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.
the young ladies seated themselves demurely in their rush-bottomed chairs, and knit their own woollen stockings; nor ever opened their lips excepting to say “yah Mynheer,” or “yah ya Vrouw,” to any question that was asked them; behaving, in all things, like decent, well-educated damsels.  As to the gentlemen, each of them tranquilly smoked his pipe, and seemed lost in contemplation of the blue and white tiles with which the fireplaces were decorated; wherein sundry passages of Scripture were piously portrayed—­Tobit and his dog figured to great advantage, Haman swung conspicuously on his gibbet, and Jonah appeared most manfully bouncing out of the whale like Harlequin through a barrel of fire.

The parties broke up without noise and without confusion.  They were carried home by their own carriages, that is to say, by the vehicles nature had provided them, excepting such of the wealthy as could afford to keep a wagon.  The gentlemen gallantly attended their fair ones to their respective abodes, and took leave of them with a hearty smack at the door; which, as it was an established piece of etiquette, done in perfect simplicity and honesty of heart, occasioned no scandal at that time, nor should it at the present.  If our great-grandfathers approved of the custom, it would argue a great want of reverence in their descendants to say a word against it.

CHAPTER IV.

In this dulcet period of my history, when the beauteous island of Manna-hata presented a scene the very counterpart of those glowing pictures drawn of the golden reign of Saturn, there was, as I have before observed, a happy ignorance, an honest simplicity prevalent among its inhabitants, which, were I even able to depict, would be but little understood by the degenerate age for which I am doomed to write.  Even the female sex, those arch innovators upon the tranquillity, the honesty, and grey-beard customs of society, seemed for a while to conduct themselves with incredible sobriety and comeliness.

Their hair, untortured by the abominations of art, was scrupulously pomatomed back from their foreheads with a candle, and covered with a little cap of quilted calico, which fitted exactly to their heads.  Their petticoats of linsey-woolsey were striped with a variety of gorgeous dyes—­though I must confess these gallant garments were rather short, scarce reaching below the knee; but then they made up in the number, which generally equalled that of the gentleman’s small clothes; and what is still more praiseworthy, they were all of their own manufacture—­of which circumstance, as may well be supposed, they were not a little vain.

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