Infomotions, Inc.The chainbearer : or, The Littlepage manuscripts / by J. Fenimore Cooper. / Cooper, James Fenimore, 1789-1851




Author: Cooper, James Fenimore, 1789-1851
Title: The chainbearer : or, The Littlepage manuscripts / by J. Fenimore Cooper.
Publisher: New York : Stringer and Townsend, 1856.
Tag(s): chainbearer; littlepage; andries; ant; ursula malbone; old andries; priscilla bayard; major littlepage; general littlepage
Contributor(s): Eric Lease Morgan (Infomotions, Inc.)
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable; PDF
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 176,108 words (longer than most) Grade range: 11-13 (high school) Readability score: 60 (average)
Identifier: chainbearer00cooprich
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UC-N 




B 3 321 351 



LIBRARY 

OF THE 

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA. 

GIFT OF 



Receive^ OCT 27 1892 , 189. . 
Accessions No.^1.. Shelf No. 



V. 



$ 



THE 



CHAINBE ARER ; 



OR, 



THE LITTLEPAGE MANUSCRIPTS. 



BY J. FENIMORE COOPER. 



O bid our vain endeavours ceaso 
Revive the just designs of Greece . 
Return in all thy simple state, 
Confirm the tale her sons relate 1 Cot ** . 



COMPLETE 



I 



NEW EDITION. 



NEW YORK: 
STRINGER AND TOWNSEND. 

1856. 



THE CHAIN-BEAKER. 



Entered, according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1845, by 
J. FENIMORE COOPER, 

in the clerk s ornce of the District Court for the Northern District 
of New York. 



PKEFACE. 

; 

THE plot has thickened in the few short months 
that have intervened since the appearance of the first 
portion of our Manuscripts, and bloodshed has come 
to deepen the stain left on the country by the wide 
spread and bold assertion of false principles. This 
must long since have been foreseen ; and it is perhaps 
a subject of just felicitation, that the violence which 
has occurred was limited to the loss of a single life, 
when the chances were, and still are, that it will ex 
tend to civil war. That portions of the community 
have behaved nobly under this sudden outbreak of a 
lawless and unprincipled combination to rob, is un 
deniable, and ought to be dwelt on with gratitude 
and an honest pride ; that the sense of right of much 
the larger portion of the country has been deeply 
wounded, is equally true; that justice has been 
aroused, and is at this moment speaking in tones of 
authority to the offenders, is beyond contradiction : 
but, while all this is admitted, and admitted not alto 
gether without hope, yet are there grounds for fear, 
so reasonable and strong, that no writer who is faith 
ful to the real interests of his country ought, for a 
single moment, to lose sight of them. 

High authority, in one sense, or that of political 
power, has pronounced the tenure of a durable lease 
to be opposed to the spirit of the institutions ! Yet 
these tenures existed when the institutions were 
formed, and one of the provisions of the institutions 
themselves guarantees the observance of the cove- 

(3) 



IV PREFACE. 

nants under which the tenures exist. It would have 
been far wiser, and much nearer to the truth, had 
those who coveted their neighbours goods been told 
that, in their attempts to subvert and destroy the 
tenures in question, they were opposing a solemn and 
fundamental provision of law, and in so much oppos 
ing the institutions. The capital error is becoming 
prevalent, which holds the pernicious doctrine that 
this is a government of men, instead of one of prin 
ciples. Whenever this error shall so far come to a 
head as to get to be paramount in action, the well- 
disposed may sit down and mourn over, not only the 
liberties of their country, but over its justice and its 
morals, even should men be nominally so free as to do 
just what they please. 

As the Littlepage Manuscripts advance, we find 
them becoming more and more suited to the times in 
which we live. There is an omission of one gene- 
tion, however, owing to the early death of Mr. Mai- 
bone Littlepage, who left an only son to succeed him. 
This son has felt it to be a duty to complete the 
series by an addition from his own pen. Without 
this addition, we should never obtain views of Satans- 
toe, Lilacsbush, Ravensnest, and Mooseridge, in their 
present aspects ; while with it, we may possibly ob 
tain glimpses that will prove not only amusing but 
instructive. 

There is one point on which, as editor of these 
Manuscripts, we desire to say a word. It is thought 
by a portion of our readers, that the first Mr. Little- 
page who has written, Cornelius of that name, has 
manifested an undue asperity on the subject of the 
New England character. Our reply to this charge 



PREFACE. >f 

is as follows : In the first place, we do not pretend 
to be answerable for all the opinions of those whose 
writings are submitted to our supervision, any more 
than we should be answerable for all the contra 
dictory characters, impulses, and opinions that might 
be exhibited in a representation of fictitious charac 
ters, purely of our own creation. That the Little- 
pages entertained New York notions, and if the reader 
will, New York prejudices, may be true enough ; but 
in pictures of this sort, even prejudices become facts 
that ought not to be altogether kept down. Then, 
New England has long since anticipated her revenge, 
glorifying herself and underrating her neighbours in 
a way that, in our opinion, fully justifies those who 
possess a little Dutch blood, in expressing their senti 
ments on the subject. Those who give so freely 
should know how to take a little in return ; and that 
more especially, when there is nothing very direct or 
personal in the hits they receive. For ourselves, we 
have not a drop of Dutch or New England blood in 
our veins, and only appear as a bottle-holder to one 
of the parties in this set-to. If we have recorded 
what the Dutchman says of the Yankee, we have 
also recorded what the Yankee says, and that with 
no particular hesitation, of the Dutchman. We know 
that these feelings are bygones ; but our Manuscripts, 
thus far, have referred exclusively to the times in 
which they certainly existed, and that, too, in a force 
quite as great as they are here represented to be. 

We go a little farther. In our judgment the false 
principles that are to be founcj in a large portion of 
the educated classes, on the subject of the relation 
between landlord and tenant, are to be traced to the 



VI PREFACE. 

provincial notions of those who have received their 
impressions from a state of society in which no such 
relations exist. The danger from the anti-rent doc 
trines is most to be apprehended from these false 
principles ; the misguided and impotent beings who 
have taken the field in the literal sense, not being a 
fourth part as formidable to the right, as those who 
have taken it in the moral. There is not a particle 
more of reason in the argument which says that there 
should be no farmers, in the strict meaning of the 
term, than there would be in that which said there 
should be no journeymen connected with the crafts ; 
though it would not be easy to find a man to assert 
the latter doctrine. We dare say, if there did happen 
to exist a portion of the country in which the mecha 
nics were all " bosses," it would strike those who 
dwelt in such a state of society, that it would be sin 
gularly improper and anti-republican for any man to 
undertake journeywork. 

On this subject we shall only add one word. The 
column of society must have its capital as well as its 
base. It is only perfect while each part is entire, and 
discharges its proper duty. In New York the great 
landholders long have, and do still, in a social sense, 
occupy the place of the capital. On the supposition 
that this capital is broken and hurled to the ground, 
of what material will be the capital that must be 
pushed into its place ! We know of none half so 
likely to succeed, as the country extortioner and the 
country usurer ! We would caution those who now 
raise the cry of feudality and aristocracy, to have a 
care of what they are about. In lieu of King Log, 
they may be devoured by King Stork. 



THE CHAINBEAREE. 



CHAPTER I. 

M The steady brain, the sinewy limb, 
To leap, to climb, to dive, to swim : 
The iron frame, inured to bear 
Each dire inclemency of air ; 
Nor less confirmed to undergo 
Fatigue s faint chill, and famine s throe." 

ROKJGBY. 

Mr father was Cornelius Littlepage, of Satanstoe, in the 
county of West Chester, and State of New York ; and my 
mother was Anneke Mordaunt, of Lilacsbush, a place long 
known by that name, which still stands near Kingsbridge, 
but on the island of Manhattan, and consequently in one of 
the wards of New York, though quite eleven miles from 
town. I shall suppose that my readers know the difference 
between the Island of Manhattan, and Manhattan Island; 
though I have found soi-disant Manhattanese, of mature 
years, but of alien birth, who had to be taught it. Lilacs- 
bush, I repeat therefore, was on the Island of Manhattan, 
eleven miles from town, though in the city of New York, 
and not on Manhattan Island. 

Of my progenitors further back, I do not conceive it ne 
cessary to say much. They were partly of English, and 
partly of Low Dutch extraction ; as is apt to be the case 
with those who come of New York families of any standing 
in the colony. I retain tolerably distinct impressions of 
both of my grandfathers, and of one of my grandmothers ; 
my mother s mother having died long before my own pa 
rents were married. 

(7) 



8 THE CIIAI N B E A RE R. 

Of my maternal grandfather I know very little, however, 
he having died while I was quite young, and before I had 
seen much of him. He paid the great debt of nature in 
England, whither he had gone on a visit to a relative, a Sir 
Something Bulstrode, who had been in the colonies him 
self, and who was a great favourite with Herman Mordaunt, 
as my mother s parent was universally called in New York. 
My father often said, it was perhaps fortunate in one re 
spect, that his father-in-law died as he did, since he had no 
doubt he would have certainly taken sides with the crown, 
in the quarrel that so soon after occurred, in which case it 
is probable his estates, or those which were my mother s, 
and are now mine, would have shared the fate of those of 
the de Lanceys, of the Philipses, of some of the Van Cort- 
landts, of the Floyds, of the Joneses, and of various others 
of the heavy families, who remained loyal, as it was called ; 
meaning loyalty to a prince, and not loyalty to the land of 
their nativity. It is hard to say which were right, in such 
a quarrel, if we look at the opinions and prejudices of the 
times, though the Littlepages to a man, which means only 
my father, and grandfather, and self, took sides with the 
country. In the way of self-interest, it ought to be remark 
ed, however, that the wealthy American who opposed the 
crown, showed much the most disinterestedness, inasmuch 
as the chances of being subdued were for a Jong time very 
serious, while the certainty of confiscation, not to say of 
being hanged, was sufficiently well established, in the event 
of failure. But, my paternal grandfather was what was 
called a whig, of the high caste. He was made a brigadier 
in the militia, in 1776, and was actively employed in the 
great campaign of the succeeding year ; that in which Bur- 
goyne was captured, as indeed was my father, who held the 
rank of lieutenant-colonel in the New York line. There 
was also a major Dirck Van Volkenburgh, or Pollock, as 
he was usually called, in the same regiment with my father, 
who was a sworn friend. This major Pollock was an old 
bachelor, and he lived quite as much in my father s house 
as he did in his own ; his proper residence being across the 
river, in Rockland. My mother had a friend, as well as 
my father, in the person of Miss Mary Wallace ; a single 
lady, well turned of thirty at the commencement of the re- 



THECHAINBEARER. 9 

volution. Miss Wallace was quite at ease in her circum 
stances, but she lived altogether at Lilacsbush, never having 
any other home, unless it might be at our house in town. 

We were very proud of the brigadier, both on account of 
his rank and on account of his services. He actually com 
manded in one expedition against the Indians during the 
revolution, a service in which he had some experience, 
having been out on it, on various occasions, previously to 
the great struggle for independence. It was in one of these 
early expeditions of the latter war that he first distinguished 
himself, being then under the orders of a colonel Brom 
Follock, who was the father of major Dirck of the same 
name, and who was almost as great a friend of my grand 
father as the son was of my own parent. This colonel 
Brom loved a carouse, and I have heard it said that, getting 
among the High Dutch on the Mohawk, he kept it up for a 
week, with little or no intermission, under circumstances 
that involved much military negligence. The result was 
that a party of Canada Indians made an inroad on his com 
mand, and the old colonel, who was as bold as a lion, and 
as drunk as a lord, though why lords are supposed to be 
particularly inclined to drink I never could tell, was both 
shot down and scalped early one morning as he was re 
turning from an adjacent tavern to his quarters in the 
" garrison," where he was stationed. My grandfather nobly 
revenged his death, scattering to the four winds the invading 
party, and receiving the mutilated body of his friend, though 
the scalp was irretrievably lost. 

General Littlepage did not survive the war, though it was 
not his good fortune to die on the field, thus identifying his 
name with the history of his country. It happens in all 
wars, and most especially did it often occur in our own 
great national struggle, that more soldiers lay down their 
lives in the hospitals than on the field of battle, though the 
shedding of blood seems an indispensable requisite to glory 
of this nature ; an ungrateful posterity taking little heed of 
the thousands who pass into another state of being, the 
victims of exposure and camp diseases, to sound the praises 
of the hundreds who are slain amid the din of battle. Yet, 
it may be questioned if it do not req uire more true courage 
to face death, when he approaches in the invisible form oi 



10 THECHAINBEAHER. 

disease, than to meet him when openly arrayed under tho 
armed hand. My grandfather s conduct in remaining in 
camp, among hundreds of those who had the smallpox, the 
loathsome malady of which he died, was occasionally alluded 
to, it is true, but never in the manner the death of an officer 
of his rank would have been mentioned, had he fallen in 
battle. I could see that major Pollock had an honourable 
pride in the fate of his father, who was slain and scalped by 
the enemy in returning from a drunken carouse, while my 
worthy parent ever referred to the death of the brigadier as 
an event to be deplored, rather than exulted in. For my 
own part, I think my grandfather s end was much the most 
creditable of the two ; but, as such, it will never be viewed 
by the historian, or the country. As for historians, it re 
quires a man to be singularly honest lo write against a 
prejudice ; and it is so much easier to celebrate a deed as it 
is imagined than as it actually occurred, that I question if 
we know the truth of a tenth part of the exploits about which 
we vapour, and in which we fancy we glory. Well ! we 
are taught to believe that the time wilt come when all things 
are to be seen in their true colours, and when men and deeds 
will be known as they actually were, rather than as they 
have been recorded in the pages of history. 

I was too young myself to take much part in the war of 
the revolution, though accident made me an eye-witness of 
some of its most important events, and that at the tender 
age of fifteen. At twelve the American intellect ever was 
and continues to be singularly precocious I was sent to 
Nassau Hall, Princeton, to be educated, and I remained there 
until I finally got a degree, though it was not without se 
veral long and rude interruptions of my studies. Although 
so early sent to college, I did not actually graduate until I 
was nineteen, the troubled times requiring nearly twice as 
long a servitude to make a Bachelor of Arts of me as would 
have been necessary in the more halcyon days of peace. 
Thus I made a fragment of a campaign when only a sopho 
more, and another the first year I was junior. I say the 
first year, because I was obliged to pass two years in each 
of the two higher classes of the institution, in order to make 
up for lost time. A youth cannot very well be campaigning 
and studying Euclid in the academic bowers, at the same 



THE CHAINBEARER. 11 

moment. Then I was so young, that a year, more or less, 
was of no great moment. 

My principal service in the war of the revolution was in 
1777, or in the campaign in which Burgoyne was met and 
captured. That important service was performed by a force 
that was composed partly of regular troops, and partly of 
militia. My grandfather commanded a brigade of the last, 
or what was called a brigade, some six hundred men at 
most ; while my father led a regular battalion of one hun 
dred and sixty troops of the New York line, into the Ger 
man intrenchments, the memorable and bloody day the last 
were stormed. How many he brought out I never heard 
him say. The way in which I happened to be present in 
these important scenes, is soon told. 

Lilacsbush being on the Island of Manhattan, (not Man 
hattan Island, be it always remembered), and our family 
being whig, we were driven from both our town and country 
houses, the moment Sir William Howe took possession of 
New York. At first, my mother was content with going 
merely to Satanstoe, which was only a short distance from 
the enemy s lines ; but the political character of the Little- 
pages being too well established to render this a safe resi 
dence, my grandmother and mother, always accompanied 
by Miss Wallace, went up above the Highlands, where they 
established themselves in the village of Fishkill, for the 
remainder of the war, on a farm that belonged to Miss 
Wallace, in fee. Here it was thought they were safe, being 
seventy miles from the capital, and quite within the Ameri 
can lines. As this removal took place at the close of the 
year 1776, and after independence had been declared, it 
was understood that our return to our proper homes at all 
depended on the result of the war. At that time I was a 
sophomore, and at home in the long vacation. It was in 
this visit that I made my fragment of a campaign, accom 
panying my father through all the closing movements of his 
regiment, while Washington and Howe were manceuvring 
in Westchester. My father s battalion happening to be 
posted in such a manner as to be in the centre of battle at 
White Plains, I had an opportunity of seeing some pretty 
serious service on that occasion. Nor did I quit the army, 
and return to my sf .dies until after the brilliant affairs &t 



THE CHAINBEARER. 

Trenton and Princeton, in both of which our regiment par 
ticipated 

This was a pretty early commencement with the things 
of active life, for a boy of fourteen. But, in that war, lads 
of my age* often carried muskets, for the colonies covered a 
great extent of country, and had but few people. They who 
read of the war of the American revolution, and view its 
campaigns and battles as they would regard the conflicts of 
older and more advanced nations, can form no just notions 
of the disadvantages with which our people had to contend, 
or the great superiority of the enemy in all the usual ele 
ments of military force. Without experienced officers, with 
but few and indifferent arms, often in want of ammunition, 
the rural and otherwise peaceful population of a thinly peo 
pled country were brought in conflict with the chosen war 
riors of Europe ; and this, too, with little or none of that 
great sinew of war, money, to sustain them. Nevertheless, 
the Americans, unaided by any foreign skill, or succour, 
were about as often successful as the reverse. Bunker Hill, 
Bennington, Saratoga, Bhemis Heights, Trenton, Princeton, 
Monmouth, were all purely American battles ; to say no 
thing of divers others that occurred further south; and, 
though insignificant as to numbers, compared with the con 
flicts of these later times, each is worthy of a place in his 
tory, and one or two are almost without parallels ; as is 
seen when Bunker Hill be named. It sounds very well in a 
despatch, to swell out the list of an enemy s ranks ; but, 
admitting the number itself not to be overrated, as so often 
occurred, of what avail are men without arms or ammuni 
tion, and frequently without any other military organization 
than a muster-roll ! 

I have said I made nearly the whole of the campaign in 
which Burgoyne was taken. It happened in this wise. The 
service of the previous year had a good deal indisposed me 
to study, and when again at home, in the autumn vacation, 
my dear mother sent me with clothing and supplies to my 
lather, who was with the army at the north. I reached the 
head-quarters of general Gates a week before the affair of 
Bhemis Heights, and was with my father until the capitula 
tion was completed. Owing to these circumstances, though 
still a boy m years, I was an eye-witness, and in some mea- 



THE CHAINBEARER. 13 

gire, an actor in two or three of the most important events 
of the whole war. Being well-grown for my years, and of 
a somewhat manly appearance considering how young I 
really was, I passed very well as a volunteer, being, I have 
reason to think, somewhat of a favourite in the regiment. 
In the last battle, I had the honour to act as a sort of aide- 
de-camp to my grandfather, who sent me with orders and 
messages, two or three times, into the midst of the fire. In 
this manner I made myself a little known, and all so much 
the more, from the circumstance of my being in fact nothing 
but a college lad, away from his alma mater, during vaca 
tion. 

It was but natural that a boy thus situated should attract 
some little attention, and I was noticed by officers, who, 
under other circumstances, would hardly have felt it neces 
sary to go out of their way to speak to me. The Littlepages 
had stood well, I have reason to think, in the colony, and 
their position in the new state was not likely to be at all 
lowered by the part they were now playing in the revolu 
tion. I am far from certain that general Littlepage was 
considered a corner post in the Temple of Freedom that the 
army was endeavouring to rear, but he was quite respects^ 
ble as a militia officer, while my father was very generally 
admitted to be one of the best lieutenants-colonel in the 
whole army. 

I well remember to have been much struck with a captain 
in my father s regiment, who certainly was a character, in 
his way. His origin was Dutch, as was the case with a fair 
proportion of the officers ; and he bore the name of Andries 
Coejemans, though he was universally known by the so 
briquet of the " Chainbearer." It was fortunate for him it 
was so, else would the Yankees in the camp, who seem to 
have a mania to pronounce every word as it is spelled, and 
having succeeded in this, to change the spelling of the whole 
language to accommodate it to certain sounds of their own 
inventing, would have given him a most unpronounceable 
appellation. Hnven only knows what they would have 
called captain Coejemans, but for this lucky nick-name; but 
it may be as well to let the uninitiated understand at once, 
that, in New York parlance, Coejemans is called Queemans. 
The Chainbearer was of a respectable Dutch family, one 
2 



14 THE CHAINBEARER. 

that has even given its queer-looking name to a place of 
some little note on the Hudson ; but, as was very apt to be 
the case with the cadets of such houses, in the good old 
time of the colony, his education was no great matter. His 
means had once been respectable, but, as he always main- 
tained, he was cheated out of his substance by a Yankee 
before he was three-and-twenty, and he had had recourse to 
surveying for a living from that time. But Andries had no- 
head for mathematics, and, after making one or two notable 
blunders in the way of his new profession, he quietly sunk 
to the station of a Chainbearer, in which capacity he was 
known to all the leading men of his craft in the colony. It 
is said that every man is suited to some pursuit or other, in 
which he might acquire credit, would he only enter on it 
and persevere. Thus it proved to be with Andries Coeje- 
mans. As a Chainbearer he had an unrivalled reputation. 
Humble as was the occupation, it admitted of excellence in 
various particulars, as well as another. In the first place, 
it required honesty, a quality in which this class of men 
can fail, as well as all the rest of mankind. Neither colony 
nor patentee, landlord nor tenant, buyer nor seller, need be 
u%easy about being fairly dealt by, so long as Andries 
Coejemans held the forward end of the chain ; a duty on 
which he was invariably placed, by one party or the other. 
Then, a practical eye was a great aid to positive measure 
ment ; and, while Andries never swerved to the right or to 
the left of his course, having acquired a sort of instinct in 
his calling, much time and labour were saved. In addition 
to these advantages, the " Chainbearer" had acquired great 
skill in all the subordinate matters of his calling. He was 
a capital woodsman, generally ; had become a good hunter, 
and had acquired most of the habits that pursuits like those 
in which he was engaged, for so many years previously to 
entering the army, would be likely to give a man. In the 
course of time, he took patents to survey, employing men 
with heads better than his own to act as principals, while 
he still carried the chain. 

At the commencement of the revolution, Andries, like 
most of those who sympathized with the colonies, took up 
arms. When the regiment of which my father was the 
lieutenant-colonel was raised, they who could bring to its 



THECHAINBEARER. 15 

colours so many men received commissions of a rank pro 
portioned to their services in this respect. Andries had 
presented himself early with a considerable squad of chain- 
bearers, hunters, trappers, runners, guides, &c., numbering 
in the whole something like five-and-twenty hardy, resolute 
sharpshooters. Their leader was made a lieutenant in con 
sequence, and being the oldest of his rank in the corps, he 
was shortly after promoted to a captaincy, the station he 
was in when I made his acquaintance, and above which he 
never rose. 

Revolutions, more especially such as are of a popular 
character, are not remarkable for bringing forward those 
who are highly educated, or otherwise fitted for their new 
stations, unless it may be on the score of zeal. It is true, 
service generally classes men, bringing out their qualities, 
and necessity soon compels the preferment of those who are 
the best qualified. Our own great national struggle, how 
ever, probably did less of this than any similar event of 
modern times, a respectable mediocrity having accordingly 
obtained an elevation that, as a rule, it was enabled to keep 
to the close of the war. It is a singular fact that not a 
solitary instance is to be found in our military annals -of a 
young soldier s rising to high command, by the force of his 
talents, in all that struggle. This may have been, and in a 
measure probably was owing to the opinions of the people, 
and to the circumstance that the service itself was one that 
demanded greater prudence and circumspection, than quali 
ties of a more dazzling nature ; or the qualifications of age 
and experience, rather than those of youth and enterprise. 
It is probable Andries Coejemans, on the score of original 
station, was rather above than below the level of the social 
positions of a majority of the subalterns of the different lines 
of the more northern colonies, when he first joined the army. 
It is true, his education was not equal to his birth ; for, in 
that day, except in isolated instances and particular families, 
the Dutch of New York, even in cases in which money was 
not wanting, were anything but scholars. In this particular, 
our neighbours the Yankees had greatly the advantage of 
us. They sent everybody to school, and, though their 
educations were principally those of smatterers, it is an ad 
vantage to be even a smatterei amonp the very ignorant. 



16 THECHAINBEARER. 

Andries had been no student either, and one may easily 
imagine what indifferent cultivation will effect on a naturally 
thin soil. He could read and write, it is true, but it was 
the cyphering under which he broke down, as a surveyor. 
I have often heard him say, that " if land could be measured 
without figures, he would turn his back on no man in the 
calling in all America, unless it might be His Excellency, 
who, he made no doubt, was not only the best, but the ho- 
nestest surveyor mankind had ever enjoyed." 

The circumstance that Washington had practised the art 
of a surveyor for a short time in his early youth, was a 
gource of great exultation with Andries Coejemans. He 
felt that it was an honour to be even a subordinate in a pur 
suit in which such a man was a principal. I remember,, 
that long after we were at Saratoga together, captain Coeje 
mans, while we were before Yorktown, pointed to the com- 
rnander-in-chief one day,, as the latter rode past our encamp 
ment, and cried out, with emphasis " T ere, Mortaunt, 
my poy t ere goes His Excellency ! It woult be t e hap 
piest tay of my life, coult I only carry chain while he 
survey t a pit of a farm, in this neighbourpoot." 

Andries was more or less Dutch in his dialect, as he was 
more or less interested. In general, he spoke English pretty 
well colony English I mean, not that of the schools; though 
he had not a single Yankeeism in his vocabulary. On this 
last point, he prided himself greatly, feeling an honest pride, 
if he did occasionally use vulgarisms, a vicious pronuncia 
tion, or make a mistake in the meaning of a word, a sin he 
was a little apt to commit ; and that his faults were all ho 
nest New York mistakes, and no " New Englant gipperish." 
In the course of the various visits I paid to the camp, An 
dries and myself became quite intimate, his peculiarities 
seizing my fancy ; and, doubtless, my obvious admiration- 
awakening his gratitude. In the course of our many con 
versations, he gave me his whole history, commencing with 
the emigration of the Coejemans from Holland, and ending 
with our actual situation, in the camp at Saratoga. Andries 
had been often engaged, and, before the war terminated, I 
could boast of having been at his side in no less than six 
affairs myself, viz : White Plains, Trenton, Princeton, Bhe- 
mis Heights Monmouth, and Brandy wine ; for I had stolen* 



THECHAINBEARER. 17 

liway from college to be present at the last affair. The 
circumstance that our regiment was both with Washington 
and Gates was owing to the noble qualities of the former, 
who sent off some of his best troops to reinforce his rival, 
as things gathered to a head at the north. Then I was pre 
sent throughout, at the siege of Yorktown. But, it is not 
rny intention to enlarge on my own military services. 

While at Saratoga, I was much struck with the air, posi 
tion and deportment of a gentleman who appeared to com 
mand the respect, and to obtain the ears of all the leaders 
in the American camp, while he held no apparent official 
station. He wore no uniform, though he was addressed by 
the title of general, and had much more of the character of 
a real soldier than Gates, who commanded. He must have 
been between forty and fifty at that time, and in the full 
enjoyment of the vigour of his mind and body. This was 
Philip Schuyler, so justly celebrated in our annals for his 
wisdom, patriotism, integrity, and public services. His con 
nection with the great northern campaign is too well known 
to require any explanations here. Its success, perhaps, was 
more owing to his advice and preparations than to the in 
fluence of any one other mind, and he is beginning already 
to take a place in history, in connection with these great 
events, that has a singular resemblance to that he occupied 
during their actual occurrence : in other words, he is to be 
seen in the back-ground of the great national picture, unob 
trusive and modest, but directing and controlling all, by the 
power of his intellect, and the influence of his experience 
and character. Gates* was but a secondary personage, in 
the real events of that memorable period. Schuyler was the 
presiding spirit, though forced by popular prejudice to retire 
from the apparent command of the army. Our written ac 
counts ascribe the difficulty that worked this injustice to 
Schuyler, to a prejudice which existed among the eastern 
militia, and which is supposed to have had its origin in the 
disasters of St. Clair; or the reverses which attended the 
earlier movements of the campaign. My father, who had 

* It may not be amiss to remark, in passing, that Horace Walpole, 
in one of his recently published letters, speaks of a Horatio Gates a.9 
his godson. Walpole was born in 1718, and Gates in 1728. 



18 THE CHAIN BEARER. 

known general Schuyler in the war of 56, when he acted 
as Bradstreet s right-hand man-, attributed the feeling to a 
different cause. According to his notion of the alienation, 
it was owing to the difference in habits and opinions which 
existed between Schuyler, as a New York gentleman, and 
the yeomen of New England, who came out in 1777, im 
bued with all the distinctive notions of their very peculiar 
state of society. There may have been prejudices on both 
sides, but it is easy to see which party exhibited most mag 
nanimity and self-sacrifice. Possibly, the last was insepara 
ble from the preponderance of numbers, it not being an easy 
thing to persuade masses of men that they can be wrong, 
and a single individual right. This is the great error of 
democracy, which fancies truth is to be proved by counting 
noses ; while aristocracy commits the antagonist blunder of 
believing that excellence is inherited, from male to male, 
and that too in the order of primogeniture! It is not easy 
to say where one is to look for truth, in this life. 

As for general Schuyler, I have thought my father was 
right in ascribing his unpopularity solely to the prejudices 
of provinces. The Muse of History is the most ambitious 
of the whole sisterhood, and never thinks she has done her 
duty unless all she says and records is said and recorded 
with an air of profound philosophy ; whereas, more than 
half of the greatest events which affect human interest, are 
to be referred to causes that have little connection with our 
boasted intelligence, in any shape. Men feel far more than 
they reason, and a little feeling is very apt to upset a great 
deal of philosophy. 

It has been said that I passed six years at Princeton ; 
nominally, if not in fact ; and that I graduated at nineteen. 
This happened the year Cornwallis surrendered, and I ac 
tually served at the siege as the youngest ensign in my 
father s battalion. I had also the happiness, for such it was 
to me, to be attached to the company of captain Coejemans, 
a circumstance which clenched the friendship I had formed 
for that singular old man. I say old, for by this time Andries 
was every hour of sixty-seven, though as hale, and hearty, 
and active, as any officer in the corps. As for hardships, 
fcrty years of training, most of which had been passed in 



THECHAINBEARER. 19 

the woods, placed him quite at our head, in the way of en 
durance. 

I loved my predecessors, grandfather and grandmother 
included, not only as a matter of course, but with sincere 
filial attachment ; and I loved Miss Mary Wallace, or aunt 
Mary, as I had been taught to call her, quite as much on 
account of her quiet, gentle, affectionate manner, as from 
habit ; and I loved major Dirck Pollock as a sort ot heredi 
tary friend, as a distant relative, and a good and caieful 
guardian of my own youth and inexperience on a thousand 
occasions ; and I loved my father s negro man, Jaap, a we 
all love faithful slaves, however unnurtured they may be; 
but Andries was the man whom I loved without knowing 
why. He was illiterate almost to greatness, having the 
drollest notions imaginable of this earth and all it contained; 
was anything but refined in deportment, though hearty and 
frank ; had prejudices so crammed into his moral system 
that there did not seem to be room for anything else ; and 
was ever so little addicted, moreover, to that species of 
Dutch jollification, which had cost old colonel Van Valken- 
burgh his life, and a love for which was a good deal spread 
throughout the colony. Nevertheless, I really loved this 
man, and when we were all disbanded at the peace, or in 
1783, by which time I had myself risen to the rank of cap 
tain, I actually parted from old Andries with tears in my 
eyes. My grandfather, general Littlepage, was then dead, 
but government giving to most of us a step, by means of 
brevet rank, at the final breaking up of the army, my father, 
who had been the full colonel of the regiment for the last 
year, bore the title of brigadier for the remainder of his 
days. It was pretty much all he got for seven years of 
dangers" and arduous services. But the country was poor, 
and we had fought more for principles than for the hope of 
rewards. It must be admitted that America ought to be full 
of philosophy, inasmuch as so much of her system of re 
wards, and even of punishments, is purely theoretical, and 
addressed to the imagination, or to the qualities of the mind. 
Thus it is, that we contend with all our enemies on very 
unequal grounds. The Englishman has his knighthood, 
his baronetcies, his peerages, his orders, his higher ranks 
in the professions, his batons, and all the other venial in- 



20 THE CH AINBE ARER. 

ducements of our corrupt nature to make him fight, while 
the American is. goaded on to glory by the abstract consi 
derations of virtue and patriotism. After ail, we flog quite 
as often as we are flogged, which is the main interest affect 
ed. While on this subject I will remark that Andries Coeje- 
mans never assumed the empty title of major, which was 
so graciously bestowed on him by the congress of 1783, 
but left the army a captain in name, without half-pay, or 
anything but his" military lot, to find a niece whom he was 
bringing up, and to pursue his old business of a " Chain- 
bearer." 



CHAPTER II. 

" A trusty villain, sir ; that very oft, 
When I am dull with care and melancholy, 
Lightens my humours with his many jests." 

Domino of Syracuse. 

IT will be seen that, while I got a degree, and what is 
called an education, the latter was obtained by studies of a 
very desultory character. There is no question that learn 
ing of all sorts fell off sadly among us during the revolution 
and the twenty years that succeeded it. While colonies, we 
possessed many excellent instructors who came from Eu 
rope ; but the supply ceased, in a great measure, as soon 
as the troubles commenced ; nor was it immediately renew 
ed at the peace. I think it will be admitted that the gentle 
men of the country began to be less well educated about 
the time I was sent to college, than had been the case for 
the previous half century, and that the defect has not yet 
been repaired. What the country may do in the first half 
of the nineteenth century remains to be seen.* 

* The reader will recollect that Mr. Mordaunt Littlepage must 
have written his account of himself and his times, about the close 
of the last, or the beginning of this century. Since that time, educa 
tion has certainly advanced among us ; sophomores pursuing branches 
of learning to-day, that were sealed from seniors a few years since. 
Learning, however, advances in this country, on the great American 
principle of imparting a little to a great many, instead of teaching a 
great deal to a few. EDITOR. 



THECHAINBEARER. 21 

My connection with the army aided materially in wean 
ing me from home, though few youths had as many tempta 
tions to return to the paternal roof as myself. There were 
my beloved mother and my grandmother, in the first place, 
both of whom doted on me as on an only son. Then aunt 
Mary almost equally shared in my affections. But, I had 
two sisters, one of whom was older, and the other younger 
than myself. The eldest, who was called Anneke, after our 
dear mother, was even six years my senior, and was married 
early in the war to a gentleman of the name of Kettletas. 
Mr. Kettletas was a person of very good estate, and made 
my sister perfectly happy. They had several children, and 
resided in Dutchess, which was an additional reason for my 
mother s choosing that county for her temporary residence. 
I regarded Anneke, or Mrs. Kettletas, much as all youths 
regard an elder sister, who is affectionate, feminine and re 
spectable ; but little Katrinke, or Kate, was my pet. She, 
again, was four years younger than myself; and as I was 
just two-and-twenty when the army was disbanded, she of 
course was only eighteen. This dear sister was a little, 
jumping, laughing, never-quiet, merry thing, when I had 
taken my leave of her, in 1781, to join the regiment as an 
ensign, as handsome and sweet as a rose-bud, and quite as 
full of promise. I remember that old Andries and I used 
to pass much of our time in camp, in conversing about our 
several pets ; he of his niece, and I of my younger sister. 
Of course, I never intended to marry, but Kate and I were 
to live together ; she as my housekeeper and companion, 
and I as her elder brother and protector. The one great 
good of life with us all was peace, with independence ; which 
obtained, no one, in our regiment at least, was so little of a 
patriot as to doubt of the future. It was laughable to see 
with how much gusto and simplicity the old Chainbearer 
entered into all these boyish schemes. His niece was an 
orphan, it would seem, the only child of an only but a half- 
sister, and was absolutely dependent on him for the bread 
she put into her mouth. It j^ true that this niece fared 
somewhat better than such a support would seem to pro 
mise, having been much cared for by a female friend of her 
mother s, who, being reduced herself, kept a school, and 
had thus bestowed on her ward a far better education than 



22 THE CHAIN BEAKER. 

she could ever have got under her uncle s supervision, had 
the last possessed the riches of the Van Rensselears, or of 
the Van Cortlandts. As has been substantially stated, old 
Andries forte did not lie in education, and they who do not 
enjoy the blessings of such a character, seldom duly appre 
ciate their advantages. It is with the acquisitions of the 
mind, as with those of mere deportment and the tastes ; we 
are apt to undervalue them all, until made familiarly ac 
quainted with their power to elevate and to enlarge. But 
the niece of Andries had been particularly fortunate in 
falling into the hands she had ; Mrs. Stratton having the 
means and the inclination to do all for her, in the way of 
instruction, that was then done for any young woman in 
New York, as long as she lived. The death of this kind 
friend occurring, however, in 1783, Andries was obliged to 
resume the care of his niece, who was now thrown entirely 
on himself for support. It is true, the girl wished to do 
something for herself, but this neither the pride nor the 
affection of the old Chainbearer would listen to. 

" What can the gal do?" Andries said to me significantly, 
one day that he was recounting all these particulars. " She 
can t carry chain, though I do believe, Morty, the chilt 
has head enough, and figures enough to survey ! It would 
do your heart good to read the account of her 1 arnin t at 
t e olt woman used to send me ; though she wrote so ex 
cellent a hant herself, t at it commonly took me a week to 
read one of her letters ; that is, from Respected Friend to 
Humble Sarvent, as you know them ere t ings go." 

"Excellent hand! Why, I should think, Andries, the 
better the hand, the easier one could read a letter." 

" All a mistake. When a man writes a scrawl himself, 
it s nat ral he shoult read scrawls easiest, in his own case. 
Now, Mrs. Stratton was home-taught, and would be likely 
to get into ways t at a plain man might find difficult to get 
along wit ." 

" Do you think, then, of making a surveyor of your 
niece ?" I asked, a little pointedly. 

" Why, she is hartly*trong enough to travel t rough 
the wools, and the call in is not suitaple to her sex, t ough 
I woult risk her against t e oldest calculator in t e pro- 



THECHAINBEARER. 23 

" We call New York a State, now, captain Andries, you 
will be so good as to remember." 

" Ay, t at s true, and I peg the State s parton. Well, 
t ere 11 be scrampling enough for t e land, as soon as the 
war is fairly over, and chainbearing will be a sarviceable 
callin , once more. Do you know, Morty, they talk of 
gifin all of our line a quantity of land, privates and officers, 
which will make me a lantholter again, the very character 
in which I started in life. You will inherit acres enough, 
and may not care so much apout owning a few hundret, 
more or less, but I own the idee is agreeaple enough to 
me." 

"Do you propose to commence anew, as a husband 
man ?" 

" Not I ; the pusiness never agreet wit me, or I wit it. 
Put a man may survey his own lot, I suppose, and no offence 
to greater scholars. If I get t e grant t ey speak of, I shall 
set to work and run it out, on my own account, and t en 
we shall see who understants figures, and who don t ! If 
other people won t trust me, it is no reason I shoult not 
trust myself." 

I knew that his having broken down in the more intellec 
tual part of his calling was a sore point with old Andries, 
and I avoided dwelling on this part of the subject. In order 
to divert his mind to other objects, indeed, I began to ques 
tion him a little more closely than I had ever done before, 
on the subject of his niece, in consequence of which expe 
dient I now learned many things that were new to me. 

The name of the Chainbearer s niece was Duss Malbone, 
or so he always pronounced it. In the end, I discovered 
that Duss was a sort of Dutch diminutive for Ursula. Ursula 
Malbone had none of the Coejemans blood in her, notwith 
standing she was Andries sister s daughter. It seemed that 
old Mrs. Coejemans was twice married, her second husband 
being the father of Duss mother. Bob Malbone, as the 
Chainbearer always called the girl s father, was an eastern 
man, of very good family, but was a reckless spendthrift, 
who married Duss the senior, as well as I could learn, for 
her property ; all of which, as well as that he had inherited 
himself, was cleverly gotten rid of within the first ten years 
of their union, and a year or two after the girl was born> 



24 THE CHAINBEARER. 

Both father and mother died within a few months of each 
other, and in a very happy moment as regarded worldly 
means, leaving poor little JDuss with no one to care for her 
but her half-uncle, who was then living in the forest, in his 
regular pursuits, and the Mrs. Stratton I have mentioned. 
There was a half-brother, Bob .Malbone having married 
twice, but he was in the army, and had some near female 
relation to support out of his pay. Between the Chainbearer 
and Mrs. Stratton, with an occasional offering from the bro 
ther, the means of clothing, nourishing and educating the 
young woman had been found, until she reached her eigh 
teenth year, when the death of her female protector threw 
her nearly altogether on the care of her uncle. The brother 
now did his share, Andries admitted ; but it was not much 
that he could do. A captain himself, his scanty pay barely 
sufficed to meet his own wants. 

I could easily see that old Andries loved Duss better than 
anything else, or any other person. When he was a little 
mellow, and that was usually the extent of his debaucheries, 
he would prate about her to me, until the tears came into 
his eyes, and once he actually proposed that I should marry 
her. 

" You woult just suit each other," the old man added, in 
a very quaint, but earnest manner, on that memorable oc 
casion ; " and as for property, I know you care little for 
money, and will have enough for half-a-tozen. I swear to 
you, captain Littlepage," for this dialogue took place only 
a few months before we were disbanded, and after I had 
obtained a company, " I swear to you, captain Littlepage, 
t e girl is laughing from morning till night, and would make 
one of the merriest companions, for an olt soltier that ever 
promiset to honour and opey. Try her once, lad, and see 
if I teceive you." 

" That may do well enough, friend Andries, for an old 
soldier, whereas you will remember I am but a boy in 
years " 

" Ay, in years ; but olt as a soltier, Morty olt as White 
Plains, or 76; as I know from hafin seen you unter 
fire." 

" Well, be it se ; but it is the man, and not the soldier, 



THE CHAINBEARER. 25 

who is to do the marrying, and I am still a very young 
man." 

" You might do worse, take my word for it, Mcxtaunt, 
my dear poy ; for Duss is fun itself, and I have often spoken 
of you to her, in a way t at will make the courtship as easy 
as carrying a chain, on t Jarmen Flatts." 

I assured my friend Andries that I did not think of a wife 
yet, and that my taste ran for a sentimental and melancholy 
young woman, rather than for a laughing girl. The old 
Chainbearer took this repulse good-humouredly, though he 
renewed the attack at least a dozen times, before the regi 
ment was disbanded, and we finally separated. I say finally 
separated, though it was in reference to our companionship 
as soldiers, rather than to our future lives ; for I had deter 
mined to give Andries employment myself, should nothing 
better offer in his behalf. 

Nor was I altogether without the means of thus serving a 
friend, when the inclination existed. My grandfather, Her 
man Mordaunt, had left me, to come into possession on 
reaching the age of twenty-one, a considerable estate, in 
what is now Washington county, a portion of our territory 
that lies north-east from Albany, and at no great distance 
from the Hampshire Grants. This property, of many thou 
sands of acres in extent, had been partially settled, under 
leases, by himself, previously to my birth, and those leases 
having mostly expired, the tenants were remaining at will, 
waiting for more quiet times to renew their engagements. 
As yet, Ravensnest, for so the estate was called, had given 
the family little besides expense and trouble ; but the land 
being good, and the improvements considerable, it was time 
to look for some returns for all our outlays. This estate 
was now mine in fee, my father having formally relinquish 
ed its possession in my favour the day I attained my majo 
rity. Adjacent to this estate lay that of Mooseridge, which 
was the joint property of my father and of his friend major, 
or as he was styled in virtue of the brevet rank granted at 
the peace, colonel Pollock. Mooseridge had been originally 
patented by my grandfather, the first general Littlepage, 
and old colonel Pollock, he who had been slain and scalped 
early in the war ; but, on the descent of his moiety of the 
tenantry in common to Dirck Pollock, my grandfather con- 



26 THE CHAIN BEARER. 

veyed his interest to his own son, who, ere long, must be- 
come its owner, agreeably to the laws of nature. This 
property had once been surveyed into large lots, but owing 
to some adverse circumstances, and the approach of the 
troubles, it had never been settled, or surveyed into farms. 
All that its owners ever got for it, therefore, was the privi 
lege of paying the crown its quit-rents ; taxes, or reserved 
payments of no great amount, it is true, though far more 
than the estate had ever yet returned. 

While on the subject of lands and tenements, I may as 
well finish my opening explanations. My paternal grandfather 
was by no means as rich as my father, though the senior, 
and of so much higher military rank. His property, or 
neck, of Satanstoe, nevertheless, was quite valuable ; more 
for the quality of the land and its position, than for its -ex 
tent. In addition to this, he had a few thousand pounds at 
interest; stocks, banks, and monied corporations of all 
kinds, being then nearly unknown among us. His means 
were sufficient for his wants, however, and it was a joyful 
day when he found himself enabled to take possession of 
his own house again, in consequence of Sir Guy Carleton s 
calling in all of his detachments from VVestchester. The 
Morrises, distinguished whigs as they were, did not get back 
to Morrisania until after the evacuation, which took place 
November 25, 1783 ; nor did my father return to Lilacs- 
bush until after that important event. The very year my 
grandfather saw Satanstoe, he took the smallpox in camp, 
and died. 

To own the truth, the place found us all very poor, as 
was the case with almost everybody in the country but a 
few contractors. It was not the contractors for the Ameri 
can army that were rich ; they fared worse than most peo 
ple ; but the few who furnished supplies to the French did 
get silver in return for their advances. As for the army, it 
was disbanded without any reward but promises, and pay 
ment in a currency that depreciated so rapidly that men 
were glad to spend recklessly their hard-earned stock lest 
it should become perfectly valueless in their hands. I have 
heard much, in later years, of the celebrated Newburgh 
Letters, and of the want of patriotism that could lead to 
their having been written. It may not have been wise, con- 



THE CHAINBEARER. 27 

sidering the absolute want of the country, to have contem 
plated the alternative towards which those letters certainly 
cast an oblique glance, but there was nothing in either their 
execution, or their drift, which was not perfectly natural for 
ihe circumstances. It was quite right for Washington to 
act as he did in that crisis, though it is highly probable that 
even Washington would have felt and acted differently, had 
he nothing but the keen sense of his neglected services, 
poverty and forgetfulness, before him, in the perspective. 
As for the young officer who actually wrote the letters, it is 
probable that justice will never be done to any part of his 
conduct, but that which is connected with the elegance of 
his diction. It is very well for those who do not suffer to 
prate about patriotism ; but a country is bound to be just, 
before it can lay a high moral claim to this exclusive devo- 
tedness to the interests of the majority. Fine words cost 
but little, and I acknowledge no great respect for those who 
manifest their integrity principally in phrases. This is said 
not in the way of personal apology, for our regiment did 
not happen to be at Newburgh, at the disbandment ; if it 
had, I think my father s influence would have kept us from 
joining the malcontents ; but, at the same time, I fancy his 
and my own patriotism would have been much strengthened 
by the knowledge that there were such places as Satanstoe, 
Lilacsbush, Mooseridge and Ravensnest. To return to the 
account of our property. 

My grandfather Mordaunt, notwithstanding his handsome 
bequests to me, left the bulk of his estate to my mother. 
This would have made the rest of the family rich, had it 
not been for the dilapidations produced by the war. But 
the houses and stores in town were without tenants who 
paid, having been mainly occupied by the enemy ; and in 
terest on bonds was hard to collect from those who lived 
within the British lines. 

In a word, it is not easy to impress on the mind of one 
who witnesses the present state of the country, its actual 
condition in that day. As an incident that occurred to my 
self, after I had regularly joined the army for duty, vill 
afford a lively picture of the state of things, I will relate it, 
and this the more willingly, as it will be the means of in 
troducing to the reader an old friend of the family, and ono 
who was intimately associated with divers events of my 



28 THECHAINBEARER. 

own life. I have spoken of Jaaf, a slave of my father s, 
and one of about his own time of life. At the time to which 
I allude, Jaaf was a middle-aged, grey-headed negro, with 
most of the faults, and with all the peculiar virtues of the 
beings of his condition and race. So much reliance had 
my mother, in particular, on his fidelity, that she insisted 
on his accompanying her husband to the wars, an order 
that the black most willingly obeyed ; not only because he 
loved adventure, but because he especially hated an Indian, 
and my father s earliest service was against that portion of 
our foes. Although Jaaf acted as a body-servant, he car 
ried a musket, and even drilled with the men. Luckily, the 
Littlepage livery was blue turned up with red, and of a very 
modest character ; a circumstance that almost put Jaaf in 
uniform, the fellow obstinately refusing to wear the colours 
of any power but that of the family to which he regularly 
belonged. In this manner, Jaaf had got to be a queer mix 
ture of the servant and the soldier, sometimes acting in the 
one capacity, and sometimes in the other, having at the 
same time not a little of the husbandman about him ; for 
our slaves did all sorts of work. 

My mother had made it a point that Jaaf should accom 
pany me, on all occasions when I was sent to any distance 
from my father. She naturally enough supposed I had the 
most need of the care of a faithful attendant, and the black 
had consequently got to be about half transferred to me. 
He evidently liked this change, both because it was always 
accompanied by change of scene and the chances for new 
adventures, and because it gave him an opportunity of re 
lating many of the events of his youth ; events that had got 
to be worn threadbare, as narratives, with his "ole masser," 
but which were still fresh with his " young." 

On the occasion to which there is allusion, Jaaf and I 
were returning to camp, from an excursion of some length, 
on which I had been sent by the general of division. This 
was about the time the continental money made its final fall 
to nothing, or next to nothing, it having long stood at about 
a hundred dollars for one. I had provided myself with a 
little silver, and very precious it was, and some thirty or 
forty thousand dollars of " continental," to defray my tra 
velling expenses; but, my silver was expended, and the 
paper reduced to two or three thousand dollars, when it 



THE CHAINBEABER. ^9 

would require the whole stock of the latter to pay for Jaaf a 
and my own dinner ; nor were the innkeepers very willing 
to give their time and food for it at any price. This vacuum 
in my purse took place when I had still two long days ride 
before me, and in a part of the country where I had no ac 
quaintances whatever. Supper and rest were needed for 
ourselves, and provender and stabling for our horses. Every 
thing of the sort was cheap enough to be sure, but absolute 
want of means rendered the smallest charge impracticable 
to persons in our situation. As for appealing to the pa 
triotism of those who lived by the way-side, it was too late 
in the war ; patriotism being a very evanescent quality of 
the human heart, and particularly addicted to sneaking, like 
compassion, behind some convenient cover, when it is to be 
maintained at any pecuniary cost. It will do for a capital, 
in a revolution, or a war for the first six months perhaps ; 
but gets to be as worthless as continental money itself, by 
the end of that period. One militia draft has exhausted the 
patriotism of thousands of as disinterested heroes as ever 
shouldered muskets. 

" Jaap" I asked of my companion, as we drew near to 
the hamlet where I intended to pass the night, and the com 
forts of a warm supper on a sharp frosty evening, began to 
haunt my imagination " Jaap, how much money may you 
have about you ?"* 

" I, Masser Mordaunt ! Golly ! but dat a berry droll 
question, sah !" 

" I ask, because my own stock is reduced to just one 
York shilling, which goes by the name of only a ninepence 
.in this part of the world." 

" Dat berry little, to tell e trut , sah, for two gentleum, 
and two large, hungry bosses. Berry little, indeed, sah ! 
I wish he war more." 

" Yet, I have not a copper more. I gave one thousand 
two hundred dollars for the dinner and baiting and oats, 
at noon." 

" Yes, sah but, dat conternental, sah, I supposes no 
great t ing, a ter all." 

* This man is indiscriminately called Yaf, or Yop York Dutch 
being far from severe. 

3* 



30 THBCHAINBBARER. 

"It s a great thing in sound, Jaap, but not much when 
it comes to the teeth, as you perceive. Nevertheless, we 
must eat and drink, and our nags must eat too I suppose 
they may drink, without paying." 

" Yes, sah dat true nough, yah yah yah" how 
easily that negro laughed ! " But e cider wonnerful good 
in dis part of e country, young masser ; just needer sweet 
nor sour den he strong as e jackass." 

" Well, Jaap, how are we to get any of this good cider, 
of which you speak ?" 

" You t ink, sah, dis part of e country been talk to much 
lately bout Patty Rism and e country, sah ?" 

" I am afraid Patty has been overdone here, as well as in 
most other counties." 

I may observe here, that Jaap always imagined the beau 
tiful creature he had heard so much extolled, and com 
mended for her comeliness and virtue, was a certain young 
woman of this name, with whom all congress was unac 
countably in love at the same time. 

" Well, den, sah, dere no hope, but our wits. Let me be 
masser to-night, and you mind ole Jaap, if he want good 
supper. Jest ride ahead, Masser Mordaunt, and give he 
order like general Littlepage son, and leave it all to ole 
Jaap." 

As there was not much to choose, I did ride on, and soon 
ceased to hear the hoofs of the negro s horse at my heels. 
I reached the inn an hour ere Jaap appeared, and was 
actually seated at a capital supper before he rode up, as one 
belonging only to himself. Jaap had taken off the Little- 
page emblems, and had altogether a most independent air. 
His horse was stabled alongside of mine, and I soon found 
that he himself was at work on the remnants of my supper, 
as they retreated towards the kitchen. 

A traveller of my appearance was accommodated with 
the best parlour, as a matter of course; and, having ap 
peased my appetite, I sat down to read some documents 
that were connected with the duty I was on. No one could 
have imagined that I had only a York shilling, which is a 
Pennsylvania " levy," or a Connecticut " ninepence," in 
my purse ; for my air was that of one who could pay for 
all he wanted the certainty that, in the long run, my host 



THE CHAINBEARER. 31 

could not be a loser, giving me a proper degree of confidence. 
I had just got through with the documents, and was thinking 
how I should employ the hour or two that remained until 
it would be time to go to bed, when I heard Jaap tuning his 
fiddle in the bar-room. Like most negroes, the fellow had 
an ear for music, and had been indulged in his taste, until 
he played as well as half the country fiddlers that were to 
be met. 

The sound of a fiddle in a small hamlet, of a cool October 
evening, was certain of its result. In half an hour, the 
smiling landlady came to invite me to join the company, 
with the grateful information I should not want for a part 
ner, the prettiest girl in the place having come in late, and 
being still unprovided for. On entering the bar-room, I was 
received with plenty of awkward bows and curtsies, but with 
much simple and well-meaning hospitality. Jaap s own 
salutations were very elaborate, and altogether of a charac 
ter to prevent the suspicion of our ever having met before. 

The dancing continued for more than two hours with 
spirit, when the time admonished the village maidens of the 
necessity of retiring. Seeing an indication of the approach 
ing separation, Jaap held out his hat to me, in a respectful 
manner, when I magnificently dropped my shilling into it, 
in a way to attract attention, and passed it round among 
the males of the party. One other gave a shilling, two 
clubbed and actually produced a quarter, several threw in 
sixpences, or fourpence-halfpennies, and coppers made up 
the balance. By way of climax, the landlady, who was 
good-looking and loved dancing, publicly announced that 
the fiddler and his horse should go scot free, until he left 
the place. By these ingenious means of Jaap s, I found in 
my purse next morning seven-and-sixpence in silver, in ad 
dition to my own shilling, besides coppers enough to keep a 
negro in cider for a week. 

I have often laughed over Jaap s management, though I 
would not permit him to repeat it. Passing the house of a 
man of better condition than common, I presented myself to 
its owner, though an entire stranger to him, and told him 
my story. Without asking any other confirmation than my 
word, this gentleman lent me five silver dollars, which an- 



32 THECIIAINBEARER. 

swered all my present purposes, and which, I trust, it ia 
scarcely necessary to say, were duly repaid. 

It was a happy hour to me when I found myself a titular 
major, but virtually a freeman, and at liberty to go where I 
pleased. The war had offered so little of variety or adven 
ture, since the capture of Cornwallis and the pendency of 
the negotiations for peace, that I began to tire of the army ; 
and now that the country had triumphed, was ready enough 
to quit it. The family, that is to say, my grandmother, 
mother, aunt Mary and my youngest sister, took possession 
of Satanstoe in time to enjoy some of its delicious fruits, in 
the autumn of 1782 ; and early in the following season, 
after the treaty was signed, but while the British still re 
mained in town, my mother was enabled to return to Lilacs- 
bush. As consequences of these early movements, my 
father and myself, when we joined the two families, found 
things in a better state than might otherwise have been the 
case. The Neck was planted, and had enjoyed the advan 
tage of a spring s husbandry, while the grounds of Lilacs- 
bush had been renovated and brought in good condition, by 
the matured and practised taste of my admirable mother. 
And she was admirable, in all the relations of life ! A lady 
in feeling and habits, whatever she touched or controlled 
imbibed a portion of her delicacy and sentiment. Even the 
inanimate things around her betrayed this feature of their 
connection with one of her sex s best qualities. I remember 
that colonel Dirck Pollock remarked to me one day that we 
had been examining the offices together, something that was 
very applicable to this trait in my mother s character, while 
it was perfectly just. 

" No one can see Mrs. Littlepage s kitchen, even," he 
said, " alt ough she never seems to enter it, without per 
ceiving," or perceifing, as he pronounced the word, 
ft that it is governed by a lady. There are plenty of kitchens 
that are as clean, and as large, and as well furnished, but it 
is not common to see a kitchen that gives the same ideas 
of a good taste in the table, and about the household." 

If this was true as to the more homely parts of the habi 
tation, how much truer was it when the distinction was 
carried into the superior apartments ! There, one saw my 
mother in person, and surrounded by those appliances which 



THE CHAIN II BARER. 33 

denote refinement, without, however, any of that elaborate 
luxury of which we read in older countries. In America, 
we had much fine china, and a good deal of massive plate, 
regular dinner-services excepted, previously to the revolu 
tion, and my mother had inherited more than was usual of 
both ; but the country knew little of that degree of domestic 
indulgence which is fast creeping in among us, by means 
of its enormously increased commerce. 

Although the fortunes of the country had undergone so 
much waste, during seven years of internal warfare, the 
elasticity of a young and vigorous nation soon began to re 
pair the evil. It is true that trade did not fully revive, nor 
its connecting interests receive their great impulse, until 
after the adoption of the Constitution, which brought the 
States under a set of common custom-house regulations ; 
nevertheless, one year brought about a manifest and most 
beneficent change. There was now some security in making 
shipments, and the country immediately felt the conse 
quences. The year 1784 was a sort of breathing time for 
the nation, though long ere it was past the bone and sinew 
of the republic began to make themselves apparent and felt. 
Then it was that, as a people, this community first learned 
the immense advantage it had obtained by controlling its 
own interests, and by treating them as secondary to those 
of no other part of the world. This was the great gain of 
all our labours. 



CHAPTER III. 

" He tells her something, 

That makes her blood look out ; good sooth, she ia 
The queen of curds and cream." 

; .v Winter s Tale. 

HAPPY, happy Lilacsbush ! Never can I forget the de- 
iight with which I roamed over its heights and glens, and 
how I rioted in the pleasure of feeling I was again a sort 
of master in those scenes which had been the haunts of my 
boyhood! I/ was in the spring of 1784 before I was folded 



34 THECHAINBEARER. 

to the arms of my mother ; and this, too, after a separation 
of near two years. Kate laughed, and wept, and hugged 
me, just as she would have done five years earlier, though 
she was now a lovely young woman, turned of nineteen. 
As for aunt Mary, she shook hands, gave me a kind kiss or 
two, and smiled on me affectionately, in her own quiet, 
gentle manner. The house was in a tumult, for Jaap re 
turned with me, his wool well sprinkled with grey, and there 
were lots of little Satanstoes (for such was his family name, 
notwithstanding Mrs. Jaap called herself Miss Lilacsbush) 
children and grandchildren to welcome him. To say the 
truth, the house was not decently tranquil for the first 
twenty-four hours. 

At *the end of that time, I ordered my horse to ride across 
the country to Satanstoe, in order to visit my widowed 
grandmother, who had resisted all attempts to persuade her 
to give up the cares of housekeeping, and to come and live 
at Lilacsbush. The general, for so everybody now called 
my father, did not accompany me, having been at Satanstoe 
a day or two before ; but my sister did. As the roads had 
been much neglected in the war, we went in the saddle, 
Kate being one of the most spirited horsewomen of my ac 
quaintance. By this time, Jaap had got to be privileged, 
doing just such work as suited his fancy ; or, it might be 
better to say, was not of much use except in the desultory 
employments that had so long been his principal pursuits ; 
and he was sent off an hour or two before we started our 
selves, to let Mrs. Littlepage, or his " ole ole missus," as 
the fellow always called my grandmother, know whom she 
was to expect to dinner. 

I have heard it said that there are portions of the world 
in which people get to be so sophisticated, that the nearest 
of kin cannot take such a liberty as this. The son will not 
presume to take a plate at the table of the father without 
observing the ceremony of asking, or of being asked ! Hea 
ven be praised ! we have not yet reached this pass in Ame 
rica. What parent, or grandparent, to the remotest living 
generation, would receive a descendant with anything but a 
smile, or a welcome, let him come when and how he will. 
If there be not room, or preparation, the deficiencies must 
be made up in welcomes ; or, when absolute impossibilities 



THECHAINBEARER. 35 

interpose, if they are not overcome by means of a quick in 
vention, as most such " impossibilities" are, the truth is 
frankly told, and the pleasure is deferred to a more fortu 
nate moment. It is not my intention to throw a vulgar and 
ignorant jibe into the face of an advanced civilization, as is 
too apt to be the propensity of ignorance and provincial 
habits ; for I well know that most of the usages of those 
highly improved conditions of society are founded in reason, 
and have their justification in a cultivated common sense ; 
but, after all, mother nature has her rights, and they are 
not to be invaded too boldly, without bringing with the acts 
themselves their merited punishments. 

It was just nine, on a fine May morning, when Kate 
Littlepage and myself rode through the outer gate of Lilacs- 
bush, and issued upon the old, well-known, Kingsbridge 
road. Kings-bridge I That name still remains, as do those 
of the counties of Kings and Queens, and Duchess, to say 
nothing of quantities of Princes this and that, in other States ,* 
and I hope they always may remain, as so many landmarks 
in our history. These .names are all that now remain among 
us of the monarchy ; and yet have I heard my father say a 
hundred times, that when a young man, his reverence for 
the British throne was second only to his reverence for the 
church. In how short a time has this feeling been changed 
throughout an entire nation ; or, if not absolutely changed, 
for some still continue to reverence monarchy, how widely 
and irremediably has it been impaired ! Such are the things 
of the world, perishable and temporary in their very na 
tures ; and they would do well to remember the truth, who 
have much at stake in such changes. 

We stopped at the door of the inn at Kingsbridge to say 
good morning to old Mrs. Light, the landlady, who had now 
kept the house half a century, and who had known us, and 
our parents before us, from childhood. This loquacious 
housewife had her good and bad points, but habit had given 
her a sort of claim on our attentions, and I could not pass 
her door without drawing the rein, if it were only for a mo 
ment. This was no sooner done, than the landlady, in 
person, was on her threshold to greet us. 

" Ay, I dreamt this, Mr. Mordaunt," the old woman ex 
claimed, the instint she saw me "I dreamt this, no later 



36 T II EC II MN HEARER. 

than last week ! It is nonsense to deny it ; dreams do often 
come true !" 

" And what has been your dream this time, Mrs. Light ?" 
I asked, well knowing it was to come, and the sooner we 
got it the better. 

" I dreamt the general had come home last fall, and he 
had come home ! Now, the only idee I had to help out 
that dream was a report that he was to be home that day ; 
but you know, Mr. Mordaunt, or major Littlepage they tell 
me I ought now to call you but, you know, Mr. Mordaunt, 
how often reports turn out to be nothing. I count a report 
as no great help to a dream. So last week, I dreamed you 
would certainly be home this week ; and here you are, sure 
enough !" 

" And all without any lying report to help you, my good 
landlady ?" 

Why, no great matter ; a few flying rumours, perhaps ; 
but as I never believe them when awake, it s onreasonable 
to suppose a body would believe em when asleep. Yes, 
Jaaf stopped a minute to water his horse this morning, and 
I foresaw from that moment my dream would come to be 
true, though I never exchanged a word with the nigger." 

" That is a little remarkable, Mrs. Light, as I supposed 
you always exchanged a few words with your guests." 

" Not with the blacks, major ; it is apt to make em sassy. 
Sassiness in a nigger is a thing I can t abide, and therefore 
I keep em all at a distance. Well, the times that I have 
seen, major, since you went off to the wars ! and the changes 
we have had ! Our clergyman don t pray any longer for 
the king and queen no more than if there wasn t sich peo 
ple living !" 

" Not directly, perhaps, but as part of the church of God, 
I trust. We all pray for congress, now." 

" Well, I hope good will come out of it ! I must say, 
major, that His Majesty s officers spent more freely, and 
paid in better money, than the continental gentlemen. I ve 
had em both here, by rijjiments, and that s the character I 
must give em, in honesty." 

" You will remember they were richer, and had more 
money trmn our people. It is easy for the rich to appear 
liberal." 



THECHAINBEARER. 37 

" Yes, I know that, sir, and you ought, and do know it, 
too. The Littlepages are rich, and always have been, and 
they are liberal too. Lord bless your smiling, pretty faces ! 
I knowed your family long afore you knowed it yourselves 
I know d old captain Hugh Roger, your great-grand ther, 
and the old general, your grand ther, and now I know the 
young general, and you ! Well, this will not be the last of 
you, I dares to say, and there 11 be light hearts, and happy 
ones among the Bayards, I 11 answer for it, now the wars 
are over, and young major Littlepage has got back !" 

This terminated the discourse ; for, by this time, I had 
enough of it ; and making my bow, Kate and I rode on. 
Still, I could not but be struck with the last speech of the 
old woman, and most of all with the manner in which it was 
uttered. The name of Bayard was well known among us, 
belonging to a family of which there were several branches 
spread through the Middle States, as far south as Delaware; 
but I did not happen to know a single individual of them all. 
What, then, could my return have to do with the smiles or 
frowns of any of the name of Bayard? It was natural 
enough, after ruminating a minute or two on the subject, 
that I should utter some of my ideas, on such a subject, to 
my companion. 

" What could the old woman mean, Kate," I abruptly 
commenced, " by saying there would now be light hearts 
and happy ones among the Bayards ?" 

" Poor Mrs. Light is a great gossip, Mordaunt, and it 
may be questioned if she know her own meaning half the 
time. All the Bayards we know are the family at the 
Hickories ; and with them, you have doubtless heard, my 
mother has long been intimate." 

" I have heard nothing about it, child. All I know is 
that there is a place called the Hickories, up the river a few 
miles, and that it belongs to some of the Bayards ; but I 
never heard of any intimacy. On the contrary, I remember 
to have heard that there was a lawsuit once, between my 
grandfather Mordaunt and some old Bayard or other ; and 
I thought we were a sort of hereditary strangers." 

" That is quite forgotten, and my mother says it all arose 
from a mistake. We are decided friends now." 
4 



38 THE CHAINBEARER. 

" I m sure I am very glad to hear it ; for, since it is 
peace, let us have peace ; though old enemies are not apt to 
make very decided friends." 

" But we never were that is, my grandfather never was 
an enemy of anybody ; and the whole matter was amicably 
settled just before he went to Europe, on his unfortunate 
visit to Sir Harry Bulstrode. No no my mother will tell 
you, Mordaunt, that the Littlepages and the Bayards now 
regard each other as very decided friends." 

Kate spoke with so much earnestness that I was disposed 
to take a look at her. The face of the girl was flushed, and 
I fancy she had a secret consciousness of the fact ; for she 
turned it from me as if gazing at some object in the opposite 
direction, thereby preventing me from seeing much of it. 

" I am very glad to learn all this," I answered, a little 
drily. " As I am a Littlepage, it would have been awkward 
not to have known it, had I accidentally met with one of 
these Bayards. Does the peace include all of the name, or 
only those of the Hickories ?" 

Kate laughed ; then she was pleased to tell me that I was 
to consider myself the friend of all of the name. 

" And most especially of those of the name who dwell at 
the Hickories ?" 

" How many may there be of this especially peaceful 
breed ? six, a dozen, or twenty ?" 

" Only four ; so your task will make no very heavy de 
mand on your affections. Your heart has room, I trust, for 
four more friends ?" 

" For a thousand, if I can find them, my dear. I can 
accept as many friends as you please, but have places for 
none else. All the other niches are occupied." 

" Occupied ! I hope that is not true, Mordaunt. One 
place, at least, is vacant." 

" True ; I had forgotten a place must be reserved for the 
brother you will, one day, give me. Well, name him, as 
soon as you please ; I shall be ready to love Aim, child." 

" I may never make so heavy a draft on your affections. 
Anneke has given you a brother already, and a very ex- 
cellent one he is, and that ought to satisfy a reasonable 
man." 



THE CHAIN BEARER. 39 

" Ay, so all you young women say between fifteen and 
twenty, but you usually change your mind in the end. The 
sooner you tell me who the youth is, therefore, the sooner I 
shall begin to like him is he one of these Bayards ? un 
chevalier sans peur et sans reproche ?" 

Kate had a brilliant complexion, in common ; but, as 1 
now turned my eyes towards her inquiringly, more in mis 
chief, however, than with the expectation of learning any 
thing new, I saw the roses of her cheeks expand until they 
covered her temples. The little beaver she wore, and which 
became her amazingly, did not suffice to conceal these 
blushes, and I now really began to suspect I had hit on a 
vein that was sensitive. But, my sister was a girl of spirit, 
and, though it was no difficult thing to make her change 
colour, it was by no means easy to look her down. 

" I trust your new brother, Mordaunt, should there ever 
be such a person, will be a respectable man, if not abso 
lutely without reproach," she answered. " But, if there be 
a Tom Bayard, there is also a Pris. Bayard, his sister." 

" So so this is all news to me, indeed ! As to Mr. 
Thomas Bayard, I shall ask no questions, my interest in 
him, if there is to be any, being altogether ex officio, as one 
may say, and coming as a matter of course ; but you will 
excuse me if I am a little curious on the subject of Miss 
Priscilla Bayard, a lady, you will remember, I never saw." 

My eye was on Kate the whole time, and I fancied she 
looked gratified, though she still looked confused. 

" Ask what you will, brother Priscilla Bayard can bear 
a very close examination." 

" In the first place, then, did that old gossip allude to 
Miss Priscilla, by saying there would be light hearts and 
happy ones among the Bayards ?" 

" Nay, I cannot answer for poor Mrs. Light s conceits. 
Put your questions in some other form." 

" Is there much intimacy between the people of the Bush 
and those of the Hickories ?" 

" Great we like them exceedingly ; and I think they 
like us." 

" Does this intimacy extend to the young folk, or is it 
confined to the old ?" 



40 THECHAINBEARER. 

" That is somewhat personal," said Kate, laughing, " as 
I happen to be the only * young folk at the Bush, to main 
tain the said intimacy. As there is nothing to be ashamed 
of, however, but, on the contrary, much of which one may 
be proud, I shall answer that it includes all ages and both 
sexes; everybody but yourself, in a word." 

And you like old Mr. Bayard?" 

" Amazingly." 

" And old Mrs. Bayard ?" 

" She is a very agreeable person, and an excellent wife 
and mother." 

" And you love Pris. Bayard ?" 

" As the apple of mine eye," the girl answered, with em 
phasis. 

" And you like Tom Bayard, her brother ?" 

* As much as is decent and proper for one young woman 
to like the brother of another young woman, whom she ad 
mits that she loves as the apple of her eye." 

Although it was not easy, at least not easy for me, to 
cause Kate Littlepage to hold her tongue, it was not easy 
for her to cause the tell-tale blood always to remain sta 
tionary. She was surprisingly beautiful in her blushes, and 
as much like what I had often fancied my dear mother might 
have been in her best days as possible, at the very moment, 
she was making these replies, as steadily as if they gave her 
no trouble. 

" How is all this, then, connected with rejoicings among 
the people of the Hickories, at my return? Are you the 
betrothed of Tom Bayard, and have you been waiting for 
my return to give him your hand?" 

" I am not the betrothed of Tom Bayard, and have not 
been waiting for your return to give him my hand," an 
swered Kate, steadily. " As for Mrs. Light s gossippings, 
you cannot expect me to explain them. She gets her reports 
from servants, and others of that class, and you know what 
such reports are usually worth. But, as for my waiting for 
your return, brother, in order to announce such an event, 
you little know how much I love you, if you suppose I would 
do any such thing." 

Kate said this with feeling, and I thanked her with my 
eyes, but could not have spoken, and did not speak, until 



THE CHAINBEARER. 41 

we had ridden some distance. After this pause, I renewed 
the discourse with some of its original spirit. 

" On that subject, Katrinke, dear," I said, " I trust we 
understand each other. Single, or married, you will ever 
be very dear to me ; and I own I should be hurt to be one 
of the last to learn your engagement, whenever that may 
happen. And, now for this Pris. Bayard do you expect 
me to like her ?" 

" Do I ! It would be one of the happiest moments of my 
life, Mordaunt, when I could hear you acknowledge that 
you love her !" 

This was uttered with great animation, and in a way to 
show that my sister was very much in earnest. I felt some 
surprise when I put this feeling in connection with the land 
lady s remarks, and began to suspect there might be some 
thing behind the curtain worthy of my knowledge. In order 
to make discoveries, however, it was necessary to pursue the 
discourse. 

" Of what age is Miss Bayard ?" I demanded. 

"She is two months my senior very suitable, is it 
not?" 

" I do not object to the difference, which will do very 
well. Is she accomplished ?" 

" Not very. You know few of us girls who have been 
educated during the revolution, can boast of much in that 
way ; though Priscilla is better than common." 

" Than of her class, you mean, of course 7" 

" Certainly better than most young ladies of our best 
families." 

" Is she amiable ?" 

" As Anneke, herself!" 

This was saying a great deal, our eldest sister, as often 
happens in families, being its paragon in the way of all the 
virtues, and Anneke s temper being really serenity itself. 

" You give her a high character, and one few girls could 
sustain. Is she sensible and well-informed ?" 

" Enough so as often to make me feel ashamed of myself. 
She has an excellent mother, Mordaunt ; and I have heard 
you say, often, that the mother would have great influence 
with you in choosing a wife." 
4* 



42 THECHAINBEARER. 

" That must have been when I was very young, child, 
and before I went to the army, where we look more at the 
young than at the old women. But, why a wife 1 Is it all 
settled between the old people, that I am to propose to this 
Priscilla Bayard, and are you a party to the scheme ?" 

Kate laughed with all her heart, but I fancied she looked 
conscious. 

" You make no answer, young lady, and you must per 
mit me to remind you that there is an express compact be 
tween you and me to treat each other frankly on all occa 
sions. This is one on which I especially desire to see the 
conditions of the treaty rigidly enforced. Does any such 
project exist ?" 

" Not as a project, discussed and planned no certainly 
not. No, a thousand times, no. But, I shall run the risk 
of frustrating one of my most cherished hopes, by saying, 
honestly, that you could not gratify my dear mother, aunt 
Mary, and myself, more than by falling in love with Pris. 
Bayard. We all love her ourselves, and we wish you to be 
of the party, knowing that your love would probably lead 
to a connection we should all like, more than I can express. 
There ; you cannot complain of a want of frankness, for I 
have heard it said, again and again, that the wishes of 
friends, indiscreetly expressed, are very apt to set young 
men against the very person it is desired to make them ad 
mire." 

" Quite likely to be true as a rule, though in my case no 
effect, good or bad, will be produced. But, how do the 
Bayards feel in this matter?" 

" How should I know ! Of course, no allusion has ever 
been made to any of the family on the subject; and, as none 
of them know you, it is im that is, no allusion I mean 
certainly not to more than one of them. I believe some 
vague remarks may have been ventured to one but " 

" By yourself, and to your friend, Pris. ?" 

" Never 11 said Kate, with emphasis. " Such a subject 
could never be mentioned between us." 

" Then it must have been between the old ladies the 
two mothers, probably ?" 

" I should think not. Mrs. Bayard is a woman of re 
serve, and mamma has an extreme sense of propriety, as you 



THECHAINBEARER. 43 

know yourself, that would not be likely to permit such a 
thing." 

" Would the general think of contracting me, when my 
back was turned !" 

" Not he papa troubles himself very little about such 
things. Ever since his return home, he has been courting 
mamma over again, he tells us." 

" Surely, aunt Mary has not found words for such an 
allusion !" 

" She, indeed ! Poor, dear aunt Mary ; it is little she 
meddles with any one s concerns but her own. Do you 
know, Mordaunt, that mamma has told me the whole of hei 
story lately, and the reason why she has refused so many 
excellent offers. I dare say, if you ask her, she will tell 
you." 

" I know the whole story already, from the general, child. 
But, if this matter has been alluded to, to one of the Bayards, 
and neither my father, mother, nor aunt Mary, has made 
the allusion on our side, and neither Mr. Bayard, his wife 
nor daughter, has been the party to whom the allusion has 
been made on the other, there remains only yourself and 
Tom to hold the discourse. I beg you to explain this point 
with your customary frankness." 

Kate Littlepage s face was scarlet. She was fairly caught, 
though I distrusted the truth from the moment she so stam 
mered and hesitated in correcting her first statement. I 
will own I enjoyed the girl s confusion, it made her appear 
so supremely lovely ; and I was almost as proud of her, as 
I tenderly loved her. Dear, dear Kate ; from her childhood 
I had my own amusement with her, though I do not remem 
ber anything like a harsh expression, or an unkind feeling, 
that has ever passed, or indeed existed, between us. A 
finer study than the face of my sister offered for the next 
minute, was never presented to the eye of man ; and I en 
joyed it so much the more, from a strong conviction that, 
while so deeply confused, she was not unhappy. Native 
ingenuousness, maiden modesty, her habit of frank dealing 
with me, and a wish to continue so to deal, were all strug 
gling together in her fine countenance, forming altogether 
one of the most winning pictures of womanly feelings I had 
ever witnessed. At length, the love of fair-dealing, and love 



44 THIS CHAINBEARER. 

of me, prevailed over a factitious shame ; the colour settled 
back to those cheeks whence it had appeared to flash, as it 
might be, remaining just enough heightened to be remarked, 
and Kate looked towards me in a way that denoted all the 
sisterly confidence and regard that she actually felt. 

" I did not intend to be the one to communicate to you a 
fact, Mordaunt, in which I know you will feel a deep in 
terest, for I had supposed my mother would save me the 
confusion of telling it to you ; but, now, there is no choice 
between resorting to equivocations that I do not like, and 
using our old long-established frankness." 

" The long and short of which, my dear sister, is to say 
that you are engaged to Mr. Bayard !" 

" No ; not as strong as that, brother. Mr. Bayard has 
offered, and my answer is deferred until you have met him. 
I would not engage myself, Mordaunt, until you approved 
of my choice." 

" I feel the compliment, Katrinke, and will be certain to 
repay it, in kind. Depend on it, you shall know, in proper 
season, when it is my wish to marry, and shall be heard." 

" There is a difference between the claims of an elder 
and an only brother, and of a mere girl, who ought to place 
much dependence on the advice of friends, in making her 
own selection." 

" You will not be a * mere girl when that time comes, 
but a married woman yourself, and competent to give good 
counsel from your own experience. To return to Tom, 
however ; he is the member of his family to whom the allu 
sion was made ?" 

" He was, Mordaunt," answered Kate, in a low voice. 

" And you were the person who made it ?" 

" Very true we were talking of you, one day ; and I 
expressed a strong hope that you would see Priscilla with 
the eyes with which, I can assure you, all the rest of your 
family see her. That was all." 

" And that was quite enough, child, to cause Tom Bayard 
to hang himself, if he were a lover of the true temper." 

" Hang himself, brother ! I am sure I do not understand 
why?" 

" Oh ! merely at the palpable discouragement such a wish 
would naturally convey to the brother of the young lady 



THECIIAINBEARER. 45 

jsince he must have seen you were willing to connect the 
two families by means other than giving him your own 
hand." 

Kate laughed ; but, as she did not look much confused, 
or at all alarmed, I was induced to believe that more im 
portant encouragement than could be afforded by means of 
her wish of marrying me to her suitor s sister, had been 
given master Tom, and that my disapproval of the gentle 
man would cause her more concern than she chose to avow. 
We rode on, however, some little distance, without cither s 
offering to renew the discourse. At length, as became my 
sex, I spoke. 

" When am I to see this paragon young man, and para 
gon young woman, Kate, since see both I must?" 

" Not paragon young man, brother ; I am certain I have 
called him by no such name ! Tom Bayard is a good fellow; 
but I do not know he is, by any means, a paragon." 

" He is a good looking fellow, in the bargain, I take it for 
granted ?" 

" Not as much so as you are yourself, if that will gratify 
your vanity." 

" It ought to, coming from such a quarter. My question 
>s still unanswered, notwithstanding." 

" To own the truth to you, Mordaunt, I expect we shall 
find Tom Bayard and Pris at Satanstoe, to dine with my 
grandmother. She wrote me word, a day or two since, that 
both are asked, and that she hoped both would accept." 

" The old lady is then in the plot, and intends to marry 
me, will ye, nill ye 1 I had thought this visit altogether a 
scheme of my own !" 

Kate again laughed, and told me I might make my own 
observations on that point, and judge for myself. As for 
the visit, I had only accidentally favoured a project of other s. 
The conversation now changed, and for several miles we 
rode along, conversing of the scenes of the war, without 
adverting to the Bayards, or to marriages. 

We were within half a mile of the gate of the Neck, and 
within a mile of the house, when we met Jaap returning to 
Lilacsbush, and carrying some fruit to my mother, after 
having discharged his commission of an avant courier. 
From Kate s remark I had discovered we had been invited 



46 THE CHAIN BEARER. 

by letter to take this excursion, though the ceremony of 
sending the negro across with his message had been ob 
served for reasons that were not very natural under the 
circumstances. I made no remark, however, determining 
to see and judge for myself. 

As a matter of course, we drew our reins, and stopped to 
exchange a few words with the black. 

" Well, Jaap, how did the Neck look, after so long an 
absence ?" I inquired. 

" It look, sah, no means as well as ole Missus, who do 
look capital, for sich a lady ! Dey do won ers with e Neck, 
sah, if you just b lieve all young nigger say. But, what 
you t ink, Masser Mordy, I hear at e tavern, where I jist 
stop, sah, to water ole Dick ?" 

" And to get a sup of cider for old Jaap" hereupon the 
negro laughed heartily, though he had the impudence nei 
ther to own nor to deny the imputation, his weakness in 
favour of wring-jaw being a well-established failing "Well, 
what did you hear, while taking down the usual mug?" 

" I on y get half a mug dis time, sah ; ole, ole Missus 
nebber forgettin to gib me jist as much as I want. Well, 
sah, while ole Dick drink, e new landlady, who come from 
Connetick, you know, sah, she say to me, Where you go, 
ole colour gentleum ? Dat war civil, any how." 

" To which you answered " 

" I answer her, sah, and say I go to Satanstoe, whar I 
come from, long time go." 

"Whereupon, she made some observation or other 
Well, what was it ? You keep Miss Littlepage waiting." 

" Lor bless her, sah it my business to wait on Miss 
Katrinke, not her business to wait on me Why you speak 
so droll, now, Masser Mordy?" 

" Never mind all that, Jaap what did the new Connec 
ticut lady say, when you told her you were going to Sa 
tanstoe, the place where you had come from, a long time 
ago?" 

"What she say, Masser Mordy, sah? She say great 
foolishness, and make me mad. * What you call by dat awful 
name? she say, making face like as if she see a spook. 
* You must mean Dibbleton, she say *dat e way all e 



THECHAINBEARER. 47 

people as is genteel call e Neck ! Did you ebber hear o 
like, sah 1" 

" Oh ! yes ; I heard the like of it, as soon as I was born ; 
the attempt to change the name of our old place having 
existed, now, these thirty years. Why, some people call 
Hellgate, Hurlgate ; after that, one may expect anything. 
Do you not know, Jaap, a Yankee is never satisfied, unless 
he is effecting changes ? One half his time, he is altering 
the pronunciation of his own names, and the other half he 
is altering ours. Let him call the place what he will, you 
and I will stick to Satanstoe." 

" Dat we will, sah gib e debbil his due, sah ; dat an 
ole sayin . I m sure anybody as has eyes, can see where 
his toe hab turn up e sile, and shape it he own way no 
dibble dere, sah." 

Thus saying, Jaap rode on, my sister and myself doing 
the same, pursuing the discourse that had thus accidentally 
arisen among us. 

" Is it not odd, brother, that strangers should have this 
itching to alter the name of my grandmother s place ?" said 
Kate, after we had parted from the black. " It is a homely 
name, certainly ; but it has been used, now, a good deal 
more than a century, and time, at least, should entitle it to 
be let alone." 

" Ay, my dear ; but you are not yet aware of the de 
sires, and longings, and efforts, and ambition of a little 
learning. I have seen enough, in my short career, to know 
there is a spirit up among us, that calls itself by the pre 
tending title of the spirit of improvement, which is likely 
to overturn more important things than the name of our 
poor Neck. It is a spirit that assumes the respectable cha 
racter of a love of liberty ; and under that mask, it gives 
play to malice, envy, covetousness, rapacity, and all the 
lowest passions of our nature. Among other things, it takes 
the provincial pretence of a mock-refinement, and flatters 
an elegance of thought that is easiest attained by those who 
have no perceptions of anything truly elevated, by substi 
tuting squeamishness and affectations for the simplicity of 
nature, and a good tone of manners," 



48 THE CHAINBEARER. 



CHAPTER IV. 

Beet. * Against my will, I am sent to bid you come in to dinner." 
Bene. " Fair Beatrice, I thank you for your pains." 
Beat. " I took no more pains for these thanks, than 

You take pains to thank me ; if it had been painful, 

I would not have come." 

Much Ado about Nothing. 

IN the porch of the house, at Satanstoe, stood my dear 
grandmother, and the notable Tom Bayard, to receive us. 
The first glance at the latter told me that he was a " proper 
man;" and by the second, I got the pleasing assurance that 
he had no eye, just then, but for Kate. This was pleasant 
to know, as I never could have been happy in consenting to 
yield that dear girl to any but a man who appreciated her 
worth, and fully admired her beauty. As to my dear " ole 
ole" grandmother, who was not so very old neither, being 
still under seventy, her reception of us was just what I had 
ever found it ; warm, affectionate, and gentle. She called 
my father, the general, Corny, even when she spoke to him 
in a room full of company ; though, for that matter, J have 
heard my mother, who was much more of a woman of the 
world, having lived a great deal in society, do the same 
thing, when she thought herself alone. I have read some 
priggish book or other, written no doubt by one who knew 
men only through pages like his own, decry such fami 
liarities ; but, I have generally found those the happiest 
families, and, at the bottom, the best toned, where it was 
Jack, and Tom, and Bob, and Dick, and Bess, and Di. As 
for your Louisa Adelinas, and Robert Augustuses, and all 
such elaborate respect, I frankly declare I have a contempt 
for it. Those are the sort of people who would call Sa 
tanstoe, Dibbleton ; Hellgate, Hurlgate ; and themselves ac 
complished. Thank heaven, we had no such nonsense at 
Lilacsbush, or at the Neck. My father, was Corny ; my 
mother, Anneke ; Katrinke, Kate; and I was Mordy, or 
Mord ; or, when there was no hurry, Mordaunt. 



THECHAINBEARER. 49 

Tom Bayard met my salutations frankly, and with a gen 
tlemanlike ease, though there was a slight colour on his 
cheek which said to me, " I mean to get your sister." Yet 
I liked the fellow s manner. There was no grasping of the 
hand, and coming forward to rush into an intimacy at the 
first moment we met ; but he returned my bow graciously, 
and gracefully, and his smile as he did so seemed to invite 
farther and better acquaintance. 

Now, I have seen a man cross a whole room to shake 
hands at an introduction with an utter stranger, and main 
tain a countenance the whole time as sombre as if he were 
condoling with him on the loss of his wife. This habit of 
shaking hands dolefully is growing among us, and is im 
ported from some of our sister States ; for, it is certainly not 
a New York custom, except among intimates ; and it is a 
bad usage, in my opinion, as it destroys one of the best 
means of graduating feelings, and is especially ungraceful 
at an introduction. But, alas ! there are so many such in 
novations, that one cannot pretend to predict where they are 
to stop. I never shook hands at an introduction, unless it 
were under my own roof, and when I wished to denote a 
decidedly hospitable feeling, until after I was forty. It was 
thought vulgar in my younger days, and I am not quite 
certain it is not thought so now. 

In the little old-fashioned drawing-room, as of late years 
my good grandmother had been persuaded to call what was 
once only the best parlour, we found Miss Priscilla Bayard, 
who, for some reason that was unexplained, did not come 
to the porch to meet her friend. She was in truth a charm 
ing girl, with, fine dark eyes, glossy hair, a delicate and 
lady-like form, and a grace of manner that denoted perfect 
familiarity with the best company of the land. Kate and 
Pris. embraced each other with a warmth and sincerity that 
spoke in favour of each, and with perfect nature. An affect 
ed American girl, by the way, is very uncommon ; and 
nothing strikes me sooner, when I see my own countrywo 
men placed at the side of Europeans, than the difference in 
this respect ; the one seems so natural, while the other is 
so artificial ! 

My own reception by Miss Bayard was gracious, though 
fancied it was not entirely free from the consciousness of 



50 THE CHAINBEARER. 

having, on some idle occasion, heard her own name 
mately connected with mine. Perhaps Kate, in their confi 
dential moments, may have said something to this effect ; 
or, I may have been mistaken. 

My grandmother soon announced that the whole party 
was to pass the night at Satanstoe. As we were accustomed 
to such plans, neither Kate nor myself raised the least ob 
jection, while the Bayards submitted to orders which I soon 
discovered even they were not unused to, with perfect good 
will and submission. Thus brought together, in the fami 
liarity of a quiet and small party, in a country house, we 
made great progress in intimacy ; and, by the time dinner 
was over, or by four o clock, I felt like an old acquaintance 
with those who had so lately been strangers to me, even by 
name. As for Bayard and my sister, they were in the best 
of humours from the start, and I felt satisfied their affair 
was a settled thing, in their own minds ; but, Miss Priscilla 
was a little under constraint for an hour or two, like a per 
son who felt a slight embarrassment. This wore off, how 
ever, and long before we left the table she had become 
entirely herself; and a very charming self it was, I was 
forced to admit. I say forced ; for, spite of all I had said, 
and a certain amount of good sense I hope, it was impossible 
to get rid of the distrust which accompanied the notion that 
I was expected to fall in love with the young lady. My 
poor grandmother contributed her share, too, to keep this 
feeling alive. The manner in which she looked from one 
to the other, and the satisfied smile that passed over her 
countenance whenever she observed Pris. and myself con 
versing freely, betrayed to me completely that she was in 
the secret, and had a hand in what I chose to regard as a 
sort of plot. 

I had heard that my grandmother had set her heart on 
the marriage of my parents a year or two before matters 
came round, and that she always fancied she had been very 
instrumental in forming a connection that had been as happy 
as her own. The recollection, or the fancy of this success, 
most probably encouraged her to take a share in the present 
scheme ; and I have always supposed that she got us all 
together on that occasion, in order to help the great project 
along. 



THE CHAINBEARER. 51 

A walk on the Neck was proposed in the cool of the 
evening ; for Satanstoe had many a pleasant path, pretty 
vista, and broad view. Away we went, then, the four of 
us, Kate leading the way, as the* person most familiar with 
the . " capabilities." We were soon on the shore of the 
Sound, and at a point where a firm, wide beach of sand had 
been left by the receding waters, rocks fringing the inner 
boundary, towards the main. Here one could walk without 
confinement of any sort, there being room to go in pairs, or 
all abreast, as we might choose. Miss Bayard seeming a 
little coy, and manifesting a desire to keep near her friend, 
I abandoned the intention of walking at her side, but fell 
behind a little, and got into discourse with her brother. 
Nor was I sorry to have this early opportunity of sounding 
the party who was likely soon to become so nearly con 
nected with me. After a few minutes, the conversation 
turned on the late revolution, and the manner in which it 
was likely to influence the future fortunes of the country. 
I knew that a portion of the family of my companion had 
adhered to the crown, losing their estates by the act of con 
fiscation ; but I also knew that a portion did not, and I was 
left to infer that Tom s branch belonged to the latter divi 
sion of his name, inasmuch as his father was known to be 
very easy in his circumstances, if not absolutely rich. It 
was not long, however, before I ascertained that my new 
friend was a mild tory, and Jhat he would have been better 
pleased had the rights we had sought, and which he was 
willing enough to admit had been violated, been secured 
without a separation of the two countries. As the Little- 
pages had actually been in arms against the orown, three 
generations of them, too, at the same time, and the fact 
could be no secret, I was pleased with the candour with 
which Tom Bayard expressed his opinions on these points ; 
for it spoke well of the truth and general sincerity of his 
character. 

" Does it not strike you as a necessary consequence of 
the distance between the two countries," I remarked, in the 
course of the conversation, " that a separation must, sooner 
or later, have occurred ? It is impossible that two countries 
should long have common rulers when they are divided by 
an ocean. Admitting that our separation has been a little 



52 THE CIIAINBEARER. 

premature, a circumstance I should deny in a particular 
discussion, it is an evil that every hour has a tendency to 
lessen." 

" Separations in families are always painful, major Little- 
page ; when accompanied by dissensions, doubly so." 

" Quite true ; yet they always happen. If not in this 
generation, in the next." 

" I do think," said Tom Bayard, looking at me a littlo 
imploringly, " that we might have got along with our diffi 
culties without casting aside our allegiance to the king." 

" Ay, that has been the stumbling-block with thousands ; 
and yet it is, in truth, the very weakest part of the trans 
atlantic side of the question. Of what avail is allegiance to 
the king, if parliament use its power in a way to make 
American interests subservient to those of England ? A 
great deal may be said, that is reasonable, in favour of 
kingly power ; that I am ready enough to allow ; but very 
little that renders one people subject to another. This thing 
called loyalty blinds men to facts, and substitutes a fancied 
for a real power. The question has been, whether England, 
by means of a parliament in which we have no representa 
tive, is to make laws for us or not ; and not whether George 
III. is to be our sovereign, or whether we are to establish 
the sovereignty of the people."* 

* [This short dialogue is given in the text, because it is found in 
Mr. Mordaunt Littlepage s manusc<ipt, and not because the state of 
feeling in this country to-day has any connection with the opinions 
expressed. The American nation, as a whole, is now as completely 
emancipated from English political influence, as if the latter never 
had an existence. The emancipation is too complete, indeed, the 
effect having brought with it a reaction that is, on many points, 
running into error in a contrary direction ; the third of our manu 
scripts having something to do with these excesses of opinion. But, 
Mr. Mordaunt Littlepage appears to have some near glimmerings of 
the principles which lay at the root of the American revolution, 
though the principle itself does not appear to have been openly recog 
nised anywhere at the time. The king of England was originally 
king of America, as he was king of Ireland, and king of Scotland. 
It is true, there was no American flag, the system excluding the 
colonies from any power on the ocean ; then, each colony existed as 
independent of the others, except through their common allegiance. 
The revolution of 1688 slowly brought parliament into the ascendant ; 
and, by the time George III. ascended the throne, that ascendancy 
had got to be almost undisputed. Now, America had no proper con- 



THECHAINBEARER. 53 

Bayard bowed, civilly enough, to my remark, and he 
changed the subject. Sufficient had been said, however, to 
satisfy me that there would be little political sympathy be 
tween us, let the family tie be drawn as close as it might. 
The girls joined us before we had got altogether into ano 
ther vein of discourse, and I was a little chagrined at rinding 
that Kate entered rather more into her admirer s views of 
such subjects than comported with the true feelings, as I 
fancied, of a Littlepage, after all that had passed. Still, as I 
should have liked the woman I loved to agree with me in 
opinion as much as possible in everything, I was not dis 
posed to judge harshly of my sister on that account. On 
the other hand, to my surprise, I found Miss Priscilla a 
zealous, and, to say the truth, a somewhat blind patriot ; 
condemning England, the king, and the efforts of parlia 
ment with a warmth that was only equal to that with which 
she defended every thing, act, measure, principle or policy, 
that was purely American. 

I cannot say I had as much tolerance for the patriotism 
of Miss Bayard as I had for the petit treason of my sister. 
It seemed natural enough that Kate should begin to look at 
things of this nature with the eyes of the man she had made 
up her mind to marry ; but it looked far more like manage 
ment in her friend, who belonged to a tory family, to volun 
teer so freely the sentiments of one she could not yet love, 
inasmuch as until that day she had never even seen him. 

" Is it not so, major Littlepage," cried this lovely crea 
ture, for very lovely she was, beyond all dispute ; and femi 
nine, and delicate, and lady-like, and all I could have wished 
her, had she only been a little less of a whig, and a good 
deal more of a tory ; her eyes sparkling and flashing, at the 
same time, as if she felt all she was saying from the very 
bottom of her heart " Is it not so, major Littlepage ? 
America has come out of this war with imperishable glorf ; 
and her history, a thousand years hence, will be the wonder 
and admiration of all who read it !" 

nection with parliament, which, in that day, represented England 
and Wales only; and this was a state of things which made one 
country dependent on the other, a subserviency of interests that clearly 
could last only so long as the party governed was too weak to take 
care of itself.] 
5* 



54 TIIECHAINBEARER. 

" That will somewhat depend on what her history may 
prove to be, between that day and this. The early history 
of all great nations fills us with admiration and interest, 
while mightier deeds effected by an insignificant people are 
usually forgotten." 

" Still, this revolution has been one of which any nation 
might have been proud !" 

As it would not have been proper to deny this, I bowed 
and strayed a little from the rest of the party, under the 
pretence of looking for shells. My sister soon joined me, 
when the following short conversation passed between us. 

" You find Pris. Bayard a staunch whig, major Little- 
page," commenced my warm-hearted sister. 

" Very much so ; but I had supposed the Bayards ex 
cessively neutral, if not absolutely the other way." 

" Oh ! that is true enough of most of them, but not with 
Pris., who has long been a decided whig. There is Tom, 
now, rather moderate in his opinions, while the father and 
mother are what you call excessively neutral; but, Pris. 
has been a whig almost as long as I have known her." 

" Almost as long ! She was, then, a tory once ?" 

" Hardly ; though certainly her opinions have undergone 
a very gradual change. We are both young, you will re 
member ; and girls at their first coming out do very little 
of their own thinking. For the last three years, certainly, 
or since she was seventeen, Pris. has been getting to be 
more and more of a whig, and less and less of a tory. Do 
you not find her decidedly handsome, Mordaunt ?" 

" Very decidedly so, and very winning in all that be 
longs to her sex gentle, feminine, lady-like, lovely, and 
withal a whig." 

" I knew you would admire her !" cried Kate, in triumph. 
" I shall live to see my dearest wish accomplished !" 

" I make no doubt you will, child ; though it will not be 
by the marriage of a Mr. Littlepage to a Miss Bayard." 

I got a laugh and a blush for this sally, but no sign of 
submission. On the contrary, the positive girl shook her 
head, until her rich curls were all in motion, and she laugh 
ed none the less. We immediately joined our companions, 
and by one of those crossings over and figurings in, that 
are so familiar to the young of the two sexes, we were sooa 



THE CHAINBBARBR 



55 



walking along the sands again, Tom at Kate s side, and I 
at that of Priscilla Bayard s. What the other two talked 
about I never knew, though I fancy one might guess ; but, the 
young lady with me pursued the subject of the revolution. 

" You have probably been a little surprised, major Little- 
page," she commenced, " to hear me express myself so 
warmly in favour of this country, as some of the branches 
of my family have been treated harshly by the new govern 
ment?" 

" You allude to the confiscations? I never justified them, 
and wish they had not been made ; for they fall heaviest on 
those who were quite inoffensive, while most of our active 
enemies have escaped. Still, it is no more than is usual in 
civil wars, and what would surely have befallen us, had it 
been our fortune to be the losing party." 

" So I have been told ; but, as no loss has fallen on any 
who are very near to me, my public virtue has been able to 
resist private feeling. My brother, as you may have seen, 
is less of an American than I am myself." 

" I have supposed he is one of the * extremely neutral ; 
and they, I have thought, always incline a little in favour 
of the losing party." 

" I hope, however, his political bias, which is very honest, 
though very much in error, will not materially affect him 
in your good opinion. Too much depends on that, for me 
not to be anxious on the subject ; and, being the only de 
cided whig in the family, I have thought I would venture to 
speak in behalf of a very dearly beloved brother." 

* Well, 7 I said to myself, this is being sufficiently ma 
naging ; but I am not quite so unpractised as to be the dupe 
of an artifice so little concealed ! The deuce is in the girl ; 
yet she seems in earnest, looks at me with the good faith 
and simplicity of a sister who feels even more than she ex 
presses, and is certainly one of the loveliest creatures I ever 
laid eyes on ! I must not let her see how much I am on 
my guard, but must meet management with management. 
It will be singular, indeed, if I, who have commanded a 
company of continentals with some credit, cannot get along 
with a girl of twenty, though she were even handsomer, 
and looked still more innocent than this Pris. Bayard, which 
would bo no easy matter, by the way. 



56 TIIECHAINBEARER. 

The reader will understand this was what I said to my 
self, and it was soon uttered, for one talks surprisingly fast 
to himself; but, that which I said to my fair companion, 
after a moment s hesitation, was very different in language 
and import. 

" I do not understand in what way Mr. Bayard can be 
affected by my opinion, let it be for or against him," I an 
swered, with just as much innocency of expression, accord 
ing to my notion of the matter, as the young lady herself 
had thrown into her own pretty countenance, thereby doing 
myself infinite credit, in my own conceit ; " though I am 
far from judging any man severely, because he happens to 
differ from me in his judgment of public things. The ques 
tion was one of great delicacy, and the most honest men 
have differed the widest on its merits." 

" You do not know how glad I am to hear you say this, 
Mr. Littlepage," returned my companion, with one of the 
sweetest smiles woman ever bestowed on man. " It will 
make Tom completely happy, for I know he has been sadly 
afraid of you, on this very point." 

I did not answer instantly ; for, I believe, I was watching 
the traces of that bewitching smile, and speculating against 
its influence with the pertinacity of a man who was deter 
mined not to be taken in. That smile haunted me for a 
week, and it was a long time before I fully comprehended 
it. I decided, however, to come to the point at once, as re 
spects Bayard and my sister, and not be beating the bush 
with indirect allusions. 

" In what manner can my opinion influence your brother, 
Miss Bayard ?" I asked, as soon as I was ready to say any 
thing. " To prevent misconceptions, let me beg of you to 
be a little more explicit." 

" You can hardly be ignorant of my meaning, I should 
think !" answered Priscilla, with a little surprise. " One 
has only to look at the couple before us, to comprehend 
how your opinion of the gentleman might have an influence 
on himself, at least." 

" The same might be said of us, Miss Bayard, so far as 
my inexperienced eye can tell. They are a young couple, 
walking together ; the gentleman appearing to admire the 
\-. ,dy, I will confess ; and we are a young couple walking 



THBCHAINBBAREK. 57 

together, the gentleman appearing to admire the lady, or he 
does no credit to his taste or sensibility." 

< There, said I to myself, again, that is giving her q aite 
as good as I receive ; let me see how you take that. 

Pris. took it very well ; laughing, and blushing just enough 
to make her appear the loveliest creature I had ever laid 
eyes on. She shook her head, very much as my sister had 
done not long before, and disclaimed the analogy, first in 
her manner, and next with her tongue. 

" The cases are very different, sir," she answered. " We 
are strangers to each other, while Tom Bayard and Kate 
Littlepage are acquaintances of years standing. We do 
not love each other in the least ; not a bit, though we are 
inclined to think very well of each other, on account of the 
interest we take in the couple before us, and because I am 
the intimate friend of your only sister, and because you are 
the only brother of my intimate friend. There, however," 
and she now spoke with emphasis, " our interest ceases, 
never to be increased beyond a friendly regard ; that I trust 
will grow up out of our respective merits, and respective 
discernment. It is very, very different with the couple be 
fore us ;" here, again, the flexible girl spoke with extreme 
feeling ; every tone and cadency of her voice denoting lively 
sensibility. " They have been long attached, not admirers 
of each other, as you call it, major Littlepage, but attached; 
and your opinion of my brother, just at this moment, is of 
the last importance to him. I hope I have, at last, made 
myself understood ?" 

" Perfectly ; and I intend to be just as explicit. In the 
first place, I enter a solemn protest against all that you have 
said about the other couple, with the exception of the in 
terest we each feel in the brother, or sister. Next, I pro 
claim Kate Littlepage to be her own mistress, so far as her 
brother Mordaunt is concerned; and lastly, I announce that 
I see or know nothing in the character, connections, fortune, 
person, or position of her suitor, Thomas Bayard, of the 
Hickories, Esquire, that is in the least below her pretensions 
or merits. I hope that is sufficiently satisfactory ?" 

" Entirely so ; and from the bottom of my heart I thank 
you for it. I will own I have had some little apprehensions 
on the subject of Tom s political opinions ; but, those re- 



58 THECHAINBEARER 

moved, nothing else can remain to create the smallest uu 
easiness." 

" How is it possible that any of you could consider my 
notions of so much importance, when Kate has a father, a 
mother, and a grandmother living, all of whom, as I under 
stand things, approve of her choice?" 

" Ah ! Mr. Littlepage, you are not conscious of your im 
portance in your own family, I see. I know it better than 
you appear to know it yourself. Father, mother, grand 
mother and sister, all think and speak of Mordaunt, alike. 
To hear the general converse of the war, you would sup 
pose that he had commanded a company, and captain Little- 
page the regiment. Mrs. Littlepage defers to Mordaunt s 
taste, and Mordaunt s opinions, and Mordaunt s judgment, 
even in housekeeping and hem-stitching. Kate is for ever 
saying my brother says this, * my brother writes that, 7 
my brother does t other ; and, as for the old lady here, at 
the * Toe, she would hardly think her peaches and cherries 
could ripen, unless Mordaunt Littlepage, the son of her son 
Corny Littlepage by no accident does she ever call him 
1 general were on the face of the earth, to create an eter 
nal sunshine !" 

Was there ever a girl like this 1 That speech was made 
too, in the quietest, most gentle, lady-like manner, possible. 
That the young lady had spirit and humour enough, was 
very apparent ; and for a moment I doubted whether both 
were not accompanied by the most perfect simplicity of 
character, and the most perfect good faith. Subsequent re 
marks and occurrences, however, soon revived all my 
original distrusts. 

" This is a vivid picture of family weaknesses, that you 
have so graphically drawn, Miss Bayard," I answered ; 
" and I shall not easily forget it. What renders it the more 
lively and pointed, and the more likely to be relished by the 
world, is the fact that Mordaunt so little deserves the ex 
treme partiality of the friends you have mentioned." 

" The last feature forms no part of my picture, major 
Littlepage, and I disown it. As for the world, it will never 
know anything about it. You and I are not the world, nor 
are we at all likely ever to be the world to each other ; I 
wish you particularly to understand that, which is the rea- 



THECHAINBBARER. 59 

son I am so frank with you, on so short an acquaintance. 
I tell you, your opinion is of the last importance to Tom ; 
as your sister would not marry him, did she believe you 
thought, in the least, ill of him." 

" And she would, did I think well of him ?" 

* That is a question a lady must answer for herself. 
And, now, we will say no more on the subject; for my 
mind is easy since I find you entertain no political hostility 
to Tom." 

" Men are much less apt to entertain such feelings, I 
fancy, after they have fairly fought out a quarrel, than when 
they only talk over its heads. Besides, the winning party 
is commonly the least rancorous, and success will make us 
whigs forgiving. I give you my honour, no objection will 
be raised against your brother, by me, on account of his 
opinions of the revolution. My dear mother, herself, has 
been half a tory the whole war; and Kate, I find, has im 
bibed all her charity." 

A singular, and, as I thought, a painful smile, crossed the 
sweet face of Priscilla Bayard, as I made this remark ; but 
she did not answer it. It seemed to me she was now de 
sirous of quitting the subject entirely, and I immediately led 
the discourse to other things. 

Kate and I remained at Satanstoe several days, and Tom 
Bayard was a daily visitor ; the distance between the Neck 
and the Hickories being no great matter. I saw the young 
lady twice during that interval ; once, by riding over to her 
father s residence with that express object ; and once when 
she came across on horseback to see her friend. I confess 
I was never more at a loss to understand a character than I 
was that of this young woman. She was either profoundly 
managing, or as innocent and simple as a child. It was 
easy to see that her brother, my sister, my grandmother, 
and, as I fancied, the parents of the young lady herself, 
were anxious that T should be on as good terms as possible 
with Pris., as they all called her ; though I could not fathom 
her own feelings on the subject. It would have been unna 
tural not to have loved to gaze on her exceeding beauty, or 
not to have admired her extremely graceful and feminine 
manner, which was precisely all that one could wish it to 
be in the way of ease and self-possession, without being in 



60 THECIIAINBEAREK. 

the least free or forward ;*and I did gaze on the one, and 
admire the other, at the very moment I was most disposed 
to distrust her sincerity, and to believe her nature the very 
perfection of art. There were times when I was disposed 
to fancy this Pris. Bayard as profound and skilful an actoi 
as one of her sex, years, and condition in life could well 
become, without falling altogether; and there were mo 
ments, too, when she seemed to be instinct with all the sen 
sitive and best qualities of her sex. 

It is scarcely necessary to say I remained heart-whole, 
under such circumstances, notwithstanding the obvious 
wishes of my friends, and the young lady s great advan 
tages ! A man no more falls blindly in love when he dis 
trusts anything amiss, than he sees anything amiss when 
he is blindly in love. It has often been a matter of surprise 
to me, how often and how completely the wisest of the 
earthly races conspire to deceive themselves. When suspi 
cions are once excited, testimony is not needed ; condemna 
tion following much as a logical induction, though founded 
on nothing better than plausible distrusts ; while, on the 
other hand, where confidence exists, testimony is only too 
apt to be disregarded. Women, in particular, are peculiarly 
apt to follow the bias of their affections, rather than of their 
reasons, in all cases connected with guilt. They are hard 
to be convinced of the unworthiness of those who belong ta 
them, through the affections, because the affections are 
usually stronger with them than their reasoning powers. 
How they cling to their priests, for instance, when the cooler 
heads and greater experience of men condemn, and that 
merely because their imaginations choose to adorn the 
offenders with the graces of that religion which they vene 
rate, and on which they rely ! He is a shrewd man who can 
draw the line between the real and the false in these mat 
ters ; but he is truly a weak one who disregards evidence, 
when evidence is complete arid clear. That we all have our 
sins and our failings is true, but there are certain marks of 
unworthiness which are infallible, and which ought never 
o be disregarded, since they denote the existence of the 
want of principle that taints a whole character. 



THE CHAINBBARER. 61 



CHAPTER V. 

* He were an excellent man, that were made just in the mid-way be 
tween him and Benedick : the one is too like an image, and says 
nothing ; and the other, too like my lady s eldest son, evermore 
tattling." Beatrice. 

THE very day my sister and I left Satanstoe, there was 
an interesting interview between my grandmother and my 
self, that it may be well to relate. It took place in the cool 
of the morning, before breakfast, indeed, and previously to 
the appearance of any of the rest of the party ; for Tom 
Bayard and his sister had again ridden across the country 
to pass the night, and see us off. My grandmother had re 
quested me to meet her thus early, in a sort of little piazza, 
that modern improvements had annexed to one end of the 
old buildings, and in which we both appeared accordingly 
with the utmost punctuality. I saw by a certain sort of 
importance that my good grandmother wore in her counte 
nance, that she had weighty matters on her mind, and took 
the chair she had set for me with some little curiosity to 
learn what was to follow. The chairs were placed side by 
side, or nearly so, but looking different ways, and so close 
together that, when seated, we were quite face to face. My 
grandmother had on her spectacles, and she gazed wistfully 
through them at me, parting the curls on my forehead, as 
had been her wont when I was a boy. I saw tears rolling 
out from behind the glasses, and felt apprehensive I might 
have said or done something to have wounded the spirit of 
that excellent and indulgent parent. 

" For heaven s sake, grandmother, what can this mean?" 
I cried. " Have I done anything amiss ?" 

" No, my child, no ; but much to the contrary. You 

are, and ever have been, a good and dutiful son, not only 

to your real parents, but to me. But your name ought to 

have been Hugh that I will maintain, long as I live. I 

6 



6$ THE CHAINBEARER. 

.old your father as much when you were born ; but he was 
Mordaunt-mad then, as, indeed, he has remained pretty 
much ever since. Not that Mordaunt is not a good name, 
and a respectable name, and they say it is a noble name in 
England ; but it is a family name, and family names are 
not fit for Christian names, at the best. Hugh should have 
been your name, if I could have had my way ; and, if not 
Hugh, Corny. Well, it is too late for that now, as Mordaunt 
you are, and Mordaunt you must live and die. Did any one 
ever tell you, my child, how very, very like you are to your 
honoured grandfather ?" 

" My mother, frequently I have seen the tears start into 
her eyes as she gazed at me, and she has often told me my. 
family name ought to have been Mordaunt, so much do I 
resemble her father." 

" Her father ! Well, Anneke does get some of the 
strangest conceits into her head ! A better woman, or a 
dearer, does not breathe I love your mother, my child, 
quite as much as if she had been born my own daughter ; 
but I must say she does get some of the strangest notions 
into her head that mortal ever imagined. You like Herman 
Mordaunt ! You are the very image of your grandfather 
Littlepage, and no more like Herman Mordaunt than you 
are like the king !" 

The revolution was then, and is now still too recent to 
prevent these constant allusions to royalty, notwithstanding 
my grandfather had been as warm a whig as there was in 
the colonies, from the commencement of the struggle. As 
for the resemblance spoken of, I have always understood I 
was a mingled repetition of the two families, as so often 
happens, a circumstance that enables my different relatives 
to trace such resemblances as best suit their respective 
fancies. This was quite convenient, and may have been a 
reason, in addition to the fact of my being an only son, that 
1 was so great a favourite with the females of my family. 
My dear old grandmother, who was then in her sixty-ninth 
year, was so persuaded of my likeness to her late husband, 
the " old general," as he was now called, that she would not 
proceed in her communications until she had wiped her eyes, 
and gratified her affections with another long and wistful 
gaze. 



THE CHAINBEAHER. 63 

"Oh! those eyes!" she murmured "and that fore 
head ! The mouth too, and the nose, to say nothing of the 
smile, which is as much alike as one pea is like another 1" 

This left very little for the Mordaunts, it must be owned ; 
the chin and ears being pretty much all that were not claim 
ed for the direct line. It is true, my eyes were blue, and 
the "old general s" had been as black as coals; my nose 
was Grecian, and his a most obtrusive Roman ; and, as for 
the mouth, I can only say mine was as like that of my mo 
ther s as a man s could well be like a woman s. The last, 
I had heard my father say, a thousand times. Put, no 
matter ; age, and affection, and the longings of the parent, 
caused my grandmother to see things differently. 

" Well, Mordaunt," the good old lady at length continued, 
" how do you like this choice of your sister Kate s 1 Mr. 
Bayard is a charming young man, is he not ?" 

" Is it then a choice, grandmother ? Has Kate actually 
made up her mind ?" 

" Pshaw !" answered my grandmother, smiling as archly 
as if she were sixteen herself " that was done long ago 
and papa approved, and mamma was anxious, and I con 
sented, and sister Anneke wa*s delighted, and everything 
was as smooth as the beach at the end of the Neck, but 
waiting for your approbation. c It would not be right, grand 
mother, for me to engage myself, while Mordaunt is away, 
and without his even knowing the gentleman ; so I will not 
answer until I get his approbation too, said Kate. That 
was very pretty in her, was it not, my child ? All your 
father s children have a sense of propriety !" 

" Indeed it was, and I shall not forget it soon. But, sup 
pose I had disapproved, what would have followed, grand 
mother?" 

" You should never ask unpleasant questions, saucy 
fellow; though I dare to say Kate would, at least, have 
asked Mr. Bayard to wait until you had changed your mind. 
Giving him up altogether would be out of the question, and 
unreasonable ; but she might have waited a few months or 
so, until you changed your mind ; and I would have ad 
vised her so to do. But, all that is unnecessary, as matters 
are ; for you have expressed your approbation, and Kate is 
perfectly happy. The last letter from Lilacsbush, which 



64 THECHAINBEARER. 

Jaap brought, gives the formal consent of your dear parents 
. and what parents you have, my child ! so Kate wrote 
an acceptance yesterday, and it was as prettily expressed a 
note as I have seen in many a day. Your own mother 
could not have done it better in her young days ; and An- 
neke Mordaunt worded a note as genteelly as any young 
woman I ever knew." 

" I am glad everything has gone right, and am sure no 
one can wish the young couple more happiness than I do 
myself. Kate is a dear, good girl, and I love her as much 
as a brother can love a sister." 

" Is she not 1 and as thorough a Littlepage as ever was 
born ! I do hope she will be happy. All the marriages in 
our family have proved so hitherto, and it would be strange 
if this should turn out differently. Well, now, Mordaunt, 
when Kate is married, you will be the only one left." 

" That is true, grandmother ; and you must be glad to find 
there will be one of us left to come and see you, without 
bringing nurses and children at his heels." 

" I ! I glad of anything of the sort ! No, indeed, my 
child ; I should be sorry enough did I think, for a moment, 
you would not marry as soon as is prudent, now the war is 
over. As for children, I dote on them ; and I have ever 
thought it a misfortune that the Littlepages have had so 
few, especially sons. Your grandfather, my general, was 
an only son ; your father was an only son ; and you are an 
only son ; that is, so far as coming to men s estates are, or 
were concerned. No, Mordaunt, my child, it is the warmest 
wish of my heart to see you.properly married, and to hold 
the Littlepages of the next generation in my arms. Two 
of you I have had there already, and I shall have lived the 
life of the blessed to be able to hold the third." 

" My dear, good grandmother! What am I to under 
stand by all this?" 

" That I wish you to marry, my child, now that the war 
is ended ; that your father wishes you to marry ; that your 
mother wishes you to marry ; and that your sister wishes 
you to marry." 

" And all of you wish me to marry the same person ? Is 
t not so 1" 



THE CHAINBBARER. 65 

My grandmother smiled, but she fidgeted ; fancying, as 
I suspected, that she had been pushing matters a little too 
fast. It was not easy, however, for one of her truth and 
simplicity of character to recede after having gone so far ; 
and she wisely determined to have no reserves with me on 
the subject. 

" I believe you are right, Mordaunt," she answered, after 
a short pause. " We do all wish you to fall in love as soon 
as you can ; to propose as soon as you are in love ; and to 
marry Priscilla Bayard, the instant she will consent to have 
you." 

" This is honest, and like yourself, my dear grandmo 
ther; and now we both know what is intended, and can 
speak plainly. In the first place, do you not think one con 
nection of this sort, between families, quite sufficient? If 
Kate marry the brother, may I not be excused for overlook 
ing the attractions of the sister ?" 

" Priscilla Bayard is one of the loveliest girls in York 
Colony, Mordaunt Littlepage !" 

" We call this part of the world York State, now, dearesl 
grandmother. I am far from denying the truth of what you 
say ; Priscilla Bayard is very lovely." 

" I do not know what more you can wish, than to get 
such a girl." 

" I shall not say that the time will not come when I may 
be glad to obtain the consent of the young lady to become 
my wife ; but that time has not yet arrived. Then, I ques 
tion the expediency, when friends greatly desire any parti 
cular match, of saying too much about it." 

My poor grandmother looked quite astounded, like one 
who felt she had innocently done mischief; and she sat 
gazing fondly at me, with the expression of a penitent child 
painted in her venerated countenance. 

" Nevertheless, Mordaunt, I had a great share in bring 
ing about the union between your own dear parents," she 
at length answered ; " and that has been one of the happiest 
marriages I have ever known !" 

I had often heard allusions of this nature, and I had se 
veral times observed the quiet smile of my mother, as she 
listened to them ; smiles that seemed to contradict the opinion 



66 THBCHAINBEARER. 

to which my grandmother s mistaken notions of her own 
influence had given birth. On one occasion (I was still 
quite a boy), I remember to have asked my mother how the 
fact was, when the answer was, " I married your father 
through the influence of a butcher s boy ;" a reply that had 
some reference to a very early passage in the lives of my 
parents. But, I well know that neither Cornelius Littlepage, 
nor Anneke Mordaunt, was a person to be coaxed into 
matrimony; and I resolved on the spot, their only son 
should manifest an equal independence. I might have an 
swered my grandmother to this effect, and in language 
stronger than was my practice when addressing that reve 
rend parent, had not the two girls appeared on the piazza 
at that moment, and broke up our private conference. 

Sooth to say, Priscilla Bayard came forth upon me, that 
morning, with something like the radiance of the rising sun. 
Both the girls had that fresh, attractive look, that is apt to 
belong to the toilettes of early risers of their sex, and which 
probably renders them handsomer at that hour, than at any 
other part of the day. My own sister was a very charming 
girl, as any one would allow ; but her friend was decidedly 
beautiful. I confess I found it a little difficult not to give in 
on the spot, and to whisper my anxious grandmother that I 
would pay proper attention to the young lady, and make an 
offer at the suitable time, as she advanced towards us, ex 
changing the morning salutations, with just enough of ease 
to render her perfectly graceful, and yet with a modesty 
and retenue that were infinitely winning. 

" Mordaunt is about to quit me, for the whole summer, 
Miss Bayard," said my grandmother, who would be doing 
while there was a chance ; " and I have had him out here, 
to converse a little together, before we part. Kate I shall 
see often during the pleasant season, I trust ; but this is to 
be the last of Mordaunt, until the cold weather return." 

<*!s Mr. Littlepage going to travel ?" inquired the young 
lady, with just as much interest as good breeding demanded, 
and not a particle more ; " for Lilacsbush is not so distant 
but he might ride over once a week, at least, to inquire 
how you do." 

" Oh ! He is going a great, great distance, and to a par 
of the world I dread to think of!" 



THE CHAINBEARER. 67 

Miss Bayard now looked really startled, and a good deal 
astonished, questioning me with her very fine eyes, though 
she said nothing with her tongue. 

" It. is time I explain, lest Miss Bayard fancy my destina 
tion to be China ; whither all American adventurers now 
seem bent on going. I shall not quit the State, however." 

" As the State is of some size," answered Priscilla, " a 
grandmother may think an only grandson far enough dis 
tant who is at the other end of it. Perhaps you visit Nia 
gara, major Littlepage ? I have heard of several gentlemen 
who have such an excursion in view ; and glad enough shall 
I be when the roads are in such a state that ladies can be 
of the party." 

" And you would have the spirit to be of such a party ?" 
asked my grandmother, seizing with avidity everything, even 
to the least, that might encourage her wishes. 

Pris. Bayard seemed fearful she had gone too far ; for 
she blushed very charmingly, ere she answered. 

" I am not aware, Mrs. Littlepage, that any very great 
spirit would be required," she said. " It is true, there are 
Indians by the way, and a vast wilderness between us and 
the end of the journey ; but ladies have made it, I have been 
told, and in safety. One hears such wonders of the Falls, 
that it would be a strong temptation to hazard something, 
in order to see them." 

I look back with wonder over the short interval of time 
that interposes, when I remember how we used to regard 
the Falls of Niagara in my youth. A voyage to Europe 
seemed little less hazardous and serious ; and voyages to 
Europe were not then what they are to-day.* 

* The reader, of course, will always recollect that this manuscript 
was written nearly, if not quite forty years ago. Even then, a journey 
to Niagara was a serious undertaking. Now (1845), it can be made 
by steam the entire distance from the town of New York, or between 
450 and 500 miles, in less than thirty-six hours ! This is one of the 
prodigies of a giant in his infancy, and should render foreign politi 
cians cautious how they talk of regulating the boundaries of this 
republic, for its citizens. If the past can be any pledge for the future 
in American history, they are now living who will see steam extended 
across the continent, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and the stars 
and stripes flying at each end ! More than a thousand of the four 
thousand nvles necessary to achieve such an object have been over- 



68 THECHAINBEARER. 

" Nothing would make me happier," I eric d, gallantly, 
to my poor grandmother s ill-concealed delight, " than to be 
the protector of Miss Bayard on the excursion. 5 

" You really think, then, of undertaking the journey, 
major Littlepage ?" 

" Not this season, though I hold the hope in reserve, for 
some future day. My destination, at present, is Ravensnest, 
a place less than fifty miles distant from Albany." 

" Ravensnest ! That is a pretty name, though one might 
iike it better, I think, Kate, were it Dovesnest, or Robinsnest, 
or Wrensnest. What is this Ravensnest, Mr. Littlepage?" 

" An estate of a good deal of land, but of no great value 
as yet, whatever it may turn out to be hereafter, that was 
once the property of my grandfather Mordaunt, and which 
he bequeathed to me. My father and colonel Dirck have 
also an estate adjoining it, which is called Mooseridge. I 
am to visit both ; as the owner of one, and as the agent of 
the owners of the other. It is time the several properties 
were looked to, the late troubles having almost thrown them 
out of our view." 

" They tell me that a great deal is doing in the way of 
settling the wild lands of the interior- this summer," con 
tinued Priscilla, with an interest in the subject that was 
much more obvious to me, than explicable " and that a 
great many settlers are pouring in upon us from the adjoin 
ing New England States. I have heard, also, that the vast 
possessions of the Patroon are fast filling up, and that the 
heart of the State will soon be peopled." 

"You are more conversant with such matters than it is 
usual to find young ladies, Miss Bayard. I ascribe this to 
your being so good a whig, which is but another name for a 
patriot." 

Pris. blushed again, and she now seemed disposed to be 
silent ; though I could still detect an interest in the subject 

come; and that which remains to be done, comparing ends with 
means, is not one-half as great an effort as that which has been done. 
This may be a proper place to add, that nothing has so much strength, 
ened the present administration, in its annexation projects, as the 
threatened interference of European governments in the affairs of this 
continent. At some critical moment, when it is least wanted, America 
may pay them in kind. EDITOR. 



THE CHAINBEARER. 69 

that to me was quite unaccountable. Kate probably saw 
this too, for she continued to converse about my journey, 
even after her friend had drawn a little on one side ; and 
that, too, in a manner which seemed to say she was done. 

" Who is the queer old man of whom I have heard you 
speak, Mordaunt," my sister demanded, " and with whom 
you have lately had some correspondence about these 
lands?" 

" I suppose you mean my former comrade, the Chain- 
bearer. There was a captain in our regiment of the name 
of Coejemans, who bears this appellation, and who has con 
tracted to get the necessary surveys made, though he fills 
the humble post of a * Chainbearer himself, not being com 
petent to make the calculations." 

" How can a mere Chainbearer contract for a full sur 
vey ?" asked Tom Bayard, who had joined the party, and 
had been listening to the discourse. " The Chainbearers, 
in general, are but common labourers, and are perfectly 
irresponsible." 

" That is true, as a rule ; but my old friend forms an 
exception. He set out for a surveyor, but having no head 
for sines, and co-sines, and tangents, he was obliged to 
lower his pretensions to the humbler duty he now dis 
charges. Still, he has long contracted for jobs of this na 
ture, and gets as much as he can do, hiring surveyors 
himself, the owners of property having the utmost confi 
dence in his measurements. Let me tell you, the man who 
carries chain is not the least important member of a sur 
veying party in the woods. Old Andries is as honest as 
noon-day, and everybody has faith in him." 

" His true name is Coejemans, I think you said, major 
Littlepage ?" asked Priscilla, as it struck me assuming an 
air of indifference. 

" It is, Andries Coejemans ; and his family is reputable, 
if not absolutely of a high caste. But the old man is so in 
veterate a woodsman, that nothing but patriotism, and his 
whig propensities, could have drawn him out into the open 
country. After serving most gallantly through the whole 
war, he has gone back to his chains ; and many is the joke 
he has about remaining still in chains, after fighting so long 
and so often in the cause of liberty." 



70 



THE CHAINBEARER. 



Priscilla appeared to hesitate I thought her colour in* 
creased a little then she asked the question that was ap. 
parently uppermost in her thoughts, with surprising steadi 
ness. 

" Did you ever see the ChainbearerV niece, Dus Mai- 
bone?" 

This question not a little surprised me ; for, though I had 
never seen Ursula, the uncle had talked so much to me of 
his ward, that I almost fancied she was an intimate acquaint 
ance. It often happens that we hear so much of certain 
persons, that we think and speak of them as of those we 
know ; and had Miss Bayard questioned me of one of my 
late comrades in the service, I should not have been a whit 
more startled than I was at hearing her pronounce the fami 
liar name of Dus Mai bone. 

" Where, in the name of all that is curious, did you ever 
hear of such a person !" I exclaimed, a little inconsiderately, 
since the world was certainly wide enough to admit of two 
young women s being acquainted, without my consent ; more 
especially as one of them I had never seen, and the other I 
had met, for the first time, only a fortnight before. " Old 
Andries was always speaking to me of his niece ; but I could 
not suppose she was an acquaintance of one of your position 
in life !" 

" Notwithstanding, we were something more than school 
fellows ; for we were, and I trust are still, very, very good 
friends. I like Dus exceedingly, though she is quite as 
singular, in her way, as I have heard her uncle described to 
be, in his." 

" This is odd ! Will you allow me to ask one question ? 
You will think it singular, perhaps, after what you have 
just told me but curiosity will get the better of my man 
ners is Dus Malbone a lady the equal and companion of 
such a person as Miss Priscilla Bayard ?" 

" That is a question not so easily answered, perhaps ; 
since, in some respects, she is greatly the superior of any 
young woman I know. Her family, I have always heard, 
was very good on both sides ; she is poor, poor even to 
poverty, I fear, now" Here Pris. paused ; there was a tre- 
mour in her voice, even, and I detected tears starting to her 
eyes. "Poor Dus!" she continued "she had much to 



THE CHAINBEARER. 71 

support, in the way of poverty, even while at school ; where 
she was, indeed, as a dependant, rather than as a boarder ; 
but no one, among us all, could presume to offer her favours. 
I was afraid even to ask her to accept a ribbon, as I should 
not hesitate to do to Kate here, or any other young lady 
with whom I was intimate. I never knew a nobler-minded 
girl than Ursula Malbone, though few persons understand 
her, I think." 

" This is old Andries over again ! He was poor enough, 
heaven knows ; and I have known him actually suffer, in 
order to do his duty by this girl, and to make a proper ap 
pearance at the same time, as a captain in the New York 
line ; yet none of us, not even my father, could ever induce 
him to borrow a single dollar. He would give, but he would 
not receive." 

" I can believe this readily, it is so like Dus ! If she has 
her peculiarities, she has noble qualities enough to redeem 
a thousand foibles. Still, I would not have you think Ursula 
Malbone is not an excellent creature in all respects, though 
she certainly has her peculiarities." 

" Which, doubtless, she has inherited from the Coejemans, 
as her uncle, the Chainbearer, has his peculiarities too." 

" The Malbones have none of the blood of the Coeje 
mans," answered the lady, quickly ; " though it is respecta 
ble, and not to be ashamed of. Dus Malbone s mother was 
only half-sister to captain Coejemans, and they had different 
fathers." 

I thought Pris. looked a little confused, and as if she were 
sorry she had said so much on the subject at all, the instant 
she had betrayed so much intimacy with the Malbone 
genealogy; for she shrunk back, plucked a rose, and walked 
away smelling the flower, like one who was indisposed to 
say any more on the subject. A summons to breakfast, 
however, would otherwise have interrupted us, and no more 
was said about the Chainbearer, and his marvellous niece, 
Dus Malbone. As soon as the meal was ended, our horses 
were brought round, and Kate and I took our leave, Jaap 
having preceded us as usual, an hour or more, with our 
luggage. The reader is not to suppose that we always 
moved in the saddle, in that day ; on the contrary, my mo- 
ther had a very neat chaise, in which she used to drive 



72 THE CII AINBEARER. 

about the country, with a mounted postilion ; my father had 
a phaeton, and in town we actually kept a chariot ; for the 
union of the Mordaunt and Littlepage properties had made 
us very comfortable, and comfortably we lived. But young 
ladies liked the saddle twenty-five years ago, more than they 
do to-day ; and Kate, being a capital horsewoman, like her 
mother before her, we were often out together. It was 
choice, then, and not necessity, a little aided by bad roads, 
perhaps, that induced us to ride across to Satanstoe so often, 
when we wished to visit our grandmother. 

I kissed my dear old parent very affectionately at part 
ing, for I was to see her no more that summer ; and I got 
her blessing in return. As for Tom Bayard, a warm, bro 
therly shake of the hand sufficed, inasmuch as it was pretty 
certain I should see him at Lilacsbush before I left home. 
Approaching his sister, who held out her hand to me, in a 
friendly manner, I said as I took it 

" I hope this is not the last time I am to see you, before 
I start for the new countries, Miss Bayard. You owe my 
sister a visit, I believe, and I shall trust to that debt for an 
other opportunity of saying the unpleasant word * fare 
well. " 

" This is not the way to win a lady s heart, Mordaunt," 
cried Kate, gaily. "It is only fifteen miles from your 
father s door to the Hickories, you ought to know, sir ; and 
you have a standing invitation to darken its door with your 
military form." 

" From both my father and brother" put in Priscilla, a 
little hastily. " They will always be happy to see major 
Littlepage, most certainly." 

" And why not from yourself, Miss Prude," added Kate, 
who seemed bent on causing her friend some confusion. 
" We are not, now, such total strangers to each other, as to 
render that little grace improper." 

" When I am mistress of a house of my own, should that 
day ever arrive, I shall take care not to lose my reputation 
for hospitality," answered Pris., determined not to be caught, 
" by neglecting to include all the Littlepage family in my 
invitations. Until then, Tom s and papa s welcomes must 
suffice." 

The girl looked amazingly lovely all this time, and stood 



T 11 E C II A I N B E A R E K . 73 

the smiles of those around her with a self-possession that 
showed me she knew perfectly well what she was about. I 
was never more at a loss how to understand a young wo 
man, and it is very possible, had I remained near her for a 
month longer, the interest such uncertainty is apt to awaken 
might have sent me away desperately in love. But Provi 
dence had determined otherwise. 

During our ride towards the Bush, my sister, with pro 
per blushes and a becoming hesitation, let me into the secret 
of her having accepted Tom Bayard. They were not to be 
married until after my return from the north, an event that 
was expected to take place in the ensuing autumn. 

" Then I am to lose you, Kate, almost as soon as I find 
you," I said, a little despondingly. 

" Not lose me, brother ; no, no, not lose me, but Jlnd me, 
more than ever. I am to be transplanted into a family 
whither you will soon be coming to seek a wife, yourself." 

" Were I to come, what reason have I for supposing it 
would be successful ?" 

" That is a question you have no right to ask. Did I 
even know of any particular reason for believing your re 
ception would be favourable, you cannot believe me suffi 
ciently treacherous to betray my friend. Young ladies are 
not of the facility of character you seem to suppose, sir ; 
and no method but the direct one will succeed. I have no 
other reason for believing you would succeed, than the facts 
that you are an agreeable, good-looking youth, however, 
of unexceptionable family and fortune, living quite near the 
Hickories, and of a suitable age, temper, Ijabits, character, 
&c. &c. &c. Are not these reasons sufficient to encourage 
you to persevere, my brave major ?" 

" Perseverance implies commencement, and I have not 
yet commenced. I scarcely know what to make of your 
friend, child ; she is either the perfection of nature and sim 
plicity, or the perfection of art." 

" Art ! Pris. Bayard artful ! Mordaunt, you never did a 
human being greater injustice ; a child cannot have greater 
truth and sincerity than Tom s sister." 

"Ay, that s just it; Tom s sister is ex officio perfect; 
but, you will please to remember that some children are 
7 



74 THE CHAINBEARER. 

very artful. All I can say on the subject at present is, thai 
I like Tom, and I like his parents ; but I do not know what 
to think of your friend." 

Kate was a little offended, so she made me no answer. 
Her good-humour returned, however, before we had gone 
far, and the rest of our ride passed pleasantly enough, no 
allusions being made to any of the name of Bayard ; though, 
I dare say, my companion thought a great deal of a certain 
Tom, of that name, as I certainly did of his handsome and 
inexplicable sister. 

At the Kingsbridge Inn, we had another short brush with 
that untiring gossip, its landlady. 

" A pleasant time it has been over at the Toe, I dares to 
say," exclaimed Mrs. Light, the instant she thrust her head 
out of the door ; " a most agreeable and amusing time both 
for the young gentleman and for the young lady. Mr. 
Thomas Bayard and Miss Pris. Bayard have been with you, 
days and days, and old Madam Littlepage is delighted. Oh f 
the Toe has always been a happy house, and happy faces 
have I long been used to see come out of it, and happy faces 
do I see to-day ! Yes, yes ; the Toe has always sent happy, 
contented faces down the road ; and a happy roof it has 
been, by all accounts, these hundred years." 

I dare say this was all true enough. I have always heard 
that the old place contained contented hearts ; and contented 
hearts make happy faces. Kate s face was happiness itself, 
as she sat in the saddle listening to the crone; and my coun 
tenance is not one of ill-nature. The " Toe was ever a 
happy house !" It recalls old times, to hear a house thus 
familiarly spoken of; for a set is rising up among us which 
is vastly too genteel to admit that any one, man, woman, 
child, or Satan, ever had a member so homely as a Toe. 



THE CHAINBEARER. 75 



CHAPTER VI. 

M They love their land, because it is their own, 
And scorn to give aught other reason why ; 
Would shake hands with a king upon his throne, 
And think it kindness to his majesty ; 
A stubborn race, fearing and flattering none, 
Such are they nurtured, such they live and die : 
All, but a few apostates, who are meddling 
With merchandise, pounds, shillings, pence, and peddling." 

HALLECK. 

A DAY or two after my return to Lilacsbush, was pre 
sented one of those family scenes which are so common in 
the genial month of June, on the shores of the glorious old 
Hudson. I call the river the old Hudson, for it is quite as 
old as the Tiber, though the world has not talked of it as 
much, or as long. A thousand years hence, this stream 
will be known over the whole earth ; and men will speak 
of it as they now speak of the Danube and the Rhine. As 
good wine may not be made on its banks as is made on the 
acclivities of the latter river ; but, even to-day, better, both 
as to quality and variety, is actually drunk. On this last 
point, all intelligent travellers agree. 

There stands a noble linden on the lawn of Lilacsbush, 
at no great distance from the house, and necessarily within 
a short distance of the water. The tree had been planted 
there by my grandmother Mordaunt s father, to whom the 
place once belonged ; and it was admirably placed for the 
purposes of an afternoon s lounge. Beneath its shade we 
often took our dessert and wine, in the warm months ; and 
thither, since their return from the army, general Littlepage 
and colonel Dirck Pollock used to carry their pipes, and 
smoke over a campaign, or a bottle, as chance directed the 
discourse. For that matter, no battle-field had ever been so 
veiled in smoke, as would have been the case with the linden 
in question, could there have been a concentration of all 
the vapour it had seen. 



76 THECHAINBEARER. 

The afternoon of the day just mentioned, the whole family 
were seated beneath the tree, scattered round, as shade and 
inclination tempted ; though a small table, holding fruits 
and wine, showed that the usual business of the hour had 
not been neglected. The wines were Madeira and claret, 
those common beverages in the country ; and the fruits were 
strawberries, cherries, oranges and figs ; the two last im 
ported, of course. It was a little too early for us to get 
pines from the islands, a fruit which is so common in its 
season as to be readily purchased in town at the rate of four 
of a good size for a dollar. But, the abundance, and even 
luxury, of a better sort of the common American tables, is 
no news ; viands, liquors and fruits appearing on them, that 
are only known to the very rich and very luxurious in the 
countries of Europe. If the service were only as tasteful, 
and the cooking as good with us, as both are in France, for 
instance, America would be the very paradise of the epicure, 
let superficial travellers say what they please to the con 
trary. I have been abroad in these later times, and speak 
of what I know. 

No one sat at the table, though my father, colonel Dirck, 
and I were near enough to reach our glasses, at need. My 
mother was next to me, and reasonably close ; for I did not 
not smoke while aunt Mary and Kate had taken post, just 
without the influence of the tobacco. On the shore was a 
large skiff, that contained a tolerably sized trunk or two, 
and a sort of clothes-bag. In the first were a portion of 
my clothes, while those of Jaap filled the bag. The negro 
himself was stretched on the grass, about half-way between 
the tree and the shore, with two or three of his grandchil 
dren rolling about, at his feet. In the skiff was his son, 
seated in readiness to use the sculls, as soon as ordered. 

All this arrangement denoted my approaching departure 
for the north. The wind was at the south, and sloops of 
various degrees of promise and speed were appearing round 
the points, coming on one in the wake of another, as P vch 
had been able to quit the wharves to profit by the b* cze. 
In that day, the river had not a tenth part of the raft it 
now possesses ; but still, it had enough to make a lit ^e fleet, 
so near town, and at a moment when wind and tide both 
became favourable. At (hat time, most of the craft on the 



THE CHAINBEARER. 77 

Hudson belonged up the river, and they partook largely of 
the taste of our Dutch ancestors. Notable travellers before 
the gales, they did very little with foul winds, generally 
requiring from a week to a fortnight to tide it down from 
Albany, with the wind at all from the south. Nevertheless, 
few persons thought of making the journey between the two 
largest towns of the State (York and Albany), without 
having recourse to one of these sloops. I was at that mo 
ment in waiting for the appearance of a certain " Eagle, of 
Albany, captain Bogert," which was to run in close to 
Lilacsbush, and receive me on board, agreeably to an ar 
rangement previously made in town. I was induced to take 
a passage in this vessel from the circumstance that she had 
a sort of after-cabin that was screened by an ample green 
curtain, an advantage that all the vessels which then plied 
on the river did not possess ; though great improvements 
have been making ever since the period of which I am now 
writing. 

Of course, the interval thus passed in waiting for the ap 
pearance of the Eagle was filled up, more or less, by dis 
course. Jaap, who was to accompany me in my journey to 
Ravensnest, knew every vessel on the river, as soon as he 
could see her, and we depended on him to let us know when 
I was to embark, though the movements of the sloop her 
self could not fail to give us timely notice of the necessity 
of taking leave. 

" I should like exceedingly to pay a visit to old Mrs. 
Vander Heyden, at Kinderhook, Mordaunt," said my mo 
ther, after one of the frequent pauses that occurred in the 
discourse. " She is a relation, and I feel a great regard for 
her ; so much the more, from the circumstance of her being 
associated in my mind with that frightful night on the river, 
of which you have heard me speak." 

As my mother ceased speaking, she glanced affectionately 
towards the general, who returned the look, as he returned 
all my mother s looks, with one filled with manly tender 
ness. A more united couple than my parents never existed. 
They seemed to me ordinarily to have but one mind between 
them ; and when there did occur any slight difference of 
opinion, the question was not which should prevail, but 
which should yield. Of the two, my mother may have had 
7* 



78 THECHAINBEARER. 

the most native intellect, though the general was a fine, 
manly, sensible person, and was very universally respected. 

" It might be well, Anneke," said my father, " if the 
major were to pay a visit to poor Guert s grave, and see if 
the stones are up, and that the place is kept as it should be. 
I have not been there since the year 68, when it looked as 
if a friendly eye might do some good at no distant day." 

This was said in a low voice, purposely to prevent aunt 
Mary from hearing it; and, as she was a little deaf, it is 
probable the intention was successful. Not so, however, 
with colonel Dirck, who drew the pipe from his mouth, and 
sat attentively listening, in the manner of one who felt great 
interest in the subject. Another pause succeeded. 

" T en t ere ist my Lort Howe, Corny," observed the 
colonel ; how is it wit his grave?" 

" Oh ! the colony took good care of that. They buried 
him in the main aisle of St. Peter s, I believe ; and, no doubt, 
all is right with him. As for the other, major, it might be 
well to look at it." 

" Great changes have taken place at Albany, since we 
were there as young people !" observed my mother, thought 
fully. " The Cuylers are much broken up by the revolu 
tion, while the Schuylers have grown greater than ever. 
Poor aunt Schuyler, she is no longer living to welcome a 
son of ours !" 

" Time will bring about such changes, my love ; and we 
can only be thankful that so many of us remain, after so 
long and bloody a war." 

I saw my mother s lips move, and I knew she was mur 
muring a thanksgiving to the power which had preserved 
her husband and son, through the late struggle. 

" You will write as often as opportunities occur, Mor- 
daunt," said that dear parent, after a longer pause than 
usual. " Now there is peace, I can hope to get your letters 
with some little regularity." 

" They tell me, cousin Anneke" for so the colonel al 
ways called my mother, when we were alone " They tell 
me, cousin Anneke," said colonel Dirck, " t at t ey actually 
mean to have a mail free times a week petween Alpany 
and York ! T ere ist no knowing, general, what t is glo 
rious revolution will not do for us !" 



THECHAINBBARER. 79 

If it bring me letters three times a week from those 1 
love," rejoined my mother, "I am sure my patriotism will 
be greatly increased. How will letters get out from Ravens- 
nest to the older parts of the colony I should say, State, 
Mordaunt?" 

" I must trust to the settlers for that. Hundreds of Yan 
kees, they tell me, are out looking for farms this summer. 
I may use some of them for messengers." 

" Don t trust em too much, or too many" growled 
colonel Dirck, who had the old Dutch grudge against our 
eastern brethren. " See how they behav t to Schuyler." 

" Yes," said my father, replenishing his pipe, " they 
might have manifested more justice and less prejudice to 
wise Philip ; but prejudices will exist, all over the world. 
Even Washington has had his share." 

" T AT is a great man !" exclaimed colonel Dirck, with 
emphasis, and in the manner of one who felt certain of his 
point. " A ferry great man !" 

" No one will dispute with you, colonel, on that subject ; 
but, have you no message to send to our old comrade, An- 
dries Coejemans 1 He must have been at Mooseridge, with 
his party of surveyors, now, near a twelvemonth, and I 11 
warrant you has thoroughly looked up the old boundaries, 
so as to be ready for Mordaunt to start afresh, as soon as 
the boy reaches the Patent." 

" I hope he hast not hiret a Yankee surveyor, Corny," 
put in the colonel, in some little alarm. " If one of t em 
animals gets upon the tract, he will manage to carry off 
half of the lant in his compass-box ! I hope olt Andries 
knows petter." 

" I dare say he 11 manage to keep all the land, as well as 
to survey it. It is a thousand pities the captain has no head 
for figures; for his honesty would have made his fortune. 
But, I have seen him tried, and know it will not do. He 
was a week once making up an account of some stores re 
ceived from head-quarters, and the nearest he could get to 
<ihe result was twenty-five per cent, out of the way." 

" I would sooner trust Andries Coejemans to survey my 
property, figures or no figures," cried colonel Dirck, posi 
tively, " than any dominie in New England." 

" Well that is as one thinks," returned my father, tasting 



80 THECHAINBEARER. 

the Madeira. " For my part, I shall be satisfied with the 
surveyor he -may happen to select, even though he should 
be a Yankee. Andries is shrewd, if he be no calculator f 
and I dare to say he has engaged a suitable man. Having 
taken the job at a liberal price, he is too honest a fellow not 
to hire a proper person to do the head-work. As for all the 
rest, I would trust him as soon as I would trust any man in 
America." 

" T at is gospel. Mordaunt will haf an eye on matters 
too, seein he has so great an interest in the estate. T ere 
is one t ing, major, you must not forget. Five hundred goot 
acres must be surveyed off for sister Anneke, and five hun 
dred for pretty Kate, here. As soon as t at is done, the 
general and I will give each of the gals a deet." 

" Thank you, Dirck," said my father, with feeling. "I ll 
not refuse the land for the girls, who may be glad enough 
to own it some time or other." 

" It s no great matter now, Corny ; put, as you say, it 
may be of use one day. Suppose we make old Andries a 
present of a farm, in his pargain." 

" With all my heart," cried my father, quickly. " A 
couple of hundred acres might make him comfortable for 
the rest of his days. I thank you for the hint, Dirck, and 
we will let Mordaunt choose the lot, and send us the de 
scription, that we may prepare the deed." 

" You forget, general, that the Chainbearer has, or will 
have his military lot, as a captain," I ventured to remark. 
"Besides, land will be of little use to him, unless it might 
be to measure it. I doubt if the old man would not prefer 
going without his dinner, to hoeing a hill of potatoes." 

" Andries had three slaves while he was with us ; a man, 
a woman, and their daughter," returned my father. " He 
would not sell them, he said, on any consideration ; and I 
have known him actually suffering for money when he was 
too proud to accept it from his friends, and too benevolent 
to part with family slaves, in order to raise it. They were 
born Coejemans, he always said, as much as I was born 
one myself, and they shall die Coejemans. He doubtless 
has these people with him, at the Ridge, where you will 
find them all encamped, near some spring, with garden- 
f uff and other small things growing around him, if he cao 



THE CHAINBEARER. Ol 

find open land enough for such a purpose. He has permis 
sion to cut and till at pleasure." 

" This is agreeable news to me, general," I answered, 
" since it promises a sort of home. If the Chainbearer has 
really these blacks with him, and has hutted judiciously, I 
dare say we shall have quite as comfortable a time as many 
of those we passed together in camp. Then, I shall carry 
my flute with me ; for Miss Priscilla Bayard has given me 
reason to expect a very wonderful creature in Dus, the 
niece, of which old Andries used to talk so much. You 
remember to have heard the Chainbearer speak of such a 
person, I dare say, sir ; for he was quite fond of mentioning 
her." 

" Perfectly well ; Dus Malbone was a sort of toast among 
the young men of the regiment at one time, though no one 
of them all ever could get a sight of her, by hook or by 
crook." 

Happening to turn my head at that moment, I found my 
dear mother s eyes turned curiously on me ; brought there, 
I fancy, by the allusion to Tom s sister. 

" What does Priscilla Bayard know of this Chainbearer s 
niece?" that beloved parent asked, as soon as she perceived 
that her look had attracted my attention. 

" A great deal, it would seem ; since she tells me they 
are fast friends : quite as great, I should judge from Miss 
Bayard s language and manner, as Kate and herself." 

" That can scarcely be," returned my mother, slightly 
smiling, " since there the principal reason must be wanting. 
Then, this Dus can hardly be Priscilla Bayard s equal." 

" One never knows such a thing, mother, until he has 
had an opportunity of making comparisons ; though Misg 
Bayard, herself, says Dus is much her superior in many 
things. I am sure her uncle is my superior in some re 
spects ; in carrying chain, particularly so." 

" Ay, but scarcely in station, Mordaunt." 

" He was the senior captain of the regiment." 

" True ; but revolutions are revolutions. What I mean 
is, that your Chainbearer can hardly be a gentleman." 

" That is a point not to be decided in a breath. He is, 
and he is not. Old Andries is of a respectable family, 
though but indifferently educated. Men vastly his inferiors 



82 THBCHAINBEARER. 

in birth, in habits, in the general notions of the easte, in the 
New England States, are greatly his superiors in know 
ledge. Nevertheless, while we must all admit how necessary 
a certain amount of education has become, at the present 
time, to make a gentleman, I think every gentleman will 
allow hundreds among us have degrees in their pockets with 
small claims to belong to the class. Three or four centuries 
ago, I should have answered that old Andries was a gentle 
man, though he had to bite the wax with his teeth and make 
a cross, for want of a better signature." 

" And he, what you call a chainbearer, Mordaunt !" ex 
claimed my sister. 

" As well as late senior captain in your father s regiment, 
Miss Littlepage. But, no matter, Andries and Dus are such 
as they are, and I shall be glad to have them for companions 
this summer. Jaap is making signals, and I must quit you 
all. Heigho ! It is very pleasant here, under this linden, 
and home begins to entwine its fibres around my heart. 
Never mind ; it will soon be autumn, and I shall see the 
whole of you, I trust, as I leave you, well and happy in 
town." 

My dear, dear mother had tears in her eyes, when she 
embraced me ; so had Kate, who, though she did love Tom 
Bayard most, loved me very warmly too. Aunt Mary 
kissed me, in her quiet but affectionate way ; and I shook 
hands with the gentlemen, who accompanied me down to 
the boat. I could see that my father was affected. Had 
the war still continued, he would have thought nothing of 
the separation ; but in that piping time of peace, it seemed 
to come unseasonably. 

" Now, don t forget the great lots for Anneke and Ka- 
trinke," said colonel Dirck, as we descended to the shore. 
" Let Andries pick out some of the best of the lant, t at is 
well watered and timbered, and we 11 call the lots after the 
gals ; that is a goot idea, Corny." 

. " Excellent, my friend. Mordaunt, my son, if you come 
across any places that look like graves, I wish you would 
set up marks by which they may be known. It is true, a 
quarter of a century or more makes many changes in the 
woods; and it is quite likely no such remains will be 
found." 



THE CHAINBEARER. 83 

** A quarter of a century in the American forest, sir," I 
answered, " is somewhat like the same period in the wan 
derings of a comet; lost, in the numberless years of its 
growth. A single tree will sometimes outlast the genera 
tions of an entire nation." 

" You wilt rememper, Mordaunt, that I wilt haf no Yan 
kee tenants on my estate. Your father may lease em one- 
half of a lot, if he please; but I will not lease t other." 

" As you are tenants in common, gentlemen," I answered, 
smiling, " it will not be easy to separate th,e interests in this 
manner. I believe I understand you, however ; I am to sell 
the lands of Mooseridge, or covenant to sell, as your attor 
ney, while I follow out my grandfather Mordaunt s ideas, 
and lease those that are not yet leased, on my own estate. 
This will at least give the settlers a choice, and those who 
do not like one plan of obtaining their farms, may adopt the 
other." 

I now shook hands again with the gentlemen, and step 
ping into the skiff, we pulled away from the shore. Jaap 
had made this movement in good season, and we were com 
pelled to row a quarter of a mile down the river to meet the 
sloop.. Although the wind was perfectly fair, it was not so 
fresh as to induce Mr. Bogert to round-to ; but throwing us 
a rope, it was caught, when we were safely transferred, bag 
and baggage, to the decks of the Eagle. 

Captain Bogert was smoking at the helm, when he re 
turned my salute. Removing the pipe, after a puff or two, 
he pointed with the stem towards the group on the shore, 
and inquired if I wished to say " good-bye." 

" Allponny" so the Dutch were wont to pronounce thi 
name of their town in the last century, " is a long way off," 
he said, " and maype you woult like to see the frients ag in." 

This business of waving hats and handkerchiefs is a re 
gular thing on the Hudson, and I expressed my willingness 
to comply with the usage, as a matter of course.* In con- 

* Such were the notions of Mr. Mordaunt Littlepage, at the com 
mencement of this century, and such his feeling shortly after the 
peace of 1783. Nothing of the sort more completely illustrates th 
general change that has come over the land, in habits and material 
things, than the difference between the movements of that day and 
those of our own. Then, the departure of a sloop, or the embarkation 
of a passenger along the shore, brought parties to the wharves, and 



84 THECHAIHBEAREK* 

sequence, Mr. Bogert deliberately sheared in towards Ifco 
shore, and I saw the whole family collecting on a low rocky 
near the water, to take the final look. In the back-ground 
stood the Satanstoes, a dark, woolly group, including Mrs. 
Jaap, and two generations of descendants. The whites were 
weeping ; that is to say, my dear mother and Kate ; and the 
blacks were laughing, though she old lady kept her teeth to 
herself about as much as she exposed them. A sensation 
almost invariably produces laughter with a negro, the only 
exceptions being on occasions of singular gravity. 

I believe, if the truth were known, Mr. Bogert greatly 
exulted in the stately movement of his sloop, as she brushed 
along the shore, at no great distance from the rocks, with 
her main-boom guyed out to starboard, and studdingsail- 
boom to port. The flying-topsail, too, was set; and the Eagle 
might be said to be moving in all her glory. She went so 
near the rocks, too, as if she despised danger ! Those were 
not the days of close calculations that have succeeded. 
Then, an Albany skipper did not mind losing a hundred or 
two feet of distance in making his run ; whereas, now, it 
would not be an easy matter to persuade a Liverpool trader 
to turn as much aside in order to speak a stranger in the 
centre of the Atlantic ; unless, indeed, he happened to want 
to get the other s longitude. 

As the sloop swept past the rocks, I got bows, waving of 
hats and handkerchiefs, and good wishes enough to last the 
whole voyage. Even Jaap had his share ; and " good-bye, 
Jaap," came to my ears, from even the sweet voice of Kate, 
Away we went, in stately Dutch movement, slow but sure, 
In ten minutes Lilacsbush was behind us, and I was once 
more alone in the world, for months to come. 

There was now time to look about me, and to ascertain 
who were my companions in this voyage. The skipper and 
crew were as usual the masters ; and the pilots, both whites, 

wavings of handkerchiefs, as if those who were left behind felt a 
lingering wish to see the last of their friends. Now, literally thou 
sands come and go daily, passing about as many hours on the Hudson 
as their grandfathers passed days ; and the shaking of hands and 
leave-takings are usually done at home. It would be a bold woman 
who would think now of waving a handkerchief to a Hudson river 
team-boat ! EDITOR. 



THIS CHAINBEARER. 

and both of Dutch extraction, an old wrinkled negro, who 
had passed his life on the Hudson as a foremast-hand, and 
two younger blacks, one of whom was what was dignified 
with the name of cabin-steward. Then, there were numer 
ous passengers ; some of whom appeared to belong to the 
upper classes. They were of both sexes, but all were 
strangers to me. On the main-deck were six or eight sturdy, 
decent, quiet, respectable-looking labourers, who were evi 
dently of the class of husbandmen. Their packs were lying 
in a pile, near the foot of the mast, and I did not fail to ob 
serve that there were as many axes as there were packs. 

The American axe ! It has made more real and lasting 
conquests than the sword of any warlike people that ever 
lived ; but, they have been conquests that have left civiliza 
tion in their train, instead of havoc and desolation. More 
than a million of square miles of territory* have been open 
ed up from the shades of the virgin forest, to admit the 
warmth of the sun ; and culture and abundance have been 
spread where the beast of the forest so lately roamed, hunted 
by the savage. Most of this, too, has been effected between 
the day when I went on board the Eagle, and that on which 
I am now writing. A brief quarter of a century has seen 
these wonderful changes wrought; and at the bottom of 
them all lies this beautiful, well-prized, ready, and efficient 
implement, the American axe ! 

It would not be easy to give the reader a clear notion of 
the manner in which the young men and men of all ages of 
the older portions of the new republic poured into the woods 
to commence the business of felling the forests, and laying 
bare the secrets of nature, as soon as the nation rose from 
beneath the pressure of war, to enjoy the freedom of peace. 
The history of that day in New York, which State led the 
van in the righteous strife of improvement, and has ever 
since so nobly maintained its vantage-ground, has not yet 
been written. When it is properly recorded, names will be 
rescued from oblivion that better deserve statues and niches 
in the temple of national glory, than those of many who have 
merely got the start of them by means of the greater facility 
with which the public mind is led away in the train of 

* More than two millions at the present day 
8 



86 TI1ECHAINBEAREH. 

brilliant exploits, than it is made sensible of the merits of 
those that are humane and useful. 

It was not usual for settlers, as it has become the practice 
to term those who first take up and establish themselves on 
new lands, to make their journeys from the neighbourhood 
of the sea to the interior, other than by land ; but a few 
passed out of Connecticut, by the way of New York, and 
thence up the river in the sloops. Of this character were 
those I found on board the Eagle. In all, we had seven of 
these men, who got into discourse with me the first day of 
our passage, and I was a little surprised at discovering how 
much they already knew of me, and of my movements. 
Jaap, however, soon suggested himself to my mind, as the 
probable means of the intelligence they had gleaned ; and, 
on inquiry, such I ascertained was the fact. 

The curiosity and the questioning propensities of the peo 
ple of New England, have been so generally admitted by 
writers and commentators on American character, that I 
suppose one has a right to assume the truth of the charac 
teristics. I have heard various ways of accounting for 
them ; and, among others, the circumstance of their disposi 
tion to emigrate, which brings with it the necessity of in 
quiring after the welfare of friends at a distance. It appears 
to me, however, this is taking a very narrow view of the 
cause, which I attribute to the general activity of mind 
among a people little restrained by the conventional usages 
of more sophisticated conditions of society. The practice 
of referring so much to the common mind, too, has a great 
influence on all the opinions of this peculiar portion of the 
American population, seeming to confer the right to inquire 
into matters that are elsewhere protected by the sacred feel 
ing of individual privacy. 

Let this be as it might, my axe-men had contrived to get 
out of Jaap all he knew about Ravensnest and Mooseridge, 
as well as my motives in making the present journey. This 
information obtained, they were not slow in introducing 
themselves to me, and of asking the questions that were 
uppermost in their minds. Of course, I made such answers 
as were called for by the case, and we established a sort 
of business acquaintance between us, the very first day. 
The voyage lasting several days, by the time we reached 



THE CHAIN BE ARER. 87 

Albany, pretty much all that could be said on such a subject 
had been uttered by one side or the other. 

As respected Ravensnest, my own property, my grand 
father had requested jn his will that the farms might be 
leased, having an eye to my children s profit, rather than 
to mine. His request was a law to me, and I had fully de 
termined to offer the unoccupied lands of that estate, or 
quite three-fourths of the whole patent, on leases similar in 
their conditions to those which had already been granted. 
On the other hand, it was the intention to part with the lots 
of M ooseridge, in fee. These conditions were made known 
to the axe-men, as my first essay in settling a new country ; 
and contrary to what had been my expectation, I soon dis 
covered that these adventurers inclined more to the leases 
than to the deeds. It is true, I expected a small payment 
down, in the case of each absolute sale, while I was pre 
pared to grant leases, for three lives, at very low rents at 
the best; and in the cases of a large proportion of the lots, 
those that were the least eligible by situation, or through 
their quality, to grant them leases without any rent at all, 
for the few first years of their occupation. These last ad 
vantages, and the opportunity of possessing lands a goodly 
term of years, for rents that were put as low as a shilling 
an acre, were strong inducements, as I soon discovered, 
with those who carried all they were worth in their packs, 
and who thus reserved the little money they possessed to 
supply the wants of their future husbandry. 

We talked these matters over during the week we were 
on board the sloop ; and by the time we came in sight of the 
steeples of Albany, my men s minds were made up to follow 
me to the Nest. These steeples were then two in number, 
viz : that of the English church, that stood near the margin 
of the town, against the hill ; and that of the Dutch church, 
which occupied an humbler site, on the low land, and could 
scarcely be seen rising above the pointed roofs of the adja 
cent houses ; though these last, themselves, were neither 
particularly high nor particularly imposing. 



83 THE CHAINBEAREK. 



CHAPTER VII. 

" Who is that graceful female here 

With yon red hunter of the deer ? 
Ofgentle mien and shape, she seems 

For civil halls design d ; 
Yet with the stately savage walks, 

As she were of his kind." 

PlNCKNEY. 

I MA.DE little stay in Albany, but, giving the direction to 
the Patent to the axe-men, left it the very day of our arrival. 
There were very few public conveyances in that early day, 
and I was obliged to hire a wagon to transport Jaap and 
myself, with our effects, to Ravensnest. A sort of dull calm 
had come over the country, after the struggles of the late 
war ; but one interest in it appearing to be alive and very 
active. That interest, fortunately for me, appeared to be 
the business of " land-hunting" and " settling." Of this, I 
had sufficient proof in Albany itself; it being difficult to 
enter the principal street of that town, and not find in it 
more or less of these adventurers, the emblems of whose 
pursuit were the pack and the axe. Nine out of ten came 
from the eastern or New England States ; then the most 
peopled, while they were not very fortunate in either soil or 
climate. 

We were two days in reaching Ravensnest, a property 
which I had owned for several years, but which I now saw 
for the first time. My grandfather had left a sort of an agent 
on the spot, a person of the name of Jason Newcome, who 
was of my father, the general s age, and who had once been 
a schoolmaster in the neighbourhood of Satanstoe. This 
agent had leased extensively himself, and was said to be the 
occupant of the only mills, of any moment, on the property. 
With him a correspondence had been maintained ; and once 
or twice during the war my father had managed to have an 
interview with this representative of his and my interests. 
As for myself, I was now to see him for the fir?- * :vy> . We 



TIIECHAINBEAREIi. 89 

knew each other by reputation only ; and certain passages 
in the agency had induced me to give Mr. Newcome notice 
that it was my intention to make a change in the manage 
ment of the property. 

Any one who is familiar with the aspect of things in what 
is called a " new country" in America, must be well aware 
it is not very inviting. The lovers of the picturesque can 
have little satisfaction in looking at even the finest natural 
scenery at such moments ; the labour that has been effected 
usually having done so much to mar the beauties of nature, 
without having yet had time to supply the deficiencies by 
those of art. Piles of charred or half-burned logs ; fields 
covered with stumps, or ragged with stubs; fences of the 
rudest sorts, and filled with brambles ; buildings of the 
meanest character ; deserted clearings ; and all the other 
signs of a vState of things in which there is a manifest and 
constant struggle between immediate necessity and future 
expediency, are not calculated to satisfy either the hopes or 
the tastes. Occasionally a different state of things, how 
ever, under circumstances peculiarly favourable, does exist; 
and it may be well to allude to it, lest the reader form but a 
single picture of this transition state of American life. When 
the commerce of the country is active, and there is a de 
mand for the products of the new lands, a settlement often 
presents a scene of activity in which the elements of a 
thriving prosperity make themselves apparent amid the 
^rnoke of fallows, and the rudeness of border life. Neither, 
however, was the case at Ravensnest, when I first visited 
the place ; though the last was, to a certain extent, its con 
dition two or three years later, or after the great European 
war brought its wheat and ashes into active demand. 

I found but few more signs of cultivation between the 
point where I left the great northern road and the bounds 
of the patent, than had been found by my father, as he has 
described them to me in his first visit, which took place a 
quarter of a century earlier than this of mine. There was 
one log tavern, it is true, in the space mentioned ; but it 
afforded nothing to drink but rum, and nothing to eat but 
salted pork and potatoes, the day I stopped there to dine. 
But there were times and seasons when, by means of veni 
son, wild fowl and fish, a luxurious board might have been 
8* 



90 THE CHAINBEARER. 

spread. That this was not the opinion of my landlady, 
nevertheless, was apparent from the remarks she made 
while I was at table. 

" You are lucky, major Littlepage," she said, " in not 
having come among us in one of what I call our starving 
times and awful times they be, if a body may say what 
she thinks on em." 

" Starvation is a serious matter at any time," I answered, 
" though I did not know you ever were reduced to such 
difficulties in a country as rich and abundant as this." 

" Of what use is riches and abundance if a man will do 
nothing but fish and shoot ? I ve seen the day when there 
wasn t a mouthful to eat, in this very house, but a dozen or 
two of squabs, a string of brook-trout, and maybe a deer, 
or a salmon from one of the lakes." 

" A little bread would have been a welcome addition to 
such a meal." 

" Oh ! as for bread, I count that for nothin . We always 
have bread and potatoes enough ; but I hold a family to be 
in a desperate way, when the mother can see the bottom of 
the pork-barrel. Give me children that s raised on good 
sound pork, afore all the game in the country. Game s 
good as a relish, and so s bread ; but pork is the staff of 
life ! To have good pork, a body must have good corn ; 
and good corn needs hoeing ; and a hoe isn t a fish-pole, or 
a gun. No, my children I calkerlate to bring up on pork, 
with just as much bread and butter as they may want !" 

This was American poverty as it existed in 1784. Bread, 
butter and potatoes, ad libitum ; but little pork, and no tea. 
Game in abundance in its season ; but the poor man who 
lived on game was supposed to be keeping just as poor an 
establishment as the epicure in town who gives a dinner to 
his brethren, and is compelled to apologize for there being 
no game in the market. Curious to learn more from this 
woman, I pursued the discourse. 

" There are countries, I have read," I continued, " in 
which the poor do not taste meat of any sort, not even game, 
from the beginning of the year to its end ; and, sometimes, 
not even bread." 

" Well, I m no great hand for bread, as I said afore, 
and should eat no great matter of it, so long as I could get 



THECIIAINBEARER. 91 

pork," the woman answered, evidently interested in what I 
had said ; " but, I shouldn t like to be without it altogether ; 
and the children, especially, do love to have it -with their 
butter. Living on potatoes alone must be a wild animal 
sort of life!" 

" Very tame animals do it, and that from dire necessity." 

" Is there any law ag in their using bread and meat?" 

" No other law than the one which forbids their using 
that which is the property of another." 

" Good land !" This is a very common American ex 
pression among the women " Good land ! Why don t they 
go to work and get in crops, so they might live a little ?" 

" Simply because they have no land to till. The land 
belongs to others, too." 

" I should think they might hire, if they couldn t buy. 
It s about as good to hire as it is to buy some folks (folk) 
think it s better. Why don t they take land on shares, and 
live?" 

" Because land, itself, is not to be had. With us, land is 
abundant ; we have more of it than is necessary, or than 
will be necessary, for ages to come ; perhaps it would be 
better for our civilization were there less of it but, in the 
countries of which I speak, there are more people than there 
is land." 

" Well, land is a good thing, I admit, and it s right there 
should be an owner to it ; yet, there are folks who would 
rather squat than buy or hire, any day. Squatting comes 
nat ral to em." 

" Are there many squatters in this part of the country?" 

The woman looked a little confused, and she did not an 
swer me, until she had taken time to reflect on what she 
should say. 

" Some folks call us squatters, I s pose," was the reluctant 
answer, " but / do not. We have bought the betterments 
of a man who hadn t much of a title, I think likely ; but, as 
we bought his betterments fairly, Mr. Tinkum," that was 
the husband s name, " is of opinion that we live under 
title, as it is called. What do you say to it, major Little- 
page?" 

" I can only say that nought will produce nought;, no 
thing, nothing. If the man of whom you purchased owned 



92 THE CHAINBEARER. 

nothing, he could sell nothing. The betterments he called 
his, were not his ; and in purchasing them, you purchased 
what he did not own." 

" Well, it s no great shakes, if he had nt any right, sin 
Tinkum only gi n an old saddle, that warn t worth two dol 
lars, and part of a set of single harness, that I d defy a 
conjurer to make fit any mule, for the whull right. One 
year s rent of this house is worth all put together, and that 
twice over, if the truth must be said ; and we ve been in it, 
now, seven years. My four youngest were all born under 
this blessed roof, such as it is !" 

" In that case, you will not have much reason to com 
plain, when the real owner of the soil appears to claim it. 
The betterments came cheap, and they will go as cheap." 

" That s just it ; though I don t call ourselves much of 
squatters, a ter all, seein we have paid suthin for the better 
ments. They say an old nail, paid in due form, will make 
a sort of title in the highest court of the State. I m sure 
the laws should be considerate of the poor." 

" Not more so than of the rich. The laws should be equal 
and just ; and the poor are the last people who ought to 
wish them otherwise, since they are certain to be the losers 
when any other principle governs. Rely on it, my good 
woman, the man who is for ever preaching the rights of the 
poor is at bottom a rogue, and means to make that cry a 
stalking-horse for his own benefit ; since nothing can serve 
the poor but severe justice. No class suffers so much by a 
departure from the rule, as the rich have a thousand other 
means of attaining their ends, when the way is left clear to 
them, by setting up any other master than the right." 

" I don t know but it may be so ; but I don t call our 
selves squatters. There is dreadful squatters about here, 
though, and on your lands too, by the tell." 

" On my lands ! I am sorry to hear it, for I shall feel it 
a duty to get rid of them. I very well know that the great 
abundance of land that we have in the country, its "little 
comparative value, and the distance at which the owners 
generally reside from their estates, have united to render the 
people careless of the rights of those who possess real pro 
perty ; and I am prepared to view things as they are among 



THE CHAINBEARER. 93 

ourselves, rather than as they exist in older countries ; but 
I shall not tolerate squatters." 

" Well, by all I hear, I think you 11 call old Andries, the 
Chainbearer, a squatter of the first class. They tell me the 
old chap has come back from the army as fierce as a cata* 
mount, and that there is no speaking to him, as one used to 
could, in old times." 

" You are, then, an old acquaintance of the Chain- 
bearer r 

" I should think I was ! Tinkum and I have lived about, 
a good deal, in our day; and old Andries is a desp ate 
hand for the woods. He surveyed out for us, once, or half- 
surveyed, another betterment ; but he proved to be a spiteful 
rogue afore he got through with the business ; and we have 
not set much store by him ever sin that time." 

" The Chainbearer a rogue ! Andries Coejemans any- 
thing but an honest man ! You are the first person, Mrs. 
Tinkum, I have ever heard call in question his sterling in 
tegrity." 

" Sterling money doesn t pass now, I conclude, sin it a 
revolution times. We all know which side your family was 
on in the war, major Littlepage ; so it s no offence to you. 
A proper sharp look-out they had of it here, when you quit 
college ; for some said old Herman Mordaunt had ordered 
in his will that you should uphold the king ; and then, most 
of the tenants concluded they would get the lands altogether. 
It is a sweet thing, major, for a tenant to get his farm with 
out paying for it, as you may judge ! Some folks was des- 
p ate sorry when they heern tell that the Littlepages went 
with the colonies." 

" I hope there are few such knaves on the Ravensnest 
estate as to wish anything of the sort. But, let me hear an 
explanation of your charge against the Chainbearer. I 
have no great concern for my own rights in the patent that 
I claim." 

The woman had the audacity, or the frankness, to draw 
a long, regretful sigh, as it might be, in my very face. That 
sigh expressed her regrets that I had not taken part with the 
crown in the last struggle; in which case, I do suppose she 
and Tinkum would have contrived to squat on one of the 



94 THE CHAINBEARER 

farms of Ravensnest. Having sighed, however, the landlady 
did not disdain to answer. 

" As for the Chainbearer, the simple truth is this," she 
said. " Tinkum hired him to run a line between some 
betterments we had bought, and some that had been bought 
by a neighbour of our n. This was long afore the war, and 
when titles were scarcer than they J re gettin to be now ; 
some of the landlords living across the water. Well, what 
do you think the old fellow did, major 1 He first asked for 
our deeds, and we showed them to him ; as good and lawful 
warrantees as was ever printed, and filled up by a squire. 
He then set to work, all by himself, jobbing the whull sur 
vey, as it might be, and a prettier line was never run, as far 
as he went, which was about half-way. I thought it would 
make etarnel peace atween us and our neighbour, for it had 
been etarnel war afore that, for three whull years ; some 
times with clubs, and sometimes with axes, and once with 
scythes. But, somehow I never know d how but somehow, 
old Andries found out that the man who deeded to us had 
no deed to himself, or no mortal right to the land, any more 
than that sucking pig you see at the door there ; when he 
gi n right up, refusing to carry out another link, or p int 
another needle, he did! Warn t that being cross-grained 
and wilful ! No, there s no dependence to be put on the 
Chainbearer." 

" Wilful in the cause of right, as glorious old Andries 
always is ! I love and honour him all the better for it." 

" La ! Do you love and honour sich a one as him ! 
Well, I should have expected suthin else from sich a 
gentleman as you ! I d no idee major Littlepage could 
honour an old, worn-out Chainbearer, and he a man that 
couldn t get up in the world, too, when he had hands and 
feet, all on em together, on some of the very best rounds 
of the ladder ! Why, I judge that even Tinkum would have 
gone ahead, if he had been born with sich a chance." 

" Andries has been a captain in my own regiment, it is 
true, and was once my superior officer ; but he served for 
his country s sake, and not for his own. Have you seen 
him lately?" 

" That have we ! He passed here about a twelvemonth 
ago, with his whull party, on their way to squat on your 



THE CH AINBE ARERo 

own land, or I m mistaken. There was the Chainbearer 
himself, two helpers, Dus and young Malbone." 

" Young who ?" I asked, with an interest that induced the 
woman to turn her keen, sunken, but sharp grey eyes, in 
tently on me. 

" Young Malbone, I said j Dus brother, and the young- 
ster who does all old Andries rithmetic. I suppose you 
know as well as I do, that the Chainbearer can t calkerlate 
any more than a wild goose, and not half as well as a crow. 
For that matter, I ve known crows that, in plantin time, 
would measure a field in half the number of minutes that 
the State surveyor would be hours at." 

" This young Malbone, then, is the Chainbearer s ne 
phew ? And he it is who does the surveying ?" 

" He does the rithmetic part, and he is a brother of old 
Andries niece. I know d the Coejemans when I was a gal, 
and I ve known the Malbones longer than I want to know 
them." 

" Have you any fault to find with the family, that you 
speak thus of them ?" 

" Nothin but their desperate pride, which makes them 
think themselves so much better than everybody else ; yel, 
they tell me, Dus and all on em are just as poor as I am 
myself." 

" Perhaps you mistake their feeling, good woman ; a 
thing I think the more probable, as you seem to fancy mo 
ney the source of their pride, at the very moment you deny 
their having any. Money is a thing on which few persons 
of cultivated minds pride themselves. The purse-proud are, 
almost invariably, the vulgar and ignorant." 

No doubt this was a moral thrown away with such an 
auditor ; but I was provoked ; and when a man is provoked, 
he is not always wise. The answer showed the effect it had 
produced. 

" I don t pretend to know how that is ; but, if it isn t 
pride, what is it that makes Dus Malbone so different from 
my da ters ? She d no more think of being like one on em, 
scouring about the lots, riding bare-backed, and scampering 
through the neighbourhood, than you d think of cooking 
my dinner that she wouldn t." 

Poor Mrs. Tinkum or, as she would have been apt to 



96 THE CHAINBEARER 

call herself, Miss Tinkum ! She had betrayed one of the 
commonest weaknesses of human nature, in thus imputing 
pride to the Chainbearer s niece because the latter behaved 
differently from her and her s. How many persons in this 
good republic of ours judge their neighbours on precisely 
the same principle ; inferring something unsuitable, because 
it seems to reflect on their own behaviour ! But, by this 
time, I had got to hear the name of Dus with some interest, 
and I felt disposed to push the subject further. 

" Miss Malbone, then," I said, " does not ride bare 
backed?" 

" La ! major, what in natur puts it into your head to call 
the gal Miss Malbone ! There s no Miss Malbone living 
sin her own mother died." 

" Well, Dus Malbone, I mean ; she is above riding bare 
backed?" 

" That she is ; even a pillion would be hardly grand 
enough for her, allowing her own brother to use the 
saddle." .. 

" Her own brother ? This young surveyor, then, is 
Dus s brother?" 

" Sort o , and sort o not, like. They had the same father, 
but different mothers." 

" That explains it ; I never heard the Chainbearer speak 
of any nephew, and it seems the young man is not related 
to him at all he is the half -brother of his niece." 

" Why can t that niece behave like other young women? 
that s the question I ask. My gals hasn t as much pride as 
would be good for em, not they ! If a body wants to bor 
row an article over at the Nest, and that s seven miles off, 
the whull way in the woods, just name it to Poll, and she d 
jump on an ox, if there warn t a hoss, and away she d go 
a ter it, with no more bit of a saddle, and maybe nothin but 
a halter, like a deer ! Give me Poll, afore all the gals 1 
know, for ar nds !" 

By this time, disrelish for vulgarity was getting the better 
of curiosity ; and my dinner of fried pork being done, I was 
willing to drop the discourse. I had learned enough of An- 
dries and his party to satisfy my curiosity, and Jaap was 
patiently waiting to succeed me at table. Throwing down 
the amount of the bill, I took a fowling-piece with which we 



THECHAINBEARER. 97 

always travelled in those days, bade Mrs. Tinkum good-day, 
ordered the black and the wagoner to follow with the team 
as soon as ready, and went on towards my own property 
on foot. 

In a very few minutes I was quite beyond the Tinkum 
betterments, and fairly in the forest again. It happened that 
the title to a large tract of land adjoining Ravensnest was in 
dispute, and no attempt at a serious settlement had ever been 
made on it. Some one had " squatted" at this spot, to enjoy 
the advantage of selling rum to those who went and came 
between my own people and the inner country ; and the 
place had changed hands half a dozen times, by fraudulent, 
or at least by worthless sales, from one squatter to another. 
Around the house, by this time a decaying pile of logs, time 
had done a part of the work of the settler, and aided by that 
powerful servant but fearful master, fire, had given to the 
small clearing somewhat of the air of civilized cultivation. 
The moment these narrow limits were passed, however, the 
traveller entered the virgin forest, with no other sign of man 
around him than what was offered in the little-worked and 
lit le-travelled road. The highway was not much indebted 
to the labours of man for any facilities it afforded the tra 
veller. The trees had been cut out of it, it is true, but their 
roots had not been extracted, and time had done more to 
wards destroying them than the axe or the pick. Time had 
done a good deal, however, and the inequalities were getting 
to be smooth under the hoof and the wheel. A tolerably 
good bridle-path had long been made, and I found no diffi 
culty in walking in it, since that answered equally well for 
man or beast. 

The virgin forest of America is usually no place for the 
ordinary sportsman. The birds that are called game are 
but rarely found in it, one or two excepted ; and it is a well- 
known fact, that while the frontier-man is certain death with 
a rifle-bullet, knocking the head off a squirrel or a wild 
turkey at his sixty or eighty yards, it is necessary to go into 
the older parts of the country, and principally among sports 
men of the better classes, in order to find those who knock 
over the woodcock, snipe, quail, grouse and plover, on the 
wing. I was thought a good shot on the " plains," and over 
the heaths or commons of the island of Manhattan, an<J 



US THE CHAIN BEAKER. 

among the necks of Westchester ; but I saw nothing to do 
up there, where I then was, surrounded by trees that had 
stood their centuries. It would certainly have been easy 
enough for me to kill a blue-jay, now and then, or a crow, 
or even a raven, and perhaps an eagle, had I the propel 
shot ; but, as for anything that ordinarily is thought to adorn 
a game-bag, not a feather could I see. For the want of 
something better to do, then, if a young man of three or four- 
and-twenty ought thus to express himself, I began to rumi 
nate on the charms of Pris. Bayard, and on the singularities 
of Dus Malbone. In this mood I proceeded, getting over the 
grounds at a rapid rate, leaving Miss Tinkum, the clearing 
with its betterments, and the wagon, far behind me. 

I had walked an hour alone, when the silence of the woods 
was suddenly interrupted by the words of a song that came 
not from any of the feathered race, though the nightingale 
itself could hardly have equalled the sweetness of the notes, 
which were those of a female voice. The low notes struck 
me as the fullest, richest, and most plaintive I had evei 
heard ; and I fancied they could not be equalled, until the 
strain carried the singer s voice into a higher key, where it 
seemed equally at home. I thought I knew the air, but the 
words were guttural, and in an unknown tongue. French 
and Dutch were the only two foreign languages in which 
one usually heard any music in our part of the woods at that 
day ; and even the first was by no means common. But 
with both these languages I had a little acquaintance, and 1 
was soon satisfied that the words I heard belonged to nei 
ther. At length, it flashed on my mind that the song was 
Indian ; not the music, but the words. The music was ce r 
tainly Scotch, or that altered Italian that time has attribu t 
to the Scotch ; and there was a moment when I fanciet 1 
some Highland girl was singing near me one of the Celt/ 
songs of the country of her childhood. But, closer attentiu/ 
satisfied me that the words were really Indian ; probably 
belonging to the Mohawk, or some other language that I hat I 
often heard spoken. 

The reader may be curious to know whence these sounds 
proceeded, and why I did not see the being who gave birtl i 
to such delicious harmony. It was owing to the fact tha 
the ong came from oi\t of a thicket of young pines ? tlj3 



THECHAINBEARER. 99 

grew on an ancient opening at a little distance from the 
road, and which I supposed contained a hut of some sort or 
other. These pines, however, completely concealed all 
within them. So long as the song lasted, no tree of the 
forest was more stationary than myself; but, when it ended, 
I was about to advance towards the thicket, in order to pry 
into its mysteries, when I heard a laugh that had scarcely 
less of melody in it than the strains of the music itself. It 
was not a vulgar, clamorous burst of girlish impulses, nor 
was it even loud ; but it was light-hearted, mirthful, indi 
cating humour, if a mere laugh can do so much ; and, in a 
sense, it was contagious. It arrested my movement, in 
order to listen ; and, before any new impulse led me for 
ward, the branches of the pines opened, and a man passed 
out of the thicket into the road. A single glance sufficed to 
let me know that the stranger was an Indian. 

Notwithstanding I was apprised of the near vicinity of 
others, I was a little startled with this sudden apparition. 
Not so with him who was approaching : he could not have 
known of my being anywhere near him ; yet he manifested 
no emotion as his cold, undisturbed glance fell on my form. 
Steadily advancing, he came to the centre of the road ; and, 
as I had turned involuntarily to pursue my own way, not 
sure it was prudent to remain in that neighbourhood alone, 
the red man fell in, with his moccasined foot, at my elbow , 
and I found that we were thus strangely pursuing our jour 
ney, in the same direction, side by side. 

The Indian and myself walked in this manner, within a 
yard of each other, in the midst of that forest, for two or 
three minutes without speaking. I forbore to say anything, 
because I had heard that an Indian respected those most 
who knew best how to repress their curiosity ; which habit, 
most probably, had its effect on my companion. At length, 
the red man uttered, in the deep, guttural manner of his 
people, the common conventional salutation of the fron 
tier 

"Sa-a-go?" 

This word, which has belonged to some Indian language 
once, passes everywhere for Indian with the white man ; 
and, quite likely for English, with the Indian. A set of such 
terms has grown up between the tw races, including such 



100 THE CHAINBEARER. 

words as "moccasin," "pappoose," "tomahawk," "squaw, 
and many others. " Sa-a-go," means " how d ye do ?" 

" Sa-a-go ?" I answered to my neighbour s civil salu 
tation. 

After this we walked along for a few minutes more, nei 
ther party speaking. I took this opportunity to examine my 
red brother, an employment that was all the easier from the 
circumstance that he did not once look at me ; the single 
glance sufficing to tell him all he wanted to know. In the 
first place, I was soon satisfied that my companion did not 
drink, a rare merit in a red man who lived near the whites. 
This was evident from his countenance, gait, and general 
bearing, as I thought, in addition to the fact that he possessed 
no bottle, or anything else that would hold liquor. What I 
liked the least was the circumstance of his being completely 
armed ; carrying knife, tomahawk and rifle, and each seem 
ingly excellent of its kind. He was not painted, however, 
and he wore an ordinary calico shirt, as was then the usual 
garb of his people, in the warm season. The countenance 
had the stern severity that is so common to a red warrior ; 
and, as this man was turned of fifty, his features began to 
show the usual signs of exposure and service. Still, he was 
a vigorous, respectable-looking red-man, and one who was 
evidently accustomed to live much among civilized men. I 
had no serious uneasiness, of course, at meeting such a per 
son, although we were so completely buried in the forest ; 
but, as a soldier, I could not help reflecting how inferior 
my fowling-piece would necessarily prove to be to his rifle 
should he see fit to turn aside, and pull upon me from be 
hind a tree, for the sake of plunder. Tradition said such 
things had happened ; though, on the whole, the red-man 
of America has perhaps proved to be the most honest of the 
two, as compared with those who have supplanted him. 

" How ole chief?" the Indian suddenly asked, without 
even raising his eyes from the road. 

" Old chief! Do you mean Washington, my friend ?" 

" Not so mean ole chief, out here, at Nest. Mean 
fader." 

" My father ! Do you know general Littlepage ?" 

" Be sure, know him. Your fader see" holding up 
nis two fore-fingers "just like dat him; di you." 



THE CHAINBEARER. 101 

" This is singular enough ! And were you told that I 
was coming to this place?" 

" Hear dat, too. Always talk about chief." 

" Is it long since you saw my father ?" 

" See him in war-time nebber hear of ole Sureflint ?" 

I had heard the officers of our regiment speak of such an 
Indian, who had served a good deal with the corps, and 
been exceedingly useful, in the two great northern cam 
paigns especially. He never happened to be with the regi 
ment after I joined it, though his name and services were a 
good deal mixed up with the adventures of 1776 and 17T7. 

" Certainly," I answered, shaking the red-man cordially 
by the hand. " Certainly, have I heard of you, and some 
thing that is connected with times before the war. Did you 
never meet my father before the war?" 

" Sartain ; meet in ole war. Gin ral young man, den - 
just like son." 

" By what name were you then known, Oneida?" 

" No Oneida Onondago sober tribe. Hab plenty name. 
Sometime one, sometime anoder. Pale face say Trackless, 
cause he can t find his trail warrior call him Sus- 
quesus. " 



CHAPTER VIII. 

u With what free growth the elm and plans 
Fling their huge arm across my way ; 
Grey, old, and cumber d with a train 
Of vines, as huge, and old, and grey ! 
Free stray the lucid streams, and find 
No taint in these fresh lawns and shades ; 



Free spring the flowers that scent the wind 
"Where never scythe has swept the glades." 



BRYANT. 



I HAD heard enough of my father s early adventures to 
know that the man mentioned in the last chapter had been a 
conspicuous actor in them, and remembered that the latter 
enjoyed the fullest confidence of the former. It was news 
to me, however, that Sureflint and the Trackless were the 
9* 



102 THE CHAINBEARER. 

same person ; though, when I came to reflect on the past, I 
had some faint recollection of having once before heard 
something of the sort. At any rate, I was now with a friend, 
and no longer thought it necessary to be on my guard. This 
was a great relief, in every point of view, as one does not 
like to travel at the side of a stranger, with an impression, 
however faint, that the latter may blow his brains out, the 
first time he ventures to turn his own head aside. 

Susquesus was drawing near to the decline of life. Had 
he been a white man, I might have said he was in a " green 
old age ;" but the term of " red old age" would suit him 
much better. His features were still singularly fine ; while 
the cheeks, without being very full, had that indurated, solid 
look, that flesh and muscles get from use and exposure. His 
form was as erect as in his best days, a red-man s frame 
rarely yielding in this way to any pressure but that of ex 
ceeding old age, and that of rum. Susquesus never admitted 
the enemy into his mouth, and consequently the citadel of 
his physical man was secure against every invader but time. 
In-toed and yielding in his gait, the old warrior and runner 
still passed over the ground with an easy movement ; and, 
when I had occasion to see him increase his speed, as soon 
after occurred, I did not fail to perceive that his sinews 
seemed strung to their utmost force, and that every move 
ment was free. 

For a time, the Indian and I talked of the late war, and 
of the scenes in which each of us had been an actor. If my 
own modesty was as obvious as that of Sureflint, I had no 
reason to be dissatisfied with myself; for, the manner in 
which he alluded to events in which I knew he had been 
somewhat prominent, was simple and entirely free from, 
that boasting in which the red-man is prone to indulge; 
more especially when he wishes to provoke his enemies. 
At length I changed the current of the discourse, by saying 
abruptly 

" You were not alone in that pine thicket, Susquesus ; 
that from which you came, when you joined me ?" 

No sartain ; wasn t alone. Plenty people dere." 

" Is there an encampment of your tribe among those 
bushes?" 

A shade passed over the dark countenance of my com> 



THE CHAIN BEARER. 103 

panion, and I saw a question had been asked that gave him 
pain. He paused some little time before he answered ; and, 
when he did, it was in a way that seemed sad. 

" Susquesus got tribe no longer. Quit Onondagos t irty 
?ummer, now ; don t like Mohawk." 

" I remember to have heard something of this from my 
father, who told me at the same time, that the reason why 
you left your people was to your credit. But, you had music 
in the thicket 1" 

" Yes ; gal sing gal love sing ; warrior like listen." 

" And the song? In what language were the words?" 

" Onondago" answered the Indian, in a low tone. 

" I had no idea the music of the red people was so sweet. 
It is many a day since I have heard a song that went so 
near to my heart, though I could not understand what was 
said." 

" Bird, pretty bird sing like wren." 

" And is there much of this music in your family, Susr- 
quesus 1 If so, I shall come often to listen." 

" Why not come ? Path got no briar ; short path, too. 
Gal sing, when you want." 

" Then I shall certainly be your guest, some day, soon. 
Where do you live, now? Are you Sureflint, or Trackless, 
to-day ? I see you are armed, but not painted." 

" Hatchet buried berry deep, dis time. No dig him up, 
in great many year. Mohawk make peace; Oneida make 
peace; Onondago make peace all bury e hatchet." 

" Well, so much the better for us landholders. I have 
v ,ome to sell and lease my lands ; perhaps you can tell mo 
. f many young men are out hunting for farms this sum 
mer?" 

" Wood full. Plenty as pigeon. How you sell land ?" 

" That will depend on where it is, and how good it is. 
I )o you wish to buy, Trackless ?" 

" Injin own all land, for what he want, now. I make 
wigwam where I want ; make him, too, when I want." 

"I know very well that you Indians do claim such a 
i ight ; and, so long as the country remains in its present 
wild state, no one will be apt to refuse it to you. But, you 
oannot plant and gather, as most of your people do in their 
own country." 



104 THE CHAINBEARER* 

" Got no squaw got no pappoose little corn do for 
Susquesus. No tribe no squaw no pappoose !" 

This was said in a low, deliberate voice, and with a species 
of manly melancholy that I found very touching. Com 
plaining men create very little sympathy, and those who 
whine are apt to lose our respect ; but, I know no spectacle 
more imposing than that of one of stern nature smothering 
his sorrows beneath the mantle of manliness and self-com 
mand. 

" You have friends, Susquesus," I answered, " if you 
have no wife nor children." 

" Fader, good friend ; hope son friend, too. Grandfader 
great friend, once ; but he gone far away, and nebber come 
back. Know moder, know fader all good." 

" Take what land you want, Trackless till it, sell it 
do what you wish with it." 

The Indian eyed me keenly, and I detected a slight smile 
of pleasure stealing over his weather-worn face. It was not 
easy to throw him off his habitual guard over his emotions, 
however ; and the gleam of illumination passed away, like a 
ray of sunshine in mid-winter. The sternest white man 
might have grasped my hand, and something like a sign of 
gratitude would probably have escaped him ; but, the little 
trace of emotion I have mentioned having disappeared, no 
thing remained on the dark visage of my companion that, 
in the least, resembled an evidence of yielding to any of the 
gentler feelings. Nevertheless, he was too courteous, and 
had too much of the innate sentiment of a gentleman, not to 
make some return for an offer that had so evidently and 
spontaneously come from the heart. 

" Good" he said, after a long pause. " Berry good, 
dat; good, to come from young warrior to ole warrior. 
T ankee bird plenty ; fish plenty ; message plenty, now ; 
and don t want land. Time come, maybe s pose he must 
come come to all ole red-men, hereabout; so s pose must 
come." 

" What time do you mean, Trackless ? Let it come when 
it may, you have a friend in me. What time do you mean, 
my brave old Sureflint ?" 

The Trackless stopped, dropped the breech of his rifle oa 



THE CHAINBEARER. 105 

the ground, and stood meditating a minute, motionless, and 
as grand as some fine statue. 

" Yes ; time come, do s pose," he continued. " One time, 
ole warrior live in wigwam, and tell young warrior of scalp, 
and council-fire, and hunt, and war-path ; now, make broom 
and basket." 

It was not easy to mistake this ; and I do not remember 
ever to have felt so lively an interest, on so short an ac 
quaintance, as I began to feel in this Onondago. Priscilla 
Bayard herself, however lovely, graceful, winning and 
feminine, had not created a feeling so strong and animated, 
as that which was awakened within me in behalf of old 
Sureflint. But, I fully understood that this was to be shown 
in acts, and not in words. Contenting myself for the present, 
after the fashion of the pale-faces, by grasping and squeezing 
the sinewy hand of the warrior, we walked on together, 
making no farther allusion to a subject that, I can truly say, 
was as painful to me as it was to my companion. 

" I have heard your name mentioned as one of those who 
were at the Nest with my father, when he was a young 
man, Susquesus," I resumed, " and when the Canada In 
dians attempted to burn the house." 

" Good Susquesus dere young Dutch chief kill dat 
time." 

" Very true his name was Guert Ten Eyck ; and my 
father and mother, and your old friend colonel Pollock, 
who was afterwards major of our regiment, you will re 
member, they love his memory to this day, as that of a very 
dear friend." 

" Dat all, love memory, now ?" asked the Indian, throw 
ing one of his keenest glances at me. 

I understood the allusion, which was to aunt Mary, whom 
I had heard spoken of as the betrothed, or, at least, as the 
beloved, of the young Albanian. 

" Not all ; for there is a lady, who still mourns his loss, 
as if she had been his widow." 

" Good do 5 squaw don t mourn fery long time. Some 
time ; not always." 

" Pray, Trueflint, do you happen to know anything of a 
man called the Chainbearer ? He was in the regiment, too 
and you must have seen him in the war." 



106 THE CHAINBEAREH. 

" Sartain know Chainbearer know him on war-path-* 
know him when hatchet buried. Know Chainbearer afore 
ole French war. Live in wood wid him one of its. Chain- 
bearer my friend." 

" I rejoice to hear this, for he is also mine; and I shall be 
glad to come into the compact, as a friend of both." 

" Good Susquesus and young landlord friend of Chain- 
bearer good." 

" It is good, and a league that shall not be forgotten 
easily by me. The Chainbearer is as honest as light, and 
as certain as his own compass, Trueflint true, as your 
self." 

" Fraid he make broom fore great while, too," said the 
Indian, expressing the regret I have no doubt he felt, very 
obviously in his countenance. 

Poor old Andries ! But for the warm and true friends he 
had in my father, colonel Dirck and myself, there was some 
danger this might be the case, indeed. The fact that he had 
served his country in a revolution would prove of little avail, 
that country being too poor to provide for its old servants, 
and possibly indisposed, had she the means.* I say this 
without intending to reflect on either the people or the go 
vernment ; for, it is not easy to make the men of the present 
day understand the deep depression, in a pecuniary sense, 
that rested on the land for a year or two after peace was 
made. It recovered, as the child recovers from indisposition, 
by the vigour of its constitution and the power of its vitality ; 
and one of the means by which it recovered, was by turning 

* This must pass for one of the hits the republic is exposed to, 
partly because it deserves them, and partly because it is a republic. 
One hears a great deal of this ingratitude of republics, but few take 
the trouble of examining into the truth of the charge, or its reason, 
if true. I suppose the charge to be true, in part, and for the obvious 
reason that a government founded on the popular will is necessarily 
impulsive in such matters, and feels no necessity to be just, in order 
to be secure. Then, a democracy is always subject to the influence 
of the cant of economy, which is next thing to the evil of being ex 
posed to the waste and cupidity of those who take because they have 
the power. As respects the soldiers of the revolution, however, Ame 
rica, under the impulsive feeling, rather than in obedience to a calm, 
deliberate desire to be just, has, since the time of Mr. Mordaunt Little- 
page, made such a liberal provision for pensioning them, as to include 
a good many of her enemies, as well as all her friends. EDITOR. 



THE CHAINBEARER. 107 

to the soil, and wielding the sickle instead of the sword. To 
continue the* discourse. 

" The Chainbearer is an honest man, and, like too many 
of his class, poor," I answered ; " but, he has friends ; and 
. *-ither he, nor you, Sureflint, shall be reduced to that wo- 
. iian s work without your own consent, so long as I have 
an unoccupied house, or a farm, at Ravensnest." 

Again the Indian manifested his sense of my friendship 
for him, by that passing gleam on his dark face ; and again 
all signs of emotion passed slowly away. 

" How long since see him ?" he asked me, suddenly. 

" See him the Chainbearer do you mean 1 I have not 
seen him, now, for more than a twelvemonth ; not since we 
parted when the regiment was disbanded." 

" Don t mean Chainbearer mean him" pointing ahead 
" house, tree, farm, land, Nest." 

" Oh ! How long is it since I saw the patent. I never 
saw it, Sureflint ; this is my first visit." 

" Dat queer ! How you own land, when nebber see 
him?" 

" Among the pale-faces we have such laws, that property 
passes from parent to child ; and I inherit mine, in this 
neighbourhood, from my grandfather, Herman Mordaunt." 

" What dat mean, herit ? How man haf land, when he 
don t keep him ?" 

" We do keep it, if not by actually remaining on the spot, 
by means of our laws and our titles. The pale-faces regulate 
all these things on paper, Sureflint." 

" T ink dat good 1 Why no let man take land where he 
want him, when he want him ? Plenty land. Got more 
land dan got people. Nough for ebbery body." 

** That fact makes our laws just ; if there were not land 
enough for everybody, these restrictions and divisions might 
possibly seem to be, and in fact be, unjust. Now, any man 
can have a farm who will pay a very moderate price for it. 
The State sells, and landlords sell; and those who don t 
choose to buy of one, can buy of the other." 

" Dat true nough ; but don t see need of dat paper. 
When he want to stay on land, let him stay ; when he want 
to go somewhere let noder man come. What good pay for 
betterment ?" 



108 THE CHAINBEARER. 

" So as to have betterments. These are what we call tf*8 
rights of property, without which no man would aim at be* 
ing anything more than clad and fed. Who would hunt, 
if anybody that came along had a right to pick up and skin 
his game ?" 

" See dat, well nough nebber dof no, nebber. Don t 
see why land go like skin, when skin go wid warrior and 
hunter, and land stay where he be." 

" That is because the riches of you red-men are confined 
to movable property, and to your wigwams, so long as you 
choose to live in them. Thus far, you respect the rights 
of property as well as the pale-faces ; bat you must see a 
great difference between your people and mine ! Between 
the red-man and the white man ?" 

" Be sure, differ : one strong, t oder weak one rich, 
t oder poor one great, t oder little one drive way, t oder 
haf to go one get all, t oder keep nuttin one march large 
army, t oder go Injin file, fifty warrior, p rhaps dot reason, 
t ing so." 

" And why can the pale-faces march in large armies, with 
cannon, and horses, and bayonets, and the red-man not da 
the same ?" 

" Cause he no got em no got warrior no got gun 
no got baggonet no got nuttin." 

" You have given the effect for the cause, Sureflint, or 
the consequences of the reason, for the reason itself. I 
hope I make you understand me. Listen, and I will ex 
plain. You have lived much with the white men, Susquesus, 
and can believe what I say. There are good, and there are 
bad, among all people. Colour makes no difference, in this 
respect. Still, all people are not alike. The white man is 
stronger than the red-man, and has taken away his country, 
because he knows most." 

" He most, too. Count army, den count war-trail ; you 
see." 

" It is true, the pale-faces are the most numerous now ; 
but once they were not. Do not your traditions tell you 
how few the Yengeese were, when they first came across 
the salt lake ?" 

" Come in big canbe^ two, t ree full no more." 

" Why then did two" or three ship s-full of white men be- 



THE CHAINBEAREK. 109 

come so strong as to drive back from the sea all the red 
warriors, and become masters of the land 1 Can you give 
a reason for that ?" 

" Cause he bring fire-water wid him, and red-man big 
fool to drink." 

" Even that fire-water, which doubtless has proved a 
cruel gift to the Indians, is one of the fruits of the white 
man s knowledge. No, Susquesus ; the red-skin is as brave 
as the pale-face ; as willing to defend his rights, and as able* 
bodied ; but he does not know as much. He had no gun 
powder until the white man gave it to him no rifle no 
hoe, no knife, no tomahawk, but such as he made himself 
from stones. Now, all the knowledge, and all the arts of 
life that the white man enjoys and turns to his profit, come 
from the rights of property. No man would build a wigwam 
to make rifles in, if he thought he could not keep it as long 
as he wished, sell it when he pleased, and leave it to his son 
when he went to the land of spirits. It is by encouraging 
man s love of himself, in this manner, that he is got to do so 
much. Thus it is, too, that the father gives to the son what 
he has learned, as well as what he has built or bought ; and 
so, in time, nations get to be powerful, as they get to be what 
we call civilized. Without these rights of property, no people 
could be civilized ; for no people would do their utmost, un 
less each man were permitted to be master of what he can 
acquire, subject to the great and common laws that are ne 
cessary to regulate such matters. I hope you understand 
my meaning, Trackless." 

" Sartain no like Trackless moccasin my young 
friend s tongue leave trail. But, you t ink Great Spirit say 
who shall haf land ; who no haf him ?" 

" The Great Spirit has created man as he is, and the 
earth as it is ; and he has left the one to be master of the 
other. If it were not his pleasure that man should not do 
as he has done, it would not be done. Different laws and 
different feelings would then bring about different ends. 
When the law places all men on a level, as to rights, it does 
as much as can be expected of it. Now, this level does 
not consist in pulling everything to pieces periodically, but 
in respecting certain great principles that are just in them 
selves : but which, once started, must be left to follow their 
10 



110 THE CHAINBEARBR. 

own course. When the rights of property are first establish 
ed, they must be established fairly, on some admitted rule ; 
after which, they are to remain inviolable that is to say, 
sacred." 

" Understand no live in clearin for nuttin . Mean, haf 
no head widout haf farm." 

" That is the meaning, substantially, Sureflint ; though I 
might have explained it a little differently. I wish to say 
pale-faces would be like the red-man withou-t civilization ; 
and without civilization if they had no rights in their land. 
No one will work for another as he will work for himself. 
We see that every day, in the simplest manner, when we 
see that the desire to get good wages will not make the 
common labourer do as much by the day as he will do by 
the job." 

" Dat true," answered the Indian, smiling ; for he seldom 
laughed ; and repeating a common saying of the country 
" By de day by -de day By de .job,, job, job ! Dat 
pale-face religion, young chief." 

" I don t know that our religion has much to do with it ; 
but I will own it is our practice. I fancy it is the same with 
all races and colours. A man must work for himself to do 
his most ; and he cannot work for himself unless he enjoy 
the fruits of his labour. Thus it is, that he must have a 
right of property in land, either bought or hired, in order to 
make him cause that land to produce all that nature intended 
it should produce. On this necessity is founded the rights 
of property ; the gain being civilization ; the loss ignorance, 
and poverty, and weakness. It is for this reason, then, that 
we buy and sell land, as well as clothes and arms, and 
beads." 

" T ink, understand. Great Spirit, den, say must have 
farm?" 

" The Great Spirit has said we must have wants and 
wishes, that can be met, or gratified only, by having farms. 
To have farms we must have owners ; and owners cannot 
exist unless their rights in their lands are protected. As 
soon as these are gone, the whole building would tumble 
down about our ears, Susquesus." 

" Well, s pose him so. We see, some time. Young chief 
know where he is ?" 



THE CHAINBEARER. Ill 

** Not exact y ; but I suppose we are drawing near to the 
lands of Ravensnest." 

" Well, queer nough, too ! Own land, but don t know 
him. See marked tree dat sign your land begin." 

" Thank you, Sureflint a parent would not know his 
own child, when he saw him for the first time. If I am 
owner here, you will remember that this is my first visit to 
the spot." 

While conversing, the Trackless had led me from the 
highway into a foot-path, which, as I afterwards discovered, 
made a short cut across some hills, and saved us near two 
miles in the distance. In consequence of this change in our 
course, Jaap could not have overtaken me, had he moved 
faster than he did ; but, owing to the badness of the road, 
our gait on foot was somewhat faster than that of the jaded 
beasts who dragged the wagon. My guide knew the way 
perfectly ; and, as we ascended a hill, he pointed out the 
remains of an old fire, near a spring, as a spot where he 
was accustomed to " camp," when he wished to remain 
near, but not in the Nest. 

" Too much rum in tavern" he said. " No good stay 
near rum." 

This was extraordinary forbearance for an Indian ; but 
Susquesus, I had ever understood, was an extraordinary 
Indian. Even for an Onondago, he was temperate and selif- 
denying. The reason why he lived away from his tribe 
was a secret from most persons ; though I subsequently 
ascertained it was known to the Chainbearer, as well as my 
father. Old Andries always affirmed it was creditable to 
his friend ; but he would never betray the secret. Indeed, 
I found that the sympathy which existed between these two 
men, each of whom was so singular in his way, was 
cemented by some occurrences of their early lives, to which 
occasional, but vague allusions were made, but which nei 
ther ever revealed to me, or to any other person, so far as I 
could ascertain. 

Soon after passing the spring, Sureflint Jed me out to a 
cleared spot on the eminence, which commanded an exten 
sive view of most of that part of my possessions which was 
under lease and occupied. Here we halted, seating our 
selves on a fallen tree, for which one could never go amiss 



112 THECHAINBEARER. 

in that region, and at that day ; and I examined the view 
with the interest which ownership is apt to create in us all. 
The earth is very beautiful in itself; but it is most beautiful 
in the eyes of those who have the largest stake in it, I fear. 
Although the property of Ravensnest had been settled 
fully thirty years when I first saw it, none of those signs 
of rapid and energetic improvement were visible that we 
have witnessed in the efforts of similar undertakings since 
the revolution. Previously to that great event, the country 
filled up very slowly, and each colony seemed to regard 
itself, in some measure, as a distinct country. Thus it was 
that we in New York obtained very few immigrants from 
New England, that great hive which has so often swarmed 
since, and the bees of which have carried their industry and 
ingenuity over so much of the republic in our own time. 
We of New York have our prejudices against the Yankees, 
and have long looked upon them with eyes of distrust and 
disfavour. They have repaid us in kind, perhaps ; but their 
dislikes have not been strong enough to prevent them from 
coming to take possession of our lands. For my own part, 
while I certainly see much in the New England character 
that I do not like, (more in their manners and minor ways, 
perhaps, than in essentials), I as certainly see a great deal 
to command my respect. If the civilization that they carry 
with them is not of a very high order, as is connected with 
the tastes, sentiments, and nicer feelings, it is superior to 
that of any other country I have visited, in its common- 
sense provisions, and in its care over the intellectual being, 
considered in reference to the foundations of learning. More 
persons are dragged from out the mire of profound ignorance 
under their system, than under that of any other people ; 
and a greater number of candidates are brought forward for 
intellectual advancement. That so few of these candidates 
rise very high on the scale of knowledge, is in part owing 
to the circumstance that their lives are so purely practical ; 
and, possibly, in part to the fact that while so much atten 
tion has been paid to the foundations of the social edifice, 
that little art or care has as yet been expended on the super 
structure. Nevertheless, the millions of Yankees that are 
spreading themselves over the land, are producing, and have 
already produced, a most salutary influence on its practical 



THE CHAINBEARER. 113 

knowledge, on its enterprise, on its improvements, and con 
sequently on its happiness. If they have not done much for 
its tastes, its manners, and its higher principles, it is because 
no portion of the earth is perfect. I am fully aware that this 
is conceding more than my own father would have conceded 
in their favour, and twice as much as could have been ex 
tracted from either of my grandfathers. But, prejudice is 
wearing away, and the Dutchman and the Yankee, in par 
ticular, find it possible to live in proximity and charity. It 
is possible that my son may be willing to concede even more. 
Our immigrant friends should remember one thing, however,, 
and it would render them much more agreeable as compa 
nions and neighbours, which is this : He who migrates is 
oound to respect the habits and opinions of those whom he 
joins ; it not being sufficient for the perfection of everything 
under the canopy of heaven, that it should come from our 
own little corner of the earth. Even the pumpkin-pies of 
the Middle States are vastly better than those usually found 
in New England. To return to Ravensnest. 

The thirty years of the settlement of my patent, then, had 
not done much for it, in the way of works of art. Time, it 
is true, had effected something, and it was something in a 
manner that was a little peculiar, and which might be oftener 
discovered in the country at the time of which I am writing, 
than at the present day. The timber of the Nest, with the 
exception of some mountain-land, was principally what, in 
American parlance, is termed hard wood." In other words, 
the trees were not perennial, but deciduous ; and the merest 
tyro in the woods knows that the roots of the last decay in 
a fourth of the time that the roots of the first endure, after 
the trunk is severed. As a consequence, the stumps had 
nearly all disappeared from the fields ; a fact that, of itself, 
gave to the place the appearance of an old country, accord 
ing to our American notions. It is true, the virgin forest 
still flourished in immediate contact with those fields, shorn, 
tilled and smoothed as they were, giviag a wild and solemn 
setting to the rural picture the latter presented. The con- 
trast was sufficiently bold and striking, but it was not with 
out its soft and pleasant points. From the height whither 
the Indian had led me, I had a foreground of open land, 
dotted with cottages and barns, mostly of logs, beautified 
10* 



114 THE CHAINBEARER. 

by flourishing orchards, and garnished with broad meadows, 
or enriched by fields, in which the corn was waving under 
the currents of a light summer air. Two or three roads 
wound along the settlement, turning aside with friendly in 
terest, to visit every door ; and at the southern termination of 
the open country, there was a hamlet, built of wood framed, 
which contained one house that had little taste, but a good 
deal more of pretension than any of its neighbours ; another, 
that was an inn; a store, a blacksmith s-shop, a school- 
house, and three or four other buildings, besides barns, 
sheds and hog-pens. Near the hamlet, or the " Nest Village," 
as the place was called, were the mills of the region. These 
were a grist-mill, a saw-mill, a fulling-mill, and an oil-mill. 
All were of moderate dimensions, and, most probably, of 
moderate receipts. Even the best house was not. painted, 
though it had some very ambitious attempts at architecture, 
and enjoyed the benefits of no less than four exterior doors, 
the uses of one of which, as it opened into the air from the 
second story, it was not very easy to imagine. Doubtless 
some great but unfinished project of the owner lay at the 
root of this invention. But living out of doors, as it were, 
is rather a characteristic of a portion of our people. 

The back-ground of this picture, to which a certain de 
gree of rural beauty was not wanting, was the " boundless 
woods." Woods stretched away, north, and south, and east, 
far as eye could reach; woods crowned the sides and sum 
mits of all the mountains in view ; and woods rose up, with 
their leafy carpeting, from out the ravines and dells. The 
war had prevented any very recent attempts at clearing, 
and all the open ground wore the same aspect of homely 
cultivation, while the dark shades of an interminable forest 
were spread around, forming a sort of mysterious void, that 
lay between this obscure and remote people, and the rest of 
their kind. That forest, however, was not entirely savage. 
There were other settlements springing up in its bosom ; a 
few roads wound their way through its depths ; and, here 
and there, the hunter, the squatter, or the red-man, had 
raised his cabin, and dwelt amid the sullen but not unplea 
sant abundance and magnificence of the wilderness. 



THE 6HAINBEARER. 115 



CHAPTER IX. 

* O masters ! if I were disposed to stir 
Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage, 
I should do Brutus wrong, and Cassius wrong, 
Who, you all know, are honourable men : 
I will not do them wrong ; I rather choose 
To wrong the dead, to wrong myself and you, 
Than I will wrong such honourable men." 

SHAKSPEARE. 

" THIS, then, is Ravensnest !" I exclaimed, after gazing 
on the scene for several minutes in silence ; " the estate 
left me by my grandfather, and where events once occurred 
that are still spoken of in my family as some of the most 
momentous in its history ; evets, Susquesus, in which you 
were an actor." 

The Indian made a low interjection, but it is not probable 
he fully understood me. What was there so remarkable in 
a savage inroad, a house besieged, men slain and scalps 
taken, that he should remember such things for a quarter 
of a century ! 

" I do not see the Nest, itself, Trueflint," I added ; " the 
house in which my grandfather once lived." 

The Onondago did not speak, but he pointed with a finger 
in a north-easterly direction, making the action distinct and 
impressive, as is usual with his people. I knew the place 
by the descriptions I had heard, though it was now moulder 
ing, and had gone far into decay. Logs piled up green, and 
confined in such a structure, will last some thirty or forty 
years, according to the nature of the trees from which they 
come, and the manner in which they have been covered. 
At that distance, I could not well distinguish how far, or 
how much, time had done its work ; but I fancied I knew 
enough of such matters to understand I was not to expect 
in the Nest a very comfortable home. A family dwelt in 
the old place, and I had seen some cheeses that had been 



116 THE CHAINBEARER. 

made on the very fine farm that was attached to it. There 
was a large and seemingly a flourishing orchard, and the 
fields looked well; but, as for the house, at that distance it 
appeared sombre, dark, and was barely to be distinguished 
by its form and chimneys, from any other pile of logs. 

I was struck with the silent, dreamy, sabbath-like air of 
the fields, far and near. With the exception of a few half- 
naked children who were visible around the dwellings to 
which we were the closest, not a human being could I dis 
cover. The fields were tenantless, so far as men were con 
cerned, though a good many horned cattle were to be seen 
grazing. 

" My tenants are not without stock, I find, Trueflint," I 
remarked. " There are plenty of cattle in the pastures." 

" You see, all young ;" answered the Onondago. " War 
do dat. Kill ole one for soldier." 

" By the way, as this settlement escaped plunder, I should 
think its people may have done something by selling supplies 
to the army. Provisions of all kinds were very high and 
scarce, I remember, when we met Burgoyne." 

" Sartain. Your people sell both side good trade, den. 
Feed Yankees feed Yengeese." 

" Well, I make no doubt it was so ; for the husbandman 
is not very apt to hesitate when he can get a good price ; 
and if he were, the conscience of the drover would stand 
between him and treason. But, where are all the men of 
this country ? I do not see a single man, far or near." 

" No see him 1 Dere," answered the Indian, pointing in 
the direction of the hamlet. " Squire light Council-Fire to 
day, s pose, and make speech." 

" True enough there they are, gathered about the school- 
house. But, whom do you mean by the squire, who is so 
fond of making speeches ?" 

" Ole schoolmaster. Come from salt lake great friend 
of grandfader." 

" Oh ! Mr. Newcome, my agent true ; I might have 
known that he was king of the settlement. Well, Trueflint, 
let us go on ; and when we reach the tavern, we shall be 
able to learn what the Great Council is about. Say nothing 
of my business ; for it will be pleasant to look on a little 
before I speak myself." 



THE CHAINBEARER. 117 

The Indian arose, and led the way down the height, fol 
lowing a foot-path with which he appeared to be familiar. 
In a few minutes we were in a highway, and at no great 
distance from the hamlet. I had laid aside most of the dress 
that it was the fashion of gentlemen to wear in 1784, and 
put on a hunting-shirt and leggings, as more fitting attire 
for the woods ; consequently it would not have been easy 
for one who was not in the secret to imagine that he who 
arrived on foot, in such a garb, carrying his fowling-piece, 
and accompanied by an Indian, was the owner of the estate. 
I had sent no recent notice of my intended arrival ; and, as 
we went along, I took a fancy to get a faint glimpse of things 
incognito. In order to do this, it might be necessary to say 
a word more to the Indian. 

" Susquesus," I added, as we drew near the school-house, 
which stood between us and the tavern, " I hope you have 
understood me there is no need of telling any one who I 
am. If asked, you can answer I am your friend. That 
will be true, as you will find as long as you live." 

" Good young chief got eyes ; want to look wid em, 
himself. Good Susquesus know." 

In another minute we stopped in the crowd, before the 
door of the school-house. The Indian was so well known, 
and so often at the Nest, that his appearance excited no 
attention. Some important business appeared on the carpet, 
for there was much caucusing, much private conversation, 
many eager faces, and much putting together of heads. 
While the public mind was thus agitated, few were disposed 
to take any particular notice of me, though I had not stood 
long in the outer edge of the crowd, which may have contain 
ed sixty or seventy men, besides quite as many well-grown 
lads, before I overheard an interrogatory put, as to who I 
was, and whether I had " a right to a vote." My curiosity 
was a good deal excited, and I was on the point of asking 
some explanation, when a man appeared in the door of the 
school-house, who laid the whole matter bare, in a speech. 
This person had a shrivelled, care-worn, but keen look, and 
was somewhat better dressed than most around him, though 
not particularly elegant, or even very neat, in his toilette. 
He was grey-headed, of a small, thin figure, and might have 
been drawing hard upon sixty. He spoke in a deliberate, 



118 THE CHAINBEARER. 

self-possessed manner, as if long accustomed to the sort of 
business in which he was engaged, but in a very decided 
Connecticut accent. I say Connecticut, in contradistinction 
to that of New England generally ; for while the eastern 
States have many common peculiarities in this way, a nice 
and practised ear can tell a Rhode-Islander from a Massa 
chusetts man, and a Connecticut man from either. As the 
orator opened his mouth to remove a chew of tobacco pre 
viously to opening it to speak, a murmur near me said 
" hist ! there s the squire ; now, we shall get suthin ." This, 
then, was Mr. Jason Newcome. my agent, and the principal 
resident in the settlement. 

" Fellow-citizens" Mr. Newcome commenced " you 
are assembled this day, on a most important, and I may 
say, trying occasion ; an occasion calculated to exercise all 
our spirits. Your business is to decide on the denomination 
of the church-building, that you are about to erect; and the 
futur welfare of your souls may, in one sense, be said to be 
.interested in your decision. Your deliberations have already 
been opened by prayer ; and now you are about to come to 
a final vote. Differences of opinion have, and do exist 
among you ; but differences of opinion exist everywhere. 
They belong to liberty, the blessings of which are not to be 
enj yed without full and free differences of opinion. Reli 
gious liberty demands differences of opinion, as a body 
might say ; and without them, there would be no religious 
liberty. You all know the weighty reason there is for 
coming to some conclusion speedily. The owner of the sile 
will make his appearance this summer, and his family are 
all of a desperate tendency towards an idolatrous church, 
which is unpleasant to most of you. To prevent any conse 
quences, therefore, from his interference, we ought to decide 
at once, and not only have the house raised, but ruffed in 
afore he arrives. Among ourselves, however, we have been 
somewhat divided, and that is a different matter. On the 
former votes, it has stood twenty-six for congregational to 
twenty-five presbytery, fourteen methodist, nine baptist, 
three universal, and one episcopal. Now, nothings clearer 
than that the majority ought to rule, and that it ialthe duty 
of the minority to submit. My first decision, as moderator, 
was that the congregationals have it by a majority of one . 



THE CHAINBEARER. 119 

but some being dissatisfied with that opinion, I have been 
ready to hear reason, and to take the view that twenty-six 
is not a majority, but a plurality, as it is called. As twenty- 
six, or twenty-five, however, is a majority over nine, and 
over three, and over one, taking their numbers singly or 
together, your committee report that the baptists, universals 
and episcopals ought to be dropped, and that the next vote, 
now to be taken, shall be confined to the three highest 
numbers ; that is to say, to the congregationals, the presby- 
terians and the methodists. Everybody has a right to vote 
for which he pleases, provided he vote for one of them three. 
I suppose I am understood, and shall now put the question, 
unless some gentleman has any remarks to make." 

" Mr. Moderator," cried out a burly, hearty-looking yeo 
man, from the crowd " is it in order now, to speak ?" 

" Quite so, sir order, gentlemen, order major Hosmer 
is up." 

Up we all were, if standing on one s feet be up ; but tha 
word was parliamentary, and it appeared to be understood. 

" Mr. Moderator, I am of the Baptist order, and I do not 
think the decision just ; sin it compels us Baptists to vote 
for a denomination we don t like, or not to vote at all." 

" But, you will allow that the majority ought to rule ?" 
interrupted the chair. 

" Sartain I agree to that ; for that is part of my reli 
gion, too," returned the old yeoman, heartily, and with an 
air of perfect good faith " the majority ought to rule ; but 
I do not see that a majority is in favour of the Congrega 
tionals any more than it is of the Baptists." 

" We will put it to vote ag in, major, just for your satis 
faction," returned Mr. Newcome, with an air of great can 
dour and moderation. " Gentlemen ; those of you who are 
in favour of the Baptists not being included in the next vote 
for denomination, will please to hold up your hands." 

As every man present who was not a Baptist voted " ay," 
there were sixty-nine hands shown. The " no s" were then 
demanded in the same way, and the Baptists got their nine 
own votes, as before. Major Hosmer admitted he was satis 
fied, though he looked as if there might be something wrong 
in the procedure, after all. As the Baptists were the strongest 
of the three excluded sects, the other two made a merit of 



120 THE CHAINBEARER. 

necessity, and said nothing. It was understood they were 
in a minority ; and a minority, as it too often happens in 
America, has very few rights. 

" It now remains, gentlemen," resumed the moderator, 
who was a model of submission to the public voice, " to put 
the vote, as between the Congregationals, the Presbyterians 
and the Methodists. I shall first put the Congregationalists. 
Those who are in favour of that sect, the old Connecticut 
standing order, will please to hold up their hands." 

The tone of voice, the coaxing expression of the eye, and 
the words " old Connecticut standing order," let me at once 
into the secret of the moderator s wishes. At first, but thirty- 
four hands appeared ; but the moderator having counted 
these, he looked round the crowd until he fairly looked up 
three more ; after which he, honestly enough, announced 
the vote to be thirty-seven for the Congregationalists. So 
eleven of the thirteen of silenced sects had, most probably, 
voted with the moderator. The Presbyterians came next, 
and they got their own people, and two of the Baptists, 
making twenty-seven in all, on a trial in their behalf. The 
Methodists got only their own fourteen. 

" It evidently appearing, gentlemen," said the moderator, 
" that the Methodists gain no strength, and being less than 
half the Congregational vote, and much lower than the 
Presbyterian, I put it to their own well-known Christian 
humility, whether they ought not to withdraw !" 

" Put it openly to vote, as you did ag in us," came out 
a Baptist. 

" Is that your pleasure, gentlemen ? Seeing that it is, I 
will now try the vote. Those who are in favour of the 
Methodists withdrawing, will hold up their hands." 

Sixty-four hands were raised for, and fourteen against 
the withdrawal. 

" It is impossible for any religion to flourish ag in sich a 
majority," said the moderator, with great apparent candour; 
" and, though I regret it, for I sincerely wish we were strong 
enough to build meetin -houses for every denomination in 
the world ; but, as we are not, we must take things as they 
are, and so the Methodists must withdraw. Gentlemen, the 
question is now narrowed down to the Congregationals and 
the Presbyterians. There is not much difference between 



THE CHAINBEARER. 121 

them, and it is a thousand ff.ties there should be any. Arc 
you ready for the question, gentlemen ? No answer being 
given, I shall put the vote." 

And the vote was put, the result being thirty-nine to 
thirty-nine, or a tie. I could see that the moderator was 
disappointed, and supposed he would claim a casting vote, 
in addition to the one he had already given ; but I did not 
know my man. Mr. Newcome avoided all appearances of 
personal authority ; majorities were his cardinal rule, and 
to majorities alone he would defer. Whenever he chose to 
govern, it was by means of majorities. The exercise of a 
power as accidentally bestowed as that of presiding officer, 
might excite heart-burnings and envy ; but he who went 
with a majority was certain of having the weight of public 
sympathies of his side. No no Mr. Newcombe never 
had an opinion, as against numbers. 

I am sorry to say that very mistaken notions of the power 
of majorities are beginning to take root among us. It is 
common to hear it asserted, as a political axiom, that the 
majority must rule ! This axiom may be innocent enough, 
when its application is properly made, which is simply to 
say that in the control of those interests of which the deci 
sion is referred to majorities, majorities must rule ; but, God 
forbid that majorities should ever rule in all things, in this 
republic or anywhere else! Such a state of things would 
soon become intolerable, rendering the government that ad 
mitted of its existence the most odious tyranny that has 
been known in Christendom in modern times. The govern 
ment of this country is the sway of certain great and incon 
testable principles, that are just in themselves, and which 
are set forth in the several constitutions, and under which 
certain minor questions are periodically referred to local 
majorities, as of necessity, out of the frequency of which 
appeals has arisen a mistake that is getting to be danger 
ously general. God forbid, I repeat, that a mere personal 
majority should assume the power which alone belongs to 
principles. 

Mr. Newcome avoided a decision, as from the chair ; but 

three several times did he take the vote, and each time was 

there a tie. I could now perceive that he was seriously 

uneasy. Such steadiness denoted that men had made up 

1 



122 THE CHAINBEAKEK. 

their minds, and that they would be apt to adhere to them , 
since one side was apparently as strong as the other. The 
circumstances Called for a display of democratical tactics ; 
and Mr. Newcome being very expert in such matters, he 
could have little difficulty in getting along with the simple 
people with whom he had to deal. 

" You see how it is, fellow-citizens. The public has take! 
sides, and formed itself into two parties. From this momen 
the affair must be treated as a party question, and be de 
cided on party principles ; though the majority must rule. 
Oh ! here, neighbour Willis ; will you just step over to my 
house, and ask Miss Newcome (Anglice, Mrs. Newcome ) 
to hand you the last volume of the State Laws ? Perhap j 
they have a word to say in the matter." Here neighbour 
Willis did as desired, and moved out of the crowd. As I 
afterwards discovered, he was a warm presbyterian, who 
happened, unfortunately for his sect, to stand so directly 
before the moderator, as unavoidably to catch his eye. i 
suspected that squire Newcome would now call a vote on 
the main question. But I did not know my man. This 
would have been too palpably a trick, and he carefulK 
avoided committing the blunder. There was plenty of time 
since the moderator knew his wife could not very readily 
find a book he had lent to a magistrate in another settlemen 
twenty miles off; so that he did not hesitate to have a little 
private conversation with one or two of his friends. 

" Not to be losing time, Mr. Moderator," said one of 
squire Newcome s confidants, " I will move you that it is 
the sense of this meeting, that the government of churches 
by means of a presbytery is anti-republican, opposed to our 
glorious institutions, and at variance with the best interests 
of the human family. I submit the question to the public 
without debate, being content to know the unbiassed senti 
ments of my fellow-citizens on the subject." 

The question was duly seconded and put, the result being 
thirty-nine for, and thirty-eight against ; or a majority of 
owe, that Presbyterian rule was anti-republican. This was 
a great coup de maitre. Having settled that it was opposed 
to the institutions to have a presbytery, a great deal was 
gained towards establishing another denomination in ths 
settlement. No religion can maintain itself against politic^ 



THE CHAINBEARER. 123 

sentiment in this country, politics coming home daily to 
men s minds and pockets. 

It is odd enough that, while all sects agree in saying that 
the Christian religion comes from God, and that its dogmas 
are to be received as the laws of Infinite Wisdom, men 
should be found sufficiently illogical, or sufficiently pre 
sumptuous, to imagine that any, the least of its rules, are to 
be impaired or strengthened by their dissemblance or their 
conformity to any provisions of human institutions. As well 
might it be admitted at once, that Christianity is not of divine 
origin, or the still more extravagant position be assumed, 
that the polity which God himself has established can be 
amended by any of the narrow and short-sighted devices 
of man. Nevertheless, it is not to be concealed, that here, 
as elsewhere, churches are fashioned to suit the institutions, 
and not the institutions to suit the church. 

Having achieved so much success, the moderator s confi 
dant pushed his advantage. 

" Mr. Moderator," he continued, " as this question has 
altogether assumed a party character, it is manifestly proper 
that the party which has the majority should not be encum 
bered in its proceedings by the movements of the minority. 
Presbytery has been denounced by this meeting, and its 
friends stand in the light of a defeated party at a State 
election. They can have nothin to do with the government. 
I move, therefore, that those who are opposed to presbytery 
go into caucus, in order to appoint a committee to recom 
mend to the majority a denomination which will be accept 
able to the people of Ravensnest. I hope the motion will be 
put without debate. The subject is a religious one, and it is 
unwise to awaken strife on anything at all connected with 
religion." 

Alas ! alas ! How much injury has been done to the cause 
of Christianity, how much wrong to the laws of God, and 
even to good morals, by appeals of this nature, that are in 
tended to smother inquiry, and force down on the timid, the 
schemes of the designing and fraudulent ! Integrity is ever 
simple and frank ; while the devil resorts to these plans of 
plausible forbearance and seeming concessions, in order to 
veil his nefarious devices. 

The thing took, however for popular bodies, OBC under 



124 THE CHAINBEARER. 

control, are as easily managed as the vessel that obeys her 
helm ; the strength of the current always giving additional 
power to that material portion of the ship. The motion was 
accordingly seconded and put. As there was no debate, 
which had been made to appear anti-religious, the result 
was precisely the same as on the last question. In other 
words, there was one majority for disfranchising just one- 
half the meeting, counting the above man ; and this, too, on 
the principle that the majority ought to rule. After this, the 
caucus-people went into the school-house, where it was un 
derstood a committee of twenty-six was appointed, to recom 
mend a denomination to the majority. This committee, so 
respectable in its character, and of so much influence by its 
numbers, was not slow in acting. As became its moral 
weight, it unanimously reported that the congregational 
polity was the one most acceptable to the people of Ravens- 
nest. This report was accepted by acclamation, and the 
caucus adjourned sine die. 

The moderator now called the whole meeting to order, 
again. 

" Mr. Moderator," said the confidant, " it is time that this 
community should come to some conclusion, in the pre 
mises. It has been agitated long enough, in its religious 
feelings, and further delay might lead to unpleasant and 
lasting divisions. I therefore move that it is the sense of 
this meetin that the people of Ravensnest ardently wish to 
see the new meetin -us, which is about to be raised, devoted 
and set apart for the services of the Congregational church, 
and that a Congregational church be organized, and a Con 
gregational pastor duly called. I trust this question, like 
all the others, will be passed in perfect harmony, and with 
out debate, as becomes the solemn business we are on." 

The question was taken, and the old majority of one was 
found to be in its favour. Just as Mr. Moderator meekly 
announced the result, his messenger appeared in the crowd, 
bawling out, " Squire, Miss Newcome says she can t no 
way find the volum , which she kind o thinks you ve lent/ 

" Btass me ! so I have !" exclaimed the surprised magis 
trate. It s not in the settlement, I declare ; but it s of no 
importance now, as a majority has fairly decided. Fellow- 
citizens, we have been dealing with the most important in 



THE CHAINBBARBR. 125 

terest that consarns man ; his religious state, government, 
and well-being. Unanimity is very desirable on such a 
question ; and, as it is to be presumed no one will oppose 
the pop lar will, I shall now put the question to vote for the 
purpose of obtaining that unanimity. Those who are in 
favour of the Congregationals, or who ardently wish that 
denomination, will hold up their hands." 

About three-fourths of the hands went up, at once. Cries 
of " unanimity unanimity" followed, until one hand after 
another went up, and I counted seventy-three. The re 
maining voters continued recusant ; but as no question was 
taken on the other side, the vote may be said to have been 
a very decided one, if not positively unanimous. The mo 
derator and two or three of his friends made short speeches, 
commending the liberality of a part of the citizens, and 
congratulating all, when the meeting was adjourned. 

Such were the facts attending the establishment of the 
Congregational church, in the settlement of Ravensnest, on 
purely republican principles ; the question having been 
carried unanimously in favour of that denomination, although 
fifty-two votes out of seventy-eight were pretty evidently 
opposed to it ! But republican principles were properly 
maintained, and the matter was settled ; the people having 
solemnly decided that they ardently wished for a church 
that, in truth, they did not desire at all. 

No complaints were made, on the spot at least. The 
crowd dispersed, and as Mr. Newcome walked through it, 
with the air of a beaten, rather than of a successful man, I 
came under his observation for the first time. He examined 
me keenly, and I saw a certain air of doubt and misgiving 
in his manner. Just at that moment, however, and before 
he had time to put a question, Jaap drove up in the wagon, 
and the negro was an old acquaintance, having often been 
at the Nest, and knowing the squire for more than a quar 
ter of a century. This explained the whole affair, a certain 
mixed resemblance to both father and mother which I am 
said to bear, probably aiding in making the truth more ap 
parent. 

Mr. Newcome was startled that was apparent in his 
countenance but he was, nevertheless, self-possessed. Ap- 
11 * 



126 THE CHAINBEAUER. 

preaching, he saluted me, and at once let me know he un* 
derstood who I was. 

" This is major Littlepage, I s pose," he said. " I can 
see a good deal of the gin ral in you, as I know d your 
father, when a young man ; and something of Herman Mor- 
daunt, your mother s father. How long is it sin your arrival, 
major Littlepage 1" 

* But a few minutes," I answered, evasively. " You see 
my wagon and servant, there, and we are fresh from Albany. 
My arrival has been opportune, as all my tenants must be 
collected here, at this moment." 

" Why, yes sir, yes ; here are pretty much the whull of 
them. We have had a little meetin to-day, to decide on the 
natur of our religion, as one might say. I s pose the major 
didn t get here until matters were coming to a head?" 

" You are quite right, Mr. Newcome matters were 
coming to a head, as you say, before I got on the ground." 

The squire was a good deal relieved at this, for his con 
science doubtless pricked him a little on the subject of the 
allusion he had made to me, and my own denomination. 
As for myself, I was not sorry to have got so early behind 
the curtain, as to the character of my agent. It was pretty 
clear he was playing his own game, as to some things, and 
it might be necessary for me to see that this propensity did 
not extend itself into other concerns. It is true, my mind 
was made up to change him, but there were long and intri 
cate accounts to settle. 

" Yes, sir, religion is an interest of the greatest import 
ance to man s welfare, and it has b en (Anglice, been) too 
long neglected among us," continued the late moderator. 
" You see, yonder, the frame for a meetin -us, the first that 
was ever commenced in this settlement, and it is our inten 
tion to put it up this a ternoon. The bents are all ready. 
The pike poles are placed, and all is waiting for the word 
to * heave. You 11 perceive, squire, it was judicious to go 
to a sartain p int, afore we concluded on the denomination. 
Up to that p int every man would nat rally work as if he 
was workin for his own order ; and we ve seen the benefit 
of such policy, as there you can see the clap-boards planed, 
the sash made and glazed, stuff cut for pews, and everything 
ready to put together. The very nails and paints are bought 



THE CHAINBEAKEE. 127 

and paid for. In a word, nothing remains to be done, but to 
put together and finish off, and preach." 

" Why did you not erect the edifice, and * finish off, as 
you call it^ before you came to the test-vote, that I perceive 
you have just taken 2" 

" That would have been goin a le-e-e-tle too far, major 
a very le-e-e-tle. If you give a man too tight a hold, ho 
doesn t like to let go, sometimes. We talked the matter 
over among us, and concluded to put the question before we 
went any further. All has turned out happily, and we have 
unanimously resolved to be Congregational. Unanimity in 
religion is a blessed thing I" 

" Do you apprehend no falling off in zeal, in consequence 
of this work ? no refusing to help pay the carpenters, and 
painters, and priest ?" 

" Not much a little, perhaps ; but no great matter, I 
should judge. Your own liberal example, major, has had 
its influence, and I make no doubt will produce an Affect." 

" My example, sir ! I do not understand you, Mr. New- 
come, never having heard of the church, untill I heard your 
own allusions to it, as chairman of this very meeting." 

Squire Newcome hemmed, cleared his throat, took an 
extra-sized chew of tobacco, and then felt himself equal to 
attempting an answer. 

" I call it your example, sir ; though the authority for 
what I have done came from your honoured father, general 
Littlepage, as long ago as before the revolution. War-time, 
you know, major, is no time for buildin meetin -uses ; so we 
concluded to defer the matter until peace. Peace we have, 
and our own eends are fast approaching ; and I thought if 
the work was ever to be done, so that this generation should 
get the benefit of it, it should be done now. I was in hopes 
we should have had preachin in the house afore your ar 
rival, and surprised you with the cheerin sight of a wor 
shipping people on your lands. Here is your father s letter, 
from which I read a paragraph to the people, half an hour 
sin ." 

" I trust the people have always been worshippers, though 
it may not have been in a house built expressly for the pur 
pose. With your permission, I will read the letter." 

This document bore the date of 1770, or fourteen years 



128 THE CHAINBEARER. 

before the time the building was erected, and five years be 
fore the battle of Lexington was fought. I was a little sur 
prised at this, but read on. Among other things, I found 
that my father had given a general consent to credit his 
tenants with $500 to aid in the erection of a place of wor 
ship ; reserving to himself, as my guardian, a voice in the 
choice of the denomination. I may add, here, that on ex 
amining the leases, I found credits had been given, in 1770, 
for the full amount ; and that the money, or what passed 
for money, the proceeds of work, produce, cattle, butter, 
cheese, &c., had been in Mr. Newcome s hands the whole 
of the intervening time, no doubt to his great advantage. 
Thus, by a tardy appropriation of my father s bounty, the 
agent was pretty certain of being able to finish the job in 
hand, even admitting that some of the people should prove 
restive under the recent decision. 

" And the money thus appropriated has gone to its desti 
nation ?" I asked, on returning the letter. 

" Every copper has thus gone, major, or will soon go. 
When the First Congregational, of Ravensnest, is up, you 
can contemplate the house with the satisfaction of knowing 
that your own money has largely aided in the good work 
of its erection. What a delightful sentiment that must 
awaken ! It must be a great blessin to landlords, to be 
able to remember how much of their money goes for the 
good of their fellow-mortals." 

" In my case, it certainly should, as I understand my 
father, and indeed have myself seen, by the accounts ren 
dered to me, that not one dollar of rent has ever yet left the 
settlement, to go into the pocket of the owner of the estate 
nay, that the direct outlays of my grandfather were consi 
derable, in addition to the first cost of the patent." 

" I do not deny it, major ; I do not deny it. It is quite 
probable. But, you will consider what the spirit of Public 
Improvement demands ; and you gentlemen-proprietors 
nat rally look forward to futur generations for your reward 
yes, sir, to futur generations. Then will come the time 
when these leased lands will turn to account, and you will 
enj y the fruits of your liberality." 

I bowed, but made no answer. By this time, the wagon 
h? d reached the inn, and Jaap was getting out the trunk 



THE CHAINBEARER. 129 

and other luggage. A rumour had gone fqrth among the 
people thai their landlord had arrived, and some of the older 
tenants, those who had known " Herman Mordaunt," as 
they all called my grandfather, crowded around me in a 
frank, hearty manner, in which good feeling was blended 
with respect. They desired to take my hand. I shook 
hands with all who came, and can truly say that I took no 
man s palm into my own that day, without a sentiment that 
the relation of landlord and tenant was one that should in 
duce kind and confidential feelings. The Ravensnest pro 
perty was by no means necessary to my comfortable sub 
sistence; and I was really well enough disposed to look 
forward, if not to " future generations," at least to a future 
day, for the advantages that were to be reaped from it. I 
asked the crowd in, ordered a tub of punch made, for, in 
that day, liquor was a necessary accompaniment of every 
welcome, and endeavoured to make myself acceptable to 
my new friends. A throng of women, of whom I have not 
yet spoken, were also in attendance ; and I had to go through 
the ceremony of being introduced to many of the wives and 
daughters of Ravensnest. On the whole, the meeting was 
friendly, and my reception warm. 



CHAPTER X. 

" Bear, through sorrow, wrong, and ruth, 
In thy heart the dew of youth, 
On thy lips the smile of truth." 

LONGFELLOW. 

THE ceremony of the introductions was not half through, 
when there was a noisy summons to the pike- poles. This 
called away the crowd in a body ; a raising in the country 
being an incident of too much interest to be overlooked. I 
profited by the occasion to issue a few orders that related to 
my own comfort, when I went, myself, to the scene of pre 
sent toil and future Congregationalism. 

Everybody in America, a few inveterate cockney% ex- 



130 



THE CHAINBEARER. 



cepted, have seen a " raising." Most people have seen 
hundreds ; and, as for myself, I believe I should be safe in 
saying I had, even at that day, seen a thousand. In this 
^articular instance, there were great felicitations among the 
yeomen, because the frame " had come together well." I 
was congratulated on this score, the hearty old Rhode 
Islander, my brother major, assuring me that " he couldn t 
get the blade of his knife, and it s no great matter of a knife 
either, into a single j int. And, what is more, squire" 
As the sturdy yeoman was a major himself, though only in 
the militia, that title would not have been honourable enough 
for his landlord " And, what is more, squire, they tell me 
not a piece was ever tried, until we put the bents together, 
this a ternoon, ourselves ! Now, down country, I never 
see d sich a thing ; but, up here, the carpenters go by what 
they call the " square-rule ;" and quick work they make . 
on J t !" This speech contained the substance of one of the 
contrivances by which the " new countries" were endea 
vouring to catch up with the " old," as I learned on farther 
inquiries. 

It may be well to describe the appearance of the place, 
when I reached the site of the new " meetin -us." The great 
body of the " people" had just taken their stands at the first 
bent, ready for a lift, while trusty men stood at the feet of 
the posts, armed with crow-bars, broad-axes, or such other 
suitable implements as offered, in readiness to keep those 
essential uprights in their places ; for, on the steadiness of 
these persons, depended the limbs and lives of those who 
raised the bent. As this structure was larger than common, 
the danger was increased, and the necessity of having men 
that could be relied on was obviously so much the greater. 
Of one post, in particular, for some reason that I do not 
know, all the trusty men seemed shy ; each declaring that 
he thought some one else better suited to take charge of it, 
than he was himself. The " boss" that Manhattanese word 
having travelled up to Ravensnest called out for some one 
to take the delicate station, as nothing detained the work 
but the want of a hand there ; and one looked at another, 
to see who would step forwa.d, when a sudden cry arose 
of "the Chainbearer! the Chainbearer! Here s your 
man !" 



THE CII AIN BEARER. 131 

Sure enough, there came old Andries Coejerrfans, hale, 
upright, vigorous, and firm-treading, though he had actually 
seen his three-score years and ten. My ancient comrade 
had thrown aside nearly every trace of his late military 
profession, though the marchings and drillings of eight 
years were not to be worked out of a man s air and manner 
in a twelvemonth. The only sign of the soldier, other than 
in his bearing, I could trace about my brother captain, was 
the manner in which his queue was clubbed. Andries wore 
his own hair^ this his early pursuits in the forest rendered 
necessary ; but it had long been clubbed in a sort of military 
fashion, and to that fashion he now adhered. In other re 
spects, he had transformed himself entirely into a woods 
man. He wore a hunting-shirt, like myself; leggings, 
moccasins, and a cap of skins that had been deprived of 
their furs. So far from lessening, in any degree, the fine 
effect of his green old age, however, this attire served to 
increase it. Andries Coejemans stood six feet, at seventy ; 
was still as erect as he had been at twenty ; and so far from 
betraying the inroads of age on his frame, the last appeared 
to be indurated and "developed by what it had borne. His 
head was as white as snow, while his face had the ruddy, 
weather-beaten colour of health and exposure. The face 
had always been handsome, having a very unusual expres 
sion of candour and benevolence impressed on features that 
were bold and manly. 

TheChainbearer could not have seen me, until he stepped 
upon the frame. Then, indeed, there was no mistaking the 
expression of his countenance, which denoted pleasure and 
friendly interest. Striding over the timber, with the step of 
a man long accustomed to tread among dangers of all sorts, 
he grasped my hand, and gave it such a squeeze as denoted 
the good condition of his own muscles and sinews. I saw 
a tear twinkling in his eye ; for had I been his own son, I 
do not think that he could have loved me more. 

" Mortaunt, my poy, you re heartily welcome," said my 
old comrade. " You haf come upon t ese people, I fancy, 
as t e cat steals upon t e mice ; but I had tilings of your 
march, and have peen a few miles town t e roat to meet 
you. How, or where you got past me, is more t an I know 
for I haf seen nuttin of you or of your wagon." 



132 THE CHAIN BEARER. 

" Yet here we both are, ray excellent old friend, and most 
happy am I to meet you again. If you will go with me to 
the tavern, we can talk more at our ease." 

" Enough, enough, for t e present, young comrate. Pusi- 
ness is stanting still a little, for t e want of my hant ; step 
off the frame, lat, and Jet us get up t ese pents, when I ana 
your man for a week or a year." 

Exchanging looks, and renewing the warm and friendly 
pressure of the hand, we parted for the moment ; I quitting 
the frame, while the Chainbearer went at once to the foot 
of the important post, or to that station no one else would 
assume. Then commenced, without further delay, the se 
rious toil of raising a bent. This work is seldom entirely 
free from hazard ; and, on this particular occasion, when 
the force in men was a little drsproportioned to the weight 
of the timber, it was doubly incumbent on every man to be 
true and steady. My attention was at once attracted to the 
business in hand ; and, for several minutes, I thought of 
little else. The females had drawn as near the spot where 
their husbands, brothers and lovers were exerting every 
muscle and nerve, as comported with prudence ; and a pro 
found and anxious quiet pervaded the whole of a crowd that 
was gay with rustic finery, if not very remarkable for taste 
or refinement. Still, that cluster of females had little in it 
that was coarse or even unfeminine, if it had not much that 
would be so apt to meet the eye, in the way of the attractive, 
in a similar crowd of the present day. The improvement in 
the appearance and dress of the wives and daughters of 
husbandmen, has been very marked among us within the 
last five-and-twenty years. Fully one-half of those collected 
on this occasion were in short-gowns, as they were called,, 
a garb that has almost entirely disappeared ; and the pillions 
that were to be seen on the bodies of nearly all the horses 
that were fastened to the adjacent fences, showed the man 
ner in which they had reached the ground. The calicoes 
of that day were both dear and homely ; and it required 
money to enable a woman to appear in a dress that would 
be thought attractive to the least practised eye. Neverthe 
less, there were many pretty girls in that row of anxious 
faces, with black eyes and blue, light, black and brown 



THE CHAIN BEARER. 133 

hair, and of the various forms and hues in which female 
beauty appears in the youthful. 

I flatter myself that I was as comely as the generality of 
young men of my age and class, and that, on ordinary oc 
casions, I could not have shown myself before that cluster 
of girls, without drawing to myself some of their glances. 
Such was not the case, however, when I left the frame, 
which now attracted all eyes. On that, and on those 
who surrounded it, every eye and every anxious face was 
turned, my own included. It was a moment of deep in 
terest to all ; and most so to those who could only feel, 
and not act. 

At the word, the men made a simultaneous effort ; and 
they raised the upper part of the bent from the timber on 
which it lay. It was easy to see that the labourers, stout 
and willing as they were, had as much as they could lift. 
Boys stood ready, however, with short pieces of scantling 
to place upright beneath the bent ; and the men had time to 
breathe. I felt a little ashamed of having nothing to do at 
such a moment ; but, fearful of doing harm instead of good, 
I kept aloof, and remained a mere spectator. 

" Now, men," said the * boss, who had taken his stand 
where he could overlook the work, " we will make ready 
for another lift. All at once, makes light work are you 
ready 1 He-e-a-ve." 

Heave, or lift, the stout fellows did ; and with so much 
intelligence and readiness, that the massive timber was car 
ried up as high as their heads. There it stopped, supported 
as before, by short pieces of scantling. 

The pike-poles next came in play. This is always the 
heaviest moment of a lift of that sort, and the men made 
their dispositions accordingly. Short poles were first got 
under the bent, by thrusting the unarmed ends into the 
cavity of the foundation ; and a few of the stoutest of the 
men stood on blocks, prepared to apply their strength 
directly. 

" Are you ready, men ?" called out the boss. " This is 

our heaviest bent, and we come to it fresh. Look out well 

to the foot of each post Chainbearer, I count on you 

your post is the king-post of the whole frame ; if that goes, 

12 



134 THE CHAINBEARER. 

all goes. Make ready, men ; heave altogether that s a 
lift ! Heave again, men he-e-a-ve altogether now 
he-e-a-ve ! Up she goes ; he-e-a-ve more pike-poles 
stand to the frame, boys get along some studs he-e-a-ve 
in with your props so, catch a little breath, men." 

It was time to take breath, of a certainty ; for the effort 
had been tremendously severe. The bent had risen, how 
ever, and now stood, supported as before by props, at an 
angle of some fifteen degrees with the plane of the building, 
which carried all but the posts beyond the reach of hands. 
The pike-pole was to do the rest ; and the next ten degrees 
to be overcome would probably cause the greatest expendi 
ture of force. As yet, all had gone well, the only draw 
back being the certainty which had been obtained, that the 
strength present was hardly sufficient to get up so heavy a 
bent. Nevertheless, there was no remedy, every person on 
the ground who could be of use, but myself, having his sta 
tion. A well-looking, semi-genteel young man, whose dress 
was two-thirds forest and one-third town, had come from 
behind the row of females, stepped upon the frame, and 
taken his post at a pike-pole. The uninitiated reader will 
understand that those who raise a building necessarily stand 
directly under the timber they are lifting ; and, that a down 
fall would bring them beneath a fearful trap. Bents do 
sometimes come down on the labourers ; and the result is 
almost certain destruction to those who are caught beneath 
the timber. Notwithstanding the danger and the difficulty in 
the present case, good-humour prevailed, and a few jokes 
were let off at the expense of the Congregationalists and 
the late moderator. 

" Agree, squire," called out the hearty old Rhode Islander, 
" to let in some of the other denominations occasionally, and 
see how the bent will go up. Presbytery is holding back 
desperately !" 

" I hope no one supposes," answered Mr. Moderator, 
41 that religious liberty doosn t exist in this settlement. 
Sartainly sartainly other denominations can always use 
this house, when it isn t wanted by the right owners." 

Those words " right owners" were unfortunate ; the 
stronger the right, the less the losing party liking to hear 
of it. Notwithstanding, there was no disposition to skulk* 



THE CHAIN BEARER 



135 



m to abandon the work ; and two or three of the dissentients 
took their revenge on the spot, by hits at the moderator. 
Fearful that there might be too much talk, the boss now 
renewed his call, for attention to the work. 

" Let us all go together, men," he added. " We ve got 
to the pinch, and must stand to the work like well-broke 
cattle. If every man at the frame will do his best for just 
one minute, the hardest will be over. You see that upright 
stud there, with that boy, Tim Trimmer at it ; just raise 
the bent so that Timmy can get the eend of that stud under 
it, and all will be safe. Look to the lower eend of the stud, 
Tim ; is it firm and well stopped ?" 

Tim declared it was ; but two or three of the men went 
and examined it, and after making a few alterations, they 
too assured the boss it could not get away. A short speech 
was then made, in which everybody was exhorted to do his 
best; and everybody, in particular, was reminded of the 
necessity of standing to his work. After that speech, the 
men raised the pike-poles, and placed themselves at their 
stations. Silent expectation succeeded. 

As yet, not a sign, look, or word, had intimated either 
wish or expectation that I was to place myself in the ranks. 
I will confess to an impulse to that effect ; for who can look 
on, and see their fellow-creatures straining every muscle, 
and not submit to human sympathy ? But, the recollections 
of military rank, and private position, had not only their 
claims, but their feelings. I did go a step or two nearer to 
the frame, but I did not put my foot on it. 

"Get ready, men" called the boss, "for a last time. 
Altogether, at the word now s your time he-e-a-ve -~ 
he-e-e-a-ve he-e-e-e-ave !" 

The poor fellows did heave, and it was only too eviderf 
that they were staggering under the enormous pressure of 
the massive timber. I stepped on the frame, at the very 
centre, or at the most dangerous spot, and applied all my 
strength to a pike-pole. 

" Hurrah !" shouted the boss " there comes the young 
landlord ! he-e-ave, every man his best ! he-e-e-e-ave !" 

We did heave our best, and we raised the bent several 
feet above its former props, but not near enough to reach 
the new ones, by an inch or two. Twenty voices now called 



136 THE CHAIN BE ARE 11. 

on every man to stand to his work ; for everybody felt the 
importance of even a boy s strength. The boss rushed 
forward like a man to our aid ; and then Tim, fancying his 
stud would stand without his support, left it and flew to a 
pike-pole. At this mistake the stud fell a little on one side, 
where it could be of no use. My face was so placed that I 
saw this dangerous circumstance ; and I felt that the weight 
I upheld, individually, grew more like lead at each instant. 
I knew by this that our force was tottering under the down 
ward pressure of the enormous bent. 

" He-e-e-ave, men for your lives, he-eave !" exclaimed 
the boss, like one in the agony. 

The tones of his voice sounded to me like those of des 
pair. Had a single boy deserted us then, and we had 
twenty of them on the frame, the whole mass of timber must 
have come down upon us. Talk of charging into a battery ! 
What is there in that to try men s nerves, like the situation 
in which we were placed 1 The yielding of a muscle, in all 
that straining, lifting body, might have ruined us. A most 
fearful, frightful twenty seconds followed ; and just as I had 
abandoned hope, a young female darted out of the anxious, 
pale-faced crowd, that was looking on in a terror and agony 
that may be better conceived than described, and seizing the 
stud, she placed it alongside of the post. But an inch was 
wanted to gain its support ; but how to obtain that inch ! I 
now raised my voice, and called on the fainting men to 
heave. They obeyed ; and I saw that spirited, true-eyed, 
firm-handed girl place the prop precisely where it was want 
ed. All at that end of the bent felt the relief instantly, and 
man after man cautiously withdrew from under the frame, 
until none remained but those who upheld the other side. 
We flew to the relief of these, and soon had a number of 
props in their places, when all drew back, and looked on 
the danger from which they had escaped, breathless and 
silent. For myself, I felt a deep sense of gratitude to God 
for the escape. 

This occurrence made a profound impression. Every 
body was sensible of the risk that had been run, and of the 
ruin that might have befallen the settlement. I had caught 
a glimpse of the rare creature, whose decision, intelligence 
and presence of mind had done so much for us all ; and to 



THE CHAINBEARER. 137 

me she seemed to be the loveliest being of her sex my eyes 
had ever lighted on ! Her form, in particular, was perfec 
tion ; being the just medium between feminine delicacy and 
rude health ; or just so much of the last as could exist with 
out a shade of coarseness ; and the little I saw of a counte 
nance that was nearly concealed by a maze of curls that 
might well be termed golden, appeared to me to correspond 
admirably with that form. Nor was there anything mascu 
line or unseemly in the deed she had performed, to subtract 
in any manner from the feminine character of her appear 
ance. It was decided, useful, and in one sense benevolent , 
but a boy might have executed it, so far as physical force 
was concerned. The act required coolness, intelligence and 
courage, rather than any masculine power of body. 

It is possible that, aware as I was of the jeopardy in which 
we were all placed, my imagination may have heightened 
the effect of the fair apparition that had come to save us, as 
it might be, like a messenger from above. But, even there, 
where I stood panting from the effect of exertions that I 
have never equalled in my own case most certainly, ex 
hausted, nearly breathless, and almost unable to stand, my 
mind s-eye saw nothing but the flexible form, the elastic, 
ready step, the golden tresses, the cheek suffused by excite 
ment, the charming lips compressed with resolution, and 
the whole air, attitude and action, characterized, as was 
each and all, by the devotion, readiness and loveliness of 
her sex. When my pulses beat more regularly, and my 
heart ceased to throb, I looked around in quest of that 
strange vision, but saw no one who could, in the least, claim 
to be connected with it. The females had huddled together, 
like a covey that was frightened, and were exclaiming, hold 
ing up their hands, and indulging in the signs of alarm that 
are customary with their sex and class. The " vision" was 
certainly not in that group, but had vanished, as suddenly 
as it had appeared. 

At this juncture, the Chainbearer came forward, and took 
the command. I could see he was agitated affected might 
be a better word but he was, nevertheless, steady and 
authoritative. He was obeyed, too, in a manner I was de 
lighted to see. The orders of the " boss" had produced no 
such impressions as those which old Andries now issued ; 



138 THE CHAINBEARER. 

and I really felt an impulse to obey them myself, as I would 
have done eighteen months before, when he stood on the 
right of our regiment, as its oldest captain. 

The carpenter yielded his command to the Chainbearer 
without a murmur. Even squire Newcome evidently felt 
that Andries was one who, in a certain way, could influence 
the minds of the settlers more than he could do it himself. 
In short, everybody listened, everybody seemed pleased, and 
everybody obeyed. Nor did my old friend resort to any of 
the coaxing that is so common in America, when men are 
to be controlled in the country. In the towns, and wherever 
men are to be commanded in bodies, authority is as well 
understood as it is in any other quarter of the world ; but, 
in the interior, and especially among the people of New 
England habits, very few men carry sufficient command 
with them to say " John do this," or " John do that ;" but 
it is " Johnny why won t you do this ?" or " Johnny don t 
you think you d better do that?" The Chainbearer had 
none of this mystified nonsense about him. He called things 
by their right names ; and when he wanted a spade, he did 
not ask for a hoe. As a consequence, he was obeyed, com 
mand being just as indispensable to men, on a thousand oc 
casions, as any other quality. 

Everything was soon ready again, with the men stationed 
a little differently from what they had previously been. This 
change was the Chainbearer s, who understood mechanics 
practically; better, perhaps, than if he had been a first-rate 
mathematician. The word was given to heave, all of us 
being at the pike-poles ; when up went the bent, as if borne 
upon by a force that was irresistible. Such was the effect 
of old Andries habits of command, which not only caused 
every man to lift with all his might, but the whole to lift 
together. A bent that is perpendicular is easily secured ; 
and then it was announced that the heaviest of the work 
was over. The other bents were much lighter ; and one up, 
there were means of aiding in raising the rest, that were at 
first wanting. 

" The Congregationals has got the best on t," cried out 
the old Rhode Islander, laughing, as soon as the bent was 
stay-lathed, " by the help of the Chainbearer and somebody 
else 1 wuni name I Well, our turn will come, some day ; 



THE CH AINBEARER. 139 

for Ravensnest is a place in which the people wont be satis 
fied with one religion. A country is badly on t, that has 
but one religion in t; priests getting lazy, and professors 
dull !" 

" You may be sure of t at," answered the Chainbearer, 
who was evidently making preparations to quit the frame. 
" Ravensnest will get as many religions, in time, as t ere 
are discontented spirits in it; and t ey will need many 
raisings, and more priests." 

" Do you intend to leave us, Chainbearer 1 There s more 
posts to hold, and more bents to lift 1" 

" The worst is over, and you ve force enough wit out 
me, for what remains to be tone. I haf t e lantlort to 
take care of. Go to your work, men , and, if you can, re- 
memper you haf a peing to worship in t is house, t at is 
neit er Congregational, nor Presbyterian, nor anything else 
of the nature of your disputes ajad self-conceit. Squire 
Newcome wilt gif you a leat in t e way of Farning, and 
t e carpenter can act boss well enough for t e rest of t e 
tay." 

I was surprised at the coolness with which my old friend 
delivered himself of sentiments that were not very likely to 
find favour in such a company, and the deference that he 
received, while thus ungraciously employed. But, I after 
wards ascertained Andries commanded respect by means 
of his known integrity ; and his opinions carried weight 
because he was a man who usually said " come boys," and 
not one who issued his orders in the words " go boys." 
This had been his character in the army, where, in his own 
little circle, he was known as one ever ready to lead in 
person. Then Andries was a man of sterling truth ; and 
such a man, when he has the moral courage to act up to 
his native impulses, mingled with discretion enough to keep 
him within the boundaries of common prudence, insensibly 
acquires great influence over those with whom he is brought 
in contact. Men never fail to respect such qualities, how 
ever little they put them in practice in their own cases. 

" Come, Morty, my poy," said the Chainbearer, as soon 
as we were clear of the crowd, " I will pe your guite, ant 
take you to a roof unter which you will pe master." 

" You surely do not mean the Nest V 1 



140 THE CHAINBEARHR. 

"T at, and no ot er. T e olt place looks, like us oft 
soltiers, a little rusty, and t e worse for sarviee ; put it is 
comfortaple, and I haf had it put in order for you, poy. 
Your grandfat er s furniture is still t ere ; and Frank Mai- 
pone, Dus and I, haf mate it heat-quarters, since we haf 
peen in t is part of t e country. You know I haf your 
orters for t at." 

" Certainly, and to use anything else that is mine. But 
I had supposed you fairly hutted in the woods of Moose- 
ridge !" 

" T at hast peen tone, too ; sometimes we are at one place, 
and sometimes at anot er. My niggers are at t e hut ; put 
Frank, and Dus and I haf come ofer to welcome you to 
t e country." 

" I have a wagoner here, and my own black let me step 
to the inn, and order them to get ready for us." 

" Mortaunt, you and I haf peen uset to our feet. The 
soltier marches, and countermarches, wit no wagon to carry 
him ; he leafs t em to t e paggage, and t e paggage-guart." 

" Come on, old Andries ; I will be your comrade, on foot 
or on horseback. It can only be some three or four miles, 
and Jaap can follow with the trunks at his leisure." 

A word spoken to the negro was all that was necessary ; 
though the meeting between him and the Chainbearer was 
that of old friends. Jaap had gone through the whole war 
with the regiment, sometimes acting as my father s servant, 
sometimes carrying a musket, sometimes driving a team ; 
and, at the close of his career, as my particular attendant. 
He consequently regarded himself as a sort of soldier, and 
a very good one had he proved himself to be, on a great 
many occasions. 

" One word before we start, Chainbearer," I said, as old 
Andries and Jaap concluded their greetings ; " I fell in with 
the Indian you used to call Sureflint, in the woods, and I 
wish to take him with us." 

" He hast gone aheat, to let your visit pe known," an 
swered my friend. " I saw him going up t e roat, at a 
quick trot, half an hour since. He is at t e Nest py t is 
time." 

No more remained to be said or done, and we went our 
way, leaving the people busily engaged in getting up the 



THE CHAINBEARER. 141 

remainder of the frame. I had occasion to observe that my 
arrival produced much less sensation in the settlement than 
it might hare done, had not the " meeting-house" been my 
competitor in attracting attention. One was just as much of 
a novelty as the other ; just as much of a stranger. Although 
born in a Christian land, and educated in Christian dogmas, 
very few of those who dwelt on the estate of Ravensnest, 
and who were under the age of five-and-twenty, had ever 
seen an edifice that was constructed for the purposes of 
Christian worship at all. Such structures were rare indeed, 
in the year 1784, and in the interior of New York. Albany 
had but two, I believe ; the capital may have had a dozen ; 
and most of the larger villages possessed at least one ; but, 
with the exception of the old counties, and here and there 
one on the Mohawk, the new State could not boast of many 
of " those silent fingers pointing to the sky," rising among 
its trees, so many monitors of a future world, and of the 
great end of life. As a matter of course, all those who had 
never seen a church, felt the liveliest desire to judge of the 
form and proportions of this ; and as the Chainbearer and I 
passed the crowd of females, I heard several good-looking 
girls expressing their impatience to see something of the 
anticipated steeple, while scarce a glance was bestowed on 
myself. 

" Well, my old friend, here we are together again, march 
ing on a public highway," I remarked, " but with no inten 
tion of encamping in front of an enemy." 

" I hope not," returned Andries, drily ; " t ough all is 
not golt t at glitters. We have fought a hart battle, major 
Littlepage; I hope it will turn out for a goot end." 

I was a little surprised at this remark ; but Andries was 
never very sanguine in his anticipations of good. Like a 
true Dutchman, he particularly distrusted the immigration 
from the eastern States, which I had heard him often say 
could bring about no happy results. 

" All will come round in the end, Chainbearer," I an 
swered, " and we shall get the benefits of our toil and dan 
gers. But, how do you come on at the Ridge, and who is 
this surveyor of your s !" 

" T ings do well enough at t e Ritge, Mortaunt ; for fere, 
t ere is not a soul yet to make trouple. We have prought 



142 THE CHAINBEARER. 

you a map of ten t ousant acres, lait off in hundret-acre 
lots, which I will venture to say haf peen as honestly ant 
carefully measuret as any ot er ten t ousant acres in t e 
State. We pegan next to t is property, ant you may pegin 
to lease, on your fat er s lant, just as soon as you please." 

" And the Frank Malbone, you have written about, did 
the surveying?" 

" He worket up my measurements, lat, and closely tone 
t ey are, I 11 answer for it. T is Frank Malpone is t e 
brot er of Dus t at is to say, her half-brot er ; peing no 
nephew of mine. Dus, you know, is only a half-niece in 
bloot ; but she ist a full da ter in lofe. As for Frank, he is 
a goot fellow ; and, t ough t is is his first jop at surfeying, 
he may be dependet on wit as much confitence as any ot er 
man going." 

" No matter if a few mistakes are made, Andries ; land 
is not diamonds in this country ; there is plenty for us all, 
and a great deal to spare. It would be a different matter 
if there was a scarcity ; but, as it is, give good measure to 
the tenant or the purchaser. A first survey can only pro 
duce a little loss or gain ; whereas, surveys between old 
farms are full of trouble." 

" Ant lawsuits" put in the Chainbearer, nodding his 
head. " To tell you my mint, Mortaunt, I would rat er take 
a jop in a Dutch settlement, at half-price, t an run a line 
petween two Yankees for twice the money. Among the 
Dutch, the owners light t eir pipes, and smoke whilst you 
are at work ; but the Yankees are the whole time trying to 
cut off a little here, and to gain a little t ere; so t at it is as 
much as a man s conscience is wort to carry a chain fairly 
petween em." 

As I knew his prejudice on this subject formed the weak 
point in the Chainbearer, I gave the discourse a new turn, 
by leading it to political events, of which I knew him to be 
fond. We walked on, conversing on various topics connect- 
ed with this theme, for near an hour, when I found myself 
rather suddenly quite near to my own particular house. 
Near by, the building had more of shape and substance 
than it had seemed to possess when seen from the height ; 
and I found the orchards and meadows around it free from 
itumps and other eye-sores, and in good order. Still, the 



THE CHAIN BEARER. 143 

place, on its exterior, had a sort of gaol-look, there being 
no windows, nor any other outlet than the door. On reach 
ing the latter, which was a gate, rather than an ordinary 
entrance, we paused a moment to look about us. While we 
stood there, gazing at the fields, a form glided through the 
opening, and Sureflint stood by my side. He had hardly 
got there, when there arose the strains of the same full, rich 
female voice, singing Indian words to a civilized melody, as 
I had heard issuing from the thicket of pines, among the 
second growth of the forest. From that moment I forgot 
my fields and orchards, forgot the Chainbearer and Sure- 
flint, and could think of nothing but of the extraordinary 
circumstance of a native girl s possessing such a knowledge 
of our music. The Indian himself seemed entranced ; never 
moving until the song or verses were ended. Old Andries 
smiled, waited until the last strain was finished, pronounced 
the word " Dus" with emphasis, and beckoned for me to 
follow him into the building. 



CHAPTER XL 

" The fault will be in the music, cousin, if you be not woo d in 
good time : if the prince be too important, tell him there is measure 
for everything, and so dance out the answer." Beatrice. 

" Dus !" I repeated to myself " This, then, is Dus, and 
no Indian girl ; the Chainbearer s Dus ; Priscilla Bayard s 
1 Dus ; and Sureflint s wren ! " 

Andries must have overheard me, in part ; for he stopped 
just within the court on which the gate opened, and said 

" Yes, t at is Dus, my niece. The girl is like a mocking- 
pird, and catches the songs of all languages and people. 
She is goot at Dutch, and quite melts my heart, Mortaunt, 
when she opens her throat to sing one of our melancholy 
Dutch songs; and she gives the English too, as if she knowet 
no ot er tongue." 

" But that song was Indian the words, at least, were 
Mohawk or Oneida," 



144 THE CHAIN BE A HER. 

" Onondago t ere is little or no tifference. Yes, you re 
right enough ; the worts are Indian, and they tell me t e 
music is Scotch. Come from where it will, it goes atraigh* 
to the heart, poy." 

" How came Dus how came Miss Ursula that is, your 
niece, to understand an Indian dialect ?" 

" Didn t I tell you she is a perfect mocking-bird, and that 
she imitates all she hears ? Yes, Dus would make as goot 
a surveyor as her brot er, after a week s trial. You ve 
heart me say how much I livet among the tripes before t e 
war, and Dus was t en wit me. In that manner she has 
caught the language ; and what she has once Parnet she 
Defer forgets. Dus is half wilt from living so much in the 
woots, and you must make allowances for her ; put she is 
a capital gal, and t e very prite of my heart !" 

" Tell me one thing before we enter the house ; does 
any one else sing Indian about here 1 has Sureflint any 
women with him ?" 

" Not he! t e creatur hast not ing to do wit squaws. 
As for any one else s singing Intian, I can only tell you I 
never heart of such a person." 

" But, you told me you were down the road to meet me 
this morning were you alone ?" 

" Not at all we all went ; Sureflint, Frank, Dus and I. 
I t ought it due to a lantlort, Mortaunt, to gif him a hearty 
welcome; t ough Dus did mutiny a little, and sait t at 
lantlort or no lantlort, it was not proper for a young gal 
to go forth to meet a young man. I might have t ought so 
too, if it hadn t peen yourself, my poy ; but, with you, I 
couldn t play stranger, as one woult wit a straggling Yan 
kee. I wishet to welcome you wit the whole family ; put 
I 11 not conceal Dus s unwillingness to pe of t e party." 

" But Dus was of your party ! It is very odd we did not 
meet !" 

" Now, you speak of it, I do pelief it wast all owin to a 
scheme of t at cunnin gal ! You must know, Mortaunt, a ter 
we had got a pit down t e roat, she persuatet us to enter a 
t icket of pines, in order to eat a mout ful ; and I do pelief 
the cunnin hussey just dit it t at you might slip past, and 
she safe her female dignity !" 

" And from those pines Sureflint came, just after Dus, as 



THE CHAINBEARER. 145 

you call her, but Miss Ursula Malbone as I ought to style 
her, had been singing this very song?" 

" Wast you near enough to know all t is, poy, and we 
miss you ! The gal dit sing t at ferry song ; yes, I remem- 
per it ; and a sweet, goot song it is. Call her Miss Ursula 
Malbone 1 Why shouldn t you call her Dus, as well as 
Frank and I?" 

" For the simple reason that you are her uncle, and 
Frank her brother, while I am a total stranger." 

" Poh poh Morty $ t is is peing partic lar. I am only 
a half-uncle, in the first place ; and Frank is only a half- 
brot er ; and I dares to say you wilt pe her whole frient. 
T en, you are not a stranger to any of t e family, I can 
tell you, lat ; for I haf talket enough apout you to make hot 
t e poy and t e gal lofe you almost as much as I do my 
self." 

Poor, simple-hearted, upright old Andries ! What an 
unpleasant feeling did he give me, by letting me into the 
secret that I was about to meet persons who had been listen 
ing to his partial accounts for the last twelve months. It is 
so difficult to equal expectations thus awakened ; and I will 
own that I had begun to be a little sensitive on the subject 
of this Dus. The song had been ringing in my ears from 
the moment I first heard it ; and, now that it became asso 
ciated with Priscilla Bayard s Ursula Malbone, the latter 
had really become a very formidable person to my imagina 
tion. There was no retreating, however, had I wished it ; 
and a sign induced the Chainbearer to proceed. Face the 
young woman I must, and the sooner it was done the 
better. 

The Nest-house, as my homely residence was termed, 
had been a sort of fortress, or " garrison," in its day, having 
been built around three sides of a parallelogram, with all its 
windows and doors opening on the court. On the fourth 
side were the remains of pickets, or palisades, but they were 
mostly rotted away, being useless as a fence, from the cir 
cumstance that the buildings stood on the verge of a low 
cliff that, of itself, formed a complete barrier against the in 
vasions of cattle, and no insignificant defence against those 
of man. 

The interior of the Nest-house was far more inviting than 



146 THE CHAINBEAKER. 

its exterior. The windows gave the court an appearance 
of life and gaiety, at once converting that which was other 
wise a pile of logs, thrown together in the form of a build 
ing, into a habitable and inhabited dwelling. One side of 
this court, however, was much neater, and had much more 
the air of comfort than the other; and towards the first 
Andries led the way. I was aware that my grandfather 
Mordaunt had caused a few rooms in this building to be 
furnished for his own particular purposes, and that no orders 
had ever been given to remove or to. dispose of the articles 
thus provided. I was not surprised, therefore, on entering 
the house, to find myself in apartments which, while they 
could not be called in any manner gaily or richly furnished, 
were nevertheless quite respectably supplied with most of 
the articles that are thought necessary to a certain manner 
of living. 

" We shall fint Dus in here, I dare say," observed the 
Chainbearer, throwing open a door, and signing for me to 
precede him. " Go in, and shake t e gal s hand, Mortaunt ; 
she knows you well enough, name and natur , as a poty 
may say." 

I did go in, and found myself within a few feet of the fair, 
golden-haired girl of the raising ; she who had saved the 
frame from falling on us all, by a decision of mind and 
readiness of exertion that partook equally of courage and 
dexterity. She was in the same dress as when first seen by 
me, though the difference in attitude and employment cer 
tainly gave her air and expression a very different character. 
Ursula Malbone was now quietly occupied in hemming one 
of those coarse checked handkerchiefs that the poverty of 
her uncle compelled him, or at least induced him to use, 
and of which I had seen one in his hands only a minute 
before. On my entrance she rose, gravely but not discour 
teously answering my bow with a profound curtsey. Nei 
ther spoke, though the salutes were exchanged as between 
persons who felt no necessity for an introduction in order to 
know each other. 

" Well, now," put in Andries, in his strongest Dutch ac 
cent, " t is wilt never do, ast petween two such olt frients. 
Come hit er, Dus, gal, and gif your hant to Mortaunt Little 
page, who ist a sort of son of my own," 



THE CHAINBEARER. 147 

Dus obeyed, and I had the pleasure of holding her soft 
velvet-like hand in mine for one moment. I felt a gratifi 
cation I cannot describe in finding the hand was so soft, 
since the fact gave me the assurance that necessity had not 
yet reduced her to any of the toil that is unsuited to a gen 
tlewoman. I knew that Andries had slaves, his only posses 
sion, indeed, besides his compass, chains and sword, unless 
a few arms and some rude articles of the household were 
excepted ; and these slaves, old and worn out as they must 
be by this time, were probably the means of saving the 
niece from the performance of offices that were menial. 

Although I got the hand of Ursula Malbone, I could not 
catch her eye. She did not avert her face, neither did she 
affect coldness ; but she was not at her ease. I could readily 
perceive that she would have been better pleased had her 
uncle permitted the salutations to be limited to the bows and 
curtsies. As I had never seen this girl before, and could 
not have done anything to offend her, I ascribed the whole 
to mauvaise honte, and the embarrassment that was natural 
enough to one who found herself placed in a situation so 
different from that in which she had so lately been. I 
bowed on the hand, possibly gave it a gentle pressure in 
order to reassure its owner, and we separated. 

" Well, now, Dus, haf you a cup of tea for the lantlort 
to welcome him to his own house wit ?" demanded Andries, 
perfectly satisfied with the seemingly amicable relations he 
had established between us. " T e major hast hat a long 
march, for peaceable times, and woult pe glat to get a little 
refreshment." 

" You call me major, Chainbearer, while you refuse to 
accept the same title for yourself." 

" Ay, t ere ist reason enough for t at. You may lif to be 
a general ; wilt probably be one before you re t irty ; but I 
am an olt man, now, and shall never wear any ot er uni 
form than this I have on again. I pegan t e worlt in this 
corps, Morty, and shall end it in the rank in which I be 
gan." 

" I thought you had been a surveyor originally, and that 
you fell back on the chain because you had no taste for 
figures. I think I have heard as much from yourself." 

" Yes, t at is t e fact. Figures and I didn t agree; nor 



148 THE CHAINBEARER. 

do I like em any petter at seventy t an I liket em at se 
venteen. Frank Malbone, now, Dus brother, t ere, ist a lat 
that takes to em nat rally, and he works t rough a sum 
ast your fat er would carry a battalion t rough a ravine. 
Carrying chain I like ; it gives sufficient occupation to t e 
mind ; put honesty is the great quality for the chainbearer. 
They say figures can t lie, Mortaunt ; but t is is not true 
wit chains ; sometimes they do lie, desperately." 

" Where is Mr. Francis Malbone? I should be pleased 
to make his acquaintance." 

" Frank remainet pehint to help em up with their tim 
ber. He is a stout chap, like yourself, and can lent a hant ; 
while, poor fellow ! he has no lantlort-tignity to maintain." 

I heard a gentle sigh from Dus, and involuntarily turned 
my head ; for she was occupied directly behind my chair. 
As if ashamed -of the weakness, the spirited girl coloured, 
and for the first time in my life I heard her voice, the two 
instances of the Indian songs excepted. I say heard her 
voice ; for it was an event to record. A pleasant voice, in 
either sex, is a most pleasant gift from nature. But the 
sweet tones of Ursula Malbone were all that the most fasti 
dious ear could have desired ; being full, rich, melodious, 
yet on the precise key that best satisfies the taste, bringing 
with it assurances of a feminine disposition and regulated 
habits. I detest a shrill, high-keyed female voice, more than 
that of a bawling man, while one feels a contempt for those 
who mumble their words in order to appear to possess a 
refinement that the very act itself contradicts. Plain, direct, 
but regulated utterance, is indispensable to a man or woman 
of the world ; anything else rendering him or her mean or 
affected. 

" I was in hopes," said Dus, " that evil-disposed frame was 
up and secured, and that I should see Frank in a minute or 
two. I was surprised to see you working so stoutly for the 
Presbyterians, uncle Chainbearer !" 

" I might return t e compliment, and say I wast surprise! 
to see you doing the same t ing, Miss Dus ! Pesides, the 
tenomination is Congregational, and not Prespyterian ; and 
one is apout as much to your taste as t e ot er." 

" The little I did was for you, and Frank, and Mr. 
JLittlepage, with all the rest who stood under the frame." 



THE CHAINBEAREE. 149 

I am sure, Miss Ursula," I now put in, " we all ought, 
and I trust we all do feel truly grateful for your timely aid. 
Had that timber come down, many of us must have been 
killed, and more maimed." 

" It was not a very feminine exploit," answered the girl, 
smiling, as I thought, a little bitterly. " But one gets accus 
tomed to being useful in the woods." 

" Do you dislike living in the forest, then ?" I ventured 
to ask. 

" Certainly not. I like living anywhere that keeps me 
near uncle Chainbearer, and Frank. They are all to me, 
now my excellent protectress and adviser is no more ; and 
their home is my home, their pleasure my pleasure, their 
happiness mine." 

This might have been said in a way to render it suspi 
cious and sentimental ; but it was not. On the contrary, it 
was impulsive, and came from the heart. I saw by the 
gratified look of Andries that he understood his niece, and 
was fully aware how much he might rely on the truthful 
character of the speaker. As for the girl herself, the mo 
ment she had given utterance to what she felt, she shrunk 
back, like one abashed at having laid bare feelings that 
ought to have been kept in the privacy of her own bosom. 
Unwilling to distress her, I turned the conversation in a 
way to leave her to herself. 

" Mr. Newcome seems a skilful manager of the multi 
tude," I remarked. " He contrived very dexterously to give 
to the twenty-six Congregationalists he had with him the 
air of being a majority of the whole assembly ; while, in 
truth, they were barely a third of those present." 

" Let Jason Newcome alone for t at !" exclaimed Andries. 
" He unterstants mankint, he says, and sartainly he hast a 
way of marching and countermarching just where he pleases 
wit 1 t ese people, makin em t ink t e whole time t ey are 
doing just what t ey want to do. It ist an art ! major it ist 
an art ! M 

" I should think it must be, and one worth possessing ; if, 
indeed, it can be exercised with credit." 

^ " Ay, t ere s the rub ! Exerciset it is ; but as for t e cre 
dit, fat I will not answer for. It sometimes makes me 
angry, and sometimes it makes me laugh, when I look on, 
13* 



150 THE CIIAINBEAKER. 

and see t e manner in which Jason makes t e people rule 
t emselves, and how he wheels em apout, and faces em, 
and t rows em into line, and out of line, at t eir own wort of 
commant ! His Excellency coult hartly do more wit us, 
a ter t e Baron* had given us his drill." 

" There must be some talent necessary, in order to pos 
sess so much influence over one s fellow-creatures." 

" It is a talent you woult be ashamet to exercise, Mor- 
taunt Littlepage, t ough you hat it in cart-loats. No man 
can use such a talent wit out peginning wit lying and de- 
ceifing ; and you must be greatly changet, major, if you 
are at the he t of your class, in such a school." 

" I am sorry to see, Chainbearer, that you have no better 
opinion of my agent ; I must look into the matter a little, 
when this is the case." 

" You wilt fint him law-honest enough ; for he swears 
py t e law, and lifs py t e law. No fear for your tollars, 
poy ; t ey pe all safe, unless inteet, t ey haf all vanishet in 
t e law." 

As Andries was getting more and more Dutch, I knew he 
was growing more and more warm, and I thought it might 
be well to defer the necessary inquiries to a cooler moment. 
This peculiarity I have often observed in most of those who 
speak English imperfectly, or with the accent of some other 
tongue. They fall back, as respects language, to that nearest 
to nature, at those moments when natural feeling is asserting 
its power over them, the least equivocally. 

I now began to question the Chainbearer concerning the 
condition in which he found the Nest-house and farm, over 
which I had given him full authority, when he came to 
the place, by a special letter to the agent. The people in 
possession were of very humble pretensions, and had been 
content to occupy the kitchen and servants rooms, ever 
since my grandfather s death, as indeed they had done long 
before that event. It was owing to this moderation, as well 
as to their perfect honesty, that I found nothing embezzled, 
and most of the articles in good condition. As for the farm, 



* This allusion is evidently to a German officer, wh 
the Prussian drill into the American army, Baron Steuben or Sluy- 
ben, as I think he must have been called in Germany Steu&en, ivs 
he is universally termed in this country. EDITOB. 



TjH E CHAINBEARER, 



151 



it had flourished, on the " let alone" principle. The orchards 
had grown, as a matter of course ; and if the fields had not 
been improved by judicious culture, neither had they been 
exhausted by covetous croppings. In these particulars there 
was nothing of which to complain. Things might have been 
better, Andries thought ; but, he also thought it was exceed 
ingly fortunate they were no worse. While we were con 
versing on this theme, Dus moved about the room silently, 
but with collected activity, having arranged the tea-table 
with her own hands. When invited to take our seats at it 
everybody drew near to a tea-table in that day, unless when 
there was too large a party to be accommodated I was 
surprised to find everything so perfectly neat, and some 
things rich. The plates, knives, &c., were of good quality, 
but the tray was actually garnished with a set of old-fashion 
ed silver, such as was made when tea was first used, of 
small size, but very highly chased. The handles of the 
spoons represented the stem of the tea-plant, and there was 
a crest on each of them ; while a full coat of arms was 
engraved on the different vessels of the service, which were 
four in all. I looked at the crest, in a vague but surprised 
expectation of finding my own. It was entirely new to me. 
Taking the cream-jug in my hand, I could recall no arms 
resembling those that were engraved on it. 

" I was surprised to find this plate here," I observed ; 
" for, though my grandfather possessed a great deal of it, 
for one of his means, I did not think he had enough to be 
as prodigal of it as leaving it here would infer. This is 
family plate, too ; but those arms are neither Mordaunt nor 
Littlepage. May I ask to whom they do belong ?" 

" The Malpones," answered the Chainbearer. " T e t ings 
are t e property of Dus." 

" And you may add, uncle Chainbearer, that they are all 
her property" added the girl, quickly. 

" I feel much honoured in being permitted to use them, 
Miss Ursula," I remarked; "for a very pretty set they 
make." 

" Necessity, and not vanity, has brought them out to-day. 
I broke the only tea-pot of yours there was in the house this 
morning, and was in hopes Frank would have brought up 
one from the store to supply its place, before it would be 



152 THE CHAINBEARER, 

wanted ; but he does not come. As for spoons, I can find 
none belonging to the house, and we use these constantly. 
As the tea-pot was indispensable, I thought I might as well 
display all my wealth at once. But, this is the first time 
the things have been used in many, many years !" 

There was a plaintive melody in Dus s voice, spite of her 
desire and her effort to speak with unconcern, that I found 
exceedingly touching. While few of us enter into the exulta 
tion of successful vulgarity, as it rejoices in its too often- 
random prosperity, it is in nature to sympathize with a 
downward progress, and with the sentiments it leaves, when 
it is connected with the fates of the innocent, the virtuous, 
ind the educated. That set of silver was all that remained 
to Ursula Malbone of a physical character and which 
marked the former condition of her family ; and doubtless 
she cherished it with no low feeling of morbid pride, but as 
a melancholy monument of a condition to which all her 
opinions, tastes and early habits constantly reminded her 
she properly belonged. In this last point of view, the sen 
timent was as respectable, and as much entitled to rever 
ence, as in the other case it would have been unworthy, and 
meriting contempt. 

There is a great deal of low misconception, as well as a 
good deal of cant, beginning to prevail among us, on the 
subject of the qualities that mark a gentleman, or a lady. 
The day has gone by, and I trust for ever, when the mere 
accidents of birth are to govern such a claim ; though the 
accidents of birth are very apt to supply the qualities that 
really form the caste. For my own part, I believe in the 
exaggerations of neither of the two extremes that so stub 
bornly maintain their theories on this subject; or, that a 
gentleman may not be formed exclusively by birth on the 
one hand, and that the severe morality of the bible on the 
other is by no means indispensable to the character. A 
man may be a very perfect gentleman, though by no means 
a perfect man, or a Christian ; and he may be a very good 
Christian, and very little of a gentleman. It is true, there 
is a connection in manners, as a result, between the Chris 
tian and the gentleman ; but it is in the result, and not in 
the motive. That Christianity has little necessary connec 
tion with the character of a gentleman, may be seen in the 



THE CHAINBEARER. 153 

fact that the dogmas of the first teach us to turn another 
cheek to him who smites ; while the promptings of the gen 
tleman are not to wipe out the indignity in the blood of the 
offender, but to show that rather than submit to it, he is 
ready to risk his own life.* 

But, I repeat, there is no necessary connection between 
the Christian and the gentleman, though the last who is the 
first attains the highest condition of humanity. Christians, 
under the influence of their educations and habits, often do 
things that the code of the gentleman rejects ; while it is 
certain that gentlemen constantly commit unequivocal sins. 
The morality of the gentleman repudiates meannesses and 
low vices, rather than it rigidly respects the laws of God ; 
while the morality of the Christian is unavoidably raised or 
depressed by the influence of the received opinions of his 
social caste. I am not maintaining that " the ten command 
ments were not given for the obedience of people of quality," 
for their obligations are universal ; but, simply, that the 
qualities of a gentleman are the best qualities of man unaid 
ed by God, while the graces of the Christian come directly 
from his mercy. 

Nevertheless, there is that in the true character of a gen 
tleman that is very much to be respected. In addition to the 
great indispensables of tastes, manners and opinions, based 
on intelligence and cultivation, and all those liberal qualities 
that mark his caste, he cannot and does not stoop to mean 
nesses of any sort. He is truthful out of self-respect, and 
not in obedience to the will of God ; free with his money, 
because liberality is an essential feature of his habits, and 
not in imitation of the self-sacrifice of Christ ; superior to 

* Mr. Mordaunt Littlepage would seem to have got hold of the only 
plausible palliative for a custom that originated in those times when, 
abuses could only be corrected by the strong arm ; and which, in our 
own days,"is degenerating into the merest system of chicanery and 
trick. The duellist who, in his " practice," gets to be " certain death 
to a shingle," and then misses his man, instead of illustrating his 
chivalry, merely lets the world into the secret that his nerves are not 
equal to his drill ! There was something as respectable as anything 
can be in connection with a custom so silly, in the conduct of the 
Englishman who called out to his adversary, a near-sighted man, 
** that if he wished to shoot at him, he must turn his pistol in another 
direction." EDITOR. 



154 THE CHAINBEARER. 

scandal and the vices of the busy-body, inasmuch as they 
are low and impair his pride of character, rather than be 
cause he has been commanded not to bear false witness 
against his neighbour. It is a great mistake to confound 
these two characters, one of which is a mere human em 
bellishment of the ways of a wicked world, while the other 
draws near to the great end of human existence. The last 
is a character I revere ; while I am willing to confess that 
I never meet with the first without feeling how vacant and 
repulsive society would become without it ; unless, indeed, 
the vacuum could be filled by the great substance, of which, 
after all, the gentleman is but the shadow. 

Ursula Malbone lost nothing in my respect by betraying 
the emotion she did, while thus speaking of this relic of old 
family plate. I was glad to find, however, that she could 
retain it ; for, though dressed in no degree in a style unbe 
coming her homely position as her uncle s housekeeper, 
there were a neatness and taste in her attire that are not 
often seen in remote parts of this country. On this subject, 
the reader will indulge my weaknesses a little, if I pause to 
say a word. Ursula had neither preserved in her dress the 
style of one of her sex and condition in the world, nor yet 
entirely adopted that common to girls of the class to which 
she now seemingly belonged. It struck me that some of 
those former garments that were the simplest in fashion, 
and the most appropriate in material, had been especially 
arranged for present use ; and sweetly becoming were they, 
to one of her style of countenance and perfection of form. 
In that day, as every one knows, the different classes of 
society and, kingdom or republic, classes do, and ever 
will exist in this country, as an incident of civilization ; a 
truth every one can see as respects those below, though his 
vision may be less perfect as respects those above him 
but, every one knows that great distinctions in dress existed, 
as between classes, all over the Christian world, at the close 
of the American war, that are fast disappearing, or have 
altogether disappeared. Now, Ursula had preserved just 
enough of the peculiar attire of her own class, to let one 
understand that she, in truth, belonged to it, without render 
ing the distinction obtrusive. Indeed, the very character 
of that which she did preserve, sufficiently told the story of 



THE CHAIN BEARER 155 

her origin, since it was a subdued, rather than an exag 
gerated imitation of that to which she had been accustomed, 
as would have been the case with a mere copyist. I can 
only add, that the effect was to render her sufficiently 
charming. 

" Taste t ese cakes," said old Andries, who, without the 
slightest design, did love to exhibit the various merits of his 
niece " Dus mate t em, and I 11 engage Matam Washing 
ton, herself, couldn t make pleasanter !" 

" If Mrs. Washington was ever thus employed," I an 
swered, " she might turn pale with envy here. Better cakes 
of the sort I never ate." 

" Of the sort is well added, Mr. Littlepage," the girl 
quietly observed ; " my protectress and friend made me 
rather skilful in this way, but the ingredients are not to be 
had here as they were in her family." 

" Which, being a boarding-school for young ladies, was 
doubtless better supplied than common, with the materials 
and knowledge necessary for good cakes." 

Dus laughed, and it startled me, so full of a wild but 
subsued melody did that laugh seem to be. 

" Young ladies have many foibles imputed to them, of 
which they are altogether innocent," was her answer. 
" Cakes were almost forbidden fruit in the school, and we 
were taught to make them in pity to the palates of the 
men." 

" Your future huspants, gal," cried the Chainbearer, rising 
to quit the room. 

" Our fathers, brothers and uncles" returned his niece, 
laying an emphasis on the last word. 

" I believe, Miss Ursula," I resumed, as soon as Andries 
had left us alone, " that I have been let behind the curtain 
as respects your late school, having an acquaintance, of a 
somewhat particular nature, with one of your old school 
fellows." 

My companion did not answer, but she fastened those 
fascinating blue eyes of her s on me, in a way that asked a 
hundred questions in a moment. I could not but see that 
they were suffused with tears ; allusions to her school often 
producing that effect. 

" I mean Miss Priscilla Bayard, who would seem to be, 



156 THE CHAINBEARE2U 

or to have been, a very good friend of your s," I added, o& 
serving that my companion was not disposed to say any 
thing. 

" Pris. Bayard I" Ursula now suffered to escape her, in 
her surprise " and she an acquaintance of a somewhat 
particular nature !" 

" My language has been incautious ; not to say that of a 
coxcomb. Certainly, I am not authorized to say more than 
that OUT families are very intimate, and that there are some 
particular reasons for that intimacy. I beg you to read 
only as I have corrected the error." 

" I do not see that the correction changes things much ; 
and you will let me say I am grieved, sadly grieved, to 
learn so much." 

This was odd ! That Dus really meant what she said, 
was plain enough by a face that had actually lost nearly all 
of its colour, and which expressed an emotion that was most 
extraordinary. Shall I own what a miserably conceited 
coxcomb I was for a single moment ? The truth must be 
said, and I will confess it. The thought that crossed my 
mind was this : Ursula Malbone is pained at the idea that 
the only man whom she had seen for a year, and who could, 
by possibility, make any impression on one of her education 
and tastes, was betrothed to another ! Under ordinary cir 
cumstances, this precocious preference might have caused 
me to revolt at its exhibition ; but there was far too much 
of nature in all of Dus s emotions, acts and language, to pro 
duce any other impression on me than that of intense in 
terest. I have always dated the powerful hold that, this girl 
so soon obtained on my heart, to the tumult of feeling 
awakened in me, at that singular moment. Love at first 
sight may be ridiculous, but it is sometimes true. That a 
passion may be aroused by a glance, or a smile, or any 
other of those secret means of conveying sympathy with 
which nature has supplied us, I fully believe ; though its 
duration must depend on qualities of a higher and more 
permanent influence. It is the imagination that is first ex 
cited ; the heart coming in for its share by later and less 
perceptible degrees. 

My delusion, however, did not last long. Whether Ur 
sula Malbone was conscious of the misconstruction to which 



THE CHAINBEARER. 157 

she was liable, I cannot say ; but I rather think not, as she 
was much too innocent to dread evil ; or whether she saw 
some other necessity for explaining herself remains a secret 
with me to this hour ; but explain she did. How judiciously 
this was done, and with how much of that female tact that 
taught her to conceal the secrets of her friend, will appear 
to those who are sufficiently interested in the subject to pur 
sue it. 



CHAPTER XII. 

* Here come the lovers, full of joy and mirth. 

Joy, gentle friends ! joy, and fresh days of love 
Accompany your hearts I" 

Midsummer -Night s Dream. 

" I OUGHT not to leave you in any doubts as to my mean 
ing, Mr. Littlepage," resumed Ursula, after a short pause. 
" Priscilla Bayard is very dear to me, and is well worthy 
of all your love and admiration " 

" Admiration if you please, and as much as you please, 
Miss Ursula ; but there is no such feeling as love, as yet 
certainly, between Miss Bayard and myself." 

The countenance of Dus brightened sensibly. Truth her 
self, she gave immediate credit to what I said ; and I could 
not but see that she was greatly relieved from some unac 
countable apprehension. Still, she smiled a little archly, 
and perhaps a little sadly, as she continued, 

" * As yet, certainly, is very equivocal on your side, when 
a young woman like Priscilla Bayard is concerned. It may 
at any moment be converted into now, certainly, with that 
certainty the other way." 

" I will not deny it. Miss Bayard is a charming crea 
ture yet, I do not know how it is there seems to be a fate 
in these things. The peculiar relation to which I alluded, 
and alluded so awkwardly, is nothing more than the engage 
ment of my youngest sister to her brother. There is no 
secret in that engagement, so I shall not affect to conceal 
it." 

14 



158 THE CHAINBEARER. 

" And it is just such an engagement as might lead to one 
between yourself and Priscilla !" exclaimed Dus, certainly 
not without alarm. 

" It might, or it might not, as the parties happen to view 
such things. With certain temperaments it might prove an 
inducement ; while, with others, it would not." 

" My interest in the subject," continued Dus, " proceeds 
altogether from the knowledge I have that another has 
sought Miss Bayard ; and I will own with my hearty good 
wishes for his success. You struck me as a most formida 
ble rival ; nor do you seem any the less so, now I know that 
your families are to be connected." 

" Have no fears on my account, for I am as heart-whole 
as the day I first saw the lady." 

A flash of intelligence a most meaning flash it was 
gleamed on the handsome face of my companion ; and it 
was followed by a mournful, though I still thought not an 
entirely dissatisfied smile. 

" These are matters about which one had better not say 
much," Dus added, after a pause. " My sex has its * pecu 
liar rights, and no woman should disregard them. You 
have been fortunate in finding all your tenants collected to 
gether, Mr. Littlepage, in a way to let you see them at a 
single glance." 

" I was fortunate in one sense, and a most delightful in 
troduction I had to the settlement such an introduction as 
I would travel another hundred miles to have repeated." 

" Are you, then, so fond of raisings? or, do you really 
love excitement to such a degree as to wish to get under a 
trap, like one of the poor rabbits my uncle sometimes 
takes ?" 

" I am not thinking of the raising, or of the frame ; al 
though your courage and presence of mind might well inde 
libly impress both on my mind" Dus looked down, and 
the colour mounted to her temples " but, I was thinking 
of a certain song, an Indian song, sung to Scotch music, 
that I heard a few miles from the clearings, and which was 
my real introduction to the pleasant things one may both 
hear and see, in this retired part of the world." 

" Which is not so retired after all, that flattery cannot 
penetrate it, I find. It is pleasant to hear one s songs ex- 



THE CHAIN BEARER. 159 

tolled, even though they may be Indian ; but, it is not half 
so pleasant as to hear tidings of Priscilla Bayard. If you 
wish truly to charm my ear, talk of her /" 

" The attachment seems mutual, for I can assure yo& 
Miss Bayard manifested just the same interest in you." 

" In me ! Priscilla then remembers a poor creature likfr 
me, in her banishment from the world ! Perhaps she re- 
members me so much the more, because I am banished. I 
hope she does not, cannot think I regret my condition 
that, I could hardly forgive her." 

" I rather think she does not ; I know she gives you 
credit for more than common excellencies." . 

" It is strange that Priscilla Bayard should speak of me 
to you ! I have been a little unguarded myself, Mr. Little- 
page, and have said so much, that I begin to feel the neces 
sity of saying something more. There is some excuse for 
my not. feeling in your presence as in that of a stranger ; 
since uncle Chainbearer has your name in his mouth at 
least one hundred times each day. Twelve different times 
in one hour did he speak of you yesterday." 

" Excellent old Andries ! It is the pride of my life that 
so honest a man loves me ; and now for the explanation I 
am entitled to receive as his friend, by your own acknow 
ledgment." 

Dus smiled, a little saucily I thought but saucily or not, 
that smile made her look extremely lovely. She reflected a 
moment, like one who thinks intensely, even bending her 
head under the painful mental effort; then she drew her 
form to its usual attitude, and spoke. 

" It is always best to be frank," she said, " and it can do 
no harm, while it may do good, to be explicit with you. 
You will not forget, Mr. Littlepage, that I believe myself to 
be conversing with my uncle s very best friend ?" 

" I am too proud of the distinction to forget it, under any 
circumstances ; and least of all in your presence." 

" Well, then, I will be frank. Priscilla Bayard was, for 
eight years, my associate and closest friend. Our affection 
for each other commenced when we were mere children, 
and increased with time and knowledge. About a year be 
fore the close of the war, my brother Frank, who is now 
here as my uncle s surveyor, found opportunities to quit his 



160 THE CHAINBEARER. 

regiment, and to come to visit me quite frequently indeed, 
his company was sent to Albany, where he could see me as 
often as he desired. To see me, was to see Priscilla ; for 
we were inseparable; and to see Priscilla was, for poor 
Frank at least, to love her. He made me his confidant, and 
my alarm was nothing but natural concern lest he might 
have a rival as formidable as you." 

A flood of light was let in upon me by this brief explana 
tion, though I could not but wonder at the simplicity, or 
strength of character, that induced so strange a confidence. 
When I got to know Dus better, the whole became clear 
enough ; but, at the moment, I was a little surprised. 

" Be at ease on my account, Miss Malbone " 

" Why not call me Dus at once ? You will do it in a 
week, like every one else here ; and it is better to begin our 
acquaintance as I am sure it will end. Uncle Chainbearer 
calls me Dus ; Frank calls rne Dus ; most of your settlers 
call me Dus, to my very face ; and even our blacks call me 
Miss Dus. You cannot wish to be singular." 

" I will gladly venture so far as to call you Ursula ; but 
Dus does not please me." 

No ! I have become so accustomed to be called Dus 
by all my friends, that it sounds distant to be called by any 
other name. Do you not think Dus a pretty diminutive?" 

" I did not, most certainly ; though all these things de 
pend on the associations. Dus Malbone sounded sweetly 
enough in Priscilla Bayard s mouth ; but I fear it will not 
be so pleasant in mine." 

" Do as you please but do not call me Miss Ursula, or 
Miss Malbone. It would have displeased me once, not to 
have been so addressed by any man ; but it has an air of 
mockery, now that I know myself to be only the companion 
and housekeeper of a poor chainbearer." 

" And yet, the owner of that silver, the lady I see seated 
at this table, in this room, is not so very inappropriately 
addressed as Miss Ursula !" 

" You know the history of the silver, and the table and 
room are your own. No Mr. Littlepage, we are poor 
very, very poor uncle Chainbearer, Frank and I all 
alike, have nothing." 



THE CHAINBEARER 



161 



This was not said despairingly, but with a sincerity that 
1 found exceedingly touching. 

"Frank, at least, should have something" I answered. 
" You tell me he was in the army ?" 

" He was a captain at the last, but what did he receive 
for that 1 We do not complain of the country, any of us ; 
neither my uncle, my brother, nor myself; for we know it 
is poor, like ourselves, and that its poverty even is like our 
own, that of persons reduced. I was long a charge on my 
friends, and there have been debts to pay. Could I have 
known it, such a thing should not have happened. Now I 
can only repay those who have discharged these obligations 
by coming into the wilderness with them. It is a terrible 
thing for a woman to be in debt." 

" But, you have remained in this house ; you surely have 
not been in the hut, at Mooseridge !" 

" I have gone wherever uncle Chainbearer has gone, and 
shall go with him, so long as we both live. Nothing shall 
ever separate us again. His years demand this, and grati 
tude is added to my love. Frank might possibly do better 
than work for the little he receives ; but he will not quit us. 
The poor love each other intensely !" 

" But I have desired your uncle to use this house, and 
for your sake I should think he would accept the offer." 

" How could he, and carry chain twenty miles distant ? 
We haTe been here, occasionally, a few days at a time ; 
but the work was to be done, and it must be done on the 
land itself." 

" Of course, you merely gave your friends the pleasure 
of your company, and looked a little to their comforts, on 
their return from a hard day s work ?" 

Dus raised her eyes to mine ; smiled ; then she looked 
sad, her under-lip quivering slightly ; after which a smile 
that was not altogether without humour succeeded. I watch 
ed these signs of varying feeling with an interest I cannot 
describe ; for the play of virtuous and ingenuous emotion on 
a lovely female countenance is one of the rarest sights in 
nature. 

" I can carry chain" said the girl, at the close of this 
exhibition of feeling. 
14* 



162 THE CHAIN BEARER. 

" You can carry chain, Ursula Dus, or whatever I am 
to call you " 

" Call me Dus I love that name best." 

You can carry chain, I suppose is true enough but, 
you do not mean that you have ?" 

The face of Dus flushed ; but she looked me full in the 
eye, as she nodded her head to express an affirmative ; and 
she smiled as sweetly as ever woman smiled. 

" For amusement to say you have done it in jest !" 

" To help my uncle and brother, who had not the means 
to hire a second man." 

" Good God ! Miss Malbone Ursula Dus " 

" The last is the most proper name for a Chainbearess," 
rejoined the girl, smiling ; and actually taking my hand by 
an involuntary movement of her sympathy in the shock I so 
evidently felt " But, why should you look upon that little 
toil as so shocking, when it is healthful and honest ? You 
are thinking of a sister reduced to what strikes you as man s 
proper work." 

Dus relinquished my hand almost as soon as she had 
touched it ; and she did it with a slight start, as if shocked 
at her own temerity. 

" What is man s work, and man s work, on/y." 

" Yet, woman can perform it ; and, as uncle Chainbearer 
will tell you, perform it well. I had no other concern, the 
month I was at work, than the fear that my strength would 
not enable me to do as much as my uncle and brother, and 
thus lessen the service they could render you each day. 
They kept me on the dry land, so there were no wet feet, 
and your woods are as clear of underbrush as an orchard. 
There is no use in attempting to conceal the fact, for it is 
known to many, and would have reached your ears sooner 
or later. Then concealment is always painful to me, and 
never more so than when I hear you, and see you treating 
your hired servant as an equal." 

" Miss Malbone ! For God s sake, let me hear no more 
of this old Andries judged rightly of me, in wishing to 
conceal this ; for I should never have allowed it to go on for 
a moment." 

" And in what manner could you have prevented it, major 
Littlepage 1 My uncle has taken the business of you at so 



THE CHAIN BEAKER, 



163 



much the day, finding surveyor and labourers poor dear 
Frank! He, at least, does not rank with the labourers, 
and as for my uncle, he has long had an honest pride in 
being the best chainbearer in the country why need his 
niece scruple about sharing in his well-earned reputation ?" 

" But you, Miss Malbone dearest Dus who have been 
so educated, who are born a lady, who are loved by Pris- 
cilla Bayard, the sister of Frank, are not in your proper 
sphere, while thus occupied." 

" It is not so easy to say what is the proper sphere of a 
woman. I admit it ought to be, in general, in the domestic 
circle, and under the domestic roof; but circumstances must 
control that. We hear of wives who follow their husbands 
to the camp, and we hear of nuns who come out of their 
convents to attend the sick and wounded in hospitals. It 
does not strike me, then, as so bad in a girl who offers to 
aid her parent, as I have aided mine, when the alternative 
was to suffer by want." 

" Gracious Providence ! And Andries has kept me in 
ignorance of all this ! He knew my purse would have been 
his, and how could you have been in want in the midst of 
the abundance that reigns in this settlement, which is only 
fifteen or twenty miles from your hut, as I know from the 
Chainbearer s letters." 

" Food is plenty, I allow, but we had no money ; and 
when the question was between beggary or exertion, we 
merely chose the last. My uncle did try old Killian, the 
black, for a day ; but you know how hard it is to make one 
of those people understand anything that is a little intricate ; 
and then I offered my services. I am intelligent enough, I 
trust" the girl smiled a little proudly as she said this 
" and you can have no notion how active and strong I am, 
for light work like this, and on my feet, until you put me to 
the proof. Remember, carrying chain is neither chopping 
wood nor piling logs ; nor is it absolutely unfeminine." 

" Nor raising churches" I answered, smiling ; for it 
was not easy to resist the contagion of the girl s spirit " at 
which business I have been an eye-witness of your dexterity. 
However, there will now be an end of this. It is fortunately 
in my power to offer such a situation and such emoluments 
to Mr. Malbone, as will at once enable him to place his sister 



164 THE CHAINBEARER. 

in this house as its mistress, and under a roof that is at least 
respectable." 

" Bless you for that !" cried Dus, making a movement 
towards catching my hand again ; but checking it in time 
to render the deep blush that instantly suffused her face, 
almost unnecessary. " Bless you for that ! Frank is willing 
to do anything that is honest, and capable of doing anything 
that a gentleman should do. I am the great encumbrance 
on the poor fellow ; for, could he leave me, many situations 
must be open to him in the towns. But, I cannot quit my 
uncle, and Frank will not quit me. He does not understand 
uncle Chainbearer." 

" Frank must be a noble fellow, and I honour him for his 
attachment to such a sister. This makes me only the more 
anxious to carry out my intentions." 

" Which are such, I hope, that there is no impropriety in 
his sister s knowing them ?" 

This was said with such an expression of interest in the 
sweet, blue eyes, and with so little of the air of common 
curiosity, that it completely charmed me. 

" Certainly there is none," I answered, promptly enough 
even for a young man who was acting under the influence 
of so much ingenuous and strong native feeling ; " and I 
shall have great pleasure in telling you. We have long been 
dissatisfied with our agent on this estate, and I had deter 
mined to offer it to your uncle. The same difficulty would 
have to be overcome in this case as there was in making 
him a safe surveyor the want of skill in figures ; now, this 
difficulty will not exist in the instance of your brother ; and 
the whole family, Chainbearer as well as the rest, will be 
benefited by giving the situation to Frank." 

" You call him Frank !" cried Dus, laughing, and evi 
dently delighted with what she heard. " That is a good 
omen ; but, if you raise me to the station of an agent s sister, 
I do not know but I shall insist on being called Ursula, at 
least, if not Miss Ursula." 

I scarce knew what to make of this girl ; there was so 
much of gaiety, and even fun, blended with a mine of as 
deep feeling as I ever saw throwing up its signs to the 
human countenance. Her brother s prospects had mado 



THE CHAINBE A.RER, 165 

her even gay ; though she still looked as if anxious to hear 
more. 

" You may claim which you please, for Frank shall have 
his name put into the new power of attorney within the hour. 
Mr. Newcome has had a hint, by letter, of what is to come, 
and professes great happiness in getting rid of a vast deal 
of unrequited trouble." 

" I am afraid there is little emolument, if he is glad to be 
rid of the office." 

" I do not say he is glad ; I only say he professes to be 
so. These are different things with certain persons. As 
for the emolument, it will not be much certainly ; though it 
will be enough to prevent Frank s sister from carrying chain, 
and leave her to exercise her talents and industry in their 
proper sphere. In the first place, every lease on the estate 
is to be renewed ; and, there being a hundred, and the tenant 
bearing the expense, it will at once put a considerable sum 
at your brother s disposition. I cannot say that the annual 
commissions will amount to a very great deal, though they 
will exceed a hundred a year by the terms on which the 
lands will be re-let. The use of this house and farm, how 
ever, I did intend to offer to your uncle ; and, for the same 
reason, I shall offer them to Frank." 

" With this house and farm we shall be rich !" exclaimed 
Dus, clasping her hands in delight. " I can gather a school 
of the better class of girls, and no one will be useless no 
one idle. If I teach your tenants daughters some of the 
ideas of their sex and station, Mr. Littlepage, you will reap 
the benefit in the end. That will be some slight return for 
all your kindness." 

" I wish all of your sex, and of the proper age, who are 
connected with me, no better instructress. Teach them your 
own warmth of heart, your own devotedness of feeling, your 
own truth, and your own frankness, and I will come and 
dwell on my own estate, as the spot nearest to paradise." 

Dus looked a little alarmed, I thought, as if she feared 
she might have uttered too much ; or, perhaps, that / was 
uttering too much. She rose, thanked me hurriedly, but in 
a very lady-like manner, and set about removing the break 
fast service, with as much diligence as if she had been a 
mere menial. 



166 THE CHAINBEARER. 

Such was my very first conversation with Ursula Mai- 
bone ; her, with whom I have since held so many, and those 
that have been very different! When I rose to seek the 
Chain bearer, it was with a feeling of interest in my late 
companion that was as strong as it was sudden. I shall 
not deny that her beauty had its influence it would be un 
natural that it should not but it was less her exceeding 
beauty, and Ursula Malbone would have passed for one of 
the fairest of her sex but it was less her beauty that at 
tracted me than her directness, truth, and ingenuousness, 
so closely blended as all were with the feelings and delicacy 
of her sex. She had certainly done things which, had I 
merely heard of them, would have struck me unpleasantly, 
as even bold and forward, and which may now so strike the 
reader ; but this would be doing Dus injustice. No act, no 
word of her s, not even the taking of my hand, seemed to 
me, at the time, as in the least forward ; the whole move 
ment being so completely qualified by that intensity of feel 
ing which caused her to think only of her brother. Nature 
and circumstances had combined to make her precisely the 
character she was ; and I will confess I did not wish her to 
be, in a single particular, different from what I found her. 

Talk of Pris. Bayard in comparison with Ursula Malbone ! 
Both had beauty, it is true, though the last was far the hand 
somest ; both had delicacy, and sentiment, and virtue, and 
all that pertains to a well-educated young woman, if you 
will ; but, Dus had a character of her own, and principles, 
and an energy, and a decision, that made her the girl of ten 
thousand, if do not think I could be said to be actually in 
love when I left that room, for I do not wish to appear so 
very easy to receive impressions as all that would come to; 
but I will own no female had ever before interested me a 
tenth part as much, though I had known, and possibly ad 
mired her, a twelvemonth. 

In the court I found Andries measuring his chains. This 
he did periodically ; and it was as conscientiously as if he 
were weighing gold. The old man manifested no conscious 
ness of the length of the fete-d-tite I had held with his niece ; 
but, on the contrary, the first words he uttered were to an 
effect that proved he fancied I had been alone. 

" I peg your parton, lat," he said, holding his measuring- 



THE CHAINBEARER. 167 

rod m his mouth while he spoke. " I peg your parton, put 
this is very necessary work. I do not wish to haf any of 
your Yankee settlers crying out hereafter against the chain- 
pearer s surveys. Let em come a huntret or a t ousant 
years hence, if t ey will, and measure t e lant ; I want olt 
Andries survey to stant." 

" The variation of the compass will make some difference 
in the two surveys, my good friend, unless the surveyors 
are better than one commonly finds." 

The old man dropped his rod and his chain, and looked 
despondingly at me. 

" True," he said, with emphasis. " You haf hit t e nail 
on t e heat, Mortaunt t at fariation is t e ferry teffil to get 
along wit ! I haf triet it t is-a-way, and I haf triet it t at- 
a-way, and never coult I make heat or tail of it ! I can see 
no goot of a fariation at all." 

" What does your pretty assistant Dus, think of it ? Dus, 
the pretty Chainbearer? You will lose your old, hard- 
earned appellation, which will be borne off by Miss Mai- 
bone." 

" T en Dus hast peen telling you all apout it ! A woman 
never can keep a secret. No, natur hast male em talkatif, 
and t e parrot will chatter." 

" A woman likes variation, notwithstanding did you 
consult Dus on that difficulty ?" 

" No, no, poy ; I sait not ing to Dus, ant I am sorry she 
hast sait anyt ing to you apout t is little matter of t e chain. 
It was sorely against my will, Mortaunt, t at t e gal ever 
carriet it a rot ; and was it to do over ag in, she shoult not 
carry it a rot yet it woult have tone your heart goot to see 
how prettily she did her work ; and how quick she wast ; 
and how true ; and how accurate she put down t e marker ; 
and how sartain was her eye. Natur made t at fery gal 
for a chainpearer !" 

" And a chainbearer she has been, and a chainbearer she 
ever will be, until she throws her chains on some poor fellow, 
and binds him down for life. Andries, you have an angel 
with you here, and not a woman !" 

Most men in the situation of the Chainbearer might have 
been alarmed at hearing such language coming from a young 
man, and under all the circumstances of the caso. But 



168 THE CHAINBEARER. 

Andries Coejemans never had any distrust of mortal whr 
possessed his ordinary confidence ; and I question if he eve? 
entertained a doubt about myself on any point, the result of 
his own, rather than of my character. Instead of manifest 
ing uneasiness or displeasure, he turned to me, his whole 
countenance illuminated with the affection he felt for hi* 
niece, and said 

" T e gal ist an excellent gal, Mortaunt ; a capital crea 
ture ! It woult haf tone your heart goot, I tell you, to see 
her carry chain ! Your pocket is none t e worse for t e 
mont she worked, t ough 1 woult not haf you t ink I charget 
for her ast for a man no she is town at only half-price, 
woman s work peing woman s work ; yet I do pelieve, on 
my conscience, t at we went over more grount in t at mont , 
fan we coult haf tone wit any man t at wast to pe hiret in 
t is part of t e worlt I do, inteet !" 

How strange all this sounded to me ! Charged for work 
done by Ursula Malbone, and charged at half-price ! We 
are the creatures of convention, and the slaves of opinions 
that come we know not whence. I had got the notions of 
my caste, obtained in the silent, insinuating manner in 
which all our characters are formed ; and nothing short of 
absolute want could have induced me to accept pecuniary 
compensation from an individual for any personal service 
rendered. I had no profession, and it did not comport with 
our usages for a gentleman to receive money for personal 
service out of the line of a profession ; an arbitrary rule, 
but one to which most of us submit with implicit obedience. 
The idea that Dus had been paid by myself for positive toil, 
therefore, was extremely repugnant to me ; and it was only 
after reflection that I came to view the whole affair as I 
ought, and to pass to the credit of the noble-minded girl, 
and this without any drawback, an act that did her so much 
honour. I wish to represent myself as no better, or wiser, 
or more rational than I was ; and, I fancy few young men 
of my age and habits would hear with much delight, at first, 
that the girl he felt himself impelled to love had been thus 
employed ; while, on the other hand, few would fail to arrive 
at the same conclusions, on reflection, as those I reached 
myself. 

The discourse with Andries Coejemans was interrupted 



THE CHAINBEARER. 169 

by the sudden entrance of Frank Malbone into the court. 
This was my first meeting with my young surveyor, and 
Chainbearer introduced us to each other in his usual hearty 
and frank manner. In a minute we were acquainted ; the 
sld man inquiring as to the success of the settlers in getting 
up their " meetin -us." 

" I staid until they had begun to place the rafters," an 
swered young Malbone, cheerfully, " and then I left them. 
The festivities are to end with a ball, I hear ; but I was too 
anxious to learn how my sister reached home I ought to 
say reached the Nest to remain. We have little other 
home now, Mr. Littlepage, than the hut in the woods, and 
the roof your hospitality offers." 

" Brother soldiers, sir, and brother soldiers in such a 
cause, ought to have no more scruples about accepting such 
hospitalities, as you call them, than in offering them. I am 
glad, however, that you have adverted to the subject, inas 
much as it opens the way to a proposition I have intended 
to make ; which, if accepted, will make me your guest, and 
which may as well be made now as a week later." 

Both Andries and Frank looked surprised ; but I led them 
to a bench on the open side of the court, and invited them 
to be seated, while I explained myself. It may be well to 
say a word of that seat, in passing. It stood on the verge of 
a low cliff of rocks, on the side of the court which had been 
defended by palisades, when the French held the Canadas, 
and the remains of which were still to be seen. Here, as I 
was told before we left the spot, Dus, my pretty chainbearer, 
with a woman s instinct for the graceful and beautiful, had 
erected an arbour, principally with her own hands, planted 
one of the swift-growing vines of our climate, and caused a 
seat to be placed within. The spot commanded a pleasing 
view of a wide expanse of meadows, and of a distant hill 
side, that still lay in the virgin forest. Andries told me that 
his niece had passed much of her leisure time in that arbour, 
since the growth of the plant, with the advance of the sea 
son, had brought the seat into the shade. 

Placing myself between the Chainbearer and Malbone, I 

communicated the intention I had formed of making tho 

latter my agent. As an inducement to accept the situation, 

I offered the use of the Nest-house and Nest-farm, reserving 

15 



170 THE CHAIN BE AREK. 

to myself the room or two that had been my grandfather s, 
and that only at the times of my annual visits to the pro 
perty. As the farm was large, and of an excellent quality 
of land, it would abundantly supply the wants of a family 
of modest habits, and even admit of sales to produce the 
means of purchasing such articles of foreign growth as might 
be necessary. In a word, I laid before the listeners the whole 
of my plan, which was a good deal enlarged by a secret wish 
to render Ursula comfortable, without saying anything about 
the motive. 

The reader is not to suppose I was exhibiting any extra 
ordinary liberality in doing that which I have related. It 
must not be forgotten that land was a drug in the State of 
New York in the year 1784, as it is to-day on the Miami, 
Ohio, Mississippi, and other inland streams. The proprietors 
thought but little of their possessions as the means of present 
support, but rather maintained their settlements than their 
settlements maintained them ; looking forward to another 
age, and to their posterity, for the rewards of all their trou 
ble and investments.* 

It is scarcely necessary to say my proposals were gladly 
accepted. Old Andries squeezed my hand, and I understood 
the pressure as fully as if he had spoken with the eloquence 
of Patrick Henry. Frank Mai bone was touched ; and all 
parties were perfectly satisfied. The surveyor had his field- 
inkstand with him, as a matter of course, and I had the 
Power-of- Attorney in my pocket ready for the insertion of 
the Chainbearer s name, would he accept the office of agent. 
That of Malbone was written in its stead ; I signed ; Andries 
witnessed ; and we left the seat together ; Frank Malbone, 
in effect, temporarily master of the house in which we .were, 

* The Manor of Rensselaerwick virtually extends forty-eight miles 
east and west, and twenty-four north and south. It is situated in the 
very heart of New York, with three incorporated cities within its 
limits, built, in part, on small, older grants. Albany is a town of near, 
if not of quite 40,000 souls ; and Troy must now contain near 28,000. 
Yet, the late Patroon, in the last conversation he ever held with the 
writer, only a few months before he died, stated that his grandfather 
was the first proprietor who ever reaped any material advantage from 
the estate, and his father the first who received any income of consi 
derable amount. The home property, farms and mills, furnished the 
inccme of tho family for moro than a century. EDITOR. 



THE CHAINBEARER. 171 

and his charming sister, as a necessary consequence, its 
mistress. It was a delicious moment to me, when I saw 
Dus throw herself into her brother s arms, and weep on his 
bosom, as he communicated to her the joyful intelligence. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

tt A comfortable doctrine, and much may be said of it. Where lic 
your text ?" Twelfth. Night ; or What You Will. 

A MONTH glided swiftly by. During that interval, Frank 
Malbone was fully installed, and Andries consented to sus 
pend operations with his chain, until this necessary work 
was completed. Work it was ; for every lease granted by 
my grandfather having run out, the tenants had remained 
on their farms by sufferance, or as occupants at will, hold 
ing from year to year under parole agreements made with 
Mr. Newcome, who had authority to go that far, but no 
farther. 

It was seldom that a landlord, in that day, as I have 
already said, got any income from his lands during the first 
few years of their occupation. The great thing was to in 
duce settlers to come ; for, where there was so much com 
petition, sacrifices had to be made in order to effect this pre 
liminary object. In compliance with this policy, my grand 
father had let his wild lands for nominal rents in nearly 
every instance, with here and there a farm of particular 
advantages excepted ; and, in most cases, the settler had 
enjoyed the use of the farm for several years, for no rent at 
all. He paid the taxes, which were merely nominal, and 
principally to support objects that were useful to the imme 
diate neighbourhood ; such as the construction of roads, 
bridges, pounds, with other similar works, and the adminis 
tration of justice. At the expiration of this period of non 
payment of rents, a small sum per acre was agreed to be 
paid, rather than actually paid, not a dollar of which had 
ever left the settlement. The landlord was expected to head 



172 THE CHAINBEARER. 

all subscriptions for everything that was beneficial, or which 
professed to be beneficial to the estate ; and the few hundreds 
a year, two or three at most, that my rent-roll actually ex 
hibited, were consumed among the farms of the Nest. It 
was matter of record that not one shilling had the owner of 
this property, as yet, been able to carry away with him for 
his own private purposes. It is true, it had been in his 
power to glean a little each year for such a purpose ; but it 
was not considered politic, and consequently it was not the 
practice of the country, in regard to estates so situated and 
before the revolution ; though isolated cases to the contrary, 
in which the landlord was particularly avaricious, or parti 
cularly necessitous, may have existed. Our New York 
proprietors, in that day, were seldom of the class that needed 
money. Extravagance had been little known to the province, 
and could not yet be known to the State ; consequently, few 
lost their property from their expenditures, though some did 
from mismanagement. The trade of " puss in the corner," 
or of shoving a man out of his property, in order to place 
oneself in it, was little practised previously to the revolution ; 
and the community always looked upon the intruder into 
family property with a cold eye, unless he came into posses 
sion by fair purchase, and for a sufficient price. Legal 
speculations were then nearly unknown ; and he who got 
rich was expected to do so by manly exertions, openly exer 
cised, and not by the dark machinations of a sinister prac 
tice of the law. 

In our case, not a shilling had we, as yet, been benefited 
by the property of Ravensnest. All that had ever been re 
ceived, and more too, had been expended on the spot ; but a 
time had now arrived when it was just and reasonable that 
the farms should make some returns for all our care and 
outlays. 

Eleven thousand acres were under lease, divided among 
somewhat less than a hundred tenants. Until the first day 
of the succeeding April, these persons could hold their lands 
under the verbal contracts ; but, after that day, new leases 
became necessary. It is not usual for the American land 
lord to be exacting. It is out of his power, indeed, for the 
simple reason that land is so much more abundant than 
men ; but, it is not the practice of the country, a careless 



TUB CHAIN BBARBR. I7o 

indulgence being usually the sin of the caste ; an indulgence 
that admits of an accumulation of arrears which, when pay 
day does arrive, is apt to bring with it ill-blood and discon 
tent. It is an undeniable truth in morals, that, whatever 
may be the feeling at the time, men are rarely grateful for 
a government that allows their vices to have a free exercise. 
They invariably endeavour to throw a portion of the odium 
of their own misdeeds on the shoulders of those who should 
have controlled them. It is the same with debt ; for, how 
ever much we may beg for lenity at the time, accumulations 
of interest wear a very hostile aspect when they present 
themselves in a sum-total, at a moment it is inconvenient to 
balance the account. If those who have been thus placed 
would only remember that there is a last great account that 
every man must be called on to settle, arrearages and all, 
the experience of their worldly affairs might suggest a lesson 
that would be infinitely useful. It is fortunate for us, with 
out exception, that there is a Mediator to aid us in the task. 

The time had come when Ravensnest might be expected 
to produce something. Guided by the surveys, and our own 
local knowledge, and greatly aided by the Chainbearer s 
experience, Frank Malbone and I passed one entire fortnight 
in classifying the farms ; putting the lowest into the shilling 
category ; others into the eighteen pence ; and a dozen farms 
or so into the two shillings. The result was, that we placed 
six thousand acres at a shilling a year rent ; three thousand 
eight hundred at eighteen pence the acre ; and twelve hun 
dred acres at two shillings. The whole made a rental of 
fourteen thousand one hundred shillings, or a fraction more 
than seventeen hundred and forty-two dollars per annum. 
This sounded pretty well for the year 1784, and it was ex 
clusively of the Nest farm, of Jason Newcome s mills and 
timber-land, which he had hitherto enjoyed for nothing, or 
for a mere nominal rent, and all the wild lands. 

I will confess I exulted greatly in the result of our calcu 
lations. Previously to that day, I had placed no dependence 
on Ravensnest for income, finding my support in the other 
property I had inherited from my grandfather. On paper, 
my income was more than doubled, for I received then only 
some eleven hundred a year (I speak of dollars, not pounds) 
from my other property. It is true, the last included a great 



174 THB CHAIWBBARKK. 

many town-lots that were totally unproductive, but which 
promised to be very valuable, like Ravensnest itself, at some 
future day. Most things in America looked to the future, 
then as now ; though I trust the hour of fruition is eventually 
to arrive. My town property has long since become very 
valuable, and tolerably productive. 

As soon as our scheme for re-letting was matured, Frank 
summoned the occupants of the farms, in bodies of ten, to 
present themselves at the Nest, in order to take their new 
leases. We had ridden round the estate, and conversed with 
the tenantry, and had let my intentions be known previously, 
so that little remained to be discussed. The farms were all 
re-let for three lives, and on my own plan, no one objecting 
to the rent, which, it was admitted all round, was not only 
reasonable, but low. Circumstances were then too recent 
to admit of the past s being forgotten ; and the day when the 
last lease was signed was one of general satisfaction.* I did 
think of giving a landlord s dinner, and of collecting the 
whole settlement in a body, for the purposes of jovial and 
friendly communion ; but old Andries threw cold water on 
the project. 

" T at would do, Mortaunt," he said, " if you hat only 
raal New Yorkers, or Middle States men to teal wit ; but 
more t an half of t ese people are from t e Eastern States, 
where t ere are no such t ings as lantlorts and tenants, on a 
large scale you unterstant ; and t ere isn t a man among em 
all t at isn t looking forwart to own his farm one tay, by 
hook or by crook. T ey re as jealous of t eir tignities as if 
each man wast a full colonel, and will not t ank you for a 
tinner at which t ey will seem to play secont fittle." 

Although I knew the Chainbearer had his ancient Dutch 
prejudices against our eastern brethren, I also knew that 
there was a good deal of truth in what he said. Frank 
Malbone, who was Rhode Island born, had the same no 
tions, I found on inquiry ; and I was disposed to defer to 
his opinions. Frank Malbone was a gentleman himself, and 
men of that class are always superior to low jealousies ; but 
Frank must know better how to appreciate the feelings of 
those among whom he had been bred and born than I could 
possibly know how to do it myself. The project of the dinner 
was accordingly abandoned. 



THE CHAINBEARER 



175 



It remained to make a new arrangement and a final set 
tlement with Mr. Jason Newcome, who was much the most 
thriving man at Ravensnest; appearing to engross in hia 
single person all the business of the settlement. He was 
magistrate, supervisor, deacon, according to the Congrega 
tional plan, or whatever he is called, miller, store-keeper, 
will-drawer, tavern-keeper by deputy, and adviser-general, 
for the entire region. Everything seemed to pass through 
his hands ; or, it would be better to say, everything entered 
them, though little indeed came out again. This man was 
one of those moneyed gluttons, on a small scale, who live 
solely to accumulate ; in my view, the most odious character 
on earth ; the accumulations having none of the legitimate 
objects of proper industry and enterprise in view. So long 
as there was a man near him whom he supposed to be richer 
than himself, Mr. Newcome would have been unhappy; 
though he did not know what to do with the property he 
had already acquired. One does not know whether to detest 
or to pity such characters the most ; since, while they are 
and must be repugnant to every man of right feelings and 
generous mind, they carry in their own bosoms the worm 
that never dies, to devour their own vitals. 

Mr. Newcome had taken his removal from the agency in 
seeming good part, affecting a wish to give it up from the 
moment he had reason to think it was to be taken from him. 
On this score, therefore, all was amicable, not a complaint 
being made on his side. On the contrary, he met Frank 
Malbone with the most seeming cordiality, and we proceed 
ed to business with as much apparent good-will as had been 
manifested in any of the previous bargains. Mr. Newcome 
did nothing directly ; a circuitous path being the one he had 
been accustomed to travel from childhood. 

" You took the mill-lot and the use of five hundred acres 
of wood-land from my grandfather for three lives ; or failing 
these, for a full term of one-and-twenty years, I find, Mr. 
Newcome," I remarked, as soon as we were seated at busi 
ness, " and for a nominal rent ; the mills to be kept in re 
pair, and to revert to the landlord at the termination of the 



" Yes, major Littlepage, that was the bargain I will allow, 
though a hard one has it proved to me. The war come 



176 THE CHAIftBBARBR. 

on" this man was what was called liberally educated, b rt 
he habitually used bad grammar" The war come on, and 
with it hard times, and I didn t know but the major would 
be willing to consider the circumstances, if we make a new 
bargain." 

" The war cannot have had much effect to your prejudice, 
as grain of all sorts bore a high price ; and I should think 
the fact that large armies were near by, to consume every 
thing you had to sell, and that at high prices, more than 
compensated for any disadvantage it might have induced. 
You had the benefits of two wars, Mr. Newcome ; that of 
1775, and a part of that of 1756." 

My tenant made no answer to this, finding I had reflected 
on the subject, and was prepared to answer him. After a 
pause, he turned to more positive things. 

" I suppose the major goes on the principle of supposing 
a legal right in an old tenant to enj y a new lease ? I m 
told he has admitted this much in all his dealin s." 

" Then you have been misinformed, sir. I am not weak 
enough to admit a right that the lease itself, which, in the 
nature of things, must and does form the tenant s only title, 
contradicts in terms. Your legal interest in the property 
ceases altogether in a few days from this time." 

" Y-a-a-s y-a-a-s sir, I conclude it doose," said the 
squire, leaning back in his chair, until his body was at an 
angle of some sixty or seventy degrees with the floor " I 
conclude it doose accordin to the covenants ; but, between 
man and man, there ought to be suthin more bindin ." 

" I know of nothing more binding in a lease than its co 
venants, Mr. Newcome." 

" Wa-a-1" how that man would wa-a-a-1 when he 
wished to circumvent a fellow-creature ; and with what a 
Jesuitical accent he did pronounce the word ! " Wa-a-1 
that s accordin to folk s idees. A covenant may be hard ; 
and then, in my judgment, it ought to go for nothin . I m 
ag in all hard covenants." 

" Harkee, frient Jason," put in the Chainbearer, who was 
an old acquaintance of Mr. Newcome s, and appeared tho 
roughly to understand his character "Harkee, frient Jason; 
do you gif pack unexpected profits, ven it so happens t ai 
rr> ;re are mate on your own pai gains t an were looket for V* 



THB CHAINBEARER. 177 

It s not of much use to convarse with you, Chainbearer, 
on such subjects, for we 11 never think alike," answered the 
squire, leaning still farther back in his chair; "you re 
what I call a partic lar man, in your notions, and we should 
never agree." 

" Still, there is good sense in Chainbearer s question, 
added. " Unless prepared to answer * yes, I do not see how 
you can apply your own principle with any justice. But, 
let this pass as it will, why are covenants made, if they are 
not to be regarded ?" 

" Wa-a-1, now, accordin to my notion, a covenant in a 
lease is pretty much like a water-course in a map ; not a 
thing to be partic lar at all about ; but, as water-courses look 
well on a map, so covenants read well in a lease. Land 
lords like to have em, and tenants a n t partic lar." 

" You can hardly be serious in either case, I should hope, 
Mr. Newcome, but are pleased to exercise your ingenuity 
on us for your own amusement. There is nothing so parti 
cular in the covenants of your lease as to require any case 
of conscience to decide on its points." 

" There s this in it, major, that you get the whull pro 
perty back ag in, if you choose to claim it." 

" Claim it ! The whole property has been mine, or my 
predecessors , ever since it was granted to us by the crown. 
All your rights come from your lease ; and when that ter 
minates, your rights terminate." 

" Not accordin to my judgment, major ; not accordin to 
my judgment. I built the mills, at my own cost, you 11 re 
member." 

" I certainly know, sir, that you built the mills, at what 
you call your own cost ; that is, you availed yourself of a 
natural mill-seat, used our timber and other materials, and 
constructed the mills, such as they are, looking for your 
reward in their use for the term of a quarter of a century, 
for a mere nominal rent having saw-logs at command as 
you wanted them, and otherwise enjoying privileges under 
one of the most liberal leases that was ever granted." 

" Yes, sir, but that was in the bargain I made with your 
grand ther. It was agreed between us, at the time I took the 
place, that I was to cut logs at will, and of course use the 
materials on the ground for buildin . You see, major, your 



178 THE CHAINBEARER. 

grand ther wanted mills built desperately ; and so he gave 
them conditions accordin ly. You 11 find every syllable on t 
in the lease." 

" No doubt, Mr. Newcome ; and you will also find a co 
venant in the same lease, by which your interest in the pro 
perty is to cease in a few days." 

" Wa-a-11, now, I don t understand leases in that way. 
Surely it was never intended a man should erect mills, to 
lose all right in em at the end of five-and-twenty years !" 

"That will depend on the bargain made at the time. 
Some persons erect mills and houses that have no rights in 
them at all. They are paid for their work as they build." 

" Yes, yes carpenters and mill-wrights, you mean. But 
I m speakin of no such persons ; I m speakin of honest, 
hard-workin , industrious folks, that give their labour and 
time to build up a settlement ; and not of your mechanics 
who work for hire. Of course, they re to be paid for what 
they do, and there s an eend on V 

" I am not aware that all honest persons are hard-working, 
and more than that all hard-working persons are honest. I 
wish to be understood that, in the first place, Mr. Newcome. 
Phrases will procure no concession from me. I agree with 
you, however, perfectly, in saying that when a man is paid 
for his work, there will be what you call an end of it. 
Now, twenty-three days from this moment, you will have 
been paid for all you have done on my property according 
to your own agreement ; and, by your own reasoning, there 
must be an end of your connection with that property." 

" The major doosn t ra-a-lly mean to rob me of all my 
hard earnin s !" 

" Mr. Newcome, rob is a hard word, and one I beg that 
may not be again used between you and me. I have no 
intention to rob you, or to let you rob me. The pretence 
that you are not, and were not acquainted with the conditions 
of this lease, comes rather late in the day, after a possession 
of a quarter of a century. You know very well that my 
grandfather would not sell, and that he would do no more 
than lease ; if it were your wish to purchase, why did you 
not go elsewhere, and get land in fee ? There were, and 
are still, thousands of acres to be sold, all around you. 
have lands to sell, myself, at Mooseridge, as the agent of 



THE CHAINBEARER. 179 

my father and colonel Pollock, within twenty miles of you, 
and they tell me capital mill-seats in the bargain." 

" Yes, major, but not so much to my notion as this I 
kind o wanted this !" 

" But, I kind o want this, too ; and, as it is mine, I think, 
in common equity, I have the best claim to enjoy it." 

" It s on equity I want to put this very matter, major - 
I know the law is ag in me that is, some people say it is ; 
but, some think not, now we Ve had a revolution but, let 
the law go as it may, there s such a thing as what I call 
right between man and man." 

" Certainly ; and law is an invention to enforce it. It is 
right I should do exactly what my grandfather agreed to do 
for me, five-and-twenty years ago, in relation to these mills; 
and it is right you should do what you agreed to do, for 
yourself." 

" I have done so. I agreed to build the mills, in a sartain 
form and mode, and I done it. I 11 defy mortal man to say 
otherwise. The saw-mill was smashing away at the logs 
within two months a ter I got the lease, and we began to 
grind in four !" 

" No doubt, sir, you were active and industrious though 
to be frank with you, I will say that competent judges tell 
me neither mill is worth much now." 

" That s on account of the lease" cried Mr. Newcome, 
a little too hastily, possibly, for the credit of his discretion 
" how did I know when it would run out. Your gran ther 
granted it for three lives, and twenty-one years afterwards, 
and I did all a man could to make it last as long as I should 
myself; but, here I am, in the prime of life, and in danger 
of losing my property !" 

I knew all the facts of the case perfectly, and had intend 
ed to deal liberally with Mr. Newcome from the first. In 
his greediness for gain he had placed his lives on three in 
fants, although my grandfather had advised him to place at 
least one on himself; but, no Mr. Newcome had fancied 
the life of an infant better than that of a man ; and in three 
or four years after the signature of the lease, his twenty-one 
years had begun to run, and were now near expiring. Even 
under this certainly unlooked-for state of things, the lease 
had been a very advantageous one for the tenant ; and, had 



180 THE CHAINBEARER, 

one of his lives lasted a century, the landlord would hare 
looked in vain for any concession on that account ; land 
lords never asking for, or expecting favours of that sort ; 
indeed most landlords would be ashamed to receive them ; 
nevertheless, I was disposed to consider the circumstances, 
to overlook the fact that the mills and all the other buildings 
on the property were indifferently built, and to re-let for an 
additional term of twenty-one years, wood-lands, farms, 
buildings and other privileges, for about one-third of the 
money that Mr. Newcome himself would have been apt to 
ask, had he the letting instead of myself. Unwilling to pro 
long a discussion with a man who, by his very nature, was 
unequal to seeing more than one side of a subject, I cut the 
matter short, by telling him my terms without further delay. 

Notwithstanding all his acting and false feeling, the 
squire was so rejoiced to learn my moderation, that he 
could not but openly express his feelings ; a thing he would 
not have done, did he not possess the moral certainty I 
would not depart from my word. I felt it necessary, how 
ever, to explain myself. 

"Before I give you this new lease, Mr. Newcome," I 
added, holding the instrument signed in my hand, " I wish 
to be understood. It is not granted under the notion that 
you have any right to ask it, beyond the allowance that is 
always made by a liberal landlord to a reasonably good 
tenant ; which is simply a preference over others on the 
same terms. As for the early loss of your lives, it was 
your own fault. Had the infants you named, or had one 
of them passed the state of childhood, it might have lived to 
be eighty, in which case my timber-land would have been 
stripped without any return to its true owner; but, your 
children died, and the lease was brought within reasonable 
limits. Now, the only inducement I have for offering the 
terms I do, is the liberality that is usual with landlords , 
what is conceded is conceded as no right, but as an act of 
liberality." 

This was presenting to my tenant the most incompre 
hensible of all reasons for doing anything. A close and 
sordid calculator himself, he was not accustomed to give 
any man credit for generosity ; and, from the doubting, dis 
trustful manner in which he received the paper, I suspected 



THE CHAINBEAREK. 18$. 

at the moment that he was afraid there was some projec* 
for taking him in. A rogue is always distrustful, and a* 
often betrays his character to honest men by that as by any 
other failing. I was not to regulate my own conduct, how 
ever, by the weaknesses of Jason Newcome, and the lease 
was granted. 

I could wish here to make one remark. There ough\ 
certainly to be the same principle of good fellowship exist 
ing between the relations of landlord and tenant that exist 
m the other relations of life, and which creates a moral tie 
between parties that have much connection in their ordinary 
interests, and that to a degree to produce preferences and 
various privileges of a similar character. This I am far 
from calling in question ; and, on the whole, I think of all 
that class of relations, the one in question is to be set down 
as among the most binding and sacred. Still, the mere 
moral rights of the tenant must depend on the rigid mainte 
nance of all the rights of the landlord ; the legal and moral 
united ; and the man who calls in question either of the 
latter, surely violates every claim to have his own preten 
sions allowed, beyond those which the strict letter of the 
law will yield to him. The landlord who will grant a new 
lease to the individual who is endeavouring to undermine 
his rights, by either direct or indirect means, commits the 
weakness of arming an enemy with the knife by which he 
is himself to be assaulted, in addition to the error of grant 
ing power to a man who, under the character of a spurious 
liberty, is endeavouring to unsettle the only conditions on 
which civilized society can exist. If landlords will exhibit 
this weakness, they must blame themselves for the conse 
quences. 

I got rid of Mr. Newcome by the grant of the lease, his 
whole manoeuvring having been attempted solely to lower 
the rent ; for he was much too shrewd to believe in the truth 
of his own doctrines on the subject of right and wrong. 
That same day my axe-men appeared at the Nest, having 
passed the intermediate time in looking at various tracts of 
land that were in the market, and which they had not found 
so eligible, in the way of situation, quality, or terms, as 
those I offered. By this time, the surveyed lots of Moose- 
ridge were ready, and I offered to sell them to these emi- 
16 



182 THE CHAINBEARBR. 

grants. The price was only a dollar an acre, with a credit 
of ten years ; the interest to be paid annually. One would 
have thought that the lowness of the price would have in 
duced men to prefer lands in fee to lands on lease ; but these 
persons, to a man, found it more to their interests to take 
farms on three-lives leases, being rent-free for the first five 
years, and at nominal rents for the remainder of the term, 
than to pay seven dollars a year of interest, and a hundred 
dollars in money, at the expiration of the credit.* This fact, 
of itself, goes to show how closely these men calculated 
their means, and the effect their decisions might have on 
their interests. Nor were their decisions always wrong, 
Those who can remember the start the country took shortly 
after the peace of 83, the prices that the settlers on new 
lands obtained for their wheat, ashes and pork ; three dol 
lars a bushel often for the first, three- hundred dollars a ton 
for the second, and eight or ten dollars a hundred for the 
last, will at once understand that the occupant of new lands 
at that period obtained enormous wages for a labourer by 
means of the rich unexhausted lands he was thus permitted 
to occupy. No doubt he would have been in a better situa 
tion had he owned his farm in fee at the end of his lease ; 
so would the merchant who builds a ship and clears her cost 
by her first freight, have been a richer man had he cleared 
the cost of two ships instead of one; but he has done well, not 
withstanding ; and it is not to be forgotten that the man who 
commences life with an axe and a little household furniture, 
is in the situation of a mere day-labourer. The addition to 
his means of the use of land is the very circumstance that 
enables him to rise above his humble position, and to profit 

* The fact here stated by Mr. Littlepage should never be forgotten ; 
inasmuch as it colours the entire nature of the pretension now set up 
as to the exactions of leases. No man in New York need ever have 
leased a farm for the want of an opportunity of purchasing, there 
never having been a time when land for farms in fee has not been 
openly on sale within the bounds of the State ; and land every way 
as eligible as that leased. In few cases have two adjoining estates 
been leased; and, where such has been the fact, the husbandman 
might always have found a farm in fee, at the cost of half a day s 
travelling. The benefits to the landlord have usually been so remote 
on the estate leased, that by far the greater proportion of the proprie. 
tors have preferred selling at once, to waiting for the tardy operation* 
of time. EDITOR* 



THE CHAINBEARER. IBS 

by the cultivation of the soil. At the close of the last crn- 
tury, and at the commencement of the present, the count ry 
was so placed as to render every stroke of the axe direc ly 
profitable, the very labour that was expended in clearing 
away the trees meeting with a return so liberal by the sale 
of the ashes manufactured, as to induce even speculators to 
engage in the occupation. It may one day be a subject of 
curiou inquiry to ascertain how so much was done as is 
known to have been done at that period, towards converting 
the wilderness into a garden ; and I will here record, for 
the benefit of posterity, a brief sketch of one of the pro 
cesses of getting to be comfortable, if not rich, that was 
much used in that day. 

It was a season s work for a skilful axe-man to chop, log, 
burn, clear and sow ten acres of forest-land. The ashes he 
manufactured. For the heavier portions of the work, s ich 
as the logging, he called on his neighbours for aid, ren ier- 
ing similar assistance by way of payment. One yoke of o*en 
frequently sufficed for two or three farms, and " logging-bees" 
have given rise to a familiar expression among us, tha t is 
known as legislative " log-rolling ;" a process by which as 
is well known, one set of members supports the project of 
another set, on the principle of reciprocity. 

Now, ten acres of land, cropped for the first time, might 
very well yield a hundred and fifty bushels of merchantable 
wheat, which would bring three hundred dollars in the Al 
bany market. They would also make a ton of pot-ashes, 
which would sell for at least two hundred dollars. Th s is 
giving five hundred dollars for a single year s work. Allow 
ing for all the drawbacks of building, tools, chains, trans 
portation, provisions, &c., and one-half of this money might 
very fairly be set down as clear profit ; very large ret* irns 
to one who, before he got his farm, was in the situatiou of 
a mere day-labourer, content to toil for eight or ten dollars 
the month. 

That such was the history, in its outlines, of the rise of 
thousands of the yeomen who now dwell in New York, is 
undeniable ; and it goes to show that if the settler in a new 
country has to encounter toil and privations, they are not 
always without their quick rewards. In these later times, 
men go on the open prairies, and apply the plough to an 



184 THE CHA1NBARER. 

ancient sward ; but I question if they would not rather en 
counter the virgin forests of 1790, with the prices of that 
day, that run over the present park-like fields, in order to 
raise wheat for 37 cents per bushel, have no ashes at any 
price, and sell their pork at two dollars the hundred ! 



CHAPTER XIV. 

" Intent to blend her with his lot, 
Fate form d her all that he was not ; 
And, as by mere unlikeness, thought 

Associate we see, 
Their hearts, from very difference, caught 

A perfect sympathy." 

PlNCKNEY. 

ALL this time, I saw Ursula Malbone daily, and at all 
hours of the day. Inmates of the same dwelling, we met 
constantly, and many were the interviews and conversations 
which took place between us. Had Dus been the most 
finished coquette in existence, her practised ingenuity could 
not have devised more happy expedients to awaken interest 
in me than those which were really put in use by this sin 
gular girl, without the slightest intention of bringing about 
any such result. Indeed, it was the nature, the total ab 
sence of art, that formed one of the brightest attractions of 
her character, and gave so keen a zest to her cleverness 
and beauty. In that day, females, while busied in the affairs 
of their household, appeared in " short-gown and petticoat," 
as it was termed, a species of livery that even ladies often 
assumed of a morning. The toilette was of far wider 
range in 1784 than it is now, the distinctions between morn 
ing and evening dress being much broader then than at pre 
sent. As soon as she was placed really at the head of her 
brother s house, Ursula Malbone set about the duties of her 
new station quietly and without the slightest fuss, but ac 
tively and with interest. She seemed to me to possess, in a 
high, degree, that particular merit of carrying on the details 



THE CHAINBEARER. 185 

of her office in a silent, unobtrusive manner, while they 
were performed most effectually and entirely to the comfort 
of those for whose benefit her care was exercised. I am not 
one of those domestic canters who fancy a woman, in order 
to make a good wife, needs be a drudge and possess the 
knowledge of a cook or a laundress ; but it is certainly of 
great importance that she have the faculty of presiding 
over her /amily with intelligence, and an attention that is 
suited to her means of expenditure. Most of all is it im 
portant that she knows how to govern without being seen 
or heard. 

The wife of an educated man should be an educated wo 
man ; one fit to be his associate, qualified to mingle her 
tastes with his own, to exchange ideas, and otherwise to be 
his companion, in an intellectual sense. These are the 
higher requisites ; a gentleman accepting the minor qualifi 
cations as so many extra advantages, if kept within their 
proper limits ; but as positive disadvantages if they interfere 
with, or in any manner mar the manners, temper, or mental 
improvement of the woman whom he has chosen as his wife, 
and not as his domestic. Some sacrifices may be necessary 
in those cases in which cultivation exists without a sufficiency 
of means ; but, even then, it is seldom indeed that a woman 
of the proper qualities may not be prevented from sinking 
to the level of a menial. As for the cant of the newspapers 
on such subjects, it usually comes from those whose homes 
are merely places for " board and lodging." 

The address with which Dus discharged all the functions 
of her new station, while she avoided those that were un 
seemly and out of place, charmed me almost as much as 
her spirit, character and beauty. The negroes removed all 
necessity for her descending to absolute toil ; and with what 
pretty, feminine dexterity did she perform the duties that 
properly belonged to her station ! Always cheerful, fre 
quently singing, not in a noisy milk-maid mood, but at 
those moments when she might fancy herself unheard, and 
in sweet, plaintive songs that seemed to recall the scenes of 
other days. Always cheerful, however, is saying a little 
too much ; for, occasionally, Dus was sad. I found her in 
tears three or four times, but did not dare inquire into their 
cause. There was scarce time, indeed ; for, the instant 
16* 



186 THE CHAIN BE A HER. 

I appeared, she dried her eyes, and received me with 
smiles. 

It is scarcely necessary to say that to me the time passed 
pleasantly, and amazingly fast. Chain bearer remained at 
the Nest by my orders, for he would not yield to requests ; 
and I do not remember a more delightful month than that 
proved to be. I made. very general acquaintance with my 
tenants, and found many of them as straight-forward, honest, 
hard-working yeomen, as one could wish to meet. My bro 
ther major, in particular, was a hearty old fellow, and often 
came to see me, living on the farm that adjoined my own. 
He growled a little about the sect that had got possession of 
the new * meetin -us," but did it in a way to show there was 
not much gall in his own temperament. 

" I don t rightly understand these majority-matters," said 
the old fellow, one day that we were talking the matter over, 
" though I very well know Newcome always manages to 
get one, let the folks think as they will. I ve known the 
squire contrive to cut a majority out of about a fourth of 
all present, and he does it in a way that is desp ret ingen ous, 
t will allow, though I m afeard it s neither law nor gospel." 

" He certainly managed, in the affair of the denomination, 
to make a plurality of one appear in the end to be a very 
handsome majority over all !" 

" Ay, there s twists and turns in these things, that s be 
yond my 1 arnin , though I s pose all s right. It don t mat 
ter much in the long run, a ter all, where a man worships, 
provided he worships ; or who preaches, so that he listens." 

I think this liberality if that be the proper word in reli 
gious matters, is fast increasing among us; though liberality 
may be but another term for indifference. As for us Episco 
palians, I wonder there are any left in the country, though 
we are largely on the increase. There we were, a church 
that insisted on Episcopal ministrations on confirmation in 
particular left for a century without a bishop, and unable 
to conform to practices that it was insisted on were essential 
and this solely because it did not suit the policy of the mo 
ther-country to grant us prelates of our own, or to send us, 
occasionally even, one of her s ! How miserable do human 
expedients often appear when they are tried by the tests of 
common sense ! A church of God, insisting on certain spi- 



THE CH A.INBEAHBR. 18? 

ritual essentials that it denies to a portion of its people, in 
order to conciliate worldly interests ! It is not the church 
of England alone, however, nor the government of England, 
that is justly obnoxious to such an accusation ; something 
equally bad and just as inconsistent, attaching itself to the 
ecclesiastical influence of every other system in Christendom 
under which the state is tied to religion by means of human 
provisions. The mistake is in connecting the things of the 
world with the things that are of God. 

Alas ! alas ! When you sever that pernicious tie, is the 
matter much benefited ? How is it among ourselves ? Are 
not sects, and shades of sects, springing up among us on 
every side, until the struggle between parsons is getting to 
be not who shall aid in making most Christians, but who 
shall gather into his fold most sectarians? As for the people 
themselves, instead of regarding churches, even after they 
have established them, and that too very much on their own 
authority, they first consider their own tastes, enmities and 
predilections, respecting the priest far more than the altar, 
and set themselves up as a sort of religious constituencies, 
who are to be represented directly in the government of 
Christ s followers on earth. Half of a parish will fly off* in a 
passion to another denomination if they happen to fall into 
a minority. Truly, a large portion of our people is begin 
ning to act in this matter, as if they had a sense of " giving 
their support" to the Deity, patronising him in this temple 
or the other, as may suit the feeling or the interest of the 
moment.* 

But, I am not writing homilies, and will return to tho 
Nest and my friends. A day or two after Mr. Newcomo 
received his new lease, Chainbearer, Frank, Dus and I were 
in the little arbour that overlooked the meadows, when wc5 
saw Sureflint, moving at an Indian s pace, along a path that 
came out of the forest, and which was known to lead to 

[* If Mr. Littlepage wrote thus, thirty or forty years since, how 
would he have written to-day, when we have had loud protestations 
flourishing around us in the public journals, that this or that sectarian 
polity was most in unison with a republican form of government 
What renders this assumption as absurd as it is presuming, is the 
well-known fact that it comes from those who have ever been loudest 
in their declamations of a union between church and state !] 



1S8 THE CHAINBBARBR. 

wards Mooseridge. The Onondago carried his rifle as usual 
and bore on his back a large bunch of something that we 
supposed to be game, though the distance prevented our dis 
cerning its precise character. In half a minute he disap 
peared behind a projection of the cliffs, trotting towards the 
buildings. 

" My friend, the Trackless, has been absent from us now 
a longer time than usual," Ursula remarked, as she turned 
her head from following the Indian s movements, as long as 
he remained in sight ; " but he re-appears loaded with some 
thing for our benefit." 

" He has passed most of his time of late with your uncle, 
I believe," I answered, following Dus s fine eyes with my 
own, the pleasantest pursuit I could discover in that remote 
quarter of the world. " I have written this to my father, 
who will be glad to hear tidings of his old friend." 

" He is much with my uncle, as you say, being greatly 
attached to him. Ah ! here he comes, with such a load on 
his shoulders as an Indian does not love to bear ; though 
even a chief will condescend to carry game." 

As Dus ceased speaking, Sureflint threw a large bunch 
of pigeons, some two or three dozen birds, at her feet, turn 
ing away quietly, like one who had done his part of the 
work, and who left the remainder to be managed by the 
squaws. 

" Thank you, Trackless," said the pretty housekeeper 
" thank ee kindly. These are beautiful birds, and as fat as 
butter. We shall have them cleaned, and cooked in all 
manner of ways." 

"All squab just go to fly take him ebbery one in 
nest," answered the Indian. 

" Nests must be plenty, then, and I should like to visit 
them," I cried, remembering to have heard strange marvels 
of the multitudes of pigeons that were frequently found in 
their * roosts, as the encampments they made in the woods 
were often termed in the parlance of the country. " Can 
we not go in a body and visit this roost?" 

" It might pe tone," answered the Chainbearer ; " it might 
pe tone, and it is time we wast moving in t eir tirection, if 
more lant is to pe surveyet, ant t ese pirts came from t e 



THE CHAIN BEARER. 189 

hill I suppose t ey do. Mooseridge promiset to have plenty 
of pigeons t is season." 

" Just so" answered Sureflint. " Million, t ousan , hun 
dred more too. Nebber see more ; nebber see so many. 
Great Spirit don t forget poor Injin ; sometime give him 
deer sometime salmon sometime pigeon plenty for 
ebbery body ; only t ink so." 

" Ay, Sureflint ; only t ink so, inteet, and t ere is enough 
for us all, and plenty to spare. Got is pountiful to us, put 
we ton t often know how to use his pounty," answered 
Chainbearer, who had been examining the birds "Finer 
squaps arn t often met wit ; and I too shoult like amazingly 
to see one more roost, pefore I go to roost myself." 

" As for the visit to the roost," cried I, " that is settled for 
to-morrow. But a man who has just come out of a war like 
the last, into peaceable times, has no occasion to speak of 
his end, Chainbearer. You are old in years, but young in 
mind, as well as body." 

" Bot nearly wore out bot nearly wore out ! It is well 
to tell an olt fool t e contrary, put I know petter. T ree 
score and ten is man s time, and I haf fillet up t e numper 
of my tays. Got knows pest, when it wilt pe his own plea 
sure to call me away ; put, let it come when it will, I shall 
now tie happy, comparet wit what I shoult haf tone a mont 
go." 

" You surprise me, my dear friend ! What has happened 
to make this difference in your feelings 1 It cannot be that 
you are changed in any essential !" 

" T e tifference is in Dus s prospects. Now Frank has a 
goot place, my gal will not pe forsaken." 

" Forsaken ! Dus Ursula Miss Malbone forsaken ! 
That could never happen, Andries, Frank or no Frank." 

" I hope not I hope not, lat put t e gal pegins to weep, 
and we 11 talk no more apout it. Harkee, Susquesus ; my 
olt frient, can you guile us to t is roost ?" 

" Why no do it, eh ? Path wide open whole way. 
Plain as river." 

" Well, t en, we wilt all pe off for t e place in t e mornin . 
My new assistant is near, and it is high time Frank and I 
hat gone into t o woots ag in." 



190 THE CHAINBEARER 

I heard this arrangement made, though my eyes were 
following Dus, who had started from her seat, and rushed 
into the house, endeavouring to hide emotions that were 
not to be hushed. A minute later I saw her at the window 
of her own room, smiling, though the cloud had not yet en 
tirely dispersed. 

Next morning early our whole party left the Nest for the 
hut at Mooseridge, and the pigeon-roosts. Dus and the 
black female servant travelled on horseback, there being no 
want of cattle at the Nest, where, as I now learned, my 
grandfather had left a quarter of a century before, among a 
variety of other articles, several side-saddles. The rest of 
us proceeded on foot, though we had no less than three 
sumpter beasts to carry our food, instruments, clothes, &c. 
Each man was armed, almost as a matter of course in that 
day, though I carried a double-barrelled fowling-piece my 
self, instead of a rifle. Susquesus acted as our guide. 

We were quite an hour before we reached the limits of 
the settled farms on my own property ; after which, we en 
tered the virgin forest. In consequence of the late war, 
which had brought everything like the settlement of the 
country to a dead stand, a new district had then little of the 
straggling, suburb-like clearings, which are apt now to en 
circle the older portions of a region that is in the state of 
transition. On the contrary, the last well-fenced and reason 
ably well-cultivated farm passed, we plunged into the bound 
less woods, and took a complete leave of nearly every vestige 
of civilized life, as one enters the fields on quitting a town 
in France. There was a path, it is true, following the line 
of blazed trees ; but it was scarcely beaten, and was almost 
as illegible as a bad hand. Still, one accustomed to the 
forest had little difficulty in following it; and Susquesus 
would have had none in finding his way, had there been no 
path at all. As for the Chainbearer, he moved forward too, 
with the utmost precision and confidence, the habit of run 
ning straight lines amid trees having given his eye an accu 
racy that almost equalled the species of instinct that was 
manifested by the Trackless himself, on such subjects. 

This was a pleasant little journey, the depths of the forest 
rendering the heats of the season as agreeable as was possi 
ble. We were four hours in reaching the foot of the little 



THE CHAINBEARER 191 

mountain on which the birds had built their nests, where we 
halted to take some refreshments. 

Little time is lost at meals in the forest, and we were soon 
ready to ascend the hill. The horses were left with the 
blacks, Dus accompanying us on foot. As we left the spring 
where we had halted, I offered her an arm to aid in the 
ascent; but she declined it, apparently much amused that it 
should have been offered. 

" What I, a chainbearess !" she cried, laughing "I, who 
have fairly wearied out Frank, and even made my uncle feel 
tired, though he would never own it I accept an arm to 
help me up a hill ! You forget, major Littlepage, that the 
first ten years of my life were passed in a forest, and that a 
year s practice has brought back all my old habits, and 
made me a girl of the woods again." 

" I scarce know what to make of you, for you seem fitted 
for any situation in which you may happen to be thrown," 
I answered, profiting by the circumstance that we were out 
of the hearing of our companions, who had all moved ahead, 
to utter more than I otherwise might venture to say " at 
one time I fancy you the daughter of one of my own tenants ; 
at another, the heiress of some ancient patroon." 

Dus laughed again ; then she blushed ; and, for the re 
mainder of the short ascent, she remained silent. Short the 
ascent was, and we were soon on the summit of the hill. 
So far from needing my assistance, Dus actually left me 
behind, exerting herself in a way that brought her up at the 
side of the Trackless, who led our van. Whether this was 
done in order to prove how completely she was a forest girl, 
or whether my words had aroused those feelings that are 
apt to render a female impulsive, is more than I can say 
even now ; though I suspected at the time that the latter 
sensations had quite as much to do with this extraordinary 
activity as the former. I was not far behind, however, and 
when our party came fairly upon the roost, the Trackless, 
Dus and myself, were all close together. 

I scarce know how to describe that remarkable scene. 
As we drew near to the summit of the hill, pigeons began to 
be seen fluttering among the branches over our heads, as 
individuals are met along the roads that lead into the suburbs 
of a large town. We had probably seen a thousand birds 



192 THE CHAINBEARER. 

glancing around among the trees, before we came in view 
of the roost itself. The numbers increased as we drew 
nearer, and presently the forest was alive with them. The 
fluttering was incessant, and often startling as we passed 
ahead, our march producing a movement in the living crowd, 
that really became confounding. Every tree was literally 
covered with nests, many having at least a thousand of 
these frail tenements on their branches, and shaded by the 
leaves. They often touched each other, a wonderful degree 
of order prevailing among the hundreds of thousands of 
families that were here assembled. The place had the odour 
of a fowl-house, and squabs just fledged sufficiently to trust 
themselves in short flights, were fluttering around us in all 
directions, in tens of thousands. To these were to be added 
the parents of the young race endeavouring to protect them, 
and guide them in a way to escape harm. Although the 
birds rose as we approached, and the woods just around us 
seemed fairly alive with pigeons, our presence produced no 
general commotion ; every one of the feathered throng ap 
pearing to be so much occupied with its own concerns, as 
to take little heed of the visit of a party of strangers, though 
of a race usually so formidable to their own. The masses 
moved before us precisely .as a crowd of human beings yields 
to a pressure or a danger on any given point ; the vacuum 
created by its passage filling in its rear, as the water of the 
ocean flows into the track of the keel. 

The effect on most of us was confounding, and I can only 
compare the sensation produced on myself by the extraor 
dinary tumult to that a man experiences at finding himself 
suddenly placed in the midst of an excited throng of human 
beings. The unnatural disregard of our persons manifested 
by the birds greatly heightened the effect, and caused me to 
feel as if some unearthly influence reigned in the place. It 
was strange, indeed, to be in a mob of the feathered race, 
that scarce exhibited a consciousness of one s presence. The 
pigeons seemed a world of themselves, and too much occu 
pied with their own concerns to take heed of matters that 
lay beyond them. 

Not one of our party spoke for several minutes. Astonish 
ment seemed to hold us all tongue-tied, and we moved slowly 
forward into the fluttering throng, silent, absorbed, and full 



THE CHAINBEARER. 193 

of admiration of the works of the Creator. It was not easy 
to hear each other s voices when we did speak, the incessant 
fluttering of wings filling the air. Nor were the birds silent 
in other respects. The pigeon is not a noisy creature, but 
a million crowded together on the summit of one hill, occu 
pying a space of less than a mile square, did not leave the 
forest in its ordinary impressive stillness. As we advanced, 
I offered my arm, almost unconsciously, again to Dus, and 
she took it with the same abstracted manner as that in which 
it had been held forth for her acceptance. In this relation to 
each other, we continued to follow the grave-looking Onon- 
dago, as he moved, still deeper and deeper, into the midst 
of the fluttering tumult. 

At this instant there occurred an interruption that, I am 
ready enough to confess, caused the blood to rush towards 
my own heart in a flood. As for Dus, she clung to me, as 
woman will cling to man, when he possesses her confidence, 
and she feels that she is insufficient for her own support. 
Both hands were on my arm, and I felt, that, unconsciously, 
her form was pressing closer to mine, in a manner she 
would have carefully avoided in a moment of perfect self- 
possession. Nevertheless, I cannot say that Dus was afraid. 
Her colour was heightened, her charming eyes were filled 
with a wonder that was not unmixed with curiosity, but 
her air was spirited in spite of a scene that might try 
the nerves of the boldest man. Sureflint and Chainbearer 
were alone totally unmoved ; for they had been at pigeon s 
roosts before, and knew what to expect. To them the won 
ders of the woods were no longer novel. Each stood leaning 
on his rifle, and smiling at our evident astonishment. I am 
wrong ; the Indian did not even smile ; for that would have 
been an unusual indication of feeling for him to manifest ; 
but he did betray a sort of covert consciousness that the 
scene must be astounding to us. But, I will endeavour to 
explain what it was that so largely increased the first effect 
of our visit. 

While standing wondering at the extraordinary scene 
around us, a noise was heard rising above that of the in 
cessant fluttering, which I can only liken to that of the 
trampling of thousands of horses on a beaten road. This 
17 



194 THE CHAINBEARER. 

noise at first sounded distant, but it increased rapidly in 
proximity and power, until it came rolling in upon us, 
among the tree-tops, like a crash of thunder. The air was 
suddenly darkened, and the place where we stood as sombre 
as a dusky twilight. At the same instant, all the pigeons 
near us, that had been on their nests, appeared to fall out 
of them, and the space immediately above our heads was 
at once filled with birds. Chaos itself could hardly have 
represented greater confusion, or a greater uproar. As for 
the birds, they now seemed to disregard our presence en 
tirely ; possibly they could not see us on account of their 
own numbers ; for they fluttered in between Dus and my 
self, hitting us with their wings, and at times appearing as 
if about to bury us in avalanches of pigeons. Each of us 
caught one at least in our hands, while Chainbearer and the 
Indian took them in some numbers, letting one prisoner go 
as another was taken. In a word, we seemed to be in a 
world of pigeons. This part of the scene may have lasted 
a minute, when the space around us was suddenly cleared, 
the birds glancing upwards among the branches of the trees, 
disappearing among the foliage. All this was the effect pro 
duced by the return of the female birds, which had been off 
at a distance, some twenty miles at least, to feed on beech 
nuts, and which now assumed the places of the males on 
the nests ; the latter taking a flight to get their meal in their 
turn. 

I have since had the curiosity to make a sort of an esti 
mate of the number of the birds that must have come in 
upon the roost, in that, to us, memorable minute. Such a 
calculation, as a matter of course, must be very vague, 
though one may get certain principles by estimating the size 
of a flock by the known rapidity of the flight, and other 
similar means ; and I remember that Frank Malbone and 
myself supposed that a million of birds must have come in 
on that return, and as many departed ! As the pigeon is a 
very voracious bird, the question is apt to present itself, 
where food is obtained for so many mouths ; but, when we 
remember the vast extent of the American forests, this diffi 
culty is at once met. Admitting that the colony we visited 
contained many millions of birds, and, counting old and 
young, I have no doubt it did, there was probably a fruit- 



THE CHAINBEARER. 195 

bearing tree for each, within an hour s flight from that very 
spot! 

Such is the scale on which nature labours in the wilder 
ness ! I have seen insects fluttering in the air at particular 
seasons, and at particular places, until they formed little 
clouds ; a sight every one must have witnessed on many 
occasions ; and as those insects appeared, on their diminish 
ed scale, so did the pigeons appear to us at the roost of 
Mooseridge. We passed an hour in the town of the birds, 
finding our tongues and our other faculties as we became 
accustomed to our situation. In a short time, even Dus 
grew as composed as at all comported with the excitement 
natural to one in such a place ; and we studied the habits 
of the pretty animals with a zest that I found so much the 
greater for studying them in her company. At the end of 
the hour we left the hill, our departure producing no more 
sensation in that countless tribe of pigeons than our arrival. 

" It is a proof that numbers can change our natures," 
said Dus, as we descended the little mountain. " Here have 
we been almost in contact with pigeons which would not 
have suffered us to come within a hundred feet of them had 
they been in ordinary flocks, or as single birds. Is it that 
numbers give them courage?" 

" Confidence, rather. It is just so with men ; who will 
exhibit an indifference in crowds that they rarely possess 
when alone. The sights, interruptions, and even dangers 
that will draw all our attention when with a few, often seem 
indifferent to us when in the tumult of a throng of fellow- 
creatures." 

" What is meant by a panic in an army, then?" 

" It is following the same law, making man subject to 
the impulses of those around him. If the impulse be on 
ward, onward we go ; if for retreat, we run like sheep. If 
occupied with ourselves as a body, we disregard trifling in 
terruptions, as these pigeons have just done in our own case. 
Large bodies of animals, whether human or not, seem to 
become subject to certain general laws that increase the 
power of the whole over the acts and feelings of any one or 
any few of their number." 

" According to that rule, our new republican form of go 
vernment ought to be a very strong one ; though I have 



196 THE CHAINBEARER. 

heard many express their fears it will be no government 
at all." 

" Unless a miracle be wrought in our behalf, it will be 
the strongest government in the world for certain purposes, 
and the weakest for others. It professes a principle of self- 
preservation that is not enjoyed by other systems, since the 
people must revolt against themselves to overturn it ; but, 
on the other hand, it will want the active, living principle 
of steady, consistent justice, since there will be no indepen 
dent power whose duty and whose interest it will be to see 
it administered. The wisest man I ever knew has prophe 
sied to me that this is the point on which our system will 
break down ; rendering the character, the person and the 
property of the citizen insecure, and consequently the insti 
tutions odious to those who once have loved them." 

" I trust there is no danger of that !" said Dus, quickly. 

" There is danger from everything that man controls. 
We have those among us who preach the possible perfection 
of the human race, maintaining the gross delusion that men 
are what they are known to be, merely because they have 
been ill-governed ; and a more dangerous theory, in my 
poor judgment, cannot be broached." 

" You think, then, that the theory is false ?" 

" Beyond a question governments are oftener spoiled by 
men than men by governments ; though the last certainly 
have a marked influence on character. The best govern 
ment of which we know anything, is that of the universe ; 
and it is so, merely because it proceeds from a single will, 
that will being without blemish." 

" Your despotic governments are said to be the very worst 
in the world." 

" They are good or bad as they happen to be administer 
ed. The necessity of maintaining such governments by 
force renders them often oppressive ; but a government of 
numbers may become even more despotic than that of an 
individual ; since the people will, in some mode or other, 
always sustain the oppressed as against the despot, but 
rarely, or never, as against themselves. You saw that those 
pigeons lost their instinct, under the impulse given by num 
bers. God for ever protect me against the tyranny of num- 
ergl" 



THE CHAINBEARER. 197 

" But everybody says our system is admirable, and the 
best in the world ; and even a despot s government is the 
government of a man." 

" It is one of the effects of numbers that men shrink from 
speaking the truth, when they find themselves opposed to 
large majorities. As respects self-rule, the colonies were 
ever freer than the mother country ; and we are, as yet, 
merely pursuing our ancient practices, substituting allegiance 
to the confederation for allegiance to the king. The differ 
ence is not sufficiently material to produce early changes. 
We are to wait until that which there is of new principles in 
our present system shall have time to work radical changes, 
when we shall begin to ascertain how much better we really 
are than our neighbours."* 

Dus and I continued to converse on this subject until she 
got again into the saddle. I was delighted with her good 
sense and intelligence, which were made apparent more in 
the pertinacity of her questions than by any positive know 
ledge she had on such subjects, which usually have very 
few attractions for young women. Nevertheless, Dus had 
an activity of mind and a readiness of perception that sup 
plied many of the deficiencies of education on these points ; 
and I do not remember to have ever been engaged in a poli 
tical discussion from which I derived so much satisfaction. 
I must own, however, it is possible that the golden hair 
flying about a face that was just as ruddy as comported 

* At the time of which Mr. Mordaunt Littlepage is here speaking 1 , 
it was far less the fashion to extol the institutions than it is to-day. 
Men then openly wrote and spoke against them, while few dare, at 
the present time, point out faults that every person of intelligence 
knows and feels to be defects. A few years since, when Jackson was 
placed in the White House, it was the fashion of Europe to predict 
that we had elevated a soldier to power, and that the government of 
the bayonet was at hand. This every intelligent American knew to 
be rank nonsense. The approach of the government of the bayonet 
among us, if it is ever to come, may be foreseen by the magnitude of 
popular abuses, against which force is the only remedy. Every well- 
wisher of the freedom this country has hitherto enjoyed, should now 
look upon the popular tendencies with distrust, as, whenever it is 
taken away, it will go as their direct consequence ; it being an in- 
herent principle in the corrupt nature of man to misuse all his privi 
leges ; even those connected with religion itself. If history prove* 
anything, it proves this. EDITOR. 

17* 



198 THE CHAIN BEARER. 

with the delicacy of the sex, the rich mouth, the brilliant 
teeth, and the spirited and yet tender blue eyes, may have 
increased a wisdom that I found so remarkable. 



CHAPTER XV. 

u Fie, fie, fond love, thou art so full of fear, 
As one with treasure laden, hemmed with thieves ; 
Trifles, unwitnessed with eye or ear, 
Thy coward heart with false bethinking grieves." 

Venue and Adonis. 

THE hut, or huts of Chainbearer, had far more comfort 
in and around them, than I was prepared to find. They 
were three in number, one having been erected as a kitchen, 
and a place to contain the male slaves ; another for the spe 
cial accommodation of Ursula and the female black ; and 
the third to receive men. The eating-room was attached to 
the kitchen ; and all these buildings, which had now stood 
an entire year, were constructed of logs, and were covered 
with bark. They were roughly made, as usual ; but that 
appropriated to Dus was so much superior to the others in 
its arrangements, internal and external, as at once to denote 
the presence and the influence of woman. It may have 
some interest with the reader briefly to describe the place. 

Quite as a matter of course, a spring had been found, as 
the first consideration in " locating," as it is called by that 
portion of our people who get upon their conversational 
stilts. The spring burst out of the side of a declivity, the 
land stretching away, for more than a mile from its foot, in 
an inclined plane that was densely covered with some of the 
noblest elms, beeches, maples and black birches, I have 
ever seen. This spot, the Chainbearer early assured me, 
was the most valuable of all the lands of Mooseridge. He 
had selected it because it was central, and particularly clear 
from underbrush ; besides having no stagnant water near it. 
In other respects, it was like any other point in that 



THE CHAINBEARER. 199 

forest ; being dark, shaded, and surrounded by the magnifi 
cence of a bountiful vegetation. 

Here Chainbearer had erected his hut, a low, solid struc 
ture of pine logs, that were picturesque in appearance, and 
not without their rude comforts, in their several ways. These 
buildings were irregularly placed, though the spring was in 
their control. The kitchen and eating-room was nearest the 
water ; at no great distance from these was the habitation 
of the men ; while the smaller structure, which Frank Mai- 
bone laughingly termed the " harem," stood a little apart, 
on a slight spur of land, but within fifty yards of Andries 
own lodgings. Boards had been cut by hand, for the floors 
and doors of these huts, though no building but the " harem" 
had any window that was glazed. This last had two such 
windows, and Frank had even taken care to provide for his 
sister s dwelling, rude but strong window-shutters. 

As for defences against an enemy, they were no longer 
thought of within the limits of New York. Block-houses, 
and otherwise fortified dwellings, had been necessary, so 
long as the French possessed Canada ; but, after the capture 
of that colony, few had deemed any such precautions called 
for, until the war of the revolution brought a savage foe 
once more among the frontier settlements ; frontier, as to 
civilization, if not as to territory. With the termination of 
that war had ceased this, the latest demand for provisions 
of that nature ; and the Chainbearer had not thought of 
using any care to meet the emergencies of violence, in 
" making his pitch." 

Nevertheless, each hut would have been a reasonably 
strong post, on an emergency ; the logs being bullet-proof, 
and still remaining undecayed and compact. Palisades were 
not thought of now, nor was there any covered means of 
communicating between one hut and another. In a word, 
whatever there might be in the way of security in these 
structures, was the result of the solidity of their material, 
and of the fashion of building that was then, and is still 
customary everywhere in the forest. As against wild beasts 
there was entire protection, and other enemies were no 
longer dreaded. Around the huts there were no enclosures 
of any sort, nor any other cleared land, than a spot of about 
half au acre in extent, off of whicU had been cut the small 



200 THE CHAINBEARER. 

pines that furnished the logs of which they were built. A 
few vegetables had been put into the ground at the most 
open point ; but a fence being unnecessary, none had been 
built. As for the huts, they stood completely shaded by the 
forest, the pines having been cut on an eminence a hundred 
yards distant. This spot, however, small as it was, brought 
enough of the commoner sort of plants to furnish a fruga 
table. 

Such was the spot that was then known in all that region 
by the name of the " Chainbearer s Huts." This name has 
been retained, and the huts are still standing, circumstances 
having rendered them memorable in my personal history, 
and caused me to direct their preservation, at least as long 
as I shall live. As the place had been inhabited a consider 
able time that spring and summer, it bore some of the other 
signs of the presence of man ; but, on the whole, its charac 
ter as a residence was that of deep forest seclusion. In 
point of fact, it stood buried in the woods, distant fully fifteen 
miles from the nearest known habitation, and in so much 
removed from the comfort, succour and outward communi 
cations of civilized life. These isolated abodes, however, 
are by no means uncommon in the State, even at the pre 
sent hour; and it is probable that some of them will be to- 
be found during the whole of this century. It is true, that 
the western, middle, southern, south-western, north-western 
and north-eastern counties of New York, all of which were 
wild, or nearly so, at the time of which I am writing, are 
already well settled, or are fast filling up; but, there is a 
high, mountainous region, in middle-northern New York, 
which will remain virtually a wilderness, I should think, 
for quite a century, if not longer. I have travelled through 
this district of wilderness very lately, and have found it 
picturesque and well suited for the sportsman, abounding in 
deer, fish and forest-birds, but not so much suited to the 
commoner wants of man, as to bring it very soon into de 
mand for the ordinary purposes of the husbandman. If this 
quarter of the country do not fall into the hands of lawless 
squatters and plunderers of one sort and another, of which 
there is always some danger in a country of so great extent, 
it will become a very pleasant resort of the sportsman, who 



THE CHAIN BEARER. 201 

is likely to soon lose his haunts in the other quarters of the 
State. 

Jaap had brought over some horses of mine from the 
Nest as sumpter-beasts, and these being sent back for want 
of provender, the negro himself remained at the " Huts" as 
a general assistant, and as a sort of hunter. A Westchester 
negro is pretty certain to be a shot, especially if he happen 
to belong to the proprietor of a Neck ; for there is no jea 
lousy of trusting arms in the hands of our New York slaves. 
But, Jaap having served, in a manner, was entitled to burn 
as much gunpowder as he pleased. By means of one of his 
warlike exploits, the old fellow had become possessed of a 
very capital fowling-piece, plunder obtained from some slain 
English officer, I always supposed ; and this arm he inva 
riably kept near his person, as a trophy of his own success. 
The shooting of Westchester, however, and that of the forest, 
were very different branches of the same art. Jaap belonged 
to the school of the former, in which the pointer and setter 
were used. The game was " put up" and " marked down," 
and the bird was invariably shot on the wing. My attention 
was early called to this distinction, by overhearing a con 
versation between the negro and the Indian, that took place 
within a few minutes after our arrival, and a portion of 
which I shall now proceed to relate. 

Jaap and Sureflint were, in point of fact, very old ac 
quaintances, and fast friends. They had been actors in 
certain memorable scenes, on those very lands of Moose- 
ridge, some time before my birth, and had often met and 
served as comrades during the last war. The known anti 
pathy between the races of the red and black man did not 
exist as between them, though the negro regarded the In 
dian with some of that self-sufficiency which the domestic 
servant would be apt to entertain for a savage roamer of the 
forest ; while the Onondago could not but look on my fellow 
as one of the freest of the free would naturally feel disposed 
to look on one who was content to live in bondage. These 
feelings were rather mitigated than extinguished by their 
friendship, and often made themselves manifest in the course 
of their daily communions with each other. 

A bag filled with squabs had been brought from the roost, 
and Jaap had emptied it of its contents on the ground near 



202 THE CIIAINBEARER. 

the kitchen, to commence the necessary operations of pick- 
ing and cleaning, preparatory to handing the birds over to 
the cook. As for the Onondago, he took his seat near by 
on a log very coolly, a spectator of his companion s labours, 
but disdaining to enter in person on such woman s work, 
now that he was neither on a message nor on a war-path. 
Necessity alone could induce him to submit to any menial 
labour, nor do I believe he would have offered to assist, had 
he seen the fair hands of Dus herself plucking these pigeons. 
To him it would have appeared perfectly suitable that a 
" squaw" should do the work of a " squaw," while a warrior 
maintained his dignified idleness. Systematic and intelligent 
industry are the attendants of civilization, the wants created 
by which can only be supplied by the unremitted care of 
those who live by their existence. 

" Dere, ole Sus," exclaimed the negro, shaking the last 
of the dead birds from the bag " dere, now, Injin ; I s pose 
you t inks em ere s game !" 

" What you call him, eh ?" demanded the Onondago, 
eyeing the negro sharply. 

" I doesn t call em game a bit, red-skin. Dem s not 
varmint, n oder ; but den, dem isn t game. Game s game, 
I s pose you does know, Sus?" 

" Game, game good. T at true who say no ?" 

" Yes, it s easy enough to say a t ing, but it not so berry 
easy to understan . Can any Injin in York State, now, tell 
me why pigeon isn t game ?" 

" Pigeon game good game, too. Eat sweet many time 
want more." 

" Now, I do s pose, Trackless" Jaap loved to run through 
the whole vocabulary of the Onondago s names " Now, I 
do s pose, Trackless, you t ink tame pigeon just as good as 
wild?" 

" Don t know nebber eat tame s pose him good, too." 

" Well, den, you s poses berry wrong. Tame pigeon poor 
stuff; but no pigeon be game. Nuttin game, Sureflint, dat 
a dog won t p int, or set. Masser Mordaunt h an t got na 
dog at de Bush or de Toe, and he keeps dogs enough at bot 
dat would p int a pigeon." 

"Pint deer, eh?" 

" Well, I doesn t know. P raps he will, p raps he wont. 



THE CHAINBEARER. 203 

Dere isn t no deer in Westchester for us to try de dogs on, 
so a body can t tell. You remem er e day, Sus, when we 
fit your red-skins out here, long time ago, wit Masser 
Corny and Masser Ten Eyck, and ole Masser Herman 
Mordaunt, and Miss Anneke, and Miss Mary, an your 
frien Jumper ? You rernern er dat, ha ! Onondago ?" 

" Sartain no forget Injin nebber forget. Don t forget 
friend don t forget enemy." 

Here Jaap raised one of his shouting negro laughs, in 
which all the joyeusness of his nature seemed to enter with 
as much zest as if he were subjected to a sort of mental 
tickling ; then he let the character of his merriment be seen 
by his answer. 

" Sartain nough you remem er dat feller, Muss, Track 
less 1 He get heself in a muss by habbing too much mem ry. 
Good to hab mem ry when you told to do work ; but some 
time rnem ry bad nough. Berry bad to hab so much mem ry 
dat he can t forget small floggin ." 

" No true," answered the Onondago, a little sternly, 
though a very little ; for, while he and Jaap disputed daily, 
they never quarrelled " No true, so. Flog bad for back." 

" Well, dat because you red-skin a colour man don t 
mind him as much as dis squab. Get use to him in little 
while ; den he nuttin to speak of." 

Sureflint made no answer, but he looked as if he pitied 
the ignorance, humility and condition of his friend. 

" What you t ink of dis worP, Susquesus?" suddenly de 
manded the negro, tossing a squab that he had cleaned into 
a pail, and taking another. " How you t ink white man 
come ? how you t ink red man come 1 how you t ink 
colour gentl em come, eh ?" 

" Great Spirit say so t en all come. Fill Injin full of 
blood t at make him red fill nigger wit ink t at make 
him black pale-face pale cause he live in sun, and colour 
dry out." 

Here Jaap laughed so loud, that he drew all three of 
Chainbearer s blacks to the door, who joined in the fun out 
of pure sympathy, though they couid not have known its 
cause. Those blacks! They may be very miserable as 
slaves ; but it is certain no other class in America laugh so 
often, or so easily, or one-half as heartily. 



204 THE CH A IN BE AKER* 

" Harkee, Injin"- resumed Jaap, as soon as he had laugh* 
ed as much as he wished to do at that particular moment- 
" Harkee, Injin~you rtnk arth round, or arth flat ?" 

" How you mean? arth up and down no round no 
flat." 

" Dat not what I mean. Bot up and down in one sens", 
but no up and down in noder. Masser Mordaunt, now, and 
Masser Corny too, hot say arth round like an apple, and 
dat he d stand one way in day-time, an noder way in night 
time. Now, what you t ink of dat, Injin ?" 

The Trackless listened gravely, bat he expressed neither 
assent nor dissent. I knew he had a respect for both my 
father and myself; but it was asking a great deal of him to 
credit that the world was round ; nor did he understand how 
one could be turned over in the manner Jaap pretended. 

" S pose it so," he remarked, after a pause of reflection 
" S pose it so, den man stand upside down ? Man stand 
on foot ; no stand on head." 

" Worl turn round, Injin ; dat a reason why you stand 
on he head one time ; on he foot noder." 

" Who tell t at tradition, Jaap ? Nebber heard him afore. * 

" Masser Corny tell me dat, long time ago ,* when I war 
little boy. Ask Masser Mordaunt one day, and he tell you 
a same story. Ebberybody say dat but Masser Dirck Fol- 
lock ; and he say to me, one time, it true, Jaap, t e book 
do say so and your Masser Corny believe him ; but I want 
to see t e worl turn round, afore I b lieve it. Dat what 
colonel Pollock say, Trackless; you know he berry ho 
nest." 

" Good honest man, colonel brave warrior true 
friend b lieve all he tell, when he know ; but don t know 
ebbery t ing. Gen ral know more major young, but know 
more." 

Perhaps my modesty ought to cause me to hesitate about 
recording that which the partiality of so good a friend as 
Susquesus might induce him to say ; but it is my wish to 
be particular, and to relate all that passed on this occasion. 
Jaap could not object to the Indian s proposition, for he had 
too much love and attachment for his two masters not to 
admit at once that they knew more than colonel Follock 
Mo very extravagant assumption, by the way. 



THE CHAINBBAHER. 205 

" Yes, he good nough," answered the black, " but he 
don t know half as much as Masser Corny, or Masser Mor- 
daunt. He say worP isn t round ; now, I t ink he look 
round." 

" What Chainbearer say ?" asked the Indian, suddenly, 
as if he had determined that his own opinion should be go 
verned by that of a man whom he so well loved. " Chain 
bearer nebber lie." 

" Nor do Masser Corny, nor Masser Mordaunt !" ex 
claimed Jaap, a little indignantly. " You t ink, Trackless, 
eder of my massers lie !" 

That was an accusation that Susquesus never intended to 
make ; though his greater intimacy with, and greater reli 
ance on old Andries had, naturally enough, induced him tc 
ask the question he had put. 

" No say eeder lie," answered the Onondago ; " but many 
"orked tongue about, and maybe hear so, and t ink so. 
Chainbearer stop ear ; nebber listen to crooked tongue." 

" Well, here come Chainbearer heself, Sus ; so, jist for 
graterfercashun, you shall hear what e ole man say. It 
berry true, Chainbearer honest man, and I like to know he 
opinion myself, sin it isn t easy, Trackless, to understan 
how a mortal being can stan up, head down !" 
" What * mortal being mean, eh?" 
* Why, it mean mortality, Injin you, mortality I, mor 
tality Masser Corny, mortality Masser Mordaunt, moi 
tality Miss Anneke, mortality ebberybody, mortality t 
but ebberybody not e same sort of mortality ! Understan* 
now, Sus ?" 

The Indian shook his head, and looked perplexed ; but 
the Chainbearer coming up at that moment, that branch of 
the matter in discussion was pursued no farther. After ex 
changing a few remarks about the pigeons, Jaap did not 
scruple to redeem the pledge he had given his red friend, 
by plunging at once into the main subject with the Chain 
bearer. 

" You know how it be wid Injin, Masser Chainbearer, 

said Jaap " Ey is always poor missedercated creator s, 

and knows nuttin but what come by chance now here be 

Sureflint he can no way t ink dis worl round ; and dat it 

18 



206 THE CHAINBEARER. 

turn round, too ; and so he want me to ask what you got to 
say about dat matter ?" 

Chainbearer was no scholar. Whatever may be said of 
Leyden, and of the many, very many learned Dutchmen it 
had sent forth into the world, few of them ever reached 
America. Our brethren of the eastern colonies, now States, 
had long been remarkable, as a whole, for that fl dangerous 
thing," a " little learning ;" but I cannot say that the Dutch 
of New York, also viewed as a whole, incurred any of those 
risks. To own the truth, it was not a very easy matter to 
be more profoundly ignorant, on all things connected with 
science, than were the mass of the uneducated Dutch of New 
York, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred 
and eighty-four. It made little difference as to condition in 
life, unless one rose as high as the old colonial aristocracy 
of that stock, and an occasional exception in favour of a 
family that intended to rear, or had reared in its bosom a 
minister of the gospel. Such was the strength of the preju 
dice among these people, that they distrusted the English 
schools, and few permitted their children to enter them ; 
while those they possessed of their own were ordinarily of a 
very low character. These feelings were giving way before 
the influence of time, it is true, but it was very slowly ; and 
it was pretty safe to infer that every man of low Dutch ex 
traction in the colony was virtually uneducated, with the 
exception of here and there an individual of the higher social 
castes, or one that had been especially favoured by associa 
tion and circumstances. As for that flippant knowledge, of 
which our eastern neighbours possessed so large an amount, 
the New York Dutch appeared to view it with peculiar dis 
like, disdaining to know anything, if it were not of the very 
best quality. Still, there were a few to whom this quality 
was by no means a stranger. In these isolated cases, the 
unwearied application, pains-taking industry, cautious ap 
preciation of facts, and solid judgment of the parties, had 
produced a few men, who only required a theatre for its 
exhibition, in order to cause their information to command 
the profound respect of the learned, let them live where they 
might. What they did acquire was thoroughly got, though 
seldom paraded for the purposes of mere show. 

Old Andries, however, was not of the class just named 



THE CHAINBEARER. 207 

lie belonged to the rule, and not to its exception. Beyond 
a question, he had heard all the more familiar truths of 
science alluded to in discourse, or had seen them in the 
pages of books ; but thejr entered into no part of his real 
opinions ; for he was not sufficiently familiar with the dif 
ferent subjects to feel their truths in a way to incorporate 
them with his mind. 

" You know tis sait, Jaap," Chainbearer answered, " t at 
bot are true. Efery poty wilt tell you so ; ant all t e folks 
I haf seen holt t e same opinions." 

" T ink him true, Chainbearer ?" the Onondago somewhat 
abruptly demanded. 

" I s pose I must, Sureflint, since all say it. T e pale 
faces, you know, reat a great many pooks, ant get to pe 
much wiser t an ret-men." 

" How you make man stan on head, eh ?" 

Chainbearer now looked over one shoulder, then over the 
other ; and fancying no one was near but the two in his 
front, he was probably a little more communicative than 
might otherwise have been the case. Drawing a little nearer, 
like one who is about to deal with a secret/ the honest old 
man made his reply. 

" To pe frank wit you, Sureflint," he answered, " t at ist 
a question not easily answeret. Eferypoty says tis so, ant, 
therefore, I s pose it must pe so ; put I haf often asket my 
self, if t is worlt pe truly turnet upsite town at night, how is 
it, olt Chainpearer, t at you ton t roll out of pet 1 T ere s 
t ings in natur t at are incomprehensiple, Trackless ; quite 
incomprehensiple !" 

The Indian listened gravely, and it seemed to satisfy his 
longings on the subject, to know that they were things in 
nature that are incomprehensible. As for the Chainbearer, 
I thought that he changed the discourse a little suddenly on 
account of these very incomprehensible things in nature ; 
for it is certain he broke off on another theme, in a way to 
alter all the ideas of his companions, let them be on their 
heads or their heels. 

" Is it not true, Jaap, t at you ant t e Onondago, here, 
wast pot present at t e Injin massacre t at took place in 
t ese parts, pefore t e revolution, in t e olt French war ? I 
mean t e time when one Traverse, a surveyor, ant a fery 



208 THE CHAINBEARER. 

goot surveyor he was, was kil t, wit all his chainpearera 
ant axe-men ?" 

" True as gospel, Masser Andries," returned the negro, 
Jooking up seriously, and shaking his head "I was here, 
and so was Sus. Dat wast de fuss time we smell gunpowder 
togedder. De French Injins was out in droves, and dey cut 
off Masser Traverse and all his party, no leaving half a 
scalp on a single head. Yes, sah ; I remembers dat, as if 
t was last night." 

" Ant what was tone wit t e poties ? You puriet t e poties, 
surely ?" 

" Sartain Pete, Masser Ten Eyck s man, was put into 
a hole, near Masser Corny s hut, which must be out here, 
four or five mile off; while Masser surveyor and his men 
were buried by a spring, somewhere off yonder. Am I 
right, Injin ?" 

The Onondago shook his head ; then he pointed to the true 
direction to each spot that had been mentioned, showing that 
Jaap was very much out of the way. I had heard of certain 
adventures in which my father had been concerned when a 
young man, and in which, indeed, my mother had been in a 
degree an actor, but I did not know enough of the events 
fully to comprehend the discourse which succeeded. It 
seemed that the Chainbearer knew the occurrences by re 
port only, not having been present at the scenes connected 
with them ; but he felt a strong desire to visit the graves of 
the sufferers. As yet, he had not even visited the hut of 
Mr. Traverse, the surveyor who had been killed ; for, the 
work on which he had been employed, being one of detail, 
or that of subdividing the great lots laid down before the 
revolution, into smaller lots, for present sale, it had not 
taken him as yet from the central point where it had com 
menced. His new assistant chainbearer was not expected 
to join us for a day or two ; and, after talking the matter 
over with his two companions for a few minutes, he an 
nounced a determination to go in quest of all the graves the 
succeeding morning, with the intention of having suitable 
memorials of their existence placed over them. 

The evening of that day was calm and delightful. As 
the sun was setting I paid Dus a visit, and found her alone in 
what she playfully called the drawing-room of her " harem. 



THE CHAINBEARER. 209 

Luckily there were no mutes to prevent my entrance, the 
usual black guardian, of whom there was one, being still in 
her kitchen at work. I was received without embarrass 
ment, and taking a seat on the threshold of the door, I sat 
conversing, while the mistress of the place plied her needle 
on a low chair within. For a time we talked of the pigeons 
and of our little journey in the woods ; after which the con 
versation insensibly took a direction towards our present 
situation, the past, and the future. I had adverted to the 
Chainbearer s resolution to search for the graves ; and, at 
this point, I shall begin to record what was said, as it was 
said. 

"I have heard allusions to those melancholy events, 
rather than their history," I added. " For some cause, 
neither of my parents likes to speak of them ; though I know 
not the reason." 

" Their history is well known at Ravensnest," answered 
Dus ; " and it is often related there ; at least, as marvels 
are usually related in country settlements. I suppose there 
is a grain of truth mixed up with a pound of error." 

" I see no reason for misrepresenting in an affair of that 
sort." 

" There is no other than the universal love of the mar 
vellous, which causes most people to insist on having it in 
troduced into a story, if it do not happen to come in legiti 
mately. Your true country gossip is never satisfied with 
fact. He (or she would be the better word), insists on exer 
cising a dull imagination at invention. In this case, how 
ever, from all I can learn, more fact and less invention has 
been used than common." 

We then spoke of the outlines of the story each had 
heard, and we found that, in the main, our tales agreed. In 
making the comparison, however, I found that I was dis 
posed to dwell most on the horrible features of the incidents, 
while Dus, gently and almost insensibly, yet infallibly, in 
clined to those that were gentler, and which had more con 
nection with the affections. 

" Your account is much as mine, and both must be true 
in the main, as you got your s from the principal actors," 
she said ; " but our gossips relate certain points connected 
with love and marriage, about which you have been silent. 
18* J 



210 THE CHAINBEARER. 

" Let me hear them, then," I cried ; " for I never was 
in a better mood to converse of love and marriage" lay 
ing a strong emphasis on the last word, " than at this mo 
ment !" 

The girl started, blushed, compressed her lips, and con 
tinued silent for half a minute. I could see that her hand 
trembled, but she was too much accustomed to extraordinary 
situations easily to lose her self-command. It was nearly 
dusk, too, and the obscurity in which she sat within the 
hut, which was itself beneath the shade of tall trees, most 
probably aided her efforts to seem unconscious. Yet, I had 
spoken warmly, and, as I soon saw, in a manner that de 
manded explanation, though at the moment quite without 
plan, and scarcely with the consciousness of what I was 
doing. I decided not to retreat, but to go on, in doing which 
I should merely obey an impulse that was getting to be too 
strong for much further restraint ; that was not the precise 
moment, nevertheless, in which I was resolved to speak, but 
I waited rather for the natural course of things. In the 
mean time, after the short silence mentioned, the discourse 
continued. 

" All I meant," resumed Bus, " was the tradition which 
is related among your tenants, that your parents were 
united in consequence of the manner in which your father 
defended Herman Mordaunt s dwelling, his daughter in 
cluded though Herman Mordaunt himself preferred some 
English lord for his son-in-law, and but I ought to repeat 
no more of this silly tale." 

" Let me hear it all, though it be the loves of my own 
parents." 

" I dare say it is not true ; for what vulgar report of pri 
vate feelings and private acts ever is so? My tradition 
added, that Miss Mordaunt was, at first, captivated by the 
brilliant qualities of the young lord, though she much pre 
ferred general Littlepage in the end ; and that her marriage 
has been most happy." 

" Your tradition, then, has not done my mother justice, 
but is feulty in many things. Your young lord was merely 
a baronet s heir ; and I know from my dear grandmother 
that my mother s attachment to my father commenced when 
she was a mere child, and was the consequence of his re- 



THE CH AINBE ARER. 211 

senting an insult she received at the time from some other 
boy." 

" I am glad of that !" exclaimed Dus, with an emphasis 
so marked, that I was surprised at the earnestness of her 
manner. " Second attachments in women to me always 
seem misplaced. There was another vein to my tradition, 
which tells of a lady who lost her betrothed the night the 
Nest was assailed, and who has ever since lived unmarried, 
true to his memory. That is a part of the story I have ever 
loved !" 

" Was her name Wallace ?" I asked, eagerly. 
" It was ; Mary Wallace and I have honoured the name 
ever since I heard the circumstances. In my eyes, Mr. 
Littlepage, there can be no picture more respectable than 
that of a female remaining true to her first attachments, 
under all circumstances ; in death, as Well as in life" 

* Or in mine, beloved Ursula !" I cried but, I will not 
make a fool of myself, by attempting to record what I said 
next. The fact was, that Dus had been winding herself 
round my heart for the last few weeks in a way that would 
have defied any attempts of mine to extricate it from the 
net into which it had fallen, had I the wish to do so. But, 
I had considered the matter, and saw no reason to desire 
freedom from the dominion of Ursula Malbone. To me, 
she appeared all that man could wish, and I saw no impedi 
ment to a union in the circumstance of her poverty. Her 
family and education were quite equal to my own ; and 
these very important considerations admitted, I had fortune 
enough for both. It was material that we should have the 
habits, opinions, prejudices if you will, of the same social 
caste ; but beyond this, worldly considerations, in my view 
of the matter, ought to have no influence. 

Under such notions, therefore, and guided by the strong 
impulse of a generous and manly passion, I poured out my 
whole soul to Dus. I dare say I spoke a quarter of an 
hour without once being interrupted. I did not wish to hear 
my companion s voice ; for I had the humility which is said 
to be the inseparable attendant of a true love, and was fear 
ful that the answer might not be such as I could wish to 
hear. I could perceive, spite of the increasing obscurity, 
that Dus was strongly agitated; and will confess a lively 



212 THE CII AINBEARER. 

hope was created within me by this circumstance. Thus 
encouraged, it was natural to lose my fears in the wish to 
be more assured ; and I now pressed for a reply. After a 
brief pause, I obtained it in the followjng words, which were 
uttered with a tremor and sensibility that gave them tenfold 
weight. 

" For this unexpected, and I believe sincere declaration, 
Mr. Littlepage, I thank you from the bottom of my heart," 
the precious creature commenced. " There are a frankness, 
an honourable sincerity and a noble generosity in such a 
declaration, coming from you to me, that can never be for 
gotten. But, I am not my own mistress my faith is 
plighted to another my affections are with my faith ; and 
I cannot accept offers which, so truly generous, so truly 
noble, demand the most explicit reply " 

I heard no more ; for, springing from the floor, and an 
attitude that was very nearly that of being on my knees, I 
rushed from the hut and plunged into the forest. 



THE CHAINBEARER. 213 



CHAPTER XYI. 

Dans. " Ye boys who pluck the flowers, and spoil the spring, 
Beware the secret snake that shoots a sting." 

Dryden s Eclogues. 

FOR the first half hour after I left Ursula Malbone s hut, 
I was literally unconscious of whither I was going, or of 
what I was about. I can recollect nothing but having pass 
ed quite near to the Onondago, who appeared desirous of 
speaking to me, but whom I avoided by a species of instinct 
rather than with any design. In fact, fatigue first brought 
me fairly to my senses. I had wandered miles and miles, 
plunging deeper and deeper into the wilds of the forest, and 
this without any aim, or any knowledge of even the direc 
tion in which I was going. Night soon came to cast its 
shadows on the earth, and my uncertain course was held 
amid the gloom of the hour, united to those of the woods. I 
had wearied myself by rapid walking over the uneven sur 
face of the forest, and finally threw myself on the trunk of 
a fallen tree, willing to take some repose. 

At first, I thought of nothing, felt for nothing but the un 
welcome circumstance that the faith of Dus was plighted to 
another. Had I fallen in love with Priscilla Bayard, such 
an announcement could not have occasioned the same sur 
prise ; for she lived in the world, met with men of suitable 
educations, conditions and opinions, and might be supposed 
to have been brought within the influence of the attentions 
and sympathies that are wont to awaken tenderness in the 
female breast. With Dus, it had been very different : she 
had gone from the forest to the school, and returned from 
the school to the forest. It was true, that her brother, whilo 



214 THE CHAIN BE ARER. 

a soldier, might have had some friend who admired Ursula, 
and whose admiration awakened her youthful sympathies 
but this was only a remote probability, and I was left bur- 
thened with a load of doubt as respected even the character 
and position of my rival. 

" At any rate, he must be poor," I said to myself, the 
moment I was capable of reflecting coolly on the subject, 
" or he would never have left Dus in that hut, to pass her 
youth amid chainbearers and the other rude beings of a 
frontier. If I cannot obtain her love, I may at least contri 
bute to her happiness by using those means which a kind Pro 
vidence has bestowed, and enabling her to marry at once." 
For a little while I fancied my own misery would be less 
ened, could I only see Dus married and happy. This feel 
ing did not last long, however ; though I trust the desire to 
see her happy remained after I became keenly conscious it 
would require much time to enable me to look on such a 
spectacle with composure. Nevertheless, the first tranquil 
moment, the first relieving sensation I experienced, was 
from the conviction I felt that Providence had placed it in 
my power to cause Ursula and the man of her choice to be 
united. This recollection gave me even a positive pleasure 
for a little while, and I ruminated on the means of effecting 
it, literally for hours. I was still thinking of it, indeed, 
when I threw myself on the fallen tree, where weariness 
caused me to fall into a troubled sleep, that lasted, with 
more or less of forgetfulness, several hours. The place I 
had chosen on the tree was among its branches, on which 
the leaves were still hanging, and it was not without its 
conveniences. 

When I awoke, it was day-light ; or, such a day-light as 
penetrates the forest ere the sun has risen. At first I felt 
stiff and sore from the hardness of my bed ; but, on chang 
ing my attitude and sitting up, these sensations soon wore 
off, leaving me refreshed and calm. To my great surprise, 
however, I found that a small, light blanket, such as wood 
men use in summer, had been thrown over me, to the ge 
nial warmth of which I was probably indebted more than I 
then knew myself. This circumstance alarmed me at first, 
since it was obvious the blanket could not have come there 
without hands ; though a moment s reflection satisfied mo 



THECHAINBEARER. 215 

that the throwing it over me, under the circumstances, must 
have been the act of a friend. I arose, however to my feet, 
walked along the trunk of the tree until clear of its branches, 
and looked about me with a lively desire to ascertain who 
this secret friend might be. 

The place was like any other in the solitude of the forest. 
There were the usual array of the trunks of stately trees, 
the leafy canopy, the dark shadows, the long vistas, the 
brown and broken surface of the earth, and the damp cool 
ness of the boundless woods. A fine spring broke out of a 
hill-side, quite near me, and looking further, with the inten 
tion to approach and use its water, the mystery of the 
blanket was at once explained. I saw the form of the 
Onondago, motionless as one of the trees which grew around 
him, leaning on his rifle, and seemingly gazing at some 
object that lay at his feet. In a minute I was at his side, 
when I discovered that he was standing over a human ske 
leton ! This was a strange and startling object to meet in 
the depth of the woods ! - Man was of so little account, was 
so seldom seen in the virgin wilds of America, that one 
naturally felt more shocked at finding such a memorial of 
his presence, in a place like that, than would have been the 
case had he stumbled on it amid peopled districts. As for 
the Indian, he gazed at the bones so intently that he either 
did not hear, or he totally disregarded my approach. I 
touched him with a finger before he even looked up. Glad 
of any excuse to avoid explanation of my own conduct, I 
eagerly seized the occasion offered by a sight so unusual, 
to speak of other things. 

" This has been a violent death, Sureflint," I said ; " else 
the body would not have been left unburied. The man has 
been killed in some quarrel of the red warriors." 

" Was bury," answered the Indian, without manifesting 
the least surprise at my touch, or at the sound of my voice. 
" Dere, see grave ? Arth wash away, and bones come out. 
Nuttin else. Know he bury, for help bury, myself." 

" Do you, then, know anything of this unhappy man, and 
of the cause of his death ?" 

" Sartain ; know all bout him. Kill in ole French war. 
Fader here; and colonel Follock; Jaap, too. Huron kill 



216 THE CHAINBEARER. 

em all; afterward, we flog Huron. Yes, dat ole story 
now !" 

" I have heard something of this ! This must have been 
the spot, then, where one Traverse, a surveyor, was set 
upon by the enemy, and was slain, with his chainbearers 
and axe-men. My father and his friends did find the bodies 
and bury them, after a fashion." 

" Sartain ; just so ; poor bury, d ough, else he nebber 
come out of groun . Dese bones of surveyor ; know em 
well : hab one leg broke, once. Dere ; you see mark." 

" Shall we dig a new grave, Susquesus, and bury the 
remains again ?" 

" Best not, now. Chainbearer mean do dat. Be here 
by- m-bye. Got somet ing else t ink of now. You own 
all land bout here, so no need be in hurry." 

" I suppose that my father and colonel Pollock do. These 
men were slain on the estate, while running out its great 
lots. I think I hare heard they had not near finished their 
work in this quarter of the patent, which was abandoned on 
account of the troubles of that day." 

" Just so ; who own mill, here, den 1" 

" There is no mill near us, Susquesus ; can be no mill, 
as not an acre of the Ridge property has ever been sold or 
leased." 

" May be so mill dough not far off, needer. Know 
mill when hear him. Saw talk loud." 

" You surely do not hear the saw of a mill now, my 
friend. I can hear nothing like one." 

" No hear, now; dat true. But hear him in night. Ear 
good, in night hear great way off." 

" You are right enough, there, Susquesus. And you 
fancied you heard the stroke of a saw, from this place, 
during the quiet and heavy air of the past night ?" 

"Sartain know well; hear him plain enough. Isn t 
mile off. Out here ; find him dere." 

This was still more startling than the discovery of the 
skeleton. I had a rough, general map of the patent in my 
pocket; and, on examination, I found a mill-stream was laid 
down on it, quite near the spot where we stood. The 
appearance of the woods, and the formation of the land, 
moreover, favoured the idea of the proximity of a mill 



THE CHAINBEARER. 217 

Pine was plenty, and the hills were beginning to swell into 
something resembling mountains. 

Fasting, and the exercise I had taken, had given me a 
keen appetite ; and, in one sense at least, I was not sorry to 
believe that human habitations were near. Did any persons 
dwdl in that forest, they were squatters, but I did not feel 
much personal apprehension in encountering such men ; 
especially when my only present object was to ask for food 
The erecting of a mill denoted a decided demonstration, it is 
true, and a little reflection might have told me that its occu 
pants would not be delighted by a sudden visit from the 
representative of the owners of the soil. On the other 
hand, however, the huts were long miles away, and neither 
Sureflint nor I had the smallest article of food about us. 
Both were hungry, though the Onondago professed indiffer 
ence to the feeling, an unconcern I could not share with him, 
owing to habits of greater self-indulgence. Then I had a 
strong wish to solve this mystery of the mill, in addition to 
a feverish desire to awaken within me some new excitement, 
as a counterpoise to that I still keenly felt in behalf of my 
disappointed love. 

Did I not so well understand the character of my com 
panion, and the great accuracy of Indian senses, I might 
have hesitated about going on what seemed to be a fool s 
errand. But circumstances, that were then of recent ori 
gin, existed to give some countenance to the conjecture of 
Sureflint, if conjecture his precise knowledge could be 
called. Originally, New York claimed the Connecticut for 
a part of its eastern boundary, but large bodies of settlers 
had crossed that stream, coming mainly from the adjacen 
colony of New Hampshire, and these persons had become 
formidable by their positions and numbers, some time ante 
rior to the Revolution. During that struggle, these hardy 
mountaineers had manifested a spirit favourable to the colo 
nies, in the main, though every indication of an intention to 
settle their claims was met by a disposition to declare them 
selves neutral. In a word, they were sufficiently patriotic, 
if left to do as they pleased in the matter of their posses 
sions, but not sufficiently so to submit to the regular admin 
istration of the law. About the close of the war, the leaders 
of this self-created colony were more than suspected of 
19 



218 THE CHAINBEARER. 

coquetting with the English authorities ; not that they pre 
ferred the government of the crown, or any other control, to 
their own, but because the times were favourable to playing 
off their neutrality, in this manner, as a means of securing 
themselves in the possession of lands to which their titles, in 
the ordinary way, admitted of a good deal of dispute, to say 
the least. The difficulty was by no means disposed of by 
the peace of 83 ; but the counties, that were then equally 
known by the name of Vermont, and that of the Hampshire 
Grants, were existing, in one sense, as a people apart, not 
yet acknowledging the power of the confederacy ; nor did 
they come into the union, under the constitution of 1789, 
until all around them had done so, and the last spark of 
opposition to the new system had been extinguished. 

It is a principle of moral, as well as of physical nature, 
that like should produce like. The right ever vindicates 
itself, in the process of events, and the sins of the fathers are 
visited upon the children, even to the third and fourth gene 
rations, in their melancholy consequences. It was impos 
sible that an example of such a wrong could be successfully 
exhibited on a large scale, without producing its deluded 
imitators, on another that was better suited to the rapacity 
of individual longings. It is probable Vermont has sent out, 
among us, two squatters, and otherwise lawless intruders on 
our vacant lands, to one of any other of the adjoining States, 
counting all in proportion to their whole numbers. I knew 
that the county of Charlotte, as Washington was then called, 
was peculiarly exposed to inroads of this nature ; and did 
not feel much surprise at this prospect of meeting with some 
of the fruits of the seed that had been so profusely scattered 
along the sides of the Green Mountains. Come what would, 
however, I was determined to ascertain the facts, as soon 
as possible, with the double purpose of satisfying both hun 
ger and curiosity. As for the Indian, he was passive, 
yielding to my decision altogether as a matter of course. 

" Since you think there is a mill, out here, west of us, 
Sureflint," I observed, after turning the matter over in my 
mind, " I will go and search for it, if you will bear me 
company. You think you can find it, I trust, knowing the 
direction in which it stands ?" 

"Sartain find him easy nough. Find stream first 



THE CHAINBEARER. 219 

den find mill. Got ear got eye no hard to find him. 
Hear saw fore great while." 

I acquiesced, and made a sign for my companion to pro 
ceed. Susquesus was a man of action, and not of words ; 
and, in a minute, he was leading the way towards a spot 
in the woods that looked as if it might contain the bed of 
the stream that was known to exist somewhere near by, 
since it was laid down on the map. 

The sort of instinct possessed by the Trackless, enabled 
him soon to find this little river. It was full of water, and 
had a gentle current ; a fact that the Indian immediately 
interpreted into a sign that the mill must be above us, since 
the dam would have checked the course of the water, had 
we been above that. Turning up stream, then, my com 
panion moved on, with the same silent industry as he would 
have trotted along the path that led to his own wigwam, had 
he been near it. 

We had not been on the banks of the stream five minutes, 
before the Trackless came to a dead halt ; like one who had 
met an unexpected obstacle. I was soon at his side, curious 
to know the motive of this delay. 

" Soon see mill, now," Susquesus said, in answer to an 
inquiry of mine. " Board plenty come down stream fast 
as want him." 

Sure enough, boards were coming down, in the current 
of the river, much faster than one who was interested in the 
property would be apt to wish ; unless, indeed, he felt cer 
tain of obtaining his share of the amount of sales. These 
boards were neither in rafts , nor in cribs ; but they came 
singly, or two or three laid together, as if some arrange 
ment had been made to arrest them below, before they 
should reach any shoals, falls, or rapids. All this looked 
surprisingly like a regular manufacture of lumber, with a 
view to sales in the markets of the towns on the Hudson. 
The little stream we were on, was a tributary of that noble 
river, and, once in the latter, there would be no very mate 
rial physical obstacle to conveying the product of our hills 
over the habitable globe. 

* This really looks like trade, Sureflint," I said, as soon 
as certain that my eyes did not deceive me. " Where there 
are boards made, men cannot be far off. Lumber, cut to 



220 THE CHAINBEARER. 

order, does not grow in the wilderness, though the material 
of which it is made, may." 

" Mill make him. Know d mill, when hear him. Talk 
plain nough. Pale-face make mill, but red-man got ear to 
hear wit !" 

This was all true enough ; and it remained to ascertain 
what was to come of it. I will acknowledge, that, when I 
saw those tell-tale boards come floating down the winding, 
little river, I felt a thrilling of the nerves, as if assured 
the sight would be succeeded by some occurrence of im 
portance to myself. I knew that these lawless lumbermen 
bore a bad name in the land, and that they were generally 
regarded as a set of plunderers, who did not hesitate to 
defend themselves and their habits, by such acts of violence 
and fraud as they fancied their circumstances justified. It 
is one evil of crime, where it penetrates masses, that num 
bers are enabled to give it a gloss, and a seeming merit, that 
unsettle principles ; rendering the false true, in the eyes of 
the ignorant, and generally placing evil before good. This is 
one of the modes in which justice vindicates itself, under the 
providence of God ; the wrongs committed by communities 
re-acting on themselves, in the shape of a demoralization 
that soon brings its own merited punishment. 

There was little time for speculation or conjecture, how 
ever ; for, resuming our march, the next bend in the river 
brought into view a reach of the stream in which half a 
dozen men and lads were at work in the water, placing the 
boards in piles of two or three, and setting them in the cur 
rent, at points favourable to their floating downwards. 
Booms, connected with chains, kept the confused pile in a 
sort of basin beneath some low cliffs, on the margin of which 
stood the expected mill itself. Here, then, was ocular proof 
that squatters were systematically at work, plundering the 
forests, of which I was in charge, of their most valuable 
trees, and setting everything like law and right at defiance. 
The circumstances called for great decision, united with the 
utmost circumspection. I had gone so far, that pride would 
not suffer me to retreat, had not a sense of duty to my father 
and colonel Follock, come to increase the determination to 
go on. 

The reader may feel some desire to know how far Dus 



THE CHAINBEA11ER. 221 

mingled with my thoughts, all this time. She was never 
absolutely out of them, though the repulse I had met in my 
affections gave an impetus to my feelings that rendered me 
more than usually disposed to enter on an adventure of 
hazard and wildness. If I were naught to Ursula Malbone, 
it mattered little what else became of me. This was the 
sentiment that was uppermost, and I have thought, ever 
since, that Susquesus had some insight into the condition of 
my feelings, and understood the cause of the sort of despe 
ration with which I was about to rush on danger. We 
were, as yet, quite concealed, ourselves ; and the Indian 
profited by the circumstance, to hold a council, before we 
trusted our persons in the hands of those who might feel it to 
be their interest to make away with us, in preference to 
permitting us ever to see our friends again. In doing this, 
however, Sureflint was in no degree influenced by concern 
for himself, but solely by a desire to act as became an 
experienced warrior, on a very difficult war-path. 

" S pose you know," said Sureflint. " Em no good men 
Varmount squatter you t ink own land dey tink own 
land. Carry rifle and do as please. Best watch him." 

" I believe I understand you," Susquesus, and I shall be 
on my guard, accordingly. Did you ever see either of those 
men before ?" 

" T ink have. Must meet all sort of men, when he go 
up and down in e wood. Despret squatter, dat ole man, 
out yonder. Call himself T ousandacre say he alway 
own t ousand acre when he have mind to find him." 

" The gentleman must be well provided with estates ! A 
thousand acres will make a very pretty homestead for a 
wanderer, especially when he has the privilege of carrying 
it about with him, in his travels. You mean the man with 
grey hairs, I suppose he who is half dressed in buckskin ?" 

"Sartain; dat ole T ousandacre nebber want land 
take him where he find him. Born over by great salt lake, 
he say, and been travel toward setting sun since a boy. 
Alway help himself Hampshire Grant man, dat. But, 
Major, why he no got right, well as you ?" 

" Because our laws give him no right, while it gives to 
the owner in fee, a perfect right. It is one of the conditions 
of the society in which we live, that men shall respect each 
19* 



222 THE CHAIN BEARER* 

other s property, and this is not his property, but mine or 
rather, it is the property of my father and colonel Pollock." 

" Best not say so, den. No need tell ebbery t ing. No 
your land, say no your land. If he t ink you spy, p raps 
he shoot you, eh ? Pale-face shoot spy ; red man t ink spy 
good feller !" 

" Spies can be shot only in time of war ; but war or 
peace, you do not think these men will push matters to ex 
tremities ? They will be afraid of the law." 

" Law ! What law to him ? Nebber see law don t go 
near law ; don t know him." 

" Well, I shall run the risk, for hunger is quite as active 
just now as curiosity and interest. There is no necessity, 
however, for your exposing yourself, Sureflint; do you stay 
behind, and wait for the result. If I am detained, you can 
carry the news to Chainbearer, who will know where to 
seek me. Stay you here, and let me go on alone adieu." 

Sureflint was not to be dropped in this manner. He said 
nothing, but the moment I began to move, he stepped quietly 
into his accustomed place, in advance, and led the way 
towards the party of squatters. There were four of these 
men at work in the river, in addition to two stout lads 
and the old leader, who, as I afterwards ascertained, was 
very generally known by the sobriquet of Thousandacres. 
The last remained on dry land, doubtless imagining that his 
years, and his long services in the cause of lawlessness and 
social disorganization, entitled him to this small advantage. 
The evil one has his privileges, as well as the public. 

The first intimation our hosts received of this unexpected 
visit, came from the cracking of a dried stick on which I 
had trodden. The Indian was not quicker to interpret and 
observe that well-known sound, than the old squatter, who 
turned his head like thought, and at once saw the Onondago 
within a rod of the spot where he himself was standing. I 
was close on the Indian s heels. At first, neither surprise 
nor uneasiness was apparent in the countenance of Thou 
sandacres. He knew the Trackless, as he called Susque- 
sus, and, though this was the first visit of the Indian, at that 
particular location, they had often met in a similar man 
ner before, and invariably with as little preliminary notice, 
So far from any thing unpleasant appearing in the counte- 



THE CHAINBEARER. 223 

nance of the squatter, therefore, Susquesus was greeted with 
a smile, in which a certain leering expression of cunning 
was blended with that of welcome. 

"So it s only you, Trackless," exclaimed Thousand- 
Acres, or, Thousandacres, as I shall, in future, spell the 
name "I didn t know but it might be a sheriff. Sitch 
crittur s do get out into the woods, sometimes, you know ; 
though they don t always get back ag in. How come you 
to find us out, in this cunning spot, Onondago !" 

" Hear mill, in night. Saw got loud tongue. Hungry ; 
so come get somet ing to eat." 

" Waal, youv e done wisely, in that partic lar, for we 
never have been better off for vi t als. Pigeons is as plenty 
as land ; and the law hasn t got to that pass, yet, as to 
forbid a body from taking pigeons, even though it be* in an 
other man s stubble. I must keep that saw better greased, 
nights ; though, I s p ose, a ter all, t was the cut of the 
teeth you heard, and not the rubbing of the plate ?" 

" Hear him all saw got loud voice, tell you." 

" Yes, there s natur in that. Come, we 11 take this 
path, up to the house, and see what Miss Thousandacres can 
do for you. Breakfast must be ready, by this time ; and 
you, and your fri nd, behind you, there, is wilcome to what 
we have, sitch as it is. Now, as we go along," continued 
the squatter, leading the way up the path he had mentioned 
" now, as we go along, you can tell me the news, Track 
less. This is a desp rate quiet spot ; and all the tidings we 
get is brought back by the b ys, when they come up stream, 
from floating boards down into the river. A desp rate sight 
have we got on hand, and I hope to hear that matters be 
going on so well, in Albany, that boards will bring suthin , 
soon. It s high time honest labour met with its reward." 

" Don t know nebber sell board," answered the Indian 
" nebber buy him. Don t care for board. Powder cheap, 
now e war-path shut up. Dat good, s pose you t ink." 

" Waal, Trackless, I kear more for boards than for pow 
der, I must own ; though powder s useful, too. Yes, yes ; 
a useful thing is powder, in its way. Venison and bear s 
meat are both healthy, cheap, food ; and I have eaten cata 
mount. Powder can be used in many ways. Who is your 
fri nd, Trackless 1" 



224 



THE CH AINBE AKEK. 



" Ole young frien know his fader. Live in wood now, 
IFke us, this summer. Shoot deer like hunter." 

" He s wilcome he s heartily wilcome ! All s wilcome 
to these parts, but the landlord. You know me, Trackless 
you re well acquainted with old Thousandacres ; and few 
words is best, among fri nds of long standing. But, tell me, 
Onondago ; have you seen anything of the Chainbearer, and 
his party of lawless surveyors, in the woods, this summer ? 
The b ys brought up an account of his being at work, some 
where near by, this season, and that he s at his old tricks, 
ag in !" 

" Sartain, see him. Ole frien , too, Chainbearer. Live 
wit him, afore old French war like to live with him, when 
can. Good man, Chainbearer, tell you, Thousandacres. 
What trick he do, eh ?" 

The Indian spoke a little sternly, for he loved Andries too 
well, to hear him disrespectfully named, without feeling 
some sort of resentment. These men, however, were too 
much accustomed to plain dealing in their ordinary dis 
course, to take serious offence at trifles ; and the amicable 
sunshine of the dialogue received no serious interruption 
from this passing cloud. 

" What trick does Chainbearer do, Trackless," answered 
the squatter " a mortal sight of tricks, with them plaguy 
chains of his n ! If there warn t no chains and chainbear- 
ers, there could be no surveyors ; and, if there warn t no 
surveyors, there could be no boundaries to farms but the 
rifle ; which is the best law-maker, and lawyer, too, that 
man ever invented. The Indians want no surveyors, 
Trackless?" 

" S pose he don t. It be bad to measure land, will own," 
answered the conscientious Susquesus, who would not deny 
his own principles, even while he despised and condemned 
the man who now asserted them. " Nebber see anyt ing 
good in measurin land." 

"Ay, I know d you was of the true Injin kidney!" ex 
claimed Thousandacres, exultingly, " and that s it which 
makes sich fri nds of us squatters and you red-skins. But 
Chainbearer is at work hard by, is he, Trackless ?" 

"Sartain. He measure General Littlepage farm out 
Who your landlord, eh?" 



i HE CHAIN BEARER. 2-5 

" Waal, I do s pose it s this same Littlepage, and a des- 
p rate rogue all agree in callin him." 

I started at hearing my honoured and honourable father 
thus alluded to, and felt a strong disposition to resent the 
injury ; though a glance from the Indian s eye cautioned me 
on the subject. I was then young, and had yet to learn that 
men were seldom wronged without being calumniated. I 
now know that this practice of circulating false reports of 
landlords, most especially in relation to their titles, is very 
general, taking its rise in the hostile positions that adven 
turers are constantly assuming on their estates, in a country 
as unsettled and migratory as our own, aided by the common 
and vulgar passion of envy. Let a man travel through 
New York, even at this day, and lend his ear to the language 
of the discontented tavern-brawlers, and he would hardly 
believe there was such a thing as a good title to an estate of 
any magnitude within its borders, or a bad one to the farm 
of any occupant in possession. There is among us a set of 
declaimers, who come from a state of society in which little 
distinction exists in either fortunes or social conditions, and 
who are incapable of even seeing, much less of appreciating 
the vast differences that are created by habits, opinions, and 
education, but who reduce all moral discrepancies to dollars 
and cents. These men invariably quarrel with all above 
them, and, with them, to quarrel is to calumniate. Leaguing 
with the disaffected, of whom there always must be some, 
especially when men are compelled to pay their debts, one 
of their first acts is to assail the title of the landlord, when 
there happens to be one in their neighbourhood, by lying and 
slandering. There seems to be no exception to the rule, the 
practice being resorted to against the oldest as well as against 
the most recently granted estates among us. The lie only 
varies in particulars ; it is equally used against the titles of 
the old families of Van Rensselaer, Livingston, Beekman 
Van Cortlandt, de Lancey, Schuyler, and others, as against 
the hundred new names that have sprung up in what is 
called the western counties, since the revolution. It is the 
lie of the Father of Lies, who varies it to suit circumstances 
and believers. " A desp rate rogue," all agree in calling the 
man who owns land that they desire to possess themselves, 



226 THE CIIAINBE AREK. 

without being put to the unpleasant trouble of purchasing 
and paying for it. 

I so far commanded myself, however, as to make no retort 
for the injustice done my upright, beloved, and noble-minded 
father, but left his defence to the friendly feelings and sterling 
honesty of Sureflint. 

" Not so," answered the Indian sternly. " Big lie forked 
tongue tell dat know gen ral sarve wid him know him. 
Good warrior honest man dat lie. Tell him so to face." 

" Waal wa-a-1 I don t know," drawled out Mr. Thou- 
sandacres : how those rascals will " wa-a-1" and " I don t 
know," when they are cornered in one of their traducing 
tales, and are met face to face, as the Indian now met the 
squatter ! " Wa-a-l, wa-a-1, I don t know, and only repeat 
what I have heern say. But, here we be at the cabin, 
Trackless ; and I see by the smoke that old Prudence and 
her gals has been actyve this morning, and we shall soon get 
suthin comfortable for the stomach." 

Hereupon, Mr. Thousandacres stopped at a convenient 
place by the side of the stream, and commenced washing 
his face and hands ; an operation that was now performed 
for the first time that day. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

** He stepped before the monarch s chair, 
And stood with rustic plainness there, 

And little reverence made ; 
Nor head, nor body, bowed nor bent, 
But on the desk his arm he leant, 
And words like these he said." 

Marmion. 

WHILE the squatter was thus occupied in arranging his 
toilet, previously to taking his morning meal, I had a mo 
ment of leisure to look about in. We had ascended to the 
level of the mill, where was an open, half-cleared space, of 
some sixty acres in extent, that was under a rude cultiva- 



THE CHAINBEARER. 

lion. Stubs and stumps abounded, and the fences were of 
logs, showing that the occupancy was still of recent date. 
In fact, as I afterwards ascertained, Thousandacres, with 
his family of hopeful sons and daughters, numbering in all 
more than twenty souls, had squatted at that spot just four 
years before. The mill-seat was admirable, nature having 
done for it nearly all that was required, though the mill 
itself was as unartificial and make-shift as such a construc 
tion very well could be. Agriculture evidently occupied 
very little of the time of the family, which tilled just enough 
land " to make a live on t," while everything in the shape 
of lumber was " improved" to the utmost. A vast number 
of noble pines had been felled, and boards and shingles were 
to be seen in profusion on every side. A few of the first 
were being sent to market, in order to meet the demands 
of the moment, in the way of groceries ; but, the intention 
was to wait for the rise in the little stream, after the fall- 
rains, in order to send the bulk of the property into the 
common artery of the Hudson, and to reap the great reward 
of the toil of the summer and spring. 

I saw, also, that there must be additions to this family, in 
the way of marriage, as they occupied no less than five 
cabins, all of which were of logs, freshly erected, and had 
an air of comfort and stability about them, that one would 
not have expected to meet where the title was so flimsy. 
All this, as I fancied, indicated a design not to remove very 
soon. It was probable that some of the oldest of the sons 
and daughters were married, and that the patriarch was 
already beholding a new generation of squatters springing up 
about him. A few of the young men were visible, lounging 
about the different cabins, and the mill was sending forth 
that peculiar, cutting, grating sound, that had so distinctly 
attracted the attention of Susquesus, even in the depths of 
the forest. 

" Walk in, Trackless," cried Thousandacres, in a hearty 
free manner, which proved that what came easily went as 
freely ; " walk in, fri nd ; I don t know your name, but 
that s no great matter, where there s enough for all, and a 
wilcome in the bargain. Here s the old woman, ready and 
willing to sarve you, and looking as smiling as a gal of 
fifteen.* 



228 THE CHAINBEARER. 

The last part of this statement, however, was not pre 
cisely accurate. " Miss Thousandacres," as the squatte? 
sometimes magnificently called his consort, or the dam of 
his young brood, was far from receiving us with either 
smiles or welcomes. A sharp-featured, keen, grey-eyed old 
woman, her thoughts were chiefly bent on the cares of her 
brood : and her charities extended little beyond them. She 
had been the mother of fourteen children herself, twelve of 
which survived. All had been born amid the difficulties, 
privations and solitudes of stolen abodes in the wilderne ss. 
That woman had endured enough to break down the consti 
tutions and to destroy the tempers of half a dozen of the 
ordinary beings of her sex ; yet she survived, the same en 
during, hard-working, self-denying, suffering creature she 
had been from the day of her bloom and beauty. These 
two last words might be supposed to be used in mockery, 
could one have seen old Prudence, sallow, attenuated, with 
sunken cheeks, hollow, lack-lustre eyes, and broken-mouth 
ed, as I now saw her ; but there were the remains of great 
beauty, notwithstanding, about the woman ; and I afterwards 
learned that she had once been among the fairest of the 
fair, in her native mountains. In all the intercourse I sub 
sequently had with her family, the manner of this woman 
was anxious, distrustful, watchful, and bore a strong resem 
blance to that of the dam that is overseeing the welfare of 
its cubs. As to her welcome at the board, it was neither 
hearty nor otherwise ; it being so much a matter of course 
for the American to share his meal with the stranger, that 
little is said or thought of the boon. 

Notwithstanding the size of the family of Thousandacres, 
the cabin in which he dwelt was not crowded. The younger 
children of the settlement, ranging between the ages of four 
and twelve, appeared to be distributed among all the habi 
tations indifferently, putting into the dishes wherever there 
was an opening, much as pigs thrust themselves in at any 
opening at a trough. The business of eating commenced 
simultaneously throughout the whole settlement, Prudence 
having blown a blast upon a conch-shell, as the signal. I 
was too hungry to lose any time in discourse, and set to, 
nrith the most hearty good will, upon the coarse fare, the 
moment there was an opportunity. My example was imi- 



THE CHAINBEARER. 22$ 

lated by all around our own particular board, it being the 
refined and intellectual only, who habitually converse at 
their meals. The animal had too great a preponderance 
among the squatters, to leave them an exception to the 
rule. 

At length, the common hunger was appeased, and I could 
see that those who sat around began to examine me with a 
little more curiosity than they had previously manifested. 
There was nothing in the fashion of my attire to excite 
suspicion, perhaps, though I did feel some little concern on 
account of its quality. In that day, the social classes were 
broadly distinguished by dress, no man even affecting to 
assume the wardrobe of a gentleman, without having cer 
tain pretensions to the character. In the woods, however, 
it was the custom to throw aside every thing like finery, and 
I wore the hunting-shirt already mentioned, as my outer 
garment. The articles most likely to betray my station in 
life were beneath this fortunate covering, and might escape 
observation. Then our party was small, consisting, besides 
the parents and the two guests, of only one young man, and 
one young woman, of about the ages of two and twenty and 
sixteen, whom the mother addressed as Zephaniah and 
Lowiny, the latter being one of the very common American 
corruptions of some fine name taken from a book Lavinia, 
quite likely.* These two young persons deported them 
selves with great modesty at the table, old Thousandacres 
and his wife, spite of their lawless lives, having maintained 
a good deal of the ancient puritan discipline among their 
descendants, in relation to things of this nature, indeed, I 

* The commoner dialect of New England is as distinct from the 
language of the rest of the republic, cases of New England descent 
excepted, as those of many of the English counties are from that of 
London. One of the peculiarities of the former, is to pronounce the 
final a of a word? like y ; calling America, Ameriky ; Utica, TTtiky ; 
Ithaca, Ithaky. Thus, Lavinia would be very apt to be pronounced 
Lavinny, Lavyny, or Lowiny. As there is a marked ambition for 
fine names, the effect of these corruptions on a practised ear is some 
what ludicrous. The rest of the nation is quite free from the pecu 
liarity. Foreigners often mistake New Englandisms for American, 
isms ; the energy, importance, and prominency of the people of the 
former portion of the country, giving them an influence that is dis 
proportioned to their numbers. 
20 



S30 THE CHAINBEARER. 

was struck with the singular contrast between the habitual 
attention that was paid by all in the settlement to certain 
appearances of the sort, and that certainty which every one 
must have possessed that they were living daily in the com 
mission of offences opposed not only to the laws of the land, 
but to the common, inherent convictions of right. In this 
particular, they exhibited what is often found in life, the 
remains of ancient habits and principles, existing in the 
shape of habits, long after the substance that had produced 
them had disappeared. 

" Have you asked these folks about Chainbearer ?" said 
Prudence abrnptly, as soon as the knives and forks were 
laid down, and while we still continued in our seats at the 
table. " I feel a consarn of mind, about that man, that I 
never feel about any other." 

" Never fear Chainbearer, woman," answered the hus 
band. " He s got his summer s work afore him, without 
coming near us. By the last accounts, this young Little- 
page, that the old rogue of a father has sent into the coun 
try, has got him out in his own settlement ; where he 11 be 
apt to keep him, I calcerlate, till cold weather sets in. Let 
me once get off all the lumber we ve cut, and sell it, and I 
kear very little about Chainbearer, or his master." 

" This is bold talk, Aaron ; but jist remember how often 
we ve squatted, and how often we ve been driven to m6ve. 
I s pose I m talking afore fri nds, in sayin what I do." 

" No fear of any here, wife. Trackless is an old ac 
quaintance, and has as little relish for law-titles, as any on 
us ; and his fri nd is our fri nd." I confess, that I felt a 
little uncomfortable, at this remark ; but the squatter going 
on with his conversation, there was no opportunity for saying 
anything, had I been so disposed. "As for moving," con 
tinued the husband, " I never mov d, but twice, without 
getting pay for my betterments. Now, I call that a good 
business, for a man who has squatted no less* than seventeen 
times. If the worst comes to the worst, we re young 
enough to make an eighteenth pitch. So that I save the 
lumber, I kear but little for your Littlepages, or Greatpages; 
the mill is no great matter, without the gear ; and that has 
travelled all the way from Varmount, as it is, and is used to 
moving. It can go farther." 



THE CH AINBEAUER. 231 

u Yes, but the lumber, Aaron ! The water s low, now, 
and you can never get it to market, until the rivers rise, 
which mayn t be these three months. Think how many 
days labour that lumber has cost you, and all on us, and 
what a sight of it there would be to lose !" 

" Yes, but we wunt lose it, woman," answered Thousand- 
acres, compressing his lips, and clenching his hands, in a 
way to show how intensely he felt on the subject of property, 
himself, however dishonestly acquired. " My sweat and 
labour be in them boards ; and it s as good as sap, any day. 
What a man sweats for, he has a right to." 

This was somewhat loose morality, it is true, since a man 
might sweat in bearing away his neighbour s goods ; but a 
portion of the human race is a good deal disposed to feel 
and reason on principles but little more sound than this of 
old Thousandacres. 

" Wa-a-11," answered the woman, " I m sure I don t 
want to see you and the b ys lose the fruits of your labours ; 
not I. You ve honestly toiled and wrought at em logs, in 
a way I never seed human beings outdo ; and t would be 
hard," looking particularly at me, " now that they ve cut 
the trees, hauled em to mill, and sawed the boards, to see 
another man step in and claim all the property. That could 
never be right, but is ag in all justice, whether Varmount 
or York. I s pose there s no great harm in jist askin what 
your name may be, young man ?" 

" None in the world," I answered, with a self-command 
that I could see delighted the Onondago. " My name is 
Mordaunt." 

" Mordaunt !" re peated the woman, quickly. " Don t we 
know suthin of that name? Is that a fri ndly name, to us 
Varmounters ? How is it, Aaron ? you ought to know." 

" No, I hadn t ought to, for I never heerd tell of any sich 
name, afore. So long as tis n s Littlepage, I kear nothin 
about it." 

I felt relieved at this reply, for I will own, that the idea 
of falling into the power of these lawless men was far from 
pleasant to me. From Thousandacres, down to the lad 
of seventeen, they all stood six feet in their stockings ; and 
a stouter, more broad-shouldered, sinewy race, was not 
often seen. The idea of resisting them by force, was out 



4 - 

232 THE CHAINBEARER. 

of the question. I was entirely without arms ; though the 
Indian was better provided ; but no less than four rifles 
were laid on brackets in this one cabin ; and I made no 
doubt that every male of the family had his own particular 
weapon. The rifle was the first necessary, of men of this 
stamp, being as serviceable in procuring food, as in protect 
ing them from their enemies. 

It was at this moment that Prudence drew a long sigh, 
and rose from table in order to renew her domestic labours. 
Lowiny followed her motions in submissive silence, and we 
men sauntered to the door of the cabin, where I could get a 
new view of the nature of those " betterments" that Thou- 
sandacres so highly prized, and of the extent of the depre 
dations that had been committed on colonel Follock and my 
father. The last were by no means insignificant ; and, at 
a later day, they were estimated, by competent judges, to 
amount to fully a thousand dollars in value. Of course 
these were a thousand dollars totally lost, inasmuch as re 
dress, in a pecuniary sense, was entirely out of the question 
with men of the stamp of Thousandacres and his sons. 
This class of persons are fond of saying, " I 11 guarantee," 
and I 11 bind myself" to do this or that ; but the guaranty 
and obligation are equally without value. In fact, those 
who are the least responsible are usually the freest with 
such pledges. 

" This is a handsome spot," said Thousandacres, whose 
real name was Aaron Timberman. " This is a handsome 
spot, Mr. Mordaunt, and one it would go kind o hard to 
give it up at the biddin of a man who never laid eye on t. 
Be you any way acquainted with law?" 

" A very little ; no more than we all get to be as we 
move along through life." 

" You ve not travelled far on that journey, young man, 
as any one can see by your face. But you ve had oppor 
tunities, as a body can tell by your speech, which isn t ex 
actly like our n, out here in the woods, from which I had 
kind o thought your schoolin might be more than common. 
A body can tell, though his own 1 arnin amounts to no great 
matter." 

This notion of Aaron s, that my modes of speech, pro 
nunciation, accent and utterance had come from the schools, 



THE CHAIN BEARER. 233 

was natural enough, perhaps ; though few persons ever ac 
quire accuracy in either, except in the familiar intercourse 
of their childhood. As for the "common schools" of New 
York, they are perpetuating errors in these respects, rather 
than correcting them ; and one of the largest steps in their 
improvement would be to have a care that he who teaches, 
teaches accurately as to sounds, as well as to significations. 
Under the present system, vicious habits are confirmed by 
deliberate instruction and example, rather than corrected. 

" My schooling," I answered, modestly enough, I trust, 
" has been a little better than common, though it has not 
been good enough, as you see, to keep me out of the woods." 

" All that may be inclination. Some folks have a nat ral 
turn for the wilderness, and it s workin ag in the grain, 
and nearly useless, to try to make settlement-bodies of em. 
D ye happen to know what lumber is likely to bring this 
fall?" 

" Everything is looking up since the peace, and it is fair 
to expect lumber will begin to command a price, as well as 
other property." 

" Wa-a-1, it s time it should ! During the whull war a 
board has been of little more account than a strip of bark, 
unless it happened to be in the neighbourhood of an army. 
We lumbermen have had an awful time on it these last eight 
years, and more than once I ve felt tempted to gi n in, and 
go and settle down in some clearin , like quieter folks ; but 
I thought, as the arth is to come to an eend, the war must 
sartainly come to an eend afore it." 

" The calculation was a pretty safe one ; the war must 
have truly made a dull time for you ; nor do I see how you 
well got along during the period it lasted." 

" Bad enough ; though war-times has their wind-falls as 
well as peace-times. Once, the inimy seized a sight of con 
tinental stores, sich as pork, and flour, and New England 
rum, and they pressed all the teams, far and near, to carry 
off their plunder, and my sleigh and horses had to go along 
with the rest on em. Waal, go we did ; and I got as 
handsome a load as ever you seed laid in a lumber-sleigh ; 
what I call an assortment, and one, too, that was mightily 
to my own likin , seein I loaded it up with my own hands. 
*T was in a woody country, as you may s pose, or I wouldn t 
20* 



234 THE CHAINBEA11ER. 

have been there ; and, as I know d all the by-roads, I watched 
my chance, and got out of the line without bein seen, and 
druv as straight up to my own hum as if I d just come 
from tradin in the nearest settlement. That was the most 
profitablest journey I ever tuck, and, what is more, it was a 
short one." 

Here old Thousandacres stopped to laugh, which he did 
in as hearty, frank a manner as if his conscience had never 
known care. This story, I fancy, was a favourite with him, 
for I heard no less than three other allusions to the exploit 
on which it was based, during the short time our communi 
cation with each other lasted. I observed the first smile I 
had seen on the face of Zephaniah, appear at the recital of 
this anecdote ; though I had not failed to notice that the 
young man, as fine a specimen of rustic, rude, manly pro 
portions as one could wish to see, had kept his eyes on me 
at every occasion, in a manner that excited some uneasi 
ness. 

" That was a fortunate service for you," I remarked, as 
soon as Aaron had had his laugh ; " unless, indeed, you felt 
the necessity of giving back the property to the continental 
officers." 

" Not a bit of it ! Congress was poor enough, I m willin 
to own, but it was richer than I was, or ever will be. When 
property has changed hands once, title goes with it ; and 
some say that these very lands, coming from the king, ought 
now to go to the people, jist as folks happen to want em. 
Therp s reason and right, I m sartain, in the idee, and I 
shouldn t wonder if it held good in law, one day !" 

Alas ! alas ! for poor human nature again. Seldom does 
man commit a wrong but he sets his ingenuity to work to 
frame excuses for it. When his mind thus gets to be per 
verted by the influence of his passions, and more especially 
by that of rapacity, he never fails to fancy new principles 
to exist to favour his schemes, and manifests a readiness in 
inventing them, which, enlisted on the side of goodness, 
might render him a blessing instead of a curse to his race. 
But roguery is so active, while virtue is so apt to be passive, 
that in the eternal conflict that is waged between them, that 
which is gained by the truth and inherent power of the last 
is half the time, more than neutralized by the unwearied 



THE CHAINBEARER. 235 

exertions of the first ! This, I fear, may be found to con 
tain the weak spot of our institutions. So long as law re 
presents the authority of an individual, individual pride and 
jealousy may stimulate it to constant watchfulness ; whereas, 
law representing the community, carries with it a divided 
responsibility, that needs the excitement of intolerable abuses 
ere it will arouse itself in its own vindication. The result 
is merely another proof that, in the management of the 
ordinary affairs of life, men are usually found to be stronger 
than principles. 

" Have you ever had occasion to try one of your titles of 
possession in a court of law, against that of a landholder 
who got his right from a grant?" I asked, after reflecting a 
moment on the truth I have just narrated. 

Thousandacres shook his head, looked down a moment, 
and pondered a little, in his turn, ere he gave me the fol 
lowing answer : 

" Sartain," he said. " We all like to be on the right 
side, if we can ; and some of our folks kind o persuaded 
me I might make out, once, ag in a reg lar landlord. So I 
stood trial with him ; but he beat me, Mr. Mordaunt, just 
the same as if I had been a chicken, and he the hawk that 
had me in his talons. You 11 never catch me trusting my 
self in the claws of the law ag in, though that happened as 
long ago as afore the old French war. I shall never trust 
to law any more. It may do for them that J s rich, and 
don t kear whether they win or lose ; but law is a desp rate 
bad business for them that hasn t got money to go into it, 
right eend foremost." 

"And, should Mr. Littlepage discover your being here, 
and feel disposed to come to some arrangement with you, 
what conditions would you be apt to accept ?" 

" Oh ! I m never ag in trade. Trade s the spirit of life ; 
and seein that gin ral Littlepage has some right, as I do 
s pose is the case, I shouldn t want to be hard on him. If 
he would keep things quiet, and not make a fuss about it, 
but would leave the matter out to men, and they men of the 
right sort, I shouldn t be difficult ; for I m one of that kind 
that hates law-suits, and am always ready to do the right 
thing ; and so he d find me as ready to settle as any man 
he ever had on his lands." 



236 THE CHAINBEARER. 

"But on what terms? You have no told me the 
terms." 

"As to tarms, I d not be hard, by any means. No man 
can say old Thousandacres ever druv hard tarms, when 
he had the best on t. That s not in my natur , which runs 
altogether towards reason and what s right. Now you see, 
Mordaunt, how matters stand atween this Littlepage and 
myself. He s got a paper title, they tell me, and I ve got 
possession, which is always a squatter s claim ; and a good 
one tis, where there s plenty of pine and a mill-seat, with a 
handy market !" 

Here Thousandacres stopped to laugh again, for he 
generally indulged in this way, in so hearty and deep a 
tone, as to render it difficult to laugh and talk in the same 
breath. As soon as through, however, he did not forget to 
pursue the discourse. 

" No, no man that understands the woods will gainsay 
them advantages," added the squatter; "and of all on em 
am I now in the enj yment. Wa-a-1, gin ral Littlepage, as 
they call him about here, has a paper title ; and I ve got 
possession. He has the courts on his side, I 11 allow ; but 
here are my betterments sixty-three as large acres chopped 
over and hauled to mill, as can be found in all Charlotte, 
or Washington, as they tell me the county is now called." 

" But general Littlepage may not fancy it an improve 
ment to have his land stripped of its pine. You know, 
Thousandacres, as well as I do, that pine is usually thought 
to greatly add to the value of land hereabouts, the Hudson 
making it so easy to get it to market." 

" Lord ! youngster, do you think I hadn t all that in my 
mind, when I made my pitch here 1 You can t teach old 
bones where it s best to strike the first blow with an axe. 
Now, I ve got in the creek," (this word is used, in the par 
lance of the State, for a small river, nine times in ten) ; 
" now, I ve got in the creek, on the way to the Hudson, in 
the booms below the mill, and in the mill-yard yonder, a 
hundred and twenty thousand feet of as handsome stuff as 
ever was cribbed, or rafted; and there s, logs enough cut 
and hauled to make more than as much more. I some sort 
o think you know this Littlepage, by your talk ; and, as I 
like fair dealin s, and what s right atween man and man, 



THE CHAIN BEARER. 237 

I 11 just tell you what I 11 do, so that you can tell him, if 
you ever meet, and the matter should come up atween you, 
as sich things sometimes do, all in talk like, though a body 
has no real consarn in the affair j and so you can tell this 
gin ral that old Thousandacres is a reasonable man, and is 
willing to settle on these tarms ; but he won t gi n a grain 
more. If the gin ral will let me get all the lumber to mar 
ket peaceably, and take off the crops the b ys have put in 
with their own hands, and carry off all the mill-gear, and 
take down the doors and windows of the houses, and all the 
iron- work a body can find about, I m willing to agree to 
quit arly enough in the spring to let any man he chooses 
come into possession in good season to get in spring grain, 
and make garden. There ; them s my tarms, and I 11 not 
abate on one on em, on no account at all. But that much 
I 11 do for peace ; for I do love peace and quiet, my woman 
says, most desp ately." 

I was about to answer this characteristic communication 
perfectly characteristic as to feelings, one-sided sense of 
right, principles and language when Zephaniah, the tall 
son of the squatter, suddenly laid a hand on his father s 
arm, and led him aside. This young man had been ex 
amining my person, during the whole of the dialogue at the 
door of the cabin, in a way that was a little marked. I 
was disposed at first to attribute these attentions to the 
curiosity natural to youth, at its first meeting with one who 
might be supposed to enjoy opportunities of ascertaining the 
newest modes of dress and deportment. Rustics, in Ameri 
ca, ever manifest this feeling, and it was not unreasonable 
to suppose that this young squatter might have felt its in 
fluence. But, as it soon appeared, I had altogether mis 
taken my man. Although both he and his sister, Lowiny, 
had never turned their eyes from my person, I soon dis 
covered that they had been governed by totally opposing 
feelings. 

The first intimation I got of the nature of the mistake 
into which I had fallen, was from the manner of Thousand- 
acres, as soon as his son had spoken to him, apart, for a 
single minute. I observed that, the old squatter turned sud 
denly, and began to scrutinize my appearance with a scowl 
ing, but sharp eye. Then he would give all his attention 



238 THE CIIAINBEARER. 

to his son ; after which, I came in for a new turn of ex 
amination. Of course, such a scene could not last a great 
while, and I soon felt the relief of being, again, face to face 
with the man whom I now set down for an enemy. 

" Harkee, young man," resumed Thousandacres, as soon 
as he had returned and placed himself directly before me, 
" my b y, Zeph, there, has got a suspicion consarning you, 
that must be cleared up, fairly a-tween us, afore we part. 
I like fair dealin s, as I ve told you more than once, already, 
and despise underhandedness from the bottom of my heart. 
Zeph tells me that he has a kind o suspicion that you re 
the son of this very Littlepage, and have been sent among 
us to spy us out, and to 1 arn how things stood, afore you let 
on your evil intentions. Is it so, or not ?" 

"What reason has Zeph for such a suspicion?" I an 
swered, with as much coolness as I could assume. " He is 
a perfect stranger to me, and I fancy this is the first time 
we have ever met." 

" He agrees to that, himself; but mankind can sometimes 
see things that isn t put directly afore their eyes. My son 
goes and comes, frequently, between the Ravensnest settle 
ment and our own, though I don t suppose he lets on any 
great deal about his proper hum He has worked as much 
as two months, at a time, in that part of the country, and I 
find him useful in carrying on a little trade, once and awhile, 
with squire Newcome." 

" You are acquainted, then, with Mr Jason Newcome, or 
squire Newcome, as you call him ?" 

" I call him what s right, I hope !" answered the old man 
sharply. " He is a Squire, and should be called a Squire. 
Give the devil his due ; that s my principle. But Zepha- 
niah has been out a considerable spell this summer to work 
at Ravensnest. I tell him he has a gal in his eye, by his 
hankering so much after the Nest folks, but he won t own 
it : but out he has been, and he tells me this Littlepage s 
son was expected to come into the settlement about the time 
he last left there." 

"And you are acquainted with Squire Newcome?" I said, 
pursuing the subject as its points presented themselves to my 
own mind, rather than following the thread of the squatter s 



THE CHAINBEARER. 239 

discursive manner of thinking ; " so well acquainted as to 
trade with him 7" 

" Sartain ; well acquainted I may say. The Squire tuck 
(took) all the lumber I cut arly in the spring, rafting and 
selling it on his own account, paying us in groceries, womans* 
cloth, and rum. He made a good job of it, I hear tell, and 
is hankerin round a ter what is now in the creek ; but I 
rather think I 11 send the b ys off with that. But what s 
that to the purpose ? Didn t you tell me, young man, that 
your name is Mordaunt ?" 

" I did ; and in so saying I told no more than the truth." 

" And what may you call your given name 1 A ter all, 
old woman," turning to the anxious wife and mother, who 
had drawn near to listen, having most probably been made 
acquainted with the nature of her son s suspicions " a ter 
all the b y may be mistaken, and this young man as inno 
cent as any one of your own flesh and blood." 

" Mordaunt is what you call my given name, I answered, 
disdaining deception, " and Littlepage " The hand of the 
Indian was suddenly placed on my mouth, stopping further 
utterance. 

It was too late, however, for the friendly design of the 
Onondago, the squatters readily comprehending all I had 
intended to say. As for Prudence, she walked away ; and 
I soon heard her calling all her younger children by name, 
to collect them near her person, as the hen gathers its 
chickens beneath the wing. Thousandacres took the matter 
very differently. His countenance grew dark, and he whis 
pered a word to Lowiny, who departed on some errand 
with reluctant steps, as I thought, and eyes that did not 
always look in the direction she was walking. 

" I see how it is ! I see how it is !" exclaimed the squatter, 
with as much of suppressed indignation in his voice and 
mien as if his cause were that of offended innocence ; " we ve 
got a spy among us, and war-time s too fresh not to let us 
know how to deal with sich folks. Young man, what s your 
arr n d down here, in my betterments, and beneath my ruff?" 

" My errand as you call it, Thousandacres, is to look 
after the property that is entrusted to my care. I am the 
son of General Littlepage, one of the owners of this spot, 
and the attorney of both." 



240 THE CHAINBEARER. 

" Oh ! an attorney be you !" cried the squatter, mistaking 
the attorney in fact for an attorney at law a sort of being 
for whom he necessarily entertained a professional antipathy. 
" I 11 attorney ye ! If you or your gin rai father thinks 
that Aaron Thousandacres is a man to have his territories 
invaded by the inimy, and keep his hands in his pockets the 
whull time, he s mistaken. Send em along, Lawiny, send 
along the b ys, and let s see if we can t find lodgin s for 
this young attorney gin rai, as well as board." 

There was no mistaking the aspect of things now. Hos 
tilities had commenced in a certain sense, and it became 
incumbent on me for the sake of safety to be on the alert. 
I knew that the Indian was armed ; and, determined to defend 
my person if possible, I was resolved to avail myself of the 
use of his weapon should it become necessary. Stretching 
out an arm, and turning to the spot where Susquesus had 
just stood, to lay hold of his rifle, I discovered that he had 
disappeared. 



CHAPTER XYIII. 

"The lawless herd, with fury blind, 
Have done him cruel wrong ; 
The flowers are gone, but still we find, 
The honey on his tongue." 

COWPER. 

THERE I stood, alone and unarmed, in the centre of six 
athletic men, for Lowiny had been sent to assemble her 
brothers ; a business in which she was aided by Prudence s 
blowing a peculiar sort of blast on her conch ; and, as un 
able to resist, as a child would have been in the hands of its 
parent. As a fruitless scuffle would have been degrading, 
as well as useless, I at once determined to submit, tempo 
rarily at least, or so long as submission did not infer dis 
grace, and was better than resistance. There did not seem 
to be any immediate disposition to lay violent hands on me, 
however, and there I stood, a minute or two, after I had 
missed Sureflint, surrounded by the whole brood of the 



THECHAINBEARER. 241 

squatter, young and old, male and female ; some looking 
defiance, others troubled, and all anxious. As for myself 
I will frankly own my sensations were far from pleasant ; 
for I knew *I was in the hands of the Philistines, in the 
depths of a forest, fully twenty miles from any settlement, 
and with no friends nearer than the party of the Chain- 
bearer, who was at least two leagues distant, and altogether 
ignorant of my position as well as of my necessities. A 
ray of hope, however, gleamed in upon me through the pro 
bable agency of the Onondago. 

Not for an instant did I imagine that long-known and well- 
tried friend of my father and the Chainbearer false. His 
character was too well established for that; and it soon 
occurred to me, that, foreseeing his own probable detention 
should he remain, he had vanished with a design to let the 
strait in which I was placed be known, and to lead a party 
to my rescue. A similar idea probably struck Thousand- 
acres almost at the same instant ; for, glancing his eye 
around him, he suddenly demanded 

" What has become of the red-skin ? The varmint has 
dodged away, as I m an honest man ! Nathaniel, Moses, 
and Daniel, to your rifles and on the trail. Bring the fellow 
in, if you can, with a whull skin ; but if you can t, an Injin 
more or less will never be heeded in the woods." 

I soon had occasion to note that the patriarchal govern 
ment of Thousandacres was of a somewhat decided and 
prompt character. A few words went a great ways in it, 
as was now apparent ; for in less than two minutes after 
Aaron had issued his decree, those namesakes of the pro 
phets and lawgivers of old, Nathaniel, and Moses, and 
Daniel, were quitting the clearing on diverging lines, each 
carrying a formidable, long, American hunting-rifle in his 
hand. This weapon, so different in the degree erf its power 
from the short military piece that has- become known to 
modern warfare, was certainly in dangerous hands ; for 
each of those young men had been familiar with his rifle 
from boyhood ; gunpowder and liquor, with a little lead, 
composing nearly all the articles on which they lavished 
money for their amusement. I trembled for Susquesus; 
though I knew he must anticipate a pursuit, and was so 
well skilled in throwing off* a chase as to have obtained the 
21 



242 THE CHAINBEAKER. 

name of the Trackless. Still, the odds were against him ; 
and experience has shown that the white man usually sur 
passes the Indian even in his own peculiar practices, when 
there have been opportunities to be taught. I could do no 
more, however, than utter a mental prayer for the escape 
of my friend. 

" Bring that chap in here," added old Thousandacres 
sternly, the moment he saw that his three sons were off; 
enough remaining to enforce that or any other order he 
might choose to issue. " Bring him into this room, and let 
us hold a court on him, sin he is sich a lover of the law. 
If law he likes, law let him have. An attorney is he ? I 
warnt to know ! What has an attorney to do with me and 
mine, out here in the woods ?" 

While this was in the course of being said, the squatter, 
and father of squatters, led the way into his own cabin, 
where he seated himself with an air of authority, causing 
the females and younger males of his brood to range them 
selves in a circle behind his chair. Seeing the folly of re 
sistance, at a hint from Zephaniah I followed, the three 
young men occupying the place near the door, as a species 
of guard. In this manner we formed a sort of court, in 
which the old fellow figured as the investigating magistrate, 
and I figured as the criminal. 

" An attorney, be you !" muttered Thousandacres, whose 
ire against me in my supposed, would seem to be more ex 
cited than it was against me in my real character. " B ys, 
silence in the court ; we 11 give this chap as much law as 
he can stagger under, sin he s of a law natur . Everything 
shall be done accordin to rule. Tobit," addressing his oldest 
son, a colossal figure of about six-and-twenty, you ve been 
in the law more than any on us, and can give us the word. 
What was t they did with you, first, when they had you up 
in Hampshire colony ; the time when you and that other 
young man went across from the Varmount settlements to 
look for sheep ? A raft of the crittur s you did get atween 
you, though you was waylaid and robbed of all your hard 
arnin s, afore you got back ag in in the mountains. They 
dealt with you accordin to law, twas said ; now, what was 
the first thing done ?" 

" I was tuck [taken] afore the squire," answered Tobit 



THE CHAINBEARER. 243 

Thousandacres, as he was often called, "who heerd the 
case, asked me what I had to say for myself, and then per 
mitted me, as it was tarmed ; so I went to gaol until the 
trial came on, and I s pose you know what come next, as 
well as I do." 

I took it for granted that what "come next" was any 
thing but pleasant in remembrance, the reason Tobit did 
not relish it even in description, inasmuch as sheep-stealers 
were very apt to get " forty save one" at the whipping-post, 
in that day, a species of punishment that was admirably 
adapted to the particular offence. We are getting among 
us a set ofsoi-disant philanthropists, who, in their great de 
sire to coddle and reform rogues, are fast placing the pun- 
nishment of offences on the honest portion of the community, 
for the especial benefit of their eleves. Some of these per 
sons have already succeeded in cutting down all our whip 
ping-posts, thereby destroying the cheapest and best mode 
of punishing a particular class of crimes that was ever in 
vented or practised. A generation hence, our children will 
feel the consequences of this mistaken philanthropy. In 
that day, let those who own fowl-houses, pig-pens, orchards, 
smoke-houses, and other similar temptations to small depre 
dations, look to it, for I am greatly mistaken if the insecu 
rity of their moveables does not give the most unanswerable 
of all commentaries on this capital misstep. One whipping 
post, discreetly used, will do more towards reforming a 
neighbourhood than a hundred gaols, with their twenty and 
thirty days imprisonments!* I have as much disposition 
to care for the reformation of criminals as is healthful, if I 
know myself; but the great object of all the punishments of 
society, viz., its own security, ought never to be sacrificed 
to this, which is but a secondary consideration. Render 
character, person and property as secure as possible, in the 

* Mr. Mordaunt Littlepage writes here with prophetic accuracy. 
Small depredations of this nature have got to be so very common, 
that few now think of resorting to the law for redress. Instead of 
furnishing the prompt and useful punishment that was administered 
by our fathers, the law is as much adorned with its cavillings and 
delays in the minor as in the more important cases; and it often takes 
years to bring a small depredator even to trial, if he can find money 
to fee a sagacious lawyer. EDITOR. 



244 THE CHAINBEARER. 

first place, after which, try as many experiments in philan. 
thropy as you please. 

I am sorry to see how far the disposition to economise is 
extending itself, in the administration of American justice, 
generally. Under a government like that of this country, 
it is worse than idle, for it is perfectly futile to attempt to 
gratify the imagination by a display of its power, through 
the agency of pomp and representation. Such things, 
doubtless, have their uses, and are not to be senselessly 
condemned until one has had an opportunity of taking near 
views of their effects ; though useful, or the reverse, they 
can never succeed here. But these communities of ours 
have it in their power to furnish to the world a far more 
illustrious example of human prescience, and benevolent 
care, by its prompt, exact, and well-considered administra 
tion of justice including the cases in both the civil and the 
criminal courts. With what pride might not the American 
retort, when derided for the simplicity of his executive, and 
the smallness of the national expenditure in matters of mere 
representation, could he only say " True, we waste no 
thing on mere parade ; but, turn to the courts, and to the 
justice of the country ; which, after all, are the great aim 
of every good government. Look at the liberality of our 
expenditures, for the command of the highest talent, in the 
first place ; see, with what generous care we furnish judges 
in abundance, to prevent them from being overworked, and 
to avoid ruinous delays to suitors ; then, turn to the criminal 
courts, and into, first, the entire justice of the laws ; next, 
the care had in the selection of jurors ; the thorough impar 
tiality of all the proceedings ; and, finally, when the right 
demands it, the prompt, unerring, and almost terrific majesty 
of punishment." But, to return to something that is a good 
deal more like truth : 

" Yes, yes," rejoined Thousandacres, " there is no use 
in riling the feelin s, by talking of that" (meaning Tobit s 
sufferings, not at the stake, but at the post ;) "a hint s as 
good as a description. You was taken afore a magistrate, 
was you ; and he permitted you to prison but, he asked 
what you had to say for yourself, first ? That was only 
fair, and I mean to act it all out here, accordin to law. 



THE CHAINBEARER. 245 

Come, young attorney, what have you got to say for your 
self?" 

It struck me that, alone as I was, in the hands of men 
who were a species of outlaws, it might be well to clear 
myself from every imputation that, at least, was not 
merited. 

" In the first place," I answered, " I will explain, a mis 
take into which you have fallen, Thousandacres ; for, let 
us live as friends or foes, it is always best to understand 
facts. I am not an attorney, in the sense you imagine I 
am not a lawyer." 

I could see that the whole brood of squatters, Prudence 
included, was a good deal mollified by this declaration. As 
for Lowiny, her handsome, ruddy face actually expressed 
exultation and delight ! I thought I heard that girl half sup 
press some such exclamation as " I know d he wasn t no 
lawyer !" As for Tobit, the scowling look, replete with 
cat-o -nine-tails, actually departed, temporarily at least. In 
short, this announcement produced a manifest change for 
the better. 

" No lawyer, a ter all !" exclaimed Thousandacres 
" Didn t you say you was an attorney ?" 

" That much is true. I told you that I was the son of 
general Littlepage, and that I was his attorney, and that of 
colonel Pollock, the other tenant in common of this estate ; 
meaning that I held their power of attorney to convey 
lands, and to transact certain other business, in their 
names." 

This caused me to lose almost as much ground as I had 
just gained, though, being the literal truth, I was resolved 
neither to conceal, nor to attempt to evade it. 

" Good land !" murmured Lowiny. " Why couldn t the 
man say nothin about all that !" 

A reproving look from Prudence, rebuked the girl, and 
she remained silent afterwards, for some time. 

"A power of attornies, is it!" rejoined the squatter. 
" Wa-a-1, that s not much better than being a downright 
lawyer. It s having the power of an attorney, I s pose, 
and without their accursed power it s little I should kear 
for any of the breed. Then you re the son of that Gin ral 
Littlepage, which is next thing to being the man himself. I 
21* 



246 THE CHAINBEARER. 

should expect if Tobit, my oldest b y, was to fall into the 
hands of some that might be named, it would go hard with 
him, all the same as if t was myself. I know that some 
make a difference atween parents and children, but other 
some doosen t. What s that you said about this gin ral s 
only being a common tenant of this land ? How dares he 
to call himself its owner, if he s only a common tenant ?" 

The reader is not to be surprised at Thousandacres 
trifling blunders of this sort ; for, those whose rule of right 
is present interest, frequently, in the eagerness of rapacity, 
fall into this very kind of error ; holding that cheap at one 
moment, which they affect to deem sacred at the next. I 
dare say, if the old squatter had held a lease of the spot he 
occupied, he would at once have viewed the character and 
rights of a common tenant, as connected with two of the 
most important interests of the country. It happened, now, 
however, that it was " his bull that was goring our ox." 

" How dares he to call himself the owner of the sile, 
when he s only a common tenant, I say ?" repeated Thou 
sandacres, with increasing energy, when he found I did not 
answer immediately. 

" You have misunderstood my meaning. I did not say 
that my father was only a * common tenant of this pro 
perty, but that he and colonel Pollock own it absolutely in 
common, each having his right in every acre, and not one 
owning one half while the other owns the other ; which is 
what the law terms being tenants in common, though 
strictly owners in fee." 

"I shouldn t wonder, Tobit, if he turns out to be an 
attorney, in our meaning, a ter all !" 

" It looks desp rately like it, father," answered the eldest 
born, who might have been well termed the heir at law of 
all his progenitor s squatting and fierce propensities. " If 
he isn t a downright lawyer, he looks more like one than 
any man I ever seed out of court, in my whull life." 

" He 11 find his match ! Law and I have been at logger 
heads ever sin the day I first went into Varmount, or them 
plaguy Hampshire Grants. When law gets me in its 
clutches, it s no wonder if it gets the best on t ; but, when 
I get law in mine, or one of its sarvants, it shall be my fault 
if law doosen t come out second best. Wa-a-1, wo ve heerd 



THE CHAINBEARER. 247 

the young man s story, Tobit. I ve asked him what he 
had to say for himself, and he has g in us his tell tell d us 
how he s his own father s son, and that the gin rai is some 
sort of a big tenant, instead of being a landlord, and isn t 
much better than we are ourselves ; and it s high time I 
permitted him to custody. You had writin s for what they 
did to you, I dares to say, Tobit T 

" Sartain. The magistrate give the sheriff s deputy a 
permittimus, and, on the strength of that, they permitted 
me to gaol." 

" Ye-e-es I know all about their niceties and appear 
ances ! I have had dealin s afore many a magistrate, in 
my day, and have onsuited many a chap that thought to 
get the best on t afore we begun ! Onsuiting the man that 
brings the suit, is the cleanest way of getting out of the 
law, as I knows on ; but it takes a desp rate long head 
sometimes to do it ! Afore I permit this young man, I 11 
show writin s, too. Prudence, just onlock the drawer " 

" I wish to correct one mistake before you proceed fur 
ther," interrupted I. " For the second time, I tell you I am 
no lawyer, in any sense of the word. I am a soldier -have 
commanded a company in General Littlepage s own regi 
ment, and served with the army when only a boy in years. 
I saw both Burgoyne and Corjawallis surrender, and their 
troops lay down their arms." 

" Good now ! Who d ha thought it !" exclaimed the com 
passionate Lowiny. "And he so young, that you d hardly 
think the wind had ever blown on him !" 

My announcement of this new character was not without 
a marked effect. Fighting was a thing to the whole family s 
taste, and what they could appreciate better, perhaps, than 
any other act or deed. There was something warlike in 
Thousandacres very countenance and air, and I was not 
mistaken in supposing he might feel some little sympathy 
for a soldier. He eyed me keenly ; and, whether or not he 
discovered signs of the truth of my assertion in my mien, 
I saw that he once more relented in purpose. 

"You out ag in Burg yne!" the old fellow exclaimed. 
" Can I believe what you say ? Why, I was out ag in 
Burg yne myself, with Tobit, and Moses, and Nathaniel, 
and Jedidiah with every male crittur of the family, in 



248 THE CIIAINBEARER. 

short, that was big enough to load and fire. I count them 
days as among my very best, though they did come late, 
and a ter old age had made some head ag in me. How can 
you prove you was out ag in Burg yne and Cornwallis ?" 

I knew that there was often a strange medley of soi-disant 
patriotic feeling mixed up with the most confirmed knavery 
in ordinary matters, and saw I had touched a chord that 
might thrill on the sympathies of even these rude and 
supremely selfish beings. The patriotism of such men, 
indeed, is nothing but an enlargement of selfishness, since 
they prize things because they belong to themselves, or 
they, in one sense, belong to the things. They take sides 
with themselves, but never with principles. That patriotism 
alone is pure, which would keep the country in the paths 
of truth, honour and justice ; and no man is empowered, in 
his zeal for his particular nation, any more than in his zeal 
for himself, to forget the law of right. 

" I cannot prove I was out against Burgoyne, standing 
here where I am, certainly," I answered ; " but give me an 
opportunity, and I will show it to your entire satisfaction." 

" Which rijiment was on the right, Hazen s or Brookes s, 
in storming the Jarmans ? Tell me that, and I will soon 
let you know whether I believe you or not." 

" I cannot tell you that fact, for I was with my own bat 
talion, and the smoke would not permit such a thing to be 
seen. I do not know that either of the corps you mention 
was in that particular part of the field that day, though I 
believe both to have been warmly engaged." 

" He warnt there," drawled out Tobit, in his most dis 
satisfied manner, almost showing his teeth, like a dog, under 
Jhe impulse of the hatred he felt. 

" He was there !" cried Lowiny, positively ; " I know he 
was there !" 

A slap from Prudence taught the girl the merit of silence ; 
but the men were too much interested to heed an interrup 
tion as characteristic and as bootless as this. 

" I see how it is," added Thousandacres ; " I must permit 
the chap a ter all. Seein , however, that there is a chance 
of his having been out ag in Burg yne, I 11 permit him 
without writin s, and he shan t be bound. Tobit, take your 
p 1 isoner away, and shut him up in the store- us . When 



THE CHAINBEARER. 249 

your brothers get back from their hunt a ter the Injin, we 11 
detarmine among us what is to be done with him." 

Thousandacres delivered his orders with dignity, and 
they were obeyed to the letter. I made no resistance, since 
it would only have led to a scuffle, in which I should have 
sustained the indignity of defeat, to say nothing of personal 
injuries. Tobit, however, did not offer personal violence, 
contenting himself with making a sign for me to follow him, 
which I did, followed in turn by his two double-jointed bro 
thers. I will acknowledge that, as we proceeded towards 
my prison, the thought of flight crossed my mind ; and I 
might have attempted it, but for the perfect certainty that, 
with so many on my heels, I must have been overtaken, 
when severe punishment would probably have been my lot. 
On the whole, I thought it best to submit for a time, and 
trust the future to Providence. As to remonstrance or de 
precation, pride forbade my having recourse to either. I 
was not yet reduced so low as to solicit favours from a 
squatter. 

The gaol to which I was " permitted" by Thousandacres 
was a store-house, or, as he pronounced the word, a " store- 
us," of logs, which had been made of sufficient strength to 
resist depredations, let them come from whom they might 
and they were quite as likely to come from some within as 
from any without. In consequence of its destination, the 
building was not ill-suited to become a gaol. The logs, of 
course, gave a sufficient security against the attempts of a 
prisoner without tools or implements of any sort, the roof 
being made of the same materials as the sides. There was 
no window, abundance of air and light entering through the 
fissures of the rough logs, which had open intervals between 
them ; and the only artificial aperture was the door. This 
last was made of stout planks, and was well secured by 
heavy hinges, and strong bolts and locks. The building 
was of some size, too twenty feet in length, at least one 
end of it, though then quite empty, having been intended 
and used as a crib for the grain that we Americans call, par 
excellence, corn. Into this building I entered, after having 
the large knife that most woodsmen carry taken from my 
pocket ; and a search was made on my person for any simi 
lar implement that might aid me in an attempt to escape. 



350 THE CHA1NBEAREE* 

In that day America had no paper money, from the bay 
of Hudson to Cape Horn. Gold and silver formed the cur 
rency, and my pockets had a liberal supply of both, in the 
shape of joes and half joes, dollars, halves, and quarters. 
Not a piece of coin, of any sort, was molested, however, 
these squatters not being robbers, in the ordinary significa 
tion of the term, but merely deluded citizens, who appropri 
ated the property of others to their own use, agreeably to 
certain great principles of morals that had grown up under 
their own peculiar relations to the rest of mankind, their 
immediate necessities and their convenience. I make no 
doubt that every member of the family of Thousandacres 
would spurn the idea of his or her s being a vulgar thief, 
drawing some such distinctions in the premises as the Drakes, 
Morgans, Woodes Rogers and others of that school, drew 
between themselves and the vulgar every-day sea-robbers 
of the seventeenth century, though with far less reason. 
But robbers these squatters were not, except in one mode, 
and that mode they almost raised to the dignity of respect 
able hostilities, by the scale on which they transacted busi 
ness. 

I was no sooner " locked up" than I began a survey of 
my prison and the surrounding objects. There was no dif 
ficulty in doing either, the openings between the logs allow 
ing of a clear reconnoissance on every side. With a view 
to keeping its contents in open sight, I fancy, the " store- us" 
was placed in the very centre of the settlement, having the 
mills, cabins, barns, sheds and other houses, encircling it 
in a sort of hamlet. This circumstance, which would ren 
der escape doubly difficult, was, notwithstanding, greatly in 
favour of reconnoitring. I will now describe the results of 
my observations. As a matter of course, my appearance, 
the announcement of my character, and my subsequent ar 
rest, were circumstances likely to produce a sensation in 
the family of the squatter. All the women had gathered 
around Prudence, near the door of her cabin, and the 
younger girls were attracted to that spot, as the particles of 
matter are known to obey the laws of affinity. The males, 
one boy of eight or ten years excepted, were collected near 
the mill, where Thousandacres, apparently, was holding a 
consultation with Tobit and the rest of the brotherhood 



THE CHAINBEARER. 251 

among whom, I fancy, was no one entitled to be termed an 
angel. Everybody seemed to be intently listening to the 
different speakers, the females often turning their eyes to 
wards their male protectors, anxiously and with long pro 
tracted gazes. Indeed, many of them looked in that direc 
tion, even while they gave ear to the wisdom of Prudence 
herself. 

The excepted boy had laid himself, in a lounging, Ameri 
can sort of an attitude, on a saw-log, near my prison, and 
in a position that enabled him to see both sides of it, without 
changing his ground. By the manner in which his eyes 
were fastened on the " store- us" I was soon satisfied that he 
was acting in the character of a sentinel. Thus, my gaol 
was certainly sufficiently secure, as the force of no man, 
unaided and without implements, could have broken a pass 
age through the logs. 

Having thus taken a look at the general aspect of things, 
I had leisure to reflect on my situation, and the probable 
consequences of my arrest. For my life I had no great ap 
prehensions, not as much as I ought to have had, under the 
circumstances ; but, it did not strike me that I was in any 
great danger on that score. The American character, in 
general, is not blood-thirsty, and that of New England less 
so, perhaps, than that of the rest of the country. Never 
theless, in a case of property, the tenacity of the men of 
that quarter of the country was proverbial, and I came to 
the conclusion that I should be detained, if possible, until 
all the lumber could be got to market and disposed of, as 
the only means of reaping the fruit of past labour. The 
possibility depended on the escape or the arrest of Sureflint. 
Should that Indian be taken, Thousandacres and his family 
would be as secure as ever in their wilderness ; but, on the 
other hand, should he escape, I might expect to hear from 
my friends in the course of the day. By resorting to a re 
quisition on squire Newcome, who was a magistrate, my 
tenants might be expected to make an effort in my behalf, 
when the only grounds of apprehension would be the conse 
quences of the struggle. The squatters were sometimes 
dangerous under excitement, and when sustaining each 
other, with arms in their hands, in what they fancy to be 
their hard-earned privileges. There is no end to the delu- 



252 THE CHAINBEARER. 

sions of men on such subjects, self-interest seeming com* 
pletely to blind their sense of right ; and I have often met 
with cases in which parties who were trespassers, and in 3 
moral view, robbers, ab origine, have got really to fancy 
that their subsequent labours (every new blow of the axe 
being an additional wrong) gave a sort of sanctity to pos 
sessions, in the defence of which they were willing to die. It 
is scarcely necessary to say that such persons look only at 
themselves, entirely disregarding the rights of others ; but, 
one wonders where the fruits of all the religious instruction 
of the country are to be found, when opinions so loose and 
acts so flagrant are constantly occurring among us. The 
fact is, land is so abundant, and such vast bodies lie ne 
glected and seemingly forgotten by their owners, that the 
needy are apt to think indifference authorizes invasions on 
such unoccupied property ; and their own labour once ap 
plied, they are quick to imagine that it gives them a moral 
and legal interest in the soil ; though, in the eye of the law 
and of unbiassed reason, each new step taken in what is 
called the improvement of a " betterment" is but a farthe : 
advance in the direction of wrong-doing. 

I was reflecting on things of this sort, when, looking 
through the cracks of my prison, to ascertain the state of 
matters without, I was surprised by the appearance of a 
man on horseback, who was entering the clearing on its 
eastern side, seemingly quite at home in his course, though 
he was travelling without even a foot-path to aid him. As 
this man had a pair of the common saddle-bags of the day 
on his horse, I at first took him for one of those practitioners 
of the healing art, who are constantly met with in the new 
settlements, winding their way through stumps, logs, mo 
rasses and forests, the ministers of good or evil, I shall not 
pretend to say which. Ordinarily, families like that of 
Thousandacres do their own " doctoring ;" but a case might 
occur that demanded the wisdom of the licensed leech ; and 
I had just decided in my own mind that this must be one, 
when, as the stranger drew nearer, to my surprise I saw 
that it was no other than my late agent, Mr. Jason New 
come, and the moral and physical factotum of Ravensnest ! 

As the distance between the mill that squire Newcome 
leased of me, and that which Thousandacres had set up on 



THE CHAINBEARER. 253 

the property of Mooseridge, could not be less than five-and- 
twenty miles, the arrival of this visiter at an hour so early 
was a certain proof that he had left his own house long 
before the dawn. It was probably convenient to pass 
through the farms and dwellings of Ravensnest, on the 
errand on which he was now bent, at an hour of the night 
or morning when darkness would conceal the movement. 
By timing his departure with the same judgment, it was 
obvious he could reach home under the concealment of 
the other end of the same mantle. In a word, this visit 
was evidently one, in the objects and incidents of which 
it was intended that the world at large should have no 
share. 

The dialogues between the members of the family of 
Thousandacres ceased, the moment squire Newcome came 
in view ; though, as was apparent by the unmoved manner 
in which his approach was witnessed, the sudden appear 
ance of this particular visiter produced neither surprise nor 
uneasiness. Although it must have been a thing to be 
desired by the squatters, to keep their " location" a secret, 
more especially since the peace left landlords at leisure to 
look after their lands, no one manifested any concern at 
discovering this, arrival in their clearing of the nearest 
magistrate. Any one might see, by the manner of men, 
women and children, that squire Newcome was no stranger, 
and that his presence gave them no alarm. Even the early 
hour of this visit was most probably that to which they 
were accustomed, the quick-witted intellects of the young 
fry causing them to understand the reason quite as readily 
as was the case with their seniors. In a word, the guest 
was regarded as a friend, rather than as an enemy. 

Newcome was some little time, after he came into view, 
in reaching the hamlet, if the cluster of buildings can be so 
termed ; and when he did alight, it was before the door 
of a stable, towards which one of the boys now scampered, 
to be in readiness to receive his horse. The beast disposed 
of, the squire advanced to the spot where Thousandacres 
and his elder sons still remained to receive him, or that near 
the mill. The manner in which all parties shook hands, 
and the cordiality of the salutations generally, in which 
Prudence and her daughters soon shared, betokened some* 
22 



254 THE CIIAINBEARER. 

thing more than amity, I fancied, for it looked very much 
like intimacy. 

Jason Newcome remained in the family group some eight 
or ten minutes, and I could almost fancy the prescribed 
inquiries about the "folks" (anglice, folk), the "general 
state of health," and the character of the " times," ere the 
magistrate and the squatter separated themselves from the 
rest of the party, walking aside like men who had matters 
of moment to discuss, and that under circumstances which 
could dispense with the presence of any listeners. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

" Peculiar both ! 

Our soil s strong growth 
And our bold natives hardy mind ; 

Sure heaven bespoke 

Our hearts and oak 
To give a master to mankind." 

YOUNO. 

THOUSAND ACRES and the magistrate held their way di 
rectly towards the store-house ; and the log of the sentinel 
offering a comfortable seat, that functionary was dismissed, 
when the two worthies took his place, with their backs 
turned towards my prison. Whether this disposition of 
their persons was owing to a deep-laid plan of the squatter s, 
or not, I never knew ; but, let the cause have been what it 
might, the effect was to render me an auditor of nearly aU 
that passed in the dialogue which succeeded. It will greatl) 
aid the reader in understanding the incidents about to be 
recorded, if I spread on the record the language that passed 
between my late agent and one who was obviously his con 
fidant in certain matters, if not in all that touched my inte 
rests in that quarter of the world. As for listening, I have 
no hesitation in avowing it, inasmuch as the circumstances 
would have justified me in taking far greater liberties with 
the customary obligations of society in its every-day aspect, 
had I seen fit so to do. I was dealing with rogues, who had 



THE CHAINBEARER. 255 

me in their power, and there was no obligation to be particu 
larly scrupulous on the score of mere conventional propriety, 
at least. 

" As I was tellin y e, Thousandacres," Newcome con 
tinued the discourse by saying, and that with the familiarity 
of one who well knew his companion, " the young man is 
in this part of the country, and somewhere quite near you 
at this moment" I was much nearer than the squire, him 
self, had any notion of at that instant " yes, he s out in 
the woods of this very property, with Chainbearer and his 
gang ; and, for tinow [for aught I know], measuring out 
farms within a mile or two of this very spot !" 

" How many men be there ?" asked the squatter, with 
interest. " If no more than the usual set, t will be an 
onlucky day for them, should they stumble on my clearin !" 

" Perhaps they will, perhaps they wunt ; a body never 
knows. Surveyin s a sort o work that leads a man here, 
or it leads him there. One never knows where a line will 
carry him, in the woods. That s the reason I ve kept the 
crittur s out of my own timber-land ; for, to speak to you, 
Thousandacres, as one neighbour can speak to another 
without risk, there s desp rate large pine-trees on the un- 
leased hills both north and east of my lot. Sometimes it s 
handy to have lines about a mile, you know, sometimes t isn t. 

"A curse on all lines, in a free country, say I, squire," 
answered Thousandacres, who looked, as he bestowed this 
characteristic benediction, as if he might better be named 
jTenthousandacres ; " they re an invention of the devil. 
I lived seven whull years, in Varmount State, as it s now 
called, the old Hampshire Grants, you know, next-door neigh 
bour to two families, one north and one south on me, and 
we chopped away the whull time, jest as freely as we 
pleased, and not a cross word or an angry look passed 
atween us." 

" I rather conclude, friend Aaron, you had all sat down 
under the same title?" put in the magistrate, with a sly 
look at his companion. " When that is the case, it would - 
exceed all reason to quarrel." 

"Why, I ll own that our titles was pretty much the 
same ; possession and free axes. Then it was ag in York 
Colony landholders that our time was running. What s 



256 THE CHAINBEARER. 

your candid opinion about law, on this p int, Squire New 
come 1 I know you re a man of edication, college 1 arnt 
some say ; though, I s pose, that s no better Tarnin than 
any other, when a body has once got it but what s your 
opinion about possession ? Will it hold good in twenty-one 
years, without writin s, or not 1 Some say it will, and some 
say it wunt." 

" It wunt. The law is settled ; there must be a shadow 
of title, or possession s good for nothin ; no better than the 
scrapin s of a flour-barrel." 

" I ve heer n say the opposyte of that j and there s reason 
why possession should count ag in everything. By posses 
sion, however, I don t mean hangin up a pair of saddle 
bags on a tree, as is sometimes done, but goin honestly and 
fairly in upon land, and cuttin down trees, and buildin 
mills, and housen and barns, and cuttin , and slashin , and 
sawin right and left, like all creation. That s what I 
always doos myself, and that s what I call sich a possession 
as ought to stand in law ay, and in gospel, too ; for I m 
not one of them that flies in the face of religion." 

" In that you re quite right ; keep the gospel on your 
side whatever you do, neighbour Thousandacres. Our 
Puritan fathers didn t cross the ocean, and encounter the 
horrors of the wilderness, and step on the rock of Plymouth, 
and undergo more than man could possibly bear, and that 
all for nothin !" 

" Wa-a-1, to my notion, the < horrors of the wilderness, 
as you call em, is no great matter ; though, as for crossin* 
the ocean, I can easily imagine that must be suthin to try 
a man s patience and endurance. I never could take to the 
water. They tell me there isn t a single tree growin the 
whull distance atween Ameriky and England ! Floatin 
saw-logs be sometimes met with, I ve heer n say, but not a 
standin crittur of a tree from Massachusetts bay to London 
town !" 

" It s all water and of course trees be scarce, Thousand- 
acres ; but let s come a little clusser to the p int. As I was 
tellin you, the whelp is in, and he ll growl as loud as the 
old bear himself, should he hear of all them boards you ve 
got in the creek to say nothin of the piles up here that 
you haven t even begun to put into the water." 



THE CHAINBEARER. 26/ 

"Let him growl," returned the old squatter, glancing 
surlily towards my prison ; " like a good many other crittur s 
that I ve met with, t will turn out that his bark is worse 
than his bite." 

" I don t know that, neighbour Thousandacres, I don t by 
any means know that. Major Littlepage is a gentleman of 
spirit and decision, as is to be seen by his having taken his 
agency from me, who have held it so long, and gi n it to a 
young chap who has no other claim than bein a tolerable 
surveyor ; but who hasn t been in the settlement more than 
a twelvemonth." 

" Gi n it to a surveyor ! Is he one of Chainbearer s 
measurin devils ?" 

" Just so ; t is the very young fellow Chainbearer has 
has had with him this year or so, runnin lines and measurin 
land on this very property." 

" That old fellow, Chainbearer, had best look to himself! 
He s thwarted me now three times in the course of his life, 
and he s gettin to be desp rate old ; I m afeard he won t 
live long !" 

I could now see that Squire Newcome felt uneasy. Al 
though a colleague of the squatter s in what is only too apt 
to be considered a venial roguery in a new country, or in 
the stealing of timber, it did not at all comport with the scale 
of his rascality to menace a man s life. He would connive 
at stealing timber by purchasing the lumber at sufficiently 
low prices, so long as the danger of being detected was kept 
within reasonable limits, but he did not like to be connected 
with any transaction that did not, in the case of necessity, 
admit of a tolerably safe retreat from all pains and penalties. 
Men become very much what not their laws but what the 
administration of their laws makes them. In countries in 
which it is prompt, sure, and sufficiently severe, crimes are 
mainly the fruits of temptation and necessity ; but such a 
state of society may exist, in which Justice falls into con 
tempt by her own impotency, and men are led to offend 
merely to brave her. Thus we have long laboured under 
the great disadvantage of living under laws that, in a great 
degree, were framed for another set of circumstances. By 
the common law it was only trespass to cut down a tree in 
England ; for trees were seldom or never stolen, and the 
22* 



258 THE CHAINBEARER. 

law did not wish to annex the penalties of felony to the 
simple offence of cutting a twig in a wood. With us, how 
ever, entire new classes of offences have sprung up under 
our own novel circumstances ; and we probably owe a por 
tion of the vast amount of timber-stealing that has now 
long existed among us, quite as much to the mistaken lenity 
of the laws, as to the fact that this particular description of 
property is so much exposed. Many a man would commit 
a trespass of the gravest sort, who would shrink from the 
commission of a felony of the lowest. Such was the case 
with Newcome. He had a certain sort of law-honesty 
about him, that enabled him in a degree to preserve appear 
ances. It is true he connived at the unlawful cutting of 
timber by purchasing the sawed lumber, but he took good 
care, at the same time, not to have any such direct connec 
tion with the strictly illegal part of the transaction, as to 
involve him in the penalties of the law. Had timber-stealing 
been felony, he would have often been an accessory before 
the act ; but, in a case of misdemeanour, the law knows no 
such offence. Purchasing the sawed lumber, too, if done 
with proper precaution, owing to the glorious subterfuges 
permitted by " the perfection of reason," was an affair of no 
personal hazard in a criminal point of view, and even ad- 
mitted of so many expedients as to leave the question of 
property a very open one, after the boards were fully in his 
own possession. The object of his present visit to the clear 
ing of Thousandacres, as the reader will most probably 
have anticipated, was to profit by my supposed proximity, 
and to frighten the squatter into a sale on such terms as 
should leave larger profits than common in the hands of the 
purchaser. Unfortunately for the success of this upright 
project, my proximity was so much greater than even Squire 
Newcome supposed, as to put it in danger by the very ex 
cess of the thing that was to produce the result desired. 
Little did that honest magistrate suppose that I was, the 
whole time, within twenty feet of him, and that I heard all 
that passed. 

"Chainbearer is about seventy," returned Newcome, 
after musing a moment on the character of his companion s 
last remark. "Yes, about seventy, I should judge from 
what I vo heerd, and what I know of the man. It a a 



THE CHA.INBEAREK. 259 

good old age, but folks often live years and years beyond 
it. You must be suthin like that yourself, Thousand- 
acres ?" 

" Seventy-three, every day and hour on t, squire ; and 
days and hours well drawn out, too. If you count by 
old style, I b lieve I m a month or so older. But, I m not 
Chainbearer. No man can say of me, that I ever made 
myself troublesome to a neighbourhood. No man can p int 
to the time when I ever disturbed his lines. No man can 
tell of the day when I ever went into court to be a witness 
on such a small matter as the length or breadth of lots, to 
breed quarrels at ween neighbours. No, squire Newcome, 
I set store by my character, which will bear comparison 
with that of any other inhabitant of the woods I ever met 
with. And what I say of myself I can say of my sons 
and da ghters, too from Tobit down to Sampson, from Nab 
to Jeruthy. We re what I call a reasonable and reconcile- 
able breed, minding our own business, and having a respect 
for that of other people. Now, here am I, in my seventy- 
fourth year, and the father of twelve living children, and 
I ve made, in my time, many and many a pitch on t, but 
never was I known to pitch on land that another man had 
in possession : and I carry my idees of possession farther 
than most folks, too, for I call it possession to have said 
openly, and afore witnesses, that a man intends to pitch on 
any partic lar spot afore next ploughin or droppin time, as 
the case may be. No, I respect possession, which ought to 
be the only lawful title to property, in a free country. 
When a man wants a clearin , or wants to make one, my 
doctrine is, let him look about him, and make his pitch on 
calcerlation ; and when he s tired of the spot, and wants a 
change, let him sell his betterments, if he lights of a chap, 
and if he doos nt, let him leave em open, and clear off all 
incumbrances, for the next comer." 

It is probable that Jason Newcome, Esq. magistrates in 
America are exceedingly tenacious of this title, though they 
have no more right to it than any one else but Jason 
Newcome, Esq.,* did not carry his notions of the rights of 

*In order to understand Mr. Littlepage in what he says of 
Esquires, a word of explanation may be necessary. Th term. 



260 THE CHAINBEARER. 

squatters, and of the sacred character of possession, quite 
as far as did his friend Thousandacres. Newcome was an 
exceedingly selfish, but, withal, an exceedingly shrewd man. 
I do not know that the term clever, in its broadest significa 
tion, would fitly apply to him, for, in that sense, I conceive 
it means quickness and intelligence enough to do what is 
right ; but, he was fully entitled to receive it, under that 
qualification by which we say a man is a clever rogue. 
In a word, Mr. Newcome understood himself, and his rela 
tions to the community in which he lived, too well to fall 
into very serious mistakes by a direct dereliction from his 
duties, though he lived in a never-ceasing condition of small 
divergencies that might at any time lead him into serious 
difficulties. Nevertheless, it was easy enough to see he 
had no relish for Thousandacres allusions to the termina 
tion of the days of my excellent old friend, Chainbearer ; 
nor can I say that they gave me any particular concern, 
for, while I knew how desperate the squatters sometimes 
became, I had a notion that this old fellow s bark would 
prove worse than his bite, as he had just observed of 
myself. 

" Esquire," is, as every well-informed person knows, a title of honour, 
standing next in degree below that of knight. On the continent of 
Europe the ecuyer properly infers nobility, I believe, as nobility is 
there considered, which is little, if any more than the condition of 
the old English gentry, or of the families having coat-armour. By 
the English law, certain persons are born esquires, and others have 
the rank ex-qfficio. Among the last, is a justice of the peace, who is 
legally an esquire during his official term. Now, this rule prevailed 
in the colonies, and American magistrates were, perhaps legally, 
esquires, as well as the English. But, titles of honour were abolish 
ed at the revolution, and it is a singular contradiction in substance, 
to hold that the principal is destroyed while the incident remains. 
The rank of esquire can no more legally exist in America, than that 
of knight. In one sense, neither is noble, it is true ; but in that broad 
signification by which all constitutions are, and ought to be inter- 
preted, both would come within the proscribed category, as set forth 
in art. 7th, sect. 9th, and art 1st, sect. 10. Const. U. S. Nevertheless, 
so much stronger is custom than positive law, that not only every 
magistrate, but every lawyer in the country fancies himself peculiarly 
an esquire ! It is scarcely necessary to add that, by usage, the 
appellation is given by courtesy, wherever the English language is 
spoken, to all who are supposed to belong to the class of gentlemen. 
This, after all, is the only true American use of the word. EDITOR. 



THE CHAINBEARER. 261 

It would hardly repay the trouble, were I to attempt re 
cording all that passed next between our two colloquists ; 
although it was a sufficiently amusing exhibition of wily 
management to frighten the squatter to part with his lumber 
at a low price, on one side, and of sullen security on the 
other. The security proceeded from the fact that Thou- 
sandacres had me, at that very moment, a prisoner in his 
store-house. 

A bargain conducted on such terms was not likely soon 
to come to a happy termination. After a great deal of 
chaffering and discussing, the conference broke up, nothing 
having been decided, by the magistrate s saying 

" Well, Thousandacres, I hope you 11 have no reason to 
repent ; but I kind o fear you will." 

" The loss will be mine and the b ys, if I do," was the 
squatter s answer. " I know I can get all the boards into 
the creek ; and, for that matter, into the river, afore young 
Littlepage can do me any harm ; though there is one cir 
cumstance that may yet turn my mind " 

Here the squatter came to a pause ; and Newcome, who 
had risen, turned short round, eagerly, to press the doubt 
that he saw was working in the other s mind. 

" I thought you would think better of it," he said ; " for, 
it s out of doubt, should major Litllepage 1 arn your pitch, 
that he d uproot you, as the winds uproot the fallin tree." 

" No, squire, my mind s made up," Thousandacres 
coolly rejoined. " I 11 sell, and gladly ; but not on the 
tarms you have named. Two pounds eight the thousand foot, 
board measure, and taking it all round, clear stuff and refuse, 
without any store-pay, will carry off the lumber." 

" Too much, Thousandacres ; altogether too much, when 
you consider the risks I run. I m not sartain that I could 
hold the lumber, even after I got it into the river ; for a 
replevy is a formidable thing in law, I can tell you. One 
pound sixteen, one-third store-pay, is the utmost farthin I 
can offer." 

In that day all our calculations were in pounds, shillings 
and pence. 

" Then the bargain s off. I s pose, squire, you J ve tho 
old avarsion to being seen m my settlements ?" 



262 THE CHAINBEARER. 

" Sartain sartain," answered Newcome, in haste. 
" There s no danger of that, I hope. You cannot well 
have strangers among you !" 

" I wunt answer for that. I see some of the b ys coming 
out of the woods, yonder ; and it seems to me there is a 
fourth man with them. There is, of a sartainty ; and it is 
no other than Susquesus, the Onondago. The fellow is 
cluss-mouthed, like most red-skins ; but you can say best 
whether you d like to be seen by him, or not. I hear he s 
a great fri nd of Chainbearer s." 

It was very evident that the magistrate decided, at once, 
in the negative. With a good deal of decent haste he 
dodged round a pile of logs, and I saw no more of him until 
I caught a distant view of his person in the skirts of the 
woods, at the point whence he had issued into the clearing, 
two hours before, and where he now received his horse from 
the hands of the youngest of Thousandacre s sons, who led 
the animal to the spot for his especial accommodation. Mr. 
Newcome was no sooner in possession of his beast, again, 
than he mounted and rode away into the depths of the forest. 
So adroitly was this retreat conducted, that no person of 
ordinary observation could possibly have detected it, unless 
indeed his attention had been previously drawn to the move 
ment. 

What passed, at parting, between Thousandacres and his 
visiter, I never knew ; but they must have been altogether 
alone, for a few minutes. When the former re-appeared, 
be came out from behind the logs, his whole attention seem 
ingly fastened on the approaching party, composed of his 
sons and Susquesus. Those resolute and practised men had, 
indeed, overtaken and captured the Onondago, and were 
now bringing him, a prisoner, unarmed, in their midst, to 
receivf; the commands of their father! Notwithstanding 
all that I knew of this man, and of his character, there was 
something imposing in the manner in which he now waited 
for the arrival of his sons and their prisoner. Accustomed 
to exercise an almost absolute sway in his own family, the 
old man had acquired some of the dignity of authority ; and 
as for his posterity, old and young, male and female, not 
excepting Prudence, they had gained very little in the way 
of freedom, by throwing aside the trammels of regular and 



THE CHAINBEARER. 263 

recognised law, to live under the rule of their patriarch. 
In this respect they might be likened to the masses, who, in 
a blind pursuit of liberty, impatiently cast away the legal 
and healthful restraints of society, to submit to the arbitrary, 
selfish, and ever unjust dictation of demagogues. What 
ever difference there might be between the two governments, 
was in favour of that of the squatter, who possessed the 
feelings of nature in behalf of his own flesh and blood, and 
was consequently often indulgent. 

It is so difficult to read an Indian s mind in his manner, 
that I did not expect to ascertain the state of the Onondago s 
feelings by the countenance he wore, on drawing near. In 
exterior, this man was as calm and unmoved as if just 
arrived on a friendly visit. His captors had bound him, 
fearful he might elude them, in some of the thickets they 
had been compelled to pass ; but the thongs seemed to give 
him neither mental nor bodily concern. Old Thousandacres 
was stern in aspect ; but he had too much experience in 
Indian character knew too well the unforgiving nature of 
the Indians dispositions, or the enduring memories that for 
got neither favours nor injuries, to wantonly increase the 
feeling that must naturally have been awakened between him 
and his prisoner. 

"Trackless," he said, considerately, "you re an old 
warrior, and must know that in troubled times every man 
must look out for himself. I m glad the b ys warn t driven 
to do you any harm ; but it would never have done to let 
you carry the tidings of what has happened here, this morn 
ing, to Chainbearer and his gang. How long I may have 
to keep you, is more than I know myself; but your treat 
ment shall be good, and your wilcome warm, so long as 
you give no trouble. I know what a red-skin s word is ; 
and maybe, a ter thinkin on it a little, I may let you out to 
wander about the clearin , provided you d give your parole 
not to go off. I 11 think on t, and let you know to-morrow; 
but to-day I must put you in the store us along with the 
young chap that you travelled here with." 

Thousandacres then demanded of his sons an account of 
the manner in which they had taken their captive ; which 
it is unnecessary to relate here, as I shall have occasion to 
give it directly in the language of the Indian himself. Aa 



264 THE CHAINBEARER. 

soon as satisfied on this head, the door of my prison was 
opened, and the Onondago entered it, unbound, without 
manifesting the smallest shade of regret, or any resistance. 
Everthing was done in a very lock-up sort of manner ; the 
new prisoner being no sooner * permitted, than the door was 
secured, and I was left alone with Sureflint ; one of the 
younger girls now remaining near the building as a sentinel. 
I waited a moment, to make certain we were alone, when I 
opened the communications with my friend. 

" I am very sorry for this, Sureflint," I commenced, " for 
I had hoped your knowledge of the woods, and practice on 
trails, would have enabled you to throw off your pursuers, 
that you might have carried the news of my imprisonment 
to our friends. This is a sore disappointment to me ; 
having made sure you would let Chainbearer know where I 
am." 

" W y t ink different, now, eh ? S pose, cause Injin pri 
soner, can t help himself?" 

" You surely do not mean that you are here with your 
own consent ?" 

" Sartain. S pose no want to come ; am no come. You 
t ink Thousandacre s b ys catch Susquesus in woods, and 
he don t want to? Be sure, winter come, and summer 
come. Be sure, gray hair come a little. Be sure, Track 
less get ole, by- m-bye ; but he moccasin leave no trail 
yet !" 

" As I cannot understand why you should first escape, 
and then wish to come back, I must beg you to explain 
yourself. Let me know all that has passed, Sureflint how 
it has passed, and why it has passed. Tell it in your own 
way, but tell it fully." 

"Sartain Why no tell? No harm; all good some 
t ing capital ! Nebber hab better luck." 

" You excite my curiosity, Sureflint ; tell the whole story 
at once, beginning at the time when you slipped off, and 
carrying it down to the moment of your arrival here." 

Hereupon, Susquesus turned on me a significant look, 
drew his pipe from his belt, filled and lighted it, and began 
to smoke with a composure that was not easily disturbed. 
As soon as assured that his pipe was in a proper state, how 
ever, the Indian quietly began his story. 



THE CHAINBEARER. 265 

<c Now listen,, you hear," he said. " Run away, cause 
no good to stay here, and be prisoner dat why." 

" But you are a prisoner, as it is, as well as myself; and, 
by your statement, a prisoner with your own consent." 

" Sartain nebber hab been prisoner, won t be prisoner, 
if don t want to. S pose shot, den can t help him ; but in 
woods, Injin nebber prisoner, less lazy, or drunk. Rum 
make great many prisoner." 

" I can believe all this but tell me the story. Why did 
you go off at first ?" 

" S pose don t want Chainbearer know where be, eh ? 
T ink T ousandacre ebber let you go while board in stream ? 
When board go, he go ; not afore. Stay all summer ; want 
to live in store- us all summer, eh ?" 

" Certainly not Well, you left me, in order to let our 
friends know where I was, that they might cast about for 
the means of getting me free. All this I understand ; what 
next?" 

" Next, go off in wood. Easy nough to slip off when 
T ousandacre no look. Well, went about two mile ; leave 
no trail bird make as much in air. What s pose meet, 
eh?" 

" I wait for you to tell me." 

" Meet Jaap yes meet nigger. Look for young master 
ebbery body in trouble, and won er where young chief 
be. Some look here some look out yonder all look some 
where Jaap look just dere." 

" And you told Jaap the whole story, and sent him back 
to the huts with it !" 

"Sartain just so. Make good guess dat time. Den 
t ink what do, next. Want to come back and help young 
pale-face frien ; so t ought get take prisoner one time. Like 
to know how he feel to be prisoner one time. No feel so 
bad as s pose. Squatter no hard master for prisoner." 

" But how did all this happen, and in what manner have 
you misled the young men?" 

" No hard to do at all. All he want is know how. A ter 

Jaap get his ar n d, and go off, made trail plain nough for 

squaw to find. Travel to a spring sit down and put rifle 

away off, so no need shoot, and let squatter s boys catch 

23 



265 THE CHAINBEARER, 

me, by what you call s prise ; yes, e pale-faces s prise red- 
man dat time ! Warrant he brag on t, well !" 

Here, then, was the simple explanation of it all ! Sus- 
quesus had stolen away, in order 10 apprise my friends of my 
situation ; he had fallen in with Jaap, or Jaaf, in search of 
his lost master ; and, communicating all the circumstances 
to the negro, had artfully allowed himself to be re-captured, 
carefully avoiding a struggle, and had been brought back 
and placed by my side. No explanations were necessary 
to point out the advantages. By communicating with the 
negro, who had been familiar for years with the clipped 
manner of the Indian s mode of speaking English, every 
thing would be made known to Chainbearer ; by suffering 
himself to be taken, the squatters were led by Sureflint to 
suppose our capture and their " pitch" remained secrets ; 
while, by re-joining me, I should have the presence, counsel 
and assistance of a most tried friend of my father s and 
Chainbearer s, in the event of necessity. 

This brief summary of his reasoning shows the admira 
ble sagacity of the Onondago, who had kept in view every 
requisite of his situation, and failed in nothing. 

I was delighted with the address of Sureflint, as well as 
touched by his fidelity. In the course of our conversation, 
he gave me to understand that my disappearance and ab 
sence for an entire night had produced great consternation 
in the huts, and that everybody was out in quest of me and 
himself, at the time when he so opportunely fell in with 
Jaap. 

"Gal out, too" added the Onondago, significantly. 
" S pose good reason for dat." 

This startled me a little, for I had a vague suspicion that 
Susquesus must have been an unseen observer of my inter 
view with Ursula Malbone ; and noticing my manner on 
rushing from her cabin, had been induced to follow me, as 
has been related. The reader is not to suppose that my late 
adventures had driven Dus from my mind. So far from 
this, I thought of her incessantly ; and the knowledge that 
she took so much interest in me as to roam the woods in 
the search, had no tendency to lessen the steadiness or in 
tensity of my reflections. Nevertheless, common humanity 
might induce one of her energy and activity to do as much 



THE CHAINBEARER. 267 

as this ; and had I not her own declaration that she was 
plighted to another ! 

After getting his whole story, I consulted the Indian on 
the subject of our future proceedings. He was of opinion 
that we had better wait the movements of our friends, from 
whom we must hear in some mode or other, in the course 
of the approaching night, or of the succeeding day. What 
course Chainbearer might see fit to pursue, neither of us 
could conjecture, though both felt assured he never would 
remain quiet with two as fast friends as ourselves in durance. 
My great concern was that he might resort at once to force , 
for old Andries had a fiery spirit, though one that was emi 
nently just ; and he had been accustomed to see gunpbwder 
burned from his youth upward. Should he, on the other 
hand, resort to legal means, and apply to Mr. Newcome for 
warrants to arrest my captors, as men guilty of illegal per 
sonal violence, a course it struck me Frank Maibone would 
be very apt to advise, what might I not expect from the 
collusion of the magistrate, in the way of frauds, delays 
and private machinations ? In such a case, there would be 
time to send me to some other place of concealment, and 
the forest must have a hundred such that were accessible to 
my new masters, while their friend Newcome would scarcely 
fail to let them have timely notice of the necessity of some 
such step. Men acting in conformity with the rules of right, 
fulfilling the requirements of the law, and practising virtue, 
might be so remiss as not to send information of such an 
impending danger ; for such persons are only too apt to rely 
on the integrity of their own characters, and to put their 
trust on the laws of Providence ; but rogues, certain that 
they can have no such succour, depend mainly on them 
selves, recognizing the well-known principle of Frederick 
the Great, who thought it a safe rule to suppose that " Pro 
vidence was usually on the side of strong battalions." 1 
felt certain, therefore, that squire Newcome would let his 
friends at the " clearing" know all that was plotting against 
them, as soon as he knew it himself. 

The squatters were not unkind to us prisoners ii the way 
of general treatment. Certainly I had every right to com 
plain of the particular wrong they did me ; but, otherwise, 
they were sufficiently considerate and liberal throughout that 



268 THE CHAINBEARER. 

day. Our fare wae their own. We had water brought in 
fresh by Lowiny no fewer than five several times ,- and so 
attentive to my supposed wants was this girl, that she actually 
brought me every book that was to be found in all the libra 
ries of the family. These were but three a fragment of a 
bible, Pilgrim s Progress, and an almanac that was four 
years old. 



CHAPTER XX. 

** I mark d his desultory pace, 
His gestures strange, and varying face, 
With many a muttered sound ; 
And ah ! too late, aghast, I view d 
The reeking blade, the hand embru d : 
He fell, and groaning grasp d in agony the ground." 

WARTON. 

IN this manner passed that long and wearying day. I 
could, and did take exercise, by walking to and fro in my 
prison ; but the Indian seldom stirred, from the moment he 
entered. As for the squatter himself, he came no more near 
the storehouse, though I saw him, two or three times in the 
course of the day, in private conference with his elder sons, 
most probably consulting on my case. At such moments, 
their manner was serious, and there were instants when I 
fancied it menacing. 

Provision was made for our comfort by throwing a suffi- 
jient number of bundles of straw into the prison, and my 
ellow-captive and myself had each a sufficiently comforta 
ble bed. A soldier was not to be frightened at sleeping on 
straw, moreover ; and, as for Susquesus, he asked for no 
more than room to stretch himself, though it were even on a 
rock. An Indian loves his ease, and takes it when it comes 
n his way ; but it is really amazing to what an extent his 
powers of endurance go, when it becomes necessary for him 
to exrt them. 

In the early part of the night I slept profoundly, as I be 
lieve did the Indian. I must acknowledge that an uncom 



THE CHAINBEARER. 269 

fortable distrust existed in my mind, that had some slight 
effect in keeping me from slumbering, though fatigue soon 
overcame the apprehensions such a feeling would be likely 
to awaken. I did not know but Thousandacres and his sons 
might take it into their heads to make away with the Indian 
and myself under cover of the darkness, as the most effec 
tual means of protecting themselves against the consequences 
of their past depredations, and of securing the possession of 
those that they had projected for the future. We were com 
pletely in their power, and, so far as the squatter knew, the 
secret of our visit would die with us ; the knowledge of 
those of his own flesh and blood possessed on the subject 
excepted. Notwithstanding these thoughts crossed my mind, 
and did give me some little uneasiness, they were not suffi 
ciently active or sufficiently prominent to prevent me from 
slumbering, after I had fairly fallen asleep, without awaking 
once, until it was three o clock, or within an hour of the 
approach of day. 

I am not certain that any external cause aroused me from 
my slumbers. But, I well remember that I lay there on my 
straw, meditating for some time, half asleep and half awake, 
until I fancied I heard the musical voice of Dus, murmuring 
in my ear my own name. This illusion lasted some little 
time ; when, as my faculties gradually resumed their powers, 
I became slowly convinced that some one was actually call 
ing me, and by name too, within a foot or two of my ears. 
I could not be mistaken ; the fact was so, and the call was 
in a woman s tones. Springing up, I demanded 

" Who is here 1 In the name of heaven can this really 
be Miss Malbone Dus !" 

" My name is Lowiny," answered my visitor, " and I m 
Thousandacres da ghter. But, don t speak so loud, for 
there is one of the b ys on the watch at the other end of the 
store us , and you 11 wake him up unless you re careful." 

" Lowiny, is it you, my good girl ? Not content to care 
for us throughout the day, you still have a thought for us 
during the night !" 

I thought the girl felt embarrassed, for she must have 

been conscious of having a little trespassed on the usages 

and reserve of her sex. It is rare, indeed, that any mother, 

find especially an American mother, ever falls so low as 

23* 



270 THE CHA.INBEARER. 

completely to become unsexed in feelings and character, 
and rarer still that she forgets to impart many of the de 
cencies of woman to her daughter. Old Prudence, notwith 
standing the life she led, and .the many causes of corruption 
and backslidings that existed around her, was true to her 
native instincts, and had taught to her girls many of those 
little proprieties that become so great charms in woman. 

Lowiny was far from disagreeable in person, and had the 
advantage of being youthful in appearance, as well as in 
fact. In addition to these marks of her sex, she had mani 
fested an interest in my fate, from the first, that had not 
escaped me; and here she was now doubtless on some 
errand of which the object was our good. My remark em 
barrassed her, however, and a few moments passed before 
she got entirely over the feeling. As soon as she did, she 
again spoke. 

" I don t think anything of bringing you and the Injin a 
little water," she said laying an emphasis on the words I 
have put in Italics " nor should I had we any beer or sap- 
cider instead. But all our spruce is out ; and father said he 
wouldn t have any more of the cider made, seein that we 
want all the sap for sugar. I hope you had a plentiful sup 
per, Mr. Littlepage ; and for fear you hadn t, I ve brought 
you and the red-skin a pitcher of milk and a bowl of hasty- 
pudding he can eat a ter you ve done, you know." 

I thanked my kind-hearted friend, and received her gift 
through a hole that she pointed out to me. The food, in the 
end, proved very acceptable, as subsequent circumstances 
caused our regular breakfast to be forgotten for a time. I 
was desirous of ascertaining from this girl what was said or 
contemplated among her relatives, on the subject of my 
future fate; but felt a nearly unconquerable dislike to be 
prying into what was a species of family secrets, by putting 
direct questions to her. Fortunately, the commnnicative 
and friendly disposition of Lowiny, herself, soon removed 
all necessity for any such step ; for after executing her 
main purpose, she lingered with an evident wish to gossip. 

" I wish father wouldn t be a squatter any longer," the 
girl said, with an earnestness that proved she was uttering 
her real sentiments. " It s awful to be for ever fighting 
ag in law !" 



THE CHAINBEARER. 271 

** It would be far better if he would apply to some land 
owner, and get a farm on lease, or by purchase. Land is 
so plenty, in this country, no man need go without a legal 
interest in his hundred acres, provided he be only sober and 
industrious." 

" Father never drinks, unless it s on the Fourth of July; 
and the b ys be all pretty sober, too, as young men go, 
now-a-days. I believe, Mr. Littlepage, if mother has told 
father once, she has told him a thousand times, that she 
doos wish he d leave off squatting, and take writin s for 
some piece of land or other. But father says, * no he 
warn t made for writin s, nor writin s for him. He s des- 
p ately troubled to know what to do with you, now he s got 
you." 

" Did Mr. Newcome give no opinion on the subject, 
while he was with you ?" 

" Squire Newcome ! Father never let on to him a sylla 
ble about ever having seen you. He knows too much to 
put himself in squire Newcome s power, sin his lumber 
would go all the cheaper for it What s your opinion, Mr. 
Litllepage, about our right to the boards, when we ve cut, 
and hauled, and sawed the logs with our own hands. Don t 
that make some difference ?" 

" What is your opinion of your right to a gown that 
another girl has made out of calico she had taken from your 
drawer, when your back was turned, and carried away, and 
cut, and stitched, and sewed with her own hands 1" 

" She never would have any right to my calico, let her 
cut it as much as she might. But lumber is made out of 
trees." 

" And trees have owners, just as much as calicoes. 
Hauling, and cutting, and sawing can, of themselves, give 
no man a right to another man s logs." 

" I was afeard it was so " answered Lowiny, sighing 
so loud as to be heard. " There s suthin in that old bible 
I lent you that I read pretty much in that way ; though 
Tobit, and most of the b ys say it don t mean any sich 
thing. They say there s nothin about lumber in the bible, 
at all." 

" And what does your mother tell you on this head 1" 

" Why, mother don t talk about it. Sho wants father to 



272 THE CHA1NBEARER. 

lease, or buy : but you know how it is with women, Mr. 
Littlepage ; when their fri nds act, it s all the same as a 
law to them to try to think that they act right. Mother 
never says any thing to us about the lawfulness of father s 
doin s, though she often wishes he would live under writin s. 
Mother wants father to try and get writin s of you, now 
you re here, and in his hands. Wouldn t you give us 
writin s, Mr. Littlepage, if we d promise to give you suthin 
for rent ?" 

" If I did, they would be good for nothing, unless I were 
free, and among friends. Deeds and leases got from men 
who are in the hands, as you call it, of those who take 
them, are of no value." 

" I m sorry for that " rejoined Lowiny, with another 
sigh " not that I wanted you to be driven into any thing, 
but, I thought if you would only consent to let father have 
writin s for this clearin , it s so good a time to do it now, 
twould be a pity to lose it. If it can t be done, however, 
it can t, and there s no use in complaining. Father thinks 
he can hold you till the water rises, in the fall, and the 
b ys have run all the lumber down to Albany ; a ter which, 
he 11 not be so partic lar about keepin you any longer, and 
may be he 11 let you go." 

" Hold me until the water rises ! Why that will not take 
place these three months !" 

"Well, Mr. Li tlepage, three months don t seem to me 
sich a desp ate long time, when a-body is among fri nds. 
We should treat you as well as we know how, that you 
may depend on- -I ll answer for it, you shall want for 
nothin that we Vn got to give." 

" I dare say, my excellent girl, but I should be extremely 
sorry to trouble your family with so long a visit. As for 
the boards, I ha\e no power to waive the rights of the 
owners of the land to that property; my power being 
merely to sell lots to actual settlers." 

" I m sorry to hear that," answered Lowiny in a gentle 
tone, that fully confirmed her words ; " for father and the 
b ys be really awl ul about any thing that touches their pro 
fits for work done. They say their flesh and blood s in 
them boards, and flesh and blood shall go, afore the boards 
shall go. It make* my blood run cold to hear the way they 



THE CHAINBEARER. 273 

do talk ! I m not a bit skeary ; and, last winter when 1 
shot the bear that was a ter the store-hogs, mother said I 
acted as well as she could have done herself, and she has 
killed four bears and near upon twenty wolves, in her time. 
Yes, mother said I behaved like her own da ghter, and that 
she set twice the store by me that she did before." 

" You are a brave girl, Lowiny, and an excellent one in 
the main, I make no question. Whatever become of me, I 
shall not forget your kindness as long as I live. It will be 
a very serious matter, however, to your friends to attempt 
keeping me here three or four months, as mine will certainly 
have a search for me, when this clearing would be found. 
I need not tell you what would be the consequence." 

" What can what will father and the b ys do 1 I can t 
bear to think on t Oh ! they 11 not have the hearts to try 
to put you out of the way !" 

" I should hope not, for their own sakes, and for the 
credit of the American name. We are not a nation addicted 
to such practices, and I should really regret to learn that 
we have made so long a step towards the crimes of older 
countries. But, there is little danger of anything of the sort, 
after all, my good Lowiny." 

" I hope so, too," the girl answered in a low, tremulous 
voice ; " though Tobit is a starn bein sometimes. He 
makes father worse than he would be, if let alone, I know. 
But, I must go, now. It s near day-light, and I hear em 
stirrin in Tobit s house. It would cost me dear did any 
on em know I had been out of my bed, talking to you." 

As this was said, the girl vanished. Before I could find 
an aperture to watch her movements, she had disappeared. 
Susquesus arose a few minutes later, but he never made 
any allusion to the secret visit of the girl. In this respect, 
he observed the most scrupulous delicacy, never letting me 
know by hint, look, or smile, that he had been in the least 
conscious of her presence. 

Day came as usual, but it did not find these squatters in 
their beds. They appeared with the dawn, and most of 
them were at work ere the broad light of the sun was shed 
on the forest. Most of the men went down into the river, 
and busied themselves, as we supposed, for we could not see 
them, in the water, with the apples of their eyes, their 



274 THE CHAINBEAKER. 

boards. Old Thousandacres, however, chose to remain 
near his habitation, keeping two or three well-grown lads 
about him ; probably adverting in his mind to the vast 
importance it was to all of his race, to make sure of his 
prisoners. I could see by the thoughtful manner of the old 
squatter, as he lounged around his mill, among his swine, 
and walked through his potatoes, that his mind wavered 
greatly as to the course he ought to pursue, and that he was 
sorely troubled. How long this perplexity of feeling would 
have continued, and to what it might have led, it is hard to 
say, had it not been cut short by an incident of a very un 
expected nature, and one that called for more immediate 
decision and action. I shall relate the occurrence a little 
in detail. 

The day was considerably advanced, and, Thousandacres 
and the girl who then watched the store-house excepted, 
everybody was occupied. Even Susquesus had picked up 
a piece of birch, and, with a melancholy countenance, that 
I fancied was shadowing forth the future life of a half-civil 
ized red-man, was attempting to make a broom with a part 
of a knife that he had found in the building ; while I was 
sketching, on a leaf of my pocket-book, the mill and a bit 
of mountain-land that served it for a back-ground. Thou 
sandacres, for the first time that morning, drew near our 
prison, and spoke to me. His countenance was severe, yet 
I could see he was much troubled. As I afterwards ascer 
tained, Tobit had been urging on him the necessity of put 
ting both myself and the Indian to death, as the only pro 
bable means that offered to save the lumber. 

" Young man," said Thousandacres, " you have stolen 
on me and mine like a thief at night, and you ought to 
expect the fate of one. How in natur can you expect men 
will give up their hard arnin s without a struggle and a 
fight for em ? You tempt me more than I can bear !" 

I felt the fearful import of these words; but human 
nature revolted at the thought of being cowed into any sub 
mission, or terms unworthy of my character, or late profes 
sion. I was on the point of making an answer in entire 
consonance with this feeling, when, in looking through the 
chinks of my prison to fasten an eye on my old tyrant, I 
saw Chainbearer advancing directly towards the store-house, 



THE CHAINBEARER. 275 

and already within a hundred yards of us. The manner in 
which I gazed at this apparition attracted the attention of 
the squatter, who turned and first saw the unexpected visiter 
who approached. At the next minute, Andries was at his 
side. 

" So, T ousantacres, I fint you here !" exclaimed Chain- 
bearer. " It s a goot many years since you and I met, and 
I m sorry we meet now on such pusiness as t is !" 

" The meetin s of your own seekin , Chainbearer. I Ve 
neither invited nor wished for your company." 

" I p lieve you wit all my heart. No, no ; you wish for 
no chains and no chainpearers, no surfeyors and no com 
passes, no lots and no owners, too, put a squatter. You and 
I haf not to make an acquaintance for t e first time, Thou- 
sandacres, after knowin each other for fifty years." 

" Yes, we do know each other for fifty years ; and seein 
that them years haven t sarved to bring us of a mind on 
any one thing, we should have done better to keep apart, 
than to come together now." 

" I haf come for my poy, squatter my nople poy, whom 
you haf illegally arrestet, and mate a prisoner, in the teet of 
all law and justice. Gif me pack Mortaunt Littlepage, and 
you Ml soon be rit of my company !" 

" And how do you know that I ve ever seen your Mor 
taunt Littlepage? What have I to do with your boy, that 
you seek him of me? Go your ways, go your ways, old 
Chainbearer, and let me and mine alone. The world s 
wide enough for us both, I tell you ; and why should you be 
set on your own ondoin , by runnin ag in a breed like that 
which comes of Aaron and Prudence Timberman ?" 

" I care not for you or your preet," answered old Andries 
sternly. You ve darest to arrest my frient, against law 
and right, and I come to demant his liperty, or to warn you 
of t e consequences," 

" Don t press me too far, Chainbearer, don t press me too 
far. There s desp rate crittur s in this clearin , and them 
that isn t to be driven from their righteous arnin s by any 
that carry chains or p int compasses. Go your way, I tell 
ye, and leave us to gather the harvest that comes of the 
seed of our own sowin and plantin ." 

" Ye Ml gat er it, ye Ml gat er it all, T ousantacres you 



276 THE CHAINBEARER, 

and yours. Ye Ve sown t e win t, ant ye 11 reap t e whirl- 
wints, as my niece Dus Malpone has reat to me often, of 
late. Ye 11 gat er in all your harvest, tares ant all, ye will j 
and t at sooner fan ye t ink for." 

" I wish I d never seen the face of the man ! Go away, 
I tell you, Chainbearer, and leave me to my hard arnin s." 

" Earnin s ! Do you call it earnin s to chop and pillage 
on anot er s lants, and to cut his trees into logs, and to saw 
his logs into poarts, and sell his poarts to speculators, and 
gif no account of your profits to t e rightful owner of it all? 
Call you such t ievin righteous earnin s?" 

" Thief back ag in, old measurer ! Do not the sweat of 
the brow, long and hard days of toil, achin bones, and 
hungry bellies, give a man a claim to the fruit of his 
labours ?" 

" T at always hast peen your failin , T ousantacres ; t at s 
t e very p int on which you ve proken town, man. You 
pegin wit your morals, at t e startin place t at s most con 
venient to yourself and your plunterin crew, insteat of goin* 
pack to t e laws of your Lort ant Master. Reat what t e 
Almighty Got of Heaven ant art sait unto Moses, ant you 11 
fint t at you ve not turnet over leafs enough of your piple. 
You may chop ant you may hew, you may haul ant you 
may saw, from t is tay to t e ent of time, and you 11 nefer 
pe any nearer to t e right t an you are at t is moment. T e 
man t at starts on his journey wit his face in t e wrong 
tirection, olt T ousantacres, wilt nefer reach its ent ; t ough 
he trafel till t e sweat rolls from his poty like water. You 
pegin wrong, olt man, and you must ent wrong." 

I saw the cloud gathering in the countenance of the 
squatter, and anticipated the outbreaking of the tempest that 
followed. Two fiery tempers had met, and, divided as they 
were in opinions and practice, by the vast chasm that sepa 
rates principles from expediency, right from wrong, honesty 
from dishonesty, and a generous sacrifice of self to support 
the integrity of a noble spirit, from a homage to self that 
confounded and overshadowed all sense of right, it was not 
possible that they should separate without a collision. Un 
able to answer Chainbearer s reasoning, the squatter resorted 
to the argument of force. He seized my old friend by the 
throat and made a violent effort to hurl him to the earth. I 



THE CHAINBEARER. 277 

must do this man of violence and evil the justice to say, 
that I do not think it was his wish at that moment to have 
assistance ; but the instant the struggle commenced the 
conch blew, and it was easy to predict that many minutes 
would not elapse, before the sons of Thousandacres would 
be pouring in to the rescue. I would have given a world to 
be able to throw down the walls of my prison, and rush 
to the aid of my sterling old friend. As for Susquesus, 
he must have felt a lively interest in what was going on, but 
he remained as immoveable, and seemingly as unmoved as 
a rock. 

Andries Coejemans, old as he was, and it will be remem 
bered he too had seen his three-score years and ten, was 
not a man to be taken by the throat with impunity. Thou 
sandacres met with a similar assault, and a struggle fol 
lowed that was surprisingly fierce and well contested, con 
sidering that both the combatants had completed the ordinary 
limits of the time of man. The squatter gained a slight 
advantage in the suddenness and vigour of his assault, but 
Chainbearer was still a man of formidable physical power. 
In his prime, few had been his equals ; and Thousandacres 
soon had reason to know that he had met more than his 
match. For a single instant Chainbearer gave ground ; 
then he rallied, made a desperate effort, and his adversary 
was hurled to the earth with a violence that rendered him, 
for a short time, insensible ; old Andries, himself, continuing 
erect as one of the neighbouring pines, red in the face, 
frowning, and more severe in aspect than I remembered 
ever to have seen him before, even in battle. 

Instead of pushing his advantage, Chainbearer did not 
stir a foot after he had thrown off his assailant. There he 
remained, lofty in bearing, proud and stern. He had reason 
to believe no one was a witness of his prowess, but I could 
see that the old man had a soldier s feelings at his victory. 
At this instant I first let him know my close proximity by 
speaking. 

" Fly for your life take to the woods, Chainbearer," I 

called to him, through the chinks. " That conch will bring 

all the tribe of the squatters upon you in two or three minutes ; 

the young men are close at hand, in the stream below the 

24 



278 THE CHAINBEARER. 

mill, at work on the logs, and have only the banks to 
climb." 

" Got be praiset ! Mortaunt, my tear poy, you are not 
mjuret, t en ! I will open t e toor of your prison, and we 
will retreat toget er." 

My remonstrances were vain. Andries came round to 
the door of the store-house, and made an effort to force it 
open. That was not easy, however ; for, opening outwards, 
it was barred with iron, and secured by a stout lock. Chain- 
bearer would not listen to my remonstrances, but he looked 
around him for some instrument, by means of which he 
could either break the lock or draw the staple. As the 
mill was at no great distance, away he went in that direc 
tion, in quest of what he wanted, leaving me in despair at 
his persevering friendship. Remonstrance was useless, how 
ever, and I was compelled to await the result in silence. 

Chainbearer was still a very active man. Nature, early 
training, sobriety of life in the main, and a good constitu 
tion, had done this much for him. It was but a moment 
before I saw him in the mill, looking for the crow-bar. 
This he soon found, and he was on his way to the store 
house, in order to apply this powerful lever, when Tobit 
came in sight, followed by all the brethren, rushing up the 
bank like a pack of hounds in close pursuit. I shouted to my 
friend again to fly, but he came on steadily toward my pri 
son, bent on the single -object of setting me free. All this 
time Thousandacres was senseless, his head having fallen 
against a corner of the building. Chainbearer was so intent 
on his purpose that, though he must have seen the crowd 
of young men, no less than six in number, including well- 
grown lads, that was swiftly advancing towards him, he did 
not bestow the least attention on them. He was actually 
busied with endeavouring to force the bar in between the 
hasp and the post, when his arms were seized behind, and 
he was made a prisoner. 

Chainbearer was no sooner apprised of the uselessness 
of resistance, than he ceased to make any. As I afterwards 
learned from himself, he had determined to become a cap 
tive with me, if he could not succeed in setting me free. 
Tobit was the first to lay hands on the Chainbearer; and 



THE CHA1NBEARER. 279 

o rapidly were things conducted, for it happened this man 
had the key, that the door was unbarred, opened, and old 
Andries was thrust into the cage, almost in the twinkling 
of an eye. The rapidity of the movement was doubtless 
aided by the acquiescent feeling that happened to be upper 
most in the mind of Chainbearer, at that precise moment. 

No sooner was this new prisoner secured, than the sons 
of Thousandacres raised their father s body, and bore it to 
his own residence, which was but a few yards distant. Old 
and young, both sexes and all ages, collected in that build 
ing ; and there was an hour during which we appeared to 
be forgotten. The sentinel, who was a son of Tobit s, de 
serted his post ; and even Lowiny, who had been hovering 
in sight of the store-house the whole morning, seemed to 
have lost her interest in us. I was too much engaged with 
my old friend, and had too many questions to ask and to 
answer, however, to care much for this desertion ; whioh 
moreover, was natural enough for the circumstances. 

" I rejoice you are not in the hands of that pack ot 
wolves, my good friend !" I exclaimed, after the first saluta 
tions had passed between Andries and myself, and squeezing 
his hand again and again. " They are very capable of any 
act of violence ; and I feared the sight of their father, lying 
there insensible, might have inflamed them to some deed of 
immediate violence. There will now be time for reflection, 
and, fortunately, I am a witness of all that passed." 

"No fear for olt T ousantacres, " said Chainbearer, 
heartily. " He is tough, and is only a little stunnet, pecause 
he t ought himself a petter man t an he ist. Half an hour 
will pring him rount, and make him as good a man ast he 
ever wast. But, Mortaunt, lat, how came you here, and 
why wast you wantering apout t e woods at night, wit 
Trackless, here, who ist a sensiple ret-skin, and ought to 
haf set you a petter example ?" 

" I was hot and feverish, and could not sleep ; and so I 
took a stroll in the forest, and got lost. Luckily, Susquesus 
had an eye on me, and kept himself at hand the whole 
time. I was obliged to catch a nap in the top of a fallen 
tree, and, when I woke in the morning, the Onondago led 
me here in quest of something to eat, for I was hungry as 
a famished wolf." 



280 THE CHAINBEARER. 

" Tid Susquesus, t en, know of squatters having mate 
t eir pitch on t is property ?" asked Andries, in some sur 
prise, and, as I thought, a little sternly. 

" Not he. He heard the saw of the mill in the stillness 
of night, and we followed the direction of that sound, and 
came unexpectedly out on this settlement. As soon as 
Thousandacres ascertained who I was, he shut me up here ; 
and as for Susquesus, Jaap has doubtless told you the story 
he was commissioned to relate." 

"All fery true, lat, all fery true ; I ough I don t half un- 
derstant, yet, why you shoul t haf left us in t e manner you 
tit, and t at, too, after hafin a long talk wit Dus. T e gal 
is heart-heafy, Mortaunt, as tis plain to pe seen ; put I 
can t get a syllaple from her t at hast t e look of a rational 
explanation. I shall haf to ask you to tell t e story, lat. 
I was tryin to get t e trut out of Dus, half of t e way 
comin here ; put a gal is as close as " 

" Dus !" I interrupted " Half the way coming here ? 
You do not, cannot mean that Dus is with you." 

" Hist, hist pe careful. You speak too lout. I coult 
wish not to let t ese scountrels of squatters know t at t e gal 
is so exposet, put here she ist ; or, what is much t e same, 
she is in t e woots out yonter, a looker-on, and I fear must 
pe in con&arn at seein t at I, too, am a prisoner." 

" Chainbearer, how could you thus expose your niece 
thus bring her into the very grasp of lawless ruffians ?" 

" No, Mortaunt, no t ere is no fear of her peing insultet, 
or any t ing of t at sort. One can reat of such t ings in 
pooks, put woman is respectet ant not insultet in America. 
Not one of T ousantacres rascals woult wount t e ear of t e 
gal wit an improper wort, hat he a chance, which not one 
of em hast, seein nopody knows t e gal is wit me, put our 
selves. Come she woult, and t ere wast no use in saying 
her nay. Dus is a goot creature, Mortaunt, and a tutiful 
gal ; put it s as easy to turn a rifer up stream, as to try to 
holt her pack when she loves." 

"Is that her character?" I thought. "Then is there 
little chance, indeed, of her ever becoming mine, since her 
affections must have gone with her troth." Nevertheless, 
my interest in the noble-hearted girl was just as strong as 
if I held her faith, and she was to become mine in a few 



THE CH AINBEARER. 281 

weeks. The idea that she was at that moment waiting the 
return of her uncle, in the woods, was agony to me ; but I 
had sufficient self-command to question the Chain bearer, 
until I got out of him all of the following facts : 

Jaap had carried the message of Susquesus, with great 
fidelity, to those to whom the Indian had sent it. On hear 
ing the news, and the manner of my arrest, Andries called 
a council, consisting of himself, Dus, and Frank Malbone. 
This occurred in the afternoon of the previous day ; and that 
same night, Malbone proceeded to Ravensnest, with a view 
of obtaining warrants for the arrest of Thousandacres and 
his gang, as well as of procuring assistance to bring them 
all in, in expectation of having the whole party transferred 
to the gaol at Sandy Hill. As the warrant could be granted 
only by Mr. Newcome, I could easily see that the messen 
ger would be detained a considerable time, since the magis 
trate would require a large portion of the present day to 
enable him to reach his house. This fact, however, I 
thought it well enough to conceal from my friend, at the 
moment. 

Early that morning, Chainbearer, Dus, and Jaap, had left 
the huts, taking the nearest route to the supposed position 
of the clearing of Thousandacres, as it had been described 
by the Indian. Aided by a compass, as well as by their 
ong familiarity with the woods, this party had little diffi 
culty in reaching the spot where the Onondago and the 
negro had met ; after which, the remainder of the journey 
was through a |?rra incognita, as respects the adventurers. 
With some search, however, a glimpse was got of the light 
of the clearing, much as one finds an island in the ocean, 
when the skirts of the wood were approached. A favour 
able spot, one that possessed a good cover, was selected, 
whence Chainbearer reconnoitred for near an hour, before he 
left it. After a time he determined on the course he adopted 
and carried out, leaving his niece to watch his movements, 
with instructions to rejoin her brother, should he himself be 
detained by the squatter. I was a little relieved by the 
knowledge of the presence of Jaap, for I knew the fidelity 
of the fellow too well to suppose he would ever desert Dus ; 
but my prison became twice as irksome to me after I had 
heard this account of Chainbearer s, as it had been before. 
24* 



282 THE CHAIN BEARER 



CHAPTER XXI. 

* Was she not all my fondest wish could frame ? 
Did ever mind so much of heaven partake ? 
Did she not love me with the purest flame ? 
And give up friends and fortune for my sake ? 
Though mild as evening skies, 
With downcast, streaming eyes, 
Stood the stern frown of supercilious brows, 
Deaf to their brutal threats, and faithful to her vows." 

SHAW 

Dus was then near me in sight of the store-house, per 
haps ! But, affection for her uncle, and no interest in me, 
had brought her there. I could respect her attachment to 
her old guardian, however, and admire the decision and spi 
rit she had manifested in his behalf, at the very moment the 
consciousness that I had no influence on her movements was 
the most profound. 

" T e gal woult come, Mortaunt," the Chainbearer conti 
nued, after having gone through his narrative ; " ant, if you 
know Dus, you know when she loves she wilt not be deniet. 
Got pless me ! what a wife she woult make for a man who 
wast desarfin of her ! Oh ! here s a pit of a note t e dear 
creature has written to one of T ousantacre s poys, who hast 
peen out among us often, t ough I never so much as dreamet 
t at t e squatting olt rascal of a fat er was on our lant, here. 
Well, Zepaniah, as t e lat is callet, hast passet much time at 
t e Nest, working apout in t e fielts, and sometimes for us ; 
and, to own the trut to you, Mortaunt, I do pelieve t e young 
chap hast a hankerin a ter Dus, and woult pe glat enough 
to get t e gal for a wife." 

" He ! Zephaniah Thousandacres or whatever his infer 
nal name may be he a hankering or an attachment for 
Ursula Malbone he think of her for a wife he presume 
to love such a perfect being ! 

Hoity, toity," cried old Aridries, looking round at me in 
surprise, " why shouldn t t e poy haf his feelin s ast well ast 



THE CHAIN BEARER. 283 

anot er, if he pe a squatter ? Squatters haf feelin s, t ough 
t ey haf n t much honesty to poast of. Ant, ast for honesty, 
you see, Mortaunt, it is tifferent petween T ousantacres and 
his poys. T e lats haf peen prought up to fancy t ere ist 
no great harm in lif ing on anot er man s lants, wherast t is 
olt rascal, t eir fat er, wast prought up, or finks he wast 
prought up, in t e very sanctum sanctorum of gotliness, 
among t e puritans, and t at t e art hast not t eir equals in 
religion, I 11 warrant you. Ask olt Aaron apout his soul, 
ant he 11 tell you t at it s a petter soul t an a Dutch soul, 
and t at it won t purn at all, it s so free from eart . Yes, 
y es t at ist t e itee wit em all in his part of t e worlt. 
T eir gotliness ist so pure even sin wilt do it no great 
harm." 

I knew the provincial prejudices of Chainbearer too well 
to permit myself to fall into a discussion on theology with 
him, just at that moment ; though, I must do the old man 
the justice to allow that his opinion of the self-righteousness 
of the children of the puritans was not absolutely without 
some apology. I never had any means of ascertaining the 
fact, but it would have occasioned me no surprise had I dis 
covered that Thousandacres, and all his brood, looked down 
on us New Yorkers as an especially fallen and sinful race, 
which was on the high road to perdition, though encouraged 
and invited to enter on a different road by the spectacle of a 
chosen people so near them, following the strait and nar 
row path that leads to heaven. This mingling of God and 
Mammon is by no means an uncommon thing among us, 
though the squatters would probably have admitted them 
selves that they had fallen a little away, and were by no 
means as good as their forefathers had once been. There 
is nothing that sticks so close to an individual, or to a com 
munity, perhaps, as the sense of its own worth. As " com 
ing events throw their shadows before," this sentiment 
leaves its shadows behind, long after the substance which 
may have produced them has moved onward, or been re 
solved into the gases. But I must return to Zephaniah and 
the note. 

" And you tell me, Chainbearer, that Ursula has actually 
written a note, a letter, to this young man ?" I asked, as 



284 THE CHAINBEARER. 

soon as 1 could muster resolution enough to put so revolting 
a question ? 

* Sartain ; here it ist, ant a very pretty loohin letter it 
is, Mortaunt. Dus does everyt ing so hantily, ant so like a 
nice young woman, t at it ist a pleasure to carry one of her 
letters. Ay t ere t e lat ist now, and I 11 just call him, 
and gif him his own." 

Chainbearer was as good as his word, and Zephaniah 
soon stood at the side of the store-house. 

" Well, you wilt own,Zeph," continued the old man, "we 
didn t cage you like a wilt peast, or a rogue t at hast peen 
mettlin wit what tidn t pelong to him, when you wast out 
among us. T ere ist t at difference in t e treatment put no 
matter ! Here ist a letter for you, and much goot may it 
do you ! It comes from one who vilt gif goot atvice ; ant 
you 11 be none t e worse if you follow it. I don t know a 
wort t at s in it, put you 11 fint it a goot letter, I 11 answer 
for it. Dus writes peautiful letters, and in a hand almost 
as plain and hantsome as His Excellency s, t ough not quite 
so large. Put her own hant isn t as large as His Excel 
lency s, t ough His Excellency s hant wasn t particularly 
pig neit er." 

I could scarce believe my senses ! Here was Ursula 
Malbone confessedly writing a letter to a son of Thousand- 
acres the squatter, and that son admitted to be her admirer ! 
Devoured by jealousy, and a thousand feelings to which I 
had hitherto been a stranger, I gazed at the fortunate being 
who was so strangely honoured by this communication from 
Dus, with the bitterest envy. Although, to own the truth, 
the young squatter was a well-grown, good-looking fellow, 
to me he seemed to be the very personification of coarseness 
and vulgarity. It will readily be supposed that Zephaniah 
was not entirely free from some very just imputations of the 
latter character ; but, on the whole, most girls of his own 
class in life would be quite content with him in these re 
spects. But Ursula Malbone was not at all of his own class 
in life. However reduced in fortune, she was a lady, by 
education as well as by birth ; and what feelings could there 
possibly be in common between her and her strange ad 
mirer ? I had heard it said that women were as often taken 



THE CHAINJJEARER. 285 

by externals as men ; but in this instance the externals were 
coarse, and nothing extraordinary. Some females, too, 
could not exist without admiration ; and I had known Dus 
but a few weeks, after all, and it was possible I had not pene 
trated the secret of her true character. Then her original 
education had been in the forest ; and we often return to 
our first loves, in these particulars, with a zest and devotion 
for which there was no accounting. It was possible this 
strange girl might have portrayed to her imagination, in the 
vista of the future, more of happiness and wild enjoyment 
among the woods and ravines of stolen clearings, than by 
dwelling amid the haunts of men. In short, there was 
scarce a conceit that did not crowd on my brain, in that 
moment of intense jealousy and profound unhappiness. I 
was as miserable as a dog. 

As for Zephaniah, the favoured youth of Ursula Malbone, 
he received his letter, as I fancied, with an awkward sur 
prise, and lounged round a corner of the building, to have 
the pleasure, as it might be, of reading it to himself. This 
brought him nearer to my position ; for I had withdrawn, 
in a disgust I could not conquer, from being near the scene 
that had just been enacted. 

Opening a letter, though it had been folded by the deli 
cate hands of Ursula Malbone, and reading it, were two very 
different operations, as Zephaniah ^iow discovered. The 
education of the young man was very limited, and, after an 
effort or two, he found it impossible to get on. With the 
letter open in his hand, he found it as much a sealed book 
to him as ever. Zephaniah could read writing, by dint of 
a considerable deal of spelling ; but it must not be a good 
hand. As some persons cannot comprehend pure English, 
so he found far more difficulty in spelling out the pretty, 
ven characters before him, than would have been the case 
had he been set at work on the pot-hooks and trammels of 
one of his own sisters. Glancing his eyes around in quest 
of aid, they happened to fall on mine, which were watching 
his movements with the vigilance of a feline animal, through 
the chinks of the logs, and at the distance of only three feet 
from his own face. As for the Indian, he, seemingly, took 
no more note of what was passing, than lovers take of time 
in a stolen interview ; though I had subsequently reason to 



286 THE CHAINBEARER. 

believe that nothing had escaped his observation. Andries 
was in a distant part of the prison, reconnoitring the clear 
ing and mills with an interest that absorbed all his attention 
for the moment. Of these facts Zephaniah assured himself 
by taking a look through the openings of the logs ; then, 
sidling along nearer to me, he said in a low voice 

" I don t know how it is, but, to tell you the truth, Major 
Littlepage, York larnin and Varmount larnin be so different, 
that I don t find it quite as easy to read this letter as I could 
wish." 

On this hint I seized the epistle, and began to read it in a 
low tone ; for Zephaniah asked this much of me, with a 
delicacy of feeling that, in so far, was to his credit. As 
the reader may have some of the curiosity I felt myself, to 
know what Ursula Malbone could possibly have to say in 
this form to Zephaniah Thousandacres, I shall give the con 
tents of this strange epistle in full. It was duly directed to 
" Mr. Zephaniah Timberman, Mooseridge," and in that 
respect would have passed for any common communication. 
Within, it read as follows : 

" SIR : 

" As you have often professed a strong regard for me, I 
now put you to the proqf of the sincerity of your protesta 
tions. My dear- uncle. goes to your father, whom I only 
know by report, to demand the release of Major Littlepage, 
who, we hear, is a prisoner in the hands of your family, 
against all law and right. As it is possible the business of 
uncle Chainbearer will be disagreeable to Thousandacres, 
and that warm words may pass between them, I ask of your 
friendship some efforts to keep the peace ; and, particularly, 
should anything happen to prevent my uncle from returning, 
that you would come to me in the woods for I shall ac 
company the chainbearer to the edge of your clearing 
and let me know it. You will find me there, attended by 
one of the blacks, and we can easily meet if you cross the 
fields in an eastern direction, as I will send the negro to 
find you and to bring you to me. 

" In addition to what I have said above, Zephaniah, let 
me also earnestly ask your care in behalf of Major Little- 
page. Should any evil befall that gentleman, it would prove 



THE CHAINBEARER. 287 

the undoing of your whole family. The law has a long 
arm, and it will reach into the wilderness, as well as into a 
settlement. The person of a human being is a very different 
thing from a few acres of timber, and General Littlepage 
will think far more of his noble son, than he will think of 
all the logs that have been cut and floated away. Again 
and again, therefore, I earnestly entreat of you to befriend 
this gentleman, not only as you hope for my respect, but as 
you hope for your own peace of mind. I have had some 
connection with the circumstances that threw Mr. Littlepage 
into your hands, and shall never know a happy moment 
again should anything serious befall him. Remember this, 
Zephaniah, and let it influence your own conduct. I owe it 
to myself and to you to add, that the answer I gave you at 
Ravensnest, the evening of the raising, must remain my 
answer, now and for ever ; but, if you have really the regard 
for me that you then professed, you will do all you can to 
serve Major Littlepage, who is an old friend of my uncle s, 
and whose safety, owing to circumstances that you would 
fully understand were they told to you, is absolutely neces 
sary to my future peace of mind. 

" Your friend, 

" URSULA MALBONE." 

What a strange girl was this Dus ! I suppose it is unne 
cessary to say that I felt profoundly ashamed of my late 
jealousy, which now seemed just as absurd and unreason 
able as, a moment before, it seemed justified and plausible. 
God protect the wretch who is the victim of that evil-eyed 
passion ! He who is jealous of circumstances, in the ordi 
nary transactions of life, usually makes a fool of himself, 
by seeing a thousand facts that exist in his own brain only ; 
but he whose jealousy is goaded on by love, must be some 
thing more than human, not to let the devils get a firm grasp 
of his soul. I can give no better illustration of the weak- 
ness that this last passion induces, however, than the ad 
mission I have just made, that I believed it possible Ursula 
Mai bone could love Zephaniah Thousandacres, or whatever 
might be his real name. I have since pulled at my own 
hair, in rage at my own folly, as that moment of weakness 
has recurred to my mmd. 



288 THE CIIAINBEAUER. 

" She writes a desp rate letter !" exclaimed the young 
squatter, stretching his large frame, like one who had lost 
command of his movements through excitement. " I 
don t b lieve, Major, the like of that gal is to be found in 
York, taken as state or colony ! I ve a dreadful likin for 
her!" 

It was impossible not to smile at this outpouring of attach 
ment ; nor, on the whole, would I have been surprised at 
the ambition it inferred, had the youth been but a very little 
higher in the social scale. Out of the large towns, and 
with here and there an exception in favour of an isolated 
family, there is not, even to this day, much distinction in 
classes among our eastern brethren. The great equality 
of condition and education that prevails, as a rule, through 
out all the rural population of New England, while it has 
done so much for the great body of their people, has had 
its inevitable consequences in lowering the standard of cul- 
tivation among the few, both as it is applied to acquirements, 
and to the peculiar notions of castes ; and nothing is more 
common in that part of the world, than to hear of mar 
riages that elsewhere would have been thought incongruous, 
for the simple reason of the difference in ordinary habits 
and sentiments between the parties. Thus it was, that 
Zephaniah, without doing as much violence to his own, as 
would be done to our notions of the fitness of things, might 
aspire to the hand of Ursula Malbone; unattended, as she 
certainly was, by any of the outward and more vulgar 
signs of her real character. I could not but feel some 
respect for the young man s taste, therefore, and this so 
much the more readily, because I no longer was haunted 
by the very silly phantom of his possible success. 

" Having this regard for Dus," I said, " I hope I may 
count on your following her directions." 

" What way can I sarve you, Major? I do vow, I Ve 
every wish to do as Ursula asks of me, if I only know d 
how." 

" You can undo the fastenings of our prison, here, and 
let us go at once into the woods, where we shall be safe 
enough against a re-capture, depend on it. Do us that 
favour, and I will give you fifty acres of land, on which 
you can settle down, and become an honest man. Remem- 



THE CHAINBEARER. 289 

feer, it will be something honourable to own fifty acres of 
good land, in fee." 

Zephaniah pondered on my tempting offer, and I could 
gee that he wavered in opinion, but the decision was adverse 
to my wishes. He shook his head, looked round wistfully 
at the woods where he supposed Dus then to be, possibly 
watching his very movements, but he would not yield. 

" If a father can t trust his own son, who can he trust, 
in natur ?" demanded the young squatter. 

" No one should be aided in doing wrong, and your fa 
ther has no just right to shut up us three, in this building, 
as he has done. The deed is against the law, and to the 
law, sooner or later, will he be made to give an account 
of it." 

" Oh ! as for the law, he cares little for that. We J ve 
been ag in law all our lives, and the law is ag in us. When 
a body comes to take the chance of jurors, and witnesses, 
and lawyers, and poor attorney-gin rals, and careless pro 
secutors, law s no great matter to stand out ag in, in this 
country. I s pose there is countries in which law counts 
for suthin ; but, hereabouts, and all through Varmount, we 
don t kear much for the law, unless it s a matter between 
man and man, and t other side holds out for his rights, bull 
dog fashion. Then, I allow, it s suthin to have the law on 
your side ; but it s no great matter in a trespass case." 

" This may not end in a trespass case, however. Your 
father by the way, is Thousandacres much hurt ?" 

" Not much to speak on," coolly answered the son, still 
gazing in the direction of the woods. " A little stunned, 
but he s gettin over it fast, and he s used to sich rubs. 
Father s desperate solid about the head, and can stand as 
much sledgehammering there, as any man I ever seed. 
Tobit s tough, too, in that part ; and he s need of it, for 
he s for ever getting licks around the forehead and eyes." 

"And, as your father comes to, what seems to be his dispo 
sition towards us ?" 

" Nothin to speak on, in the way of friendship, I can tell 
you ! The old man s considerable riled ; and when that 3 
he case, he 11 have his own way for all the governors and 
; udges in the land !" 
25 



290 THE CHAINBEARER. 

" Do you suppose he meditates any serious harm to ua 
prisoners T 

* A man doosn t meditate a great deal, I guess, with such 
a rap on the skull. He feels a plaguy sight more than he 
thinks ; and when the feelin s is up, it doosn t matter much 
who s right and who s wrong. The great difficulty in your 
matter is how to settle about the lumber that s in the creek. 
The water s low ; and the most that can be done with it, 
afore November, will be to float it down to the next rift, over 
which it can never go, with any safety, without more water. 
It s risky to keep one like you, and to keep Chainbearer, 
too, three or four months, in jail like ; and it wunt do to let 
you go neither, sin you M soon have the law a ter us. If 
we keep you, too, there 11 be a s arch made, and a reward 
offered. Now a good many of your tenants know of this 
clearin , and human natur can t hold out ag in a reward, 
The old man knows that well ; and it s what he most afeard 
on. We can stand up ag in almost anything better s than 
ag in a good, smart reward." 

I was amused as well as edified with Zephaniah s simpli 
city and frankness, and would willingly have pursued the 
discourse, had not Lowiny come tripping towards us, sum 
moning her brother away to attend a meeting of the family ; 
the old squatter having so far recovered as to call a council 
of his sons.. The brother left me on the instant, but the 
girl lingered at my corner of the store-house, like one who 
was reluctant to depart. 

" I hope the hasty-puddin was sweet and good," said 
Lowiny, casting a timid glance in at the chink. 

" It was excellent, my good girl, and I thank you for it 
with all my heart. Are you very busy now ? can you 
remain a moment while I make a request ?" 

" Oh ! there s nothin for me to do just now in the house, 
seein that father has called the b ys around him. When 
ever he doos that, even mother is apt to quit." 

" I am glad of it, as I think you are so kind-hearted and 
good, that I may trust you in a matter of some importance; 
may I not, my good Lowiny ?" 

. " Squatters da ghters may be good, then, a ter all, in the 
eyes of grand landholders !" 

" Certainly excellent even ; and I am much disposed to 



THE CHAINBEARER. 291 

believe that you are one of that class." Lowiny looked 
delighted; and I felt less reluctance at administering this 
flattery than might otherwise have been the case, from the 
circumstance that so much of what I said was really merited. 

" Indeed, I know you are, and quite unfitted for this sort 
of life. But I must tell you my wishes at once, for our time 
may be very short." 

" Do," said the girl, looking up anxiously, a slight blush 
suffusing her face ; the truth-telling sign of ingenuous feel 
ings, and the gage of virtue ; " do, for I m dying to hear 
it ; as I know beforehand I shall do just what you ask me 
to do. I don t know how it is, but when father or mother 
ask me to do a thing, I sometimes feel as if I couldn t ; but 
I don t feel so now, at all." 

" My requests do not come often enough to tire you. 
Promise me, in the first place, to keep my secret." 

" That I will !" answered Lowiny, promptly, and with 
emphasis. " Not a mortal soul shall know anything on t, 
and I won t so much as talk of it in my sleep, as I some 
times do, if I can any way help it." 

" Chainbearer has a niece, who is very dear to him, and 
who returns all his affection. Her name is " 

" Dus Malbone," interrupted the girl, with a faint laugh. 
" Zeph has told me all about her, for Zeph and I be great 
fri nds he tells me everything, and / tell him everything. 
It s sich a comfort, you can t think, to have somebody to 
tell secrets to ; well, what of Dus?" 

" She is here." 

" Here ! I don t see anything on her" looking round 
hurriedly, and, as I fancied, in a little alarm "Zeph says 
she s dreadful han some !" 

" She is thought so, I believe ; though, in that respect, 
she is far from being alone. There is no want of pretty 
girls in America. By saying she is here, I did not mean 
here, in the store-house, but here, in the woods. She ac 
companied her uncle as far as the edge of the clearing 
look round, more towards the east. Do you see the black 
stub, in the corn-field, behind your father s dwelling?" 

" Sartain that s plain enough to be seen I wish I 
could see Albany as plain." 

Now, look a little to the left of that stub, and you will 



292 THE CJIAINBEARER. 

see a large chestnut, in the edge of the woods behind it 
the chestnut I mean thrusts its top out of the forest, into the 
clearing, as it might be." 

" Well, I see the chestnut too, and I know it well. There s 
a spring of water cluss to its roots." 

" At the foot of that chestnut Chainbearer left his niece, 
and doubtless she is somewhere near it now. Could you 
venture to stroll as far, without going directly to the spot, 
and deliver a message, or a letter?" 

" To be sure I could ! Why, we gals stroll about the 
lots as much as we please, and it s berryin time now. I 11 
run and get a basket, and you can write your letter while 
I m gone. La ! Nobody will think anything of my goin a 
berryin I have a desp rate wish to see this Dus ! Do you 
think she 11 have Zeph?" 

" Young women s minds are so uncertain, that I should 
not like to venture an opinion. If it were one of my own 
sex, now, and he had declared his wishes, I think I could 
tell you with some accuracy." 

The girl laughed ; then she seemed a little bewildered, 
and again she coloured. How the acquired nay native 
feeling of the sex, will rise up in tell-tale ingenuousness to 
betray a woman ! 

" Well," she cried, as she ran away in quest of the basket, 
" to my notion a gal s mind is as true and as much to be 
depended on as that of any mortal crittur living !" 

It was now my business to write a note to Dus. The 
materials for writing my pocket-book furnished. I tore out 
a leaf, and approached Chainbearer, telling him what I was 
about to do, and desiring to know if he had any particular 
message to send. 

" Gif t e tear gal my plessin , Mortaunt. Tell her olt 
Chainpearer prays Got to pless her t at ist all. I leaf you 
to say t e rest." 

I did say the rest. In the first place I sent the blessing 
of the uncle to the niece. Then, I explained in as few words 
as possible, our situation, giving it as promising an aspect 
as my conscience would permit. These explanations made, 
I entreated Ursula to return to her brother, and not again 
expose herself so far from his protection. Of the close of 
this note, I shall not say much. It wai brief, but it let Dus 



THE CHAINBEAREIl. 293 

understand that my feelings towards her were as lively as 
ever ; and I believe it was expressed with the power that 
passion lends. My note was ended just as Lowiny appeared 
to receive it. She brought us a pitcher of milk, as a sort 
of excuse for returning to the store- house, received the note 
in exchange, and hurried away towards the fields. As she 
passed one of the cabins, I heard her calling out to a sistei 
that she was going for blackberries to give the prisoners. 

I watched the movements of that active girl with intense 
interest. Chainbearer, who had slept little since my disap 
pearance, was making up for lost time ; and, as for the In 
dian, eating and sleeping are very customary occupations 
of his race, when not engaged in some hunt, -or on the war 
path, or as a runner. 

Lowiny proceeded towards a lot of which the bushes had 
taken full possession. Here she soon disappeared, picking 
berries as she proceeded, with nimble fingers, as if she felt 
the necessity of having some of the fruit to show on her re 
turn. I kept my eye fastened on the openings of the forest, 
near the chestnut, as soon as the girl was concealed in the 
bushes, anxiously waiting for the moment when I might see 
her form re-appearing at that spot. My attention was re 
newed by getting a glimpse of Dus. It was but a glimpse, 
the fluttering of a female dress gliding among the trees ; but, 
as it was too soon for the arrival of Lowiny, I knew it must 
be Dus. This was cheering, as it left little reason to doubt 
that my messenger would find the object of her visit. In 
the course of half an hour after Lowiny entered the bushes 
I saw her, distinctly, near the foot of the chestnut. Pausing 
a moment, as if to reconnoitre, the girl suddenly moved into 
the forest, when I made no doubt she and Dus had a meet 
ing. An entire hour passed, and I saw no more of Lowiny. 

In the meanwhile Zephaniah made his appearance again 
at the side of the store-house. This time he came accom 
panied by two of his brethren, holding the key in his hand. 
At first I supposed the intention was to arraign me before 
the high court of Thousandacres, but in this I was in error. 
No sooner did the young men reach the door of our prison 
than Zephaniah called out to the Onondago to approach it, 
as he had something to say to him. 

It must be dull work to a red-skin to be shut up likfl * 
25* 



294 THE CHAINBEARER. 

hog afore it s wrung," said the youth, drawing his images 
from familiar objects ; " and I s pose you d be right glad to 
come out here and walk about, something like a free and 
rational crittur . What do you say, Injin is sich your 
desire?" 

Sartain," quietly answered Sureflint. " Great deal rad- 
der be out dan be in here." 

" So I nat rally s posed. Well, the old man says you 
can come out on promises, if you re disposed to make em. 
So you re master of your own movements, you see." 

" What he want me do ? What he want me say, eh 1" 

" No great matter, a ter all, if a body has only a mind to 
try to do it. In the first place, you re to give your parole 
not to go off; but to stay about the clearin , and to come in 
and give yourself up when the conch blows three short 
blasts. Will you agree to that, Sus ?" 

" Sartain no go way ; come back when he call dat 
mean stay where he can hear conch." 

" Well, that s agreed on, and it s a bargain. Next, 
you re to agree not to go pryin round the mill and barn, 
to see what you can find, but keep away from all the build- 
in s but the store- us and the dwellings, and not to quit the 
clearin . Do you agree ?" 

" Good ; no hard to do dat." 

" Well, you re to bring no weepons into the settlement, 
and to pass nothing but words and food into the other pri 
soners. Will you stand to that ?" 

" Sartain ; willin nough to do dat, too." 

" Then you re in no manner or way to make war on any 
on us till your parole is up, and you re your own man 
ag in. What do you say to that, Trackless ?" 

All good ; gree to do him all." 

" Wa-a-1, that s pretty much all the old man stands out 
for ; but mother has a condition or two that she insists on J t 
I shall ask. Should the worst come to the worst, and the 
folks of this settlement get to blows with the folks out of it, 
you re to bargain to take no scalps of women or children, 
and none from any man that you don t overcome in open 
battle. The old woman will grant you the scalps of men 
killed in battle, but thinks it ag in reason to take em from 
sich as be not so overcome." 



THE CHAINBEARER. 2i)5 

" Good ; don t want to take scalp at all," answered the 
Indian, with an emotion he could not altogether suppress. 
" Got no tribe got no young men; what good scalp do? 
Nobody care how many scalp Susquesus take away how 
many he leave behind. All dat forgot long time " 

" Wa-a-1, that s your affair, not mine. But, as all the 
articles is agreed to, you can come out, and go about your 
business. Mind, three short, sharp blasts on the conch is 
the signal to come in and give yourself up." 

On this singular cartel Susquesus was set at liberty. I 
.heard the whole arrangement with astonishment ; though, 
by the manner of the high contracting parties, it was easy 
to see there was nothing novel in the arrangement, so far 
as they were concerned. I had heard that the faith of an 
Indian of any character, in all such cases, was considered 
sacred, and could not but ask myself, as Susquesus walked 
quietly out of prison, how many potentates and powers there 
were in Christendom who, under circumstances similarly 
involving their most important interests, could be found to 
place a similar confidence in their fellows ! Curious to 
know how my present masters felt on this subject, the oppor 
tunity was improved to question them. 

" You give the Indian his liberty on parole," I said to 
Zephaniah " will you refuse the same privilege to us white 
men ?" 

" An Injin is an Injin. He has his natur , and we ve 
our n. Suthin was said about lettin you out, too, major ; 
but the old man wouldn t hear to it. He know d man 
kind, he said, and he know d twould never do. If you 
let a white man loose, he sets his wits at work to find a hole 
to creep out on the bargain goin back to the creation of 
the arth but he 11 find one. The major will say I was put 
in ag in law, and now I m out, I ll stay out ag in pro 
mises, or some sich reasonin , and now we have him safe, 
twill be best to keep him safe! That s the substance of 
the old man s idees, and you can see, major, just as well as 
any on us, how likely he 11 be to change em." 

There was no contending with this logic, which in secret 
I well knew to be founded in fact, and I made no further 
application for my own release. It appeared, however, that 
Thousandacres himself was half-disposed to make a conces- 



296 THE CHAINBEAEEE 

sion in favour of Chainbearer, similar to that he had granted 
to the Indian. This struck me as singular, after the rude 
collision that had already occurred between the two men 
but there are points of honour that are peculiar to each con 
dition of life, and which the men of each feel a pride not 
only in causing to be respected, but in respecting them 
selves. 

" Father had some thoughts of taking your parole, too, 
Chainbearer " added Zephaniah, " and he concluded he 
would, hadn t it been that you ve been living out in the set 
tlements so much of late years, that he s not quite easy in. 
trusting you. A man that passes so much of his time in 
running boundaries, may think himself privileged to step 
over them." 

" Your fat er ist welcome to his opinion, " answered An- 
dries coolly. " He ll get no parole of me, nor do I want any 
favours of him. We are at sword s p ints, young man, and 
let him look out for himself and his lumper as pest he 
can." 

" Nay, " answered Zephaniah, stretching himself, and 
answering with spirit, though he well knew he was speak 
ing to the uncle of Dus, and thereby endangering his inte 
rests with his mistress " nay, Chainbearer, if it comes to 
that, "twill be " hardes fend off." We are a strong party 
of stout men, and arn t to be frightened by the crier of a 
court, or to be druv off the land by sheep-skin. Cata 
mounts must come ag in us in droves, afore we ll give an 
inch." 

" Go away, go away foolish young fellow you re your 
fat er s son, and t at s as much as neet pe said of you. I 
want no favours from squatters, which ist a preed I tetest 
and tespise. " 

I was a little surprised at hearing this answer, and at 
witnessing this manifestation of feeling in Chainbearer, who, 
ordinarily, was a cool, and uniformly a courteous man. Oa 
reflection, however, I saw he was not so wrong. An ex 
change of anything like civilities betwen us and our cap 
tors, might seem to give them some claim on us ; whereas, 
by standing on the naked right, we had every advantage of 
them, in a moral sense, at least. Zephaniah and his breth 
ren left us, on receiving this repulse of Andries ; but Susque- 



THB CHAINBEARER. 297 

BUS kept loitering around the store-house, apparently little 
better off, now he was on its outside, than he had been when 
in it. He had nothing to do, and his idleness was that of 
an Indian one of a race of such terrible energies, when 
energy is required, and so frequently listless, when not 
pressed upon by necessity, pleasure, war, or interest. 

Things were in this state, when, some time after the in 
terview just related, we had another visit from a party 
headed by Tobit. This man came to escort Chainbearer 
and myself to the cabin of Thousandacres, where all the 
men of the family were assembled ; and where, as it now 
appeared, we were to have something like a hearing, that 
might seriously affect our fates, for good or for evil. I 
consulted Chainbearer on the propriety of our lending our 
selves to such a measure ; but I found Andries disposed to 
meet the brood of squatters, face to face, and to tell them 
his mind, let it be when and where it might. Finding my 
friend in this temper, I made no farther objections myself, 
but left the storehouse in his company, well guarded by four 
of the young men, all of whom were armed, holding our 
way to the seat of justice, in that wild and patriarchal 
government. 



CHAPTER XXII. 

" When Adam delv d, and Eve span, 
Where was then the gentleman ?" 

Old Saw. 

THOUSANDACRES had not altogether neglected forms, 
though so much set against the spirit of the law. We found 
a sort of court collected before the door of his dwelling, 
with himself in the centre, while the principal room con 
tained no one but Prudence and one or two of her daughters. 
Among the latter was Lowiny, to my surprise; for I had not 
seen the girl return from the woods, though my eyes had 
not been long turned from the direction in which I had hopes 
of catching a glimpse of Dus. 



298 THE CHAINBEAREK. 

Tobit led us prisoners into the house, placing us near the 
door, and facing his father ; an arrangement that superseded 
the necessity of much watchfulness, as our only means of 
escape would necessarily be by rushing through the throng 
without a thing virtually impracticable. But Chainbearer 
appeared to have no thought of flight. He entered that 
circle of athletic young men with perfect indifference ; and 
I remember that it struck me his air resembled that which 
I had often seen him assume when our regiment was on the 
eve of serious service. At such moments old Andries could, 
and often did, appear grand dignity, authority and coolness 
being blended with sterling courage. 

When in the room, Chainbearer and I seated ourselves 
near the door, while Thousandacres had a chair on the turf 
without, surrounded by his sons, all of whom were standing. 
As this arrangement was made amid a grave silence, the 
effect was not altogether without impressiveness, and partook 
of some of the ordinary aspects of justice. I was struck 
with the anxious curiosity betrayed in the countenances of 
the females in particular ; for the decision to which Thou 
sandacres was about to come, would with them have the 
authority of a judgment of Solomon. Accustomed to reason 
altogether in their own interests, I make no doubt that, in 
the main, all of that semi-barbarous breed fancied them 
selves invested, in their lawless occupation, by some sort of 
secret natural right ; ignorant of the fact that, the moment 
they reduced their claim to this standard, they put it on the 
level with that of all the rest of mankind. Nature gives 
nothing exclusively to an individual, beyond his individu 
ality, and that which appertains to his person and personal 
qualities ; all beyond, he is compelled to share, under the 
law of nature, with the rest of his race. A title dependent 
on original possession forms no exception to this rule ; for 
it is merely human convention that gives it force and au 
thority, without which it would form no title at all. But 
into mysteries like these, none of the family of Thousandacres 
ever entered ; though the still, small voice of conscience, 
the glimmerings of right, were to be traced occasionally, 
even amid the confused jumble of social maxims in which 
their selfishness had taken refuge. 

We live in an age of what is called progress, and fancy 



THE GHAINBEARER. 299 

that man is steadily advancing on the great path of his 
destiny, to something that we are apt to imagine is to form 
perfection. Certainly I shall not presume to say what is, 
or what is not, the divine intention as to the future destina 
tion of our species on earth ; but years and experience must 
have taught me, or I should have lived in vain, how little 
there is among our boasted improvements that is really new ; 
and if we do possess anything in the way of principles that 
bear on them the impress of inviolability, they are those 
that have become the most venerable, by having stood the 
severest tests of time. 

I know not whether the long, silent pause that succeeded 
our arrival, was the result of an intention to heighten the 
effect of that strange scene, or whether Thousandacres 
really wished time to collect his thoughts, and to mature his 
plans. One thing struck me ; notwithstanding the violence 
that had so recently occurred between Chainbearer and 
himself, there were no traces of resentment in the hardened 
and wrinkled countenance of that old tenant of the forest ; 
for he was too much accustomed to those sudden outbreak- 
ings of anger, to suffer them long to linger in his recollec 
tion. In all that was said, and in all that passed, in the 
iourse of that (to me) memorable day, I could trace no 
manifestation of any feeling in the squatter, in consequence 
of the rude personal rencontre that he had so lately had 
with my friend. They had clenched, and he had been 
overthrown ; and that ended the matter. 

The silence which occurred after we took our seats must 
have lasted several minutes. For myself, I saw I was only 
a secondary person in this interview ; old Andries having 
completely supplanted me in importance, not only in acts, 
but in the estimation of the squatters. To him they were 
accustomed, and accustomed, moreover, to regard as a sort 
of hostile power ; his very pursuit being opposed to the great 
moving principle of their every-day lives. The man who 
measured land, and he who took it to himself without mea 
surement, were exactly antagonist forces, in morals as well 
as in physics ; and might be supposed not to regard each 
other with the most friendly eyes. Thus it was that the 
Chainbearcr actually became an object of greater interest to 
these squatters, than the son of one of the owners of the 



300 THE CHAINBEAEEE. 

soil, and the attorney in fact of both. As for the old niao 
himself, I could see that he looked very Dutch ; which im 
plied a stubborn resolution bordering on obstinacy ; unmoved 
adherence to what he conceived to be right ; and a strong 
dislike to his present neighbours, in addition to other reasons r 
on account of their having come from the eastward ; a race 
that he both distrusted and respected ; disliked, yet covertly 
honoured, for many a quality that was both useful and good^ 

To the next generation, the feeling that was once so active 
between the descendants of Holland among ourselves, and 
the people of English birth, who came from the eastern 
States, will be almost purely a matter of history. I perceive 
that my father, in the manuscript he has transmitted to me r 
as well as I myself, have made various allusions to the sub 
ject. It is my wish to be understood in this matter. I have 
introduced it solely as a fact that is beyond controversy ; 
but, I trust, without any undue bigotry of opinion. It is 
possible that both Mr. Cornelius Littlepage and his son, 
unconsciously to ourselves may have been influenced by the 
ancient prejudices of the colonies ; though I have endea 
voured scrupulously to avoid them. At any rate, if either 
of iis has appeared to be a little too severe, I trust the reader 
will remember how much has been uttered to the world in 
reference to this dislike, by the Yankee, and how little by 
the Dutchman, during the last century and a half, and grant 
to one who is proud of the little Wood from Holland that he 
happens to possess, the privilege of showing, at least, one of 
the phases of his own side of the story. Bat it is time to 
return to our scene in the hut. 

" Chainbearer," commenced Thousandacres, after the 
pause already mentioned had lasted several tninutes, and 
speaking with a dignity that could only have proceeded from 
*,he intensity of his feelings ; " Chainbearer, you ve been an 
inimy to me and mine sin the day we first met. You re 
an inimy by your cruel callin ; yet you ve the boldness to- 
thrust yourself into my very hands !" 

" I m an enemy to all knaves, Tousantaeres, ant I tont 
care who knows it," answered old Andries, sternly ; " t,at 
ist my trate, ast well ast carryin chain ; ant I wish it to 
pe known far and near. Ast for pein your enemy by 
callin , I may say as much of yourself; since there coult pe 



THE CH AINBEARER. 301 

no surveying or carryin of chain, tit all t e people help 
t emselves to lant, as you haf tone your whole life, wit out 
as much as sayin to t e owners py your leaf. " 

"Things have now got to a head atween us, Chain- 
bearer," returned the squatter ; " but seein that you re in 
my hands, I m ready and willin to reason the p int with 
you, in hopes that we may yet part fri nds, and that this 
may be the last of all our troubles. You and I be gettin 
to be oldish men, Chainbearer ; and it s fittin that them 
that be gettin near their eends, should sometimes think on 
em. I come from no Dutch colony, but from a part of the 
world where mankind fears God, and has some thoughts of 
a futur state." 

" T at s neit er here nor t ere, T ousantacres," cried An- 
dries, impatiently. " Not put what religion is a goot t ing, 
and a t ing to pe venerated, ant honouret, and worshipet ; 
put fat it s out of place in a squatter country, and most ot 
all in a squatter s mout . Can you telt me one t ing, T ou- 
santacres, and t at ist, why you Yankees pray so much, ant 
call on Got to pless you ever ot er wort, and turn up your 
eyes, ant look so temure of Suntays, ant t en go ant squat 
yourselfs town on a Tutchman s lant of a Montay? I m 
an olt man, ant haf lifed long ant seen much, ant hope I 
unterstant some of t at which I haf seen ant lifed amongst, 
put I do not comprehent t at ! Yankee religion ant Tutch 
religion cannot come out of t e same piple." 

" I should think not, I should think not, Chainbearer ; 
and I hope not, in the bargain. I do not wish to be justified 
by ways like your n, or a religion like your n. That which 
is foreordained will come to pass, let what will happen, and 
that s my trust. But, leaving religion out of this matter 
atween us altogether " 

" Ay, you 11 do well to do t at," growled Chainbearer, 
" for religion hast, inteet, very little to do wit it." 

" I say," answered Thousandacres, on a higher key, as 
if resolute to make himself heard, " leaving religion for 
Sabba days and proper occasions, I m ready to talk this 
matter over on the footin of reason, and not only to tell 
you my say, but to hear your n, as is right atween man and 
man." 

" I confess a strong desire to listen to what Thousand" 
26 



302 THE CHAINBEARER. 

acres has to say in defence of his conduct, Chainbearer," I 
now thought it best to put in ; " and I hope you will so far 
oblige me as to be a patient listener. I am very willing 
that you should answer, for I know of no person to whom 
I would sooner trust a righteous cause than yourself. Pro 
ceed, Thousandacres ; my old friend will comply." 

Andries did conform to my wishes, thus distinctly ex 
pressed, but it was not without sundry signs of disquiet, a$, 
expressed in his honest countenance, and a good deal of 
subdued muttering about " Yankee cunnin and holy gotli 
ness, t at is dresset up in wolf s clot in ;" Chainbearer mean 
ing to express the native garment of the sheep by the lattei 
expression, but falling into a confusion of images that is by 
no means rare among the men of his caste and people. After 
a pause, the squatter proceeded. 

" In talkin this matter over, young man, I purpose to 
begin at the beginnin of things," he said ; " for I allow, if 
you grant any value to titles, and king s grants, and sich 
sort of things, that my rights here be no great matter. But, 
beginnin at the beginnin , the case is very different. You 11 
admit, I s pose, that the Lord created the heavens and the 
arth, and that he created man to be master over the last." 

" What of t at ?" eagerly cried Chainbearer. " What of 
t at, olt T ousantacres 1 So t e Lort createt yonter eagle 
t at is fly in so far apove your heat, put it s no sign you are 
to kill him, or he ist to kill you." 

" Hear to reason, Chainbearer, and let me have my say; 
a ter which I m willing to hear you. I begin at the begin 
nin , when man was first put in possession of the arth, to 
till, and to dig, and to cut saw-logs, and to make lumber, 
jist as it suited his wants and inclinations. Now, Adam 
was the father of all, and to him and his posterity was the 
possession of the arth given, by Him whose title s worth 
that of all the kings, and governors, and assemblies in the 
known world. Adam lived his time, and left all things to 
his posterity, and so has it been from father to son, down 
to our own day and giniration, accordin to the law of God, 
though not accordin to the laws of man." 

" Well, admittin all you say, squatter, how does t at 
make your right here petter t an t at of any ot er man ?" 
demanded Andries, disdainfully. 



THE CHAINBEARER. 303 

" Why, reason tells us where a man s rights begin, you 11 
see, Chainbearer. Here is the arth, as I told you, given to 
man, to be used for his wants. When you and I are born, 
some parts of the world is in use, and some parts isn t. We 
want land, when we are old enough to turn our hands to 
labour, and I make my pitch out here in the woods, say 
where no man has pitched afore me. Now, in my judg 
ment, that makes the best of titles, the Lord s title." * 

" Well, t en, you ve got your title from t e Lord," an 
swered Chainbearer, " and you Ve got your lant. I s pose 
you 11 not take all t e art t at is not yet peoplet, and I 
shoult like to know how you wilt run your lines petween 
you ant your next neighpour. Atmittin you re here in t e 
woots, how much of t e lant woult you take for your own 
religious uses, and how much woult you leaf for t e next 
comer ?" 

" Each man would take as much as was necessary for 
his wants, Chainbearer, and hold as much as he possessed." 

" Put what ist wants, ant what ist possession ? Look 
arount you, T ousantacres, and tell me how much of t ia 
fery spot you d haf a mint to claim, under your Lort s 
title?" 

" How much ? As much as I have need on enough to 
feed me and mine and enough for lumber, and to keep the 
b ys busy. It would somewhat depend on sarcumstances : 
I might want more at one time than at another, as b ys grew 
up, and the family increased in numbers." 

"Enough for lumper how long? and to keep t e poys 

* Lest the reader should suppose Mr. Mordaunt Littlepage is here 
recording, uselessly, the silly sayings of a selfish, ignorant and vul. 
gar robber, it may be well to add, that doctrines of a calibre, consi 
dered in respect of morals and logic, similar to this, though varying 
according to circumstances and the points it is desired to establish, 
are constantly published in journals devoted to anti-rentism in the 
state of New York, and men have acted on these principles even to 
the shedding of blood. We purpose, when we come to our third 
manuscript, which relates to movements of our immediate time, to 
distinctly lay before the reader some of these strange doctrines ; en 
tertaining little doubt that those who originally promulgated them 
will scarcely admire their own theories, when they see them intro 
duced into a work that will contain the old-fashioned notions of ho* 
wty and right. EDITOR. 



304 THE CHAINBEAfcEtt. 

pusy how long ? For a tay, or a week, or a life, or a great 
numper of lifes? You must tell me t at, T ousantacres, 
pefore I gif cretit to your title." 

" Don t be onreasonable don t be onreasonable in your 
questions, Chainbearer ; and I 11 answer every one on em, 
and in a way to satisfy you, or any judgmatical man. How 
long do I want the lumber? As long as I ve use "for it. 
How long do I want to keep the b ys busy ? Till they re 
tired of the place, and want to change works. When a 
man s a- weary of his pitch, let him give it up for another, 
selling his betterments, of course, to the best chap he can 
light on." 

" Oh ! you t sell your petterments, woult you ! What ! 
sell t e Lort s title, olt T ousantacres / Part wit Heaven s 
gift for t e value of poor miseraple silver and golt ?" 

" You don t comprehend Aaron," put in Prudence, who 
saw that Chainbearer was likely to get the best of the argu 
ment, and who was always ready to come to the rescue of 
any of her tribe, whether it might be necessary with words, 
or tooth and nail, or the rifle. " You don t, by no manner 
of means, comprehend Aaron, Chainbearer. His idee is, 
that the Lord has made the arth for his crittur s ; that any 
one that wants land, has a right to take as much as he 
wants, and to use it as long as he likes j and, when he has 
done, to part with his betterments for sich price as may be 
agreed on." 

" I stick to that," joined in the squatter, with a loud hem, 
like a man who was sensible of relief; " that s my idee, and 
I m detarmined to live and die by it." 

" You ve lifed py it, I know very well, T ousantacres ; 
ant, now you re olt, it s quite likely you 11 tie py it. As 
for comprehentin , you don t comprehent yourself. I ll just 
ask you, in the first place, how much lant do you holt on 
t is very spot 1 You re here squattet so completely ant 
finally as to haf puilt a mill. Now tell me how much lant 
you holt, t at when I come to squat alongsite of you, our 
fences may not lap on one anot er. I ask a simple question, 
ant I hope for a plain ant straight answer. Show me t e 
pountaries of your tomain, ant how much of t e worlt you 
claim, ant how much you ton t claim." 

" I ve pretty much answered that question already 



THE CHAINBEARER. 305 

Chainbearer. My creed is, that a man has a right to hold 
all he wants, and to want all he holds." 

" Got help t e men, t en, t at haf to carry chain petween 
you and your neighpours, T ousantacres ; a man s wants 
to-tay may tiffer from his wants to-morrow, and to-morrow 
from t e next tay, ant so on to t e ent of time ! On your 
toctrine, not in woult pe settlet, ant all woult pe at sixes 
ant sevens." 

" I don t think I m fully understood, a ter all that s been 
said," returned the squatter. " Here s two men start in life 
at the same time, and both want farms. Wa-a-1 ; there s 
the wilderness, or may be it isn t all wilderness, though it 
once was. One chooses to buy out betterments, and he 
doos so ; t other plunges in, out o sight of humanity, and 
makes his pitch. Both them men s in the right, and can 
hold on to their possessions, I say, to the eend of time. 
That is, on the supposition that right is stronger than 
might." 

" Well, well," answered Chainbearer, a little drily; "ant 
s pose one of your men torft want to puy petterments, put 
follows t ot er, ant makes his pitch in t e wilterness, also ?" 

" Let him do t, I say ; t is his right, and the law of the 
Lord." 

" Put, s pose bot j your young men want t e same pit of 
wilt lant !" 

" First come, first sarv d ; that s my maxim. Let the 
sprighest chap have the land. Possession s everything in 
settling land titles." 

" Well, t en, to please you, T ousantacres, we ll let one 
get aheat of t ot er, and haf his possession first ; how much 
shalt he occupy." 

" As much as he wants, I ve told you, already." 

" Ay, put when his slower frient comes along, ant hast 
his wants, too, ant wishes to make his pitch alongsite of his 
olt neighpour, where is t e pountary petween em to be 
fount?" 

"Let em agree on t ! They must be dreadful poor 
neighbours, if they can t agree on so small a matter as 
that," said Tobit, who was getting weary of the argument. 

"Tpbitis right," added the father; "let } em agree on 
their line, and run it by the eye. Curse on all chains and 
26* 



306 THE CHAINBEARER. 

compasses, say I ! They re an invention of the devil, to 
make ill blood in a neighbourhood, and to keep strife awake, 
when our bibles tell us to live in peace with all mankind." 

" Yes, yes, I understant all t at," returned Chainbearer, 
a little disdainfully. " A yankee piple ist a fery convenient 
pook. T ere s autority in it for all sorts of toctrines ant 
worshipping ant prayin , ant preachin , ant so forth. It a 
what I call a so-forth piple, Mortaunt, ant wilt reat pack- 
warts as well ast forwarts ; put all t e chapters into one, if 
necessary, or all t e verses into chapters. Sometimes St. 
Luke is St. Paul, and St. John ist St. Matt ew. I Ve he rt 
your tominies expount, and no two expount alike. Novel 
ties ist t e religion of New Englant, ant novelties, in t e 
shape of ot er men s lants, is t e creet of her lofely chiltren ! 
Oh ! yes, I ve seen a yankee piple ! Put, this toes nt settle 
our two squatters ; bot of whom wants a sartain hill for its 
lumper; now, which is to haf it?" 

" The man that got there first, I ve told you, old Chain- 
bearer, and once tellin is as good as a thousand. If the 
first comer looked on that hill, and said to himself, * that 
hill s mine, t is his n." 

" Well, t at ist making property fast ! Wast t at t e way, 
T ousantacres, t at you took up your estate on t e Moose- 
ridge property ?" 

" Sartain I want no better title. I got here first, and 
tuck up the land, and shall continue to tuck it up, as I want 
it. There s no use in being mealy-mouthed, for I like to 
speak out, though the landlord s son be by !" 

" Oh ! you speak out lout enouf, ant plain enouf, ant I 
shoultn t wonter if you got tucket up yourself, one tay, for 
your pains. Here ist a tifficulty, however, t at I 11 just 
mention, T ousantacres, for your consiteration. You take 
possession of timper-lant, by lookin at it, you say " 

" Even lookin at isn t necessary," returned the squatter, 
eager to widen the grasp of his rights. It s enough that 
a man wants the land, and he comes, or sends to secure it. 
Possession is everything, and I call it possession, to crave 
a spot, and to make some sort of calkerlation, or works, 
reasonably near it. That gives a right to cut and clear, 
and when a clearin s begun, it s betterments, and every 
body allows that betterments may be both bought and sold. 



THE CHAINBEARER. 307 

" Well, now we understant each o ter. Put here 1st t e 
small tifficulty I woult mention. One General Littlepage 
and one Colonel Pollock took a fancy to t is spot long pefore 
t e olt French war ; ant pesites fancyin t e place, and sentin 
messengers to look at it, t ey pought out t e Injin right in t e 
first place ; t en t ey pought of t e king, who hat all t e lant 
in t e country, at t at time, ast hatn t ot er owners. T en 
t ey sent surfeyors to run t e lines, ant t em very surfeyors 
passet along py t is river, ast I know py t eir fielt-pooks (field- 
books) : t en more surfeyors wast sent out to tivite it into great 
lots, ant now more still haf come to tivite it into small lots : ant 
t ey ve paid quit-rents for many years, ant tone ot er t ings 
to prove t ey want t is place as much as you want it your 
self. T ey haf hat it more ast a quarter of a century, ant 
exerciset ownership over it all t at time ; ant wantet it very 
much t e whole of t at quarter of a century, ant, if t e trut 
was sait, want it still." 

A long pause followed this statement, during which the 
different members of the family looked at each other, as if 
in quest of support. The idea of there being any other 
side to the question than that they had been long accustomed 
to consider so intently, was novel to them, and they were a 
little bewildered by the extraordinary circumstance. This 
is one of the great difficulties under which the inhabitant 
of a narrow district labours, in all that pertains to his per 
sonal notions and tastes, and a good deal in what relates to 
his principles. This it is that makes the true provincial, 
with his narrow views, set notions, conceit, and unhesitating 
likes and dislikes. When one looks around him and sees 
how very few are qualified, by experience and knowledge 
of the world, to utter opinions at all, he is apt to be aston 
ished at finding how many there are that do it. I make no 
doubt that the family of Thousandacres was just as well 
satisfied with their land-ethics, as Paley ever could have 
been with his moral philosophy, or Newton with his mathe 
matical demonstrations. 

" I don t wonter you re callet T ousantacres, Aaron Tim- 
perman," continued Chainbearer, pushing his advantage, 
" for wit such a title to your estate, you might as well pe 
tarmet Ten T ousantacres at once, ant more, too ! Nay, I 
wonter, while your eyes was trawin up title teets, t at you 



303 THE CHAINBEARER. 

shoult haf peen so moterate, for it was just as easy to pos 
sess a patent on t at sort of right, as to possess a single 
farm." 

But Thousandacres had made up his mind to pursue the 
subject no further ; and, while it was easy to see that fiery 
passions were burning within him, he seemed now bent on 
bringing a conference, from which he doubtless expected 
different results, to a sudden close. It was with difficulty 
that he suppressed the volcano that was raging within, but 
he so far succeeded as to command Tobit to shut up his 
prisoner again. 

" Take him away, b ys, take him back to the store- us ," 
said the old squatter, rising and moving a little on one side 
to permit Andries to pass, as if afraid to trust himself too 
near ; " he was born the sarvent of the rich, and will die 
their sarvent. Chains be good enough for him, and I wish 
him no greater harm than to carry chains the rest of his 
days." 

" Oh ! you re a true son of Liperty !" called out the 
Chainbearer, as he quietly returned to his prison ; " a true 
son of Liperty, accordin to your own conceit ! You want 
efereyt ing in your own way, and eferyt ing in your own 
pocket. T e Lori s law is a law for T ousantacres, put not 
a law to care for Cornelius Littlepage or Tirck Pollock !" 

Although my old friend was escorted to his prison, no 
attempt was made to remove me. On the contrary, Pru 
dence joined her husband without, followed by all her young 
fry, and for a moment I fancied myself forgotten and de 
serted. A movement in one corner of the room, however, 
drew my attention there, and I saw Lowiny standing on 
tiptoe, with a finger on her lips, the sign of silence, while 
she made eager gestures with the other hand, for me to enter 
a small passage that communicated by means of a ladder 
with the loft of the hut. My moccasins were now of great 
advantage to me. Without pausing to reflect on conse 
quences, or to look around, I did as directed, drawing to 
the door after me. There was a small window in the sort 
of passage in*which I now found myself alone with the girl, 
and my first impulse was to force my body through it, for 
it had neither glass nor sash, but Lowiny caught my arms. 

" Lord ha massy on us !" whispered the girl " you M 



THE CHAINBEARER. 309 

be seen and taken, or shot ! For your life don t go out there 
now. Here s a hole for a cellar, and there s the trap go 
down there, and wait till you hear news from me." 

There was no time for deliberation, and the sight of Chain- 
bearer s escort, as they proceeded towards the store-house, 
satisfied me that the girl was right. She held up the trap, 
and I descended into the hole that answered the purposes 
of a cellar. I heard Lowiny draw a chest over the trap, 
and then I fancied I could distinguish the creaking of the 
rounds of the ladder, as she went up into the loft, which 
was the place where she usually slept. 

All this occurred literally in about one minute of time. 
Another minute may have passed, when I heard the heavy 
tread of Thousandacres foot on the floor above me, and the 
clamour of many voices, all speaking at once. It was evi 
dent that I was missed, and a search had already been 
commenced. For half a minute, nothing was very intelli 
gible to me ; then I heard the shrill voice of Prudence calling 
for Lowiny. 

" Lowiny you Lowiny !" she cried " where has the 
gal got to 7" 

" I m here, mother" answered my friend, from her loft 
" you told me to come up, and look for your new bible." 

I presume this was true ; for Prudence had really des 
patched the girl on that errand, and it must have sufficed to 
lull any suspicions of her daughter s being connected with 
my disappearance, if any such had been awakened. The 
movements of footsteps was now quick over my head, those 
of several men being among them ; and in the confusion of 
voices, I heard that of Lowiny, who must have descended 
the ladder and joined in the search. 

" He mustn t be allowed to get off, on no account," said 
Thousandacres, aloud, " or we re all ondone. Everything 
we have will fall into their hands, and mill, logs and all, 
will be utterly lost. We shan t even have time to get off 
the gear and the household stuff." 

" He s up stairs" cried one " he must be down cellar," 
said another. Steps went up the ladder, and I heard the 
chest drawn from the trap ; and a stream of light entering 
the place, notified me that the trap was raised. The place I 
was in was a hole twenty feet square, roughly walled with 



310 THE CII AINBE ARER. 

stones, and nearly empty, though it did contain a meat- 
barrel or two, and a few old tubs. In the winter, it would 
have been filled with vegetables. There was no place to 
hide in, and an attempt at concealment would have led to a 
discovery. I withdrew to a corner, in a part of the cellar 
that was quite dark, but thought myself lost when I saw a 
pair of legs descending the ladder. Almost at the same mo 
ment, three of the men and two of the women came into the 
hole, a fourth female, whom I afterwards ascertained to be 
Lowiny herself, standing in the trap in such a way as to 
double the darkness below. The first man who got down 
began to tumble the tubs about, and to look into the corners ; 
and the lucky thought occurred to me to do the same thing. 
By keeping as busy as the rest of them, I actually escaped 
detection in the dark ; and Tobit soon rushed to the ladder, 
calling out, " the window the window he s not here - 
the window !" In half a minute the cellar was empty again ; 
or no one remained but myself. 

At first I had great difficulty in believing in my good luck; 
but the trap fell, and the profound stillness of the place satis 
fied me that I had avoided that danger, at least. This escape 
was so singular and unexpected, that I could hardly believe 
in its reality ; though real it was, to all intents and purposes. 
The absurd often strikes the imagination in an absurd way ; 
and so it proved with me on this occasion. I sat down on 
a tub and laughed heartily, when I felt absolutely certain all 
was right, holding my sides lest the sound of my voice might 
yet betray me. Lowiny was similarly infected, for I heard 
peals of girlish laughter from her, as her brothers tumbled 
about barrels, and tubs, and bedsteads, in the upper part of 
the building, in their fruitless and hurried search. This 
merriment did not pass unrebuked, however; Prudence 
lending her daughter a box on the side of the head, that, in 
one sense, reached even my ears ; though it probably aided 
in saving the girl from the suspicion of being in my secret, 
by the very natural character of her girlish indulgence. 
Two or three minutes after the trap closed on me for the 
second time, the sounds of footsteps and voices overhead 
ceased, and the hut seemed deserted. 

My situation now was far from comfortable. Confined 
m a dark cellar, with no means of escaping but by the trap 



THE CHAINBEARER. 311 

and the almost certainty of falling into the hands of my 
captors, should I attempt such a thing, I now began to re 
gret having entered so readily into Lowiny s scheme. There 
would be a certain loss of dignity in a recapture, that was 
not pleasant in itself; and I will own, I began to have some 
doubts of my eventual safety, should I again come under the 
control of such spirits as those of Thousandacres and his 
eldest son. Buried in that cellar, I was in a manner placed 
immediately beneath those whose aim it was to secure me, 
rendering escape impossible, and detection nearly unavoid 
able. 

Such were my meditations when light again streamed into 
the cellar. The trap was raised, and presently I heard my 
name uttered in a whisper. Advancing to the ladder, I saw 
Lowiny holding the door, and beckoning for me to ascend. 
I followed her directions blindly, and was soon at her side. 
The girl was nearly convulsed between dread of detection 
and a desire to laugh ; my emerging from the cellar recall 
ing to her imagination all the ludicrous circumstances of the 
late search. 

" Warn t it queer that none on em know d you !" she 
whispered ; then commanding silence by a hasty gesture. 
" Don t speak ; for they re s archin still, cluss by, and 
some on em may follow me here. I wanted to get you out 
of the cellar, as some of the young-uns will be rummagin 
there soon for pork for supper ; and their eyes are as sharp 
as needles. Don t you think you could crawl into the mill ? 
It s stopped now, and wun t be goin ag in till this stir s 
over. 

" I should be seen, my good girl, if any of your people 
are looking for me near at hand." 

" I don t know that. Come to the door, and you Ml see 
there is a way. Everybody s lookin on the right side of 
this house ; and by creepin as far as them logs, you d be 
pretty safe. If you reach the mill safely, climb up into the 
loft." 

I took a moment to survey the chances. At the distance 
of a hundred feet from the house there commenced a large 
bed of saw-logs, which were lying alongside of each other; 
and the timber being from two to four feet in diameter, it 
would be very possible to creep among it, up to the mill 



312 THE CHAINBEARER. 

itself, into which even several of the logs had been rolled. 
The great difficulty would be in reaching the logs through a 
perfectly open space. The house would be a cover, as 
against most of the family, who were busy examining every 
thing like a cover on its opposite side ; no one supposing for 
a moment I could be near the mill, inasmuch as it stood 
directly in front of the spot where the crowd was collected 
at the moment of my sudden disappearance. But the boys 
and girls were flying around in all directions ; rendering it 
uncertain how long they would remain in a place, or how 
long their eyes would be turned away from my path. 

It was necessary to do something, and I determined to 
make an effort. Throwing myself on the ground, I crawled, 
rather slowly than fast, across that terrible space, and got 
safely among the logs. As there was no outcry, I knew I 
had not been seen. It was now comparatively easy to reach 
the mill. Another dangerous experiment, however, was to 
expose my person by climbing up to the loft. I could not do 
this without running the risk of being seen ; and I felt the 
necessity of using great caution. I first raised my head 
high enough to survey the state of things without. Luckily 
the house was still between me and most of my enemies ; 
though the small-fry constantly came into view and vanished. 
I looked round for a spot to ascend, and took a final survey 
of the scene. There stood Lovviny in the door of the hut, 
her hands clasped, and her whole air expressive of concern. 
She saw my head, I knew, and I made a gesture of encou 
ragement, which caused her to start. At the next instant 
my foot was on a brace, and my body was rising to the 
beams above. I do not think my person was uncovered 
ten seconds ; and no clamour succeeded. I now felt there 
were really some chances of my finally effecting an escape 
and glad enough was I to think so. 



THE CHAINBE ARER 



CHAPTER XXin. 



"Alone, amid the shades, 
Still in harmonious intercourse they liv d 
The rural day, and talked the flowing heart, 
Or sigh d, and looked unutterable things. 

THOMSON. 



THAT was a somewhat breathless moment. The inten 
sity with which I listened for any sound that might announce 
my discovery, was really painful. I almost fancied I heard 
a shout, but none came. Then I gave myself up, actually 
believing that footsteps were rushing towards the mill, with 
a view to seize me. It was imagination ; the rushing of 
the waters below being the only real sound that disturbed 
the silence of the place. I had time to breathe, and to look 
about me. 

As might be supposed, the mill was very rudely con 
structed. I have spoken of a loft, but there was nothing 
that really deserved the term. Some refuse boards were 
laid about, here and there, on the beams, making fragments 
of rough flooring ; and my first care was to draw several 
of these boards close together, placing them two or three in 
thickness, so as to make a place where, by lying down, I 
could not be seen by any one who should happen to enter 
the mill. There lay what the millers call a bunch of 
cherry-wood boards at no great distance from the spot 
where the roof joined the plate of the building, and within 
this bunch I arranged my hiding-place. No ostensible 
change was necessary to complete it, else the experiment 
might have been hazardous among those who were so much 
accustomed to note circumstances of that nature. The 
manner in which the lumber was arranged when I reached 
the spot was so little different from what it was when I had 
done with it, as scarcely to attract attention. 

No sooner was my hiding-place completed to my mind, 
ban I looked round to see if there were any means of making 
27 



314 THE CHAINBEARER. 

observations without. The building was not shingled, bat 
the rain was kept out by placing slabs up and down, as is 
often seen in the ruder, rustic, frontier architecture of 
America. With the aid of my knife, I soon had a small 
hole between two of these slabs, at a place favourable to 
such an object ; and, though it was no larger than the eye 
itself, it answered every purpose. Eagerly enough did I 
now commence my survey. 

The search was still going on actively. Those expe 
rienced border-men well knew it was not possible for me 
to cross the open ground and to reach the woods in the short 
interval of time between my disappearance and their dis 
covery of the fact, and they consequently felt certain that 
I was secreted somewhere near the building. Every house 
had been searched, though no one thought of entering the 
mill, because my movement, as all supposed, was necessa 
rily in an opposite direction. The fences were examined, 
and every thing like a cover on the proper side of the house 
was looked into with care and activity. It would seem that, 
just as I took my first look through the hole, my pursuers 
were at fault. The search had been made, and of course 
without effect. Nothing likely to conceal me remained to 
be examined. It was necessary to come to a stand, and to 
concert measures for a further search. * 

The family of squatters was too much accustomed tc 
their situation and its hazards, not to be familiar with all 
the expedients necessary to their circumstances. They 
placed the younger children on the look-out, at the points 
most favourable to my retreat, should I be in a situation to 
attempt going off in that quarter of the clearing ; and, 
then, the father collected his older sons around him, and the 
whole cluster of them, seven in number, came slowly walk 
ing towards the mill. The excitement of the first pursuit 
had sensibly abated, and these practised woodsmen were 
in serious consultation on the measures next to be taken. In 
this condition, the whole party entered the mill, taking their 
seats, or standing in a circle directly beneath my post, and 
within six feet of me. As a matter of course, I heard all 
that was said, though completely hid from view. 

" Here we shall be safe from the long ears of little folks," 
said the father, as he placed his own large frame on the log 



THE CHAINBEARER. 315 

thit was next to be sawed. " This has been a most onac- 
countable thing, Tobit, and I d no idee at all them ere city 
bred gentry was so expart with their legs. I sometimes 
think he can t be a Littlepage, but that he s one of our hill 
folks, tossed out and mannered a ter the towns folks, to 
take a body in. It seems an onpossibility that the man 
should get. off, out of the midst on us, and we not see or 
hear anything on him !" 

" We may as well give up the lumber and the better 
ments, at once," growled Tobit, "as let him get clear. 
Should he reach Ravensnest, the first thing he d do would 
be to swear out warrants ag in us all, and Newcome is not 
the man to stand by squatters in trouble. He d no more 
dare deny his landlord, than deny his meetin ." 

This expression of Tobit s is worthy of notice. In the 
estimation of a certain class of religionists among us, the 
" meetin ," as the young squatter called his church, had the 
highest place in his estimate of potentates and powers ; it is 
to be feared, often even higher than the dread being for 
whose worship that " meetin " existed. 

" I don t think as hard of the squire as all that," an 
swered Thousandacres. " He 11 never send out a warrant 
ag in us, without sendin out a messenger to let us hear of 
it, and that in time to get us all out of the way." 

" And who s to get the boards in the creek out of the 
way afore the water rises 1 And who s to hide or carry 
off all them logs 1 There s more than a ton weight of my 
blood and bones in them very logs, in the shape of hard la 
bour, and I 11 fight like a she-bear for her cubs afore I 11 
be driven from them without pay." 

It is very surprising that one who set this desperate value 
on the property he deemed his, should have so little regard 
for that which belonged to other persons. In this respect, 
however, Tobit s feeling was no more than submission to 
the general law of our nature, which reverses the images 
before our moral vision, precisely as we change our own 
relations to them. 

" It would go hard with me afore I should give up the 
lumber or the clearin , " returned Thousandacres, with em 
phasis. " We ve fit King George for liberty, and why 
shouldn t we fight for our property ? Of what use is liberty 



316 THE CHAINBEARER. 

at all, if it won t bear a man harmless out of a job of thii 
sort ? I despise sich liberty, b ys, and want none on it." 

All the young men muttered their approbation of such a 
sentiment, and it was easy enough to understand that the 
elevated notion of personal rights entertained by Thousand- 
acres found an answering echo in the bosom of each of his 
heroic sons. I dare say the same sympathy would have 
existed between them, had they been a gang of pickpockets 
collected in council in a room of the Black Horse, St. Cath 
arine s lane, Wapping, London. 

" But what can we do with the young chap, father, should 
we take him ag in ?" asked Zephaniah ; a question, as all 
will see, of some interest to myself. " He can t be kept a 
great while without having a stir made a ter him, and that 
would break us up, sooner or later. We may have a clear 
right to the work of our hands ; but, on the whull, I rather 
conclude the country is ag in squatters." 

" Who cares for the country ?" answered Thousandacres 
fiercely. " If it wants young Littlepage, let it come ana 
s arch for him, as we ve been doin . If that chap falls into 
my hands once more, he never quits em alive, unless he 
gives me a good and sufficient deed to two hundred acres, 
includin the mill, and a receipt in full, on his father s be 
half, for all back claims. On them two principles my mind 
is set, and not to be altered." 

A long pause succeeded this bold announcement, and I 
began to be afraid that my suppressed breathing might be 
overheard in the profound stillness that followed. But Ze 
phaniah spoke in time to relieve me from this apprehension, 
and in a way to satisfy me that the party below, all of 
whom were concealed from my sight, had been pondering 
on what had been said by their leader, and not listening to 
detect any tell-tale sounds from me. 

" I ve heern say," Zephaniah remarked, " that deeds 
gi n in that way won t stand good in law. Squire New- 
come was talkin of sich transactions the very last time I 
was out at the Nest." 

" I wish a body could find out what would stand good in 
law !" growled Thousandacres. " They make their laws, 
and lay great account in havin em obsarved , and then, 
when a man comes into court with everything done accord- 



THE CHAINBEARER. 317 

in to their own rules, five or six attorneys start up and bawl 
out, * this is ag in law ! If a deed is to set forth so and so, 
arid is to have the name writ down in such a place, and is 
to have what they call hand and seal and date beside ; and 
sich bein the law, I want to know why an instrument so 
made won t hold good by their confounded laws 1 Law is 
law, all over the world, I s pose ; and though it s an ac 
cursed thing, if men agree to have it, they ought to stand 
by their own rules. I ve thought a good deal of squeezin 
writin s out of this young Littlepage ; and just as my 
mind s made up to do t if I can lay hands on him ag in, 
you come out and tell me sich writin s be good for nothin . 
Zeph, Zeph you go too often out into them settlements, and 
get your mind pervarted by their wickedness and talk." 

" I hope not, father, though I own I do like to go there. 
I ve come to a time of life when a man thinks of marryin ; 
and there bein no gal here, unless it be one of my own 
sisters, it s nat ral to look into the next settlement. I 11 
own sich has been my object in going to the Nest." 

"And you ve found the gal you set store by ? Out with 
the whull truth, like a man. You know I ve always been 
set ag in lyin 5 and have ever endeavoured to make the whull 
of you speak truth. How is it, Zephaniah ? have you found 
a gal to your mind, and who is t? Ourn is a family into 
which any body can come by askin , you 11 remember." 

" Lord, father ! Dus Malbone would no more think of 
askin me to have her, than she d think of marryin you I 
I *ve offered three times ; and she s told me, as plain as a 
woman could speak, that she couldn t no how consent, and 
that I hadn t ought to think of her any longer." 

" Who is the gal, in this part of the country, that holds 
her head so much higher than one of Thousandacres sons ?" 
demanded the old squatter, with some such surprise, real or 
affected, as a Bourbon might be supposed to feel at having 
his alliance spurned on the score of blood. " I d like to 
see her, and to convarse with this young woman. What 
did you call her name, Zeph?" 

" Dus Malbone, father, and the young woman that lives 
with Chainbearer. She s his niece, 1 b lieve, or something 
of that sort." 
27* 



318 THE CHAINBEARER. 

" Ha ! Chainbearer s niece, d ye say ? His taken da gh 
ter . Isn t there some mistake?" 

"Dus Mai bone calls old Andries * Uncle Chainbearer , 
and I s pose from that she s his niece." 

"And you ve offered to marry the gal three times, d ye 
tell me, Zephaniah ?" 

" Three times, father ; and every time she has given * no 
for her answer." 

" The fourth time, may be, she ll change her mind. I 
wonder if we couldn t lay hands on this gal, and bring her 
into our settlement? Does she live with Chainbearer, in his 
hut, out here in the woods?" 

" She doos, father." 

"And doos she set store by her uncle ? or is she one of 
the flaunty sort that thinks more of herself and gownd, than 
she does of her own flesh and blood ? Can you tell me that, 
Zeph ?" 

" In my judgment, father, Dus Malbone loves Chainbearer 
as much as she would, was he her own father." 

"Ay, some gals haven t half the riverence and love for 
their own fathers that they should have. What s to prevint 
your goin , Zephaniah, to Chainbearer s pitch, and tell the 
gal that her uncle s in distress, and that you don t know 
what may happen to him, and that she had better come over 
and see a ter him ? When we get her here, and she under 
stands the natur of the case, and you put on your Sabba - 
day clothes, and we send for squire Newcome you may 
find yourself a married man sooner than you thojght for, 
my son, and settle down in life. A ter that, there ll not be 
much danger of Chainbearer s tellin on us, or of his great 
fri nd here, this major Littlepage s troublin the lumber afore 
the water rises." 

A murmur of applause followed this notable proposal, 
and I fancied I could hear a snigger from the young man, 
as if he found the project to his mind, and thought it might 
be feasible. 

" Father," said Zephaniah, " I wish you d call Lowiny 
nere, and talk to her a little about Dus Malbone. There 
she is, with Tobit s wife and mother, looking round among 
the cabbages, as if a man could be hid in such a place." 



THE CH AINBE ARER. 319 

Thousandacres called to his daughter in an authoritative 
way; and 1 soon heard the girl s step, as she came, a little 
hesitatingly as I fancied, into the mill. As it would be very 
natural to one in Lowiny s situation to suppose, that her 
connection with my escape occasioned this summons, I could 
not but feel for what I presumed was the poor girl s distress 
at receiving it. 

" Come here, Lowiny," commenced Thousandacres, in 
the stern manner with which it was his wont to speak to his 
children; "come nearer, gal. Do you know anything of 
one Dus Malbone, Chainbearer s niece ?" 

" Lord ha massy ! Father, how you did frighten me ! 
I thought you might have found the gentleman, and s posed 
I d a hand in helpin to hide him !" 

Singular as it may seem, this burst of conscience awak 
ened no suspicion in any of the listeners. When the girl 
thus betrayed herself, I very naturally expected that such 
an examination would follow as would extort the whole details 
from her. Not at all, however ; neither the father nor any 
of the sons understood the indiscreet remarks of the girl, 
but imputed them to the excitement that had just existed, 
and the circumstance that her mind had, naturally enough, 
been dwelling on its cause. It is probable that the very 
accidental manner of my evasion, which precluded the 
attaching of suspicious facts to what had really occurred, 
favoured Lowiny on this occasion ; it being impossible that 
she should be suspected from anything of that character. 

" Who s talkin or thinkin now of young Littlepage, at 
all," returned Thousandacres a little angrily. " I ask if 
you know anything of Chainbearer s niece one Dus Mal 
bone, or Malcome?" 

"I do know suthin of her, father," answered Lowiny, 
willing enough to betray one the lesser of her secrets, in 
order to conceal the other, which, on all accounts, was much 
the most important ; " though I never laid eyes on her till 
to-day. Zeph has often talked to me of the gal that carried 
chain with her uncle for a whull month ; and he has a notion 
to marry her if he can get her." 

" Never laid eyes on her till to-day ! Whereabouts have 
you laid eyes on her to-day, gal ? Is all creation comin in 



320 THE CHAINBEARER. 

upon my clearin at once? Whereabouts have you seen 
this gal to-day 1" 

" She come to the edge of the clearin with her uncle, 
and" 

" Well, what next ? Why don t you go on, Lowiny ?" 

I could have told Thousandacres why his daughter hesi 
tated ; but the girl got out of the scrape by her own pre 
sence of mind and ingenuity, a little aided, perhaps, by 
some practice in sins of the sort. 

"Why, I went a berryin this forenoon, and up ag in the 
berry lot, just in the edge of the woods, I saw a young 
woman, and that was the Malbone gal. So we talked to 
gether, and she told me all about it. She s waitin for her 
uncle to come back." 

" So, so ; this is news indeed, b ys ! Do you know where 
the gal is now, Lowiny ?" 

" Not just now, for she told me she should go deeper into 
the woods, lest she should be seen ; but an hour afore sun 
down she s to come to the foot of the great chestnut, just 
ag in the berry lot ; and I promised to meet her, and either 
bring her in to sleep in one of our housen, or to carry her 
out suthin for supper, and to make a bed on." 

This was said frankly, and with the feeling and sympathy 
that females are apt to manifest in behalf of each other. It 
was evident Lowiny s audience believed every word she had 
said ; and the old man, in particular, determined at once to 
act. I heard him move from his seat, and his voice sounded 
like one who was retiring, as he said : 

" Tobit b ys come with me, and we II have one more 
look for this young chap through the lumber and the housen. 
It may be that he s stolen in there while our eyes have been 
turned another way. Lowiny, you needn t come with us, 
for the flutterin way of you gals don t do no good in sich a 
s arch." 

I waited until the last heavy footstep was inaudible, and 
then ventured to move far enough on my hands, to find a 
crack that I had purposely left, with a view to take through 
it an occasional look below. On the log which her father 
had just left, Lowiny had seated herself. Her eye was 
roaming over the upper part of the mill, as if in quest of 
roe. At length she said, in a suppressed voice, 



THE CHAINBEARER. 321 

" Be you here, still? Father and the b ys can t hear us 
now, if you speak low." 

" I am here, good Lowiny, thanks to your friendly kind 
ness, and have overheard all that passed. You saw Ursula 
Malbone, and gave her my note T 

" As true as you are there, I did ; and she read it over 
so often, I guess she must know it by heart." 

" But, what did she say 1 Had she no message for her 
uncle no answer to what I had written ?" 

" Oh ! she d enough to say gals love to talk, you know, 
when they get with one another, and Dus and I talked to 
gether half an hour, or longer. She d plenty to say, 
though it wunt do for me to sit here and tell it to you, lest 
somebody wonder I stay so long in the mill." 

" You can tell me if she sent any message, or answer to 
my note?" 

" She never breathed a syllable about what you d writ. 
I warrant you she s close-mouthed enough, when she gets 
a line from a young man. Do you think her so desp rate 
handsome as Zeph says she is ?" 

This boded ill, but it was a question that it was politic to 
answer, and to answer with some little discretion. If I lost 
the services of Lowiny, my main stay was gone. 

" She is well enough to look at, but I ve seen quite as 
handsome young women, lately. But handsome or not, 
she is one of your own sex, and is not to be deserted in her 
trouble." 

" Yes, indeed," answered Lowiny, with an expression of 
countenance that told me at once, the better feelings of her 
sex had all returned again, " and I ll not desart her, though 
father drive me out of the settlement. I am tired of all this 
squatting, and think folks ought to live as much in one spot 
as they can. What s best to be done about Dus Malbone 
perhaps she d like well enough to marry Zeph ?" 

" Did you see, or hear, any thing while with her, to 
make you think so? I am anxious to know what she 
said." 

" La ! She said sights of things ; but most of her talk 
was about old Chainbearer. She never named your name 
so much as once !" 

"Did she name Zephaniah s? I make no doubt that 



322 THE CHAINBEARER. 

anxiety on account of her uncle was her chief care. What 
are her intentions, and will she remain near that tree until 
you come ?" 

" She stays under a rock not a great way from the tree, 
and there she ll stay till I go to meet her, at the chestnut. 
We had our talk under that rock, and it s easy enough to 
find. her there." 

" How do things look, aflround us ? Might I descend, slip 
down into the bed of the river, and go round to Dus Mai- 
bone, so as to give her notice of the danger she is in ?" 

Lowiny did not answer me for near a minute, and I 
began to fear that I had put another indiscreet question. 
The girl seemed thoughtful, but when she raised her face 
so high as to allow me to see it, all the expression of the 
more generous feminine sympathy was visible. 

" 5 T would be hard to make Dus have Zeph, if she don t 
like him, wouldn t it !" she said with emphasis. " I don t 
know but t would be better to let her know what s coming, 
so that she can choose for herself." 

" She told me," I answered, with perfect truth, " that she 
is engaged to another, and it would be worse than cruel 
it would be wicked, to make her marry one man, while she 
loves another." 

" She shan t do t !" cried the girl, with an animation 
that I thought dangerous. But she gave me no opportunity 
for remonstrance, as, all her energies being aroused, she 
went to work in earnest to put me in the way of doing 
what I most desired to achieve. 

" D ye see the lower corner of the mill," she continued, 
hurriedly. " That post goes down to the rock over which 
the water falls. You can walk to that corner without any 
danger of being seen, as the ruff hides you, and when you 
get there, you can wait till I tell you to get on the post. 
Twill be easy to slide down that post to the rock, and 
there ll be not much of a chance of being seen, as the post 
will nearly hide you. When you re on the rock, you 11 
find a path that leads along the creek till you come to a 
foot-bridge. If you cross that log, and take the left-hand 
path, twill bring you out near the edge of the clearin , up 
on the hill again, and then you 11 have only to follow the 
edge of the woods a little way, afore you come to the 



THE CHAINBEARER. 323 

The rock is right off, ag in the chestnut, only 
about fifty rods." 

I took in these directions eagerly, and was at the post 
almost as soon as the girl ceased speaking. In order to do 
this I had only to walk on the boards that lay scattered 
about on the girts of the mill, the roof completely conceal 
ing the movement from any on its outside. I made my ar 
rangements, and only waited for a signal, or the direction 
from Lowiny, to proceed. 

" Not yet," said the girl, looking down and affecting to 
be occupied with something near her feet. " Father and 
Tobit are walkin this way, and lookin right at the mill. 
Now get ready they ve turned their heads, and seem as 
if they d turn round themselves next. They ve turned 
away ag in ; wait one moment now s a good time don t 
go away altogether without my seein you once more." 

I heard these last words, but it was while sliding down 
the post. Just as my head came so low as to be in a line 
with the objects scattered about the floor of the mill, I clung 
to the post to catch one glimpse of what was going on with 
out. Thousandacres and Tobit were about a hundred yards 
distant, walking apart from the group of young men, and 
apparently in deep consultation together. It was quite evi 
dent no alarm was taken, and down I slid to the rock. At 
the next moment I was in the path, descending to the foot 
bridge, a tree that had been felled across the stream. Until 
that tree was crossed, and a slight distance of the ascent on 
the other side of the stream, along the left-hand path, was 
overcome, I was completely exposed lo the observation of 
any one who might be in a situation to look down into the 
glen of the river. At almost any other moment, at that par 
ticular season, my discovery would have been nearly cer 
tain, as some of the men or boys were always at work in 
the water ; but the events of that morning called them else 
where, and I made the critical passage, a distance of two 
hundred yards, or more, in safety. As soon* as I entered 
behind a cover, my speed abated, and, having risen again 
to the level of the dwellings, or even a little above them, I 
profited by openings among the small pine bushes that 
fringed the path, to take a survey of the state of things 
among the squatters. 



324 THE CHAINBEARER. 

There the cluster of heavy, lounging young me*i 
Thousandacres and Tobit walking apart, as when last seen. 
Prudence was at the door of a distant cabin, surrounded, as 
usual, by a collection of the young fry, and conversing her 
self, eagerly, with the wives of two or three of her married 
sons. Lowiny had left the mill, and was strolling along 
the opposite side of the glen, so near the verge of the rocks 
as to have enabled her to see the whole of my passage 
across the open space. Perceiving that she was quite alone, 
I ventured to hem just loud enough to reach her ear. A 
hurried, frightened gesture, assured me that I had been 
heard, and, first making a gesture for me to go forward, the 
girl turned away, and went skipping off towards the cluster 
of females who surrounded her mother. 

As for myself, I now thought only of Dus. What cared 
I if she did love another? A girl of her education, man 
ners, sentiments, birth and character, was not to be sacri 
ficed to one like Zephaniah, let what might happen ; and, 
could I reach her place of concealment in time, she might 
still be saved. These thoughts fairly winged my flight, and 
I soon came in sight of the chestnut. Three minutes later 
I laid a hand on the trunk of the tree itself. As 1 had been 
a quarter of an hour, at least, in making the circuit of that 
side of the clearing, some material change might have oc 
curred among the squatters, and I determined to advance to 
the edge of the bushes, in Lowiny s " berry lot," which 
completely screened the spot, and ascertain the facts, before 
I sought Dus at her rock. 

The result showed that some measures had been decided 
on between Thousandacres and Tobit. Not one of the 
males, a,lad that stood sentinel at the store-house, and a 
few of the smaller boys excepted, was to be seen. I ex 
amined all the visible points with care, but no one was visi 
ble. Even Susquesus, who had been lounging about the 
whole day, or since his liberation, had vanished. Prudence 
and her daughters, too, were in a great commotion, hurry 
ing from cabin to cabin, and manifesting all that restlessness 
which usually denotes excitement among females. I stopped 
but a moment to ascertain these leading circumstances, and 
turned to seek the rock. While retiring from among the 
bushes, I heard the fallen branch of a tree snap under a 



THE CHAINBEARER. 

heavy footstep, and looking cautiously around, saw Jaaf, or 
Jaap as we commonly called him, advancing towards me,. 
carrying a rifle on each shoulder. 

" Heaven s blessings on you, my faithful Jaap !" I cried, 
holding out an arm to receive one of the weapons. " You 
come at a most happy moment, and can lead me to Miss 
Malbone." 

" Yes, sah, and glad to do it, too. Miss Dus up here, a 
bit, in e wood, and can werry soon see her. She keep me 
down here to look out, and I carry bot rifle, Masser Chain- 
bearer s and my own, cause Miss Dus no great hand wid 
gun-powder. But, where you cum from, Masser Mor- 
daunt? and why you run away so, in night-time?" 

" Never mind just now, Jaap in proper time you shall 
know all about it. Now, we must take care of Miss Ursula. 
Is she uneasy? has she shown any fear on her uncle s 
account?" 

" She cry half e time, sah Den she look up bold, and 
resolute, just like ole Masser, sah, when he tell he rijjement 
* charge baggonet, and seem as if she want to go right into 
T ousandacres huts. Lor bless me, sah, Masser Mordaunt 
if she ask me one question about you to-day, she ask me 
a hundred!" 

"About me, Jaap !" But I arrested the impulsive feeling 
in good time, so as not to be guilty of pumping my own 
servant concerning what others had said of me ; a mean 
ness I could not easily have pardoned in myself. But I 
increased my speed, and, having Jaap for my guide, was 
soon at the side of Dus. The negro had no sooner pointed 
out to me the object of my search, than he had the discre 
tion to return to the edge of the clearing, carrying with 
him both rifles ; for I returned to him the one I had taken, 
in my eagerness to hurry forward, the instant I beheld 
Dus. 

I can never forget the look with which that frank, noble- 
hearted girl received me ! It almost led me to hope that my 
ears had deceived me, and that, after all, I was an object 
of the highest interest with her. A few tears, half-sup 
pressed, but suppressed with difficulty, accompanied that 
look ; and I had the happiness of holding for some time 
28 



326 THE CHAINBEARER. 

and of pressing to my heart, that little hand that was freely 
nay, warmly extended to me. 

" Let us quit this spot at once, dearest Ursula," I cried, 
the moment I could speak. " It is not safe to remain near 
that family of wretches, who live by depredation and vio 
lence." 

"And leave uncle Chainbearer in their hands !" answered 
Dus, reproachfu-lly. " Fow, surely, would not advise me to 
do that !" 

" If your own safety demands it, yes a thousand times, 
yes. We must fly, and there is not a moment to lose. A 
design exists among those wretches to seize you, and to 
make use of your fears to secure the aid of your uncle in 
extricating them from the consequences of this discovery 
of their robberies. It is not safe, I repeat, for you to re 
main a minute longer here." 

The smile that Dus now bestowed on me was very sweet, 
though I found it inexplicable ; for it had as much of pain 
and suffering in it, as it had of that which was winning. 

" Mordaunt Littlepage, have you forgotten the words 
spoken by me when we last parted ?" she asked, seriously. 

" Forgotten ! I can never forget them ! They drove me 
nearly to despair, and were the cause of bringing us all 
into this difficulty." 

" I told you that my faith was already plighted that I 
could not accept your noble, frank, generous, manly offer, 
because another had my troth." 

" You did you did Why renew my misery " 

" It is with a different object that I am now more explicit 
That man to whom I am pledged is in those huts, and I 
cannot desert him." 

" Can I believe my senses ! Do you can you is it 
possible that one like Ursula Malbone can love Zephaniah 
Thousandacres a squatter himself, and the son of a 
squatter ?" 

The look with which Dus regarded me, said at once that 
her astonishment was quite as great as my own. I could 
have bitten off my hasty and indiscreet tongue, the instant 
it had spoken ; and I am sure the rush of tell-tale blood in 
my face must have proclaimed to my companion that I felt 



THE CHAINBEARER. 327 

most thoroughly ashamed of myself. This feeling was 
deepened nearly to despair, when I saw the expression of 
abased mortification that came over the sweet and usually 
happy countenance of Dus, and the difficulty she had in 
suppressing her tears. 

Neither spoke for a minute, when my companion broke 
silence by saying steadily I might almost add solemnly 

" This, indeed, shows how low my fortune has become ! 
But I pardon you, Mordaunt ; for, humble as that fortune 
is, you have spoken nobly and frankly in my behalf, and I 
exonerate you from any feeling that is not perfectly natural 
for the circumstances. Perhaps" and a bright blush suf 
fused the countenance of Dus as she said it " Perhaps I 
may attribute the great mistake into which you have fallen 
to a passion that is most apt to accompany strong love, and 
insomuch prize it, instead of throwing it away with con 
tempt. But, between you and me, whatever comes of it, 
there must be no more mistakes. The man to whom my 
faith is plighted, and to whom my time and services are 
devoted, so long as one or both of us live, is uncle Chain- 
bearer, and no other. Had you not rushed from me in the 
manner you did, I might have told you this, Mordaunt, the 
evening you were showing so much noble frankness your 
self." 

" Dus ! Ursula ! beloved Miss Malbone, have I then no 
preferred rival?" 

" No man has ever spoken to me of love, but this uncouth 
and rude young squatter, and yourself." 

" Is your heart then untouched ? Are you still mistress 
of your own affections ?" 

The look I now received from Dus was a little saucy ; 
but that expression soon changed to one that had more of 
the deep feeling and generous sympathy of her precious sex 
in it. 

" Were I to answer * yes, many women would think I 
was being no more than true to the rights of a girl who has 
been so unceremoniously treated ; but " 

" But what, charming, most beloved Ursula ? But what ? 

" I prefer truth to coquetry, and shall not attempt to deny 
what it would almost be treason against nature to suppose. 
How could a girl, educated as I have been, without any 



328 THE CHAINBEARER. 

preference to tie her to another, be shut up in this forest 
with a man who has treated her with so much kindness and 
devotion, and manly tenderness, and insensible to his merits ? 
Were we in the world, Mordaunt, I think I should prefer 
you to all others ; being, as we are, in this forest, I know I 
do." 

The reader shall not be let into the sacred confidence that 
followed; any further, at least, than to know the main 
result. A quarter of an hour passed so swiftly, and so 
sweetly, indeed, that I could hardly take it on myself to 
record one-half that was said. Dus made no longer any 
hesitation in declaring her attachment for me ; and, though 
she urged her own poverty as a just obstacle to my wishes, 
it was faintly, as most Americans of either sex would do. 
In this particular, at least, we may fairly boast of a just 
superiority over all the countries of the old world. While 
it is scarcely possible that either man or woman should not 
see how grave a barrier to wedded happiness is interposed 
by the opinions and habits of social castes, it is seldom that 
any one, in his or her own proper sphere, feels that the 
want of money is an insurmountable obstacle to a union 
more especially when one of the parties is provided with the 
means of maintaining the household gods. The seniors 
may, and do often have scruples on this score; but the 
young people rarely. Dus and myself were in the com 
plete enjoyment of this happy simplicity, with my arms 
around her waist, and her head leaning on my shoulder, 
when I was aroused from a state that I fancied Elysium, by 
the hoarse, raven-throated cry of 

" Here she is ! Here she is, father ! Here they are 
both!" 

On springing forward to face the intruders, I saw Tobit 
and Zephaniah directly before me, with Lowiny standing at 
no great distance behind them. The first looked ferocious, 
the second jealous and angry, the third abashed and morti 
fied. In another minute we were surrounded by Thousand- 
acres, and all the males of his brood. 



THE CHAINBEABBB 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

M My love is young but other loves are young ; 
And other loves are fair, and so is mine ; 
An air divine discloses whence he sprung ; 
He is my love who boasts that air divine." 

SHENSTONE. 

A MORE rude and violent interruption of a scene in which 
the more gentle qualities love to show themselves, never oc 
curred. I, who knew the whole of the past, saw at once 
that we had very serious prospects before us; but Dus at 
first felt only the consciousness and embarrassment of a 
woman, who has betrayed her most sacred secret to vulgar 
eyes. That very passion, which a month later, and after 
the exchange of the marriage vows, it would have been her 
glory to exhibit in face of the whole community, on the oc 
currence of any event of moment to myself, she now shrunk 
from revealing; and I do believe that maiden bashfulness 
gave her more pain, when thus arrested, than any other 
cause. As for the squatters, she probably had no very clear 
conceptions of their true characters ; and it was one of her 
liveliest wishes to be able to join her uncle. But, Thousand- 
acres soon gave us both cause to comprehend how much he 
was now in earnest. 

" So, my young major, you re catched in the same nest, 
be you ! You Ve your ch ise to walk peaceably back where 
you belong, or to be tied and carried there like a buck that 
has been killed a little out in the woods. You never know d 
Thousandacres and his race, if you raally thought to slip 
away from him, and that with twenty miles of woods around 
you ! 

I intimated a wish not to be tied, and professed a perfect 
willingness to accompany my captors back to their dwellings; 
for, nothing would have tempted me to desert Dus, under 
the circumstances. The squatters might have declared the 
road open to me, but the needle does not point more imerr- 
28* 



330 THE CHAINBEARER. 

ingly to the pole than I should have followed my magnet, 
though at liberty. 

Little more was said until we had quitted the woods, and 
had reached the open fields of the clearing. I was permitted 
to assist my companion through the bushes, and in climbing 
a fence or two ; the squatters, who were armed to a man, 
forming a circle around us, at a distance that enabled me to 
whisper a few words to Dus, in the way of encouragement. 
She had great natural intrepidity for a woman, and I be 
lieve I ought to escape the imputation of vanity, if I add 
that we both felt so happy at the explanations which had so 
lately been had, that this new calamity could not entirely 
depress us, so long as we were not separated. 

" Be not downhearted, dearest Dus," I whispered, as wo 
approached the store-house ; " after all, these wretches will 
not dare to transgress against the law, very far." 

" I have few fears, with you and uncle Chainbearer so 
near me, Mordaunt," was her smiling answer. " It cannot 
be long before we hear from Frank, who is gone, as you 
must have been told, to Ravensnest, for authority and assist 
ance. He left our huts at the same time we, left them to 
come here, and must be on his return long before this." 

I squeezed the hand of the dear girl, receiving a gentle 
pressure in return, and prepared myself to be separated 
from her, as I took it for granted that Prudence and her 
daughters would hold watch and ward over the female pri 
soner. I had hesitated, ever since quitting the woods, about 
giving her notice of the trial that probably awaited her ; but, 
as no attempt to coerce a marriage could be made until the 
magistrate arrived, I thought it would be rendering her un 
necessarily unhappy. The trial, if it did come at all, would 
come soon enough of itself; and I had no apprehension that 
one of Dus s spirit and character, and who had so recently 
and frankly admitted that her whole heart was mine, could 
be frightened into a concession that would give Zephaniah 
any claim to her. To own the truth, a mountain had been 
removed from my own breast, and I^was too happy on this 
particular account, to be rendered very miserable on any 
other, just a*: that time. I do believe Dus was a little sus 
tained by some similar sentiment. 

Dus and I parted at the door of the first house, she being 



THE CHAINBEARER. 331 

transferred to the keeping of Tobit s wife, a woman who 
was well bestowed on her brutal and selfish husband. No 
violence was used, however, towards the prisoner, who was 
permitted to go at large ; though I observed that one or two 
of the females attached themselves to her person imme 
diately, no doubt as her keepers. 

In consequence of our having approached the dwelling of 
the squatters by a new path, Chainbearer knew nothing of 
the arrest of his niece, until the fact was communicated by 
me. He was not even aware of my being retaken, until he 
saw me about to enter the prison again ; though he probably 
anticipated that such might be my fate. As for Susquesus, 
he seldom manifested surprise or emotion of any sort, let 
what would occur. 

" Well, Mortaunt, my lat, I knowet you had vanishet, py 
hook or py crook, ant nopoty knowet how ; put I t ought 
you woult fint it hart to t row t ese rascally squatters off 
your trail," cried Andries, giving me a hearty shake of the 
hand as I entered the prison. " Here we are, all free of 
us, ag in ; ant it s lucky we re such goot frients, as our 
quarters are none of t e largest or pest. The Injin fount I 
was alone, so he took pack his parole, ant ist a close pri 
soner like t e rest of us, put in one sense a free man. You 
can tig up t e hatchet ag in t ese squatters whenever you 
please now; is it not so, Sureflint?" 

" Sartain truce done Susquesus prisoner like every 
body. Give T ousandacres p role back ag in Injin free 
man, now." 

I understood the Onondago s meaning well enough, though 
his freedom was of a somewhat questionable character. He 
merely wished to say that, having given himself up to the 
squatters, he was released from the conditions of his parole, 
and was at liberty to make his escape, or to wage war on his 
captors in any manner he saw fit. Luckily Jaap had es 
caped, for I could see no signs of even his presence being 
known to Thousandacres or to his sons. It was something 
to have so practised a woodsman and so true a friend still 
at large, and near us; and the information he could impart, 
should he fall in with Frank Malbone, with the constable and 
the posse, might be of the utmost service to us. All these 
points Chainbearer and I discussed at large, the Indian sit- 



332 THE CHAINBEARER. 

ting by, an attentive but a silent listener. It was our joint 
opinion that Malbone could not now be verv far distant with 
succour. What would be the effect of an attack on the 
squatters it was not easy to predict, since the last might 
make battle ; and, small as was their force, it would be likely 
to prove very available in a struggle of that nature. The 
females of such a family were little less efficient than the 
males, when posted behind logs ; and there were a hundred 
things in which their habits, experience, and boldness might 
be made to tell, should matters be pushed to extremities. 

" Got knows Got only knows, Mortaunt, what will come 
of it all," rejoined Chainbearer to one of my remarks, puff 
ing coolly at his pipe at intervals, in order to secure the fire 
he had just applied to it. " Nut in is more unsartain t an 
war, as Sus, here, fery well knows py long experience, ant 
as you ought to know yourself, my poy, hafin seen sarfice, 
ant warm sarfice, too. Shoult Frank Malpone make a 
charge on t is settlement, as, pein an olt soltier, he will pe 
fery likely to do, we must make efery effort to fall in on one 
of his flanks, in orter to cover t e atvance or t e retreat, as 
may happen to pe t e movement at t e time." 

" I trust it will be the advance, as Malbone does not strike 
me as a man likely to retreat very easily. But, are we 
certain Squire Newcome will grant the warrant he will ask 
for, being in such close communion himself with these 
squatters ?" 

" I haf t ought of all t at, too, Mortaunt, ant t ere is goot 
sense in it. I t ink he will at least sent wort to T ousant- 
acres, to let him know what is comin , ant make as many 
telays as possiple. T e law is a lazy sarfant when it wishes 
to pe slow ; ant many is t e rogue t at hast outrun it, when 
t e race hast peen to safe a pack or a fine. Nefert eless, 
Mortaunt, t e man who is right fights wit great otts in his 
fafor, ant is fery apt to come out pest in t e long run. It is 
a great atvantage to pe always right ; a trut I ve known 
ant felt from poyhoot, put which hast peen mate more ant 
more clear to me since t e peace, ant I haf come pack to lif 
wit Dus. T at gal hast teachet me much on all such mat 
ters ; ant it woult do your heart goot to see her alone wit 
an olt ignorant man in t e woots, of a Suntay, a tryin to 
teach him his piple, ant how he ought to lofe ant fear Got !" 



THE CHAINBEARER. 333 

" Does Dus do this for you, my old friend ? Does that 
admirable creature really take on herself this solemn office 
of duty and love ! Much as I admired and esteemed her 
before, for her reverence and affection for you, Chainbearer, 
I now admire and esteem her the more, for this proof of her 
most true and deep-seated interest in your welfare." 

" I 11 tell you what, poy Dus is petter ast twenty tomi- 
nies to call a stupporn olt fellow, fat has got a conscience 
toughenet ant hartenet by lifin t reescore years ant ten in 
t e worlt, pack from his wicketness into t e ways of gotliness 
and peace. You re young, Mortaunt, and haf not yet got 
out of t e gristle of sin into t e pone, ant can hartly know 
how strong ist t e holt t at hapit and t e worlt gets of an olt 
man ; put I hope you may lif long enough to see it all, ant 
to feel it all." I did not even srnile, for the child-like 
earnestness, and the sincere simplicity with which Andries 
delivered himself of this wish, concealed its absurdity be 
hind a veil of truth and feeling too respectable to admit of a 
single disrespectful impulse. " Ant t at is t e worst wish I 
can wish you, my tear poy. You know how it hast peen 
wit me, Mortaunt ; a chainpearer s callin is none of t e pest 
to teach religion ; which toes not seem to flourish in t e 
woots ; t ough why I cannot tell ; since, as Dus has ag in 
ant ag in shown to me, Got is in t e trees, ant on t e moun 
tains, ant along t e valleys, ant is to pe hearet in t e prooks 
ant t e rifers, as much if not more t an he ist to pe hearet 
ant seen in t e clearin s ant t e towns. Put my life was not 
a religious life afore t e war, ant war is not a pusiness to 
make a man t ink of deat as he ought ; t ough he hast it 
tay and night, as it might pe, afore his eyes." 

" And Dus, the excellent, frank, buoyant, sincere, wo 
manly and charming Dus, adds these admirable qualities to 
other merits, does she ! I knew she had a profound senti 
ment on the subject of religion, Chainbearer, though I did 
not know she took so very lively an interest in the welfare 
of those she loves, in connection with that all-important 
interest." 

" You may well call t e gal py all t em fine worts, Mor 
taunt, for she desarfs efery one of t em, ant more too. No 
no Dus isn t known in a tay. A poty may lif in t e 
same house wit her, ant see her smilin face, ant hear her 



334 THE CHAINBEARER. 

merry song, mont s ant mont s, ant not 1 arn all t at t ere ist 
of gotliness, ant meekness, ant virtue, ant love, ant piety, in 
t e pottom of her soul. One tay you 11 t ink well of bus, 
Mortaunt Littlepa^e." 

" I ! Tell me That I shall think well of Ursula Malbone, 
the girl that I almost worship ! -Think well of her whom I 
now love with an intensity that I did not imagine was pos 
sible, three months since ! Think well of her who fills all 
my waking, and not a few of my sleeping thoughts of 
whom I dream to whom I am betrothed who has heard 
my vows with favour, and has cheerfully promised, all 
parties that are interested consenting, to become at some 
early day my wife /" 

Old Andries heard my energetic exclamation with aston 
ishment ; and even the Indian turned his head to look on 
me with a gratified attention. Perceiving that I had gone so 
far, under an impulse I had found irresistible, I felt the ne 
cessity of being still more explicit, and of communicating all 
I had to say on the subject. 

" Yes," I added, grasping old Andries by the hand 
" Yes, Chainbearer, I shall comply with your often-expressed 
wishes. Again and again have you recommended your 
lovely niece to me as a wife, and I come now to take you 
at your word, and to say that nothing will make me so 
happy as to be able to call you uncle." 

To my surprise, Chainbearer expressed no delight at this 
announcement. I remarked that he had said nothing to me 
on his favourite old subject of my marrying his niece, since 
my arrival at the Nest ; and now, when I was not only so 
ready, but so anxious to meet his wishes, I could plainly 
see that he drew back from my proposals, and wished they 
had not been made. Amazed, I waited for him to speak 
with a disappointment and uneasiness I cannot express. 

" Mortaunt ! Mortaunt !" at length broke out of the old 
man s very heart " I wish to Heafen you hat nefer sait 
t is ! I lofe you, poy, almost as much as I lofe Dus, herself; 
put it griefs me it griefs me to hear you talk of marryin 
t e gal !" 

" You grieve, as much as you astonish me, Chainbearer, 
by making such a remark ! How often have you, yourself 
expressed to me the wish that I might become acquainted 



THE CHAINBEARER. 335 

with your niece, and love her, and marry her ! Now, when 
I have seen her when I have become acquainted with her 
when I love her to my heart s core, and wish to make her 
my wife, you meet my proposals as if they were unworthy 
of you and yours !" 

" Not so, lat not so. Nut in would make me so happy 
as to see you t e huspant of Dus, supposin it coult come to 
pass, ant wrong pe tone to no one ; put it cannot pe so. I 
tid talk as you say, ant a foolish, selfish, conceitet olt man 
I wast for my pains. I wast t en in t e army, ant we wast 
captains alike; ant I wast t e senior captain, and might 
orter you apout, ant tid orter you apout ; ant I wore an 
epaulette, like any ot er captain, and hat my grantfat er s 
swort at my site, ant t ought we wast equals, ant t at it wast 
an honour to marry my niece ; put all t is wast changet, lat, 
when I came into t e woots ag in, ant took up my chain, ant 
pegan to lif, ant to work, ant to feel poor, ant to see myself 
as I am. No no Mortaunt Littlepage, t e owner of 
Ravensnest, ant t e heir of Mooseritge, ant of Satanstoe, ant 
of Lilacsbush, ant of all t e fine houses, ant stores, ant farms 
t at are in York ant up ant town t e country, is not a suitaple 
match for Dus Malbone !" 

" This is so extraordinary a notion for you to take up, 
Chainbearer, and so totally opposed to all I have ever before 
heard from you on the subject, that I must be permitted to 
ask where you got it ?" 

" From Dus Malbone, herself yes, from her own mout , 
ant in her own pretty manner of speech." 

" Has, then, the probability of my ever offering to your 
niece been a subject of conversation between you ?" 

" T at hast it t at hast it, ant time ant ag in, too. Sit 
town on t at log of woot, ant listen to what I haf to say, ant 
I will tell you t e whole story. Susquesus, you neetn t go 
off into t at corner, like a gentleman as you pe ; t ough it is 
only an Injin gentleman; for I haf no secrets from such a 
frient as yourself. Come pack, t en, Injin, ant take your 
olt place, close at my site, where you haf so often peen 
when t e inemy wast chargin us poltly in front." Sureflint 
quietly did as desired, while Chainbearer turned towards me 
and continued the discourse. "You wilt see, Mortaunt, 
poy, t ese here are t e fery facts ant trut of t e case. When 



336 THE CHAINBEARER. 

I came first from camp, ant I wast full of the prife, ant 
aut ority, ant feelin s of a soltier, I pegan to talk to Dug 
apout you, as I hat peen accustomet to talk to you apout 
Dus. Ant I tolt her what a fine, bolt, hantsome, generous, 
well-principlet young fellow you wast," the reader will 
overlook my repeating that to which the partiality of the 
Chainbearer so readily gave utterance " ant I tolt her of 
your sarfice in t e wars, ant of your wit, ant how you mate 
us all laugh, t ough we might pe marchin into pattle, ant 
what a fat er you hat, ant what a grantfat er, ant all t at a 
goot ant a warm frient ought to say of anot er, when it wast 
true, ant when it was tolt to a hantsome ant heart-whole 
young woman t at he wishet to fall in love wit t at fery 
same frient. Well, I tolt t is to Dus, riot once, Mortaunt ; 
nor twice ; put twenty times, you may depent on it." 

" Which makes me the more curious to hear what Dug 
could, or did say in reply." 

" It s t at reply, lat, t at makes all t e present tifficulty 
petween us. For a long time Dus sait little or not in . 
Sometimes she woult look saucy ant laugh ant you know, 
lat, t e gal can do bot of t em t ings as well as most young 
women. Sometimes she woult pegin to sing a song, all 
about fait less young men, perhaps, ant proken-hearted vir 
gins. Sometimes she woult look sorrowful, ant I coult fint 
tears startin in her eyes ; ant t en I pecome as soft and 
feeple-hearted as a gal, myself, to see one who smiles so 
easily mate to shet tears." 

" But, how did all this end ? What can possibly have 
occurred, to cause this great change in your own wishes ?" 

" Tis not so much my wishes t at be changet, Mortaunt, 
ast my opinion. If a poty coult haf t ings just as he wishet, 
lat, Dus ant you shoult pe man and wife, so far as it tepentet 
on me, pefore t e week ist out. Put, we are not our own 
masters, nor t e masters of what ist to happen to our ne 
phews and nieces, any more t an we are masters of what 
ist to happen to ourselves. . Put, I wilt tell you just how it 
happenet. One tay, as I wast talking to t e gal in t e olt 
way, she listenet to all I hat to say more seriously t an ast 
common, ant when she answeret, it wast much in t is man 
ner: I t enk you from t e pottom of my heart, uncle 
/ she sait, * not only for all t at you haf tone for 



THE CHAINBEARER. 337 

ine, t e orphan da ghter of your sister, put for all you wish 
in my pehalf. I perceive t at t is itee of my marryin your 
young frient, Mr. Mortaunt Littlepage, hast a strong holt on 
your feelin s, ant it ist time to talk seriously on t at supject. 
When you associatet with t at young gentleman, uncle Chain- 
pearer, you wast captain Coejemans, of t e New York state 
line, ant his senior officer, ant it wast nat ral to s pose your 
niece fit to pecome his wife. Put it ist our tuly to look at 
what we now are, ant are likely to remain. Major Little- 
page hast a fa ter ant a mot er, I haf he rt you say, uncle 
Chainpearer, ant sisters, too ; now marriage ist a most seri 
ous t ing. It ist to last for life, ant no one shoult form sich 
a connection wit out reflectin on all its pearin s. It ist 
hartly possiple t at people in t e prosperity ant happiness of 
t ese Littlepages woult wish to see an only son, ant t e heir 
of t eir name ant estates, takin for a wife a gal out of t e 
wools ; one t at ist not only a chainpearer s niece, put who 
hast peen a chainpearer herself, ant who can pring into t eir 
family no one t ing to compensate em for t e sacrifice." 

" And you had the heart to be quiet, Andries, and let 
Ursula say all this !" 

" Ah ! lat, how coult I help it? You woult have tone it 
yourself, Mortaunt, coult you haf he rt how prettily she 
turnet her periots, as I haf he rt you call it, ant how efery 
syllaple she sait come from t e heart. T en t e face of t e 
gal wast enough to convince me t at she wast right ; she 
looket so arnest, ant sat, and peautiful, Mortaunt ! No, 
no ; when an itee comes into t e mint, wit t e ait of sich 
worts and looks, my poy, tis not an easy matter to get rit 
of- it." 

" You do not seriously mean to say, Chainbearer, that 
vou will refuse me Dus ?" 

" Dus will do t at herself, lat ; for she ist still a chain- 
pearer s niece, ant you are still general Littlepage s son ant 
heir. Try her, ant see what she wilt say." 

" But I have tried her, as you call it ; have told her of 
my love ; have offered my hand, and " 

"Ant what?" 
Why she does not answer me as you say she answered 



you." 



00 



338 THE CHAINBEARER. 

* Hast t e gal salt she woult haf you, Mortaunt ? Hasl 
she said yes ?" 

" Conditionally she has. If my grandmother cheerfully 
consent, and my parents do the same ; and my sister Ket- 
tletas and her husband, and my laughing, merry Kate, then 
Dus will accept me." 

" T is ist strange ! Ah ! I see how it is ; fe gal has seen 
you, ant peen much wit you, ant talket wit you, ant sung 
wit you, ant laughet wit you ; ant I do s pose, a ter all, Cat 
will make a tifference in her judgment of you. I m a pach- 
elor, Mortaunt, ant haf no wife, nor any sweetheart, put it 
ist easy enough to comprehent how all t ese matters must 
make a fery great tifFerence. I m glat, howsefer, t at t e 
tifference is not so great as to make t e gal forget all your 
frients ; for if efery poty consents, and ist cheerful, why 
t en my pein a chainbearer, and Dus pein so poor ant for 
saken like, will not pe so likely to pe rememperet hereafter, 
and pring you pitter t oughts." 

"Andries Coejemans, I swear to you, I would rather 
become your nephew at this moment, than become the son- 
in-law of Washington himself, had he a daughter." 

" T at means you d rat er haf Dus, fan any ot er gal of 
your acquaintance. T at s nat ral enough, and may make 
me look like His Excellency, for a time, in your eyes ; put 
when you come to t ink and feel more coolly, my tear poy, 
t ere ist t e tanger t at you wilt see some tifTerence petween 
t e captain-general and commanter-in-chief of all t e Ame 
rican armies, ant a poor chainpearer, who in his pest lays 
was nut in more t an a captain in t e New York line. I 
know you lofe me, Mordaunt ; put t ere ist tanger t at it 
might not pe exactly an uncle and nephew s lofe in t e long 
run. I am only a poor Tutchman, when all is sait, wit out 
much etication, and wit no money, and not much more 
manners; while you ve peen to college, and pe college 
1 arn t, and pe as gay ant gallant a spark as can pe fount In 
t e States, as we call t e olt colonies now. Wast you a 
Yankee, Mortaunt, I d see you marriet and unmarriet 
twenty times, pefore I d own as much as t is ; put a man 
may pe sensiple of his ignorance, ant pat etication, ant 
weaknesses, wit out wishin to pe tolt of it to his face, and 
laughed at apout it, py efery ABC scholar t at comes out 



THE CIIAINBEARER. 

of New Englant. No, no I m a poor Tutchman, I know ; 
and a potty may say as much to a frient, when he woult tie 
pefore he woult own t ere wast anyt ing poor apout it to an 
inimy." 

" I would gladly pursue this discourse, Andries, and bring 
it to a happy termination," I answered ; " but here come the 
squatters in a body, and I suppose some movement or pro 
posal from them is in the wind. We will defer our matter, 
then ; you remembering that I agree to none of your opi 
nions or decisions. Dus is to be mine, if indeed we can 
protect her against the grasp of these wretches. I have 
something to say on that subject, too ; but this is not the 
moment to utter it." 

Chainbearer seized my hand, and gave it a friendly 
pressure, which terminated the discourse. On the subject 
of the intentions of Thousandacres towards Dus, I was now 
not altogether free from uneasiness; though the tumult 
of rapturous feeling through which I had just passed, 
drove it temporarily from my mind. I had no apprehen 
sions that Ursula Malbone would ever be induced, by ordi 
nary means, to become the wife of Zephaniah ; but I trem 
bled as to what might be the influence of menaces against 
her uncle and myself. Nor was I altogether easy on the 
score of the carrying out of those menaces. It often hap 
pens with crime, as in the commission of ordinary sins, that 
men are impelled by circumstances, which drive them to 
deeds from which they would have recoiled in horror, had 
the consummation been directly presented to their minds, 
without the intervention of any mediate causes. But the 
crisis was evidently approaching, and I waited with as much 
calmness as I could assume for its development. As for 
Chainbearer, being still ignorant of the conversation I had 
overheard in the mill, he had no apprehensions of evil from 
the source of my greatest dread. 

The day had advanced, all this time, and the sun had 
set, and night was close upon us, as Tobit and his brethren 
came to the door of our prison, and called upon Chainbearer 
and myself to come forth, leaving Susquesus behind. We 
obeyed with alacrity ; for there was a species of liberty in 
being outside of those logs, with my limbs unfettered, though 
a vigilant watch was kept over us both. On each side of 



THE CHAINBEARER. 

me walked an armed man, and Chainbearer was honoured 
with a similar guard. For all this, old Andries cared but 
little. He knew and I knew that the time could not be very 
distant when we might expect to hear from Frank Malbone ; 
and every minute that went by added to our confidence in 
this respect. 

We were about half-way between the store-house and the 
dwelling of Thousandacres, towards which our steps were 
directed, when Andries suddenly stopped, and asked leave 
to say a word to me in private. Tobit was at a loss how 
to take this request ; but, there being an evident desire to 
keep on reasonably good terms with Chainbearer, after a 
short pause he consented to form an extended ring with his 
brothers, leaving me and my old friend in its centre. 

" I 11 tell you what I t ink atvisaple in t is matter," com 
menced Andries, in. a sort of whisper. " It cannot pe long 
afore Malpone will be pack wit t e posse ant constaples, ant 
so fort ; now, if we tell t ese rapscallions t at we want tay- 
light to meet our inimies in, ant t at we haf no stomach for 
nightwork, perhaps t ey ll carry us pack to gaol, ant so gif 
more time to Frank to get here." 

" It will be much better, Chainbearer, to prolong our in 
terview with these squatters, so that you and I may be at 
large, or at least not shut up in the store-house, when Mal 
bone makes his appearance. In the confusion we may even 
escape and join our friends, which will be a thousand times 
better than to be found within four walls." 

Andries nodded his head, in sign of acquiescence, and 
thenceforth he seemed to aim at drawing things out, in or 
der to gain time, instead of bringing them to a speedy con 
clusion. As soon as our discourse was ended, the young 
men closed round us again, and we moved on in a body. 

Darkness being so close upon us, Thousandacres had de 
termined to hold his court, this time, within the house, having 
a care to a sufficient watchfulness about the door. There is 
little variation in the internal distribution of the room of 
what may be called an American cottage. About two- 
thirds of the space is given to the principal apartment, which 
contains the fire-place,* and is used for all the purposes of 

* At the present day, the cooking-stove has nearly superseded the 
open fire-place. 



THE CHAINBEARER. 341 

kitchen and sitting-room, while the rest of the building is 
partitioned into three several subdivisions. One of these 
subdivisions is commonly a small bed-room ; another is the 
buttery, and the third holds the stairs, or ladders, by which 
to ascend to the loft, or to descend to the cellar. Such was 
the arrangement of the dwelling of Thousandacres, and such 
is the arrangement in thousands of other similar buildings 
throughout the land. The thriving husbandman is seldom 
long contented, however, with such narrow and humble ac 
commodations ; but the framed house, of two stories in 
height, and with five windows in front, usually soon suc 
ceeds this cottage, in his case. It is rare, indeed, that any 
American private edifice has more than five windows in 
front, the few exceptions which do exist to the rule being 
residences of mark, and the supernumerary windows are 
generally to be found in wings. Some of our old, solid, 
substantial, stone country houses occasionally stretch them 
selves out to eight or nine apertures of this sort, but they 
are rare. I cannot gossip here, however, about country 
houses and windows, when I have matters so grave before 
me to relate. 

In the forest, and especially in the newer portions of New 
York, the evenings are apt to be cool, even in the warm 
months. That memorable night, I well remember, had a 
sharpness about it that threatened even a frost, and Pru 
dence had lighted a fire on the yawning hearth of her rude 
chimney. By the cheerful blaze of that fire, which was 
renewed from time to time by dried brush, the American 
frontier substitute for the fagot, were the scenes I am about 
to mention enacted. 

We found all the males, and several of the females, as 
sembled in the large apartment of the building I have de 
scribed, when Chainbearer and myself entered. The wife 
of Tobit, with one or two of the sisterhood, however, were 
absent; doubtless in attendance on Dus. Lowiny, I re 
marked, stood quite near the fire, and the countenance of 
the girl seemed to me to be saddened and thoughtful. I 
trust I shall not be accused of being a coxcomb if I add, 
that the idea crossed my mind, that the appearance and 
manners of a youth, so much superior to those with whom 
she was accustomed to associate, had made a slight impres- 



342 THE CIIAINBEARER. 

sion on this girl s I will not say heart, for imagination 
would be the better word and had awakened sympathies 
that manifested themselves in her previous conduct ; while 
the shade that was now cast across her brow came quite as 
much from the scene she had witnessed between myself and 
Dus, near the rock, as from seeing me again a prisoner. 
The friendship of this girl might still be of importance to 
me, and still more so to Ursula, and I will acknowledge that 
the apprehension of losing it was far from pleasant. I could 
only wait for the developments of time, however, in order 
to reach any certainty on this, as well as on other most in 
teresting topics. 

Thousandacres had the civility to order us chairs, and we 
took our seats accordingly. On looking round that grave 
and attentive circle, I could trace no new signs of hostility ; 
but, on the contrary, the countenances of all seemed more 
pacific than they were when we parted. I considered this 
as an omen that I and my friend should receive some pro 
positions that tended towards peace. In this I was not mis 
taken ; the first words that were uttered having that cha 
racter. 

"It s time this matter atween us, Chainbearer," com 
menced Thousandacres, himself, " should be brought to 
suthin like an eend. It keeps the b ys from their lumberin , 
and upsets my whull family. I call myself a reasonable 
man ; and be as ready to settle a difficulty on as accommo- 
datin tarms as any parson you 11 find by lookin up and 
down the land. Many is the difficulty that I ve settled in 
my day ; and I m not too old to settle em now. Some 
times I ve fit it out, when I ve fell in with an obstinate 
fellow ; sometimes I ve left it out to men ; and sometimes 
I ve settled matters myself. No man can say he ever 
know d me refuse to hearken to reason, or know d me to 
gi n up a just cause, so long as there was a morsel of a 
chance to defend it. When overpowered by numbers, and 
look d down by your accursed law, as you call it, I 11 own 
that, once or twice in my time, when young and inexpe- 
r enced, I did get the worst of it; and so was obliged to sort 
o run away. But use makes parfect. I ve seen so much, 
by seventy odd, as to have 1 arnt to take time by the fore 
lock, and don t practyse delays in business. I look upon 



THE CHAINBEARER. 843 

you, Chainbearer, as a man much like myself, reasonable, 
exper nc d, and willin to accommodate. I see no great 
difficulty, therefore, in settlin this matter on the spot, so as to 
have no more hard feelin s or hot words atween us. Sich 
be my notions ; and I should like to hear your n." 

" Since you speak to me, T ousantacres, in so polite and 
civil a manner, I m reaty to hear you, ant to answer in t e 
same temper," returned old Andries, his countenance losing 
much of the determined and angry expression with which 
he had taken his seat in the circle. " T ere ist nutin fat 
more pecomes a man, t an moteration ; ant an olt man in 
partic lar. I do not t ink, however, t at t ere ist much re- 
semplance petween you ant me, T ousantacres, in any one 
t ing, except it pe in olt age. We re pot of us pretty well 
atvancet, ant haf reachet a time of life when it pehooves a 
man to examine ant reflect on t e great trut s t at are to pe 
fount in his piple. T e piple ist a pook, Aaron, t at ist not 
enough re t in t ? e woots ; t ough Almighty Got hast all t e 
same rights to t e sarfices ant worship of his creatures in t e 
forest, as to t e worship and sarfices of his creatures in t e 
settlements. I m not a tellin you t is, T ousantacres, py 
way of showin off my own 1 arnin ; for all I know on the 
supject, myself, I haf got from Dus, my niece, who ist as 
goot, ant as willin , ant as hanty in explainin sich matters, 
as any tominie I ever talket wit . I wish you woult listen 
to her, yourself; you and Prutence ; when I t ink you 
woult allow t at her tiscourse ist fery etifyin ant improfin*. 
Now you seem in t e right temper, ist a goot time to pe 
penefitet in t at way ; for t ey tell me my niece ist here, ant 
at hant." 

" She is ; and I rej ice that you have brought her name 
into the discourse so arly ; as it was my design to mention 
it myself. I see we think alike about the young woman, 
Chainbearer, and trust and believe she 11 be the means of 
reconciling all parties, and of making us good fri nds. I ve 
sent for the gal; and she ll soon be coming along, with 
Tobit s wife, who sets by her wonderfully already." 

" Well, talkin of wonterful t ings, wonters wilt never 
cease, I do pelieve !" Chainbearer exclaimed, for he really 
believed that the family of the squatter was taken suddenly 
with a religious turn, and that something like a conver- 



344 THE CHAIN BEARER. 

sion was about to occur. " Yes, yes ; it ist so ; we meet 
wit wonters when we least expect em ; and t at it is t ai 



makes wonters so wonterful 1" 



CHAPTER XXY. 

** Yet, Hastings, these are they 

Who challenge to themselves thy country s love ? 
The true, the constant, who alone can weigh, 

What glory should demand, or liberty approve ! " 

AKENSIDE, 

A PAUSE succeeded this little opening, during which the 
assembly was waiting for the arrival of Ursula Malbone, 
and that semi-savage guardian that " set" so much by her, 
as not to leave her out of sight for a moment. All that 
time Thousandacres was ruminating on his own plans ; 
while old Aridries was probably reflecting on the singular 
circumstance that " wonters shoult pe so wonterful !" At 
length a little bustle and movement occurred near the door, 
the crowd collected in it opened, and Dus walked into the 
centre of the room, her colour heightened by excitement, 
but her step firm, and her air full of spirit. At first, the 
blazing light affected her sight, and she passed a hand over 
her eyes. Then looking around I met her gaze, and was 
rewarded for all my anxiety by one of those glances, into 
which affection knows how to infuse so much that is meaning 
and eloquent. I was thus favoured for a moment only ; 
those eyes still turning until they met the fond answering 
look of Chainbearer. The old man had arisen, and he now 
received his niece in his arms as a parent would embrace a 
beloved child. 

That outpouring of feeling lasted but a little while. It 
had been unpremeditated and impulsive, and was almost as 
suddenly suppressed. It gave me, however, the happiness 
of witnessing one of the most pleasant sights that man can 
behold ; that of youth, and beauty, and delicacy, and female 



THE CHAIN BEAKER. 345 



tenderness, pouring out their feelings on the bosom of a< 
on the ruder qualities of one, hardened in person by the 
exposures of a life passed in the forest. To me the contrast 
between the fair, golden hair of Bus, and the few straggling, 
bleached locks of her uncle ; the downy, peach-like cheek 
of the girl, and the red, wrinkled, and sun-dried countenance 
of Chainbearer, was perfectly delightful. It said how deep 
must lie those sympathies of our nature, which could bring 
together so closely two so differently constituted in all things, 
and set at defiance the apparent tendencies of taste and 
habit. 

Dus suffered herself to be thus carried away by her feel 
ings for only a moment. Accustomed in a degree, as she 
certainly was, to the rough associations of the woods, this 
was the first time she had ever been confronted with such 
an assembly, and I could see that she drew back into her 
self with womanly reserve, as she now gazed around her, 
and saw in what a wild and unwonted presence she stood. 
Still, I had never seen her look so supremely lovely as she 
did that evening, for she threw Pris. Bayard and Kate, with 
all their advantages of dress, and freedom from exposure, 
far into the shade. Perhaps the life of Ursula Malbone had 
given to her beauty the very completeness and fulness, that 
are most apt to be wanting to the young American girl, who 
has been educated in the over-tender and delicate manner 
of our ordinary parental indulgence. Of air and exercise 
she had already enjoyed enough, and they had imparted to 
her bloom and person, the richness and development that are 
oftener found in the subordinate than in the superior classes 
of the country. 

As for Thousandacres, though he watched every move 
ment of Ursula Malbone with jealous interest, he said no 
thing to interrupt the current of her feelings. As soon as 
she left her uncle s arms, however, Dus drew back and took 
the rude seat that I had placed for her close at Chain bearer s 
side. I was paid for this little act of attention, by a sweet 
smile from its subject, and a lowering look from the old 
squatter, that admonished me of the necessity of being 
cautious of manifesting too much of the interest I felt in the 
beloved object before me. As is usual in assemblages com 
posed of the rude and unpractised, a long, awkward pause 



346 THE CHAINBEARER. 

succeeded this introduction of Dus to our presence. After 
a time, however, Aaron resumed the subject in hand. 

" We ve met to settle all our difficulties, as I was sayin ," 
observed Thousandacres, in a manner as deliberative and 
considerate as if he were engaged in one of the most blame 
less pursuits of life, the outward appearances of virtue and 
vice possessing a surprising resemblance to each other 
" When men get together on sich a purpose, and in a right 
spirit, it must be that there s a fault somewhere, if what s 
right can t be come at atween em. What s right atwixt 
man and man is my creed, Chainbearer." 

" What s right petween man ant man is a goot creet, 
T ousantacres ; ant it s a goot religion, too," answered An- 
dries, coldly. 

" That it is ! that it is 1 and I now see that you re in a 
reasonable temper, Chainbearer, and that there s a prospect 
of business in you. I despise a man that s so set in his 
notions that there s no gettin him to give in an inch in a 
transaction don t you hold to that too, captain Andries?" 

" T at tepents on what t e notions pe. Some notions di) 
nopoty any goot, ant t e sooner we re rit of em t e petter . 
while some notions pe so fery excellent t at a man hat pest 
lay town his life as lay t em town." 

This answer puzzled Thousandacres, who had no idea of 
a man s ever dying for opinion s sake ; and who was pro 
bably anxious, just at that moment, to find his companion 
sufficiently indifferent to principle, to make some sacrifices 
to expediency. It was quite evident this man was disposed 
to practise a ruse on this occasion, that is often resorted to 
by individuals, and sometimes by States, when disposed to 
gain a great advantage out of a very small right ; that of 
demanding much more than they expect to receive, and of 
making a great merit of yielding points that they never had 
the smallest claim to maintain. But, this disposition of the 
squatter s will make itself sufficiently apparent as we pro 
ceed. 

" I don t see any use in talkin about layin down lives," 
Thousandacres returned to Chainbearer s remark, " seein* 
this is not a life and death transaction at all. The most that 
can be made of squattin , give the law its full swing, is tres 
pass and damages, and them an t matters to frighten a man 



THE CHAINBEARER. 347 

that has stood out ag in em all his days. We re pretty 
much sich crittur s as sarcumstances make us. There be 
men, I don t question, that a body can skear half out of 
their wits with a writ, while a whull flock of sheep, skins 
and wool united, wunt intimidate them that s use to sich 
things. I go on the principle of doin what s right, let the 
law say what it will of the matter ; and this is the principle 
on which I wish to settle our present difficulty." 

" Name your tarms name your tarms !" cried Chain- 
bearer, a little impatiently ; " talkin ist talkin , all t e worlt 
ofer, ant actin ist actin . If you haf anyt ing to propose, 
here we are reaty ant willin to hear it." 

" That s hearty, and just my way of thinkin and feelin , 
and I 11 act up to it, though it was the gospel of St. Paul 
himself, and I was set on followin it. Here, then, is the 
case, and any man can understand it. There s two rights 
to all the land on arth, and the whull world over. One of 
these rights is what I call a king s right, or that which de 
pends on writin s, and laws, and sich like contrivances ; and 
the other depends on possession. It stands to reason, that 
fact is better than any writin about it can be ; but I m 
willin to put em on a footin for the time bein , and for the 
sake of accommodatin . I go all for accommodatin matters, 
and not for stirrin up ill blood ; and that I tell Chainbearer, 
b ys, is the right spirit to presarve harmony and fri ndship !" 

This appeal was rewarded by a murmur of general ap 
probation in all that part of the audience which might be 
supposed to be in the squatter interest, while the part that 
might be called adverse, remained silent, though strictly at 
tentive, old Andries included. 

" Yes, that s my principles" resumed Thousandacres, 
taking a hearty draught of cider, a liquor of which he had 
provided an ample allowance, passing the mug civilly to 
Chainbearer, as soon as he had had his swallow "Yes, 
that s my principles, and good principles they be, for them 
that likes peace and harmony, as all must allow. Now, in 
this matter afore us, general Littlepage and his partner 
ripresents writin s, and I and mine ri present fact. I don t 
say which is the best, for I don t want to be hard on any 
man s rights, and specially when the accommodatin spirit 
is up and doin ; but I m fact, and the gin ral s pretty much 



348 THE CHAIN BE A HER. 

writin s. But, difficulties has sprung up atwixt us, and it 
high time to put em down. I look upon you, Chainbearer 
as the fri nd of the t other owners of this sile, and I m now 
ready to make proposals, or to hear them, just as it may 
prove convenient." 

" I haf no proposals to make, nor any aut ority to offer 
t em. I m nut in here, put a chainpearer, wit a contract 
to survey t e patent into small lots, ant t en my tuty ist tone. 
Put, here ist General Littlepage s only son, ant he ist em- 
poweret, I unterstant, to do all t at ist necessary on t is 
tract, as t e attorney " 

" He is and he isn t an attorney !" interrupted Thousand 
acres, a little fiercely for one in whom the accommodatin 
spirit was up. At one moment he says he s an attorney 
and at the next he isn t. I can t stand this onsartainty any 
very great while." 

" Pooh, pooh ! T ousantacres," returned Chainbearer, 
coolly, " you re frightenet at your own shatow ; ant t at 
comes, let me telt you, from not lifing in peace ant har 
mony, as you call it, youself, wit t e law. A man hast a 
conscience, whet er he pe a skinner or a cow-boy, or efen a 
squatter ; ant he hast it, pecause Got hast gifen it to him, 
ant not on account of any sarfices of his own. T at con 
science it is, t at makes my young frient Mortaunt, here, an 
attorney in your eyes, when he ist no more of a lawyer t an 
you pe yourself." 

" Why has he called himself an attorney, then, and why 
do you call him one. An attorney is an attorney, in my 
eyes, and little difference is there atween em. Rattlesnakes 
would fare better in a clearin of Thousandacres , than the 
smartest attorney in the land !" 

" Well, well, haf your own feelin s ; for I s pose Satan 
has put em into you, ant talkin won t pring t em out. T is 
young gentleman, however, ist no attorney of t e sort you 
mean, olt squatter, put he hast peen a soltier, like myself, 
ant in my own regiment, which wast his fat ers, ant a prave 
young man he ist ant wast, ant one t at hast fou t gallantly 
for liperty " 

" If he s a fri nd of liberty, he should be a fri nd of 
Mberty s people; should give liberty and take liberty. 
Now, I call it liberty to let every man have as much land 



THE CHAINBEARER. 349 

as he has need on, and no more> keepin the rest for them 
that s in the same sitiation. If he and his father be true 
fri nds of liberty, let em prove it like men, by giving up all 
claims to any more land than they want. ThaU*s what I 
call liberty ! Let every man have as much land as he s 
need on; that s my religion, and it s liberty, too."* 

" Why are you so moterate, T ousantacres ? why are you 
so unreasonaply moterate? Why not say t at efery man 
hast a right to eferyt ing he hast need of, ant so make him 
comfortaple at once ! T ere is no wistom in toin t ings by 
hafs, ant it ist always petter to surfey all t e lant you want, 
while t e compass is set ant t e chains pe goin . It s just as 
much liperty to haf a right to share in a man s tollars, as to 
share in his lants." 

" I don t go as far as that, Chainbearer," put in Thou- 
sandacres, with a degree of moderation that ought to put tho 
enemies of his principles to the blush. " Money is what a 
man arns himself, and he has a right to it, and so I say let 
him keep it ; but land is necessary, and every man has a 
right to as much as he has need on I wouldn t give him an 
acre more, on no account at all." 

" Put money wilt puy lant ; ant, in sharin t e tollars, you 
share t e means of puyin as much lant as a man hast neet 

* I am a little apprehensive that the profound political philosophers 
who have sprung up among us within a few years, including some 
in high places, and who virtually maintain that the American is so 
ineffably free, that it is opposed to the spirit of the institutions of the 
country, to suffer him to be either landlord or tenant, however much 
he may desire it himself (and no one pretends that either law or facts 
compel him to be either, contrary to his own wishes), will feel morti 
fied at discovering that they have not the merit of first proposing 
their own exquisite theory ; Aaron Thousandacres having certainly 
preceded them by sixty years. There is no great secret on the sub 
ject of the principle which lies at the bottom of this favourite doc 
trine, the Deity himself having delivered to man, as far back as the 
days of Moses, the tenth commandment, with the obvious design of 
controlling it. An attempt to prove that the institutions of this 
country are unsuited to the relations of landlord and tenant, is an 
attempt to prove that they are unsuited to meet the various contin 
gencies of human affairs, and is an abandonment of their defence, 
as that defence can only be made on broad, manly, and justifiable 
grounds. As a political principle, it is just as true that the relations 
of debtor and creditor are unsuited to the institutions, and ought to 
be abolished. EDITOR. 
30 



350 THE CliAlNBEAREK, 

of; t en t ere ist a great teal more lant ast money in i ia 
country, ant, in gih n a man lant, you only gif him t at 
which ist so cheap ant common, t at he must pe a poor tefil 
if he can t get all t e lant he wants wit out much trouple and 
any squattin , if you wilt only gif him ever so little money. 
No, no, T ousantacres you re fery wrong ; you shoult 
pegin to tivite wit t e tollars, ant t at wilt not tisturp society, 
as tollars are in t e pocket, ant go ant come eiery day ; 
whereast lant is a fixture, ant some people lofe t eir own 
hills, ant rocks, ant trees when t ey haf peen long in a 
family most especially." 

There was a dark scowl gathering on the brow of Thou 
jsandacres, partly because he felt himself puzzled by the 
upright and straight- forward common sense of Chainbearer, 
and partly for a reason that he himself made manifest in the 
answer that he quite promptly gave to my old friend s 
remarks. 

" No man need say anything ag in squattin that wants 
to keep fri nds with me," Thousandacres put in, with cer 
tain twitchings about the muscles of the mouth, that were 
so many signs of his being in earnest. " I hold to liberty 
and a man s rights, and that is no reason I should be de 
flected on. My notions be other men s notions, I know, 
though they be called squatters notions. Congressmen 
have held em, and will hold em ag in, if they expect much 
support, in some parts of the country, at election time. I 
dare say the day will come, when governors will be found 
to hold em.* Governors be but men a ter all, and must 
hold doctrines that satisfy men s wants, or they won t be 
governors long. But all this is nuthin but talk, and I want 
to come to suthin like business, Chainbearer. Here s this 
clearin , and here s the lumber. Now, I m willin to settle 
on some sich tarms as these : I 11 keep the lumber, carryin 
it off as soon as the water gets to be high enough, agreein* 
to pay for the privilege by not fellin another tree, though I 
must have the right to saw up sich logs as be cut and hauled 
already ; and then, as to the land and clearin , if the writin* 
owners want em, they can have em by payin for the better 
ments, leavin the price out to men in this neighbourhood, 

* Thousandacres speaks here like a veritable prophet. Ewro*. 



THE CIIAINBEARER. 351 

Bin 1 city-bred folks can t know nothin of the toil and labour 
of choppin , and loggin , and ashin , ana gettin in, and crop- 
pin new lands." 

" Mortaunt, t at proposal ist for you. I haf nut in to do 
wit t e clearin put to surfey it ; and t at much will I per 
form, when I get as far ast t e place, come t ere goot, 01 
come t ere efil of it." 

"Survey this clearin !" put in Tobit, with his raven 
throat, and certainly in a somewhat menacing tone. " No, 
no, Chainbearer the man is not out in the woods, that 
could ever get his chain across this clearin ." 

" T at man, I tell you, is Andries Coejemans, commonly 
called Chainpearer," answered my old friend, calmly. " No 
clearin , ant no squatter, ever stoppet him yet, nor do I 
t ink he will pe stoppet here, from performin his tuty. Put 
praggin is a pat quality, ant we 11 leaf time to show t e 
trut ." 

Thousandacres gave a loud hem, and looked very dark, 
though he said nothing until time had been given to his 
blood to resume its customary current. Then he pursued 
the discourse as follows evidently bent on keeping on good 
terms with Chainbearer as long as possible. 

" On the whull," he said, " I rather think, Tobit, t will 
be best if you leave this matter altogether to me. Years 
cool the blood, and allow time to reason to spread. Years 
be as necessary to judgment as a top to a fruit-tree, I kind 
o b lieve that Chainbearer and I, being both elderly and 
considerate men, will be apt to get along best together. I 
dare say, Chainbearer, that if the surveyin of this clearin 
be put to you on the footin of defiance, that your back 
would get up, like any body else s, and you d bring on the 
chain, let who might stand in your way. But, that s neither 
here nor there. You re welcome to chain out just as much 
of this part of the patent as you see fit, and t will help us 
along so much the better when we come to the trade. Rea 
son s reason ; and I m of an accommodatin spirit." 

" So much t e petter, T ousantacres ; yes, so much t e 
pelter," answered old Andries, somewhat mollified by the 
conciliatory temper in which the squatter now delivered him 
self. " When work ist to pe performet, it must be per- 
formet; ant, as I m hiret to surfey ana chain t e whole 



852 THE CHAINBEARER. 

estate, t e whole estate must pe chainet ant surfeyet. Well, 
what else haf you to say ? 

I m not answered as to my first offer. I 11 take the 
lumber, agreein not to cut another tree, and the valie of the 
betterments can be left out to men." 

" I am the proper person to answer this proposal," I 
thought it now right to say, lest Andries and Thousandacres 
should get to loggerheads again on some minor and imma 
terial point, and thus endanger every hope of keeping the 
peace until Malbone could arrive. " At the same time, I 
consider it no more than right to tell you, at once, that I 
have no power that goes so far as to authorize me to agree 
to your terms. Both colonel Pollock and my father have a 
stern sense of justice, and neither, in my opinion, will feel 
much of a disposition to yield to any conditions that, in the 
least, may have the appearance of compromising any of 
their rights as landlords. I have heard them both say that, 
in these particulars, yielding an inch would be giving an 
ell, and I confess that, from all I have seen lately of settlers 
and settlements, I m very much of the same way of think 
ing. My principals may concede something, but they ll 
never treat on a subject of which all the right is on their 
own side." 

" Am I to understand you, young man, that you re on- 
accommodatin , and that my offers isn t to be listened to, in 
the spirit in which they re made ?" demanded Thousand- 
acres, somewhat drily. 

" You are to understand me as meaning exactly what I 
say, sir. In the first place, I have no authority to accept 
your offers, and shall not assume any, let the consequences 
to myself be what they may. Indeed, any promises made 
in duresse are good for nothing." 

" Anan !" cried the squatter. " This is Mooseridgff 
Patent, and Washington, late Charlotte County and this 
is the place we are to sign and seal in, if writin s pass 
atween us." 

" By promises made in duresse, I mean promises made 
while the party making them is in confinement, or not 
absolutely free to make them, or not ; such promises are 
good for nothing in law, even though all the * writings that 
could be drawn passed between the parties. 



THE CHAINBEARER. 353 

" This is strange doctrine, and says but little for your 
boasted law, then ! At one time, it asks for writin s, and 
nothin but writin s will answer ; and, then, all the writin s 
on arth be of no account ! Yet some folks complain, and 
have hard feelin s, if a man wunt live altogether up to 
law !" 

" I rather think, Thousandacres, you overlook the objects 
of the law, in its naked regulations. Law is to enforce the 
right, and were it to follow naked rules, without regard to 
principles, it might become the instrument of effecting the 
very mischiefs it is designed to counteract." 

I might have spared myself the trouble of uttering this 
fine speech ; which caused the old squatter to stare at me in 
wonder, and produced a smile among the young men, and a 
titter among the females. I observed, however, that the 
anxious face of Lowiny expressed admiration, rather than 
the feeling that was so prevalent among the sisterhood. 

" There s no use in talkin to this young spark, Chain- 
bearer," Thousandacres said, a little impatiently in the way 
of manner, too ; " he s passed his days in the open coun 
try, and has got open-country ways, and notions, and talk; 
and them s things I don t pretend to understand. You re 
woods, mainly; he s open country; and I m clearin . 
There s a difference atween each ; but woods and clearin 
come clussest ; and so I 11 say my say to you. Be you, 
now, r ally disposed to accommodate, or not, old Andries ?" 

"Anyt ing t at ist right, ant just, ant reasonaple, T CHI- 
santacres ; ant nut in t at ist not." 

" That s just my way of thinkin ! If the law, now, 
would do as much as that for a man, the attorneys would 
soon starve. Wa-a-1, we 11 try now to come to tarms, as soon 
as possible. You re a single man, I know, Chainbearer ; 
but I ve always supposed t was on account of no dislike to 
the married state ; but because you didn t chance to light on 
the right gal ; or maybe on account of the surveyin prin 
ciple, which keeps a man pretty much movin about from 
tract to tract ; though not much more than squattin doos, 
neither, if the matter was inquired into." 

I understood the object of this sudden change from fee- 
simples, and possessions, and the * accommodatin spirit, to 
matrimony ; but Chainbearer did not. He only looked his 
30* 



354 THE CHAIN BEARER. 

surprise ; while, as to myself, if I looked at all as I felt, 1 
must have been the picture of* uneasiness. The beloved, 
unconscious Dus, sat there in her maiden beauty, interested 
and anxious in her mind, beyond all question, but totally 
ignorant of the terrible blow that was meditated against 
herself. As Andries looked his desire to hear more, instead 
of answering the strange remark he had just heard, Thou- 
sandacres proceeded 

" It s quite nat ral to think of matrimony afore so many 
young folks, isn t it, Chainbearer ?" added the squatter, 
chuckling at his own conceits. " Here s lots of b ys and 
gals about me ; and I m just as accommodatin in findin 
husbands or wives for my fri nds and neighbours, as I am 
in settlin all other difficulties. Anything for peace and a 
good neighbourhood is my religion !" 

Old Andries passed a hand over his eyes, in the way one 
is apt to do when he wishes to aid a mental effort by exter 
nal application. It was evident he was puzzled to find out 
what the squatter would be at, though he soon put a question 
that brought about something like an explanation. 

" I ton t unterstant you, T ousantacres ; no, I ton t un- 
derstant you. Is it your tesire to gif me one of your puxom 
ant fine-lookin gals, here, for a wife ?" 

The squatter laughed heartily at this notion, the young 
men joining in the mirth ; while the constant titter that the 
females had kept up ever since the subject of matrimony 
was introduced, was greatly augmented in zest. An indif 
ferent spectator would have supposed that the utmost good 
feeling prevailed among us. 

" With all my heart, Chainbearer, if you can persuade 
any of the gals to have you !" cried Thousandacres, with 
the most apparent acquiescence. " With such a son-in-law, 
I don t know but I should take to the chain, a ter all, and 
measure out my clearin s as well as the grandee farmers, 
who take pride in knowin where their lines be. There s 
Lowiny, she s got no spark, and might suit you well enough, 
if she d only think so." 

" Lowiny don t think any sich thing ; and isn t likely to 
think any sich thing," answered the girl, in a quick, irri 
tated manner. 

Wa-a-1, 1 do s pose, a ter all, Chainbearer," Thouswid 



THE CHAINBEARER. 353 

acres resumed, " we ll get no weddin out of you. Three 
score and ten is somewhat late for takin a first wife ; though 
I ve known widowers marry ag in when hard on upon 
ninety. When a man has taken one wife in arly life, he 
has a kind o right to another in old age." 

" Yes yes or a hundred either," put in Prudence, with 
spirit. " Give em a chance only, and they 11 find wives 
as long as they can find breath to ask women to have em ! 
Gals, you may make up your minds to that no man will 
mourn long for any on you, a ter you re once dead and 
buried." 

I should think this little sally must have been somewhat 
common, as neither the " b ys" nor the " gals" appeared to 
give it much attention. These matrimonial insinuations 
occur frequently in the world, and Prudence was not the 
first woman, by a million, who had ventured to make them. 

" I will own I was not so much thinkin of providin a 
wife for you, Chainbearer, as I was thinkin of providin one 
for a son of mine," continued Thousandacres. " Here s 
Zephaniah, now, is as active and hard-workin , upright, ho 
nest and obedient a young man as can be found in this 
country. He s of suitable age, and begins to think of a 
wife. I tell him to marry, by all means, for it s the bless- 
edest condition of life, is the married state, that man ever 
entered into. You wouldn t think it, perhaps, on lookin at 
old Prudence, there, and beholdin what she now is ; but I 
speak from exper ence in recommendin matrimony ; and I 
wouldn t, on no account, say what I didn t really think in 
the matter. A little matrimony might settle all our diffi 
culties, Chainbearer." 

" You surely do not expect me to marry your son Zepa- 
niah, I must s pose, T ousantacres !" answered Andries, in 
nocently. 

The laugh, this time, was neither as loud nor as general 
as before, intense expectation rendering the auditors grave. 

" No, no ; "I 11 excuse you from that, of a sartainty, old 
Andries; though you may have Lowiny, if you can only 
prevail on the gal. But, speakin of Zephaniah, I can r ally 
ricommend the young man ; a thing I d never do if he didn t 
desarve it, though he is my son. No one can say that I m 
in the habit of ever ricommendin my own things, evf a to 



356 THE CHAINBEARER. 

the boards. The lumber of Thousandacres is as well known 
in all the markets below, they tell me, as the flour of any 
miller in the highest credit. It s just so with the b ys , bet- 
ter lads is not to be met with ; and I can ricommend Zepha- 
niah with just as much confidence as I could ricommend 
any lot of boards I ever rafted." 

" And what haf I to do wit all t is ?" asked Chainbearer, 
gravely. 

" Why, the matter is here, Chainbearer, if you 11 only 
look a little into it. There s difficulty atween us, and pretty 
serious difficulty, too. In me the accommodatin spirit is 
up, as I ve said afore, and am willin to say ag in. Now, 
I ve my son Zeph, here, as I ve said, and he s lookin 
about for a wife ; and you ve a niece here Dus Malbone, 
I s pose is her name and they d just suit each other. It 
seems, they re acquainted somewhat, and have kept com 
pany some time already, and that 11 make things smooth. 
Now, what I offer is just this, and no more ; not a bit of it. 
I offer to send off for a magistrate, and I 11 do t at my own 
expense ; it shan t cost you a farthin ; and, as soon as the 
magistrate comes, we 11 have the young folks married on 
the spot, and that will make etarnal peace for ever, as you 
must suppose, atween you and me. Wa-a-1, peace made 
atween us, twill leave but little to accommodate with the 
writin owners of the sile, seein that you re on tarms with 
em all, that a body may set you down all as one as bein of 
the same family, like. If gin ral Littlepage makes a p int of 
any thing of the sort, I 11 engage no one of my family, in 
all futur time, shall ever squat on any lands he may hap 
pen to lay claim to, whether he owns em or not." 

I saw quite plainly that, at first, Chainbearer did not fully 
comprehend the nature of the squatter s proposal. Neither 
did Dus, herself; though somewhat prepared for such a 
thing by her knowledge of Zephaniah s extravagant wishes 
on the subject. But, when Thousandacres spoke plainly of 
sending for a magistrate, and of having the " young folks 
married on the spot," it was not easy to mistake his mean 
ing, and astonishment was soon succeeded by offended pride, 
in the breast of old Andries, and that to a degree and in a 
manner I had never before witnessed in him. Perhaps I 
ought, in justice to my excellent friend, to add, that his high 



THE CHAINBEARER. 357 

principles and keen sense of right, were quite as much 
wounded by the strange proposal as his personal feelings. 
It was some time before he could or would speak ; when he 
did, it was with a dignity and severity of manner which I 
really had no idea he could assume. The thought of Ursula 
Malbone s being sacrificed to such a being as Zephaniah, 
and such a family as the squatter s, shocked all his sensibili 
ties, and appeared, for a moment, to overcome him. On the 
other hand, nothing was plainer than that the breed of Thou- 
sandacres saw no such violation of the proprieties in their 
scheme. The vulgar, almost invariably, in this country, 
reduce the standard of distinction to mere money ; and, in 
this respect they saw, or fancied they saw, that Dus was 
not much better off than they were themselves. All those 
points which depended on taste, refinement, education, habits 
and principles, were Hebrew to them ; and, quite as a mat 
ter of course, they took no account of qualities they could 
neither see nor comprehend. It is not surprising, therefore, 
that they could imagine the young squatter might make a 
suitable husband to one who was known to have carried 
chain in the forest. 

" I pelieve I do pegin to unterstant you, T ousantacres," 
said the Chainbearer, rising from his chair, and moving to 
the side of his niece, as if instinctively to protect her; 
" t ough it ist not a fery easy t ing to comprehent such a 
proposal. You wish Ursula Mai pone to pecome t e wife of 
Zephaniah T ousantacres, ant t ereupon you wish to patch 
up a peace wit General Littlepage and Colonel Pollock, ant 
optain an intemnity for all t e wrong ant roppery you haf 
done em " 

" Harkee, old Chainbearer ; you d best be kearful of 
your language " 

" Hear what t at language ist to pe, pefore you interrupt 
me, T ousantacres. A wise man listens pefore he answers. 
Alt ough I haf nefer peen marriet, myself, I know what ist 
tecent in pehaviour, ant, t erefore, I wilt t ank you for t e 
wish of pein connectet wit t e Coejemans ant t e Malpones. 
T at tuty tone, I wish to say t at my niece wilt not haf your 
poy " 

" You haven t given the gal a chance to speak for her- 
telf," cried Thousandacres, at the top of his voice, for he 



358 THE CHAINBEARER. 

began to be agitated DOW with a fury that found a little vent 
in that manner. " You haven t given the gal a chance to 
answer for herself, old Andries. Zeph is a lad that she 
may go farther and fare worse, afore she ll meet his equal, 
I can tell you, though perhaps, bein the b y s own father, I 
shouldn t say it but, in the way of accommodating I m 
will in to overlook a great deal." 

" Zephaniah s an excellent son," put in Prudence, in the 
pride and feeling of a mother, nature having its triumph in 
her breast as well as in that of the most cultivated woman 
of the land. " Of all my sons, Zephaniah is the best ; and 
I account him fit to marry with any who don t live in the 
open country, and with many that do." 

" Praise your goots, ant extol your poy, if you see fit," 
answered Chainbearer, with a calmness that I knew bespoke 
some desperate resolution. " Praise your goots, ant extol 
your poy ; I Ml not teny your right to do as much of t at as 
you wish ; put t is gal wast left me py an only sister on her 
tyin pet, ant may Got forget me, when I forget the tuty I 
owe to her. She shall nefer marry a son of T ousantacres 
she shalt nefer marry a squatter she shalt nefer marry 
any man t at ist not of a class, ant feelin s, ant hapits, ant 
opinions, fit to pe t e huspant of a laty !" 

A sjiout of derision, in which was blended the fierce 
resentment of mortified pride, arose among that rude crew, 
but the thundering voice of Thousandacres made itself 
audible, even amid the hellish din. 

" Beware, Chainbearer ; beware how you aggravate us ; 
natur cant and won t bear every thing." 

"I want nut in of you, or yours, T ousantacres," calmly 
returned the old man, passing his arm around the waist of 
Dus, who clung to him, with a cheek that was flushed to 
fire, but an eye that was not accustomed to quail, and who 
seemed, at that fearful moment, every way ready and able 
to second her uncle s efforts. " You re nut in to me, ant 
I 11 leaf you here, in your misteets ant wicket t oughts. 
Stant asite, I orter you. Do not tare to stop t e brot er who 
is apout to safe his sister s da ghter from pecomin a squat 
ter s wife. Stant asite, for I 11 stay wit you no longer. 
An hour or two hence, miseraple Aaron, you 11 see t e 
folly of all t is, ant wish you hat livet an honest man. " 



THE CHAINBEARER. 359 

By this time the clamour of voices became so loud and 
confused, as to render it impossible to distinguish what was 
said. Thousandacres actually roared like a maddened bull, 
and he was soon hoarse with uttering his menaces and male 
dictions. Tobit said less, but was probably more dangerous. 
All the young men seemed violently agitated, and bent on 
closing the door on the exit of the Chainbearer ; who, with 
his arm around Dus, still slowly advanced, waving the 
crowd aside, and commanding them to make way for him, 
with a steadiness and dignity that I began to think would 
really prevail. In the midst of this scene of confusion, a 
rifle suddenly flashed ; the report was simultaneous, and old 
Andries Coejemans fell. 



CHAPTEK XXVI. 

** Ye midnight shades, o er nature spread ! 

Dumb silence of the dreary hour! 
In honour of th approaching dead, 
Around your awful terrors pour. 
Yes, pour around, 
On this pale ground, 

Through all this deep surrounding gloom, 
The sober thought, 
The tear untaught, 
Those meetest mourners at a tomb." 

MALLET. 

IT is a law of human nature, that the excesses of passion 
bring their own rebukes. The violence of man feeds itself, 
until some enormity committed under its influence suddenly 
rises before the transgressor, as the evidence of his blind 
ness and the restorer of his senses. Guilt performs the 
office of reason, staying the hand, stilling the pulses, and 
arousing the conscience. 

Thus it seemed to be with the squatters of Mooseridge. 
A stillness so profound succeeded the crack of that rifle, 
that I heard the stifled breathing of Dus, as she stood over 
the body of her uncle, astounded, and almost converted into 
a itatue by the suddenness of the blow. No one spoke ; no 



360 THE CHAINBEARER. 

one attempted to quit the place ; in fact, no one moved. It 
was never known who fired that shot. At first I ascribed it 
to the hand of Tobit ; but it was owing more to what I knew 
of his temper and character, than to what I knew of his 
acts at that particular time. Afterwards, I inclined to the 
opinion that my friend had fallen by the hand of Thousand- 
acres himself; though there were no means of bringing it 
home to him by legal proof. If any knew who was the 
criminal, besides the wretch who executed the deed, the fact 
was never reveled. That family was faithful to itself, and 
seemed determined to stand or fall together. In the eye of 
the law, all who were present, aiding and abetting in the 
unlawful detention of Dus and her uncle, were equally 
guilty ; but the hand on which the stain of blood rested in 
particular, was never dragged to light. 

My first impulse, as soon as I could recollect myself, was 
to pass an arm around the waist of Dus and force her 
through the crowd, with a view to escape. Had this attempt 
been persevered in, I think it would have succeeded, so pro 
found was the sensation made, even upon those rude and 
lawless men, by the deed of violence that had just been 
done. But Dus was not one to think of self at such a 
moment. For a single instant her head fell on my shoulders, 
and I held her to my bosom, while I whispered my wish for 
her to fly. Then raising her head, she gently extricated 
her person from my arms, and knelt by the side of her 
uncle. 

" He breathes !" she said huskily, but hastily. " God be 
praised, Mordaunt, he still breathes. The blow may not be 
as heavy as we at first supposed ; let us do what we can to 
aid him." 

Here were the characteristic decision and thoughtfulness 
of Ursula Malbone ! Rising quickly, she turned to the 
group of silent but observant squatters, and appealed to any 
remains of humanity that might still be found in their 
bosoms, to lend their assistance. Thousandacres stood fore 
most in the dark cluster at the door, looking grimly at the 
motionless body, over which Dus stood, pale and heart- 
stricken, but still calm and collected. 

" The hardest-hearted man among you will not deny a 
daughter s right to administer to a parent s wants !" sht 



THE CHAINBEARER. 361 

said, with a pathos in her voice, and a dignity in her manner, 
that filled me with love and admiration, and wliich had a 
visible effect on all who heard ner. " Help me to raise my 
uncle and to place him on a bed, while Major Littlepage 
examines his hurt. You 11 not deny me this little comfort, 
Thousandacres, for you cannot know how soon you may 
v/ant succour yourself!" 

Zephaniah, who certainly had no hand in the murder of 
Chainbearer, now advanced j and he, myself, Lowiny and 
Dus, raised the still motionless body, and placed it on the 
bed of Prudence, which stood in the principal room. There 
was a consultation among the squatters, while we were thus 
employed, and one by one the family dropped off, until no 
one was left in the house but Thousandacres, and his wife, 
and Lowiny ; the latter remaining with Dus, as a useful and 
even an affectionate assistant. The father sate, in moody 
silence, on one side of the fire, while Prudence placed her 
self on the other. I did not like the aspect of the squatter s 
countenance, but he said and did nothing. It struck me that 
he was brooding over the facts, nursing his resentments by 
calling up fancied wrongs to his mind, and plotting for the 
future. If such was the Case, he manifested great nerve, 
inasmuch as neither alarm nor hurry was, in the slightest 
degree, apparent in his mien. Prudence was dreadfully 
agitated. She said nothing, but her body worked to and fro 
with nervous excitement ; and occasionally a heavy, but 
suppressed groan struggled through her efforts to resist it. 
Otherwise, she was as if not present. 

I had been accustomed to seeing gun-shot wounds, and 
possessed such a general knowledge of their effects as to 
be a tolerable judge of what would, and what would not, be 
likely to prove fatal. The first look I took at the hurt of 
Chainbearer convinced me there could be no hope for his 
life. The ball had passed between two of the ribs, and 
seemed to me to take a direction downwards ; but it was 
impossible to miss the vitals with a wound commencing at 
that point on the human body. The first shock of the injury 
had produced insensibility ; but we had hardly got the suf 
ferer on the bed, and applied a little water to his lips, ere he 
revived ; soon regaining his consciousness, as well as the 
power to speak. Death was on him, however ; and it was 
31 



362 THE GH A IN BEAKER. 

very obvious to me that his hours were numbered. He 
might live days, but it was not possible for him to sur 
vive. 

"Got pless you, Mortaunt," my old friend murmured, 
after my efforts had thus partially succeeded. " Got for 
ever pless ant preserf you, poy, ant repay you for all your 
kintness to me ant mine. T em squatters haf killet me, lat ; 
put I forgif t em. T ey are an ignorant, ant selfish, and 
prutal preed ; ant I may haf triet em too sorely. Put Dus 
can never pecome t e wife of any of t e family." 

As Zephaniah was in the room, though not near the bed 
at the moment, I was anxious to change the current of the 
wounded man s thoughts ; and I questioned him as to the 
nature of his hurt, well knowing that Chainbearer had seen 
so many soldiers in situations similar to his own unhappy 
condition, as to be a tolerable judge of his actual state. 

" I m killet, Mortaunt," old Andries answered, in a tone 
even firmer than that in which he had just spoken. "Apout 
t at, t ere can pe no mistake. T ey haf shot t rough my 
rips, ant t rough my vitals ; ant life is impossible. But t at 
does not matter much to me, for I am an olt man now, haf- 
in lifet my t ree-score years ant ten no, t at is no great 
matter, t ough some olt people cling to life wit a tighter grip 
t an t e young. Such ist not my case, howsefer ; ant I am 
reaty to march when t e great wort of commant comet . I 
am fery sorry, Mortaunt, t at t is accitent shoult happen 
pefore t e patent hast peen fully surfeyet ; put I am not pait 
for t e work t at is finishet, ant it ist a great comfort to me 
to know I shall not tie in tebt. I owe you, ant I owe my 
goot frient t e general, a great teal for kintnesses, I must 
confess ; put, in t e way of money, t ere wilt be no loss by 
t is accitent." 

" Mention nothing of this sort, I do entreat of you, 
Chainbearer , I know my father would gladly give the best 
farm he owns to see you standing, erect and well, as you 
were twenty minutes since." 

" Well, I tares to say, t at may be true, for I haf always 
fount t e general to pe friently and consiterate. I wilt tell 
you a secret, Mortaunt, t at I haf nefer pefore revealet to 
mortal man, put which t ere ist no great use in keepin any 
longer, ant which I shoult have peen willing to haf tolt 



THE CHAINBEARER. 363 

long ago, hat not t e general himself mate it a p int t at I 
shoult not speak of it " 

" Perhaps it might be better, my good friend, were you 
to tell me this secret another time. Talking may weary 
and excite you ; whereas, sleep and rest may possibly do 
you service." 

" No, no, poy t e hope of t at ist all itleness ant vanity. 
I shalt nefer sleep ag in, tilt I sleep t e last long sleep of 
teat ; I feelt sartain my wount ist mortal, and t at my time 
must soon come. Nefert eless, it doesn t gif me pain to 
talk ; and, Mortaunt, my tear lat, fri nts t at pe apout to 
part for so long a time, ought not to part wit out sayin a 
wort to one anot er pefore separation. I shoult pe glat, in 
partic lar, to telt to a son all t e kintness and fri ntship I 
have receivet from his fat er. You know fery well, your 
self, Mortaunt, t at I am not great at figures ; and why it 
shoult pe so, ist a wonter ant a surprise to me, for my 
grantfat er Van Syce was a wonterful man at arit metic, 
and t e first Cojemans in t is country, t ey say, kept all t e 
tominie s accounts for him ! Put, let t at pe ast it wast, I 
nefer coult do any t ing wit figures ; ant, it ist a secret not 
to pe concealet now, Mortaunt, t at I nefer coult haf helt 
my commission of captain six weeks, put for your own 
fat er s kintness to me. Fintin out how impossible it wast 
for me to get along wit arit metic, he offeret to do all t at 
sort of tuty for me, ant t e whole time we wast toget er, 
seven long years ant more, Colonel Littlepage mate out t e 
reports of Cojeman s company. Capital goot reports was 
t ey, too, and t e atmiration of all t at see t em ; and I often 
felt ashamet like, when I he rt t em praiset, and people won- 
terin how an olt Tutchman ever 1 arnet to do his tuty so 
well ! I shalt nefer see t e general ag in, ant I wish you to 
tell him t at Andries tit not forget his gootness to him, to 
t e latest preat t at he trew." 

" I will do all you ask of me, Chainbearer surely it 
must give you pain to talk so much ?" 

" Not at all, poy ; not at all. It is goot to t e poty to 
lighten t e soul of its opligations. Ast I see, howsefer, 
t at Dus ist trouplet, I wilt shut my eyes, ant look into my 
own t oughts a little, for I may not tie for some hours 
yet." 



364 THE CIIAINBEARER. 

It sounded fearful to me to hear one I loved so well speak 
BO calmly, and with so much certainty of his approaching 
end. I could see that Ursula almost writhed under the 
agony these words produced in her ; yet that noble-minded 
creature wore an air of calmness, that might have deceived 
one who knew her less well than she was known to me. 
She signed for me to quit the side of the bed, in the vain 
hope that her uncle might fall asleep, and placed herself 
silently on a chair, at hand, in readiness to attend to his 
wants. As for me, I took the occasion to examine the 
state of things without, and to reflect on what course I 
ought to take, in the novel and desperate circumstances in 
which we were so unexpectedly placed : the time for some 
thing decisive having certainly arrived. 

It was now near an hour after the deed had been done 
and there sat Thousandacres and his wife, one on each 
side of the fire, in silent thought. As I turned to look at 
the squatters, and the father of squatters, I saw that his 
countenance was set in that species of sullen moodiness, 
which might well be taken as ominous in a man of his 
looseness of principle and fierceness of temperament. Nor 
had the nervous twitchings of Prudence ceased. In a word, 
both of these strange beings appeared at the end of that 
hour just as they had appeared at its commencement. It 
struck me, as I passed them in moving towards the door, 
that there was even a sublimity in their steadiness in guilt. 
I ought, however, in some slight degree to except the woman, 
whose agitation was some proof that she repented of what 
had been done. At the door, itself, I found no one ; but, 
two or three of the young men were talking in a low tone 
to each other at no great distance. Apparently they had 
an eye to what was going on within the building. Still no 
one of them spoke to me, and I began to think that the 
crime already committed had produced such a shock, that 
no further wrong to any of us was contemplated, and that 
I might consider myself at liberty to do and act as I saw 
fit. A twitch at my sleeve, however, drew my look aside, 
and I saw Lowiny cowering within the shadows of the 
house, seemingly eager to attract my attention. She had 
been absent some little time, and had probably been listen 
ing to the discourse of those without. 



THE CHAINBEARER. 365 

"Don t think of venturing far from the house," ihe girl 
whispered. u The evil spirit has got possession of Tobit ; 
and he has just sworn the same grave shall hold you, and 
Chainbearer and Dus. Graves don t turn State s evidence, 
he sa.vs. I never know d him to be so awful as he is to 
night ; though he s dreadful in temper when anything goes 
amiss." 

The girl glided past me as she ceased her hurried com 
munication, and the next instant she was standing quietly 
at the side of Dus, in readiness to offer her assistance in any 
necessary office for the s?ck. I saw that she had escaped 
notice, and then reconnoitred my own position with some 
little care. 

By this time the night had got to be quite dark ; and it 
was impossible to recognise persons at the distance of twenty 
feet. It is true, one could tell a man from a stump at twice 
that number of yards, or even further ; but the objects of 
the rude clearing began to be confounded together in a way 
to deprive the vision of much of its customary power. That 
group of young men, as 1 suppose, contained the formidable 
Tobit ; but I could be by no means certain of the fact 
without approaching quite near to it. This I did not like to 
do, as there was nothing that I desired particularly to say 
to any of the family at that moment. Could they have 
known my heart, the squatters would have felt no uneasi 
ness on the subject of my escaping ; for were Dus quite out 
of the question, as she neither was nor could be, it would be 
morally impossible for me to desert the Chainbearer in his 
dying moments. Nevertheless, Tobit and his brethren did 
not know this ; and it might be dangerous for me to presume 
too far on the contrary supposition. 

The darkness was intensest near the house, as a matter 
of course; and I glided along close to the walls of logs until 
I reached an angle of the building, thinking the movement 
might be unseen. But I got an assurance that I was watched 
that would admit of no question, by a call from one of the 
young men, directing me not to turn the corner or to go out 
of sight in any direction, at the peril of my life. This was 
plain speaking ; and it-induced a short dialogue between us ; 
in which I avowed my determination not to desert my 
friends for the Chainbearer would probably not outlive the 
31* 



366 THE CHAIN BE A HER. 

night and that I felt no apprehension for myself. I was 
heated and excited, and had merely left the house for air; 
if they offered no impediment I would walk to and fro near 
them for a few minutes, solely with a view to refresh my 
feverish pulses ; pledging my word to make no attempt at 
escape. This explanation, with the accompanying assu 
rance, seemed to satisfy my guard ; and I was quietly per 
mitted to do as I had proposed. 

The walk I selected was between the group of squatters 
and the house, and at each turn it necessarily brought ma 
close to the young men. At such moments I profited by 
my position to look in through the door of the dwelling at 
the motionless form of Dus, who sat at the bedside of her 
uncle in the patient, silent, tender, and attentive manner of 
woman, and whom I could plainly see in thus passing. 
Notwithstanding the fidelity of my homage to my mistress 
at these instants, I could perceive that the young men uni 
formly suspended the low dialogue they were holding toge 
ther, as I approached them, and as uniformly renewed it as 
I moved away. This induced me gradually to extend my 
walk, lengthening it a little on each end, until I may have 
gone as far as a hundred feet on each side of the group, 
which I took for the centre. To have gone farther would 
have been imprudent, as it might seem preparatory to an 
attempt at escape, and to a consequent violation of my word. 

In this manner, then, I may have made eight or ten 
turns in as many minutes, when I heard a low, hissing sound 
near me, while at the extremity of one of my short pro 
menades. A stump stood there, and the sound came from 
the root of this stump. At first I fancied I had encroached 
on the domain of some serpent ; though animals of that 
species, which would be likely to give forth such a menace, 
were even then very rare among us. But my uncertainty 
was soon relieved. 

" Why you no stop at stump ?" said Susquesus, in a voice 
so low as not to be heard at the distance of ten feet, while 
it was perfectly distinct and not in a whisper. " Got sut in* 
tell slad to hear." 

" Wait until I can make one or two more turns ; I will 
come back in a moment," was my guarded answer. 

Then I continued my march, placing myself against a 



THE CHAINBEARER. 367 

stump that stood at the other end of my walk, remaining 
leaning there for an entire minute or two, when I returned, 
passing the young men as before. This I did three several 
times, stopping at each turn, as if to rest or to reflect ; and 
making each succeeding halt longer than the ono that had 
preceded it. At length I took my stand against the very 
stump that concealed the Indian. 

" How came you here, Susquesus ?" I asked ; " and are 
you armed?" 

" Yes ; got good rifle. Chainbearer s gun. He no want 
him any longer, eh ?" 

" You know then what has happened ? Chainbearer is 
mortally wounded." 

" Dat bad must take scalp to pay for dat ! Ole fri nd 
good fri nd. Always kill murderer." 

" I beg nothing of the sort will be attempted ; but how 
came you here 1 and how came you armed ?" 

"Jaap do him come and break open door. Nigger 
strong do what he like to. Bring rifle say take him. 
Wish he come sooner den Chainbearer no get. kill. We 
see !" 

I thought it prudent to move on by the time this was said ; 
and I made a turn or two ere I was disposed to come to an 
other halt. The truth, however, was now apparent to me. 
Jaap had come in from the forest, forced the fastenings of 
the Onondago s prison, given him arms, and they were both 
out in the darkness, prowling round the buildings, watching 
for the moment to strike a blow, or an opportunity to com 
municate with me. How they had ascertained the fact of 
Chainbearer s being shot, I was left to conjecture; though 
Susquesus must have heard the report of the rifle; and an 
Indian, on such a night as that, left to pursue his own course, 
would soon ascertain all the leading points of any circum 
stance in which he felt an interest. 

My brain was in a whirl as all these details presented 
themselves to my mind, and I was greatly at a loss to decide 
on my course. In order to gain time for reflection, I stopped 
a moment at the stump, and whispered to the Onondago a 
request, that he would remain where he was until I could 
give him his orders. An expressive " good" was the an 
swer I received ; and I observed that the Indian crouched 



368 THE CHAIN BEARER, 

lower in his lair, like some fierce animal of the woods, that 
restrained his impatience, in order to make his leap, when 
it did come, more certain and fatal. 

I had now a little leisure for reflection. There lay poor 
Chainbearer, stretched on his death-pallet, as motionless as 
if the breath had already left his body. Dus maintained 
her post, nearly as immovable as her uncle ; while Lowiny 
stood at hand, manifesting the sympathy of her sex in the 
mourning scene before her. I caught glimpses, too, in pass 
ing, of Thousandacres and Prudence. It appeared to me 
as if the first had not stirred, from the moment when he had 
taken his seat on the hearth. His countenance was as set, 
his air as moody, and his attitude as stubborn, as each had 
been in the first five minutes after the chainbearer fell. 
Prudence, too, was as unchanged as her husband. Her 
body continued to rock, in nervous excitement, but not once 
had I seen her raise her eyes from the stone of the rude 
hearth, that covered nearly one-half of the room. The fire 
had nearly burned down, and no one replenishing the brush 
which fed it, a flickering flame alone remained to cast its 
wavering light over the forms of these two conscience- 
stricken creatures, rendering them still more mysterious and 
forbidding. Lowiny had indeed lighted a thin, miserable 
candle of tallow, such as one usually sees in the lowest 
habitations ; but it was placed aside, in order to be removed 
from before the sight of the supposed slumberer, and added 
but little to the light of the room. Notwithstanding, I could 
and did see all I have described, stopping for some little 
time at a point that commanded a view of the interior of the 
house. 

Of Dus, I could ascertain but little. She was nearly im 
movable at the bed-side of her uncle, but her countenance 
was veiled from my view. Suddenly, and it was at one of 
those moments when I had stopped in front of the building,, 
she dropped on her knees, buried her face in the coverlet, 
and became lost in prayer. Prudence started, as she saw 
this act ; then she arose, after the fashion of those who ima 
gine they have contributed to the simplicity, and conse. 
quently to the beauty of worship, by avoiding the ceremony 
of kneeling to Almighty God, and stood erect, moving to 
and fro, as before, her tall, gaunt figure, resembling soma 



THE CHAINBEARER. 369 

half-decayed hemlock of the adjacent forest, that has lost 
the greater portion of its verdure, rocked by a tempest. I 
was touched, notwithstanding, at this silent evidence that 
the woman retained some of the respect and feeling for the 
services of the Deity, which, though strangely blended with 
fanaticism and a pertinacious self-.righleousness, no doubt 
had a large influence in bringing those who belonged to her 
race across the Atlantic, some five or six generations pre 
viously to her own. 

It was just at this instant that I recognised the voice of 
Tobit, as he advanced towards the group composed of his 
brethren ; and speaking to his wife, who accompanied him 
as far as his father s habitation, and there left him, appa 
rently to return to her own. I did not distinguish what was 
said, but the squatter spoke sullenly, and in the tone of one 
whose humour was menacing. Believing that I might meet 
with some rudeness of a provoking character from this man, 
should he see me walking about in the manner I had now 
been doing for near a quarter of an hour, ere he had the 
matter explained, I thought it wisest to enter the building, 
and effect an object I had in view, by holding a brief con 
versation with Thousandacres. 

This determination was no sooner formed than I put it in 
execution ; trusting that the patience of the Indian, and 
Jaap s habits of obedience, would prevent anything like an 
outbreak from them, without orders. As I re-entered the 
room, Dus was still on her knees, and Prudence continued 
erect, oscillating as before, with her eyes riveted on the 
hearth. Lowiny stood near the bed, and I thought, like her 
mother, she was in some measure mingling in spirit, with 
the prayer. 

" Thousandacres," I commenced in a low voice, drawing 
quite near to the squatter, and succeeding in causing him to 
look at me, by my address " Thousandacres, this has been 
a most melancholy business, but everything should be done 
that can be done, to repair the evil. Will you not send a 
messenger through to the Nest, to obtain the aid of the 
physician ?" 

" Doctors can do but little good to a wound made by a 
rifle that was fired so cluss, young man. I want no doctors 
here, to betray me and mine to the law." 



370 THE CHAINBEARER. 

" Nay, your messenger can keep your secret ; and I will 
give him gold to induce the physician to come, and come at 
once. He can be told that I am accidentally hurt, and 
might still reach us to be of service in alleviating pain ; I 
confess there is no hope for anything else." 

" Men must take their chances," coldly returned that obdu 
rate being. " Them that live in the woods, take woodsmen s 
luck ; and them that live in the open country, the open 
country luck. My family and lumber must be presarved at 
all risks ; and no doctor shall come here." 

What was to be done what could be done, with such a 
being 1 All principle, all sense of right, was concentrated 
in self in his moral system. It was as impossible to make 
him see the side of any question that was opposed to his 
interests, fancied or real, as it was to give sight to the phy 
sically blind. I had hoped contrition was at work upon him, 
and that some advantage might be obtained through the 
agency of so powerful a mediator ; but no sooner was his 
dull nature aroused into anything like action, than it took 
the direction of selfishness, as the needle points to the 
pole. 

Disgusted at this exhibition of the most confirmed trait of 
the squatter s character, I was in the act of moving from 
him, when a loud shout arose around the building, and the 
flashes and reports of three or four rifles were heard. Rush 
ing to the door, I was in time to hear the tramp of men, who 
seemed to me to be pushing forward in all directions ; and 
the crack of the rifle was occasionally heard, apparently 
retiring towards the woods. Men called to each other, in 
the excitement of a chase and conflict ; but I could gain no 
information, the body of darkness which had settled on the 
place having completely hidden everything from view, at 
any distance. 

In this state of most painful doubt I continued for five or 
six minutes, the noise of the chase receding the whole time, 
when a man came rushing up to the door of the hut where 
I stood, and, seizing my hand, I found it was Frank Mai- 
bone. The succour, then, had arrived, and I was no longer 
a captive. 

" God be praised ! you at least are safe," cried Malbone. 
" But my dear sister ?" 



THE CHAINBEARER. 371 

tc Is there unharmed, watching by the side of her uncle s 
dying bed. Is any one hurt without?" 

" That is more than I can tell you. Your black acted as 
guide, and brought us down on the place so skilfully, that 
it .was not my intention to resort to arms at all, since we 
might have captured all the squatters without firing a shot, 
had my orders been observed. But a rifle was discharged 
from behind a stump, and this drew a volley from the enemy. 
Some of our side returned the discharge, and the squatters 
then took to flight. The firing you have just heard is scat 
tered discharges that have come from both sides, and can be 
only sound, as any aim is impossible in this obscurity. My 
own piece has not even been cocked, and I regret a rifle has 
been fired." 

" Perhaps all is then well, and we have driven off our 
enemies without doing them any harm. Are you strong 
enough to keep them at a distance ?" 

" Perfectly so ; we are a posse of near thirty men, led by 
an under-sheriff and a magistrate. All we wanted was o 
direction to this spot, to have arrived some hours earlier." 

I groaned in spirit at hearing this, since those few hours* 
might have saved the life of poor Chainbearer. As it was, 
however, this rescue was the subject of grateful rejoicing , 
and one of the happiest moments of my life was that in 
which I saw Dus fall on her brother s bosom, and burst into 
tears. I was at their side, in the door- way of the hut, when 
this meeting took place ; and Dus held out a hand affection 
ately to me, as she withdrew herself from her brother s 
arms. Frank Malbone looked a little surprised at this act; 
but, anxious to see and speak to Chainbearer, he passed into 
the building, and approached the bed. Dus and I followed ; 
for the shouts and firing had reached the ears of the wound 
ed man, and Andries was anxious to learn their meaning. 
The sight of Malbone let him into a general knowledge of 
the state of the facts ; but a strong anxiety was depicted in 
his failing countenance, as he looked towards me for infor 
mation. 

" What is it, Mortaunt ?" he asked, with considerable 
strength of voice, his interest in the answer probably stimu 
lating his physical powers. " What is it, poy ? I hope t ere 
hast peen no useless fightin on account of a poor olt mao 



372 THE CHAINBEAKEK. 

like me, who hast seen his t ree-score years ant ten, ant 
who owest to his Maker t e life t at wast grantet to hirw 
seventy long years ago. I hope no one hast peen injuret io 
so poor a cause." 

" We know of no one besides yourself, Chainbearer, who 
has been hurt to-night. The firing you have heard, comes 
from the party of Frank Malbone, which has just arrived, 
and which has driven off the squatters by noise more than 
by any harm that has been done them." 

" Got pe praiset ! Got pe praiset I I am glat to see Frank 
pefore I tie, first to take leaf of him, as an olt frient, ant 
secontly to place his sister, Dus, in his care. T ey haf 
wantet to gif Dus or 3 of t ese squatters for a huspant, by 
way of making peace petween t ieves ant honest people. 
T at woult nefer do, Frank, as you well know Dus ist t e 
ta ghter of a gentleman, ant t e ta ghter of a laty ; ant she 
ist a gentlewoman herself, ant ist not to pe marriet to a 
coarse, rute, illiterate, vulgar squatter. Wast I young, ant 
wast I not t e gal s uncle, I shoult not venture to s pose 
I coult make her a fit companion myself, peing too little 
edicated ant instructet, to pe the huspant of one like Dus 
Malpone." 

" There is no fear now, that any such calamity can befall 
my sister, my dear Chainbearer, answered Frank Malbone. 
"Nor do I think any threats or dangers could so far 
intimidate Dus, as to cause her to plight her faith to any 
man she did not love or respect. They would have found 
my sister difficult to coerce." 

" It ist pest ast it ist, Frank yes, it ist pest ast it ist. 
T ese squatters are fery sat rascals, ant woult not pe apt to 
stop at trifles. Ant, now we are on t is supject, I wilt say 
a wort more consarnin your sister. I see she hast gone 
out of t e hut to weep, ant she wilt not hear what I haf to 
say. Here ist Mortaunt Littlepage, who says he Jofes Dus 
more ast man efer lovet woman pefore " Frank started, 
and I fancied that his countenance grew dark " ant what 
ist nat ral enough, when a man dost truly lofe a woman in 
t at tegree, he wishes fery, fery much to marry her" 
Frank s countenance brightened immediately, and seeing 
my hand extended towards him, he grasped it and gave it a 
snost cordial pressure. " Now, Mortaunt woult pe an ex- 



THE CHAINBEAKEK,* 373 

cellent match for Dus a most capital match, for he ist 
young ant goot lookin , ant prave, ant honouraple, ant sen- 
siple, ant rich, all of which pe fery goot t ings in matri 
mony ; put, on t e ot er hant, he hast a fat er, ant a mot er, 
ant sisters, ant it ist nat ral, too, t at t ey shoult not like, 
overmuch, to haf a son ant a prot r er marry a gal t at hasn t 
any t ing put a set of chains, a new compass, ant a few 
fielt articles t at wilt fall to her share a ter my teat . No, 
no ; we must t ink of t e honour of t e Coejemans ant t e 
Malpones, ant not let our peloved gal go into a family t at 
may not want her." 

I could see that Frank Malbone smiled, though sadly, as 
he listened to this warning ; for, on him, it made little or no 
impression, since he was generous enough to judge me by 
himself, and did not believe any such mercenary considera 
tions would influence my course. I felt differently, how 
ever. Obstinacy in opinion, was one of the weak points in 
Chainbearer s character, and I saw the danger of his leaving 
these sentiments as a legacy to Dus. She, indeed, had been 
the first to entertain them, and to communicate them to her 
uncle, and they might revive in her when she came to reflect 
on the true condition of things, and become confirmed by 
the dying requests of her uncle. It is true, that in our own 
interview, when I obtained from the dear girl the precious 
confession of her love, no such obstacle seemed to exist, but 
both of us appeared to look forward with confidence to our 
future union as to a thing certain ; but at that moment, Dus 
was excited by my declarations of the most ardent and 
unutterable attachment, and led away by the strength of her 
own feelings. We were in the delirium of delight produced 
by mutual confidence, and the full assurance of mutual love, 
when Thousandacres came upon us, to carry us to the 
scenes of woe by which we had been, and were still, in a 
degree, surrounded. Under such circumstances, one might 
well fall under the influence of feelings and emotions that 
would prove to be more controllable in cooler moments. It 
was all-important, then, for me to set Chainbearer right in 
the matter, and to have a care he did not quit us, leaving 
the two persons he most loved on earth, very unnecessarily 
miserable, and that solely on account of the strength of his 
own prejudices. Nevertheless, the moment was not favour- 
32 



374 THE CHAlNBEARERo 

able to pursue such a purpose, and I was reflecting bitterly 
on the future, when we were all startled by a heavy groan 
that seemed to come out of the very depths of the chest of 
the squatter, 

Frank and I turned instinctively towards the chimney, on 
hearing this unlooked-for interruption. The chair of Pru 
dence was vacant, the woman having rushed from the hut 
at the first sound of the recent alarm ; most probably, in 
quest of her younger children. But Thousandacres re 
mained in the very seat he had now occupied nearly, if not 
quite, two hours. I observed, however, that his form was 
not as erect as when previously seen. It had sunk lower 
in the chair, while his chin hung down upon his breast. 
Advancing nearer, a small pool of blood was seen on the 
stones beneath him, and a short examination told Malbone 
and myself, that a rifle-bullet had passed directly through 
his body, in a straight line, and that only three inches above 
the hips ! 



CHAPTER XXYII. 



** With woful measures, wan despair 
Low, sullen sounds his grief beguil d, 
A solemn, strange, and mingled air ; 
Twas sad by fits, by starts twas wild." 

COLLINS. 

THOUSANDACRES had been shot in his chair, by one of 
the rifles first discharged that night. As it turned out, he 
was the only one that we could ascertain was hurt ; though 
there was a report, to which many persons gave credence, 
that Tobit had a leg broken, also, and that he remained a 
cripple for life. I am inclined to believe this report may 
have been true; for Jaap told me, after all was over, that 
he let fly on a man who had just fired on himself, and who 
certainly fell, and was borne off limping, by two of his 
companions. I*, is quite probable that this hurt of Tobit s, 
and the fate of his father, was the reason we received no 



THE CHAINBEAREH. 375 

more annoyance that night from the squatters, who had all 
vanished from the clearing so effectually, including most of 
the females and all the children, that no traces of their place 
of retreat were to be found next morning. Lowiny, how 
ever, did not accompany the family, but remained near Dus, 
rendering herself highly useful as an attendant in the me 
lancholy scene that followed. I may as well add, here, that 
no evidence was ever obtained concerning the manner in 
which Thousandacres received his death-wound. He was 
shot through the open door, beyond all question, as he sat 
in his chair ; and necessarily in the early part of the fray, 
for then only was a rifle discharged very near the house, or 
from a point that admitted of the ball s hitting its victim. 
For myself, I believed from the first that Susquesus sacri 
ficed the squatter to the manes of his friend, Chainbearer ; 
dealing out Indian justice, without hesitation or compunc 
tion. Still, I could not be certain of the fact ; and the Onon- 
dago had either sufficient prudence or sufficient philosophy 
to keep his own secret. It is true that a remark or two did 
escape him, soon after the affair occurred, that tended to 
sustain my suspicions ; but, on the whole, he was remark 
ably reserved on the subject less from any apprehension 
of consequences, than from self-respect and pride of charac 
ter. There was little to be apprehended, indeed ; the pre 
vious murder of Chainbearer, and the unlawful nature of all 
the proceedings of the squatters, justifying a direct and sud 
den attack on the part of the posse. 

Just as Malbone and myself discovered the condition of 
Thousandacres, this posse, with squire Newcome at its 
head, began to collect around the house, which might now 
be termed our hospital. As the party was large, and neces 
sarily a little tumultuous, I desired Frank to lead them off 
to some of the other buildings, as soon as a bed had been 
prepared for the squatter, who was placed in the same room 
with Chainbearer, to die. No one, in the least acquainted 
with injuries of that nature, could entertain any hope for 
either ; though a messenger was sent to the settlements for 
the individual who was called " doctor," and who was really 
fast acquiring many usefuFttotions about his profession, by 
practising on the human system. They say that " an ounce 
of experience is worth a pound of theory," and this disciple 



376 THE CHAINBEARER. 

of Esculapius seemed to have set up in his art on this prin 
ciple ; having little or none of the last, while he was really 
obtaining a very respectable amount of the first, as he prac 
tised right and left, as the pugilist is most apt to hit in his 
rallies. Occasionally, however, he gave a knock-down blow. 

As soon as the necessary arrangemenss were made in 
our hospital, I told Dus that we would leave her and Lowiny 
in attendance on the wounded, both of whom manifested 
weariness and a disposition to doze, while all the rest of the 
party would draw off, and take up their quarters for the 
night in the adjacent buildings. Mai bone was to remain, 
as a sentinel, a little distance from the door, and I promised 
to join him in the course of an hour. 

" Lowiny can attend to the wants of her father, while 
you will have the tenderest care of your uncle, I well know. 
A little drink occasionally is all that can alleviate their suf 
ferings " . 

" Let me come in," interrupted a hoarse female voice at 
the door, as a woman forced her way through the opposing 
arms of several of the posse. " I am Aaron s wife, and 
they tell me he is hurt. God himself has ordered that a 
woman should cleave unto her husband, and Thousandacres 
is mine ; and he is the father of my children, if he has mur 
dered, and been murdered in his turn." 

There was something so commanding in the natural emo 
tions of this woman, that the guard at the door gave way 
immediately, when Prudence entered the room. The first 
glance of the squatter s wife was at the bed of Chainbearer; 
but nothing there held her gaze riveted. That gaze only 
became fixed as her eyes fell on the large form of Thousand- 
acres, as he lay extended on his death-bed. It is probable 
that fliis experienced matron, who had seen so many acci 
dents in the course of a long life, and had sat by so many 
i bedside, understood the desperate nature of her husband s 
situation as soon as her eyes fell on the fallen countenance; 
for, turning to those near her, the first impulse was to re 
venge the wrong which she conceived had been done to her 
and hers. I will acknowledge that I felt awed, and that a 
thrill passed through my frame as this rude and unnurtured 
female, roused by he? impulses, demanded authoritatively 

" Who has done this ? Who has taken the breath from 



THE CHAINBEARER. 377 

my man before the time set by the Lord ! Who has dared 
to make my children fatherless, and me a widow, ag in law 
and right? I left my man seated on that hearth, heart- 
stricken and troubled at what had happened to another; and 
they tell me he has been murdered in his chair. The Lord 
will be on our side at last, arid then we ll see whom the 
law will favour, and whom the law will condemn !" 

A movement and a groan, on the part of Thousandacres, 
would seem first to have apprized Prudence that her hus 
band was not actually dead. Starting at this discovery, 
this tiger s mate and tiger s dam, if not tigress herself, ceased 
everything like appeal and complaint, and set herself about 
those duties which naturally suggested themselves to one of 
her experience, with the energy of a frontier woman a 
woodsman s wife, and the mother of a large brood of woods 
man s sons and daughters. She wiped the face of Thousand- 
acres, wet his lips, shifted his pillow, such as it was, placed 
his limbs in postures she thought the easiest, and otherwise 
manifested a sort of desperate energy in her care. The 
whole time she was doing this, her tongue was muttering 
prayers and menaces, strangely blended together, and quite 
as strangely mixed up with epithets of endearment that were 
thrown away on her still insensible and least unconscious 
husband. She called him Aaron, and that, too, in a tone 
that sounded as if Thousandacres had a strong hold on her 
affections, and might at least have been kind and true to 
her. 

I felt convinced that Dus had nothing to fear from Pru 
dence, and I left the place as soon as the two nurses had 
everything arranged for their respective patients, and the 
house was quite free from the danger of intrusion. On 
quitting her who now occupied most of my thoughts, I ven 
tured to whisper a request she would not forget the pledges 
given me in the forest, and asked her to summon me to the 
bedside of Chainbearer, should he rouse himself from the 
slumber that had come over him, and manifest a desire to 
converse. I feared he might renew the subject to which his 
mind had already once adverted since receiving his wound, 
and imbue his niece with some of his own set notions on 
that subject. Ursula was kindness itself. Her affliction 
had even softened her feelings towards me more than eve*; 
32* 



878 THE CHAINBEAREH. 

and, so far as she was concerned, I certainly had no ground 
for uneasiness. In passing Frank, who stood on post some 
twenty yards from the door of the house, he said God bless 
you, Littlepage, fear nothing. I am too much in your 
own situation, not to be warmly your friend. I returned 
his good wishes, and went my way, in one sense rejoic 
ing. 

The posse, as has been stated, were in possession of the 
different deserted habitations of the family of Thousandacres. 
The night being cool, fires were blazing on all the hearths, 
and the place wore an air of cheerfulness that it had proba 
bly never before known. Most of the men had crowded into 
two of the dwellings, leaving a third for the convenience of 
the magistrate, Frank Mai bone, and myself, whenever we 
might choose to repair to it. By the time I appeared, the 
posse had supped, using the milk and bread, and other eat 
ables of the squatters, ad libitum, and were disposing of 
themselves on the beds and on the floors, to take a little rest, 
after their long and rapid march. But in my own quarters 
I found squire Newcorne, alone, unless the silent and mo 
tionless Onondago, who occupied a chair in a corner of the 
fire-place, could be called a companion. Jaap, too, in ex 
pectation of my arrival, was lounging near the door ; and 
when I entered the house, he followed me in for orders. 

It was easy for me, who knew of Newcome s relations 
with the squatters, to discover the signs of confusion in his 
countenance, as his eye first met mine. One who was not 
acquainted with the circumstances, most probably would 
have detected nothing out of the common way. It will be 
remembered that the squire had no positive knowledge 
that I was acquainted with his previous visit to the mill ; 
and it will be easy to see that he must have felt an itching 
and uneasy desire to ascertain that fact. A great deal de 
pended on that circumstance ; nor was it long before I had 
a specimen of his art in sounding round the truth, with a 
view to relieve his mind. 

" Who d a thought of findin major Littlepage in the 
bands of the Philistines, in sich an out o the way place as 
this!" exclaimed Mr. Newcome, as soon as our salutations 
had been exchanged. " I ve heern say there was squatters 
down hereabouts; but sich things are so common, that I 



THE CIIAINBEARER. 379 

never bethought me of givin him a hint on the matter when 
I last saw the major." 

Nothing could surpass the deferential manner of this per 
son when he had an object to gain, it being quite common 
with him to use the third person, in this way, when address 
ing a superior ; a practice that has almost become obsolete 
in the English language, and which is seldom if ever used 
in America, except by this particular class of men, who 
defer before your face, and endeavour to undermine when 
the back is turned. My humour was not to trifle with this 
fellow, though I did not know that it was exactly prudent, 
just then, to let him know that I had both seen and heard 
him in his former visit, and was fully aware of all his prac 
tices. It was not easy, however, to resist the opportunity 
given by his own remarks, to put him a little way on the 
tenter-hooks of conscience that quality of the human mind 
being one of the keenest allies an assailant can possess, in 
cases of this sort. 

" I had supposed, Mr. Newcome, that you were generally 
charged with the care of the Mooseridge lands, as one of 
the conditions annexed to the Ravensnest agency ?" I some 
what drily remarked. 

" Sartain, sir ; the colonel or gin ral, as he ought to be 
called now, I do s pose gave me the superintendence of 
both at the same time. But the major knows, I presume, 
that Mooseridge was not on sale ?" 

" No, sir ; it would seem to have been only on plunder. 
One would think that an agent, entrusted with the care of 
an estate, and who heard of squatters being in possession, 
and stripping the land of its trees, would feel it to be his 
duty at least to apprise the owners of the circumstance, that 
they might look to the case, if he did not." 

" The major hasn t rightly understood me," put in the 
squire, in a manner that was particularly deprecatory ; " I 
don t mean to say that I know d, with anything like posi- 
tiveness, that there was squatters hereabouts ; but that 
rumours was stirrin 1 of some sich things. But squatters is 
sich common objects in new countries, that a body scarce 
turns aside to look at them !" 

" So it would seem, in your case at least, Mr. Newcome. 
This Thousandacres, however, they tell me, is a well-known 



330 THE CHAINBEARER. 

character, and has done little since his youth but lumber on 
the property of other people. I should suppose you must 
have met him, in the course of five-and-twenty years resi 
dence in this part of the world ?" 

" Lord bless the major ! met Thousandacres ? Why, 
I ve met him a hundred times ! We all know the old man 
well enough ; and many and many is the time I ve met him 
at raisin s, and trainin s, and town meetin s, and political 
meetin s, too. I ve even seen him in court, though Thou 
sandacres don t set. much store by law, not half as much 
as he and every other man ought to do ; for law is excel 
lent, and society would be no better than a collection of wild 
beasts, as I often tell Miss Newcome, if it hadn t law to 
straighten it out, and to teach the misguided and evil-dis 
posed what s right. I s pose the major will coincide with 
that idee ?" 

" I have no particular objection to the sentiment, sir, but 
wish it was more general. As you have seen this person 
Thousandacreg so often, perhaps you can tell me something 
of his character. My opportunities of knowing the man 
have been none of the best ; for, most of the time I was his 
prisoner, he had me shut up in an out-building in which I 
believe he has usually kept his salt, and grain, and spare 
provisions." 

" Not the old store -us !" exclaimed the magistrate, look 
ing a little aghast, for the reader will doubtless recollect 
that the confidential dialogue between him and the squatter, 
on the subject of the lumber, had occurred so near that 
building as to be overheard by me. "How long has the 
major been in this clearin , I wonder?" 

" Not a very great while in fact, though long enough to 
make it appear a week. I was put into the store-house 
soon after my seizure, and have passed at least half my 
time there since." 

" I want to know ! Perhaps the major got in that hole 
as arly as yesterday morn ?" 

" Perhaps I did, sir. But, Mr. Newcome, on looking 
round at the quantity of lumber these men have made, and 
recollecting the distance they are from Albany, I am at a 
loss to imagine how they could hope to get their ill-gotten 
gains to market without discovery. It would seem to me 



THE CHAINBEARER. 381 

that their movements must be known, and that the active 
and honest agents of this part of the country would seize 
their rafts in the water-courses ; thus making the very objects 
of the squatters roguery the means of their punishment. 
Is it not extraordinary that theft, in a moral sense at least, 
can be systematically carried on, and that on so large a 
scale, with such entire impunity ?" 

" Wa-a-1 I s pose the major knows how things turn, in 
this world. Nobody likes to meddle." 

" How, sir not meddle ! This is contrary to all my 
experience of the habits of the country, and all I have heard 
of it ! Meddling, I have been given to understand, is the 
great vice of our immigrant population, in particular, who 
never think they have their just rights, unless they are pri 
vileged to talk about, and sit in judgment on the affairs of 
all within twenty miles of them ; making two-thirds of their 
facts as they do so, in order to reconcile their theories with 
the wished-for results." 

" Ah ! 1 don t mean meddlin in that sense, of which there 
is enough, as all must allow. But folks don t like to meddle 
with things that don t belong to them in such serious mat 
ters as this." 

" I understand you the man who will pass days in dis 
cussing his neighbour s private affairs, about which he ab 
solutely knows nothing but what has been obtained from 
the least responsible and most vulgar sources, will stand by 
and see that neighbour robbed and say nothing, under the 
influence of a sentiment so delicate, that it forbids his med 
dling with what don t belong to him !" 

Lest the reader should think I was unduly severe upon 
squire Newcome, let me appeal to his own experience, and 
inquire if he never knew, not only individuals, but whole 
neighbourhoods, which were sorely addicted to prying into 
every man s affairs, and to inventing when facts did not ex 
actly sustain theories ; in a word, convulsing themselves 
with that with which they have no real concern, draw them 
selves up in dignified reserve, as the witnesses of wrongs of 
all sorts, that every honest man is bound to oppose? I will 
go further, and ask if a man does happen to step forth to 
vindicate the right, to assert truth, to defend the weak and 
to punish the wrong-doer, if that man be not usually the 



382 THECHAINBEA.RER. 

one who meddles least in the more ordinary and mino* 
transactions of life the man who troubles his neighbours 
least, and has the least to say about their private affairs ? 
Does it not happen that the very individual who will stand 
by and see his neighbour wronged, on account of his indis 
position to meddle with that which does not belong to him, 
will occupy a large portion of his own time in discussing, 
throwing out hints, and otherwise commenting on the pri 
vate affairs of that very neighbour] 

Mr. Newcome was shrewd, and he understood me well 
enough, though he probably found it a relief to his appre 
hensions to see the conversation inclining towards these 
generalities, instead of sticking to the store-house. Never 
theless, * boards must have been uppermost in his con 
science ; and, after a pause, he made an invasion into the 
career of Thousandacres, by way of diverting me from 
pushing matters too directly. 

" This old squatter was a desperate man, major Little- 
page," he answered, " and it may be fortinate for the coun 
try that he is done with. I hear the old fellow is killed, 
and that all the rest of the family has absconded." 

" It is not quite so bad as that. Thousandacres is hurt 
mortally, perhaps and all his sons have disappeared ; 
but his wife and one of his daughters are still here, in at 
tendance on the husband and father." 

" Prudence is here, then !" exclaimed Mr. Newcome, a 
little indiscreetly as I thought. 

"She is but you seem to know the family well for a 
magistrate, squire, seeing their ordinary occupation so 
well, as to call the woman by her name." 

" Prudence, I think Thousandacres used to call his 
woman. Yes, the major is very right ; we magistrates do 
get to know the neighbourhood pretty gin rally ; what be 
tween summonses, and warrants, and bailings-out. But the 
major hasn t yet said when he first fell into the hands of 
these folks ?" 

" I first entered this clearing yesterday morning, not a 
long time after the sun rose, since which time, sir, I have 
been detained here, either by force or by circumstances." 

A long pause succeeded this announcement. The squire 
fidgeted, and seemed uncertain how to act ; for, while my 



THE CHAINBEARER. 383 

announcement must have given rise, in his mind, to the 
strong probability of my knowing of his connection with 
the squatters, it did not absolutely say as much. I could 
see that he was debating with himself on the expediency or 
coming out with some tale invented for the occasion, and I 
turned towards the Indian and the negro, both of whom I 
knew to be thoroughly honest after the Indian and the 
negro fashions in order to say a friendly word to each in 
turn. 

Susquesus was in one of his quiescent moods, and had 
lighted a pipe, which he was calmly smoking. No one, to 
look at him, would suppose that he had so lately been en 
gaged in a scene like that through which he had actually 
gone ; but, rather, that he was some thoughtful philosopher, 
who habitually passed his time in reflection and study. 

As this was one of the occasions on which the Onondago 
came nearest to admitting his own agency in procuring the 
death of the squatter, I shall relate the little that passed 
between us. 

" Good evening, Sureflint," I commenced, extending a 
hand, which the other courteously took in compliance with 
our customs. " I am glad to see you at large, and no 
longer a prisoner in that store-house." 

" Store- us poor gaol. Jaap snap off bolt like pipe-stem. 
Won er T ousandacres didn t t ink of d at." 

" Thousandacres has had too much to think of this even 
ing, to remember such a trifle. He has now to think of his 
end." 

The Onondago was clearing the bowl of his pipe of its 
superfluous ashes as I said this, and he deliberately effected 
his purpose ere he answered 

" Sartain s pose he kill dis time." 

" I fear his hurt is mortal, and greatly regret that it has 
happened. The blood of our tried friend, Chainbearer, 
was enough to be shed in so miserable an affair as this." 

" Yes, fair pretty mis rable ; t ink so, too. If squatter 
shoot surveyor, must t ink surveyor s fri nd will shoot 
squatter." 

" That may be Indian law, Sureflint, but it is not the lavf 
of the Pale Face, in the time of peace and quiet." 

Susquesus continued to smoke, making no answer. 



384 THE CHAIN BEARER. 

" It was a very wicked thing to murder Chainbearer, and 
Thousandacres should have been handed over to the magis 
trates, for punishment, if he had a hand in it ; not shot, 
like a dog." 

The Onondago drew his pipe from his mouth, looked 
round towards the squire, who had gone to the door in 
order to breathe the fresh air then, turning his eyes most 
significantly on me, he answered 

" Who magistrate go to, eh ? What use good law wit 
poor magistrate 1 Better have red-skin law, and warrior be 
he own magistrate own gallows, too." 

The pipe was replaced, and Sureflint appeared to be 
satisfied with what had passed ; for he turned away, and 
seemed to be lost, again, in his own reflections. 

After all, the strong native intellect of this barbarian had 
let him into one of the greatest secrets connected with our 
social ills. Good laws, badly administered, are no better 
than an absence of all law, since they only encourage evil 
doers by the protection they afford through the power con 
ferred on improper agents. These who have studied the 
defects of the American system, with a view to ascertain 
truth, say that the want of a great moving power to set jus 
tice in motion lies at the root of its feebleness. According 
to theory, the public virtue is to constitute this power ; but 
public virtue is never one-half as active as private vice. 
Crime is only to be put down by the strong hand, and that 
hand must belong to the public in truth, not in name only ; 
whereas, the individual wronged is fast getting to be the 
only moving power, and in very many cases local parties 
are formed, and the rogue goes to the bar sustained by an. 
authority that has quite as much practical control as the 
law itself. Juries and grand juries are no longer to be re 
lied on, and the bench is slowly, but steadily, losing its in 
fluence. When the day shall come as come it must, if pre 
sent tendencies continue that verdicts are rendered directly 
in the teeth of law and evidence, and jurors fancy them 
selves legislators, then may the just man fancy himself ap 
proaching truly evil times, and the patriot begin to despair. 
It will be the commencement of the rogue s paradise ! No 
thing is easier, I am willing to admit, than to over-govern 
men ; but it ought not to be forgotten, that the political vice 



THE CHAIN BEARER. 3Q5 

that comes next in the scale of facility, is to govern them 
100 little. 

Jaap, or Jaaf, had been humbly waiting for his turn to 
foe noticed. There existed perfect confidence, as between 
him and myself, but there were also bounds, in the way of 
respect, that the slave never presumed to pass, without di 
rect encouragement from the master. Had I not seen fit to 
speak to the black that night, he would not have commenced 
a conversation, which, begun by me, he entered into with 
the utmost frankness and freedom from restraint. 

" You seem to have managed your part of this affair, 
Jaap," I said, " with discretion and spirit. I have every 
reason to be satisfied with you ; more especially for libe 
rating the Indian, and for the manner in which you guided 
the posse down into the clearing, from the woods." 

" Yes, sah ; s pose you would t ink dat was pretty well. 
As for Sus, t ought it best to let him out, for he be won erful 
sartain wid he rifle. We should do much better, masser 
Mordy, but e squire so werry backward about lettin e men 
shoot em ere squatter ! Gosh ! masser Mordy, if he only 
say fire when I want him, I don t t ink so much as half a 
one get off." 

" It is best as it is, Jaap. We are at peace, and in the 
bosom of our country ; and bloodshed is to be avoided." 

"Yes, sah; but Chainbearer! If ey don t like blood 
shed, why ey shoot him, sah ?" 

" There is a feeling of justice in what you say, Jaap, but 
the community cannot get on in anything like safety unless 
we let the law rule. Our business was to take those squat- 
tors, and to hand them over to the law." 

" Werry true, sah. Nobody can t deny dat, masser Mor 
dy, but he nodder seize nor shot, now ! Sartain, it best to 
do one or t odder with sich rascal. Well, I t ink dat Tobit, 
as dey calls him, will remember Jaap Satanstoe long as he 
live. Dat a good t ing, any way !" 

" Good !" exclaimed the Onondago, with energy. 

I saw it was useless, then, to discuss abstract principles 
with men so purely practical as my two companions, and I 
left the house to reconnoitre, ere I returned to our hospital 
for the night. The negro followed me, and I questioned 
him as to the manner of the attack, and the direction of the 
33 



386 THE CHAINBEARER. 

retreat of the squatters, in order to ascertain what dangef 
there might be during the hours of darkness. Jaap gave 
me to understand that the men of Thousandacres family 
had retired by the way of the stream, profiting by the de 
clivity to place themselves under cover as soon as possible. 
A.S respects the women and children, they must have got 
into the woods at some other point, and it was probable the 
whole had sought some place of retreat that would naturally 
have been previously appointed by those who knew that 
they lived in the constant danger of requiring one. Jaap 
was very certain we should see no more of the men, and in 
that he was perfectly right. No more was ever seen of any 
one of them all in that part of the country, though rumours 
reached us, in the course of time, from some of the more 
western counties, that Tobit had been seen there, a cripple, 
as I have already stated, but maintaining his old character 
for lawlessness and disregard of the rights of others. 

I next returned to Frank Malbone, who still stood on post 
at no great distance from the door, through which we could 
both see the form and features of his beautiful and beloved 
sister. Dus sat by her uncle s bed-side, while Prudence had 
stationed herself by that of her husband. Frank and I ad 
vanced near the door, and looked in upon the solemn and 
singular sight that room afforded. It was indeed a strange 
and sad spectacle, to see those two aged men, each with his 
thin locks whitened by seventy years, drawing near their 
ends, the victims of lawless violence; for, while the death 
of Thousandacres was enveloped in a certain mystery, and 
might by some eyes be viewed as merited and legal, there 
could be no doubt that it was a direct consequence of the 
previous murder of Chainbearer. It is in this way that 
wrong extends and sometimes perpetuates its influence, 
proving the necessity of taking time by the forelock, and 
resorting to prevention in the earliest stages of the evil, 
instead of cure. 

There lay the two victims of the false principles that the 
physical condition of the country, connected with its passive 
endurance of encroachments on the right, had gradually 
permitted to grow up among us. Squatting was a conse 
quence of the thinness of the population and of the abun 
dance of land, the two very circumstances that rendered it the 



THE CHAINBEARER. 387 

less justifiable in a moral point of view ; but which, by 
rendering the one side careless of its rights, and the other 
proportionably encroaching, had gradually led, not only to 
this violation of law, but to the adoption of notions that are 
adverse to the supremacy of law in any case. It is this 
gradual undermining of just opinions that forms the immi 
nent danger of our social system ; a spurious philanthropy 
on the subject of punishments, false notions on that of per 
sonal rights, and the substitution of numbers for principles, 
bidding fair to produce much the most important revolution 
that has ever yet taken place on the American continent. 
The lover of real liberty, under such circumstances, should 
never forget that the road to despotism lies along the borders 
of the slough of licentiousness, even when it escapes wal 
lowing in its depths. 

When Malbone and myself drew back from gazing on 
the scene within the house, he related to me in detail all that 
was connected with his own proceedings. The reader knows 
that it was by means of a meeting in the forest, between 
the Indian and the negro, that my friends first became ac 
quainted with my arrest, and the probable danger in which 
I was placed. Chainbearer, Dus, and Jaap instantly repaired 
to the clearing of Thousandacres ; while Malbone hastened 
on to Ravensnest, in pursuit of legal aid, and of a force to 
render my rescue certain. Meditating on all the facts of 
the case, and entertaining most probably an exaggerated 
notion of the malignant character of Thousandacres, by the 
time he reached the Nest, my new friend was in a most 
feverish state of excitement. His first act was, to write a 
brief statement of the facts to my father, and to despatch 
his letter by a special messenger, with orders to him to push 
on for Fishkill, all the family being there at the time, on a 
visit to the Kettletases ; proceeding by land or by water, as 
the wind might favour. I was startled at this information, 
foreseeing at once that it would bring not only the general 
himself, but my dear mother and Kate, with Tom Bayard 
quite likely in her train, post haste to Ravensnest. It might 
even cause my excellent old grandmother to venture so far 
from home ; for my last letters had apprised me that they 
were all on the point^f visiting my sister Anneke, which 



388 THE CHAINBEARER. 

was the way Frank had learned where the family was to be 
found. 

As Malbone s messenger had left the Nest early the pre 
ceding night, and the wind had been all day fresh at north, 
it came quite within the bounds of possibility that he might 
be at Fishkill at the very moment I was listening to the 
history of his message. The distance was about a hundred 
and forty miles, and nearly one hundred of it could be made 
by water. Such a messenger would care but little for the 
accommodations of his craft ; and, on the supposition that 
he reached Albany that morning, and found a sloop ready 
to profit by the breeze, as would be likely to occur, it would 
be quite in rule to reach the fending at Fishkill in the course 
of the evening, aided by the little gale that had been blowing. 
I knew General Littlepage too well, to doubt either his affec 
tion or his promptitude. Albany could be reached in a day 
by land, and Ravensnest in another. I made my account, 
therefore, to see a part if not all of the family at the Nest, 
as soon as I should reach it myself; an event not likely to 
occur, however, for some little time, on account of the con 
dition of Chainbearer. 

I shall not deny that this new state of things, with the 
expectations connected with it, gave me sufficient food for 
reflection. I could not and did not blame Frank Malbone 
for what he had done, since it was natural and proper. 
Notwithstanding, it would precipitate matters as regarded 
my relations to Dus a little faster than I could have wished. 
I desired time to sound my family on the important subject 
of my marriage to let the three or four letters I had already 
written, and in which she had been mentioned in a marked 
manner, produce their effect ; and I counted largely on the 
support I was to receive through the friendship and repre 
sentations of Miss Bayard. I felt certain that deep disap 
pointment on the subject of Pris. would be felt by the whole 
family ; and it was my wish not to introduce Ursula to their 
acquaintance until time had a little lessened its feeling. But 
things must now take their course ; and my determination 
was settled to deal as sincerely and simply as possible with 
my parents on the subject. I knew their deep affection for 
me, and relied strongly on that natural support. 

I had half an hour s conversation with Dus while walking 



THE C II AINB BARER. 38$ 

in front of the hospital that night, Frank taking his sister s 
place by the side of Chainbearer s bed. Then it was that 1 
again spoke of my hopes, and explained the probabilities of 
our seeing all of my immediate family so shortly at Ravens- 
nest. My arm was round the waist of the dear girl as I 
communicated these facts ; and I felt her tremble, as if she 
dreaded the trial she was to undergo. 

" This is very sudden and unexpected, Mordaunt," Dus 
remarked, after she had had a little time to recover her 
recollection ; " and I have so much reason to fear the judg 
ment of your respectable parents of your charming sister, 
of whom I have heard so often through Priscilla Bayard 
and indeed of all who have lived, as they have done, amid 
the elegancies of a refined state of society ; I, Dus Malbone 
a chainbearer s niece, and a chainbearer myself!" 

" You have never borne any chain, love, that is as lasting 
or as strong as that which you have entwined around my 
heart, and which will for ever bind me to you, let the rest 
of the world regard us both as it may. But you can have 
nothing to fear from any, and least of all from my friends. 
My father is not worldly-minded ; and as for my dear, dear 
mother, Armeke Mordaunt, as the general even now often 
affectionately calls her, as if the name itself reminded him 
of the days of her maiden loveliness and pride as for that 
beloved mother, Ursula, I do firmly believe that, when she 
comes to know you, she will even prefer you to her son." 

"That is a picture of your blinded partiality, Mordaunt," 
answered the gratified girl, for gratified I could see she was, 
" and must not be too fondly relied on. But this is no time 
to talk of our own future happiness, when the eternal hap 
piness or misery of those two aged men is suspended, as it 
might be, by a thread. I have read prayers once already 
with my dear uncle; and that strange woman, in whom 
there is so much of her sex mingled with a species of fero 
city like that of a she-bear, has muttered a hope that her 
own dying man, as she calls him, is not to be forgotten. 
I have promised he should not be, and it is time to attend to 
that duty next." 

What a scene followed ! Dus placed the light on a chest 
near the bed of Thousandacres, and, with the prayer-book 
in her hand, she knelt beside it. Prudence stationed herself 
33* 



390 THE CHAII4BEARER. 

in such a posture that her head was buried in one of her 
own garments, that was suspended from a peg ; and there 
she stood, while the melodious voice of Ursula Malbone 
poured out the petitions contained in the offices for the 
dying, in humble but fervent piety. I say stood, for neither 
Prudence nor Lowiny knelt. The captious temper of self- 
righteousness which had led their ancestors to reject kneel 
ing at prayers as the act of formalists, had descended to 
them; and there they stood, praying doubtless in their 
hearts, but ungracious formalists themselves in their zeal 
against forms. Frank and I knelt in the door-way ; and I 
can truly affirm that never did prayers sound so sweetly in 
my ears, as those which then issued from the lips of Ursula 
Malbone. 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

" Thence cum we to the horrour and the hel, 
The large great kyngdomes, and the dreadful raygne 

Of Pluto in his trone where he dyd dwell, 
The wyde waste places, and the hugye playne : 
The waylings, shrykcs, and sundry sortes of payne, 
The syghes, and sobbes, the diep and deadly groane, 
Earth, ayer, and all resounding playnt and moane. 

SACKVIIXK. 

IN this manner did that memorable night wear away. 
The two wounded men slumbered much of the time ; nor 
did their wants extend beyond occasional draughts of water, 
to cool their feverish mouths, or the wetting of lips. I pre 
vailed on Dus to lie down on the bed of Lowiny, and try to 
get a little rest ; and I had the pleasure to hear her say that 
she had slept sweetly for two or three hours, after the turn 
of the night. Frank and I caught naps, also, after the 
fashion of soldiers, and Lowiny slept in her chair, or leaning 
on her father s bed. As for Prudence, I do not think her 
watchfulness was lessened for a single instant. There she 
sat the live-long night ; silent, tearless, moody, and heart- 
stricken by the great and sudden calamity that had befallen 



THE CHAINBEARER. 391 

her race, but vigilant and attentive to the least movement in 
the huge frame of her wounded partner. No complaint 
escaped her ; scarcely once did she turn to look at what 
was going on around her, nor in any manner did she heed 
aught but her husband. To him she seemed to be uner 
ringly true ; and whatever she may, and must have thought 
of his natural sternness, and occasional fits of severity to 
wards herself, all now seemed to be forgotten. 

At length light returned, after hours of darkness that 
seemed to me to be protracted to an unusual length. Then 
it was, when Jaap and the Indian were ready to take our 
places on the watch, that Frank and I went to one of the 
huts and lay down for two or three hours ; and that was the 
time when Dus got her sweetest and most refreshing sleep. 
Lowiny prepared our morning s meal for us; which we 
three, that is, Dus, Frank and myself, took together in the 
best way we could, in the dwelling of Tobit. As for squire 
Newcome, he left the clearing in the course of the night, or 
very early in the morning, doubtless exceedingly uneasy in 
his conscience, but still uncertain whether his connection 
with the squatters was, or was not known to me: the 
excuse for this movement being the probable necessity of 
summoning a jury ; Mr. Jason Newcome filling in his own 
person, or by deputy, the several offices and functions of 
justice of the peace, one of the coroners of the county, super 
visor of the township of Ravensnest, merchant, shopkeeper, 
miller, lumber-dealer, husbandman and innkeeper; to say 
nothing of the fact that he wrote all the wills of the neigh 
bourhood; was a standing arbitrator when disputes were 
left out to men ; was a leading politician, a patriot by 
trade, and a remarkable and steady advocate of the rights 
of the people, even to minutiae. Those who know mankind 
will not be surprised, after this enumeration of his pursuits 
and professions, to hear it added that he was a remarkable 
rogue in the bargain. 

There are two things I have lived long enough to receive 
as truths established by my own experience, and they are 
these : I never knew a man who made large professions of 
a love for the people, and of his wish to serve them on all 
occasions, whose aim was not to deceive them to his own 
advantage ; and the other is, that I never knew a man who 



392 THE CHAINBEARER. 

was compelled to come much in contact with the people, and 
who at the same time was personally popular, who had any 
thing in him, at the bottom. But it is time to quit Jason New- 
come and his defects of character, in order to attend to the 
interesting scene that awaited us in the dwelling of Thou- 
sandacres, and to which we were now summoned by Jaap. 

As the day advanced, both the chainbearer and the squat 
ter became aroused from the languor that had succeeded the 
receiving of their respective hurts, and more or less alive to 
what was passing around them. Life was ebbing fast in 
both, yet each seemed, just at that moment, to turn his 
thoughts backward on the world, in order, as it might be, to 
take a last look at those scenes in which he had now been 
an actor for the long period of three-score and ten years. 

" Uncle Chainbearer is much revived, just now," said Dus> 
meeting Frank and myself at the door, " and he has asked 
for you both ; more especially for Mordaunt, whose name 
he has mentioned three several times within the last five 
minutes. Send for Mordaunt, my child, he has said to 
me, for I wish to speak with him before I quit you. I am 
fearful he has inward admonitions of his approaching end." 

" That is possible, dearest Ursula ; for men can hardly 
lose their hold of life without being aware of the approaches 
of death. I will go at once to his bedside, that he may know 
I am here. It is best to let his own feelings decide whether 
he is able or not to converse." 

The sound of Chainbearer s voice, speaking in a low but 
distinct tone, caught our ears as we approached him, and 
we all stopped to listen. 

" I say, T ousantacres," repeated Andries, on a key a 
little louder than before, " if you hear me, olt man, ant can 
answer, I wish you to let me know it. You ant I pe apout 
to start on a fery long journey, ant it ist unreasonaple, as 
well as wicket, to set out wit pad feelin s at t e heart. If 
you hat hat a niece, now. like Dus t ere, to tell you t ese 
matters, olt Aaron, it might pe petter for your soul in t e 
worlt into which we are poth apout to enter." 

" He knows it I m sure he knows it, and feels it, too, 1 
muttered Prudence, rocking her body as before " He has 
had pious forefathers, and cannot have faU<? w for away 
from grace, as to forget death v 



THE CHAINBEAKER. 393 

" Look you, Prutence, Aaron nefer coult fall away from 
what he nefer wast fastenet to. As for pious forefat ers, 
t ey may do to talk apout in Fourt of July orations, put 
t ey are of no great account in cleansin a man from his 
sins. I s pose t em pious forefat ers of which you speak 
wast t e people t at first steppet on t e Rock town at Ply- 
mout ; put, let me telt you, Prutence, hat t ere peen twice 
as many of t em, and hat t ey all peen twice as goot as you 
poast of t eir hafin peen, it wilt do no goot to your man, 
untless he wilt repent, and pe sorry for all t e unlawful ant 
wicket t ings he hast tone in t is worlt, ant his treatment of 
pountaries in jin ral, ant of ot ers men s lants in partic lar. 
Pious ancestors may pe pleasant to haf, put goot pehaviour 
ist far petter as t e last hour approaches." 

" Answer him, Aaron," the wife rejoined " answer him, 
my man, in order that we may all on us know the frame 
of mind in which you take your departure. Chainbearer 
is a kind-hearted man at the bottom, and has never wilfully 
done us any harm." 

For the first time since Andries received his wound, I 
now heard the voice of Thousandacres. Previously to that 
moment, the squatter, whether hurt or not, had sat in moody 
silence, and I had supposed after he was wounded that he 
was unable to use his tongue. To my surprise, however, 
he now spoke with a depth and strength of voice that at 
first misled me, by inducing me to think that the injury he 
had received could not be fatal. 

" If there wasn t no chainbearers," growled Thousand- 
acres, " there wouldn t be no lines, or metes, and bounds, ai 
they call em; and where there s no metes and bounds, 




good Christian," Prudence returned to this characteristic 
glance at the past, in which the squatter had so clearly 
overlooked all his own delinquencies, and was anxious to 
impute consequences altogether to others. " It is the law 
of God to forgive your enemies, Aaron, and I want you to 
forgive Chainbearer, and not go to the world of spirits with 
gall in your heart." 

"Twoult pe much petter, Prutence, if T ousantacres 



394 THE CHAINBEARER. 

woult pray to Got to forgif himself," put in Chainbearer. 
" I am fery willin , ant happy to haf t e forgifness of efery 
man, ant it ist not unlikely t at I may haf tone somet ing, 
or sait somet ing t at hast peen hart to t e feelin s of your 
huspant j for we are rough, and plain-speakin , and plain- 
actin enough, in t e wools ; so I m willin to haf even 
T ousantacres forgifness, I say, and wilt accept it wit plea 
sure if he wilt offer it, ant take mine in exchange." 

A deep groan struggled out of the broad, cavern-like 
chest of the squatter. I took it as an admission that he 
was the murderer of Andries. 

" Yes," resumed Chain bearer," Dus hast mate me 

" Uncle !" exclaimed Ursula, who was intently listening, 
and who now spoke because unable to restrain the im 
pulse. 

" Yes, yes, gal, it hast peen all your own loin s. Pefore 
ast you come pack from school, ast we come into t e wools, 
all alone like, you haf nefer forgotten to teach an oil, for 
getful man his tuty " 

" Oh ! uncle Chainbearer, it is not I, but God in his 
mercy who has enlightened your understanding and touched 
your heart." 

" Yes, tarlin ; yes, Dus, my tear, I comprehent t at too; 
but Got in his mercy sent an angel to pe his minister on 
art wit a poor ignorant Tutchman, who hast not t e 1 arn- 
in ant t e grace he might ant ought to have hat, wit out 
your ait, and so hast t e happy change come apout. No 
no T ousantacres, I wilt not tespise even your forgifness, 
little as you may haf to forgif; for it lightens a man s 
heart of heafy loats, when his time is short, to know he 
leafs no enemies pehint him. T ey say it ist pest to haf 
t e goot wishes of a log, anl how much petter ist it to haf t e 
goot wishes of one who hast a soul t at only wants purify- 
in , to twell in t e Almighty s presence t roughout eter 
nity !" 

" I hope and believe," again growled Thousandacres, 
" that in the world we re goin to, there 11 be no law, and 
no attorneys." 

" In t at, t en, Aaron, you pe greatly mistaken. T at lant 
is all law, ant justice, ant right ; t ough, Got forgif me if I 



THE CHA1NBEARER. 395 

do any man an injury ; put to pe frank wit you, as pecomss 
two mortals so near t eir ents, I do not pelieve, myself, t at 
t ere wilt pe a great many attorneys to trouple t em t at are 
receivet into t e courts of t e Almighty, himself. T eir 
practices on arth does not suit t em for practice in heafen." 

" If you d always held them rational notions, Chain- 
bearer, no harm might have come to you, and my life and 
your n been spared. But this is a state of being in which 
short-sightedness prevails ag in the best calkerlations. I 
never felt more sure of gittin lumber to market than I felt, 
three days ago, of gittin this that s in the creek, safe to 
Albany ; and, now, you see how it is ! the b ys are dis- 
parsed, and may never see this spot ag in ; the gals are in 
the woods, runnin with the deer of the forest ; the lumber 
has fallen into the hands of the law ; and that, too, by the 
aid of a man that was bound in honesty to protect me, and 
I m dyin here !" 

" Think no more of the lumber, my man, think no more 
of the lumber," said Prudence, earnestly ; " time is desp rate 
short at the best, and yours is shorter than common, even 
for a man of seventy, while etarnity has no eend. Forgit 
the boards, and forgit the b ys, and forgit the gals, forgit 
arth and all it holds ! " 

" You wouldn t have me forgit you, Prudence," interrupted 
Thousandacres, " that s been my wife, now, forty long 
years, and whom I tuck when she was young and comely, 
and that s borne me so many children, and has always been 
a faithful and hard-working woman you wouldn t have me 
forget you /" 

This singular appeal, coming as it did from such a being, 
and almost in his agony, sounded strangely and solemnly, 
amid the wild and semi-savage appliances of a scene I can 
never forget. The effect on Ursula was still more apparent ; 
she left the bed-side of her uncle, and with strong womanly 
sympathy manifested in her countenance, approached that 
of this aged couple, now about to be separated for a short 
time, at least, where she stood gazing wistfully at the very 
man who was probably that uncle s murderer, as if she 
could gladly administer to his moral ailings. Even Chain- 
bearer attempted to raise his head, and looked with interest 
towards the other group. Nc one spoke, however, for all 



396 THE CHAIN BEAKEK. 

felt that the solemn recollections and forebodings of a pair 
so situated, were too sacred for interruption. The discourse 
went on, without any hiatus, between them. 

"Not I, not I, Aaron, my man," answered Prudence, 
with strong emotion struggling in her voice ; " there can be 
no law, or call for that. We are one flesh, and what God 
has j ined, God will not keep asunder long. I cannot tarry 
long behind you, my man, and when we meet together 
ag in, I hope twill be where no boards, or trees, or acres* 
can ever make more trouble for us !" 

" I ve been hardly treated about that lumber, a ter all," 
muttered the squatter, who was now apparently more aroused 
to consciousness than he had been, and who could not but 
keep harping on what had been the one great business of his 
life, even as that life was crumbling beneath his feet 
" hardly dealt by, do I consider myself, about that lumber, 
Prudence. Make the most of the Littlepage rights, it was 
only trees that they could any way claim, in reason ; while 
the b ys and I, as you well know, have convarted them trees 
into as pretty and noble a lot of handsome boards and 
planks, as man ever rafted to market !" 

"It s convarsion of another natur that you want now, 
Aaron, my man ; another sort of convarsion is the thing 
needful. We must all be convarted once in our lives ; at 
least all such as be the children of Puritan parents and a 
godly ancestry ; and it must be owned, takin into account 
our years, and the importance of example in sich a family 
as our n, that you and I have put it off long enough. Come 
it must, or suthin worse ; and time and etarnity in your 
case, Aaron, is pretty much the same thing." 

" I should die easier in mind, Prudence, if Chainbearer 
would only admit that the man who chops, and hauls, and 
saws, and rafts a tree, doos get some sort of a right, nat ral 
or legal, to the lumber." 

" I m sorry, T ousantacres," put in Andries, "t at you 
feel any such atmission from me necessary to you at t is 
awful moment, since I nefer can make it ast an honest man. 
You hat petter listen to your wife, ant get confarted if you 
can, ant as soon ast you can. You ant I haf put a few 
hours to lif; I am an olt soltier, T ousantacres, ant haf seen 
more t an free t ousant men shot town in my own ranks, to 



THE CHAINBEAR2R. 397 

say nut in of t e ranks of t e enemy ; ant wit so much ex- 
per ence a man comes to know a little apout wounts ant 
t eir tarminations. I gif it ast my chugement, t erefore, t at 
neit er of us can haf t e smallest hope to lif t rough t e next 
night. So get t at confarsion as hastily ant ast well ast you 
can, for t ere ist little time to lose, ant you a squatter ! T is 
ist t e moment of all ot ers, T ousantacres, to proofe t e true 
falue of professions, ant trates, ant callin s, as well ast of 
t e manner in which t eir tuties haf peen fulh llet. It may 
pe more honouraple ant more profitaple to pe a calculating 
surfeyor, ant to unterstant arit metic, ant to pe talket of in 
t e work for work tone on a large scale ; put efen His Ex 
cellency himself, when he comes to t e last moment, may pe 
glat t at t e temptations of such Parnin , ant his pein so t o- 
roughly an honest man, toes not make him enfy t e state of 
a poor chainpearer ; who, if he titn t know much, ant coultn t 
do much, at least measuret t e lant wit fitelily, ant tid his 
work ast well ast he knew how. Yes, yes, olt Aaron ; get 
confartet, I tell you ; ant shoult Prutence not know enough 
of religion ant her piple, ant of prayin to Got to haf marcy 
on your soul, t ere ist Dus Malpone, my niece, who unter- 
stants, ant what ist far petter, who feels t ese matters, quite 
as well ast most tominies, ant petter t an* some lazy ant sel 
fish ones t at I know, who treat t eir flocks as if t e Lort 
meant t ey wast to pe shearet only, ant who wast too lazy 
to do much more t an to keep cryin out not in t e worts 
of t e inspire! writer, watchman, what of t e night? 
watchman, what of t e night? put, c my pelovet, ant most 
Christian, ant gotly-mintet people, pay, pay, pay P Yes, 
t ere ist too much of such afarice ant selfishness in t e worlt, 
ant it toes harm to t e cause of t e Safiour ; put trut is so 
clear ant peautiful an opject, my poor Aaron, t at efen lies, 
ant fice, ant all manner of wicketnesses cannot long sully 
it. Take my atvice, ant talk to Dus ; ant t ough you wilt 
touptless continue to grow worse in poty, you wilt grow 
petter in spirit." 

Thousandacres turned his grim visage round, and gazed 

intently and wistfully towards Ursula. I saw the struggle 

that was going on within, through the clear mirror of the 

sweet, ingenuous face of my beloved, and I saw the pro 

34 



$98 THE CHAINBEARER. 

priety of ret ring. Frank Malbone understood my look, and 
we left the house together; closing the door behind us. 

Two, to me, long and anxious hours succeeded, during 
most of which time my companion and myself walked about 
the clearing, questioning the men who composed the posse, 
and hearing their reports. These men were in earnest in 
what they were doing ; for a respect for law is a distinguish 
ing trait in the American character, and perhaps more so in 
New England, whence most of these people came, than in 
any other part of the country ; the rascality of Squire 
Newcome to the contrary, notwithstanding. Some observers 
pretend that this respect for law is gradually decreasing 
among us, and that in its place is sensibly growing up a 
disposition to substitute the opinions, wishes, and interests 
of local majorities, making the country subject to men in 
stead of principles. The last are eternal and immutable ; 
and, coming of God, men, however unanimous in sentiment, 
have no more right to attempt to change them, than to blas 
pheme His holy name. All that the most exalted and largest 
political liberty can ever beneficially effect is, to apply these 
principles to the good of the human race, in the management 
of their daily affairs ; but, when they attempt to substitute 
for these pure and just rules of right, laws conceived in 
selfishness and executed by the power of numbers, they 
merely exhibit tyranny in its popular form, instead of in its 
old aspect of kingly or aristocratic abuses. It is a fatal 
mistake to fancy, that freedom is gained by the mere achieve 
ment of a right in the people to govern, unless the manner 
in which that right is to be both understood and practised, 
is closely incorporated with all the popular notions of what 
has been obtained. That right to govern means no more, 
than the right of the people to avail themselves of the power 
thus acquired, to apply the great principles of justice to 
their own benefit, and from the possession of which they had 
hitherto been excluded. It confers no power to do that 
which is inherently wrong, under any pretence whatever ; 
nor would anything have been gained, had America, as soon 
as she relieved herself from a sway that diverted so many 
of her energies to the increase of the wealth and influence 
of a distant people, gone to work to frame a new polity 
which should inflict a.milar wrongs within her own bosom. 



1? II IS CHAINBfcAUER. 399 

My old acquaintance, the hearty Rhode Islander, was one 
of the posse ; and I had a short conversation with him, 
while thus kept out of the house, which may serve to let the 
reader somewhat into the secret of the state of things at the 
clearing. We met near the mill, when my acquaintance, 
whose name was Hosmer, commenced a follows z 

"A good day to you, major, and a hearty welcome to the 
open air !" cried the sturdy yeoman, frankly but respectfully, 
offering his hand. " You fell into a pit here, or into a den 
among thieves; and it s downright providential you ever 
saw and breathed the clear air ag in 1 Wa-a-1, I ve been 
trailin a little this mornin , along with the Injin ; and no 
hound has a more sartain scent than he has. We went 
into the hollow along the creek ; and a desp rate sight of 
boards them varmints have got into the water, I can tell you I 
If the lot s worth forty pounds York, it must be worth every 
shilling of five hundred. They d a made their fortin s, 
every blackguard among em. I don t know but I d fit 
myself to save so many boards, and sich beautiful boards, 
whether wrongfully or rightfully lumbered !" 

Here the hearty old fellow stopped to laugh, which he did 
exactly in the full-mouthed, contented way in which he spoke 
and did everything else. I profited by the occasion to put 
in a word in reply. 

" You are too honest a man, major, to think of ever mak 
ing your boards out of another man s trees," I answered. 
"This people have lived by dishonest practices all their 
lives, and any one can see what it has come to." 

" Yes, I hope I am, squire Littlepage I do hope I am. 
Hard work and I an t no how afeard of each other ; and 
so long as a man can work, and will work, Satan don t 
get a full grip on him. But, as I was sayin , the Track 
less struck the trail down the creek, though it was along a 
somewhat beaten path; but that Injin would make no 
more of findin it in a highway, than you and I would of 
findin our places in the Bible on Sabba day, where we had 
left off the Sabba day that was gone. I always mark mine 
with a string the old woman braided for me on purpose, and 
a right down good method it is ; for, while you re s archin 
for your specs with one hand, nothin is easier than to open 
the Bible with t other. Them s handy things to have, major ,* 



400 THE CHAINBEAREft, 

and, when you marry some great lady down at York, sich 
a one as your own mother was, for 1 know d her" and ho 
noured her, as we all did hereaway but, when you get 
married, ask your wife to braid a string for you, to find the 
place in the Bible with, and all will go right, take an old 
man s word for. it." 

" I thank you, friend, and will remember the advice, 
even though I might happen to marry a lady in this part 
of the world, and not down in York." 

" This part of the world 1 No, we Ve got nobody our 
way, that s good enough for you. Let me see ; Newcome 
has a da ghter that s old enough, but she s desp rate humbly 
(Anglise, homely the people of New England reserve 
* ugly for moral qualities) and wouldn t suit, no how. I 
don t think the Littlepages would overmuch like being warp 
and fillin with the Newcomes." 

" No ! My father was an old friend or, an old acquaint 
ance at least, of Mr. Newcome s, and must know and ap 
preciate his merits." 

"Yes yes I ll warrant ye the gin ral knows him, 
Wa-a-I ! Human natur is human natur ; and I do s pose, 
if truth must be spoken, none on us be half as good as we 
ought to be. We t read about faithful stewards in the good 
book, and about onfaithful ones too, squire" here, the old 
yeoman stopped to indulge in one of his hearty laughs, ren 
dering it manifest he felt the full application of his words. 
" Wa-a-1, all must allow the bible s a good book; I never 
open it, without 1 arnin suthin , and what I 1 arn, I strive 
not to forgit. But there s a messenger for you, major, from 
Thousandacres hut, and I fancy t will turn out that he or 
Chainbearer is drawing near his eend." 

Lowiny was coming to summon us to the house, sure 
enough, and I took my leave of my brother major for the 
moment. It was plain to me that this honest-minded yeo 
man, a good specimen of his class, saw through Newcome 
and his tricks, and was not unwilling to advert to them.. 
Nevertheless, this man had a fault, and one very charac 
teristic of his " order" He could not speak directly, but 
would hint round a subject, instead of coming out at once, 
and telling what he had to say ; beating the bush to start 
his ganie, when he might have put it up at once, by going 



THE CHAINBEARER. 401 

in at it directly. Before we parted, he gave me to under 
stand that Susquesus and my fellow, Jaap, had gone on in 
pursuit of the retreating squatters, intending to follow their 
trail several miles, in order to make sure that Tobit and his 
gang were not hanging around the clearing to watch their 
property, ready to strike a blow when it might be least ex 
pected. 

Dus met me at the door of the cabin, tearful and sad, but 
with such a holy calm reigning in her generally brilliant 
countenance, as denoted the nature of the solemn business 
in which she had just been engaged. She extended both 
hands to meet mine, and whispered, " Uncle Chainbearer is 
anxious to speak to us on the subject of our engagement, I 
think it is." A tremour passed through the frame of Ursula , 
but she made an effort, smiled sadly, and continued : " Hear 
him patiently, dear Mordaunt, and remember that he is my 
father, in one sense, and as fully entitled to my obedience 
and respect as if I were really his daughter." 

As I entered the room, I could see that Dus had been at 
prayer. Prudence looked comforted, but Thousandacres, 
himself, had a wild and uncertain expression of countenance, 
as if doubts had begun to beset him, at the very moment 
when they must have been the most tormenting. I observed 
that his anxious eye followed the form of Dus, and that he 
gazed on her as one would be apt to regard the being who 
had just been the instrument of awakening within him the 
consciousness of his critical state. But my attention was 
soon drawn to the other bed. 

" Come near me, Mortaunt, lat ; ant come hit er, Dus, my 
tearest ta ghter ant niece. I haf a few worts of importance 
to say to you, pefore I go, ant if t ey pe not sait now, fey 
nefer may pe sait at all. It s always pest to c take time py 
t e forelock, t ey say ; ant surely I cannot pe callet in haste 
to speak, when not only one foot, put pot feet and half my 
poty, in t e pargain, may well pe sait to pe in t e grafe. 
Now listen to an olt man s atfice, ant do not stop my worts 
until all haf peen spoken, for I grow weatv fast, ant haf not 
strength enough to t row away any of it in argument. 

" Mortaunt hast sait ast much, in my hearin , ast to atmit 
t at he lofes ant atmires my gal, ant t at he wishes, ant 
hopes, ant expects to make her his wife. On t e ot er hant, 
34* 



402 THE CHAINBEARUR. 

Ursula, or Dus, my niece, confesses ant acknowletges t at 
she lofes, ant esteems, ant hast a strong regart for Mortaunt, 
ant 1st willing to pecome his wife. All t is ist nat ral, ant 
t ere wast a time when it woult haf mate me ast happy ast 
t e lay ist long to hear as much sait by t e one or t e ot er 
of t e parties. You know, my chiltren, t at my affection for 
you ist equal, ant t at I consiter you, in all respects put t at 
of worltly contition, to pe as well suitet to pecome man ant 
wife ast any young couple in America. Put tuty is tuty, 
ant it must pe tischarget. General Littlepage wast my olt 
colonel ; ant, an honest ant an honouraple man himself, he 
hast efery right to expect t at efery one of his former cap- 
tains, in partic lar, woult do unto him as t ey woult haf him 
do unto t em. Now, t ough heafen ist heafen, t is worlt 
must pe regartet as t is worlt, ant t e rules for its gofern- 
ment are to pe respectet in t eir place. T e Malpones pe a 
respectaple family, I know ; ant t ough Dus own fat er wast 
a little wilt, ant t oughtless, ant extrafagant " 

" Uncle Chainbearer !" 

** True, gal, true ; he wast your fat er, ant t e chilt shoult 
respect its parent. I atmit t at, ant wilt say no more t an 
ist apsolutely necessary ; pesites, if Mai pone hat his pat 
qualities, he hat his goot. A hantsomer man coult not pe 
fount, far ant near, ast my poor sister felt, I dares to say ; 
ant he wast prave as a pull-dog, ant generous, ant goot- 
naturet, ant many persons was quite captivatet by all t ese 
showy atfantages, ant t ought him petter ast he really wast. 
Yes, yes, Dus, my chilt, he hat his goot qualities, as well 
ast his pat. Put, t e Malpones pe gentlemen, as ist seen py 
Frank, Dus prother, ant py ot er mempers of t e family. 
T en my mot er s family, py which I am relatet to Dus, 
wast very goot even petter t an t e Coejemans and t e 
gal is a gentlewoman py pirt . No one can deny t at ; put 
ploot won t do efery t ing. Chiltren must pe fet, and clot et ; 
ant money ist necessary, a ter all, for t e harmony ant com 
fort of families. I know Matam Littlepage, in partic lar. 
She ist a da ter of olt Harman Mortaunt, who wast a grant 
gentleman in t e lant, ant t e owner of Ravensnest, ast well 
ast of ot er estates, ant who kept t e highest company in t e 
profince. Now Matam Littlepage, who hast peen t us born, 
ant etucatet, ant associatet, may not like t e itee of hafia 



THE CHAIN BEARER. 403 

Dus Malpone, a chainpearer s niece, ant a gal t at hast peen 
chainpearer herself, for which I honour ant lofe her so much 
t e more, Mortaunt, lat ; put for which an ilUchutgin worlt 
wilt despise her " 

" My mother my noble-hearted, right-judging and right- 
feeling mother-^-never !" I exclaimed, in a burst of feeling 
I found it impossible to control. 

My words, manner and earnestness produced a profound 
impression on my auditors. A gleam of pained delight shot 
into and out of the countenance of Ursula, like the passage 
of the electric spark. Chainbearer gazed on me intently, 
and it was easy to trace, in the expression of his face, the 
deep interest he felt in my words, and the importance he at 
tached to them. As for Frank Malbone, he fairly turned 
away to conceal the tears that forced themselves from his 
eyes. 

" If I coult t ink ast much if I coult hope ast much, Mor 
taunt," resumed Chainbearer, " it woult pe a plesset relief 
to my partin spirit, for I know general Littlepage well 
enough to pe sartain t at he ist a just ant a right-mintet man, 
ant t at, in t e long run, he woult see matters ast he ought 
to see fern. Wit Matam Littlepage I fearet it wast tiffer- 
ent ; for I haf always hearet t at t e Mortaunts was tifferent 
people, ant felt ast toppin people commonly do feel. T is 
makes some change in my itees, ant some change in my 
plans. Howesefer, my young frients, I haf now to ask of 
you each a promise a solemn promise mate to a tyin man- 
ant it ist t is " 

" First hear me, Chainbearer," I interposed eagerly, " be 
fore you involve Ursula heedlessly, and I had almost said 
cruelly, in any incautious promise, that may make both our 
lives miserable hereafter. You, yourself, first invited, tempt 
ed, courted me to love her; and now, when I know and 
confess her worth, you throw ice on my flame, and com 
mand me to do that of which it is too late to think." 

" I own it, I own it, lat, ant hope t e Lort, in his great 
marcy, wilt forgif ant parton t e great mistake I mate. We 
haf talket of t is pefore, Mortaunt, ant you may rememper 
I toll you it was Dus, herself, who first mate me see t e trut 
in t e matter, ant how much petter ant more pecomin it wast 



404 THECHAINBEARER. 

in me to holt you pack, t an to encourage ant leat you on. 
How comes it, my tear gal, fat you haf forgot all Vis, ant 
now seem to wish me to do t e fery t ing you atviset me not 
to do?" 

Ursula s face became pale as death ; then it flushed to the 
brightness of a summer sunset, and she sank on her knees, 
concealing her countenance in the coarse quilt of the bed, 
as her truthful and ingenuous nature poured out her answer. 

" Uncle Chainbearer," she said, " when we first talked on 
this subject I had never seen Mordaunt." 

I knelt at the side of Ursula, folded her to my bosom, and 
endeavoured to express the profound sentiment of gratitude 
that I felt at hearing this ingenuous explanation, by such 
caresses as nature and feeling dictated. Dus, however, 
gently extricated herself from my arms, and rising, we both 
stood waiting the effect of what had just been seen and heard 
on Chainbearer. 

" I see t at natur is stronger t an reason, ant opinion, ant 
custom," the old man resumed, after a long, meditative 
pause " I haf put little time to spent in t is matter, hous- 
efer, my chiltren, ant must pring it to a close. Promise 
me, pot of you, t at you will nefer marry wit out t e free 
consent of General Littlepage, ant t at of olt Matam Little- 
page, ant young Matam Littlepage, each or all pein lifin ." 

" I do promise you, uncle Chainbearer," said Dus, with a 
promptitude that I could hardly pardon "I do promise 
you, and will keep my promise, as I love you and fear and 
honour my Maker. T would be misery, to me, to enter a 
family that was not willing to receive me " 

" Ursula ! Dearest dearest Ursula do you reflect I 
Am I, then, nothing in yotir eyes ?" 

" It would also be misery to live without you, Mordaunt 
but in one case I should be supported by a sense of having 
discharged my duty ; while in the other, all that went wrong 
would appear a punishment for my own errors." 

I would not promise ; for, to own the truth, while I never 
distrusted my father or mother for a single instant, I did 
distrust my dear and venerable grandmother. I knew that 
she had not only set her heart on my marrying Priscilla 
Bayard ; but that she had a passion for making matches in 



THE CHAINBEARER. 405 

her own family ; and I feared that she might have some of 
the tenacity of old age in maintaining her opinions. Dus 
endeavoured to prevail on me to promise ; but I evaded the 
pledge ; and all solicitations were abandoned in consequence 
of a remark that was soon after made by Chainbearer. 

"Nefer mint nefer mint, darlint ; your promise is 
enough. So long as you pe true, what matters it w et er 
Mortaunt is heatstrong or not 7 Ant now, children, ast I 
wish to talk no more of t e matters of t is worlt, put to gif 
all my metitations ant language to t e t ings of Got, I wilt 
utter my partin worts to you. W et er you marry or not, 
I pray Almighty Got to gif you his pest plessin s in t is life, 
ant in t at which ist to come. Lif in sich a way, my tear 
chiltren, as to pe aple to meet t is awful moment, in which 
you see me placed, wit hope ant joy, so t at we may all 
meet hereafter in t e courts of Heafen. Amen." 

A short, solemn pause succeeded this benediction, when 
it was interrupted by a fearful groan, that struggled out of 
the broad chest of Thousandacres. All eyes were turned 
on the other bed, which presented a most impressive con 
trast to the calm scene that surrounded the parting soul of 
him about whom we had been gathered. I alone advanced 
to the assistance of Prudence, who, woman-like, clung to 
her husband to the last ; * bone of his bone, and flesh of his 
flesh. I must own, however, that horror paralyzed my 
limbs ; and that when I got as far as the foot of the squat 
ter s bed, I stood riveted to the place like a rooted tree. 

Thousandacres had been raised, by means of quilts, until 
half his body lay almost in a sitting position ; a change he 
had ordered during the previous scene. His eyes were 
open ; ghastly, wandering, hopeless. As the lips contracted 
with the convulsive twitchings of death, they gave to his 
grim visage a species of sardonic grin that rendered it 
doubly terrific. At this moment a sullen calm came over 
the countenance, and all was still. I knew that the last 
breath remained to be drawn, and waited for it as the 
charmed bird gazes at the basilisk-eye of the snake. It came, 
drawing aside the lips so as to show every tooth, and not 
one was missing in that iron frame ; when, finding the sight 
too frightful for even my nerves, I veiled my eyes. When 
my hand was removed, I caught one glimpse of that dark 



406 THE CHAINBEARER. 

tenement in which the spirit of the murderer and squatter 
had so long dwelt, Prudence being in the act of closing the 
glary, but still fiery eyes. I never before had looked upon 
so revolting a corpse ; and never wish to see its equal again. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 



* Mild as a babe reclines himself to rest, 
And smiling sleeps upon the mother s breast 
Tranquil, and with a patriarch s hope, he gave 
His soul to heaven, his body to the grave. 

HARTE. 

I SAW that neither Chainbearer nor Dus looked at the re 
volting object presented in the corpse of Thousandacres, 
after that selfish and self-willed being ceased to live. I had 
another hut prepared immediately for its reception, and the 
body was removed to it without delay. Thither Prudence 
accompanied the senseless body ; and there she passed the 
remainder of the day, and the whole of the succeeding 
night, attended by Lowiny with occasional offers of food 
and assistance from the men of the posse. Two or three 
of the latter, carpenters by trade, made a coffin of pine, 
and the body was placed in it in the customary manner. 
Others dug a grave in the centre of one of those rough 
fields that the squatter had appropriated to his own uses, 
thus making everything ready for the interment, as soon as 
the coroner, who had been sent for, should have had his 
sitting over the body. 

The removal of the remains of Thousandacres left a soic 
of holy calm in the cabin of Chainbearer. My old friend 
was fast sinking ; and he said but little. His consciousness 
continued to the last, and Dus was often at prayer with him 
in the course of that day. Frank and I aided in doing the 
duty of nurses ; and we prevailed on Ursula to retire to 
the loft, and catch some rest, after her unwearying watch 
fulness. It was near sunset that old Andries again ad- 



THE CHAINBEARER. 401 

dressed himself particularly to me, who was sitting at his 
side, Dus being then asleep. 

" I shall lif till mornin , I now fint, Mortaunt," he said ; 
" put, let deal come when it wilt, it ist sent py my Lort 
ant Maker, ant it ist welcome. Deat hast no fears for 
me." 

" He never had, captain Coejemans, as the history of 
your whole career in the army shows." 

" Yes, lat, t ere wast a time when I shoult haf peen glat 
to haf peen shot on t e fielt, and to haf diet wit Montgomery, 
ant Laurens, ant Wooster, ant Warren, and sich like gal 
lant heroes ; put t at ist all gone, now. I m like a man t at 
hast peen walkin over a wite plain, ant who hast come to 
its tarmination, where he sees pefore him an entless apyss 
into which he must next step. At sich a sight, lat, all t e 
trouples, ant lapours, ant tifficulties of t e plain seem so 
triflin , t at t ey pe forgotten. Mint, I do not wish to say 
t at eternity is an apyss to me in fears, ant pains, ant 
tespair; for t e gootness of Got hast enlightenet my mint 
on t at supject, ant hope, ant love, ant longin for t e pre 
sence of my Maker, stant in t eir places. Mortaunt, my lat, 
pefore I quit you, I coult wish to say a coople of worts to 
you on t is sacret supject, if t will gif no offence ?" 

" Say all, and what you please, dear Chainbearer. We 
are friends of the camp and the field, and the advice of no 
one could be more welcome to me than yours, given at a 
moment as solemn and truthful as this." 

" T ank ye, Mortaunt ; t ank ye wit all my heart. You 
know how it hast peen wit me, since poyhoot ; for often ant 
often you ant I haf talket over t ese t ings in camp. I wast 
t rown young upon t e worlt, ant wast left wit out fat er, or 
mot er, to pring myself up. An only chilt of my own 
fat er, for Dus comes from a half-sister you know, t ere 
wast no one to care for me in partic lar, and I growet up in 
great ignorance of t e Lort of Hosts, ant my tuties to him, 
ant to his plesset son, more ast anyt ing else. Well, Mor 
taunt, you know how it ist in t e woots, ant in t e army. A 
man neet not pe fory pat, to pe far from pein as goot as ist 
expectet of him by t e Almighty, who gafe him his soul, 
ant who reteemet him from his sins, ant who holts out taily 
t e means of grace. When I come here, wit Dus, a chill 



408 THE CHAINBEARER. 

knewest almost as much of t e real natur of religion ast I 
knewest. Put, t at precious gal, t rough Divine grace, hast 
peen t e means of pringin an olt ant ignorant man to a 
sense of his true contition, ant to petter hapits, fan t ose 
you knowet in him. Once I lovet a frolick, Mortaunt, and 
punch ant ot er savoury liquors wast fery pleasant to me ; 
ay, ant even a ter years might ant shoult haf teachet me 
t e folly of sich ways. Put you haf not seen t e glass at 
my lips t is summer, lat, at unseemly moments, or in un 
seemly numpers of times, ant t at ist owin to t e confersa- 
tions I haf hat wit Dus on t e supject. It woult haf tone 
your heart goot, Mortaunt, to haf seen t e tear gal seated 
on my knee, combin my olt grey hairs wit her telicate 
white fingers, ant playin wit my hart, ret cheeks, ast t e 
vnfstnt plays wit t e cheeks of t e mot er, whilst she talket 
to me of t e history of Christ, ant his sufFerin s for us all 
ant toll me t e way to learn to know my safiour in trut ant 
sincerity ! You t ink Dus hantsome ; ant pleasant to look 
upon ; ant pleasant to talk wit put you can nefer know t e 
gal in her colours of golt, Mortaunt, till she pegins to con 
verse wit you, unreservetly, apout Got ant retemption !" 

" I can believe anything in favour of Ursula Malbone, 
my dear Chain bearer ; and no music could be sweeter, to 
my ears, than thus to hear you pronouncing her praise." 

The death of Chainbearer occurred, as he had himself 
prognosticated, about the time of the return of light on the 
succeeding morning. A more tranquil end I never wit 
nessed. He ceased to suffer pain hours before he drew his 
last breath ; but he had whispered to me, in the course of that 
day, that he endured agony at moments. He wished me to 
conceal the fact from Dus, however, lest it should increase 
her grief. " So long ast t e tear gal ist in ignorance of my 
sufFerin s," the excellent old man added in his whisper, 
" she cannot feel so much for me ; since she must have con- 
fitence in t e value of her own goot work, ant s pose me to 
pe only trawin nearer to happiness. Put, you ant I know, 
Mortaunt, t at men are not often shot t rough t e poty wit - 
out feelin much pain ; ant I haf hat my share yes, I haf 
hat my share !" Nevertheless, it would have been difficul 
for one who was not in the secret to detect the smallest sign 
that the sufferer endured a tithe of the agony he actually 



THE CHAINBEARER. 109 

underwent. Ursula was deceived ; and to this hour she is 
ignorant how much her uncle endured. But, as I have said, 
this pain ceased altogether about nine o clock, and Andries 
even slumbered for many minutes at a time. Not long 
before the light returned, however, he became aroused, and 
never slumbered again until he fell into the long, last sleep 
of death. His niece prayed with him about five ; after 
which he seemed to consider himself as ready for the final 
march. 

It might have been owing to the age of the patient ; but, 
in this instance, death announced his near approach by a 
rapid loss of the senses. At first came a difficulty of hear 
ing ; and then the quick decay of the sense of sight. The 
first was made known to us by a repetition of questions that 
had already been more than once answered; while the 
painful fact that sight, if not absolutely gone, was going, 
was brought home to us by the circumstance that, while 
Dus was actually hovering over him like a guardian angel, 
he inquired anxiously where she was. 

** I am here, uncle Chainbearer," answered the dear girl, 
in tremulous tones " here, before you, and am about to wet 
your lips." 

" I want t e gal t at ist I wish her to pe near when t e 
spirit mounts to Heafen. Haf her callet, Frank or Mor 
taunt." 

" Dear dearest uncle, I am here, now here before you 
closest to you of all almost in your arms," answered 
Dus, speaking loud enough to make herself heard, by an 
effort that cost her a great deal. " Do not think I can ever 
desert you, until I know that your spirit has gone to the 
mercy-seat of God !" 

" I knowet it," said Chainbearer, endeavouring to raise 
his arms to feel for his niece, who met the effort by receiv 
ing his feeble and clammy hand in both her own. "Re 
member my wishes apout Mortaunt, gal yet, shoult t e 
family agree, marry him wit my plessin yes, my pest 
plessin . Kiss me, Duss. Wast t em your lips ? t ey fell 
colt ; ant you are nefer colt of hant or heart. Mortaunt 
kiss me, too, lat t at wast warmer, ant hat more feelin in 
it. Frank, gif me your hant I owe you money t ere ist 
a stockin half full of tollars. Your sister wilt pay my tebts. 
35 



410 THE CHAIN BEARER. 

Ant General Littlepage owes me money ptft most he owesl 
me goot will. I pray Got to pless him ant to pless Matam 
Littlepage ant olt Matam Littlepage, t at I nefer did see 
ant t e major, or colonel, ast he is now callet ant all our 
rijiment ant your rijiment, too, Frank, which wast a fery 
goot rijiment. Farewell, Frank Dus sister precious 
Christ-Jesus, receive my " 

These words came with difficulty, and were whispered, 
rather than uttered aloud. They came at intervals, too, 
especially towards the last, in a way to announce the near 
approach of the state of which they were the more imme 
diate precursors. The last syllable I have recorded was no 
sooner uttered, than the breath temporarily ceased. I re 
moved Dus by gentle force, placing her in the arms of hei 
brother, and turned to note the final respiration. That final 
breath, in which the spirit appears to be exhaled, was calm, 
placid, and as easy as comports with the separation of soul 
and body ; leaving the hard, aged, wrinkled, but benevolent 
countenance of the deceased, with an expression of happy 
repose on it, such as the friends of the dead love to look 
upon. Of all the deaths I had then witnessed, this was the 
most tranquil, and the best calculated to renew the hopes 
of the Christian. As for myself, it added a profound re 
spect for the character and moral qualities of Ursula Mai- 
bone, to the love and admiration I bore her already, the 
fruits of her beauty, wit, heart, and other attractions. 

The two expected deaths had now taken place, and it only 
remained to dispose of the legal questions connected with 
the events which had caused them, inter the bodies, and 
return to the Nest. I saw that one of the cabins was pre 
pared for the reception of Ursula and Lowiny, the latter still 
clinging to us, while the body of Chainbearer was laid out 
in a coffin that had been made by the same hands, and at 
the same time, as that of Thousandacres. About noon, the 
coroner arrived, not Squire Newcome, but another, for 
whom he had himself sent; and a jury was immediately 
collected from among the members of the posse. The pro 
ceedings were of no great length. I told my story, or as 
much of it as was necessary, from beginning to end, and 
others gave their testimony as to the proceedings at different 
periods in the events. The finding was, in the case of 



THE CHAINBEARER. 411 

Chainbearer, " murder by the hand of some person un 
known ;" and in that of Thousandacres, " accidental death." 
The first was right, unquestionably ; as to the last, I con 
ceive, there was as little of " accident" as ever occurred, 
when a man was shot through the body by a steady hand, 
and an unerring eye. But such was the verdict, and I had 
nothing but conjectures for my opinion as to the agency of 
the Indian in killing the squatter. 

That evening, and a cool autumnal night it was, we bu 
ried Thousandacres, in the centre of the field I have men 
tioned. Of all his numerous family, Prudence and Lowiny 
alone were present. The service was short, and the man 
of violence descended to mingle with the clods of the earth, 
without a common prayer, a verse from Holy Writ, or any 
religious rite whatever. The men who had borne the body, 
ana the few spectators present, filled the grave, rounded it 
handsomely, and covered it with sods, and were turning 
away in silence, to retrace their steps to the dwellings, when 
the profound stillness which had reigned throughout the 
whole of the brief ceremony, was suddenly broken by the 
clear, full voice of Prudence, who spoke in a tone and man 
ner that arrested every step. 

" Men and brethren," said this extraordinary woman, who 
had so many of the vices of her condition, relieved by so 
many of the virtues of her sex and origin. " Men and 
brethren," she said, " for I cannot call ye neighbours, and 
will not call you foes, I thank ye for this act of decent 
regard to the wants of both the departed and the living, and 
that ye have thus come to assist in burying my dead out of 
my sight." 

Some such address, even a portion of these very words, 
were customary ; but as no one had expected anything of 
the sort at that moment, they startled as much as they sur 
prised us. As the rest of the party recovered from its 
wonder, however, it proceeded towards the huts, leaving me 
alone with Prudence, who stood, swinging her body as 
usual, by the side of the grave. 

" The night threatens to be cool," I said, " and you had 
better return with me to the dwellings." 

" What s the houses to me, now ! Aaron is gone, the b ys 
be fled, and their wives and children, and my children, be 



412 THE CHAINBEARER. 

fled, leaving none in this clearin but Lowiny, who belongs 
more to your n in feelin , than to me and mine, and the body 
that lies beneath the clods ! There s property in the housen, 
that I do s pose even the law would give us, and maybe 
some one may want it. Give me that, Major Littlepage, to 
help to clothe and feed my young, and I 11 never trouble 
this place ag in. They ll not call Aaron a squatter for 
takin up that small piece of arth ; and one day, perhaps, 
you 11 not grudge to me as much more by its side. It s 
little more squattin that I can do, and the next pitch I make, 
will be the last." 

" There is no wish on my part, good woman, to injure 
you. Your effects can be taken away from this place when 
ever you please, and I will even help you to do it," I an 
swered, " in such a way as to put it in the power of your 
sons to receive the goods without risk to themselves. I re 
member to have seen a batteau of some size in the stream 
below the mill ; can you tell me whether it remains there 
or not ?" 

" Why shouldn t it ? The b ys built it two years ago, to 
transport things in, and it s not likely to go off of itself." 

" Well, then, I will use that boat to get your effects off 
with safety to yourself. To-morrow, everything of any value 
that can be found about this place, and to which you can 
have any right, shall be put in that batteau, and I will send 
the boat, when loaded, down the stream, by means of my 
own black and the Indian, who shall abandon it a mile or 
two below, where those you may send to look for it, can 
take possession and carry the effects to any place you may 
choose." 

The woman seemed surprised, and even affected by this 
proposal, though she a little distrusted my motives. 

" Can I depend on this, Major Littlepage ?" she asked, 
doubtingly .** Tobit and his brethren would be desp rate, if 
any scheme to take em should be set on foot under sich a 
disguise." 

"Tobit and his brethren have nothing to fear from 
treachery of mine. Has the word of a gentleman no value 
in your eyes ?" 

" I know that gentlemen gin rally do as they promise ; 
and so I ve often told Aaron, as a reason for not bein hard 



THE eHAINBEARER. 413 

on their property, but he never would hear to it. Waal, 
Major Littlepage, I 11 put faith in you, and will look for the 
batteau at the place you J ve mentioned. God bless you for 
this, and may he prosper you in that which is nearest your 
heart ! We shall never see each other ag in farewell." 

You surely will return to the house, and pass the night 
comfortably under a roof!" 

" No ; I 11 quit you here. The housen have little in em 
now that I love, and I shall be happier in the woods." 

"But the night is cool, and, ere it be morning it will be 
come even chilling and cold." 

" It s colder in that grave," answered the woman, point 
ing mournfully with her long, skinny finger to the mound 
which covered the remains of her husband. " I m used to 
the forest, and go to look for my children. The mother 
that looks for her children is not to be kept back by winds 
and frost. Farewell ag in, Major Littlepage. May God 
remember what you have done, and will do, for me and 
mine !" 

" But you forget your daughter. What is to become of 
your daughter?" 

" Lowiny has taken desp rately to Dus Malbone, and 
wishes to stay with her while Dus wishes to have her stay. 
If they get tired of each other, my da ghter can easily find 
us. No gal of mine will be long put out in sich a s arch." 
As all this sounded probable and well enough, I had no 
further objections to urge. Prudence waved her hand in 
adieu, and away she went across the dreary-looking fields 
with the strides of a man, burying her tall, gaunt figure in 
the shadow of the wood, with as little hesitation as another 
would have entered the well-known avenues of some town. 
I never saw her afterwards ; though one or two messages 
from her did reach me through Lowiny. 

As I was returning from the grave, Jaap and the Track 
less came in from their scout. The report they made was 
perfectly satisfactory. By the trail, which they followed 
for miles, the squatters had actually absconded, pushing for 
some distant point, and nothing more was to be feared from 
them in that part of the country. I now gave my orders 
as respected the goods and chattels of the family, which 
were neither very numerous nor very valuable ; and it may 
35* 



414 THE CHAINBEARER. 

as well be said here as later, that everything was done next 
day, strictly according to promise. The first of the mes 
sages that I received from Prudence came within a month, 
acknowledging the receipt of her effects, even to the gear of 
the mill, and expressing her deep gratitude for the favour. 
I have reason to think, too, that nearly half the lumber 
fell into the hands of these squatters, quite that portion of 
it being in the stream at the time we removed from the spot, 
and floating off with the rains that soon set in. What was 
found at a later day was sold, and the proceeds were appro 
priated to meet the expenses of, and to make presents to the 
posse, as an encouragement to such persons to see the 
majesty of the laws maintained. 

Early next morning we made our preparations to quit the 
deserted mill. Ten of the posse arranged themselves into 
a party to see the body of Chain bearer transported to the 
Nest. This was done by making a rude bier, that was car 
ried by two horses, one preceding the other, and having the 
corpse suspended between them. I remained with the body ; 
but Dus, attended by Lowiny, and protected by her brother, 
preceded us, halting at Chainbearer s huts for our arrival. 
At this point we passed the first night of our journey, Dus 
and Frank again preceding us, always on foot, to the Nest. 
At this place, the final halt of poor Andries, the brother and 
sister arrived at an hour before dinner, while we did not 
get in with the body until the sun was just setting. 

As our little procession drew near the house, I saw a 
number of wagons and horses in the orchard that spread 
around it, which, at first, I mistook for a collection of the 
tenants, met to do honour to the manes of Chainbearer. A 
second look, however, let me into the true secret of the case. 
As we drew slowly near, the whole procession on foot, I 
discovered the persons of my own dear parents, that of colo 
nel Pollock, those of Kate, Pris. Bayard, Tom Bayard, and 
even of my sister Kettletas, in the group. Last of all, I 
saw, pressing forward to meet me, yet a little repelled by 
the appearance of the coffin, my dear and venerable old 
grandmother, herself! 

Here, then, were assembled nearly all of the house 01 
Littlepage, with two or three near friends, who did not be 
long to it ! Frank Malbone was among them, and doubtless 



THE CHAINBEA11ER. 415 

had told his story, so that our visitors could not be surprised 
at our appearance. On the other hand, I was at no loss to 
understand how all this had been brought about. Frank s 
express had found the party at Fishkill, had communicated 
his intelligence, set everybody in motion on the wings of 
anxiety and love, and here they were. The journey had 
not been particularly rapid either, plenty of time having 
elapsed between the time when my seizure by the squatters 
was first made known to my friends, and the present mo 
ment, to have got a message to Lilacsbush, and to have re 
ceived its answer. 

Kate afterwards told me we made an imposing and so 
lemn appearance, as we came up to the gate of Ravensnest, 
bearing the body of Chainbearer. In advance marched Sus- 
quesus and Jaap, each armed, and the latter carrying an 
axe, acting, as occasion required, in the character of a 
pioneer. The bearers and attendants came next, two and 
two, armed as part of the posse, and carrying packs ; next 
succeeded the horses with the bier, each led by a keeper ; I 
was the principal mourner, though armed like the rest, while 
Chainbearer s poor slaves, now the property of Dus, brought 
up the rear, carrying his compass, chains, and the other 
emblems of his calling. 

We made no halt, but passing the crowd collected on the 
lawn, we went through the gate-way, and only came to a 
stand when we had reached the centre of the court. As all 
the arrangements had been previously made, the next step 
was to inter the body. I knew that general Littlepage had 
often officiated on such occasions, and a request to that ef 
fect was made to him, through Tom Bayard. As for myself, 
I said not a word to any of my own family, begging them 
to excuse me until I had seen the last offices performed to 
the remains of my friend. In half an hour all was ready, and 
again the solemn procession was resumed. As before, Sus- 
quesus and Jaap led the way, the latter now carrying a 
shovel, and acting in the capacity of a sexton. The Indian 
bore a flaming torch of pine, the darkness having so far ad 
vanced as to render artificial light necessary. Others of 
the party had these natural flambeaux, also, which added 
greatly to the solemnity and impressiveness of the scene. 
General Littlepage preceded the corpse, carrying a prayer- 



416 THE CHAINBEARER. 

book. Then followed the bearers, with the coffin, the horses 
being now dismissed. Dus, veiled in black from head to 
foot, and, leaning on Frank, appeared as chief mourner. 
Though this was not strictly in conformity with real New 
York habits, yet no one thought the occasion one on which 
to manifest the customary reserve of the sex. Everybody 
in or near the Nest, females as well as males, appeared to- 
do honour to the memory of Chainbearer, and Dua came 
forth as the chief mourner. Priscilla Bayard, leaning on 
the arm of her brother Tom, edged herself in next to her 
friend, though they had not as yet exchanged a syllable to 
gether ; and, after all was over, Pris. told me it was the first 
funeral she had ever attended, or the first time she had ever 
been at a grave. The same was true of my grandmother, 
my mother, and both my sisters. I mention this lest some 
antiquarian, a thousand years hence, might light on this 
manuscript, and mistake our customs. Of late years, the 
New Englanders are introducing an innovation on the old 
usage of the colony ; but, among the upper real New York 
families, women do not even now attend funerals. In this 
respect, I apprehend, we follow the habits of England, where 
females of the humbler classes, as I have heard, do, while 
their superiors do not appear on such occasions. The rea 
son of the difference between the two is very easily appre 
ciated, though I limit my statements to what I conceive to 
be the facts, without affecting to philosophize on them. 

But, all our ladies attended the funeral of Chainbearer. I 
came next to Tom and Priscilla, Kate pressing up to my 
side, and placing her arm in mine, without speaking. As 
she did this, however, the dear girl laid her little hand on 
mine, and gave the latter a warm pressure, as much as to 
say how greatly she was rejoiced at finding me safe, and out 
of the hands of the Philistines. The rest of the party fell in 
behind, and, as soon as the Indian saw that everybody was 
placed, he moved slowly forward, holding his flaming torch 
so high as to light the footsteps of those near him. 

Directions had been sent to the Nest to dig a grave for 
Andries, in the orchard, and at no great distance from the 
verge of the rocks. As I afterwards ascertained, it was at 
the very spot where one of the most remarkable events in 
he life of the general had occurred an event in which both 



THE CHAIN B E A RER . 417 

Susquesus and Jaap had been conspicuous actors. Thither, 
then, we proceeded, in funereal order, and with funereal 
tread, the torches throwing their wild and appropriate light 
over the nearer accessories of the scene. Never did the 
service sound more solemnly to me, there being a pathos 
and richness in my father s voice that were admirably adapt- 
ed to the occasion. Then he felt what he was reading, 
which does not always happen even when clergymen offi 
ciate ; for not only was general Littlepage a close friend of 
the deceased, but he was a devout Christian. I felt a throb 
at the heart, as I heard the fall of the first clods on the coffin 
of Chainbearer ; but reflection brought its calm, and from 
that moment Dus became, as it might be, doubly dear to me. 
It appeared to me as if all her uncle s love and care had 
been transferred to myself, and that, henceforth, I was to be 
his representative with his much-beloved niece. I did not 
hear a sob from Ursula during the whole ceremony. I knew 
that she wept, and wept bitterly : but her self-command was 
so great as to prevent any undue obtrusion of her griefs on 
others. We all remained at the grave until Jaap had round 
ed it with his utmost skill, and had replaced the last sod. 
Then the procession formed anew, and we accompanied 
Frank and Dus to the door of the house, when she entered 
and left us without. Priscilla Bayard, however, glided in 
after her friend, and I saw them locked in each other s arms, 
through the window of the parlour, by the light of the fire 
within. At the next moment, they retired together to the 
little room that Dus had appropriated to her own particular 
use. 

Now it was that I embraced and was embraced by my 
friends. My mother held me long in her arms, called me 
her " dear, dear boy," and left tears on my face. Kate did 
pretty much the same, though she said nothing. As for 
Anneke, my dear sister Kettletas, her embrace was like 
herself, gentle, sincere, and warm-hearted. Nor must my 
dear old grandmother be forgotten; for though she came 
last of the females, she held me longest in her arms, and, 
after " thanking God" devoutly for my late escape, she pro 
tested that "I grew every hour more and more like the 
Littlepages." Aunt Mary kissed me with her customary 
affection. 



418 THE CHAIN BEAU Ell. 

A portion of these embraces, however, occurred after we 
had entered the parlour, which Frank, imitating Dus, had 
delicately, as well as considerately, left to ourselves. Colonel 
Pollock, nevertheless, gave me his salutations and congratu 
lations before we left the court ; and they were as cordial 
and hearty as if he had been a second father. 

" How atmiraply the general reats, Mortaunt," our old 
friend added, becoming very Dutch as he got to be excited. 
" I haf always sayet t at Corny Littlepage woult make as 
goot a tominie as any rector t ey ever hat in olt Trinity. 
Put he mate as goot a soltier, too. Corny ist an extraordi 
nary man, Mortaunt, ant one tay he wilt pe gofernor." 

This was a favourite theory of colonel Van Valkenburgh s. 
For himself, he was totally without ambition, whereas he 
thought nothing good enough for his friend, Corny Little- 
page. Scarce a year passed that he did not allude to the 
propriety of elevating * t e general to some high office or 
other ; nor am I certain that his allusions of this nature may 
not have had their effect ; since my father was elected to 
Congress as soon as the new constitution was formed, and 
continued to sit as long as his health and comfort would 
permit. 

Supper was prepared for both parties of travellers, of 
course, and in due time we all took our seats at table. I 
say all ; but that was not literally exact, inasmuch as 
neither Frank, Dus, nor Priscilla Bayard, appeared among 
us again that evening. I presume each had something to eat, 
though all took the meal apart from the rest of the family. 

After supper I was requested to relate, seriatim, all the 
recent events connected with my visit to the Nest, my arrest 
and liberation. This I did, of course, seated at my grand 
mother s side, the old lady holding one of my hands the 
whole time I was speaking. The most profound attention 
was lent by all the party ; and a thoughtful silence suc 
ceeded my narration, which ended only with the history of 
our departure from the mills. 

" Ay," exclaimed colonel Follock, who was first to speak 
after I had terminated my own account. " So much for 
Yankee religion! I ll warrant you now, Corny, t at t|e 
fellow, T ousantacres, coult preach ant pray just like all t e 
est of our Pilgrim Fat ers." 



THE CHAINBEARER. 419 

"There are rogues of New York birth and extraction, Colo- 
ael Pollock, as well as of New England," answered my father, 
drily ; " and the practice of squatting is incidental to the 
condition of the country ; as men are certain to make free 
with the property that is least protected and watched. Squat 
ters are made by circumstances, and not by any peculiar 
disposition of a particular portion of the population to appro 
priate the land of others to their own uses. It would be the 
same with our hogs and our horses, were they equally ex 
posed to the depredations of lawless men, let the latter come 
from Connecticut or Long Island." 

" Let me catch one of t ese gentry among my horses !" 
answered the colonel, with a menacing shake of his head, 
for, Dutchman-like, he had a wonderful love for the species 
" I woult crop him wit my own hants, wit out chudge or 
ehury." 

" That might lead to evils almost as great as those pro 
duced by squatting, Dirck," returned my father. 

" By the way, sir," I put in, knowing that Colonel Pollock 
sometimes uttered extravagances on such subjects, though as 
honest and well-meaning a man as ever breathed " I have 
forgotten to mention a circumstance that may have some 
interest, as squire Newcome is an old acquaintance of yours." 
I then recounted all the facts connected with the first visit 
of Mr. Jason Newcome to the clearing of Thousandacres, 
and the substance of the conversation I had overheard be 
tween the squatter and that upright magistrate. General 
Littlepage listened with profound attention ; and as for colonel 
Pollock, he raised his eye-brows, grunted, laughed as well 
as a man could with his lips compressing a pipe, and uttered 
in the best way he was able, under the circumstances, and 
with sufficient sententiousness, the single word Danpury ! " 

" No no Dirck," answered my father, " we must not 
put all these crimes and vices on our neighbours, for many 
of them grow, from the seedling to the tree bearing fruit, in 
our own soil. I know this man, Jason Newcome, reason-: 
ably well ; and, while I have confided in him more than I 
ought, perhaps, I have never supposed he was a person in 
the least influenced by our conventional notions of honour 
and integrity. What is called " Law Honest," I have be 
lieved him to be ; but it would seem, in that I haye been 



420 THE CHAINBEAREK. 

mistaken. Still, I am not prepared to admit that the place 
of his birth, or his education, is the sole cause of his back* 
slidings." 

" Own t e trut . Corny, like a man ast you pe, ant confess 
it ist all our pilgrim fat ers ant Tanpury itees. What use 
ist t ere in misleetin your own son, who wilt come, sooner 
or later, to see t e whole trut ?" 

" I should be sorry, Dirck, to teach my son any narrow 
prejudices. The last war has thrown me much among 
officers from New England, and the intercourse has taught 
me to esteem that portion of our fellow-citizens more than 
was our custom previously to the Revolution." 

" Tush for * intercourse, ant esteem, ant teachin , 
Corny ! T e whole t ing of squattin hast crosset t e Byram 
rifer, ant unless we look to it, t e Yankees wilt get all our 
lants away from us !" 

41 Jason Newcome, when I knew him best, and I may say 
first," continued my father, without appearing to pay much 
attention to the observations of his friend, the colonel, " was 
an exceedingly unfledged, narrow-minded provincial, with a 
most overweening notion, certainly, of the high excellen 
cies of the particular state of society from which he had not 
long before emerged. He had just as great a contempt for 
New York, and New York wit, and New York usages, and 
especially for New York religion and morals, as Dirck here 
seems to have for all those excellencies as they are exhibited 
in New England. In a word, the Yankee despised the 
Dutchman, and the Dutchman abominated the Yankee. In 
all this, there is nothing new, and I fancy the supercilious 
feeling of the New England-man can very easily be traced 
to his origin in the mother country. But, differences do 
exist, I admit, and I consider the feeling with which every 
New Englander comes among us, to be, by habit, adverse 
to our state of society in many particulars some good and 
some bad and this merely because he is not accustomed to 
them. Among other things, as a whole, the population of 
these states do not relish the tenures by which our large 
estates are held. There are plenty of men, from that 
quarter of the country, who are too well taught, and whose 
honesty is too much of proof, not to wish to oppose any- 
hing that is wrong in connection with this subject ; still, the 



THE CHAINBEAREK, 421 

prejudices of nearly all who come from the east are opposed 
to the relation of landlord and tenant, and this because they 
do not wish to see large landlords among them, not being 
large landlords themselves. I never found any gentleman, 
or man of education from New England, who saw any harm 
in a man s leasing a single farm to a single tenant, or half 
a-dozen farms to half-a-dozen tenants ; proof that it is no 
the tenure itself with which they quarrel, but with a class 
of men who are, or seem to be, their superiors." 

" I have heard the argument used against the leasehold 
system, that it retards the growth and lessens the wealth of 
any district in which it may prevail." 

" That it does not retard the growth, is proved by the 
fact that farms can be leased always, when it often requires 
years to sell them. This estate is half filled now, and will 
be entirely occupied, long ere Mooseridge will be a third 
sold. That the latter may be the richest and the best tilled 
district, in the end, is quite probable; and this for the 
simple reasons that richer men buy than rent, to begin with, 
and the owner usually takes better care of his farm than 
the mere tenant. Some of the richest, best cultivated, and 
most civilized regions on earth, however, are those in which 
the tenures of the actual occupants are, and ever have been, 
merely leasehold. It is easy to talk, and to feel, in these 
matters, but not quite so easy to come to just conclusions as 
some imagine. There are portions of England, for instance 
Norfolk in particular where the improvements are 
almost entirely owing to the resources and enterprise of the 
large proprietors. As a question of political economy, 
Mordaunt, depend on it, this is one that has two sides to it ; 
as a question of mere stomach, each man will be apt to 
view it as his gorge is up or down." 

Shortly after this was said, the ladies complained of fa 
tigue, a feeling in which we all participated ; and the party 
broke up for the night. It seems the General had sent back 
word by the express, of the accommodations he should 
require ; which enabled the good people of the Nest to make 
such arrangements as rendered everybody reasonably 
comfortable. 
36 



THE CHAINBEARER 



CHAPTER XXX. 

w Ltd. -The victory is yours, sir." 

** King* It is a glorious one, and well sets off 

Our scene of mercy ; to the dead we tender 
Our sorrow ; to the living, ample wishes 
Of future happiness," 

BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER, 

FATIGUE kept me in bed next morning until it was late. 
On quitting the house I passed through the gateway, then 
always left open defence being no longer thought of and 
walked musingly towards the grave of Chainbearer. Pre 
viously to doing this, I went as far as each corner of the 
building, however, to cast an eye over the fields. On one 
side of the house I saw my father and mother, arm in arm, 
gazing around them ; while on the other, Aunt Mary stood 
by herself, looking wistfully in the direction of a wooded 
ravine, which had been the scene of some important event 
in the early history of the country. When she turned to 
re enter the building, I found her face bathed in tears. This 
respectable woman, who was now well turned of forty, had 
lost her betrothed in battle, on that very spot, a quarter of a 
century before, and was now gazing on the sad scene for 
the first time since the occurrence of the event. 

Something almost as interesting, though not of so sad a 
nature, also drew my parents to the other side of the house. 
When I joined them, an expression of grateful happiness, a 
little saddened perhaps by incidental recollections, was on 
the countenance of each. My dear mother kissed me 
affectionately as I drew near, and the general cordially 
gave me his hand while wishing me good-morning. 

" We were talking of you," observed the last, " at the 
very moment you appeared. Ravensnest is now becoming 
a valuable property ; and its income, added to the products 
of this large, and very excellent farm that you have in your 
own hands, should keep a country-house, not only in abund 
ance, but with something more. You will naturally think of 



THE CHAIN BEARER. 423 

marrying ere long, and your mother and I were just saying 
that you ought to build a good, substantial stone dwelling 
on this very spot, and settle down on your own property. 
Nothing contributes so much to the civilization of a country 
as to dot it with a gentry, and you will both give and re 
ceive advantages by adopting such a course. It is impossi 
ble for those who have never been witnesses of the result, 
to appreciate the effect produced by one gentleman s family 
in a neighbourhood, in the way of manners, tastes, general 
intelligence, and civilization at large." 

" I am very willing to do my duty, sir, in this, as in 
other particulars ; but a good stone country-house, such as 
a landlord ought to build on his property, will cost money, 
and I have no sum in hand to use for such a purpose." 

" The house will cost far less than you suppose. Mate 
rials are cheap, and so is labour just now. Your mother 
and myself will manage to let you have a few extra thou 
sands, for our town property is beginning to tell again, and 
fear nothing on that score. Make your selection of a spot, 
and lay the foundation of the house this autumn ; order the 
lumber sawed, the lime burned, and other preparations 
made and arrange matters so that you can eat your Christ 
mas dinner, in the year 1785, in the new residence of Ra- 
vensnest. By that time you will be ready to get married, 
and we may all come up to the house-warming." 

" Has anything occurred in particular, sir, to induce you 
to imagine I am in any haste to marry ? You seem to cou 
ple matrimony and the new house together, in a way to 
make me think there has." 

I caught the general there, and, while my mother turned 
her head aside and smiled, I saw that my father coloured a 
little, though he made out to laugh. After a moment of 
embarrassment, however, he answered with spirit my 
good, old grandmother coming up and linking her arm at 
his vacant side as he did so. 

" Why, Mord, my boy, you can have very little of the 
sensibility of the Littlepages in you," he said, " if you can 
be a daily spectator of such female loveliness as is now 
near you, and not lose your heart." 

Grandmother fidgeted, and so did my mother ; for I could 
see that both thought the general had made too bold a demon* 



424 THE CHA1NBEARER. 

stration. With the tact of their sex, they would have been 
more on their guard. I reflected a moment, and then de 
termined to be frank ; the present being as good a time as 
any other, to reveal my secret* 

" I do not intend to be insincere with you, my dear sir," 
I answered, " for I know how much better it is to be open 
on matters that are of a common interest in a family, than 
to affect mysteriousness. I am a true Littlepage on the 
score of sensibility to the charms of the sex, and have not 
lived in daily familiar intercourse with female loveliness, 
without experiencing so much of its influence as to be a 
warm advocate for matrimony. It is my wish to marry, 
and that, too, before this new abode of Ravensnest can be 
completed." 

The common exclamation of delight that followed this 
declaration, sounded in my ears like a knell, for I knew it 
must be succeeded by a disappointment exactly proportioned 
to the present hopes. But I had gone too far to retreat, and 
felt bound to explain myself. 

"I m afraid, my dear parents, and my beloved grand 
mother," I continued, as soon as I could speak, conscious 
of the necessity of being as prompt as possible, " that you 
have misunderstood me." 

" Not at all, my dear boy not at all," interrupted my 
father. " You admire Priscilla Bayard, but have not yet so 
far presumed on your reception as to offer. But what of 
that ? Your modesty is in your favour ; though I will ac 
knowledge that, in my judgment, a gentleman is bound to 
let his mistress know, as soon as his own mind is made up, 
that he is a suitor for her hand, and that it is ungenerous 
and unmanly to wait until certain of success. Remember 
that, Mordaunt, my boy ; modesty may be carried to a fault 
in a matter of this sort." 

" You still misunderstand me, sir. I have nothing to re 
proach myself with on the score of manliness, though I may 
have gone too far in another way without consulting my 
friends. Beyond sincere good-will and friendship, Priscilla 
Bayard is nothing to me, and I am nothing to Priscilla 
Bayard." 

" Mordaunt !" exclaimed a voice, that I never heard with 
out its exciting filial tenderness. 



THE CHAINBEARER. 

" I have said but truth, dearest mother, and truth that 
ought to have been sooner said. Miss Bayard would refuse 
me to-morrow, were I to offer." 

" You don t know that, Mordaunt You can t know it 
until you try," interrupted my grandmother, somewhat 
eagerly. " The minds of young women are not to be judged 
by the same rules as those of young men. Such an offer 
will not come every day, I can tell her; and she s much 
too discreet and right-judging to do anything so silly. To 
be sure, I have no authority to say how Priscilla feels to 
wards you ; but, if her heart is her own, and Mordy Little- 
page be riot the youth that has stolen it, I am no judge of 
my own sex." 

" But, you forget, dearest grandmother, that were youi 
flattering opinions in my behalf all true as I have good 
reason to believe they are not but were they true, I could 
only regret it should be so ; for I love another." 

This time the sensation was so profound as to produce a 
common silence. Just at that moment an interruption oc 
curred, of a nature both so sweet and singular, as greatly 
to relieve me at least, and to preclude the necessity of my 
giving any immediate account of my meaning. I will ex 
plain how it occurred. 

The reader may remember that there were, originally, 
loops in the exterior walls of the house at Ravensnest, placed 
there for the purposes of defence, and which were used as 
small windows in these peaceable times. We were standing 
beneath one of those loops, not near enough, however, to be 
seen or heard by one at the loop, unless we raised our voices 
above the tone in which we were actually conversing 1 . Out 
of this loop, at that precise instant, issued the low, sweet 
strains of one of Dus exquisite Indian hymns, I might almost 
call them, set, as was usual with her, to a plaintive Scotch 
melody. On looking towards the grave of Chainbearer, I 
saw Susquesus standing over it, and I at once understood 
the impulse which led Ursula to sing this song. The words 
had been explained to me, and I knew that they alluded to a 
warrior s grave. 

The raised finger, the delighted expression of the eye, the 
attitude of intense listening which my beloved mother assumed, 
each and all denoted the pleasure and emotion she expe- 
36* 



426 THE CHAIN BEARER. 

rienced. When, however, the singer suddenly changed the 
language to English, after the last guttural words of the 
Onondago had died on our ears, and commenced to the same 
strain a solemn English hymn, that was short in itself, but 
full of piety and hope, the tears started out of my mother s 
and grandmother s eyes, and even General Lrttlepage sought 
an occasion to blow his nose in a very suspicious manner. 
Presently, the sounds died away, and that exquisite melody 
ceased. 

" In the name of wonder, Mordaunt, who can this night 
ingale be ?" demanded my father, for neither of the ladies 
could speak. 

" That is the person, sir, who has my plighted faith the 
woman I must marry, or remain single." 

" This, then, must be the Dus Malbone, or Ursula Mai- 
bone, of whom I have heard so much from Priscilla Bayard, 
within the last day or two," said my mother, in the tone and 
with the manner of one who is suddenly enlightened on any 
subject that has much interest with him, or her ; " I ought 
to have expected something of the sort, if half the praises 
of Priscilla be true." 

No one had a better mother than myself. Thoroughly a 
lady in all that pertains to the character, she was also an 
humble and pious Christian. Nevertheless, humility and 
piety are, in some respects, particularly the first, matters 
of convention. The fitness of things had great merit in the 
eyes of both my parents, and I cannot say that it is entirely 
without it in mine. In nothing is this fitness of things more 
appropriate than in equalizing marriages ; and few things 
are less likely to be overlooked by a discreet parent, than 
to have all proper care that the child connects itself pru 
dently ; and that, too, as much in reference to station, habits, 
opinions, breeding in particular, and the general way of 
thinking, as to fortune. Principles are inferred among peo 
ple of principle, as a matter of course ; but subordinate to 
these, worldly position is ever of great importance in the 
eyes of parents. My parents could not be very different 
from those of other people, and I could see that both now 
thought that Ursula Malbone, the Chainbearer s niece, one 
who had actually carried chain herself, for I had lightly 
mentioned that circumstance in one of my letters, was 



THE CHAINBEAREtt. 427 

scarcely a suitable match for the only son of General Little- 
page. Neither said much, however ; though my father did 
put one or two questions that were somewhat to the point, 
ere we separated. 

" Am I to understand, -Mordaunt," he asked, with a little 
of the gravity a parent might be expected to exhibit on hear 
ing so unpleasant an announcement " Am I to understand, 
Mordaunt, that you are actually engaged to this young 
eh-eh-eh this young person ?" 

" Do not hesitate, my dear sir, to call Ursula Malbone a 
lady. She is a lady by both birth and education. The 
last, most certainly, or she never could have stood in the 
relation she does to your family." 

" And what relation is that, sir ?" 

" It is just this, my dear father. I have offered to Ursula 
indiscreetly, hastily, if you will, as I ought to have waited 
to consult you and my mother but we do not always fol 
low the dictates of propriety in a matter of so much feeling. 
I dare say, sir, you did better" here I saw a slight smile 
on the pretty mouth of my mother, and I began to suspect 
that the general had been no more dutiful than myself in 
this particular " but I hope my forgetfulness will be ex 
cused, on account of the influence of a passion which we all 
find so hard to resist." 

" But, what is the relation this young lady bears to 
my family, Mordaunt ? You are not already married ?" 

" Far from it, sir ; I should not so far have failed in re 
spect to you three or even to Anneke and Katrinke. 1 
have offered, and have been conditionally accepted." 

" Which condition is " 

" The consent of you three ; the perfect approbation of 
my whole near connection. I believe that Dus, dear Dus, 
does love me, and that she would cheerfully give me her 
hand, were she certain of its being agreeable to you, bu 
that no persuasion of mine will ever induce her so to do 
under other circumstances." 

" This is something, for it shows the girl has principle," 
answered my father. * Why, who goes there ?" 

"Who went there?" sure enough. There went Frank 
Malbone and Priscilla Bayard, arm and arm, and so en 
grossed in conversation that they did not see who were ob- 



428 THE CHAINBEARER. 

serving them. I dare say they fancied they were in the 
woods, quite sheltered from curious eyes, and at liberty to 
saunter about, as much occupied with each other as they 
pleased ; or, what is more probable, that they thought of 
nothing, just then, but of themse4ves. They came out of 
the court, and walked off swiftly into the orchard, appear 
ing to tread on air, and seemingly as happy as the birds 
that were carolling on the surrounding trees. 

" There, sir," I said, significantly " There, my dear 
mother, is the proof that Miss Priscilla Bayard will not 
break her heart on my account." 

" This is very extraordinary, indeed !" exclaimed my 
much disappointed grandmother "Is not that the young 
man who we were told acted as Chainbearer s surveyor, 
Corny ?" 

" It is, my good mother, and a very proper and agreeable 
youth he is, as I know by a conversation held with him last 
night. It is very plain we have all been mistaken" added 
the general ; " though I do not know that we ought to say 
that we have any of us been deceived." 

" Here comes Kate, with a face which announces that she 
is fully mistress of the secret," I put in, perceiving my sister 
coming round our angle of the building, with a countenance 
which I knew betokened that her mind and heart were full. 
She joined us, took my arm without speaking, and followed 
my father who led his wife and mother to a rude bench that 
had been placed at the foot of a tree, where we all took seats, 
each waiting for some other to speak. My grandmother 
broke the silence. 

" Do you see Pris. Bayard yonder, walking with that Mr. 
Frank Chainbearer, or Surveyor, or whatever his name is, 
Katrinke dear ?" asked the good old lady. 

" I do, grandmamma," answered the good young lady, in 
a voice so pitched as to be hardly audible. 

" And can you explain what it means, darling?" 

" I believe I can, ma am if if Mordaunt wishes to 
hear." 

" Don t mind me, Kate," returned I, smiling " My heart 
will never be broken by Miss Priscilla Bayard." 

The look of sisterly solicitude that I received from that 
honest-hearted girl, ought to have made me feel very grate- 



THE CHAINBEARER. 429 

fill ; and it did make me feel grateful, for a sister s affection 
is a sweet thing. I believe the calmness of my countenance 
and its smiling expression encouraged the dear creature, for 
she now began to tell her story as fast as was at all in rule. 

" The meaning, then, is this," said Kate. " That gentle 
man is Mr. Francis Malbone, and he is the engaged suitor 
of Priscilla. I have had all the facts from her own mouth." 

" Will you, then, let us hear as many of them as it is 
proper we should know ?" said the general, gravely. 

" There is no wish on the part of Priscilla to conceal any 
thing. She has known Mr. Malbone several years, and they 
have been attached all that time. Nothing impeded the affair 
but his poverty. Old Mr. Bayard objected to that, of course 
you know, as fathers will, and Priscilla would not engage 
herself. But do you not remember to have heard of the 
death of an old Mrs. Hazleton, at Bath in England, this sum 
mer, mamma? The Bayards are in half-mourning for her, 
now." 

" Certainly, my dea r Mrs. Hazleton was Mr. Bayard s 
aunt ; I knew her well once, before she became a refugee 
her husband was a half-pay Colonel Hazleton of the royal 
artillery ; and they were tories of course. The aunt was 
named Priscilla, and was godmother to our Pris." 

" Just so Well, this lady has left Pris. ten thousand 
pounds in the English funds, and the Bayards now consent 
to her marrying Mr. Malbone. They say, too, but I don t 
think that can have had any influence, for Mr. Bayard and 
his wife are particularly disinterested people, as indeed are 
all the family" added Kate, hesitatingly and looking down: 
" but they say that the death of some young man will pro 
bably leave Mr. Malbone the heir of an aged cousin of his 
late father s." 

" And now, my dear father and mother, you will perceive 
that Miss Bayard will not break her heart because I happen 
to love Dus Malbone. I see by your look, Katrinke, that 
you have had some hint of this backsliding also." 

" I have ; and what is more, I have seen the young lady, 
and can hardly wonder at it. Anneke and I have been 
passing two hours with her this morning ; and, since you 
cannot get Pris., I know no other, Mordaunt who will so 



430 THE CHAINBEARER. 

thoroughly supply her place. Anneke is in love with her 
also!" 

Dear, good, sober-minded, judicious Anneke ; she had 
penetrated into the true character of Dus, in a single inter 
view ; a circumstance that I ascribed to the impression left 
by the recent death of Chainbearer. Ordinarily, that spirited 
young woman would not have permitted a sufficiently near 
approach in a first interview, to permit a discovery of so 
many of her sterling qualities ; but now her heart was soft 
ened, and her spirit so much subdued, one of Anneke s 
habitual gentleness would be very apt to win on her sympa 
thies, and draw the two close to each other. The reader is 
not to suppose that Dus had opened her mind like a vulgar 
school-girl, and made my sister a confidant of the relation 
in which she and I stood to one another. She had not said, 
or hinted, a syllable on the subject. The information Kate 
possessed had come from Priscilla Bayard, who obtained it 
from Frank, as a matter of course; and my sister subse 
quently admitted to me that her friend s happiness was aug 
mented by the knowledge that I should not be a sufferer by 
her earlier preference for Malbone, and that she was likely 
to have me for a brother-in-law. All this I gleaned from 
Kate, in our subsequent conferences. 

" This is extraordinary !" exclaimed the general " very 
extraordinary ; and to me quite unexpected." 

" We can have no right to control Miss Bayard s choice," 
observed my discreet and high-principled mother. " She is 
her own mistress, so far as we are concerned; and if her 
own parents approve of her choice, the less we say about 
it the better. As respects this connection of Mordaunt s, I 
hope he, himself, will admit of our right to have opinions." 

" Perfectly so, my dearest mother. All I ask of you is 
to express no opinion, however, until you have seen Ursula 
have become acquainted with her, and are qualified to 
judge of her fitness to be not only mine, but any man s wife. 
I ask but this of your justice." 

" It is just ; and I shall act on the suggestion," observed 
my father. " You have a right to demand this of us, Mor- 
daunt, and I can promise for your mother, as well as my- 
Belf." 

"After all, Anneke," put in grandmother, " I am not sure 



THE CHAINBEARER. 431 

we have no right to complain of Miss Bayard s conduct 
towards us. Had she dropped the remotest hint of her being 
engaged to this Malbrook, I would never have endeavoured 
to lead my grandson to think of her seriously for one mo 
ment." 

" Your grandson never has thought of her seriously for 
one moment, or for half a moment, dearest grandmother," 
I cried ; " so give your mind no concern on that subject 
Nothing of the sort could make me happier than to know 
that Priscilla Bayard is to marry Frank Malbone ; unless it 
were to be certain I am myself to marry the latter s half- 
sister." 

" How can this be ? How could such a thing possibly 
come to pass, my child ! I do not remember ever to have 
heard of this person much less to have spoken to you on 
the subject of such a connection." 

" Oh ! dearest grandmother, we truant children sometimes 
get conceits of this nature into our heads and hearts, with 
out stopping to consult our relatives as we ought to do." 

But it is useless to repeat all that was said in the long and 
desultory conversation that followed. I had no reason to 
be dissatisfied with my parents, who ever manifested towards 
me not only great discretion, but great indulgence. I con 
fess, when a domestic came to say that Miss Dus was at the 
breakfast-table, waiting for us alone, I trembled a little for 
the effect that might be produced on her appearance by the 
scenes she had lately gone through. She had wept a great 
deal in the course of the last week ; and when I last saw 
her, which was the glimpse caught at the funeral, she was 
pale and dejected in aspect. A lover is so jealous of even 
the impression that his mistress will make on those he 
wishes to admire her, that I felt particularly uncomfortable 
as we entered first the court, then the house, and last the 
eating-room. 

A spacious and ample board had been spread for the ac 
commodation of our large party. Anneke, Priscilla, Frank 
Malbone, Aunt Mary, and Ursula, were already seated when 
we entered, Dus occupying the head of the table. No one 
had commenced the meal, nor had the young mistress of 
the board even begun to pour out the tea and coffee (for my 
presence had brought abundance into the house), but there 



432 THE CHAINBEARER. 

she sat, respectfully waiting for those to approach who 
might be properly considered the principal guests. I thought 
Dus had never appeared more lovely. Her dress was a neatly- 
arranged and tasteful half-mourning ; with which her golden 
hair, rosy cheeks, and bright eyes, contrasted admirably. 
The cheeks of Dus, too, had recovered their colour, and her 
eyes their brightness. The fact was, that the riews of her 
brother s improved fortunes had even been better than we 
were just told. Frank found letters for him at the Nest, 
announcing the death of his kinsman, with a pressing invi 
tation to join the bereaved parent, then an aged and bed 
ridden invalid, as his adopted son. He was urged to bring 
Dus with him ; and he received a handsome remittance to 
enable him so to do without inconvenience to himself. This 
alone would have brought happiness back to the countenance 
of the poor and dependent. Dus mourned her uncle in sin 
cerity, and she long continued to mourn for him ; but her 
mourning was that of the Christian who hoped. Chainbear- 
er s hurt had occurred several days before ; and the first 
feeling of sorrow had become lessened by time and reflec 
tion. His end had been happy ; and he was now believed 
to be enjoying the fruition of his penitence through the 
sacrifice of the Son of God. 

It was easy to detect the surprise that appeared in the 
countenances of all my parents, as Miss Malbone rose, like 
one who was now confident of her position and claims to 
give and to receive the salutations that were proper for the 
occasion. Never did any young woman acquit herself 
better than Dus, who curtsied gracefully as a queen ; while 
she returned the compliments she received with the self- 
possession of one bred in courts. To this she was largely 
indebted to nature ; though her schooling had been good. 
Many of the first young women of the colony had been her 
companions for years; and in that day, manner was far 
more attended to than it is getting to be amongst us now. My 
mother was delighted ; for, as she afterwards assured me, 
her mind was already made up to receive Ursula as a daugh 
ter; since she thought it due to honour to redeem my 
plighted faith. General Littlepage might not have been so 
very scrupulous } though even he admitted the right of the 
obligations I had incurred ; but Dus fairly carried him by storm. 



THE CHAIN BE A HER. 433 

The tempered sadness of her mien gave an exquisite finish 
to her beauty, rendering all she said, did, and looked, that 
morning, perfect. In a word, everybody was wondering ; 
but everybody was pleased. An hour or two later, and after 
the ladies had been alone together, my excellent grand 
mother came to me and desired to have a little conversation 
with me apart. We found a seat in the arbour of the court ; 
and my venerable parent commenced as follows : 

" Well, Mordaunt, my dear, it is time that you should 
think of marrying and of settling in life. As Miss Bayard 
is happily engaged, I do not see that you can do better than 
to offer to Miss Malbone. Never have I seen so beautiful a 
creature ; and the generous-minded Pris. tells me she is as 
good, and virtuous, and wise, as she is lovely. She is well 
born and well educated ; and may have a good fortune in 
the bargain, if that old Mr. Malbone is as rich as they tell 
me is, and has conscience enough to make a just will. 
Take my advice, my dear son, and marry Ursula Malbone." 

Dear grandmother ! I did take her advice ; and I am 
persuaded that, to her dying day, she was all the more happy 
under the impression that she had materially aided in bring 
ing about the connection. 

As General Littlepage and Colonel Pollock had come so 
far, they chose to remain a month or two, in order to look 
after their lands, and to revisit some scenes in that part of 
the world in which both felt a deep interest. My mother, 
and Aunt Mary, too, seemed content to remain ; for they 
remembered events which the adjacent country recalled to 
their minds with a melancholy pleasure. In the meanwhile 
Frank went to meet his cousin, and had time to return, ere 
our party was disposed to break up. During his absence 
everything was arranged for my marriage with his sister. 
This event took place just two months, to a day, from that 
of the funeral of Chainbearer. A clergyman was obtained 
from Albany to perform the ceremony, as neither party 
belonged to the Congregational order ; and, an hour after 
we were united, everybody left us alone at the Nest, on their 
return south. I say everybody, though Jaap and Susquesus 
were exceptions. These two remained, and remain to this 
hour ; though the negro did return to Lilacsbush and Satans- 
toe to assemble his family, and to pay occasional visits. 
37 



434 THE CHAINBEARER. 

There was much profound feeling, but little parade at the 
wedding. My mother had got to love Ursula as if she were 
her own child ; and I had not only the pleasure, but the 
triumph of seeing the manner in which my betrothed ren 
dered herself from day to day, and this without any other 
means than the most artless and natural, more and more 
acceptable to my friends. 

" This is perfect happiness," said Dus to me, one lovely 
afternoon that we were strolling in company along the cliff 
near the Nest and a few minutes after she had left my 
mother s arms, who had embraced and blessed her, as a 
pious parent does both to a well-beloved child " This is 
perfect happiness, Mordaunt, to be the chosen of you, and 
the accepted of your parents ! I never knew, until now, 
what it is to have a parent. Uncle Chainbearer did all he 
could for me, and I shall cherish his memory to my latest 
breath but uncle Chainbearer could never supply the place 
of a mother. How blessed, how undeservedly blessed does 
my lot promise to become! You will give me not only 
parents, and parents I can love as well as if they were 
those granted by nature, but you will give me also two such 
sisters as few others possess !" 

" And I give you all, dearest Dus, encumbered with such 
a husband that I am almost afraid you will fancy the other 
gifts too dearly purchased, when you come to know him 
better." 

The ingenuous, grateful look, the conscious blush, and 
the thoughtful, pensive smile, each and all said that my 
pleased and partial listener had no concern on that score. 
Had I then understood the sex as well as I now do, I might 
have foreseen that a wife s affection augments, instead of 
diminishing; that the love the pure and devoted matron 
bears her husband increases with time, and gets to be a part 
and parcel of her moral existence. I am no advocate of 
what are called, strictly, " marriages of reason" I think 
the solemn and enduring knot should be tied by the hands 
of warm-hearted, impulsive affection, increased and strength 
ened by knowledge and confidential minglings of thought 
and feeling ; but, I have lived long enough to understand 
that, lively as are the passions of youth, they produce no 



THE CHAINBEARER. 435 

delights like those which spring from the tried and deep 
affections of a happy married life. 

And we were married ! The ceremony took place before 
breakfast, in order to enable our friends to reach the great 
highway ere night should overtake them. The meal that 
succeeded was silent and thoughtful. Then my dear, dear 
mother took Dus in her arms, and kissed and blessed her 
again and again. My honoured father did the same, bid 
ding my weeping, but happy bride remember that she was 
now his daughter. " Mordaunt is a good fellow, at the bot 
tom, dear, and will love and cherish you, as he has pro 
mised," added the general, blowing his nose to conceal his 
emotion ; " but, should he ever forget any part of his vows, 
come to me, and I will visit him with a father s displea 
sure." 

" No fear of Mordaunt no fear of Mordaunt," put in 
my worthy grandmother, who succeeded in the temporary 
leave-taking " he is a Litllepage, and all the Littlepages 
make excellent husbands. The boy is as like what his 
grandfather was, at his time of life, as one pea is like an 
other. God bless you, daughter You will visit me at 
Satanstoe this fall, when I shall have great pleasure in 
showing you my general s picture." 

Anneke, and Kate, and Pris. Bayard hugged Dus in such 
a way that I was afraid they would eat her up, while Frank 
took his leave of his sister with the manly tenderness he 
always showed her. The fellow was too happy himself, 
however, to be shedding many tears, though Dus actually 
sobbed on his bosom. The dear creature was doubtless run 
ning over the past, in her mind, and putting it in contrast 
with the blessed present. 

At the end of the honey-moon, I loved Dus twice as 
much as I had loved her the hour we were married. Had 
any one told me this was possible, I should have derided the 
thought ; but thus it was, and, I may truly add, thus has it 
ever continued to be. At the end of that month, we left 
Ravensnest for Lilacsbush, when I had the pleasure of see 
ing my bride duly introduced to that portion of what is 
called the world, to which she properly belonged. Pre 
viously to quitting the Patent, however, all my plans were 
made, and contracts were signed, preparatory to the con- 



436 THE CHAINBEARER. 

struction of the house that my father had mentioned. Th* 
foundation was laid that same season, and we did keep our 
Christmas holidays in it, the following year, by which time 
Dus had made me the father of a noble boy. 

It is scarcely necessary to say that Frank and Pris. were 
married, as were Tom and Kate, at no great distance of 
time after ourselves. Both of those matches have turned 
out to be perfectly happy. Old Mr. Malbone did not survive 
the winter, and he left the whole of a very sufficient estate 
to his kinsman. Frank was desirous of making his sister 
a sharer in his good fortune, but I would not hear of it. 
Dus was treasure enough of herself, and wanted not money 
to enhance her value in my eyes. I thought so in 1785, 
and I think so to-day. We got some plate and presents, 
that were well enough, but never would accept any portion 
of the property. The rapid growth of New York brought 
our vacant lots in that thriving town into the market, and 
we soon became richer than was necessary to happiness. I 
hope the gifts of Providence have never been abused. Of 
one thing I am certain ; Dus has ever been far more prized 
by me than any other of my possessions. 

I ought to say a word of Jaap and the Indian. Both are 
still living, and both dwell at the Nest. For the Indian I 
caused a habitation to be erected in a certain ravine, at no 
great distance from the house, and which had been the 
scene of one of his early exploits in that part of the country. 
Here he lives, and has lived for the last twenty years, and 
here he hopes to die. He gets his food, blankets, and what 
ever else is necessary to supply his few wants, at the Nest, 
coming and going at will. He is now drawing fast on old 
age, but retains his elastic step, upright movement, and 
vigour. I do not see but he may live to be a hundred. 
The same is true of Jaap. The old fellow holds on, and 
enjoys life like a true descendant of the Africans. He and 
Sus are inseparable, and often stray off into the forest on 
long hunts, even in the winter, returning with loads of veni 
son, wild turkeys, and other game. The negro dwells at 
the Nest, but half his time he sleeps in the wigwam, as we 
call the dwelling of Sus. The two old fellows dispute frequent- . 
ly, and occasionally they quarrel ; but, as neither drinks, the 
quarrels are never very long or very serious. They generally 



THE CHAINBEARER. 437 

grow out of differences of opinion on moral philosophy, as 
connected with their respective views of the past and the 
future. 

Lowiny remained with us as a maid until she made a 
very suitable marriage with one of my own tenants. For 
a little while after my marriage I thought she was melan 
choly, probably through regret for her absent and dispersed 
family ; but this feeling soon disappeared, and she became 
contented and happy. Her good looks improved under the 
influence of civilization, and I have the satisfaction of add 
ing that she never has had any reason to- regret having at 
tached herself to us. To this moment she is an out-door 
dependant and humble friend of my wife, and we find her 
particularly useful in cases of illness among our children. 

What shall I say of squire Newcome 7 He lived to a 
good old age, dying quite recently ; and, with many who 
knew, or, rather, who did not know him, he passed for a 
portion of the salt of the earth. I never proceeded against 
him on account of his connection with the squatters, and he 
lived his time in a sort of lingering uncertainty as to my 
knowledge of his tricks. That man became a sort of a dea 
con in his church, was more than once a member of the 
Assembly, and continued to be a favourite recipient of pub 
lic favours down to his last moment ; and this simply be 
cause his habits brought him near to the mass, and because 
he took the most elaborate care never to tell them a truth 
that was unpleasant. He once had the temerity to run 
against me for Congress, but that experiment proved to be 
a failure. Had it been attempted forty years later, it might 
have succeeded better. Jason died poor and in debt, after 
all his knavery and schemes. Avidity for gold had over 
reached itself in his case, as it does in those of so many 
others. His descendants, notwithstanding, remain with us ; 
and, while they have succeeded to very little in the way o/ 
property, they are the legitimate heritors of their ancestor s 
vulgarity of mind and manners of his tricks, his dissimu 
lations, and his frauds. This is the way in which Provi 
dence " visits the sins of the fathers upon the children, unto 
the third and fourth generations." 

Little more remains to be said. The owners of Moose- 
ridge have succeeded in selling all the lots they wished to 
37* 



438 THE CHAINBEARER. 

put into the market, and large sums stand secured on them, 
in the way of bonds and mortgages. Anneke and Kate 
have received fair portions of this property, including much 
that belonged to Colonel Pollock, who now lives altogether 
with my parents. Aunt Mary, I regret to say, died a few 
years since, a victim to small-pox. She never married, of 
course, and left her handsome property between my sisters 
and a certain lady of the name of Ten Eyck, who needed 
it, and whose principal claim consisted in her being a third 
cousin of her former lover, I believe. My mother mourned 
the death of her friend sincerely, as did we all ; but we had 
the consolation of believing her happy with the angels. 

I caused to be erected, in the extensive grounds that were 
laid out around the new dwelling at the Nest, a suitable 
monument over the grave of Chainbearer. It bore a simple 
inscription, and one that my children now often read and 
comment on with pleasure. We all speak of him as " Uncle 
Chainbearer" to this hourf and his grave is never mentioned 
in other terms than those of " Uncle Chainbearer s grave." 
Excellent old man ! That he was not superior to the fail 
ings of human nature, need not be said ; but, so long as he 
lived, he lived a proof of how much more respectable and 
estimable is the man who takes simplicity, and honesty, and 
principle, and truth for his guide, than he who endeavours 
to struggle through the world by the aid of falsehood, chi 
canery, and trick. 



THE END OF CHAINBEARER 



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