Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr.

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[Illustration: Cover and spine]

[Illustration: She was going down the steps with him]

[Transcribers note: A title has been created for an unlisted illustration
on p102 of the original text and inserted into the list of illustrations.]






Copyright, 1886, 1893 BY DODD, MEAD & COMPANY

_All rights reserved_

Typography Presswork


_Boston_ _Cambridge_.


This Book is Dedicated



[Illustration: ILLUSTRATIONS:]

She was going down the steps with him
May in New York one hundred and twenty-one years ago
Joris Van Heemskirk
Locking-up the cupboards
She was tying on her white apron
"Come awa', my bonnie lassie"
Neil and Bram
Chapter heading
With her spelling-book and Heidelberg
The amber necklace
In one of those tall-backed Dutch chairs
Chapter heading
He heard her calling him to breakfast
The quill pens must be mended
A Guelderland flagon
"A very proper love-knot"
Chapter heading
Hyde flung off the touch with a passionate oath
Batavius stood at the mainmast
He took her in his arms
A little black boy entered
Chapter heading
"Sir, you are very uncivil"
"Listen to me, thy father!"
He took his solitary tea
On the steps of the houses
Chapter heading
"Katherine, I am in great earnest"
"In the interim, at your service"
"Why do you wait?"
The swords of both men sprung from their hands
Chapter heading
Oh, how she wept!
"O Bram! is he dead?"
The streets were noisy with hawkers
Katherine was close to his side
Chapter heading
In its satin depths
Katherine knelt by Richard's side
"I am faint"
"Don't trouble yourself to come down"
"Listen to me!"
Chapter heading
They stood together over the budding snowdrops
His whole air and attitude had expressed delight
"I am going to take the air this afternoon"
"I will go with you, Richard"
Chapter heading
"Madam, I come not on courtesy"
"O mother, my sister Katherine!"
"Oh, my cheeny, my cheeny!"
Plain and dark were her garments
Chapter heading
Katherine stood with her child in her arms
The garden next fell under Katherine's care
"Thou has a grandson of thy own name"
Plate old and new
"Make me not to remember the past"
With a great sob Bram laid his head against her breast
Chapter heading
She spread out all her finery
All kinds of frivolity and amusement
"Dick, I am angry at you"
She was softly singing to the drowsy child
Chapter heading
She was stretched upon a sofa
She stood in the gray light by the window
Chapter heading
She knelt speechless and motionless
Jane lifted her apron to her eyes
"O Richard, my lover, my husband!"
Chapter heading
"One night in Rome, in a moment, the thing was altered,"
"I must draw my sword again"
"We have closed his Majesty's custom-house forever"
"I am reading the Word"
He was standing on the step of his high counting-desk.
Chapter heading
Lysbet and Catherine were unpacking
He marshalled the six children in front of him
The City Hall
He swung a great axe
Lysbet's hands gave it to them


[Illustration: May in New York one hundred and twenty-one years ago]


"_Love, that old song, of which the world is never weary_."

It was one of those beautiful, lengthening days, when May was pressing
back with both hands the shades of the morning and the evening; May in
New York one hundred and twenty-one years ago, and yet the May of A.D.
1886, - the same clear air and wind, the same rarefied freshness, full of
faint, passing aromas from the wet earth and the salt sea and the
blossoming gardens. For on the shore of the East River the gardens still
sloped down, even to below Peck Slip; and behind old Trinity the
apple-trees blossomed like bridal nosegays, the pear-trees rose in
immaculate pyramids, and here and there cows were coming up heavily to
the scattered houses; the lazy, intermitting tinkle of their bells
giving a pleasant notice of their approach to the waiting

In the city the business of the day was over; but at the open doors of
many of the shops, little groups of apprentices in leather aprons were
talking, and on the broad steps of the City Hall a number of
grave-looking men were slowly separating after a very satisfactory civic
session. They had been discussing the marvellous increase of the export
trade of New York; and some vision of their city's future greatness may
have appeared to them, for they held themselves with the lofty and
confident air of wealthy merchants and "members of his Majesty's Council
for the Province of New York."

[Illustration: Joris Van Heemskirk]

They were all noticeable men, but Joris Van Heemskirk specially so. His
bulk was so great that it seemed as if he must have been built up: it
was too much to expect that he had ever been a baby. He had a fair,
ruddy face, and large, firm eyes, and a mouth that was at once strong
and sweet. And he was also very handsomely dressed. The long, stiff
skirts of his dark-blue coat were lined with satin, his breeches were
black velvet, his ruffles edged with Flemish lace, his shoes clasped
with silver buckles, his cocked hat made of the finest beaver.

With his head a little forward, and his right arm across his back, he
walked slowly up Wall Street into Broadway, and then took a
north-westerly direction toward the river-bank. His home was on the
outskirts of the city, but not far away; and his face lightened as he
approached it. It was a handsome house, built of yellow bricks, two
stories high, with windows in the roof, and gables sending up sharp
points skyward. There were weather-cocks on the gables, and little round
holes below the weather-cocks, and small iron cranes below the holes,
and little windows below the cranes, - all perfectly useless, but also
perfectly picturesque and perfectly Dutch. The rooms were large and
airy, and the garden sloped down to the river-side. It had paths
bordered by clipped box, and shaded by holly and yew trees cut in
fantastic shapes.

In the spring this garden was a wonder of tulips and hyacinths and
lilacs, of sweet daffodils and white lilies. In the summer it was ruddy
with roses, and blazing with verbenas, and gay with the laburnum's gold
cascade. Then the musk carnations and the pale slashed pinks exhaled a
fragrance that made the heart dream idyls. In the autumn there was the
warm, sweet smell of peaches and pears and apples. There were
morning-glories in riotous profusion, tall hollyhocks, and wonderful
dahlias. In winter it still had charms, - the white snow, and the green
box and cedar and holly, and the sharp descent of its frozen paths to
the frozen river. Councillor Van Heemskirk's father had built the house
and planted the garden, and he had the Dutch reverence for a good
ancestry. Often he sent his thoughts backward to remember how he walked
by his father's side, or leaned against his mother's chair, as they told
him the tragic tales of the old Barneveldt and the hapless De Witts; or
how his young heart glowed to their memories of the dear fatherland,
and the proud march of the Batavian republic.

But this night the mournful glamour of the past caught a fresh glory
from the dawn of a grander day forespoken. "More than three hundred
vessels may leave the port of New York this same year," he thought. "It
is the truth; every man of standing says so. Good-evening, Mr. Justice.
Good-evening, neighbours;" and he stood a minute, with his hands on his
garden-gate, to bow to Justice Van Gaasbeeck and to Peter Sluyter, who,
with their wives, were going to spend an hour or two at Christopher
Laer's garden. There the women would have chocolate and hot waffles, and
discuss the new camblets and shoes just arrived from England, and to be
bought at Jacob Kip's store; and the men would have a pipe of Virginia
and a glass of hot Hollands, and fight over again the quarrel pending
between the governor and the Assembly.

"Men can bear all things but good days," said Peter Sluyter, when they
had gone a dozen yards in silence; "since Van Heemskirk has a seat in
the council-room, it is a long way to his hat."

"Come, now, he was very civil, Sluyter. He bows like a man not used to
make a low bow, that is all."

"Well, well! with time, every one gets into his right place. In the City
Hall, I may yet put my chair beside his, Van Gaasbeeck."

"So say I, Sluyter; and, for the present, it is all well as it is."

This little envious fret of his neighbour lost itself outside Joris Van
Heemskirk's home. Within it, all was love and content. He quickly divested
himself of his fine coat and ruffles, and in a long scarlet vest, and a
little skull-cap made of orange silk, sat down to smoke. He had talked a
good deal in the City Hall, and he was now chewing deliberately the cud of
his wisdom over again. Madam Van Heemskirk understood that, and she let
the good man reconsider himself in peace. Besides, this was her busy hour.
She was giving out the food for the morning's breakfast, and locking up
the cupboards, and listening to complaints from the kitchen, and making a
plaster for black Tom's bealing finger. In some measure, she prepared all
day for this hour, and yet there was always something unforeseen to be
done in it.

[Illustration: Locking-up the cupboards]

She was a little woman, with clear-cut features, and brown hair drawn
backward under a cap of lace very stiffly starched. Her tight fitting
dress of blue taffeta was open in front, and looped up behind in order
to show an elaborately quilted petticoat of light-blue camblet. Her
white wool stockings were clocked with blue, her high-heeled shoes cut
very low, and clasped with small silver buckles. From her trim cap to
her trig shoes, she was a pleasant and comfortable picture of a happy,
domestic woman; smiling, peaceful, and easy to live with.

When the last duty was finished, she let her bunch of keys fall with a
satisfactory "all done" jingle, that made her Joris look at her with a
smile. "That is so," she said in answer to it. "A woman is glad when she
gets all under lock and key for a few hours. Servants are not made
without fingers; and, I can tell thee, all the thieves are not yet

"That needs no proving, Lysbet. But where, then, is Joanna and the
little one? And Bram should be home ere this. He has stayed out late
more than once lately, and it vexes me. Thou art his mother, speak to

"Bram is good; do not make his bridle too short. Katherine troubles me
more than Bram. She is quiet and thinks much; and when I say, 'What art
thou thinking of?' she answers always, 'Nothing, mother.' That is not
right. When a girl says, 'Nothing, mother,' there is something - perhaps,
indeed, _somebody_ - on her mind."

"Katherine is nothing but a child. Who would talk love to a girl who has
not yet taken her first communion? What you think is nonsense, Lysbet;"
but he looked annoyed, and the comfort of his pipe was gone. He put it
down, and walked to a side-door, where he stood a little while, watching
the road with a fretful anxiety.

"Why don't the children come, then? It is nearly dark, and the dew
falls; and the river mist I like not for them."

"For my part, I am not uneasy, Joris. They were to drink a dish of tea
with Madam Semple, and Bram promised to go for them. And, see, they are
coming; but Bram is not with them, only the elder. Now, what can be the

"For every thing, there are more reasons than one; if there is a bad
reason, Elder Semple will be sure to croak about it. I could wish that
just now he had not come."

"But then he is here, and the welcome must be given to a caller on the
threshold. You know that, Joris."

"I will not break a good custom."

Elder Alexander Semple was a great man in his sphere. He had a
reputation for both riches and godliness, and was scarcely more
respected in the market-place than he was in the Middle Kirk. And there
was an old tie between the Semples and the Van Heemskirks, - a tie going
back to the days when the Scotch Covenanters and the Netherland
Confessors clasped hands as brothers in their "churches under the
cross." Then one of the Semples had fled for life from Scotland to
Holland, and been sheltered in the house of a Van Heemskirk; and from
generation to generation the friendship had been continued. So there was
much real kindness and very little ceremony between the families; and
the elder met his friend Joris with a grumble about having to act as
"convoy" for two lasses, when the river mist made the duty so

"Not to say dangerous," he added, with a forced cough. "I hae my plaid
and my bonnet on; but a coat o' mail couldna stand mists, that are a
vera shadow o' death to an auld man, wi' a sair shortness o' the

"Sit down, Elder, near the fire. A glass of hot Hollands will take the
chill from you."

"You are mair than kind, gudewife; and I'll no say but what a sma' glass
is needfu', what wi' the late hour, and the thick mist" -

"Come, come, Elder. Mists in every country you will find, until you
reach the New Jerusalem."

"Vera true, but there's a difference in mists. Noo, a Scotch mist isna
at all unhealthy. When I was a laddie, I hae been out in them for a week
thegither, ay, and felt the better o' them." He had taken off his plaid
and bonnet as he spoke; and he drew the chair set for him in front of
the blazing logs, and stretched out his thin legs to the comforting

In the mean time, the girls had gone upstairs together; and their
footsteps and voices, and Katherine's rippling laugh, could be heard
distinctly through the open doors. Then Madam called, "Joanna!" and the
girl came down at once. She was tying on her white apron as she entered
the room; and, at a word from her mother, she began to take from the
cupboards various Dutch dainties, and East Indian jars of fruits and
sweetmeats, and a case of crystal bottles, and some fine lemons. She was
a fair, rosy girl, with a kind, cheerful face, a pleasant voice, and a
smile that was at once innocent and bright. Her fine light hair was
rolled high and backward; and no one could have imagined a dress more
suitable to her than the trig dark bodice, the quilted skirt, and the
white apron she wore.

[Illustration: She was tying on her white apron]

Her father and mother watched her with a loving satisfaction; and though
Elder Semple was discoursing on that memorable dispute between the
Caetus and Conferentie parties, which had resulted in the establishment
of a new independent Dutch church in America, he was quite sensible of
Joanna's presence, and of what she was doing.

"I was aye for the ordaining o' American ministers in America," he said,
as he touched the finger tips of his left hand with those of his right;
and then in an aside full of deep personal interest, "Joanna, my dearie,
I'll hae a Holland bloater and nae other thing. And I was a proud man
when I got the invite to be secretary to the first meeting o' the new
Caetus. Maybe it is praising green barley to say just yet that it was a
wise departure; but I think sae, I think sae."

At this point, Katherine Van Heemskirk came into the room; and the elder
slightly moved his chair, and said, "Come awa', my bonnie lassie, and
let us hae a look at you." And Katherine laughingly pushed a stool
toward the fire, and sat down between the two men on the hearthstone.
She was the daintiest little Dutch maiden that ever latched a
shoe, - very diminutive, with a complexion like a sea-shell, great blue
eyes, and such a quantity of pale yellow hair, that it made light of its
ribbon snood, and rippled over her brow and slender white neck in
bewildering curls. She dearly loved fine clothes; and she had not
removed her visiting dress of Indian silk, nor her necklace of amber
beads. And in her hands she held a great mass of lilies of the valley,
which she caressed almost as if they were living things.

"Father," she said, nestling close to his side, "look at the lilies. How
straight they are! How strong! Oh, the white bells full of sweet scent!
In them put your face, father. They smell of the spring." Her fingers
could scarcely hold the bunch she had gathered; and she buried her
lovely face in them, and then lifted it, with a charming look of
delight, and the cries of "Oh, oh, how delicious!"

[Illustration: "Come awa', my bonnie lassie"]

Long before supper was over, Madam Van Heemskirk had discovered that this
night Elder Semple had a special reason for his call. His talk of Mennon
and the Anabaptists and the objectionable Lutherans, she perceived, was
all surface talk; and when the meal was finished, and the girls gone to
their room, she was not astonished to hear him say, "Joris, let us light
another pipe. I hae something to speak anent. Sit still, gudewife, we
shall want your word on the matter."

"On what matter, Elder?"

"Anent a marriage between my son Neil and your daughter Katherine."

The words fell with a sharp distinctness, not unkindly, but as if they
were more than common words. They were followed by a marked silence, a
silence which in no way disturbed Semple. He knew his friends well, and
therefore he expected it. He puffed his pipe slowly, and glanced at
Joris and Lysbet Van Heemskirk. The father's face had not moved a
muscle; the mother's was like a handsome closed book. She went on with
her knitting, and only showed that she had heard the proposal by a small
pretence of finding it necessary to count the stitches in the heel she
was turning. Still, there had been some faint, evanescent flicker on her
face, some droop or lift of the eyelids, which Joris understood; for,
after a glance at her, he said slowly, "For Katherine the marriage would
be good, and Lysbet and I would like it. However, we will think a little
about it; there is time, and to spare. One should not run on a new road.
The first step is what I like to be sure of; as you know, Elder, to the
second step it often binds you. - Say what you think, Lysbet."

"Neil is to my mind, when the time comes. But yet the child knows not
perfectly her Heidelberg. And there is more: she must learn to help her
mother about the house before she can manage a house of her own. So in
time, I say, it would be a good thing. We have been long good friends."

[Illustration: Knitting]

"We hae been friends for four generations, and we may safely tie the
knot tighter now. There are wise folk that say the Dutch and the Lowland
Scotch are of the same stock, and a vera gude stock it is, - the women o'
baith being fair as lilies and thrifty as bees, and the men just a
wonder o' every thing wise and weel-spoken o'. For-bye, baith o'
us - Scotch and Dutch - are strict Protestors. The Lady o' Rome never
threw dust in our een, and neither o' us would put our noses to the
ground for either powers spiritual or powers temporal. When I think o'
our John Knox" -

"First came Erasmus, Elder."

"Surely. Well, well, it was about wedding and housekeeping I came to
speak, and we'll hae it oot. The land between this place and my place,
on the river-side, is your land, Joris. Give it to Katherine, and I will
build the young things a house; and the furnishing and plenishing we'll
share between us."

"There is more to a wedding than house and land, Elder."

"Vera true, madam. There's the income to meet the outgo. Neil has a good
practice now, and is like to have better. They'll be comfortable and
respectable, madam; but I think well o' you for speering after the daily

"Well, look now, it was not the bread-making I was thinking about. It
was the love-making. A young girl should be wooed before she is married.
You know how it is; and Katherine, the little one, she thinks not of
such a thing as love and marriage."

"Wha kens what thoughts are under curly locks at seventeen? You'll hae
noticed, madam, that Katherine has come mair often than ordinar' to
Semple House lately?"

"That is so. It was because of Colonel Gordon's wife, who likes
Katherine. She is teaching her a new stitch in her crewel-work."

"Hum-m-m! Mistress Gordon has likewise a nephew, a vera handsome lad. I
hae seen that he takes a deal o' interest in the crewel-stitch likewise.
And Neil has seen it too, - for Neil has set his heart on Katherine, - and
this afternoon there was a look passed between the young men I dinna
like. We'll be haeing a challenge, and twa fools playing at murder,

"I am glad you spoke, Elder. Thank you. I'll turn your words over in my
heart." But Van Heemskirk was under a certain constraint: he was
beginning to understand the situation, to see in what danger his darling
might be. He was apparently calm; but an angry fire was gathering in his
eyes, and stern lines settling about the lower part of his face.

"You ken," answered Semple, who felt a trifle uneasy in the sudden
constraint, "I hae little skill in the ordering o' girl bairns. The
Almighty thought them beyond my guiding, and I must say they are a great
charge, a great charge; and, wi' all my infirmities and
simplicity, - anent women, - one that would hae been mair than I could
hae kept. But I hae brought up my lads in a vera creditable way. They
know how to manage their business, and they hae the true religion. I am
sure Neil would make a good husband, and I would be glad to hae him
settled near by. My three eldest lads hae gone far off, Joris, as you

"I remember. Two went to the Virginia Colony" -

"To Norfolk, - tobacco brokers, and making money. My son Alexander - a
wise lad - went to Boston, and is in the African trade. I may say that
they are all honest, pious men, without wishing to be martyrs for
honesty and piety, which, indeed, in these days is mercifully not called
for. As for Neil, he's our last bairn; and his mother and I would fain
keep him near us. Katherine would be a welcome daughter to our auld age,
and weel loved, and much made o'; and I hope baith Madam Van Heemskirk
and yoursel' will think with us."

"We have said we would like the marriage. It is the truth. But, look
now, Katherine shall not come any more to your house at this time, not
while English soldiers come and go there; for I will not have her speak
to one: they are no good for us."

"That is right for you, but not for me. My wife was a Gordon, and we
couldn't but offer our house to a cousin in a strange country. And
you'll find few better men than Col. Nigel Gordon; as for his wife,
she's a fine English leddy, and I hae little knowledge anent such women.
But a Scot canna kithe a kindness; if I gie Colonel Gordon a share o'
my house, I must e'en show a sort o' hospitality to his friends and
visitors. And the colonel's wife is much thought o', in the regiment and
oot o' it. She has a sight o' vera good company, - young officers and
bonnie leddies, and some o' the vera best o' our ain people."

"There it is. I want not my daughters to learn new ways. There are the
Van Voorts: they began to dine and dance at the governor's house, and
then they went to the English Church."

"They were Lutherans to begin wi', Joris."

"My Lysbet is the finest lady in the whole land: let her daughters walk
in her steps. That is what I want. But Neil can come here; I will make
him welcome, and a good girl is to be courted on her father's hearth.
Now, there is enough said, and also there is some one coming."

"It will be Neil and Bram;" and, as the words were spoken, the young men

[Illustration: Neil and Bram]

"Again you are late, Bram;" and the father looked curiously in his son's
face. It was like looking back upon his own youth; for Bram Van
Heemskirk had all the physical traits of his father, his great size, his
commanding presence and winning address, his large eyes, his deep,
sonorous voice and slow speech. He was well dressed in light-coloured
broadcloth; but Neil Semple wore a coat and breeches of black velvet,

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