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though the former marvelled a greatly what could be the object of carrying a keg of liquor up this wild mountain, yet there was something so strange about the unknown that it inspired awe and checked familiarity.
25. On entering the amphitheatre new objects of wonder presented themselves. level spot in the centre was a company of oddlooking personages playing at ninepins. They were dressed in a quaint outlandish fashion. Some wore short doublets, others jerkins, with long knives in their belts, and most of them had enormous 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.
26. They all had beards of various shapes and colours. There was one who seemed to be the commander. He was a stout old gentleman, 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 parlour of Dominie Van Shaich, the village parson, and which had been brought over from Holland at the time of the settlement.
27. What seemed particularly odd to Rip was, that though these folks were evidently amusing themselves, yet they maintained the gravest faces, the most mysterious silence, and were withal the most melancholy party of pleasure he had ever witnessed. Nothing interrupted the stilluess of the scene but the noise of the balls, which, whenever they were rolled, echoed along the mountains like rumbling peals of thunder.
28. As Rip and his companion approached them, they suddenly desisted from their play and stared at him with such fixed, statue-like gaze, and such strange, uncouth, lack-lustre countenances, that his heart turned within him, and his knees smote together. His companion now emptied the contents of the 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 their game.
29. 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 flavour of excellent Hollands. He was naturally a thirsty soul, and was soon tempted to repeat the draught. One taste provoked another; and he reiterated 27 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.
NOTES ON “RIP VAN WINKLE” (Part I.)
1 The Hudson, a river in the United 13 Insuperable, unconquerable, can. States.
not be overcome. 2 Barometer, an instrumont which 14 Assiduity, diligence, persevoranco.
indicates changes in the weather, 15 Incessantly, without stopping. 3 Descrird, seen.
16 Adherent, il follower, a partisan. 4 Antiquity, age.
17 Precipitation, vory great' hurry, 5 Chivalrous, brave.
rash haste. 6 Martial, warlike.
18 Reciprocate, to mutually give and 7 Popularity, being liked by the receive. people.
19 Unconsciously, unknowingly. 8 Obsequious, meanly condescend. 20 Imnending, overhanging. ing.
21 Encountering, meeting. 9 Malleable, pliable.
22 Alacrity, willingness. 10 Tribulations, tri:ils, sufferings. 23 Transient, of short duration. 11 Tolerable, that which cau be borne 24 Marvelled, wondered. with.
25 Desisted, kept from, 12 Impunity, freedom or safety from 26 Hollands, gin. punishment,
27 Reiterated, to say or do over again.
RIP VAN WINKLE.
1. On waking, Rip Van Winkle found himself green
kuoll whence he had first seen the old man of the glen. He rubbed 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 a keg of liquor—the mountain ravine—the wild retreat among the rocksthe woe-begone party at ninepins—the flagon. “O that flagon ! that wicked flagon!” thought Rip; “what excuse shall I make to Dame Van Winkle ?"
2. 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 roysterers of the mountain had put a trick upon him, and, having dosed him with liquor, had robbed him of his gun. Wolf, too, had disappeared, but he might have strayed away after a squirrel or partridge. He whistled, , and shouted his name, but all in vain ; the echoes repeated his whistle and shout, but no dog was to be seen.
3. 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 their eyes upon him, invariably stroked their chins. The constant recurrence of this gesture induced Rip involuntarily to do the same, when to his astonishment he found his beard had grown a foot long!
4. He now entered the skirts of the village. A troop of children ran at his heels, hooting after him, and pointing to his gray beard. The dogs, too, not one of which he recognised for an old acquaintance, barked at him as he passed. The very village was altered; it was