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upon this island, since they doubted much it might be the abodo of demons and spirits, which in those days did greatly abound throughout this savage and pagan country.
Just at this time a shoal of jolly porpoises came rolling and tumbling by, turning up their sleek sides to the sun, and spouting up the briny element in sparkling showers. No sooner did the sage Oloffe mark this than he was greatly rejoiced. “This," exclaimed he, “if I mistake not, augurs well—the porpoise is a fat, well-conditioned fish—a burgomaster among fishes—his looks betoken ease, plenty, and prosperity-I greatly admire this round fat fish, and doubt not but this is a happy omen of the success of our undertaking.” So saying, he directed his squadron to steer in the track of these alderman fishes.
Turning, therefore, directly to the left, they swept up the strait vulgarly called the East River. And here the rapid tide which courses through this strait, seizing on the gallant tub in which Commodore Van Kortlandt had embarked, hurried it forward with a velocity unparalleled in a Dutch boat, navigated by Dutchmen; insomuch that the good commodore, who had all his life long been accustomed only to the drowsy navigation of canals, was more than ever convinced that they were in the hands of some supernatural power, and that the jolly porpoises were towing them to some fair haven that was to fulfill all their wishes and expectations.
Thus born away by the resistless current, they doubled that boisterous point of land since called Corlear's Hook,* and leaving to the right the rich winding cove of the Wallabout, they drifted into a magnificent expanse of water, surrounded by
* Properly spelt hoeck, (i. e. a point of land.)
pleasant shores, whose verdure was exceedingly refreshing to the eye. While the voyagers were looking around them, on what they conceived to be a serene and sunny lake, they beheld at a distance a crew of painted savages, busily employed in fishing, who seemed more like the genii of this romantic regiontheir slender canoe lightly balanced like a feather on the undulating surface of the bay.
At sight of these the hearts of the heroes of Communipaw we re not a little troubled. But, as good fortune would have it, at the bow of the commodore's boat was stationed a very valiant man, named Hendrick Kip, (which being interpreted, means chicken, a name given him in token of his courage.) No sooner did he behold these varlet heathens than he trembled with excessive valor, and although a good half mile distant, he seized a musketoon that lay at hand, and turning away his head, fired it most intrepidly in the face of the blessed sun. The blundering weapon recoiled and gave the valiant Kip an ignominious kick, which laid him prostrate with uplifted heels in the bottom of the boat. But such was the effect of this tremendous fire, that the wild men of the woods, struck with consternation, seized hastily upon their paddles, and shot away into one of the deep inlets of the Long Island shore.
This signal victory. gave new spirits to the voyagers, and in honor of the achievement they gave the name of the valiant Kip to the surrounding bay, and it has continued to be called Kip's Bay from that time to the present. The heart of the good Van Kortlandt—who, having no land of his own, was a great admirer of other people's-expanded to the full size of a pepper-corn at the sumptuous prospect of rich unsettled country around him, and falling into a delicious revery, he straightway began to riot in the possession of vast meadows of salt marsh and interminable patches of cabbages. From this delectable vision he was all at once awakened by the sudden turning of the tide, which would soon have hurried him from this land of promise, had not the discreet navigator given signal to steer for shore; where they accordingly landed hard by the rocky heights of Bellevue—that happy retreat, where our jolly aldermen eat for the good of the city, and fatten the turtle that are sacrificed on civic solemnities.
Ilere, seated on the green-sward, by the side of a small stream that ran sparkling among the grass, they refreshed themselves after the toils of the seas, by feasting lustily on the ample stores which they had provided for this perilous voyage. Thus having well fortified their deliberative powers, they fell into an earnest consultation, what was farther to be done. This was the first council dinner ever eaten at Bellevue by Christian burghers, and here, as tradition relates, did originate the great family feud between the Hardenbroecks and the Tenbroecks, which afterwards had a singular influence on the building of the city. The sturdy Hardenbroeck, whose eyes had been wondrously delighted with the salt marshes which spread their reeking bosoms along the coast, at the bottom of Kip's Bay, counseled by all means to return thither, and found the intended city. This was strenuously opposed by the unbending Ten Broeck, and many testy arguments passed between them. The particulars of this controversy have not reached us, which is ever to be lamented; this much is certain, that the sage Oloffe put an end to the dispute, by determining to explore still farther in the route which the mysterious porpoises had so clearly pointed out--whereupon the sturdy Tough Breeches abandoned the expedition, took possession of a
neighboring hill, and in a fit of great wrath peopled all that tract of country, which has continued to be inhabited by the Hardenbroecks unto this very day.
By this time the jolly Phoebus, like some wanton urchin sporting on the side of a green hill, began to roll down the decli vity of the heavens; and now, the tide having once more turned in their favor, the Pavonians again committed themselves to its discretion, and coasting along the western shores, were borne towards the straits of Blackwell's Island.
· And here the capricious wanderings of the current occasioned itot a little marvel and perplexity to these illustrious mariners. Now would they be caught by the wanton eddies, and, sweeping round a jutting point, would wind deep into some romantic little cove, that indented the fair island of Manna-hatta; now were they hurried narrowly by the very bases of impending rocks, mantled with the flaunting grape-vine, and crowned with groves which threw a broad shade on the waves beneath ; and anon they were borne away into the mid-channel and wafted along with a rapidity that very much discomposed the sage Van Kortlandt, who as he saw the land swiftly receding on either side, began exceedingly to doubt that terra firma was giving them the slip.
Wherever the voyagers turned their eyes, a new creation seemed to bloom around. No signs of human thrift appeared to check the delicious wildness of nature, who here reveled in all her luxuriant variety. Those hills, now bristled, like the fretful porcupine, with rows of poplars, (vain upstart plants ! minions of wealth and fashion !) were then adorned with the vigorous natives of the soil; the lordly oak, the generous chestnut, the graceful elm-while here and there the tulip-tree reared its majestic head, the giant of the forest. Where now are seen the gav
retreats of luxury-villas half buried in twilight bowers, whence the amorous flute ost breathes the sighings of some city swainthere the fish-hawk built his solitary nest, on some dry tree that overlooked his watery domain. The timid deer fed undisturbed along those shores now hallowed by the lover's moonlight walk, and printed by the slender foot of beauty; and a savage solitude extended over those happy regions, where now are reared the stately towers of the Joneses, the Schermerhornes, and the Rhinelanders.
Thus gliding in silent wonder through these new and unknown scenes, the gallant squadron of Pavonia swept by the foot of a promontory, which strutted forth boldly into the waves, and seemed to frown upon them as they brawled against its base. This is the bluff well known to modern mariners by the name of Gracie's point, from the fair castle which, like an elephant, it carries upon its back. And here broke upon their view a wild and varied prospect, where land and water were beauteously intermingled, as though they had combined to heighten and set off each other's charms. To their right lay the sedgy point of Blackwell's Island, drest in the fresh garniture of living green-beyond it stretched the pleasant coast of Sundswick, and the small harbor well known by the name of Hallet's Cove-a place infamous in latter days, by reason of its being the haunt of pirates who infest these seas, robbing orchards and watermelon patches, and insulting gentlemen navigators, when voyaging in their pleasure boats. To the eft a deep bay, or rather creek, gracefully receded between shores fringed with forests, and forming a kind of vista, through which were beheld the silvan regions of Haerlem, Morrissania, and East Chester. Here the eye reposed with delight on a richly wooded country, diversified by tufted knolls, shadowy in