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´╗┐Title: Alonzo and Melissa - The Unfeeling Father
Author: Jackson, Daniel, 1790-, Mitchell, I. (Isaac), 1759?-1812
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 "Alonzo and Melissa - The Unfeeling Father" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



[Transcriber's Note:

This e-text is based on the 1851 Boston edition of _Alonzo and Melissa_.
The story originally appeared in 1804 as a serial in the weekly
_Political Barometer_ of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., written by the newspaper's
editor, Isaac Mitchell. Pirated versions began to appear in 1811,
giving Daniel Jackson, Jr., as author.

The book was printed as a single unit, without chapter divisions.
The breaks in the e-text represent the 22 installments of the serial
version.

Note that the standard punctuation for dialogue is

  "To this place, said Melissa, have I taken many a solitary walk...."

The following are listed at the end of the e-text:

  Chronology of the Story
  Quotations
  Other Editions
  Errors and Inconsistencies]



  ALONZO AND MELISSA,

    or

  THE UNFEELING FATHER.

    An

  AMERICAN TALE.


    In every varied posture, place, and hour,
    How widowed every thought of every joy!

        YOUNG.


  BY DANIEL JACKSON, Jr.


  Boston:
  Printed for the Publishers.
  1851.



PREFACE


Whether the story of Alonzo and Melissa will generally please, the
writer knows not; if, however, he is not mistaken, it is not unfriendly
to religion and to virtue.--One thing was aimed to be shown, that a firm
reliance on Providence, however the affections might be at war with its
dispensations, is the only source of consolation in the gloomy hours of
affliction; and that generally such dependence, though crossed by
difficulties and perplexities, will be crowned with victory at last.

It is also believed that the story contains no indecorous stimulants;
nor is it filled with unmeaning and inexplicated incidents sounding upon
the sense, but imperceptible to the understanding. When anxieties have
been excited by involved and doubtful events, they are afterwards
elucidated by the consequences.

The writer believes that generally he has copied nature. In the ardent
prospects raised in youthful bosoms, the almost consummation of their
wishes, their sudden and unexpected disappointment, the sorrows of
separation, the joyous and unlooked for meeting--in the poignant
feelings of Alonzo, when, at the grave of Melissa, he poured the
feelings of his anguished soul over her miniature by the "moon's pale
ray;"----when Melissa, sinking on her knees before her father, was
received to his bosom as a beloved daughter risen from the dead.

If these scenes are not imperfectly drawn, they will not fail to
interest the refined sensibilities of the reader.



ALONZO AND MELISSA.

A TALE.


In the time of the late revolution, two young gentlemen of Connecticut,
who had formed an indissoluble friendship, graduated at Yale College in
New-Haven: their names were Edgar and Alonzo. Edgar was the son of a
respectable farmer. Alonzo's father was an eminent merchant. Edgar was
designed for the desk, Alonzo for the bar; but as they were allowed some
vacant time after their graduation before they entered upon their
professional studies, they improved this interim in mutual, friendly
visits, mingling with select parties in the amusements of the day, and
in travelling through some parts of the United States.

Edgar had a sister who, for some time, had resided with her cousin at
New-London. She was now about to return, and it was designed that Edgar
should go and attend her home. Previous to the day on which he was to
set out, he was unfortunately thrown from his horse, which so much
injured him as to prevent his prosecuting his intended journey: he
therefore invited Alonzo to supply his place; which invitation he
readily accepted, and on the day appointed set out for New-London, where
he arrived, delivered his introductory letters to Edgar's cousin, and
was received with the most friendly politeness.

Melissa, the sister of Edgar, was about sixteen years of age. She was
not what is esteemed a striking beauty, but her appearance was
pleasingly interesting. Her figure was elegant; her aspect was
attempered with a pensive mildness, which in her cheerful moments would
light up into sprightliness and vivacity. Though on first impression,
her countenance was marked by a sweet and thoughtful serenity, yet she
eminently possessed the power to

  "Call round her laughing eyes, in playful turns,
  The glance that lightens, and the smile that burns."

Her mind was adorned with those delicate graces which are the first
ornaments of female excellence. Her manners were graceful without
affectation, and her taste had been properly directed by a suitable
education.

Alonzo was about twenty-one years old; he had been esteemed an excellent
student. His appearance was manly, open and free. His eye indicated a
nobleness of soul; although his aspect was tinged with melancholy, yet
he was naturally cheerful. His disposition was of the romantic cast;

  "For far beyond the pride and pomp of power,
  He lov'd the realms of nature to explore;
  With lingering gaze Edinian spring survey'd;
  Morn's fairy splendours; night's gay curtained shade,
  The high hoar cliff, the grove's benighting gloom,
  The wild rose, widowed o'er the mouldering tomb;
  The heaven embosom'd sun; the rainbow's dye,
  Where lucid forms disport to fancy's eye;
  The vernal flower, mild autumn's purpling glow,
  The summer's thunder and the winter's snow."

It was evening when Alonzo arrived at the house of Edgar's cousin.
Melissa was at a ball which had been given on a matrimonial occasion in
the town. Her cousin waited on Alonzo to the ball, and introduced him to
Melissa, who received him with politeness. She was dressed in white,
embroidered and spangled with rich silver lace; a silk girdle, enwrought
and tasseled with gold, surrounded her waist; her hair was unadorned
except by a wreath of artificial flowers, studded by a single diamond.

After the ball closed, they returned to the house of Edgar's cousin.
Melissa's partner at the ball was the son of a gentleman of independent
fortune in New-London. He was a gay young man, aged about twenty-five.
His address was easy, his manners rather voluptuous than refined;
confident, but not ungraceful. He led the ton in fashionable circles;
gave taste its zest, and was quite a favorite with the ladies generally.
His name was Beauman.

Edgar's cousin proposed to detain Alonzo and Melissa a few days, during
which time they passed in visiting select friends and social parties.
Beauman was an assiduous attendant upon Melissa. He came one afternoon
to invite her to ride out;--she was indisposed and excused herself. At
evening she proposed walking out with her cousin and his lady; but they
were prevented from attending her by unexpected company. Alonzo offered
to accompany her. It was one of those beautiful evenings in the month of
June, when nature in those parts of America is arrayed in her richest
dress. They left the town and walked through fields adjoining the
harbour.--The moon shone in full lustre, her white beams trembling upon
the glassy main, where skiffs and sails of various descriptions were
passing and repassing. The shores of Long-Island and the other islands
in the harbour, appeared dimly to float among the waves. The air was
adorned with the fragrance of surrounding flowers; the sound of
instrumental music wafted from the town, rendered sweeter by distance,
while the whippoorwill's sprightly song echoed along the adjacent
groves. Far in the eastern horizon hung a pile of brazen clouds, which
had passed from the north, over which, the crinkling red lightning
momentarily darted, and at times, long peals of thunder were faintly
heard. They walked to a point of the beach, where stood a large rock
whose base was washed by every tide. On this rock they seated
themselves, and enjoyed a while the splendours of the scene--the drapery
of nature. "To this place, said Melissa, have I taken many a solitary
walk, on such an evening as this, and seated on this rock, have I
experienced more pleasing sensations than I ever received in the most
splendid ball-room." The idea impressed the mind of Alonzo; it was
congenial with the feeling of his soul.

They returned at a late hour, and the next day set out for home. Beauman
handed Melissa into the carriage, and he, with Edgar's cousin and his
lady, attended them on their first day's journey. They put up at night
at the house of an acquaintance in Branford. The next morning they
parted; Melissa's cousin, his lady and Beauman, returned to New-London;
Alonzo and Melissa pursued their journey, and at evening arrived at her
father's house, which was in the westerly part of the state.

       *       *       *       *       *

Melissa was received with joyful tenderness by her friends. Edgar soon
recovered from his fall, and cheerfulness again assumed its most
pleasing aspect in the family.--Edgar's father was a plain Connecticut
farmer. He was rich, and his riches had been acquired by his diligent
attention to business. He had loaned money, and taken mortgages on lands
and houses for securities; and as payment frequently failed, he often
had opportunities of purchasing the involved premises at his own price.
He well knew the worth of a shilling, and how to apply it to its best
use; and in casting interest, he was sure never to lose a farthing.
He had no other children except Edgar and Melissa, on whom he
doated.--Destitute of literature himself, he had provided the means of
obtaining it for his son, and as he was a rigid presbyterian, he
considered that Edgar could no where figure so well, or gain more
eminence, than in the sacred desk.

The time now arrived when Edgar and Alonzo were to part. The former
repaired to New-York, where he was to enter upon his professional
studies. The latter entered in the office of an eminent attorney in his
native town, which was about twenty miles distant from the village in
which lived the family of Edgar and Melissa. Alonzo was the frequent
guest of this family; for though Edgar was absent, there was still a
charm which attracted him hither. If he had admired the manly virtues of
the brother, could he fail to adore the sublimer graces of the sister?
If all the sympathies of the most ardent friendship had been drawn forth
towards the former, must not the most tender passions of the soul be
attracted by the milder and more refined excellencies of the other?

Beauman had become the suitor of Melissa; but the distance of residence
rendered it inconvenient to visit her often. He came regularly once in
two or three months; of course Alonzo and he sometimes met. Beauman had
made no serious pretensions, but his particularity indicated something
more than fashionable politeness.

His manners, his independent situation, his family, entitled him to
respect. "It is not probable therefore that he will be objectionable to
Melissa's friends or to Melissa herself," said Alonzo, with an
involuntary sigh.

But as Beauman's visits to Melissa became more frequent, an increasing
anxiety took place in Alonzo's bosom. He wished her to remain single;
the idea of losing her by marriage, gave him inexpressible regret. What
substitute could supply the happy hours he had passed in her company?
What charm could wing the lingering moments when she was gone? In the
recess of his studies, he could, in a few hours, be at the seat of her
father: there his cares were dissipated, and the troubles of life, real
or imaginary, on light pinions, fleeted away.--How different would be
the scene when debarred from the unreserved friendship and conversation
of Melissa; And unreserved it could not be, were she not exclusively
mistress of herself. But was there not something of a more refined
texture than friendship in his predilection for the company of Melissa?
If so, why not avow it? His prospects, his family, and of course his
pretensions might not be inferior to those of Beauman. But perhaps
Beauman was preferred. His opportunities had been greater; he had formed
an acquaintance with her. Distance proved no barrier to his addresses.
His visits became more and more frequent. Was it not then highly
probable that he had secured her affections? Thus reasoned Alonzo, but
the reasoning tended not to allay the tempest which was gathering in his
bosom. He ordered his horse, and was in a short time at the seat of
Melissa's father.

It was summer, and towards evening when he arrived. Melissa was sitting
by the window when he entered the hall. She arose and received him with
a smile. "I have just been thinking of an evening's walk, said she, but
had no one to attend me, and you have come just in time to perform that
office. I will order tea immediately, while you rest from the fatigues
of your journey."

When tea was served up, a servant entered the room with a letter which
he had found in the yard. Melissa received it.--"'Tis a letter, said
she, which I sent by Beauman, to a lady in New-London, and the careless
man has lost it." Turning to Alonzo, "I forgot to tell you that your
friend Beauman has been with us a few days; he left us this morning."

"My friend!" replied Alonzo, hastily.

"Is he not your friend?" enquired Melissa.

"I beg pardon, madam," answered he, "my mind was absent."

"He requested us to present his respects to his friend Alonzo," said
she. Alonzo bowed and turned the conversation.

They walked out and took a winding path which led along pleasant fields
by a gliding stream, through a little grove and up a sloping eminence,
which commanded an extensive prospect of the surrounding country; Long
Island, and the sound between that and the main land, and the opening
thereof to the distant ocean.

A soft and silent shower had descended; a thousand transitory gems
trembled upon the foliage glittering the western ray.--A bright rainbow
sat upon a southern cloud; the light gales whispered among the branches,
agitated the young harvest to billowy motion, or waved the tops of the
distant deep green forest with majestic grandeur. Flocks, herds, and
cottages were scattered over the variegated landscape.

Hills piled on hills, receding, faded from the pursuing eye, mingling
with the blue mist which hovered around the extreme verge of the
horizon. "This is a most delightful scene," said Melissa.

"It is indeed, replied Alonzo; can New-London boast so charming a
prospect?"

Melissa. No--yes; indeed I can hardly say. You know, Alonzo, how I am
charmed with the rock at the point of the beach.

Alonzo. You told me of the happy hours you had passed at that place.
Perhaps the company which attended you there, gave the scenery its
highest embellishment.

Melissa. I know not how it happened; but you are the only person who
ever attended me there.

Alonzo. That is a little surprising.

Mel. Why surprising?

Al. Where was Beauman?

Mel. Perhaps he was not fond of solitude. Besides he was not always my
Beauman.

Al. Sometimes.

Mel. Yes, sometimes.

Al. And now always.

Mel. Not this evening.

Al. He formerly.

Mel. Well.

Al. And will soon claim the exclusive privilege so to do.

Mel. That does not follow of course.

Al. Of course, if his intentions are sincere, and the wishes of another
should accord therewith.

Mel. Who am I to understand by another?

Al. Melissa. [A pause ensued.]

Mel. See that ship, Alonzo, coming up the sound; how she ploughs through
the white foam, while the breezes flutter among the sails, varying with
the beams of the sun.

Al. Yes, it is almost down.

Mel. What is almost down?

Al. The sun. Was not you speaking of the sun, madam?

Mel. Your mind is absent, Alonzo; I was speaking of yonder ship.

Al. I beg pardon, madam. O yes--the ship--it--it bounds with rapid
motion over the waves.

A pause ensued. They walked leisurely around the hill, and moved toward
home. The sun sunk behind the western hills.--Twilight arose in the
east, and floated along the air. Darkness began to hover around the
woodlands and vallies. The beauties of the landscape slowly receded.
"This reminds me of our walk at New-London," said Melissa. "Do you
remember it?" enquired Alonzo. "Certainly I do," she replied, "I shall
never forget the sweet pensive scenery of my favourite rock." "Nor I
neither," said Alonzo with a deep drawn sigh.

The next day Alonzo returned to his studies; but, different from his
former visits to Melissa, instead of exhilarating his spirits, this had
tended to depress them. He doubted whether Melissa was not already
engaged to Beauman. His hopes would persuade him that this was not the
case; but his fears declared otherwise.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was some time before Alonzo renewed his visit. In the interim he
received a letter from a friend in the neighbourhood of Melissa's
father; an extract from which follows:

"We are soon to have a wedding here; you are acquainted with the
parties--Melissa D---- and Beauman. Such at least is our opinion from
appearances, as Beauman is now here more than half his time.--You will
undoubtedly be a guest. We had expected that you would have put in your
claims, from your particular attention to the lady. She is a fine girl,
Alonzo."

"I shall never be a guest at Melissa's wedding," said Alonzo, as he
hastily paced the room; "but I must once again see her before that event
takes place, when I lose her forever." The next day he repaired to her
father's. He enquired for Melissa; she was gone with a party to the
shores of the sound, attended by Beauman. At evening they returned.
Beauman and Alonzo addressed each other with much seeming cordiality.
"You have deceived us, Alonzo, said Melissa. We concluded you had
forgotten the road to this place."

"Was not that a hasty conclusion?" replied Alonzo. "I think not, she
answered, if your long absence should be construed into neglect. But we
will hear your excuse said she, smiling, by and by, and perhaps pardon
you." He thanked her for her condescension.

The next morning Beauman set out for New-London. Alonzo observed that he
took a tender leave of Melissa, telling her, in a low voice, that he
should have the happiness of seeing her again within two or three weeks.
After he was gone, as Melissa and Alonzo were sitting in a room alone,
"Well, said she, am I to hear your excuses?"

Alonzo. For what, madam?

Mel. For neglecting your friends.

Alonzo. I hope it is not so considered, madam.

Mel. Seriously, then, why have you stayed away so long? Has this place
no charms in the absence of my brother?

Al. Would my presence have added to your felicities, Melissa?

Mel. You never came an unwelcome visiter here.

Al. Perhaps I might be sometimes intrusive.

Mel. What times?

Al. When Beauman is your guest.

Mel. I have supposed you were on friendly terms.

Al. We are.

Mel. Why then intrusive?

Al. There are seasons when friendship must yield its pretensions to a
superior claim.

Mel. Perhaps I do not rightly comprehend the force of that remark.

Al. Was Beauman here, my position might be demonstrated.

Mel. I think I understand you.

Al. And acknowledge my observation to be just?

Mel. (hesitating.) Yes--I believe I must.

Al. And appropriate?

Melissa was silent.

Al. You hesitate, Melissa.

She was still silent.

Al. Will you, Melissa, answer me one question?

Mel. (confused.) If it be a proper one you are entitled to candour.

Al. Are you engaged to Beauman?

Mel. (blushing.) He has asked me the same question concerning you.

Al. Do you prefer him to any other?

Mel. (deeply blushing, her eyes cast upon the floor.) He has made the
same enquiry respecting you.

Al. Has he asked your father's permission to address you?

Mel. That I have not suffered him yet to do.

Al. Yet!

Mel. I assure you I have not.

Al. (taking her hand with anxiety.) Melissa, I beg you will deal
candidly. I am entitled to no claims, but you know what my heart would
ask. I will bow to your decision. Beauman or Alonzo must relinquish
their pretensions. We cannot share the blessing.

Mel. (her cheeks suffused with a varying glow, her lips pale, her voice
tremulous, her eyes still cast down.) My parents have informed me that
it is improper to receive the particular addresses of more than one.
I am conscious of my inadvertency, and that the reproof is just. One
therefore must be dismissed. But--(she hesitated.)

A considerable pause ensued. At length Alonzo arose--"I will not press
you farther," said he; "I know the delicacy of your feeling, I know your
sincerity; I will not therefore insist on your performing the painful
task of deciding against me. Your conduct in every point of view has
been discreet. I could have no just claims, or if I had, your heart must
sanction them, or they would be unhallowed and unjustifiable. I shall
ever pray for your felicity.--Our affections are not under our
direction; our happiness depends on our obedience to their mandates.
Whatever, then, may be my sufferings, you are unblameable and
irreproachable." He took his hat in extreme agitation, and prepared to
take his leave.

Melissa had recovered in some degree from her embarrassment, and
collected her scattered spirits. "Your conduct, Alonzo, said she, is
generous and noble. Will you give yourself the trouble, and do me the
honour to see me once more?" "I will, said he, at any time you shall
appoint."--"Four weeks then, she said, from this day, honour me with a
visit, and you shall have my decision, and receive my final answer."
"I will be punctual to the day," he replied, and bade her adieu.

       *       *       *       *       *

Alonzo's hours now winged heavily away. His wonted cheerfulness fled;
he wooed the silent and solitary haunts of "musing, moping melancholy."
He loved to wander through lonely fields, or along the verge of some
lingering stream, "when dewy twilight rob'd the evening mild," or
"to trace the forest glen, through which the moon darted her silvery
intercepted ray."

He was fondly indulging a tender passion which preyed upon his peace,
and deeply disturbed his repose. He looked anxiously to the hour when
Melissa was to make her decision. He wished, yet dreaded the event.
In that he foresaw, or thought he foresaw, a withering blight to his
budding hopes, and a final consummation to his foreboding fears. He had
pressed Melissa, perhaps too urgently, to a declaration.--Had her
predilection been in his favour, would she have hesitated to avow it?
Her parents had advised her to relinquish, and had permitted her to
retain one suitor, nor had they attempted to influence or direct her
choice. Was it not evident, then, from her confused hesitation and
embarrassment, when solicited to discriminate upon the subject, that her
ultimate decision would be in favour of Beauman?

While Alonzo's mind was thus agitated, he received a second letter from
his friend in the neighbourhood of Melissa. He read the following clause
therein with emotions more easily to be conceived than expressed:

"Melissa's wedding day is appointed. I need not tell you that Beauman is
to be the happy deity of the hymeneal sacrifice. I had this from his own
declaration. He did not name the positive day, but it is certainly to be
soon. You will undoubtedly, however, have timely notice, as a guest. We
must pour a liberal libation upon the mystic altar, Alonzo, and twine
the nuptial garland with wreaths of joy. Beauman ought to devote a rich
offering to so valuable a prize. He has been here for a week, and
departed for New-London yesterday, but is shortly to return."

"And why have I ever doubted this event? said Alonzo. What infatuation
hath thus led me on the pursuit of fantastic and unreal bliss? I have
had, it is true, no positive assurance that Melissa would favour my
addresses. But why did she ever receive them? Why did she enchantingly
smile upon me? Why fascinate the tender powers of my soul by that
winning mildness, and the favourable display of those complicated and
superior attractions which she must have known were irresistible?--Why
did she not spurn me from her confidence, and plainly tell me that my
attentions were untimely and improper? And now she would have me dance
attendance to her decision in favour of Beauman--Insulting! Let Beauman
and she make, as they have formed, this farcical decision; I absolutely
will never attend it.--But stop: I have engaged to see her at an
appointed time; my honour is therefore pledged for an interview; it must
take place. I shall support it with becoming dignity, and I will
convince Melissa and Beauman that I am not the dupe of their caprices.
But let me consider--What has Melissa done to deserve censure or
reproach? Her brother was my early friend: she has treated me as a
friend to her brother. She was unconscious of the flame which her charms
had kindled in my bosom.--Her evident embarrassment and confusion on
receiving my declaration, witnessed her surprise and prior attachment.
What could she do? To save herself the pain of a direct denial, she had
appointed a day when her refusal may come in a more delicate and formal
manner--and I must meet it."

At the appointed day, Alonzo proceeded to the house of Melissa's father,
where he arrived late in the afternoon. Melissa had retired to a little
summer house at the end of the garden; a servant conducted Alonzo
thither. She was dressed in a flowing robe of white muslin, embroidered
with a deep fringe lace. Her hair hung loosely upon her shoulders; she
was contemplating a bouquet of flowers which she held in her hand.
Alonzo fancied she never appeared so lovely. She arose to receive him.
"We have been expecting you some time, said Melissa; we were anxious to
inform you, that we have just received a letter from my brother, in
which he desires us to present you his most friendly respects, and
complains of your not writing to him lately so frequently as usual."
Alonzo thanked her for the information; said that business prevented
him; he esteemed him as his most valuable friend, and would be more
particular in future.

"We have been thronged with company for several days, said Melissa. Once
a year my father celebrates his birth day, when we are honoured with so
numerous a company of uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews and nieces, that
were you present, you would suppose we were connected with half the
families in Connecticut. The last of this company took their departure
yesterday, and I have only to regret, that I have for nearly a week,
been prevented from visiting my favourite hill, to which you attended me
when you was last here. It is much improved since then: I have had a
little arbour built under the large tree on its summit: you will have no
objection to view it, Alonzo?" He assured her he accepted the invitation
with pleasure, and towards evening they resorted to the place and seated
themselves in the arbour.

It was the beginning of autumn, and a yellow hue was spread over the
fading charms of nature. The withering forest began to shed its decaying
foliage, which the light gales pursued along the russet fields. The low
sun extended the lengthening shadows; curling smoke ascended from the
surrounding cottages. A thick fog crept along the vallies; a gray mist
hovered over the tops of the mountains. The glassy surface of the sound
glittered to the sun's departing ray. The solemn herds lowed in
monotonous symphony. The autumnal insects in sympathetic wafting,
plaintively predicted their approaching fate. "The scene is changed
since we last visited this place, said Melissa; the gay charms of summer
are beginning to decay, and must soon yield their splendors to the rude
despoiling hand of winter."

"That will be the case, said Alonzo, before I shall have the pleasure of
your company here again."

Mel. That probably may be, though it is nearly two months yet to winter.

Al. Great changes may take place within that time.

Mel. Yes, changes must take place; but nothing, I hope, to embitter
present prospects.

Al. (peevishly.) As it respects yourself, I trust not, madam.

Mel. (tenderly.) And I sincerely hope not, as it respects you, Alonzo.

Al. That wish, I believe, is vain.

Mel. Why so ominous a prediction?

Al. The premises, from which it is drawn, are correct.

Mel. Your feelings accord with the season, Alonzo; you are melancholy.
Shall we return?

Al. I ask your pardon, madam; I know I am unsociable. You speak of
returning: You know the occasion of my being here.

Mel. For the purpose of visiting your friends, I presume.

Al. And no other?

She made no reply.

Al. You cannot have forgotten your own appointment, and consequent
engagement?

She made no answer.

Al. I know, Melissa, that you are incapable of duplicity or evasion.
I have promised, and now repeat the declaration, that I will silently
submit to your decision. This you have engaged to make, and this is the
time you have appointed. The pains of present suspense can scarcely be
surpassed by the pangs of disappointment. On your part you have nothing
to fear. I trust you have candidly determined, and will decide
explicitly.

Mel. (sighing.) I am placed in an exceedingly delicate situation.

Al. I know you are; but your own honour, your own peace, require that
you should extricate yourself from the perplexing embarrassment.

Mel. I am sensible they do. It must--it shall be done.

Al. And the sooner it is done the better.

Mel. That I am convinced of. I now know that I have been inadvertently
indiscreet. I have admitted the addresses of Beauman and yourself,
without calculating or expecting the consequences. You have both treated
me honourably, and with respect. You are both on equal grounds as to
your character and standing in life. With Beauman I became first
acquainted. As it relates to him, some new arrangements have taken place
since you were here, which----

Al. (interrupting her, with emotion.) Of those arrangements I am
acquainted.

Mel. (surprised.) By what means were you informed thereof?

Al. I received it from a friend in your neighbourhood.

A considerable pause ensued.

Al. You see, Melissa, I am prepared for the event.--She was silent.

Al. I have mentioned before, that, whatever be your decision, no
impropriety can attach to you. I might not, indeed, from various
circumstances, and from the information I possess, I perhaps should not,
have given you farther trouble on the occasion, had it not been from
your own direction and appointment. And I am now willing to retire
without further explanation, without giving you the pain of an express
decision, if you think the measure expedient. Your declaration can only
be a matter of form, the consequence of which I know, and my proposition
may save your feelings.

Mel. No, Alonzo; my reputation depends on my adherence to my first
determination; justice to yourself and to Beauman also demand it. After
what has passed, I should be considered as acting capriciously and
inconsistently, should I depart from it. Beauman will be here to-morrow,
and----

Al. To-morrow, madam?

Mel. He will be here to-morrow, and you must consent to stay with us
until that time; the matter shall then be decided.

Al. I--yes--it shall be as you say, madam. Make your arrangements as you
please.

Evening had now spread her dusky mantle over the face of nature. The
stars glistened in the sky. The breeze's rustling wing was in the tree.
The "slitty sound" of the low murmuring brook, and the far off
water-fall, were faintly heard. The twinkling fire-fly arose from the
surrounding verdure and illuminated the air with a thousand transient
gleams. The mingling discordance of curs and watch-dogs echoed in the
distant village, from whence the frequent lights darted their palely
lustre thro' the gloom. The solitary whippoorwills stationed themselves
along the woody glens, the groves and rocky pastures, and sung a requiem
to departed summer. A dark cloud was rising in the west, across whose
gloomy front the vivid lightning bent its forky spires.

Alonzo and Melissa moved slowly to the village; she appeared enraptured
with the melancholy splendours of the evening, but the other subject
engaged the mental attention of Alonzo.

Beauman arrived the next day. He gave his hand to Alonzo with seeming
warmth of friendship. If it was reciprocated, it must have been
affected. There was no alteration in the manners and conversation of
Melissa: her conversation, as usual, was sprightly and interesting.
After dinner she retired, and her father requested Alonzo and Beauman to
withdraw with him to a private room. After they were seated, the old
gentleman thus addressed them:

"I have called you here, gentlemen, to perform my duty as a parent to my
daughter, and as a friend to you. You are both suitors to Melissa; while
your addresses were merely formal, they were innocent; but when they
became serious they were dangerous. Your pretensions I consider equal,
and between honourable pretenders, who are worthy of my daughter,
I shall not attempt to influence her choice. That choice, however, can
rest only on one: she has engaged to decide between you. I am come to
make, in her name, this decision. The following are my terms:--No
quarrel or difficulty shall arise between you, gentlemen, in consequence
of her determination. Nothing shall go abroad respecting the affair;
it shall be ended under my roof. As soon as I have pronounced her
declaration, you shall both depart and absent my house for at least two
weeks, as it would be improper for my daughter to see either of you at
present: after that period I shall be happy to receive your
visits."--Alonzo and Beauman pledged their honour to abide implicitly by
these injunctions. Her father then observed--"This, gentlemen, is all I
require. I have observed that I considered your pretensions equal: so
has my daughter treated them. You have both made professions to her; she
has appointed a time to answer you. That time has arrived, and I now
inform you that she has decided in favour of--Alonzo."

       *       *       *       *       *

The declaration of Melissa's father burst upon the mental powers of
Beauman, like a sudden and tremendous clap of thunder on the deep and
solemn silence of night. Unaccustomed to disappointment, he had
calculated on success. His addresses to the ladies had ever been
honourably received.

Melissa was the first whose charms were capable of rendering them
sincere. He was not ignorant of Alonzo's attention to her: it gave him
however but little uneasiness. He believed that his superior
qualifications would eclipse the pretensions of his rival. He considered
himself a connoisseur in character, especially in the character of the
ladies. He conformed to their taste; he flattered their foibles, and
obsequiously bowed to the minutia of female volatility. He considered
himself skilled in the language of the heart; and he trusted that from
his pre-eminent powers in the science of affection, he had only to see,
to sue and to conquer. He had frankly offered his hand to Melissa, and
pressed her for a decisive answer. This from time to time she suspended,
and finally appointed a day to give him and Alonzo a determinate answer,
though neither knew the arrangements made with the other.

Finding, however, the dilemma in which she was placed, she had
previously consulted her parents. Her father had no objection to her
choosing between two persons of equal claims to affluence and
reputation; this choice she had made, and her father was considered the
most proper person to pronounce it.

When Beauman had urged his suit to Melissa, he supposed that her
hesitations, delays and suspensions, were only the effects of maiden
diffidence and timidity. He had no suspicions of her ultimately
rejecting it; and when she finally named the day of decision, he was
confident she would decide in his favour. These sentiments he had
communicated to the person who had written to Alonzo, intimating that
Melissa had fixed a time which was to crown his happiest wishes.

He had listened therefore attentively to the words of Melissa's father,
momentarily expecting to hear himself declared the favourite choice of
the fair.

What then must have been his disappointment when the name of Alonzo was
pronounced instead of his own! The highly finished scene of pleasure and
future prosperity which his ardent imagination had depicted, had
vanished in a moment. The rainbow glories which gilded his youthful
horizon, had faded in an instant--the bright sun of his early hopes had
set in mournful darkness. The summons of death would not have been more
unexpected, or more shocking to his imagination.

Very different were the sensations which inspired the bosom of Alonzo.
He had not even calculated on a decision in his own favour. He believed
that Beauman would be the choice of Melissa. She had told him that the
form of decision was necessary to save appearances: with this form he
complied because she desired it, not because he expected the result
would be in his favour. He had not therefore attended to the words of
Melissa's father with that eagerness which favourable anticipations
commonly produce. But when his name was mentioned; when he found he was
the choice--the happy favourite of Melissa's affection, every tender
passion of his soul became interested, and was suddenly aroused to the
refinements of sensibility. Like an electric shock, it reanimated his
whole frame, and vibrated every nerve of his heart. The glooms which
hung about his mind were dissipated, and the bright morning of joy broke
in upon his soul.

Thus were the expectations of Alonzo and Beauman disappointed--how
differently, the sequel has shown.

Melissa's father retired immediately after pronouncing the declaration;
the two young gentlemen also soon after withdrew. Alonzo saw the tempest
which tore the bosom of his rival, and he pitied him from his heart.

A fortnight passed, and Alonzo felt all that anxiety and impatience
which a separation from a beloved object can produce. He framed a
thousand excuses to visit Melissa, yet he feared a visit might be
premature. He was, however, necessitated to make a journey to a distant
part of the country, after which he resolved to see Melissa. He
performed his business, and was returning. It was toward evening, and
the day had been uncommonly sultry for the autumnal season. A rising
shower blackened the western hemisphere; the dark vapour ascended in
folding ridges, and the thunder rolled at a distance. Alonzo saw he
should be overtaken. He discovered an elegant seat about one hundred
yards distant from the road; thither he hastened to gain shelter from
the approaching storm. The owner of the mansion met him at the door,
politely invited him to alight and walk in, while a servant stood ready
to take his horse. He was ushered into a large room neatly furnished,
where the family and several young ladies were sitting. As Alonzo
glanced his eyes hastily around the room, he thought he recognized a
familiar countenance. A hurried succession of confused ideas for a
moment crossed his recollection. In a moment he discovered that it was
Melissa. By this unexpected meeting they were both completely
embarrassed. Melissa, however, arose, and in rather a confused manner,
introduced Alonzo, as the classmate of her brother, to the family of Mr.
Simpson and the company.

The rain continued most part of the afternoon. Alonzo was invited, and
consented to stay all night. A moon-light evening succeeded the shower,
which invited the young people to walk in an adjoining garden. Melissa
told Alonzo that Mr. Simpson was a distant relative of her father; his
family consisted of his wife, two amiable daughters, not far from
Melissa's age, and one son, named William, about seventeen years old.
She had been invited there to pass a week, and expected to return within
two days. And she added, smiling, "perhaps, Alonzo, we may have an
opportunity once more to visit the bower on my prospect hill, before
winter entirely destroys the remaining beauties of the summer." Alonzo
felt all the force of the remark. He recollected the conversation when
they were last at the place she mentioned; and he well remembered his
feelings on that occasion.

"Great changes, indeed, he replied, have taken place since we were last
there: that they are productive of unexpected and unexampled happiness
to me, is due, Melissa, to you alone." Alonzo departed the next morning,
appointing the next week to visit Melissa at her father's house.

Thus were the obstacles removed which presented a barrier to the united
wishes of Alonzo and Melissa. They had not, it is true, been separated
by wide seas, unfeeling parents, or the rigorous laws of war; but
troubles, vexations, doubts and difficulties, had thus far attended
them, which had now disappeared, and they calculated on no unpropitious
event which might thwart their future union. All the time that Alonzo
could spare from his studies was devoted to Melissa, and their parents
began to calculate on joining their hands as soon as Alonzo's
professional term of study was completed.

The troubles which gave rise to the disseveration of England from
America had already commenced, which broke out the ensuing spring into
actual hostilities, by the battle at Lexington, followed soon after by
the battle at Bunker Hill. The panic and general bustle which took place
in America on these events, is yet well remembered by many. They were
not calculated to impress the mind of Melissa with the most pleasing
sensations. She foresaw that the burden of the war must rest on the
American youth, and she trembled in anticipation for the fate of Alonzo.
He, with others, should the war continue, must take the field, in
defence of his country. The effects of such a separation were dubious
and gloomy. Alonzo and she frequently discoursed, and they agreed to
form the mystic union previous to any wide separation.

One event tended to hasten this resolution. The attorney in whose office
Alonzo was clerk, received a commission in the new raised American army,
and marched to the lines near Boston. His business was therefore
suspended, and Alonzo returned to the house of his father. He considered
that he could not long remain a mere spectator of the contest, and that
it might soon be his duty to take the field; he therefore concluded it
best to hasten his marriage with Melissa. She consented to the
proposition, and their parents made the necessary arrangements for the
event. They had even fixed upon the place which was to be the future
residence of this happy couple. It was a pleasantly situated village,
surrounded by rugged elevations, which gave an air of serenity and
seclusion to the valley they encircled. On the south arose a spacious
hill, which was ascended by a gradual acclivity; its sides and summit
interspersed with orchards, arbours, and cultivated fields. On the west,
forests unevenly lifted their rude heads, with here and there a solitary
field, newly cleared, and thinly scattered with cottages. To the east,
the eye extended over a soil, at one time swelling into craggy
elevations, and at another spreading itself into vales of the most
enchanting verdure. To the north it extended over a vast succession of
mountains, wooded to their summits, and throwing their shadows over
intervales of equal wilderness, till at length it was arrested in its
excursions by the blue mists which hovered over mountains more grand,
majestic and lofty.[A] A rivulet which rushed from the hills, formed a
little lake on the borders of the village, which beautifully reflected
the cottages from its transparent bosom. Amidst a cluster of locusts and
weeping willows, rose the spire of the church, in the ungarnished
decency of Sunday neatness. Fields, gardens, meadows, and pastures were
spread around the valley, and on the sides of the declivities, yielding
in their season the rich flowers, fruits and foliage of spring, summer
and autumn. The inhabitants of this modern Auvernum were mostly farmers.
They were mild, sociable, moral and diligent. The produce of their own
flocks and fields gave them most of their food and clothing. To
dissipation they were strangers, and the luxuries of their tables were
few.

    [Footnote A: Some who read this description will readily recognize
    the village here described.]

Such was the place for the residence of Alonzo and Melissa. They had
visited the spot, and were enraptured with its pensive, romantic
beauties. A site was marked out whereon to erect their family mansion.
It was on a little eminence which sloped gradually to the lake, in the
most pleasant part of the village. "Here, said Alonzo one day to
Melissa, will we pass our days in all that felicity of mind which the
chequered scenes of life admit. In the spring we will rove among the
flowers. In summer, we will gather strawberries in yonder fields, or
whortleberries from the adjacent shrubbery. The breezes of fragrant
morning, and the sighs of the evening gale, will be mingled with the
songs of the thousand various birds which frequent the surrounding
groves. We will gather the bending fruits of autumn, and we will listen
to the hoarse voice of winter, its whistling winds, its driving snow,
and rattling hail, with delight."

The bright gems of joy glistened in the eyes of Melissa. With Alonzo she
anticipated approaching happiness, and her bosom beat in rapturous
unison.

Winter came on; it rapidly passed away. Spring advanced, and the
marriage day was appointed.

       *       *       *       *       *

The spring opened with the din of preparation throughout America for
defensive war. It now was found that vigorous measures must be pursued
to oppose the torrent which was preparing to overwhelm the colonies,
which had now been dissevered from the British empire, by the
declaration of independence. The continental army was now raising, and
great numbers of American youth volunteered in the service of their
country. A large army of reinforcements was soon expected from England
to land on our shores, and "the confused noise of the warriors, and
garments rolled in blood," were already anticipated.

Alonzo had received a commission in a regiment of militia, and was
pressed by several young gentlemen of his acquaintance, who had entered
the army, to join it also. He had an excuse. His father was a man in
extensive business, was considerably past the prime of life, had a
number of agents and clerks under him, but began to grow unable to
attend to the various and burthensome duties and demands of a mercantile
life.

Alonzo was his only son; his assistance therefore became necessary
until, at least, his father could bring his business to a close, which
he was now about to effect. Alonzo stated these facts to his friends;
told them that on every occasion he should be ready to fly to the post
of danger when his country was invaded, and that as soon as his father's
affairs should be settled, he would, if necessary, willingly join the
army.

The day now rapidly approached when Alonzo was to make Melissa his own.
Preparations for the hymeneal ceremony were making, and invitations had
already gone abroad. Edgar, the brother of Melissa, had entered the army
in the capacity of chaplain. He was soon expected home, where he
intended to tarry until the consummation of the nuptials, before he set
out for the camp. Letters recently received from him, informed that he
expected to be at his father's in three or four days.

About three weeks previous to the appointed marriage day, Alonzo and
Melissa one afternoon rode out to the village which had been chosen for
their future residence. Their carriage stopped at the only inn in the
place, and from thence they walked around this modern Vaucluse, charmed
with the secluded beauties of its situation. They passed a little time
at the spot selected for their habitation; they projected the structure
of the buildings, planned the gardens, the artificial groves, the walks,
the mead, the fountains, and the green retreat of the summer house, and
they already saw, in anticipation, the various domestic blessings and
felicities with which they were to be surrounded.

They took tea at the inn, and prepared to return. It was at the latter
end of the month of May, and nature was adorned in the bridal ornaments
of spring; the sun was sunk behind the groves, which cast their sombre
shades over the valley, while the retiring beams of day adorned the
distant eastern eminences with yellow lustre.

The birds sung melodiously in the groves, the air was freshened by light
western breezes, bearing upon their wings all the entrancing odours of
the season. Around the horizon, electric clouds raised their brazen
summits, based in the black vapour of approaching night.

They slowly ascended the hill south of the town, where they paused a few
moments to enjoy the splendours of the evening scene. This hill, which
commanded a prospect of all the surrounding country, the distant sound,
and the adjacent towns and villages, presented to the eye, on a single
view, perhaps one of the most picturesque draperies painted by nature.
Alonzo attended Melissa to her father's, and the next day returned home.

His father had been absent for three or four days to one of the
commercial seaports, on business with some merchants with whom he was
connected in trade. He returned the next day after Alonzo got home:--his
aspect and his conversation were marked with an assumed and unmeaning
cheerfulness. At supper he ate nothing, discoursed much, but in an
unconnected and hurried manner, interrupted by long pauses, in which he
appeared to be buried in contemplation.

After supper, he asked Alonzo if it were not possible that his marriage
with Melissa could be consummated within a few days. Alonzo, startled at
so unexpected a question, replied, that such a proposal would be
considered extraordinary, perhaps improper: besides, when Melissa had
fixed the day, she mentioned that she had an uncle who lived near
Charleston, in South Carolina, whose daughter was to pass the summer
with Melissa, and was expected to arrive before the appointed day. It
would, he said, be a delicate point for him to request her to anticipate
the nuptials, unless he could give some cogent reasons for so doing; and
at present he was not apprised that any such existed. His father, after
a few moments hesitation, answered, "I have reasons, which, when
told"--here he stopped, suddenly arose, hastily walked the room in much
visible agony of mind, and then retired to his chamber.

Alonzo and his mother were much amazed at so strange a proceeding. They
could form no conjecture of its cause or its consequence. Alonzo passed
a sleepless night. His father's slumbers were interrupted. He would
frequently start up in the bed, then sink in restless sleep, with
incoherent mutterings, and plaintive moans. In the morning, when he
appeared at breakfast, his countenance wore the marks of dejection and
anguish.

He scarcely spoke a word, and after the table was removed, he ordered
all to withdraw except his wife and Alonzo; when, with emotions that
spoke the painful feelings of his bosom, he thus addressed them:

"For more than forty years I have toiled early and late to acquire
independence and ease for myself and my family. To accomplish this,
I became connected with some English importing merchants in a seaport
town, and went largely into the English trade. Success crowned our
endeavours; on balancing our accounts two years ago, we found that our
expectations were answered, and that we were now sufficiently wealthy to
close business, which some proposed to do; it was, however, agreed to
make one effort more, as some favourable circumstances appeared to
offer, in which we adventured very largely, on a fair calculation of
liberal and extensive proceeds.

"Before returns could be made, the war came on, embarrassments ensued,
and by indubitable intelligence lately received, we find that our
property in England has been sequestered; five of our ships, laden with
English goods, lying in English harbours, and just ready to sail for
America, have been seized as lawful prizes. Added to this, three vessels
from the Indies, laden with island produce, have been taken on their
homeward bound voyage, and one lost on her return from Holland. This
wreck of fortune I might have survived, had I to sustain only my equal
dividend of the loss: but of the merchants with whom I have been
connected, not one remains to share the fate of the event; all have
absconded or secreted themselves. To attempt to compound with my
creditors would be of little avail; my whole fortune will not pay one
fourth of the debts; so that, compound or not, the consequence to me is
inevitable ruin.

"To abscond would not secure me, as most of my remaining property is
vested in real estate. And even if it would, I could not consent to it:
I could not consent to banish myself from my country; to flee like a
felon; to skulk from society with the base view of defrauding my
creditors. No, I have lived honestly, and honestly will I die. By fair
application and long industry my wealth has been obtained; and it shall
never justly be said, that the reputation of my latter days was stained
with acts of baseness and meanness. I have notified and procured a
meeting of the creditors, and have laid the matters before them. Some
appeared favourable to me; others insinuated that we were all connected
in fraudulent designs, to swindle our creditors. This I repelled with
becoming spirit, and was in consequence threatened with immediate
prosecution. Whatever may be the event, I had some hopes that your
happiness, Alonzo, might yet be secured. Hence I proposed your union
with Melissa, before our misfortunes should be promulgated. Your parents
are old; a little will serve the residue of their days. With your
acquirements you may make your way in life. I shall have no property to
give you; but I would still wish you to secure that which you prize far
above, and without which, both honours and emoluments are unimportant
and worthless."

At this moment a loud rap at the door interrupted the discourse, and
three men were ushered in, which proved to be the sheriff and his
attendants, sent by the more inexorable creditors of Alonzo's father and
company, to level on the property of the former, which orders they
faithfully executed, by seizing the lands, tenements and furniture, and
finally arresting the body of the old gentleman, which was soon released
by his friendly neighbours becoming bail for his appearance; but the
property was soon after sold at public vendue, at less than half its
value, and Alonzo's father and mother were compelled to abandon the
premises, and take shelter in a little hut, belonging to a neighbouring
farmer, illy and temporarily furnished by the gratuitous liberality of a
few friends.

We will not stop the reader to moralize on this disastrous event. The
feelings of the family can better be conceived than detailed. Hurled in
a moment from the lofty summit of affluence to the low and barren vale
of poverty! Philosophy came to the aid of the parents, but who can
realise the feelings of the son! Thus suddenly cut short of his
prospects, not only of future independence, but even of support, what
would be the event of his suit to Melissa, and stipulated marriage? Was
it not probable that her father would now cancel the contract? Could she
consent to be his wife in his present penurious situation?--And indeed,
could he himself consent to make her his wife, to make her miserable?

In this agitated frame of mind he received a letter from his friend in
Melissa's neighbourhood, requesting him to come immediately to his
house, whither he repaired the following day. This person had ever been
the unchanging friend of Alonzo; he had heard of the misfortunes of his
family, and he deeply sympathized in his distress. He had lately married
and settled in life: his name was Vincent.

When Alonzo arrived at the house of his friend, he was received with the
same disinterested ardour he ever had been in the day of his most
unbounded prosperity.--After being seated, Vincent told him that the
occasion of his sending for him was to propose the adoption of certain
measures which he doubted not might be considered highly beneficial as
it respected his future peace and happiness. "Your family misfortunes,
continued Vincent, have reached the ears of Melissa's father. I know the
old gentleman too well to believe he will consent to receive you as his
son-in-law, under your present embarrassments. Money is the god to which
he implicitly bows. The case is difficult, but not insurmountable. You
must first see Melissa; she is now in the next room. I will introduce
you in; converse with her, after which I will lay my plan before you."

       *       *       *       *       *

Alonzo entered the room; Melissa was sitting by a window which looked
into a pleasant garden, and over verdant meadows whose tall grass waved
to the evening breeze. Farther on, low vallies spread their umbrageous
thickets, where the dusky shadows of night had begun to assemble.

On high hills beyond, the tops of lofty forests, majestically moved by
the billowy gales, caught the sun's last ray. Fleecy summer clouds
hovered around the verge of the western horizon, spangled with silvery
tints or fringed with the gold of evening.

A mournfully murmuring rivulet purled at a little distance from the
garden, on the borders of a small grove, from whence the American wild
dove wafted her sympathetic moaning to the ear of Melissa. She sat
leaning on a small table by the window, which was thrown up. Her
attention was fixed. She did not perceive Vincent and Alonzo as they
entered. They advanced towards her. She turned, started, and arose. With
a melancholy smile, and tremulous voice, "I supposed, she said, that it
was Mrs. Vincent who was approaching, as she has just left the room."
Her countenance appeared dejected, which, on seeing Alonzo, lighted up
into a languid sprightliness. It was evident she had been weeping.

Vincent retired, and Alonzo and Melissa seated themselves by the window.
"I have broken in upon your solitude, perhaps, too unseasonably, said
Alonzo. It is however, the fault of Vincent:--he invited me to walk into
the room, but did not inform me that you were alone." "Your presence was
sudden and unexpected, but not unseasonable, replied Melissa. I hope
that you did not consider any formality necessary in your visits,
Alonzo."

Alonzo. I once did not think so. Now I know not what to think--I know
not how to act. You have heard of the misfortunes of my father's family,
Melissa?

Mel. Yes; I have heard the circumstances attending that event--an event
in which no one could be more deeply interested, except the immediate
sufferers, than myself.

Al. Your father is also acquainted with my present situation?

Mel. He is.

Al. How did he receive the intelligence?

Mel. With deep regret.

Al. And forbade you to admit my addresses any longer?

Mel. No, not absolutely.

Al. If even in an unqualified or indirect manner, it is proper I should
know it.

Mel. It certainly is. Soon after we received the intelligence of your
family misfortunes, my father came into the room where I was sitting;
"Melissa, said he, your conduct has ever been that of a dutiful child;
mine, of an indulgent parent.--My first, my ultimate wish, is to see my
children, when settled in life, happy and honourably respected. For this
purpose, I have bestowed on them a proper education, and design suitably
to apportion my property between them. On their part, it is expected
they will act prudently and discreetly, especially in those things which
concern their future peace and welfare.--The principal requisite to
ensure this is a proper connexion in marriage." Here my father paused a
considerable time, and then continued--"I know, my child, that your
situation is a very delicate one. Your marriage day is appointed; it was
appointed under the fairest prospects; by the failure of Alonzo's
father, those prospects have become deeply darkened, if not totally
obliterated.

"To commit your fortune through life, to a person unable to support you,
would be hazardous in the extreme. The marriage day can at least be
suspended; perhaps something more favourable may appear.--At any rate,
I have too much confidence in your discretion, to suppose that you will,
by any rash act, bring either poverty or reproach upon yourself or your
connexions." Thus spake my father, and immediately withdrew.

"In our present dilemma, said Alonzo, what is proper to be done?"

"It is difficult to determine, replied Melissa. Should my father
expressly forbid our union, he will go all lengths to carry his commands
into effect. Although a tender parent, he is violent in his prejudices,
and resolute in his purposes. I would advise you to call at my father's
house tomorrow, with your usual freedom. Whatever may be the event,
I shall deal sincerely with you. Mr. and Mrs. Vincent are now my only
confidants. From them you will be enabled to obtain information, should
I be debarred from seeing you. I am frequently here; they told me they
expected you, but at what day was not known. Mrs. Vincent has been my
friend and associate from my earliest years. Vincent you know. In them
we can place the utmost confidence. My reliance on Providence, I trust,
will never be shaken; but my future prospects, at present, are dark and
gloomy."

"Let us not despair, answered Alonzo; perhaps those gloomy clouds which
now hover around us, will yet be dissipated by the bright beams of joy.
Innocence and virtue are the cares of Heaven. There lies my hope.
To-morrow, as you propose, I will call at your father's."

Melissa now prepared to return home; a whippoorwill tuned its nightly
song at a little distance; but the sound, late so cheerful and
sprightly, now passed heavily over their hearts.

When Alonzo returned, Vincent unfolded the plan he had projected.
"No sooner, said he, was I informed of your misfortunes, than I was
convinced that Melissa's father would endeavour to dissolve your
intended union with his daughter. I have known him many years, and
however he may dote on his children, or value their happiness, he will
not hesitate to sacrifice his other feelings to the acquirement of
riches. It appeared that you had but one resource left. You and Melissa
are now united by the most solemn ties--by every rite except those which
are merely ceremonial. These I would advise you to enter into, and trust
to the consequences. Mrs. Vincent has proposed the scheme to Melissa;
but implicitly accustomed to filial obedience, she shudders at the idea
of a clandestine marriage. But when her father shall proceed to rigorous
measures, she will, I think, consent to the alternative. And this
measure, once adopted, her father must consent also; or, if not, you
secure your own happiness, and, what you esteem more, that of Melissa."

"But you must be sensible of my inability to support her as she
deserves, replied Alonzo, even should she consent to it."

"The world is before you, answered Vincent; you have friends, you have
acquirements which will not fail you. In a country like this, you can
hardly fail of obtaining a competency, which, with the other requisites,
will ensure your independence and felicity."

Alonzo informed Vincent what had been agreed upon between Melissa and
himself, respecting his visiting her on the morrow; "after which, he
said, we will discourse further on the subject."

The next day Alonzo repaired to the house of Melissa's father. As he
approached he saw Melissa sitting in a shady recess at one end of the
garden near which the road passed. She was leaning with her head upon
her hand, in a pensive posture; a deep dejection was depicted upon her
features, which enlivened into a transient glow as soon as she saw
Alonzo. She arose, met him, and invited him into the house.

Alonzo was received with a cool reserve by all except Melissa. Her
father saluted him with a distant and retiring bow, as he passed with
Melissa to her room. As soon as they were seated, a maiden aunt, who had
doubled her teens, outlived many of her suiters, and who had lately come
to reside with the family, entered, and seated herself by the window,
alternately humming a tune, and impudently staring at Alonzo, without
speaking a word, except snappishly, to contradict Melissa in any thing
she advanced, which the latter passed off with only a faint smile.

This interruption was not of long continuance. Melissa's father entered,
and requested the two ladies to withdraw, which was instantly done. He
then addressed Alonzo as follows:----"When I gave consent for you to
marry my daughter, it was on the conviction that your future resources
would be adequate to support her honourably and independently.
Circumstances have since taken place, which render this point extremely
doubtful. Parental duty and affection demand that I should know your
means and prospects before I sanction a proceeding which may reduce my
child to penury and to want."

He paused for a reply, but Alonzo was silent. He continued--"You
yourself must acknowledge, that to burthen yourself with the expense of
a family; to transfer a woman from affluence to poverty, without even an
object in view to provide for either, would be the height of folly and
extravagance." Again he paused, but Alonzo was still silent. He
proceeded--"Could you, Alonzo, suffer life, when you see the wife of
your bosom, probably your infant children, pining in misery for want of
bread? And what else have you to expect if you marry in your present
situation? You have friends and well wishers; but which of them will
advance you four or five thousand pounds, as a gratuity? My daughter
must be supported according to her rank and standing in life. Are you
enabled to do this? If not, you cannot reasonably suppose that I shall
consent to your marrying her. You may say that your acquirements, your
prudence, and your industry, will procure you a handsome support. This
well may do in single life; but to depend on these for the future
exigencies of a family, is hazarding peace, honour and reputation, at a
single game of chance. If, therefore, you have no resources or
expectation but such as these, your own judgment will teach you the
necessity of immediately relinquishing all pretensions to the hand of
Melissa"--and immediately left the room.

Why was Alonzo speechless through the whole of this discourse?--What
reply could he have made? What were the prospects before him but penury,
want, misery, and woe! Where, indeed, were the means by which Melissa
was to be shielded from poverty, if connected with his fortunes. The
idea was not new, but it came upon him with redoubled anguish. He arose
and looked around for Melissa, but she was not to be seen. He left the
house, and walked slowly towards Vincent's. At a little distance he met
Melissa, who had been strolling in an adjoining avenue. He informed her
of all that had passed; it was no more than they both expected, yet it
was a shock their fortitude could scarcely sustain. Disappointment
seldom finds her votaries prepared to receive her.

Melissa told Alonzo, that her father's determinations were unchangeable;
that his sister (the before mentioned maiden lady) held a considerable
influence over him, and dictated the concerns of the family; and that
from her, there was nothing to hope in their favour. Her mother, she
said, was her friend, but could not contradict the will of her father.
Her brother would be at home in a few days; how he would act on this
occasion she was unable to say: but were he even their friend he would
have but feeble influence with her father and aunt. "What is to be the
end of these troubles, continued Melissa, it is impossible to foresee.
Let us trust in the mercy of heaven and submit to its dispensations."

Alonzo and Melissa, in their happier days, had, when absent,
corresponded by letters. This method it was now thought best to
relinquish. It was agreed that Alonzo should come frequently to
Vincent's, where Melissa would meet him as she could find opportunities.
Having concluded on this, Melissa returned home, and Alonzo to the house
of his friend.

Vincent, after Alonzo had related the manner of his reception at
Melissa's father's, urged the plan he had projected of a private
marriage. Alonzo replied, that even should Melissa consent to it, which
he much doubted, it must be a measure of the last resort, and adopted
only when all others became fruitless.

The next morning Alonzo returned to the hut where his aged parents now
dwelt. His bosom throbbed with keen anguish. His own fate, unconnected
with that of Melissa, he considered of little consequence. But their
united situation tortured his soul.--What was to become of Melissa, what
of himself, what of his parents!--"Alas, said Alonzo, I now perceive
what it is to want the good things of this life."

Alonzo's father was absent when he arrived, but returned soon after.
A beam of joy gleamed upon his withered countenance as he entered the
house. "Were it not, Alonzo, for your unhappy situation, said he, we
should once more be restored to peace and comfort. A few persons who
were indebted to me, finding that I was to be sacrificed by my unfeeling
creditors, reserved those debts in their hands, and have now paid me,
amounting to something more than five hundred pounds. With this I have
purchased a small, but well cultivated farm, with convenient tenements.
I have enough left to purchase what stock and other materials I need;
and to spare some for your present exigencies, Alonzo."

Alonzo thanked his father for his kindness, but told him that from his
former liberality he had yet sufficient for his wants, and that he
should soon find business which would amply support him. "But your
affair with Melissa, asked his father, how is that likely to terminate?"
"Favourably, I hope, sir," answered Alonzo. He could not consent to
disturb the tranquillity of his parents by reciting his own
wretchedness.

A week passed away. Alonzo saw his parents removed to their little farm,
which was to be managed by his father and a hired man. He saw them
comfortably seated; he saw them serenely blest in the calm pleasures of
returning peace, and a ray of joy illuminated his troubled bosom.

  "Again the youth his wonted life regain'd,
  A transient sparkle in his eye obtain'd,
  A bright, impassion'd cheering glow, express'd
  The pleas'd sensation of his tender breast:
  But soon dark glooms the feeble smiles o'erspread;
  Like morn's gay hues, the fading splendours fled;
  Returning anguish froze his feeling soul,
  Deep sighs burst forth, and tears began to roll."

He thought of Melissa, from whom he had heard nothing since he last saw
her.--He thought of the difficulties which surrounded him. He thought of
the barriers which were opposed to his happiness and the felicity of
Melissa, and he set out for the house of Vincent.

       *       *       *       *       *

Alonzo arrived at the residence of Vincent near the close of the day.
Vincent and his lady were at tea with several young ladies who had
passed the afternoon with Mrs. Vincent. Alonzo cast an active glance
around the company, in hopes to find Melissa, but she was not there. He
was invited and accepted a seat at table. After tea Vincent led him into
an adjoining room. "You have come in good time, said he. Something must
speedily be done, or you lose Melissa forever. The day after you were
here, her father received a letter from Beauman, in which, after
mentioning the circumstance of your father's insolvency, he hinted that
the consequence would probably be a failure of her proposed marriage
with you, which might essentially injure the reputation of a lady of her
standing in life; to prevent which, and to place her beyond the reach of
calumny, he offered to marry her at any appointed day, provided he had
her free consent.

"As Beauman, by the recent death of his father, had been put in
possession of a splendid fortune, the proposition allured her father,
who wrote him a complaisant answer, with an invitation to his house.--He
then strove to extort a promise from Melissa, that she would break off
all connexion with you, see you no more, and admit the addresses of
Beauman.

"To this she could not consent. She urged, that by the consent of her
parents she was engaged to you by the most sacred ties. That to her
father's will she had hitherto yielded implicit obedience, but that
hastily to break the most solemn obligation, formed and sanctioned by
his approbation and direction, was what her conscience would not permit
her to do. Were he to command her to live single, life might be endured;
but to give her hand to any except you, would be to perjure those
principles of truth and justice which he himself had ever taught her to
hold most inviolable.--Her father grew outrageous; charged her with
disobedience, with a blind inconsiderate perverseness, by which she
would bring ruin upon herself, and indelible disgrace upon her family.
She answered only with her tears. Her mother interposed, and endeavoured
to appease his anger; but he spurned her from him, and rushed out of the
room, uttering a threat that force should succeed persuasion, if his
commands were not obeyed. To add to Melissa's distress, Beauman arrived
at her father's yesterday; and I hope, in some measure to alleviate it.
Edgar, her brother, came this morning.--Mrs. Vincent has dispatched a
message to inform Melissa of your arrival, and to desire her to come
here immediately. She will undoubtedly comply with the invitation, if
not prevented by something extraordinary. I should have written you had
I not hourly expected you."

Mrs. Vincent now came to the door of the room and beckoned to her
husband, who went out, but immediately returned, leading in Melissa
after which he retired. "Oh, Alonzo!" was all she could say, and burst
into tears. Alonzo led her to a seat, gently pressed her hand, and
mingled his tears with hers, but was unable to speak.--Recovering at
length, he begged her to moderate her grief. "Where, said he, is your
fortitude and your firmness, Melissa, which I have so often seen
triumphing over affliction?" Her extreme anguish prevented a reply.
Deeply affected and alarmed at the storm of distress which raged in her
bosom, he endeavoured to console her, though consolation was a stranger
to his own breast. "Let us not, Melissa, said he, increase our flood of
affliction by a tide of useless sorrow. Perhaps more prosperous days are
yet in reserve for us;--happiness may yet be ours." "Never, never! she
exclaimed. Oh, what will become of me!" "Heaven cannot desert you, said
Alonzo; as well might it desert its angels. This thorny and gloomy path
may lead to fair fields of light and verdure. Tempests are succeeded by
calms; wars end in peace; the splendours of the brightest morning arise
on the wings of blackest midnight.----Troubles will not always last.
Life at most is short. Death comes to the relief of the virtuous
wretched, and transports them to another and better world, where sighing
and sorrows cease, and the tempestuous passions of life are known no
more."

The rage of grief which had overwhelmed Melissa began now to subside, as
the waves of the ocean gradually cease their tumultuous commotion, after
the turbulent winds are laid asleep. Deep sobs and long drawn sighs
succeeded to a suffocation of tears. The irritation of her feelings had
caused a more than usual glow upon her cheek, which faded away as she
became composed, until a livid paleness spread itself over her features.
Alonzo feared that the delicacy of her constitution would fall a
sacrifice to the sorrow which preyed upon her heart, if not speedily
alleviated;--but alas! where were the means of alleviation?

She informed him that her father had that evening ordered her to become
the wife of Beauman. He told her that her disobedience was no longer to
be borne.--"No longer, said he, will I tamper with your perverseness:
you are determined to be poor, wretched and contemptible. I will compel
you to be rich, happy, and respected. You suffer the _Jack-a-lantern_
fancy to lead you into swamps and quagmires, when, did you but follow
the fair light of reason, it would conduct you to honour and real
felicity. There are happiness and misery at your choice.

"Marry Beauman, and you will roll in your coach, flaunt in your silks;
your furniture and your equipage are splendid, your associates are of
the first character, and your father rejoices in your prosperity.

"Marry Alonzo, you sink into obscurity, are condemned to drudgery,
poorly fed, worse clothed, and your relations and acquaintances shun and
despise you. The comparison I have here drawn between Beauman and Alonzo
is a correct one; for even the wardrobe of the former is of more value
than the whole fortune of the latter.

"I give you now two days to consider the matter; at the end of that time
I shall expect your decision, and hope you will decide discretely. But
remember that you become the wife of Beauman, or you are no longer
acknowledged as my daughter."

"Thus, said Melissa, did my father pronounce his determination, which
shook my frame, and chilled with horror every nerve of my heart, and
immediately left me.

"My aunt added her taunts to his severities, and Beauman interfered with
his ill-timed consolation. My mother and Edgar ardently strove to allay
the fever of my soul, and mitigate my distress. But the stroke was
almost too severe for my nature. Habituated only to the smiles of my
father, how could I support his frowns?--Accustomed to receive his
blessings alone, how could I endure his sudden malediction."

Description would fail in painting the sensations of Alonzo's bosom, at
this recital of woe. But he endeavoured to mitigate her sorrows by the
consolation of more cheering prospects and happier hours.

Vincent and his lady now came into the room. They strenuously urged the
propriety and the necessity of Alonzo and Melissa's entering into the
bands of wedlock immediately. "The measure would be hazardous," remarked
Melissa. "My circumstances"--said Alonzo. "Not on that account,
interrupted Melissa, but my father's displeasure----" "Will be the same,
whether you marry Alonzo, or refuse to marry Beauman," replied Vincent.
Her resolution appeared to be staggered.

"Come here, Melissa, to-morrow evening, said Mrs. Vincent; mean time you
will consider the matter, and then determine." To this Melissa assented,
and prepared to return home.

Alonzo walked with her to the gate which opened into the yard
surrounding her father's house. It was dangerous for him to go farther.
Should he be discovered with Melissa, even by a domestic of the family,
it must increase the persecutions against her. They parted. Alonzo stood
at the gate, gazing anxiously after Melissa as she walked up the long
winding avenue, bordered with the odour-flowing lilac, and lofty elm,
her white robes now invisible, now dimly seen as she turned the angles
of the walk, until they were totally obscured, mingling with the gloom
and darkness of the night. "Thus, said Alonzo, thus fades the angel of
peace from the visionary eyes of the war-worn soldier, when it ascends
in the dusky clouds of early morning, while he slumbers on the field of
recent battle."--With mournful forebodings he returned to the house of
Vincent. He arose after a sleepless night and walked into an adjoining
field. He stood leaning in deep contemplation against a tree, when he
heard quick footsteps behind him. He turned, and saw Edgar approaching:
in a moment they were in each other's arms, and mingled tears. They
returned to Vincent's and conversed largely on present affairs. "I have
discoursed with my father on the subject, said Edgar. I have urged him
with every possible argument to relinquish his determination: I fear,
however, he is inflexible.

"To assuage the tempest of grief which rent Melissa's bosom was my next
object, and in this I trust I have not been unsuccessful. You will see
her this evening, and will find her more calm and resigned. You, Alonzo,
must exert your fortitude. The ways of Heaven are inscrutable, but they
are right.

"We must acquiesce in its dealings. We cannot alter its decrees.
Resignation to its will, whether merciful or afflictive, is one of those
eminent virtues which adorn the good man's character, and ever find a
brilliant reward in the regions of unsullied splendour, far beyond
trouble and the tomb."

Edgar told Alonzo that circumstances compelled him that day to depart
for the army. "I would advise you, said he, to remain here until your
affair comes to some final issue. It must, I think, ere long, be
terminated. Perhaps you and my sister may yet be happy."

Alonzo feelingly expressed his gratitude to Edgar. He found in him that
disinterested friendship, which his early youth had experienced. Edgar
the same day departed for the army.

In the afternoon Alonzo received a note from Melissa's father,
requesting his immediate attendance. Surprised at the incident, he
repaired there immediately. The servant introduced him into a room where
Melissa's father and aunt were sitting.----"Hearing you were in the
neighbourhood, said her father, I have sent for you, to make a
proposition, which after what has taken place, I think you cannot
hesitate to comply with. The occurrence of previous circumstances may
lead you to suppose that my daughter is under obligations to you, which
may render it improper for her to form marriage connections with any
other. Whatever embarrassments your addresses to her may have produced,
it is in your power to remove them; and if you are a man of honour you
will remove them. You cannot wish to involve Melissa in your present
penurious condition, unless you wish to make her wretched. It therefore
only remains for you to give me a writing, voluntarily resigning all
pretensions to the hand of my daughter; and if you wish her to be happy,
honourable, and respected in this life, this I say you will not hesitate
to do."

A considerable pause ensued. Alonzo at length replied, "I cannot
perceive any particular advantage that can accrue from such a measure.
It will neither add nor diminish the power you possess to command
obedience to your will, if you are determined to command it, either from
your daughter, or your servant."----

"There, brother," bawled the old maid, half squeaking through her nose,
which was well charged with rappee, "did'nt I tell you so? I knew the
fellow would not come to terms no more than will your refractory
daughter. This love fairly bewitches such foolish, crack-brained
youngsters. But say Mr. ----, what's your name, addressing herself to
Alonzo, will love heat the oven? will love boil the pot? will love
clothe the back? will love----"

"You will not, interrupted Melissa's father, speaking to Alonzo, it
seems, consent to my proposition? I have then, one demand to make, which
of right you cannot deny. Promise me that you will never see my daughter
again, unless by my permission."

"At the present moment I shall promise you nothing," replied Alonzo,
with some warmth.

"There again, said the old maid, just so Melissa told you this morning,
when you requested her to see him no more. The fellow has fairly
betwattled her. I wish I had him to deal with. Things wasn't so when I
was a girl; I kept the rogues at a distance, I'll warrant you. I always
told you, brother, what would come of your indulgence to your daughter.
And I should not wonder if you should soon find the girl had eloped, and
your desk robbed in the bargain."

Alonzo hastily arose: "I suppose, said he, my presence can be dispensed
with."

"Well, young man, said Melissa's father, since you will not comply with
any overtures I make; since you will not accede to any terms I propose,
remember, sir, I now warn you to break off all communication and
correspondence with my daughter, and to relinquish all expectations
concerning her. I shall never consent to marry my daughter to a beggar."

"Beggar!" involuntarily exclaimed Alonzo, and his eyes flashed in
resentment.--But he recollected that it was the father of Melissa who
had thus insulted him, and he suppressed his anger. He rushed out of the
house, and returned to Vincent's. He had neither heard nor seen any
thing of Melissa or Beauman.

Night came on, and he ardently and impatiently expected Melissa. He
anticipated the consolation her presence would bestow. Edgar had told
him she was more composed. He doubted whether it were proper to excite
anew her distress by relating his interview with her father, unless she
was appraised of it. The evening passed on, but Melissa came not. Alonzo
grew restless and uneasy. He looked out, then at his watch. Vincent and
his lady assured him that she would soon be there. He paced the room.
Still he became more impatient. He walked out on the way where she was
expected to come. Sometimes he advanced hastily; at others he moved
slowly; then stood motionless, listening in breathless silence,
momentarily expecting to discover her white form approaching through the
gloom, or to hear the sound of her footsteps advancing amidst the
darkness. Shapeless objects, either real or imaginary, frequently
crossed his sight, but, like the unreal phantoms of night, they suddenly
passed away, and were seen no more. At length he perceived a dusky white
form advancing in the distant dim obscurity. It drew near; his heart
beat in quick succession; his fond hopes told him it was Melissa. The
object came up, and hastily passed him, with a "good night, sir."

It was a stranger in a white surtout. Alonzo hesitated whether to
advance or to return. It was possible, though not probable, that Melissa
might have come some other way. He hastened back to Vincent's--she had
not arrived. "Something extraordinary, said Mrs. Vincent, has prevented
her coming. Perhaps she is ill."--Alonzo shuddered at the suggestion. He
looked at his watch; it was half past eleven o'clock. Again he hastily
sallied out, and took the road to her father's.

       *       *       *       *       *

The night was exceedingly dark, and illuminated only by the feeble
glimmering of the twinkling stars. When he came within sight of the
house, and as he drew near no lights were visible--all was still and
silent. He entered the yard, walked up the avenue, and approached the
door. The familiar watch-dog, which lay near the threshold, fawned upon
him, joyfully whining and wagging his tail. "Thou still knowest me,
Curlow, said Alonzo; thou hast known me in better days; I am now poor
and wretched, but thy friendship is the same." A solemn stillness
prevailed all around, interrupted only by the discordance of the nightly
insects, and the hooting of the moping owl from the neighbouring
forest.--The dwelling was shrouded in darkness. In Melissa's room no
gleam of light appeared. "They are all buried in sleep, said Alonzo,
deeply sighing, and I have only to return in disappointment."

He turned and walked towards the street; casting his eyes back, the
blaze of a candle caught his sight. It passed rapidly along through the
lower rooms, now gleaming, now intercepted, as the walls or the windows
intervened, and suddenly disappeared. Alonzo gazed earnestly a few
moments, and hastily returned back. No noise was to be heard, no new
objects were discernible.--He clambered over the garden wall, and went
around to the back side of the house. Here all was solemn and silent as
in front. Immediately a faint light appeared through one of the chamber
windows; it grew brighter; a candle entered the chamber; the sash was
flung up, and Melissa seated herself at the window.

The weather was sultry, she held a fan in her hand; her countenance,
though stamped with deep dejection, was marked with serenity, but pale
as the drooping lily of the valley. Alonzo placed himself directly under
the window, and in a low voice called her by name. She started wildly,
looked out, and faintly cried, "Who's there?" He answered, "Alonzo."
"Good heavens, she exclaimed, is it you, Alonzo? I was disappointed in
meeting you at Vincent's this evening; my father will not suffer me to
go out without attendants. I am now constantly watched and guarded."

"Watched and guarded! replied Alonzo: At the risque of my life I will
deliver you from the tyranny with which you are oppressed."

"Be calm, Alonzo, said she, I think it will not last long. Beauman will
soon depart, after which there will undoubtedly be some alteration.
Desire Mrs. Vincent to come here to-morrow; I believe they will let me
see her. I can, from time to time, inform you of passing events, so that
you may know what changes take place. I am placed under the care of my
aunt, who suffers me not to step out of her sight. We pass the night in
an adjoining chamber--from whence, after she had fallen asleep, I stole
out, and went down with a design of walking in the garden, but found the
doors all locked and the keys taken out. I returned and raised this
window for fresh air. Hark! said she; my aunt calls me. She has waked
and misses me. I must fly to her chamber. You shall hear more from me
to-morrow by Mrs. Vincent, Alonzo." So saying, she let down the window
sash, and retired.

Alonzo withdrew slowly from the place, and repassed the way he came.
As he jumped back over the garden wall, he found a man standing at its
foot, very near him: after a moment's scrutiny he perceived it to be
Beauman. "What, my chevalier, said he to Alonzo, such an adept in the
amorous science already? Hast thou then eluded the watchful eyes of
Argus, and the vigilance of the dragon!"

"Unfeeling and impertinent intruder, retorted Alonzo, seizing hold of
him; is it not enough that an innocent daughter must endure a merciless
parent's persecuting hand, but must thou add to her misery by thy
disgusting interference!"

"Quit thy hold, tarquin, said Beauman. Art thou determined, after
storming the fortress, to murder the garrison?"

"Go, said Alonzo, quitting him; go sir, you are unworthy of my anger.
Pursue thy grovelling schemes. Strive to force to your arms a lady who
abhors you, and were it not on one account, must ever continue to
despise and hate you."

"Alonzo, replied Beauman, I perceive thou knowest me not. You and I were
rivals in our pursuit--the hand of Melissa. Whether from freak or
fortune, the preference was given to you, and I retired in silence. From
coincidence of circumstances, her father has now been induced to give
the preference to me. My belief was, that Melissa would comply with her
father's will, especially after her prospects of connecting with you
were cut off by the events which ruined your fortune. You, Alonzo, have
yet, I find, to learn the character of women. It has been my particular
study. Melissa, now ardently impassioned by first impressions, irritated
by recent disappointment, her passions delicate and vivid, her
affections animated and unmixed, it would be strange, if she could
suddenly relinquish primitive attachments founded on such premises,
without a struggle. But remove her from your presence for one year, with
only distant and uncertain prospects of seeing you again, admit me as
the substitute in your absence, and she accepts my hand as freely as she
would now receive yours. I had no design--it was never my wish to marry
her without her consent. That I believe I shall yet obtain. Under
existing circumstances, it is impossible but that you must be separated
for some considerable time. Then, when cool deliberation succeeds to the
wild vagaries, the electric fire of frolic fancy, she will discover the
dangerous precipice, the deadly abyss to which her present conduct and
inclinations lead. She will see that the blandishments, without the
possessions of life, must fade and die. She will discriminate between
the shreds and the trappings of taste. She will prefer indifference and
splendour to love and a cottage.

"At present I relinquish all further persuit; to-morrow I return to
New-London. When Melissa, from calm deliberation and the advice of
friends, shall freely consent to yield me her hand, I shall return to
receive it. I came from my lodgings this evening to declare these
intentions to her father: but it being later than I was aware of, the
family had gone to rest. I was about to return, when I saw a light from
the chamber window, which soon withdrew. I stood a moment by the garden
wall, when you approached and discovered me." So saying, he bade Alonzo
good night, and walked hastily away. "I find he knows not the character
of Melissa," said Alonzo, and returned to Vincent's.

The next day Alonzo told the Vincents of all that had passed, and it was
agreed that Mrs. Vincent should visit at Melissa's father's that
afternoon. She went at an early hour. Alonzo's feelings were on the rack
until she returned, which happened much sooner than was expected; when
she gave him and Vincent the following information:

"When I arrived there, said she, I found Melissa's father and mother
alone, her mother was in tears, which she endeavoured to conceal. Her
father soon withdrew. After some conversation I enquired for Melissa.
The old lady burst into tears, and informed me that this morning
Melissa's aunt (the old maid) had invited her to ride out with her.
A carriage was provided, which, after a large trunk had been placed
therein, drove off with Melissa and her aunt; that Melissa's father had
just been informing her that he had sent their daughter to a distant
part of the country, where she was to reside with a friend until Alonzo
should depart from the neighbourhood. The reason of this sudden
resolution was his being informed by Beauman, that notwithstanding his
precaution, Melissa and Alonzo had an interview the last evening. Where
she was sent to, the old lady could not tell, but she was convinced that
Melissa was not apprised of the design when she consented to go. Her
aunt had heretofore been living with the relatives of the family in
various parts of the state."

Alonzo listened to Mrs. Vincent's relation with inexpressible agitation.
He sat silent a few moments; then suddenly starting up, "I will find her
if she be on the earth!" said he, and in spite of Vincent's attempts to
prevent him, rushed out of the house, flew to the road, and was soon out
of sight.

Melissa had not, indeed, the most distant suspicion of the designs of
her father and aunt. The latter informed her that she was going to take
a morning's ride, and invited Melissa to accompany her, to which she
consented. She did not even perceive the trunk which was fastened on
behind the carriage. They were attended by a single servant. They drove
to a neighbouring town, where Melissa had frequently attended her father
and mother to purchase articles of dress, &c. where they alighted at a
friend's house, and lingered away the time until dinner; after which,
they prepared, as Melissa supposed, to return, but found, to her
surprise, after they had entered the carriage, that her aunt ordered the
driver to proceed a different way. She asked her aunt if they were not
going home. "Not yet," said she. Melissa grew uneasy; she knew she was
to see Mrs. Vincent that afternoon; she knew the disappointment which
Alonzo must experience, if she was absent. She begged her aunt to
return, as she expected the company of some ladies that afternoon. "Then
they must be disappointed, child," said her aunt.--Melissa knew it was
in vain to remonstrate; she supposed her aunt was bent on visiting some
of her acquaintance, and she remained silent.

They arrived at another village, and alighted at an inn, where Melissa
and her aunt tarried, while the servant was ordered out by the latter on
some business unknown to Melissa. When they again got into the carriage
she perceived several large packages and bundles, which had been
deposited there since they left it. She enquired of her aunt what they
contained. "Articles for family use, child," she replied, and ordered
the driver to proceed.

They passed along winding and solitary paths, into a bye road which led
through an unfrequented wood, that opened into a rocky part of the
country bordering on the Sound. Here they stopped at the only house in
view. It was a miserable hut, built of logs, and boarded with slabs.
They alighted from the carriage, and Melissa's aunt, handing the driver
a large bunch of keys, "remember to do as I have told you," said she,
and he drove rapidly away. It was with some difficulty they got into the
hut, as a meagre cow, with a long yoke on her neck, a board before her
eyes, and a cross piece on her horns, stood with her head in the door.
On one side of her were four or five half starved squeaking pigs, on the
other a flock of gaggling geese.

As they entered the door, a woman who sat carding wool jumped up, "La
me! she cried, here is Miss D----, welcome here again. How does madam
do?" dropping a low curtsey. She was dressed in a linsey woolsey short
gown, a petticoat of the same, her hair hanging about her ears, and
barefoot. Three dirty, ragged children were playing about the floor, and
the furniture was of a piece with the building. "Is my room in order?"
enquired Melissa's aunt. "It hasn't been touched since madam was here,"
answered the woman, and immediately stalked away to a little back
apartment, which Melissa and her aunt entered. It was small, but neatly
furnished, and contained a single bed. This appendage had been concealed
from Melissa's view, as it was the opposite side of the house from
whence she alighted. "Where is John?" asked Melissa's aunt. "My husband
is in the garden, replied the woman; I will call him," and out she
scampered. John soon appeared, and exhibited an exact counter part of
his wife. "What does madam please to want?" said he, bowing three or
four times. "I want you John," she answered, and immediately stepped
into the other room, and gave some directions, in a low voice, to him
and his wife. "La me! said the woman, madam a'nt a going to live in that
doleful place?" Melissa could not understand her aunt's reply, but heard
her give directions to "first hang on the teakettle." This done, while
John and his wife went out, Melissa's aunt prepared tea in her own room.
In about an hour John and his wife returned, and gave the same bunch of
keys to Melissa's aunt, which she had given to the servant who drove the
carriage.

Melissa was involved in inscrutable mystery respecting these
extraordinary proceedings. She conjectured that they boded her no good,
but she could not penetrate into her aunt's designs. She frequently
looked out, hoping to see the carriage return, but was disappointed.
When tea was made ready, she could neither eat nor drink. After her aunt
had disposed of a dozen cups of tea, and an adequate proportion of
biscuit, butter and dried beef, she directed Melissa to prepare to take
a walk. The sun was low; they proceeded through fields, in a foot path,
over rough and uneven ways, directly towards the Sound. They walked
about a mile, when they came to a large, old fashioned, castle-like
building, surrounded by a high, thick wall, and almost totally concealed
on all sides from the sight, by irregular rows of large locusts and elm
trees, dry prim[A] hedges, and green shrubbery. The gate which opened
into the yard, was made of strong hard wood, thickly crossed on the
outside with iron bars, and filled with old iron spikes. Melissa's aunt
unlocked the gate, and they entered the yard, which was overgrown with
rank grass and rushes: the avenue which led to the house was almost in
the same condition. The house was of real Gothic architecture, built of
rude stone, with battlements.

    [Footnote A: The botanical name of this shrub is not recollected.
    There were formerly a great number of prim hedges in New-England,
    and other parts of America. What is most remarkable is, that they
    all died the year previous to the commencement of the American
    war.]

The doors were constructed in the same manner as the gate at which they
entered the yard. They unlocked the door, which creaked heavily on its
hinges, and went in. They ascended a flight of stairs, wound through
several dark and empty rooms, till they came to one which was handsomely
furnished, with a fire burning on the hearth. Two beds were in the room,
with tables and chairs, and other conveniences for house keeping. "Here
we are safe, said Melissa's aunt, as I have taken care to lock all the
doors and gates after me; and here, Melissa, you are in the mansion of
your ancestors. Your great grand father, who came over from England,
built this house in the earliest settlements of the country, and here he
resided until his death. The reason why so high and thick a wall was
built round it, and the doors and gates so strongly fortified, was to
secure it against the Indians, who frequently committed depredations on
the early settlers. Your grandfather came in possession of this estate
after his father's death: it fell to me by will, with the lands
surrounding it. The house has sometimes been tenanted, at others not. It
has now been vacant for a few years. The lands are rented yearly. John,
the person from whose house we last came, is my overseer and tenant.
I had a small room built, adjoining that hut, where I generally reside
for a week when I come to receive my rents. I have thought frequently of
fitting up this place for my future residence, but circumstances have
hitherto hindered my carrying the scheme into effect, and now, perhaps,
it will never take place.

"Your perverseness, Melissa, in refusing to comply with the wishes of
your friends, has induced us to adopt the method of bringing you here,
where you are to remain until Alonzo leaves your neighbourhood, at
least. Notwithstanding your father's injunctions and my vigilance, you
had a clandestine interview with him last night. So we were told by
Beauman this morning, before he set off for New-London, who discovered
him at your window. It therefore became necessary to remove you
immediately. You will want for nothing. John is to supply us with
whatever is needful.--You will not be long here; Alonzo will soon be
gone. You will think differently; return home, marry Beauman, and
become a lady."

"My God! exclaimed Melissa, is it possible my father can be so cruel!
Is he so unfeeling as to banish me from his house, and confine me within
the walls of a prison, like a common malefactor?" She flung herself on
the bed in a state little inferior to distraction. Her aunt told her it
was all owing to her own obstinacy, and because she refused to be made
happy--and went to preparing supper.

Melissa heard none of her aunt's observations; she lay in a stupifying
agony, insensible to all that passed. When supper was ready, her aunt
endeavoured to arouse her. She started up, stared around her with a wild
agonizing countenance, but spoke not a word. Her aunt became alarmed.
She applied stimulants to her temples and forehead, and persuaded her to
take some cordials. She remained seemingly insensible through the night:
just at morning, she fell into a slumber, interrupted by incoherent
moanings, convulsive startings, long drawn sighs, intermitting sobs, and
by frequent, sudden and restless turnings from side to side. At length
she appeared to be in a calm and quiet sleep for about an hour. About
sunrise she awoke--her aunt sat by her bed side. She gazed languidly
about the room, and burst into tears. She wept a long time; her aunt
strove to console her, for she truly began to tremble, lest Melissa's
distress should produce her immediate dissolution. Towards night,
however, she became more calm and resigned; but a slight fever
succeeded, which kept her confined for several days, after which she
slowly recovered.

       *       *       *       *       *

John came frequently to the house to receive the commands of Melissa's
aunt, and brought such things as they wanted. Her aunt also sometimes
went home with him, leaving the keys of the house with Melissa, but
locking the gate and taking the key of that with her. She generally
returned before sunset. When Melissa was so far recovered as to walk
out, she found that the house was situated on an eminence, about one
hundred yards from the Sound. The yard was large and extensive. Within
the enclosure was a spacious garden, now overrun with brambles and
weeds. A few medinical and odoriferous herbs were scattered here and
there, and a few solitary flowers overtopped the tangling briars below;
but there was plenty of fruit on the shrubbery and trees. The out
buildings were generally in a ruinous situation. The cemetery was the
most perfect, as it was built of hewn stone and marble, and had best
withstood the ravages of time. The rooms in the house were mostly empty
and decaying: the main building was firm and strong, as was also the
extended wall which enclosed the whole. She found that although her
aunt, when they first arrived, had led her through several upper rooms
to the chamber they inhabited, yet there was from thence a direct
passage to the hall.

The prospect was not disagreeable. West, all was wilderness, from which
a brook wound along a little distance from the garden wall. North, were
the uneven grounds she had crossed when she came there, bounded by
distant groves and hills. East, beautiful meadows and fields, arrayed in
flowery green, sloped to salt marshes or sandy banks of the Sound, or
ended in the long white beaches which extended far into the sea. South,
was the Sound of Long Island.

Melissa passed much of her time in tracing the ruins of this antiquated
place, in viewing the white sails as they passed up and down the Sound,
and in listening to the songs of the thousand various birds which
frequented the garden and the forest. She could have been contented here
to have buried her afflictions, and for ever to retire from the world,
could Alonzo but have resided within those walls. "What will he think
has become of me," she would say, while the disconsolate tear glittered
in her eye. Her aunt had frequently urged her to yield to her father's
injunctions, regain her liberty, and marry Beauman; and she every day
became more solicitous and impertinent. A subject so hateful to Melissa
sometimes provoked her to tears; at other her keen resentment. She
therefore, when the weather was fair, passed much of her time in the
garden and adjoining walks, wishing to be as much out of her aunt's
company as possible.

One day John came there early in the morning, and Melissa's aunt went
home with him. The day passed away, but she did not return. Melissa sat
up until a late hour of the night, expecting her; she went to the gate,
and found it was fast locked, returned, locked and bolted the doors of
the house, went to bed and slept as soundly as she had done since her
residence in the old mansion. "I have at least, she said, escaped the
disgusting curtain-lecture about marrying Beauman."

The next day her aunt returned. "I was quite concerned about you, child,
said she; how did you sleep?" "Never better, she answered, since I have
been here." "I had forgotten, said her aunt, that my rents become due
this week. I was detained until late by some of my tenants; John was
out, and I dare not return in the night alone. I must go back to-day. It
will take me a week to settle my business. If I am obliged to stay out
again I will send one of John's daughters to sleep with you."----"You
need not give yourself that trouble, replied Melissa; I am under no
apprehension of staying here alone; nothing can get into or out of these
premises."----"Well, thou hast wonderful courage, child, said her aunt;
but I shall be as frequently here as possible, and as soon as my
business is settled, I shall be absent no more." So saying, she bade
Melissa good morning, and set off for her residence at the dwelling of
John.

She did not return in two days. The second night of her absence, Melissa
was sitting in her chamber reading, when she heard a noise as of several
people trampling in the yard below. She arose, cautiously raised the
window, and looked out. It was extremely dark; she thought she might
have been discovered.

Her aunt came the next day, and told her she was obliged to go into the
country to collect some debts of those to whom she had rented lands: she
should be gone a few days, and as soon as she returned should come
there. "The keys of the house, said she, I shall leave with you. The
gate I shall lock, and leave that key with John, who will come here as
often as necessary, to assist you, and see if you want any thing." She
then went off, leaving Melissa not dissatisfied with the prospect of her
absence.

Melissa amused herself in evenings by reading in the few books her aunt
had brought there, and in the day, in walking around the yard and
garden, or in traversing the rooms of the antique building. In some,
were the remains of ancient furniture, others were entirely empty.
Cobwebs and mouldering walls were the principal ornaments left.

One evening as she was about retiring to rest, she thought she heard the
same trampling noise in the yard, as on a former occasion. She stepped
softly to the window, suddenly raised it, and held out the candle. She
listened and gazed with anxious solicitude, but discovered nothing more.
All was silent; she shut the window, and in a short time went to bed.

Some time in the night she was suddenly awakened by a sharp sound,
apparently near her. She started in a trembling panic, but endeavoured
to compose herself with the idea, that something had fallen from the
shelves. As she lay musing upon the incident, she heard loud noises in
the rooms below, succeeded by an irregular and confused number of
voices, and presently after, footsteps ascending the stairs which led to
her chamber. She trembled; a cold chilly sweat run down her face.
Directly the doors below opened and shut with a quick and violent
motion. And soon after she was convinced that she distinctly heard a
whispering in her room. She raised herself up in the bed and cast
inquisitive eyes towards her chamber door. All was darkness--no new
object was visible--no sound was heard, and she again lay down.

Her mind was too much agitated and alarmed to sleep. She had evidently
heard sounds, footsteps and voices in the house, and whisperings which
appeared to be in her room. The yard gate was locked, of which John had
the key. She was confident that no person could ascend or get over the
wall of the enclosure. But if that were practicable, how was it possible
that any human being could enter the house? She had the key of every
door, and they were all fast locked, and yet she had heard them
furiously open and shut. A thought darted into her mind,--was it not a
plan which her aunt had contrived in order to frighten her to a
compliance with her wishes? But then how could she enter the house
without keys? This might be done with the use of a false key. But from
whence did the whisperings proceed, which appeared close to her bedside?
Possibly it might be conveyed through the key-hole of her chamber door.
These thoughts tended in some degree, to allay her fears;--they were
possibilities, at least, however improbable.

As she lay thus musing, a hand, cold as the icy fingers of death,
grasped her arm, which lay on the outside of the bed clothes. She
screamed convulsively, and sprang up in the bed. Nothing was to be
seen--no noise was heard. She had not time to reflect. She flew out of
the bed, ran to the fire, and lighted a candle. Her heart beat rapidly.
She cast timid glances around the room, cautiously searching every
corner, and examining the door. All things were in the same state she
had left them when she went to bed. Her door was locked in the same
manner; no visible being was in the room except herself. She sat down,
pondering on these strange events. Was it not probable that she was
right in her first conjectures respecting their being the works of her
aunt, and effected by her agents and instrumentality? All were possible,
except the cold hand which had grasped her arm. Might not this be the
effect of a terrified and heated imagination? Or if false keys had been
made use of to enter the rooms below, might they not also be used to
enter her chamber? But could her room be unlocked, persons enter,
approach her bed, depart and re-lock the door, while she was awake,
without her hearing them?

She knew she could not go to sleep, and she determined not to go to bed
again that night. She took up a book, but her spirits had been too much
disordered by the past scenes to permit her to read. She looked out of
the window. The moon had arisen and cast a pale lustre over the
landscape. She recollected the opening and shutting of the door--perhaps
they were still open. The thought was alarming--She opened her chamber
door, and with the candle in her hand, cautiously descended the stairs,
casting an inquisitive eye in every direction, and stopping frequently
to listen.--She advanced to the door; it was locked. She examined the
others; they were in the same situation. She turned to go up stairs,
when a loud whisper echoed through the hall expressing "_away! away!_"
She flew like lightning to her chamber, relocked the door and flung
herself, almost breathless, into a chair.

As soon as her scattered senses collected, she concluded that whatever
had been in the house was there still. She resolved to go out no more
until day, which soon began to discolour the east with a fainter blue,
then purple streaks, intermingled with a dusky whiteness, ascended in
pyramidical columns to the zenith; these fading slowly away, the eastern
horizon became fringed with the golden spangles of early morn. A spot of
ineffable brightness succeeded, and immediately the sun burst over the
verge of creation, deluging the world in a flood of unbounded light and
glory.

As soon as the morning had a little advanced, Melissa ventured out. She
proceeded with hesitating steps, carefully scrutinizing every object
which met her sight. She examined every door; they were all fast. She
critically searched every room, closet, &c. above and below. She then
took a light and descended into the cellar--here her inquisition was the
same. Thus did she thoroughly and strictly examine and search every part
of the house from the garret to the cellar, but could find nothing
altered, changed, or removed; no outlet, no signs of there having been
any being in the house the evening before, except herself.

She then unlocked the outer door and proceeded to the gate, which she
found locked as usual. She next examined the yard, the garden, and all
the out houses.

Nothing could be discovered of any person having been recently there.
She next walked around by the wall, the whole circle of the enclosure.
She was convinced that the unusual height of the wall rendered it
impossible for any one to get over it. It was constructed of several
tier of hewed timbers, and both sides of it were as smooth as glass.
On the top, long spikes were thickly driven in, sharpened at both ends.
It was surrounded on the outside by a deep wide moat, which was nearly
filled with water. Over this moat was a draw-bridge, on the road leading
to the gate, which was drawn up, and John had the key.

The events of the past night, therefore, remained inscrutable. It must
be that her aunt was the agent who had managed this extraordinary
machinery.

She found John at the house when she returned. "Does madam want any
thing to-day?" asked he. "Has my aunt returned?" enquired Melissa. "Not
yet," he replied. "How long has she been gone?" she asked. "Four days,
replied John, after counting his fingers, and she will not be back under
four or five more." "Has the key of the gate been constantly in your
possession?" asked she. "The key of the gate and draw-bridge, he
replied, have not been out of my possession for a moment since your aunt
has been gone." "Has any person been to enquire for me or my aunt, she
enquired, since I have been here?"--"No, madam, said he, not a single
person." Melissa knew not what to think; she could not give up the idea
of false keys--perhaps her aunt had returned to her father's.--Perhaps
the draw-bridge had been let down, the gate opened, and the house
entered by means of false keys. Her father would as soon do this as to
confine her in this solitary place; and he would go all lengths to
induce her, either by terror, persuasion or threats, to relinquish
Alonzo and marry Beauman.

A thought impressed her mind which gave her some consolation. It was
possible to secure the premises so that no person could enter even by
the aid of false keys. She asked John if he would assist her that day.
"In anything you wish, madam," he replied. She then directed him to go
to work. Staples and iron bars were found in different parts of the
building, with which he secured the doors and windows, so that they
could be opened only on the inside. The gate, which swung in, was
secured in the same manner. She then asked John if he was willing to
leave the key of the gate and the draw-bridge with her. "Perhaps I may
as well," said he; "for if you bar the gate and let down the bridge,
I cannot get in myself until you let me in." John handed her the keys.
"When I come," said he, "I will halloo, and you must let me in." This
she promised to do, and John departed.[A]

    [Footnote A: Of the place where Melissa was confined, as described
    in the foregoing pages, scarce a trace now remains. By the events
    of the revolution, the premises fell into other hands. The mansion,
    out houses and walls were torn down, the cemetery levelled, the
    moat filled up; the locusts and elm trees were cut down; all
    obstructions were removed, and the yard and garden converted into
    a beautiful meadow. An elegant farm-house is now erected on the
    place where John's hut then stood and the neighbourhood is thinly
    settled.]

       *       *       *       *       *

That night Melissa let down the bridge, locked and barred the gate, and
the doors and windows of the house: she also went again over all parts
of the building, strictly searching every place, though she was well
convinced she should find nothing extraordinary. She then retired to her
chamber, seated herself at a western window, and watched the slow
declining sun, as it leisurely sunk behind the lofty groves. Pensive
twilight spread her misty mantle over the landscape; the western horizon
glowed with the spangles of evening. Deepening glooms advanced. The last
beam of day faded from the view, and the world was enveloped in night.
The owl hooted solemnly in the forest, and the whippoorwill sung
cheerfully in the garden. Innumerable stars glittered in the firmament,
intermingling their quivering lustre with the pale splendours of the
milky way.

Melissa did not retire from the window until late; she then shut it and
withdrew within the room. She determined not to go to bed that night. If
she was to be visited by beings, material or immaterial, she chose not
again to encounter them in darkness, or to be surprised when she was
asleep. But why should she fear? She knew of none she had displeased
except her father, her aunt and Beauman. If by any of those the late
terrifying scenes had been wrought, she had now effectually precluded a
recurrence thereof, for she was well convinced that no human being could
now enter the enclosure without her permission. But if supernatural
agents had been the actors, what had she to fear from them? The night
passed away without any alarming circumstances, and when daylight
appeared she flung herself upon the bed, and slept until the morning was
considerably advanced. She now felt convinced that her former
conjectures were right; that it was her aunt, her father, or both, who
had caused the alarming sounds she had heard, a repetition of which had
only been prevented by the precautions she had taken.

When she awoke, the horizon was overclouded, and it began to rain. It
continued to rain until towards evening, when it cleared away. She went
to the gate, and found all things as she had left them: She returned,
fastened the doors as usual, examined all parts of the house, and again
went to her chamber.

She sat up until a late hour, when growing very drowsy, and convinced
that she was safe and secure, she went to bed; leaving, however, two
candles burning in the room. As she, for two nights, had been deprived
of her usual rest, she soon fell into a slumber.

She had not long been asleep before she was suddenly aroused by the
apparent report of a pistol, seemingly discharged close to her head.
Awakened so instantaneously, her recollection, for a time, was confused
and imperfect. She was only sensible of a strong, sulphureous scent: but
she soon remembered that she had left two candles burning, and every
object was now shrouded in darkness. This alarmed her exceedingly. What
could have become of the candles? They must have been blown out or taken
away. What was the sound she had just heard?----What the sulphureous
stench which had pervaded the room?----While she was thus musing in
perplexity, a broad flash like lightning, transiently illuminated the
chamber, followed by a long, loud, and deep roar, which seemed to shake
the building to its centre. It did not appear like thunder; the sounds
seemed to be in the rooms directly over her head. Perhaps, however,
it was thunder.

Perhaps a preceding clap had struck near the building, broken the
windows, put out the lights, and filled the house with the electric
effluvium. She listened for a repetition of the thunder--but a very
different sound soon grated on her ear. A hollow, horrible groan echoed
through her apartment, passing off in a faint dying murmur. It was
evident that the groan proceeded from some person in the chamber.
Melissa raised herself up in the bed; a tall white form moved from the
upper end of the room, glided slowly by her bed, and seemed to pass off
near the foot. She then heard the doors below alternately open and shut,
slapping furiously, and in quick succession, followed by violent noises
in the rooms below, like the falling of heavy bodies and the crash of
furniture. Clamorous voices succeeded, among which she could distinguish
boisterous menaces and threatenings, and the plaintive tone of
expostulation.--A momentary silence ensued, when the cry of "_Murder!
murder! murder!!_" echoed through the building, followed by the report
of a pistol, and shortly after, the groans of a person apparently in the
agonies of death, which grew fainter and fainter until it died away in a
seemingly expiring gasp. A dead silence prevailed for a few minutes, to
which a loud hoarse peal of ghastly laughter succeeded--then again all
was still. But she soon heard heavy footsteps ascending the stairs to
her chamber door. It was now she became terrified and alarmed beyond any
former example.----"Gracious heaven, defend me! she exclaimed; what am I
coming to!" Knowing that every avenue to the enclosure was effectually
secured; knowing that all the doors and windows of the house, as also
that which opened into her chamber, were fast locked, strictly bolted
and barred; and knowing that all the keys were in her possession, she
could not entertain the least doubt but the noises she had heard were
produced by supernatural beings, and, she had reason to believe, of the
most mischievous nature. She was now convinced that her father or her
aunt could have no agency in the business. She even wished her aunt had
returned. It must be exceedingly difficult to cross the moat, as the
draw bridge was up; it must be still more difficult to surpass the wall
of the enclosure; it was impossible for any human being to enter the
house, and still more impossible to enter her chamber.

While she lay thus ruminating in extreme agitation, momentarily
expecting to have her ears assailed with some terrific sound, a pale
light dimly illuminated her chamber. It grew brighter. She raised
herself up to look towards the door;--the first object which met her
eye, was a most horrible form, standing at a little distance from her
bedside. Its appearance was tall and robust, wrapped in a tattered white
robe, spotted with blood. The hair of its head was matted with clotted
gore. A deep wound appeared to have pierced its breast, from which fresh
blood flowed down its garment. Its pale face was gashed and gory! its
eyes fixed, glazed, and glaring;--its lips open, its teeth set, and in
its hand was a bloody dagger.

Melissa, uttering a shriek of terror, shrunk into the bed, and in an
instant the room was involved in pitchy darkness. A freezing ague seized
her limbs, and drops of chilling sweat stood upon her face. Immediately
a horrid hoarse voice burst from amidst the gloom of her apartment,
"_Begone! begone from this house!_" The bed on which she lay then seemed
to be agitated, and directly she perceived some person crawling on its
foot. Every consideration, except present safety, was relinquished;
instantaneously she sprang from the bed to the floor--with convulsed
grasp, seized the candle, flew to the fire and lighted it. She gazed
wildly around the room--no new object was visible. With timid step she
approached the bed; she strictly searched all around and under it, but
nothing strange could be found. A thought darted into her mind to leave
the house immediately and fly to John's: this was easy, as the keys of
the gate and draw-bridge were in her possession. She stopped not to
reconsider her determination, but seizing the keys, with the candle in
her hand, she unlocked her chamber door, and proceeded cautiously down
stairs, fearfully casting her eyes on each side, as she tremblingly
advanced to the outer door. She hesitated a moment. To what perils was
she about to expose herself, by thus venturing out at the dead of the
night, and proceeding such a distance alone? Her situation she thought
could become no more hazardous, and she was about to unbar the door,
when she was alarmed by a deep, hollow sigh. She looked around and saw,
stretched on one side of the hall, the same ghastly form which had so
recently appeared standing by her bedside. The same haggard countenance,
the same awful appearance of murderous death. A faintness came upon her;
she turned to flee to her chamber--the candle dropped from her trembling
hand, and she was shrouded in impenetrable darkness. She groped to find
the stairs: as she came near their foot, a black object, apparently in
human shape, stood before her, with eyes which seemed to burn like coals
of fire, and red flames issuing from its mouth. As she stood fixed a
moment in inexpressible trepidation, a large ball of fire rolled along
the hall, towards the door, and burst with an explosion which seemed to
rock the building to its deepest foundation. Melissa closed her eyes and
sunk senseless to the floor. She revived and got to her chamber, she
hardly knew how; locked her door, lighted another candle, and after
again searching the room, flung herself into a chair, in a state of mind
which almost deprived her of reason.

Daylight soon appeared, and the cheerful sun darting its enlivening rays
through the crevices and windows of the antique mansion, recovered her
exhausted spirits, and dissipated, in some degree, the terrors which
hovered about her mind. She endeavoured to reason coolly on the events
of the past night, but reason could not elucidate them. Not the least
noise had been heard since she last returned to her chamber: she
therefore expected to discover no traits which might tend to a
disclosure of those mysteries. She consoled herself only with a fixed
determination to leave the desolate mansion. Should John come there that
day, he might be prevailed on to permit her to remain at her aunt's
apartment in his house until her aunt should return. If he should not
come before sunset, she resolved to leave the mansion and proceed there.

She took some refreshment and went down stairs: she found the doors and
windows all fast as she had left them. She then again searched every
room in the house, both above and below, and the cellar; but she
discovered no appearance of there having been any person there. Not the
smallest article was displaced; every thing appeared as it had formerly
been.--She then went to the gate; it was locked as usual, and the
draw-bridge was up. She again traversed the circuit of the wall, but
found no alteration, or any place where it was possible the enclosure
might be entered. Again she visited the outer buildings, and even
entered the cemetery, but discovered not the least circumstance which
could conduce to explain the surprising transactions of the preceding
night. She however returned to her room in a more composed frame of
spirit, confident that she should not remain alone another night in that
gloomy, desolate, and dangerous solitude.

Towards evening Melissa took her usual walk around the enclosure. It was
that season of the year when weary summer is lapsing into the arms of
fallow autumn.--The day had been warm, and the light gales bore
revigorating coolness on their wings as they tremulously agitated the
foliage of the western forest, or fluttered among the branches of the
trees surrounding the mansion. The green splendours of spring had begun
to fade into a yellow lustre, the flowery verdure of the fields was
changed to a russet hue. A robin chirped on a neighbouring oak, a wren
chattered beneath, swallows twittered around the decayed buildings, the
ludicrous mocking bird sung sportively from the top of the highest elm
and the surrounding groves rung with varying, artless melody; while deep
in the adjacent wilderness the woodcock, hammering on some dry and
blasted trees, filled the woods with reverberant echoes. The Sound was
only ruffled by the lingering breezes, as they idly wandered over its
surface. Long Island, now in possession of the British troops, was
thinly enveloped in smoky vapour; scattered along its shores lay the
numerous small craft and larger ships of the hostile fleet. A few skiffs
were passing and repassing the Sound, and several American gun-boats lay
off a point which jutted out from the main land, far to the eastward.
Numberless summer insects mingled their discordant strains amidst the
weedy herbage. A heavy black cloud was rising in the north west, which
seemed to portend a shower, as the sonorous, distant thunder was at long
intervals distinctly heard.

Melissa walked around the yard, contemplating the varying beauties of
the scene: the images of departed joys--the days when Alonzo had
participated with her in admiring the splendours of rural prospects,
raised in her bosom the sigh of deep regret. She entered the garden and
traversed the alleys, now overgrown with weeds and tufted knot-grass.
The flower beds were choaked with the low running bramble and tangling
five-finger; tall, rank rushes, mullens and daisies, had usurped the
empire of the kitchen garden. The viny arbour was broken, and
principally gone to decay; yet the "lonely wild rose" blushed mournfully
amidst the ruins. As she passed from the garden she involuntarily
stopped at the cemetery: she paused in serious reflection:--"Here, said
she, in this house of gloom rest, in undisturbed silence, my honourable
ancestors, once the active tenants of yonder mansion. Then, throughout
these solitary demesnes, the busy occurrences of life glided in cheerful
circles. Then, these now moss-clad alleys, and this wild weedy garden,
were the resort of the fashionable and the gay. Then, evening music
floated over the fields, while yonder halls and apartments shone in
brilliant illumination. Now all is sad, solitary and dreary, the haunt
of spirits and spectres of nameless terror. All that now remains of the
head that formed, the hand that executed, and the bosom that relished
this once happy scenery, is now, alas, only a heap of dust."

She seated herself on a little hillock, under a weeping willow, which
stood near the cemetery, and watched the rising shower, which ascended
in gloomy pomp, half hidden behind the western groves, shrouding the low
sun in black vapour, while coming thunders more nearly and more awfully
rolled. The shrieking night hawk[A] soared high into the air, mingling
with the lurid van of the approaching storm, which widening, more
rapidly advanced, until "the heavens were arrayed in blackness."

    [Footnote A: Supposed to be the male whippoorwill; well known in
    the New-England states, and answering to the above peculiarity.]

The lightning broader and brighter flashes, hurling down its forky
streaming bolts far in the wilderness, its flaming path followed by the
vollying artillery of the skies. Now bending its long, crinkling spires
over the vallies, now glimmering along the summit of the hills.
Convolving clouds poured smoky volumes through the expansion; a deep,
hollow, distant roar, announced the approach of "summoned winds." The
whole forest bowed in awful grandeur, as from its dark bosom rushed the
impetuous hurricane, twisting off, or tearing up by the roots, the
stoutest trees, whirling the heaviest branches through the air with
irresistible fury. It dashed upon the sea, tossed it into irregular
mountains, or mingled its white foamy spray with the gloom of the turbid
skies. Slant-wise, the large heavy drops of rain began to descend.
Melissa hastened to the mansion; as she reached the door a very
brilliant flash of lightning, accompanied by a tremendous explosion,
alarmed her. A thunder bolt had entered a large elm tree within the
enclosure, and with a horrible crash, had shivered it from top to
bottom. She unlocked the door and hurried to her chamber. Deep night now
filled the atmosphere; the rain poured in torrents, the wind rocked the
building, and bellowed in the adjacent groves: the sea raged and roared,
fierce lightnings rent the heavens, alternately involving the world in
the sheeted flame of its many coloured fires; thunders rolled awfully
around the firmament, or burst with horrid din, bounding and
reverberating among the surrounding woods, hills and vallies. It seemed
nothing less than the crash of worlds sounding through the universe.

Melissa walked her room, listening to the wild commotion of the
elements. She feared that if the storm continued, she should be
compelled to pass another night in the lone mansion: if so, she resolved
not to go to bed. She now suddenly recollected that in her haste to
regain her chamber, she had forgotten to lock the outer door. The shock
she had received when the lightning demolished the elm tree, was the
cause of this neglect. She took the candle, ran hastily down, and
fastened the door. As she was returning, she heard footsteps, and
imperfectly saw the glance of something coming out of an adjoining room
into the hall. Supposing some ghastly object was approaching, she
averted her eyes and flew to the stairs. As she was ascending them,
a voice behind her exclaimed, "Gracious heaven! Melissa!" The voice
agitated her frame with a confused, sympathetic sensation. She turned,
fixed her eyes upon the person who had spoken; unconnected ideas floated
a moment in her imagination: "Eternal powers! she cried, it is Alonzo."

       *       *       *       *       *

Alonzo and Melissa were equally surprised at so unexpected a meeting.
They could scarcely credit their own senses.--How he had discovered her
solitude--what led him to that lonely place--how he had got over the
wall--were queries which first arose in her mind. He likewise could not
conceive by what miracle he should find her in a remote, desolate
building, which he had supposed to be uninhabited. With rapture he took
her trembling hand; tears of joy choaked their utterance. "You are wet,
Alonzo, said Melissa at length; we will go up to my chamber; I have a
fire there, where you can dry your clothes."--"Your chamber; replied
Alonzo; who then inhabits this house?" "No one except myself, she
answered; I am here alone, Alonzo." "Alone! he exclaimed--here alone,
Melissa! Good God! tell me how--why--by what means are you here alone?"
"Let us go up to my chamber, she replied, and I will tell you all."

He followed her to her apartment and seated himself by the fire. "You
want refreshment," said Melissa--which was indeed the case, as he had
been long without any, and was wet, hungry and weary.

She immediately set about preparing tea and soon had it ready, and a
comfortable repast was spread for his entertainment.--And now, reader,
if thou art a child of nature, if thy bosom is susceptible of refined
sensibility, contemplate for a moment, Melissa and Alonzo seated at the
same table, a table prepared by her own hand, in a lonely mansion,
separated from society, and no one to interrupt them. After innumerable
difficulties, troubles and perplexities; after vexing embarrassments,
and a cruel separation, they were once more together, and for some time
every other consideration was lost. The violence of the storm had not
abated. The lightning still blazed, the thunder bellowed, the wind
roared, the sea raged, the rain poured, mingled with heavy hail: Alonzo
and Melissa heard a little of it. She told him all that had happened to
her since they parted, except the strange noises and awful sights which
had terrified her during her confinement in that solitary building: this
she considered unnecessary and untimely, in her present situation.

Alonzo informed her, that as soon as he had learned the manner in which
she had been sent away, he left the house of Vincent and went to her
father's to see if he could not find out by some of the domestics what
course her aunt had taken. None of them knew any thing about it. He did
not put himself in the way of her father, as he was apprehensive of ill
treatment thereby. He then went to several places among the relatives of
the family where he had heretofore visited with Melissa, most of whom
received him with a cautious coldness. At length he came to the house of
Mr. Simpson, the gentleman to whose seat Alonzo was once driven by a
shower, where he accidentally found Melissa on a visit, as mentioned
before. Here he was admitted with the ardour of friendship. They had
heard his story: Melissa had kept up a correspondence with one of the
young ladies; they were therefore informed of all, except Melissa's
removal from her father's house: of this they knew nothing until told
thereof by Alonzo.

"I am surprised at the conduct of my kinsman, said Mr. Simpson; for
though his determinations are, like the laws of the Medes and Persians,
unalterable, yet I have ever believed that the welfare of his children
lay nearest his heart. In the present instance he is certainly pursuing
a mistaken policy. I will go and see him." He then ordered his horse,
desiring Alonzo to remain at his house until he returned.

Alonzo was treated with the most friendly politeness by the family; he
found that they were deeply interested in his favour and the welfare of
Melissa. At evening Mr. Simpson returned. "It is in vain, said he, to
reason with my kinsman; he is determined that his daughter shall marry
your rival. He will not even inform me to what place he has sent
Melissa. Her aunt however is with her, and they must be at the residence
of some of the family relatives.--I will dispatch my son William among
our connections, to see if he can find her out."

The next morning William departed, and was gone two days; but could not
obtain the least intelligence either of Melissa or her aunt, although he
had been the rounds among the relations of the family.

"There is some mystery in this affair, said Mr. Simpson. I am very
little acquainted with Melissa's aunt. I have understood that she draws
a decent support from her patrimonial resources, which, it is said, are
pretty large, and that she resides alternately with her different
relatives. I have understood also that my kinsman expects her fortune to
come into his family, in case she never marries, which, in all
probability, she now will not, and that she, in consequence, holds
considerable influence over him. It is not possible but that Melissa is
yet concealed at some place of her aunt's residence, and that the family
are in the secret. I think it cannot be long before they will disclose
themselves: You, Alonzo, are welcome to make my house your home; and if
Melissa can be found, she shall be treated as my daughter."

Alonzo thanked him for his friendship and fatherly kindness. "I must
continue, said he, my researches for Melissa; the result you shall
know."

He then departed, and travelled through the neighbouring villages and
adjoining neighbourhoods, making, at almost every house, such enquiries
as he considered necessary on the occasion. He at length arrived at the
inn in the last little village where Melissa and her aunt had stopped
the day they came to the mansion. Here the inn-keeper informed him that
two ladies, answering his description, had been at his house: he named
the time, which was the day in which Melissa, with her aunt, left her
father's house. The inn-keeper told him that they purchased some
articles in the village, and drove off to the south. Alonzo then
traversed the country adjoining the Sound, far to the westward, and was
returning eastward, when he was overtaken by the shower. No house being
within sight, he betook himself to the forest for shelter. From a little
hilly glade in the wilderness, he discovered the lonely mansion which,
from its appearance, he very naturally supposed to be uninhabited.--The
tempest soon becoming severe, he thought he would endeavour to reach the
house.

When he arrived at the moat, he found it impossible to cross it, or
ascend the wall; and he stood in momentary jeopardy of his life, from
the falling timber, some of which was broken and torn up by the tornado,
and some splintered by the fiery bolts of heaven. At length a large
tree, which stood near him, on the verge of the moat, or rather in that
place, was hurled from its foundation, and fell, with a hideous crash,
across the moat, its top lodging on the wall. He scrambled up on the
trunk, and made his way on the wall. By the incessant glare of lightning
he was able to see distinctly. The top of the tree was partly broken by
the force of its fall, and hung down the other side of the wall. By
these branches he let himself down into the yard, proceeded to the
house, found the door open, which Melissa had left in her fright, and
entered into one of the rooms, where he proposed to stay until at least
the shower was over, still supposing the house unoccupied, until the
noise of locking the door, and the light of the candle, drew him from
the room, when, to his infinite surprise, he discovered Melissa, as
before related.

Melissa listened to Alonzo with varied emotion. The fixed obduracy of
her father, the generous conduct of the Simpsons, the constancy of
Alonzo, filled her heart with inexpressible sensations. She foresaw that
her sufferings were not shortly to end--she knew not when her sorrows
were to close.

Alonzo was shocked at the alteration which appeared in the features of
Melissa. The rose had faded from her cheek, except when it was
transiently suffused with a hectic flush. A livid paleness sat upon her
countenance, and her fine form was rapidly wasting. It was easy to be
foreseen that the grief which preyed upon her heart would soon destroy
her, unless speedily allayed.

The storm had now passed into the regions of the east; the wind and rain
had ceased, the lightning more unfrequently flashed, and the thunder
rolled at a distance. The hours passed hastily;--day would soon appear.
Hitherto they had been absorbed in the present moment; it was time to
think of the future. After the troubles they had experienced; after so
fortunate a meeting, they could not endure the idea of another and
immediate separation. And yet immediately separated they must be. It
would not be safe for Alonzo to stay even until the rising sun, unless
he was concealed; and of what use could it be for him to remain there in
concealment?

In this dilemma there was but one expedient. "Suffer me, said Alonzo to
Melissa, to remove you from this solitary confinement. Your health is
impaired. To you, your father is no more a father; he has steeled his
bosom to paternal affection; he has banished you from his house, placed
you under the tyranny of others, and confined you in a lonely, desolate
dwelling, far from the sweets of society; and this only because you
cannot heedlessly renounce a most solemn contract, formed under his eye,
and sanctioned by his immediate consent and approbation. Pardon me,
Melissa, I would not censure your father; but permit me to say, that
after such treatment, you are absolved from implicit obedience to his
rigorous, cruel, and stern commands.--It will therefore be considered a
duty you owe to your preservation, if you suffer me to remove you from
the tyrannical severity with which you are oppressed."

Melissa sighed, wiping a tear which fell from her eye. "Unqualified
obedience to my parents, said she, I have ever considered the first of
duties, and have religiously practised thereon----but where, Alonzo,
would you remove me?" "To any place you shall appoint," he answered.
"I have no where to go," she replied.

"If you will allow me to name the place, said he, I will mention Mr.
Simpson's. He will espouse your cause and be a father to you, and, if
conciliation is possible, will reconcile you to your father. This can be
done without my being known to have any agency in the business. It can
seem as if Mr. Simpson had found you out. He will go any just lengths to
serve us. It was his desire, if you could be found, to have you brought
to his house. There you can remain either in secret or openly, as you
shall choose. Be governed by me in this, Melissa, and in all things I
will obey you thereafter. I will then submit to the future events of
fate; but I cannot Melissa--I cannot leave you in this doleful place."

Melissa arose and walked the room in extreme agitation. What could she
do? She had, indeed, determined to leave the house, for reasons which
Alonzo knew nothing of. But should she leave it in the way she had
proposed, she was not sure but she would be immediately remanded back,
more strictly guarded, and more severely treated. To continue there,
under existing circumstances, would be impossible, long to exist. She
therefore came to a determination--"I will go, she said, to Mr.
Simpson's."

It was then agreed that Alonzo should proceed to Vincent's, interest
them in the plan, procure a carriage, and return at eleven o'clock the
next night. Melissa was to have the draw-bridge down, and the gate open.
If John should come to the house the succeeding day, she would persuade
him to let her still keep the keys. But it was possible her aunt might
return. This would render the execution of the scheme more hazardous and
difficult. A signal was therefore agreed on; if her aunt should be
there, a candle was to be placed at the window fronting the gate, in the
room above; if not, it was to be placed against a similar window in the
room below. In the first case Alonzo was to rap loudly at the door.
Melissa was to run down, under pretence of seeing who was there, fly
with Alonzo to the carriage, and leave her aunt to scrape acquaintance
with the ghosts and goblins of the old mansion. For even if her aunt
should return, which was extremely doubtful, she thought she could
contrive to let down the bridge and unlock the gate in the evening
without her knowledge. At any rate she was determined not to let the
keys go out of her hands, unless they were forced from her, until she
had escaped from that horrid and dreary place.

Daylight began to break from the east, and Alonzo prepared to depart.
Melissa accompanied him to the gate and the bridge, which was let down:
he passed over, and she slowly withdrew, both frequently turning to look
back. When she came to the gate, she stopped;--Alonzo stopped also. She
waved a white handkerchief she had in her hand, and Alonzo bowed in
answer to the sign. She then leisurely entered and slowly shut the
gate.--Alonzo could not forbear climbing up into a tree to catch another
glimpse of her as she passed up the avenue. With lingering step he saw
her move along, soon receding from his view in the gray twilight of
misty morning. He then descended, and hastily proceeded on his journey.

Traits of glory now painted the eastern skies. The glittering day-star,
having unbarred the portals of light, began to transmit its retrocessive
lustre. Thin scuds flew swiftly over the moon's decrescent form. Low,
hollow winds, murmured among the bushes, or brushed the limpid drops
from intermingling foliage. The fire-fly[A] sunk, feebly twinkling,
amidst the herbage of the fields. The dusky shadows of night fled to the
deep glens, and rocky caverns of the wilderness. The American lark
soared high in the air, consecrating its matin lay to morn's approaching
splendours. The woodlands began to ring with native melody--the forest
tops, on high mountains, caught the sun's first ray, which, widening and
extending, soon gem'd the landscape with brilliants of a thousand
various dies.

    [Footnote A: The American lampyris, vulgarly called the
    lightning-bug.]

As Alonzo came out of the fields near the road, he saw two persons
passing in an open chair. They suddenly stopped, earnestly gazing at
him. They were wrapped in long riding cloaks, and it could not be
distinguished from their dress whether they were men or women. He stood
not to notice them, but made the best of his way to Vincent's, where he
arrived about noon.--Rejoiced to find that he had discovered Melissa,
they applauded the plan of her removal, and assisted him in obtaining a
carriage. A sedan was procured, and he set out to return, promising to
see Vincent again, as soon as he had removed Melissa to Mr. Simpson's.
He made such use of his time as to arrive at the mansion at the hour
appointed. He found the draw-bridge down, the gate open, and saw, as had
been agreed upon, the light at the lower window, glimmering through the
branches of trees. He was therefore assured that Melissa was alone. His
heart beat; a joyful tremor seized his frame; Melissa was soon to be
under his care, for a short time at least.--He drove up to the house,
sprang out of the carriage, and fastened his horse to a locust tree: The
door was open; he went in, flew lightly up stairs, entered her
chamber--Melissa was not there! A small fire was blazing on the hearth,
a candle was burning on the table. He stood petrified with amazement,
then gazed around in anxious solicitude. What could have become of her?
It was impossible, he tho't, but that she must still be there.

Had she been removed by fraud or force, the signal candle would not have
been at the window. Perhaps, in a freakish moment, she had concealed
herself for no other purpose than to cause him a little perplexity. He
therefore took the candle and searched every corner of the chamber, and
every room of the house, not even missing the garret and the cellar.
He then placed the candle in a lantern, and went out and examined the
out-houses: he next went round the garden and the yard, strictly
exploring and investigating every place; but he found her not. He
repeatedly and loudly called her by name; he was answered only by the
solitary echoes of the wilderness.

Again he returned to the house, traversed the rooms, there also calling
on the name of Melissa: his voice reverberated from the walls, dying
away in solemn murmurs in the distant empty apartments. Thus did he
continue his anxious scrutiny, alternately in the house and the
enclosure, until day--but no traces could be discovered, nothing seen or
heard of Melissa. What had become of her he could not form the most
distant conjecture. Nothing was removed from the house; the beds, the
chairs, the table, all the furniture remained in the same condition as
when he was there the night before;--the candle, as had been agreed
upon, was at the window, and another was burning on the table:--it was
therefore evident that she could not have been long gone when he
arrived. By what means she had thus suddenly disappeared, was a most
deep and inscrutable mystery.

When the sun had arisen, he once more repeated his inquisitive search,
but with the same effect. He then, in extreme vexation and
disappointment, flung himself into the sedan, and drove from the
mansion. Frequently did he look back at the building, anxiously did he
scrutinize every surrounding and receding object. A thrill of pensive
recollection vibrated through his frame as he passed the gate, and the
keen agonizing pangs of blasted hope, pierced his heart, as his carriage
rolled over the bridge.

Once more he cast a "longing, lingering look" upon the premises behind,
sacred only for the treasure they lately possessed; then sunk backward
in his seat, and was dragged slowly away.

       *       *       *       *       *

Alonzo had understood from Melissa, that John's hut was situated about
one mile north from the mansion where she had been confined. When he
came out near the road, he left his horse and carriage, after securing
them, and went in search of it.--He soon discovered it, and knew it from
the description given thereof by Melissa.--He went up and knocked at the
door, which was opened by John, whom Alonzo also knew, from the portrait
Melissa had drawn of him.

John started in amazement. "Understanding, said Alonzo, that you have
the charge of the old mansion in yonder field, I have come to know if
you can inform me what has become of the young lady who has been
confined there."

"Confined! answered John, I did not know she was confined."

Recollecting himself, "I mean the young lady who has lately resided
there with her aunt," replied Alonzo.

"She was there last night, answered John; her aunt is gone into the
country and has not returned."

Alonzo then told him the situation of the mansion, and that she was not
there. John informed him that she was there about sunset, and according
to her request he had left the keys of the gate and bridge with her:
he desired Alonzo to tarry there until he ran to the mansion.

He returned in about half an hour. "She is gone, sure enough, said John;
but how, or where, it is impossible for me to guess."--Convinced that he
knew nothing of the matter, Alonzo left him and returned to Vincent's.

Vincent and his lady were much surprised at Alonzo's account of
Melissa's sudden disappearance, and they wished to ascertain whether her
father's family knew any thing of the circumstance. Social intercourse
had become suspended between the families of Vincent and Melissa's
father, as the latter had taxed the former of improperly endeavouring to
promote the views of Alonzo. They therefore procured a neighbouring
woman to visit Melissa's mother, to see if any information could be
obtained concerning Melissa; but the old lady had heard nothing of her
since her departure with her aunt, who had never yet returned.--Alonzo
left Vincent's and went to Mr. Simpson's. He told them all that had
happened since he was there, of which, before, they had heard nothing.
At the houses of Mr. Simpson and Vincent he resided some time, while
they made the most dilligent search to discover Melissa; but nothing
could be learned of her fate.

Alonzo then travelled into various parts of the country, making such
enquiries as caution dictated of all whom he thought likely to give him
information;--but he found none who could give him the least
intelligence of his lost Melissa.

In the course of his wanderings he passed near the old mansion house
where Melissa had been confined. He felt an inclination once more to
visit it: he proceeded over the bridge, which was down, but he found the
gate locked. He therefore hurried back and went to John's, whom he found
at home. On enquiring of John whether he had yet heard any thing of the
young lady and her aunt; "All I know of the matter, said John, is, that
two days after you were here, her aunt came back with a strange
gentleman, and ordered me to go and fetch the furniture away from the
room they had occupied in the old mansion. I asked her what had become
of young madam. She told me that young madam had behaved very
indiscreetly, and she found fault with me for leaving the keys in her
possession, though I did not know that any harm could arise from it.
From the discourse which my wife and I afterwards overheard between
madam and the strange gentleman, I understood that young madam had been
sent to reside with some friend or relation at a great distance, because
her father wanted her to marry a man, and she wishes to marry somebody
else." From John's plain and simple narrative, Alonzo concluded that
Melissa had been removed by her father's order, or through the agency,
or instigation of her aunt. Whether his visit to the old mansion had
been somehow discovered or suspected, or whether she was removed by some
preconcerted or antecedent plan, he could not conjecture.--Still, the
situation in which he found the mansion the night he went to convey her
away, left an inexplicable impression on his mind. He could in no manner
account how the candle could be placed at the window according to
agreement, unless it had been done by herself; and if so, how had she so
suddenly been conveyed away?

Alonzo asked John where Melissa's aunt now was.

"She left here yesterday morning, he answered, with the strange
gentleman I mentioned, on a visit to some of her friends."

"Was the strange gentleman you speak of her brother?" asked Alonzo.

"I believe not, replied John, smiling and winking to his wife;--I know
not who he was; somebody that madam seems to like pretty well."

"Have you the care of the old mansion?" said Alonzo.

"Yes, answered John, I have the keys; I will accompany you thither,
perhaps you would like to purchase it; madam said yesterday she thought
she should sell it."

Alonzo told him he had no thoghts of purchasing, thanked him for his
information, and departed.

Convinced now that Melissa was removed by the agency of her persecutors,
he compared the circumstances of John's relation. "She had been sent to
reside with some friend or relation at a great distance." This great
distance, he believed to be New London, and her friend or relation, her
cousin, at whose house Alonzo first saw her, under whose care she would
be safe, and Beauman would have an opportunity of renewing his
addresses. Under these impressions, Alonzo did not long hesitate what
course to pursue--he determined to repair to New London immediately.

In pursuance of his design he went to his father's. He found the old
gentleman with his man contentedly tilling his farm, and his mother
cheerfully attending to household affairs, as their narrow circumstances
would not admit her to keep a maid without embarrassment. Alonzo's soul
sickened on comparing the present state of his family with its former
affluence; but it was an unspeakable consolation to see his aged parents
contented and happy in their humble situation; and though the idea could
not pluck the thorn from his own bosom, yet it tended temporarily to
assuage the anguish of the wound.

"You have been long gone, my son, said his father; I scarcely knew what
had become of you. Since I have become a farmer I know little of what is
going forward in the world; and indeed we were never happier in our
lives. After stocking and paying for my farm, and purchasing the
requisites for my business, I have got considerable money at command:
we live frugally, and realize the blessings of health, comfort, and
contentment. Our only disquietude is on your account, Alonzo. Your
affair with Melissa, I suppose, is not so favourable as you could wish.
But despair not, my son; hope is the harbinger of fairer prospects: rely
on Providence, which never deserts those who submissively bow to the
justice of its dispensations."

Unwilling to disturb the serenity of his parents, Alonzo did not tell
them his troubles. He answered, that perhaps all might yet come right;
but that, as in the present state of his mind he thought a change of
situation might be of advantage, he asked liberty of his father to
travel for some little time. To this his father consented, and offered
him a part of the money he had on hand, which Alonzo refused, saying he
did not expect to be long gone, and his resources had not failed him.

He then sold off his books, his horses, his carriages, &c. the
_insignia_ of his better days, but now useless appendages, from which he
raised no inconsiderable sum.--He then took a tender and affectionate
leave of his parents, and set out for New London.

Alonzo journeyed along with a heavy heart and in an enfeebled frame of
spirits. Through disappointment, vexation, and the fatigues he had
undergone in wandering about, for a long time, in search of Melissa,
despondency had seized upon his mind, and indisposition upon his body.
He put up the first night within a few miles of New Haven, and as he
passed through that town the next morning, the scenes of early life in
which he had there been an actor, moved in melancholy succession over
his mind. That day he grew more indisposed; he experienced an unusual
languor, listlessness and debility; chills, followed by hot flashes,
heavy pains in the head and back, with incessant and intolerable thirst.
It was near night when he reached Killingsworth, where he halted, as he
felt unable to go farther: he called for a bed, and through the night
was racked with severe pain, and scorched with a burning fever.

The next morning he requested that the physician of the town might be
sent for;--he came and ordered a prescription which gave his patient
some relief; and by strict attention, in about ten days Alonzo was able
to pursue his journey. He arrived at New London, and took lodgings with
a private family of the name of Wyllis, in a retired part of the town.

The first object was to ascertain whether Melissa was at her cousin's.
But how should he obtain this information? He knew no person in the town
except it was those whom he had reason to suppose were leagued against
him. Should he go to the house of her cousin, it might prove an injury
to her if she were there, and could answer no valuable purpose if she
were not.--The evening after he arrived there he wrapped himself up in
his cloak and took the street which led to the house of Melissa's
cousin: he stopped when he came against it, to see if he could make any
discoveries. As people were passing and repassing the street, he got
over into a small enclosure which adjoined the house, and stood under a
tree, about thirty yards from the house: he had not long occupied this
station, before a lady came to the chamber window, which was flung up,
opposite to the place where he stood; she leaned out, looked earnestly
around for a few minutes, then shut it and retired. She had brought a
candle into the room, but did not bring it to the window; of course he
could not distinguish her features so as to identify them.

He knew it was not the wife of Melissa's cousin, and from her appearance
he believed it to be Melissa. Again the window opened, again the same
lady appeared;--she took a seat at a little distance within the room;
she reclined with her head upon her hand, and her arm appeared to be
supported by a stand or table. Alonzo's heart beat violently; he now had
a side view of her face, and was more than ever convinced that it was
Melissa. Her delicate features, though more pale and dejected than when
last he saw her;--her brown hair, which fell in artless circles around
her lily neck; her arched eye-brows and commanding aspect. Alonzo moved
towards the house, with a design, if possible, to draw her attention,
and should it really prove to be Melissa, to discover himself. He had
proceeded but a few steps before she arose, shut the window, retired,
and the light disappeared. Alonzo waited a considerable time, but she
appeared no more. Supposing she had retired for the night, he slowly
withdrew, chagrined at this disappointment, yet pleased at the discovery
he had made.

The family with whom Alonzo had taken lodgings were fashionable and
respectable. The following afternoon they had appointed to visit a
friend, and they invited Alonzo to accompany them. When they named the
family where their visit was intended, he found it to be Melissa's
cousin. Alonzo therefore declined going under pretence of business. He
however waited with anxiety for their return, hoping he should be able
to learn by their conversation, whether Melissa was there or not.--When
they returned he made some enquiries concerning the families in town,
until the conversation turned upon the family they had visited. "The
young lady who resides there, said Mrs. Wyllis, is undoubtedly in a
confirmed decline; she will never recover."

Alonzo started, deeply agitated. "Who is the young lady?" he asked. "She
is sister to the gentleman's wife where we visited, answered Mr.
Wyllis;--her father lives in Newport, and she has come here for her
health." "Do you not think, said Mrs. Wyllis, that she resembles their
cousin Melissa, who resided there some time ago?" "Very much indeed,
replied her husband, only she is not quite so handsome."

Again was Alonzo disappointed, and again did he experience a melancholy
pleasure: he had the last night hoped that he had discovered Melissa;
but to find her in a hopeless decline, was worse than that she should
remain undiscovered.

"It is reported, said Mrs. Wyllis, that Melissa has been upon the verge
of matrimony, but that the treaty was somehow broken off; perhaps
Beauman will renew his addresses again, should this be the case."
"Beauman has other business besides addressing the ladies, answered Mr.
Wyllis. He has marched to the lines near New-York with his new raised
company of volunteers."[A]

    [Footnote A: New-York was then in possession of the British
    troops.]

From this discourse, Alonzo was convinced that Melissa was not the
person he had seen at her cousin's the preceding evening, and that she
was not there. He also found that Beauman was not in town. Where to
search next, or what course to pursue, he was at a loss to determine.

The next morning he rose early and wandered about the town. As he passed
by the house of Melissa's cousin, he saw the lady, who had appeared at
the window, walking in the garden. Her air, her figure, had very much
the appearance of Melissa; but the lineaments of her countenance were,
when viewed by the light of day, widely dissimilar. Alonzo felt no
strong curiosity farther to examine her features, but passing on,
returned to his lodgings.

How he was now to proceed, Alonzo could not readily decide. To return to
his native place, appeared to be as useless as to tarry where he was.
For many weeks had he travelled and searched every place where he
thought it probable Melissa might be found, both among her relatives and
elsewhere. He had made every effort to obtain some clue to her removal
from the old mansion, but he could learn nothing but what he had been
told by John. If his friends should ever hear of her, they could not
inform him thereof, as no one knew where he was. Would it not,
therefore, be best for him to return back, and consult with his friends,
and if nothing had been heard of her, pursue some other mode of enquiry?
He might, at least, leave directions where his friends might write to
him, in case they should have any thing whereof to apprise him.

An incident tended to confirm this resolution. He one night dreamed that
he was sitting in a strange house, contemplating on his present
situation, when Melissa suddenly entered the room. Her appearance was
more pale, sickly and dejected, than when he last saw her. Her elegant
form had wasted away, her eyes were sunk, her cheeks fallen, her lips
livid. He fancied it to be night, she held a candle in her hand, smiling
languidly upon him;--she turned and went out of the room, beckoning him
to follow: he thought he immediately arose and followed her. She glided
through several winding rooms, and at length he lost sight of her, and
the light gradually fading away, he was involved in deep darkness.--He
groped along, and at length saw a faint distant glimmer, the course of
which he pursued, until he came into a large room, hung with black
tapestry, and illuminated by a number of bright tapers. On one side of
the room appeared a hearse, on which some person was laid: he went up to
it--the first object that arrested his attention was the lovely form of
Melissa, shrouded in the sable vestments of death! Cold and lifeless,
she lay stretched upon the hearse, beautiful even in dissolution; the
dying smile of complacency had not yet deserted her cheek. The music of
her voice had ceased; her fine eyes had closed for ever. Insensible to
objects in which she once delighted; to afflictions which had blasted
her blooming prospects, and drained the streams of life, she lay like
blossomed trees of spring, overthrown by rude and boisterous winds. The
deep groans which convulsed the distracted bosom, and shocked the
trembling frame of Alonzo, broke the delusive charm: he awoke, rejoiced
to find it but a dream, though it impressed his mind with doleful and
portentous forebodings.

It was a long time before he could again close his eyes to sleep; he at
length fell into a slumber, and again he dreamed. He fancied himself
with Melissa, at the house of her father, who had consented to their
union, and that the marriage ceremony between them was there performed.
He thought that Melissa appeared as she had done in her most fortunate
and sprightly days, before the darts of adversity, and the thorns of
affliction, had wounded her heart. Her father seemed to be divested of
all his awful sternness, and gave her to Alonzo with cheerful freedom.
He awoke, and the horrors of his former dream were dissipated by the
happy influences of the last.

"Who knows, he said, but that this may finally be the case; but that the
sun of peace may yet dispel the glooms of these distressful hours!" He
arose, determined to return home in a few days. He went out and enjoyed
his morning walk in a more composed frame of spirits than he had for
some time experienced. He returned, and as he was entering the door he
saw the weekly newspaper of the town, which had been published that
morning, and which the carrier had just flung into the hall.----The
family had not yet arisen. He took up the paper, carried it to his
chamber, and opened it to read the news of the day. He ran his eye
hastily over it, and was about to lay it aside, when the death list
arrested his attention, by a display of broad black lines. The first
article he read therein was as follows:

"Died, of a consumption, on the 26th ult. at the seat of her uncle, Col.
W. D--, near Charleston, South Carolina, whither she had repaired for
her health, Miss Melissa D----, the amiable daughter of J---- D----,
Esq. of *******, Connecticut, in the eighteenth year of her age."

The paper fell from the palsied hand--a sudden faintness came upon
him--the room grew dark--he staggered, and fell senseless upon the
floor.

       *       *       *       *       *

The incidents of our story will here produce a pause.----The fanciful
part of our readers may cast it aside in chagrin and disappointment.
"Such an event," may they say, "we were not prepared to expect.--After
so many, and such various trials of heart; after innumerable
difficulties surmounted; almost invincible objects overcome, and
insuperable barriers removed--after attending the hero and heroine of
your tale through the diversified scenes of anxiety, suspense, hope,
disappointment, expectation, joy, sorrow, anticipated bliss, sudden and
disastrous woe----after elevating them to the threshold of happiness,
by the premature death of one, to plunge the other, instantaneously, in
deep and irretrievable despair, must not, cannot be right.--Your story
will hereafter become languid and spiritless; the subject will be
uninteresting, the theme unengaging, since the _genius_ which animated
and enlivened it is gone for ever."

Reader of sensibility, stop. Are we not detailing facts? Shall we gloss
them over with false colouring? Shall we describe things as they are, or
as they are not? Shall we draw with the pencil of nature, or of art? Do
we indeed paint life as it is, or as it is not? Cast thine eyes, reader,
over the ephemeral circle of passing and fortuitous events; view the
change of contingencies; mark well the varied and shifting scenery in
the great drama of time;--seriously contemplate nature in her
operations; minutely examine the entrance, the action, and the exit of
characters on the stage of existence--then say, if disappointment,
distress, misery and calamitous woe, are not the inalienable portion of
the susceptible bosom. Say, if the possession of refined feeling is
enviable----the lot of _Nature's children_ covetable--whether to such,
through life, the sprinklings of comfort are sufficient to give a zest
to the bitter banquets of adversity--whether, indeed, sorrow, sighing,
and tears, are not the inseparable attendants of all those whose hearts
are the repositories of tender affections and pathetic sympathies.

But what says the moralist?--"Portray life as it is. Delude not the
senses by deceptive appearances. Arouse your hero? call to his aid stern
philosophy and sober reason. They will dissipate the rainbow-glories of
unreal pleasure, and banish the glittering meteors of unsubstantial
happiness. Or if these fail, lead him to the holy fane of religion: she
will regulate the fires of fancy, and assuage the tempest of the
passions: she will illuminate the dark wilderness, and smooth the thorny
paths of life: she will point him to joys beyond the tomb--to _another
and a better world_; and pour the balm of consolation and serenity over
his wounded soul."

Shall we indeed arouse Alonzo? Alas! to what paths of grief and
wretchedness shall we arouse him! To a world to him void and
cheerless--a world desolate, sad and dreary.

Alonzo revived. "Why am I, he exclaimed, recalled to this dungeon of
torment? Why was not my spirit permitted to take its flight to regions
where my guardian is gone? Why am I cursed with memory? O that I might
be blessed with forgetfulness! But why do I talk of blessings?--Heaven
never had one in store for me. Where are fled my anticipated joys?
To the bosom, the dark bosom of the oblivious tomb! There lie all the
graces worthy of love in life--all the virtues worthy of lamentation in
death! There lies perfection; perfection has here been found. Was she
not all that even Heaven could demand?--Fair, lovely, holy and virtuous.
Her tender solicitudes, her enrapturing endearments, her soul-inspiring
blandishments,--gone, gone for ever? That heavenly form, that
discriminate mind--all lovely as light, all pure as a seraph's--a prey
to worms--mingled with incorporeal shadows, regardless of former
inquietudes or delights, regardless of the keen anguish which now wrings
tears of blood from my despairing heart!

"Eternal Disposer of events! if virtue be thy special care, why is the
fairest flower in the garden of innocence and purity blasted like a
noxious weed? Why is the bright gem of excellence trampled in the dust
like a worthless pebble?--Why is Melissa hurried to the tomb?"

Thus raved Alonzo. It was evident that delirium had partially seized his
brain. He arose and flung himself on the bed in unspeakable agony. "And
what, Alas! he again exclaimed, now remains for me? Existence and
unparalleled misery. The consolation even of death is denied me. But
Melissa! she--ah, where is she! Oh, reflection insupportable!
insufferable consideration! Must that heavenly frame putrify, moulder,
and crumble into dust? Must the loathsome spider nestle on her lily
bosom? the odious reptile riot on her delicate limbs? the worm revel
amid the roses of her cheek, fatten on her temples, and bask in the
lustre of her eyes? Alas! the lustre has become dimmed in death; the
rose and the lily are withered; the harmony of her voice has ceased; the
graces, the elegancies of form, the innumerable delicacies of air, all
are gone, and I am left in a state of misery which defies mitigation or
comparison."

Exhausted by excess of grief, he now lay in a stupifying anguish, until
the servant summoned him to breakfast. He told the servant he was
indisposed and requested he might not be disturbed. Mr. Wyllis and his
lady came up, anxious to yield him any assistance in their power, and
advised him to call a physician. He thanked them, but told them it was
unnecessary; he only wanted rest. His extreme distress of mind brought
on a relapse of fever, from which he had but imperfectly recovered. For
several days he lay in a very dangerous and doubtful state. A physician
was called, contrary to his choice or knowledge, as for most part of the
time his mind was delirious and sensation imperfect. This was, probably
the cause of baffling the disorder. He was in a measure insensible to
his woes. He did not oppose the prescriptions of the physician. The
fever abated; nature triumphed over disease of body, and he slowly
recovered, but the malady of his mind was not removed.

He contemplated on the past. "I fear, said he, I have murmured against
the wisdom of Providence. Forgive, O merciful Creator! Forgive the
frenzies of distraction!" He now recollected that Melissa once told him
that she had an uncle who resided near Charleston in South Carolina;
thither he supposed she had been sent by her father, when she was
removed from the old mansion, in order to prevent his having access to
her, and with a view to compel her to marry Beauman. Her appearance had
indicated a deep decline when he last saw her. "There, said he, far
removed from friends and acquaintance, there did she languish, there did
she die--a victim to excessive grief, and cruel parental persecution."

As soon as he was able to leave his room, he walked out one evening, and
in deep contemplation roved, he knew not where. The moon shone
brilliantly from her lofty throne; the chill, heavy dews of autumn
glittered on the decaying verdure. The _cadeat_[A] croaked hoarsely
among the trees; the _dircle_[B] sung mournfully on the grass.--Alonzo
heard them not; he was insensible to all external objects, until he had
imperceptibly wandered to the rock on the point of the beach, verging
the Sound, to which he had attended Melissa the first time he saw her at
her cousin's.[C] Had the whole artillery of Heaven burst, in sheeted
flame, from the skies--had raging winds mingled the roaring waves with
the mountains--had an instantaneous earthquake burst beneath his feet,
his frame would not have been so shocked, his soul so agitated!--Sudden
as the blaze darts from the electric cloud was he aroused to a lively
sense of blessings entombed! The memory of departed joys passed with
rapidity over his imagination; his first meeting with Melissa; the
evening he had attended her to that place; her frequent allusions to the
scenery there displayed, when they had traversed the fields, or reclined
in the bower on her favourite hill; in fine, all the vicissitudes
through which they had passed, were called to his mind. His fancy saw
her--felt her gently leaning on his arm, while he tremblingly pressed
her hand.--Again he saw smiling health crimsoning the lilies of her
cheek; again he saw the bright soul of sympathetic feelings sparkling in
her eye; the air of ease; the graces of attitude; her brown locks
circling the borders of her snowy robe. Again he was enraptured by the
melody of her voice.--Once more would he have been happy, had not fancy
changed the scene. But, alas! she shifted the curtain. He saw Melissa
stretched on the sable hearse, wrapped in the dreary vestments of the
grave; the roses withered; the lilies faded; motionless; the graces
fled; her eyes fixed, and sealed in the glaze of death! Spontaneously he
fell upon his knees, and thus poured forth the overcharged burden of his
anguished bosom.

    [Footnote AB: Local names given to certain American insects, from
    their sound. They are well known in various parts of the United
    States; generally make their appearance about the latter end of
    August, and continue until destroyed by the frost. The notes of
    the first are hoarse, sprightly, and discordant; of the last,
    solemn and mournfully pleasing.]

    [Footnote C: See page 8. See also allusions to this scene in
    several subsequent parts of the story.]

"Infinite Ruler of all events! Great Sovereign of this ever changing
world! Omnipotent Controller of vicissitudes! Omniscient dispenser of
destinies! The beginning, the progression, the end is thine.
Unsearchable are thy purposes! mysterious thy movements! inscrutable thy
operations! An atom of thy creation, wildered in the mazes of ignorance
and woe, would bow to thy decrees. Surrounded with impenetrable gloom,
unable to scrutinize the past, incompetent to explore the future----fain
would he say, THY WILL BE DONE! And Oh, that it might be consistent with
that HIGH WILL to call _this atom_ from a dungeon of wretchedness, to
worlds of light and glory, where his only CONSOLATION is gone."

Thus prayed the heart-broken Alonzo. It was indeed a worldly prayer; but
perhaps as pure and as acceptable as many of our modern professors would
have made on a similar occasion. He arose and repaired to his lodgings.
One determination only he had now fallen upon--to bury himself and his
griefs from all with whom he had formerly been acquainted. Why should he
return to the scenes of his former bliss and anxiety, where every
countenance would tend to renew his mourning; where every door would be
inscribed with a _memento mori_, and where every object would be
shrouded in crape? He therefore turned his attention to the army; but
the army was far distant, and he was too feeble to prosecute a journey
of such an extent.

There were at that time preparations for fitting out a convoy, at
private expense, from various parts of the United States, for the
protection of our European trade; they were to rendezvous at a certain
station, and thence proceed with the merchantmen under their care to the
ports of France and Holland, where our trade principally centered, and
return as convoy to some other mercantile fleet.

One of these ships of war was then nearly fitted out at New-London.
Alonzo offered himself to the captain, who, pleased with his appearance,
gave him the station of commander of marines.

Alonzo prepared himself with all speed for the voyage. He sought, he
wished no acquaintance. His only place of resort, except to his lodgings
and the ship, was to Melissa's favourite rock: there he bowed as to the
shrine of her spirit, and there he consecrated his devotions.

As he was one day passing through the town, a gentleman stepped out of
an adjoining house and accosted him. Alonzo immediately recognized him
to be the cousin of Melissa, at whose house he had first seen her. He
was dressed in full mourning, which was a sufficient indication that he
was apprised of her death. He invited Alonzo to his house, and he could
not complaisantly refuse the invitation. He therefore accepted it, and
passed an hour with him, from whom he learnt that Melissa had been sent
to her uncle's at Charleston, for the recovery of her health, where she
died. "Her premature death, said her cousin, has borne so heavily upon
her aged father, that it is feared he will not long survive."----"Well
may it wring his bosom, thought Alonzo;----his conscience can never be
at peace." Whether Melissa's cousin had been informed of the particulars
of Alonzo's unfortunate attachment, was not known, as he instituted no
conversation on the subject. Neither did he enquire into Alonzo's
prospects; he only invited him to call again. Alonzo thanked him, but
replied it would be doubtful, as he should shortly leave town. He made
no one acquainted with his intentions.

The day at length arrived when the ship was to sail, and Alonzo to leave
the shores of America. They spread their canvass to propitious gales;
the breezes rushed from their woody coverts, and majestically wafted
them from the harbour.

Slowly the land receded; fields, forests, hills, mountains, towns and
villages leisurely withdrew, until they were mingled in one common mass.
The ocean opening, expanded and widened, presenting to the astonished
eyes of the untried mariner its wilderness of waters. Near sunset,
Alonzo ascended the mast to take a last view of a country once so dear,
but whose charms were now lost forever. The land still appeared like a
simicircular border of dark green velvet on the edge of a convex mirror.
The sun sunk in fleecy golden vapours behind it. It now dwindled to
discoloured and irregular spots, which appeared like objects floating,
amidst the blue mists of distance, on the verge of the main, and
immediately all was lost beneath the spherical, watery surface.

Alonzo had fixed his eyes, as near as his judgment could direct, towards
Melissa's favourite rock, till nothing but sea was discoverable. With a
heart-parting sigh he then descended. They had now launched into the
illimitable world of billows, and the sable wings of night brooded over
the boundless deep.

       *       *       *       *       *

A new scene was now opened to Alonzo in the wonders of the mighty deep.
The sun rising from and setting in the ocean; the wide-spread region of
watery waste, now smooth as polished glass, now urged into irregular
rolling hillocks, then swelled to

  "Blue trembling billows, topp'd with foam,"

or gradually arising into mountainous waves. Often would he traverse the
deck amid the still hours of midnight, when the moon silvered over the
liquid surface: "Bright luminary of the lonely hour, he would say, that
now sheddest thy mild and placid ray on the woe-worn head of fortune's
fugitive, dost thou not also pensively shine on the sacred and silent
grave of my Melissa?"

Favourable breezes wafted them for many days over the bosom of the
Atlantic.--At length they were overtaken by a violent storm. The wind
began to blow strongly from the southwest, which soon increased to a
violent gale. The dirgy scud first flew swiftly along the sky; then dark
and heavy clouds filled the atmosphere, mingling with the top-gallant
streamers of the ship. Night hovered over the ocean, rendered horrible
by the intermitting blaze of lightnings, the awful crash of thunder,
and the deafening roar of winds and waves. The sea was rolled into
mountains, capped with foaming fire. Now the ship was soaring among the
thunders of heaven, now sunk in the abyss of waters.

The storm dispersed the fleet, so that when it abated, the ship in which
Alonzo sailed was found alone; they, however, kept on their course of
destination, after repairing their rigging, which had been considerably
disordered by the violence of the gale.

The next morning they discovered a sail which they fondly hoped might
prove to be one of their own fleet, and accordingly made for it. The
ship they were in pursuit of shortened sail, and towards noon wore round
and bore down upon them, when they discovered that it was not a ship
belonging to their convoy. It appeared to be of equal force and
dimensions with that of their own; they therefore, in order to prepare
for the worst, got ready with all speed for action. They slowly
approached each other, manoeuvering for the advantage, till the strange
ship ran up British colours, and fired a gun, which was immediately
answered by the other, under the flag of the United States. It was not
long before a close and severe action took place, which continued for
three hours, when both ships were in so shattered a condition that they
were unable to manage a gun.[A] The British had lost their captain, and
one half their crew, most of the remainder being wounded.----The
Americans had lost their second officer, and their loss in men, both
killed and wounded, was nearly equal to that of the enemy.

    [Footnote A: The particulars of this action, in the early stage of
    the American war, are yet remembered by many.]

While they lay in this condition, unable either to annoy each other
more, or to get away, a large sail appeared, bearing down upon them,
which soon came up and proved to be an English frigate, and which
immediately took the American ship in tow, after removing the crew into
the hold of the frigate. The crew of the British ship were also taken on
board of the frigate, which was no sooner done than the ship went down
and was for ever buried beneath mountains of ponderous waves. The
frigate then, with the American ship in tow, made sail, and in a few
days reached England. The wounded prisoners were sent to a hospital, but
the others were confined in a strong prison within the precincts of
London.

The American prisoners were huddled into an apartment with British
convicts of various descriptions. Among these Alonzo observed one whose
demeanor arrested his attention. A deep melancholy was impressed upon
his features; his eye was wild and despairing; his figure was
interesting, tall, elegant and handsome. He appeared to be about
twenty-five years of age. He seldom conversed, but when he did, it was
readily discovered that his education had been above the common cast,
and he possessed an enlightened and discriminating mind. Alonzo
sympathetically sought his acquaintance, and discovered therein a unison
of woe.

One evening, when the prisoners were retired to rest, the stranger, upon
Alonzo's request, rehearsed the following incidents of his life.

"You express, said he, some surprise at finding a man of my appearance
in so degraded a situation; and you wish to learn the events which have
plunged me in this abject state. These, when I briefly relate, your
wonder will cease.

"My name is Henry Malcomb; my father was a clergyman in the west of
England, and descended from one of the most respectable families in
those parts. I received a classical education, and then entered the
military school, as I was designed for the army, to which my earliest
inclinations led. As soon as my education was considered complete, an
ensign's commission was procured for me in one of the regiments destined
for the West Indies. Previous to its departure for those islands,
I became acquainted with a Miss Vernon, who was a few years younger
than myself, and the daughter of a gentleman farmer, who had recently
purchased and removed to an estate in my father's parish. Every thing
that was graceful and lovely appeared centered in her person; every
thing that was virtuous and excellent in her mind. I sought her hand.
Our souls soon became united by the indissoluble bonds of sincerest
love, and as there were no parental or other impediments to our union,
it was agreed that as soon as I returned from the Indies, where it was
expected that my stay would be short, the marriage solemnities should be
performed. Solemn oaths of constancy passed between us, and I sailed,
with my regiment, for the Indies.

"While there, I received from her, and returned letters filled with the
tenderest expressions of anxiety and regret of absence. At length the
time came when we were to embark for England, where we arrived after an
absence of about eighteen months. The moment I got on land I hastened to
the house of Mr. Vernon, to see the charmer of my soul. She received me
with all the ardency of affection, and even shed tears of joy in my
presence. I pressed her to name the day which was to perfect our union
and happiness, and the next Sunday, four days only distant, was agreed
upon for me to lead her to the altar. How did my heart bound at the
prospect of making Miss Vernon my own!--of possessing in her all that
could render life agreeable; I hastened home to my family and informed
them of my approaching bliss, who all sympathized in the anticipated joy
which swelled my bosom.

"I had a sister some years older than myself, who had been the friend
and inmate of my angel in my absence. They were now almost every day
together, so that I had frequent opportunities of her company. One day
she had been with my sister at my father's, and I attended her home. On
my return, my sister requested me to attend her in a private room. We
therefore retired, and when we were seated she thus addressed me:

"Henry, you know that to promote your peace, your welfare, and your
happiness, has ever been the pride of my heart. Nothing except this
could extort the secret which I shall now disclose, and which has yet
remained deposited in my own bosom: my duty to a brother whom I esteem
dear as life, forbids me to remain silent. As an affectionate sister, I
cannot tacitly see you thus imposed upon; I cannot see you the dupe and
slave of an artful and insidious woman, who does not sincerely return
your love; nor can I bear to see your marriage consummated with one
whose soul and affections are placed upon another object."

"Here she hesitated--while I, with insufferable anguish of mind, begged
her to proceed.

"About six or eight months after your departure, she continued, it was
reported to Miss Vernon that she had a rival in the Indies; that you had
there found an American beauty, on whom you lavished those endearments
which belonged of right to her alone. This news made, at first, a deep
impression on her mind, but it soon wore away; and whether from this
cause, from fickleness of disposition, or that she never sincerely loved
you, I know not; but this I do know, that a youth has been for some time
past her almost constant companion. To convince you of this, you need
only tomorrow evening, about sunset, conceal yourself near the long
avenue by the side of the rivulet, back of Mr. Vernon's country-house,
where you will undoubtedly surprise Miss Vernon and her companion in
their usual evening's walk. If I should be mistaken I will submit to
your censure; but should you find it as I have predicted, you have only
to rush from your concealment, charge her with her perfidy, and renounce
her forever."

"Of all the plagues, of all the torments, of all the curses which
torture the soul, jealousy of a rival in love is the worst. Enraged,
confounded and astonished, it seemed as if my bosom would have
instantaneously burst. To conceal my emotions, I left my sister's
apartment, after having thanked her for her information, and proceeded
to obey her injunctions. I retired to my own room, and there poured out
my execrations.

"Cursed woman! I exclaimed, is it thus you requite my tender love! Could
a vague report of my inconstancy drive you to infidelity! Did not my
continual letters breathe constant adoration? And did not yours portray
the same sincerity of affection? No, it was not that which caused you to
perjure your plighted vows. It was that damnable passion for novelty,
which more or less holds a predominancy over your whole sex. To a new
coat, a new face, a new lover, you will sacrifice honour, principle and
virtue. And to those, backed by splendid power and splendid property,
you will forfeit your most sacred engagements, though made in the
presence of heaven."--Thus did I rave through a sleepless night.

"The next day I walked into the fields, and before the time my sister
appointed had arrived, I had worked up my feelings almost to the frenzy
of distraction. I repaired, however, to the spot, and concealed myself
in the place she had named, which was a tuft of laurels by the side of
the walk. I soon perceived Miss Vernon strolling down the avenue, arm in
arm with a young man elegantly dressed, and of singular, delicate
appearance. They were earnestly conversing in a low tone of voice; the
hand of my false fair one was gently pressed in the hand of the
stranger. As soon as they had passed the place of my concealment, they
turned aside and seated themselves in a little arbour, a few yards
distant from where I sat. The stranger clasped Miss Vernon in his arms:
"Dearest angel! he exclaimed, what an interruption to our bliss by the
return of my hated rival!" With fond caresses and endearing
blandishments, "fear nothing, she replied; I have promised and must
yield him my hand, but you shall never be excluded from my heart; we
shall find sufficient opportunities for private conference." I could
contain myself no longer--my brain was on fire. Quick as lightning I
sprang from my covert, and presenting a pistol which I had concealed
under my robe,--"Die! said I, thou false and perjured wretch, by the
hand thou hast dishonoured, a death too mild for so foul a crime!" and
immediately shot Miss Vernon through the head, who fell lifeless at my
feet! Then suddenly drawing my sword, "And thou, perfidious contaminator
and destroyer of my bliss! cried I--go! attend thy companion in iniquity
to the black regions of everlasting torment!" So saying, I plunged my
sword into his bosom. A screech of agony, attended by the exclamation,
"_Henry, your wife! your sister!_" awoke me, too late, to terrors
unutterable, to anguish unspeakable, to woes irretrievable, and
insupportable despair! It was indeed my betrothed wife, it was indeed my
affectionate sister, arrayed in man's habit. The one lay dead before me,
the other weltering in her blood! With a feeble and expiring voice, my
sister informed me, that in a gay and inconsiderate moment they had
concerted this plan, to try my jealousy, determining to discover
themselves as soon as they had made the experiment. "I forgive you,
Henry, she said, forgive your mistake," and closed her eyes for ever in
death! What a scene for sensibilities like mine! To paint or describe
it, exceeds the power of language or imagination. I instantly turned the
sword against my own bosom; an unknown hand arrested it, and prevented
its entering my heart. The report of the pistol, and the dying screech
of my sister, had alarmed Mr. Vernon's family, who arrived at that
moment, one of whom had seized my arm, and thus hindered me from
destroying my own life. I submitted to be bound and conveyed to prison.
My trial came on at the last assizes. I made no defence; and was
condemned to death. My execution will take place in eight weeks from
to-morrow. I shall cheerfully meet my fate; for who would endure life
when rendered so peculiarly miserable!"

The wretched Malcomb here ended his tale of woe. No tear moistened his
eye--his grief was too despairing for tears; it preyed upon his heart,
drank the vital streams of life, and burst in convulsive sighs from his
burning bosom.

Alonzo seriously contemplated on the incidents and events of this
tragical story. Conscience whispered him, are not Malcomb's miseries
superior to thine? Candour and correct reason must have answered yes.
"Melissa perished, said Alonzo, but not by the hand of her lover: she
expired, but not through the mistaken frenzy of him who adored her. She
died, conscious of the unfeigned love I bore her."

Alonzo and his fellow prisoners had been robbed, when they were
captured, of every thing except the clothes they wore. Their allowance
of provisions was scanty and poor. They were confined in the third story
of a lofty prison. Time rolled away; no prospects appeared of their
liberation, either by exchange or parole. Some of the prisoners were
removed, as new ones were introduced, to other places of confinement,
until not one American was left except Alonzo.

Meantime the day appointed for the execution of Malcomb drew near. His
past and approaching fate filled the breast of Alonzo with sympathetic
sorrow. He saw his venerable father, his mother, his friends and
acquaintance, with several pious clergymen, frequently enter the prison
to console and comfort him, and to prepare him for the unchangeable
state on which he was soon to enter. He saw his mind softened by their
advice and counsel;--frequently would he burst into tears;--often in the
solitary hours of night was he heard addressing the throne of grace for
mercy and forgiveness. But the grief that preyed at his heart had wasted
him to a mere skeleton; a slow but deleterious fever had consequently
implanted itself in his constitution. Exhausted nature could make but a
weak struggle against disease and affliction like his, and about a week
previous to the day appointed for his execution, he expired in peace and
penitence, trusting in the mercy of his Creator through the sufferings
of a Redeemer.

Soon after this event, orders came for removing some of the prisoners to
a most loathsome place of confinement in the suburbs of the city.
It fell to Alonzo's lot to be one. He therefore formed a project for
escaping. He had observed that the gratings in one of the windows of the
apartment were loose and could be easily removed. One night when the
prisoners were asleep, he stripped off his clothes, every article of
which he cut into narrow strips, tied them together, fastened one end to
one of the strongest gratings, removed the others until he had made an
opening large enough to get out, and then, by the rope he had made of
his clothes, let himself down into the yard of the prison. There he
found a long piece of timber, which he dragged to the wall, clambered up
thereon, and sprang over into the street. His shoes and hat he had left
in the prison, as a useless encumbrance without his clothes, all which
he had converted into the means of escape, so that he was now literally
stark naked. He stood a moment to reflect:--"Here am I, said he, freed
from my local prison indeed, but in the midst of an enemy's country,
without a friend, without the means of obtaining one day's subsistence,
surrounded by the darkness of night, destitute of a single article of
clothing, and even unable to form a resolution what step next to take.
The ways of heaven are marvellous--may I silently bow to its
dispensations!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Alonzo passed along the street in this forlorn condition, not knowing
where to proceed, or what course to take. It was about three o'clock in
the morning; the street was illuminated by lamps, and he feared falling
into the hands of the watch. For some time he saw no person; at length a
voice from the other side of the street called out,----"Hallo, messmate!
what, scudding under bare poles? You must have experienced a severe gale
indeed thus to have carried away every rag of sail!"

Alonzo turned, and saw the person who spoke. He was a decent looking
man, of middle age, dressed in a sailor's habit. Alonzo had often heard
of the generosity and honourable conduct of the British tars: he
therefore approached him and told him his real case, not even concealing
his being taken in actual hostility to the British government, and his
escape from prison. The sailor mused a few minutes. "Thy case, said he,
is a little critical, but do not despair. Had I met thee as an enemy,
I should have fought thee; but as it is, compassion is the first
consideration. Perhaps I may be in as bad a situation before the war is
ended." Then slipping off his coat and giving it to Alonzo, "follow me,"
he said, and turning, walked hastily along the street, followed by
Alonzo; he passed into a bye-lane, entered a small house, and taking
Alonzo into a back room, opened a trunk, and handed out a shirt: "there,
said he, pointing to a bed, you can sleep till morning, when we will see
what can be done."

The next morning the sailor brought in a very decent suit of clothes and
presented them to Alonzo. "You will make this place your home, said he,
until more favorable prospects appear. In this great city you will be
safe, for even your late gaoler would not recognize you in this dress.
And perhaps some opportunity may offer by which you may return to your
own country." He told Alonzo that his name was Jack Brown; that he was a
midshipman on board the Severn; that he had a wife and four children,
and owned the house in which they then were. "In order to prevent
suspicion or discovery, said he, I shall consider you as a relation from
the country until you are better provided for." Alonzo was then
introduced to the sailor's wife, an amiable woman, and here he remained
for several weeks.

One day Alonzo was informed that a number of American prisoners were
brought in. He went to the place where they were landed, and saw several
led away to prison, and some who were sick or disabled, carried to the
hospital. As the hospital was near at hand, Alonzo entered it to see how
the sick and disabled prisoners were treated.

He found that they received as much attention as could reasonably be
expected.[A] As he passed along the different apartments he was
surprised at hearing his name called by a faint voice. He turned to the
place from whence it proceeded, and saw stretched on a mattress,
a person who appeared on the point of expiring. His visage was pale and
emaciated, his countenance haggard and ghastly, his eyes inexpressive
and glazy. He held out his withered hand, and feebly beckoned to Alonzo,
who immediately approached him. His features appeared not unfamiliar to
Alonzo, but for a moment he could not recollect him. "You do not know
me," said the apparently dying stranger. "Beauman!" exclaimed Alonzo,
in surprise. "Yes, replied the sick man, it is Beauman; you behold me on
the verge of eternity; I have but a short time to continue in this
world." Alonzo enquired how he came in the power of the enemy. "By the
fate of war, he replied; I was taken in an action on York Island,
carried on board a prison-ship in New-York, and sent with a number of
others for England. I had received a wound in my thigh, from a musket
ball, during the action; the wound mortified, and my thigh was amputated
on the voyage; since which I have been rapidly wasting away, and I now
feel that the cold hand of death is laid upon me." Here he became
exhausted, and for some time remained silent. Alonzo had not before
discovered that he had lost his leg: he now found that it had been taken
off close to his body, and that he was worn to a skeleton. When Beauman
revived, he enquired into Alonzo's affairs. Alonzo related all that had
happened to him after leaving New London.

    [Footnote A: The Americans who were imprisoned in England, in the
    time of war, were treated with much more humanity than those who
    were imprisoned in America.]

"You are unhappy, Alonzo, said Beauman, in the death of your Melissa,
to which it is possible I have been undesignedly accessory. I could say
much on the subject, would my strength permit; but it is needless. She
is gone, and I must soon go also. She was sent to her uncle's at
Charleston, by her father, where I was soon to follow her. It was
supposed that thus widely removed from all access to your company, she
would yield to the persuasion of her friends to renounce you: her
unexpected death, however, frustrated every design of this nature, and
overwhelmed her father and family in inexpressible woe."

Here Beauman ceased. Alonzo found he wanted rest: he enquired whether he
was in want of any thing to render him more comfortable. Beauman replied
that he was not: "For the comforts of this life, said he, I have no
relish; medical aid is applied, but without effect." Alonzo then left
him, promising to call again in the morning.

When Alonzo called the next morning, he perceived an alarming alteration
in Beauman. His extremities were cold, a chilling, clammy sweat stood
upon his face, his respiration was short and interrupted, his pulse weak
and intermitting. He took the hand of Alonzo, and feebly pressing
it,--"I am dying, said he in a faint voice. If ever you return to
America, inform my friends of my fate." This Alonzo readily engaged to
do, and told him also that he would not leave him.

Beauman soon fell into a stupor; sensation became suspended; his eyes
rolled up and fixed. Sometimes a partial revival would take place, when
he would fall into incoherent muttering, calling on the names of his
deceased father, his mother and Melissa; his voice dying away in
imperfect moanings, till his lips continued to move without sound.
Towards night he lay silent, and only continued to breathe with
difficulty, till a slight convulsion gave the freed spirit to the
unknown regions of immaterial existence. Alonzo followed his remains to
the grave: a natural stone was placed at its head, on which Alonzo,
unobserved, carved the initials of the deceased's name, with the date of
his death, and left him to moulder with his native dust.

A few days after this event, Jack Brown informed Alonzo that he had
procured the means of his escape. "A person with whom I am acquainted,
said he, and whom I suppose to be a smuggler, has agreed to carry you to
France. There, by application to the American minister, you will be
enabled to get to your own country, if that is your object. About
midnight I will pilot you on board, and by to-morrow's sun you may be in
France."

At the time appointed, Jack set out bearing a large trunk on his
shoulder, and directed Alonzo to follow him. They proceeded down to a
quay, and went on board a small skiff. "Here, said Jack to the captain,
is the gentleman I spoke to you about," and delivered him the trunk.
Then taking Alonzo aside, "in that trunk, said he, are a few changes of
linen, and here is something to help you till you can help yourself."
So saying, he slipped ten guineas into his hand. Alonzo expressed his
gratitude with tears. "Say nothing, said Jack, we were born to help each
other in distress, and may Jack never weather a storm or splice a rope,
if he permits a fellow creature to suffer with want while he has a
luncheon on board." He then shook Alonzo by the hand, wishing him a good
voyage, and went whistling away. The skiff soon sailed, and the next
morning Alonzo was landed in France. Alonzo proceeded immediately to
Paris, not with a view of returning to America; he had yet no relish for
revisiting the land of his sorrows, the scenes where at every step his
heart must bleed afresh, though to bleed it had never ceased. But he was
friendless in a strange land: perhaps, through the aid of the American
minister, Dr. Franklin, to whose fame Alonzo was no stranger, he might
be placed in a situation to procure bread, which was all he at present
hoped or wished.

He therefore presented himself before the doctor, whom he found in his
study.--To be informed that he was an American and unfortunate, was
sufficient to arouse the feelings of Franklin. He desired Alonzo to be
seated, and to recite his history. This he readily complied with, not
concealing his attachment to Melissa, her father's barbarity, her death
in consequence, his own father's failure, with all the particulars of
his leaving America, his capture, escape from prison, and arrival in
France; as also the town of his nativity, the name of his father, and
the particular circumstances of his family; concluding by expressing his
unconquerable reluctance to return to his native country, which now
would be to him only a gloomy wilderness, and that his present object
was only some means of support.

The doctor enquired of Alonzo the particular circumstances and time of
his father's failure. Of this Alonzo gave him a minute account. Franklin
then sat in deep contemplation for the space of fifteen minutes, without
speaking a word. He then took his pen, wrote a short note, directed it,
and gave it to Alonzo: "Deliver this, said he, to the person to whom it
is directed; he will find you employment, until something more
favourable may offer."

Alonzo took the note, thanked the doctor, and went in search of the
person to whom it was addressed. He soon found the house, which was
situated in one of the most popular streets in Paris. He knocked at the
door, which was opened by an elderly looking man: Alonzo enquired for
the name to whom the note was addressed. The gentleman informed him that
he was the man. Alonzo presented him the note, which having read, he
desired him to walk in, and ordered supper. After supper he informed
Alonzo that he was an English bookseller; that he should employ him as a
clerk, and desired to know what wages he demanded. Alonzo replied that
he should submit that to him, being unacquainted with the customary
salary of clerks in that line of business. The gentleman told him that
the matter should be arranged the next day. His name was Grafton.

The next morning Mr. Grafton took Alonzo into his bookstore, and gave
him his instructions. His business was to sell the books to customers,
and a list of prices was given him for that purpose. Mr. Grafton counted
out twenty crowns and gave them to Alonzo: "You may want some
necessaries, said he; and as you have set no price on your services, we
shall not differ about the wages if you are attentive and faithful."

Alonzo gave his employer no room to complain; nor had he any reason to
be discontented with his situation. Mr. Grafton regularly advanced him
twenty crowns at the commencement of every month, and boarded him in his
family. Alonzo dressed himself in deep mourning. He sought no company;
he found consolation only in solitude, if consolation it could be
called.

As he was walking out early one morning, he discovered something lying
in the street, which he at first supposed to be a small piece of silk:
he took it up and found it to be a curiously wrought purse, containing a
few guineas with some small pieces of silver, and something at the
bottom carefully wrapped in a piece of paper; he unfolded it, and was
thunderstruck at beholding an elegant miniature of Melissa! Her sweetly
pensive features, her expressive countenance, her soul-enlivening eye!
The shock was almost too powerful for his senses. Wildered in a maze of
wonders, he knew not what to conjecture. Melissa's miniature found in
the streets of Paris, after she had some time been dead! He viewed it,
he clasped it to his bosom.--"Such, said he, did she appear, ere the
corroding cankers of grief had blighted her heavenly charms! By what
providential miracle am I possessed of the likeness, when the original
is no more? What benevolent angel has taken pity on my sufferings, and
conveyed to me this inestimable prize?"

But though he had thus become possessed of what he esteemed most
valuable, what right had he to withhold it from the lawful owner, could
the owner indeed be found? Perhaps the person who had lost it would part
with it; perhaps the money contained in the purse was of more value to
that person than the miniature. At any rate, justice required that he
should endeavour to find to whom it belonged: this he might do by
advertising, which he immediately concluded upon, resolving, should the
owner appear, to purchase the miniature, if possibly within his power.

Passing into another street, he saw several hand-bills stuck up on the
walls of houses; stepping up to one, he read as follows:

"Lost, between the hours of nine and ten last evening, in the _Rue de
Loir_, a small silk purse, containing a few pieces of money, and a
lady's miniature. One hundred crowns will be given to the person who may
have found it, and will restore it to the owner at the _American Hotel_,
near the _Louvre_, Room No. 4."

It was printed both in the French and English languages. By the reward
here offered, Alonzo was convinced that the miniature belonged to some
person who set a value upon it. Determined to explicate the mystery,
he proceeded immediately to the place, found the room mentioned in the
bill, and knocked at the door. A servant appeared, of whom Alonzo
enquired for the lodger. The servant answered him in French, which
Alonzo did not understand: he replied in his own language, but found it
was unintelligible to the servant. A grave middle aged gentleman then
came to the door from within the room and ended their jabbering at each
other: he, in the English language, desired Alonzo to walk in. It was an
apartment, neatly furnished; no person was therein except the gentleman
and servant before mentioned, and a person who sat writing in a corner
of the room, with his back towards them.

Alonzo informed the gentleman that he had called according to the
direction in a bill of advertisement to enquire for the person who the
preceding night, had lost a purse and miniature. The person who was
writing had hitherto taken no notice of what had passed; but at the
sound of Alonzo's voice, after he had entered the room, he started and
turned about, and at mention of the miniature, he rose up. Alonzo fixed
his eyes upon him: they both stood for a few moments silent: for a short
time their recollection was confused and imperfect, but the mists of
doubt were soon dissipated. "Edgar!"--"Alonzo!" they alternately
exclaimed. It was indeed Edgar, the early friend and fellow student of
Alonzo--the brother of Melissa! In an instant they were in each others
arms.

       *       *       *       *       *

Edgar and Alonzo retired to a separate room. Edgar informed Alonzo that
the news of Melissa's death reached him, by a letter from his father,
while with the army; that he immediately procured a furlough, and
visited his father, whom, with his mother, he found in inconsolable
distress.--"The letter which my uncle had written, said Edgar,
announcing her death, mentioned with what patience and placidity she
endured her malady, and with what calmness and resignation she met the
approach of death. Her last moments, like her whole life, were unruffled
and serene. She is in heaven Alonzo--she is an angel!"--Swelling grief
here choaked the utterance of Edgar; for some time he could proceed no
farther, and Alonzo, with bursting bosom, mingled his tears.

"My father, resumed Edgar, bent on uniting her to Beauman or at least of
preventing her union with you, had removed her to a desolate family
mansion, and placed her under the care of an aunt. At that place, he
either suspected, or really discovered that you had recourse to her
while my aunt was absent on business. She was therefore no longer
entrusted to the care of her aunt, but my father immediately formed and
executed the plan of sending her to his brother in South Carolina, under
pretence of restoring her to health by change of climate, as her health
in reality had began rapidly to decay. There it was designed that
Beauman should shortly follow her, with recommendations from my father
to her uncle, urging him to use all possible means which might tend to
persuade her to become the wife of Beauman. But change of climate only
encreased the load of sorrows, and she soon sunk beneath them. The
letter mentioned nothing of her troubles: possibly my uncle's family
knew nothing of them: to them, probably,

  ----"She never told her love,
  But sat like Patience on a monument
  Smiling at grief; while sad concealment,
  Like a worm in the bud,
  Fed on her damask cheek.

"My father's distress was excessive: often did he accuse himself of
barbarity, and he once earnestly expressed a wish that he had consented
to her union with you. My father, I know, is parsimonious, but he
sincerely loved his children. Inflexible as is his nature, the untimely
death of a truly affectionate and only daughter will, I much fear,
precipitate him, and perhaps my mother also, to a speedy grave.

"As soon as my feelings would permit, I repaired to your father's, and
made enquiry concerning you. I found your parents content in their
humble state, except that your father had been ill, but was recovering.
Of you they had heard nothing since your departure, and they deeply
lamented your absence. And from Vincent I could obtain no farther
information.

"Sick of the world, I returned to the army. An American consul was soon
to sail for Holland:--I solicited and obtained the appointment of
secretary. I hoped by visiting distant countries, in some measure to
relieve my mind from the deep melancholy with which it was oppressed. We
were to proceed first to Paris, where we have been a few days; to-morrow
we are to depart for Holland. The consul is the man who introduced you
into the room where you found me.

"Last evening I lost the miniature which I suppose you have found: the
chain to which it was suspended around my neck, had broken while I was
walking the street. I carefully wrapped it in paper and deposited it in
my purse, which I probably dropped on replacing it in my pocket, and did
not discover the loss until this morning. I immediately made diligent
search, but not finding it, I put up bills of advertisement. The
likeness was taken in my sister's happiest days. After I had entered
upon my professional studies in New-York, I became acquainted with a
miniature painter, who took my likeness. He afterwards went into the
country, and as I found he was to pass near my father's, I engaged him
to call there and take my sister's likeness also. We exchanged them soon
after. It was dear to me, even while the original remained; but since
she is gone it has become a most precious and valuable relique."

All the tender powers of Alonzo's soul were called into action by
Edgar's recital. The "days of other years"--the ghosts of sepulchered
blessings, passed in painful review. Added to these, the penurious
condition of his parents, his father's recent illness, and his probable
inability to procure the bread of his family, all tended more deeply to
sink his spirits in the gulf of melancholy and misery. He however
informed Edgar of all that had happened since they parted at
Vincent's--respecting the old mansion Melissa's extraordinary
disappearance therefrom, the manner in which he was informed of her
death, his departure from America, capture, escape, Beauman's death,
arrival in France, and his finding the miniature. To Edgar as well as
Alonzo, Melissa's sudden and unaccountable removal from the mansion was
mysterious and inexplicable.

As Edgar was to depart early the next morning, they neither slept nor
separated that night.

"If it were not for your reluctance to revisit your native country, said
Edgar, I should urge you to accompany me to Holland, and thence return
with me to America. Necessity and duty require that I should not be long
absent, as my parents want my assistance, and they are now childless."

"Suffer me, answered Alonzo, to bury myself in this city for the
present: should I ever again awake to real life, I will seek you out if
you are on the earth;--but now, I can only be a companion to my
miseries."

The next morning as they were about to depart, Alonzo took Melissa's
miniature from his bosom, contemplated the picture a few moments with
ardent emotion, and presented it to Edgar. "Keep it, said Edgar, it is
thine. I bestow it upon thee as I would the original, had not death
become the rival of thy love, and my affection.--Suffer not the sacred
symbol too tenderly to renew your sorrows. How swiftly, Alonzo, does
this restless life fleet away!--How soon shall we pass the barriers of
terrestrial existence! Let us live worthy of ourselves, of our holy
religion, of Melissa--Melissa, whom, when a few more suns have arisen
and set, we shall meet in regions where all tears shall be eternally
wiped from every eye."

With what unspeakable sensibilities was it returned to Alonzo's bosom!
Edgar offered Alonzo pecuniary assistance, which the latter refused:
"I am in business, said he, which brings me a decent support, and that
is sufficient." They agreed to write each other as frequently as
possible, and then affectionately parted: Edgar sailed for Holland,
and Alonzo returned to his business at Mr. Grafton's.

Some time after this Alonzo received a message from Dr. Franklin,
requiring his attendance at his house, which summons he immediately
obeyed. The doctor introduced him into his study, and after being
seated, he earnestly viewed Alonzo for some time, and thus addressed
him:

"Young man, your views, your resolutions, and your present conduct, are
totally wrong. Disappointment, you say, has driven you from your native
country. Disappointment in what? In obtaining the object on which you
most doated. And suppose this object had been obtained, would your
happiness have been complete? Your own reason, if you coolly consult it,
will convince you of the contrary. Do you not remember when an infant,
how you cried, and teazed your nurse, or your parents, for a rattle, or
some gay trinket?--Your whole soul was fixed upon the enchanting bauble;
but when obtained, you soon cast it away, and sighed as earnestly for
some other trifle, some new toy. Thus it is through life; the fancied
value of an object ceases with the attainment; it becomes familiar, and
its charm is lost.

"Was it the splendours of beauty which enraptured you? Sickness may, and
age must destroy the symmetry of the most finished form--the brilliancy
of the finest features. Was it the graces of the mind? I tell you, that
by familiarity, these allurements are lost, and the mind, left vacant,
turns to some other source to supply _vacuum_.

"Stripped of all their intrinsic value, how poor, how vain, and how
worthless, are those things we name pleasures, and enjoyments.

"Besides, the attainment of your wishes might have been the death of
your hopes. If my reasoning is correct, the ardency of your passion
might have closed with the pursuit. An every day suit, however rich and
costly the texture, is soon worn threadbare. On your part, indifference
would consequently succeed: on the part of your partner, disappointment,
jealousy, and disgust. What might follow is needless for me to
name;--your soul must shudder at the idea of conjugal infidelity!

"But admitting the most favourable consequences; turn the brightest side
of the picture; admitting as much happiness as the connubial state will
allow: how might your bosom have been wounded by the sickness and death
of your children, or their disorderly and disobedient conduct! You must
know also, that the warmth of youthful passion must soon cease, and it
is merely a hazardous chance whether friendship will supply the absence
of affection.

"After all, my young friend, it will be well for you to consider,
whether the all-wise dispensing hand of Providence, has not directed
this matter which you esteem so great an affliction, for your greatest
good, and most essential advantage. And suffer me to tell you, that in
all my observations on life, I have always found that those connections
which were formed from inordinate passion, or what some would call pure
affection, have been ever the most unhappy. Examine the varied circles
of society, you will there see this axiom demonstrated; you will there
see how few among the sentimentally refined are even apparently at ease;
while those, insusceptible of what you name tender attachments, or who
receive them only as things of course, plod on through life, without
even experiencing the least inconvenience from a want of the pleasures
they are _supposed_ to bestow, or the pains they are sure to create.
Beware, then, my son, beware of yielding the heart to the effeminacies
of passion. Exquisite sensibilities are ever subject to exquisite
inquietudes. Counsel with correct reason, place entire dependence on the
SUPREME, and the triumph of fortitude and resignation will be yours."

Franklin paused. His reasonings, however they convinced the
understanding, could not heal the wounds of Alonzo's bosom.--In Melissa
he looked for as much happiness as earth could afford, nor could he see
any prospect in life which could repair the loss he had sustained.

"You have, resumed the philosopher, deserted an indulgent father, a fond
and tender mother, who must want your aid; now, perhaps, unable to toil
for bread; now, possibly laid upon the bed of sickness, calling, in
anguish or delirium, for the filial hand of their only son to administer
relief."----All the parental feelings of Alonzo were now called into
poignant action.----"You have left a country, bleeding at every pore,
desolated by the ravages of war, wrecked by the thunders of battle, her
heroes slain, her children captured. This country asks--she demands--you
owe her your services: God and nature call upon you to defend her, while
here you bury yourself in inglorious inactivity, pining for a hapless
object, which, by all your lamentations, you can never bring back to the
regions of mortality."

This aroused the patriotic flame in the bosom of Alonzo; and he
voluntarily exclaimed, "I will go to the relief of my parents--I will
fly to the defence of my country!"

"In former days, continued Franklin, I was well acquainted with your
father. As soon as you informed me of his failure, I wrote to my
correspondent in England, and found, as I expected, that he had been
overreached by swindlers and sharpers.----The pretended failure of the
merchants with whom he was in company, was all a sham, as, also the
reported loss of the ships in their employ. The merchants fled to
England: I have had them arrested, and they have given up their effects
to much more than the amount of their debts. I have therefore procured a
reversion of your father's losses, which, with costs, damages, and
interests, when legally stated, he will receive of my agent in
Philadelphia, to whom I shall transmit sufficient documents by you, and
I shall advance you a sum equal to the expenses of your voyage, which
will be liquidated by the said agent. A ship sails in a few days from
Havre, for Savannah in Georgia: it would, indeed, be more convenient
were she bound to some more northern port, but I know of no other which
will sail for any part of America for some time. In her therefore I
would advise you to take passage: it is not very material on what part
of the continent you are landed; you will soon reach Philadelphia,
transact your business, restore your father to his property, and be
ready to serve your country."

If any thing could have given Alonzo consolation, it must have been this
noble, generous and disinterested conduct of the great Franklin in
favour of his father, by which his family were restored to ease and to
independence. Ah! had this but have happened in time to save a life far
dearer than his own! The reflection was too painful. The idea, however,
of giving joy to his aged parents, hastened his departure. Furnished
with proper documents and credentials from Franklin, his benefactor, he
took leave of him, with the warmest expressions of gratitude, as also of
Mr. Grafton, and sailed for Savannah, where he arrived in about eight
weeks.

Intent on his purpose, he immediately purchased a carriage and proceeded
on for Philadelphia. As he approached Charleston, his bosom swelled with
mournful recollections. He arrived in that city in the afternoon, and at
evening he walked out, and entered a little ale house, which stood near
the large burial ground. An elderly woman and two small children were
the only persons in the house, except himself. After calling for a pint
of ale, he enquired of the old lady, if Col. D----, (Melissa's uncle)
did not live near the city. She informed him that he resided about a
mile from the town, where he had an elegant seat, and that he was very
rich.

"Was there not a young lady, asked Alonzo, who died there about eighteen
months ago?"

"La me! said she, did you know her? Yes: and a sweeter or more handsome
lady the sun never shined on. And then she was so good, so patient in
her sickness.--Poor, dear distressed girl, she pined away to skin and
bones before she died. She was not Col. D----'s daughter, only somehow
related: she came here in hopes that a change of air might do her good.
She came from--la me! I cannot think of the name of the place;--it is a
crabbed name though."

"Connecticut, was it not?" said Alonzo.

"O yes, that was it, replied she. Dear me! then you knew her, did you,
sir?--Well, we have not her like left in Charleston; that we han't;--and
then there was such ado at her funeral; five hundred people, I dare say,
with eight young ladies for pall-bearers, all dressed in white, with
black ribbons, and all the bells tolling."

"Where was she buried?" enquired Alonzo.

"In the church-yard right before our door, she answered. My husband is
the sexton; he put up her large white marble tomb-stones;----they are
the largest and whitest in the whole burying-ground; and so, indeed,
they ought to be, for never was there a person who deserved them more."

Tired with the old woman's garrulity, and with a bosom bursting with
anguish, Alonzo paid for his ale without drinking it, bade her good
night, and slowly proceeded to the church-yard. The moon, in full
lustre, shone with solemn, silvery ray, on the sacred piles, and funeral
monuments of the sacred dead; the wind murmured mournfully among the
weeping willows; a solitary nightingale[A] sang plaintively in the
distant forest; and a whippoorwill, Melissa's favourite bird, whistled
near the portico of the church. The large white tomb-stones soon caught
the eye of Alonzo. He approached them with tremulous step, and with
feelings too agitated for description. On the head-stone he read as
follows:

                     SACRED
     To the Memory of inestimable departed
                     WORTH;
     To unrivalled Excellence and Virtue.
              Miss MELISSA D----,
     Whose remains are deposited here, and
      whose ethereal part became a seraph,
               October 26, 1776,
          In the 18th year of her age.

    [Footnote A: This bird, though not an inhabitant of the northern
    states, is frequently to be met with in Georgia and the Carolinas.]

Alonzo bent, kneeled, he prostrated himself, he clasped the green turf
which enclosed her grave, he watered it with his tears, he warmed it
with his sighs. "Where art thou, bright beam of heavenly light! he said.
Come to my troubled soul, blessed spirit! Come, holy shade! come in all
thy native loveliness, and cheer the bosom of wretchedness, by thy grief
dispersing smile! On the ray of yon evening star descend. One moment
leave the celestial regions of glory--leave, one moment, thy sister
beatitudes, and glide, in entrancing beauty, before me: wave, benignly
wave thy white hand, and assuage the anguish of despairing sorrow! Alas!
in vain my invocation! A curtain, impenetrable, is drawn betwixt me and
thee, only to be disclosed by the dissolution of nature."

He arose and walked away: suddenly he stopped. "Yet, said he, if spirits
departed lose not the power of recollection;--if they have knowledge of
present events on earth, Melissa cannot have forgotten me--she must pity
me." He returned to the grave; he took her miniature from his bosom;
he held it up, and earnestly viewed it by the moon's pale ray.

"Ah, Franklin! he exclaimed, how tenderly does she beam her lovely eye
upon me! How often have I drank delicious extacy from the delicacy of
those unrivalled charms! How often have they taught me to anticipate
superlative and uninterrupted bliss! Mistaken and delusive hope!
[_returning the miniature to his bosom._] Vain and presumptuous
assurance. Then [_pointing to the grave_] there behold how my dearest
wishes, my fondest expectations are realized!----Hallowed turf! lie
lightly on her bosom!--Sacred willows! sprinkle the dews gently over her
grave, while the mourning breezes sigh sadly amid your branches! Here
may the "widowed wild rose love to bloom!" Here may the first placid
beams of morning delight to linger; from hence, the evening ray
reluctantly withdraw!--And when the final trump shall renovate and
arouse the sleeping saint;--when on "buoyant step" she soars to glory,
may our meeting spirits join in beatifick transport! May my enraptured
ear catch the first holy whisper of her consecrated lips."

       *       *       *       *       *

Alonzo having thus poured out the effusions of an overcharged heart,
pensively returned to the inn, which he entered and seated himself in
the common room, in deep contemplation. As usual at public inns, a
number of people were in the room, among whom were several officers of
the American army. Alonzo was too deeply absorbed in melancholy
reflection, to notice passing incidents, until a young officer came,
seated himself by him, and entered into conversation respecting the
events of the war. He appeared to be about Alonzo's age; his person was
interesting, his manners sprightly, his observations correct.--Alonzo
was, in some degree, aroused from his abstractedness;--the manners of
the stranger pleased him. His frankness, his ease, his understanding,
his urbanity, void of vanity or sophistication, sympathetically caught
the feelings of Alonzo, and he even felt a sort of solemn regret when
the stranger departed. He soon retired to bed, determining to proceed
early in the morning.

He arose about daylight; the horizon was overcast, and it had begun to
rain, which before sunrise had encreased to a violent storm. He found
therefore that he must content himself to stay until it was over, which
did not happen till near night, and too late to pursue his journey. He
was informed by the inn-keeper, that the theatre, which had been closed
since the commencement of the war, was to be opened that night only,
with the tragedy of _Gustavus_, and close with a representation of
Burgoyne's capture, and some other recent events of the American war.
To "wing the hours with swifter speed," Alonzo determined to go to the
theatre, and at the hour appointed he repaired thither.

As he was proceeding to take his seat, he passed the box where sat the
young officer, whose manners had so prepossessed him the preceding
evening at the inn. He immediately arose: they exchanged salutations,
and Alonzo walked on and took his seat. The evening was warm, and the
house exceedingly crowded. After the tragedy was through, and before the
after-piece commenced, the young officer came to Alonzo's box, and made
some remarks on the merit of the actors. While they were discoursing, a
bustle took place in one part of the house, and several people gathered
around a box, at a little distance from them. The officer turned, left
Alonzo, and hastened to the place. To the general enquiry, "_what's the
matter?_" it was answered, that "a lady had fainted." She was led out,
and the tumult subsided.

As soon as the after-piece was closed, Alonzo returned to the inn. As he
passed along he cast his eyes toward the church-yard, where lay the
"wither'd blessings of his richest joys." Affection, passion,
inclination, urged him to go and breathe a farewell sigh, to drop a
final tear over the grave of Melissa. Discretion, reason, wisdom forbade
it--forbade that he re-pierce the ten thousand wounds of his bosom, by
the acute revival of unavailing sorrows. He hurried to his chamber.

As he prepared to retire to rest, he saw a book lying on the table near
his bed. On taking it up he found it to be _Young's Night Thoughts_, a
book which, in happier days, had been the solace of many a gloomy, many
a lucid hour. He took it up and the first lines he cast his eyes upon
were the following:

  "Song, beauty, youth, love, virtue, joy: this group
  Of bright ideas--flowers of Paradise,
  As yet unforfeit! in one blaze we bind.
  Kneel, and present it to the skies; as all
  We guess of Heaven! And _these_ were all her own
  And she was mine, and I was--was most blest--
  Like blossom'd trees o'erturn'd by vernal storm,
  Lovely in death the beauteous ruin lay--
  Ye that e'er lost an angel, pity me."

His tears fell fast upon the book! He replaced it and flung himself into
bed. Sleep was far from him; he closed not his eyes till the portals of
light were unbarred in the east, when he fell into interrupted slumbers.

When he awoke, the morning was considerably advanced. He arose. One
consolation was yet left--to see his parents happy. He went down to
order his carriage; his favourite stranger, the young officer, was in
waiting, and requested a private interview. They immediately retired to
a separate room, when the stranger thus addressed Alonzo:

"From our short acquaintance, you may, sir, consider it singular that I
should attempt to scrutinize your private concerns, and more
extraordinary you may esteem it, when I inform you of my reasons for so
doing. Judging, however, from appearances, I have no doubt of your
candour. If my questions should be deemed improper, you will tell me
so."

Alonzo assured him he would treat him candidly. "This I believe, said
the young officer; I take the liberty therefore to ask if you are an
American?"----"I am," answered Alonzo. "I presume, said the
stranger--the question is a delicate one--I presume your family is
respectable?" "Sacredly so," replied Alonzo. "Are you married, sir?"
"I am not, and have ever been single." "Have you any prospects of
connecting in marriage?" "I have not, sir." "I may then safely proceed,
said the stranger; I trust you will hear me attentively; you will judge
maturely; you will decide correctly, and I am confident that you will
answer me sincerely.

"A young lady of this city, with whom I am well acquainted, and to whom,
indeed, I am distantly related, whose father is affluent, whose
connections are eminently respectable, whose manners are engaging, whose
mind is virtue, whose elegance of form and personal beauty defy
competition, is the cause, sir, of this mission.--Early introduced into
the higher walks of life, she has passed the rounds of fashionable
company; numberless suitors sighed for her hand, whom she complaisantly
dismissed without disobliging, as her heart had not yet been touched by
the tender passion of love. Surprising as it may, however, seem, it is
now about six months since she saw in her dream the youth who possessed
the power to inspire her with this passion. In her dream she saw a young
gentleman whose interesting manners and appearance, impressed her so
deeply that she found she must be unhappy without him. She thought it
was in a mixed company she saw him, but that she could not get an
opportunity to speak to him. It seemed that if she could but speak with
him, all difficulties would at once be removed. At length he approached
her, and just as he was about to address her, she awoke.

"This extraordinary dream she had communicated to several of her
acquaintance.--Confident that she should some time or other behold the
real person whose semblance she had seen in her dream, she has never
since been perfectly at ease in her mind. Her father, who has but two
children, one beside herself, being dotingly fond of her, has promised
that if ever she meets this unknown stranger, he will not oppose their
union, provided he is respectable, and that, if worthy of her hand,
he will make him independent.

"On my return from the inn the evening I first saw you, I told my
sister--I beg pardon, sir--I was wandering from my subject--after I
first met you at the inn, I fell in company with the lady, and in a
rallying way told her that I had seen her _invisible beau_, as we used
to call the gentleman of the dream. I superficially described your
person, and descanted a little on the embellishments of your mind. She
listened with some curiosity and attention; but I had so often jested
with her in this manner, that she thought little of it. At the play last
night, I had just been speaking to her when I came to your box: her eyes
followed me, but no sooner had they rested on you, than she fainted!
This was the cause of my leaving you so abruptly, and not returning. We
conveyed her home, when she informed me that you was the person she had
seen in her dream!

"To me only, she preferred disclosing the circumstance at present, for
reasons which must be obvious to your understanding.--Even her father
and mother are not informed of it, and should my mission prove
unsuccessful, none except you, sir, she and myself, I hope and trust,
will ever know any thing of the matter.

"Now, sir, it is necessary for me farther to explain. As singular as the
circumstances which I have related may appear to you, to me they must
appear as strange.--One valuable purpose is, however, answered thereby;
it will exclude the imputation of capriciousness----the freakish whim of
_love at first sight_, which exists only in novels and romances. You,
sir, are young, unmarried, unaffianced, your affections free: such is
the condition of the lady. She enquires not into the state of your
property! she asks not riches:--If she obtains the object of her choice,
on him, as I have told you, will her father bestow
affluence.----Whatever, sir, may be your pretensions to eminence, and
they may be many, the lady is not your inferior. Her education also is
such as would do honour to a gentleman of taste.

"I will not extend my remarks; you perfectly understand me--what answer
shall I return?"

Alonzo sighed: for a few moments he was silent.

"Perhaps, said the stranger, you may consider the _mode_ of this message
as bearing the appearance of indecorum. If so, I presume, on reviewing
the incidents which to--which _enforced it_, as the most safe, the
_only_ means of sure communication, you will change your opinion.
Probably you would not wish finally to decide until you have visited the
lady. This was my expectation, and I am, therefore, ready to introduce
you to her presence."

"No, sir, said Alonzo, so far from considering the message indecorous, I
esteem it a peculiar honour, both as respects the lady and yourself. Nor
is it necessary that I should visit the lady, to confirm the truth of
what you have related. You will not, sir, receive it as an adulatory
compliment, when I say, that although our acquaintance is short, yet my
confidence in your integrity is such as to require no corroborating
facts to establish your declaration. But, sir, there are obstacles,
insuperable obstacles, to the execution of the measures you would
propose.

"Your frankness to me, demands, on my part, equal candour. I assured you
that I was unmarried, and had no prospect of entering into matrimonial
engagements; this is indeed the fact: but it is also true that my
affections--my first, my earliest affections were engaged, unalienably
engaged, to an object which is now no more. Perhaps you may esteem it
singular; perhaps you will consider it enthusiasm; but, sir, it is
impossible that my heart should admit a second and similar impression."

The stranger paused. "Recent disappointments of this nature, he replied,
commonly leave the mind under such gloomy influences. Time, however, the
soother of severest woes, will, though slowly, yet surely, disperse the
clouds of anguish, and the rays of comfort and consolation will beam
upon the soul. I wish not to be considered importunate, but the day may
arrive when you may change your present determination, and then will you
not regret that you refused so advantageous an overture?"

"That day will never arrive, sir answered Alonzo: I have had time for
deliberate reflection since the melancholy event took place. I have
experienced a sufficient change of objects and country; the effect is
the same. The wound is still recent, and so it will ever remain: indeed
I cannot wish it otherwise. There is a rich and sacred solemnity in my
sorrows, sir, which I would not exchange for the most splendid
acquirements of wealth, or the most dignified titles of fame."

The young officer sat for some time silent. "Well, sir, he said, since
it is thus, seeing that these things are so, I will urge you no farther.
You will pardon me respecting the part I have taken in this business,
since it was with the purest designs. May consolation, comfort, and
happiness, yet be yours."

"To you and your fair friend, said Alonzo, I consider myself under the
highest obligations. The gratitude I feel I can but feebly express.
Believe me, sir, when I tell you, (and it is all I can say,) that your
ingenuous conduct has left impressions in my bosom which can never be
obliterated."

The stranger held out his hand, which Alonzo ardently grasped. They were
silent, but their eyes spoke sympathy, and they parted.

Alonzo immediately prepared, and was soon ready to depart. As he was
stepping into his carriage, he saw the young officer returning. As he
came up, "I must detain you a few moments longer, he said, and I will
give you no farther trouble. You will recollect that the lady about whom
I have so much teazed you, when she became _acquainted_ with you in her
dream, believed that if she could speak with you, all difficulties would
be removed. Conscious that this may be the case, (for with all her
accomplishments she is a little superstitious,) she desires to see you.
You have nothing to fear, sir; she would not for the world yield you her
hand, unless in return you could give her your heart. Nor was she
willing you should know that she made this request, but wished me to
introduce you, as it were by stratagem. Confident, however, that you
would thus far yield to the caprice of a lady, I chose to tell you the
truth. She resides near by, and it will not hinder you long."

"It is capriciousness in the extreme," thought Alonzo; but he told the
stranger he would accompany him--who immediately stepped into the
carriage, and they drove, by his direction, to an elegant house in a
street at a little distance, and alighted. As they entered the house, a
servant handed the stranger a note, which he hastily looked over: "Tell
the gentleman I will wait on him in a moment," said he to the servant,
who instantly withdrew. Turning to Alonzo, "a person is in waiting, said
he, on urgent business; excuse me, therefore, if it is with reluctance I
retire a few moments, after I have announced you; I will soon again be
with you."

They then ascended a flight of stairs: the stranger opened the door of a
chamber--"The gentleman I mentioned to you madam," he said. Alonzo
entered; the stranger closed the door and retired. The lady was sitting
by a window at the lower end of the room, but arose as Alonzo was
announced. She was dressed in sky-blue silk, embroidered with spangled
lace; a gemmed _tiara_ gathered her hair, from which was suspended a
green veil, according to the mode of those times; a silken girdle, with
diamond clasps, surrounded her waist, and a brilliant sparkled upon her
bosom. "The stranger's description was not exaggerated, thought Alonzo;
for, except one, I have never seen a more elegant figure:" and he almost
wished the veil removed, that he might behold her features.

"You will please to be seated, sir, she said. I know not how--I feel an
inconceivable diffidence in making an excuse for the inconveniences my
silly caprices have given you."

Enchanting melody was in her voice! Alonzo knew not why, but it thrilled
his bosom, electrified his soul, and vibrated every nerve of his heart.
Confused and hurried sensations, melancholy, yet pleasing; transporting
as the recurrence of youthful joys, enrapturing as dreams of early
childhood, passed in rapid succession over his imagination!

She advanced towards him and turned aside her veil. Her eyes were
suffused, and tears streamed down her cheeks.--Alonzo started--his whole
frame shook--he gasped for breath!----"Melissa! he convulsively
exclaimed,--God of infinite wonders, it is Melissa!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Again will the incidents of our history produce a pause. Our sentimental
readers will experience a recurrence of sympathetic sensibilities, and
will attend more eagerly to the final scene of our drama.----"Melissa
alive!" may they say--"impossible! Did not Alonzo see her death in the
public prints? Did not her cousin at New-London inform him of the
circumstances, and was he not in mourning? Did not the dying Beauman
confirm the melancholy fact? And was not the unquestionable testimony of
her brother Edgar sufficient to seal the truth of all this? Did not the
sexton's wife who knew not Alonzo, corroborate it? And did not Alonzo
finally read her name, her age, and the time of her death, on her
tomb-stone, which exactly accorded with the publication of her death in
the papers, and his own knowledge of her age? And is not this sufficient
to prove, clearly and incontestibly prove, that she is dead? And yet
here she is again, in all her primitive beauty and splendour! No, this
surely can never be. However the author may succeed in his description,
in painting reanimated nature, he is no magician, or if he is, he cannot
raise the dead.

"Melissa has long since mouldered into dust, and he has raised up some
female Martin Guerre, or Thomas Hoag--some person, from whose near
resemblance to the deceased, he thinks to impose upon us and upon Alonzo
also, for Melissa. But it will not do; it must be the identical Melissa
herself, or it might as well be her likeness in a marble statue. What!
can Alonzo realize the delicacies, the tenderness, the blandishments of
Melissa in another? Can her substitute point him to the rock on New
London beach, the bower on her favourite hill, or so feelingly describe
the charms of nature? Can he, indeed, find in her representative those
alluring graces, that pensive sweetness, those unrivalled virtues and
matchless worth which he found in Melissa, and which attracted, fixed
and secured the youngest affections of his soul? Impossible!----Or could
the author even make it out that Alonzo was deceived by a person so
nearly resembling Melissa that he could not distinguish the difference,
yet to his readers he must unveil the deception, and, of course, the
story will end in disappointment; it will leave an unpleasant and
disagreeable impression on the mind of the reader, which in novel
writing is certainly wrong. It is proved as clearly as facts can prove,
that he has suffered Melissa to die; and since she is dead, it is
totally beyond his power to bring her to life----and so his history is
intrinsically _good for nothing_."

Be not quite so hasty, my zealous censor. Did we not tell you that we
were detailing facts? Shall we disguise or discolour truth to please
_your_ taste? Have we not told you that disappointments are the lot of
life? Have we not, according to the advice of the moralist, led Alonzo
to the temple of philosophy, the shrine of reason, and the sanctuary of
religion? If all these fail--if in these Alonzo cannot find a balsam
sufficient to heal his wounded bosom; then if, in despite of graves and
tomb-stones, Melissa will come to his relief--will pour the balm of
consolation over his anguished soul, cynical critic, can the author help
it?

It was indeed Melissa, the identical Melissa, whom Alonzo ascended a
tree to catch a last glimpse of, as she walked up the avenue to the old
mansion, after they had parted at the draw-bridge, on the morning of the
day when she was so mysteriously removed. "Melissa!"---- "Alonzo!"----
were all they could articulate: and frown not, my fair readers, if we
tell you that she was instantly in his arms, while he pressed his ardent
lips to her glowing cheek.

Sneer not, ye callous hearted insensibles, ye fastidious prudes, if we
inform you that their tears fell in one intermingling shower, that their
sighs wafted in one blended breeze.

The sudden opening of the door aroused them to a sense of their improper
situation; for who but must consider it _improper_ to find a young lady
locked in the arms of a gentleman to whom she had just been introduced?
The opening of the door, therefore, caused them quickly to change their
_position_; not so hastily, however, but that the young officer who then
entered the room had a glimpse of their situation.----"Aha! said he,
have I caught you? Is my philosophic Plato so soon metamorphosed to a
_bon ton_ enamarato? But a few hours ago, sir, and you were proof
against the whole arcana of beauty, and all the artillery of the graces;
but no sooner are you for one moment _tete a tete_ with a fashionable
belle, than your heroism and your resolutions are vanquished, your
former ties dissolved, and your deceased charmer totally forgotten or
neglected, by the virtue of a single glance. Well, so it is: _Amor
vincit omnia_ is my motto; to thee all conquering beauty, our firmest
determinations must bow. I cannot censure you for discovering, though
late, that one living object is really of more intrinsic value than two
dead ones. Indeed, sir, I cannot but applaud your determination."

"The laws of honour, said Alonzo, smiling, compel me to submit to become
the subject of your raillery and deception; I am in your power."

"I acknowledge, said the officer, that I have a little deceived you,
my story was fiction founded on truth--the novel style: but for the
deceptive part, you may thank your little gipsey of a nymph there,
pointing to Melissa; she planned and I executed."

"How ready you gentlemen are, replied Melissa, when accused of
impropriety, to cast the blame on the defenceless! So it was with our
first parents, and so it is still. But you must remember that Alonzo is
yet to hear my story; there, sir, I have the advantage of you."

"Then I confess, said he, looking at Alonzo, you will be too hard for
me, and so I will say no more about it."

Melissa then introduced the young officer to Alonzo, by the appellation
of Capt. Wilmot. "He is the son of my deceased uncle, said she, a cousin
to whom I am much indebted, as you shall hereafter know."

A coach drove up to the door, which Melissa informed Alonzo was her
uncle's, and was sent to convey Alfred and her home. "You will have no
objection to breakfast with me at my uncle's, said Alfred, if it be only
to keep our cousin Melissa in countenance."

Alonzo did not hesitate to accept the invitation: They immediately
therefore entered the coach, a servant took care of Alonzo's carriage,
and they drove to the seat of Col. D----, who, with his family, received
Alonzo with much friendship and politeness. Alfred had apprized them of
Alonzo's arrival in town, and of course he was expected.

Col. D---- was about fifty years old, his manners were majestically
grave, and commanding, yet polished and polite. His family consisted of
an amiable wife, considerably younger than himself, and three children:
the eldest son, about ten years of age, and two daughters, one seven,
the other four years old. Harmony and cheerfulness reigned in his
family, which diffused tranquillity and ease to its members and its
guests.

It was agreed that Alonzo should pass a few days at the house of
Melissa's uncle, when Melissa was to accompany him to Connecticut.
Alfred, with some other officers, was recruiting for the army, where his
regiment then lay, and which he was shortly to join. He could not,
therefore, be constantly at his uncle's, though he was principally there
while Alonzo staid: but being absent the day after his arrival, Melissa
and Alonzo having retired to a room separate from the family, she gave
him the following account of what happened after they had parted at the
old mansion.

"The morning after you left me, she said, John came to the bridge and
called to be let in:--I immediately went to the gate, opened it, and let
down the bridge. John informed me that my aunt had suddenly and
unexpectedly arrived that morning in company with a strange gentleman,
and that he had come for the keys, as my aunt was to visit the mansion
that day. I strove to persuade John to leave the keys in my possession,
and that I would make all easy with my aunt when she arrived. This,
though with much reluctance, he at length consented to, and departed.
Soon after this my aunt came, and without much ceremony demanded the
keys, insinuating that I had obtained them from John by imposition, and
for the basest purposes. This aroused me to indignation, and I answered
by informing her that whatever purposes the persecution and cruelty of
my family had compelled me to adopt, my conscience, under present
circumstances approved them, and I refused to give her the keys. She
then ordered me to prepare to leave the mansion, and accompany her to
her residence at the house of John. I told her that I had been placed
there by my father, and should not consent to a removal unless by his
express orders. She then left me, intimating that she would soon let me
know that her authority was not to be thus trampled upon with impunity.

"I immediately raised the bridge, and made fast the gate, determining,
on no considerations, to suffer it to be opened until evening. The day
passed away without any occurrence worthy of note, and as soon as it was
dark, I went, opened the gate, and cautiously let down the bridge.
I then returned to the mansion, and placed the candle, as we had
concerted, at the window. Shortly after I heard a carriage roll over the
bridge and proceed up the avenue.--My heart fluttered; I wished--I
hardly knew what I did wish; but I feared I was about to act improperly,
as I had no other idea but that it was you, Alonzo, who was approaching.
The carriage stopped near the door of the mansion; a footstep ascended
the stairs. Judge of my surprise and agitation, when my father entered
the chamber! A maid and two men servants followed him. He directed me to
make immediate preparations for leaving the mansion--which command, with
the assistance of the servants, I obeyed with a heart too full for
utterance.

"As soon as I was ready, we entered the carriage, which drove rapidly
away. As we passed out of the gate, I looked back at the mansion, and
saw the light of the candle, which I had forgotten to remove, streaming
from the window, and it was by an extraordinary effort that I prevented
myself from fainting.

"The carriage drove, as near as I could judge, about ten miles, when we
stopped at an inn for the night, except my father, who returned home on
horseback, leaving me at the inn in company with the servants, where the
carriage also remained. The maid was a person who had been attached to
me from my infancy. I asked her whether she could explain these
mysterious proceedings.

"All I know, Miss, I will tell you, said she. Your father received a
letter to-day from your aunt, which put him in a terrible flutter:--he
immediately ordered his carriage and directed us to attend him. He met
your aunt at a tavern somewhere away back, and she told him that the
gentleman who used to come to our house so much once, had contrived to
carry you off from the place where you lived with her; so your father
concluded to send you to your uncle's in Carolina, and said that I must
go with you. And to tell you the truth, Miss, I was not displeased with
it; for your father has grown so sour of late, that we have little peace
in the house.

"By this I found that my fate was fixed, and I gave myself up for some
time to unavailing sorrow. The maid informed me that my mother was well,
which was one sweet consolation among my many troubles; but she knew
nothing of my father's late conduct.

"The next morning we proceeded, and I was hurried on by rapid stages to
the Chesapeak, where, with the maid and one man servant, I was put on
board a packet for Charleston, at which place we arrived in due time.

"My uncle and his family received me with much tenderness: the servant
delivered a package of letters to my uncle from my father. The carriage
with one servant (the driver) had returned from the Chesapeak to
Connecticut.

"My father had but one brother and two sisters, of which my uncle here
is the youngest. One of my aunts, the old maid, who was my _protectress_
at the old mansion, you have seen at my father's. The other was the
mother of Alfred:--she married very young, to a gentleman in Hartford,
of the name of Wilmot, who fell before the walls of Louisburg, in the
old French war. My aunt did not long survive him;--her health, which had
been for some time declining, received so serious a shock by this
catastrophe, that she died a few months after the melancholy tidings
arrived, leaving Alfred, their only child, then an infant, to the
protection of his relations, who as soon as he arrived at a suitable
age, placed him at school.

"My grandfather, who had the principal management of Mr. Wilmot's
estate, sent my uncle, who was then young and unmarried, to Hartford,
for the purpose of transacting the necessary business. Here he became
acquainted with a young lady, eminent for beauty and loveliness, but
without fortune, the daughter of a poor mechanic. As soon as my
grandfather was informed of this attachment, he, in a very peremptory
manner, ordered my uncle to break off the connection on pain of his
highest displeasure. But such is the force of early impressions,
(Melissa sighed) that my uncle found it impossible to submit to these
firm injunctions; a clandestine marriage ensued, and my grandfather's
maledictions in consequence. The union was, however, soon dissolved; my
uncle's wife died in about twelve months after their marriage, and soon
after the birth of the first child, which was a daughter. Inconsolable
and comfortless, my uncle put the child out to nurse, and travelled to
the south. After wandering about for some time, he took up his residence
in Charleston, where he amassed a splendid fortune. He finally married
to an amiable and respectable woman, whose tenderness, though it did not
entirely remove, yet greatly alleviated the pangs of early sorrow; and
this, added to the little blandishments of a young family, fixed him in
a state of more contentedness than he once ever expected to see.

"His daughter by his first wife, when she became of proper age, was sent
to a respectable boarding-school in Boston, where she remained until
within about two years before I came here.

"Alfred was educated at Harvard College: as soon as he had graduated, he
came here on my uncle's request, and has since remained in his family.

"Soon after I arrived here; my uncle came into my chamber one day.
"Melissa, said he, I find by your father's letters that he considers you
to have formed an improper connection. I wish you to give me a true
statement of the matter, and if any thing can be done to reconcile you
to your father, you may depend upon my assistance. I have seen some
troubles in this way myself, in my early days; perhaps my counsel may be
of some service."

"I immediately gave a correct account of every particular circumstance,
from the time of my first acquaintance with you until my arrival at this
house. He sat some time silent, and then told me that my father, he
believed, had drawn the worst side of the picture; and that he had urged
him to exert every means in his power to reclaim me to obedience: That
Beauman was to follow me in a few months, and that, if I still refused
to yield him my hand, my father positively and solemnly declared that he
would discard me forever, and strenuously enjoined it upon him to do the
same. "I well know my brother's temper, continued my uncle; the case is
difficult, but something must be done. I will immediately write to your
father, desiring him not to proceed too rashly; in the mean time we must
consider what measures to pursue. You must not, my niece, you must not
be sacrificed." So saying, he left me, highly consoled that, instead of
a tyrant, I had found a friend in my new protector.

"Alfred was made acquainted with the affair, and many were the plans
projected for my benefit, and abandoned as indefeasible, till an event
happened which called forth all the fortitude of my uncle to support it,
and operated in the end to free me from persecution.

"My uncle's daughter, by his first wife, was of a very delicate and
sickly constitution, and her health evidently decreasing. After she came
to this place, she was sent to a village on one of the high hills of
Pedee, where she remained a considerable time; she then went to one of
the inland towns in North Carolina, from whence she had but just
returned with Alfred when I arrived. Afterwards I accompanied her to
Georgetown, and other places, attended by her father, so that she was
little more known in Charleston than myself. But all answered no purpose
to the restoration of her health; a confirmed hectic carried her off in
the bloom of youth.

"I was but a few months older than she; her name was Melissa, a name
which a pious grandmother had borne, and was therefore retained in the
family. Our similarity of age, and in some measure of appearance, our
being so little known in Charleston, and our names being the same,
suggested to Alfred the idea of imposing on my father, by passing off my
cousin's death as my own. This would, at least, deter Beauman from
prosecuting his intended journey to Charleston; it would also give time
for farther deliberation, and might so operate on my father's feelings
as to soften that obduracy of temper, which deeply disquieted himself
and others, and thus finally be productive of happily effecting the
designed purpose.

"My uncle was too deeply overwhelmed in grief to be particularly
consulted on this plan. He however entrusted Alfred to act with full
powers, and to use his name for my interest, if necessary. Alfred
therefore procured a publication, as of my death, in the Connecticut
papers, particularly at New London, the native place of Beauman. In
Charleston it was generally supposed that it was the niece, and not the
daughter of Col. D----, who had died.--This imposition was likewise
practised upon the sexton, who keeps the register of deaths.[A] Alfred
then wrote a letter to my father, in my uncle's name, stating the
particulars of my cousin's death, and applying them to me. The epitaph
on her tombstone was likewise so devised that it would with equal
propriety apply either to her or to me.

    [Footnote A: This was formerly the case.]

       *       *       *       *       *

"To undeceive you, Alonzo, continued Melissa, was the next object. I
consulted with Alfred how this should be done.----"My sister, he said,
(in our private circles he always called me by the tender name of
sister,) I am determined to see you happy before I relinquish the
business I have undertaken: letters are a precarious mode of
communication; I will make a journey to Connecticut, find out Alonzo,
visit your friends, and see how the plan operates. I am known to your
father, who has ever treated me as a relative. I will return as speedily
as possible, and we shall then know what measures are best next to
pursue."

"I requested him to unfold the deception to my mother, and, if he found
it expedient, to Vincent and Mr. Simpson, in whose friendship and
fidelity I was sure he might safely confide.

"He soon departed, and returned in about two months. He found my father
and mother in extreme distress on account of my supposed death: my
mother's grief had brought her on the bed of sickness; but when Alfred
had undeceived her she rapidly revived. My father told Alfred that he
seriously regretted opposing my inclinations, and that, were it possible
he could retrace the steps he had taken, he should conduct in a very
different manner, as he was not only deprived of me, but Edgar also, who
had gone to Holland in an official capacity, soon after receiving the
tidings of my death. "I am now childless," said my father in tears.
Alfred's feelings were moved, and could he then have found you, he would
have told my father the truth; but lest he should relapse from present
determinations, he considered it his duty still with him, to continue
the deception.

"On enquiring at your father's, at Vincent's, and at Mr. Simpson's,
he could learn nothing of you, except that you had gone to New London,
judging possibly that you would find me there. Alfred therefore
determined to proceed to that place immediately. He then confidentially
unfolded to your father, Vincent, and Mr. Simpson, the scheme, desiring
that if you returned you would proceed immediately to Charleston. My
father was still to be kept in ignorance.

"Alfred proceeded immediately to New London: from my cousin there he was
informed of your interview with him; but from whence you then came, or
where you went, he knew not; and after making the strictest enquiry, he
could hear nothing more of you. By a vessel in that port, bound directly
for Holland, he wrote an account of the whole affair to Edgar,
mentioning his unsuccessful search to find you; and returned to
Charleston.

"Alfred learnt from my friends the circumstances which occasioned my
sudden removal from the old mansion. The morning you left me you was
discovered by my aunt, who was passing the road in a chair with a
gentleman, whom she had then but recently become acquainted with. My
aunt knew you. They immediately drove to John's hut. On finding that
John had left the keys with me, she sent him for them; and on my
refusing to give them up, she came herself, as I have before related;
and as she succeeded no better than John, she returned and dispatched a
message to my father, informing him of the circumstances, and her
suspicions of your having been to the mansion, and that, from my having
possession of the keys and refusing to yield them up, there was little
doubt but that we had formed a plan for my escape.

"Alarmed at this information, my father immediately ordered his
carriage, drove to the mansion, and removed me, as I have before
informed you.

"I ought to have told you, that the maid and man servant who attended me
to Charleston, not liking the country, and growing sickly, were sent
back by my uncle, after they had been there about two months."

Alonzo found by this narrative that John had deceived him, when he made
his enquiries of him concerning his knowledge of Melissa's removal. But
this was not surprising: John was tenant to Melissa's aunt, and
subservient to all her views;--she had undoubtedly given him
instructions how to act.

"But who was the strange gentleman with your aunt?" enquired Alonzo.
"This I will also tell you, answered Melissa, tho' it unfolds a tale
which reflects no great honour to my family.

"Hamblin was the name which this man assumed: he said he had been an
eminent merchant in New York, and had left it about the time it was
taken by the British. He lodged at an inn where my aunt frequently
stopped when she was out collecting her rents, where he first introduced
himself to her acquaintance, and ingratiated himself into her favour by
art and insidiousness. He accompanied her on her visits to her tenants,
and assisted her in collecting her rents. He told her, that when the war
came on, he had turned his effects into money, which he had with him,
and was now in pursuit of some country place where he might purchase a
residence to remain during the war. To cut the story as short as
possible, he finally initiated himself so far in my aunt's favour that
she accepted his hand, and, contrary to my father's opinion, she married
him, and he soon after persuaded her to sell her property, under
pretence of removing to some populous town, and living in style. Her
property, however, was no sooner sold (which my father bought for ready
cash, at a low price) than he found means to realize the money, and
absconded.

"It was afterwards found that his real name was Brenton; that he had
left a wife and family in Virginia in indigent circumstances, where he
had spent an ample fortune, left him by his father, in debauchery, and
involved himself deeply in debt. He had scarcely time to get off with
the booty he swindled from my aunt, when his creditors from Virginia
were at his heels. He fled to the British at New York, where he rioted
for a few months, was finally stabbed by a soldier in a fracas, and died
the next day. He was about thirty-five years old.

"All these troubles bore so heavily upon my aunt, that she went into a
decline, and died about six months ago.

"After Alfred returned from Connecticut, he wrote frequently to Vincent
and Mr. Simpson, but could obtain no intelligence concerning you. It
would be needless, Alonzo, to describe my conjectures, my anxieties, my
feelings! The death of my cousin and aunt had kept me in crape until, at
the instance of Alfred, I put it off yesterday morning at my uncle's
house, which Alfred had proposed for the scene of action, after he had
discovered the cause of my fainting at the theatre. I did not readily
come into Alfred's plan to deceive you: "Suffer me, he said, to try the
constancy of your _Leander_;----I doubt whether he would swim the
Hellespont for you." This aroused my pride and confidence, and I
permitted him to proceed."

Alonzo then gave Melissa a minute account of all that happened to him
from the time of their parting at the old mansion until he met with her
the day before. At the mention of Beauman's fate Melissa sighed. "With
how many vain fears, said she, was I perplexed, lest, by some means he
should discover my existence and place of residence, after he, alas, was
silent in the tomb!"

Alonzo told Melissa that he had received a letter from Edgar, after he
arrived in Holland, and that he had written him an answer, just as he
left Paris, informing him of his reasons for returning to America.

When the time arrived that Alonzo and Melissa were to set out for
Connecticut, Melissa's uncle and Alfred accompanied them as far as
Georgetown, where an affectionate parting took place: The latter
returned to Charleston, and the former proceeded on their journey.

Philadelphia was now in possession of the British troops. Alonzo found
Dr. Franklin's agent at Chester, transacted his business, went on,
arrived at Vincent's, where he left Melissa, and proceeded immediately
to his father's.

The friends of Alonzo and Melissa were joyfully surprised at their
arrival. Melissa's mother was sent for to Vincent's. Let imagination
paint the meeting! As yet however they were not prepared to undeceive
her father.

Alonzo found his parents in penurious circumstances; indeed, his father
having the preceeding summer, been too indisposed to manage his little
farm with attention, and being unable to hire laborers, his crops had
yielded but a scanty supply, and he had been compelled to sell most of
his stock to answer pressing demands. With great joy they welcomed
Alonzo, whom they had given up as lost. "You still find your father
poor, Alonzo, said the old gentleman, but you find him still
honest.--From my inability to labour, we have latterly been a little
more pressed than usual; but having now recovered my health, I trust
that that difficulty will soon be removed."

Alonzo asked his father if he ever knew Dr. Franklin.

"We were school-mates, he replied, and were intimately acquainted after
we became young men in business for ourselves. We have done each other
favours; I once divided my money with Franklin on an urgent occasion to
him; he afterwards repaid me with ample interest--he will never forget
it."

Alonzo then related to his father all the incidents of his travels,
minutely particularizing the disinterested conduct of Franklin, and then
presented his father with the reversion of his estate. The old man fell
on his knees, and with tears streaming down his withered cheeks, offered
devout thanks to the great Dispenser of all mercies.

Alonzo then visited Melissa's father, who received him with much
complacency. "I have injured, said he, my young friend, deeply injured
you; but in doing this, I have inflicted a wound still deeper in my own
bosom."

Alonzo desired him not to renew his sorrows. "What is past, said he, is
beyond recal; but a subject of some importance to me, is the object of
my present visit.--True it is, that your daughter was the object of my
earliest affection--an affection which my bosom must ever retain; but
being separated by the will of Providence--for I view Providence as
overruling all events for wise purposes--I betook myself to travel.
Time, you know it is said, sir, will blunt the sharpest thorns of
sorrow.--[The old man sighed.]----In my travels I have found a lady so
nearly resembling your daughter, that I was induced to sue for her hand,
and have been so happy as to gain the promise of it. The favour I have
to ask of you, sir, is only that you will permit the marriage ceremony
to be celebrated in your house, as you know my father is poor, his house
small and inconvenient, and that you will also honour me by giving the
lady away. In receiving her from your hands, I shall in some measure
realize former anticipations; I shall receive her in the character of
Melissa."

"Ah! said Melissa's father, were it in my power--could I but give you
the original; But how vain that wish! Yes, my young friend, your request
shall be punctually complied with: I will take upon myself the
preparations. Name your day, and if the lady is portionless, in that she
shall be to me a Melissa."

Alonzo bowed his head in gratitude; and after appointing that day week,
he departed.

Invitations were once more sent abroad for the wedding of Alonzo and
Melissa.--Few indeed knew it to be the real Melissa, but they were
generally informed of Alonzo's reasons for preferring the celebration at
her father's.

The evening before the day on which the marriage was to take place,
Alonzo and Melissa were sitting with the Vincents in an upper room, when
a person rapped at the door below. Vincent went down, and immediately
returned, introducing, to the joy and surprise of the company, Edgar!

Here, again, we shall leave it for the imagination to depict the scene
of an affectionate brother, meeting a tender and only sister, whom he
had long since supposed to be dead! He had been at his father's, and his
mother had let him into the secret, when he immediately hastened to
Vincent's. He told them that he did not stay long in Holland; that after
receiving Alonzo's letter from Paris, he felt an unconquerable
propensity to return, and soon sailed for America, arrived at Boston,
came to New-Haven, took orders in the ministry, and had reached home
that day. He informed them that Mr. Simpson and family had arrived at
his father's, and some relatives whom his mother had invited.

The next morning ushered in the day in which the hero and heroine of our
story were to consummate their felicity. No _cross purposes_ stood ready
to intervene their happiness, no obdurate father, no watchful, scowling
aunt, to interrupt their transports. It was the latter end of May;
nature was arrayed in her richest ornaments, and adorned with her
sweetest perfumes. The sun blended its mild lustre with the landscape's
lovely green; silk-winged breezes frolicked amidst the flowers; the
spring birds carolled in varying strains:

  "The air was fragrance, and the world was love."

Evening was appointed for the ceremony, and Edgar was to be the
officiating clergyman.

  "To tie those bands which nought but death can sever."

When the hour arrived, they repaired to the house of Melissa's father,
where numerous guests had assembled. Melissa was introduced into the
bridal apartment, and took her seat among a brilliant circle of ladies.
She was attired in robes "white as the southern clouds," spangled with
silver, and trimmed with deep gold lace; her hair hung loosely upon her
shoulders, encircled by a wreath of artificial flowers. She had regained
all her former loveliness; the rose and the lily again blended their
tinges in her cheek; again _pensive sprightliness_ sparkled in her eye.

Alonzo was now introduced, and took his seat at the side of Melissa. His
father and mother came next, who were placed at the right hand of the
young couple: Melissa's parents followed, and were stationed at the
left. Edgar then came and took his seat in front; after which the guests
were summoned, who filled the room. Edgar then rising, motioned to the
intended bride and bridegroom to rise also. He next turned to Alonzo's
father for his sanction, who bowed assent. Then addressing his own
father, with emotions that scarcely suffered him to articulate. "Do you,
sir, said he, give this lady to that gentleman?" A solemn silence
prevailed in the room. Melissa was extremely agitated, as her father
slowly rising, and with down-cast eyes,

  "Where tides of heavy sorrow swell'd,"

took her trembling hand, and conveying it into Alonzo's, "May the smiles
of heaven rest upon you, he said; may future blessings crown your
present happy prospects; and may your latter days never be embittered by
the premature loss of near and dear----"

Pungent grief here choaked his utterance, and at this moment Melissa,
falling upon her knees, "Dear father! she exclaimed, bursting into
tears, pardon deception; acknowledge your daughter--your own Melissa!"

Her father started--he gazed at her with scrutinizing attention, and
sunk back in his chair.--"My daughter! he cried--God of mysterious
mercy! it is my daughter!"

The guests caught the contagious sympathy; convulsive sobs arose from
all parts of the room. Melissa's father clasped her in his arms--"And I
receive thee as from the dead! he said. I am anxious to hear the mighty
mystery unfolded. But first let the solemn rites for which we are
assembled be concluded; let not an old man's anxiety interrupt the
ceremony."

"But you are apprised, sir, said Alonzo, of my inability to support your
daughter according to her deserts."

"Leave that to me, my young friend, replied her father. I have enough:
my children are restored, and I am happy."

Melissa soon resumed her former station. The indissoluble knot was tied:
they sat down to the wedding feast, and mirth and hilarity danced in
cheerful circles.

Before the company retired, Edgar related the most prominent incidents
of Alonzo and Melissa's history, since they had been absent. The guests
listened with attention: they applauded the conduct of our new bride and
bridegroom, in which Melissa's father cordially joined. They rejoiced to
find that Alonzo's father had regained his fortune, and copious
libations were poured forth in honour of the immortal Franklin.

And now, reader of sensibility, indulge the pleasing sensations of thy
bosom--for Alonzo and Melissa are MARRIED.

       *       *       *       *       *

Alonzo's father was soon in complete repossession of his former
property. The premises from which he had been driven by his unfeeling
creditors, were yielded up without difficulty, and to which he
immediately removed. He not only recovered the principal of the fortune
he had lost, but the damages and the interest; so that, although like
Job, he had seen affliction, like him his latter days were better than
his beginning. But wearied with the bustles of life, he did not again
enter into the mercantile business, but placing his money at interest in
safe hands, lived retired on his little farm.

A few days after the wedding, as Melissa was sitting with Alonzo, Edgar
and her parents, she asked her father whether the old mansion was
inhabited.

"Not by human beings, he replied.----Since it has fallen into my hands I
have leased it to three or four different families, who all left it
under the foolish pretence or impression of hearing noises and seeing
frightful objects, and such is the superstition of the people that no
one now, will venture to try it again, though I suppose its inhabitants
to consist only of rats and mice."

Melissa then informed them of all that had happened when she was there,
the alarming noises and horrible appearances she had been witness to,
and in which she was confident her senses had not deceived her.
Exceedingly astonished at her relation; it was agreed that Edgar and
Alonzo, properly attended, should proceed to the mansion, in order to
find whether any discoveries could be made which might tend to the
elucidation of so mysterious an affair.

For this purpose they chose twenty men, armed them with muskets and
swords, and proceeded to the place, where they arrived in the dusk of
the evening, having chosen that season as the most favourable to their
designs.

They found the drawbridge up, and the gate locked, as Edgar's father
said he had left them. They entered and secured them in the same manner.
When they came to the house, they cautiously unlocked the door, and
proceeded to the chamber, where they struck a fire and lighted candles,
which they had brought with them. It was then agreed to plant fifteen of
the men at suitable distances around the mansion, and retain five in the
chamber with Alonzo and Edgar.

The men, who were placed around the house, were stationed behind trees,
stumps or rocks, and where no object presented, lay flat on the ground,
with orders not to stir, or discover themselves, let what would ensue,
unless some alarm should be given from the house.

Alonzo and Edgar were armed with pistols and side arms, and posted
themselves with the five men in the chamber, taking care that the lights
should not shine against the window shutters, so that nothing could be
discovered from without. Things thus arranged, they observed almost an
implicit silence, no one being allowed to speak, except in a low
whisper.

For a long time no sound was heard except the hollow roar of winds in
the neighbouring forest, their whistling around the angles of the
mansion, or the hoarse murmers of the distant surge. The night was dark,
and only illuminated by the feeble twinkling of half clouded stars.

They had watched until about midnight, when they were alarmed by noises
in the rooms below, among which they could distinguish footsteps and
human voices. Alonzo and Edgar, then taking each a pistol in one hand,
and a drawn sword in the other, ordered their men to follow them,
prepared for action. Coming to the head of the stairs, they saw a
brilliant light streaming into the hall; they therefore concluded to
take no candles, and to prevent discovery they took off their shoes.
When they came into the hall opposite the door of the room from whence
the light and noises proceeded, they discovered ten men genteelly
dressed, sitting around a table, on which was placed a considerable
quantity of gold and silver coin, a number of glasses and several
decanters of wine. Alonzo and his party stood a few minutes, listening
to the following discourse, which took place among this _ghostly_
gentry.

"Well, boys, we have made a fine haul this trip."----"Yes, but poor Bob,
though, was plump'd over by the d----d skulkers!"----"Aye, and had we
not tugged bravely at the oars, they would have hook'd us."----"Rascally
cow-boys detained us too long."----"Well, never mind it; let us knock
around the wine, and then divide the spoil."

At this moment, Alonzo and Edgar, followed by the five men, rushed into
the room, crying. "_Surrender, or you are all dead men!_" In an instant
the room was involved in pitchy darkness; a loud crash was heard, then a
scampering about the floor, and a noise as if several doors shut to,
with violence. They however gave the alarm to the men without, by loudly
shouting "_Look out_;" and immediately the discharge of several guns was
heard around the mansion. One of the men flew up stairs and brought a
light; but, to their utter amazement, no person was to be discovered in
the room except their own party. The table, with its apparatus, and the
chairs on which these now invisible beings had sat, had disappeared, not
a single trace of them being left.

While they stood petrified with astonishment, the men from without
called for admittance. The door being unlocked, they led in a stranger
wounded, whom they immediately discovered to be one of those they had
seen at the table.

The men who had been stationed around the mansion informed, that some
time before the alarm was made, they saw a number of persons crossing
the yard from the western part of the enclosure, towards the house; that
immediately after the shout was given, they discovered several people
running back in the same direction: they hailed them, which being
disregarded, they fired upon them, one of whom they brought down, which
was the wounded man they had brought in. The others, though they pursued
them, got off.

The prisoner's wound was not dangerous, the ball had shattered his arm,
and glanced upon his breast. They dressed his wound as well as they
could, and then requested him to unfold the circumstances of the
suspicious appearance in which he was involved.

"First promise me, on your honour, said the stranger, that you will use
your influence to prevent my being punished or imprisoned."

This they readily agreed to, on condition that he would conceal nothing
from them--and he gave them the following relation:

That they were a part of a gang of _illicit traders_; men who had
combined for the purpose of carrying on a secret and illegal commerce
with the British army on Long Island, whom, contrary to the existing
laws, they supplied with provisions, and brought off English goods,
which they sold at very extortionate prices. But this was not all; they
also brought over large quantities of counterfeit continental money,
which they put off among the Americans for live stock, poultry, produce,
&c. which they carried to the Island. The counterfeit money they
purchased by merely paying for the printing; the British having obtained
copies of the American emission, struck immense quantities of it in
New-York, and insidiously sent it out into the country, in order to sink
our currency.

This gang was likewise connected with the cow-boys, who made it their
business to steal, not only milch cows, and other cattle, but also hogs
and sheep, which they drove by night to some convenient place on the
shores of the Sound, where these _thief-partners_ received them, and
conveyed them to the British.

"In our excursions across the Sound, continued the wounded man, we had
frequently observed this mansion, which, from every appearance, we were
convinced was uninhabited:--we therefore selected it as a suitable place
for our future rendezvous, which had therefore been only in the open
woods. To cross the moat, we dragged up an old canoe from the sea shore,
which we concealed in the bushes as soon as we recrossed from the old
mansion. To get over the wall we used ladders of ropes, placing a flat
of thick board on the top of the spikes driven into the wall. We found
more difficulty in getting into the house:--we however at length
succeeded, by tearing away a part of the back wall, where we fitted in a
door so exactly, and so nicely painted it, that it could not be
distinguished from the wall itself. This door was so constructed, that
on touching a spring, it would fly open, and when unrestrained, would
shut to with violence. Finding the apartment so eligible for our
purpose, and fearing that at some future time we might be disturbed
either by the owner of the building or some tenant, we cut similar doors
into every room of the house, so that on an emergency we could traverse
every apartment without access to the known doors. Trap-doors on a
similar construction, communicated with the cellar:--the table, which
you saw us sitting around, stood on one of those, which, on your abrupt
appearance, as soon as the candles were extinguished, was with its
contents, precipitated below, and we made our escape by those secret
doors, judging, that although you had seen us, if we could get off, you
would be unable to find out any thing which might lead to our discovery.

"A circumstance soon occurred, which tended to embarrass our plans, and
at first seemed to menace their overthrow. Our assembling at the mansion
was irregular, as occasion and circumstances required; often not more
than once a week, but sometimes more frequent, and always in the
night.--Late one night, as we were proceeding to the mansion, and had
arrived near it, suddenly one of the chamber windows was opened and a
light issued from within. We entered the house with caution, and soon
discovered that some person was in the chamber from whence we had seen
the light. We remained until all was silent, and then entered the
chamber by one of our secret doors, and to our inexpressible surprise,
beheld a beautiful young lady asleep on the only bed in the room. We
cautiously retired, and reconnoitering all parts of the mansion, found
that she was the only inhabitant except ourselves. The singularity of
her being there alone, is a circumstance we have never been able to
discover, but it gave us fair hopes of easily procuring her ejectment.
We then immediately withdrew, and made preparations to dispossess the
fair tenant of the premises to which we considered ourselves more
properly entitled, as possessing a prior incumbency.

"We did not effect the completion of our apparatus under three or four
days. As soon as we were prepared, we returned to the mansion. As we
approached the house, it appears the lady heard us, for again she
suddenly flung up a window and held out a candle: we skulked from the
light, but feared she had a glimpse of us.--After we had got into the
house we were still until we supposed her to be asleep, which we found
to be the case on going to her chamber.

"We then stationed one near her bed, who, by a loud rap on the floor
with a cane, appeared to arouse her in a fright. Loud noises were then
made below, and some of them ran heavily up the stairs which led to her
chamber; the person stationed in the room whispering near her bed--she
raised herself up, and he fled behind the curtains. Soon after she again
lay down; he approached nearer the bed with a design to lay his hand,
on which he had drawn a thin sheet-lead glove, across her face; but
discovering her arm on the out side of the bedclothes, he grasped
it--she screamed and sprang up in the bed; the man then left the room.

"As it was not our intention to injure the lady, but only to drive her
from the house, we concluded we had sufficiently alarmed her, and having
extinguished the lights, were about to depart, when we heard her
descending the stairs. She came down and examined the doors, when one of
our party, in a loud whisper, crying "_away! away_;" she darted up
stairs, and we left the house.

"We did not return the next night, in order to give her time to get off;
but the night after we again repaired to the mansion, expecting that she
had gone, but we were disappointed. As it was late when we arrived, she
was wrapped in sleep, and we found that more forcible measures must be
resorted to before we could remove her, and for such measures we were
amply prepared."

The stranger then unfolded the mysteries of that awful night, when
Melissa was so terrified by horrible appearances. One of the tallest and
most robust of the gang, was attired, as has been described, when he
appeared by her bed side. The white robe was an old sheet, stained in
some parts with a liquid red mixture; the wound in his breast was
artificial, and the blood issuing therefrom was only some of this
mixture, pressed from a small bladder, concealed under his robe. On his
head and face he wore a mask, with glass eyes----the mask was painted to
suit their purposes. The bloody dagger was of wood, and painted.

Thus accoutred, he took his stand near Melissa's bed, having first blown
out the candles she had left burning, and discharged a small pistol.
Perceiving this had awakened her, a train of powder was fired in the
adjoining room opposite the secret door, which was left open, in order
that the flash might illuminate her apartment; then several large cannon
balls were rolled through the rooms over her head, imitative of thunder.
The person in her room then uttered a horrible groan, and gliding along
by her bed, took his stand behind the curtains, near the foot. The
noises below, the cry of murder, the firing of the second pistol, and
the running up stairs, were all corresponding scenes to impress terror
on her imagination. The pretended ghost then advanced in front of her
bed, while lights were slowly introduced, which first shone faintly,
until they were ushered into the room by the private door, exhibiting
the person before her in all his horrific appearances. On her shrieking,
and shrinking into the bed, the lights were suddenly extinguished, and
the person, after commanding her to be gone in a hoarse voice, passed
again to the foot of the bed, shook it violently, and made a seeming
attempt to get upon it, when, perceiving her to be springing up, he fled
out of the room by the secret door, cautiously shut it, and joined his
companions.

The operators had not yet completed their farce, or rather, to Melissa,
tragedy. They had framed an image of paste-board, in human shape,
arrayed it in black, its eyes being formed of large pieces of what is
vulgarly called _fox-fire_,[A] made into the likeness of human eyes,
some material being placed in its mouth, around which was a piece of the
thinnest scarlet tiffany, in order to make it appear of a flame colour.
They had also constructed a large combustible ball, of several
thicknesses of paste-board, to which a match was placed. The image was
to be conveyed into her room, and placed, in the dark, before her
bed;--while in that position, the ball was to be rubbed over with
phosphorus, the match set on fire, and rolled across her chamber, and
when it burst, the image was to vanish, by being suddenly conveyed out
of the private door, which was to close the scene for that night. But as
Melissa had now arisen and lighted candles, the plan was defeated.

    [Footnote A: A sort of decayed or rotten wood, which in the night
    looks like coals of fire, of a bright whitish colour. It emits a
    faint light.]

While they were consulting how to proceed, they heard her unlock her
chamber door, and slowly descend the stairs. Fearing a discovery, they
retired with their lights, and the person who had been in her chamber,
not having yet stripped off his ghostly habiliments, laid himself down
on one side of the hall. The man who had the image, crowded himself with
it under the stairs she was descending. On her dropping the candle, when
she turned to flee to her chamber, from the sight of the same object
which had appeared at her bed-side, the person under the stairs
presented the image at their foot, and at the same instant the
combustible ball was prepared, and rolled through the hall; and when on
its bursting she fainted, they began to grow alarmed; but on finding
that she recovered and regained her chamber, they departed, for that
time, from the house.

"Our scheme, continued the wounded man, had the desired effect. On
returning a few evenings after, we found the lady gone and the furniture
removed. Several attempts were afterwards made to occupy the house, but
we always succeeded in soon frightening the inhabitants away."

Edgar and Alonzo then requested their prisoner to show them the springs
of the secret doors, and how they were opened. The springs were sunk in
the wood, which being touched by entering a gimblet hole with a piece of
pointed steel, which each of the gang always had about him, the door
would fly open, and fasten again in shutting to. On opening the
trap-door over which the gang had sat when they first discovered them,
they found the table and chairs, with the decanters broken, and the
money, which they secured. In one part of the cellar they were shown a
kind of cave, its mouth covered with boards and earth--here the company
kept their furniture, and to this place would they have removed it, had
they not been so suddenly frightened away. The canoe they found secreted
in the bushes beyond the canal.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was then agreed that the man should go before the proper authorities
in a neighbouring town, and there, as state's evidence, make affidavit
of what he had recited, and as complete a developement of the characters
concerned in the business as possible, when he was to be released. The
man enquired to what town they were to go, which, when they had informed
him, "Then, said he, it will be in my power to perform one deed of
justice before I leave the country, as leave it I must, immediately
after I have given in my testimony, or I shall be assassinated by some
of those who will be implicated in the transaction I have related."

He then informed them, that while he, with the gang, was prosecuting the
illicit trade, a British ship came and anchored in the Sound, which they
supplied with provisions, but that having at one time a considerable
quantity on hand, the ship sent its boat on shore, with an officer and
five men, to fetch it; the officer came with them on shore, leaving the
men in the boat: "As we were about to carry the provisions on board the
boat, continued the man, a party of Americans fired upon us, and wounded
the officer in the thigh, who fell: "I shall be made prisoner, said he,
taking out his purse; keep this, and if I live and regain my liberty,
perhaps you may have an opportunity of restoring it:--alarm the boat's
crew, and shift for yourselves." The boat was alarmed, returned to the
ship, and we saved ourselves by flight.

"This happened about four months ago; the ship soon after sailed for New
York, and the officer was imprisoned in the gaol of the town to which we
are to go; I can therefore restore him his purse."

The man farther informed them, that they had several times come near
being taken, and the last trip they were fired upon, and one of their
party killed.

They immediately set out for the aforesaid town, after having dismissed
their fifteen men; and when they arrived there, Alonzo and Edgar
accompanied their prisoner to the gaol. On making the proper enquiries,
they were conducted into a dark and dirty apartment of the gaol, where
were several prisoners in irons. The British officer was soon
distinguished among them by his regimentals. Though enveloped in filth
and dust, his countenance appeared familiar to Alonzo; and on a few
moments recollection, he recognized in the manacled officer, the
generous midshipman, Jack Brown, who had so disinterestedly relieved
him, when he escaped from the prison in London!

In the fervency of his feelings, Alonzo flew to him and clasped him in
his arms. "What do I behold! he cried. My friend, my brave deliverer,
in chains in my own country!"

"The fortune of war, boy! said Jack--it might have been worse. But my
lad, I am heartily glad to see you; how has it fared with you since you
left Old England?"--"We will talk of that by and by," said Alonzo.

There were then some American officers of distinction in town, with whom
Edgar was acquainted, to whom he applied for the relief of the noble
sailor;----and as there were several other British prisoners in gaol
it was agreed that a cartel should be immediately sent to New York to
exchange them. Alonzo had, therefore, the satisfaction to see the irons
knocked off of his liberal hearted benefactor, and his prison doors
opened.

The man they had taken at the mansion, returned him his purse,
containing only twenty-five guineas, of which Jack gave him ten. "There,
boy, said he, you have been honest, so I will divide with you."

They then repaired to an inn. Jack, whose wound was healed, was put
under the hands of a barber, cleaned, furnished with a change of
clothes, and soon appeared in a new attitude.

He informed Alonzo, that soon after he left England, his ship was
ordered for America: that the price of provisions growing high, it had
taken almost all his wages to support his family; that he had sent home
his last remittance just before he was taken, reserving only the
twenty-five guineas which had been restored him that day.--"But I have
never despaired, said he; the great Commodore of life orders all for the
best. My tour of duty is to serve my king and country, and provide for
my dear Poll and her chicks, which, if I faithfully perform, I shall
gain the applause of the Commander."

When the cartel was ready to depart, Alonzo, taking Jack apart from the
company, presented him with a draught of five hundred pounds sterling,
on a merchant in New York, who privately transacted business with the
Americans. "Take this, my friend, said he; you can ensure it by
converting it into bills of exchange on London. Though you once saw me
naked, I can now conveniently spare this sum, and it may assist you in
buffeting the billows of life."--The generous tar shed tears of
gratitude, and Alonzo enjoyed the pleasure of seeing him depart, calling
down blessings on the head of his reciprocal benefactor.

The man who came with Alonzo and Edgar from the mansion, then went
before the magistrates of the town, and gave his testimony and
affidavit, by which it appeared that several eminent characters of
Connecticut were concerned in this illicit trade. They then released
him, gave him the money they had found in the cellar at the mansion, and
he immediately left the town. Precepts were soon after issued for a
number of those traders; several were taken, among whom were some of the
gang, and others who were only concerned--but most of them absconded,
so that the company and their plans were broken up.

When Alonzo and Edgar returned home and related their adventure, they
were all surprised at the fortitude of Melissa in being enabled to
support her spirits in a solitary mansion, amidst such great, and so
many terrors.

It was now that Alonzo turned his attention to future prospects. It was
time to select a place for domestic residence. He consulted Melissa, and
she expressively mentioned the little secluded village, where

  "Ere fate and fortune frown'd severe,"

they projected scenes of connubial bliss, and planned the structure of
their family edifice. This intimation accorded with the ardent wishes of
Alonzo. The site formerly marked out, with an adjoining farm, was
immediately purchased, and suitable buildings erected, to which Alonzo
and Melissa removed the ensuing summer.

The clergyman of the village having recently died in a _good old age_,
Edgar was called to the pastoral charge of this unsophisticated people.
Here did Melissa and Alonzo repose after the storms of adversity were
past. Here did they realize all the happiness which the sublunary hand
of time apportions to mortals. The varying seasons diversified their
joys, except when Alonzo was called with the militia of his country,
wherein he bore an eminent commission, to oppose the enemy; and this was
not unfrequent, as in his country's defence he took a very conspicuous
part. Then would anxiety, incertitude, and disconsolation possess the
bosom of Melissa, until dissipated by his safe return. But the happy
termination of the war soon removed all cause of these disquietudes.

Soon after the close of the war, Alonzo received a letter from his
friend, Jack Brown, dated at an interior parish in England,--in which,
after pouring forth abundance of gratitude, he informed, that on
returning to England he procured his discharge from the navy, sold his
house, and removed into the country, where he had set up an inn with the
sign of _The Grateful American_. "You have made us all happy, said he;
my dear Poll blubbered like a fresh water sailor in a hurricane, when I
told her of your goodness. My wife, my children, all hands upon deck are
yours. We have a good run of business, and are now under full sail, for
the land of prosperity."

Edgar married to one of the Miss Simpsons, whose father's seat was in
the vicinity of the village. The parents of Alonzo and Melissa were
their frequent visitors, as were also Vincent and his lady, with many
others of their acquaintance, who all rejoiced in their happy situation,
after such a diversity of troubles. Alfred was generally once a year
their guest, until at length he married and settled in the mercantile
business in Charleston, South Carolina.

To our hero and heroine, the rural charms of their secluded village were
a source of ever pleasing variety. Spring, with its verdured fields,
flowery meads, and vocal groves: its vernal gales, purling rills, and
its evening whippoorwill: summer, with its embowering shades, reflected
in the glassy lake, and the long, pensive, yet sprightly notes of the
solitary strawberry-bird;[A] its lightning and its thunder; autumn with
its mellow fruit, its yellow foliage and decaying verdure; winter, with
its hoarse, rough blasts, its icy beard and snowy mantle, all tended to
thrill with sensations of pleasing transition, the feeling bosoms of
_Alonzo and Melissa_.

    [Footnote A: A bird which, in the New England states, makes its
    first appearance about the time strawberries begin to ripen. Its
    song is lengthy, and consists of a variety of notes, commencing
    sprightly, but ending plaintive and melancholy.]

       *       *       *       *       *
           *       *       *       *
       *       *       *       *       *

Chronology

Based on references to datable external events, the story covers at
least ten years. The parts of the book that take place in Connecticut
are filled with descriptions of changing seasons. Europe and the
southern states have no climate.

"two young gentlemen of Connecticut ... graduated at Yale College"
"Beauman ... came regularly once in two or three months"
"Beauman's visits to Melissa became more frequent"
"[Beauman's] visits became more and more frequent."
"It was summer, and towards evening when [Alonzo] arrived."

  To accommodate Beauman's repeated visits, a full year would have to
  pass.

"The troubles which gave rise to the disseveration of England from
America had already commenced, which broke out the ensuing spring into
actual hostilities, by the battle of Lexington, followed soon after by
the battle of Bunker Hill."

  The battles took place in April and June of 1775; "the ensuing spring"
  would mean that the year is 1774.

"Winter came on; it rapidly passed away. Spring advanced..."

  1774 changes to 1775

"The spring opened ... the colonies, which had now been dissevered from
the British empire, by the declaration of independence"

  This is the same spring as in the previous quotation, but if the
  Declaration of Independence (July 1776) is in the past, it would have
  to be the spring of 1777.

"It was at the latter end of the month of May"

  May 1775 or 1777, depending on one's chosen chronology.

"The particulars of this action, in the early stage of the American war,
are yet remembered by many."

  The "action" may be a conflation of two different episodes involving
  the _Trumbull_, neither of them early in the war: the first was in
  June 1780, the second in late August 1781. The _Trumbull_ was towed
  to New York, not to London.

"who died there about eighteen months ago"

  Alonzo took sail shortly after learning of Melissa's death, so we are
  now in early 1783.

[Melissa's gravestone] "October 26, 1776 / In the 18th year of her age."

  Depending on the chronology chosen, Melissa's reported death could
  have been in 1775, 1777 or 1781. Her 18th year is properly the year
  _leading up to_ her 18th birthday, but may mean that she was 18 years
  old.

"to be opened that night only, with the tragedy of _Gustavus_"

  _Gustavus_ was written by Henry Brooke in 1739 and immediately
  banned. Its American premiere was in Baltimore on 14 June 1782.

           *       *       *       *
       *       *       *       *       *

Quotations

Only a few quotations have been identified. Some of the others may be
paraphrases.

  "Call round her laughing eyes, in playful turns,
  The glance that lightens, and the smile that burns."
    Erasmus Darwin, 1731-1802, "The Temple of Nature, or, The Origin of
    Society"

  But far beyond the pride of pomp, and power,
  He lov'd the realms of nature to explore;
  . . .
    Timothy Dwight (president of Yale), 1752-1817, _The Conquest of
    Canaan_. The _Cambridge History of English and American Literature_
    says that the poem was "written by the time he was twenty-two, but
    published when he was thirty-three and should have known better."

  "musing, moping melancholy."
    Arthur Murphy, _The Upholsterer or What News_ (1758), I:i: "musing,
    moping, melancholy lover".

  "The breeze's rustling wing was in the tree"
    This unidentified line is also quoted in Mitchell's _Albert and
    Eliza_.

  the "stilly sound" of the low murmuring brook
    Misprinted in 1851 as "slitty sound". Probably John Home, _Douglas_
    (1756) IV:i.

  "the confused noise of the warriors, and garments rolled in blood,"
    1804 text has "warrior". Isaiah 9:5 (King James): For every battle
    of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood.

  until "the heavens were arrayed in blackness."
    Isaiah 50:3: "I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make
    sackcloth their covering."

  he cast a "longing, lingering look"
    Thomas Gray (1716-71) _Elegy_.

  "Blue trembling billows, topp'd with foam,"
    The 1804 and 1811 texts have the correct form "tumbling billows".
    _Anarchiad, a New England Poem_ (1786-87) with joint authors Joel
    Barlow (1754-1812), David Humphreys (1752-1818), John Trumbull
    (1750-1831) and Lemuel Hopkins (1750-1801).

  "dingy scud"
    Printed "dirgy scud" in all but the 1804 original. Possibly from
    Charles Dibdin (b. 1745), "Ev'ry Inch a Sailor":
      The wind blew hard, the sea ran high,
      The dingy scud drove 'cross the sky ...

  "... like Patience on a monument ..."
    _Twelfth Night_ II:iv.

  The "days of other years"
    Possibly from "Ossian" (James MacPherson); the phrase is used often.

  Here may the "widowed wild rose love to bloom!"
    May be a paraphrase of another line in _The Conquest of Canaan_.

  "Song, beauty, youth, love, virtue, joy ...."
    Identified in the text as Edward Young, _Night Thoughts_, 1745. The
    couplet on the title page is from the same source.

  "To tie those bands which nought but death can sever."
    May be "bonds" as in 1804 text. The phrase "that naught but death
    can sever" occurs in Spenser, _Amoretti_ VI (1595).

  "white as the southern clouds"
    The phrase occurs in a translation of Salomon Gessner, as well as
    in an 1817 text (Pennie, "The Royal Minstrel"). Both passages are
    descriptions of sheep.

  "a good old age"
    The phrase occurs at least four times in the King James Bible.

           *       *       *       *
       *       *       *       *       *

Other Editions

The editions available for comparison were:

  1804
    Weekly installments in _The Political Barometer_, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
    This version was only available in an online transcription.
    A number of questioned words were checked with the transcriber, Hugh
    MacDougall of the Cooper Society.
  1811
    Plattsburgh, N.Y. "Printed For The Proprietor."
    The first of the pirated editions. Some copies have no author
    credit.
  1851
    Boston. "Printed for the Publishers."
    Attached to the end, without page break, is a short narrative poem
    with prose introduction, "Henry and Julia, a tale of real life"
    (omitted from this e-text).
  1864
    Philadelphia, Lippincott.
    With two exceptions, this is a reprint of the 1851 edition,
    including obvious typographical errors and with identical
    punctuation. There is a new frontispiece (the 1851 edition had
    none). The "Henry and Julia" poem is omitted. Instead, the final
    page compresses the last two pages (one full page plus seven lines
    of text and a four-line footnote) of the 1851 edition into one,
    using a noticeably smaller font.
  1870?
    New York, Leavitt & Allen.
    The date is hypothetical, based on librarian's notation. The book
    is probably a reprint of the 1836 Boston edition, which has the same
    page count (significantly different from other known editions); 1836
    is also a plausible date for the frontispiece.


General Differences:

In the 1804 and 1811 texts, dialogue is usually punctuated as

  "To this place (said Melissa) have I taken...."

with some variation between brackets [] and parentheses (). In the 1870
text, dialogue has "modern" punctuation with single quotes:

  'To this place,' said Melissa, 'have I taken....'

The earlier versions are _more_ likely to use "American" spellings such
as "jail" (but "gaoler") and "honor"; later editions (published in the
U.S.) use "British" spellings such as "gaol" and "honour". The older
form "shew" appears only in the earliest editions.

The spelling "stupify" is used consistently, and "vallies" is almost
universal. The spellings "discreet(ly)" and "discrete(ly)" seem to have
been used interchangeably. Names in "New" such as "New London" were
generally hyphenated in 1804; later versions have fewer hyphens, but
they never disappear altogether.

The ampersand & appears a few dozen times in the original (1804)
version; in 1811 most were changed to "and", and in later editions it
survived only in the form "&c."

The 1804 and 1811 texts use "consolate" for "console" almost everywhere,
and the name is spelled Wyllys, changed in later editions to Wyllis. The
1811 text consistently uses the spelling "whipperwill", and often uses
"come" and "become" for "came" and "became". The 1851 text often uses
non-standard spellings such as "visiter", "suiter", "persuit". The 1870
text consistently spells "lilly" with two l's, and uses "set" for "sit";
it often interchanges or omits "the/this/that" and similar.


In All Editions:

  With lingering gaze Edinian spring survey'd  [for Edenian]
  The panic and general bustle which took place in America on these
    events, is yet well remembered by many.  ["is" for "are"]
  to level on the property of the former
    [common error or variant for "levy"]
  this measure, once adopted, her father must consent also
    [sentence structure is the same in all editions]
  constructed of several tier of hewed timbers
    ["tier" used as a plural]
  he should conduct in a very different manner
    [sentence structure is the same in all editions]


Details:

The following are highlights, not an exhaustive list. See below for
errors corrected in the 1851 text. Spelling and punctuation have been
regularized in some cases.

  In the time of the late American revolution
    1811ff ... the late revolution
  at the day appointed
    1811ff on the day appointed
  her aspect was attempered with a pensive mildness
    1870 her aspect was tempered ...
  [QUOTATION]
  For far beyond the pride and pomp of power
    1870 pride or pomp
  The heaven embosom'd sun; the rainbow's die
    1851 the rainbow's dye
  a few days, during which time they passed in visiting select friends
  and in social parties.
    1870 a few days, which time they passed in was visiting ...
    1811/51 and social parties
  the sound of various instrumental music
    1811ff ... of instrumental music
  mortgages on lands and houses for security
    1811ff ... securities
  attracted him hither. If he had admired the manly virtues of the
  brother, could he fail to adore the sublimer graces
    1870 thither ... the sublime graces
  the milder and more refined excellencies of the other?
    1870 ... of the latter?
  He came regularly, about once in two or three months
    1811ff He came regularly, once in ...
  It was not probable, therefore, that he would be objectionable to
  Melissa's friends--_Nor to Melissa herself_----said Alonzo, with
  an involuntary sigh.
    1811ff "It is not probable therefore that he will be
    objectionable to Melissa's friends or to Melissa herself," ...
  Was it not then highly probable that he had secured her affections?
    1870 Was it not highly probable then that ...
  the foliage glittering to the western ray
    1851 glittering the 1870 glittering in the
  the extremest verge of the horizon. "This is a most beautiful scene,"
  said Melissa.
    1811ff the extreme verge
    1851/70 a most delightful scene
  he was not always my _beau_-man
    1851/70 he was not always my Beauman
  He formally addresses you.
    1851 He formerly.
  Al. Melissa. [A pause ensued.]
    1870 ... [A pause.]
  but his fears declared otherways
    1811ff ... otherwise
  friendship must yield its pretensions to a superior claim
    1870 friendship must yield to a superior claim
  Were Beauman here, my position might be demonstrated.
    1811ff Was Beauman here ...
  She was still silent.
    1870 She was silent.
  Mel. (confused.) If it be a proper one. You are entitled to candour.
    1811ff ... If it be a proper one you are ...
  her voice tremulous, her eyes still cast down.) My parents have
  informed me that it is improper to receive the particular addresses
  of more than one.
    1870 her voice trembles
    1811 the particular address
  But-- (she hesitated.)
    1870 But (she blushed.)
  [QUOTATION]
  Darted her silvery intercepted ray
    1811 Darted his silvery ...
  nor had they attempted to influence or forestal her choice
    1811ff ... to influence or direct her choice
  We must pour a liberal libation upon the mystic altar
    1870 We must pour out a liberal libation to the mystic altar
  And why have I ever doubted this event" said Alonzo. "What infatuation
  hath thus led me on the pursuit of fantastic and unreal bliss?
    1870 And why have I doubted ... led me on to the pursuit ...
  and will convince both Melissa and Beauman
    1811ff and I will convince Melissa and Beauman
  she has treated me as a friend to her brother. She was the
  unsuspecting object of my passion. She was unconscious of the flame
    1811/51/70 ... as a friend to her brother. She was unconscious ...
  said that business had prevented him; he esteemed him as his most
  valued friend
    1851/70 said that business prevented him ... most valuable
  to which you attended me when you was last here
    1870 ... when you last was here
  The solemn herds lowed in monotonous symphony. The autumnal insects
  in sympathetic wailings
    1870 in solemn symphony
    1811 waftings 1851/70 wafting
  the rude despoiling hand of winter
    1870 the despoiling hand of winter
  She was still silent
    1851/70 She was silent.
  The "stilly sound" of the low murmuring brook
    1851 slitty sound 1870 distant sound
  the frequent lights darted their paly lustre thro' the gloom
    1811/51 palely lustre 1870 pale lustre
  but other subjects engaged the mental attention of Alonzo.
    1811ff but the other subject ...
  Alonzo and Beauman pledged their honour to abide explicitly by these
  injunctions
    1851 ... abide implicitly by ...
    1870 ... abide implicitly to ...
  That time has now arrived
    1851/70 That time has arrived
  the deep and solemn silence of night
    1870 the deep and sullen silence of night
  bowed to the minutia of female volatility
    1870 minutiae
    [[Note that "minutiae" is the correct form. All earlier editions,
    including the 1804 original, have the incorrect word "minutia".]]
  finally appointed a day to give both him and Alonzo a determinate
  answer
    1811ff ... to give him and Alonzo a determinate answer
  to make a journey into a different part of the country
    1811ff to make a journey to a distant part ...
  thither he hasted to gain shelter from the approaching storm.
    1811ff thither he hastened ...
  In a moment he discovered that it was Melissa.
    1870 In a moment, however, he discovered that it was Melissa.
  Alonzo felt all the force of the remark
    1870 Alonzo felt the force ...
  remaining beauties of Summer
    1811ff remaining beauties of the summer
  the battle at Lexington, followed soon after by the battle at
  Bunker's Hill.
    1870 of Lexington ... of Bunker Hill
    1811ff Bunker Hill
  Alonzo and she frequently discoursed upon the subject, and they agreed
    1811ff Alonzo and she frequently discoursed, and they agreed
  orchards, arbours, and cultured fields
    1811ff ... cultivated fields
  The inhabitants of this modern Avernum
    1851/70 ... Auvernum [sic]
  Such was the place chosen for the future residence of Alonzo and
  Melissa.
    1811ff Such was the place for the residence ...
  "the confused noise of the warrior, and garments rolled in blood,"
    1811ff ... of the warriors ...
  this modern Vacluse [sic]
    1851/70 this modern Vaucluse
  the walks, the meads, the fountains
    1811ff the walks, the mead, the fountains
  Around the horizon electric clouds raised their brazen summits,
  based in the black vapor of approaching night
    1870 Around the horizon clouds raised their brazen summits, based
    on the
  and the adjacent towns and villages, presented to the eye, on a single
  view, perhaps one of the most picturesque draperies
    1870 and the adjacent towns and villages, perhaps one of the most
    picturesque draperies
  she had an uncle who lived near Charleston, in South Carolina
    1870 she had an uncle near Charleston, South Carolina
  was expected to arrive before the appointed marriage day.
    1811ff ... before the appointed day
  He would frequently start up in the bed
    1870 ... in bed
  He scarcely spoke a word, and after the table was removed
    1870 ... after the cloth was removed
  that the reputation of my latter days was stained with acts of
  baseness and meanness.
    1870 ... acts of baseness.
  I had some hopes that your happiness, Alonzo, might yet be secured
    1870 ... might be secured
  We would not stop the reader to moralize on this disastrous event.
    1811ff We will not ...
  I know the old gentleman too well
    1870 I know that old gentleman too well
  fringed with the gold of even
    1851/70 fringed with the gold of evening
  Her countenance appeared dejected, which on her seeing Alonzo
    1870 Her countenance appeared to be dejected ...
    1811ff ... which, on seeing ...
  Thus spake my father, and immediately withdrew
    1870 Thus spoke my father, and immediately withdrew
  Mr. and Mrs. Vincent are now my only confidents
    1851/70 ... confidants
  but the sound, late so cheerful and sprightly
    1870 but the sound, so cheerful and sprightly
  a deep dejection was depicted upon her features
    1870 ... in her features
  Alonzo was received with a cool reserve
    1870 ... a cold reserve
  Melissa's father soon entered
    1811ff Melissa's father entered
  if you marry in your present situation? I know you have talents and
  have had an education. But what are they without means? You have
  friends
    1811/51/70 if you marry in your present situation? You have friends
  the hand of Melissa." Thus spake the father of Melissa, and
  immediately left the room.
    1811ff of Melissa"--and immediately left the room.
  it was a shock their fortitude could scarcely sustain
    1870 ... scarcely contain
  Disappointment seldom finds its votaries prepared to receive her.
    1811ff ... her votaries ...
  but could not counteract the will of her father
    1811ff but could not contradict the will of her father
  after Alonzo had related the manner of his reception
    1870 after Alonzo had related his reception
  of little consequence. But their united situation tortured his
  soul.--What was to become of Melissa, what of himself
    1870 of little consequence. But what was to become of Melissa,
    what of himself
  With part of this I have purchased a small, but well cultivated farm
    1811ff With this I have ...
  a ray of joy illumined his troubled bosom.
    1811ff illuminated
  [QUOTATION]
  Like morn's gay hues, the fading splendors fled
    1870 gray
  He thought on Melissa, from whom he had heard nothing since he last
  saw her.--He thought on the difficulties which surrounded him. He
  thought on the barriers which were opposed to his happiness
    1811ff He thought of ... thought of ... thought of
  The day after you left here, her father received a letter
    1811ff The day after you were here ...
  Where is your fortitude and your firmness," said he
    1851 "Where," said he, "is your fortitude and your firmness
    1870 Where is your fortitude and firmness," said he
  war ends in peace
    1811ff wars end in peace
  transports them to another and a better world
    1811/51 ... and better world
  but where, alas were the means of alleviation?
    1811ff but alas! where were ...
  ordered her to prepare to become the wife of Beauman
    1811ff ordered her to become the wife of Beauman
  You suffer the Jack-a-lantern fancy to lead you
    1870 ... Jack-with-a-lantern ...
  Marry Beauman, and you roll in your coach
    1811ff ... you will roll in your coach
  I give you now two days to consider the matter
    1870 ... to consider of the matter
  bordered with the odor-flowering lilac
    1811ff bordered with the odour-flowing lilac
  He turned, and saw Edgar approaching: in a moment they were in each
  other's arms, and mingled tears
    1870 He turned round and saw ... mingling tears
  You, Alonzo, must exert your fortitude
    1870 You, Alonzo, must ever exert your fortitude
  It must, I think, ere long, be determined
    1811ff ... be terminated
  it is in your power to remove them; and if you are a man of honour
  you will remove them. You cannot wish
    1870 it is in your power to remove them. You cannot wish
  half squeaking through her nose, which was well charged with rappee,
  "did'nt I tell you so? I knew the fellow would come to no terms
    1870 half speaking
    1811ff I knew the fellow would not come to terms
  your daughter. And I should not wonder if you should soon find that
  the girl had eloped, and your desk robbed into the bargain
    1870 your daughter. I should not wonder ...
    1811ff ... find the girl had eloped, and your desk robbed in the
    bargain
  his eyes flashed resentment
    1811/51 flashed in  1870 flashed with
  unless she was already apprised of it
    1811 was apprised  1851/70 was appraised
  the feeble glimmer of the twinkling stars
    1811ff glimmering
  "Thou still knowest me, Curlow," said Alonzo
    1870 ... Carlow ...
  Here all was solemn, dark and silent as in front
    1811ff Here all was solemn and silent as in front
  "Be calm," Alonzo, said she, "I think it will not long last
    1851/70 ... not last long
  I believe they will trust me to see her
    1851/70 I believe they will let me see her
  Unfeeling and impertinent intruder (retorted Alonzo)
    1811 ... intruder, [retorted Alonzo]
    1851 ... intruder? retorted Alonzo
    1870 ... intruder?" retorted Alonzo
  and were it on no other account, must ever continue to despise and
  hate you
    1811ff and were it not on one other account ...
    1870 ... to hate and despise you
  From a coincidence of consequences
    1811ff From coincidence of circumstances
  the family had retired to rest
    1811ff the family had gone to rest
  Alonzo's feelings were on the wrack until she returned
    1811 on the wreck  1851/70 on the rack
  Melissa's aunt (the old maid) had invited her to ride out with her
    1870 Melissa's aunt had ...
  he had sent their daughter to a different part of the country
    1811ff ... a distant part of the country
  living with the different relatives of the family
    1811ff living with the relatives of the family
  He sat silent a few moments; then suddenly started up
    1851/70 ... suddenly starting up
  Melissa had not, indeed, the most distant suspicion of the designs of
  her father and aunt. The latter informed her that she was going to
  take a morning's ride, to which she consented. She did not even
  perceive the trunk which was fastened on behind the carriage
    1870 Melissa had not the most distant suspicion ... a morning
    ride ... that was fastend [sic] on behind the carriage
  Melissa had frequently attended her father or mother
    1851/70 ... her father and mother
  her aunt ordered the driver to proceed a different way
    1870 her aunt had ordered ...
  They arrived at another small village
    1811ff They arrived at another village
  Melissa's aunt, handing the driver a large bunch of keys
    1870 Melissa's aunt handed the driver ...
  "La me!" she cried
    1870 "La me!" cried she
  the opposite side of the house from whence she alighted
    1870 ... from where she alighted
  This was done, while John and his wife went out, and Melissa's aunt
    1811ff This done, while John and his wife went out, Melissa's aunt
  hoping to see the return of the carriage
    1811ff hoping to see the carriage return
  surrounded by high, thick walls
    1811ff surrounded by a high, thick wall
  They unlocked the door, which creaked heavily on its hinges
    1811 ... the door, which screaked ...
  as I have took care to lock all the doors and gates after me
    1851/70 as I have taken care ...
  circumstances have hitherto hindered my carrying the scheme into
  effect
    1870 circumstances have hitherto hindered me from carrying my
    scheme into effect
  stared around her with a wild and agonizing countenance
    1811ff ... a wild agonizing countenance
  She remained seemingly insensible throughout the night: just at
  morning, she fell into a slumber, interrupted by incoherent moanings,
  convulsive startings, long sighs
    1811ff through the night ... long drawn sighs
  taking the key of that with her. She generally returned before sunset.
  When Melissa was so far recovered
    1870 taking the key of that with her. When Melissa was so far
    recovered
  A few medical and odoriferous herbs
    1851 medinical [sic]  1870 medicinal
  The out buildings were generally in a ruinous situation
    1870 ... in a ruinous condition
  through several upper rooms to the chamber she inhabited
    1811ff ... the chamber they inhabited
  West, all was wilderness, from a brook which wound along at a little
  distance from the garden wall. North, were the uneven grounds she had
  crossed when she came there
    1811ff from which a brook
    1851/70 wound along a little distance from
    1870 the uneven grounds which she had crossed
  South, was the Sound and Long Island.
    1811ff South, was the Sound of Long Island.
  Melissa passed much of her time in tracing the ruins
    1870 Melissa passed much time in tracing the ruins
  She could have been contented here to have buried all her afflictions
    1811ff ... buried her afflictions
  while the disconsolate tear of reflection glittered in her eye
    1811ff while the disconsolate tear glittered in her eye
  more solicitous and importunate. A subject so hateful to Melissa
  sometimes provoked her to tears; at others her keen resentment.
    1811ff more solicitous and impertinent ...
    1851 at other
  Melissa sat up until a late hour, expecting her; she then went to the
  gate
    1811 hour in the night  1851/70 hour of the night
    1811ff ... she went to the gate
  "I had forgotten," said her aunt, "that my rents became due this
  week."
    1851/70 ... that my rents become due this week
  she heard a noise as of several people trampling in the yard below
    1870 she heard a noise of several people ...
  It was extremely dark, she could discern nothing. All was still and
  she thought she might have been deceived
    1811ff It was extremely dark; she thought she might have been
    discovered
  to collect some debts of those to whom she had rented lands
    1870 ... rented some lands
  and in the day time, in walking around the yard and garden
    1811ff and in the day, in walking ...
  She stepped softly to the window, suddenly raised it, and held out
  the candle. She fancied she saw the glimpse of two or three dark forms
  pass swiftly along, but so indistinctly that it was impossible to
  determine whether they were real, or only shadows produced by objects
  intervening the light of the candle. She listened and gazed
    1811/51/70 She stepped softly to the window, suddenly raised it, and
    held out the candle. She listened and gazed
  All was still; she shut the window, and in a short time went to bed.
    1811ff All was silent ...
  she heard loud noises in the rooms below
    1870 she heard noises in the rooms below
  a cold chilly sweat ran down her face
    1811ff ... run down her face
  grasped her arm which lay on the outside of the bed clothes
    1870 grasped her arm which lay outside of the bed clothes
  no visible being was in the room except herself. She sat down,
  pondering these strange events. Was it not possible that she was right
    1870 no visible being was in the room except herself; how then could
    she account for these events? Was ...
    1811ff probable
  Might not this be the effect of a terrified and heated imagination?
  Or if false keys had been made use of to enter the rooms below, might
  they not be also used to enter her chamber? But could her room
    1870 ... imagination? But could her room
  She knew she could not sleep
    1811ff She knew she could not go to sleep
  The moon had arisen and cast a pale, imperfect lustre over the
  landscape. She recollected the opening and shutting of the doors--
  perhaps they were still open.
    1811ff a pale lustre ... of the door
  She examined the others; they were in the same situation
    1870 ... they were all in the same situation
  As soon as her scattered senses collected, she concluded that whoever
  had been in the house were there still
    1870 As soon as her scattered senses were collected ...
    1811ff ... whatever had been in the house was there still
  ascended in pyramidal columns to the zenith
    1811 pyramidial  1851/70 pyramidical
    1851/70 columns the zenith
  A small spot of ineffable brightness succeeded
    1851/70 A spot of ...
  both sides of it were smoothe [sic] as glass.
    1811ff as smooth as glass
  The events of the past night, therefore, remained inscrutable
    1870 The events of the last night ...
  the gate opened and the house entered by the means of false keys.
  Her father would as soon do this as to confine her
    1811/51 by means of false keys  1870 by false keys
    1870 ... as confine her
  Innumerous stars glittered in the firmament, intermingling their
  quivering lustre with the pale splendours of the milkyway [sic]
    1811ff Innumerable
    1811 the milk way 1851/70 the milky way
  But why should she fear? She knew of no one she had injured. She knew
  of none she had displeased
    1811/51/70 But why should she fear? She knew of none she had
    displeased
  the horizon was overclouded, and it had begun to rain.
    1811ff ... and it began to rain
  convinced that she was safe and secure, she concluded to go to bed
    1811ff convinced that she was safe and secure, she went to bed
  leaving, however, two candles burning in the room. As she for two
  nights had been deprived of her usual rest
    1870 leaving, however, candles burning in the room. As she for two
    nights had been deprived of her rest
  a broad flash like that of lightning, transiently illuminated her
  chamber
    1811ff a broad flash like lightning, transiently illuminated the
    chamber
  the sounds seemed to be in the rooms directly over her head
    1870 the sound seemed to be in the room ...
  filled the house with the electric effluvium. She listened for a
  repetition of the thunder--but a very different sound soon grated
    1870 with electric effluvium ... a very different sound grated
  the doors below alternately open and shut, flapping furiously
    1811ff ... slapping furiously
    [[The 1804 text uses long "s". The reading "flapping" is the
    transcriber's best guess, but the condition of the text does not
    allow certainty.]]
  she perceived some person crawling on to its foot
    1811ff ... on its foot
  instantaneously she sprang from the bed to the floor--with convulsive
  grasp, seized the candle
    1870 instantly she ...
    1811ff with convulsed grasp
  she was alarmed by a deep, hollow sigh
    1870 she heard a deep, hollow sigh
  Not the least noise had been heard since she last returned
    1870 ... since she returned
  Towards evening Melissa took her usual walk around the enclosure
    1870 ... took a walk around the enclosure
  the light gales bore revigorating coolness
    1870 the light gales bore invigorating coolness
  the flowery verdure of the fields were changing to a russet hue
    1870 of the field
    1811ff was changed
  hammering on the hollow trunk of some dry and blasted tree, filled
  the woods with reverberant echoes
    1811ff hammering on some dry and blasted trees
    1870 reverberating
  the images of departed joys
    1870 the images of departing joys
  in this house of gloom rest, in undisturbed silence
    1870 in this house of gloom rests ...
  throughout these now solitary demesnes
    1851/70 throughout these solitary demesnes
  yonder halls and apartments shone with brilliant illumination. Now
  all is sad, solitary and dreary, the haunt of sprites and spectres
  of nameless terror.
    1811ff in brilliant illumination ... the haunt of spirits
  All that now remains of the head that formed, the hand that executed
    1870 ... the head that formed and the hand that executed
  the rising shower, which slowly ascended in gloomy pomp
    1851/70 the rising shower, which ascended in gloomy pomp
  The lightning more broader and brighter flashed
    1811ff The lightning broader
    1851/70 flashes
  Convolving clouds pouring smoky volumes
    1811ff Convolving clouds poured smoky volumes
  Slantways, the large heavy drops of rain began to descend
    1851/70 Slant-wise ...
  It seemed nothing less than the crush of worlds
    1851/70 ... the crash of worlds
  pass another night in the lonely mansion
    1851/70 ... the lone mansion
  a voice behind her exclaimed, "Gracious heaven! Melissa!"
    1870 a voice exclaimed ...
  "No one except myself, Alonzo," she answered
    1811ff "No one except myself," she answered
  He followed her up to her apartment and seated himself by the fire
    1811ff He followed her to her apartment ...
  separated from society, and no one present to interrupt them
    1811ff separated from society, and no one to interrupt them
  Alonzo and Melissa heard little of it
    1851 heard a little  1870 heard but little
  what course her aunt and she had taken
    1811ff what course her aunt had taken
  where he accidentally found Melissa on a visit, as mentioned before
    1811 [FOOTNOTE] See page 26
  desiring Alonzo to remain at his house until he returned
    1870 desiring Alonzo to remain until he returned
  they were deeply interested in his favour and the welfare of Melissa
    1870 ... in his affairs and in the welfare of Melissa
  It is possible that Melissa is
    1811ff It is not possible but that Melissa is
  At length a large, tall tree, which stood near him, on the verge of
  the moat, or rather, in that place, river, was hurled from its
  foundation
    1811ff At length a large tree ... or rather in that place, was
    hurled from its foundation
  He scrambled up on the trunk, and made his way on to the wall
    1811ff ... made his way on the wall
  found the door open, which Melissa had left so in her fright
    1811ff ... had left in her fright
  they could not endure the idea of another and an immediate separation
    1811ff ... another and immediate separation
  It would not be safe for Alonzo to stay there
    1811ff It would not be safe for Alonzo to stay
  I would not wish unjustly to censure your father
    1811ff I would not censure your father
  Melissa sighed, wiping a tear which fell from her eye. "Unqualified
  obedience to my parents," said she, "I have ever considered the first
  of duties
    1870 sighed, wiped ... one of the first duties
  for reasons which Alonzo knew nothing of. But should she leave it
  in the way she had proposed, she was not sure but she would be
  immediately remanded back, more strictly guarded, and more severely
  treated. To continue there
    1870 ... knew nothing of. To continue there
  Melissa was to leave the draw-bridge down
    1811ff Melissa was to have the draw-bridge down
  he passed over, and she slowly withdrew
    1870 he passed over and slowly withdrew
  The fire-fly sunk feebly twinkling amidst the herbage of the fields
    1870 amongst the herbage
    1870 NO FOOTNOTE
  and assisted him in obtaining a carriage
    1870 to obtain a carriage
  and another burning on the table
    1811ff and another was burning on the table
  By what means she had thus suddenly disappeared
    1870 By what means had she thus suddenly disappeared
  John's hut was situate about one mile north from the mansion where
  she had been confined. When he came out near the road
    1851/70 situated
    1870 When he came near the road
  John stared in amazement
    1851/70 John started in amazement
  her aunt is gone into the country and has not returned
    1870 her aunt has gone ...
  John informed him that she was there about sunset
    1870 ... he was there about sunset
  He returned in about half an hour
    1870 He returned in half an hour
  the latter had taxed the former of improperly endeavoring
    1870 ... with improperly endeavoring
  He told them all that had happened since he was there, of which,
  before, they had heard nothing. At the houses of Mr. Simpson and
  Vincent
    1870 He told him all .... At the house
  and she wished to marry somebody else
    1811ff and she wishes to marry somebody else
  Alonzo did not long hesitate what course to pursue
    1870 Alonzo did not hesitate long ...
  the idea could not pluck the thorn from his bosom
    1851/70 ... from his own bosom
  I have got considerable money at command
    1870 ... at my command
  He answered, that perhaps all might yet come right
    1870 ... come to right
  his resources had not yet failed him
    1851/70 his resources had not failed him
  he reached Killingsworth
    1870 ... Killingworth
  through the night was wrecked with severe pain
    1851/70 ... racked with severe pain
  it might prove an injury to her if she was there, and could answer no
  valuable purpose if she was not
    1811ff ... if she were ... if she were not
  he could not distinguish her features
    1870 he did not distinguish her features
  he now had a side view of her face, and was more than ever convinced
  that it was Melissa
    1870 he had a side view of her face, was more ...
  he found it was Melissa's cousin
    1811ff he found it to be Melissa's cousin
  "Do you not think," said Mrs. Wyllis, "that she resembles their cousin
  Melissa, who resided there some time ago?"
    1870 ... her cousin Melissa ...
  what course to pursue, he was at a loss to determine upon.
    1811ff what course to pursue, he was at a loss to determine.
  Alonzo felt no strong curiosity farther to examine her features
    1870 Alonzo felt no curiosity ...
  An incident tended to confirm his resolution
    1851/70 ... this resolution
  her fine eyes were closed for ever
    1851/70 her fine eyes had closed for ever
  and shook the trembling frame of Alonzo
    1811ff and shocked the trembling frame of Alonzo
  the sun of peace may yet dispel the glooms of these distressful hours
    1870 ... dispel these distressful hours
  the death list arrested his attention
    1870 the death list attracted his attention
  Died, of a consumption ...
  1804/11: DIED, of a consumption on the 26th ult. at the seat of her
    uncle, Col. W****** D----, near Charleston, South-Carolina, whither
    she had repaired for her health, Miss Melissa D----, the amiable
    daughter of J**** D----, Esq. of *******, Connecticut, in the
    18th year of her age.
  1851: Died, of a consumption, on the 26th ult. at the seat of her
    uncle, Col. W. D--, near Charleston, South Carolina, whither she
    had repaired for her health,  Miss Melissa D----, the amiable
    daughter of J---- D----, Esq. of *******, Connecticut, in the
    eighteenth year of her age.
  1870: Died, of a consumption, on the 26th ult. at the seat of her
    uncle, Col. W. D----, near Charleston, South Carolina, whither she
    had repaired for her health,  Miss Melissa D----, the amiable
    daughter of J. D----, Esq. of ------, Connecticut, in the
    eighteenth year of her age.
  The fanciful part of our readers may be ready to cast it aside
    1811ff ... may cast it aside
  the geni which animated and enlivened it
    1811ff the _genius_ which animated and enlivened it
  Arouse your hero. Call to his aid
    1811 Arouse your hero: call to his aid
    1851/70 Arouse your hero? call to his aid
  to what pathos of grief and wretchedness
    1811ff to what paths of grief and wretchedness
  regions where my guardian angel is gone
    1811/51 regions where my guardian is gone
  nature triumphed over disease of body, he slowly recovered
    1811 body--he  1851/70 body, and he
  an uncle who resided near Charleston in South Carolina [See
  _Barometer_ No. 110.]
    1811 [FOOTNOTE] See page 39.  1851/70 NO FOOTNOTE
  roved, he knew not whether [sic]  [for "whither"]
    1811ff where
  the _dircle_ sung mournfully in the grass
    1811ff ... on the grass
  through which they had passed, were recalled to his mind
    1851/70 ... were called to his mind
  His fancy saw her--felt her gently leaning on his arm
    1870 His fancy saw her--he felt ...
  Again was he enraptured by the melody of her voice
    1811ff Again he was enraptured ...
  the first time he saw her at her cousin's [See _Barometer_ No. 105.
  See also allusions to this scene in several subsequent parts of the
  story.]
    1811/51 [FOOTNOTE] See page 7/8. See also ...  1870 NO FOOTNOTE
  his former bliss and anxiety, where every countenance would tend
  to renew his mourning, where every door would be inscribed with a
  _memento mori_
    1870 the scenes of his former bliss and anxiety, where every door
    would be inscribed with a _memento mori_
  the breezes rustled from their woody coverts
    1811ff the breezes rushed
  the willderness [sic] of its waters
    1811ff its wilderness of waters
  A new scene now opened to Alonzo
    1811ff A new scene was now opened to Alonzo
  [QUOTATION]
  Blue tumbling billows, topp'd with foam
    1851/70 Blue trembling billows ...
  The _dingy scud_ first flew swiftly along the sky
    1811ff The dirgy scud ...
  It appeared to be of about equal force and dimensions
    1811ff It appeared to be of equal force and dimensions
  the ship went down and was for ever buried
    1870 the ship went down and was buried
  as there existed no parental or other impediments to our union
    1811ff as there were no ...
  the friend and intimate of my angel in my absence. They were now
  almost every day together, so that I had frequently opportunities
    1811ff the friend and inmate ...
    1851/70 ... frequent opportunities
  promised to obey her injunctions
    1811ff proceeded
    1870 injunction
  No, it was not this that caused you to perjure your plighted vows
    1811ff No, it was not that which ...
  I had worked up my feelings almost to the frenzy of distraction
    1870 I worked up my feelings ...
  gently pressed in the hand of the stranger
    1870 ... in the hands of the stranger
  a little arbour, at a few yards distant from where I was
    1811ff a little arbour, a few ...
    1851/70 ... where I sat
  "I forgive you, Henry," she said, "I forgive your mistake,"
    1851 "I forgive you," Henry, she said, "forgive your mistake"
  I made no defence; was condemned to death
    1851/70 defence; and was
  frequently enter the prison to console and comfort him
    [here alone, the 1804 form is "console" rather than "consolate"]
  But the grief that preyed at his heart had wasted him to a skeleton
    1851/70 ... to a mere skeleton
  trusting in the mercy of his Creator through the merits of a Redeemer
    1811ff ... the sufferings of a Redeemer
  were loose and could easily be removed
    1851/70 were loose and could be easily removed
  every article of which he cut into narrow strips
    1811 ... narrow slips
  a piece of long timber
    1811ff a long piece of timber
  as useless encumbrances without his clothes
    1811ff as a useless encumbrance ...
  You must have experienced a severe gale indeed
    1870 You have experienced ...
  The sailor mused a few minutes
    1870 The sailor mused for a few minutes
  Alonzo entered it to see how the sick and disabled American prisoners
  were treated
    1811ff ... and disabled prisoners were treated
  [FOOTNOTE]
  were treated with much more humanity than those who were imprisoned
  in America
    1870 ... imprisoned at Halifax and other places in America
  he now found that he had lost his leg
    1870 he now discovered ...
  it is possible I have been undesigningly accessory
    1811ff ... undesignedly accessory
  to render him more comfortable. Beauman replied that he was not: "For
  the comforts of life," said he
    1870 to make him more
    1811ff the comforts of this life
    1811 replied he
  he would fall into incoherent mutterings
    1851/70 ... muttering
  a natural stone was placed at its head
    1870 ... at his head
  bearing a large trunk on his shoulder, and directing Alonzo
    1811ff ... and directed Alonzo
  not with a view to returning to America; he had yet no relish for
  revisiting
    1811ff of returning
    1870 ... he had no relish for revisiting
  Of this Alonzo gave a minute account
    1811ff Of this Alonzo gave him a minute account
  Alonzo enquired for the name to whom the note was addressed
    1870 ... the man to whom ...
  Alonzo gave his employer no room to complain
    1870 ... no reason to complain
  Alonzo dressed himself in deep mourning
    1870 Alonzo dressed in deep mourning
  he took it up and found it to be a curiously wrought purse
    1870 ... a curious wrought purse
  what he esteemed most invaluable
    1811ff what he esteemed most valuable
  Lost, between the hours of 9 and 10 last evening, in the _Rue de
  Loire_
    1811ff nine and ten ... Loir [_sic_]
  had hitherto taken no notice of what had passed
    1870 ... of what passed
  a letter from his father, while he was at the army
    1811 while at 1851/70 while with
  Last evening I lost the miniature which I suppose you have found
    1870 ... which I suppose you to have found
  which I probably dropped on replacing in my pocket
    1811ff ... on replacing it in my pocket
  it has become a most precious and invaluable relique
    1811ff ... and valuable relique
  The next morning as they were about to part
    1811ff ... about to depart
  and sighed as ardently for some other trifle
    1811ff and sighed as earnestly ...
  turns to some other source to supply the vacuum
    1811ff ... to supply _vacuum_
  Stripped of all but their intrinsic value
    1811ff Stripped of all their intrinsic value
  inordinate passion, or what you would call pure affection
    1811ff ... what some would call ...
  pining for a hopeless object
    1811ff ... a hapless object
  which will sail for any part of America in some time
    1851/70 ... for some time
  Ah! had this but have happened in time to save a life
    1870 Ah! had this but happened ...
  consecrated piles, and funereal monuments of the sacred dead
    1811ff sacred piles, and funeral monuments ...
  October 26, 1776,
    1811 Oct.
  how tenderly pensive does she beam her lovely eyes upon me!
    1811ff how tenderly does she beam her lovely eye upon me!
  There [_pointing to the grave_] there behold how my dearest wishes
    1811ff Then ...
  the first holy whisper of her consecrated lips
    1870 whispers
  determining to proceed on early in the morning
    1811ff ... proceed early in the morning
    1870 ... proceed early the next morning
  which before sunrise encreased to a violent storm
    1851/70 which before sunrise had encreased to a violent storm
  was to be opened for that night only
    1851/70 was to be opened that night only
  To the general enquiry of "_what's the matter?_"
    1851/70 To the general enquiry, "_what's the matter?_"
  forbade that he should re-pierce the ten thousand wounds
    1811ff forbade that he re-pierce ...
  [QUOTATION]
  Song, beauty, youth, love, virtue, joy: this group
  . . .
  As yet unforfeit! in one blaze we bind.
    1870 Song, beauty, love ...
    1870 As yet a forfeit! ...
  They immediately retired to a separate room, where the stranger
    1811ff ... when the stranger
  private concerns; more extraordinary may you esteem it
    1851/70 private concerns, and more extraordinary you may esteem it
  "Are you unmarried, sir?" "I am now, and have ever been single."
    1811ff Are you married
    1851/70 I am not
  numberless suitors have sighed for her hand
    1811ff numberless suitors sighed ...
  It seemed that if she could but speak with him
    1870 ... speak to him
  This extraordinary dream she has communicated
    1851/70 ... she had communicated
  Her father, who has but two children besides herself, being dotingly
  fond of her
    1811 two children, one besides herself
    1851/70 two children, one beside herself
    1811 doting
  in a rallying way told her I had seen her _invisible beau_
    1811 in a railing way
    1851/70 told her that I
  she thought but little of it
    1811ff she thought little of it
  my leaving you so abruptly, and of my not returning
    1811ff ... and not returning
  Now, sir, it is necessary for me farther to explain
    1870 Now, sir, it is necessary farther to explain
  on reviewing the incidents which led to
    1811ff on reviewing the incidents which to
  I have experienced a sufficient change of objects and of country
    1851/70 ... and country
  a silk girdle, with diamond clasps
    1811ff a silken girdle ...
  Did not Alonzo see her death announced in the public prints?
    1851/70 ... her death in ...
  And is not all this sufficient to prove
    1811ff And is not this ...
  However the author may succeed in description
    1811ff ... in his description
  the bower on her favorite hill
    1870 the bower of ...
  Have we not, according to the advice of the moralist
  [FOOTNOTE]
    1804 see _Barometer_, no. 118
  their tears fell in one immingling shower
    1811ff ... one intermingling shower
  you were proof against the whole arcana of beauty
    1870 ... the whole arena of beauty
  Indeed, sir, I cannot but applaud your discrimination
    1811ff ... your determination
  the true novel style
    1811ff the novel style
  "There I confess," said he, looking at Alonzo
    1811ff "Then I confess" ...
  He is the son of a deceased uncle
    1811ff ... my deceased uncle
  a servant took charge of Alonzo's carriage
    1851/70 ... took care ...
  the eldest, a son about ten years of age
    1811ff the eldest son, about ten years of age
  to its members and its guests.
  And here, were we to adopt the method of some novel writers, we
  might close our history, and leave it for imagination to paint the
  sequel. But there are some _mysteries_, which if not elucidated,
  will render our story incomplete, and besides were we to stop here,
  the real _finishing_ stroke would still be wanting; we shall
  therefore pass with as much rapidity as possible over the remaining
  incidents of our story, rendered already too lengthy for a weekly
  paper.
  It was agreed that Alonzo
    1811ff to its members and its guests. // It was agreed that Alonzo
    [entire paragraph omitted]
  I told her that as I had been placed there by my father, I should not
  consent to a removal unless by his express orders
    1811ff I told her that I had been placed there by my father, and
    should not consent
  I hardly know what I did wish
    1811ff I hardly knew ...
  As we passed out of the gate, I looked back at the mansion
    1870 ... back to the mansion
  which put him in a terrible fluster
    1851/70 ... a terrible flutter
  we have little peace in the house
    1870 we have but little peace in the house
  the servant delivered a packet of letters
    1811ff ... a package of letters
  my uncle found it impossible to submit to these stern injunctions
    1811ff ... these firm injunctions
  soon after the birth of their first child
    1811ff ... the first child
  Inconsolable and comfortless, my uncle put the child out to nurse
    1870 ... the child to nurse
  He finally married to an amiable and respectable woman
    1870 He finally married to an amiable woman
  yet soon greatly alleviated the pangs of early sorrow
    1851/70 yet greatly ...
  he considers you to have formed an improper connection
    1870 he considers you have ...
  I have seen some troubles in this way myself, in my early days;
  perhaps my counsel may be of some service
    1870 in that way ... council
  I immediately gave him a correct account
    1811ff I immediately gave a correct account
  write to your father, advising him not to proceed too rashly
    1811ff ... desiring him ...
  her health evidently decreasing after she came to this place
    1851/70 ... decreasing. After ...
  and was thereafter retained in the family
    1811ff and was therefore ...
  In Charleston it was also generally supposed
    1851/70 In Charleston it was generally supposed
  he was not only deprived of you
    1811ff he was not only deprived of me
  except that you had gone in search of me. Vincent conjectured that you
  had gone to New London
    1811ff except that you had gone to New London
  He then confidentially unfolded to your father
    1870 He then confidently ...
  from whence you then came, to where you went
    1851/70 from whence you then came, or where you went
  she had undoubtedly given him his lesson
    1811ff ... given him instructions
  he finally initiated himself so far in my aunt's favor
    1870 he initiated himself ...
  he had left a wife and family in Virginia in indigent circumstances
    1870 he had a wife ...
  yesterday morning at my uncle's house in town, which Alfred had
  proposed for the scene of action
    1811ff ... my uncle's house, which ...
  I trust that difficulty will soon be removed
    1851/70 I trust that that difficulty ...
  if he had ever known Doctor Franklin
    1811ff if he ever knew Dr. Franklin
  I have inflicted a wound still deeper on my own bosom
    1811ff ... in my own bosom
  your daughter was the subject of my earliest affection
    1851/70 ... the object of ...
  I shall in some measure realize former happy anticipations
    1811ff ... former anticipations
  bowed his gratitude and after appointing that day week, departed
    1851/70 bowed his head in gratitude; and after appointing ...
  when a person rapped to the door below
    1811ff ... at the door below
  to intervene their happiness, no determined rival, no obdurate father
    1851/70 to intervene their happiness, no obdurate father
  The sun blended its mild lustre with the landscape's lovely green
    1811 ... the landscapes' ...
  encircled by a wreath of flowers
    1811ff ... a wreath of artificial flowers
  Edgar then rising, motioned to the intended bride and bridegroom
    1870 ... mentioned to ...
  "Where tides of heavy sorrows swell'd,"
    1811ff ... sorrow ...
  "And do I receive thee from the dead!" he said. "I am anxious to hear
  the mystery unfolded
    1811ff And I receive thee as from ... the mighty mystery unfolded
  But wearied with the bustles of life
    1870 ... business of life
  who all soon left it under the foolish pretence or impression of
  hearing strange noises and seeing frightful objects, and such is the
  superstition of people
    1811ff who all left
    1870 under foolish pretence
    1811ff of hearing noises
    1851/70 of the people
  which might lead to the elucidation
    1811ff which might tend to the elucidation
  they struck a fire and lit candles, which they had brought with them
    1811ff lighted candles
    1870 which they brought
  where no objects presented, they lay flat on the ground, with orders
  not to stir, or to discover themselves
    1811ff where no object presented, lay flat on the ground, with
    orders not to stir, or discover themselves
  so that nothing should be discovered from without. Things thus
  arranged, they observed almost an implicit silence
    1811ff so that nothing could ...
    1870 ... almost implicit silence
  For a long time no sounds were heard
    1811ff ... no sound was heard
  to prevent discovery took off their shoes
    1811ff to prevent discovery they took off their shoes
  "Those rascally cow-boys detained us too long."----"Well, well,
  never mind it
    1811ff "Rascally cow-boys
    1851/70 "Well, never mind it
  a noise as if several doors shut to
    1870 ... shut too  [this spelling is used several times]
  gave the signal to the men without
    1811ff gave the alarm ...
  the chairs on which these now invisible beings had sat, had all
  disappeared
    1811ff ... had disappeared
  That they were part of a gang
    1811ff That they were a part of a gang
  sold at a very extortionate price
    1851/70 sold at very extortionate prices
  struck immense sums of it
    1811/51 immense quantities  1870 immense quanties [sic]
  which had heretofore been only in the open woods
    1851 which had therefore ...
  we recrossed from the mansion. To get over the wall we used ladders
  of ropes, placing a flat piece of thick board
    1811ff the old mansion ... a flat of thick board
  on touching a spring, it would suddenly fly open
    1811ff ... it would fly open
  so that on emergency we could traverse every apartment
    1811ff so that on an emergency ...
  a beautiful young lady asleep in the only bed in the room
    1811ff ... on the only bed in the room
  to dispossess the fair tenant of premises to which
    1851/70 ... of the premises to which
  As soon as we were prepared, we returned to the mansion
    1870 As soon as they were ...
  exhibiting the person before her in all his horrific appearances
    1870 exhibited ...
  some of the same material being placed in its mouth
    1811ff some material being placed in its mouth
  not having yet stripped off his ghostly habiliments
    1870 not having stripped off ...
  which in the night appears like coals of fire
    1851/70 ... looks like ...
  the generous midshipman, John Brown
    1811ff ... Jack Brown
  as there were several other British prisoners in the jail
    1811ff ... in jail
  put under the hands of a barber, cleaned, furnished with a change of
  clothes
    1870 ... cleansed ...
  his ship was ordered for America
    1870 ... to America
  went before the magistrates of the town
    1870 ... the magistrate of the town
  planned the structure of their family edifice.
  [NOTE] See Barometer 109-110.
    1811 [FOOTNOTE] See pages 34 and 38.
    1851/70 NO FOOTNOTE
  This intimation according with the ardent wishes of Alonzo, the site
    1851/70 This intimation accorded with the ardent wishes of Alonzo.
    The site
  Spring, with its verdured fields
    1864 verdurous  [this difference is on the last page: see above]
  commencing sprightly, but ending plaintive and melancholy
    1870 ... plaintively and melancholy

           *       *       *       *
       *       *       *       *       *

Errors and Inconsistencies:

_All corrections were checked against other versions of the text._ If an
apparent error is the same in all available versions, or if the correct
form was not deducible from the 1851 text alone, it was left unchanged.

Non-Errors

Many spellings were carried over unchanged from the 1804 original, even
if they were archaic by 1851, such as "doat", "choak", "staid" (for
"stayed") and others.

  "gale": in pre-Beaufort usage, a synonym for "breeze"
  "ensign": starting rank in the British infantry until 1870
  "prim hedge": probably the same as privet hedge, _Ligustrum vulgare_
  "Dr. Franklin": Benjamin Franklin received an honorary doctorate from
    Oxford in 1762

Misprints

  the old gentleman thus addressed them  [gentlemen]
  hastily walked the room in much visible agony of mind,  [vissible]
  From them you will be enabled to obtain information  [enable]
  In them we can place the utmost confidence.  [In // In at page break]
  I will call at your father's  [you]
  He arose after a sleepless night  [nights]
  "Your perverseness, Melissa
    [previous paragraph ends at line-end; paragraph indent missing]
  ascended in pyramidical columns to the zenith  [columns the zenith]
  which widening, more rapidly advanced  [nore]
  he betook himself to the forest for shelter  [be betook]
  he set out to return  [he sat out]
  he slowly recovered, but  [recov-/ed at line break]
  Omnipotent Controller of vicissitudes!  [Controler]
  Omniscient dispenser of destinies!  [dipenser]
  where every object would be shrouded in crape  [he shrouded]
  Neither did he enquire into Alonzo's prospects  [Oeither]
  now smooth as polished glass  [snooth]
  the woe-worn head of fortune's fugitive  [woe-worm]
  One day she had been with my sister at my father's
    [" one" (lower case) with letter-width space at page-top]
  frequently would he burst into tears  [frequntly]
  for mercy and forgiveness  [forgivness]
  he had made an opening large enough  [on]
  no person was therein except the gentleman and servant  [therin]
  he either suspected, or really discovered  [on really]
  All the tender powers of Alonzo's soul  [Alonzon's]
  informed Edgar of all that had happened  [hapened]
  Melissa's sudden and unaccountable removal  [Melissa]
  Vain and presumptuous assurance  [presumptous]
  perhaps you will consider it enthusiasm  [peahaps]
  How ready you gentlemen are, replied Melissa  [gentleman]
  one brother and two sisters, of which my uncle  [or which]
  My aunt knew you  [know]
  Alonzo found by this narrative that  [narative]
  Alonzo then gave Melissa a minute account  [Mellissa]
  they were not prepared to undeceive her father  [undecieve]
  his crops had yielded but a scanty supply  [crobs had yeilded]
  The sun blended its mild lustre  [blendid]
  the spring birds carolled in varying strains  [carroled]
  they put off among the Americans for live stock  [American's]
  thinnest scarlet tiffany  [thinest]

Invisible Letters

Here and below, "invisible" means that the letter or punctuation mark is
not present, but there is an appropriately sized blank space.

  A considerable pause ensued.  [s in "ensued" invisible]
  the thousand various birds  [final s invisible]
  Here all was solemn and silent  [s in "was" invisible]
  Its appearance was tall and robust, wrapped in a tattered white robe
    [a in "and", r in "robe" invisible]
  By the fate of war, he replied  [r in "war" invisible]
  he was worn to a skeleton
    [spacing in this line is ambiguous; the word "a" may be either
    missing or invisible]
  I find by your father's letters that  [final t invisible]
  they projected scenes of connubial bliss  [t in "they" invisible]
  reflected in the glassy lake  [l in "lake" invisible]

Punctuation

  "For far beyond the pride and pomp of power,  [" invisible]
  A soft and silent shower had descended;  [; invisible]
  Melissa was silent.  [. missing or invisible]
  the same enquiry respecting you.  [. missing or invisible]
  you are melancholy.  [. invisible]
  It would, he said, be a delicate point  [first , invisible]
  "In our present dilemma, said Alonzo, what is proper to be done?"
    [said Alonzo what]
  "It is difficult to determine, replied Melissa  [" missing]
  "The world is before you, answered Vincent  [" missing]
  alternately humming a tune, and impudently staring at Alonzo
    [, invisible]
  My mother and Edgar ardently strove  [and Edgar, ardently]
  "I would advise you, said he  [" missing or invisible]
  Melissa seated herself at the window.  [at the window."]
  "Unfeeling and impertinent intruder, retorted Alonzo,  [intruder?]
  "Well, thou hast wonderful courage, child  [Well, thou hast]
  perhaps they were still open.  [. invisible]
  "If you will allow me to name the place, said he  [" missing]
  but that she must still be there.  [be there..]
  alternately in the house and the enclosure  [alternately, in]
  at the seat of her uncle, Col. W. D--  [her uncle. Col.]
  "Blue trembling billows, topp'd with foam,"
    [" missing or invisible]
  grave of my Melissa?"  [" missing or invisible]
  when we were seated she thus addressed me:
    [_no punctuation at end of paragraph_]
  "Henry, you know that to promote your peace  [" invisible]
  though made in the presence of heaven."  [" missing]
  Candour and correct reason must have answered yes.  [. invisible]
  "Hallo, messmate! what, scudding under bare poles  [" missing]
  "Thy case, said he, is a little critical  [Thy case said he]
  when we will see what can be done."  [be done.']
  by which you may return to your own country."  [. invisible]
  it is possible I have been undesignedly accessory  [have been,]
  "A person with whom I am acquainted  [" missing or invisible]
  if Col. D----, (Melissa's uncle)  [. missing]
  "On my return from the inn  [" missing]
  though slowly, yet surely, disperse  [yet surely.]
  their eyes spoke sympathy, and they parted.
    [. missing or invisible]
  intrinsically _good for nothing_."  [" missing or invisible]
  keep our cousin Melissa in countenance."  [" missing or invisible]
  a few months after the melancholy tidings arrived [, invisible]
  leaving Alfred, their only child, then an infant,
    [_second comma invisible, but word-spacing suggests
    "Alfred, their only child then, an infant"_]
  "Melissa, said he, I find  [Melissa said he]
  your father's, at Vincent's, and at Mr. Simpson's  [Mr Simpson's]
  as I have before informed you.  [informed you."]
  proceeded immediately to his father's.  [. missing or invisible]
  they welcomed Alonzo, whom they had given up as lost  [Alonzo. whom]
  "We were school-mates, he replied, and  [he replied and]
  which my bosom must ever retain; but being separated  [; invisible]
  they were generally informed of Alonzo's reasons  [reason,s]
  the celebration at her father's.  [. missing or invisible]
  The others, though they pursued them, got off.  [, invisible]
  and for such measures we were amply prepared."  [amply prepared.]
  The man enquired to what town they were to go, which  [, invisible]
  They immediately set out for the aforesaid town  ["They]
  "Ere fate and fortune frown'd severe,"
    [closing " missing or invisible]

           *       *       *       *
       *       *       *       *       *

The statistically minded reader may like to know that the word "bosom"
occurs fifty-nine times in the text, and the word "mansion" sixty-two.





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