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Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land, Complete

Page: 44

After the truant had been received with execrations by the doctor and with delight by his mother, who believed that spooks had run off with him, and with astonishment, as a hero of romance, by the public, he made for the haunted premises at the first opportunity and began to angle at the disused well. Presently he found his hook entangled in something at the bottom, and on lifting slowly he discovered that he had secured a fine silver porringer, with lid held down by twisted wire. It was the work of a moment to wrench off the lid, when he found the vessel to be filled with golden pieces. His fishing that day was attended with such luck as never fell to an angler before, for there were other pieces of plate down there, all engraved with the Spiegel arms and all containing treasure.

By encouraging the most dreadful stories about the spot, in order to keep the people wide away from it, he accomplished the removal of his prizes bit by bit from their place of concealment to his home. His unaccounted absence in Albany and his dealings with the dead had prepared his neighbors for any change in himself or his condition, and now that he always had a bottle of schnapps for the men and a pot of tea for the women, and was good to his mother, they said that they had always known that when he changed it would be for the better,—at which his old detractors lifted their eyebrows significantly—and when asked to dinner by him they always accepted.

Moreover, they made merry when the day came round for his wedding with the little maid of Albany. They likewise elected him a member of the corporation, to which he bequeathed some of the Spiegel plate and often helped the other city fathers to empty the big punch-bowl. Indeed, it was at one of these corporation feasts that he died of apoplexy. He was buried with honors in the yard of the Dutch church in Garden Street.





THE KNELL AT THE WEDDING

A young New Yorker had laid such siege to the heart of a certain belle—this was back in the Knickerbocker days when people married for love—that everybody said the banns were as good as published; but everybody did not know, for one fine morning my lady went to church with another gentleman—not her father, though old enough to be—and when the two came out they were man and wife. The elderly man was rich. After the first paroxysm of rage and disappointment had passed, the lover withdrew from the world and devoted himself to study; nor when he learned that she had become a widow, with comfortable belongings derived from the estate of the late lamented, did he renew acquaintance with her, and he smiled bitterly when he heard of her second marriage to a young adventurer who led her a wretched life, but atoned for his sins, in a measure, by dying soon enough afterward to leave a part of her fortune unspent.


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