e took up his pack and trudged courageously down the little street

Down the Connecticut, not many miles from the city of Hartford, in the
early days of the State of Wooden Nutmegs, stood an ancient fort, known
by the name of “The House of Good Hope.” By reference to that veracious
chronicle known as “Knickerbocker’s History of New York,” you will find
that it was built by the good people of New Netherlands, to prevent
further encroachment on the part of a race which has since taken the
generic name of Yankee. Although the history mentioned may be correct,
it might be open to censure on the ground that the writer was biased in
favor of his own people. Be that as it may, the people of Good Hope had
planted themselves upon the river, determined to keep back, as far as
possible, the domineering race which had intruded upon the happy valley.

Although honest Diedrich may have been somewhat angry at our ancestors,
the Puritans, still we are forced to say that they were not very far
wrong in their estimate of character. The stolid Dutchmen were poorly
suited to contend with them in an encounter in which wit was the weapon
used. Placed face to face, each with a stout oak cudgel in his hand,
perhaps no Dutchman would have feared to meet one of the hated race.
But when it came to the commodity in which they did not deal, namely,
cunning, the Puritans had the advantage.

The New Netherlanders claimed all the land extending from the banks of
the Hudson to the Connecticut; and certainly, if any white man could
claim the soil at all, their claim was prior to that of the English. But,
with the wholesome proviso that “might makes right,” the Puritans pushed
their settlements to the side of the Happy River, under the very nose of
the Dutch commandant at Good Hope.

What that worthy thought, when the first members of the hardy band, who
pushed their way through the trackless wilderness to this spot, made
their appearance, is not fully set down. We only know, by the history
before mentioned, that they became obnoxious to the Dutch from their
desire to teach the damsels the absurd custom of “bundling,” in which
no true Dutchman would indulge. Besides, they had begun, even at this
early period, to show that sharpness in making bargains which since has
distinguished them above other nations in the world. Certain of them made
a practice of “swapping horses” with the men of Good Hope; and, although
the beasts they brought for “dicker” were, to all appearance, good ones,
yet no sooner was the bargain completed than the horses begun to show
traits which had not been “set down in the bill.” Indeed, it begun to be
proverbial that horse-trading with the Windsor people meant a transaction
in which a Dutchman gave a very good beast and some _gelt_ for a very
poor one and no _gelt_ at all. Moreover, the English were addicted to
the practice of overreaching the spouses of absent Hans and Yawcop with
transactions for small articles, such as constitute a peddler’s pack in
our day. Some will go so far as to say that, under the mask of perfect
disinterestedness of purpose, these Yankees would almost break up
housekeeping on the part of a couple possessed of considerable means, in
a single visit—so much were they ahead of the tramps of the present day.
Indeed, it is averred that the main cause of hostility on the part of
the Dutchmen against the English was the fact of the influence of these
profane wanderers over the partners of their phlegmatic joys and stolid
sorrows.

But, be that as it may, the inhabitants of Hartford were not in very good
order with those of Good Hope. On whose side the blame lay, we will leave
to historians to decide—if they can—while we proceed with our narrative.

Good Hope was an awkward structure of mud and logs, such as the Dutch
built in that day; strong enough, however, for the purpose for which it
was built, if it had been in different hands. It faced upon the river,
was armed with some of the clumsy ordnance common to the period, and
was garrisoned by about forty men from the settlement at New York, who
were somewhat overfed, and inclined to smoke all the time they were not
eating or drinking. Their leader, Van Curter, was one of those fiery,
self-willed men sometimes found in his nation, who mistake pig-headed
obstinacy for firmness of heart. An old soldier, trained under the
unhappy Prince of Orange, he thought no people like his own, and no
soldier like himself. He had seen, with ill-disguised jealousy, that a
people were growing up about him who were ahead of his own in acuteness,
and who were daily outstripping them in matters of business. He had
written a dispatch to Wouter Von Twiller, Governor of New Netherlands,
acquainting him with the inroad of these Windsor people, and of the
absolute incapacity of his men to compete with them. The governor
thereupon issued a proclamation, commanding the English to withdraw from
land which was the property of the Dutch East India Company.

The Yankees’ answer was very much to the same effect as that of the
worthy Master Nicholas, when he defied the trumpeter of William Kieft,
applying his thumb to the tip of his nose, and spreading out the fingers
like a fan. At least, they paid no attention to the proclamation, but
continued to take up land, and increase the limits of their colony.
The only reply they did vouchsafe to the demand of the governor was
that they claimed the land in the right of possession, and would not
give it up. The New Netherlanders had no desire to make a quarrel with
their neighbors, who were, for the most part, strong men, who would not
hesitate to use manual _persuasion_ in case it became necessary. Hence
the Dutchmen resorted to all manner of threats, entreaties—any thing but
violence.

There was one person, in particular, who was a source of constant
annoyance to the people of Good Hope. This was a hawker of small
trinkets, known in the settlements as Boston Bainbridge. A sharp,
business-like fellow, not a bad prototype of the Down-Easter of our day,
he made his way into every house from Boston to the City of Brotherly
Love. His pack was welcomed in the houses of his own countrymen, who,
being as sharp in buying as he was in selling, seldom allowed him to
get the better of them. But the Dutchmen were not so cunning, and were
overreached in many a bargain. Boston did not confine himself entirely to
dealing in small wares, but sold many articles of greater value; bought
and sold horses, or, as he expressed himself, was a “mighty man on a
dicker.”

Boston came into Good Hope on a bright morning in the early part of
the month of June. His pack had been replenished in Hartford, and he
hoped to diminish its contents among the Dutch. He was a middle-sized,
active-looking man, about forty years of age, clad in a suit of gray
homespun. His pack was, as usual strapped upon his back, while he led a
forlorn-looking Narragansett pony, which paced slowly along behind its
master, like a captive led to the stake. Boston had some misgivings that
certain things sold to these people must have come to grief since his
last visit. But this was not by any means the first time he had been
tackled by them for selling bad wares, and he never was at a loss for an
answer.

The families of the Dutch had built up a little village about the fort,
and he entered boldly. The first man he met was an unmistakable Teuton,
with a broad, bulky figure, built after the manner of Wouter Von Twiller,
then Governor of New Netherlands. This individual at once rushed upon the
Yankee, exhibiting the blade of a knife, severed from the handle.

“Ah-ha, Yankee! You see dat, eh? You sell dat knife to me; you sheat me
mit dat knife.”

“You git eout,” replied the Yankee. “I never sold you _that_ knife!”

“Yaw! Dat ish von lie; dat ish von _pig_ lie! You vas sell dat knife mit
me.”

Boston lowered the pack from his shoulder and took the despised blade in
his hand.

“Now then, Dutchy, what’s the matter with this knife, I should like to
know?”

“Donner unt blitzen! Das ish von big sheat knife. Goot for nix. Das knife
not coot preat, py Shoseph!”

“How did you break it?” asked the peddler, fitting the pieces of the
knife together and taking a wire from his pocket. “This is a good knife,
I reckon. You broke the rivet. Now look at me, and see how far we are in
advance of you in the arts and sciences. I tell you, Hans Drinker, you
don’t know any thing about these matters—blamed if you do.”

As he spoke, he took out a pair of pincers, riveted the blade in, pounded
it, and held up the knife for inspection.

“Look at that, neow, Hans Drinker. Any one but a Dutchman would have done
that long ago, instead of waiting for a poor fellow who sold you the
knife at a _sacrifice_.”

“Vat ish dat, eh? I no care for dat? I says de knife vill not cut preat,”
cried Hans.

“See here—where have you had this knife? You put it in hot water, I know.
Tell the truth and shame the adversary—didn’t you, now?”

“Vell, I did; but dat no hurt.”

“All you know. Of _course_ it hurts! What do you expect a knife to be
that you can buy for a shilling, English money? It took the temper out of
it, I allow.”

“Vat ish demper?”

“Never you mind. That knife is spoiled, and I know how. I wouldn’t give
an English penny for it to-day. For why? A Dutchman don’t know how to use
a knife. Consequence—he spoils it.”

Hans paused in some doubt, seeing the blame of the failure of the knife
laid so fully upon his guiltless shoulders. Boston gave him no time to
think, but threw open his pack.

“Now, I’ll tell you what I mean to do. You don’t deserve it; but I will
do a violence to my conscience, and do something for you. Keep your
fingers to yourself and feast your eyes upon that.” Here he produced a
knife somewhat better than the one which Hans had returned. “Now, I’ll
tell you what I will do. ’Tisn’t right, I know it; ’tisn’t behaving
properly to those who bought the last lot I had, but you may have _that_
knife for four shillings sterling. You stare. I don’t wonder, for that
knife ought to bring fully _ten_ shillings. It’s worth it, if it’s worth
a farthing; but what can I do? I must put my goods down to you fellows or
you won’t look at them. I am making myself a poor man for your sakes.”

“Vour shilling. Dat ish too mooch, by Shoseph!”

“Too much! I tell you I am _giving_ the knife away—absolutely _giving_
it away. That knife you bought before was a _cheap_ knife, I allow that;
but it was _sold_ cheap; but I lose on this knife if I sell it at six
shillings, and here I offer it to you at four. Many a time I am tempted
to shut up my pack and tramp through the woods no more; but when I think
that it will be impossible for you to get along without me, I repent,
and sacrifice my own interests for your good. I can’t help it, if I am
soft-hearted, it’s one of my little failings. I sell below cost because I
hate to be hard upon poor men.”

Hans took the knife in his hands and begun to open and shut the bright
blade. He had been beaten again and again by this same peddler, and did
not care to be taken in once more. The polished blade shone like glass in
the sunlight.

“Dat ish goot knife, eh?”

“Good! You’d better believe it’s good. Why, I know a man down to Hartford
has got one of them there knives, and what do you reckon he does with it?
You can’t tell, scarcely. No, ’tain’t probable you can. Then _I’ll_ tell
you. He uses it for an _ax_, and he can cut down a good-sized maple with
it about as soon as you cut a cat-tail down with one of your clumsy axes.
I don’t say that _this_ is as good a knife as _that_. Probably ’tain’t;
but it came out of the same mold.”

“Big price, dat. Sure dis is goot knife, eh? You sell me bad knife two,
t’ree, vour dimes. Dat ish pad—dat is worser as pad. Vour shillings?”

“Four. But see here. I ain’t given you inducement to buy, it seems. Rot
me ef I don’t think you are about the toughest tree I ever tried to
climb. Now look at me, and see a man always ready to sacrifice himself
for the good of the people. Here are a pair of combs. They are worth
money—they are _good_ combs. I throw them into the pile, and what else?
Here is a good pair of shoe-buckles. I throw them in, and beg you to
take the pile away for six shillings. You won’t? I thought so. You ain’t
capable of it, more’s the pity. I’ll again hurt my own feelings by saying
five-and-six. If you don’t take them at that I must shut up my pack.
Hans Drinker, you were born to good luck. I don’t think, upon my word
and honor, that any one ever had such a chance since the days of Noah. I
don’t, sart’inly.”

“You talk so fast dat I has nottings to zay mitout speaking. Vell, I
takes dem. Py Shoseph, if tey ish not goot, I kills you mit a mistake,
shure!”

“I’ve half a mind to take it back. I think—”

“Nix, splitzen, nean; I puys dem goots. Dey ish mine. Vive-unt-sax; dere
it ish.”

“Well, take them,” said Boston, with a sigh of resignation. “I lose by
you, but I gave you my word, and you may have them.”

Having thus effected a sale of the articles, which were dear at eighteen
pence, Boston lifted his pack and proceeded blithely on his way, while
Hans Drinker hurried away to display his treasures, and chuckle over his
bargain. Boston was not fated to proceed far, when he was arrested by a
yell from a house by the roadside.

“Holt on, dere! you sleutzen Yankee, holt on!”

“He-he,” chuckled Boston, “That’s old Swedlepipe. Now _he_ will give me
rats about that horse.”

As he spoke, the person who had stopped him threw open the door of his
cottage, and rushed out into the road. He was a stout-built old man, very
red in the face, and flourishing a staff over his head.

“Dear me,” cried Boston. “Is it possible that I see my dear friend
Mynheer Swedlepipe? Give me your hand, mynheer. This is, indeed, a sight
for sore eyes.”

“It vill be a sight for sore heads, pefore you go, or else my name is not
Paul Swedlepipe. Vat you do, you Yankee rascal? You comes to Good Hope
mid your flimpsy goots, unt sell dem to honest Dootchmen. I vill preak
every pone in your skin.”

“Now, Mynheer Swedlepipe, my dear mynheer, what _have_ I done? Just tell
me what I have done? Shake hands.”

“You dry to shake hands mit me unt I preak your head. Vat you done to
your tear Mynheer Swedlepipe, eh? Vell, den, I dells you. You prings to
dish place von old hoss dat ish not vorth _von_ guilder. Hein, you curry
him unt you comb him, unt you make him look ver’ nice. I dinks it ish von
ver’ goot horse, unt I pays you von hunder guilders! _Sturm unt wetter!_
Ish dat nottings, eh? _Hagel!_ I kills you deat ash von schmoke-herring.”

The stick flourished about in dangerous proximity to Boston’s ears, who
sat upon his pack with an immovable countenance, watching every motion on
the part of the other with his sharp eyes. There was something in his
face which deterred the Dutchman from striking.

“What’s the matter with the horse, mynheer, I should like to know?”

“Matter! Dere ish not von disease vich a horse can have dat he hash not.”

“Let me know one.”

“He hash de _heaves_.”

“Yes.”

“And de _ring-bone_.”

“Yes.”

“And he ish bone-spavined.”

“Yes.”

“And he sprained-shoulder.”

“Yes.”

“Donner! Ton’t sit dere unt say yes, yes, yes! S’all I dell you one more
t’ing? Vell, here it ish. He has nix toot’ in his head!”

“No?” cried Boston, in surprise. “He had when I brought him here. How did
he lose them?”

“Dey shoost dropped out in his manger te first times I feed him. Ton’t
lie to me. You put his teet’ in to sell him. You tied dem in mit strings,
you pig, _pig_ rogue!”

“Gracious, mynheer! Is it possible that you consider me capable of such
business?”

“Yaw!”

“Oh, you do? Now you are wrong. I bought that horse of a friend in
Hartford. He is not the man I took him for, nor the horse is not what you
took him for. Well, who is to blame? I take it, that it is the man who
sold me the horse first. I didn’t think he’d a-done it, mynheer; I didn’t
think he’d a-done it.”

Mynheer looked at him in a species of indignant admiration. He had
thought that the peddler would not certainly have the surpassing
effrontery to deny the fact of his knowledge of the various diseases by
which the poor animal was afflicted.

“You means to dell me, den, dat you don’t know dat dis horse ish _plind_?”

“Is he?”

“Yaw; he ish plind ash a pat. He ish teaf. You not knows dat, either?”

“That explains it! Now, I fired off a gun close to his ear, one day, and
he didn’t even jump. That was because he was deaf. Well _now_!”

“Dere ish one t’ing more. You didn’t know dat de nice tail he carried
pelonged to some nodder horse?”

“You don’t say! Not his own tail? If I ain’t beat! Well, mynheer, the
rascal has beat us both this time. He has got the money, and we can’t
help ourselves. I didn’t tell you that I gave a hundred and ten guilders
for the beast, did I? No? Well, you see by that I lost on the trade with
you. I always lose, most years.”

Swedlepipe shook his head, and dropped his stick dejectedly. He would
have understood the pleasant little fiction on the part of Boston if
he had known that a farmer near Hartford had lost a horse by drowning.
Boston had taken possession of his tail and teeth, and by the aid of the
two had so contrived to patch up an ancient steed which he picked up in
the woods, where it had been turned out to die, as to sell him to poor
Swedlepipe at an exorbitant rate.

Old Swedlepipe scratched his head. He had sworn by the name of his patron
saint, worthy Nicholas, that he would give Boston Bainbridge a taste of
wholesome Dutch cudgel, if he ever dared to set foot in Good Hope again.
And yet here he was, and had purged himself of all stain, by saddling the
guilt upon some unfortunate third person.

“I’ll tell you, squire,” said he, “I’m sorry for this. If I had only
_known_ that the horse was a bad one, I would have brought you another
from Windsor. Oh, you better believe they have horses _there_.”

“Yaw, dey must have dem _dere_, for dey never prings dem _here_.”

“Ha,” said the other. “There are some sharp people down to Windsor.
There’s Holmes, now. You know Holmes? He is the man who wouldn’t stop
when you threatened to blow his sloop out of water. Of course they don’t
send away their best horses often. Sometimes they do. You see this pony?
If I had known that you would want a horse you might have had him. You
know Ten Eyck?”

“Yaw. Pig rascal he is!”

“Yes. Just so. Wal, that hoss is for him.”

“For Ten Eyck?”

“Yes.”

“’Tain’t a very pig hoss.”

“No, ’tain’t. But it’s the best hoss of its kind in the country. He ain’t
very fast, to be sure. But, for all that, if he ran a race against a
red deer, I should know which to put my money on. That’s the same hoss,
mynheer, that went from Providence to Salem in jist tew days. You don’t
believe it? Wal, I don’t ask it of you. Don’t take _my_ word for it. I
don’t say that the hoss has got a good eye. ’Twouldn’t do me any good;
you wouldn’t believe me. Look for yourself.”

“Did Ten Eyck send for dat hoss?”

“Oh, never mind,” replied Boston, in high dudgeon. “’Tain’t no use for
you to ask. You can’t have this hoss.”

“Not if I gif’s you money?”

“Hey?”

“Not if I gif’s you more money as Ten Eyck?”

“You wouldn’t.”

“How much he gif’s?”

“Fifty guilders.”

“Hein!”

“Fifty guilders.”

“Der tuyvel!”

“But what’s the use talking? I must go on and leave the hoss. Want any
thing in my line, mynheer?”

“Holt on. Ten Eyck shan’t hav’ dat hoss. I gif’s you sixty guilders for
him.”

“Do you think I’d break my word for ten guilders?” cried Boston, taking
up his pack.

“Seventy.”

“Say eighty.”

“No; seventy.”

“Seventy-five. Come, git up, Lightfoot!”

“Vell, I gif’s it. I gets de money.”

“All right. I’ll stay here. By the way, where is that other hoss?”

“Turned him out to commons.”

“I’ll give you five guilders for him.”

“Dake him. He not wort two kreutzers.”

“Not to _you_,” replied the Yankee; “but to me he may be of use. Git the
money.”

Swedlepipe plunged into the cabin, and reappeared a moment after, and
counted the money into Boston’s hand.

“Any thing else I can do for you, mynheer?”

“Yaw.”

“What is it?”

“Vell, I dells you. Shoost you sheat Ten Eyck so bad ash you sheat me,
unt I gif’s you _den_ guilders!”

“Is that a bargain, squire?”

“Yaw! He vound out dat you selt me dat hoss, unt he laughs von whole day.
Now, you sheat him. Vill you do it?”

“Yes. I’ll cheat him for the ten guilders, for your sake. You know I
don’t often do it; but, to please a good friend, I will do a violence to
my conscience, particularly in a case like this.”

“Ven will you do it?”

“Oh, I don’t know; pretty soon. When I have done it, you shall hear from
me. I shall want that old hoss, howsumdever.”

“Send for him ven you wants him. How you sheat Ten Eyck, eh?”

“I don’t know now. I’ll tell you when I do it.”

He took up his pack and trudged courageously down the little street
toward the fort. The stolid sentry made some demur against his entrance;
but he got through at last. Swedlepipe gazed after him, with open mouth,
until his form was concealed from view. Then, slowly replacing the pipe
between his teeth, he ejaculated: “Dat ish ter tuyvel’s poy, I dinks.”

Boston Bainbridge knew that he entered the fort at considerable peril to
himself; but he had learned, in his wandering life, to look danger in
the face. His trickery in trade was as natural to him as the rising of
smoke. But, underlying his whimsical manner, there was a vein of pure
bravery, and an inherent love for deeds of daring. The jealousies between
the Yankees and Dutch had strengthened by degrees, until the two parties
begun to concert plans to oust each other from the stronghold they had
taken. The Windsor party was headed by Captain William Holmes, a man
of great individual courage, who had refused to retrace his steps when
he first ascended the river, and ran by under fire of the Dutch guns.
Knowing that the Dutch were concerting some plan for his overthrow, he
determined to send Boston Bainbridge to Good Hope with his pack, to see
what he could pick up in the way of information.

The appearance of Boston was no sooner made known to Van Curter, the
commandant, than he sent out his orderly to bring the hawker into his
presence. The former was a tall, hook-nosed man, with the erect bearing
of a soldier. Boston did not like the expression of his eye. It was full
of fire, dark and penetrating.

“Your name is Boston Bainbridge,” said he. “If I remember aright, you
were here some four months ago?”

“You are right, squire. I _was_ here then, and I calculate I did a heap
of dicker.”

“Oh, you did? Allow me to remind you of the fact that you were told not
to come here any more. You did not pay much attention to that.”

“Now, see here, squire, I’ll tell you all about it. I’m a trader, and it
stands to reason that when a feller gets a good place to sell, he don’t
like to leave it. I didn’t think you more than half-meant it. Let me show
you some goods I’ve got—”

“Silence!” thundered Van Curter.

“Eh?”

“Silence, I say. Listen to me. Who sent you here?”

“Who sent me here? Now, squire, I calculate that ain’t a fair question.
Who should send me here? I came here to sell goods. Let me show—”

“Hans!” cried Van Curter.

The orderly entered.

“Draw your sword,” continued Van Curter, “and if this fellow attempts
again to speak of his beggarly pack, run him through the body.”

The eyes of the hawker begun to flash, and he folded his arms upon his
breast.

“Your questions?” he cried. “Let me hear them.”

“First, then, who sent you here?”

“I have told you already.”

“What did you come to do?”

“You will make nothing out of me while a man stands over me with a
drawn sword. I am only a poor man—one of the poorest in his majesty’s
colony—but the threats of no _Dutchman_ under heaven can scare _me_.”

“What would you have me do?”

“Send away this fellow with the sword, and let me talk in my own way. We
shall get along quite as well. And don’t try to bully. I ain’t used to
it. There are those who will see me righted if I am ill-treated—_that_
you must know.”

“Do you threaten?”

“Will you send this fellow away?”

“Retire, Hans, and stand at the door. Enter when I call.”

The orderly obeyed.

“Now speak,” said Van Curter.

“You see, squire, I had been to Boston, and I calculated it was about
time you were out of nicknacks, so I came out.”

“You stick to that story? Have you been to Windsor?”

“Wal, I calculate I have.”

“What is Holmes doing?”

“That’s rather a hard question. The last time I saw him, he was eatin’.
He _has_ got a mouth to put away the provisions in, now I tell you.”

“Pish, man; you know what I want to know. Tell me what they are doing at
Windsor.”

“They are building a mighty big stock-house there, I reckon—nigh as big
as Good Hope. But law, what _can_ they do? You could eat them up!”

“Are they preparing to attack me?”

“No, I calculate not. They have all they kin do to keep the Indians
friendly.”

“Do they talk much about us?”

“Yes, more or less. Not any thing to count, howsumdever.”

“_What_ do they say?”

“I reckon they think you are pretty strong here. They talk about that
some.”

“Do you think, if they were to attempt it, they would drive us out of
Good Hope?”

“Now, I don’t know as to _that_. I am a bit of a Boston man myself, and
don’t care so much for Windsor. I don’t say they wouldn’t if they got the
chance. You see, it’s a pretty bit of land, and you asked them to come
out here.”

“So we did, fools that we were to do it. What would you advise us to do?”

“You want me to tell you?”

“Yes.”

“Honest?”

“Yes.”

“Then _this_ is what I think: Don’t stir us up. We are good folks, if you
let us alone; but if you rile us up, we git hornety. I don’t say this to
scare you, or any thing. But we are tough colts to ride without a halter.”

“Do you think we fear you?”

“I don’t say it. You may or you may not. But, you ask my advice, and I
give it. Don’t cut up rough. Don’t go to smoothing us against the grain.
Go with the nap of the cloth, and you’ll find it’ll work better.”

“Ah! How many men have you at Windsor?”

“Don’t keep mixing me up with the Windsor folks, squire. I don’t belong
there. I am a Boston man, myself.”

“Then you won’t refuse to tell me how many men you have?”

“I would if I could. A good many had gone out to hunt and trade. All
through, there was a pretty lively sprinkling of them, I calculate.”

“Do you think they have as many as we have?”

“How many do you reckon?”

Van Curter instantly gave him this information, and immediately cursed
himself for doing it, fearing that the hawker would take advantage of the
fact against him. He was the more angry from the fact that Boston refused
to be at all explicit in regard to the number at Windsor. “He hadn’t
counted,” he said. “They were scattered round a good deal; might be more
or might be less. Couldn’t bring himself to say, to a certainty, whether
they had as many as Van Curter or not, but most probable a likely number.”

“How did you come here?”

“I reckon that is easy to answer. Part of the way I walked, and part of
the way I rode. Couldn’t I sell you something, squire?”

“Wait until I have finished my questions. Did you see Captain Holmes at
Windsor?”

“Yes, I told you before.”

“Was William Barlow in Windsor?”

“The lieutenant?”

“Yes.”

“Y-a-a-s. He was there.”

“Did he know you were coming here?”

“Guess so.”

“Do you _know_?”

“Y-a-a-s, I think he did. I didn’t make no secret of it. I trade here a
great deal.”

“The last time you were here, you brought a message to my daughter from
him. Don’t deny it, for I know you did. Have you one now?”

“No. The lieutenant found out that you were mad about it, and he thought
he wouldn’t trouble the gal just now.”

“You are sure you have not a letter about you somewhere?”

“You may s’arch me, if you think I have. ’Twon’t be the first time it’s
been done.”

“You are willing?”

“I can’t say I am just _willing_. I allus prefer to have the handling of
my goods _myself_. Before you call in your men, I’ll go over the box and
show you that there ain’t any message in that.”

Van Curter looked on zealously as the hawker tumbled over his goods
upon the floor, and turned over its contents. He then examined the pack
itself, and found nothing. Boston put the things back, saying, that
“Dutchmen had sometimes light fingers as well as heavy bodies.”

Van Curter now called in two men, who searched the hawker with great
care. They found nothing.

“I told you so before you begun,” said he. “You wouldn’t believe _me_.
Perhaps you will next time, and save yourself trouble.”

The fellows went out, and Van Curter begun again, with the air of a man
without hope:

“Did you come here alone?”

“Yes, I did. What will you ask next? I’d like to have you get done as
soon as you can, for I want to be at work. I’m losing money on you.”

A light came into the face of the other. “You like money, then?”

“I ain’t much ahead of any Dutchman of my acquaintance, then. They like
money. Of course I like money. Why not?”

“Then I have not been holding out the right inducement for you to speak.”

“You are right in your head, old lad. I don’t speak without a proper
inducement.”

“Is this right?” asked Van Curter, slipping a couple of gold pieces into
his hand.

“Double it,” said the other, shortly. The commandant obeyed. Boston
clinked the pieces upon the floor, tried them with his teeth, and, being
satisfied that they were good, put them in his pouch and turned to the
commandant.

“That _is_ the right argument. What do you want?”

“Did Barlow send any message to my daughter?”

“Y-a-a-s, he did.”

“Have you got it?”

“Not in writin’.”

“What did he say?”

“Assured her that he was hers till death.”

“Ha!”

“That his love would never grow cold.”

“The insufferable Englishman!”

“That he had not yet given up hope.”

“He had better.”

“Hopes to win your good will.”

“Never!”

“Bids her trust in him, and they will meet again.”

“Is that all?”

“Yes.”

The commandant mused for some moments, with his head bowed upon his
hand. Van Curter was one of those obstinate men, found often among
soldiers, who loved or hated with vindictive energy. His hatred of the
Yankees was intense, and it offended him greatly that his daughter
should fix her affections upon one of the despised race. It would have
pleased him better to have seen her married to some fat burgher of New
Netherlands—one of his own nation.

“Listen, sir,” said he, at last. “I have a few words to say to you. I
love my child as well as any man can do. But I would sooner see her dead
at my feet than married to a Yankee.”

“Now, see here, squire. Don’t talk that way. ’Tain’t proper. We are an
odd kind of people; I calculate we always get even with any one who hurts
us. You don’t know the lieutenant very well, I see. I do. There ain’t a
finer boy from the Floridas to Penobscot. He is brave, of good family,
and I really don’t see what you have against him.”

“Let that pass. I have told you what I think about this matter. He shall
never again see Theresa Van Curter.”

Boston hummed a low tune.

“What do you mean by that?”

“Don’t you believe any such thing, squire. You can’t keep two young
people apart. If I want to hurry on a marriage, I always get some old
maid, old woman, or old man, no matter which, to _oppose_ the match.
_That_ will bring it on, as sure as a gun!”

“You think so?”

“It stands to reason. It’s just the way of human nature. They always want
to eat forbidden fruit. Your best way would be to laugh the girl out of
the idea, if you are so set against it.”

“What a nation you will make some day,” cried the other, in a tone
of admiration. “You can not fail. There is nothing which you can not
compass, for your desires are boundless. I seem to see with a prophet’s
eye. This great continent will one day bear a great nation famous for its
liberal ideas, a nation of cunning men, who will hold the world in their
grasp. My nation will contribute to make up _this_ nation; for where
liberal ideas and freedom to mankind hold sway, the Dutch must have a
hand.”

Worthy Van Curter, sitting in his rude fort upon the banks of the bright
river, and prophesying the future of the land, in his wildest dreams
never approached the reality. Who could hope that, in less than ten
generations, the power of the wonderful race should have built up a
republic, the grandest of nations, the hope of all the world!

“But, this is idle talk,” the soldier continued, rising from his seat.
“When you go back to Windsor, and you must go soon, as I will not have
you hanging about here, you will see this Lieutenant Barlow, and take
this message from me: under no circumstances will I tolerate, in the
least degree, his addresses to my daughter. Let him beware how he crosses
my path, or worse will come of it. Will you remember?”

“Y-a-a-s, squire.”

“You may now go out and sell your goods. I give you two days. After that,
you must leave the settlement.” He rose and left the room, not aware of
the fact that Boston was snapping his fingers behind his official back.

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