Imatges de pÓgina

were disposed the little boxes of our modern Restaurateurs, screened at pleasure from the eye of curiosity by green silk curtains. One might have almost fancied himself in a London tavern, when at the sound of a little bell, a substantial chop, with a glass of sparkling ale, answered the call of the guest. On the high old fashionable mantlepiece, stood the clock, and on either side a brilliant row of shining tankards, slyly insinuating, as mine host would have it, how they helped old time to pass.' The dining , room was a pleasant airy apartment; its floor covered with a rarity, an English carpet; and its walls were hung with sundry paintings in oil, by Dutch masters, whose names have not come down to us. A famous piece of Dutch furniture, well known as a Koss, of beautiful black walnut wood, standing upon ebony balls, occupied the side opposite the fire-place, and an immense pier glass, in a mahogany frame, the space between the windows.

A piazza ran across the front, corresponding with the general appearance of the house, shaded with a goodly row of Catalpas, now almost extinct in the island. Here under their shade the loungers of the establishment discussed the merits of a kind of punch, peculiar to that day, and whiffed the rare tobacco of

Cuba, not yet become an article in repute with the vulgar.

The tavern was well known as “The King's Arms, and the painter had, with unusual súccess, made out to preserve in the sign which he had bedaubed with paint, some faint resemblance of that very popular design of,

• The Lion and the Unicorn, fighting for the crown.'

The view from the top of the house, gave the finishing stroke to the character of the King's Arms. Almost every dwelling in the city at that day was surmounted by a cupola, and Snodgrass the proprietor, had his also, with some conveniences annexed, that were rather uncommon. It was furnished with several seats, and a table, on which stood a telescope of great power. The view from it was enchanting. The old quadrangular fort, and the tri-bastioned battery could be plainly seen ; and the East and North rivers were perfectly distinct to the eye. The telescope brought the fleet within stone's throw, and you saw the men performing the daily exercise at their guns, which were then almost constantly employed against the French. Nutten island was visible, and so was Bedloe's ; in short the delighted eye

wandered at will over the whole bay, whose beautiful expanse of waters the wind often lashed into fury and whitened with foam. But the evening scene was the favorite one with the lovers of the picturesque, when the sun's last rays seemed to have penetrated beneath the surface of that watery plain, and there left behind, the golden hues of an evening sky.

Sometimes the gay appearance of the outwardbound merchantmen brought the inmates of the King's Arms upon deck,' as Snodgrass called it; but most interest was felt at the signal for the monthly packet, which to so many brought long expected tidings of joy, and to so many, disappointment and hope deferred.

There was another place in view which had also its interest, and this was the little fort at Paulus Hook. This was an outpost directly opposite the city, which had but lately been fortified, and was a kind of lookout; a military barometer for the city. The Americans lay in its vicinity, and small skirmishes took place almost every day between the advanced pickets; but as long as the British flag was flying, the gentlemen of the fort and the loungers at

the King's Arms were quite safe, (or so they thought,) and out of harm's way.

In addition to all this, the view to the north was not without its charms. It included beautiful fields covered with verdure, fine ponds of water of considerable dimensions, and cultivated grounds that were in the very best style ; the lovely domain of Mr, afterwards Sir Andrew Elliot, (which the present Lady Cathcart well remembers as the happy scene of her infancy,) and that which was once the pride of Lady Warren. From Sand-bill to the monument, which stood near her house, nothing but villas and shrubberies met the eye. Indeed, at Reed-street the city ended and the country began. No wonder then, that the King's arms was in such high repute, with citizens and military, lovers of punch and scenery. Even the Whitehall tavern, and the White Couduit house, over whose destines the worthy Samuel Matlock presided, and the Tea Water Pump of Jacobus Jarolemus, with the Sea Dog' in the bargain, were not, in the slightest degree, competitors of the Broadway House, where Tommy Snodgrass stood pre-eminent in landscapes and lunches, in “fried metaphors and stewed tortuosities.' '


But there was one thing about the King's Arms which no other public house in New-York enjoyed. I mean the patronage of the army. From the time of Cornbury himself, who was the prince of spendthrifts, and ran up, with a kind of thoughtless patronage, a bill with the first proprietor, which nothing but his succession to the Earlship of Clarendon enabled him to pay, down to the time of his Excellency, the commander of that district, Gen Birch, the military men had made it the scene of their carousals; and indeed some of the officers had their mess at the very time of our tale, under the shade of the aforesaid venerable Catalpas. Besides, the monthly packets had their letter bags posted in the bar room. The foreign journals were here received and read by the subscribers to the establishment; and lastly, the belles of the city frequented a fashionable promenade, which happened to be directly in front of the piazza, giving rise to many a pleasing incident which was duly turned into poetry, and transferred to the columns of the notorious Rivington, printer to the · King's Most Excellent Majesty. The Charade Club, if any such there was, here held their stated meetings, and with compliments which gave celebrity to belles long since forgotten, puzzled the wits of the

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