Thus equipped, he would manfully sally forth with pipe in mouth to besiege some fair damsel’s obdurate heart—not such a pipe, good reader, as that which Acis did sweetly tune in praise of his Galatea, but one of true delf manufacture, and furnished with a charge of fragrant tobacco. With this would he resolutely set himself down before the fortress, and rarely failed, in the process of time, to smoke the fair enemy into a surrender upon honorable terms.
Such was the happy reign of Wouter Van Twiller, celebrated in many a long forgotten song as the real golden age, the rest being nothing but counterfeit copper-washed coin. In that delightful period a sweet and holy calm reigned over the whole province. The burgomaster smoked his pipe in peace; the substantial solace of his domestic cares, after her daily toils were done, sat soberly at the door, with her arms crossed over her apron of snowy white without being insulted by ribald street walkers or vagabond boys—those unlucky urchins who do so infest our streets, displaying under the roses of youth the thorns and briars of iniquity. Then it was that the lover with ten breeches, and the damsel with petticoats of half a score, indulged in all the innocent endearments of virtuous love without fear and without reproach; for what had that virtue to fear which was defended by a shield of good linsey-woolsey, equal at least to the seven bull-hides of the invincible Ajax?
Ah! blissful and never to be forgotten age! when everything was better than it has ever been since, or ever will be again—when Buttermilk Channel was quite dry at low water—when the shad in the Hudson were all salmon, and when the moon shone with a pure and resplendent whiteness, instead of that melancholy yellow light which is the consequence of her sickening at the abominations she every night witnesses in this degenerate city!
Happy would it have been for New Amsterdam could it always have existed in this state of blissful ignorance and lowly simplicity; but, alas! the days of childhood are too sweet to last. Cities, like men, grow out of them in time, and are doomed alike to grow into the bustle, the cares, and miseries of the world. Let no man congratulate himself when he beholds the child of his bosom, or the city of his birth, increasing in magnitude and importance, let the history of his own life teach him the dangers of the one, and this excellent little history of Manna-hata convince him of the calamities of the other.
It has already been mentioned that, in the early times of Oloffe the Dreamer, a frontier post, or trading house, called Fort Aurania, had been established on the upper waters of the Hudson, precisely on the site of the present venerable city of Albany, which was at time considered at the very end of the habitable world. It was, indeed, a remote possession, with which, for a long time, New Amsterdam held but little