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make a good bargain with the magistrates? Why? Was he fond of a joke? Why was money invented? Did Robinson Crusoe value the bag of gold that he found when first shipwrecked?
SUGGESTIONS FOR ORAL AND WRITTEN ENGLISH
THEME SUBJECTS Tell the story of the way in which you made your collection of marbles, or posters, or any other collection popular in your community. Describe some form of bartering you have used. Write an imaginary incident of a community which has been robbed of every cent and cannot procure any money for a month. They must not use the “credit" system.
Tell the story of Miles Standish's Courtship as if you were Priscilla's sister, and express your opinion of Miles Standish. Wampum.
A Visit to a Mint. Who Designs our Paper Dollars ? The Lincoln Cent. A New England Sunday in Colonial My Favorite Story of Colonial Days.
SUGGESTIONS FOR ADDITIONAL READINGS Tanglewood Tales. Nathaniel Hawthorne. Feathertop (from Mosses from an Old Manse). Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Drowne's Wooden Image (from Mosses from an Old Manse). Nathaniel Hawthorne.
The Gray Champion (from Twice-Told Tales). Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Mr. Higginbotham's Catastrophe (from Twice-Told Tales). Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Dr. Heidegger's Experiment (from Twice-Told Tales). Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Lady Eleanore's Mantle (from Twice-Told Tales). Nathaniel Hawthorne.
The Minister's Black Veil (from Twice-Told Tales). Nathaniel Hawthorne.
The Great Carbuncle (from Twice-Told Tales). Nathaniel Hawthorne.
WOUTER VAN TWILLER 1
Washington Irving (1783-1859) was born in New York City. He has been rightly called the “Father of American Literature.” During his boyhood, the colonies were occupied with establishing a new form of government, and welding themselves into one nation. They had no time for literature. Irving was the first American writer to win recognition in Europe. He spent much of his youth in prying around the quaint Dutch quarters of New York, and he has preserved in his writings much of the early history of New York, gleaned in this way. He was secretary of the legation at London, and later minister to Spain. He, however, gladly returned to spend his remaining years at beautiful Sunnyside, overlooking the Hudson River. His Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle should be familiar to every boy and girl in America. See also:
Halleck's History of American Literature, pp. 112-124, 151.
It was in the year of our Lord 1629 that Mynheer Wouter Van Twiller was appointed governor of the province of Nieuw Nederlandts, under the commission and control of their High Mightinesses the Lords States General of the United Netherlands, and the privileged West India Company.
This renowned old gentleman arrived at New Amsterdam 3 in the merry month of June, the sweetest month in all the year; when dan 4 Apollo 5 seems to dance up the transparent
i From Knickerbocker's History of New York.
? That part of the American colonies extending from the Delaware to the Connecticut River.
• The capital of the Dutch colony, now New York City. * A quaint term for "master."
6 The Greek god of the sun. H. & B. READINGS -12 177
firmament, — when the robin, the thrush, and a thousand other wanton songsters, make the woods to resound with amorous ditties, and the luxurious little boblincon revels among the clover blossoms of the meadows, — all which happy coincidence persuaded the old dames of New Amsterdam, who were skilled in the art of foretelling events, that this was to be a happy and prosperous administration.
The renowned Wouter (or Walter) Van Twiller was descended from a long line of Dutch burgomasters, who had
successively dozed away their lives, and grown fat upon the bench of magistracy in Rotterdam; and who had comported themselves with such singular wisdom and propriety, that they were never either heard or talked of — which, next to being universally applauded, should be the object of ambition of all magistrates and rulers.
There are two opposite ways by which some
men make a figure in the world: one, by talking faster than they think, and the other, by holding their tongues and not thinking at all. By the first, many a smatterer acquires the reputation of a man of quick parts; by the other, many a dunderpate, like the owl, the stupidest of birds, comes to be considered the very type of wisdom. This, by the way, is a casual remark, which I would not, for the universe, have it thought I apply to Gov
ernor Van Twiller. It is true he was a man shut up within himself, like an oyster, and rarely spoke, except in monosyllables; but then it was allowed he seldom said a foolish thing. So invincible was his gravity that he was never known to laugh or even to smile through the whole course of a long and prosperous life. Nay, if a joke were uttered in his presence, that set light-minded hearers in a roar, it was observed to throw him into a state of perplexity. Sometimes he would deign to inquire into the matter, and when, after much explanation, the joke was made as plain as a pike-staff, he would continue to smoke his pipe in silence, and at length, knocking out the ashes, would exclaim, “Well! I see nothing in all that to laugh about.”
With all his reflective habits, he never made up his mind on a subject. His adherents accounted for this by the astonishing magnitude of his ideas. He conceived every subject on so grand a scale that he had not room in his head to turn it over and examine both sides of it. Certain it is, that, if any matter were propounded to him on which ordinary mortals would rashly determine at first glance, he would put on a vague, mysterious look, shake his capacious head, smoke some time in profound silence, and at length observe, that "he had his doubts about the matter”; which gained him the reputation of a man slow of belief and not easily imposed upon. What is more, it gained him a lasting name; for to this habit of the mind has been attributed his surname of Twiller; which is said to be a corruption of the original Twijfler, or, in plain English, Doubter.
The person of this illustrious old gentleman was formed and proportioned, as though it had been molded by the hands of some cunning Dutch statuary, as a model of majesty and lordly grandeur. He was exactly five feet six inches in height, and six feet five inches in circumference. "His head was a perfect sphere, and of such stupendous dimensions, that Dame Nature, with all her sex's ingenuity, would have been puzzled to construct a neck capable of supporting it; wherefore she wisely declined the attempt, and settled it firmly on the top of his backbone, just between the shoulders. His body was oblong and particularly capacious at the hips; which was wisely ordered by Providence, seeing that he was a man of sedentary habits, and very averse to the idle labor of walking. His legs were short, but sturdy in proportion to the weight they had to sustain; so that when erect he had not a little the appearance of a beer barrel on skids. His face, that infallible index of the mind, presented a vast expanse, unfurrowed by any of those lines and angles which disfigure the human countenance with what is termed expression. Two small gray eyes twinkled feebly in the midst, like two stars of lesser magnitude in a hazy firmament, and his full-fed cheeks, which seemed to have taken toll of everything that went into his mouth, were curiously mottled and streaked with dusky red, like a spitzenburgh apple.
His habits were as regular as his person. He daily took his four stated meals, appropriating exactly an hour to each; he smoked and doubted eight hours, and he slept the remaining twelve of the four and twenty. Such was the renowned Wouter Van Twiller, –a true philosopher, for his mind was either elevated above, or tranquilly settled below, the cares and perplexities of this world. He had lived in it for years, without feeling the least curiosity to know whether the sun revolved round it, or it round the sun; and he had watched, for at least half a century, the smoke curling from his pipe to the ceiling, without once troubling his head with any of those numerous theories by which a philosopher would have perplexed his brain, in accounting for its rising above the surrounding atmosphere.