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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES




4 U* 4 ' >,






THE PRISONER OF THE BORDER.







,



HARRY AND OKTTY.-PAOK 18.



THE



PRISONER OF THE BORDER;



A TALE OF 1838.



BY P. HAMILTON MYERS,

ADTHOE OV "IBB FIBST OP TEE KHICKKRBOCURB," " TOUSO P4TBOO.1," "KING OP THB

BCBOHS," "BELL BBAHDON," BTC.



NEW YORK:

DERBY & JACKSON, 119 NASSAU ST,
1857.



EJTTBD according to Act at Confrrtss, in the yer ISil, by

DERBY A JACKSON,
ID th Clerk's Ofloe of th. District Court of Ui UuilJ Sutci, for Uu Souttwro District of New York.






W. II. TIMOK. SUru<7i*r. Glo. KL.-I i., & Co., Printers.



CONTENTS.



CHAPTBB L

s./

Q? Guert Rosevelt and his Grandsons,



CHAPTER IL
A Dutch Belle, ............... 18

CHAPTER in.
Aunt Becky and the Heiress,



-.-
CHAPTER IV.

Abrupt Proposals, ... ........... 98

%

CHAPTER V.
The Eloquent Emissary, ............. M



CHAPTER VI.
A Dark Compact, ............ . . 41

CHAPTER VH.
Harry and Gertrude, ...... ...... 01

CHAPTER VIII.
Barak, the Agitator, ............. 09

6



VI C ' X T F. X T S .

CHAPTER IX.
The Midnight Army, 6T

CHAPTER X.
The Invasion, 74

CHAPTER XI.
The Battle of Windmill Point, 80

CHAPTER XII.
A Recreant Brother, 87

CHAPTER XIII.
The Magic Rifle, 96

CHAPTER XIV.
A Tyrant and a Slave, 9B



CHAPTER XV.
Ruth's Story, 106

CHAPTER XVI.
A Good Samaritan, 118

CHAPTER XVII.
A Guinea Xegro, 121

CHAPTER XVIII.
A Dutrhman'it Courtship, and it* Consequences, ........ 120

CHAPTER XIX.
Tiding* from the War, 13

CHAPTER XX.

Gertrude and her Friends, 142

CHAPTER XXL

Captain Tom'g Fortunes, 152



CONTENTS. Vll

CHAPTER XXEL

r*8E

The Hero of the Thousand Igles, 1<S4

CHAPTER XXIII.
Rainbow Island, 167

CHAPTER XXIV.
A Thousand Pounds for his Head, 179

CHAPTER XXV.
Subterranean Councils, 186

CHAPTER XXVL
Samson Unbound, 197

CHAPTER XXVII.
The Express Travellers An Unexpected Meeting, 201

CHAPTER XXVm.
The Prisoner of Prescott, 808

CHAPTER XXIX.
Light in a Dungeon, 221

CHAPTER XXX.
A Mysterious Client, 239

CHAPTER XXXL
An Unlucky Walk, 28C

CHAPTER
Jack Shay and his Gang,



CHAPTER XXXIIL
A Trial An Unexpected Witness, . 958

CHAPTER XXXIV.
Heroism, **1



VIII CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XXXV.
Black Brom and the Attorney-General, 2fiT

CHAPTER XXXVI.
Tlie"yuccn'B Eviilence," 2T8

CHAPTER XXXVII.
Sir George Arthur, 279

CHAPTER XXXVIII.
A New Advocate, 2*8

C1IAPTEJI XXXIX.
A Physician Disappointed, 202

CHAPTER XL.
A gad Interview, 800

CHAPTER XLI.
An InquUilive Man 806

CHAPTER XLII.

A Visit to a Desperate Brigand, 812

CHAPTER XL1II.
The Outlaw and his Followers), 819

CHAPTER XI,IV.
Nubility In Disguise, 829

CHAPTER XLV.
A Lawyer with a Small Library, 836

CHAPTER XLVI.
The WIU, 841

CHAPTER XLVTI.
Rough Visitors, 8.VI

CHAPTER
Concludon,



THE



PRISONER OF THE BORDER.



CHAPTER L

UUERT ROSEVELT AND HIS GRANDSONS.

WITHIN view of those mystic mountains, which were long since
rendered classic soil by the pen of Irving, and on the banks of that
beautiful Hudson, whose charms defy even the power of genius to
depict, was the quiet home of Walter Vrail. Not in the days
when the ghostly Hendrick and his phantom followers made the
rocky halls of the Catskills reverberate with their rumbling balls,
and with the clatter of their falling nine-pins, and when their spec
tral flagon-bearer could be dimly seen at twilight, toiling up the
misty ascent to join the shadow revellers, but in these later
days, when the quaint old bowlers in doublet and jerkin, have
retired deep within the bowels of the mountain, to pursue their
endless game undisturbed by the plash of the swift steamboat, or
the roar of the linked cars, plunging through dark passes, trem
bling along narrow ledges, and sending up their shrill scream
through all the far recesses of a once holy solitude.

Ah, how much has modern utilitarianism to answer for at the
tribunal of Poetry. How many a fairy dream has it dispelled ;
how many a cherished illusion has it dissipated! How has it

1*



10 THE PRISONER OF THE BORDER.

measured out with square and compass all the sacred precincts of
Romance, and run its surveyors' chains along the moonlit haunts of
the Naiad and the Hamadryad ! There are no haunted wells, no
spell-bound treasures now. No restless spirits tramp along our
darkened halls at night, and lead the way, all voiceless, to their hid
den gold. No headless horseman scours the plain, frightening
belated travellers, and vanishing at churchyard gate. No solemn
conclave of grey-bearded men and ancient dames, around the
ample hearth, discuss the last new apparition with uplifted hands,
and look askance at darkling corners of the room, while the wild
tale is told.

Progress lias changed all this. Our old men talk of stocks
instead of ghosts; our children, fancy dwarfed, prefer philosophy
to fairy tales and laugh at good old Santa Claus, for whom the
pendent stockings gaped by a thousand chimneys in the days of
yore. We search no more for Kidd's deep cotters, or if we do, a
spook-defy ing joint-stock company, with shares commanding pre
mium on 'change, attempts the work, disdaining other incantation
than the power of steam.

Progn - 1 1, i- wrought these changes. IYM-T.- In- opened t
us a land of gold, outvieing a thousand fold, the fabled stores of
brigand wealth. Progress has

" Done nothing for your story yet, Mr. Romancer," we hear
some querulous reader object, and accepting the rebuke, we bid
adieu to goblins, and " chimeras dire."

We said that Walter Vrail lived ; yet, almost in the same para
graph, are we to record that he ceased to live. Called, in his
meridian years, to relinquish life, he left besides it, two much
loved sons, the education and welfare of whom had long been the
object of his earnest solicitude. Both had passed out of the age
of lK>yhood, Harry, the elder, having attained to his twenty-third
year, and Thomas just verging upon legal manhood ; but, although
brothers, there was a diversity in their character and appearance



THE PRISONER OF THE BORDER. 11

which would have prevented a stranger from suspecting them of
even a remoter affinity.

Both were handsome in face and in figure, yet Harry alone pos
sessed that indefinable beauty of expression and manner, which we
so often see without the power to analyze, and which won many
fair hearts whose peace he never dreamed of disturbing, and some
far above his aspirations. Aspirations, indeed, he could scarcely
be said to have. Never, perhaps, was mortal more devoid of self-
esteem, his deficiency in which quality might have been considered
almost reprehensible, had it not been a natural hiatus in his char
acter which no education could supply.

Elegant, well-educated, witty and graceful, he really believed
himself to be a very ordinary mortal, who owed all his considera
tion to the extreme good-nature of his acquaintances, and to the
great merits of his younger brother. His friends were all quite or
nearly faultless in his estimation, but Tom was a perfect paragon
of excellence. So talented, so learned, so very, very deep, so ambi
tious, too, that he was sure to become a very great man ere long,
and to shed a rich lustre upon the family name. Ah ! how he
regretted that his parents, whose pet Tom had ever been, could
not have been permitted to live to see that coming day which
was to realize their predictions and his own expectations.

It was true, he thought, his brother had some failings of char
acter, though perhaps he ought rather to call them eccentricities.
Genius is always eccentric, and cannot be expected to be governed
by the same laws which bind ordinary mortals. He had thought
that Tom lacked in what should he call it? thoughtfulness, con
sideration for others not for him, indeed ; there was no ne"ed of
thinking about him but for his now solitary old grandfather, and
sometimes for other friends. Then, Tom was a little irritable
that was the genius, of course, but it was a pity ; and sometimes he
was a little, a very little vain yet how could the poor fellow help
it, thought Harry, with so much to be vain of?



12 THE PRISONER OF THE BORDER.

Mr. Vrail had been wealthy, but in his mistaken anxiety to
increase his property for his children's sake, it had been reduced,
within the last year of his life, by a failing speculation, to less than
a competence. His small farm and homestead, situated in a vil
lage on the bank of the lludson, formed the whole of his posses
sions, and to this estate the brothers were equal heirs.

Brought up in the expectation of so great wealth, it seemed indeed
but a pittance to them, and they became speedily aware of the
necessity of making some exertion for their support

Harry, unfortunately, had learned no business. When his
collegiate course had terminated, he had been advised, but
not urged, by his indulgent parents, to select a profession and
pursue it, and he had often nearly resolved to do so. But what
was Harry fit for, in his own estimation ? He thought, at times,
of the law ; but what was the use of studying law, when young
Tom could outspeak him already in the debating society, and could
make more noise in five minutes than he would dare to make in
the whole evening. To be sure, Tom was not very perspicuous in
his arguments, and often forgot and misstated historical facts,
but then he did everything with an air, and made the weakest
point of his case seem strong by the force and fire of his declamation.

The practice of medicine had also been recommended to Harry
as a genteel and easy business, but the idea of ever having a
human life dependent on his poor judgment made him tremble ;
and as for the pulpit, he thought that a man, like himself, who
was good for nothing else, certainly had no right to think of that.
So Harry had wasted year after year in a sort of elegant leisure,
reading, indeed, a great deal of history, biography and classic lore,
and constantly finding among his departed heroes prototypes of
what Tom was going to become one of these days.

When Mr. Vrail's losses occurred, his sons were far from know
ing the extent of them, for the kind father, still hopeful of retriev
ing his fortunes, would not look poverty in the face, nor teach his



THE PRISONER OF THE BORDER. 13

children to contemplate what seemed to him so hideous a spectre.
It was not, therefore, until his sudden death that they became
aware of their comparative penury, and of the necessity of turning
to some account the excellent education which he had bestowed
upon them. The younger son had, indeed, for several years been
nominally a student in the office of a village attorney, more with
a view to the acquirement of that renown which he was sure
must follow his first forensic efforts, than with any expecta
tion of making his business a source of profit. But now, when
poverty had come so suddenly upon him, he felt entirely impatient
of the slow process of regaining his lost wealth which his profes
sion offered, and he longed to discover some " open sesame " to the
magic portals of Mammon.

It is difficult to convince a man who has once been affluent that
there is not some short and certain road which will lead him back
to the golden highway from which he has strayed, and Tom was
particularly sanguine on this point.

" We must sell the homestead to begin with," he said to Harry,
when, a few months after his father's decease, the brothers had
their first business consultation ; " we must turn everything into
money "

" Grandfather included, I suppose," said Harry, smiling ; " for
your plan would leave him no home."

u Oh, I did not think of grandfather," replied Tom ; and then
added, after a pause, "How very old he is isn't he ?"

" Why, bless you Tom, no ! He isn't seventy-five yet, and he is
as hale and hearty as ever he is good for a dozen years, at least,
yt, I hope."

" And nothing to live on. Well, we must manage some way in
relation to him, and then we must sell out everything. There
are many field* open for speculation when once one has a little
money on hand. But nothing can be done without that. At
present we can scarcely buy a barrel of flour."



THE PRISONER OF THE BORDER.

"Tom talks like a book," thought Ilarry ; "but what does he
mean to do with grandfather ?"

Their conversation was interrupted by the entrance of the vene
rable subject of their remarks, a hale, hearty old man, bent, indeed
with years, and slightly crippled with rheumatism, yet with a face
red, and fresh, and unwrinkled, shining out of its setting of snowy
hair, like the sun breaking through a white fog.

Guert Roserelt was a Dutchman at all points, and his consent
had with difficulty been obtained, twenty-five years before, to the
marriage of his loved Katrina with an American who could boast
no Flemish blood or affinities but these scruples had long been
forgotten, and he now cherished the memory of his son-in-law
with an affection scarcely inferior to that with which he mourned
his departed daughter. His grandsons were all that he had left
on earth to love, and his old heart clung to them as the oak, riven,
but not uprooted, clings to its native soil. Yet it was not with an
equal affection that lie regarded the orphaned youths, for Ilarry
had been his pet in childhood, and, though unacknowledged as
such, was greatly his favorite still.

" I am glad you have come, grandpa," exclaimed the elder bro
ther, impulsively ; " we were just speaking of"

"Of business," Raid Tom, interrupting his brother, and slightly
coloring as he spoke ; " and we shall, perhaps, want your advice."

" Veil, den, boys, what is it, now ?" said the old man, compla
cently, seating himself between the youths.

" Why, you see," answered the younger brother, " it is time for
us to be seeking our fortunes, Harry and I we are poor enough
now, you know, and we ought to be up and doing. But what we
are to do, is the question."

" Yes yes," said the grandfather, quickly, nodding his head
energetically, " I hef been thinking of it too. This reeling of
books and blowing on the flute will never make a poor man rich."

" That's you, Ilarry," said Tom, chuckling.



THE PBISONEE OF THE BOBDEB. 15

" Neither will this shmoking cigars in a lawyer's shop, and talk
ing politics," continued the mentor, shaking his white locks still
more earnestly.

" That's you, Tom," said Harry.

" Yes yes it is both of you. If Tommy means to be a lawyer,
well and goot 'Tish a trade I don't much like but 'he is a
shmart lad, and may get to be a Justice of the Peace or Supervi
sor one of these days."

"Justice of the Peace or Supervisor !" echoed Tom, contemptu
ously.

" Hush !" whispered his brother.

" Yes yes," continued the old man, " that you may, ef you are
shrnart you will be a Squire, perhaps a Judge some day,
Tommy."

" Like Judge Boory, I suppose, to wake up and say, ' I concur,'
when the first judge gives an opinion, and then go to sleep again."

" Yes, like Judge Boory," added Guert, who had not understood
the latter part of the young man's reply ; "yes, you will do very
well, if you try but as to Harry, here"

"Oh, I shall rise to be first flageolet to some travelling Punch
and Judy, grandfather," said Harry, laughing, and taking down
his flute ; " you will see if I don't. Just listen to this new air
from the Beggar's Opera, which I have been learning."

" ' Tish the right thing for you to learn, poy," replied the old
man, smiling, and laying his hand affectionately upon the head of
his grandson. " The Beggar's Opera yesh yesh !" and the old
gentleman's head gave a great many little nods, the playful smile
still lingering upon his lips.

Harry took advantage of the pause in conversation to play the
air half through, and he would have played it over a dozen times
before his grandfather would have interrupted him in anything
which gave him so much pleasure ; but Tom frowned, and Harry
stopped.



16 THE PKI8ONEB OF THE BORDER.

" We have no time for music now," said the younger brother,
" if you call that music but I think I have heard cornstalk flutes
give clearer notes than that cracked and patched tube of yours."

" It was father's flute," replied Harry, in a low voice, which
certainly was most musical, if the instrument was not.

"As to the law," said Tom, recurring to business, and, of course,
to his own prospects, " I don't half like it; and, besides, it is too
slow a path for me without some auxiliary. I must try something
else. I want to get rich first, and then I will practise law after
wards for the honor and Mat of it. lint the money the money
is what I want now, grandfather, and what Harry wants too, I
suppose."

" Why don't one of you go and marry little Getty Van Kleeck V
asked Guert, addressing them both, but looking at his favorite.
u She is almost as rich as the Patroon, and a pretty little chub she
is too."

Harry rose, and turned aside to lay his flute on the shelf, and
Tom replied,

" By George ! I never thought, of that. It wouldn't be a bad
idea though, to be sure, she isn't exactly tlie kind of wife a man
would like to introduce to to distinguished circles."

44 To distinguished what . ? " said the old man, sharply.

" Why to distinguished people, grandfather fashionable
acquaintances, you know."

" She is a goot girl," said the old man, earnestly ; " as clean as
a pink and as fresh us a rose."

" She is short and fat," answered Tom ; " but she must be very
rich, of course. A queer old codger her father was, and he died
of a surfeit of sour crout."

" He was a goot man," said Guert,

" Ami died like a great one," added Harry, smiling. " Frederick
the (Jreat killed himself by over eating, and there are plenty of
royal precedents for gluttony."



THE PRISONER OF THE BORDER. 17

" He was a goot man !" reiterated Guert, sharply.

" I don't know," muttered Tom, musingly, " I don't know but I
will take Getty. She is squabby, certainly ; but a what do you
think, Harry ? You are much better acquainted with her than I
am."

There was the slightest perceptible increase of color on Harry's
cheek as he was thus applied to, but he answered without hesi
tation.

" I think you could get her, Tom."

" Get her ! You think I could get her ! Well, I did not want
your opinion on that point but the question is, whether it would
be quite the thing ?"

" I think Gertrude a very amiable and sensible young lady,"
replied Harry.

" Well, I guess that is the first time the little dumpling was
ever called a young lady, and I don't think she would recognize
herself by the title. However, she might be transformed into a
young lady stranger metamorphoses have taken place. I will
certainly think about it. Will you go over there with me some
evening ? I am almost a stranger to her."

" Yes," said Harry, unhesitatingly.



CHAPTER II.

A DUTCH BELLE.

HARRY and Getty were very well acquainted with each other.
Their homes w^ere indeed a considerable distance apart, Miss Van
Kleeck living in a large old farm-house quite without the precincts
of the village, and nearly a mile from the residence of the V rails.
Almost alone did she live, too, for her mother had been several
years deceased, and since the death of her father, which had
occurred only a few months prior to the time now spoken of, she
had continued to reside in the family mansion, with an old aunt,
who had been one of the household longer than even Getty her
self. The remainder of the family consisted of a hired laborer
and two domestic servants, all of whom had occupied their pre
sent position so very many years without change, that each seetiwd
to challenge a life interest in the old homestead, and Getty had
not the heart to break up the establishment since. the removal of
its venerable head, nor could she be said scarcely to entertain the
least desire to do so. For what idea had Getty of home, elsewhere
than in the old brown house, with its antique chimneys, and its
long Dutch stoop, whence for so many summer evenings, far back
as memory could reach, the smoke of the paternal pipe had
ascended.

(Jetty did not wish to change her abode, nor did she scarcely
realize her right to do so. She knew, indeed, that she was the
aole inheritor of her father's large property, but she very faintly
is



THE PRISONER OF THE BQEDEE. 19

comprehended its value, or the importance which it gave her in
the eyes of others, and she had so long been accustomed to defer
ence to her aunt, that it was with difficulty and by slow degrees
alone that she could appreciate her position as mistress of the
household.

How or when Harry's acquaintance with Gertrude begun it
would be difficult to say, but for several preceding years his
hunting excursions had extended more often through old Van
Kleeck's woods than in any other quarter, and the silvery stream
which tinkled across the meadow of Mynheer afforded the finest
flavored trout, in Harry's opinion, of the whole country around.
It was natural enough, on these expeditions, to stop and chat occa
sionally with old Baltus, on his stoop, and sometimes to leave a
tribute of his game with the proprietor of the domain on which
it was bagged. If a string of finer trout than usual rewarded
his afternoon's labors, the larger half was sure to be left at Baltus'
door, despite of all resistance ; and then the servant was to be
instructed in the art of dressing, and Getty in the mystery of cooking
them in the way which should best preserve their flavor. Some
times, too, the fatigued youth could be induced at the close of the
day, to remain and see if his culinary instructions were properly
followed, and at the bountiful board of the Dutchman his seat
chanced ever to be beside that of Getty, who saw that he received
of the choicest portions of his own gifts. How she loaded his
plate, too, with dainties drawn from dark closets, the key of which
was seldom turned, save on such occasions as this; how the thickest
cream filled the old-fashioned silver creampot to the brim, and
was half emptied over Harry's strawberries, or on Harry's currants,
while with her own white hand she pitched the large wheaten
slices, quoit-like, around his plate, enjoining upon him, in the most
approved fashion of Dutch hospitality, to eat.

Nor did Harry always find himself sufficiently refreshed to start
for home as soon as the evening meal was finished. From the



20 THE PRISONER OF THE BORDER.

table to the long covered stoop was a natural and easy transition ;
for there the air was fresh and cool, and while Baltus planted him-
self, puffing, in his favorite corner, and his silent vrow sat knit
ting and musing at his side, and pussy, unreproved, now dandled
the good dame's ball of yarn in her paws, and now tapping it
fiercely, pursued it rolling far across the floor; while the swallows
darted daringly inside the pillars, and skimming close to the ceil
ing, flew chirping out at the farthest opening, Harry and Getty
chatted and laughed together talking only on common themes
it is true, yet at times in tones which might have been mistaken
by one who had not caught the words, for tones of love. And
there was a time when yet Harry's father was alive, and was a
man of wealth, that the young man had dreamed of love. It
was presumptuous in him, he knew, even then, to look up to one so
fair and pure as sweet Gertrude seemed to him, and one for whom
so many worthier than himself would be certain to aspire.

Yet he could not refrain from hoping, though with so faint a
heart that he never found encouragement to declare, or even most
remotely to hint at the love which consumed him. But if, while
he was the prospective heir of great wealth, he felt thus unworthy
of the object of his admiration, widely, hopelessly yawned between
them the gulf of separation when positive poverty became his lot.

With a pang of unspeakable intensity he dismissed the bright
visions which had gilded his heart, and sought no more to recall
so painful and illusive a dream.

Yet, strangely enough, while he held himself thus unworthy of
Gertrude, and considered that his changed position precluded him
from the right to offer her his hand, he saw no such barrier in
the way of his brother. Tom, he thought, was so clever and so
handsome, his merits were so many and his fortunes so sure, that
he might almost be entitled to wed a princese, and although he
was half incensed, he was not surprised at the very confident tone
in which the young lawyer had spoken of winning the beautiful



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