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A Dinner At The Mayor's

A Dinner At The Mayor's image
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In the year 1855 I atended a remarkable dioner party at the residence 1 the Hou Fernando Wood, then Mayor ,-f New York - remurkable chitrly w:th regard to the character of th guests. Delrnonico's had reoeived all the proper orders for entrees and wines; and it is sufficiont, on these scores, to say that everything (the Scylla of' entre b and the Uharybdis of bibulous aiternation included) wa worthy oi the occasion. The Mayor sat at the head of the table, and hi wife was vis a-ins. Ah e magie words Monsieur n a servie Ie rirnncr ! had been uttered, 1 found a momeiitary i pndv in eniimrraiing the guests. Towering iibnve all was Winfirld Scott Martin Van Buren and his tall son Jnhn, W aubington Irving Commodore Pefry, Bancroft, Horatio Seymour. Mtis -nperseded as jvernor.) and Ögden ioffiuan veri.; ;iu the firm group us the do' r pened. ÜI the local celebrities Collector líe field, Survsyor (.iud nee .'.I. '.) Cocbrane, Lorenzo 14. Shepheid, Recorder 8iniin, and tha prince of' dinnerw ftut of Saratoga hahitn.s, üarriter Q-erard, h oud armrnd in a coufirlnce of buzy :hat, wliich generally succeeds the ".--ervice" anooutioement Upon entering, the Ex-President was wavd to, and Gneial .cott to the left, of the naad. The G-snera! witb a grace tnost dligh tul, took Irving by one arm and üancroft by tlie other, saying playfully, ' You honor 'ne, Mr. Mayor, but allow me to honor myuelf by being sandwiched between the tw i rians." l'A palpable bid for a, favorable powth umo ijs biography," instantly cried Prince Jnhï. ''And long may it, be before it ippcars ! -niiicd the ProsideDtial father 'l he.-t bon mts sepinud to drup frutn the nupkios as Uo'iiinodore Perry, Ho ratio Beymour, and O 'den Hoffnan were obüiimng their honorair placer, at the other end. All vas napkiu ruatle and preli'1'.iii..ry bustle hen Irving, who had bt-en nioinentarily eogitating the jokes, twink'ed hit eye ' ously and, in his peculiar low, womanly voioe, s.tid glancing up tha table o Ci n ii odore Perrv : 'G ne ttl Scott you u,r! tu have for b i?rphy more genei: ue luster than ei' lier Mr. Bunoroft or I eould giveyou: ii; tac yon ought to tie Japanned, and t.he Coiiunoíore vonder is y ur man." This agreeuble sally took al) eyes to the buil. and bluff C"irirnodore, who, üluays blushiug like a true seaman, ioeliied to giow feminino itbout the eyes as he hun all the otliers levoled at his quarter deck. But he rallied enouufi to Btammer out that, "for Sis part he preldrnjd the Kuickeibocker hiñes." Here the sotip was served ; and I rememher taking. another and more personal fcurvey while the fragrant and stearning terrapin momentanly interrnpted the of reaspa Four of the guests are now dead, but I seem to Ree them distiuctly - Irving, Perry, Hoffman and Shepherd. Lorenzo Shepherd, although ! ing only a local popularity and eminence, was a remaikuble young man. Whüe scarcely over ln.yhood, he had v ritten vt-ry artistic verses, which one will fiud in the Democratie Review of 1840; und barely past twenty-five he h. d excelled as ii meiiiber of the Coneiitutiorial Gouvention. Tha notes he wrote, and the treaties on M ndamus, iiirnished lor an edition of Johnsoii's Catíes, are satisfactory monuinenis of Lis leyrsil iinind. Had ho livcd, ho would have been pri uus inter pares. tótioitly alter , ards he was politically estranged from his host, but on this night in question his modest and stlfconscious bearing and geDiality were very delightful. I ara referring to them íd a court rnartial w.iy - voungest first. Hoffman died the year ensu,ng the dinner No one can fully understand a description of this incomparable oroorator unless there exists personal knowledge of the man. Indeed, can any one' described him ? He had but tuv fauhs in the world - lavish generosity and a uonfidence in nativo genius, which interfered vvith private industry. In all othcr quulities he was excelling and beloved. He was high-toned, courteous to the meanest, never irritated or petulant. with a f'uiid of conversation or oiatory inexhaustible. IIis raind was a íountain perpetually at phiy, and its Ktream pellueid. If ever phrenology desired vtndication it found the same in ttorveving his head and features. I Benev 'lenco and love of aprob: Des were larga, and langu ig'e svás en ínríned in hls oye. Hi vir.ce viras a per.-onifieatiou of lingual itiflody. TTtterances thai in o'her mouttia w have beon terrned 'Ving song," bec ime, on his tqngue, oratoricul paalmody, per c jitiblo iilv to cdi'i reme nbran e i id oa!:n c.i'iiicisin. tie:e bas been the New York i i i e Rhn found snch grateful listeners n the " :is:ie" of coiirl rooms, at the club, or n :lu.' uvenin-g saloñs, or in the jury' box ? T remembar once bina: on a Jury In a case wherein he wu coühstj, and it w:i aboul bejng taking IVotn us by I ie judge on somo law point, whn oM Turnúre, that iincient jurytnan, iDMated upon hearing Lloö'üau suró np r l'his nuht in quéation he was somewhat reticent. but vvhcii tl e dioner topics drifted unvards him they were melodiootjy treated Commodore Perry waa the rnost ftilenL muí) ai lable. Ibad never met 1,'ri; before. bit I was ebarmed with i vi n his siíence. He seemed the einbodi inent of a true euilor, v lio loved to listen tothe yiirna ol iha acholar round him. There was a spontaneity of hearty reBponse, howeyer, when he wíis addreaHcd, tbat tern'peréd the lioenses of the iiiintf-i'ooni vvith ttie decisión oí the quurter-döckj Irving appearéd as tlie (ipoíheosia of a dear delitjht ful cholastic o!d bachelor, vvith a trim wig, and thotfgbtfui face, u;:d melhodical i'ays, in tu ning to the butler and the vianda, or in bursinji the bottle. Me lookeu ill, (f. r he had just been oorrgcting Washington'a Lite.) and tosome extent nervous. Ir was evident that the pen in hand rather than kniie and fork nccorded with hiw flow of language Thare was a huïo of geniality about his b'ead as he sat towered over bv General Scott, and visa-vis'd by Ex-President Vun Bi.n'nwhose po'ished heaii and venerable locka befltted the geniality of atinos phere I refer to. Of (, I suryeyed the personnet of the others; they, however, are living, and fhe rjferenoes in this aspect of individualiztition may htop here. I do pot propose to nárrale all hal had occprred I remember very distinutly tno prominent topics discuósod, however, altliough ti ilf a dozen years have tripped ftway. Nor do Ipiopose to Rpeak of what was in the precise order of aying, but as the ihings come to mind. The Ex-President was among the first talkers and he led the oovers.ation very di[jlomLiiically and aptly to the Japan expediiion and Commodore Perry, and in allusion to the advant iges whicli were böfore long to accrue ft om the Porry-wedge of civiliziui.m n that very t-lo-e giauite-block Government. The Mayor Look au anitnated part in trus mug me topic ; lie hule thought, at that uaiu, Uiul nu uoulú be asköü tu veto a lmle bit of Jupuase tiutel arraugeineui. üaiicrotL ü'ud oü a few biótorical referejuctíé to Japan, wiiich Perry, [ w lh perteel tapport, responded to bnetiv. 1 tie (Joiüjnoiiore gave suudry hiUgiiubie aiiecdoies ol tlie exient to unioli tlie JapaDeöe i-arried itnitution, He naiü tual ue had seen al Jedclo, in ttie uaiid ol a boy, as perfect a EQodi-1 of Uie BteaiUibip, wouden pipes and 11, as me Causee artiiiuer coulü inake The lUtiabiLuiils seeineU to rival the (JiJinoBe Lailor ui suiuti ol tlieir exactitudeB ; the bliip's uook liaving cooiíed isoiiie nee and burued it, une ol the native cooKs, on a subd-ijueut manile.sia l.ou ol üofipitality, peiioiu.ed ili oame bluuuer. The Ex-Pres;entahd Mr. living be ing V'üu-vis., tneu teil lulo a cuuvoliwliuiial uliiu e in uiü alOuliU Linieu wold, tbs sui.t ol loraier. lrviug 1 liad beeu a gUisl ol Juugu Vuil iN.--s ui iu) unies v Bou uio J auge owiieU uUCt o. uupied me presa l iuaulO(] ie.ii JLiidottjook ; uaU ttie 6wo limuoucseü gi'aLtít'uiiy of reiiiellHilalices. lile Vau : xNc&s tiouse tiuü utjea inucii ai tof cd anu hnpl'oveJ unclur luo Van ij.ncu pmciKioe, auü, ludeeü, inacie u uiil;i:üt plaeu. Mr ii vlug ;iukuo.leUged u ui o.eilgl]is ol LlodwuwoW, v liü lis ittWü mul uoe-cluuips (me. aily liuüeiivuiou) and ihurougni) Bntisii luuuscape. JJ.. mater lierurd tiieu ni i good u.uured rein ar Jt abouL uie cabDages ; wüeu ifie iix President rerutii üeu timt tüe "stw,-' eo popular in the üauviios ui iií-íO waa a pointless, upphod to uit place and Kinderhook, as probably the hurü caler vus t(i Cien, i Harnsoa. lrvi.g added, tbitt h had Haver observad a place in the eounvry as fret lrou) cabbages, und indeeü cab bage lieutls, as Was JviuUel-kuuK. i LUs ïuuucud ftoine liuiuoroiis reuiarks lioui iioraiio üuytnour upou tue ouriusiuus of puiuicai perai naiiiies. ÜOKurbody among ihe local ce.eünues tlieu loier red lo na illtoriul tilt in pi'ogiess betweuu tirecluy auü Jamen BroJke, witb lelerence to tiie lact ih'U, in lüe eurly volumes of i'lie ISe. Yorker, editeü by lüe lonner, coruiu JhiUropean Jet trs ol tüe laiier had boeu cupied, week by week, witli ocstactiu connnenUation. A guest romarlied ihat to dili'ei' with Gree ley, even on the taste of pon'idge, was to beoome au euerny al onco, and that the able editor of The Tribune, in coutroversy, merely squared the liypotheuiiBt; without tsumming up the two Bldes. Then the conyersation drifted back to Linden woid, auü the Ex President coinmenied upon ceruiu reuiaruuble coiucidunce ui individuáis and locality near Jiuuleihooli to those of tlie Ioüabod Craue story. Irvitig nad heard of this ii" remembered the 'Scliuol house between LinaeuwOid and Kinderkook, and t.,e viiiage bndgo beyoud, and Merwi , the old schooimaster, who was so much like louatrod Grane - so much bo tüat a correbpondenco ensued akin to tliat beiweeo Diekens and the Yorkshiie sctioolmaster, who deeuied himseif iibeled by the charuoier of Squeers in Nickleby. Mr. Irving adnutted that possibly his descnptiou of the l'arrytown neig borhood had been colored by rernembrances of the accessoriea to the Van mansión, in wbOBe library lio coafessed to scribbling. Govemor Seymour gave a neat eulogy of Judge Van Nes, reineinbared from his fattier's account ol the bospitality. Van Ness had been JBurr's bt'Coud in the duel. Lorenzo tóhepherd had soiuelhing lo say aboul a rambíe he hnd receuily taken ovr the Wee bawken rocks, uoar to whicb a cliënt oí his had aforry in contemplatiön. He had j visited In; duèlKngjjround, which waeXiictly opposite T hirty-fmir li streel. 'J'lio M eed ar tree was til) sttmdjng, j:ist outside of vvhich the du I h:id boson 'fnufcbtj hut uil the othertree about the standing had beönthinBei) away Jdlui Cocbtane bei-mie pöeltenl nt hisjnricture. repeatir.s, ver :i glas 'of champagne, sftme line whicb, Irviiij.' said had been v ritten by the liunentud Roben 0 Sandsat the very pot-: Ui-re last he s o 1 ! B fora hit aiglit I F uwed I n ■ fair river nud brigut ; I li" risina mart , t li iile, the bay B fore 11 is vu'W in grandeur 1 y t Sc in s dl li s glorv nd lus fame, Ttiat instant Mr he deasli-hoi eame.' Referriüg, of eonrse, to Hafliiltoo. broughi out Oa[iin tioffman, with soine eboioe rhe orie tibout New York uil-J the Kuiokerboekwu and be chat'ires c;f loualitj aad society He stated t!i:u in eourt ttiHt morninghg bad lu-anl so m eteps applied tortooptü Park PI tea, through Coluiabia College grounds, whore Hamlinton liad ina Je youthful ivvoiuti'MKiry Mpeecnor I "And wïrere Peter Stuyveaaot usecl to reüre of' damp uighrs bet'oi'u tin: KingV farm was laid out, te air his woóden k'g,'' ádded Gen. Seott, with a win'e glass wave toward Irving. Gen. Seott referred to the first volume of [rving'a iife of Vfatshingtun, jual théo in pres. living said ie hoped to live tó finish it. Said Banoroít, "I truettbe pagea ato not to be yon limit of life.'' ''I hope," retorled Prince John, perceiving Mr. Irving grew modest, "that the pges of tour history, Mr. Bancroft, inay inoaMire your, "life." Banoroft laughed heartih at the sally, and suid that it at his ugo lio had only giit down loward the ! American RwölutlüË beíoie he ctrne to the catnpaigus of' the A.ineiic,ii Marlborough, (bowing to Scotl), de as well as the respontiibilily of ihe task, might altogetlier prevent its ournpletiutb The relerciices n m be ing histoncai, allustoü was raade to a volume said to be preparing by (ieoi-gw H. Mooi', iibra iao of the Histurival Society, piovmg tb treaoa o! Gen. Lee. Baucroit reumrked tliat thö uonduut of L e, ui reterence to overturea to the Britisb daring the Boston ououpation, and his vacillutmn.-? with respect to Aloultrie, on bullivau's Islaud, irwe coiispicuonsly reproiiensibla "At one time, said lianeroft, ''Lee ordtfied Moultrie to build a bridga tor his retreaL frora tne island, amJ reiusod hnu gup.povvder." "Mouhiie viasoneiif ihebravest men of the lievolmiou, ' said Gen. tícott ; '■and there is qo aucoUQt of tiitj itevoluiioo read with mora interest thai) the one of' Aloultrie 8 deiense agaiust cjir Peter Parker and Clinton And 1 seüiu always to see Moultrie and ALarion togetner in the lort. However, ' üootinued tíen. ácott, ery graoefúlly, uad looking equally ut living and Ban croft, the iccouui nas yet to be vv ritten, i, Uitijord lielpeü Aloultrie, though. Clinton tieaid ttiüt he could lord i'iotii the neek ot land on wh.cü weru bis troops over to the ïsiuud. He uover sou. ded, however, and w.iea the atttjiupt vva made there was ouly a swiiiuning and sinkmg öir Parker had ii uil lo hunsell." "I p'ace the defeiise of Charles. on next to Bunkur Hili iti point of interest, valor and LUOioi'tauce," remarked liovernor Ssyinuur; "aud yei soiiie of our Arüi-ebrMSka orators vv 1 1 have it that tíoutü Carolina ha.i no haud iu '7ti patrio.ism or m ti;litiiig." "It woüld bu very hard to write u sectional history ot tiie UJerioau li.-volutioD," suid (ïeueral öcutt ; "there nmt iieed be 8ich liltei lacing ot patrioiie .leevis from all tno ötaces on Lhe tapestry of coraniünjoratioD.'! ai tms si ge ui tnu entertaiütnent, i reineniber Mayor Wod proruptl g:tvö Thi heat iJ 6r Hïrai ücuU-tt Irue deJ .(■ uj c, U" a. Il ■U.aiiK .l,n all bi'Durs, auu Prinvejuhu Van Liureü uajied 1 r trie ü-euerul' rattlesnake Btofy, wtliofa lue o.d .iohJIlI1 gava wilu lIlpUUHlS 1 il . '0.118 that the Florida uanipaigii, the General aud his slaÜ weru quartered tor a nigbt na rough building uous.ructed from the group , und tno tiuor upen at various placas. öcaicely had tho preparátioau lor the bivouac bec.i üompleted wneu a n i.i.' from bblow o' ratUiitg told couclusively tbat rattle.inakes u.t i their bivouuo od the ground ontlw the fltwr. Indeed tliey wëté eooo secii fronj above u u goodiy batlahon. " I weut outsnJo and measured with cay eye," said Ge"eral iáuoti, '-t ie higut of the ftóop from ;be groimd, and sa al once i was beyoud ici.ii by about tvvo inoties, of the tallest rattlsnaka ever known ! I knew as a boy, irorn exneiiineuts, thut the rattle nalio uever juuipad or darted. Hu Stood up as f ar as he coul i reauh only, and Uien bit. I returoed and told tho officers that I intended nevurthö less,to isleop on the floor and pronouDced it sale. But they lelt me alone in my glory with iny martial oioall arouad me - a tempofary Öir John Moore- while they camped outside. Indeed, i rat lier enjoyad the disoomtiture of the ï&akes as they rattieü ma to sleep, aud vainly triad to reach the holes ia the floor " '■So much for a knowludge of natural bistory," said the youugur Van Buren ;" but there were no Seott soakes there (alluding to the General's hight) or you might have boon wounded !" Some one remarked that Thackerav, ! who had been two year before in the eoü try with his George's lectures.was meditating a niivel in ivhioh Washingj ton was to beintroduoed. I "That will be diffieuli," responded Irving to the allusion, f the story be of the Thackeray stylo; for no bero ever had hO little private liie as bad Washington. ' The ciicumstance ie indted remark 1 able," addud Bancroft "Fron the time he took surve or's tools to the day of reaigoiog the Presi.luaiial eagle's ! quill, he was incessantly in publc lifb." "And always hard at it," said General ! Seott, 'TU venturo to say that nm out of ten well-read boys, vvheu asked about the private lift of Wasliiugtou, will teil you about the hatcbet story, tho oamp prayer, and the ridos arouud Mouut Veruoii, aad thut vill be all." ''Unlcss he ohose to add about the loveditties," added tíaneroft; "Waíhington wrote a good many love-lines, aliiios? as many as Judge Story whosu youthful vol uuie of'öolitudo aud Otüer Poema' was alwiiya kejit chaiued ia Harvard Library to bi great auooyancep' "Wlio was Washington' flaiubV" asked Hoffinau. "Tbat will be left to future historians, I trust," replied Banuioft. "Some i tlemtiu ui the Boswfell and Malouo school t of bororaeiitutorsliip will embalsa the lady i or write essays about hur." ] "Co.ue uow. I protest against tliis ba i littltiig the uieinui-y ot' Washington," aid . Martin Van Buren, playfuíly 1 b r, at least, lie was cniue Sü i túnate as tu be President." "JÜaxt to v askii gtou, who is your fa vonte revolu;ioiay heivr" soiuo oue . asked ot' Mr. Irving. "A ven hard question," he replied; buw iny uiind inclines to Fnilip iSchuyler." "Ay!' responded Hoffman, Leatily. - VVitn ail m biljart, ayl Luke V isnïugtou, bis purse, ü.s time, hls home saer.fiecb, hifl dïsiuterested servies, lus tunáis o. sliuhto- all, all were at the demaud ot' lus country. ' '■ rt lial a tiüt) pioture that is in Charles M, Leupp's üohectiOiiI" said Johü Van Buien. ''1 noiiced it the last timt' oi dining thore. Tüe suojeot is .Lr. iáchuyler üriujj her husband s grain, as ao example to tue ueigüuors, whan Üurgoyue wai ; uu lus Saratot;a expeditiou, and the riult was doubtful." "Who is the artisti'" ome oue asked. "VVhy, Loatz; and is it uot odd that some of our best revolutionarj soenoï have been most artistieally sympathized with by loreigu paiuters." Bewre learing, Uounuodor Ferry had iusi.ited upun hearing from Ogden Hoii' man tlie stury ot' hls boy-oheut, ilicnard F. Kobiiisou. iioltmau, in respons to a direct nitjuiry, ansvvered that he most implieitiy believed iu the boy's iunocetice; aud tliia had been deepened smet) bis daaih and tbu deeoase of tue wo niau living in the house at the time of tho murder. He adimtted that the case ou the surfac was a very stroiig one against the elieut; but wheu analyzed the evidences beoame susoepliole ot explauation. - Hubtnsoü had Deeu in the house duriug tlie evening; ü oertaiuly owiied the cloaii which was found in the adjaceut yard; the liatcuei piCiied up was, uuüouuteuly, one from tlie store wberain Robisou Aauetnpioyed, and he possesded some motive for wisuiiig thu dcaih ot (U unfortunate gtrl. Theru was tlms the usual coucoiiutains ot' oi' guilt - oc-uasioii, présense, motive - Hui aimthiU' in the house waa jealous of her; and all th circuinstanoes ot' cloak aud hatenet couuectmg the boy with the orime were m tlie powr of that other to inauul'acture. Th aunáis of crime abound with mauufactured testimony, especially agauitt tu young aud tuose care lcssly surrouLded with peoeadillo Add this to the boy's youth, the fondues of eacli for the other, the doubl heinousuesi of the crime, (superaddnig bodily dirtliguremeut of tüe dead - the loveiy dead - to murder aud arsoa,) aud theii tlie ïmprobaDilitis of imuutÉiuereased. Commodore Ferry became intensely uiterestad ia the advocates uielodious story, and expreaed uimself abuudautly couvinced of iiir. Hofi'uiau' theory 'ihere was very inuch more laid on all theie aud other topics, by uot only the prouiiueut mou above relerred to, but by tnose who do uot figuro so much iu my uarratiou. The Van Buren and Mr Irving, with General Scott, left the earliest of the guests Mr. Bauoroft aud Grard drow chairg together aud had some littie passag of it between tliemselves, in which the barrister's facile counteuauce aud tue hmtonan's merry eyes aiteruated in apparentiy selüsh enjoymeut, for none of tüe otiiers heard the sallie . Gerard, ooa after Bancroft'g retirement, told u very aiuusing passage of travel happening to JStd tía .dford (bis New ïorii coniiere, lost in the Arctio steamer ttie previous Autuuin) and himlaif, m Vieuna, 8audturd persistcd m woaruig s feit uai, a ia J 'ssuib, and had severai tiuiei iiöariy got uu o the ciutehes ! of tut Ausjtnau polja ü.je niooulight I lilgül, Dy tiiü aid ot a few gr iuiieu, ut i captura aa oiga.i griuder iet bim at.wurk-k) oue oftne public squares. - After ao h .d got freaiieued up to lus melody, tiandford, luaving G-errd at the toot ot aa adjoïniüg euesinan st..tue, by whieh als' the orgau griuder itood, ciimoed upou the raiuiig, and mou itiug the Kossath h;it, aked the purrejor of harmonjr, iu rather loud toues, to please stnka up tiie M.iraeillaise or any tune favorable to hberty. At tiiis sonteno a Couvouitínt spy, who mentally added hat aad Uberty together ui lus desp.itiu arithmetio asa dangerous sum, arruBted the ' exuberant barrister, und was about to imprison hun, wlieu Gerard, interfering iu the right kind of diplomatic Fr.'ueh, oouvinced the t!i!t bis American frieud was crazj, and had been nfnt abroad for a cur. Tbr ipy iisked Gerard what made hun crazy, to whioh h made answer that hi friand had unforturifttely, in arly youth, swallowed a spread otgle. "Not half ho crazj as the Aui : trian coat of anus," muttered Sandford, within hii breath, ''for that has iwallowed a doublé hoaded eagle."


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