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tervals, and waving lines of upland, swelling above each other; while over the whole, the purple mists of spring diffused a hue of soft voluptuousness.
Just before them the grand course of the stream, making a sudden bend, wound among embowered promontories and shores of emerald verdure, that seemed to melt into the wave. A character of gentleness and mild fertility prevailed around. The sun had just descended, and the thin haze of twilight, like a transparent veil drawn over the bosom of virgin beauty, heightened the charms which it half concealed. Ah! witching scenes of foul delusion
Ah! hapless voyagers, gazing with simple wonder on these Circean shores! Such, alas ! are they, poor easy souls, who listen to the seductions of a wicked world—treacherous are its smiles ! fatal its caresses. He who yields to its enticements launches upon a whelming tide, and trusts his feeble bark among the dimpling eddies of a whirlpool! And thus it fared with the worthies of Pavonia, who, little mistrusting the guileful scene before them, drifted quietly on, until they were aroused by an uncommon tossing and agitation of their vessels. For now the late dimpling current began to brawl around them, and the waves to boil and foam with horrific fury. Awakened as if from a dream, the astonished Oloffe bawled aloud to put about, but his words were lost amid the roaring of the waters. And now ensued a scene of direful consternation. At one time they were borne with dreadful velocity among tumultuous breakers; at another, hurried down boisterous rapids. Now they were nearly dashed upon the Hen and Chickens; (infamous rocks !-more voracious than Scylla and her whelps ;) and anon they seemed sinking into yawning gulfs, that threatened to entomb them beneath the waves. All the elements
combined to produce a hideous confusion. The waters rayed the winds howled—and as they were hurried along, several of the astonished mariners beheld the rocks and trees of the neighboring shores driving through the air !
At length the mighty tub of Commodore Van Kortlandt was drawn into the vortex of that tremendous whirlpool called the Pot, where it was whirled about in giddy mazes, until the senses of the good commander and his crew were overpowered by the horror of the scene, and the strangeness of the revolution.
How the gallant squadron of Pavonia was snatched from the jaws of this modern Charybdis, has never been truly made known, for so many survived to tell the tale, and, what is still more wonderful, told it in so many different ways, that there has ever prevailed a great variety of opinions on the subject.
As to the commodore and his crew, when they came to their senses they found themselves stranded on the Long Island shore. The worthy commodore, indeed, used to relate many
and wonderful stories of his adventures in this time of peril; how that he saw spectres flying in the air, and heard the yelling of hobgoblins, and put his hand into the pot when they were whirled round, and found the water scalding hot, and beheld several uncouth looking beings seated on rocks and skimming it with huge ladles—but particularly he declared with great exultation, that he saw the losel porpoises, which had betrayed them into this peril, some broiling on the Gridiron and others hissing on the Frying-pan!
These, however, were considered by many as mere phantasies of the commodore, while he lay in a trance; especially as he was known to be given to dreaming; and the truth of them has never been clearly ascertained. It is certain, however, that to the accounts of Oloffe and his followers may be traced the
various traditions handed down of this marvelous straitas how the devil has been seen there, sitting astride of the Hoy's Back and playing on the fiddle-how he broils fish there before a storm and
many other stories, in which we must be cautious of putting too much faith. In consequence of all these terrific circumstances, the Pavonian commander
pass the name of Helle-gat, or as it has been interpreted, Hell-Gate ;* which it continues to bear at the present day.
* This is a narrow strait in the Sound, at the distance of six miles above New-York. It is dangerous to shipping, unless under the care of skillful pilots, by reason of numerous rocks, shelves, and whirlpools. These have received sundry appellations, such as the Gridiron, Frying-pan, Hog's Back, Pot, &c., and are very violent and turbulent at certain times of tide. Certain mealymouthed men, of squeamish consciences, who are loth to give the Devil his due, have softened the above characteristic name into Hurl-gate, forsooth! Let those take care how they venture into the Gate, or they may be hurled into the Pot before they are aware of it. The name of this strait, as given by our author, is supported by the map in Vander Donck's history, published in 1656—by Ogi.vie's History of America, 1671-as also by a journal still extunt, written in the 16th century, and to be found in Hazard's State Papere And an old MS. written in French, speaking of various alterations in names about this city, observes, “ De Helle-gat trou d'Enfer, ils ont fait Hell-gate, Porte d'Enfer."
HOW THE HEROES OF
WISER THAN THEY WENT-AND HOW THE SAGE OLOFFE
DREAMED A DREAM AND THE DREAM THAT HE DREAMED
The darkness of night had closed upon this disastrous day, and a doleful night was it to the shipwrecked Pavonians, whose ears were incessantly assailed with the raging of the elements, and the howling of the hobgoblins that infested this perfidious strait. when the morning dawned, the horrors of the preceding evening : had passed away, rapids, breakers, and whirlpools had disappeared, the stream again ran smooth and dimpling, and having changed its tide, rolled gently back, towards the quarter where lay their much-regretted home.
The wo-begone heroes of Communipaw eyed each other with rueful countenances ; their squadron had been totally di persed by the late disaster. Some were cast upon the western shore, where, headed by one Ruleff Hopper, they took possession all the country lying about the six mile stone ; which is held by the Hoppers at this present writing.
The Waldrons were driven by stress of weather to a distani coast, where, having with them a jug of genuine Hollands, they were enabled to conciliate the savages, setting up a kind of tavern; whence, it is said, did spring the fair town of Haer. lem, in which their descendants have ever since continued to be reputable publicans. As to the Suydams, they were thrown upon the Long Island coast, and may still be found in those parts. But the most singular luck attended the great Ten Broeck, who, falling overboard, was miraculously preserved from sinking by the multitude of his nether garments. Thus buoyed up,
he floated on the waves like a merman, or like an angler's dobber, until he landed safely on a rock, where he was found the next morning busily drying his many breeches in the sunshine.
I forbear to treat of the long consultation of Oloffe with his remaining followers, in which they determined that it would never do to found a city in so diabolical a neighborhood. Suffice it in simple brevity to say that they once more committed themselves, with fear and trembling, to the briny element, and steered their course back again through the scenes of their yesterday's voyage, determined no longer to roam in search of distant sites, but to settle themselves down in the marshy regions of Pavonia.
Scarce, however, had they gained a distant view of Communipaw when they were encountered by an obstinate eddy which opposed their homeward voyage. Weary and dispirited as they were, they yet tugged a feeble oar against the stream ; until, as if to settle the strife, half a score of potent billows rolled the tub of Commodore Van Kortlandt high and dry on the long point of an island which divided the bosom of the bay.
Some pretend that these billows were sent by old Neptune to strand the expedition on a spot whereon was to be founded his strong-hold in this western world: others more pious, attribute every thing to the guardianship of the good St. Nicholas; and after events will be found to corroborate this opinion. Oloffe