Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr.

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

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patience at the slow movement of the evening-

When it was over, Joanna and Batavius went out
to walk, and Madam Yan Heemskirk rose to put
away her silver and china. "So warm as it is!"
said Katherine. " Into the garden I am going,

" Well, then, there are currants to pull. The dish
take with you."

Joris rose then, and laying his hand on Kather-
ine's shoulder said, " There is something to talk
about. Sit down, Lysbet : the door shut close, and
listen to me."

It was impossible to mistake the stern purpose on
her husband's face, and Lysbet silently obeyed the

" Katherine, Katrijntje, mijn kind, this afternoon
there comes to the store the young man Capt. Hyde.
To thy father he said many ill words. To him thou
shalt never speak again. Thy promise give to me."

She sat silent, with dropped eyes, and cheeks as
red as the pomegranate flower at her breast.

" Mijn kind, speak to me."

" O wee, O wee!"

<s Mijn kind, speak to me."

Weeping bitterly, she rose and went to her mother,
and laid her head upon Lysbet's shoulder.

"Look now, Joris. One must know the 'why*
and the 'wherefore.' What mean you? Wliish*
mijn kindje!"

" This I mean, Lysbet. No more meetings with
the Englishman will I have. No love secrets will I
bear. Danger is with them ; yes, and sin, too."

" Joris, if he has spoken to you, then where is the
secret ? "

" Too late he spoke. When worked was his own
selfish way, to tell me of his triumph he comes. It
is a shameful wrong. Forgive it ? No, I will not,.
never! "

No one answered him ; only Katherine's low weep-
ing broke the silence, and for a few moments Joris-
paced the room sorrowful and amazed. Then he


looked at Lysbet, and she rose and gave her place
to him. He put his arms around his darling, and
kissed her fondly.

" Mljn kinclje, listen to me thy father. It is for
thy happy life here, it is for thy eternal life, I speak
to thee. This mail for whom thou art weeping is not
good for thee. He is not of thy faith, he is a Luth-
eran ; not of thy people, he is an Englishman; not
of thy station, he talks of his nobility; a gambler
also, a man of fashion, of loose talk, of principles
still more loose. If with the hawk a singing-bird
might mate happily, then this English soldier thou
might safely marry. Mijn beste kindje, do I love
thee ? "

"My father! "

"Do I love thee?"

" Yes, yes."

" Dost thou, then, love me ? "

She put her arms round his neck, and laid her
cheek against his, and kissed him many times.

" Wilt thou go away and leave me, and leave thy
mother, in our old age ? My heart thou would
break. My gray hairs to the grave would go in sor-
row. Katrijntje, my dear, dear child, what for me,
and for thy mother, wilt thou do ? "

" Thy wish if I can."

Then he told her of the provision made for her
future. He reminded her of NeilVlong affection,
and of her satisfaction with it until Hyde had wooed
her from her love and her duty. And, remember-
ing the elder's reproach on his want of explicitness,
he added, "To-morrow, about thy own house, I will
take the first step. Near my house it shall be ; and
when I walk in my garden, in thy garden I will see
thee, and only a little fence shall be between us.
And at the feast of St. Nicholas thou shalt be mar-
ried ; for then thy sisters will be here, thy sisters
Anna and Cornelia. And money, plenty of money,
I will give thee ; and all that is proper thy mother
and thee shall buy. But no more, no more at all,
shalt thou see or speak to that bad man who has so
beguiled thee."


At this remark Katherine sadly shook her head ;
and Lysbet's face so plainly expressed caution, that
Joris somewhat modified his last order, " That is,
little one, no more until the feast of St. Nicholas.
Then thou wilt be married; and then it is good, if it
is safe, to forgive all wrongs, and to begin again
with all the world in peace and good living. Wilt
thou these things promise me ? me and thy mother ? "

" Richard I must see once more. That is what I

"Richard! So far is it ? "

She did not answer; and Joris rose, and looked at
the girl's mother inquiringly. Her face expressed
assent; and he said reluctantly, "Well, then, I will
as easy make it as I can. Once more, and for one
hour, thou may see him. But I lay it on thee to tell
him the truth, for this and for all other time."

" Now may I go ? He is anigh. His boat I hear
at the landing; " and she stood up, intent, listening,
with her fair head lifted, and her wet eyes fixed on
the distance.

"Well, be it so. Go."

With the words she slipped from the room ; and
Joris called Baltu to bring him some hot coals, and
began to fill his pipe. As he did so, he watched
Lysbet with some anxietj^. She had offered him no
sympathy, she evinced no disposition to continue
the conversation ; and, though she kept her face
from him, he understood that all her movements ex-
pressed a rebellious temper. In and out of the room
she passed, very busy about her own affairs, and ap-
parently indifferent to his anxiety and sorrow.

At first Joris felt some natural anger at her atti-
tude ; but, as the Virginia calmed and soothed him,
he remembered that he had told her nothing of his
interview with Hyde, and that she might be feeling
and reasoning from a different stand-point from him-
self. Then the sweetness of his nature was at once
in the ascendant; and he said, " Lysbet, come then,
and talk with me about the child."

She turned the keys in her press slowly, and stood
by it with them in her hand. " What has been told


thee, Joris, to-day ? And who has spoken ? Tongues
evil and envious, I am sure of that."

" Thou art wrong. The young man to me spoke
himself. He said, ' I love your daughter. I want
to marry her.' "

" Well, then, he did no wrong. And as for Kat-
rijntje, it is in nature that a young girl should want
a lover. It is in nature she should choose the one
she likes best. That is what I say."

" That is what I say, Lysbet. It is in nature, also,
that we want too much food and wine, too much
sleep, too much pleasure, too little work. It is in
nature that our own way we want. It is in nature
that the good we hate, and the sin we love. My
Lysbet, to us God gives his own good grace, that
the things that are in nature we might put below
the reason and the will."

" So hard that is, Joris."

"No, it is not: so far thou hast done the right
way. When Katherine was a babe, it was in nature
that with the fire she wanted to make play. But
thou said, 'There is danger, my precious one ; ' and
in thy arms thou carried her out of the temptation.
When older she grew, it was in nature she said, ' I
like not the school, and my Heidelberg is hard, and
I cannot learn it.' But thou answered, 'For thy
good is the school, and go thou every day ; and for
thy salvation is thy catechism, and I will see that
thou learn it well.' Now, then, it is in nature the
child should want this handsome stranger ; but with
me thou wilt certainly say, ' He is not fit for thy hap-
piness: he has not the true faith, he gambles, he
fights duels, he is a waster, he lives badly, he will
take thee far from thy own people and thy own
home.' "

" Can the man help that he was born an English-
man and a Lutheran ? "

" They have their own women. Look now, from
the beginning it has been like to like. Thou may
see in the Holy Scriptures, that, after Esau married
the Hittite woman, he sold his birthright, and be-
came a wanderer and a vagabond. And it is said


that it was a ' grief of mind unto Isaac and Kebekah. '
I am sorry this day for Isaac and Kebekah. The
heart of the father is the same always."

11 And the heart of the mother, also, Joris." She
drew close to him, and laid her arm across his broad
shoulders ; and he took his pipe from his lips, and
turned his face to her. " Kind and wise art thou,
my husband ; and whatever is thy wish, that is my
wish too."

"A good woman thou art. And what pleasure
would it be to thee if Katherine was a countess, and
went to the court, and bowed down to the king and
the queen? Thou would not see it; and, if thou
spoke of it, thy neighbors they would hate thee, and
mock thee behind thy back, and say, ' How proud is
Lysbet Van Heemskirk of her noble son-in-law that
comes never once to see her!' And dost thou be-
lieve he is an earl ? Not I."

" That is where the mother's love is best, Joris.
What my neighbors said would be little care to me,
if my Katherine was well and was happy. With
her sorrow would I buy my own pleasure ? No ; I
would not so selfish be."

" Would I, Lysbet ? Eight am I, and I know I am
right. And I think that Neil Semple will be a very
great person. Already, as a man of affairs, he is
much spoken of. He is handsome and of good mor-
ality. The elders in the kirk look to such young
men as Neil to fill their places when they are no
more in them. On the judge's bench he will sit
down yet."

" A good young man he may be, but he is a very
bad lover ; that is the truth. If a little less wise he
could only be! A young girl likes some foolish
talk. It is what women understand. Little fond
words, very strong they are! Thou thyself said
them to me."

" That is right. To Neil I will talk a little. A man
must seek a good wife with more heart than he seeks
gold. Yes, yes ; her price above rubies is."

At the very moment Joris made this remark, the
elder was speaking for him. When he arrived at


home, he found that his wife was out making calls
with Mrs. Gordon, so he had not the relief of a
marital conversation. He took his solitary tea, and
fell into a nap, from which he awoke in a querulous,
uneasy temper. Neil was walking about the ter-
race, and he joined him.

"You are stepping in a vera majestic way, Neil:
what's in your thoughts, I wonder ? "

" I have a speech to make to-morrow, sir. My
thoughts were on the law, which has a certain maj-
esty of its own."

"You'd better be thinking o' a speech you ought
to make to-night, if you care aboot saving yoursei'
wi' Katherine Van Heemskirk ; and it will be an ex-
traordinar' case that is worth mair, even in the way
o' siller, than she is."

The elder was not in the habit of making unmean-
ing speeches, and Neil was instantly alarmed. In
his own way, he loved Katherine with all his soul.
" Yes," continued the old man, " you hae a rival, sir.
Capt. Hyde asked Van Heemskirk for his daughter
this afternoon, and an earldom in prospect isna a
poor bait."

"What a black scoundrel he must be! to use
your hospitality to steal from your son the woman
he loves."

"Tak' your time, Neil, and you won't lose your
judgment. How was he to ken that Katherine was
your sweetheart ? You made little o' the lassie,
vera little, I may say. Lawyer-like you may be,
but nane could call you lover-like. And while he
and his are my guests, and in my house, I'll no hae
pou righting him. Tak' a word o' advice now,
I'll gie it without a fee, you are fond enough to
plead for others, go and plead an hour for yoursei'.
Certie! When I was your age, I was aye noted for
my persuading way. Your father, sir, never left a
spare corner for a rival. Audi can tell you this : a
woman isna to be counted your ain, until you hae
her inside a wedding-ring."

" What did the councillor say ? "

" To tell the truth, he said ' no,' a vera plain ' no,'



too. You ken Van Heemskirk's * no ' isn't a shilly-
shallying kind o' a negative ; but fora' that, if I hae
any skill in judging men, Eichard Hyde isna one o'
the kind that tak's 'no ' from either man or woman."

Neil was intensely angry, and his dark eyes glowed
beneath their dropped lids with a passionate hate.
But he left his father with an assumed coldness and
calmness which made him mutter as he watched
Neil down the road, " I needna hae 'fashed mysel'
to warn him against fighting. He's a prudent lad.
It's no right to fight, and it would be a matter for
a kirk session likewise ; but Bruce and Wallace ! was
there ever a Semple, before Neil, that keepit his
hand off his weapon when his love or his right
was touched ? And there's his mother out the
night, of all the nights in the year, and me want-
ing a word o' advice sae bad ; not that Janet has
o'er much good sense, but whiles she can make an
obsarve that sets my ain wisdom in a right line o'
thought. I wish to patience she'd bide at home.
She never kens when I may be needing her. And,
now I come to think o' things, it will be the warst
o' all bad hours for Neil to seek Katharine the
night. She'll be fretting, and the mother pouting,
and the councillor in ane o' his particular Dutch
touch-me-not tempers. I do hope the lad will hae
the uncommon sense to let folks cool, and come to
theirsel's a wee."

For the elder, judging his son by the impetuosity
of his own youthful temper, expected him to go di-
rectly to Van Heemskirk's house. But there were
qualities in Neil which his father forgot to take into
consideration, and their influence was to suggest to
the young man how inappropriate a visit to Kath-
erine would be at that time. Indeed, he did not
much desire it. He was very angry with Katherine.
He was sure that she understood his entire devotion
to her. He could not see any necessity to set it
forth as particularly as a legal contract, in certain
set phrases and conventional ceremonies.

But his father's sarcastic advice annoyed him, and
he wanted time to fully consider his ways. He was


no physical coward : he was a fine swordsman, and
he felt that it would be a real joy to stand with a
drawn rapier between himself and his rival. But
what if revenge cost him too much? What if he
slew Hyde, and had to leave his love and his home,
and his fine business prospects ? To win Katherine,
and to marry her, in the face of the man whom he
felt that he detested : would not that be the best of
all " satisfactions " ?

He walked about the streets, discussing these
points with himself, till the shops all closed, and on
the stoops of the houses in Maiden Lane and Liberty
Street there were merry parties of gossiping belles
and beaux. Then he returned to Broadway. Half
a dozen gentlemen were standing before the King's
Arms Tavern, discussing some governmental state-
ment in the "Weekly Mercury;" but though they
asked him to stop, and enlighten them on some
legal point, he excused himself for that night, and
went toward Yan Heemskirk's. He had suddenly
resolved upon a visit. Why should he put off until
the morrow what he might begin that night?

Still debating with himself, he came to a narrow
road which ran to the river, along the southern side
of Yan Heemskirk's house. It was only a trodden
path used by fishermen, and made by usage through
the unenclosed ground. But coming swiftly up it,
as if to detain him, was Capt. Hyde. The two men
looked at each other defiantly ; and Neil said with a
cold, meaning emphasis,

" At your service, sir."

" Mr. Semple, at your service," and touching his
sword, " to the very hilt, sir."

"Sir, yours to the same extremity."

"As for the cause, Mr. Semple, here it is ; " and he
pushed aside his embroidered coat in order to ex-
hibit to Neil the bow of orange ribbon beneath it.

"I will dye it crimson in your blood," said Neil

"In the mean time, I have the felicity of wearing
it;" and with an offensively deep salute, he ter-
minated the interview.




"Kevenge is but a frailty incident
To crazed and sickly minds ; the poor content
Of little souls, unable to surmount
An injury, too weak to bear affront."


" Love and a crown no rivalship can bear.
Love, love ! Thou sternly dost thy power mantain,
And wilt not bear a rival in thy reign."


" There comes my mortal enemy ;
And either he must fall in fight, or I."


NEIL'S first emotion was not so much one of anger
as of exultation. The civilization of the Semples
was scarce a century old; and behind them were
generations of fierce men, whose hands had been on
their dirks for a word or a look. " I shall have him
at my sword's point : " that was what he kept saying
to himself as he turned from Hyde to Yan Heems-
kirk's house. The front-door stood open; and he
walked through it to the back-stoop, where Jons
was smoking.

Katherine sat upon the steps of the stoop. Her
head was in her hand, her eyes red with weeping,
her 'whole attitude one of desponding sorrow. But,
at this hour, Neil was indifferent to adverse circum-
stances. He was moving in that exultation of spirit
which may be simulated by the first rapture of good
wine, but which is only genuine when the soul takes
entire possession of the man, and makes him for
some rare, short interval lord of himself, and con-
temptuous of all fears and doubts and difficulties.
He never noticed that Joris was less kind than
usual ; but touching Katherine, to arouse her atten-
tion, said, "Come with me down the garden, my

She looked at him wonderingly. His words and
manner were strange and potent ; and, although she


had just been assuring herself that she would resist
his advances on every occasion, she rose at his re-
quest and gave him her hand.

Then the tender thoughts which had lain so deep
in his heart flew to his lips, and he woo'd her with a
fervor and nobility as astonishing to himself as to
Katherine. He reminded her of all the sweet inter-
course of their happy lives, and of the fidelity with
which he had loved her. "When I was a lad ten
years old, and saw you first in your mother's arms,
I called you then ' my little wife.' Oh, my Kather-
ine, my sweet Katherine! "Who is there that can
take you from me ? "

"Neil, like a brother to me you have been. Like
a dear brother, I love you. But your wife to be!
That is not the same. Ask me not that."

" Only that can satisfy me, Katherine. Do you
think I will ever give you up ? Not while I live."

"No one will I marry. With my father and
mother I will stay."

" Yes, till you learn to love me as I love you, with
the whole soul." He drew her close to his side, and
bent tenderly to her face.

"No, you shall not kiss me, Neil, never again.
No right have you, Neil."

" You are to be my wife, Katherine ? "

" That I have not said."

She drew herself from his embrace, and stood lean-
ing against an elm-tree, watchful of Neil, full of
wonder at the sudden warmth of his love, and half
fearful of his influence over her.

" But you have known it, Katherine, ay, for many
a year. No words could make the troth-plight truer.
From this hour, mine and only mine."

" Such things you shall not say."

" I will say them before all the world. Katherine,
is it true that an English soldier is wearing a bow of
your ribbon ? You must tell me."

" What mean you ? "

"I will make my meaning plain. Is Capt. Hyde
wearing a bow of your orange ribbon ? "

"Can I tell?"


'Yes. Do not lie to me."

* A lie I would not speak."

* Did you give him one ? an orange one ? "

' Yes. A bow of my St. Nicholas ribbon I gave

' Me he loves, and him I love."
' And he wears it at his breast ? "
' On his breast I have seen it. Neil, do not
quarrel with him. Do not look so angry. I fear
you. My fault it is; all my fault, Neil. Only to
please me he wears it."

" You have more St. Nicholas ribbons? "

"That is so."

" Go and get me one. Get a bow, Katherine, and
give it to me. I will wait here for it."

" No, that I will not do. How false, how wicked I
would be, if two lovers my colors wore! "

" Katherine, I am in great earnest. A bow of that
ribbon I must have. Get one for me."

" My hands I would cut off first."

" Well, then, I will cut my bow from Hyde's
breast. I will, though I cut his heart out with it."

He turned from her as he said the words, and
without speaking to Joris, passed through the
garden-gate to his own home. His mother and Mrs.
Gordon, and several young ladies and gentlemen,
were sitting on the stoop, arranging for a turtle
feast on the East River; and Neil's advent was
hailed with ejaculations of pleasure. He affected to
listen for a few minutes, and then excused himself
upon the " assurance of having some very important
writing to attend to." But, as he passed the parlor-
door, his father called him. The elder was casting
up some kirk accounts; but, as Neil answered the
summons, he carefully put the extinguisher on one
candle, and turned his chair from the table in a
way which Neil understood as an invitation for his

A moment's reflection convinced Neil that it was
his wisest plan to accede. It was of the utmost im-
portance that his father should be kept absolutely


ignorant of his quarrel with Hyde ; for Neil was
certain, that, if he suspected their intention to fight,
he would invoke the aid of the law to preserve
peace, and such a course would infallibly subject
him to suspicions which would be worse than death
to his proud spirit.

" Weel, Neil, my dear lad, you are early hame.
Where were you the night ? "

" I have just left Katherine, sir, having followed
your advice in my wooing. I wish I had done so

"Ay, ay; when a man is seventy years auld, he
has read the book o' life, 'specially the chapter
anent women, and he kens a' about them. A bonnie
lass expects to hae a kind o' worship ; but the service
is na unpleasant, quite the contrary. Did you see
Capt. Hyde ? "

" We met near Broadway, and exchanged civili-

" A gude thing to exchange. When Gordon gets
back frae Albany, I'll hae a talk wi' him, and I'll
get the captain sent there. In Albany there are
bonnie lasses and rich lasses in plenty for him to try
his enchantments on. There was talk o' sending
him there months syne : it will be done ere long, or
my name isna Alexander Sernple."

" I see you are casting up the kirk accounts. Can
I help you, father?"

" I hae every thing ready for the consistory. Neil,
what is the gude o' us speaking o' this and that, and
thinking that we are deceiving each other? lam
vera anxious anent affairs between Capt. Hyde and
yoursel'; and I'm 'feared you'll be coming to hot
words, maybe to blows, afore I manage to put twa
hundred miles atween you. My lad, my ain dear
lad ! You are the Joseph o r a' my sons ; you are the
,iy o' your mother's life. For our sake, keep a
calm sough, and dinna let a fool provoke you to
break our hearts, and maybe send you into God's
presence uncalled and unblessed."

"Father, put yoursel' in my place. How would
you feel toward Capt. Hyde ? "


" Weel, I'll allow that I wouldna feel kindly. I
dinna feel kindly to him, even in rny ain place."

"As you desire it, we will speak plainly to each
other anent this subject. You know his proud and
hasty temper; you know also that I am more like
yourself than like Moses in the way of meekness.
Now, if Capt. Hyde insults me, what course would
you advise me to adopt? "

" I wouldna gie him. the chance to insult you. I
would keep oot o' his way. There is naething un-
usual or discreditable in taking a journey to Boston,
to speir after the welfare o' your brother Alex-

"Oh, indeed, sir, I cannot leave my affairs for an
insolent and ungrateful fool! I ask your advice for
the ordinary way of life, not for the way that
cowardice or fear dictates. If without looking for
him, or avoiding him, we meet and a quarrel is in-
evitable, what then, father?"

" Ay, weel, in that case, God prevent it! But in
sic a strait, my lad, it is better to gie the insult than
to tak' it."

" You know what must follow ? "

" Wha doesna ken ? Blood, if not murder. Neil,
you are a wise and prudent lad: now, isna the
sword o' the law sharper than the rapier o' honor? "

" Law has no remedy for the wrongs men of honor
redress with the sword. A man may call me every
shameful name ; but, unless I can show some actual
loss in money or money's worth, I have no redress.
And suppose that I tried it, and that after long suf-
ferance and delays I got my demands, pray, sir, tell
me, how can offences which have flogged a man's
most sacred feelings be atoned for by something to
put in the pocket ? "

" Society, Neil "

"Society, father, always convicts and punishes the
man who takes an insult on vieiv, without waiting
for his indictment or trial.

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