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Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land, Complete

Page: 53

He reached the mill, and, hastening to the cellar, began to probe in the soft, unfrozen earth. Presently his spade struck something, and he dug and dug until he had uncovered the top of a canvas bag,—the sort that sailors call a "round stern-chest." It took all his strength to lug it out, and as he did so a seam burst, letting a shower of gold pieces over the ground. He loosed the band of his breeches, and was filling the legs thereof with coin, when a tread of feet sounded overhead and four men came down the stair. Two of them he recognized as the fellows of the tavern. They saw the bag, the lantern, then Nicholas. Laden though he was with gold until he could hardly budge, these pirates, for such they were, got him up-stairs, forced him to drink hot Hollands to the success of their flag, then shot him through the window into the creek. As he was about to make this unceremonious exit he clutched something to save himself, and it proved to be a plucked goose that the pirates had stolen from a neighboring farm and were going to sup on when they had scraped their gold together. He felt the water and mud close over him; he struggled desperately; he was conscious of breathing more freely and of staggering off at a vigorous gait; then the power of all the schnapps seemed to get into his head, and he remembered no more until he heard his wife shrilling in his ears, when he sat up and found himself in a snow-bank close to his house, with a featherless goose tight in his grasp.

Vrouw Van Wempel cared less about the state of her spouse when she saw that he had secured the bird, and whenever he told his tale of the pirates she turned a deaf ear to him, for if he had found the gold why did he not manage to bring home a few pieces of it? He, in answer, asked how, as he had none of his own money, she could have come by the goose? He often told his tale to sympathetic ears, and would point to the old mill to prove that it was true.





THE WEARY WATCHER

Before the opening of the great bridge sent commerce rattling up Washington Street in Brooklyn that thoroughfare was a shaded and beautiful avenue, and among the houses that attested its respectability was one, between Tillary and Concord Streets, that was long declared to be haunted. A man and his wife dwelt there who seemed to be fondly attached to each other, and whose love should have been the stronger because of their three children none grew to years. A mutual sorrow is as close a tie as a common affection. One day, while on a visit to a friend, the wife saw her husband drive by in a carriage with a showy woman beside him. She went home at once, and when the supposed recreant returned she met him with bitter reproaches. He answered never a word, but took his hat and left the house, never to be seen again in the places that had known him.


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