Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr.

A maid of old New York : a romance of Peter Stuyvesant's time online

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which might have brought him confusion, had not
Madame Stuyvesant suddenly asked Lady Moody
if she had brought home Agratha? " We do miss
her much," she added.

" She ought not to have gone to Gravesend at
all," said Stuyvesant.


" It was certainly cold and stormy, but she en
joyed the visit," answered Lady Moody.

" She has missed her lessons."

" She can make that ' miss ' up, I say freely,
that she ought now to be at some good school in
London, or the Hague. Her mother is so pre
judiced against the Boston schools."

" I am glad to hear it," answered Stuyvesant.
" It is the best thing I ever heard of Ragel Van

" Her two daughters-in-law were educated in
Boston and she approves of neither of them," said
Madame Stuyvesant.

Stuyvesant laughed scornfully. " Someone
ought to keep a special school for daughters-in-
law," he said. " None of them seem to give satis
faction to mothers-in-law, no matter how theyj

" When your two sons marry, Governor, "

" When they do, Lady Moody, they will doubt
less marry to please themselves. I did. I only
hope they will manage to win wives something like
their mother. They cannot match her in good
ness or beauty, but they can take the best left,
and be grateful."

Then Madame Stuyvesant said : " There is a
report of Elizabeth Anthony's marriage, but noth
ing certain," and so the conversation turned pleas
antly to the social conditions of the city, which
it appeared were strangely gay and extravagant.



IN the meantime Agratha had bathed her face,
put on the simplest frock she could find and after
half an hour's rest had gone to her mother.

" Where then is Lady Moody? " she asked. " I
thought she would stay with us."

" She thought herself obliged to go to the Fort.
Thou must try and do without her."

" Very little that will trouble me ! I have thee,
dear moeder, and I am at home again."

" Art thou glad to be at home again ? "

" No other home is so good, and sweet and

"Did thou have a pleasant visit?"

" Yes, moeder."

" And was Lady Moody kind to thee ? "

" She is always kind to me. She is kind to


" Moeder, I will tell you. Lady Moody is too
good, too kind. I wish she was like thee and my
self, all the same as other people. I wish she had
some little faults. I am so tired trying to be like
her always dressed always good-tempered al
ways busy always well. See now, if she would



sometimes turn back her gown, and put on an
apron, and do things about the house, it would
have been pleasant to help her, as I help thee.
But no! She is fitly dressed at all hours, her
laces and ribbons are never crushed or soiled, her
hair is always smooth, her cap always straight.
Men and women come to her from morning to
night about all kinds of things, and she is never
cross or impatient. If anyone is sick, they expect
Lady Moody to care for them. She is never sick.
If she sometimes had a headache, or a bad cold, or
a fit of the megrims, or even got into a temper for
nothing at all, then you could love her more, for
you could do something for her. I hope I shall
never grow to be so perfect. I intend to do things
a little wrong, and be cross and untidy, and even
have some temper, now and then."

" Look now, Agratha, what good will come to
you from being naughty ? "

Then Agratha leaned her head on her mother's
breast, and answered in a low, crooning voice:
" I shall be so happy to say, * Dear moeder, I am
sorry as can be that I am naughty,' and the good
will come when you kiss me and whisper, * Never
mind, my Agratha. I do wrong myself many
times. It is of no consequence, Dear One.' That
is the good that comes to be loved, moeder."

'* Perhaps you are right you may be."

" Yes. I think of these things. I think of
many things, moeder, and I was astonished to


find myself saying to myself, if Elizabeth An
thony were here, it would be cheerful and pleas
ant; and I do not like Elizabeth Anthony only
she is exactly unlike Lady Moody."

" Did you see much of the woman who is Lady
Moody's housekeeper? "

" Ladarine ? Yes, I like Ladarine. She is
OLady Moody's great friend. She is cross very
often, but she has lots of things to vex her."

"How is that?"

" Because Lady Moody will not let them vex
her. It is Ladarine that has broths to make for
the sick, who mends clothes and who feeds and
dresses the babies when their mothers are sick.
I dare say she scolds them she scolds me some

" She has no business to scold thee, and I will
not have thee scolded by anyone."

" Moeder, I scold her back, and she laughs,
and then I laugh; and so we are friends, more so
than ever. Ladarine is so English, moeder,
yet she always loses patience with the Eng

"For what, then?"

" She says they are so easy to tell in foreign
countries, because they never have the knack of
making themselves at home. There are only two
or three Dutch families in Gravesend, and they
are so friendly and sociable. You could tell their
houses were Dutch if you never went inside them ;


they are so homelike, and they are so satisfied
with them."

" Did Captain Schofield spend much time with

" He came to dinner twice that was all."

"And what of Lord Mclvar? "

" He left the ship when we reached Gravesend,
and he did not go back to her, until she was ready
to sail."

" Then you were in his company a great deal ? "

" Yes."

"What do you think of him?"

" He was good company. We went on the ice.
He is a good skater."

" What did he talk about? "

" He talked much about himself, and what he
was going to do. Here comes fader ! I will open
the door for him," and away she sped, leaving the
question practically unanswered.

There was no opportunity to ask it again that
evening, and before morning Agratha had made up
her mind to be frank with her mother concerning
Lord Mclvar, and perhaps perhaps also about
her conviction of some strong intimacy between
Lord Mclvar and their bondman, Gus. This
latter question, however, was not definitely de
cided. She left it to circumstances and to that
motive power, which may often be more safely
trusted than any of our own pre-arranged words
or plans.


In a great measure she was ruled by the fact
that it was Lord Mclvar's secret, and she knew
not how the divulging of it might affect him. He
had not told her anything, yet she thought he
must have seen or suspected some intimate rela
tion between himself and their bondman. Love
ripens a character quickly, and Agratha found
herself debating circumstances, which, a month
previous, she would have carried without doubt
or question to her mother.

Some time passed before Madame found an
other opportunity to interrogate her daughter
about Lord Mclvar. Agratha's ready avoidance
of the subject on the night of her return had
made her cautious. She could see that the child
had become a woman, and she was sure that Love,
and only Love, could have effected such a rapid
transformation. A voluntary confidence was
what she desired, and sooner or later she felt sure
it would come.

It came one afternoon about two weeks after
Agratha's return from Gravesend. They were
sitting alone, and no company could be expected,
for a great wind, accompanied by heavy rain
was driving everyone off the streets. They were
both sewing and had been, in a fitful way, talking
of the current household and social news. But
the heaviness of the middle of the day was over
them, and their conversation trailed off into syl
lables and finally into silence. Madame Van Ruy-


ven lifted her head and looked at her daughter.
Her face was still, and she had an absent look, as
if her thoughts were roaming far away.

" You left all your good spirits at Gravesend,
Agratha," she said. " You are not like the
merry girl I sent there, not one month gone by.
What is the matter with my daughter? Is she
sick? "

" No, moeder, I am well."

" Then why art thou so silent, so cast down?
Thou makes my heart to ache for thee."

" Moeder, I will tell thee. Lord Mclvar has
gone away. He has gone for two years, and I
feel as if there was no pleasure in the world for
me. He is a long way off, and yet he makes me
miserable. I wish that I had never seen him."

" Perhaps then, he is also miserable. Would
thou like that? "

" Yes, he might then come back to New Am

" Is it thy will that he should come back ?
Thou said thou wast sorry thou had ever seen

" That is because I cannot always see him.
Moeder! moeder! he said he loved me, he said he
loved me more than his life. He said in two years
he would come again, and ask my fader and thee
to let him make me his wife. Two years! That
is such a long time. He will forget. I know he
will forget."


" He will not forget thee, but thy fader will
never allow that thou should be married on him.
Never ! Thou must try and forget him."

" I will not forget him. Moeder, the poor
young man cannot help that he was born in Scot
land. Why should he be made to suffer because
God did not choose New Amsterdam for his birth
place? He is so good, moeder, even Ladarene
can find no fault in him except that he goes to
the English church."

" Well then, that only would be fault enough
for thy fader. He cannot put up with Luther
ans. Only last week, when Hoag and Company
failed, he said it was because they had a Lutheran
bookkeeper. For this he thought they deserved
to fail. He was not sorry for them."

" Moeder, I think you liked Gael."


" Yes, moeder, he begged me to call him Gael.
You liked him, moeder? "

" I saw no harm in him. He was a nice, cheer
ful boy; and Lady Moody tells me that he is
rich, and will have much Court favour when the
King comes back again."

" I think not of such things, moeder."

" So then thy fader and moeder must think for
thee. Listen to me once. Thou must do thy
best way to forget him, that is the wise thing to
do, but if thou cannot forget him, then thou must
be preparing thyself to mingle with lords and


ladies in such fashion that he will not be ashamed
of thee. Thou must go to London, or the Hague,
and learn all that noble women learn. That Do-
mine at the Fort, what can he teach thee that a
woman in a court ought to know? "

" Many things, moeder, he can teach me his
tory and geography, and he has made me a good
reader and writer, and taught me many beautiful
pieces of poetry. Sometimes I say the poetry to
my fader in the evenings when thou art busy
and fader likes it."

" To be sure ! Thy fader has been at the Ley-
den University. When women go there, I sup
pose they also will like poetry. As it is, I get
plenty of poetry at the Kirk every Sabbath. I
do not care for it."

" Moeder, I would like to go to a London
school. I have heard Bessie Allerton talk about
London. Wilt thou go with me? I could not
go alone."

" Perhaps both I and thy fader may go with
thee. Many years thy fader has been talking of
a visit to our old home in Holland, and Holland
is not far from England. Now then, talk to me
of thy heartache. I know what that pain is.
When I was thy age, I loved, and there was no
good luck for my love. But very soon thy fader
came, and the Other Love is only like a little light
in my memory. If we go to Holland, I shall see
him, and he will perhaps be just like other men


maybe poor, or cross, or disagreeable. I am
sure he will have forgotten me, and when I say
4 Carel E verson, is all well with thee ? ' he will stare
and wonder, and then be ashamed to say, * I don't
know thee, Madame. What is it thou wants with
me? ' That is one of the ways of Love, Agratha.
No one can tell how any love affair will turn out."

"Well then, moeder, what more?"

" Keep thy heart for the man who will be thy
husband. All the love in it thou wilt need to live
with any man, and see his foolishness, and bear
his tempers week after week, and year after year."

" Dear moeder, I will do all you say. I am glad
I told you about Lord Mclvar. Now my heart
is light again."

" And thou wilt be moeder's cheerful, obedient
daughter? "

" If I was not obedient to thee, moeder, how
could I be obedient to God? And then!"

" Then all would go wrong in thy life."

But Agratha did not yet confide to her moeder
the secret understanding between Lord Mclvar
and Gus. Something she did not understand held
her back. It became unpleasant to think of the
matter and now that her mother had supplied
her imagination with new subjects for specula
tion, she let the circumstance slip from her mind,
and spent her thoughts upon the probabilities of
the London school, and the likelihood of Mclvar
seeing her in London.


After this confidence Agratha was much hap
pier. Madame encouraged conversation about
her lover, and the school question, and she gradu
ally talked herself into a hopeful and expectant
mood. But Agratha could not reckon with events
over which no one in New Netherland had any
control. The new city was hardly organised be
fore it was filled with rumours of war. Cromwell
had just been made Protector, and there was
every reason to believe the war between England
and Holland would be pushed to extremities.
Stuyvesant had already written to the authorities
in New England and Virginia, proposing that
such a war should not interrupt their commercial
intercourse. But the answers he received had a
tone of evasion, and he was convinced that Massa
chusetts was preparing to co-operate with the
English forces when they arrived. Van Ruyven
brought the news home one evening about the
middle of March.

" What say you to this ? " he cried. " Eng
land is sending a large fleet to America, and those
New England hypocrites are working night and
day to increase it. In my judgment we shall
have war before the summer is over. For some
while back, I have been telling our people they
were feasting our known enemies. Would they
mind me? They would not. Yet I say this, and
it is the truth trusting the English is like trust
ing the cream with the cat."


"If war is sure, Paul, why has not the Com
pany sent men and arms to protect us ? " asked
Madame. " They know well what England is do
ing, and if they thought war was certain, surely
they would send help to hold their own. War!
Paul, I believe it not."

" There has been little business done to-day,
Ragel. The stores are full of anxious men.
many of them have valuable cargoes at sea that
is my case and on the streets white-faced men
and women are listening with open mouths to any
dreadful rumour they get hold of. The city is
to be fortified, and out must come our purses, as
well as our muskets ; but those damnable, desolat
ing English shall have a stubborn fight, if they do
come. If they see people living in peace and
quiet and making a little money, then they blow
their war trumpets and cry, ' Thy land is ours ! ' "

" Paul, thou must keep thyself in thy good
senses. Many responsibilities are thine, wife and
children, home and business. Let the young men
bluster if it please them ; I want thee to say noth
ing and to take a step at a time, as seems wise
to thee. Why should thou go out to meet
trouble? For my part, I believe not in any Eng
lish coming here to fight us."

However, Stuyvesant believed it. He called
a meeting of the Council and the City Fathers,
and they agreed to put Fort Amsterdam in a
proper state of defence, at the cost of the city.


Forty of the principal men in New Amsterdam
subscribed a sum of two thousand dollars, but this
donation did not exempt them from actual
labour. All able-bodied men were required to
leave their business, and work on the ditch and
palisades surrounding the city, and the next
morning Ragel watched her husband pass his house
with pick and shovel over his shoulders, and felt
very indignant.

*' It is all talk," she said scornfully to Agra-
tha, " and if it is not all talk, then the West India
Company ought to protect us. It is not our place
to fight for the Company, no, indeed! All we
make, they tithe, and a little thing it would be
for them to send men and arms to defend what
they call their own."

" I am so sorry, moeder."

" Thou may well be sorry, for it will put a stop
to our going to London this year. However,"
she added with a smile of satisfaction, " Schepen
Johannes de Peyster has had to humble himself a
little, for I saw him on the march with the rest
of the shovel and spade company. That did me
some good, for I like to see pride brought low,
and De Peyster is the proudest man in America."

" Well then, moeder, he is so handsome, and so
rich, and his house is so big, and his dress so

" To be sure ! And I tell you, Agratha, when
he wears his full dress wig, and his full dress coat,


and his full dress smile, he makes me long for
something disagreeable to happen a waterspout
or a whirlwind, or anything that would drive His
Superiority out of my sight."

" He is a nice man, moeder, and I dare say he
never did any work in his life."

" I am not against him working now. Let him
learn how to use a pick and shovel. It is good
for him. But oh, Agratha ! how the rag-tag and
bob-tail company with which he had to walk must
have sickened and humbled his proud stomach ! '*

" Many good, brave men were walking in that
same company, moeder. My fader "

" Thy fader, in ten thousand ways is ten thou
sand times a better man than Johannes de Pey-
ster. Nature went about some full work when
she made thy fader. I can tell thee that. Well
then, at half past ten and at half past three,
Gus must take thy fader some Sopus beer and
cold meat and bread. And I hope all the men
working will have wives as thoughtful of their
husbands as Ragel Van Ruyven."

So the weary weeks passed in constant working
and watching, but during them Stuyvesant gained
a respect never before given him. When he
walked day after day in front of the gentlemen
labourers, sedate and dignified he looked, and he
acted the military chief of affairs. He knew the
manner of fortifications ; no one else did ; he could
give directions and orders, where the rest could


only follow and obey. He seldom abused his au
thority, or made it contemptible by slavering pas
sions and vulgar obscenity. Stuyvesant was a
native and natural soldier, and when in military
authority was brave, clever and respectable.
Perhaps then it was the fault of circumstances
that in civil government he was despised, and
also accused of degrading lapses from justice and
honour. For we must remember, that the tre
mendous duties proper to men of the sword are
by no means suitable to the Council Chamber or
the Business Exchange; and that history records
few examples of great soldiers who were also great
statesmen, or civil rulers. Such cases as come
readily to mind, like Julius Caesar, King Alfred,
and especially Oliver Cromwell, are but the grand
exceptions proving the general rule.

In the middle of April public anxiety was so
great that a general humiliation and fast was
observed, and by June there was actual insurrec
tion among the English villages on Long Island.
However, on the second of June, the battle that
seemed imminent in New Netherland was fought
in the narrow seas dividing England and Hol
land. Stuyvesant was, however, unaware of this
engagement, and sent Allard Anthony to Holland
to represent the condition of affairs to the Am
sterdam Chamber.

In the meantime, the flame of patriotism that
had fired all men at the first whisper of war, had


waned in a manner that was most irritating to
Stuyvesant. The opinions Ragel had so frankly
expressed, had become the opinions of the major
ity, and when Stuyvesant in July called upon the
city for more money to continue the fortifications,
the burgomasters peremptorily refused to con
tribute a stiver, unless Stuyvesant gave up the
excise on wines and beers.

It was hard for a soldier to endure such luke
warm patriots, and we may well excuse and even
admire the temper in which he invited a dozen
of the principal men in New Amsterdam to dine
with him on a hot, sunny afternoon towards the
end of August. A stranger sat at his right hand
whom he introduced in a general way as his friend
Mynheer Suydam, who had just arrived from
London, bringing with him the last news letters
and papers. And after all had been refreshed,
and the wine was opening men's hearts and mouths,
Stuyvesant said:

" Gentlemen, our friend Mynheer Suydam, has
brought us good news, inasmuch as he assures us
of no war in America, just yet, and perhaps not
at all. You are not going to be troubled in your
business, and for all I see, you may eat and sleep
and smoke with all the leisure you find so com
fortable. There has been a fight with the Eng
lish, and such a fight as the Lord Mighty in bat
tle, and all the hosts of his angels, must have joyed
to see. For it is His will that we should set our


teeth and fight for the land which he has given
us. So then we will listen to what Mynheer Suy-
dam will read us from the official account of the

Then Suydam rose and said : " Gentlemen, this
is the true account. It kept all the coffee houses
in London ablaze and shouting the night through
and on the next Sabbath, it was read from every
pulpit amid Te Deums and Thanksgivings."

There was a curious look of mystification on
the faces of the guests, and on Stuyvesant's a
mingling of many opposite emotions, but all
tinged with a faint contempt. " We are listen
ing, Mynheer," he said courteously, and he re
filled his glass and quietly passed the bottle.

So Suydam straightened out the broadside in
his hand, and read aloud:

" Monk and Dean were cruising with a portion
of the English fleet between North Foreland and
Nieuport. Blake was on the Northern coast.
Van Tromp decided to engage the fleet, separated
from their great admiral. The battle continued
all through the second day of June. Dean had
been killed by a cannon shot at the first broad
side, and when night separated the combatants,
each of the fleets was sorely crippled. The ac
tion recommenced on the third. On that morn
ing the sound of cannon from the North told
Monk the welcome news that the Sea King was at
hand. Soon after Blake's ships appeared, and


broke through the Dutch line. Van Tromp fought
with desperation. His ship, the Brederod, was
boarded by the crew of the English flag ship y
James, after they had repulsed Van Tromp's
boarders. The Dutch admiral resolved not to
be a prisoner, and he threw a lighted match into
his own powder magazine. The explosion blew
up the deck, but he escaped and renewed the bat
tle in a frigate. At last he was compelled to
retreat, leaving with the English eleven vessels,
and thirteen hundred and fifty prisoners."

The news was received with a low murmur of
anger, and John Deventer said sternly : " Gov
ernor, I see nothing in this news to rejoice over.
No, indeed!"

" Then I am sorry for you, gentlemen ; you
must be blind as bats," answered Stuyvesant.
" At any rate, if you can do nothing else, you
can shout for the brave Van Tromp ! " and with
his mighty voice, he led a cheer for Van Tromp
that filled the Fort with its triumph.

" Let the English have the ships ! " he cried,
" we have Van Tromp ! Why, gentlemen, it is
said Blake and his sailor men watched him breath
lessly, swimming to the nearest frigate, and when
he boarded her and took command of the battle
again, they cheered him above the roar of can
non. For brave men know and honour brave men.
And by all that is holy, I swear that if great and
good deeds are done by men of any race, or any;


nation, great and good men do them. One more
cheer for Van Tromp, gentlemen ! "

No one appeared willing to raise the cheer, and
there was a few moments' silence. Then Mynheer
Suydam said, " Governor, I cheer with you ! " and
Stuyvesant answered, " Brother, I thank you ! "
and again Stuyvesant raised his powerful voice,
and the cheer rose, slowly gathering strength as
it did so. While it was still ringing, Stuyvesant
with Mynheer Suydam bowed and left the room.

Then the company rapidly dispersed. They

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