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dered thereby; on the contrary, they multiplied to a degree which would be incredible to any man unacquainted with the marvelous fecundity of this growing country.
This amazing increase may, indeed, be partly ascribed to a singular custom prevalent among them, commonly known by the name of bundlingra superstitious rite observed by the young people of both sexes, with which they usually terminated their festivities; and which was kept up with religious strictness by the more bigoted part of the community. This ceremony was likewise, in those primitive times, considered as an indispensable preliminary to matrimony; their courtships commencing where ours usually finish—by which means they acquired that intimate acquaintance with each others' good qualities before marriage, which has been pronounced by philosophers the sure basis of a happy union. Thus early did this cunning and ingenious people display a shrewdness of making a bargain, which has ever since distingnished them—and a strict adherence to the good old vulgar maxim about “ buying a pig in a poke.”
To this sagacious custom, therefore, do I chiefly attribute the unparalleled increase of the Yanokie or Yankee race; for it is a certain fact, well authenticated by court records and parish registers, that wherever the practice of bundling prevailed, there was an amazing number of sturdy brats annually born unto the State, without the license of the law, or the benefit of clergy.' Neither did the irregularity of their birth operate in the least to their disparagement. On the contrary, they grew up a long-sided, raw-boned, hardy race of whoreson whalers, wood-cutters, fishermen, and pedlers, and strapping corn-fed wenches; who by their united efforts tended marvelously towards peopling those notable tracts of country called Nantucket, Piscataway, and Cape Cod.
HOW THESE SINGULAR BARBARIANS TURNED OUT TO BE NO
TORIOUS SQUATTERS-HOW THEY BUILT AIR CASTLES, AND
ATTEMPTED TO INITIATE THE
MYSTERY OF BUNDLING.
In the last chapter I have given a faithful and unprejudiced account of the origin of that singular race of people, inhabiting the country eastward of the Nieuw-Nederlandts; but I have yet to mention certain peculiar habits which rendered them exceedingly annoying to our ever honored Dutch ancestors.
The most prominent of these was a certain rambling propensity, with which, like the sons of Ishmael, they seem to have been gifted by heaven, and which continually goads them on, to shift their residence from place to place, so that a Yankee farmer is in a constant state of migration; tarrying occasionally here and there; clearing lands for other people to enjoy, building houses for others to inhabit, and in a manner may be considered the wandering Arab of America.
His first thought, on coming to the years of manhood, is to settle himself in the world—which means nothing more nor less than to begin his rambles. To this end he takes unto himself for a wife some buxom country heiress, passing rich in red ribands, glass beads, and mock tortoise-shell combs, with a white gown
and morocco shoes for Sunday, and deeply skilled in the mystery of making apple sweatmeats, long sauce, and pumpkin pie.
Having thus provided himself, like a pedler with a heavy knapsack, wherewith to regale his shoulders through the journey of life, he literally sets out on the peregrination. His whole family, household furniture, and farming utensils, are hoisted into a covered cart; his own and his wife's wardrobe packed up in a firkin—which done, he shoulders his axe, takes staff in hand, whistles “ yankee doodle," and trudges off to the woods, as confident of the protection of Providence, and relying as cheerfully upon his own resources, as did ever a patriarch of yore, when he journeyed into a strange country of the Gentiles. Having buried himself in the wilderness, he builds himself a log hut, clears away a cornfield and potato patch, and Providence smiling upon his labors, is soon surrounded by a snug farm and some half a score of flaxen-headed urchins, who, by their size, seem to have sprung all at once out of the earth, like a crop of toadstools.
But it is not the nature of this most indefatigable of speculators to rest contented with any state of sublunary enjoymentimprovement is his darling passion, and having thus improved his lands, the next care is to provide a mansion worthy the residence of a landholder. A huge palace of pine boards immediately springs up in the midst of the wilderness, large enough for a parish church, and furnished with windows of all dimensions, but so rickety and flimsy withal, that every blast gives it a fit of the ague.
By the time the outside of this mighty air castle is completed, either the funds or the zeal of our adventurer are exhausted, so that he barely manages to half finish one room within, where the whole family burrow together—while the rest of the house is devoted to the curing of pumpkins, or storing of carrots and potatoes, and is decorated with fanciful festoons of dried apples and peaches. The outside remaining unpainted, grows venerably black with time; the family wardrobe is laid under contribution for old hats, petticoats, and breeches, to stuff into the broken windows, while the four winds of heaven keep up a whistling and howling about this aerial palace, and play as many unruly gambols as they did of yore in the cave of old Æolus.
The humble log hut, which whilom nestled this improving family snugly within its narrow but comfortable walls, stands hard by, in ignominious contrast, degraded into a cow-house or pigsty; and the whole scene reminds one forcibly of a fable, which I am surprised has never been recorded, of an aspiring snail, who abandoned his humble habitation, which he had long filled with great respectability, to crawl into the empty shell of a lobsterwhere he would no doubt have resided with great style and splendor, the envy and the hate of all the painstaking snails in the neighborhood, had he not perished with cold, in one corner of his stupendous mansion.
Being thus completely settled, and, to use his own words, “to rights," one would imagine that he would begin to enjoy the comforts of his situation, to read newspapers, talk politics, neglect his own business, and attend to the affairs of the nation, like a useful and patriotic citizen ; but now it is that his wayward disposition begins again to operate. He soon grows tired of a spot where there is no longer any room for improvement-sells his farm, air castle, petticoat windows and all, reloads his cart, shoulders his axe, puts himself at the head of his family, and wanders away in search of new lands—again to fell trees—again to clear cornfields -again to build a shingle palace, and again to sell off and wander. Such were the people of Connecticut, who bordered upon the eastern frontier of New-Netherlands, and my readers may easily imagine what uncomfortable neiglibors this light-hearted but restless tribe must have been to our tranquil progenitors. If they cannot, I would ask them, if they have ever known one of our regular, well-organized Dutch families, whom it hath pleased heaven to afflict with the neighborhood of a French boarding. house ? The honest old burgher cannot take his afternoon’s pipe on the bench before his door, but he is persecuted with the scraping of fiddles, the chattering of women, and the squalling of children—he cannot sleep at night for the horrible melodies of some amateur, who chooses to serenade the moon, and display his terrible proficiency in execution, on the clarionet, hautboy, or some other soft-toned instrument-nor can he leave the street door open, but his house is defiled by the unsavory visits of a troop of pup dogs, who even sometimes carry their loathsome ravages into the sanctum sanctorum, the parlor! If my
readers have ever witnessed the sufferings of such a family, so situated, they may form some idea how our worthy ancestors were distressed by their mercurial neighbors of Connecticut.
Gangs of these marauders, we are told, penetrated into the New-Netherland settlements, and threw whole villages into consternation by their unparalleled volubility, and their intolerable inquisitiveness two evil habits hitherto unknown in those parts, or only known to be abhorred; for our ancestors were noted as being men of truly Spartan taciturnity, and who neither knew nor cared aught about any body's concerns but their own. Many enormities were committed on the highways, where several unoffending burghers were brought to a stand, and tortured with