lay some weeks. In the mean one day when the squire was even more than time the people of the settlement had gone and usually pressing in his demands, which he accom- buried the remains of his unfortunate family and panied with threats, Jonathan started up in a furi- neighbours. When Timothy got well, he visited ous passion, and threw the TEA-KETTLE at the the spot, and while viewing the ruins of the houses, old man's head. The choleric Bull was hereupon and pondering over the graves of all that were exceedingly enraged; and after calling the poor dear to him, solemnly devoted the remainder of lad an undutiful, ungrateful, rebellious rascal, his life to revenge. He accordingly buried himseized him by the collar, and forthwith a furious self in the woods, and built a cabin about twelve scuffle ensued. This lasted a long time; for the miles from hence, in a situation the most favoursquire, though in years, was a capital boxer, and able to killing the kritters,' as he calls the savages. of most excellent bottom. At last, however, Jona- From that time until now he has waged a perpethan got him under, and before he would let him tual war against them, and, according to his own up, made him sign a paper giving up all claim to account, sacrificed almost a hecatomb to the manes the farms, and acknowledging the fee-simple to be of his wife and children. His intrepidity is wonin Jonathan for ever.
derful, and his sagacity in the pursuit of this grand object of his life beyond all belief. I am half a
savage myself, but I have heard this man relate A NIGHT ADVENTURE DURING THE stories of his adventures and escapes which make OLD FRENCH WAR.
me feel myself, in the language of the red skins, "a woman' in comparison with this strange coin
pound of cunning and simplicity. It is inconceivSaould you discover the position of the ene- able with what avidity he will hunt an Indian; my," continued Sir William Johnson to Sybrandt, and the keenest sportsman does not feel a hun" you must depend upon your own sagacity, and dredth part of the delight in bringing down his that of Timothy Weasel for the direction of your game that Timothy does in witnessing the mortal subsequent conduct."
pangs of one of these "kritters.' It is a horrible · Timothy Wcasel! who is he?"
propensity: but to lose all in one night, and to * What! have you never heard of Timothy wake the next morning and see nothing but the Weasel, the Varmounter, as he calls himself ?” mangled remains of wife, children, all that man - Never."
holds most dear to his inmost heart, is no trifle. « Well then, I must give you a sketch of his If ever man had motive for revenge, it is Timothy. story before I introduce him. He was born in Such as he is I employ him, and find his services New Hampshire, as he says, and in due time, as highly useful. He is a compound of the two races, is customary in those parts, married, and took pos- and combines all the qualities essential to the spesession, by right of discovery I suppose, of a tract cies of warfare in which we are now engaged. I of land in what was at that time called the New have sent for him, and expect him here every Hampshire grants. Others followed him, and in moment." the course of a few years a little settlement was As Sir William concluded, Sybrandt heard a formed of real 'cute Yankees, as Timothy calls long dry sort of “ H-e-e-m-m,” ejaculated just outthern, to the amount of sixty or seventy men, wo- side of the door. « That's he,” exclaimed Sir men, and children. They were gradually growing William; “I know the sound. It is his usual in wealth and numbers, when one night, in the expression of satisfaction at the prospect of being dead of winter, they were set upon by a party of employed against his old enemies the Indians. Indians from Canada, and every soul of them, ex- Come in, Timothy." cept Timothy, either consumed in the flames or Timothy accordingly made his appearance, formassacred in the attempt to escape. I have wit- got his bow, and said nothing. Sybrandt eyed his nessed in the course of my life many scenes of associate with close attention. He was a tall, horror, but nothing like that which he describes, wind-dried man, with extremely sharp, angular in which his wife and eight children perished. features, and a complexion deeply bronzed by the Timothy was left for dead by the savages, who, as exposures to which he had been subjected for so is their custom, departed at the dawn, for fear the many years. His scanty head of hair was of a news of this massacre might rouse some of the sort of sunburnt colour; his beard of a month's neighbouring settlements in time to overtake them growth at least, and his eye of sprightly blue never before they reached home. When all was silent, rested a moment in its socket. It glanced from Timothy, who, though severely wounded in a side to side, and up and down, and here and there, dozen places, had, as he says, only been playing with indescribable rapidity, as though in search of 'possuin,' raised himself up and looked around some object of interest, or apprehensive of sudden him. The smoking ruins, mangled limbs, blood- | danger. It was a perpetual silent alarum.
« Timothy,” said Sir William, “ I want to em- of the fort. A little bark canoe lay moored at the ploy you to-night.”
foot, into which Sybrandt and Timothy placed H-e-m-m," answered Timothy.
themselves flat on the bottom, each with his mus. “ Are you at leisure to depart immediately ?" ket and accoutrements at his side, and a paddle in “What, right off?"
his hand. Ay, in less than no time."
“ Now," said Sir William, almost in a whisper, « I guess I am."
-"now, luck be with you, boys; remember, you « Very well—that means you are certain.” are to return before daylight without fail." • I'm always sartin of my mark.”
“ But, Sir William,” said Timothy, coaxingly, “ Have you your gun with you ?”
“now, mayn't I take a pop at one of the tarnal “The kritter is just outside the door.”
kritters, if I meet 'em?" “And plenty of ammunition ?"
“I tell you, No!" replied the other; “ unless Why, what under the sun should I do with a you wish to be popped out of the world when you gun and no ammunition ?”
come back. Away with you, my boys." “ Can you paddle a canoe so that nobody can Each seized his paddle; and the light feather hear you ?”
of a boat darted away with the swiftness of a bub“Can't I ? h-e-e-m-m !"
ble in a whirlpool. “ And you are all ready?"
“ It's plaguy hard," muttered Timothy to him« I 'spect so. I knew you didn't want me for self. nothing, and so got every thing to hand.”
“ What ?" quoth Sybrandt. “ Have you any thing to eat by the way ?” “Why, not to have the privilege of shooting
* No; if I only stay out two or three days I one of these varmints." sha'n't want any thing.”
“Not another word,” whispered Sybrandt; “ we “ But you are to have a companion.”
may be overheard from the shore." Timothy here manufactured a sort of linsey- Does he think I don't know what's what ?" woolsey grunt, betokening disapprobation. again muttered Timothy, plying his paddle with a « I'd rather go alone.”
celerity and silence that Sybrandt vainly tried to “But it is necessary you should have a com- equal. panion; this young gentleman will go with The night gradually grew dark as pitch. All you."
became of one colour, and the earth and the air Timothy hereupon subjected Sybrandt to a rigid were confounded together in utter obscurity, at scrutiny of those busy eyes of his, that seemed to least to the eyes of Sybrandt Westbrook. Not a run over hiin as quick as lightning.
breath of wind disturbed the foliage of the trees “ I'd rather go by myself,” said he again. that hung invisible to all eyes but those of Timo
“ That is out of the question, so say no more thy, who seemed to see best in the dark; not an about it. Are you ready to go now—this minute ?" echo, not a whisper disturbed the dead silence of « Yes."
nature, as they darted along unseen and unsceing, Sir William then explained the object of the -at least our hero could see nothing but darkness. expedition to Timothy much in the same manner “ Whisht!" aspirated Timothy, at length, so he had previously done to Sybrandt.
low that he could scarcely hear himself; and after “But mayn't I shoot one of these tarnil kritters | making a few strokes with his paddle, so as to shoot if he comes in my way?" said Timothy, in a tone the boat out of her course, cowered himself down of great interest.
to the bottoin. Sybrandt did the same, peering No; you are not to fire a gun, nor attempt just over the side of the boat, to discover if possible any hostility whatever, unless it is neck or nothing the reason of Timothy's manæuvres. Suddenly with you."
he heard, or thought he heard, the measured sound Well, that's what I call hard; but maybe it of paddles dipping lightly into the water. A few will please God to put our lives in danger—that's minutes more and he saw five or six little lights some comfort."
glimmering indistinctly through the obscurity, apThe knight now produced two Indian dresses, parently at a great distance. Timothy raised which he directed them to put on somewhat himself up suddenly, seized his gun and pointed against the inclinations of friend Timothy, who it for a moment at one of the lights; but recolobserved that if he happened to see his shadow in lecting the injunction of Sir William, immediately the water, he should certainly mistake it for one resumed his former position. In a few minutes of the tarnil kritters, and shoot himself. Sir Wil- the sound of the paddles died away, and the lights liam then with his own hand painted the face of disappeared. Sybrandt so as to resemble that of an Indian-an « What was that?” whispered Sybrandt. operation not at all necessary to Timothy; his « The Frenchmen are turning the tables on us, toilet was already made; his complexion required I guess,” replied the other. « If that boat isn't no embellishment. This done, the night having going a-spying jist like ourselves, I'm quite out in now set in, Sir William, motioning silence, led my calculation." the way cautiously to one of the gates of Ticon- w What! with lights? They must be great deroga, which was opened by the sentinel, and fools." they proceeded swiftly and silently to the high “ It was only the fire of their pipes, which the bank which hung over the narrow strait in front darkness made look like so many candles. I'm
thinking what a fine mark these lights would have sneeze or cough, take right hold of your throat, bin; and how I could have peppered two or three and let it go downwards." of them, if Sir William had not bin so plagay ob- Sybrandt obeyed his injunctions; and Timothy stinate."
proceeded toward the lights, which appeared much · Peppered them! why, they were half-a-dozen farther off in the darkness than they really were, miles off.”
handling his paddle with such lightness and dex“They were within fifty yards—the kritters; I terity that Sybrandt could not hear the strokes. could have broke all their pipes as easy as kiss my In this manner they swiftly approached the enhand."
campment, until they could distinguish a confused * How do you know they were kritters, as you noise of shoutings and hallooings which gradually call the Indians ?"
broke on their ears in discordant violence. TimoWhy, did you ever hear so many Frenchmen thy stopped his paddle and listened. make so little noise ?"
“ It is the song of those tarnal kritters, the UtaThis reply was perfectly convincing; and Sy- was. They're in a drunken frolic, as they always brandt again enjoining silence, they proceeded are the night before going to battle. I know the with the same celerity, and in the same intensity kritters, for l’ve popped off a few, and can talk of darkness as before, for more than an hour. and sing their songs pretty considerably, I guess. This brought them, at the swift rate they were So we'll be among 'em right off. Don't forget going, a distance of at least twenty miles from the what I told you about doing as I do, and holding place of their departure.
your tongue.” Turning a sharp angle, at the expiration of the Cautiously plying his paddle, he now shot in time just specified, Timothy suddenly stopped his close to the shore whence the sounds of revelry paddle as before, and cowered down at the bottom proceeded, and made the land at some little disof the canoe. Sybrandt had no occasion to inquire tance, that he might avoid the sentinels, whom the reason of this action; for, happening to look they could hear ever and anon challenging each toward the shore, he could discover at a distance other. They then drew up the light canoe into innumerable lights glimmering and flashing amid the bushes, which here closely skirted the waters. the obscurity, and rendering the darkness beyond “ Now leave all behind but yourself, and follow the sphere of their influence still more profound. me,” whispered Timothy, as he carefully felt These lights appeared to extend several miles whether the muskets were well covered from the along what he supposed to be the strait or lake, damps of the night; and then laid himself down which occasionally reflected their glancing rays on his face and crawled along under the bushes upon its quiet bosom.
with the quiet celerity of a snake in the grass. * There they are, the kritters,” whispered Timo- “ Must we leave our guns behind,” whispered thy exultingly; “ we've treed 'em at last, I swow. Sybrandt. Yow, mister, let me ask you one question-will “ Yes, according to orders; but it's a plaguy you obey my orders ?”
Yet upon the whole it's best; for if I “ If I like them,” said Sybrandt.
was to get a fair chance at one of these kritters, I “Ay, like or no like. I must be captain for a believe in my heart my gun would go off clean of little time, at least,"
itself. But hush! shut your mouth as close as a “I have no objection to benefit by your expe- powder-horn.” rience.”
After proceeding some distance, Sybrandt getCan you play Ingen when you are put to it?" ting well scratched by the briars, and finding infi“ I have been among them, and know something nite difficulty in keeping up with Timothy, the of their character and manners."
latter stopped short. “Can you talk Ingen ?"
“Here the kritters are," said he, in the lowest No!"
whisper. Ah! your education has been sadly neglected. “Where?" replied the other, in the same tone. But come, there's no time to waste in talking In- “Look right before you." gen or English. We must get right in the middle Sybrandt followed the direction, and beheld a of these kritters. Can you creep on all-fours with- group of five or six Indians seated round a fire, out waking up a cricket ?”
the waning lustro of which cast a fitful light upon * No!"
their dark countenances, whose savage expression Plague on it! I wonder what Sir William was heightened to ferocity by the stimulant of the meant by sending you with me. I could have debauch in which they were engaged. They sat done better by myself. Are you afeared ?" on the ground swaying to and fro, backward and “Try me.
forward, and from side to side, ever and anon pass* Well, then, I must make the best of the mat- ing round the canteen from one to the other, and ter. The kritters are camped out—I see by their sometimes rudely snatching it away when they fires—by themselves. I can't stop to tell you thought either was drinking more than his share. every thing; but you must keep close to me, do At intervals they broke out into yelling and disjist as I do, and say nothing; that's all.”
cordant songs, filled with extravagant boastings of “I am likely to play a pretty part, I see.” murders, massacres, burnings, and plunderings,
“ Play! you'll find no play here, I guess, mister. mixed up with threatenings of what they would Set down close; make no noise; and if you go to do to the red-coat long knives on the morrow.
One of these songs recited the destruction of a vil- whole party, with the exception of Timothy, Sylage, and bore a striking resemblance to the bloody brandt, and the chief, were fast asleep. In a few catastrophe of poor Timothy's wife and children. minutes after, the two former affected to be in the Sybrandt could not understand it, but he could same state, and began to snore lustily. The Utahear the quick suppressed breathings of his com- was chief nodded from side to side; then sunk panion, who, when it was done, aspirated, in a down like a log and remained insensible to every tone of smothered vengeance, “If I only had my thing around him, in the sleep of drunkenness.
Timothy - lay without motion for awhile, then “Stay here a moment,” whispered he, as he turned himself over, and rolled about from side to crept cautiously toward the noisy group, which all side, managing to strike against each of the party at once became perfectly quiet, and remained in in succession. They remained fast asleep. He the attitude of listening.
then cautiously raised himself, and Sybrandt did “ Huh!” muttered one, who appeared by his the same. In a moment Timothy was down again, dress to be the principal.
and Sybrandt followed his example without knowTimothy replied in a few Indian words, which ing why, until he heard some one approach, and Sybrandt did not comprehend; and raising him- distinguished, as they came nigh, two officers, apself from the ground, suddenly appeared in the parently of rank. They halted near the waning midst of them. A few words were rapidly inter- fire, and one said to the other in French, in a low changed; and Timothy then brought forward his tone: companion, whom he presented to the Utawas, “ The beasts are all asleep: it is time to wake who welcomed him and handed the canteen, now them. Our spies are come back, and we must almost empty.
march." * My brother does not talk," said Timothy. “Not yet,” replied the other; “ let them sleep « Is he dumb ?" asked the chief of the Utawas. an hour longer, and they will wake sober.” They
No; but he has sworn not to open his mouth then passed on, and when their footsteps were no till he has struck the body of a long knife.". longer heard, Timothy again raised himself up,
Good,” said the other; "he is welcome." motioning our hero to lie still. After ascertaining After a pause he went on, at the same time eye- by certain tests which experience had taught him ing Sybrandt with suspicion; though his faculties that the Indians still continued in a profound were obscured by the fumes of the liquor he still sleep, he proceeded with wonderful dexterity and continued to drink, and hand round at short silence to shake the priining from each of the guns intervals.
in succession. After this, he took their powder“I don't remember the young warrior. Is he horns and emptied them; then seizing up the of our tribe ?"
tomahawk of the Utawas chief, which had dropped “ He is; but he was stolen by the Mohawks from his hand, he stood over him for a moment many years ago, and only returned lately." with an expression of deadly hatred which Sy. “ How did he escape ?”.
brandt had never before seen in his or any other “ He killed two chiefs while they were asleep countenance. The intense desire of killing one by the fire, and ran away."
of the kritters, as he called them, struggled a few « Good," said the Utawas; and for a few mo- moments with his obligations to obey the orders ments sunk into a kind of stupor, from which he of Sir William; but the latter at length triumphed, suddenly roused himself, and grasping his toma- and motioning Sybrandt, they crawled away with hawk started up, rushed toward Sybrandt, and the silence and celerity with which they came; raising his deadly weapon, stood over him in the launched their light canoe and plied their paddles attitude of striking. Sybrandt remained perfectly with might and main. “The morning breeze is unmoved, waiting the stroke.
springing up,” said Timothy, “and it will soon "Good," said the Utawas again; “I am satis- be daylight. We must be tarnal busy." fied; the Utawas never shuts his eyes at death. And busy they were, and swiftly did the light He is worthy to be our brother. He shall go with canoe slide over the wave, leaving scarce a wake us to battle to-morrow."
behind her. As they turned the angle which hid “ We have just come in time,” said Timothy. the encampment from their view, Timothy ven« Does the white chief march against the red-coats tured to speak a little above his breath. to-morrow ?”
“It's lucky for us that the boat we passed com“ He does."
ing down has returned, for it's growing light space. Has he men enough to fight them ?"
I'm only sorry for one thing.” They are like the leaves on the trees,” said “ What's that?" asked Sybrandt. the other.
That I let that drunken Utawas alone. If I By degrees Timothy drew from the Utawas had only bin out on my own bottom, he'd have chief the number of Frenchmen, Indians, and bin stun dead in a twinkling, I guess.” coureurs de bois, which composed the army; the And you, too, I guess,” said Sybrandt, adopttime when they were to commence their march; ing his peculiar phraseology ; "you would have the course they were to take, and the outlines of been overtaken and killed." the plan of attack, in case the British either waited “ Who, I? I must be a poor kritter if I can't for them in the fort or met them in the field. By dodge half a dozen of these drunken varmints." the time he had finished his examination, the A few hours of sturdy exertion brought them at