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Title: Lemorne Versus Huell
Author: Stoddard, Elizabeth, 1823-1902
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Lemorne Versus Huell" ***

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LEMORNE VERSUS HUELL

Elizabeth Drew Stoddard

Harper's New Monthly Magazine 26 (1863): 537-43.


The two months I spent at Newport with Aunt Eliza Huell, who had been
ordered to the sea-side for the benefit of her health, were the
months that created all that is dramatic in my destiny. My aunt was
troublesome, for she was not only out of health, but in a lawsuit. She
wrote to me, for we lived apart, asking me to accompany her--not because
she was fond of me, or wished to give me pleasure, but because I
was useful in various ways. Mother insisted upon my accepting her
invitation, not because she loved her late husband's sister, but because
she thought it wise to cotton to her in every particular, for Aunt Eliza
was rich, and we--two lone women--were poor.

I gave my music-pupils a longer and earlier vacation than usual, took a
week to arrange my wardrobe--for I made my own dresses--and then started
for New York, with the five dollars which Aunt Eliza had sent for my
fare thither. I arrived at her house in Bond Street at 7 A.M., and found
her man James in conversation with the milkman. He informed me that
Miss Huell was very bad, and that the housekeeper was still in bed. I
supposed that Aunt Eliza was in bed also, but I had hardly entered the
house when I heard her bell ring as she only could ring it--with an
impatient jerk.

"She wants hot milk," said James, "and the man has just come."

I laid my bonnet down, and went to the kitchen. Saluting the cook, who
was an old acquaintance, and who told me that the "divil" had been in
the range that morning, I took a pan, into which I poured some milk, and
held it over the gaslight till it was hot; then I carried it up to Aunt
Eliza.

"Here is your milk, Aunt Eliza. You have sent for me to help you, and I
begin with the earliest opportunity."

"I looked for you an hour ago. Ring the bell."

I rang it.

"Your mother is well, I suppose. She would have sent you, though, had
she been sick in bed."

"She has done so. She thinks better of my coming than I do."

The housekeeper, Mrs. Roll, came in, and Aunt Eliza politely requested
her to have breakfast for her niece as soon as possible.

"I do not go down of mornings yet," said Aunt Eliza, "but Mrs. Roll
presides. See that the coffee is good, Roll."

"It is good generally, Miss Huell."

"You see that Margaret brought me my milk."

"Ahem!" said Mrs. Roll, marching out.

At the beginning of each visit to Aunt Eliza I was in the habit of
dwelling on the contrast between her way of living and ours. We lived
from "hand to mouth." Every thing about her wore a hereditary air; for
she lived in my grandfather's house, and it was the same as in his day.
If I was at home when these contrasts occurred to me I should have felt
angry; as it was, I felt them as in a dream--the china, the silver, the
old furniture, and the excellent fare soothed me.

In the middle of the day Aunt Eliza came down stairs, and after she had
received a visit from her doctor, decided to go to Newport on Saturday.
It was Wednesday; and I could, if I chose, make any addition to my
wardrobe. I had none to make, I informed her. What were my dresses?--had
I a black silk? she asked. I had no black silk, and thought one would be
unnecessary for hot weather.

"Who ever heard of a girl of twenty-four having no black silk! You have
slimsy muslins, I dare say?"

"Yes."

"And you like them?"

"For present wear."

That afternoon she sent Mrs. Roll out, who returned with a splendid
heavy silk for me, which Aunt Eliza said should be made before Saturday,
and it was. I went to a fashionable dress-maker of her recommending, and
on Friday it came home, beautifully made and trimmed with real lace.

"Even the Pushers could find no fault with this," said Aunt Eliza,
turning over the sleeves and smoothing the lace. Somehow she smuggled
into the house a white straw-bonnet, with white roses; also a handsome
mantilla. She held the bonnet before me with a nod, and deposited it
again in the box, which made a part of the luggage for Newport.

On Sunday morning we arrived in Newport, and went to a quiet hotel in
the town. James was with us, but Mrs. Roll was left in Bond Street,
in charge of the household. Monday was spent in an endeavor to make
an arrangement regarding the hire of a coach and coachman. Several
livery-stable keepers were in attendance, but nothing was settled, till
I suggested that Aunt Eliza should send for her own carriage. James was
sent back the next day, and returned on Thursday with coach, horses, and
William her coachman. That matter being finished, and the trunks being
unpacked, she decided to take her first bath in the sea, expecting me to
support her through the trying ordeal of the surf. As we were returning
from the beach we met a carriage containing a number of persons with a
family resemblance.

When Aunt Eliza saw them she angrily exclaimed, "Am I to see those
Uxbridges every day?"

Of the Uxbridges this much I knew--that the two brothers Uxbridge were
the lawyers of her opponents in the lawsuit which had existed three or
four years. I had never felt any interest in it, though I knew that it
was concerning a tract of ground in the city which had belonged to
my grandfather, and which had, since his day, become very valuable.
Litigation was a habit of the Huell family. So the sight of the Uxbridge
family did not agitate me as it did Aunt Eliza.

"The sly, methodical dogs! but I shall beat Lemorne yet!"

"How will you amuse yourself then, aunt?"

"I'll adopt some boys to inherit what I shall save from his clutches."

The bath fatigued her so she remained in her room for the rest of the
day; but she kept me busy with a hundred trifles. I wrote for her,
computed interest, studied out bills of fare, till four o'clock came,
and with it a fog. Nevertheless I must ride on the Avenue, and the
carriage was ordered.

"Wear your silk, Margaret; it will just about last your visit
through--the fog will use it up."

"I am glad of it," I answered.

"You will ride every day. Wear the bonnet I bought for you also."

"Certainly; but won't that go quicker in the fog than the dress?"

"Maybe; but wear it."

I rode every day afterward, from four to six, in the black silk, the
mantilla, and the white straw. When Aunt Eliza went she was so on the
alert for the Uxbridge family carriage that she could have had little
enjoyment of the ride. Rocks never were a passion with her, she said,
nor promontories, chasms, or sand. She came to Newport to be washed
with salt-water; when she had washed up to the doctor's prescription she
should leave, as ignorant of the peculiar pleasures of Newport as
when she arrived. She had no fancy for its conglomerate societies, its
literary cottages, its parvenue suits of rooms, its saloon habits, and
its bathing herds.

I considered the rides a part of the contract of what was expected in my
two months' performance. I did not dream that I was enjoying them, any
more than I supposed myself to be enjoying a sea-bath while pulling Aunt
Eliza to and fro in the surf. Nothing in the life around me stirred me,
nothing in nature attracted me. I liked the fog; somehow it seemed to
emanate from me instead of rolling up from the ocean, and to represent
me. Whether I went alone or not, the coachman was ordered to drive a
certain round; after that I could extend the ride in whatever direction
I pleased, but I always said, "Anywhere, William." One afternoon, which
happened to be a bright one, I was riding on the road which led to the
glen, when I heard the screaming of a flock of geese which were waddling
across the path in front of the horses. I started, for I was asleep
probably, and, looking forward, saw the Uxbridge carriage, filled with
ladies and children, coming toward me; and by it rode a gentleman on
horseback. His horse was rearing among the hissing geese, but neither
horse nor geese appeared to engage him; his eyes were fixed upon me. The
horse swerved so near that its long mane almost brushed against me. By
an irresistible impulse I laid my ungloved hand upon it, but did not
look at the rider. Carriage and horseman passed on, and William resumed
his pace. A vague idea took possession of me that I had seen the
horseman before on my various drives. I had a vision of a man galloping
on a black horse out of the fog, and into it again. I was very sure,
however, that I had never seen him on so pleasant a day as this! William
did not bring his horses to time; it was after six when I went into Aunt
Eliza's parlor, and found her impatient for her tea and toast. She was
crosser than the occasion warranted; but I understood it when she gave
me the outlines of a letter she desired me to write to her lawyer in
New York. Something had turned up, he had written her; the Uxbridges
believed that they had ferreted out what would go against her. I told
her that I had met the Uxbridge carriage.

"One of them is in New York; how else could they be giving me trouble
just now?"

"There was a gentleman on horseback beside the carriage."

"Did he look mean and cunning?"

"He did not wear his legal beaver up, I think; but he rode a fine horse
and sat it well."

"A lawyer on horseback should, like the beggar of the adage, ride to the
devil."

"Your business now is the 'Lemorne?'"

"You know it is."

"I did not know but that you had found something besides to litigate."

"It must have been Edward Uxbridge that you saw. He is the brain of the
firm."

"You expect Mr. Van Horn?"

"Oh, he must come; I can not be writing letters."

We had been in Newport two weeks when Mr. Van Horn, Aunt Eliza's lawyer,
came. He said that he would see Mr. Edward Uxbridge. Between them they
might delay a term, which he thought would be best. "Would Miss Huell
ever be ready for a compromise?" he jestingly asked.

"Are you suspicious?" she inquired.

"No; but the Uxbridge chaps are clever."

He dined with us; and at four o'clock Aunt Eliza graciously asked him
to take a seat in the carriage with me, making some excuse for not going
herself.

"Hullo!" said Mr. Van Horn when we had reached the country road;
"there's Uxbridge now." And he waved his hand to him.

It was indeed the black horse and the same rider that I had met. He
reined up beside us, and shook hands with Mr. Van Horn.

"We are required to answer this new complaint?" said Mr. Van Horn.

Mr. Uxbridge nodded.

"And after that the judgment?"

Mr. Uxbridge laughed.

"I wish that certain gore of land had been sunk instead of being mapped
in 1835."


"The surveyor did his business well enough, I am sure."

They talked together in a low voice for a few minutes, and then Mr. Van
Horn leaned back in his seat again. "Allow me," he said, "to introduce
you, Uxbridge, to Miss Margaret Huell, Miss Huell's niece. Huell _vs._
Brown, you know," he added, in an explanatory tone; for I was Huell
_vs._ Brown's daughter. "Oh!" said Mr. Uxbridge bowing, and looking at
me gravely. I looked at him also; he was a pale, stern-looking man, and
forty years old certainly. I derived the impression at once that he had
a domineering disposition, perhaps from the way in which he controlled
his horse.

"Nice beast that," said Mr. Van Horn.

"Yes," he answered, laying his hand on its mane, so that the action
brought immediately to my mind the recollection that I had done so too.
I would not meet his eye again, however.

"How long shall you remain, Uxbridge?"

"I don't know. You are not interested in the lawsuit, Miss Huell?" he
said, putting on his hat.

"Not in the least; nothing of mine is involved."

"We'll gain it for your portion yet, Miss Margaret," said Mr. Van Horn,
nodding to Mr. Uxbridge, and bidding William drive on. He returned the
next day, and we settled into the routine of hotel life. A few mornings
after, she sent me to a matinee, which was given by some of the Opera
people, who were in Newport strengthening the larynx with applications
of brine. When the concert was half over, and the audience were making
the usual hum and stir, I saw Mr. Uxbridge against a pillar, with his
hands incased in pearl-colored gloves, and holding a shiny hat. He
turned half away when he caught my eye, and then darted toward me.

"You have not been much more interested in the music than you are in the
lawsuit," he said, seating himself beside me.

"The _tutoyer_ of the Italian voice is agreeable, however."

"It makes one dreamy."

"A child."

"Yes, a child; not a man nor a woman."

"I teach music. I can not dream over 'one, two, three.'"


"_You_--a music teacher!"

"For six years."

I was aware that he looked at me from head to foot, and I picked at the
lace on my invariable black silk; but what did it matter whether I owned
that I was a genteel pauper, representing my aunt's position for two
months, or not?

"Where?"

"In Waterbury."

"Waterbury differs from Newport."

"I suppose so."

"You suppose!"

A young gentleman sauntered by us, and Mr. Uxbridge called to him to
look up the Misses Uxbridge, his nieces, on the other side of the hall.

"Paterfamilias Uxbridge has left his brood in my charge," he said. "I
try to do my duty," and he held out a twisted pearl-colored glove, which
he had pulled off while talking. What white nervous fingers he had! I
thought they might pinch like steel.

"You suppose," he repeated.

"I do not look at Newport."

"Have you observed Waterbury?"

"I observe what is in my sphere."

"Oh!"

He was silent then. The second part of the concert began; but I could
not compose myself to appreciation. Either the music or I grew chaotic.
So many tumultuous sounds I heard--of hope, doubt, inquiry, melancholy,
and desire; or did I feel the emotions which these words express? Or was
there magnetism stealing into me from the quiet man beside me? He left
me with a bow before the concert was over, and I saw him making his way
out of the hall when it was finished.

I had been sent in the carriage, of course; but several carriages were
in advance of it before the walk, and I waited there for William to
drive up. When he did so, I saw by the oscillatory motion of his
head, though his arms and whiphand were perfectly correct, that he was
inebriated. It was his first occasion of meeting fellow-coachmen in full
dress, and the occasion had proved too much for him. My hand, however,
was on the coach door, when I heard Mr. Uxbridge say, at my elbow,

"It is not safe for you."

"Oh, Sir, it is in the programme that I ride home from the concert." And
I prepared to step in.

"I shall sit on the box, then."

"But your nieces?"

"They are walking home, squired by a younger knight."

Aunt Eliza would say, I thought, "Needs must when a lawyer drives"; and
I concluded to allow him to have his way, telling him that he was taking
a great deal of trouble. He thought it would be less if he were allowed
to sit inside; both ways were unsafe.

Nothing happened. William drove well from habit; but James was obliged
to assist him to dismount. Mr. Uxbridge waited a moment at the door,
and so there was quite a little sensation, which spread its ripples
till Aunt Eliza was reached. She sent for William, whose only excuse was
"dampness."

"Uxbridge knew my carriage, of course," she said, with a complacent
voice. "He knew me," I replied.

"You do not look like the Huells."

"I look precisely like the young woman to whom he was introduced by Mr.
Van Horn."

"Oh ho!"

"He thought it unsafe for me to come alone under William's charge."

"Ah ha!"

No more was said on the subject of his coming home with me. Aunt Eliza
had several fits of musing in the course of the evening while I read
aloud to her, which had no connection with the subject of the book. As
I put it down she said that it would be well for me to go to church the
next day. I acquiesced, but remarked that my piety would not require the
carriage, and that I preferred to walk. Besides, it would be well for
William and James to attend divine service. She could not spare James,
and thought William had better clean the harness, by way of penance.

The morning proved to be warm and sunny. I donned a muslin dress of home
manufacture and my own bonnet, and started for church. I had walked but
a few paces when the consciousness of being _free_ and _alone_ struck
me. I halted, looked about me, and concluded that I would not go to
church, but walk into the fields. I had no knowledge of the whereabouts
of the fields; but I walked straight forward, and after a while came
upon some barren fields, cropping with coarse rocks, along which ran a
narrow road. I turned into it, and soon saw beyond the rough coast the
blue ring of the ocean--vast, silent, and splendid in the sunshine.
I found a seat on the ruins of an old stone-wall, among some tangled
bushes and briers. There being no Aunt Eliza to pull through the surf,
and no animated bathers near, I discovered the beauty of the sea, and
that I loved it.

Presently I heard the steps of a horse, and, to my astonishment, Mr.
Uxbridge rode past. I was glad he did not know me. I watched him as he
rode slowly down the road, deep in thought. He let drop the bridle, and
the horse stopped, as if accustomed to the circumstance, and pawed the
ground gently, or yawed his neck for pastime. Mr. Uxbridge folded his
arms and raised his head to look seaward. It seemed to me as if he were
about to address the jury. I had dropped so entirely from my observance
of the landscape that I jumped when he resumed the bridle and turned
his horse to come back. I slipped from my seat to look among the
bushes, determined that he should not recognize me; but my attempt was a
failure--he did not ride by the second time.

"Miss Huell!" And he jumped from his saddle, slipping his arm through
the bridle.

"I am a runaway. What do you think of the Fugitive Slave Bill?"

"I approve of returning property to its owners."

"The sea must have been God's temple first, instead of the groves."

"I believe the Saurians were an Orthodox tribe."

"Did you stop yonder to ponder the sea?"

"I was pondering 'Lemorne vs. Huell.'"

He looked at me earnestly, and then gave a tug at the bridle, for his
steed was inclined to make a crude repast from the bushes.

"How was it that I did not detect you at once?" he continued.

"My apparel is Waterbury apparel."

"Ah!"

We walked up the road slowly till we came to the end of it; then I
stopped for him to understand that I thought it time for him to leave
me. He sprang into the saddle.

"Give us good-by!" he said, bringing his horse close to me.

"We are not on equal terms; I feel too humble afoot to salute you."

"Put your foot on the stirrup then."

A leaf stuck in the horse's forelock, and I pulled it off and waved it
in token of farewell. A powerful light shot into his eyes when he saw my
hand close on the leaf.

"May I come and see you?" he asked, abruptly. "I will."

"I shall say neither 'No' or 'Yes.'"

He rode on at a quick pace, and I walked homeward forgetting the sense
of liberty I had started with, and proceeded straightway to Aunt Eliza.

"I have not been to church, aunt, but to walk beyond the town; it was
not so nominated in the bond, but I went. The taste of freedom was so
pleasant that I warn you there is danger of my 'striking.' When will you
have done with Newport?"

"I am pleased with Newport now," she answered, with a curious
intonation. "I like it."

"I do also."

Her keen eyes sparkled. "Did you ever like anything when you were with
me before?"

"Never. I will tell you why I like it: because I have met, and shall
probably meet, Mr. Uxbridge. I saw him to-day. He asked permission to
visit me."

"Let him come."

"He will come."

But we did not see him either at the hotel or when we went abroad.
Aunt Eliza rode with me each afternoon, and each morning we went to
the beach. She engaged me every moment when at home, and I
faithfully performed all my tasks. I clapped to the door on
self-investigation--locked it against any analysis or reasoning upon any
circumstance connected with Mr. Uxbridge. The only piece of treachery to
my code that I was guilty of was the putting of the leaf which I brought
home on Sunday between the leaves of that poem whose motto is,

          "Mariana in the moated grange."

On Saturday morning, nearly a week after I saw him on my walk, Aunt
Eliza proposed that we should go to Turo Street on a shopping excursion;
she wanted a cap, and various articles besides. As we went into a large
shop I saw Mr. Uxbridge at a counter buying gloves; her quick eye caught
sight of him, and she edged away, saying she would look at some goods on
the other side; I might wait where I was. As he turned to go out he saw
me and stopped.

"I have been in New York since I saw you," he said. "Mr. Lemorne sent
for me."

"There is my aunt," I said.

He shrugged his shoulders.

"I shall not go away soon again," he remarked. "I missed Newport
greatly."

I made some foolish reply, and kept my eyes on Aunt Eliza, who dawdled
unaccountably. He appeared amused, and after a little talk went away.

Aunt Eliza's purchase was a rose-colored moire antique, which she said
was to be made for me; for Mrs. Bliss, one of our hotel acquaintances,
had offered to chaperon me to the great ball which would come off in a
few days, and she had accepted the offer for me.

"There will be no chance for you to take a walk instead," she finished
with.

"I can not dance, you know."

"But you will be _there_."


I was sent to a dress-maker of Mrs. Bliss's recommending; but I ordered
the dress to be made after my own design, long plain sleeves, and high
plain corsage, and requested that it should not be sent home till the
evening of the ball. Before it came off Mr. Uxbridge called, and was
graciously received by Aunt Eliza, who could be gracious to all except
her relatives. I could not but perceive, however, that they watched each
other in spite of their lively conversation. To me he was deferential,
but went over the ground of our acquaintance as if it had been the most
natural thing in the world. But for my life-long habit of never calling
in question the behavior of those I came in contact with, and of
never expecting any thing different from that I received, I might have
wondered over his visit. Every person's individuality was sacred to
me, from the fact, perhaps, that my own individuality had never been
respected by any person with whom I had any relation--not even by my own
mother.

After Mr. Uxbridge went, I asked Aunt Eliza if she thought he looked
mean and cunning? She laughed, and replied that she was bound to think
that Mr. Lemorne's lawyer could not look otherwise.

When, on the night of the ball, I presented myself in the rose-colored
moire antique for her inspection, she raised her eyebrows, but said
nothing about it.

"I need not be careful of it, I suppose, aunt?"

"Spill as much wine and ice-cream on it as you like."

In the dressing-room Mrs. Bliss surveyed me.

"I think I like this mass of rose-color," she said. "Your hair comes out
in contrast so brilliantly. Why, you have not a single ornament on!"

"It is so easy to dress without."

This was all the conversation we had together during the evening, except
when she introduced some acquaintance to fulfill her matronizing duties.
As I was no dancer I was left alone most of the time, and amused myself
by gliding from window to window along the wall, that it might not be
observed that I was a fixed flower. Still I suffered the annoyance of
being stared at by wandering squads of young gentlemen, the "curled
darlings" of the ball-room. I borrowed Mrs. Bliss's fan in one of her
visits for a protection. With that, and the embrasure of a remote window
where I finally stationed myself, I hoped to escape further notice. The
music of the celebrated band which played between the dances recalled
the chorus of spirits which charmed Faust:

   "And the fluttering
   Ribbons of drapery
   Cover the plains,
   Cover the bowers,
   Where lovers,
   Deep in thought,
   Give themselves for life."

The voice of Mrs. Bliss broke its spell.

"I bring an old friend, Miss Huell, and he tells me an acquaintance of
yours."

It was Mr. Uxbridge.

"I had no thought of meeting you, Miss Huell."

And he coolly took the seat beside me in the window, leaving to Mrs.
Bliss the alternative of standing or of going away; she chose the
latter.

"I saw you as soon as I came in," he said, "gliding from window to
window, like a vessel hugging the shore in a storm."

"With colors at half-mast; I have no dancing partner."

"How many have observed you?"

"Several young gentlemen."

"Moths."

"Oh no, butterflies."

"They must keep away now."

"Are you Rhadamanthus?"

"And Charon, too. I would have you row in the same boat with me."

"Now you are fishing."

"Won't you compliment me. Did I ever look better?"

His evening costume _was_ becoming, but he looked pale, and weary, and
disturbed. But if we were engaged for a tournament, as his behavior
indicated, I must do my best at telling. So I told him that he
never looked better, and asked him how I looked. He would look at me
presently, he said, and decide. Mrs. Bliss skimmed by us with nods and
smiles; as she vanished our eyes followed her, and we talked vaguely
on various matters, sounding ourselves and each other. When a furious
redowa set in which cut our conversation into rhythm he pushed up the
window and said, "Look out."

I turned my face to him to do so, and saw the moon at the full, riding
through the strip of sky which our vision commanded. From the moon
our eyes fell on each other. After a moment's silence, during which I
returned his steadfast gaze, for I could not help it, he said: "If we
understand the impression we make upon each other, what must be said?"

I made no reply, but fanned myself, neither looking at the moon, nor
upon the redowa, nor upon any thing.

He took the fan from me.

"Speak of yourself," he said.

"Speak you."

"I am what I seem, a man within your sphere. By all the accidents of
position and circumstance suited to it. Have you not learned it?"

"I am not what I seem. I never wore so splendid a dress as this till
tonight, and shall not again."

He gave the fan such a twirl that its slender sticks snapped, and it
dropped like the broken wing of a bird.

"Mr. Uxbridge, that fan belongs to Mrs. Bliss."

He threw it out of the window.

"You have courage, fidelity, and patience--this character with a
passionate soul. I am sure that you have such a soul?"


"I do not know."

"I have fallen in love with you. It happened on the very day when I
passed you on the way to the Glen. I never got away from the remembrance
of seeing your hand on the mane of my horse."

He waited for me to speak, but I could not; the balance of my mind was
gone. Why should this have happened to me--a slave? As it had happened,
why did I not feel exultant in the sense of power which the chance for
freedom with him should give?

"What is it, Margaret? your face is as sad as death."

"How do you call me 'Margaret?'"

"As I would call my wife--Margaret."

He rose and stood before me to screen my face from observation. I
supposed so, and endeavored to stifle my agitation.

"You are better," he said, presently. "Come go with me and get some
refreshment." And he beckoned to Mrs. Bliss, who was down the hall with
an unwieldy gentleman.

"Will you go to supper now?" she asked. "We are only waiting for you,"
Mr. Uxbridge answered, offering me his arm.

When we emerged into the blaze and glitter of the supper-room I sought
refuge in the shadow of Mrs. Bliss's companion, for it seemed to me that
I had lost my own.

"Drink this Champagne," said Mr. Uxbridge. "Pay no attention to the
Colonel on your left; he won't expect it."

"Neither must you."

"Drink."

The Champagne did not prevent me from reflecting on the fact that he had
not yet asked whether I loved him.

The spirit chorus again floated through my mind:

   "Where lovers,
   Deep in thought,
   _Give_ themselves for life."

I was not allowed to _give_ myself--I was _taken_.

"No heel-taps," he whispered, "to the bottom quaff."

"Take me home, will you?"

"Mrs. Bliss is not ready."

"Tell her that I must go."

He went behind her chair and whispered something, and she nodded to me
to go without her.

When her carriage came up, I think he gave the coachman an order to
drive home in a round-about way, for we were a long time reaching it.
I kept my face to the window, and he made no effort to divert my
attention. When we came to a street whose thick rows of trees shut out
the moonlight my eager soul longed to leap out into the dark and demand
of him his heart, soul, life, for _me_.

I struck him lightly on the shoulder; he seized my hand.

"Oh, I know you, Margaret; you are mine!"

"We are at the hotel."

He sent the carriage back, and said that he would leave me at my aunt's
door. He wished that he could see her then. Was it magic that made her
open the door before I reached it?

"Have you come on legal business?" she asked him.

"You have divined what I come for."

"Step in, step in; it's very late. I should have been in bed but for
neuralgia. Did Mr. Uxbridge come home with you, Margaret?"

"Yes, in Mrs. Bliss's carriage; I wished to come before she was ready to
leave."

"Well, Mr. Uxbridge is old enough for your protector, certainly."

"I _am_ forty, ma'am."

"Do you want Margaret?"

"I do."

"You know exactly how much is involved in your client's suit?"

"Exactly."

"You know also that his claim is an unjust one."

"Do I?"

"I shall not be poor if I lose; if I gain, Margaret will be rich."

"'Margaret will be rich,'" he repeated, absently.

"What! have you changed your mind respecting the orphans, aunt?"

"She has, and is--nothing," she went on, not heeding my remark. "Her
father married below his station; when he died his wife fell back to her
place--for he spent his fortune--and there she and Margaret must remain,
unless Lemorne is defeated."

"Aunt, for your succinct biography of my position many thanks."

"Sixty thousand dollars," she continued. "Van Horn tells me that, as
yet, the firm of Uxbridge Brothers have only an income--no capital."

"It is true," he answered, musingly.

The clock on the mantle struck two.

"A thousand dollars for every year of my life," she said. "You and I,
Uxbridge, know the value and beauty of money.

"Yes, there is beauty in money, and"--looking at me--"beauty without
it."

"The striking of the clock," I soliloquized, "proves that this scene is
not a phantasm."

"Margaret is fatigued," he said, rising. "May I come to-morrow?"


"It is my part only," replied Aunt Eliza, "to see that she is, or is
not, Cinderella."

"If you have ever thought of me, aunt, as an individual, you must have
seen that I am not averse to ashes."

He held my hand a moment, and then kissed me with a kiss of
appropriation.

"He is in love with you," she said, after he had gone. "I think I
know him. He has found beauty ignorant of itself; he will teach you to
develop it."

The next morning Mr. Uxbridge had an interview with Aunt Eliza before he
saw me.

When we were alone I asked him how her eccentricities affected him; he
could not but consider her violent, prejudiced, warped, and whimsical.
I told him that I had been taught to accept all that she did on this
basis. Would this explain to him my silence in regard to her?

"Can you endure to live with her in Bond Street for the present, or
would you rather return to Waterbury?"

"She desires my company while she is in Newport only. I have never been
with her so long before."

"I understand her. Law is a game, in her estimation, in which cheating
can as easily be carried on as at cards."

"Her soul is in this case."

"Her soul is not too large for it. Will you ride this afternoon?"

I promised, of course. From that time till he left Newport we saw each
other every day, and though I found little opportunity to express my own
peculiar feelings, he comprehended many of my wishes, and all my
tastes. I grew fond of him hourly. Had I not reason? Never was friend so
considerate, never was lover more devoted.

When he had been gone a few days, Aunt Eliza declared that she was ready
to depart from Newport. The rose-colored days were ended! In two days we
were on the Sound, coach, horses, servants, and ourselves.

It was the 1st of September when we arrived in Bond Street. A week from
that date Samuel Uxbridge, the senior partner of Uxbridge Brothers, went
to Europe with his family, and I went to Waterbury, accompanied by Mr.
Uxbridge. He consulted mother in regard to our marriage, and appointed
it in November. In October Aunt Eliza sent for me to come back to Bond
Street and spend a week. She had some fine marking to do, she wrote.
While there I noticed a restlessness in her which I had never before
observed, and conferred with Mrs. Roll on the matter. "She do be awake
nights a deal, and that's the reason," Mrs. Roll said. Her manner was
the same in other respects. She said she would not give me any thing for
my wedding outfit, but she paid my fare from Waterbury and back.

She could not spare me to go out, she told Mr. Uxbridge, and in
consequence I saw little of him while there.

In November we were married. Aunt Eliza was not at the wedding, which
was a quiet one. Mr. Uxbridge desired me to remain in Waterbury till
spring. He would not decide about taking a house in New York till then;
by that time his brother might return, and if possible we would go to
Europe for a few months. I acquiesced in all his plans. Indeed I was not
consulted; but I was happy--happy in him, and happy in every thing.

The winter passed in waiting for him to come to Waterbury every
Saturday; and in the enjoyment of the two days he passed with me. In
March Aunt Eliza wrote me that Lemorne was beaten! Van Horn had taken up
the whole contents of his snuff-box in her house the evening before in
amazement at the turn things had taken.

That night I dreamed of the scene in the hotel at Newport. I heard Aunt
Eliza saying, "If I gain, Margaret will be rich." And I heard also the
clock strike two. As it struck I said, "_My husband is a scoundrel_,"
and woke with a start.





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