Why should people move to Albany
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|My hasty pudding, so completely hopeless |
I am, what luck! met you in Savoy!
Condemned to wander the world unsteadily
From one house and climate to another,
I feel confidently now all worries are disappearing,
Because I was allowed to find my long-lost friend.
Winter was drawing to a close and my twenty-first birthday was over. My father and Colonel Follock, who this winter came over more frequently than usual to smoke a pipe with my father, began to speak of the journey which Dirck and I were to take in search of the patented land. Maps were purchased, calculations made, and various types of procedures requested by family members. I will confess that the sight of the large, rough parchment map from Mooseridge-Patent, as the new acquisition was called because the surveyors had shot a miserable animal on a ridge in the middle of it, aroused certain greedy feelings in my soul. There were rivers that meandered between mountains and valleys, little lakes or ponds showed themselves on the plain; and there was not a lack of all the artificial signs and evidences of valuable possession which only a good map-maker could devise to give the whole a pleasing and promising look. Forty years ago a gentleman in New York bought a considerable amount of uncultivated land on the basis of the map. When he looked at his new property, it was found that it lacked running water. The surveyor was visited and he was reproached for the fact that the map contained numerous streams and so on. "Why did you draw all these waters when you couldn't find any?" Asked the angry buyer, pointing to the map. "Why? - Well, where the devil have you ever seen a map without rivers? ”Was the answer. The Publisher.
If it wasn't bad to be the heir of Satanstoe, it was even better to become the joint owner of all these wide plains, laughing grounds, the funny rivers, the picturesque lakes with my friend Dirck. In a word, for the first time in the history of the colonies, the Littlepages had owned what could rightly be called an estate. In our New York parlance, six or eight hundred acres is not a good ( estate); hardly two or three thousand either; but ten or twenty thousand, and how much more forty thousand could use the honorary name of an estate!
The first sticky point raised was: determining the way Dirck and I were to get to Mooseridge. There were two ways of traveling to Albany, and choosing one or the other was the first concern. We could wait for the river to open and for Albany to travel in a sloop, a few of the same things to go around town every week, when business was brisk, as was certainly to be expected in the spring. It was believed, however, that the army would use most of the means of transport of this kind that would be presented, and we would face many inconveniences and delays in waiting for the slow movements and negotiations of the quartermasters and landlords. My grandfather shook his head when the matter was mentioned and advised us to keep ourselves as independent as possible.
"Have as little to do with such people as possible, Corny," said my grandfather, now a gray, dignified-looking old gentleman who did not wear his wig half the time, but contented himself with being in a pointed nightcap at all times To appear in a dressing gown until just before dinner was announced, when he always appeared dressed as a gentleman without exception, 'have as little to do with these people as possible, Corny. Money and not honor is their focus; and you will be treated like a barrel of beef or a sack of potatoes if you fall into their hands. If you travel with the army at all, stick with the real soldiers, my boy; and above all avoid the suppliers and contractors! «
Accordingly, it was decided that it was too unsafe and time consuming to wait for an opportunity to go to Albany by water; for it was known that the journey itself often lasted ten to fourteen days, and it could get so late before we sailed that this delay was bound to be very uncomfortable. The other way of traveling was to set out before the snow had melted on the roads, which made it possible to cover the distance between Satanstoe and Albany in three days.
Certain economic considerations also came into play, and we decided on the following plan, which I think deserves mention even now for its cleverness and circumspection. It was known that there would be great demand for horses for the army, as well as for supplies, food of various kinds. Now we had several strong horses on the land neck, which were getting old, but still fit for service and good for a campaign. Colonel Follock had just such horses, and when the cavalry of the two courts were all assembled at Satanstoe, it was found that there were no less than fourteen of these respectable animals. These were just making three four-in-hand moves, and there were still a pair left for a lighter load. Old, heavy rumble sleighs were bought, or sought out and repaired, and Yaap and two other blacks were sent off at the head of the brigade from rumble sleighs, as my father called them, and the sleighs were all loaded with the dispensable pork and flour of the two families . The war had made these articles soar in price; but the pigs slaughtered for Christmas had not yet been sold; and it was decided that Dirck and I, as people who had to buy and sell on the farms and estates in question, could not begin our careers in any way presumably more useful to us and our parents. Since Yaap's movements could not be other than slow, he was allowed to leave two whole days earlier than Dirck and I, and so he had time to get out of the highlands before we left Satanstoe. The negroes carried the fodder for their horses, much of their own food, and all the cider they needed on the journey. Nobody was ashamed of making his slaves usable in such a way, for the legally permitted institute of slavery itself existed mainly as a means of making money. I mention these minor things so that posterity may understand the Colony's way of thinking about such points.
When everything was ready, we had a lot of good advice from our relatives before they let us go out into the world. The latter never told me what Colonel Follock said to Dirck; But the following was, in terms of form and content, the essentials of what my father gave me about good counselors - and the conversation took place in a small room, which he called his office, but Jason called his study.
"Here, Corny, are all the bills or invoices properly made out," began my father, handing me a small bundle of papers, "and you will do well to consult them before you conclude any sale. Here are letters of recommendation to some gentlemen in the army whose acquaintance I wish you should cultivate. This in particular is due to my old captain, Charles Merrewerther, who is now a lieutenant colonel and a battalion commanded by the Royal Americans. I have no doubt that you will find that he can do you great service as long as you stay with the army. Pork, I am told, of the quality you bring it, the keg should count three half Joseph pieces - and that's how much you can ask. Should chance bring you an invitation to the commander-in-chief's table, as is possible through Colonel Merrewerther's friendship, I hope you will honor Littlepage's loyalty. Ha, and then there is the flour too; in times like the present it should also be worth two half Joseph's pieces. I enclosed a few letters to some of the Schuyler's with whom I served when I was your age. They are people of the first sort, take note of this, and are among the highest families in the colonies; full of good old Van Cortlandt blood, and splendidly crossed with the Rensselaer's. Should one of them ask you about the little keg with tongues, which you will find marked with a Z - "
“One of which, sir? by the Schuyler's, the Cortland's, or the Rensselaer's? "
"Pah, one of the sutlers or suppliers, I mean of course - you can tell them that they have been taken care of at home and that you can recommend them as suitable for the commander-in-chief himself."
These were my father's instructions and admonitions when he parted. My mother spoke a different language. “Corny, my dear child,” she said, “this will be a journey of vital importance for you. Not only do you go far away from home, but also to an area of the country where there is a lot to see. I hope you will remember what your fathers promised you at your baptism and what you owe to your own good name and that of your family. The letters you take are likely to introduce you to good company, and that is an important start for a young man. I wish that you will diligently seek the company of respectable women, Corny. My gender has a great influence on the conduct and performance of yours at your age, and both your outward conduct and your principles will win if you deal as much as possible with women of tried and tested reputation. "
"But, mother, if we go quite a distance with the army, as my father and Colonel Follock wish, will it be in our power to be in the company of ladies often?"
“I am speaking of the time you will spend in Albany and nearby. I do not expect you to find educated women in Mooseridge, and even if you travel some distance with the troops, although I see no reason that you should go a step with them, I do not suppose that you are many meet respectable women in the camp; but take every opportunity to get into good company. I got you a letter from a lady in one of the great families of this county, to Madame Schuyler, who I am told is above all women in and around Albany. You must see it, and in your duty I recommend that you hand in this letter. It is also possible that Herman Mordaunt - "
"What about Herman Mordaunt and Anneke, mother?"
"I only talked about Herman Mordaunt himself and didn't mention Anneke'ns at all, my son," replied my mother with a smile, "although I have no doubt that the daughter is with the father. You left town two months ago to go to Albany, writes my sister Legge, and intend to spend the summer in the north. I don't want to deceive you, Corny, and so you should hear everything your aunt has written on this subject. First, she writes that Herman Mordaunt had traveled there in the service of the government and had an important, secret mission to carry out which, as is known, will hold him back near Albany and the northern posts until the end of the good season, although he will pretending to the world that he is making the trip because of lands he owns in County Albany. His daughter and Mary Wallace are with him, along with a few servants, and they have taken a sleigh load of things they need; that indicates a longer stay. Now you should also hear the rest, my child, although I am not at all worried when a young man like you steps into the bar with any other man in the colony. Yes, although I am your mother, I think I can say that! "
'What is it, mother? - Don't worry about me; I'll be fine, you can rely on it - that is - but what is it, dear mother? "
“Well, your aunt writes that they whisper in a small, a very small circle in the city, but they whisper that Herman Mordaunt only took on the mentioned assignment to have an excuse, Anneke near the -th To bring regiment, in which, it seems, the son of a baronet stands, a kind of relative of his, with whom he wishes to marry Anneke. "
"Then I am sorry that my aunt Legge only listens to such miserable gossip!" I cried indignantly. "I want to pledge my life that Anneke Mordaunt never thought of anything so naughty!"
“Nobody believes that Anneke thought about it or is thinking about it. But the fathers are not the daughters, Corny; yes, and neither do the mothers, I can say that freely, since you are my only child. Herman Mordaunt can do it all his Hearts intend and Anneke be as innocent and sensitive as possible. "
"And how can my Aunt Legge's informers know what's going on in Herman Mordaunt's heart?" - I suppose you deduce from what you find in your heart, my son; a common means of guessing one's fellow man's faults, although, I believe, virtues are seldom discovered in this way. "
"Yes, and they judge others according to themselves. The remedy may be very common, mother, but it is not infallible."
“Certainly not, Corny; and that's a reason for hope for you. Notice this, my child, you cannot bring me a daughter whom I could love half as much as I, I feel, can love Anneke Mordaunt. We're related too; her father's great-great-grandmother - "
“Leave your great-great-grandmother alone, my dear, good, excellent mother. From now on I will no longer try to keep a secret from you. Unless Anneke Mordaunt agrees to be your daughter, you will never have one. ”“ Don't say that, Corny, I beg you! ”Cried my mother, not a little shocked. “Remember, you cannot explain taste and you cannot stand for it; the army is a terrible rival, and in the end this Mr. Bulstrode - that's what you called him, I believe - Anneke'n can appear just as acceptable as her father. Don't say anything so cruel, I beg you, dearest, best Corny! "
"It is not a minute, mother, that you have said how little you are concerned about me when I am confronted with any other man in the province."
“Yes, my child, but that is something very different from what your whole life as a heartless, uncomfortable old bachelor has seen you take. There are probably fifty young women in this county with whom I would rather see you married than experience such a misfortune! "
“Well, mother, let's not talk about it any further. But is it true that Mr. Worden really intends to join our company? "
“Mr. Been and Mr. Newcome too, I think. We will hardly be able to do without the former, but he thinks it is his job to accompany the army, in which so few field preachers are; and in war souls are so suddenly called to their final, terrible account that one cannot refuse to let him go. "
My poor trusting mother! When I look back at the past, and remember the manner in which Mr. Worden discharged his sacred office during the campaign that followed, I cannot help smiling at the way in which trust manifests itself in women . This race has a natural tendency to trust priests by a very simple process, namely that they transmit their own feelings and attitudes into the hearts of those whom they believe have devoted themselves exclusively to sacred things. Well we live and learn. I like to believe that many are what they claim to be, but I've lived long enough now to know that they aren't All these are. As for Mr. Worden, he definitely had one good quality. His friends and enemies saw the worst in him. He was not a hypocrite, but his surroundings and acquaintances saw the man pretty much as he was.Still, I am far from trying to portray this clergyman who has come over from England as a model of Christian sentiment and a kind of admiration for my descendants. No one can be more firmly convinced than I that very often sectarians are inclined to substitute their own limited concepts of right and wrong in the place of the divine law and to declare completely innocent acts to be sin; but at the same time I also know very well that in matters of morality one must always pay attention and watch out for outward appearances, and that in matters of outward conduct, being decent is a subordinate virtue. The Reverend Mr. Worden, however, carried whatever his inner disposition and behavior might be, the informality and freedom of external behavior to the limit of imprudence.
A few days after the narrated conversation, the company left Satanstoe with some éclat. The team belonged equally to the Follock family and the Littlepage family, for one horse was owned by my father, the other by Colonel Follock. The sleigh, old but repainted for the occasion, was the exclusive property of the latter gentleman, and was given to Dirck to sell as soon as we had reached our destination. It was painted light sky blue on the outside, but crimson red on the inside, a color which was and still is very popular for this type of wagon because it combines with the idea of warmth; at least that's what the old people say, although I have to admit that my toes never froze less in such a sledge than in a sledge painted blue, which latter color is usually seen as particularly cold for the feet.
We had three buffalo skins, or rather two buffalo (bison) skins and one bear skin. The latter, covered with a scarlet cloth, had a particularly warm and comfortable appearance. The largest skin was spread on the back seat and, as goes without saying, smacked over the back wall of the sledge; and though this back wall was high enough to keep the wind off the head and neck, not only did the skin cover it, but it hung two or three feet behind, as befits a gentleman's sleigh; the other buffalo skin was spread out on the floor of the sledge, as a carpet for all four of us, with a piece remaining as an apron, with which Dirck and I covered our laps to protect ourselves against the cold. The bear skin served as a cushion for both of us in the front, and Mr. Worden and Jason, who sat in the back, as an apron. Our suitcases had gone off on the rumble sledge, that is, mine and Dirck's suitcases had been sent ahead, while our two companions found room for theirs in the wagon in which we ourselves were traveling.
The morning on which we left Satanstoe to embark on this memorable journey was the first of March, 1758. Winter was as it usually is in our latitude, although an unusually large amount of snow had fallen on the coast. Salt water and snow do not get on well with each other; but I had ridden in my sleigh on the neck of land for most of February, although the day before we left there were symptoms of thaws and southerly winds. My father noticed this and advised me to take the road through the middle of the county and to turn towards the mountains as soon as possible. Not only was there more and more snow in that region, but it also withstood the influence of the thaw much longer than that which had fallen closer to the sea or the strait. I received my mother's last kiss, my father's last handshake, my grandfather's blessing, got into the sleigh, took the reins from Dirck's hands and drove off.
A company in a sleigh must consist of very gloomy people if it does not become funny. With us everyone was in the mood for amusement; although Jason could not travel on the road in Colonie New York without venting his provincial connecticutic hyper-criticism. Everything was Dutch, his way of looking at things! and if it wasn't Dutch after all, it had the stamp of the New York Colony. The doors were not in the right place, the windows were too big if they weren't too small; things looked like cabbages; the people smelled of tobacco, and the hasty pudding was a soup for him. But those were little things; and since we were used to it, no one paid much attention to what our Puritan traveling companion liked to dig up in the humility and modesty of his soul. Mr. Worden laughed to himself, and drove Jason on and on, hoping to irritate Dirck; but Dirck smoked on everything, with an indifference which showed how much he indeed despised the critic. I was the only one who felt bad about this exuberant ignorance, but I too often felt more tempted to laugh than to be angry.
The symptoms of thaw increased when we were a few miles from home, and by the time we reached the White Plains the south wind was no longer gentle but strong, and the snow on the roads became filthy, and streams of water could be seen on the mountains pour down in a way that threatened ruin for the toboggan run. We drove on, however, and got deeper and deeper into the mountains until we found not only more snow, but fewer symptoms of losing it. Our first day trip brought us safely to the Van Cortlandt's headquarters, where we spent the night. The next morning the south wind was still blowing and roaring over the snowfields, impregnated by the salt air of the sea; and bare spots began to show on all slopes and heights - a reminder for us to hurry. We had breakfast in the highlands in a wild, remote area, where there was still snow and wheeled trains. We had escaped the thaw and were no longer concerned about whether we might reach the destination of our journey in the sleigh.
On the second day we came all the way out of the mountains to the plains of Duchess so that we could have lunch at Fishkill. This was a very prosperous settlement, and the people seemed to me to live in abundance, at least they certainly lived in peace and quiet. They made little of the war and asked many questions about the army, its commanders, its strength and its intentions. They were simple, and apparently honest people, who cared very little about what was going on in the world.
After we left Fishkill we noticed a big change, not only in the area but also in the weather. The former was on the whole flat, and far more covered with settlements than I would have thought possible so far inland. As for the weather, we came to a very different climate than the one we had left on the other side of the highlands. Not only was the morning cold, as cold as it had been a month earlier, but the snow was two or three feet deep, and the toboggan run was as good as one could wish for.
That afternoon we caught up with Yaap and the lumberjack brigade. Everything had gone well, and after I had given the boy some new instructions, I drove past him and we continued our journey. However, before we parted again, the following words were exchanged between us:
"Well, Yaap," I asked, in order to conclude the previous conversation, "how do you like the upper counties?"
Loud Negro laughter followed, and it was necessary to repeat the question to get an answer from him.
"Oh God, Masser Corny, how do you think I know that when all you can see is snow?"
“There was enough snow in West Chester; and yet I certainly believe that you would be able to express an opinion about your home. "
"Because I know her, sir, inside and out and from all sides, Masser Corny."
"Well; but you can see the houses and orchards and barns and fences and other things of the sort. "
“They're all pretty much like ours, Masser Corny; why is your nigger bothering with questions like that? "
This was followed by another outburst of loud, hearty "yah - yah - yah!" And Yaap let his laughter run its course before another word could be brought out of him, whereupon I put the question to him for the third time.
“Well then, Masser Corny, because you really want to know, that is my opinion. This region cannot be compared at all with our whole country, Sah. The houses seem pathetic, the barns look empty, the enclosures and fences are low, and the niggers, one like the other, look cold, saw! - yes, saw! - they look very cold and frozen to death! "Since a" cold negro "was something extremely deplorable and pathetic in the eyes of a negro, I saw from this summary judgment that Yaap had started his journeys with much the same haughty disposition as Jason Newcome. It struck me as strange at the time; but since that time I have convinced myself that this attitude generally accompanies people on their first journey.
We spent our third night in a small hamlet called Rhinebeck, on a settlement where several German names were found. Here we traveled through the vast estates of the Livingston's - a name well known in our colonial history. We had breakfast in Claverack, and passed through a place called Kinderhook - a village of Low German origin and quite old. That evening we managed to get near Albany by making a very strong drive. There was no village where we stayed; but it was a comfortable house and an exceptionally clean Dutch inn. Since we left Fishkill we had seen more and now less of the river until we passed through Claverack, where we said goodbye to him. It was covered in ice and sleds were moving, apparently with great certainty, on it; but we didn't want to try. Our whole society preferred a solid country road where there was no danger of the ground breaking beneath us.
As we were now about to move into Albany, the second largest town in the Colonie, and one of the largest inland towns in the whole country, if that name can rightly be given to a town on a navigable river, we thought it necessary to to take some precautions to do it in a decent manner. So instead of leaving the inn at daybreak, as we used to do, we stayed there until after breakfast and in the meantime consulted our suitcases. For the trip, Duck, Jason, and I had provided ourselves with fur hats, ear-rugs, and other similar aids to keep ourselves warm. Dirck's cap and mine were made of very fine marten fur, and since they were round and high, and both had a beautiful tail at the top, which fell down at the back, they looked very smart and military. I meant that I would never have found Dirck so handsome and handsome as in this cap, and I also took a few compliments on my appearance in mine, although only from my mother, who, I believe, was inclined to boast and praise when I looked pathetic. Jason's cap was more in proportion to his pouch; it was lower and of fox fur, although it also had a tail. Mr. Worden had refused to travel in a cap because it was inconsistent with his sacred office. So he wore his clerical beaver hat, which was a little different from the usual rolled-up hats we all wore, as something that was self-evident, but not so much that it was particularly noticeable. We all had overcoats, probably trimmed with fur, and mine and Dirck's his were really beautiful, trimmed with marten fur, while those of our companions were less shiny and precious. After some deliberation, Dirck and I decided that it was more in keeping with good taste to move into town in traveling clothes than in any other, and we only preened and dressed up a little to appear gentlemen. With Jason it was a very different case. According to his ideas, someone had to wear his best clothes when traveling, and I was surprised to see him appear at breakfast in black trousers, striped woolen stockings, large silver-plated buckles on his shoes, and in a skirt, which, as I well knew, he was , conscientiously saved only for high holidays and public holidays. This skirt was a light pea-green color and unsuitable for the season; but Jason knew very little whatsoever about taste, what was appropriate and proper; Dirck and I wore our usual snuff-colored skirts under our furs; Jason, however, took off all his overalls as we approached Albany in order to enter its best state. Fortunately for him, the day was mild and a shining sun sent its warm rays onto the pea-green robe so that his blood did not completely freeze. Mr. Worden wore a cloak of black cloth and put aside all fur, except for a fur collar and muff, which he usually wore in cold weather.
In this elevator we left the inn at about nine o'clock in the morning and intended to reach the banks of the river at about ten o'clock. Our expectations were not disappointed either, for the roads were excellent and a light snowfall during the night had put the railway in good shape again. It was an interesting moment for all of us when the peaks and roofs of this ancient city, Albany, first became visible! We had traveled from almost the southern border of the colony to a point not very distant from the northern border settlements. The town itself looked pretty as we approached it from the opposite side of the Hudson. There she lay, stretching along the lowland at the edge of the river from the western bank, protected by high mountains, on the side of which the main road stretched for a full quarter of a mile. The fort stood near the top of this road, and we saw a brigade parading, swinging, and marching in the open space near it. The spiers of two churches were visible; one, the older, stood on the lowland, in the middle of the city, the other on the top, not very far from the fort, or about halfway up the hill which, on this side of the river, forms the border towards the inner country. These two buildings were made of stone, of course, for wooden buildings were very seldom seen in the New York Colony, although they were very common further west.
I will confess that none of our company was particularly pleased with the idea of crossing the Hudson in a loaded sledge, on the ice, and in addition the Hudson in March. We had no rivers in our vicinity which one passed in such a way, and the cold was actually not great enough to make such a crossing quite safe, and we had courage as inexperienced people have courage under such circumstances can. I must do justice to Jason, and admit that he displayed more simple, practical, common sense than any of us, and in the end, his view of the matter dictated our process. Nothing, however, could induce the Mr. Worden to venture out onto the ice in a sled or near a sled, although Jason introduced him to the following terms:
"Well, look here, Rev. Mr. Worden" - Jason seldom forgot to give someone his title - "You can only take a look at the river to see that it is littered far and wide with sleds . There are highways to the north and south, and if this is the place where the crossing to the city is usually more of a kind of road than a dangerous place. I think the people who live around here need to know whether it is dangerous or not. "
As plausible as this truth was, the "Rev. Mr. Worden" made us stop on dry land and left the sleigh to cross the river on foot. Jason allowed himself a few allusions to the faith and its virtues as he emerged except for his pea-green robe to move into town in a decent elevator, throwing aside everything that veiled his state. Dirck and I, we manfully held our seats and trotted across the river to the point where we saw a large number of pedestrians and sledges moving back and forth. The Rev. Mr. Worden, however, was not satisfied with taking the path he had trodden on, for he knew that it was so unsafe on the ice Next to go to a sledge than to sit in one, and so he turned off the train which ran in the direction of the ferry and diagonally downriver to the town's shipyards.
It seemed to me a way of celebrating a holiday for the young and idle people, as one sledge after another passed us, filled with young men and women, all beaming with the excitement of the moment and full of youthful cheerfulness and humor. We passed no fewer than four such sleighs on the river, and the ringing of the bells, the rapid movement, the laughter and the cheerfulness and the liveliness of the whole scene far surpassed anything of the kind I had seen before. We had almost passed the river when a sleigh, more beautifully equipped than any one we have seen before, flew down from the bank and roared past us like a comet. It was filled with ladies, with the exception of a gentleman, who stood up in front of a carriage driving. I recognized Bulstrode, wrapped in fur like all of us, with a cap and tail, if not with feathers, while under the half-dozen pairs of shiny eyes, which turned towards us with the smiling faces of their owners, I recognized one that I will not forget could, and which belonged to Anneke Mordaunt. I doubt whether we were recognized because the pass was like that of a meteor; but I couldn't help but turn around and look at the lively company. This changed position of mine enabled me to witness a very amusing episode of Mr. Worden's attempt. A sledge came in the same direction as ours, and when the company in it saw a man, easily recognizable as a clergyman, walking on the ice, they turned on their side and galloped toward him to meet a man of his to politely offer a seat to the holy profession. Our clergyman heard the bell ringing and, afraid of having a sleigh so close by, he began to flee straight away; pursued by the people in the sleigh as fast as their horses could run. Everyone on the ice stopped to watch this strange spectacle in amazement, until the whole company reached the bank, the Rev. Mr. Worden not a little heated and out of breath, as the reader can easily imagine.
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