Bracebridge Hall, or The Humorists eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 476 pages of information about Bracebridge Hall, or The Humorists.
ransacked, that the origin of the tale would escape discovery.  In fact, I had considered popular traditions of the kind as fair foundations for authors of fiction to build upon, and made use of the one in question accordingly, I am not disposed to contest the matter, however, and indeed consider myself so completely overpaid by the public for my trivial performances, that I am content to submit to any deduction, which, in their after-thoughts, they may think proper to make.]



Formerly, almost every place had a house of this kind.  If a house was seated on some melancholy place, or built in some old romantic manner, or if any particular accident had happened in it, such as murder, sudden death, or the like, to be sure that house had a mark set upon it, and was afterwards esteemed the habitation of a ghost.

  —­BOURNE’S Antiquities.

In the neighbourhood of the ancient city of the Manhattoes, there stood, not very many years since, an old mansion, which, when I was a boy, went by the name of the Haunted House.  It was one of the very few remains of the architecture of the early Dutch settlers, and must have been a house of some consequence at the time when it was built.  It consisted of a centre and two wings, the gable-ends of which were shaped like stairs.  It was built partly of wood, and partly of small Dutch bricks, such as the worthy colonists brought with them from Holland, before they discovered that bricks could be manufactured elsewhere.  The house stood remote from the road, in the centre of a large field, with an avenue of old locust[13] trees leading up to it, several of which had been shivered by lightning, and two or three blown down.  A few apple-trees grow straggling about the field; there were traces also of what had been a kitchen-garden; but the fences were broken down, the vegetables had disappeared, or had grown wild, and turned to little better than weeds, with here and there a ragged rosebush, or a tall sunflower shooting up from among brambles, and hanging its head sorrowfully, as if contemplating the surrounding desolation.  Part of the roof of the old house had fallen in, the windows were shattered, the panels of the doors broken, and mended with rough boards; and there were two rusty weathercocks at the ends of the house, which made a great jingling and whistling as they whirled about, but always pointed wrong.  The appearance of the whole place was forlorn and desolate, at the best of times; but, in unruly weather, the howling of the wind about the crazy old mansion, the screeching of the weathercocks, the slamming and banging of a few loose window-shutters, had altogether so wild and dreary an effect, that the neighbourhood stood perfectly in awe of the place, and pronounced it the rendezvous of hobgoblins.  I recollect the old building well; for I remember

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Bracebridge Hall, or The Humorists from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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