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The Baldwin Library
RIP VAN WINKLE.
Z~Rr '~i18~5 ~
/. 1"1, ,
1 1-2 0.
SAMUEL E. CASSINO,
TYPOGRAPHY BY J. S. CUSHING & Co., POSTON.
PRESSWORK B BERWICK & SMITH, BOSTON.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
PORTRAIT .. .. 4
Illustrated Title-Page 5
List of Illustrations 7
Diedrich Knickerbocker 9
Up the Hudson ..
"He was a descendant of the Van Winkles" .
"He assisted at their sports" facing 12
"A termagant wife" 13
"Fish all day without a murmur" 14
"Used to employ him to run their errands" 15
"He would carry a fowling-piece" 17
"His cow among the cabbages" 18
"Trooping like a colt at its mother's heels" 18
"How solemnly they would listen" facing 18
"He shrugged his shoulders, shook his head, and cast up his eyes" 19
"Yelping precipitation 20
" He would share the contents of his wallet" facing 20
Nicholas Vedder 21
"The brow of a precipice" 23
"He heard a voice" .26
"A strange figure" 27
"Rip and his companion labored on in silence" 29
8 LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS..
"A company of odd-looking personages" facing 26
"One who seemed to be the commander" 30
"They quaffed the liquor in profound silence" facing 30
"I have not slept here all night" 31
"Wanting in his usual activity" 32
"He called again and whistled after his dog" facing 32
"Stroked their chins" 33
"A troop of strange children ran at his heels" facing 34
"He found the house gone to decay" 35
"He recognized on the sign" 37
"They crowded round him" .facing 38
"A lean, bilious-looking fellow" .39
" He was killed at the storming of Stony Point" 41
"A great militia-general" 42
"That is Rip Van Winkle, yonder" 43
"A fresh, comely woman" 44
"What is your name, my good woman ?" facing 44
Peter Vanderdonk 45
"Friends among the rising generation" 46
" Once more on the bench at the inn door" facing 46
"He used to tell his story to every stranger" 48
RIP VAN WINKLE.
A POSTHUMOUS WRITING OF DIEDRICH KNICKERBOCKER.
By Woden, God of Saxons,
From whence comes Wensday, that is Wodensday.
Truth is a thing that ever I will keep
Unto thylke day in which I creep into
My sepulchre CARTWRIGHT.
[The following Tale was found among the papers of the late Diedrich
Knickerbocker, an old gentleman of New York, who was very curious in the
,. ----_ Ii.i.
i- I.s,, 4is ir,
Sil '- .
Dutch history of the province, and the manners of the descendants from its
primitive settlers. His historical researches, however, did not lie so much
IO RIP IVAN WVIAKLE.
among books as among men; for the former are lamentably scanty on his
favorite topics; whereas he found the old burghers, and still more their wives,
rich in that legendary lore so invaluable to true history. Whenever, therefore,
he happened upon a genuine Dutch family, snugly shut up in its low-roofed
farmhouse, under a spreading sycamore, he looked upon it as a little clasped
volume of black-letter, and studied it with the zeal of a book-worm.
The result of all these researches was a history of the province during the
reign of the Dutch governors, which he published some years since. There have
been various opinions as to the literary character of his work, and, to tell the
truth, it is not a whit better than it should be. Its chief merit is its scrupulous
accuracy, which indeed was a little questioned on its first appearance, but has
since been completely established; and it is now admitted into all historical
collections as a book of unquestionable authority.
The old gentleman died shortly after the publication of his work; and now
that he is dead and gone, it cannot do much harm to his memory to say that his
time might have been much better employed in weightier labors. He, however,
was apt to ride his hobby his own way; and though it did now and then kick up
the dust a little in the eyes of his neighbors, and grieve the spirit of some friends,
fox whom he felt the truest deference and affection, yet his errors and follies are
remembered more in sorrow than in anger," and it begins to be suspected that
he never intended to injure or offend. But however his memory may be appre-
ciated by critics, it is still held dear by many folk whose good opinion is well
worth having; particularly by certain biscuit-bakers, who have gone so far as to
imprint his likeness on their New-Year cakes; and have thus given him a chance
for immortality, almost equal to the being stamped on a Waterloo Medal, or a
Queen Anne's Farthing.]
RIP VAN WILVKLE. I
ip to a noble height, and lording it over the surrounding
-^ f -~ -. -.- -
H OEVER has made a voyage up the Hudson must
remember the Kaatskill mountains. They are a
dismembered branch of the great Appalachian fam-
ily, and are seen away to the west of the river, swelling
up to a noble height, and lording it over the surrounding
country. Every change of season, every change of weather,
indeed, every hour of the day, produces some change in the
magical hues and shapes of these mountains, and they are
regarded by all the good wives, far and near, as perfect
barometers. When the weather is fair and settled, they are
clothed in blue and purple, and print their bold outlines on
the clear evening sky; but sometimes, when the rest of the
landscape is cloudless, they will gather a hood of gray vapors
about their summits, which, in the last rays of the setting
sun, will glow and light up like a crown of glory.
I2 RIP VAN WINKLE.
At the foot of these fairy mountains, the voyager may
have described the light smoke curling up from a village,
whose shingle roofs gleam among the trees, just where the
blue tints of the upland melt away into the fresh green of
the nearer landscape. It is a little village of great antiquity,
having been founded by some
Sof the Dutch colonists in the
early times of the province, just
about the beginning of the gov-
S! ernment of the good Peter Stuy-
S-> vesant (may he rest in peace!)
and there were some of the
houses of the original settlers
standing within a few years,
built of small yellow bricks
brought from Holland, having
latticed windows and gable
fronts, surmounted with weath-
In that same village, and in
one of these very houses (which,
to tell the precise truth, was
21 _- sadly time-worn and weather-
beaten), there lived many years
since, while the country was yet
a province of Great Britain, a simple, good-natured fellow, of
the name of Rip Van Winkle. He was a descendant of the
Van Winkles who figured so gallantly in the chivalrous days
of Peter Stuyvesant, and accompanied him to the siege of
Fort Christina. He inherited, however, but little of the martial
* .. f
W ,"1. '"wM I",
RIP VAN ii_.Y'ALE. 13
character of his ancestors. I have observed that he was a
simple, good-natured man; he was, moreover, a kind neighbor,
and an obedient, hen-pecked husband. Indeed, to the latter
circumstance might be owing that meekness of spirit which
gained him such universal popu-
larity; for those men are most apt
to be obsequious and conciliating
abroad who are under the disci-
pline of shrews at home. Their tem-
pers, doubtless, are rendered pliant
and malleable in the fiery furnace -
of domestic tribulation, and a cur- ?
tain-lecture is worth all the ser- '.
mons in the world for teaching the
virtues of patience and long-suffer- f
ing. A termagant wife may, there- '
fore, in some respects, be consid- V
ered a tolerable blessing; and if
so, Rip Van Winkle was thrice
Certain it is, that he was a great i
favorite among all the good wives
of the village, who, as usual with
the amiable sex, took his part in
all family squabbles, and never
failed, whenever they talked those matters over in their evening
gossipings, to lay all the blame on Dame Van Winkle. The
children of the village, too, would shout with joy whenever
he approached. He assisted at their sports, made their play-
things, taught them to fly kites and shoot marbles, and told
14 RIP VAN W1,VKLE.
them long stories of ghosts, witches, and Indians. Whenever
he went dodging about the village, he was surrounded by a
troop of them, hanging on his skirts, clambering on his back,
and playing a thousand tricks on him with impunity; and not
i dclig would bark at him through-
iut the neighborhood.
The great error in Rip's
S' composition was an insuper-
able aversion to all kinds of
profitable labor. It could
not be from the want of
.. assiduity or perseverance;
S for he would sit on a wet
Si rock, with a rod as long
and heavy as a Tartar's
lance, and fish all day
without a murmur, even
though he should not be
r"c ntraged by a single nibble.
He wouldd carry a fowling-piece on
thi -'h.l- illdicr for hours together, trudging
("t tlluLI:.lh no-,.ds and swamps, and up hill
irand d(,\ n dale, to shoot a few squirrels or
ild pigeronw. He would never refuse to
assist a neighbor even in the roughest
toil, and was a foremost man at all country frolics for husking
Indian corn, or building stone fences; the women of the vil-
lage, too, used to employ him to run their errands, and to do
such little odd jobs as their less obliging husbands would not
do for them. In a word, Rip was ready to attend to anybody's
RIP VAN WINKLE. 17
business but his own; but as to doing family duty, -
and keeping his farm in order, he found it impossible.
In fact, he declared it was of no use to work on
his farm; it was the most pestilent little piece of
ground in the whole country; everything about it went
wrong, and would go wrong in spite of him. His fences
were continually falling to ,-
pieces; his cow would either
go astray, or get among the :
cabbages; weeds were sure
to grow quicker in his fields
than anywhere else; the rain
always made a point of set-
ting in just as he had some
out-door work to do; so that
though his patrimonial estate
had dwindled away under his
management, acre by acre, un-
til there was little more left
than a mere patch of Indian
corn and potatoes, yet it was
the worst conditioned farm in
His children, too, were as
ragged and wild as if they
belonged to nobody. His son .
Rip, an urchin begotten in
his own likeness, promised to inherit the habits, with the old
clothes of his father. He was generally seen trooping like a
colt at his mother's heels, equipped in a pair of his father's
18 RIP VAN WINKLE.
cast-off galligaskins, which he had
much ado to hold up with one
hand, as a fine lady does her
train in bad weather.
Rip Van Winkle, however, was
one of those happy mortals, of
Foolish, well-oiled dispositions, who
take the world easy, eat white
S' bread or brown, whichever can be
Sgot with least thought or trouble,
and would rather starve on a
., *, penny than work for a pound.
SIf left to himself, he would have
."' -whistled life away, in perfect con-
tentment; but his wife kept continually dinning in his ears
about his idleness, his carelessness, and the ruin
he was bringing on his family.
Morning, noon, and night, her tongue w:i- in-
cessantly going, and ev-
erything he said or did .
was sure to produce a
torrent of household elo-
quence. Rip had but one' .
way of replying to all lec-
tures of the kind, and '' -;' ::'r
that, by frequent use, had
grown into a habit. He ;-.'
shrugged his shoulders, -
shook his head, cast up his eyes, but said nothing. This,
however, always provoked a fresh volley from his wife, so that
"irsc I 1
RIP VAN WINKLE. 19
he was fain to draw off his forces, and take to the outside
of the house-the only side which, in truth, belongs to a hen-
Rip's sole domestic adherent was his dog Wolf, who was
as much henpecked as his master; for Dame Van Winkle
regarded them as companions in idleness, and even looked
upon Wolf with an evil eye, as the cause
of his master's going so often astray. True
it is, in all points of spirit befitting an hon-
orable dog, he was as courageous an animal
as ever scoured the woods-but what cour-
age can withstand the ever-during and all-
besetting terrors of a woman's tongue ? The '.
moment Wolf entered the house, his crest
fell, his tail drooped to the ground, or curled j
between his legs, he sneaked about with a /'i
gallows air, casting many a sidelong glance '
at Dame Van Winkle, and at the least
flourish of a broomstick or ladle, he would
fly to the door with yelping precipitation.
Times grew worse and worse with Rip
Van Winkle as years of matrimony rolled on:
a tart temper never mellows with age, and a
sharp tongue is the only edge tool that grows
keener with constant use. For a long while he used to con-
sole himself, when driven from home, by frequenting a kind
of perpetual club of the sages, philosophers, and other idle
personages of the village, which held its sessions on a bench
before a small inn, designated by a rubicund portrait of his
majesty George the Third. Here they used to sit in the
20 RIP VAN WVIVKLE.
shade of a long lazy summer's day, talking listlessly over vil-
lage gossip, or telling endless sleepy stories about nothing.
But it would have been worth any statesman's money to have
heard the profound discussions which sometimes took place,
when by chance an old newspaper fell into their hands, from
some passing traveller. How solemnly they would listen to
the contents, as drawled out by Derrick Van Bummel, the
schoolmaster, a dapper learned little man, who was not to be
daunted by the most gigantic word in the dictionary; and how
sagely they would deliberate upon public events some months
after they had taken place.
The opinions of this junto were completely controlled
by Nicholas Vedder, a patriarch of the village, and land-
lord of the inn, at the door ,:4t i.,i.h hIi_ t...k ,
his seat from morning til' ni:.ht, ju-t m'ing i.
sufficiently to avoid the sun, .ld-I k.,-_.p iii
the shade of a large tree; s: that tie '.
neighbors could tell the houL ,
by his movements, as acct- ".
rately as by a sun-dial. It i
true, he was rarely heard t1
speak, but smoked his pile .- ',"
incessantly. His ad-
herents, however (for
every great man has
his adherents), perfect-
ly understood him, and
knew how to gather
his opinions. When
anything that was read
.. ,sc i
r .i, .
RIP VAN WINKLE. 21
or related displeased him, he was observed to smoke his pipe
vehemently, and to send forth short, frequent, and angry puffs;
but when pleased, he would inhale the smoke slowly and tran-
quilly, and emit it in light and placid clouds, and sometimes
taking the pipe from his mouth, and letting the fragrant
vapor curl about his nose, would gravely nod his head in
token of perfect approbation.
From even this strong-
hold the unlucky Rip was
at length routed by his ter-
magant wife, who would -
suddenly break in upon the
tranquillity of the assem- -
blage, and call the members x 5. .1
all to nought; nor was that
august personage, Nicholas X
Vedder himself, sacred from
the daring tongue of this
terrible virago, who charged
him outright with encourag- i
ing her husband in habits of idleness.
Poor Rip was at last reduced almost to despair, and his
only alternative to escape from the labor of the farm and the
clamor of his wife, was to take gun in hand, and stroll away
into the woods. Here he would sometimes seat himself at
the foot of a tree, and share the contents of his wallet with
Wolf, with whom he sympathized as a fellow-sufferer in perse-
cution. Poor Wolf," he would say, thy mistress leads thee
a dog's life of it; but never mind, my lad, whilst I live thou
shalt never want a friend to stand by thee!" Wolf would
22 RIP VAN IVYINKLE.
wag his tail, look wistfully in his master's face, and if dogs
can feel pity, I verily believe he reciprocated the sentiment
with all his heart.
In a long ramble of the kind, on a fine autumnal day, Rip
had unconsciously scrambled to one of the highest parts of
the Kaatskill mountains. He was after his favorite sport of
squirrel-shooting, and the still solitudes had echoed and re-
echoed with the reports of his gun. Panting and fatigued, he
threw himself, late in the afternoon, on a green knoll covered
with mountain herbage, that crowned the brow of a precipice.
From an opening between the trees, he could overlook all the
lower country for many a mile of rich woodland. He saw at
a distance the lordly Hudson, far, far below him, moving on
its silent but majestic course, with the reflection of a purple
cloud, or the sail of a lagging bark, here and there sleeping
on its glassy bosom, and at last losing itself in the blue
On the other side he looked down into a deep mountain
glen, wild, lonely, and shagged, the bottom filled with frag-
ments from the impending cliffs, and scarcely lighted by the
reflected rays of the setting sun. For some time Rip lay
musing on this scene; evening was gradually advancing; the
mountains began to throw their long blue shadows over the
valleys; he saw that it would be dark long before he could
reach the village; and he heaved a heavy sigh when he thought
of encountering the terrors of Dame Van Winkle.
As he was about to descend he heard a voice from a dis-
tance hallooing, Rip Van Winkle! Rip Van Winkle!" He
looked around, but could see nothing but a crow winging its
solitary flight across the mountain. He thought his fancy
N A 1
RIP VAN WINKLE. 25
must have deceived him, and turned again to descend, when he
heard the same cry ring through the still evening air, Rip
Van Winkle! Rip Van Winkle!"-at the same time Wolf
bristled up his back, and giving a low growl, skulked to his
master's side, looking fearfully down into the glen. Rip now
felt a vague apprehension stealing over him; he looked anx-
iously in the same direction, and perceived a strange figure
slowly toiling up the rocks, and bending under the weight of
something he carried on his back. He was surprised to see
any human being in this lonely and unfrequented place, but
supposing it to be some one of the neighborhood in need of
his assistance, he hastened down to yield it.
On nearer approach, he was still more surprised at the
singularity of the stranger's appearance. He was a short,
square-built old fellow, with thick bushy hair, and a grizzled
beard. His dress was of the antique Dutch fashion-a cloth
jerkin strapped round the waist-several pair of breeches, the
outer one of ample volume, decorated with rows of buttons
down the sides, and bunches at the knees. He bore on his
shoulders a stout keg, that seemed full of liquor, and made
signs for Rip to approach and assist him with the load. Though
rather shy and distrustful of this new acquaintance, Rip com-
plied with his usual alacrity, and mutually relieving each other,
they clambered up a narrow gully, apparently the dry bed of
a mountain torrent. As they ascended, Rip every now and
then heard long rolling peals, like distant thunder, that seemed
to issue out of a deep ravine, or rather cleft between lofty
rocks, toward which their rugged path conducted. He paused
for an instant, but supposing it to be the muttering of one of
those transient thunder-showers which often take place in the
26 RIP VAN WVIKLE.
mountain heights, he proceeded. Passing through the ravine,
they came to a hollow, like a small amphitheatre, surrounded
by perpendicular precipices, over the brinks of which, im-
pending trees shot their branches, so that you only caught
glimpses of the azure sky and the bright evening cloud.
During the whole time, Rip and his companion had labored
on in silence; for though the former marvelled greatly what
o could be the object of carry-
ing a keg of liquor up this
wild mountain, yet there was
something strange and in-
Scomprehensible about the un-
known, that inspired awe, and
On entering the amphi-
/. ... theatre, new objects of wonder
'rsn te 'ths'ev.es Olevel spot in the centre was
r '. : a company of odd-looking per-
S' sonages playing at nine-pins.
SThey were dressed in a quaint
outlandish fashion: some wore
short doublets, others jerkins,
with long knives in their belts, and most of them had enor-
mous breeches, of similar style with that of the guide's.
Their visages too, were peculiar: one had a large head, broad
face, and small piggish eyes; the face of another seemed to
consist entirely of nose, and was surmounted by a white sugar-
loaf hat, set off with a little red cock's tail. They all had
beards, of various shapes and colors. There was one who
r-t ,,o -.
.- .1. -* ,.
I ~ b
RIP VAN WINKLE. 29
seemed to be the commander. He was a stout old gentle-
man, with a weather-beaten countenance; he wore a laced
doublet, broad belt and hanger, high-crowned hat and feather,
red stockings, and high-heeled shoes, with roses in them.
The whole group reminded Rip of the figures in an old
Flemish painting, in the parlor of Domine Van Schaick, the
village parson, and which -
had been brought over from
Holland at the time of the
What seemed particu-
larly odd to Rip was, that
though these folks were
evidently amusing them-
selves, yet they maintained
the gravest faces, the most .
mysterious silence, and
were, withal, the most mel-
ancholy party of pleasure
he had ever witnessed.
Nothing interrupted the st l,_--
of the scene but the noise <.t thI,
balls, which, whenever they i~ .. i
rolled, echoed along the mountains
like rumbling peals of thunder.
As Rip and his companion approached them, they suddenly
desisted from their play, and stared at him with such a fixed
statue-like gaze, and such strange, uncouth, lack-lustre counte-
nances, that his heart turned within him, and his knees smote
together. His companion now emptied the contents of the
30 RIP VAN WINKLE.
keg into large flagons, and made signs to him to wait upon
the company. He obeyed with fear and trembling; they
quaffed the liquor in profound silence, and then returned to
By degrees, Rip's awe and apprehension subsided. He
even ventured, when no eye was fixed upon him, to taste the
beverage, which he found had much of the flavor of excellent
sa ^ '' '
Hollands. He was naturally a thirsty soul, and was soon
tempted to repeat the draught. One taste provoked another,
and he reiterated his visits to the flagon so often, that at length
his senses were overpowered, his eyes swam in his head, his
head gradually declined, and he fell into a deep sleep.
On waking, he found himself on the green knoll from
whence he had first seen the old man of the glen. He rubbed
.| l / # t ,f ^ 'f l' ( '
l ~ i~ Y <^ *^ 1
RIP VA N WINKLE. 31
his eyes-it was a bright sunny morning. The birds were
hopping and twittering among the bushes, and the eagle
was wheeling aloft, and breasting the pure mountain breeze.
" Surely," thought Rip, I have not slept here all night." He
recalled the occurrences before he fell asleep. The strange
man with the keg of liquor--the mountain ravine -the wild
retreat among the rocks the woe-begone party at nine-pins -
the flagon Oh that wicked flagon! thought Rip "what
excuse shall I make to Dame Van Winkle ?"
He looked round for his gun, but in place of the clean well-
oiled fowling-piece, he found an old firelock lying by him, the
barrel encrusted with rust, the lock falling off, and the stock
worm-eaten. He now suspected that the grave roysters of the
mountain had put a trick upon him, and having dosed him
with liquor, had robbed him of his gun. Wolf, too, had dis-
appeared, but he might have strayed away after a squirrel or
partridge. He whistled after him and shouted his name, but
32 RIP VAN VINKLE.
all in vain; the echoes repeated his whistle and shout, but
no dog was to be seen.
He determined to revisit the scene of the last evening's
gambol, and if he met with any of the party, to demand his
dog and gun. As he rose to walk, he found himself stiff in
the joints, and wanting in his usual activity. These moun-
tain beds do not agree with me," thought Rip, "and if this
frolic should lay me up with a fit
of the rheumatism, I shall have
Ai- a blessed time with Dame Van
i: .. i Winkle." With some difficulty
he got down into the glen; he
.- found the gully up which he and
,, his companion had ascended the
S i'' preceding evening ; but to his
., astonishment a mountain stream
was now foaming down it, leaping
,. from rock to rock, and filling the
glen with babbling murmurs. He,
however, made shift to scramble
Sup its sides, working his toilsome
way through thickets of birch,
sassafras, and witch-hazel; and sometimes tripped up or en-
tangled by the wild grape vines that twisted their coils and
tendrils from tree to tree, and spread a kind of network in
At length he reached to where the ravine had opened
through the cliffs to the amphitheatre; but no traces of such
opening remained. The rocks presented a high impenetrable
wall, over which the torrent came tumbling in a sheet of feath-
.a ./ o.
I, R I J "
:.}I a .',"r ,. .o ,
RIP VAN WINVKLE. 33
ery foam, and fell into a broad deep basin, black from the
shadows of the surrounding forest. Here, then, poor Rip was
brought to a stand. He again called and whistled after his
dog; he was only answered by the cawing of a flock of idle
crows, sporting high in the air about a dry tree that overhung
a sunny precipice; and who, secure in their elevation, seemed
to look down and scoff at the poor man's perplexities. What
was to be done? The morning was passing away, and Rip felt
*'. *".. ..
famished for want of his breakfast. He grieved to give up his
dog and gun; he dreaded to meet his wife; but it would not
do to starve among the mountains. He shook his head, shoul-
dered the rusty firelock, and, with a heart full of trouble and
anxiety, turned his steps homeward.
As he approached the village, he met a number of people,
but none whom he knew, which somewhat surprised him, for
he had thought himself acquainted with every one in the
country round. Their dress, too, was of a different fashion
from that to which he was accustomed. They all stared at
him with equal marks of surprise, and whenever they cast eyes
upon him, invariably stroked their chins. The constant recur-
34 RIP VAN WINKLE.
rence of this gesture induced Rip, involuntarily, to do the
same, when, to his astonishment, he found his beard had
grown a foot long!
He had now entered the skirts of the village. A troop of
strange children ran at his heels, hooting after him, and point-
ing at his gray beard. The dogs, too, not one of which he
recognized for an old acquaintance, barked at him as he passed.
The very village was altered: it was larger and more populous.
There were rows of houses which he had never seen before,
and those which had been his familiar haunts had disappeared.
Strange names were over the doors-strange faces at the win-
dows -everything was strange. His mind now misgave him;
he began to doubt whether both he and the world around
him were not bewitched. Surely this was his native village,
which he had left but a day before. There stood the Kaats-
kill mountains there ran the silver Hudson at a distance
- there was every hill and dale precisely as it had always
been- Rip was sorely perplexed-"That flagon last night,"
thought he, "has addled my poor head sadly!"
It was with some difficulty that he found the way to his
own house, which he approached with silent awe, expecting
every moment to hear the shrill voice of Dame Van Winkle.
He found the house gone to decay-the roof fallen in, the
windows shattered, and the doors off the hinges. A half-
starved dog, that looked like Wolf, was skulking about it.
Rip called him by name, but the cur snarled, showed his teeth,
and passed on. This was an unkind cut indeed.-" My very
dog," sighed poor Rip, "has forgotten me!"
He entered the house, which, to tell the truth, Dame Van
Winkle had always kept in neat order. It. was empty, forlorn,
fl r t-
d 4 'j L
Y ~gy~ ;a -*- t~
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3 b:' ,
*. : I ~L _r __I
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I"-u, ~jCI~ ?
e ; -
RIP VAN WIVNKLE. 37
and apparently abandoned. This desolateness overcame all his
connubial fears-he called loudly for his wife and children-
the lonely chambers rang for a moment with his voice, and
then all again was silence.
He now hurried forth, and hastened to his old resort, the
village inn-but it too was gone. A large rickety wooden
building stood in its place, with great gaping windows, some
of them broken, and mended with old hats and petticoats, and
over the door was painted, The Union Hotel, by Jonathan
Doolittle." Instead of the great tree that used to shelter the
quiet little Dutch inn of yore, there now was reared a tall
naked pole, with something on the top that looked like a red
38 RIP VAN WINKLE.
night-cap, and from it was fluttering a flag, on which was a
singular assemblage of stars and stripes all this was strange
and incomprehensible. He recognized on the sign, however,
the ruby face of King George, under which he had smoked
so many a peaceful pipe, but even this was singularly meta-
morphosed. The red coat was changed for one of blue and
buff, a sword was held in the hand instead of a sceptre, the
head was decorated with a cocked hat, and underneath was
painted in large characters, GENERAL WASHINGTON.
There was, as usual, a crowd of folk about the door, but
none that Rip recollected. The very character of the people
seemed changed. There was a busy, bustling, disputatious
tone about it, instead of the accustomed phlegm and drowsy
tranquillity. He looked in vain for the sage Nicholas Vedder,
with his broad face, double chin, and fair long pipe, uttering
clouds of tobacco smoke, instead of idle speeches; or Van
Bummel, the schoolmaster, doling forth the contents of an
ancient newspaper. In place of these, a lean bilious-looking
fellow, with his pockets full of handbills, was haranguing
vehemently about rights of citizens -election--members of
Congress -liberty- Bunker's hill--heroes of seventy-six--
and other words, that were a perfect Babylonish jargon to the
bewildered Van Winkle.
The appearance of Rip, with his long, grizzled beard, his
rusty fowling-piece, his uncouth dress, and the army of women
and children that had gathered at his heels, soon attracted the
attention of the tavern politicians. They crowded round him,
eyeing him from head to foot, with great curiosity. The
orator bustled up to him, and drawing him partly aside, in-
quired, "on which side he voted?" Rip stared in vacant
. : /K
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RIP VAN WIVKLE. 41
stupidity. Another short but busy little fellow pulled him by
the arm, and rising on tiptoe, inquired in his ear, "whether
he was Federal or Democrat." Rip was equally at a loss to
comprehend the question; when a knowing, self-important old
gentleman, in a sharp cocked hat, made his way through the
crowd, putting them to the right and left with his elbows
as he passed, and planting himself
before Van Winkle, with one arm
a-kimbo, the other rest-
ing on his cane, his
keen eyes and sharp
hat penetrating, as it
were, into his very soul, -
demanded in an austere -
tone, "what brought him
to the election with a .
gun on his shoulder, -
and a mob at his heels,
and whether he meant
to breed a riot in the village ?"
"Alas! gentlemen," cried Rip, somewhat dismayed, "I am
a poor, quiet man, a native of the place, and a loyal subject
of the King, God bless him!"
Here a general shout burst from the bystanders "a tory!
a tory! a spy! a refugee! hustle him away with him! "
It was with great difficulty that the self-important man in
the cocked hat restored order; and having assumed a tenfold
austerity of brow, demanded again of the unknown culprit,
what he came there for, and whom he was seeking. The
poor man humbly assured him that he meant no harm, but
42 RIP VAN VWINKLE.
merely came there in search of some of his neighbors, who
used to keep about the tavern.
Well who are they? name them."
Rip bethought himself a moment, and inquired, Where's
There was a silence for a little while, when an old man
replied, in a thin, piping voice, Nicholas Vedder? why, he
is dead and gone these
.t p eighteen years-! There
I was a wooden tomb-stone
in the church-yard that
S-1 used to tell all about him,
S but that's rotten and gone
., "Where's Brom Dutch-
Oh, he went off to the
army in the beginning of
SI the war; some say he was
killed at the storming of
'. Stony-Point others say
he was drowned in the
squall, at the foot of Antony's Nose. I don't know--he
never came back again."
Where's Van Bummel, the schoolmaster?"
He went off to the wars, too; was a great militia general,
and is now in Congress."
Rip's heart died away, at hearing of these sad changes in
his home and friends, and finding himself thus alone in the
world. Every answer puzzled him, too, by treating of such
RIP VAN WINKLE. 43
enormous lapses of time, and of matters which he could not
understand: war- Congress- Stony-Point! -he had no cour-
age to ask after any more friends, but cried out in despair,
" Does nobody here know Rip Van Winkle? "
"Oh, Rip Van Winkle!" exclaimed two or three. "Oh,
to be sure that's Rip Van Winkle
yonder, leaning against the tree."
Rip looked, and beheld a pre- -
cise counterpart of himself as he
went up the mountain; apparently
as lazy, and certainly as ragged.
The poor fellow was now com-
pletely confounded. He doubted
his own identity, and whether he
was himself or another man. In
the midst of his bewilderment, the
man in the cocked hat demanded
who he was, and what was his :,
"God knows," exclaimed he at
his wit's end; I'm not myself- '
I'm somebody else--that's me yon- '
der no that's somebody else,
got into my shoes I was myself .
last night, but I fell asleep on the
mountain, and they've changed my gun, and everything'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,
wink significantly, and tap their fingers against their fore-
44 RIP VAN WINKLE.
heads. 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 with the cocked
hat retired with some precipitation. At this critical moment
a fresh comely woman passed through the throng to get a
peep at the gray-bearded man.
She had a chubby child in her
"i arms, which, frightened at his
'..'.T looks, began to cry. Hush,
SRip," cried she, "hush, you little
fool; the old man won't hurt
Syou." The name of the child,
S of her voice, all awakened a
i train of recollections in his
i What is your name, my
i: good woman?" asked he.
S' i'" Judith Gardenier."
And your father's name?"
",, "Ah, poor man, his name
was Rip Van Winkle; it's twenty
years since he went away from
home with his gun, 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 little girl."
Rip had but one question more to ask; but he put it
with a faltering voice:
Where's your mother? "
i'r f:i I L~r el~l~~"bi~
.i C:;. tl -
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RIP VAN WINKLE. 45
Oh, she too had died but a short time since: she broke a
blood-vessel in a fit of passion at a New-England pedler.
There was a drop of comfort, at least, in this intelligence.
The honest man could contain himself no longer. He caught
his daughter and her child in his arms. I am your father! "
cried he-" Young Rip Van Winkle once old Rip Van
Winkle now Does nobody know poor Rip Van Winkle!"
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, i
where have you been these twenty
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-
important 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 gen-
eral shaking of the head throughout the assemblage.
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
46 RIP VAN WINKLE.
wrote one of the earliest accounts of the province. Peter was
the most ancient inhabitant of the village, and well versed in
all the wonderful events and traditions of the neighborhood.
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 historian, that
the Kaatskill mountains had always been haunted by strange
beings. That it was affirmed that the great Hendrick Hud-
son, 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 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 nine-pins in the
" r -*--
S ,, ,. i -m ,, i ... ii ...i i ..ii i 11 ,
RIP VAN WINKLE. 47
hollow of the mountain; and that he himself had heard, one
summer afternoon, the sound of their balls, like distant peals
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 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 a hereditary dis-
position to attend to anything 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 grew into
Having nothing to do at home, and being arrived at that
happy age when a man can do nothing 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, 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 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
48 R/P VAN IVINKLE.
him; but there was one species of despotism under which
he had long groaned, and that was petticoat government.
Happily, that was at an end; he had got his neck out of
the yoke of matrimony, and could go in and out whenever
he pleased, without dreading the tyranny of Dame Van Winkle.
Whenever her name was mentioned, however, he shook his
head, shrugged his shoulders, and cast up his eyes; which
might pass either for an expression of resignation to his fate,
or joy at his deliverance.
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 pre-
cisely to the tale I have related, and not a man, woman, or
child in the neighborhood, but knew it by heart. Some
RIP VAN WINKLE. 49
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 inhabi-
tants, however, almost universally gave it full credit. Even
to this day, they never hear a thunder-storm of a summer after-
noon about the Kaatskill, but they say Hendrick Hudson and
his crew are at their game of nine-pins; and it is a common
wish of all henpecked husbands in the neighborhood, when
life hangs heavy on their hands, that they might have a quiet-
ing draught out of Rip Van Winkle's flagon.
NOTE. The foregoing tale, one would suspect, had been suggested to Mr.
Knickerbocker by a little German superstition about the Emperor Frederick d'er
Rollibart and the Kypphauser mountain; the subjoined note, however, which he
had appended to the tale, shows that it is an absolute fact, narrated with his
"The story of Rip Van Winkle may seem incredible to many, but never-
theless I give it my full belief, for I know the vicinity of our old Dutch settle-
ments to have been very subject to marvellous events and appearances. Indeed,
I have heard many stranger stories than this, in the villages along the Hudson;
all of which were too well authenticated to admit of a doubt. I have even talked
with Rip Van Winkle myself, who, when last I saw him, was a very venerable old
man, and so perfectly rational and consistent on every other point, that I think
no conscientious person could refuse to take this into the bargain; nay, I have
seen a certificate on the subject taken before a country justice, and signed with a
cross, in the justice's own handwriting. The story, therefore, is beyond the pos-
sibility of doubt."
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