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tombstone in the churchyard that used to tell all about him, but that's rotten and gone too."
"Where's Brom Dutcher?"
"O, he went off to the army in the beginning of the war; some say he was killed at the storming of Stony Point; others say he was drowned in a 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 enormous lapses of time, and of matters which he could not understand: congress Stony Point; - he had no courage to ask 465 after any more friends, but cried out in despair, "Does nobody here know Rip Van Winkle?"
"O, Rip Van Winkle!" exclaimed two or three. "O, to be sure! that 's Rip Van Winkle yonder, leaning against the tree."
Rip looked, and beheld a precise counterpart of himself, as
455. Stony Point, a rocky promontory on the Hudson. During the Revolutionary War a fort on it was taken by the British, June 1, 1779, and stormed and recaptured by General Anthony Wayne, July 15.
456. Antony's Nose, a rocky promontory on the Hudson. "It must be known then that the nose of Antony the Trumpeter was of a very lusty size, strutting boldly from his countenance like a mountain of Golconda; being sumptuously bedecked with rubies and other precious stones. Now thus it happened, that bright and early in the morning, the good Antony, having washed his burly visage, was leaning over the quarter-railing of the galley, contemplating it in the glassy wave below. Just at this moment the illustrious sun; breaking in all its splendor from behind a high bluff on the highlands, did dart one of his most potent beams full upon the refulgent nose of the sounder of brass; the reflection of which shot straightway down, hissing-hot, into the water, and killed a mighty sturgeon. When this astonishing miracle came to be made known to Peter Stuyvesant, and that he tasted of the unknown fish, he, as may well be supposed, marvelled exceedingly; and as a monument thereof, he gave the name of Antony's Nose to a stout promontory in the neighborhood." History of New York, Book VI. Chap. IV.
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 bewilderment, the man 475 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 yonder—no- - that's somebody else got into my shoes — I was myself last night, but 480 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 bystanders began now to look at each other, nod, wink significantly, and tap their fingers against their foreheads. 435 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- 490 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 of the child, the air of the mother, the tone of her voice, all awakened a train of recollections in his mind. "What is 495
your name, my good woman?" asked he.
"And your father's name?"
"Ah, poor man! Rip Van Winkle was his name, but 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?"
"Oh, she too had died but a short time since; she broke a blood-vessel in a fit of passion at a New England peddler."
There was a drop of comfort, at least, in this intelligence. The honest man could contain himself no longer. He caught 510 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 515 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 been these twenty long years?"
Rip's story was soon told, for the whole twenty years had 520 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 525 head; upon which there was a general 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 wrote one 530 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 535 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 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 540 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
538. Hendrick Hudson. See note on p. 29. His vessel was called The Half-moon.
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, 545 like distant peals of 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 her husband, 550 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 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 great favor.
Having nothing to do at home, and being arrived at that 560 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, 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 565 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 570 no politician; the changes of states and empires made but little impression on 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 when- 575 ever 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. 580 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 awakened. It at last settled down precisely to the tale I have related, and not a man, woman, or child in the neighborhood, but knew it by heart. Some always pre- 585 tended 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 Kaats- 590 kill, 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 they might have a quieting draught out of Rip Van Winkle's flagon.
The foregoing tale, one would suspect, had been suggested to Mr. Knickerbocker by a little German superstition about the Emperor Frederick der Rothbart, and the Kypphaüser mountain: the subjoined note, however, which he had appended to the tale, shows that it is an absolute fact, narrated with his usual fidelity :
"The story of Rip Van Winkle may seem incredible to many, but nevertheless I give it my full belief, for I know the vicinity of our old Dutch settlements 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 I last 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 possibility of doubt. D. K."