Guiding Light

As a zeickentrooster, the ex-mercenary old Pierre Monfoort was limited in his ministerial duties. Most importantly, he could not interpret for others what the Bible said — primarily serving by reading scripture and consoling the sick and dying.  Which he did, primarily to Piero Alberti. Although I don’t describe the core of his faith in my first book of my trilogy, ‘Alberti Due,’ (due out this year), I do in ‘Land of Tribute.’ What I left out is best summarized, I think, by Oswald Chambers in his book, ‘My Upmost for His Highest.’

Here, in the reading for May 17th, on page 99, Chambers addresses the part of Christ’s life after His transfiguration dominated by a guiding light such as no one else before or since has experienced, including St. Paul. That is not to say, though, that Christ’s example, however unique to one with such power, did not inspire the ultimate sacrifice of St. Paul and many others since, including Pierre Monfoort.

 

Canals and Bridges of Manhattan

            Perhaps Pieter Caesar Alberti was justified to think early New Amsterdam should have at least one or two canals like his native Venice. After all, hadn’t the Dutch considered the advantages of commerce in his native city when they laid out the ‘grachtengordel’ of Old Amsterdam? Or how wide moat-like canals could serve as protection against enemy attacks? Certainly the original planners of New Amsterdam envisioned that, he had heard more than once.  So it was with a mixture of hope and foresight that he built his first house off the two main ditches of lower Manhattan called ‘Breedegraft’ and ‘Beavergraft.’ Alas it was not to be that this indeed happened only after he had sold his house and lot after moving to the Wallabout on Long Island. Read in my chapter ‘Catalyn Tricault’ about the pleasant situation for the Governors of early New York who lived on Alberti’s former property off these tide-water ditches the English turned into working canals crossed with stone bridges.

            Click here to read about the traditional prize-fighting off the bridges spanning the canals of Venice. And stay tuned for my upcoming book ‘Pugni di Ponte,’ my second book of the trilogy ‘Este/Oeste.’ Discover the fighting culture of Venice as Piero Alberti represents the ‘army’ of his Castellani (sailors) against the ‘army’ of the Nicoletti (fishermen). Through the eyes of one of the fighters, see the very beginnings of the Italian ‘Mafia.’ Listen to the encouragement of the respected ‘reverendissimi’ and ‘generalissimi’ who both organized and directed this intermittent staged ‘warfare’ and kept the peace as the unofficial police force of Venice.

The Dutch Sith

Click here to read about the use of the Dutch sith in the early Dutch colony of New Amsterdam. And the use of salt grass which grew wild on the borders of the sea and rivers. Too bad Pieter Alberti had no idea that the sith wouldn’t work on thick and reedy salt grass the way a scythe did, and so played the fool in front of his Flemish friends who well knew the sith and mattocks worked only on wheat and such thin grasses. Chalk it up to Italian overconfidence.

Great Hurricane

Read the description here of the Great Hurricane Pieter and his friend Hendrick got caught in, that is, unless you already have. The Dutch ingenuity of saw milling really helped out the English that year. They could take the sails off the arms when high winds came up, and when it cleared, they could set the mill in whichever direction the wind came from. The English had no such mill for fifty years after 1635. The trees on Manhattan had been thinned already, by custom of the wildenfolk, to create arbors above for shade in summers – a vast ‘Central Park’ if you will, if on the rough side.  As the winds blew from the north much more than the west, the ease of transport made it an easy choice to cut up there on the cliffs over the Hudson.