Knickerbocker's History of New York, Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 422 pages of information about Knickerbocker's History of New York, Complete.


   [47] Acrelius’ History N. Sweden.  For some notices of this
        miraculous discomfiture of the Swedes, see N.Y.  Hist.  Col., new
        series, vol. i., p. 412.


Jan Claudius Risingh, who succeeded to the command of New Sweden, looms largely in ancient records as a gigantic Swede, who, had he not been rather knock-kneed and splay-footed, might have served for the model of a Samson or a Hercules.  He was no less rapacious than mighty, and withal, as crafty as he was rapacious, so that there is very little doubt that, had he lived some four or five centuries since, he would have figured as one of those wicked giants, who took a cruel pleasure in pocketing beautiful princesses and distressed damsels, when gadding about the world, and locking them up in enchanted castles, without a toilet, a change of linen, or any other convenience.  In consequence of which enormities they fell under the high displeasure of chivalry, and all true, loyal, and gallant knights were instructed to attack and slay outright any miscreant they might happen to find above six feet high; which is doubtless one reason why the race of large men is nearly extinct, and the generations of latter ages are so exceedingly small.

Governor Risingh, not withstanding his giantly condition, was, as I have hinted, a man of craft.  He was not a man to ruffle the vanity of General Van Poffenburgh, or to rub his self-conceit against the grain.  On the contrary, as he sailed up the Delaware, he paused before Fort Casimir, displayed his flag, and fired a royal salute before dropping anchor.  The salute would doubtless have been returned, had not the guns been dismounted; as it was, a veteran sentinel who had been napping at his post, and had suffered his match to go out, returned the compliment by discharging his musket with the spark of a pipe borrowed from a comrade.  Governor Risingh accepted this as a courteous reply, and treated the fortress to a second salute, well knowing its commander was apt to be marvelously delighted with these little ceremonials, considering them so many acts of homage paid to his greatness.  He then prepared to land with a military retinue of thirty men, a prodigious pageant in the wilderness.

And now took place a terrible rummage and racket in Fort Casimir, to receive such a visitor in proper style, and to make an imposing appearance.  The main guard was turned out as soon as possible, equipped to the best advantage in the few suits of regimentals, which had to do duty, by turns, with the whole garrison.  One tall, lank fellow appeared in a little man’s coat, with the buttons between his shoulders; the skirts scarce covering his bottom; his hands hanging like spades out of the sleeves; and the coat linked in front by worsted loops made out of a pair of red garters.  Another had a cocked hat stuck on the back of his head,

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