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THE GOLDEN AGE OF NEW YORK.
27. THE GOLDEN AGE OF NEW YORK,
T WILL not grieve the patience of my readers by describing 1 minutely the increase and improvement of New Amsterdam.' Their own imaginations will doubtless present to them the good burghers,' like so many pains-taking and persevering beavers, slowly and surely pursuing their labors—they will behold the prosperous transformation from the rude log-hut to the stately Dutch mansion, with brick front, glazed windows, and tiled roof-from the tangled thicket to the luxuriant cabbagegarden ; and from the skulking Indian to the ponderous* burgomaster. In a word, they will picture to themselves the steady, silent, and undeviating march to prosperity, incident to a city destitute of pride or ambition, cherished by a fat government, and whose citizens do nothing in a húrry.
2. The sage council, not being able to determine upon any plan for building of their city—the cows, in a laudable o fit of pātriotism, took it under their peculiar charge, and as they went to and from pasture, established paths through the bushes, on each side of which the good folks built their houses ; which is one cause of the rambling and picturesque turns and labyrinths which distinguish certain streets of New York at this very day.
3. The houses of the higher class were generally constructed of wood, excepting the gable-end, which was of small black and yěllow Dutch bricks, and always faced on the street, as our ancestors, like their descendants, were very much given to outward show, and were noted for putting the best foot foremost. The house was always furnished with abundance of large doors and small windows on every floor; the date of its erection was
i New Amsterdam, the name giv. plates of baked clay. en by the Dutch to New York.
Pěn' der ous, weighty ; very ? Burghers, (běrg' erz), citizens; heavy. the inhabitants of a borough, or in. Burgomaster, (berg' o mås'ter), corporated town.
a magistrate in Holland. : "Tiled, covered with tiles, or Laud'a ble, worthy of praise.
curiously designated, by iron figures on the front, and on the top of the roof was perched a fierce little weathercock, to let the family into the important secret, which way the wind blew,
4. These, like the weathercocks on the tops of our steeples, pointed so many different ways, that every man could have a wind to his mind; the most stanch' and loyal? citizens, however, always went according to the weathercock on the top of the governor's house, which was certainly the most correct, as he had a trusty servant employed every morning to climb up and set it to the right quarter.
5. In those good days of simplicity and sunshine, a passion for cleanliness was the leading principle in domestic economy, and the universal test of an able housewife-a character which formed the utmost ambition of our unenlightened grandmothers. The front door was never opened except on marriages, funerals, new year's days, the festival of St. Nicholas,' or some such great occasion. It was ornamented with a gorgeous brass knocker, curiously wrought, sometimes in the device of a dog, and sometimes of a lion's head, and was daily burnished with such religious zeal, that it was ofttimes worn out, by the very precautions taken for its preservation.
6. The whole house was constantly in a state of inundation,' under the discipline of mops, and brooms, and scrubbingbrushes ; and the good housewives of those days were a kind of amphibious animal, delighting exceedingly to be dabbling in water-insomuch that an historian of the day gravely tells us, that many of his own townswomen grew to have webbed fingers like unto a duck ; but this I look upon to be a mere sport of fancy, or what is worse, a willful misrepresentation.
7. The grand parlor was the place where the passion for cleaning was indulged without control. In this sacred apartment no one was permitted to enter, excepting the mistress and her confidential maid, who visited it once a week, for the purpose of giving it a thorough cleaning, and putting things to
i Stanch, (stånch), firm in princi- of boys; the Santa Claus of the ple; faithful and earnest; steady. Dutch. He is said to have been the
a Loy' al, devoted to the support bishop of Myra, and to have died of law ; faithful to the rightful ruler; in the year 326. faithful to a friend or lover.
4 In'un dā' tion, an overflow of St. Nich o las, the patron saint later.
THE GOLDEN AGE OF NEW YORK.
rights-always taking the precaution of leaving their shoes at the door, and entering on their stocking-feet.
8. After scrubbing the floor, sprinkling it with fine white sand, which was curiously stroked into angles, and curves, and rhom'boids,' with a broom-after washing the windows, rubbing and polishing the furniture, and putting a new bunch of evergreens in the fire-place—the window-shutters were again closed, to keep out the flies, and the room carefully locked up until the revolution of time brought round the weekly cleaning day.
9. As to the family, they always entered in at the gate, and most generally lived in the kitchen. To have seen a numerous household assembled around the fire, one would have imagined that he was transported back to those happy days of primeval simplicity, which float before our imaginations like golden visions. The fire-places were of truly patriarchal magnitude, where the whole family, old and young, master and servant, black and. white, nay, even the věry cat and dog, enjoyed a community of privilege, and had each a right to a corner.
10. Here the old burgher would sit in perfect silence, puffing his pipe, looking on the fire with half-shut eyes, and thinking of nothing for hours together; the good woman? on the opposite side would employ herself diligently in spinning yarn, or knitting stockings. The young folks would crowd around the hearth, listening with breathless attention to some old crone of a negro, who was the oracle of the family, and who, perched like a raven in a corner of the chimney, would croak forth for a long winter afternoon a string of incredible stories about New England witches, grisly ghosts, horses without heads, and hairbreadth escapes and bloody encounters among the Indians.
1 Rhom'boids, figures having four : Oracle, (or' a kl), a wise person ; equal sides, but not equal angles. any person or place whose opinion is Woman, (wim' an).
consulted with religious reverence.
drove thiety, that is here generallyes,
showed incontestable' symptoms of disapprobation and uneasiness, at being surprised, by a visit from a neighbor, on such occasions.
2. But though our worthy ancestors were thus singularly averse to giving dinners, yet they kept up the social bands of intimacy by occasional banquetings, called tea-parties. These fashionable parties were generally confined to the higher classes, or nobility, that is to say, such as kept their own cows, and drove their own wagons. The company commonly assembled at three o'clock, and went ăwāy about six, unless it was in winter-time, when the fashionable hours were a little earlier, that the ladies might gět home before dark.
3. The tea-table was crowned with a huge earthen dish, well stored with slices of fat pork, fried brown, cut up into morsels, and swimming in gravy. The company, being seated around the genial board, and each furnished with a fork, evinced their dexterity in launching at the fattèst pieces in this mighty dish
-in much the same manner as sailors harpoon porpoises at sea, or our Indians spear salmon in the lakes.
4. Sometimes the table was graced with immense apple-pies, or saucers full of preserved peaches and pears; but it was always sure to boast an enormous dish of balls of sweetened dough, fried in hog's fat, and called dough-nuts—a delicious kind of cake, at present scarce known in the city, excepting in gěnūîne Dutch families.
5. The tea was served out of a majestic delf' teapot, ornamented with paintings of fat little Dutch shepherds and shepherdesses tending pigs—with boats sailing in the air, and houses built in the clouds, and sundry other ingenious Dutch fantasies." The beaux • distinguished themselves by their adroitness in replenishing this pot, from a huge copper tea-kėttle, which would have made the pigmy macaronies of these degenerate days sweat merely to look at it.
6. To sweeten the beverage, a lump of sugar was laid beside THE BURDENS OF MANKIND.
In con těst' a ble, that can not Făn' ta sỹ, the same as fancy. be disputed ; too clear to admit of Beaux, (bóz), men of dress ; & debate
lady's attendants or suitors. Salmon, (såm' un).
Macaronies, (måk'a rồ' néz), * Dělf, earthen; a kind of ware finical fellows, or those that are made in imitation of china, at Delft, affectedly nice or showy ; proporly called delft ware.
each cup, and the company alternately' nibbled and sipped with great decorum, until an improvement was introduced by a shrewd and economic old lady, which was to suspend a large lump directly over the tea-table, by a string from the ceiling, so that it could be swung from mouth to mouth.
7. At these primitive tea-parties the utmost propriety and dignity of depārtment prevailed. No flirting nor coquetting? no gambling of old ladies nor hoiden chattering and romping of young ones—no self-satisfied struttings of wealthy gentlemen, with their brains in their pockets—nor amusing conceits, and monkey divertisements, of smart young gentlemen, with no brains at all.
8. On the contrary, the young ladies seated themselves demurely in their rush-bottomed chairs, and knit their own woolen stockings ; nor ever opened their lips, excepting to say, Yes, sir, or Yes, madam, to any question that was asked them ; behaving in all things, like decent, well-educated damsels. As to the gentlemen, each of them tranquilly smoked his pipe, and seemed lost in contemplation of the blue and white tiles, with which the fire-places were decorated.
9. The parties broke up without noise and without confusion. They were carried home by their own carriages, that is to say, - by the vehicles nature had provided them, excepting such of the wealthy as could afford to keep a wagon. The gentlemen gallantly attended their fair ones to their respective åbodes, and took leave of them at the door.
TT is ă cēlebrated thought of Socrates, that if all the misfor1 tunes of mankind were cast into a public stock, in order to be equally distributed among the whole species, those who now
'Al tern' ate ly, in succession, or De mūre' ly, solemnly; with by turns.
downcast eyes. i ? Coquetting, (ko kết' ting,) at 6 Soc'ra tes, an illustrious Greek
tempting to attract the notice, ad- philosopher, and teacher of youth, miration, or love of; trilling in love. born at Athens, B. c. 468, and un. • Hoiden, (hál' dn), rude; rustic. justly executed for impiety in 398