« PreviousContinue »
12. “But I do mean it, mother,” said Jonathan. “I never shall get ahead on this farm ; so I am going to Amsterdam, in the new vessel that is to sail from Portland next month. I am going to seek my fortune among the mynheers.
13. " To Amsterdam, and then among the mensheers! the mensheerers! Why, Jonathan, who are they ?” exclaimed the good old lady.
14. “ Why, mother, they are the Dutch. The Dutch are called mynheers. I am going among them, and who knows but I may come home rich ? There is nothing like trying. So, then, I am going ahead, and I am sure I shall get rich.”
15. “Riches, riches, riches — nothing but riches," said the old lady. “O, well, well! there is no use in my saying any thing," said she, in a subdued tone.
16. She was right. There was no use “in her saying any thing." Jonathan was a Yankee, and fond of experimenting : nothing daunted by distance or his entire ignorance of the Dutch language, he had made up his mind to seek his fortune among the mynheers of Holland, and no opposition would change his purpose.
17. His mother and sisters were now busy in making preparations for his departure. To his scanty wardrobe were added two new pairs of linsey. woolsey pantaloons, a half a dozen of homespun linen shirts, a half a dozen of checked linen pocket handkerchiefs, and his deceased father's Sunday coat, altered, and new trimmed with pewter buttons, scoured up so as to look as bright as new. These completed his outfits.
18. Sad and proud were the mother and sisters when they saw Jonathan, “all dressed up," and ready for his departure. He felt a choking kind of sensation in his throat when he came to say,
66 Good by.” But he bore up bravely, and promised that anless he could haul money into his pockets, "hand over fist,” he would return in the “Peggy,”— the name of the vessel, " and go to sea no more." With this promise they were fain to be content, and so they parted.
1. The voyage was quick and prosperous, and Jonathan landed at Amsterdam, feeling something as the man in the moon might be supposed to feel, on his first visit to our planet. All sorts of languages were heard around the docks and quays of that great city, not one word of which he understood.
2. Nobody seemed to see him, and every body jostled against him as he strolled gaping along, filled with wonder at every thing he saw. Of one thing, however, he was very, certain ; and that was, that about all the business in the world, had suddenly turned its tide into Amsterdam.
3. Such a loading and unloading of ships, such shouting and bawling of sailors in every possible dialect under the sun, and such running and rolling hither and thither, he had never before witnessed.
4. By and by, he strolled up into the city, to see how people looked and lived there. He saw thick, squab-looking women and men, smoking, waddling, and walking this way and that way; but he knew nobody, and nobody knew him.
5. This did not please Jonathan, for he was a Yankee, and, like all Yankees, liked to ask questions. At length, turning into a handsome street, he saw a magnificent mansion, with windows larger than the front door of his father's house. These were filled with the most exquisite flowers, and fes. tooned with splendid red and yellow curtains; and every thing about the dwelling indicated great wealth.
6. Here Jonathan stood, and looked, and admired, and longed to know to whom it belonged, and wondered how the owner got so much money as to live in such splendor. At length, seeing a servant passing out of the house, he ventured to make the inquiry. “I say, neighbor," said he, “who owns this ere grand house? I take it, he has a pretty considerable long purse."
7. “ KANNITVERSTAN," * replied the servant, gruffly; and on he went, not stopping to hear another word.
8. “ Kannitverstan” is a Dutch word, or rather three Dutch words run together, signifying, “cannot understand,” and is the phrase generally used by the low Dutch when they do not comprehend what is said to them. This was, of course, the case here; for Jonathan addressed the man in English language which the man as little understood as he himself did Dutch. But our good Jonathan supposed it to be the owner's name, and bowed very civilly after him.
9. Much obliged for your information, mynheer," said he.“ And so," he continued to himself, “ this is Mr. Kannitverstan's house! Very rich man, very great man, Mr. Kannitverstan must be. I wonder how he got so much money. Great country this, to make a fortune-glad I came here!”, And on he passed.
10. After he had passed through several streets, and turned a vast number of corners, he came to another part of the harbor. Here he saw an immense number of a larger class of ships than he had
* Pronounced kän-neet-fer-stän'.
ever seen before, lying so thick that their masts formed a forest that almost reminded him of old MAINE.
11. An immense East Indiaman at length attracted his attention, from which they were rolling out vast quantities of merchandise. The quay was covered with chests, and boxes, and bales; and the longer he looked, the more he wondered at the invaluable cargo — coffee, and tea, and spices, and silks, and every other product of the East! There seemed to be no end to them.
12. “ Tell me,” he said, at length, to a man who passed him with a chest on his shoulders, “who owns this vessel and all these goods ?”
“ KANNITVERSTAN,” replied the man, and passed on.
13. “Ah, ha!” thought he, “Kannitverstan, hey? No wonder he lives in such a great house, and in such grand style. No wonder he has such flowers in his windows, and such curtains to shade them, when he can send all the way to China for them! Great country this! Fine place to make a fortune!”
14. Full of these reflections, he turned back towards the heart of the city. At last, he began to ask himself how he was to manage to become possessed of some portion of this wealth, and to fear that he had not the means to accomplish his pur. pose.
15. “ The fact is,” said he, “ I am a poor Jonathan that never was made to be rich, I suppose. Well, is it best to content myself without it or not? I don't know — and I don't see why I should not have what I want as well as others. This Mr. Kannitverstan, for instance- now, if I only had his property, how happy I should be! Ah, he is much to be envied ! "
16. As he said this, turning a corner, he met an immense funeral procession. The hearse was drawn by six white horses, all decorated with black plumes Men, two by two, all wearing black crape, followed in long procession, with their heads bent down, and their faces looking very solemn.
17. A single bell was tolling in the distance. With the reverent custom of his native village, Jonathan stopped and uncovered his head until the procession passed; then, replacing his hat, he fell into the last of the train, and followed on by the side of one of the mourners.
18. “Excuse me, sir, if you please,” said Jonathan, laying his hand upon the stranger's shoulder; “ this man for whom the bell is tolling, and who is just going to be buried, is a particular friend of yours, I guess.”
“ KANNITVERSTAN," replied the stranger, scarcely turning his countenance towards Jonathan.
19. “Kannitverstan!” exclaimed Jonathan to himself. “Ah! poor man, you are gone, at last, then! What are all your riches, your fine house, and your ships to you now!" With these thoughts, he followed on until the procession reached the grave. There he beheld the rich and distinguished Mr Kannitverstan let down into his last resting-place, and stood and reverently listened to the funeral service pronounced over him.
20. He left the grave. But a revolution had taken place in the mind of Jonathan. Better views of life, and a more just appreciation of its true ends and aims, awoke in his mind; and he felt that to be useful in the sphere in which God had placed him, to live an honest, honorable, independent, and industrious life, making those happy around him who were allied to him by blood or by affection, was enough for him.
21. He, therefore, determined to go home. But while the “ Peggy" was waiting to take in her cargo, he did not neglect the opportunity now