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Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land, Complete

Page: 47

"Arrah! there's a crowd of them coming after," panted Rooney. "Ave Mary! I've heard that if you die with witch broth being thrown over you, you're done for in the next world, as well as this. Let us get to Father Donagan's. Wow!"

As he made this exclamation the fugitives found their way opposed by a woman, who looked at them with immodest eyes and said, "Dirck Van Dara, your sire, in wig and bob, turned us Cyprians out of New York, after ducking us in the Collect. But we forgive him, and to prove it we ask you to our festival."

At the stroke of midnight the street before the church had swarmed with a motley throng, that now came onward, waving torches that sparkled like stars. They formed a ring about Dirck and began to dance, and he, nothing loth, seized the nymph who had addressed him and joined in the revel. Not a soul was out or awake except themselves, and no words were said as the dance went wilder to strains of weird and unseen instruments. Now and then one would apply a torch to the person of Dirck, meanly assailing him in the rear, and the smart of the burn made him feet it the livelier. At last they turned toward the Battery as by common consent, and went careering along the street in frolic fashion. Rooney, whose senses had thus far been pent in a stupor, fled with a yell of terror, and as he looked back he saw the unholy troop disappearing in the mist like a moving galaxy. Never from that night was Dirck Van Data seen or heard of more, and the publicans felt that they had less reason for living.





THE PARTY FROM GIBBET ISLAND

Ellis Island, in New York harbor, once bore the name of Gibbet Island, because pirates and mutineers were hanged there in chains. During the times when it was devoted to this fell purpose there stood in Communipaw the Wild Goose tavern, where Dutch burghers resorted, to smoke, drink Hollands, and grow fat, wise, and sleepy in each others' company. The plague of this inn was Yan Yost Vanderscamp, a nephew of the landlord, who frequently alarmed the patrons of the house by putting powder into their pipes and attaching briers beneath their horses' tails, and who naturally turned pirate when he became older, taking with him to sea his boon companion, an ill-disposed, ill-favored blackamoor named Pluto, who had been employed about the tavern. When the landlord died, Vanderscamp possessed himself of this property, fitted it up with plunder, and at intervals he had his gang ashore,—such a crew of singing, swearing, drinking, gaming devils as Communipaw had never seen the like of; yet the residents could not summon activity enough to stop the goings-on that made the Wild Goose a disgrace to their village. The British authorities, however, caught three of the swashbucklers and strung them up on Gibbet Island, and things that went on badly in Communipaw after that went on with quiet and secrecy.


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