Sample text for City of dreams : a novel of Nieuw Amsterdam and early Manhattan / Beverly Swerling.


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Chapter One

Eleven weeks in a ship thirty-seven feet long by eleven wide, carrying a crew of nine as well as twenty passengers. Lurching and lunging and tossing on the Atlantic swells, the sails creaking night and day, spread above them like some evil bird of prey. Hovering, waiting for death.

The dung buckets on the open deck were screened only by a scanty calico curtain that blew aside more often than it stayed in place. For Sally Turner the dung buckets were the worst.

She was twenty-three years old -- small, with dark hair, bright brown eyes, and a narrow, pinched face -- from a Rotterdam slum by way of a rodent-infested corner of a Kentish barn. The crossing had turned her insides to water. She went seven or eight times a day to the dung buckets. The flimsy cloth almost always blew aside and she saw the grizzled, hungry-eyed crewmen watching, waiting for her to lift her skirts. As if all the battles between Kent and now had been for nothing.

Her brother suffered more from the seasickness. Lucas Turner was a big man, like his sister only in his dark coloring, and in the intelligence that showed behind his eyes. Until now most would have called him handsome the journey had reduced him to a shell. From the start Lucas hung day and night over the side of the wooden ship, vomiting his guts into the sea.

The voyage was beyond imagination, beyond bearing. Except that there was no choice but to bear it. One small consolation: the April day when the Princess left Rotterdam was exceptionally warm. A premature summer rushed toward them as they sailed west. Most of the food spoiled before the end of the first three weeks. Constant illness prevented hunger.

A crossing longer and more miserable and more dangerous than anything they had talked about or prepared for, and when they got there -- what? By all reports bitter cold in winter and fierce heat in summer. "And savages," Sally Turner said the first morning of June, when they were nine weeks into the voyage, and she and her brother were hanging on to the rail in the ship's bow. The swells were stronger in that position, but Lucas was convinced he could be no worse. And there was a bit of privacy. "There are red men in America, Lucas. With painted faces and feathers and hatchets. In God's name, what have we done?"

Lucas didn't answer. They had decided the risk was worth the taking while they were still in Holland. Besides, he had to lean over the rail and puke yet again. There was nothing in his stomach to come up, even the bile was gone, but the dry heaves would not leave him.

For as long as Sally could remember, it was Lucas who made such security as there was in her world. She felt every shudder of his agony-racked frame as if it were her own. She slid down, using the wooden ship's planked bulkhead to keep her steady, and pawed through her basket. Eventually she drew herself up and pulled the tiny cork of a small pewter vial. "Chamomile powder, Lucas. Let me shake some onto your tongue."

"No, that's all you've left. I won't take it."

"I've more. With our things down below."

"You're lying, Sal. I can always -- " He had to stop to heave again.

His sister leaned toward him with the remedy that promised relief. Lucas eyed the small tube with longing. "You're sure you've more?"

"In our box in the hold. I swear it."

Lucas opened his mouth. Sally emptied the last few grains of the chamomile powder onto his tongue. It gave him some fifteen minutes of freedom from nausea.

Below decks, in the sturdy box that held all their belongings carefully wrapped in oilskin, she did indeed have more chamomile, but only in the form of seed. Waiting, like Lucas and Sally Turner, to be planted in Nieuw Amsterdam and thrive in the virgin earth of the island of Manhattan.

*

There was a wooden wharf of sorts, but two ships were already moored alongside it. The Princess dropped anchor some fifty yards away, and a raft carried them to shore. It wasn't big enough to take everyone in one trip. Lucas and Sally were dispatched on the third.

They clung together to keep from being pitched overboard, and listened in disbelief to one of the crewmen talk about the calm of the deep, still harbor. "Not too many places on this coast you can raft folks to land like this. But here the bay's flat as a lake when the tide's with you." Meanwhile it seemed to Lucas and Sally that they were sliding and rolling with each wave, unable to lift their heads and see what they'd come to after their eleven weeks in hell.

At last, land beneath their feet and they could barely stand on it. They'd experienced the same misery three years before, after the far shorter crossing between England and the Netherlands. "Give it a little time, Sal," her brother said. "We'll be fine."

Sally looked at what she could see of the place. A piece of crumbling earthworks that was a corner of Fort Amsterdam. A windmill that wasn't turning because there was no breath of air. A gibbet from which was suspended a corpse, covered in pitch and buzzing with flies. And the sun beating down on them. Relentless. "Lucas," she whispered. "Dear God, Lucas." Her brother put a hand on her arm.

"You there," a voice shouted. "Mijnheer Turner. When you get your legs under you, come over here."

"There's some shade over by that tree," Lucas murmured. "Wait there. I'll deal with this."

A couple of rough planks had been spread across two trestles made from saplings. The man seated behind this makeshift table was checking off names on a list. Lucas staggered toward him. The clerk didn't look up. "Turner?"

"Aye. Lucas Turner. And Sally Turner."

"English?"

His accent always gave him away. "Yes, but we're come under the auspices of..."

"Patroon Van Renselaar. I know. You're assigned to plot number twenty-nine. It's due north of here. Follow the Brede Wegh behind the fort to Wall Street. Take you some ten minutes to walk the length of the town, then you leave by the second gate in the wall. The path begins straightaway on the other side. You'll know your place when you get to it. There are three pine trees one right behind the other, all marked with whiting."

Lucas bent forward, trying to see the papers in front of the Dutchman. "Is that a map of our land?"

"It's a map of all the Van Renselaar land. Your piece is included."

Lucas stretched out his hand. The clerk snatched the papers away. At last, mildly surprised, he looked up. "Can you read, Englishman?"

"Yes. And I'd like to see your map. Only for a moment."

The man looked doubtful. "Why? What will it tell you?"

Lucas was conscious of his clothes hanging loose from his wasted frame, and his face almost covered by weeks of unkempt beard. "For one thing, a look at your map might give me some idea of the distance we must go before we reach those three pine trees."

"No need for that. I'll tell you. Half a day's walk once you're recovered from the journey." The clerk glanced toward Sally. "Could take a bit longer for a woman. Some of the hills are fairly steep."

This time when Lucas leaned forward the map wasn't snatched away. He saw one firm line that appeared to divide the town from the countryside, doubtless the wall the clerk had spoken of, and just beyond it what appeared to be a small settlement of sorts. "Our land" -- Lucas pointed to the settlement beyond the wall -- "is it in that part there?"

"No, that's the Voorstadt, the out-city, a warehouse and the farms that serve the town." The clerk seemed amused by the newcomer's curiosity. He placed a stubby finger on an irregular circle a fair distance beyond the Voorstadt. "And that's the Collect Pond as gives us fresh water to brew beer with. Anything else you'd care to know, Englishman? Shall I arrange a tour?"

"I was promised land in the town," Lucas said. "But I'll take a place in this Voorstadt. I'm a barber. I can't earn my keep if -- "

"Your land's where I said it was. You're a farmer now. That's what's needed here."

"Wait." The voice, a woman's, was imperious. "I wish to speak with this man." A slight figure stepped away from the knot of people standing a little distance from the clerk. Despite the heat she was entirely covered by a hooded cloak of the tightly woven gray stuff the Dutch called duffel. She freed a slender arm long enough to point to Lucas. "Send him to me."

"Ja, mevrouw, of course." The clerk jerked his head in the woman's direction. "Do as she says," he muttered quietly in the Englishman's direction. "Whatever she says."

Lucas took a step toward the woman. He removed his black, broad-brimmed hat and held it in front of him, bobbed his head, and waited.

Her hair was dark, shot with gray and drawn back in a strict bun. Her features were sharp, and when she spoke her lips barely moved, as if afraid they might forget themselves and smile. "I heard you tell the clerk you could read. And that you're a barber."

"Both are true, mevrouw."

"Were you then the surgeon on that excuse for a ship?" She nodded toward the Princess riding at anchor in the harbor. "God help all who cross in her."

"No, mevrouw, I was not."

"A point in your favor. We are cursed with so-called ship's surgeons in this colony. Ignorant butchers, all of them. You're English, but you speak Dutch. And that miserable craft sailed from Rotterdam, not London. So are you a member of the English Barbers' Company?"

"I am, mevrouw. But I've lived two years in Rotterdam, and I was told I'd be allowed to practice here exactly as..."

"I have no reason to think otherwise. And if you know your trade -- " She broke off, chewing on her thin lower lip, studying him. Lucas waited. A number of silent seconds went by then the woman pointed toward Sally. "I take it that's your wife."

"No, mevrouw, I am unmarried. That is my sister, Sally Turner." Lucas motioned Sally forward. She didn't come, but she dropped a quick curtsy.

The woman's eyes betrayed a flicker of amusement. "The juffrouw does not seem particularly obedient, Lucas Turner. Is your sister devoted to you?"

"I believe she is, mevrouw."

"Good. I, too, have a brother to whom I am utterly devoted. I am Anna Stuyvesant. My brother is Peter Stuyvesant. He is governor of Nieuw Netherlands. And right now..."

Sweet Jesus Christ. Bloody Stuyvesant and his bloody sister. When the only thing Lucas wanted, the thing that had made him come to this godforsaken colony at the end of the world, was to be where the authorities would leave him in peace.

Either his reaction didn't show, or she chose not to notice it. "Right now my brother is in need of a man of great skill. And I am trying to decide, Lucas Turner, if you might be he."

He had no choice but to seize the moment. "That depends on the nature of the skill your brother requires, mevrouw. I know my trade, if that's what you're asking."

"It is part of the question. The other part is the precise nature of your trade. Is it true that, though they belong to the same Company, London barbers and surgeons do not practice the same art?"

Lucas heard Sally's sharply indrawn breath. "Officially yes, mevrouw. But the two apprenticeships occur side by side, in the same hall. A man interested in both skills cannot help but learn both. I am skilled in surgery as well as barbering. What is it the governor requires?"

The woman's eyes flicked toward Sally for a moment, as if she, too, had noted the gasp. A second only then she dismissed the younger woman as of no importance. "I believe my brother to be in desperate need of a stone cutter, barber."

Lucas smiled.

Finally, for the first time in weeks, he felt no doubt. "Pray God you are correct, mevrouw. If it's an expert stone cutter your brother needs, he is a fortunate man. He has found one." Lucas turned to Sally. She was white-faced. He pretended not to notice. "Come, Sal. Bring my instruments. I've a patient waiting for relief."

*

Word was that Peter Stuyvesant ruled with absolute authority and that any who questioned him paid a heavy price. Right then, ashen, sweating with pain, the man lying in the bed looked small and insignificant.

Lucas put his hand on Stuyvesant's forehead. The flesh was cold and clammy. "Where does it hurt, mijnheer?"

"In my belly, man. Low down. Fierce pain. And I cannot piss for the burning. My sister is convinced it's a stone."

Anna Stuyvesant was in the room with them, huddling in the gloom beside the door. Some mention had been made of a wife, and when they arrived Lucas had heard the voices of children, but none had appeared. He'd seen only a black serving woman -- from what he'd heard of this place she was probably a slave -- and the man in the bed. And, in control of all, the sister. Obviously married, or had been, since the clerk at the dock had called her mevrouw, but one who, following the Dutch fashion, hadn't taken her husband's name. Looked like the type who wouldn't take willingly to his cock, either. Lucas was conscious of her fierce glance drilling a hole in his back.

He leaned closer to the patient, observing the clouded eyes, the pallor, the sour breath that came hard through a half-open mouth. "Judging from the look of you, mijnheer, Mevrouw Stuyvesant may be right. And if she is, if it's a stone, I can help you. But..." He hesitated. Afterward, some men thought of the relief, and were grateful. Others remembered only the agony of the surgery, and those hated you forever. God help him and Sally both if the governor of Nieuw Netherland hated him forever.

"But what?" Stuyvesant demanded.

"But it will hurt while I do it," Lucas said, choosing not to dip the truth in honey. "Worse than the pain you're feeling right now. After the operation is over, however, you will be cured."

"If I live, you mean."

"The chances are excellent that you will, mijnheer."

"But not certain."

"In this world, Mijnheer Governor, nothing is certain. As I'm sure you know. But I've done this surgery dozens of times."

"And all your patients lived?" Wincing with pain while he spoke. Having to force the words between clenched teeth.

"Perhaps six or seven did not, mijnheer. But they were men of weak constitution before the stone began plaguing them."

Stuyvesant studied the Englishman, even managed a small smile. "I am not a man of weak constitution. And you, you're a strange one, barber. Despite your mangled Dutch, you speak like a man with his wits in place. But the way you look, not to mention how you smell...Ach, but then my sister tells me you only just got off the Princess, so per -- "

The pain must have been savage. The Dutchman gritted his teeth so hard Lucas thought he might break his jaw. The sweat poured off him.

Lucas leaned forward and wiped the governor's face with a corner of the bedding. Half a minute, maybe less. The wave of agony abated. Stuyvesant drew a few deep breaths. "This operation..." He whispered the words, his strength sapped by the pain. "How long will it take?"

"Forty-five seconds," Lucas said. "Start to finish. You can time me."

The governor stared into Lucas's eyes. "I will. Forty-five seconds? You're certain of that?"

"I am."

Stuyvesant flung back the covers. "Took them forty-five minutes to do this." His right leg had been cut off at the knee.

Lucas looked down at the stump, then at the face of the man in the bed. Pain had hollowed his cheeks, but when their eyes met Stuyvesant did not look away. Finally Lucas nodded. He turned to the woman beside the door. "Bring some rum, mevrouw. He must drink as much as we can get down him."

Anna Stuyvesant stepped out of the shadows. "There is no rum in this house."

"Then send someone to get some. Your brother cannot -- "

"Yes, I can." Stuyvesant's voice, sounding firmer than it had, trembling less with agony. "I must. I take no drink stronger than ordinary ale."

"But under the circumstances..." Lucas looked again at the stump of leg.

"Not then, either," Stuyvesant said quietly. "I fear the Lord more than I fear pain, barber."

"As you wish. But perhaps I can satisfy both masters. If you will excuse me for a moment..."

Lucas stepped into the narrow hall. Sally was there, sitting at the top of the stairs, clutching her basket and the small leather box that contained his instruments. She jumped up, pressing her bundles to her, her narrow face shriveled with anxiety. "How is he? Can you help him without cutting?"

"No." Lucas was sweating. He wiped his forehead with the sleeve of his black jacket. The accumulated filth of the journey left a dark mark. "God help me, I must remove the stone."

"But -- "

"There is no 'but.' If it doesn't come out, like as not he'll drown in his own piss."

"What if he dies of the pain of surgery? What if he bleeds to death?" Her voice was an urgent whisper.

"This man can bear suffering." Lucas looked anxiously toward the bedroom door. "He's had one leg cut off at the knee, and he doesn't take more than an ale to quench his thirst. No strong spirits, not even to dull the onslaught of the knife and the saw. As for bleeding to death, I must see that he does not. Say your prayers, girl, and give me my instruments."

"Lucas, if anything happens, what -- "

"Nothing is going to happen. Except that mijnheer the governor will think I'm the greatest surgeon since Galen."

"But you're a barber, Lucas. In heaven's name, your surgeon's instruments are what got us hounded out of London in the first place."

"I know. But we're in Nieuw Amsterdam, not London. We must take our chance when it presents itself. See if you've any stanching powder in your basket."

Sally hesitated.

"Do it, Sal. Otherwise I'll go ahead without it."

A few seconds more. Finally she began pawing through her things. "Yes, here it is." She held up a small pottery crock. "Stanching powder. A fair supply."

"Excellent. Now some laudanum."

Sally shook her head. "I have none. I swear it, Lucas. I only brought a little aboard, and we used -- "

"Damnation! Look well, Sal. If any's left, I can use it to advantage."

After a few moments groping, she produced a tiny pewter vial of the kind she'd used to store the last of the chamomile powder. "This held laudanum. But it's empty."

Lucas snatched the container, uncorked it, sniffed, squinted to peer inside. "A drop, perhaps. It will be better than nothing. Aye, I can see a drop or two at the bottom." He recorked the vial and slipped it into the side pocket of his breeches, then turned back to the bedroom. "Wish me luck, Sal. And stop up your ears. But don't worry, the shouts won't go on for long."

*

Sally went again to sit on the top step, clutching her basket in her lap, as if her simples were the only thing she had to remind her of who she was and how she came to be in this place.

The house at the corner of the fort built for the governor of Nieuw Netherland was nothing like as grand as places she'd seen from afar in London and Rotterdam, but it was the grandest she'd ever been inside. Two stories, and both of them for the living of this one man and his family and his servants. Brick outside and polished wood within. Even the wooden steps were buffed to such a gloss that when she leaned forward she could see her reflection, her face peeking over the toes of her scuffed boots.

Lucas had bought her the boots before they left Holland he said clogs wouldn't do for such a long and perilous journey. The boots had pointed toes and laced to well above her ankles. She'd thought them incredibly grand at first, but less so now. And the sturdy Dutch folk in gilt frames looking down at her from the walls seemed unimpressed. God knew, they were not the first.

Back in Kent, in the barn behind their father's Dover taproom, the eleven Turner brats had slept tumbled together in the straw because all the beds were rented for a penny a night to travelers. There Lucas had protected her from the despicable things that befell their sisters and brothers (often with their father's connivance). There Sally believed in Lucas's quest to be better than he'd been born to be. When he taught first himself to read, then taught her, she believed. When he wrangled a barbering apprenticeship to the Company of Barbers and Surgeons by showing a member of the gentry the sketch Sally had made of the men, bare arse in the air, rutting with a boy of six beside the stable (and never mind that the child was a Turner), Sally believed. When Lucas sent for her to come to London to join him, and two years later the wrath of the Surgeons drove them both into the street, his sister believed in the rightness of her brother's aspirations. Now, when they had come so far to this strange place, and he was yet again rushing headlong into conflict with authority now, she was less sure.

*

Lucas returned to Stuyvesant's bedroom. His patient lay silent in his bed, rigid with pain. The governor's sister was leaning over him, bathing his face with a cloth dipped in scented water. Lucas leaned toward her. "Send word to the barracks that we'll need three strong men," he said softly. "Make sure they're young, with -- "

"No." Stuyvesant's word was a command. "I'll not be held down."

"I didn't intend for you to overhear me, mijnheer. But I don't mean you to be held down, only held in position. It is through no lack of courage that a man twitches under the knife."

"I will not twitch, barber."

"Mijnheer -- "

"Get on with it, man. Else I'll have you hanged as a charlatan who offers hope when there is none."

Lucas hesitated, looked at Anna Stuyvesant. She shook her head. Lucas took the pewter vial from his pocket. "Very well. Please open your mouth."

"I told you, I don't take strong drink."

"This isn't drink. It's a medicinal draught made by my sister." Stuyvesant still looked wary. "Consider the size of it, mijnheer." Lucas held the tiny pewter tube in front of the other man's eyes. "Could this hold enough rum or geneva to satisfy even an infant's thirst?"

The governor hesitated a second longer, then opened his mouth. Lucas shook the single remaining drop of laudanum onto his tongue. The argument had been pointless there wasn't enough of Sally's decoction to do any good. On the other hand, sometimes what a patient believed to be true was as good as the reality.

"That will make things very much easier," Lucas said. He even managed to sound as if he meant it. "Now, mijnheer, in a moment we must get you out of your bed and over to that chest by the window where the light's best. I'll want you to lean on the chest, support yourself on your elbows. But first" -- he turned to Anna Stuyvesant -- "bring me a bucket, mevrouw. And some cloths. And a kettle of boiling water."

She left. Lucas checked the contents of his surgeon's case. A dozen ties made of sheep's intestines. Three scalpels of different sizes, a couple of saws, a needle threaded with catgut, and, for stone cutting, a fluted probe and a pair of pincers with a jointed handle that could be opened to the width of four spread fingers.

The sound of flies buzzing in the sun beyond the window was the only noise. The man in the bed gritted his teeth against the agony and said nothing, just kept looking at Lucas. Lucas looked back. Finally Anna Stuyvesant returned. "Hot water, you said, and clean cloths and a bucket. It's all here."

"Thank you." Lucas stood up and removed his jacket. He began rolling up the sleeves of his shirt. "Now, mijnheer, may I assist you from the bed?"

"Yes, but first...Anna, go. Leave us alone."

"I do not like to go, Peter. If you should -- "

"This is nothing for a woman to see. Go." And after she had gone, "Very well, barber, let's get this over with. If you hand me my stick I can -- " Stuyvesant broke off, gritted his teeth against another wave of the pain. "Do it," he whispered finally. "I don't care how much it hurts or for how long. For the love of God, man, do it now."

"Forty-five seconds," Lucas promised again. "From the first cut. I swear it."

He helped Stuyvesant hobble to the chest beside the window. The governor leaned forward, taking his weight on his elbows as Lucas directed. In fact Lucas would have preferred that his patient stand on the chest and squat, but a man with one leg couldn't be asked to assume such a position. Bent over like this was the next best thing. Lucas pushed up the governor's nightshirt, exposed the Dutchman's plump buttocks, then, a moment before he began, "There is one thing, Mijnheer Governor."

"What one thing, barber?"

"My fee."

"Are you mad? I'll have you horsewhipped. Of course your fee will be paid. What do you take me for?"

"A strict man but a fair one. I'm told your word is absolutely to be relied on."

"It is. I take it you mean to ask for something other than money." The words came hard, with wheezing breath, limned by pain. "Ask then. Quickly."

"A homestead closer to the town than the one my sister and I have been assigned. And a place inside the town to practice my trade."

Stuyvesant turned his head, looked at Lucas over his shoulder. "There is no place inside the town. In Nieuw Amsterdam the one thing even I can't control is the roofs over people's heads. Fifteen hundred souls between the wharf and the wall, and all of them building where they...For the love of the Almighty, barber, this is an odd sort of conversation to be having with a man when your arse is in his face."

"I do not need much space to practice my craft, mijnheer, a small room will do." Lucas still hadn't touched his instruments.

"But I tell you...Very well. We'll find a corner for you. Now -- "

"And a different piece of land for my sister and myself. As I said, it need not be inside the town, only close to it. In the Voorstadt, perhaps."

Stuyvesant looked into Lucas's eyes for a second more. "Get on with it," he said finally. "You'll have what you ask. A barber shop this side of the wall and a homestead in the Voorstadt. But only if I live to issue the orders."

"I expected you'd see that part of it, mijnheer." Lucas pushed his rolled sleeves further up his arm. "This is only the examining part of the surgery. The forty-five seconds doesn't start until I'm done."

He inserted his finger deep into Stuyvesant's rectum. The governor grunted, but he didn't move. The soft wall of the intestine yielded to probing. Lucas could feel the bladder, and when he pressed a little harder, the stone. "Ah, a pebble of some size, Governor. No wonder it's causing such trouble." Stuyvesant's only answer was his labored breathing. "Now, mijnheer, the forty-five seconds begins. You may start counting."

Lucas yanked the bucket into position below his patient's dangling genitals. He withdrew his finger from the governor's body and took up his scalpel. One quick cut between testes and rectum. Two inches long. Deft and swift, with his arm wrapped around the man's waist to hold him in position. Stuyvesant's body jerked once, but in a second he was again rigid, and he made no sound except for a soft groan.

Blood was obliterating the cut. Lucas grabbed the pincers and inserted them into the wound. One quick snap and the handle opened wide, spreading the flesh apart. He could see the wall of the bladder. He chose another scalpel, smaller than the first, made another quick cut. Less than half an inch, but the sharp reek of urine told him he'd opened the right place. And through it all, Peter Stuyvesant neither moaned nor twitched.

Piss gushed into the leather bucket. And a second later, clearly, a sound that could not be mistaken in the silence broken only by his patient's wheezing breath, the ping made by the stone as it fell. Thanks be to God, he wouldn't have to probe for it.

Lucas had three ligatures ready, thin strands of sheep's intestine. He tied off the blood vessels and mopped the wound with the cloths Anna Stuyvesant had given him. A slow but steady flow of blood was oozing from some vessel he'd cut but couldn't see. There was nothing for it but to lengthen the original opening and tie off the vessel. A lesson he'd learned from bitter experience. Fail to do that and no matter how tightly and neatly you sewed together the flesh, the patient died.

Thirty-five seconds were gone. If he was to live up to his boast he must begin to stitch, but he dared not.

He reached for the smaller scalpel, made the wound half an inch longer at each end. There, the source of the blood was near the top of the cut, close to the kidneys. Lucas grabbed the vessel with his probe, pulled it forward, and tied it off. Forty-two seconds. And not a sound or a movement from the man who was bent over the chest. If anything, the silence was deeper than it had been.

Sweet Jesus Christ, maybe Stuyvesant had stopped breathing. "Mijnheer Governor," Lucas whispered, "can you hear me?"

"Ja." The voice was weak.

Lucas felt a moment of triumph. He and Sally -- finally, fate was smiling on them. "Just checking on you, mijnheer, almost finished." He sponged the wound with hot water, sprinkled on some of Sally's stanching powder. Finally he released the spring on the handles of the pincers, removed the instrument and tossed it aside, then grabbed the needle threaded with a thin strip of sheep's intestines and began to stitch.

"Done," he said a few seconds later. "It's over, Governor. The stone is out. Such pain as you'll have for the next few days is from the wound, and when it heals you'll be cured. Meanwhile you must have a bran and salt enema every day. There is to be no straining at stool."

Lucas helped his patient back to bed while he spoke, supporting the other man with an arm around his waist. "I'll call your sister, shall I," he said when the governor was back in bed and the covers were drawn up over him. "Perhaps you'll sip some ale to restore your -- "

"Fifty-two seconds," Stuyvesant said. "I counted." There was a thin line of blood along the margin of his lower lip. And tooth marks. He'd bitten through his own flesh rather than cry out. "It took you fifty-two seconds, barber, not forty-five."

Lucas nodded. "You had a high bleeder. I had to make a second cut to find it. If I had not, Governor, though I sewed you well up, you would bleed inside your body and be dead before morning."

For a moment he thought Stuyvesant might denounce him as not the stone expert he claimed to be. Instead, "Go down to the waterside. Tell Heini the clerk I said to let you sleep inside the fort tonight, in the storehouse. And that he should come see me in the morning. Tell him I mean to change your land appropriation."

II

It turned out the pitch-blackened corpse hanging near the dock was a kind of scarecrow, a warning to potential wrongdoers, but there were plenty of tall trees in the colony and no lack of real hangings. Inside the fort there was a stockade open to all weather that served as the town jail, and two whipping posts.

Nieuw Amsterdam was not, however, as desolate and forbidding as Lucas and Sally imagined at first sight. Apart from the crumbling earthworks of the fort -- forever in need of repair -- and the macabre display at the waterfront, there was much to please the eye.

Thirty-five years had passed since Peter Minuit bargained with the local tribes for the island. Now the compact settlement occupied about a third of the narrow southern tip of Manhattan, running a scant half-mile from the fort to the wall and sheltered by the hilly, thickly wooded landscape of the rest. To be sure, Nieuw Amsterdam's streets were c

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: New York (N, Y, ) History Colonial period, ca, 1600-1775 Fiction, Manhattan (New York, N, Y, ) Fiction, British Americans Fiction, Dutch Americans Fiction