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Title: Evenings at Donaldson Manor - Or, The Christmas Guest
Author: McIntosh, Maria J. (Maria Jane), 1803-1878
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Maria J. McIntosh's Works. _PUBLISHED BY D. APPLETON & CO_


I. EVENINGS AT DONALDSON MANOR; OR, THE CHRISTMAS GUEST.

BY MARIA J. McINTOSH.

_Illustrated with Ten Steel Engravings, 8vo., cloth, gilt edges, $3;
morocco, $4._

     "The whole sparkle with strokes of pleasantry and lively criticism,
     and ever and anon reveal most delightful pictures of fireside
     groups. A high-toned morality pervades the whole. We feel sure that
     the book will be a general favorite."--_Commercial Advertiser._

     "It is a book that parents may buy for their children, brothers for
     their sisters, or husbands for their wives, with the assurance that
     the book will not only give pleasure, but convey lessons of love
     and charity that can hardly fail to leave durable impressions of
     moral and social duty upon the mind and heart of the
     reader."--_Evening Mirror._


II.

WOMAN IN AMERICA; HER WORK AND HER REWARD.

BY MARIA J. McINTOSH.

_One Volume, 12mo., paper covers, 50c.; cloth, 75c._

     "We like this work exceedingly, and our fair countrywomen will
     admire it still more than we do. It is written in the true spirit,
     and evinces extensive observation of society, a clear insight into
     the evils surrounding and pressing down her sex, and a glorious
     determination to expose and remove them. Read her work. She will
     win a willing way to the heart and home of woman, and her mission
     will be found to be one of beneficence and love. Truly, woman has
     her work and her reward."--_American Spectator._

     "We thank Miss McIntosh for her 'Woman in America.' She has written
     a clever book, containing much good 'word and truth,' many valuable
     thoughts and reflections, which ought to be carefully considered by
     every American lady."--_Protestant Churchman._


III.

CHARMS AND COUNTER-CHARMS.

BY MARIA J. McINTOSH.

_One Volume, 12mo., cloth, $1; or in Two Parts, paper, 75c._

     "This is one of those healthful, _truthful_ works of fiction, which
     improve the heart and enlighten the judgment, whilst they furnish
     amusement to the passing hour. The style is clear, easy and simple,
     and the construction of the story artistic in a high degree. We
     commend most cordially the book."--_Tribune._


IV.

TWO LIVES; OR, TO SEEM AND TO BE.

BY MARIA J. McINTOSH.

_One Volume, 12mo., paper covers, 50c.; cloth, 75c._

     "The previous works of Miss McIntosh, although issued anonymously,
     have been popular in the best sense of the word. The simple beauty
     of her narratives, combining pure sentiment with high principle,
     and noble views of life and its duties, ought to win for them a
     hearing at every fireside in our land. We have rarely perused a
     tale more interesting and instructive than the one before us, and
     we commend it most cordially to the attention of all our
     readers."--_Protestant Churchman._


V.

AUNT KITTY'S TALES.

BY MARIA J. McINTOSH.

_A new edition, complete in One Vol., 12mo., cloth, 75c.; paper, 50c._

     This volume contains the following delightfully interesting
     stories: "Blind Alice," "Jessie Graham," "Florence Arnott," "Grace
     and Clara," "Ellen Leslie; or, the Reward of Self Control."



POPULAR BOOKS FOR DOMESTIC READING =PUBLISHED BY D. APPLETON & CO.=

Most of these volumes may be had in cloth, gilt edges, at 25 cts. per
vol. extra.

       *       *       *       *       *


=GRACE AGUILAR'S WORKS.=

  1. HOME SCENES AND HEART STUDIES. 12mo., cloth, 75 cents; paper
    cover, 50 cents.

  2. THE DAYS OF BRUCE. 2 vols. 12mo., cloth, $1.50.

  3. THE WOMEN OF ISRAEL. 2 vols. 12mo., clo. $1.50, pap. $1.

  4. THE MOTHER'S RECOMPENSE. 12mo., cloth, 75 cents; paper, 50
    cents.

  5. THE VALE OF CEDARS; or, the Martyr. 12mo., cloth, 75 cts.;
    paper, 50 cts.

  6. WOMAN'S FRIENDSHIP; a Domestic Story. 12mo., cloth, 75 cts.;
    paper, 50 cts.


=MRS. ELLIS'S LAST WORK.=

  HEARTS AND HOMES; a Story. Two parts bound in 1 vol. 8vo., cloth,
    $1.50; paper, $1.


=MISS SEWELL'S WORKS.=

  1. THE EARL'S DAUGHTER; a Tale. 12mo., cloth, 75 cts., paper, 50
    cts.

  2. GERTRUDE; a Tale. 1 vol. 12mo., cloth, 75 cts.; paper, 50 cts.

  3. AMY HERBERT. 1 vol. 12mo., cloth, 75 cts.; paper, 50 cts.

  4. MARGARET PERCIVAL. 2 vols. 12mo., cloth $1.50; paper, $1.

  5. LANETON PARSONAGE. 3 vols. 12mo., clo., $2.25; pap., $1.50.

  6. WALTER LORIMER, with other Tales. Illustrated. 12mo., cloth, 75
    cts.; paper, 50 cts.

  7. JOURNAL OF A SUMMER TOUR. 12mo., cloth, $1.

  8. EXPERIENCE OF LIFE. 12mo. (Just ready.) Cloth, 75 cts.; paper,
    50 cts.


=MISS McINTOSH'S WORKS.=

  1. EVENINGS AT DONALDSON MANOR. 12mo., clo., 75 cts.

  2. TWO LIVES; or, To Seem and To Be: a Tale. 12mo., cloth, 75
    cts.; paper, 50 cts.

  3. AUNT KITTY'S TALES. 1 vol. 12mo., clo., 75 cts.; pap., 50 cts.

  4. CHARMS AND COUNTER-CHARMS; a Tale. 1 vol. 12mo., cloth, $1;
    paper, 75 cts.

  5. WOMAN IN AMERICA. 12mo., cloth 62 cts.; paper, 50 cts.

  6. THE LOFTY AND THE LOWLY. 2 vols. 12mo., cloth. (Just ready.)


=JULIA KAVANAGH'S WORKS.=

  1. DAISY BURNS. 1 vol. 12mo., cloth, or paper. (Just ready.)

  2. MADELEINE; a Tale. 1 vol. 12mo., cloth, 75 cts.; paper, 50 cts.

  3. NATHALIE; a Tale. 1 vol. 12mo., cloth, $1; paper, 75 cts.

  4. WOMEN OF CHRISTIANITY. 1 vol. 12mo., cloth, 75 cts.


=WORKS BY A. S. ROE.=

  1. TO LOVE AND TO BE LOVED. 1 vol. 12mo., cloth, 63 cts.

  2. JAMES MONTJOY. 1 vol. 12mo., cloth, 75 cts.; paper, 62 cts.

  3. TIME AND TIDE. 1 vol. 12mo., 62 cts.; paper, 38 cts.


=LADY FULLERTON.=

  1. GRANTLEY MANOR; a Tale. 1 vol. 12mo., cloth, 75 cts.; paper,
    50 cts.

  2. ELLEN MIDDLETON; a Tale. 1 vol. 12mo., cloth, 75 cts.; paper,
    50 cts.



EVENINGS

AT

DONALDSON MANOR;

OR,

The Christmas Guest.



BY MARIA J. McINTOSH,

AUTHOR OF

"TWO LIVES," "CHARMS AND COUNTER-CHARMS," ETC., ETC.



A NEW REVISED EDITION.


    "Oh Winter! ruler of the inverted year,
    I crown thee king of intimate delights,
    Fireside enjoyments, homeborn happiness."

COWPER.

NEW-YORK:
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY, 200 BROADWAY,
AND 16 LITTLE BRITAIN, LONDON.
1853.



PREFACE TO THE ENGLISH EDITION.


In Miss McIntosh we fondly and proudly greet a transatlantic sister, and
as delightedly introduce her, a "CHRISTMAS GUEST," to our own home
circle. She is worthy of all honor and affection.

Miss McIntosh's writings are eminently pure in feeling--tender,
graceful, and elegant in manner. Their moral, simply and unstrainedly
developed, is invariably excellent--generously exciting, stimulating,
encouraging all the noblest energies of our nature. To use her own
words, addressed to her friends in America, and with equal propriety may
they be accepted by the rising generation, and by every grade of
society, at every period of life, in her unforgotten fatherland--"From
the examples she will present to them, they may learn that to the brave
and true and faithful heart, 'all things are possible'--that he who
clings to the good and the holy amidst temptation and trial, will find
peace and light within him, though all without be storm and darkness;
and that in a right understanding and unfaltering performance of
duty--not in the pomps and pleasures of a self-indulgent life, lie our
true glory and happiness."

Not a tale, not a sketch, not an appeal to the heart or to the mind in
any form, does our fair sister commit to paper, that is not pervaded,
though unobtrusively, by a strain of the sweetest, gentlest, most
cheerful and soul-elevating piety; it is hers at once to soothe, to
charm, and to exhilarate.

Our "CHRISTMAS GUEST" well knows how to furnish forth a feast of
infinite variety. Few, if any, will arise from a perusal of her
delightful "word-painting" of life, incident, adventure, and character,
without being wiser, better, happier; without enjoying a more entire
confidingness in Heaven--in HIM, that _God of love and goodness_, whom
Christians unite to worship.

LONDON, December 4, 1850.



CONTENTS.


                                                             PAGE
CHAPTER I.
INTRODUCTORY,                                                  9

CHAPTER II.
"THE MAIN CHANCE,"                                            17

CHAPTER III.
THE CRADLE-SONG; A FREE TRANSLATION FROM KÖRNER,              35
THE BROTHERS; OR, IN THE FASHION, AND ABOVE THE FASHION,      37

CHAPTER IV.
LOSS AND GAIN; OR, HEARTS VERSUS DIAMONDS,                    48

CHAPTER V.
THE BIRD'S RELEASE. BY MRS. HEMANS,                           70
THE YOUNG MISANTHROPE,                                        72

CHAPTER VI.
LIFE IN AMERICA,                                              91

CHAPTER VII.
SUNDAY,                                                      126
EVENING HYMN,                                                128

CHAPTER VIII.

THE WOLF CHASE,                                              133

CHAPTER IX.

THE HISTORY OF AN OLD MAID,                                  140

CHAPTER X.

THE FAMILY MEETING,                                          166

CHAPTER XI.

THE DYING HEBREW,                                            169
"ONLY A MECHANIC,"                                           172

CHAPTER XII.

LOVE AND PRIDE,                                              196

CHAPTER XIII.

THE TEST OF LOVE. A STORY OF THE LAST WAR,                   227

CHAPTER XIV.

THE FLOWER ANGELS,                                           266



THE

CHRISTMAS GUEST;

OR,

EVENINGS AT DONALDSON MANOR.



CHAPTER I.


The largest and the most picturesque country-house of all I know in
America, is the mansion house of my friends, the Donaldsons. I would
gladly inform the reader of its locality, but this Colonel Donaldson has
positively prohibited, for a reason too flattering to my self-love to be
resisted.

"You know, my dear Madam,"--I give his own words, by which I hope the
courteous reader will understand that I am really too modest even to
seem to adopt the flattering sentiment they convey--"You know, my dear
madam, that your description will be read by every body who is any body,
and that through it my simple home will become classic ground. If I
permit you to direct the tourist tribe to it, I shall be pestered out of
my life when summer comes, by travelling artists, would-be poets, and
romantic young ladies."

I may not therefore, dear reader, tell you whether this pleasant abode
be washed by the waves of the Atlantic or by the turbid current of the
Mississippi; whether it be fanned by the flower-laden zephyrs of the
South, or by the health-inspiring breezes of the North. The exterior
must indeed have been left wholly to your imagination, had I not
fortunately obtained a sketch from a young friend, an _amateur_ artist,
of whom I shall have more to say presently. As I could not in honor
present you with even this poor substitute, as I trust you will consider
it, for my word-painting, without Colonel Donaldson's consent, I have
been compelled, in deference to his wish, to divest the picture of every
thing that would mark the geographical position of the place
represented. The shape of its noble old trees we have been permitted to
retain; but their foliage we have been obliged to render so
indistinctly, that even Linnæus himself would find it impossible to
decide whether it belonged to the elm of the North when clothed in all
its summer luxuriance, or to the gigantic live-oak of the South. Even of
the house itself we have been permitted to give but a rear view, lest
the more marked features of the landscape in front should hint of its
whereabouts. As to the figures which appear in the foreground of the
picture, they are but figments of my young artist friend's imagination.
One of them you may observe carries under the arm a sheaf of wheat, not
a stalk of which I assure you ever grew on the Donaldson lands.

Even from this imperfect picture of the exterior, you will perceive that
the house is, as I have said, both large and picturesque. Within, the
rooms go rambling about in such a strange fashion, that an unaccustomed
guest attempting to make his way without a guide to the _chambre de
nuit_ in which he had slept only the night before, would be very apt to
find himself in the condition of a certain bird celebrated in nursery
rhymes as wandering,

    Up stairs and down stairs
    And in the ladies' chambers.

In this house have the Donaldsons lived and died for nearly two hundred
years, and during all that time they have never failed to observe the
Christmas with right genuine, old English hospitality. Then, their sons
and their daughters, their men-servants and their maid-servants, and the
stranger within their gates, felt the genial influence of their
gratitude to Him who added year after year almost unbroken temporal
prosperity to the priceless gift commemorated by that festival. At many
of these _rëunions_ it has been my good fortune to be present. Indeed,
though only "AUNT Nancy," by that courtesy which so often accords to the
single sisterhood some endearing title, as a consolation, I presume, for
the more honorable one of MRS. which their good or evil fortune has
denied them, I have been ever received at Donaldson Manor as at my own
familiar home; nor was it matter of surprise to myself or to our mutual
friends, when the Col. and Mrs. Donaldson named their fourth daughter
after me, modifying the old-fashioned Nancy, however, into its more
agreeable synonyme of Annie.

This daughter has been, of course, my peculiar pet. In truth, however,
she has been scarcely less the peculiar pet of father and mother,
brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors--sweet Annie Donaldson, as
all unite in calling her, and certainly a sweeter, fresher bud of beauty
never opened to the light than my name-child. And yet, reader, it may be
that could I faithfully stamp her portrait on my page, you would exclaim
at my taste, and declare there was no beauty in it. I will even
acknowledge that you may be right, and that there is nothing
artistically beautiful in the dark-gray eyes, the clear and healthy yet
not dazzlingly fair complexion, the straight though glossy dark-brown
hair, and the form, rounded and buoyant, but neither tall enough to be
dignified nor _petite_ enough to be fairy-like. But sure I am that you
could not know the spirit, gentle and playful yet lofty and earnest,
which looks out from her eyes and speaks in her clear, silvery tones and
graceful gestures, without feeling that Annie Donaldson is beautiful.
Nor am I alone in this opinion. My friend Mr. Arlington fully agrees
with me, as you would be convinced if you could see the admiring
expression with which he gazes on her. As this gentleman cannot plead
the Colonel's reason for any reserve respecting his place of residence,
I shall not hesitate to inform the reader that he is a young lawyer of
New-York, who has preserved, amidst much study and some business, the
natural taste necessary to the enjoyment of country scenes and country
sports. During those weeks of summer when New-York is deserted, alike by
the wearied man of business and the _ennuyé_ idler, Mr. Arlington,
instead of rushing with the latter to the overcrowded hotels of Saratoga
and Newport, takes his gun and dog, his pencil and sketch-book, and with
an agreeable companion, or, if this may not be, some choice books, as a
resource against a rainy day, he goes to some wild spot--the wilder the
better--where he roves at will from point to point of interest and
beauty, and spends his time in reading, sketching, and--alas, for human
imperfection!--shooting. These vagrant habits first brought him into the
neighborhood of Donaldson Manor, and he had for two successive summers
hunted with the Colonel and sketched with the young ladies, when he was
invited to join their Christmas party in 18--. Here I was introduced to
him, and in a few days we were the best friends in the world.

Mr. Arlington's sketch-book, of which I have already spoken, served to
elicit one of our points of sympathy. Bound down by the iron chain of
necessity to that point of space occupied by my own land, and that point
of time filled by my own life, yet with a heart longing for acquaintance
with the beautiful distant and the noble past, I have ever loved the
creations of that art which furnished food to these longings; and as my
fortune has denied me the possession of fine _paintings_, I have become
somewhat noted in my own little circle for my collection of fine
_engravings_. Many of these have peculiar charms for me, from their
association, fancied or real, with some place or person that does
interest or has interested me. In the leisure of a solitary life, it has
amused me to append to these engravings a description of the scenes or a
narrative of the incidents which they suggested to my mind, and for
their association with which I particularly valued them. Annie was well
aware of the existence of these descriptions and narratives, and, with a
pretty despotism which she often exercises over those she loves, she
insisted that I should surrender them to her for the gratification of
the assembled party. One condition only was I permitted to make in this
surrender, and this was, that Mr. Arlington should also bring forth his
portfolio for inspection, and should describe the _locale_ of the scene
sketched, or relate the circumstances under which the sketches were
made. A pretty _ruse_ this, my gentle Annie, by which you furnished the
artist with an opportunity to display to others the talents which had
charmed yourself. In accordance with this compact, the drawings, with
their accompanying narratives, were produced, and received with such
approbation, that by the same sweet tyranny which drew them from their
hiding-places, we have been ordered to send this Christmas Guest to bear
the simple stories to other houses, with the hope that they may give
equal pleasure to their inmates.



CHAPTER II.


Merrily blazed the wood fire in the huge old chimney of the large parlor
in which we were accustomed to assemble in the evening, at Donaldson
Manor, and its light was thrown upon faces bright with good-humored
merriment, yet not without some touch of deeper and more earnest
feeling. That party would of itself have made an interesting picture.
There was Col. Donaldson, tall, gaunt, his figure slightly bent, yet
evincing no feebleness, his curling snow-white locks, his broad bold
forehead, and shaggy brows overhanging eyes beaming with kindness.
Beside him sat Mrs. Donaldson, still beautiful in her green old age. Her
face was usually pale, yet her clear complexion, and the bright eyes
that looked out from beneath the rich Valenciennes border of her cap,
redeemed it from the appearance of ill health. Her form, stately yet
inclining to _embonpoint_, was shown to advantage by the soft folds of
the rich and glossy satin dress which ordinarily, at mid-day, took the
place in summer of her cambric morning-dress, and in winter of her
cashmere _robe de chambre_. Mrs. Donaldson has a piece of fancy netting
which she reserves for her evening work, because, she says, it does not
make much demand upon her eyes. This the mischievous and privileged
Annie calls "Penelope's Web," declaring, that whatever is done on it in
the evening is undone the next morning. Around the table, on which the
brightest lights were placed for the convenience of those who would
read or sew, clustered the two married daughters of the house--who
always return to their "_home_," as they still continue to call
Donaldson Manor, for the Christmas holidays--Annie, Mr. Arlington, and
myself. Miss Donaldson, the eldest daughter of my worthy friends, is the
housekeeper of the family, and usually sits quietly beside her mother,
somewhat fatigued probably by the active employments of her day. The two
sons of Col. Donaldson, the elder of whom is only twenty-three, his
sons-in-law, and his grandson, Robert Dudley, a fine lad of twelve, give
animation to the scene by moving hither and thither, now joining our
group at the table, now discussing in a corner the amusements of
to-morrow, and now entertaining us with a graphic account of to-day's
adventures, of the sleighs upset, or the skating-matches won.

Such was the party assembled little more than a week before Christmas
the last year, when Annie called upon Mr. Arlington and myself to redeem
the pledges we had given, and surrender our portfolios to her. Some
slight contention arose between us on the question who should first
contribute to the entertainment of the company; Mr. Arlington exclaiming
"_Place aux Dames_," and I contending that there was great want of
chivalry in thus putting a woman into the front of the battle. This
little dispute was terminated by the proposal that Annie having been
blindfolded to secure impartial justice, the two portfolios should be
placed on the table, and she should choose, not only from which of them
our entertainment should be drawn, but the very subject that should
furnish it. Mr. Arlington vehemently applauded this proposal, and then
urged that he must himself tie the handkerchief, as no one else, he
feared, would make it an effectual blind. Annie submitted to his demand,
though she professed to feel great indignation at his implied doubt of
her honesty. No one else, we believe, would have taken so much time for
the disposal of this screen, or been so careful in the arrangement of
the bands of hair over which, or through which, the handkerchief was
passed; and the touch of no other hand, perhaps, would have called up so
bright a color to the cheeks, and even to the brow, of our sweet Annie.
When permitted to exercise her office, Annie, to my great pleasure,
without an instant's hesitation, while a mischievous little smile played
at the corners of her mouth, placed her hand on Mr. Arlington's
portfolio, and drew from it a paper, which, on being exhibited, was
found to contain the pencilled outline of many heads grouped together in
various positions, some being apparently elevated considerably above the
others.

"Ah, Miss Annie!" exclaimed Mr. Arlington, with considerable
satisfaction apparent in his voice and manner, "you must try again, and
I think I must trouble you, ladies, for another handkerchief. This seems
to me to have been scarcely thick enough."

"I appeal to the company," cried Annie, "whether this is in accordance
with Mr. Arlington's engagement. Was he not to accept any thing I should
draw from his portfolio as the foundation of his sketch?"

"Ay, ay," was responded from every part of the room.

"But pray, my good friends," persisted Mr. Arlington, "observe the
impossibility of compliance with your demand. How can I possibly hope to
entertain you by any thing based upon that memento of an idle hour in
court, which I should long ago have destroyed, had I not fancied that I
could detect in those sketchy outlines--those mere profiles--very
accurate likenesses of the heads for which they were taken?"

"Those heads look as though they might have histories attached to them,"
said Annie, as she bent to examine them more narrowly.

"Histories indeed they have," said Mr. Arlington.

"Give them to us," suggested Col. Donaldson.

"You have them already. These are all men whose histories are as well
known to the public as to their own families. There is the elder K----,
at once so simple in heart and so acute in mind. Cannot you read both in
his face? There is his son; and there is D. B. O----, and O. H----, and
G----, and J----. What can I tell you of any of them that you do not
know already?"

"Who are these?" asked Annie, pointing to two heads, placed somewhat
aloof from the rest, and near each other. "That older face is so
benevolent in its expression, and the younger has so noble a
physiognomy, and looks with such reverence on his companion, that I am
persuaded they have a history beyond that which belongs to the world. Is
it not so?"

"It is. Those are Mr. Cavendish and Herbert Latimer. They have a
history, and I will give it you if you desire it, though, thus
impromptu, I must do it very imperfectly I fear."

"No apologies," said Col. Donaldson. "Begin, and do your best; no one
can do more."

"Than _my_ best," said Mr. Arlington, with a smile, "thank you. My
narrative will have at least one recommendation--truth--as I have
received its incidents from Latimer himself."

Without further preliminary, Mr. Arlington commenced the relation of the
following circumstances, which he has since written out, by Annie's
request, at somewhat greater length for insertion here, giving it the
title of


THE MAIN CHANCE.

Herbert Latimer was only twenty when, having passed the usual
examination, he was admitted, by a special act of the legislative
assembly of his native State, to practise at the bar. Young as he was,
he had already experienced some of the severest vicissitudes of life.
His father had been a bold, and for many years a successful merchant,
and the young Herbert, his only child, had been born and nurtured in the
lap of wealth and luxury. He was only sixteen--a boy--but a boy full of
the noble aspirations and lofty hopes that make manhood honorable, when
his father died. Mr. Latimer's last illness had been probably rendered
fatal by the intense anxiety of mind he endured while awaiting
intelligence of the result of a mercantile operation, on which, contrary
to the cautious habits of his earlier years, he had risked well nigh all
he possessed. He did not live to learn that it had completely failed,
and that his wife and child were left with what would have seemed to him
the merest pittance for their support.

The character and talents of young Latimer were well known to his
father's friends, and more than one among them offered him a clerkship
on what could not but be considered as very advantageous terms. To these
offers Herbert listened with painful indecision. For himself, he would
have suffered cheerfully any privation, rather than relinquish the
career which his inclinations had prompted, and with which were
connected all his glowing visions of the future--but his mother--had he
a right to refuse what would enable her to preserve all her accustomed
elegances and indulgences?

"You must be aware, Master Latimer," said he who had made him the most
liberal offers, and who saw him hesitating on their acceptance, "you
must be aware that only my friendship for your father could induce me to
offer such terms to so young a man, howsoever capable. Three hundred
dollars this year, five hundred the next, if you give satisfaction in
the performance of your duties, a thousand dollars after that till you
are of age, and then a share in the business equal to one-fourth of its
profits--these are terms, sir, which I would offer to no one else. Your
father was a friend to me, sir, and I would be a friend to his son."

"I feel your kindness and liberality, sir."

"And yet you hesitate?"

"Will you permit me, sir, to ask till to-morrow for consideration? I
must consult my mother."

"That is right, young man; that is right. She knows something of life,
and will, I doubt not, advise you to close with so unexceptionable an
offer."

"Whatever she may advise, sir, be assured I will do."

"I have no doubt then, sir, that I shall see you to-morrow prepared to
take your place in my store. Good morning."

Assuming as cheerful an air as he could, Herbert went from this
interview to his mother's sitting room. Mrs. Latimer raised her eyes to
his as he entered, and reading with a mother's quick perception the
disturbance of his mind, she asked him in a tone of alarm, "What is the
matter, Herbert?"

"Only a very pleasant matter, mother," said Herbert, with forced
cheerfulness, which he endeavored to preserve while relating the offer
just received.

"And would you relinquish the study of the law, Herbert?" inquired Mrs.
Latimer.

"Not if I could help it, mother; but you know Mr. Woodleigh told you
that five hundred dollars a year was the utmost that he could hope to
save for you. If I study law, it must be several years before I can add
any thing to this sum--I may even be compelled----" The features of
Herbert worked, tears rushed to his eyes, and he turned away, unable to
speak the thought that distressed him.

"You speak of what can be saved for _me_, Herbert--of what _you_ may be
compelled to do. Do you suppose that we can have separate interests in
this question?--are not your hopes my hopes--will not your success, your
triumph, be mine too? The only consideration for us, it seems to me, is
whether the profession you have chosen and the prospects open to you in
it, are worth some present sacrifice."

"They are worth every sacrifice on my part--but you, mother----"

"Have no separate interest from my child--I have shared all your hopes,
all your aspirations, Herbert, and it would cost me less to live on
bread and water, to dress coarsely, and lodge hardly for the next five
years, than to yield my anticipations of your future success."

Others had felt _for_ Herbert, and had offered to aid him, and he had
turned from them with a deeper sense of his need and diminished
confidence in his own powers--his mother felt _with_ him, and he was
cheered and strengthened. The offers of the friendly merchant were
gratefully declined. By the sale of her jewels, Mrs. Latimer obtained
the sum necessary to meet the expenses incident to her son's first
entrance on his professional studies. She then appropriated three
hundred dollars of their little income to his support in the city, and
withdrew herself to the country, where, she said, the remaining two
hundred would supply all her wants. When Herbert would have remonstrated
against these arrangements, she reminded him that they were intended to
accomplish her own wishes no less than his. He ceased to remonstrate,
but he did what was better--he acted--and the very first year, by
self-denying economy and industry, he was enabled to return to her fifty
dollars of the amount she had allotted to him. The second year he did
better, and the third year Mrs. Latimer was able to return to the city
and board at the same house with her son. It was only by the joy she
expressed at their re-union that Herbert learned how painful the
separation had been to her. She would not waste his strength and her own
in vain lamentation over a necessary evil. Four years sufficed to
prepare Herbert Latimer for his profession, and through the influence of
some of his mother's early friends, exerted at her earnest request, the
legislative act which permitted his entrance on its duties, was passed.
The knowledge of his circumstances had excited a warm interest for him
in many minds, and they who heard his name for the first time, when he
stood before them for examination, could not but feel prepossessed in
favor of the youth, on whose bold brow deep and lofty thoughts had left
their impress, and in whose grave, earnest eyes the spirit seer might
have read the history of a life of endurance and silent struggle. All
were interested in him--all evinced that interest by gentle courtesy of
manner--and almost all seemed desirous to make his examination as light
as possible--all save one--one usually as remarkable for his indulgence
to young aspirants, as for the legal acumen and extensive knowledge,
which had won for him a large share of the profits and honors of his
profession. His associates now wondered to find him so rigidly exact in
his trial of young Latimer's acquirements.

"You were very severe on our young tyro to-day," said a brother lawyer,
and one on whom early associations and similarity of pursuits, rather
than of tastes, had conferred the privileges of a friend on Mr.
Cavendish, as they walked together from the court-house.

"I saw that he did not need indulgence, and I gave him an opportunity of
proving to others that he did not--but I had another and more selfish
reason for my rigid test of his powers."

Mr. Cavendish spoke smilingly, and his friend was emboldened to
ask--"And pray what selfish motive could you have for it!"

"I wished to see whether he would suit me as a partner."

"A partner!"

"Yes--when a man has lived for half a century, he begins to think that
he may possibly grow old some day, and I would provide myself with a
young partner, who may take the laboring oar in my business when age
compels me to lay it aside."

"All that may do very well--I have some thought of doing the same
myself; but I shall look out for a young man who is well connected.
Connections do a great deal for us, you know, and we must always have an
eye to the main chance."

"I agree with you, but we should probably differ about what constitutes
the main chance."

"There surely can be no difference about that; it means with every one
the one thing needful."

"And what is, in your opinion, the one thing needful?"

"Why this, to be sure," and Mr. Duffield drew his purse from his pocket,
and shook it playfully.

"A somewhat different use of the term from that which the Bible makes,"
said Mr. Cavendish.

"Oh! let the Bible alone, and let me hear what you think of it."

"Pardon me, I cannot let the Bible alone if I tell you my own opinions,
for from the Bible I learned them."

"It seems a strange book, I must say, to consult for a law of
partnerships."

"Had you a better acquaintance with it, Duffield, you would learn that
its principles apply to all the relations of life. The difference
between us is, that when you estimate man's chief object, or as you call
it, his 'main chance,' you take only the present into view, you leave
out of sight altogether the interminable future, with its higher hopes
and deeper interests, and relations of immeasurably greater importance."

"I find it enough for one poor brain to calculate for the present."

"A great deal too much you will find it, if you leave out of your sum
so important an item as the relations of that present to the future.
Depend on it, Duffield, that he makes the most for this life, as well as
for the next, of his time, his talents, and his wealth, who uses them as
God's steward, for the happiness of his fellow-creatures, as well as for
his own."

"And so, for the happiness of your fellow-creatures, you are going to
give away half of the best practice in the State?"

"I am going to do no such thing. In the first place, I did not tell you
that I was going to offer young Latimer an equal division of the profits
of my practice; and for what I may offer him I have already taken care
to ascertain that he can return a full equivalent. His talents need only
a vantage-ground on which to act, and I rejoice to be able to give him
that which my own early experience taught me to value."

"Well--we shall see ten years hence how your rule and mine work. I think
I shall offer a partnership to young Conway--he is already rising in his
profession, and is connected with some of our wealthiest families."

"Very well--we shall see."

Herbert Latimer had nerved himself to endure five, or it might be ten
more years of profitless toil, ere he should gain a position which would
make his talents available for more than the mere essentials of
existence. Let those who have looked on so dreary a prospect--who have
buckled on their armor for such a combat--judge of the grateful emotion
with which he received the generous proposal of Mr. Cavendish. This
proposal, while it gave him at once an opportunity for the exercise of
his powers, secured to him for the first year one-fifth, for the two
following years one-fourth, and after that, if neither partner chose to
withdraw from the connection, one-half of the profits of a business, the
receipts of which had for several years averaged over ten thousand
dollars. Mr. Cavendish soon found that he had done well to trust to the
gratitude of his young partner for inducing the most active exercise of
his powers. Stimulated by the desire to prove himself not unworthy of
such kindness, and to secure his generous friend from any loss, Herbert
never overlooked aught that could advance the interests, nor grew weary
of any task that could lighten the toil of Mr. Cavendish.

"Herbert, you really make me ashamed of myself, you are so constantly
busy that I seem idle in comparison," said Mr. Cavendish, as he prepared
one day to lay by his papers and leave the office at three o'clock.
"Pray put away those musty books, and bring Mrs. Latimer to dine with
us--this is a fête day with us. My daughter, who has been for two months
with her uncle and aunt in Washington, has returned, and I want to
introduce her to Mrs. Latimer."

"My mother will come to you with pleasure, I am sure."

"And you?"

"Will come too, if I possibly can. You dine at five?"

"Yes--and remember punctuality is the soul of dinner as well as of
business. So do not let the charms of Coke upon Lyttleton make you
forget that fair ladies and hungry gentlemen are expecting you." Mr.
Cavendish closed the door with a smiling face, and Herbert Latimer
turned for another hour to his books and papers. At a quarter before
five he stood with his mother in the drawing-room of Mr. Cavendish, and
received his first introduction to one who soon became the star of his
life.

Mary Cavendish was not beautiful--far less could the word pretty have
been applied to her--but she was lovely. All that we most love in woman,
all pure and peaceful thoughts, all sweet and gentle affections, seemed
to beam from her eyes, or to sit throned upon her fair and open brow.
She had enjoyed all the advantages, as it is termed, of a fashionable
education, but the influences of her home had been more powerful than
those of her school, and she remained what nature had made her--a
warm-hearted, truthful, generous, and gentle girl--too ingenuous for the
pretty affectations, too generous for the heartless coquetries which too
often teach us that the _accomplished_ young lady has sacrificed, for
her external refinement, qualities of a nobler stamp and more delicate
beauty. The only daughter among several children, she was an idol in her
home, and every movement of her life seemed impelled by the desire to
repay the wealth of affection that was lavished upon her. It was
impossible to see such a being daily in the intimacy of her home
associations--the sphere in which her gentle spirit shone most
brightly--without loving her; and Herbert soon felt that he loved her,
yet he added in his thoughts "in all honor," and to him it would have
seemed little honorable to attempt to win this priceless treasure from
him to whose generosity he had owed his place in her circle. Mrs.
Latimer, though she did not fear for her son's honor, trembled for his
future peace as she marked the sadness which often stole over him, after
spending an hour in the society of this lovely girl; but Mrs. Latimer
was a wise woman--she knew that speech is to such emotions often as the
lighted match to a magazine, and she kept silence.

For almost a year after his introduction, Herbert continued in daily
intercourse with Mary Cavendish to drink fresh draughts of love, yet so
carefully did he guard his manner, that no suspicion of his warmer
emotions threw a shadow over her friendship, or checked the frankness
with which she unveiled to him the rich treasures of her mind and heart.
It was in the autumn succeeding their first acquaintance that Mr. and
Mrs. Cavendish issued cards for a large party at their house. It would
be too gay a scene for the quiet taste of Mrs. Latimer, but Herbert
would be there, and at the request of Mrs. Cavendish he promised to come
early. The promise was kept. He arrived half an hour at least before
any other guest, bringing with him a bouquet of rare and beautiful
flowers for Mary. As he entered the hall he heard a slight scream from
the parlor beside whose open door he stood. The scream was in a voice to
whose lightest tone his heart responded, and in an instant, he was
beside Mary Cavendish, had clasped her in his arms, and pressing her
closely to his person, was endeavoring to extinguish with his hands the
flames that enveloped her. The evening was cold: there was a fire in the
stove, before which Mary stood arranging some flowers on the
mantel-piece, when the door was opened for him. The sudden rush of air
had wafted her light, floating drapery of gauze and lace into the fire,
and in a moment all was in a blaze. Fortunate was it for her, that under
this light, flimsy drapery, was worn a dress of stouter texture and less
combustible material--a rich satin. After the slight scream which had
brought him to her side, Mary uttered no sound, and with his whole soul
concentrated on action, he had been equally silent till the last spark
was smothered. Then gazing wildly in her pallid face he exclaimed, "In
mercy speak to me! Did I come too late? Are you burned?"

"I scarcely know--I think not," she faltered out. Then, as she made an
effort to withdraw from his arms, added quickly--"no--not at all."

Completely overpowered by the revulsion of feeling which those words
occasioned, Herbert clasped her again in his arms, and fervently
ejaculating, "Thank God!" pressed his lips to her cheek. At that moment,
the voice of Mr. Cavendish was heard in the next room, and breaking from
him, Mary rushed to her astonished father, and burying her face in his
bosom, burst into tears. Aroused to full consciousness by the presence
of another, Herbert stood trembling and dismayed at the remembrance of
his own rashness. Agitated as she was, Mary was compelled to answer her
father's questions, for he seemed wholly unable to speak.

"Latimer, I owe my child's life probably to you. How shall I repay the
debt?" cried Mr. Cavendish, attempting, as he spoke, to clasp Herbert's
hand. He winced at the touch, and a sudden contraction passed over his
face.

"You are burned," said Mr. Cavendish, and would have examined his hand,
but throwing his handkerchief over it, Herbert declared it was not worth
mentioning, though at the same time he confessed that the pain was
sufficient to make him desirous to return home, and have some soothing
application made to it. Mr. Cavendish parted from him with regret, with
earnest charges that he should take care of himself, and equally earnest
hopes that he might be sufficiently relieved to return to them before
the evening was passed; but Mary still lay in her father's arms, with
her face hidden, and noticed Herbert's departure neither by word nor
look.

"I have outraged her delicacy, and she cannot bear even to see me," he
said to himself.

In passing out he accidentally trod on the flowers which he had selected
with such care--"Crushed like my own heart!" he ejaculated mentally.

A fortnight passed before Herbert Latimer could take his accustomed
place in the office of Mr. Cavendish. His hand had been deeply
burned--so deeply that the pain had produced fever. During this period
of suffering, Mr. Cavendish had often visited him, and Mrs. Cavendish
had more than once taken his mother's place at his bedside; but Herbert
found little pleasure in their attentions, for he said to himself, "If
they knew all my presumption, they would be less kind."

His illness passed away, his hand healed, and he resumed his accustomed
avocations; but no invitation, however urgent, could win him again to
the house of Mr. Cavendish. "I have proved my own weakness--I will not
place myself again in the way of temptation," was the language of his
heart. Apologies became awkward. He felt that he must seem to his friend
ungracious if not ungrateful; and one day observing unusual seriousness
in the countenance of Mr. Cavendish on his declining an invitation to
dine with him, he exclaimed, "You look displeased, and I can hardly
wonder at it; but could you know my reason for denying myself the
pleasure of visiting you, I am sure you would think me right."

"Perhaps so; but as I do not know it, you cannot be surprised that your
determined withdrawal from our circle should wound both my feelings and
those of my family."

Herbert covered his eyes with his hand for a moment, and then turning
them with a grave and even sad expression on Mr. Cavendish, said, "I
have declined your invitations only because I could not accept them with
honor: I love your daughter--I have loved her almost from the first hour
of my acquaintance with her."

"And why have you not told me so before, Herbert?" asked Mr. Cavendish,
with no anger in his tones.

"Because I believed myself capable of loving in silence, and while I
wronged no one, I was willing to indulge in the sweet poison of her
society; but a moment of danger to her destroyed my self-control. What
has been may be again--I have learned to distrust myself--I cannot
tamper with temptation, lest I should one day use the position in which
you have placed me, and the advantages which you have bestowed on me, in
endeavoring to win from you a treasure which you may well be reluctant
to yield to me."

"Herbert, I only blame you for not having spoken to me sooner of this."

"I feel now that I should have done so--it was a want of
self-knowledge, the rash confidence of one untried which kept me
silent."

"No, Herbert--it was a want of knowledge of me--of confidence in my
justice--I will not say my kindness. What higher views do you suppose I
can entertain for my daughter, than to make her the wife of one who has
a prospect of obtaining the most distinguished eminence in my own
profession."

"If that prospect be mine, to you I owe it--could I make it a plea for
asking more?"

"You owe what I did for you to the interest and esteem excited by your
own qualities, and all I did has only given you a place for the exercise
of those qualities--I do not know how you will win Mary's forgiveness
for refraining from her society on such slight grounds."

"Dare I hope for your permission to seek that forgiveness?"

"Dare I hope for your company to dinner to-day?"

"Now that you know all, nothing could give so much pleasure--though I
fear----"

"What, fearing again!"

"I fear that Miss Cavendish is very much displeased with me."

"For saving her life?"

"No--not exactly that."

Herbert Latimer did not confide the cause of his fear to Mr. Cavendish,
neither did he suffer it to interfere with his visit on that day. He
went to dinner, but stayed to tea, and long after, and as Mary was his
companion for much, if not all of this time, we presume that her
displeasure could not have been manifested in any very serious manner.

It was about six weeks after this renewal of his visits that Mr.
Duffield meeting his friend Mr. Cavendish one morning, accosted him
with, "I hear that your daughter is going to be married to young
Latimer--is it true?"

"Yes, and I heartily wish the affair were over, for I hope Herbert will
recover his senses when he is actually married, as now I am obliged to
attend to his business and my own too."

"Not much profit in that, I should think--I manage somewhat
differently."

"Did you not tell me that you intended forming a partnership with young
Conway?"

"Yes--but before I had done so, I heard that Sprague, who is as well
connected as Conway, and a great deal more industrious, would go into
business with me on less exacting terms. He has been associated with me
for some time. He does all the drudgery of the business, and is content
with one-eighth of the profits for five years."

"Those are low terms--with talent and connection too, I should think he
could have done better."

"Why, you see his connections were of little use to him while he was
alone, for he was so desperately poor that they did not like to
acknowledge him, but I knew as soon as he began to rise they would all
notice him, and so it has proved. I have no doubt I shall gain through
them more than the thousand dollars a-year which Sprague will draw,
while I shall be saved every thing that is really disagreeable or
laborious in my practice; and you give two thousand dollars a-year, and
are to have your daughter married to a gentleman who leaves all the
business on your hands--which of us, do you think, has attended most
successfully to the main chance?"

"According to my views of the main chance, it is not to be determined by
such data--but even in your own view we may have a very different
account to render nine years hence?"

"Ah, well! Ten years from the day that Latimer passed we will compare
notes."

Ten years are long in prospective, but it seemed to both parties only a
short time when the appointed anniversary came. On that day Mr.
Cavendish invited several of his brother lawyers, and amongst them Mr.
Duffield, to dinner. Herbert Latimer, his wife and mother, his two noble
boys, and though last, not least in importance, if in size, his little
girl, her grandfather's especial pet, were of the party. It was a well
assorted party. The guests found good cheer and social converse--the
cherished friends of the house, food for deeper and higher enjoyment
When the ladies had withdrawn, calling Herbert Latimer to the head of
the table, Mr. Cavendish seated himself beside Mr. Duffield.

"Well, Duffield!" he exclaimed, "do you know that it is ten years to-day
since Herbert Latimer stood before us for examination?"

"Ah!" ejaculated Mr. Duffield, in the tone of one who did not care to
pursue the subject further.

"You remember our agreement--are you still willing to make our success
in that time a test of the truth of our respective principles?"

"It may afford a more conclusive proof of your better judgment in the
selection of an associate."

"Sprague stands very high in his profession."

"Yes--I knew he would, for he has talent and connection--therefore I
chose him; but he left me just at the time these were beginning to be
available, as soon as the five years for which our agreement was made,
had expired."

"What occasioned his leaving you?"

"Why, Duval offered him better terms than I had done--I should not have
cared so much for his going, but he carried off many of my clients, with
whom he had ingratiated himself during his connection with me. My
practice has scarcely recovered yet from the injury which he did it."


"He seems to have acted on your own principle, and to have considered
the main chance to mean the most money."

"And do you suppose Latimer would have remained with you if he could
have made better terms for himself?"

"I know that during my long illness he was offered double what he was
receiving, or could then hope ever to receive from my practice, and his
reply to the offer was that the bonds forged by gratitude and affection,
no interest could break. He has now built up the business again to far
more than it was when he joined me--I know that I owe most of it to him,
yet he will not listen to any advice to dissolve our partnership.
Gentlemen," he said, "I have a sentiment to propose to you, which you
may drink in wine or water as you like best. 'THE MAIN CHANCE--always
best secured by obedience to the golden rule--as ye would that others
should do unto you, do ye even so to them.'"



CHAPTER III.


The morning after Mr. Arlington had commenced our Christmas
entertainments with the sketch of his friend Herbert Latimer's life, was
dark and gloomy. At least, such was its aspect abroad, where leaden
clouds covered the sky, and a cold, sleety rain fell fast; but within,
all was bright, and warm, and cheerful. Immediately after breakfast we
separated, each in search of amusement suited to his or her own tastes:
some to the music room, some to the library, and Robert Dudley and Annie
Donaldson to a game of battledore and shuttlecock in the wide hall, with
Mr. Arlington for a spectator. As the storm increased, however, all
seemed to feel the want of companionship, and without any preconcerted
plan, we found ourselves, about two hours after breakfast, again
assembled in the room in which quiet, patient Mrs. Donaldson sat,
ravelling the netting of the last evening.

"Now for Aunt Nancy's portfolio," cried Annie, as soon as conversation
began to flag.

The proposal was seconded so warmly that, as I could urge nothing
against it, the portfolio was immediately produced, and Annie, taking
possession of it, commissioned Robert Dudley to draw forth an
engraving:--"Scene, a chamber by night, a sleeping baby and a sleepy
mother, a basket of needle-work--I am sure it is needle-work--on the
floor, and a cross suspended from the wall," said Annie, describing the
engraving which she had taken from Robert.

"That cross looks promising," said Colonel Donaldson, who likes a little
romance as well as any of his daughters. "Let us have the fair lady's
history, Aunt Nancy."

"I know nothing about her," said I, with a smile at his eagerness.

"Then why, dear Aunt Nancy, did you keep the engraving?" asked Annie.

"I might answer, because of my interest in the scene it depicts--a scene
in which religion seems to shed its sanctifying influence over the
tenderest affection and the homeliest duties of our common life; but I
had another reason."

"Ah! I knew it," exclaimed Annie.

"I first saw this print in company with a very cultivated and
interesting German lady, to whose memory the sleeping baby recalled a
cradle song written by her countryman, the brave Körner. She sang it for
me, and as the German is, I am grieved to say, a sealed book to me, she
gave me a literal translation of the words, which--"

"Which you have put into English verse, and written here at the back of
the engraving in the finest of all fine writing, and which papa will put
on his spectacles and read for us."

"No; I commission Mr. Arlington to do that," said the Colonel, "without
his spectacles."

"First," said I, "let me assure you that the original is full of a
simple, natural tenderness, which I fear, in the double process of
translating and versifying, has entirely escaped."

Mr. Arlington, taking the paper from Annie, now read,--


THE CRADLE SONG;

A FREE TRANSLATION FROM KÖRNER.

    I.

    Slumberer! to thy mother's breast,
    So fondly folded, sweetly rest!
    Within that fair and quiet world,
    With downy pinions scarce unfurl'd,
    Life gently passes, nor doth bring
    One dream of sorrow on its wing.


    II.

    Pleasant our dreams in early hours,
    When Mother-love our life embowers;--
    Ah! Mother-love! thy tender light
    Hath vanished from my sky of night,
    Scarce leaving there one fading ray
    To thrill me with, remember'd day.


    III.

    Thrice, by the smiles of fav'ring Heaven,
    To man this holiest joy is given;
    Thrice, circled by the arms of love,
    With glowing spirit he may prove
    The highest rapture heart can feel,
    The noblest hopes our lives reveal.


    IV.

    The earliest blessings that enwreathed
    His infant days, 'twas Love that breathed.
    In Love's warm smile the nursling blooms,
    Nor fears one shade that o'er him glooms,
    While flowers unfold and waters dance
    In joy, beneath his first, fresh glance.


    V.

    And when around the youth's bold course
    Clouds gather--tempests spend their force--
    When his soul darkens with his sky,
    Again the Love-God hovers nigh;
    And on some gentle maiden's breast
    Lulls him, once more, to blissful rest.


    VI.

    But when his heart bends to the power
    Of storm, as bends the summer flower,
    'Tis Love that, as the Angel-Death
    Wooes from his lips the ling'ring breath,
    And gently bears his soul above,
    To the bright skies--the home of Love.

"Poor Körner!" said Mr. Arlington, as he concluded reading this song--if
indeed it may claim that name in its English dress--"I can sympathize,
as few can do, with his mournful memory of mother-love."

This was said in a tone of such genuine emotion, that I looked at him
with even more pleasure than I had hitherto done.

"Such tenderness touches us particularly when found, as in Körner, in
union with manly and vigorous qualities--perhaps, because it is a rare
combination," said Mrs. Dudley.

"Is it rare?" I asked doubtfully. "The results of my own observation
have led me to believe that it is precisely in manly, vigorous,
independent minds that we see the fullest development of our simple,
natural, home-affections."

"You are right, Aunt Nancy," said Col. Donaldson; "it is only boys
striving to seem manly and men of boyish minds, who fail to acknowledge
with reverence and tenderness the value of a mother's love."

"So convinced am I of this," I replied, "that I would ask for no more
certain indication of a man's nobility of nature, than his manner to his
mother. I remember a striking illustration of the fidelity of such an
indication in two brothers of the name of Manning, with whom I was once
acquainted. The one was quite a _petit-maître_--a dandy; the other, a
fine creature--large-minded and large-hearted. The first betrayed in
every look and movement, that he considered himself greatly his
mother's superior, and feared every moment that she should detract from
his dignity by some sin against the dicta of fashion; the other did
honor at once to her and to himself, by his reverent devotion to her.
They were a contrast, and a contrast which circumstances brought out
most strikingly. Ah, Mr. Arlington! I wish you could have seen them--a
sketch of them from your pencil would have been a picture indeed."

"We will take your word-painting instead," said Mr. Arlington.

"A mere description in words could not present them to you in all their
strongly marked diversity of character. To do this, I must give you a
history of their lives."

"And why not?"--and--"Oh, yes, Aunt Nancy, that is just what we want,"
was echoed from one to another. They consented to delay their
gratification till the evening, that I might have a little time to
arrange my reminiscences; and when "the hours of long uninterrupted
evening" came, and we had

    "----stirr'd the fire and closed the shutters fast,
    Let fall the curtains, wheeled the sofa round,"

and disposed ourselves in comfort for talking and for listening, I gave
them the relation which you will find below under the title of


THE BROTHERS;

OR, IN THE FASHION AND ABOVE THE FASHION.

"Some men are born to greatness--some achieve greatness--and some have
greatness thrust upon them." Henry Manning belonged to the second of
these three great classes. The son of a mercantile adventurer, who won
and lost a fortune by speculation, he found himself at sixteen years of
age called on to choose between the life of a Western farmer, with its
vigorous action, stirring incident and rough usage--and the life of a
clerk in one of the most noted establishments in Broadway, the great
source and centre of fashion in New-York. Mr. Morgan, the brother of
Mrs. Manning, who had been recalled from the distant West by the death
of her husband, and the embarrassments into which that event had plunged
her, had obtained the offer of the latter situation for one of his two
nephews, and would take the other with him to his prairie-home.

"I do not ask you to go with me, Matilda," he said to his sister,
"because our life is yet too wild and rough to suit a delicate woman,
reared, as you have been, in the midst of luxurious refinements. The
difficulties and privations of life in the West fall most heavily upon
woman, while she has little of that sustaining power which man's more
adventurous spirit finds in overcoming difficulty and coping with
danger. But let me have one of your boys; and by the time he has arrived
at manhood, he will be able, I doubt not, to offer you in his home all
the comforts, if not all the elegances of your present abode."

Mrs. Manning consented; and now the question was, which of her sons
should remain with her, and which should accompany Mr. Morgan. To Henry
Manning, older by two years than his brother George, the choice of
situations was submitted. He went with his uncle to the Broadway
establishment, heard the duties which would be demanded from him, the
salary which would be given, saw the grace with which the _élégants_
behind the counter displayed their silks, and satins, and velvets, to
the _élégantes_ before the counter, and the decision with which they
promulgated the decrees of fashion; and with that just sense of his own
powers, which is the accompaniment of true genius, he decided at once
that there lay his vocation. George, who had not been without difficulty
kept quiet, while his brother was forming his decision, as soon as it
was announced, sprang forward with a whoop that would have suited a
Western forest better than a New-York drawing-room, threw the Horace he
was reading across the table, clasped first his mother and then his
uncle in his arms, and exclaimed, "I am the boy for the West. I will
help you fell forests and build cities there, uncle. Why should not we
build cities as well as Romulus and Remus?"

"I will supply your cities with all their silks, and satins, and
velvets, and laces, and charge them nothing, George," said Henry
Manning, with that air of superiority with which the worldly-wise often
look on the sallies of the enthusiast.

"You make my head ache, my son," complained Mrs. Manning, shrinking from
his boisterous gratulation;--but Mr. Morgan returned his hearty embrace,
and as he gazed into his bold, bright face, with an eye as bright as his
own, replied to his burst of enthusiasm, "You _are_ the very boy for the
West, George. It is out of such brave stuff that pioneers and
city-builders are always made."

Henry Manning soon bowed himself into the favor of the ladies who formed
the principal customers of his employer. By his careful and really
correct habits, and his elegant taste in the selection and arrangement
of goods, he became also a favorite with his employers themselves. They
needed an agent for the selection of goods abroad, and they sent him. He
purchased cloths for them in England, and silks in France, and came home
with the reputation of a travelled man. Having persuaded his mother to
advance a capital for him by selling out the bank stock in which Mr.
Morgan had founded her little fortune, at twenty-four years of age he
commenced business for himself as a French importer. Leaving a partner
to attend to the sales at home, he went abroad for the selection of
goods, and the further enhancement of his social reputation. He returned
in two years with a fashionable figure, a most _recherché_ style of
dress, moustachios of the most approved cut, and whiskers of faultless
curl--a finished gentleman in his own conceit. With such attractions,
the _prestige_ which he derived from his reported travels and long
residence abroad, and the _savoir faire_ of one who had made the
conventional arrangements of society his study, he quickly arose to the
summit of his wishes, to the point which it had been his life's ambition
to attain. He became the umpire of taste, and his word was received as
the fiat of fashion. He continued to reside with his mother, and paid
great attention to her style of dress, and the arrangements of her
house, for it was important that his mother should appear properly. Poor
Mrs. Manning! she sometimes thought that proud title dearly purchased by
listening to his daily criticisms on appearance, language, manners,
which had been esteemed stylish enough in their day.

George Manning had visited his mother only once since he left her with
all the bright imaginings and boundless confidence of fourteen, and then
Henry was in Europe. It was during the first winter after his return,
and when the brothers had been separated for nearly twelve years, that
Mrs. Manning informed him she had received a letter from George,
announcing his intention to be in New-York in December, and to remain
with them through most if not all of the winter. Henry Manning was
evidently annoyed at the announcement.

"I wish," he said, "that George had chosen to make his visit in the
summer, when most of the people to whom I should hesitate to introduce
him would have been absent. I should be sorry to hurt his feelings, but
really, to introduce a Western farmer into polished society--" Henry
Manning shuddered, and was silent. "And then to choose this winter of
all winters for his visit, and to come in December, just at the very
time that I heard yesterday Miss Harcourt was coming from Washington to
spend a few weeks with her friend, Mrs. Duffield!"

"And what has Miss Harcourt's visit to Mrs. Duffield to do with George's
visit to us?" asked Mrs. Manning.

"A great deal--at least it has a great deal to do with my regret that he
should come just now. I told you how I became acquainted with Emma
Harcourt in Europe, and what a splendid creature she is. Even in Paris,
she bore the palm for wit and beauty--and fashion too--that is in
English and American society. But I did not tell you that she received
me with such distinguished favor, and evinced so much pretty
consciousness at my attentions, that had not her father, having been
chosen one of the electors of President and Vice-President, hurried from
Paris in order to be in this country in time for his vote, I should
probably have been induced to marry her. Her father is in Congress this
year, and you see, she no sooner learns that I am here, than she comes
to spend part of the winter with a friend in New-York."

Henry arose at this, walked to a glass, surveyed his elegant figure, and
continuing to cast occasional glances at it as he walked backwards and
forwards through the room, resumed the conversation, or rather his own
communication.

"All this is very encouraging, doubtless; but Emma Harcourt is so
perfectly elegant, so thoroughly refined, that I dread the effect upon
her of any _outré_ association--by the by, mother, if I obtain her
permission to introduce you to her, you will not wear that brown hat in
visiting her--a brown hat is my aversion--it is positively vulgar--but
to return to George--how can I introduce him, with his rough,
boisterous, Western manner, to this courtly lady?--the very thought
chills me"--and Henry Manning shivered--"and yet, how can I avoid it, if
we should be engaged?"

With December came the beautiful Emma Harcourt, and Mrs. Duffield's
house was thronged with her admirers. Hers was the form and movement of
the Huntress Queen rather than of one trained in the halls of fashion.
There was a joyous freedom in her air, her step, her glance, which, had
she been less beautiful, less talented, less fortunate in social
position or in wealth, would have placed her under the ban of fashion;
but, as it was, she commanded fashion, and even Henry Manning, the very
slave of conventionalism, had no criticism for her. He had been among
the first to call on her, and the blush that flitted across her cheek,
the smile that played upon her lips, as he was announced, might well
have flattered one even of less vanity.

The very next day, before Henry had had time to improve these symptoms
in her favor, on returning home, at five o'clock, to his dinner, he
found a stranger in the parlor with his mother. The gentleman arose on
his entrance, and he had scarcely time to glance at the tall, manly
form, the lofty air, the commanding brow, ere he found himself clasped
in his arms, with the exclamation, "Dear Henry! how rejoiced I am to see
you again."

In George Manning the physical and intellectual man had been developed
in rare harmony. He was taller and larger every way than his brother
Henry, and the self-reliance which the latter had laboriously attained
from the mastery of all conventional rules, was his by virtue of a
courageous soul, which held itself above all rules but those prescribed
by its own high sense of the right. There was a singular contrast,
rendered yet more striking by some points of resemblance, between the
pupil of society, and the child of the forest--between the Parisian
elegance of Henry, and the proud, free grace of George. His were the
step and bearing which we have seen in an Indian chief; but thought had
left its impress on his brow, and there was in his countenance that
indescribable air of refinement which marks a polished mind. In a very
few minutes Henry became reconciled to his brother's arrival, and
satisfied with him in all respects but one--his dress. This was of the
finest cloth, but made into large, loose trowsers, and a species of
hunting-shirt, trimmed with fur, belted around the waist, and
descending to the knee, instead of the tight pantaloons and closely
fitting body coat prescribed by fashion. The little party lingered long
over the table--it was seven o'clock before they arose from it.

"Dear mother," said George Manning, "I am sorry to leave you this
evening, but I will make you rich amends to-morrow by introducing to you
the friend I am going to visit, if you will permit me. Henry, it is so
long since I was in New-York that I need some direction in finding my
way--must I turn up or down Broadway for Number--, in going from this
street?"

"Number--," exclaimed Henry in surprise; "you must be mistaken--that is
Mrs. Duffield's."

"Then I am quite right, for it is at Mrs. Duffield's that I expect to
meet my friend this evening."

With some curiosity to know what friend of George could have so
completely the _entrée_ of the fashionable Mrs. Duffield's house as to
make an appointment there, Henry proposed to go with him and show him
the way. There was a momentary hesitation in George's manner before he
replied, "Very well, I shall be obliged to you."

"But--excuse me George--you are not surely going in that dress--this is
one of Mrs. Duffield's reception evenings, and, early as it is, you will
find company there."

George laughed as he replied; "They must take me as I am, Henry. We do
not receive our fashions from Paris at the West."

Henry almost repented his offer to accompany his brother; but it was too
late to withdraw, for George, unconscious of this feeling, had taken his
cloak and cap, and was awaiting his escort. As they approached Mrs.
Duffield's house, George, who had hitherto led the conversation, became
silent, or answered his brother only in monosyllables, and then not
always to the purpose. As they entered the hall, the hats and cloaks
displayed there showed that, as Henry supposed, they were not the
earliest visitors. George paused for a moment and said, "You must go in
without me, Henry. Show me to a room where there is no company," he
continued, turning to a servant--"and take this card in to Mrs.
Duffield--be sure to give it to Mrs. Duffield herself."

The servant bowed low to the commanding stranger; and Henry, almost
mechanically, obeyed his direction, muttering to himself, "Free and
easy, upon my honor." He had scarcely entered the usual reception-room
and made his bow to Mrs. Duffield, when the servant presented his
brother's card. He watched her closely, and saw a smile playing over her
lips as her eyes rested on it. She glanced anxiously at Miss Harcourt,
and crossing the room to a group in which she stood, she drew her aside.
After a few whispered words, Mrs. Duffield placed the card in Miss
Harcourt's hand. A sudden flash of joy irradiated every feature of her
beautiful face, and Henry Manning saw that, but for Mrs. Duffield's
restraining hand, she would have rushed from the room. Recalled thus to
a recollection of others, she looked around her, and her eyes met his.
In an instant, her face was covered with blushes, and she drew back with
embarrassed consciousness--almost immediately, however, she raised her
head with a proud, bright expression, and though she did not look at
Henry Manning, he felt that she was conscious of his observation, as she
passed with a composed yet joyous step from the room.

Henry Manning was awaking from a dream. It was not a very pleasant
awakening, but as his vanity rather than his heart was touched, he was
able to conceal his chagrin, and appear as interesting and agreeable as
usual. He now expected with some impatience the _dénouement_ of the
comedy. An hour passed away, and Mrs. Duffield's eye began to consult
the marble clock on her mantel-piece. The chime for another half-hour
rang out; and she left the room and returned in a few minutes, leaning
on the arm of George Manning.

"Who is that?--What noble-looking man is that?" were questions Henry
Manning heard from many--from a very few only the exclamation, "How
oddly he is dressed!" Before the evening was over Henry began to feel
that he was eclipsed on his own theatre--that George, if not _in the
fashion_, was yet more _the fashion_ than he.

Following the proud, happy glance of his brother's eye, a quarter of an
hour later, Henry saw Miss Harcourt entering the room in an opposite
direction from that in which she had lately come. If this was a _ruse_ on
her part to veil the connection between their movements, it was a
fruitless caution. None who had seen her before could fail now to
observe the softened character of her beauty, and those who saw

    "A thousand blushing apparitions start
    Into her face"--

whenever his eyes rested on her, could scarcely doubt his influence over
her.

The next morning George Manning brought Miss Harcourt to visit his
mother; and Mrs. Manning rose greatly in her son Henry's estimation,
when he saw the affectionate deference evinced towards her by the proud
beauty.

"How strange my manner must have seemed to you sometimes!" said Miss
Harcourt to Henry one day. "I was engaged to George long before I met
you in Europe; and though I never had courage to mention him to you, I
wondered a little that you never spoke of him. I never doubted for a
moment that you were acquainted with our engagement."

"I do not even yet understand where and how you and George met."

"We met at home--my father was Governor of the Territory--State now--in
which your uncle lives: our homes were very near each other's, and so we
met almost daily while I was still a child. We have had all sorts of
adventures together; for George was a great favorite with my father, and
I was permitted to go with him anywhere. He has saved my life
twice--once at the imminent peril of his own, when with the wilfulness
of a spoiled child I would ride a horse which he told me I could not
manage. Oh! you know not half his nobleness," and tears moistened the
bright eyes of the happy girl.

Henry Manning was touched through all his conventionalism, yet the
moment after he said, "George is a fine fellow, certainly; but I wish
you could persuade him to dress a little more like other people."

"I would not if I could," exclaimed Emma Harcourt, while the blood
rushed to her temples; "fashions and all such conventional regulations
are made for those who have no innate perception of the right, the
noble, the beautiful--not for such as he--he is above fashion."

What Emma would not ask, she yet did not fail to recognize as another
proof of correct judgment, when George Manning laid aside his Western
costume and assumed one less remarkable.

Henry Manning had received a new idea--that there are those who are
above the fashion. Allied to this was another thought, which in time
found entrance to his mind, that it would be at least as profitable to
devote our energies to the acquisition of true nobility of soul, pure
and high thought and refined taste, as to the study of those
conventionalisms which are but their outer garment, and can at best only
conceal for a short time their absence.



CHAPTER IV.


The next day was brilliant. Snow had fallen during the night, and the
sun, which arose without a cloud, was reflected back from it with
dazzling brightness, while every branch and spray glittered in its
casing of ice as though it had been a huge diamond. Before we met at
breakfast, the younger members of the party had decided on a
sleigh-ride. Even Col. Donaldson _malgré_ old age and rheumatism, found
himself unable to resist the cheerful morning and their gay
solicitations, and accompanied them. Mrs. Donaldson and I were left
alone, a circumstance which did not afflict either of us. Mrs. Donaldson
was never at a loss for pleasant occupation for her hours, and Annie had
given me something to do in parting.

"Remember, Aunt Nancy, we shall look to you for our entertainment this
evening; you shall be permitted to choose your subject. Is not that
gracious?" she added, with a laugh at her own style of command,
springing at the same moment from the sleigh in which Mr. Arlington had
already placed himself at her side, and running up the steps to the
piazza, where I stood, that she might give me another kiss, and satisfy
herself that she had not wounded the _amour propre_ of her old friend,
by speaking so much _en reine_. I was, in truth, pleased to be reminded
of the demand which might be made on me in the evening, while I had time
to glance over sketches intended only for myself, and ascertain whether
they contained any thing likely to interest others.

A late dinner re-united us, and the fatigues of the morning having been
repaired by an hour's rest in the afternoon, our party was more than
usually fresh and ready for enjoyment when we met in the evening. I had
availed myself of Annie's permission, and selected my subject. It was a
crayon sketch of a lovely lake, taken by Philip Oswald, the son of one
of my most valued friends. The sketch was made while all around remained
in the wilderness of uncultivated nature. Since that day, the stillness
has been disturbed by the sound of the axe and the hammer. Upon the
borders of that sweet lake, a fair home has risen, from which the
incense of grateful and loving hearts has gone up to the Creator of so
much beauty. The associations which made this scene peculiarly
interesting to me I had long since written out, and now give to the
reader under the title of


LOSS AND GAIN;

OR, HEARTS VERSUS DIAMONDS.

Winter had thrown its icy fetters over the Hudson, and stilled even the
stormier waves of the East River, as the inhabitants of New-York
designate that portion of the Harbor which lies between their city and
Brooklyn. The city itself--its streets--its houses--all wore the livery
of this "ruler of the inverted year"--while in many a garret and cellar
of its crowded streets, ragged children huddled together, seeking to
warm their frozen limbs beneath the scanty covering of their beds, or
cowering over the few half-dying embers, which they misnamed a fire. Yet
the social affections were not chilled--rather did they seem to glow
more warmly, as though rejoicing in their triumph over the mighty
conqueror of the physical world. Christian charity went forth unchecked
through the frosty air and over the snow-clad streets, to shelter the
houseless, to clothe the naked, to warm the freezing. Human sympathies
awoke to new-life, the dying hopes and failing energies of man; and the
sleigh-bells, ringing out their joyous peals through the day, and far,
far into the night, told that the young and fair were abroad braving all
the severities of the season, in their eager search after pleasure. In
the neighborhood of Waverley Place, especially, on the evening of the
16th of December, did this merry music "wake the silent air" to respond
to the quick beatings of the gay young hearts anticipating the fête of
fêtes, the most brilliant party of the season, which was that evening to
be given at the house of the ruler of fashion--the elegant Mrs. Bruton.

Instead of introducing our readers to the gay assemblage of this lady's
guests, we will take them to the dressing-room of the fairest among
them, the beautiful, the gay, the brilliant Caroline Danby. As the door
of this inner temple of beauty opens at the touch of our magic wand, its
inmate is seen standing before a mirror, and her eye beams, and her lip
is smiling with anticipated triumph. Does there seem vanity in the gaze
she fastens there? Look on that form of graceful symmetry, on those
large black eyes with their jetty fringes, on the rich coloring of her
rounded cheeks, and the dewy freshness of her red lip, and you will
forget to censure. But see, the mirror reflects another form--a form so
slender that it seems scarcely to have attained the full proportions of
womanhood, and a face whose soft gray eyes and fair complexion, and hair
of the palest gold, present a singular contrast to the dark yet glowing
beauty beside her. This is Mary Grayson, the orphan cousin of Caroline
Danby, who has grown up in her father's house. She has glided in with
her usual gentle movement, and light, noiseless step, and Caroline first
perceives her in the glass.

"Ah, Mary!" she exclaims, "I sent for you to put this diamond spray in
my hair; you arrange it with so much more taste than any one else."

Mary smilingly receives the expensive ornament, and fastens it amidst
the dark, glossy tresses. At this moment the doorbell gives forth a
hasty peal, and going to the head of the stairs, Mary remains listening
till the door is opened, and then comes back to say, "Mrs. Oswald,
Caroline, and Philip."

"Pray, go down and entertain them till I come, Mary"--and seemingly
nothing loth, Mary complies with the request.

In the drawing-room to which Mary Grayson directed her steps stood a
stately looking lady, who advanced to meet her as she entered, and
kissing her affectionately, asked, "Are you not going with us this
evening?"

"No; my sore throat has increased, and the Doctor is positive; there is
no appeal from him, you know; I am very sorry, for I wished to see some
of Philip's foreign graces," she said playfully, as she turned to give
her hand to a gentleman who had entered while she was speaking. He
received it with the frank kindness of a brother, but before he could
reply the door of the drawing-room opened, and Caroline Danby appeared
within it. Philip Oswald sprang forward to greet her, and from that
moment seemed forgetful that there was any other thing in life deserving
his attention, save her radiant beauty. Perhaps there was some little
regard to the effect of his first glance at that beauty, in her
presenting herself in the drawing-room with her cloak and hood upon her
arm, the diamond sparkling in her uncovered tresses, and the soft, rich
folds of her satin dress and its flowing lace draperies, shading without
concealing the graceful outline of her form. The gentleman who gazed so
admiringly upon her, who wrapped her cloak around her with such tender
care, and even insisted, kneeling gracefully before her, on fastening
himself the warm, furred overshoes upon her slender foot, seemed a fit
attendant at the shrine of beauty. Philip Oswald had been only a few
weeks at home, after an absence of four years spent in European travel.
The quality in his appearance and manners, which first impressed the
observer, was refinement--perfect elegance, without the least touch of
coxcombry. It had been said of him, that he had brought home the taste
in dress of a Parisian, the imaginativeness of a German, and the voice
and passion for music of an Italian. Few were admitted to such intimacy
with him as to look into the deeper qualities of the mind--but those who
were, saw there the sturdy honesty of John Bull, and the courageous
heart and independent spirit of his own America. Some of those who knew
him best, regretted that the possession of a fortune, which placed him
among the wealthiest in America, would most probably consign him to a
life of indolence, in which his highest qualities would languish for
want of exercise.

By nine o'clock Caroline Danby's preparations were completed, and
leaning on one of Philip Oswald's arms, while the other was given to his
mother, she was led out, and placed in the most splendid sleigh in New
York, and wrapped in the most costly furs. Philip followed, the weary
coachman touched his spirited horses with the whip, the sleigh-bells
rang merrily out, and Mary Grayson was left in solitude.

The last stroke of three had ceased to vibrate on the air when Caroline
Danby again stood beside her cousin. Mary was sleeping, and a painter
might have hesitated whether to give the palm of beauty to the soft,
fair face, which looked so angel-like in its placid sleep, or to that
which bent above her in undimmed brilliancy.

"Is it you, Caroline? What time is it?" asked Mary, as she aroused at
her cousin's call.

"Three o'clock; but wake up, Mary; I have something to tell you, which
must not be heard by sleepy ears."

"How fresh you look!" exclaimed Mary, sitting up in bed and looking at
her cousin admiringly. "Who would believe you had been dancing all
night!"

"I have not been dancing all night, nor half the night."

"Why--what have you been doing then?"

"Listening to Philip Oswald. Oh Mary! I am certainly the most fortunate
woman in the world. He is mine at last--he, the most elegant, the most
brilliant man in New-York, and with such a splendid fortune. I was so
happy, so excited, that I could not sleep, and therefore I awoke you to
talk."

"I am glad you did, for I am almost as much pleased as you can be--such
joy is better than sleep;--but all the bells in the city seem to be
ringing--did you see any thing of the fire?"

"Oh yes! the whole sky at the southeast is glowing from the flames--the
largest fire, they say, that has ever been known in the city--but it is
far enough from us--down in Wall-street--and who can think of fires with
such joy before them? Only think, Mary, with Philip's fortune and
Philip's taste, what an establishment I shall have."

"And what a mother in dear, good Mrs. Oswald!"

"Yes--but I hope she will not wish to live with us--mother-in-laws, you
know, always want to manage every thing in their sons' houses."

Thus the cousins sat talking till the fire-bells ceased their monotonous
and ominous clang, and the late dawn of a winter morning reddened the
eastern sky. It was half-past nine o'clock when they met again at their
breakfast; yet late as it was, Mr. Danby, usually a very early riser,
was not quite ready for it. He had spent most of the night at the scene
of the fire, and had with great difficulty and labor saved his valuable
stock of French goods from the destroyer. When he joined his daughter
and niece, his mind was still under the influence of last night's
excitement, and he could talk of nothing but the fire.

"Rather expensive fireworks, I am afraid," said Caroline flippantly, as
her father described the lurid grandeur of the scene.

"Do not speak lightly, my daughter, of that which must reduce many from
affluence to beggary. Millions of property were lost last night. The
16th of December, 1835, will long be remembered in the annals of
New-York, I fear."

"It will long be remembered in my annals," whispered Caroline to her
cousin, with a bright smile, despite her father's chiding.

"Not at home to any but Mr. Philip Oswald," had been Caroline Danby's
order to the servant this morning; and thus when she was told, at twelve
o'clock, that that gentleman awaited her in the drawing-room, she had
heard nothing more of the fire than her father and the morning paper had
communicated. As she entered, Philip arose to greet her, but though he
strove to smile as his eyes met hers, the effort was vain; and throwing
himself back on the sofa, he covered his face with his hand, as though
to hide his pallor and the convulsive quivering of his lips from her
whom he was reluctant to grieve. Emboldened by her fears, Caroline
advanced, and laying her hand on his, exclaimed, "What is the
matter?--Are you ill?--your mother?--pray do not keep me in suspense,
but tell me what has happened."

He seemed to have mastered his emotion, from whatever cause it had
proceeded; for removing his hand, he looked earnestly upon her, and
drawing her to a seat beside him, said in firm, though sad tones, "That
has happened, Caroline, which would not move me thus, but for your dear
sake--I asked you last night to share my fortune--to-day I have none to
offer you."

"Gracious heaven!" exclaimed Caroline, turning as pale as he, "what do
you mean?"

"That in the fire last night, or the failures which the most sanguine
assure me it must produce, my whole fortune is involved. If I can
recover from the wreck what will secure to my poor mother the
continuance of her accustomed comforts, it will be beyond my hopes; for
me--the luxuries, the comforts, the very necessaries of life must be the
produce of my own exertion. I do not ask you to share my poverty,
Caroline; I cannot be so selfish; had I not spoken of my love last
night, you should never have heard it--though it had been like a burning
fire, I would have shut it up within my heart--but it is too late for
this; you have heard it, and I have heard--the remembrance brings with
it a wild delirious joy, even in this hour of darkness "--and the pale
face of Philip Oswald flushed, and his dimmed eye beamed brightly again
as he spoke: "I have heard your sweet confession of reciprocal regard.
Months, perhaps years may pass before I attain the goal at which I last
night thought myself to have already arrived--before I can dare to call
you mine--but in our land, manly determination and perseverance ever
command success, and I fear not to promise you, dearest, one day a happy
home--though not a splendid one--if you will promise me to share it.
Look on me, Caroline--give me one smile to light me on my way--with such
a hope before me, I cannot say my _dreary_ way."

He ceased, yet Caroline neither looked upon him, nor spoke. Her cheek
had grown pale at his words, and she sat down with downcast eyes, cold,
still, statue-like at his side. Yet did not Philip Oswald doubt her
love. Had not her eye kindled and her cheek flushed at his whispered
vows--had not her hand rested lovingly in his, and her lip been yielded
to the first kiss of love--how, then, could he dare to doubt her? She
was grieved for his sake--he had been selfishly abrupt in his first
communication of his sorrow, and now he--the stronger--must struggle to
bear and to speak cheerfully for her sake. And with this feeling he had
been able to conclude far more cheerfully than he commenced. As she
still continued silent, he bent forward, and would have pressed his lip
to her cheek, saying, "Not one word for me, dear one,"--but, drawing
hastily back, Caroline said with great effort,

"I think, Mr. Oswald--it seems to me that--that--an engagement must be a
heavy burden to one who has to make his own way in life--I--I should be
sorry to be a disadvantage to you."

It was a crushing blow, and for an instant he sat stunned into almost
death-like stillness by it:--but he rallied;--he would leave no loop on
which hope or fancy might hereafter hang a doubt. "Caroline," he said,
in a voice whose change spoke the intensity of his feelings, "do not
speak of disadvantage to me--your love was the one star left in my
sky--but that matters not--what I would know is, whether you desire that
the record of last evening should be blotted from the history of our
lives?"

"I--I think it had better be--I am sure I wish you well, Mr. Oswald."

It was well for her, perhaps, that she did not venture to meet his
eye--that look of withering scorn could hardly ever have vanished from
her memory--it was enough to hear his bitter laugh, and the accents in
which he said, "Thank you, Miss Danby--your wishes are fully
reciprocated--may you never know a love less prudent than your own."

The door closed on him, and she was alone--left to the companionship of
her own heart--evil companionship in such an hour! She hastened to
relate all that had passed to Mary, but Mary had no assurances for
her--she had only sympathy for Philip--"dear Philip"--as she called him
over and over again. "I think it would better become one so young as you
are, to say, Mr. Oswald, Mary," said Caroline, pettishly.

"I have called him Philip from my childhood, Caroline--I shall not begin
to say Mr. Oswald _now_." Mary did not mean a reproach, but to
Caroline's accusing conscience it sounded like one, and she turned away
indignantly. She soon, however, sought her cousin again with a note in
her hand.

"I have been writing to Mrs. Oswald, Mary," she said; "you are perhaps
too young, and Mr. Oswald too much absorbed in his own disappointment,
to estimate the propriety of my conduct; but she will, I am sure, agree
with me, that one expensively reared as I have been, accustomed to every
luxury, and perfectly ignorant of economy, would make the worst possible
wife to a poor man; and she has so much influence over Mr. Oswald, that,
should she accord with me in opinion on this point, she can easily
convince him of its justice. Will you take my note to her? I do not like
to send it by a servant--it might fall into Philip's hands."

Nothing could have pleased Mary more than this commission, for her
affectionate heart was longing to offer its sympathy to her friends.
Mrs. Oswald assumed perhaps a little more than her usual stateliness
when she heard her announced, but it vanished instantly before Mary's
tearful eye, as she kissed the hand that was extended to her. Mrs.
Oswald folded her arms around her, and Mary sank sobbing upon the bosom
of her whom she had come to console. And Mrs. Oswald was consoled by
such true and tender sympathy. It was long before Mary could prevail on
herself to disturb the flow of gentler affections by delivering
Caroline's note. Mrs. Oswald received it with an almost contemptuous
smile, which remained unchanged while she read. It was a labored effort
to make her conduct seem a generous determination not to obstruct
Philip's course in life, by binding him to a companion so unsuitable to
his present prospects as herself. In reply, Mrs. Oswald assured Caroline
Danby of her perfect agreement with her in the conviction that she
would make a very unsuitable wife for Philip Oswald. "This," she added,
"was always my opinion, though I was unwilling to oppose my son's
wishes. I thank you for having convinced him I was right in the only
point on which we ever differed."

It cannot be supposed that this note was very pleasing to Caroline
Danby; but, whatever were her dissatisfaction, she did not complain, and
probably soon lost all remembrance of her chagrin in the gayeties which
a few men of fortune still remained, amidst the almost universal ruin,
to promote and to partake.

In the mean time, Philip Oswald was experiencing that restlessness, that
burning desire to free himself from all his present associations, to
begin, as it were, a new life, which the first pressure of sorrow so
often arouses in the ardent spirit. Had not his will been "bound down by
the iron chain of necessity," he would probably have returned to Europe,
and wasted his energies amidst aimless wanderings. As it was, he chose
among those modes of life demanded by his new circumstances, that which
would take him farthest from New-York, and place him in a condition the
most foreign to all his past experience, and demanding the most active
and most incessant exertion. Out of that which the fire, the failure of
Insurance Companies and of private individuals, had left him remained,
after the purchase of a liberal annuity for his mother, a few thousands
to be devoted either to merchandise, to his support while pursuing the
studies necessary for the acquirement of a profession, or to any mode of
gaining a living, which he might prefer to these. The very hour which
ascertained this fact, saw his resolution taken and his course marked
out.

"I must have new scenery for this new act in the drama of my life," he
said to his mother. "I must away--away from all the artificialities and
trivialities of my present world, to the rich prairies, the wide
streams, the boundless expanse of the West. I go to make a new home for
you dear mother--you shall be the queen of my kingdom."

This was not the choice that would have pleased an ambitious, or an
over-fond mother. The former would have preferred a profession, as
conferring higher social distinction; the latter would have shrunk from
seeing one nursed in the lap of luxury go forth to encounter the
hardships of a pioneer. But Mrs. Oswald possessed an intelligence which
recognized in that life of bold adventure, and physical endurance, and
persevering labor, that awaited her son in the prosecution of his plans,
the best school for the development of that decision and force of
character which she had desired as the crowning seal to Philip's
intellectual endowments, warm affections, and just principles; and,
holding his excellence as the better part of her own happiness, she
sanctioned his designs, and did all in her power to promote their
execution. He waited, therefore, only to see her leave the house whose
rent now exceeded her whole annual income, for pleasant rooms in a
boarding-house, agreeably situated, before he set out from New-York.

It is not our intention minutely to trace his course, to describe the
"local habitation" which he acquired, or detail the difficulties which
arose in his progress, the strength with which he combated, or the means
by which he overcame them. For his course, suffice it that it was
westward; for his habitation, that it was on the slope of a hill crowned
with the gigantic trees of that fertile soil, and beside a lake, "a
sheet of silver" well fitted to be--

    "A mirror and a bath for beauty's youngest daughters;"

and that the house, which he at length succeeded in raising and
furnishing there, united somewhat the refinement of his past life to the
simplicity of his present; for his difficulties, we can only say, he
met them and conquered them, and gained from each encounter knowledge
and power. For two years, letters were the only medium of intercourse
between his mother and himself, but those letters were a history--a
history not only of his stirring, outer life, but of that inner life
which yet more deeply interested her. Feeling proud herself of the
daring spirit, the iron will, the ready invention which these letters
displayed, yet prouder of the affectionate heart, the true and generous
nature, it is not wonderful that Mrs. Oswald should have often read
them, or at least parts of them, to her constant friend and very
frequent visitor, Mary Grayson. Nor is it more strange that Mary, thus
made to recognize in the most interesting man she had yet known, far
more lofty claims to her admiration, should have enshrined him in her
young and pure imagination as some "bright, particular star."

Two years in the future! How almost interminable seems the prospect to
our hopes or our affections!--but let Time turn his perspective
glass--let us look at it in the past, and how it shrinks and becomes as
a day in the history of our lives! So was it with Philip Oswald's two
years of absence, when he found himself, in the earliest dawn of the
spring of 1838, once more in New-York. Yet that time had not passed
without leaving traces of its passage--traces in the changes affecting
those around him--yet deeper traces in himself. He arrived in the
afternoon of an earlier day than that on which he had been expected. In
the evening Mrs. Oswald persuaded him to assume, for the gratification
of her curiosity, the picturesque costume worn by him in his western
home. He had just re-entered her room, and she was yet engaged in
animated observation of the hunting-shirt, strapped around the waist
with a belt of buckskin, the open collar, and loosely knotted cravat,
which, as the mother's heart whispered, so well became that tall and
manly form, when there was a slight tap at the door, and before she
could speak, it opened, and Mary Grayson stood within it. She gazed in
silence for a moment on the striking figure before her, and her mind
rapidly scanned the changes which time and new modes of life had made in
the Philip Oswald of her memory. As she did so, she acknowledged that
the embrowned face and hands, the broader and more vigorous proportions,
and even the easy freedom of his dress, were more in harmony with the
bold and independent aspect which his character had assumed, than the
delicacy and elegance by which he had formerly been distinguished. His
outer man was now the true index of a noble, free, and energetic
spirit--a spirit which, having conquered itself, was victor over
all--and as such, it attracted from Mary a deeper and more reverent
admiration, than she had felt for him when adorned with all the
trappings of wealth and luxurious refinement. The very depth of this
sentiment destroyed the ease of her manner towards him, and as Philip
Oswald took the hand formerly so freely offered him, and heard from her
lips the respectful Mr. Oswald, instead of the frank, sisterly Philip,
he said to himself--"She looks down upon the backwoodsman, and would
have him know his place." So much for man's boasted penetration!

Notwithstanding the barrier of reserve thus erected between them, Philip
Oswald could not but admire the rare loveliness into which Mary
Grayson's girlish prettiness had expanded, and again, and yet again,
while she was speaking to his mother, and could not therefore perceive
him, he turned to gaze on her, fascinated not by the finely turned form
or beautiful features, but by the countenance beaming with gentle and
refined intelligence. Here was none of the brilliancy which had dazzled
his senses in Caroline Danby, but an expression of mind and heart far
more captivating to him who had entered into the inner mysteries of
life.

A fortnight was the limit of Philip Oswald's stay in the city. He had
come not for his mother, but for the house in which she was to live, and
he carried it back with him. We do not mean that his house, with all its
conveniences of kitchen and pantry, its elegances of parlor and
drawing-room, and its decorations of pillar and cornice fitly joined
together, travelled off with him to the far West. We do not despair of
seeing such a feat performed some day, but we believe it has not yet
been done, and Philip Oswald, at least, did not attempt it; he took with
him, however, all those useful and ornamental contrivances in their
several parts, accompanied by workmen skilled in putting the whole
together. Again in his western home, for another year, his head and his
hands were fully occupied with building and planting. For the first two
years of his forest life, he had thought only of the substantial produce
of the field--the rye, the barley, the Indian corn, which were to be
exchanged for the "omnipotent dollar"--but woman was coming, and beauty
and grace must be the herald of her steps. For his mother, he planted
fruits and flowers, opened views of the lake, made a gravelled walk to
its shore bordered with flowering shrubs, and wreathed the woodbine, the
honeysuckle, and the multiflora rose around the columns of his piazza.
For his mother this was done, and yet, when the labors of the day were
over, and he looked forth upon them in the cool, still evening hour, it
was not his mother's face, but one younger and fairer which peered out
upon him from the vine-leaves, or with tender smiles wooed him to the
lake. Young, fair, and tender as it was, its wooings generally sent him
in an opposite direction, with a sneer at his own folly, to stifle his
fancies with a book, or to mark out the plan of the morrow's operations.

More than a year had passed away and Philip Oswald was again in
New-York, just as spring was gliding into the ardent embraces of
summer. This time he had come for his mother, and with all the force of
his resolute will, he shut his ears to the flattering suggestions of
fancy, that a dearer pleasure than even that mother's presence might be
won. He had looked steadily upon his lot in life, and he accepted it,
and determined to make the best of it and to be happy in it; yet he felt
that it was after all a rugged lot. Without considering all women as
mercenary as Caroline Danby, which his knowledge of his mother forbade
him to do, even in his most woman-scorning mood, he yet doubted whether
any of those who had been reared amidst the refinements of cultivated
life, could be won to leave them all for love in the western wilds; and
as the unrefined could have no charms for him, he deliberately embraced
_bachelordom_ as a part of his portion, and, not without a sigh, yielded
himself to the conviction that all the wealth of woman's love within his
power to attain, was locked within a mother's heart.

A fortnight was again the allotted time of Philip Oswald's stay; but
when that had expired, he was persuaded to delay his departure for yet
another week. He had been drawn, by accompanying his mother in her
farewell visits, once more within the vortex of society, and his manly
independence and energy, his knowledge of what was to his companions a
new world, and his spirit-stirring descriptions of its varied beauty and
inexhaustible fertility, made him more the fashion than he had ever
been. He had often met Caroline Danby--now Mrs. Randall--and Mary more
than once delicately turned her eyes away from her cousin's face, lest
she should read there somewhat of chagrin as Mr. Randall, with his
meaningless face and dapper-looking form--insignificant in all save the
reputation of being the wealthiest banker in Wall-street, and possessing
the most elegant house and furniture, the best appointed equipage, and
the handsomest wife in the city--stood beside Philip Oswald with

               "----a form indeed
    Where every god did seem to set his seal,
    To give the world assurance of a man,"

and a face radiant with intelligence, while circled by an attentive
auditory of that which was noblest and best in their world, his eloquent
enthusiasm made them hear the rushing waters, see the boundless
prairies, and feel for a time all the wild freedom of the untamed West.
Such enthusiasm was gladly welcomed as a breeze in the still air, a
ruffle in the stagnant waters of fashionable life.

Within two or three days of their intended departure, Mrs. Oswald
proposed to Philip that they should visit a friend residing near Fort
Lee, and invited Mary to accompany them. Among the acquaintances whom
they found on board was an invalid lady, who could not bear the fresh
air upon deck; and Mary, pitying her loneliness and seclusion, remained
for awhile conversing with her in the cabin. Mrs. Oswald and Philip were
on deck, and near them was a young and giddy girl, to whose care a
mother had intrusted a bold, active, joyous infant, seemingly about
eight months old.

"That is a dangerous position for so lively a child," said Philip Oswald
to the young nurse, as he saw her place him on the side of the boat; "he
may spring from your arms overboard."

With that foolish tempting of the danger pointed out by another, which
we sometimes see even in women, the girl removed her arms from around
the child, sustaining only a slight hold of its frock. At this moment
the flag of the boat floated within view of the little fellow, and he
sprang towards it. A splash in the water told the rest--but even before
that was heard, Philip Oswald had dashed off his boots and coat, and
the poor child had scarcely touched the waves when he was beside it, and
held it encircled in his arm.

"Oh, Mary! Mr. Oswald! Mr. Oswald!" cried one of Mary's young
acquaintances, rushing into the cabin with a face blanched with terror.

"What of him?" questioned Mary, starting eagerly forward.

"He is in the water. Oh, Mary! he will be drowned."

Mary did not utter a sound, yet she felt in that moment, for the first
time, how important to her was Philip Oswald's life. Tottering towards
the door, she leaned against it for a moment while all around grew dark,
and strange sounds were buzzing in her ears. The next instant she sank
into a chair and lost her terrors in unconsciousness. The same young
lady who had played the alarmist to her, as she saw the paleness of
death settle on Mary's face and her eyes close, ran again upon the deck,
exclaiming, "Mary Grayson is fainting,--pray come to Mary Grayson."

Philip Oswald was already on deck, dripping indeed, but unharmed and
looking nobler than ever, as he held the recovered child in his arms. As
that cry, "Mary Grayson is fainting," reached his ears, he threw the
infant to a bystander, and hastened to the cabin followed by Mrs.
Oswald.

"What has caused this?" cried Mrs. Oswald, as she saw Mary still
insensible, supported on the bosom of her invalid friend.

"Miss Ladson's precipitation," said the invalid, looking not very
pleasantly on that young lady; "she told her Mr. Oswald was drowning."

"Well, I am sure I thought he was drowning."

"If he had been, it would have been a pity to give such information so
abruptly," said Mrs. Oswald, as she took off Mary's bonnet, and loosened
the scarf which was tied around her neck.

"I am sure," exclaimed Miss Ladson, anxious only to secure herself from
blame,--"I am sure I did not suppose Mary would faint; for when her
uncle's horse threw him, and every body thought he was killed, instead
of fainting she ran out in the street, and did for him more than any
body else could do. I am sure I could not think she would care more for
Mr. Oswald's danger than for her own uncle's."

No one replied to this insinuation; but that Philip Oswald heard it,
might have been surmised from the sudden flush that rose to his temples,
and from his closer clasp of the unconscious form, which at his mother's
desire he was bearing to a settee. Whether it were the water which oozed
from his saturated garments over her face and neck, or some subtle
magnetic fluid conveyed in that tender clasp, that aroused her, we
cannot tell; but a faint tinge of color revisited her cheeks and lips,
and as Philip laid her tenderly down, while his arms were still around
her, and his face was bending over her, she opened her eyes. What there
was in that first look which called such a sudden flash of joy into
Philip Oswald's eyes, we know not; nor what were the whispered words
which, as he bowed his head yet lower, sent a crimson glow into Mary's
pale cheeks. This however we do know, that Mrs. Oswald and her son
delayed their journey for yet another week; and that the day before
their departure Philip Oswald stood with Mary Grayson at his side before
God's holy altar, and there, in the presence of his mother, Mr. Danby,
Mr. and Mrs. Randall, and a few friends, they took those vows which made
them one for ever.

Does some starched prude, or some lady interested in the bride's
_trousseau_, exclaim against such unseemly haste? We have but one excuse
for them. They were so unfashionable as to prefer the gratification of a
true affection to the ceremonies so dear to vanity, and to think more of
the earnest claims of life than of its gilded pomps.

Mr. Danby had been unable to pay down the bride's small dower of 8000
dollars; and when he called on his son-in-law, Mr. Randall, to assist
him, he could only offer to indorse his note to Mr. Oswald for the
amount, acknowledging that it would be perilous at that time to abstract
even half that amount from his business. It probably would have been
perilous indeed, as in little more than a month after he failed for an
enormous amount; but fear not, reader, for the gentle Caroline: she
still retained her elegant house and furniture, her handsome equipage
and splendid jewels. These were only a small part of what the indignant
creditors found had been made over to her by her grateful husband.

Six years have passed away since the occurrence of the events we have
been recording. Caroline Randall, weary of the sameness of splendor in
her home, has been abroad for two years, travelling with a party of
friends. It is said--convenient phrase that--that her husband had
declared she must and shall return, and that to enforce his will he has
resolved to send her no more remittances, to honor no more of her
drafts, as she has already almost beggared him by her extravagance
abroad. Verily, she has her reward!

One farewell glance at our favorite, Mary Grayson, and we have done.

Beside a lovely lake, over whose margin light graceful shrubs are
bending, and on whose transparent waters lie the dense forest shadows,
though here and there the golden rays of the declining sun flash through
the tangled boughs upon its dancing waves, a noble-looking boy of four
years old is sailing his mimic fleet, while a lovely girl, two years
younger, toddles about, picking "pitty flowers," and bringing them to
"papa, mamma, or grandmamma," as her capricious fancy prompts. Near by,
papa, mamma, grandmamma, and one pleased and honored guest, are grouped
beneath the bending boughs of a magnificent black walnut, and around a
table on which strawberries and cream, butter sweet as the breath of the
cows that yielded it, biscuits light and white, and bread as good as
Humbert himself could make, are served in a style of elegant simplicity,
while the silver urn in which the water hisses, and the small china cups
into which the fragrant tea is poured, if they are somewhat antique in
fashion, are none the less beautiful or the less valued by those who
still prize the slightest object associated with the affections beyond
the gratification of the vanity.

The evening meal is over. The shadows grow darker on the lake. Agreeable
conversation has given place to silent enjoyment, which Mrs. Oswald
interrupts to say, "Philip, this is the hour for music; let us have some
before Mary leaves us with the children."

Full, deep-toned was the manly voice that swelled upon that evening air,
and soft and clear its sweet accompaniment, while the words, full of
adoring gratitude and love, seemed incense due to the heaven which had
so blessed them.

The last sweet notes had died away, and Mary, calling the children,
leads them to their quiet repose, after they have bestowed their
good-night kisses. Philip Oswald follows her with his eyes, as, with a
child on each hand, she advances with gentle grace upon the easy slope,
to the house on its summit. She enters the piazza, and is screened from
his view by its lattice-work of vines, but he knows that soon his
children will be lisping their evening prayer at her knee, and the
thought calls a tender expression to his eyes as he turns them away from
his "sweet home."

Contrast this picture with that of Caroline Randall's heartless
splendor, and say whether thou wilt choose for thy portion the
gratification of the true and pure household affections which Heaven has
planted in thy nature, or that of a selfish vanity?



CHAPTER V.


This morning, as I sat in the library writing a letter, Annie came in
and seated herself at a table on the opposite side of the room. Her
unusual stillness caused me to look up after some minutes, and I found
that Mr. Arlington's portfolio having been left upon the table, she had
drawn from it one of his pencilings, and was gazing steadfastly upon it,
as I could not but think, with something troubled in the expression of
her usually open and cheerful face. While I was still observing her, the
door behind her opened, and Mr. Arlington himself entered. A blush arose
to Annie's cheeks as she saw him; a blush which had its origin, I
thought, in some deeper feeling than a mere girlish shame at being found
so engrossed by one of his productions.

"What have you there?" he asked, as seating himself beside her, he took
the paper from what seemed to me her somewhat reluctant hand. No sooner
had he looked on it, than his own bright face became shadowed, as hers
had been, and yet he smiled, too, as he said, "That portfolio is really
an _omnium gatherum_. I had no idea this had found its way there. When I
first read Mrs. Hemans' poem of 'The Bird's Release,' it reminded me of
this scene of my boyhood, though if I have never spoken to you of my
darling Grace, you will not be able to understand why."

"You never have," said Annie, answering his looks rather than his words,
while a slight increase of color was again perceptible in her fair
cheek.

"She was my sister, my only sister; we were but two, the petted darlings
of a widowed mother. I told you, that few could sympathize as I could
with Körner's memory of Mother-love. I was but six years old, and just
such a chubby, broad-shouldered little varlet, I fancy, as I have
sketched here, when Grace, who was two years older, and the loveliest,
merriest little creature in the world, died. My mother was already
beginning to feel the influence of that disease, which, two years later,
terminated her life, and, I have no doubt, the death of Grace, who was
her idol, increased the rapidity of its progress."

There was silence for some minutes, and then Annie said softly, "But
what of the bird?"

"It was a thrush which had been given to Grace some time before her
death, and which she was trying to tame for me. My mother could not bear
to see it after her death, and with some difficulty persuaded me to give
it its liberty. You will now see why I should have dedicated this sketch
to Grace, and why these lines should have brought the scene to my mind,
and caused me indeed to make this drawing of it."

"Will you read the lines for me?" asked Annie, "I had not finished them
when you took the paper from me."

To tell you a secret, reader, I do not believe she had seen any thing on
the paper except the few words in German text written at its head, "To
my darling Grace."

Mr. Arlington read in a tone of feeling and interest,--


THE BIRD'S RELEASE.

BY MRS. HEMANS.

      Go forth, for she is gone!
    With the golden light of her wavy hair
    She is gone to the fields of the viewless air:
      She hath left her dwelling lone!

      Her voice hath pass'd away!
    It hath passed away like a summer breeze,
    When it leaves the hills for the for blue seas,
      Where we may not trace its way.

      Go forth, and like her be free:
    With thy radiant wing, and thy glancing eye,
    Thou hast all the range of the sunny sky,
      And what is our grief to thee?

      Is it aught even to her we mourn?
    Doth she look on the tears by her kindred shed?
    Doth she rest with the flowers o'er her gentle head?
      Or float on the light wind borne?

      We know not--but she is gone!
    Her step from the dance, her voice from the song,
    And the smile of her eye from the festal throng;
      She hath loft her dwelling lone!

      When the waves at sunset shine,
    We may hear thy voice amidst thousands more,
    In the scented woods of our glowing shore;
      But we shall not know 'tis thine!

      Even so with the loved one flown!
    Her smile in the starlight may wander by,
    Her breath may be near in the wind's low sigh
      Around us--but all unknown.

      Go forth, we have loosed thy chains!
    We may deck thy cage with the richest flowers
    Which the bright day rears in our eastern bowers;
      But thou wilt not be lured again.

      Even thus may the summer pour
    All fragrant things on the land's green breast,
    And the glorious earth like a bride be dress'd;
      But it wins _her_ back no more!

I was doubtful whether either Mr. Arlington or Annie were aware of my
presence, and was just debating with myself whether I should make them
aware of it by addressing them, or quietly steal away, when Col.
Donaldson decided the point by entering the library and speaking to me.
He came to ask that I would come to the parlor and see a boy who had
just been sent from one of our charitable institutions, to which he had
applied for a lad to act as a helper to his old waiter, John, who was
now old enough to require some indulgence, and had always been
trustworthy enough to deserve some. The boy looked intelligent and
honest--he was neat in his person and active in his movements.

"He is an orphan," said Col. Donaldson, "and the managers of the
institution have offered to bind him to me for seven years, or till he
is of age. What do you think of it!"

"If the boy himself be willing, I should be glad to know he was so well
provided for," I replied; "though in general, no abolitionist can be
more vehemently opposed to negro slavery than I am to this
apprenticeship business. What is it but a slavery of the worst
description? The master is endowed with irresponsible power, without the
interest in the well-being of his slave, which the planter, the actual
owner of slaves, ordinarily feels."

"You speak strongly," said Col. Donaldson.

"I feel strongly on this subject," I answered. "I knew one instance of
the effects of this system which I have often thought of publishing to
the world, as speaking more powerfully against it than a thousand
addresses could do."

"Tell it to us, Aunt Nancy," said Robert Dudley.

"It is too long to tell now," said I, as the dinner-bell sounded.

"Then let us have it this evening," urged Col. Donaldson--"for it is a
subject in which I am much interested."

Accordingly, in the evening, I gave them the "o'er true tale" of


THE YOUNG MISANTHROPE.

"In the blue summer ocean, far off and alone," lies a little island,
known to mariners in the Pacific only for the fine water with which it
supplies them, and for the bold shore which makes it possible for ships
of considerable tonnage to lie in quiet near the land. Discovered at
first by accident, it has been long, for these reasons, visited both by
English and American whalers. A few years since, and no trace of man's
presence could be found there beyond the belt of rocks, amidst which
arose the springs that were the chief, and indeed only attraction the
island presented to the rough, hardy men by whom it had been visited.
But within that stony girdle lay a landscape soft and lovely as any that
arose within the tropical seas. There the plantain waved its leafy
crown, the orange shed its rich perfume, and bore its golden fruit aloft
upon the desert air, and the light, feathery foliage of the tamarind
moved gracefully to the touch of the dallying breeze. All was green, and
soft, and fair, for there no winter chills the life of nature, but,

    "The bee banquets on through a whole year of flowers."

It was a scene which might have seemed created for the abode of some
being too bright and good for the common earth of common men, or for
some Hinda and Hafed, who, driven from a world all too harsh and evil
for their nobler natures, might have found in it a refuge,

    "Where the bright eyes of angels only
    Should come around them to behold
    A paradise so pure and lonely."

Alas for the dream of the poet! This beautiful island became the refuge,
not of pure and loving hearts, but of one from whose nature cruel
tyranny seemed to have blotted out every feeling and every faculty save
hatred and fear; and he who first introduced into its yet untainted
solitudes the bitter sorrows and dark passions of humanity, was a child,
who, but ten years before, had lain in all the loveliness of sinless
infancy upon a mother's bosom. Of that mother's history he knew
nothing--whether her sin or only her sorrows had thrown him fatherless
upon the world, he was ignorant--he had only a dim memory of gentle
eyes, which had looked on him as no others had ever looked, and of a
low, sweet voice, speak to him such words as he had never heard from any
other. He had been loved, and that love had made his life of penury in
an humble hovel in England, bright and beautiful; but his mother had
passed away from earth, and with her all the light of his existence.
Child as he was, the succeeding darkness preserved long in brightness
the memory of the last look from her fast glazing eyes, the last words
from her dying lips, the last touch of her already death-cold hand. She
died, and the same reluctant charity which consigned her to a pauper's
grave, gave to her boy a dwelling in the parish poor-house. With the
tender mercies of such institutions the author of Oliver Twist has made
the world acquainted. They were such in the present case, that the poor
little Edward Hallett welcomed as the first glad words that had fallen
on his ears for two long, weary years, the news that he was to be bound
apprentice to a captain sailing from Portsmouth in a whaling ship. He
learned rather from what was said _near_ him, than _to_ him, that this
man wanted a cabin boy, but would not have one who was not bound to him,
or to use the more expressive language in which it reached the ears of
his destined victim, "one with whom he could not do as he pleased."

He who had come within the poor-house walls at six years old, a glad,
rosy-cheeked, chubby child, went from them at eight, thin, and pale, and
grave, with a frame broken by want and labor, a mind clouded, and a
heart repressed by unkindness. But, sad as was the history of those
years, the succeeding two taught the poor boy to regard them as the
vanished brightness of a dream. The man--we should more justly say, the
fiend--to whom the next fourteen years of his life were by bond devoted,
was a savage by nature, and had been rendered yet more brutal by habits
of intoxication. In his drunken orgies, his favorite pastime was to
torture the unfortunate being whom the "guardians of the poor" of an
English parish had placed in his power. It would make the heart of the
reader sick, were we to attempt a detail of the many horrible inventions
by which this modern Caligula amused his leisure hours, and made life
hideous to his victim. Nor was it only from this arch-fiend that the
poor boy suffered. Mate, cook, and sailors, soon found in him a butt for
their jokes, an object on which they might safely vent their ill-humor,
and a convenient cover for their own delinquencies.

He was beaten for and by them. The evil qualities which man had himself
elicited from his nature, if not implanted there--the sullenness, and
hardiness, and cunning he evinced, were made an excuse for further
injury. During his first voyage of eighteen months, spite of all this,
hope was not entirely dead in his heart. The ship was to return to
England, and he determined to run away from her, and find his way back
to the poor-house. It was a miserable refuge, but it was his only one.
He escaped--he found his way thither through many dangers--he told his
story. It was heard with incredulity, and he was returned to his
tormentors, to learn that there is even in hell "a deeper hell."

Again he went on a whaling voyage. Day after day the fathomless, the
seemingly illimitable sea, the image of the Infinite was around him--but
his darkened mind saw in it only a prison, which shut him in with his
persecutors. Night after night the stars beamed peacefully above him,
luring his thoughts upward, but he saw in them only the signals of
drunken revelry to others, and of deeper woe to himself. There was but
one wish in his heart--it had almost ceased to be a hope--to escape from
man; to live and die where he should never see his form, never hear his
voice. The ship encountered a severe storm. She was driven from her
course, her voyage lengthened, and some of her water-casks were stove
in. They made for an island, not far distant, by the chart, to take in a
fresh supply of water. Edward Hallett heard the sailors say to each
other that this island was uninhabited, and his wish grew into a
passionate desire--a hope. For the completion of this hope, he had but
one resource--the sword and the shield of the feeble--cunning; and well
he exercised his weapon.

The ship lay within a quarter of a mile of the shore, and a boat was
sent to procure water--one man remaining always to fill the empty
vessels while the others returned to the ship with those already filled.
The best means of accomplishing his purpose that occurred to the poor
boy was to feign the utmost degree of terror at the lonely and
unprotected situation of this man during the absence of his comrades. He
spoke his terrors where he knew they would be heard by the prime author
of his miseries. The result was what he had anticipated.

"Ye're afraid, are ye, of being left there by yerself! Ye'd rather be
whipped, or tied up by the thumbs, or be kept at the mast-head all
night, would ye? Then, dam'me, that's just what I'll do to you. Here,
hold on with that boat--take this youngster with you, and you can bring
back Tom, and leave him to fill the casks for you."

Well did the object of his tyranny act his part. He entreated, he
adjured all around him to save him from so dreaded a fate--in vain, of
course--for his affected agonies only riveted the determination of his
tyrant. It was a new delight to see him writhe in agony, and strive to
draw back from those who were urging him to the boat. He was forced in,
borne to the island, and left to his task. But this was not enough. He
could not escape in the broad light of day, from a spot directly under
the eyes of his tormentors, while between him and the ship a boat was
ever coming and going. Through the day he must persist in the part he
had assumed. He did not fail to continue it, and when the day approached
its close, he sent to the ship the most urgent entreaties that he might
be allowed to return there before it was night. The sailors, rough and
hard as they generally were to him, sympathized with his agony of fear,
and asked that he might return; but his demon was now inflamed by drink,
and every word in favor of his petition insured its rejection. He even
made the unusual exertion of going up himself in the last boat, that he
might see the victim of his malice, and feast his ears with the cries
and objurgations which terror would wring from him.

"If we should forget you in the morning, you can take the next homeward
bound ship that stops here, but don't tell your friends at the
poor-house too bad a tale of us," were the parting words of this wretch.

Darkness and silence were around the desolate boy, but they brought no
fear with them. Man, his enemy, was not there. He saw not the beauty of
the heavens, from which the stars looked down on him in their unchanged
serenity, or of the earth, where flowers were springing at his feet, and
graceful shrubs were waving over him. He heard not the deep-toned sea
uttering its solemn music, or the breeze whispering its softer notes in
his ear. He only saw the ship, the abode of men, fading into
indistinctness, as the darkness threw its veil over it; he only heard
the voice in his heart, proclaiming ever and again, "I am free." Before
the morrow dawned, he had surmounted the rocks at the landing place, and
wandered on with no aim, but to put as great a distance as possible
between him and the ship. Two hours' walking brought him again to the
sea, in an opposite direction to that by which he had approached the
island. Here he crawled into a hiding-place among the rocks, and lay
down to rest. The day was again declining before he ventured forth from
his covert, and cautiously approached the distant shore, whence he might
see the ship. He reached the spring by which he had stood yester eve,
when his companions parted from him, with something like pity stirring
in the hearts of all but one among them. Fearfully he looked
around--before him--but no shadow on the earth, no sail upon the
pathless sea, told of man's presence. He was alone--alone indeed, for
the beauty of Nature aroused no emotion in his withered heart, and he
held no communion with Nature's God. He was indeed an orphaned soul.
Could he have loved, had it been but a simple flower, he would have felt
something of the joy of life; but the very power of love seemed to have
been crushed from his heart, by years of cold neglect and harsh
unkindness.

Weeks, months passed, without any event that might awaken the young
solitary from his torpor. By day, he roved through the island, or lay
listlessly under the shadow of a tree; by night, he slept beneath the
rocks which had first sheltered him; while the fruits, that grew and
ripened without his care, gave him food. Thus he lived a merely animal
life, his strongest sensation one of satisfaction for his relief from
positive suffering, but with nothing that could be called joy in the
present, and with no hope for the future; one to whom God had given an
immortal spirit, capable of infinite elevation in the scale of
intelligence and happiness, and whom man had pressed down to--ay,
below--the level of the brutes, which sported away their brief existence
at his side. Such tyranny as he had experienced, is rare; but its
results may well give an impressive, a fearful lesson, to those to whom
are committed the destinies of a being unconnected with them by any of
those ties which awaken tenderness, and call forth indulgence in the
sternest minds. Let them beware, lest the "iron rule" crush out the life
of the young heart, and darken the intellect by extinguishing the light
of hope.

Terrible was the retribution which his crimes wrought out for the author
of our young hero's miseries. When he received the intelligence from the
men whom he had sent in the morning to bring him from the island, that
he was nowhere to be found, he read in their countenance what his own
heart was ready to repeat to him, that he was his murderer; for neither
they nor he doubted that the terrified boy had rushed into the sea, and
been drowned in the effort to escape the horrors raised by his wild and
superstitious fancy. From that hour his persecutor suffered tortures as
great as his bitterest enemies could have desired to inflict on him. The
images which drove him with increased eagerness to the bottle, became
more vivid and terrific under the influence of intoxication. He drank
deeper and deeper, in the vain hope to banish them, and died ere many
months had passed, shouting, in his last moments, alternate prayers and
curses to the imagined form of him whom he supposed the hope of revenge
had conjured from the ocean grave to which his cruelties had consigned
him.

Five months passed over Edward Hallett, in the dead calm of an existence
agitated by neither hope nor fear. The calm was broken one evening by
the sight of a seaman, drawing water from the spring which had brought
his former companions to the island. As he came in sight, the man turned
his head, and stood for an instant spell-bound by the unexpected vision
of a human being on that island, whose matted locks and tattered
garments spoke the extreme of misery. There was only one hope for the
sad wild boy--it was in flight--and turning, he ran swiftly back; but
the path was strewn with rocks, and, in his haste, he stumbled and fell.
In a moment his pursuer stood beside him, acclaiming in a coarse, but
kindly meant language:--

"What the devil are you runnin' away from me for, youngster?--I'm sure I
wouldn't hurt ye--but get up, and tell us what you're doing here, and
where ye've come from."

The speaker attempted, while addressing the boy, to raise him from the
ground, but he resisted all his efforts, and met all his questioning
with sullen silence.

"By the powers, I'm thinking I've caught a wild man. I wonder if there's
any more of 'em. If I can only get this one aboard, he'll make my
fortune. I'll try for it, any how, and offer the capting to go shares
with my bargain;" and he proceeded to lift the slight form of the pauper
boy in his brawny arms, and bear him to the boat, which, during the
scene, had approached the shore. One who had had less experience of the
iron nature of man, would have endeavored, in Edward Hallett's
circumstances, to move his captor by entreaties to leave him to his
dearly prized freedom; but he had long believed, with the poet,

    "There is no pulse in man's obdurate heart--
    It does not feel for man;"

and after the first wild struggle, which had only served to show that
he was an infant in the hands of the strong seaman, he abandoned himself
to his fate, in silent despair. With closed eyes and lips, he suffered
himself, without a movement, to be borne to the boat, and deposited in
it, amidst the many uncouth and characteristic exclamations of his
captor and his companions, who would not be convinced that it was really
a child of the human race, thus strangely found on this isolated spot.
Hastily they bore him to the ship, which the providence of God had sent,
under the guidance of a kind and noble spirit, for the salvation of
this, his not forgotten, though long tried creature.

Captain Durbin, of the barque Good Intent, was one who combined, in no
usual degree, the qualities of boldness and energy with the kindest, the
tenderest, and most generous feelings. These were wrought into beautiful
harmony, by the Christian principles which had long governed his life,
and from which he had learned to be, at the same time, "diligent in
business" and "kindly affectioned"--to have no _fear_ of man, and to
love his brother, whom he had seen, as the best manifestation of
devotion to God, whom he had not seen. Perhaps he had escaped the usual
effect of his rough trade, in hardening the manners, at least, by the
influence on him of his only child, a little girl, now six years old,
who was his constant companion, even in his voyages. Little Emily Durbin
had lost her mother when she was only two years old. The circumstances
of her own childhood had wrought into the mind of the dying Mrs. Durbin,
the conviction that only a parent is a fitting guardian for a child. To
all argument on this subject she would reply, "It seems to me that God
has put so much love into a parent's heart, only that he may bear with
all a child's waywardness, which other people can't be expected to bear
with."

True to her principles, she had exacted a promise from her husband, in
her dying hour, that he would never part from their Emily. The promise
had been sacredly kept.

"I will retire from sea as soon as I have enough to buy a place on
shore, for Emily's sake; but till then, her home must be in my cabin.
She is under God's care there, as well as on shore, and perhaps it would
be better for her, should I be lost at sea, to share my fate." Such were
the remarks of Captain Durbin, in reply to the well-meant remonstrances
of his friends.

Emily had a little hammock slung beside his own--the books in which he
taught her made a large part of his library; and he who had seen her
kneel beside her father to lisp her childish prayer, or who had heard
the simple, beautiful faith with which she commended herself to the care
of her Father in Heaven, when the waves roared and the winds howled
around her floating home, would have felt, perhaps, that the most
important end of life, the cultivation of those affections that connect
us with God and with our fellow-creatures, might be attained as
perfectly there as elsewhere.

The astonishment of Captain Durbin and the pity of his gentle child may
be conceived, at the sight of the poor boy, who was brought up from the
boat by his captor and owner, as he considered himself, and laid at
their feet, while they sat together in their cabin--he writing in his
log-book, and she conning her evening lesson. To the proposition that he
should give the prize so strangely obtained a free passage, and share in
the advantages to be gained by its exhibition in America, Captain Durbin
replied by showing the disappointed seaman the impossibility of the
object of these speculations being some product of Nature's freaks--some
hitherto unknown animal, with the form, but without the faculties of
man.

"Do you not see that he has clothes----"

"Clothes do ye call them!" interrupted the blunt sailor, touching the
pieces of cloth that hung around, but no longer covered the thin limbs.

"Rags, perhaps I had better say--but the rags have been clothes, woven
and sewn by man's hands--so he must have lived among men--civilized
men--and he has grown but little, as you may perceive, since those
clothes were made--therefore, he cannot have been long on the island."

"But how did he get there? Who'd leave a baby like this there by
himself?"

"That we may never know, for the boy must either be an idiot--which he
does not look like, however--or insane, or dumb--but let that be as it
will, we will do our duty by him, and I thank God for having sent us
here in time to save him."

The master of the ship usually gives the tone to those whom he commands,
and Captain Durbin found no difficulty in obtaining the help of his men
in his kind intentions to the boy so strangely brought amongst them. By
kind, yet rough hands, he was washed, his hair was cut and combed, and a
suit of clean, though coarse garments, hastily fitted to him by the best
tailor among them--fitted, not with the precision of Stultz certainly,
but sufficiently well to enable him to walk in them without danger of
walking on them or of leaving them behind. But he showed no intention of
availing himself of these capabilities. Wherever they carried him he
went without resistance--wherever they placed him he remained--he ate
the food that was offered him--but no word escaped his lips, no
voluntary movement was made by him, no look marked his consciousness of
aught that passed before him. He had again assumed his only shield from
violence--cunning. He could account in no way for his being left
unmolested, except from the belief, freely expressed before him, that
nature, by depriving him of intelligence, or of speech, had unfitted him
for labor, and he resolved to do nothing that should unsettle that
belief. But he found it more difficult than he had supposed it would be
to preserve this resolution, for he was subjected to the action of a
more potent influence than any he had yet encountered--kindness. All
were ready to show him this in its common forms, but none so touchingly
or so tenderly as the little Emily Durbin. It was a beautiful sight to
see that gentle child, with eyes blue as the heavens, whose pure and
lovely spirit they seemed to mirror, gazing up at the dark boy as though
she hoped to catch some ray of the awakening spirit flitting over the
handsome but stolid features. Sometimes she would sit beside him, take
his hand in hers, or stroke gently the dark locks that began again to
hang in neglected curls around his face, and speak to him in the
tenderest accents, saying, "I love you very much, pretty boy, and my
father loves you too, and we all love you--don't you love us?--but you
can't tell me--I forgot that--never mind, I'll ask our Heavenly Father
to make you talk. Don't you know Jesus made the dumb to speak when he
was here on earth? Did you ever hear about it? Poor boy! you can't
answer me--but I'll tell you all about it:" and then in her sweet words
and pitying voice she would tell of the Saviour of men--how he had made
the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak, and she would repeat his lessons
of love, dwelling often on her favorite text, "This is my commandment,
that ye love one another--even as I have loved you, that ye also love
one another."

Thus by this babe, God was in his love leading the chilled heart of that
poor, desolate boy, back to himself--to hope--to heaven. It was
impossible that the dew of mercy should thus, day by day and hour by
hour, distil upon a spirit indurated by man's cruelties, without
softening it. Edward Hallett began to love that sweet child, to listen
to her step and voice, to gaze upon her fair face, to return her loving
looks, and to long to tell her all his story. Emily became aware of the
new expression in his face, and redoubled her manifestations of
interest. She entreated that he should be brought in when her father
read the Bible and prayed with her, night and morning. "Who knows, it
may be that our Heavenly Father will make him hear us," was her simple
and pathetic response to Captain Durbin's assurance that it was useless,
as he either could not or would not understand them. Never had Edward
Hallett's resolution been more severely tried than when he saw her
kneel, with clasped hands and uplifted face, at her father's knee, and
heard her pray in her own simple words that "God would bless the poor
little dumb boy whom he had sent to them, and that he would make him
speak, and give him a good heart, that he might love them." Captain
Durbin turned his eyes upon the object of her prayer at that moment, and
he almost thought that his lips moved, and was quite certain that his
eyes glistened with emotion. From this time he was as anxious as Emily
herself for the attendance of the strange boy at their devotions.

For many weeks the ship had sped across that southern sea with light and
favoring breezes, but at length there came a storm. The heavens were
black with clouds--the wind swept furiously over the ocean, and drove
its wild waves in tremendous masses against the reeling ship. Captain
Durbin was a bold sailor, as we have said, and he had weathered many a
storm in his trim barque; but Emily knew by the way in which he pressed
her to his heart this night, before he laid her, not in her hammock, but
on the narrow floor of his state-room, and by the tone in which he
ejaculated, "God bless you, and take care of you, my beloved
child!"--that there was more danger tonight than they had ever before
encountered together; and as he was leaving her she drew him back and
said, "Father, I can't sleep, and I should like to talk to the little
dumb boy; won't you bring him here, and let him sit on my mattress with
me?"

Captain Durbin brought Edward Hallett and placed him beside Emily,
where, by bracing themselves against the wall of the state-room, they
might prevent their being dashed about by the rolling of the vessel.
Emily welcomed him with an affectionate smile, and taking his hand,
which now sometimes answered the clasp of hers, told him that he must
not be afraid, though there was a great storm, for their Father in
Heaven could deliver them out of it if it were His will, and if it were
not, He would take them to himself, if they loved Him, and loved one
another as the blessed Saviour had commanded them. "And you know we must
die some way," continued the sweet young preacher, "and father says it
is just as easy to go to Heaven from the sea as from any other place."
She paused a moment, and then added in a low tone, "But I think I had
rather die on shore, and be buried by my mother in the green, shady
church-yard--it is so quiet there."

Emily crept nearer and nearer to her young companion as she spoke, with
that clinging to human love and care which is felt by the hardest breast
in moments of dread. His heart was beating high with the tenderest and
the happiest emotions he had ever known, when a wave sweeping over the
deck of the ship, and breaking through the skylight, came tumbling in
upon them. It forced them asunder, and the falling of their lantern at
the same moment left them in darkness amidst the tossing of the ship,
the rolling of the furniture, and the noise of the many waters. Edward
Hallett's first thought was for Emily;--he felt for her on every side,
but she was not in the state-room; he groped his way into the cabin, but
he could not find her, and he heard no sound that told of her existence.
In terror for her, self was forgotten--love conquered fear, as it had
already obtained the empire over hate, and he called her--"Emily--dear
Emily!--hear me--answer me, Emily?"

He listened in vain for the faint voice for which he thirsted. Suddenly
he bounded up the cabin steps and rushed to the post at which he knew
Captain Durbin was most likely to be found in such a scene, crying as he
went, "Emily! Emily! oh bring a light and look for Emily!"

The shrill cry of a human heart in agony was heard above the bellowing
of the winds and the rush of the waves, and without waiting for a
question, without heeding even the miracle that the dumb had spoken,
Captain Durbin hastened below, followed by his agitated summoner. As
quickly as his trembling hands permitted, he struck a light and looked
around for his child. She had been dashed against a chest, and lay pale
and seemingly lifeless, with the red blood oozing slowly from a cut in
the temple. Edward Hallett had lifted her before Captain Durbin could
lay aside his light, and as he approached him, looking up with a face
almost as pale as that which lay upon his arm, he exclaimed, "Oh, sir,
surely she is not dead!"

It was not till Emily had again opened her soft eyes and assured her
father that she was not much hurt, that any notice was taken of the very
unusual fact of Edward Hallett's speaking.

"Father, how did you know I was hurt?"

"He whom we have thought a dumb boy called me, and told me he could not
find you," said Captain Durbin, looking earnestly, almost sternly at
Edward, who colored as he felt that eyes he dared not meet were upon
him. But the gentle, loving Emily took his hand, and said, "Did our good
Heavenly Father make you speak?--I am so glad--please speak to me!"

Edward could not raise his eyes to hers, but covering his face with his
other hand, he fell on his knees, saying to her and Captain Durbin, "I
am afraid it was very wicked, but indeed I couldn't help it. I could
speak all the time, Emily, but I was afraid of being beaten as I used to
be, if I seemed like other people--now if they beat me I must bear
it--better for me to be beaten than to have Emily lie there with no one
to help her."

"But who is going to beat you? Nobody will beat you--we all love
you--don't we, father?" cried Emily, bending forward and putting her arm
around the neck of her _protégé_.

"We must hear first whether he is worthy of our love, my dear," said
Captain Durbin, as he attempted to withdraw his daughter's arm, and to
make her lie down again--but Edward had seized the little hand and held
it around his neck, while he exclaimed in the most imploring tones, "Oh,
sir I let Emily love me--nobody else except my poor mother ever loved
me. Beat me as much as you please, and I will not say a word, but oh!
pray, sir! don't tell Emily she must not love me."

"And, father, if he were wicked, you know you told me once that we must
love the wicked and try to do them good, because our Father in Heaven
loved us while we were yet sinners," urged Emily.

That gentle voice could not be unheeded, and as Captain Durbin kissed
her, he laid his hand kindly on the boy's head, saying in more friendly
tones, "I hope he has not been wicked, but we will hear more about it
to-morrow--I cannot stay longer with you now, and you must lie still
just where I have put you, or you may roll out and get hurt. We shall
have a rough sea most of the night, though, thank God! no danger, for
the wind had shifted and slackened a little before that great wave swept
you away!"

"May I not stay by Emily, sir, and tell her what made me not speak? I
will not let her sit up again."

"Oh, yes! do, father, let him stay till you come down again."

Captain Durbin consented, and when he came down again at midnight from
the deck, the children had both fallen asleep, but their hands were
clasped in each other's, and the flushed cheeks and dewy lashes of both
showed that they had been weeping. The next morning Captain Durbin heard
the story of the orphan boy. Emily Durbin stood beside him while he told
it, and he needed the courage which her presence gave him, for his cowed
spirit could not yet rise to confidence in man. The mingled indignation
and pity with which Captain Durbin heard the simple but touching
narrative of his life--the earnest kindness with which, at the
conclusion, he drew him to his side, and told him that he would be his
father, and Emily his sister, adding, "God gave you to me, and as His
gift I will love you and care for you," first taught him that his friend
Emily was not the one only angel of mercy in our world. As time passed
on, and Captain Durbin kept well the promise of those words, instructing
him with care and guarding him with tenderness as well as with fidelity,
his faith became firm, not only in his fellow-men, but in Him who had
brought such great good for him out of the darkest evil. His long
repressed affections sprang into vigorous growth, his intellect expanded
rapidly in their glow, his eye grew bright, his step elastic, and his
whole air redolent of a joy which none but those who have suffered as he
had done can conceive. In the handsome youth who returned two years
afterwards with Captain Durbin to Boston, and who walked so proudly at
his side, leading Emily by the hand, few could have recognized the wild
boy of that western Island.

Such was the transformation which the spirit of love, breathing itself
through the lips of a little child, had effected. "Verily, of such"
children "is the kingdom of heaven."



CHAPTER VI.


The entertainment of the evening gave its character to our conversation
on the following morning. It was a conversation too grave for
introduction into a work intended only to aid in the entertainment of
festive hours: it commenced with the English "poor-laws," and ended with
a discussion of the tenure of property in that land, and the wisdom of
our own republican fathers in abolishing entails--a subject affording a
fair opportunity to us Americans, to indulge a little in that
self-glorification which we are accused of loving so well.

"What a curious book would a 'History of Entails' be!" exclaimed Mr.
Arlington, "how full of the romance of life!"

"Romance!" ejaculated Annie.

"Yes, romance; for under this system, the poor man, whose life seemed
doomed to one unbroken struggle with fortune, for the necessaries of
existence, finds himself, by some unexpected casualty, the possessor of
rank, and of what seems to him boundless wealth."

"Ah, yes!" said I, "but you have given us only the bright side of the
picture. To make room for this stranger, whose only connection with the
house of which he has so unexpectedly become the head is probably that
preserved in genealogical tables, the daughters of the house, or their
children it may be, reared in luxury, must go forth to a life of
comparative privation. I met, some years ago, in one of my visits to the
Far West, a young Englishman, who--but I will read you the story of his
life, as I wrote it out soon after parting with him."

"Have you a picture of him, Aunt Nancy?" asked Robert Dudley.

"Yes, Robert," I replied with a smile, "but you must have patience, for
I shall neither show the picture nor tell the story till evening."

When we were assembled in the evening, Annie, with much ceremony, led me
to the high-backed arm-chair, which she called the Speaker's Chair, and
placed before me the small travelling desk, in which she knew my
manuscripts were kept. I unlocked it, and soon found the scroll of which
I was in search.

"But the picture, Aunt Nancy--where is the picture?" cried the eager
Robert.

"Here it is," I cried, as I loosened the ribbon with which the
manuscript was bound together, and produced a small engraving; a fancy
subject, however, rather than an actual portrait, and of no general
interest. The print was eagerly caught by Robert, and handed around the
circle, with exclamations of, "How handsome!" "What an exquisite
picture!" Mr. Arlington looked at it a moment, then, with a smiling
glance at me, handed it, without a word of comment, to Col. Donaldson.

"The impertinent puppy!" ejaculated the Colonel, "engrossed with his
hawk and his hound, and wearing such an insolent air of self-absorption
in the presence of a lady" (for the artist had introduced a lovely young
maiden in the scene). "Poor girl!" continued the Colonel; "if she were
in any way connected with him, I am not surprised that she should look
so sad and reproachful."

Mr. Arlington's smiling glance was again turned on me; and I met it with
a hearty laugh.

"Indeed, Aunt Nancy," said the Colonel, who seemed strangely annoyed at
my laughter, "I think your friend does you little credit, and I can
only hope that he had some of these lordly airs drubbed out of him at
the West."

As Col. Donaldson spoke he threw down the engraving which he had held,
and pushed his chair from the table.

"I assure you, sir," I replied, "my friend has as few lordly airs as it
is possible to conceive in one born to such lordly circumstances. It was
not my intention to impose on you that picture as an actual likeness of
him--though had you ever seen him I might easily have done so, as it
really resembles him very much in his personal traits."

"Well, I am glad he did not sit for this picture," said Col. Donaldson;
"now I can listen to your story with some pleasure."

"Thank you; you must first take some reflections suggested to me by the
incidents I have here narrated. Of the character of these reflections,
you will form some conception from the title I have given to the tale
into which I have interwoven them. I have called it


"LIFE IN AMERICA."

"Men and Manners in America" was the comprehensive title of a book
issued some fifteen or twenty years ago, by a gentleman from Scotland,
to whom, we fear, Americans have never tendered the grateful
acknowledgments he deserved for his disinterested efforts to teach
them to eat eggs properly, and to give due time to the mastication of
their food. This benevolently instructive work was the precursor of a
host of others on the same topics, and others of a kindred character.
America has been the standard subject for the trial essays of European
tyros in philosophy, political economy, and book-making in general.
Society in America has been presented, it would seem, in all its
aspects--religious, educational, industrial, political, commercial, and
fashionable. Our schools and our prisons, our churches and our theatres,
have been in turn the subject of investigation, of unqualified censure,
and of scarcely less unqualified laudation.

The subject thus dissected, put together, and dissected again, has
not been able to restrain some wincing and an occasional outcry,
when the scalpel has been held by a more than usually unskilful
hand--demonstrations of sensibility which have occasioned apparently as
much disapprobation as surprise in the anatomists. We flatter ourselves
that there is peculiar fitness in the metaphor just used, for the outer
form only of American life has been touched by these various writers.
Its spirit, that which gives to it its peculiar organization, has evaded
them as completely as the soul of man evades the keenest investigations
of the dissecting room. Even of the seat of the spirit--of the point
whence it sends forth its subtle influences, giving activity and
direction to every member--of the HOMES of America, they have little
real knowledge. The anatomist--the reader will pardon the continuation
of a figure so illustrative of our meaning--the anatomist knows that not
only can he never hope to lay his finger upon the principle of life, but
that ere he can pry into those cells in which its mysterious processes
are evolved, they must have been dismantled of all that could have
guided him to any certain deductions respecting its nature and mode of
action. And seldom is the eye of the stranger, never that of the
professed bookmaker, suffered to rest upon our homes till they have
undergone changes that will as completely baffle his penetration. Nor is
this always designedly. It is from a delicate instinct which shrinks
from subjecting its most sacred and touching emotions to the rude gaze
and ruder comment of the world.

We have been led to these observations by certain events of which we
have lately become informed, and which we would here record, as
illustrative of some peculiarities of social life in America, and
especially of the new development of character manifested by women under
the influence of these peculiarities.

The ringing of bells, the firing of cannon, the huzzaing of the
assembling multitude on the announcement in London of the victory of
Waterloo, must have seemed a bitter mockery to many a heart, mad with
the first sharp agony of bereavement. "The few must suffer that the many
may rejoice," say the statesman and the warrior while they plan new
conquests. It may be so, but we have at present to do with the
sufferings of the few.

On the list of the killed in that battle appeared the name of Horace
Danforth, Captain in the 41st Regiment of Infantry. It was a name of
little note, but there was one to whom it was the synonyme of all that
gave beauty or gladness to life; and ere the bells had ceased to sound,
or the eager crowd to huzza, her heart was still. With her last
quivering sigh had mingled the wail of a new-born infant.

Thus was Horace Maitland Danforth ushered into life. He had been born at
the house of his maternal uncle, Sir Thomas Maitland, and as his mother
had been wholly dependent on this gentleman, and his father had been a
soldier of fortune, leaving to his son no heritage but his name, he
continued there, as carefully reared and tenderly regarded as though he
had been the heir to Maitland Park and to all its dependencies. Though
Sir Thomas had, for many years after the birth of his nephew intended to
marry, it was an intention never executed, and when Horace attained his
twenty-first birthday, his majority was celebrated as that of his
uncle's heir, and as such he was presented by Sir Thomas Maitland to his
assembled tenantry. Soon after this event, the Baronet obtained for his
nephew a right to the name and arms of Maitland--a measure to which,
knowing little of his father's family, Horace readily consented. Sir
Thomas Maitland died suddenly while yet in the prime of life, and was
succeeded by Sir Horace, then twenty-four years of age. In the
enjoyments of society, of travel, and of those thousand luxuries, mental
and physical, which fortune secures, three years passed rapidly away
with the young, handsome, and accomplished Baronet.

One of the earliest convictions of Horace Maitland's life had been, that
the refining presence of woman was necessary to the perfection of
Maitland Park, and when Sir Thomas said to him, "Marry, Horace--do not
be an old bachelor like your uncle"--though he answered nothing, he
vowed in the inmost recesses of his heart that it should not be his
fault if he did not obey the injunction. Yet to the world it seemed
wholly his own fault that at twenty-seven he had not given to Maitland
Park a mistress, and even he himself could not attribute his continued
celibacy to the coldness or cruelty of woman; for, in truth, though he
had "knelt at many a shrine," he had "laid his heart on none." If hardly
pressed for his reason, he might have said with Ferdinand,--

                    "For several virtues
    Have I liked several women; never any
    With so full soul, but some defect in her
    Did quarrel with the noblest grace she own'd,
    And put it to the foil."

He who after the death of his uncle continued to urge Sir Horace most on
the subject of matrimony, was the one of all the world who might have
been supposed least desirous to see him enter into its bonds. This was
Edward Maitland, a distant cousin, somewhat younger than himself, to
whom he had been attached from his boyhood, and who had been saved by
his generosity from many of those painful experiences to which a very
narrow income would otherwise have subjected him. It had more than once
been suggested to Edward Maitland, that should his cousin die
unmarried, he might not unreasonably hope to become his heir, as he was
supposed to be uncontrolled by any entail in the disposal of his
property, and had few nearer relations than himself, and none with whom
he maintained such intimate and affectionate intercourse. Nor could
Edward Maitland fail to perceive that his own value in society was in an
inverse ratio to the chances of the Baronet's marrying, as a report of
an actual proposal on the part of the latter had more than once
occasioned a visible declension in the number and warmth of his
invitations. These considerations appeared, however, only to stimulate
the young man's activity in the search of a wife for his cousin. Had he
been employed by a marriage broker with a prospect of a liberal
commission, he could hardly have been more indefatigable.

"Well, Horace," exclaimed the younger Maitland, as the two sat loitering
over a late London breakfast one morning, "how did you like the lady to
whom I introduced you last evening?"

A smile lighted the eyes of Sir Horace as he replied, "Very much,
Ned--she is certainly intelligent, and has read and thought more than
most ladies of her age."

"She will make a capital manager, I am sure."

"And an agreeable companion," added Sir Horace.

"And a good wife--do you not think so, Horace?"

"She doubtless would be to one who could fancy her, Ned; for me her
style is a little too _prononcé_."

"Well, really, Horace, I cannot imagine what you would have. One woman
is too frivolous--another wants refinement--one is too indolent and
exacting--and when you can make no other objection, why her style is a
little too _prononcé_"--the last words were given with ludicrous
imitation of his cousin's tone. "If an angel were to descend from heaven
for you, I doubt if you would be suited."

"So do I," replied Horace, with a gay laugh at his cousin's evident
vexation.

And thus did he meet all Edward's well-intended efforts. The power of
choice had made him fastidious, and his life of luxury and freedom had
brought him no experiences of the need of another and gentler self as a
consoler. But that lesson was approaching.

A call from his lawyer for some papers necessary to complete an
arrangement in which he was much interested, had sent Sir Horace to
Maitland Park, in the midst of the London season, to explore the yet
unfathomed recesses of an old _escritoire_ of Sir Thomas. He had been
gone but two days when Edward received the following note from him,
written, as it seemed, both in haste and agitation:--


"Come to me immediately on the receipt of this, dear Edward. I have
found here a paper of the utmost importance to you as well as to me.
Come quickly--take the chariot and travel post.

"Yours,        H. D. MAITLAND."


In less than an hour after the reception of this note Edward Maitland
was on the road: and travelling with the utmost expedition, he arrived
at Maitland Park just as the day was fading into dusky eve.

"How is Sir Horace?" he asked of the man who admitted him.

"I do not think he seems very well, sir. You will find him in the
library, Mr. Edward--shall I announce you, sir?"

"No;" and with hurried steps and anxious heart Edward Maitland trod the
well-known passages leading to the library.

When he entered that room, Sir Horace was standing at one of its windows
gazing upon the landscape without, and so absorbed was he that he did
not move at the opening of the door. Edward spoke, and starting, he
turned towards him a face haggard with some yet untold suffering. He
advanced to meet his cousin, and with an almost convulsive grasp of the
hand, said, "I am glad you have come, Edward,"--then, without heeding
the anxious inquiries addressed to him by Edward, he rang the bell, and
ordered lights in a tone which caused them to be brought without a
moment's delay. As soon as the servant who had brought them had left the
room, Horace resumed: "Now, Edward, here is the paper of which I wrote
to you; read it at once."

Agitated by his cousin's manner, Edward took the old stained paper from
him without a word, and seating himself near the lights, began to read,
while Sir Horace stood just opposite him, eyeing him intently. In a very
few minutes Edward looked up with a puzzled air and said, "I do not
understand one word of it. What does it all mean, Horace?"

"It means that you are Sir Edward Maitland--that you are master
here--and that I am a beggar."

"Horace, you are mad!" exclaimed the young man, starting from his chair,
with quivering limbs and a face from which every trace of color had
departed.

Hitherto the tone in which Sir Horace had spoken, the alternate flush
and pallor on his face, and the shiver that occasionally passed over his
frame, had shown him to be fearfully excited; but as Edward became
agitated, all these signs of emotion passed away, and with wonderful
calmness taking the paper in his hand, he commenced reading that part of
it which explained its purpose. This was to secure the descent of the
baronetcy of Maitland and the property attached to it in the male line.
Having made Edward Maitland comprehend this purpose, Sir Horace drew
towards him a genealogical table of their family, and showed him that he
was himself the only living descendant in a direct line through an
unbroken succession of males from the period at which this entail was
made.

"And now, Edward," he said in conclusion, "I am prepared to give up
every thing to you. That you have so long been defrauded of your rights
has been through ignorance on my part, and equal ignorance, I am
convinced, on the part of my uncle. You know he paid little attention to
business, leaving it wholly to his agents. I have often heard him
express a wish to examine the papers in the old _escritoire_ in which I
found this deed, saying that they had been sent home by old Harris when
he gave up his business to his nephew--the old man writing to my uncle,
that as they consisted of leases that had fallen in, or of antiquated
deeds, they were no longer of any value except as family records. It was
a just Providence that led me to that _escritoire_, to search for the
missing title-deeds of the farm I was about to sell."

Edward Maitland had sunk into his chair from sheer inability to stand,
and for several minutes after his cousin had ceased speaking, he still
sat, with his elbows resting on the table before him, and his face
buried in his clasped hands. At length looking up, he said, "Horace, let
us burn this paper and forget it."

"Forget! that is impossible, Edward."

"Why?--why not live as we have done? You speak of defrauding me, but
what have I wanted that you had? Has not your purse been as my own? Your
home--has it not been mine? It shall be so still. We shall share the
fortune, and as to the title, you will wear it more gracefully than I."

"Dear Edward! Such proof of your generous affection ought to console me
for all changes, and it shall. I will confess to you that I have
suffered, but it is past. My people----" his voice faltered, his chest
heaved, and turning away he walked more than once across the room before
he resumed--"they are mine no longer--but you will be kind to them,
Edward, I know."

"Horace, you will drive me mad!" cried Edward Maitland. "Promise, I
conjure you, promise me to say nothing more of this."

He threw himself as he spoke into his cousin's arms with an agitation
which Horace vainly sought to soothe, until he promised "to _speak_" no
further on this subject at present to any one. Satisfied with this
promise, and exhausted by the emotions of the last hour, Edward soon
retired to his own room. It was long before he slept, and had he not
been in a distant part of the house, he would have heard the hurried
steps with which, for many an hour after he was left alone, Sir Horace
Maitland continued to pace the floor of the dimly lighted library. The
clock was on the stroke of three when he seated himself and began the
following letter:


DEAR EDWARD:--I must go, and at once. I cannot without the loss of
self-respect continue to play the master here another day, neither can I
live as a dependent within these walls--no, not for an hour. Do not
attempt to follow me, for I will not see you. I will write to you as
soon as I arrive at my point of destination--I know not yet where that
will be. Feel no anxiety about me. I shall take with me a thousand
pounds, and will leave an order for Decker to receive from you and hold
subject to my draft whatever sum may accrue from the sale, at a fair
valuation, of Sir Thomas Maitland's personal property, which he had an
undoubted right to will as he pleased, the amount of the mesne rents
expended by me during the last three years having been deducted
therefrom. Do not attempt to force favors upon me, Edward--I cannot bear
them now. Such attempts would only compel me to cut myself loose from
you and your affection--the one blessing that earth still holds for me.

My trunks have been packed two days, for my first resolve was to go
from this place and from England. I shall take the chariot in which you
came down and fresh horses, but I will send them back to you from
London.

God bless you, Edward. I dare not speak of my feelings to you now, lest
I should lose the strength and self-command I need so much. God bless
you.

H. D. MAITLAND.


Stealthily did Sir Horace move through the wide halls and ascend the
lofty stairs of this home of his life, feeling at every step the rushing
tide of memory conflicting with the sad thought that he was treading
them for the last time. Having reached his sleeping apartments, he rang
a bell which he knew would summon his own man. Rapidly as the man moved,
the time seemed long to him ere the summons was obeyed, and he had given
the necessary orders to have the carriage prepared and the trunks
brought down as soon as possible, "and as quietly," he added, "as he did
not wish to disturb Mr. Edward, who had retired to bed late."

"Will you not take breakfast, sir, before you set out?" asked the man.

"No, John. Let the carriage follow me. I shall walk on. Be quick, and
make no noise."

A faint streak of light was just beginning to appear in the east, when
the heretofore master of that lordly mansion went out into a world which
held for him no other home. ACCIDENT, as short-sighted mortals name
events controlled by no human will, decided whither he should direct his
course from London. He had called at his lawyer's--the already mentioned
"nephew of old Harris"--determined to communicate his discovery to him,
perhaps with some faint hope of learning that the entail had been in
some way set aside, before Sir Thomas had ventured to make his sister's
son his heir. Mr. Decker was not in his rooms, and sitting down to wait
for him he took up mechanically the morning paper that lay on his table.
The first thing on which his eye rested was the advertisement of a steam
packet about to sail from Liverpool for America.

"America; the very place for me. I shall meet no acquaintances there,"
was the thought which flashed through his mind. Another glance at the
paper of the day and hour of the packet's sailing, an examination of his
watch, an impatient look from the window up and down the street, and
again he mused, "I have not a moment to spare, and if I wait for Decker
I may be kept for hours, and so lose the packet; and why should I wait?
Have I not seen the deed? This indecision is folly."

The result of these reflections was a note rapidly written to Mr.
Decker, stating his discovery of the deed of entail, his consequent
surrender of all claim to the property to Edward Maitland, and his
determination to quit England immediately. All arrangements respecting
the settlement of his claims on the estate, and the claims of the
present proprietor upon him, he left to Sir Edward and Mr. Decker,
empowering the latter to receive and retain for his use and subject to
his order, whatever, on such a settlement, should appertain to him.

This note was left on Mr. Decker's table, and in one hour after leaving
his office Horace Maitland was advancing to Liverpool with the rapidity
of steam. The packet waited but the arrival of the train in which he was
a passenger, to leave the shores of England. With what bitterness he
watched those receding shores, while memory wrote upon his bare and
bleeding heart the record of joys identified with them, and fading like
them for ever from his life, let each imagine for himself, for to such
emotions no language can do justice.

A voyage across the Atlantic is now too common an event to stay, even
for a moment, the pen of a narrator. From Boston, Horace--no longer Sir
Horace--wrote to his cousin as follows--


DEAR EDWARD--Here I am among the republicans, with whom I may flatter
myself I have lost nothing by sinking Sir Horace Maitland into plain Mr.
Danforth. Such is now my address, assumed not from fear that in this
distant quarter of the world I shall meet any to whom the name of
Maitland is familiar but because much of which I do not desire to be
reminded is associated with that came. I said to you when leaving my
home, dear Edward, "Do not fear for me." I can now repeat this with
better reason. The first stunning shock of the change to which I was so
suddenly subjected has been borne. My past life already seems to me as a
dream from which I have been rudely but effectually awakened. I am now
first to begin life in reality.

The accident which determined me to seek these shores was a happy one. I
cannot well dream here where all around me is active, vigorous life. We
are accustomed in England to think of the American shores as the Ultima
Thule in a western direction, but when we reach these shores we find
that the movement is still west. The daily papers are filled with
accounts of persons migrating west, and thither am I going. "The world
is all before me where to choose" the theatre of my new life--my life of
work---and I would have it far from the blue sea, out of hearing of the
murmur of the waves that lave my island home. I will go where the wide
prairies sweep away on every side of the horizon--where every link with
other lands will be severed, and America below and Heaven above
constitute my universe. "You will find no society at the West," has been
said to me. This is another attraction to that region. I would work out
my destiny in solitude. I desire to travel without company, and have
made my arrangements accordingly. I have purchased three substantial
horses for a little more than one hundred pounds, and have engaged a
shrewd, active lad as groom, valet, and he seems to think, companion,
at about two pounds per month. A very light carriage, sometimes driven
by my servant and sometimes by myself, will transport the moderate
wardrobe which I shall deem it necessary to take with me to the
outermost verge of civilization and good roads, where leaving carriage
and wardrobe, or at least all of the latter which may not be borne by a
led-horse, I shall penetrate still further into the old forests of this
New World. I long to be alone with "Nature's full, free
heart"--perchance, there, my own may beat as of yore.

Farewell, dear Edward. You may hear of me next among the Sacs and
Foxes;--at present address H. Danforth, care of G---- & D----,
Merchants, ---- ---- street, Boston.

Yours ever, H. DANFORTH.


A new external life had indeed opened upon this child of luxury and
conventional refinement. He whose movements had been chronicled as
matter of interest to the public, for whose presence the "world" had
postponed its fêtes, might now travel hundreds of miles without
observation or inquiry. He upon whose steps had waited a crowd of
obsequious attendants, now found himself with one follower, whose tone
of independence hardly permitted him to call him servant. In cities,
where he would still have been surrounded by those conventional
distinctions of which he had himself been deprived, the sense of a great
loss would have been ever present with him, and the contrast with the
past would have made the fairest present to which he could now attain,
desolate. But there could be no comparison, and therefore no painful
contrast, between the wild life of the prairies and the
ultra-civilization of English aristocratic society. In the excitement
and adventure of the one, he hoped to forget the other. He sought to
forget--not to be resigned, to acquiesce. His inner life was unchanged.
He had been a dreamer--a pleasure-seeker--and a dreamer and
pleasure-seeker he continued, though the dreams and the pleasures must
be wrought from new materials. To sketch the progress of such a
character through the shifting scenes of his new existence--to observe
him in his association with the strong, daring, acute, but uncultivated
denizens of our frontier States--to stand with sympathizing heart beside
him as he first entered upon those unpeopled solitudes in whose silence
God speaks to the soul, is not permitted us at present. This may be the
work of another day; but now we must pass at once with him from Boston
to a scene within the confines of Iowa. His carriage had been left
behind, and for two days he had been riding over a rolling country,
whose grassy knolls, dotted here and there with clumps of trees, brought
occasionally to his mind the park scenery of his own land. Early in this
day he had passed a farm with a comfortable house and substantial
out-buildings, but no dwelling of man had since presented itself to him,
though the sun was now low in the western sky. Under ordinary
circumstances this would have been of little consequence, for he had
already spent more than one night in the open air without discomfort;
but his attendant had heard a distant muttering of thunder, and John
Stacy was not the lad to encounter without murmuring a night of storm
unsheltered. John's anxiety made him keen-sighted, and he was the first
to perceive and announce the approach of a rider. We use the neutral
term _rider_ not without consideration, for he was one in whom a certain
ease of manner, and even an air of command, contradicted the testimony
of habiliments made and worn after a fashion recognized nowhere as
characteristic of the _genus_ gentleman. A courteous inquiry from Horace
Danforth respecting the nearest place at which a night's shelter might
be obtained, led to a cordial invitation to him to return with him to
his own house. It was an invitation not to be disregarded under existing
circumstances, and it was accepted with evident pleasure both by master
and man.

Mr. Grahame, for so the new-comer had announced himself, led the way
back for a short distance over the route just pursued by our travellers,
and then striking off to the left, rode briskly forward for several
miles. The light gray clouds which had long been gathering in the
western sky had deepened into blackness as they proceeded, and flashes
of lightning were darting across their path, and large drops of rain
were falling upon them when they neared a house constructed of logs, yet
bearing some evidence of taste in the grounds around it, as well as in
its position, which was on the side of a gently sloping hill, looking
out upon a landscape through which wound a clear and rapid, though
narrow stream.

"Like good cavaliers, we will see our horses housed first," said Mr.
Grahame, riding past the main building to one of the out-houses, built
also of logs, which served as a stable. Here Horace Danforth
relinquished his tired steed to the care of John Stacy, and Mr. Grahame
having himself rubbed down his own beautiful animal, and thrown a bundle
of hay before him, with a slight apology to his visitor for the
detention, led the way into the house. As they entered the vacant parlor
a shade of something like dissatisfaction passed over the master's
countenance, and having seen his guest seated by a huge fireplace, whose
cheerful blaze of wood a chilly evening made by no means unwelcome, he
left him alone. He soon returned, however, with a brighter expression,
which was explained by his saying, "I feared, on finding this room
empty, that my daughter had been sent for to a sick woman with whom she
has lately spent several days and nights, and that I could offer you
only the discomforts of a bachelor's establishment; but I find she is at
home, and will soon give us supper."

During the absence of his host, our Englishman had looked around with
increasing surprise at the contents of the parlor. The furniture was of
the most simple description, yet marked by a certain neatness and
gracefulness of arrangement, indicative, as he could not but think, of a
cultivated taste. The same mingling of even rude simplicity of material
and tasteful arrangement prevailed in the chamber to which his host now
conducted him, and where the luxury, for such he had learned to regard
it, of abundance of clear water and clean napkins awaited him. In a few
minutes after his return to the parlor a door was opened, through which
he obtained a view of an inner apartment, well lighted, and containing a
table so spread as to present no slight temptation to a traveller who
had not broken his fast since the morning meal. At the head of this
table stood a young woman of graceful form, whom his host introduced to
him as his daughter, Miss Grahame.

Mary Grahame's clear complexion, glowing with the hue of health, her
large and soft and dark gray eyes, her abundant glossy black hair, might
have won from the most fastidious some of that admiration given to
personal beauty; but in truth Horace Danforth had grown indifferent as
well as fastidious, and it was not until in after days he had seen the
complexion glow and the dark eyes kindle with feeling, that he said to
himself, "She is beautiful!" To the fascination of a peculiarly
graceful, gentle, yet earnest manner, he was, however, more quickly
susceptible. During this first evening, the chief emotion excited in his
mind was surprise at the style of conversation and manner, the
acquaintance with books and with _les bien-séances_ which marked these
inhabitants of a log cabin in the western wilds--these denizens of a
half-savage life.

A day of hard riding had induced such fatigue, that even the rare and
unexpected pleasure of communication with refined and cultivated minds,
could not keep Horace Danforth long from his pillow. As he expected to
set out in the morning very early, he would have made his adieus in
parting for the night, mingling with them courteous expressions of the
enjoyment which such society had afforded him after his long abstinence
from all intellectual converse.

"Believe me," said Mr. Graham, and the sentiment was corroborated by his
daughter's eyes, "the pleasure has been mutual. Society is the great
want of our western life. I have been wishing to ask whether your
business were too urgent to permit you to afford us more of this coveted
good?"

"I am ashamed to confess," said Horace Danforth, with some
embarrassment, "that I have no business at present--that I am an
idler--I verily believe the only one in your country."

"Then will you not give us the pleasure of your company for a longer
time? A little rest will be no disadvantage either to your horses or
yourself, and on us you will be conferring a favor which you cannot
appreciate till you have lived five hundred miles away from
civilization."

The invitation was accepted as cordially as it was given, to the great
satisfaction of John Stacy, who had been much pleased with the
appearance of land in this neighborhood, and wanted time to look about
him preparatory to purchasing.

Horace Danforth awoke early next morning, and throwing open the shutters
of the only window in his room, found that a stormy night had been
succeeded by an unusually brilliant morning. "To brush the dews from off
the upland lawn" had not been a habit of his past life; but the cool
fresh air, the spicy perfumes which it wafted to him, and the brightness
and verdure of the whole landscape, proved now more inviting than his
pillow; and dressing himself hastily, he descended the clean but rude
and uncarpeted stairs as gently as possible, lest he should arouse Miss
Grahame from her slumbers. He found the front door open, showing that he
was not the first of the household to go abroad that day. As he stepped
out upon the lawn, he discovered that the parlor windows were also
open, and a familiar air, hummed in low, suppressed tones, caused him
to look through them as he passed. Could he believe his eyes? Was that
neatest and prettiest of all housemaids, who, moving with light and even
graceful steps, was yet busied in the very homely task of dusting and
arranging the furniture in the parlor--was she indeed the same Miss
Grahame who had last evening charmed him by her lady-like deportment and
intelligent conversation? Yes, the very same; for though the glossy
black braids were covered by a gay colored handkerchief wound around her
head _à la Turque_, there was the same wide forehead and well-defined
brows; the same soft dark gray eyes; the same slightly aquiline nose and
smiling mouth. Nor was the conversation of last evening more opposed, in
his imagination, to her present employment, than the evident taste and
feeling with which she was now singing that most beautiful hymn of the
Irish poet:--

    "O God! Thou art the life and light
    Of all this wondrous world I see."

Listening and gazing, wondering and comparing, he had well nigh
forgotten himself, when the lady of the mansion turning suddenly to the
window, raised her head. Their eyes met! The color which rushed quickly
to her very temples, recalled him to himself, and bowing with certainly
not less embarrassment than she evinced, he walked rapidly on. He had
not proceeded far, however, when he saw his host approaching from an
opposite direction. As Mr. Grahame had already spent more than an hour
in his fields, sharing as well as directing the labors of his men, he
expressed no surprise at meeting his guest abroad. After a cordial
greeting, and a few general observations on the weather and scenery had
been exchanged, Mr. Grahame, glancing up at the sun, which had now risen
considerably above a distant wood, said, "I am sorry to interrupt your
walk, but my morning's work has made me by no means indifferent to my
breakfast, and I think that Mary's coffee and biscuits are about this
time done to a turn."

A few minutes brought them back to the house, and into the parlor from
which Mary Grahame had disappeared, leaving behind her, in its neat and
tasteful arrangement, and in the fresh flowers that adorned the table
and mantelpiece, evidence of her early presence. The gentlemen were soon
summoned to breakfast.

It may have been that his early rising had given to Horace Danforth an
unusual appetite; but certain it is that no breakfast of which he had
ever partaken seemed to him half so inviting as this. And yet, in truth,
it was simple enough; toast, crisp and brown, warm, light biscuits,
fresh eggs, good butter, excellent coffee, and rich cream were all it
offered. Mary Grahame presided, and speaking little herself, listened to
her father and Horace, while they discussed the different
characteristics of English or European and American society, with a
pleased and intelligent countenance. Some observations from him drew
from Mr. Grahame the following reply:--

"There is one feature of American society upon which I think no
foreigner has remarked, or if he have, it has been so cursorily as
plainly to show that he was far from appreciating its importance: I mean
the fact that here the thinker is also the worker. In England and the
European States, the working class is distinct from the consumers, and
there must be almost as great a contrast in the intellectual as in the
physical condition of the two. All the refinement, the cultivation, must
remain with those who have leisure and fortune--as a class, I mean, for
individuals will of course be found, who, in spite of all disadvantages,
will rise to the highest position. But here, in America, there are no
idlers. Here, with few if any exceptions, all must be, in some way,
workers, and all may be thinkers. We attain thus to a republic of
mind."

"Do you not fear that the result of this will be to check the
development of individual greatness; that as you have no king in the
State, so you will have no king in literature?"

"Even were this so, it would remain a question whether the great
increase of general intelligence would not more than compensate the
evil."

"Can many Polloks repay us for one Milton--many Drydens for one
Shakspeare?"

"You take extreme cases; besides, I only admitted your supposition to
show that I could produce a set-off to the disadvantage. I do not
believe that the necessity for labor of some sort will prevent a truly
great mind from achieving for itself the highest distinction. I think
the history of such minds proves that it will rather serve as a stimulus
to their powers."

Horace Danforth was silent, and after a moment's pause, Mr. Grahame
resumed.

"In this union of the working and the thinking classes, the refinements
of life, those things which adorn, and beautify it, take their true
place as consolers and soothers of the care-worn and toil-wearied mind.
No Italian opera can give such delight to the sated man of pleasure as
the tired laborer feels in listening to the evening song with which some
loved one, in his home, sings him to repose.

"You speak _con amore_" said Horace Danforth, smiling at his host's
fervor.

"I do. Had I been excluded from the refinements of social life, I should
long since have fainted and grown weary of my toil here. I felt this
when compelled to relinquish my daughter's society for two years, that
she might have the advantage of instruction in those branches of a
womanly education in which I could give her no aid."

"And having spent two years in the more cultivated East, did Miss
Grahame return willingly to her home in the wilderness?"

This question was addressed to Mary Grahame herself, and she answered
simply, "My father was here."

"You acknowledge, then, that could your father have been with you, you
would have preferred remaining at the East?"

"Oh no! I was fifteen when my father sent me from home, and they who
have enjoyed the free life of the prairies so long, seldom love
cities."

"But the ease, the freedom from labor, which is enjoyed in a more
advanced stage of society, the power to devote yourself to pursuits
agreeable to your taste--did you not regret these?"

"Permit me to put your question into plainer language," interposed Mr.
Grahame. "Mr. Danforth would ask, Mary, whether you would not prefer to
live where you would not be compelled to degrade your mind----"

"No, no, I protest against the degradation," exclaimed Mr. Danforth.

"To degrade your mind," pursued Mr. Grahame, answering the interruption
only by a smile, "by exercising it on such homely things as brewing
coffee and baking cakes, or to soil your fair hands with brooms and
dusters."

"For the soil of the hands we have sparkling rills, and for the
degradation of the mind, I, like Mr. Danforth, protest against it."

"But how can you make your protest good?"

"You have taught me that there is no degradation in labor, pursued for
fair and right ends, and that where the end is noble, the labor becomes
ennobling."

"But what noble ends can be alleged for the drudgery of domestic life? I
am translating your looks into language," said Mr. Grahame, turning
playfully to his guest; "correct me if I do not read them rightly."

"If I say you do, I fear Miss Grahame will think them very impertinent
looks."

"I shall not complain of them while I can reply to them so easily," said
Mary gayly. "He who knows how much a well-ordered household contributes
to the cultivation of domestic virtues and family affections, will not
think a woman degraded who sacrifices somewhat of her tastes and
pleasures to the deeper happiness of procuring such advantages for those
she loves."

"But is not that state of society preferable, in which, without her
personal interference, by the employment of those who have no higher
tastes, she may accomplish the same object?"

"That question proves that you do not, like my father, desire to see the
working and the thinking classes united. You seem to propose that the
first shall ever remain our hewers of wood and drawers of water."

"Is it not a fact that there have been, are, and always will be those in
the world who are fitted for no other position?"

"That there are and always have been such persons, I acknowledge; but
when labor ceases to be degrading, because it is partaken by all, may we
not hope that new aspirations will be awakened in the laborer--that he
will elevate himself in the scale of being when he feels elevation
possible?"

Mary Grahame spoke with generous enthusiasm, yet with a modest
gentleness which made Horace Danforth desire to continue the argument.

"Admitting all this," he said, "it does not answer my question, which
was, whether you did not prefer that state of society in which you were
able to avail yourself of the services of such a class?"

"There are moments, doubtless, when indolence would plead for such
self-indulgence; but I should be mortified, indeed, where this the
prevailing temper of my mind."

"Pardon me if I say that I do not see how it can be otherwise--how a
lady of Miss Grahame's refinement and taste can be pleased with the
employments, for instance, to which Mr. Grahame just now referred."

"Not pleased with them in themselves, but she may accept them, may she
not, as a necessary part of a great object to which she has devoted
herself?"

"And this object?--but, forgive me. The interest you have awakened in
the subject, and your kindness in answering my questions, make me an
encroacher, I fear," he added, as he marked the heightened color with
which Mary glanced at her father as he paused for her answer.

"Not at all; but I speak in presence of my master, and will refer you to
him," she replied, with another smiling glance at her father.

"You see," said Mr. Grahame, "that even in these wilds, 'the world's
dread laugh' retains its power. Mary, I see, is afraid of being called a
female Quixote, and even I find myself disposed to win you to some
interest in my object, before I avow it. This I think I can best do by a
sketch of the circumstances which led to its adoption. I will give you
such a sketch, therefore, if you will promise to acquit me of egotism in
doing so."

"That I will readily do. I shall be delighted to hear it."

"You shall have it, but not now; for I see, by certain cabalistic signs,
known only to the initiated, that Mary is about to leave us for some of
those same degrading employments, and if you will take a ride with me, I
will relieve you from all danger of contact with them, and will, at the
same time, show you something of our neighborhood."

The proposal was of course accepted. The ride embraced a circuit of ten
miles, in which they passed only two houses. The first of these was
built with an apparent regard to convenience and comfort, and even some
effort at adornment, as manifested in the climbing plants with which the
windows were draperied, and the flowers which adorned the little court
in front. Mr. Grahame stopped before the gateway of this court, and a
woman of coarse, rough exterior, though scrupulously clean, came out to
speak to him, and to urge his alighting and entering the house with his
friend. This Mr. Grahame declined; he had stopped only to inquire after
a sick child, and to express a hope that her husband's hay had turned
out well.

"Dreadful fine," was her reply to the last. "I'm sure we be much
obleeged to you for the seed, and for tellin' Jim how to plant it He
never had sich hay before."

"I'm glad to hear it. Where is Lucy?"

"Oh, she's off to school. Tell Miss Mary she's gittin' to be 'most as
grand a reader as she be. And yet the child's willin' enough to work,
for all."

As the gentlemen rode on, after this interview, Mr. Grahame said, "That
last speech expressed one of the greatest difficulties against which we
had to contend in our efforts to induce our neighbors to give to their
children some of the advantages of education. They were afraid 'larnin'
would make them lazy.' They were of your opinion, that the thinker and
the worker must remain of different classes."

"I was much surprised to hear that woman speak of a school. I should not
think the teacher could find his situation very profitable."

"He is one who has regard to a higher reward than any earthly one. He is
a self-denying Christian missionary, whom I induced to settle in our
neighborhood. He preaches on the Sabbath, in a little church about two
miles from my house, to a congregation of about twenty adults, and twice
that number of children; and during the week, he keeps a school which is
well attended in the summer. Some of his earlier pupils are already
showing, by their more useful and more happy lives, the importance of
the schoolmaster's work in the elevation of a people."

The next dwelling they approached was very small and mean-looking. It
seemed to Horace Danforth to contain only one apartment, warmed by an
ill-constructed clay chimney, and lighted by one small, square window.
That window, however, was not only sashed and glazed, but shaded by a
plain muslin curtain.

"Here," said Mr. Grahame, "lives one of those pupils of whom I spoke
just now. He has commenced life with nothing but the plot of ground you
see, and having a wife to support, he must work hard, yet already he is
aiming at something more than the supply of merely physical wants; and I
doubt not he will, should he live long enough, become the intelligent
and wealthy father of a well-educated family."

They were approaching the house as Mr. Grahame spoke. Near it was a
small field, in which a man was hoeing.

"How is your wife, Martin?" asked Mr. Grahame.

"Oh, thank you, sir, she is quite smart. She's been getting better ever
since the night Miss Mary sat up with her last. We say she always brings
good luck."

"And how are your potatoes?"

"How could they help but be good, sir, with such grand seed as you gave
me? Tell Miss Mary, if you please, sir, that the rose-tree is growing
finely, and that as soon as I can get time to put up the fence, Sally is
to have the flower-garden she talked about."

"I am glad to hear it, Martin; if you are brisk you may have some
flowers yet before frost. I will bring you some seeds the next time I
come."

"Do you procure your seeds from the East, or is it the result of your
superior cultivation, that you are able thus to supply your neighbors?"
asked Horace Danforth of Mr. Grahame, as they rode on.

"The potatoes were from my own field, raised from the seed two years
ago. The grass and flower seeds were from my agent at the East. These
little favors win for my daughter and myself considerable influence over
our neighbors, and thus facilitate our attainment of the object for
which we have pitched our tent in the wilderness, and accepted those
labors which you justly regard as distasteful in themselves."

The return home of Mr. Grahame and his visitor, their dinner and
afternoon engagements, offer nothing worthy of our notice. It was not
till the labors of the day had been concluded, and the little party were
gathered again before a cheerful fire in the parlor, that the subject of
the morning's conversation was resumed. As Mary entered from the
supper-room, bringing with her a little basket of needle-work, Horace
Danforth asked if he might not now hope to receive the promised sketch.

"I will give it you with pleasure when I have had my evening song from
Mary," said Mr. Grahame.

Opening the piano for his young hostess, Horace Danforth stood beside
her as she sang, but he forgot to turn the leaves of the music before
her as he listened once again to a rich and cultivated voice,
accompanied by a fine instrument, touched by a skilful hand. As the
sweet and well-remembered strains fell on his ear, he closed his eyes
and gave the reins to fancy. The loved and lost gathered around him, and
it was with a strange, dream-like feeling that, as the sweet sound
ceased, and Mary arose from the piano, he opened his eyes and looked
upon the rough walls and simple furniture of his present abode.

"It is now nearly nineteen years," began Mr. Grahame, when his daughter
and guest had resumed their seats near him, "since, crushed in spirit, I
turned from the grave in which I had laid my chief earthly blessing, to
wander 'any where, any where out of that world' which had a few weeks
before been bright and joyous to me, but which I was now ready to
pronounce a desolate waste. The desire to avoid society made me turn
westward, and nearly one hundred miles east of our present residence I
found myself in the midst of a people without churches, without schools,
rude in appearance and in manners. Absorbed in the destruction of my own
selfish happiness, I might have passed from among them without knowing
that disease was adding its pangs to those inflicted by want, ignorance,
and superstition, had not a mother in the agony of parting from her
first-born, looking hither and thither for help, turned her eyes
entreatingly upon the stranger. I had once studied medicine, though
regarding the profession, as our young men too often do, merely as a
means of personal aggrandizement, and having received just at the
completion of my studies an accession of fortune, which removed all
pecuniary necessity to exertion on my part, I had never practised it,
nor indeed obtained the diploma necessary to its practice. Now, however,
I endeavored to make myself master of the peculiar features of the
epidemic under which the child was suffering, and with the aid of a
small store of medicines which my good sister had insisted on my taking
with me, and a rigid enforcement of some of the simplest rules of diet
and regimen, I had the happiness of seeing the child in a few days out
of danger, and of receiving the mother's rapturous thanks. That moment,
gave me the first gleam of happiness I had known for months, and
disposed me to listen to the entreaties of the poor creatures who came
from far and near to entreat the aid of the Doctor, as they persisted in
calling me, notwithstanding my repeated assurances that I had no right
to the title. I spent weeks in that neighborhood, and there I was born
to a new life. Till that time I had lived to myself, and when that in
which I had centered my earthly joy was snatched from me by death, I had
felt that life had nothing left for me; but now I saw that while there
were sentient beings in the universe to serve, and a glorious and ever
blessed Father presiding over that universe and smiling on such service,
life could not be divested of joy. Under the influence of such views my
plans for the future were formed, nor have I ever seen reason to change
or to regret them. Every where the Christian religion teaches the same
precepts, but not every where is it equally easy to see the way in which
those precepts may be obeyed; every where it is true, as a distinguished
writer of your own land has said, 'Blessed is the man who has found his
work--let him seek no other blessedness;' but not every where is it
equally easy to see where our work lies. Here, in America, the
partition-walls which stand elsewhere as a remnant of the old feudalism,
have been broken down; every man is irresistibly pressed into contact
with his neighbors--he cannot shut his eyes to their wants--he cannot
stop his ears against their cries. In America, too, every man, as I have
already said, must be a worker--or, if he live an idler, it must be on
that which his father gained by the sweat of his brow, and he leaves his
children to enslaving toil, or more enslaving dependence. Here the man
of pleasure, the idler of either sex, is a foreign exotic which finds no
nourishment in our soil, no shelter from our institutions--which is out
of harmony with our social life, and must ever be marked by the innate
vulgarity of unsustained pretension. Therefore it is comparatively easy
for us to hold out the hand of love to our brethren, sinking and
suffering at our very side, and to teach them that there is no natural
inalienable connection between labor and coarseness, ignorance and
servility; that man, though compelled to win his bread by the sweat of
his brow, may still enjoy all those graceful amenities of which woman
was the type in Paradise and is the promoter here; that the light of
knowledge and the divine light of faith may still cheer him in his
pursuits and guide him to his rest. It seems to me that to bring out
these principles fairly to the world's perception, is the mission to
which America has been especially appointed--is that for which Americans
should live; and to this I have accordingly devoted myself. For this I
purchased my present property--for this I determined, while allowing
myself and my daughter all the comforts of life, to dispense with many
of those luxuries to which my fortune might have seemed to entitle us,
lest I should separate myself too far from those I would aid. Here I
have spent seventeen years of life, happy in my work, and happier in the
conviction that it has not been in vain."

As Mr. Grahame paused, Horace Danforth turned to Mary Grahame. Her eyes
were fixed upon him. They seemed to challenge his admiration for her
father, in whose hand her own was clasped, as though she would thus
intimate the perfect accordance of her feelings with his.

"And this, then," he said to her, "is your object?"

"It is."

"An object to which you were devoted by your father in your infancy?"

"And which I have since adopted on my own intelligent conviction," said
Mary, earnestly, losing all timidity in a glow of that generous
enthusiasm which sits so gracefully on a gentle woman.

There was silence in the little circle--silence with all; with one,
thought was rapidly passing down the long vista of the past, and
pointing the awakened mind to the fact that elsewhere than in America
was there ignorance to be enlightened and want to be relieved--that not
here only did Christianity teach that man should live not unto himself
alone, and that he should love his neighbor as himself.

The thoughts and feelings aroused on that evening colored the whole
future destiny of Horace Danforth. Ere another day had passed, he had
confided to his host so much of his history as proved him to be an
aimless and almost unconnected wanderer on the earth, with a prospect
of a fortune which, unequal to the demands of a man of fashion in
England, would give to a _worker_ in America great influence for good or
for evil--as the personal property of Sir Thomas Maitland could not, as
Horace Danforth was well aware, be valued at less than 50,000 dollars.
With that rapid decision which had ever marked his movements, the young
Englishman determined to purchase land in the neighborhood of Mr.
Grahame, there to rear his future hope, and to devote his life to the
like noble purposes. The land was purchased, the site for the house was
selected and marked out--but the house was never built--for ere that had
been accomplished Horace Danforth discovered that the companionship of a
cultivated woman was essential to his views of "Life in America," and
that Mary Grahame was exactly the embodiment of that youthful vision
which he had sought in vain elsewhere; for she united the delicacy and
refined grace, with the intelligent mind, the active affections and
energetic will, which were necessary at once to please his fancy and
satisfy his heart Mary Grahame could not consent to leave her father to
a lonely home, but yet she could not deny that it would be a sad home to
her if deprived of the society of him whose intelligent and varied
converse and manly tenderness had lately formed the chief charm of her
existence. There was only one way of reconciling these conflicting
claims. Horace Danforth must live with Mr. Grahame; and so he did,
having first obtained that gentleman's permission to enlarge his house,
and to furnish it with some of those inventions by which art has so
greatly lightened domestic occupation, and which had been made familiar
to him by his life abroad.

Six months had been spent in this abode--six months of an existence of
joy and love, untroubled as it could be to those who were yet dwellers
upon earth--six months in which the fastidious and world-wearied man
learned the secret of true peace in a life devoted to useful and
benevolent objects--when a most unexpected visitor arrived in the person
of Sir Edward Maitland--no, not Sir Edward. He came to announce that to
this title he had no right. That he had remained himself, and suffered
his cousin to remain so long in ignorance on this point, had been the
result of no want of effort to arrive at the truth, still less of any
lingering love of the honors forced upon him. He had never assumed the
title, nor suffered the secret of his supposed change of circumstances
to be known beyond himself and the lawyer to whom his cousin Horace had
revealed it. This lawyer, it may be remembered, had lately succeeded in
the care of the Maitland estate to an uncle, who had been compelled by
the infirmities of advancing age to retire from business. The old man
was absent from England when Horace Danforth left it, and it was not
till his return that full satisfaction on the subject had been obtained,
as it was judged unwise by Mr. Decker to awaken public attention by
investigations which his uncle's return would probably render
unnecessary. When he did return, and the subject was cautiously unfolded
to him, he spent many minutes in _pishing_ and _pshawing_ at the folly
and impetuosity of young Baronets, who, knowing nothing of the tenure on
which they hold their estates, cannot at least wait till they consult
wiser people before they throw them away. The entail of nearly two
centuries ago had, it seems, been set aside in little more than one, by
an improvident father and son, who had in fact greatly diminished the
very fine property so entailed, though most of it had been since
recovered by the care of their successors. The intelligence thus
conveyed to him who was now once more Sir Horace Danforth Maitland, was
of mingled sweet and bitter. He could not be insensible to the joy of
returning to the home of his childhood and the people among whom he had
grown to manhood, yet neither could he leave, without tender regrets,
that in which he had first learned to love, and to live a true, a
noble, and a happy life.

When Mary was first saluted as Lady Maitland by Edward, she turned a
glance of inquiry upon her husband, and then upon her father, for both
were present by previous arrangement; and as she read a confirmation of
the fact in their smiling faces, the color faded from hers, and after a
moment's vain effort to contend against her painful emotion, she burst
into tears.

"Your father has promised to spend his life with us, dearest," said Sir
Horace Maitland, as he threw his arm around her and drew her to his
side.

"But this dear home," sobbed Mary; "this people, for whom and with whom
we have lived so happily."

"All that made this home dear, my daughter, you will take with you to
another home."

"And there, too," interposed Sir Horace, "my Mary will find a people to
enlighten and to bless, over whom her influence will be unbounded, and
to whom she will prove an angel of consolation."

"And can you carry your American life to your English home?" she asked
of her husband, smiling through her tears.

"As much of it as is independent of outward circumstances, Mary--its
spirit, its aims; for they belong to a Christian life, and that I hope,
by God's blessing, to live henceforth, wherever I may be."

"And what will become of all our projected improvements here?" she
inquired of her father.

"I shall not leave this place myself, Mary, till I can find some one
like-minded, who will take our place and do our work. To such a man I
will sell the property on such terms as he can afford, or if he cannot
buy, he shall farm it for me."

This last was the arrangement made with one whom Mr. Grahame had known
in early life, and who had always been distinguished by true Christian
uprightness and benevolence The terms offered by Mr. Grahame to this
gentleman were such, that the conscientious and excellent agent became
in a few years the proprietor and under his fostering care, all those
plans for the intellectual and moral improvement of the neighborhood
which had been so happily commenced, were matured and perfected.

It was nearly a year after the departure of his children before Mr.
Grahame was able to join them at Maitland Park. With his arrival Mary
felt that her cup of joy was full. It had been with a trembling heart
that she assumed the brilliant position to which Providence had
conducted her; not that she feared the judgment of man: her fear had
been lest in the midst of abundance she should forget the hand that fed
her--lest amidst the fascinations of an intellectual and polished
society, she should forget the thick darkness which covered so many
immortal minds around her. But already she had cast aside this unworthy
fear, unworthy of Him in whom is the Christian's strength.

The early dream of the Proprietor of Maitland Park is fulfilled. The
softening and refining presence of woman diffuses a new charm over its
social life, and while his Mary is to his tenantry what he himself
predicted, an angel of consolation, she is to him a faithful co-worker
in all that may advance the reign of peace and righteousness, of
intelligence and joy, throughout the world.



CHAPTER VII.


A Sabbath in the country, with a Sabbath quiet in the air, and a
cheerful sunlight beaming like the smile of Heaven on the earth--how
beautiful it is! Donaldson Manor is only a short walk from the church
whose white spire gleams up amidst the dark grove of pines on our left;
at least, it is only a short walk in summer, when we can approach it
through the flowery lanes which separate Col. Donaldson's fields from
those of his next neighbor, Mr. Manly. Now, however, the walk is
impracticable, and all the sleighs were yesterday morning in
requisition, to transport the family and their visitors to their place
of worship. I was a little afraid that the merry music of the
sleigh-bells and the rapid drive through the clear air might make our
young people's blood dance too briskly--that they would be unable to
preserve that sobriety of manner becoming those who are about
professedly to engage in the worship of Him who inhabiteth Eternity. I
was gratified, however, to perceive that they all had good feeling or
good taste enough to preserve, throughout their drive and the services
which followed it, a quiet and reverent demeanor. It may seem strange to
some, that I should characterize this as a possible effect of "good
taste;" but in my opinion, he who does not pay the tribute at least of
outward respect to this holy day, is incapable not only of that high,
spiritual communion which brings man near to his Creator, but of that
tender sympathy which binds him to his fellow-creatures, or even of
that poetic taste which would place his soul in harmony with external
nature. Let it not be thought that I would have this day of blessing to
the world regarded with a cynical severity, or that the quietness and
the reverence of which I speak are at all akin to sadness. Were not
cheerfulness, in my opinion, a part of godliness, I should say of it as
some one has said of cleanliness, that it is next to godliness. Like my
favorite, Mrs. Elizabeth Barrett Browning,

    "I think we are too ready with complaint
    In this fair world of God's;"

and like her, I would utter to all the exhortation,

          "Let us leave the shame and sin
    Of taking vainly, in a plaintive mood,
    The holy name of Grief!--holy herein,
    That, by the grief of One, came all our good."

But cheerfulness, so far from being incompatible with, seems to me
inseparable from that true worship which is the best source of the
Sabbath seriousness I am advocating.

The remarks of the preacher were quite in unison with these thoughts,
and pleased me so much that, were it admissible, I should be delighted
to dignify my pages with them. By a few vivid touches, in language
simple, yet beautiful, he sketched for us the first Sabbath amidst the
living springs and fadeless bloom and verdant shades of Paradise, when
sinless man communed with his Maker and his Father, not through the poor
symbols of a ceremonial worship, but face to face, as a man talketh with
his friend. But all I would say of the Sabbath has been said a thousand
times better than I could say it, by good George Herbert, whose words I
am sure I need not apologize for introducing here.


SUNDAY.

      O day most calm, most bright!
    The fruit of this, the next world's bud;
    Th' indorsement of supreme delight,
    Writ by a Friend, and with His blood;
    The couch of time; care's balm and bay:--
    The week were dark, but for thy light;
      Thy torch doth show the way.

      The other days and thou
    Make up one man; whose face _thou_ art,
    Knocking at heaven with thy brow;
    The worky days are the back-part;
    The burden of the week lies there,
    Making the whole to stoop and bow,
      Till thy release appear.

      Man hath straight forward gone
    To endless death. But thou dost pull
    And turn us round, to look on One,
    Whom, if we were not very dull,
    We could not choose but look on still;
    Since there is no place so alone,
      The which He doth not fill.

      Sundays the pillars are
    On which heaven's palace arched lies:
    The other days fill up the spare
    And hollow room with vanities.
    They are the fruitful bed and borders,
    In God's rich garden; that is bare,
      Which parts their ranks and orders.

      The Sundays of man's life,
    Threaded together on time's string,
    Make bracelets to adorn the wife
    Of the eternal, glorious King.
    On Sunday, heaven's gate stands ope;
    Blessings are plentiful and rife!
      More plentiful than hope.

      This day my Saviour rose,
    And did inclose this light for His:
    That, as each beast his manger knows,
    Man might not of his fodder miss.
    Christ hath took in this piece of ground,
    And made a garden there, for those
      Who want herbs for their wound.

      The Rest of our creation,
    Our great Redeemer did remove,
    With the same shake which, at his passion,
    Did th' earth, and all things with it, move.
    As Samson bore the doors away,
    Christ's hand's, though nailed, wrought our salvation,
      And did unhinge that day.

      The brightness of that day
    We sullied, by our foul offence;
    Wherefore that robe we cast away,
    Having a new at His expense,
    Whose drops of blood paid the full price
    That was required, to make us gay,
      And fit for paradise.

      Thou art a day of mirth:
    And, where the week-days trail on ground,
    Thy flight is higher, as thy birth.
    Oh, let me take thee at the bound,
    Leaping with thee from seven to seven;
    Till that we both, being toss'd from earth,
      Fly hand in hand to Heaven!


It is the custom at Donaldson Manor to close the Sabbath evening with
sacred music. Annie, at her father's request, played while we all sang
his favorite evening hymn, which I here transcribe.


EVENING HYMN.

    Father! by Thy love and power,
    Comes again the evening hour;
    Light hath vanish'd, labors cease,
    Weary creatures rest, in peace.
    Those, whose genial dews distil
      On the lowliest weed that grows
    Father! guard our couch from ill,
      Lull thy creatures to repose.
    We to Thee ourselves resign,
    Let our latest thoughts be Thine.

    Saviour! to thy Father bear
    This our feeble evening prayer;
    Thou hast seen how oft to-day
    We, like sheep, have gone astray;
    Worldly thoughts and thoughts of pride,
      Wishes to Thy cross untrue,
    Secret faults and undescried
      Meet Thy spirit-piercing view.
    Blessed Saviour! yet, through Thee,
    Pray that these may pardon'd be.

    Holy Spirit! Breath of Balm!
    Breathe on us in evening's calm.
    Yet awhile before we sleep,
    We with Thee will vigils keep.
    Lead us on our sins to muse,
      Give us truest penitence,
    Then the love of God infuse,
      Kindling humblest confidence.
    Melt our spirits, mould our will,
    Soften, strengthen, comfort, still.

    Blessed Trinity! be near
    Through the hours of darkness drear.
    When the help of man is far
    Ye more clearly present are.
    Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!
      Watch o'er our defenceless heads,
    Let your angels' guardian host
      Keep all evil from our beds,
    Till the flood of morning rays
    Wake as to a song of praise.[1]



CHAPTER VIII.


Mr. Arlington is a gem of the first water. He reveals every day some new
trait of interest or agreeableness. I saw immediately that he was a man
of fine taste; I have since learned to respect him as a man of enlarged
intellect and earnest feeling; and now I am just beginning to discover
that he is master of all those _agrémens_ which constitute the charm of
general society, and that he might become the "glass of fashion," if he
had not a mind elevated too far above such a petty ambition. This last
observation has been called forth by mere trifles, yet trifles so
prettily shown, with such ease and grace, as to justify the conclusion.
He is apt at illustration and application, and has a fine memory, stored
brimfull of entertaining anecdotes, snatches of poetry, and those
thousand nothings which tell for so much in society, and which it is so
pleasant to find combined with much else that is valuable. A few
evenings since, he kept Annie and me in the library, with his agreeable
chat, till so late an hour, that Col. Donaldson, who is the least bit of
a martinet in his own family, gave some very intelligible hints to us
the next morning, at breakfast, on the value of early hours. With a
readiness and grace which I never saw surpassed, Mr. Arlington turned to
us with the exquisite apology of the poet for a like fault,

    "I stay'd too late; forgive the crime;
      Unheeded flew the hours.
    Unnoted falls the foot of time,
      Which only treads on flowers."

This evening again, as he placed a candle-screen before Annie, who,
having a headache, found the light oppressive, he said with a graceful
mixture of play and earnest, impossible to describe,

    "Ah, lady! if that taper's blaze
    Requires a screen to blunt its rays,
    What screen, not form'd by art divine,
    Shall shield us from those orbs of thine?

    "But oh! let nothing intervene
    Our hearts and those bright suns between;
    'Tis bliss, like the bewilder'd fly
    To flutter round, though sure to die."

As the others were engaged in very earnest conversation at the time, and
I was reading, he probably expected to be heard only by her to whom he
addressed himself; but a little romance, such as that of Annie and Mr.
Arlington, acted before me, interests me far more than any book, and I
brought a bright blush to Annie's cheek and a conscious smile to his
lip, by asking, "Where did you find those very apposite lines? I do not
remember to have seen them."

"Probably not, as they have never been published. They were addressed by
Anthony Bleecker, of New-York, to a belle of his day, and the lady for
whose sake, it is whispered, he lived and died a bachelor."

Our colloquy was here interrupted by Robert Dudley, who wanted to know
if we were to have no story this evening. Robert was a great lover of
stories. "Ask Mr. Arlington, Robert," said I, "I have given three
stories to his one already."

"Aunt Nancy," said Mr. Arlington, who had already begun to give me the
affectionate cognomen by which I was always addressed at Donaldson
Manor, "Aunt Nancy has stories without number, written and ready for
demand, but my portfolio furnishes only rude pencilings, or at best a
crayon sketch."

"Will you show them to us, Mr. Arlington?" asked the persevering Robert,
who stood beside him, portfolio in hand. "May I draw one out, as Aunt
Annie did the other evening; and will you tell us about it?"

Mr. Arlington, with good-humored playfulness, consented, and Robert drew
from the portfolio one of his drawings, representing a fisherman's
family.

"That man," said I, as I looked at the honest face of the rude,
weather-beaten fisherman, "looks as though he had passed through
adventurous scenes, and might have many a history to tell."

"He did not tell his histories to me," said Mr. Arlington. "I know
nothing more of them than that paper reveals. It seemed to me that the
woman and child were visiting, for the first time, the ocean, whose
booming sound was to the fisherman as the voice of home. He was probably
introducing them to its wonders--revealing to them the mysteries which
awaken the superstition of the vulgar and the poetry of the cultivated
imagination. He has given her, you may observe, a sea-shell, and she is
listening for the first time to its low, strange music."

"And is that all?" asked Robert, when Mr. Arlington ceased speaking.

"All I know, Robert," he answered, with a smile at the boy's
earnestness.

"But did you never go fishing yourself, Mr. Arlington?"

"Not often, Robert; I like more active sports better--hunting--"

"Ah! do tell us about your hunting, Mr. Arlington; you must have had
some adventures in hunting in those great Western forests I have heard
you speak of."

"The greatest adventure I ever had, Robert," said Mr. Arlington, "was in
an _Eastern_ forest, and when I was the _hunted_, not the _hunter_."

"Indians, Mr. Arlington--were they Indians that hunted you?"

"No, Robert; my hunters were wolves."

"Oh! pray tell us about it, Mr. Arlington, will you not?"

"Certainly, with the ladies' permission."

The ladies' permission was soon obtained, and our little party listened
with the deepest interest to the thrilling recital which I have called


THE WOLF CHASE.[2]

During the winter of 1844, being engaged in the northern part of Maine,
I had much leisure to devote to the wild sports of a new country. To
none of these was I more passionately addicted than to skating. The deep
and sequestered lakes of this State, frozen by the intense cold of a
northern winter, present a wide field to the lovers of this pastime.
Often would I bind on my skates, and glide away up the glittering river,
and wind each mazy streamlet that flowed beneath its fetters on towards
the parent ocean, forgetting all the while time and distance in the
luxurious sense of the gliding motion--thinking of nothing in the easy
flight, but rather dreaming, as I looked through the transparent ice at
the long weeds and cresses that nodded in the current beneath, and
seemed wrestling with the waves to let them go; or I would follow on the
track of some fox or otter, and run my skate along the mark he had left
with his dragging tail until the trail would enter the woods. Sometimes
these excursions were made by moonlight, and it was on one of these
occasions that I had a rencontre, which even now, with kind faces around
me, I cannot recall without a nervous looking-over-my-shoulder feeling.

I had left my friend's house one evening just before dusk, with the
intention of skating a short distance up the noble Kennebec, which
glided directly before the door. The night was beautifully clear. A
peerless moon rode through an occasional fleecy cloud, and stars
twinkled from the sky and from every frost-covered tree in millions.
Your mind would wonder at the light that came glinting from ice, and
snow-wreath, and incrusted branches, as the eye followed for miles the
broad gleam of the Kennebec, that like a jewelled zone swept between the
mighty forests on its banks. And yet all was still. The cold seemed to
have frozen tree, and air, and water, and every living thing that moved.
Even the ringing of my skates on the ice echoed back from the Moccason
Hill with a startling clearness, and the crackle of the ice as I passed
over it in my course seemed to follow the tide of the river with
lightning speed.

I had gone up the river nearly two miles when, coming to a little stream
which empties into the larger, I turned in to explore its course. Fir
and hemlock of a century's growth met overhead, and formed an archway
radiant with frost-work. All was dark within, but I was young and
fearless, and as I peered into an unbroken forest that reared itself on
the borders of the stream, I laughed with very joyousness: my wild
hurrah rang through the silent woods, and I stood listening to the echo
that reverberated again and again, until all was hushed. I thought how
often the Indian hunter had concealed himself behind these very
trees--how often his arrow had pierced the deer by this very stream, and
his wild halloo had here rung for his victory. And then, turning from
fancy to reality, I watched a couple of white owls, that sat in their
hooded state, with ruffled pantalettes and long ear-tabs, debating in
silent conclave the affairs of their frozen realm, and was wondering if
they, "for all their feathers, were a-cold," when suddenly a sound
arose--it seemed to me to come from beneath the ice; it sounded low and
tremulous at first, until it ended in one wild yell. I was appalled.
Never before had such a noise met my ears. I thought it more than
mortal--so fierce, and amidst such an unbroken solitude, it seemed as
though a fiend had blown a blast from an infernal trumpet. Presently I
heard the twigs on shore snap, as though from the tread of some brute
animal, and the blood rushed back to my forehead with a bound that made
my skin burn, and I felt relieved that I had to contend with things
earthly, and not of spiritual nature--my energies returned, and I looked
around me for some means of escape. The moon shone through the opening
at the mouth of the creek by which I had entered the forest, and
considering this the best channel of escape, I darted towards it like an
arrow. 'Twas scarcely a hundred yards distant, and the swallow could
hardly excel my desperate flight; yet, as I turned my head to the shore,
I could see two dark objects dashing through the underbrush at a pace
nearly double in speed to my own. By this rapidity, and the short yells
which they occasionally gave, I knew at once that these were the much
dreaded gray wolf.

I had never met with these animals, but from the description given of
them I had very little pleasure in making their acquaintance. Their
untameable fierceness, and the untiring strength which seems part of
their nature, render them objects of dread to every benighted traveller.

    "With their long gallop, which can tire
    The deer-hound's haste, the hunter's fire,"

they pursue their prey--never straying from the track of their
victim--and as the wearied hunter thinks he has at last outstripped
them, he finds that they but waited for the evening to seize their prey,
and falls a prize to the tireless pursuers.

The bushes that skirted the shore flew past with the velocity of
lightning as I dashed on in my flight to pass the narrow opening. The
outlet was nearly gained; one second more and I should be comparatively
safe, when the fierce brutes appeared on the bank directly above me,
which here rose to the height of ten feet. There was no time for
thought, so I bent my head and dashed madly forward. The wolves sprang,
but miscalculating my speed, sprang behind, while their intended prey
glided out upon the river.

Nature turned me towards home. The light flakes of snow spun from the
iron of my skates, and I was some distance from my pursuers, when their
fierce howl told me I was still their fugitive. I did not look back, I
did not feel afraid, or sorry, or glad; one thought of home, of the
bright faces awaiting my return, of their tears if they never should see
me, and then every energy of body and mind was exerted for escape. I was
perfectly at home on the ice. Many were the days that I had spent on my
good skates, never thinking that at one time they would be my only means
of safety. Every half minute an alternate yelp from my ferocious
followers made me only too certain that they were in close pursuit.
Nearer and nearer they came; I heard their feet pattering on the ice
nearer still, until I could feel their breath and hear their snuffing
scent. Every nerve and muscle in my frame were stretched to the utmost
tension.

The trees along the shore seemed to dance in the uncertain light, and my
brain turned with my own breathless speed, yet still they seemed to hiss
forth their breath with a sound truly horrible, when an involuntary
motion on my part turned me out of my course. The wolves close behind,
unable to stop, and as unable to turn on the smooth ice, slipped and
fell, still going on far ahead; their tongues were lolling out, their
white tusks glaring from their bloody mouths, their dark, shaggy breasts
were fleeced with foam, and as they passed me their eyes glared, and
they howled with fury. The thought flashed on my mind, that by this
means I could avoid them, viz., by turning aside whenever they came too
near; for they, by the formation of their feet, are unable to run on ice
except on a straight line.

I immediately acted upon this plan. The wolves, having regained their
feet, sprang directly towards me. The race was renewed for twenty yards
up the stream; they were already close on my back, when I glided round
and dashed directly past my pursuers. A wild yell greeted my evolution,
and the wolves, slipping upon their haunches, sailed onward, presenting
a perfect picture of helplessness and baffled rage. Thus I gained nearly
a hundred yards at each turning. This was repeated two or three times,
every moment the animals getting more excited and baffled.

At one time, by delaying my turning too long, my sanguinary antagonists
came so near, that they threw the white foam over my dress as they
sprang to seize me, and their teeth clashed together, like the spring of
a fox-trap. Had my skates failed for one instant, had I tripped on a
stick, or caught my foot in a fissure in the ice, the story I am now
telling would never have been told. I thought all the chances over; I
knew where they would first take hold of me if I fell; I thought how
long it would be before I died, and then there would be a search for the
body that would already have its tomb;--for oh! how fast man's mind
traces out all the dread colors of Death's picture, only those who have
been near the grim original can tell.

But soon I came opposite the house, and my hounds--I knew their deep
voices--roused by the noise, bayed furiously from the kennels. I heard
their chains rattle; how I wished they would break them! and then I
should have protectors that would be peers to the fiercest denizens of
the forest. The wolves, taking the hint conveyed by the dogs, stopped in
their mad career, and after a moment's consideration, turned and fled. I
watched them until their dusky forms disappeared over a neighboring
hill. Then, taking off my skates, wended my way to the house, with
feelings which may be better imagined than described.

But even yet, I never see a broad sheet of ice in the moonshine, without
thinking of that snuffling breath and those fearful things that followed
me so closely down the frozen Kennebec.



CHAPTER IX.


"What a noble forest!" cried Annie, as she gazed with rapturous
admiration on a noble specimen of the engraver's art--so noble, indeed,
that the absence of color seemed hardly to be felt. It was a
richly-wooded scene, with interesting figures forming a procession in
the centre and foreground of the landscape. The original might have been
painted by Ruysdaël. "Those old oaks," she exclaimed, "with their
gnarled and crooked branches, look as though they might have formed part
of the Druidical groves whose solemn mysteries inspired even the
arrogant Roman with awe. This picture, however, belongs to a later
period--that of the Crusades, perhaps, for here is a procession in which
appear figures in the long robe of the monk, and I think I can discern a
cross on that banner borne at their head. But what, dear Aunt Nancy,
could you possibly find in our land of yesterday, to associate with such
a scene?"

"Our people may be of yesterday, Annie, but our land bears no marks of
recent origin. The most arrogant boaster of the Old World may feel
himself humbled as he stands within the shadow of our forests, and looks
up to trees which we might almost fancy to have waved over the heads of
'the patriarchs of an infant world?'"

"And you have seen some such forests, and on the branches of these old
trees 'hangs a tale' which you will tell us. Is it not so, Aunt Nancy?"

"I have seen such a forest, and I have a sketch of certain events
occurring within its circle. The narrative was given me by my friend,
Mrs. H., who was acquainted with the parties. You will find it in her
handwriting in the compartment of my desk from which you took the
engraving."

Annie found the paper, and I saw a quiet smile pass around as she read
aloud its title. Mr. Arlington, at my request, took the reader's place,
and we spent our evening in listening to


THE HISTORY OF AN OLD MAID.

It is an almost universal belief among those who have faith in man's
immortality, that when his spiritual nature has been divested of its
present veil--the bodily organization by which it at pleasure reveals or
conceals itself--it shall be manifested to all at a glance in the
unsullied beauty of holiness, or the dark deformity of vice. Shall our
vision extend further? Shall we read the soul's past history? Shall we
know the struggles which have given strength to its powers? The fears
which have shadowed, and the hopes which have lighted, its earthly path?
Shall we learn the unspoken sacrifices which have been laid on the altar
of its affections or its duty? Shall we see how a single generous
impulse has shaped the whole course of its being, and been as a heavenly
flame, to which every selfish desire and feeling have been committed in
noiseless devotion? If this be so, how many such records shall be
furnished by the life of woman? How often shall it be found, that from
such a flame has risen the light with which she has brightened the
existence of others!

Meeta Werner was the daughter of industrious, honest Germans, who had
emigrated to the western part of Pennsylvania when she was a child of
only seven years old. Only a quarter of a mile from the spot on which
Carl Werner had fixed his residence lived a brother German, Franz
Rainer. Franz was a widower, with one child, a son, named Ernest. He was
a hard, stern man, and the first smiles which had lighted the existence
of the young Ernest were caught from the sprightly Meeta and her
kind-hearted mother. The children became playfellows and friends. It was
a wild country in which they lived. A very short walk from their own
doors brought them into a forest which seemed to their young
imaginations endless; where gigantic trees interlaced their branches,
and with their green foliage shut out the sun in summer, or in winter
reflected it in dazzling brightness, and a thousand gorgeous colors,
from the icicles which cased their leafless branches and pendent twigs.
There was not a footpath, a sunny hill or flowery dell, for miles around
their homes, which had not been trodden together by Meeta Werner and
Ernest Rainer before their acquaintance was a year old. Now they would
come home laden with wood-flowers, and now they might be seen treading
wearily back from some distant spot, with baskets filled with
blackberries, or with the dark-blue whortleberries. There were no
schools in the neighborhood, but they had been taught by their fathers
to read and write their own language, and Ernest afterwards acquired
some knowledge of English from the good pastor who had accompanied the
emigrants from Germany, and who acted as their interpreter when they
required one. Having access to few books, they seemed likely to grow up
with little more learning than might be gathered from their own
observation of the world around them; but when Ernest was eighteen and
Meeta fifteen years of age, circumstances occurred which gave an
entirely new coloring to their lives.

Franz Rainer had not always been so stern and hard as he now seemed. He
had married imprudently, in the world's acceptation of that term; that
is, he had made a portionless but lovely girl his wife, and in doing so
had incurred his father's lasting displeasure. He had been banished from
a home of plenty with a small sum, "to keep him from starving," he was
told. With that sum and a young delicate wife he sailed for America, and
found a home for himself and his boy, and a grave for his wife, in the
forests of Pennsylvania. Too proud to seek a reconciliation with those
who had cast him off, he had held no communication with his own family
after leaving Germany; and it was not till Ernest was, as we have said,
eighteen, that the silence of his home was broken by what seemed a voice
from the past. After many hindrances and delays, and passing through
many hands for which it had not been intended, a letter reached him from
a merchant in Philadelphia, who had been requested to institute a search
for Franz by his only brother. The old Rainer was dead, and the family
estate had descended to this brother, a scholar and a man of solitary
habits. Finding himself growing old in a lonely home, and retaining some
kindly memory of the brother in whose companionship his childhood had
been passed, he wished him to return to Germany, and again dwell with
them in the house of their fathers. To this Franz would by no means
consent. His nature was cast in too stern a mould to re-knit at a word
the ties which had been so violently sundered. He consented, however,
after some correspondence with his brother, to send Ernest to Germany,
to be educated there; at least, to receive such an education as could be
gained in four years; for he insisted that at the end of that time he
should return to America, and remain there while his father lived.
"After my death, if he choose to return to the home from which his
father was banished, he may," wrote the still resentful Franz.

And how was this change in all the prospects of his life received by the
young Ernest and his companion Meeta? By him with mingled feelings;
regret, joy, fear, hope, by turns ruled his soul. The regret was all for
Meeta and her mother; they were the sources of all his pleasant
memories; and as he gazed upon Meeta's hitherto bright face, now
clouded with sorrow, and kissed from her cheek the first tears he had
ever known her to shed for herself, he was ready to give up all his fair
prospects abroad and live with her for ever. Meeta herself, however,
gave a new direction to his thoughts, by generously turning from the
subject of her grief in parting, to dwell on the idea of the delight
with which they would meet again, and especially on her peculiar
pleasure in seeing Ernest come back "riding in a grand coach, with
servants following him on horseback, as she remembered to have seen in
Germany, and knowing enough to teach Parson Schmidt himself!" After
listening to such prophecies, Ernest no longer expressed any desire to
remain with Meeta; he contented himself, instead, with promising to
return as soon as he could, and with winning from her a promise that,
come when he might, she would be his wife. This was not a new thought or
a new word to either. They could scarcely tell themselves when the idea
had first arisen in their minds that they would one day live together,
and be what Carl Werner and his wife were to each other. They had even
chosen a site for their house; and Ernest had more than once of late
expressed the opinion that they were old enough to inform their parents
of their intentions; but the more timid Meeta objected. Now, however,
she could refuse Ernest nothing, and before the day of parting came they
had made a _confidante_ of Meeta's mother, and from her the two fathers
had learned the desires of their children. Carl Werner heard the story
with a smile; but a denser shadow gathered on the dark brow of Franz.
For a moment something of his father's pride was in his heart; but his
own blighted life arose before him, and he said, "The boy may do as he
pleases. No man has a right to control another on such a subject."

The sun had not yet risen, though its rays were gilding the few light
clouds that flecked the eastern sky, when Meeta and Ernest stood
together beneath an old oak which had long been their favorite
"trysting-tree," to say those words and give and receive those last
looks which are among life's most sacred treasures. Smiles and blushes
mingled with tears on Meeta's cheek as Ernest pressed her to his bosom,
kissed her again and again, and promised that his first letter from
Germany should be addressed to her, and that in exactly four years from
that date he would be again beneath that tree, to claim her promise to
be his for ever. The voice of Carl Werner, who was to accompany Ernest
the first stage of his journey, startled them in the midst of their
adieus; and bursting from the arms of her companion, Meeta plunged
deeper into the woods to escape her father's eye. When Carl returned in
the evening he handed her a small parcel, saying, "There's some foolery
that Ernest bought for you, Meeta. Silly boy! I hope they'll teach him
in Germany to take better care of his money!"

The parcel contained a very plain locket, with one of Ernest's dark
curls inclosed in it. Plain as it was, it seemed to Meeta, as it
probably had seemed to Ernest, a magnificent present; yet she valued
more the few simple words written on the paper which enveloped it: "For
Meeta, my promised wife." Four months passed away before Meeta heard
again of her lover. Then there came a letter to her, which was full of
the great cities through which Ernest had passed, the home to which he
had come, and the new life which was opening to him there. In his
descriptions his uncle seemed a very grand gentleman, and his uncle's
housekeeper almost as grand a lady. He told of the new wardrobe which
had been provided for him, the acquaintances to whom he had been
introduced, and the studies he had commenced. And in all this Meeta saw
but the first step towards that grandeur which she had predicted for
him, and she rejoiced.

Four or five such letters were received by Meeta, each full of her
lover himself; but they came at lengthening intervals, and during the
third year she received from him only messages sent through his father,
though every message still conveyed a promise to write soon. The letters
of Ernest showed that he had made great advances in scholarship during
his residence in Germany, and to all but Meeta herself, and perhaps her
mother, they gave equal evidence that his heart was not with the home or
the friends he had left in America. But no shadow ever passed over the
transparent face of Meeta. Ernest was to her still the frank, ardent,
simple-hearted boy whom she had loved so long and so truly. She was
still his promised wife. Her quick sensibility to all which touched him
made her feel that there was a change in the tone with which her father
named him, and an expression, half of anger, half of pity, on his face
when she alluded to him. It was an expression which gave her pain,
though she did not understand its meaning; and she ceased to speak of
Ernest, lest she should call it up; but his locket lay next her heart,
his letters were well-nigh worn away with frequent reading, and no day
passed in which she did not visit the oak beneath which they had parted,
and beneath which she fondly believed they were to meet again.

During the fourth year of Ernest's absence his letters to his father
became more frequent, and sometimes inclosed a few lines to Meeta. To
both he expressed a strong desire to stay one more year abroad, alleging
that to interrupt his studies now would be to render all his past labors
unavailing. There was hardly a struggle in Meeta's mind in yielding her
almost matured hopes to what seemed so reasonable a wish of Ernest; but
the elder Rainer was not so easily won to compliance. Urgent
representations from his brother as well as Ernest, did at length,
however, induce him to consent to the absence of his son for another
year.

This was an important year to Meeta. It brought her an acquaintance
through whom her dormant intellect was aroused, and her manners fitted
for something more than the rude life by which she had been hitherto
surrounded. This was Mrs. Schwartz, the wife of a young pastor, who had
come to assist Mr. Schmidt in those duties to which his advancing years
rendered him unequal. Mrs. Schwartz was a woman of no ordinary stamp.
Highly educated, with an intense enjoyment of every form of beauty and
grace, she saw something of them embellishing the homeliest employments
and most common life with which a sentiment of duty was connected.
Severe illness had confined her to her bed for many weeks soon after her
arrival, and before she had been able to establish that perfect domestic
economy, which renders the daily and hourly inspection and interference
of the mistress of a mansion needless to the comfort of its inmates.
During this period, Meeta, whose sympathies had been deeply interested
in the stranger, nursed her, and planned for her, and worked for her,
until she made herself a place in her heart among her life-friends. As
Mrs. Schwartz saw her moving around her with such busy kindness, the
thought often arose in her mind, "What can I do for her?" This is a
question we seldom ask ourselves of any one sincerely without finding an
answer to it.

We have said that Meeta had access to few books in early life; we might
have added that she had little opportunity of hearing the conversation
of persons more cultivated than herself. Thus were the two great sources
of intellectual development sealed to her. She had a thoughtful, earnest
mind. She loved the beautiful world around her, and the GREAT BEING who
made and sustained that world. But if the contemplation of these things
awakened thoughts of a higher character than the daily baking and
brewing, milking and scrubbing in her father's house, she had no
language in which to clothe them, and vague and undefined, they fleeted
away like the morning mists, leaving no impress of their presence. Her
acquaintance with Mrs. Schwartz, and the conversation she sometimes
heard between her and her husband, gave to these shadows substance and
form, and awakened a new want in Meeta's soul--the want of knowledge. As
in all else, Ernest was present in this. He would doubtless be
intelligent, wise, like Mr. Schwartz, and how could she be his
companion? Something of these new experiences in Meeta was divined by
Mrs. Schwartz, and with a true womanly tact she became her teacher
without wounding her self-love. The road to knowledge once opened to
Meeta, her advance on it was rapid. How could it be otherwise, when
every step was bringing her nearer to Earnest! The elevation and
refinement of mind which Meeta thus acquired impressed themselves on her
agreeable features. Her dark eyes became bright with the soul's light,
and her whole aspect so attractive, that her old friends exclaimed, as
they looked upon her, "How handsome Meeta Werner grows, she who used to
be so plain!"

After a time these superficial observers thought they had found the
cause of this change in Meeta's change of costume, for a new sense of
beauty had been awakened in her, under whose guidance her dark hair was
brought in soft silken braids upon her cheeks, wound gracefully around
her well-shaped head, and sometimes ornamented with a ribbon or a
cluster of wild flowers: while her dresses where remodelled so as to
resemble less the fashion which her mother and her sister emigrants had
imported thirteen years before from Germany, and to give a more natural
air to her really fine figure.

"How wonderfully Meeta has improved," said Mr. Schwartz, one evening to
his wife, as he looked after the retreating form of her friend.

"Yes, and I am truly rejoiced that she has so improved before her lover
returns to claim her."

"I wish he could have taken away with him such an impression as our
handsome and intelligent Meeta would now make. He would have been much
more likely to remain constant to her. There must be a painful contrast
between the cultivated and graceful women he has known in Germany, and
his memory of his early love."

"Love is a great embellisher," said Mrs. Schwartz, with a gay smile, and
the conversation passed to more general topics.

The fifth year of Ernest's absence was gone, and still he came not; but
he was coming soon, at least so his father said, though he did not show
Meeta the letters on which he founded his assertion. It was the first
time he had withheld them; a circumstance the more remarkable, because
of late he seemed to regard Meeta with greater affection and confidence
than he had ever done before. He now sought her society, and seemed
pleased and even proud of the connection to which he had at first
consented with some reluctance. It was very soon after the reception of
the letter from Ernest to which we have alluded, that Franz Rainer's
health began to fail, and that so rapidly, that Meeta feared Ernest
could not arrive in time to see him. She was to the old man an angel of
consolation, and he clung to her as to his last hope. In pity to his
lonely condition, her own parents were willing to spare her for a time,
and Meeta, that she might take care of him by night as well as by day,
had removed to his house a week before Ernest's arrival. He came not
wholly unwarned of the sorrow that awaited him, for he had found a
letter from Meeta at the house of the merchant in Philadelphia through
whom he had corresponded with his father, tenderly yet plainly revealing
her fears, and urging him to hurry homeward without delay. He travelled
with little rest or refreshment for two days and nights, and arrived
late on the third day at his father's house. It was a still summer
evening, and while the old man slept, Meeta sat near him in the only
parlor the house afforded, reading by a shaded night lamp. She heard
the sound of carriage wheels, and paused to listen; the sound ceased; a
shadow darkened the moonlight which had been streaming through an open
window, and then Ernest, the playfellow of her childhood, the lover of
her youth, stood before her; but how changed, how gloriously changed
thought Meeta, even in that hour of hurry and agitation. They gazed on
each other in silence for a moment, and then Meeta with a bright smile,
yet in a whisper, for even then she forgot not the dying man, asked:

"Do you not know me, Ernest?"

"Meeta!" he ejaculated, as he took the hand she extended to him, but
dropping it almost immediately, he said anxiously: "My father! he lives,
Meeta?"

"He does, Ernest, and may live, I think _will_ live, for many days yet."

"Thank GOD! then I shall see him again!"

The conversation had till now been in whispers, but Ernest uttered his
ejaculation of thankfulness aloud. There was a movement in the old man's
room, a sound, and Meeta glided to his side.

"Who were you talking with, my daughter?" he murmured feebly. For many
days Franz Rainer had called Meeta daughter, as though he found pleasure
in recalling the tie between them.

"With one who tells me Ernest has arrived, and will see you soon," said
Meeta.

"It is Ernest himself. I knew his voice: Ernest, my son!" And the old
man's tones were loud and strong, as Meeta had heard them for days. In
another moment, Ernest was bending over his father, and they were gazing
on each other with a tenderness whose very existence they had not before
suspected. Tears were rolling down the face of the once stern old man,
as he pressed his son's hand again and again, and murmured blessings on
him, and thanks to GOD for his safe return; and Ernest, as he marked the
death-shadow on his father's brow, felt that a tie was tearing away
which had been woven more intimately than he had supposed with his
heart's fibres. The weeping Meeta composed herself that she might soothe
them.

"Ernest, I cannot let you stay longer here; I am your father's nurse."

"My nurse, my daughter, my all, Ernest; your gift to me, my son, which,
thank GOD! you have come in time to receive again from my hands. Take
her to you, Ernest."

The old man held Meeta's hand clasped in his own towards his son, and
Ernest touched it, but so slightly and with a hand so cold, that Meeta
looked up in alarm. There was a beseeching expression in the eyes that
met hers; a look which she did not understand, and yet on which she
acted.

"Ernest," she said, "you are fatigued to death, and your father has been
too much agitated already. Go, I pray you, for the present; I cannot
leave your father, but you will find coffee and biscuits by the kitchen
fire, and there is a bed prepared in your own room. Good-night; we shall
meet again to-morrow," she added with a smile to the old man.

Ernest gave her a more cordial glance and pressure of the hand than she
had yet received from him; told his father that he would only snatch an
hour's sleep and be with him again, and left the room.

"Go with him, Meeta; you must have much to say."

"Nothing that we cannot say as well to-morrow. And now you must take
another sleeping draught, for I see Ernest has carried off all the
effect of your last."

Meeta spoke cheerfully, yet her heart was sad, she scarcely knew why.
She would not think Ernest unkind, yet how different had been their
meeting from that which fancy had so often sketched for her!

Franz Rainer fell asleep, and again Meeta returned to the parlor. A lamp
was still burning there, and by its dim light she saw the form of Ernest
extended on a settee with his cloak and valise for his bed and pillow.
At first she drew timidly back into the chamber, but as the slight noise
she had made before perceiving him, had failed to disturb him, she felt
assured that he slept soundly, and an irresistible desire arose in her
heart to draw near him, and look at him more closely than she had yet
ventured to do. She stood beside him; her heart bounded against the
locket, his gift, which lay in its accustomed place, as she marked with
a quick eye how the handsome but uncouth stripling had expanded into the
man of noble proportions, whose features had, like her own, acquired a
new character under the refining touch of intellect. Meeta looked on him
till her eyes grew dim with tears pressed from a heart full of emotion,
compounded of happy memories and glad hopes, shadowed by disappointment
and saddened by doubt. Above all other feelings, however, rose the
undying love which had "grown with her growth, and strengthened with her
strength." Suddenly, by an irrepressible impulse, she laid her hand
softly on the dark locks of waving hair which clustered over his broad
brow, and breathed in low, tender accents, "My Ernest!"

On leaving his father's room, Ernest had thrown himself on his hard
couch, not to sleep, but to rest; and when slumber overpowered him, he
had yielded to it unwillingly, and with the determination to be on the
alert and ready to arise on the first summons. Sleep that comes thus,
howsoever it may continue through other disturbing causes, rarely
resists a touch, or the sound of our own name, and light as was Meeta's
touch, and low as were her tones, Ernest was partially aroused by them.
He stirred, and she would have retreated noiselessly from his side, but
as his eyes unclosed, they fell upon her with an expression of such
rapturous love as she had never seen in them before, and in an instant
he had encircled her form with his arm, and drawn her to his bosom. In
glad surprise she rested there a moment; it was but a moment.

"Sophie--my Sophie!" were the murmured words that met her ear, and gave
her strength to burst from his embraces and glide rapidly, noiselessly
back into the darkened chamber. There, sheltered by the darkness, she
could see Ernest raise himself slowly up from his couch, look almost
wildly around him, and then seemingly satisfied that he had only
dreamed, sink back again to rest.

A dream it had indeed been to him; a shadow of the night; to Meeta a
dark cloud, in whose gloom she was henceforth to walk for ever. Hours of
conversation could not so fully have revealed the truth to Meeta as
those simple words: "Sophie--my Sophie!" uttered by Ernest in such a
tone of heart-worship. Ernest loved with all the fond idolatry which she
had thought of late belonged not to man's affections; but he loved
another. Jealousy; the bitter consciousness of her own slighted love;
the memory of his vows; the crushing thought that she was nothing to him
now; that while he had been the life of her life, another had filled his
thoughts and ruled his being, created a wild tempest in her soul. All
was still around her. The sick man, the tired Ernest slept; and without,
not even the rustling of a leaf disturbed the repose of Nature. She
seemed to herself the only living thing in the universe; and to her,
life was torture. An hour passed in this still concentrated agony, and
she could endure it no longer; she must be up and doing; she would wake
Ernest; she would tell him the revelation she had made; upbraid him with
her blighted life, and leave him. Let him send for his Sophie; what did
she, the outcast, the rejected, there in his house?--why should she
nurse his father? She arose and approached again the couch of Ernest;
she was about to call to him, but she was arrested by the expression of
agony in his face. His brow was contracted, and as she continued to
gaze, low moans issued from his quivering lips. Ernest too was a
sufferer; how that thought softened the hard, cold, icy crust that had
been gathering around her heart! The bitterness of pride and jealousy
gave place to tenderer emotions. Tears gathered in her eyes, and
stealing softly back to her sheltered seat, she wept long and silently.

"In sorrow the angels are near;" and Meeta's heart was now full of
sorrow, not of anger. Sad must her life ever be, but what of that, if
Ernest could be happy? Perhaps he suffered for her; the good, true
Ernest. It might be that only in dreams he had told his love to Sophie,
bound to silence, painful silence, by his vows to her. She then could
make him happy, and was not that her first desire? If it were not, her
love was a low, selfish, unworthy love, and she would pray that it might
be purified. She did pray, not as she would have done an hour before, to
be taken out of the world, but that she might be made meet to do the
will of her FATHER while in the world. She prayed for herself, for
Ernest; and sweet peace stole into her heart, and before the morning
light came, she had resolved not to leave the old man who loved her,
during his few remaining days, yet not to keep Ernest in doubt of his
own freedom. She was impatient that he should awake, and fell asleep
imagining various modes of making her communication to him. Exhausted by
mental agitation even more than by watching, she slept long and heavily.
When she awoke, Ernest was shading the window at her side, through which
the sun was shining brightly into the room. As she moved he looked at
her kindly, and said:

"I am afraid I awoke you, Meeta, when I meant only to prolong your sleep
by shutting out this light."

"I have slept long enough," was all that Meeta could say. The old Rainer
was awake, and dreading above all things some allusions from him to the
supposed relations of Ernest and herself, she hastened from the room and
busied herself in the preparation of breakfast. Having seen that meal
placed upon the table, she returned to the sick room and begged that
Ernest would pour out his own coffee, while she did some things that
were essential to his father's comfort. She lingered till Ernest came to
see whether he could take her place, and then, as the old man slept
peacefully, and she could make no further excuse, she accompanied him
back to the table. The breakfast, a mere form to Meeta at least,
proceeded in silence, or with only a casual remark from Ernest, scarcely
heard by her, on the weather, the rapidity with which he had travelled,
or his father's condition. Suddenly Meeta seemed to arouse herself as
from a deep reverie:

"Why do you not talk to me of Sophie?" she said, attempting to speak
gayly, though one less embarrassed than Ernest could not have failed to
note the tremulousness of her voice, and the quivering of the pallid lip
which vainly strove to smile.

But Meeta's agitation was as nothing to that of Ernest. For a moment he
gazed upon her as though spell-bound, then dropping his face into his
clasped hands, sat actually shivering before her. It was plain that
Ernest had not lightly estimated his obligations to her. If he had
sinned against them he had not despised them, and this conviction gave
new strength to Meeta. She rose for the hour superior to every selfish
emotion. Laying her hand upon his arm, she said, gently:

"Be not so agitated, Ernest; can you not regard me as your friend, and
talk to me as you did in old days of all that disturbs you; and why
should you be disturbed at my speaking of--of your Sophie? You do not
suppose that--you know that--in short, Ernest, we cannot be expected to
feel now as we did five years ago; but surely that need not prevent our
being friends."

Meeta had been herself too much confused of late, to remark her
companion. When she now ventured with great effort to meet his eyes, she
found them fixed upon her with an expression of lively admiration and
grateful joy.

"Meeta, dear Meeta!" he exclaimed, seizing her hand and kissing it. "You
give me new life. I have been a miserable man for weeks past, torn by
conflicting claims upon my heart and my honor. You had claims on both,
Meeta; sacred claims, which I could never have asked you to forego; and
so had Sophie, for though I resisted long, there came a moment of mad
passion, of madder forgetfulness, in which, abandoning myself to the
present, I sought and obtained an avowal of her love. It was scarcely
over ere I felt the wrong I had done. I revealed that wrong to her; pity
me, Meeta! I told her all--your claims, your worth. To you I resolved to
be equally frank, and my only hope was in your generosity. But my father
had never suffered me to doubt that your heart was still mine, and
though I was assured that you would enable me to fulfil my obligations
to Sophie, I feared, I mean, I could not hope, that it would be without
any sacrifice; I mean without any regrets on your part."

Ernest paused in some embarrassment; but Meeta could not speak, and he
resumed:

"You have made me perfectly happy, Meeta, which even Sophie could not
have done, had I been compelled in devoting myself to her to relinquish
the friend and sister of my childhood."

"Always regard me thus, Ernest, as your friend and sister, and I shall
be satisfied."

Meeta had risen to return to the sick room, but Ernest caught her hand
and held her back, while he said:

"But you must see my Sophie, Meeta; you must know her and then you will
love her too. She will be here soon with her sister, Mrs. Schwartz."

"Mrs. Schwartz her sister? Then my last doubt is removed Ernest. She is
worthy of you."

"Worthy of me!" And Ernest would have run into all a lover's rhapsodies
on this text, but Meeta had escaped from him.

Hitherto Meeta's life had been one of quietness, of inaction, and now in
a few short weeks ages of active existence seemed crowded. One object
she had set before her as the great aim of her life; it was to secure
Ernest's happiness and preserve his honor. She understood now the
coldness with which her father had of late named him. It was essential
to her peace that this coldness should not deepen into anger. Not even
in her own family then must she have rest from the strife between her
inner and her outer life. Sympathy she must not have, since sympathy
with her was almost inseparably connected with reproach of Ernest. Time
had another lesson to teach, and Meeta soon learned it; that in a combat
such as she had to sustain, no half-way measures would suffice, that she
must not drive her griefs down to the depths of her heart, shutting them
there from every human eye, but she must drive them out of her heart. We
talk of feigning cheerfulness, of wearing a mask for the world and
throwing it off in solitude, and we may do this for a week, a month, a
year, but those who have a life-grief to sustain, from whose hearts hope
has died out, know that there are only two paths open to them in the
universe; to lie down in their despair and breathe out their souls in
murmurs against their GOD, and lamentations over their destiny; or,
humbly kissing the rod which has smitten them, to go forth out of
themselves, where all is darkness and woe, and find a new and happier
life in living for and in others. And thus did Meeta.

We may not linger over the details of the next few weeks of her
existence. The old Rainer died; died blessing his children, Ernest and
Meeta, and praying for their happiness. Often would Ernest have told him
all; but Meeta kept back a disclosure which would have given him pain.
"Do not disturb him now, Ernest," she said; "he will know all soon, and
bless your Sophie from heaven, where there is no sorrow."

Meeta returned home, and exhaustion won for her a few days rest; rest
even from her mental struggles; but when the funeral was over, and
things returned to their usual routine, she felt that she must prepare
her father and mother to receive Ernest in the character in which they
were henceforth to regard him. She found strength for this in her lofty
purpose and her simple dependence upon Heaven, and her voice did not
falter nor her color change as she said to her mother:--

"Do you not think Ernest is much altered?"

"Yes, he is greatly improved."

"Improved! Well, he may be so to the eyes of others, but--"

"Is he not as tender to you, my daughter?" asked the sensitive mother.

"That is not it," said Meeta, coloring for the first time: "we neither
of us feel as we once did; it was a childish folly to suppose that we
should. I have told Ernest that I could not fulfil our engagement, and
he is satisfied."

Madame Werner looked long at her daughter, but Meeta met the glance
firmly.

"And is this all, Meeta?"

"All! What more would you have, dear mother?"

"And are you happy, Meeta?"

"Happier than I should be in marrying Ernest now, dear mother."

Madame Werner explained all this to her husband, at her daughter's
request. He was not grieved at it. "Ernest," he said, "had never valued
Meeta as she deserved. He was glad she had shown so much spirit."

Meeta had a more difficult task to perform. Mrs. Schwartz's sister has
come at last. She came from Germany at the same time with Ernest, but
stopped to make a visit to another sister in Philadelphia, and arrived
here only last night. "I will go and see her," said Meeta one morning to
Madame Werner. She went. As she approached the house, there came through
the open windows the sound of an organ, accompanied by a rich and highly
cultivated voice. Meeta would not pause for a moment, lest she should
grow nervous. It was essential to Ernest's happiness that Sophie should
be friendly with her; and the difficulties were of a nature which, if
not overcome at once, would not be overcome at all. Meeta entered the
small parlor without knocking, and found herself _tête-à-tête_ with the
musician; a young, fair girl, delicately formed, with beautiful hands
and arms, and pleasing, pretty face. As she saw the visitor, her song
ceased. Meeta smiled on her, and extending her hand, said: "You are
Sophie--Ernest's Sophie?"

"And you," said the fair girl, with wondering eyes, "are--"

"Meeta."

This was an introduction which admitted no formality, and when Mrs.
Schwartz entered half an hour later, she was surprised to find those so
lately strangers conversing in the low and earnest tones which betoken
confidence, while the lofty expression on the countenance of the one,
and the moist eyes and flushed cheeks of the other, showed that their
topic was one of no ordinary interest.

Six months passed rapidly away, and then Ernest felt that he might,
without disrespect to his father's memory, bring home his bride. Their
engagement had been known for some time, and had excited no little
surprise; though perhaps less than the continued and close friendship
between them and Meeta. Many improvements in Sophie's future home had
been suggested by Meeta's taste, and Ernest had acquired such a habit of
consulting her, that no day passed without an interview between them. At
length the evening preceding the bridal-day had arrived, and Ernest and
Sophie had gone to secure Meeta's promise to officiate as bridesmaid in
the simple ceremony of the morrow. They were to be married at the
parsonage, in the presence of a few witnesses only, and were immediately
to set out on an excursion which would occupy several weeks. They had
urged Meeta to accompany them, but she had declined. "But she cannot
refuse to stand up with me--do you think she can?" said Sophie to her
sister, as she prepared to accompany Ernest to Carl Werner's.

"I do not think she _will_ refuse," Mrs. Schwartz replied.

"You do not think she will!" repeated Mr. Schwartz, in an accent of
surprise, to his wife, when Ernest and Sophie had left them. "How does
that consist with your idea of Meeta's love for Ernest?"

"It perfectly consists with a love like Meeta's; a love without any
alloy of selfishness. Dear Meeta! how little is her nobleness
appreciated! Even I dare not let her see that she is understood by me,
lest I should wound her delicate and generous nature."

There was a pause, and then Mr. Schwartz said, hesitatingly, "If it be
as you think, Meeta is a noble being; but----"

"If it be!" interrupted Mrs. Schwartz, with warmth. "Can you doubt it?
Have you not seen the loftier character which her generous purpose has
impressed upon her whole aspect? the elevation--I had almost said the
inspiration, which beams from her face when Ernest and Sophia are
present? Sophie is my sister, and I love her truly; yet I declare to
you, at such times I have looked from her to Meeta, and wondered at what
seemed to me Ernest's infatuation."

"Sophie is fair, and delicate, and accomplished, the very
personification of refinement, natural and acquired, and the antipodes
of all which Ernest, ere he saw her, had begun to dread in the untaught
Meeta of his memory. I am not surprised at all at his loving Sophie, but
I cannot at all understand how the simple and single-hearted Meeta can
feign so long and so well, as on your supposition she has done."

"Feign! Meeta feign! I never said or thought such a thing. A course of
action lofty as Meeta's must have its foundation deep in the heart, in
principles enduring as life itself. Had Meeta's been the commonplace
feigned satisfaction with Ernest's conduct to which pride might have
given birth, she would have been fitful in her moods; alternately gay or
gloomy; generous and kind, or petulant and exacting. The serenity, the
composure of countenance and manner which distinguish our Meeta, spring
from a higher, purer source. It is the sweet submission of a chastened,
loving spirit, which can say to its FATHER in Heaven:--

    'BECAUSE my portion was assign'd,
    Wholesome and bitter, THOU art kind,
    And I am blessed to my mind.'"

"A state of feeling to be preferred certainly to the gratification of
any earthly affection; but I scarcely see how it can accord with Meeta's
continued love of Ernest."

"That is because you do not separate love from the selfish desires with
which it is too generally accompanied. Meeta loves Ernest so truly, so
entirely, that she cannot be said to yield her happiness to his, but
rather to find it in his; his joy, his honor, are hers."

"And can woman feel thus?" asked Mr. Schwartz, as he looked with
admiration upon his wife, her cheeks glowing and her eyes lighted with
the enthusiasm of a spirit akin to Meeta's.

"There are many mysteries in woman which you have yet to fathom," said
Mrs. Schwartz, with a smile.

To the good pastor and his wife, the next day, even Sophie was a less
interesting object of contemplation than Meeta, who stood at her side.
She was pale, very pale, and dressed with even more than usual
simplicity; yet there was in her face so much of the soul's light, that
she seemed to them beautiful. Her congratulations were offered in
speechless emotion. The brotherly kiss which Ernest pressed upon her
cheek called up no color there, nor disturbed the graceful stillness of
her manner; and when Sophie, who had really become sincerely attached to
her, threw herself into her arms, she returned her embrace with
tenderness, whispering as she did so, "Make Ernest happy, Sophie, and I
will love you always!"

And now what have we more to tell of Meeta? It cannot be denied that
there were hours of darkness, in which the joyous hopes and memories of
her youth rose up vividly before her, making her present life seem sad
and lonely in contrast. But these visitors from the realm of shadows
were neither evoked nor welcomed by Meeta. Resolutely she turned from
the dead past, to the active, living present, determined that no shadow
from her should darken the declining days of her father and mother. She
is the light of their home, and often they bless the Providence which
has left her with them. What would they have done without her cheerful
voice to inspire them in bearing the burdens of advancing life?

But not only in her home was Meeta a consolation and a blessing. The
poor, the sick, the sorrowing, knew ever where to find true sympathy and
ready aid. She was the "Lady Bountiful" of her neighborhood. But there
was one house where more especially her presence was welcomed; where no
important step was taken without her advice; where sorrow was best
soothed by her, and joy but half complete till she had shared it. This
house was Ernest Rainer's. To him and Sophie she was a cherished sister,
to whose upright and self-forgetting nature they looked up with a
species of reverence; and to their children she was "Dear Aunt Meeta!
the kindest and best friend, except mamma, in the world!"

How many more useful, more noble, or happier persons than our old maid
can married life present? Is she not more worthy of imitation than the
"Celias" and "Daphnes" whose delicate distresses have formed the staple
of circulating libraries, or than those feeble spirits in real life,
who, mistaking selfishness for sensibility, turn thanklessly from the
blessings and coldly from the duties of life, because they have been
denied the gratification of some cherished desire?



CHAPTER X.


It is Christmas, merry Christmas, as we have been duly informed this
morning by every inhabitant of Donaldson Manor, from Col. Donaldson to
the pet and baby Sophy Dudley, who was taught the words but yesterday,
for the occasion. Last evening our readings were interrupted, for all
were busy in preparing for this important day. Miss Donaldson was
superintending jellies and blanc-manges, custards and Charlottes des
Russes; Col. and Mrs. Donaldson were preparing gifts for their servants,
not one of whom was forgotten, and Annie and I, and, by his own special
request, Mr. Arlington, were arranging in proper order the gifts of that
most considerate, mirthful and generous of spirits, Santa Claus. This
morning the sun rose as clear and bright as though it, too, rejoiced in
the joy of humanity; but long before the sun had showed himself, little
feet were pattering from room to room, and childish voices shouting in
the unchecked exuberance of delight. I sometimes doubt whether the
children are so happy as I am, on such occasions. One incident that
occurred this morning would have been enough, in my opinion, to repay
all the time, the trouble, and the gold, which Santa Claus, or his
agents, had expended on their preparations. Aroused by the voices of the
children, I threw on a dressing-gown and hastened to the room
appropriated to their patron saint, which I entered at one door just as
little Eva Dudley appeared at another. Without being in the least a
beauty, Eva has the most charming face I know; merry and bright as
Puck's, or as her own life, which from its earliest dawn has been joyous
as a bird's carol. She gazed now with eager delight on the toys
exhibited by her brothers and sisters, without, apparently, one thought
of herself, till Robert said, "But see here, Eva, look at your own."

As her eyes rested on the large baby-house, with its folding-doors open
to display the furniture of the parlors, and the two dolls, mother and
daughter, seated at a table on which stood a neat china breakfasting
set, she clasped her dimpled hands in silent ecstasy for half a minute,
then rising to her utmost height on her rosy little toes, she exclaimed,
"Oh, isn't I a happy little woman!"

Dear Eva! a little _girl's_ heart would not have seemed to her large
enough to contain such a rapture.

Our party has been augmented since breakfast by the arrival of several
families of Donaldsons--some of whom live at too great a distance for
visits at any other time than Christmas, when all who stand in any
conceivable, or I was about to say inconceivable, degree of relationship
to the Donaldsons of Donaldson Manor, are expected to be here. Among
this host of uncles and aunts and cousins, I was really grateful for my
own prefix of aunt, and I heard Mr. Arlington whisper a request to
Robert to call him uncle--a title to which I have no doubt he would
willingly make good his claim.

In the midst of this general hilarity, the religious character of the
day was not forgotten, and all the family and some of the visitors
attended the morning services in the church. We know that there are
those who, doubting the testimony on which the Christian world has
agreed to observe the 25th of December as the birthday into our mortal
life of the world's Saviour, and the era from which man may date his
hopes of a happy immortality, consider the religious observances of this
day a sheer superstition. On such a controversy I could say but little,
and I should be very unwilling so say that little here; but I would ask
if it can be wrong in the opinion of any--nay, if it be not right, very
right, in the opinion of all--to celebrate once in the year an event so
solemn and so joyous to our race; and whether any day can be better for
such a purpose, than that which has been for centuries associated with
it wherever the Angel's song of "Peace on earth and good will to man"
has been heard? Another class of objectors there are who complain that a
day so sacred should be desecrated, as they express it, by revelry and
mirth. To their objection I should not have a word of reply, if it were
limited to a condemnation of that wild uproar and senseless jollity by
which men sometimes make fools or brutes of themselves; but when they
condemn the cheerfulness that has its home and its birthplace in a
grateful heart, when they frown upon the happy family gathering once
more within the old walls that had echoed to their childish gambols,
calling up by the spells of association, from the dim recesses of the
past, the very tones and looks of the mother that watched their cradled
sleep, and the father that guided their first tottering steps in the
pursuit of truth; tones and looks by which, if by any thing, the cold,
selfish spirit of the world to whose dominion they have yielded, may be
exorcised, and the loving and generous spirit of their earlier life may
again enter within them; when they declare these things inconsistent
with the Christian's joyful commemoration of that event to which he owes
his earthly blessings as well as his heavenly hopes. I can only pity
them for their want of harmony with the Great Spirit of the Universe,
the spirit of Love and Joy.

Our Christmas was continued and concluded in the same spirit in which it
was commenced--the spirit of kindly affection to Man and devout
gratitude to Heaven. Those guests whose homes were distant remained for
the night, and in the evening, before any of our party had left us,
Col. Donaldson called on Robert Dudley to repeat a poem winch he had
learned at his request for the occasion. Robert was a little abashed at
first at being brought forward so conspicuously; but he is a manly,
intelligent boy, and his voice soon gathered strength and firmness, and
his eyes lost their downward tendency, and kindled with earnest feeling,
as he recited those beautiful lines of Charles Sprague, entitled--


THE FAMILY MEETING.

          We are all here!
          Father, mother,
          Sister, brother,
    All who hold each other dear.
    Each chair is fill'd, we're all at home,
    To-night let no cold stranger come;
    It is not often thus around
    Our own familiar hearth we're found.
    Bless, then, the meeting and the spot;
    For once be every care forgot;
    Let gentle Peace assert her power,
    And kind affection rule the hour;
          We're all--all here.

          We're NOT all here!
    Some are away--the dead ones dear,
    Who throng'd with us this ancient hearth,
    And gave the hour to guiltless mirth.
    Fate, with a stern, relentless hand,
    Look'd in and thinn'd our little band:
    Some like a night-flash pass'd away,
    And some sank, lingering, day by day;
    The quiet grave-yard--some lie there--
    And cruel Ocean has his share--
          We're _not_ all here.

          We _are_ all here!
    Even they--the dead--though dead so dear.
    Fond Memory, to her duty true,
    Brings back their faded forms to view.
    How life-like, through the mist of years,
    Each well-remember'd face appears!
    We see them as in times long past,
    From each to each kind looks are cast,
    We hear their words, their smiles behold,
    They're round us as they were of old--
          We _are_ all here.

          We are all here!
          Father, mother,
          Sister, brother,
    You that I love with love so dear.
    This may not long of us be said,
    Soon must we join the gather'd dead,
    And by the hearth we now sit round
    Some other circle will be found.
    Oh, then, that wisdom may we know,
    Which yields a life of peace below!
    So, in the world to follow this,
    May each repeat, in words of bliss.
          We're all--all _here_!



CHAPTER XI.


Yesterday we were more than usually still after the enjoyment of
Christmas, and a little quiet chit-chat seemed all of which we were
capable, but to-day every thing about us and within us began to settle
into its usual form, and this evening there was a general call for our
accustomed entertainment. I was inexorable to all entreaties, and Mr.
Arlington was compelled to open his portfolio for our gratification.

"Select your subject," he said with a smile, as he drew forth sketch
after sketch and spread them on the table before us. "I have no story to
tell of any of them."

"I select this," said Annie, as she held up a drawing, entitled, "The
Exiled Hebrews."

"Ah!" said Mr. Arlington, as he glanced at it, "you have chosen well;
the subject is interesting."

"But can you really tell us nothing of these figures, so noble yet so
touching in their aspect?"

"No; nothing of _them_. I could tell you indeed of a _dying_ Hebrew,
whose portrait you may imagine you have before you in that turbaned old
gentleman."

"Well, let us hear it."


THE DYING HEBREW.

    A HEBREW knelt in the dying light,
      His eye was dim and cold,
    The hair on his brow was silver white,
      And his blood was thin and old.
    He lifted his eye to his latest sun,
    For he felt that his pilgrimage was done,
    And as he saw God's shadow[3] there,
    His spirit pour'd itself in prayer.
    "I come unto Death's second birth
      Beneath a stranger air,
    A pilgrim on a chill, cold earth,
      As all my fathers were;
    And _men_ have stamp'd me with a _curse_,
      I feel it is not _Thine_.
    Thy mercy, like yon sun, was made
      On me, as all to shine;
    And therefore dare I lift mine eye
    Through that to Thee, before I die.
    In this great temple, built by Thee,
      Whose altars are divine,
    Beneath yon lamp that ceaselessly
      Lights up Thine own true shrine,
    Take this my latest sacrifice,
      Look down and make this sod
    Holy as that where long ago
      The Hebrew met his God.
    I have not caused the widow's tears,
      Nor dimm'd the orphan's eye,
    I have not stain'd the virgin's years,
      Nor mock'd the mourner's cry.
    The songs of Zion in my ear
      Have ever been most sweet,
    And always when I felt Thee near,
      My shoes were 'off my feet.'

    I have known Thee in the whirlwind,
      I have known Thee on the hill,
    I have known Thee in the voice of birds,
      In the music of the rill.
    I dreamt Thee in the shadow,
      I saw Thee in the light,
    I heard Thee in the thunder-peal,
      And worshipp'd in the night.
    All beauty, while it spoke of Thee,
      Still made my heart rejoice,
    And my spirit bow'd within itself
      To hear 'Thy still, small voice.'
    I have not felt myself a thing
      Far from Thy presence driven,
    By flaming sword or waving wing
      Cut off from Thee and heaven.
    Must I the whirlwind reap, because,
      My fathers sow'd the storm?
    Or shrink because another sinn'd,
      Beneath Thy red, right arm?
    Oh! much of this we dimly scan,
      And much is all unknown,
    I will not take my _curse_ from _man_,
      I turn to THEE alone.
    Oh! bid my fainting spirit live,
      And what is dark, reveal,
    And what is evil--oh, forgive!
      And what is broken--heal.
    And cleanse my spirit from above,
    In the deep Jordan of Thy love!
    I know not if the Christian's heaven
      Shall be the same as mine,
    I only ask to be forgiven,
      And taken home to THINE.
    I weary on a far, dim strand,
      Whose mansions are as tombs,
    And long to find the Father-land,
      Where there are many homes.
    Oh! grant of all yon shining throngs
      Some dim and distant star,
    Where Judah's lost and scatter'd sons
      May worship from afar!
    When all earth's myriad harps shall meet
      In choral praise and prayer,
    Shall Zion's harp, of old so sweet,
      Alone be wanting there?
    Yet place me in the lowest seat,
      Though I, as now, lie there,
    The Christian's jest--the Christian's scorn,
      Still let me see and hear,
    From some bright mansion in the sky,
    Thy loved ones and their melody."

    The sun goes down with sudden gleam,
    And beautiful as a lovely dream,
      And silently as air,
    The vision of a dark-eyed girl
      With long and raven hair,
    Glides in as guardian spirits glide,
    And lo! is standing by his side,
    As if her sudden presence there
    Was sent in answer to his prayer.
    Oh! say they not that angels tread
    Around the good man's dying bed?
    His child--his sweet and sinless child,
      And as he gazed on her,
    He knew his God was reconciled,
      And this the messenger.
    As sure as God had hung on high
    His promise-bow before his eye,
    Earth's purest hopes were o'er him flung,
      To point his heaven-ward faith,
    And life's most holy feelings strung
      To sing him into death.
    And on his daughter's stainless breast,
    The dying Hebrew sought his rest.[4]

"Have I fulfilled my task?" asked Mr. Arlington, as he touched the
picture on which Annie's eyes were still fixed.

"By no means," she answered; "the poem is beautiful; but is the drawing
from your own pencil?"

"Oh, no! It is a copy of a copy. The original is by Biederrmanns, and
may be seen, I believe, in the Dresden Gallery. This sketch was made
from a copy in the possession of my friend, Mr. Michael Grahame. He had
it done while he was in Russia. By-the-by--if I had Aunt Nancy's powers
as a _raconteur_, I think I could interest you in the history of Mr. and
Mrs. Grahame."

"Let us have it," exclaimed Col. Donaldson; "we will be lenient in our
criticisms; and should we ever call on you to give it to severer
critics, Aunt Nancy will dress it up for you."

Mr. Arlington in vain sought to excuse himself.

"It is of no use," cried Col. Donaldson; "I am a thoroughbred story
hunter, and now you have shown me the game, I must have it."

To Mr. Arlington, therefore, the reader is indebted for the following
incidents, though I have fulfilled the promise made for me by the
Colonel, and dressed it up a little for its present appearance. I have
called the narrative thus prepared,


"ONLY A MECHANIC."

With beauty, wealth, an accomplished education, and a home around which
clustered all the warm affections and graceful amenities of life, Lilian
Devoe was considered by her acquaintances as one of fortune's most
favored children. Yet in Lilian's bright sky there was a cloud, though
it was perceptible to none but herself. She was the daughter of an
Englishman, who, on his arrival in America with a sickly wife and infant
child, had esteemed himself fortunate in obtaining the situation of
farm-steward, or bailiff, at Mr. Trevanion's country-seat, near
New-York.

"This is a pleasant home, Gerald," said Mrs. Devoe, on the day she took
possession of her small but neat cottage, as she stood with him beneath
a porch embowered with honey-suckle, and looked out upon a scene to
which hill and dale and river combined to give enchantment.

"If you can be well and happy in it, love, I will try and forget that I
had a right to a better," said Gerald Devoe, with a grave yet tender
smile, as he drew his invalid wife close to his side.

Grave, Gerald Devoe always was; and none wondered at it who knew his
early history. His family belonged to the gentry of England, and he had
been born to an inheritance sufficient to support him respectably in
that class. His mother, from whom he derived a sound judgment, and a
firm and vigorous mind, died while he was yet a child, leaving his weak
and self-indulgent father to the management of a roguish attorney, by
whose aid he made the future maintain the present, till, at his death,
little was left to Gerald beyond the bare walls of his paternal home and
the small park by which it was surrounded. He had been, for two years
before this time, married to one who had brought him little wealth, and
whose delicate health seemed to demand the luxuries which he could no
longer afford. For her sake, far more than for his own--even more than
for that of his cherished child--he shrank from the new condition under
which life was presenting itself to him. When at length his resources
utterly failed, and he could no longer veil the truth from his wife, her
gentle tender smile, her confiding caress, and above all, her ready
inquiry into his plans for the future, and her earnest effort to aid him
in bringing the chaos of his mind into order, taught him that there lies
in woman's affections a source of strength equal to all the requirements
of those who have won their way to that hidden fountain. It was by her
advice that, instead of wasting his energies in the vain struggle to
maintain his present position, he determined to carve out for himself a
new life in another land. The first step towards the fulfilment of this
resolution was also the most painful. It was the sacrifice of his home,
the home of his childhood, his youth, his manhood, with which all that
was dear in the present or tender in the past was associated. And yet
higher claims it had. It had been the home of his fathers. For three
hundred years those walls had owned a Devoe for their master, and now
they must pass into a stranger's hands, and he and his must go forth
with no right even to a grave in that soil which had seemed ever an
inalienable part of himself. It was a stern lesson, but life teaches
well, and it was learned. He could not turn to the liberal professions
for support, because he had no means of maintaining himself and his
family during the preparatory studies. Of farming he knew already
something, and spent some months in acquiring yet further information
respecting it, before he sailed from England. The determination and
energy with which Gerald Devoe had entered on his new career, had won
for him friends among practical men, and when he left England it was
with recommendations that insured his success.

It was a fortunate circumstance for Mr. and Mrs. Devoe that Mr.
Trevanion required a farm-steward on their arrival, for in him and his
wife they found liberal employers, and persons of true Christian
benevolence, who, having discovered the superiority of their minds and
manners to their present station, hesitated not to receive them into
their circle of friends, when a knowledge of their past history had
acquainted them with their claims on their sympathy. Howsoever valuable
the friendship of persons at once so accomplished and so excellent was
to Mr. and Mrs. Devoe, for their own sakes, they prized it yet more for
their Lilian's. She was their only child, and their poverty lost its
last sting when they saw her linked arm in arm with young Anna
Trevanion, the companion of her lessons and her sports. They could not
have borne to see her, so lovely in outward form, and with a mind so
full of intelligence, condemned either to the dreariness of a life
without companionship, or to the degradation of association with the
rude and uncultivated. That this feeling was wholly unconnected with any
false views of their own position, or vain estimation of the claims
derived from their birth and former condition, was evident from their
readiness to receive into their friendly regards those in their present
sphere in whose moral qualities they could confide, and who did not
repel their courtesies by a rude and coarse manner. There was one of
this latter class who held a place in their esteem not less exalted than
that occupied by Mr. Trevanion himself. This was a Scotchman, living
within two miles of Mr. Trevanion's seat, who found at once an agreeable
occupation and a respectable support in a garden, from which he supplied
the markets of New-York with some of their choicest vegetables, and its
drawing-rooms with some of their choicest bouquets. Mr. Grahame was one
who, in those early ages when physical endowments constituted the chief
distinction between men, might have been chosen king of the tribe with
which he had chanced to be associated. Even now, in this self-styled
enlightened age, his tall and stalwart frame, his erect carriage, his
firm and vigorous step, his broad, commanding brow, his bright, keen
eye, and the firm, frank expression of his whole face, won from every
beholder an involuntary feeling of respect, which further acquaintance
only served to deepen. With little of the education of schools, he was a
man of reading, and, what schools can never make, he was a man of
thought, and of that sober, practical good sense, and those firm,
religious principles which are the surest, the only true and safe guides
in life. Mrs. Grahame was a gentle and lovely woman, with an eye to see
and a heart to feel her husband's excellences. And a worthy son of such
a father was Michael Grahame, the only child of this excellent pair. He
was six years older than Lilian Devoe, and having no sister of his own,
had been her playfellow and protector from her cradle. Even Anna
Trevanion could not rival Michael in Lilian's heart, nor all the
luxuries of Trevanion Hall compete with the delight of wandering with
him through the gardens of Mossgiel, listening to his history of the
various plants--for Michael had learned from his father where most of
them had first been found, and how and by whom they had been introduced
to their present abodes--and learning from him the chief points of
distinction between the different tribes of the vegetable world, and
many other things of which older people are often ignorant. But
acquainted as Michael was with the inhabitants of the garden, they did
not afford him his most vivid enjoyment. Mechanical pursuits were his
passion.

Before Lilian was four years old, she had ridden in a carriage of his
construction, which he boasted the most unskilful hand on the most
unequal road could not, except from _malice prepense_, upset. To see
Michael a clergyman, or, if that might not be, a lawyer, was Mrs.
Grahame's dream of life; but when she whispered it to her husband, he
shook his head, with a grave smile, and pointed to the boy, who stood
near, putting the finishing touch to what he called his "magical glass."
This was the case of an old spy-glass, in which he had so disposed
several mirrors, made of a toilet-glass long since broken, as to enable
the person using the instrument to see objects in a very different
direction from that to which it appeared to be directed. The fond
parents watched his movements in silence for a few minutes: suddenly he
called in a glad voice, "Here, father, come and look through my magical
glass."

Mr. Grahame obeyed the summons, saying to his wife, "He'll make a good
mechanic--better not spoil that, for a poor clergyman or lawyer."

Michael had the advantage of the best schools to which his father could
gain access; and his teachers joined in declaring that his father might
make what he would of him, but his own inclination for mechanics
continued as fixed as ever, and Mr. Grahame was equally fixed in his
determination to let his inclination decide his career.

"Let him be what he will, he must be something above the ordinary, or
your high people will remember against him that his father was a
gardener," said Mr. Grahame to his wife; "and you may be sure he'll rise
highest in what he loves."

At sixteen Michael Grahame commenced his apprenticeship to the trade of
a mathematical instrument maker, to the perfect satisfaction of himself
and his father, the secret annoyance of his mother, and the openly
expressed chagrin of Lilian Devoe, who had shared all Mrs. Grahame's
ambitious hopes for her friend. From this period Lilian became the
inseparable companion of the young Trevanions, their only rival in her
heart being removed from her circle. She still considered Michael as
greatly superior to them, and indeed to all others, in personal
attributes, but she could seldom enjoy his society, since he resided in
the city; and as she approached to womanhood, and he exchanged the
vivacity of the boy for the man's thoughtful brow and more controlled
expression of feeling, their manner in their occasional interviews
assumed a formality which made it a poor interpreter of her heart's true
emotions.

At seventeen Lilian Devoe was an orphan, left to the guardianship of Mr.
Trevanion and Mr. Grahame, with a fortune which secured to her a
prospect of all the comforts, and many of the elegancies of life. This
fortune was the result of a successful speculation made by Mr. Devoe
about a year before his death, with the little sum, which, by judicious
management, he had saved from his salary during many years. It was a sum
too small to secure to his daughter a maintenance in case of his death,
and with a trembling and almost despairing heart he had thrown it on the
troubled sea of speculation. From that hour he knew no peace. His life
was probably shortened by his anxieties, and when he received the
assurance of the successful issue of his experiment, he had but a few
days to live. Before his death, Mr. Trevanion had spoken very kindly to
him, and both he and Mrs. Trevanion had expressed the most friendly
interest in Lilian, and had offered to receive her as a member of their
own family, when her "home should be left unto her desolate." Mr.
Grahame and his kind-hearted wife had already made the same offer, and
Mr. Devoe, with the warmest expression of gratitude, commended his
daughter to the guardianship of both his friends. It was winter when Mr.
Devoe died--the Trevanions were in the city, and, by her own wish,
Lilian passed the first few months of her orphanage at the cottage of
Mr. Grahame. Never was an orphan more tenderly received, more dearly
cherished.

Michael Grahame had now acquired his trade, and had entered into an
already established and profitable business with his former master, who
predicted that with his application, and his unusual talent and his
delight both in the theory of mechanics and the actual development of
that theory in practice, he must one day acquire a high reputation.
Perhaps this opinion might have been in some degree shaken by the long
and frequent holidays of his young partner during this winter. Michael
had never been so much at home since he left it, a boy of sixteen, and
before the winter had passed, all formality between him and Lilian had
vanished. Again they wandered together, as in childhood, through the
garden walks; again Lilian learned to regard him, not only as a loved
friend, but as a guide and protector.

Mrs. Grahame saw the growth of these feelings with delight. She loved
Lilian, and gave the highest proof of her esteem for her, in believing
her worthy of her son. Mr. Grahame was less satisfied. He, too, loved
Lilian, and would have welcomed her to his heart as a daughter, but her
lately acquired fortune, and her connection with the Trevanion family,
gave her a right to higher expectations in marriage, than to become the
wife of a mechanic of very moderate fortunes, howsoever great was his
ability, or howsoever distinguished his personal qualities. No--Mr.
Grahame was not satisfied, and nothing but his confidence in Michael
kept him silent. The confidence was not misplaced.

The news of Lilian's fortune, and of Mr. and Mrs. Trevanion's offer to
receive her into their family, had sent a sharp pang through the heart
of Michael Grahame, which had taught him the true character of his
attachment to her.

"She is removed from my world--she can be nothing to me now," was the
first stern whisper of his heart, which was modified after two or three
interviews into--"She can only be a dear friend and sister. I must never
think of her in any other light." And, devoted as he had been to her
through the winter, no word, no look had told of love less calm or more
exacting than this. But there came a time when the quick blush on
Lilian's cheek at his approach, the tremor of her little hand as he
clasped it, told that she shared his feeling, without his power of
self-control. Then came the hour of trial to Michael Grahame's nature.
Self-immolation were easy in comparison with the infliction of one pang
on her. And wherefore should either suffer? Was it not a false sentiment
that denied to her the right to decide for herself, between those shows
and fashions which the world most prizes, and the indulgence of the
purest and sweetest affections of our nature? Was he not in truth
sacrificing her happiness to his own pride? It was a question which he
dared not answer for himself, and he applied to his father, in whose
high principles and clear judgment he placed implicit confidence. Mr.
Grahame was too shrewd, and in this case too interested an observer to
be unprepared for his son's avowal of his past feelings and present
perplexities.

"You are right, my son," he replied to his appeal; "It is Lilian's right
to decide for herself on that which will constitute her own happiness."

"Then I may speak to her--I may tell her--"

"All you desire that she should know," said Mr. Grahame, gently, "when
Lilian has had an opportunity of knowing what she must sacrifice in
accepting you."

"True--true--I will ask no promise from her--nay--I will accept none--I
will only assure her that should the world fail to fill her heart, the
truest and most devoted love awaits her here."

"And in listening to that assurance, without rebuking it, a delicate
woman would feel that she had pledged herself."

Michael Grahame's brow contracted, and his voice faltered slightly as,
after a moment's thoughtful pause, he asked, "What then would you have
me do?"

"Nothing at present--Lilian will soon leave us, and at Mr. Trevanion's
she will see quite another kind of life--a life which, with her fortune
and their friendship, may be hers, but which she must give up should she
become the wife of a mechanic and the daughter-in-law of a gardener. Let
her see this life, my boy, and then let her choose between you and it."

"And how can I hope that she will continue to regard me with kindness if
I suffer her to depart without any expression of interest in her?"

"Any expression of interest! I do not wish you to be colder to her than
you have hitherto been, and I am much mistaken if Lilian would exchange
your _brotherly_ affection for all the gewgaws in life."

"I will endeavor to take your advice, but I hope I shall not be tried
too long," were the concluding words of Michael Grahame, as he turned
from his father to seek composure in a solitary walk. When he had
returned, he found that his father had gone to the city--an unusual
circumstance at that season, and one which he could not afterwards avoid
connecting with a letter which Lilian received the next day from Anna
Trevanion, before she had risen from the breakfast table.

"Papa," wrote Miss Trevanion, "has made me perfectly happy, dear Lilian,
by declaring that he cannot consent to leave you longer in the country.
I hope you will not find it very difficult to obey his commands in the
present instance, which are, that you shall be ready at noon to-morrow
to accompany him to the city, where you will find Mamma and your Anna,
waiting to receive you with open arms."

"What is the matter, Lilian? Does your letter bring you bad news?" asked
Mrs. Grahame, as she saw the dejected countenance with which Lilian sat
gazing on these few lines.

Michael said nothing, but, as Lilian looked up to answer Mrs. Grahame,
she saw that his eyes were fixed upon her, and the blood rushed to her
temples, while she said, "It is only a note from Anna Trevanion, to say
that her father is coming for me to-day at noon,--and--and--" Lilian
could go no farther--her voice faltered, and she burst into tears.
Michael Grahame started from his chair, but a movement of his father's
arm prevented his approaching Lilian, and unable to endure the scene, he
rushed from the room, while his mother, folding the weeping girl in her
arms, exclaimed, "Don't cry, Lilian, Mr. Trevanion will not certainly
make you go with him, if you do not wish it."

"Hush, hush, good wife," said the kind but firm voice of Mr. Grahame;
"Lilian must not be so ungracious to such friends as Mr. and Mrs.
Trevanion, as to refuse to go to them when they wish her. Go, my dear
child," he continued, laying his hand on her bent head; "and remember
that no day will be so happy for us as that in which you come back--if
indeed," he added, more gayly, "you can come back to such an humble
home, after living among great folks."

There was another voice for which Lilian listened, but she listened in
vain. Her first feeling on perceiving that Michael Grahame had left the
room while she lay weeping in his mother's arms was very bitter, but
Mrs. Grahame soothed her by saying, "Michael couldn't bear to see you
crying, dear, so when his father wouldn't let him speak to you, he
jumped up and ran off. Poor Michael! sadly enough he'll miss you."

In about an hour, Michael again sought Lilian, bringing with him three
bouquets of hot-house flowers. Two of these had been arranged by his
father for Mrs. and Miss Trevanion, and the other was of flowers which
he had himself selected for Lilian. She stood beside him while he first
wrapped the stems of the flowers in a wet sponge, and then put them into
a box, to defend them from the cold. This was done, and the box handed
to Lilian without a word. As she took it, she asked in a low tone, and
turning away to hide her embarrassment as she spoke, "When shall I see
you in New-York?"

"I shall be in New-York very soon," he replied; "perhaps to-morrow--but
we move there in such different spheres, Lilian, that I do not know when
we shall meet."

"Perhaps never," said Lilian, endeavoring, not very successfully, to
steady her voice and speak with _nonchalance_, "unless you are willing
to leave what you call your sphere and seek me in mine."

"I only need your permission to do so with delight,"--and so charming
had her evident emotion made her in his eyes, that Michael could not
refrain from pressing her hand to his lips. There was no anger in the
flush which this action brought to Lilian's cheek.

Mr. Trevanion was punctual to the hour of his appointment, and descended
from his carriage only to hand Lilian into it.

"You will call sometimes to see how your ward does," he said
good-humoredly to the elder Mr. Grahame, but to Michael not a word. He
had determined to discourage, and, if possible, completely to overthrow
any intimacy which Mr. Grahame had acknowledged to him was not
unattended with danger. Mr. Trevanion was a man of liberal mind, yet he
was not wholly free from the prejudices of his class, which made the
highest happiness the result of the highest social position. There is in
the mind of man so unconquerable a desire for the unattainable, that it
is not wonderful perhaps that this opinion should be entertained by
those who do not occupy that position; but to those who do, we should
suppose its fallacy would stand out too glaringly to be doubted or
denied. We are far from denying the advantages of rank and wealth: but
we view them not as an end, but as a means for the attainment of an end,
and that end, not happiness, except as happiness is indissolubly
connected with the perfection of our own powers, and with the extension
of our usefulness to others. He who, like Michael Grahame, can command
the means of intellectual cultivation and refinement, and a fair arena
for the exercise of his powers, when thus cultivated, need not envy the
possessor of larger fortune and higher station with his weightier
responsibilities and greater temptations.

Michael Grahame understood Mr. Trevanion's coolness, but he was not one
to retreat from an unfought field. Three days had scarcely given to
Lilian the feeling of ease in her new home, when he called on her. He
had chosen morning, as the hour when others would be the least likely to
dispute her attention with him. She was at home--Mrs. and Miss Trevanion
were out--and a long _tête-à-tête_ almost reconciled him to her new
abode. He had not forgotten his father's advice, nor taken the seal
from his lips. He might not speak to her of love, but the nicest honor
did not forbid him to show her the true sympathy and affection of a
friend. In a few days he called again, and at the same hour; Miss Devoe
was not at home, she had gone out with Mrs. and Miss Trevanion. Again
the next day he came at the same hour, and the answer was the same. He
called in the afternoon at five o'clock, and she was at dinner; at seven
o'clock, she was preparing for an evening party, and begged he would
excuse her. "I will seek no more," said Michael Grahame at length, with
proud determination, "to enter the charmed circle which shuts her from
me in the city. They cannot keep her to themselves always, and if
Lilian's heart be what I deem it, it will take more than a few months of
absence to efface from it the memories of years."

A few days only after this determination, Lilian was called down at nine
o'clock in the morning, to see Mr. Grahame. Early as it was, the furtive
glance towards her mirror and the hasty adjustment of her ringlets,
might have suggested to an observer, that she hoped to receive in her
visitor one who had an eye for beauty; and the sudden change that passed
over her countenance as she entered the parlor in which her two
guardians sat in earnest talk, would have awakened strong suspicions
that she did not see _the Mr. Grahame_ whom she had expected. Mr.
Trevanion rose as she entered, and shaking hands with Mr. Grahame, said
kindly, "I leave you with Lilian, Mr. Grahame, but I hope to see you
again at dinner--we dine at five."

"Thank you, sir, but I hope to be taking tea with my good woman at home
at that hour."

"Well, I shall hope to see you again soon--you must call often and see
your friend Lilian."

"Why, I've been thinking, sir, that that would hardly be best for any of
us--and to tell the truth, I came to-day to talk with Lilian about that
very thing, and if you please, I have no objection that you should hear
what I have to say."

Mr. Trevanion seated himself again, and Lilian placing herself on the
sofa beside him, Mr. Grahame resumed:--"It seems to me, sir, that Lilian
has to choose between two kinds of life, which, should she try to put
them together will only spoil one another, and I want her to have a fair
chance to judge between them. Now, you know, sir, I speak the truth when
I say that there are many among the fine gay people whom Lilian will
meet at your house, who would look down upon her for having such friends
as I and my wife, or even my son, though President B---- says he will be
a distinguished man yet."

"I do not care for such people, or for what they think," exclaimed
Lilian indignantly.

"I dare say not, my dear child, and yet they are people who are thought
a great deal of, and whom, if you are to live amongst them, it would be
worth your while to please--but that isn't my main point, Lilian. What I
want to say, though I seem to be long coming at it, is, that I want you
to see this gay life that fine folks in the city lead, at its
best--without any such drawbacks as it would have for you, if you were
suspected of having ungenteel acquaintances, and so we shall none of us
come to see you--barring you should be sick, or something else happen to
make you want us--until you make a fair trial, for six months at least,
of this life--then should the beautiful, rich Miss Devoe like the old
gardener and his family well enough to come and see them, she will learn
how fondly and truly they love their Lilian."

"I had hoped you loved her too well to give her up so needlessly for six
months, or even for one month," said Lilian, tears rushing to her eyes.

"Ask Mr. Trevanion if I am not right in what I have said, my dear
child," said Mr. Grahame tenderly.

"I will not dispute the correctness of your principles in the main, Mr.
Grahame, but I hope you do not think that all Lilian's _fine_
acquaintances as you call them, would be so unjust in their judgment as
to think the less of her for her love of you, or to undervalue you on
account of your position in life."

"No sir--no sir--I don't think so of all--but I want Lilian to see this
life without even one little cloud upon it--such a cloud as the being
looked down upon, though it were by people she didn't greatly admire,
would make. We have our pride too, sir, and we want Lilian to try for
herself whether our friendship, with all its good and its bad, be worth
keeping. She is too good and affectionate, we know, to shake off old
friends that love her, even if they become troublesome--but we will draw
ourselves off, and then she will be free to come back to us or not, as
she pleases. Now, sir, tell me frankly, if you think me wrong."

"Not wrong in principle, as I said before, Mr. Grahame, but--excuse
me--you required me to be frank--would it not have been better to have
made this withdrawal gradually and quietly, in such a manner that Lilian
would not have noticed it, instead of giving her the pain of this abrupt
severance of the ties between you?"

"A great deal better, sir," said Mr. Grahame, coloring with wonderful
feeling, and fixing his clear, keen eye full on Mr. Trevanion,--"a great
deal better if I wished to sever those ties--a great deal better if I
would have Lilian believe that we had grown cold and indifferent to her.
But, my dear child," and he turned to her, and taking both her hands,
spoke very earnestly--"believe me, when I tell you, that you will find
few among those who see you every day, that love you so warmly as the
friends who have loved you from your birth, and who now stand away from
you only because they will not be in the way of what the world considers
higher fortunes for you if you desire them. To leave you free to choose
for yourself, is the strongest proof of love we could give you, and I
repeat, when you have tried all that this new life has to give
you--tried it for six months--if your heart still turns with its old
love to those early friends, you will give them joy indeed."

Mr. Grahame paused, but neither Mr. Trevanion nor Lilian attempted to
reply to him for some minutes--at length she raised her eyes, and said,

"You did not think of this when I left you--what has changed your
mind--I will not say your _heart_--towards me?"

"You are right not to say our hearts, Lilian; but, indeed, even my mind
has not been changed--I thought then as I think now--but I could not
persuade others of our family to think with me. Now, however, they all
feel that they cannot keep up their old friendly intercourse with you
without mortification to themselves, and pain to you. And, as I said
before, we were none of us willing to withdraw from that intercourse
without giving you our reasons for it, lest you should think we had
grown indifferent to you."

Mr. Grahame soon departed, leaving Lilian saddened and Mr. Trevanion
perplexed by his visit. "Singular old man!" this gentleman exclaimed to
himself more than once, in reflecting on all that Mr. Grahame had said;
so difficult is it for those whose minds have been forced into the
strait forms of conventionalism to comprehend the dictates of
untrammelled common sense, on points which that conventionalism
undertakes to control. One thing at least Mr. Trevanion did
comprehend--that on the succeeding six months depended Lilian's choice
of her position and associates for life.

"So far Mr. Grahame is right Lilian," he said to her, "you cannot have a
place at once in two such different spheres as his and ours. I always
knew that to be impossible."

"You called my father friend," said Lilian, with unusual boldness.

"Your father was a gentleman by birth and breeding."

"And he has told me," persisted Lilian, "that he has never known more
true refinement and even nobility of mind than in Mr. Grahame."

"I agree with him--of _mind_, mark--but there is a want of conventional
refinement which would make itself felt in society."

"There is no want even of this in his son," said Lilian with a trembling
voice, and turning away to hide the blush that burned upon her cheek.

"Probably not, for Michael Grahame has been for years at the best
schools, with the sons of our first families--but we cannot separate him
from his father, and from the associates which his trade has given him."

Neither Mr. Trevanion nor Lilian ever spoke on this subject again; but
the former resolved that no effort should be lost on his part to restore
one so beautiful and so accomplished as his young ward to what he
considered her true place in society, and the latter was as firmly
determined that nothing should make her forgetful of the friends of her
childhood. In furtherance of this resolve, Mr. Trevanion, instead of
retiring to his country-seat with his family on the approach of summer,
sent his younger children thither under the care of their faithful and
intelligent nurse; and with Mrs. and Miss Trevanion, and Lilian, set out
for Saratoga, at that season the great focus of fashion. Mrs. Trevanion,
entering fully into his designs, had attended to Lilian's equipments for
this important campaign, with no less care than to Anna's, and the
result equalled their fondest expectations. Lilian was _the beauty_,
_the heiress_, the belle of the season. Report exaggerated her fortune,
appended all sorts of romantic incidents to her history and her
connection with the Trevanions, and thus increased the interest which
her own beauty and modest elegance was calculated to awaken. Admirers
crowded around her, and to render her triumph complete, one who had
hitherto found no charms in America worthy his homage, bowed at her
shrine. This was Mr. Derwent, an Englishman of high birth and large
fortune, whose elegant exterior, and the perfect _savoir faire_ which
marked his manners, made him at Saratoga,

                "The observed of all observers,
    The glass of fashion and the mould of form."

Mr. Trevanion looked on with scarcely concealed delight.

"Why, father! do you wish to see Lilian leave us for England?" cried
Anna Trevanion, to whom he had expressed his satisfaction.

"Certainly, my daughter, if only in that way I can see her take that
position which is hers by inheritance, and from which only her father's
misfortunes have estranged her."

But Mr. Trevanion's hopes of so desirable a termination of his cares for
Lilian faded, as he saw the reserve with which she met the attentions of
her admirers--not excepting even the admired Mr. Derwent.

"Among the beauties at this place, Miss L---- D----, the ward of Mr.
T----, stands unrivalled. She is an heiress as well as a beauty, but the
report is that both the fortune and the beauty are to be borne to
another land, in the possession of the Honorable Mr. D----, whose
personal qualities, united to his station and fortune, render him, in
the opinion of the ladies at least, irresistible."

Such was the paragraph in a New-York daily paper, which Mr. Trevanion
one morning handed to Lilian with a smile. She read it silence, and laid
it down without a comment, except that which was furnished by the proud
erection of her figure, and the almost scornful curl of her lip.

When next she met Mr. Derwent, Mr. Trevanion's eye was on her, for he
thought, "She cannot preserve her perfect indifference of manner with
the consciousness that their names have been thus associated." He was
mistaken. The color on Lilian's cheek deepened not at Mr. Derwent's
approach, nor did her hand tremble as she laid it upon the arm he
offered in attending her to dinner. "Her heart must be already
occupied," said Mr. Trevanion to himself, and perhaps he was right in
believing that nothing but a deep and true affection--one which was
founded on no adventitious circumstances, but on the immovable basis of
esteem--could have enabled her to resist the blandishments which
surrounded her in her present position. But she did resist them, and
still, from the luxurious elegancies, the gay entertainments and the
flatteries of fashionable life, her heart turned with undiminished
tenderness to the tranquil shades of Mossgiel, and still paid there its
willing homage to the loftiest intellect and the noblest heart, in her
estimation, with which earth was blessed.

September, with its cool, invigorating freshness, had come, when Mr.
Trevanion's family returned to the city. To Lilian's great, though
unspoken disappointment, the children met them there, and no thought
seemed to be entertained of a visit to the country. Carefully she had
kept the date of Mr. Grahame's conversation, in which he had demanded
that she should make a six months' trial of life, freed from the
associations which her early poverty had fastened on her. In a few weeks
after her return to New-York, the six months were completed. On the day
preceding its exact completion, Lilian expressed to Mr. Trevanion her
wish to visit Mossgiel. "It is now six months," she said with a blush
and a smile, "since I saw Mr. Grahame."

Whatever might have been Mr. Trevanion's wishes for his ward, he had
neither the right nor the will to control her actions, and he not only
consented to her going, but went down with her himself to Trevanion
Hall, where they arrived late in the evening.

Lilian knew that the inhabitants of Mossgiel kept early hours, and the
gay pink and blue and white convolvuluses, which arched the rude gate
leading from the more public road into the rural lane by which their
house was approached, had just unfolded their petals, when she rode
through it on the morning succeeding her arrival at Trevanion Hall. She
had declined the attendance of a servant, and set off at a brisk canter,
but soon reined in her horse and proceeded at a slower pace. Hope and
fear were busy at her heart. Six months! What changes might not have
taken place in that time! Again Lilian touched her horse with her light
riding-whip, and rode briskly on till she reached the gate of which we
have spoken. Here she alighted to open the gate. As she entered the lane
she saw, not far in advance of her, a boy who had been hired to assist
Mr. Grahame in the garden. She called to him, and giving him her bridle
to lead her horse to the stable, walked on herself towards the house,
which was little more than a hundred yards distant. After walking a few
steps, she turned to ask, "Are Mr. and Mrs. Grahame well?"

Another question trembled on her lips--but she could not speak it. "If
_he_ love me, he will be here," she whispered to herself, and again
passed on. The road wound around the house, and led to the entrance on
the river front. There was a side gate leading to the garden, and there,
at that hour, Lilian knew she would most probably meet the elder Mr.
Grahame, while his wife was almost certain to be found in the dairy, to
which the same gate would give her access; but the gate was passed with
a light, quick step, and Lilian entered the house at the front. With a
fluttering heart, but a steady purpose, she passed on, without meeting
any one, or hearing a sound, to the usual morning room. The door was
open; she entered, and her heart throbbed exultingly, for _he_ was
there. Michael Grahame sat at a table writing. His back was towards the
door, and her light step had given no notice of her presence. Agitated
by a thousand commingled emotions, wishing, yet dreading to meet his
eye, she stood gazing on his face as it was reflected in an opposite
mirror. It seemed to her paler and graver than of yore. Manhood had
stamped its lines more deeply on the brow since last they parted. But
some movement, a sigh, perhaps, from her, has startled him. He raises
his head, and in the mirror their eyes meet. In that glance her whole
soul has been revealed, and with one glad cry of "Lilian! my Lilian!" he
turns, and she is folded in his arms.

There was no more doubt, no more fear, on her part--no concealment on
his. She had chosen freely and nobly, and she was rewarded by love as
deep, as devoted, and as unselfish as ever woman inspired, or man felt.

The marriage of Lilian, which took place in three months after her
return to Mossgiel, could not but excite some interest in the world in
which she had so lately occupied a conspicuous place. When, however, to
the great question--"Who is this Mr. Grahame?" the answer, "Nothing but
a mechanic," was received--the interest soon faded away, and in the
winter Lilian found herself in New-York, with scarcely an acquaintance,
except the Trevanions, and she could easily perceive that something of
pity was mingled with their former kindness. Yet never had Lilian been
less an object of pity. Every day increased not only her affection to
her husband, but her pride in him, by revealing to her more of his high
powers and noble qualities. Those powers had received a new spring from
his desire to prove himself worthy of his cherished wife. He had long
been occupied with a problem whose solution, he believed, would enable
him to increase greatly both the speed and safety of steam navigation.
In the early part of the winter succeeding his marriage, with a glad
spirit, with which Lilian fully sympathized, he cried "Eureka." Before
the winter concluded he had been to Washington, and explaining to the
officers of our own government the importance of his invention, sought
permission to test it on a government vessel. After many delays, with
that short-sighted policy which cannot look beyond the present expense
to the overpaying results, the proposition was declined. During his stay
in Washington, his object had become noised abroad, and the Russian
Minister had opened a correspondence with him and with his own court on
the subject. The result of this correspondence was, that in the
following spring Michael Grahame sailed for Russia, to test his
invention first in the service of its emperor. He was accompanied by
Lilian. Their departure and its object were talked of for awhile, but
soon ceased to be remembered, except by men of science, and those
immediately interested in the result of his experiment.

In the mean time Anna Trevanion married. Her husband, Mr. Walker, was a
man of large property, and of social position equal to her own. They
spent the first two years of their married life abroad. It was in the
second of these two years, and when Lilian had been four years in St.
Petersburgh, that Mr. and Mrs. Walker entered that city. One of their
first inquiries of the American Minister was, "What Americans are here?"
and at the head of the list he presented, stood Mr. and Mrs. Grahame.
"And who are Mr. and Mrs. Grahame?" asked Mr. Walker. "You say they are
from New-York, and I remember no such names of any consequence in
society there."

"I do not know what their consequence was there, but I assure you it is
as great here as the partiality of the Emperor, the favor of the
Imperial family, and their association with the highest rank, can make
it."

"But how did people unknown at home work themselves into such a
position?"

"They did not work themselves into it all--they took it at once, by the
only right which Americans have to any position abroad--the right of
their own fitness for it. Mr. Grahame, besides his high attainments in
science, and his skill in mechanics, which first introduced him to the
Emperor, is a man of fine appearance, of very extensive information, and
very agreeable manners, and Mrs. Grahame is one of the most beautiful
and cultivated women I know. I repeat, you cannot enter society here
under better auspices than theirs."

And thus the long-severed friends met in reversed positions; and if
something of triumph did flash from Lilian's eyes, as she saw her
husband, day after day, procuring from the Emperor's favor, privileges
for Mr. and Mrs. Walker, not often enjoyed by strangers, her triumph was
for him, and may be excused.

After eight years spent in Russia, during which he had acquired fortune
as well as fame, Michael Grahame returned to America, with his wife and
three lovely children, and retired to a beautiful country seat within a
mile of Mossgiel, purchased and furnished for him during his absence.
His father still cultivates his garden, though he has ceased to sell its
produce, and through those flowery walks Lilian and her husband still
delight to wander, recalling the happy memories with which they are
linked, with grateful and adoring hearts.

"I shall never object again to any woman in whom I am interested,
marrying the man of her choice, because he is only a mechanic," said
Mrs. Trevanion to her husband, as they were returning one day from a
visit to Mr. and Mrs. Grahame.

"There, my dear, in those words, _only a mechanic_, lies our mistake,
the world's mistake, in such matters. No man is _only_ what his trade,
his profession, or his position in life makes him. Every man is
something besides this, something by force of his own inherent personal
qualities. By these the true man is formed, and by these he should be
judged."



CHAPTER XII.


Again we were all assembled in the parlor in which so many of our
cheerful evenings had been spent, but a shadow seemed to have fallen on
our little circle. The New-Year was now close in its approach, and
immediately after the commencement of the New-Year we must separate. Mr.
and Mrs. Dudley, with their children, and Mr. and Mrs. Seagrove, with
theirs, and Mr. Arlington and I, must all leave within a day or two of
each other, and a year, with all its chances and changes, will probably
intervene before we meet again. The very thought, as I have said, threw
a shadow upon us; but Col. Donaldson, who is a most inveterate foe to
sadness, would not suffer us to yield unresistingly to its influence. If
our time was short, the greater the necessity for crowding enjoyment
into its every moment, he said: we could spare none of it for
lamentations.

"Now, Aunt Nancy," he continued, "if I am not mistaken, you can match
Mr. Arlington's story with one quite as romantic, of an extraordinary
marriage in high life. Do you remember Lady Houstoun and her son Edward
Houstoun--"

"Oh, yes!" I cried, interrupting him, "and the beautiful Lucy Watson
too."

"Then I am sure you must have their story somewhere in your bundle of
romances."

"I believe I have," I replied, as opening my desk I drew out package
after package, the amusement of many an hour, which but for such a
resource might have been sad in its loneliness. Some were looking fresh
and new, and others yellow from age. Among the latter was that for which
I was searching, and which Annie insists that I shall give to the
reader, under the title of


LOVE AND PRIDE.

A proud and stately dame was Lady Houstoun, as she continued to be
called after the independence of America had rendered such titles
valueless in our land. Sir Edward Houstoun was an English baronet, whose
estates had once been a fit support to his ancient title, but whose
family had suffered deeply, both in purse and person, by their loyalty
to Charles the First, and yet more by their obstinate adherence to his
bigot son, James II. By a marriage with Louisa Vivian, an American
heiress possessed of broad lands and a large amount of ready money, Sir
Edward acquired the power of supporting his rank with all the splendor
that had belonged to his family in the olden time; but circumstances
connected with the poverty of his early years had given the young
baronet a disgust to his own circle, which was not alleviated by the
rapid changes effected by his newly-acquired wealth, and he preferred
returning to America with his young bride, and adopting her country as
his own. Here wealth sufficient for their most extravagant desires was
theirs--houses in New-York, and fertile acres stretching far away from
the city, now sweeping for many a rood the banks of the fair Hudson, and
now reaching back into the rich lands that lie east of that river. When
the separation of this country from England came, the representative of
her most loyal family, whose motto was "_Dieu et mon Roi_" was found in
the ranks of republican America. "He could not," he said, "recognize a
divine right in the House of Hanover to the throne of the Stuarts, or
justify by any human reason the blind subservience of Americans to the
ruinous enactments of an English parliament, controlled by a rash and
headstrong minister and a wayward king." Ten years after the
proclamation of peace Sir Edward died, leaving one son who had just
entered his twentieth year.

Young as Edward Houstoun was, he had a man's decision of character; and
when the question of his assuming his father's title, and claiming the
estates attached to it in England, was submitted to him, he replied that
"his proudest title was that of an American citizen, and he would not
forfeit that title to become a royal duke." He could therefore inherit
only his father's personal property, consisting principally of plate,
jewels and paintings. The property thus received was all which the young
Edward Houstoun could call his own. All else was his mother's, and
though it would doubtless be his at her death, the Lady Houstoun was not
one to relinquish the reins of government before that inevitable hour
should wrest them from her hand. She made her son a very handsome
allowance, however, and, with a higher degree of generosity than any
pecuniary grant could evince, she never attempted to control his
actions, suffering him to enjoy his sports in the country and amusements
in the city without constraint. The Lady Houstoun was a wise woman, as
well as an affectionate mother. She saw well that her son's independent
and proud nature might be attracted by kindness to move whither she
would, while the very appearance of constraint would drive him in an
opposite direction. On one subject he greatly tried her forbearance--the
unbecoming levity, as she esteemed it, with which he regarded the
big-wigged gentlemen and hooped and farthingaled ladies whose portraits
ornamented their picture gallery. For only one of these did Edward
profess the slightest consideration. This was that of the simple
soldier whose gallantry under William the Conqueror had laid the
foundation of his family fortunes and honors.

"Dear mother," said he one day, "what proof have we that those other
fine gentlemen and ladies deserved the wealth and station which, through
his noble qualities, they obtained?"

"Sir James Houstoun, my son, who devoted life and fortune to his king--"

"Pardon me, noble Sir James," interrupted Edward, bowing low and with
mock gravity to the portrait, "I will place you and your stern-looking
son there at your side next in my veneration to our first ancestor. Yet
you showed that, like me, you had little value for wealth or station."

"Edward!" ejaculated Lady Houstoun, in an accent of displeasure, "that
we are willing to sacrifice a possession at the call of duty does not
prove us insensible of its value."

"Nay, mother mine, speak not so gravely, but acknowledge that you would
be prouder of your boy if you saw him by his own energies winning his
way to distinction from earth's lowliest station, than you can be of him
now--idler as he is."

"There is no less merit, Edward, in using aright the gifts which we
inherit, than in acquiring them. There is as much energy, I can assure
you, demanded in the proper management of large estates, and the right
direction of the influence derived from station--ay, often more energy,
the exercise of higher powers, than those by which a fortunate soldier,
in time of war, may often spring in a day from nameless poverty to
wealth and rank."

The Lady Houstoun's still fine figure was elevated to its utmost height
as she spoke, and her dark eye flashed out from beneath the shadow of
the deep borders of her widow's cap. A stranger would have gazed on her
with admiration, but her son turned away with a slight shrug of the
shoulders and a curling lip, as he said to himself, "My mother may feel
all this, for she manages the estates, and she bestows the
influence--while I _amuse myself_. Mother," he added aloud, "they say
there is fine sport in the neighborhood of the Glen, and I should like
to see the place. I will take a party thither next week, if you will
write to your farmer to prepare the house for us."

"I will, Edward, certainly, if you desire it, but it has been so long
since any of us were there, that I fear you will find the house very
uncomfortable."

"So much the better, if it give us a little variety in our smooth lives.
I dare say we shall all like it very much. I shall, at least, and if the
rest do not, they can return."

The Glen was a wild rural spot among the Highlands, where Sir Edward had
delighted occasionally to spend a few weeks with his wife and child and
one or two chosen friends, in the enjoyment of country sports. For
several years before his father's death, Edward had been too much
engaged in his collegiate studies to share these visits. During the
three years which had passed since that event, neither Lady Houstoun nor
her son had visited the Glen, and it was not without emotion that she
heard him name his intention of taking a party thither; but she offered
no opposition to the plan, and in a little more than a week he was
established in the comfortable dwelling-house there, with Walter Osgood;
Philip Van Schaick, and Peter Schuyler, companions who were soon
persuaded to leave the somewhat formal circles of the city for a few
days of adventure in the country. They had arrived late in the night,
and wearied by fifteen hours' confinement on board a small sloop, the
visitors slept late the next morning, while Edward Houstoun, haunted by
tender memories, was early awake and abroad. Standing in the porch, he
looked forth through the gray light of the early dawn on hill and dale
and river, endeavoring to recall the feelings with which he had gazed
on them seven years before. Then he was a boy of scarcely sixteen,
eager only for the holiday sport or the distinction of the
school-room--now, he stood there--a boy still, his heart indignantly
pronounced, though he had numbered nearly twenty-three years. Edward
Houstoun was beginning to wake to somewhat of noble scorn in viewing his
own position--beginning to feel that to amuse himself was an object
hardly worthy a _man's_ life. Turning forcibly from such thoughts, he
sprang down the steps, and pursued a path leading by the orchard and
through a flowery lane, towards the dwelling of the farmer to whom the
management of the Glen had been intrusted, first by Sir Edward and
afterwards by Lady Houstoun. The sun was just touching with a sapphire
tint the few clouds that specked the eastern sky; the branches of the
wild rose and mountain laurel which skirted the lane on the right were
heavy with the dews of night, and the birds seemed caroling their
earliest song in the orchard and clover-field on the left, yet the
farmer's horses were already harnessed to the wagon, and through the
open door of the house Edward Houstoun as he approached caught a glimpse
of Farmer Pye himself and his men seated at breakfast. As he was not
perceived by them, he passed on, without interrupting them, to the
dairy, where the good dame was busy with her white pails and bright
pans. A calico bonnet with a very deep front concealed his approach from
Mrs. Pye until he stood beside her; but there was one within the dairy
who saw him, and whose coquettish movement in snatching from her glossy
brown ringlets a bonnet of the same unbecoming shape with that of Mrs.
Pye, did not escape his observation.

"Well, now--did I ever see the like! Why, Mr. Edward, you've grown clean
out of a body's memory--but after all, nobody couldn't help knowing you
that ever seen your papa, good gentleman--how much you are like him!"

Thus ran on Dame Pye, while Edward, except when compelled by a question
to attend to her, was wondering who the fair girl could be, who was
separated from her companion not less by the tasteful arrangement of her
dress--simple and even coarse as it was in its material--and by a
certain grace of movement, than by her delicate beauty. Her form was
slender in proportion to its height, yet gave in its graceful outline
promise of a development "rich in all woman's loveliness;" and her face,
with its dark starry eyes, its clear, transparent skin, and rich, waving
curls of glossy brown, recalled so vividly to Edward Houstoun's memory
his favorite description of beauty, that he repeated almost audibly:--

    "One shade the more, one ray the less,
      Had half impair'd the nameless grace
    That waves in every glossy tress,
      Or softly lightens o'er her face,
    Where thoughts serenely sweet express
      How pure, how dear their dwelling-place."

His admiration, if not audible, was sufficiently evident to its
object--at least so we interpret her tremulous and uncertain movements,
the eloquent blood which glowed in her cheeks, and the mistakes which at
length aroused Mrs. Pye's attention.

"Why, Lucy! what under the sun and earth's the matter with you, child?
Dear--dear--to go putting the cream into the new milk, instead of
emptying it into the churn! There--there--child--better go in now--I'll
finish--and just tell Mr. Pye that Mr. Edward is here," said Mrs. Pye,
fearful of some new accident.

The discarded bonnet was put on with a heightened color, and the young
girl moved rapidly yet gracefully toward the house.

"I did not remember you had a daughter, Mrs. Pye," said Edward Houstoun,
as she disappeared.

"And I haven't a daughter--only the two boys, Sammy and Isaac--good big
boys they are now, and help their father quite some--but this girl's
none of mine, though I'm sure I love her 'most as well--she's so pretty
and nice, and has such handy ways, though what could have tempted her to
put the cream in the new milk just now, I'm sure I can't tell."

"But who is she, Mrs. Pye?"

"Who is she? Why, sure, and did you never hear of Lucy Watson? Oh!
here's Mr. Pye."

Edward Houstoun was too much interested in learning something more of
Lucy Watson, not to find a sufficient reason for lingering behind the
farmer, who was impatient to be in his hay-field. Mrs. Pye was
communicative, and he soon learned all she knew--that Lucy was the
daughter of a soldier belonging to a company commanded by Sir Edward
Houstoun during the war--that this soldier had received his death-wound
in defending his commander from a sword-cut, and that Sir Edward had
always considered his widow and only child as his especial charge. The
widow had soon followed her husband to the grave, and the child had been
placed by Sir Edward with the wife of a country clergyman. To Mr. and
Mrs. Merton, Lucy had been as an own and only daughter.

"The good old people made quite a lady of her," said Mrs. Pye. "She can
read and write equal to the parson himself, and I've hearn folks say
that her 'broidery and music playin' was better than Mrs. Merton's own;
but, poor thing! Mrs. Merton died, and still the parson begged Sir
Edward to let her stay with him--she was all that was left now, he
said--so Sir Edward let her stay. Mr. Merton died a year ago, and when
Mr. Pye wrote to the lady--that's your mother, Mr. Edward--about her,
she said she'd better come here and stay with us, and she would pay her
board, and give her money for clothes, and five thousand dollars beside,
whenever she should get married. I'm sure she's welcome to stay, if it
was without pay, for we all love her, but, somehow, it don't seem the
right place for her--and, as to marrying, I don't think she'll ever
marry any body around her, for, kind-spoken as she is, they wouldn't any
of them dare to ask her, though they're all in love with her beautiful
face."

In a week Edward Houstoun's friends had grown weary of ruralizing--they
found no longer any music in the crack of a fowling-piece, or any
enjoyment in the dying agonies of the feathered tribes, and, having
resisted all their persuasions to return with them, he was left alone.

"I shall report you as love-sick, or brain-sick, reclining by purling
streams, under shady groves, to read Shakspeare, or Milton, or Spenser,
for each of these books I have seen you at different times put in your
pocket, and wander forth with a most sentimental air--doubtless to make
love to some Nymph or Dryad."

"Make love! Ah! there, I take it, you have winged the right bird, Van
Schaick."

"If I had seen a decent petticoat since we took leave of Mynheer Van
Winkle and his daughter, on board the good sloop St. Nicholas, I should
think so too, Osgood."

"At any rate, it would be wise to report our suspicions to his lady
mother."

"Your suspicions of what--lunacy or love?" asked Edward Houstoun.

"A distinction without a difference--they are equivalent terms."

Thus jested his friends, and thus jested Edward Houstoun with them--well
assured that no gleam of the truth had shined on them--that they never
supposed his visits at Farmer Pye's possessed any greater attraction
than could be derived from the farmer's details of improvements made at
the Glen, of the increased value of lands, or the proceeds of the last
year's crop. They had never seen Lucy Watson, and how could they suspect
that while the farmer smoked his pipe at the door, and the good dame
bustled about her household concerns, he sat watching with enamored eyes
the changes of a countenance full of intelligence and sensibility, and
listening with charmed ears to a soft, musical voice recounting, with
all the simple eloquence of genuine feeling, obligations to the father
whose memory was with him almost an idolatry. Still less could they
divine that Shakspeare, and Milton, and Spenser were indeed often read
beside a purling stream, and within the dense shadow of a grove of oak
and chestnut-trees--not to Nymph or Dryad, but to a "mortal being of
earth's mould,"

    "A creature not too bright or good
    For human nature's daily food,
    For simple pleasures, harmless wiles,
    For love, blame, kisses, tears and smiles."

Here, one afternoon, a fortnight after the departure of his friends, sat
Edward Houstoun with Lucy at his side. They had lingered till the
sunlight, which had fallen here and there in broken and changeful gleams
through over-arching boughs, touching with gold the ripples at their
feet, had faded into that

                        "mellow light
    Which heaven to gaudy day denies."

Edward Houstoun held a book in his hand, but it had long been closed,
while he was engaged in a far more interesting study. He had with a
delicate tact won his companion to speak as she had never spoken before
of herself--not of the few events of her short life, for these were
already known to him, but of the influence of those events on feeling
and character. Tenderness looked forth without disguise from the earnest
eyes which were fastened on her, as he said, "You say, Lucy, that you
have found friends every where, have met only kindness, and yet you
weep--you are sad."

"Do not think me ungrateful," she replied. "I have indeed found friends
and kindness--but these give exercise only to my gratitude--stronger,
tenderer affections I have, which no father, or mother, or brother, or
sister, will ever call forth."

"Nay, Lucy, were you not adopted by my father, and am I not your
brother?"

A glance whose brightness melted into tears was her only answer.

"Fie! fie! tears again? I shall have to scold my sister," said Edward
Houstoun. "What complaint can you make now that I have found you a
brother?"

Lucy laughed, but soon her face grew grave, and, after a thoughtful
pause, she said, "I believe those cannot be quite happy who feel that
they have nothing to do in the world. Better be the poorest drudge, with
powers fitted to your station, than to be as I am, an idler--a mere
looker-on at the world."

"Why, Lucy! what else am I?"

"You! You, with fortune to bless, and influence to guide hundreds!
What are you? God's representative to your less fortunate
fellow-creatures--the steward of his bounty. Oh! be sure that you use
your gifts faithfully."

Lucy spoke solemnly, and it was with no light accent that Edward
Houstoun replied--"You mistake, Lucy--you mistake--I am in truth no less
an idler than yourself--a looker-on, with no part in the game of life.
To the Lady Houstoun belong both the fortune and the influence." A
mocking smile had arisen to his lip, but, as he caught her look of
surprise, it passed away, leaving a gentle gravity in its place, while
he continued--"Do not think I mean to complain of my mother, Lucy. She
has been ever affectionate and indulgent to me. She leaves me no want
that she can perceive. My purse is always full, and my actions
unrestrained. I suppose I ought to be happy."

"And are you not happy?"

"No, Lucy, no! There has long been a vague restlessness and
dissatisfaction about me--and, now, your words have thrown light on its
cause. I am weary of the perpetual holiday which life has been to me
since I left the walls of a college. I want to be doing--I want an
object--something for which to strive and hope and fear--what shall it
be, Lucy?"

"I have heard Mr. Merton say that no one could choose for another his
aims in life, but were I choosing for myself, it should be something
that would connect me with the minds of others--something by which I
could do service to their spiritual beings. Were I a man, I should like
to write books--such books as would give counsel and comfort to erring
and sad hearts--"

Edward Houstoun shook his head--"Even had I an author's gifts, Lucy,
that would not do for me--I must have action in my life--"

"What say you to the pulpit?"

"The noblest of all employments, Lucy--but it is a heavenly employment
and needs a heavenly spirit. I would not dare to think of that. Try
again--"

"The law? Ah! now I see I have chosen rightly--you will be a lawyer--a
great lawyer, like Mr. Patrick Henry."

"You have spoken, Lucy--and I will do my best to fulfil your prophecy. I
may not be a Patrick Henry--two such men belong not to one age--but I
may at least hew out for myself a place among men, where I may stand
with a man's freedom of thought and action. The very decision has
emancipated me--has emboldened me to speak what a moment since I
scarcely dared to think--nay, turn not from me, beloved--oh how
passionately beloved! Life has now its object for me, Lucy--your
love--for that I will strive--hope--whisper me that I need not
fear--that when I have a right to claim my bride--"

When Edward Houstoun commenced this passionate apostrophe, he had
clasped Lucy's hand, and, overcome by his emotions and her
own--forgetting all but his love--conscious only of a bewildering
joy--she had suffered it to rest for one instant in his clasp. It was
but for one instant--the next, struggling from him as he strove to
retain her, she started to her feet, and stood leaning against the trunk
of the tree that overshadowed them, with her face hidden by her clasped
hands. He rose and drew near, saying, in low, tremulous tones--"Lucy,
what means this?"

"Mr. Houstoun," she exclaimed, removing her hands from her face, and
wringing them in passionate sorrow--"how could you speak those words?"

"Wherefore should I not speak them--are they so terrifying to you,
Lucy?"

"Can they be otherwise, since they must separate us for ever? Think you
that the Lady Houstoun would endure that the creature of her bounty
should become the wife of her son?"

"I asked, Lucy, that you would promise to be mine when I had won a right
to act independently of the Lady Houstoun's opinions."

"Has a son ever a right to act independently of a mother?"

"Is the obedience of a child to be exacted from a man? Is his happiness
ever to be at the mercy of another's prejudices? Does there never come a
period when he may be permitted to judge for himself?"

Edward Houstoun spoke with indignant emphasis.

"Look not so sternly--speak not so angrily," exclaimed Lucy. "I cannot
answer your questions--but my obligations, at least, are
irreversible--they belong to the irrevocable past, and while I retain
their memory I can never--"

"Hush--hush, Lucy! you will drive me mad. Is my happiness of less value
in your eyes than the few paltry dollars my mother expended for you?"

"Shall I, serpent-like, sting the hand that has fed me? No! no! would I
had never heard those words. We were so happy--you will be happy
again--but I--leave me, I pray you, for we must part now and for
ever--oh! leave me."

"No, Lucy, we will never part--I will never leave you."

He would again have drawn her to his side, but at his touch, Lucy roused
herself, and with a wild, half-frenzied effort, breaking from him, she
rushed rapidly, blindly forward. He would have followed her, but
stumbling against the root of a tree, before he could recover himself
she was at the outskirts of the wood, in sight of the farm-house, and
though he might overtake he could not detain her. He returned home, not
overwhelmed with disappointment, but with joy throbbing at his heart,
and hope beaming in his eyes. Lucy loved him--of that he felt
assured--and bucklered by that assurance he could stand against the
world. Life was before him--a life not of sickly pleasures and _ennui_
breeding indolence--but a life of contest and struggle and labor,
perhaps even of exhausting labor, yet a life which should awaken and
discipline his powers: a life of victory and of repose--sweet because
won with effort--a life to which Lucy's love should give its crowning
joy. Such are youth's dreams. In his case these dreams were somewhat
rudely dispelled by a summons from his mother's physician. Lady Houstoun
was ill--very ill--he must not delay, said the physician; and he did
not; yet a hastily pencilled line told that even at this moment Lucy was
not forgotten--it was a farewell which breathed love and faith and
hope.

On Edward Houstoun's arrival in New-York, he found his mother already
recovering from the acute attack which had endangered her life and
occasioned his recall. He soon unfolded to her his new views of life,
and the career which he had marked out for himself. New views
indeed--new and incomprehensible to Lady Houstoun! She saw not that the
life of indulgence, the perpetual gala-day, which she anticipated for
her son, would have condemned him to see his highest powers dwindle away
and die in the lethargy of inaction, or to waste in repinings against
fate those energies given to command success. Time moderated her
astonishment, and quiet perseverance subdued her opposition--subdued it
the more readily, perhaps, from the knowledge that her son could
accomplish his designs without her aid, by turning into money the plate,
jewels and pictures received from his father. Edward Houstoun's first
act, after securing the execution of his designs, was to inform Lucy of
the progress he had made. His own absence from New-York at this time
would have excited his mother's surprise, and might have aroused her
suspicions; but the haste with which he had left the Glen furnished him
with a plausible excuse for sending his own man to look after clothing,
books, &c., that had been forgotten, and by him a letter could, he knew,
be safely sent.

A few days brought back to him his own letter, with the intelligence
that Lucy had left Farmer Pye's family. Whither she had gone, they could
not, or would not tell. Setting all fears at defiance, he went himself
to the Glen--he sounded and examined and cross-examined every member of
the farmer's family; but in vain were his efforts. He learned only that
she had declared her intention of supporting herself by her own
exertions, instead of continuing dependent on the Lady Houstoun--that
she had returned the lady's last donation, through the farmer, with many
expressions of gratitude, and that she had left home for the house of
an acquaintance in New-York, from whom she hoped to receive advice and
assistance in the accomplishment of her intentions. She had mentioned
neither the name nor place of residence of this friend, and though she
had written once to the good farmer, she had only informed him that she
had found a home and employment, without reference to any person or
place. Edward asked to see the letter--it was brought, but the post-mark
told no secret--it was that of the nearest post town, and the farmer,
opening the letter, showed that Lucy had said she had requested the
bearer to drop it into that office. Who that bearer was, none knew.
Bitter was the disappointment of Edward Houstoun. A beautiful vision had
crossed his path, had awakened his noblest impulses, kindled his
passionate devotion, and then vanished for ever. But she had left
ineradicable traces of her presence. His awakened energies, his
passionate longings, his altered life, all gave assurance that she had
been--that the bright ideal of womanly beauty and tenderness, and
gentleness and firmness, which lived in his memory, was no dream of
fancy. He anticipated little pleasure now from the pursuits on which he
had lately determined, but his pride forbade him to relinquish them, and
when once they had been commenced, finding in mental occupation his
Lethe, he abandoned himself to them with all his accustomed ardor.

Two years passed away with Edward Houstoun in the most intense
intellectual action, and in death-like torpor of the affections. From
the last his mother might have saved him, had not her want of sympathy
with his pursuits occasioned a barrier of reserve and coolness to arise
between them fatal to her influence. During this time no token of Lucy's
existence had reached him: and it was with such a thrill as might have
welcomed a visitant from the dead, that, one morning as he left his own
house to proceed to the office in which he pursued his studies, he saw
before him at some distance, yet without any intervening object to
interrupt his view of her, a form and face resembling hers, though
thinner and paler. The lady was approaching him, with slow and languid
steps; but as her eyes were fixed upon the ground she did not perceive
him, and just as his throbbing heart exclaimed, "It is Lucy," and he
sprang forward to greet her, she entered a house and the door closed on
her. The inmates of that house were but slightly known to him, as they
had only lately moved into the street, yet he hesitated not an instant
in ringing the bell, and inquiring of the servant who presented himself
at the door, for Miss Watson.

"Miss Watson, sir?" repeated the man, "there is no such person living
here."

"She may not live here, but I saw her enter your door, and I wish to
speak to her." At this moment Lucy crossed the hall at its further end,
and he sprang forward, exclaiming "Lucy--Miss Watson--thank Heaven I see
you once more!"

A slight scream from Lucy, and the tremor which shook her frame, showed
her recognition of him. She leaned for an instant against the wall, too
faint for speech or action, while he clasped her hand in his; but a
voice broke in upon his raptures and her agitation--a sharp, angry
voice, coming from a lady who, leaning over the balustrade of the
stairs, had seen and heard all that was passing below.

"Lucy--Lucy--come up here--I am waiting for you--this is certainly very
extraordinary conduct--very extraordinary indeed."

"You shall not go," said Edward Houstoun, while the red blood flushed to
his brow at the thought that his Lucy could be thus ordered. Lucy's face
glowed too, and there was a proud flush from her eye, yet she resisted
his efforts to detain her, and when he placed himself before her to
prevent her leaving him, she opened a door near her, and though he
followed her quickly through it, he was just in time to see her rushing
up a private staircase. He would not leave the house without an
interview, and going into one of the parlors, he rang the bell, and
requested to see Mrs. Blakely, the lady of the house. She came, looking
very haughty and very angry. He apologized for his intrusion, but
expressed a wish to see a young lady, Miss Watson, who was, he
perceived, under her care. With a yet haughtier air, Mrs. Blakely
replied, "I am not acquainted with any young _lady_ of the name of
Watson. Lucy Watson, the girl whom you met in the hall just now--is my
seamstress. If you wish to see her, I will send her down to you, though
I do not generally allow my servants to receive their visitors here."

"I shall be happy to see her wherever you please," was Edward Houstoun's
very truthful reply.

Mrs. Blakely left him, and he stationed himself at the door to watch for
Lucy. Minutes, which seemed to him hours, passed, and she came not. At
length, as he was about to ring again, steps were heard approaching; he
turned quickly, but it was not Lucy. The girl who entered handed him a
sealed note. He tore it open and read--"I dare not see you. When you
receive this I shall have left the house, and, as no one knows whither I
have gone, questions would be useless."

In an instant he was in the street, looking with eager eyes hither and
thither for some trace of the lost one. He looked in vain, yet he went
towards his office with happier feelings than he had long known. He knew
now where Lucy was, and a thousand expedients suggested themselves, by
which he could not fail to see her. If he could only converse with her
for a few minutes, he was assured he could prevail on her to leave her
present position, of which he could not for a moment bear to think. His
heart swelled, his brow flushed, whenever the remembrance of that
position flashed upon his mind, yet he never for an instant regarded it
as changing his relations with Lucy, or lessening his desire to call her
his. He recollected with pleasure two circumstances which had scarcely
been remarked at the moment of their occurrence. The man who had opened
the door to him, when he saw him spring forward to meet Lucy, had
exclaimed, "Oh! it was _Miss_ Lucy you meant, sir;" and the girl who had
handed the note had said, "_Miss_ Lucy has gone out, sir." It was
evident she was not regarded by the servants as one of themselves--she
had not been degraded by association with menials. This was true. Lucy
had made such separation on her part an indispensable necessity, and
Mrs. Blakely had been too sensible of the value of one possessing so
much taste and skill in all feminine adornments, to hesitate about
complying with her demand. This lady was one of the _nouveaux riches_,
who occupied her life in scheming to attain a position to which neither
birth nor education entitled her. The brightest dream connected with her
present abode had been that its proximity to Lady Houstoun's residence
might lead to an acquaintance with one of the proudest of that charmed
circle in which Mrs. Blakely longed to tread. Hitherto this had proved a
dream indeed, but Edward Houstoun's incursion into her domain, and the
developments made by it, might, she thought, with a little address,
render it a reality. It was with this purpose that she sent a note to
Lady Houstoun, requesting an interview with her on a subject deeply
connected with the honor of her family and the happiness of her son.
Immediately on despatching this note, the servants were ordered to
uncover the furniture in the drawing-room, while she herself hastened to
assume her most becoming morning dress. Her labors were fruitless. "Lady
Houstoun would be at home to Mrs. Blakely till noon," was the scarcely
courteous reply to her carefully worded note. It was an occasion on
which she could not afford to support her pride, and she availed herself
of the permission to call.

The interview between Lady Houstoun and Mrs. Blakely would have been an
interesting study to the nice observer of character. The efforts on the
part of the one lady to be condescending, and on that of the other to be
dignified, were almost equally successful. Mrs. Blakely had seldom felt
her wealth of so little consequence as in the presence of her commanding
yet simply attired hostess, and Lady Houstoun had never been more
disposed to assert the privileges of her rank, than when she heard that
her son had forgotten his own so far as to visit on terms of
equality--nay, if Mrs. Blakely were to be believed, positively to
address in the style of a lover--a seamstress--the seamstress of Mrs.
Blakely.

"This is very painful intelligence to me, Mrs. Blakely--of course you
must be aware that Mr. Houstoun could only have contemplated a temporary
acquaintance with this girl. I do not fear that in his most reckless
moment he could have thought of such a _mésalliance_--but this young
woman must be saved--she was a _protégé_ of Sir Edward Houstoun, and for
his sake must not be allowed to come to harm--may I trouble you to send
her to me?"

The request was given very much in the style of a command. Mrs. Blakely
would not confess that she had great doubts of her power to comply with
it, but this would have been sufficiently evident to any one who had
marked the uncertain air and softened tone with which Lady Houstoun's
wishes were made known to Lucy. Indignant as she was at Mrs. Blakely's
impertinent interference, Lucy scarcely regretted Lady Houstoun's
acquaintance with her son's feelings. We do not know that far below all
those acknowledged impulses leading her to comply with the lady's
request, there did not lie some romantic hope that influences were astir
through which

    "Pride might be quell'd and love be free,"

but this she did not whisper even to her own heart.

"Better that the lady should know all--she will act both wisely and
tenderly--perhaps for her son's sake, she will aid me to leave
New-York." Such was the only language into which she allowed even her
thought silently to form itself.

Arranging her simple dress with as much care as though she were about to
meet her lover himself, Lucy set out for her interview with Lady
Houstoun. She had but a short distance to traverse, but she lingered on
her way, oppressed by a tremulous anxiety. She was apprehensive of she
knew not what or wherefore--for again and again her heart acquitted her
of all blame. At length she is at the door--it opens, and, with a
courtesy which the servants of Mrs. Blakely never show to a visitor who
comes without carriage or attendants, she is ushered into the presence
of Lady Houstoun. The lady fixes her eyes upon her as she enters, bows
her head slightly in acknowledgment of her courtesy, and says coldly,
"You are the young woman, I suppose, whom Mrs. Blakely was to send to
me?"

Lucy paused for a moment, to still the throbbing of her heart, before
she attempted to reply. The thought flashed through her mind, "I am a
woman, and young, and therefore she should pity me"--but she answered in
a low, sweet, tremulous tone, "I am the Lucy Watson, madam, to whom Sir
Edward Houstoun was so kind."

At that name a softer expression stole over the Lady Houstoun's face,
and she glanced quickly at a portrait hanging over the ample fireplace,
which represented a gentleman of middle age, dressed in the uniform of a
colonel of the American army. As she turned her eyes again on Lucy, she
saw that hers were fastened on the same object.

"You have seen Sir Edward?" she said in gentle tones.

"Seen him, lady!--I loved him--oh how dearly!"

"Honored him would be a more appropriate expression."

"I loved him, lady--we are permitted to love our God," said Lucy,
firmly.

Lady Houstoun's brow grew stern again.--"And from this you argue,
doubtless, that you have a right to love his son."

Lucy's pale face became crimson, and she bent her eyes to the ground
without speaking--the lady continued--"I scarcely think that you could
yourself have believed that Edward Houstoun intended to dishonor his
family by a legal connection with you."

The crimson deepened on Lucy's face, but it was now the flush of pride,
and raising her head she met Lady Houstoun's eyes fully as she
replied--"I could not believe that he ever designed to dishonor himself
by ruining the orphan child of him who died in his father's defence."

"And you have intended to avail yourself of his infatuation. The menial
of Mrs. Blakely would be a worthy daughter, truly, of a house which has
counted nobles among its members."

"If I have resisted Mr. Houstoun's wishes--separated myself from him,
and resigned all hope of even looking on his face again, it has not been
from the slightest reverence for the nobility of his descent, but from
self-respect, from a regard to the nobleness of my own spirit. I had
eaten of your bread, lady, and I could not do that which might grieve
you--yet the bread which had cost me so much became bitter to me, and I
left the home you had provided to seek one by my own honest exertions. I
have earned my bread, but not as a menial--not in the companionship of
the vulgar--and this Mrs. Blakely could have told you."

"If your determination were, as you say, to separate yourself from Mr.
Houstoun, it is unfortunate that you should have taken up your residence
so near us."

"I knew not until this morning that I was near you."

"If you are sincere in what you say, you will have no objection now to
leave New-York."

"I have no objection to go to any place in which I can support myself in
peace."

"As to supporting yourself, that is of no consequence. I will--"

"Pardon me, Lady Houstoun, it is of the utmost consequence to me. I
cannot again live a dependent on your bounty."

"What can you do? Has your education been such that you can take the
situation of governess?"

"Mr. Merton was a highly educated man, and Mrs. Merton an accomplished
woman--it was their pleasure to teach me, and mine to learn from them."

"Accomplished! There stands a harp which has just been tuned by a master
for a little concert we are to have this evening. Can you play on it?"

Lucy drew the instrument to her and played an overture correctly, yet
with less spirit than she would have done had her fingers trembled less.

"Can you sing?"

Elevated above all apprehension by the indignant pride which this cold
and haughty questioning aroused, Lucy changed the music of the overture
for a touching air, and, sang, with a rich, full voice, a single stanza
of an Italian song.

"Italian! Do you understand it?"

"I have read it with Mr. Merton."

"This is fortunate. I have been for weeks in search of a governess for a
friend residing in the country. I will order the carriage and take you
there instantly--or stay--return home and put up your clothes. I will
send a coach for you."

Again Lucy had vanished from Edward Houstoun's world, nor could his most
munificent bribes, nor most active cross-examination win any other
information from Mrs. Blakely's household, than that "Miss Lucy went
away in a carriage"--a carriage whose description presented a _fac
simile_ to every hackney-coach. Spite of all her precautions, he
suspected his mother; to his consciousness of her want of sympathy with
his pursuits, was therefore added a deep sense of injury, and his heart
grew sterner, his manner colder and more reserved than ever. Two years
more were passed in his studies, and a third in the long delays, the
fruitless efforts which mark the entrance on any career of profitable
exertion. During all this time, Lady Houstoun was studious to bring
around him the loveliest daughters of affluence and rank. Graceful forms
flitted through her halls, and the music of sweet voices and the gay
laughter of innocent and happy hearts were heard within her rooms, but
by all their attractions Edward Houstoun was unmoved. Courteous and
bland to all, he never lingered by the side of one--no quick flush, no
flashing beam told that even for a passing moment his heart was again
awake. Could it be that from all this array of loveliness he was guarded
by the memory of her who had stamped the impress of herself on his whole
altered being? If the gratification of the man's sterner ambition could
have atoned for the disappointment of the youth's dream of love, the
shadow of that memory would have passed from his life. Step by step he
had risen in the opinions of men, and at length one of the most profound
lawyers of the day sought his association with himself in a case of the
most intense interest, involving the honor of a lovely and much-wronged
woman. His reputation out of the halls of justice had already become
such that many thronged the court to hear him. Gallant gentlemen and
fair ladies looked down on him from the galleries--but far apart from
these, in a distant corner, sat one whose tall form was enveloped in a
cloak, and whose face was closely veiled. Beneath that cloak throbbed a
mother's heart, and through that veil a mother's eyes sought the face
she loved best on earth. He knew not she was there, for she rarely now
asked a question respecting his engagements, or expressed any interest
in his movements, yet how her ears drank in the music of his voice, and
her eyes flashed back the proud light that shone in his! As she listened
to his delineation of woman's claims to the sympathy and the defence of
every generous heart, as she heard his biting sarcasm on the cowardly
nature that, having wronged, would now crush into deeper ruin his fair
client, as she saw kindling eyes fixed upon him, and caught, when he
paused for a moment exhausted by the rush of indignant feeling, the low
murmur of admiring crowds, how she longed to cry aloud, "My son--my
son!" He speaks again. Higher and higher rises his lofty strain, bearing
along with it the passions of the multitude. He ceases--and, as though
touched by an electric shock, hundreds spring at once to their feet. The
emphatic "Silence!" of the venerable judge hushes the shout upon their
lips, but the mother has seen that movement, and, bursting into tears of
proud triumphant joy, she finds her way below, and is in the street
before the verdict which his eloquence had won was pronounced.

Edward Houstoun had fitted up a room in his mother's house as a study,
and over his accustomed seat hung his father's portrait. To that room he
went on his return from the scene we have described. Beneath the
portrait stood one who seldom entered there. She turned at the opening
of the door--the lip, usually so firmly compressed, was quivering with
emotion, and those stern eyes were full of tears. She advanced to him,
drew near, and resting her head upon his shoulder whispered, "I, too, am
a woman needing tenderness--shut not your heart against me, my son, for
without you I am alone in the world."

The proud spirit had bent, the sealed fountain was opened, and as he
clasped his arms around her, the tears of mother and son mingled; but
amidst the joy of this reunion Edward Houstoun felt more deeply than he
had done for long months the desolation that had fallen on his life. His
heart had been silent--it now spoke again, and sad were its tones.

It is summer. The courts are closed, and all who can are escaping from
the city's heat to the cool, refreshing shades of the country. Woe to
those who remain! The pestilence has stretched her wings over them. The
shadow and the silence of death has fallen on their deserted streets.
The yellow-fever is in New-York--introduced, it is said, by ships from
the West Indies. Before it appeared Edward Houstoun was far away. He was
travelling to recruit his exhausted powers--to Niagara, perhaps into
Canada, and in the then slow progress of news he was little likely to be
recalled by any intelligence from the city. His mother was one of the
first who had sickened. And where were now the fair forms that had
encircled her in health--where the servants who had administered with
obsequious attention to her lightest wish? All had fled, for no
gratified vanity--no low cupidity can give courage for attendance on the
bed of one in whose breath death is supposed to lurk. The devotedness of
love, the self-sacrifice of Christian Charity, are the only impulses for
such a deed. Yet over the sufferer is bending one whose form in its
perfect development has richly fulfilled its early promise, and whose
face is more beautiful in the gentle strength and thoughtfulness of
womanhood than it had been in all its early brightness. In her peaceful
home, where the reverent love of her young pupils and the confidence of
their parents had made her happy, Lucy had heard from one of Lady
Houstoun's terrified domestics of the condition in which she had been
left, and few hours sufficed to bring her to her side. Days and nights
of the most assiduous watchfulness, cheered by no companionship,
followed, and then the physician, as he stood beside his patient and
marked her regular breathing, her placid sleep, and the moisture on her
brow, whispered, "You have saved her."

We will not linger to describe the emotion with which Lady Houstoun,
awakening from this long and tranquil slumber, exhausted, but no longer
delirious, first recognised her nurse. At first, no doubt, painful
recollections were aroused, but with the feebleness of childhood had
returned much of its gentleness and susceptibility, and Lucy was at once
so tender and so cheerful, that very soon her ministerings were received
with unalloyed pleasure.

Sickness is a heavenly teacher to those who will open their hearts to
her. Lady Houstoun arose to a new life. She had stood so near to death
that she seemed to have looked upon earth in the light of eternity. In
that light, rank and title, with all their lofty associations and
splendid accompaniments, faded away, while true nobleness, the nobleness
which dwells in the Christian precept "Love your enemies--do good to
those that despitefully use you," stood out in all its beauty and
excellence.

As soon as Lady Houstoun could be removed with safety, she went, by the
advice of her physician, to her country-seat. Lucy would now have
returned to her pupils--she feared every day lest Edward Houstoun should
appear, and a new contest be necessary with his feelings and her
own--but Lady Houstoun still pleaded her imperfectly restored health as
reason for another week's delay, and Lucy could not resist her
pleadings.

It was afternoon, and Lucy sat in the library, which was in the rear of
the house, far removed from its public entrance. Spenser's Faery Queen
was in her hand, but she had turned from its witching pages to gaze upon
the title-page, on which was written, in Edward Houstoun's hand, "June
24th, 18--." It was the day, as Lucy well remembered, on which he had
first revealed his love, and chosen his career in life. She was aroused
from her reverie by Lady Houstoun's entrance. As she held the door open,
the bright sunlight from an opposite window threw a shadow on the floor
which made Lucy's heart throb painfully. She looked eagerly forward--a
manly form entered and stood before her. She could not turn from the
pleading eyes which were fixed with such intense earnestness on hers.
With a bewildered half-conscious air she rose from her chair. He came
near her and extended his arms. One glance at the smiling Lady Houstoun
showed Lucy that her interdict was removed, and the next instant she lay
in speechless joy once more upon her lover's bosom.



CHAPTER XIII.


We were within three days of the New Year. Mr. Arlington, who was quite
learned on the subject, had been amusing us with an account of its
various modes of celebration in various countries. He was perfectly
brilliant in a description of New-York as seen under the sun of a clear,
frosty New-Year's morning, with snow enough to make the sleighing good.
The gay, fantastic sleighs, dashing hither and thither, and their
exhilarated occupants bowing now on this side and now on that, to
acquaintances rushing by almost too rapidly to be distinguished, while
the silvery bells ring out their merry peals on the still air. Then the
festive array which greets the caller at every house within which he
enters. Beauty adorned with smiles and dress, gayly decorated tables,
brightly burning fires, and every thing seeming to speak the welcome not
of mere form, but of hearty hospitality. There is one aspect in which he
presents this day to us, that is peculiarly pleasing. He says, that many
a slight estrangement, springing from some one of those "trifles" which
"make the sum of human life," has been prevented, by the influence of
this day, from becoming a life-long enmity. Thus the New-Year's day
becomes a Peace-maker, and has on it the blessing of Heaven. Long live
the custom which has made it such!

"And how shall we celebrate our New-Year?" asked Col. Donaldson.

"Let us introduce the New-York custom," suggested one.

"That would not do without some previous agreement with your neighbors,"
replied Mr. Arlington, "as their ladies would not probably be prepared
for your visits, and while you were making them, the ladies of your own
family would be left to entertain themselves as they could."

"That will never do," said Col. Donaldson; "better invite all our
neighbors to visit us on that day. Suppose we give them a dinner?"

"Oh, papa!" cried Miss Donaldson in dismay. And "My dear husband!"
ejaculated the smiling Mrs. Donaldson, "where would you find room to
accommodate them all?"

"True--true--we could not dine them in the open air at this season."

"But there would be no such objection to an evening party," said one of
the young Donaldsons. "We have fine sleighing now, and the moon rises
only a little after eight on New-Year's evening; why not invite them for
the evening."

"What, another such stiff affair as Annie insisted on entertaining her
friends the Misses Morrison with the last winter, when I saw one of the
poor girls actually clap her hands with delight at the announcement of
her carriage?"

"Oh, no! Leave it to me, and it shall not be a stiff affair at all. We
will appear in fancy dresses--"

"My dear Philip!" remonstrated Mrs. Donaldson.

"Oh! not you, my dear mother, nor my father, unless he should like
it--indeed, it shall be optional with all--but enough, I am sure, will
like to make it an entertaining variety."

"But where shall we get fancy dresses, distant as we are from the city?"
asked Annie.

"Leave yours to me, Annie, I have it ready for you," said Philip
Donaldson, with so significant an air, that I at once suspected this
suggestion to have been the result of the arrival on that very day of a
box, addressed to him by a ship from Constantinople, of which he had
hitherto made a great mystery.

"Thank you, Philip; but you cannot, I suppose, supply all the company,
and I had rather not be the only one in fancy costume, if you please."

"If mamma will surrender to me the key of that great wardrobe, up
stairs, which contains the brocade dresses, shoe-buckles, knee-buckles,
etc., of our great-grandfathers and grandmothers, I will promise to
supply dresses for our own party, at least, with a little aid from the
needles and scissors."

"I bar scissors," cried Col. Donaldson. "Those venerable heir-looms--"

"Shall not lose a shred, sir," said Philip; "the scissors shall only be
used to cut the threads, with which the ladies take in a reef here and
there, when it is necessary."

"But you have provided only for our party. Are our guests not to be in
costume?"

"That may be as they please. We will express the wish, and if they have
any ingenuity, they can have no difficulty in getting up some of the
staple characters of such a scene, flower-girls and shepherdesses,
sailors, sultans, and beggars."

The scheme seemed feasible enough, when thus presented, and had
sufficient novelty to please the young people. It was accordingly
adopted, and the evening was passed in writing invitations, which were
dispatched at an early hour the next morning. The three succeeding days
were days of pleasurable excitement, in preparation for the fête.
Needles and scissors were both in active use, and the brocade dresses
lost, I am afraid, more than one shred in the process of adjusting them
to the figures for which they were now designed. Mrs. Dudley and Mrs.
Seagrove were thus arranged as rival beauties of the court of Queen
Anne. Philip Donaldson, with the aid of a bag-wig, for which Mr.
Arlington has written at his request to a friend, in what city I may
not say, and with some of his father's youthful finery, and the shoe and
knee-buckles aforesaid, will make an excellent beau for these belles.
Col. Donaldson, always ready for any harmless mirth, says they must
accept him in his father's continental uniform for another. Mr.
Arlington makes quite a mystery of his costume, but it is a mystery
already revealed, both to Col. Donaldson and Philip, as I can plainly
perceive by the significant glances they exchange whenever an allusion
is made to it. Robert Dudley is to be a page, Charles Seagrove, a
beautiful boy of six years old, an Oberon, and our little Eva a Titania.
Mrs. Donaldson and I were permitted to appear in our usual dress, and
Miss Donaldson strenuously claimed the same privilege, but it was not
allowed. She resisted all entreaties, even from her favorite brother
Arthur; but when her father gravely regretted her inability to
sympathize with the enjoyments of others, she was overcome. Having
yielded, she yielded entirely, and was willing to wear anything her
sisters wished. As she is considered by them all, even in her
thirty-third year, as the beauty of the family, her dress has been more
carefully studied by them than any other. Every book of costumes within
their reach was searched for it again and again, without success; one
was rich, but unbecoming, another pretty, but it did not suit her style,
and a third all they desired, but unattainable at so short a notice. As
a last resource, my engravings were resorted to, and there, to my own
surprise, they found what satisfied all their demands. One of the
historical prints showed the dress worn in her bridal days by Hotspur's
Kate. Miss Donaldson accepted it thankfully, as being less _bizarre_
than any yet proposed to her, requiring nothing more than a full skirt
of white satin, a jacket not very unlike the modern Polka, and a bridal
veil. One condition she insisted on, however, namely, that Arthur should
be her Hotspur. To this he consented without difficulty, not without an
eye, I suspect, to the appearance of his tall, erect, graceful form and
bearing in such a dress as Hotspur's.

The last evening of the Old Year had arrived, our preparations were
completed, and our little party were experiencing something of that
_ennui_ which results from having nothing to do, when, in putting away
the materials lately in use, Annie took up my engraving of Hotspur and
Kate. Handing it to me, she said. "I know these engravings are precious,
Aunt Nancy, though what can be the association with this one, I am, I
acknowledge, at a loss to conceive."

"And yet it is a very simple one. I treasure it in memory of my friend
Harry Percy and his bride."

"What! Hotspur?" questioned Annie with dilating eyes.

"Not quite, though he was a lineal descendant of the old Percys, and hot
enough on occasion, too."

"You mean Colonel Percy of the British army, who married Miss Sinclair,
of Havre de Grace, during our last war with England, or immediately
after it, I never quite understood which. There seemed some mystery
about the marriage, and I did not like to inquire too closely, but I
dare say now, Aunt Nancy, you can tell us all about it."

"I believe I can. See Annie, if among these packages you can find one
labelled 'The Test of Love.'"

"What! another story of a proud beauty winning her glove and losing her
lover?" asked Mr. Arlington.

"No; my test, or rather my hero's test, was somewhat different," I
replied, as I received the package from Annie, and read,


THE TEST OF LOVE:

A STORY OF THE LAST WAR.

When Mr. Sinclair, the rector of St John's, in Havre de Grace took
possession of his pretty parsonage, and persuaded the fair and gentle
Lucy Hillman to preside over his unpretending _ménage_, and to share the
comforts that lay within the compass of his stipend of one thousand
dollars per annum, he felt that his largest earthly desires were
fulfilled. A daughter was given to him, and with a grateful heart he
exclaimed--"Surely Thou hast made my cup to overflow."

But he too was a man "born to trouble." He too must be initiated into
those "sacred mysteries of sorrow," through which the High-priest of his
profession had passed. In the succeeding ten years, three other children
opened their soft, loving eyes in his home, made its air musical with
their glad voices and ringing laughter, and just as he had learned to
listen for the pattering of their dimpled foot, and his heart had
throbbed joyously to their call, they were borne from his arms to the
grave, and the echoes which they had awakened in his soul were hushed
for ever. Still his Lucy and their first-born were spared, and as he
drew them closer to his heart he could "lift his trusting eyes" to Him
from whom his faith taught him no real evil could come to the loving
spirit. The shadow of earth had fallen on his heart, but the light of
heaven still beamed brightly there. Years passed with Mr. Sinclair in
that deep quiet of the soul which is "the sober certainty of waking
bliss." His labors were labors of love, and he was welcomed to repose by
all those charms which woman's taste and woman's tenderness can bring
clustering around the home of him to whom her heart is devoted. But a
darker trial than any he had yet known awaited him.

War is in our borders, and that quiet town in which Mr. Sinclair's life
has passed is destined to feel its heaviest curse. Its streets are
filled with soldiery. The dark canopy of smoke from which now and then a
lurid flame shoots upward, shows that their work is destruction, and
that they will do it well. Terrified women flit hither and thither,
mingling their shrieks in a wild and fiend-like concert with the crack
of musketry, the falling of houses, and the loud huzzas and fierce
outcries of excited men. At a distance from that quarter in which the
strife commenced, stands a simple village church, within whose shadow
many of those who had worshipped in its walls during the last half
century, have lain down to rest from the toils of life. No proud
mausoleum shuts the sunshine from those lowly graves. Drooping elms and
willows bend over them, and the whispering of their long pendent
branches, as the summer breeze sweeps them hither and thither, is the
only sound that breaks the stillness of that hallowed air. Near the
church, on the opposite side from this home of the dead, lies a garden,
whose roses and honey-suckles perfume the air, while its bowers of lilac
and laburnum, of myrtle and jessamine, almost shut from the view the
pretty cottage to which it belongs. All around, all within that cottage,
is silent. Have its inmates fled?

The neighboring houses have been long deserted, and those who left them
would gladly have persuaded their pastor to accompany them; but when
they called to urge his doing so, he could only point to the bed on
which, already bereft of sense, and evidently fast passing from life,
lay one "all lovely to the last." Mrs. Sinclair's health, delicate for
years, had rapidly failed in the last few months, till her anxious
husband and child, aware that a moment's acceleration of the pulse, a
moment's quickening of the breath from whatever cause, might snatch her
from their arms, learned to modulate every tone, to guard every look and
movement in her presence. But they could not shut from her ears the boom
of the cannon which heralded the approach of the foe--they could not
hush the startling cries with which others met the announcement of their
arrival, and the first evidences of that savage fury which desolated
their homes, and left a dark stain on the escutcheon of Britain. Mrs.
Sinclair uttered no cry when her terrors were thus excited, she even
strove to smile upon her loved ones, to raise their drooping hearts; and
in this, woman's holiest task, the springs of her life gave way--not
with a sudden snap, but slowly, gently--so that for hours her husband
and daughter stood watching the shadow of death steal over her, hoping
yet to catch one glance of love, one whispered farewell ere she should
pass for ever from them.

"Fear not, my child," said Mr. Sinclair, when their sad vigils were
first interrupted by those who urged their flight--"they are enemies, it
is true, but they are Englishmen, a peaceful clergyman, a defenceless
woman, are safe in their hands--they will not harm us."

"I have no fear, no thought of them, father!" said Mary Sinclair, as she
turned weeping to the only object of fear, or hope, or thought, at that
moment.

But soon others of Mr. Sinclair's parishioners came to warn him that his
confidence had been misplaced, that no character, no age, no sex, had
proved a protection from the ruthless fury of their assailants. He would
now have persuaded his daughter to accompany her friends to a place of
safety, and when persuasions proved vain he would have commanded her,
but, lifting her calm eyes to his, she said, "Father have you not taught
me that, in all God's universe, the only safe place for us is that to
which our duty calls us--and is not my duty here?"

A colder heart would have argued with her, and might, perhaps, have
proved to her that her duty was not there--that her father could watch
the dying, and that it was her duty to preserve herself for him; but Mr.
Sinclair folded her in his arms while his lips moved for an instant in
earnest prayer, and then, turning to his waiting friends, he said, "Go,
go, my friends--I thank you--but God has called us to this, and he will
care for us."

When the work of desolation had been completed in the quarter first
attacked, parties of soldiers straggled off from the main body in search
of further prey. Fearful was it to meet these men--their faces blackened
with smoke, their hands stained with blood, fierce frowns upon their
brows, and curses on their lips. The parsonage presented little
attraction in its external aspect to men whose object was plunder, and
they turned first to larger and more showy buildings. These were soon
rifled; the noise of their ribald songs, their blasphemous oaths and
drunken revelry penetrating often the chamber of death, yet scarcely
awakening an emotion in the presence of the great Destroyer. At length
the little gate is flung rudely open, and unsteady but heavy steps
ascend from the court-yard to the house. They cross the piazza, they
enter the parlor where life's gentlest courtesies and holiest affections
have hitherto dwelt, the door of the room beyond is thrown open, and two
men stand upon its threshold, sobered for an instant by the scene before
them. There, pale, emaciated, the dim eyes closed, and the face wearing
that unearthly beauty which seems the token of an adieu too fond, too
tender, too sacred for human language, from the parting spirit to its
loved ones, the wife and mother, speechless, senseless, yet not quite
lifeless, lay propped by pillows. At her side knelt Mr. Sinclair; the
pallor of deep, overpowering emotion was on his cheek, yet in his lifted
eyes there was an expression of holy faith, and you might almost have
fancied that a smile lay upon the lips which were breathing forth the
hallowed strains of prayer--"Save and deliver us, we humbly beseech
Thee, from the hands of our enemies, that we, being armed with thy
defence, may be preserved evermore from all perils, to glorify Thee, who
art the only giver of all victory, through the merits of thy Son, Jesus
Christ our Lord--Amen."

Dark, sinful men as they were, fresh from brutal crime, those strains
touched a long silent chord in their hearts--a chord linked with the
memory of a smiling village in their own distant land--with a mother's
love and the innocence of childhood. Faint--faint, alas! were those
memories, and Mr. Sinclair's "amen" had scarcely issued from his lips,
when the eyes of the leader rested on the beautiful face of Mary
Sinclair, as, pressed to the side of her father, she stretched her arms
out over her dying mother, and turned her eyes imploringly on their
dreaded visitors. The ruffians sprang forward with words whose meaning
was happily lost to the failing sense of the terror-stricken girl. Mr.
Sinclair started to his feet, and with one arm still clasped around his
daughter, stood between her and the worse than murderers before him,
prepared to defend her with his life. For the first time he thirsted for
blood, and looked around for some weapon of destruction--but his was the
abode of peace--no weapon was there. Unarmed, with that loved
burden--loved at this moment even to agony, resting upon him--he stood
opposed to two fierce men armed to the teeth. A father's strength in
such a cause, who shall estimate?--yet, alas! his adversaries were
demons, relentless in purpose, and possessed of that superhuman force
which passion gives. Weary of killing, or influenced by that
superstition which sometimes rules the soul from which religion is
wholly banished, they did not avail themselves of their swords. With
fierce threats they unclasped his arm from that senseless form, which
sank instantly to the floor at his feet, and drew him across the room.
They would have forced him into the parlor, but his resistance was
desperate, and ere they could accomplish this, the sound of a drum
beating the recall was borne faintly to their ears. Leaving his comrade
to hold the wildly struggling father, the bolder ruffian turned back
toward the still prostrate Mary. At that moment, before she had been
polluted by a touch, the door was thrown violently back, and a tall,
manly form strode through it. The gilded epaulettes and drooping feather
told his rank, before the step of pride and countenance of stern command
had conveyed to the mind the conviction that you stood in the presence
of one accustomed to be obeyed. The man who grasped Mr. Sinclair
loosened his hold and shrank cowering away. He went unnoticed, for the
eye of the officer had fallen upon him who was in the act of stooping to
lift Mary Sinclair from the floor. With a single spring he was at his
side, and catching him by the collar of his coat, he hurled him from him
with such force that he fell stunned against the farther wall. Mr.
Sinclair was already bending over his daughter. As he raised her on his
arm her head fell back, exposing her face, around which her dark hair
swept in dense masses. Her features were of chiselled beauty, and had
they been indeed of marble they could not have been more bloodless in
their hue, while her jetty lashes lay as still upon her cheek as though
the hand of death had sealed her eyes for ever. Mr. Sinclair had no such
fear. He knew that she had only fainted, and rejoiced that God in his
mercy had spared her the worst horrors of the scene; but as Captain
Percy's eyes rested on her, a deeper scowl settled on his brow, and in a
hoarse whisper he asked:--

"Have they harmed her, sir?"

"Not by a touch, thank God! not by a touch!" exclaimed the father, as he
pressed her with passionate joy to his heart--ay, joy, even in the
presence of her so long the light of his life now passing for ever from
earth. For a few minutes the dying had been forgotten, for what was
death--a death of peace--to the long misery into which man's base,
brutal passion would have converted the life of that pure and lovely
girl? Now, however, she was safe, and still supporting her on his arm,
Mr. Sinclair turned to his wife and tenderly moistened her parched lips.
What a mockery of all human cares seemed that pale, peaceful
brow--peaceful, while he whose lightest sorrow had thrown a shadow on
her life was suffering anguish inexpressible, and the child who had lain
in her bosom, to the lightest throb of whose heart her own had answered,
lay senseless from terror in his arms. It was a scene to touch the
hardest heart, and Captain Percy's heart was not hard. He looked around
for the men whom he had interrupted in their hellish designs--they were
not there.

"Is this their work?" he asked of Mr. Sinclair, pointing to his scarcely
breathing wife.

"No--no--this is the gentle hand of our Father," said Mr. Sinclair, as
he bent his head and touched with his lips the sunken cheek dearer to
him now than it had been in all its girlish roundness. The blood had
begun to cast a slight tinge of red into the lips of Mary Sinclair
before Captain Percy had left the room in search of the men whom he was
unwilling to leave behind him, and when he returned, the tremor of her
form and the close clasp with which she clung to her father, proved that
her consciousness and her memory were awake. His step had startled her,
and as he entered he heard Mr. Sinclair say, "Fear not, my daughter,
that is the step of your deliverer, and though he is an English
soldier----"

"I pray you, sir, judge not Englishmen by ruffians like these--a
disgrace to the name of man. Believe me, every country has within it
wretches, who, at moments such as this, when all social restraints are
withdrawn, become demons. But I must leave you, in safety, I trust, as I
have sent to the ships all the soldiers whom I could discover in your
neighborhood."

"Farewell, sir," said Mr. Sinclair, extending his hand--"God reward you
for the timely aid you have this day brought to the defenceless. Look
up, my child, and join your thanks with mine."

Mary Sinclair raised her head from her father's bosom, and lifting her
eyes for an instant to the face of Captain Percy, unclosed her lips to
speak, but voice and words were denied her.

"God bless you, lady!" he exclaimed, as taking her hand he raised it to
his lips, and relinquishing it with one glance of sympathy at the dying,
turned away and passed from the room. He returned once more, but it was
only to leave his pistols with Mr. Sinclair.

"They are loaded, sir, and in such a cause as you needed them just now,
even a Christian minister may use them."

Captain Percy spoke rapidly, only glancing at Mary, who was already
bending with self-forgetful devotion above her mother's pillow, and
before Mr. Sinclair could answer he was gone.

All was again silent in that deserted suburb, and for long hours nothing
disturbed the solemn stillness of the chamber of death, save the low sob
or earnest prayer of parting love, though sounds of tumult had not
ceased wholly in the village. The invaders had been interrupted in their
work of destruction by an alarm from some of their own party of an
approaching foe. They hurried to their ships with mad impetuosity,
conscious that their acts deserved only war to the knife, and that they
were not prepared to cope with any regular force. Only they, who, like
Captain Percy, had held themselves aloof from the brutal barbarities
which they had striven vainly to prevent, were now composed enough to
take any steps for the safety of others. To collect those who had
straggled off was the first business, and while the recall was hastily
beaten, Captain Percy, selecting a small party of men on whom he could
depend, went to patrol the more distant quarters of the town. Having
seen no trace of an enemy on his way to the parsonage, he had somewhat
hastily concluded the alarm to be false, and therefore did not hesitate,
before returning with his pistols to Mr. Sinclair, to send forward his
men in charge of those whom he had found, promising to join them before
they reached the point of embarcation. Without a thought of danger he
traversed the silent and deserted streets on his return, and had arrived
where a single turn would bring him within view of the rallying point of
his companions in arms, when the sound that met his practised ears told
of something more than the hurrying tread and mingling voices of
soldiers rapidly embarking. Had his men been opposed? If so, they should
not be without a leader--and with that thought he sprang forward. He was
too late. Already they had fought their way through the band of
villagers, who, maddened by the desolation of their homes, had gathered
together such weapons as they could, and led on by one gallant and
experienced soldier, whom their burning houses had lighted to their aid,
were seeking to cut off the retreat of some amongst their invaders, and
thus to revenge those whom they had been unable to protect. Captain
Percy's men had, as we have said, fought their way through this
band--not without loss. He now stood alone--one against many--with only
his good sword to aid, for his pistols he had given to Mr. Sinclair. To
retreat unobserved was impossible, for his own cry of "Forward--forward,
my men!" uttered as he rushed to the scene of the just decided contest,
had betrayed him--to fight against such odds with the faintest hope of
success was equally impossible, and to yield was an alternative which
there seemed to be no intention of offering him. In an instant twenty
swords flashed before his eyes--twenty muskets were pointed at his
breast. That instant had been his last had not Major Scott, the leader
of whom we have spoken, sprang forward and placed himself before him.
Himself a brave and generous soldier, he could not tamely witness such
butchery; and pale with the terror for another which he had never felt
for himself, he exclaimed, "Yield yourself, sir, quickly--a moment's
delay, and I cannot protect you."

Captain Percy's sword was in the hand of his noble foe, who, linking his
arm in his, turned to face his own band, shouting as he did so,
"Back--back on your lives--he is my prisoner, and who touches him makes
me his enemy."

The day had passed with all its exciting incidents. The glow of sunset
had faded into twilight's soberer hues, and these had deepened into the
darkness of night. With the darkness silence had settled upon the
streets of Havre de Grace. They who had trodden, for hours, with burning
hearts around the sites of their desecrated homes, retired to the house
of some charitable and more fortunate neighbor, to seek such rest as
misery may hope. They went with sullen as well as sad brows, and as they
passed one house in the village they muttered "curses not loud, but
deep." This was the house in which Major Scott had found a refuge for
himself and the prisoner, whom all his influence had scarcely been able
to protect. To remove him from Havre de Grace in the light of day, and
under the eyes of his infuriated enemies, was too hazardous a project to
be attempted; and by the advice of some who seemed disposed to second
his efforts for his safety, he had delayed his departure till night
should veil the obnoxious features of the British officer.

At the parsonage, death had accomplished his work, and the room in which
we have already seen Mr. Sinclair, bears the solemn impress of his
presence. Beside the bed on which the lifeless limbs have been composed
with tender care, the pastor kneels. His prayer is no longer, "Let this
cup pass from me"--he is struggling for power to say, "Father, not my
will, but Thine be done!" In an upper room lies Mary Sinclair. Tears are
falling fast as summer rain-drops from her closed eyes; but she utters
neither sob nor moan, and by the dim light of the shaded lamp she seems
to the two women, who, with well-meant but officious kindness, have
insisted on watching with her through the night, to sleep. A slight
noise in the street causes one of these women to start, and she whispers
to the other, "I am 'feard of every thing to-night--the least noise puts
me all of a trimble, for I'm thinking of my Jack. He's gone to guard
that British soger, and I shouldn't wonder if he had a skrimmage about
him before morning."

"And I must say, Miss Dunham, if he did, it would be nothin' more than
them deserves us would go for to guard them cruel British."

"But they do say, Miss Caxton, that this Capin--for Jack says he is a
Capin--was better than the rest--that he took the part of our people
every where when he found there wasn't any fair fight, and that he was
drivin' his men to the ships when we caught him."

"Them may believe that that will, but for my part I think that it must
be a poor, mean speritted American that will hold guard over one of them
British----"

"Not so mean speritted as you think perhaps," said Jack's mother with a
flushed face.

"Well, I must say, Miss Dunham, I never thought Jack would do such a
thing--if I had----"

Miss Caxton stopped abruptly, but her companion would hear the
whole--"Well ma'am, if you had--what if you had?"

"Why, then, Miss Dunham, I shouldn't have been so well pleased to see
him keepin' company with my Sarah--but after this, of course, that's at
an end."

"May be, Miss Caxton, you may think to-morrow mornin' that it would have
been just as well to wait till the night was gone before you said
that--when you see the British Capin hanging by the neck in his fine
regimentals, and hear that his guard were the men that did it--as I know
they've sworn to do--you may think after all they an't so mean
speritted."

"Miss Dunham! if they'll do that, I'll unsay every word I've said, and
proud enough I would be to call one of 'em my son-in-law--but now do
tell me all about it--she's asleep you see," glancing at Mary Sinclair,
"and there an't nobody to hear."

"Why, there an't much to tell. You see the Major wouldn't give way any
how at all about this here man--so, as they didn't want to fight _him_,
they agreed that some of the real true blues who an't afeard of nothin',
should seem to help the Major and persuade him to keep the man here till
late in the night, and that they would guard him--but they were to take
care to have the key of his room, and when the Major goes there he'll
find it empty, or at best only a bloody corpse there. They'll hang him
if they can get him out of the window without too much noise, but if
there's any danger of his waking the Major with his screeching, they'll
stop his voice quick enough."

Any further conversation between these discreet watchers was prevented
by a sudden movement on the part of Mary Sinclair. Springing from her
bed she was hastening to the door when her steps were arrested.

"Dear me, Miss Mary! where are you going? Now do lie down again, my dear
young lady!--be patient--it's the Lord's will, you know." Such were the
remonstrances of her officious attendants, while, one on either side,
they strove to lead her back again, but Mary persisted.

"I must go to my father, Mrs. Dunham, pray let me go, Mrs. Caxton, I
must speak to my father."

"Well, then, my good young lady, just put your wrapping gown around you
first, and put your feet in these slippers."

Mary complied silently, and then was suffered to proceed. Rapidly she
flew to her father's room--it was unoccupied, and a glance at his bed
showed her that it had not been disturbed. Mary was at no loss to
conjecture where she should find her father--but as she approached
_that_ room her steps grew slower, lighter--she was treading on holy
ground. With difficulty she nerved herself to turn the latch of the
door, and in an awed whisper she entreated her father to come to her.
Mr. Sinclair rose from his knees, but he lingered a moment to cast one
look on that still lovely face, to press his lips to that cold brow, and
then, reverently veiling it, he approached his daughter.

"Come quickly, papa!--not a moment is to be lost if you would save him
from death, and such a death--oh, papa, papa!--it may be even now too
late."

Her tale was rapidly told, and before it was concluded Mr. Sinclair was
ready for action.

"But the house, Mary, what house is he in?"

This Mary could not tell, but rapidly ascending the stairs to her room,
Mr. Sinclair obtained from the two gossips the information he sought.
Startled as they were by his appearance, they reverenced the rector too
much to question his designs. Leaving his daughter to forget even her
own heavy sorrow in the imminent danger of another--of one whom, without
any very satisfactory reason, she as well as Mr. Sinclair had at once
concluded to be her deliverer of the morning--let us follow his steps.

The church clock tolled eleven as Mr. Sinclair passed, and the sound
made his fleet movements fleeter still. Street after street was
traversed without a voice or tread, save his own, breaking the stillness
of the night. At length he reached the point of the day's devastations.
Dismantled and roofless houses, from which a dull glimmer showed that
the fire was not yet wholly extinguished, were seen rising here and
there, while in intervening spaces a charred and smouldering heap alone
gave evidence that man had had his dwelling there. A rapid glance as he
passed without a pause over this ground told its desolation. But
see--what object meets his eye, and causes every nerve to thrill with
apprehension! From the midst of one of those blackened heaps a single
post shoots up--wildly Mr. Sinclair casts his eyes upward to its
summit--gracious heaven! is he too late? To that post, about twenty feet
from the ground, a cross-piece is attached, to which a rope has been
secured, and from that rope a dark object hangs motionless. Sick with
horror he stops--he gazes--no! it is no illusion--dimly defined against
the star-lit sky, his eye, dilated by terror, traces the form of man,
and fancy supplies the traits of him who stood before him but a few
hours since in all the flush of manhood--every moment replete with
energy, every look full of proud resolve and generous feeling. With a
searching glance Mr. Sinclair looks around for the murderers--but they
are gone--again, his strangely fascinated eye turns to that object of
horror. Is it the agitation of a death struggle which causes it now to
swing to and fro in the dusky air? The thought that life may not yet be
extinct gives him new strength--he runs--he flies to Major Scott's
lodgings, for from him alone is he secure of aid in his present purpose.

As Mr. Sinclair approached the house in which Major Scott had found
accommodations for himself and his prisoner, he found himself no longer
in darkness. More than one burning torch threw a lurid light upon the
scene, while the men who held them, and perhaps as many as twenty more
stood clustered together, near the house, against which some of them
were engaged in elevating a ladder. In what service that ladder might
have been last used Mr. Sinclair shuddered to think. Perfect stillness
reigned in this party. Their few orders were given in whispers.

Keeping cautiously in shadow, and moving with stealthy steps, Mr.
Sinclair passed them and reached the house. Even when there, he had
little hope of making Major Scott hear him without alarming them, and he
could not doubt that they would do every thing in their power to
frustrate his object. But Heaven favored his merciful design--he
touched the door and found it ajar. All was dark as midnight within it,
and he had scarcely taken a step when he stumbled against a man whose
voice sounded fiercely even in the low whisper in which he ejaculated,
"D--n you. Do you want to wake the Major? Don't you see you're at his
room door?"

"I see now, but it was so dark at first," whispered Mr. Sinclair in
reply--adding with that quickness of perception and readiness of
invention which danger supplies to some minds--"I have come to watch
him--you are wanted."

The man obeyed the intimation, and he had no sooner turned away than Mr.
Sinclair laid his hand upon the latch of the door which had been
indicated as Major Scott's. It yielded to his touch, and with a quick
but cautious movement he entered the room, and closed the door behind
him. Cautious as he was, the soldier's light sleep was broken, and he
exclaimed hurriedly, "Who's there?"

Mr. Sinclair's communication was made in a hasty whisper, and Major
Scott only heard enough to know that his prisoner was in danger. Of Mr.
Sinclair's worst suspicions he did not even dream when, starting to his
feet, half dressed, as he had thrown himself on the bed, he snatched his
pistols from under his pillow, and exclaiming to Mr. Sinclair, "Follow
me, sir," hurried to the scene of action, the room of Captain Percy. Mr.
Sinclair followed with rapid steps.

In one respect the conspirators had been disappointed--they had not
obtained the key of Captain Percy's room, for being now a prisoner on
parole, he was subject to no confinement. He had, however, locked the
door of his room himself, to guard against the incursion of curiosity
rather than of hostility; but the lock was none of the strongest--a
single vigorous application of Major Scott's foot to the door started
the screws which held it, and a second burst it off and threw the
entrance open before him. As Mr. Sinclair glanced forward, "Thank God!"
burst from his lips, to the no small surprise of Major Scott, who saw
little cause for gratitude in finding the object of his solicitude
retreating, sword in hand, towards the door, while several athletic men,
their faces dark with hate, were already pressing dangerously upon him,
and others were crowding in at the opened window. The impetuous rush of
his friends freed Captain Percy for a moment from his assailants, but
they returned fiercely to the charge, too furious now to postpone their
revenge even to their deference for Major Scott. Vain were Mr.
Sinclair's entreaties to be heard, till their advance was stayed by the
sight of Major Scott's firearms--weapons with which they had not
furnished themselves, considering them useless in an enterprise to whose
complete success silence was essential. Then first they listened to him
as he exclaimed, "This man is innocent, and if you shed his blood it
will call to Heaven for vengeance. I saw him myself this day oppose
himself to two of his own countrymen to save a defenceless woman from
injury. That woman was my daughter--some of you know her well--ah,
Thompson! you may well hang your head--would you slay the deliverer of
her whose good nursing saved the life of your motherless child?--Wilson,
it was but last week that she sat beside your dying mother, and soothed
and comforted her--but for this good and brave man she would now have
been with her in heaven."

It was only necessary to gain a hearing for such words to produce an
influence on the rash, but not cruel men whom Mr. Sinclair addressed,
and scarcely half an hour had passed since their entrance into the room,
when they offered their hands in pledge of amity to him whose life they
had come to seek. As a proof of their sincerity, they advised Major
Scott no longer to delay his departure from the town, and some of them
volunteered to accompany him as a guard to his country-seat.

"You have saved my life," said Captain Percy, as he shook hands with Mr.
Sinclair at parting.

"And you have preserved for me all, except my duties, for which I can
now desire to live," answered Mr. Sinclair with emotion: then turning to
Major Scott, he added, "as soon as you consider it safe, you will, I
hope, bring Captain Percy to visit us. In the mean time, Captain Percy,
remember that the stranger and the prisoner are a clergyman's especial
care, and suffer yourself to want nothing which I can do for you. By-the
by," and he took Major Scott aside and whispered him.

"Give yourself no concern about that, my dear sir," said Major Scott in
reply, "I will attend to it."

He did attend to it, and Captain Percy's drafts on his captor were
promptly met, till he was able to open a communication with the British
commander.

In as quiet a manner as possible Major Scott and Captain Percy moved off
from the hotel, and were met in the suburbs by their volunteer guard,
while another party of the men whom he had thus saved from a great
crime, attended Mr. Sinclair to his home. As he entered the area of the
smouldering ruins his eye sought the object lately viewed with so much
horror. He had scarcely glanced at it, when one of his companions
stepped up and disengaged a dark cloak from the noose already prepared
for its expected victim--"I knew no one would steal it from the
gallows," said the man, as he threw it over his shoulders. Mr. Sinclair
smiled to think how easily imagination had transformed that harmless
object into the fair proportions of a man.

Nothing more was heard of Captain Percy for weeks--dreary weeks to many
in Havre de Grace--melancholy weeks to the inmates of the parsonage, who
missed at every turn the familiar step and voice which had been life's
sweetest music to their hearts. At length Mr. Sinclair received a note
from Major Scott, announcing his own approaching departure to the army
on our northern frontier, and requesting permission for Captain Percy
and himself to call on Mr. and Miss Sinclair. Permission was given--the
call was made, and they who had met only in scenes of terror and dismay,
amidst flushing looks and fierce words, now greeted each other with
gentlest courtesy among sounds and sights of peace. The call was
succeeded by a visit of some days, and this by one of weeks, till at
last it seemed to be understood that the parsonage was to be the home of
Captain Percy while awaiting the exchange which Major Scott had promised
to do all in his power to expedite. His society was at the present time
peculiarly pleasing to Mr. Sinclair, who was diverted from his own sad
thoughts by the varied intelligence of the soldier and traveller in many
lands. Mary Sinclair had been unable to meet her deliverer without a
thrill of emotion which communicated an air of timidity to her manner,
whose usual characteristic was modest self-possession. Captain Percy, at
thirty-five, had outlived the age of sudden and violent passion, but he
had not outlived that of deep feeling. A soldier from boyhood, he had
visited almost every clime, and been familiar with the beauties of
almost every land, yet in this lovely and gentle girl, whom he had
guarded from ill, and whom he now saw in all the pure and tender
associations of her home, blessing and blessed, there was something
which touched his heart more deeply than he liked to acknowledge even to
himself. Again and again when he saw the soft, varying color that arose
to her cheek at his sudden entrance, or heard the voice in which she was
addressing another, sink into a more subdued tone as she spoke to him,
did he take his hat and wander forth, that he might still in solitude
his bosom's triumphant throb, and reason with himself on the folly of
suffering his affections to be enthralled by one from whom, ere another
day passed, he might be separated by orders which would send him
thousands of miles away, and detain him, perhaps, for years.

"If I thought her feelings were really interested," he would say to
himself at other times--"but nonsense--how can I be such a coxcomb--all
she can feel for me is gratitude."

This last sentiment was echoed by Mary Sinclair, who, when
self-convicted of unusual emotion in Captain Percy's presence, ever
repeated, "It is only gratitude."

One evening Mr. Sinclair retired after tea to his study, leaving his
daughter and his guest together. He had not been gone long when a
servant entered with the letters and papers just brought by the
semi-weekly mail, which conveyed to the inhabitants of Havre de Grace
news of the important events then daily transpiring in distant parts of
the country. The only letter was a somewhat bulky one for Captain Percy.
Mary received the papers and commenced reading them, that she might
leave her companion at liberty. Had she been looking at him she would
have seen some surprise, and even a little annoyance in his countenance
as his eyes rested on the seals of his dispatch. He opened it, and the
annoyance deepened. He read it more than once. Minutes passed in perfect
silence, and Mary began to wonder what correspondent could so deeply
interest him. A heavy sigh made her look up. His letter lay open on the
table before him, but he had evidently long ceased to read, for his arm
rested upon it, while his eyes were fixed with an expression at once
intent and mournful on her. Mary thought only of him as she said, "I
hope you have no painful intelligence there, Captain Percy."

"I suppose I ought to consider it very joyful intelligence--I am no
longer a prisoner--I have been exchanged, and"--he hesitated, looked
away, then added rapidly--"I am ordered immediately to join my regiment
in Canada."

A quick drawing of the breath, as though from sudden pain, met his
ear--his heart beat quickly, but he would not embarrass her by a glance.
There was a slight rustling of her dress, and turning he saw that she
had risen, and with one hand pressed upon the table for support, was
advancing to the door. Falteringly, one--two--three steps were taken,
and completely overcome, pale and ready to faint, she sank upon a sofa
near her. He sprang forward, but she motioned him away, and covering her
face with her hands, burst into tears--tears of shame as well as of
sorrow. For an instant he stood irresolute--but only for an instant,
when bending over her, he whispered, "Dare I hope that you sympathize
with me, Mary--that the feeling which made even liberty painful to me
since it separates me from you, is not confined to my own bosom?"

Mary's sobs ceased--but she spoke not--moved not.

"Answer me, dear Mary--remember I have little time to woo, for my orders
admit of no delay in their execution--I must leave you to-morrow. Rise
then above the petty formalities of your sex, and if I may indeed hope
ever to call you mine, let me do so this night--this hour--your father
will not, I think, fear to commit you to my tenderness."

Mary uncovered her face, and raised her eyes for an instant to his, with
an expression so confiding that he thought his suit was won, and
pressing her hand to his lips, he said, "That glance tells me that you
are my own, Mary. My life shall prove my gratitude--but now I must seek
your father--_our_ father--will you await us here?"

"I have something to say to you--sit down and hear me," said Mary, in a
voice which she strove in vain to raise above a whisper.

He placed himself beside her on the sofa, still clasping the hand he had
taken, and with a voice faltering and low at first, but gathering
strength as she proceeded, Mary resumed:--"I will not attempt--I do not
wish to deny that you have read my heart aright--that--that you who
saved me are--are--" a lover's ear alone could detect the next
words--"very dear to me--but I cannot--I think I ought not----"

She paused, and Captain Percy said, "You are not willing to intrust your
happiness to one so lately known."

"Oh, no! you mistake my meaning--I can have no doubt of you--no fear for
my own happiness--but my father--who will care for him if I, his
daughter, his only child, thus give myself to another at the very time
that he needs me most?"

"I will not take you from him--at least not now, Mary--give me but the
right to call you mine, and I will leave you here in your own sweet
home--not again, I trust, to be visited by war--till peace shall leave
me at liberty to return to England with my bride--my wife."

He would have clasped her to him as he named her thus, but Mary
struggled almost wildly to free herself, exclaiming, "Oh! plead not thus
lest I forget my father in myself--my duty in love--the forgetfulness
would be but short--I should be unhappy even at your side, when I
thought of the loneliness of heart and life to which I had condemned
him."

"But he should go with us--he should have our home. It will be a simple
home, Mary--for though I come of a lordly race, I inherit not their
wealth--but it will be large enough for our father."

"Kind and generous!" exclaimed Mary, as she suffered her fingers to
clasp the hand in which they had hitherto only rested, "would that it
might be so--but that were to ask of my father a sacrifice greater even
than the surrender of his daughter--the sacrifice of his sense of duty
to the people who have chosen him as their spiritual father--and to whom
he considers himself bound for life."

Captain Percy remained silent long after she had ceased to speak, with
his eyes resting on her downcast face. At length in low, sad tones, he
questioned, "And must we part thus?"

Mary's lips moved, but she could not speak.

"I will not ask you to remember me, Mary," he resumed, "for if
forgetfulness be possible to you, it will perhaps be for your happiness
to forget--yet--pardon me if I am selfish--I would have some little
light amidst the darkness gathering around my heart--may I hope that had
no duty forbidden you would have been mine?"

She yielded to his clasping arm, and sinking on his bosom, murmured
there, "Yours--yours ever and only--yours wholly if I could be yours
holily."

From this interview Mary retired to her chamber, and Captain Percy
sought his host in his study. After communicating to Mr. Sinclair the
contents of the dispatch he had just received, he continued, "I must in
consequence of these orders leave you immediately--but before I go I
have a confession to make to you. You will not wonder that your lovely
daughter should have won my heart; but one hour since, I could have said
that I had never yielded for an instant to that heart's suggestions--had
never consciously revealed my love, or endeavored to excite in her
feelings which, in my position and the present relations of our
respective countries, could scarcely fail to be productive of pain. I
can say so no longer. The moment of parting has torn the veil from the
hearts of both--she loves me,"--there was a joyous intonation in Captain
Percy's voice as he pronounced these last words. He was silent a moment
while Mr. Sinclair continued to look gravely down--then suddenly he
resumed--"Pardon my selfishness--I forget all else in the sweet thought
that I am loved by one so pure, so gentle, so lovely. But though I have
dared without your permission to acknowledge my own tenderness, and to
draw from her the dear confession of her regard, there my wrong has
ended--she has assured me that she could never be happy separated from
you, and that you are wedded to your people." Mr. Sinclair shaded with
his hand features quivering with emotion. "At present," continued
Captain Percy, "these feelings, which are both of them too sacred for me
to contest, place a barrier between us, and I have sought from her no
promise for the future--if she can forget me--" Captain Percy paused a
moment, then added abruptly--"may a happier destiny be hers than I could
have commanded--but, sir, the time may come when England shall no longer
need all her soldiers--an orphan and an only child, I have nothing to
bind me to her soil--should I seek you then, and find your Mary with an
unchanged heart, will you give her to me?--will you receive me as a
son?"

"Under such circumstances I would do so joyfully," Mr. Sinclair replied,
"yet I cannot conceal from you now that I grieve to know that my
daughter must wear out her youth in a hope long deferred at best,
perhaps never to be realized."

Both gentlemen were for a few minutes plunged in silent thought. Captain
Percy arose from his seat--walked several times across the room, and
then stopping before the table at which Mr. Sinclair was seated, resumed
the conversation.

"Had I designedly sought the interest with which your daughter has
honored me," he said, "your words would inflict on me intolerable
self-reproach, but I cannot blame myself for not being silent when
silence would have been a reproach to her delicacy and a libel on my own
affection. Now, however, sir, I yield myself wholly to your cooler
judgment and better knowledge of her nature, and I will do whatever may
in your opinion conduce to her happiness, without respect to my own
feelings. If you think that she can forget the past, and you desire that
she should"--his voice lost its firmness and he grasped with violence
the chair on which he leaned--"I will do nothing to recall it to her
memory. It is the only _amende_ I can make for the shadow I have thrown
upon her life--dark indeed will such a resolve leave my own."

"It would cast no ray of light on hers. Be assured her love is not a
thing to be forgotten--it is a part of her life."

"And it shall be repaid with all of mine which my duties as a soldier
and subject leave at my disposal. Do not think me altogether selfish
when I say that your words have left no place in my heart for any thing
but happiness--I have but one thing more to ask you--it is a great
favor--inexpressibly great--but----"

"Nay--nay," Mr. Sinclair exclaimed, gathering his meaning more from his
looks and manner than from the words which fell slowly from his
lips--"ask me not so soon to put the irrevocable seal upon a bond which
may be one of misery."

"If your words be true--if her love be a part of her life, the
irrevocable seal has been already affixed by Heaven, and I only ask you
to give your sanction to it, that by uniting her duty and her love, you
may save her gentle spirit all contest with itself, and give her the
fairest hope of future joy."

It was now Mr. Sinclair's turn to rise and pace the floor in agitated
silence--"I know not how to decide so suddenly on so momentous a
question," he at length exclaimed.

"Suppose you leave its decision to her whom it most concerns. It is for
her happiness we are most anxious--so entirely is that my object that I
would not influence her determination even by a look. I will not even
ask to be present when you place my proposal before her; but I must
repeat, sir, if you design to do it, there is no time to be lost, for I
must be on my way to Canada to-morrow."

"So be it then--she shall choose for herself, and Heaven direct her
choice!"

"Amen!" responded Captain Percy, as Mr. Sinclair turned from the door.
He heard him ascend the stairs, and ask and receive admission to his
daughter's room. Then he counted the seconds as they grew into
minutes--the minutes as they extended to a quarter of an hour--a
half-hour--and rolled slowly on towards the hour which lacked but little
to its completion, when his straining ear caught the sound of an opening
door, and then Mr. Sinclair's sedate step was heard slowly descending
the stairs and approaching the study. Captain Percy met him at the door,
and looked the inquiry which he could not speak. Mr. Sinclair replied to
the look, "She is yours!"

"May I not see her and receive such a confirmation of my hopes from her
own lips!"

"Not to-night--I have persuaded her to retire at once--she needs repose,
and we must be early astir. Your marriage must for many reasons be kept
secret at present, and as I could not, I fear, find witnesses here on
whose silence I could rely, we will accompany you in the morning to
Major Scott's, and there, in the presence of his wife and sister, your
vows shall receive the sanction of the church. You must have some
preparation to make, and I will bid you good night, for there are
certain legal preliminaries necessary to the validity of a marriage
here, to which I must attend this evening--unusual as the hour is."

There was a strange mingling of emotion in the hearts of the lovers as
they stood side by side within that room in the gray dawn of the next
morning. In a few hours they were to part, they knew not for what
distance of space or duration of time. It might be that they should
never after this morning look upon each other's faces in life; yet, ere
they parted, there was to be a bond upon their souls which should make
_them_ ever present to each other, should give them the same interests,
should, as it were, mould their beings into one. Sacred bond of God's
own forming, which thus offers the support of a spiritual and
indissoluble union amidst the separations and changes of this
ever-varying life! No such strength and peace are to be found in the
frail and casual ties for which man in his folly would exchange this
bond of Heaven.

Few words were spoken during the burned breakfast at the parsonage, or
the drive to Major Scott's, for deep emotion is ever silent. Yet not for
them were the coy reserves often evinced by hearts on the verge of a
life-union--the faltering timidity which hesitates to lift the veil from
feelings in whose light existence is thenceforth to pass. They could not
forget that they were to part, and even Mary hesitated not to let her
lover read in her eyes' shadowy depths the tenderness which might soothe
the parting pang, and whose memory might brighten the hours of
separation.

Why should we linger on a scene which each heart can depict for itself?
With solemn tenderness the father pronounced the words which transferred
to another the right to his own earthly sanctuary--the heart of his
daughter--and committed to another's keeping--his last and brightest
earthly treasure. That treasure was soon, however, returned, for a time,
to his care. The vows of the marriage rite had scarcely been uttered,
when with one long clasp--one whispered word--one lingering look--the
disciplined soldier turned from his newly-found joy to his duties. Never
had Mary seemed more lovely in his eyes or her father's than in that
moment, when with quivering lips, eyes "heavy with unshed tears," and
cheeks white with anguish, she yet smiled upon him to the last. Nor did
her heroic self-control cease when he was gone. Her father was still
there, and for him she endured and was silent. Only by her languid
movements and fading color did he learn the bitterness of her soul
through the weary months of her sorrow. Weary months were they indeed!

One letter she received from Captain Percy, written before he had
passed beyond the limits of the United States. It breathed the very soul
of tenderness. "My wife!" he wrote, "what joy is summed in that little
word--what faith in the present--what promise for the future! I find
myself often repeating it again and again with a lingering cadence,
while your gentle eyes seem smiling at my folly." Long, long did Mary
wear this letter next her heart, and still no other came to take its
place.

They had parted in 1813, just as the falling leaves came to herald the
approach of winter. That winter passed with Mary in vain longing and
vainer hopes. Spring again clothed her home with beauty, but there came
no spring to her heart. Summer brought joy and gladness to the earth,
but not to her, and another autumn closed over her in anxious suspense.
There were moments when she could almost have prayed to have that dread
silence broken even by a voice from the tomb--other times in which she
threw herself on her knees in thankfulness that she could yet hope. From
Major Scott she had heard that Captain Percy's regiment had been sent to
the South, but of him individually even Major Scott knew nothing. At
length came the eighth of January, that day of vain triumph on which
thousands fell in the contest for rights already lost and won--the
treaty of peace having been signed at Ghent on the twenty-fourth of the
preceding month. Forgetful of this useless hecatomb at war's relentless
shrine, America echoed the gratulations of the victors which fell with
scathing power on the heart of the trembling Mary. How could she hope
that he, the fearless soldier, had escaped this scene of slaughter! If
he had, surely he would now find some way to inform her of his safety,
but weeks passed on, and passed still in silence.

During this long period of suspense, no doubt of the tenderness and
truth of him she loved had ever sullied Mary's faith. Mr. Sinclair was
not always thus confiding, and once, on seeing the deadly pallor that
overspread her face on hearing the announcement of "no letters"--he
uttered words of keen reproach on him who could so wrong her gentle
heart.

"Oh, father!" Mary exclaimed, "speak not thus--be assured it is not his
fault--remember that no license could tempt him to wrong the
defenceless--think how honorable he was in suppressing his own feelings
lest their avowal should bring sorrow on us--and when my self-betrayal
unsealed his lips, how delicate to me, how generous to you was his
conduct--and who but he could have been so rigid in his observance of a
soldier's duty, yet so inexpressibly tender as a man! I loved him
because I saw him thus true and noble--and having seen him thus how can
I doubt him? He may be no longer on earth, but wherever he is, he is my
true and noble husband, and you will not again distress me, dear father,
by speaking as though you doubted him."

"Never," said Mr. Sinclair emphatically, and he never did, though he saw
her form grow thinner, and her cheek paler every day, and before the
winter was gone heard that deep, hollow cough from her, which has so
often sounded the knell of hope to the anxious heart. With the coming on
of summer this cough passed away, but Mary was oppressed by great
feebleness and languor--scarcely less fatal symptoms. Still she omitted
none of those cares essential to her father's comfort--while to the
poor, the sick, the sorrowing, she was more than ever an angel of mercy.
With feeble steps and slow she still walked her accustomed round of
charity, and thus living for duty she lived for God, and had His peace
shed abroad in her heart, even while sorrow was wearing away the springs
of her life. She loved to sit alone and send her thoughts forward to the
future--not of this life, but of that higher life in which there shall
be no shadow on the brightness of our joy--where love shall be without
fear--no war shall desolate--no opposing duty shall separate--no death
shall place its stony barrier between loving hearts. With a mind thus
occupied, she wandered one day, in the latter part of August, through
the garden of the parsonage and the yard immediately surrounding the
church into the little inclosure beyond, within which was the green and
flowery knoll that marked her mother's last resting-place. As she turned
again towards her home the sound of a carriage driven rapidly by caused
her to look towards the road which lay about a hundred yards distant.
The carriage rushed by, and she caught but a glimpse of a gentleman
leaning from its window. In another moment a grove of trees had hidden
both the carriage and its occupant from her sight--yet that glimpse had
sent a thrill through her whole frame--a mist passed over her eyes, and
with eager, trembling steps, she proceeded on her way. As she reached
the garden, she thought she saw her father approaching it from the
house, but her path led through a summer-house, and when she had passed
through it he was no longer visible. Every thing in the house wore its
usual air of quietness on her entrance, and with a feeling of
disappointment, for which she could not rationally account, she turned
her steps towards her father's study. As she drew near the door she
heard his voice--the words, "I dread to tell her," met her ear and made
her heart stand still. One step more and she was at the door--she looked
eagerly forward, and with a glad cry sprang into the extended arms of
her husband.

It was long before any of the party were sufficiently composed for
conversation. When that time came, Captain or rather Colonel Percy heard
with surprise that no letters had been received from him since his
joining the army in Canada. He had written often, but had been obliged
to send his letters to some distant post-town by his own servant. As he
had declined accompanying Colonel Percy to America, there was reason to
suppose that he had suspected the character of the correspondence,
perhaps had acquainted himself fully with the contents of the letters,
and had taken effectual means to prevent their reaching their
destination, with the hope of thus completely removing from Colonel
Percy's mind every inducement to return to this country. Having received
a disabling though not dangerous wound at the battle of New Orleans,
Colonel then Major Percy was sent home with despatches, and was
immediately ordered to join the army under Lord Wellington, then rapidly
hastening to repel the attempt of the prisoner of Elba to re-establish
himself on the throne of France. From this period till the battle of
Waterloo all private concerns were merged in the interest and the hurry
of great public events. In that battle Major Percy was again slightly
wounded. His distinguished bravery was rewarded by his being made again
the bearer of despatches to England. As it was evident to all that the
struggle which had called the whole force of Britain into the field was
now at an end, he had no hesitation in asking and no difficulty in
obtaining leave of absence from the commander-in-chief, and had lost no
time in embarking for America.

"As a consequence of peace," said Colonel Percy in conclusion, "a large
part of our force will be disbanded, and many officers put on half-pay.
A friend who is very influential at head quarters has undertaken to
secure me a place on the list of the latter--and henceforth, dear Mary,
your home is mine!"

"And did you never doubt me during all this long silence?" he asked of
his happy wife a few days after his return.

"Never," said Mary firmly, and then added in a more playful manner--"if
I should step into the confessor's chair, could you answer as boldly?"

"I can, Mary--though I never received a line from you, it never occurred
to me to fear any change in your affection. Our marriage had placed on
it the seal of duty, and your conduct in relation to your father had
shown me that that seal you could not easily break."

"Then you did not love me less for not yielding every other
consideration to the gratification of your wishes?" said Mary,
endeavoring to speak lightly, but betraying deeper feeling by the slight
tremor in her voice, and the quick blush mantling in her cheek.

"Love you less!" exclaimed Colonel Percy warmly--"my love had been
little worthy of your acceptance, dearest, had it been lessened by
seeing that your principles were paramount even to your affections.
Happy would it be for all your sex, Mary, did they recognize as the only
test of a true and noble love, that it increases with the increase of
esteem, and finds more pleasure in the excellence of its object than in
its own selfish triumphs."

Ere the winter of 1815 had set in, Mary's rounded form and blooming
cheek relieved all Mr. Sinclair's apprehension of her consumptive
tendencies, and proved that her love was indeed, as he had said, "a part
of her life."



CHAPTER XIV.


The New-Year's day--the day after which the year is no longer new--is
come and gone; and while sitting here to record its events before I
sleep, I look back at it with pleasure, chastened by such thoughts as
the young seldom have. I believe of all such eras the aged may say as
the poet says of his birthday:

              "What a different sound
    That word had in my younger years!
    And every time the chain comes round,
    Less and less bright the link appears."

To all, these eras mark their progress on the journey of life; but to
the young they are bright with the promise of a happier future; the
aged, they direct to the grave of the buried past, and they read on them
the inscription so often found on the Roman monumental stones, "Siste,
Viator." Travellers are we from time to eternity, and it is well that we
should meet with these imperative calls to stand and consider. Cheered
by the Christian's hope, we can stand; we can look steadily on the past,
count the lengthening line of these memorials of our dead years, and
feel that but few more probably lie between us and the river of death,
yet, strong in the might of Death's great Conqueror, "bate no jot of
heart or hope."

These are grave though not sad thoughts; too grave to mingle readily
with the record of mirthful scenes, howsoever innocent may have been the
mirth. I must, therefore, lay aside my pen, and reserve the description
of our New-Year for tomorrow.

Our New-Year opened with a cold and cloudless morning, and our party met
at breakfast with faces as bright as the sun. Gifts were exchanged
between the parents and children, the brothers and sisters--gifts,
trifling in themselves, but dear from their association with the
cherished givers. It was an endearing sight to see the venerable parents
receiving from their children testimonies of that affectionate
consideration which the care and tenderness of years had so well
deserved. Tears were on Mrs. Donaldson's cheeks, and even the Colonel's
eyes glistened as they clasped one after another of their children to
their hearts, and invoked on them the blessing of Heaven. From this
scene Mr. Arlington and I had stood aloof, silent, but not uninterested
spectators. As the excitement of the principal actors subsided, we
approached and tendered our hearty congratulations, and received equally
hearty congratulations in return. Neither had Aunt Nancy been altogether
forgotten in the mementos of affection provided for the day; and I
thought Mr. Arlington looked a little envious as Annie, with a kiss,
threw around my neck a chain woven of her own hair, and suspended to it
the eye-glass which I always wore. I do not know but his envy may have
been somewhat allayed by a very handsomely decorated copy of an English
work on sporting, with which Col. Donaldson presented him. He had
scarcely found time, however, to admire it, when all attention was
attracted to Philip Donaldson, who entered with a servant bearing the
mysterious box to which I have before alluded.

"There is my New-Year present to you, Annie," he said, as he began to
open it. All drew near and looked on with interest, yet few felt much
surprise when, the cover being removed, a Greek dress was disclosed.
From the rich head-dress of silvered muslin to the embroidered slipper,
all was complete. Annie looked on with a smile as he displayed piece
after piece--yet her smile wore some appearance of constraint; and when
Philip, drawing her to him, kissed her cheek and said, "Not a word for
me, Annie!" with her thanks were mingled some hesitating expressions of
apprehension that this dress would be very conspicuous, concluding with
the timid question, "Do you really wish me to wear it this evening,
Philip?"

"Certainly, Annie. It was in order to show you in this dress that I
proposed fancy dresses for this evening; you will not disappoint me?"

"Certainly not--at least not willingly--I will wear it. If I wear it
ungracefully you will forgive me?"

"I am not afraid of that," said Philip, as he glanced at her glowing
face with a brother's gratified pride.

Miss Donaldson advised that Annie should try on the dress at once, as
she prudently suggested it might require some alteration.

"Come with me, Aunt Nancy," said Annie as she left the room to comply
with this advice.

"Come back here and let us see you, Annie, when you have put it on,"
said Col. Donaldson.

Annie would have passed from the room without an answer, evading the
compliance which she could not refuse, but the Colonel called her back
and did not dismiss her till assured that the request, which he knew
would be regarded as a command, had been heard.

The dress needed no alteration. We afterwards found that Philip had sent
his friend a measure procured from Annie's maid, and the fit was
perfect. I am not quite sure that Annie, as she saw the beautiful figure
reflected in her glass, regretted the command which compelled her to
show herself to the party awaiting her in the library, to which we had
withdrawn from the breakfasting room, that we might not interfere with
the household operations, of which the latter was, at this hour, the
scene. Yet it was with a little coy delay and blushing timidity that
she, at length, suffered me to lead her thither.

"Beautiful!"--"I never saw her look so well!"--"I knew it would become
her!" were the exclamations that greeted her, on her entrance, deepening
the flush upon her cheek, and calling up a brighter smile to her lips.
Mr. Arlington alone was silent, but his soul was in his eyes, and they
spoke an admiration compared to which the words of others were tame.

"My dear Annie," said her mother, as she gazed delightedly upon her,
"how I wish I had a likeness of you in that dress!--you do look so
remarkably well in it."

Mr. Arlington stepped forward. "Would you permit me--" to Mrs.
Donaldson--"Would you do me the favor--" to Annie--"Might I be
allowed--" with a glance at the Colonel, "to gratify Mrs. Donaldson's
wish. It should be my New-Year's offering. I would ask only an hour of
your time--" deprecatingly to Annie. "That would give me an outline
which I could fill up without troubling you."

Mr. Arlington was so earnest, and Mrs. Donaldson so gratefully pleased,
that if Annie had any objections, they were completely overborne. Mr.
Arlington produced his sketching materials, and disposed his subject and
his light, and then intimated so plainly that the consciousness of the
observation of others would be fatal to his success, that we withdrew,
leaving only Philip with a book in a distant corner "to play propriety,"
as he whispered to me on passing, with a mischievous glance at the
blushing Annie.

And now the reader doubtless thinks, that in the engraving prefixed to
this volume, he has a copy of the sketch made on this New-Year's
morning. In this, however, he deceives himself, for the work of this
morning amounted to the merest and most unfinished outline, which would
have stood for Zuleika as well as for Annie Donaldson. Yet instead of
one hour, Annie generously allowed Mr. Arlington nearly to triple the
time. How he was occupied during all this time, I cannot tell, though
that he did not spend all of it in drawing I had ocular demonstration.

Nearly three hours, as I have said, had passed since we left the
library, when, looking from my window, I saw Philip, returning to the
house on horseback. Having left in the library a book in which I was
much interested, I had been waiting somewhat impatiently for Annie's
appearance, to satisfy me that I might without intrusion return thither
for it. I now concluded, somewhat too hastily, as it afterwards proved,
from seeing Philip abroad, that the sitting was at an end, and
accordingly went for my book. I entered noiselessly, I suppose--I am
usually quiet in my movements--by a door directly opposite to the seat
which Mr. Arlington had arranged for himself, and behind the sofa on
which, at his desire, Annie had been seated when I left her. There still
was Mr. Arlington's seat, and before it a table with the drawing
materials and unfinished sketch, but Mr. Arlington was on the sofa
beside Annie. He was speaking, but in tones so low, that even had I
wished it, I could not have heard him; but the few seconds for which
surprise kept me chained to the spot, were sufficient to suggest the
subject of those murmured words. The reader will probably conjecture
that subject without aid from me, when I tell him what I saw. Of Annie,
as she sat with her back to me, I could only see the drooping head and
one crimson ear and cheek; Mr. Arlington's face was turned to her, and
was glowing with joy, and as it seemed to me with triumph. Before I had
turned away, he raised her hand to his lips. I saw that it rested
unresistingly in his clasp; and gliding through the door by which I
stood, I closed it softly and left them unconscious of my presence.

The invitations had been given for the early hour of half-past seven,
and at seven, by previous arrangement, our own party collected in the
library dressed for the evening. There stood Col. Donaldson in the
uniform of a continental major, gallantly attending a lady whose fine
dark eyes and sweet smile revealed Mrs. Seagrove, notwithstanding the
crimped and powdered hair, patched face, hoop, furbelows, and
farthingale, which would have carried us back to the days of Queen Anne.
Mrs. Dudley, in similar costume, was attended by Philip Donaldson, who
looked a perfect gentleman of the Sir Charles Grandison style in his
full dress, with bag-wig and sword. Arthur Donaldson, in the graceful
and becoming costume of the gallant Hotspur, was seated with his Kate by
his side, and if Kate Percy looked but half as lovely in her bridal
array as did her present representative, she was well worthy a hero's
homage. But in the background, evidently shrinking from observation,
stood a figure more interesting to me than all these--it was our "sweet
Annie" as Zuleika--our Bride, _not_ of Abydos--leaning on the arm of a
Selim habited in a costume as correct and as magnificent as her own, yet
who could scarcely be said to _look_ the character well; the open brow
of Mr. Arlington, where lofty and serene thought seemed to have fixed
its throne, and his eyes bright with present enjoyment and future hope,
bearing little resemblance to our imaginations of the wronged and
desperate Selim, whose very joy seemed but a lightning flash, lending
intenser darkness to the night of his despair. I was the last to enter
the room, and as I approached Mr. Arlington, he presented me with a very
beautiful bouquet. I found afterwards that he had made the same graceful
offering to each of the ladies at the Manor, having received them from
the city, to which he had sent for his Greek dress and Philip's wig. Put
up in the ingenious cases now used for this purpose, the flowers had
come looking as freshly as though they had that moment been plucked. The
bouquet appropriated to Annie differed from all the others. It was
composed of white camelias, moss-rose buds, and violets. As I was
admiring it, Annie pointed to one of the rose-buds as being eminently
lovely in its formation and beautiful in its delicate shading. It was
beautiful, but my attention was more attracted by the sparkling of a
diamond ring I had never before seen upon her finger. The diamond was
unusually large, the antique setting tasteful. With an inconsideration
of which I flatter myself I am not often guilty, I exclaimed in
surprised admiration, "Why, Annie, where did you get that beautiful
ring?"

The sudden withdrawing of the little hand, the quick flushing of cheek,
neck, brow, told the tale at once; a tale corroborated by the smiling
glance which met mine as it was turned for a moment on Mr. Arlington.
Her confusion was beautiful, but he was too generous to enjoy it, and
strove to bring me back to the flowers.

"Have you ever seen some beautiful verses, translated from the German,
by Edward Everett I believe, entitled 'The Flower Angels?'" he asked.

"I never did; can you repeat them?"

He answered by immediately reciting the verses which I here give to the
reader.


THE FLOWER ANGELS.

    As delicate forms as is thine, my love,
    And beauty like thine, have the angels above;
    Yet men cannot see them, though often they come
    On visits to earth from their native home.

    Thou ne'er wilt behold them, but if thou wouldst know
    The houses in which, when they wander below,
    The Angels are fondest of passing their hours,
    I'll tell thee, fair lady--they dwell in the flowers.

    Each flower, as it blossoms, expands to a tent
    For the house of a visiting angel meant;
    From his flight o'er the earth he may there find repose,
    Till again to the vast tent of heaven he goes.

    And this angel his dwelling-place keeps in repair,
    As every good man of his dwelling takes care;
    All around he adorns it, and paints it well,
    And much he's delighted within it to dwell.

    True sunshine of gold, from the orb of day,
    He borrows, his roof with its light to inlay;
    All the lines of each season to him he calls,
    And with them he tinges his chamber walls.

    The bread angels eat, from the flower's fine meal,
    He bakes, so that hunger he never can feel;
    He brews from the dew-drop a drink fresh and good,
    And every thing does which a good angel should.

    And greatly the flowers, as they blossom, rejoice
    That they are the home of the angel's choice;
    And again when to heaven the angel ascends,
    The flower falls asunder, the stalk droops and bends.

    If thou, my dear lady, in truth art inclined,
    The spirits of heaven beside thee to find,
    Reflect on the flowers and love them moreover,
    And angels will always around thee hover.

    A flower do but plant near thy window-glass,
    And through it no spirit of evil can pass;
    When thou goest abroad, on thy bosom wear
    A nosegay, and trust me an angel is near.

    Do but water the lilies at break of day,
    For the hours of the morn thou'lt be whiter than they;
    Let a rose round thy bed night-sentry keep,
    And angels will rock thee on roses to sleep.

    No frightful dreams can approach thy bed,
    For around thee an angel his watch will have spread;
    And whatever visions thy Guardian, to thee,
    Permits to come in, very good ones will be.

    When thus thou art kept by a heavenly spell,
    Shouldst thou now and then dream that I love thee right well;
    Be sure that with fervor and truth I adore thee,
    Or an angel had ne'er set mine image before thee.

The visitors soon began to arrive. There were among them some amusing
characters, so well supported as to give rise during the evening to many
entertaining scenes; but to me this was the group and this the incident
of the evening. Not a group or an incident for prurient curiosity or
frivolous jest, but for an earnest and reverent recognition of that
beautiful law imposed on Nature by her Great Author, by which the feeble
delight in receiving, and the strong in giving support--that law by
which a pure and self-abnegating affection is made the source of life in
all its commingling relations--of its duties and its sympathies--its
joys and its sorrows--of its severest probation and its loftiest
development.

It was in the solemnity of spirit, engendered by thoughts like these,
that I stood at the window of my room, looking forth upon the still and
moonlit night, long after our friends had left us. My door opened softly
and Annie glided in, and ere I was aware of her presence, was standing
beside me with her head resting on my shoulder. A tear was on the cheek
to which I pressed my lips. A few whispered words told me whence the
ring came--but not for the public are the pure, guileless confidences of
that hour.

Our holiday festivities were over, and the next day the Christmas Guests
departed. They had stepped aside awhile from the dusty thoroughfares on
which they were accustomed to pursue their several avocations, for the
interchange of friendly sympathy with each other, and the offering of
grateful hearts to Heaven, and now they were returning, cheered and
strengthened to their allotted work. Reader, go thou and do likewise

    "Like a star
    That maketh not haste,
    That taketh no rest,
    Let each be fulfilling
    His God-given best."

THE END.



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FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: I know not the author of this beautiful hymn. It will be
found in a collection of great merit, called "Songs of the Night."]

[Footnote 2: For this sketch, which for beauty of description, and wild,
thrilling interest, will compare favorably with any known to me, I am
indebted to my friend, Mr. C. Whitehead. M. J. Mc.]

[Footnote 3: Plato calls Truth the body of God, and Light His shadow.]

[Footnote 4: These lines were extracted from a satirical poem published
many years since, under the title of "The Devil's Progress."]





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