Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr.

The bow of orange ribbon; a romance of New York online

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touching her father's cheek as she passed ; and then
she answered, "At Mary Blankaart's I was not at
all, mother."

"Where, then?"

"To Margaret Pitt's I went first, and with Mrs.
Gordon I have been all the day. She is lodging with
Mrs. Lanier, on Pearl Street."

" Who sent you there, Katherine ? "

" No one, mother. When I passed the house, my
name I heard, and Mrs. Gordon came out to me;
and how could I refuse her? Much had we to talk

Batavius saw the girl's placid face, and heard her
open confession, with the greatest amazement. He
looked at Joanna, and was just going to express his
opinion, when Joris rose, pushed his chair a little
angrily aside, and said, " There is no blame to you,
Katherine. Very kind was Mrs. Gordon to you, and
she is a pleasant woman. For other's faults she
must not answer. That, also, is what Elder Semple
says ; for when past was her anger, with a heart full
of sorrow she went to him and to Madam Semple."

" The sorrow that is too late, of what use is it ? A
very pleasant woman ! Perhaps she is, but then,


also, a very vain, foolish woman. Every person of
discretion says so ; and if I had a daughter "

" Well, then, Batavius, a daughter thou may have
some day. To the man with a tender heart, God

fives his daughters. Wanting in some good thing I
ad felt myself, if only sons I had been trusted
with. A daughter is a little white lamb in the house-
hold to teach men to be gentle men."
" I was going to say this, if I had a daughter "
''Well, then, when thou hast, more wisdom will be

fiven thee. Come with thy father, Katrijntje, and
own the garden we will walk, and see if there are
dahlias yet, and how grow the gold and the white

But all the time they were in the garden together,
Joris never spoke of Mrs. Gordon, nor of Kather-
ine's visit to her. About the flowers, and the rest-
less swallows, and the blue-birds, who still lingered,
silent and anxious, he talked ; and a little also of
Joanna, and her new house, and of the great wed-
ding feast that was the desire of Batavius.

" Every one he has ever spoken to, he will ask,"
said Katherine ; " so hard he tries to have many
friends, and to be well spoken of."

"That is his way, Katrijntje; every man has his

"And I like not the way of Batavius."

" In business, then, he has a good name, honest
and prudent. He will make thy sister a good hus-

But, though Joris said nothing to his daughter
concerning her visit to Mrs. Gordon, he talked long
with Lysbet about it. " What will be the end, thou
may see by the child's face and air," he said : "the
shadow and the heaviness are gone. Like the old
Katherine she is to-night."

"And this afternoon comes here Neil Semple.
Scarcely he believed me that Katherine was out.
Joris, what wilt thou do about the young man ? "

"His fair chance he is to have, Lysbet. That to
the elder is promised."

" The case now is altered. Neil Semple I like not.


Little he thought of our child's good name. With
his sword he wounded her most. No patience have
I with the man. And his dark look thou should
have seen when I said, * Katherine is not at home/
Plainly his eyes said to me, ' Thou art lying.' "

" Well, then, what thought hast thou ? "

" This : one lover must push away the other. The
young dominie that is now with the Rev. Lambertus
de Ronde, he is handsome and a great hero. From
Surinam has he come, a man who for the cross has
braved savage men and savage beasts and deadly
fever. No one but he is now to be talked of in the
kirk ; and I would ask him to the house. Often I
have seen the gown and bands put the sword and
epaulets behind them."

" Well, then, at the wedding of Batavius he will
be asked ; and if before there is a good time, I will
say, 'Come into my house, and eat and drink with
us.' "

So the loving, anxious parents, in their ignorance,
planned. Even then, accustomed in all their ways
to move with caution, they saw no urgent need of
interference with the regular and appointed events
of life. A few weeks hence, when Joanna was mar-
ried, if there was in the meantime no special oppor-
tunity, the dominie could be offered as an antidote
to the soldier; and, in the interim, Neil Sempte was
to honorably have such " chance " as his ungovern-
able temper had left him.

The next afternoon he called again on Katherine.
His arm was still useless ; his pallor and weakness so
great as to win, even from Lysbet, that womanly
pity which is often irrespective of desert. She
brought him wine, she made him rest upon the sofa,
and by her quiet air of sympathy bespoke for him
a like indulgence from her daughter. Katherine sat
by her small wheel, unplaiting some flax; and Neil
thought her the most beautiful creature he had ever
seen. He kept angrily asking himself why he had
not perceived this rare loveliness before; why he
had not made sure his claim ere rivals had disputed
it with him. He did not understand that it was love


which had called this softer, more exquisite beauty
into existence. The tender light in the eyes ; the
flush upon the che > ek ; the lips, conscious of sweet
words and sweeter kisses ; the heart, beating to pure
and loving thoughts, in short, the loveliness of the
soul, transfiguring the meaner loveliness of flesh
and blood, Neil had perceived and wondered at; but
he had not that kind of love experience which di-
vines the cause from the result.

On the contrary, had Hyde been watching Kath-
erine, he would have been certain that she was mus-
ing on her lover. He would have understood that
bewitching languor, that dreaming silence, that
tender air and light and color which was the phys-
ical atmosphere of a soul communing with its be-
loved; a soul touching things present only with its
intelligence, but reaching out to the absent with in-
tensity of every loving emotion.

For some time the conversation was general. The
meeting of the delegates, and the hospitalities of-
fered them ; the offensive and tyrannical Stamp
Act; the new organization o/ patriots who called
themselves "Sons of Liberty; " and the loss of Miss
Mary Blankaart's purse, furnished topics of mild
dispute. But no one's interest was in their words,
and presently Madam Van Heemskirk rose and left
the room. Her husband had said, "Neil was to
have some opportunities ; " and the words of Joris
were a law of love to Lysbet.

Neil was not slow to improve the favor. " Kath-
erine, I wish to speak to you. .1 am weak and ill.
Will you come here beside me ? "

She rose slowly, and stood beside him ; but, when
he tried to take her hands, she clasped them behind
her back.

"So?" he asked; and the blood surged over his
white face in a crimson tide that made him for a
moment or two speechless. " Why not ? "

" Blood-stained are your hands. I will not take

The answer gave him a little comfort. It was,
then, only a moral qualm. He had even no objec-


tion to such a keen sense of purity in her; and
sooner or later she would forgive his action, or be
made to see it wijth the eyes of the world, in which
he moved.

" Katherine, I am very sorry I had to guard my
honor with my sword ; and it was your love I was
fighting for."

" My honor you cared not for, and with the sword
I could not guard it. Of me cruel and false words
have been said by every one. On the streets I was
ashamed to go. Even the dominie thought it right
to come and give me admonition. Batavius never
since has liked or trusted me. He says Joanna's
good name also I have injured. And my love, is it
a thing to be fought for? You have guarded your
honor, but what of mine ? "

" Your honor is my honor. They that speak ill of
you, sweet Katherine, speak ill of me. Your life is
my life. O my precious one, my wife! "

" Such words I will not listen to. Plainly now I
tell you, your wife I will never be, never, never,
never! "

" I will love you, Katherine, beyond your dream
of love. I will die rather than see you the wife of
another man. For your bow of ribbon, only see
what I have suffered."

"And, also, what have you made another to suf-

" Oh, I wish that I had slain him ! "

"Not your fault is it that you did not murder

"An affair of honor is not murder, Katherine."

"Honor! Name not the \yord. From a dozen
wounds your enemy was bleeding: to go on fighting
a dying man was murder, not honor. Brave some
call you : in my heart I say, * Neil Semple was a sav-
age and a coward.' "

" Katherine, I will not be angry with you."

" I wish that you should be angry with me."

" Because some day you will be very sorry for
these foolish words, my dear love."

" Your dear love I am not."


"My dear love, give me a drink of wine, I am

His whispered words and death like countenance
moved her to human pity. She rose for the wine,
and, as she did so, called her mother; but Neil had
at least the satisfaction of feeling that she had min-
istered to his weakness, and held the wine to his
lips. From this time, he visited her constantly, un-
mindful of her frowns, deaf to all her unkind words,
patient under the most pointed slights and neglect.
And as most men rate an object according to the dif-
ficulty experienced in attaining it Katherine became
every day more precious and desirable in Neil's

In the mean time, without being watched, Kath-
erine felt herself to be under a certain amount of re-
straint. If she proposed a walk into the city,
Joanna or madam was sure to have the same desire.
She was not forbidden to visit Mrs. Gordon, but
events were so arranged as to make the visit almost
impossible ; and only once, during the month after
her marriage, had she an interview with her hus-
band. For even Hyde's impatience had recognized
the absolute necessity of circumspection. The land-
lord's suspicions had been awakened, and not very
certainly allayed. " There must be no scandal
about my house, captain," he said. " I merit some-
thing better from you ; " and, after this injunction,
it was very likely that Mrs. Gordon's companions
would be closely scrutinized. True, the "King's
Arms " was the great rendezvous of the military and
government officials, and the landlord himself sub-
serviently loyal ; but, also, Joris Van Heemskirk was
not a man with whom any good citizen would like to
quarrel. Personally he was much beloved, and so-
cially he stood as representative of a class who held
in their hands commercial and political power no one
cared to oppose or offend.

The marriage license had been obtained from the
governor, but extraordinary influence had been used
to procure it. Katherine was under age, and yet
subject to her father's authority. In spite of book


and priest and ring, he could retain his child for at
least three years; and three years, Hyde in talking
with his aunt called " an eternity of doubt and de-
spair." These facts, Hyde, in his letters, had fully
explained to Katherine ; and she understood clearly
how important the preservation of her secret was,
and how much toward allaying suspicion depended
upon her own behavior. Fortunately Joanna's wed-
ding-day was drawing near, and it absorbed what at-
tention the general public had for theVan Heemskirk
family. For it was a certain thing, developing into
feasting and dancing; and it quite put out of con-
sideration suspicions which resulted in nothing,
when people examined them in the clear atmosphere
of Katherine's home.

At the feast of St. Nicholas the marriage was to
take place. Early in November the preparations for
it began. No such great event could happen with-
out an extraordinary house-cleaning; and from gar-
ret to cellar the house-maid's pail and brush were in
demand. Spotless was every inch of paint, shining
every bit of polished wood and glass ; not a thimble-
full of dust in the whole house. Toward the end of
the month, Anna and Cornelia arrived, with their
troops of rosy boys and girls, and their slow, sub-
stantial husbands. Batavius felt himself to be a
very great man. The weight of his affairs made him
solemn and pre-occupied. He was not one of those
light, foolish ones, who can become a husband and
a householder without being sensible of the respon-
sibilities they assume.

In the midst of all this household excitement,
Katherine found some opportunities of seeing Mrs.
Gordon ; and in the joy of receiving letters from, and
sending letters to, her husband, she recovered a gay-
ety of disposition which effectually repressed all urg-
ent suspicions. Besides, as the eventful day drew
near, there was so much to attend to. Joanna's per-
sonal goods, her dresses and household linen, her
china and wedding gifts, had to be packed; the
house was decorated ; and there was a most amazing
quantity of delicacies to be prepared for the table.


In the middle of the afternoon of the day before
the marriage, there was the loud rat-tat-tat of the
brass knocker, announcing a visitor. But visitors
had been constant since the arrival of Cornelia and
Anna, and Katherine did not much trouble herself
as to whom it might be. She was standing upon a
ladder, pinning among the evergreens and scarlet
berries rosettes and bows of ribbon of the splendid
national color, and singing with a delightsome

" But the maid of Holland,

For her own true love,
Ties the splendid orange,

Orange still above !
O oranje boven !
Orange still above I "

"Orange still above! Oh, my dear, don't trouble
yourself to come down! I can pass the time tolera-
bly well, watching you."

It was Mrs. Gordon, and she nodded and laughed
in a triumphant way that very quickly brought
Katherine to her side. " My dear, I kiss you. You
are the top beauty of my whole acquaintance." Then,
in a whisper, " Richard sends Ids devotion. And put
your hand in my muff: there is a letter. And pray
give me joy: I have just secured an invitation. I
asked the councillor and madam point blank for it.
Faith, I think I am a little of a favorite with them !
Every one is talking of the bridegroom, and the
bridegroom is talking to every one. Surely, my
dear, he imagines himself to be the only man that
will ever again commit matrimony. Oranje boven,
everywhere!" Then, with a little exultant laugh,
" Above the Tartan, at any rate. How is the young
Bruce ? My dear, if you don't make him suffer, I
shall never forgive you. Alternate doses of hope
and despair, that would be my prescription."

Katherine shook her head.

" Take notice, in particular, that I don't under-
stand nods and shakes and sighs and signs. What
is your opinion, frankly ? "

"On my wedding-day, as I left Richard, this he


said to me, 'My honor, Katherine, is'now in your
keeping.' By the lifting of one eyelash, I will not
etain it."

" My dear, you are perfectly charming. You al-
ways convince me that I am a better woman than I
imagine myself. I shall go straight to Dick, and
tell him how exactly proper you are. Really, you
have more perfections than any one woman has a
right to."

" To-morrow, if I have a letter ready, you will take

"I will- run the risk, child. But really, if you
could see the way mine host of the ' King's Arms '
looks at me, you would be sensible of my courage. ;
I am persuaded he thinks I carry you under my
new wadded cloak. Now, adieu. Return to your
evergreens and ribbons.

' For your own true love,

Tie the splendid orange,
Orange still above ! ' "

And so, lightly humming Katherine's favorite song,
she left the busy house.

Before daylight the next morning, Batavius had
every one at his post. The ceremony was to be per-
formed in the Middle Kirk, and he took care that
Joanna kept neither Pomine de Ronde nor himself
waiting. He was exceedingly gratified to find the
building crowded when the wedding party arrived.
Joanna's dress had cost d guinea a yard, his own
broad cloth and satin were of the finest quality, and
he felt that the good citizens who respected him
ought to have an opportunity to see how deserving
he was of their esteem. Joanna, also, was a beau-
tiful bride; and the company was entirely composed
of men of honor and substance, and women of irre-
proachable characters, dressed with that solid mag-
nificence gratifying to a man who, like Batavius,
dearly loved respectability.

Katherine looked for Mrs. Gordon in vain : she
was not in the kirk, and she did not arrive until
the festival dinner was nearly over. Batavius was


then considerably under the excitement of his fine
position and fine fare. He sat by the side of his
bride, at the right hand of Joris; and Katherine
assisted her mother at the other end of the table.
Peter Block, the first mate of the " Great Christo-
pher," was just beginning to sing a song, a fool-
ish, sentimental ditty for so big and bluff a fellow,
in which some girl was thus entreated,

" Come, fly with me, my own fair love ;

My bark is waiting in the bay,
And soon its snowy wings will speed
To happy lands so far away.

' And there, for us. the rose of love

Shall sweetly bloom, and never die.
Oh, fly with me ! We'll happy be
Beneath fair Java's smiling sky."

" Peter, such nonsense as you sing," said Bata-
rius, with ail the authority of a skipper to his mate.
"How can a woman fly when she has no wings?
And to say any bark has wings is not the truth.
And what kind of rose is the rose of love ? Twelve
kinds of roses I have chosen for my new garden, but
that kind I never heard of; and I will not believe in
any rose that never dies. And you also have been to
Java ; and well you know of the fever and the blacks,
and the sky that is not smiling, but hot as the place
which is not heaven. No respectable person would
want to be a married man in Java. I never did."

" Sing your own songs, skipper. By yourself you
measure every man. If to the kingdom of heaven
you did not want to go, astonished and angry you
would be that any one did not like the place which
is not heaven."

" Come, friends and neighbors," said Joris cheer-
ily. " I will sing you a song; and every one knows
the tune to it, and every one has heard their vaders
and their moeders sing it, sometimes, perhaps, on
the great dikes of Vaderland, and sometimes in their
sweet homes that the great Hendrick Hudson found
out for them. Now, then, all, a song for



' We have taken our land from the sea,
Its fields are all yellow with grain.
Its meadows are green on the lea,
And now shall we give it to Spain ?
No, no, no, no!

*We have planted the faith that is pure,
That faith to the end we'll maintain;
For the word and the truth must endure.
Shall we bow to the Pope and to Spain?
No, no, no, no!

Our ships are on every sea,

Our honor has never a stain,
Our law and our commerce are free :
Are we slaves for the tyrant of Spalnt
No, no, no, no!

'Then, sons of Batavia, the spade,

The spade and the pike and the main,
And the heart and the hand and the blade:
Is there mercy for merciless Spain?
No, no, no, no!'"

By this time the enthusiasm was wonderful. The
short, quick denials came hotter and louder at every
verse; and it was easy to understand how these
large, slow men, once kindled to white heat, were
both irresistible and unconquerable. Every eye
was turned to Joris, who stood in his massive,
manly beauty a very conspicuous figure. His face
was full of feeling and purpose, his large blue eyes
limpid and shining; and, as the tumult of applause
gradually ceased, he said,

" My friends and neighbors, no poet am I; but al-
ways wrongs burn in the heart until plain prose can-
not utter them. Listen to me. If we wrung the
Great Charter and the right of self-taxation from
Mary in A.D. 1477; if in A.D. 1572 we taught Alva,
by force of arms, how dear to us was our maxim,
* No taxation without representation,*

" Shall we give up our long-cherished right ?

Make the blood of our fathers in vain ?
Do we fear any tyrant to fight ?
Shall we hold out our hands for the chain?
No, no, no, no!"


Even the women had caught fire at this allusion
to the injustice of the Stamp Act and Quartering
Acts, then hanging over the liberties of the Prov-
ince; and Mrs. Gordon looked curiously and not
unkindly at the latent rebels. " England will have
foemen worthy of her steel, if she turns these good
friends into enemies," she reflected; and then, fol-
lowing some irresistible impulse, she rose with the
company, at the request of Joris, to sing unitedly
the patriotic invocation,

"O Vaderland, can we forget thee,

Thy courage, thy glory, thy strife ?
Moeder Kirk, can we forget thee ?
No, never! no, never! through life.
No, no, no, no! "

The emotion was too intense to be prolonged ; and
Joris instantly pushed back his chair, and said,
"Now, then, friends, for the dance. Myself I think
not too old to take out the bride."

Neil Semple, who had looked like a man in a
dream during the singing, went eagerly to Kath-
erine as soon as Joris spoke of dancing. " He felt
strong enough," he said, " to tread a measure in the
bride dance, and he hoped she would so far honor

" No, I will not, Neil. I will not take your hands.
Often I have told you that."

"Just for to-night, forgive me, Katherine."

" I am sorry that all must end so : I cannot dance
any more with you ; " and then she affected to hear
her mother calling, and left him standing among
the jocund crowd, hopeless and distraught with
grief. He was not able to recover himself, and the
noise and laughter distracted and made him angry.
He had expected so much from this occasion, from
its influence and associations ; and it had been al-
together a disappointment. Mrs. Gordon's presence
troubled him, and he was not free from jealousy re-
garding the young dominie. He had received a call
from a church in Haarlem ; and the Consistory had
requested him to become a member of the Coetus,


and accept it Joris had interested himself much
in his favor ; Katherine listened with evident pleas-
ure to his conversation. The fire of jealousy burns
with very little fuel ; and Neil went away from Jo-
anna's wedding-feast hating very cordially the
young and handsome Dominie Lambertus Van

The elder noticed every thing, and he was angry
at this new turn in affairs. He felt as if Joris had
purposely brought the dominie into his house to
further embarrass Neil; and he said to his wife after
their return home, "Janet, our son Neil has lost
the game for Katherine Yan Heemskirk. I dinna
care a bodle for it now. A man that gets the woman
he wants vera seldom gets any other gude thing."

" Elder !"

"Ah, weel, there's excepts! I hae mind o' them.
But Neil won't be long daunted. I looked in on him
as I cam' up-stairs. He was sitting wi' a law
treatise, trying to read his trouble awa. He's a
brave soul. He'll hae honors and charges in plenty ;
and there's vera few women that are worth a gude
office if you hae to choose atween them."

" You go back on your ain words, elder. Tak' a
sleep to yoursel'. Your pillow may gie you wisdom."

And, while this conversation was taking place,
they heard the pleasant voices of Yan Heemskirk's
departing guests, as, with snatches of song and
merry laughter, they convoyed Batavius and his
bride to their own home. And, when they got there,
Batavius lifted up his lantern and showed them the
motto he had chosen for its lintel; and it passed
from lip to lip, till it was lifted altogether, and the
young couple crossed their threshold to his ringing

"Poverty always a day's sail behind us!"




44 The hours of love fill full the echoing space
With sweet coufederate music favorable."

*' Now many memories make solicitous
The delicate love lines of her mouth, till lit
With quivering fire,'. the words take wing from it;
As here between our kisses we sit thus
Speaking of things remembered, and so sit
Speechless while things forgotten call to us."

JOANNA'S wedding occurred at the beginning of
the winter and the winter festivities. But, amid all
the dining and dancing and skating, there was a
political anxiety and excitement that leavened
strongly every social and domestic event. The first
Colonial Congress had passed the three resolutions

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Online LibraryAmelia Edith Huddleston BarrThe bow of orange ribbon; a romance of New York → online text (page 10 of 20)