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as he went up the mountain, apparently as lazy, and certainly as ragged. The poor fellow was now completely confounded. He doubted his own identity, and whether he was himself or another man. In the midst of his bewil5 derment, the man in the cocked hat demanded who he was, and what was his name?
"God knows," exclaimed he, at his wit's end; "I'm not myself—I'm somebody else—that's me yonder — that's somebody else got into my shoes-I was 10 myself last night, but I fell asleep on the mountain, and they've changed my gun, and every thing's changed, and I'm changed, and I can't tell what's my name, or who I am!"
The by-standers began now to look at each other, nod, 15 wink significantly, and tap their fingers against their foreheads. There was a whisper, also, about securing the gun, and keeping the old fellow from doing mischief, at the very suggestion of which the self-important man in the cocked hat retired with some precipitation.
At this critical moment a fresh comely woman pressed through the throng to get a peep at the gray-bearded man. She had a chubby child in her arms, which, frightened at his looks, began to cry. Hush, Rip," cried she, "hush, you little fool; the old man won't hurt you." The name 25 of the child, the air of the mother, the tone of her voice, all awakened a train of recollections in his mind.
is your name, my good woman?" asked he.
"And your father's name?"
30 “Ah, poor man, Rip Van Winkle was his name; but it's twenty years since he went away from home with his and never has been heard of since. His dog came home without him; but whether he shot himself, or was carried away by the Indians, nobody can tell. I was then but a 35 little girl."
The honest man could contain himself no longer He
caught his daughter and her child in his arms.
your father!" cried he,
"young Rip Van Winkle once, Does nobody know poor Rip
5 All stood amazed, until an old woman, tottering out from among the crowd, put her hand to her brow, and peering under it in his face for a moment, exclaimed, "Sure enough! it is Rip Van Winkle- it is himself! Welcome home again, old neighbor.-Why, where have you 10 been these twenty long years?"
Rip's story was soon told, for the whole twenty years had been to him but as one night. The neighbors stared when they heard it; some were seen to wink at each other, and put their tongues in their cheeks: and the self-impor15 tant man in the cocked hat, who, when the alarm was over, had returned to the field, screwed down the corners of his mouth, and shook his head — upon which there was a general shaking of the head throughout the assemblage.
20 It was determined, however, to take the opinion of old Peter Vanderdonk, who was seen slowly advancing up the road. He was a descendant of the historian of that name, who wrote one of the earliest accounts of the province. Peter was the most ancient inhabitant of the village, and 25 well versed in all the wonderful events and traditions of
He recollected Rip at once, and corroborated his story in the most satisfactory manner. He assured the company that it was a fact, handed down from his ancestor the 30 historian, that the Kaatskill Mountains had always been haunted by strange beings. That it was affirmed that the great Hendrick Hudson, the first discoverer of the river and country, kept a kind of vigil there every twenty years, with his crew of the Half-moon; being permitted in this 85 way to revisit the scenes of his enterprise, and keep a' guardian eye upon the river, and the great city called by
his name. That his father had once seen them in their old Dutch dresses playing at ninepins in a hollow of the mountain; and that he himself had heard, one summer afternoon, the sound of their balls, like distant peals of 5 thunder.
To make a long story short, the company broke up, and returned to the more important concerns of the election. Rip's daughter took him home to live with her; she had a snug, well-furnished house, and a stout cheery farmer for 10 a husband, whom Rip recollected for one of the urchins that used to climb upon his back. As to Rip's son and heir, who was the ditto of himself, seen leaning against the tree, he was employed to work on the farm; but evinced an hereditary disposition to attend to anything 15 else but his business.
Rip now resumed his old walks and habits; he soon found many of his former cronies, though all rather the worse for the wear and tear of time; and preferred making friends among the rising generation, with whom he soon 20 grew into great favor.
Having nothing to do at home, and being arrived at that happy age when a man can be idle with impunity, he took his place once more on the bench at the inn door, and was reverenced as one of the patriarchs of the village, 25 and a chronicle of the old times "before the war."
It was some time before he could get into the regular track of gossip, or could be made to comprehend the strange events that had taken place during his torpor. How that there had been a revolutionary war that the 30 country had thrown off the yoke of old England - and that, instead of being a subject of his Majesty George the Third, he was now a free citizen of the United States. Rip, in fact, was no politician; the changes of states and empires made but little impression on him.
He used to tell his story to every stranger that arrived at Mr. Doolittle's hotel. He was observed, at first, to
vary on some points every time he told it, which was, doubtless, owing to his having so recently awaked. It at last settled down precisely to the tale I have related, and not a man, woman, or child in the neighborhood, but 5 knew it by heart. Some always pretended to doubt the reality of it, and insisted that Rip had been out of his head, and that this was one point on which he always remained flighty. The old Dutch inhabitants, however, almost universally gave it full credit.
Even to this day they never hear a thunder-storm of a summer afternoon about the Kaatskill, but they say Hendrick Hudson and his crew are at their game of ninepins; and it is a common wish of all hen-pecked husbands in the neighborhood, when life hangs heavy on their hands, that 15 they might have a quieting draught out of Rip Van Winkle's flagon.
VI. TO A WATER-FOWL.
[WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT was born in Cummington, Massachusetts, November 3, 1794. He was admitted to the bar, but soon left the profession of the law, and has for many years resided in or near the city of New York, as one of the editors and proprietors of the "New York Evening Post," a daily paper which has a wide circulation and much influence. It is not necessary to point out, at any length, the merits of a poet whose productions were the delight of his own countrymen, and were well known abroad, long before the young persons, for whose use this work is intended, were born. It is enough to say that his poems are distinguished by the perfect finish of their style, their elevated tone, their dignity of sentiment, and their lovely pictures of American scenery. He is, at once, the most truthful and the most delightful of painters. We find in his pages all the most obvious and all the most retiring graces of our native landscapes, but nothing borrowed from booksnothing transplanted from a foreign soil.]
WHITHER, midst falling dew,
While glow the heavens with the last steps of day,
Thy solitary way?
Seek'st thou the plashy brink
Vainly the fowler's eye
All day thy wings have fanned,
There is a Power whose care
Teaches thy way along that pathless coast, -
Lone wandering, but not lost.
And soon that toil shall end; Soon shalt thou find a summer home, and rest, And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend Soon o'er thy sheltered nest.
Thou 'rt gone; the abyss of heaven Hath swallowed up thy form; yet, on my heart Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast given,
And shall not soon depart.
He who, from zone to zone, Guides through the boundless sky thy certain fight, In the long way that I must tread alone Will lead my steps aright.