Knickerbocker's History of New York, Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 356 pages of information about Knickerbocker's History of New York, Complete.

Ten Broeck completed this junto of adventurers.  It is a singular but ludicrous fact, which, were I not scrupulous in recording the whole truth, I should almost be tempted to pass over in silence, as incompatible with the gravity and dignity of history, that this worthy gentleman should likewise have been nicknamed from what in modern times is considered the most ignoble part of the dress.  But, in truth, the small-clothes seems to have been a very dignified garment in the eyes of our venerated ancestors, in all probability from its covering that part of the body which has been pronounced “the seat of honor.”

The name of Ten Broeck, or, as it was sometimes spelt, Tin Broeck, has been indifferently translated into Ten Breeches and Tin Breeches.  The most elegant and ingenious writers on the subject declare in favor of Tin, or rather Thin, Breeches; whence they infer that the original bearer of it was a poor but merry rogue, whose galligaskins were none of the soundest, and who, peradventure, may have been the author of that truly philosophical stanza:——­

    “Then why should we quarrel for riches,
      Or any such glittering toys? 
    A light heart and thin pair of breeches
      Will go through the world, my brave boys!”

The High Dutch commentators, however, declare in favor of the other reading, and affirm that the worthy in question was a burly, bulbous man, who, in sheer ostentation of his venerable progenitors, was the first to introduce into the settlement the ancient Dutch fashion of ten pair of breeches.

Such was the trio of coadjutors chosen by Oloffe the Dreamer to accompany him in this voyage into unknown realms; as to the names of his crews they have not been handed down by history.

Having, as I before observed, passed much of his life in the open air, among the peripatetic philosophers of Amsterdam, Oloffe had become familiar with the aspect of the heavens, and could as accurately determine when a storm was brewing or a squall rising as a dutiful husband can foresee, from the brow of his spouse, when a tempest is gathering about his ears.  Having pitched upon a time for his voyage, when the skies appeared propitious, he exhorted all his crews to take a good night’s rest, wind up their family affairs, and make their wills; precautions taken by our forefathers, even in after times when they became more adventurous, and voyaged to Haverstraw, or Kaatskill, or Groodt Esopus, or any other far country, beyond the great waters of the Tappen Zee.

CHAPTER IV.

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Knickerbocker's History of New York, Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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