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• Philip instantly flung himself from the horse, sank on his knees, and fell prostrate, in the deep sincerity of pious acknowledgments to Heaven. A low-murmured prayer first passed his lips, fresh glowing from his heart. He next bethought him of the man who had saved him; and his varied emotions of admiration, remorse, and gratitude for awhile kept him dumb.
"A movement of princely munificence promptly spoke to the identity of Philip's character, and stamped it as unaltered, though at once subdued and elevated, by this awful trial.
** Here, Count Ostervent,” cried he, at the same time taking the splendid collar and medal of the golden fleece from his neck and placing it on Vrank's—“Here is the proudest distinction my gratitude may bestow. I make thee one of the noblest order which Christendom may boast. Thou art now in brotherhood and fellowship with kings ! I name thee, too, Lord of East and West Voorne, of Mastersdyke and Brille--I confirm thee Stadtholder and Governor of Holland, Zealand, and Friesland - I endow thee with
*" Hold, hold, my Sovereign !” said Vrank, “shame not an act of sheer humanity, by loading it with praise and payment due but to deeds of most heroic stamp.”
«« And is not this heroism ? Is not the forgiveness of evil done, the snatching from perdition of a deadly foe, a deed for sovereigns to reward, and Heaven to bless ? Thus then, I make my poor atonement to thee and her whose heart enshrines thee in its core. Yes, Jacqueline, this hour of awe and dread shall witness my repentance. Thou shalt be his-he thineboth evermore each other's! I give not mere consent—but I command, implore ye, for my happiness as for your own bliss, to be this day but one joined in eternal bonds of marriage as of love. Look yonder at the fleet Śweeping towards us with swelling sails, to rescue what is left of this sad pageant of destruction. It will soon bear us hence to shore.” '-Jacqueline of Holland, vol. iii. pp. 336–351.
The Dutchman's Fireside,' is no tale of Holland, as the reader might fancy from the title, but an attempt at a picture of early American manners, after the fashion of “The Memoirs of an American Lady," which were written by Mrs. Grant, of Laggan. If we were to say that the copy is worthy of the model from which it is drawn, we should much exaggerate its merits. At the same time, it would seem occasionally to represent, with sufficient exactness, the habits and tastes of those days, such as they prevailed amongst the emigrants, and descendants of emigrants from Holland, who dwelt on the borders of the Hudson. If the author have not converted a pebbble into a gem, the fault is not so much to be imputed to his workmanship, as to the nature of the material upon which his labour has been bestowed. He is, indeed, open to the remark of having chosen a subject for his theme, which could hardly be expected to be much in unison with English ideas; and this is, perhaps, the only reason why his work appears to have very little chance of popularity amongst us. But we must allow him, to a certain extent, to plead his own cause.
After describing the comfortable establishments which three bro thers of the name of Vancour-Egbert, Dennis, and Ariel-had derived by equal divisions of their father's estate, according to the law of the place and time, upon the rich border that skirts the Hudson, not a hundred miles from the good city of Albany,' the author commences the action of the story with the arrival of Madame Vancour, the wife of the elder brother, with her daughter, Catalina, from New York, where the latter had been for her education. A few slight circumstances already indicate, that she is destined to be the object of devoted attention to a youth named Sybrandt Westbrook, the only son of a distant female kinswoman, of the Vancour family, whom Dennis had adopted as his own, and for whose-instruction he employed a learned Dutchman, yclep'd Dominie Stettinius. Sybrandt is in fact the hero of the tale. We find him at first an extremely shy, awkward youth; but by degrees this fault wears away, and he grows up a polished gentleman, as a hero should always be. The ice of his manners is a little broken, by an incident that occurred on a water excursion, which might have terminated the career of Catalina, had not the resolution of Sybrandt saved her from the danger. As a matter of course, they from that day forward perfectly well understood each other, but nevertheless. Sybrandt was still, in every sense of the word, a bashful man. Some little mortifications which he endures determine him to make a trading voyage among the Mohawk Indians of the borders, whom the author thus makes for himself an opportunity of describing at considerable length. But Sybrandt does not visit these sons of the woods in vain : for he was taught, by the activity of their habits, that he had been much employed hitherto in the invention of ideal miseries. Nevertheless, though much improved, he was still far from being cured of his bashful, and, at the same time, suspicious temper, when upon returning home he again was instrumental in saving the life of Catalina from a vindictive Indian, who sought, through her, to inflict an irremediable wound upon her whole family. The following short chapter will fully disclose the state of feeling that prevails on both sides towards the close of the first volume, where, as usual, the story begins to be rather interesting.
• And now it became necessary to settle the question whether the visit to New York should be paid or not paid. All things were prepared, the vessel ready, and the lady-cousin in the capital apprized of her invitation having been accepted. The colonel thought they had better send an apology, and get off as well as they could. Catalina-I confess it with the candour becoming my profession-Catalina fluttered between her love and her desire of novelty. What woman could ever resist the temptations of travelling and seeing the world ? She, however, dutifully left it to her parents to decide. Madam Vancour was a woman, a very excellent woman, yet she was a woman. She did not exactly oppose the union of the two cousins, but still her heart was not in it. Ambition was too strong for gratitude. Like almost all the American women of that and indeed
every succeeding age, she had imbibed, from her earliest years, a silly admiration of every thing foreign; foreigo horses, foreign dogs, foreign men, and, most especially, foreign officers. Every thing provincial, as it was called, she considered as bearing the brand of inferiority in its forehead. She had, moreover, long cherished a latent ambition to see Catalina wedded to one of his Majesty's little officials, who assumed vast consequence at that time—who tacked honourable to his name, and bore the arms of some one of the illustrious houses who figured in the court calendar, in the midst of griffins, sphinxes, lions, unicorns, vultures, and naked savages with clubs, fit emblems of the rude plunderers who first adopted these apt distinctions. The good lady, perhaps half-unconscious of her motives, almost hoped that Catalina would forget her rustic Corydon in the gay scenes and various sights of the metropolis, and conquer, and be conquered by, some brilliant aid-de-camp, perhaps a baronet with bloody hand for his crest. Accordingly it was settled the visit should take place the next day, as was originally contemplated.
Sybrandt yielded with an aching heart and a bad grace to what he could not prevent. The busy fiends and phantoms that beset his earlier days, rose up to his imagination, and flapped their wings and whispered gloomy anticipations. She would have gay admirers, for she was an heiress and a beauty. She would be distant from her parents, her home, her fireside, and from all those early associations with objects of nature, which serve as anchors by which the heart rides steadily in all the vicissitudes of wind and tide, calm and tempest. " And then the cursed red coats," whispered one diabolical demon, with a malignant grin, “ if she resists them, and the fashion, and the example of every female, young and old, married and single, she must be more than woman." Such gloomy, irritating, peevish thoughts crowded on his heart the next day, as he accompanied Catalina to the vessel which was to bear her away; but his pride buried them with its own hands deep in his bosom.
O" I shall return with the birds in the spring,” said she, observing his dead silence. “ You must be happy, but you must not forget me; she placed her snowy hand in his. Sybrandt could scarcely feel it, 'twas
«« Those who are behind at home never forget,” said the youth. “All that I see and all that I hear, is the same to day, to-morrow, and the next, and the next day. How then can I change ?”
•“ You think, then, that there is more danger that I should change,” said Catalina, with a tender smile.
““ Such miracles have come to pass,” replied he, answering her smile with one of melancholy.
«« Sybrandt,” said she, with solemn emphasis, “ see, the river out of which you dragged me when I was drowning is the same that rolls by the city whither I am now going. I shall see it every day from my window. The sun that shines there by day is the same that yesterday saw you rescue me from murder; and the same stars that witnessed your nightly watchings for my safety, stand in the firmament there as well as here. The same air, the same light, the same nature, and the same God, the same memory, the same heart, will be with me wherever I go. Be just to me, dear Sybrandt; I cannot, if I would, forget thee !"
• The jealous demons filed before this bright emanation of truth and
virtue, and Sybrandt became reassured. A silent pressure of hands con veyed their last farewell greetings, and in a few minutes Sybrandt was standing alone on a green projecting point of the river, watching the vese sel as it glided swiftly out of sight. When it was no longer visible, he turned himself towards home, and the world seemed to him suddenly changed into emptiness and nothing. The Dutchman's Fireside, vol. i. pp. 330-335.
The sequel may be easily conjectured. After the usual ups and downs, they become, at the end of volume two, a “ happy pair.” Of the author's power in the execution of portraits, the following chapter may be selected as a specimen. The ideas of Mrs. Aubineau still flourish in many of our colonies, and, notwithstanding the separation, are not as yet quite defunct, even in the indepen dent states of the union.
Catalina was received with a welcome kindness by Mrs. Aubideau, the lady with whom she had been invited to spend the winter, and who appeared struck with the improvement of her person since she left boardingschool two or three years before. Our heroine was glad to see Mrs. Aubineau again, having a vivid recollection of her pleasing manners and matronly kindness.
• The husband of this lady was a son of one of the Hugenots driven by the bigotry or policy of Louis the Fourteenth to this land of libertyliberty of action, liberty of speech, and liberty of conscience. These emigrants constituted a portion of the best educated, most enlightened, polite, and wealthy of the early inhabitants of New York. They laid the foundation of families which still exist in good reputation, and from some of them have descended men who are for ever associated with the history of our country. The father of Mr. Aubineau had occupied a dignified situation under the Dutch government, while it held possession of New York ; but lost it when the province was assigned to the Duke of York, whose hungry retainers were portioned off in the new world, there not being loaves and fishes enough in the old to satisfy them all. Both father and son cherished some little resentment on this occasion ; and when a legislative body was established, one or other being generally a member, they never failed to be found voting and acting with the popular side, in opposition to the governor. They joined the old Dutch party in all their measures, which were generally favourable to the rights of the colony, and attained to great consideration and respect among them.
Notwithstanding his politics, Mr. Aubineau the younger married a handsome English woman; not a descendant merely of English parents, but a real native, born and educated in London. Her father came over with an appointment, being a younger brother, with a younger brother's portion, which generally consists in the family influence employed on all occasions in quartering the
the public. The great use of colonies is to provide for younger brothers. What this appointment was I do not recollect; but, whatever it was, it enabled Mr. Majoribanks to live in style, and carry his head high above the unlucky beings who furnished the means, and whose destiny it had been to be born on the wrong side of the Atlantic Ocean, where it is well known every thing, from men down to dandies, degenerates. To be born at home, as the phrase then was, operated
as a sort of patent of nobility, and desperate was the ambition of the rich young citizens, and still more desperate that of the city heiresses and their mothers, to unite their fate and fortunes with a real genuine exotic. Many a soldier of fortune, “who spent half-a-crown out of sixpence a-day," was thus provided for; and not a few female adventurers gained excellent establishments, over which they were noted for exercising absolute dominion. For a provincial husband to contradict a wife from the mother country, was held equivalent to the enormity of a provincial legislature refusing its assent to a rescript of his Majesty's puissant governor. It smacked of flat rebellion.
• Mr. Aubineau was, however, tolerably fortunate in his choice. His wife always contradicted him aside when in public, and issued her commands in a whisper. She never got angry with him, and only laughed and took her own way whenever he found fault; or, what was still more discreet, took no notice of his ill-humour, and did just as she pleased. She was fond of gaiety, dress, and equipage, and particularly fond of flirting with the officers attached to the governor's family and establishment. These gentlemen, having nothing to do, and no inclination to marry, except they were well paid for it, naturally selected the married ladies as objects for their devoirs ; very properly concluding, that whatever might be the case with the ladies, there could be no breach of promise of marriage on their part, and, consequently, no dishonour in being as particular as the lady pleased. As to the provincial husbands, they were out of the question.
Among the most prominent of the foibles of Mrs. Aubineau, was an idea at that time very prevalent among both English and American women. This was an undisguised and confirmed conviction that the whole universe was a nest of barbarians, compared with Old England, and that there was as much moral and physical difference between being born there and here, as there was space between the two countries. Though not much of the blue-stocking, that sisterhood not having made its appearance as a distinct class in those days, like all good English folks she could ring the changes on Shakspeare and Milton, and Bacon and Locke; those four great names on which English poetry, philosophy, and metaphysics seem entirely to depend for their renown; and which form a standard to which every blockhead more or less assimilates his mind; as if the reflected rays of their glory had illuminated in some degree the midnight darkness of his own intellect. This truly John Bull notion she considered so settled and established beyond all reasonable question, that she always spoke of it with an amusing simplicity, arising from a perfect confidence in an undisputed point, upon which all mankind, except her husband, agreed with as much unanimity as that the sun shone in a clear day. In regard to the solitary exception aforesaid, Mrs. Aubineau settled that in her mind, by referring it to that indefivable matrimonial sympathy which impels so many men to agree with
every other woman when she is wrong, and oppose their wives whenever they are right. The connection between this lady and our heroine, originated in a marriage between the elder Aubineau and a sister of Colonel Vancour. Into the hands of Mrs. Aubineau the colonel consigned his daughter for the winter, at the same time communicating her engagement with Sybrandt Westbrook, at which she laughed not a little in her sleeve. She had already a plan in her head for establishing her rich and beautiful guest in a far more splendid sphere, as she was pleased to